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Living in interesting times


Last Edited: September 21, 2006, 11:44 pm

I don't usually read much news, but Konane's blog title about Rangel saying all Americans are insulted when someone says uglies about the prez caused me to go searching to see.  Evidently there's a body of concern that if the president isn't the devil, and someone says he is, he'll become the devil.  That's the only reason I can think of anyone would care what some guy wossname, prez of Venezuela, says about wossname, prez of the US.

I personally don't feel insulted by what Chavez said, but I do believe Rangel's statement is as accurate as any I've seen him make.  Only time I ever saw him make any statements was debating WF Buckley during the late 1980s, Buckley arguing against the war on drugs, Rangel letting off  some whoppers, diatribes and a lot of posturing in favor of continuing the war on drugs.  Gave me to suspect Rangel might have a little investment in keeping the prices high.

Anyway, searching the stuff I came across the following, which might have something to do with why this guy wossname, Chavez is blessed with a certain amount of attitude.  Daddy Longlegs politico/religious leader Pat Robertson wanted to have someone put his lights out.  Likely as not that's what made Chavez think there was devilment involved. 


Pat Robertson calls for assassination of Hugo Chavez
VIRGINIA BEACH (AP) - Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson suggested on-air that American operatives assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to stop his country from becoming "a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."

'We have the ability to take him (Chavez) out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability,' Robertson said.
By Gene Puskar, AP

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said Monday on the Christian Broadcast Network's The 700 Club. (Related video: Robertson speaks)

"We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

Chavez has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of President Bush, accusing the United States of conspiring to topple his government and possibly backing plots to assassinate him. U.S. officials have called the accusations ridiculous. (Related story: Venezuela VP slams Robertson)

"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop." (Jack note:  Hmmmm.)

Robertson, 75, founder of the Christian Coalition of America and a former presidential candidate, accused the United States of failing to act when Chavez was briefly overthrown in 2002.

Electronic pages and a message to a Robertson spokeswoman were not immediately returned Monday evening.

Venezuela is the fifth largest oil exporter and a major supplier of oil to the United States. The CIA estimates that U.S. markets absorb almost 59% of Venezuela's total exports.

Venezuela's government has demanded in the past that the United States crack down on Cuban and Venezuelan "terrorists" in Florida who they say are conspiring against Chavez.

Robertson has made controversial statements in the past. In October 2003, he suggested that the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device. He has also said that feminism encourages women to "kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."



White House Drops a Condition on Interrogation Bill

Published: September 20, 2006

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 - Seeking a deal with Senate Republicans on the rules governing the interrogation of terrorism suspects, the White House has dropped its insistence on redefining the obligations of the United States under the Geneva Conventions, members of Congress and aides said Tuesday.

Doug Mills/The New York Times
Senators John W. Warner of Virginia, left, and John McCain of Arizona are part of a small group of Republicans negotiating with the White House over how to redefine techniques for interrogating terrorism suspects.

 The new White House position, sent to Capitol Hill on Monday night, set off intensified negotiations between administration officials and a small group of Republican senators. The senators have blocked President Bush's original proposal for legislation to clarify which interrogation techniques are permissible and to establish trial procedures for terrorism suspects now in United States military custody.

The two sides were said to be exchanging proposals and counterproposals late Tuesday in a showdown that could have substantial ramifications for national security policy and the political climate heading toward Election Day.

The developments suggested that the White House had blinked first in its standoff with the senators, who include John W. Warner of Virginia, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and John McCain of Arizona. But few details were available, and it was not clear whether a compromise was imminent or whether the White House had shifted its stance significantly.

Until this week, Mr. Bush had sought to address the issue through two channels. One was to clarify the limits on interrogation techniques under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions by proposing legislation saying that the nation's obligations under the article would be satisfied as long as it complied with the Detainee Treatment Act. That legislation was passed by Congress in December and bans "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."

The other was to seek changes in the War Crimes Act, a step the administration had said was necessary to provide interrogators for the Central Intelligence Agency with protection from prosecution at home and abroad. The Republican group led by Mr. Warner favors addressing the issue through changes to the War Crimes Act but has resisted efforts to recast the nation's obligations under the Geneva Conventions.

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, a Republican on the Armed Services Committee who has supported the president's legislation, said Tuesday morning that the White House had agreed to work within the War Crimes Act to refine the obligations under Common Article 3.

"There's agreement on the goal," Mr. Cornyn said, "that is, that we continue to comply with our international treaty obligations and all of our domestic laws, but at the same time not tie the hands of our intelligence officials."

Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, another Republican on the committee who has backed the president's approach, said: "It's an argument between people with strong wills. Sometimes you have to step back and re-evaluate; the president has done that. Apparently he's said, O.K., let me look at this in a different way."

Mr. Warner declined to comment on specific proposals, saying only that he had "great optimism" that an agreement could come soon.

White House officials declined to discuss their offer and said they expected negotiations to continue for at least another day.

"We are continuing negotiations in good faith and remain cautiously optimistic about our ability to reach a resolution," said Dana Perino, the deputy White House press secretary.

Common Article 3 guarantees humane treatment to combatants seized during wartime. The two sides agree that the article's language prohibiting "outrages upon human dignity" is too vague and leaves military and C.I.A. personnel uncertain about what techniques they may use in interrogating detainees.

