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Imperium 11 May 2008

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Beirut, Culture of Death, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, WAR!.

Violence in Beirut: The government and opposition have been locked in a 17-month power struggle, which has meant Lebanon being without a head of state for the past five months. [Agence France Presse via BBC]

How long can it hold? 10 years? 25? 40? There was never any question for me, they went into Iraq on the 50, 100 year model (it’s not just McCain). They think it cannot end. They cannot think it can end.

A reich.


Mother and Child Killed by US Troops in Northern Iraq

“Coalition forces fired three warning shots, but the driver refused to stop and one man made threatening movements from inside the vehicle,” the military said in a statement.

“Coalition forces responded to the perceived threat and engaged the vehicle.”

It said a woman and a child in the vehicle were killed, along with the two armed men.

The military said it regretted the deaths of civilians.

If there was anything left to say about the invasion and occupation, I would. I see the baby’s pacifier beside her… The short Reuters report says the US mil were after suspected AQ. Of which, for our purposes, there will be an unlimited supply.

All we will have going forward is Jesus-Presidents. Wars so futile have to be holy.




1. Madman in the Marketplace - 11 May 2008

Talk to an Iraqi

Words fail. Americans … the world would do well to put a big fence around us, lock us in.

2. moiv - 11 May 2008

Petitioning Bush in Crawford didn’t work for Cindy Sheehan, but the FLDS might have better luck.

A member of an embattled polygamous church likened a raid by Texas authorities to an act of terrorism in a letter to President Bush.

Willie Jessop said he delivered the 10-page letter on Saturday to staff members outside Bush’s Texas ranch, where daughter Jenna Bush got married.

Jessop said he had a cordial conversation with presidential staffers who promised to get back to him.

3. marisacat - 11 May 2008

LOL they have not signified they are anti war. Nor untouchables.

4. wu ming - 11 May 2008

from the last thread:

re. 84 –

i think that’s what his speech to the donors in marin was all about, ms_x. he was explaining to them why they needed someone like him, who could channel that energy.

i think the fear of all that energy going outside the party is why the superdelegates won’t touch clinton with a 10 foot poll. it would break the dems so decisively that the historical analogy would be 1856, not 1968. and it wouldn’t matter if obama was out there at the barricades explaining why we had to “unify” (and he would, like dean did).

it’s all just waiting for an excuse to touch off. the thing is, it won’t happen until it happens, so we’re all sort of stuck in a waiting pattern until then.

5. wu ming - 11 May 2008

that was the “vietnam syndrome” that bush the elder cheered about “kicking” after gulf war 1, marisa, the uncomfortable reminder that we are mortal and can be beaten. heresy to the ideology of the american reich, which exalts overwhelming force.

6. marisacat - 11 May 2008


oh taht was pretty ugly. I was having dinner at the upstairs bar at the Park Hyatt, near the Embarcader with my mother the night that Bush declared the land war over. (I had been at a Pelosi meeting on the day the land war commenced.)

The waiters carried out a TV… everybody listened to Bush 41 in rapt attention and when it was over APPLAUDED and some stood. I mean, pick a year in the thirties in Bavaria or Berlin…

i asked my mother if they were seeking to some how imply this had been analogous to ww2.. and she said she thought so.

It was UGLY.

7. marisacat - 11 May 2008


they have worked themselves to the bone for ONE thing. Other than war I mean.

That there is no where for anyone to go.

The one thing that really sets off the hosts at either of the sorta kinda maybe liberal talk radio shows in SF is if you are wavering. Then they yell at the caller and get off the phone. The ame knee jerk crap that Dkos et al have shat out for years.

Vote or you are some sort of traitor. If I had nto fallen away that bullshit would do it.

But it is also why if he makes it, Obama will get no honeymoon, imo.

Nor McCain.

8. wu ming - 11 May 2008

reality will be cruel to anyone in a position to take the blame.

9. moiv - 11 May 2008

From a kos diarist with whom I’m unfamiliar, another take on Stoller’s burbling.

This is not atypical of the Obamanista rant that I’ve heard in various versions from many quarters, including close friends. It isn’t as strident as some, accusing anyone who would deny Obama the presidency of being racist or an obstructionist or even a criminal. Stoller’s piece is typical of the material that appears regularly on sites like the Daily KOS and The Huffington Post, but rarely have I seen the bald faced contradictions between a lust for power and the plea for unity so clearly displayed.


It actually appears that Mr. Stoller is naive or bedazzled to the degree that he believes that because George Bush’s popularity is lower than dirt this will carry over to John McCain, who is going to meanwhile be going after the very Democrats that the Obama camp has alienated by shrugging off their concerns as unimportant or out of step. That means the working class, latinos, independents and rural voters in swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, California, Florida and Michigan. If by ‘hitting back’ Stoller means using tactics similar to those used against the Clinton Democrats, like branding them racist or power hungry or simply bitchy, I doubt if this will have similar effect against anyone who isn’t white and a liberal or black and a Democrat.

The fatal flaw and ultimate come down faced by every cult and mob is that the whole world doesn’t see things as they do, a fact naturally missed by those who spend most of their time talking to themselves.

And that was just for starters. Most (ahem) tepidly received. 😉

10. marisacat - 11 May 2008

oh tath is an ineresting diary moiv… thanks for posting it… [and sorry ou got stuck in spam.]

