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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 09/24/2006 - 10/01/2006
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Travel day - light posting

actually, it's a light TWO days, but where i'm going i'll be 7 hours ahead of U.S. EDT and 10 hours ahead of U.S. PDT, so maybe it's really only a day and half...

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Al Qaeda speaks, right on cue

well, well, well... ain't THIS corn-venient...!
Al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri called President Bush a failure and a liar in the war on terror in a video statement released Friday, and he compared
Pope Benedict XVI to the 11th century pontiff who launched the First Crusade.

"Can't you be honest at least once in your life, and admit that you are a deceitful liar who intentionally deceived your nation when you drove them to war in
Iraq?" Osama bin Laden's deputy said, appearing in front of a standing lamp and a small, decorative cannon.

Al-Zawahri also criticized Bush for continuing to imprison al-Qaida leaders in prisons, including al-Qaida No. 3 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind who was captured in Pakistan in March 2003.

"Bush, you deceitful charlatan, 3 1/2 years have passed since your capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, so how have you found us during this time? Losing and surrendering? Or are we launching attacks with God's help and becoming martyrs?" he said.

"What you have perpetrated against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other Muslim captives in your prisons and the prisons of your slaves in Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and elsewhere is not hidden from anyone, and we are a people who do not sleep under oppression and who do not abandon our revenge until our chests have been healed of those who have committed aggression against us," he said.

"And we, by the grace of Allah, are seeking to exact revenge on behalf of Islam and Muslims from you and your soldiers and allies."

it's amazing how these guys always seem to know just when george is having a rough time at home, isn't it...?

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"A few pops can help to turn a school around"

here's a nice, cheery way to start the weekend... from the nyt...

"I'm a big fan. I know it can be abused. But if used properly, along with other punishments, a few pops can help turn a school around. It's had a huge effect here."

- ANTHONY PRICE, a middle school principal, on the corporal punishment he recently reinstated.

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Friday, September 29, 2006

When a retired Army Sergeant Major says something like this, things are BAD

i've said before, sergeants major, in my personal experience, are some of the most solid citizens and thoroughly fine men i've ever met... when one of them says something like this, it shouldn't be dismissed...
It has not been enough that this President has taken this country to war with a web of deceit and lies and it is not enough that he has by his actions and lack of leadership, in the words of former President United States and Noble Laureate Jimmy Carter, "brought discouragement and sometimes international disgrace to our great country," but now he would compound our disgrace and remove the rights of Americans as defined in our constitution and defile humanity by attempts to legalize torture of other human beings. I must also say that what is just as disgraceful and humiliating to this nation is that there are members of Congress, both in the House and the Senate, that would go along and support, no, even encourage such efforts for obviously crass political, personal, and economic gain.

No, enough is enough and this tired old soldier has one more fight left in him and it will be to do all that is in my power to defeat this blatant assault on our nation from within and I say to Mr. Bush, you sir are an abomination for a President and an abomination for a Commander in Chief. Your actions have removed any mantle of moral authority you may have had. You have in every way, imaginable and possible, broken the oath you took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. I love my country sir but I possess not one iota of respect for you.

how terribly, terribly sad that a retired sergeant major would ever be moved to write something like this...

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Oh, lord... Maccabee's been talking to cabbies again

the story started off with bale, the cab driver, talking about what life was like under idi amin in his native uganda, and progressed to this...
M: "What do you think about Bush?"

B: "Bush is a dictator. Did I offend you?"

M: "No. What makes him a dictator?"

B: "You cannot joke about killing him. Hell even under Amin we danced and sang death songs at him. He had a hotel complex that he tortured people in. The difference between Bush and Amin as far as that goes is that I knew where my relatives were being tortured, and no one knows exactly where the Americans are torturing their victims."

M: "Do you believe we are doing horrible torture to thousands or to a few?"

B: "Is there any difference? My experience is that once torturers begin torturing, the torturers have a hard time stopping."

M: "Seriously, do you think we are torturing thousands?"

B: "They won't let you see one dead soldier. Even under a flag they won't let you see it. They don't tell you the truth about anything. They lie lie lie. My experience tells me this. I don't really know. But if I had to guess, I would guess that your government is doing the worst things you can possibly imagine. Liars are lying because they cannot tell the truth. When I see Bush speak, I don't see a stupid man as you do and many others. I see a man who is too shamed to tell the truth. He has caused so much pain and knows it, but if he admitted one little bit of it, it would come crashing out like a dam. You understand? Bush is in a lot of pain."

M: "What do you think will happen to America, Bale?"

B: "What do you mean WILL happen? What hasn't happened yet? You torture in secret. You invade for what? The government reads your e-mail and listens to your telephone and makes you take off your shoes and pull out your computer. For what? Who do you need to protect yourself against? Is your computer going to attack you? Who should you be afraid of? Your government is more scary to most people than any terrorist. I feel for you really. Because I don't think you have any idea how far down the road you already are."

M: "So you think we are already at a dictatorship," I asked.

B: "I think you are far worse than a dictatorship. You are in a dictatorship but most of the population is still living in another time. Once America was the cat's meow. The problem isn't so much your government. It is your population. Here you are have lost so much in freedom, so much in prosperity and so much in reputation, and you have to ask me if you are living under a dictatorship," He answered a call for a pick- up. "I will have to leave. There is a passenger across the street. But I will leave you with this. Dictatorship looks different to everyone. Some of them are disguised and people can't see past the disguise. In China, it was years before anyone questioned why they all wore the same clothes. In America, if you are rich or conservative, dictatorship can be very pleasant. You understand?"

no doubt about it, if you can establish a basis of trust, cabbies will very often give it to you straight up, no bullshit...

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Foley resigns

one less r to worry about...
Saying he was "deeply sorry," Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) resigned from Congress today, hours after ABC News questioned him about sexually explicit internet messages with current and former congressional pages under the age of 18.

chau... hasta luego... mucho luego...

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The canary ain't singin', the canary's DEAD

sez bush: you're either with us or you're with the world's 1B muslims...

i hadn't gotten this far in my thinking, but, as he often does, robert parry gave me a little nudge...

Bush is gambling that the Right’s powerful media apparatus, Republican organizational advantages and the residual fear from the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks will trump the Democrats’ abilities to convince the American people that Bush’s vision represents a dire threat to the future of their democratic Republic.


Beyond battling al-Qaeda, the terrorist group behind 9/11, Bush has expanded what he once called his “crusade” to include victory in Iraq and the elimination of other Muslim leaders lumped in the “terrorist” camp, such as the governments of Iran and Syria and militant movements Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine.

