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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 10/22/2006 - 10/29/2006
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Is the "October surprise" martial law to be declared in November?

i knew that there had been a bill pending that effectively gutted the posse comitatus act, but, until today, i didn't know it had already been passed... under this, the president (and, sadly, that's STILL george w. bush), can...
- involuntarily take National Guard troops from State A and
- require them to work in State B for up to a year,
- in law enforcement rather than just traditional areas like disaster relief,
- over the objection of both state's governors

even a discussion of martial law being declared gives me the creeps... i've confessed to my paranoia several times during the past week... this ain't helping much...

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Well, duh... Of COURSE it's about POWER...!

i'm sorry, but reading stuff like this grinds my ass...
There is a tectonic shift in liberal thinking underway. We used to think the country's economic problems were about economics. At times, that's been true, It isn't now. Now, they're about power.

anybody who's been using their alloted complement of brain cells could have easily seen that the whole GODDAM THING has ALWAYS been about power... power controls who gets the money... sharing power with unions or employee groups is anathema to the super-rich and holders of capital because it means cutting back on the volume of the rivers of cash flowing into their pockets...

i admire ezra klein, but his unabashed admiration and praise for jonathan chait for figuring this out and getting it in print, for me, is a day late and a dollar short...

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Lord knows, I have no room to play holier-than-thou

i just find this a bit jarring, is all...

when the page pops open, it's not what i expect to see on duncan's site... yeah, it's a free country, and, yeah, advertisers can put their money where they choose, and, yeah, duncan's got to make a living off of his site since he does it full-time, but... something about that exploitive, profiteering outfit having a banner ad on atrios' site just bothers me...

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Ok, let's drag an election-rigging red herring across the trail

and blame any potential problems on...??? are you ready for this...??? sit down...

In the debate about the reliability of electronic voting technology, the South Florida parent company of one of the nation's leading suppliers of touch-screen voting machines is drawing special scrutiny from the U.S. government.

Federal officials are investigating whether Smartmatic, owner of Oakland, Calif.-based Sequoia Voting Systems, is secretly controlled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, according to two people familiar with the probe.

In July, a Treasury Department spokeswoman disclosed that a Treasury-led panel had contacted Smartmatic, and a company representative said his firm was ''in discussions'' with the panel. At the time, those discussions were informal. The government has now upgraded to a formal investigation, the two sources said.

Sequoia's electronic voting machines operate in 17 states.

that's right, folks... hugo chávez is really our enemy... next, they'll be investigating secret additives to venezuelan petroleum that cause motors in u.s. cars to have problems...

a clue for federal officials concerned with election-rigging...


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A revealing first-person account of extraordinary rendition and torture

i suggest you click on the link and read this transcript of mr. arar's speech, which was viewed via video-tape at the award ceremony hosted by the Institute for Policy Studies on Oct. 18, 2006 in Washington, DC, on the occasion of his acceptance of the Letelier-Moffitt International Human Rights Award...
Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, was a victim of the U.S. policy known as "extraordinary rendition." He was detained by U.S. officials in 2002, accused of terrorist links, and handed over to Syrian authorities, who tortured him. Arar is working with the Center for Constitutional Rights to appeal a case against the U.S. government that was dismissed on national security grounds.

this story has particular poignancy for me, given the number of times each year i present myself at the glass booth of u.s. immigration to re-enter the united states... that is the point at which mr. arar's tale begins and it is no difficult task to put myself in his shoes...

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Once upon a time - fairy tales from the ruling cabal

what would be very nice is if, in a couple of years, before they're too old (and cool) to want to be read to, i could read this story to my grandsons and we all could marvel at that mysterious time when the clocks ran backwards and the ugly troll still lived under the bridge, preying on hapless passers-by... unfortunately, even if i'm lucky, my son might get to read it to HIS grandsons... and, if i'm NOT lucky, my grandsons will be reading it to THEIR grandsons...
Once upon a time, there was a man named Dick Cheney

He was a contemptuous, selfish, snarling, secretive, bullying sort of man who thought he was very smart, and he had a bunch of cronies whom we shall call "Pnackers". Dick and the Pnackers sometimes liked money more than power and sometimes liked power more than money, but most of the time they liked both equally, and, more than that, they thought they were entitled to both power and money because they were white male Americans and because they were corporate capitalists and other people had been sucking up to them for as long as they could remember. Unfortunately, Dick and the Pnackers were themselves so abysmally unattractive that in order to get elected, and thereby get their hands on the biggest military and the biggest cache of weapons in the world, Dick had to find himself a useful but controllable idiot, preferably one who was entirely corrupt, and came from an entirely corrupt family. He didn't have far to seek.

Pretty soon, Dick, the Pnackers, and, sometimes, little George himself, came up with a plan. The steps of the plan were as follows:

1. Assure their own "election" by any means possible, including denying the vote to registered voters, announcing results early in the count, blocking recounts, and buying off cronies on the Supreme Court.

2. Use flyovers to provoke the guy who no one liked and who owned the big oil reserves.

3. Panic the nation's energy users by engineering a fake "shortage" on the power grid in the largest state in the union. Deny absolutely that conservation works (even though it does).

4. Either provoke or take advantage of a planned attack on American soil that would provide defensive cover for the theft of the oil reserves.

5. Start a pretend war of retaliation against one country (Afghanistan) as a way of mobilizing the troops and the populace, while planning a much bigger war somewhere else (Iraq) for the real purpose of getting the oil.

6. Deny the reality of climate change at every opportunity in order to protect the value of the oil, and reduce, prevent, or slow down any shift from oil to other energy technologies.

7. Use public relations (aka "lying") to terrorize the voters about threats from organizations that are, at most, moderately dangerous to some targets and, at least, gangs of kids with big mouths, no money, and no equipment.

8. Gut the Constitution in order to protect themselves and threaten their enemies.

9. Seamlessly install the oil barons in Iraq.

10. Live forever (hazmat suit necessary, but a small price to pay.)

Once upon a time, Dick, little George, and the Pnackers were indifferent to many things -- to the welfare of other humans (indifferent when they weren't actively hostile), to the health and well-being of the natural world, and especially to not only knowledge but truth. Was the source of their indifference mere ignorance? Active malevolence? A sense of entitlement as "Americans"? as white people? as men? Who knows? But whatever the source, they were proud and protective of it, and they actively cultivated it.

"who knows...?" well, i certainly can't claim to know any more than anyone else, but i chalk it up to deliberate malevolence, which, coupled with those twin obsessions, money and power, and their own dark fears, drove them to satisfy those needs by making the world as dark and as fearful a place as possible... THAT part of it, i am convinced, is no fairy tale...

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Liars, liars, you're all big, fat liars

President Bush said Friday the United States does not torture prisoners, commenting after Vice President Dick Cheney embraced the suggestion that a dunk in water might be useful to get terrorist suspects to talk.

Human rights groups complained that Cheney's words amounted to an endorsement of a torture technique known as "water boarding," in which the victim believes he is about to drown. The White House insisted Cheney was not talking about water boarding, but would not explain what he meant.

there has been so much independent confirmation of detainees being tortured in u.s. custody, the most courteous comment that can be made about bush's statement is that he is lying through his fucking teeth...

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Sandinista leader poised to win Nicaragua presidency

ain't this interesting, how good the u.s. is at helping to nurture and promote democracies in its own backyard, let alone in the mideast...? if ortega comes out on top, will we try to sabotage the nicaraguan democracy like we've tried to do in palestine with hamas...? just askin'...
Left-wing Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega, whose socialist government fought a war against U.S.-backed guerrillas in the 1980s, is leading the presidential race less than two weeks before the Nov. 5 election, according to two polls published Friday.

A poll by M&R Consultores showed Ortega with 33 percent support, followed by Harvard-educated banker Eduardo Montealegre with 25.4 percent.


The United States has openly opposed Ortega's candidacy and said relations could be threatened if he returns to power. Ortega lost the presidency in 1990, and has lost twice since then.

two-thirds of latin america has taken a left turn in the past few years... nicaragua will just be another name on the long list...

