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posted by iconoclast555, The Titty Board

Dubya's visit was initially slated to include not only the usual numerous security personnel, but actual military hardware to confront crowds if they were to get out of hand. US security asked for (and were denied) diplomatic immunity in case any of them were to kill someone during their stay in merry olde England. US security not only called for central streets of London to be cut off - but even the SUBWAY to be closed down.

Even with the cutbacks, London will be seeing the biggest concentration of armed security people since WWII. No less than 9,000 extra policement will be on duty, at a very significant cost to the British taxpayer.

The visit was designed to highlight the "very special relationship" between the US and the UK. Considering the cost, inconvenience and planned protests, I almost doubt that a wartime visit by Hitler would have been so polemical. Especially as a significant portion of the British government is upset with the unilateral post-war actions by the US in Iraq.

But Dubya is trying. He has given interviews to the British press - which has raised eyebrows amongst the US press, which does not have the same access to the POTUS.

The biggest worry of Dubya on this trip isn't security, it isn't the potential damage to his "ally" (for want of a better word like "lapdog") - its the possibility that the US electorate might actually see their POTUS getting booed.

I can't wait to watch CNN, in order to see just how much the US press has been emasculated.

Well, Dubya keeps on "one-upping" his dad. Bush Sr. didn't overfly Baghdad, nor was he nearly universally booed by the population of his closest ally.

Way to go, Dubya! Just like the old days, when as a cheerleader you had to lead the cheers at away games!

Thread excerpt from DU Forums

The failure is in the White House, which rubber stamps any and all of Sharon's actions. As long as the US is seen as a tool of Israel, Arabs will not take seriously any attempts by the US to broker a peace. And, like it or not, the Israeli-Palestinian issue is one of great, if not the greatest, concern among the Arab and Muslim world. Another thing that has hindered the war on terror is the inept handling of Muslim-Americans who were born elsewhere and are naturalized citizens. Their treatment by Bushco in the aftermath of 911 has made many very wary. The anti-Islamic remarks of people associated with the Administration, such as Boykin, has helped terrorists because they can paint the US as being on a crusade (the very word Bush used, remember) to wipe out Islam.

Leftists I know support a just peace in Israel/Palestine and support Muslim Americans, because they teach tolerance.

- posted by ayeshahaqqiqa

...and the failure of Muslims...

Their inability or unwillingness to understand the repercussions of their own actions.
Why did Muslims not address to Taliban? Or Saddam's holocaust against other Muslims?

You mentioned U.S. reeaction to 9-11 but failed to fathom Islamic rejoicing that 19, maybe 20, Muslims senselessly started World World III. I'm not protecting Bush -- the war against IRAQ is wrong -- BUT WHERE, OH WHERE, is this co-called Muslim tolerance. Did we see it this weekend in Turkey?

No, Muslim accountability is going to be a slippery matter. Ask the Saudi people, under the world's only remaining absolute monarchy, why they tolerate sucha oppresive Muslim rule.

-posted by piece sine


Alternate Realities

Medicare, facing a precarious financial future, decided for the first time this year that seniors who need motorized wheelchairs (typical price, $5,500) will have to get an in-person doctor's prescription. Medicare paid $289 million for motorized wheelchairs in 1999, but this year, before the rule change, the estimated expense was $1.2 billion. Medicare also revealed that it is spending $600,000 this year to put its 800-telephone number on a blimp that flies over sporting events. [American Medical News, 10-6-03] [sfgate.com- AP, 10-22-03]

The New York Times reported in October that Nabors Industries (operator of oil-well drilling rigs), which in 2001 moved its legal headquarters from the U.S. to Barbados (corporate income tax: 1 percent) and its tax headquarters to a mail drop in Bermuda (no corporate income tax), is now insisting that it receive favored U.S. legal status. Nabors wants to be treated as an American-owned company to get a competitive advantage under the 80-year-old Jones Act that bars non-U.S. companies from working on ships involved in domestic trade. [New York Times, 10-18-03]

*Click for more News Of The Weird

Maybe the Brits could learn a thing or two from the new Emporer.