Bush’s vision effectively sets the United States on course to wage what his neoconservative advisers call “World War III,” a battle against Islamic militants from the Atlantic coast of north Africa to Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean.

Yet, given the anti-Americanism sweeping the Islamic world, this war is almost certain to pit U.S. forces against substantial numbers of the world’s one billion Muslims.

here's what's at stake...
[W]hen Americans go to the polls on Nov. 7, they will be voting whether to give a green light to a widening international conflict that will surely lead to large numbers of casualties on all sides, drain the U.S. Treasury and require more political repression, most likely spelling the end of the country as a democratic Republic based on the rule of law.

and anybody who doesn't think that's precisely what's going to happen simply ain't been payin' attention...

so...? what might bushworld look like...?

Bush’s experience over the past five years, however, suggests that his strategy would require a full-scale transformation of the United States into a warrior nation, committed to an endless struggle against any and all Islamic extremists who harbor thoughts of power, no matter how fanciful those imaginings might be.


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.

i know there's not nearly enough people out there who fully grasp what's going on... too bad, cuz if they hadn't been watching american idol and buying lottery tickets, they would have heard that poor canary before it croaked...
Though Bush has said that his goal in waging his vague and seemingly endless “war on terror” is to defend freedom, the reality behind Bush’s grim vision is the emergence of an American totalitarianism where objectionable thought will be repressed and dissent will be equated with treason.

The President has now made clear that he wants the Nov. 7 congressional elections to be a referendum on whether Americans will follow him into this dangerous future. He has thrown down the gauntlet to those who disagree with his dark vision of what kind of nation the United States is and will be.

may god help us and all of our brothers and sisters around the world... we need it badly...

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Clinton (Bill) needs to take Olbermann lessons

mcjoan at daily kos...
Bill Clinton jump-started the fight back by standing against the big lie and fighting back. It has to continue with every Democrat with a microphone in front of them. Take the momentum that the NIE and that Clinton have provided and run with it. One opportunity has already been missed in not fighting harder against the pernicious detainee bill.

Don't make that mistake again.

one opportunity...? ONE OPPORTUNITY...??? aw, geeeez... i can't even summon the energy to respond to THAT... how about a ZILLION opportunities...?

and, yeah, clinton may have "jump-started the fight," but he sure as shit had better not crawl back into his hole... he needs to take a lesson from olbermann... hit 'em HARD, every week... olbermann's terrific but can you imagine the impact of those same words coming out of clinton's mouth...?

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Mismanagement of monumental proportions leads to things like this

add this to the ever-growing list of abominations, hurricane katrina department, created by the bush administration...
A new report from the Government Accountability Office finds that more than 100 laptop computers purchased with cards that the Homeland Security Department issued after hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast last year are missing and presumed stolen.

According to GAO, the computers purchased by employees of DHS' Federal Emergency Management Agency had a value of $300,000. More than 20 printers worth $84,000 are also missing and presumed stolen, the report states.

Another three laptop computers purchased by the Coast Guard are also missing and presumed stolen.

how high does the shit have to be piled before it's visible to everyone...? probably not until it spills over into YOUR backyard...

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Absurdity of the day

oh, REALLY...?!?!
The newest member of the [Georgia] state Board of Natural Resources, which oversees enforcement of the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws, is a paid consultant for Georgia Power, the state's single largest polluter and water user.

William "Bill" Archer III said this week he sees no conflict between his $200,000-a-year consultant's fee for the power company and his service on the board that sets environmental policies and votes on air and water regulations. Neither does Gov. Sonny Perdue, who appointed Archer to the board in June. But others say it's inappropriate.


Archer, 58, said he would not allow a conflict to exist. "There's no compensation from Georgia Power that will influence my vote on this board," he said.

this is what those who hold the rest of us in thrall simply don't get, or, if they do get it, choose to ignore... whether or not there's an ACTUAL, DEMONSTRABLE conflict of interest, working in a position where you serve the public interest as part of a government body, you have to avoid any APPEARANCE of a conflict of interest... why would you want even the FAINT ODOR of a POSSIBLE conflict of interest to waft from decisions you make that affect the commonwealth of the citizens you were appointed to look after...?

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Threats of violence from the extremist, fundamentalist "base"

what the judge describes is precisely the kind of mindset that has been implicitly condoned by the ugly, imflammatory rhetoric promulgated by karl rove and the r's in the relentless, vicious, propaganda campaign to turn the united states into a one-party, totalitarian state...
Pennsylvania U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III told an audience in Lawrence Tuesday that the case illustrated why judges must issue rulings free of political whims or hopes of receiving a favor.

In a 139-page decision last year, Jones ruled that the Dover school board intended to promote religion when it instituted a policy requiring students to hear a statement about intelligent design before ninth-grade biology lessons on evolution. He ruled that it is unconstitutional to teach intelligent design as an alternative to evolution.

"And if you would have told me when I got on the bench four years ago that I would have death threats in a case like this as opposed to, for example, a crack cocaine case where I mete out a heavy sentence, I would have told you that you were crazy," he said. "But I did. And that's a sad statement."

when you give a subtle green light to hate and violence, this is what you get...

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On a day of infamy, Judge Taylor refuses to "stay" her order

this can go into the "flicker of light" category in my previous post...
Judge Anna Diggs Taylor today refused the Bush administration's request to issue a "stay" of her Order in the ACLU v. NSA case. When Judge Taylor ruled previously that the President's warrantless eavesdropping violated both the criminal law and the U.S. Constitution, she issued an Order enjoining the Bush administration from continuing its warrantless eavesdropping program.

The parties agreed to "stay" that Order until Judge Taylor could rule on the administration's request that the Order be stayed until the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rules on its appeal. Today, Judge Taylor refused the administration's request and instead gave them only seven days to comply with her Order.


The Bush administration can and unquestionably will ask the Sixth Circuit to stay Judge Taylor's order pending appeal. I would be surprised if the Sixth Circuit refuses to do so. Nonetheless, on a day when one watches one obsequious, craven, authoritarian presidential worshipper after the next crawl onto the Senate floor and make some of the most wretched statements one can imagine, in defense of one of the most wretched bills imaginable, reading about someone who is willing to stand up to the administration and enforce the most fundamental principles of our government is extremely refreshing.

(thanks to glenn greenwald via morse at media needle...)

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The day the U.S. finally fell off the cliff

here's the news that's playing out on this day after one of america's darkest days... yes, there's a faint flicker of light here and there, but only enough to remind us of how dark it really is...

flickers first...

