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In the UK they call it “proxy donors”… LOL 30 November 2007

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, UK.

   Clouds near Winnemucca NV

From BBC reader submissions:  Jim Bainbridge: “Driving through Nevada on Thanksgiving we came across the most amazing sunset skies as we neared Winnemucca. These clouds in the north looked like UFOs.”


It comes as police launched a probe into Mr Abrahams’ donations.

In total, the North East property developer gave Labour more than £650,000 via four associates.

What a hoot!  And we all know, for years now, that Dem party consultants, operatives and whatever else is deep in the gutter of cash based elections… have gone across the pond to consult – with New Newer Newest Labour…. Spread the joy with a big spatula… What a hoot!

Another sign this practise is very widespread…

I passed them the details of Mrs Kidd as someone whose offer of a donation we had not taken up,” Mr Leslie said.

He stressed that neither Mr Brown nor his campaign manager, Jack Straw, had known anything about the contacts with Mr Abrahams or Mrs Kidd’s attempted donation.

Mr Straw told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Gordon Brown had absolutely no knowledge of any connection – inappropriate connection – between Mr Abrahams and Mrs Kidd. Neither did I.

“Neither, to the best of my knowledge – although I accept this is ultimately a matter for these inquiries – did any member of the immediate campaign team involved or the other campaigns.”   [we knew nuzzink!  we still know nuzzink!  – Mcat]

Mr Straw said:

“If Gordon Brown had had even a sniff that this was going on, he would have stopped it immediately, as would have I.”

He added that “for a long time this was an unknown unknown. The moment it became a known known, we got on to it.”

Sounds like Jack Straw spent way way way too much time with Rummy.

A roll in the hay perhaps..

A roll in the cash, certainly……..

It’s a struggle, but have to find amusement where ever it may lie…


UPDATE, 7:59 am

Might as well laugh, since no one will call them criminals, nor even war profiteers… Two years and a month since he started weeping over the Iraq War, Jack Murtha has the temerity (from ABC’s The Note):

Think this comment will have legs as Congress ponders its next move in Iraq?

“I think the ‘surge’ is working,” says Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Pa., after returned from a brief trip to Iraq.

(There’s crucial context here, but it’s unlikely to be remembered when Republicans start quoting Murtha back to him.)

And in a sign that the punishment of the ordinary American is a political specialty, even as the sad fucks continue to vote for the gaseous and greasy pols:

Edwards is getting more specific in his healthcare plan: He’d garnishee the wages of those who can afford healthcare but don’t obtain coverage.

Per ABC’s Teddy Davis:

“Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is hoping to stand-out from rivals on health care by portraying the plan of rival Barack Obama as leaving 15 million uninsured and portraying Hillary Clinton as lacking the candor needed to get to universal coverage.”

I’d choke before I voted for these vicious loons.


A little dab’ll do ya………. 28 November 2007

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

      Giant Fish Eating Jellyfish

“We’ll have as much spine as we possibly can, under the circumstances.”Sen. Clinton, on the trail.

“It is time for our party, the Democratic Party, to show a little backbone.” — Former senator John Edwards, D-N.C., in a recent campaign ad.

From ABC’s The Note


Meanwhile the rapacious work of State, in which they have and fully intend to collaborate, continues unimpeded (and stop calling it a failure or mismanaged, however it IS a quagmire…):

The Bush administration is turning Iraq into a test tube for modern techniques of repression, from sophisticated biometrics that track populations to devastating weapons systems that combine night-vision optics from drone aircraft, heat resonance imaging and deadly firepower from the sky to kill suspected insurgents.

These high-tech capabilities, when mixed with loose rules of engagement that allow U.S. troops to kill Iraqis at the slightest sign of hostility, have contributed to what U.S. generals and a growing number of American journalists are hailing as an improving security situation.

Or, as President George W. Bush reportedly told Australia’s deputy prime minister in September, “We’re kicking ass.”

“Even as evidence has mounted that General Petraeus’ new counterinsurgency strategy is succeeding, Democrats have remained emotionally invested in a narrative of defeat and retreat in Iraq, reluctant to acknowledge the progress we are now achieving,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman, a neoconservative Independent from Connecticut, in a Nov. 8 speech.

They are so on their knees to War.


Angry Arab:

“A Palestinian man was killed Tuesday in Hebron on the West Bank as Palestinian Authority police officers loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas fired weapons to disperse protests against the Middle East peace conference taking place in Annapolis, Md. In Gaza, which is controlled by the Islamic group Hamas, crowds estimated at more than 100,000 came out to protest the Annapolis meeting. The circumstances of the man’s death were not immediately clear, but medical workers said he had been shot in the chest, news media reported.”


An unspoken political vulnerability of Sen. Hillary Clinton is that she is the first presidential candidate to have both her and her spouse subject to regular, long-term surveillance by an Executive Branch under the control of an opposing political party.

Ordinarily, those records are kept as closely held secrets [oh right! tell us again about “Blind Trusts” and all that silliness —Mcat], but theoretically at least, President George W. Bush – with his expansive view of his powers as “unitary executive” – could gain access to them, either formally or informally.

Already, new rumors about the Clintons’ marriage have begun to circulate on the Internet. But a scandal would prove especially devastating if backed by real information, like what might be available in Secret Service records. [hard to care! Other than popcorn value, I mean!   — Mcat]

One of the reasons that civil libertarians have been especially alarmed about George W. Bush’s assertion of virtually unlimited executive authority over such tactics as wiretapping, data-mining and domestic spy satellites is that it has coincided with a Republican goal for near-permanent political control of the U.S. government.

