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Sunday Blockade 20 June 2010

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Cuba, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC, Viva La Revolucion!.

Victory at Oakland port: Israeli ship blocked from unloading — First ever boycott at US port in solidarity with Palestine

Full text by Gloria La Riva, from the only report Google News offered up…at Party for Socialism and Liberation  dot com:

In a historic and unprecedented action today, over 800 labor and community activists blocked the gates of the Oakland docks in the early morning hours, prompting longshore workers to refuse to cross the picket lines where they were scheduled to unload an Israeli ship.

From 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., a militant and spirited protest was held in front of four gates of the Stevedore Services of America, with people chanting non-stop, “Free, Free Palestine, Don’t Cross the Picket Line, and “An injury to one is an injury to all, the apartheid wall is going to fall.”

Citing the health and safety provisions of their contract, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union workers refused to cross the picket line to report for duty.

Between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., an emergency arbitration was conducted at the Maersk parking lot nearby, with an “instant” arbitrator called to the site, to rule on whether the workers could refuse to cross the picket line without disciplinary measure.

At 9:15 a.m, after again reviewing the protests of hundreds at each gate, the arbitrator ruled in favor of the union that it was indeed unsafe for the workers to enter the docks.

To loud cheers of “Long Live Palestine!” Jess Ghannam of Free Palestine Alliance and Richard Becker of the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) announced the victory. Ghannam said, “This is truly historic, never before has an Israeli ship been blocked in the United States!”

The news that a container ship from the Zim Israeli shipping line was scheduled to arrive in the Bay Area today has sparked a tremendous outpouring of solidarity for Palestine, especially in the aftermath of the Israeli massacre of volunteers bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza on May 30.

With 10 days advance notice of the ship’s arrival, the emergency “Labor/Community Committee in Solidarity with the Palestinian People” was set up. On Wednesday, 110 people from unions and community came to help organize logistics, outreach and community support. Initiating organizations included the Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition, the ANSWER Coalition, the Bay Area Labor Chapter of USLAW [US Labor Against War] , and the Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace and Justice.

This week, the San Francisco Labor Council and Alameda Labor Council passed resounding resolutions denouncing Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Both councils sent out public notices of the dock action.

The ILWU has a proud history of extending its solidarity to struggling peoples the world over. In 1984, as the Black masses of South Africa were engaged in an intense struggle against apartheid, the ILWU refused for a record-setting 10 days to unload cargo from the South African “Ned Lloyd” ship. Despite million-dollar fines imposed on the union, the longshore workers held strong, providing a tremendous boost to the anti-apartheid movement.

Among the many solidarity statements that came in anticipation of the protest were those of Palestinian and Cuban workers. The Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions said, “Your action today is a milestone in international solidarity from honest and brave U.S. workers and trade unionists. Greetings to you from the trade unionists and workers of Palestine … from the trade unionists and workers trapped in Gaza.”

The Central of Cuban Workers (CTC) wrote: “Our people have lived for 50 years of an unjust and abominable blockade by the U.S. government, so we understand very well how the Palestinian people feel and we will always be in solidarity with their just cause. Today we send you our most sincere support. Long live the solidarity of the working class! End the Blockade of Gaza! Respect and justice for the people of Palestine!”

Today’s Oakland action, in the sixth largest port in the United States, is the first of several protests and work stoppages planned around the world, including Norway, Sweden and South Africa. It is sure to inspire others to do the same.

The goal is for a 24-hour shutdown of the docks where the Israeli ship is docked, so the protest is planned again for 4:30 p.m.

Bit by little bit…  small bits..

Up on the roof… 5 February 2010

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, Cuba, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

Colina watches as his birds take off Photograph: J Angel Gil Lema

From a series at the Guardian, 3 photographers in Havana. Several photos of a man who raises racing pigeons, the rooftop coop so evocative of NYC of a certain time.   Remnants of Revolutionary era billboards and signs from another photog… then, some black and white street scenes.


Sweet… and I am suitably touched.

Time to Hit the Road Obama?

President Obama Laments Not Engaging More with Everyday Americans


WASHINGTON, Feb. 5, 2010— 

President Obama has made no secret of the fact that one of the toughest adjustments of assuming the presidency is what he calls living inside the “bubble.” 

