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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 12/24/2006 - 12/31/2006
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Evo Morales and Harry Reid

THIS is the kind of thing i would like to see more of - a little more talking, a little more reaching out, a little more attempting to understand where someone else is coming from...
A delegation of six U.S. senators led by incoming Majority Leader Harry Reid met Thursday with Bolivian President Evo Morales, seeking to smooth relations with the South American country's left-leaning government.

Relations have been tense since Morales' election a year ago, with the U.S. wary of his friendship with Presidents Fidel Castro of Cuba and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Morales has been critical of U.S. attempts to eradicate coca in the region.

Reid said the United States must pay more attention to Latin America, blaming the region's recent populist shift in part on U.S. neglect.

"I believe that the U.S. needs to be heavily involved in Latin America, and we're not," Reid told The Associated Press after what he called a "long, intense conversation" with Morales. "I believe that Bolivia is looking for help, and I think we can be an agent for help."

i'll admit it, i have a soft spot for latin america... the u.s. has done a great deal of dirt to countries in the southern hemisphere for well over a hundred years, and it's high time we started figuring out how to inhabit the western hemisphere together in ways that benefit all parties...

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Refusing the family's burial request for Saddam

why in hell's name would they refuse to honor the family's request...? it's not only cruel, it's damn weird... the very first question that comes to my mind is what are they hiding...?
Saddam Hussein will probably be buried secretly in Iraq after the government rejected a request by the ousted president's family to hand them the body, an aide for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Saturday.

"The body of Saddam Hussein will most probably be buried in a secret place in Iraq," Sami al-Askari, a political ally of Maliki, told Reuters.

Asked whether the body would be given to Saddam's daughter or his family, he answered: "No."

Saddam's daughter Raghd, in exile in Jordan, wants her father buried in Yemen, a source close to the family said.

truly bizarre...

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"They do not actually believe in fair trials"

glenn greenwald via atrios...
[I]t is ... reprehensible and inexpressibly tragic that the Bush administration continues to claim -- and aggressively exercise -- the power to imprison and punish people without even a pretense or fraction of the due process that Saddam Hussein enjoyed. The Bush administration believes that it has the power to imprison whomever it wants, for as long as it wants, without even giving them access to the outside world, let alone "a fair trial." The power which it claims -- which it has seized -- extends not only to foreign nationals but legal residents and even its own citizens.


It is truly vile to listen to George Bush anoint himself the Arbiter of Due Process and Human Rights by praising the Iraqis for giving a "fair trial" to Saddam when we are currently holding 14,000 individuals (at least) around the world in our custody -- many of whom we have been holding for years and in the most inhumane conditions imaginable -- who have been desperately, and unsuccessfully, seeking some forum, any forum, in which to prove their innocence.


The President and his followers -- including the majority of the 109th Congress, which just enacted the Military Commissions Act -- have made unmistakably clear that they do not actually believe in fair trials, literally.

greenwald has repeatedly and forcefully stated his belief that the u.s. is facing the most serious constitutional crisis in its history... i share that view... i am extremely concerned when i see, as seems to be the case today, the critical nature of our situation continuing to fade in the after-glow of the november elections... bush and his minions have made it perfectly clear, in countless ways, that absolutely nothing has changed... unless and until our government returns to the principles enshrined in our constitution and the bill of rights, unless and until the criminals are removed from the white house and held accountable for their actions, the u.s. remains a deeply flawed nation...

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"Hussein now won’t be around to give troublesome testimony"

robert parry provides a more realistic perspective on why saddam's trial did not take place at the hague and why he had to be executed...
[Bush] has silenced a unique witness to crucial chapters of the secret history that stretched from Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979 to the alleged American-Saudi “green light” for Hussein to attack Iran in 1980, through the eight years of the Iran-Iraq War during which high-ranking U.S. intermediaries, such as Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates, allegedly helped broker supplies of war materiel for Hussein.

Hussein now won’t be around to give troublesome testimony about how he obtained the chemical and biological agents that his scientists used to produce the unconventional weapons that were deployed against Iranian forces and Iraqi civilians. He can’t give his perspective on who got the money and who facilitated the deals.

Nor will Hussein be available to give his account of the mixed messages delivered by George H.W. Bush’s ambassador April Glaspie before Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Was there another American “green light” or did Hussein just hear what he wanted to hear?

we won't hear it from saddam, but perhaps we will eventually from other sources...

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2998 U.S. casualties in Iraq on the day before New Years Eve

what hath we wrought...?

