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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 03/23/2008 - 03/30/2008
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Deceit, pettiness, treachery, arrogance, ignorance and stunning callousness

morgan strong reviews the recent pbc frontline documentary on five years of the iraq war for robert parry's consortium news...
What the broadcast revealed was nothing new. Others have engaged the subject as thoroughly as did Frontline. What we did see in this broadcast, however, was a compilation of the deceit, pettiness, treachery, arrogance, ignorance and stunning callousness by those who took us into this vile war.

The key figures who promoted the war were Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Lewis Libby. Those names were not new, but a new motive for the war was revealed: the recognition of Israel by a new democratic Iraq.

thank goodness we have these chronicles of treachery... they serve as a foundation for the truth of this illegal and immoral war...

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Afghanistan update

oh boy...! < claps hands together in glee > i was just issued my kevlar vest and helmet...

photos to follow...


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Have a laugh...!

here's a really popular video clip off the net... i don't usually bite on these things, but there is absolutely nothing happier in the world than a laughing baby, and, hey, let's face it... ALL of us can ALWAYS use a good laugh... laughter is the light of the world...


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Cell phones in Cuba...? Eavesdropping on conversations...? NO-O-O-O-O-OOO...! Say it isn't so...!

this might seem a bit trivial in the high-impact news department and maybe it is... however, i think it's right up at the top of the list in the ironic propaganda spin department... read it and see if you agree...
First microwaves, now cell phones. Is this the new Cuba? Raul Castro is revolutionizing his brother's island in small but significant ways — the latest in a decree Friday allowing ordinary Cubans to have cell phone service, a luxury previously reserved for the select few. The new president could be betting greater access to such modern gadgets will quell demand for deeper change.

Many Cubans hope cell phones and new appliances are only the beginning for a post-Fidel Castro government that will improve their lives. Communist bureaucracy currently limits everything from Internet access to home ownership.

Could cellular phones in dissidents' hands give state security forces an edge in monitoring their conversations or tracking their movements by satellite? Perhaps, but government opponents — including the few who have cell phones — already assume someone's always listening.

Until now, the only people legally allowed to have a cell plan were foreigners, Cubans working for foreign companies and top government officials. Thousands more illegally use phones registered to foreign friends or relatives.

"Finally. We have waited too long for this," said Elizabeth, a middle-aged housewife waiting in line to pay her home telephone bill. She wouldn't give her last name because she already has a cell phone through a foreign co-worker of her husband.

so, accusing raúl of tossing bread and circus to the masses, eh...? accusing raúl of monitoring phone conversations, eh...? accusing raúl of tracking citizens' whereabouts, eh...? tell me... does this ring any bells at all...?

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The financial version of Homeland Security - the mad scramble to avoid the inevitable economic collapse

this is going to be about as effective as the creation of the homeland security department...
The Treasury Department will propose on Monday that Congress give the Federal Reserve broad new authority to oversee financial market stability, in effect allowing it to send SWAT teams into any corner of the industry or any institution that might pose a risk to the overall system.


Many of the proposals, like those that would consolidate regulatory agencies, have nothing to do with the turmoil in financial markets. And some of the proposals could actually reduce regulation.

According to a summary provided by the administration, the plan would consolidate an alphabet soup of banking and securities regulators into a powerful trio of overseers responsible for everything from banks and brokerage firms to hedge funds and private equity firms.

While the plan could expose Wall Street investment banks and hedge funds to greater scrutiny, it carefully avoids a call for tighter regulation.

The plan would not rein in practices that have been linked to the housing and mortgage crisis, like packaging risky subprime mortgages into securities carrying the highest ratings.investment bank’s practices threatened the entire financial system.

The plan would give the Fed some authority over Wall Street firms, but only when an investment bank’s practices threatened the entire financial system.

sounds as worthless as teats on a boar...

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Don't forget that Karl, Satan's doppelganger, is STILL LURKING ABOUT out there [UPDATE]

and, one of these days, he's going to get what's coming to him...
Senators joined the House on Thursday in approving subpoenas to force President Bush's political adviser and other aides to testify about the firings of federal prosecutors.

While Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is not budging from his insistence that Rove be questioned publicly and under oath, Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter offered President Bush a compromise.

Specter, who took the first step toward brokering a deal a few hours after the Senate Judiciary Committee approved but did not issue subpoenas for Rove and others, suggested that select lawmakers question Karl Rove and other administration officials in public, but not under oath.

White House counsel Fred Fielding promised to convey the offer to Bush, but Leahy doesn't support the deal. "I've had a lot of those unstructured briefings and found that I was given, in many instances, not the whole truth, nothing near the whole truth," said Leahy.

