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Alley cat, alley cat.. ;) 15 June 2007

Posted by marisacat in Divertissements.
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    alley cat alley cat... ;)

Maybe La Louche has energy but I am pooped… 😉

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“I like this violence” 15 June 2007

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Israel/AIPAC, WAR!.
133 comments

     

Landed on this at a good aggregate for articles on the wars:

“I like this violence”

By Paul Woodward, War in Context, June 13, 2007

It is often assumed that “men of violence” always wear masks and brandish weapons, but those who stand on the sidelines and cheer the fight are also men of violence, none more so than Assistant Secretary of State and US Envoy to the Middle East, David Welch.

“I like the violence” — these were Welch’s words when fighting erupted between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza earlier this year. Welch may be in a less celebratory mood right now, but not because the violence is worse — simply because his side (a small faction inside Fatah) is losing.

The fact that the Bush administration has been instrumental in trying to foment a Palestinian civil war has been clearly documented by Conflicts Forum, but since the press in Washington has been too timid to dig in to this story, it has largely been ignored.  ::snip::

    

From a round up piece at E Intifada:

[B]oth leaderships are hemmed in. Abbas appears to be entirely dependent on foreign and Israeli support and unable to take decisions independent of a corrupt, self-serving clique. Hamas, whatever intentions it has is likely to find itself under an even tighter siege in Gaza.

Abbas, backed by Israel and the US, has called for a multinational force in Gaza. Hamas has rejected this, saying it would be viewed as an “occupying force.” Indeed, they have reason to be suspicious: for decades Israel and the US blocked calls for an international protection force for Palestinians. The multinational force, Hamas fears, would not be there to protect Palestinians from their Israeli occupiers, but to perform the proxy role of protecting Israel’s interests that Dahlan’s forces are longer able to carry out and to counter the resistance — just as the multinational force was supposed to do in Lebanon after the July 2006 war.

Wise leaders in Israel and the United States would recognize that Hamas is not a passing phenomenon, and that they can never create puppet leaders who will be able to compete against a popular resistance movement. But there are no signs of wisdom: the US has now asked Israel to “loosen its grip” in the West Bank to try to give Abbas a boost. Although the Bush doctrine has suffered a blow, the Palestinian people have not won any great victory. The sordid game at their expense continues.

   armed palestinian women, a show of force during the asault on Lebanon, July 18, 2006
Armed Palestinian women, a show of force in GAZA during the assault on Lebanon, July 18, 2006

Angry Arab:

Do you still wonder whether there is a conspiracy? This is from an editorial of by the New York Times:

“Obviously, there can be no final peace agreement until Hamas either changes its policies or is chased from power.”

 

 hmmm.  We probably have to respect elections (and work for clean ones) at home, before we ever respect elections elsewhere.

It is all part of a whole.

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A long comment from JJB, near the close of the previous thread, so moving it forward:

BushCo. and Israel sure do have a knack for turning bad to worse:

As a calm settled over Gaza following five days of fighting in which Hamas completed its conquest of the Gaza Strip from its Fatah rivals, Palestinian leaders began to focus on the political aftermath.

President Mahmoud Abbas started the process of forming an emergency government in the West Bank city of Ramallah, choosing Salam Fayyad, a political independent, to take the lead as prime minister, according to several reports. He was finance minister in the Hamas-led unity government that Mr. Abbas dismissed on Thursday.

It was not clear that Mr. Abbas had the power to govern both the West Bank and Gaza territories.

“Prime Minister Haniya remains the head of the government even if it was dissolved by the president,” Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said. ‘’In practical terms, these decisions are worthless.”

Even Mr. Abbas’ supporters were dubious. “An emergency government would be meaningless here,” said Mkhaimar Abusada, a political scientist at the Fatah-affiliated Al Azhar University in Gaza. “It wouldn’t be able to do anything. Hamas is everywhere. That’s the bottom line.”