Those dreams were dealt a blow in Election 2006 and appear even more precarious amid Bush’s slumping popularity. However, now Republicans are worried about their political eclipse if the Democrats win the White House and manage to expand their majorities in the House and Senate.

Grabbing the sauce pan for the butter…..


So… what else is new? 26 November 2007

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.

        from Mickey Z blog...

Tom Dispatch has a Dahr Jamail post up… and I must say, this I did not know:

Acts matter. Here’s how Dahr Jamail, a young mountain guide and volunteer rescue ranger in Alaska (who did freelance writing in the “off-season”) describes his rash decision, back in 2003, to cover George W. Bush’s Iraq War in person: “I decided that the one thing I could do was go to Baghdad to report on the occupation myself. I saved some money, bought a laptop, a camera, and a plane ticket, and, armed with information gleaned via some connections made over the Internet, headed for the Middle East.” That was it. The next thing he knew he was driving through the Iraqi desert from Amman, Jordan, toward Baghdad and directly into the unknown. He had few contacts; no media organization to back him; no hotel/office with private guards to return to at night; no embedded place among American forces for protection; not even, on arrival in Baghdad, any place to write for.

Damned straight acts matter, even lesser acts than those…  The Jamail post is a terrible litany of our worst acts in Iraq. The ones that are known.

The several grafs that close the post:

At the time of this writing, the group Just Foreign Policy has offered an estimate of Iraqis killed since the U.S.-led invasion and occupation. Their number: 1,118,846. Consider that possibility in the context of the latest round of news from Iraq about lessening violence.

The estimate is based on figures from a study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. and al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, and published in October 2006 in the British Medical Journal, The Lancet, which found 655,000 Iraqis had died as a direct result of the Anglo-American invasion and occupation. The report methodology has been called “robust” and “close to best practice” by Sir Roy Anderson, the chief scientific advisor to Britain’s Ministry of Defense. Since that time, in addition to Just Foreign Policy, the British research polling agency Opinion Research Business has extrapolated a figure of 1.2 million deaths in Iraq. Based on this, veteran Australian born journalist John Pilger wrote recently,

“The scale of death caused by the British and U.S. governments may well have surpassed that of the Rwanda genocide, making it the biggest single act of mass murder of the late 20th century and the 21st century.”

It is an indication of the success of an effective Pentagon “tactical perception management campaign,” of the way the Bush administration has continued to “catapult propaganda,” and of the dehumanization of Iraqis that has gone with it, that the possibility of the number of dead Iraqis being in this range has largely been dismissed (or remained generally undealt with) in the mainstream media in the United States. Add to that the refusal of the U.S. military to bring to justice those charged with some of these heinous crimes, the lack of accountability, and an establishment media which has regularly camouflaged the true nature of the occupation, and we have the perfect setting for a continuance of industrial-scale slaughter in Iraq, even while the news highlights the likes of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan and their adventures in various rehab clinics.

In what could reasonably serve as a summary of the American occupation of Iraq, the eighteenth century philosopher Voltaire wrote, “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

And we seem to insist a platoon of our very own angels (we long ago acquired Gawd as an asset) are playing the trumpets.


Elsewhere, an article in the American Conservative on where the (what else is there?) smart money is…  

Blackwater insists that on Sept. 16 its guards were ambushed and were shooting in self-defense. Founder and CEO Erik Prince—the politically connected son of Edgar Prince, the late billionaire who helped build the Family Research Council—went on a media charm offensive in October, giving television interviews and inviting reporters to Blackwater’s 7,000-acre training facility in North Carolina.

“We don’t get any advantages for the lack of accountability—we just end up getting hammered on the issue,” said Doug Brooks, spokesman for the International Peace Operations Association, a trade group representing 40 companies in the private security industry. He and others say the assault on contractors is politically motivated and the stories of their abuses and excesses are greatly exaggerated.

Match it with a Bloomberg article on the money numbers for the political “Arms Race” and we are trapped forever. I don’t care how blase you are, jaded to the gills and cynical up the snout… the numbers are stunning.  Media, infotainment, corps, they will never let this game (or us) go:

[T]he current election cycle will look like this: The Republican and Democratic nominees combined will spend more than $1 billion by next November; other presidential hopefuls will fork over another $400 million; congressional candidates can be counted on to spend in excess of $1.5 billion, and the various Democratic and Republican party committees will part with more money than that.

`Arms Race’

Throw in at least half a billion from so-called “independent” groups outside the campaigns and, bingo, you’ve topped $5 billion. (If billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, self-finances an independent bid, add as much as 20 percent more.)

This produces what longtime campaign reformer Fred Wertheimer calls “an arms race” in spending: “Reality disappears, paranoia reigns as you just try to top the other guy.”

The presidential primaries this time are a case study. As the leading contenders shun public money and restrictions on expenditures in each state, the lid has come off. In Iowa, the scene of the first contest, there are reports that both Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama might spend as much as $15 million apiece; both camps say it depends on what the other shells out.

