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Rent Boys — and ordinary Americans 31 August 2006

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
25 comments

 

Stop me before I vote again has several good posts… and from one came this report of Russell Baker’s:

 In today’s cash-fueled political world, both parties claim they have no option but to function as indentured servants of corporate America. This, not surprisingly, creates a dynamic of dependency and obligation. The Republicans have excelled at this game, especially under the tutelage of Karl Rove and Tom DeLay.  But the Democrats have, increasingly, belied their long-assumed commitment to the little guy and the average American by cozying up to the money trough as well.

This pattern accelerated markedly under the Clinton Administration, which, despite some reformist tendencies, often aided the big-business agenda, easing domestic regulations and passing international trade agreements that tended to unshackle the large corporation. Some of these changes were clearly in the public interest, such as streamlining cumbersome and often-antiquated bureaucratic processes. But many others were not: lowering environmental thresholds and diminishing governmental oversight.

Once the Democrats turned into the opposition, key Clinton figures found a home in offering their advertising, public relations and arm-twisting skills to industry trade associations and corporations. They retained their links to the party, and have lived a kind of dual life ever since, moving effortlessly from corporate work to campaign work and back. The friendliness with big business has escalated under the reign of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who has assembled his own so-called “K Street Cabinet” – named after the street where the lobbying hordes are headquartered.

it is loaded with information on corporate betrothed DC pols… as it dates from mid June 2006 it is a little behind in the report on Andy Young.

Madman sent a link to a good post by Scott Lemieux over at Lawyers Guns and Money… but i want to snip out a quote from the comment thread… it made me laugh last night…

It’s one thing for the Dems to stand up and very loudly proclaim that Rumsfeld is an incompetent buffoon. It’s another thing entirely for them to stand up and say what the hell they’re going to do differently if they win.

So far we’ve gotten a bunch of mushmouthed crud about beginning a process whereby we commence consideration of our long-term strategic objectives in Iraq with an eye to initiating discussions on the feasability of significant troop reductions in the short to medium term.

Yay. That’ll show ‘em.

The muddled cluckers — the “we broke it, we bought it” Democrats — are nearly as bad and more likely to get the enduring blame, post bug out, when the wingnuts indulge their Dolchstoss frenzy.

Knight Ridder has reported in recent days that ethnic-based militias, like those in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, dominate many Iraqi Army units, and that their soldiers express greater loyalty to their militia leaders than to the nascent Iraqi government being formed in Baghdad. The Iraqi Defense Ministry denied those reports.

Abizaid said he thinks the risk of outright civil war in Iraq is low – “I think it’s possible, but not probable. I don’t see it now. … I think we would see it coming and I don’t see it coming. … I think we can work our way through 2006 in a way that has a good outcome for Iraq.”

Abizaid also said that Iraq has gone through enough politics that “now we are finally at the point where we are going to have a four-year government and that, in and of itself, gives a lot of strength… “

The anniversary is done. In the coming year, for New Orleans, more people will move away; opportunists, good and bad, will move in; those who can afford the contractors whose prices have skyrocketed past what meager insurance and federal assistance has offered will rebuild homes so that the best blocks will be checkerboard neighborhoods; crime will rise; the poor will be told to be happy in their trailers; water and electricity will still be unavailable to many places. At some point, someone in the EPA will admit that, yes, the ground, the water are contaminated.

In the weeks after the storm, even before the power was back, Mr. Anderson opened his club for what he called French Quarter Town Hall meetings. The weekly gatherings, which at first offered little more than camaraderie by candlelight and warm beer, evolved into a de facto government for a part of New Orleans that had experienced little flooding but could not begin cleanup and rebuilding because of the city’s overall paralysis.

The meetings drew officials from the city, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers — all of whom were given an earful — and bit by bit, things improved. Many locals, in fact, gave Mr. Anderson a lot of credit for kick-starting the Quarter’s recovery.

So it is especially poignant that the Andersons have now decided to leave. But their story is not unique: many in this city are suffering the same continuing loss and strain that led these two to their decision. So their departure raises the question of whether others who can afford to leave, those who have not sunk every penny into a now-moldy house or a devastated store, will also move on.

But from a wonderful blog  about post Katrina Pearlington MS [thanks Madman] is this:

Today is silence for me. Breathe in, breathe out. Respect for all that we’ve endured, thankfulness for all the help we received. Jaw set tight. It’s still too enormous for me to get my head around, so I won’t try. Words are often useless for me, and today, more so.

So instead, a simple photograph of my mom’s Eden, one year on. She’s sitting on the front porch of what will be her new home soon. It’s risen on the foundation of the home Katrina destroyed, only steps away from her FEMA trailer, and every day she looks out the trailer window a thousand times at it, and her gold smile lights up, and she whispers “Thank you, Jesus.”

It’s been built by the sweat and love of volunteers from all over the country. From all walks of life they’ve come into the Gulf to help their brothers and sisters. Normal, average Americans, disgusted by their government’s inaction, they’ve picked up hammers and done it themselves. [snip]

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UPDATE, 11:50 am

- Star – Moonbeams – Jar -

In case you thought I had forgotten Mark Warner, Jerome Armstrong (and thus Kos) and the Star Business – I had not.

According to a legitimate release from his PAC, Ex-Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) “will enter into his Second Life” today at 3:30 pm ET. He will become ‘the first American political leader to engage in the online virtual world, Second Life.”

hmm … maybe Mark Warner departed the rooted reality of car phones (whatever!) and the governorship of VA for … being a tad too virtual?

Warner “Internet Team Leader” Jerome Armstrong: “This is in many ways an experiment. We want to see what people make of this. How will they organize? How will they interact with each other and with Governor Warner? We’re all figuring out new ways to do things online — in how we work, play and share ideas. We don’t know yet how people will use Second Life to engage in politics. But we want to find out” (release, 8/31)

And, once again a zinger of a comment:

“In Second Life, distances and time differences vanish…”

Almost as quickly as a candidates’ grasp of reality.

I’ll be the second orc on the left … the one with the sword or power. Go get ‘em

BTW, because its probably relevant…

Scorpio October 23 – November 21

For Thursday, August 31 -You are the recipient of many truths today. People are in the mood to tell you how they feel, and while not all of the reviews will be glowing, you will end your day with closer, more meaningful relationships. Someone who you desperately want to impress is already raving about your ways, so relax and realize that the two of you are equals after all. Your reputation is on a big upswing, and you have broken some beastly bad habits. Congratulations!

Red Arrow the Orc of Manchester | 08.31.06 11:13 AM

… not too much I can add to that. 

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UPDATE, 2:45 pm

Well!! Hotline was not done.  In classic fashion ( you know they are Republicans, they play at being squishily welcoming to all, but let’s get real) they instruct us to stop sniggering.

I see no reason to stop:   snig … snig, snig.  snig snig.  There, I snuck some in.  ;)

Here is but a snip (or a snig) but let me say, if you need a laugh… click thru and read. 

If Warner has half a brain, he’ll pension Jerome off.  Wanna bet that is what Jerome wants?

SECOND LIFE — Let’s dispense with the hee-haws: yes, it’s easy to make fun of Ex-VA Gov. Mark Warner’s history-making foray into the world of avatars and Second Life(s)s. But think about it: there are 48 million Americans who use the blogosphere, a fraction of which — perhaps 4 million — are regular consumers of the political blogs. This new venture might be mockable, but it’s path-breakingly mockable.

The Hotline signed on as “Hotline Burbclave.” Our first attempt to navigate the new world was stifled when we bumped into a post. Then, as we attempting to adjust our appearance, we accidentally began to take our clothes off — the buttons are too close together! [...]

Apparently, CNN’s Internet team was preparing a segment and a producer needed some footage. Then, suddenly, Warner turned gray, and then transformed on stage into a nude, buxom woman and flew off.

Hamlet Au, the event’s host explained that Warner was “respawning.”

At about 3:40, the real Warner flew in from above the stage. The audience, about 20 odd characters, many of them Second Life regulars, virtually clapped. One reporter shouted out “Will Jim Webb win Virginia?”

That violated the rules. Warner would only answer questions from Au this day, although he plans a virtual town hall meeting in September. [snip]

Now remember I said they are (essentially) Republican (Doug Bailey from Ford admin… and hanging with Ham Jordan and Gerry Rafshoon as they play at Unity ’08 — which may spring a mixed use ticket at us… or some such boomarang) at The Hotline… bear that tidbit in mind.  And who knows what the hell Jerome et alia are.

Poor Mark.  But he is well named.

Submerged 29 August 2006

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, The Battle for New Orleans, WAR!.
16 comments

  New Orleans Aquarium May 2005

Just throwing up an Open Thread… the above photo is from New Orleans, the aquarium there, taken spring of 2005.  I landed on an index of photos, all of the aquarium, murky, floating images, sometimes mixed with reflections of humans or odd shafts of light.

Seems to fit.  George is in New Orleans.  A city they have sacked and are taking down.  Well that is the way I see it.  I heard his speech and certain lines flat out scared me to death.  When whitehouse.gov posts the text I will put it up.

They are now on to the interfaith service.  What Ceasar does not kill, fake Jesus will.  And I am all for spirituality.  The narrow, state serving religion we worship is not it. 

If anything the Catholic bishop of New Orleans was worse than George… and that is saying a lot.  He claimed Katrina was ”cleansing”.  And the mission is to build a safe city, that the old one was crime ridden.  All we hear is coded language, to mask the hatred.

It was the fundamentalist take on Katrina.  Killing the 10 abortion clinics, the avenging eye of the storm being a fetus. 

Let’s make sure we know what is important and what is not.  And if we appear not to know, they will impose rules upon us.  George in his speech said, the ”rules must be made clear”.

 

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Update, 3:20 pm

George and Laura this morning in New Orleans, text from WH.gov:

[B]ut I also want to remind you that the federal government cannot do this job alone, nor should it be expected to do the job alone. This is your home; you know what needs to be done. And a reborn Louisiana must reflect the views of the people down here and their vision, and your priorities.

