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New… 31 December 2009

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

Guardian reader photos for:   Most beautiful and most wonderful | Darwin photographic competition. 

Young person category, commended: Urban Mother by Katya Schouvaloff: ‘I was on a cycle ride with my family when I spotted this swan sitting on her nest. Her nest was beautifully constructed out of bits of rubbish. Suddenly she stood up and revealed seven pale blue eggs. It was amazing!’      [Katya Schouvaloff]


The Telegraph has this on the suicide bomber at the CIA base:

[A] former senior intelligence official told the Associated Press that the man was being courted as an informant and that it was the first time he had been brought inside the camp.

The official said a senior and experienced CIA debriefer came from Kabul for the meeting, suggesting that the purpose of the session was to gain intelligence.

That official and another former intelligence officer with knowledge of the attack spoke to the news agency on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly.

The CIA would not confirm the details, and said it was still gathering evidence.

“It’s far too early to draw conclusions about something that happened just yesterday,” said spokesman George Little.  snip

And that information sure is not in the FP article in the NYT on the bombing… which still flails around.

[T]he use of an army uniform raised the possibility that the uniform was stolen or that the Afghan National Army ranks had been infiltrated by insurgents, a potentially more serious and pervasive problem.

The attack happened close to dusk, when some people on the base were finishing their daily work and relaxing or taking a break before dinner or before returning to their offices for the evening.

A NATO official said the bomber managed to elude security and reach an area near the base’s gym. Among other questions raised was whether the bomber worked at the base and had clearance, or if a security slip allowed him to gain entry. snip

Such fun…

I’m looking at it this way… 30 December 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, AFRICOM, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.

Pigeons gather on a city steam grate in Toronto, Canada [Nathan Denette/AP]

Can 2010 be… worse?

All that yelling and screaming back in the campaign over McCain and his “bomb bomb bomb Iran”… so we get “Bomb Yemen”, now declared the center of the universe for Al Qaida.

Neat, how they work it all out.

oh, it is rather sweet… 28 December 2009

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

A winning photo from the 2009 Big Garden Birdwatch – Greenfinches by John Mullin. For more on the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch click here.      [Johnmullin via the Guardian]

…in rough times.

One little ditty I could have done without in recent days… ABC and the NYT, both, served up a photo of the panty bomber’s… panties.  No no no…. truly not needed.

RELAX! 28 December 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.

Ottawa, US: A ladybird crawls along the underside of a dogwood blossom
[Elliot J Sutherland/Ottawa Herald/AP]

After all that sturm and drang for 3 days… they have now lifted the one hour stuck-in-your-seat rule.  Apparently the airlines went to work immediately to get that reversed.

Our shining leaders!  Next:  somebody fire Janet Napolitano.  Drag her offstage…  It would be hard to do worse than she did in three appearances yesterday (“the system worked!”)… and I hear commentary she was just as bad on the morning shows today.  Blissfully, I slept thru those mistakes.

Winners, all of them.

Still the weekend… 27 December 2009

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, WAR!.

The Decade in pictures: War
A prisoner in an outdoor solitary-confinement cell at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq.
[John Moore/AP]

I’ve used this photograph a few times.  It is just so plaintive.  UK Times doesn’t date it but it is not just at AG prison but from the year in question, 2004.

Sunday…. 27 December 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, AFRICOM, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, WAR!.

A Russian eagle owl, the world’s largest owl species, which can weigh in at over 4kg, with a wingspan of up to two metres   [Denis Sinyakov / Reuters]


The last graphs from one of the many articles in the UK press… (not sure I can face the domestic reports East of the Rockies, not just yet).

So, what did Santa bring the world other than WAR! ?

[T]he nigerian connection: Al-Qa’ida gaining strength in formerly moderate West Africa

 If the attempt to obliterate Northwest Airlines flight 253 came as a shock for the United States in the middle of its Christmas holiday, the suggestion that the would-be bomber came from West Africa via al-Qa’ida should not have been a complete surprise.

More than eight years after the 11 September attacks, the United States is still aware of the significance of al-Qa’ida, but the group has appeared less of a clear and present danger as the years have passed. However, less than a week before the Nigerian student Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded his flight to Detroit, The Washington Post had warned, grimly and prominently, of a new source of concern from the terror group.

