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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 09/03/2006 - 09/10/2006
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, September 09, 2006

ACLU's Top Ten Abuses of Power Since 9/11

forget abc... here's the REAL material for the five-year anniversary of 9/11...

  • 1. Warrantless Wiretapping
  • 2. Torture, Kidnapping and Detention
  • 3. The Growing Surveillance Society
  • 4. Patriot Act Reauthorization
  • 5. Government Secrecy
  • 6. Real ID
  • 7. No Fly and Selectee Lists
  • 8. Political Spying
  • 9. Abuse of Material Witness Statute
  • 10. Attacks on Academic Freedom
believe me, bushco ain't through yet, either... he's going to push and push and push until we will be living in a country entirely different than we lived in prior to 9/11 and entirely different from the one we WANT to live in...

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Whistling in the dark

as you're walking past the cemetery...
President George W. Bush hopes to revive his plan to overhaul the U.S. Social Security retirement program if his Republican party keeps control of the Congress in the November midterm elections, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

Despite polls suggesting Democrats have their best chance in years to regain control of the House of Representatives, Bush told the newspaper in an interview he was confident a power shift was "not going to happen."

you're hoping and praying a power shift doesn't happen cuz, if it does, you're gonna be in even deeper shit than you already are... just so's ya know, george, i'm hoping and praying that you will leave office before your term is up... 'bout the same odds, dontcha think...? unless, of course, you and your good buddy, karl, have some fiendish plot cooked up to turn things upside down before the election, which, of course, is all too likely...

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Calling all Democrats...! Read the "Rules of Perception..."

mr. populist from daily kos offers this...
[This is a] public domain essay written by an anonymous writer who describes himself as a "high powered Madison Ave. advertising executive." He uses the alias "Coty Jarrett" because many of his clients are Republican politicians and opinion leaders. His motive for writing the essay is simple: he's sympathetic to the Democrats and wants to pass on privileged information on how Republicans win elections.

there are twelve of them... this is the intro...

John Kerry went to Vietnam, saved a man's life and was wounded. Somehow, the voters perceived of John Kerry as a coward who never served his country and would not be tough enough as our commander-in-chief. George W. Bush avoided Vietnam and failed to fulfill his National Guard obligation. Somehow, the people of this country perceived of George W. Bush as a heroic military man and a courageous commander-in-chief.

This is called MANAGING PERCEPTION. Not just managing the perception people have of YOUR guy, but more importantly, managing the perception people have of the OTHER guy! In 2004, more people perceived that Kerry was bad and Bush was good. Just enough people for Bush to win the election.

Which brings us to a cold hard fact: if the Democrats want to take back Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008, they must become as good as Karl Rove at managing perception. The good news is, it's not some trick only Karl Rove knows the secret to. Managing perception is not even all that difficult once you know the rules.

i have only one problem with this... no one should ever aspire to be "as good as karl rove..." NO ONE... but, by all means, read them anyway...

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Rule of law...? WHAT rule of law...? Hamdan...? Oh, THAT...? A mere trifle...

kagro x in the next hurrah takes out his scalpel, does some careful dissection, and doesn't like what he finds...
I said it would happen. I said the "administration" would deny that Hamdan prohibited the NSA spying program. I said the "administration" would deny even that Hamdan prohibited torture. I even said that they would eventually deny that Hamdan, by itself, means anything more than that they were missing some necessary paperwork -- a missing permission slip, perhaps.

it's well-written, succinct, and, as with any "administration" activities these days, chilling... go read it here...

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Perhaps it's the ASSUMPTION that's wrong

howard zinn in alternet...
The United States, in three years of war, which began with shock-and- awe bombardment and goes on with day-to-day violence and chaos, has been an utter failure in its claimed objective of bringing democracy and stability to Iraq. The Israeli invasion and bombing of Lebanon has not brought security to Israel; indeed it has increased the number of its enemies, whether in Hezbollah or Hamas or among Arabs who belong to neither of those groups.

here's a thought... is it possible that wars are fought to CREATE chaos, FOSTER new enemies, and DESTABILIZE national security...? after all, there's a lot of benefits that accrue to the folks who take countries to war...

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Rigging another election, Pat Roberts style

it's a lot easier to create a one-party, totalitarian state when you have so many people working with you to make it happen...
Releasing any documents was a change of pace for the panel’s chairman, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, who has consistently tried to stymie this phase of the investigation.

Unfortunately, the documents — only two of the five parts of the final report — are beside the big point of this inquiry: Did Mr. Bush and his aides knowingly hype the intelligence on Iraq and deliberately mislead Americans into war?

The first phase of the committee’s investigation listed countless ways in which the intelligence agencies messed up before the war, but drew no conclusions about how Mr. Bush used the flawed intelligence. That question was put off until after the election of 2004, and Mr. Roberts did his best for another year to make sure it would never be answered.

When Democrats forced him to resume the investigation, Mr. Roberts re-engineered the inquiry into a five-part series and orchestrated the process so that the verdict on the actions of Mr. Bush and his team will now not be rendered until after yet another election season is over this fall.

good work, pat...

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Friday, September 08, 2006

An afternoon that literally SCREAMS spring is coming

i promised myself a nice long walk this afternoon if i got some work done... after many fits and starts, i managed to wrap it up by mid-afternoon and headed out to parque de los ninos and the adjoining paseo de la costa that border the rio de la plata, where the capital district ends and the province of buenos aires begins...

it was one of those afternoons that was warm enough to FEEL like spring is on the way, the air SMELLED like spring is on the way, there were enough folks in the park walking and sunning that it LOOKED like spring is on the way, the birds were busily doing their bird thing and it SOUNDED like spring is on the way, and there were even small swarms of gnats to remind you that spring has a few (very few) occasionally annoying features too... ah, well...

A mural on a wall outside a secondary school
facing the first stretch of the Autopista del Sol
near the Libertador interchange

Overlooking the vast Rio de la Plata
from Parque de los Ninos

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According to Steve, I was right - Bolton's toast

maybe my ability to read between the lines is better than i thought...
Several well-placed sources close to the Bolton nomination process have reported to me that the Bolton confirmation process is now dead.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is "highly unlikely" to reconsider Bolton's confirmation again as things now stand.

One insider reported, as far as the Committee is concerned, "we consider the confirmation over. It's dead."

unfortunately, his recommendation for the nomination is a signatory to the project for the new american century statement of principles, drafted and published on june 3, 1997...
She's tough and not a darling of many progressives, but my vote is for Bush's next nominee to serve as US Ambassador to the United Nations is Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky.

personally, i don't give a rat's ass HOW good steve thinks she is, if she's a supporter of pnac, she can go directly to hell and take the mustache of serial abuse with her...

