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Thursday (and Friday too!) Open Thread 30 November 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2006 Mid Terms, 2008 Election, Abortion Rights, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, Sex / Reproductive Health, WAR!.
10 comments

Turner ; Tate
J.M.W. Turner. Sunrise with Sea Monsters. Oil on canvas. Exh. c.1845. The Tate Gallery, London.

UPDATE, Friday 8:00 am

Welllllll.  I did not expect much when the “good guys” were elected… but oddly as I read report after report indicating that the Dems intend – it appears – to do as little as possible about Medicare D (soon to be fully a Democrat Disaster, frankly) I get angry.

Right, why bother.  Oh maybe because it was the cornerstone of their run stumble run to the finish line.

And another nasty tid bit… I heard months ago that Howard was going to Dem groups and clubs saying that if the party got power again ”health care was no 1” and they were ”all” (and i heard he quotes 95% or 98%) behind it.

Since they never were and clearly never would be (fully behind health care), why bullshit the worn out electorate. 

Couple days ago at MyDD I tripped across some spew from one of the Boyz that “Baucus is just the worst Democrat”.   Where to begin…

From Common Dreams:

[N]ow that the Democrats are in control of Congress, they have a chance to reform the Medicare drug bill, making it simpler and cheaper. This is exactly what the party leadership committed itself to doing during the campaign. However, there have been numerous reports that it intends to back away from this commitment. For example, there has been discussion of the possibility of just removing the phrase in the law that prohibits Medicare from negotiating with the drug industry, but not setting up any mechanism that would allow for meaningful negotiation.

There are also reports that Max Baucus, who will chair the Finance Committee in the Senate, wants to hold hearings on how best to deal with the bill. This would be comparable to holding hearings after December 7, 1941, to determine who had attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor. [snip]

I also caught Jimmy lst night on Charlie Rose.  He is concerned they will not take on ethics… in particular earmarks

Well, again I have heard Reid defend earmarks (The News Hour – a few months ago), he invokes the Founding Fathers if you can swallow that bullscheisse.  And Murtha just gets angry and combative (C-Span in those one on one newsmaker forums where a pol sits with 2 or three reporters).

Not a pretty picture…

more to come… ;)

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UPDATE, 9:20 am in San Francisco – bright sunny cold…

Madman popped me this from Susie Bright… and all I can say is Amen Sister:

[M]ost Americans are still invested in American dream — regardless of whether it has an economic and ethical basis or not. Most haven’t notice there’s no THERE THERE anymore. We’re huffing on borrowed time.

I do have one concern about my “objectivity,” and that’s the POV of my age.

I remember interviewing a few older folks, in my reporting career, who suffered under the worst of McCarthyism. I took oral histories of Japanese-Americans, who were sent to internment camps in the 40s. I have family and friends who saw the most frightening elements of the Kennedy/MLK/Malcolm assassinations, who held their breath during the high circus of the Chicago 8 trial, or had their heads bashed in by Mayor Daley’s thugs in Chicago. Not to mention Kent State, and the Jackson State student shootings before that. [...]

Maybe, as Byrne once sang, “It’s same as it ever was,” and I’ve just reached the age where hope doesn’t spring eternal.

Or maybe, it’s because I WAS a child of the 60s, and saw such a remarkable, progressive renaissance. This nation has always showcased its violence, prejudice, and hypocrisy. What was unusual were the moments when it was SOMETHING ELSE.

I was in the New Left in the 70s, the pick-up-the-gun crowd, and everyone in my milieu was scouring with their history books to decide the precise SECOND when you could say that fascism was officially in motion. Nixon had a lot of people shook up, that’s for sure. My god, now he looks like a swinger.

History is always swinging, testing your memory. The worst of authoritarianism sounds tick-tock, tick-tock, gentlemen— and global capitalism sans leash doesn’t amount to much else.  [snip]

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moiv at Talk to Action has more on the issue D Throat raised in the thread on mifepristone (RU 486)

As the rest of the world knows but the Christian right won’t admit, having an abortion does not increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. That’s yesterday’s news.

Today’s news is just-published research showing that the early abortion drug  mifepristone, also known as Mifeprex and RU-486, offers great promise in preventing breast cancer.

And just as one might expect, the religious right’s spin machine is going into vapor lock. [snip]

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Helen Speaks! via Seattle PI

[D]on’t expect any dramatic recommendations from the Iraq Study Group led by Baker and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind. The nine men and one woman on the panel are cautious Washington insiders who got picked for the job because of their don’t-rock-the-boat reputations. After all, they might want to get asked again, sometime in the future, to serve on another White House commission.

This is unfortunate because the dire mess in Iraq demands bold action by the U.S. The real solution is a cakewalk out of Iraq tomorrow. The world would stand in shock and awe.

All it takes is courage.

On the other hand, Mona Charen this morning said “Bush is failing” on Washington Journal.  She appeared to mean it, and as much as they must now separate politically from Bush to move on to ’08… it was more simply and clearly stated than I had expected from her….

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UPDATE, 12:11 pm…

From Hotline Blogometer:

Reinforcing MyDD‘s Chris Bowers 11/27 observation that the netroots do not have a standard bearer in ’08 DailyKos‘ founder Markos Moulitsas tell readers

“I am 100 percent undecided at this point. I don’t even lean toward someone.” Kos advises: “I’m in no hurry, and none of us should be either. Make them work for our support.”

Oh, so sweet… was that the format with Chevron? …oh I know, he says that Chevron is supporting the prog netroots.  Bridge for sale, anyone? Slice of Blahger on a triscuit? Slice of Fellow on a triscuit? 

And I do recall a lot of tongues hanging out for Warner, who, let’s be clear, greased his way….  And The Chosen People of the Blahgs went to Harlem – and drooled all the way home.  There was a strong urge to escort them to a sand box.

There won’t be all that much ”working”. 

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hmmm… No. 28 November 2006

Posted by marisacat in Big Box Blogs, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War.
35 comments

This is so bad I don’t know where to begin. Above all else, this has nothing to do with “Kramer” / Richards inexcusable behavior and language (and his frankly ridiculous and largely inappropriate and useless post event appearances), it really does not. 

However it is anti-democratic… for one thing censorship is NOT, NEVER the answer.  And I am sorry to say, Jesse and Maxine are acting like fools.  Upchuck the stupid pills… Now.

Rev. Jesse Jackson will meet with TV and film executives to discuss banning the use of derogatory expressions in the entertainment industry. “We want to give our ancestors a Christmas present,” he said. Asked about free-speech issues, Jackson said the word is “unprotected.”

The Rev. Jesse Jackson and others said they will meet with TV networks, film companies and musicians to discuss the “n-word.” They also sought an effort by the public to stop using the term. “We want to give our ancestors a Christmas present,” Jackson said at a news conference. “Dignity over degradation.” Jackson also asked the public to not buy a DVD box set of the seventh season of the TV show “Seinfeld” that was released last week.

“This is not simply about whether or not the black community forgives or forgets, this is about understanding that this is pervasive, that this happens in all of our institutions, one way or the other,” U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, said. [snip]

What do they intend to do about Blacks who use language they deem worthy of censorship?  Shall we divide permitted language by skin color?

Oh, and this too:  shall we go back and kill Lenny?  Try him – and the words – again?

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If you need a hearty laugh… Dkos is open for new editorial staff.  I do believe he is calling them ”paid”. 

This will mean a couple of things — one, the site will become more professional, with paid bloggers helping maintain site content, and two, it will become a true “group” blog.

 I did not get to the thread. And a quick look at the diary column showed there is already politiking, campaigning for the jobs… Cannot read everything and, LOL, I must preserve what little sanity is left to me in the America on offer… of which Kos and his whacks are part of the tired passion play.

Oh yes, new staff must of course join the movement… As I said, laugh at it… ;)

Almost forgot the biggest horselaugh! .. don’t miss this so important job requirement… it has so been on view at DKos, Yes? (obvioiusly emphasis is mine)

While we all lose our tempers at times, being generally level-headed is important.

They have to be humble. (This is not a good gig for people with big egos. Believing the hype is dangerous.)

I won’t pay any heed to physical attributes (sex, race, etc). In the blog world, the writing — and how it fits in my vision for the site — is everything. They have to understand that to the outside world, they speak editorially for the site, and that’s a heavy burden.  

Oh hon bun, stop!  No one believes that pile of steaming whatever…

More to come, I am sure…

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UPDATE, 3:20 pm on the Pacific Ocean

Hell on earth continues, call it what you will…

  

Last month I linked to a Pepe Escobar Asia Times article in The Battle for Baghdad

Escobar is back and it is hard to pick an excerpt, here is the concluding segment:

The fall of the Green Zone
Everyone is guilty in the ongoing Iraq tragedy. The US-trained new Iraqi army is infiltrated by militias, by death squads and even by al-Qaeda in Iraq. The SCIRI, Da’wa and the Kurds are only worried about their own interests, not the interests of Iraq as a nation. And the US – always hiding under the dubious mantra of “Iraqi democracy” – totally evades its responsibility in provoking the appalling chaos in the first place.

Militia hell will remain impervious to any summit. Shi’ite clerical leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani may call for restraint. But Sistani does not control the Shi’ite proletarian masses anymore, Muqtada does. The Americans – attacked at least 180 times a day, every day – will keep “controlling” only one piece of real estate in the whole of Mesopotamia (although an extremely valuable one): the Green Zone.

The ISG may recommend more summits and more covert contacts with the Sunni Arab resistance. Ahmadinejad, Talabani and Assad may even meet again. But Baghdad sources close to the resistance in the Sunni belt have told Asia Times Online of another coup in the making – and that goes way beyond the removal of the Maliki government.

Secular former Ba’athists and Saddam’s fighters congregated in the Army of Mohammed – the paramilitary wing of the Awda Party – are already in control of the Syrian border (and not Salafi-jihadis of the al-Qaeda kind).

The next big step for the Sunni Arab resistance – according to sheikhs of the powerful Shammar Sunni tribe – would be to take out the Badr Organization, holed up in the Ministry of the Interior, and the two most murderous factions of the Mehdi Army. That would mean an Iraqi nationalist purge of the hated “Iranians”. And that implies an all-out attack on the Green Zone.

The return of the Ba’athists and the fall of the Green Zone: now that’s a prime-time double bill to knock ‘em dead.

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UPDATE, 5:20 pm

Patrick Cockburn has up a piece on Iraq.  A long, sad, unsurprising read.  Really, we, both America and the UK, we are led by madmen.  Insane killers.

[O]f course Bush and Blair argue that there is no occupation. In June 2004 sovereignty was supposedly handed back to Iraq. “Let Freedom Reign,” wrote Mr Bush on the piece of paper informing him of the carefully choreographed return of power to an Iraqi government at a ceremony in the heart of the Green Zone. But the reality of power remained firmly with the US and Britain. The Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki said this month that he could not move a company of soldiers without seeking permission of the Coalition (the US and Britain). Officials in Mosul confirmed to me that they could not carry out a military operation without the agreement of US forces.

There is a hidden history to the occupation of Iraq which helps explain why it has proved such a disaster. In 1991 after the first Gulf war a crucial reason why President George Bush senior did not push on to Baghdad was that he feared that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would be followed by elections that would be won in turn by Shia religious parties sympathetic to Iran. No worse outcome of the war could be imagined in Washington. After the capture of Baghdad in 2003 the US faced the same dilemma. Many of the contortions of US policy in Iraq since then have been a covert attempt to avoid or dilute the domination of Iraq’s Shia majority. [snip]

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UPDATE, 9:00 pm

Oddly, I have on Apocalypse Now, the luncheon scene as Sheen gets his order to “terminate Kurtz’s command” with “extreme sanction”, as I hear of the 5 dead children… Just a snippet that goes by on the cables.

 BAGHDAD, Nov. 28 — American troops killed five girls, including at least one baby, and what the military described as either a boy or a man, when the troops attacked a house Tuesday in volatile Anbar Province after they suspected insurgents of firing at them from the roof of the house.

Stop it, end it now, pull back to bases. We have all become Col Kurtz.  Again.

The military said the Americans returned fire with machine guns and small arms and rounds from the main gun of one or more tanks. After the firefight, the Americans discovered the six dead Iraqis in the house.

Finally, down the article:

American troops in Anbar are fighting a holding action, unable to make any real headway against the insurgency while facing a mostly hostile civilian population. The pressures have already led to prominent incidents of civilian deaths — one unit of Marines is being investigated for whether it wrongfully killed 24 unarmed civilians in the town of Haditha last year.

Just today, Bush said what he has said for years, that we are going to win.

Win What?

Stress Disorders, Drug Abuse, Little Help for Troops
    By Anne Usher
    The Austin American Statesman (via TruthOut)

[H]e says many of the hundreds of troops he has interviewed at post-deployment sites are addicted to medications given to them in the field, such as painkillers and sleeping pills. But they are not getting the therapy that normally goes with such medications, Robinson said.

