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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 08/27/2006 - 09/03/2006
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, September 02, 2006

James Moore and Wayne Slater, authors of Bush's Brain, team up again on another Rove book

and it oughta set tongues wagging...
A new book by Austin-based journalist James Moore and senior political reporter for the Dallas Morning News Wayne Slater to be released Tuesday will allege that Karl Rove's step-father, Louis Rove, divorced his mother and lived the rest of his adult life as an openly gay man...


The book also reveals that Rove held streetcorner meetings with fallen superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, knowing that all visits and phones calls to the White House were logged. Abramoff recently pleaded guilty to tax fraud and conspiring to bribe members of Congress.


The premeditated and well-organized assault of the Rove-led GOP as described in The Architect is breathtaking. One has to wonder why a group of senior members of the Christian right, huddled in a room together, and planning to play one Christian denomination against another never made the headlines.

Yet Moore and Slater present something more than the background shockers of these public figures. They provide a detailed illustration of a conglomerate that profited on faith, race, heritage, even gender, using the very people who are trusted by their congregations, their leaders and their heroes.

just more confirmation that karl rove is perhaps the most evil man on the american scene today, and he may go down in history as the most evil political operative of all time...

The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power, by James Moore and Wayne Slater

Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential, by James Moore and Wayne Slater

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Empty Wheel responds to NYT and Johnston's Fitz attack

(in a post entitled, debunking the runaway prosecutor claims, at daily kos...)
By the time Fitzgerald was appointed, the FBI had already uncovered clear evidence that Libby and Cheney were directly involved in this smear, that Libby had lied to protect Cheney, and that Rove may have coordinated with Novak to cover up his own role. Yet Johnston considers this clear evidence nothing but "nuance"?

johnston in the nyt...
[T]he Fitzgerald critics say, the prosecutor behaved much as did the independent counsels of the 1980's and 1990's who often failed to bring down their quarry on official misconduct charges but pursued highly nuanced accusations of a cover-up.

i'd sure like to see a little bit more flirtation with the hardcore facts when somebody like johnston dishes out implications like he did this morning... particularly when it's in the grey lady...

stick with it, fitz... you're still my hero...

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Rove: the good news and the bad news

the good news is that his influence is on the wane within the party... the bad news is that he is still dr. evil in the bush administration, and it is, after all, the bush administration that, more than anything else, is ruining this country... granted, when the white house, the senate, and the congress r's were all moving together in rovian lockstep, the juggernaut was truly fearsome... but, with the national security/constitutional destruction alert level still red, thanks to such crap as the unitary executive, the aumf, signing statements, and their hell-spawn - warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention of detainees, detainee torture, extraordinary rendition, endless war, etc. - the white house continues on its merry way with rove and his satanic partner, uncle dick, at the helm...
Political adviser Karl Rove's "word is no longer GOP gospel," according to a front page story in Sunday's edition of The New York Times.

"Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser, is struggling to steer the Republican Party to victory this fall at a time when he appears to have the least political authority since he came to Washington, party officials said," report Adam Nagourney and Jim Rutenberg for the Times.

"Mr. Rove remains a dominant adviser to President Bush, administration officials say," the article continues. "But outside the White House, as President Bush's popularity has waned, and as questions have arisen among Republicans about the White House's political acumen, the party's candidates are going their own way in this difficult election season far more than they have in any other campaign Mr. Rove has overseen."

as long as karl rove has even a pinky-toe's worth of influence in national politics and/or policy, we are all in deeply dangerous territory...

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Saturday photoblogging: murals at Estación Retiro

Estación Retiro

the rains came last night in advance of a cold front and this morning, the temp was in the low 40s(F), with a brisk wind making it feel more like the mid-30s... i've been planning to photograph the murals in estación retiro, the largest commuter train station in buenos aires, where i pass through at least 4-5 times a week... unfortunately, i found that the platform with the best vantage point for shooting was locked and inaccessible, but i still managed to get a few halfway decent shots...

buenos aires is famous for both its murals and its graffiti... i did a post on the graffiti on my other blog quite some time ago (which you can see here)...

p.s. the panorama shot of retiro is not mine...

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Jamison Foser: information, facts, truth, lies, context, and political impact

mr. foser offers his usual articulate analysis of what journalistic reportage could be but isn't...
[R]eporters often refuse to offer their judgment about matters of fact, but they do offer their judgment about the potential political effects of events and actions.

This is completely backwards.

Consumers of news lack the time, expertise, and, in many cases, ability to determine which of two contradictory statements by competing political figures is true. They often lack the resources to determine if, for example, President Bush's claim to have "delivered" on the promises he made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is true. That's where news organizations should -- but, with depressing frequency, have not -- come in. They have -- or should have -- the expertise and the time to assess those claims, and to report the facts. That's what readers, viewers, and listeners need. That's what journalism should be all about.

On the other hand, as consumers of news, we don't need journalists telling us what the "political impact" of something is going to be; how it will "play at the polls." It's our job to decide that. It's our job to decide who we'll vote for and why; how we'll assess the parties' competing agendas and approaches to the problems we face.

Instead of telling us how they think we'll react, we need journalists to give us the information upon which we can make an informed decision. To tell us the facts, and the truth, and the relevant context. Then we'll tell them the political impact.

wouldn't it be nice...?

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More R's sign on for Joe

now THIS is what i call bi-partisanship...
An independent group, Vets for Freedom, will begin sponsoring television commercials early next week for Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, thanking him for his support of the war in Iraq.

Vets for Freedom is a group of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has ties to top Republican leaders.


The group is receiving advice from Taylor Gross, a former White House official; Bill Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard; and the Republican strategist Dan Senor.

ah, but they're INDEPENDENT, so not to worry... joe's status as a democrat is still unsullied...

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We could see a new attack on Fitz coming from a mile away

there was no doubt in my mind that, given the armitage revelation, the resulting spin declaring no wrong-doing by either libby or rove, and the wapo's attack on joseph wilson for lying, things were bound to work their way back to patrick fitzgerald... naturally, we now find traditional media spreading the doubts...
An enduring mystery of the C.I.A. leak case has been solved in recent days, but with a new twist: Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, knew the identity of the leaker from his very first day in the special counsel’s chair, but kept the inquiry open for nearly two more years before indicting I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, on obstruction charges.

Now, the question of whether Mr. Fitzgerald properly exercised his prosecutorial discretion in continuing to pursue possible wrongdoing in the case has become the subject of rich debate on editorial pages and in legal and political circles.

i am hoping fitz has at least two more aces up his sleeve...

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Why is circumventing FISA and nixing oversight so damn important to these people?

why is it so goddam important to be able to spy without going through the fisa process, which has been put in place precisely to allow expediency in urgent cases...? why are they so goddam intent on removing any vestige of oversight...? why...?
The Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor to put her ruling on hold while the government appeals it. The judge on Aug. 17 barred government surveillance of suspected al-Qaeda operatives' telephone calls to and from the United States without court warrants.

The decision "threatens the gravest of harms to the government and to the American public," leaving the nation "more vulnerable to terrorist attack," the Justice Department said in papers filed in federal court in Detroit.


The government said it is entitled to a suspension of Taylor's order because "there is a substantial likelihood of prevailing on a number of issues" when the case is appealed.

if you're so damn sure spying will be upheld on appeal, why weren't you able to make the case for that in the first damn place...?

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Shades of Rummy in Florida sting: "We don't know what we don't know"

something in this snip may ring a bell...
U.S. law enforcement officials say they do not have the luxury of waiting for a terrorist plot to mature before they break it up. A delay, they say, could mean that a member of the plot they had not discovered might be able to pull off an attack.

At the news conference, Gonzales acknowledged that Batiste was nowhere near carrying out a terrorist act.

