jump to navigation

Mask 26 February 2012

Posted by marisacat in Brazil - Lula, Divertissements.

Maragojipe, Brazil: revellers participate in a masked ball during carnival celebrations | Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

Hahahaha… somehow it reminds me of the Oscars show!


Oh yeah. 21 March 2011

Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, AFRICOM, Brazil - Lula, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, South America.

President Barack Obama and his family visit Corcovado to see the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

US President Barack Obama and his family visit Corcovado to see the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil    [REUTERS]

oh.. something impossibly rude comes to mind. The lifted finger doesn’t quuuite do it however.

I’ve only caught print reports on bits of this and that they have been up to, Ob pulled out a previously used, personal chestnut, his mother taking him to see Black Orpheus… Some blither about how Brazil and the US are multicultural (not everywhere is, he said!)… Snob nattering on to children, in Chile, advising them to ask questions, if they want to learn. The old bromides/preachings about how they both grew up poor.

Stuff it.

Safe streets… 25 November 2010

Posted by marisacat in Brazil - Lula, Culture of Death, South America, WAR!.

A policeman runs during an operation at Jacarezinho slum

A policeman runs during an operation at Jacarezinho slum    Picture: REUTERS

Rio police and drug gangs in the slums battle it out.  Or so the story goes….

Reuters reports 30 dead so far…  

“We have no deadline to stop operations. We’re going to continue giving logistical support …… to transport police troops for as long as needed,”

said Colonel Carlos Chagas, commander of the Marine logistics battalion.

more by Carlos Chagas – 3 hours ago – Reuters

Policemen take position during an operation

Policemen take position during a security operation     REUTERS

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Posted by marisacat in Brazil - Lula, Divertissements, Viva La Revolucion!.

October 2 – People relax at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro [AP]

I am under the weather… so putting up a shot of a day at the beach in Rio.  And it does look very lovely.


Well… there is this… quite by accident I clicked on Rigorous Intuition which had appeared to fall fallow many months ago.  But by luck there was a new post, from September 3 2009…

There is also a comment from someone who was at the Pittsburgh demonstrations.

it’s endless 1 July 2009

Posted by marisacat in Brazil - Lula, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Italy, WAR!.


Original Caption: Anaheim — Catholic School Day at Disneyland and Sisters Mary William and Mary Alfred take the first elephant as Sisters Mary Yvonne and Mary Joachin follow close behind as they join the children in a ride on “Dumbo” the flying elephant at Disneyland. (1962)

Someone just happened to send me this photo a few days ago… because of a wrinkle in the information about the nuns depicted, despite its light hearted appearance, it fits in with the NYT story…

The Vatican is quietly conducting two sweeping investigations of American nuns, a development that has startled and dismayed nuns who fear they are the targets of a doctrinal inquisition.  …

What the/some nuns think:

[S]ome sisters surmise that the Vatican and even some American bishops are trying to shift them back into living in convents, wearing habits or at least identifiable religious garb, ordering their schedules around daily prayers and working primarily in Roman Catholic institutions, like schools and hospitals.

“They think of us as an ecclesiastical work force,” said Sister Sandra M. Schneiders, professor emerita of New Testament and spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, in California. “Whereas we are religious, we’re living the life of total dedication to Christ, and out of that flows a profound concern for the good of all humanity. So our vision of our lives, and their vision of us as a work force, are just not on the same planet.”  …

The official story…

The more extensive of the two investigations is called an Apostolic Visitation, and the Vatican has provided only a vague rationale for it: to “look into the quality of the life” of women’s religious institutes. The visitation is being conducted by Mother Mary Clare Millea, an apple-cheeked American with a black habit and smiling eyes, who is the superior general of her order, the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and lives in Rome.

In an interview in a formal sitting room at her order’s United States headquarters in Hamden, Conn., Mother Clare said she had already met one-on-one with 127 superiors general of women’s orders […]   The visitation focuses only on nuns actively engaged in working in society and the church, not cloistered, contemplative nuns.

The official story on the second investigation:

The second investigation of nuns is a doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella organization that claims 1,500 members from about 95 percent of women’s religious orders. This investigation was ordered by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is headed by an American, Cardinal William Levada.

Cardinal Levada sent a letter to the Leadership Conference saying an investigation was warranted because it appeared that the organization had done little since it was warned eight years ago that it had failed to “promote” the church’s teachings on three issues: the male-only priesthood, homosexuality and the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church as the means to salvation.

The NYT adds a tidbit or two about when an “Apostolic Visitation” is invoked by Rome:

Church historians said that the Vatican usually ordered an apostolic visitation when a particular institution had gone seriously astray. In the wake of the priest sexual-abuse scandal, the Vatican ordered a visitation of American seminaries. It is now conducting a visitation of the Legionaries of Christ, a men’s order whose founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, sexually abused young seminarians, fathered a child and was accused of financial improprieties. He died in 2008.

But the investigation of American nuns surprised many because there was no obvious precipitating cause.

Oh I can guess why:    OFF THE REZ.