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Saddam trial verdict to be announced November 5

karl, you have GOT to be shitting me... if the american people are dumb enough to fall for this, we might just as well let bush and his criminals tear up the rest of the constitution and call it quits...
While it cannot definitively be said that the reason the senior Iraqi court in charge of Saddam Hussein's trial postponed its verdict in the case until two days before the November elections so that it would influence the midterms, the postponement suggests several obvious questions, including, most importantly: Given the Bush administration's history of timing national security-related actions to the political calendar, has the date for the verdict's release been set to provide maximum political benefit for the administration and congressional Republicans?

while i admire media matters restraint in saying "it cannot definitively be said," let me repeat - karl, you have GOT to be shitting me...

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Contribute, contribute, contribute

i haven't focused on making contributions or on candidates hardly at all, but, i can assure you, i've been forking over my limited assets to the extent i can, and following the nationwide goings-on carefully... this is your last shot to pony up, and, given the huge importance of the election coming up, i suggest you do just that... john at americablog, markos at daily kos, and duncan/atrios over at eschaton have been doing yeoman's work keeping worthy candidates in the spotlight... pay 'em a visit and strategically lay some green on this very high-stakes table... go on, cough it up...

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I do NOT suffer fools gladly, Cheney OR Snow

see if you can find where this mt. everest-size pile of steaming horseshit falls apart...
During a conservative radio interview earlier this week, Cheney was asked whether he agreed "that if it takes dunking a terrorist in water, we're all for it, if it saves American lives."

"It's a no-brainer for me," Cheney responded. "But for a while there I was being criticized as the vice president for torture."

Snow told the press that Cheney was denying that his comments were specifically referring to the practice known as "water boarding," which was seen as the first admission by a Bush administration official that terrorist detainees has been subjected to the practice which even some Republican Senators consider torture.

"You know as a matter of common sense that the vice president of the United States is not going to be talking about water boarding. Never would, never does, never will," Snow said. "You think Dick Cheney's going to slip up on something like this? No, come on."

As members of the press challenged Snow over and over again, the White House press secretary insisted that the vice president was maintaining that he did not make any comments about water boarding and that the question asked of Cheney was loosely worded.

if dick cheney is so goddam smart that he wouldn't "slip up on something like this," then he's certainly goddam smart enough to have made it abundantly clear at the time that he was referring to a mere "dunk in the water," NOT waterboarding... he knew absolutely what the fuck he was talking about, and no amount of spinning by tony snow or making accusations of "loosely worded" questions is going to make it otherwise... give us some credit... we're not ALL mental midgets out here...

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Required reading: Spiegel interviews Ron Suskind on torture and black sites

this is hugely informative and should be required reading... the foreign press, once again, puts their u.s. counterparts to shame by taking a solid researcher/reporter/journalist like ron suskind and plumbing his depths, precisely the kind of thing that u.s. media should do, but won't... read this carefully...

better yet, go read the whole thing...

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So the average interrogator at a Black Site understands more about the mistakes made than the president?

Suskind: The president understands more about the mistakes than he lets on. He knows what the most-skilled interrogators know too. He gets briefed, and he was deeply involved in this process from the beginning. The president loves to talk to operators.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The government's tenor seems to be that, with the transfer of the 14 prisoners, the system of Black Sites is ending.

Suskind: They were the prizes, the most significant of them. Are there others? Of course, they are in various places, in the sort of loose confederation of prisons that are housed simply within countries. The prisoners are farmed out but not beyond the purview of the United States, which is still interested in what they say. The Egyptians, Jordanians and others keep us informed. I assume there are still about 100 prisoners and that the system of Black Sites is continuing. The president has preserved his right to do that.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Does the transfer to Guantanamo mean that the system of the Black Sites will come to an end?

Suskind: No, the president reserved the right to continue this program.


SPIEGEL ONLINE: You quote former CIA director George Tenet in your book as saying after Sept. 11: "There is nothing we won't do, nothing we won't try." Are there any other dirty stories?

Suskind: Logically, I would have to say yes. You're dealing with an oddity here, a secret war. Wars tend to be very public things, they are visible. There are correspondents traveling with the troops and you get daily dispatches. This is a new conflict, fought largely in secret. The public is only informed a kind of "need to know basis." Based on that, I would assume that there remains something of an undiscovered country of activity in terms of what we have done over the past five years.


SPIEGEL ONLINE: So things were going well ... at least until the Iraq war?

Suskind: You can almost mark by the day how our human intelligence assets have withered. The chances of someone coming to the US authorities in this period are slim to none and that will blind us at a time when the terrorist threat has metastasized into what I call the franchise model. It is particulary difficult to discover prior to the operational moment.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: That has been a source deep frustration for the intelligence community.

Suskind: And that is why people in the counter-terrorism community in the United States are terrified at this point and why many cooperated with this book. They wanted to send out a signal and say: "We need to have a real strategy here that is not only tactically forceful, but where the left hand of the US foreign policy doesn't undermine what the right hand is doing." Right now we often run like a headless chicken. We need a strategy. And we need it immediately because, in some ways, we are less safe then we were on Sept. 12.

i differ with suskind (and many others) in what i freely admit is a very controversial way... i don't believe the bush administration has ever had any intention of keeping us safe... a chaotic, unpredictable, and dangerous terrorist community, particularly the "franchise model" that suskind alludes to, totally supports where bushco has been taking us for years - a nation subservient to fear and willing to sacrifice the u.s. constitution for empty promises of safety...

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Why I continue blogging altho' I average 150 hits a day

i rarely turn to navel-gazing, at least on the subject of blogging, but this post on the executioners thong prompted me to respond...
Ah but that is the great empty promise of blogging: You can say anything you want and imagine it is visible to the 100 million connected browsers the minute you hit "Publish Post". You lay out your cool idea, your expose' of local corruption or your insightful essay but nobody comes round to read it. It is up to you to do some of the work for the present crop of blog search facilities: you have to decide a category and and audience that best fit your writing. You have to find the blogroll, the blog alliance or the blog carnival where the traffic is more likely to come looking for your particular color and flavor of blogging. In short, if you want readers, you have to be of some recognized kind and bear the tags of that kind or plug your blog into an appropriate syndicate. To be sui generis, no matter how compelling, amusing and excellent your work, is to court obscurity.


Why one starts a blog is not necessarily why one continues it. Long running blogs are part of your identity, even when you blog under a pseudonym. It is of course a projection of some aspect of yourself to take on some voice and reflect on the world or report something in your life. This seems to be the dubious bedrock on which much non-professional blogging rests: "hey! Look at me". It is a need to be or at least imagine that you have been seen/heard/known/understood. As motive, that can always be put down but never put away. It abides. I took an enforced rest in August and September and found that I felt diminished both in confidence, capacity to write and sense of connection to the small audience I imagine I have. If one is not paid to blog and one is not seduced by and addicted to the hit counter, motive is not so clear.

i turned to blogging for a very simple reason... i desperately needed an outlet for the horror that has built inside me for the nearly 6 years of the reign of the criminal gang in washington... yes, initially, i sought traffic and was pleased to get any at all... i began to see how i could "tweak" my posts with highly-charged keywords and flirted for a while with the blog traffic exchange services... what's it's boiled down to for me, however, in the 20 months that i've been at it, is that, traffic notwithstanding, i have a deep need to stick with what i know is my own authentic voice... if someone else finds something worthwhile in that voice, well and good... i will continue putting out the pieces of what i believe suggest the larger pattern of what's happening, pieces that i believe tell a deeper story, and trust that any small impact that effort has is worthwhile... perhaps, more importantly, it helps me retain a grip on my own sanity as, hypnotized, i continue to watch the snake charmer play the cobra up out of the basket...

with all that said, i cannot shake the feeling deep in my gut that we are headed to some unforeseen, dramatic, and world-changing climax... there is just too much in play, and, if i've learned anything from my, admittedly, less-than-sophisticated studies of chaos and complexity theory, it's that everything is connected to everything else and that the "law of unintended consequences" rules...

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Black Jesus... Yay...! Very cool...

and about time too...

In 'Color of the Cross,'
Jean Claude LaMarre stars
as Jesus Christ. It is
the first time in American
film history that Jesus
has been portrayed as a
black man.

(thanks to raw story...)

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My hat is off to Michael J. Fox

there is absolutely NOTHING he could have said that would make me respect him any more than this...
I could give a damn about Rush Limbaugh’s pity or anyone else’s pity. I’m not a victim.”

i get goose bumps whenever someone's inner character shines forth, and, boy, is it ever shining for michael j. fox...