His committee, by voice vote Thursday, gave Leahy authority to issue subpoenas for Rove, former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and her deputy, William Kelley. The House Judiciary Committee chairman, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., was given that same authority a day earlier.

but, while rove is waiting for his day of reckoning, he's definitely going to make sure he's comfy...

Karl Rove's carriage house in Rosemary Beach, Florida.
Only the carriage house is visible from the street;
the house proper lies behind it.

Whatever the next chapter of Rove's life has in store, some of the action will probably take place in Rosemary Beach, Florida, where he bought land in 2002.

According to political journalist Jim Moore, many factors probably influenced the timing of Rove's resignation--including the desire to cash in on lucrative speaker's fees and the prospect of reinventing himself as a political pundit on the national stage.

"Ultimately, though, what probably appeals to Karl the most is being a sort of freelance Dr. Evil," Moore –- a Rove critic -- explained in an email to RAW STORY. "He can do his work now for hire under the guise of any organization that wants to hire him or he can do it for fun and generally avoid the restraint of party or candidate. Have darkness. Will travel."

Rosemary Beach, Florida bills itself as a vacation community, but Rove's home is no beach bungalow. His Dill Lane pad is a 2,578-square-foot cedar and white stucco structure with a stoop, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, and an outdoor shower. Opposite the main house, separated by a small walled courtyard is a two-story carriage house with a two-car garage on the ground floor.

my fondest wish for years has been that satan will show up in person to collect his marker on rove's soul...


and HERE'S the very thing that may do dr. evil in...
In a telephone interview shortly after he walked out of a federal prison in Oakdale, La., Mr. Siegelman said there had been “abuse of power” in his case, and repeatedly cited the influence of Karl Rove, the former White House political director.

“His fingerprints are smeared all over the case,” Mr. Siegelman said, a day after a federal appeals court ordered him released on bond and said there were legitimate questions about his case.

i've said many times, i don't subscribe to schadenfreude... i take no pleasure in seeing anybody take a fall... i do, however, feel strongly about every individual ultimately having to face the consequences of his or her behavior... in rove's case, there are one HELL of a lot of consequences that he has managed to successfully avoid - so far... i want to be around when that changes...

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Leahy calls for HRC to give it up... IMHO, Obama should just ignore her...

let the avalanche of similar calls begin...

from jake tapper's blog at abc...

Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vermont, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a high-profile supporter of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, has called for Obama's opponent to drop out of the race.

In an interview on Vermont Public Radio, said "There is no way that Senator Clinton is going to win enough delegates to get the nomination. She ought to withdraw and she ought to be backing Senator Obama. Now, obviously that's a decision that only she can make frankly I feel that she would have a tremendous career in the Senate."

Leahy said he was fretting about the impact of the protracted Democratic race.

"I am very concerned," he said. "John McCain, who has been making one gaffe after another, is getting a free ride on it because Senator Obama and Senator Clinton have to fight with each other. I think that her criticism is hurting him more than anything John McCain has said. I think that's unfortunate."

actually, my thinking lately has been that obama should simply begin acting like the presumptive nominee and start squaring off against mccain... continuing to battle hrc only reinforces her claim to be a still-viable candidate... ignoring her would very likely finish her off post haste...

p.s. i am still not entirely comfortable in my own mind with obama as THE MAN... i am, however, completely comfortable in my intense opposition to both hrc and mccain, so what's a body to do...?

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Iraq: "There's no exit plan because there's no plan to ever exit"

john perry...

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Another Man-made Disaster

This one by Brother Tim

I would like to apologize for the absence of the And, yes, I DO take it personally Radio Show today.

Although I'm not computer-illiterate, I am often computer-stupid. Profmarcus had tutored me on the procedures to get the show up and running. I had all of my copious notes in front of me, and was sitting at my computer chomping at the bit. I had the radio site up and was waiting for airtime. I called in and was being serenaded by the elevator music. I opened up the switchboard, and it kept telling me 'waiting on host to call in'. I kept hanging up and re-dialing, only to keep getting the elevator music.

After pulling out what little hair I had left, I discovered that the guest call-in number and the host call-in number was one number off. Being somewhat of a speed-reader, I was looking at my notes thinking I WAS calling the right number. WRONG.

So I offer up my sincere apologies to any who may have tried to listen in. I have my head screwed on correctly now, so I hope y'all will tune in next Thursday; as we will be up and running.

Once again, I'm sorry for any inconvenience or disappointment my stupidity may have unleashed.