Hamas released 10 senior Fatah leaders detained in the Gaza fighting and announced a prisoner amnesty plan, according to wire reports. Other Fatah leaders — close to 100, according to The Associated Press — arrived in Egypt today after fleeing the Gaza fighting on a fishing boat. On the diplomatic front, the so-called quartet of Middle East peace negotiators — the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union — planned talks today on boosting Mr. Abbas.

There’s a Spanish proverb that goes something like this: “Raise crows, and they will pluck out your eyes.” Israel nurtured Hamas as a foil to Fatah, thinking it would be easy to manipulate I suppose, or maybe they didn’t bother to think ahead, just did it as a short-term, short-sighted scheme to undercut Fatah and Arafat, figuring they’d deal with the future ramifications when the future became the present. In recent years, they’ve also been doing all they can to promote Fatah at the expense of Hamas, encouraging internecine fighting in the hopes of provoking a civil war that would neuter both groups. Well, they sure got that wrong, didn’t they? Now Hamas is completely in control of Gaza, and after having been driven out of there, how likely is it that West Bank Palestinians will remain faithful to Fatah, a compromised and apparently toothless entity?

Check out accompanying story:

Bush administration officials said Thursday that they had been discussing the idea of largely acquiescing in the takeover of Gaza by the militant Islamic group Hamas and trying instead to help the Fatah party of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, retain its stronghold in the West Bank.

The United States had quietly encouraged Mr. Abbas to dissolve the Palestinian government and dismiss Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, steps that Mr. Abbas announced Thursday, administration officials said. Before the announcement, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned Mr. Abbas to reiterate American support for the move, they said.

“President Abbas has exercised his lawful authority as the president of the Palestinian Authority, as the leader of the Palestinian people,” Ms. Rice said. “We fully support him and his decision to try and end this crisis of the Palestinian people and to give them an opportunity for — to return to peace and a better future.”

The state of emergency that Mr. Abbas announced has underscored the widening rift separating Gaza, where Hamas has largely routed Fatah’s forces, and the West Bank, where Mr. Abbas still has a strong base.

But diplomats and Middle East experts said a “West Bank first” strategy might now be the last option for Ms. Rice to salvage something from her plans to push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

The State Department insisted that the United States had no plans to abandon Palestinians living in Gaza.

Many diplomats and Middle East experts said they read Mr. Abbas’s decision as an attempt to cut his losses in Gaza and consolidate power in the West Bank. Israeli officials are promoting a proposal that the West Bank and Gaza be viewed as separate entities, and that Israel act more forcefully in Gaza to crack down on Hamas militants.

Senior Bush administration officials said no decision had been made. Some State Department officials argue that the administration could only support such a separation if Israel agreed to make political concessions to Mr. Abbas in the West Bank, with the goal of undermining Hamas in the eyes of Palestinians by improving life in the West Bank.

But it would be diplomatically perilous for the United States to be seen as turning its back on Gaza. Almost half of the Palestinian population lives on the teeming strip of land. A more desperate Gaza could become a breeding ground for Al Qaeda.

Compared to Condeleeza Rice, Dean Rusk was a combination of Metternich and Bismark.

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In memorium… a star of a cat:

SV’s Felix in his prime…

  

And again… 14 June 2007

Posted by marisacat in Divertissements, France.
109 comments

  Prunelle
L’ombre noire c’est Prunelle, elle ressemble à ça maintenant ma vieille copine… Une ombre… Elle a dix huit ans, son arrière train se bloque de plus en plus souvent, elle est affreusement maigre.

From a very poignant French blog.. the elderly of several cats, Prunelle… 18 in 2005 and on her last little legs so off to the Great Cattery, I am sure.  The blogger describes the photo as a shadow, l’ombre noire, as that is what the cat has become…

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And another… ;) 13 June 2007

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

 

if I find things of interest will pop them up on the page…

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A thread, again… 12 June 2007

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Democrats, Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Italy.
137 comments

RAI series on Italian City Cats...
      Photo from an RAI production on cats in cities

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UPDATE, 11:51 pm

Pretty desperate, I would say:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Anti-war Senate Democrats Tuesday plotted a new showdown with US President George W. Bush over Iraq, but admitted they had erred by making supporters think they could end the war.