Apparently, according to the article, a US discipline came down from the US Bishops this past March:   cut out that dangerous Reiki that some nuns have embraced for use in hospitals and at retreats.

Save us Lord!  The Church says Reiki is … UNSCIENTIFIC  and Un-Christian.

Here is the background on one of the nuns (Sr Mary Joachim, misspelled as “Joachin” in the legend) pictured out in the world, riding Dumbo  on  Catholic Day at Disneyland…  She lost her life, shot to death in Brazil, working with the poor and rural peasants fighting to save their land from loggers….

Basically the Church wants her back, on Dumbo.

The anti Davos… 29 January 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, Brazil - Lula, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Switzerland.

Brazil World Social Forum

Indians gather during a meeting to discuss rights of indigenous peoples at the World Social Forum, in Belem, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009. The World Social Forum, the annual countercultural gathering to protest the simultaneous World Economic Forum in Switzerland, is taking place until Feb. 1. [AP/ Andre Penner] link to larger version

As for Davos… it’s from Wonkette… but! any port in a PR storm!

Upon arriving here on Wednesday afternoon, he conducted a series of quiet meetings with foreign leaders that culminated in an intense late-night discussion with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The two former presidents met at a Sheraton hotel where Putin held a private party, following an early evening reception at a local museum hosted by Clinton.

Putin greeted Clinton cordially as “our good friend” as they raised glasses of vodka and then listened to a pianist pound out “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” When the musical entertainment concluded, they moved to a table in a separate room with access strictly controlled by Secret Service and Russian security agents. Flanked by aides and an interpreter, the two men talked for nearly 90 minutes before they rose and walked out together for a few pictures with partygoers and members of Clinton’s entourage.

In the Hall of the Mountain King” ??? Okaaay. Whatever props up the great men.  I can see how, in some idealistic Great Man drivel, they see a scenario of Peer Gynt escaping from the trolls and the king, the great hall tumbling down as they escape.  When in truth rather than fiction it is thieves escaping in the night intent on both their bags of cash and their histories of perfidy.


Intermittent Bystander linked to the Reuters report on Erdogan and Putin in Davos… and someone just sent me the NYT version…

Panel discussions at Davos are strictly restricted to one hour, but Mr. Erdogan insisted on responding to Mr. Peres. Red faced, and with one hand grasping the arm of the moderator, David Ignatius of the Washington Post, Mr. Erdogan turned to the Israeli president.

“Mr. Peres, you are older than me,” he said. “Your voice comes out in a very high tone. And the high tone of your voice has to do with a guilty conscience. My voice, however, will not come out in the same tone.”

Resisting efforts by Mr. Ignatius to end the session, Mr. Erdogan continued, saying to Mr. Peres, “When it comes to killing, you know well how to kill.”

Eventually, the prime minister gathered up his papers and departed from the stage, saying, “And so Davos is over for me from now on.”

Mais Oui!

Closer to home but so evocative… this scene, or set of scenes, at the WH yesterday.

Of those who braved the weather to meet with President Obama today were just over a dozen CEOs from around the nation, who sat down with Obama to discuss the impact of the weakening economy on business and workers.

“They make things, they hire people,” Obama said of the meeting participants. “They are on the front lines in seeing the enormous problems in the economy right now.  Their ideas and their concerns have helped to shape our recovery package in order to get this economy back on track.”

When I read they were served orange juice, well… I just KNEW those great men had donated blood. Surely.  Donated, as they stood, poorly dressed for the weather, in the snow.  Having walked miles to get to the WH and will have to manage the miles again, in reverse.  You just know it!

Afterwards, the dulcet tones of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” filled the East Room as President Obama shook the hands of the business leaders who had come to Washington, DC, to express their support for his plan.

No lyrics could be heard — just the melody to the song that would otherwise proceed “Night and day, you are the one/Only you beneath the moon or under the sun/Whether near to me, or far/Its no matter darling where you are” — while in the next room, Staff Sgt. Russell Wilson of the U.S. Marine Corps Band tickled the ivories at a tax-payer-financed orange-juice-and-coffee reception awaiting the CEO crowd and their appetites.

There is such a mincing quality to it all… but, who cares.  As long as it is not too chilly in that draughty old Southern Manse.  If it were I would be so worried.  Very very worried.

Pause for Jesus… 4 October 2008

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Brazil - Lula, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Viva La Revolucion!, WAR!.


Sinai – Icon of the Annunciation – 12th century

I don’t know about you but I am pretty tired of everyone on view.  However, Cockburn did have an offering that managed to be of interest.

“When the waters poured into Atlantis,
the rich men still screamed for their slaves.”

Bertolt Brecht, “Questions from a Worker Who Reads”

I never heard anyone speculate that Obama might, against all the odds, rally to the “No to Bailout” cause. His Yes was pure. He told reporters in Clearwater, Florida last Wednesday that “issues like bankruptcy reform, which are very important to Democrats, is probably something that we shouldn’t try to do in this piece of legislation.” In addition, he said that his own proposed economic stimulus program “is not necessarily something that we should have in this package.

