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Friday afternoon Open Thread… 20 October 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2006 Mid Terms, 2008 Election, California / Pacific Coast, Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Political Blogs.


… whatever catches my eye I will pop up on the page… 😉

Rosa Brooks in the LA Times on Hillary’s perfidy on torture.  Somebody should craft a question to Hillary based on Brooks’ close. 

HAS HILLARY CLINTON been watching too many episodes of “24,” or is she just determined to prove that she really is entirely without principles?

Whichever it is, Clinton hit a new low last week, telling the New York Daily News that the president should have “some lawful authority” to use torture or other “severe” interrogation methods in a so-called ticking-bomb scenario. […]

But … do you really want to see U.S. law outlining exactly how many atrocities can be committed against how many people to — maybe — save a certain number of other people?

Make no mistake — logically, that’s where the ticking-bomb scenario takes you. Clinton insists that she wasn’t really saying that torture should be legal — no, no, of course not. She still thinks that torture is immoral, ineffective and counterproductive. It’s just that for an “improbable but possible eventuality” such as a true ticking-bomb scenario, she thinks that we should make “a very, very narrow exception within very, very limited circumstances.”

And this wouldn’t undermine the Geneva Convention? You’d better believe that countries such as Syria, North Korea and Iran would also just love to carve out some “very, very narrow exceptions” to treaties banning torture. [snip]


 Oh too funny.  In case you, uh, missed him… catch the exchange between BTD and Gabriel Malor… and the next exchange too…  OG&P.  And recall the antics to come will be happening at a smaller site, by far, than Dkos or Redstate or even Crossed Limp Whatevers…



Another office raided.  Nguyen Tan the OC candidate (challenging Loretta Sanchez) who sent the spurious letter threatening newly registered voters, trying to state that immigrants are not allowed to vote.

From Reuters: 

[C]alifornia state police on Friday arrived at Nguyen’s campaign office with a search warrant shortly before the scheduled news conference. His home was also searched.

“They are looking for items. He is not going to come to the press conference unfortunately because of the intervention of law enforcement,” Nguyen’s lawyer David Wiechert told reporters.

“I have not talked to him about the ramification of today’s events,” Wiechert said.

Scott Baugh, chairman of the Republican Party in Orange County, has urged Nguyen to “do the honorable thing” and withdraw from the race. Baugh said he had information that Nguyen was involved in the letter. [snip]



Well.  This is probably extra hilarious as I went next door and had a glass of champagne. Or two… 

Or, maybe it is just damned funny:

Now, this race is exceptionally strange, because it means that Connecticut is cutting against the national tide pretty aggressively.  Not only is Lieberman doing well, but the three Congressional Democratic challengers aren’t doing as well as they should be considering the national environment.  Is there something in the water here?  Well, no, but there’s a lot of confusion.  There’s something wrong with the conventional wisdom of this race, and that’s impacting voting choices for low information voters.  Right now, the conventional wisdom is that Lieberman’s support is coming from Republicans who support the war and unaffiliated and Democrats who support Joe on other issues.  Lamont carries the strictly antiwar vote, but hasn’t broadened beyond that.  The CW assumes that the war just isn’t that important here.

But does that really make sense?  Is the war is less important in Connecticut than nationally?  I don’t think so.  Could it be Lamont?  Is it because Lamont didn’t successfully paint himself as opposed to the war?  Not likely.  So what is going on, exactly?

I believe the answer is in these two ads.  This is Joe Lieberman’s first ad in the primary. [snip]

It goes on and on and on… and on.

Meanwhile Taegan is running alerts in the Breaking Blue column on the right about every poll showing Lieberman waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead.


UPDATE,   10:30 am

UK Independent on the seizing of Amara by Moqtada…

[I]n a string of towns in western Iraq, Sunni fighters held “victory parades”.

The US authorities have effectively admitted they have lost the battle for Baghdad despite pouring in 12,000 troops. Major-General William Caldwell said the operation, called Together Forward, “has not met our overall expectations in sustaining a reduction in the level of violence”.  […]

The Amarah confrontation is especially worrying for Britain because it threatens to jeopardise the exit strategy under which forces have been withdrawn from a several areas with maintenance of security handed over to Iraqi forces. The threat of violence has increased with plans to devolve the country into a federal structure, a move bitterly opposed by Mr Sadr.

