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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 12/16/2007 - 12/23/2007
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A few days of photoblogging

Sunset, high desert, 21 December, 17:52

Moon, high desert, 22 December, 18:21

Sunset, high desert, 18 December, 17:40

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"Building a Republican presidential candidate from a kit"

hahahahahahaha... dontcha LOVE it when the truth just jumps right off the page atcha...?

Romney should not be the next president

Monitor staff
December 22. 2007 3:00PM

If you were building a Republican presidential candidate from a kit, imagine what pieces you might use: an athletic build, ramrod posture, Reaganesque hair, a charismatic speaking style and a crisp dark suit. You'd add a beautiful wife and family, a wildly successful business career and just enough executive government experience. You'd pour in some old GOP bromides - spending cuts and lower taxes - plus some new positions for 2008: anti-immigrant rhetoric and a focus on faith.

Add it all up and you get Mitt Romney, a disquieting figure who sure looks like the next president and most surely must be stopped.


(thanks to raw story...)

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U.S. Lawyers: "We believe the Bush administration has committed numerous offenses against the Constitution and may have violated federal laws..."

turning up the heat...
Lawyers Stepping Up
Katrina vanden Heuvel

We are lawyers in the United States of America. As such, we have all taken an oath obligating us to defend the Constitution and the rule of law…. We believe the Bush administration has committed numerous offenses against the Constitution and may have violated federal laws…. Moreover, the administration has blatantly defied congressional subpoenas, obstructing constitutional oversight …. Thus, we call on House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy to launch hearings into the possibility that crimes have been committed by this administration in violation of the Constitution…. We call for the investigations to go where they must, including into the offices of the President and the Vice President. -- American Lawyers Defending the Constitution

Over one thousand lawyers – including former Governor Mario Cuomo and former Reagan administration official Bruce Fein – have signed onto the above statement demanding wide-ranging investigative hearings into unconstitutional and potentially criminal activity by the Bush administration.

In a conference call with reporters yesterday, Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and winner of the 2007 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship, said: "The majority of lawyers in this country understand that the Bush administration has really gone off the page of constitutional rights and off the page of fundamental rights, and is willing to push the Congress to restore those rights." Ratner said he was "dismayed" that a Democratic majority has failed "to push on key illegalities… the torture program, and now the destruction of the tapes involving the torture program; the warrantless wiretapping, the denial of habeas corpus, the secret sites/rendition program, special trials, and of course what we now know is the firing of US Attorneys scandal…. The minimal that absolutely is needed to get us back on the page of law is to have serious investigative hearings that go up the chain of command and figure out who is responsible for what."

the sons-of-bitches need to be tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail... stronger letter to follow...

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HRC problem solved... She can't be elected for a 3d term...

i don't want another term for EITHER of 'em...
Both Clintons are making the case that theirs was a co-presidency -- an echo of Bill Clinton's controversial statement during the 1992 campaign that voters would get "two for the price of one" if they elected him. At times, the former president has seemed to cast the current race as a referendum on his administration.

great... if they were co-presidents, then hrc has already served two 4-year terms and cannot run again... problem solved...

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Happy Holidays to everyone!

i know there are a few of you out there who are faithful followers of this blog as well as those who occasionally drop by... i'm sure i can speak for my fellow bloggers in wishing everyone the very happiest of holidays and an amazing and wonderful new year which, as i said below, i think will surprise us all...

Sunrise, 5:56 a.m., 20 January 2007
Villa Gesell, Argentina

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The end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)

ya know, i may well be overly-medicated, but i think that 2008 is going to be a wonderful, amazing year that takes this kind of despair and turns it right around...

(thanks to john at americablog...)

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Attempts to create a police state in the U.S. aren't new

you know what's TRULY scandalous...? that a document like this, one which shows the REAL inner workings of our government, has remained a secret for FIFTY-EIGHT YEARS...
A 1950 Plan: Arrest 12,000, Suspend Due Process

A newly declassified document shows that J. Edgar Hoover, the long-time director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had a plan to suspend habeas corpus and imprison some 12,000 Americans that he suspected of disloyalty.

Hoover sent his plan to the White House on July 7, 1950, 12 days after the Korean War began. It envisioned putting suspect Americans in military prisons.

Hoover wanted President Harry S. Truman to proclaim the mass arrests necessary to “protect the country against treason, espionage and sabotage.” The F.B.I would “apprehend all individuals potentially dangerous” to national security, Hoover’s proposal said. The arrests would be carried out under “a master warrant attached to a list of names” provided by the bureau.

The names were part of an index that Hoover had been compiling for years. “The index now contains approximately twelve thousand individuals, of which approximately ninety-seven per cent are citizens of the United States,” he wrote.

“In order to make effective these apprehensions, the proclamation suspends the Writ of Habeas Corpus,” it said.

it seems we have a long and rich tradition of seeking to create a police state...

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A NYC business success built on the backs of low-wage illegal immigrants

fresh direct is an online, high-end, grocery company in nyc...

from the nyt...

The company has grown in five years from a dot-com dream to a $200 million business, and its Web site features “celebrity shopping lists” from quintessentially New York figures like Spike Lee, Edward I. Koch and Cynthia Nixon, a star of “Sex and the City.”

But now an eruption of low-tech troubles is drawing a spotlight to what lies behind the computer screen. Last week, the company abruptly lost more than 100 of the roughly 900 employees at its huge plant in Long Island City, Queens, including many of its most experienced workers, when they learned that federal officials planned to check their immigration status.

It is battling not one, but two unions that want to represent the workers, with the election to be held this weekend. City labor leaders and several elected officials rallied at City Hall on Friday to accuse the company and immigration authorities of trying to block the union drive.

And when Fresh Direct held a job fair this week, though hundreds of applicants lined up in the cold, many lost interest as soon as they learned about the low starting pay and low-temperature workplace: $7.85 an hour to pick and pack groceries at night, in 38-degree chill, often for more than eight hours at a stretch. “They said, ‘Dress as warm as you can,’” reported one disenchanted applicant, Joy Brewster, 22, as she emerged from a group job interview with a toss of her head. “I don’t think so. I’d be stiff as a board.”

Another applicant, Eibar Amaya, 47, an immigrant from Colombia who is now a United States citizen, gave his verdict in succinct, if imperfect English: “Pay too little, no good.”

a $200M business, catering to celebrities, and, no doubt, charging celebrity prices, pays $7.85 an hour for a night job, standing in the cold, in nyc, one of the most expensive cities in the country... just another fine story of fabled american entrepreneurial spirit...

told ya they weren't cheap...