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They debated the "black sites" for TWO GODDAM YEARS...?

some things you just can't spin...
The arrival of the prisoners [14 detainees, transferred from secret prisons to Guantánamo], witnessed by few beyond the CIA officers accompanying them, marked the end of a five-year effort by the Bush administration to conceal as many as 100 al-Qaeda suspects from the world and to shield the agency's interrogation tactics and facilities from public scrutiny. It was also the result of nearly two years of debate within the Bush White House, touched off by a personal plea from British Prime Minister Tony Blair for the release of British citizens in U.S. custody.

The debate divided the president's key advisers and kept open the CIA's "black sites" until President Bush himself, under the advice of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, ordered the facilities emptied for now, and possibly for good.

one, i don't believe those secret prisons are now "empty..." two, i cannot fathom why the debate took TWO YEARS... three, i thought there was serious consideration being given to closing guantánamo... four, when does the irc get a chance to talk to these men and determine their physical condition...?

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Israel is killing off Gaza

the sanctions imposed by the u.s. and europe were intended to punish the palestinians for democratically electing the hamas government, and then were intensified by israel when israeli soldier gilad shalit was taken captive and two other soldiers were killed by Palestinian militants...
Gaza is dying. The Israeli siege of the Palestinian enclave is so tight that its people are on the edge of starvation. Here on the shores of the Mediterranean a great tragedy is taking place that is being ignored because the world's attention has been diverted by wars in Lebanon and Iraq.

A whole society is being destroyed. There are 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned in the most heavily populated area in the world. Israel has stopped all trade. It has even forbidden fishermen to go far from the shore so they wade into the surf to try vainly to catch fish with hand-thrown nets.

Many people are being killed by Israeli incursions that occur every day by land and air. A total of 262 people have been killed and 1,200 wounded, of whom 60 had arms or legs amputated, since 25 June, says Dr Juma al-Saqa, the director of the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City which is fast running out of medicine. Of these, 64 were children and 26 women. This bloody conflict in Gaza has so far received only a fraction of the attention given by the international media to the war in Lebanon.

and that's just the overview...
Dr Maged Abu-Ramadan, a former ophthalmologist who is mayor of Gaza City [says], "Gaza is a jail. Neither people nor goods are allowed to leave it. People are already starving. They try to live on bread and falafel and a few tomatoes and cucumbers they grow themselves."

The few ways that Gazans had of making money have disappeared. Dr Abu-Ramadan says the Israelis "have destroyed 70 per cent of our orange groves in order to create security zones." Carnations and strawberries, two of Gaza's main exports, were thrown away or left to rot. An Israeli air strike destroyed the electric power station so 55 per cent of power was lost. Electricity supply is now becoming almost as intermittent as in Baghdad.

children dying, hospitals running out of medicine, families starving, and the idf entering, killing, and destroying at will... let's not mince words... it's genocide...

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"Bin Laden cannot win, but Americans like Bush can grant him victory."

juan cole...
When you cannot trust your elected leaders not to tell you bald-faced lies about so crucial a matter as national security, then you do not truly live in a democracy with a rule of law and political accountability. You live in the Orwellian State. Every time Americans give up elements of basic civic governance at Bush's wheedling, Bin Laden wins a little bit more. Bin Laden cannot win, but Americans like Bush can grant him victory.

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What REALLY happened on 9/11?

The Disbelievers
9/11 Conspiracy Theorists Are Building Their Case Against the Government From Ground Zero

By Michael Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 8, 2006; Page C01

i'm glad to see that, more and more, this is getting attention from the traditional media, even if it is in the "C" section of the wapo...

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Things continue to go well in Iraq

good lord...
Body Count in Baghdad Nearly Triples
BAGHDAD, Sept. 7 -- Baghdad's morgue almost tripled its count for violent deaths in Iraq's capital during August from 550 to 1,536, authorities said Thursday...

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The U.S. doesn't like to talk - to anybody, about anything

we won't even go to watch...
The United States will not attend next week's summit in Cuba of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that will gather some of its most hostile critics just 90 miles from U.S. soil, the top U.S. diplomat in Cuba said on Thursday.

Michael Parmly said the United States had not taken up an invitation to attend the summit of 116 developing nations as an observer as it has in the past, noting that Washington had a better relationship with previous host Malaysia than it does with communist Cuba.

"We simply did not pick up the invitation," Parmly told Reuters.

the fact that the u.s. was invited at all, given the host country and the list of other attendees, is remarkable in and of itself... and why should the u.s. only go if it has a "better relationship" with the host country...? and, with parmly already there, it would only take a short cross-town trip to attend... but, nooooo... the u.s. has to get on its high horse and send a SYMBOLIC MESSAGE... horse hockey...

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Transatlantic Trends 2006 from the German Marshall Fund

a couple of things worthy of note...
  • There is a partisan divide within the United States on civil liberties, with a majority of Democrats opposing greater government authority to monitor telephone calls, communications on the Internet, and banking transactions as part of the effort to prevent terrorism, all of which a majority of Republicans support. The parties agree, however, on greater government authority to install surveillance cameras in public places.
  • Fifty-six percent of Americans and Europeans do not feel that the values of Islam are compatible with the values of democracy. However, majorities also agree that the problem is with particular Islamic groups, not with Islam in general. Sixty-six percent of Democrats and 59% of Republicans agree.
but, here's the stunners...

i think they speak for themselves, don't you...?

(thanks to The German Marshall Fund...)

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The Path to 9/11

i've refrained from posting on this as other bloggers have been doing such an outstanding job of making it visible and encouraging direct action... however, i've sent several emails myself, and will probably send several more... here's something quick and potentially very effective we all can do...

We need your help to keep the pressure on. Are you ready to take the next step?

As you may know, ABC is owned by the Walt Disney Company. Today we are asking you to contact the Chairman of the Board of Disney, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. We need to remind him that 9/11 was a national tragedy, and that politicizing and misrepresenting the facts about 9/11 is wrong.

Senator George J. Mitchell
T: (212) 335-4600
T: (212) 335-4500
F: (212) 335-4605

Use your voice and speak your mind, but remember to be polite. Please copy us at so we can keep track of your comments.

Senator Mitchell has a long and distinguished career both inside and outside government, and he knows how important it is to accurately represent historical events. News reports and our independent research have demonstrated that there are numerous falsehoods and misrepresentations in this docudrama.