“I can’t just do things on the spur of the moment,” he told a group of ninth graders at a high school in Northern Virginia last September. “That’s actually the toughest thing about being president, because you want to just be able to interact with people normally, right?” 

For Obama personally, the confines of the White House have meant not being able to take a stroll around the neighborhood, go out to a spontaneous dinner or play a pickup game of basketball. 

But recently Obama has admitted that the presidential bubble has hampered his ability to promote a policy agenda and to connect with everyday Americans.  snip

I feel just so…………. everyday… Don’t you?

Tuesday 27 October 2009

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

Cojimar, Havana: A woman sits under the shade of an umbrella
Photograph: Enrique De La Osa/Reuters

Nothing much today… tho I did read yesterday that the UN is ready to condemn our (Bush’s?  Obama’s?  JFK’s? Too many of “us”?)  blockade, sanctions, whatever the word, against Cuba… We stand quite alone in this.

Everything for us, no matter who is elevated to top dog, is Fail Safe, 7 Days in May, Dr Strangelove, Manchurian Candidate…. on and on it goes.

It never ends.

Spring… 20 April 2009

Posted by marisacat in Cuba, DC Politics, Divertissements, Germany, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, la vie en rose.

A flamingo chick in Hanover, Germany, seeks its mother’s protection at the zoo. The first chick to hatch at the zoo in six years [2006] it is now a week old [Jochen Luebke/EPA]

We are in one of our heat waves.  They used to last a few days at most, in spring and fall… in recent years they last for weeks. And show up thru the summer as well.  Weather reports seem to say this one will break soon.

Putting up a photo of a flamingo chick.. sure beats a photo of Summers.  Shaking his big fat finger.  And an ugly finger it is too.

MR. GREGORY:  Cuba and a potential thaw between U.S. and Cuba relations has really dominated the summit business there, even though it hasn’t officially been on the agenda.  This week the administration eased up some of the restrictions on travel between Cuban-Americans going back to see relatives and also the flow of money, sending money back to relatives back in Cuba.  Cuba has also signaled that it’s willing to have a more open dialogue with the Obama administration, and increased calls for the U.S. to lift the embargo against Cuba.  This is where the politics meets the economic.  Under what circumstances would President Obama lift the 47-year-old embargo?

DR. SUMMERS:  That’s way down the road, and it’s going to depend on what Cuba did–Cuba does going forward.  You know, what the president announced this week is what he’s been talking about for two years.  It’s a set of measures that are grounded in American interests, that are grounded in morality, letting families get back together, together again.  Cuba’s known what it needs to do for a very long time and it’s up to them in terms of their policies, their democratization, all of the steps that they can take.  And we’ll have to see what happens down the road.

MR. GREGORY:  What is the economic case for lifting the embargo?

DR. SUMMERS:  Obviously it’s, it’s desirable to be able to trade in as many directions as possible.  But fundamentally, David, this is an issue that’s going to get decided on the basis of Cuba’s behavior, on the basis of the steps that they, that they choose to take or that they choose not to take in terms of their policies in this hemisphere.  And it’s about really whether they want to rejoin the community of nations in Latin America or not.  And we’ll have to see, we’ll have to see what they’re prepared to do.  The president’s decisions are really going to be grounded in what’s best for the United States.

The president’s decisions are really going to be grounded in what’s best for the United States.

hmm.. I had not figured that last line out.  How did I miss that?

We are in such a FUCKING MESS from pursuing our own interests – or what they relentlessly sold to us as our “best interests”.

Clue:  It did not work.  Did. not. work.

ObRama loved to invoke Lugar and Coburn on the election trail.  So sweet.  An Indiana Republican (fine, they have to come from somewhere, LOL) and a really nasty piece of R merchandise from OK.  But you’ll never hear ObRama mention that Lugar sent him a letter some weeks ago, advocating lifting the embargo.

No siree.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sen. Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released a draft report Monday saying it is time to reconsider longtime U.S. economic sanctions on Cuba.

“After 47 years … the unilateral embargo on Cuba has failed to achieve its stated purpose of ‘bringing democracy to the Cuban people,’ ” Lugar, R-Indiana, wrote in a letter that accompanied the report.