I am about halfway thru it.

11. marisacat - 11 May 2008

yeesh. Death by a thousand cuts. The Independent runs thru the series of interviews around her book…and other slammings from Cherie Blair and others.

12. liberalcatnip - 11 May 2008

9. Bravo.

13. wu ming - 12 May 2008

that diary was a bit of a mixed bag. very smart analysis of the connection between rhetoric of transcending politics and the imperial presidency, but the electoral stuff is as oversimplified and hackneyed as the rest.

the demographics everyone, including the author, bang on about incessantly are highly inflected by region, so any discussion of white voters, blue collar voters, union voters, independents or rural voters is meaningless, because they’re not breaking out cleanly like that. certain political styles sink some places, thrive elsewhere.

the part of the country that the voter and candidate comes from is a lot more important for breaking out the white vote, from what i can tell, than kost of the generalizations that get thrown about. both obama and hillary have their blue collar white supporters, they’re just distributed differently by gender and region. conflating it all misses the point. rust belt union workers are not the only union workers out there, just as appalachian rural whites are not the only rural whites.

that aside, i agree that it’s worth paying close attention to the question of how candidates plan on actually enacting their agendas (to say nothing of what those agendas are in intent vs. what gets done in office).it has been stunning how efficiently cheney has worked DC quietly through informal or secret channels; whether the same is open to any candidate depends on what their agenda is, i suspect; i’m not sure that either clinton or obama would be able to make the machine work half as ruthlessly, even if they wanted to. unless, that is, their goal was the same as the machine’s.

14. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

Why the presidential candidates won’t talk about Israel

None of the three remaining presidential candidates have uttered “even a syllable” of complaint about US policy toward Israel, rather a “paean of praise,” Mr. Findley says. “This is a phenomenon without precedent in American history.”

I don’t know if that’s true or not (Findley is a Harvard PoliSci prof though). Regardless, the writing’s on the wall as it will be for decades to come.

15. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

13. very smart analysis of the connection between rhetoric of transcending politics and the imperial presidency

I’ll leave it to you and others to deal with the demographic breakdown but neither of the Dems, to my satisfaction, has shown that they will reduce the overreaching power of the presidential office as it stands now. There’s a lot of blather about “[you] the people” as you’d expect from any Dem but they now have very powerful tools at their disposable, along with a compliant supreme court, to exercise the same reaches Bush has. I find that very disturbing since we don’t really know how attractive that idea might be to either one of them.

16. marisacat - 12 May 2008


well as I recall it, Bush 41 and Baker retained wiggle room about israel. From Clinton forward, certainly from the social air kiss to Suha Arafat Hillary had felt free enough to exchange just outside their Ramallah home, that all ended.

I once mentioned a caution that Baker issues from a congressional hearing to Israel at large, call when you are ready and added the WH switchboard number, at Dkos and DavidNYC chased after me.

I guess I was an anti semite too.

Basically between israel and the wars, we are dead. Deservedly so.

17. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

6.7 quake jolts Guam; no damage or injuries reported

Is it just me or has there actually been a disturbing pattern of natural disasters after Dem primaries & caucuses have been held around the country? lol

18. wu ming - 12 May 2008

same sickness, really. at this point, i think most americans’ perception of israel is so wedded to their conception of america and its empire that to oppose the former is to oppose the latter, too. only way we get free of that unquestioning support for israel is if we get critical mass – not only in the populace, but the political/military establishments – to break from our own rotten path.

which i don’t see happening. maybe at the popular level as the costs pile up, but not in the government. it doesn’t cost them yet.

19. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

16. I guess I was an anti semite too.

Well, they’ve cleared out the dissidents over there now to the point where nobody cares that Obama walked away from saying something supportive of the Palestinians. He knows what his base will buy.

20. wu ming - 12 May 2008

6.7’s a modest quake for guam. that place gets huge earthquakes. still, i should probably check up on a friend there.

21. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008
22. wu ming - 12 May 2008

whoa, checking up on that quake, sichuan just had a 7.5 that they felt all the way in beijing. shit, that can’t be good in chengdu, the capital city of sichuan not far from the epicenter.

23. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

22. I’d definitely be surprised if there were no injuries or damage. What do you think, wu ming?

24. wu ming - 12 May 2008

depends on a lot of things, depth, liquifaction, how well the buildings are built, the way the shock waves travel to the point you’re measuring.

it could be very bad, or it could be OK. i’ll see what i can find.

25. marisacat - 12 May 2008

hmm I went to the NGO alert side of Reuters. http://alertnet.org

and they say that “China’s tallest buidling have been evacuated”

China’s tallest bldg evacuated after earthquake
12 May 2008 07:11:26 GMT
Source: Reuters
SHANGHAI, May 12 (Reuters) – China’s tallest building, the Jinmao Tower, and other highrise buildings in Shanghai’s financial district were ordered evacuated on Monday after tremors were felt from a strong earthquake in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province, witnesses said.

On Monday, an earthquake measuring 7.5 rocked Sichuan province less than 100 km (60 miles) from the provincial capital of Chengdu, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its website.

It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties or damage from the tremor.

The tremor, centred 92 km northwest of Chengdu, was felt as far away as Beijing and Shanghai and in the Thai capital Bangkok, where office buildings swayed with the impact. (Reporting by Joseph Chaney; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

26. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

Okay – I’ll check back. Thanks.

27. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008
28. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

AP says:

The area where the quake hit lies on the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau where mountains rise sharply and the population density is generally thin.
The quake was felt as far away as the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, where some people hurried out of swaying office buildings and into the streets. A building in the Thai capital of Bangkok also was evacuated after the quake was felt there.

29. wu ming - 12 May 2008

some guy at dKos felt it in shanghai. there must not be many faults between the coast and sichuan.

30. marisacat - 12 May 2008

seems to be a round up piece from about 14 mins ago…

AlertNet on the quake

31. marisacat - 12 May 2008

Reuters is so handy… they have out a timeline of Big Quakes in Chine

32. wu ming - 12 May 2008

revised up to 7.8, phones aren’t connecting to the epicenter, chinese markets closed down in shanghai. here’s the dKos thread.

33. wu ming - 12 May 2008

none of those reports are saying much of anything about chengdu.

34. marisacat - 12 May 2008
35. marisacat - 12 May 2008

LOL The round table at MTP… a concerted Selling of the PResident. Michele Norris, Gerry Seib, Harwood and Cillizza. Like little pudding cups quivering … with love.

Pretty entertaining on a certain level. They reached some sort of muted mutual orgasm near the end

Tip off, this election will be about big issues. We are blessed. Consider yourself a high information voter..

36. marisacat - 12 May 2008

Update on China earthquake… full text:

BEIJING – State media report that a powerful earthquake has buried nearly 900 students in China’s Sichuan province.

The Xinhua News Agency did not immediately give any other details or say if any of the students were thought to be alive.

It has also reported that four students were killed and more than 100 students injured when the 7.8-magnitude quake knocked down two schools in neighboring Chongqing municipality. A fifth person was killed by a collapsing water tower in Monday’s quake.

37. NYCO - 12 May 2008

Re Sichuan earthquake: It seems there may have been heavy damage in the vicinity of this 2,000-year-old dam.

38. marisacat - 12 May 2008

ah yes. invasion as feeding mission and ”rescue”. Don’t miss Jan Egelund providing the lede lines.

Someone shoot us. And our enablers.

39. NYCO - 12 May 2008

Terse new report on the Chinese earthquake… up to 5,000 dead.


That number’s going to rise, no doubt.

40. marisacat - 12 May 2008

Reading the FP NYT article, I see there was a second smaller quake near Beijing

41. wilfred - 12 May 2008

Thanks for that Reuter’s link Marisa. I had no idea China had so many 7+ magnitudes in the past 40 years. Anything over a 5 is serious stuff and each number above that is devastating.

42. NYCO - 12 May 2008

I would think that, with more modern construction techniques (even in the more provincial towns and cities), you’ll never see a death toll like Tangshan (250,000+) in China again. That was almost beyond imagining.

Still, 5000 dead sounds unusually bad.

43. wu ming - 12 May 2008

it’s going to get a lot higher than that. most rural buildings in the densely populated sichuan basic just adjacent to chengdu and mianyang are unreinforced masonry.

china has a ton of big earthquakes because of the himalayas, which are basically the crumple zone between india and mainland asia. this was on the eastern edge of that region, the other ones recently were on the northern edge in xinjiang and qinghai.

basically, wherever tibetans are, there’s earthquakes.

44. wu ming - 12 May 2008

another good place for news on the quake is shanghaiist. they’re gettign media reports but also twitter, tudou (a sort of chinese youtube) and other eyewitness accounts as well.

45. NYCO - 12 May 2008

I think the media narrative for the Beijing Olympics just changed… now it will be “China bravely fights back from devastating quake, hosts Best Olympics Ever”

Sorry, Tibet…

46. JJB - 12 May 2008

NYT FP story puts Chinese death toll at over 8,500, and reports those 900 students are still trapped in their collapsed school. That 8,500 number appears to be for Sichuan province alone.

47. wu ming - 12 May 2008

lot of tibetans in that death toll, no doubt. the epicenter was in the mountains, which means tibetans.

i’m not all that concerned about the media narrative or the olympics at this point in time, not with the human damage this thing may have done. they upgraded the numbers to 7.9 now, and with the destroyed paddies on the hillsides and thrashed train lines, that means rice will get even more expensive.

fuck, what a mess.

48. wu ming - 12 May 2008
49. NYCO - 12 May 2008

I am curious about the dam I mentioned in Dujiangyan. It is a 2,000-year-old irrigation system that, according to the Wiki article, pretty much made Sichuan a livable place. If something happened to it, agriculture in that region may be more screwed up by this quake.

50. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

fuck, what a mess.

No kidding. This is a huge blow to the poor who are already struggling so much.

51. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

The Ottawa Citizen today has a huge report about how gas pump measurements are off in Canada – costing consumers more when they buy gas. Don’t know if that’s an issue down south or if anyone has actually investigated it but it certainly shows again just how consumers are ripped off when no one’s paying attention.

52. NYCO - 12 May 2008

80% of buildings in one municipality flattened! Unfortunately this does seem like Tangshan all over again…

53. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008


The trouble is that the Burmese haven’t shown the ability or willingness to deploy the kind of assets needed to deal with a calamity of this scale — and the longer Burma resists offers of help, the more likely it is that the disaster will devolve beyond anyone’s control. “We’re in 2008, not 1908,” says Jan Egeland, the former U.N. emergency relief coordinator. “A lot is at stake here. If we let them get away with murder we may set a very dangerous precedent.”

