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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 09/02/2007 - 09/09/2007
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Checking up on our "communities of interest"

from the nyt via raw story...
Records obtained by the New York Times show that the FBI not only demanded information on American individuals from telecommunications providers in "national security letters," but also expected information on people their subjects associated with, called one's "community of interest." The practice was recently discontinued.


[C]ommunity of interest data might include an analysis of which people the targets called most frequently, how long they generally talked and at what times of day, sudden fluctuations in activity, geographic regions that were called, and other data, law enforcement and industry officials said.

and here we thought the bush administration couldn't possibly be any more out of control... the level of criminality is positively breathtaking...

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Your chances of getting killed or kidnapped in Baghdad as an unprotected Westerner? One hundred percent.

cenk uygur in daily kos...
We were talking to Newsweek's correspondent in Baghdad, Babak Dehghanpisheh, on Friday's show. I asked him if a Westerner, journalists or otherwise, could walk around in Baghdad unprotected by the military. He said it would be "suicidal."

I don't really know what I expected. I knew it was dangerous and I suspected that no Westerner went outside of the Green Zone without protection, but I didn't get the sense of how perilous it was until we talked to Dehghanpisheh.

So, I followed up by asking him if being harmed was a certainty if you were unprotected in Baghdad. He answered that your chances of getting killed or kidnapped in Baghdad if you were an unprotected Westerner was "one hundred percent."

whaddaya think of THEM odds, bucko...?

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Gee, I guess I had better have my RFID tracking chip removed, eh?

this oughta throw a monkey wrench into plans for additional intrusions on privacy...
When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved implanting microchips in humans, the manufacturer said it would save lives, letting doctors scan the tiny transponders to access patients' medical records almost instantly. The FDA found "reasonable assurance" the device was safe, and a sub-agency even called it one of 2005's top "innovative technologies."

But neither the company nor the regulators publicly mentioned this: A series of veterinary and toxicology studies, dating to the mid-1990s, stated that chip implants had "induced" malignant tumors in some lab mice and rats.

"The transponders were the cause of the tumors," said Keith Johnson, a retired toxicologic pathologist, explaining in a phone interview the findings of a 1996 study he led at the Dow Chemical Co. in Midland, Mich.

Leading cancer specialists reviewed the research for The Associated Press and, while cautioning that animal test results do not necessarily apply to humans, said the findings troubled them. Some said they would not allow family members to receive implants, and all urged further research before the glass-encased transponders are widely implanted in people.

can't be good news for these people...


well, well, well, what have we here...
The FDA ... stands by its approval of the technology.

Did the agency know of the tumor findings before approving the chip implants? The FDA declined repeated AP requests to specify what studies it reviewed.

The FDA is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, which, at the time of VeriChip's approval, was headed by Tommy Thompson. Two weeks after the device's approval took effect on Jan. 10, 2005, Thompson left his Cabinet post, and within five months was a board member of VeriChip Corp. and Applied Digital Solutions. He was compensated in cash and stock options.

Thompson, until recently a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, says he had no personal relationship with the company as the VeriChip was being evaluated, nor did he play any role in FDA's approval process of the RFID tag.

anyone see anything in the least bit surprising about another bush administration toadie being involved in something dicey...?

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Right in time to benefit George the most, he-e-e-e-e-ere's OBL!

i simply do not believe in this kind of coincidence... no way... no how...
Just as Sylvester and Tweety Bird achieved lasting Hollywood fame from their comical cartoon chases, the less amusing duo of George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden continue to benefit each other by reviving their long-distance rivalry, one posturing against the other in a way that helps them both.

In a new video, al-Qaeda leader bin Laden again taunts Bush, the United States – and then the Democrats for not forcing an American withdrawal from Iraq, which should help guarantee that the Democrats won’t dare press for a withdrawal from Iraq.

At a summit of Pacific Rim leaders in Sydney, Australia, President Bush then did his part, highlighting bin Laden’s Iraq comments:

“I found it interested that on the tape Iraq was mentioned, which is a reminder that Iraq is part of the war against extremists. If al-Qaeda bothers to mention Iraq, it’s because they want to achieve their objectives in Iraq, which is to drive us out.”

with the iraq "debate" in full swing, petraeus due to testify, and the propaganda/spin machine in high gear, obl just "happening to pop up" stretches the bounds of belief past the snapping point... and our congressional democrats...? HA...! score another one for dear leader and his band of never-say-die criminals...