ARI: I've got to make today's column brief. There is still plenty of advance work to do in preparation for the president's Press Debacle. Not only that, I can't be more than 10 steps from the "loo," as the quaintly call the shitter here, on account of a bad Kidney Pie down at The Dancing Heffer Pub.

I tried to wash it down with a couple of brewskis, but they don't have any real beer here, like a Hamm's or Genny Cream Ale. Instead, I got a pint of this stuff that more closely resembled tar than beer.

This country is so backward! It is a damned good thing we got out when the getting is good. They drink their beer warm, they drive on the wrong side of the road, and they hate Bush. Can you believe it? In fact, Mr. Bush will not even address the British Parlaiment, as previous US Presidents have done, because the savages actually speak right up and tell the president what they think!

Not only that, the press reports it. Clearly, after hundreds of years of being the leading Empire on the planet, England surely could learn a thing or two about the new Imperialism from George W. Bush...after all, Bush once actually read a few chapters from one of his high school history books!

And one more thing...What is with that Monty Python guy? Did he used to be the PM or something? I don't get it.

Volume 2, Number 13


"I actually think that Bush is the greatest threat to life on this planet that we've most probably ever seen. The policies he is initiating will doom us to extinction."
- Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London (source)

Although it was envisioned as a "victory lap" when originally conceived, The Christian Science Monitor reports that US President George Bush's trip to England this week to visit British Prime Minister Tony Blair may create problems for both men.

Christian Science Monitor

  • "From a point of view of public relations, it's not good timing," says Wyn Grant, professor of politics at the University of Warwick in central England. "Things have been going badly in Iraq, so the visit is bound to have a further effect on public opinion, confirming the view of those people doubtful in the first place about the campaign."

More than 100,000 protestors are expected to be in London over the next few days. The largest protests are planned for Wednesday, when a 20-foot paper maché statue of Mr. Bush will be pulled down in Trafalgar Square , echoing the moment when the statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down in Baghdad.

WorldDailyNet reports that a poll released on Sunday in Britain showed underwhelming support for the overwhelming support Mr. Blair has shown for Bush. To most people living in Great Britain – 60 percent – Bush is a threat to world peace, and at least 1 in 3 characterize him as "stupid," according to the poll. While only a small majority say that Britain and the US were wrong to go to war with Iraq (45 to 43 percent), more than 70 percent said the security situation will only get worse over the next few months. Another poll, released last week, showed that only 40 percent of Britons believe the closeness of the Bush-Blair relationship has been good for Britain.

- American Excitement Gives Way to Foreboding, - The Guardian
- Meanwhile, in a parallel political universe... Bush does "Page 3"
- LATE BREAKING: US Firms told to "Take Jobs Home"

While on the surface the British government has supported Bush's trip – Blair said it was "exactly the right time" for Bush to come for a visit – the Guardian reports that behind the scenes, sentiments are a bit different . One Downing Street insider, contemplating the visit, expressed exasperation: "That man seems to cause us no end of trouble, doesn't he?" The feeling is apparently mutual, according to The Australian . Although President Bush has said that he looks forward to going to Britain, and that he was not upset at the prospect of protestors because "freedom is a beautiful thing," US officials are quietly describing the visit as " the trip from hell ."

  • "We are getting the spillover from Blair's problems," a White House aide grumbled at a weekend party in Washington. "It was Blair who made us go back to the UN for that second resolution that we never won," recalled another. "He insisted he had to have a UN mandate because of his own Labour Party rebels – and that gave the French the opportunity they wanted to stick it to us."

