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Pause for the Claus 24 December 2008

Posted by marisacat in Afghanistan War, AFRICOM, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iran, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, Pakistan, Panama, WAR!.


A man dressed as Santa Claus walks the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. US. stocks rose further on Monday [of Thanksgiving week] after data showed U.S. existing-home sales fell in October about in line with expectations, adding to earlier gains on the government’s $20 billion injection of new capital into Citigroup. [Reuters via The Independent]

Looks like top of the commercial line theatrical costume rental.. as well.  We don’t want any ratty old down at the edges childrens’ Santa for Wall St… oh nooo.

Surprised they did not slap Old Glory patches on his shoulders, as some on the trading floor wear on their jackets…


In the last thread…Madman had popped up the link to the Center for Constitutional Reform’s opposition to Warren…

From the close:

We understand that there will be compromises and decisions we won’t agree with in the coming years, and we will be right there challenging them. But to begin it all in this way, is a terrible signal to send to the people who worked day and night to elect President Obama. He should withdraw his invitation. At the very least, he should ask someone else to officiate as well, someone with decency and eloquence who can balance the presence of Rev. Warren. If the president is at a loss for ideas, allow us to suggest two women who could ably fit the bill: Bishop Katherine Jeffords Schori,  the presiding head of the Episcopal church who supports the ordination of gay ministers, and Susana Heschel, a feminist theologian and daughter of Abraham Joshua Heschel, the Jewish leader who worked hand in hand with Martin Luther King.

Let’s not start off on the wrong foot and hobble progress before we’ve even begun.

I was surprised what a strong statement it was… but of course Obama just points to Lowery and says that takes care of it.  Either of the two women clerics would have been an amazing, bracing, invigorating choice.

Change and forward motion,  written all over it,  Lowery there as benediction, a balm and blessing for safe passage (we need it).   Too much for Ob to handle, is my take.

Instead we get schlock.


Someone popped me this by email…  I think of it as Christmas future, for America, as we gift the earth with endless war, more than the various people of the world could think up or manage on their own…  I don’t hear us making any plans to stop.  Quite the opposite.

[A]nd when they benefit from the carnage no longer, their yellow ribbon patriotism and shallow concern fade quickly to apathy and indifference. The living refuse of war that returns are heroes no longer, but outcasts and derelicts, and burdens on the economy. The dead, they mythologize with memorials and speeches of past and future suffering and loss. Inspiring and prophetic words by those who sanction the slaughter to those who know nothing of sacrifice.

I used to try to explain war to help them understand and to know its horror, naively believing that war was a deficiency of information, understanding, discernment and vision. But being crazy has liberated me, allowing me to see that war is not a deficiency at all, but an excess of greed, ambition, intolerance and lust for power. And we are its instruments, the cannon fodder, expendable commodities in the ruthless pursuit of wealth, power, hegemony and empire.

And now, I accept and celebrate my unorthodoxy, my insanity, as an indictment of the hypocrites and the arrogant, of the ignorant and the narrow-minded for a collective responsibility and guilt for murder and mayhem, and crimes against humanity. And I offer my insanity as a presage of their future accountability – to humankind in the courts of history, and to the god they invoke so often to sanction and make credible their sacrilege of war.

Amen – to a secular prayer.

More “free” stuff from the Democrats… [updates] 30 June 2007

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Border Issues, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, Mexico, Panama, Peru - Bachelet, South America, UK, WAR!.
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Agricultural field worker Mercedes Espinoza places Christmas tree ornaments on the windows of the bus which has brought her and others to work packing chard in a field near Calexico, California. [photo, Sign on San Diego: DAVID MAUNG 12/12/2005 ]

I caught a wonderful Moyers program tonight

Lead segment ws Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, on the secret trade deal negotiated by leaders of the Democratic Party and its implications for labor unions, consumer groups and the environment.  At the Moyers site they link to several of the articles that surfaced around April and early May [scroll down a bit] giving an early clue to what the electeds (damn them all) were up to…

Looking around after the show I landed on a post from today of David Sirota’s that indicates the vote may be stalled (Wallach indicated either mid summer, July, or early September).