Defence sources say this fear of being “sucked back in” was one reasons behind the decision by General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the Army, to speak out about disengagement from Iraq last week. [snip]

 And this at Angry Arab:

So it seems that while US occupation forces are “liberating” Iraq, soldiers of the Mahdi Army are also “liberating”:

“As we have liberated Amara from the British, Basra is next,” he said. “My men are everywhere, can you see the British anywhere? For the people in the street it’s my men who rule the town.”

posted by As’ad @ 8:41 AM link




1. Arcturus - 20 October 2006

Bill Blum:

Additionally, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) — which would like the world to believe that it’s a private non-governmental organization, when it’s actually a creation and an agency of the US government — regularly furnishes large amounts of money and other aid to organizations in Nicaragua which are opposed to the Sandinistas. The International Republican Institute (IRI), a long-time wing of NED, whose chairman is Arizona Senator John McCain, has also been active in Nicaragua creating the Movement for Nicaragua, which has helped organize marches against the Sandinistas. An IRI official in Nicaragua, speaking to a visiting American delegation in June of this year, equated the relationship between Nicaragua and the United States to that of a son to a father. “Children should not argue with their parents.” she said.
With the 2006 presidential election in mind, one senior US official wrote in a Nicaraguan newspaper last year that should Ortega be elected, “Nicaragua would sink like a stone”. In March, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, the US Ambassador to the UN under Reagan and a prime supporter of the Contras, came to visit. She met with members of all the major Sandinista opposition parties and declared her belief that democracy in Nicaragua “is in danger” but that she had no doubt that the “Sandinista dictatorship” would not return to power. The following month, the American ambassador in Managua, Paul Trivelli, who openly speaks of his disapproval of Ortega and the Sandinista party, sent a letter to the presidential candidates of conservative parties offering financial and technical help to unite them for the general election of November 5. The ambassador stated that he was responding to requests by Nicaraguan “democratic parties” for US support in their mission to keep Daniel Ortega from a presidential victory. The visiting American delegation reported: “In a somewhat opaque statement Trivelli said that if Ortega were to win, the concept of governments recognizing governments wouldn’t exist anymore and it was a 19th century concept anyway. The relationship would depend on what his government put in place.” One of the fears of the ambassador likely has to do with Ortega talking of renegotiating CAFTA, the trade agreement between the US and Central America, so dear to the hearts of corporate globalizationists.
Then, in June, US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick said it was necessary for the Organization of American States (OAS) to send a mission of Electoral Observation to Nicaragua “as soon as possible” so as to “prevent the old leaders of corruption and communism from attempting to remain in power” (though the Sandinistas have not occupied the presidency, only lower offices, since 1990).
The explicit or implicit message of American pronouncements concerning Nicaragua is often the warning that if the Sandinistas come back to power, the horrible war, so fresh in the memory of Nicaraguans, will return. The London Independent reported in September that “One of the Ortega billboards in Nicaragua was spray-painted ‘We don’t want another war’. What it was saying was that if you vote for Ortega you are voting for a possible war with the US.”

2. marisacat - 20 October 2006

I read an article the other day… Chavez is providing low or very reduced cost materiel (foodstuffs, ag supplies etc) that gets routed to Ortega supporters… and we of course shore up our own. Thru NED USAID and whoever else. Ground ops. Black ops. Death squads.. Just an election year …

Bad year on all fronts … forever more, too.

3. Arcturus - 20 October 2006

“The vote came in early. / We ignored / it. No ballot-box auction for us. . .” -Nate Mackey

4. Madman in the Marketplace - 20 October 2006

Can’t get to WordPress at work … my response to your points on the Gaiman comment is here.

5. Arcturus - 20 October 2006

I don’t have time now to proprly respond, but I like yr reading, MM. Mine was a kneejerk reaction to the terms in the exceprt.

we’re in this mess b/c people don’t LOOK CLOSELY enough at the LESSONS underlaying the myths that they’re leaders use to convince them to kill others and to sacrifice themselves

. . . sounds quite right.

6. NYCee - 20 October 2006

Ugh… The NY1 Iron Lady Debate. I taped it. (The Republican, Spencer, is a dolt. Although I did enjoy watching him jab her, sometimes on the mark. But he’s cut taxes, dont criticize the commander in chief. Yeah, yeah. Nuff said.)

Black Pantsuit talking re the war (oh how she goes on, and says nothing – she was asked to explain her protest over Vietnam but support for Iraq war, how are they different, and never said a word about Vietnam in all her babbble…It was brought up again and she mouthed some bullshit. Dont ask.)

This was particularly ugly –

Hilllary: “… blah blah blah… and the president says when the Iraqis stand up, we’ll stand down. Well, the Iraqis HAVE stood up, but now they have to FIGHT. They have to FIGHT!… blah blah blah.”

Bloody Clinton.

She defended her vote for the immigration WALL. She likes the WALL. On her trip to Israel, she sang love songs to THAT WALL. She is a WALL.

Must be why she liked WALmart so much.

Oh, she is horrid. (I got thru to the ABC new director, btw.)