For instance, officials at one time had hoped that, with an election coming, useful images of Bush with Blair and the Queen could be used to promote a sense of international support. But Reuters reports that US officials now realize that that many images will be ones of protest, and that many Americans will be shocked to learn that the anti-Bush feelings that are found on the European continent are also very strong in Britain. Forbes reports that Bush has also decided not to address the British Parliament, for fear that the heckling he received when he spoke to the Australian parliament would be repeated , only it would be much more ferocious. (Outspoken Labour MP Glenda Jackson, for instance, has called the Bush-Blair summit a meeting of "Dumb and Dumber.") - continues


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In a rare newspaper interview, W sits down for a heart to heart with The Sun. What, there are no Wal Marts in London?

The Washington Post

Pesident Bush has gone down-market.

After coming to office with a vow to restore dignity to the White House, the president yesterday took a brief sabbatical from that effort: He granted an exclusive interview to a British tabloid that features daily photographs of nude women and articles akin to those found in our own National Enquirer.
Press secretary Scott McClellan broke the news yesterday with nonchalance. "Good morning," he told reporters. "The president had his usual briefings this morning and just recently completed an interview with the Sun, for a discussion of his upcoming visit to the United Kingdom."

"Word on Fleet Street is it's an obvious payoff to the Sun's owner, Rupert Murdoch, the conservative publisher behind many Bush-friendly news outlets such as Fox News. Officials at the White House acknowledge that it was a reward to the Sun for its unstinting support of the United States regarding the war in Iraq."

RMcG: I know you'll only click on the link above as part of your regular political research. Be sure to check out the splash over today's Page 3 girl...it's Krytal's 1st Interview! It must have truly been a day to celebrate in The Sun newsroom! Pulitzers all around!

“A British journalist for a more highbrow outlet was not about to let that slip by unnoticed. "Just to clarify," he asked, "why has the president chosen to do an interview with the Sun? It's a newspaper which publishes daily pictures of topless women."

Such comments are grossly unfair to the Sun. True, its Page 3 is devoted daily to photographs of women and their breasts. True, it this week named "classy Krystle, the beautiful brunette babe" as this year's "Page 3 Idol" and amply displayed evidence of what it called her "vital statistics of 32C-24-33."

But the Sun is so much more than breasts. It is also reporting this week on a woman who is "made of two women" and "is NOT the biological mother of two of the children she conceived and had naturally." Other news items highlighted on the Sun's Web site: "Man begins 12-day sausage, bean and chip bath to promote Brit food," "German saboteurs plotted to bomb Palace with peas in WW2, files reveal," and "Sobbing islanders say sorry to the ancestor of minister eaten by natives."

Bush, meanwhile, has given no solo interviews this year to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Time or Newsweek. And he hasn't given an exclusive interview in his entire presidency to the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe and dozens of other major publications. - continues


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While The Chimp & Poodle Show cranks up, The Independent keeps an eye on the real news, as Americans turn Tikrit into Iraq's own West Bank

By Phil Reeves
The Independent UK

It is the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but transported to Iraq. A town is imprisoned by razor wire. The entrance is guarded by soldiers, protected by sand bags, concrete barricades and a machine-gun nest.

Only those people with an identification card issued by the occupation authorities are allowed in or, more importantly, out.

"Hey, this is just like Gaza, isn't it?" a fiery-eyed young Iraqi policeman shouted at us from behind the chest-high, three-layer wire coils which separate his home from the rest of the surrounding dead-flat Iraqi landscape, Sunni Triangle heartland. "We're not happy. Not happy!"

"We were asleep," recalled Mohammed Shakr al-Nassiri, 33, a shopkeeper. "We did hear some work going on during the night. When we got up, we found all this barbed wire around us. We don't understand the point of it. Why us? "

This is Awja, the wealthy enclave outside Tikrit where Saddam Hussein grew up. It has long been a centre of pro-Saddam, anti-American sentiments, home to the ousted dictator's closest tribesmen, his cronies and his relatives. The United States military says it is also the source of persistent violent insurgency.