State and parish authorities have a responsibility to set priorities, and they’re doing so. We all have a responsibility to clear obstacles that stand in the way of meeting goals. And we’ve got to make sure the money that has started to flow continues to flow. [...]

At this critical moment there are a lot of people making big decisions about where their future lies. I understand that, and so does the LRA and Governor Blanco and local authorities. We all understand that. We know there are people weighing a big decision.

We want to make sure that when they do make the decision to rebuild that the rules are clear, and that the zoning decisions by local authorities make sense. That’s a local decision to make. But we are going to make sure that we work closely together to clear up any ambiguity. See, we want people coming home. We want the rules clear, so when people come home they know that they’ll be coming to a safer, better place.

 

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”Bush “palace” shielded from Iraqi storm’, a McGeough piece from The Age:

[T]he prime 25-hectare site was a steal — it was a gift from the Iraqi Government. And if the five-metre-thick perimeter walls don’t keep the locals at bay, then the built-in surface-to-air missile station should.

Guarded by a dozen gangly cranes, the site in the heart of the Green Zone is floodlit by night and is so removed from Iraqi reality that its entire construction force is foreign.

After almost four years, the Americans still can’t turn on the lights for the Iraqis, but that won’t be a problem for the embassy staffers. The same with the toilets — they will always flush on command. All services for the biggest embassy in the world will operate independently from the rattletrap utilities of the Iraqi capital.

Scheduled for completion next June, this is the only US reconstruction project in Iraq that is on track. Costing more than $US600 million ($A787 million), the fortress is bigger than the Vatican. It dwarfs the edifices of Saddam’s wildest dreams and irritates the hell out of ordinary Iraqis.  [...]

  

Up to 200 bodies are delivered to the morgue each day. Sometimes there is the dignity of a body bag, but often body parts are delivered in banana boxes discarded at city bazaars. The Iraqi Government threatens the morgue staff with reprisals if they reveal information to reporters because the statistics are such devastating indicators of the Government’s — and the United States’ — failure. But one of the doctors agreed to talk to The Age as long as his name was not published. “It just gets worse, especially in this heat,” he said.

“The bodies have been in the sun for so long that they fall apart in our hands, just like that. It’s a nightmare. At home I can’t say anything about it to my family. And how can we believe it’ll get any better? We don’t have enough doctors to do the autopsies and we’re getting more and more bodies every day.”

After almost four years of trying to build Washington’s democracy beachhead in the Middle East, US defence officials now concede that the violence in Iraq is at its worst — in terms of body count, public support and the ease with which Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias exploit gaps in the American forces.

At most critical points the Americans have misread the social, tribal, political and military landscape and they have wrong-footed themselves by denying evolving realities that were all too apparent.

We have to be willing to acknowlege that the plan was for chaos.  Chaos past the drawbridge and over the moat.  Out in the fields where the serfs toil.

We divorced a king, an 18th c Cincinnatus led us then.  Now we have tacitly agreed – all but – to an emperor.

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Update… 6:20 pm

I braved the murky depths of the WashTimes… to get this snippet from Arnaud de Borchgrave:

    Mr. Bush believes deeply that Iran poses an existential threat to close ally Israel. Congress recently voted a resolution that said an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States. Mr. Bush also believes Iran is determined to sabotage American hopes of establishing a new democratic Middle East.   [...]

   Mr. Bush’s national security advisers have also pointed out that an escalating danger of U.S.-Iran military confrontation automatically intensifies internal and regional opposition to U.S. objectives in Iraq. The president keeps reminding private interlocutors to think of how history will judge this critical period 15 to 20 years hence. He sees personal and national humiliation if he were to leave office having acquiesced to an embryonic Iranian nuclear arsenal.
    So odds makers bet sometime before the end of his second term President Bush will order a massive air attack on a wide range of carefully selected targets in Iran, in partnership with Israel, and against the advice of many of his advisers. Mr. Bush is convinced a nuclear Iran would pose an intolerable threat to U.S. national security and, as one former intelligence topsider put it, “he is firm in his faith that God agrees with him on that point, and certain that history will eventually recognize and properly appreciate his courageous and visionary leadership.”

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Update, 8:40 pm

A memento mori, blksista’s diary, This was Our House

Close your eyes.  I want you to imagine trees that shaded the street, old trees that had thick trunks that provided shade and were not replaced after hurricanes.  I want you to imagine that the house is white with green trim, not the cartoonish pink color.  Pigeons cooed and nested in its eaves, undermining the roof and spreading dirt and feathers, until my grandparents brought in someone who installed netting to keep them out.  There was a prolific bush that hid the rusted manhole cover.  A well-tended lawn that my uncle mowed for his mother.  I want you to see her rose bushes, her geraniums, her Easter lilies lining the side of the house that faced Magnolia Street.  

There was plenty of backyard to play in with the other flowers and bushes.  For one thing, there were fig trees. My grandmother made preserves from each harvest, and the little boys that lived upstairs and I used to eat the rest.  My grandmother was from the country, born in St. James Parish.  She thought that she could raise chickens back there.  Now, in the early part of the 20th century, in certain parts of black New Orleans, incorporated or not, you could raise chickens.  She had my uncle, who was good with his hands, build a kind of coop.  The city turned a blind eye to some of this, but when she brought in turkeys, she was told that she had to cease and desist.  

All around was the hum of birds and insects.  We called dragonflies “mosquito hawks.”  We heard cicadas hissing in their mating call almost all day long in the spring and summer, particularly at five when Mr. E, father of the boys upstairs, would come home from his railroad job, carrying a fresh loaf of French bread or some bagged groceries from Canal Villerie or Schwegmann’s or Winn-Dixie, and tip his wide-brimmed hat to us.  There were green lizards all over who lived in the shrubbery and dined off insects and eyed us cautiously.  We knew better not to upset a hill of red ants.  And then there was the ubiquitous cockroaches that ran around at night outside of everyone’s house and that we crushed with regularity.  [snip]

    

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UPDATE, 10:10 pm

In case anyone is not depressed yet, Naomi Klein in the LA Times today:

THE RED CROSS has just announced a new disaster response partnership with Wal-Mart. When the next hurricane hits, it will be a coproduction of Big Aid and Big Box.

This, apparently, is the lesson learned from the government’s calamitous response to Hurricane Katrina: Businesses do disaster better.

Well if Iraq is any indication, they like disasters.  Like making them, wallowing in them and collecting on the contracts.

We are fully trapped inside a horror movie inside Real Life…

In truth, when it comes to reconstruction, contractors are hardly wizards. “Where has all the money gone?” ask desperate people from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf Coast. One place a great deal of it has gone is into major capital expenditures for the private corporations. Largely under the public radar, billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on privatized disaster-response infrastructure: the Shaw Group’s new state-of-the-art Baton Rouge headquarters, Bechtel’s battalions of earthmoving equipment, Blackwater USA’s 6,000-acre campus in North Carolina (complete with paramilitary training camp and 6,000-foot runway).

And when the fun is over… we are going bankrupt anyway.

But here’s the catch: The U.S. government is going broke, in no small part thanks to this kind of loony spending. The national debt is $8 trillion; the federal budget deficit is at least $260 billion. That means that sooner rather than later, the contracts are going to dry up. And no one knows this better than the companies themselves. Ralph Sheridan, chief executive of Good Harbor Partners, one of hundreds of new counter-terrorism companies, explains that “expenditures by governments are episodic and come in bubbles.”

But if you recall the de Borchgrave commentary up post, Bush is convinced in 15 or 20 years history will know what a visionary he has been. 

So screwed…

Reprint: Antebellum 28 August 2006

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, The Battle for New Orleans.
20 comments

This was first posted March 14, 2006

Jordan Flaherty living and working in New Orleans has written with remarkable clarity of the desperation of his city and her people in the wake of Katrina.

    
 Ninth ward, New Orleans [CNN]

Ursula Price, a staff investigator for the indigent defense organization A Fighting Chance, has met with several thousand hurricane survivors who were imprisoned at the time of the hurricane, and her stories chill me.

“I grew up in small town Mississippi,” she tells me. “We had the Klan marching down our main street. But still, I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Safe Streets, Strong Communities, a New Orleans-based criminal justice reform coalition that Price also works with, has just released a report based on more than a hundred recent interviews with prisoners who have been locked up since pre-Katrina and are currently spread across thirteen prisons and hundreds of miles.

   

The Louisiana State Penitentiary, America’s most infamous and largest maximum security prison, known as “The Farm”. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Angola was a thriving slave plantation. After the turn of the century it was officially converted into a prison, yet very little changed:

the free labor which was originally provided from the sweat of an entirely black and slave population was then taken over by a mostly black and convict population.

They found the average number of days people had been locked up without a trial was 385 days. One person had been locked up for 1,289 days. None of them have been convicted of any crime. [...]

 According to a pre-Katrina report from the Metropolitan Crime Commission, 65% of those arrested in New Orleans are eventually released without ever having been charged with any crime.

  

Retired school teacher, Arthur Davis, and NOLA cops, October 2005

Samuel Nicholas (his friends call him Nick) was imprisoned in Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) on a misdemeanor charge, and was due to be released August 31.

Instead, after a harrowing journey of several months, he was released February 1. Nick told me he still shudders when he thinks of those days in OPP.

“We heard boats leaving, and one of the guys said ‘hey man, all the deputies gone,’ Nick relates. “We took it upon ourselves to try to survive. They left us in the gym for two days with nothing. Some of those guys stayed in a cell for or five days.

People were hollering, ‘get me out, I don’t want to drown, I don’t want to die,’ we were locked in with no ventilation, no water, nothing to eat. Its just the grace of god that a lot of us survived.”

  

Lake Ponchartrain, July 10 2005, high water in the wake of Hurricane Dennis [Globe and Mail]

Benny Flowers, a friend of Nick’s from the same Central City neighborhood, was on a work release program, and locked in a different building in the sprawling OPP complex. In his building there were, by his count, about 30 incarcerated youth, some as young as 14 years old.