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Speaking of wingnuttery, let's hear it for THE IRAQ WAR!

permanent war... permanent occupation of iraq... ya gotta love it...
The 'surge' is working

Casualties are down and security is improving in Iraq; Washington must give the strategy more time.

By Max Boot
September 8, 2007


Notwithstanding all the political hype and hyperbole, events on the ground do matter, and there is no denying that events in Iraq have been moving in the right direction since the surge started. Not even the Democrats deny it. Sens. Jack Reed, Hillary Clinton and Dick Durbin, among others, have acknowledged that, as Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin put it, "The military aspects of President Bush's new strategy in Iraq . . . appear to have produced some credible and positive results."

yay, war...!

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THIS is a presidential candidate

THIS is a presidential candidate...?
Thompson elaborates on conservative stand

The candidate's views: Punish doctors, not patients, for early abortions; rein in judges on gay marriage; deport illegal immigrants.

wingnuttery... just what we need more of...

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Hayden joins McConnell in fear-mongering

echoing mcconnell's dishonest, fear-mongering in the lead-up to the passage of the shameful protect america act last month, michael hayden joins the drum-beating in an effort to keep the fires of fear well-stoked...
CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said Friday that the agency's ability to pursue Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks was being hampered by declining political and public support for aggressive methods that the CIA had used in interrogations and other counter- terrorism operations.

In a rare public speech by a CIA chief, Hayden lashed out at the media and complained that the political climate was slipping toward apathy and risk aversion characteristic of the period leading up to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"When I get in the car at Langley and drive down the George Washington Parkway," Hayden said, referring to the corridor between the CIA's headquarters in Virginia and downtown Washington, "it's not long before it begins to feel like Sept. 10.

and what would fear-mongering be without sharp attacks against anybody who dares question the wisdom of our all-powerful government's blatant disregard for the constitution, international convention or public opinion...?
Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Hayden provided new details to counter what he characterized as damaging misconceptions about the agency's interrogation and "rendition" operations.

In particular, he disclosed that the CIA had transferred fewer than 100 prisoners to other countries. Critics have contended that the rendition program has led to detainees being tortured in such nations as Egypt and Uzbekistan.

Hayden also lashed out at a European Parliament investigation that was harshly critical of CIA operations. He called the contents of its report "wild speculation."

fewer than 100, eh...? and that's supposed to make us feel GOOD...?
Under an executive order signed by President Bush this summer, the CIA is still allowed to use an array of interrogation techniques -- including sleep deprivation and so-called stress positions -- that are banned under the military manual that the Army adopted. The manual was developed in the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.

Hayden argued in his speech that imposing the stricter military rules on CIA interrogators would damage the agency's ability to collect intelligence and protect the country from future attacks.

it's completely incomprehensible to me how torture can be defended under any rationale whatsoever, but that's obviously because i simply don't care that much about protecting my country from "future attacks..."

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See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil

there is no excuse whatsoever for collaborating in torture, particularly among members of the medical profession...
Health care workers in the U.S. military seem to have put their loyalty to the state above their duty to care for patients — and American regulatory bodies have done nothing to remedy the situation, said the letter that appeared in The Lancet [a prestigious British medical journal].

It was signed by some 260 people from 16 countries, nearly all of whom are doctors.

The letter compared the ongoing role of U.S. doctors working at Guantánamo, who have been accused of ignoring torture, to the South African doctors involved in the case of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, who died while being detained by security police.

"The attitude of the U.S. medical establishment appears to be one of 'See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,'" the letter charged.

so, what are the docs accused of doing to provoke the rebuke...?
Guantánamo's reputation has been tarnished by hunger strikes and suicides. Detainees began refusing food at the prison in August 2005, although the number of prisoners on hunger strike has fluctuated. The forced feeding of detainees, who are strapped into restraint chairs and fed through tubes reaching down their throats, has been particularly controversial.