The events leading up to 9/11 are too important to play politics with the facts. Please call and email Senator Mitchell today and tell him that telling the truth about 9/11 matters.

here's the email i sent to senator mitchell...
Dear Senator Mitchell,

I have great respect for you and your diligent efforts in a number of areas, most particularly the conflict in Northern Ireland. I believe you have a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong, what is true and what is false, and, in particular, for many of the issues that are dividing and threatening to seriously damage our great country, the United States.

I have watched lie after lie being told over the past few years, to the point that I find it almost impossible to access news media without finding that the "news" has been spun to the point that it is almost impossible to distinguish news from political rhetoric and political rhetoric from outright propaganda. I now see that the Walt Disney Company and the ABC television network are planning to air a fictionalized account of the tragedy of 9/11, an account that takes fundamental facts of that terrible day and distorts them to make it appear that the previous presidential administration was culpable in allowing the attacks to happen. This is nonsense as anyone who bothers to find out the truth can tell you.

I ask, Senator Mitchell, in fact, I beg, that, in your capacity as Board Chairman for the Walt Disney Company, to take strong action to prevent this distortion from being shown and presented as fact (disclaimers notwithstanding) to the American people. Do the right thing, Senator Mitchell, for your country.

Best regards,

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Go read Jeralyn's posts

on Bush's gutting Geneva, criminal presidential behavior, and the interrogation techniques that were used on the 14 to be transferred to gitmo, and then try to spin it like the wapo did this morning...

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Is Bolton toast...?

the mustache of serial abuse takes another well-deserved knee to the groin...
Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday scrubbed a planned vote on President George W. Bush's bid to keep John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican, did not explain why the vote on whether to send Bolton's nomination to the full Senate was removed from the day's agenda and did not say if or when it would be taken up again.

i suppose this may have had something to do with it...
Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) issued a scathing critique of John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, on the Senate floor Wednesday.

In his remarks, Dodd highlighted ambassador Bolton’s professional failings, including reports of negligence and corruption, and read aloud quotes from foreign diplomats who contend that Bolton’s actions have alienated them entirely.

One of Bolton’s colleagues told The New York Times, “He’s lost me as an ally now, and that’s what many other ambassadors who consider themselves friends of the US are saying.”

ok, his nomination has been put on hold twice now in the space of the past two months... my opinion, uninformed, out-of-my-ass, and highly opinionated though it may be, is this: bolton's toast...

p.s. it couldn't happen to a meaner guy...

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"We will only end this curse if we also fight against injustice"

say what you want about the french, there's a reason why french was the official diplomatic language of the world for many years...
[French] Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, speaking in parliament...


"Against terrorism, what's needed is not a war. It is, as France has done for many years, a determined fight based on vigilance at all times and effective cooperation with our partners.

"But we will only end this curse if we also fight against injustice, violence and these crises," he said.

truer words were never spoken...

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Bye, bye Tony...?

anybody with half a brain can easily see that this doesn't bode well for george...
British Prime Minister Tony Blair's long tenure may have been dealt a "fatal blow" yesterday with the resignation of seven members of his Government, according to The Telegraph.

The seven resignations came on the heels of a confidential letter to Mr. Blair, signed by seventeen MPs, which urged the Prime Minister to declare a date for his departure. A May 31 date was reported in the newspaper The Sun, but Blair refused to go public with a date, for fear his power would ebb in his final months as Prime Minister. But as senior MPs begin to lose trust in him, and others express doubt that he will last even until May, most would now agree with longtime Blair supporter Tom Watson, who wrote upon resigning: "I share the view of the overwhelming majority of the party and the country that the only way the party and the Government can renew itself in office is urgently to renew its leadership."

what do poodles do when they're turned out of office...?

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The NYT take: yes, it's still a turd

following on from the previous post, the nyt gives us the REAL picture, right up front... it's all about politics...
A Sudden Sense of Urgency

Two months before a Congressional election, President Bush finally has some real terrorists in Guantánamo Bay.


But Mr. Bush’s urgency was phony, driven by the Supreme Court’s ruling, not principle. This should all have happened long ago. If the White House had not wanted to place terror suspects beyond the reach of the law, all 14 of these men could have been tried by now, and America’s reputation would have been spared some grievous damage. And there would be no need for Congress to rush through legislation if the White House had not stymied all of its attempts to do just that before.

i would seriously question that these 14 are REAL terrorists... moreover, if they ARE "real" terrorists, who, may i ask, have we been detaining in guantánamo...?

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It doesn't matter how much you polish a turd

the wapo is bound and determined to take any presidential utterance and spin it to bush's benefit, and on page one, naturally...
President Shifts Argument, Catches Critics Off Guard

By Michael Abramowitz and Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 7, 2006; Page A01

With a series of forceful speeches on terrorism and a dramatic announcement that he has sent top-tier terrorism suspects to the Guantanamo Bay prison, President Bush this week has demonstrated anew the power of even a weakened commander in chief to set the terms of national debate.


By challenging Congress to immediately give the administration authority to try notorious al-Qaeda figures such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed by military commissions, he shifted the argument with Democratic critics of national security policies and competence. As Bush framed the choice, anyone against his proposal would be denying him necessary tools to protect American security.

His success in catching much of Washington by surprise showed that a president who polls show has his political back to the wall still has formidable tools: the ability to make well-timed course corrections on policy, dominate the news and shape the capital's agenda in the weeks before Election Day.

a full FIVE PARAGRAPHS from the top, we get this...
Bush's moves were partly a concession to those who have complained about secret CIA prisons abroad. Even as he acknowledged the existence of the prison program for the first time, Bush could argue that there are no terrorism suspects now in the CIA program.

we're supposed to believe that those prisons are now EMPTY...? and nary a friggin' mention of the fact that the administration has consistently LIED about the VERY EXISTENCE of those prisons...? i'm totally dumbfounded... bush admits the existence of secret prisons and it's billed as a "well-timed course correction...?" un-friggingly-believable...

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Let's keep using them anti-personnel cluster bombs

more fine work by our united states senate...
An amendment to the 2007 defense appropriations bill that would have prevented military funding from paying for cluster munitions failed on the floor of the Senate by a vote of 30-70...

when the roll is called up yonder, those 70 individuals who cast their votes to keep on using those horrible, horrible weapons will have to account for their actions...

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Oh, so there ARE secret prisons... Has anybody told Condi...?

this isn't going to play well in europe (or the united states, either, for that matter)...
President Bush has acknowledged the existence of secret CIA prisons and said 14 key terrorist suspects have now been sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

The suspects, who include the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks Khalid Sheikh Mohammed have now been moved out of CIA custody and will face trial.

Mr Bush defended as "vital" the CIA's interrogation programme, but denied the use of torture.

He said all suspects will be afforded protection under the Geneva Convention.