Ashcroft Is Denied Immunity in Case

A federal judge in Idaho has ruled that former attorney general John D. Ashcroft can be held personally responsible for the wrongful detention of a U.S. citizen arrested as a "material witness" in a terrorism case.

U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge, in a ruling issued late Wednesday, dismissed claims by the Justice Department that Ashcroft and other officials should be granted immunity from claims by a former star college football player arrested at Dulles International Airport in 2003.

Attorneys for the plaintiff in the civil suit, Abdullah al-Kidd, said the decision raises the possibility that Ashcroft could be forced to testify or turn over records about the government's use of the material witness law, a cornerstone of its controversial legal strategy after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Belgium Rules Sifting of Bank Data Illegal

A secret U.S. program to monitor millions of international financial transactions for terrorist links violated Belgian and European law and will have to be changed, the Belgian government said Thursday.

The decision, announced by Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, came as the country's Data Privacy Commission released a 20-page report finding that the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, had improperly turned over data from millions of global financial transactions to U.S. anti-terrorism investigators.

"It has to be seen as a gross miscalculation by SWIFT that it has, for years, secretly and systematically transferred massive amounts of personal data for surveillance without effective and clear legal basis and independent controls in line with Belgian and European law," the report says.

now for the gloom, and, believe me, it's not only gloomy, it's positively black...
Bush Attacks 'Party of Cut and Run'

In his sharpest partisan attack of this election campaign, President Bush denounced Democratic critics of his Iraq policy on Thursday and said "the party of FDR and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut and run."

Seeking to rebut Democrats who say a new intelligence report indicates that Iraq is fueling terrorism rather than helping to counter it, Bush said voters face a choice "between two parties with two different attitudes on this war on terror."

Republicans "understand the nature of the enemy," he said. "We know the enemy wants to attack us again," whereas Democrats "offer nothing but criticism and obstruction and endless second-guessing."

Embrace for a Strongman

President Bush once made the authoritarian president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, a focus of his freedom agenda. He urged the ruler of the energy-rich Central Asian nation to allow more freedom for political parties and media and to hold a fair election for president. The effort failed utterly: Mr. Nazarbayev was awarded 91 percent of the vote last December in an election condemned by international observers. Two months later, a leading opponent was brutally murdered by members of the state security forces. In July, Mr. Nazarbayev ignored Western objections and approved a law tightening already-strict controls on the media.

Today Mr. Bush is treating Mr. Nazarbayev to a White House visit, following a special demonstration of family friendship: The Kazakh leader was a guest of the president's father at the Bush compound in Maine. In short, Mr. Nazarbayev has suffered no consequences for his rejection of the democracy agenda. Instead, he is being feted as a valued ally because his government is supportive of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and because Kazakhstan recently agreed to pump some of its rapidly growing supplies of oil through a U.S.-backed pipeline to the West.

ok, so here's the big question... what are we going to do NOW...? man our phone banks, canvass the neighborhoods, and hope november 7 is going to work out all right...? even in the best case scenario, is THAT going to stop our quick descent into totalitarianism...? i, for one, will be commemorating 28 september 2006 as the day my country, after clinging to the edge since the scotus decision of 12 december 2000, finally fell off the cliff...

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

A sad, sad day for the United States

the aclu...
The American Civil Liberties Union expressed distress as the Senate adopted S.3930, the Military Commissions Act of 2006. That bill is identical to legislation adopted by the House yesterday and removes important checks on the president by: failing to protect due process, eliminating habeas corpus for many detainees, undermining enforcement of the Geneva Conventions, and giving a "get out of jail free card" to senior officials who authorized or ordered illegal torture and abuse.

"This legislation gives the president new unchecked powers to detain, abuse, and try people at Guantanamo Bay and other government facilities around the world," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "Unfortunately for America, the Senate chose not to deliberate today. Instead, it joined the House and President Bush in jamming through a hastily written bill before running home to try to campaign."

Senators rejected several amendments that would have corrected shortcomings in the legislation. The bill gives the president license to weaken enforcement of the basic protections in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. As passed, the president would have new power to decide much of the scope of authorized conduct and the severity of punishment, giving him unparalleled power to unilaterally determine whether the government can carry out cruelty and abuse.

Additionally, the bill undermines the American value of due process by permitting convictions based on evidence literally beaten out of a witness or obtained through other abuse by either our government or other countries. Government officials who authorized or ordered illegal acts of torture and abuse would receive retroactive immunity for many of these acts, providing a "get out of jail free" card that is backdated nine years.

In the closest vote today, the Senate rejected by a 51-48 vote an amendment by Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to preserve minimal protections of the courts in their historical and constitutional role as a check on the executive branch, through habeas corpus.

"Nothing could be less American than a government that can indefinitely hold people in secret torture cells, take away their protections against horrific and cruel abuse, put them on trial based on evidence they cannot see, sentence them to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses, and then slam shut the courthouse door for any habeas petition," said Christopher Anders, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "But that's exactly what Congress just approved."

what do we do now...?

(thanks to jeralyn at talkleft...)

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The Dems roll of shame; the Rs roll of honor

one's extremely short and should have been a hell of a lot longer... the other is a little longer and should have been nonexistent...
The US Senate has passed the Detainee Treatment and Trials bill (S. 3930) by a vote of 65-34.

Twelve Democrats voted in favor of the Senate bill: Tom Carper (DE), Tim Johnson (SD), Mary Landrieu (LA), Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Joe Lieberman (CT), Bob Menendez (NJ), Bill Nelson (FL), Ben Nelson (NE), Mark Pryor (AR), Jay Rockefeller (WV), Ken Salazar (CO), and Debbie Stabenow (MI)

One Republican, Lincoln Chafee (RI), and the lone independent, Jim Jeffords (VT), voted against the bill. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) did not cast a vote.

and, yes, of COURSE, the r's favorite democrat, lieberman, voted for it...

i'm so ashamed for my country...

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A round-up of the Senate anti-terror speeches

atrios, as usual, is doing a great job highlighting those elected officials who are actually working FOR this country rather than AGAINST it... mosey on over and take a look...

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SOME countries aren't afraid of sex

argentina may be a predominantly catholic country, but they aren't afraid to educate people about things as important as sex...

i took the above photo of a streetside billboard this afternoon... it's advertising a free supplement series to página/12, a buenos aires daily, that began this past monday... topics include love and sex, adolescence, lesbian and gay identity, desire, pleasure, sexual rights, methods, aids, dysfunctions, medical consultation, disabled persons, infancy, science and sex, and sexual violence... a fairly complete list, i would say...