“The current U.S. policy has many passionate defenders, and their criticism of the Castro regime is justified. Nevertheless, we must recognize the ineffectiveness of our current policy and deal with the Cuban regime in a way that enhances U.S. interests.”

Lugar’s letter preceded a 21-page draft report by the Republican members of the committee titled “Changing Cuba Policy — In the United States National Interest.”   …snip…


I heard another interesting tidbit over the weekend.. accidentally catching the Matthews half hour Sunday show… with Katty Kay, Ignatius of the Wapo… Helene Cooper of the NYT and ….. Sully.  Frankly they were congealing in front of me.. so I don’t know which one said it, but one said the WH is mounting a hard push back on Krugman.  Driving home, apparently, that if we were to follow his idea of “nationalising” the banks, it would mean a “Dow at 3000”.

IMO this baby WH, barely a 100 days in to the game, is digging in.

Good Luck!

For some reason this photo made me laugh… 23 May 2008

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Cuba, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, South America, Venezuela - Chavez, Viva La Revolucion!, WAR!.

Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama wait before a town hall meeting at the B’Nai Tora Congregation in Boca Raton, Florida, May 22, 2008. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Just for context, a report on his appearance before the B’nai Tora, in the Palm Beach Post.

And… Obama’s remarks ”as prepared” for the Cubans, the Cuban American National Foundation… Renewing US Leadership in the Americas

Since the Bush Administration launched a misguided war in Iraq, its policy in the Americas has been negligent toward our friends, ineffective with our adversaries, disinterested in the challenges that matter in peoples’ lives, and incapable of advancing our interests in the region.

No wonder, then, that demagogues like Hugo Chavez have stepped into this vacuum. His predictable yet perilous mix of anti-American rhetoric, authoritarian government, and checkbook diplomacy offers the same false promise as the tried and failed ideologies of the past. But the United States is so alienated from the rest of the Americas that this stale vision has gone unchallenged, and has even made inroads from Bolivia to Nicaragua. And Chavez and his allies are not the only ones filling the vacuum. While the United States fails to address the changing realities in the Americas, others from Europe and Asia – notably China – have stepped up their own engagement. Iran has drawn closer to Venezuela, and just the other day Tehran and Caracas launched a joint bank with their windfall oil profits.

It’s still Norte as Daddy… I cannot wait to hear what Chavez has to say to President Obama OR McCain. At least I will be amused.

Catch this…

I will maintain the embargo. It provides us with the leverage to present the regime with a clear choice: if you take significant steps toward democracy, beginning with the freeing of all political prisoners, we will take steps to begin normalizing relations. That’s the way to bring about real change in Cuba – through strong, smart and principled diplomacy.

And this…

And we know that freedom across our hemisphere must go beyond elections. In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez is a democratically elected leader. But we also know that he does not govern democratically. He talks of the people, but his actions just serve his own power. Yet the Bush Administration’s blustery condemnations and clumsy attempts to undermine Chavez have only strengthened his hand.

He goes on and on… he gets to Haiti, to Colombia, Mexico, the Drug war, lards the speech with talk of the poor (always with us: we never free them, we make certain)… he even quotes Jose Marti Waging democracy abroad is nothing new. It’s just the way it is.

Jesus of the Americas. We are so blessed.

Jose Marti once wrote. “It is not enough to come to the defense of freedom with epic and intermittent efforts when it is threatened at moments that appear critical. Every moment is critical for the defense of freedom.”

Every moment is critical. And this must be our moment. Freedom. Opportunity. Dignity. These are not just the values of the United States – they are the values of the Americas. They were the cause of Washington’s infantry and Bolivar’s cavalry; of Marti’s pen and Hidalgo’s church bells.

That legacy is our inheritance. That must be our cause. And now must be the time that we turn the page to a new chapter in the story of the Americas.


Vidal in Havana 16 January 2007

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Cuba, DC Politics, Iraq War.

  Edsel in Havana, 1990

Saul Landau has a two parter up at Counterpunch on the December … well, it was a delegation of sorts, that set off for Cuba.  An assortment of San Francisco pols, a former senator or two and Gore Vidal.