AND, add in...
Estimate of Iraqi Deaths Since June 7, 2006 13441

note the date... over 13000 in little less than a 7-month period...

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Yes, indeed, Dennis... You're 100% right...

a "hunger for genuine principled leadership...?" i'm STARVIN' to death...
Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich said he became good friends with Senator John Kerry when both ran for president two years ago, but he says that if Kerry would have listened to his ideas about Iraq he could be president today.

“I made it clear how I thought Democrats could win,” Kucinich said in an interview with the Globe. “Senator Kerry had another way of looking at it. I like John Kerry, and he would have been a far better president than George Bush will ever be. But I do wish he listened to me because everything I said back then was right today.”

As Kucinich launches a second bid for the White House he said his campaign would be against the Democratic establishment as much as against Republican policies. Kucinich describes the national campaign waged by the Democratic Party in 2004 as "fearful" and too easily "pushed around by political forces into positions.” He says he wants to change that.

“The American people have a hunger for genuine principled leadership,” Kucinich said. “They are looking for someone to stand up and tell the truth and not say what a pollster or consultant said to say.”

as atrios astutely points out, again via greg sargent, it's just too damn bad that dennis' persona has been lumped into the same category as the "howard dean 'scream'..."

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Where is your ... ownership of the consequences of what you have unleashed?"

steve clemons...
Lieberman writes:
On this point, let there be no doubt: If Iraq descends into full-scale civil war, it will be a tremendous battlefield victory for al-Qaeda and Iran. Iraq is the central front in the global and regional war against Islamic extremism.

Senator Lieberman, let there be no doubt that the outcome you fear was totally predictable -- and was triggered by you and the other enablers of this war. Where is your humility and your own ownership of the consequences of what you have unleashed? Where is your realistic answer to what must be done to establish a NEW equilibrium of interests in the region?

lieberman comes to us, as always, disingenuous and empty-handed...

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"It cannot be achieved by refighting a war that is finished"

greg sargent, the horse's mouth, in the american prospect, via atrios...
Take a look at this article which I pulled from the New York Times archive. It appeared on page one on April 25, 1975. It's about a famous speech Gerald Ford gave in which he declared the Vietnam War over:
Ford Says Indochina War
Is Finished for America

NEW ORLEANS, April 25 -- President Ford, calling on the nation to develop an agenda for the future, declared today that the war in Indochina was finished "as far as America is concerned."

Mr. Ford urged the beginning of what he called "a great national reconciliation" and added:

"We are saddened, indeed, by events in Indochina. But these events, tragic as they are, portend neither the end of the world nor of America's leadership in the world. Some seem to feel that if we do not suceed in everything everywhere, then we have succeeded in nothing nowhere."...

The President made his remarks in a speech to more than 4,500 members of the student body of Tulane University, who greeted his appearance and speech in the campus field house with prolonged and enthusiastic applause, particularly his comment that the war was finished as far as this nation was concerned....

"Today, American can regain the sense of pride that existed before Vietnam," Mr. Ford said.

"But it cannot be achieved by refighting a war that is finished -- as far as America is concerned," he said.

hel-l-l-l-looooooo...? < knock, knock > anybody there...? i know you're in there... the lights are on...

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"The more we choose to look away, the bigger the evil grows"

one pissed off liberal continues his roll...
Because ignoring uncomfortable or unflattering truths does not make them go away. They remain, festering, waiting to be recognized and dealt with.


When you let things slide, you make things worse. The more we choose to look away, the bigger the evil grows. I never thought I would live to see the day when Americans, ANY Americans, would support torture. Well we’re there now, many of us do, at least under some circumstances.

If I thought for one moment that telling you happy stories would ever change anything, believe me I would. It would be a lot less wear and tear on me.

I want with all my heart and soul to fix what’s wrong with America, and to not sweep it under the rug. We cannot fix what’s wrong if we can’t bring ourselves to face it. We have to look it squarely in the eye, examine it and dissect it – if we are ever going to fix it.

what can i do but agree...?

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Are the detainees still being held merely human husks?

spiegel interviews frederick forsyth, a master of the hi-tech spy thriller...
Forsyth: Guantanamo is the bete noire of all left-wing and human rights journalists. They forget Bagram, which is as big as Berlin. It's huge, a vast ex-Soviet base which, when it was taken over in the winter of 2001, was just an echoing, shattered former Russian barracks and administration offices and huge hangars. It's not like that now, it's a city, and one part of it is detention. And in there nobody doesn't sing.