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Filibuster...? Oh, lord, that would be SO right on...

mcjoan at daily kos calls for a filibuster, which, of course, ain't gonna happen...we've had many dark days since george bush stepped into power after scotus validated his coup d'etat on 12 december 2000, but this is certainly one of the darkest...

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Why are these people still calling themselves Democrats?

they obviously don't believe in either their party or the legitimacy of the primary process... i'm sorry... i find this extremely hard to understand... read my lips...



50 former Congressmen, Senators, Clinton vets launch 'Dems for Joe' Lieberman

[F]ormer Sens. David Boren (Okla.), Bob Kerrey (Neb.), John Breaux (La.) and Dennis DeConcini (Ariz.); former Reps. Mel Levine (Calif.) and Leon Panetta (Calif.), who served as chief of staff to President Bill Clinton; former Clinton Agriculture Secretary and former Rep. Mike Espy (Miss.); and former Clinton CIA Director James Woolsey.

They join a much smaller group of incumbent Democratic Senators who have endorsed Lieberman in the general election. Sens. Tom Carper (Del.), Ken Salazar (Colo), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.) all have decided to stick by Lieberman.

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Screw the constitution and, as long as we're at it, to hell with the separation of powers

read this very carefully...
The unconstitutional intervention by the Supreme Court in Hamdan could have been handled by Congress and the President in another way. Under Article III, Section 2, Congress could have reasserted our clearly defined authority to limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and to grant jurisdiction to any inferior court of our choosing, as expressed in the very plain language of the Detainee Treatment Act. If we had not been a nation at war, a nation urgently concerned about protecting our citizens from attack, Congress may well have advised the Court of their unconstitutional intervention and the Court’s obstruction of the ability of the Commander in Chief to protect America from our enemies and ignored the Court’s decision. The necessities of war won out over the separation of powers, and for the first time, the Supreme Court is engaged in setting parameters in warfighting beyond our national borders.

the above utterly astounding comment was delivered yesterday in a speech in the united states house of representatives by representative steve king, a republican from iowa...

(thanks to kagro x at the next hurrah...)

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Says it all

what can you add to a headline and a lead like this...?
Rushing Off a Cliff

In the name of fighting terrorism, Congress is set to pass
a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in
American democracy.

these people do not represent me...

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Do away with the legislative branch

all they've proven themselves good for is enabling george bush and his cabal to gut the u.s. constitution, create a quasi-totalitarian state, and heap shame on what used to be a country that had some self-respect...
The House approved an administration-backed system of questioning and prosecuting terrorism suspects yesterday, setting clearer limits on CIA interrogation techniques but denying access to courts for detainees seeking to challenge their imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere.

The 253 to 168 vote was a victory for President Bush and fellow Republicans. Bush had yielded some ground during weeks of negotiations, but he fully embraced the language that the House approved with support from 34 Democrats and all but seven Republicans.

Senators also began debating the measure yesterday and defeated, along party lines, a Democratic-sponsored amendment that would have expanded detainees' legal rights. Senators predicted that their chamber will approve the legislation today, which would enable Bush to hold a signing ceremony on a high-profile and intensely debated bill about a month before the Nov. 7 elections.

i realize that this article is spun on behalf of bushco, but i can't help believe that, yes, the bill will also be passed by the senate, and will then be trumpeted to full advantage in the final run-up to the elections... meanwhile, an unrelieved blackness is gathering over my country...

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

George is creating enough terrorists to insure an endless war

(aj at americablog on the nie...)
We assess that the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweight its vulnerabilities and are likely to do so for the duration of the timeframe of this Estimate.

Those underlying factors are listed as, basically, entrenched grievances and humiliation; Iraq; lack of political reform in Muslim nations; and pervasive anti-U.S. sentiment among most muslims. These are all interconnected, of course, and Bush administration policies, especially its intransigence on Iraq, are hurting more than they are helping.


The report is definitive, provocative, and damning, and every day between now and the elections Democrats -- and sane Republicans -- should demand accountability for these unconscionable failures of Presidential and Congressional leadership.

i know the popular wisdom says that bushco is a failure and that gross incompetence and mismanagement has led us to this pass... i don't buy it... bush and his cabal have worked diligently to INCREASE the likelihood of terrorists attacks and to PROMOTE the conditions that breed terrorists, and they've succeeded beyond their wildest dreams... the worst possible thing that could happen to the bush administration is to have the terrorists GO AWAY... the agenda to create a totalitarian state would collapse overnight...

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Louise Slaughter takes a stand against torture

where the hell are the rest of 'em...?
We are at a crossroads today, and I fear that we will not by judged kindly by future Americans for what my Republican friends want us to do today.

This bill sends a clear message to both our friends and our enemies about what kind of people we are.

It shows them whether or not we are really willing to practice what we preach about freedom, democracy, and human dignity.

(from louise slaughter's diary at daily kos...)

she was posting prior to heading to the house floor to debate HR 6166, Military Commissions Act of 2006...

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What NEEDS to be said in the torture debate (but ain't)

where, oh where, oh where-o, are our principled leaders...? i've been told they exist, but, for me, it remains unproven theory...
With the nation at war with itself, President Lincoln warned, and I quote, "If there ever could be a time for mere catch arguments, that time is surely not now. In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity."

I believe that we are at such a time again today.

There's so much at stake, we, too, must resist the impulse toward catch arguments and reflex reactions. Let us proceed in accordance with our nation's traditional moral compass -- yes -- but in a manner that is fair and at a pace that is deliberate and responsible.

Let us as a nation honestly confront the damage that the president's decisions in the war on terror and Iraq over the last five years have caused, but not at the expense of our common interest as Americans. And let us be guided by the conscience of the Constitution, which calls on us to place the common good above any partisan or personal interest, as we now in our time work together to resolve this serious challenge to our democracy.

this comment prefaced digby's post...
The vote is going to happen and it's going to pass. But I can't help but wonder if the momentum wouldn't have gone the other way if some of the Democrats who constantly exhort the rank and file to be more friendly to religion and values and morals had stood up and said no.

just imagine...

(from digby via atrios...)

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Nagourney - 1,230 words of irresponsible journalism

in a long article on negative campaign advertising, adam nagourney uses 1,230 words without mentioning the single individual who, more than any other, has taken political campaign vitriol to lengths unimaginable in years past and whose tactics have now become the model...
[B]oth sides described on Tuesday as the most toxic midterm campaign environment in memory. ... Democratic and Republican strategists said they expected over 90 percent of the advertisements to be broadcast by Nov. 7 to be negative.