[B]ut US policies that had from 1959 on aimed at destroying the revolution, intensified under George W. Bush’s two terms. Cuban leaders responded as always by taking whatever measures they thought necessary to deflect US hostility. As the revolution neared its 48th anniversary, and without a very sick Fidel active at the helm, what approach would the leaders take toward the colossus of the north?

In the evening of December 13, Gore Vidal, the former Senators, Jean Stein, Dennis Herrera, City Attorney of San Francisco, his assistants, Matt Tyrnauer from Vanity Fair, myself and the others met with Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque.

He told the group that Cuba wants to talk to the United States. The only condition: respect for Cuban sovereignty. In the course of the hour-long meeting it became obvious that Cuba had little to offer – other than total surrender. It could not offer to remove the embargo or travel ban from the United States, nor relinquish its naval base from US territory. The final meeting took place with a US diplomat. After a few minutes of small talk John Burton asked, “What did Cuba do to the United States?” Burton had previously talked about how China had killed thousands of US troops in the Korean War as had Vietnam in their war. Both of those countries were ruled by Communist Parties. “Christ,” Burton said. “Saudi Arabia doesn’t even have one party and they don’t let women drive […]

Over the years there have been so many of these… from students 35 and more years ago who went to help harvest the sugar cane to later missions of earnest US pols, often seeking to expand farm exports – other sorts of trade…

Vidal the historian recalled how after World War II, Harry Truman began to say: “‘the Russians are coming, the Russians are coming.’” At the onset of the Cold War, the Russians having suffered 20 million dead, “there was barely anybody to come. Even so, the decision was made: the only way to rule the country is by terrorizing everybody. Bush is trying it – with some success.”

The articles are almost gentle… especially against the contrast that day by day we are closer to some re-enactment of Fallujah upon parts of Baghdad, Sadr City.  Open the veins, let the blood flow into the warm bath water.  That is what we are doing…

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Public confidence in the way George W. Bush is handling the coalition effort increased slightly in the United States after his recent address to the nation, according to a poll by Gallup released by USA Today. 29 per cent of respondents think their president has a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq.

When asked if the Democrats in Congress have a defined strategy for Iraq, only 21 per cent of respondents believe they do, down four points in a week.


UPDATE, 9:20 am

Thrill to the clarion call (or not):

[“T]he Bush administration has frankly failed to put any leverage on this government,” Clinton told CBS “The Early Show.” But she sidestepped questions on whether she would vote to block funding for Bush’s troop increase.

On Afghanistan, Clinton called the conflict there “one of the great missed opportunities,” urging an increase in U.S. troops before a likely “spring offensive” by the Taliban.

“Let’s focus on Afghanistan and get it right,” Clinton said.

Clinton deflected questions on the presidential qualifications of Obama, who has emerged as her chief competitor for the nomination.

“We’re going to have a really vigorous debate on both sides, in both parties,” Clinton told NBC’s “Today Show.” “The voters will make that decision.”

Clinton is expected to join the presidential field within days. Asked on NPR’s “Morning Edition” about when to expect her announcement, Clinton said she was following her own timeline and wouldn’t be influenced by the actions of other candidates.

I’m trying to pursue my own assessment and analysis,” she said. “There is a lot involved in doing this effectively, if you are going to take the plunge  [snip]

Oh do plunge.  It won’t hurt.  In fact, she’ll barely notice.


UPDATE, 1:30 pm.. slightly warmer in San Francisco…

This bodes well for the Fucked RomneyCare, WydenCare and SxhwarzeneggerCare doesn’t it?

Just up at the NYT:

A federal appeals court ruled today that Maryland violated federal law when it required Wal-Mart Stores to increase spending on employee health insurance, in a decision that appears likely to end a bitter yearlong legal battle that pitted state legislators, organized labor and health care advocates against the nation’s largest retailer.

The 2-to-1 ruling by a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is a major setback — if not a fatal blow — for a nascent campaign, called “fair share,” that sought to move millions of America’s working poor off of state-sponsored insurance programs, like Medicaid, and on to employer-based plans.

Facing ballooning Medicaid costs, the Maryland state legislature last year passed a law forcing major employers to spend the equivalent of 8 percent of their payrolls on health care. But it structured the legislation so that it was aimed at only one company — Wal-Mart, which has many workers rely on Medicaid in states from Maryland to Georgia.