: You really believe that the allies torture prisoners? Do you have proof?

: We are not talking about the old days, pulling fingernails and flogging -- they don't use that any longer. It's a chemical cosh. It's either deep hypnosis -- it's beyond ("truth drugs") scopolamine or sodium amytol -- they take the mind now, and what emerges is just a tapioca pudding. I haven't seen a good article on what certain chemicals can do today to the human mind, basically in breaking down resistance. If a man like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed didn't last more than a week ... Nobody has lasted there. We got this high-powered guy, he's got a head full of secrets, we got his computer, his mobile. We can strip them down, but what's in his head we need without too much delay. They all go to Bagram.

is THAT why the detainees are being held so long without charges or trial...? because there's nothing left of their minds...? were they taken in, whatever was in their heads extracted immediately, leaving only a human shell...?

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Another U.S. "first"

not a distinction to be proud of...
F.D.A. Tentatively Declares Food From
Cloned Animals to Be Safe

The finding could make the U.S. the first country to allow
products from cloned livestock to be sold in grocery stores.

and rather worrisome besides...

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Moving forward is impossible with George Bush in office

occams hatchet speaks...
[T]he presence of George Bush in the Oval Office is the biggest stumbling block there is to fulfillment of the Democratic Party agenda in this country. If George Bush will not observe - never mind actively enforce - laws that have been duly passed by Congress and signed into law - signed, in many cases, even by himself - what possible reason on earth does anyone have to believe that he will (a) approve, or (b) abide by, laws over which he has veto power and with which he fundamentally disagrees? To believe that fulfilment of a Democratic agenda is possible with George Bush in the White House is as delusional as the man himself.


The criminals at the heart of this administration did not suddenly spring from nothingness into being with the appointment of George W. Bush to the presidency in December 2000. No - the maggots that eventually became the noisome blowflies spreading filth, disease and death around the world from the White House got their start long ago, and were nurtured and fattened by many years of feeding in the dank, fetid corners of American government. They and their foul belief systems should have been exterminated from politics long ago, but few people recognized them for what they were - and so they were allowed to go on propagating, getting fatter, rubbing their filthy little fly hands together in preparation for the day when they would be able to feed out in the open, defying anyone to point out the obvious: That these tiny little men were and are nothing more than vermin, spreading decay and attracted by the scent of death, whose political existence, if not eradicated once and for all, will continue to befoul the world for years to come. Like a malignant tumor, this cancer must be removed utterly, leaving no trace; otherwise, it can metastasize and spread, only to show up again later and in another location.

he's right... unless and until these people are dealt with in the manner they so richly deserve, any progress in our country will be a chimera...

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How about consulting WITH the country before talking to us?

"I've got more consultation to do until I talk to the country
about the plan," Bush told reporters in brief remarks.

how about talking to the people living here first...?

oh, never mind... i forgot... we already told you what we think on november 7... silly me...

(btw, have you noticed how it's always the same answer to every question...?)

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The BBC's search for a CIA "black site" in Poland

Szymany airport, Poland

very interesting...
I stood at the end of the frozen runway, peering through the mist, trying to make out the terminal building in the distance.

It was exactly at this spot, and under the cover of darkness, that the CIA planes did their business.

"They always followed the same procedure," says Mariola Przewlocka, the manager at the remote Szymany airport in north-east Poland when the strange flights arrived during 2003.

"We were always told to keep away. The planes would stay at the end of the runway, often with their engines running. A couple of military vans from the nearby intelligence base would go up to them, stay a while and then drive off, out of the airport.

"I saw several of these flights but never saw inside the vans because they had tinted windows and they never stopped at the terminal building.

"Payment was always made in cash. The invoices were made out to American companies but they were probably fake," says Mrs Przewlocka.


After a week of meetings in smoky Warsaw restaurants and coffee bars with Polish intelligence sources, airport workers and journalists, I obtained what I had been looking for, and something that nobody in authority wanted to reveal, the flight log of planes landing at Szymany airport.

They confirmed my eyewitness's account - that a well-known CIA Gulfstream plane, the N379P, had made several landings at the airport in 2003.

The plane has been strongly linked to the transportation of Al-Qaeda terrorists.

Another plane, a Boeing 737, had flown direct from Kabul to this remote Polish airport.

"There is no particular reason for a Gulfstream to stop there. So there has to be a reason why the plane is stopping there and the fact that everyone is trying to conceal this reason makes it all the more interesting to try to find out what it is," says Anne Fitzgerald from Amnesty International.