“I don’t know why they left the children like that. Locked up, no food, no water. Why would you do that? They couldn’t swim, most of them were scared to get into the water. We were on work release, so we didn’t have much time left. We weren’t trying to escape, we weren’t worried about ourselves, we were worried about the children.

The guards abandoned us, so we had to do it for ourselves. We made sure everyone was secured and taken care of. The deputies didn’t do nothing. It was inmates taking care of inmates, old inmates taking care of young inmates. We had to do it for ourselves.”

Benny Hitchens, another former inmate, was imprisoned for unpaid parking tickets. “They put us in a gym, about 200 of us, and they gave us three trash bags, two for defecation and one for urination. That was all we had for 200 people for two days.”

  

Slaves at work on the Indies Company plantation, across from New Orleans [Lassus, 1726]

State Department of Corrections officers eventually brought them, and thousands of other inmates, to Hunts Prison, in rural Louisiana, where evacuees were kept in a field, day and night, with no shelter and little or no food and water.

“They didn’t do us no kind of justice,” Flowers told me. “We woke up early in the morning with the dew all over us, then in the afternoon we were burning up in the summer sun. There were about 5,000 of us in three yards.”

  

Woodlawn Plantation, Louisiana 1941 [Edward Weston]

Abu Ghraib on the Mississippi

From reports that Price received, some prisoners had it worse than Oakdale. “Many prisoners were sent to Jena prison, which had been previously shut down due to the abusiveness of the staff there. I have no idea why they thought it was acceptable to reopen it with the same staff.

People were beaten, an entire room of men was forced to strip and jump up and down and make sexual gestures towards one another. I cannot describe to you the terror that the young men we spoke to conveyed to us.”

  

In 1724, Louis XV adapted the Code Noir for Louisiana. Since 1685 this code had regulated the condition of slaves in the French Islands, notably forbidding interracial marriage and sexual relations.

“We have a system that was broken before Katrina,” Price tells me, “that was then torn apart, and is waiting to be rebuilt. Four thousand people are still in prison, waiting for this to be repaired.

There’s a young man, I speak to his mother every day, who has been in the hole since the storm, and is being abused daily. This boy is 19 years old, and not very big, and he has no lawyer. His mother doesn’t know what to do, and without her son having council [sic], I don’t know what to tell her.”

  

September 1970 raid on Black Panther offices, across from the Desire Housing Project, est. population, 20,000. Moon Landrieu was mayor of NO at the time. Link*

I asked Price what has to happen to fix this system. “First, we establish who was left behind, collect their stories and substantiate them.

Next, we’re going to organize among the inmates and former inmates to change the system. The inmates are going to have a voice in what happens in our criminal justice system.

  

Untitled, from the One Big Self, Prisoners of Louisiana series, 1999, silver emulsion on aluminum [Deborah Luster]

If you ask anyone living in New Orleans, the police, the justice system, may be the single most influential element in poor communities.

Its what beaks up families, its what keeps people poor.”

Amen to that…

* Link is to online facsimile of the Black Panther newsletter of June, 1971.

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August 28, 2006

A current report from Jordan Green of Facing South (link goes to a slew of reports on post Katrina Gulf Coast issues)… via Counterpunch, on the corporate thievery from FEMA and other recovery funds, in some cases not delivering on contract work… but, you got it, being paid anyway – and really, it is all thievery from those who suffered, survived and want to return to NOLA, SELA and the Gulf Coast:

[W]hile the government’s Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force has focused attention on fraud by emergency assistance recipients, instances of corporate contract and procurement fraud have been documented at 50 times that amount.

A review of congressional testimony and other documents by Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch found a total of at least $136.7 million in corporate fraud in Katrina-related contracts. In addition, government investigators have highlighted contracts cumulatively valued at $428.7 million that they found troubling because of lack of agency oversight or misappropriation.

Some of the contractors failed to meet their obligations, and charged the government for work that was never performed. Taking advantage of inadequate oversight, some private companies inflated costs. It was also the case that the government, most notably FEMA under the leadership of former Director Michael Brown, withheld crucial resources from the hardest hit areas of the Gulf Coast, and failed to establish efficient supply lines and points of distribution for ice, water, meals-ready-to-eat and other essentials. The contractors could lay the blame at the feet of the feds, and vice versa.  [snip]

Listening to the panels on New Orleans and Katrina today on Cspan… Douglas Brinkley  mentioned that Brown is attempting to sell himself to St Bernard Parish as a post disaster expert.  Well, why fuss.  Absolute failure is well rewarded in America.

   LA Times = Molina - August 18, 06

‘WE’RE INSIDE PEOPLE NOW': Renee Daw, 43, looks at debris left near her home in New Orleans’ Gentilly neighborhood. She and her 8-year-old son, who have lived in a FEMA trailer in front of their damaged house since April, are the only residents on their block. “We mostly just stay in the trailer,” she says.(Genaro Molina / LAT)  Aug 19, 2006

From Facing South:  One Year later:  The Search for Shelter

[H]omeowners have yet to receive one dime from Louisiana’s “Road Home” plan or Mississippi’s equivalent program. Public housing tenants are faring the worst — although the 38,000 public housing units in New Orleans weren’t badly effected by the storm, HUD officials spent $1.5 million to barricade them so the poor couldn’t come back.  [snip]

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UPDATE, 7:20 pm

From Facing SouthOne year after Katrina, how is the Gulf doing?

In our new report, “One Year after Katrina,” the Institute concludes that the Gulf Coast recovery has “failed,” and that lack of leadership and misplaced priorities at the federal level are to blame.

Those findings are based on over 250 statistical indicators and over 50 status reports, in-depth investigations, and profiles of community leaders.

Are we being too negative? Isn’t media coverage filled with stories about “signs of progress and hope” in the Gulf? Well, let’s ask the people who have been affected.

According to an ABC News poll of Gulf Coast residents, our findings are in line with how they view the situation. [...]

This was one of the gravest tragedies in our country’s history. The people affected definitely feel they have been left behind. Congress and the White House haven’t even moved to officially acknowledge August 29, 2006, in any official way — not even a painless resolution.

I caught Michael Brown on Hardball with Norah O’Donnell.  She propped him up… and he is working for St Bernard Parish.  Says he saw it all from the inside and can help.  Well, Good Luck to them.  When the tax payers catch their breath – and they may never – they should sue the city fathers for fiduciary incompetence.  I doubt Brownie donated his services.

He was not the only one on view over the past few days.  Past few years is more accurate, because, really, Katrina and Rita merely intruded on what has been going on, all along. 

I have heard enough white mouths speak the language of lies, evasion, misplaced blame to last the rest of my life. 

In an appearance before the conservative Mercatus Institute at George Mason University, Varney, and editor at the Times-Picayune said the people at the Dome and the Convention Center were safe and lived (and should be thankful) and only ”acted up” when the cameras arrived.

The saddest of all was a panel of 4 on The News Hour, 3 black faces and a white, Reilly. 

 I’m joined by Calvin Mackie, engineering professor and member of the board of the Louisiana Recovery Authority; Sean Reilly, chairman of the state and the legislative task force of the Louisiana Recovery Authority; Benjamin Jaffe, director of Preservation Hall and the leader of the Musician Hurricane Relief Fund; and Senator Ann Duplessis, a member of the State Senate of Louisiana, representing the Lower Ninth Ward and New Orleans East.

One, Benjamin Jaffe who leads the venerable Preservation Hall in the French Quarter, said, for the first time in his life, he is not hopeful for the future of the City.  The white man, evaded and prevaricated.  It was an appalling display.

RAY SUAREZ: Sean Reilly, you wanted to jump in?

SEAN REILLY, Louisiana Recovery Authority: Well, you know, when people ask me about the pace of the recovery, what I’m encouraging people to do is re-reflect. Yes, let’s learn the lessons. Let’s see perhaps where perhaps we made mistakes. We can make mid-course corrections.

But at the end of the day, let’s remember that what we’re about is rebuilding a great American city, about re-establishing a southern half of a state that got absolutely devastated. And if we start saying that it’s the fed’s fault or the state’s fault or the city’s fault, you know, that’s really not going to be a dialogue that’s going to get us anywhere.

RAY SUAREZ: Well, but on the other hand, isn’t a necessary part to hold people accountable who made promises to electorates, who made promises to jurisdictions, and in the view of those jurisdictions, haven’t kept those promises?

SEAN REILLY: Well, absolutely. And, you know, first and foremost, when you’re talking about New Orleans, you need to talk about safety and levees. And, you know, it’s taken us a long time to get to a place where we could hold the Army Corps of Engineers accountable for what happened to this city.

I think history will reflect that this was not a natural disaster, actually; this was a manmade disaster; this was an engineering failure. And when you reflect on that as a root cause, then it brings you to a different place, in terms of solutions and in terms of, you know, how do you bring this city back in a safe way? How do you get people to understand where the dangers are and get them out of harm’s way?

And of all things C-span, today, ran a panel of Ogletree with Bill Cosby and an assemblage of black leaders, academics etc.  I had to turn it off.

It was just too much. 

RAY SUAREZ: Ben Jaffe, what has to happen from here on out?

BEN JAFFE: There’s a lot that needs to happen. And I’m a little — I continue to be frustrated, because the conversation that we’re having now is the same conversation that we’ve been having all year. There is a lot of planning that needs to still take place. There’s a lot of planning that needed to take place that didn’t get done, a lot of work that didn’t get done.

I don’t necessarily know what needs to happen. I do know that, if we don’t address the situation here, that we will lose a culture that is responsible for one of the most amazing treasures that we have in the United States. We’re the city that gave birth to jazz.

You know, we’re a beat-down people right now. We have all suffered for a year. Psychologically, the toll that it has taken on us is amazing. Every day we wake up, it’s not like one day we wake up and it’s better than yesterday. It’s a little bit better. Maybe there’s less trash on your corner.

And it’s a real fear of mine, it’s a real fear for the first time in my life — I’m not optimistic about the future of this city. And that really breaks my heart, because if there has ever been a cheerleader that has yelled louder than anyone about New Orleans, it’s been me.

