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新年快樂!:: Felice Anno 2007 :: Bonne Annee :: Feliz Ano Novo :: Happy New Year! 31 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in Divertissements, Viva La Revolucion!, WAR!.
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  Times Square

Thanks to gong for the Chinese characters in the title…  😉

From The Guardian / AP:

As the ball dropped, Amanda Bermudez, 19, kissed her new husband, Angel Bermudez, 21, an Army soldier who recently returned from Iraq. They were married Dec. 2 at their home in Fort Hood, Texas, and came to New York for their honeymoon.

“My New Year’s resolution is to work on my marriage and be a good mother,” said Amanda Bermudez, who just found out she’s pregnant.

She also hoped for peace in the Middle East in 2007.

“So he doesn’t have to go back,” she said, glancing lovingly at her husband.


UPDATE,  8:28 am Monday

Well… we can hope… 😉

 [P]hilosopher Daniel Denett believes that within 25 years religion will command little of the awe it seems to instil today. The spread of information through the internet and mobile phones will “gently, irresistibly, undermine the mindsets requisite for religious fanaticism and intolerance”.

Biologist Richard Dawkins said that physicists would give religion another problem: a theory of everything that would complete Albert Einstein’s dream of unifying the fundamental laws of physics. “This final scientific enlightenment will deal an overdue death blow to religion and other juvenile superstitions.”

Part of that final theory will be formulated by scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator at Cern in Geneva, which is to be switched on this year. It will smash protons together to help scientists understand what makes up the most fundamental bits of the universe.

Steven Pinker, a psychologist at Harvard University, highlighted the decline of violence: “Most people, sickened by the bloody history of the 20th century, find this claim incredible. Yet, as far as I know, every systematic attempt to document the prevalence of violence over centuries and millennia (and, for that matter, the past 50 years), particularly in the west, has shown the overall trend is downward.”

John Horgan, of the Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey, was optimistic “that one day war – large-scale, organised group violence – will end once and for all”.  [snip]


Repost from Mcat, May 3, 2006 31 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in WAR!.

“Dahr Jamail on the horror we wrought”

And all the dead air is alive. With the smell of America’s God.
– Harold Pinter, “War With Iraq”

America needs to stop looking outside, demonising and mythologising “the other” – and look within.  All parties and partisans who supported the Iraq invasion and thus supported Bush and the wider war that is coming…

  Members of the Iraq Peace Team, at the Iraq-Kuwait DMZ area, March 2003

“The Badr are all over the hospital, looking for people,” said the doctor. “The injured brought here sometimes die before even reaching the ward, because the Badr are being obstacles for us. One of the men running our morgue was killed by the Badr. My friends are warning me to be careful, to keep my mouth shut.”

    The numbers are being hidden … and the Badr, operating out of the Ministry of Interior, which is funded by the US, are making sure the numbers remain shrouded.

    Yet on Tuesday of this week, a spokesman at that same hospital, speaking on condition of anonymity of course, announced that in the last 48 hours alone Yarmouk Hospital had received 65 bodies, most of them slaughtered by death squads in execution-style murders. That day they had received 40 bodies, and Monday, 25.

        Benjamin Lowy, Corbis for TIME Magazine

Veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk writes for the Independent in the UK and has reported from the region for over 30 years. He had this to say in a piece written on March 20th titled, “The Iraq War: Three Years On – The march of folly that has led to a bloodbath”:

    “The Iraqis? Well, they are lesser beings whose casualties cannot be revealed to us by the Iraqi ministry of health, on orders from the Americans and British; creatures whose suffering, far greater than our own, must be submerged in the democracy and freedom in which we are drowning them; whose casualties “more or less” [mocking the infamous quote from George W. Bush] are probably nearer to 150,000.

After all, if 1,000 Iraqis could die by violence last July – in Baghdad alone; and if they are being killed at 60 or 70 a day, then we have a near genocidal bloodbath on our hands.

Iraqis, however, are now our Untermenschen for whom, frankly, we do not greatly care.”

         Detainees wait behind a barbed wire fence during a prisoner release at Abu Ghraib prison, Iraq, Oct. 1, 2005. [AP Photo]

  Even the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) humanitarian news agency reported on April 26 that

“More than 90 women become widows each day due to continuing violence countrywide, according to government officials and non-governmental organizations devoted to women’s issues.”

  Basra family Irak 2003

    Another extremely telling point in the IRIN report is that

“Although few reliable statistics are available on the total number of widows in Iraq, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs says that there are at least 300,000 in Baghdad alone, with another eight million throughout the country.”

The report said that at least 15 police officers’ wives are widowed every day, and that local NGOs in Iraq said the situation had become much worse since the 2003 US-led invasion of the country, which has brought horrific violence on a level not seen before.

    “Saddam Hussein was responsible for killing thousands of men during his 25 years of brutal rule,” said Ibtissam Kamal in the IRIN report. Kamal, a member of a local organization that works on the issue but prefers anonymity of the organization for security reasons, added, “But more people have died during the past three years, most of them men …”

      Hooded Iraqi POW with his four year old son

How many more years?

Just last night, Nightline ran a fairly canned piece on the high tech mil facility, at Nellis AFB outside of LV, NV where the computerised war is fought, managing the predator drones that wage a good piece of the war.  It was a pretty up beat piece.  Religion was mentioned as solace for the work done there. 

I don’t think USA! USA! stadium style religion is going to do it.  But try, try and try again.  Whatever fills the electronic void.

Tonight Nightline is covering the “cutthroat” world of admission to elite nursery schools.  Homeland coverage.

“The Predator is the definition of global, ‘netcentric’ warfare,” Harris said. “We fly the airplane, yet we’re connected globally to multiple places on different continents, every day. It’s a normal course of action.”

 How many more years?

Leadership… Fuhrershaft is another word for it… 29 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2004 Election, 2006 Mid Terms, 2008 Election, Big Box Blogs, California / Pacific Coast, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.


This is a mild story of love and perhaps a form of leadership.  I notice the pedalo is much bigger than the black swan, Petra, who has fallen in love with her skewed mirror image…

A couple of years ago I read that in his native Austria they find it difficult sometimes to report on the speeches of Arnold, out here in Reagan’s Morning in America, City on the Hill… California…

He uses “leadership” so often in his speeches and the translation is Fuhrershaft, a verboten word.

I read that one editor in Austria just inserts a standard replacement passage on ‘not raising taxes’ when Arnold talks of ”leadership”.

Well the love of Petra for her large white pedalo is benign… but few forms of leadership are.  Whether fully revealed in the public political arena, on the spurious gag-worthy Blahgs (jerk those pink rhinestone poodle collars!) or hidden behind the various curtains.

I wonder what is to become of us…

She always keeps close to the pedal boat and sometimes even nestles in the hollow area underneath it,” Münster zoo director Jörg Adler told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “She regards it as her firm partner. We’re going to introduce her to some male swans in March to see if she fancies mating with a real swan but I don’t think she does.

   plus ca change... etc 


UPDATE, 5:18 pm

Yes yes yes… let’s kill him too.  After all, it would not be random street violence nor sectarian revenge killing, nor spoils of war killing, nor fodder of war, all sides, killing.  Nor would it be blasting the children to death, as they gather for American sweets in the midst of a dying world…

Yes, let’s kill him too.  A full bore, state sanctioned, Rule of Law killing.  Why not… after all, he is the one who knows all the dirty deals, across the years, with America and her leaders.

Every offer, every bargain, every knock down price.  Absolutely, let’s kill him.  A crime passionel.  Why not.

[E]ven on the relatively ”safe” side of the river, a dizzying assortment of armed men roamed freely. In the space of an hour, we encountered the Badr Organization militia, the Mahdi Army militia, the Kurdish peshmerga militia, the Iraqi police, Interior Ministry commandos, the Iraqi military, American troops, the Oil Protection Force, the motorcade of a Communist Party official and Central Bank guards escorting an armored van.

We drove through one of my favorite districts in hopes of visiting shopkeepers I knew. But they had fled, leaving behind padlocked doors and faded signs for shops whose names now seem ironic rather than catchy: ”Nuts,” ”Ghost Music,” “Once Upon a Time.”

I asked my colleagues to arrange meetings with old Iraqi sources — politicians, professors, activists and clerics — only to be told they had been assassinated, abducted or exiled.

Even Mr. Milk is dead. The grocer we called by the name of his landmark shop in the upscale Mansour district was kidnapped and killed, along with his son, my colleagues said. The owner of a DVD shop where I once purchased a copy of Napoleon Dynamite also had been executed.


So many blindfolded, tortured corpses turn up that an Iraqi co-worker recently told me it was ”a slow day” when 17 bodies were found. Typically, the figure is 40 or more. When the overflowing morgue at Yarmouk Hospital was bombed last month, one of our drivers wearily muttered, “How many times can they kill us?”  [snip]

[thanks to Madman]

Gibson comes on with the ABC evening news.  He says someone, “they”, are worried about retaliations after the execution.

Why worry?  About what?


UPDATE, 6:56 pm


[A]gain, I can’t help but ask myself why this was all done? What was the point of breaking Iraq so that it was beyond repair? Iran seems to be the only gainer. Their presence in Iraq is so well-established, publicly criticizing a cleric or ayatollah verges on suicide. Has the situation gone so beyond America that it is now irretrievable? Or was this a part of the plan all along? My head aches just posing the questions.

What has me most puzzled right now is: why add fuel to the fire? Sunnis and moderate Shia are being chased out of the larger cities in the south and the capital. Baghdad is being torn apart with Shia leaving Sunni areas and Sunnis leaving Shia areas- some under threat and some in fear of attacks. People are being openly shot at check points or in drive by killings… Many colleges have stopped classes. Thousands of Iraqis no longer send their children to school- it’s just not safe.