I followed the route of the military vans from the airport to the nearby secret Polish intelligence base at the village of Stare Kiejkuty.

Surrounded by double-lined fences, security cameras and thick pine forest, visitors are not welcome.

Within five minutes of stopping the car I was approached by a man in a military uniform who made it clear he wanted me to leave.

Was this where a CIA secret prison had been located?

A committee of European parliamentarians who investigated the CIA secret prison programme subsequently concluded in a report:

"In the light of... serious circumstantial evidence, a temporary secret detention facility may have been located at the intelligence training centre at Stare Kiejkuty."

The search for Poland's secret CIA prison is broadcast in Global Account for the first time at 23.06 GMT on Thursday 28 December on BBC World Service.

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Some VERY good year-end news for Argentina

i know several people who were caught up in this and suffered severe financial losses as a result... i'll be interested to hear their reaction and will post when i hear...
The Supreme Court in Argentina has ordered the country's banks to repay in full savings that were frozen during the economic crisis of 2001-02.

The government had frozen US dollar accounts held by some 50,000 depositors then forcibly converted them to devalued pesos.

The court upheld the government's right to issue that decree.

Its ruling gives savers the same amount in pesos their savings had been worth in dollars when the crisis ensued.

With this ruling, the Supreme Court hopes to help lay to rest the years of anger and financial hardship caused by the economic crisis.

At that time, investors were caught up in a series of government decisions.

Firstly, it froze bank accounts and then forcibly converted any accounts held in dollars into devalued pesos.

Until the financial crisis, Argentina had pegged its currency at a rate of one to one to the US dollar.

In the midst of the economic meltdown, it dropped that peg; the Argentine peso went into freefall and eventually settled at about three pesos to the dollar.

In other words, account holders lost two-thirds of their money and they have been campaigning ever since for its return.

stay tuned...

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"There's no mission and we just drive around"

soldiers' views from iraq...
Spc. Don Roberts, who was stationed in Baghdad in 2004, said the situation had gotten worse because of increasing violence between Shiites and Sunnis.

"I don't know what could help at this point," said Roberts, 22, of Paonia, Colo. "What would more guys do? We can't pick sides. It's almost like we have to watch them kill each other, then ask questions."


"Nothing's going to help. It's a religious war, and we're caught in the middle of it," said Sgt. Josh Keim, a native of Canton, Ohio, who is on his second tour in Iraq. "It's hard to be somewhere where there's no mission and we just drive around."

so, we're going to have more people driving around, watching them kill each other...? gosh, that's, that's ... INSANE...!

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John Edwards

john edwards will be here in reno tomorrow afternoon... i am planning to go see him... if i have the opportunity, i hope to ask him if he is planning to speak up forcefully on the constitutional crisis the u.s. is facing... i support him in general, but i definitely need to hear what he has to say about domestic spying, unfettered presidential power, torture, habeas corpus, the patriot act, and other such nefarious bushco deeds...

that said, i think that edwards' framing of his candidacy as a call to action for americans to change our country NOW, and making his campaign more about THAT than about HIM is remarkable...

john edwards

If we want to live in a moral and just America tomorrow, we cannot wait until the next President is elected to begin to take action.

bob geiger in the huffpo...
Americans are bone-tired of disliking and disrespecting their president and, I believe, are unusually anxious to begin the presidential season to, if nothing else, give them the feeling that a change is coming sooner than later. People hungered for a change in the Congress and made it happen -- now that strong desire to take out the trash moves to the executive branch of government.

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"Surging" in Iraq

looks like an escalation a surge in iraq is what's going to happen...
President Bush's top national security advisers arrived here to hone a new Iraq strategy that administration officials said seems increasingly likely to include a surge of additional troops to try to help stabilize the country.

Although officials have said no decisions will be made in the Crawford meeting, Bush seems to be laying the groundwork for one more sustained effort to defeat the Iraq insurgency and stabilize the country politically. Two defense officials said Wednesday that some sort of troop increase appears likely in an effort to contain the violence but that the specific size and nature of such a surge still has to be worked out.

National security advisers
during a meeting break

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The BIG problem - a solution to world hunger

thanks to the prissy patriot...