Overall, the Democratic presidential aspirants may spend as much as $45 million in that small state. The best estimates are that 150,000 Hawkeye state Democrats will turn out for the caucuses on the cold January night. That would amount to about $300 a vote. ::snip::

I am willing to bet that LESS THAN 150,000 chug out on a dark, cold, all too likely icy night, 2 nights after New Year’s.  I mean that just sounds yummy doesn’t it?


I have been watching, along with others, the propaganda offensive from the WH and quietly fuming…. so predictable.  And the Dems are all aflutter.  Aflutter on how best to agree, that is……

Lenin’s Tomb sums it up very well (and with links… better than I manage!):

Watching some of the news reports is like being exposed to the Laughing Policeman for half an hour. The laughing gas is pumped into every sitting room in the land, not to reverse the polls (can’t do that), nor to get the GOP in again (have to rig the elections for that), nor even to get the flags waving again (who’s got the energy after a day of overwork?). No, it’s to soften the blow when the airstrikes hit Iran – well, we pulled Iraq back together, despite the ingratitude and itransigence of its populatio, why not Iran? In this light, it’s worth considering the laboratory of repression that is Iraq: collective punishment, mass imprisonment, sniper terrorism, the usual. To which, Iraqis respond with increasing opposition to the occupation. All sweetness and light, a joy soon to be seen in Tehran and then – ooh, Damascus, Beirut, Pyongyang, wherever the liberation train takes a stop.

We so need to be stopped in our tracks…


On the more prosaic front… WaPo pungles up, front page, a story on a McAllen TX bundler for Hillary…

 McALLEN, Tex. — During the first nine months of this year, Sen. Barack Obama raised just $2,086 for his presidential campaign from people who live in and around this border town of stucco bungalows and weed-covered farm lots, and most candidates raised even less. But Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, has already raised more than $640,000 here, and her campaign expects to collect even more.

Clinton’s success in this unlikely setting is based almost entirely on her friendship with one man, McAllen developer Alonzo Cantu. A self-made millionaire who once picked grapes on the migratory farm labor circuit, Cantu persuaded more than 300 people in Hidalgo County, where the median household income in 2006 was $28,660, to write checks ranging from $500 to $2,300 to the senator from New York.

and oddly enough, as I cannot detach my ears and send them ahead to that horrible political swamp, South Carolina, where do I find salacious gossip, supposedly being spread by both sides… but at Harper’s…

November 8, 10:29 AM

When it Comes to Hillary, People Have No Sense of Huma

November 7, 12:37 PM

Not Just Republicans Spreading Rumors About Hillary’s Lesbian Affair

In Huma Abedin, finally a good reason to support Clinton


Oh yes, Lott fell or moved on or wants to cash in early at the Lobbyist Trough, the bar that never closes….. after 45 + years of doing terrible damage, kinda late. 


UPDATE, 5:17 pm

When I went back to Harper’s to get the Hillary So Carolina whispers reports, I noticed this new entry from Silverstein…. on Obama…. who, btw, will be on Nightline tonight.  I assume when he not talking about himself, he then is talking about Hillary. 

What else is new.


UPDATE, 5:41 pm

Then again in Australia, there IS something new… I had read the early reports of the win, and was delighted that Howard not only lost at the top of the ticket, he lost his seat in the down ticket as well, so to speak.  First loss of the home seat for a sitting PM, since the 20s… or so I read.

I was thrilled to read Rudd plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan as well.  Good, we should be abandoned.

This at Asia Times has a bit more flesh on who Rudd is…

[A]lready this has been demonstrated at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meeting in Sydney in September. As parliamentary leader of the federal Australian Labor Party, then the main opposition party, the 50-year-old Rudd joined Prime Minister John Howard in welcoming Chinese President Hu Jintao to Australia. Rudd broke into Mandarin after a brief introduction in English, upstaging Howard. Rudd later had a 30-minute meeting with Hu without resort to interpreters. And during the recent election campaign he was interviewed by Chinese television in Mandarin several times.

Appearances and style do count. While a Rudd Labor government will not depart radically from the foreign and security policies of Howard’s conservative Liberal-National Party government, the relationship with the US and the Bush administration will not be the sort of lock-step affair that characterized ties between Canberra and Washington under Howard.

Rudd will demonstrate to Asia that his government is more independent of Washington through his commitment to withdraw combat troops from Iraq and sign the Kyoto Accord on reducing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions and combating global warming. Australia will remain a loyal ally of the US but Rudd should torpedo the view of some in Asia of Canberra having a subservient relationship with Washington.

Ride is shut for a few days… 22 November 2007

Posted by marisacat in Big Box Blogs, Border Issues, Culture of Death, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, Mexico, Paris, Political Blogs, WAR!.
comments closed

    tea cup ride, disney world, paris

           away for a bit and offline……………..


UPDATE, 12 Noon

One last thing before I go… a sad tale of woe, The Last Days of Mexican Corn – with an Iraq story tucked inside:

[M]oreover, as farmers from other climes who have resisted Monsanto and refused to buy into the GMO blitz, have learned only too traumatically, pollen blowing off contaminated fields will spread to non-GMO crops. Even more egregiously, Monsanto will then send “inspectors” (often off-duty cops) to your farm and detect their patented strains in your fields and charge you with stealing the corporation’s property.

When Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser came to Mexico several years back to explain how Monsanto had taken his farm from him for precisely these reasons, local legislators laughed that it was a science fiction scenario. “It is going to happen to you,” the old farmer warned with all the prescience of an Aztec seer.