“On Iraq, we’re going to hold the president’s feet to the fire,” said Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, saying debate would start in two weeks time.

Less than a month after bowing to Bush’s demands and approving a 100 billion dollar war budget, Democratic leaders pledged a new challenge to the White House on withdrawal timelines, troop readiness and curtailing the president’s authority to continue the fight.

Reid said however that Democrats, saddled with a thin majority in Congress, had raised unrealistic expectations about their ability to end the war, among supporters who powered their takeover of Congress last year.

“We set the bar too high,” he said, noting that under Senate rules, Democrats needed 60 votes in the 100 seat chamber to thwart Republican blocking tactics.

On the war, Democratic leaders have only 49 senators in their own party to play with, plus one independent who usually votes with them.

Some Democrats have also been reluctant to make anti-war statements on any bill that provides funding for troops in harm’s way, furthering winnowing the Democratic advantage.

The latest Democratic tactic appeared to be an attempt to keep pressure on Bush and Senate Republicans ahead of an expected critical moment in September, when Congress is due to receive a report on the strategy to surge extra troops into the country.   [limp snip]

Nothing to sell, is my take.  Whooooops! 

Their last hope, a Reaganite:

He said freshman Senator Jim Webb would frame an attempt to prevent Pentagon chiefs cutting downtime between deployments for US troops to Iraq — a move which has also been resisted by the administration.

Oh not to worry:  some will excuse and excuse and excuse and excuse and excuse… and I am sure there are many examples around. As they post in pack formation…

And, you know, fail in the minority, fail in a frail majority, kick them upstairs to try try try again.  It’s a plan.

All they have.

   Reid June 11 Getty Images 

US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, pictured 11 June 2007 in Washington, DC. Anti-war Senate Democrats Tuesday plotted a new showdown with US President George W. Bush over Iraq, but admitted they had erred by making supporters think they could end the war.  [AFP/Getty Images/File/Alex Wong]

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Another thread… 12 June 2007

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

  

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Just reading Froomkin… he has a piece up titled, How lame duck a president?…

I think he missed the boat:   After being unable to get a vote on a one line, non-binding to boot, no-confidence-thingaroo on Gonzales…

it’s the LAME DUCK GOVERNMENT.

Except… Bush still has the codes.

We are so screwed.

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Thread 11 June 2007

Posted by marisacat in WAR!.
100 comments

  
April 16, 2003:   Iraqi women carry non-potable water back home through a sandstorm in the outskirts of Basra. [Reuters Photo]

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Sunday Thread 10 June 2007

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.
108 comments

    al Anbar March 2006 China Daily AFP photo Nov 2005
US Marines conduct an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) sweep in the Zaidon area of Al-Anbar province, southeast of Fallujah, November, 2005.  [AFP]

I found the photo at a China Daily article from March of 2006  — it quotes a recent poll and, 16 months on… there we are, mired in concrete.  Not going anywhere, not leaving.  Just spanning the globe.

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found 66 percent of those surveyed believe the threat of a civil war in Iraq has increased.

That was sharply higher than the 48 percent who shared that opinion in January, before the destruction of the Shiite shrine in Samarra and the subsequent upsurge in violence.

“As the third anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq approaches, public support for keeping US troops in Iraq has reached its lowest point and assessments of progress there have turned significantly more negative than they were just a few months ago,” the think tank said.

Only 49 percent of those polled believe that the United States will succeed in Iraq, down from around 55 percent for several months.

Trust in President George W. Bush’s strategy for victory continues to sink: currently 70 percent believe he lacks a clear plan for successfully ending the war.

The poll, which has a five-point margin of error, was carried out among 1,405 people between March 8 and 12.