Why make things worse by insisting on Saddam’s execution now? Who gains if they hang Saddam? Iran, naturally, but who else? There is a real fear that this execution will be the final blow that will shatter Iraq. Some Sunni and Shia tribes have threatened to arm their members against the Americans if Saddam is executed. Iraqis in general are watching closely to see what happens next, and quietly preparing for the worst. [snip]


UPDATE, 9:47 pm

Gonna be a loooong two years… with this much capitulate and bitch from the Paid Campaign / DNC / Unions / NDN / Democracy Alliance / DMI / DLC / Whatever / Whoever / Else Blahgger class:

You don’t have to be an Edwards fan or be convinced he’s the one for ’08 to get that the latest reviews on Edwards’ presidential announcement are not only way off base, but missing the point entirely. Or maybe it’s just that the spending gluttony of splashy campaign starts has jaded us all into believing that if you don’t flaunt it you don’t got it, if you’ll pardon the slang. If that’s the case, then public funding for campaigns, which will make presidential runs less glamorous as well as less expensive, are a non starter.

hmmm I think it is the PAID CLASSES that want to keep the “spending gluttony of splashy campaign starts” going (chocolate fountains anyone?  Warner on a triscuit?  Anyone??)… Fundraising, big and small, is the BlogSnottery’s way in… one of them anyway.  So look to your own self.  And others like you.

And by the way, LOL it is not a movement.  It is a business that is online.  NOT A MOVEMENT (more than one site has moved to full on gag level using “movement”, even recommending other sites as “movement sites” or offering “movement perspective“).

Between Harry Shearer’s Edwards Uses New Orleans as a Backdrop, and Michelle Pilecki’s The Media Disconnect of Edwards’ New Orleans Photo Op, you’ve got to wonder if these two people understand what was going on yesterday. Sorry to pick on them, because they’re not the only ones. Fox ran an old Bill O’Reilly interview with Edwards featuring questions that would be insulting for the local dog catcher.

It’s called an announcement for president not John Edwards solves the problems of NOLA that George W. Bush and his Administration continue to ignore.


No… it is called using New Orleans and her people.  For what is, again and again, fake white missionary work as a veneer for politics.

And it likely was instructive to observe Jimmy Carter at a cross street in Bed Stuy and 4 years later, Reagan at the same cross street.  It was searing then, searing now.

What people are saying is, we don’t see [hear] much that will benefit the American people.  And we feel taken.  It took a reporter’s question for Edwards to even mention the governmental lapses.  Standing in NO, in the Lower Ninth Ward.  Other than that the speeches this week as he moves from NO to Iowa to NH and now to NV are a soft drooly call for people to sacrifice and be patriotic.


How about really calling out the bullshit?

And how about not kissing Edwards shoes and bitching over Shearer’s and Pilecki’s columns… neither of which gave in.  Taylor does not just disagree with the two reviews of Edwards very lame start at Huffpo, she does not want that sort of thing SAID.

Why give in? Especially early on? 

Unless of course shoring up the god damned fucking Democrats is a paid position


hmmm Having a movement, shopping it hard.  A very long two years indeed:

Compare Edwards’ rhetoric — “We can create that change that America needs” — to that of Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” In his 2-minute and 28 second pre-announcement video, he touched on the continuing hot-spot that is Sudan and the rather bizarre and gruesome situation in northern Uganda. It’s almost as if he’s Bill Clinton of the Clinton Foundation-era, having skipped all those years in the White House.

I had convinced myself of before joining up with Mark Warner that it’s okay — healthy even — for us to end up with a Democratic presidential nominee who was not also at the head of a larger (progressive) movement. I think I largely still think that’s true. But Edwards is confusing me because it seems like the latter might be the job that he’s auditioning for.


I thnk Bill just lives on in their minds as the big white pedalo, the object of their love.  And mixing Gandhi and Edwards… ooo so ill-advised I don’t know where to begin.


hmmm Really looooooooong two years.

OK… I stumbled early this week on a mention at the Chronicle (SFGate.com) Technical blog that some “top blogger” had been invited along on the Edwards plane this week.  So I read along from his flight out of Oakland  via Houston into NO…and then along with Edwards this week..

It was massively unedifyingLink to his last post.

And here is <laugh now> a comment of his to his last post on the “hard questions” he asked Edwards that were (satisfyingly to him) answered.

John: I haven’t said anything about his policies on purpose. My blog isn’t about politics. It’s very easy to get a good look at his stances. He was online the other evening for 1.5 hours.


But, here’s my list:


Gay rights. Yes.
War. Pull out, starting now.
Medical care. Wants national medical care.
Stem cell research. For it.
Global Warming. Thinks it’s a place where we need to do a LOT more (gave a bunch of specifics).

I’ll put together a more comprehensive list, if you want. But there are other places to do that. A wiki is much better for that kind of thing.

And, video certainly is better. WHy? Why should I be another gatekeeper on his ideas? Why shouldn’t you just listen to what he said and draw your own conclusions?

Comment by Robert Scoble — December 29, 2006 @ 11:09 pm

God help us.  Oh yes, the blogger did post a link to some photos of HIMSELF that another “going along for the ride” took.

I am sorry, the candidates are buying soft coverage, I have long thought that the sharpest elbows in the game (Scoble just appears to be a rather dull as dishwater geek and likely has some shilling for products in his background) sell the FuckedNutRoots as utterly malleable. 

I also rather think there is open talk of how dissent is shoved to the side.  “Concern trolls” being banished or at the least ridiculed:   Sign me up, I am a Concern Troll. 

Hell why not.

The other thing the candidates are buying is lack of criticism.  Soft slop, blogswarming, building buzz.  Stuff they/staff can check online and feel good about.

No wonder all the “message” and the “massage” is even sloppier than just a few years ago.  Hype the hits.  Hit the links.  Roll those numbers.  Stack up the tulips for Tulipmania!

At one point early on, Scoble said this:

But, I’m not going to write a lot about John Edwards. If you care about what happened here today he’s been doing a different interview every 15 minutes, just follow the reports on Google News, and just stood on the lawn next to a destroyed Ninth Ward home in New Orleans and talked with dozens of press here (I counted 20 video cameras). Translation: you can read a ton about what he said, with a lot more coming soon.

And fuck the American people.  A lot of what goes on in campaigns and online is just a transient flash mob of one sort or another.  But BlogSnots are selling and the poor advertising men (oh yeah, plus HillaryBillary) being run as ”leaders” (also known as fixers) are buying.

The one consistent theme that resonates with me is that Edwards is asking people to get involved to fix America.  The taxi driver yesterday who drove me from the airport said he thought Edwards sounded a lot like John Kennedy. I hear that on the front lawn today.

Sorry.  Soft slop.  Same slop Carville was selling about Edwards in 2003.  At least Scoble got some push back in his threads.


UPDATE, 11:25 am

In fairness to Scoble, he has up two more postings, sort of early assessment at the end of the “compression tour” (my words, not quoting) of a few days on the campaign plane with Edwards…

He comments, in both posts, on some of the limitations of blogging in the firestorm of a political run.  I agree with him. 

As for how bloggers can play in this process? I think we just are going to come up short in coverage of campaigns when compared to the mainstream press. In order to ask really tough, probing questions, you need to build relationships with not just the candidate, but also with the staff. The staff really can decide whether you get him at a good time, or one where he’ll lower his guard a bit — and to really ask a tough question you need to listen to him answer questions thousands of times — that’s when you’ll see his weak points and where to probe more. There’s no way a blogger who comes in fresh without following him around is going to know his weak points, or the questions that he always gets riled up about. I got him a little riled, for instance, when I told him that people thought pulling out of Iraq would destablize the Middle East. I knew that’d get him riled, cause I had seen how he, and his staff, were thinking about that. You’ll see that on video next week too.

There is a tremendous expansion of information with the advent of the internet.  Fabulous.  But the noise and the sell outs (that would be the Blahgers – and the Box Cars tied to Armando and whoever – and others,  the ones tied utterly to elections) went up exponentially. 

Less fab.

Over all of the years, what I get the most from is verbatim transcription.  Full text.  Interview, Q & A, full text speeches.  And then, second, astute observation of the candidate, the campaign and the people from a tiny, tiny number of political writers.

I get a lot from TV.  I would never sign off from observing politics thru the dirty lens… 😉 of corporate owned, bottom line driven television.  And I love the way C-Span just sets up and films.  Lets it roll… Wonderful.

If Nancy had a brain cell operative (she is making herself a gatekeeper, WRONG!), she would agree to what Brian Lamb wants, for C-Span to have their own cameras, under their control, in the House.  But she said “No”.


Enh. BOR-RING! 28 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, The Battle for New Orleans.

    better than the mug of a pol !! 

For what it is worth, which is not a great deal… Balz on the Edwards announce (which will be shown on C-Span 1 tonight at 8 ET).  What I have caught of the announce, well, it is leaden.  Very heavy, airless pastry.

Earlier this week I saw this slide by from Edwards.  Going to be a very, very long two years….

In his e-mail, Edwards said he chose to announce in New Orleans because it demonstrates the power people have to build America when they take responsibility instead of leaving it to Washington.

I don’t even know where to begin with that one.  The failure was the government’s ..willfully abandoning people, before and after Katrina and the ”topping” of the levees, to the enforced destruction of a city (and a coastal region).  THEN the neglect, both malignant and planned, to destroy any sort of decent partnership with citizens’ efforts to rebuild their city, their home.

People should NOT be left to the “mercies” of churches, corporations, criminal business practices (I defy ANYONE to make sense of what the insurance companies are doing in NO, what a fucked mess) the [Southern White Christian Government Compliant] Red Cross.  They need a responsive government, where the various vagueries of “charity” is an “also”…. and not the savior of first, second, third and last resort.

Last but scarcely least, I read recently that as of close of November, Edwards had less than 21K COH… further, his campaign still had debts from 2004 of 300K.