 An article warning of “worrying signs” that al-Qa’ida sympathisers were bringing “a violent brand of Islam to moderate parts of West Africa” catalogued a series of attacks in recent months that have accentuated fears that a group, mainly of Algerians, were threatening to radicalise areas where Muslims were in the majority. Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) was held responsible for the execution of the Briton Edwin Dyer and an army colonel in Mali, the killing of an American teacher and a suicide bombing in Mauritania, as well as the kidnapping of two Canadian diplomats in Niger. The recent arrest of three Malian al-Qa’ida suspects in Ghana, over claims that they were conspiring to smuggle South American cocaine through Africa, can be added to evidence that terrorists are taking advantage of disease, poverty, a disenchantment with authority and breakdown of the rule of law in large areas. While Western intelligence services have focused on the growing terrorist threat from East Africa, some of the most dangerous groups have been prospering on the other side of the continent.

 Mali has become the centre of al-Qa’ida activity since the group arrived from the north in 2007. The extremist Algerians who made up the Salafist Group for Preaching and Jihad settled in the Malian desert and quickly renamed themselves Aqim. The West African wing of al-Qa’ida has been accused of gun-running, kidnapping, murder and now, for the first time, involvement in the drugs trade.

Intelligence analysts also maintain that Aqim has been seeking new recruits in large, “ungovernable” swathes of nation-states – many of which have large Muslim populations – mimicking al-Qa’ida in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 Encouraged by CIA warnings over the growing threat posed by the region, the US has diverted some $500m (£313m) to bolster the counter-terrorism capabilities of 10 countries – although some critics have complained that the effort has not produced lasting results so far.

 The near-miss experienced over Detroit last week offered a chilling reminder that al-Qa’ida has not gone away but, in fact, has spread its tentacles far beyond its original base. The Americans and their allies in West African governments will be under intense pressure to turn the tide and prove that they are winning the battle.

 Grab a gun or a Molotov cocktail… or, hey!, a rocket launcher and join in:  Blessed are the Peace Prize winners. 

Arms dealers the world over are standing and cheering…  as we live in a hideous cartoon.

weekend… 26 December 2009

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

A sunbird looks for nectar among hanging plants on a balcony. Most sunbirds feed largely on nectar. Fruit and insects are also part of the diet of some species [Wong Maye-E/AP]


NOEL 25 December 2009

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Europe, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Italy, San Francisco, Viva La Revolucion!.

London, UK: Deer graze on a frosty morning in Richmond park [Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters]


Well, the Greater Bay Area (it extends north of the Bay, into Napa Sonoma) managed to declare a “Spare the Air Day” for Christmas Day… SF Gate…. thus banning any fireplace or wood stove burning – of any solid fuel, wood, duraflame logs or other.  Now I am not at all fond of wood burning stoves.  The weather has to be still as can be and very very cold or I am in trouble right away.  HOWEVER, this is some people’s only form of heat.

Fortunately we are having a very mild Christmas week…

I do love the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate reflected in the first three comments at SF Gate:

organ_donor12/24/2009 1:08:49 PM

An inspector cannot enter your home without a warrant. If you are cited, you can later fight the citation. Claim that you were burning candles in your fireplace, make them prove otherwise.

Recommend: (61)(8)[Report Abuse] Permalink


Puffer12/24/2009 1:05:52 PM

F this, I will burn SOMETHING. And F the gov’t’s phony interest in our health. The gov’t is interested in making corporate honchos fat and happy, PERIOD. In fact, we are governed BY corporate hogs, and I am no longer an iota interested in succumbing to their dictates. Burn burn, burn at my house and the gazillions of whiny asthmatics can stay away and go inhale diesel fumes instead.

Recommend: (53)(8)[Report Abuse] Permalink

… and:

ForASong12/24/2009 1:04:59 PM

Important message from PG&E: Burn our ga$ for Christmas, not that free firewood. It’s the American way.


Gave me a chuckle anyway……..


AND I see the woman who tackled Benny is the same one who tried last Christmas midnight mass.  She had faith that if she kept trying God would help her.  So obvious.


Solstice 24 December 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, 2010 Mid Terms, Border Issues, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

Enjoying a snowy sunset at Oostende beach in Belgium.    [Spiegel]

I realise I’m a couple of days off – 🙄 – but no pleasing shot of the sun showed up on time.

Looking over Democracy NOW!  I noticed this timely tidbit…

God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay!… Truly!

Report: ICE Runs Secret Immigrant Detention Sites in US

The Nation magazine is reporting the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is holding undocumented immigrants in secret sites across the United States.

In addition to its publicly listed field offices and detention sites, ICE is confining people in 186 unlisted and unmarked subfield offices. Many of the offices are in suburban office parks or commercial spaces revealing no information about their ICE tenants.

In Los Angeles, ICE is holding immigrants in a barely converted storage space tucked away in a large downtown federal building.

During a conference last year, an ICE official, James Pendergraph, openly talked about ICE’s ability to disappear people. Pendergraph said, “If you don’t have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he’s illegal, we can make him disappear.”