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Hans Blix, the professional's professional, gets shrill

among the countless victims of the illegal and disastrous u.s. invasion of iraq is the extraordinarily solid, completely professional, and totally apolitical hans blix... so, when a man who spent as much time in saddam's iraq as he has says something like this, it cannot be dismissed...
Former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix on Wednesday described the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq as a "pure failure" that had left the country worse off than under the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein.

In unusually harsh comments to Danish newspaper Politiken, the diplomatic Swede said the U.S. government had ended up in a situation in which neither staying nor leaving Iraq were good options.

"Iraq is a pure failure," Blix was quoted as saying. "If the Americans pull out, there is a risk that they will leave a country in civil war. At the same time it doesn't seem that the United States can help to stabilize the situation by staying there."

yep... between a rock and a hard place... sounds about right to me...

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Karl Rove and negative campaign advertising

in a previous post, in what i considered almost an aside, i offered the thought that it was karl rove's "slime and filth-encrusted template" that was guiding the tenor of the vicious negative campaign advertising we're seeing slither across our tv screens and being highlighted in today's wapo... well, not more than 30 minutes later, i read this...
[Scott Howell, the former political director for Rove's consulting firm in Texas] produced the controversial Republican National Committee ad targeting Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Harold Ford Jr., that some have called racist...

oh, goodness gracious... associated with karl rove...? what a STUNNING revelation...! TELL ME it's not true...

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How I've hungered for some good news from Fitz

so i finally got some... it's not a lot but it's definitely a soothing balm for my beleaguered soul... read it and rejoice...
With withering and methodical dispatch, White House nemesis and prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald yesterday sliced up the first person called to the stand on behalf of the vice president's former chief of staff.


[W]hen Fitzgerald got his chance to cross-examine Loftus about her findings, he had her stuttering to explain her own writings and backpedaling from her earlier assertions. Citing several of her publications, footnotes and the work of her peers, Fitzgerald got Loftus to acknowledge that the methodology she had used at times in her long academic career was not that scientific, that her conclusions about memory were conflicting, and that she had exaggerated a figure and a statement from her survey of D.C. jurors that favored the defense.


There were several moments when Loftus was completely caught off guard by Fitzgerald, creating some very awkward silences in the courtroom.

One of those moments came when Loftus insisted that she had never met Fitzgerald. He then reminded her that he had cross-examined her before, when she was an expert defense witness and he was a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office in New York.

Libby's defense team declined to comment.

when you get a "no comment" from libby's defense team, you KNOW you've scored a direct and devastating hit... all i can say is...


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The WaPo takes 10 paragraphs to mention one tiny fact

in a page one story, the wapo takes note of the extraordinarily debased level of political campaign advertising this year, something we all knew was coming and are now experiencing in full-tilt boogie...
While negative campaigning is a tradition in American politics, this year's version in many races has an eccentric shade, filled with allegations of moral bankruptcy and sexual perversion.

it take 'em 10 paragraphs, however, to mention this little tidbit, something which, by all rights, should have been the headline, and which, even then, isn't exactly the full truth...
The result has been a carnival of ugly, especially on the GOP side, where operatives are trying to counter what polls show is a hostile political environment by casting opponents as fatally flawed characters. The National Republican Campaign Committee is spending more than 90 percent of its advertising budget on negative ads, according to GOP operatives, and the rest of the party seems to be following suit.

"especially on the gop side" is an understatement... the dems have been taking great pains to run clear, clean ads, focusing on the issues that really matter, as it should be, and as the gop might stand more of a chance of doing themselves, if it was not for the slime and filth-encrusted template set forth by karl rove...

it has been my great good fortune to be out of the country during this election cycle, a fact that allows me the emotional distance to observe what's going on without having to wear a blood pressure cuff while doing it... if, every time i turned on the tv, i was being assaulted by these vicious campaign ads, i think i might have lost it much more than i already have...

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oh, dear... Rummy got a day pass from the home again...

imagine yourself sitting there, listening to a man babble like this... i don't know about you, but i'd nod, be courteous, try not to be patronizing, listen carefully, and try to find a moment to make a graceful exit... unfortunately, this man happens to be our secretary of defense and he's talking about how he's handling the iraq war, the biggest disaster in american history...
Well, it’s a political season. And everyone’s trying to make a little mischief out of this, and make — turn it into a political football, and see if we can’t get it on the front page of every newspaper and find a little daylight between what the Iraqis say or someone in the United States says or somebody else in the United States says.

And it is not complicated. I’ve explained it two or three times. The president did an excellent job of explaining it yesterday.

And the situation is this. It is that the United States, in the persons of our ambassador and the Embassy and General Casey and his team, have been, over a period of time, in continuous discussions with the Iraqi government at various levels. And they’ve been discussing the way forward through the rest of this year and next year. That’s a perfectly logical thing for them to do.


Now, you’re looking for some sort of a guillotine to come falling down if some date isn’t met. That is not what this is about.
This is complicated stuff. It’s difficult. We’re looking out into the future. No one can predict the future with absolute certainty.

So you ought to just back off, take a look at it, relax, understand that it’s complicated, it’s difficult. Honorable people are working on these things together. There isn’t any daylight between them. They’ll be discussing this and discussing that. They may have a change there, a change here. But it’ll get worked out.

good god almighty... how the HELL did we end up here...?

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Robert Parry jumps on the same thing I did earlier today

i wasn't quite so gentle as to call it "misunderstanding..." while i didn't use the words, to me, it's more of an "aiding and abetting" issue...
Peter Bergen, an influential expert on al-Qaeda, says a long-term U.S. military presence is needed in Iraq to thwart the terrorist group’s strategic goals. But Bergen appears to be basing his conclusion on a misunderstanding of recent intercepted internal communiqués.


If the CIA is correct that bin Laden wanted Bush to stay in the White House, it would follow that bin Laden also wanted the United States to stay militarily in Iraq. It was obvious to everyone that Bush’s famous stubbornness would not let him admit a mistake and pull U.S. forces out of Iraq.

In recent week, Bush has pounded the same theme that Bergen does in the New York Times – that a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq is what bin Laden wants.

yeah, ok, i also confessed earlier to the possibility i might be paranoid, and, if there was any doubt, what i am about to say next will prove it... however, i don't think that a prime space, nyt op-ed, appearing 13 days before the elections, shoring up president bush, is a coincidence... see... told ya... PARANOIA...!!

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Not featured in the traditional media: Why the GOP Should Lose in 2006

something else that deserves wide media attention, and, of course, won't get it...
Why are Republican conservatives calling for an end to One Party GOP Rule?

Why are many now discussing the virtues of divided government?

On what basis do they believe One Party Rule has dishonored conservative values?

The seven prominent Republican conservatives who contributed to the Washington Monthly remarkable feature article, "Time for Us to Go: Conservatives on Why the GOP Should Lose in 2006," did not dwell on contrived wedge issues promoted by Republican marketing consultants.

They focused, instead, on the neglected limited government ideals on which the conservative movement was founded:

  • individual freedom
  • fiscal responsibility
  • constitutional restraints on unchecked executive power
  • prudent and principled foreign policy
Why do these conservatives believe today's Republican Party has betrayed these values?

How has it come about that today's authoritarian, big government GOP has maintained the language of traditional conservatism even while mutating into a governing party whose policies produce the opposite?

Principled conservatives now widely recognize that the authoritarian, fear mongering, Big Brother, big government ideology peddled by GOP politicians and pseudo-populist radio demagogues is anything but conservative.

as many have started to notice, the republican party is no longer the republican party... i'm not sure what it IS, but those who jokingly refer to it as "the borg" may not be too far off...

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The mid-term elections are being used to fog preparations to attack Iran

yes, the mid-term elections are important... god only knows, they're HUGELY important, but, as with so many other issues over the past six years, the bush administration is using american media's preoccupation with the events of the moment to obscure their relentless assault on every other front we hold dear... case in point, from daniel ellsberg, writing in harpers...
A hidden crisis is under way. Many government insiders are aware of serious plans for war with Iran, but Congress and the public remain largely in the dark. The current situation is very like that of 1964, the year preceding our overt, open-ended escalation of the Vietnam War, and 2002, the year leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In both cases, if one or more conscientious insiders had closed the information gap with unauthorized disclosures to the public, a disastrous war might have been averted entirely.

i posted on this just the other day, quoting from william polk, writing on the website of george mason university's history news network...

(thanks to repository...)