Oh yes, early days… I always think back to an early outing of Kerry’s in NH in the dark, cold, winter days of the early primary efforts.  He met with about 30 – 40 salt of the earth people, in the back dining room of a restaurant.  One woman asked him about NAFTA and his vote (for it!).  She also brought up the suffering in the town from lost jobs.  He barely looked at her and she sat directly in front of the small corner of the room from which he addressed the gathering.  He delivered senatese.  And he appeared bored.  I was disgusted.

I never saw that much changed from then to the conclusion on Nov 3.


On the other hand, Glen Ford at BAR has up an overview of some of the bubbling stories, and a few predictions.  I do agree with his view of Obama and Hillary (what a pair).

[O]bama took great pains early in his term to convince senior Democrats he would be a team player. The question is, Whose team? All indications are that, politically, he’s on the Hillary/Bill Clinton Democratic Leadership Council team. Indeed, the editors of Black Agenda Report have for some time strongly suspected that Barack and Hillary are playing presidential tag-team, in order to hold down the top two funding and popularity slots in the Democratic primary race. The longer the duo can keep this up, the poorer the rest of the field’s prospects.

The Washington Post said as much, on Christmas Eve:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), trading on star power, the capacity to raise tens of millions of dollars with relative ease and an ability to dominate media attention, are rewriting the script of the 2008 Democratic presidential campaign, driving potential rivals to the sidelines and casting a huge shadow over all others who may run.”

It takes courage to run the two-year-long, grueling race for president. Since setting foot on Capitol Hill, Obama has shown great stamina, but nothing in the way of an inclination to challenge entrenched power – and in the Democratic Party, the Clintons ARE power. Obama’s voting record is less progressive than that of his senior senatorial colleague from Illinois, Dick Durbin. Rhetorically – and all we hear from Obama is the blandest of rhetoric – he more closely resembles…Hillary. [snip]

There is more, but that gets to the nut.  They appear apart, but may likely (or surely) end up together.  Makes as much sense as anything…



On the subject of “BOR-RING!”:

Oh Honeeee!  Did not all of Kos’ frantic, reactionary diatribes (for years now) get the “You Hippie!, You!” accusers off your [collective] back?

Speaking personally as the child of two very non-radical apolitical middle class professionals (both of whom grew up in the 1960s), it’s been quite frustrating to essentially be called a dirty hippy for opposing the way that power lies and insults us.  Chris has documented the way that new progressives are called emotional children with no credibility by mainstream pundits and old leftie types alike.  This is a result of many forces, and one of them is ignorance.  They don’t know who we are and they don’t know how we can possibly differ ideologically from the 1968 convention protesters.  And while there are those among us who know and have been through those fights, until recently I wasn’t really aware of the 1960s experience except through the hollow and annoying shell of the single-issue groups and a legacy of a shattered and self-hating collection of frightened liberal politicians.  [snip]

Seems not.  Stoller has up another of his long, interminable wheezes on The Sixties, The Left, New and Otherwise. In fairness, following the first toe dip in the boiling stew of still living history, he seemed to get a thing or two from the replies, emails and reading lists.

But it faded fast:

[N]ow, there certainly are latent movements that exist in parallel, such as the immigrant rights movement, but there’s very little direct interaction between the immigrant rights community and us.  I expect this to change as the forces that have created us are quite massive and are empowering reformers in other communities – it’s only a matter of time before we form alliances.  But race came first in the 1960s, then came the stupid war.  The opposite is true for us.  […]

There’s a lot more, obviously, and I still don’t have a totally clear organizational framework.  [don’t fret, no one does!  -Mcat]  

I will say that the most obvious and probably most important difference is that the 1960s white left was a political and cultural reaction to top-down liberalism, whereas we are most directly a reaction to right-wing extremism.[snip snappy!]

Which makes y’all what you are:  Male White Centrists!  One commenter suggests he read Noam Chomsky… but I wonder if he will.

The sad thing is how much the commenters buy into the notion that the online elections apparatchiks are a “movement”…

Oh sure, I am laughing. What else is new?


Ooops!  Almost forgot this rather troubling comment.  The poster should chill with the yearning and worry, she/he WANTS what amounts to corporate leadership for the nation. 

 I’d like to see older and newer generation liberals give up on the yearning for the charismatic leader. He will not appear. He is JFK, MLK, and RFK, and he is not coming back. We are the leaders we yearn for because we are democracy. Don’t yearn for the other, the savior, the adored one. Just. don’t. do. it.  It’s very very bad for us and prevents us from forming a more perfect union and hiring a competant, experienced, intelligent, skilled CEO of our country’s government, our president.

The corporate model is well in place.  Strange that s/he thinks it is any saner [how could it be?] than the fixers on view…


UPDATE, 5:20 pm

hmmm.  Listening to Edwards speak from NO this am… the part he is on now is that ”America must be the stablising force in the world”.

Nellie bar the door!  Lordy…

But! Madman passed me these from HuffPo…


[N]o, the clue from Edwards’ morning appearances comes from what he says about Iraq. “First,” he told his many questioners this a.m., “tell the truth about how we got here.” Senator Edwards, until you tell the truth about what happened to New Orleans–the truth clearly eluciated by three separate forensic engineering teams and then, belatedly, reluctantly confirmed by the Corps itself in June of this year, the truth that New Orleans was leveled not by a natural disaster but by arguably criminal negligence–your use of the city as a backdrop reminds me not of any of your political heroes. It reminds me of Anderson Cooper.

By the way, who’s he keeping honest these days?

UPDATE: I’ve now seen Edwards’ official announcement speech on C-SPAN. His failure to tell the truth about New Orleans just becomes more glaring: most of the good things that have happened there, he says, have been because of the volunteers who’ve come to town. What’s unsaid: that the volunteers can’t speed up the government and contractors who fail to execute their basic obligations. Most of the good things in New Orleans are, in fact, being done by individuals and community groups precisely because of the abject lack of “good things” being done by responsible agencies. If Edwards doesn’t believe government should work, he should say so. [snip]

… from Michelle Pilecki:

[F]or example, there’s the New York Times blithely captioning the locale as “the backyard of a victim of Hurricane Katrina.” Nary a single reference to the levee failures, which, the NYT reported in May, “were caused by flaws in design, construction and maintenance.”

“People didn’t die because the storm was bigger than the system could handle, and people didn’t die because the levees were overtopped,” said Raymond B. Seed, a professor of engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and the chief author of the report, [told the NYT].

“People died because mistakes were made,” he said, “and because safety was exchanged for efficiency and reduced cost.”

That message was pretty much lost on most media outlets covering Edwards’ announcement, from the Washington Post to the Los Angeles Times. Not that Mr. Edwards himself seems to be deviating from the “meme”: I could find no reference to the defective levees at his website’s blog, just another repetition of the photo-op site as a “home was hit by Katrina.” Hmmm, before he turned to politics, didn’t Mr. Edwards take a great deal of professional interest in defective products and the havoc they wreak on ordinary people? But he takes no interest in the alleged culpability of the US Army Corps of Engineers?  [snip]

Welll I just heard the whole of it from Edwards.  It was glib and empty.

Sad more than anything else…


UPDATE, 10:15 pm

hmmm Not so bor-ring:   Further revelations from Woodward, for the FP of the Wapo tomorrow…

[T]his and other previously unpublished transcripts of their calls, documents and personal letters provide a portrait of an intensely personal friendship dating to the late 1940s but so hidden that few others were even aware of it. Until now, the relationship between the two presidents has been portrayed largely as a matter of political necessity, with Nixon tapping Ford for the vice presidency in late 1973 because he was a confirmable choice on Capitol Hill.

But the tapes, documents and two lengthy recent interviews with Ford before his death this week, conducted for a future book and embargoed until after his death, show that the close political alliance between the two men seriously influenced Ford’s eventual decision to pardon Nixon, the most momentous decision of his short presidency and almost certainly the one that cost him any chance of winning the White House in his own right two years later. Ford became president on Aug. 9, 1974; he pardoned Nixon just a month later. “I think that Nixon felt I was about the only person he could really trust on the Hill,” Ford said during the 2005 interview.

Ford returned the feeling.

“I looked upon him as my personal friend. And I always treasured our relationship. And I had no hesitancy about granting the pardon, because I felt that we had this relationship and that I didn’t want to see my real friend have the stigma,” Ford said in the interview. [snip]

Might as well laugh…couple of gang members, scratching each other’s backs.  Close friends from the 40s. 


oh and what is this with headlines that Ford opposed the war?  Or thought it not justified?  Tut, tut.  How many mouths do pols have? The answer, as many as they need

NY Daily News:

[F]ord was a few weeks shy of his 93rd birthday as we chatted for about 45 minutes. He’d been visited by President Bush three weeks earlier and said he’d told Bush he supported the war in Iraq but that the 43rd President had erred by staking the invasion on weapons of mass destruction.

“Saddam Hussein was an evil person and there was justification to get rid of him,” he observed, “but we shouldn’t have put the basis on weapons of mass destruction. That was a bad mistake. Where does [Bush] get his advice?” [snip]

Maybe soon ol’ Ger will stop talking.


UPDATE, 12:15 am Friday


Six Nations Want All Troops Out of Iraq

December 28, 2006

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – A majority of adults in five European countries and the United States believe the coalition effort should come to an end, according to a poll by Harris Interactive for France 24 and Le Monde. 90 per cent of respondents in France and 84 per cent of respondents in Spain support the withdrawal of all troops from Iraq.

Britain is next on the list with 83 per cent, followed by Germany with 82 per cent, Italy with 77 per cent, and the U.S. with 66 per cent.  [snip]

You notice they are all measurably smarter than we are… and it only took us FIVE FUCKING YEARS.  As Afghanistan is poised to fall… Next.

Of course, Gerald Ford had to die first, before he, thru Woodward, “got it” (if he ever did…).

What a country.  What is left to say?