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The FBI biometric database - domestic spying comes in from the cold

somewhere along the line, domestic spying has become an accepted fact... how else to explain this out-in-the-open, page one, wapo story...
FBI Prepares Vast Database Of Biometrics
$1 Billion Project to Include Images of Irises and Faces

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 22, 2007; Page A01

The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion effort to build the world's largest computer database of peoples' physical characteristics, a project that would give the government unprecedented abilities to identify individuals in the United States and abroad.

Digital images of faces, fingerprints and palm patterns are already flowing into FBI systems in a climate-controlled, secure basement here. Next month, the FBI intends to award a 10-year contract that would significantly expand the amount and kinds of biometric information it receives. And in the coming years, law enforcement authorities around the world will be able to rely on iris patterns, face-shape data, scars and perhaps even the unique ways people walk and talk, to solve crimes and identify criminals and terrorists. The FBI will also retain, upon request by employers, the fingerprints of employees who have undergone criminal background checks so the employers can be notified if employees have brushes with the law.

"Bigger. Faster. Better. That's the bottom line," said Thomas E. Bush III, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division, which operates the database from its headquarters in the Appalachian foothills.

not so long ago, news like this would have caused an unprecedented public outcry... now, we're accepting this type of unobstructed domestic surveillance with a shrug... but, it's all for our own good, right...? RIGHT...?

just to make the point a little more clear about the mindset that's allowing this kind of outrage to occur, here's an exchange between two individuals commenting on the above wapo article...

williepete1 wrote:
jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
As a merchant navy officer I visited plenty of Muslim countries. What struck me was that they had much better manners than Americans/Europeans.

Navy officer?? You stated in a post some months ago you were "let go" from the military since you couldn't endure that lifestyle, and didn't agree with that philosophy. You said you were busted down in rank.

You meant Merchant Marine I'm sure. You are not a warrior.

Well, sure the Muslims are polite, some are very nice. Get to be good friends with them because soon they will own your banks, mortgages, schools, public services et cetera. Shortly thereafter, those services will, as in most Muslim countries, revert to third world class services.

Welcome to mediocrity non-suspecting, non-surveilling Europe!! Glad to have ya!

takeaway: our government is doing everything it can to protect us from islamofascism...

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Airline employees fed up?

tell me it isn't true...
And you thought the passengers were mad.

Airline employees are fed up, too — with pay cuts, increased workloads and management’s miserly ways, which leave workers to explain to often-enraged passengers why flying has become such a miserable experience.

airline employees fed up...? i'm shocked... SHOCKED, i tell you...! what earthly reason do they have to be fed up...? how can being lied to and stolen from for years, abused by management, customers, and fellow employees, treated worse than poorly-trained monkeys, nickeled and dimed to death over salaries and benefits, and exposed to bankruptcy as a human resources strategy, POSSIBLY outweigh the glorious gift of employee travel...? what a bunch of ingrates..!

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Totally absurd U.S. statements to kick off the long holiday weekend

evidently, u.s. ridiculousness knows no bounds...

first, we want iran to "confess"...

Iran must "confess" to running a past nuclear weapons program or its claims of cooperating with a U.N. investigation will not be credible, the chief U.S. envoy to the U.N. atomic watchdog agency said Friday.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, meanwhile, said in Washington that if Iran wants U.N. sanctions lifted and avoid new ones, it must halt uranium enrichment and related activities that could make the ingredients for an atomic bomb.

If Iran complies, Rice said she was "prepared to meet my (Iranian) counterpart any place and anytime and anywhere, and we can talk about anything." But "as long as the Iranians are talking and practicing enrichment, we're not getting anywhere," she said.

Iran says it needs an enrichment program to produce fuel for civilian power plants, but Washington suspects it is part of its ultimate drive to possess nuclear weapons. Low enriched uranium generates power, but highly enriched, it has no use other than for the fissile payload of nuclear warheads.

Gregory L. Schulte, the chief U.S. delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said Iran's refusal to suspend enrichment "violates Security Council resolutions and casts doubt on its leaders' ultimate intent."

and, THEN... (hold on, this is good...!)

the u.s. DENIES that the destroyed videotapes contained any evidence of torture...

US government lawyers flatly denied Friday that videotapes destroyed by the CIA contained any scenes of the torture of terror suspects in Guantanamo Bay... .

"It is inconceivable that the destroyed tapes could have been about abuse, mistreatment or torture of detainees at Guantanamo Bay," lawyer Jody Hunt, representing the White House, told the court.

laugh...? cry...? go pig out on some more vanilla wafers...? run screaming down the street...? make my bed with freshly-laundered sheets...? slit my wrists...? so many choices...

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Our troops: stealing to survive

i just got back from the va hospital where i had an appointment this morning to have blood drawn in preparation for a regular check-up next week... the lab there manages to do a pretty damn good job processing what i imagine must be at least a hundred or more folks a day... i had brought along a book and, even though i wasn't anticipating a long wait, i figured i could move ahead a bit in my latest cyber-punk novel... i couldn't concentrate on the reading, however, because these two guys across from me were having a conversation that could easily be heard well into the next room... it's when the conversation took this turn that i started to unobtrusively pay attention...

both guys, as it so happened, had served in different parts of alaska, and both had assignments that required them to visit remote areas to inspect and service radar and other electronic surveillance stations... the interesting part, for me, was that both of them were taking turns topping each other's stories about how much government stuff, mostly gas and oil, they were able to steal without getting caught... one guy talked about driving his official car by his house near elemendorf afb and stopping to siphon gas into his private vehicle... the other bragged about stopping by a storage depot late at night and filling 50-gallon drums with motor oil and then selling it to friends and acquaintances... "everybody did it, nobody gave a shit," one of them said... "how else are you gonna make it on what they pay you..."

i drove home and it just now hit me... those guys have the very same mindset that those running kbr, halliburton, blackwater, and lockheed martin have... yeah, and probably cheney and gates too... the big difference...? they saw themselves as stealing to survive... but if they were suddenly plopped down in senior exec positions in one of those companies, would they behave any differently...?

This is my country! Land of my birth!
This is my country! Grandest on earth!
I pledge thee my allegiance,
America, the bold,
For this is my country to have and to hold.

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The never-ending Katrina tragedy [UPDATE]

i've been following this story for some time, but i was never in doubt about the outcome...
After protesters clashed violently with the police inside and outside the New Orleans City Council chambers on Thursday, the Council voted unanimously to allow the federal government to demolish 4,500 apartments in the four biggest public housing projects here.

The Council also called on the Department of Housing and Urban Development to reopen some apartments in the closed projects immediately and to rebuild all of the public housing units that it bulldozes. The agency plans to replace barracks-style projects, known as “the bricks,” with mixed-income developments.

“We need affordable housing in this city,” said Shelley Stephenson Midura, a Council member who proposed the resolution that was adopted. But, she added, “public housing ought not to be the warehouse for the poor.”