That’s why it’s time to consider a more serious option: invading Burma.

How about invading the US, Egeland? A country whose gov’t has trashed the human rights of millions, let people die in the name of protecting corporate health care, tortured people, killed hundreds of thousands more in Iraq etc etc. Surely that’s a country that needs regime change, isn’t it?

I had read a similar article a few days ago calling for the invasion of Burma as well and thought this kind of talk is the last thing the Burmese people need because the very threat of an invasion makes their gov’t less likely to accept aid. What are these people thinking?

54. wu ming - 12 May 2008

that water control system isn’t all that central to agriculture in sichuan today, even if it’s really cool and old and brilliant engineering. it wasn’t so much a dam as a weir that diverted water over a certain height to a network of canals to lessen flooding.

55. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

Army Corps says Condition of many levees a mystery

You would think…oh why bother? No need to state the obvious.

56. wu ming - 12 May 2008

a lot of them are right here in sacramento. a huge % of the bay area, san joaquin valley and southern california’s water flows through there, protected by levees from the brackish saltwater of the bay. if a couple go, a lot of people have a very serious problem.

and yet, we have 19th century unmaintained earth and rock levees. the bond measure passed in ’06 will help, but it’s amazing it got this far without drawing notice. katrina opened a few eyes in the capitol; if sac wasn’t the seat of state government, i’m sure noone would have bothered even then.

57. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

56. It’s so unfortunate when it takes a huge tragedy to get people to pay attention. But what’s absolutely unacceptable is not acting after it’s clear it’s a huge issue that could risk so many lives. Damn “the system”.

58. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

Rachel Maddow needs to cut back on the kool-aid. I’m just sayin’…

59. marisacat - 12 May 2008

And the last 10 years a lot more farm and orchard land really close to levees in unknown condition has been sold for development.

Good luck!

60. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

Pakistan government set to split

One of the main parties in Pakistan has announced it is pulling out of the government, just three months after landmark general elections.

Ex-PM Nawaz Sharif says his PML-N is quitting because of differences over the reinstatement of judges sacked by President Pervez Musharraf.

Mr Sharif wants the judges, who became a focus of opposition to Mr Musharraf, to get all their old powers back.

But the biggest party, the PPP, wants limitations on their powers.

Both sides were eager to avoid the appearance of a major rift, but analysts called the pull-out a huge set-back that could lead to growing instability.

The BBC’s Barbara Plett in Islamabad says further cracks in the alliance may give a lease of life to pro-Musharraf parties which were defeated in recent elections.

Not to worry – they’re “allies” with nukes. No big deal.


61. marisacat - 12 May 2008
62. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 May 2008

All Things Considered has two of their hosts in Chengdu working on a series for next week. Some of the tape that Melissa Block recorded right when the quake hit (she was doing an interview at the time) is pretty stunning. Her report from the school is heartrending, all of the parents mourning their dead children.

63. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 May 2008

All things Considered as a blog up with reports from Chengdu.

A Horrific Scene at a Middle School in Dujiangyan

We are just leaving the horrific scene at the Juyuan Middle School outside the city of Dujiangyan. Hundreds of parents are still standing in the rain as the army works to find children trapped in the rubble. One parent told us she could hear her son calling. A scene of utter desperation. Back a couple hundred feet was an area where rescuers — peoples armed police — were bringing bodies that had been retrieved. Families were rushing over to see whether the child was theirs. Under tents are families burning incense and candles and paper money next to the shrouded bodies of their loved ones. A terrible, terrible scene.

— Andrea Hsu

64. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 May 2008
65. marisacat - 12 May 2008

I was not up to much today, but somwerhe or other I read that several schools have collapsed. At least two more and all were primary schools. Little children.

66. marisacat - 12 May 2008


Global war. Esp with open discussion, girded by Jan Egelund FFS… of invading Burma “to help”.

67. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 May 2008

Great bit in that video, paraphrasing: “Woolsey is so far to the right you can hear the goosesteps”, or something to that effect.

Oh, and speaking of the right, this might be fun:

Which convention is going to erupt?

But in the meantime, quietly, largely under the radar of most people, the forces of Rep. Ron Paul have been organizing across the country to stage an embarrassing public revolt against Sen. John McCain when Republicans gather for their national convention in St. Paul at the beginning of September.

How so?

The last three months Paul’s forces, who donated $34.5 million to his White House effort and upwards of one million total votes, have, as The Ticket has noted, been fighting a series of guerrilla battles with party establishment officials at county and state conventions from Washington and Missouri to Maine and Mississippi. Their goal: to take control of local committees, boost their delegate totals and influence platform debates.

68. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 May 2008

There are some votes not worth getting

But frankly, there’s something else. He was also giving a few folks too much of a break in calling them “bitter” and trying to explain it away. Some American voters are not bitter — but willfully and stubbornly ignorant. You want me to name names? OK, how about Leonard Simpson, a 67-year-old retired coalminer from Mingo County, West Va.:

“I heard that Obama is a Muslim and his wife’s an atheist,” said Mr Simpson, drawing on a cigarette outside the fire station in Williamson, a coalmining town of 3,400 people surrounded by lush wooded hillsides.

