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Winter Open Thread… 17 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Big Box Blogs, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War.

  Hotel Jardin de l'Odeon Paris

more to come, no doubt… 😉


UPDATE, 10 pm

Sacrificial slaughter

[S]enior US officials say that Mr Bush is embracing a politically controversial plan presented to him last week by General Jack Keane, a former army vice-chief of staff, and Frederick Kagan, of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank. The plan focuses on a military solution in Iraq, and rejects diplomacy with Iraq’s neighbours.

General Keane and Mr Kagan told Mr Bush that a political solution in Iraq was impossible until security was established, particularly in Baghdad. The executive summary of the plan they delivered to Mr Bush begins: “Victory is still an option in Iraq”, and officials at the discussion said that Mr Bush reacted extremely positively to their proposals.

Under the plan, a temporary addition of up to 50,000 troops — an idea promoted by John McCain, the Republican senator and probable 2008 presidential contender — would be made in Iraq. The primary goal would be to quash sectarian violence in Baghdad, clearing its most violent areas of the Shia militia and Sunni insurgents. US and Iraqi troops would then remain in those areas to hold and secure them for residents.

After Baghdad was secured, there would be a push to pacify the Sunni insurgency in Anbar province. Only then, the men told Mr Bush, could a political consensus between the Shia majority and Sunni minority have a chance of success.

“America, a country of 300 million people with a GDP of $12 trillion, and more than one million soldiers and Marines, can regain control of Iraq,” the plan states. It rules out immediate withdrawal, talking to Iran and Syria, and dramatically increasing US trainers of the Iraqi security forces.


UPDATE, 6:20 am

Via Crawfordslist, as the Today Show is not on yet in the West… but here is what Hillareee said about troop “surge” (emphasis is mine):

“I am not in favor of doing that unless it’s part of a larger plan. I am not in favor of sending more troops to continue what our men and women have been told to do with the government of Iraq pulling the rug out from under them when they actually go after some of the bad guys.” — Sen. Clinton, NBC “Today”

Craig’s headline is that she opposes it.  I read:  Bill’s girl is fine with it.  Tweak it, tweak her, she’ll squeak for it.

I was not going to bother with this (except to track the poor fucked party, the Boyz are borrrring! talk about predictable…) but it dovetails with Hillary and with Bush and with the murderous build up: 

Shorter version, don’t go dissin’ my boy Reid.  Or, am I his boy?  Love to watch the Boyz in DC and Boyz online sell off the vestigial spines.  Or, is it vestigial tails? [ooo yes that was rude!]

[H]owever, the change is not restricted simply to the topics we will focus on, and the people who are writing on those topics. Instead, the change also needs to take place in the focus of our criticism. The latest blogswarm on Harry Reid is a particularly good example of the ways in which we need to transition ourselves. Simply put, our behavior today is not how we should be acting anymore.  [snip]

DC, the congealing fuckball.

Jerome looks at the  Newsweek  interview with Barack.  Shorter version, Obama-rama be spreadin’ some cash, I do believe.  Please find me where Obama even hints at this:  ”It’s getting beyond ideological and partisan failures to actually solve the problems.”, as the former stock tout, now campaign tout, says…


Our politics has very much been grounded in debates over the ’60s. There’s the ’60s, the backlash against the ’60s, the counter-backlash within the Democratic Party against the ’60s. We’ve been effectively talking about Vietnam, the sexual revolution, the civil-rights movement for a generation now, and it doesn’t adequately describe the challenges we face today. My peer group, I think, finds many of those divisions unproductive. We see many of these problems differently, on race, faith, the economy, foreign policy and the role of the military.

Part of the reason the next generation can see things differently is because of the battles that the previous generation fought. But the next generation is to some degree liberated from what I call the either/or arguments around these issues. So on race, the classic ’60s formulation was, “Is it society and institutional racism that’s causing black poverty or is it black pathology and a culture of poverty?” And you couldn’t choose “All of the above.” It looks to me like both. [The younger generation] is much less caught up in these neatly packaged orthodoxies.

Don’t worry dear.  YOU get to fight out Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and the whole of the Middle East.  YOU get to fight GWoT and concession of civil liberties… And you and yours will do it (or, rather, not do it) having capitulated any solid rhetoric that ever was and clearly relying on being some sort of Hallmark / Disneyland / GE white bread offering. 

LIQUEFACTION:  no spine, no knees, no neck bones and not even any ankles.  A big toe or two is holding the lot of you up…. YOU get to tap dance to deny gay rights, YOU get to ‘splain away holding on to any rights for blacks, immigrants, brown, yellow, women, workers’ rights, disabled, children… on and on it goes.

I wish you … I was going to say “luck”… but I wish that the world and decent Americans get better than you….

Poor idiotic on-the-dole-til-someone-hires-him campaign guy, Shrum, said on Friday – on Hardball I think it was – that the Dems should REFUSE any  new monies for MORE TROOPS TO IRAQ.

Sad when Shrummy is out in front of an issue – especially the core, the center:  the war – and, do elections matter, at all



UPDATE, 4 pm

From this morning, the WH swearing-in for Gates:

“All of us want to find a way to bring America’s sons and daughters home again,”

Gates, 63, said after taking the oath of office as defense secretary from Vice President Dick Cheney at a Pentagon ceremony.

“But as the president has made clear, we simply cannot afford to fail in the Middle East. Failure in Iraq at this juncture would be a calamity that would haunt our nation, impair our credibility, and endanger Americans for decades to come.”


UPDATE, 4:50 pm – bitter cold in SF, don’t laugh, our 45/50 with a damp cold wind off the water, cold wind thru the canyons of the downtown buildings, can be much colder on the skin…

Madman popped me this, from James Boyce at HuffPo:

[P]resident Bush went to a 90 minute meeting at the Pentagon, and heard lots of ideas, including General George Casey’s preference, which has “stressed stepping up the training of Iraqi forces and handing off to them as soon as possible.”

Bush’s response? “I reject those ideas.”

It’s full steam over the cliff and now, in the lessons unlearned department, in the spirit of bi-partisanship, Senator Harry Reid has given his support to a short term increase of troops.


Enough is enough. The only way to end the war over there is to keep fighting here.

They have put their cards on the table. They’re doubling down. With the lives of Americans.

We haven’t slowed or stopped a damn thing.

I should have known better.


From Danny Schechter’s News Dissector – everything below “SURGE” is DS, except for emphasis, I left his formatting as is…


And as for the “surge” idea—ie send more troops, not less. That has happened, an option I have been reporting on long before it caught the attention of the Times. FYI: the Pentagon wants another $468 Billion for 2008. Already the Dems are shamelessly capitulating while plans for more military trainers are announced:

” WASHINGTON – The Senate’s top Democrat offered qualified support Sunday for a plan to increase U.S. troops I Iraq, saying it would be acceptable as part of a broader strategy to bring combat forces home by 2008.

Maureen Dowd was on target Saturday explaining how Bush has shredded the Baker plan:

He slacked off on his slacker effort to form a new Iraq plan. (Can’t these guys ever order pizzas and pull some all-nighters?) Mr. Bush was busy this week hosting Christmas parties for a press corps he disdains; convening a malaria conference at the National Geographic with Dr. Burke of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Isaiah Washington; and presiding over a hero’s departure for the defense secretary he actually dumped, not because of incompetence but for political expediency.

The Rummy hoopla was a way for W. to signal his decision to shred the Baker-Hamilton study, after reportedly denouncing it as a flaming cow pie. Condi Rice signaled the same, telling The Washington Post that she did not want to negotiate with Syria and Iran, as the Iraq Study Group had proposed, because “the compensation” might be too high. The Democrats thought that when they had won the election, they won the debate on the war and they had W. cornered. But the president is leaning toward surging over the Democrats, voters, Baker and the Bush 41 crowd and some of his own commanders.

(Subscribers only)

Oh, not to worry… Dems will rise to his surge.  JELLY FISH! – Mcat


UPDATE, 6:40 pm…

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]


Nutcracker Open Thread II … ;) 16 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in Big Box Blogs, Border Issues, DC Politics, Democrats, Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, la vie en rose, Mexico.

Micheal Bourne production, London 2003

Matthew Bourne production of Tchaikovky’s The Nutcracker in London, 2003.  A full on dance, ballet, even flamenco! production… evocative of Busby Berkeley arrangements – with ice capades…

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

At variance with the rosy froth above… is this column from Juan Cole that I tripped across at Nur al Cubicle.  I confess, I hd wanted some frivolous, let’s-forget-it-is-all-a-shower-of-blood Open Threads toward the end of December, but it is a very dark month…

[T]he “surge” tactic is being generated by Rupert Murdoch’s Weekly Standard and by Frederick W. Kagan and Bill Kristol, i.e. by the same plutocratic American Enterprise Institute (Likudnik Central) that brought you the Iraq War with champagne toasts in the first place.

Kagan has a recent book on Napoleon. Napoleon’s most prominent characteristic was his willingness to waste his troops’ lives lightly. On his return from Palestine in 1799, he even had some poisoned because they were ill with plague and he did not want to risk transporting them back to his HQ in Cairo. He took 54,000 men to Egypt in 1798; about half came back. His Russia campaign saw a similar dynamic, on a much larger scale.

Bush is the Napoleon of our age, trampling on whole peoples, a Jacobin Emperor mouthing the slogans of liberty and popular sovereignty while crushing and looting those he “liberated.” And Kagan and Kristol (playing Talleyrand 1798) and Emperor Bush are readying a further slaughter of our US troops, 24,000 of whom have been killed or wounded, and of innocent Iraqis, 600,000 of whom have been killed by criminal and political violence since spring of 2003.

And you thought a mere election would make a difference. No one had to elect the American Enterprise Institute. No one needs to crown the emperor, he can do it himself. Welcome to Year 1 of the Empire.

Some of the more sophomoric of the slush pushing Blahhgers should read that column from JC.  Redirect their gaze, if they can, from those navels.

There seems every indication that we cannot, cannot stop our agitation for blood, for killing, for chaos.  Our heavy red, white and blue hand is setting the various factions, one against the other, in GAZA – and the West Bank.  We seem incapable of caring, even the slightest bit, that Hamas members were e l e c t e d.

When we are raiders across several states, locking people in, transporting people out, breaking up families and, it would seem, a partner to the industries we raid.  As Democrats give quotes that cover the tiny craven hearts of the Bush administration in soft collaborator’s fluff. 

[T]he United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents workers at Swift, did go into court on the day of the raid, asking for an injunction to stop the deportations and to guarantee workers their rights to habeas corpus and legal representation.

But labor will need to do more than that. Unions and immigrants both need a bill that would mandate what they’ve advocated since 1999 — the repeal of employer sanctions. Workers without visas would still be subject to deportation, but enforcement wouldn’t take place in the workplace, where sanctions deny basic labor rights to millions.

The administration and Republicans in Congress wouldn’t like that, nor would conservative Democrats. Reps. Rahm Emmanuel and Silvestre Reyes, even want sanctions beefed up. But Democrats and labor must make a choice. They can defend the workers, unions and immigrant families who gave them victory in November (voting Democratic 7 out of 10.) Or Democrats can, as they have so often done, turn their back in another triangulation sacrificing their base.

They can join the government’s chorus calling these workers criminals. Or they can recognize them as the human beings they are.

For Shame.


UPDATE, 12:20 pm

From Electronic Intifada:

John Berger and 93 other authors, film-makers, musicians and performers call for a cultural boycott of Israel
Press Release, PACBI, 15 December 2006

PACBI is pleased to announce that in a letter that appears in today’s Guardian, the 94, including the renowned author John Berger; UK musicians and song-writers Brian Eno and Leon Rosselson; filmmakers Sophie Fiennes, Elia Suleiman and Haim Bresheeth; documentary maker Jenny Morgan; singer Reem Kelani; writers Arundhati Roy, Ahdaf Soueif, and Eduardo Galeano, call on their colleagues not to visit, exhibit or perform in Israel.