The letter's authors argued in The Lancet last year that the forced feeding was "degrading and unethical." Commentary published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in July called on doctors not to participate in the practice.

Military officials have described the hunger striking as a "voluntary fast" intended to draw international sympathy, and have praised the efforts of medical staff to keep the detainees alive as heroic.

the "voluntary fast" terminology is the same crap spin used to characterize detainee suicide attempts as acts of "assymetric warfare..." how have we sunk so low...?

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Friday, September 07, 2007

There is no evil that is beyond their pathological capacity

nothing i haven't been saying for a very long time, but a reminder never hurts...
We don't have time to wait for the next scheduled election. There is no assurance there will even BE a next election. Unless the strategic lunatics in the White House are directly confronted and stopped now there is no evil that is beyond their pathological capacity. Notice how the usual right wing suspects are beating the drums harder and harder to sell a new war in Iran. We have to counter mobilize. We have to tell Congress, no way.

And the best and strongest way to do that is to demand immediate impeachment, with Cheney first up. Anything less will result in just more backing down by a witless Congress, and surrender to the most depraved horrors in the darkest recesses of Dick Cheney's mind.

cast your vote here to insure it gets read by congressional leaders who don't give a damn...

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Bush's perpetual confusion isn't a laughing matter

there's clearly something wrong with the man...
"Thank you for being such a fine host of the OPEC summit," Bush said to Australian prime minister John Howard. He quickly corrected himself, "APEC summit," and joked Howard "invited me to the OPEC summit next year. (Such an invitation would be impossible because neither the US or Australia are members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.)

Later in the speech, Bush can clearly be heard on tape thanking Howard for visiting "Austrian troops" in Iraq last year, but White House scrubbers fixed that gaffe for him, changing the official government transcript to "Australian," the Associated Press reported.

an occasional stumble or gaffe is something that happens to everyone... with this guy, however, i get the distinct impression that he's borderline dysfunctional...

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Why is this on the WaPo front page?

three guesses and the first two don't count...
Petraeus Open to Pullout of 1 Brigade
Top General in Iraq Said to Favor Caution

By Robin Wright and Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 7, 2007; Page A01

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus has indicated a willingness to consider a drawdown of one brigade of between 3,500 and 4,500 U.S. troops from Iraq early next year, with more to follow over the next months based on conditions on the ground, according to a senior U.S. official.

subliminal messages:
  • Petraeus is flexible by showing a willingness to reduce troop strength
  • there must be progress taking place in iraq in order for a drawdown of any magnitude to be considered
  • Petraeus' report to Congress will offer some hope

followed by disinformation...
The pullouts would be contingent on the ability of U.S. and Iraqi forces to sustain what the administration heralds as recent gains in security and to make further gains in stabilizing Iraq.

followed by an outright lie...
Administration officials say the president will make the final decision about the overall strategy in Iraq, but they suggested that Bush is unlikely to depart significantly from recommendations made by top military officials.

my god, they simply can't stop themselves can they...?

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Comunidades y Viviendas: two visuals

i've been attempting to determine the approximate size for a workable community... obviously, there are sizes beyond which the concept of "community" would cease to apply... there also also natural boundaries for communities within which people would feel an identification with the area... here's two rough attempts...

A portion of Barrio Nuñez, Buenos Aires,
approximately 70 square blocks, and possibly
1-2,000 people

A portion of Cold Springs, Nevada,
approximately 18 square blocks, and
roughly 5-600 people

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Score one for the Constitutution and the ACLU

we shouldn't have to be constantly fighting in court to uphold the constitution of the united states...
A federal judge struck down parts of the revised USA Patriot Act on Thursday, saying investigators must have a court's approval before they can order Internet providers to turn over records without telling customers.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero said the government orders must be subject to meaningful judicial review and that the recently rewritten Patriot Act "offends the fundamental constitutional principles of checks and balances and separation of powers."

The American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the law, complaining that it allowed the FBI to demand records without the kind of court order required for other government searches.

but we gotta do what we gotta do...

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Nukes for Iran?

a very suspicious story to begin with...
"A B-52 bomber mistakenly loaded with five nuclear warheads flew from Minot Air Force Base, N.D, to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Aug. 30, resulting in an Air Force-wide investigation, according to three officers who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the incident," according to the Navy Times.