Advocates for public housing residents contended that the agency’s plan would not provide enough housing for the 3,000 families who lived in the projects before Hurricane Katrina, almost all of them black. Many of them have not been able to return to the city, and some protesters said they were being deliberately excluded from New Orleans.

"deliberately excluded from new orleans..." yep, that was the plan, all right... stop and think for a moment... how do you think you would feel if the place that had been your family's home for generations was devastated by a natural disaster, forcing you to temporarily relocate, and, when you want to come back, those with the power and the money who call the shots in that city, your city, effectively make it impossible for you to return...? why do you think so many people were evacuated to locations so far away from new orleans...? why do you think it has taken so long to seriously begin reconstruction...? the powerful, monied elites see new orleans as a wonderful, historic, private playground, as well as a gigantic opportunity to continue enriching themselves in the process... now that those inconvenient and unpleasant to look at poor black people are out of the way, let the good times roll...


amy goodman has an informative report here... (real media video file)

note: advocates were labeled as "terrorists..."

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The airlines and their internet service can go directly to hell

after being nickeled and dimed to death by charges on even the smallest services, the airlines now want to hit us up to pay for wireless internet services on flights... boeing did this a few years ago with lufthansa as its first (and only, as it turned out) customer, and boeing ended up dropping the service over a year ago (see below)... i used it myself on lufthansa transatlantic flights and my principle complaints were, 1) too expensive, and 2) no surprise to anyone, it's almost impossible to work on your computer with the space available on a seat-back tray table, and, when the passenger in front of you reclines their seat, it's absolutely impossible because your screen is pushed into such an angle that you can't even see it...
US airlines, racing to bring the Internet to domestic skies, hope that it will generate not only buzz but revenues.

"If they can charge for it they will. They're looking at every revenue source they can," Terry Trippler, travel expert at TripplerTravel, said on Thursday.

American Airlines says it will be the first major US carrier to feature in-flight Internet access.

The No. 1 US carrier said it will test AirCell's broadband Internet service next year on 15 planes that usually fly transcontinental routes. AirCell Chief Executive Jack Blumenstein said the company can offer Internet access for about USD$10 per user.

"This is rapidly going to proliferate across all commercial aviation," he said.

The airline industry, battered by low-fare competition and rising costs, has derived some stability from a strategy that unbundles products and services that once were included in the price of a ticket.


Boeing last year was forced to abandoned its Internet foray dubbed Connexion because it failed to attract enough customers.

Trippler said the interest in Internet access is part of a plan for airlines to collect fees anywhere they can and to offer services that spur customer loyalty.

i say, screw 'em...

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

John Jay: "The people who own the country ought to govern it"

noam chomsky on two kinds of democracy, the "specialized class," and the "bewildered herd..."...

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U.S. issues indictments for crimes committed in Argentina? Help me out here...

seriously, help me out here... i posted on this story back in early october, even though it occurred in early august... (yeah, sometimes i'm a bit slow... so sue me...!)

from the washington post...

Days after authorities discovered a suitcase full of nearly $800,000 that had been taken on a private airplane carrying Argentine and Venezuelan officials, one of those officials has resigned and suspicions of a government scandal have grown.

A Venezuelan businessman was detained at a Buenos Aires airport Saturday when customs officials found $790,550 in undeclared cash in his luggage. The incident preceded Monday’s arrival here of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, leading to questions about the possibility of a link between the businessman and the Venezuelan or Argentine governments.

Aeropuerto Internacional Ezeiza, Buenos Aires

ANYWAYZ, i've been following the story excerpted below for the past week, figuring it was going to cause some heartburn for officials in both argentina and venezuela, and, sure enough, it has...
A U.S. grand jury indicted four Venezuelans and a Uruguayan on Thursday on charges of acting as unregistered foreign agents for Venezuela who allegedly tried to cover up a scheme to smuggle $800,000 in cash to Argentina.

The indictment formalizes charges brought last week when four of the five were arrested in connection with the case, which touched off corruption allegations in South America and diplomatic tensions between Washington and Buenos Aires.

U.S. prosecutors say the men represented the anti-U.S. government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and alleged in court that one of the defendants said the money was destined for the campaign of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who won Argentina's presidential election in October.


The Venezuelan-American businessman accused of trying to smuggle the $800,000 in a suitcase into Argentina visited the presidential palace two days after the incident, an Argentine prosecutor said on Thursday.

The money was seized by Argentine customs in August.

The case has caused an uproar in Argentine. Chavez has accused Washington of seeking to undermine Argentine-Venezuelan relations, while Washington says its probe is not politically motivated.

Prosecutor Maria Luz Rivas Diez said a former Argentine government employee testified the man with the suitcase, Guido Antonini Wilson, visited Argentina's presidential palace two days after the money was confiscated.

"Apparently he was with other people at a sort of toast or celebration, while in another office an accord was being signed with Venezuela," Rivas Diez told Radio Del Plata.

Argentine government officials, who allowed Antonini to leave the country but now seek his extradition from the United States to question him about possible money laundering, did not immediately comment.

The case -- dubbed the "suitcase scandal" by Argentine media -- erupted after Antonini carried the cash on a private jet chartered by Argentina's government to ferry Argentine and Venezuelan officials from Caracas to Buenos Aires.


On Wednesday, Argentina's Congress, in which Fernandez's center-left coalition holds a majority, passed a resolution condemning the United States over the investigation.

Fernandez, a former first lady and senator, succeeded her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, who has publicly accused Washington of engineering a smear campaign against his wife.

now, HERE'S my big question... where does the u.s. get off indicting these guys for a crime that DIDN'T EVEN TAKE PLACE INSIDE THE U.S...? anyone...?

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The City of Chicago wishes you a happy holiday season

and, whatever you do, never miss an opportunity to indulge in paranoia...

Bureau of Strategic Deployment



Winter Holiday Public Awareness Bulletin

Each year, the Winter Holiday Season tends to spur larger crowds
and increased traffic throughout the City. As it pertains to shop-

ping districts, public transportation routes, and all other places of
public assembly, the increased crowds become a matter of Home-
land Security concern. During this holiday period, as a matter of
public safety, we ask that all members of the general public
heighten their awareness regarding any and all suspicious activity
that may be an indicator of a threat to public safety. It is impor-
tant to immediately report any or all of the below suspect activi-

Physical Surveillance (note taking, binocular use, cameras, video, maps)
Attempts to gain sensitive information regarding key facilities
Attempts to penetrate or test physical security / response procedures
Attempts to improperly acquire explosives, weapons, ammunition, dan-
gerous chemicals, etc.
Suspicious or improper attempts to acquire official vehicles, uniforms,
badges or access devices
Presence of individuals who do not appear to belong in workplaces, busi-
ness establishments, or near key facilities
Mapping out routes, playing out scenarios, monitoring key facilities, tim-
ing traffic lights
Stockpiling suspicious materials or abandoning potential containers for
explosives (e.g., vehicles, suitcases, etc)
Suspicious reporting of lost or stolen identification

See Something, Say Something
CALL 911

(thanks to kevin at cryptogon...)