"Our philosophy here is that we try to identify plots in the earliest stages possible, because we don't know what we don't know about a terrorist plot," he said. It is dangerous to evaluate in advance that "this is a really dangerous group; this is not a dangerous group," he added.

But lawyers for the defendants have raised questions about where a government sting ends and entrapment begins. Not only did government informants provide money and a meeting place for Batiste and his followers, but they also gave them video cameras for conducting surveillance, as well as cellphones, and suggested that their first target be a Miami FBI office, court records show.

well...? got it yet...?
"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."

- Donald Rumsfeld

see how truly great leadership can spread its influence far and wide...? alberto... you can go to the head of the class...

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Rumsfeld defends his remarks and blames the media for slanting them

feel the walls closing in, eh, don...? maybe something actually got under your incredibly thick skin...?
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld reached out to Democrats late Friday, opening up the door for them to retract their stinging indictment of him as Pentagon chief.

In a letter to Congress's top Democrats, Rumsfeld said recent remarks he made during a speech in Salt Lake City were misrepresented by the media, including by The Associated Press. Rumsfeld said he was “concerned” by the reaction of Democrats, many of whom called for his resignation and said he was treading on dangerous territory.

“I know you agree that with America under attack and U.S. troops in the field, our national debate on this should be constructive,” Rumsfeld wrote Friday.

During his speech before thousands of veterans Tuesday, Rumsfeld said the world faces “a new type of fascism” and warned against repeating the pre-World War II mistake of appeasement. He alluded to critics of the Bush administration's war policies in terms associated with the failure to stop Nazism in the 1930s, “a time when a certain amount of cynicism and moral confusion set in among the Western democracies.”

Without explicitly citing Bush critics at home or abroad, he said “it is apparent that many have still not learned history's lessons.” Aides to Rumsfeld said later he was not accusing the administration's critics of trying to appease the terrorists but was cautioning against a repeat of errors made in earlier eras.

“Thought and careful preparation went into what I said,” Rumsfeld wrote in the letter. “It is absolutely essential for us to look at lessons of history in this critical moment in the war on terror. I was honored by the reception my statements received from our veterans.”

Democrats said Friday they stood by their remarks.

don, you moss-backed dinosaur, you... it wasn't just the democrats that jumped all over your thoughtful and carefully prepared comments... not by a long shot... you stirred up a whole nest of outrage... and, lemme tell ya something... if the dems wuss out and retract THEIR comments, there's a lot of people who have no intentions of retracting THEIRS...

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Ohio citizens get the vote

besides going down the toilet in his gubernatorial bid (he's behind strickland 25 points in recent polls), blackwell loses a court suit that basically confirms what we already knew - he's been working hard on fixing elections so the r's will win in ohio...
A federal judge has thrown out Ohio's new rules governing voter registration drives, saying the regulations appear to be unconstitutional.

The lawsuit was filed in July by a coalition of groups. Judge Kathleen O'Malley ruled on Thursday that state Democratic lawmakers may join the challenge.

Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, Ohio's chief elections officer and the Republican candidate for governor, predicted that the state would win the court challenge.

tough shit, ken... maybe we should allow ALL ohio citizens the right to vote, whaddaya think...?

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Support the ACLU's push to halt Congressional passage of bills on warrantless wiretapping

jeralyn's asking us to pass this along and i'm more than happy to... somehow, someway, we need to stop this criminal activity...
From the ACLU (received by e-mail):
[N]ext week Congress returns from recess, and at the top of their agenda is passing legislation that would attempt to retroactively legitimize President Bush's unconstitutional warrantless wiretapping program. Two similar bills are slated to be marked up in, and possibly voted out of, committee next week - Rep. Wilson's H.R.5825 in House Judiciary on Wednesday, September 6, and Sen. Specter's S.2453 in Senate Judiciary on Thursday, September 7.

As part of our effort to spread the word about these bills and the danger they pose to civil liberties, I'm asking for your help. My goal is to get as many people as possible talking about NSA next week, especially on Wednesday, September 6.

Bloggers can help get this issue back into the national consciousness. Here's how.
Before Wednesday, September 6

* Spread the word. Mention it in a post, tell other bloggers, etc.
* Read the materials below for more information and background.

On Wednesday, September 6

* Write a post on NSA warrantless wiretapping.

The ACLU has lots of materials here.

thanks, jeralyn...

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The mustache of serial abuse - once more through the breach

the intellectual light-weight bully gets to see if he can get a genuine confirmation rather than the back-door variety conferred by last year's recess appointment...
Conservatives fear Bolton won’t win confirmation

The Senate will vote on the confirmation of John Bolton next Thursday, September 7. The Wall Street Journal reports, “Senate vote counters aren’t sure of 60 votes needed to overcome filibuster in floor debate this week.

aw... what a shame if he doesn't get confirmed... it would just RUIN my day... MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...

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The United States, circa 2006, is an upside-down world

i'm glad that robert parry is on the job... i've been most disturbed by the obvious whitewashing of the plame affair that's been going on since the revelation about armitage, and it's good that it's being debunked... first up, today's pandering wapo editorial on joseph wilson...
In a world that wasn’t upside-down, the editorial page of Washington’s biggest newspaper might praise a whistleblower like former Ambassador Joseph Wilson for alerting the American people to a government deception that helped lead the country into a disastrous war that has killed 2,627 U.S. soldiers.

The editorial page also might demand that every senior administration officials who sought to protect that deception by leaking the identity of a covert CIA officer (Wilson’s wife) be held accountable, at minimum stripped of their security clearances and fired from government.

But the United States, circa 2006, is an upside-down world. So the Washington Post’s editorial page instead makes excuses for the government deceivers, treats their exposure of the CIA officer as justifiable – and attacks the whistleblower by recycling the government’s false spin points against him.


Washington Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt, who fell for virtually every Iraq War deception that the Bush administration could dream up, is back assaulting former Ambassador Wilson, again, in a Sept. 1 editorial, falsely accusing Wilson of lying and concluding that “it’s unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.”

In the view of the Post’s editorial page, Wilson’s chief offense appears to be that he went public in July 2003 with a firsthand account of a fact-finding trip that he took in early 2002. At the CIA’s request, he traveled to the African nation of Niger to check out a report alleging that Iraq was trying to obtain yellowcake uranium, presumably for a nuclear bomb.

and here's brent budowsky showing how using the armitage revelation as a way to let the lying bastards off the hook is totally missing the point...
The U.S. news media -- and conservative pundits -- are seeing vindication for the White House in the disclosure that former State Department official Richard Armitage may have been the first official to blurt out Valerie Plame's CIA identity to a reporter. After all, they say, Armitage was not an Iraq War hawk and apparently was not part of any cabal to willfully leak Plame's identity to the news media as a way to undercut her war-critic husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

But this overriding fact remains: other administration officials were intentionally passing on word about Plame's undercover CIA role. The likes of White House aides Lewis Libby and Karl Rove were peddling Plame's identity to some half dozen journalists under the guidance of Vice President Dick Cheney, who was livid when Wilson challenged the White House case for war with Iraq. There's also the question of why political adviser Rove was given access to the sensitive information about Plame; he had no legitimate "need to know."

patrick fitzgerald is still out there and, hopefully, hasn't given up the ghost...