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Winning is losing

is the wapo becoming a no-spin zone... ? probably not, although it's nice to see an occasional outbreak of un-spun perspective...
  • Congress has allowed itself to be stampeded into a vote on hastily written but far-reaching legal provisions
  • [T]here is no need for Congress to act immediately
  • Without [an amendment], the Bush administration's abuse of detainees is likely to continue
  • [I]t would set a dangerous precedent for other nations
  • [T]heir actions almost surely will come back to haunt them
so, what should be done...?
What's important is that any legal system approved by Congress pass the tests set by Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) months ago: that the United States can be proud of it, that the world will see it as fair and humane, and that the Supreme Court can uphold it.


Until this country adopts a legal system for the war on terrorism that meets Mr. Warner's standard, the war itself will be unwinnable.

< sigh > hopefully, one of these days, sooner rather than later, the wapo - and the rest of the country - will wake up to the fact that "WINNING" is not now nor has it ever been the objective... given the bushco agenda of remolding a free, democratic republic into a totalitarian state, winning is losing...

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Even the WaPo isn't spinning this one, George

the best they could do was to stick it on page a21...
Sobering Conclusions On Why Jihad Has Spread

By Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 27, 2006; Page A21

In announcing yesterday that he would release the key judgments of a controversial National Intelligence Estimate, President Bush said he agreed with the document's conclusion "that because of our successes against the leadership of al-Qaeda, the enemy is becoming more diffuse and independent."

But the estimate itself posits no such cause and effect. Instead, while it notes that counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged and disrupted al-Qaeda's leadership, it describes the spreading "global jihadist movement" as fueled largely by forces that al-Qaeda exploits but is not actively directing. They include Iraq, corrupt and unjust governments in Muslim-majority countries, and "pervasive anti-U.S. sentiment among most Muslims."

the entire story can be summed up in the first paragraph and the first sentence of the second... we'll have to wait to see how this plays out... george appears to have gotten his you-know-what firmly caught in the wringer this time... will the usual rovian tactic of either creating a new diversion or waiting until the a.d.d.-besot media and american public lose interest work for them yet again...? stay tuned...

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006


gimme a break...

click here and see for yourself...

(thanks to john at americablog...)

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Ding-dong, the mustache of serial abuse is dead

well, let's cross our fingers... until he's got a wooden stake through his heart, i won't rest easy...
So, it's over. Wow.

John Bolton might agree to serve as the uncompensated Ambassador to the UN in a second recess appointment, or might agree to serve as a recess appointed political deputy at the UN and made "acting Ambassador and Chief of Mission" at a pay cut.

Either way, Ambassador Bolton will fill his term as the only unconfirmed Ambassador at the United Nations in American history.

steve clemons believes that bolton might still warrant a productive place in the bush administration... i don't... i refuse to support verbal and emotional abuse from anyone, especially not from a public servant...

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Concealing information as "classified" not because it is secret but because it is politically damaging

what i would like to know is why isn't the shit really hitting the fan over both the revelations in the nie and the details of the proposed torture bill "compromise...?" everyone with a pulse ought to be marching on washington...
If large and important parts of the NIE can be safely declassified and known by the American public, why were they classified in the first place? And why have they been kept classified since April? Obviously, the NIE is being declassified now only because the White House needs a political defense to the New York Times article reporting that the NIE concluded that the war in Iraq worsened the terrorist threat. But it is really amazing just how transparent the White House is being about the fact that it routinely conceals information as "classified" not because it is secret but because it is politically damaging. What other explanation even theoretically accounts for this behavior?

if i could only believe that the house of cards is close to collapsing... if only...

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Whaddaya know...! And I'm off to Sofia in just three days...!



it's funny... i had just been wondering what was going on with eu accession for bulgaria and romania... i knew it had been postponed until fall (spring here in the southern hemisphere) and was curious if the eu was going to go through with it... guess so...
The European Commission has announced that Romania and Bulgaria will be admitted to the EU in January 2007, but under strict conditions.

Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said both countries had made enough progress to join the union.

But they will be checked for progress in curbing organised crime and corruption, and ensuring food safety and the proper use of EU funds.

Bulgaria's PM said the move was the fall of the Berlin Wall for his nation.

Romanian Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu said his people should be proud of themselves, but should not make the mistake of thinking that accession would mean all the country's problems would be solved.

i arrive sunday afternoon... i imagine folks will have been celebrating all weekend and will probably be all partied out by then...

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"This is a terrible idea"

speaking of wake-up calls, do you suppose fred hiatt's shop has poked its collective nose out from under the covers and smells that coffee brewing...?
The compromise bill strips the courts of any jurisdiction to hear cases -- including those cases already pending -- concerning detainee treatment. Unless this provision is changed, the administration will be free to ignore Mr. McCain's interpretation.


This is a terrible idea.
In general, court-stripping is a nuclear weapon in Congress's relations with the judiciary, one that presents profound constitutional questions and should be used only with the greatest of caution. If Congress passes responsible and lawful policies, judicial review poses no threat but serves to validate their lawfulness. In the context of the war on terrorism, judicial review has been the major lever that has forced the administration to moderate its policies and to seek congressional authorization for them.


Preventing further judicial scrutiny would be reckless.

reckless...? oh, yes, and also precisely what they want - another giant step towards a totalitarian state...

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Wake-up call for those who think Bush is incompetent

i've been feeling like the proverbial voice crying in the wilderness when i keep saying that i don't believe that bush or his cabal is the least bit incompetent... i know that "incompetence" is the accepted liberal and progressive wisdom, and, from any normal, rational viewpoint, given such incredible messes as iraq, katrina, the budget deficit, etc., it certainly looks that way... but, if you put a frame around bush's nearly six year record, a frame that says all of what we are now experiencing has been deliberately crafted and quite intentional, a clear and very different rationale reveals itself... reading robert parry this morning, i no longer feel quite so alone...
But the downward spiral of the Iraq War and the worsening worldwide terrorism threat are negatives only if one assumes that creating a more peaceful and secure world was the original goal.

If the goal included changing the character of the United States as a free and open society – and consolidating one-party Republican control over the federal budget – then the administration’s policies would seem to be working like a charm.


If the U.S. does launch an attack, it seems clear that the terrorism threat faced by Americans at home and abroad will dramatically increase. For such reasons, many observers argue that an attack on Iran is unlikely.