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The NYT has a B.G.O.* about Mukasey

well, duh...
Mukasey Signals He’ll Be a Strong Bush Advocate
Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey has signaled that he intends to be a forceful advocate for some of President Bush’s most controversial antiterrorism policies.

please tell me why in god's green earth he was nominated in the first goddam place...? sigh...

* B-linding G-limpse of the O-bvious...

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The true face of the Iraq insurgency (hint: he doesn't look like al Qaeda)

spiegel online does us all a great service in today's edition by publishing an article on the angry teenagers who are often the ones pushing the buttons to detonate those improvised explosive devices (ied's)...

Teenagers like Diya Muhammad Hussein, 16,
make up a large portion of the footsoldiers working
for the Iraqi insurgency. He is now in prison after he
attempted to blow up a convoy of US Marines.

check this...
When Diya started preparing his first mission, he had a big network of helpers at his disposal. Rawah is a town like almost every other in Iraq -- everyone knows each other, and everyone knows who has been involved in the fight against the "occupiers" in the last few years. There's scarcely a family that doesn't have at least one son or cousin who worked as a henchman or leader of the local branch of "al-Qaida in Iraq" or other terror groups.

It was Ahmed's brother who told the boys about the weapons stashes, shortly before he was arrested as an insurgent. Diya learned how to use a detonator from Anas Fa'iq, another former fighter. His name is on a long list of wanted Iraqi Qaida members which is hanging in the US Marines' command headquarters.

Diya has been lucky in one respect. The building in which he is incarcerated also houses the company of Marines stationed in Rawah. They all live on the same floor: US Marines, Iraqi police and the prisoners. The Americans guarantee the prisoners at least a minimum of good treatment.


"We still hate the Americans. In truth no one likes them. Iraq isn't free, that's why we have to keep on fighting," says Diya.

What would he do if he got a visa tomorrow to travel to the US? He would definitely take it, says Diya. Asked if he is aware of how contradictory that sounds, he smiles bashfully and buries his hands deeper into his armpits.


Asked what he wants to do with his life when he is released, Diya says: "I want to work for the Iraqi police." Asked if he thinks the Iraqi police will take him, he looks up at his interpreter and says, "Perhaps?"

how very interesting... just one more little piece of the puzzle we never hear from our domestic media - labeling the iraqis who want us the hell out of their country as al qaeda... pretty convenient, eh...?

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Check out Fox smearing Edwards and Obama

no comment necessary...

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Mukasey wipes out Gonzo's White House/DOJ communication free-for-all

remember when senator sheldon whitehouse introduced this, the difference between white house/department of justice communication protocol under clinton vs. george bush, back at the senate judiciary committee hearing with gonzo on april 19...?

well, mukasey is putting a stop to that crap... i'm no mukasey fan, but this is about damn time...
In a memo Wednesday to department lawyers, Attorney General Michael Mukasey said that only he and his deputy attorney general can initiate conversations with the White House about civil and most criminal cases — and then only to the president's counsel and deputy counsel. Only cases deemed necessary to the president's duties can be discussed, Mukasey said.

"This limitation recognizes the president's ability to perform his constitutional obligation to 'take care that the laws be faithfully executed' while ensuring that there is public confidence that the laws of the United States are administered and enforced in an impartial manner," Mukasey wrote in the two-page memo.

that's four - count 'em, four - people total in doj and the white house who can talk to each other about civil and criminal cases... eat shit, gonzo...

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Congressman Wexler's call for impeachment hearings: 100,000, heading for 500,000

if you haven't signed, go do so here...

We have already reached 100,000 supporters. Thank You.

Now We Need Each of You To Send an Email to Ten More People to Get 250,000 Signed Up at by the End of the Year.

I can guarantee that your 100,000 voices calling for impeachment hearings will now be heard in Congress. Together, through our new Quarter Million Person Challenge, let's now set a new goal of 250,000 Americans signing up to demand action.

It has been just 5 days since I called for impeachment hearings for Vice-President Dick Cheney and already over 100,000 people - including you - have answered that call by adding your name as an impeachment supporter at This is a truly remarkable response that demonstrates the power that average, everyday Americans can have when we come together to pursue justice and accountability.

Never mind that the national media ignored my call and rejected an op-ed that I wrote along with my Judiciary Colleagues Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). The Netroots and citizen activists like yourself are spreading our message and demanding action.

Quarter Million Person Challenge

Our movement continues to grow by the hour and the day. But, with the media blackout, I need your help to grow our effort. With 100,000 supporters already signed-up, if each of you e-mail ten of your friends (a "Chain-ey letter") about and the need for Cheney impeachment hearings we will reach over a million Americans and perhaps we can reach a new goal of 250,000 signers by the end of the year!!

Join Me Thursday Night on Blog Radio to Discuss Our Next Steps

On this Thursday at 9:00 p.m. (EST) and 6:00 (PST), please join me as I appear on live on the Internet to discuss my efforts to convince Congress to hold impeachment hearing.

Congressman Wexler Live on Blog Radio:

WHEN: Thursday, December 18, 9:00 pm (EST)/6:00 pm (PST)

WHERE: (a link will be posted at and )

WHO: Rep. Wexler will appear live on Florida Progressive Radio with host Kenneth Quinnell of the Florida Netroots Caucus, Bob Fertick of, as well as Dave Lindorf, author of "The Case for Impeachment," and David Swanson with

More on the Media Blackout

The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, USA Today, and Boston Globe have all rejected our op ed (though the Miami Herald just put an edited version in its "Letters to the Editor" section). We have heard from the editors of some of these publications and they are telling us that they are getting overwhelmed with phone calls and letters of complaint. (Well done everybody!)

In short - we need to keep the pressure on if this news will spread far beyond the Netroots community.

With warm regards,

Congressman Robert Wexler

send it along to your friends and relatives...