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The liberal platform: therapy for those flattened by the free-market hurricane?

i classify myself as a liberal and one of the reasons the mainline leadership of the democratic party pisses me off so much is precisely what thomas frank is fulminating about in this op-ed...
Mounting a campaign against plutocracy makes as much sense to the typical Washington liberal as would circulating a petition against gravity. What our modernized liberal leaders offer — that is, when they’re not gushing about the glory of it all at Davos — is not confrontation but a kind of therapy for those flattened by the free-market hurricane: they counsel us to accept the inevitability of the situation and to try to understand how we might retrain or re-educate ourselves so we will fit in better next time.

if we're going to go all semantic* here, let's be a tad more precise in our use of words, shall we... plutocracy* may indeed have been a populist term in fdr's day but it doesn't adequately describe what's happening in the u.s. now... oligarchy* doesn't quite do it either... neither do autocracy* or dictatorship*... help me out here... what's a word that captures government by the wealthy few buttressed by fear and a fundamentalist, extremist religious ideology...?

* se·man·tic
Pronunciation: si-'man-tik
Variant(s): also se·man·ti·cal /-ti-k&l/
Function: adjective
Etymology: Greek sEmantikos significant, from sEmainein to signify, mean, from sEma sign, token
1 : of or relating to meaning in language
2 : of or relating to semantics

* plu·toc·ra·cy
Pronunciation: plü-'tä-kr&-sE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -cies
Etymology: Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; akin to Greek plein to sail, float -- more at FLOW
1 : government by the wealthy
2 : a controlling class of the wealthy

* ol·i·gar·chy
Pronunciation: 'ä-l&-"gär-kE, 'O-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -chies
1 : government by the few
2 : a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes; also : a group exercising such control

* au·toc·ra·cy
Pronunciation: o-'tä-kr&-sE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -cies
1 : the authority or rule of an autocrat
2 : government in which one person possesses unlimited power
3 : a community or state governed by autocracy

* dic·ta·tor·ship
Pronunciation: dik-'tA-t&r-"ship, 'dik-"
Function: noun
1 : the office of dictator
2 : autocratic rule, control, or leadership
3 a : a form of government in which absolute power is concentrated in a dictator or a small clique b : a government organization or group in which absolute power is so concentrated c : a despotic state

(thanks to atrios...)

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VA Hospitals

i am extremely fortunate... if it wasn't for va health care, i would be among the growing ranks of americans without health insurance... and, credit where credit is due, it was through the urging of my daughter-in-law that i dragged myself in to the va hospital to get signed up, believing that i wasn't eligible for care...
For the sixth year in a row, VA hospitals last year scored higher than private facilities on the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index, based on patient surveys on the quality of care received. The VA scored 83 out of 100; private institutions, 71. Males 65 years and older receiving VA care had about a 40% lower risk of death than those enrolled in Medicare Advantage, whose care is provided through private health plans or HMOs, according to a study published in the April edition of Medical Care. Harvard University just gave the VA its Innovations in American Government Award for the agency's work in computerizing patient records.

i went in with no small degree of trepidation, having heard for years of the abysmal condition of veterans health care... to my surprise, i experienced a better standard of medical care than i had when i was under a group health plan and had access to the so-called "best..." i am glad to see the va health system, to which i now feel proud to belong, getting its due...

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Bush takes his case to veterans... I AM a veteran and I ain't buyin'... "Ideological struggle" my ass...

he can take his damn case somewhere else...
Bush Takes His Case to Veterans
War in Iraq Depicted as One Against Radical Islamic Terrorism

President Bush renewed his effort to shore up flagging public support for fighting the Iraq war, appearing before one of the country's major veterans groups to cast the war as part of a larger ideological struggle against radical Islamic terrorism.


"The war we fight today is more than a military conflict," Bush said Thursday. "It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century."

i fail to understand how any veteran in his or her right mind can support this jerk... bush and his walking case study in senile dementia, rummy, have shown are ruining both the nation's military and its support for military veterans... there's still a lot of bumper stickers flying around out there - "veterans for bush/cheney '06" - and i grimace every time i see one... (fortunately, i don't get to see many here in argentina...!) i guess that the assumption is that, just because you're a veteran, you're automatically pro-iraq war... maybe that's got some truth to it, but, nonetheless, i simply can't see how any veteran can support that man...

as for the "decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century" crap, it gives me the cold chills... it's just one more clue as to what lies under the skin of the man who, in his arrested development, holds the reins of the world's most powerful nation...

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

LA Times does not venerate age over wisdom

they took a rather dim view of don's latest age-related dementia rant...
One effect of Rumsfeld's outburst was to serve as a reminder that he is still in office.

in many countries around the world, wisdom is expected to grow as one gets older and the elderly are venerated, and often rightly so, for the wisdom they can offer to the younger generations... but, compare that to our pathetic elders - rumsfeld, cheney, and mccain... how sad...

(thanks to occams hatchet at daily kos...)

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Is this or is this not what is meant by government propaganda?

add this $20M to the incredible amount of money we've already dumped into this seriously failed adventure, stir in the massive loss of life - u.s., allies, and iraqis - then season generously with lies, and you've got a dish guaranteed to destroy anybody's appetite forever after only one bite...
U.S. military leaders in Baghdad have put out for bid a two-year, $20 million public relations contract that calls for extensive monitoring of U.S. and Middle Eastern media in an effort to promote more positive coverage of news from Iraq.

The contract calls for assembling a database of selected news stories and assessing their tone as part of a program to provide "public relations products" that would improve coverage of the military command's performance, according to a statement of work attached to the proposal.

The request for bids comes at a time when Bush administration officials are publicly criticizing media coverage of the war in Iraq.

what happened to sanity in the u.s. government...? they're quite literally off the rails...

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I hope this isn't Hillary's campaign picture

cuz if it is, people will run screaming in the opposite direction...

just imagine, opening your closet door on a quiet evening, late, just before you hit the sack, and, suddenly, seeing THAT grinning at you... yikes...!

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Paul Begala on venereal disease

THIS is a keeper...
[T]here are four or five different strains of venereal diseases more popular than Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

thanks to atrios...

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Cruisin' the Blogs

my radio blog show, cruisin' the blogs, has been on a long hiatus... i'm back as of today, but i'm thinking over if i want to change the format... listen in at 8 p.m., EDT, tonight and see what ya think and then lemme know...

WBAT, Argentina's only English-language radio programmming

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Yes, George... Where were YOU...?

with deep thanks to john at americablog...

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"The country faces a new type of fascism..." Read all of this, please

like markos, to whom i am indebted for pointing me to last night's olbermann, i am posting it in its entirety...
The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.

Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.

Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands the deep analysis—and the sober contemplation—of every American.

For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence -- indeed, the loyalty -- of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land. Worse, still, it credits those same transient occupants -- our employees -- with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration’s track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve.

Dissent and disagreement with government is the life’s blood of human freedom; and not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as “his” troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq.

It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile it is right and the power to which it speaks, is wrong.

In a small irony, however, Mr. Rumsfeld’s speechwriter was adroit in invoking the memory of the appeasement of the Nazis. For in their time, there was another government faced with true peril—with a growing evil—powerful and remorseless.

That government, like Mr. Rumsfeld’s, had a monopoly on all the facts. It, too, had the “secret information.” It alone had the true picture of the threat. It too dismissed and insulted its critics in terms like Mr. Rumsfeld’s -- questioning their intellect and their morality.

That government was England’s, in the 1930’s.

It knew Hitler posed no true threat to Europe, let alone England.

It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all treaties and accords.

It knew that the hard evidence it received, which contradicted its own policies, its own conclusions — its own omniscience -- needed to be dismissed.

The English government of Neville Chamberlain already knew the truth.

Most relevant of all — it “knew” that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated. In fact, it portrayed the foremost of them as a blood-thirsty war-monger who was, if not truly senile, at best morally or intellectually confused.

That critic’s name was Winston Churchill.

Sadly, we have no Winston Churchills evident among us this evening. We have only Donald Rumsfelds, demonizing disagreement, the way Neville Chamberlain demonized Winston Churchill.