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EU nations complicit in U.S. extraordinary renditions

the italian kidnapping case is bringing the issue back to light...
The extent to which some European states turned a blind eye to the more sinister aspects of the United States' war on terror is becoming ever more apparent. For some European Union countries, the rule of law seems to have been an inconvenient obstacle when it came to cooperating with CIA agents both in Europe and in countries with less than exemplary human rights records.

The latest capital to feel the heat is Rome. On Wednesday the head of the Italian parliament's secret services committee said the question of whether the government had been aware of plans to snatch an Egyptian cleric in Milan was a state secret. However, prosecutors don't just believe Rome knew of the plans, they allege that Italian secret service agents actively aided the CIA. After wrapping up their investigation earlier this month, Milan prosecutors are expected to indict the country's top spy, Nicolo Pollari, the head of Italy's military intelligence agency SISMI, on charges connected to the kidnapping.

"the rule of law seems to have been an inconvenient obstacle..." < scratches head > now, WHERE have i heard this issue raised before...?

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Waking up in the middle of the night, thinking about Karl Rove

yeah, i know... i probably should seek help, but this story from yesterday evidently lodged somewhere in my lower brain...
After [NPR] midterm election interviewer Robert Siegel stated that "many might consider you on the optimistic end of realism" regarding Republican hopes to retain both Houses in November, Rove suggested that the NPR host was biased.

"Not that you would be exhibiting a bias or anything like that," Rove said. "You're just making a comment."

"I'm looking at all the same polls that you're looking at every day," Seigel responded

"No you're not!" Rove exclaimed.

Rove said that he was reviewing 68 polls a week, and that "unlike the general public, I'm allowed to see the polls on the individual races," as opposed to public polls reported in the media.

"You may be looking at four or five public polls a week that talk about attitudes nationally, but that do not impact the outcome," Rove said.

Rove claimed that the polls "add up to a Republican Senate and a Republican House."

"You may end up with a different math, but you're entitled to your math," Rove said. "I'm entitled to 'the' math."

in my observations of karl rove, he doesn't make statements merely for effect... he makes them because he is confident they can be backed up... so, there i am, in the middle of the night, lying in bed, wanting to fall back asleep, but unable to stop wondering just exactly what would make him so goddam confident... and, as has occurred to me countless times during the past few weeks, only two possibilities come to mind...

one, election-rigging... picture this... the night of november 7... election results are pouring in, beginning with the east and moving west... several key states are reporting very close races, just like florida in 2000 and ohio in 2004... they could break either way... but, magically, as the percentage of precincts reporting tails off, a slim margin favors the r's... not in a LOT of states, mind you... just enough to keep the r's in the majority in both the house and senate... will we be able to mount a challenge...? more than that, if we DO mount a challenge, what is the chance that it would be EFFECTIVE...? what proof will we have...? where will be the smoking gun...? meanwhile, rove will be standing there on the sidelines, smirking, preening, and crowing about HIS superior polling data, HIS math...

two, the yet-to-be-revealed "october surprise..."

am i being paranoid...? i suppose it depends on what kind of frame you put around this kind of thinking... what i do know is that my trust in our system is virtually dead and that distresses me a great deal...

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R's crying "FOUL...????" Make my day!

< laughs hysterically, wipes eyes, continues laughing
hysterically >

"For House Republicans, it seems that every week brings a new report about a GOP lawmaker under investigation by the Justice Department for alleged corruption," John Bresnahan writes. "And with the elections just 12 days away, Republicans are crying foul, complaining bitterly that the negative press spurred by the public disclosure of those criminal probes could help cost them their House majority."

"While a Justice Department run by Republican appointees who were nominated by a conservative Republican president would normally get the benefit of the doubt from GOP lawmakers and staffers, some party insiders are privately wondering whether 'rogue elements' within the department — and more specifically the Public Integrity Unit, where corruption cases are handled — are trying to tip the election to Democrats by leaking news of these investigations so late in the cycle," the article continues.

< tries to catch breath, continues to laugh hysterically >

the masters of foul play cry foul... make my day...

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Bush's news conference - same ol' same ol'

same circus, same clowns, and damn near the same script, but there are still people out there buying this snake oil...
[U]nder his sober mien and a newfound insistence on adaptability, he appeared to be quietly digging in his heels. "Our goals are unchanging," he emphasized in his opening remarks. "We are flexible in our methods to achieving those goals."

His bottom line was that "we'll work as fast as we can get the job done." That open-ended commitment to an unchanging goal doesn't seem different from the answer being given by Bush administration officials three years and 2,802 U.S. military deaths ago -- that the U.S. effort in Iraq would last "as long as it takes."

i don't want to hear ANYTHING more from him - good news, bad news, flexibility, victory, gwot, ANYTHING... i just want him and his best buds OUTTA THERE...

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High irony: Iraq is HALTING moves toward democracy in Syria

oh, man... if THIS ain't a nail in the bushco coffin, i don't know what is...
Horror at the bloodshed accompanying the U.S. effort to bring democracy to Iraq has accomplished what human rights activists, analysts and others say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had been unable to do by himself: silence public demands for democratic reforms here.


Advocates of democracy are equated now with supporters of America, even "traitors," said Maan Abdul Salam, 36, a Damascus publisher who has coordinated conferences on women's rights and similar topics.

"Now, talking about democracy and freedom has become very difficult and sensitive," Salam said. "The people are not believing these thoughts anymore. When the U.S. came to Iraq, it came in the name of democracy and freedom. But all we see are bodies, bodies, bodies."

this story should be front-paged across the u.s., not buried on page A18 of the wapo...

p.s. condi... george... bite me...

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Perpetuating a false meme: al Qaeda wants the U.S. to pull out of Iraq

all intelligence points to the fact that al qaeda wants nothing more than for the u.s. to REMAIN in iraq... why...? think about it... it's no mystery... every iraqi that gets killed can be used to create a fresh wave of fervor for the insurgency and attract more volunteers to the cause of the global jihad against the western "satan..." do i think a precipitous pull-out is wise...? probably not, but, given how badly broken the system there is at this point, i fail to see how we stand any chance of setting things right - assuming we even WANT to, which is something i don't believe the bush cabal has any desire to do, despite their protestations to the contrary... meanwhile, peter bergen of the new america foundation, falls right into line with bushco's false meme, that pulling out of iraq would only serve to strengthen al qaeda...
A total withdrawal from Iraq would play into the hands of the jihadist terrorists ... [and] would fit all too neatly into Osama bin Laden’s master narrative about American foreign policy.

there's more, but why waste bandwidth... the new america foundation is home for steve clemons, the publisher of the washington note weblog... i am beginning to have more and more doubts about both that organization and about steve, some of which i expressed the other day concerning his recommendation of project for the new american century signatories for important state department vacancies... now this...

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Sticking a finger in the eye of the Senate, Bush makes another recess appointment

yes, i know most blogs are squarely focused on the fast-approaching elections... that's fine, and i'm glad they are... however, the bush administration continues to play fast and loose, manipulating every facet of government to continue pursuing their money-grabbing and power-accumulating agenda...

what follows, in contravention of the "fair use" standard, is a full nyt editorial from today's edition that once again clearly illustrates how bushco doesn't miss a single beat his relentless pursuit of pushing the united states down the road to ruin... read it... read it all... it's a quick case study on just what bush and his gang of criminals is all about...

Despite being twice rebuffed by the Senate, President Bush has named Richard Stickler, a stolid mining industry careerist, to run the mine safety agency whose serial ineptitude has been laid bare this year by the deaths of 42 mineworkers. Waiting until the Senate left town for the elections, Mr. Bush resorted to a recess appointment to place Mr. Stickler at the heart of enforcing new safety reforms that, in earlier hearings, the appointee himself had claimed were not at all that necessary.

To the contrary, these reforms became a crying need brought home to the nation from the depths of the Sago mine disaster in West Virginia, where 12 workers died in January. Sago presented a clinic in failed government oversight. The new law would double a miner’s emergency oxygen to two hours; mandate electronic devices to track trapped miners; and repair the damage originally done by the administration in cutting more than 200 mine safety inspectors in the name of budget economy.

Mr. Stickler points to his six years as Pennsylvania mine safety chief to rebut criticism that he is the latest example in the administration’s dangerous history of packing safety agencies with pro- industry regulators. But the bulk of his career was in corporate management of mines. Miners and lawmakers have cited the federal agency’s own data in warning that injury rates at his mines were higher than the national average. The administration’s pro-industry tack is a running scandal exemplified by Steven Griles, a mining lobbyist who was appointed deputy secretary of the interior. Mr. Griles devoted four years to rolling back mine regulations and then returned to lobbying for an industry long known for its patronage clout with politicians.