The brief mutiny is over. The Democrats, who control Congress, have pushed through the outrageous Paulson swindle, giving an initial $700 billion or so to Wall Street. The Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, lobbied hard for the bankers’ bailout, according to reps and senators receiving his phone calls. Obama voted for the package of course, and so did the vice presidential Democratic nominee, Joe Biden.

With McCain one could at least speculate, as I did here last week, that he might have opposed the bailout in one last desperate throw to rescue his flagging campaign. In the event he disdained that lifebelt,  clicked his heels and saluted the big money, just like Obama and Biden.[…]

Quite a few slams at Biden mixed in… Two weeks, two debates, Masters of the Universe, of the WH and of the Congress have at us, relishing the feast.  I swear I hear the drool dripping down their chins.  A bit much….  And those chomping noises as they break down our bones… for the slide down the throat.

While I was at Counterpunch, Michael Whitney had a good one on The Great Rescue Bail Out Sucker Punch.  Reading it, I know I am swimming in the digestive juices of the Masters, with maids Nancy and Harry and Barney and Chris Dodd (those fleshy faced replicants) chiming in… what a feast they are having…  How soon til the next feast?  We shall be as Chinese food jokes, just an appetizer in the Great Feasting…

What a garage sale!

Rep Brad Sherman explained it Wednesday night to Larry Kudlow:

“It (The bill) provides hundreds of billions of dollars of bailouts to foreign investors. It provides no real control of Paulson’s power. There is a critique board but not really a board that can step in and change what he does. It’s a $700 billion program run by a part-time temporary employee and there is no limit on million dollar a month salaries……. It’s very clear. The Bank of Shanghai can transfer all of its toxic assets to the Bank of Shanghai of Los Angeles which can then sell them the next day to the Treasury. I had a provision to say if it wasn’t owned by an American entity even a subsidiary, but at least an entity in the US, the Treasury can’t buy it. It was rejected.

“The bill is very clear. Assets now held in China and London can be sold to US entities on Monday and then sold to the Treasury on Tuesday. Paulson has made it clear he will recommend a veto of any bill that contained a clear provision that said if Americans did not own the asset on September 20 that it can’t be sold to the Treasury. Hundreds of billions of dollars are going to bail out foreign investors. They know it, they demanded it and the bill has been carefully written to make sure it can happen.”

So, why hasn’t the Treasury Secretary explained the real purpose of the bailout to the American people? Could it be that he knows that his $700 billion bailout would end up like the Hindenburg, vanishing in sheets of flames?::snip::

Remembering Nancy from a few weeks ago, right here in libertine city, San Francisco, at a three tier fundraiser for Ob, saying “God has sent him to us”… well, I know what we shall be served, Religion.


Nadine´s babies, Blitzen and Dash, with penguin. They are supposed to winter in Brazil, so I guess this one is on a layover. [penguin out of season – La Barra – Uruguay 2007] *

In the meantime, as we await the Angel Gabriel, a sweet story of a real rescue, the penguins in S America, straying a long ways off course, more than usual.. and the Brazilian Air Force, who, it seems, have been regularly, annually, rescuing the lost penguins.  I say to the penguins, find a way to reconcile staying in Bahia:

It is an annual task for the Brazilian air force to help return penguins to their native territory but it seems this year they are coping with higher numbers of their unusual passengers.

Hundreds of penguins were flown this week in a Hercules plane down to the southern tip of Brazil, where they are being released into the ocean – while some are to return on a navy vessel.

Other birds that were exhausted by their long journey are for the time being staying behind to enjoy the hospitable climate of Bahia – a Brazilian state known for its beautiful beaches and sunny weather.

What a sweet landing spot!


* Hunting for S American penguin photos, out of season in their migrations, I landed on this rather charming light blog of a Turkish Uruguayan couple and their relocation from Kusadesi Turkey to coastal Uruquay.  We are so laden with worries and our massive crimes… it was a sweet diversion.

IMPEACH! – they won’t – DE FUND THE WARS! – they won’t – Then: WITHHOLD THE VOTE! 16 July 2007

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Afghanistan War, AFRICOM, Beirut, Bolivia - Evo Morales, Brazil - Lula, Chile - Bachelet, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iran, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, Russ Feingold, South America, The Battle for New Orleans, Venezuela - Chavez, Viva La Revolucion!.

A partial repost from September 24, 2006, the week Morales, Chavez, Lula, Bachelet and Ahmadinejad spoke at the UN:

    Budapest protests this past week. Protestor stands against the
    water volleys from the police.
[AP photo via BBC]

Full text [English version] of the Evo Morales speech at the UNWe Need Partners, Not Bosses.  The last few grafs:

[F]inally president, the indigenous peoples, the poor come especially from a culture of life and not a culture of war, and this millennium will really have to be to defend live, to save humanity and if we want to save humanity we have the obligation to save the planet. The indigenous peoples live in harmony with mother earth, and not only in reciprocity, in solidarity, with human beings.

We feel greatly that the politics of hegemonist competitions are destroying the planet. I feel that all countries, social forces, international organisms are important, let us begin to debate truthfully, in order to save the planet, to save humanity.