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Listening to GWB on Iraq and the GWOT [UPDATE]

'nuff said...


wow... i watched george on cnn international from here in kabul... immediately following the speech, they broke right in with a comment on just how amazing it was that bush didn't even mention the horrific events that are taking place there... just goes to show ya how far removed from the cold, hard world of reality our president is...

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World's 5th biggest pension fund stops buying U.S. Treasury bonds

the global economic collapse continues, led by the rapid disappearance of confidence in the dollar...
South Korea's National Pension Service (NPS), the world's fifth-biggest pension fund, said on Thursday it was shying away from U.S. Treasuries because of falling yields and the weakening dollar.

The move by the NPS could signal a big shift by financial institutions away from U.S. government debt into higher-yielding assets, the Financial Times said.

The fund, which expects its assets to rise to 250 trillion won ($253 billion) by the end of 2008, holds about 17.4 trillion won worth of foreign bonds of which U.S. Treasuries account for 94 percent.

Those figures would suggest NPS holds about 16.4 trillion ($16.6 billion) won in U.S. Treasuries.

"We sees the attractiveness of U.S. Treasuries falling," NPS spokeswoman, Chi Younghye, said.

it may not be front-page news, but unlike other stories that don't get the coverage they deserve, this one is creating a hole of such staggering proportions that, when we finally fall in, the world as we know it will cease to exist...

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A Brother Tim Op-Ed

The Height Depth of Venality

Funk and Wagnall's Standard Collegiate Dictionary

Venal (vee'-nal) adj. 1. Ready to sell honor or principle, or to accept a bribe; mercenary; purchasable. 2. Subject to sordid bargaining or to corrupt influences; salable. 3. Characterized by corruption and venality.

Sadly, this definition is both meet, and befitting, of the vast majority of our politicians; especially the upper tiers of our government. The Executive Branch, the Senate, and the House of Representatives are perfect illustrations of this vile and odious behavior. Who holds the #1 spot (the worst of the worst) fluctuates like the ebb and flow of the tides. If you believe the moon only affects the psychopaths and sociopaths amongst us, look at the effect it has on our national leadership. It happens once a month, except in the event of a Blue Moon; and then it's twice.

But the most prodigiously egregious example right now, is none other than Sen Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her greed and lust for power knows no bounds.

Does she really care about America? Is she honestly concerned about the health and welfare of the Democrat Party? Let's examine a few of her, and her campaign's, actions.

1) Her self-agrandizing exagerations (a form of lieing) about brokering the Irish Peace Accords and dodging sniper-fire on the tarmac in Bosnia, among a litany of other things. She may be 'Ready on Day One' on many things, but honesty and truthfulness are not amongst them.

2) Heaping praise on the presumptive Republican candidate, Sen John McCain, on his experience and capabilities; while denigrating and deriding her Democratic rival, Sen Barack Obama.

3) With her virtually mathematical impossibility (short of Obama stepping into an open manhole or getting hit by a flying pig) of winning the nomination; she insists on staying in the race and driving a wedge between Democrats, weakening the party.

If the Obama/Clinton situation were reversed, Hillary and her campaign would be shrilly harping for Obama to withdraw for the sake of party unity. But no, not her; every week they come up with a new scenario where she can win the nomination.

"We'll use pledged delegate counts" --- Nope, that won't work. "OK, we'll use the popular vote" --- Nope, that won't fly. Then, "It's up to the Super delegates" ---Hmmm, doesn't look like that pig's gonna dance, either. "Well, how about having the Super delegates vote by Electoral College standards" --- C'mon, give it up already. Finally, "Let's forget about the implemented rules we all agreed upon. We don't want to disenfranchise the voters of Florida and Michigan" --- Not mentioning the fact that she was the only one on the ballot in Michigan; after ALL the Democrat Candidates (including herself) signed affidavits stating they would NOT participate (all took their names off the ballot, except Clinton).

As the old saw goes: Actions speak louder than words. What do her actions say to me? They say that she will say or do ANYTHING, at any cost, to be President. She feels privileged and annointed. If she can't have the nomination, she would rather the Republicans win, so she can have another go for it in 2012. It matters not to her if she splinters the Party and sends the country over the cliff under more Republican Tyranny.

That, my friends, is TRUE venality.

What say y'all?

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A Dana Perino clone on Iraq - down is up, black is white, bad is good, failure is success, war is peace

in a perverse sort of way, you gotta admire the chutzpah of the bush administration... they can take the stinkiest shit imaginable and convince you you're smelling roses... they're also good at making you think that, if the source is supposedly a credible one that operates at arm's length from the white house, it must be believable... but since we now know that a pentagon press secretary is really only a dana perino/tony fratto clone, that sweet smell of roses is almost impossible to detect...
The Pentagon on Wednesday said an eruption of violence in southern Iraq, where US-backed government forces were battling Shiite militias, was a "by-product of the success of the surge."