The letter comes after the August 2006 statement issued by Palestinian filmmakers, artists, writers, and other cultural workers calling for a cultural boycott of Israel.  The Berger letter, signed by artists from across Europe, North and South America, as well as Palestinians and Israelis, reads:

“There is a fragile ceasefire in Lebanon, albeit daily violated by Israeli overflights. Meanwhile the day to day brutality of the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank continues. Ten Palestinians are killed for every Israeli death; more than 200, many of them children, have been killed since the summer. UN resolutions are flouted, human rights violated as Palestinian land is stolen, houses demolished and crops destroyed. For archbishop Desmond Tutu, as for the Jewish (former ANC military commander presently South African minister of security), Ronnie Kasrils, the situation of the Palestinians is worse than that of black South Africans under apartheid. Meantime Western governments refer to Israel’s ‘legitimate right’ of self-defence, and continue to supply weaponry. [snip]

… from a separate letter from John Berger:

[T]he boycott is an active protest against two forms of exclusion which have persisted, despite many other forms of protestations, for over sixty years -for almost three generations.

During this period the state of Israel has consistently excluded itself from any international obligation to heed UN resolutions or the judgement of any international court. To date, it has defied 246 Security Council Resolutions!

As a direct consequence seven million Palestinians have been excluded from the right to live as they wish on land internationally acknowledged to be theirs; and now increasingly, with every week that passes, they are being excluded from their right to any future at all as a nation.[snip]

   F-16 over GAZA - eintifada photo


Angry Arab:

The conspiracy requires the utilization of sectarian incitement (in Lebanon, Iraq, and here in Palestine): “In Khan Yunis, Fatah loyalists touching off the melee by chanting, “Shia, Shia..” (thanks Ali) I never would miss `Arafat, but even `Arafat never resorted to such sectarian ploys.

posted by As’ad @ 11:53 AM link

This helps me to make a point… there has to be some form of national identity, whether people choose to claim it, feel a part of it or not, or diverge to an alternative identity… and one of the few things that can be said for Arafat, he got some sort of internationally known identity for Palestinians, got the cause known and out there.

Again, from e Intifada:

[F]or some schools, I have to select “Israel,” for others “the Palestinian Authority,” or “the Palestinian Territory.” Note that it is singular — territory rather than territories.

Anyhow, we have got used to those variations. And finding that the notion of “Palestinian,” whether authority, territory, or any other affix is provided, lightens us up. It still somehow reveals part of our identity, as long as it is declared. It entails that we are visible, and we Palestinians are accepted and respected as well. It brings back the feeling of being an internationally acknowledged national.

But what really struck me the most is this last joke: we are Jordanians. According to this last application in my hand, Birzeit University (my school) is in Jordan, and my BA degree is awarded, for that matter, from Jordan. For someone who has never been outside the West Bank, it makes me really wonder just how I got my degree from abroad.

The concept of being nameless and without an identity once sounded surreal to me when I was submerged in the world of literature and novels. It is like the classic English literature during Queen Elizabeth’s reign when women were nameless, or the African-American literature where human beings are alienated. I heard that history repeats itself, but didn’t realize that literature could be made literal.

Dana Shalash is a student of English at Birzeit University. Her blog is Stranger than Fiction.



UPDATE, 7:15 pm

Sausage Making… and it does not augur well for the 110th.

In the wee hours of the morning Dec. 7, Senate negotiators rejected a Medicare measure pushed by outgoing House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) that would have meant big revenues for an insurance company in Hastert’s home state.

But a day later, the $100 million proposal was alive and well, paired with a plan for a major Nevada land swap backed by Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), the incoming Senate majority leader.

The leaders’ dealmaking went on behind the scenes during the final, frenetic hours of the 109th Congress. Hastert’s provision, which would give certain Medicare beneficiaries additional time to change their health-care coverage [hold on for the details, it is worse than it sounds  – Mcat], and Reid’s plan, which involves more than 900 square miles of federal land, were included in a massive tax and trade measure approved by Congress shortly before its final adjournment early last Saturday morning. […]

And…. let’s not forget that somehow or other, Nancy thought Hastert deserved – and got – what Roll Call referred to as the “sumptuous offices” of the outgoing Chair of the Ways and Means, Thomas…

[T]he Hastert and Reid provisions were parts of an amendment quietly inserted in the $50 billion, 10-year tax and trade bill on a procedural vote. The huge bill was treated by lawmakers as the last legislative train out of town. Other provisions slipped in at the last minute included a $1 billion expansion of health savings accounts, a Republican-backed program that allows tax-free savings for health care, and 520 tariff suspensions worth tens of millions of dollars to U.S. corporations.

The last-minute deal involving Hastert and Reid apparently began with a phone call on the afternoon of Dec. 7 from Reid to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), according to a senior Democratic Senate aide familiar with the private negotiations.

Reid asked why his land provision had not been included in the tax and trade bill. Thomas brought up the subject of Hastert’s amendment and said it was his intention to add it to the bill in tandem with Reid’s measure, according to the senior aide. Several people familiar with the talks — both Democrats and Republicans — suggested that one provision was exchanged for the other, but spokesmen for Reid and Hastert said they do not believe there was a trade[…]

oh… there is more… here is the dirty nit and grit on the Hastert end of the sausage:

[T]he Hastert provision would allow certain Medicare beneficiaries — those who receive physician and hospital benefits through the original Medicare program — to switch their health coverage after the open-enrollment period for Medicare closes at the end of March. The provision also limits the type of plan that they can choose as an alternative: those that do not offer prescription drug coverage.

Representatives of Aon Corp. lobbied Congress for the policy. According to a listing on the Web site of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Aon’s Sterling Life Insurance Co. subsidiary is one of fewer than two dozen companies, most of them smaller, regional firms, that offer private fee-for-service plans without drug coverage — the type of plan that the provision would benefit most.  [snip]

Gotta love the boyz as they scratch each other’s back – and what ever else…  The Reid end of that sausage:

[R]eid’s provision would designate 900 square miles of Nevada as wilderness and would allow 70 square miles to possibly be sold to private investors. It is one of several proposals by Reid that would make large stretches of federal land in Nevada a combination of wilderness and private development. Proceeds of the land sales would go to assist local governments. Reid’s Republican colleague from Nevada, Sen. John Ensign, co-sponsored the provision.

Some environmental groups approve of the land provision; one is the Campaign for America’s Wilderness, which likes the way it expands wilderness designations. Other groups, such as the Seattle-based Western Lands Project, decry the loss of land to developers and the loss of revenue for the government.

“He’s selling off federal land that belongs to all of us and keeping the money in Nevada,” said Janine Blaeloch, director of the Western Lands Project.  [snip]

Oh yes, the law…  and the legislators...  Frankly it all sounds more like a dildo the Bigger Boyz passed back and forth, in the congealing fuckball that is DC.

Yes.. yes, one does feel the need of a shower… just reading about that “deal” the boyz cut.


UPDATE, 10 pm

I make jokes Richardson is still hunting for those votes he promised for the ’04 election – but he gets it said here… likely because he is a governor and not a god damned fucking CongressCritteration:

December 16, 2006

Richardson: McCain “Dead Wrong” About Troops

In New Hampshire this a.m., Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) will confront Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Iraq.

The White House is leaning towards adopting McCain’s proposal to add tens of thousands of combat troops to U.S. forces in Baghdad in a final effort to secure the city.

Here’s what Richardson says:

“The leading advocate for escalating the war is Senator John McCain. I have served with John in Congress and I respect him. But John McCain is wrong, dead wrong to think that we can solve Iraq’s political crisis through military escalation.”“There are no quick or easy answers to the crisis in Iraq. Our choices are between bad options and worse ones. Some prefer military escalation. Some choose staying the course. These options are illusions. The only realistic choice we have is to stand down militarily and let the Iraqis stand up and face the political crisis which only they can resolve.”

“I’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan. I worked in this region…we should harbor no illusions. This withdrawal will not be pretty. People will die. But fewer will die than if we stay. There are no guarantees that our departure will end the civil war, but it is sure to continue so long as we stay. The Iraqis might, or might not, resolve their political crisis. It is up to them. They distrust and fear one another, and this makes it very tough. But they share one goal – they don’t want to destroy their own country. To save it, they need to stop killing each other and start compromising.

And we need to get out of the way.”

Posted at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

He left out we are responsible.  And culpable.  And criminal.  But, hey he hit some of the points.


UPDATE, 10:45 am Sunday…

[Thanks to raincat in the thread]… a good diary on a Lewis Lapham article in the January Harper’s on impeachment. (Lewis is for it.)  Not online yet, so the diary is great to have…

The usual Armando huff and puff and he’ll blow something down (Blog Maid to Aisle 10!) but then there is this… LOL

 Huh? (0 / 0)

by johnnygunn on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 09:06:59 AM PST

[ Parent ]

 oh it means so much to have the Blahhggs watching over America.  Ready to save her… at the drop of something. (No I am not giving it up for Christmas)… 😉


The Greater Middle East Hot War… and Prayer Circles… 14 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Big Box Blogs, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, U.S. Senate, WAR!.

   Children, Fallujah

Via Information Clearing House, Pepe Escobar for Asia Times:

[O]nce again, it’s the oil. The Bush-Cheney system by all accounts went to Iraq to grab those fabulous reserves. The only way for an overall solution to the Iraqi tragedy would be for the Bush administration to give up the oil – with no preconditions, turning the US into an honest broker. Realpolitik practitioners know this is not going to happen.

Instead, the ISG is explicitly in favor of privatizing Iraq’s oil industry – to the benefit of Anglo-American Big Oil – after the impending passage of a new oil law that was initially scheduled to be passed this month by the Iraqi Parliament.

For Big Oil, the new oil law is the holiest of holies: once the exploitation of Iraq’s fabulous resources is in the bag, “security” is just a minor detail. Enter the ISG’s much-hyped provision of US troops remaining in Iraq until an unclear date to protect not the Iraqi population, but Big Oil’s supreme interests. This is really what ISG co-head James Baker means by “responsible transition”.

According to reports, the draft law, Iraq’s first postwar draft hydrocarbon law, proposes allowing – for the first time – local and international companies to carry out oil exploration in Iraq.

Dow Jones Newswires reports that the draft law stipulates that the Iraqi Oil Ministry “should set up a committee consisting of highly qualified experts to speed up the process of issuing tenders and signing contracts with international oil companies to develop Iraq’s untapped oilfields”. [snip]

    Air strike Baghdadm last week March 2003

The Mother of all proxy wars? … sounds like it…

[W]hen the ISG stressed that “the ability of the United States to influence events within Iraq is diminishing”, it was a sterling understatement at best. The US does not control much in Iraq apart from the Green Zone. The gruesome, daily accumulation of death proves the US Army provides no security and is distrusted by all parties. The troops don’t even know whom they are supposed to be fighting (apart from Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army). At the same time, the Pentagon’s aerial bombings – with scores of “collateral damage” victims – remain as relentless as counter-insurgency run amok.

The Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group implemented by the Pentagon is regarded by Sunnis and quite a few Shi’ites as being the mastermind of some of the car bombings, assassinations, sabotage, kidnappings and attacks on mosques fueling the civil war. The “Salvador option” has developed into the “Iraqification option”. US-trained death squads in Iraq are not much different from the death squads in El Salvador during the 1980s – subordinated to the same “divide and rule” tactics.

This is the “civil war” dirty secret: let the Arabs kill one another with the US posing as “victims”.

Although the House of Saud’s Interior Ministry will deny it, the ISG had to admit that Sunni Arab guerrillas are being financed – to the tune of tens of millions of dollars – by wealthy, private Saudi and, to a lesser extent, Gulf state donors, following instructions of powerful Wahhabi clerics. Thirty-eight of these have just released a statement on Saudi websites calling on Sunnis worldwide to “mobilize” against Iraqi Shi’ites. This has stopped short of being a formal declaration of jihad not only against Shi’ites in Iraq but also Shi’ites in Iran, as well as US troops. The guerrillas’ Russian Strela anti-aircraft missiles in Iraq have been paid for by Saudi money (according to Khudair al-Murshidi, a Ba’athist spokesman based in Damascus, “We have stockpiles of Strelas.”) There’s no US pressure capable of reverting the situation: this is a matter of Arab tribal solidarity – not a state affair. [snip]

   fence at Gitmo, Phil Poulter photog

The new Greater Middle East hot war is on… 

[S]o the conclusion is grim: militia hell will continue – no matter what the US tries in desperation – because the Sunni Arab guerrillas will only disarm when the occupation is over, and when the Shi’ite militias also disarm; and the Shi’ite militias will only disarm when the Sunni Arab guerrilla war is finished. Not likely, on both counts.