This new millennium, the millennium that we find ourselves in needs to be a millennium of life, not of war, a millennium of people and not of empire, a millennium of justice and equality and that any economic policy needs to be orientated towards ending, of at least lessening these so-called asymmetric differences between one country and another country, those social inequalities.

We are not trying to implement policies that allow the economic humiliation or economic looting; when they cannot loot according to the norms, they use troops.

I want to ask with great respect, that it is important to withdraw troops from Iraq if we want to respect human rights, it is important to withdraw economic policies that allow the concentration of capital in only a few hands.

And for this, I feel president, that these events should be historical in order to change the world and to change economic models, interventionalist policies. Above all else we want them to be times that allow us to defend and save humanity


Danny Schechter at News Dissector has a bang up series of links and snips dated the 16th… he can be irritating (and people write to him and say so) he can be sloppy with links and sometimes not link, so a few excerpts to follow, it is jampacked…

Start with the worst:

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AP) – The airplane is the size of a jet fighter, powered by a turboprop engine, able to fly at 300 mph and reach 50,000 feet. It’s outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting, and with a ton and a half of guided bombs and missiles.

The Reaper is loaded, but there’s no one on board. Its pilot, as it bombs targets in Iraq, will sit at a video console 7,000 miles away in Nevada.

The arrival of these outsized U.S. “hunter-killer” drones, in aviation history’s first robot attack squadron, will be a watershed moment even in an Iraq that has seen too many innovative ways to hunt and kill.

That moment, one the Air Force will likely low-key, is expected “soon,” says the regional U.S. air commander. How soon? “We’re still working that,” Lt. Gen. Gary North said in an interview.

The Reaper’s first combat deployment is expected in Afghanistan, and senior Air Force officers estimate it will land in Iraq sometime between this fall and next spring. They look forward to it.

“With more Reapers, I could send manned airplanes home,” North said.




Danny linked to and excerpted the from  DAHR JAMAIL’S LATEST DISPATCH:


When President George W. Bush announced the formation of a military command for Africa (AFRICOM) this past February, it came as no surprise to the Heritage Foundation. The powerful right-wing organization designed it.
The Heritage Foundation, founded in 1973 by ultra-conservatives Paul Weyrich and Joseph Coors and funded by such right-wing mainstays as the Scaife Foundation, has a strong presence in the Bush Administration. While not as influential as the older and richer American Enterprise Institute, it has a higher profile when it comes to Africa policy.

Back in October 2003, James Jay Carafano and Nile Gardner of the Heritage Foundation laid out a blueprint for how to use military power to dominate that vast continent.

”Creating an African Command,” write the two analysts in a Heritage Foundation study entitled U.S. Military Assistance for Africa: A Better Solution, “would go a long way toward turning the Bush Administration’s well aimed strategic priorities for Africa into a reality.”

While the Bush Administration says the purpose of AFRICOM will be humanitarian aid and “security cooperation,” not “war fighting,” says Ryan Henry, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy.

The Heritage analysts were a tad blunter about the application of military power:

“Pre-emptive strikes are justified on grounds of self-defenseAmerica must not be afraid to employ its forces decisively when vital national interests are threatened.”

Carafano and Gardner are also quite clear what those “vital interests” are: “The United States is likely to draw 25 percent of its oil from West Africa by 2015, surpassing the volume imported from the Persian Gulf.”

IMPEACH: The plan is to spin as much of the world to war as they can – what else does it look like?. ”THEY” is both parties.

WITHHOLD THE VOTE:  They won’t de-fund!




Last from Danny, is from Matthew Rothschild at The Progressive:


Bush’s Manual for Containing Protest

By Matt Rothschild in the Progressive:

After a myriad of stories about people being excluded from events where the President is speaking, now we know that the White House had a policy manual on just how to do so.

Called the “Presidential Advance Manual,” this 103-page document from the Office of Presidential Advance lays out the parameters for how to handle protesters at events.

”Always be prepared for demonstrators,” says the document, which is dated October 2002 and which the ACLU released as part of a new lawsuit. 

In a section entitled “Preventing Demonstrators,” the document says: “All Presidential events must be ticketed or accessed by a name list. This is the best method for preventing demonstrators. People who are obviously going to try to disrupt the event can be denied entrance at least to the VIP area between the stage and the main camera platform. … It is important to have your volunteers at a checkpoint before the Magnetometers in order to stop a demonstrator from getting into the event. Look for signs they may be carrying, and if need be, have volunteers check for folded cloth signs that demonstrators may be bringing.”

In another section, entitled “Preparing for Demonstrators,” the document makes clear that the intention is to deprive protesters of the right to be seen or heard by the President: “As always, work with the Secret Service and have them ask the local police department to designate a protest area where demonstrators can be placed, preferably not in view of the event site or motorcade route.”

The document also recommends drowning out protesters or blocking their signs by using what it calls “rally squads.” It states: “These squads should be instructed always to look for demonstrators. The rally squad’s task is to use their signs and banners as shields between the demonstrators and the main press platform.