But the appeals court, upholding a lower court ruling, found that the Maryland rule violated a federal labor law intended to allow companies to create a uniform system of health benefits across the country, rather than navigate a patchwork of state-by-state requirements.

By requiring employers in Maryland to restructure insurance plans, the court found, the law “conflicts” with the intent of the federal labor law, known as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA.

The ruling could have wide-ranging implications for the so-called fair share health care legislation under consideration in several states, which has been put on hold while lawmakers awaited a final ruling in the Maryland case. It was not immediately clear whether Maryland officials were planning to appeal the case to the full circuit court or ultimately to the United States Supreme Court.  [snip]

Single payer anyone?  An across the board, federal, ”everyone is equal in the benefits derived from the system” health care? 

Doesn’t matter, Momma said that, like impeachment, it is “off the table”.


UPDATE, 2:40 pm

We know we are in very deep shit when Hagel sounds stronger, more specifically condemnatory of the president than any Democratic senator.  And that has been true now for over a week.

“I will do everything I can to stop the president’s policy as he outlined it Wednesday night,” said Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican and potential 2008 presidential candidate, who joined Democrats at a press conference on the resolution.

    “I think it is dangerously irresponsible,” Hagel said.


UPDATE, 7:30 pm…. we are warming up nicely out here in San Francisco… 😉

This would be spot-on…from Who Is IOZ.  Both the original post from Max Sawicky (who takes on the recent sloppy drool from Matt Stoller), commented on by Perrin and finally IOZ.

Don’t miss Proconsul in the threads at IOZ.  What a hoot!  Surely someone we all know under different guises. He sure stamps his tiny toes!  And Max Silber shows up as well.

This is a fav rave extract from Sawicky:

The contemporary “Internet left” is not very left. It is vociferous, partisan, and alert to opportunities to nail Republicans and Joe Lieberman. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But left? Please.

Of course, with my well honed instinct for kicking at the sour milk burbles from MyDD – and others – I like this one TOO:

All generalizations about “the 1960s left” are false, except for this one.

Matt Stoller is well-situated to talk about the intersection of contemporary internet-based protest and the Democratic Party. He does not seem very current on the boots-on-the-ground left that is responsible for the huge anti-war demonstrations we have seen since 2002, as well as for local organizing against Wal-Mart and for the “living wage.” About the 60s left, he is all wet. Why does this matter? It speaks to the limits of the netroots when it comes to policy, program, ideology, and intellectual world-view.

Max’s post is meaty with updates and responses to the thread.  Ahem… 😉

brooks — the anti-globalization movement began in earnest under Clinton, or maybe Bush I. Stiglitz didn’t become a (moderate) critic until he was well clear of the White House and the World Bank. The movement people are not I think much moved by Stiglitz as much as Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Medea Benjamin, Michael Moore, and others.I applaud the activist success of the netroots, such as it is. I would like to see more in the vein of basic principle, less obsession with tactics and polls. Is that so wrong?


Hucksters like Kos and egomaniacal half-rate scholars like Eric Alterman spend as much time excoriating the far left or futiley courting a few dedicated libertarians in the name of Democratic victory as they do “opposing” President Bush. They’re as fond of stab-in-the-back narratives as the prowar right. “If not for that fucking Nader . . .” Dennis Kucinich looks funny. Libertarians should support welfare statism and we will deign to prosecute fewer and more graceful imperial holding actions. You know the song and dance.

I don’t know. What’s a Democrat done for me lately?

And a bit more from Max Sawicky:

The “Internet left” is substantially a captive of the Internet bubble. It’s a nice bubble, full of fun. It is awash in hypertext and flash graphics, but it doesn’t demonstrate much depth in history, political-economy, or ideology, which is another way of saying it is fairly stuck in mainstream ideology and narrow tactics. It needs to step away from the LCD monitor and crack some difficult books, go to some boring meetings, wear out some shoe leather.

And big kiss of a BINGO! to this line from Max:

The real Internet left is the Internet of leftists who use the Internet.

I have been reading the Stoller (et alia) snarl drool snarl whine bitch snarl drool for a few weeks (years) now… and more than one person sent me the Stoller latest from Monday (what set off the responses at TPM Cafe, I would guess) but you know… eventually if the diaper pin is stuck in the baby… well maybe he can just reach around and unstick himself. 