History — and 163 million pounds of Luftwaffe bombs over England — have taught us that all Mr. Chamberlain had was his certainty — and his own confusion. A confusion that suggested that the office can not only make the man, but that the office can also make the facts.

Thus, did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy.

Excepting the fact, that he has the battery plugged in backwards.

His government, absolute -- and exclusive -- in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis.

It is the modern version of the government of Neville Chamberlain.

But back to today’s Omniscient ones.

That, about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely.

And, as such, all voices count -- not just his.

Had he or his president perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience — about Osama Bin Laden’s plans five years ago, about Saddam Hussein’s weapons four years ago, about Hurricane Katrina’s impact one year ago — we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their “omniscience” as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego.

But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris.

Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire “Fog of Fear” which continues to envelop this nation, he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies have — inadvertently or intentionally — profited and benefited, both personally, and politically.

And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer’s New Clothes?

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused the United States of America?

The confusion we -- as its citizens— must now address, is stark and forbidding.

But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note -- with hope in your heart — that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light, and we can, too.

The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.

And about Mr. Rumsfeld’s other main assertion, that this country faces a “new type of fascism.”

As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that -- though probably not in the way he thought he meant it.

This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed.

Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute, I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow.

But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed: “confused” or “immoral.”

Thus, forgive me, for reading Murrow, in full:

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty,” he said, in 1954. “We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.”

And so good night, and good luck.

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Global Shakira

anybody who's followed this blog knows that i am about as far removed from being interested in the celebrity world as it's possible to be... i am, however, always interested in any person, trend, or thing that manages to cross-over from being a purely domestic or regional hit to being a global one... when the snip below says that shakira has made the case that she's a global pop star, it's true... she scheduled one performance here in buenos aires in november which immediately sold out so, she added another one the following day which also immediately sold out... she's definitely a phenom...
Shakira doesn't need much to shake an arena to its rafters. No pyrotechnics, no army of backup dancers, no elaborate staging -- not even a pair of shoes.

Just her charisma, pipes and hips. E specially the hips. Let's just say that wars have been fought over lesser hips than Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll's.

Playing Tuesday at the sold-out Verizon Center, the barefoot singer/songwriter/hip-shaker from Colombia kept things relatively simple yet still managed to make an absolutely convincing case that she's a global pop star in the truest sense.

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Flailing, flailing... Rove's stuck and taking 'em all down with him

i've lost count of the number of campaigns bush has waged to "rebuild" support for iraq and the global war on terror world war III fight against islamic fascists... none of them have worked, but karl is still convinced that labeling any and all criticism as terminal wussiness and hatred for america is the magic charm that will make things right in the bush bubble once more...
President Bush and his surrogates are launching a new campaign intended to rebuild support for the war in Iraq by accusing the opposition of aiming to appease terrorists and cut off funding for troops on the battlefield, charges that many Democrats say distort their stated positions.

With an appearance before the American Legion in Salt Lake City today, Bush will begin a series of speeches over 20 days centered on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

could we have some quotes, please...?
Pressed to support these allegations, the White House yesterday could cite no major Democrat who has proposed cutting off funds or suggested that withdrawing from Iraq would persuade terrorists to leave Americans alone. But White House and Republican officials said those are logical interpretations of the most common Democratic position favoring a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq.

and who is this lovely strategy attributed to...?
"A lot of the people who say we need to withdraw from Iraq say we'll be safer, and I don't think that's accurate," said Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, a key architect of the party's strategy heading into the fall congressional campaign.

take a close look at mehlman... honestly, do you think he could be the architect of ANYTHING...?

now, take a look at THIS guy... notice the difference...?

hint: look at the eyes...

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Mayor of Salt Lake City puts everything on the line

how'd ya like to be george, condi, or rummy, arriving in town to speak to the american legion as they did today, and be welcomed by this...?
No more lies from Condoleezza Rice about whether she and President Bush were advised before 9/11 of the possibility of planes being flown into buildings by terrorists.

No more gross incompetence in the office of the Secretary of Defense.

No more torture of human beings.

No more disregard of the basic human rights enshrined in the Geneva Convention.

No more kidnapping of people and sending them off to secret prisons in nations where we can expect they will be tortured.

No more unconstitutional wiretapping of Americans.

No more proposed amendments to the United States Constitution that would, for the first time, limit fundamental rights and liberties for entire classes of people simply on the basis of sexual orientation.

No more federal land giveaways to developers.

No more increases in mercury emissions from old, dirty, dangerous coal-burning power plants.

No more backroom deals that deprive protection for millions of acres of wild lands.

No more attacks on immigrants who work so hard to build better lives.

No more inaction by Congress on fixing our hypocritical and inconsistent immigration laws and policies.

No more reliance on fiction rather than the science of global warming.

No more manipulation of our media with false propaganda.

No more disastrous cuts in funding for those most in need.

No more federal cuts in community policing and local law enforcement grant programs for our cities.

No more inaction on stopping the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.

No more of the Patriot Act.

No more killing.

No more pre-emptive wars.

No more contempt for our long-time allies around the world.

No more dependence on foreign oil.

No more failure to impose increased fuel efficiency standards for automobiles.

No more energy policies developed in secret meetings between Dick Cheney and his energy company cronies.

No more excuses for failing to aggressively cut global warming pollutant emissions.

No more tragically incompetent federal responses to natural disasters.

No more tax cuts for the wealthiest, while the middle class and those who are economically-disadvantaged continue to struggle more and more each year.

No more reckless spending and massive tax cuts, resulting in historic deficits and historic accumulated national debt.

No more purchasing of elections by the wealthiest corporations and individuals in the country.

No more phony, ineffective, inhumane so-called war on drugs.

No more failure to pass an increase in the minimum wage.

No more silence by the American people.

seems like it might be a little hard to joke this one away... prepare for the smear...

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U.S. Corporations in Argentina - closed fortresses

this caught my eye while i was out for a walk this afternoon...

this is a photo of united technologies' (a big, BIG defense industry player, btw, e.g., blackhawk helicopters) subsidiary's, carrier corp., offices in the municipality of vicente lopez, just outside the capital district of buenos aires proper... it's basically a fortress... notice the armored, garage door-style front entrance that can be lowered down and secured... notice the iron mesh that is bolted in front of the building's windows all the way up to the 4th floor... i'm not here to tell you that non-u.s. corporations in argentina are just wide open, y'all come, but i thought this was a bit telling...

if and when i remember, i'll have to grab a photo of the ironclad fortress that serves as citibank's argentina hq down in the city center...

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Santorum is now singing in the Islamofascist choir

hard on the heels of my earlier post about carter agreeing to talk with khatami...
Embattled conservative Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) blasted the Bush Administration today for allowing a former Iranian president to visit the United States, RAW STORY has learned.

"I am outraged," Santorum said of the administration's approval of Mohammad Khatami's request for visa. "Mohammed Khatami is one of the chief propagandists of the Islamic Fascist regime... I believe that granting a visa to Khatami so that he can travel around the United States and mislead the American people is a mistake."

well, rick, i TOO am outraged, but for different reasons than you are... in the granting-visas-to-undesirables department, had you deigned to huff and puff over the visit of nursultan nazarbayev of kazakhstan, then maybe you might have a leg to stand on...

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Blog reach: "miniscule"

whoever the hell bruce kluger is, he obviously ain't paying attention...
“There isn't much point in detailing the chest thumping of the various blognut extremists,” wrote Time's Joe Klein in his analysis of the Lamont victory. “Their reach is minuscule.”