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Thread Thread Thread: not much of a post.. ;) 9 June 2007

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election.
111 comments

  Circus performance, the Nerveless Socks.

It’s a circus performance, from a troup called the Nerveless Socks.  But, when searching for circus imagery a year or so ago and saw it, it looked like an election to me.

They are up there teetering, the nose growing ever longer.  And of course now, nothing new, we elect our Rocket’s Red Glare leader.  All is terror, all is war.

My tip for the day, the new line of cat food from Sheba is very much liked in this house.  Yes, on sale at Safeway this week… but if anyone has a cat who is bored bored bored out of its furry skull… give it a try.

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Can’t have Humanity knocking at the door of Business… oh no. 8 June 2007

Posted by marisacat in AFRICOM, WAR!.
123 comments

 
 Malaria in Mali   Kangaba healthcenter   70 kms south of Bamako near the Guinean border. This is the children’s room at this healthcenter which is taking care of a population of 96.000 people.

Noticed this at Alertnet.org, a division of Reuters that tracks emerging and on-going crises, war and NGOs in the field…

G8 trumpets Africa aid deal as summit ends

Source: Reuters

By Madeline Chambers and Gernot Heller

HEILIGENDAMM, Germany, June 8 (Reuters) – World powers on Friday pledged $60 billion to fight AIDS and other diseases ravaging Africa but development campaigners complained the Group of Eight had offered little fresh cash for the poor.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, hosting G8 leaders and heads of five African states, trumpeted the agreement as a showpiece achievement of the three-day summit, along with Thursday’s deal to push for greenhouse gas emissions cuts.

“We are conscious of our obligations and want to fulfil the promises we made. And we will do that,” said Merkel. “We also gave a push to the fight against AIDS,” she told reporters.

Despite deals on aid and climate, cracks showed in the united front leaders tried to present, with tension between an emboldened Russia and an alarmed West never far from the surface.  [snip]

Blah blah blah blah.  Etc.  Sun sets, moon rises, sets, sun rises, face east to your god, west to the setting sun –  and blah blah blah goes on. Enter all the usual suspects, Gates, Bono, Clinton, Ratz-zinger… whomever, the choruses for PEPFAR … Vote in a Democrat for the dying … somewhere…  bleat bleat bleat.

 
        Mali – west of Timbuktu

And this statement from Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF), full text [so sue me]:

MSF reaction to G8 declaration on Africa and innovation

Quotes from Dr. Tido von Schoen-Angerer, Director Médecins Sans Frontières Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines

“G8 leaders have been talking out of both sides of their mouths.  No progress was made here on access to medicines.”

“G8 leaders are sending out contradictory messages: on one hand they pledge more money, and on the other, they want to increase intellectual property protection which is known as a key a barrier to access to affordable medicines.”

“Even though innovation was a key agenda point of this G8, the desperate need for better tests and medicines for infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, the most common cause of death of people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa, has been ignored.”

“Although the G8 acknowledges that access to medicines is a challenge, they proposed no sufficient solutions. The problem of second-line AIDS medicines that still cost at least five times more that first-line medicines remains unsolved.”

“The G8 did not respond to the urgent need of countries to get clear support for the use of compulsory licenses in the name of public health and not to face retaliatory measures when they do. The G8 are only suggesting that international organizations and donors should ‘respond constructively to requests by African developing countries without manufacturing capacity.’  This is unacceptably weak.”

I ran into several reports decrying the showy pledges (all those Chrisitian leaders!), 60 billion pledged in 2007 can be tracked to result in 3 billion in aid by 2010.

Sounds about right…

    Mali therapeutic feeding center, 11 am bath
        Mali, therapeutic feeding center, 11 am bath

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Panographic (“panos”) photos from Mickael Therer, a photo video essay on MSF in Mali chronicling malaria and malnutrition work.

   Mother of twins at Goudam Mali feeding station  

Mickael Therer:   mother of twins at MSF Goudam – Mali feeding center, 2005.

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