If the demonstrators are yelling, rally squads can begin and lead supportive chants to drown out the protestors (USA!, USA!, USA!).

Think it will not be that way if Hillary goes in?, along WITH Obama – as Anna Quindlen is already calling on Hillary to do (and as Glen Ford at BAR has said since February, is the plan)


They won’t be listening to polite pleas…


Madman has a post up at LSF:

Remember all of those nasty winger judges the Vichy Donks couldn’t filibuster? Remember the civil liberties they couldn’t fight for, women’s issues and worker’s issues they ran away from? Remember the war they wouldn’t stop, wouldn’t slow down, still won’t de-fund? Remember the Gang of 14, the SEVEN Donklephants that cozied up to the ‘Thugs to prevent even the HINT of a filibuster?

The OLD Donklephants … the Dixiecrat version, used to filibuster all the time to preserve Jim Crow. Oh, and lest you think that there is much difference between the current Donklephant and the ole’ Dixiecrat, think hard about how much fight they’ve put into protecting the vote. Maybe they don’t say “colored” out loud where we can hear them, but they don’t care about black people any more, or poor people in general, than Bush does, let alone more than they did back before LBJ told them they should (as he was undermining it all sending men off to kill poor yellow people).

Anyway, that invertebrate known as the senior Senator from Illinois is upset because the theofascist authoritarian corporatist …. ummmm … rightward-half-of-our-one-political-party is actually practicing politics and using the rules of the Senate to fight for it’s base’s priorities! SHAME ON THEM!


DE FUND THE CONGRESSWithhold the Vote!

They will still be sitting on the US taxpayer paid for toilets as the years roll by: 



            They won’t do it:  WITHHOLD THE VOTE

Winter Solstice Open Thread… ;) 19 December 2006

Posted by marisacat in Big Box Blogs, Bolivia - Evo Morales, Brazil - Lula, DC Politics, Democrats, Europe, Germany, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, South America, Venezuela - Chavez, Viva La Revolucion!, WAR!.

Snowboarder on the Zugspitz, Germany's highest peak [spiegel.de]

From Spiegel.de

[A]ccording to a recent European climate study, winter sports lovers are suffering from the warmest Alpine temperatures in some 1,300 years. The unseasonable temperatures have forced ski resorts to offer hiking holidays and bears to seek out new, colder hideaways for their winter hibernation.

The Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera reported over the weekend that from Piemont to Venice, “only 50 percent of the slopes are skiable.” Some Italian ski slope and cable car operators have asked the government to declare a state of emergency and compensate them for their lost business. Evidently, not many ski bums were keen to trade in their snowboards for hiking boots.  [snip]


UPDATE, 11:30 am

As we seem to be in Europe… Who is IOZ builds off the  Anne Applebaum column in the Wapo:

[E]urope is rightfully skeptical of military solutions, and despite long talk of a unified European security force, there’s no European constituency pushing for an American-style interventionist military to bestride the globe enforcing some sort of social-democratic-values hegemony. This, of course, is what Applebaum means when she says no one “here” believes that Europe “is going to replace the United States anytime soon.”

In their failure to take over our failures are they damned.  […]

The West, in this formulation, is as fanciful a political entity as the rightwinger’s fearful caliphate (from Borneo to Bilbao and back again!). What possible “unified policy . . . and joint strategy” can emerge? What possible good would a war fought under the NATO banner–that seems to be what Applebaum is really advocating–do that a war fought under the American banner is not doing? What, precisely, is a “resurgent Iran.” The last time Iran surged, so to speak, the Safavids were running a pseudo-Sufi empire and the powers of Europe were busy giving smallpox to the native population of North America.  [snip]

Where do these sloppy columnists, opinion writers, editorialists come from?  And there are so many of them.  They spawn, rather spontaneously obviously…

In other non-noooz, Biden is on C-Span endlessly talking…  The relentless and endless Road to the White House series (gonna be a dull two years if no one breaks the scripts)…  Can no one pull the plug on the evident uselessness of public political conversation (or whatever it is) in America?


Too good not to repeat… 😉 

posted without further comment (none needed)…

[A]nyone who has ever spent any degree of time as a prominent blogger knows full well that there are a lengthy and strict series of accountability norms and mechanisms that political bloggers must obey, or else be ostracized and face irrelevance. Here are just a few of the ways in which bloggers are held accountable:  [snip]


UPDATE, 2:55 pm… 😉

Moving right along here… from Stop Me Before I Vote Again with a well placed kick from the left.. 🙂


There’s a wonderfully comic kaffeeklatsch of self-important thumbsucking over at TPM Cafe about this “concert of democracies” scheme that recently floated out of the Woodrow Wilson school of international affairs, at Princeton, midwifed by ten pages’ worth of professors, think-tankers, Pentagonians, and the odd journalist. They’re all such mighty thinkers, these folks, and the noise of little mental wheels spinning is enough to deafen you. 