In a televised address speech alongside families of those killed in the 11 September 2001, Mr Bush said there were now no terrorist suspects under the CIA programme.

Mr Bush said he was making a limited disclosure of the CIA programme because interrogation of the men it held was now complete and because a US Supreme Court decision had stopped the use of military commissions for trials.

no explanation for the initial lying, of course...

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The end of the United States as a democratic Republic

this is what bush and his criminal posse have been pushing for since day one... it's never been this overt or explicit, and, i guess we can be perversely grateful that the full agenda is now on the table...
As Americans go to the polls in two months, they should have one thought fixed in their minds: they will be voting on whether to commit the nation to fighting World War III against large segments of the world’s one billion Muslims. Beyond the cost in blood and treasure, this war will mean the end of the United States as a democratic Republic.

Those are the stakes that were made clear by George W. Bush in an alarmist speech to an association of U.S. military officers on Sept. 5. He declared that the United States must battle not only likely or even possible threats from terrorists, but the most fantastical dreams of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda about a mystical global “caliphate.”

Adopting some of the most extreme rhetoric favored by his neoconservative advisers, Bush also broadened the “war on terror” beyond al-Qaeda-inspired terrorists and the Sunni-dominated Iraqi insurgency to include the Shiite-run Hezbollah movement in Lebanon and the Shiite government of Iran.

and, as if that weren't all ghastly enough, here's the REALLY chilling part...
“In the early 1900s, an exiled lawyer in Europe published a pamphlet called ‘What Is To Be Done?’ – in which he laid out his plans to launch a communist revolution in Russia,” Bush said. “The world did not heed Lenin’s words, and paid a terrible price. …

“In the 1920s, a failed Austrian painter published a book in which he explained his intention to build an Aryan super-state in Germany and take revenge on Europe and eradicate the Jews. The world ignored Hitler’s words, and paid a terrible price.”

But the problem with Bush’s history lesson is that wiping out some future Lenin or Hitler would require killing or imprisoning anyone who wrote about political change in a way that rulers considered objectionable or threatening at that time. While “predictive assassination” might eliminate a Lenin or a Hitler, it also might kill a Mandela or a Jefferson.

What Bush appears to be advocating is the end of free speech and free thought, or at least the regulation and punishment of speech and thought that he disdains. Bush is extending his concept of “preemptive war” – launching attacks against countries that might present a future threat to the United States – to “preemptive thought control,” eliminating political opponents who might pose some future threat.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the U.S. government from criminalizing speech. But Bush is indicating that he and his political followers believe that, amid the “war on terror,” it is justifiable to do just that.

yep, that's what they want... it's what they ALWAYS wanted, and, make no mistake, they're going to pull out ALL the stops to get it...

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Geneva conventions for detainees

we don't often get good news these days, but here's some, and, i have to say, i'm damn glad to see it... i know bushco is still pushing hard to be blessed for its OTHER illegalities (see today's earlier posts, here and here), but, at this point, i'll be glad for anything we can get...
Bowing to critics of its tough interrogation policies, the Pentagon is issuing a new Army field manual that provides Geneva Convention protections for all detainees and eliminates a secret list of interrogation tactics.

The manual, set for release today, also reverses an earlier decision to maintain two interrogation standards — one for traditional prisoners of war and another for "unlawful combatants" captured during a conflict but not affiliated with a nation's military force. It will ban the use of such controversial methods as forcing prisoners to endure long periods of solitary confinement, using military dogs to threaten prisoners, putting hoods over inmates' heads and strapping detainees to boards and dunking them in water to simulate drowning, defense officials said.

one small step...

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I know last night's Olbermann has been heavily blogged

i think it's extremely important to give the widest exposure to any and all in our largely government bought-and-paid-for media who have the intestinal fortitude to speak out against the horrors that are being perpetrated against the united states by its own leaders... i firmly believe olbermann is following the path of edward r. murrow, hopefully out of deep principle, and not out of a need for personal aggrandizement... whatever his motivations, the fact that he is speaking the truth to a national audience is the stuff heroes are made out of...
It is to our deep national shame—and ultimately it will be to the President’s deep personal regret—that he has followed his Secretary of Defense down the path of trying to tie those loyal Americans who disagree with his policies—or even question their effectiveness or execution—to the Nazis of the past, and the al Qaeda of the present.

Today, in the same subtle terms in which Mr. Bush and his colleagues muddied the clear line separating Iraq and 9/11 -- without ever actually saying so—the President quoted a purported Osama Bin Laden letter that spoke of launching, “a media campaign to create a wedge between the American people and their government.”

Make no mistake here—the intent of that is to get us to confuse the psychotic scheming of an international terrorist, with that familiar bogeyman of the right, the “media.”

The President and the Vice President and others have often attacked freedom of speech, and freedom of dissent, and freedom of the press.

Now, Mr. Bush has signaled that his unparalleled and unprincipled attack on reporting has a new and venomous side angle:

The attempt to link, by the simple expediency of one word—“media”—the honest, patriotic, and indeed vital questions and questioning from American reporters, with the evil of Al-Qaeda propaganda.

That linkage is more than just indefensible. It is un-American.

Mr. Bush and his colleagues have led us before to such waters.

We will not drink again.

And the President’s re-writing and sanitizing of history, so it fits the expediencies of domestic politics, is just as false, and just as scurrilous.

“In the 1920’s a failed Austrian painter published a book in which he explained his intention to build an Aryan super-state in Germany and take revenge on Europe and eradicate the Jews,” President Bush said today, “the world ignored Hitler’s words, and paid a terrible price.”

Whatever the true nature of al Qaeda and other international terrorist threats, to ceaselessly compare them to the Nazi State of Germany serves only to embolden them.

More over, Mr. Bush, you are accomplishing in part what Osama Bin Laden and others seek—a fearful American populace, easily manipulated, and willing to throw away any measure of restraint, any loyalty to our own ideals and freedoms, for the comforting illusion of safety.

It thus becomes necessary to remind the President that his administration’s recent Nazi “kick” is an awful and cynical thing.

And it becomes necessary to reach back into our history, for yet another quote, from yet another time and to ask it of Mr. Bush:

“Have you no sense of decency, sir?”

we all know the answer to that, keith... george, karl, dick, don, and the gang have proven time and again that they have no discernible sense of decency, no morals, no honesty, and no real concern for either the united states or its people...

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Of COURSE Gonzales supports military tribunals

the surprise would be if he DIDN'T...
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday that it would be difficult to bring top al-Qaida captives, such as suspected Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, to trial without a special court designed to keep secrets gathered in the war on terrorism.

His comments upped the stakes in the administration's negotiations with Congress over what kind of special military commissions would be needed to prosecute jailed terrorist suspects.