    Adam Reuter, a 23-year-old former Army specialist, said that after he was tossed out of a Humvee in an accident in Iraq, a medic handed him a plastic bag filled with pills and gave him no instructions.

    The bag contained four kinds of painkillers, an anti-inflammatory drug and a muscle relaxant, said Reuter, an Atlanta native who served with the 3rd Squadron of the 3rd Armored Company from May 2003 until February 2004. He said he went back for more and developed a dependency that he is still trying to shake.

    Military personnel said they used banned substances as a way to mentally escape the violence around them. Drugs ranging from marijuana to prescription anti-depressants are easily accessible in Iraq, according to interviews with more than a dozen soldiers who served there.

    John Crawford, a 28-year-old former Florida National Guardsman with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, said soldiers in his unit drank alcohol, some took steroids, “pretty much everyone took Valium,” and “some did all three.”

    Crawford said he bought 200 to 300 Valium pills on the street in Baghdad for $2 as a way to get some sleep between patrols. After eight months, he built up a tolerance and was taking seven or eight at a time.

    The extent of alcohol and drug abuse among combat veterans is difficult to quantify. The Pentagon declined to release the results of announced drug tests specifically for Iraq. The tests are usually done just once a year.  [snip]

How much Afghani product, refined in Turkey, smuggled and trucked across the “peaceful” Northern iraq, the Kurdish area, is being consumed by the US military? 

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UPDATE, 8:30 am Wednesday

Oh what the hell.  Pour s’amuser.  The Neddie post rises from this at Tom Watson and the source of ire, irritation, advice, exclamation, etcetera! is this from FDL and Pachacutec

Right, you know this will be good, or bad, depending on your view from the parapet.

What it is is tabloid work… and more of the old extortion games the Blahgs run.  I am, however, glad that I clicked thru to Tom Watson’s post… so I could read this choice tid bitty:

I hope Peter Daou is reading this, because his boss may well have to face this kind of sexist attack beginning next year. It’s so bad, so poorly executed, that it really does appear to be a clumsy Republican efforts to pollute a top Democratic blog. These posts are permanent, folks. They give aid and comfort to the other side. They make our side look surly, sexist, hypocritical.

To put is another way: are you stupid? Or just insane?

And if you read his opening grafs (full of political love and nice words for the tabloids who run the extortion games), wellll… I have to wonder.  The Pups in the Puddle have been on display for a good year now.  And they like the ta$te of political games.  Ye$$iree, they surely do.

Oh, if PD does not know what he and she will be dealing with in the Blahgs… then he is not the ad man I consider him to be.  Nor would he be the creator of blog storms that he considers himself to be…

May I say, Good Luck to all.  Surely the best man – the politician most willing and able to spread cash to the Blahgs – will win.

And last, if you lick the boots of, and suck up to, Reid, you are not “Left”. Maybe some tired Wilsonian Liberal.  The Blahgs appear most tightly aligned to Reid.

Eww.

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UPDATE, 7:53 pm Wednesday…

JJB helpfully linked to the diary of Big Drahma Tent… with some of the comments also in the thread below.  But I landed on this:

BINGO, big time would be my comment… and BRAVA to Miss Devore who got it said:

 in one respect (1+ / 0-)

Recommended by:
fairfax

hrh is correct in that one gets to be an alpha female here by kissing/being indulgent to- alpha male ass.

Rome wasn’t burnt in a day.

by Miss Devore on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 06:07:55 PM PST

[ Parent ]

Well, as I recall NightProwlKitty was one of the pack. Miss Devore was not.

The End..

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Harvest 26 November 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2006 Mid Terms, Afghanistan War, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, Political Blogs, San Francisco, WAR!.
10 comments

 spiegel.de, afghanistan harvest

I saw a stray news piece that Afghanistan accounts for 92% of global opium harvest…

 A staggering 92 percent of the illicit opium worldwide is being produced in Afghanistan, a United Nations narcotics researcher said.

The figures point to an increased production of opium in Afghanistan, and do not herald a decreased production of illicit opium in other parts of the world, Thomas Pietschmann, research officer at the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in an interview with TML’s The International News Hour.

This constitutes the highest percentage of drug production in Afghanistan the U.N. has ever recorded.

The 2006 figures point to an increase of 59% in opium poppy cultivation in one year, and a 49% increase in drug production.

Contrary to wide belief, fighting poppy cultivation and opium production was not on the agenda of the allied forces that invaded Afghanistan in late 2001, Pietschmann said. He explained that this was considered a task for the police and not for the military. [no shit - Mcat]

then landed on this interesting article which relates to issues of Sibel Edmonds and connected matters:

[T]he Turks would not have been successful in staging what may be recorded as one of history’s finest intelligence coups had it not been for many sympathetic US military personnel, bureaucrats and politicians who, whatever their egotistical reasons, believed themselves to be acting in the USA’s best interests. Certainly, no one can accuse them of not effectively representing their powerful Turkish clients whether in defeating US Congressional action recognizing the Armenian Genocide or ensuring that US corporations close lucrative deals in Turkey.

The sympathizers names are now overly familiar: Douglas Feith, Brent Scowcroft, William Cohen, Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, Bob Livingston, Marc Grossman, Paul Wolfowitz, Eric Edelman, Richard Armitage, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Dennis Hastert, et al. Rather than re-hash their affiliations and track records here, visit rightweb.irc-online.org to find out more about their linkages to each other and Turkey (Israel too).

The Turks knew it would take lots of cash to pull off such a scheme and sustain it. The illicit drug trade provided an endless source of funds to pay for WMD components, US defense technology, politicians, money laundering schemes, counterterrorist operations, safe interrogation houses, and dozens of front companies. Given Turkey’s solid reputation as a key refining point/middleman for opium coming out of Afghanistan (it is ultimately transported into the Balkans and on to Europe and the USA), it is no surprise that the Turkish government always seems to have a steady supply of cash to spread around. Perhaps it is just coincidence, but under the watchful eyes of the Pentagon and US law enforcement and intelligence agencies, opium crop production in Afghanistan has increased over the last decade. The profits from refining and distribution of the product have flooded the black market — the playground for intelligence operatives and assorted criminal enterprises. [snip]

OK… not so surprising, really. Illicit [drug] money is the grease and gravy, we make sure it flows… and poor Webb blew his brains out in a small Sacramento apartment…  

But an October 2006 comment at the bottom of the article, here is a snip from it: 

 Speaking of Hastert, Lukery at Wot Is It Good 4 has just dug up and transcribed a year-old interview in which Daniel Ellsberg talks about Hastert having received suitcases full of cash from the heroin trade.

Please see “Ellsberg: Hastert got suitcases of Al Qaeda heroin cash, should be in jail” for more details.

led me to the link above, where is transcribed a 2005 KPFA/Pacifica interview with Daniel Ellsberg. 

Snip from Ellsberg:

[T]he major effect of that is that terrorist gangs are taking a cut of this, including Al Qaeda, which essentially taxes this traffic as it goes through the various lands where each ‘band’ pays a percentage as they hand it off. In other words, the US is in effect, endorsing – well, ‘endorsing’ is too strong a word – ‘permitting’, definitely permitting, or ‘not acting against,’ a heroin trade – which not only corrupts our cities and our city politics, AND our congress, as Sibel makes very specific – but is financing the terrorist organization that constitutes a genuine threat to us. And this seems to be a fact that is accepted by our top leaders, according to Sibel, for various geopolitical reasons, and for corrupt reasons as well. Sometimes things are simpler than they might appear – and they involve envelopes of cash.

Sibel says that suitcases of cash have been delivered to the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, at his home, near Chicago, from Turkish sources, knowing that a lot of that is drug money.

Now these are pretty inflammatory allegations, let’s say, and it’s note-worthy that they haven’t even been picked up by the mainstream press. The Vanity Fair article made that plain, though not in as much detail as the antiwar.com interviews – but not one major newspaper I don’t think has picked up her allegations against Hastert which are very specific, and one would think very important. [snip]

It is an interesting interview with more than just a charge against Hastert in it… Reminded me again of Condi shopping for thousand dollar + Ferragamos as people died in Katrina. And tried to slough off blame by invoking god…  There is a charge that State takes the cash, too… 

But easy to see it will be Sex Scandals Forever! for an America that is prohibition prone, but selective in its acknowledged sins… We certainly had a crescendo of sex scandals to grease the way to election 2006.

What was that about Nancy’s Armani suits… vs SUITCASES of cash…? 

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UPDATE, 10 pm in San Francisco…

Democrats say no liberal plans in next Congress

Aww.  It is so sweet of you guys to keep reassuring… Not to worry, we got it decades ago.  The “sell” was always going to be:

“Win in 08! – Don’t rock the boat, or the president… remember the lessons of Miami in 00:  Be Good, let the Rat Fuckers fuck you!!”. 

I missed the Chris Wallace FOX Sunday show… good thing I did: 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three Democratic congressmen who are about to take important leadership posts said on Sunday they plan to pass popular legislation blocked by Republicans but would refrain from pushing some of the most controversial elements on the liberal agenda.

The three, appearing on Fox News Sunday, are among the most liberal Democrats who will take over key committee chairmanships when Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives in January.

Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who will take over the U.S. House of Representatives committee that covers banking and other financial institutions, mentioned raising the minimum wage, providing cheaper drug coverage for the elderly [btw, it is my guess the ''donut hole'' stays - Mcat] and providing more affordable housing [stop shitting us, Katrina anyone?  The housing projects people are forced from - made easier by provisions in the big Welfare reform laws - and Kelo... - Mcat] and help with college tuition as the focus of Democratic legislation [little whispers of Pell grants as Lazarus].

…we already know about Barney… out hawking ”surrender” to the corps… and ready to “amend” Sarbanes-Oxley as a ”trade” for small things

“Our first efforts are going to be to do those things that I think the mainstream of America wants,” Frank said.

“Some things have become liberal because the right wingers who control the Republican party have abandoned them to us.”

Whatever Barney… tell yourself what it takes to sleep at night.

There is more:

Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, who is about to become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee which handles tax matters, said,

“We don’t want really a fight with the president. What we want to do is to prove we can govern for the next two years.” [...]

He pointed out that Democrats’ majority in House and especially in the Senate was thin and in the end President George W. Bush always had the power to veto what Congress passes.

Always performing the part of “the children”, happy when Mommy and Daddy smile at them.  Gets sickening.

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 UPDATE, 10:50 pm

Fresh hot anonymous quotes!  From Sanger of the NYT, who has some chit chat about the draft report from the Study Group.

“It’s not at all clear that we can reach consensus on the military questions,” one member of the commission said late last week.

The draft report, according to those who have seen it, seems to link American withdrawal to the performance of the Iraqi military, as President Bush has done. But details of the performance benchmarks, which were described as not specific, could not be obtained, and it is this section of the report that is most likely to be revised.

FWIW…

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UPDATE, 11 AM Monday …

So… I have on a panel (C-Span) on Afghanistan and the upcoming NATO summit in Riga.  Ralston (former SACEUR) is there, former DoD (some lune, a “former” from the Bush DoD is saying Bush goes to the summit with a “strong hand” GMAFB!) , Surfaty from CSIS… others.  And it is only from the 21st of November… SO dated.  Full of bromides that died sometime ago, all of them.

Pathetic. 

Catch this via TruthOut, from the UK Independent:

NATO Urged to Plan Afghanistan Exit Strategy as Violence Soars
    By Stephen Castle and Kim Sengupta
    The Independent UK

    Monday 27 November 2006

    NATO’s fragile unity over Afghanistan has begun to crack ahead of an important summit – with one public call to discuss an exit strategy from the Allied forces’ bloody confrontation with the Taliban.

    While heads of government are to make a show of unity over Afghanistan at tomorrow’s alliance summit in Riga, Belgium’s Defence Minister has questioned the future of Nato’s most important mission.

    And heads of the alliance’s 26 nations are unlikely to agree to send reinforcements to Afghanistan – dealing a blow to Tony Blair’s hopes that others will take up more of the increasingly heavy burden.

    In the bloodiest day of violence to grip the country in many weeks, a series of fierce clashes between Nato forces and Taliban fighters and a suicide bombing left 76 people dead and more than 45 injured yesterday, many of them children.

    Though Belgium only makes a small military contribution to the Nato mission, the Minister’s comments will alarm senior figures at the alliance’s headquarters where there is already concern that France is getting cold feet about its role in Afghanistan. Paris has remained publicly committed to the mission but Nato sources are concerned about the possibility of an eventual French withdrawal. They are pressing for an enhanced UN profile in Afghanistan to reassure the French who are suspicious about an expanded role for Nato because of Washington’s hold over the alliance.  [snip]

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I have had on MSNBC this am… really it is like viewing a long scarred and rescarred landscape… but oddly, as bad as the media gets, truths abound.  My quick take is that likely the force numbers will be bumped up in Iraq -

and the Dems will, somehow (toe shoes ON!, they are such balletomanes of politics), declare that this is not incompatible with earlier calls (however wavering) for “phased withdrawal” and “deployment” (however vague, from staging in Okinawa to “just next door”)…

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And I’d like to stand up for ”San Francisco values”… so  maligned as they are by the Neo Cons, Republicans, fucked fundies, “moderate” Democrats, Blue Dogs, DLCers and the rest of the trash heap – even Newsom has been mumbling that we reinforce the national take on us… well his poll numbers are very weak – and he was always too chummy with the Hoover Institute …

I can safely say that there is NO neighborhood inside San Francisco (and in fact the whole of Norther CA, even the more conservative districts) in which you might not find a peace symbol, wreath, evocation of peace… and so forth. 