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Why the traditional media marginalizes and trivializes Edwards, Huckabee, and Paul

glenn, as usual, boils it down...
[Traditional media journalists] perceive attacks on the establishment to be attacks on them. And thus, most journalists are instinctively hostile to candidates which are outside and critical of that establishment. Journalists just don't believe that the system on which they depend and which gives them their access and purpose can possibly be fundamentally broken or corrupt. They are, after all, the establishment press.

so, john edwards, mike huckabee, and ron paul are clearly anti-establishment candidates - edwards for his audacity in pointing out that corporations rule the country, huckabee for daring to suggest that the r's have abandoned the party's middle and lower-class, and paul for pointing out our nation's constitutional crisis, financial unsustainability, and delusions of empire...

there's one point, however, that glenn neglects to make... our traditional media, handily reinforced by yesterday's fcc ruling, has been consolidated so completely under the ownership of powerful and wealthy establishment elites, and the relationship among corporations, government, and media outlets has become so interlocking, that journalists, rather than insuring that america's citizens are well-informed, instead play the role of p.r. flacks and spinmeisters to their masters' agendas... and their masters REQUIRE elected officials who will CONTINUE to serve that agenda, and to see candidates emerge who clearly WON'T serve that agenda scares the crap out of them, and therefore must be stopped...

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Hey, Harry... Hey, Nancy... What is it about unfettered executive power that you don't understand...?

the senate majority leader and the speaker of the house are oh-so-surprised that george isn't working with them...

harry on george (december 2007)...

[Senator Harry Reid] said that in 40 years of public service he had not had a tougher relationship.

“He is impossible to work with,” the senator said. “There are times I say: ‘Is there something more I can do? Have I done something wrong?’ But even his own people tell me he won’t compromise.”

nancy on george (december 2007)...
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., admitted Thursday that she had underestimated the willingness of Republicans to stand behind President Bush’s Iraq policy despite the drubbing the GOP took in the polls in 2006.

"The assumption I made was that the Republicans would soon see the light," she said. Instead, the minority stuck to the president’s war policy in the face of unrelenting pressure from congressional Democrats and powerful lobbying campaigns by anti-war groups.

well, goldurnit, there are quite a few folks out there who have been sounding the alarm for at least a couple of years, and, golly gee, they're all saying the samn damn thing...

kagro x on george (february 2006)...

So, is warrantless surveillance illegal or not? Well, not if you believe that the president has "inherent powers as commander-in-chief." That would answer the entire question.

"But there are no unwritten 'inherent powers,' or at least none that would simply justify warrantless surveillance on the president's say-so," you may object.

"Says you," answers Alberto Gonzales.

And you think he's nuts for saying so. But the problem is that you're still working under the old (albeit commonly understood) constitutional order, whereas Gonzales is proposing a new one. One under which there are such "inherent powers."

And that's when it hits you: If five Supreme Court Justices side with Gonzales, everything you knew (or thought you knew) about the Constitution is wrong. By which I mean, it now is wrong. It wasn't wrong yesterday, but now it is.

jack balkin on george (july 2006)...
What the press and the public must understand is that this Administration does not play by the rules. It does not take a hint. Instead it will continue to obfuscate and prevaricate, as it has so often in the past on issues ranging from detention to prisoner mistreatment. This Administration will not conform its actions to the Rule of Law unless it finds doing so politically infeasible. As a result, the Congress, the courts, the press and the public will have to object-- repeatedly and strenuously-- if they want the Executive to abide by its constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

time magazine on george (october 2006)...
In fact, when it comes to deploying its Executive power, which is dear to Bush's understanding of the presidency, the President's team has been planning for what one strategist describes as "a cataclysmic fight to the death" over the balance between Congress and the White House if confronted with congressional subpoenas it deems inappropriate. The strategist says the Bush team is "going to assert that power, and they're going to fight it all the way to the Supreme Court on every issue, every time, no compromise, no discussion, no negotiation."

sidney blumenthal on george (november 2007)...
[T]he Bush doctrine: The president as commander in chief can do whatever he wants regardless of Congress. There must be no checks and balances, no accountability. There must be no disclosure to other branches of government, whether legislative or judicial. Oral findings, or, if necessary, secret memos, make the illegal legal merely by saying they are legal in the name of presidential authority. The operational need to know determines who knows.

sheldon whitehouse on george (december 2007)...
“To give you an example of what I read,” Whitehouse said on the Senate floor, “I have gotten three legal propositions from these secret OLC opinions declassified. Here they are, as accurately as my note-taking could reproduce them from the classified documents”:

1. An executive order cannot limit a President. There is no constitutional requirement for a President to issue a new executive order whenever he wishes to depart from the terms of a previous executive order. Rather than violate an executive order, the President has instead modified or waived it.

2. The President, exercising his constitutional authority under Article II, can determine whether an action is a lawful exercise of the President’s authority under Article II.

3. The Department of Justice is bound by the President’s legal determinations.

you gotta admire the man's consistency... when george says he's got unlimited powers as president, he means it, and he ain't gonna let anything as trivial as the u.s. constitution, checks and balances, separation of powers, or the rule of law get in the way...

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Neglected cities? Damaged cities? Who else but George Bush...

something i didn't realize, partially as a result of not watching any of the presidential candidate debates, but also because i am not focused at all on urban issues, is that those issues, to date, have not been addressed in any of the debates... the drum major institute in cooperation with the nation magazine, i found out thanks to alternet, has done a video survey of ten big-city mayors in an attempt to address that gap... here's salt lake city's rocky anderson, as posted on

there's a full article about the project in the 14 december edition of the nyt...

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

WW I: the Christmas truce

what the season is truly all about...

Christmas in the trenches [rm file]

this is a christmas song i can get behind... how about you...?

it sure beats cancelling christmas in bethlehem...

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FCC votes to let newspapers buy broadcast media outlets in their own communities

kevin martin is a bush stooge... you don't have to go back very far to figure it out either... in october he refused to investigate telecom collusion with the nsa (see here), and in the public hearings on this latest outrage, revealingly documented by bill moyers (see here), he shows himself clearly for what he is - a tool...

so, after all the crap heaped on kevin martin's head in public and congressional hearings about this move, after hearing repeatedly in the strongest terms possible NOT to do it, he does it anyway... george must be so proud...

The Federal Communications Commission, overturning a 32-year-old ban, voted Tuesday to allow broadcasters in the nation's 20 largest media markets to also own a newspaper.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was joined by his two Republican colleagues in favor of the proposal, while the commission's two Democrats voted against it.

Martin pushed the vote through despite intense pressure from House and Senate members on Capitol Hill to delay it. The chairman, however, has the support of the White House, which has pledged to turn back any congressional action that seeks to undo the vote.

At Tuesday's meeting, the chairman described the media ownership proceeding as "the most contentious and divisive issue" to come before the commission.

That proved true as the two Democrats blasted Martin's plan in unusually strong language for the normally sedate agency.