No wonder Saudi King Abdullah is concerned, warning that Iraq is a “tinderbox”. The new Greater Middle East hot war is already on. Baghdad is its horrific microcosm – public executions, non-stop ethnic cleansing, the Tigris as the Sunni/Shi’ite border with Shi’ite district Kadhimiya and Sunni district Adhamiya as ghettos under siege on the “wrong” sides of the river.

Maliki is as irrelevant as Bush – who at least has his own militia, the US Army, just one more militia in militia hell or, as Hunter Thompson would put it, “just another freak in a freak kingdom”.

The neo-conservative hallucination of a puppet Iraqi regime as the centerpiece of a US-driven Greater Middle East – loads of cheap oil, Israel-friendly, anti-Iran – may have been derailed by a Mesopotamian sandstorm. But even with the defeat of the occupation, the US – or “the snake”, as Muqtada defines it – still is not going anywhere. The “snake” will redeploy. Sunni Arab US ally/client regimes fear that a US withdrawal would lead to a whole new regional ball game tilting toward pro-Iran or pro-al-Qaeda regimes.

Not even a long-drawn civil war – Arabs killing one another – may save Bush and Cheney. And Iraq won’t succumb to “divide and rule” and break up – because its identity as the eastern flank of the Arab nation is a geopolitical fact. So the real tragedy is how much longer millions of Iraqis caught in the crossfire will be paying with their own blood for the United States’ cataclysmic folly.

   Vietnam Memorial

What will slake our thirst for blood and chaos?  Time to call it what it is…


Honestly I wanted to avoid the Democrats for a while… but this is just too much.  Hillary of the Holy Prayer Circle.  Or however she views herself…

December 14, 2006

Hillary Clinton: The Faith Angle

[C]linton is part of not one, but two, prayers groups with distinctly conservative bents: an exclusive Senate prayer group that meets on Wednesday mornings, and a women’s prayer group that she’s been a part of since her early White House days. The women’s group is run by Holly Leachman, a layperson at the McLean Bible Church in Virginia, itself magnet for prominent conservatives, including former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, Republican senators John Thune and James Inhofe, as well as several Bush staffers and their families.

Leach’s prayer group includes many prominent Republican wives, among them Susan Baker, wife of Iraq Study Group co-chairman James Baker, who along with Leachman ministered to Hillary Clinton in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. (Leachman, mentioned briefly in Clinton’s memoir, Living History, is the wife of Washington Redskins chaplain Jerry Leachman).

Both prayer groups are affiliated with The Fellowship, a reclusive and often controversial evangelical organization with a decades-long history of ministering to powerful people in government including Clinton, who herself has spoken at The Cedars, a mansion that The Fellowship maintains in Arlington. [snip]

Spare me…


Ooops!… almost forgot… 😉 

From Beltway Blogroll:

[C]oincidentally or not, the FTC yesterday announced  …  that companies using the Internet and other methods for paid word-of-mouth marketing must disclose those relationships. The Washington Post reported that the advertising approach can take any form of peer-to-peer communication, such as blog postings or MySpace pages for a movie character.

WOMMA lauded the FTC in a press release, noting that the agency appears to understand “the distinctions between buzz marketing, which is a legitimate marketing tactic and strategy, and stealth marketing, a practice we strongly condemn and oppose.”


UPDATE, 4:20 pm – cold, grey and rainy in San Francisco…

Who is IOZ on La Noonan, not to be missed on a day the Dow skyrockets… touching the face of god, you might say… 😉

[N]o matter how far the flying nun of conservativism has drifted from the actual centers of political power, she can’t help but write in the cadences of bad political oratory. Neither nor. Either or. “Not fully right, or fully fair.” Like many politicos of her generation, she internalized Kennedy as Cicero, and always went for the easy reverse. She loves windy abstraction. “It would more likely have been about a number of things, and another son, and more than him.” The “things” thuds against the ear. What she wants to write is: “He wasn’t just upset about Jeb’s loss in the gubernatorial race, but about George’s failures and plenty more besides.” Noonan is a writer who feels compelled to unburden her vast store of poetical sentiments on her readers. She murders syntax and thinks of it as scansion.  […]

It’s a mackerel-crowded sea away from drowning. “The force of whatever it is you’re feeling.” “Thinking about what was.” “Touched you in some way.” More “things.” “The order is expressed by the mysterious force of a fragment of a moment.” La Noonan really is sailing to Byzantium, folks, full steam ahead. [snip]



UPDATE, 10:15 am Friday

Brian Lamb’s letter to Pelosi to let the C-Span cameras into the House.  Currently it is fixed position cameras controlled by congress… [thanks to Madman]

She should do it…


Btw, speaking of congress, been catching panels at Brookings on congress and long range planning.  Daschle was on the first one.  Tired, broken, propagandistic tropes he threw out… and one of the worst was on medical care:  people want too much as they do not pay and the doctors want to supply too much as the insurers pay.  He was in congress at the trough too fucking long. 

Plus watching him, was he born in a full body tourniquet?  That is one stiff (uselessly) man. Seeing him or Gep always reminds me of the Rose Garden with Bush.

Wasn’t only Lieberman doing body shots with BushBaby…


UPDATE, 11:15 am Friday.

Whoo Hoo.  Someone just popped me this via email… what a hoot!  But check the drop offs… Addicts v Passers-by v Drop-ins… (what?  you thought I’d be nice for Fucking Christmas?)

AND someone emailed that Kos has posted to the FP on the raids.  Hmmm No  mention of the Harkin links bayprairie has in the thread below.  Hmmm… that would screw with electing Dems wouldn’t it?  Who does he link to?  FDL.  Not even an original report… other than that, they are onto Lieberman!  Quel Nooz!   Here is what comes up at Dkos under the tag “immigration“. 

Way way back, those of us interesting in discussion, politics and thrashing it out, moved to diaries (advent October 13, 2003 with the move to scoop) as soon as they were a going operation.  The FP has LONG been a boring fucked sell out. 

You know, for COLLUDING and AIDING and ABETTING Bush the Dems get shelf space reserved in hell.

Values and all you know. …  😉


Nutcracker Open Thread… ;) 13 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in Democrats, Divertissements, The Battle for New Orleans, U.S. Senate.

The Nutcracker, Marinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, 2001

The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky, an alternative “dark” production, at the Marinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, 2001.


I am listening to Leahy at Georgetown – C-span 1 – speech and Q and A on the incoming Judiciary Cmte… He hauled off on the president.  Sorry to be tart, but a lot easier at 30% approval.

BUT!!  Here is the Nooooz!

Hatch may not stay on the judiciary committee!

**** colleen adds in the thread that Roberts to leave Intel… and Hatch likely to join that committee and be a duo with Lieberman.  Ugh.  To be succinct… 😉 ****


UPDATE, 10:20 am

Here is the AP report via The Guardian:

[“T]he police force has proven to be one of the worst failures of the occupation,” Leahy, D-Vt., said Wednesday. “I look forward to the Judiciary Committee contributing to these efforts by exploring the dozen recommendations relating to the Iraqi justice system and the training of Iraqi police forces.”

Leahy also revealed that Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., will chair a new subcommittee on human rights. The new panel’s agenda will include overseeing legislation on torture and detainee treatment.

Leahy did not plan to outline a complete agenda in the speech at Georgetown University. But he said that reclaiming the chairmanship after a brief possession of the gavel in 2001-02 would be a period of “restoration, repair and renewal” after what he termed years of the Bush administration’s virtually unchecked power to hunt for terrorists even within U.S. borders. [snip]

hmm To be frank, I am guessing the administration will just deem everyone to be an immigrant

 BOSTON, Dec. 12 — Gov. Mitt Romney will sign an agreement with the federal government Wednesday that gives the Massachusetts state police the authority to detain illegal immigrants and charge them with violating immigration law, his office said Tuesday.

The agreement will give 30 state troopers the power to interrogate people whom they determine, during the course of criminal investigations, to be illegal immigrants.

The suspects can then be arrested without a warrant on the immigration charge alone. Illegal immigrants about to be released from state prison can also be detained.

Or a drug smuggler.  Or whatever will cause the police to hold you.

More to come … 😉


UPDATE, 11:45 am

From the Sunlight Foundation:

Sunlight Priorities 2007

Our full Sunlight Agenda, and the Principles behind it, can be found here.

Within that Agenda we have identified three specific priorities for the incoming Congress. They would all create meaningful change, and we believe they are achievable in the short term:

1.) Contemporaneous online filing. The currently required public reports required of lawmakers should be filed electronically and shared online within 24 hours of their filing.

2.) Ending secret legislation. All earmarks, bills, and amendments should include an identification of the proposing Member’s name. All non-emergency legislation should be posted online, in its final form, at least 72 hours before a vote.

3.) Meaningful lobbyist disclosure. All who are paid to engage in direct issue advocacy with lawmakers and their staff should be required to register, and all registered lobbyists should disclose all legislative contacts, all legislation and regulations discussed, all contributions they make and coordinate to Members and organizations affiliated with members, all prior government employment, and any relationship to a current Member of Congress, staff member, or executive branch employee. All lobbyist reports should be filed online within 24 hours of any meeting or contribution.

If you would like to dive into the world of distributed legislative drafting, and help us identify relevant rules and legislation around which we can implement these principles, please come add to our Sunlight Priorities Drafting Wiki


UPDATE, 12:40

Johnson of SD, a Dem has had a stroke.  No word on the seriousness of the stroke yet, but the governor is R and MSNBC is reporting, depending on events, could throw Senate to 50/50.

Tenuous life, eh?

From the Argus:

[R]ep. Stephanie Herseth, at the conclusion of a Sioux Falls meeting with board members of the Lewis and Clark water project, called the group back together around 3 p.m. and announced Sen. Johnson had been taken to a hospital.

In a shaking voice, she called on South Dakotans for their prayers.

Herseth said she believed it was a severe stroke.

Johnson, 59, had become disoriented during a conference call with reporters, stuttering in response to a question. He appeared to recover, asking if there were any additional questions and then signing off. [snip]


UPDATE, 3:35 pm

via Truth Dig, from MSNBC:


Should the 59 year old Johnson’s health problem be serious enough to force him to resign from the Senate, according to the South Dakota secretary of state, the governor of South Dakota may appoint a replacement. The appointment would last until the next general election—in this case, 2008. Johnson’s term happens to expire in 2008.

The 17th amendment of the U.S. Constitution says state legislatures can give their governors the power to appoint someone else to take over, but only in the case of “vacancies.” What’s a vacancy? Clearly death or resignation, but history suggests not much else. Serious illness doesn’t count.

The Senate Historian’s office cites several examples of a senator being incapacitated for years and remaining in office.

Most recently, Sen. Karl Mundt (ironically, also from South Dakota) suffered a stroke in 1969 and was incapacitated, but he refused to step down. He remained in office until Jan. 1973 when his term expired. Mundt was pressured repeatedly to step down during his illness, but he demanded that the governor promise to appoint his wife. The governor refused, and Mundt remained in office.

Read more


UPDATE, 11 pm

from CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota was undergoing brain surgery early Thursday at George Washington University Hospital after suffering stroke-like symptoms, two Democratic sources familiar with his condition told CNN.

Johnson, 59, was taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after he appeared to suffer stroke-like symptoms, although a spokeswoman for the senator said subsequent evaluation showed he did not suffer a stroke or a heart attack.

Staffers told CNN Johnson was conscious when he was transported to the hospital.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, spent time at the hospital out of concern for Johnson, Reid’s spokesman said.

