November 20th, 2006

Chris Keeley

Letter from Washington, November 2006

Letter from Washington, November 2006


*LETTER FROM WASHINGTON *

*To Democrats Abroad*

*November 18, 2006*

*Tom Fina, Executive Director Emeritus*

* *

*The seeds of the outcome in 2008 are being sown as I write. While
voters overwhelmingly (54% to 46%) fired the Republicans they did not
hire us Democrats. The task of the Democratic Party and the
congressional delegations is to convince voters to hire us to govern in
2008. *

*That will not be easy. Voter priorities vary widely by state and their
differences on Iraq, gun control,* *abortion, and trade are reflected in
the members whom they have sent to Washington. The most notable
characteristic of the new Democratic faces is their popularism. They
want a way out of Iraq, more health care, lower college tuition costs,
an increased minimum wage, better jobs, embryonic stem cell research,
and reduced prices for Medicare prescription drugs. These are positions
that fit well with the liberal wing of the party. On the other hand,
they are anti-abortion and anti-gun control and while nearly all
Democrats want a way out of Iraq how to achieve this is likely to be a
divisive issue as will matters of taxation and corruption/ethics. This
orientation on traditional liberal causes promises internal tension
within the Senate and House Democratic caucuses. A foretaste of that
tension could be in the failed effort of House Democratic leader Nancy
Pelosi to! have Jack Murtha as her number two in replacement of Steny
Hoyer. Pelosi's last minute decision to go to bat for conservative
Murtha, who has a very vulnerable ethics record, to replace the more
liberal Hoyer has mystified Washington afficionados and badly dented
Pelosi's very impressive reputation as a political whizz. The suggestion
of personal vendetta will be strengthened if she ousts Jane Harmon from
the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee. This does not bode
well for the new House majority. It remains to be seen whether Pelosi
will adopt the Hastert rule that the majority will support only actions
approved by a majority of the majority.*

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Chris Keeley

Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more?

Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more?

THE NEXT ACT
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH
Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more?
Issue of 2006-11-27
Posted 2006-11-20

A month before the November elections, Vice-President Dick Cheney was sitting in on a national-security discussion at the Executive Office Building. The talk took a political turn: what if the Democrats won both the Senate and the House? How would that affect policy toward Iran, which is believed to be on the verge of becoming a nuclear power? At that point, according to someone familiar with the discussion, Cheney began reminiscing about his job as a lineman, in the early nineteen-sixties, for a power company in Wyoming. Copper wire was expensive, and the linemen were instructed to return all unused pieces three feet or longer. No one wanted to deal with the paperwork that resulted, Cheney said, so he and his colleagues found a solution: putting “shorteners” on the wire—that is, cutting it into short pieces and tossing the leftovers at the end of the workday. If the Democrats won on November 7th, the Vice-President said, that victory would not stop the Administration from pursuing a military option with Iran. The White House would put “shorteners” on any legislative restrictions, Cheney said, and thus stop Congress from getting in its way.

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Chris Keeley

The Lotus-Eaters: Photo Murals by Jeff Cowen

The Lotus-Eaters: Photo Murals by Jeff Cowen


http://www.lensculture.com/cowen-lotus.html



Lens Culture... The Lotus-Eaters: Photo Murals by Jeff Cowen. "...In his latest show of all new work, titled The Lotus-Eaters, Jeff Cowen is exploring complicated ideas with repetition of images, variations on repetitions, double-takes, positives and negatives, organic growth and multiplicity of similar things that are each different and unique yet part of a species or sub-species. Repeating patterns of dots often arise, as do patterns of flowers, leaves, branches and weeds. We see eyes going astray, eyes open and closed, caught between wakefulness and dreaming, veils and shadows."









Chris Keeley

Cheney is also said to have told a White House meeting one month before the mid-term elections a Dem

Report: Cheney Resisting CIA Assessment Iran Not Seeking Nukes
The CIA has reportedly found no conclusive evidence Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. In a new article for the New Yorker magazine, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reports a secret CIA draft assessment has challenged White House assumptions on Iran’s nuclear capabilities and complicated efforts to build momentum for a military strike. A former senior intelligence official said Vice President Dick Cheney is leading the charge to discount the CIA’s view. The official said: “They’re not looking for a smoking gun. They’re looking for the degree of comfort level they think they need to accomplish the mission.” Cheney is also said to have told a White House meeting one month before the mid-term elections a Democratic victory would have little effect on the administration’s decision to go to war. Just last week, Israel’s outgoing Ambassador to the US -- Danny Ayalon -- told an Israeli newspaper President Bush will not hesitate to use force to stop Iran’s nuclear activities. 

Kissinger: Iraq Victory Impossible
In other Iraq news, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said he believes a military victory for the United States is impossible. In an interview with the BBC, Kissinger said: "If you mean by clear military victory an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control . . . I don’t believe that is possible," he said. Kissinger has advised the Bush administration during the Iraq war.
Chris Keeley

from America to Europe to Mexico, from Cripple Creek to Constantinople to Chihuahua.