Senate opposition to Mr. Stickler reached the point that the nomination was twice withheld. The Republican majority leader, Bill Frist, said that if the president resorted to a recess appointment — a device guaranteeing Mr. Stickler at least a year in office — the Senate would schedule a showdown vote in response. Senator Frist must be held to his promise. Lawmakers should demand a bulldog enforcement director rather than another industry lapdog.

i am always grimly amused to read exhortations directed toward any member of the republican ruling cabal... after nearly six years, how anyone can, in their wildest dreams, believe that encouraging one of them to do the right thing will have any impact whatsoever, is beyond me...

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Does desperation lead to temporary insanity?

looks like it might do just that...
An embattled Indiana congressman has launched a new campaign ad that warns a vote for his Democratic opponent could trigger a shift in House leadership and advance a "homosexual agenda."

In the one-minute radio ad paid for by Friends of Rep. John Hostettler, an announcer impersonating Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" character says a vote for challenger Brad Ellsworth would be a vote for California Democrat Nancy Pelosi as House speaker.

"Pelosi will then put in motion her radical plan to advance the homosexual agenda, led by Barney Frank, reprimanded by the House after paying for sex with a man who ran a gay brothel out of Congressman Frank's home," the narrator says.

sounds like a elementary schoolboy when confronted with the thought of kissing a girl... "ewwwwwwww..." we all know girls have cooties and the dems are out to make you gay... puh-l-e-e-e-e-eze... spare me...

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U.S. Embassy in Iraq - another quagmire of brutalizing contractors and profiteering

and we are suprised because...?
The Kuwait-headquartered, Lebanese-run company [First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting, the lead builder for the new 592-million-dollar U.S. embassy in Baghdad] has billed several billion dollars on U.S. contracts since the war began in March 2003. Much of its work is performed by cheap labour largely hired from South Asia and the company has an estimated 7,500 foreign labourers in the theatre of war.

Now, with a highly secretive contract awarded by the U.S. State Department, First Kuwaiti is in the midst of building the most expensive and heavily fortified U.S. embassy in the world. Scheduled to open in 2007, the sprawling complex near the Tigris River will equal Vatican City in size.

But Owen says that working on the project proved to be one of the worst jobs he has ever had in his 27 years of construction work.

Not one of the five different U.S. embassy sites Owen had worked on around the world previously compared to the mess he describes. Armenia, Bulgaria, Angola, Cameroon and Cambodia all had their share of dictators, violence and economic disruption, but the companies building the embassies were always fair and professional, he says. First Kuwaiti is the exception. Brutal and inhumane, he says "I've never seen a project more f*cked up. Every U.S. labour law was broken."

Seven months after signing on with First Kuwaiti in November 2005, he quit.

In his resignation letter last June, Owen told First Kuwaiti and U.S. State Department officials that his managers physically assaulted and beat the construction workers, demonstrated little regard for worker safety, and routinely breached security.

And it was all happening smack in the middle of the U.S.-controlled Green Zone, he said -- right under the nose of the State Department that had quietly awarded the controversial embassy contract in July 2005.

and guess what OTHER contracting company is hovering in the background...?
Some contractors, many working as subcontractors to Halliburton/KBR in Iraq, were found to be using deceptive, bait-and-switch hiring practices and charging recruiting fees that indebted low-paid migrant workers for many months or even years to their employers. Contractors were also accused of providing substandard, crowded sleeping quarters, serving poor food, and circumventing Iraqi immigration procedures.

While the Pentagon declines to specifically name those contractors found to be doing business in this way, it also acknowledged in an Apr. 19 memorandum that it was a widespread practice among contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan to take away workers' passports. Holding onto employee passports -- a direct violation of U.S. labour trafficking laws -- helped stop workers from leaving war-torn Iraq or taking better jobs with other contractors.

obviously, when we weren't looking, the u.s. quietly decided to once again condone slavery...

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Wow...! More Spiegel, this time on the U.S. dollar

same guy, same online magazine, another excerpt from the same book... and, once again, why can't we get this kind of perspective from our domestic media...? oh, never mind... that's an idiotic question... i keep forgetting that OUR media doesn't report NEWS... they're simply the p.r. arm for the government...
The following essay has been excerpted from the German best-seller "World War for Wealth: The Global Grab for Power and Prosperity" by SPIEGEL editor Gabor Steingart.

The only way to fight a weak dollar is to strengthen it. Many people no longer care whether the US currency still justifies the faith people seem to have in it. The new game, which amounts to playing with fire, works exactly the other way around: The dollar deserves the faith it gets because otherwise it loses that faith. Dollars are bought so they don't have to be sold. The dollar is strong because that's the only thing that can prevent it from growing weak. Reality is ignored because only by ignoring it can the dream come true. Or, to put it still more clearly: Behaving irrationally has become rational behavior.

Of course, those playing this game know that, in the long term, currencies can't be stronger than the national economies from which they derive. Consumption without production, imports without exports, growth on credit -- these are all things that can't last in this world. Ken Rogoff, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a man who thinks as clearly as he speaks brashly, recently criticized US economic policy even as he seemed to be praising it: Rogoff said the current boom in the United States is "the best economic recovery money can buy."


Everyone knows how dangerous the game is, but continuing to play it strikes them as less dangerous than quitting. After all, what's to be gained from overreacting? Investors allowed themselves to get caught in the dollar trap years ago, and there's no easy way out. If they start taking their dollar bills and government bonds to the market themselves, they would lose money -- either gradually or all at once. They would like to avoid both scenarios, at least for a time. A president who does no more than recognize the situation as an important issue may lose his position as public discontent looks for a vent. Though the governors of the Federal Reserve Bank are under the strongest obligation to tell the truth, they have let the right moment for effective intervention slip by.

does any of this ring true...? sure does to me... and, in tried and true bushco fashion, denial is at the heart of the strategic plan...
Incidentally, the commission that former US President Bill Clinton created to investigate the negative balance of trade concluded in clear terms that the government has to do whatever it can to put an end to the growing disparity between imports and exports. It demanded that the public give up its optimism and return to realism, that people start saving again and that the state reduce its imports in order to prevent too hard a crash landing.

None of that has been done. In fact, what is being done is the opposite of everything the experts recommended. Debt is growing, imports are increasing and an optimism now lacking every basis in reality has become official state policy. Lester Thurow, a member of Clinton's commission, draws the sober conclusion that no one will believe the US balance of trade could produce a crisis "until it happens."

the problem with denial as a economic strategy is that the only thing that will break through it is when you hit the wall... not the best recipe for the management of the economy, i would posit...

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The true picture of the U.S. and its economy - from GERMANY?

< sigh > while we're still chin-deep in the endlessly toadying traditional u.s. media view of the u.s. (how great we are, how powerful we are, how strong the economy is, how everybody else sucks), the german spiegel magazine online international edition offers more straight talk about the state of affairs in the u.s. than anything i've seen so far... here's a teaser...
[The] undoubtedly superior United States doesn't exist anymore. As a center of power, it is still more powerful than others, but for some years now that energy has been flowing in the opposite direction. Today, Asian, Latin American and European nations are also playing a role in the United States's productive core. The world's greatest exporter became its greatest importer. The most important creditor became the most important debtor.

and here's a few eye-opening facts...
  • Today, foreigners dispose of assets in the United States with a net value of $2.5 trillion, or 21 percent of gross domestic product. Nine percent of shares, 17 percent of corporate bonds and 24 percent of government bonds are held by foreigners.
  • Within ... two decades, the income of the lowest fifth sank by 1.4 percent. The second fifth still managed to gain by 6.2 percent, the third by 11.1 percent and the fourth by 19 percent. At the tip of the pyramid - where the promoters and planners of globalization reside, and those who profit most from it - income gains climbed by 42 percent.
  • In the span of only a few decades, US industry has shrunken to half what it once was. It makes up only 17 percent of the country's GDP, compared to 26 percent in Europe.
  • Every important national economy in the world now exports products to the United States without purchasing an equivalent amount of US goods in return. The US trade deficit with China was about $200 billion dollars in 2005; it was a solid $80 billion with Japan; and more than $120 billion with Europe. The United States can't even achieve a surplus in its trade with less developed national economies like those of Ukraine and Russia. Everyday, container-laden ships arrive in the United States - and after they unload their wares at American ports, many return home empty.
i think it's very important to note that this scenario has been developing for over 20 years, well before the current gang of criminals seized power... the other thing that must be pointed out is that those at the top of the income pyramid - the 42 percenters - are drawing in that money from around the globe... they hold no allegiance to the united states and have no interest in any common good other than their own... to them, the u.s. economy is a tool toward their own ends...