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said it showed that the Iraqi government and security forces were now confident enough to take the initiative against Shiite extremists in the southern port of Basra.

"Citizens down there have been living in a city of chaos and corruption for some time and they and the prime minister clearly have had enough of it," he said at a Pentagon press conference.

At least 20 people were reported to have been killed in two days of fighting in Basra and another 20 in clashes in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, a bastion of Shiite militias that follow radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

< sniffs the air, gags, retches, reaches for handkerchief to cover nostrils >

now, after that brief interlude, let's rejoin reality, shall we...?

following on to brother tim's post from yesterday, from the ap...

Shiite militiamen are everywhere. Police and Iraqi army checkpoints are nowhere in sight. U.S. soldiers are keeping their distance.

Sadr City — the Baghdad nerve center for the powerful Mahdi Army — is suddenly back on edge as the militia leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, and Iraq's government lock in a dangerous confrontation over clout and control among the nation's majority Shiites.

The epicenter of the showdown has been the southern oil hub of Basra, where clashes have claimed dozens of lives this week and al-Sadr's forces face a Friday deadline to surrender.

But a more finely tuned measure of the tensions may be found among the one- and two-story homes and shabby storefronts of Sadr City. As the crisis deepened, The Associated Press toured Sadr City on Wednesday to observe its rapid swing from relative quiet to a return of the Mahdi Army swagger before the U.S. military troop buildup in Baghdad last year.

Sadr City — named after Muqtada al-Sadr's father, who was assassinated in 1999 — is seen as critical to the overall stability and security of the capital.

A resurgence of Mahdi Army attacks and opposition could roll back the gains that have allowed Baghdad residents to take cautious steps toward normal life and offered Washington hope of accelerating troop withdrawals.

and if the above doesn't do it for ya, try this from gareth porter...
The escalation of fighting between Mahdi Army militiamen and their Shiite rivals, which could mark the end of Moqtada al-Sadr's self-imposed ceasefire, also exposes Gen. David Petraeus's strategy for controlling Sadr's forces as a failure.

Petraeus reacted immediately to Sunday's rocket attacks on the Green Zone by blaming them on Iran. He told the BBC the rockets were "Iranian provided, Iranian-made rockets", and that they were launched by groups that were funded and trained by the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Petraeus said this was "in complete violation of promises made by President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad and other most senior Iranian leaders to their Iraqi counterparts".

Petraeus statement was clearly intended to divert attention from a development that threatens one of the two main pillars of the administration's claim of progress in Iraq -- the willingness of Sadr to restrain the Mahdi Army, even in the face of systematic raids on its leadership by the U.S. military and its Iraqi allies.

The rocket attacks appear to have been one of several actions by the Mahdi Army to warn the United States and the Iraqi government to halt their systematic raids aimed at driving the Sadrists out of key Shiite centres in the south. They were followed almost immediately by Mahdi Army clashes with rival Shiite militiamen in Basra, Sadr City and Kut and a call for a nationwide general strike to demand the release of Sadrist detainees.

once again, we are forced to attempt to make sense out of conflicting interpretations... however, unlike a similar conflict of interpretation i noted in an earlier post about afghanistan, in this situation, we know there's a liar and we know who it is...

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Is it just because I'm here, or is Afghanistan suddenly generating a lot more news?

typical bush administration nonsense, blindly supporting war profiteering...

this from a just-received nyt news alert...

[T]he American military has relied since early last year on a fledgling company led by a 22-year-old man whose vice president was a licensed masseur.

With the award last January of a federal contract worth as much as nearly $300 million, the company, AEY Inc., which operates out of an unmarked office in Miami Beach, became the main supplier of munitions to Afghanistan’s army and police forces.

Since then, the company has provided ammunition that is more than 40 years old and in decomposing packaging, according to an examination of the munitions by The New York Times and interviews with American and Afghan officials. Much of the ammunition comes from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc, including stockpiles that the State Department and NATO have determined to be unreliable and obsolete, and have spent millions of dollars to have destroyed.

In purchasing munitions, the contractor has also worked with middlemen and a shell company on a federal list of entities suspected of illegal arms trafficking.

Moreover, tens of millions of the rifle and machine-gun cartridges were manufactured in China, making their procurement a possible violation of American law. The company’s president, Efraim E. Diveroli, was also secretly recorded in a conversation that suggested corruption in his company’s purchase of more than 100 million aging rounds in Albania, according to audio files of the conversation.