UPDATE, 4:55 am…

Norman Finkelstein on Jimmy’s book:

[I]f it’s “foolish and unfair,” “irresponsibly provocative” and “dangerous and anti-Semitic” to make the apartheid comparison, then the roster of commentators who have gone awry is rather puzzling. For example, a major 2002 study of Israeli settlement practices by the respected Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem concluded: “Israel has created in the Occupied Territories a regime of separation based on discrimination, applying two separate systems of law in the same area and basing the rights of individuals on their nationality. This regime is the only one of its kind in the world, and is reminiscent of distasteful regimes from the past, such as the apartheid regime in South Africa.” A more recent B’Tselem publication on the road system Israel has established in the West Bank again concluded that it “bears striking similarities to the racist Apartheid regime,” and even “entails a greater degree of arbitrariness than was the case with the regime that existed in South Africa.” (7)  [snip]


UPDATE, 10:54 am Friday…

This bit of grand and accurate metaphor grace a Miss Devore…

[T]he “Little Sister in the Frat House” image has come to me often while reading DKos.  Since last year, when I suggested women’s issues to Gina as a topic for Yearly Kos and heard vague and conflicting responses from her – and then, after YKos, when there was a panel of some sort about feminism, but it hardly rated a mention afterwards, and none at all from the Front Pagers – I’ve been worried that feminists here are backing off and allowing their concerns to be subsumed into the “Bigger Picture”.  I’m worried that feminists are yet again – as many of them were in the ’60s – allowing themselves to be the watercarriers, the coffee-makers, the toilet-scrubbers, the “support staff”, the cheerleaders, the strippers and sex toys to the Big Boys who are really the movers and shakers and the ones getting their ideas across.  

Time and again I hear responses to the effect of:

 “Yes, yes, we’re going to pay attention to your ideas and your issues when we get in power, but right now we have to focus on getting our people elected.”  Can you get me another coffee, and by the way – nice tits! [snip]

Well, yes.  There is a reason some of us are gone.  I was there for political discussion.  Had I wished, aspired to be a chew toy of sorts, well…  LOL, as it happens, I did not.  Others did.


Oh surely this is not a threesome? 27 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in Culture of Death, DC Politics, Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.

You know the old adage… Deaths come in threes.  But I do reject Gerry Ford as the whip end of Ahmet and James Brown.  No no.  And no again!

It is clear… we have a phenomenal music threesome to play out… and ol’ Gerry will start off a threesome.  Or! As a bright bulb lights over my blonde hair:  we could say Turkmenistan started it off and Gerry is Numero Two.

That does sort of fit.

C-Span played an early speech of his this am… 1954.  Nice little paper map of SE Asia pinned to the wall behind him.  He called it Veet-Nam.  Not much esle was right.  He assured us of dominoe theories,  Commies, both Red Chinese and Soviet, were slathering to suck our blood [Nosferatu!] and there were NO NO NO plans to send US troops.  Oh, and Cambodia, Laos and Veet-nam understood ”we wanted their freedom”.  And believe it or not, he said our advisors were there ”to ensure our equipment was used properly” and ”did not fall into the wrong hands”.

Oh Irony.  Satire.  We are a living joke.  And a horror.

Someone has got to break the scripts.  And to think, Hollywood is Prime USDA Choice part of the US.  Can we get better scripts? 


more to come I am sure… 😉


UPDATE, 10:21 am…

Well… On to the Wars!

Here is a dicey tid bit… I had been hunting for something different about the Fords (it came out during one of the runs, probably ’76, that the Fords had not written checks to cash for many, many years, 15 or more… but, long ago and small potatoes) and landed on this:

[T]he original first draft of the Warren Commission Report stated that a bullet had entered Kennedy’s “back at a point slightly above the shoulder and to the right of the spine.” Ford realized that this provided a serious problem for the single bullet theory. As Michael L. Kurtz has pointed out (The JFK Assassination Debates): “If a bullet fired from the sixth-floor window of the Depository building nearly sixty feet higher than the limousine entered the president’s back, with the president sitting in an upright position, it could hardly have exited from his throat at a point just above the Adam’s apple, then abruptly change course and drive downward into Governor Connally’s back.”

In 1997 the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) released a document that revealed that Ford had altered the first draft of the report to read: “A bullet had entered the base of the back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine.” Ford had elevated the location of the wound from its true location in the back to the neck to support the single bullet theory. [snip]

You just get so tired of the soldiers, the made men of both parties.

Either you get truth, or you get lies.  If you alter reports meant to reassure (oh sure) the “American people” well, why do we fuss that evolution is losing out and belief in angels is rising? 

And for anyone missing Hunter Thmpson here is a really good scrawl in the piece he wrote at the time Nixon died (1994):

[I]t is Nixon himself who represents that dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character that almost every country in the world has learned to fear and despise. Our Barbie-doll president, with his Barbie-doll wife and his boxful of Barbie-doll children is also America’s answer to the monstrous Mr. Hyde. He speaks for the Werewolf in us; the bully, the predatory shyster who turns into something unspeakable, full of claws and bleeding string warts, on nights when the moon comes too close….

At the stroke of midnight in Washington, a drooling red-eyed beast with the legs of a man and head of a giant hyena crawls out of its bedroom window in the South Wing of the White House and leaps 50 feet down to the lawn … pauses briefly to strangle the chow watchdog, then races off into the darkness…toward the Watergate, snarling with lust, loping through the alleys behind Pennsylvania Avenue and trying desperately to remember which one of those 400 iron balconies is the one outside Martha Mitchell’s apartment.

Ah…nightmares, nightmares. But I was only kidding. The President of the United States would never act that weird. At least not during football season. But how would the voters react if they knew the President of the United States was, according to a New York Times editorial on Oct. 12, presiding over “a complex, far-reaching and sinister operation on the part of White House aides and the Nixon campaign organization … involving sabotage, forgery, theft of confidential files, surveillance of Democratic candidates and their families and persistent efforts to lay the basis for possible blackmail and intimidation?”


UPDATE, 4:20 pm…

Cat descendant, Hemingway House, Key West FL

Honestly, I did not want a pic of Ford, or Carter or Nixon or any of them on the page today.  I can only stand so much indigestion…

But Madman popped me this on what seems to be, with much fur flying down at the Hemingway house in Key West … a dispute between neighbors… but then I spied this in the text (quickly catapulted it to important political story!):

At the height of the USDA’s investigation of the museum, the agency rented a room in a guesthouse near the Hemingway property in order to videotape the cats.

If there are no Quakers protesting the war, there will always be cats to surveille.  Or, rather, try to surveille.


Christmas Night Open Thread 25 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in Divertissements, Germany, Israel/AIPAC.

  Romerberg Christmas  Market in Frankfurt

Well… no doubt highly impolitic on Christmas Day… but Hedges is more blunt than ever:  Get Carter in the January 8 issue of The Nation.

Catch the last graf…

 [W]hen Rabin, who had come to despise what the occupation was doing to the citizenry of his own country, was sworn in as prime minister, the leaders of these American Jewish organizations, along with their buffoonish supporters on the Christian right, were conspicuous by their absence. On one of Rabin’s first visits to Washington after he assumed office, according to one of his aides, he was informed that a group of American Jewish leaders were available to meet him. The surly old general, whose gravelly cigarette voice seemed to rise up from below his feet, curtly refused. He told his entourage he did not have time to waste on “scumbags.”

One thing I am hoping for in The New Year:   more and more public people cut the last tie… that Ray McGovern drops obeisance to Poppy, that Hersh stops pulling his punches over Israel…

I recently saw a quote from Moyers calling CPB – and certainly PBS – to become radical… BRAVO!

We want more of that!


Found the Moyers quote at Danny Schechter’s News Dissector:


Bill Moyers: “In public broadcasting we need to get back to the revolutionary spirit of dissent and courage that brought us into existence in the first place, and this country does, too.


Noël Open Thread 23 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC.



Well, first I landed on this article from Katz, at Counterpunch.  Just fascinating.  I had known that people fled to the unincorporated (under the Spanish flag) lands of what is now Florida, to escape the nation that was forming… but this has so much wonderful information.

[I]n July 1816, General Andrew Jackson, Commander of the U.S. Southern District, ordered Army, Navy and Marine units to invade Florida, then under the flag of Spain. Jackson acted, probably on orders from President James Madison, without a Congressional declaration of war. Neither Spain nor its colonial outpost posed a threat to the U.S. or its citizens. Rather, the President and the General–both prominent slaveholders–had concluded that the slave economy and its human “property” were threatened by the several thousand Native Americans and African Americans, including escaped slaves, who had united in the Seminole Nation on Florida soil.  [snip]

Then… I landed on a sort of ”book end” article, also by Katz, at Black Agenda Report

[T]his former paratrooper seems to spring from a time when Africans and Indians armed and united to fight the first European invasion. For inspiration Chavez can reach back to the misty dawn of the foreign landings when heroic Black and African men and women rose to battle invading armies and their Christian missionaries. In 1819 Simon Bolivar, also of African and Indian lineage and the Founding Father of South America’s Revolution, became the first elected President of Venezuela. Vicente Guerrero, an illiterate Black Indian guerilla General during the Mexican Revolution, took his army into the Sierra Madre mountains where he trained them to wrest their country from Spain’s colonialism – and also taught himself to read and write. Mexico’s ruling white elite mocked his lack of education and called him a “triple-blooded outsider.” But in 1829 after Guerrero came down from his mountain refuge, he became President of Mexico, the first Black Indian head of state. Guerrero wrote Mexico’s constitution, emancipated its slaves, ended racial discrimination and abolished the death penalty.