The Princeton document weighs in at a hefty 96 pages, and it is written in a slightly more sprightly style than the average Foreign Affairs article — perhaps one of the odd journalists lent a hand on the wordsmithing. Still, it’s pretty soporific. Fortunately, the TPM Cafe popularizers have broken it down into digestible little amuse-bouche nibbles, suitable to the attention spans of the Netroots […]

In short, what we have here is a thoroughly Wilsonian project — wonderful, really, how institutions like Princeton University and the Democratic Party can maintain such a remarkable level of consistency in their patterns of thought and behavior across the chances and changes of almost a century. The 96-page doorstopper even manages a stylistic echo of Wilson’s own smarmy grandiloquence:  [snip]

A lovely ramble… the SMBIVA version that is…


hmmm Tony Snow used “contretemps” this morning at the WH presser…  Oh… surely he is effete?  He must be!  He used it to deny there is division in the WH between JCs and “WH advisors”….  as in “the president is not involved in a contretemps“…  

That would be over Iraq, the war in Iraq… btw.  IF the president can remember… so busy they are with Christmas and Hanukah parties… and how many red 8.5K Oscar de la Rentas can dance on the head of a WH doorknob.

I am not keeping up, I don’t know the latest on Barney…


UPDATE, 3:30 pm

 Oh oh.  En garde!  Defensive moves required to avoid being rained upon:  Open Umbrellas Immediately!.  Incoming front of heavy sleet and rain.. with slush underfoot to soon appear…

Major fall out to come from select Blahhgers:  Cheney is called to testify for defense in CIA leak case…

Whew… so far just ”called”.  That means much speculation for weeks – if not months – as to what that really means!

Washington – Vice President Dick Cheney will be called as a defense witness in the CIA leak case, an attorney for Cheney’s former chief of staff told a federal judge Tuesday.

    “We’re calling the vice president,” attorney Ted Wells said in court. Wells represents defendant I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who is charged with perjury and obstruction.

    Early last week, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said he did not expect the White House to resist if Cheney or other administration officials are called to testify in Libby’s trial, expected to begin in January. [snip]


UPDATE, 4:30 pm

Oooo Don’t miss Chomsky on Democracy NOW!, Amy excerpts from a recent talk he gave in Boston.  The early snips are on the ISG but the more interesting is the later snips on S America (from where Chomsky has just returned):

NOAM CHOMSKY: I’ll start with last weekend. Important city in South America, Cochabamba, with quite a history. There was a meeting last weekend in Cochabamba in Bolivia of all the South American leaders. It was a very important meeting. One index of its importance is that it was unreported, virtually unreported apart from the wire services. So every editor knew about it. Since I suspect you didn’t read that wire service report, I’ll read you a few things from it to indicate why it was so important.

In last Saturday, the South American leaders agreed to create a high-level commission to study the idea of forming a continent-wide community similar to the European Union. This is the presidents and envoys of all the nations, and there was the two-day summit of what’s called the South American Community of Nations, hosted by Evo Morales in Cochabamba, the president of Bolivia.

The leaders — reading just now –agreed to form a study group to look at the possibility of creating a continent-wide union and even a South American parliament. The result, according to the — I’m reading from the AP report — the result left fiery Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, long an agitator for the region, taking a greater role on the world stage, pleased, but impatient — normal stance. They went on. It goes on to say that the discussion over South American unity will continue later this month, when MERCOSUR, South American trading bloc, has its regular meeting that will include leaders from Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Paraguay and Uruguay. [snip]

NC enumerated a few of the high points from the meeting, then goes on:

[T]his is the first time since the Spanish conquests, 500 years, that there has been real moves towards integration in South America. The countries have been very separated from one another. And integration is going to be a prerequisite for authentic independence. I mean, there have been — I’m sure you know — attempts at independence, but they’ve been crushed, often very violently, partly because of lack of regional support, because there was very little regional cooperation, so you can pick them off one by one.

That’s what happened since the 1960s. The Kennedy administration orchestrated a coup in Brazil, the first of which happened right after the assassination was already planned. It was the first of a series of falling dominoes. Neo-Nazi-style national security states spread across the hemisphere. Chile was one of them, but only one finally ended up with reaching Central America, with Reagan’s terrorist wars in the 1980s, which devastated Central America, similar things happening in the Caribbean. But that was sort of a one-by-one operation of destroying one country after another. And it had the expected domino effect. [some dominoes are OK – Might as well laugh… – Mcat]

It’s the worst plague of repression in the history of Latin America since the original conquests, which were horrendous. It’s only beginning to be understood how horrendous they were. [snip]

He goes on to call South America the most exciting place on earth, just now, due to the changes bubbling up.  And then after referencing Haiti recent elections, comes this rather consummate comment on the US:

[I]n fact, in our elections, the issues are unknown. There’s careful efforts to make sure that the issues are unknown to the public, for good reasons. There’s a tremendous gap between public opinion and public policy. So you have to keep away from issues and concentrate on imagery and delusions and so on. The elections are run by the same industries that sell toothpaste on television. You don’t expect to get information from a television ad. You don’t expect to get information about a candidate from debates, advertisements and the other paraphernalia that goes along with what are called elections here.