Recently, the Supreme Court rejected the idea of such courts because they had few safeguards for the accused and were set up by President Bush without congressional approval.

i'll paraphrase the comment i made earlier... pay no attention to those annoying court rulings... bush wants to act in complete secrecy without oversight by or accountability to anyone... if that's illegal, let 'em eat cake...

i am unbelievably tired of all this big-deal, national security, keeping secrets crap... absolutely none of the secrets kept so far has made one iota bit of difference in apprehending real, honest-to-god terrorists (vs. wannabes)... obviously, all these so-called secrets don't amount to a hill of beans...

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The NYT jumps on the Fitz-bashing bandwagon

i'm eagerly awaiting the moment when fitz decides to take it all public... i may be wrong, but i think he's got some big surprises for all of us...
It’s time for Mr. Fitzgerald to provide answers or admit that this investigation has run its course.

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Calderón is president-elect but it's FAR from over

since i've been following the run-up to the mexican elections for almost a year and keeping a close eye on the aftermath, it pains me to make this post...
Mexican Court Declares Calderón President-Elect

MEXICO CITY, Sept. 5 -- Felipe Calderón, a former energy minister and onetime long-shot candidate, was unanimously declared president-elect of Mexico on Tuesday in a court decision that capped a two-month legal battle but did not end the nation's political crisis.

for sure, the nation's political crisis is FAR from over... the poor have never been so close to having a voice in the national government, and they're not going to go away quietly...

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Maybe R's splintering will become wood chips (or, better yet, sawdust)

you can "splinter" to your hearts' content... and don't bother coming to me if you get one under your skin...
House and Senate Republican leaders plan to focus congressional attention almost exclusively on national security, hoping to draw clear distinctions between Republicans and Democrats ahead of the November elections. Topping the to-do list is passing legislation officially sanctioning the National Security Agency's secret wiretapping of suspected terrorist communications. The eavesdropping has been carried out without warrants since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. A federal judge in Detroit recently ruled the program illegal.

Republican leaders have planned to produce legislation by month's end that would give the administration as much latitude as possible to continue the program. But that effort may be splintering. The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider as many as four contradictory bills on the issue tomorrow and could approve all of them. That would leave it to Senate leaders and the White House to sort out how to proceed.

never mind that pesky court ruling... let's give george our blessing for being a criminal...

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A day without fear-mongering is a day...

they're so dependable, those r's...
Bush Warns Of Enduring Terror Threat

President Bush issued a stern warning yesterday about what he called the continuing terrorist threat confronting the nation, using the haunting words of Islamic extremists to support his assertion that they remain determined to attack the United States.

what do i do about the crick in my neck that i've gotten from looking over my shoulder all the time...?

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Reclaiming our government and the middle class

i've repeatedly said that destroying any implied or explicit social contract is at the top of bushco's agenda and they are succeeding beyond their wildest dreams... all you have to do is look around you to see the truth of that and the minimum wage bill defeat (and yes, it had a poison pill attached) is only one small sign... beyond reciting a litany of how and why this is happening, it's also important to look at how we can turn things around...
[W]e must recognize and reclaim the government programs that create a middle class:

* Return to the American people our ownership of the military, the prison system, and the ballot box.

* Fight for free and public education that encourages critical thinking, historical knowledge, and a love of learning in each child. Combat the No Child Left Behind Act and the belief that education is a commodity that can be tested.

* Fight for a national single-payer health-care system based on Medicare.

* Fight for Social Security -- do not let it be privatized or co-opted.

* Fight for progressive taxation: reinstate a rate of 35 percent on corporations and a rate of 70 percent on the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans -- and use the money to pay back the Social Security system and to fund an economic investment program.

* Fight for a living wage and for the right of labor to organize.

* Fight for a national energy program that puts people and the planet -- not Big Oil -- first.

one additional point... we cannot and must not forget that, in addition to all the things thom hartmann cites in his alternet article, the middle class is also being screwed by its devotion to the insidious and destructive "consumer mentality..." the idea that we somehow must always possess new and better "stuff" and spend our weekends at the mall or walmart keeps those bills coming in... i'm not arguing that the middle class isn't under attack... it certainly is... but we had also better take a look at our media and corporate-inculcated beliefs that stuff = happiness...

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Killing off employee benefits, one bankruptcy at a time

bankruptcy... it's not just for saving the company... it's for getting rid of anything that might possibly be construed as benefitting the employees... they don't HAVE to kill off the union... they just kill off whatever gains the union made on the employees' behalf... what a terrific business strategy...! and the courts just go right along with it...
A US bankruptcy court on Tuesday allowed Delta Air Lines to terminate its pilots' defined benefit pension plan, clearing a major hurdle in its restructuring plans.

The airline must now seek the approval of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federal pension insurer, to end the plan that covers more than 13,000 active and retired Delta pilots and their beneficiaries.

Delta said no timetable had been set for getting the approval of the pension insurer, but said it wants to end the plan effective September 2.

i don't have the words to express my disgust...

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Blue skies smilin' at me

nothin' but blue skies do i see...

if you've followed this blog at all, you know i often post about some pretty gloomy stuff... like many of you, i'm extremely concerned with what i see going on in the world, particularly in the u.s., and, unfortunately, much of that doesn't make a very pleasant picture...

that said, there's also a lot to smile about, even though, sometimes, it doesn't feel like it... nevertheless, it's true, and i'm going to make an effort to post more on things that make me smile... like this post, most of them will be photos, and, like these, will generally be of little things, which are, after all, often the most important things of all...

sunday night and monday was perhaps the closest i've come to honest-to-god wintry cold i've yet experienced in buenos aires... yeah, ok, the temp didn't quite reach freezing but the wind chill was about 27F and, for here, that's COLD... making matters worse, yesterday was a gray day, a day to stay inside and keep warm... last night got cold too, not quite like sunday night, but today, while still on the chilly side, has been blessed with the kind of intense sunshine and brilliant blue sky that i have never quite seen anywhere else... so, what could i do but take a long walk...?


Cat sunning in shop window...........Women chatting on a bench


Man with baby in stroller................Kids organizing a futbol game

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Some political figures really "get" blogs

and it's nice to know that one of them is michigan governor jennifer granholm...
At her address to the Bloggers Caucus at the MDP Convention two weeks ago, Governor Granholm admitted to being a regular lurker on Michigan Liberal, MI's best lefty blog. She proved it, too, as she went around the room calling handles from people's nametags. You're wizardkitten! And you're Brainwrap! she called out, as she went around the room. She had a confused look in her face when she met me, presumably because she has met me several times in the last few months in my role as Vice Chair of my county party, and in all those meetings, we never talked about blogging, nor did I identify myself as emptywheel. Before she left, we all joked that, whenever she wanted it, she could have the handle "Michigan One," so she could post on her own.