Johnson spokeswoman Julianne Fisher said the senator was in the Capitol on Wednesday morning conducting a conference call with South Dakota reporters when “his speech pattern slipped off.” (Listen to Johnson’s difficulty speaking during a WNAX radio interview — MP3, 749 kb)

Fisher said the senator was able to walk back to his office in the Hart Senate Office Building, then began having problems with his right arm. He thought he was all right, she said, and went to his desk, but came out a few minutes later and “it was apparent he needed help.”  [snip]


AND… on a different matter, this:

WASHINGTON – A federal judge called the Bush administration’s handling of a Hurricane Katrina housing program “a legal disaster” Wednesday and ordered officials to explain a computer system that can neither precisely count evacuees nor provide reasons why they were denied aid.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, who ruled last month that the

Federal Emergency Management Agency had violated evacuees’ constitutional rights by eliminating their housing payments without notice, admonished the government for not moving fast enough to restart the program for between 3,600 and 5,500 storm victims.“Let me make this clear,” Leon told government attorney Michael Sitcov. “Tell FEMA that I’m expecting them to get going on this. Like immediately.”

Leon ruled that FEMA mishandled the transition from a short-term housing program to a longer-term program this spring and summer. Instead of explaining why funding was being cut, FEMA provided only computer-generated and sometimes conflicting program codes, Leon said.

The judge ordered FEMA to explain those decisions so thousands of evacuees can understand the reasoning and decide whether to appeal. [snip]


From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

EDITORIAL: Naked levees


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The need to armor levees and floodwalls is an obvious lesson from Hurricane Katrina: every examination of the levee failures — including the Army Corps of Engineers’ — recognized the role that scouring played in their demise.

In fact, the corps’ Interagency Performance Task Force said that overtopping and erosion caused all but four of the 50 major breaches in the flood protection system.

Unfortunately, understanding doesn’t guarantee action. The corps did armor some damaged areas after the storm, but it scaled back an initial request for armoring from $600 million to $170 million — at the Bush administration’s request. The larger amount would have armored most of the 360-mile levee system, but now there’s only enough money to armor those areas deemed most vulnerable. […]

Only two levees — a section in eastern New Orleans and the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet — made the list. And they won’t be protected anytime soon: According to the corps’ schedule, armoring won’t be complete until the start of hurricane season 2010. […]

“The bottom line is, New Orleans is unsafe, and the Mr-GO levees are unprotected, as are the Lake Pontchartrain levees,” Dr. van Heerden said. He and Dr. Bea both say it would be more prudent to move quickly to armor the front and back sides of all levees that are exposed to the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain. [snip]

You are left to wonder at this country.  Brazen – and brutal.


UPDATE, Thursday 9:50 am

From Tapped:

JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: JUSTICE DEPORTED. When immigration enforcement agents raided six meatpacking plants on Tuesday, officials said it was because the workers were using stolen identities. In fact, as David Bacon reports, immigration agents wanted to send a message to unionized workplaces.

They also wanted to send a message to Democrats:

”After six years in office, ICE’s choice of this moment to begin their campaign is more than suspect. It is designed to force the new Democratic congressional majority to make a choice. The administration is confident that Democrats will endorse workplace raids in order to appear “tough on illegal immigration” in preparation for the 2008 presidential elections. In doing so, they will have to attack two of the major groups who produced the votes that changed Congress in November — labor and Latinos.”

Read the whole thing here.

–The Editors

Posted at 12:40 PM



Madman pointed me to a couple reports in Editor and Publisher about a new website on Iraq, from Eason Jordan, formerly of CNN.

What’s been missing: a one-stop-shopping clearinghouse for nonpartisan information, including material coming out of Iraq itself from natives of that country, not from foreign correspondents.

Now that need is being addressed in the form of IraqSlogger, in Beta at http://www.iraqslogger.com, but due to be officially launched next week. Its director is the former CNN news division chief, Eason Jordan, who quit that post suddenly in 2005 after 23 years with the company. The name of his new venture, he says, was inspired by a Donald Rumsfeld reference to this war being a “long, hard slog.”

The concept, Jordan tells E&P, “grew out of the feeling that I think many people shared that there was no one place to go. Individual news organizations do terrific work but you can spend the better part of a day going from one site to another and one TV outlet to another,” searching for a full picture.

“Iraq is the story of our time,” he declares. His goal for the site is for it to become nothing less than “the world’s premier Iraq-focused information source” — and with no “political slant.”

His site includes everything from links to op eds and articles in mainstream U.S. papers to “viral videos” and jokes from Iraq. Jordan points to “nuggets” missed by the U.S. media, such as Iraqis getting “addicted” to the TV series “Lost,” or the latest kidnapping of contractors. Not merely a collection of links, it will focus on what he calls “original reporting from Iraq beyond the traditional.”

At first glance it looks really interesting and valuable to people who follow Iraq War.  And Bravo! to Jordan for doing something different and something that may be very worthwhile…  Keep that information flowing!


Marquee Man 11 December 2006

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


John Dickerson at Slate has a cool to the touch take on Obama in NH this past weekend.

[I]t looked like Obama was already running. (The swarm of media following him made it look like he’d already been elected.) Aides collected names and contact information of those attending the book signing, in order to contact them later. At a local coffee shop, Obama touched as many passers-by as he could, being careful in most instances to find out if they were residents or visiting from out of town, so that he could focus his attention on those who could vote for him in the primary. He also displayed skill at the finer political points: He paid special attention to young children, sharing stories about his young daughters; used his wife, who was not with him, as a foil to make fun of himself; and paid careful attention to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. [snip]

No harm no foul.  He is a politician and before that an organiser on the South Side.

However, right about here is a good moment to say something about Black Commentator  – and the site I landed on, by accident, where most of the writers (Glen Ford, an original editor and publisher of BC as well as Bruce Dixon, Margaret Kimberley of the Freedom Rider Report and Leutisha Stills of the CBC Monitor, that tracks and grades the doings of the CBC) I appreciated reading have gone:  Black Agenda Report

A couple of changes at BC were just too much:  closing the archives, anything beyond the current week to any but paid subscription and a piece on Harold Ford immediately after election from Julianne Malveaux (so tired of that bunch) one of the new bench of 20 editors.  The piece was slobber.  Heavy slobber … for Harold…  behind a sub wall… or I’d use it!…

   So... how long til he signs on as a lobbyist?

For contrast, before I return to Obama, THIS is what BAR says on Harold Ford, jr:

[I]f Tennessee’s Harold Ford had been someone else entirely — an honest and genuine black candidate with the integrity to represent his people and other Tennessee Democrats, rather than a pro-privatization, pro-torture, pro-war Bush sycophant craven enough to claim his own black grandmother was actually white to get a few more white votes, he might well have won the open Senate seat in that state, and become the first black US Senator from the South since Reconstruction.

But for the Democratic party elite, representing the wealthy and privileged has always been more important than representing Democratic voters. [snip]

Fortunately, I was reading Counterpunch a couple weeks ago… spied Glen Ford’s name and at the bottom of his article was a link to BAR.  What luck!

Back to Obama.. from BAR:

[D]emocratic voters, when anyone bothers to ask them, lopsidedly favor a more even-handed policy toward the aspirations of Palestinians. But among old and new faces in Democratic party leadership, from wannabe presidential nominees like Clinton, Obama and Biden to shot callers in the House and Senate, not a one opposed Israel’s merciless bombing of Lebanon earlier this year, the construction of its apartheid wall, or its current shelling and slow starvation of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza. In the few instances they have been polled, Democratic voters also favor universal single payer health care. But you’ll search a long time before you find a leading national Democrat to speak up for single payer.

Barack Obama used to, when he represented the South Side of Chicago in the Illinois State Senate. But that was before he was anointed by the corporate media as possible presidential material, before billionaires Warren Buffett and Oprah became his best friends.

In fact, Democratic party honchos seem to be little more than foreign objects, grafted onto supposed “leadership” of millions of Democratic voters whose interests they do as little as possible to represent, while the do pay constant and careful attention to the whims of corporate campaign cash, and to corporate media. Nowhere has this disconnect between Democratic leaders and Democratic voters been more apparent than in Black America. [snip]

To keep reading from the same article – possibly, I am only guessing, I can see the reason for the split in the original publishers of BC: 

Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon, Margaret Kimberley with her Freedom Rider reports and certainly Leutisha Stills with the only 2 year old (iirc) CBC Monitor are relentless:

[T]he man-made disasters attendant to Hurricane Katrina cost uncounted thousands of lives and depopulated and dispersed a black city of more than half a million. Leading white Democrats, afraid to be identified in the eyes of whites as too close to the interests of African Americans, made no attempt to stop the dispersal.

They even forbade black members of Congress from bringing Gulf Coast residents to the nation’s capital to speak on their own behalf. Among them, only Georgia’s Cynthia McKinney had the integrity to defy this order. In an aftermath nearly as shameful as Katrina itself, what passes for “black leadership” showed its impotence and disconnection from black masses by being unable or unwilling to conduct any sort of mass-based mobilization to protest the dispossession and dispersal of black New Orleans, or to insist on their right to return, to rebuild and remain. [snip] 

I watched those hearings, a particularly heart wrenching panel of women from Katrina enduring deprivation, loss of home and family, who came to Washington, to speak, to witness, to testify.  The white representatives were [largely] dismissive, disdainful and in several instances openly rude.  Shays was awful.  It ws clearly white owners, minders against the people. 

I also heard testimony from “reconstruction experts”.  FIRST issue up was the condition of the home of Jefferson Davis.  I am not kidding

[T]his does not bode well for the ability of the Democratic base to make Democratic leadership represent them in the new Congress. In contrast to the Latino community, which proved able to take hundreds of thousands of people out of school and off the job and put them in the streets for a few weekends in protest of unjust immigration laws, black America’s leaders, and the leaders of the Democratic party seem to serve other masters. Is there any hope that Democratic party leaders somehow be made to serve actual Democrats?  [snip]

I have read that Obama, when asked to explain his vote for the wall on the southern <cough strangle choke> border, says it was/is ”part of a larger plan”.  Oh I am sure of that…

And I certainly don’t argue with this from the close:

[I]f a change is gonna come, it will not be from leaders like these. A good start would be for antiwar Democrats, for impeachment Democrats, for count-every-vote Democrats and post.Katrina Democrats, if there are any, to refuse to sit down, to refuse to shut up. It’s time to refuse to accept the statesmanlike demurrals and reaching “across the aisle” nonsense of the Clintons and Obamas and others.

It’s time to get and to stay in the faces of Democratic party leaders and aggressively fight for peace, for justice, for the right of New Orleans and Gulf Coast residents to return, rebuild and remain, for the double impeachment Cheney AND Bush, for an end to the war, for a “small d” democratic media and for the right to be heard. The Democratic party may have won the election this week. But Democratic voters now must confront their supposed leaders, and get ready for the real fight. [snip]

They also look at the black / brown divide (think that might have been Obama’s – and others’ – vote for the wall?, voting with Hillareeeeeeee and Biden) and Glen Ford does not mince a word, nor flinch: 

[A]nderson’s spiel may play well in Black barber shops and beauty parlors, but it ignores the reality outside: the Latinos are here; they outnumber African Americans and will grow larger; they are the majority in LA’s Watts and countless other formerly “Black” communities; they are predicted to outnumber Blacks in Georgia by as early as 2010; and they are on the move, politically. Who is not on the move? African Americans. Instead, we sulk or rant in our longstanding impotence – a function of the death of our own movement, a generation and a half ago – while the worst of us importune white racists to rescue Blacks from the historical trap whites have created and fought desperately to preserve. What madness!


Ill-concealed envy is the saddest – and ugliest – aspect of some of what passes for Black political critique of the evolving Latino/immigrant movement. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mary Mitchell, after getting her “mean on” by expressing “disgust” with sanctuary-seeking undocumented immigrant Elvira Arellano for “pimping the system,” demands that Latinos thank Blacks “for paving the way” before they dare mount a movement for social change. “The benefits that so many other groups – women included – now enjoy were purchased with black blood, sweat and tears,” wrote Mitchell – as if Arellano and her fellow Latino activists have not consistently cited the Black Freedom Movement as a cherished model. [snip]

Toward the close Glen Ford lays out the powerful reasons for a black brown movement, and to me, a workers’ movement that should rise in America, if it can:

[T]here will be no living wage for anyone if corrupt African American politicians insist on making common cause with oppressive employers like Wal-Mart, all the while subscribing to the canard that Latino immigrants want to work for sub-standard wages.

