Outside In - A View from Mexico 



A U.S. ex-pat's view of goings-on from Mexico


Friday, October 24, 2003

i have been away for quite a while,,, it's time to revive this deadass forum,,,

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Bush's administration takes deceit and deception to new heights. The arrogance and hubris behind this kind of crap evidently knows no bounds. I may have been born at night but it wasn't LAST night.


April 24, 2003
Another Unworthy Judicial Nominee

Carolyn Kuhl, a nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, seems to have undergone a classic confirmation conversion. As a lawyer and as a California state court judge, she advocated objectionable positions on civil rights, abortion and privacy. But at her confirmation hearings, she backpedaled furiously. Her testimony may have been tactically shrewd, but it failed to allay serious concerns about how she would perform as a judge. The Senate should not confirm her.

Judge Kuhl started out as a hard-driving conservative lawyer in the Reagan administration. When the I.R.S. denied tax-exempt status to Bob Jones University, which discriminated against blacks, she played a key role in persuading the Justice Department to take Bob Jones's side. In a landmark 1983 decision the Supreme Court rejected her position, 8 to 1. Judge Kuhl also argued forcefully for Roe v. Wade to be overturned. And she was co-author of a brief backing the defendant in a landmark sexual harassment case. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected its conclusion, ruling for the woman who had been harassed.

Under questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Kuhl repeatedly retracted or minimized her positions: supporting Bob Jones was a mistake, she said, but she had been a "very young staffer" and had not understood the issues fully. She had advocated overturning Roe because President Reagan had wanted it. When, as a private attorney, she had later written a brief critical of Roe, it had not been because she shared its views, but because she had wanted to build an appellate practice and "filing briefs in the Supreme Court is a prestigious thing to do." In the sexual harassment case, her difference with the Supreme Court had been over only a "technical" issue.

Judge Kuhl's many shifts are suspect because of their timing. It is also clear, given this administration's track record, that she was chosen precisely because of the actions she now seeks to distance herself from. The White House can tell from her record that she shares its conservative agenda, including opposition to abortion rights and skepticism about civil rights. It is unlikely that when she spoke with the administration she was as quick to renounce her past as she was before the Senate.

It shows how politicized the selection of judges has become that Judge Kuhl received a hearing at all. In the past, the Judiciary Committee often would not consider a nominee who lacked the support of both senators from the person's home state. The Republicans have pushed Judge Kuhl forward even though Senator Barbara Boxer has not endorsed her. They have also trampled on the Senate's traditional courtesies by reporting out Priscilla Owen for a Fifth Circuit judgeship, even though the committee rejected her last year.

The Senate has confirmed a vast majority of the administration's judicial nominees. It recently confirmed Jay Bybee, a conservative legal scholar, for the same court for which Judge Kuhl has been nominated. But senators must oppose candidates with views well outside the ideological mainstream, including Judge Kuhl and Judge Owen. Only by holding firm can they persuade a president who campaigned on a promise to govern from the center to start looking there for his judicial nominees.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

One more comment. So, the story is now that the WMD's were either destroyed just before the war began or they were moved into Syria. Just how stupid does our gov't think we and the rest of the world are?? The entire rationale for invading Iraq was based on WMD's and connections with Al Quaeda. The gov't had incontrovertible proof of both (they said) - what and where. So, what do we have to show for this fucking war? Oh, sorry. Oil and fat contracts to politically-connected U.S. companies awarded in a closed bidding process. Never mind!

I can't believe it! It's April 23, Easter has already come and gone, and I'm in Montana visiting kids and grandkids! I've been here since last Thursday when I drove up from Denver. I left Mexico on April 12 and won't return until at least mid-May.

So,,, Iraq's now been "liberated," Bechtel and Halliburton are ready to gather in the spoils, the 7,000 year old cultural and intellectual history of Iraq has been virtually erased (even though today's news says that some looted items have been recovered), Baptist missionaries are poised to convert the Iraqi heathens, Bush is still mindlessly pursuing the tax cut, the flag-wavers are out in force in the U.S., and it's still not safe to voice support of the French or non-support of the President. Just to make sure that the level of surrealism stays high, Karl Rove has engineered pushing back the dates of the Republican Convention to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11. Unbelievable, naked, and obscene opportunism.

I love being here in Montana with family, there's a gorgeous spring in progress, I have been outside tilling, mowing, trimming, planting sets, and generally soaking up the "Big Sky." It's almost enough to take my mind off the fact that my country is seriously off the track and that our President and his minions are causing damage that will be decades in the fixing, if ever. The guy's gotta go, he's GOTTA GO! Why aren't the American people up in arms and why the hell does he have such a high approval rating?

Saturday, April 12, 2003

I guess I was just too doggone busy yesterday to even remember to post. I guess that's a good thing, huh?