Mexican corn is, of course, not the only native crop that is being disappeared by global capitalism.

Native seeds are under siege from pole to pole. In Iraq, where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers come together to form the birthplace of agriculture, one of the very first acts of George Bush’s neo-colonial satrap L. Paul Brenner was to issue the notorious Order 81 criminalizing the possession of native seeds.

The U.S. military spread out throughout the land distributing little packets of GMO seeds, the euphemistically dubbed Operation “Amber Waves.”

To make sure that Iraq would no longer have a native agriculture, the national seed bank, located at Abu Ghraib, was looted and set afire.

so “mismanaged”. Right.


hmmm … ??? 20 November 2007

Posted by marisacat in Europe, Germany, Sex / Reproductive Health.


Well come what may, I am not giving up Ratz-zinger and his nose pendulum… 😉  not for a spray on, one size fits all.  Or sized to fit all… what ever the gimmick.

He has filed for a patent for the latex spraying system he invented. “As far as I know our idea is unique,” said Krause.

He admits he will have to overcome some legal hurdles and technical niggles before he can bring the product to market, but he already has a working prototype and says the system can cater for most sizes.

“With our technology we could spray a condom on an erect elephant,” he declared, not without a hint of pride.

The system works a bit like a car wash. The man put his penis in a chamber and presses a button to start the jets of liquid latex, sucked from a detachable cartridge. The rubber dries in seconds and is later rolled off and discarded like a conventional condom.

Yes, just one more excuse to put Ratzy up there…

And yes too, just a port in the storm thread… for whomever wants one. 


The wars………… 19 November 2007

Posted by marisacat in Afghanistan War, Beirut, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iran, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, The Battle for New Orleans, WAR!.

  New Orleans April 2005
      New Orleans – April – 2005

I landed on this linkless snip in a thread at Rigorous Intuition, from Randall Robinson of TransAfrica, on with Amy / Democracy Now.  I am hunting for the original DN link (hard to do as he references the move to St Kitts Nevis often when on the show and has appeared many times over the years since the move, 2001)

– anyway, I think in his references to “bottom stuck” and how America feels it has “done enough” post slavery, de jure apartheid and post Jim Crow, think RR is absolutely on target:

AMY GOODMAN: Why did you quit? Why did you leave America?

RANDALL ROBINSON: Well, we were — my wife, Hazel, and I, with our daughter Kalia were going to a place as much as we were leaving this place. St. Kitts-Nevis is a small exquisitely beautiful, democratic, well-run, civil, decent society, where people care about each other and take care of each other.

 These were qualities I had come to find hopelessly lacking, absent, in American society. I had discovered at this age — I was 60 when we left — that I wanted to live in a society for some time, some portion of my life, where race did not have to be a battlement, that one could get beyond that and not feel it always in one’s craw. And it’s a kind of thing that it used up so much of my energy, and the energy of so many in the United States.

But perhaps more importantly, that after the active stage of this great crime against humanity, slavery and de jure discrimination that put together ran for 346 years, America became very satisfied with itself, that it had done all that it was going to do, while the victims of this long-running crime were left wounded in the worst way: families destroyed, chances for healthy socializations gone, prospects nil, and so the main bulk of the black community remained bottom stuck.

 The civil rights movement helped people like me, people who had come from intact families, whose parents were healthy enough to encourage us to believe that we could do well. And so, it meant that the door was open, if you could walk, perhaps could you get through it, but many could not, and they remained bottom stuck. Black community cleaved into two parts: those who could benefit and those who were too terribly devastated to do so. Nothing has been done for them.

So, we find ourselves now in a situation in America with a society in terrible shape, but with that condition, fundamentally ignored by those who rule it. It just does not matter, even as it jeopardizes the whole of society. A poll was done recently that showed that a full half of Americans are afraid to venture more than a mile from their homes at night. The whole society has become a sort of prison. We have one 1/20ths of the world’s population with one-fourth of the world’s prisoners. There’s something wrong with that, 2 million and climbing, half of whom are black, because of the reasons I detailed, in addition to the active discrimination that is ongoing.

The chance of a black getting arrested, a young black male, are six times that of his white counterpart, of being incarcerated seven times, and once incarcerated will serve a sentence exactly twice as long as his white counterpart for the same crime. Blacks are half of those on death row, three-quarters when they are added to the Hispanic inmate populations. So, this business of locking up people has become a new thriving industry in America with private prisons, in a democracy, which means that in order to have your stock increase in value in a private prison, you have to get more prisoners. So, states like California are investing much more in prison construction than they are in ground-up construction of new universities.

   Ed Kashi

And all of this goes on with the full blessing of not just governments that come and go, Democratic and Republican, but with the full blessing of media, the popular culture, and all of the rest.

In our foreign policy, this hyperpower, I think is coming to endanger the entire world, because now it operates willy-nilly without checks and balances. Iraq is just one example of the kind of disaster that is possible when we have a nation so powerful, so full of itself, unwilling to examine itself, self absorbed, and narcissistic in all of what that means, that it will go forward against the grain of the international community unilaterally, to create the disaster that Iraq will be for many generations to come. It won’t work.