There is no solution to a two- or three-tier wage system, except a one-tier wage system – which requires the closest collaboration among those who work or want to work, whatever their social background. Hispanics are second only to Blacks in eagerness to join a union. (The order of union-friendliness is Black women, first, followed by Black men, Hispanic women, Hispanic men, white women, with white men dead last.)

Hispanics are overwhelmingly supportive of public schools and affordable health care. They oppose racial profiling, to which Latinos have been subjected by immigration authorities as well as police for generations. The police state, immigrant-hunt regime that would descend on the nation if Claud Anderson and his white supremacist allies get their way, combined with anti-terrorist hysteria, would inevitably erase every civil liberties gain of the past four decades, most severely impacting the state-criminalized Black ghetto poor, as usual. [snip]

Last, BAR posts that they are slowly posting their own writing from BC to BAR as “archives” and thus accessible… all to the good… 😉


UPDATE, 3:10 pm in San Francisco

Oh yum… this is like lying in bed with chocolate bon bons.  Patrick Cockburn on Jeane Kirkpatrick and Obama (he calls him Senator Slither)…


… since Obama is in the skillet up post… and his take on Jeane is quite something:

[I] remember her at the Republican convention in New Orleans in 1980. Conservative queen bees like Kirkpatrick and Schafly had, in their proximate physical aspect, an undercurrent of erotic violence ­- Jeane was surely a closet case — that didn’t really come through on camera. Rooted under the rostrum in the Superdome, peering up into Kirkpatrick’s flaring nostrils I could see planes of her face that were normally flattened out in the bland imagery of videotape.

Of course she was talking about “national security” with her lips puckered into a moue of cruel delight as she foretold how Dukakis and the Democrats would leave America bound helpless beneath the Russian jackboot. The only jackboot I could keep in mind was hers: Jeane lashing savagely at the cuffed and whimpering body of effete liberalism.  [snip]

Oh welll… maybe a tid bit of his take on Obama (more bonbons!):

[O]bama, who runs a huge political fund-raising operation in Washington, knows where the money is, in the the right-center segment of the political landscape inhabited by the Democratic Leadership Council.

It’s why he picked Lieberman, a DLC icon, as his mentor. The new arrival in Washington wanted to send out a swift signal to the corporate powers and Party donors that here was no boat-rocker from Chicago, but a safe pair of hands and an obedient pair of heels.  [ooo! zinger!  -Mcat]

There was another, more substantive signal, keenly savored by the corporate world, where Obama voted for “tort reform”, thus making it far harder for people to get redress or compensation.

As I wrote about Obama last year, Sometimes people comfort themselves with variants on what’s called the intentional fallacy: in other words, as only the fifth black senator in US history, Obama has to bob and weave, placate the Man, while positioning himself at the high table as the people’s champion. But in his advance to the high table Obama is diligently divesting himself of all legitimate claims to be any sort of popular champion, as opposed to another safe black, like Condoleezza Rice (whom Obama voted to confirm. The Empire relishes such servants.

And so, Obama, the constitutional law professor, voted to close off any filibuster of Alito, and fled Senator Russell Feingold’s motion to censure the P:resident, declaring

“my and Senator Feingold’s view is not unanimous. Some constitutional scholars and lower court opinions support the president’s argument that he has inherent authority to go outside the bounds of the law in monitoring the activities of suspected terrorists. The question is whether the president understood the law and knowingly flaunted it.”

That’s not the question at all. The question is whether the Constitution permits its violation by the President, and the answer is no.

Obama, a self proclaimed educator in constitutional law, voted Yes on March 2 to final passage of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act, unlike ten of his Democratic colleagues. [snip]

There is more, on both Jeane and Obama, the Democrats, the war and so on.  Cockburn says the “liberals” are hardening to support more troops to Iraq.

Oh.. why not.  It is just a horror of blood. Pour something hard in the egg nog – and try to forget.  The military will have to revolt… And, I read it was Robb who argued and campaigned for “more troops” language to be in the ISG.

Those pesky Democrats.  Or whatever they are… No one really knows.  I cannot wait till voting starts in the 110th.  And then listen to the Blahhgers bleat weakly… all is show! and provide cover for their support system…


UPDATE, 4 pm.. grey and cold in the city… 😉

The military is going to have to revolt from the inside.  The list of the dead tonight on Lehrer’s News Hour was just terrible:  20 names.  4 staff sargeants – that I caught – two captains and a second lieutenant.  Several in their thirties.  Often there is more than one in his 40s.  Once a 56 year old.

The military will have to stop this… I cannot see another way.  No one seems to have any real strength against our Dauphin, not really… his terrible father just crumples and weeps… and the Democrats have no bone structure, none at all. 


UPDATE, 5:15 pm…

Just saw film again of Bush, Condi and Cheney… as they stepped out for a few words with reporters.  Day One of his “Listening Tour”.  Geesh.  My what a stiff little set they were, with Cheney staring at the ground. 

It reminded me of this:

It was a group journey that surprised even the members themselves. Bipartisan panels often come up with mush; this was a report girded in steel. It was the result, members say, of some eye-opening moments–including an interview with the president and his national security team. At one point, Vernon Jordan, a skilled Washington insider, put it pretty bluntly to the president, according to a panel member’s paraphrase:

Jordan: What do you mean by victory? When my mama told me to clean the garage, I cleaned the garage because I knew what she meant. But I don’t understand what you mean.

Bush: You have to speak to the American people with a simple message here. They understand what victory is, and if you come off of it, they’ll think you’re giving up.

Some members say they were stunned by the response. And when they left, they were puzzled by one more thing: During their entire session, Vice President Dick Cheney–a key architect of the war in Iraq–never said a word. Not one.

We are so skrewed… 


UPDATE, 6:20…

We are all skrewed, via Angry Arab:

Secretary-general of the Arab League, handpicked by Husni Mubarak, was concerned over tensions and conflict in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq. So he flew to…Washington, DC. Well, I have to be fair. He needed instructions.

posted by As’ad @ 5:54 PM link


UPDATE, 8:45 pm

Henrik Hertzberg has an over view of the ISG report in The New Yorker that is up online and this surely is the heart of our horror.  The world’s horror…

[T]he Report’s narrative passages add up to a comprehensive condemnation not only of the conduct and consequences of the Iraq war but also of the Administration’s over-all foreign policy, a condemnation all the more stunning coming from a panel led by Baker and including O’Connor, who, perhaps more than any other two people on earth, were responsible six years ago for promoting Bush from loser of the popular vote to President of the United States.  [snip]

And this at the end:

[W]hen another reporter noted that the Study Group wants leaders to be “candid and forthright with people,” he tried. “We have not succeeded as fast as we wanted to succeed,” he said. “Progress is not as rapid as I had hoped,” he said. His problem is success that is insufficiently fast, progress that is insufficiently rapid. Our problem is that he sees it that way.

The other problem is that both parties are hurtling as fast as they can toward 2008, giddy to reclaim or extend then to ascend, in both cases, to power.  Neither appears very interested in anything else, at all…


UPDATE, 5:50 am on Tuesday… driving rain in San Francisco…

I am listening to Artur Davis (D-AL) on Washington Journal… what a smooth operator.  Somewhere or other I read he is the personal puppy of Ellen Tauscher.  Certainly a New Dem in congress and certainly a DLCer, proudly appearing on the top banner at ndonline.com.  More than a bit of a sly boots.  But a couple weeks ago Kos was pushing him (remember he is DLC!) to take on Pete Sessions.  Sounds like a suicide mission to me…

From Hotline’s Blogometer… I love the end tid bit:

The right’s Outside the Beltway finds “Greenwald’s candor” “refreshing” and then looks at this Greenwald passage:

”It’s possible that the Democratic takeover of Congress can result in genuine and meaningful – and desperately-needed – change for our country. But it’s also possible that it could result in nothing notable, that it will produce only the most marginal and politically risk-free actions, all justified by the need not to do anything too “extreme’ due to a fear of harming their 2008 electoral prospects.”

OTB responds:

“The latter is more than “possible;’ it is virtually assured. Neither party has a monopoly on virtue. Indeed, most Members of Congress are honorable people genuinely trying to serve the public. The incentive structure, especially in the House with its biannual elections, though, is for the majority party to maximize fundraising and minimize risk. That’s not going to change just because the leadership changed hands.”

Captain’s Quarters wonders: “Will Emanuel pay any price for his dishonesty? It’s doubtful; by the time of the next election, this will be old news that neither party will want to revisit. Still, kudos to Glenn for getting tough with his own party on dishonesty and political cynicism of the highest order.”

Back on the left, Down with Tyranny links to CNN‘s coverage of the House report under the header:

“Rahm Emanuel Should Resign From Congress Immediately And Go Back To Being A Crooked Stockbroker Or Ballerina.”


Artur is now telling us we are in a ”serious time”.  He says Obama is catching on as he does “not speak in the old ways of politics”… oh but he does, very much so….


UPDATE, 8:00 am… still driving rain in San Francisco

VERY interesting post from Danny (whom the blahhgers love to hate) at Beltway Blogroll:

What’s In Your Wallet? None Of Your Business

LegiStorm took Capitol Hill by storm a few months ago, but the site that lets anyone see how fat the paychecks of congressional staffers are will be short-lived if Rep. Roger Wicker has his way.

Days before the 109th Congress ended, the Mississippi Republican filed a bill aimed at the heart of LegiStorm’s content. It would have kept the salaries of individual staffers from being listed in disbursements by congressional offices. The line-item spending has long been available on paper, but LegiStorm put it into searchable format online. The initial traffic to the site earlier this fall was so thick that it was briefly unavailable. […[

Adam Kovacevich of Potomac Flacks is one of the bloggers who used the database. He compiled a list of salaries for Senate press secretaries and said it is “one of our most-trafficked posts ever.” [snip]

 I am wandering in LegiStorm, in staff salaries – as the rain pounds on the windows that face south…



Keeping an eye out… 10 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2006 Mid Terms, DC Politics, Democrats, San Francisco.

   Norwegian peacekeeper, Israeli border

hmmm.  I caught news of Nancy at a San Francisco “thank you” rally for supporters.  The local news had a clip of her in high spirits on the stage, flanked by Newsom and George Miller (D-CA)… And with great excitement she declared her first order of business is to “end the war in Iraq”.  She turned, Newsom kissed her on her cheek, turned the other way, Miller kissed her cheek.

The crowd roared.

So… I went looking for an early report… I was a bit too early… but I found this instead.  A lot closer to the truth… and a good round up piece.

This is the segment that mentioned Nancy:

The Democrats’ Dilemma

Some of this U.S. and Israeli rhetoric has been echoed by Democrats, particularly incoming Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi. In 2005, she told a meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that “the greatest threat to Israel’s right to exist … now comes from Iran.” AIPAC has long been associated with some of the more extreme sectors of the Israeli political spectrum. The organization has been particularly aggressive in lobbying for war with Iran, a war that polls show the U.S. public strongly opposes.

The Democrats’ close ties with AIPAC and the Israeli government are already causing problems. The Democrats won the election on a platform of getting the United States out of Iraq, but AIPAC and the current Kadima-Labor government strongly support that war.

Following an hour-long meeting with President Bush last week, Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert told the press, “We in the Middle East have been following the American policy in Iraq for a long time, and we are very much impressed and encouraged by the stability” that the war in Iraq has brought to the Middle East.

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), a reliable supporter of Israel, retorted that Olmert’s comment was “a very unrealistic observation. Most of us here understand that our policy has been a thorough and total disaster for the United States: we have blundered ineptly into an area that our administration does not understand, and for which it has no plan on how to extract us.”