But [retired Air Force Colonel Sam] Gardiner points out that not making sense won’t limit what the Bush administration does. “The ‘making sense’ filter was not applied over the past four years for Iraq, and it is unlikely to be applied in evaluating whether to attack Iran,” Gardiner writes.

It also could be that “making sense” means something different for the Bush administration than it does for average Americans.


Those trends seem likely to continue – and even accelerate – as the “war on terror” remains a powerful excuse for transforming the United States from a historically free and open society to a frightened nation where citizens eagerly trade their constitutional rights for government promises of more security.

even with this contrarian view, note how parry carefully chooses his words... he refrains from coming right out and saying that bushco is deliberately fostering global chaos and terrorism in order to further its aims... unfortunately, i happen to believe that's precisely what's happening...

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Dangerous levels of human-made pollution

An iceberg from the Portage Glacier is locked in the frozen Portage Lake south of Anchorage, Alaska in this Jan. 6, 2004 file photo. The planet's temperature has climbed to levels not seen in thousands of years, researchers report in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

but wait, it gets better...
The warming has been stronger in the far north, where melting ice and snow expose darker land and rocks beneath allowing more warmth from the sun to be absorbed, and more over land than water.


"This evidence implies that we are getting close to dangerous levels of human-made pollution," Hansen said in a statement [James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York].

this puts the old weather report cliche, "record-breaking heat," in a whole new light...
[T]he overall temperature [is] the warmest in the current interglacial period, which began about 12,000 years ago.

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What an f******, hypocritical S.O.B.

< grinding teeth and pounding on table >
President George W Bush has called on US companies to throw their weight behind rebuilding efforts in Lebanon.

His comments came as it was announced that US agency Overseas Private Investment Corporation and private bank Citigroup are to invest $160m (£84m).

The public-private partnership is offering the capital to Lebanese small and medium-sized companies.

It comes on top of the $250m (£132m) in aid pledged by the White House. Mr Bush said he wants Lebanon to "flourish".

so, you want lebanon to "flourish," do you...? you miserable, rotten bastard... it WAS just beginning to flourish when you stood by and let israel kick the ever-loving crap out of the country and nipped whatever "flourish" there was right in the bud... how can you look at yourself in the mirror each morning...? never mind... you don't cast a reflection...

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Only shrillness can save America now

i'm with atrios and the poor man...
What they have done cannot easily be undone, and they will never, ever get more than a tiny fraction of justice for it. Fuck them. Fuck them whether they are Democrats or Republicans, and fuck the liars and sycophants and cowardly pussies who insulate them from getting even a tiny taste of their just deserts. It’s awful, it’s unspeakably awful, and, actively or passively, we all participate.

Only shrillness can save America now.

the tsunami reaction to the "torture compromise" isn't going to stop any time soon...

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House Dems show some steel

let's see if reid follows suit in the senate...
Dear Speaker Hastert:


Based on the concerns of all Americans, Congress must act on five key issues that have an immediate impact on the lives of the American people before adjourning for the November election. As Majority Leader Boehner continues to say that Congress will adjourn by Friday, September 29th, this leaves less than one week in which to act. We reject assertions that the people's business can wait until after the November election, and therefore, unless you address the following issues, Democrats will actively resist adjournment.

the five...
  • The urgent recommendations of the independent and bipartisan 9/11 Commission have not been passed or fully implemented.
  • Before Congress adjourns, we must have a straight up or down vote on increasing the minimum wage, free from the usual Republican efforts to attach tax cuts for the wealthiest few that doom these bills.
  • Before Congress recesses, we must give the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices for seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Before Congress recesses, we must restore the massive cuts in college tuition assistance imposed by the Congress and expand the size and availability of Pell Grants by passing an improved Labor-HHS appropriations bill.
  • Taxpayers should not be forced to give tax breaks to Big Oil companies. ... We can begin by rolling back tax breaks for Big Oil and investing the savings in alternative fuels to achieve energy independence.

Nancy Pelosi House Democratic Leader

Steny Hoyer House Democratic Whip

James E. Clyburn House Democratic Caucus Chair

John B. Larson House Democratic Caucus Vice-Chair

good move and about goddam time...

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Where there's one cockroach, you can be sure there are plenty more

this is a direct result of the wholesale adoption of karl rove's take no prisoners, shave the ground with a razor, fit 'em with concrete overshoes and dump 'em in the river, malign, unscrupulous political strategy...
Liberal bloggers in New Hampshire busted an aide to Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) who was posing as a liberal blogger on such blogs as Blue Granite, NH-02 Progressive and others. Bass’ office admitted culpability to HOH and said the staffer would be “appropriately disciplined.”

The unnamed aide to Bass — who, like many others in his party, faces a tough re-election fight — was routinely trolling liberal New Hampshire political blogs calling himself “IndyNH” and more commonly IndieNH, pretending to be a progressive.

Finally, after noticing that lots of things he said just didn’t add up, a couple of the bloggers traced IndieNH’s IP address to the House of Representatives.

just like with cockroaches, where there's one, you can be sure there are plenty more...

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And here ya have it, concrete evidence of the screw job we're getting from our media


(thanks to msnbc via attaturk at rising hegemon via atrios...)

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It's a fine mess you've gotten us into THIS time, Ollie

Tony Snow and Dan Bartlett
heading into Baghdad during
Bush's last visit there

just remember, everything is going FINE, just FINE, thank you very much...

Residents shout slogans as they carry photographs of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, during a demonstration before Friday prayers, in Tikrit, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday Sept. 22, 2006. Some 3,000 people demonstrated outside a downtown mosque in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit Friday, demanding the return of the former dictator to power and condemned Pope Benedict XVI's recent remarks on Islam and violence.

pay no attention to those annoying little commas...

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Unbelievable - the jihad car sale

wherever the bottom is, we clearly haven't reached it yet...
A car commercial proclaiming a jihad on the U.S. auto market and offering "Fatwa Fridays" with free swords for the kids is offensive and should not be aired, Muslim leaders said on Sunday.

The radio advertisement for the Dennis Mitsubishi car dealership in Columbus, Ohio, has "a whole jihad theme," said Adnan Mirza, director of the Columbus office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"They are planning on launching a jihad on the automotive market and their representatives would be wearing burqas ... ," Mirza said. "They mentioned the pope in there and also about giving rubber swords out to the kiddies -- really just reprehensible-type comments."

can you imagine a similar christianity-based car sale...? i don't have the stomach to even speculate what THAT might look like...