However!  The interview with Wallach had some stunning disclosures and, whenever they steamroll the vote, want to link to and excerpt her words.

BILL MOYERS: But this– this agreement– these agreements were negotiated in the house by Charles Rangel, who’s a Democrat, who’s the chairman of the– of the Ways and Means Committee -a very powerful committee. And he was quoted yesterday as saying that– up to 50 Democrats will vote with the Republican minority to pass it. I mean, that’s a quarter of the Democratic caucus, right?

LORI WALLACH: Well, and yes, sir, that’s kinda the heartbreak; ’cause if you think about what he’s saying in translated, what they’re talking about is reviving Bush’s NAFTA expansion agenda to facilitate passage of more Bush job-killing trade agreements by a majority of the Republican minority, and a small minority of the Democratic majority.

It’s really inconceivable why the Democrats would then bring that up to pass Bush’s trade agenda opposed by their entire base, by two-thirds of their members of Congress, by the public according to the last election. Instead of going to their own trade agenda, they’re reviving his. And reviving with a minority support of the Democrats.

BILL MOYERS: Well, help us understand this. Because last fall in the November election, the Democratic base in these communities across the country were on the warpath, right, about trade. The polls I saw coming out of a lot of cons– districts had next to the war– trade was most on the mind of voters in– in Midwestern– districts and places like that, that had been affected adversely by NAFTA. So, what is– what’s happening?

LORI WALLACH: Well, what’s amazing is, it wasn’t just Midwestern. That’s what we probably expect.

It was all over.

The Democrats are in the majority to no small measure because of the members of Congress all over the country. Democratic freshmen ran on this issue.

Being against the war was necessary. It wasn’t sufficient. The economic, really, populism issues of standing up for working Americans by pushing for a new trade agreement and holding accountable the Republican incumbents voted for NAFTA and CAFTA, that’s what won those majority-making seats.

BILL MOYERS: So, what’s happened? Maybe there are Democrats who believe in– in these agreements.

LORI WALLACH: Well, politically, it’s a catastrophe, ’cause they could lose their majority over this, just the way after NAFTA they blurred the lines in economics.

And in 1994, the Democrats lost their seats, a lot of research afterwards showed NAFTA was one of the main factors.

BILL MOYERS: I remember that.

LORI WALLACH: On policy though, it’s inconceivable also what they’re doing. Because even though it was terrific they added the labor and new environmental standards, not excising the outrageous NAFTA/CAFTA core means they set up agreements that totally contradict the core Democratic agenda. What are the Democrats pushing? Good jobs with good wages, access to affordable, quality services: health care, education, a clean environment, safe food, not privatizing social security.

Yet, in these agreements, which are only a little bit about trade, there are thousands of pages of rules that we have to conform all of our domestic laws to, are the antithesis of that domestic agenda.

the Border Arts Workshop helps prepare a Day of the Dead altar at the border wall in memory of undocumented immigrants who have died while crossing into the United States.  [DAVID MAUNG 11/01/05]

LORI WALLACH: …  The trade agreements that we’re talking about actually will limit the U.S. right to inspect.

For instance, on meat. We’re required to import meat that literally doesn’t meet our standards. If it’s considered equivalent by the importing country, i.e. the people trying to sell it to us. We’re supposed to accept it, put on the USDA label, bon appetit. It’s enough to make a person a vegan. We need basically a whole new set of strong rules. And instead, the trade agreement handcuffed Congress from doing what’s needed.

BILL MOYERS: This very weekend, Fast Track, the provision that gives the President, any President, the power to negotiate and conclude treaties without the approval of Congress, expires. Is–

LORI WALLACH: And hallelujah for that.

BILL MOYERS: Hallelujah? Why?

LORI WALLACH: Fast Track, which was hatched by Richard Nixon in the early ’70s is a uniquely undemocratic mechanism that’s used to negotiate U.S. trade agreements. It is what enabled bad-news trade agreements like NAFTA, like the World Trade Organization. What Fast Track does is, it takes the Constitutional exclusive authority of Congress that the founders set up intentionally as a check and balance so that one President just couldn’t take off with our trade future, and delegates the whole thing, lump sum, well, over to the President.