And those who might disagree, would let it go, frankly in the name of peace.

For shame:

DENVER – A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.

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UPDATE, 1:30 pm Monday…

Pundit to pol, post and ripostewah wah wah

Following in President Clinton‘s footsteps, a prominent Democratic congressman yesterday accused a Fox News anchor of conducting a skewed interview designed to make Democrats look bad.“I’ve got to say, Chris, you have an odd view of balance,” Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts told the host of “Fox News Sunday,” Chris Wallace. “I am struck by the tenor of your questions. You advertise this as giving us a chance to talk about what we’re going to do, but everything is aimed at trying to put us in a kind of a bad light and look at the most controversial and not very representative things that we plan to do,” Mr. Frank said. [snip]

I so fucking do not care:  WHAT DID THEY EXPECT????…

SOMEBODY try talking to the American people.  Because no one – still - is bothering to do that…

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UPDATE, 4:15 pm

From Nur al Cubicle, a translation from Le Monde on il papa’s upcoming visit to Turkey…

A Peril in Turkey?

Analysis of the Pope’s trip to Turkey, by Le Monde‘s religion reporter, Henri Tincq.

The streets of Istanbul were deserted of Istanbul when Jean Paul II went to Turkey for the first time, invited by the Patriarch of Constantinople, the primate of the Orthodox Christianity. On that November 28th, 1979, Muslim public opinion was completely indifferent to the visit. However, two days earlier, Mehmet Ali Agça, the young Turkish terrorist and member of the Grey Wolves, had threatened to kill the Pope, eighteen months before his attempt. Twenty-seven years later to the day, Benedict XVI will fly to Ankara and Istanbul at the invitation of Patriarch Bartholomew. But different from 1979, the indifference of the Turkish street threatens to be openly hostile. [snip]

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UPDATE, 9:45 pm Monday

Oh… Too too too delish.  If you have ever hated the crowd at The New Republican.. which, by the way, can indeed be done without joining one of the many Kos/whackian pogroms against the mag and its [cough strangle choke] adherents, read Who is IOZ… yum.  And some very nice writing too…

A snip:

The New Republicans

To those who doubt that The New Republic has jumped the shark, let me put it to you this way: The Fonz is on the motorcycle. There is no need to read the content number of what Spencer Ackerman calls The Giagantic Self-Parody Issue of TNR. The table of contents is enough:

Honestly, I thought the table of contents listed at WiIOZ was satire.  IT”S NOT, it is what’s listed at TNR!

He (or she) then goes on to write further about the all too estimable bunch at TNR – and about Iraq.  A truly stellar edition of TNR (for all the wrong reasons, what lunes, still stuck in the sky) and a great post at Who is IOZ:

Anyway, it’s all quite miserable, and I encourage you to read as much as your refusal to pay TNR subscription fees allows. [...]

There is more realism in a community dinner-theater revival of Man of La Mancha than in the whole of TNR’s double-issue spiritual confab about Iraq. Leon Weiseltier, who was invented by Thomas Pynchon as a parody of Leopold Bloom and then sprang miraculously to life during a Ouija session in which Marty Peretz communed with the spirit of Theodor Hertzl, writes one thousand words detailing why he believes we should “quit,” before concluding that he is “unable to conclude that we should quit.

So so pleasing…

Admittedly, there’s a moldy quality to the phrase “ideological struggle” that smells to me of college-campus Karl Marx, so part of my objection to the phrase is stylistic. Aside from that, it seems to me that it’s a gross overestimation to assume that the contradictory grab-bag of emotions, ideas, and allegiences possessed by most people from Pittsburgh to Palau ever do or will coalesce into something as tangible (presumably) as an ideology. Ideologies are the playthings of a very small ruling elite in this world, and the rest of us suffer mostly from forced inclusion in this or that bloc.

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… must still have Democratic party DNA in my rage meter… 25 November 2006

Posted by marisacat in Blonde Rage, DC Politics, Iraq War.
27 comments

WTF?  Is he saying Nancy needs two men to .. RESTRAIN her?  A Blue Dog and a DLCer?  Or else? …some wild pinko reddish rampant liberalism will invade the Capitol?

   The Economist

If only… Here is the whole of the Edsall guest column in the NYT, willfully liberated from behind the so fucking stupid TimesSelect (Mickey Kaus says TS is dead and will be out within the year… I hope MK is right):

Guest Columnist

TimesSelect  The Struggle Within

Published: November 25, 2006

Washington

Can the Democratic Party become fully competitive? Is American liberalism dead, the 2006 election a last twitch of life before rigor mortis sets in? The answer to both questions is yes. (More on this next week.)

For the Democratic Party to revive, major tenets of American liberalism, economic and sociocultural, will have to be discarded. The party can join Studebaker and the Glass Bottle Blowers union, it can trudge along as No. 2, or it can undergo a painful transformation — without guarantee of success.

To stay in the fight, Democratic leaders will have to acknowledge political realities affirmed by the electorate in 1994 and 2006. Many Democratic constituencies — organized labor, minority advocacy organizations, reproductive- and sexual-rights proponents — are reliving battles of a decade or more ago, not the more subtle disputes of today. Public sector unions, for example, at a time of wide distrust of government, are consistently pressing to enlarge the state. For these players, adapting to a re-emergent center will be costly.

Democrats won on Nov. 7 by carrying a 59 percent majority of independent, moderate voters angered by the Iraq war and Republican corruption. These voters demonstrated 12 years ago that they can easily turn against Democrats.

An example of the reality that Democrats refused to face the last time they had a shot at consolidating power materialized during the fight to pass Clinton’s 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill, legislation that sought to burnish the party’s justice credentials by increasing the number of felonies subject to the death penalty. Instead, amendments added to win support from the left — most visibly, $40 million for midnight basketball leagues — caught fire on conservative talk radio, spread to the establishment media, and soon became a liability.

When Democrats bend to the will of liberal interest groups, even in pursuit of laudable goals, the damage to the party’s credibility can be devastating. President Clinton succumbed to such pressure, and Democrats in the House and Senate paid the price. Democrats now have a chance to regain public trust, but even a minor miscalculation can push the party off the tightrope. Its House majority is tenuous: 17 of the new Democrats represent districts that voted for Bush in 2004 by at least 54 percent, according to the political scientist Gary Jacobson.

The public will desert Democrats placing a disputed cultural or spending agenda above the broader public interest. This is especially true at a time of extreme uncertainty: lethal struggle in the Mideast, nuclear proliferation, mounting skepticism toward free trade, and a rising non-marital birthrate — now at 37 percent — that concerns moderate voters.

The potential for an incendiary controversy to engulf the Democratic left has sharply escalated with Web access to each committee and floor vote under new Congressional transparency rules, and the development of aggressively partisan outlets in the blogosphere. An army of conservative media is determined to recreate the political climate so advantageous to the G.O.P. in 1994. At the same time, very liberal senior House Democrats now have vastly enhanced power to add inflammatory provisions to bills moving through their committees (think Rangel and the draft).

Nancy Pelosi and her closest advisers in the House are more likely to support such radioactive amendments than to serve as guard dogs protecting a slender Democratic majority. The first test of Pelosi’s ability to distinguish between broad-based and special interests will be when she decides whether to appoint Alcee Hastings, the once-impeached federal judge, to head the House Intelligence Committee.

Only two members of the House leadership are intuitively attuned to such problems: Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic caucus, and Steny Hoyer, the majority leader. But Emanuel has limited influence, and relations between Pelosi and Hoyer are distant at best.

Still, the vigilance of Hoyer and Emanuel will be crucial to a party whose renewal could easily be stillborn. Congressional leaders are not all-powerful, but they can set the stage for a successful presidential candidate, or lay waste to the center-left, dooming the nominee.

The Democratic Party can secure its 2006 gains, but to do so will require abandoning a decades-long willingness to indulge pressure groups on the left that no longer command broad popular allegiance.

Thomas B. Edsall holds the Pulitzer-Moore Chair at Columbia University. He is a guest columnist this month

What slop.  Top to bottom…  IF only the Democrats believed in something… things would get exciting in DC…

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UPDATE, Saturday 3:20 pm…

    Feldman Gallery

I scammed this from Cursor.org… so it may not be news to people, but i think it is great, IF the Dems had a full skeleton under those skin sacks:

Dave Lindorff: Congress Should Immediately Terminate the 2001 AUMF

A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Dave Lindorff, co-author of “The Case for Impeachment

Forget Nancy Pelosi’s “100 Hours” agenda for the new Democratic Congress.

The first thing Democrats need to do when they walk into the Senate and House chambers this January is to vote out a joint resolution repealing the September 18, 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was the authorization for the U.S. attack Al Qaeda forces and the Taliban government of Afghanistan.

That AUMF has been used, wholly inappropriately and wantonly, by President Bush as the justification for his assault on the US Constitution, for his willful violation of laws domestic and international, and for his unconstitutional usurpation of legislative and judicial power.

The president has claimed that the AUMF, far from simply being an authorization to go to war against Afghanistan and against the Al Qaeda organization there, was an open-ended authorization for him to initiate an unending “War on Terror,” which he has subsequently claimed has no boundaries, and will be fought around the globe and within the U.S. [snip]

And here is an interesting snippet, which if I knew I had forgotten (so much has happened in 5 years, hard to count the crimes and sell outs)… Cute how the Dems always know the score… ;) but let it go on, in agreement:

[F]urthermore, as Barbara Olshanski and I explain in our book “The Case for Impeachment,” the AUMF never gave Bush any authority at all to conduct war inside the U.S.

(In fact, Tom Daschle, who as a Democratic Senator from South Dakota was the Senate Majority Leader at the time the AUMF was passed, specifically denied a last-minute request from the White House to have the words “in the United States” inserted into the wording of the resolution authorization.)  [snip]

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UPDATE, 11:30 PM Saturday…

From Joe Galloway, taking a look at the options:

Go long. Under this scenario, the United States would add 20,000, perhaps as many as 50,000 more ground troops to the 143,000 now in Iraq, giving our commanders a more credible force of more than 160,000 to pacify Baghdad without stripping the other troubled parts of that country of their security. This short-term option was used last year to jump-start the Maliki government in Iraq. This beefed-up force would decline gradually while the U.S. maintained more than 100,000 troops in Iraq for an additional five to seven years. [...]

If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on Option Two, go long.

The president has so boxed himself in with his public statements about ”cutting and running” that Option Three simply isn’t available to him, however appealing it might be as we approach our fifth year of war in Iraq.

Nor is Option One any more palatable, with its attendant surge in the cost of the war, already more than $2 billion a week and nearing a total of $400 billion in just those costs we can see. Then there’s the near impossibility of attracting scores of thousands more young Americans to enlist in the Army or Marines when recruiters are already hard-pressed to find enough warm bodies to maintain the current authorized levels of around 500,000 for the Army.

Then, at the close:

If the week wasn’t bizarre enough already, who should arise like an unstaked vampire from his tomb but Henry the K himself. It was recently revealed that Kissinger the elder had been secretly advising Bush the younger on his Iraq strategy, telling him that withdrawal would pitch the Middle East into unimagined turmoil. This week, he was on the talk shows advising that there can be no U.S. military victory in Iraq, and that any idea of installing Jeffersonian democracy there is hopeless.

 Perhaps Kissinger can use his diplomatic skills to arrange for a decent interval for an American withdrawal, a declaration of victory, and that fleet of aircraft carriers and helicopters to pull the last Americans off the roof of the U.S. Embassy in the Green Zone in Baghdad.

 To cap the week, Vice President Dick Cheney arose like Lazarus to declare that the recent congressional elections and his party’s loss of Congress to the Democrats has changed nothing: The Decider is still deciding, Cheney is still scheming, and American troops are still dying in battle every day in Iraq.

    It gets curiouser and curiouser.

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Soft landings… 23 November 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2006 Mid Terms, 2008 Election, Big Box Blogs, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, The Battle for New Orleans, WAR!.
4 comments

Arapahoe and her posse, wild No California turkeys...

Well… at least for this crowd of No California “wild” turkeys found wandering, on the loose… Arapahoe, Iriquois, Cree, Lakota, and Cheyenne.

I laughed hard when I saw this in the News Blog at The Guardian:

Rumours of war in the Iraq Study Group

The supposedly bipartisan Iraq Study Group, led by that redoubtable political fixer James Baker, has been hit by partisanship, according to an intriguing report in Newsday.