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This will tell you everything you need to know about Darth Cheney

oh, to be able to lift up the top of this man's head and look inside...!
At an October fundraiser in Topeka, the Republican faithful lined up to shake hands with the headliner, Dick Cheney. But before getting to the Veep, they had to get past the wife of the local Congress critter. She was standing adjacent to Cheney, holding a big bottle of Purell, a hand sanitizer that claims to kill "99.99% of most common germs." Each person waiting to get their grip-and-grin with the honoree first had to accept a squirt of the goop from this lady to purify their hands! After the meet-and-greet was over, Cheney ducked backstage and rubbed a generous dollop of the antiseptic onto his own hands, cleansing him of the human contact he had just endured.

what does he think about...? what does he dream about...?

Vanity Fair:

... Purdum reports that Cheney travels with a chemical-biological suit at all times. When he gave his friend Robin West and his twin children a ride to the White House a couple of years ago, West commented on the fact that Cheney’s motorcade varied its daily path. “And he said, ‘Yeah, we take different routes so that “The Jackal” can’t get me,’” West tells Purdum. “And then there was this big duffel bag in the middle of the backseat, and I said, ‘What’s that? It’s not very roomy in here.’ And [Cheney] said, ‘No, because it’s a chemical-biological suit,’ and he looked at it and said, ‘Robin, there’s only one. You lose.’”

is he even human...?

cheney-as-robot, while an amusing fantasy, probably doesn't hold water if he's worried about bacteriological contamination, eh...?

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Snow (and some joy) in Palestine

A member of the security force guarding
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas jumps
for joy as snow falls in Ramallah.

everyone would certainly welcome a little more "jumping for joy" in that part of the world...

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What the world COULD be...

from one pissed off liberal at daily kos...
What is it going to take to get people to realize that small incremental change is never going to make a real difference? It is massive, fundamental change that is called for and that is the only change that can help at this point. As it stands, we are the world’s leading warmongers, war profiteers, and purveyors of the implements of mass murder. This is not something in which we can take pride, and it’s not something which we can sustain.

i will repeat the comment i made to his diary...
i share your rage and i sense your underlying despair... i struggle with it myself... i encourage you, as i often have to encourage myself, to keep firmly in mind a picture of what this world COULD be, because when the house of cards does tumble, as it inevitably will, we need to be prepared to walk into the light...

let me add that i happen to also share the belief that incremental change is not going to fix things... i have watched my entire life as symptoms were treated, but the underlying disease was left to fester...

it so happens that i DO have a clear picture in my head of what this wonderful world COULD be... i used to think i didn't, but then i realized that i have ALWAYS had it, and that it only became clouded when i allowed myself to sink too far into the bottomless pit of bullshit that is served up daily by those who seek to keep us in thrall... as the new year approaches, let us remember that we ALL have that picture... it is part of our human heritage... let us bring it to the fore of our consciousness and let it shine...

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Gerald Ford: Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!

two memories...

one is really not a memory of ford at all, but rather an image of richard nixon announcing on august 8, 1974, that he would resign the presidency effective at noon the next day, leaving gerald ford as president... i had just arrived for a conference at a hotel in vail, colorado, and watched that announcement on live television in the hotel lobby... it was one of those moments indelibly etched into the brain cells, along with the cuban missile crisis, jfk's assassination, and 9/11...

the second memory is less flattering, but, at the same time, somewhat endearing... the newly-arrived hit television show, saturday night live, gave no quarter in spoofing ford's legendary clumsiness... however, in my opinion, no skit could top this one with chevy chase playing gerald ford...

Christmas Eve At The White House

Gerald Ford ..... Chevy Chase
Frank ..... Garrett Morris
Director ..... Joe Dicso

[ FADE IN on a shot of Gerald Ford sitting in a chair in a comfy room with a fireplace and a Christmas tree. SUPERIMPOSE caption: "Christmas Eve At The White House". DISSOLVE closer to Ford, who clumsily puts a record in the record player on the table next to him ]

Gerald Ford: (singing along) Pin your Christmas bonnet / With the mushrooms upon it / La la la...

[ Frank, the butler, enters. He is dressed in a tuxedo and is carrying a drink on a coaster. He stumbles on one of the presents under the tree as he walks in ]

Frank: Here is your cognac, Mr. President.

[ Ford rises from his chair and puts his hand on Frank's shoulder ]

Gerald Ford: Fred, you've been with me a long time now. I don't think that on Christmas Eve you have to call me "Mr. President".

Frank: Uh, Mr. President, my name is Frank.

Gerald Ford: Frank...

Frank: And what should I call you?

Gerald Ford: Well, how about "Dr. President"?