So, the President, under Fast Track, can pick what countries we’re negotiating with, set the substance, sign the agreement, all without Congress ever voting. So that by the time Congress sees it, they get nothing but a yes-or-no vote, no amendments allowed on trade agreements that will set our whole future, thousands of pages. And they have to vote 60 days after the bill’s in. It’s like a legislative luge run. It doesn’t matter what you put on there. Sheer force of gravity takes the worst trade agreement right to Congress and right through– your community, rolling right over your jobs and your food safety. And so, a new way of making trade agreements that doesn’t consolidate so much power in the President, and by the way, that system also designates 500 corporate advisors to be the official advisors.

BILL MOYERS: The old sys– the present system–

LORI WALLACH: Fast Track– Fast Track– so it’s no doubt we get these very retrograde agreements that don’t benefit us. So, we need a new way to make trade agreements. And the fact that Fast Track’s finally sun setting, I say hallelujah, we very festive wake. It’s about 20 years overdue. It should be boxed and buried, go to the Smithsonian. It’s outdated technology.

BILL MOYERS: When will these issues be resolved, these present trade agreements that are now being discussed, when will they be resolved?

LORI WALLACH: Well, let me say first, many of us still pray that the Democratic leadership will see the imminent cliff and decide to turn around the bus instead of going over. If they proceed towards trying to pass these Bush trade agreements with a minority of the majority, the votes could happen either in the month of July or in the first coupla weeks of September.

Elections have consequences… remarkable when they battle to slam the base, the entirety of the base and 2/3 of the Democratic caucus – to bond with the Republicans and the WH.

If only people could get it, that IS the national Democratic party.  It really is…

Now, there is a late to the party press release just today from Nancy … I have a hard time seeing much other than a steamroll and a re-issue.  A bit spooked from immigration, but they’ll be back.

Poor Democrats, poor leadership, only happy, only confident when pursuing Republican goals.  Ones they agree with, think Moyers got that one right.


I’ll update this post thru the weekend… 8)


UPDATE, 10:03 am Saturday

More Free Trade

Agence France Presse photos of the Sadr City raids

Along with the bullet-holes were what appeared to be shell-holes in walls.


US statement said troops had met “significant” resistance during the raids from militant small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, as well as from roadside explosive devices.

Troops travelling in armoured vehicles had “used proper escalation of force rules to engage four civilian vehicles”, the statement said, adding: “It is believed that the suspected terrorists have close ties to Iranian terror networks.”

US military spokesman Lt Col Christopher Garver insisted all of those killed had been “shooting at US troops at the time”.

“It was an intense firefight,” he said.

One resident told reporters that US helicopters had launched missiles at targets in the densely populated district, home to more than two million people.

Another described how “a big American convoy with tanks came and began to open fire on houses – bombarding them”.

“What did we do? We didn’t even retaliate – there was no resistance,” Basheer Ahmed added

US-led forces say they killed only militants in pre-dawn raids but local people say civilians died.


The UK certainly appears to be under some form of seige.  Not sure I’d care to characterise what kind, however.  BBC is already up with travellers’ photos at Glasgow airport:

Thomas Conroy took this picture of the vehicle crashing into the Glasgow Airport’s Terminal One building at about 1515BST

…yes all sorts of Free Trade occuring.


UPDATE, 10:41 am

Madman just sent this, Lori Wallach at HuffPo on the demise of Fast Track:

OBITUARIES: Fast Track 1974-1995/ 2002-2007

After a brief, damaging existence, Fast Track was pronounced dead on June 30, 2007.

The demise of Fast Track allowed the U.S. Founding Fathers to stop rolling in their graves over Fast Track’s trampling of constitutional checks and balances. As well, victims of Fast Track-enabled trade agreements welcomed the news, given the anomalous procedure’s record of damage despite having been locked up and out of commission for blocks of time since its inception.