His foes in Venezuela also consider Chavez a racial outsider, but the faces of millions of his supporters refute the charge, and his message continues to triumph at the polls. He seems to relish his role as Latin America’s chief antagonist to the Bush administration. Many believe his audacity instills courage and provides cover for Latin American leaders who have the audacity to challenge the giant to the north.  [snip]

AND:  Glen Ford has a further companion piece up at BAR, on Chavez.  With some dee-licious left kicks at Rangel and others who appeared to lose their minds when Chavez poked at Bush in his speech to the UN….

[H]ugo Chavez is waking folks up. His discounting, sharing and bartering of Venezuela’s most valuable natural resource, oil, is but one part of a larger vision of cooperation among peoples, that could serve as a model to resist, combat and replace the Global Rule-Of-Capital Order. Cuba, for example, has little oil, but doctors aplenty. Capitalism is incapable of fairly distributing medical services or of maintaining any other edifice of civilization that is not based on ever-escalating rates of profit for the rulers – a formula for vast suffering and eventual global collapse. In return for discounted oil, Venezuela imports more than 10,000 Cuban doctors to tend to the needs of the poor Venezuelan majority. That’s functional solidarity outside the dollar-dominated Order. The quality of life of both nations is enhanced through rational, voluntary exchange, rather than the coercive, race-to-the bottom international relationships of late-stage, armed-to-the-teeth global capitalism.  [snip] 

Remembering this… well, let’s just say it will be interesting to watch the Democrats.  They are on the Front Burner now.  And it is possible they underestimate the anger of the electorate.  We shall see…

[“T]his is one country, whether we’re Democrat or Republicans,” said Rangel, in a bizarre outburst after Chavez called George Bush “the Devil” the at the United Nations, in September. “And to come here, at the invitation of our people, and insult the president of the United States, you insult the flag; you insult the president; you insult the country; and you insult my constituents.”

In other variations of his weird rant, Rangel spoke of “my president” being so cruelly maligned – a kind of twist on the old “Is we sick, boss?” Black servant line. (“Is we insulted, boss?”)

Later, Rangel “clarified” his remarks, reiterating his “extreme displeasure” with Chavez’s “personal and disparaging” characterization of Bush as Beelzebub. Chavez’s demeaning public attack against [Bush] is viewed by Republicans and Democrats, and all Americans, as an attack on all of us.”  [snip]

I never bought into that “my president” business.  I’d rather be wary – of them all.

[A]lthough Rangel’s rant is three-month-old news, it remains one of the baldest, most pitiful recent examples of contradiction in the behavior of a supposedly progressive African American politician. Rangel’s irate expression of solidarity with Bush – the most virulently anti-Black president since Woodrow Wilson segregated the federal bureaucracy in 1913 – clashes violently with the president’s own total lack of solidarity with African Americans. Nevertheless, Rangel maintains that an insult to Bush is “an attack on all of us.” ( Tonto’s rejoinder, “What you mean we, White Man?” comes to mind.)

Rep. Rangel maintains that an insult to Bush is ‘an attack on all of us.’”

Nonplussed, Chavez traveled to Harlem’s Mount Olivet Baptist Church. “They told me that I should be careful after I called [Bush] the devil — and I think he is the devil — because he might kill me,” Chavez told the overflow crowd in Rangel’s own district. Bush has been trying to dispose of Chavez at least since the U.S.-inspired April, 2002 coup attempt, yet murderous designs on the part of “his” president mean less to Rangel than perceived insults “to us all” from the crinkly-haired brown Latino bearing gifts, Hugo Chavez.

Rangel’s misplaced solidarity can be partially explained by comments from “his” House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, the purported progressive from San Francisco. Chavez, she said, “is an everyday thug” who “demeaned himself and he demeaned Venezuela.”


UPDATE, 11 pm

Saw this at Angry Arab:

The ambitions proclaimed when the neo-cons’ mission statement “The Project for the New American Century” was declared in 1997 have turned into disappointment and recriminations as the crisis in Iraq has grown. “The Project for the New American Century” has been reduced to a voice-mail box and a ghostly website. A single employee has been left to wrap things up. (thanks Hicham)

posted by As’ad @ 9:54 PM

wellll… it would be better if more than just the website would become “ghostly”.  I still see those “PNACers” around.  Harlan Ullman for one, the planner of “Shock and Awe” bombing of Baghdad and elsewhere, was just in the audience at a panel in DC, broadcast on C-Span

Finito Benito, as I say to thwart the censors… :), finito Benito would be too good for the PNACers.


UPDATE, 11:45 am Sunday

In reference to the comments from DT in the thread… I noticed this at Angry Arab:

Look at this story in the Washington Post. You always brace yourself when the Washington Post comes out with its monthly token story on one African-American. This story is like: a black man who does not want to be black. Look at the crux of this article:

“For his entire life, Mason had been determined to not be defined by race.”

How can you not be defined by race when everybody around you defines you by race? How can you not be defined by race in a deeply racist society?

posted by As’ad @ 11:47 PM link


Via Electronic Intifada:

  Palestinian drssed as Santa, at The Wall, nr Bethlehem in the West Bank


UPDATE, 3:10 pm Sunday

body bag in Ramadi Kevin Drum could not be more mistaken.  I landed on his post thru IOZ’s post.    Has he figured out NOTHING about the pro-war, the hard right conservatives?   Does he understand nothing of “escalation” and what that means?   I caught someone on one of the cables last night, in answer to a query about Iraq, say “it was hard to face losing after 30 years of movies with a happy ending”.  I am not kidding. 

People who believe Vietnam “could be won” BELIEVE the Rambo and Rocky movies (and for anyone who does not know, Stallone sat out Vietnam on Lac Leman, hanging with the Crown Prince of Ethiopia and screwing half of Europe, he was NOT in Vietnam).  And remember, there is a new Rocky movie out…


More… Opera Glasses and Popcorn… ;) 22 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Cuba, DC Politics, Iran, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, Paris, Seymour Hersh, The Battle for New Orleans, WAR!.

  Christmas market at Gare St Lazare Paris 

Couple of meaty interviews … 😉

Gore Vidal in Cuba

 [S]ince Woodrow Wilson left the oval office in 1921, no US president writes his own speeches. The president reads what other people write. Sometimes the President agrees with it, and sometimes he doesn’t. Eisenhower used to read his speeches as if he were discovering something new on the paper. During his first presidency, the country was astonished when he said in the middle of a speech: “If I’m elected president I will go to.Korea!?” He was serious. Nobody had said anything to him before that surprise. But anyway, he went to Korea.

Well had the American people seen that and if we had a media that was interested in the Republic, and not in profits, the whole story would have been different; after all, Albert Gore did win the election in 2000 by the popular vote, some 600,000 votes ahead of Bush. And eventually the intervention of the Supreme Court into that election falsified the entire election. So we became overnight a banana republic without any bananas to sell. And that is our problem at the moment. [snip]

…and some snips via Democracy NOW! from a conversation between Hersh and Ritter a few weeks ago at the School for Ethical Culture in Manhattan…

[W]ell, guess what. The Israelis talk about tunnels in Iran. And there are tunnels in Iran. The Iranians have been working with the North Koreans for the last couple decades to perfect deep tunneling techniques, and they are boring in the ground. You saw all those little Hezbollah tunnels in South Lebanon that were so effective against the Israelis? They were dug by the Iranians with North Korean assistance. That comes from the Iranians themselves. And they’re doing the same thing in Iran today. And the Israelis are detecting this deep tunneling activity, and they’re sending elements in to do reconnaissance on that, but they’re not finding any evidence of nuclear-related activity, because there isn’t any going on.

But again, thanks to konseptsia, Gilad, and the way the Israelis now do their assessments, they immediately equate deep tunneling and a nuclear enrichment program to mean that there’s a secret underground nuclear weapons program. Faith-based analysis has trumped fact-based analysis, and because of the pressure put on American policymakers by the Israeli lobby, our own government has now embraced this point of view. And this is very dangerous, ladies and gentleman, because if we accept at face-value, without question, the notion of a nuclear weapons program in Iran, that means the debate’s over. It’s over, because if Iran has a nuclear weapons program that operates in violation of international law, it’s very easy for American policymakers to talk about the imperative to confront this.  [snip]  



UPDATE, 7:22 pm Friday

Oh this did give me a laughThe New Republican, the Nationalist Review… who knows anymore.  It is all congealing:

And to All a Good Night

The National Review Online today features what you might charitably call a symposium, though without all that gay shit Plato had to—you’ll pardon the expression—shove in there. It’s called “Christmas at War,” and I imagine a heavy period to lend a little gravity to the pronunciation thereof: “Christmas. At War.” It is not to be confused with the War on Christmas, which is a discrete portion of a wider ideological struggle. If you’d asked me just hours ago if I believed that any table of contents would ever achieve the same gauzy silliness doing drag as necessary commentary as was achieved by this recent edition of TNR, I wouldn’t have believed it. And yet: [snip]


UPDATE, Saturday 11:30 am

Byron Dorgan, with Sherrod Brown, has an opinion piece in the Wapo on Free Trade.  I had caught Dorgan on three different occasions in extended interview during 2006… twice I heard him discuss how hard to impossible it was for him to get an opinion piece in the m ajor papers.  Inevitably that means the Democrats squashed it, TOO.  So, I take a smidgen of hope, the faint stain of memory of hope, in seeing this opinion piece… 😉

[E]qually important, by enabling this kind of trade, the agreements force U.S. workers to accept cuts in their pay and benefits so their employers can compete with low-wage foreign producers. And those workers are the lucky ones. Millions of others have lost their jobs as corporations moved overseas to build the same products with cheap foreign labor. It is no coincidence that salaries and wages today are the lowest percentage of gross domestic product since the government began keeping track of this in 1947.  [snip]

I also heard Sherrod in his acceptance speech state, flat out, “We must get out of Iraq”… if the smart, informed from the ground progressives (however flawed) agree to silence and collusion for some 2008 elevation… well, last nail.