The B-52 was loaded with Advanced Cruise Missiles, part of a Defense Department effort to decommission 400 of the ACMs. But the nuclear warheads should have been removed at Minot before being transported to Barksdale, the officers said. The missiles were mounted onto the pylons of the bomber’s wings.

Advanced Cruise Missiles carry a W80-1 warhead with a yield of 5 to 150 kilotons and are specifically designed for delivery by B-52 strategic bombers.

Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Ed Thomas said the transfer was safely conducted and the weapons were in Air Force custody and control at all times. However, the mistake was not discovered until the B-52 landed at Barskdale, which left the warheads unaccounted for during the approximately 3 1/2 hour flight between the two bases, the officers said.

grows one hell of a lot more suspicious after reading this thought-provoking post by larry johnson at the booman tribune...
by Larry Johnson
Wed Sep 5th, 2007 at 05:11:26 PM EST
Why the hubbub over a B-52 taking off from a B-52 base in Minot, North Dakota and subsequently landing at a B-52 base in Barksdale, Louisiana? That’s like getting excited if you see postal worker in uniform walking out of a post office. And how does someone watching a B-52 land identify the cruise missiles as nukes? It just does not make sense.

So I called a old friend and retired B-52 pilot and asked him. What he told me offers one compelling case of circumstantial evidence. My buddy, let’s call him Jack D. Ripper, reminded me that the only times you put weapons on a plane is when they are on alert or if you are tasked to move the weapons to a specific site.

Then he told me something I had not heard before.

Barksdale Air Force Base is being used as a jumping off point for Middle East operations. Gee, why would we want cruise missile nukes at Barksdale Air Force Base. Can’t imagine we would need to use them in Iraq. Why would we want to preposition nuclear weapons at a base conducting Middle East operations?

His final point was to observe that someone on the inside obviously leaked the info that the planes were carrying nukes. A B-52 landing at Barksdale is a non-event. A B-52 landing with nukes. That is something else.

Now maybe there is an innocent explanation for this? I can’t think of one. What is certain is that the pilots of this plane did not just make a last minute decision to strap on some nukes and take them for a joy ride. We need some tough questions and clear answers. What the hell is going on? Did someone at Barksdale try to indirectly warn the American people that the Bush Administration is staging nukes for Iran? I don’t know, but it is a question worth asking.

thank god we have people out there who know people who can shed light into our government's darkest corners...

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Shilling for another war while discrediting a voice of reason and a Nobel Peace Prize winner

the bush administration simply cannot abide anyone who doesn't toe the line with its perpetual war agenda, and outlets like the wapo are only too happy to be one of its running dogs... beginning with both the headline and the teaser, this editorial takes a crack at mohamed el baradei, the iaea director, who, as he has since the run-up to the iraq war, tries to speak above the noise of the incessant beating of bushco's war drums...
Rogue Regulator
Mohamed ElBaradei pursues a separate peace with Iran.

FOR SOME time Mohamed ElBaradei, the Egyptian diplomat who heads the International Atomic Energy Agency, has made it clear he considers himself above his position as a U.N. civil servant. Rather than carry out the policy of the Security Council or the IAEA board, for which he nominally works, Mr. ElBaradei behaves as if he were independent of them, free to ignore their decisions and to use his agency to thwart their leading members -- above all the United States.

it seems to me more than a tad disingenuous to call the u.s. one of the "leading members" of the u.n., somehow implying that the u.s. really supports the u.n.'s work rather than simply manipulating it for its own ends... even more blatantly disingenuous, however, is the wapo's pathetic attempt to distance itself from those drooling over the prospect of a new war...
Mr. ElBaradei was lionized by opponents of the Iraq war for debunking Bush administration charges that Saddam Hussein had restarted his nuclear program before the 2003 invasion. Emboldened, he has now set himself a new task: stopping what he considers to be the "crazies" in Washington who "want to say, 'Let us go and bomb Iran.' " We're not part of that camp, though we consider its members saner than many of the statements of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

so, the wapo considers the "let us go and bomb iran" crowd SANE...? that statement in itself renders the "we're not part of that camp" claim meaningless...

and conveniently, as per usual, the wapo omits any mention of the fact that the u.s. would have liked nothing better than to have prevented el baradei from serving another term as iaea director when his previous term was up back in early 2005...

from an interview with the arms control association in march 2005...