Although several other Democrats were similarly angered by the comments, Pelosi so far has remained quiet.

For all their rhetoric, the vast majority of Democrats does not want war with Iran, but under our system of government, the president has enormous powers. According to Rice, the administration has already been authorized to attack Iran under powers given it by the congressional legislation on the war on terrorism. [snip]

Anyone who has caught Ackerman on Wash Journal… well he is rabid… no other word to use.  He yells at people who disagree with him on Israel.  And yet, there is his comment on the blinders in Israel… and Nancy is silencio.


In other news, White Boyz Weeping:  Jefferson won his run off in LA-02.  The reactions at MyDD, which supported Carter, collected 30K for the race and sent Tagaris down to cover the run up and election day… well boyz were flummoxed.  How could this happen.

The threads to the various posts are the usual whine and blame (all things should go the way the boyz decree) and here and there a few from the ground:

Re: Committee Assignments and Jefferson (3.00 / 1)

Abandoned is right.

One of the worst things about this situation is that the re-election of Jefferson makes it harder for the Democrats in Congress to pursue allegations of corruption by the Republicans.

You think?  Come down and drive around this city and tell us that this is the worst thing.

Corruption was never the most important issue in this election, and y’all never got that.

Have a safe trip home.  See you again in two years when we matter again.

ray in new orleans on Sat Dec 09, 2006 at 11:59:01 PM EST

Another comment from the ground said 90K in a freezer is small potatoes, people get elected in NOLA, set up a charity, get people to donate to it and put the relatives on the payroll.  More than one poster pointed out there is nothing about Katrina in Pelosi’s 100 hours.  Or however that span of time will be captured.. 😉

My nickname for this election was, “He’s got his, she now wants hers”.

Gotta laugh.

more to come…


UPDATE, 10:00 am, clear after rain all night…

Sometimes the news is simply relief:  Pinochet has died.

Pinochet with il papa.  Wonder what they talked about.

[T]he hospital said the condition of the 91-year-old general had suddenly worsened, AP news agency said.

Gen Pinochet was in power from 1973-90, during which time more than 3,000 people were killed or “disappeared”.

He is accused of dozens of human rights violations but has never faced trial because of poor health.

Gen Pinochet suffered a heart attack a week ago. He underwent medical procedures and received the last rites from a Catholic priest.

His condition had been thought to be improving.

 Pinochet and Miss Maggie, during his house arrest, 1999

Perhaps soon Miss Maggie’s passing will be cause for ”relief”.  They can all gather in another hellish universe, this time not on earth.

 Allende during the seige

Photo with il papa in 1987 and photo of Allende, 1973, from this site.



Kneecapping people 8 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2006 Mid Terms, Big Box Blogs, DC Politics, Democrats, The Battle for New Orleans, U.S. House, WAR!.

    Lebanese protest at UN offices Panama 2006


NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 7 — Public housing officials decided Thursday to proceed with the demolition of more than 4,500 government apartments here, brushing aside an outcry from residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina who said the move was intended to reduce the ability of poor black people to repopulate the city.

Residents and their advocates made emotional, legal and what they called common-sense arguments against demolition at the housing authority meeting. “The day you decide to destroy our homes, you will break a lot of hearts,” said Sharon Pierce Jackson, who lived in one of the now-closed projects slated to be razed. “We are people. We are not animals.”

She and others questioned why the Department of Housing and Urban Development would destroy affordable housing in New Orleans, saying it is essential to the city’s recovery.

C. Donald Babers, the federally appointed administrator running the Housing Authority of New Orleans, did not respond to that question in tersely approving the demolitions. […]

“This is a government-sanctioned diaspora of New Orleans’s poorest African American citizens,” said Bill Quigley of Loyola University’s law school, who is representing the displaced. “They are destroying perfectly habitable apartments when they are more rare than any time since the Civil War.”  […]

Before Katrina, the Census Bureau pegged the city’s racial breakdown at about 67 percent black and 28 percent white. A more recent study conducted for the Louisiana Recovery Authority estimates that the city, still well under half its pre-storm population, is 47 percent black and 43 percent white.

When Katrina struck, more than 5,000 families, nearly all of them black, were living in New Orleans public housing, and a couple of thousand more units were vacant or uninhabitable. The waiting list for housing had 8,250 names.

The article does not mention that a change in the welfare reform bill of the late 90s removed the mandate that public housing be replaced, unit by unit.  Now I doubt that was adhered to with anything close to “christian kindness” but I suspect it at least provided an additional legal hook to use against loss of public housing stock. 

From the Times-Picayune

Babers and his staff made no comments on the monumental decision the demolition plan represents. But housing advocates and residents called the citywide razing plan immoral and illegal.

“I’m against any demolition of any development,” said state Rep. Charmaine Marchand, D-New Orleans, who gave Babers a message for Jackson. “Tell him he needs to remember what color he is. The people he is putting out are the same color he is. They and he all answer to the same god.

White owners, Black overseers.


No Reprimand for the Wagging Weenie WatchDogs:

You have to laugh:  I just heard there has been no effective oversight for the overseers of the wagging Foley Weenie and the Eager or Bashful Pages.  That vaunted ethics committee, working so hard to look so earnest before the election, has found “no rules were broken” by House Leadership.

Well, no of course not.   The tip off that finding was likely was when Nancy gave Hastert what Roll Call referred to as the “sumptuous office suite” of Thomas, the former chairman of the Ways and Means.

What can I say, I did not vote for her in ’04 nor in ’06.  Just worn out iwth the guff.

IMMEDIATE UPDATE, I just received yet another ABC BREAKING NEWS! on the Foley Wagging Weenie Oversight oversight.

Willfully ignorant, but no rules broken” is the finding of the vaunted Ethics Committee. 

I am relieved for an early synopsis of the coming two years during which Democrats will work so very very very hard to prove ongoing Handmaiden Status.


Aw.  Sweetie.  It’s OK, we get it:

“Everyone took that literally and presumed that when members aren’t here, they are on vacation,” Hoyer said, adding that when members return to their home districts, they continue to work hard talking to constituents.
He stressed that Congress would be working more in Washington in the new year, staying in town for full days on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Under Republican leadership, lawmakers usually worked Tuesday evening until Thursday afternoon, a schedule Hoyer found unacceptable. [sounds like a day and half, maybe  -Mcat]
“We will work every Friday,” he said, adding that if legislative business is completed for the week, the day would be cut short.  [I bet that is an additional 4 hours, in the final analysis  -Mcat]
“The American people expect us to work … they expect us to have oversight,” he said.

You’ve got to have your rest.  Rest for the wicked, the bored but mendacious, the sloths, the Pharisees, the hypocrites, etc….  Why Not??


This is from the Tom Englehardt preamble to his latest and I think it sums up the core ”nut” of this administration.  Further, but for a handful in the House, a few in the Senate (think of the Durbin floor speech from FOIA’d FBI cables about torture – and the array of powerful Democrats from Daley in Chicago to those who worked inside the senate to deliver to McCain the apology he demanded) the Democrats are fine fine fine with it. 

They can rely on wagging weenies scandals [but fuck that oversight agenda and fuck the American people, you don’t want to reprimand a friend do you?  DO YOU?] to push elections issues over the edge.

However, there is a new Rasmussen poll out that puts approval of congress at 13%. I am hoping ot see another poll soon that will back that up.

The neocons and their patrons, especially our Vice President, wanted to unchain executive power, but that wasn’t all. They weren’t about to waste perfectly good shackles. Another impulse of theirs after the 9/11 attacks was to capture or kidnap, detain, secretly imprison, shackle, and torture their enemies, picked up on battlefields as well as peaceful city streets around the world. The accumulation of leaked documentation from their secret world has long indicated that they had torture on the brain.

The urge to institute a torture regime had, perhaps, less to do with torture itself than with the knowledge that if you somehow gained the right to torture, you could gain the right to do just about anything; you could, in short, unchain the presidency in a major way.


Danny Schechter shares from his email bag:

Mazin Qumsiyeh writes from Palestine:

It is truly remarkable that the so called “Iraq study group” report in 160 pages and thousands of words fails to mention human rights and International law (the words only appear in describing the background of three of the study authors such as “Mr. Jordan practiced general, corporate, legislative, and international law in Washington, D.C.” and “Mr. Hamilton’s distinguished service in government has been honored through numerous awards in public service and human rights as well as honorary degrees”.)

Thus, like the Israel-lobby-authored Bush-pedaled “road map to peace” (2218 words, lacking the four words “Human rights” and “International law”) it is destined to be relegated to the dustbin of history and will not help bring justice nor peace in the Middle East….

    New York Observer

more to come I am sure… 😉


UPDATE, 7:20 pm – rainy night in San Francisco

I’d like to see a Democrat give Sen Smith of OR, a Republican, a second on this [thanks Wilfred]:

“I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs day after day. That is absurd. It may even be criminal,”

declared Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), a 10-year veteran of the Senate, in a speech last night.

TPM Muckraker has full text of his speech… and you can see video of the speech here

Well no sooner did I type that… than incoming email has Truthout (AP report and Truthout report as well) on Cynthia McKinney – banished back to GA once again by the Democratic leadership.  Oh yes, the people voted

Go out with a bang, Cynthia:

Washington – In what was likely her final legislative act in Congress, outgoing Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney announced a bill Friday to impeach President Bush.

  The legislation has no chance of passing and serves as a symbolic parting shot not only at Bush but also at Democratic leaders. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has made clear that she will not entertain proposals to sanction Bush and has warned the liberal wing of her party against making political hay of impeachment.

[San Francisco, less liberal than they accuse us of being, voted Nov 7 to endorse impeachment, by 6 pts – Mcat]

    McKinney, a Democrat who drew national headlines in March when she struck a Capitol police officer, has long insisted that Bush was never legitimately elected. In introducing her legislation in the final hours of the current Congress, she said Bush had violated his oath of office to defend the Constitution and the nation’s laws.

    McKinney has made no secret of her frustration with Democratic leaders since voters ousted her from office in the Democratic primary this summer. In a speech Monday at George Washington University, she accused party leaders of cowing to Republicans on the war in Iraq and on military mistreatment of prisoners.

You go girl!:

   A few days after the Democrats won control, Conyers echoed Pelosi’s statement, saying, “I am in total agreement with her on this issue … impeachment is off the table.” Last week, a spokesperson from Conyers’s office said that the resolution would not be reintroduced and that the congressman had no intention to pursue the matter.

    Will other members of Congress support the action Congresswoman McKinney has brought forth?

    At the table in what could be considered her impeachment “war room,” the question is brought up a number of times.

    Mike, an advisor to McKinney, mentions, “Conyers was supposed to have investigations. They were chomping at the bit 6 months ago to do subpoenas.”

    McKinney quietly replies, “Now they say they aren’t even going to issue subpoenas.”

    Looking up from her papers, she takes a deep breath, “I’m going in alone on this one because now it is all about them playing majority politics.”

I’d call it handmaiden politics, but why quibble?  …;) 

I think Cynthia is going to remain interesting – no one has to like her nor agree with everything she says – even banished back to Georgia…

UPDATE, 9:50 pm

One curtain is pulled back a bit [thanks to Tuston]:

The plan for U.S. forces seems to mirror the one suggested by the Iraq Study Group. But there’s one big difference.

Under the Iraq Study Group plan, released earlier this week, combat troops — about half of all the forces in Iraq — would return home by the first quarter of 2008.

But under the Pentagon’s plan, those combat troops would remain in Iraq — with a new mission. Entire companies of U.S. combat forces (units of about 150 troops) could be embedded in Iraqi army and police battalions.

Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the top operational commander in Iraq told Pentagon reporters this morning, “We believe now that what we need to do is to embed those trainers, to make that organic, as part of the Iraqi army and the Iraqi police.”

Organic. Somehow it sounds as tho we plan to be there, on the ground organically, when the Iraqi military stages a coup.  We are in, on the inside.

Remember that hideous phrasing, we broke it we own it.

It is going to take an organic revolt.  From inside the US military, serving on the ground.  Fragging – and whatever else.