Anyway, a bright ray of pink… Code Pink & “The Listener.” I found this while I was searching for something today. A welcome antidote:


Bird-Dogging Hillary Clinton

No invitation to talk from Hillary’s office was forthcoming. So CODEPINK NYC pulled together a coalition of local peace groups and launched a weekly vigil outside Hillary’s office on Third Avenue at 49th Street. We bought enormous rubber ears from a theatrical supply company and made signs that said, “Hillary you’re not listening, bring the troops home now.” We passed out information about her positions, and we launched the Web site http://www.listenhillary.org.

Standing on the sidewalk, in the dead of winter, it was remarkable how many passersby would stop and talk, amazed to learn how close her position on the war was to Bush’s.

Soon after we launched the weekly vigil we got a call from Hillary’s office to set up an appointment. Four of us met with Hillary’s New York City “Director of Governmental Affairs,” a fresh-faced and genial young woman who honestly appeared to know less about Hillary’s voting record or statements on the war than the crowds on the sidewalk. She patronizingly told us that she would pass along our concerns to the senator.

After this fruitless meeting, we coordinated with peace groups around the state and CODEPINK chapters around the country, organizing a statewide and national campaign called “Bird-dog Hillary.”

7. NYCee - 21 October 2006

Btw, in my debate watching, I heard a rare thing that really stood out, from the Dem challenger to Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Barbara Radnofsky. She was talking on the war (has a very strong presence, voice, btw) and she pounded on the fact that Bob Graham had begged the senators to read a deeper intelligence report that should have warned them off voting for the war, against jumping on board to sign that blank check. He used it to back up his reason for NOT voting for the war.

Radnofsky then said that ANY senator who chose to ignore what Graham was telling them about and voted for the war was “derelict in their duty.”

YES. I loved hearing that “ANY”…

Recall during the Kerry campaign all the twisting into knots folks were doing at DK and elsewhere to parse that it was a vote for authorization AFTER Bush had exhausted EVERY possible avenue to avoid war. He said he would. Kerry et al et al et al TRUSTED him.

Lol. Notice how no one even bothers saying that anymore. Not even the pols. They are confronted all the time with, “You voted for the war…” and they dont even bother to dispute it.

8. NYCee - 21 October 2006

HAS HILLARY CLINTON been watching too many episodes of “24,” or is she just determined to prove that she really is entirely without principles?

Do I have to tell you which it is, Rosa?

9. NYCee - 21 October 2006


Yes, they are finding some time for Nicaragua, unfortunately.

Well, they cannot let The Gipper’s legacy (killing all those thousands of commie Nicaraguans, standing behind the glorious “Freedom Fighters,” smiting the Satanistas) be for nothing, eh?


Reagan Was the Butcher of My People

From Father Miguel D’Escoto:

Of course, as I say this, I’m quite aware that to the people of say for example, Project for a New American Century, that is counted as a big plus. Because of Reagan and his spiritual heir George W. Bush, the World today is far less safe and secure as it has ever been. Reagan in fact was an international outlaw. He came to the Presidency of the United States shortly after Samosa, a Dictator that the U.S. has imposed over Nicaragua for practically half a century; had been deposed by Nicaraguan Nationalists under the leadership of the Sandinista Liberation Front. To Reagan Nicaragua had to be re-conquered. He blamed Carter for having lost Nicaragua, as if Nicaragua ever belonged to anyone else other than the Nicaraguan people. That was then the beginning of this war that Reagan invented, and mounted and financed and directed, the Contra War. About which he continually lied to the People. Helping the United States people to be the most ignorant people around the world. I said ignorant, I don’t say not intelligent. But the most ignorant people around the world about what the United States does abroad. People don’t even begin to see — if they did, they would rebel. And so, he lied to the people, as Bush lies to the people today and as they push on, thinking that the United States is above every law, human or divine.

10. Ezekiel - 21 October 2006

The Father has it wrong here:

People don’t even begin to see — if they did, they would rebel.

There is a minority who are horrified at what the U. S. does, but they are far outnumbered by those who prefer to be ignorant as long as the mall shelves are full and their credit card is still accepted. Reagan didn’t keep the truth from the American people because he was afraid of them, but because he figured, quite rightly, that they had hired him to do just that.

“Give your head that little ‘aw shucks’ shake, Ronny, and tell us it’s morning again.”

And as Marisacat and other posters have so appropriately reminded us over the last few days, when a few Don Quixotes tried to bring out the truth, they were slapped down and the public breathed a sign of relief.

11. NYCee - 21 October 2006

That, in fact, was why I stopped the bolding there. That line just didnt ring true to me. Sadly so. Not that he didnt mean it. Maybe he was hopeful… or being generous.