The article says:

“A source who spoke recently to a leader of the Iraq Study Group said he complained bitterly about internal dissension and partisanship among members of the supposedly bipartisan group, and was worried about reaching consensus on the key issues.”

According to Newsday, one of the Iraq experts who advised the Baker group said his colleagues were split between neoconservatives and more conventional “cold warriors”, such as Mr Baker himself, who want a more pragmatic approach to the Middle East.

I thought divisiveness and some stray inability to ‘get it together’ [why should puppets bother?] was our bitch and moan about the Iraqis?  Using “pragmatic” just tells me they needed another couple of Lee Hamiltons in the study hall.  What a joke…

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

Fancy footwork… please god:   let a bright and burning sun shine on him and the rest of his face fall off – when he stops being a mean little war monger, I will rescind my prayer…

["I] believe victory is still attainable,” the Arizona Republican says. “But without additional combat forces we will not win this war.”

    In carefully scripted language, McCain then adds: “If the country does not have the will to do what it takes to win in Iraq – send in more forces – then US troops should not be made to serve more tours of duty.”

    “As troubling as it is, I can ask a young Marine to go back to Iraq,” he said last week. “What I cannot do is ask him to return to Iraq, to risk life and limb, so that we might delay our defeat for a few months or a year. That is more to ask than patriotism requires.”

    “It would be immoral, and I could not do it,” the former Vietnam prisoner of war added.

    Nuanced and multifaceted, McCain’s position puts him in conflict with President Bush, most fellow Republicans and, so far, with many of his would-be White House rivals should he run for president.

    The stance has allowed McCain, a staunch supporter of the war, to distance himself dramatically from how Bush has handled the conflict. [snip]

Not sure what the reaction will be to the above, but he has outdanced Hillary…

However, lamest among a lame group (all 2008 hopefuls, both sides) is Frist:

 “We do have to have victory in Iraq. We have to define what victory is,” the Tennessee Republican said.

Did we ever, officially, figure out “is” ?? 

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I think this speaks for itself... re-reading the quotes from Will Marshall of the PPI, inside the DLC…

However, I do have an expectation from the Blahhger Boyz:  if they want to bleat that the DLC is so ineffective, give me a hard date by which it no longer exists as a gatekeeper in the Democratic party… <crickets in the thudding silence>.

Exactly.

[B]ut there was always a bigger obstacle: the deep reluctance of America to throw itself into a new “peace process”, never mind its coolness to the notion of talking to Syria and Iran.

The Democrat victory in Congress this month has done little to change that. Leading advisers caution that European politicians misunderstand the party if they think that its members are more inclined than Republicans to put pressure on Israel or to talk to Iran. [...]

Will Marshall, the president of the Progressive Policy Institute, a centrist party think-tank, said: “The Democrats don’t play the role in the Arab-Israeli relations that the centre Left does in Europe.”

He cautioned that European politicians should not expect Democrat members of Congress to want the US to put more pressure on Israel. “If anything, the party is more naturally pro-Israel” than Republicans, he said.

During the Israeli shelling of southern Lebanon “Democrats didn’t breathe a word”, he pointed out.

“I thought it was something a true friend should have said to Israel — ‘Don’t overplay your hand’ — but there was nothing.” That sympathy for Israel turns easily, several Democratic officials in Congress suggested, into a dislike of the notion of talking to Iran. That is not very different from the Administration’s open dislike of the notion, urged on it by Britain and James Baker, the senior adviser to and co-chairman of an imminent cross-party group on the US predicament in Iraq. [...]

This broad common ground between Democrats and Republicans on Middle East policy would probably persist if a Democrat won the White House in 2008, one senior strategist suggested. That is not to say that it doesn’t matter who is president; President Clinton immersed himself in the peace process, while the Bush Administration, to distance itself from him, stayed shy.

More truth in that than some of the low caterwauling and whispery yodeling from the Democrats…

Those who hope that Bush is a “one-off” delude themselves about how different a Democrat might be.

“Europe would be right to conclude that this election began a real course correction,” a senior Democrat aide said. “But it would be wrong to think that even if it were reaffirmed in 2008 with a Democratic president or a moderate Republican, that the US will be asking for permission slips from other countries.”

Some of the American imperviousness to clamour from other governments is the result of the shock of September 11, 2001, he said. But some sprang from its stature as the sole superpower after the fall of the Soviet Union. Clinton’s charm merely delayed the onset of the world’s resentment, he argued.

“We’ll sound friendlier to the world than the Republicans,” one official said. “But we’ll still want Europe to do more to fight terrorism.”

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And while I am slamming the kinder, gentler house gods (bridges for sale, no money down)… [thanks to Madman]

Powerful U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Tomczak) just hates it when I use the D-Tomczak reference in my column. [...]

Emanuel is the political operative being credited these days with the Democratic takeover of Congress. He’s ruthless and hardworking and, in victory, deserving of post-election applause.

But if City Hall had not sent Don Tomczak, the corrupt city water department boss, to Emanuel’s congressional campaign in 2002–and Tomczak’s political army of hundreds of city workers who stumped the precincts with the promise of overtime–then Emanuel wouldn’t have narrowly defeated a local grass-roots Democrat.

And Emanuel wouldn’t have been in a position to bask in all the national media love.

The national media narratives involving Emanuel and another Chicago Democrat, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Rezko), have already been approved and written.

They’re scripts to congeal the national mind, not to be deviated from in polite society. So you’re not supposed to mention the soon-to-be imprisoned Tomczak around Emanuel.

And never, ever mention the indicted Chicago political Real Estate Fairy, Tony Rezko, to Obama, or ask if Rezko sprinkled magic fairy dust just as Obama purchased his fine home for hundreds of thousands of dollars less than the asking price [snip]

Slice of Tammany on a triscuit – anyone?  Cold Duck, anyone?  Sparkling Burgundy? 

The whole column is interesting… unless one is particularly fond of the odor of packaged Dem meat.  ;)  I never was, not even when…

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I truly love the Angry Arab… because he kicks everyone:

“The number of civilians killed in Iraq reached a record monthly high of 3,709 in October, mostly a result of sectarian violence, according to a U.N. report released Wednesday.”

(Will the UN Security Council investigate their murder? Will the Pope, who was praying–whatever that means–for Pierre Gemayyel today–be praying for them too?)

posted by As’ad @ 10:23 PM link

…and:

Don’t get me wrong. I am most distressed over the murder. I really would like that the killers be brought to justice. The massacre of Bayt Hanun should not go unpunished. Wait. What did you think I was talking about?

posted by As’ad @ 8:29 AM link

Re: The Truth (4.00 / 10)

I have little right to claim part of my blood. I have every right to claim part of my blood, my mother’s blood. I have little right to divide myself. I am as much my father’s son as my mother’s, and his ancestry isn’t much different from the ancestry of those who came to the Dakotas as missionaries and opportunistic traders or school teachers or ranchers … taking Lakota wives. I am, like most Americans, a child of exploitation and love, lies and connection, despair and hope. I clung to stories of of my “red” blood because the history of my “white” blood felt shameful to me. I am exploitation and tradition. Love and hate. Racism and welcoming.  I am American.

On Thanksgiving, I am both thankful and torn. Hopeful and despairing. Optimistic and hopeless. Hated and hating.

I am American, a curse and a blessing, a living contradiction, a history written upon forgetting, grand words and shameful actions.

I am blessed for two parents who pushed me to read, who pushed me to question, who pushed me to know. That is an American trait, no matter how often most Americans try to deny it.

“Whenever a Voice of Moderation addresses liberals, its sole purpose is to stomp out any real sign of life.” – James Wolcott

by Madman in the Marketplace on Wed Nov 22nd, 2006 at 11:17:00 PM EST

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Going next door for some crab… fresh off the wharf, and champagne… but will add a few more things later… ;)

Happy Thanksgiving… and may more on earth be like Arapahoe and her posse, not sacrificed

We have killed enough.  All sides, everywhere.

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UPDATE, Friday morning, 6:10 am

To put it succinctly, try not to upchuck any of that pumpkin pie over these numbers – from Al-Ahram:

America’s material losses in Iraq are far greater than many had magined. According to one study, the war in Iraq could cost the US more than $2 trillion. The figure seemed so far- fetched at the time that few believed it. However, a more recent study, conducted by Columbia University professor and Nobel Prize laureate in economics Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard University professor Linda Bilmes, confirmed the estimate. Already, they said, the US has lost $2.267 trillion.

Their study, a summary of which appeared last week and the full version of which will be published in December, comprised several subsets of estimates, including the total outlay on combat operations; compensations paid to the families of some 3,000 soldiers who died in Iraq and compensations, insurance payments and other reimbursements to the more than 20,000 wounded (according to official estimates); and the economic losses accruing from the repercussions from the war, such as skyrocketing oil prices.

In the run up to war, winter of 02/03, I read a haunting column from Polly Toynbee in The Guardian, that the projected cost to Britain for engagement in the Iraq War was enough to make all of the UK “green”.  If that was a generous projection then, I bet it is on target now.

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Peace on Earth… 21 November 2006

Posted by marisacat in Beirut, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, Mexico, Viva La Revolucion!, WAR!.
16 comments

From Asia Times by Frida Berrigan:

War, instability and high oil prices have created a perfect storm of profit for the world’s weapons manufacturers. This year, military analysts predict the biggest arms bonanza since 1993, which is saying something because in the aftermath of the first Gulf War the global industry reaped the benefits of a US$42 billion arms race.

Good will to men:

US arms sales offers for 2006 appear to be roughly twice the levels of any other year during the Bush administration. Noteworthy among these are the $5 billion deal for F-16s to Pakistan and a $5.8 billion agreement to completely re-equip Saudi Arabia’s internal security force. 

The world revolved from night to day

In the case of Pakistan and other allies in the “war on terror”, sales are booming as sanctions and embargoes imposed because of human-rights concerns or nuclear proliferation are being lifted.

For Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich nations, the price at the pump freed up cash for weapons. Finally, war in Iraq, Afghanistan and in corners of the globe where the “war on terror” is being waged more quietly, allows foreign militaries to see some of the most advanced weapons systems in action. As one US government source told The Times of London in August:

“Conflicts act like a customer demonstration show and we tend to see an upsurge in sales because other countries [are] … impressed by what is available.”

The Wrong shall fail, the Right prevail:

This storm equals rainbows and pots of gold for the defense industry. For example, Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons manufacturer, stands to reap more than $11 billion in possible new offers. US weapons companies may have patriotic slogans (Lockheed Martin’s is “We Never Forget Who We’re Working For”), but foreign sales mean the biggest bucks because they involve systems where research and development costs were covered by the Pentagon. Also, they are often accompanied by lucrative deals for accessories, spare parts and eventual upgrades.

But, what means money in the bank for Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and other defense corporations, often means misery where the weapons are shipped. Despite having some of the world’s strongest laws regulating the arms trade, almost half of US weapons end up in countries plagued with ongoing conflict and governed by undemocratic regimes with poor human-rights records. [snip]

with stray phrases from Christmas Bells by Longfellow.

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Times Online sums up the existential angst for Bush:

President Bush said yesterday that he might send more troops to Iraq. Or he may bring some home.

“I haven’t made any decisions about troop increases or decreases, and won’t until I hear from a variety of sources,” he said on a visit to Indonesia.

Those sources include a pending internal review of the war from the Pentagon and other parts of the Administration, as well as next month’s report of the Iraq Study Group. Advice is also pouring in from victorious congressional Democrats and would-be presidential contenders. Clarity is in shorter supply, however, as are the “fresh ideas” that Mr Bush called for a fortnight ago after chastening midterm election results.

… here is the graf:

For instance, the Pentagon’s review on Iraq, which is being conducted by General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was reported to have outlined three options: send in more troops, shrink the force but stay, or pull out.

These have been crystallised as Go Big, Go Long and Go Home.

But one solution gaining favour among military commanders is summed up as “Go Big but Short While Transitioning to Go Long”, according to The Washington Post.

We can wear anything down to its essence.  Who says we don’t know what we are doing??