Mr. Pynchon’s oeuvre: order versus chaos, fate versus freedom, paranoia versus nihilism. It boasts a sprawling, Dickensian cast with distinctly Pynchonian names: Fleetwood Vibe, Lindsay Noseworth, Clive Crouchmas. And it’s littered with puns, ditties, vaudevillesque turns and allusions to everything from old sci-fi movies to Kafka to Harry Potter.


The reclusive Thomas Pynchon in a photo from his high school yearbook. 

Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, “Against the Day,” reads like the sort of imitation of a Thomas Pynchon novel that a dogged but ungainly fan of this author’s might have written on quaaludes. It is a humongous, bloated jigsaw puzzle of a story, pretentious without being provocative, elliptical without being illuminating, complicated without being rewardingly complex.

The novel plays with themes that have animated the whole of Mr. Pynchon’s oeuvre: order versus chaos, fate versus freedom, paranoia versus nihilism. It boasts a sprawling, Dickensian cast with distinctly Pynchonian names: Fleetwood Vibe, Lindsay Noseworth, Clive Crouchmas. And it’s littered with puns, ditties, vaudevillesque turns and allusions to everything from old sci-fi movies to Kafka to Harry Potter. These authorial trademarks, however, are orchestrated in a weary and decidedly mechanical fashion, as the narrative bounces back and forth from America to Europe to Mexico, from Cripple Creek to Constantinople to Chihuahua.

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Chris Keeley

*beat the devil* /by/ Alexander Cockburn

Alexander Cockburn on Campaign 2006--The Nation 11/20/06

*beat the devil* /by/ Alexander Cockburn


  The Message of Campaign 2006

[from the November 20, 2006 issue]

Is the half-hidden message of the 2006 campaign season that in the
presidential showdown in 2008 we'll have Senator John McCain running as
both a Republican and a Democrat? It would certainly sweep away any
remaining doubts that there is any difference between the two major
parties. And maybe it would open up some space for outside challengers,
assuming all vociferous opponents have not by that time been arrested
and stuck behind barbed wire in an internment camp.

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Chris Keeley

Now What?

Now What?

[from the December 4, 2006 issue]

It all came out the way it was supposed to. America showed the world it
could have an election shorn of front-page accusations of ballot fixing.
Horrible senators like Allen and Burns lost narrow races. The
Republicans got a pasting. A man who called Alan Greenspan "a political
hack" and George Bush "a liar" will be Senate majority leader. A woman
elected to Congress with the help of thousands of San Francisco
homosexuals, some of them married by Mayor Gavin Newsom, will be
Speaker. Who wouldn't want Harry Reid instead of Bill Frist, or Nancy
Pelosi instead of fatty Hastert?

It's also the role of elections in properly run Western democracies to
remind people that things won't really change at all. You can set your
watch by the speed with which the new crowd lowers expectations and
announces What Is Not to Be Done. Nowhere is there an item on the
Democrats' "must do" list saying, "Reverse plunge toward fascism.
Restore habeas corpus and the Bill of Rights." Pelosi says impeachment
is off the table.

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Chris Keeley

God help us

If you want a very narrow view of how elections turn out, and what
lobbies care about, read on. Please note that Lantos is "Hungry." He is
also a complete disaster on any issue relating to Israel, but of course
the Greek Lobby works as closely as possible with the Israel Lobby,
thinking that the latter will help them where they need help, neglecting
the close relationship that Israel has with Turkey. God help us.

Analysis of Congressional elections

*HOW ELECTIONS WILL LIKELY AFFECT*

*HELLENIC AND ORTHODOX ISSUES*

*IN THE U.S. CONGRESS*

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 20—Today the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH)
released the following analysis of how the recent Congressional
elections will likely affect the handling of Hellenic and Orthodox
issues in the U.S. Congress.

*Greek-Americans in the U.S. Congress*

The number of Greek-Americans in the U.S. House of Representatives
doubled, from 2 to 4, and in the U.S. Senate went down from 2 down to 1.
Congresswoman *Shelley Berkley* (D-NV), whose family is from the Jewish
community of Thessaloniki, Greece, was re-elected [65% to 31%] and will
continue to serve on the crucial House International Relations
Committee’s Europe Subcommittee and be a strong link with the Jewish
lobby. While Congressman *Michael Bilirakis* (R-FL) is retiring this
year, three new Greek-Americans were elected by substantial margins to
the House: *Gus Bilirakis* (R-FL), Mike’s son, [56% to 44%], *John
Sarbanes* (D-MD), Senator Paul Sarbanes’ son, [65% to 33%] and *Zack
Space* (D-OH) [62% to 38%]. In the U.S. Senate, the number of Hellenes
was cut in half – Senator *Olympia Snowe* (R-ME) was re-elected [73% -
21%] and Senator *Paul Sarbanes* (D-MD) is retiring.

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