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Club Gitmo

what a nauseating way to start off an absolutely gorgeous spring morning...
From SuperMax to GitMax. The U.S. is finalizing plans for the newest maximum security prison at Guantanamo. The Associated Press reports we are spending $37.8 million on the facility to house a maximum of 220 prisoners. That doesn't even include the upkeep or cost of confinement.
Underscoring the military's toughening stance, a jailhouse in the final stages of construction on a cactus-studded plateau overlooking the Caribbean is being "hardened" into a maximum-security facility. Camp 6 was to have opened in August as a medium-security lockup. The modifications have pushed back the completion date of the $37.8 million jailhouse, which has a capacity for 220 inmates, to Sept. 30. It will take its first detainees in mid-October, Army Capt. Dan Byer said.

How long will they be there? Forever.
"I think what we have here is an orange. What we're doing is squeezing out the juice and what we're left with at the end of the day is pulp that will just stay here," said Navy Capt. Phil Waddingham, lead officer here for the Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants.

From a flawed policy to a disasterous policy.

this sucks so bad it's impossible to put it into words...

(from jeralyn at talkleft...)

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I forgot one photo

from the festival in the park i posted about yesterday...


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NIE - heads are spinning 360 degrees, calling increasing terror a success

as michael keaton says in beetlejuice as his head spins completely around, "dontcha hate it when that happens...?"

Negroponte Highlights U.S. Successes
Intelligence View That War Is Increasing Terror Is 'Fraction of Judgments,' He Says

From News Services
Monday, September 25, 2006; Page A04

The conclusion of U.S. intelligence analysts that the Iraq war has increased the threat from terrorism is only "a fraction of judgments" in a newly disclosed National Intelligence Estimate, Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte said yesterday.

johnny-boy, YOU are the director of national intelligence... it even says so, right there in black and white, in that organ of truth and intrepid reporting, the washington post... those 16 intelligence agencies that agree the iraq war is INCREASING terror are ostensibly under YOU... what can we conclude from your quote and that very well-spun wapo headline but that INCREASING terror qualifies as a SUCCESS...?

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

An ode to Howard

i read this by georgia10 at daily kos...
I'm discouraged. Scratch that. I'm heartbroken. It pains me to watch our nation legalize torture with Democrats (so far) offering nothing more than a shrug. Sure, there's grumbling on the left over the torture bill, but can Democrats stop it? Will they even try? I'm not holding breath.

We've been down this road too many times.

then i read this, and now i'm even more discouraged...
Howard Dean preached a different kind of populism: the empowerment of the American Citizenry. The war cries of "YOU HAVE THE POWER" and "I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK" resonated with people across the political spectrum.

In Howard Dean's America, the National Parks were your parks and mine. Our taxes bought them, our taxes maintained them. The trees on National Lands were our trees, yours and mine. And when some company came onto our land and chopped down our trees and sent the timber to Japan for their own profit, that was theft.

Those kids in the public schools, those were your kids and my kids, and it was our duty to educate them all. Even if we didn't have kids. The hospitals were our hospitals. The roads were our roads. The military, those were our kids and our parents and our brothers and our sisters, even if we didn't know anyone in the services, and their sacrifices were made on our behalf.

He never had to say the words. In fact, I'm not sure he ever did. The important thing was that he wanted to give America back to Americans. And he wanted us to know that we were all in it together.

Solidarity and empowerment. These are very dangerous concepts.

When you empower the people, the power comes from somewhere, and where it comes from is the powerful.

If a politician was no longer answerable to the guys giving the million dollar checks but was, instead, answerable to the millions of people who gave $20, what power could the lobbyists bring? And where would those perks go? Who would take those politicians on trips and golf games? Who would be sitting at the table sipping $400 glasses of wine? The great unwashed hordes on the internet? The college kids with scruffy beards and blue jeans? No. It was too much to ask.

Howard Dean had to be taken down. And taken down he was. But Howard Dean knew ... that the only way to take back our nation was door-by-door, block-by-block, American-by-American.

i've never felt so politically crushed as when dean got squashed like a bug by the massive political/media machine...

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Happy, happy, joy, joy

what's the first weekend of spring without a little fiesta in the park...?

first you need people, lots of 'em - moms, dads, uncles,
aunts, grandmas, grandpas, teens, young couples,
babies, and lots of kids running around...


then you throw in some hot dogs, cold drinks, and,
of course, popcorn and cotton candy...

add a bandstand, a band, a banner, and
spring flowers...

stir well...

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Why torture? Because we CAN...

i'm in complete agreement with paul krugman...
So why is the Bush administration so determined to torture people?

To show that it can.

The central drive of the Bush administration — more fundamental than any particular policy — has been the effort to eliminate all limits on the president's power. Torture, I believe, appeals to the president and the vice president precisely because it's a violation of both law and tradition. By making an illegal and immoral practice a key element of U.S. policy, they're asserting their right to do whatever they claim is necessary.

i've said until i'm blue in the face that the bush administration is all about power, money, control, and global hegemony... eviscerating the social contract, manipulating through fear, waging endless war, fostering terrorism, indulging in rampant cronyism, and controlling social behavior via religious extremism, appeals to latent bigotry, and domestic spying, are the tools of that agenda... calling these people incompetent misses the entire point... they are far from incompetent... they're accomplishing precisely what they've set out to accomplish, and we've gone right along with them...

(thanks to schuylkill at daily kos...)

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The Hugo Chavez backstory - global politics to help, not harm

look... i don't carry any brief for chavez, but i do find it very interesting that, given the bush administration's zeal in gutting any implied or explicit social contract and their similar fervor in demonizing chavez (who artfully turned the tables on THAT one), chavez steps in to the void...
A day after he called President Bush "the devil" from the podium at the United Nations, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stood at the altar of a Harlem church and presented himself as an angel, offering 100 million gallons of subsidized heating oil to needy Americans.

"It makes us feel good to give," he said to a crowd of mostly Harlem residents and Latin American immigrants waving Venezuelan flags and chanting his name.


Harlem is the latest place where Venezuelan oil has created warm feelings toward the outspoken leftist leader. Venezuela already exports 1.5 million barrels a day to the United States.

sure, it's blatant politics, but, given a choice, i'd rather see politics played to HELP rather than HARM...

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Ohio's lookin' good (if they don't steal the election - again)

(from the columbus dispatch via raw story...)
Although we’re miles from Election Day, a new Dispatch Poll shows that a near-sweep of statewide races appears within the grasp of Ohio Democrats.

Led by gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland’s commanding 19-point lead at the top of the ticket, Democrats are up by at least 8 points in the contests for auditor, secretary of state and treasurer.