ACA: Speaking of your job, so far you’re running unopposed for a third term as director-general. As you know, the United States says it opposes another term for you because it’s opposed to third terms for the heads of international organizations in general. Do you believe the United States wants you replaced for any other reason?

ElBaradei: You should address that question to the United States. I really haven’t discussed it with them, and all I know is that the overwhelming majority of members-states have come to me and asked me to continue to serve. I was not necessarily planning to, if you had asked me a year ago, but they asked me to serve, and I think the reason for it is that we are in a very delicate phase in the nonproliferation regime, both the whole vitality of the regime as well as specific cases like Iran and North Korea, and that’s why I agreed to serve. I’d be happy to serve if people want me to; if not, again, I’ll be equally happy to do other stuff.

ACA: U.S. officials as well as some officials from other governments have indicated dissatisfaction with the fact that your reports to the IAEA Board of Governors did not say that Iran was in noncompliance with its IAEA safeguards agreement. What is your reaction to that?

ElBaradei: Well, first, the only thing I saw publicly is that during the [confirmation] hearing of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, she said, from the U.S. perspective, I served with distinction. I think that’s the language she used, so that’s all I have seen publicly, and I’d be obviously happy, if there are any who have any qualms about any of our reports, to discuss them privately and publicly. But our reports on Iran have been characterized, at least from our perspective, by being factual and objective, and that’s what we’ll continue to do. We have no ax to grind, one way or another. Our role is to bring the facts out and, as I think I mentioned in Davos,[8] when Iran cheated I reported, when Iran cooperated I reported.

also conveniently omitted is this...
Mohamed El Baradei, together with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which he heads, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last week for working to curb the spread of nuclear weapons.

but the most incredible statement of the editorial comes right at the end...
Moscow and Beijing could join Mr. ElBaradei in arguing that nothing should be done before the end of the year. By then, the options of the Bush administration and other governments that believe Iran's nuclear program must be stopped, and not accommodated, may be greatly attenuated -- thanks to a diplomat who apparently believes he need not represent anyone other than himself.

and this, my friends, is why u.s. citizens are among the most poorly informed people in the world...

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Our president is a pathological liar

no reason whatsoever to mince words...

(thanks to crooks and liars...)

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Here's another shock.......

This the day after the GAO report, even after the White house made them revise it, said the Iraqi gov't has only met 3 of 18 goals.
For generations to come, we are guaranteed to have waves of hate filled Iraqis trying to kill us at every opportunity.
We must stop the NeoCons before they get everybody, everywhere killed.
From the AP.
Advisers Tell Bush to Stand Pat on Iraq

Associated Press Writers

Advisers Tell Bush to Stand Pat on Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's senior advisers on Iraq have recommended he stand by his current war strategy, and he is unlikely to order more than a symbolic cut in troops before the end of the year, administration officials told The Associated Press Tuesday.

The recommendations from the military commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker come despite independent government findings Tuesday that Baghdad has not met most of the political, military and economic markers set by Congress.
You need to read the rest for yourself. This drives me insane with rage.
Pelosi and Reid better get their butts in gear, hell, the whole damn Congress better get their butts in gear and kick these bastards out, NOW!
Otherwise, I think we need to kick ALL of them out.

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Blah, blah, blah

same ol' same ol'... i b lookin' for somepin' worth posting but it's all the same old shit...

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Monday, September 03, 2007

"Proof beyond a reasonable doubt" not required to start an impeachment inquiry

if what bush has done already doesn't warrant an impeachment inquiry, then, according to fein, impeachment as a constitutional remedy is meaningless...

bruce fein in slate...

he continues...
The House does not require, nor should it await, proof beyond a reasonable doubt of misconduct. To wait for such proof subverts the whole purpose of an impeachment inquiry.


Impeachment precedents fortified by the original intent of the Constitution's makers provide ample justification for a House judiciary committee impeachment inquiry targeting President Bush for—among other things—multiple criminal violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and frustration of legitimate congressional oversight with preposterous claims of executive privilege.