So, there's Rummy on the front page of the Washington Post, gesturing with this big grin on his face, accusing the media of making way, way too much out of the anarchy, looting, and human misery in Iraq. They're "liberated," he insisted, they're "free," and this kind of overemphasis on the negatives is "ridiculous." O-H, M-Y G-O-D, is my response to an incredibly myopic, insensitive diatribe. The only thing he's succeeding in doing is putting himself in the same category of over the top, out of touch with reality rhetoric demonstrated by the Iraqi information minister.

The perfect counterpoint to Rummy's blithering nonsense is in the Guardian - "The hell that once was a hospital."


Thursday, April 10, 2003

Aye,,, And there's the rub,,,

New York Times
April 10, 2003
Spoils of War

Follow the money.

Former Secretary of State George Shultz is on the board of directors of the Bechtel Group, the largest contractor in the U.S. and one of the finalists in the competition to land a fat contract to help in the rebuilding of Iraq.

He is also the chairman of the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a fiercely pro-war group with close ties to the White House. The committee, formed last year, made it clear from the beginning that it sought more than the ouster of Saddam's regime. It was committed, among other things, "to work beyond the liberation of Iraq to the reconstruction of its economy."

War is a tragedy for some and a boon for others. I asked Mr. Shultz if the fact that he was an advocate of the war while sitting on the board of a company that would benefit from it left him concerned about the appearance of a conflict of interest.

"I don't know that Bechtel would particularly benefit from it," he said. "But if there's work that's needed to be done, Bechtel is the type of company that could do it. But nobody looks at it as something you benefit from."

Jack Sheehan, a retired Marine Corps general, is a senior vice president at Bechtel. He's also a member of the Defense Policy Board, a government-appointed group that advises the Pentagon on major defense issues. Its members are selected by the under secretary of defense for policy, currently Douglas Feith, and approved by the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

Most Americans have never heard of the Defense Policy Group. Its meetings are classified. The members disclose their business interests to the Pentagon, but that information is not available to the public.

The Center for Public Integrity, a private watchdog group in Washington, recently disclosed that of the 30 members of the board, at least 9 are linked to companies that have won more than $76 billion in defense contracts in 2001 and 2002.

Richard Perle was the chairman of the board until just a few weeks ago, when he resigned the chairmanship amid allegations of a conflict of interest. He is still on the board.

Another member is the former C.I.A. director, James Woolsey. He's also a principal in the Paladin Capital Group, a venture capital firm that, as the Center for Public Integrity noted, is soliciting investments for companies that specialize in domestic security. Mr. Woolsey is also a member of the Committee to Liberate Iraq and is reported to be in line to play a role in the postwar occupation.

The war against Iraq has become one of the clearest examples ever of the influence of the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned against so eloquently in his farewell address in 1961. This iron web of relationships among powerful individuals inside and outside the government operates with very little public scrutiny and is saturated with conflicts of interest.

Their goals may or may not coincide with the best interests of the American people. Think of the divergence of interests, for example, between the grunts who are actually fighting this war, who have been eating sand and spilling their blood in the desert, and the power brokers who fought like crazy to make the war happen and are profiting from it every step of the way.

There aren't a lot of rich kids in that desert. The U.S. military is largely working-class. The power brokers homing in on $100 billion worth of postwar reconstruction contracts are not.

The Pentagon and its allies are close to achieving what they wanted all along, control of the nation of Iraq and its bounty, which is the wealth and myriad forms of power that flow from control of the world's second-largest oil reserves.

The transitional government of Iraq is to be headed by a retired Army lieutenant general, Jay Garner. His career path was typical. He moved effortlessly from his military career to the presidency of SYColeman, a defense contractor that helped Israel develop its Arrow missile-defense system. The iron web.

Those who dreamt of a flowering of democracy in Iraq are advised to consider the skepticism of Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser to the first President Bush. He asked: "What's going to happen the first time we hold an election in Iraq and it turns out the radicals win? What do you do? We're surely not going to let them take over."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Watching Rummy grin as he holds his press conference and gloats over the taking of Bagdhad is almost more than I can bear. It's enough to gag a maggot. And where, pray tell, are the WMD's?

The picture of this Iraqi boy with both arms blown off and burns over his body will haunt me for the rest of my life. Is there anything in heaven or on earth that can justify this atrocity? And atrocity it is. There IS no other word.


Starting Thursday evening, the town is gonna fill up with chilangos vacationing and immigrants to the states coming home to be with their families for Holy Week. The traffic will be godawful and the beaches will be a sea of seething and scorched flesh. The hotel, tour service, restaurant, and transportation operators all stand to make a bundle. I guess that's what comes from living in a beach resort within a 3 1/2 hour drive of 40 million people.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Hey, it's a boring day! I rarely am without something to say but today I am! Get over it, ok?

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