Martin said his proposal represented "a relatively minor loosening" of the cross-ownership rule. He noted concern for the steady decline in revenue for newspaper companies and said his proposal "strikes a balance" between the realities of the changing media marketplace and the preservation of diversity and competition in broadcasting.

preserving diversity and competition, my ass... kevin must be smoking some powerful shit... my feeling is, if the newspapers can't make it financially, tough shit... isn't that the way the markets are supposed to work...? times change... there aren't a lot of buggy-whip manufacturers around these days either...

this is nothing more than a thinly-disguised move to further consolidate our ALREADY pathetically NOT-diverse media into even fewer hands, thus making manipulation of our ALREADY highly manipulated news even easier for the elites... there's no question that it's a great deal more difficult to propagate approved talking points and tailored mind-control messages via multiple diverse media outlets... there'll always be SOMEBODY saying SOMETHING that hasn't been pre-approved, and that's really inconvenient when you're trying to get all the sheeple moving in the same direction...

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A study in netroots/grassroots power and a portrait of leadership: "The best gift you could have given this country"

glenn has an excellent and detailed chronology of the events leading up to yesterday's amazing and heartening senate debate on the fisa bill, highlighting the courageous stand taken by chris dodd, who quite likely would not have taken such a stand had it not been for a few savvy bloggers who initiated a groundswell... it's well worth reading... glenn includes this youtube clip of dodd delivering his own summation and urging us to remember that the fight has just begun...

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Monday, December 17, 2007

If Bill is hoping to reassure us about HRC, THIS sure as hell doesn't do the job

Former President Bill Clinton said Monday that the first thing his wife Hillary will do when she reaches the White House is dispatch him and his predecessor, President George H.W. Bush, on an around-the-world mission to repair the damage done to America's reputation by the current president — Bush's son, George W. Bush.

look... let me be completely clear... i have absolutely no intention of either supporting or voting for hrc... i think her damn husband was damn near as complicit in the mess this country is in as has been george bush and his despicable father, although admittedly bill did it with a lot more grace, charisma, and schmooz-ability... but bill and george h.w. engaging in an around-the-world mission to restore america's reputation...? she-e-e-e-e-it, vern... just THINKING about it gives me the creeps... talk about sending two foxes out to repair the damage done to the henhouse... bill has REALLY got to think we're complete MORONS to buy that load of bollocks... bill AND george h.w. AND hrc can quietly but firmly place it in that unsanitary repository where the sun does not shine...

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Ted Kennedy's impassioned rant

and a damn good rant it is, too...

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Reid postpones FISA bill debate for after the holiday recess and Dodd agrees

it just happened, and largely due to chris dodd's heroic leadership effort...

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Stop the capitulation and complicity

do your duty and go to firedoglake to let harry know what you think...

Tell Harry Reid To Support

Chris Dodd's Filibuster!

Dear Senator Reid:

I am outraged by your efforts to enable the Bush administration and telecoms to escape all accountability for their illegal spying on American citizens. I am appalled by your refusal to recognize the "hold" placed by Sen. Chris Dodd on the Cheney/Rockefeller bill to expand warrantless eavesdropping and provide telecoms immunity, especially given the reverence with which you treat "holds" asserted by GOP Senators. And I am truly disappointed that you have treated in such a cavalier manner revelations that the Bush administration has simply broken the law in how it has spied on Americans.

Sadly, your legacy as Senate Majority Leader thus far is one of extreme weakness and failure. It is astonishing to watch one capitulation after the next to a President who is widely discredited and historically unpopular and whose administration is patently corrupt. Your constituents did not send you to Washington to enable the Bush administration's behavior, but rather to act as an important check on that behavior. Your role as Senate Majority Leader is to impose limits on the President's misconduct, not to enable and endorse it. You are profoundly failing in all of your core duties.

More than ever, America needs principled and courageous leadership, and you are uniquely situated to provide it. Please start doing so. You can begin by joining in Chris Dodd's filibuster of the horrific Senate Intelligence Committee bill and by urging your caucus members to do the same.

i've been out for a while and am trying to catch up on what's been going on... when i left, kit bond was spewing nonsense, and when i got back, he was STILL spewing nonsense... anyway, use the phones, sign the petition, do whatever you can do... somehow, some way, we need to hold the line against the liars and those who are hell-bent on destroying our democratic republic...

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Senator Kennedy: approving retroactive immunity is "legislating in the dark" [UPDATE]

no one is to be told what the telecoms would be immunized AGAINST...

strong speech from ted...


kennedy: "a vote for immunity would be aiding and abetting the bush administration in breaking the law..."

"[The president] is willing to let americans die to protect the phone companies..."

senator kit bond: "The telecommunication companies did nothing wrong..." if that's the case, then why is immunity being proposed...?

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DiFi is on C-Span 2 defending telecom immunity

it's breathtaking...

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A Democratic nominee "who fills voters with a sense of PROFOUND AMBIVALENCE"

the usual monday morning tom tomorrow précis*...

* précis

Main Entry:
\prā-ˈsē, ˈprā-(ˌ)sē\
Inflected Form(s):
plural pré·cis Listen to the pronunciation of précis \-ˈsēz, -(ˌ)sēz\
French, from précis precise

: a concise summary of essential points, statements, or facts

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Turkey says that the U.S. is assisting in Turkish raids on northern Iraq

well, well, well... let's see if THIS grows any legs...
Turkey's air strikes against Kurdish rebels in Iraq on Sunday were approved by the United States in advance, the Turkish military has said.

The country's top general, Yasar Buyukanit, said the US opened northern Iraqi airspace for the operation.

Jets targeted the Kurdish rebel PKK in areas near the border. The Turkish media said up to 50 planes were used.

Iraqi officials said the bombs hit 10 villages, leaving one woman dead, while the PKK reported seven deaths.

The Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, told the BBC that his government had told the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad that the air strikes were "unacceptable".

can't you just hear gates squawking, "we TOLD 'em to keep their damn mouths SHUT..."

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Pine Gap, Australia

interesting... a military base in australia dedicated to military targeting and signals acquisition...

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"The scope and breadth of domestic spying is just staggering, and much of it is illegal"


The very nature of our country and our government [is fundamentally transforming] step by step, with little opposition. We all were inculcated with the notion that what distinguished our free country from those horrendous authoritarian tyrannies, both right and left, of the Soviet bloc, Latin America and the Middle East were things like executive detentions, torture, secret prisons, spying on their own citizens, unprovoked invasions of sovereign countries, and exemptions from the law for the most powerful -- precisely the abuses which increasingly characterize our government and shape our political values. As but the latest example, read Mark Benjamin's superb though now-numbingly-familiar account of how we tortured Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah for 19 months and then just let him go once we realized that -- like so many others we've detained and tortured -- he was guilty of nothing.