To balance out that smidgen (lest anyone think I fell into some bottomless well of false hope), is this from Uchitelle in the NYT (via TruthOut):

[T]he decades immediately after World War II were the heyday of the federal minimum wage. Without following any particular formula, Congress periodically ended up setting it at roughly one-half the average hourly pay of the nation’s production workers. That average is nearly $17 an hour today; half would be $8.50. By 2009 it is likely to be close to the $9 that Ms. Rios seeks.

    Spurred on by last month’s election results, the populist wing of the Democratic Party is calling for a return to the old standard. Sherrod Brown, newly elected to the Senate from Ohio, is in that group. So is the AFL-CIO, which says that its success in getting out the vote this fall entitles it to a bigger voice in Democratic Party policy.

    But they are meeting political resistance from the moderates in the party. Trying to push the populist case, the Economic Policy Institute, a labor-oriented research center, posted a statement in late November calling for an increase in the minimum to $8 an hour in 2009 instead of the $7.25 proposed by the party leaders. That recommendation was quickly withdrawn, however, under pressure from the leadership.

    “Our friends on Capitol Hill said our statement would be heard as criticizing the Democrats,” said Ross Eisenbrey, the institute’s policy director. “It would not be perceived as encouragement to do more; it would be perceived as raining on the parade.”

    In a second statement, issued this month, the Economic Policy Institute finally endorsed the increase to $7.25, stipulating that once Congress approved this amount, a second bill should be introduced to raise it to a higher $8 in 2009.

    Senator-elect Brown and the AFL-CIO have taken similar stands, wanting more but nevertheless endorsing the bill that the Democratic leadership intends to introduce in the first 100 hours of the new Congress.  [snip]


This is a good slap of political coal in the Christmas stocking… and an interesting twist on tired old “Fitzmas” fizzle/sizzle:

[I]f Obama decides to run, there will be some sort of news conference with the Daleys, where national political writers can decide if they wish to keep drinking the Obama Kool-Aid or ask a difficult question.

It’s difficult because it is not Axelrod-approved and doesn’t reflect the gauzy Obama narrative, but here it is:

If elected president, do you promise to keep U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago?

Here’s why this is critically important to understanding Obama’s national commitment to ethics and reform.

Daley’s City Hall is finally under siege by federal grand juries investigating truckloads of corruption. Included are the mayor’s illegal patronage armies that elected U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Tomczak), an irritating detail avoided by the national press for fear of being considered rude and parochial.

Illinois Republicans are also quivering.

The massive and bipartisan state pension fund scandal threatens Illinois Republican boss and Bush White House connection Robert Kjellander, treasurer of the Republican National Committee, who has not been indicted but is referred to in federal documents as “Individual K.” [snip]

Kass at the Chicago Trib doesn’t much like Rahm and is suspicious of Obama hype, so he lets loose with some interesting columns… 😉


UPDATE, 12:54 pm Saturday…

via Truth Out:

FEMA Not Required to Restore Aid to Evacuees, Court Rules
    By Shaila Dewan
    The New York Times

    Saturday 23 December 2006

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency does not have to reinstate immediately rental assistance to evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled yesterday, reversing a decision that a lower court judge had said he hoped would “get these people a roof over their heads before Christmas.”

    But FEMA still has to comply with part of the earlier order by the judge, Richard J. Leon of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, by providing families with clear explanations why they were denied assistance.

    Responding to the ruling by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, FEMA officials said they would immediately suspend plans to provide the money, leading to criticism from evacuees and their advocates.

    “It’s another setback,” Wanda Jones, an evacuee in Houston, said in a statement issued by Acorn, the housing advocacy group that filed the lawsuit. “It’s like a terrible roller coaster ride. Every time we go up, when we come down we lose more people.”  [snip]


Opera Glasses and Popcorn… ;) 20 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in Big Box Blogs, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, WAR!.

  The O'Rellys perform in Paris, 1930s 

 I noticed this at the AFP wire

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A senior US diplomat implicitly confirmed a report that Israel‘s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had met with senior officials from Saudi Arabia.

Dick Jones, the US ambassador to Israel, said he had no detailed information on the meeting in Amman first reported by an Israeli weekly publication when asked by journalists about rumors of a diplomatic warming between the two countries.

“I think it is a very important development that this contact was announced. I don’t have any particular details on it, but the very fact that they would be, first of all, able to communicate and be willing to communicate, shows very serious approach.” [snip]

AFP called it “implicit confirmation”… and previously I had seen this at Angry Arab

I have not written on the sudden resignation of Prince Turki Al-Faysal (he wanted “to spend time with his family”, an official statement said–the same excuse that US politicians use when they resign for reasons that have nothing to do with the sudden love of one’s family).

I am waiting to learn more about it. One source today told me that Turki recently met with Olmert, and the news of the meeting rankled some in the (dysfunctional) royal family.

posted by As’ad @ 5:49 PM link

I think I can still put 2 and 2 together… 

By the by, as various B-B-Blahhgers deign to play Shut the Various and Sundry Fucking Pie Hole games

THIS is how it is said (from Hotline’s Blogometer):

IRAQ: Homecomings And Accountability

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D_CA) addressed Daily Kos readers 11/27:

Americans did not give my party a mandate simply to “work with the President,” or to wait for cues from a blue-ribbon committee. …The message is clear – the American public has directed the Democratic Party to be bold, to change course on Iraq, with the main goal of bringing our troops home. … Congress has the power to end this occupation. We must stand up to our responsibility and bring every pressure to bear on this Administration. We must use every lever and pursue any avenue to hold them accountable for their immeasurable failures in Iraq. This isn’t just another priority for the new Congress. According to the voters who have elected us, this is the 110th Congress’ most solemn duty.

… and NOT the drooly nearly Republican bullshit (oh yes Reid revised, big whoop) that Hill-a-ree and Reid have dished out.  It’s a pity that all Reid has to do is jerk the BBB chains… those pink rhinestone studded chains…

When you softly, gently, bi partisanly, murmuringly agree to escalation of war (surge!) you are not working toward a short timeline for withdrawal.

You are signing on to devastation, for political gain. Further, it is flat out immoral.

It seems the BBB still buy (and the Dems are still selling) that most of elected DC, lobbyist DC and various hangers on, relatives, and pets ”knew nuthin'” about what was coming down the pike when they voted on the IWR in October, 2002.  They voted for the ”threat of war” and now they are facilitating a little surge.

Bull Fucking Shit.

Again from Lynn Woolsey:

”This isn’t just another priority for the new Congress. According to the voters who have elected us, this is the 110th Congress’ most solemn duty.”


UPDATE, 4:42 am Thursday…

Alexander Cockburn notes what Norman Solomon of FAIR has said, the cacophony has been rising for more troops to Iraq:

[F]rom the Republican defeats at the November 7 polls through to the publication of the Iraq Study Group report, there was a window for Washington to commence diplomatic operations to get out with all speed.

That opportunity has almost gone. Now a decisive moment approaches. The Democratic leadership — Pelosi, Reid, Emanuel, Biden — is recommending that the Democrats in Congress vote to approve the supplemental budget appropriation early next year, probably $160 billion, which will give Bush enough money to keep the war going till he leaves town.

Enough Democrats have always been available to push these appropriations through, sometimes by huge majorities or, in the Senate, unanimous agreement.

Here’s the record of shame:

By 2004, when it was clear a disaster was unfolding and after Iraq’s alleged WMDs had been exposed as frauds invented by US and British intelligence agencies and the press: HR 4613 — Final House Vote July 22, 2004: 410-12. Final Senate Vote July 22, 2004: 96-0.

In 2005, by which time it was clear that the US attack had spawning civil war, plus staggering corruption — HR 1268: Final House Vote May 5, 2005: 368-58. Final Senate Vote May 10, 2005: 100-0. HR 2863: Final House Vote December 19, 2005: 308-106. Final Senate Vote December 21, 2005: 93-0.

By 2006 the American people were turning decisively against the war. Bush’s ratings were among the lowest in presidential history. Up came HR 4939: Final House Vote June 13, 2006: 351-67. Final Senate Vote June 15, 2006: 98-1. HR 5631 — Final House Vote September 26, 2006: 394-22. Final Senate Vote September 29, 2006: 100-0.

Years ago, my father used to tell me that when it came to assessing the likely policy of the British Labor Party, the best approach was to figure out the worst option available, and then proceed under the assumption that this was the course the Party would adopt. Here in the U.S. I’ve always applied this useful journalistic rule to the Democrats, with unfailing success. Never for a moment, after November 7, did I doubt that Reid and the others would do the wrong thing.

As we warned after the election, the role of the Democrats will be to ease through a troop increase. This prediction has turned out to be 100 per cent accurate.  [snip]

As I post this the Pakistani ambassador to the US, Mahmud Ali Durrani, is on C-span.  It is very hard to take. He bleats for more troops, more money, more gunships… and last, “no chinks in our armour”.  Afghanistan, Pakistan and  the US should ”stand together”. “You [meaning the US] started a job and you need to finish it”.  He says… 

I am sick to death of smiling, snide, lecturing puppets.  Here or there…

We are killing ourselves from within and being drawn into complicated cons from without…


UPDATE, 6:27 am

Bob Parry / Consortium News:

[S]o far, however, Bush has confronted stiff opposition from the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to the plan for raising troop levels in Iraq, partly because the generals don’t think it makes sense to commit more troops without a specific military mission.

    But it’s unclear how much the generals know about the expanded-war agenda which has been discussed sometimes in one-on-one meetings among the principals – Bush, Olmert and Blair – according to intelligence sources.

    Since the Nov. 7 congressional elections, the three leaders have conducted a round-robin of meetings that on the surface seem to have little purpose. Olmert met privately with Bush on Nov. 13; Blair visited the White House on Dec. 7; and Blair conferred with Olmert in Israel on Dec. 18. 