Mr. Simpson may be a perfectly good human being in other regards, but when it comes to this presidential election, in an age where information is readly available, even in rural West Virginia, he is willfully ignorant. You hear the words “personal responsibility” used in connection with issues like crime or the breakup of families, and I agree — but aren’t voters personally responsible for knowing facts?

So, too, with this man:

Josh Fry, a 24-year-old ambulance driver from Williamson, insisted he was not racist but said he would feel more comfortable with Mr McCain, the 71-year-old Vietnam war hero, in the White House. “I want someone who is a full-blooded American as president,” he said.

Tomorow night, Hillary Clinton is going to win a crushing victory in West Virginia, possibly by a margin as large as 70-30 percent. All the cable networks will give it wall-to-wall coverage, and you’ll hear more blather about Obama’s inability to “connect” with white working class voters — and to suggest that lack of connectivity is somehow all Obama’s fault. But when Clinton’s vote total is swelled by the likes of people like this, do you honestly think there’s something that Obama could be saying or doing that would get their support?

69. marisacat - 12 May 2008

You wanna know something? He should look to Axelrod and Plouffe for some race based, and not benign imo, decision making. Or hell maybe it was Jarrett, of an exalted talented tenth who imo can never REALLY trust whites unless they are in league with them… and no poor person, of any color!, can trust elite whites OR their associated black overseer class… whoever it was, someone kept him from playing hoops. Rabb at Afro Netizen on letting Obama do what he does.

Today we find he can play pool and appears pretty relaxed and OK in a pool hall. (I have read two pool reports, that would be reporters’ pool reports and just seen the film of him in the So Charleston WV pool hall.)

Missed fucking opportunities.

70. marisacat - 12 May 2008

he also has great post on the Indiana ID law… going back to his gggrandfather who fought in the Civil War but as he could not prove who he was by birth certificate, obviously denied to slaves, could never collect the pension. He died on the eve of WW1.

Several years ago I read that in 1900 Congress, someone in congress, floated the idea of a small pension for former slaves. After all many were still alive, born into slavery. It died a pretty quick death.

71. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 May 2008

oh, that Rabb link is great, thanks. No doubt that his advisors are every bit as racist, in their own fucked-up ruling class way.

72. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 May 2008

Jimmy Carter: A human rights crime

On a recent trip through the Middle East, I attempted to gain a better understanding of the crisis. One of my visits was to Sderot, a community of about 20,000 in southern Israel that is frequently struck by rockets fired from nearby Gaza. I condemned these attacks as abominable acts of terrorism, since most of the 13 victims during the past seven years have been non-combatants.

Subsequently, I met with leaders of Hamas – a delegation from Gaza and the top officials in Damascus. I made the same condemnation to them, and urged that they declare a unilateral ceasefire or orchestrate with Israel a mutual agreement to terminate all military action in and around Gaza for an extended period.

They responded that such action by them in the past had not been reciprocated, and they reminded me that Hamas had previously insisted on a ceasefire throughout Palestine, including Gaza and the West Bank, which Israel had refused. Hamas then made a public proposal of a mutual ceasefire restricted to Gaza, which the Israelis also rejected.

There are fervent arguments heard on both sides concerning blame for a lack of peace in the Holy Land. Israel has occupied and colonised the Palestinian West Bank, which is approximately a quarter the size of the nation of Israel as recognised by the international community. Some Israeli religious factions claim a right to the land on both sides of the Jordan river, others that their 205 settlements of some 500,000 people are necessary for “security”.

All Arab nations have agreed to recognise Israel fully if it will comply with key United Nations resolutions. Hamas has agreed to accept any negotiated peace settlement between the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, provided it is approved in a referendum of the Palestinian people.

Damned anti-Semite … oh, wait, aren’t the Palestinians Semites too?

73. moiv - 12 May 2008


IMO they might … might … eventually let him shoot a little pool on camera (the kinda guy you can have a beer with, doncha know), but no way they’re going to showcase any pick-up games.

More’s the pity …

74. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 May 2008

Pierce on Obama

There is a remove to his movements and a distance to everything he does that mutes his charisma and dampens what might be a frenzy in his crowds into a patient, well-behaved enthusiasm. As much as he might like to say he is, Obama is not leading a movement — not in any real sense, anyway. He is too oddly remote a figure to do that. If he resembles any Kennedy, it’s Jack, but Obama’s distance is cool and cerebral, not cool and ironic. He’s as far from Bobby Kennedy as he is from Chester A. Arthur. It is impossible to imagine Obama, forty years after it happened, wading into the Indianapolis ghetto, unannounced and unprepared, to tell a crowd that Martin Luther King had been shot, and to drop Aeschylus on them into the bargain. There is nothing about Obama that bleeds, not publicly. Everything about him that bleeds he left back between the covers of his autobiography. Look for it there, not in this campaign. But mainly, he’s not leading a movement because he’s telling people that, through him, and through their belief in him, they can reclaim the country’s lost greatness, as though the country he’s talking to didn’t hock all that stuff in the first place so it could afford guns and burglar alarms. He’s asking it to value what it’s already peddled on the cheap.