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Karl Rove agrees with Hannity: Democrats shouldn't vote

by cozying up to sean hannity the week after hannity encouraged democratic voters * to "stay home on election day," adding that, "your vote doesn't matter anyway," rove demonstrates, yet again, how completely devoted he is to whatever it takes to stay in power, no matter how malicious, destructive, or polarizing those tactics may be...

(* see my post from yesterday...)

Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser,
is interviewed by radio talk show host Sean
Hannity, right. Hannity and 39 other mostly
conservative radio hosts were invited to join
top officials and broadcast from a large tent
on the White House grounds.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Laptop search and seizure

i became acquainted with this little goodie the hard way - by having my laptop seized as i was returning to the states from europe going through customs at the san francisco airport... they kept it for three weeks, seriously hampering my business and personal correspondence, and certainly allowing enough time to copy whatever and add whatever... welcome to george bush's amerika...
A lot of business travelers are walking around with laptops that contain private corporate information that their employers really do not want outsiders to see.

Until recently, their biggest concern was that someone might steal the laptop. But now there's a new worry: the laptop will be seized or its contents scrutinized at customs and immigration checkpoints upon entering the United States.

Although much of the evidence for the confiscations remains anecdotal, it is a hot topic this week among more than a thousand corporate travel managers and travel industry officials meeting in Barcelona at a conference of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives.

Last week, an informal survey by the association, which has about 2,500 members worldwide, indicated that almost 90 percent of its members were not aware that U.S. customs officials have the authority to scrutinize the contents of travelers' laptops and even confiscate them for a period of time, without giving a reason. Appeals are under way in some confiscation cases, but the law is clear.

"They don't need probable cause to perform these searches under the current law," said Tim Kane, a Washington lawyer who is researching the matter for corporate clients. "They can do it without suspicion or without really revealing their motivations."

it's a crock of shit... be aware...

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Cheney is a robot

i knew it, i knew it, i just KNEW it...

(thanks to the prissy patriot...)

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Give Keith a hand

(thanks to bigdog04 at daily kos...)

here's what i wrote...
Dear Colleagues,

I have written several emails directly to Mr. Olbermann expressing my profound gratitude over his willingness to speak the truth at a time when our country is in deeper trouble than I would have ever imagined possible. Now, I am writing directly to you at MSNBC.

To know that there is someone with the courage to say what needs to be said in a public forum gives me some small ray of hope. I can only imagine that the pressure on MSNBC to silence Mr. Olbermann coming from multiple conservative elements is intense. I beg of you, don't bow to that pressure. Mr. Olbermann is nothing less than the Edward R. Murrow of the 21st century, and is a shining example of what real patriotism (as opposed to the phony "you're either with us or against us" variety) is all about.

I am more than willing for my name to be used or to be contacted directly. I am currently living part-time in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but am reachable through my phone number in the U.S., my phone number here, or, of course, through email.

Keep my hope alive and don't put a muzzle on Mr. Olbermann.

Best regards,

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Well, gol-l-l-eeee! Tenet goes to work for a Carlyle-affiliated company

who woulda thunk it...? ya, right...

Former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet has joined the British research firm thought to have provided the inspiration for 'Q', the character who creates spy gadgets for James Bond.

Tenet has been appointed an independent non-executive director of QinetiQ, the company said on Tuesday.

"I am especially interested in the capacity of the company's technologies to meet a number of the challenges faced by our nations' military and intelligence personnel," Tenet said.

One of the longest serving U.S. spymasters in history, Tenet was CIA director from 1997 to 2004.

He served under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush before quitting in June 2004, citing personal reasons.

Critics blamed the CIA during his reign for shortcomings in intelligence gathered in the run-up to war in Iraq and questioned whether more could have been done to predict the September 11 hijackings.

QinetiQ is partly owned by U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group, whose advisers have included former U.S. President George Bush and former British Prime Minister John Major.

Once a secretive part of Britain's Ministry of Defense, the firm was listed on the London Stock Exchange in February.

it must have been the presidential medal of freedom item on his resume that sealed the deal...

let's take a look behind door #3 and see what george (tenet, that is) has won...!

QinetiQ is one of the world's leading defence technology and security companies. In today's world the challenges faced by governments to detect, identify and respond to both defence and homeland security threats requires the most advanced technical capabilities science can offer.

QinetiQ was founded from the world's first top flight national defence laboratory to transition to the private sector. It gives customers access to the output of 50 years of national investment at the forefront of technology. Today, the Group has grown to offer its global customer base technology rich services and solutions, from an expanding base of leading capabilities in both Europe and North America.

We operate at the leading edge of technology which enables us to give our civil customers access to solutions that are often beyond those readily available in commercial markets.

now, go take a look at what THEY can do for YOU...!
Core Skills
*Avionics & Vetronics
*Avionics System Integration
*Electro-optic Systems and Products
*Sensors, Processing and Modelling
*Airspace Management
*Civil Airspace Management
*Integrated Air Command Systems (iacs)
*Centre for Human Sciences
*Human Science Facilities
*Clinical Trials and Assessment
*Vibration Exposure - the new regulations
*Marine & Acoustics
*Marine & Acoustic Product Engineering
*Navy Underwater Battlespace
*Remote Technologies
*Torpedo Defence
*Electric Drive Comms Buoy Systems
*Network Enabled Systems
*Distributed Information Management
*Distributed Processing
*Agile Communications
*Absolutely secure communications
*Technical and Management Consultancy
*Enterprise Transformation
*Operational Research
*Procurement Support
*Safety and Environmental Solutions
*Technology Insight
*Technology & Business Strategy
*Energetic Materials
*Propulsion & Delivery Systems
*Guidance and Imaging
*Lethal Mechanisms
*Weapon Systems
*Customer Leaflets for Weapons
*Advanced Processing
*Surveillance & Security Technology
*Calibration Services & Asset Management
*Energy Technologies
*Fuels and Lubricants
*Marine Survivability
*Underwater Systems Integration
*Weapon Systems Integration
*Obsolescence Management
*Spectrum Solutions
*EMC Testing & Consultancy
*Electronic Surveillance and Countermeasures
*Radar Sensors
*Radar Sensors and Consultancy
*RF Sensor Technologies
*Millimetre Wave Radar
*Electromagnetic Assessment and Research Services
*Customer Leaflets
*Trusted Experts
*cueSim - Simulation & Training
*Aerodynamics Integration
*Air Systems Technology
*Gas Turbine Performance
*Integrated Engine Management
*Noise and Acoustics
*Wireless Solutions
*Maritime Communications
*Air and Land Communications
*Mobile and Secure Information Networks
*Intelligence & Control
*Crew and Decision Systems
*Simulation, Training & UAVs
*Nanomaterials Nanomaterials
*Applied Materials
*Smart Materials
*Titanium Metal Injection Moulding (MIM)
*Advanced Microsystems Engineering
*Quantum Electronics
*Passive Millimetre Wave Systems
*Photonics and Displays
*Remote Sensing
*Thermal Imaging
*Asset Performance Management
*Land Systems Engineering & Design
*Land Vehicle Systems

wouldn'tcha just LOVE to know what all that shit is about...? well, as a former defense contractor employee (many lives removed), i can tell ya... none of it is pretty, and some of it is downright shocking despite the deliberately benign verbiage... go check it out and see what you think...

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Why in god's name is Clemons recommending Khalizad?

(note: i meant to post on this yesterday but it slipped through the cracks...)

i've stated repeatedly that i have a lot of respect for steve clemons, but i have to wonder sometimes just where his head is at... first he recommends paula dobriansky as bolton's replacement as u.s. ambassador to the u.n., and now he's recommending zalmay khalizad to replace robert zoellick... and what do these two folks have in common...? why, they're both among the original signatories on the project for the new american century's 1997 manifesto...

Who will get former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick's job?