[add in the article referenced at the top of this post, high level Saudis, possibly al Turki, have met with Olmert  – Mcat]

    All three leaders could salvage their reputations if a wider war broke out in the Middle East and then broke in their favor.

[and for the insane, esp the fucking Xtian insane, the answer is more war  – Mcat]

    Bush and Blair spearheaded the March 2003 invasion of Iraq that has since turned into a disastrous occupation. In August 2006, Olmert launched offensives against Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, drawing international condemnation for the deaths of hundreds of civilians and domestic criticism for his poorly designed war plans.

    The three leaders also find themselves cornered by political opponents. Bush’s Republican Party lost control of both the House and Senate on Nov. 7; Blair succumbed to pressure from his own Labour Party and agreed to step down in spring 2007; and Olmert is suffering from widespread public disgust over the failed Lebanese war.

    Yet, despite these reversals, the three leaders have rebuffed advice from more moderate advisers that they adopt less confrontational strategies and consider unconditional negotiations with their Muslim adversaries.  [snip]

This is the close:

   In early 2007, the revival of this neoconservative strategy of using the Israeli military to oust the Syrian government and to inflict damage on Iran’s nuclear program may represent a last-ditch – and high-risk – gamble by Bush and the neocons to salvage their historic legacy.

    If that is the case, then Bush will approve “the surge” in U.S. forces into Iraq, which likely will be followed by some provocation that can be blamed on Syria or Iran, thus justifying the expanded war.

    Betting the lives of American soldiers and countless civilians across the Middle East, Bush will follow the age-old adage of gambling addicts: in for a dime, in for a dollar.

And damn the Democrats to hell if they collaborate


Winter Solstice Open Thread… ;) 19 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in Big Box Blogs, Bolivia - Evo Morales, Brazil - Lula, DC Politics, Democrats, Europe, Germany, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, South America, Venezuela - Chavez, Viva La Revolucion!, WAR!.

Snowboarder on the Zugspitz, Germany's highest peak [spiegel.de]

From Spiegel.de

[A]ccording to a recent European climate study, winter sports lovers are suffering from the warmest Alpine temperatures in some 1,300 years. The unseasonable temperatures have forced ski resorts to offer hiking holidays and bears to seek out new, colder hideaways for their winter hibernation.

The Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera reported over the weekend that from Piemont to Venice, “only 50 percent of the slopes are skiable.” Some Italian ski slope and cable car operators have asked the government to declare a state of emergency and compensate them for their lost business. Evidently, not many ski bums were keen to trade in their snowboards for hiking boots.  [snip]


UPDATE, 11:30 am

As we seem to be in Europe… Who is IOZ builds off the  Anne Applebaum column in the Wapo:

[E]urope is rightfully skeptical of military solutions, and despite long talk of a unified European security force, there’s no European constituency pushing for an American-style interventionist military to bestride the globe enforcing some sort of social-democratic-values hegemony. This, of course, is what Applebaum means when she says no one “here” believes that Europe “is going to replace the United States anytime soon.”

In their failure to take over our failures are they damned.  […]

The West, in this formulation, is as fanciful a political entity as the rightwinger’s fearful caliphate (from Borneo to Bilbao and back again!). What possible “unified policy . . . and joint strategy” can emerge? What possible good would a war fought under the NATO banner–that seems to be what Applebaum is really advocating–do that a war fought under the American banner is not doing? What, precisely, is a “resurgent Iran.” The last time Iran surged, so to speak, the Safavids were running a pseudo-Sufi empire and the powers of Europe were busy giving smallpox to the native population of North America.  [snip]

Where do these sloppy columnists, opinion writers, editorialists come from?  And there are so many of them.  They spawn, rather spontaneously obviously…

In other non-noooz, Biden is on C-Span endlessly talking…  The relentless and endless Road to the White House series (gonna be a dull two years if no one breaks the scripts)…  Can no one pull the plug on the evident uselessness of public political conversation (or whatever it is) in America?


Too good not to repeat… 😉 

posted without further comment (none needed)…

[A]nyone who has ever spent any degree of time as a prominent blogger knows full well that there are a lengthy and strict series of accountability norms and mechanisms that political bloggers must obey, or else be ostracized and face irrelevance. Here are just a few of the ways in which bloggers are held accountable:  [snip]


UPDATE, 2:55 pm… 😉

Moving right along here… from Stop Me Before I Vote Again with a well placed kick from the left.. 🙂


There’s a wonderfully comic kaffeeklatsch of self-important thumbsucking over at TPM Cafe about this “concert of democracies” scheme that recently floated out of the Woodrow Wilson school of international affairs, at Princeton, midwifed by ten pages’ worth of professors, think-tankers, Pentagonians, and the odd journalist. They’re all such mighty thinkers, these folks, and the noise of little mental wheels spinning is enough to deafen you. 

The Princeton document weighs in at a hefty 96 pages, and it is written in a slightly more sprightly style than the average Foreign Affairs article — perhaps one of the odd journalists lent a hand on the wordsmithing. Still, it’s pretty soporific. Fortunately, the TPM Cafe popularizers have broken it down into digestible little amuse-bouche nibbles, suitable to the attention spans of the Netroots […]

In short, what we have here is a thoroughly Wilsonian project — wonderful, really, how institutions like Princeton University and the Democratic Party can maintain such a remarkable level of consistency in their patterns of thought and behavior across the chances and changes of almost a century. The 96-page doorstopper even manages a stylistic echo of Wilson’s own smarmy grandiloquence:  [snip]

A lovely ramble… the SMBIVA version that is…


hmmm Tony Snow used “contretemps” this morning at the WH presser…  Oh… surely he is effete?  He must be!  He used it to deny there is division in the WH between JCs and “WH advisors”….  as in “the president is not involved in a contretemps“…  

That would be over Iraq, the war in Iraq… btw.  IF the president can remember… so busy they are with Christmas and Hanukah parties… and how many red 8.5K Oscar de la Rentas can dance on the head of a WH doorknob.

I am not keeping up, I don’t know the latest on Barney…


UPDATE, 3:30 pm

 Oh oh.  En garde!  Defensive moves required to avoid being rained upon:  Open Umbrellas Immediately!.  Incoming front of heavy sleet and rain.. with slush underfoot to soon appear…

Major fall out to come from select Blahhgers:  Cheney is called to testify for defense in CIA leak case…

Whew… so far just ”called”.  That means much speculation for weeks – if not months – as to what that really means!

Washington – Vice President Dick Cheney will be called as a defense witness in the CIA leak case, an attorney for Cheney’s former chief of staff told a federal judge Tuesday.

    “We’re calling the vice president,” attorney Ted Wells said in court. Wells represents defendant I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who is charged with perjury and obstruction.

    Early last week, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said he did not expect the White House to resist if Cheney or other administration officials are called to testify in Libby’s trial, expected to begin in January. [snip]


UPDATE, 4:30 pm

Oooo Don’t miss Chomsky on Democracy NOW!, Amy excerpts from a recent talk he gave in Boston.  The early snips are on the ISG but the more interesting is the later snips on S America (from where Chomsky has just returned):

NOAM CHOMSKY: I’ll start with last weekend. Important city in South America, Cochabamba, with quite a history. There was a meeting last weekend in Cochabamba in Bolivia of all the South American leaders. It was a very important meeting. One index of its importance is that it was unreported, virtually unreported apart from the wire services. So every editor knew about it. Since I suspect you didn’t read that wire service report, I’ll read you a few things from it to indicate why it was so important.

In last Saturday, the South American leaders agreed to create a high-level commission to study the idea of forming a continent-wide community similar to the European Union. This is the presidents and envoys of all the nations, and there was the two-day summit of what’s called the South American Community of Nations, hosted by Evo Morales in Cochabamba, the president of Bolivia.

The leaders — reading just now –agreed to form a study group to look at the possibility of creating a continent-wide union and even a South American parliament. The result, according to the — I’m reading from the AP report — the result left fiery Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, long an agitator for the region, taking a greater role on the world stage, pleased, but impatient — normal stance. They went on. It goes on to say that the discussion over South American unity will continue later this month, when MERCOSUR, South American trading bloc, has its regular meeting that will include leaders from Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Paraguay and Uruguay. [snip]

NC enumerated a few of the high points from the meeting, then goes on:

[T]his is the first time since the Spanish conquests, 500 years, that there has been real moves towards integration in South America. The countries have been very separated from one another. And integration is going to be a prerequisite for authentic independence. I mean, there have been — I’m sure you know — attempts at independence, but they’ve been crushed, often very violently, partly because of lack of regional support, because there was very little regional cooperation, so you can pick them off one by one.

That’s what happened since the 1960s. The Kennedy administration orchestrated a coup in Brazil, the first of which happened right after the assassination was already planned. It was the first of a series of falling dominoes. Neo-Nazi-style national security states spread across the hemisphere. Chile was one of them, but only one finally ended up with reaching Central America, with Reagan’s terrorist wars in the 1980s, which devastated Central America, similar things happening in the Caribbean. But that was sort of a one-by-one operation of destroying one country after another. And it had the expected domino effect. [some dominoes are OK – Might as well laugh… – Mcat]

It’s the worst plague of repression in the history of Latin America since the original conquests, which were horrendous. It’s only beginning to be understood how horrendous they were. [snip]

He goes on to call South America the most exciting place on earth, just now, due to the changes bubbling up.  And then after referencing Haiti recent elections, comes this rather consummate comment on the US:

[I]n fact, in our elections, the issues are unknown. There’s careful efforts to make sure that the issues are unknown to the public, for good reasons. There’s a tremendous gap between public opinion and public policy. So you have to keep away from issues and concentrate on imagery and delusions and so on. The elections are run by the same industries that sell toothpaste on television. You don’t expect to get information from a television ad. You don’t expect to get information about a candidate from debates, advertisements and the other paraphernalia that goes along with what are called elections here.