There’s a lot of fuss on the left about election irregularities, like, you know, the voting machines were tampered with, they didn’t count the votes right, and so on. That’s all accurate and of some importance, but of far more importance is the fact that elections just don’t take place, not in any meaningful sense of the term “election.” And so, it doesn’t matter all that much, if there was some tampering. I suspect that’s why the population doesn’t get much exercised over it. The concern over stolen elections and vote tampering, and so on, is mostly an elite affair. Most of the country didn’t seem to care very much. “OK, so the election was stolen.” I mean, if you’re flipping a coin to select a king or something, it doesn’t matter much if the coin is biased. That seems to be the way most people feel about it. And there’s some justification. [snip]

It is long and there is more than the snips… 😉


UPDATE, 8:10 pm…

Blood soup, humans as croutons.

Analogies come to mind: the Bulge, Stalingrad, the Battle of Algiers. It will be total war with all the likelihood of excesses and mass casualties that come with total war.


UPDATE, 9:30 pm

Jonathan Cook in Electronic Intifada:

Do America and Israel want the Middle East engulfed in civil war?

[A]ll of these outcomes in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq could have been foreseen — and almost certainly were. More than that, it looks increasingly like the growing tensions and carnage were planned. Rather than an absence of Western intervention being the problem, the violence and fragmentation of these societies seems to be precisely the goal of the intervention.

Evidence has emerged in Britain that suggests such was the case in Iraq. Testimony given by a senior British official to the 2004 Butler inquiry investigating intelligence blunders in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq was belatedly published last week, after attempts by the Foreign Office to hush it up.

Carne Ross, a diplomat who helped to negotiate several UN security council resolutions on Iraq, told the inquiry that British and US officials knew very well that Saddam Hussein had no WMDs and that bringing him down would lead to chaos.  [snip]

There follows a rhetorical back and forth, a series of “whys”, “why chaos” as a plan, etc., drawing along anyone who thinks there are any rules left… Then some hard grit:

[L]ast week the Israeli website Ynet interviewed Meyrav Wurmser, an Israeli citizen and co-founder of MEMRI, a service translating Arab leaders’ speeches that is widely suspected of having ties with Israel’s security services. She is also the wife of David Wurmser, a senior neocon adviser to Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Meyrav Wurmser revealed that the American Administration had publicly dragged its feet during Israel’s assault on Lebanon because it was waiting for Israel to expand its attack to Syria.

“The anger [in the White House] is over the fact that Israel did not fight against the Syrians … The neocons are responsible for the fact that Israel got a lot of time and space … They believed that Israel should be allowed to win. A great part of it was the thought that Israel should fight against the real enemy, the one backing Hizbullah. It was obvious that it is impossible to fight directly against Iran, but the thought was that its [Iran’s] strategic and important ally [Syria] should be hit.”

Wurmser continued: “It is difficult for Iran to export its Shiite revolution without joining Syria, which is the last nationalistic Arab country. If Israel had hit Syria, it would have been such a harsh blow for Iran that it would have weakened it and [changed] the strategic map in the Middle East.” [snip]

Another who should move to Israel (fully) and sit shiva for America.  To be blunt.

[T]he reason is that a chaotic and feuding Middle East, although it would be a disaster in the view of most informed observers, appears to be greatly desired by Israel and its neocon allies. They believe that the whole Middle East can be run successfully the way Israel has run its Palestinian populations inside the occupied territories, where religious and secular divisions have been accentuated, and inside Israel itself, where for many decades Arab citizens were “de-Palestinianised” and turned into identity-starved and quiescent Muslims, Christians, Druze and Bedouin.

That conclusion may look foolhardy, but then again so does the White House’s view that it is engaged in a “clash of civilisations” which it can win with a “war on terror”.

All states are capable of acting in an irrational or self-destructive manner, but Israel and its supporters may be more vulnerable to this failing than most. That is because Israelis’ perception of their region and their future has been grossly distorted by the official state ideology, Zionism, with its belief in Israel’s inalienable right to preserve itself as an ethnic state; its confused messianic assumptions, strange for a secular ideology, about Jews returning to a land promised by God; and its contempt for, and refusal to understand, everything Arab or Muslim.

If we expect rational behaviour from Israel or its neocon allies, more fool us.

Yes… more fool us.


And why oh why do people who think themselves “liberal” reveal a yearning for Reagan?  In any form?  He was no unifying event in America. Certainly no healer.  We are still under his yoke (and that of his kitchen cabinet *, others of the same ilk), in my opinion.  Certainly many of his horrors simply rose up and joined with Bush…

* bit of a whiff off that link, but it came up quick and had the info I wanted.


UPDATE, 4:45 am Wednesday

Chris Hedges is up in Truth Dig, on Israel, apartheid, the Palestinians… and the US:

[]Israel, with no restraints from Washington, despite the Iraq Study Group report recommendations that the peace process be resurrected from the dead, has been given the moral license by the Bush administration to carry out what is euphemistically in Israel called “transfer” and what in other parts of the world is called ethnic cleansing. 