This week, after repeated inquiries about AEY’s performance by The Times, the Army suspended the company from any future federal contracting, citing shipments of Chinese ammunition and claiming that Mr. Diveroli misled the Army by saying the munitions were Hungarian.

it's a lengthy article and, i confess, i didn't read through to the end to find out if mr. daveroli had some kind of personal or political connection to the bush administration... my guess is that he has one tucked away somewhere...

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Afghanistan: trying to make sense out of what's going on

i can already see that a real challenge for me while i'm in afghanistan is trying to make sense out of conflicting information... for instance, this arrived in my email last night before i hit the sack...
[An] unconfirmed reported received indicates that a planned demonstration will be staged within next three days in Kabul city. Foreign offices and telecommunication buildings have been mentioned as targets for demonstrations and mob riot style attacks, the objective behind the attacks may be to destroy telecommunications systems working in the city as the networks have not capitulated to the Taliban demands to shut down services after 17.00hrs to 0700hrs. About 1500 or 2000 people are expected to attend this demonstration including some AGE [anti-government extremists] who will attempt to take advantage of the opportunity to conduct insurgency related activities in the Kabul city.

this morning, as per my usual routine, i was skimming news articles from various sources and ran across this...
Taliban attacks on telecom towers have prompted cell phone companies to shut down service across southern Afghanistan at night, angering a quarter million customers who have no other telephones.

Even some Taliban fighters now regret the disruptions and are demanding that service be restored by the companies.

The communication blackout follows a campaign by the Taliban, which said the U.S. and NATO were using the fighters' cell phone signals to track them at night and launch pinpoint attacks.

About 10 towers have been attacked since the warning late last month — seven of them seriously — causing almost $2 million in damage, the telecom ministry said. Afghanistan's four major mobile phone companies began cutting nighttime service across the south soon after.


But the cutoff is proving extremely unpopular among Afghan citizens. Even some Taliban fighters are asking that the towers be switched back on, said Afghanistan's telecommunications minister, A. Sangin.


That the Taliban could dictate when the country's mobile phone networks operate shows the weakness of the central government and the international forces that operate here, said Mohammad Qassim Akhgar, a political analyst in Kabul.

"After the Taliban announcement, they were aware of the situation, and still they couldn't provide security for the towers," Akhgar said. "Maybe destroying a few towers will not have any effect on the government, but the news or the message that comes out of this is very big, and all to the benefit of the Taliban."

All four of the major phone companies — Roshan, AWCC, Areeba and Etisalat — declined to comment.

Sangin said the government is not overly worried about the Taliban threat because Afghans are becoming increasingly angered by the shutdown. He said seven destroyed towers, and three others with minor damage, out of the 2,000 now in the country was "not a big thing," though he added that the towers cost from $150,000 to $300,000 each.

so, depending on which information source you read, the taliban either will provoke mass riots to shut down the cell phone system at night OR they have already been successful at shutting the cell phone system down at night...

as a sidenote, land-line phone service in afghanistan is virtually non-existent so you can imagine that folks would get pretty upset at having the only phone service that they have ever enjoyed and which was only recently-obtained knocked out for half of a 24-hour day...

of the four providers mentioned above, roshan is the system on which both my personal and my employer-provided cell phones are currently registered...

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Taking a ballbat to the hornet's nest

For people who just can't stand prosperity. From Reuters:

Iraq's Sadr threatens "civil revolt"

NAJAF, Iraq, March 25 (Reuters) - Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called on Iraqis to stage sit-ins and threatened a countrywide "civil revolt" if attacks by U.S. and Iraqi security forces continue against his followers.

"We call upon all Iraqis to stage sit-ins all over Iraq as a first step. And if the people's demands are not respected by the Iraqi government, the second step will be to declare civil revolt in Baghdad and all other provinces," Sadr said in a statement read out by senior aide Hazim al-Araji.

If you're not happy with Sadr's truce........

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Afghanistan is the world's third most unstable country and guess who's #22?

so, here i am, a new arrival to kabul, and what do i read but this...
Iraq has emerged as a more stable country than Afghanistan, thanks to lower violence, the presence of a large U.S.-led international force and high oil prices, according to a report published on Tuesday.

The report by the British-based Jane's Information Group ranked Afghanistan as the world's third most-unstable country after the Gaza Strip and West Bank, and Somalia.

not only does the above not give me a great deal of comfort, but i also just received an email from the security company that works with the contractor i'm here working for telling me that there is a possible serious riot that may take place here in kabul over the next three days which could leave us all locked up in our quarters... am i having fun yet...?

to top things off, here's a sad but not terribly surprising tidbit from the same report...