UPDATE, 11:00 pm

Joy to the World.   More Joy.  😉


And, while the article is the usual smear, this stands:

Silvestre Reyes, join the club. When Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi indicated the Texas Democrat was her choice to be the next chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Reyes enjoyed a media honeymoon of perhaps two hours.

Then reports emerged detailing Reyes’ role in the awarding of a $239 million contract in 1999 for a network of border cameras and sensing devices to International Microwave Corp. Soon afterward, the company hired two of Reyes’ children. Soon after that – but too late for a refund – it emerged that the firm’s technology didn’t work. […]

Our point is plain: Not only is Washington’s culture of corruption a bipartisan phenomenon, it sometimes seems close to the norm for veteran lawmakers. [Bingo on that! – Mcat]

Something of the ”bumbling idiot” in all of it.  Not just Reyes…


Remember Osama?  Tora Bora?  Tommy Franks?  Welll heeeere’s Tommy!

COLMES: What is the Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum? Tell us about that.

FRANKS: I love to hear you ask that question. As a matter of fact, I’m sitting tonight in Hobart, Oklahoma, a small town out in southwest Oklahoma, where we’re working mightily.

We’ve just started our fundraising effort to put together an institute that will bear my name. And the purpose of the institute is to bring people who are not necessarily of like mind together to discuss issues, like the ones that “Hannity & Colmes” discuss, and try to figure out how it is that we can inform decision-making without bringing all the vitriol into it. So that’s what this effort is all about.

Born to lead, apparently.  But no vitriol.


UPDATE, Satruday Noon

The Atlantic has a Fallows article on the ISG, and it appears it is not behind a subscription wall.  Probably a standard take, but the interest is in his “4th bonus point” – and I must say, it was a fine fine moment during the presser:

The questions from the British reporters at the Bush-Blair appearance were revealing, because of a tone virtually never heard from the American press. Yes, British-style press questions are often semi-insulting, in a way different and more wounding than the posturing and shouting of a U.S. cable tv show. […]

But Hardtalk’s interviewer, Stephen Sackur, is withering in an icier and politely contemptuous way, which does more damage in the long run. […]Another example would be the contrast between a “contentious” hearing in the U.S. Senate or House, where politicians orate huffily at each other, and Question Time for a British prime minister, when the comments can sound genuinely hostile and disrespectful.

Some of that icy disdain came into the final question for Bush at the press conference. In cold type, it read this way:

Q: Mr. President, the Iraq Study Group said that leaders must be candid and forthright with people. So let me test that. Are you capable of admitting your failures in the past, and perhaps much more importantly, are you capable of changing course, perhaps in the next few weeks?

As delivered it was even more dismissive than it looks. Not only did the question omit what would have been obligatory from a U.S. reporter, the preliminary “with all due respect” disclaimer. It also lacked even the slightest undertone or implication of “all due respect.” The sense was that of one human being asking another, whom he didn’t think much of, why he had done so poorly and whether he actually was fit for his job. It wasn’t mere political disagreement or criticism; it was dismissiveness on a personal level. I don’t know whether a British reporter would instinctively switch into “all due respect” mode when posing questions to, say, the Queen. But I bet it was a tone that Bush has not heard in person for a very long time.


Meow Cat at night… ;) 7 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in Big Box Blogs, DC Politics, Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, la vie en rose, Viva La Revolucion!.


Interesting diary over at the Kos and Whacks... with a wonderful long train of comments…  the lead blasted to “Hidden comments”.  Some charming soul resuscitated it from the censored pile (riight, they are so liberal over there in whack land…). 

Enjoy.  Or, some will enjoy.

mcjoan (1+ / 9-)
Recommended by: Nonpartisan

Trollrated by: pontificator, MissLaura,
SallyCat, PaintyKat, Pithy Cherub, Miss Blue, chumley, Prison4Bushco, wandabee

 will handle all the complaints about armando’s assholliness.
because that would be a fair system.
incest is best, after all.

Rome wasn’t burnt in a day.
by Miss Devore on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 10:41:19 PM CST
[ Reply to This |Recommend Troll  ]

and a little later on… the mcjoan comment is a scream:

Why? (0 / 0)

She’s trying to make what I believe is a valid point.
Notice I didn’t defend her upthread when she called MissLaura names.

ProgressiveHistorians: History and Politics Of, By, and For the People
by Nonpartisan on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 10:53:06 PM CST
[ Parent | Reply to This |Recommend Troll  ]

A slur is valid? (11+ / 0-)
Recommended by: SallyCat, PaintyKat, als10, Miss Blue, chumley, Elise, begone, PatsBard, MTmofo, vox humana, wandabee

 Gee, thanks.

America’s Second Harvest
by mcjoan on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 10:54:06 PM CST
[ Parent | Reply to This |Recommend Troll  ]

Frankly.. you hang with Armando, you look a little foolish (actually a lot foolish) splitting hairs over slurs.

But it is damned amusing… 😉

Little Master has appeared as well.  And was wowowed:

 Wow (1+ / 0-)

Recommended by:

Just wow.

by kos on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 10:51:52 PM PST

Do you love how they all “4” each other…?  Or slobber mojo or whatever it is by now.  Pacifiers… 😉  … they need some.

hmm hmmm … this would be the carcinogenic cherry on top comment… and yet another scream!

 I’m not even Cuban. (n/t) (10+ / 0-)

Recommended by:
MissLaura, Ray Radlein, shayera, PaintyKat, peraspera, blueteam, SeattleLiberal, begone, Denny in Seattle, Big Tent Democrat

America’s Second Harvest

by mcjoan on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 09:40:03 PM PST

[ Parent ]


Have laugh, this is from the Kos “Warnings”:

 Viciously allergic (1+ / 0-)

Recommended by:

As in, my lungs fill up with fluid and gurgle when I try to breathe.

And my skin breaks out in hives.

Not pretty.

I used to have ferrets as pets.

by kos on Thu Dec 07, 2006 at 12:32:24 AM PST

[ Parent ]


Update,  10:15 am

oooo a waggish emailer completed Kos comment for him: 

… I used to have ferrets as pets. 

you missed the last phrase “now i have Armando, Joan, DH and Fleet Admiral instead”‘

oh yes yes… Meee-ow. And in daylight, no less!  Not to worry.  Remember, it’s midnight somewhere over the American Empire. 

Just for good measure (in case anyone was fool enough to think I am done!) Here is Who is IOZ with a judicious slam as well…

I’ve said before and will say again that the only way to appreciate the true absurdity of the truly absurd is to say quite literally what the thing is. So while it is true that there’s plenty of lunacy in the Iraq Study Group report, it is the ISG itself that howls at the moon. Consider that our nation launched a war of aggression that was not only spectacularly wrong morally by also spectacularly wrong practically; we have ransacked the entire country of Iraq in order to find some retroactive justification for going there in the first place, and having found no publically palatable danger, we retconned the whole endeavor into a Cervantian tale of misbegotten heroism redeemed in the end by its underlying nobility and the moral coarseness of those who opposed it based on ignoble, practical concerns, or worse yet, on a countervailing moral vision that says heroes, in truth, are usually bullies or loons–or a little bit of both.

The problem with the Dkos/Kos and his whacks is that Kos’s game is fakery and selling an all too familiar but delusional hero model.  Witness the gaming for Reid. “Give ’em hell, Harry”.  Spare me, for an old hack who loves his earmarks.  Oh yes, they turn on this one or that one as internecine issues require and they serve this or that master… but the old style heroic statuary on a pedestal in remembrance of the wars (any wars) is the model.

Remember all the pro war, pro militarism, pro ‘US at War’ sentiment on that site… and that Kos has said only the military should criticise the military.  Think of that, for just a minute.  And hmmm yes, early on, in 2002, the bigger blogs then were the “Warblogs”.  For and against.  However if you were not for Bush, generally, you opposed the war.  At least on the page, you did (or you were one of the wavering Liberal Hawks who now hide their archives…)  And if you were building eyeballs on the left side of the aisle it was a good idea to oppose the war…

Might as well laugh.. 😉  And follow the yardarm.  Perhaps a little non celebratory champagne today.  Slice of Blahgger on a triscuit…


UPDATE, 9:30 pm Thursday

Oh this is delish…. and it led of a quote of Kos frantic that “the community” should know that Obamammamam is not DLC. 

Well… the old archives are hidden behind the new subscription wall at the <cough> rather revamped Black Commentator, but it was the two old time reporters at BC who PULLED Obama back from a big flirt with the DLC.  He obfuscated, said he had not “done it” iwth the DLC, they stole his name, he ”just filled out a form they sent  him” (I am nto kidding) BC told him, fool if you do it.  And that they would watch and see if he flirted again.

Anyway to the delish sub thread from the Kos Impeachment (NOT!) posting:

 Disclose please (2+ / 0-)

Recommended by:
cosette, rakk

Please tell us why you have decided to support Obama so loudly. Obama does not fit the mold of the politicians you have previously supported in Democratic primaries.

What’s more, the New Republic is also quite obviously in the process of getting on board with Obama. Undoubtedly we will hear twisted justifications from both of you as to why Obama is the embodiment of your long-held beliefs or whatever. But I don’t at all like the whiff of propaganda that’s starting to stink up the place.

“We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality.”

by Marshall on Thu Dec 07, 2006 at 11:42:03 AM PST

[ Parent ]



LIQUEFACTION! Watch it happen, faster than erosion! 6 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, San Francisco.

Esme Turkey luiquefaction along coastline 35 x 50 metres 

and in San Francisco, we know from liquefaction.  As I read over the soft slush bubbling up, for war, for newspeak, for Gates, for shafting the American people bi-partisanly… I remember all the bizarre old landfill that was excavated here in San Francisco as we swooned in liquefaction during the Loma Prieta of September ’89.  Everything from old carts, buggies, trolley cars and other large and small debris – to carcasses.

Catch this from Reyes, soon to chair the House Intel committee, why, he even seeks political cover by using McCain.  I do wonder how many of the many many DINOs would belly up and vote for that sickening man?  Plenty. [thanks to bayprairie]

“[W]e’re not going to have stability in Iraq until we eliminate those militias, those private armies,” Reyes said. “We have to consider the need for additional troops to be in Iraq, to take out the militias and stabilize Iraq … We certainly can’t leave Iraq and run the risk that it becomes [like] Afghanistan” was before the 2001 invasion by the United States.

Reyes also stressed that there needed to be greater “political accountability” demanded of the Iraqi government. But on the core issue of the U.S. commitment, Reyes—a Vietnam War veteran who partially lost his hearing in that conflict—even compared his position to that of another Vietnam vet, Sen. John McCain, a staunch supporter of the Iraq war. Like Reyes, McCain also has called for an increase in U.S. troop strength. When asked how many additional troops he envisioned sending to Iraq, Reyes replied: “I would say 20,000 to 30,000—for the specific purpose of making sure those militias are dismantled, working in concert with the Iraqi military.” [snip]

Slush bubbling up around old trolley car landfill sure as hell sounds like the internals of the moving shell game that is the modern Democratic party.

Ray McGovern from yesterday, Democracy NOW!:

RAY McGOVERN: Well, I am very distraught to see that the Senate appears willing to acquiesce in a witness or a candidate who was very disingenuous the last time he was called before Congress and before the Iran-Contra affair. It’s a very problematic decision.

In some ways, the Democrats are facing their first test after the election. They have the power to block this nomination or at least to investigate Gates to look into the evidence that has come to light since the 1991 confirmation proceedings. And it looks like they’re more inclined to give him absolution, so to speak, and say, “Well, let bygones be bygones. Iran-Contra was a terrible thing, but maybe he’s reformed.” Daschle, Senator Daschle, back in ’91, said, “We can’t afford to take the chance that a fellow who has deliberately trimmed intelligence and taken liberties with the truth will reform.”

The real question is whether Gates will bring what is called a fresh perspective to policymaking on Iraq, for example. We see in the Post today, Robert Burns saying that the President needs to have people who are strong and who will disagree with him. Now, Bobby Gates is not that kind of person. He never has been, and he never will be. And so, what we have here is just an additional person in this very tightly closed circle around the President, which in intelligence parlance is called a “self-licking ice cream cone.” What you have here is a slight change in flavor, less tart, more sugary, with the replacement of Bobby Gates for Dick Cheney. But you don’t have any real change in policy. The recipe for the ice cream is still being dictated by Bush, and even more so by Cheney.