Oh I know that was rude.  Ageist.  Maybe, probably!, Sexist.  LOL I don’t fucking care.

Bullshit.  It. Gets. Old.


Stop Me Before I Vote Again joins the fun (Madman filled me in).  And they link to Koswhack lui-meme

 This little tiff in the progressive blogosphere over the wanker “intellectuals” who think bloggers suck because they don’t read “Marx” (snort) is pretty ridiculous….

Here’s my take on the whole matter — “intellectuals” who’d rather read books and measure purity are next-to-useless.

Why yes, that is Kos.  Ignorant and delighted to display the rather too Curtis Sliwa persona that just ooo-oo-oozes out.

As well as the always estimable Hunter (who has seemed more of a gatherer to moi-meme.  What? you have not spied the incarnation?  Oh… do be resourceful!)

A snip from SMBIVA:

Pretty breathtaking, huh? Note that all us old 60s lefties are responsible for Nixon, Reagan, etc. Kos is unwittingly demonstrating here a point I have long tried to make: that the organizational Democrats really hate and fear the actual Left (even in its current etiolated form) much more than they hate and fear their supposed antagonists on the Other Team.

I would go so far as to suggest that we lefties might want to return the compliment, and hate the Judases of the Democratic Party rather worse — if only a little worse — than the Pilates of the other party.


More… Opera Glasses and Popcorn… ;) 22 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Cuba, DC Politics, Iran, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, Paris, Seymour Hersh, The Battle for New Orleans, WAR!.

  Christmas market at Gare St Lazare Paris 

Couple of meaty interviews … 😉

Gore Vidal in Cuba

 [S]ince Woodrow Wilson left the oval office in 1921, no US president writes his own speeches. The president reads what other people write. Sometimes the President agrees with it, and sometimes he doesn’t. Eisenhower used to read his speeches as if he were discovering something new on the paper. During his first presidency, the country was astonished when he said in the middle of a speech: “If I’m elected president I will go to.Korea!?” He was serious. Nobody had said anything to him before that surprise. But anyway, he went to Korea.

Well had the American people seen that and if we had a media that was interested in the Republic, and not in profits, the whole story would have been different; after all, Albert Gore did win the election in 2000 by the popular vote, some 600,000 votes ahead of Bush. And eventually the intervention of the Supreme Court into that election falsified the entire election. So we became overnight a banana republic without any bananas to sell. And that is our problem at the moment. [snip]

…and some snips via Democracy NOW! from a conversation between Hersh and Ritter a few weeks ago at the School for Ethical Culture in Manhattan…

[W]ell, guess what. The Israelis talk about tunnels in Iran. And there are tunnels in Iran. The Iranians have been working with the North Koreans for the last couple decades to perfect deep tunneling techniques, and they are boring in the ground. You saw all those little Hezbollah tunnels in South Lebanon that were so effective against the Israelis? They were dug by the Iranians with North Korean assistance. That comes from the Iranians themselves. And they’re doing the same thing in Iran today. And the Israelis are detecting this deep tunneling activity, and they’re sending elements in to do reconnaissance on that, but they’re not finding any evidence of nuclear-related activity, because there isn’t any going on.

But again, thanks to konseptsia, Gilad, and the way the Israelis now do their assessments, they immediately equate deep tunneling and a nuclear enrichment program to mean that there’s a secret underground nuclear weapons program. Faith-based analysis has trumped fact-based analysis, and because of the pressure put on American policymakers by the Israeli lobby, our own government has now embraced this point of view. And this is very dangerous, ladies and gentleman, because if we accept at face-value, without question, the notion of a nuclear weapons program in Iran, that means the debate’s over. It’s over, because if Iran has a nuclear weapons program that operates in violation of international law, it’s very easy for American policymakers to talk about the imperative to confront this.  [snip]  



UPDATE, 7:22 pm Friday

Oh this did give me a laughThe New Republican, the Nationalist Review… who knows anymore.  It is all congealing:

