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Can things get weirder? 31 December 2010

Posted by marisacat in Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
61 comments

Quirky regional winner - Martin Mere 'Tough Guy' by Robert BJ Falcon

Quirky regional winner – Martin Mere ‘Tough Guy’ by Robert BJ Falcon [Robert BJ Falcon / WWT Photo Competition 2010 / Supplied by Geoff Robinson]

From a wetlands wildlife gallery at the Telegraph…. unfortunately none of the photos was informative as to the creatures captured on film… This appears to be some sort of baby chick on a lily pad…

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Can things get weirder?  Probably so….

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am more than happy to shove, kick, smack, punch 2010 into the past.

My impression of the year is that it never let up.  It just kept coming.

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Looks like… 29 December 2010

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

A bit chilly: This cock pheasant had to walk across ice in Fakenhham, Norfolk, on tiptoes because of the cold [Richard Brooks]

Looks like a high fashion run-way walk to me, if ever I saw one… But the Daily Mail says he is f-f-f-freezing cold on the hard, icy walk ways of Norfolk…

OR, he could be wary about heading into the New Year…

;)

Hard… 26 December 2010

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
56 comments

 

A butterfly in a flower in Los Angeles, California   [Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images]

.. to let go of red, it is such a beautiful color.  The legend posted along wth the photo in the wildlife gallery at the Guardian does not say so, but it is a hibiscus… which are all over Southern California. 

I used to visit in a house on Mulholland Drive, surrounded by bushes of pink and red hibiscus blossoms….  Which I constantly plucked to put in water  – -  no matter how many times I saw the fast fade and wilt they go thru, it was impossible to believe.

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Red 24 December 2010

Posted by marisacat in Germany, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
37 comments

All of the temporary [German] Christmas post offices are staffed by volunteers, who write back to children. Here, men dressed as Santa Claus head to an annual Santa Claus convention in Berlin in November 2010. [Getty Images]

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Perched… 22 December 2010

Posted by marisacat in Afghanistan War, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Pakistan, Paris, Total fucking lunatics, WAR!.
68 comments

Pigeons in Paris as heavy snow shut Paris Charles de Gaulle-Roissy airport and forced the Eiffel Tower to be closed to tourists. [Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images]

I dropped in on Asia Times… and found a good piece by Pepe Escobar… I miss the old Pepe of years ago, especially the Pepe from before 2007, ’08, who had never sold Obama Brand Crap. 

But, one takes what one can get.

Just the last section…

It’s a gas, gas, gas

And here’s where The Year of the Drone merges with what the late, great deconstructionist Jacques Lacan would qualify as “the unsayable”: the invisible, dangerous liaisons between the “war on terror” and the energy war, as in the topography of the war on terror matching all the key 21st-century sources of energy from the Middle East to Central Asia.

This implies a key Pipelineistan chapter – the never-ending saga of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, which has been at the very core of the troubled Washington-Kabul marriage since the mid-1990s.

The TAPI inter-government agreement was finally signed in mid-December. Make no mistake; this is Washington in overdrive. The Washington-backed Asian Development Bank is to come up with the bulk of the $7.6 billion (and counting) financial package. The 2,000 kilometer-long TAPI – to be built by an international consortium – should snake through a very dodgy 735 kilometers of Afghanistan and 800 kilometers of Pakistan.

Hype apart, there’s no hard evidence that TAPI will “stabilize” Afghanistan or contribute to India and Pakistan trading kisses instead of insults. AfPak in this case are both transit countries. Most of the Afghan stretch will be underground – much as the US-supported BTC from Baku in Azerbaijan to Ceyhan, Turkey. In theory, local villages will be paid to guard the pipeline. But that still does not guarantee security to a steel serpent crossing western Afghanistan and then going east through Kandahar.

Once again in theory, TAPI is indeed a steel Silk Road between Central and South Asia. If TAPI is ever built - and that’s still a big “if” – certainly it will mark a monster crossover of Pipelineistan with the US Empire of Bases. Because none other than the Pentagon and NATO will provide the overall security. And that means the Atlanticist West forever embedded in AfPak. One can imagine what the Taliban on both sides – not to mention disgruntled Pashtuns in general – will make of that.

And even if TAPI is built, this still does not mean that its key competitor, the $7.3 billion Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline, also known as the “peace pipeline”, has lost the battle – much to Washington’s horror. The Indians have said that much – they are now chasing insurance giants of the Lloyds variety. And Pakistan definitely wants both TAPI and IPI.

TAPI theoretically should be finished by 2014. Surprise! That’s exactly the deadline year (for now …) for American troops to exit Afghanistan. No one will be exiting anything. Finally, the whole AfPak imbroglio will be revealed for what it is; a Pipelineistan gambit.

Meanwhile, enjoy the Year of the Drone. And while we’re at it, here’s some breaking news. The 2011 Pentagon/NATO strategy for AfPak is already established: wait for the Taliban spring/summer offensive to see where they’re at. And then drone them to death. Call it Drone Eye for the Bad Guy.