For those who think Klein is underestimating the power of the blog, I have four words: Howard Dean for president.

as part of bruce's badly needed re-education, i suggest he first visit the sitemeter page of daily kos... then, stop by atrios' sitemeter... if any more education is needed, here's americablog's sitemeter... and, just for good measure, bruce and joe, here's the definition of "minuscule..."
Main Entry: minuscule
Pronunciation: 'mi-n&s-"kyül
Function: adjective
1 : written in or in the size or style of minuscules
2 : very small

(thanks to atrios...)

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Sibel Edmonds describes Hillary to a "T"

i've been waiting for someone to do a better job nailing down what i despise about hillary better than i can...
In her six years as senator she has done nothing but attempt to position herself for the presidency, done nothing but avoid acting out of principle and justice, done everything to offend no one. We respect our opponents in much greater measure than we respect Senator Clinton, for with our opponents at least the fight is joined; at least they have the courage of their convictions, at least they place their bets in public. But Senator Clinton, by trying to be something to everyone ends up being nothing to anyone. Where she cannot act safely, she does not act. The current times call for politicians to act with conviction and intelligence, not with cynical, calculated action in response to what opinion polls indicate. [...] Such a person has no business representing the people of this country. Nothing stirs her soul except for her own selfish ambitions; ambitions that she places in front of the nation's welfare.

i would leap at the chance to have a good woman in the oval office, but hillary ain't it, and her husband, while certainly not the major disaster of the george bush variety, isn't much better than she is... what her candidacy looks like to me is just another power/dynasty/money trip...

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Jimmy puts George to shame

what, i would like to know, is wrong with TALKING, particularly to those you are in conflict with...? first, ask george... then, ask jimmy...

For an event that would turn a page in American history, former president Jimmy Carter has agreed in principle to host former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami for talks during his visit to the United States starting this week.


"President Carter, in his role since leaving the White House, has made his office and services and center available to basically anybody who wants to talk. He believes that it is much better to be talking to people who you have problems with than not to, and that's the approach he takes now," [Phil Wise, the former president's aide] said.

but it won't be without the bush administration blanketing the entire thing in hypocrisy...
[T]he Bush administration issued a visa for Khatami yesterday, as well as for about a dozen family and staff members, for a visit lasting about two weeks, the State Department confirmed. Khatami is expected to arrive in the United States tomorrow.


"Mr. Khatami is free to meet with who he chooses and is able to speak freely in the United States -- the very freedoms that do not exist in Iran," a White House official said on the condition of anonymity.

why, pray tell, would that "white house official" need to speak on condition of anonymity...? perhaps because white man speak with forked tongue...?

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Covering your ass retroactively, Mr. Bush, is impermissible

paul craig roberts writes in counterpunch...
Under the Nuremberg standard, Bush is definitely a war criminal. The US Supreme Court also exposed Bush to war crime charges under both the US War Crimes Act of 1996 and the Geneva Conventions when the Court ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld against the Bush administration's military tribunals and inhumane treatment of detainees.

President Bush and his Attorney General agree that under existing laws and treaties Bush is a war criminal together with many members of his government. To make his war crimes legal after the fact, Bush has instructed the Justice (sic) Department to draft changes to the War Crimes Act and to US treaty obligations under the Geneva Conventions.

One of Bush's changes would deny protection of the Geneva Conventions to anyone in any American court.

Bush's other change would protect from prosecution any US government official or military personnel guilty of violating Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. Article 3 prohibits "at any time and in any place whatsoever outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment."

so, with this level of arrogance and yet another planned attack on the rights of u.s. citizens, is anything going to happen to stop it...?
Under the US Constitution and US legal tradition, retroactive law is impermissible. What do Americans think of their President's attempts to immunize himself, his government, CIA operatives, military personnel and civilian contractors from war crimes?

Apparently, the self-righteous morally superior American "Christian" public could care less. The Republican controlled House and Senate, which long ago traded integrity for power, are working to pass Bush's changes prior to the mid-term elections in the event the Republicans fail to steal three elections in a row and Democrats win control of the House or Senate.

it's just a little over 8 weeks until the fall mid-term elections... i'm waiting and watching to see what kind of shit the bushies are going to throw out between now and then to hold on to power...

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Big tobacco pursues a better addiction - harder to quit and easier to get hooked

big tobacco is an early role model in totally irresponsible and socially destructive coporate behavior... you'd think that, after shelling out billions in liability lawsuits and being shown to be the greedy vampires that they are, they'd at least opt to not make things worse... but, n-o-o-o-o-o-o-o...
The level of nicotine found in U.S. cigarettes has risen about 10 percent in the past six years, making it harder to quit and easier to get hooked, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Department of Health.

The study shows a steady climb in the amount of nicotine delivered to the lungs of smokers regardless of brand, with overall nicotine yields increasing by about 10 percent.

with both a mother and a father-in-law dead of emphysema, i know first-hand what smoking can do... these people should be permanently barred from doing business in the united states... if other countries were smart, they'd do the same thing... in my travels, i see how the tobacco companies blatantly push their deadly product in countries around the world, particularly to the young... even the alcoholic beverage folks don't target as aggressively as the cigarette producers do...

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Stop giving this asylum inmate day passes

george, george, george... (or, closer to the truth, dick, dick, dick...) if you're gonna insist on keeping this guy around, fer god's sake, keep him under lock and key... letting him out to talk to the press or the public is even worse than it would be to let reporters quiz you about what you learned from your summer reading...
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld warned yesterday that "moral and intellectual confusion" over the Iraq war and the broader anti-terrorism effort could sap American willpower and divide the country, and he urged renewed resolve to confront extremists waging "a new type of fascism."

Drawing parallels to efforts by some nations to appease Adolf Hitler before World War II, Rumsfeld said it would be "folly" for the United States to ignore the rising dangers posed by a new enemy that he called "serious, lethal and relentless."

In a pointed attack on the news media and critics of President Bush's war and national security policies, Rumsfeld declared: "Any kind of moral and intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can severely weaken the ability of free societies to persevere."

ya know, don... you're so full of shit, it's hard to know where to begin... just take a deep breath, take your meds, and let the men in white coats gently lead you back to your office where your secretary will bring you a nice cup of hot tea with honey...

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

On behalf of my fellow citizens, allow me to extend my most sincere apologies

we've gone 'round the bend...
An Iraqi architect says he was not allowed to board a Jet Blue flight at JFK because of the Arabic inscription on his t-shirt.

REPORTER: Raed Jarrar was wearing a T-shirt that read We Will Not Be Silent in Arabic and English, when he was approached by security officers. The officers said the Arabic script was upsetting other passengers, and told Jarrar to either turn the shirt inside out or wear something else. Jarrar protested but finally wore a T-shirt provided by a Jet Blue employee.

JARRAR: I grew up and spent all my life living under authoritarian regimes. and I know that these things happen. But I'm shocked that they happened to me here, in the U.S. Especially that I moved from Iraq because of the war that was waged in Iraq under titles like democracy and freedom.

mr. jarrar... on behalf of my fellow citizens, allow me to extend my most sincere apologies... there is no excuse whatsoever for you being treated like that... i would like to tell you that your experience was an isolated one, but i wouldn't be telling you the truth... and, mr. jarrar, it's going to get worse before it gets better...

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Bonddad at Daily Kos tells us where the money's going

you really need to take a look at the graph bonddad has put together... it shows where the money is going... where it's REALLY going...

(click on image for larger view)

just in case there was any doubt...

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White House to be subpoenaed... Let's DO this...!


read the subpoena here...


let's get some legal action going... these criminals have been running around loose for FAR too long...
Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer, who say they represent hundreds of plaintiffs in lawsuits against Verizon, AT&T, and the US Government, will announnce today that they are serving both the Bush administration and Verizon with subpoenas.

The announcement is due to arrive at 4:30 PM, outside of Verizon headquarters in New York, RAW STORY has confirmed.