To think that we now in Iraq have Muslim women becoming prostitutes, servicing American soldiers just feeds the kind of hatred that is growing and felt towards Americans throughout the Islamic world. It’s a very sad thing, and we get to a point that we cannot make America listen anymore to anybody but itself.I — I just — to preserve my sanity, and I think my voice, I thought it best for me to leave. I wanted to see another place, to feel …

and there the snip in the RigInt thread cut off…



The other thing is a Reuters report I fell on….. about women serving in the IDF.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – One posed for a photo as she scrubbed a Palestinian corpse. Another stripped a man to his underwear and then beat him. A third helped cover up the abuse of a young boy.

The six Israeli women who feature in the documentary “To See If I’m Smiling” each wrestle with memories of their compulsory military service that they would rather erase.

But after years of trying to bury the past, they have spoken out in a film that explores the darker side of Israel’s 40-year-old occupation of the Palestinian territories and examines its impact on a generation of young men and women.

All but one of the women spent time as conscript soldiers in the Palestinian territories during the uprising that erupted in 2000. In the film, they recount their memories from that period, describing how they coped with military machismo and with the residual guilt about what they witnessed.

   propganda before the killing of Rabin

[Y]arom hopes the documentary will prompt soul-searching in the Jewish state, where military service is a core part of national identity, and encourage other traumatized ex-soldiers to talk about violence they may have inflicted or witnessed.

“This country is in a coma. With all the bombs and attacks, we are numb,” she said.

“People feel we are in a war of survival and it’s better not to criticize soldiers, because they are the ones protecting us.”

Israel’s army said in a statement that soldiers adhere to a strict ethical code and that in exceptional cases, where the code is violated, an investigation is launched. It said the number of ethical violations involving Palestinians had “consistently dropped” since the events described in the film.

Yarom expects the film, which is due to be televised this weekend, to provoke criticism both from the Israeli left — because of her sympathetic portrayal of the soldiers — and from the right — which often balks at criticizing the army.

Yarom said personal experience prompted her to make the film. As a support soldier during the earlier intifada of the 1980s, she was shown a Palestinian torture victim but failed to speak out.

Almost two decades later, she still cannot shake the image of the man, slumped over a generator, his neck bent to the side and his face covered in blood.

“It’s the kind of picture that stays with you forever,” she said. “During my service I detached myself. When you try to re-attach yourself afterwards it’s painful.”

I wish I thought there were a way out – anytime soon.  It is just so immense, so world-wide, so all-encompassing and crushing  of anything resembling a political process in this country – that I am not hopeful…. 


What a week……………. [updated] 16 November 2007

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.


Just caught a snip of “Give em Hell, Harry” in the opening of This Week with Ifill… he was saying,

We cannot let the president continue to destroy the country.

Poor Harry.  One more bitch in congress.  Those man-tits tied in knots.


Just a Friday night/weekend thread, if anyone needs a port in the inner tube storms…


UPDATE, 10:44 pm Saturday…

I elevated this comment of mine from the thread:

oh here is a sad story – and it throws into high, bright contrast what Kos and the other AdLibbers really are when they accept a simple fucking ad, for cash, esp as they do not have to do that, they don’t have to support Chevron:

Mehdi Shahbazi was a man who championed the consumer and listened to his own counsel as he waged a years-long battle against Exxon Oil and then Shell Oil.
The conflicts cost him his eight service stations – from Salinas to San Jose – his home, his health and his life.

Shahbazi, 65, died Wednesday at Stanford Hospital due to a fast of more than four months to protest the power of oil companies – and as gas prices approach record highs in California.

At his former Marina station – where two years ago he posted a sign that read “Consumers’ pain is Big Oil’s unearned profit!” – customers have erected a memorial of flowers, cards and signs proclaiming love and appreciation.

Until a court decision last month that gave Shell legal control over his final station, Shahbazi was positive he would prevail, said his nephew, Kaz Ajir of Marina.

He was kind, wise and generous beyond imagination,” said Jeffrey Cohen, a Salinas physician who met Shahbazi as a patient and remained a friend for 32 years. “I want people to know that he wasn’t crazy.

He used what he felt was the last non-violent method of protest that he could muster. He was expressing what we all feel.”


Mehdi Shahbazi at his Shell station in Marina Aug. 30, 2007. Shahbazi died Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007 due to a four-month fast to protest the power of oil companies. (Patrick Tehan/Mercury News)


Tension 14 November 2007

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, California / Pacific Coast, DC Politics, San Francisco, WAR!.

   The Birds (1963) 

Not sure what the official take on The Birds was, but it certainly seemed to me to be some sort of psychological trance… people trapped inside it.  Much bloodletting of pale human flesh, from claw and beak.  Up at Bodega Bay… in Western Marin, on the ocean.

2 television channels have fallen to just telling us over and over the “saga of the birds”… in a safe way, saving them, washing them, etc.  Adding that “no more volunteers are needed”…

However, the CBS affiliate today took a crew to Point Richmond, over in the East Bay, around Albany, N of Oakland and Berkeley… the beach, which is narrow, mostly rocks, is soaked.  Birds began arriving a few days ago, soaked and trying to clean themselves.  A few dead but most hanging on.  No cleaners in view, and those who try to volunteer, step onto the rocky shoreline and DO something, are told “illegal”… CBS also reported that the 800 numbers displayed at beaches as the number to call to report birds in trouble is wrong.  They spent a few minutes at each beach they were at to post the correct number.  CBS affiliate also said the big bird washing facility does need help, people to do laundry, prepare the food they feed the birds who must eat every 4 hours and other necessary chores…

 Perhaps the other affiliates catch up in the am… afterall:

 Obama is Here!  He was at Google!