Frank: Okay. Dr. President, the First Lady says you should turn up the Christmas carols so that everyone can hear them.

Gerald Ford: No problem there.

[ Ford goes over to the record player and turns the volume all the way down ]

Gerald Ford: Would you ask Betty in here to help me trim the tree, please?

Frank: Uh, yes sir.

[ Ford takes the coaster from under his cognac and places it on the mantelpiece. Frank quickly drinks the cognac when Ford's back is turned, then exits. Ford starts to literally trim the tree, using a barber's comb and scissors, before Frank enters again ]

Frank: Uh, Mr. President, it is time for the Christmas Eve White House Fireside Chat with the nation.

Gerald Ford: Oh yes. Fine, thank you.

[ Ford puts down the scissors as Frank exits. The director enters as Ford takes a set in his chair ]

Director: Ten seconds, Mr. President.

Gerald Ford: All right.

Director: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

[ Ford has already started talking since the beginning of the countdown ]

Gerald Ford: ...Merry Christmas to all of you and good evening.

Announcer (V/O): Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.

Gerald Ford: ...join me for this Christmas Eve. Perhaps sit with me by the fireside and spend this time together as I put up and Jack and Susan's stockings, and put the final ornament on the tree.

[ Ford gets up to the fireplace, where there are two Christmas stockings ]

Gerald Ford: This will be a Merry Christmas for the entire nation, I hope.

[ Ford hangs up the stockings upside-down, spilling the gifts inside ]

Gerald Ford: Peace and goodwill...

[ Ford picks up a handful of presents and tries to put them back in the stockings, but they fall to the floor again ]

Gerald Ford: ...toward all men.

[ Ford walks over to a ladder perched next to the Christmas tree ]

Gerald Ford: Put the final Christmas tree ornament on the tree.

[ Ford climbs the ladder and stuggles to put the final ornament on top of the tree and starts tipping ]

Gerald Ford: No problem...

[ Ford falls completely off the ladder on top of the Christmas tree, landing head first on the floor. He looks into the camera and smiles ]

Gerald Ford: Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!

may he rest in peace...

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Truer words were never uttered nor penned

morse in media needle...
The only discussions being held on the barren patch of land that he calls a ranch, are not about strategy, but marketing.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Morning 2006

the grandsons inspecting the sponge bob squarepants edition of monopoly...

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Saddam's pending execution

steve clemons, as usual, has a perceptive take...
[W]e need to be clear-eyed about the possibility that Saddam Hussein's execution at the instruction of Iraq's highest courts and judges -- which many Iraqis see as puppets under American control -- may actually have an enormous negative impact on the survivability of the current government and could ignite a much higher octane of nasty civil war inside Iraq.

The track has been laid. I don't see any way that Hussein can escape execution -- but everyone involved needs to realize that Hussein is no longer just a criminal, thuggish, murderous tyrant in the eyes of most Iraqi citizens.

To many, he has become a defiant leader fighting American oppression and someone who portrays himself as a proud and ferocious Sunni force. Many Sunnis want him back -- and we need to prepare for something big, very big, when he dies.

and, if we end up dumping more forces into iraq, continue to build permanent bases and our over-the-top embassy complex, and take sides either against or for the shiites, it's likely to take an already out-of-control situation and make it much, much worse...

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“Most people are going to wait and see exactly what the president’s going to say”

what a gigantic crock o'shit... bush's handlers NEVER, EVER, EVER fail to telegraph the decider's decisions, and most definitely not when the media and the american public need to be softened up beforehand... the american people aren't "waiting to see" what he's going to say... we've been TOLD in COUNTLESS WAYS what he's going to say... when in the past six years has the bush administration backed away from something because it was unpopular...? ok, harriet meiers... when has the bush administration surprised us by announcing good news...? why would all this talk of a "surge" be tossed about if it wasn't coming from the only source (besides mccain and kristol) it could possibly be coming from...?
“I’m growing more disturbed every night by how isolated George W. Bush has become,” the former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough said on his MSNBC program last week. “Shouldn’t more Americans be disturbed at this unprecedented example of a White House that’s in — and you can only call it this — a bunker mentality?” The screen below him read, “Bush: Determined or Delusional?”

White House officials, who note that Mr. Scarborough has been finding fault with the president for months, say critics are getting ahead of themselves, given that Mr. Bush has not yet said what his next move in Iraq will be.

“This is all background noise for the American people right now,” a senior administration official said. “Most people are going to wait and see exactly what the president’s going to say.”

note to "senior administration official"... give us a break... some of us aren't as dumb as advertised...