*************************************************************************

Sunday Open Thread… 27 August 2006

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
17 comments

  American soldier - Tunisia - 1943 - Robert Capa

well… honestly all the threads are ”open”.  I am not too hot on OTvs OT (on topic/off topic)…. also a quick mention, I am slowly learning more, often by stumbling accident, about “rich text”… so now all links should open in a new window.

Madman has a piece up at LSF on the Democratic courtiers.  It is x posted, which I mention as the thread is interesting.

As former Republicans, now Democrats, take office, do we really expect them to support long-standing, actually liberal, office holders who have been fighting the Bush Administration (and often the Democratic Party leadership) while this country has run so hard to the right? REALLY? Isn’t it more likely that they will do what Reid, Schumer, Clinton and Emmanuel already do, which is to ape the Republicans

A diary on the same issues of Democratic “go alongs” [thanks Tuston] and I noticed a Sirota counterpoint effort. Or more accurately he takes on the Wapo article at issue in the first diary. A drving rain of barely sharpened butter knives.  Never changes, an election approaches and everybody drinks the “get with the program” malaria laden water.  I won’t be calling it Kool-Aid.

via TO, Norman Solomon interviews Tasini.  Courtiers and orgs that play along are mentioned.  Some hopeful, nice words tho for NY state DFA individuals.  BRAVO!!

  Guernica: Do you think that it’s practical for people around the country to build from scratch organizations that are pegged to specific electoral campaigns, or is there a need for new infrastructure that is kept running all the time so that you don’t have to start at square one when you’re challenging a pro-war incumbent?

    Jonathan Tasini: I think we definitely need the latter. I’ve been working with Progressive Democrats of America because I do think that we want to help leave something in place that grows. Because elections do focus the mind. Too often progressive-billed organizations want to sit around debating stuff and put out policy papers – which is not a bad thing – but in the abstract people get distracted, bored, and disconnected from that kind of organization. Elections do focus people’s minds. It gives something very concrete to do. But it has to be about something – not just the race, but about building something for the future. So there’s an absolute need to have a real progressive infrastructure, not the one that I think we have which is certainly not trying to challenge the actual system, which I believe at least I’m trying to stand for.

And Asia Times on Elliot Abrams.  WIsh I believed in bomb shelters.  How fast can we dig down 100 feet, with a hardened top?  Guess the Iranians will be testing that method. 

Abrams is a neo-conservative ideologue who as a government operative has turned ideology into strategy and policy. But are his instincts and vision for the Middle East in keeping with US national interests and Mideast realities? Richard John Neuhaus, a longtime Abrams colleague since the 1970s and fellow neo-conservative, told The New Yorker: “What runs through Elliott’s thinking is a deep, almost quasi-religious devotion to democracy. He thinks real democratic change can happen in the Middle East. It’s breathtaking, in a way.”

In his dual role as chief of the White House’s global democracy initiative and as NSC deputy adviser, Abrams is well positioned to ensure that his radical ideas about a US-led democracy crusade and about an Israel-centric Middle East determine the directions of US foreign policy – the former providing a moral cover for the latter.

I don’t think Opera Glasses are quite up to the coming horrors… We all know what “democracy” is a code word for, furtherance of US corporatist interests, at the tip of our missiles.

************************************************************************

UPDATE, 5 pm on the Pacific Ocean…

Juan Cole has an important post up… anytime there is access to the actual words spoken by a world leader we appear to be preparing to bomb… I call that important.

Kayhan reports that [Pers.] Ahmadinejad said, “Iran is not a threat to any country, and is not in any way a people of intimidation and aggression.”

He described Iranians as people of peace and civilization. He said that Iran does not even pose a threat to Israel, and wants to deal with the problem there peacefully, through elections:

“Weapons research is in no way part of Iran’s program. Even with regard to the Zionist regime, our path to a solution is elections.”

Ahmadinejad seems to be explaining what his calls for the Zionist regime to be effaced actually mean. He says he doesn’t want violence against Israel, despite its own acts of enmity against Middle Eastern neighbors. I interpret his statement on Saturday to be an endorsement of the one-state solution, in which a government would be elected that all Palestinians and all Israelis would jointly vote for. The result would be a government about half made up of Israeli ministers and half of Palestinian ones. Whatever one wanted to call such an arrangement, it wouldn’t exactly be a “Zionist state,” which would thus have been dissolved.

We know Israel would never, never, never on this earth, embrace the one state solution.  NO reason for Palestinians to believe there will ever be an equitable two state solution.  Or that is what I thought, finally, the day Sharon walked on Temple Mount.  I am convinced he is reported as restive in his coma as somehow he sensed the hideous bombing.  He’d have liked to go along.  Push all the way to Beirut.  And continue to sack the north.

The schlock Western pundits, journalists and politicians who keep maintaining that Ahmadinejad threatened “to wipe Israel off the map” when he never said those words will never, ever manage to choke out the words Ahmadinejad spoke on Saturday, much less repeat them as a tag line forever after.

And as JC says, believe or don’t believe him, but let’s have his words in our hand…

Bombed Away… 26 August 2006

Posted by marisacat in Beirut, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC, South America, Viva La Revolucion!, WAR!.
6 comments

graffiti Guatemala City Dec 23 '04

”This mural shows the US financed boot of death, with crosses identifying towns that were wiped out by the military”.  [link to full mural in Guatamala City.]

- Resistance -

Two ‘Live’ Diaries from Electronic Lebanon - both are voices of privilege, heading south to work on post conflict reconstruction and aid – and both voices moving to either embrace, or at the very least, understand Resistance.

Resistance to War – Ramzi Kysia

[I]n Sriefa, three entire blocks of homes are smashed to ground. Other buildings and shops throughout the town are bombed and destroyed. Women walk the streets, sobbing.

In Sultanya, dozens of homes are destroyed. The local hospital lies bombed and gutted by fire. The house I stayed at in the village has three unexploded cluster bombs in its garden.

Bint Jbeil, a city of over eighty thousand people, is completely shattered. Much of the city is simply rubble, but even what’s left standing is damaged. The entire back wall of the three-story primary school is just gone. The city center is barely passable to cars, so cratered are the roads. I literally did not see a single building in all of Bint Jbeil without serious damage. Not one. Not a one. [...]

This wasn’t a war against Hezbollah, with some collateral damage on the side. This was a war against the basic structures necessary to sustain civilians in South Lebanon. This was a war against the basic structures of human life.

But there are Lebanese who will not let that happen.

During the war, a coalition of Lebanese educators, engineers, architects, merchants, health care workers, NGO workers, students, and others, came together under banner of Civil Resistance – the Arabic phrase for non-violent direct action. …

“We, the people of Lebanon, call upon the local and international community to join a campaign of civil resistance to Israel’s war against our country and our people. We declare Lebanon an open country for civil resistance.”  [snip]

   An Nour radio station, destroyed bldg.

”An Nour Radio – A Voice Stronger than the Aggression” - Electronic Intifada – Lebanon - Photostory

Breakdown - Sami Hermez

[B]orders. Borders that make me want to cry and laugh all at once. Who are they trying to fool? It seems all of us, doesn’t it?!

Being on the border, in the South, I could see what we are fighting for and the need to build and maintain a movement of resistance against Israel (there is a stark contrast between this border and the Syrian-Lebanese one). The border for me is no longer abstract, it is no longer just an image on a TV screen. I see now how tied we are to Palestine, how our south is a beautiful extension of their north were it not for guard towers, colonial settlements, and the presence of a well fortified, aggressive army.

I hear the stories of occupation, that there was a huge population of Lebanese who needed passes to enter their villages, who were oppressed in similar ways to the Palestinians of today. It is all so real now. And all this makes it so vital for us to boycott Israel and Israeli supporters, and why it is critical for us to develop a culture of resistance that is at once academic, cultural, artistic, economic, political and of course, militant (let us be a bit realistic as America arms Israel to the teeth). [...]

There is one thing I have learned in this war and its aftermath: when you have nothing left, when even the hope you raise is stripped from you, when the war and the destruction becomes so brutal, there is only one thing we, each one of us, has left in order to remain human and keep our sanity: laughter. I cannot stress this more. Everywhere we go people are laughing and have been laughing all through the war. And no, this is not the laughter of happiness, it is the sharp, distinct, deep laughter of resistance.

I will see you in more peaceful times I pray.

************************************************************************

- Iraq -

From the Sydney Morning Herald:   Mother

[B]ut suddenly the word “alasa” – traitors – was in the air as Shiites accused old Sunni friends of fingering them for an insurgency clean-out of Shiites. Then on July 31, Muthanna, the fourth son of Wabila Felehi, was abducted from the makeshift shop where he sold ice, fruit and blackmarket petrol.

“The next day they started shooting at our house. We left in just the clothes we were wearing,” the mother says as she sits cross-legged on the marbled floor of a friend’s home.

“We searched for 10 days before someone told us that Muthanna’s body had been dumped in the river at Arabjabour [which is inside the Triangle of Death]. I asked the police to get him back. They said it was too dangerous. The Iraqi Army and the Mahdi Army [a Shiite militia] refused to recover him, so I had to do it myself.” [snip]

“Traitor” is a volatile word, in any culture I would guess.  And the one instance in which I have always believed in capital punishment? if carried out by the immediate family.  Most especially by the Mother.

   

Deep Dark diary  on the SMH Paul McGeough reporting. [thanks gong]

There is a comment from DD in his diary thread, what many of us discussed in spring of 04, one likely end – stretched supply lines, trapped, US soldiers forced to fight their way out.  Their supply lines were stretched going in, there were reports in March of 2003, as the US fought its way in, of our soldiers being fed by Iraqis.

Now we can say, fight to where?  Where? Where should they go, surrounded as they are by millions, hundreds of millions of Arabs – and others – with every single reason on earth to hate us?  

The projections of 2004 look mild to me now.

In spring of 2005 I posted this at LSF, having caught a report on Democracy NOW! by a war corrrespondent, Janine di Giovanni, for the Times (UK). 