In April 1973, America first saw the faint glimmer in Father Nixon’s eye that was to become Fast Track when the Nixon administration – always eager to seize power from the legislative branch – dropped the initial Fast Track legislation. The young Fast Track – the product of a broken and abusive home – had an unusually long gestation period, taking over a year and a half to be unleashed by President Ford, who signed the first Fast Track bill into law. Fast Track teethed on federalism and checks and balances, shredding basic tenets of our democracy.  [snip]


UPDATE, 12:27

Summer reading:

The UK’s terror threat has been raised to the highest level of “critical”, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announces.

For more details: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news


UPDATE, 12:56 pm

Pepe Escobar is up at Asia Times – as we blast off into the bloody summer:

Hot fun in the summer

Summer in Baghdad means temperatures bordering 50 degrees Celsius – of course with non-existent air-con; there’s only one hour of electricity a day in the Red Zone. There’s also a widespread outburst of typhoid due to water pollution and the extreme heat.

At least 20, most of the time about 50 bodies a day, every day, victims of torture or summary execution, continue to show up. There’s no more fishing in the Tigris because of the inflation of cadavers. More than 250 Iraqi journalists have been killed – or executed – since “shock and awe”. 

 Muqtada al-Sadr is lying low and sewing up trans-sectarian support.

Meanwhile, the recent joint US/Badr Corps offensive against Salafi-jihadis in Baquba turned out to be another farce. Salafi-jihadis relocated and counterattacked … in Baghdad. Dozens of thousands of Baquba’s 300,000-plus population – a Sunni majority – became refugees for nothing.

The powerful Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars denounced this mini-surge as “barbaric acts”. But these “barbaric acts” are just snapshots of what the Bush administration – helped by faithful Blair – managed to create:

the world’s second-biggest failed state, only behind Sudan, according to the 2007 Failed States Index compiled by Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace.

   Palestine air attack June 30 2007 

A wounded Palestinian is wheeled on a stretcher following an Israeli air strike in Gaza June 30, 2007. Israel launched two air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing six Palestinians, including three senior Islamic Jihad militants it long sought for firing rockets and orchestrating other attacks.

Planet Gaza is in the house

The relentless destruction of Iraq is mirrored by similar devastation in Gaza.

In Iraq, the real blowback will only manifest itself when the “sanctions generation” – who grew up seething in anger, sickness and deprivation – starts deploying its anger with the help of new technologies. The current stage, though gruesome, is just an apprenticeship.

Worse: it’s in fact irrelevant, as far as imperial strategy is concerned. Blowback is already factored. The Bush White House’s ends justify the means. 


As much as Washington invented a civil war in Iraq, it has also invented a civil war in Gaza. With crucial interference, among others, of US Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, a notorious neo-con, Fatah militias were trained by the US, the so-called Fatah Badr Brigade was nurtured by Jordanian intelligence, and all these unsavory characters were dropped into Gaza to destroy the popularly elected Hamas government.

Anyway, Israel’s ends – no possibility of Palestinian union – have been achieved. And once again, using the same old divide-and-rule methods; let’s sit back and watch all those Arabs killing one another.

Gaza is a gulag. The West Bank is a series of unconnected ghettoes. Baghdad is now a gulag. Iraq has been reduced to a series of unconnectable ghettoes. Palestinian land is being stolen. Iraqi oil will be stolen. “Terrorist” Gaza has been already downgraded to Hamastan. The Red Zone – that is, real Baghdad – is actually Red Zoneistan.


… Planet Gaza is a technical model of repression developed by Israeli know-how, implemented by the Pentagon in Iraq, and then redeveloped for reapplication in Gaza. It may, and it will, be deployed in other parts of the world that do not “behave”.

Iraq was “lab for chaos” – as was Katrina / NO / Gulf Coast.

ABC ratchets it up

I think GAZA and Sadr City, Fallujah, Tikrit, Ramadi, Tal Afar, Baqubah, Baghdad, Mosul, and a myriad of other towns, cities and villages in Afghanistan and Iraq can tell us about “imminent attack”.

Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:


For more on this story, go to:  LINK  

Don’t accidentally drop the beach reading.

A last snip from Pepe Escobar:

As for the bulk of humanity, they’re just trying to dodge stray bullets or postpone their drowning in the flood of a liquid world, observed absentmindedly by a few hyper-capitalists at the top of their post-mod ziggurats.