Mayer tells RAW STORY that the subpoenaes, directed to President George Bush, the Office of Legal Counsel, the Department of Justice, and the Chief Legal Counsel for Verizon, have already been sent, and should reach their targets tomorrow.

The subpoenas come on the heels of two federal court decisions that were seen as blows to the Bush Administration warrantless spying program.

they will squirm, they will wriggle, they will spin, they will continue to lie, they will cite the AUMF, they will cite the unitary executive, they will throw out everything but the kitchen sink... no matter... they are STILL criminals...

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IF Cheney was president... If...? IF...???

between cheney and rove, we arguably have the world's two most evil men running the country and, to a large extent, the rest of the world...

(from Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect, via Alternet...)
Cheney has planted aides in major Cabinet departments, often over the objection of a Cabinet secretary, to make sure his policies are carried out. He sits in on the Senate Republican caucus, to stamp out any rebellions. Cheney loyalists from the Office of the Vice President dominate interagency planning meetings.

The Iraq war is the work of Cheney and Rumsfeld. The capture of the career civil service is pure Cheney. The disciplining of Congress is the work of Cheney and Rove. The turning over of energy policy to the oil companies is Cheney. The extreme secrecy is Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

and we should do WHAT, exactly...?
If Cheney were the actual president, not just the de facto one, he simply could not govern with the same set of policies and approval ratings of 20 percent. The media focuses relentless attention on the president, on the premise that he is actually the chief executive. But for all intents and purposes, Cheney is chief, and Bush is more in the ceremonial role of the queen of England. Yet the press buys the pretense of Bush being "the decider," and relentlessly covers Bush -- meeting with world leaders, cutting brush, holding press conferences, while Cheney works in secret, largely undisturbed. So let's take half the members of the overblown White House press corps, which has almost nothing to do anyway, and send them over to Cheney Boot Camp for Reporters. They might learn how to be journalists again, and we might learn who is running the government.

we are certainly seeing the outcomes, every day...

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"Just a few feet out of camera range..." Another lying photo-op

the guy is really incredible... does he actually think ANYBODY believes him any more...?

Standing in front of recent construction, cameras that recorded the President's speech did not capture the rows of destroyed houses, the beach that is still empty, or the hotels and motels that remain deserted.


Just a few feet out of camera range stood gutted houses with wires dangling from interior ceilings. A tattered piece of crime scene tape hung from a tree in the field where Mr. Bush spoke. A toilet seat lay on its side in the grass.

now, THERE'S a quote to define bush's presidency... "just a few feet out of camera range..."

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Mexico: still no official winner, but it ain't looking good for AMLO

too bad...
Mexico's top electoral court announced Monday that a partial recount will not change the outcome of the hotly disputed July 2 presidential election, which sparked a constitutional crisis and massive demonstrations that have shackled the capital for nearly two months.

The Federal Electoral Judicial Tribunal stopped short of officially declaring Felipe Calderón the winner over Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the populist former mayor of Mexico City. But few here expect the court to alter the final outcome of the race, especially after the court announced Monday that it had rejected nearly all of López Obrador's fraud claims.

i would give plenty to know precisely and truthfully 1), what role the u.s. played in the mexican elections, and 2), if there was actually election fraud... i certainly know what my suspicions are... 1), a big one, and 2), yes...

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The REAL coalition of the willing - willing to play SUCKER THE U.S.

the VERY willing...

  • President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan (rigs elections),
  • President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea (has millions of dollars stashed in overseas bank accounts),
  • President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan (runs a nation that is anything but free and who has been accused by U.S. prosecutors of pocketing the bulk of $78 million in bribes from an American businessman)
and, what, you may ask, are they WILLING to do...? well, besides take bribes from U.S. businessmen, bleeding their respective countries of riches to feather their own luxurious lifestyles, and keeping their countrymen under tight, repressive control, they like to play everybody's favorite game, SUCKER THE U.S... today's contestant is nursultan nazarbayev of kazakhstan... let's look behind door number three and see what mr. nazarbayev has won...


that's RIGHT...! but wait, there's MORE...!


tell us a little bit about mr. nazarbayev, don...

Nazarbayev, 66, a blast-furnace operator-turned-Communist functionary, has led Kazakhstan since 1990, when it was part of the Soviet Union, and has since won a series of tainted elections. His government has banned or refused to register opposition parties, closed newspapers and harassed advocacy groups. Two opposition leaders were found dead of gunshots in disputed circumstances.

not many people know much about kazakhstan, don...
Kazakhstan, a vast nation of 15 million on the Central Asian steppe, has emerged as an increasingly important player in the world energy market. With the largest crude oil reserves in the Caspian Sea region, Kazakhstan pumps 1.2 million barrels a day and exports 1 million of that. The Kazakh government hopes to boost production to 3.5 million barrels a day by 2015, rivaling Iran. U.S. and Russian companies and governments have competed for access to its oil.

congratulations, mr. nazarbayev... you're TODAY'S BIG WINNER...!

{President Bush] issued a 2004 proclamation banning corrupt foreign officials from visiting the United States. A State Department official said hundreds of foreign officials have been denied visas under Bush's proclamation but could not explain how it would not apply in Nazarbayev's case.

(thanks to the wapo...)

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Monday, August 28, 2006

The police state takes a big leap forward

i saw this story on saturday and, as orthogonal at daily kos rightly noted, many of us passed it over, maybe out of sheer "bush fatigue..." whatever... however, on second reading, i am once again flattened by exactly what the bush administration is getting away with in the united states... fatigue is right... the outrages come so thick and fast, we simply can't keep up with them... my outrage meter redlined and blew out its calibration back in 2003...
The federal government has barred two relatives of a Lodi man convicted of supporting terrorists from returning to the country after a lengthy stay in Pakistan, placing the U.S. citizens in an extraordinary legal limbo.


Federal authorities said Friday that the men, both Lodi residents, would not be allowed back into the country unless they agreed to FBI interrogations in Pakistan. An attorney representing the family said agents have asked whether the younger Ismail trained in terrorist camps in Pakistan.

glenn greenwald rightly grasps the horrifying implications...
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Still more unchecked powers for the Bush administration

This article from the San Francisco Chronicle details the truly amazing story of two U.S. citizens -- a 45-year old resident of the San Francisco area and his 18-year old son -- who, after travelling to Pakistan, have been barred by the Bush administration from re-entering the country. They have not been charged with any crime, and no court has ordered or even authorized this denial of entry. The administration is just unilaterally prohibiting these two Americans from re-entering their country.


Over the past five years, this administration and its supporters have advocated empowering the Government to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely in military prisons without a trial, eavesdrop on their telephone conversations without any warrants, track and chronicle all of their telephone calls, and now bar their entry into the U.S. -- all without any criminal charges being filed and without any opportunity to contest the accusations, all of which are formed in secret.

i'm sorry to repeat myself but i simply don't recognize my country any more...

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F*** you, George, AND the horse you rode in on

you don't have to wait 10 years to forget, george... the only reason you remembered after a year is that it was on karl's to-do list...
Bush planned to spend the anniversary of the U.S. Gulf Coast landfall of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans after a visit to Biloxi, Miss. It was his 13th visit to the devastated area.

"We can rebuild buildings, the question is can we rebuild its soul," he told April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks. "We can. I believe, 10 years from now April, you and I will be thinking about our time here, and trying to remember what it was like 10 years ago."

our president can't open his mouth without sticking his foot completely down his throat...