FISA makes it a federal felony for the president or vice president to "intentionally engage … in electronic surveillance [to gather foreign intelligence or otherwise] under color of law except as authorized by statute." A companion provision provides that the FISA's procedures are the "exclusive means" for conducting electronic surveillance.


An impeachment inquiry should further examine Bush's repeated assertions of executive privilege to operate a secret government eavesdropping program.


If what Bush has said and done falls short of warranting an impeachment inquiry, then impeachment of the president has become a virtual dead letter.

yeah, this criminal cabal needs to go, no doubt about it...

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9/11 conspiracy theories (MSNBC story and poll)

take a look at the accompanying story...

click on image to vote in poll

thanks to kevin at cryptogon...

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Bush visits our 51st state, Iraq, and disses Maliki in the process

he sends gates to meet with the iraqi bigwigs first while he zips in and out of a u.s. airbase... some pretty potent buried messages here, methinks... first of all, it's a desperate move... he needs the media exposure and p.r... secondly, it's a clear middle finger to maliki... thirdly, zooming in and out of a u.s. airbase in a foreign country that is under u.s. occupation and NOT going to baghdad only serves to reinforce the view generally held by a majority of people around the world that iraq is really a u.s. possession, and does not act as its own country...
President Bush made a surprise visit to Iraq on Monday, using the war zone as a backdrop to argue his case that the buildup of U.S. troops is helping stabilizing the nation.

The president secretly flew 11 hours to Iraq as a showdown nears with Congress over whether his decision in January to order 30,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq is working.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived ahead of Bush, and convened a meeting with the country's top political leaders to highlight Bush administration hopes for prodding Iraq into a "bottom-up" approach to national reconciliation.


Bush and his national security team flew directly to this air base in a remote part of Anbar province, bypassing Baghdad in a symbolic expression of impatience with political paralysis in the nation's capital. The gesture underscored the U.S. belief that the spark for progress may come at the local level.

and we wonder why they hate us...

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Comunidades y Viviendas, Monologue 2

where does the family fit in to my thinking about communidades y viviendas...?

it's almost impossible to read or watch anything over tv, the tubes, in mainstream or even alternative media these days without seeing the word "family" used in some context... googling the word "family" gets you 789 MILLION hits, among the first three of which include disney and james dobson and focus on the family's "family" website... there are a ton more, left and right, liberal and conservative, wingnut and moonbat, and all of them share one common assumption: that the family is the sine qua non, the absolutely essential building block of human society, and that an analysis of societal structures will inevitably and universally take you back to that irreducible unit... i think that assumption is flawed and, in fact, is the source of much of the social polarization, societal anomie and sense of personal isolation that seems to define much of today's world, and i would like to propose what, to some, may be a radical notion, that COMMUNITY is the fundamental building block of society...

stop and think about it... what are communities composed of...? well, certainly, one of the first answers that springs to mind is families... no argument here, but what else...? THIS is where is gets interesting... IF families are seen as the fundamental building block, social structures that don't fit that category are either marginalized or rejected outright, and isn't that exactly what's happening...?

we hear ad nauseam about how diversity (and, i gotta tell ya, i have come to HATE that word, not because of the concept it implies but because of how i have seen it used in the corporate world) is essential to healthy communities, and i don't think too many of us - with the exception of those who live in and swear by homogeneous gated communities - disagree with that... so, IF that's true and IF community is seen as the fundamental building block of society, then it would stand to reason that families would be just ONE part of that diversity, right...? this would not only open the door, it would also seek to include the mildly retarded adult who is just capable enough of managing her life to have her own apartment and hold down a job as a shelf stocker in the local grocery... it would legitimize the gay couple down the street, the life-long bachelor who obssesses over his flowers in the summer, and all the others that are all too often pushed to the sidelines today...

so, what's new about this, you ask...? nothing, that's just the point... community has been the fundamental building block of society for thousands of years, and it has only been recently that we have seen family pushing community aside... what does putting family into that key position do... well, we already know that it creates exclusion rather than inclusion, exclusion for anyone who does not fit into that neat category... what else...? my belief is that holding family up as the cornerstone of society drives us apart from each other... when families occupy center stage, all of the focus is on them, a la dobson, and the infinitely much richer web of community fades into the background... if family is the cornerstone, it may very well be that the family must stand alone, the final bulwark against the vagaries of the outside world... on the other hand, if community moves front and center, there is an inherent assumption that a family within that community is part of that larger support structure...