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UPDATE, 10:20 am

Angry Arab on Shadid in the Wapo on the assassination of Pierre Gemayel in Labanon

This is not Anthony Shadid’s best work, for sure. He does not mention what the ideology of the Phalanges Party was about, he does not mention how Bashir Gemayyel was installed as president by Israeli occupation troops, and he was quite inaccurate when he stated that Pierre Gemayyel “swept into power.” He certainly did not. He was losing his seat until the last-minute intervention minute by `Awn to give one seat in the district to a non-`Awn candidate. And the shooting outside of the church in `Ayn Ar-Rummanah in 1975 was NOT an assassination attempt on Pierre Gemayyel.

posted by As’ad @ 7:40 AM link

And… as I see Mia Farrow on C-Span for Darfur (somehow I am reminded of Madonna adoption tours)… I really am overdue for some strong coffee… ;)

BTW, as I am at Angry Arab… here is another tidbit from his blog:

“Foreign Minister Tzipi Livini, who is also currently in Los Angeles, met with actor John Voigt, Angelina Jolie’s father. Voigt told Livni that Israel is very dear to him and that he is willing to assist in any way he can. During the tour of the Fox studios, the Foreign Minister also met with senior representatives from the American film industry, including Steven Spielberg.” (thanks Maryam)

posted by As’ad @ 8:38 AM link

Now for that coffee… to settle my stomach… ;)

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UPDATE, 11:20 am

Oooo This is delicious… Stop Me Before I Vote Again on ”ABJ”:  Anybody but Jane …  also: I had noticed that SMBIVA has taken to calling Pelosi, La Nan.  I think that works.. ;)

just a line as an amuse bouche:

[I]t’s litmus time, folks — lets see what the Nancompoop is holding. This is not Steny Hoyer here. There’s no balance of power prudence involved. Jane is remote-controlled head to toe by Israel, period.

So we must see — can or will the Dem caucus kick her downstairs? [snip]

This could be a win win… FOX is desperate to run days worth of vaguely – or very – racist <BUT! Fair and Balanced> reporting against Alcee Hastings… but again! a tough spot for the Dems.  What does one say about an impeached federal judge? 

”ooops”? 

Not quite enough, I suspect…  FOX helpfully added this am that he is one of only 7.  ;)  I suppose that could be true… 

While I was making coffee I had FOX on and heard of another win win… some bookstores had been shipped the OJ book, famously taken down by FOX’s own on-air talent… (and the sun rises every other day) AND it can be found on EBAY.  Just repeating their <cough strangle choke> reporting.

You have to love how the mills grind away the days in the USA!  Otherwise you are a TRAITOR.  But we all knew that…

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Also, here is the link to the WaPo article , mentioned up thread, in the long short, short long, Go Long, Go Short… Let’s cut to the chase:  get to the Long War any way you can article… 

From Thomas Ricks:

[T]hat combination plan, which one defense official called “Go Big but Short While Transitioning to Go Long,” could backfire if Iraqis suspect it is really a way for the United States to moonwalk out of Iraq — that is, to imitate singer Michael Jackson’s trademark move of appearing to move forward while actually sliding backward. “If we commit to that concept, we have to accept upfront that it might result in the opposite of what we want,” the official said.

The Pentagon official said this short-term boost could be achieved through three steps: extending the tours of duty of some units already in Iraq, sending other units there earlier than planned and activating some Army Reserve units.

The group concluded that such a step might be necessary because it is concerned that the continuing violence is undercutting the Iraqi government’s credibility.

“Folks increasingly realize that if violence can’t be contained, the spiral downward will continue, the national government will lose the effectiveness it has . . . . and then all bets will be off,” the official said. [snip]

Aww.  All bets would be offcatch that?  I wonder if they had thought they could pull off close to 4 years of unjust war without a single real rebuke… That was the real bet.  I think the American people have performed extraordinarily well.  And I think the arms dealers agree. 

Dom Perignon anyone? Slice of voter on a triscuit?

I am very mindful of Cheney’s words just before election:  they don’t face election anymore.  He did not even have to add they have the codes.

It will take full bore revolt inside the military.  From fragging to pushing the damned helicopters off the big floating bases we call warships.  There is a model… almost every war… but especially Vietnam.

Revolt!  REBEL!

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UPDATE, 12:15 pm

The art of politics is avoiding internecine pique… in case anyone was so deluded as to think there might be a principal – or two or three – running around uncaged. 

From Danny Schechter’s News Dissector today, a rumination related to FOX/OJ/Rupert/the kitchen sink:

AN EARLIER EPISODE

Some years back after Globalvision produced a film offering the factual basis for Oliver Stone’s JFK, we were approached by Fox to investigate the history of the Kennedy Family and the allegedly crooked role played by Joe Kennedy, once the US Ambassador to the UK.

Once the check arrived, we hired producers and swung into production only to be called urgently to the phone by Fox’s then head of News Gordon Van Sauter who ordered us to “Stand Down: put the project on hold.”

No one would tell us why until a NY newspaper suggested that Murdoch went apoplectic when he learned that Teddy Kennedy was heading the Senate Committee that could rule on Fox’s bid to own both a TV station and newspaper in New York. Rather than antagonize Kennedy, it was reported, the whole show was cancelled before it was even made.

What the big boss wants, the big boss gets. Murdoch got the ruling he wanted. Fox never approached us again for work after that. At least, we ended up with a kill fee.

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UPDATE, 12:50 pm…. in San Francisco.

Diary from XicanoPwr on Obrador [thanks to Madman]:

Although it was determined by Mexico’s top election court that Mexico’s ruling party conservative Felipe Calderón won the July 2 election, tens of thousands of loyal supporters still crammed into Mexico City’s Zocalo square to see Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) take the oath of office as Mexico’s “Legitimate President.” November 20, also marks the anniversary of the start of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. AMLO’s inauguration can be seen as another blow to President Vicente Fox and the National Action Party (PAN), Mexico’s ruling party, as Fox was forced to cancel Mexico’s traditional Nov. 20 parade commemorating the beginning of the country’s 1910-1917 Revolution.  [snip]

x-posted from his own blog Para Justicia Y Libertad

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UPDATE, 2:50 pm on the Pacific Ocean…

Mark Danner has a big 2 parter coming out in the December 21 NY Review of Books…   Tom Dispatch has it, courtesy of NYRoB:

How a War of Unbound Fantasies Happened, Part 1

Iraq, The War of the Imagination, Part 2.

From Part 1:

Today, if we went into Iraq, like the president would like us to do, you know where you begin. You never know where you are going to end.” — George F. Kennan, September 26, 2002

“I ask you, sir, what is the American army doing inside Iraq?… Saddam’s story has been finished for close to three years.” — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran to Mike Wallace on Sixty Minutes, August 13, 2006

In the ruined city of Fallujah, its pale tan buildings pulverized by Marine artillery in the two great assaults of this long war (the aborted attack of March 2004 and then the bloody, triumphant al-Fajr (The Dawn) campaign of the following November), behind the lines of giant sandbags and concrete T-walls and barbed wire that surrounded the tiny beleaguered American outpost there, I sat in my body armor and Kevlar helmet and thought of George F. Kennan. [...]

Fast forward, bathed as we are in daily washes of blood:

As the war drags on and alternatives fall away and American and Iraqi deaths mount, we seem to know less and less, certainly about “where we are going to end.” Thus we arrive at our present therapeutic moment — the moment of “solutions,” brought on by the recognition, three and a half years on, that we have no idea how to “end” Phase Two. This is now a matter for James A. Baker’s Iraq Study Group and the military’s “strategic review team” and the new Democratic committee chairmen who will offer, to a chastened president who admits he thought “we would do all right” in the elections, the “new ideas” he now professes to welcome.

However quickly the discussion now moves to the geopolitical hydraulics, to weighing partition against partial withdrawal against regional conferences and contact groups and all the rest, the truth is that none of these proposals, alone or in combination, will end the war anytime soon.

It bears noticing that Kennan himself, having predicted that we will never know where we are going to end in Iraq, lived to see disproved, before his death at the age of 101 last March, what even he, no innocent, had taken as a given: that “you know where you begin.”

For as the war’s presumed ending — constructed from carefully crafted images of triumph, of dictators’ statues cast down and presidents striding forcefully across aircraft carrier decks — has flickered and vanished, receding into the just-out-of-grasp future (“a decision for the next president,” the pre-election President Bush had said), the war’s beginning has likewise melted away, the original rationale obscured in a darkening welter of shifting intelligence, ideological controversy, and conflicting claims, all of it hemmed in now on all sides by the mounting dead. [snip]

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“Human Shields” in Gaza, “Cut and Run” in Iraq – from a Brig General… 20 November 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Afghanistan War, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, WAR!.
22 comments

 GAZA - border -Aug 2005

Interesting how suddenly focus can change…

From The Globe and Mail:

JERUSALEM — A weekend standoff in which hundreds of Palestinians, including women and children, formed protective human shields around the homes of two militants has forced Israel to reconsider missile strikes on buildings in Gaza, and prompted vows from Palestinians to repeat the tactic in the future.

“We consider it a new kind of resistance, highly successful, one that will serve us well against the Israeli enemy,” said Jamila Shanti, a Hamas lawmaker from Beit Hanoun and founder of the party’s women’s wing.

The fiery 50-year-old former philosophy professor is widely credited for coming up with the new strategy of using women as human shields to fend off Israeli attacks. She led the demonstration of women in Beit Hanoun on Nov. 3, which allowed dozens of Hamas militants to escape an Israeli siege on a mosque.

Saturday night, Dr. Shanti got a call from Mohammed Baroud, the local leader of the Popular Resistance Committee, who had just received a warning from the Israeli army that he and his family should leave their house, which was to be destroyed in an imminent air strike [snip]

UPDATE:  7:10 am

At Danny Schechter’s site I found a very good report on the human shields in GAZA in the C S Monitor:

“[I]t’s a victory. They forced the army to change direction,” says Sliman A-Shafi, a Gaza correspondent for Israel Channel 2 who said the Palestinians protested under the slogan “Either we live together or we die together.” [snip]

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From General Odom who opposed the invasion of Iraq to start with… and, I suppose with an old man’s courage, has said that his room mate and close friend from West Point died uselessly in Vietnam … I did sit up and listen when I heard him say that a few years ago:

The United States upset the regional balance in the Mideast when it invaded Iraq. Restoring it requires bold initiatives, but “cutting and running” must precede them all. Only a withdrawal of all U.S. troops – within six months and with no preconditions – can break the paralysis that enfeebles our diplomacy. And the greatest obstacles to cutting and running are the psychological inhibitions of our leaders and the public.

Our leaders do not act because their reputations are at stake. The public does not force them to act because it is blinded by the president’s conjured set of illusions: that we are reducing terrorism by fighting in Iraq, creating democracy there, preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, making Israel more secure, not allowing our fallen soldiers to have died in vain, and others.

But reality no longer can be avoided. It is beyond U.S. power to prevent sectarian violence in Iraq, the growing influence of Iran throughout the region, the probable spread of Sunni-Shiite strife to neighboring Arab states, the eventual rise to power of the anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr or some other anti-American leader in Baghdad, and the spread of instability beyond Iraq. [snip]

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A quick glance at one of our own hawks:

[O]ne Democrat to watch is Congressman Tom Lantos of California. He will probably succeed defeated Congressman James A. Leach of Iowa as chairman of the House International Relations Committee. In this instance, Lantos ­ probably the most virulent Zionist in the entire Congress — is by far the more dangerous of the two.

In a detailed statement in November 2004, Leach opposed the use of military force against Iran. He voted against the “Iran Freedom and Support Act,” which allocates funding for “regime change” in Iran. Liberal Democrat Lantos on the other hand cosponsored the act, and is a leading advocate of sanctions. Lantos enthusiastically supported the first Gulf War, and voted to authorize the second one. He was a big supporter of Israel’s latest war on Lebanon, and has vowed to Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to block aid to Lebanon until the latter agrees to international troops on its border with Syria. He wants U.S. intervention in Sudan. The neocons could ask for no more solid ally than Tom Lantos. And he is by no means alone in this prospective role among the Democratic victors in the midterm elections.  [snip]

We shall see…

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Last (for now), on the domestic front an interesting post that arrived by email…. another emailer wondered if Arkansas is one of the 12 or so state parties carefully tied in knots thru bankruptcy.. ;0

…in the 1980’s while chairing Alan Cranston’s campaign here, I had discovered how pathetic many of our state parties actually were.  Many were literally bankrupt, the office supplies and machines (typewriters) had been taken for unpaid debt, and padlocks were on the door.  The State Committees that had the franchise were held in one or another lawyer’s file cabinet, (In Georgia it had been Bert Lance’s for about 20 years), and the reason for this condition was frankly racism.  The Southern States would not allow the release of the franchise to a newly elected Central Committee or Board, because it would be Black.  They could do this because the parties were in bankruptcy, and whatever lawyer had the letterhead in his files was also the court appointed trustee. 

When Dean took over the DNC — this was the condition of about twelve of our State Parties.  He actually had to find lawyers to go into court and get the parties out of this kind of “Trusteeship” before he could even begin to reorganize.  In fact, one of the reasons some of the Field Organizers Dean appointed are on the staff of the DNC rather than state parties is because it avoids dealing with old trustees and old court judgments. 

The really sad thing is that Democrats all around the country don’t know about all this — about how the party structure was sabotaged essentially over the matter of race over a long stretch of years.  By not actually dealing with the matter — and it should have been argued out and dealt with in at least the 1970’s — it has festered, and now we have this assumption by James Carville that he is the great white master, who can dictate the structure of the DNC, including which African American should head it as opposed to Dean, or whom ever else the properly constituted DNC should elect.  [snip]

Real pity that Carville ever crawled out of his Loosiana swamp…. 