And to All a Good Night

The National Review Online today features what you might charitably call a symposium, though without all that gay shit Plato had to—you’ll pardon the expression—shove in there. It’s called “Christmas at War,” and I imagine a heavy period to lend a little gravity to the pronunciation thereof: “Christmas. At War.” It is not to be confused with the War on Christmas, which is a discrete portion of a wider ideological struggle. If you’d asked me just hours ago if I believed that any table of contents would ever achieve the same gauzy silliness doing drag as necessary commentary as was achieved by this recent edition of TNR, I wouldn’t have believed it. And yet: [snip]


UPDATE, Saturday 11:30 am

Byron Dorgan, with Sherrod Brown, has an opinion piece in the Wapo on Free Trade.  I had caught Dorgan on three different occasions in extended interview during 2006… twice I heard him discuss how hard to impossible it was for him to get an opinion piece in the m ajor papers.  Inevitably that means the Democrats squashed it, TOO.  So, I take a smidgen of hope, the faint stain of memory of hope, in seeing this opinion piece… 😉

[E]qually important, by enabling this kind of trade, the agreements force U.S. workers to accept cuts in their pay and benefits so their employers can compete with low-wage foreign producers. And those workers are the lucky ones. Millions of others have lost their jobs as corporations moved overseas to build the same products with cheap foreign labor. It is no coincidence that salaries and wages today are the lowest percentage of gross domestic product since the government began keeping track of this in 1947.  [snip]

I also heard Sherrod in his acceptance speech state, flat out, “We must get out of Iraq”… if the smart, informed from the ground progressives (however flawed) agree to silence and collusion for some 2008 elevation… well, last nail.


To balance out that smidgen (lest anyone think I fell into some bottomless well of false hope), is this from Uchitelle in the NYT (via TruthOut):

[T]he decades immediately after World War II were the heyday of the federal minimum wage. Without following any particular formula, Congress periodically ended up setting it at roughly one-half the average hourly pay of the nation’s production workers. That average is nearly $17 an hour today; half would be $8.50. By 2009 it is likely to be close to the $9 that Ms. Rios seeks.

    Spurred on by last month’s election results, the populist wing of the Democratic Party is calling for a return to the old standard. Sherrod Brown, newly elected to the Senate from Ohio, is in that group. So is the AFL-CIO, which says that its success in getting out the vote this fall entitles it to a bigger voice in Democratic Party policy.

    But they are meeting political resistance from the moderates in the party. Trying to push the populist case, the Economic Policy Institute, a labor-oriented research center, posted a statement in late November calling for an increase in the minimum to $8 an hour in 2009 instead of the $7.25 proposed by the party leaders. That recommendation was quickly withdrawn, however, under pressure from the leadership.

    “Our friends on Capitol Hill said our statement would be heard as criticizing the Democrats,” said Ross Eisenbrey, the institute’s policy director. “It would not be perceived as encouragement to do more; it would be perceived as raining on the parade.”

    In a second statement, issued this month, the Economic Policy Institute finally endorsed the increase to $7.25, stipulating that once Congress approved this amount, a second bill should be introduced to raise it to a higher $8 in 2009.

    Senator-elect Brown and the AFL-CIO have taken similar stands, wanting more but nevertheless endorsing the bill that the Democratic leadership intends to introduce in the first 100 hours of the new Congress.  [snip]


This is a good slap of political coal in the Christmas stocking… and an interesting twist on tired old “Fitzmas” fizzle/sizzle:

[I]f Obama decides to run, there will be some sort of news conference with the Daleys, where national political writers can decide if they wish to keep drinking the Obama Kool-Aid or ask a difficult question.

It’s difficult because it is not Axelrod-approved and doesn’t reflect the gauzy Obama narrative, but here it is:

If elected president, do you promise to keep U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago?

Here’s why this is critically important to understanding Obama’s national commitment to ethics and reform.

Daley’s City Hall is finally under siege by federal grand juries investigating truckloads of corruption. Included are the mayor’s illegal patronage armies that elected U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Tomczak), an irritating detail avoided by the national press for fear of being considered rude and parochial.

Illinois Republicans are also quivering.