The governor of Michigan gets it. She gets that we use handles to blog. And she understands the joy of, for the first time, placing a face to a handle and--as often as not--a real name. And that marks her as someone who understands the community of blogging.

(thanks to emptywheel and the next hurrah...)

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Dems: the "party of inclusion." Hear, hear!

(donna brazile in roll call via raw story...)
Like most Democratic insiders, I have a love-hate relationship with bloggers and the “net-roots” community. At times, I am irritated by many of their strident, arrogant, self-righteous comments and their disapproving attitudes about us old dinosaurs. But after they helped score an impressive primary victory this summer in the Connecticut Senate Democratic primary between incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman and unknown businessman Ned Lamont, they clearly have earned a seat at the table...


There is an entire generation knocking at democracy’s door, and instead of sneaking fearful glances through the peephole, we should fling it wide open and welcome everyone inside. We, Democrats, are the party of inclusion, and it’s time that we prove it.

and one way you can set about proving you're serious is to take the initiative yourself and start tossing some of those entrenched dinosaurs - and you know the ones i'm talking about - OUT... (it's also interesting that you pretty much acknowledged that the door HAS been closed...)

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The Iraq civil war is like the U.S. civil war...? 'SCUSE ME...?!?!

(thanks to the carpetbagger report via atrios...)

what a bunch of road apples...
Secretary of State Rice compared the Iraq war with the American Civil War, telling a magazine that slavery might have lasted longer in this country if the North had decided to end the fight early.

"I'm sure there are people who thought it was a mistake to fight the Civil War to its end and to insist that the emancipation of slaves would hold," Rice said in the new issue of Essence magazine.

"I know there were people who said, 'Why don't we get out of this now, take a peace with the South, but leave the South with slaves?'" Rice said.

Now, I know that Rice, like much of today's Republican Party, is desperate. I realize that this appears to be a challenging campaign cycle for the GOP, and they're willing to engage in whatever demagoguery necessary to survive the next 10 weeks.
But to suggest, out loud, on the record, that critics of the war in Iraq are similar to those who would approve of slavery is perhaps the most breathtakingly stupid remark ever uttered by a Bush administration official. And given the competition, that's no easy feat.

despite her more popular standing in the polls, i've always thought that condi was just as pathetic and despicable as the rest of them, and this crap confirms that beyond any doubt...

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Cigarettes kill, but what about weapons, presidents, and members of congress?

today's wapo has a strong editorial about the tobacco industry which, in its ceaseless quest for ever-greater profits, continues to promote their products in the u.s. and around the world, regardless of the fact that such products are proven killers, and then has the unmitigated gall to increase the nicotine level of cigarettes despite the existence of strong regulatory oversight... maybe my expectations are too high or even misplaced, but why can't we see an equally strong editorial about our other merchants of death - weapons manufacturers, members of congress who rubber-stamp illegal wars, and criminal presidents who wage them...?

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Of COURSE they want to learn English

why the hell wouldn't they...? pat buchanan is just plain full of shit...
With immigration approaching record levels, English instruction classes across the country — from California to Pennsylvania to Massachusetts — are full and have waiting lists up to 18,000 people long.

The demand for English-language instruction is evident on Spanish-language television, with an array of commercials for English-learning products, including the top seller, "Inglés Sin Barreras," or "English without Barriers," a video and audio program that reportedly sells 60,000 copies a year.

Immigrant advocates say the full classes and booming business in language products demonstrate that many immigrants are eager to learn English and assimilate.

"People assume that if you don't speak English it's because you are not trying or don't want to, when in fact, a lot of people are struggling to learn," said Holly Patrick, manager of language programs at Atlanta's Latin American Association, where about 500 adults are learning English.

i'll admit, i'm a language barbarian... i've been struggling with spanish for seemingly forever and, living part-time in argentina, i'm reminded daily of what i'm missing by not knowing it better than i do... why anyone would NOT want to learn the language of the country they're living in is a mystery to me... some have the ability to learn languages quickly and easily... some, like me, plod along for years, adding a bit more all the time, but somehow never making it to fluency...

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Cluster bombs in Lebanon dropped during the last 72 hours of the conflict

shocking and completely immoral...? yeah, i'd have to agree...
A top United Nations humanitarian official, Jan Egeland, said he was shocked on inspecting southern Lebanon to find it littered with deadly unexploded cluster bombs. These were for the most part dropped in the last three days of the conflict, when it was foreseen that there would be a resolution and a ceasefire. He said, “What’s shocking and I would say, to me, completely immoral is that 90 percent of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict, when we knew there would be a resolution."

Egeland was not just harshly condemning a UN member state, which is a breach of protocol. He was also accusing Israel of crimes against humanity. You see, if a rationale could be found at all for using cluster bombs, it would be against a massed, invading enemy infantry corps. But just to scatter them all around a civilian area as a cease fire is imminent is not a legitimate military action. It is a monstrous crime. It is a surefire death sentence on hundreds, perhaps thousands of innocent children, who will find the bomblets and think they are playthings. The government of Ehud Olmert committed this crime as part of its cynical attempt to ethnically cleanse the far south of Lebanon of its Shiite inhabitants. It was a way of discouraging them from returning, just as was the massive demolition of thousands of houses, with bulldozers and aerial bombing, which had no military value whatsoever.

The American people are complicit in these war crimes, insofar as they provided the cluster bombs and supported Olmert to the hilt in his dirty war, which was only occasionally about actually combating Hizbullah fighters (there weren't any, in a lot of the places that were bombed).

yes, we ARE complicit and let's not forget who manufactures those cluster bombs - alliant techsystems...

(thanks to juan cole...)

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The war on organized labor and workers' rights

during my years in corporate life, i've experienced first-hand and many times precisely the attitude that sirota describes...
U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige labeled one "a terrorist organization." Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, called them "a clear and present danger to the security of the United States." And U.S. Rep. Charles Norwood, R-Ga., claimed they employ "tyranny that Americans are fighting and dying to defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan" and are thus "enemies of freedom and democracy," who show "why we still need the Second Amendment" to defend ourselves with firearms.