Oh surely by now, for the numbers game of killing, we’ve surpassed Hitler.  Unless of course one shoves the Russian dead in his column.  Which I imagine we do….

sigh 21 December 2010

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, Pakistan, Sex / Reproductive Health, Total fucking lunatics.
66 comments

Punjab, Pakistan: Women displaced by floods sit on a bench outside a hospital in Basira village [Muhammed Muheisen/AP]

Nader has a decent piece up at C-Punch on the whole flap doodle the US – well, Holder et alia – is carrying on about / against Wikileaks…

Thomas Blanton, the esteemed director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University described Washington’s hyper-reaction to Wikileaks’ transmission of information to some major media in various countries as “Wikimania.”

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last Thursday, Blanton urged the Justice Department to cool it. Wikileaks and newspapers like The New Yorks Times and London’s Guardian, he said, are publishers protected by the First Amendment. The disclosures are the first small installment of a predicted much larger forthcoming trove of non-public information from both governments and global corporations.  …

The people running our lives are simply berserk.  The hirelings are pathetic.  Who can have any shred of respect for any of this ??

Consider what Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith, who was head of the Office of Legal Counsel in George W. Bush’s Justice Department just wrote:

“In Obama’s Wars, Bob Woodward, with the obvious assistance of many top Obama administration officials, disclosed many details about top secret programs, code names, documents, meetings, and the like. I have a hard time squaring the anger the government is directing towards Wikileaks with its top officials openly violating classification rules and opportunistically revealing without authorization top secret information.”

On the other hand, if Mr. Holder goes the narrow route to obtain an indictment of Mr. Assange, he will risk a public relations debacle by vindictively displaying prosecutorial abuse (i.e. fixing the law around the enforcement bias.) Double standards have no place in the Justice Department.  …

That last line is a bit of a dissemble.  I don’t think the DoJ has any trouble at all with double standards.  In fact, double standards seem to have a long standing seat at the table.  I would say that double standards sits on a lovely, soft, down filled love seat.

And last, I doubt any of us can feign surprise….

Over-reaction by the Obama administration could lead to censoring the Internet, undermining Secretary Clinton’s Internet Freedom initiative, which criticized China’s controls and lauded hacktivism in that country, and divert attention from the massive over classification of documents by the Executive Branch.

A full throttle attack on Wikileaks is what the government distracters want in order to take away the spotlight of the disclosures on their misdeeds, their waste and their construction of an authoritarian corporate state.

Professor and ex-Bushite Jack Goldsmith summed up his thoughts this way: “The best thing to do….would be to ignore Assange and fix the secrecy system so this does not happen again.”

That presumably is some of what Peter Zatko and his crew are now trying to do at the Pentagon’s famed DARPA unit. That secret initiative may ironically undermine the First Amendment should they succeed too much in hamstringing the Internet earlier advanced by that same Pentagon unit.

The Imperial State, with 30% of its people mired in generational poverty and hunger, sails on.

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red orange 18 December 2010

Posted by marisacat in Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
101 comments

Flamingos stand in their snow-covered enclosure at the zoo in Magdeburg, eastern Germany

Flamingos stand in their snow-covered enclosure at the zoo in Magdeburg, eastern Germany     AFP/GETTY

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Beats walking… 17 December 2010

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

A husky puppy is transported in a child's push chair, on a snowy street downtown Bucharest, Romania

A husky puppy is transported in a child’s push chair on a snowy street in downtown Bucharest, Romania
Picture: AP

… in the bitter bitter cold.  And, he looks rather pleased, I think.

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Ministrations 16 December 2010

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Total fucking lunatics.
40 comments

Researchers dressed in panda costumes check the body temperature of a panda cub during its physical examination at the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Centre for the Giant Panda in Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan province, China. The four-month old cub is the first in the centre to be trained for reintroduction into the wild. Researchers performing physical examinations on the cub wear panda costumes to ensure that the cub's environment is devoid of human influence.

Researchers dressed in panda costumes check the body temperature of a panda cub during its physical examination at the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Centre for the Giant Panda in Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan province, China. The four-month old cub is the first in the centre to be trained for reintroduction into the wild. Researchers performing physical examinations on the cub wear panda costumes to ensure that the cub’s environment is devoid of human influence

Picture: REUTERS

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Madman sent me this from the Chicago Trib on poor Rahm and his Ways of the Holy Chopped Finger Cross, in his pursuit of long-held, noble hopes to achieve the old Daley seat….

Under questioning from election attorney Burt Odelson, Laurie Halpin testified Wednesday that she had been all through the basement and never saw the treasures Emanuel said were stored there — everything from his wife’s wedding dress to family china to the clothes his children wore leaving the hospital after their births.

But minutes after her testimony, Emanuel’s lawyers presented their own witness to explain the apparent contradiction.

Mee Kim-Chavez, of Chicago, an Emanuel family friend, said she helped Amy Rule, Emanuel’s wife, pack up about 30 boxes of family belongings into boxes that were placed into a basement crawlspace to which the Halpins didn’t have access.

“I believe my husband put a deadbolt lock on it,” Kim-Chavez said.

He begs to be mocked.

Just a thread… 14 December 2010

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

A hazel dormouse slumbers. Hazel dormouse numbers have fallen by almost two fifths in the past two decades – but the rate of decline is slowing down significantly [Picture: PA at the UK Telegraph]

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