Vatican City was ranked most stable, followed by Sweden, Luxembourg and Monaco. But Jane's judged the United States to be only the 22nd most stable country -- just below Australia and Portugal -- due to international drug trafficking and the proliferation of small arms within U.S. society.


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Crony Senility

The guy is outta his mind.

McCain: Feds shouldn't do much about mortgage crisis

By Matt Stearns McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Tuesday called for mortgage lenders to help struggling homeowners stay in their homes, but said government's role should be temporary and limited.


"It is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers," McCain said in a speech in Santa Ana, Calif. "Government assistance to the banking system should be based solely on preventing systemic risk that would endanger the entire financial system and the economy."

McCain said that the Federal Reserve's bailout of Bear Stearns met his criteria. But he offered no specific federal proposals to aid homeowners facing foreclosure. He promised to evaluate proposals "based on their costs and benefits," but he didn't address any of the solutions percolating on Capitol Hill.


After the speech, McCain adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin rejected the type of foreclosure moratorium that Clinton has pushed, saying it doesn't "address why someone is in foreclosure."

"As harsh as it may sound, that may be an appropriate outcome in some cases," Holtz-Eakin said.


Carly Fiorina, a McCain adviser, conceded that "there are clearly some mortgage lenders that are not in a position to do this" because many are in financial straits because of bad loans.

"It could be that this spawns a wave of consolidation in the mortgage lending industry that is appropriate," Fiorina said. "Consolidation is not a bad thing. It's a healthy market response."

Oh, that's rich, Carly! Let's monopolize the mortgage lending industry like we did the MSM. Got to take care of our obscenely wealthy cronies dontcha know.

I especially like that part about the Fed's bailout of Bear-Stearns met his criteria.

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In Kabul

Departure screen
Dubai International Airport
Wednesday, March 26
(arrow indicates my flight)

Welcome sign
Kabul International Airport
Kabul, Afghanistan

it's 3 p.m. wednesday here in kabul, about 3:30 a.m. u.s. pdt, 6:30 a.m. u.s. edt, and 7:30 a.m. in argentina... i've been here for a few hours going through a security briefing which is the first crack out of the box for all the newbies... i'm dead on my butt since i only had 4 hrs. to sleep last night and didn't sleep but an hour and a half of it... the kam air flight from dubai was a 737-800, packed to the rafters, mostly with contractors like me... sat next to two guys, one of whom works for dyncorp (kind of a blackwater-type outfit) and the other for a computer tech contractor, and we had a pleasant chat...

driving around kabul (in an up-armored toyota landcruiser), i can see it's desperately poor, very crowded, exceptionally dirty, and parts are still devastated from the soviet and taliban regimes not to mention the shellacking it took under the "coalition" forces...

i have some pics of the terrain flying in (we flew in over part of iran) and the kabul airport (which includes an azerbaijan airlines, russian vintage, 727-type aircraft... (i've seen 'em before in belgrade... if it wasn't for the tail assembly, you'd mistake 'em for a 727...) i'll be posting some later...

anywayz, i'm safe and sound but won't be good for much of anything until i've had a good night's sleep... besides, i see you've all been in good hands with brother tim...

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Monday, March 24, 2008

An Awareness Test

This was picked up by a Blog of Revelation friend. (sorry for the blog-pimping, Prof)

Pay very close attention.

Gottcha, didn't it?

Thanks, and a tip o' the hat to Chris at the Red Hog Diary.

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Stuffing da Baloney

This is farcical, ludicrous, and down-right heart-breaking. CNN has the full story.

President Bush addresses the press with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Monday.

Bush: U.S. deaths in Iraq 'laid foundations for peace'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush expressed sympathy Monday for the families of the 4,000 Americans killed in the war in Iraq, promising to make sure their loved ones "were not lost in vain."

"One day, people will look back at this moment in history and say, 'Thank God there were courageous people willing to serve, because they laid the foundations for peace for generations to come,' " Bush told reporters after a meeting at the State Department.


During a briefing with reporters Monday, White House press secretary
Dana Perino said the president "definitely feels the loss."

"He gets a report about every single soldier who passes away," she said. "And he always pauses a moment to think about them and to offer a prayer for their loved ones and their family and friends."

Foundations of Peace??? Does anyone in their right mind believe that?

And then, when the King and his Jester, that shoe-shopping ditz, Condiliesalot Rice, get tired of stuffing the baloney; who's there to give them some relief?? Good Lord, it's Hillary.

"I want to take a moment to note yesterday's heartbreaking news that five years after start of war there have been 4,000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq," Sen. Hillary Clinton said at the start of speech on the economy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Monday.