While I was at Reuters looking for photos, I saw this blog entry [full text from Reuters version] at Alertnet.org, the Reuters division for emergent crises and NGO information:

With not even six months gone by, 2007 has already brought 100 deaths of journalists and media professionals covering the news, according to figures released by the International News Safety Institute. Of those, 72 were apparently murdered. Last year’s count of 168 was already record, and now it looks like 2007 will top that.

More than a third of all journalist deaths occurred in one country, Iraq, which the Institute calls, “the worst killing ground for the news media in modern times”. The 100th victim was also an Iraqi, Hamed Sarha, 57, who had worked as a journalist for decades and leaves behind a wife and five children. Altogether, since the invasion in March 2003, some 214 news media have died in Iraq.

For more on the grim statistics and a list of all their names and details, go to the the INSI website.

Free trade all over the globe…


UPDATE, 5:57 pm

The ridiculous:

Clap!  Everybody clap!  Or they are gonna … LEAVE!

Or, laugh and let ’em go! 8)


 Personally, I think (2+ / 0-)

Recommended by:
shayera, Elise

a “Smite this diary!” button would be far more useful. Especially these days.

Musing’s musings

by musing85 on Sat Jun 30, 2007 at 01:07:27 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

  •  I’m about ready to smite the whole goddamned (1+ / 0-)

    Recommended by:

    place if it doesn’t change soon. If I wanted Democratic Underground I’d go there.

    Stop by our Round-the-Clock fundraiser for Steve Marchand!! Let’s elect real progressives!

    by Elise on Sat Jun 30, 2007 at 02:31:09 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Never thought I’d say this (1+ / 0-)

      Recommended by:

      But I’m getting to the point where I’m wondering whether it’s worth continuing to be associated with this site. “Clap louder” seems to be the rule of the day, the trolls are multiplying faster than bacteria, and any time anybody dares to pull out a zero you get 200 comments telling you you were wrong to bagel the comment, you’re really just an uptight hall monitor-wannabe who gets some sadistic thrill out of pushing the “troll” button. Half of the really great diarists no longer write here, and most of what makes it to the rec list anymore is unadulterated crap.

      Où sont les neiges d’antan?, indeed.

      Musing’s musings

      by musing85 on Sat Jun 30, 2007 at 02:37:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You aren’t the only one saying it. (1+ / 0-)

        Recommended by:

        I know a number of people who have left…and I’ve gotten emails from three people this week saying they think they’re just about ready to leave for good too.

        Honestly, I emailed a number of FPers and told them about the emails I’d gotten…and told them they could add me to the list if they couldn’t get it under control. Between the Ron Paul bullshit and the “Democrats suck” crap every five minutes…I’m really starting to ask myself, “Why bother?”

        I’m staying for now…but yeah.

        Stop by our Round-the-Clock fundraiser for Steve Marchand!! Let’s elect real progressives!

        by Elise on Sat Jun 30, 2007 at 03:00:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

It’s in a diary that uses the word “coward” in conjunction with “Nancy Pelosi” and a tidy judgement that she is “unfit to be Speaker”. 

hmm Well I surely am not proud of her.  But then, it is several cycles since I voted for her…

 [thanks to Mcat emailer, m


oh wait!  This is a Tinkerbell shout out!  Only she can save the musings and elises for The Great Koswhackian Movement!  You know the Great Day is Coming and they will be needed to, what else?  Save!!  The!  Nation!!!!

(more exclamation marks… do you think?) 

Find Tinkerbell NOW!


 And the nobodies who recced the diary (1+ / 0-)

Recommended by:

Not a name on there I’d be proud to have associated with any work of mine.

Musing’s musings

by musing85 on Sat Jun 30, 2007 at 12:53:24 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

For thine is the power and the glory.  Amen… A a  a men!

It’s a cult.

While I am on this turgid slobberation, James over at MoBettaMeta takes a look at the Great Koswhack CIA slitheration.  It all derives from his speech [and god knows he is not important enough for anyone to confirm or deny, as if they would] to the Commonwealth Club here in SF some while ago…

Hear the refrain, don’t accidentally drop the beach read!