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Another chapter written on how to steal elections (by the R's of course)

i haven't followed this all that closely, but this is major shit...
Republican Brian Bilbray was sworn into Congress just seven days after a special election against Democrat Francine Busby – before all ballots were counted and a full 16 days before the election was certified. On Friday, attorneys David King and Jim Chapin (representing Bilbray and San Diego Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas) argued that a lawsuit brought by two voters should be dismissed because only Congress has the power to seat or unseat its members.

excuse ME...?!?! BEFORE all ballots were counted and SIXTEEN DAYS before the election was certified... you can't tell me that wasn't a deliberate move to circumvent any possible election challenge...
Paul Lehto, a nationally prominent election law attorney representing two voters who filed the suit, called the motion an “invitation to the Court to ratify a seizure of power” that amounts to “invading the sovereignty of a state.”

there's a key statement in the following...
Defense attorneys cited Article 1, section 5 of the U.S. Constitution, which states that each House is responsible for the elections of its own members. Defense lawyers also noted that on June 13th, House members seated Bilbray by unanimous consent, and that Busby could have filed her own challenge in the House.

Lehto countered that defendants were making a “power play” and noted that swearing Bilbray in as a member of Congress may constitute a record for speed. Normally, swearing in occurs 30-45 days after an election – and after certification by local election officials.

The motion could determine whether the premature swearing in of a member is constitutional.

“The specific intent of Congress on June 13 was to deprive this Court of jurisdiction,” Lehto testified. “If they can do that, they can do anything.

did you catch it...?


that quote... THAT quote... that quote is the sum and substance of the last six years of our never-ending national nightmare...

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Epitaph for Katrina, Part 2

somehow, "thanking" think progress for this dismal list seems inappropriate...

[O]n the eve of Katrina’s one year anniversary, here’s a look at the current state of New Orleans:

– Less than half of the city’s pre-storm population of 460,000 has returned, putting the population at roughly what it was in 1880.

– Nearly a third of the trash has yet to be picked up.

– Sixty percent of homes still lack electricity.

– Seventeen percent of the buses are operational.

– Half of the physicians have left, and there is a shortage of 1,000 nurses.

– Six of the nine hospitals remain closed.

– Sixty-six percent of public schools have reopened.

– A 40 percent hike in rental rates, disproportionately affecting black and low-income families.

– A 300 percent increase in the suicide rate.

Eighty-four percent of New Orleans residents rate the government’s recovery efforts negatively, while 66 percent believe the recovery money has been “mostly wasted.”

how can we as a country look ourselves in the mirror with this kind of thing staring back at us...? i already know the answer to that question for george bush... when he looks in the mirror, he doesn't SEE a reflection...

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Epitaph for Katrina

everywhere i turn the past several days, i have been reminded that, last year at this time, i was glued to cnni, watching the still-unfolding disaster that was hurricane katrina and the unbelievably pathetic reponse of my government to a humanitarian crisis of biblical proportions... nothing i have read during this period of remembering, however, expresses my feelings better than this post by darksyde at daily kos...
Never to my knowledge have so many innocent Americans paid so dearly ... for such opportunity for a leader to stand up and unite our country, only to see our President and the Republican Congress, aided and abetted by Karl Rove and a gang of media shills and partisan think-tanks, seize those apocryphal moments and use them to divide us into warring camps for their selfish and short-sighted advantage. It's been five years of astonishing neocon ineptitude laced with a hefty dose of intentional malice, to a degree I would have not thought possible and would have handily dismissed as crazy, had someone tried to warn me beforehand. The lesson should have been freely obvious, but as it happens, the cost of our collective education has been incalculable: Those that detest government, divert funds from community projects into the coffers of billionaires and corporations, and avoid accountability, aren't terribly effective at governance. Katrina was a stellar example, only one of many, of what that kind of philosophy produces.

they so need to go, all of them... that this criminal bunch are still in office in this last week of august, 2006, is a disgrace to everything the united states could and should (and used to) stand for...

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Enough of the "See, I told you so," shit

i've deliberately avoided commenting on the rash of flights being held up or diverted due to possible terror threats, but i can't hold back any more... it seems like since the foiled and not terribly convincing HEATHROW BOMB PLOT, the authorities have been bending over backwards to demo just how much danger we're REALLY IN every time we fly... solid results so far...? zero, zip, nada, zilch, fuggedaboudit...
US Airways flight 3441 from Philadelphia to Houston was diverted today after a threatening note was reportedly discovered, RAW STORY has learned.

Reuters is reporting that the flight has been diverted to Bristol, Tennessee, where it landed "without incident." CNN has confirmed similar reports.

nosirree... i'm going to wait to pee my pants until i'm old, incontinent, and wearing depends...

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Only 22% of Americans view Satan favorably

(thanks to raw story...)

if those 22% would get off the couch, away from their favorite tv shows, and start doing their duty as informed citizens of a democratic republic, they would quickly learn that karl rove is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most evil man in the country (with the possible exception of dick cheney)... he has played the major role in turning my country into a polarized, hate-filled, ugly, mean nest of nasties...
Presidential adviser Karl Rove's net favorable rating among Americans is at -16, according to the latest Gallup poll.

The poll finds that just 22% of Americans hold a favorable opinion of Rove, while 38% see him unfavorably.

At 38%, Rove's unfavorable rating is seen at the low end of its range. The smallest percentage found in the last year to view the Republican political mastermind unfavorably has been 34%; the highest has been 50%. During the height of the Plame affair, Rove's net favorable rating was seen to hit -38%.

and, if you're inclined to think i may be over the top in my description of rove, read these two snips...

(from sidney blumenthal's 25 november 2004 column in the guardian following the dedication of the Clinton Library in Arkansas, which i posted on last year...)
According to two eyewitnesses, Rove had shown keen interest in everything he saw, and asked questions, including about costs, obviously thinking about a future George W Bush library and legacy. "You're not such a scary guy," joked his guide. "Yes, I am," Rove replied. Walking away, he muttered deliberately and loudly: "I change constitutions, I put churches in schools ..." Thus he identified himself as more than the ruthless campaign tactician; he was also the invisible hand of power, pervasive and expansive, designing to alter the fundamental American compact.

(from ron suskind's interview with karl rove, published in the january 2003 edition of esquire, that i also posted last year...)
Rove was talking to an aide about some political stratagem in some state that had gone awry and a political operative who had displeased him. I paid it no mind and reviewed a jotted list of questions I hoped to ask. But after a moment, it was like ignoring a tornado flinging parked cars. "We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!" As a reporter, you get around—curse words, anger, passionate intensity are not notable events—but the ferocity, the bellicosity, the violent imputations were, well, shocking. This went on without a break for a minute or two. Then the aide slipped out looking a bit ashen, and Rove, his face ruddy from the exertions of the past few moments, looked at me and smiled a gentle, Clarence-the-Angel smile. "Come on in." And I did. And we had the most amiable chat for a half hour.

there's a lot of things that have happened during the bush administration that have been terrible for the united states, but, imho, nothing worse than giving karl rove access to power and a global reach...

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No early parole for Jesus - another ugly case of judicial activism

first, let's set the stage...
The day after a federal court struck down a taxpayer-supported evangelical Christian program in an Iowa prison, Mark Earley, president of Prison Fellowship, issued a press statement. He was not pleased.

"The courts took God out of America's schools, now they are on the path to take God out of America's prisons," Earley groused.

Earley's analysis of judicial decisions dealing with religion and public schools was widely off the mark, but he had good reason to be upset about the recent ruling on public funds for inmate indoctrination. His organization, Prison Fellowship Ministries, founded by ex-Watergate felon Charles Colson, has been sponsoring the Iowa program for three years. If the ruling stands up on appeal, not only will Earley's group have to shut down the program, it will be required to repay the state of Iowa more than $1.5 million in public support it has received during that time.

ya with me so far...? now, get THIS...
U.S. District Judge Robert W. Pratt didn't mince words. Officials at Iowa's Newton Correctional Facility had become, he wrote, far too entangled with religion by establishing a special wing for Prison Fellowship's InnerChange program. InnerChange, Pratt declared, is suffused with religion.