VOTE, it is your civic duty!  Show up!  Be counted!  Fall in line!  Forget you ever fell in love!  Be pragmatic!  The Perfect is the enemy of the Good!  Pure Troll!  Concern Troll!  Change is Incremental!  Work from Within!  You have no Choice!


Has anything gone right? Other than citizens stepping up, commiting civil disobedience by attempting to rescue birds, remove oil from their beaches, try to help… other than grass roots being ready to go on the ground, lithe and flexible, smart and in the mix… other than that: No.

The crew of the container ship that hit the Bay Bridge and spilled 58,000 gallons of oil into San Francisco Bay last week was not tested for drugs until 53 hours after the incident, a delay that violates federal law, federal investigators said today.

National Transportation Safety Board spokeswoman Debbie Hersman also said today that a radar technician hired by the board found the ship’s radar and electronic charting systems “performing as expected.”

The news came on the same day that it was announced that the Coast Guard officer overseeing the response to last week’s oil spill has been replaced.

The agency has been criticized for a lapse of several hours between when officials knew the spill was 58,000 gallons – not 140 gallons as initially reported – and when that information was made public.

Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen announced the move at a hearing on Capitol Hill. Captain William Uberti, the Coast Guard commander for the bay region, had been overseeing the agency’s response to the spill. He’ll be replaced by Captain Paul Gugg.

I feel an utter fool, Saturday, reading of Bolinas, Stinson Beach, Pt Reyes, I landed on a reference to oil at a small beach up there in western Marin, Agate Beach, and remembered being at that beach as a small child and nearly burst into tears…

Alcohol testing was done on the ship’s pilot, captain and crew just within or slightly after the legal requirement, according to Coast Guard Rear Admiral Craig Bone. But six crew members involved in navigational activities were not tested for drugs within the 32-hour limit. He said Coast Guard officials had to order the drug testing after they learned it was not complete. All alcohol tests have shown none of the crew, captain or pilot had alcohol in their system.

Well, as Arnold blurted at his presser last week:  We know alcohol was involved…  

Of course, unlike NO, we have our homes, ’til a big, big East Bay quake comes (they keep telling us the Hayward Fault is due to blow next year…), we all have that. 

Except for those who have lost the big gamble to sub-prime crimes.

And to think, many millions will vote in 51 or so weeks and security – a security to be provided by political leadership will determine their vote.

We are lost in a fiction.


STRIKE! (pourquoi pas?) 13 November 2007

Posted by marisacat in Afghanistan War, California / Pacific Coast, Culture of Death, DC Politics, France, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iran, Iraq War, Paris, WAR!.

Dressed in riot gear police pepper-spray one of two protesters who attempted to block the first convoy of military vehicles out of the Port of Olympia Sunday morning bound for Fort Lewis.

Tension at the scene eased after that initial confrontation as later convoys left the terminal without any major incidents.   [Steve Bloom/The Olympian]

Not sure, but think his sign says “Choose Peace”. (And thanks to melvin for posting the story of the Olympia protests:  Protests spread beyond port into downtown Olympia.  More/video at seattle indymedia.)


And, why not?

French railway and public transportation workers are to go on strike Tuesday evening to protest President Nicolas Sarkozy’s reform measures. On Wednesday, they will be joined by energy sector workers, students and lawyers across the country.

The first wave of strikes are set to hit France on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. with railway workers’ trade unions getting things started. Then, on Wednesday, Parisian public transport workers who are trade union members will join in, as will the employees of energy company EDF and natural gas provider GDF. Lawyers and hospital employees have also announced that they will go on strike next week.

   October 18 transportation strikes

Commuters crowd into the subway in Paris. A public transport strike on Oct. 18 saw the eight trade unions in the sector cooperating for the first time since 1995.  [AP]

In 1995 Minister Jospin retreated.  We don’t know what Sarko l’Americain (and recently kissed by all in the US – from Bush to McCain to Samantha Powers, she loves Kouchner too… ) will do.  A firm hand with the children, without a doubt.

Well… we sure the hell don’t want to be “scumbags” do we??  (his word for protestors in 2006, in the banlieus, the suburbs and housing projects that ring Paris):

President Sarkozy said at a press conference: “We were elected to change France.” The pension privileges that have existed until now are no longer fair, he argued, insisting that retaining them would lead to greater proverty while simultaneously endangering France’s economic competitiveness.

Sarkozy also warned against violence: “Be responsible and stay calm,” he appealed to those on strike and to commuters.

I was reading an interview with Sarko, a couple of months after he won the election – he comes out four square against any idea of egaliteIf you have more you are more.  His words.  And I had a sort of heart explosion.  I just cannot stand it any longer when the State diminishes people.  They rely on all work, all action, all energy from the beleaguered “people”.   As horrific as the State is, it is nothing without human labor.


So, hell – strike. Agitate.  LOSE IT!….


Here is a long, but very bracing snippet from Cockburn at Counterpunch

On Friday, October 26, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had to be whisked out of France by US embassy officials to avoid just this fate. The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and two Paris-based groups, the International Federation of Human Rights and the League of Human Rights. filed a legal complaint with the Paris prosecutor charging Rumsfeld of responsibility for torture at Guantanamo and in Iraq.