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UPDATE, 3:20 pm…

OGMAFB!  Who will break the script… because it is going to kill us… the title is “Senator Obama calls for troop shifts“. 

“I’m not suggesting that this timetable be overly rigid,” he added, but said President George W. Bush should announce as policy a “gradual and substantial” withdrawal.

“Drawing down our troops in Iraq will allow us to redeploy additional troops to northern Iraq and elsewhere in the region … this force could help prevent the conflict in Iraq from becoming a wider war, consolidate gains in northern Iraq,” and allow troop levels in Afghanistan to be bolstered, he said.

Right, relax, have a drink, drink to empire – remember, we don’t want ”wider war”… watch the s l o w passage of the same scenery over and over again… the words will roll over us like coat after coat of vaseline.   

In fact, go up to the observation lounge and watch the seasons change:

“The President’s decision to go to war in Iraq has had disastrous consequences for Afghanistan,” he said. “We have seen a fierce Taliban offensive, a spike in terrorist attacks, and a narcotrafficking problem spiral out of control.”

I think it is debatable who that served and IF that is generally viewed as a failure.  I view it as a  failure, but i have no real assurance what the agenda was October 7 2001 when we officially invaded Afghanistan… but the UN report last year, declaring Afganistan an all but failed narco state, was hard to find reported on inside the US.  Europe and the UK reported on it, as they knew the product was headed for their countries.  And ours, of course…. 

“I have long said that the only solution in Iraq is a political one … the days of asking, urging and waiting for them to take control of their own country are coming to an end. No more coddling, no more equivocation,” Obama said.

Coddling is it?  I see murderous, [by now] long standing destruction and the push pull game we play with puppets…

“Let me emphasize one vital point: Any U.S. strategy must address the problem of sectarian militias in Iraq,” he said. [...]

Obama repeated his call for a regional conference that would include “the Iraqis, Saudis, Iranians, Syrians, the Turks, Jordanians, the British and others … to get foreign fighters out of Iraq, prevent a further descent into civil war and push the various Iraqi factions toward a political solution.”

Stop. Don’t send him again.  It is becoming offensive this charm game the Dems are playing – and with war.  Fucking pacifier…

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UPDATE… 4:00 pm

I need the strong Japanese binoculars so I can count the fleas [thanks to Madman]: 

Representative Barney Frank has proposed in a series of meetings with business groups a “grand bargain” with corporate America: Democrats would agree to reduce regulations and support free-trade deals in exchange for businesses agreeing to greater wage increases and job benefits for workers. [...]

“What I want to do is break that deadlock,” Frank said in an interview. “A lot of policies that the business community wants us to adopt for growth are now blocked. On the other hand, the business community is successfully blocking the minimum wage [increase] and created a very anti union attitude in the Congress.”

Frank proposes that if businesses support a minimum wage increase and provide protection for workers adversely affected by trade treaties, Democrats would be more willing to ease regulations and approve free-trade deals. Frank also would support changes to immigration rules favored by businesses, and noted that allowing more immigrants would put needed funds into the Social Security system.

… still counting fleas:

Frank casts his proposal as a way for capitalists to quell some of the populist fervor that was expressed in last week’s election, when many Democrats vowed to crack down on companies moving jobs overseas.

What little scratch the dogs got, they offer up on a platter.  Got anything else to give up Barney?  Anything LEFT TO GIVE??

Have to laugh… the 110th is not even at opening day.  We don’t even know how popular those “populists” would even be…

FInd a Blue Dog and bow down….

And this from Page 2:

Frank said he will work out details of his grand bargain after conducting a series of hearings starting early next year. “I am not claiming I have majority support,” he said. “I expect to spend much of the next year in the committee documenting this.” But he said he has general backing from Pelosi and other top Democrats.

A starting point could be health care. Many businesses are trying to shed high health care premiums. Frank hopes that workers and businesses can agree on a government-administered plan paid for by workers that would reduce burdens on businesses, which would pass on savings to employees through higher wages.

Just in time to have some ass-backwards, jiggered mess of a health care sell out for the blinkered Dems to run on in ’08. 

You will love it when Hillary runs on health care – again, 14 years later.

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UPDATE, 8:45 PM

Madman tried to leave this link as a comment, but ran into a WordPress bug (error messages… stray boll weevils no doubt, swearing they are not not not Blue Dogs, ;) ).

From Who is IOZ wherein he deconstructs a quite naive and full of flabby thinking post from FDL:

[T]alk of “keeping our word” is cultural paternalism of the worst order. We make ourselves into a parent who promised some expensive Christmas present but reneged because of the cost, or because of forgetfulness, or because Mom’s really a bitch, or because Dad’s too busy chasing the secretary. Civilization does not belong to America to be promised, given, or withheld. The web of local customs and history is too delicate and too complex to be simply swept aside. The Burkha was not invented by the Taliban. The Taliban did not arise out of a vacuum. Afghanistan is full of people whose cultures were ancient when Columbus was begging the Spanish for little boats . . . ancient when the Vikings landed in Newfoundland. Millennia of local, tribal, and ethnic cultures; centuries of Islam; these aren’t mere details to be overcome by good planning, skillful appropriations, and consulting “the experts in the State Department.”

What will Christy Hardin Smith and the rank-and-file Democrats say with a new man in the Pentagon, Condi Rice running state, and a poltiical establishment that will explain of the next war: This time, we’re gonna get it right?

Catch the thread at IOZ, someone posts the first comment to CHS’s “dreamland for wars” (clap for Tinkerbell there too!) posting…

Hail Barnum!

And what of Terror’s base? 16 November 2006

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, Russ Feingold.
33 comments

   Graffiti.org:  Iraq 2003 

On our way in, summer of 2002,  I would think… 20 years?… no too short.  30? hmmm the same as 20.  Fifty?  Old news, Japan and Germany, the DMZ in Korea, were surpassing that marker… no it seemed that Iraq (and Afghanistan) was part of some terrible hundred year plan for imperialism.  That seemed much more likely from the world that is Washington DC…

Of course, until they push us out…   Mostly I just think, God knows what is coming. 

From Tom Dispatch:

Permanent Facts on the Ground

[A]s the New York Times revealed in a front-page piece by Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt on April 19, 2003, just after Baghdad fell, the Pentagon arrived in the Iraqi capital with plans already on the drawing board to build four massive military bases (that no official, then or now, will ever call “permanent”). Today, according to our former Secretary of Defense, we have 55 bases of every size in Iraq (down from over 100); five or six of these, including Balad Airbase, north of Baghdad, the huge base first named Camp Victory adjacent to Baghdad International Airport, and al-Asad Airbase in western Anbar province, are enormous — big enough to be reasonable-sized American towns with multiple bus routes, neighborhoods, a range of fast-food restaurants, multiple PX’s, pools, mini-golf courses and the like.

Though among the safest places in Iraq for American reporters, these bases have, with rare exceptions, gone completely undescribed and undiscussed in our press (or on the television news). From an engineering journal, we know that before the end of 2003, several billion dollars had already been sunk into them. We know that in early 2006, the major ones, already mega-structures, were still being built up into a state of advanced permanency. Balad, for instance, already handled the levels of daily air traffic you would normally see at Chicago’s ultra-busy O’Hare and in February its facilities were still being ramped up. We know, from the reliable Ed Harriman, in the latest of his devastating accounts of corruption in Iraq in the London Review of Books, that, as you read, the four mega-bases always imagined as our permanent jumping-off spots in what Bush administration officials once liked to call “the arc of instability” were still undergoing improvement.

Englehardt includes a tidbit on Gates:

Here, for instance, is Robert Gates’ thinking eighteen months ago in a seminar at the Panetta Institute at California State University in Monterey on “phased troop withdrawals” from Iraq:

“But Mr. Gates qualified his comments, noting it sometimes takes time to accomplish your goals. Sixty years after the end of the Second World War, ‘there are still American troops in Germany,’ he noted. ‘We’ve had troops in Korea for over 50 years. The British have had troops in Cyprus for 40 years… If you want to change history, you have to be prepared to stay as long as it takes to do the job.”

So hold onto your hats. Tragedy and more tragedy seems almost guaranteed, and the Pentagon has just submitted to Congress a staggering $160 billion supplemental appropriation request in order to continue its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

   Lebanon, Beirut - Demascus - Sofar - Bekaa road [afp]

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More to come, I am sure… I see that Murtha lost his bid.. by a wide margin.  Blue Dogs yesterday were happy to say most of them were for Steny… as was Maxine Waters and Barney Frank.  Tauscher was out front for Steny, another CA Blue Dog, Anna Eshoo was for Murtha…

Off to the races it seems;)

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UPDATE, 1:10 pm, rainy day in San Francisco…

Feingold is up via TruthOut, on Iraq:

   [O]n Tuesday, I introduced legislation requiring U.S. forces to redeploy from Iraq by July 1, 2007. My legislation recognizes that a target date for the redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq will help pressure the Iraqis to get their political house in order. Simply announcing when we will begin redeployment, without any end date, is unlikely to put adequate pressure on the Iraqis.

    A target date isn’t just critical to our Iraq policy, it is essential for our national security policy. We cannot adequately focus on the pressing national security challenges we face around the globe when so many of our brave troops are in Iraq, and so many billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are being spent there. A timetable ensures that we can refocus our resources on fighting terrorist networks and on addressing trouble spots around the world that threaten our national security. [snip]

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Norman Solomon on how NYT and other Big MSM is screwing with the narrative (what else is new):

[I]n the latest media assault, right-wing outfits like Fox News and the Wall Street Journal editorial page are secondary. The heaviest firepower is now coming from the most valuable square inches of media real estate in the USA — the front page of the New York Times.

The present situation is grimly instructive for anyone who might wonder how the Vietnam War could continue for years while opinion polls showed that most Americans were against it. Now, in the wake of midterm elections widely seen as a rebuke to the Iraq war, powerful media institutions are feverishly spinning against a pullout of U.S. troops.

Under the headline “Get Out of Iraq Now? Not So Fast, Experts Say,” the Nov. 15 front page of the New York Times prominently featured a “Military Analysis” by Michael Gordon. The piece reported that — while some congressional Democrats are saying withdrawal of U.S. troops “should begin within four to six months” — “this argument is being challenged by a number of military officers, experts and former generals, including some who have been among the most vehement critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq policies.” [snip]

ugh.  Gordon was impossible in the run up to and early days of the war… it seemed entirely possible he lived in Wolfowitz’s jacket pocket.

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UPDATE, 3:30 pm

I am late landing on this at Rigorous Intuition:

[W]hat kind of world would greet Robert Gates’ appointment as Secretary of Defense as a happy news item? Regrettably, this one. That’s the true Bush legacy: diminished expectation, and delight and surprise at achieving debased, small victories that have to be handed to us.

I don’t mean that we shouldn’t take the good with the bad when we find it. But the good we can find is not as satisfying, enduring or as just as the good we should be able to make for ourselves. So yes, we’ll accept the gift of Donald’s Rumsfeld’s overdue resignation, yet Rumsfeld instead deserves to receive the revolt of our conscience and the judgement of the dead. American and international law ought to deliver humanity’s verdict, and that they won’t or they can’t is why we’re expected to dance in the streets when heads are made to roll for our pleasure  [...]

For five years there have been worries that the Bush crowd would do more than merely steal elections; they would do away with them altogether. But this is to misunderestimate the nature of late American fascism, which still needs the sustaining fantasies of liberty and representative democracy. Gains by the gentler, junior partners of the Washington Consensus serve this end, and present the impression of change while changing nothing. (I anticipate more tragicomic found-humour in the spectacle of “yellow-dog” Democrats justifying a now uncloseted bipartisan agenda.)

The neocons have served their purpose, and probably outlived their usefulness, which is why men like Perle and Ledeen are doing a shameless volte-face on Iraq. They have been a shock to the system of America, and to Americans who hadn’t realize what kind of system America had. It’s been a five-year plan of radicalism, and perhaps now comes two years of something like stability. But not a rollback. Most Democrats don’t have the interest in or the stomach for the fight, and many of them voted with the Republicans for tyrannical and bloody-minded measures that are not going anywhere, except burrowing deeper into the American routine.  [snip]

Interesting thread to the post at RI… ruminations on Gates all thru it…

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UPDATE, 5:20 pm…

“Werther” drops in with insights on the ISG… I love slams like these, except I see no reason to give SDO’C a free ticket out of town:

A run-down of its other principals should give us a strong indication where this operation is heading. Aside from Baker, there is as co-chairman once again Lee Hamilton, a past master at these performances. As the éminence beige of the Democratic foreign policy apparatus, Hamilton has been participating in high-level cover-ups of government shenanigans stretching back to the Iran-Contra affair.