Who are these supposed threats to America? No, not Osama bin Laden followers, but labor unions made up of millions of workers -- janitors, teachers, firefighters, police officers, you name it.

now, let's be really, really honest here... have labor unions become corporate bureaucracies of their own...? have they suffered from entrenched leadership anxious to perpetuate its perks and power...? have they sometimes picked battles simply for the sake of demonstrating they are still capable of looking out for workers' rights even if the case didn't have merit...? of COURSE, and the list goes on... and, reasonably and rationally, why WOULDN'T union organizations mirror that of the employers they are there to represent...? do unions need a different, more vital, more in-tune-with-today approach that tackles today's REAL worker issues... the answer is a resounding YES... but, to do so, unions have to shake off their own mossbacks and self-serving power brokers, just like corporations must do, just like government must do, just like the republican and democratic parties must do...

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After 5 years: GWOT ripple effects around the world

i have a long-standing interest in other countries' views on world affairs... raw story has done a great service by offering this round-up from deutshce press...
  • ASIA: Hard-line Islamic organizations have become more radical as they capitalize on anger over perceived US bullying, experts say, and "extremist groups that were modest in size have grown significantly," said Rohan Gunaratna, a regional terrorism analyst.
  • ISRAEL: [T]he Israeli-Palestinian conflict has come to be seen as one of the reasons for the rise of militant Islam.
  • IRAN: Tehran's influence in the Middle East has been strengthened by the US-led war against terrorism [and the] Israel-Hamas/Hezbollah conflicts have further destabilized the region - a development wich has strengthened Iran's position and given it confidence in Tehran's conflict with the West over its nuclear programme.
  • RUSSIA: [T]he Kremlin has increasingly linked Islamic rebel forces in Chechnya with international terrorism, deflecting foreign criticism of the brutal conduct of Russian troops in the separatist republic.
  • SPAIN: New Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero recalled Spanish troops from Iraq and switched from an Atlanticist to a pro- European foreign policy.
  • AFRICA: Africa's domestic problems, poor records of governance, and its sheer physical space could further turn the continent into a safe haven and a resource for international terrorists.
and, from my current perspective in argentina, i can vouch for the accuracy of the following...
  • LATIN AMERICA: The 9/11 attacks and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq brought to the surface strong underlying dislike for the United States, with many interpreting the attacks as a retribution for past wrongs in the region. Hebe de Bonafini, head of the Argentine human rights organization Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, brutally summed up the attitude. Her two sons were killed under the US-backed Argentina dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. "When the attack happened ... I felt happiness. It didn't hurt me at all, because, as I always say in my speeches, our dead children will be avenged," said Bonafini. Her opinion strikes a lasting chord among many Latin Americans who feel that the US - an active supporter of murderous dictatorships across the region in the 1970s and 1980s - cannot be considered an innocent victim of terrorist attacks.
yes, the above is a cold and harsh assessment, but, at the same time, it is foolish denial to make the claim that, in 9/11, the u.s. was not reaping some of what it has sown over the years...

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Why should Israel be controlling commercial air traffic in and out of Lebanon?

for god's sake, israel's already ruined a 15-year recovery in lebanon... give 'em a break...
Israel will allow Qatar Airways to resume direct flights to Beirut on Monday despite a blockade imposed during the Lebanon war, an Israeli government official said.

"We have said that we will not act against this," the official, speaking on condition of anonymity said.

Qatar Airways announced on Sunday it would resume its direct service to Beirut, despite Israel's demand that all such flights pass through Jordan for security reasons. The first Qatar Airways plane is due to land in Beirut at 1330 GMT on Monday.

Lebanese Transport Minister Mohammed Safadi told reporters on Sunday the government favored opening Beirut Airport to any planes willing to ignore Israeli restrictions.

"The position of the prime minister (Fouad Siniora) and my position too is that Beirut international airport will be ready to receive any planes that want to break the air blockade," Safadi said.

Israel has kept an air and sea embargo on Lebanon since its 34 day war with Hizbollah ended on August 14. Israel says the blockade is aimed at preventing the guerrilla group rearming.

Last month, it allowed Lebanon's Middle East Airlines and Royal Jordanian to fly to Beirut on condition their flights passed through Amman.

here's a sample of argentinian sentiment about israel that i captured on my walk through barracas yesterday...

Translation: Halt the Genocide. Get Israel out of Lebanon and Palestine.

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Desperate people do desperate things

i hate to entertain any thought of the r's orchestrating a major event before the november elections which are drawing closer and closer every day, but it's hard to ignore the possibility... joe at americablog pens the unthinkable...
The GOP is getting desperate. They don't want to lose power. Bush and Rove don't want them to lose control of the House. They've been running the government unchallenged for six years now. Last night, John wrote that we can expect to hear more from Al Qaeda over the next couple months. The GOP are counting on something like that to help them:
As the campaign season begins, Democrats are trying to guard against premature celebration, even as their prospects are brighter than most ever imagined. Republicans are hoping for some outside event that would show the president and their party in a better light -- a spate of good news from Iraq, a foiled terrorist plot or an unlikely break in the deadlock over immigration on Capitol Hill.

If the GOP needs an "outside event," count on the ruthless tactics of Karl Rove to provide it.

there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that karl rove, aided and abetted by dick cheney, is capable of anything...

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This is the kind of talk that makes me want to scream

i consider myself an intelligent, highly-educated, articulate, well-traveled person... i teach in graduate school and my field is specialized, complex, and little understood... i can speak in academic tongues with the best of them, but i would be as phony as a three-dollar bill if i did... the following is a perfect example of what i consider to be purely academic gobbledygook... when i read or hear this kind of stuff, i automatically glaze over and, trying not to be rude, move on to something else...
I am pragmatically interested in government policies that work: that are good for America and for the world. My natural home is in the bipartisan center, arguing with center-right reality-based technocrats about whether it is center-left or center-right policies that have the best odds of moving us toward goals that we all share--world peace, world prosperity, equality of opportunity, safety nets, long and happy lifespans, rapid scientific and technological progress, and personal safety. The aim of governance, I think, is to achieve a rough consensus among the reality-based technocrats and then to frame the issues in a way that attracts the ideologues on one (or, ideally, both) wings in order to create an effective governing coalition.

i'm sure mr. delong means well and i think his heart is probably in the right place... but, speaking for myself, he is NOT the person i would want in charge of setting government policy... fortunately, we have people like atrios who, although coming from another perspective, help me to keep from bouncing off the ceiling...
This, in a nutshell, is the worldview of the Sensible Liberal. It's the belief that there are Sensible Policies concocted by Wise Men (and women), preferably ones with advanced degrees, which are Right and True and Good. Wise Men may disagree a bit about the means, and we should throw a few conferences to hash these differences out. Politics and ideologues who do not share the ideology of the Wise Men, who of course are not really tainted by ideology, get in the way of enacting policies which are Sensible.

yes, indeed, atrios... but i like the following comment of yours best...
[A]s someone who has spent a reasonable amount of time around the kinds of people DeLong is talking about, I'm not sure I want them running anything. The sensible technocrats haven't exactly had the best track record lately, in part because imagining you're above it helps to isolate you from the consequences of what you're advocating.

and, finally, he administers the coup de grâce...
I'm not pinning all of these things on DeLong, I'm just saying that the Consensus View of Sensible Technocrats has been pretty disastrous for a lot of people. Sensible Technocrats are above of all driven by the belief that They Are Right.