She and a small number of reporters found themselves in Grozny as it fell – having gone into Chechnya illegally.  And elected to walk out with the retreating Chechen army who thought they had bought safe passage from the Russians.  So they thought.

We were with the retreating Chechen army, who had crossed a minefield, to get out of Grozny. They had bribed Russian soldiers to get out, but the Russians had lied to them and tricked them and sent them over a minefield. So, as soon as they began crossing it, they realized that they were—they had been, you know, hideously fooled.

And they began, you know, I think it was something like one in four of them blew up. So, there were these incredibly sad stories of some guys saying, I’ll go forward. You know, brother, I will go forward, and some went forward, sacrificed themselves. So when they got to this little suburb called Al Khankala, they were wearing winter white uniforms. I’ll never forget it, and they were covered in blood, and they were dragging the dead behind them. And because it was so unbearably cold, it was this kind of apocalyptic scene, and the line of the soldiers stretched for miles. And it was freezing cold, and we were stuck in this suburb, and there was one doctor. And he was amputating a lot of limbs, because these guys had gone over a minefield.

And he was set up in this school, and I remember going in, and I was walking, and my feet were sticking to something, and I looked down, and it was just blood everywhere. And I could hear these men screaming as he was operating because they didn’t have a lot of anesthetic. And I went into some rooms to talk to some of the men, and they were blinded and missing arms and missing legs. And it was just – it was like a scene out of hell. And then I started trying to call my office but, of course, as usual, the one moment I really needed my satellite phone, my batteries started dying. And there was no electricity. So I was desperately trying to find a generator to charge my batteries because it was my only link to the outside world.

And I suddenly realized I’m, you know, a lone foreigner here with the photographer and this other woman. There was no M.S.F. (Medicins Sans Frontieres), no U.N., no Red Cross. So, if something happened to us, that was it.

… it will end worse than we can imagine.  That is what I think now. 

************************************************************************

Kinks in our armor. 25 August 2006

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
14 comments

 San Francisco Graffiti - Soma district, artist unknown - 1998

I happened to catch the new ambassador to the US from Pakistan on CNN with Blitzer.  Have a laugh.  I need one:

BERGEN: I think it is a tricky one. I mean in 2004, Osama bin Laden scored a favorability rating of 65 percent in a poll of Pakistani people. I would ask the ambassador, is there a Pakistani politician who scores higher numbers than Bin Laden.

BLITZER: Well what’s the answer, Mr. Ambassador? Is there a sense that you really don’t want to capture this guy?

DURRANI: I think this is totally false, and I think it’s ridiculous that Pakistan, who’s put their life on the line, that we have suffered the largest number of casualties in this war and how can somebody say that we are not in it, our heart is not in it or we don’t want to capture him.

Hah!  Quick!!.. some ice water for the throat and flick some on our fevered brows as well… then onward:

BLITZER: Do you expect, Mr. Ambassador, Osama bin Laden to do something to commemorate, if will you, the fifth anniversary of 9/11?

DURRANI: I’m not sure. I can’t say, but I think we should put our heads together and I think one of the biggest dangers that I see is, is this, you know, blame-throwing game. [isn't that just dear?] 

I think there is no latitude for having any kink in our armor. The U.S., U.K., Pakistan, the other countries who want terrorists out, they should be joining together. They should fight the war on terror together. There should be no kinks in our armor. Because –

BLITZER: Mr. Ambassador, one final question before I let you and Peter go. There’s some concern that’s been expressed, if there were a successful assassination attempt against President Pervez Musharraf who has been the leader and he’s thwarted several of these attempts over the years that Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal potentially could be a threat and Osama bin Laden has made it clear he’d love to get his hands on a nuclear bomb and kill millions of Americans, if he could. How worried should Americans be that that nuclear arsenal in Pakistan is vulnerable?

DURRANI: I think the people in the U.S. should know the Pakistan military, you have worked with us. You have interacted with us. For years, people have done courses here. You should have confidence in the Pakistan military and the Pakistani system. I think there is zero chance of the nuclear weapons falling into the hands of the extremists. The extremists in Pakistan are a very small minority. I wouldn’t even put them in the region of two percent. So there’s no question of the nuclear weapons going into their hands.

“Learning to love the bomb” was easy.  And long ago. 

With friends like the US media who the fuck even needs enemies (but we seem to want so many!)…

This from FAIR – a really wonderful organisation.  Norman Solomon just plugs along.  Doing good.  Funny, Kos popped into my mind.  Well he plugs along.  Too.  And it stops there.  Oh yes! that was gratuitous.  But fun, you know… ;)

Back to FAIR and our media:

Bush’s unedited comment was as follows:

Q: But are you frustrated, sir?

BUSH: Frustrated? Sometimes I’m frustrated. Rarely surprised. Sometimes I’m happy. This is — but war is not a time of joy. These aren’t joyous times. These are challenging times, and they’re difficult times, and they’re straining the psyche of our country. I understand that.

Viewers of CBS Evening News (8/21/06) saw a carefully edited version of that response—one better suited to presenting Bush as serious and concerned with the effects of the war. Reporter Bill Plante previewed the answer by saying that Bush “conceded that daily reports of death and destruction take a toll, both on the nation and on him.” The edited quote that followed:

Frustrated? Sometimes I’m frustrated, rarely surprised. These aren’t joyous times. These are challenging times, and they’re difficult times. And they’re straining the psyche of our country. I understand that.

And of course CBS was not the only one.  They all did it.  Just like gangland murders.  And I doubt much has changed.  If you all touch the knife, plunge it in, you are all culpable.

Dying to the tune of a thousand cuts – and the ad time is sold to pay for it.  Disneyland News, GE News… and so on.

…again from Norman Solomon, who, yes, just plugs along doing good work:

Nearly five years into the “war on terror,” it’s still at the core of American media and politics.

Yeah, I’ve seen the recent polls showing a drop in public support for President Bush’s “war on terror” claims. And I’ve read a spate of commentaries this month celebrating Bush’s current lack of political traction on the terrorism issue, like the New York Times piece by Frank Rich last Sunday triumphantly proclaiming that “the era of Americans’ fearing fear itself is over.”

    That’s a comforting thought, hovering somewhere between complacent and delusional.

    Reflexive fear may be on vacation, but it hasn’t quit. The “war on terror” motif is fraying – but it remains close at hand as a mighty pretext for present and future warfare.

    The US war effort in Iraq is, if anything, more horrific than it was a year ago. Back then, in late summer, Frank Rich wrote a Times column – under the headline “Someone Tell the President the War Is Over” – mocking Bush’s assertion on August 11, 2005, that “no decision has been made yet” about withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Responding in print days later, Rich concluded:

“The country has already made the decision for Mr. Bush. We’re outta there.”

hmmm I enjoy Frank Rich.  But I sometimes think I enjoyed him much more as a theatre critic.  To be honest, I think he pats liberals down, disarms them by muffling rising anger.  If you read him uncritically, easy to think change is on the move – so to speak.  A little too easy.

Oh yes, I like bitter lemon drops.  Too.  ;).

A year later, are we “outta there?” Only via the intellectualizing gymnastics of punditland.

    More Americans are aware that the “war on terror” – as an umbrella excuse for making war – is a bunch of lethal baloney. But can anyone point to a falloff of active US militarism as that realization has dawned? Did the Pentagon’s warfare dissipate in the slightest while disdain from mainstream anti-Bush pundits went through the roof?

    Looking ahead, does anyone credibly think that Democratic Party leaders can be relied on to stand up against rationales for a huge air assault on Iran - in the face of predictable claims that a massive attack has become necessary to forestall the development of nuclear weapons by a Tehran regime that supports the “terrorist” Hezbollah organization and has pledged the destruction of Israel?

They have not stood up.  Why would they change?  Now?  With Mid Terms coming and issues of Who is strong.. ?  Who is not a lefty?  Who is not a pacifist?  Who is not an anti-semite (or rather, not in danger of being called one)??  Who is not “anti-war”… Certainly Lamont is not. 

Remember, it is all about management.  Managing the wars.

  Beirut - Electronic Lebanon

A snip or two from Juan Cole’s entry for 8.25:

Turkish jets bombed bases in northern Iraq on Thursday of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which has been responsible for several terrorist strikes in eastern Anatalia in recent months.

The US military, which monitors everything that happens in Iraq electronically, somehow could not figure out that the air raids came from Turkey.

Oh I suspect we knew before they set out.  What kidders we all are…

Iraqi professors and teachers are fleeing the country this year in twice the numbers they did last, in fear of insecurity and even assassination.

************************************************************************

UPDATE, 5:50 am Friday…

Doesn’t Kos call himself an “activist”… isn’t that the verbal drool he uses?

Well I noticed that Rahm’s new book [what! you have not heard of it?  Thirty lashes!] with the very bureacratic title, The Plan, [you know you want to read that!] is reviewed in the Chicago Sun-Times.  hmmm.  Well I suppose a few people inside Illinois DO have to read it… 

So, do you think Rahm has read it?  Let’s get real, some aides wrote this pack of illusions.

BTW, Rahm has a co-author.  Anybody remember Bruce Reed?  You know, leader, with Al From, of the dying Dem org, the DLC

You know it is dying.  Even tho Hillary re-upped her membership over a year ago and all the hopefuls for 2008 trooped to Denver last month for the DLC approval and schmoozing…

Kos says it is dying.  Dead… any minute now.

LOL Catch how Bruce Reed of the DLC, formerly head of Domestic Policy for The Clintons is identified:

You say you haven’t heard much about “six on ’06″? Perhaps the notion of a Democratic agenda will get a bigger boost with the publication of The Plan: Big Ideas for America by Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and Bruce Reed, a journalist and Democratic activist.

hmmm claiming to be a “journalist”.  These guys just say whatever. The whole review is fairly amusing… and of course closes with the predictable:

The Plan is mostly centrist Democratic stuff. However you may feel about issues he raises, there’s no doubt that Emanuel is proposing for the Democrats a comprehensive national agenda, maybe even a winning one. Just one question: Is it an agenda that will appeal to the rabid Bush-hating, anti-war, bring-back-the-’60s crowd that seems to dominate the party these days?

