Wednesday, December 14, 2005

December 14, 2005

Ian in Buenos Aires

"Will also try and do some internet time giving you impressions of Chile and Argentina. Chile appears to be on the verge of electing the first woman in south American history to the presidency. Google Chile elections and read about Michelle Bachelet. a woman with a fascinating history....father murdered by Pinochet thugs and she and her mother were tortured.

"Buenos Aires is the soul of Argentina....almost 9 million people here. You know the history of the 80´s with the military dictatorship. In 2001/2002 the Argentine peso lost two thirds of its value...basically wiping out the economic hopes of the middle class. Hard to get a sense of that in 2005 as the city is alive with restaurants, shops, entrepreneurial pizazz. In many ways it is a European city with grand buildings, parks, major plazas and museums. We are going to take a ferry across the Rio de la Plata Friday to Colonia in Uruguay."

Dean Reed continued:

Last night, I read about Reed's final time in Argentina. Having been banned from the country, he snuck in through Uruguay, was involved in an anti-government press conference on his first day back and was imprisoned by the dictator, General Ongania. Spent 21 days, I think it was, in prison.

From Argentina, Reed returned to Europe and soon found himself living in East Germany.

Today's picks:

Bush job approval at 38%: After edging above 40%, it fades again

"President Bush’s job approval rating languishes under 40%, despite an upturn in the economy and a public relations onslaught defending the role of the U.S. military in rebuilding Iraq, a new telephone poll by Zogby International shows."

Increased exposure to offal doesn't make it more pleasant to the senses.

Congress expects up to $1[00]B wartime request

"The Pentagon is in the early stages of drafting a wartime request for up to $100 billion more for Iraq and Afghanistan, lawmakers say, a figure that would push spending related to the wars toward a staggering half-trillion dollars."

Let's think for a minute, could half a trillion have been used in a more socially responsible way? Aside from schools, healthcare, roads, national parks, global warming, alternative fuels, etc.

Trade gap widens to record

"The U.S. trade deficit widened unexpectedly in October to a record $68.9 billion despite a drop in the cost of imported oil, as the deficits with China, Canada, the European Union, Mexico and OPEC all hit records, government data showed Wednesday."

'Never before!' The amnesiac torture debate

"The principal propagator of this narrative (what Garry Wills termed 'original sinlessness') is Senator John McCain. Writing recently in Newsweek on the need for a ban on torture, McCain says that when he was a prisoner of war in Hanoi, he held fast to the knowledge 'that we were different from our enemies...that we, if the roles were reversed, would not disgrace ourselves by committing or approving such mistreatment of them.'

"It is a stunning historical distortion. By the time McCain was taken captive, the CIA had already launched the Phoenix program and, as McCoy writes, 'its agents were operating forty interrogation centres in South Vietnam that killed more than twenty thousand suspects and tortured thousands more,' a claim he backs up with pages of quotes from press reports as well as Congressional and Senate probes."

Americans protest near Guantanamo

"It was the first demonstration allowed by Cuba near the perimeter of the US military enclave where 500 suspected members of al-Qaida and Taliban fighters have been held without trial for more than three years.

"Twenty-two Catholic activists of the Witness Against Torture group, including a nun and a priest, have camped out since Monday at a Cuban military checkpoint 8km from the US base, which is as close as Cuba had allowed them to get."

Row over CIA 'torture' flights engulfs Blair

"Tony Blair and Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, were under pressure last night to refute convincingly claims that Britain has been complicit in alleged use of CIA planes to take suspected terrorists for torture in secret camps abroad."

12-13-05: Devastating hack proven

"Due to contractual non-performance and security design issues, Leon County (Florida) supervisor of elections Ion Sancho has announced that he will never again use Diebold in an election. He has requested funds to replace the Diebold system from the county. On Tuesday, the most serious 'hack' demonstration to date took place in Leon County. The Diebold machines succumbed quickly to alteration of the votes. This comes on the heels of the resignation of Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell, and the announcement that a stockholder's class action suit has been filed against Diebold by Scott & Scott. Further 'hack' testing on additional vulnerabilities is tentatively scheduled before Christmas in the state of California."

Wasn't O'Dell the Diebold exec who assured Smirk that he would "win" Ohio in 2004?

Processed chocolate contains dangerous lead concentrations, study says

"What's interesting is that cocoa beans tested had an average lead concentration of < 0.5 ng/g, 'one of the lowest reported values for a natural food,' the study points out. But, by contrast, 'lead concentrations of manufactured cocoa and chocolate products were as high as 230 and 70 ng/g.'

"In fact, a team of American and Nigerian researchers found that lead levels in raw cocoa beans were 60 times lower than lead levels observed in processed chocolate products, the Chicago Tribune reports."

Just in time for the holiday season . . . another addiction bites the dust. Green tea is OK, but it has its limits.

Quotes from

"I have played guys who have killed people and I have played guys who made love with their daughters" --Donald Sutherland, on playing a conservative, Link

Reporter 1: Since the inception of the Iraqi war, I'd like to know the approximate total of Iraqis who have been killed. And by Iraqis, I include civilians, military, police, insurgents, translators.
Dubya: How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion (of my greed and my lies) and the ongoing violence against Iraqis.
Reporter 2: Thank you --
Dubya: I'll repeat the question. If I don't like it, I'll make it up.
--Dubya, in Philly, Link

"How many people has Arnold pretended to killed during his film career? Now he can say he has done it for real..." Eddie B.

"60 years ago, my dad fought against the Japanese -- many of your relatives did, as well. They were the sworn enemy of the United States. I find it amazing -- I don't know if you find it amazing -- I find it amazing that I sit down with this guy [Koizumi], strategizing about how to make the world a more peaceful place when my dad and others fought him." --Dubya, trying to grasp the meaning of the "things change" concept, Link

"It's a myth to think I don't know what's going on." --Dubya, lying again Link

"Every morning I look at the newspaper I can tell you what the headlines are. I must confess, if I think the story is, like, not a fair appraisal, I'll move on." --Dubya, who knows what's going on - but only reads the good news, Link

"I think that Iraq is already a success story, and I think it's going to end up being remembered by historians as a huge success story." --Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Whore, Liar) Link

Republicans always like to predict how their policies will work 50 years from now because in the present, their ideas seem like such hopeless, bloody quagmires


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