He’s an impermeable man now. He is smooth and clean, and there’s nothing jagged or dangling or out of place. He seems to have emerged into this campaign, and into this moment in history, fully formed. One of the chief — and most deadly accurate — criticisms of Hillary Clinton was that her entire campaign was based on the inevitability of her nomination. The cynic has watched Barack Obama on fifteen different stages in fifteen different places in three states, and even here, even through the static on the radio, the cynic realizes that nobody ever thought Hillary Clinton was as inevitable a president of the United States as Barack Obama believes himself to be.

Someone will have to measure the wreckage. Someone will have to walk through the ruins. Someone will have to count the cost.

More than anything else, the presidential election ongoing is — or, as a right, ought to be — about ending an era of complicity. There is no point anymore in blaming George Bush or the men he hired or the party he represented or the conservative movement that energized that party for what has happened to this country in the past seven years. They were all merely the vehicles through whom the fear and the lassitude and the neglect and the dry rot that had been afflicting the democratic structures for decades came to a dramatic and disastrous crescendo. The Bill of Rights had been rendered a nullity by degrees long before a passel of apparatchik hired lawyers found in its text enough gray space to allow a fecklessly incompetent president to command that torture be carried out in the country’s name. The war powers of the Congress had been deeded wholesale to the executive long before Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz and a passel of think-tank cowboys found within them the right of a fecklessly incompetent president to make war unilaterally on anyone, anywhere, forever. The war in Iraq is the powerful bastard child of the Iran-Contra scandal, which went unpunished.

The ownership of the people over their politics — and, therefore, over their government — had been placed in quitclaim long before the towers fell, and the president told the people to be just afraid enough to let him take them to war and just afraid enough to reelect him, but not to be so afraid that they stayed out of the malls.

It had been happening, bit by bit, over nearly forty years. Ronald Reagan sold the idea that “government” was something alien. The notion of a political commonwealth fell into a desuetude so profound that even Bill Clinton said, “The era of Big Government is over” and was cheered across the political spectrum, so that when an American city drowned and the president didn’t care enough to leave a birthday party, and the disgraced former luxury-horse executive who’d been placed in charge of disaster relief behaved pretty much the way a disgraced former luxury-horse executive could be expected to behave in that situation, it could not have come as any kind of surprise to anyone honest enough to have watched the country steadily abandon self-government over the previous four decades. The catastrophe that is the administration of George W. Bush is not unprecedented. It was merely inevitable. The people of the United States have been accessorial in the murder of their country.

Someone will have to measure the wreckage. Someone will have to walk through the ruins. Someone will have to count the cost.

The cynic had been in the hall for Obama’s big speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. It was beautifully written, impeccably delivered, and its rhetoric was thrilling. Obama took the crowd through the incredible ethnographic stewpot of his upbringing — Kenyan father, white Kansan mother, a brief stint living in Indonesia, high school in Hawaii, and then Columbia and Harvard Law — and when he got to the peroration, the cynic knew that Obama had won the country as surely as he had lost the cynic himself.

“Yet, even as we speak,” Obama said, “there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spinmasters and the negative-ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America, there’s the United States of America.”

(A month later, at the Republican convention, the cynic saw fat little delegates and their fat little wives wearing Purple Heart Band-Aids to mock John Kerry’s war wounds. He saw the Swift Boat ads. The country bought it. The country moved on.)

“There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America, there’s the United States of America.”

(Three months later, the cynic watched black voters be systematically disenfranchised in key precincts all over the country. There was no anger. There were no demonstrations. There was no great rising in defense of a fundamental right. There was, instead, nothing. The country bought it. The country moved on.)

“The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states: red states for Republicans and blue states for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the red states. We coach Little League in the blue states, and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the red states. We are all of us one people, all of us defending the United States of America.”

(Over the next several months, the cynic watched as the Republicans masterfully used the threat of gay people getting married to gin up turnout where they needed it the most. It was a creepy, shabby election that wasn’t about anything that was really happening in the country. The country bought it. The country moved on.)

So when Obama caught fire in Iowa this year and then moved along through the process, bedeviling the Clintons and selling out the halls, the cynic wondered when he was finally going to measure the wreckage, walk through the ruins, or count the cost. Obama was critical enough of what had happened over the previous seven years; his early opposition to the war in Iraq gave him an unbeatable trump card against Edwards and Clinton and tremendous cachet with younger and more liberal voters. But as Obama’s campaign gathered strength, the cynic kept hearing that 2004 speech again, in bits and pieces, in every stump speech Obama gave, and he saw that what Obama was offering was exactly what the country did not need. He was offering absolution without confession, without penance. In 2007, when asked about the possibility — just the possibility — of impeaching George W. Bush and/or Dick Cheney, Obama scoffed at the idea, not entirely because it was constitutionally unsound but also because it was impolite and a nuisance and might make many people angry at one another, and he was, after all, running to help save us from ourselves.

“We would, once again, rather than attending to the people’s business, be engaged in a tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, nonstop circus.”

He was offering a guilty country a nolo plea. Himself. Absolution without confession.

75. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 May 2008

man, Pierce has really summed up what I really don’t have the energy to write myself.

In Time magazine, right on cue, Joe Klein spectacularly opined that Obama hadn’t been “explicit” or “corny” enough in his expressions of patriotism to win over the good white burghers of western Pennsylvania, which seemed to indicate that Joe Klein firmly believes that western Pennsylvania is populated by lizard-brained morons. And right on cue, Obama went to North Dakota and told a crowd, “I love this country, not because it’s perfect, but because we’ve always been able to move it closer to perfection.”