Indeed Rumsfeld’s role was personal and direct. Andrew Cockburn detailed on this website back in April, 2007, Rumsfeld’s micromanagement of torture […]

And Cockburn quotes from Americans Against the War:

“About 8:30, whom do we see jauntily walking up rue du faubourg St. Honore, but none other than DR, surrounded by 4 or 5 men who were probably secret service-maybe even Blackwater stand-ins. And by coincidence, les desobeisants arrived at the same moment. Instantly they unfurled banners-Donald Rumsfeld War criminal (in English), and Donald Rumsfeld, prix Nobel de la Guerre as we pursued DR into the courtyard. Yelling “criminel de guerre,” and other things I don’t remember, we went as far into the courtyard as we could go-not terribly far. For the next two and a half hours we stood outside, with the very long banners at first strung across the façade, then held when we were asked to take them down.

“I really liked how les desobeisants operate. They approach people, get right in their faces, but do so in very charming, disarming (no pun) ways, and are always extremely polite. It helps that some of them are in clown costume. What really struck me was the behavior of the police.

Here we had an arch criminal, one of the most reviled men on the planet, representative of a country the French president is sucking up to, confronted by a group of militants carrying long banners, some shooting large rubber bones out of cardboard bazooka (that would be the clowns).

No one asked us to refrain from anything, except hanging the banners on the building (seems to have been someone from Interalliee who asked us not to do that). And we had no permit! Les desobeisants know exactly what the laws are regarding civil disobedience-in fact, they have weekend trainings and invited any of us who wants to attend to do so (they’re free). The trainings are not just about civil disobedience but planning interesting and attention-grabbing actions.

“We waited for DR to exit the building. As people were filing out, we asked them about the breakfast, I handed out our flyers. Either DR got out by lying on the floor of a car with blackened windows, and we missed him, or he escaped through some passageway that might link the US embassy with the Interalliee building, or he just waited until we dispersed.”

Don’t worry, Cockburn adds, knowing we are the photo up top:

Imagine what would happen to someone deploying a cardboard bazooka firing rubber bones in the vicinity of police and security guardsin Washington DC. There have also been efforts in Germany and Sweden to detain Rumsfeld on charges of war crimes and torture.

The Cockburn is a segmented post, sections on Bill and Hill and requiem for Mailer at the same link…  

 While I was at Counterpunch noticed this interesting take on the Writers Guild and the teamsters there are several posts there on the WGA strike, by the same author.


Madman just added this to the previous thread, so will carry it forward:

In the Hands of the Military By Chris Hedges

The last, best hope for averting a war with Iran lies with the United States military. The Democratic Congress, cowed by the Israel lobby and terrified of appearing weak on defense before the presidential elections, will do nothing to halt an attack. The media, especially the electronic press, is working overtime to whip up fear of a nuclear Iran and tar Tehran with abetting attacks against American troops in Iraq. The American public is complacent, unsure of what to believe, knocked off balance by fear and passive. We will be saved or doomed by our generals.

The last wall of defense that prevents the Bush administration from targeting Iran, an attack that could ignite a regional conflagration and usher in apocalyptic scenarios in the Middle East, runs through the offices of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; Adm. William Fallon , the head of the Central Command (CENTCOM); and Gen. George Casey, the Army’s new chief of staff. These three figures in the defense establishment have told George W. Bush and the Congress how depleted the U.S. military has become, that it cannot manage another conflict, and that a war with Iran would make the war with Iraq look like an act of prudence and common sense.


Just a thread (what else is new?) [UPDATES] 12 November 2007

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, San Francisco, U.S. Senate, WAR!.

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach…

Just some links for anyone interested:

 Sfist.com latest round up [snip]

Your Oil Spill Weekend Roundup

So…ugh. Birds died, gastronomic seasons were delayed. What’s more, it hasn’t even been a week, and already some of your favorite local and national politicos are personalizing the spill, more than ready to point old, spotty white fingers elsewhere. (RIP, acts of God.) How very helpful. Except not really.

Anyway, oil-spill points of interest that happened over the weekend:

— ^&*#%^&*#!: Crab season delayed.

— “Something went terribly wrong,” obvious’d Senator Barbara Boxer (Can it, Babs.)  ::snip::


The ZunaSurf people… it seems to be approaching, hitting Pacifica, which had previously not been hit.  So far it si fumes and dead birds. [I am having problems with their site, it shuts itself down on me, but many good entries]

Also this Live Journal site, Nature abhors a Vacuum… which has such a lovely sort of peripatetic SF sweetness about it… and a nice note about what he might wear to the Obama Wednesday night appearance here… 😉


Marin Independent Journal… most recent is a story on…. cleaning birds.

So far, the Coast Guard is reporting that only birds have been hurt by the spill, which has caused the closure of all beaches in Marin County. Dead birds, heavily matted with toxic oil, are turning up throughout Marin. WildCare’s director of animal care Melanie Piazza says it will only get worse as birds get hypothermic, stop eating and eventually die.

“It’s scary. What we’re seeing is heart-wrenching,” Piazza said. “The hard part is the waiting. We have people out scouting the shorelines and there are so many birds still out in the water. No one wants to just sit there and watch the suffering.”

I have thought that now that the ship is being identified as “Hong Kong owned”, with what is described as a “Chinese crew” (not very specific) and the early chatter is that the officers on the ship are at fault (who knows, and supposedly the NTSB and other reports will take months), I suspect we will soon [be allowed to] see dead floating sea lions and other mammals. 