12. marisacat - 21 October 2006


I LOVED Radnofsky… such and elegant presence. I dropped a line to a TX friend, Dallas. Said Radnofsky has not chance but goes at KayBay hard. She asked, apparently for a series of debates and now that Kaybay has limitied it to one, the TX friend said Radnofsky will be running ads poking at KB over that hiding tactic.

I LOVED the debate.

Oh this scheisse that the senators and reps did not know, did not have access to plenty of people who tried to tell them.

Ritter struggled to meet with Kerry, got a pack of dox hand delivered to his office etc, went on the record early how he ws rebuffed.

Dingell held a series of lunches for any reps who wished to attend … ahd over 50 diplo/other characters in from the ME countries who BEGGED the House attendees NOT TO DO THIS. NOt to authorise, give cover to the pretzeldent… and so on

The ones who voted for this fucked war wanted it. Wnated to gift Bush with a present.

One reason I jsut would not vote for Kerry. Sick of the lies and the obfuscation.

Oh and I am just thrilled that harmon is in a SNAFU over AIPAC and whatever else.

13. Madman in the Marketplace - 21 October 2006

they thought it would get them reelected. Simple as that, and all that matters to them.

14. Meteor Blades - 21 October 2006

Sadly, Jimmy Carter was the President who started supporting the Nicaraguan exiles in Honduras – most of them at the time members of Somoza’s hated National Guard. These would form the original core of the contras.

15. Arcturus - 21 October 2006

Nycee: Rep. Dan Burton’s remaks to Nicaraugua gave me the end-phrase for a post a couple weeks ago, it’s a free world afterall . . . BUT “. . . it´s important that the people know what can happen if . . .”:

“It was a very difficult time because thousands of Nicaraguans lost their lives…it´s important that the people know what can happen if the government returns to the kind of government there was in the 1980s.”

These open threats of war if they don’t elect the right one should be jawbreaking.

I don’t know if we’re the most ignorant country in the world, but I’mpretty sure we rank.

(Jane Harmon, marisa? I’za ignorant o’ dat one . . .)

16. Arcturus - 21 October 2006

ah, you mean this (thanks!):

Time link

Did you catch who harman’s lawyer is? Ted friggin’Olson!!!

17. marisacat - 21 October 2006

oops sorry yes. http://www.Billmon.org has a good post up on the Harmon. Well nutroots had a chance… Marcy Winograd tried… 😉

I know. Olsen, worst of the worst. I swear jane has the hots for righties… esp imperialist righties.

18. gong - 21 October 2006

For might makes right,
And till they’ve seen the light,
They’ve got to be protected,
All their rights respected,
‘Till somebody we like can be elected.

(Tom Lehrer, “Send the Marines.” Apologies in advance if I’ve screwed up the formatting.)

19. Arcturus - 21 October 2006

ah yes, genuflect, genuflect, genuflect (“Vatican rag”)

& who remarekd, echoing Adorno on the impossibility of writing poetry after Auschwitz, soemthing to the effect that ‘satire is impossible after Kisssinger got the Nobel Peace Prize’

oddly enough, he was teaching math at UC Santa Cruz when we were there in the 70’s. later, I worked for 2 SF theater owners/producers, & had a production at the Alcazar of the musical Cameron Macintosh wrote using his songs, “Tomfoolery”

20. gong - 21 October 2006

Arcturus, the way I’ve seen it quoted is, “Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.”

There’s a great interview here, in which makes some other related comments.

“I always regarded myself as not even preaching to the converted, I was titillating the converted.

“The audiences like to think that satire is doing something. But, in fact, it is mostly to leave themselves satisfied. Satisfied rather than angry, which is what they should be.”

His favourite quote on the subject is from British comedian Peter Cook, who, in founding the Establishment Club in 1961, said it was to be a satirical venue modelled on “those wonderful Berlin cabarets which did so much to stop the rise of Hitler and prevent the outbreak of the Second World War”.

And also: “I’m not tempted to write a song about George W.Bush. I couldn’t figure out what sort of song I would write. That’s the problem: I don’t want to satirise George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporise them.”

21. Arcturus - 21 October 2006

sounds right – mine was from a notoriously bad memory – brilliant man – it’s the rare person who doesn’t wind up preaching to / titillating the converted – no easy trap to escape – thx for the interview!

22. CSTAR - 21 October 2006

One of my favorite Lehrer songs (Of course)



Let no one else’s work evade your eyes,

Remember why the good Lord made your eyes,

So don’t shade your eyes,

But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize…

Only be sure always to call it please, “research”.

23. cactus ed - 21 October 2006

So, CSTAR, is functional analysis your field?

24. CSTAR - 21 October 2006


25. cactus ed - 22 October 2006

Cool beans.

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