The rest of the cast consists of: Vernon Jordan, one of Bill Clinton’s money men and obviously intended to slap the Wahabbite insurgents of the Black Caucus into line; Ed Meese, faithful purveyor of balderdash for countless decades and a link to the Reaganites; Lawrence Eagleburger, a saturnine Bush family wheel horse and Kissinger liegeman known mainly for his staggeringly immense girth and ability to balance on a cane while juggling a cigarette and an asthma inhaler; Leon Panetta, a professional ward heeler and thief of a 1986 Indiana Congressional election, tasked to corral a spectrum of Democrats roughly bounded by Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer; former Defense Secretary William Perry, representing the interests of the merchants of death; Charles Robb, who began his career as a White House doorman and who symbolically remains one four decades later; ex-Senator Alan Simpson, wise-cracking cowpoke (and member of a disastrous Congressional delegation to Iraq in 1990, whose purpose was to ply Saddam with U.S. taxpayer loot via the Commodity Credit Corporation); and former Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the lone member of the commission with no obvious ties to Beltway monkey business and presumably tapped for the sheer novelty value.

Probably the only reason Baker and Hamilton didn’t select Clark Clifford or Paul Nitze to serve on the commission is that these two quintessential Establishmentarians are legally dead. But the leaden predictability of its membership preordains its conclusions.

Given that the rules governing these types of commissions are as ritualized as Noh drama, we believe it is safe to roll out our own projection of what its findings will be. Here, in capsule form, are the Baker-Hamilton report’s major findings: [snip]

Werther zips thru a synopsis of the likely advisories… and then lands this:

There will be more in the report, but it will amount to cotton-wool packing, filigree, and cathedral gargoyles.

The politicians will rush to praise the report’s sagacity, and heed it, more or less. For the Establishment, which stretches back through Clifford and Nitze, through Henry Stimson, Colonel House, Albert Beveridge, back through the Morgans and the Astors, through the founding of Skull & Bones, and finally alighting on Alexander Hamilton, the prototypical oligarch of the new North American republic, it will be a Bromo-Seltzer after the nightmarish hangover of a failed scion’s rebellion against his illustrious father. It will be an assurance, like a bank vault slamming shut, that in Washington, everything will be fundamentally the same for all eternity.

Unless you heard the sound of some Great Un-Screwing?  … I did not…

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The Terror 14 November 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2006 Mid Terms, Border Issues, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC, The Battle for New Orleans.
43 comments

  Beit Hanoun 3 July 2006
           An Isreali blind near Beit Hanoun 3 July 2006

From Uri Avnery via Alternet:

 [O]lmert boasted recently that because of the clever behavior of his government “we were able to kill hundreds of terrorists, and the world has not reacted.”

According to Olmert, a “terrorist” is any armed Palestinian, including the tens of thousands of Palestinian policemen who carry arms by agreement with Israel. They may now be shot freely. “Terrorists” are also the women and children, who are killed in the street and in their homes. (Some say so openly: The children grow up to be terrorists, the women give birth to children who grow up to be terrorists.)

Olmert can go on with this, as he says, because the world keeps silent. Today the United States even vetoed a very mild Security Council resolution against the event. Does this mean that the governments throughout the world — America, Europe, the Arab world — are accessories to the crime at Beit Hanoun? That can best be answered by the citizens of those countries.

   Beit Hanoun after shelling 11.7 [Getty ]
Palestinian men gathered next to water stained with blood after Israeli tanks fired on homes in Beit Hanoun, Gaza.  [Getty photo/NYT]

The world did not pay much attention to the massacre, because it happened on U.S. election day. The results of the election may sadden our leaders more than the blood and tears of mothers and children in the Gaza strip, but they were glad that the election diverted attention.

A cynic might say: Democracy is wonderful, it enables the voter to kick out the moron they elected last time and replace them with a new moron.

But let’s not be too cynical. The fact is that the American people have accepted, after a delay of three years and tens of thousands of dead, what the advocates of peace around the world — including us here in Israel — were saying already on the first day: that the war will cause a disaster. That it will not solve any problem, but have the opposite effect.

As for this last… well, we hope.  Leave it at that for the moment…

Of course, in both new houses of Congress, the pro-Israeli lobby (meaning: the supporters of the Israeli Right) has a huge influence, perhaps even more than in the last ones. But the American Army will have to start leaving Iraq. The danger of another military adventure in Iran and/or Syria is much diminished. The crazy neoconservatives, most of them Jews who support the extreme Right in Israel, are gradually losing power, together with their allies, the crazy Christian fundamentalists.

We hope…

  Beit Hanoun [NYT]

Via Electronic Intifada, Pinochet in Palestine

[T]he plan is that the Fateh/PA rulers would do their utmost to provoke Hamas to start the war at which point Fateh, with the aid of the intelligence services of friendly Arab countries, as well as assistance from Israel and the US, would crush Hamas and take over. Indeed, the first unsuccessful round took place when the Israeli government kidnapped a third of the Hamas government, both cabinet ministers and parliament members, and placed them in Israeli jails. This was not sufficient to bring Hamas down, and not for lack of help that Fateh rendered the Israeli occupiers. …  Hamas however, is wisely adamant that it will respond by force only when Fateh launches an all-out war to bring about its planned coup, but not before.

Fateh’s planned coup is not only based on the popularity of Hamas and its electoral victory but also on Hamas’s increased ability to defend itself against Fateh forces. If the US and Israel armed Fateh thugs under Arafat’s leadership to crush the first Palestinian Intifada and any remaining resistance to the occupation since 1994, today, Hamas is almost as well- armed as Fateh forces and can defend the rights of the Palestinians to resist the Israeli occupation and the well-armed Palestinian collaborators that help to enforce it. This is where the situation today differs measurably from that of the mid-1990s.

To offset this new balance of forces, the United States government, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, has been training Abbas’s Praetorian Guard in Jericho for over a month with American, British, Egyptian, and Jordanian military instructors, and is providing arms to them in preparation for the confrontation with Hamas.

The Israeli cabinet in turn has recently approved the transfer of thousands of rifles from Egypt and Jordan to Abbas’s forces. The Israelis also approved a US request that Israel allow the Badr Brigade — part of the Palestine Liberation Army currently stationed in Jordan — to deploy in Gaza.  [snip]

The writer is clearly pro Hamas, I am not arguing for Hamas, being too far away to argue for anything… but merely say what matters:  that the people have a chance.

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What of poor Habeas?  Shall anyone elected, in any cycle, dare speak its name?

WASHINGTON – Immigrants arrested in the United States may be held indefinitely on suspicion of terrorism and may not challenge their imprisonment in civilian courts, the Bush administration said Monday, opening a new legal front in the fight over the rights of detainees. [...]

Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar, was arrested in 2001 while studying in the United States. He has been labeled an “enemy combatant,” a designation that, under a law signed last month, strips foreigners of the right to challenge their detention in federal courts.

That law is being used to argue the Guantanamo Bay cases, but Al-Marri represents the first detainee inside the United States to come under the new law. Aliens normally have the right to contest their imprisonment, such as when they are arrested on immigration violations or for other crimes.

“It’s pretty stunning that any alien living in the United States can be denied this right,” said Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney for Al-Marri. “It means any non-citizen, and there are millions of them, can be whisked off at night and be put in detention.”  [snip]

 We all can sense that “enemy combatant” and “terrorist” are the active words… “citizen” is getting hazy.

We conjure up horrors and somehow in the conjuring we do not deal wtih our very real, very great problems…

Nightmares, boogeymen, who’s the invader [really], endless television promotion of sexual predators, “stranger abduction” – but no one will talk of familial violence and murder – not really… easy to get lost in the illusions… Better to fix on the immigrant, the masked, the bearded…

   Max Schreck as Nosferatu 1922

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The many Americas… certainly more than two, but mis-managed!  That great buga-boo of modern America, that carpet we sweep everything under:  management

And note the corporations at issue, the same mis-management as Iraq!  Hardly news…

One thing I don’t want to see in a year or two, is some Gridiron or Washington Correspondents dinner with a Democrat poking around the edges of the carpeting in Congress searching for the missing, never showed up, never was to be OVERSIGHT.

   [O]ther corporations profiting off the devastation include Bechtel, Blackwater, CH2M Hill, Fluor, Halliburton subsidiary KBR and many others.

    There has been no real oversight of these misdeeds. The only criminal charges filed have been against individuals who ripped off programs for a couple of hundred or a few thousand dollars.

Most recently, the Department of Justice triumphantly announced to the press that they had issued an indictment for abuse of Katrina funds – of a man who illegally received Katrina unemployment benefits while still working! Meanwhile, hundreds of millions are being diverted without a peep from the government.

    The people of New Orleans and the Gulf coast are fighting against the robbing of the poor and the looting of hurricane relief funds, but the clock is ticking.

    Before long, there will be no money left. The generosity of those who contributed to help those harmed by Katrina will be snugly in the pockets of developers and corporations. Affordable housing will remain scarce. The working poor, the elderly and the disabled will remain displaced. The next disaster will occur, and this will happen again.

    Support the people and community organizations of the Gulf Coast in this fight. Raise righteous and holy hell! Join with Amnesty International USA in the human rights campaign to stop the demolition of affordable housing. Ask your federal elected officials for an immediate investigation into the looting of the Gulf Coast. We need your help, before all the money is gone. [snip]

War profiteers, disaster profiteers.  Ghoulish, is it not?

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MIS-management!  More of it…

Curmudgette is back around…

[W]hat is new, and I why I think America is dumbening is that no one seems to notice or care anymore that everything works like crap. What amazed me more than anything about my laborious conversations with Verizon was the seeming astonishment of the customer service reps that I was, how say, dissatisfied, at being forced to wait for 3 weeks for phone service through no fault of my own. Gone are the days when the customer was always right and sales people cared about your business. Today’s service industries are typified by a prevailing sense that they are entitled to your money and a customer’s unhappiness with either product or service is his problem.

It almost doesn’t surprise me that Verizon reps seemed shocked by my lack of complacency. Complacency has become the hallmark of  American culture. Now, I’m as thrilled as anyone that Dems have taken back both houses of Congress and it truly gives me hope, but look at just how bad things had to get for the tide to turn. Torture scandals, the loss of habeas corpus, unauthorized wiretaps, open cronyism, an illegal war; this litany of criminal offenses goes on. But what finally turned public opinion en masse? The lesson for today is that if you want to create massive political shift in this country, a President publicly shredding the Constitution is not enough. What you really need are some good sex scandals. Not just any sex scandals either. They have to be GAY sex scandals.  [snip]

Yes, when things look bad, keep an eye out for the wagging weenies… ;)

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…then listen for the Echo – from Who is IOZ on Blahhger foot stamping…:

[I] ask myself: How well-attended will the next antiwar march on Washington be, what with the Dems happily jiggering the levers of power? Within the next few months, the Democratic party line will move along to smarter fighting, better occupation, more troops, timelines for those backwards Iraqis to get their shit in order. The firebreathing “antiwar” democratic blogs, meanwhile, will make like Echo and repeat the party line, since dissent might lead in two years to defeat. Like Echo, they’re cursed by their own idolatrous longings.

And who do you suppose that makes the Dems, you mythologists?

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UPDATE, 7:45 am on the Pacific Ocean…

I am listening to Shadegg on Wash Journal, he is running for Minority Whip… and happy to mention the Blue Dogs.  That an incoming member of the BD assured him more than few ”do not agree with their leadership”… and Shadegg goes on to how important it will be to work with the Blue Dogs.

Boll Weevils, I say again…. ;)

AND:

Digby [thanks to Madman] takes a look at the recent The Nation article on the Quiverfulls… crazed Christian Breeders… and he centers on the Phillip Longman/DLC/reach out aspect of the article.

Holy fuck, indeed. This kind of thinking has finally gone mainstream and is fully integrated into the debate among influential Democrats. Granted, Longman’s advice to the DLC was to embrace “family friendly” policy but as you can see from his comments, in order to truly embrace these undereducated “Quiverfull” nuts whom everyone thinks need to be part of the Big Tent (birthing and cleaning after everyone apparently)the agenda is going to have to expand significantly. We are already seeing the argument going beyond abortion and extending into the birth control realm.

I am laughing as Digby seems to get it, some tents are too big.  To say nothing of too too Drahmatic… ;)

I had posted on the Phillip Longman, etc., at the tag end of this post

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Never try to fry a house cat 13 November 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2006 Mid Terms, Afghanistan War, Blonde Sense, Border Issues, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, Mexico.
16 comments

   Boito comes to Venice

you find you are dealing with some sort of 5 star Marine general who pulls rank…

I have some links collected to put up… but moving a little slowly  ;)

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hmmm I just noticed this at the LA Times, picking up on the Sunday TV appearances…

WASHINGTON — Democrats poised to take control of Congress said Sunday that they would press to begin a phased U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq within four to six months, part of an agenda aimed at overhauling key aspects of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

“First order of business is to change the direction of Iraq policy,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who is in line to become chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee next year when Democrats become the majority party in both chambers of Congress.

Senior White House officials countered that setting timetables for U.S. troop withdrawals would weaken the Iraq government and embolden insurgents, but they acknowledged a need for fresh ideas on Iraq and expressed a new willingness to negotiate with Democrats on an array of foreign policy issues.