This doesn't mean there is a complete erosion of freedom equal to all of those societies. Free speech still basically thrives; we elect our leaders; and individuals retain a fair amount of autonomy in their personal choices. But it is simply undeniable that many of the political attributes that were always used to define the oppressive societies against which we were supposedly fighting are now explicitly vested in our own government. By itself, the scope and breadth of domestic spying is just staggering, and much of it is illegal.

No speculation or inferences or rhetorical flourishes are necessary to reach these conclusions. Just go read what has been disclosed about what our government is doing in the dark, with no oversight and in violation of our laws -- and the ways in which our political and media class work feverishly to defend and enable it all -- and there really is no other conclusion which a rational person can reach. In a country that lived under minimal notions of the rule of law, the very idea of having Congress pass a special law to immunize retroactively an entire industry which illegally spied on us, on our own soil, for years would be inconceivable. Yet even in the face of these latest revelations of just how broad and brazen this lawbreaking is, that is, in the absence of unexpected developments, quite likely what is about to happen.

yes... none of this is exactly news to those of us who pay attention, but we cannot - we MUST not - cease shoving it out into the public eye by whatever means are at our disposal...

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The slow awakening - "Bush-style dead-of-the-night politics" and a complicit Congress

i've been very hard on my fellow progressive bloggers, particularly those at daily kos, for sticking their goddam heads in the sand and ignoring the deadly constitutional crisis that is gripping our nation... while cskendrick is not entrusted with front-page posting privileges, at least this diary is on the recommended list... it deserves posting in full...

No good person among you. No, not even one.

Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 07:18:24 AM PST

If I could stand and present my views on the politics of the past year, and where we need to be headed as we begin the 2008 election campaign in earnest, this is what I'd say:

All of you, who dare promise good leadership in the name of the American people, have failed, are failing, are on a fast track to more certain and unambiguous failure.

There is no good person among you. No, not even one.

Recently I said as much to the annoyance of the various major Democratic presidential campaigns.

I was challenged to show some interest in the policies and politics of the land.

So be it.

The 2006 election was in great measure a reaction to the outrages and failures of Bush’s presidency. Two years might not seem like much, but it should have been plenty of time to accomplish important things for the American people. It was a chance to serve the American people by solving the complex problems that had long been ignored, never mind remedied.

Democrats control the House and Senate, but they have done worse than fail to hold Bush accountable. They have done worse than halt or even slow down the onslaught of violence to the people of Iraq and the principles of America. They have enabled it, even taken proactive measures to advance the Bush agenda.

There is a price for such enabling of action against the Constitution and the People. Those who name themselves leaders of this Neville Chamberlain Congress will themselves will be held to account.

In the months since the 2006 election, I have been dismayed by the words and deeds of the new leaders in Congress:

They have sought common ground with those who compromised our principles not common cause with the Constitution and the American people.

They have not sought to uphold rule of law, but to remove entire classes of the powerful from the reach of justice for keeps.

They have not reasserted the balance of powers, but undercut at every turn those members of the Congress who retain respect for the Constitution, for human rights, and for the rights and dignity of the American people.

The new leaders have sabotaged or even abandoned the instruments of truth and justice that can, no, by the law itself must be brought to bear against a runaway presidency.

Our own leaders, elected to make a strong final lawful and effective stand against tyranny, have done what six years of Bush and a complaisant Republican Congress could not. They have reined in the Constitution of the United States of America at long last.

The American people have a simple goal: the elevation of leaders worthy of their trust, and the expeditious removal of those who are not. They apply their good will and hard effort to this effect every two years. In return, those who claim to represent the people, or the principles under which this Republic was founded, should seek practical ways to advance the public good which is threatened in so many ways at this time.

There is no downside to raising into being an America that in fact and no just in rhetoric a shining city on the hill.

I believe that when America is willing to obey her own laws, her influence is greater, the American people are safer and the world is more secure.

That wealth should not be pillaged from government of the people, to further enrich a super-wealthy few. Wealth comes from the hard work of America's workers, entrepreneurs and small businesses, all of which will suffer when an incorporation document has more value as a person than a living , breathing human being.

That government closest to the people is more responsive and accountable, which is why not only enabling but extending the unaccountability and imperious character of the current administration is unconscionable activity. For soon there will be another president, and then another, all with the same or even more powers. That the tyrants to be may wear imperial blue rather than red will not make them any less dictatorial.

That government plays an important role in helping those who can't help themselves, which is why we must do what the President, the Republican Congress and now the Democratic Congress have not – rebuild New Orleans and remind all the world that Americans take care of their own, rather than leave them to die on their own streets and make excuses for doing so. We must always remember that when people are hurting, they need a caring leadership, responsible to the needs of the people.

That impeachment and removal are not the last recourse of justice, but the first, easiest most lenient option for those who betray the trust of the American people. And when this path is not trod, other paths, far more harsh and dangerous to the common good, become matters for open contemplation.

Unfortunately our elected leadership -- Democratic and Republican alike -- have proved, and famously, how it should never have been done. Republicans and Democrats have consistently come together:

To curtail civil rights in a seemingly endless panic, increasingly fearful not of breakdowns in national security but criticism of the many breakdowns in national leadership.

To grant sweeping powers and immunities to whomsoever shall be president, now and forever more, mistaking that just because it is one's own color drapes that decorates the Oval Office does not make it any less a throne room.

To create new, heavy-handed and ineffectual national security institutions at the expense of ones that protected America effectively for sixty years.

To pass tax relief and special privileges to key donors and industries yet do nothing but enable the growth of the public debt, the outsourcing of jobs, the weakening the dollar, rises in the cost of basic goods, and the drop in the standard of living for most of the American people.

To lock in failure in public education with the No Child Left Behind Act, insisting on arbitrary standards, loss effectiveness of education, and ever-worsening options for parents.

The outcome of the elections did not change the balance of power in Washington, so much as a slight expansion in eligible membership of those who make keeping their power and privilege safe and the expense of keeping our country powerful and its principles safe.

This is unacceptable, and any candidacy that does not seek redress of these wrongs is unacceptable as well.

And while our Congress not only condones but greatly accelerates the concentration of power in the office of the Presidency, matters of great importance to the state and the commonwealth of hte people are in play, and in very detrimental fashion:

Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11, and the war in Iraq has become an unconscionable detriment to global security. Making further war in Iraq is gratuitous and worse, it is wrongful waste of lives and treasure. The time to move on is now.

Staying in Iraq not only makes military defeat more likely; it makes it inevitable, and likewise the expansion of Iran’s influence in the Middle East on the American dime.

The American economy rests currently on a weak dollar, weak jobs, weak credit and a weak prospect of escape from this triple threat so long as being an incorporation document is more important than being a living breathing human being.