"The religion classes are not objective inquiries into the religious life, comparable to an adult study or college course, offered for the sake of discussing and learning universal secular, civic values or truths," Pratt wrote. "They are, instead, overwhelmingly devotional in nature and intended to indoctrinate InnerChange inmates into the Evangelical Christian belief system."

Later in the ruling, Pratt observed, "For all practical purposes, the state has literally established an Evangelical Christian congregation within the walls of one of its penal institutions, giving the leaders of that congregation, i.e., InnerChange employees, authority to control the spiritual, emotional, and physical lives of hundreds of Iowa inmates. There are no adequate safeguards present, nor could there be, to ensure that state funds are not being directly spent to indoctrinate Iowa inmates."

it gets worse...
According to the court record, non-evangelical Christians were commonly referred to by InnerChange staff as "unsaved," "lost," "pagan," those "who served the flesh," "of Satan," "sinful" and "of darkness."


InnerChange inmates got an even bigger benefit: access to special classes that made parole much more likely. Treatment classes are a condition of parole in Iowa, and most inmates must wait until they approach their release date to take part in them. InnerChange inmates got the classes earlier, significantly increasing their odds of being granted parole.

ain't it great...? the wonderful world of bushco's faith-based social services, bringing fundamentalist, extremist, religious wingnuttery to everyone - all on the government nickel...

you can bet your sweet patootie that there's plenty more of this kind of proselytizing going on in lots of other places, prisons and lots of other governmentally-supported institutions, all under the radar, of course...

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Chronicling the continuing demise of democracy, all in the name of national security

when are we gonna wise up...?
National security has become the excuse for efforts to crack down on whistle-blowers and journalists dealing in such vital disclosures as the illicit eavesdropping on Americans.


Public recourse has become more difficult: enforcement of the Freedom of Information Act has become slower and more burdensome. The one thing the administration has made no secret is its antipathy to government transparency. The secrecy fixation is a threat to democracy and an insult to honest history.

question for the nyt... when does a threat cross the threshold and become an outright attack...? imho, the full-blown attack came when scotus handed down its coup-enabling decision of 12 december 2000, a day that should be commemorated down through the years as the day our country broke loose from its moorings...

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"Almost no terrorists exist in the United States"

(from foreign affairs via lukery at wot is it good 4 via scott...)

simple logic... simple reason... why, for god's sake, is it so difficult to come by these days...?
[I]f it is so easy to pull off an attack and if terrorists are so demonically competent, why have they not done it? Why have they not been sniping at people in shopping centers, collapsing tunnels, poisoning the food supply, cutting electrical lines, derailing trains, blowing up oil pipelines, causing massive traffic jams, or exploiting the countless other vulnerabilities that, according to security experts, could so easily be exploited?

One reasonable explanation is that almost no terrorists exist in the United States and few have the means or the inclination to strike from abroad. But this explanation is rarely offered.

Instead, Americans are told -- often by the same people who had once predicted imminent attacks -- that the absence of international terrorist strikes in the United States is owed to the protective measures so hastily and expensively put in place after 9/11. But there is a problem with this argument. True, there have been no terrorist incidents in the United States in the last five years. But nor were there any in the five years before the 9/11 attacks, at a time when the United States was doing much less to protect itself.

< d'oh >

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Bush's public persona is that of a bumbling, mean-spirited, dry drunk

the katrina president...
[Bush's] public persona remains that of wartime president — the man standing in the Manhattan rubble — flying by as desperate and vulnerable Americans suffered.

and this is the perfect image that says more than any words could just how close bush ever lets himself get to reality...

it's time for a katrina reprise so, in homage to bush and the disaster, here's what i included with almost ever katrina post i made during that time... still fitting, dontcha think...?


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A headline our government can be proud of

just think, they've been working their asses off for nearly six years so we could see something like this in print...
Real Wages Fail to Match a Rise in Productivity
Wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the
nation's economy since the U.S. began recording the data in 1947.

heckuva job, fellas...

p.s. the reason wages and salaries fail to match productivity is simple... one, companies are in a race to see who can wring the last drop of blood out of employees... two, older employees with higher salaries/wage rates are being let go in favor of younger workers who are hired to work for much less money... three, unions are being systematically persecuted and driven from the workplace, giving workers virtually no say over their pay, benefits, or working conditions... four, companies are laying off workers wholesale to, as they say in corporatespeak, "do more with less..." four, companies are increasing the price, sometimes significantly, for every microgram of value that is added to a product or service, and, conversely, they are pulling every microgram of value possible OUT of products and services without reducing the price... the whole damn thing is a crock...

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Maybe, just maybe, playing outside will make a comeback

this is an encouraging story...
[Khady] Lusby and her husband, who grew up in Hagerstown, ... let their three boys, now 11 and 6, go to the park alone (though at the creek they are to take along a sibling and walkie-talkies.)

Their neighbors, Mark Katzenberger and Mona Leigh, have a similar philosophy, allowing their two children to venture to the park on their own and walk to school unaccompanied by adults.

But the couples make up a small minority: parents who, despite prevailing trends, believe letting children play outside is ultimately less dangerous than what will happen if they never get to explore.

i have lamented for years the prevalence of the following scene in america...
[F]or a while now, to drive around America's suburbs is to see tidy but empty blocks, devoid of the kickball, hide-and-seek and aimless wanderings of earlier generations. For many parents, the thought of allowing their children out unaccompanied invokes spasms of horror and even accusations of child neglect.

when i was a child, i LIVED outside, summer, fall, winter, spring... i not only knew my neighborhood like the back of my hand, the radius of my explorations extended for several miles in all directions... treehouses, underground forts, snowball fights, sledding, picnics, scrambling up sandstone rock formations in a wild city park, bicycle and foot trails through open fields - all with my faithful collie, molly, at my heels... as i look back on it, i realize that being outside and free to roam the wide open spaces became an essential part of my mental landscape and a key part of who i am... i also realize that, given the dysfunctional environment at home at the time, it was also a large part of how i retained my sanity... outdoors is for kids... it's for all of us, really, but especially for kids...

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"Iran is not a threat to any country" - Ahmadinejad

juan cole is 100% correct... i would be extremely surprised to find this story reported in any u.s. media...
Believe it, don't believe it, that's up to you. But at least we should know what exactly he said, which is not something our US newspapers will tell us about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad' s speech on Saturday:

Kayhan reports that [Pres.] Ahmadinejad said, "Iran is not a threat to any country, and is not in any way a people of intimidation and aggression." He described Iranians as people of peace and civilization. He said that Iran does not even pose a threat to Israel, and wants to deal with the problem there peacefully, through elections:

"Weapons research is in no way part of Iran's program. Even with regard to the Zionist regime, our path to a solution is elections."

Ahmadinejad seems to be explaining what his calls for the Zionist regime to be effaced actually mean. He says he doesn't want violence against Israel, despite its own acts of enmity against Middle Eastern neighbors. I interpret his statement on Saturday to be an endorsement of the one-state solution, in which a government would be elected that all Palestinians and all Israelis would jointly vote for. The result would be a government about half made up of Israeli ministers and half of Palestinian ones. Whatever one wanted to call such an arrangement, it wouldn't exactly be a "Zionist state," which would thus have been dissolved.

Although Iran's protestations of peaceful intentions are greeted cynically in the US and Israel, in fact Iran has not launched a war of aggression in over a century. The US and Israel have launched several during that period of time.

desire for oil = call for regime change = manufactured intelligence = duping the american public, the media, and the congress = war = death and destruction = regime change = puppet government in iran = middle east spiral into complete and total chaos ≠ oil

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