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HERE's yer new immigration policy - join the military

hey...! why not kill two birds with one stone...? hire those pesky immigrants to fight and die for us... if they're lucky, they can get citizenship before they get knocked off in iraq...
The armed forces, already struggling to meet recruiting goals, are considering expanding the number of noncitizens in the ranks -- including disputed proposals to open recruiting stations overseas and putting more immigrants on a faster track to US citizenship if they volunteer -- according to Pentagon officials.


The idea of signing up foreigners who are seeking US citizenship is gaining traction as a way to address a critical need for the Pentagon, while fully absorbing some of the roughly one million immigrants that enter the United States legally each year.

The proposal to induct more noncitizens, which is still largely on the drawing board, has to clear a number of hurdles. So far, the Pentagon has been quiet about specifics -- including who would be eligible to join, where the recruiting stations would be, and what the minimum standards might involve, including English proficiency. In the meantime, the Pentagon and immigration authorities have expanded a program that accelerates citizenship for legal residents who volunteer for the military.

the article notes that such a move would essentially amount to hiring mercenaries... well, duh... consideration is also probably being given to outsourcing the entire military to blackwater... no question about mercenaries THERE...!

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Monday, December 25, 2006

And so begins the run-up to the Iran war...?

we had best keep our eyes on this one... it's giving me the cold chills...
Iran on Monday summoned the Swiss ambassador, whose country represents the United States interests in the Islamic republic, over the detention of Iranian diplomats by the US military in Iraq, ISNA news agency reported. The Foreign Ministry conveyed its protest to US officials via the Swiss ambassador and termed the move as being against all diplomatic norms.

i wouldn't put it past bush and his posse to set the match to a conflagration between christmas and new years, while people are occupied with their families and the new congress hasn't begun... let us fervently pray that doesn't happen, and if there's any hint whatsoever, that reid and pelosi will call an emergency session......

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You can't tell me THIS story isn't crafted for the benefit of neocon strategy

WHY can't i shake the feeling we're being set up...?
The American military is holding at least four Iranians in Iraq, including men the Bush administration called senior military officials, who were seized in a pair of raids late last week aimed at people suspected of conducting attacks on Iraqi security forces, according to senior Iraqi and American officials in Baghdad and Washington.

The Bush administration made no public announcement of the politically delicate seizure of the Iranians, though in response to specific questions the White House confirmed Sunday that the Iranians were in custody.

Gordon D. Johndroe, the spokesman for the National Security Council, said two Iranian diplomats were among those initially detained in the raids. The two had papers showing that they were accredited to work in Iraq, and he said they were turned over to the Iraqi authorities and released. He confirmed that a group of other Iranians, including the military officials, remained in custody while an investigation continued, and he said, “We continue to work with the government of Iraq on the status of the detainees.”

why...? because of the timing... it smells like a dead skunk under the front porch... i hold no brief for the iranians, believe me... but i also don't believe anything my own government says...

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To feel uplifted, look up

i often look up, whether it's to a sunrise, a sunset, the first star of the evening or morning, the waxing or waning moon, or simply cloud formations floating by... i never fail to be gladdened and my spirit never fails to be put at ease when i direct my gaze toward the sky... i highly recommend it...
Here's NASA's press release on the comet dust brought back to Earth by the space probe Stardust: °These chunks of ice and dust wandering our solar system appear to be filled with organic molecules that are the building blocks of life."

The finding surprised scientists because many predicted that the space probe would find mostly ice. Instead, the finding could lend support for the belief that comets could have "seeded" life on our planet as well as others.

Such a statement would have been unimaginable only a few decades ago. Traditionally humans have an egocentric tendency to explain our place in the universe.

there is so much more out there than we know... it's always humbling to me to think just how enormous is the universe we occupy and how much there is still yet to learn... somehow, at this time of year, those thoughts acquire particular poignancy...

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Gratitude, Mexican food, and facing reality on Christmas Eve

yes, i shouldn't be blogging on christmas eve... however, i did spend most of the day in the kitchen preparing a traditional mexican christmas eve dinner for the family, complete with guacamole and green chili cheese enchiladas... oink, oink...

however, even on this most special, still, cold night in the high desert, i am all too aware that the millstones are turning, grinding away at our fate... president cheney continues to plot in the shadows, no doubt with the help of his dark assistants, david addington and karl rove...