as i hinted at in earlier posts, for the purposes of what i am thinking about, i have a very specific definition of the word "community" in mind... in our current society, "communities" form around almost everything - the workplace, hobbies, volunteer work, church, children's activities, travel, you name it... part of the reason i chose the spanish term "comunidades y viviendas" to headline what i'm proposing is because it captures the specific kind of community i have in mind - the place where we LIVE...

there aren't many close-knit communities of that type kicking around any more, and those that remain are battling the same divisive forces as the rest of society... it used to be that small towns and rural areas were spared from the ills that plague higher density urban areas, but those days are long gone... thanks to satellite and cable television and the internet, kids in small-town argentina and macedonia often have more in common with kids in kansas farm country and the russian steppe than they do with their parents... five blocks from where i sit right now in my little place in buenos aires, there are ciber-cafes packed with young kids and adolescents, playing the same video games, drooling over the same new nike gear, and chatting with their friends all over latin america and around the world, just like kids in hundreds of other countries... now, don't get me wrong... i don't see anything wrong with that... many of these kids are more technologically savvy and more keenly aware of global goings-on (albeit in the popular culture vein) than any generation that's come before... but what's missing...? when they walk out of that ciber-cafe and finish hanging with their friends, they go back to that FAMILY... there's no community where they live, although i do have to say they have it somewhat better than many u.s. kids because of the focus on extended family... there's always an uncle, an aunt, a cousin, a grandma, or a grandpa in the picture somewhere, and, usually, a sister or brother-in-law and lots of nephews and nieces as well... but, in the barrio...? nah... it isn't there, any more than it exists in the suburban, bedroom community that my son, his wife, and my grandsons call home in nevada...

my belief is that the lack of the "communidades y viviendas" type of community in this world is killing us by degrees and that we desperately need to bring it back... but it can't be recreated in the mold of the past... it has to be a radically new approach, one suited to the realities of today... in subsequent posts, i'll talk about how i think that might look and how we might go about doing it...

in the meantime, comments are appreciated...


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Hunter Thompson, 2003: "Who are these ... flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush?"

opol has a good diary up on daily kos from which i stole this unwaveringly truthful quote from my hero...
"Who are these Swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush? ..... They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character.... I piss down the throats of these Nazis. And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck Them."

"But wow! This goofy child president we have on our hands now. He is demonstrably a fool and a failure, and this is only the summer of '03. The American nation is in the worst condition I can remember in my lifetime, and our prospects for the immediate future are even worse. . . The Bush family must be very proud of themselves today, but I am not. Big Darkness, soon come. Take my word for it."

"The utter collapse of this Profoundly criminal Bush conspiracy will come none too soon for people like me.... The massive plundering of the U.S. Treasury and all its resources has been almost on a scale that is criminally insane, and has literally destroyed the lives of millions of American people and American families. Exactly. You and me, sport— we are the ones who are going to suffer, and suffer massively. This is going to be just like the Book of Revelation said it was going to be— the end of the world as we knew it."

"These horrifying digital snapshots of the American dream in action on foreign soil are worse than anything even I could have expected. I have been in this business a long time and I have seen many staggering things, but this one is over the line. Now I am really ashamed to carry an American passport."

"America... just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable."

~ Hunter S. Thompson

let's fix it... time's a'wastin'...

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McClatchy: wrong direction, dump Bush, help the poor

it's ugly out there, as well it should be...
The surveys point to one thing almost all Americans tend to agree on: They're deeply unhappy with the way things are going in the United States and eager to move on. There's virtually no appetite to extend the Bush era, as there was at the end of Ronald Reagan's presidency in 1988 or Bill Clinton's in 2000.

* Just 1 in 5 Americans think the country is going in the right direction, the worst outlook since the Reagan-Bush era ended in 1992.