"Tens of thousands of our brave men and women have also suffered serious wounds, both visible and invisible, to their bodies, their minds and their hearts. As president, I intend to honor the extraordinary service and sacrifice of them and their families by ending this war and brining them home as quickly and responsibility as possible," she said.

Too little, too late, Hillary. You should have felt that way when you voted for the AUMF and followed it up with votes to spend like a drunken sailor navy.

But you didn't feel it was expeditious to your political aspirations then, did you?

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This story via McClatchy.

Bodies of 2 missing hostages recovered in Iraq

WASHINGTON — The FBI confirmed Monday that the bodies of two Americans who were taken hostage more than a year ago in Iraq have been found there.

The dead were identified as Ronald Withrow of Roaring Springs, Texas, and John Roy Young, of Kansas City, Mo.

Young was one of five security guards working for Crescent Security Group who were taken hostage Nov. 16, 2006 when the convoy they were guarding was stopped at a fake checkpoint in southern Iraq.


The fingers of the four other Crescent Security guards seized with Young also were delivered to U.S authorities earlier this year. Those guards
are Jonathan Cote, of Gainesville, Fla.; Joshua Munns, of Redding,Calif.; Paul Johnson Reuben, of Buffalo, Minn.; and Bert Nussbaumer of Vienna, Austria.

This is most definitely a sad and tragic story and my heart goes out to the families. Having said that though, I am sick and tired of the never-ending propaganda.

Why is it, that when we do it to them, it is called 'capturing and detaining'? Yet, when they do it to us, it is called 'kidnapping and holding hostage'?

Pot-------meet Kettle.

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Fair is Fair

This story from OpEdNews.

Headlined on 3/23/08:
Obama's Minister "Hates America" But When My Father Said the Same Sort of Things He Became a Hero To The Republicans

by Frank Schaeffer

When Senator Obama's preacher thundered about racism and injustice Obama suffered smear-by-association. But when my late father--Religious Right leader Francis Schaeffer--denounced America and even called for the violent overthrow of the US government, he was invited to lunch with presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr.

Every Sunday thousands of right wing white preachers (following in my father's footsteps) rail against America's sins from tens of thousands of pulpits. They tell us that America is complicit in the "murder of the unborn," has become "Sodom" by coddling gays, and that our public schools are sinful places full of evolutionists and sex educators hell-bent on corrupting children. They say, as my dad often did, that we are, "under the judgment of God." They call America evil and warn of immanent destruction. Obama's minister's shouted "controversial" comments were very much like things pastors on the right say too.


The hypocrisy of the right attacking Obama, because of his minister's
words, is staggering. When my late father and I were the guests of Jerry Falwell at Liberty Baptist College, Falwell said to us quite casually and seriously, while speaking of the "homosexual problem," that: "If I had a dog that did what they do I take it out and shoot it." And when it came to saying God was damning America he and Pat Robertson sided with the 9/11 hijackers by saying the terrorist's actions served America right and were God's punishment. Yet John McCain went to Liberty Baptist College and spoke for Falwell, in order to "mend fences" with the Religious Right. He said he no longer believed that Falwell was "an agent of intolerance." And Rudi Giuliani gladly accepted Robertson's endorsement. So much for the Republican "mainstream."

This cuts left too. Fair is fair. So where are the clips--playing incessantly next to Hillary Clinton's picture--of her antiwar friends and Bill Clinton's fellow draft dodger members of the New Left, cursing and damning America during Vietnam War protests and since? The company that Bill and Hillary kept in the late 1960s through the 1970s was defined by damning America and sometimes by rooting for the North Vietnamese. Clinton said he "loathed" the military. We still made him commander in chief.


Want to play this smear-by-association game? Okay, while McCain was a prisoner of war a bishop in his church was rooting for McCain's torturers. Episcopal Bishop Moore, in his autobiography, Presences: A Bishop's Life in the City, wrote that the end of the Cold War had left the United States "like a wounded rooster crowing on the top of the dung heap." Blaming "corporate greed and lust" as well as "unbridled
nationalism" for manufacturing causes for war, Moore cursed America as often as he served communion.

If we want to get really silly let's ask this: McCain is an Episcopalian so where are the clips of the anti-American rantings of Bishop Moore and not a few other Episcopalian pastors and bishops, next to McCain's picture? How can McCain be a member of that denomination?


I think Obama is worth fighting for. History has thrown America an unlikely lifeline. Do we have the decency, the sense, the last glimmer of sanity needed to open hearts to change?