The big question, of course, is whether Cheney has lost influence with the departure of Rumsfeld. The conventional wisdom was, of course, he will have lost that influence. But looking at what the President has been saying about Iraq and looking at the way they are dissing already the Baker-Hamilton report as just one of the inputs into the situation suggests to me that Cheney is still very much in control and that Gates’s modus operandi will be to become Cheney’s best friend and write memos, as he did for Bill Casey. Bill Casey wanted to wage war in Nicaragua. Bobby Gates would give them a reason not only to do the Contra thing, but also to bomb Nicaragua. [snip]

 Have to laugh. The News Hour had a rather harsh take on Gates the other day (I suspect someone there just does not like him, but who knows) and one snip had Sen DeConcini saying Gates is a company man and in fact a Bush company man.  I would call him a company man of utmost convenience.

Oh well… 😉

On the upside, all the calls this am to Wash Journal are dismissive of the Iraq Study Group.

Snow said Bush and White House officials were not “tensing for a punch” from the report.

”We are not winning”, but ”neither are we losing” (Gates in testimony 12/5).  Can I hear it for STALEMATE?

And what shall the American people say when it sifts thru to them that we are LOSING at a fast pace, after 5 full years, in Afghanistan?  Which reminds me, I heard a very very cute, too cute, lie from Warner yesterday during the hearings… he all but said that Afghani product from poppy only goes to Europe.

One thing we know, a long, dreary future of nearly Stalinist lying.

more to come… 😉


UPDATE, 6:30 am

All four letters published in the NYT today are ”horrified”, “disgusted”, “shock and horror”, at the “depravity”, by the story [Re “A Videotape Offers a Window Into a Terror Suspect’s Isolation; Black-Out Goggles, Shackles and Years in Solitary” (front page, Dec. 4)] that is emerging on Jose Padilla.

here is one:

To the Editor:

I am disgusted by the depth of depravity of the treatment of Jose Padilla by our government. This administration has turned our country into a Kafka novel.

The cover-up of the government’s mistake in pressing its original charges is just as bad as the original charges. When will this insanity end?

Mary Beth Mauer
Jackson, Ohio, Dec. 4, 2006


Norman Solomon of FAIR takes a look at the renewed media spin for War Continuation. 

[D]uring the weeks since the midterm election, the New York Times’s news coverage of Iraq policy options has often been heavy-handed, with carefully selective sourcing for prefab conclusions. Already infamous is the November 15 front-page story by Michael Gordon under the headline “Get Out of Iraq Now? Not So Fast, Experts Say.” A similar technique was at play December 1 with yet another “News Analysis,” this time by reporter David Sanger, headlined “The Only Consensus on Iraq: Nobody’s Leaving Right Now.”

    Typically in such reportage, the sources harmonizing with the media outlet’s analysis are chosen from the cast of political characters who helped drag the United States into making war on Iraq in the first place.

    What’s going on now in mainline news media is some kind of repetition compulsion. And, while media professionals engage in yet another round of conformist opportunism, many people will pay with their lives.

    With so many prominent American journalists navigating their stories by the lights of big Washington stars, it’s not surprising that so much of the news coverage looks at what happens in Iraq through the lens of the significance for American power. [snip]


UPDATE, 10:50 am

Shoot me now.  C-span showed a gaggle of Democrats led by Reid… at the mics in the hallway to take reporters questions on the ISG report.  Usual blither (Reid:  they tried so hard to do the right thing). 

When Biden got the mic (no make up!) he said he will hold 6 to 8 weeks of hearings on the report.

A report that, from ALL but two true believers in 45 minutes of call-ins this am to Wash Journal, was disparaged, dismissed, denigrated… you name it they said it… And a few took the entire group to task.  Several Democrats were dismissive of all the D on the list and a couple singled out Vernon Jordan and Lee Hamilton.

It will be interesting to see if the American people swallow all the tired jive that is being set loose.  And not just about Iraq War.



MSNBC is reporting that 10 US service persons have died in two large IED explosions in al-Anbar province.  There does not seem to be a recent news report – at least not one that Google News has up….  When I locate one will put it up.

Again, it is not too much to ask that the troops be pulled back to bases.  IF there were any such thing as a change in course.  Anytime soon.

Beyond criminal, it is just an abattoir.

Here we go, uruknet.de had it:

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Ten American servicemembers were killed in two improvised explosive device attacks in Iraq on Wednesday, NBC News reported. The news came hours after a mortar attack killed at least eight people and wounded dozens in the Sadr City Shiite district of the capital, police said.

In the 10 American deaths, five troops were killed in the north, and five were killed in Anbar province, a U.S. military official told NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski. No further details were immediately available.

The mortar attack in Sadr City was followed closely by a suicide bombing, police said. Two rounds landed and exploded in the Haraj Market in a mixed Shiite-Sunni area in northern Baghdad, said police officers Ali Mutab and Mohammed Khayoun, who provided the casualty totals.

About 25 minutes later, a suicide bomber on a bus in Sadr City detonated explosives hidden in his clothing, killing two people and wounding 15, police 1st Lt. Thaer Mahmoud said. [snip]

ABC updates the KIA:

Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:



UPDATE 1:40 pm

If you cannot tell the truth or do not wish to, then lies are left to you.  Reed of RI is on the senate floor.  Our “greatest strategic threats”, he says, after traditional pro-war, salacious build up, are ‘Iran and No Korea”,  And Iran in particular threatens the US and Israel, our “greatest ally”.

No…. silly boy.  The greatest strategic threat is us.

War forevermore..


Reverse… 5 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, SCOTUS, U.S. Senate, WAR!.

  traffic in Caracas  [bbc]

Greenhouse in the NYT

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 — By the time the Supreme Court finished hearing arguments on Monday on the student-assignment plans that two urban school systems use to maintain racial integration, the only question was how far the court would go in ruling such plans unconstitutional.

There seemed little prospect that either the Louisville, Ky., or Seattle plans would survive the hostile scrutiny of the court’s new majority. In each system, students are offered a choice of schools but can be denied admission based on their race if enrolling at a particular school would upset the racial balance.

Joan Biskupic in USA Today:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court appeared ready Monday to strike down public school diversity programs that use race as a factor in deciding where students go to school.

In the first test of school integration efforts to come before the court since Chief Justice John Roberts and fellow conservative Samuel Alito joined the bench last term, the justices heard two cases — one from Seattle, the other from Louisville — that examine whether using race in school assignments violates the Constitution’s equality guarantee.  […]

The significance of the cases — and of their potential impact on the 1954 landmark — was apparent in the courtroom. Among the spectators was Cecilia “Cissy” Marshall, the widow of the late Justice Thurgood Marshall, the nation’s first black justice and a legal architect of desegregation. Also in the court was William Coleman, who was part of Marshall’s legal team in 1954, went on to become secretary of Transportation in the Ford administration and is now a lawyer in Washington.

Outside the marble-columned building, supporters of the integration programs vastly outnumbered challengers. They chanted, “Equal education, not segregation.”

However, it is the challengers — mostly white parents whose children were not assigned to their schools of choice — who seemed more likely to prevail.

I caught the oral argument yesterday in two cases before the SC on school desegration, one in Seattle and one in Jefferson Co (Louisville) KY.

The Reuters and NYT links point up the emergence of Kennedy as swinging to the conservatives on this issue…

But none points to a fateful and ugly train of questions begun by Scalia in the KY case (the oral argument in the KY seemed more contentious to me, hotter) and quickly picked up by Kennedy… Scalia introduced as a query, do we know the school board is benign?  This despite the fact that I heard the KY atty for the school board state that surveys (plural) are included to show that the plan enjoys wide support, up to 80% of the community… Scalia elaborated that perhaps schools are equal but at one school performance is higher and thus a racial group on the board wishes to benefit their race by inserting children from their racial group into that school, perhaps to 80%. 

You get the drift…

Well… Kennedy ran with it.  Honestly, he appeared agitated in a way that seemed revealing.  But it was Breyer who broke thru in dismay with this:

“Think, go back to Cooper v. Aaron,” Justice Breyer told the solicitor general, referring during the argument in the Louisville case to the court’s 1958 decision enforcing a desegregation order in Little Rock, Ark. “Go back to the case where this court with paratroopers had to use tremendous means to get those children into the school. That’s because the society was divided.”

He continued: “Here we have a society, black and white, who elect school board members who together have voted to have this form of integration. Why, given that change in society, which is a good one, how can the Constitution be interpreted in a way that would require us, the judges, to go in and make them take the black children out of the school?” 

Afterwards, out front of the court in questions with reporters, the atty for the Seattle plan said if this is struck down, if the court finds for the parents, that little will be left of Brown v BoE.

A case in which the the court was so careful to achieve a unanimous decision that they worked two years to deliver their ruling.  Further, Jonathan Kozol has said that while KY delayed integration, when they got to work, they did just about the best job in the nation and thus are more integrated than many large northern states, CA, NY, IL, MI and MA are the states he names…

From a December 2005 Kozol article in The Nation, entitled Overcoming Apartheid:

In the Louisville area as well, school integration, initially carried out under court order, has now been in place without court order for a quarter-century. The sweep of the program, under which the city schools and county schools have been combined into a single system in which more than 90,000 black, Hispanic, white and Asian children are enrolled, has had the effect of rendering Kentucky’s public schools the most desegregated in the nation. The typical black student in Kentucky now attends a school in which two-thirds of the enrollment is Caucasian.

When a proposal was made in 1991 to terminate or cut back on Kentucky’s integration program, protests were voiced by community groups, the teachers union, the local press, the Jefferson County Human Relations Commission and the regional branch of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. A survey revealed that the number of black parents who believed their children’s education had improved under the busing plan exceeded those who took the opposite position by a ratio of six to one. Less than 2 percent believed that education for their children would be better in resegregated schools. Despite occasional recurrences of opposition from groups or individuals who represent small pockets of resistance, support for school desegregation in the Louisville community continues strong and unabated to the present day.

It was unbearably sad…  I see no good spin on this one.  None.

“Even many black leaders,” notes education analyst Richard Rothstein, are weary of the struggle over mandatory busing programs to achieve desegregation and “have given up on integration,” arguing, in his words, that “a black child does not need white classmates in order to learn.” So education policies, he says, “now aim to raise scores in [the] schools that black children attend.” “That effort,” he writes, “will be flawed even if it succeeds.” The Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown decision, he reminds us, “was not about raising scores” for children of minorities “but about giving black children access to majority culture, so they could negotiate it more confidently…. For African-Americans to have equal opportunity, higher test scores will not suffice. It is foolhardy to think black children can be taught, no matter how well, in isolation and then have the skills and confidence as adults to succeed in a white world where they have no experience.”


UPDATE: 2:25 pm in San Francisco…

I think this can safely be called MIssing the Point… from Roll Call (behind subscription wall) today, via The Note:

In her “Heard on the Hill” column, Roll Call’s Mary Ann Akers has a “well-placed GOP source” saying that Nancy Pelosi, “in a random act of bipartisan kindness that will surely irk Members on both sides of the aisle, has decided to reward Hastert with the plush and coveted Capitol office suite now held by retiring Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.).” 


UPDATE… 4:40 pm

The Armed Services committee voted unanimously (21-0) today to approve Gates, so he proceeds for a vote from the full senate.  I am sure voice vote will be fine.  Perhaps they can phone it in from their perch on some gold leafed commode somewhere.  And not that I expected much different… certainly they are still the handmaiden party.

You have to laugh.  We are just downstream… and the pollution is heavy. 

Madman has a post up…

[T]here is ample evidence that this bagman for imperialist warmongers and enablers of death squads shouldn’t be given this very important post. None of that matters, though, because the fix is in. BOTH parties support and foster our warlike ways, our bullying and unconstrained extraction of the world’s resources.  [snip]