The real answer to this question is that R. Nicholas Burns should be. If not Burns, then the person Condi should nominate is US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad.

(click on the image to view a
larger version and see all the
guilty parties...)

sorry, anybody who signed up with that outfit shares responsibility for the goddam mess we're in now, and, as far as i'm concerned, they're war criminals, and don't deserve any position of public service in this country, their credentials be damned... who's he going to recommend next, bill kristol (also a signatory)...?

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Oh, and btw, folks... Don't forget, we're poised to strike on Iran...

the traditional media has, no surprise, been mia on this one... however, i would very much like for someone more informed and connected than i am to offer up some thoughts on what the implications for the up-coming elections would be if an iran attack was launched within the next two weeks... anybody care to volunteer...?
Moves toward War with Iran: Part 2
By William R. Polk

Mr. Polk was the member of the U.S. Policy Planning Council responsible for the Middle East from 1961 to 1965. Subsequently, he was professor of history and director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago and later president of the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs.

In my first article, I set out why I think an American attack on Iran is likely.


The Washington Post has reported that at least since March, large teams have been working on invasion plans in the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies, while the Iran “desk” at the State Department has been augmented to task force size. It reports to Elizabeth Cheney, daughter of the vice president, who is assistant secretary of state for the Near East. In the Pentagon, a similar organization has been established under Neoconservative Abram Shulsky. In addition a new outpost has been set up in Dubai to coordinate plans. On October 2, a powerful naval battle group around the giant aircraft carrier Eisenhower sailed for the Persian Gulf and is due to arrive a week before the November Congressional elections to join a similar battle group led by the aircraft carrier Enterprise. Meanwhile aircraft of the U.S. Air Force are being readied in bases surrounding Iran and in distant locations. These forces could deliver destructive power that would dwarf the aerial assaults on Iraq.

polk obviously has his shit together when talking about the when, the how, and the bogus why... what i want to know is this... is it coming within the next two weeks, and, if so, what the hell is it going to do to domestic politics...?

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Why is a malicious bastard like Hannity allowed time on public airwaves?

let's do our country a favor and get him the hell out... media matters is leading the charge...
Last week on his nationally syndicated radio show, Fox News host Sean Hannity encouraged Democratic voters to "stay home on Election Day," adding that, "your vote doesn't matter anyway." He asserted that Democrats should not turn out to vote "for the sake of the nation" because Democrats' votes "won't change who occupies the White House" and Democratic "candidates have absolutely no idea how to win the war on terrorism."

On the same program, Hannity misrepresented the Democratic Party platform, stating: "I don't think abandoning our troops on the battlefield, or closing your eyes to enemy communications or listening to enemy communications in our country, or killing the economy, or supporting illegal immigration, I don't think that's something to run on."

Comments like this demonstrate how Hannity and other right-wing media figures hope to impact the upcoming election -- regardless of their spin about being objective.

Please click here and tell your friends about this Fox News commentator's rabidly partisan attacks.

if there weren't so many other unbelievable things out there, this would be front page news...

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A deaf ear was turned to those attempting to stop U.S. torture

another good news/bad news story... the good news is that it's somewhat comforting to know that there were at least some people out there trying to salvage the principles our country supposedly holds dear... the bad news is that it didn't work...
In extensive interviews with, former leaders of the Defense Department’s Criminal Investigation Task Force said they repeatedly warned senior Pentagon officials beginning in early 2002 that the harsh interrogation techniques used by a separate intelligence team would not produce reliable information, could constitute war crimes, and would embarrass the nation when they became public knowledge.

The investigators say their warnings began almost from the moment their agents got involved at the Guantanamo prison camp, in January 2002. When they could not prevent the harsh interrogations and humiliation of detainees at Guantanamo, they say, they tried in 2003 to stop the spread of those tactics to Iraq, where abuses at Abu Ghraib prison triggered worldwide outrage with the publishing of graphic photos in April 2004.

the even worse news is that january 2002 is a mere few months removed from 9/11, which means the u.s. use of torture-based interrogation techniques started immediately and had probably been part of the plan from the get-go... so, we now have a continuous record of over five years of criminal behavior... lovely...

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THIS is why the U.S. doesn't want people to escape poverty

read this, and then tell me why you think the u.s. would have ANY interest whatsoever in helping ANY country reduce poverty and raise the standard of living of its population...
Humans are stripping nature at an unprecedented rate and will need two planets' worth of natural resources every year by 2050 on current trends, the WWF conservation group said on Tuesday.

Populations of many species, from fish to mammals, had fallen by about a third from 1970 to 2003 largely because of human threats such as pollution, clearing of forests and overfishing, the group also said in a two-yearly report.

"For more than 20 years we have exceeded the earth's ability to support a consumptive lifestyle that is unsustainable and we cannot afford to continue down this path," WWF Director-General James Leape said, launching the WWF's 2006 Living Planet Report.

"If everyone around the world lived as those in America, we would need five planets to support us," Leape, an American, said in Beijing.

so, the answer is simple, right...? let's keep it to just TWO planet's worth instead of FIVE, and make sure we take ours off the top...

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Blackmailing the Ecuadorian poor

dontcha just love the way this story makes it sound like poor dole, a notorious, 100-year plus exploiter of the populations of poor countries, just couldn't seem to make a profit because ecuador has no free trade agreement with the u.s...?
For weeks, the rumor had circulated through the greenhouses and fields of the flower export business here: The American owner was going to abandon the country.

Then the rumor became reality. The owner, a division of the giant Dole Food Co., announced this month that it would close this farm and another in a nearby town, wiping out 850 jobs, as it sought to streamline operations.

"They said it was not a bankruptcy, but that business was not good," said Teresa Ayala, 36, a mother of three who worked for seven years at Middle of the World Flowers. "Our supervisor said we paid higher tariffs."

The closing, Dole executives said, was based on a number of factors, including rising costs and stiff competition from other overseas growers. But those costs were clearly made more onerous by the fact that Ecuador had no trade agreement with Washington.

so, what's a poor country like ecuador supposed to do...?
"This is the first signal, the alarm bell, that gives us an idea of what would happen in this sector and others in the country if we don't move forward to make ourselves more competitive," said Ignacio Pérez, executive director of Ecuador's Association of Flower Producers and Exporters, a Quito-based group representing 185 growers.

and, what, pray tell, mr. pérez, does making ecuador "more competitive" look like...? possibly, something like this...?
Workers here are now wondering if a trade deal would not have served them better.

"Losing this is hard, real hard," said Onorio Nicolalde, 38, as he left the farm with a gaggle of other workers. "I don't know where I'll find work."

"I cried because my youth ended there," said Rosa Caza, 41, who said she started working at the farm 18 years ago, long before Dole took over.

"It would have been better if they had signed a free-trade deal," she said. "Maybe they wouldn't have closed."

that's right... it's all about money - u.s. money - and the poor be damned... and, if they don't like the way we want them to do business, we'll just freeze 'em out and they can go back to being even poorer... is the u.s. a great country or what...?

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So, the Dems take over Congress... And then...? And THEN...?

glenn greenwald...
As much wrongdoing as we have learned about on the part of Bush administration already, it is almost certainly the case that there is much, much more that we don't know about, but ought to.

i've said the same thing repeatedly... what we DO know, i'm sure, pales in comparison with what we DON'T... glenn, however, has a somewhat more optimistic view than i do of what might happen with a possible dem congressional takeover...
[T]he real power [of a Democratic takeover of Congress] will be to investigate and expose the conduct of the Bush administration and to reveal to Americans what has really been going on.