When was the last time that happened, the cynic wondered. What country exactly is Barack Obama talking about here? This country has rolled back its constitutional order to a point where you’d think Thomas Jefferson had died as a child. It’s rolled back its jurisprudence to a point about a month before the Magna Carta. It has done so willingly, even eagerly.

Cynicism was noble, the cynic believed. It was to be directed only at targets worthy of it and not at a candidate’s failure to provide what the elite political press could sell to a complicit nation as the proper proletarian dumb show. It was to be directed at how seriously Barack Obama has misjudged the country he so obviously wants to lead, which is not the country he talks about but the spavined America that actually exists, because that’s the country in which the American people, in a hundred different acts of omission and commission, have freely determined that they want to live. A country of stunted anger and, yes, bitter denial of all that it’s done to itself. That’s the country in which Barack Obama is running now. If he sees it from the stage when he tilts his head and looks off into the far distance, he gives no sign of it.

He talks forever about “change.” Change from what? the cynic wondered. Obama never really says. He criticizes Bush, and his people, and his policies. He runs through the litany: Iraq. Katrina. The collapse of the subprime mortgage industry. The overall economy, now barely clouding the mirror under its nose. He’s tough when he does it, and smart, and shrewd. But it ends there. Obama never addresses the era of complicity, the fact of the country’s accessorial conduct in its own murder. He just tells the country that it’s really better than all that. And the cynic’s questions are never really answered. And he talks forever about “hope.” The cynic hears it and remembers the legend of Pandora. Hope was the jewel left in the box after she’d opened it, but Pandora never noticed Hope until she’d loosed all the demons onto the world.

Why would anyone have faith in America, which is not tough but fearful, not smart but stupid, and not shrewd but willing to fall for almost anything as long it comes wrapped in a flag? Why would anyone have faith in Americans? Barack Obama says that he has that faith because of his own life, because he was able to rise to the point where he can be thought of as president of the United States. He is the country’s walking absolution. That’s his reason, the cynic thinks, but it’s not mine. There has to be confession. There has to be penance. Being Barack Obama is not enough. Not damn close to enough.


76. marisacat - 12 May 2008

well from the film I saw he seems to enjoy pool and has played enough to shoot a series of balls to the hole. Or whatever it is called. Reporters’ pool report

Of course it is easy to dismiss ingratiating oneself. Apparently he drank a lemon lime soda and used a straw. What can one say.

Of the two, sad to say that sick old geezer would have a greater well of support for the bad times. Obama might wanna get himself a dog, aside from the present for the girls.

Not that it matters.

77. marisacat - 12 May 2008

well bingo on this:

He was offering absolution without confession, without penance

As this scenario moves along its rather nasty path, I have a grudging respect for the racists who won’t for him, don;t care, over the racists who want to pull a lever and, as Pierce says, move on.

78. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 May 2008

The thing that I don’t get about modern politicians and their campaigns … this relentless need to overanalyze the whole race and thus hide things about who you are. Either it all comes out, and blows up b/c you look like you were hiding it, or you end up taken down by some made up/semi-related, bullshit issue anyway (like flagpins). If you are going to be scrutinized and attacked, why not do it as YOURSELF, and let the chips fall?

Trying to keep the storylines straight must be exhausting.

79. marisacat - 12 May 2008

well not to worry, he wore a flag pin today, and as of NC had his usual shifting set of stories about the flag pin. He

– never said what he said in Iowa

– he wears a flag in heart every day


– sometimes he just forgets to put it on.

He writes the ads for them.

80. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 May 2008

in a country that demands allocution from any criminal pleading guilty, we’re amazingly unwilling to do it as a country.

There can be no justice nor any peace without an honest accounting.

81. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 May 2008

Indiana Paper Carries Word of Yet Another Iraq Vet Suicide

NEW YORK Another veteran of the Iraq war committed suicide over the weekend.

The subject of U.S. military veterans suicides has finally become a hot media topic in recent days, peaking last week with hearings in Congress concerning the surprisingly high suicide rate (about 1000 attempts per month) and the Veterans Affairs apparent efforts to obscure the true numbers. For nearly five years, E&P has monitored the little-reported cases of suicides among U.S. military personnel in Iraq, and after they return home.

Often, local newspapers are the only sources for information.
It happened again today with a report in The Herald Bulletin of Madison County, Indiana.

82. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

74/75. Amen, indeed.

80. Reminds me of the Peter Tosh song:

Everyone is crying out for peace, yes,
none is crying out for justice.

I don’t want no peace,
I need equal rights and justice.
I need equal rights and justice.
I need equal rights and justice.
Got to get it! Equal rights and justice.

Everybody want to go to heaven
but nobody want to die.
Everybody want to go up to heaven
but none o’ them, none o’ them, want to die….

83. marisacat - 12 May 2008

oh I remember that song…………….

84. moiv - 12 May 2008

Booman, top-tier Obama strategist.

My top vee-pee picks are:

1. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas

2. Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia

3. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio

4. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island

5. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida

6. Gen. Anthony Zinni of Pennsylvania

7. Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio

8. Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia

9. Fmr. Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia

10. Fmr. Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota

You could also throw in real wild cards like Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska who, say what you will, would help form an almost unbeatable ticket. Hagel may be destined for the State Department instead, but I think it is likely he will join the Obama campaign in some capacity.

85. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 May 2008

Great song.

Meanwhile, Feds to Collect Millions of DNA Profiles Yearly:

But DNA is far less certain when you compare one sample against all of the profiles in the database typically known as one-to-many. In that case the chances that a match between a DNA sample — especially an incomplete one — and a person in a DNA database could nab an innocent person has different math. Very different math.

So if you have a probability of 1 in 1.1 million chance of people having a certain sequence of DNA markers and you have a database of 550,000 people, you have a 50% chance of making a match. That’s great, if you know that the perpetrator is in that database. But what it also means is that as you start testing DNA profiles against more and more people, the chances that you will match an innocent person to a DNA profile from a crime scene gets higher.

A recent L.A. Times story about a cold case prosecution of a 1972 rape and murder in California, where 30 years later, police matched a DNA sample from the scene to that of a convicted rapist in its 338,000 profile strong DNA database. Given the number of markers that were used there was a one in three chance that some profile in the database would match. In this case, it matched John Puckett, who lived in the same city.

The jury however, wasn’t told about the probability that someone in the database would match against the profile (The L.A. Times story erroneously says that there was a 1/3 chance that someone innocent would be fingered in such a search. If one knew for a fact that every person in the database were innocent, then there was a 1 in 3 chance that an innocent person would get fingered, but in Puckett’s case, one simply knows that there was a one in three chance someone in the California criminal database would be fingered.)

And that’s a problem when the government starts collecting millions of DNA samples, sticking them in a massive database and finding ‘cold hits.’

Imagine the innocent man facing down a jury of his peers, hoping that they understand something about statistics.

In THIS country?

86. marisacat - 12 May 2008

sorry that was stuck in spam for a while moiv…


87. moiv - 12 May 2008

Not to worry, Spamadelphia is his true home … they all know him there.

88. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 May 2008

wow, that list made me want to slit my wrists.

89. marisacat - 12 May 2008

I think it is the list. Plus Lugar somewhere.

The final picture is not going to be pretty.

Tim Kaine term limts out and supported early so … I am sure he wants in.

Strickland, Nelson… ObamaMan needs help, no question.

I see mention of Daschle to be WH Chief of Staff. Mention of lugar to State.

A LOT of mention of Nunn.. and Zinni. Much discussion why did he not have Nunn with him campaigning.

It won’t be pretty.

Bill and Hill dragged the worst of their campaign crew to the WH, one of the big problems. I hve assume ObmaRama will make the same mistake.

90. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

My W VA prediction: Hillary by 26%

91. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

84. That’s one of the most uninspiring lists I’ve seen in a while. zzzzzzzzzz………..

92. Hair Club for Men - 12 May 2008

10. Fmr. Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota

Oh please God no.

93. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

Douglas Feith on TDS – still dumber than a bag of rocks. I feel like I need to take a shower after listening to that man’s twisted version of reality. May all of these neocons fade into well-deserved oblivion, never to be heard from again.

94. liberalcatnip - 12 May 2008

TDS has the full interview on their site. Throwing tomatoes at your screen, although a predictable reaction, will just make you waste time later having to clean it up.

95. moiv - 13 May 2008

Mrs. Scott Kleeb is not only part of MTV’s Street Team ’08, but is making an early start on blogging hubby’s primary.

Hell, why should us wimmins need any pesky rights when we’ve got star power?

96. moiv - 13 May 2008

Scott Kleeb’s honey is all spammed up.

97. liberalcatnip - 13 May 2008
98. marisacat - 13 May 2008

Sorry moiv!!

Your first was caught in spam and the comment to alert me was cuaght in moderation.

WP appears to be self strangling.

99. liberalcatnip - 13 May 2008

Charges dropped against ’20th’ hijacker

Their so-called military tribunals process is slowly falling apart.

100. liberalcatnip - 13 May 2008

The Chinese earthquake death toll is now reported to be 10,000. Staggering.

101. wu ming - 13 May 2008

one colorado geologist is predicting upwards of 150,000, when all is said and done.

they just had another 5.9 aftershock, same place as the first quake. and it’s starting to rain pretty hard on the people sleeping outside on the street under tarps, for fear of their weakened apartment buildings collapsing.

102. liberalcatnip - 13 May 2008

Stating the obvious headline of the day: Genetically modified human embryo stirs criticism

103. liberalcatnip - 13 May 2008

101. Wow. Sheesh. I read in the story I linked to that the official news agency says they think some 10,000 people are buried under rubble but they’re about as reliable as Pravda, afaic. (ie. I suspect it’s probably a much larger number than that). What a catastrophe.

104. liberalcatnip - 13 May 2008

Barr announces Libertarian presidential bid. The more, the merrier. I’m also looking forward to what the Paul supporters will try to pull off at the convention. More drama is definitely needed on the right side of the equation. McSurge sure doesn’t deserve an easy time of it.

105. Madman in the Marketplace - 13 May 2008
106. marisacat - 13 May 2008

new thread…………………..



107. JJB - 13 May 2008

Barr is a former CIA employee. This is whom the Libertarians choose as their candidate? One more example of what a joke our politics is.

Incidentally, I am of the belief that there is no such thing as a “former CIA employee.” Once in, in for life, everything else you do is simply cover.

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