Meanwhile, The Nation magazine is also reporting ICE agents regularly impersonate civilians and rely on other illegal tricks in order to arrest longtime US residents who have no criminal history. ICE agents have posed as Occupational Safety and Health inspectors, insurance agents and even religious workers.

Joy to the World.  I doubt any of that will be changing anytime soon.

So…………. is it better when it is the same but just not BUSH?


UPDATE, 12:49 am on the Pacific Ocean

More joy to the world:

And what of the amendments supported by members of the Progressive Democratic Caucus, the supporters of single-payer (SP): John Conyers, Anthony Weiner, Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders and Jan Schakowsky?

At every critical moment these politicians with vertebrae composed of Jello compromised, backed down and conceded. Their allegiance to the Democratic Party and to President Obama trumped everything. There was nothing they were not willing to compromise away, no constituency that couldn’t be thrown under the bus for the sake of passing a bill; most appallingly women and abortion rights. With the exception of Dennis Kucinich and Eric Massa, they all voted for the house bill that contained the Stupak Amendment. At a small protest in front of Jan Schakowsky’s home after the vote, she came out and told protesters she voted in favor of the Stupak Amendment because she knew it would be taken out of the Senate bill. She promised us it would be. As Schak strolled back into her opulent residence she protested, “I didn’t throw women under the bus.”   

The progressive Democrats sold out on single-payer early on when they backed the public option. This created enormous confusion: How could they advocate for both single-payer and the public option when the two are diametrically opposed? It didn’t take long before they all shilled almost exclusively for the public option. Schakowsky spoke at numerous HCAN meetings and rallies, never at single-payer events. Weiner was regularly interviewed by the press and focused the discussion on the public option, not single-payer.    

John Conyers, the lead sponsor of the single-payer bill H.R. 676, immediately endorsed the principles of Health Care for America Now (HCAN), an organization opposed to single-payer. When confronted by single-payer supporters at a Health Care Now! national conference, Conyers couldn’t explain the contradiction. Joel Segal, one of his staffers, became enraged and attempted to shut down the discussion. Soon after, Mr. Conyers became irrelevant to the movement for single-payer and a colossal embarrassment to it. It’s tragic, really. Conyers completely abandoned his magnificent legislation, H.R. 676: the only legislation that could transform health care from a commodity to an entitlement for all and solve the crisis. Instead of fighting for that legislation, he was holding briefings with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to discuss “Why the public option must be included to have true health reform.”

All of them in it together.


UPDATE, 4:54 am — on the Pacific Ocean………

Just made it to the end of the The Nation article (all of two pages…) and this is the close:

[A]n attorney who had a client held in a subfield office said on background, “The president released in January a memorandum about transparency, but that’s not happening. He says one thing, but we have these clandestine operations, akin to extraordinary renditions within the United States. They’re misguided as to what their true mission is, and they are doing things contrary to the best interests of the country.”

His feet are utterly elusive of the fire.

Achtung! Public Order! 23 December 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems.

On Monday morning, German news agency, DPA, reported that police were happier with motorists: they said that German drivers had become used to the icy weather, were prepared and were driving more sensibly. Accidents were back to more average levels, the police noted. [Spiegel]

hmm something about the pic reminds me of our political situation. Fucking stuck. AND the “legend” makes me think of what the political class in Washington are saying about the populace: they’ve calmed down, they got used it. They may not smile, but they will take it.

There is a lot of rage out there… ”the people” are not happy, but I am clueless what if anything they will actually do….



HA!  Instant update!  Just spied this over at Counterpunch… My own opinion is that a weak pretzel is a useless pretzel.  And, a weak one may indeed be a danger.

But hey, this is Nader talking, not me.

[G]iven all the burgeoning crises in the United States and the world, the only global military and economic superpower (albeit in serious deficit straits) needs a transforming leader, when, at best, it has a transactional leader in the White House.

I say “at best,” because President Obama displays an uncanny inability to deal. He is not even anywhere near Lyndon Baines Johnson in that regard. This lack is due more to his personality than to his character.

His is a concessionary demeanor, an aversion to conflict and to taking on entrenched power, a devotee of harmony ideology not because he doesn’t believe in necessary re-directions, but because he does not project the strength of his beliefs and willingness to draw the line-here and no further-as did Ronald Reagan or FDR.

In the shark tank known as the federal Washington, D.C. Obama’s personality projects weakness as someone who does not take a stand and fight, as someone inclined to rely on his rhetoric to explain his withdrawals, retreats and reversals. Some examples follow. snip snap!

I am sure many joys await us.