************************************************************************

UPDATE, 3:20 pm

Chomsky has a new piece in Palestine Chronicle.

[T]he standard Western version is that the July 2006 invasion was justified by legitimate outrage over capture of two Israeli soldiers at the border. The posture is cynical fraud. The US and Israel, and the West generally, have little objection to capture of soldiers, or even to the far more severe crime of kidnapping civilians (or of course to killing civilians). That had been Israeli practice in Lebanon for many years, and no one ever suggested that Israel should therefore be invaded and largely destroyed. Western cynicism was revealed with even more dramatic clarity as the current upsurge of violence erupted after Palestinian militants captured an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, on June 25. That too elicited huge outrage, and support for Israel’s sharp escalation of its murderous assault on Gaza. The scale is reflected in casualties: in June, 36 Palestinian civilians were killed in Gaza; in July, the numbers more than quadrupled to over 170, dozens of them children. The posture of outrage was, again, cynical fraud, as demonstrated dramatically, and conclusively, by the reaction to Israel’s kidnapping of two Gaza civilians, the Muamar brothers, one day before, on June 24. They disappeared into Israel’s prison system, joining the hundreds of others imprisoned without charge — hence kidnapped, as are many of those sentenced on dubious charges. There was some brief and dismissive mention of the kidnapping of the Muamar brothers, but no reaction, because such crimes are considered legitimate when carried out by “our side.” The idea that this crime would justify a murderous assault on Israel would have been regarded as a reversion to Nazism.

The distinction is clear, and familiar throughout history: to paraphrase Thucydides, the powerful are entitled to do as they wish, while the weak suffer as they must.  [snip]

*************************** 

Also:  John Dean has an article up in FIndlaw on Dominionism and a new book by a Salon author, Michelle Goldberg…

If more Americans would read works like Michelle Goldberg’s Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, the longevity of our democracy, as we know it, would be more assured. I say this because the more people who understand the thinking and agenda of the growing forces of “Christian nationalism,” the less likely it will be that these forces will succeed. Not many people want to go where Christian nationalists want to take the country. [snip]

My fear is that all too many in the positions to empower Dominionism and clear the way for the religious absolutists DO want just that hideous rigid authoritarianism.   And I worry that it suits far too many corporatists just fine…

***********************************************************************

Taking a walk today… ;) open thread if anyone wants one… 24 August 2006

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
26 comments

     World Wildlife Foundation 1985 - Kuhn-Klein

We are so screwed. 23 August 2006

Posted by marisacat in Big Box Blogs, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.
7 comments

Irancartoon.com - Lei Hao - China

Just as I finished reading this from Qatar (snip below) I heard on MSNBC that a previously unidentified group has the two FOX reporters and is demanding release of Muslim prisoners in the US. 

Sounds like, at first blush, a 72 hour demand window. 

A bit of a whiff – and I only say that as we are hurtling faster and faster to wider war.

From The Peninsula:

[P]repare for Iranian attack: Israel minister Meanwhile, a cabinet minister and former Mossad spy warned yesterday Israel should prepare for a ballistic missile attack from arch enemy Iran.

“Iran has threatened to attack us with its ballistic missiles and we should prepare behind our lines and civilians for such an attack,” Pensioner Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan said in an interview broadcast by Israeli public radio.

Eitan, a member of the security cabinet and a former spy for Mossad, the country’s overseas intelligence agency, said the authorities needed to “refurbish or prepare numerous shelters.”  [...]

 Raanan Dinur made the remarks during a tour of the north, which was pounded by more than 4,000 rockets fired by the Iranian-backed Shi’ite Hezbollah during Israel’s 34-day day war in Lebanon, killing 41 Israeli civilians.

One of Iran’s top clerics warned last week that if the Islamic republic is attacked by the United States and Israel, it will retaliate with ballistic missile strikes against Tel Aviv.

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Israel should be “wiped off the map” and called several times or the Jewish state to be moved somewhere else on the planet.

Iran is Israel’s public enemy number one and has never recognised the Jewish state.

Morning after morning the callers to Washington Journal are like cluster bomblets going off… and this am was no different.  A few extras crawled to the light as Dick Armey was on…

Racism, paranoia, fear, the deep rooted belief that if anyone gets anything, someone lost “theirs”.  Many callers, on all sides of the political issues and divides, call and begin calm, but within the minute or two or three alloted to them rise to near hysteria.  

I have no real idea where we are headed.  I only know that in summer of 2002 as some friends argued that Bush only threatened war (and I would instantly signal the waiter for another bottle of whatever red wine we were drinking) – I looked ahead and literally saw a yawning black chasm.

 ************************************************************

UPDATE,  10:00 am Beat those nuclear drums for war:

Israel signs contract for nuclear capable submarines: reports

Israeli newspaper reports say Israel has signed a contract with Germany for two new U-boats capable of launching nuclear weapons.

The Jerusalem Post newspaper says Israel wants the new submarines to counter the growing threat from Iran.

Israel’s Defence Ministry has refused to confirm or deny the report of the deal said to be worth $US1.27 billion, a third of which will be financed by the German Government.

The U-212 submarines carry a crew of 35, have a range of 4,500 kilometres and can launch missiles carrying nuclear weapons.

They are capable of remaining submerged for much longer than the three German U-boats already in the Israeli fleet.

Israel has never acknowledged developing nuclear weapons, but is widely believed to possess them.

[thanks Madman]

And the beat goes on…

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch police arrested 12 passengers on a U.S. Northwest Airlines plane bound for India which was forced to turn back to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on Wednesday, news agency ANP reported.

ANP said a police spokesman said 12 were arrested, but declined to give further details due to the ongoing investigation. Dutch police were not immediately available to comment on the report. The Dutch defense ministry said earlier the pilot decided to turn back after the crew said several of the 149 passengers on flight 42 to Mumbai were behaving suspiciously. [...]

The Dutch secret service AIVD warned in March that the war in Iraq and the presence of Dutch troops in Afghanistan might motivate possible attacks and encourage the recruitment of home-grown Islamist militants.

There have been several scares since the British plot was uncovered, including at the Tri-State Airport in Huntington, West Virginia, on a Pacific Blue flight from Fiji to Sydney and on a British plane from London to Egypt diverted to Italy.

An Iberia Airlines flight bound for Madrid was turned back to the Netherlands in April after a woman raised the alarm about a passenger she thought was acting suspiciously. The passenger was later cleared of any wrongdoing.  [snip]

A report on CNN said the men had caused alarm when they began to use their cell phones.

************************************************************************

UPDATE, 10:30 am…

- BlahgSnots and Party Snots -

Well… Taibbi is right in his criticism of the Rahm quotes… however, Rahm is right as well. 

I too would equate Al Sharpton  – in his present incarnation as useful Democratic paid mouthpiece – with Blahhhggers.

I’d also be interested to know who finagled that Al, Jesse and the head of NOW should be in the stage with Lamont – for his victory speech.  It sure as hell did not say, CT has chosen.  It said, factions chose. 

I keep saying, Kos runs a diversionary operation.

Paid mouthpieces abound in the so-called A listers.  As I have said before, too many of them washed up from their former lives and avocations.  Washed to the political shores.  Ain’t it a damned shame.

      Mohammad Amin Aghai/Iran

I find the loudly identified “schism” in the party (and Taibbi lumps in Tasini with Lamont… that is called:  missing the point, big time) present this year remarkably uninteresting, particularly as it is fashioned for the press, for the game of tension and the horse race of it all. 

Which is exactly what the BlahgSnots are employed to work on.

The real schism is decades old.  Never gone away, the party holds power, uses its base then discards it on a regular schedule… and it is why progressives, liberals, the left should not vote to reinforce the party.

  *************************************************************************

UPDATE, 12:20 pm

Hail the new Manzanars:

From Sharon Smith via Counterpunch:

Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly asserted just days ago, “all young Muslims should be subjected to more scrutiny than Granny [at U.S. airports]. And we should blend some Israeli screening procedures with our own.”

A significant minority of Americans apparently agree.

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll conducted in late July showed nearly 40 percent of Americans said they harbor prejudice against Muslims. The same percentage supported requiring all Muslims, including U.S. citizens, to carry a special ID “as a means of preventing terrorist attacks in the United States.”

Nearly one in four—22 percent—said they wouldn’t want Muslims as their neighbors. An early-August poll by Cornell University found that 44 percent of Americans support limiting Muslim-Americans’ civil liberties, while 27 percent supported requiring all Muslim-Americans to register with the federal government and 22 percent favored racial profiling of Arabs and Muslims for security purposes.

To be sure, recent U.S. polls tail trends in Israel, where an October 2005 Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies’ opinion poll showed 46 percent of Israel’s Jewish population favor “transferring” (i.e., ethnically cleansing) Palestinians from Israel’s occupied territories, and 31 percent supported transferring Israeli Arabs out of Israel’s borders. But the parallels are clear.

How long will it take  My guess, christian cadres will be tapped to run the new detention centers.  Seems inevitable.  One more event on US soil, is what it will take…

***********************************************************************

UPDATE, 4:15 pm hmmm

Markos Moulitsas, whose blog, the Daily Kos, championed Mr. Lamont, was more blunt in explaining why he had not taken up Mr. Tasini’s banner.

“I fed off the excitement and energy Lamont created amongst Connecticut activists and bloggers,” Mr. Moulitsas wrote in an e-mail message. “I see none of that energy or excitement for Tasini.”

Likes him some Clinton.  Wants more…

Care for some Veuve Clicquot to wash down that slice of Blahhgger on a triscuit? 

Poor boy, just a cheap hors d’oeuvre to Hillary. 

And a tool, of course, of the party.. and of AIPAC.

Mr. Tasini, who, at 49, has never run for public office before, is a complicated political animal. He has even been sharply critical of Mr. Lamont, arguing that he is insufficiently antiwar and would never have won without spending $4 million of his own money.