I think that is what really pissed me off, hiding the film of the dead or dying sea lions at some little cove, Thursday dawn.


Plus you know, everything else in the world.

Madman posted this at the end of the last thread.  Remember:  Blood for Oil.  Or they will settle just for your blood, forcibly drawn from your body.  And you probably just filled the gas tank and emptied your wallet……

Madman in the Marketplace | | |

more out of control police powers:

• As more and more states are now allowing police officers to forcibly extract blood of DWI suspects, the New Jersey State Supreme Court recently took the practice a step further. The court ruled that not only may police forcibly draw blood, they may use extreme force in doing so, including force that inflicts permanent physical damage on the suspect.

Less and less autonomy.  Fewer rights…  Can’t clean the beaches (Muir Beach man cited for cleaning beach) and can’t refuse intrusive, invasive extraction of so called “evidence”…


This too posted by Madman at the end of the last thread:

California Democratic Party to Consider Censuring Senator Feinstein

A resolution has been created to censure Senator Feinstein for her outrageous votes in the last two weeks as a member of the judiciary committee. There are many other votes that she has taken that have made many of us wonder when she became the Joe Lieberman of the West. If you know any people who are E-board delegates and who will attend the CDP E-board meeting this coming weekend, please contact them and ask them to vote for the resolution which follows:

Whereas the Democratic Party stands firmly against racism in any of its manifestations and for gender equality, and Senator Dianne Feinstein voted to confirm Judge Leslie Southwick for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit despite his record of clear racism and gender discrimination; and

Whereas the Democratic Party abhors torture and stands firmly against its use by the United States at all times and places, yet Senator Feinstein voted to confirm Judge Mukasey as United States Attorney General – thereby elevating to the highest position in law enforcement a men who refuses to renounce the right of the President to resort to torture, or to recognize waterboarding as a form of torture; and

Whereas these examples are far from the only instances where Senator Feinstein, after seeking and securing the support and endorsement of the California Democratic Party, has worked to oppose the policies and principles of our party.

Therefore be it resolved that Progressive Caucus of the Democratic Party of California expresses its disappointment at, and censure of Senator Feinstein for ignoring Democratic principles and falling so far below the standard of what we expect of our elected officials.


UPDATE, 6:12 pm

This from bayprairie was trapped in Moderation for the last thread (very sorry!):

bayprairie |

The port of San Francisco stopped offloading and onloading containers in 2005.

that little java app at http://www.boatingsf.com has the ship exiting the port of oakland.

Port of Oakland

One of the main limitations to growth was the inability to transfer containers to rail lines, all cranes historically operating between ocean vessels and trucks. In the 1980s the Port of Oakland began the evaluation of development of an intermodal container transfer capability, i.e. facilities that would allow trans-loading of containers from vessels to either trucks or rail modes. The Port retained VZM, Korve Engineering and Earth Metrics to perform engineering and environmental studies to allow detailed engineering to proceed.[1] In 1987, on behalf of the Oakland port Commission, Allen Broussard led a group of 72 lawyers and city officials on a 3-week long trip to China meeting the Mayor of Shanghai, Jiang Zemin (Shanghai is twinned with San Francisco)[2]

Completion of the resulting rail intermodal facility occurred in 2002. That brought the cumulative investment of port expansion to over 1.4 billion dollars since 1962, half of which was comprised by the intermodal facility. In the early 2000s, the new intermodal rail facility along with severe congestion at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach caused some trans-Pacific shippers to move some of their traffic to the Port of Oakland (especially if the final destination is not in Southern California but lies farther east). Also, the Port is now reaping the benefits of investment in post-panamax cranes, dredging, and the transfer of military property, which has now been used for expansion.

Port of SF docks are outside the bridge. Port of oakland, inside. i would assume this a new type of container traffic inside the bridge. if so, might it be an indicator of a five year spill.

Nov 12, 5:45 PM


 Evening news has film of Bolinas, where residents took to the water last Wednesday night under cover of dark to try to lay down a boom to protect the inlet.  It failed.  A professionally laid boom also failed and was discarded on the beachBolinas residents just “surged” to the beach today to clean up.  And let me say, it was filthy AND sudsy.

  from 40,000 feet

The Fire Chief at Bolinas, a woman, said she is always told “how valuable Bolinas is”…… but then this.

NOW the skimmers have picked up so much oil at the water level that they are becoming a danger.

Think I saw volunteer cleaners at Emeryville in the East Bay, just drenched in oil.  Not droplets, drenched.

 Way to go Brownie, except Brownie is not around.

Pelosi, Miller, Tauscher, Eschoo (the beloveds, I sure did not see any E Bay Black faces) did stand up comedy at Crissy Field (at the San Francisco Marina District) today:  Pelosi tours oil-soaked SF waterfront

  photo from SJ Mercury News

Oh yeah, for diversity, they had Mike Honda, the rep from Campbell along.


UPDATE, 11:00 am Tuesday

Cosco Busan:

Cosco Busan SF Bay November 7
Cosco Busan SF Bay – Bay Bridge – November 7 2007


    Angel Island
Angel Island – San Francisco Bay – November 7


UPDATE, 12:10 pm Tuesday

CBS news radio reported that tarbells have reached the protected beach at Treasure Island.  Military installation, EPA is cleaning the beach.