* Less than one-third of Americans like the way the current President Bush is handling his job, among the lowest ratings in half a century. The people had similarly dismal opinions just before they ended the Jimmy Carter era in 1980, the Kennedy-Johnson years in 1968 and the Roosevelt-Truman era in 1952.

* The ranks of people who want the government to help the poor have risen sharply since the early 1990s — dramatically among independents, but even among Republicans.

The public mood is evident in Iowa, the heartland state that votes first for major-party presidential nominees and a pivotal swing state in the last two presidential elections.

"People are very unhappy, very unsettled,'' said Megan Phillips, a teacher from Centerville, a town of about 6,000 in southern Iowa.


"People don't trust anything coming out of Washington,'' she said. "When Bush says we're winning the war in Iraq, I say, 'Oh really?' The weapons of mass destruction weren't there. Why are we still there? We want our people to come home. There are so many things at home that need to be taken care of."


"It's a sour mood," said David Johnson, a former aide to Kansas Republican Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign. His public relations firm, Strategic Vision, conducted the poll for corporate clients.

"There's a feeling that things are not going well. There are concerns about the economy, concerns about Iraq. ... They don't want a third term for Bush, not even Republicans. Among Democrats, I've never seen anything like it. And independents just want to be done with him."

well, people are definitely upset, and that's good... now, if they would just get upset over the most CRITICAL issue, one that trumps all the others, even as critical as they are, and that's the methodical destruction of our constitution, an issue that won't go away with the 2008 election...

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Opus: straightening out the Middle East

as usual, it's good... check it out...

joan walsh comments on opus in today's edition of salon...

Last week we told you that Salon was running two "Opus" cartoons, featuring spiritual seeker Lola Granola's stint as a "radical Islamist," that many newspapers, including the Washington Post, declined to publish. This week, Salon is running Berkeley Breathed's original, unedited version of the Lola Granola finale, and it's slightly different from the one approved for distribution to newspapers by the Washington Post Company.

In the strip distributed to newspapers, the final panel substitutes "world" for the term "Middle East." (The Washington Post declined to publish even the edited cartoon in the newspaper.) We liked it better the way Breathed originally drew it, and decided to run that version.

As I noted last week, Editor & Publisher and others reported that some newspapers had concerns about running a cartoon that might somehow be construed as insensitive to Muslims. I'd like to insert a line here about Salon's courage in running these two strips, but I didn't see anything that made me think twice about them -- except the news that others wouldn't publish them. We're proud to have Breathed as a contributor, and sad about what this episode says about newspaper publishing today.

what I'D like to see is a poll taken among american muslims on how many of them thought the strip was offensive or inoffensive...

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Fuhgeddaboudit* says Bush to ACLU

rule #1: we make the rules... rule #2: see rule #1...
In a filing with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is itself secret and oversees the program, the U.S. Justice Department said the court should reject a request by the American Civil Liberties Union to disclose its legal rulings at the center of debate over the program.

It said the court had no authority to order such material declassified, the ACLU had no basis for filing its request with the court, and that granting it would jeopardize the surveillance program.

"The public disclosure of the documents the ACLU requests would seriously compromise sensitive sources and methods relating to the collection of intelligence necessary for the Government to conduct counterterrorism activities," the department said in its filing.

we ain't tellin' nobody nuttin' about nuttin'...
* fuhgeddaboudit

1. Forget about it - the issue is not worth the time, energy, mental effort, or emotional resources.

2. Definitively "no."

3. The subject is unequivocally excellent; further thought and analysis are unnecessary.

Often heard spoken by Robert De Niro, characters on the Sopranos, and people trying to sound hip and tough like a goomba.

There are many spelling variations. The consensus online is that it should be phonetically either "fu-ge-da-boud-it"; or "fu-ge-da-bout-it";

1. So they killed your brother's fiancee. Listen to me: fuhgeddaboudit.

2. You ask me once, I say fuggedaboudit, end of discussion.

3. Over there she got the best rigatoni in New Jersey. And the hot pastrami? Fuggedaboutit!

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“They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military”

from the london sunday times...

THE Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days, according to a national security expert.

Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, said last week that US military planners were not preparing for “pinprick strikes” against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military,” he said.

good lord, will SOMEONE please put bush and his fellow criminals out of my misery...?

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