Mr. Lamont, like Mrs. Clinton, has also strongly supported Israel in the ongoing conflict with Lebanon, while Mr. Tasini — who has many family members in Israel — has chastised Israel for its bombing and invasion of Lebanon.

Page 2 of the NYT report is a scream, read a certain way. 

We are utterly bereft of leadership in this country, broad based leadership that openly and righteously supports the American people — and the Democratic party corraled the so called Liberal Blogs – long ago, almost right away – into a rigid party ghetto.  Nothing new…

Mr. Dean said that his group was not scared to take on Senator Clinton over Iraq, but that there was “a time and a place” for such challenges — and spurning her within her own party did not make sense.

Let’s all be sensible.  And not deviate.  Not one little bit. They, the Deans in their various capacities at DNC and DFA, are going to be fine with Casey, fine with Webb, fine with Massa, and I suspect fine with Ritter in the CO governor’s race.  Yes, fine with Hillary.

Yes, let’s all elect – and badger people into supporting – DINOs, as we trumpet taking down Lieberman. The game cannot get emptier…

************************************************************************

And some more, hmmmmmm.

Throwing this entry at Blogometer up, in toto.  … so sue me.

The problem with Kerry is that he lay down first – and now he is waving from that prone position.  Waving a bit frantically. 

BTW, it was Hillary (and her minions) in charge of the Democratic rapid response out post in NYC during the RNC.  And they did absolutely nothing.  Nothing. 

I cannot stand the R party but they worked their sagging, wretched asses off during the Democratic convention in Boston.

It’s a crying shame.  But no Democrat in charge feels the least bit of shame for imcompetence in running a supposedly national political party.

They really do inspire sheer, rolling, ever renewed with each day, disgust.

BLOGGERS VS. MSM: That Must’ve Been Some Conference Call

The highlight reel from 8/11’s conference call between Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) Iraq war veteran Patrick Murphy (D-PA) continues to grow with the release of more confrontational audio, this time between Kerry and The Hill reporter Jonathan Kaplan.

The latest excitement began when Kaplan asked Murphy: “Do you think Ned Lamont‘s victory in Connecticut hurts or helps your chances of defeating the GOP incumbent?”

Not satisfied with Murphy response Kaplan pushed the question again and after Murphy answered Kerry lectured Kaplan that the press: “”should not allow them [the GOP] to be able to try to transform failure into an offensive policy to suggest that someone is weak because they have an alternative that works.”

 Kaplan was not amused by Kerry’s tone and shot back: “Isn’t that your job not ours?” Kerry did not back down: “”We communicate through you … We need to invite you to hold them accountable … We speak but if it doesn’t get out there, the American people don’t hear it.”

The fun didn’t stop there. Kaplan later asked bloggers on the conference the call “Hey if you’re going to blog about it and rip Fitzpatrick, why don’t you rip Kerry for blaming the media for how he can’t communicate with the American people.”

When a blogger responded “the media does not put the Kerry message out” Kaplan shot back: “Screw that and Screw him!! For Him to criticize us, it’s his own fault.” The call breaks down from there but Kaplan can be heard saying: “Actually i shouldn’t have even said that because I’m going to get in trouble.”

********************************************************************** 

Juggling live ammo 22 August 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2006 Mid Terms, 2008 Election, Beirut, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC.
26 comments

Morocco

- DC – 

Oh I know everyone is in a tizzy whizzy over that “psyche” comment of Bush’s… and it was a bit nervy of him.  Think “nuke-u-lar”, from our legacy kid from the Ivies.  He had his phonetics Wheaties this am.  For sure… ;)

But this caught my eye in the after report from the AP:

“Our soldiers in Iraq should transition to a more limited mission focused on counterterrorism, force protection of U.S. personnel and training and logistical support of Iraqi security forces,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said, “Far from spreading freedom and democracy in the Middle East, the Bush administration has watched while extremists grow stronger, Iran goes nuclear, Iraq falls into civil war and oil and gas prices skyrocket.

Simply staying the course is unacceptable.”

Love how prissy they get when they drop all that bullshit on us.  It all means, no change.  And inside every word, “we won’t be in charge, not anytime soon”.

I think they are, considering how little they care about the American people, going into the Mid Terms crazy with fear.  Because if they don’t do well this go round… it means [more] decades in the proverbial desert.  And it is all about, for the select in Congress, who runs the powerful committees, who runs earmarking and who deals directly with the corporate special interests who write the laws we live under. 

As little Kos bleats about abortion.  Such a diversion op he runs.

And what have they, the Democrats, got to sell?  I mean, sell to the American people, that sliver who vote??   Anything that anyone believes?  ”We’ll do better”?  You can hear in their voices, they don’t believe it.

They’ve had YEARS to stand up and be adults.  They kept ducking.

Oh!  Right on schedule, listening to Imus this morning… and who do I hear, Begala.  Spelling out the narratives:  he’s for Lamont, we ”need someone who will stand up to Bush”. What. a. whopper. 

Then, we ”have to get out of Iraq”, it is ”in our way” to “take on Iran”.  And, in our way to “deal with North Korea”.

Above all else, they are confusedAnd this is too cute.  By more than half.  Of course she is running.

- Hezbollah -

Charles Glass in the London Review of Books

[L]ike Israel’s previous enemies, Hizbullah relies on the weapons of the weak: car bombs, ambushes, occasional flurries of small rockets and suicide bombers. The difference is that it uses them intelligently, in conjunction with an uncompromising political programme. …  Hizbullah’s achievement, perhaps ironically for a religious party headed by men in turbans, is that it belongs to the modern age. It videotaped its ambushes of Israeli convoys for broadcast the same evening. It captured Israeli soldiers and made Israel give up hundreds of prisoners to get them back. It used stage-set cardboard boulders that blew up when Israeli patrols passed. It flew drones over Israel to take reconnaissance photographs – just as the Israelis did in Lebanon. It had a website that was short on traditional Arab bombast and long on facts.

If Israelis had faced an enemy like Hizbullah in 1948, the outcome of its War of Independence might have been different. Israel, whose military respect Hizbullah, is well aware of this.

That is why, having failed to eliminate Hizbullah while it occupied Lebanon, Israel is trying to destroy it now. Hizbullah’s unpardonable sin in Israel’s view is its military success. Israel may portray Hizbullah as the cat’s-paw of Syria and Iran, but its support base is Lebanese. Moreover, it does one thing that Syria and Iran do not: it fights for the Palestinians. On 12 July Hizbullah attacked an Israeli army unit, capturing two soldiers. It said it would negotiate indirectly to exchange them for Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in Israel, as it has done in the past. It made clear that its attack was in support of the Palestinians under siege in Gaza after the capture of another Israeli soldier a week earlier. The whole Arab world had remained silent when Israel reoccupied the Gaza settlements and bombed the territory. Hizbullah’s response humiliated the Arab regimes, most of which condemned its actions, as much as it humiliated Israel. No one need have been surprised. [snip]

Well, he was kidnapped at one point by the Hezbollah… makes him an interesting observer…

From Electronic Intifada on “proportional response”…

On the 27th and 28th of July, 100 bombs fell between two mosques in Bint Jbail within 11 minutes. At one point, the Israelis bombed for 11 hours straight. Then there was a break and they bombed for 21 hours until most of the town was completely destroyed. It’s estimated that about 60,000 people lived in Bint Jbail.

Of what military value, as a target, is a school, an entire block of residences, a town square, a favorite swimming hole? Why is it strategically valuable to drop many hundreds of cluster bombs that fall in gardens and along roadsides between small farming villages? [...]

[B]oth legally and rationally, you cannot say “everyone living there is Hezbollah.” You can’t just walk away from the appalling damage and say, they were warned.

Or can you? Can a state get away with it, backed up by other world bodies?

If that’s the case, then ordinary people bear a grave responsibility to demand that leaders own up to war crimes. Yes, finding a proportionate response to war crimes when so much power is concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people, many of them reckless and dangerous leaders of the United States and Israel, is a daunting task. But let’s think of the people finding courage to return and rebuild, let’s think of those trying to demine and clear out the cluster bombs, let’s think of the parents trying to help children orient themselves to a vastly insecure world. With them, we might acknowledge, you have to start somewhere.

So, is it Little America or are we Big Israel, because this is just such a tight formation…  Itzhak Laor in the LRB:

The IDF is the most powerful institution in Israeli society, and one which we are discouraged from criticising. Few have studied the dominant role it plays in the Israeli economy. Even while they are still serving, our generals become friendly with the US companies that sell arms to Israel; they then retire, loaded with money, and become corporate executives. The IDF is the biggest customer for everything and anything in Israel. In addition, our high-tech industries are staffed by a mixture of military and ex-military who work closely with the Western military complex. The current war is the first to become a branding opportunity for one of our largest mobile phone companies, which is using it to run a huge promotional campaign. Israel’s second biggest bank, Bank Leumi, used inserts in the three largest newspapers to distribute bumper stickers saying: ‘Israel is powerful.’ The military and the universities are intimately linked too, with joint research projects and an array of army scholarships. 

And here he echoes Angry Arab, who says the same thing:

The mainstream left has never seriously tried to oppose the military. The notion that we had no alternative but to attack Lebanon and that we cannot stop until we have finished the job: these are army-sponsored truths, decided by the military and articulated by state intellectuals and commentators. So are most other descriptions of the war, such as the Tel Aviv academic Yossef Gorni’s statement in Haaretz, that ‘this is our second war of independence.’ The same sort of nonsense was written by the same kind of people when the 2000 intifada began. That was also a war about our right to exist, our ‘second 1948’. These descriptions would not have stood a chance if Zionist left intellectuals – solemn purveyors of the ‘morality of war’ – hadn’t endorsed them. 

  Iran Cartoon / Craniak / Poland 

**************************************************************************

It’s always all about them:

Bill, that glad-handing evangelical pol, gives himself a huge pat on the back by scrambling over the backs of the poor and gives an equally huge love kiss to “bi-partisanship”. 