The White House has argued that without more "clarity," it will have no choice but to shut down a C.I.A. program for interrogating top terrorism suspects. But Mr. Warner, Mr. McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have argued against any changes in the language interpreting the article, saying such a change would invite other countries to reinterpret the Geneva Conventions as they saw fit, which in turn could endanger captured American troops.

The senators propose to provide clearer guidelines for interrogators by amending the War Crimes Act to enumerate several "grave breaches" that constitute violations of Common Article 3.

Several issues appeared to remain in flux, among them whether the two sides could agree on language protecting C.I.A. officers from legal action for past interrogations and for any conducted in the future. Beyond the issue of interrogations, the two sides have also been at odds over the rights that should be granted to terrorism suspects during trials, in particular whether they should be able to see all evidence, including classified material, that a jury might use to convict them.

Mr. Graham declined to discuss specifics of the talks but said, "I am very pleased with the tone and the progress."

Mr. McCain said only that discussions continued. "There has been no rejection of anything by anybody," he said.

In the House, where the Armed Services Committee backed a bill that looked much like the legislation originally proposed by the White House, leaders said they still supported the president's bill. But they postponed a vote on the legislation until next week, while the Judiciary Committee examines it, and said they would look to the Senate for any signs of compromise.

Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the majority leader, said, "I think the president is on very firm ground here."

Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting.



Report on Quantanamo


The Center for Constitutional Rights (New York)


July 2006

(58 page PDF file)

"In February 2002, CCR filed a historic case against the
U.S. government on behalf of the prisoners held at
Guantánamo, Rasul v. Bush. In June 2004, the U.S.
Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Rasul
upholding the principle that the prisoners held in
Guantánamo have the right to challenge the legal and
factual basis for their detention in U.S. courts.

In the two years since the Court's decision, the U.S.
government has employed every possible tactic to evade
judicial review of its detention and interrogation practices
in the "war on terror," including allegations that
U.S. personnel subject prisoners to torture and cruel,
inhuman, and degrading treatment.
During this time,
CCR has responded by creating a network of hundreds
of attorneys who work collaboratively to represent individual prisoners imprisoned at Guantánamo. This report
is a product of our united efforts."

Chickadee July 11, 2006 - 12:39am


Entry #585


justxploringComment by justxploring - September 22, 2006, 12:35 am
Thanks for the articles. Regarding, Pat Robertson, I think he has a good idea. In fact, let's shoot all people who have anything negative to say about President Bush. Until I read that article on your blog tonight I kept wondering what in the world history will say about him as a leader, what his great accomplishments have been. That's it!! We can end world hunger, stop the spread of disease and poverty, slow down global warming, cut down on traffic accidents & fatalities, empty the overcrowded prisons and provide affordable housing for all by killing every unfriendly foreign leader and their followers and, at the same time, take out those annoying Liberals. This is not only a wonderful solution to world problems, but it will also end that annoying line at the supermarket and nobody will ever be put on when they call the cable company.
Comment by Rip Snorter - September 22, 2006, 8:05 am

Thanks for the comment. You're certainly correct. Killing everyone who says anything about the prez would solve a lot of population problems.

Before I read the article it hadn't dawned on me how many of our anti-American adversaries that we are at war with, or might 'have to' go to war with, are selfishly hoarding land with a lot of oil under it. I'd noticed it with the middle east, but I wasn't aware until a couple of days ago from something I read on your blog, that Venezuela was anti-American, and the oil connection escaped my thoughts.

But you gotta admit, putting the cross-hairs on the necks of world leaders, or blowing the presidential palaces to kingdom come, as Robertson suggests, is cheaper and safer than our more general bombing having our youngsters running around playing soldier-hero foreign policies of the 21st Century.

Generally, we don't need any changes. We don't need any self-examination or self-doubt. What we what we need is for people to keep their damned mouths shut and not be talking about stuff that might be true, but ruffles our feathers.

One way to get people to keep their damned mouths shut and give us whatever they've got without a lot of complaints and whining is to put a bullet between their eyes.

justxploringComment by justxploring - September 22, 2006, 3:12 pm
True, or we could all go back to using a horse drawn carriage. "No oil for you, you honky White-ass American fascist pig!"    "Okay, Senior Chavez, I'll just cuddle up with Flicker by the campfire tonight."

BTW last time I read, this is the breakdown of our oil dependency. Accuracy not guaranteed. Got this from an article on the Internet.

17.8% from Saudi Arabia
16.5% from Canada
12.8% from Venezuela
12.0% from Mexico
7.5% from Nigeria
Comment by Rip Snorter - September 22, 2006, 3:38 pm

The oil reserves in all those you named belong to others. They sell those non-renewable resources at whatever price they can get, to whomever they please. I'd call Saudi somewhere teetering on being hateful to Americans if the opportunity ever arises. Mexico is a near thing, within the sphere of knowing what it's like to have American troops shooting at them. I don't know about Nigeria. Canada, of course, is just the US with different tax laws. They'll do as they're told.

.We can pay the price they ask and do our best to be friendly with them

Or, we can bomb them, say uglies about them, shout about how we ought to whack their leaders, badmouth their religion and generally assure they'll be anti-American and continue to be. We can operate as though we figure we can beat them into submission because we're big old pure tough Christian Amercuns. As we've been doing.

But whatever we do, we ought to be figuring out how we're going to heat the house and flip on the lights when things don't go our way, or the oil runs out.


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