It is difficult to overstate how crucial that is for exposing what the Republican Party has become and undermining those who control it. The administration has been able to ward off even the most incriminating accusations and disclosures because they control the primary sources of information. They can deny anything, selectively release misleading exculpatory information, and operate in the darkest shadows and behind the highest walls of secrecy. As a result, disclosures about what they have done are always piecemeal and easily obscured. But full-fledged hearings will shine a bright light on what the administration has really been doing, and that will enable the public to get a full picture of the true state of affairs.

ah, yes, that would certainly be nice... particularly in light of the unbelievable deceptions, à la the one described below, that have been perpetrated on a dazed and drugged media and citizenry...
The notion that those opposed to illegal warrantless eavesdropping are opposed to eavesdropping on terrorists is not just political spin, but is an outright lie. That is just not the position that anyone has. It genuinely never ceases to amaze that our political system is so broken, and our national journalists so profoundly fail in fulfilling their central function, that the most widely regarded political consultants think (correctly) that they can get away with such blatantly dishonest claims like this. But they can get away with them, and do, in large part because the secrecy behind which the administration operates ensures that nothing about what they do is clearly understood. A healthily functioning democracy depends upon transparency and a well-informed citizenry, and that is exactly what we have lacked for virtually the entire Bush presidency.

but, do i think things are going to change like glenn does...?
Investigations, hearings and subpoenas will change all of that.

believe me, i'd LIKE to believe, but i am concerned about two major unknowns... first of all, i am not all that optimistic about a dem congressional takeover... why...? put bluntly, to me, election fraud seems not only possible but likely... nor should we count out karl rove and his penchant for pulling vicious, twisted, mutant rabbits out of hats at the last minute... either or both of those could leave us with even more of a mess than we already have... two, i am not at all convinced that the dems, even with a takeover, have either the collective ability or the political will to go to the mat to get stuff out in the open... their nearly six year record has been dismal, and looking for that to magically change in the space of a few weeks is, imho, a dangerously naive view, no matter how desirable... so, like the rest of us, i'm going to be on tenterhooks until the last results come in on november 7, at which time i will do one of two things - proceed immediately to the nearest tall building or open a bottle of sparkling sidra...

(thanks again to lukery at wot is it good 4...)

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Time's Cheney "interview" - another freedom of the press masterstroke

first, froomkin sets the stage...
[Time Magazine's] Mike Allen and James Carney scored an exclusive interview with Vice President Cheney last week, in the sitting room of his official residence.

But it just as well might have been a tea party.

Here's the full text , which features such tough and provocative questions as:

"Goodness. And do you miss your grandchildren?"

And: "You and the president, this administration seems -- based on public opinion polls -- seem not to get the credit it deserves, certainly you probably feel that way, for the economy. Why is that? Is it the gas prices? Is it the housing bust? Is it Iraq?"

And my favorite exchange:

"Q: And may we ask two questions about the future? Mr. Vice President, do you plan to hunt again?


"Q: Why not run for president? You're younger than John McCain. You look okay."

then, he delivers the one-two punch...
Here is a vice president who has repeatedly misled the public about Iraq, arguably exercises all the power of the presidency in almost complete secrecy, quite possibly stage-managed the leaking of a CIA agent's identity for political purposes, holds inexplicable sway over Congress, appears to be in a state of denial that transcends even that of the president, and has basically no credibility left with the American people -- and Time plays footsie with him.

does any of this ring a bell...? like maybe why the u.s. has dropped nine places in the freedom of the press global index...? (see previous post...)

(thanks to lukery at wot is it good 4...)

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The U.S. is #53 on the press freedom list, 9 places down in one year

another proud statistic for the bush wall of shame...
[In this year's] global press freedom index, ... the United States ... slipped further down the scale of 168 countries rated, the group Reporters Without Borders said yesterday.


Although it ranked 17th on the first list, published in 2002, the United States now stands at 53, having fallen nine places since last year.

"Relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of 'national security' to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his 'war on terrorism,' " the group said.

"The zeal of federal courts which, unlike those in 33 U.S. states, refuse to recognize the media's right not to reveal its sources, even threatens journalists whose investigations have no connection at all with terrorism," the group said.

to be fair, the blame doesn't lie entirely with the bush administration... if our media would decide to grow a pair and stand up to these bullies, we might not be in a press freedom free-fall...

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Monday, October 23, 2006

You wanna talk grim scenarios...?

i got yer grim scenario right here...
In the last three elections, George W. Bush has claimed mandates for his policies even when there were questions about the legitimacy of Republican victories. In Election 2000, Bush brushed aside the fact that he lost the popular vote to Al Gore and pressed ahead with a right-wing agenda.

The Republican congressional victories in Election 2002 convinced Bush that the voters were behind his plans for “preemptive” wars. He called Election 2004 his “accountability moment,” ratifying both his invasion of Iraq and his expansion of executive powers.

So, there should be little illusion how Bush would interpret a Republican upset victory on Nov. 7. It would be taken as a public embrace of his authoritarian vision for America’s future and as an endorsement of the neoconservative commitment to wage “World War III” against Islamic militants around the world.

If the GOP keeps control of Congress, Bush would be strongly tempted to double up on his bloody wager in Iraq with military attacks on Iran and Syria. That expanded war would guarantee reprisals by radicalized Muslims around the world and thus draw the United States into a virtually endless conflict.

At home, the consequences of indefinite war would be fatal, too, to the already wounded American democratic Republic. Bush would translate a GOP victory into public acceptance of his de facto elimination of key constitutional rights and his creation of an imperial presidency.

Though the major U.S. news outlets have paid scant attention – and the Democrats have mostly ducked the issue – Bush already has put in place the framework for a modern-day totalitarian state.

is "a modern-day totalitarian state" grim enuf fer ya...?

i don't know about the rest of you, but i am utterly and totally dreading november 7... the thought of a republican-controlled congress marching on for another two years under out-of-control megalomaniacs (cheney and rove) and their dimwit sock puppet (bush), is enough to make me wake up screaming in the middle of the night... bad enough we've got bush for two more years, but at least kicking the congress out from under him might slow him down a tad... i would give all the tea in china to know what rove has up his sleeve...

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He also kicks sleeping dogs and knocks canes away from blind people

and, if he doesn't already wear depends, he soon will be...
Rush Limbaugh today accused Michael J. Fox, actor and Parkinson's Disease victim, of deliberately going off of his meds to appear on camera with exaggerated symptoms of his disease for dramatic effect. Fox appeared in a recent Clair McHaskill (D-MO) Senate campaign ad, touting the need for stem cell research. Limbaugh even goes so far as to accuse Fox of faking his symptoms all together.

what a vile, vile man...

(audio here... thanks to crooks and liars...)

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Scalito shows his best side - again...!

remember this...?

well, he's at it again, not quite as in-your-face, but at it all the same...
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia ripped the newsmedia Saturday in a talk on the judiciary sponsored by the National Italian American Foundation. He also dismissed the idea of judicial independence as an absolute virtue.

"You talk about independence as though it is unquestionably and unqualifiably a good thing," Scalia said. "It may not be. It depends on what your courts are doing....The more your courts become policy-makers, the less sense it makes to have them entirely independent."

Scalia expressed disdain for the news media and the general reading public and suggested that together they condone inaccurate portrayals of federal judges and courts. "The press is never going to report judicial opinions accurately," he said.

"They're just going to report, who is the plaintiff? Was that a nice little old lady? And who is the defendant? Was this, you know, some scuzzy guy? And who won? Was it the good guy that won or the bad guy?"

[He] complained that people understand the courts through a news media that typically oversimplifies and sensationalizes. He said people's ability to amplify their comments globally about judges and their opinions on the Internet takes a toll on the judiciary.

"This is not just like somebody handing out a leaflet in the past, where a small number of people can see this," he said. "This is available to the world. ... It changes what it means to be a judge. It certainly changes the attractiveness of a judicial career."

what did the american people ever do to deserve this kind of arrogance and contempt...? have we been bad boys and girls...?

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Well, whaddaya know...! Stephen King comes out of the closet...

peg me as ignorant and out-of-touch, but i honestly wasn't aware that mr. king had a political stance, but i'm glad to know he does and that it is what it is...
A special Halloween request from author Stephen King:

Dear MoveOn member,

If I know anything, I know scary. And giving this president and this out-of-control Congress two more years to screw up our future is downright terrifying. Thankfully, this national nightmare is one we can end with—literally—a wake up call.

My friends at Political Action are organizing a big round of national phone parties this weekend before Halloween, Oct. 28th & 29th. We'll be calling progressive folks in key districts who may not turn out unless they get a friendly reminder or two.

And since it's almost Halloween, we'll celebrate with an optional costume contest, some pumpkin carving (I'll be making a Jack-Abramoff-O'-Lantern) and—of course—plenty of candy.

Please click the link below to R.S.V.P. for the nearest party, or to sign up to host your own:

Pre-Halloween Phone Party

If you're concerned about the future of this country, this is the time to get involved. The polls are telling us that this November is our best shot in over a decade to turn things around, and we've got to make the most of it.

pretty cool, actually... a call to end our national nightmare over halloween weekend... i'm all fer it...

p.s. i also love the "Jack-Abramoff-O'-Lantern"...

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