Nor has the election of a Democratic majority made corruption at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue go away. Suddenly there is less activity on this score. Were all the corrupt public officials made to go away? Has the cleansing of the stables been achieved so quickly?

From 2003 to 2006, seven million jobs were created. During that same period of time approximately 16 million Americans reached the age of eighteen, and four million persons attained legal resident status. Seven million jobs for 20 million new job applicants is not an economic expansion; it’s an economic depression.

The dollar is now weaker than the Canadian loony for the first time in over forty years and there are record levels of public debt. No one has held the line on domestic spending. Continuing these policies will single-handedly bankrupt the country inside of twenty years.

Bush talks of funding his priorities but securing peace, helping Americans rebuild their cities, and fiscal responsibility are not among them. But neither are they priorities for Democrats, who continue to fund a pointless, endless war, blow of attention to the victims of Katrina, and horse-trade U.S soldier's' lives for earmarks.

The bottom line is a Washington mill that produces only four useful products: relief from taxes, relief from lawsuits, relief from criminal prosecution and relief from accountability. None of these products are useful to the American people, in fact just the opposite. All are in very great demand and people, meaning incorporation documents that are worth more than living breathing human beings, pay a dear premium to obtain such privileges and protect them against review, repeal or even publicity.

What can we do, if so much is arrayed against the interests of the people, those living breathing human beings who are worth more than any number of incorporation documents?

By balancing the budget through pro-jobs growth economic policies and real, not rhetorical, spending restraint, we will be better positioned to tackle the longer term fiscal challenge facing our country: honoring the Republic’s commitments to promote the general welfare through Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid-- so future generations can benefit from these vital programs. Reform? Yes. Selling out America’s working and middle class just as they enter their retirement years? Never.

Living, breathing Americans wish to end the extra-legal and illegal processes by which government insiders are able to send billions in non-competitive bid contracts to their friends, the incorporation documents.

Living, breathing Americans want to end the leaking of classified secrets that endanger American intelligence operatives and risk American soldiers’ lives.

Living, breathing Americans want to end policies that are explicitly proscribed by U.S. law and every decent notion that America was founded to secure, torture and denial of due process among them.

Nothing that Bush and now two pro-Bush Congresses have done to harm America can not be healed. Yet so long as Congress continues to grant special appropriations of any sort, particularly of operations in Iraq

So long as no full account of no-bid contracts is given

So long as Bush-style dead-of-the-night politics and pioneering new ways to suborn and corrupt democracy continue, now with the active complicity of the Democratic leadership

So long as greater energy security is ignored so dead dinosaur industries can retain tax, legal and economic privileges that living breathing Americans will never receive

So long as comprehensive immigration reform is ignored and open vigilantism is treated as mainstream politics, and the preferred course is punishment of illegals not those persons who profit from their presence

So long as affordable national healthcare is treated like leprosy, and Detroit car manufacturers are exporting jobs to Ontario in order to sell cars in Michigan, so long as US life expectancy being in the Top 50 is considered bragging rights

So long as global ecological devastation is treated as a fairytale not as CPR for our planet, our civilization and perhaps our species

So long as no progress has been made in each of these areas, Congress is complicit in causing great harm to the American people, for negligence can be just as deadly as incompetence and malicious intent.

The American people expect more of their leaders, far more than the ones who claim to be American leaders seemingly expect of themselves.

We must do more, because those who claim to be worthy of our trust are not.

Long ago, Bush said he looked forward to working with Congress on all of these difficult issues. I now know why he was so pleased; he has received every favor he ever asked for from the Democrats, who have even sent his way additional tribute.

This should have been a fruitful time for our nation. Democrats and Republicans could have come together to find ways to help make America a more secure, prosperous and hopeful society. Hope was born in many hearts last November. Many Americans, long marginalized and mocked by the Republicans from their perches, felt themselves part of their own country again. Such people will not lose their sense of empowerment lightly, or have their will disparaged or denied, not ever again. And those who seek to deny the people their will do so at their own peril.

To leaders of the 110th Congress: The American people entrusted you with public office at a momentous time for our nation. But I also offer this admonition: You have not done your best work for the people you say you love best -- living, breathing American citizens.

Let it be said in the histories of this time: That in 2006, we chose our leaders well. It is not too late to do right by those who trusted you to wield pwoer in their name.

To the aspiring candidates for the office of the President: I wish you wisdom and good fortune. But you, too, will be judged and more harshly, for the power you seek is far greater. And all of the issues are essential tests of wisdom of character. There can be no error or equivocation on first principles. None of you who waffle on Iraq, on torture, on rollback of civil rights, on review and remedy of the abominable treatment of post-Katrina New Orleans, on energy policy, on immigration reform, on healthcare, on jobs-led growth, on telecom immunity, on holding the interests of living breathing American people first are suitable for the job.

Regrettably - None of you are truly suitable as you have presented yourselves so far, and merely selecting the least bad option is no longer acceptable.

Consider this a call for change, starting with yourselves.

For as you stand for election, you will be judged. And as you stand right now, there is no good person among you. No, not even one.

But I do believe that people can change, especially when their future job prospects depend on it.

there are many things i probably would have phrased differently and points of emphasis i would have added, but, overall, it's a reasonably complete picture of what's going on...

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"2 percent of Basra residents felt that the British military had had a positive impact"

considering the margin of error for polls in general, 2% is equivalent to no support whatsoever...

juan cole...

A recent poll conducted in Basra has little good news in it for the British in the south.

In the poll, only 2 percent of Basra residents felt that the British military had had a positive impact on the security situation in the southern port. Some 86% said that the British impact has been negative! Not suprisingly, 83% said they wanted British troops to leave Iraq altogether. The BBC adds:
Two-thirds felt security would improve in the short term, while 72% said it would improve in the long term. Only 5% said security would deteriorate following the withdrawal.

These number really are suggestive of a colonial experiment gone badly wrong. If the British had been in the Iraqi south as helpmeets to Iraqi authorities, as former PM Tony Blair often alleged, it is hard to imagine that the people there would be this hostile.

"gone badly wrong" is a serious understatement...

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Rest Easy, Sleep Well

Arlington at Christmas

Rest easy, sleep well, my brothers.

Know the line has held, your job is done.

Rest easy, sleep well.

Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.

Peace, peace, and farewell...

Y'all may be interested to know that these wreaths -- some 5,000 -- are donated by the Worcester Wreath Co. of Harrington, Maine. The owner, Merrill Worcester, not only provides the wreaths, but covers the trucking expense as well. He's done this since 1992. A wonderful guy. Also, most years, groups of Maine school kids combine an educational trip to DC with this event to help out. Making this even more remarkable is the fact that Harrington is in one the poorest parts of the state.

My hat comes off to the people of Maine. If only Bush cared as much for our fallen.

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