Why would Dick Cheney and the neocons who convinced Bush to start this war decide to pull out now? They created the war to achieve their imperial dream of privatizing Iraqi oilfields and building permanent U.S. military bases nearby to protect them. They are willing to sacrifice the lives of our soldiers and the Iraqi people in pursuit of their dream.

Cheney is undoubtedly telling the evangelical Dubya to hang in there, God is testing him. Remember Bush said he consulted with his heavenly father before starting the war. If Bush thinks God told him to start this war, what will it take to make him stop?

And it could get worse. Cheney-Bush has sent our battleships to the Persian Gulf to "warn" Iran that we mean business. And the White House blacked out parts of a New York Times op-ed on negotiating with Iran written by two former U.S. government advisors. This means, in all likelihood, that Cheney has decided it's time to pick off the next member of the Axis of Evil. They're following the same strategy they used on the way to Iraq: convince the American people that Iran is building weapons of mass destruction, notwithstanding overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Attacking Iran would cause a disaster of epic proportions.

and who will save us...?
Now that the Democrats are taking over the reins in Washington, we have a golden opportunity to set things right. But incoming Senate majority leader Harry Reid has decided to align himself with the 12 percent of Americans who support sending more troops to Iraq.

It seems more likely the Republicans, not the Democrats, will try to derail the Cheney-Bush war express. Senator Gordon Smith (R-Ore) declared last week on the Senate floor: "I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs day after day. That is absurd. It may even be criminal. I cannot support that anymore."

yes, i am grateful for this brief, quiet respite from bushco's relentless siege on our constitution and our government... in fact, i am grateful for a host of things that have blessed my life beyond anything i could have imagined... i just pray that we will all use the strength of our blessings to move squarely into the light in the coming year...

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As a Christmas gift to all of us, Bill Kristol should volunteer for Iraq

i believe this is called "prepping the great unwashed" for that moment when bush unequivocally demonstrates that he has no respect whatsoever for american democracy or the direction voters made abundantly clear only a month and a half ago...
Neoconservative pundit Bill Kristol believes that any increase of U.S. troops in Iraq must be a permanent increase to achieve success.

"There's no point having a short term surge," Kristol said on Fox News Channel. "Especially, if it's proclaimed ahead of time that it's just short term. Then [the enemy] goes into hiding for 3 or 6 months."

"We pull back and we're in the same situation," the Weekly Standard editor said. "Bush will commit - I believe, when he speaks in a couple of weeks -- to doing this. That this is a strategy for victory and that he's willing to do this for the remaining 2 years of his presidency."

Forcasting the president's plan for Iraq, Kristol adds, "I think [Bush] will say 'We can win. We have to win. We're going to increase troop levels as part of a new strategy for the sake of victory.' And, so, it will not be a short term surge.

the best and most noble thing bush could possibly do is to resign along with his vice president and all the members of his cabinet...

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Staffing up for future wars, an NYT Christmas eve hors d'oeuvre

made out of 100%, USDA-inspected, Grade A, bologna...
Larger ground forces are an absolute necessity for the sort of battles America is likely to fight during the coming decades: extended clashes with ground-based insurgents rather than high-tech shootouts with rival superpowers. The president’s belated recognition is welcome, though it comes only after significant damage has been done to the Army’s morale, recruitment standards and fighting readiness. Given the time required to recruit and train the additional troops, the proposed increase will not make much difference in Iraq’s current battles. But over time it will help make America more secure and better prepared to meet future crises.

oh, yes, let's further militarize an already-militarized nation... let's throw more cash at the defense industry... let's keep sucking the lower end of the economic strata off the streets and turning them into killing machines... let's be prepared to continue to alienate the rest of the world with interventionist and imperialistic foreign policy... what a GREAT IDEA for christmas eve from the renowned gray lady...

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Neighbor vs. neighbor, ethnicity vs. ethnicity, haves vs. have nots... George Bush's Amerika...

merry christmas, latino immigrants...
The farmers are just petrified at what’s happening to their workers,” said Maureen Torrey, an 11th-generation grower and a director of the Federal Reserve Bank’s Buffalo branch whose family owns this field and more than 10,000 acres of vegetable and dairy farms.

And for the first time in years, farmers are also frightened for themselves. In small towns divided over immigration, they fear that speaking out — or a disgruntled neighbor’s call to the authorities — could make them targets of the next raid and raise the threat of criminal prosecution.

another bushco tactic to create fear and polarize communities... as george and his minions have demonstrated with great success, it's not only the terrorists we should be afraid of, it's each other...

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