Obama offers civility in the midst of a national bar fight. Obama speaks in complete sentences, well-turned paragraphs, offers thoughts with intellectual depth, nuance, humility and compassion. Obama is a reasoned essay cast before sound-bite swine who seem ready to tear anything that falls into their sty to shreds.

What's good for the goose, is good for the gander.

Thanks, and a tip o' the hat to Betmo, at Life's Journey.

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A hat-tip to Mike at Crooks and Liars

holy crap...! i am sitting here at ezeiza (the buenos aires international airport), cruising on the hospitality lounge wifi, waiting for my flight to sao paulo, where i change for dubai and then on to kabul... i just checked in with the blog and found that traffic is going through the roof thanks to a mention in mike's blog round-up at crooks and liars...

thanks for the mention, mike...!

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A mosiac of the 4000 who will never come home

nico pitney has done a mosiac of the 4000 americans who gave their lives for an illegal war in iraq...

Click on image for full (very large) size

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I'm off to Afghanistan

some people will do anything for money... ;)


i plan to put up some (hopefully) interesting posts about my observations, and, if security restrictions permit, some photos as well... it will definitely be interesting to see what's happening from a first-hand perspective... in the meantime, brother tim is going to be doing the heavy lifting...

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Yeah, yeah, yeah... You make an obscenely lowball bid to cash in on people's pain, you get a little resistance...

no matter which way you turn, it's still going to be the average joes who are going to get screwed in this deal...
JPMorgan Raises Bid for Bear Stearns to $10 a Share

The sweetened offer is intended to win over stockholders who
vowed to fight the original fire-sale deal, struck only a
week ago at the behest of the Federal Reserve and Treasury

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Posthumous citizenship for some of the 4000 dead in a war that was illegal in the first place

The overall U.S. death toll in Iraq rose to 4,000 after four soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in Baghdad, a grim milestone that is likely to fuel calls for the withdrawal of American forces as the war enters its sixth year.

to add to the boundless tragedy, we have this...
A young, ambitious immigrant from Guatemala who dreamed of becoming an architect. A Nigerian medic. A soldier from China who boasted he would one day become an American general. An Indian native whose headstone displays the first Khanda, emblem of the Sikh faith, to appear in Arlington National Cemetery.

These were among more than 100 foreign-born members of the U.S. military who earned American citizenship by dying in Iraq.

Jose Gutierrez was one of the first to fall, killed by friendly fire in the dust of Umm Qasr in the opening hours of the invasion.


And yet, his foster mother agonized as she accompanied his body back for burial in Guatemala City: Why did Jose have to die for America in order to truly belong?


Immigrant advocates have similar mixed feelings about military service. Non-citizens cannot become officers or serve in high-security jobs, they note, and yet the benefits of citizenship are regularly pitched by recruiters, and some recruitment programs specifically target colleges and high schools with predominantly Latino students.

"Immigrants are lured into service and then used as political pawns or cannon fodder," said Dan Kesselbrenner, executive director of the National Immigration Project, a program of the National Lawyers Guild. "It is sad thing to see people so desperate to get status in this country that they are prepared to die for it."

this is my country - let the most disadvantaged, the lowest rungs of the societal and income ladder, and often the most desperate go out and die for the benefit of the super-rich elites, and for what...? crumbs from their banquet table...

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Emptywheel marvels at "the audacity of 'nope'"

a new phrase enters the lexicon...
In a sick kind of way, you almost have to marvel at the intestinal fortitude of the Bushies to so ferociously and completely yank the chain of every court they come in contact with. Whatever the people and their Congress want, whatever the courts demand, the answer from the Bush Brigade is always "nope". The audacity of nope.

i think it'll catch on, don't you...?

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What is money and how it works - a primer

this video makes a very important point right up front... money, as fundamental as it is to our lives in today's societies, is never explained or taught in such a way as to create a real understanding of where it came from or how it works...

from brasscheck tv...

It's a strange system
and it's not in our best interests

One of the last things John F. Kennedy did before he was assassinated was declare his intention to reform the central banking system of the United States.

No connection between these two events?

Congressman Louis McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee from 1927-33, opposed the Federal Reserve System. There were three reported attempts on his life before he finally died of "heart failure."

Here's what he said about the Federal Reserve from the floor of Congress:

"Mr. Chairman, we have in this Country one of the most
corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks, hereinafter called the Fed.

The Fed has cheated the Government of these United States and the people of the United States out of enough money to pay the Nation's debt. The depredations and iniquities of the Fed has cost enough money to pay the National debt several times over.

This evil institution has impoverished and ruined the people of these United States, has bankrupted itself, and has practically bankrupted our Government. It has done this through the defects of the law under which it operates, through the mal-administration of that law by the Fed and through the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it."

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