When the Russia collapse happened one Sensible Technocrat who was partly responsible for the disaster said it all would've worked out swimmingly if only they'd listened to everything he had said. Perhaps true, but not how the world works in practice.

when the revolution comes, please don't put brad delong in charge of anything...

(thanks to mcjoan at daily kos for pointing me to this story...)

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Fitz-bashing in full swing. Is there something we should know?

(thanks to think progress...)

i'm sure bill kristol is at or near the top of the list on karl rove's talking points distribution list...
Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said, “Bush should pardon [former Cheney Chief of Staff Scooter] Libby. He should do it now. It would be fantastic.”

Libby has been charged with obstructing justice, making false statements to a grand jury and perjury. Kristol, however, asserted that Libby was only indicted because special prosecutor was “totally out of control” and “had to indict someone.” He added that Libby “didn’t lie in any serious meaning of lying before a grand jury.”

why the intense effort to discredit fitz now...? the prissy patriot has an interesting view...
Prissy believes Patrick Fitzgerald will strike when the prosecutable iron is hot and the time is right. It cannot be much longer, which explains why Bushco has began in earnest the Swift boating of Fitz. There was really no need for the cabal to concentrate on this before, with Fitz keeping mum during most of the investigations progress. [...] Naturally, with more indictments close at hand- the also guilty media must crank up the smear machine.

interesting... the same thought has been running around in my subconscious but, like dumbledore catching a wispy thought with the tip of his wand, prissy pulled it out and gave it a look...

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Fear of flying? Buenos Aires takes you seriously

cute but also eminently practical...
Located in the domestic airport's main terminal, the private clinic is staffed by a psychiatrist, an educational psychologist and a retired commercial airline pilot. Passengers can vent their worries, learn the basics of aerodynamics or get a prescription for anti-anxiety pills. There are model airplanes, pull-down projection screens that display air crash statistics, posters of high-tech cockpits -- but no couch.

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I am so utterly sick of the WaPo's pandering

(from today's wapo...)

third paragraph in to the story on page A04, we read this...
Polls consistently have shown [Bob] Casey, the state treasurer and son of a popular former governor, leading [Rick] Santorum [in the PA senate race].

in the second paragraph, we find out that santorum was engaged with a debate with casey...
In his first and perhaps only debate with Democratic challenger Bob Casey Jr., Santorum lived up to his reputation as a feisty, unapologetic conservative, even though it has caused him problems in moderate-voting Pennsylvania. Ignoring Casey's taunts that he is a "rubber stamp" for Bush, Santorum embraced the president and most of his anti-terrorism policies.

that's only after reading this headline...
Santorum Defends President, Iraq War

and this first paragraph...
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), battling for reelection in a state where President Bush is not popular, gave a full-throated defense of the president yesterday and said the United States must prevail in the Iraq war.

i only pulled up the full story out of curiosity... i may be obsessed with politics and news but not to the extent that i'm keeping up with all the little details... i can't watch the sunday morning talking heads because i don't get u.s. network tv here in argentina and, even if i was in the u.s., i wouldn't watch them, so i had no idea that casey and santorum were in a debate on meet the press yesterday... and, had it not been for my idle curiosity, i still wouldn't know, at least not after reading the wapo's headline... even more importantly, the story, while it should be about both santorum AND casey, is clearly and indisputably about santorum... casey is just filler... i find this kind of reportage unacceptable... in fact, it demeans the concept of reportage to even call it that...

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bush, there's petroleum in Barracas. Come look. Murderer!

ok, so sue me... i got sick and tired of immersing myself in eternally gloomy news and, instead, took a very long walk today through the barrio of barracas, one of the biggest and oldest areas of buenos aires, guided by a friend... here's some of the photographic results...

but, as we all know, it's very difficult to get completely away from the realities of today... witness below...

Translation: Bush, there's petroleum in Barracas. Come look. Murderer!

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Is al Qaeda top-heavy in management...?

one would certainly tend to think so...
With all these captured or killed Number Twos and Threes we keep hearing about, Al Qaeda must have more Vice Presidents than an ad agency. Bet there are some nasty fights over office (or cave) size. They wouldn’t have name plates on the doors, though, would they? I’ve heard Disney doesn’t, either.

(Hmmm …) While today’s New York scare and all the “Number Two” claims raise the usual questions about government credibility, maybe the explanation is simpler: the terrorists have a management problem.

Al Qaeda seems to be a top-heavy organization, like Enron. So all those local “franchises” we keep hearing about must be getting hit with some heavy corporate overhead. Somebody’s paying the cost for all these Number Twos, and you know the kind of friction that can create. Soon the guys in the field start resenting the Home Office, and the snide, half-whispered comments begin - “I’m from Corporate and I’m here to help,” ha ha. “Why are Corporate guys like pigeons? Because they fly in, crap on everything, and fly out again.” Boy, if the water coolers at the branch office could talk ...

stop feeding me this bullshit... at this point, i don't give a good goddam if you capture number two, number three, or anybody else... just go away...

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Rumsfeld is the least of our worries

as much of a loony-tune as rummy is, getting rid of him isn't going to fix a damn thing... right now, he's an easy mark just like scotty mcclellan was, but, to make any kind of a real difference, it's bush and cheney that need to go... anyone else is just symbol without substance...
State Senator Thomas H. Kean Jr., the Republican nominee for United States Senate in New Jersey, says he is so frustrated with the Bush administration’s handling of the war in Iraq that he is pushing for something that few Republicans have supported: the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

the mistaken assumption so many people make is that the u.s. actually wants to WIN the war in iraq... that simply isn't true... we basically don't give a rip about them killing each other, u.s. troops dying, or whether or not baghdad has electricity... we're making the green zone into a massive fortress, we're building our fortified and self-sufficient bases, and we're planning on sticking around and making iraq our base of power and operations for the entire middle east... we've got ourselves a country now, why waste it...?

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Afghanistan's opium crop will exceed world demand by 30%

(from the nyt...)


"This year's harvest will be around 6,100 metric tons of opium — a staggering 92 percent of total world supply. It exceeds global consumption by 30 percent."
- ANTONIO MARIA COSTA , head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, on Afghanistan's record opium crop.

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