White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten indicated that the president would block legislation calling for a scheduled withdrawal.

And I see McCain, no shock, is out there calling for more troops and an opinion piece floating about from Kagan and Kristol also exhorting for more sacrificial games…   Fareed weighs in

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UPDATE, 7:45 am on the Pacific Ocean…

Stumbled over this from Cursor, a full reprint of the Harper’s Ken Silverstein article on Obama it is located down a little on the left side on the page…

[O]bama was winning support from not only African Americans but also Chicago’s “Lake-front Liberals” and other progressives. He was still largely unknown in Washington circles, but that changed the following month when Vernon Jordan, the well-known power broker and corporate boardmember who chaired Bill Clinton’s presidential transition team after the 1992 election, placed calls to roughly twenty of his friends and invited them to a fund-raiser at his home.

The event marked his entry into a well-established Washington ritual–the gauntlet of fund-raising parties and meet-and-greets through which potential stars are vetted by fixers, donors, and lobbyists. Gregory Craig, an attorney with Williams & Connolly and a longtime Democratic figure who, as special counsel in the White House, had coordinated Bill Clinton’s impeachment defense, met Obama that night. “I liked his sense of humor and the confidence he had discussing national issues, especially as a state senator,” Craig recalled of the event. “You felt excited to be in his presence.” Another thing that Craig liked about Obama was that he’s not seen as a “polarizer,” like such traditional African-American leaders as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. “He gets respect from his adversaries because of the way he treats them,” Craig said. “He doesn’t try to be all things to all people, but he has a way of taking positions you don’t like without making you angry.” [snip]

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… this from Tuston on permanent check points on certain roads inside the US in AZ, AZ STARNET:

Fixed checkpoints inch toward reality
By Brady McCombs
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 11.13.2006

With Rep. Jim Kolbe out of the picture, the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector has renewed optimism about finally getting permission for permanent checkpoints.

Congress has withheld funding for permanent inspection stations since 1999 and required the sector to move them every seven or 14 days since 2002, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Kolbe, who is leaving after 21 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, opposed the establishment of permanent checkpoints, arguing that they served little purpose if drug- and human-smugglers know where they are.[snip]

… a bit of additional commentary from Tuston from the thread:

Just so you all understand; these checkpoints are within the US, and if I want to buy organic food (un-available in el barrio) I need to have some cock-sucker from the midwest ask ME if I’m a US citizen and have his under-trained puppy sniff my tires.

I make it a point to only reply in gutter spanish (e.g. “que piensas, pendijo” or “por supuesto, perujo”)

BTW comming back through the permanent military checkpoint in mexico on Sunday Night, I noticed 40,000 lbs of Pot (or one semi-trailer full) being unloaded by the soldiers and being loaded into another one…supposedly it was a “bust” but I’d bet you dollars to pesos that those bales of reefer still end up in NY somehow…

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And.. from Who is IOZ a flurry of sharpened butter knives right back at the Democrats… ;)  He picks apart some quotes from the NYT  [thanks to Madman]

[T]he Times article is a good reminder that although they’re more ostentatious about it, the Republicans aren’t the only ones wearing the crazy suit. Howard Dean takes an opportunity in the national media to muse that Iraqi Kurdistan, stripped of the American protectorate, will face a Turkish blitzkrieg of some sort or other, an Ottoman resurgence if you will, like a batty nonagenarian misremembering the dangerous “sick old man of Europe.” It would be, he says, the worst thing that could happen, the sort of statement that’s sure to give rise to some excellent gallows humor in Baghdad.

Somewhere the Arab Woody Allen is shrugging his shoulders, holding his palms up to the air, and saying, “Worse? How could it be worse!?”  [snip]

Reid is not spared… oooo yum!

It’s a particularly fitting irony that the Senate, whose surprise turning was the sparkler on the Democratic cake, will now be in the hands of a crytofascist land speculator who makes it the first order of business to play the enemies-within card and then takes the table with a daring opposition to “fixed timetables for withdrawal.” (Remember, eager Dems, if it isn’t fixed, it isn’t really a timetable.)
 

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UPDATE, 9:30 am…

This is a Reuters report I saw over the weekend… and I think it indicates one, that possibly the electorate solidified quickly post election and two, we can see what will chill the faint courage of the Dems.

Of course it may all be affected what god knows what… Times are fluid.  Hell, very fluid, we are swimming in spilled milk. 

[B]ush’s 31-percent job approval rating, down from 35 percent a week earlier, was a new low in Newsweek’s polling. Some 63 percent disapproved of the Republican president’s job performance, and a full two-thirds agreed that “he won’t be able to get much done” in the last two years of his term.

The drop in Bush’s approval rating came after Wednesday’s resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who had been a lightning rod for criticism of the administration’s handling of the war in Iraq.

While a bare majority of 51 percent called the Democrats’ victory “a good thing,” even more said they were concerned about some of the actions a Democratic Congress might take, including 78 percent who were somewhat or very concerned that it would seek too hasty a withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Another 69 percent said they were concerned that the new Congress would keep the administration “from doing what is necessary to combat terrorism,” and two-thirds said they were concerned it would spend too much time investigating the administration and Republican scandals.
 

Friday, the death toll for November was 23, by the next day 26 – and as I read that I thought, well it is 29 or 32 on the ground in Iraq already…

The Democrats should screw up what ragged courage they have, bank on the fact the electorate has been reminded of “split tickets” (they may not get the WH but they might, no matter what, keep the House for a few cycles) and full steam ahead – to whatever.

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This from Counterpunch

[T]he Democrats have been elected because Americans are now sick of Iraq. Their enthusiasms die quickly. American expectations for the wars they start are perfectly captured by the image of Bush landing on an aircraft carrier with a big banner behind him saying Mission Accomplished. It’s a blockbuster version of the Homecoming Game with guys in uniforms and cheerleaders and flags, and there is no hint of death or decay. Anything beyond that kind of performance is welcomed like the kid who couldn’t make the team.

I doubt there is widespread concern that Iraqis still huddle in homes with no reliable electricity or clean water, no jobs, and fearful to step into murderous streets. I doubt there is much guilt over having killed half a million of them. I doubt there is guilt about running a secret gulag and torturing helpless captives. I doubt there is guilt about blood-spattered holes like Abu Ghraib. Because if there were such guilt, there would have been a revolt against Bush’s criminal government. [snip]

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UPDATE, 12 Noon

From TAPPED.

UPDATE: See Mike Crowley on an early potential dispute between Baucus and the Dem caucus, regarding authorization allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

Crowley remarks, “Baucus faces re-election in 2008, making him likely to tack rightward to please conservative Montana voters. (Although it’s possible that drug-price negotiation would play well in a Montana that just elected a populist like Jon Tester.)” For what it’s worth, I think Crowley’s “on the other hand” parenthetical is more on the mark. Blocking Medicare’s ability to bargain for cheaper drugs seems like significanly less of an electorally seductive move than backing lavish tax cuts (which Baucus did prior to his 2002 race).

Wait a fucking minute!

One, the Newsweek poll up post indicates American voters are 91% for lower drug prices.  Don’t make promises if the likes of Baucus can undercut them with specious scheisse.  And blubber for 18 months now about the really rather oily Schweitzer of MT and yet-to-be-determined Tester (Conrad Burns HAD to go and Tester did run on a populist medical care platform…) with MT “trending blue”  or rainbow or purplish.. or whatever the 31 Flavors game is that BlogSnots play…

Sirota is running around calling the new hires “Lou Dobbs populists” – I am gagging, the transition to rather more ordinary blogger/pundit for Sirota has not been wonderful…

Go buy spines, everybody!… and the various and sundry publications – all of them, even TNR, should be pushing for change.  Not providing cover to shaft ordinary Americans – and less than one week out from election…

Honestly I never even considered frying the cat… ;)

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Bitch Ph.D looks at the Supreme Court:

Why I haven’t talked about Gonzales v. Carhart / Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood

Because, really, aside from the confusion of having three cases with similar names (Stenberg v. Carhart–in which the ban on D&X was struck down–and the current two cases being argued about a minor variation on the same fucking law, [Attorney General] Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood), I don’t get why this is in front of the court at all.

Part of the plan, sad to say… The WH referred the issue of the 2003 Partial Birth Abortion congressional bill to the Solicitor General… and here we are.

I listened to the recording of the case before the court via Cspan on Sunday… hard to say which way it will go – Clement, the SG, closed heavily on ‘PBA” as infanticide.  You know the US Catholic Bishops were applauding and toasting each other with rare cognacs as they clicked their Prada shod heels (Ratzy’s fav) .. lest they be in Kansas.  And phoning Rome of course… things are going well in the Western Hemi.

Bitch notes a question of Roberts…

And I think we have to view Roberts’ questions (as reported by Slate and the WaPo, respectively) as very revealing:

“If a woman can take into account the impact on the fetus” and its suffering, “why is that beyond the scope of things the Congress can take into account?”

Because, dummy, Congress can’t rule on a case-by-case basis; individual women, by definition, are doing precisely that. Next?

“marginal benefit in safety” from using the procedure is “enough to override the state’s articulated interest?””

Bzzzt!!! Whose safety are we talking about? Do people no longer have the right to decide which medical risks they are willing to run and which they are not? Don’t we really think that this kind of thing is better judged by medical professionals than it is by lawyers?
 

Yes, not his only one where he wondered why the Congress should not interfere in a medical procedure… BTW, Clarence was silent, and if Alito spoke, I missed it.  Of course, no shock, Scalia and Roberts were guiding and authoritarian.  Kennedy asked a few questions… hard again to guess. 

It was left to Breyer, Ginsberg and a little bit to Souter to speak for sanity.

The worry is the wording of the “PBA” bill is so broad it could be used to further restrict abortion outside of the “PBA” games.  AND… I understand from someone positioned to know, the worry over this case or cases is that, if lost, the Republicans come back with a reworded bill.

We shall see.  I’d love to see a majority Democratic House and Senate thwart the Shulers, Ellsworths + 4 other new members and a few others already there… Casey, Reid (on the all star list at Democrats for Life based on 5 out of 5 votes in the 108th congress) a few others … but I am not holding my breath.  I see a lot of authoritarians in charge on the Democratic side.  Greed, too.

Over and over they either recruited hard liners or more than a few for whom the language of banning is easily couched in the political cover provided by “PBA” banning – with tricky language for ”health of the mother”…

It’s funny, so many online men – and off line as well, lecture ”grow up” (those precise words have been used) about issues of abortion and elections politics (ah there is the money game!)… Alterman, Nathan Newman, Kos and the many Whacks… quite a few… others offer limp fakery, more transparent than used tissues… It has been interesting to watch.

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UPDATE, 5:00 pm

Fifth anniversary and not a good one…

[N]o official celebrations were held Monday, and no Afghans approached in street interviews knew it was the five-year anniversary. Many smiled when reminded of the Taliban’s fall, though some also lamented the deteriorating security in the country.

A high-level report released Sunday found that violence has risen fourfold over 2005 and that more than 3,700 people have died in 2006 because of insurgency-related violence. [...]

At the city’s central cinema, janitor Jan Mohammed said he was happy when the Taliban fell, thinking Afghanistan would see a new era of freedom and security.

“But it’s not that good now,” he said. “The other big problem today is figuring out how to feed your children.”

Five years after the Taliban’s ouster, poverty is still endemic in Afghanistan, and the cost of living has risen sharply. Many women still suffer from abuse and discrimination, and the drug trade is out of control. And despite the presence of some 40,000 U.S. and NATO troops, the insurgency is unabated. {snip]

I read a report a few weeks ago from a NATO commander on the ground in Afghanistan… who said very bluntly, if we do not turn around Afghanistan, and fast, in a few months, he believes the people will rise up and accept the Taliban back, simply for security.

How’s that Law ‘n Order theory [masking chaos] of governing working for ya Imperial America?

Not working here, not working there… it seems designed to fail…

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UPDATE, 4:15 am – Tuesday

Lordy:

 Up to 150 Sunni Muslim men were abducted from the offices of the Higher Education Ministry in central Baghdad this morning in what appeared to be the largest sectarian kidnapping of the Iraq war.

A convoy of around 40 new camouflaged pick-up vehicles was seen surrounding one of the ministry’s research buildings in Karradah, a religiously-mixed neighbourhood, at around 9:30am local time.

Around 80 gunmen dressed as police commandos were then seeing lining up a crowd of men in the car park of the Sunni-led ministry, handcuffing them and leading them away. A civil servant who happened to be in the bank at the time of the raid watched as the gunmen searched the victims’ identity cards, sorting Sunnis from Shias.

“They were checking identity cards in the car park. They picked only the Sunni employees. They even took the man who was just delivering tea,” the witnesss, a Sunni himself, told Reuters. “They gathered them all in the pick-ups. At the same time, I saw two police patrols watching, doing nothing.”  [snip]

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