The massive and bipartisan state pension fund scandal threatens Illinois Republican boss and Bush White House connection Robert Kjellander, treasurer of the Republican National Committee, who has not been indicted but is referred to in federal documents as “Individual K.” [snip]

Kass at the Chicago Trib doesn’t much like Rahm and is suspicious of Obama hype, so he lets loose with some interesting columns… 😉


UPDATE, 12:54 pm Saturday…

via Truth Out:

FEMA Not Required to Restore Aid to Evacuees, Court Rules
    By Shaila Dewan
    The New York Times

    Saturday 23 December 2006

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency does not have to reinstate immediately rental assistance to evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled yesterday, reversing a decision that a lower court judge had said he hoped would “get these people a roof over their heads before Christmas.”

    But FEMA still has to comply with part of the earlier order by the judge, Richard J. Leon of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, by providing families with clear explanations why they were denied assistance.

    Responding to the ruling by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, FEMA officials said they would immediately suspend plans to provide the money, leading to criticism from evacuees and their advocates.

    “It’s another setback,” Wanda Jones, an evacuee in Houston, said in a statement issued by Acorn, the housing advocacy group that filed the lawsuit. “It’s like a terrible roller coaster ride. Every time we go up, when we come down we lose more people.”  [snip]


That iconic photograph… 4 June 2006

Posted by marisacat in Cuba, Divertissements, Viva La Revolucion!.

 the iconic photograph by Korda 

 If you ever wondered the history of the 1960 photo of Che, the one that endures… the Victoria and Albert Museum in London has picked up an exhibition that originally came from the California Museum of Photography….

 The Guardian ARTS section has a good column on the photograph…

The famous photograph of Che Guevara snapped by Alberto Korda in 1960 has circulated throughout the globe in the past half century, endlessly reproduced in increasingly exotic forms, each created with different intentions and evoking varied responses. […]

Che the icon has overtaken Che the revolutionary practitioner and theorist, and inevitably this transition is now the subject of books, exhibitions and doctoral theses. […]

The original photograph was taken at a dramatic and dangerous moment at the start of the Cuban revolution's second year. Seeking to arm itself against a US invasion everyone knew would come, the new revolutionary regime had ordered a boatload of weapons and ammunition (mostly rifles and grenades) from Belgium, an imperial arms-manufacturing country that was trying, at the time, to disentangle itself from its African colony, the Belgian Congo. Several tons of this vital cargo, carried by a French ship, La Coubre, exploded in Havana harbour in March 1960 as it was moored ready to unload. The crew and 75 Cuban dockers were killed, and more than 200 were injured. Extensive damage was caused to the installations of the port.

       photo by Gordon Kordasche

For Cubans with a sense of history, the tragic explosion recalled the destruction of the US battleship Maine in the same harbour in 1898, an event that killed 258 sailors and sparked off the US invasion of Cuba that same year. Did this fresh disaster presage another American attack? And was it sabotage or (as the Maine was subsequently revealed to be) an accident?

No one knew, but, at the funeral ceremony for the dockers held the next day, Fidel Castro claimed immediately that it was the work of the Americans. Crowded on to the improvised platform beside him were Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, and behind, in a zippered jacket arriving late, was Che Guevara, the man who had invited them to Cuba.

Alberto Korda, a photographer then working for the newspaper Revolución, snapped away at the celebrities, recalling the event years later to Jorge Castañeda, one of Che's biographers. "[…] He unexpectedly entered my viewfinder and I shot the photo horizontally. I immediately realised that the image of him was almost a portrait, with the clear sky behind him."

             Korda photograph of Che Guevara

Korda took two shots, the first with Guevara framed alone between an anonymous silhouette and the frond of a palm tree, and the second with someone's head appearing above his shoulder. […]

Korda's photo of Che was first printed a year later in an advertisement for a lecture that Guevara was about to give in April 1961. It appeared twice, because the lecture was postponed as a result of the Bay of Pigs invasion by US-backed Cuban exiles that had been expected at the time the photograph had been taken.

                      Castro in USSR, 1963, by Korda

The picture then disappeared for several years, like Guevara himself. He left Cuba in 1965 to help organise guerrilla operations elsewhere, first in Africa in the Congo, and later in Latin America.

 Not until August 1967, when he was known to be fighting in Bolivia, engaged in his final guerrilla war, after Havana had published his last revolutionary message – "Create Two, Three, Many Vietnams" – was the Korda photograph first printed abroad. This was to accompany an article written by French journalist Jean Lartéguy about the guerrilla movements in Latin America, which appeared in Paris Match