There’s a lot of fuss on the left about election irregularities, like, you know, the voting machines were tampered with, they didn’t count the votes right, and so on. That’s all accurate and of some importance, but of far more importance is the fact that elections just don’t take place, not in any meaningful sense of the term “election.” And so, it doesn’t matter all that much, if there was some tampering. I suspect that’s why the population doesn’t get much exercised over it. The concern over stolen elections and vote tampering, and so on, is mostly an elite affair. Most of the country didn’t seem to care very much. “OK, so the election was stolen.” I mean, if you’re flipping a coin to select a king or something, it doesn’t matter much if the coin is biased. That seems to be the way most people feel about it. And there’s some justification. [snip]

It is long and there is more than the snips… 😉


UPDATE, 8:10 pm…

Blood soup, humans as croutons.

Analogies come to mind: the Bulge, Stalingrad, the Battle of Algiers. It will be total war with all the likelihood of excesses and mass casualties that come with total war.


UPDATE, 9:30 pm

Jonathan Cook in Electronic Intifada:

Do America and Israel want the Middle East engulfed in civil war?

[A]ll of these outcomes in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq could have been foreseen — and almost certainly were. More than that, it looks increasingly like the growing tensions and carnage were planned. Rather than an absence of Western intervention being the problem, the violence and fragmentation of these societies seems to be precisely the goal of the intervention.

Evidence has emerged in Britain that suggests such was the case in Iraq. Testimony given by a senior British official to the 2004 Butler inquiry investigating intelligence blunders in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq was belatedly published last week, after attempts by the Foreign Office to hush it up.

Carne Ross, a diplomat who helped to negotiate several UN security council resolutions on Iraq, told the inquiry that British and US officials knew very well that Saddam Hussein had no WMDs and that bringing him down would lead to chaos.  [snip]

There follows a rhetorical back and forth, a series of “whys”, “why chaos” as a plan, etc., drawing along anyone who thinks there are any rules left… Then some hard grit:

[L]ast week the Israeli website Ynet interviewed Meyrav Wurmser, an Israeli citizen and co-founder of MEMRI, a service translating Arab leaders’ speeches that is widely suspected of having ties with Israel’s security services. She is also the wife of David Wurmser, a senior neocon adviser to Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Meyrav Wurmser revealed that the American Administration had publicly dragged its feet during Israel’s assault on Lebanon because it was waiting for Israel to expand its attack to Syria.

“The anger [in the White House] is over the fact that Israel did not fight against the Syrians … The neocons are responsible for the fact that Israel got a lot of time and space … They believed that Israel should be allowed to win. A great part of it was the thought that Israel should fight against the real enemy, the one backing Hizbullah. It was obvious that it is impossible to fight directly against Iran, but the thought was that its [Iran’s] strategic and important ally [Syria] should be hit.”

Wurmser continued: “It is difficult for Iran to export its Shiite revolution without joining Syria, which is the last nationalistic Arab country. If Israel had hit Syria, it would have been such a harsh blow for Iran that it would have weakened it and [changed] the strategic map in the Middle East.” [snip]

Another who should move to Israel (fully) and sit shiva for America.  To be blunt.

[T]he reason is that a chaotic and feuding Middle East, although it would be a disaster in the view of most informed observers, appears to be greatly desired by Israel and its neocon allies. They believe that the whole Middle East can be run successfully the way Israel has run its Palestinian populations inside the occupied territories, where religious and secular divisions have been accentuated, and inside Israel itself, where for many decades Arab citizens were “de-Palestinianised” and turned into identity-starved and quiescent Muslims, Christians, Druze and Bedouin.

That conclusion may look foolhardy, but then again so does the White House’s view that it is engaged in a “clash of civilisations” which it can win with a “war on terror”.

All states are capable of acting in an irrational or self-destructive manner, but Israel and its supporters may be more vulnerable to this failing than most. That is because Israelis’ perception of their region and their future has been grossly distorted by the official state ideology, Zionism, with its belief in Israel’s inalienable right to preserve itself as an ethnic state; its confused messianic assumptions, strange for a secular ideology, about Jews returning to a land promised by God; and its contempt for, and refusal to understand, everything Arab or Muslim.

If we expect rational behaviour from Israel or its neocon allies, more fool us.

Yes… more fool us.


And why oh why do people who think themselves “liberal” reveal a yearning for Reagan?  In any form?  He was no unifying event in America. Certainly no healer.  We are still under his yoke (and that of his kitchen cabinet *, others of the same ilk), in my opinion.  Certainly many of his horrors simply rose up and joined with Bush…

* bit of a whiff off that link, but it came up quick and had the info I wanted.


UPDATE, 4:45 am Wednesday

Chris Hedges is up in Truth Dig, on Israel, apartheid, the Palestinians… and the US:

[]Israel, with no restraints from Washington, despite the Iraq Study Group report recommendations that the peace process be resurrected from the dead, has been given the moral license by the Bush administration to carry out what is euphemistically in Israel called “transfer” and what in other parts of the world is called ethnic cleansing. 

Faced with a demographic time bomb, knowing that by 2020 Jews will make up only 40 to 46 percent of the overall population of Israel, the architects of transfer, who once held the equivalent status in Israeli society of the Ku Klux Klan, have wormed their way into positions of power in the Israeli government. 

Washington and Israel, I suspect, know the cost of this repression.  But it is beginning to appear as though they accept it—as the price for ridding themselves of the Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has installed in his Cabinet a politician who openly calls for the expulsion of the some 1.3 million Israeli Arabs who live inside Israel. Avigdor Lieberman’s “Israel Is Our Home” Party, part of Olmert’s governing coalition, proposes involuntary transfer in a region populated mostly by Arab citizens of Israel, shifting those people to a future Palestinian state that would include Gaza, parts of the West Bank and a small slice of northern Israel. All Israeli Arabs who continued to reside in the territory of transfer would automatically lose their Israeli citizenship unless they took a loyalty oath to the state and its Jewish symbols.  The inclusion of Lieberman, the David Duke of Israel, into the Cabinet is an indication to most Palestinians that the worst is yet to come.  [snip]

For all who flipped out over the title of Jimmy’s book (amazing to me that Conyers called the title ”inappropriate” and told Jimmy it should be changed) Hedges entitles his, Worse than Apartheid.

It is a semi-rough thread, but there was this comment. 


Korb and Bergman are up in the American Prospect

[T]he neoconservative architects of the war claim that those who oppose increasing the number of troops do not understand the implications of failure in Iraq. But they have it backwards.

Those who opposed the war from the outset understood the difficulty and scope of the task at hand, while the war’s architects are the ones only now coming to grips with the catastrophic implications of a possible civil and regional war.

Kagan’s plan reflects the same intellectual failings and operates along the same assumptions (especially, putting too much faith in limitless efficacy of U.S. military power) that were responsible for the United States invading with too few troops and without a realistic plan in the first place.  [snip]

There is this as well.  But let’s not pussy foot around as so many political and military writers do … it is what the US wants:

[A]dditionally, this operation would severely undercut the Maliki government. Sending additional troops would be the equivalent of a no-confidence vote in that government and the Iraqi security forces, and could lead to the government’s collapse. Many of Maliki’s backers vehemently oppose any U.S. troop increase and would blame Maliki for failing to stop it. Opinion polls show that Iraqis want us out. Increasing our troop presence would only bolster the view that U.S. forces intend to remain as permanent occupiers. [snip]


UPDATE, 6:33 am Wednesday…

In 25 minutes or so Bush will have a presser and apparently take a few questions (AP man!, as he addressed the first reporter called on recenttly). 

I have to say this is a very good week for Bush to discuss the military, “growing” the fodder forces (Army and Marines) and what ever else his black heart decides to gift us with…  No, it is.  Stop for a minute and think of Miss Tara, blonde flower of the South (and working it to death, NYC spun her tiny head) dependent on the largesse of Mr Trump (what a pair!).  And three white guys who went up the mountain, apparently unprepared in what they carried with them for a deadly winter excursion on a very tough peak.  I hear not a single use of “responsibility” for any of the lot of them…

 Farley from TAPPED.  Where do these soft slides get started?

Unlike the post-Vietnam era, there is no Red Army for the U.S. Army to face down, and thus no clear rationale for large land forces. Of course, a similar argument could be made for large naval forces, but the Navy budget includes the Marine Corps and the USN can both project force ashore and protect sea lanes.

Exhaustion is like bile rising from the recesses.  Clue in, please, to all the talk of the ”Long War”… It is not just Max Boot, blithering for the Long War right now on C-Span…it is also the Democrats.


7:04 am:

Oh don’t look now, but George is speaking to us from the “Indian Treaty Room” in the Eisenhower Executive Bldg.  In case you missed the narrative for years, his comments are all Terra Terra Terra. 

7:07 am:

He just told us to go shopping.


UPDATE, 11:22 am Wednesday…

[I] would imply that there were people like this online, but then I would be engaging in the strawmen tactics I often decry. Even if I wasn’t doing that, and I named names among bloggers who were unfair to Reid because he made one unfortunate comment, then I would be abusing my podium to make less powerful members of the netroots and blogosphere look bad. And I suppose, if it were not for the outcry, Reid would not have made such a clear statement on his opposition to escalation in Iraq. Or, maybe there was a way to encourage him to do that without acting an an utterly hysterical manner that only fueled the MSM buzz on the subject.

Since I am not going to talk about any of that, my original statement on this entire episode stands: now that we are in the majority, we need to move past endless parsing of the words our leaders say, and focus instead on the policies they intend to pursue. [snip snap]

 Let me say:  pickup a towel and apply behind the ears.  It may help.

Other than that, I’d add the petty Dem party thugdom in BlahgSnot land is truly boring.  There is some significant push back in the thread (it is a genuinely stupid posting, to be blunt)… and some cute tension between Boyz.  More Towels!  To Aisle 10!  Ring for a Blog Maid!

Sure I am laughing… 🙂