Faced with a demographic time bomb, knowing that by 2020 Jews will make up only 40 to 46 percent of the overall population of Israel, the architects of transfer, who once held the equivalent status in Israeli society of the Ku Klux Klan, have wormed their way into positions of power in the Israeli government. 

Washington and Israel, I suspect, know the cost of this repression.  But it is beginning to appear as though they accept it—as the price for ridding themselves of the Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has installed in his Cabinet a politician who openly calls for the expulsion of the some 1.3 million Israeli Arabs who live inside Israel. Avigdor Lieberman’s “Israel Is Our Home” Party, part of Olmert’s governing coalition, proposes involuntary transfer in a region populated mostly by Arab citizens of Israel, shifting those people to a future Palestinian state that would include Gaza, parts of the West Bank and a small slice of northern Israel. All Israeli Arabs who continued to reside in the territory of transfer would automatically lose their Israeli citizenship unless they took a loyalty oath to the state and its Jewish symbols.  The inclusion of Lieberman, the David Duke of Israel, into the Cabinet is an indication to most Palestinians that the worst is yet to come.  [snip]

For all who flipped out over the title of Jimmy’s book (amazing to me that Conyers called the title ”inappropriate” and told Jimmy it should be changed) Hedges entitles his, Worse than Apartheid.

It is a semi-rough thread, but there was this comment. 


Korb and Bergman are up in the American Prospect

[T]he neoconservative architects of the war claim that those who oppose increasing the number of troops do not understand the implications of failure in Iraq. But they have it backwards.

Those who opposed the war from the outset understood the difficulty and scope of the task at hand, while the war’s architects are the ones only now coming to grips with the catastrophic implications of a possible civil and regional war.

Kagan’s plan reflects the same intellectual failings and operates along the same assumptions (especially, putting too much faith in limitless efficacy of U.S. military power) that were responsible for the United States invading with too few troops and without a realistic plan in the first place.  [snip]

There is this as well.  But let’s not pussy foot around as so many political and military writers do … it is what the US wants:

[A]dditionally, this operation would severely undercut the Maliki government. Sending additional troops would be the equivalent of a no-confidence vote in that government and the Iraqi security forces, and could lead to the government’s collapse. Many of Maliki’s backers vehemently oppose any U.S. troop increase and would blame Maliki for failing to stop it. Opinion polls show that Iraqis want us out. Increasing our troop presence would only bolster the view that U.S. forces intend to remain as permanent occupiers. [snip]


UPDATE, 6:33 am Wednesday…

In 25 minutes or so Bush will have a presser and apparently take a few questions (AP man!, as he addressed the first reporter called on recenttly). 

I have to say this is a very good week for Bush to discuss the military, “growing” the fodder forces (Army and Marines) and what ever else his black heart decides to gift us with…  No, it is.  Stop for a minute and think of Miss Tara, blonde flower of the South (and working it to death, NYC spun her tiny head) dependent on the largesse of Mr Trump (what a pair!).  And three white guys who went up the mountain, apparently unprepared in what they carried with them for a deadly winter excursion on a very tough peak.  I hear not a single use of “responsibility” for any of the lot of them…

 Farley from TAPPED.  Where do these soft slides get started?

Unlike the post-Vietnam era, there is no Red Army for the U.S. Army to face down, and thus no clear rationale for large land forces. Of course, a similar argument could be made for large naval forces, but the Navy budget includes the Marine Corps and the USN can both project force ashore and protect sea lanes.

Exhaustion is like bile rising from the recesses.  Clue in, please, to all the talk of the ”Long War”… It is not just Max Boot, blithering for the Long War right now on C-Span…it is also the Democrats.


7:04 am:

Oh don’t look now, but George is speaking to us from the “Indian Treaty Room” in the Eisenhower Executive Bldg.  In case you missed the narrative for years, his comments are all Terra Terra Terra. 

7:07 am:

He just told us to go shopping.


UPDATE, 11:22 am Wednesday…

[I] would imply that there were people like this online, but then I would be engaging in the strawmen tactics I often decry. Even if I wasn’t doing that, and I named names among bloggers who were unfair to Reid because he made one unfortunate comment, then I would be abusing my podium to make less powerful members of the netroots and blogosphere look bad. And I suppose, if it were not for the outcry, Reid would not have made such a clear statement on his opposition to escalation in Iraq. Or, maybe there was a way to encourage him to do that without acting an an utterly hysterical manner that only fueled the MSM buzz on the subject.

Since I am not going to talk about any of that, my original statement on this entire episode stands: now that we are in the majority, we need to move past endless parsing of the words our leaders say, and focus instead on the policies they intend to pursue. [snip snap]

 Let me say:  pickup a towel and apply behind the ears.  It may help.

Other than that, I’d add the petty Dem party thugdom in BlahgSnot land is truly boring.  There is some significant push back in the thread (it is a genuinely stupid posting, to be blunt)… and some cute tension between Boyz.  More Towels!  To Aisle 10!  Ring for a Blog Maid!

Sure I am laughing… 🙂