Earlier tonight I caught him on Charlie Rose, by phone from Vegas (banish any visuals of that!) patting his back again — over AIDS – HIV.  Very cheery fellow.

There is always a whiff that it is really all about pushing a mandatory AIDS test (whoever makes the test that gets used would make out like a bandit)… they know with no vaccine and lagging purchase of the reduced cost anti-retrovirals they cannot sell a mandatory test.  And somehow or other, that test has nothing to do with helping people.  Just a given… I’d rather be cynical than naive. 

Really… even what good he did (balance the budget and a surplus) gets washed away.  Literally and figuratively.

May she rise – and fall hard.  They are strangling us… as much as Bush.  To all intents and purposes, in league with Bush.

*************************************************************************

UPDATE,  5:20 am

MTP, this past Sunday.

The blood just drips from their mouths:

MR. GREGORY: Are we, are we on a course toward military confrontation with Iran?

SEN. McCAIN: I’m not sure. I hope that that option would be obviously the very last option, and it would be a very difficult one, to say the least. But to rule it out completely under any circumstances when the Iranians have declared their dedication to the extinction of the state of Israel, certainly this is a very serious challenge. Some argue, as you know, that the reason why the Hezbollah attacks on Israel were encouraged by the Iranians was to divert attention from their nuclear program. I think there’s some credence to that.

***********************************************************************

UPDATE, 3:30 pm

Awww.  Bucking broncos. Braying donkeys.  Tied in Democratic sites, obviously wave-lengthing different aides… ;) 

Wish any  of it, like, you know, mattered.

… at least he did not write under “poiuynick”… ;)  Means he got comments, at least.

I hate to pick on Josh Marshall’s crew again on CT-Sen, but dammit, they just ask for it. Today, their elections page writes:

It’s now been 2 full weeks since Ned Lamont defeated Senator Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. Whether it’s true or not, the general perception of this period seems to be that Joe has rolled up his sleeves and gotten down to business while Ned’s head remains floating in the rarified climes of his primary win. Obviously this thing is far from over but Joe had about the best post-primary-loss 2 weeks he could’ve hoped for. Instead of pulling a Blondie and fading away and radiating, Lieberman went on the offensive and fought back effectively, if not admirably.

This is the same obtuse take we read here from some diarists who failed to understand that what Lieberman did was merely become the GOP candidate in the race. As I wrote yesterday, what Joe did was a political blunder and that he now is trying to undo the damage. I’ll explain a bit more on the flip  [snip]

… wish any of it mattered.  Across several of the steno blogs, Dkos, FDL, MyDD, others… Lieberman, round the clock.  More Lieberman than Lamont…

Does it occur to them that if 100 are reading and rah rah rah-ing this endless scheisse, 200 have wandered off? 

And who knows?  Joe may win, always was the de facto Republican, of a NE moderate to liberal ilk.  With some warring stances.  And picked up the cash that comes with war.  As did many a Democrat….

Then again, just the empty dog days of August.  We could drive out to the airport and watch planes come in… ?  No?

************************************************************************

Bushworld – and other things… 21 August 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2006 Mid Terms, 2008 Election, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC.
8 comments

 David Pugliese / Argentina

I think that is a good depiction of Bush … accurate.

“When things start getting out of control, people start shooting,” said police Capt. Richard Lockhart.

Somewhere in 2003 I read a reference that violent crime in the US was on the verge of an uptick – that it likely would not be significant enough to be an issue in the 2004 election cycle, but would hit for the next one.

Tonight I read this from Reuters:

A 2005 Federal Bureau of Investigation crime report, issued last month, showed violent crime increasing for the first time in four years in 2005, up 2.5 percent from the year before, with medium-size cities and the Midwest leading the way.

While New York, Los Angeles and Miami still are enjoying drops in crime, smaller cities with populations of more than 500,000 are raising the alarm, posting an 8.3 percent rise in violent crime in 2005. Nationwide, the murder rate rose 5 percent — the biggest rise in a single year since 1991.

After dramatic declines in murder rates in the 1990s, some cities dropped programs that emphasized prevention and controls on the spread of guns, often citing budget cuts.

And with this little bit… considering we have just seen a massive display of what giving up city programs – for “security” – bought us… a very bad deal was struck post 9/11.

Explanations vary — from softer gun laws to budget cuts, fewer police on the beat, more people in poverty and simple complacency. But many blame a national preoccupation with potential threats from abroad.

“Since September 11, much of the resources that were distributed to crime-fighting efforts in Boston and other major cities were redistributed to fight terrorism,” said Jack Levin, director of the Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict at Northeastern University.

“The feds had supported after-school programs. They had supported placing more police officers in crime hot spots in major cities. These federal efforts were reduced,” he said.

On other fronts, Lieberman calls himself a devoted Democrat… hmmm.  In 2004 Bush used “discerning Democrat” to indicate the sort he wanted to vote for him… that was the catch phrase he and Zell used as they campaigned together.  Lieberman is in the right part of the alphabet, at least.

I felt then that Joe voted for George.

As to who Lamont votes for… a dicier deal even. [thanks D Throat] 

Tom Swan, Mr. Lamont’s campaign manager, said that a “mutual acquaintance” had helped organize the dinner, where a handful of others were also present.

“They talked about what the U.S. could do to help Israel,” Mr. Swan said, declining to provide further details.

Both Joe and Ned are well within the pro-Israel bosom of the party.  Loaded with asps as that bosom is.

They can have each other.  And the party, parties.  Both parties insist, absolutely insist, on this deadly blood oath with Israel.

  Hayat Roshanai / Iran

Uri Avnery

[T]HIS WAR has no name. Even after 33 days of fighting and six days of cease-fire, no natural name has been found. The media use a chronological name: Lebanon War II.

This way, the war in Lebanon is separated from the war in the Gaza Strip, which has been conducted simultaneously, and which is going on unabated after the cease-fire in the North. Do these two wars have a common denominator? Are they, perhaps, one and the same war?

The answer is: certainly, yes. And the proper name is: the War for the Settlements.

The war against the Palestinian people is being waged in order to keep the “settlement blocs” and annex large parts of the West Bank. The war in the North was waged, in fact, to keep the settlements on the Golan Heights. [...]

The solution is on hand: we have to remove the settlers from there, whatever the cost in wines and mineral water, and give the Golan back to its rightful owners. Ehud Barak almost did so, but, as is his wont, lost his nerve at the last moment.

It has to be said aloud: every one of the 154 Israeli dead of Lebanon War II (until the cease-fire) died for the settlers on the Golan Heights. [snip]

We can be sure that Lamont as candidate to be #100 in the club has said little more than, “rest assured of my support for Israel”.  Nor would he diverge from the script.

We are up to our necks in a most unholy contract.

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UPDATE, 1:00 pm

- Israel -

And we have to fess up to that and realize that unless we get our hearts involved in this, as well as our minds, we’re not going to be able to stand up and do our duty as American patriots and face down this situation and say to our government,

“Enough. Enough. No more carnage. Bring our troops home from Iraq. And reign in this Israeli government that is using your helicopter gun ships, your fighter-bombers, your tanks, etc.”

Dahr Jamail interviews Ray McGovern

   [N]ow, imagine our surprise, those of us who knew about the crazies, when we found them in the key policy-making positions. Not only they, but the likes of convicted felon Elliot Abrams, who is running our policy toward the Middle East right out of the White House as Deputy National Security Advisor, right now as we speak.

    So it seems to me what has happened here is that they have, together with the infamous Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal … Cheney/Rumsfeld and this coterie of neo-conservatives plus Elliot Abrams, who fits that category, had decided, “Well, we’re going to input the rest of that famous study that several of them wrote back in 1996, called, ‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.'”  [...]

     So, it’s not a big effort to go and put PNAC in your URL line and download some of the documents from the Project for the New American Century and the “Clean Break” study, and you will see that all of this was very well presented to Netanyahu when he was elected Israeli premier. In the first instance, it was too radical even for Netanyahu, and that’s saying something.

    Well, this is the policy that is being implemented now. You can read it, it’s in the text: “We will go after Lebanon. We will find a pretext which will justify us going after Lebanon big time. Next, Iran. Next, Syria.”

And of course Iraq came in the preceding paragraphs. The plan is laid out there. Anyone who doesn’t take that seriously dismisses it at their own peril.

************************************************************************

UPDATE, 1:40 pm

- Lebanon -

Noticed this over at Angry Arab, from The Daily Star:

MARJAYOUN: Mohammad Ali Qobeissi, a member of the National Council for Scientific Research, said on Sunday that a crater caused by an Israeli munition in Khiam contained “a high degree of unidentified radioactive materials.” Qobeissi, along with Ibrahim Rashidi from the Faculty of Sciences at the Lebanese University, have inspected the crater – which is 3 meters deep and has a diameter of 10 meters – in the Jlahiyyeh quarter in Khiam, with a Geiger-Muller radioactivity counter and nuclear material detector. [snip]

And this snip from an entry at Angry Arab:

[T]he daily Haaretz quoted an unidentified military source as saying, “We were really lucky the operation did not end with 10 commandos killed.” Some commentators described the raid as another black mark for the Israeli military, already under severe criticism for its conduct of the Lebanon war.

Writing in Yediot Aharonot, Amir Rappaport said, “The operation was intended to be absolutely secret and the mere fact that it was revealed and even claimed casualties is proof of its failure. “The skirmish between the commando troops and the Hezbollah fighters, which was not planned, also displays Israel to the world as though it violated the U.N. resolution. Absurdly enough, the mission that ran into trouble was also intended to allow Israel to provide proof later on that Syria, Hezbollah and Iran were not honoring the agreement.””

But Al-Akhbar newspaper in Beirut has a different account. It talks about a deliberate deception plan by Hizbullah. Hizbullah apparently lured those “commandos” by orchestrating a convoy of cars to mislead Israel into believing that Shaykh Muhammad Yazbak was in the area.

posted by As’ad @ 11:21 AM link

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