The only Republican currently ahead for any state administrative office is Auditor Betty D. Montgomery, vying for the attorney general’s job she held from 1995-2002.

plus, we get treated to the chief ohio election-stealer himself in full whine...
The campaign of GOP gubernatorial candidate J. Kenneth Blackwell discounted the poll results because the first name of his running mate was mistakenly listed on the poll ballots as Charles Raga; it is Tom Raga.

"Most pollsters would have reissued the survey. It’s disappointing The Dispatch chose to proceed in spite of the mistake," said Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo.

Four other polls released last week using various methodologies showed Blackwell losing by 12 points to 21 points.

boo-hoo, ken...

still in all, NEVER count your chickens while rove is still around...

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"A person of conscience must fight"

hmmmmm... i said something very similar myself just a few days ago...
The party is leaving us on our own, as far as I can tell. I agree unreservedly with the sense of stupefied disgust, revulsion and outrage given voice by members of this community ... .

Here’s where I think I come down on this, and this has been no easy couple of days for me: I will not quit. And I will not pretend that making this country a country that tortures is okay. I will not swallow hard and clap louder for the party and I will not take to the sidelines, or write in such a way that might lead others to despair, slow down, or quit.

I’m a fighter, because in this age, a person of conscience must fight.

(thanks to pachacutec at firedoglake via atrios...)

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The super-rich American land barons in Argentina

here's something to think about...
Since the 1990s, the relatively cheap and expansive acreage of Argentina has attracted millionaires in search of unspoiled estates, including household names such as Ted Turner and Sylvester Stallone. But last month, Argentina's undersecretary for land and social habitat declared war on such land purchases with one highly symbolic act: He marched onto Tompkins's [Douglas Tompkins, ... the founder of the North Face and Esprit clothing lines] land, cut down a fence and called for the expropriation of the property.


"We want to tell everyone: We're going to continue cutting down fences," said Luis D'Elia, the government secretary. "What is more important, the private property of a few, or the sovereignty of everyone?"

so, is tompkins just another big money gringo, snatching up real estate around the world...? well, not exactly...
Since 1990, Tompkins and his wife -- Kristine McDivitt, the former chief executive of the Patagonia outdoor clothing company -- have bought about 4.7 million acres in Chile and Argentina. Their strategy is to identify properties in danger of ecologically damaging development, buy them, then create private parks that they eventually turn over to the local governments.

but the locals see it differently...
[M]any Argentine officials and social activists want to confiscate the property he says he bought to create an ecological preserve. They think that he and other wealthy foreigners who have bought enormous swaths of the Argentine and Chilean countryside are trying to wrest control of a continent under the guise of environmental preservation.

tompkins's view...
Argentines, [Tompkins] said, don't understand his style of philanthropy. When he talks about eventually donating the land to the government, they suspect a catch.

where have we heard this before...? oh, yeah... the pat buchanan types who claim mexico wants to regain control of the u.s. southwest... but, it's not quite the same... argentinos, and latin americans in general, have good reason to be wary... after all, the history of european and american exploitation of latin america is both long and ugly... and, as always, there's an even deeper and perhaps more powerful dynamic at work...
Tompkins traces the beginnings of the discontent to an American style of land management that is resented here -- specifically, his efforts to hold his neighboring landowners to environmental standards.

He recently financed a legal case against a local forestry company trying to build a dike through wetlands. It was the kind of environmental complaint that is made every day in the United States, but not in a region of Argentina where private ranch owners -- or estancieros -- have held most of the political power for centuries.

"Suddenly they see someone come in and say, 'Hey, what about the rules?' " Tompkins said. "That sort of galvanized people into action against me."

here's where tompkins misses the boat... from my own first-hand experience in the state of new mexico (that's right, folks, the good ol' u.s. of a), i know that when a foreigner/gringo moves in, buys up everything in sight, and starts trying to push change, no matter HOW well-intentioned, it's courting trouble... mr. tompkins needs to seriously re-consider his strategy...

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Bolivia wants a coastline

getting a small chunk of pacific coastline probably wouldn't solve many of bolivia's problems, but it would go a long way toward boosting morale [AND morales] and restoring national pride, both of which bolivia badly needs...
[A] map on the wall from 1859 show[s] Bolivia with almost twice its current territory and a swath of Pacific coastline.

Today’s maps show that coast as part of Chile, thanks to the 1879 conflict known as the War of the Pacific, or the Saltpeter War, which helped cement Chile as a regional power and, some here say, put Bolivia on the path to becoming South America’s poorest nation.

In a diplomatic push combining nostalgia and shrewd nationalist politics, President Evo Morales has begun lobbying to regain a small part of that coastline for Bolivia. The navy, which patrols Bolivia’s rivers and the waters of Lake Titicaca, finds itself in the middle of this quest.

Mr. Morales took the spotlight at the summit meeting of the Nonaligned Movement of countries this month in Havana, where he led a parallel meeting of a 31-member organization called the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries. Members include countries like Bhutan, Burkina Faso and Moldova. [Note from profmarcus: add in Macedonia and, with the recent separation of Montenegro, Serbia]

“We hope in the near future to be able to leave this group,” Mr. Morales told delegates in Havana.

Notwithstanding Chile’s historic intransigence to cede even one inch of its territory to Bolivia, such comments play well in Bolivia, where textbooks portray that 1879 war as a Chilean land grab, and where each May the nation commemorates a Day of the Sea.

i keep waiting for the latin american countries to figure out that it's infinitely better to work TOGETHER than constantly squabbling with each other... sovereignty and national pride can be a real pain in the ass, as at least SOME of us in the u.s. are painfully finding out...

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Avoiding the radicalization of Lebanon

as my dear late grandma used to say, a day late and a dollar short...
How would you avoid the radicalization of the Lebanese Sunnis, if that was really a high priority?

Uh, like, don't let the Israelis bomb the country intensively for over a month, destroying its infrastructure and setting back its economy twenty years. And don't openly block a ceasefire if you are America.

Just a guess, that kind of thing could make people angry and unemployed and more easily recruited into al-Qaeda.

Getting out of Iraq and halting the assaults on Sunni Arabs there would help. Lebanese Sunnis tend to empathize with Iraqi Sunnis, and operations like Fallujah angered them.

Then, settling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on terms that are just to the Palestinians would also be important in halting radicalization.

nothing terribly complicated, IF, that is, you really WANTED to avoid the radicalization of lebanon...

(thanks to juan cole...)

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