The Americans, accompanied by selected journalists and cameramen, have been conducting dozens of operations in the past few days, mounting house-to-house raids, and firing off several 500lb satellite-guided missiles in an effort to show the world and the guerrillas that they are now getting tough.

Early yesterday in Tikrit, American forces attacked what they said were "enemy" positions with tank and mortar fire, saying they killed six insurgents. Some 2,000 troops also took part in a raid on a 20-block residential area in Baghdad, emerging with only with a few dozen guns. In Awja, the crackdown is less photogenic, but as significant. On 30 October, two rifle companies from the US army's 4th Infantry Division turned up at night and sealed off the town.

"We were asleep," recalled Mohammed Shakr al-Nassiri, 33, a shopkeeper. "We did hear some work going on during the night. When we got up, we found all this barbed wire around us. We don't understand the point of it. Why us? There's been resistance all over Iraq." In the case of Awja, the Americans appear to have resorted to this strategy after concluding they have no hope of winning over the people.

Similar tactics against the Palestinian intifada by Israel, which has sealed off towns and villages in the occupied territories for many months, have been widely criticised within the international community and human rights organisations as counter-productive.

The Americans have decided they have little to lose by sealing the town off in the hope that it will stifle guerrilla activity. Residents seem to think the approach is doomed to fail. A young policeman said over the wire barricade: "It will make the resistance stronger. Even those who did not fight when the Americans came to Iraq are being pushed to join the resistance."

The American military yesterday proved unable to provide The Independent with any comment on the enclosing of Awja. But Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Russell of the 4th Infantry Division, who came up with the scheme, told The Washington Post in an interview last week: "The insurgents should not be allowed to swim among the population as a whole. What we elected to do was make Awja a fish bowl so we could see who was swimming inside."

• An American patrol opened fire yesterday on people in Baghdad's gun market, killing three, including an 11-year-old boy, after the soldiers mistook the gunfire of customers testing weapons for an attack, a witness and an Iraqi police officer said.


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Okay, so this is still the same article from last issue...that just goes to show what a great idea this is!

RMcG Fund raising Central

Hey, the numbers don't lie! This isn't a Diebold voting machine...my site is getting a lot more traffic recently, and I sure could use some help keeping it updated. Much needed software and hardware upgrades, and some Starburst Jelly Beans every now and then...that's all I ask. Please consider a donation to this site!

I mentioned in a previous issue that I was going to be offering original artwork with you donation. I am still doing that, but the time it takes to set up the pages has been more than I have available.

If you are interested in giving on my original signed cartoons to your favorite political junkie, please e-mail me and indicate the title of the cartoon (or the issue title). I'll let you know if it is available, how much of it is available (some are complete, detailed ink drawings...others are rough, minimal linework), and framing and shipping options, and finally, prices.

If you'd prefer to just make a donation, you may certainly do so. Any donation over $35 will get you signed, hi-res printout of any cartoon, suitable for framing; just e-mail me your PayPal or Amazon confirmation number, your mailing address, and what cartoon you'd like.

Get my original sketches and ink drawings with your donation to NBY!

For some of the cartoons, at some donation levels, I am going to offer fancy framing, like this mock-up at right. The original, signed ink drawing, matted and displayed alongside a high resolution, full color print of the finished cartoon

You can consider it a donation, or just an outright sale...for a matted, framed, signed piece such as this one, the first donation over $500 takes it. If you like image, but not the price, consider a signed edition for $225.

Keep in mind, prices will vary. Some of these cartoons have three or four work-up drawings and pencil sketches. These are negotiable, and options can be discussed if you would like to send an inquiry. Unframed, raw sketches are available, too, for you to take to your favorite framer. Gallery and agent inquiries are welcome, too! - RMcG

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RMcG: Damn good question. And another glaring example of the Bush mis-administration coddling his wealthy contributors, the health and welfare of our entire society be damned!

In advance of the re-start of my "HOO Cares!" comic strip, I thought it would be a good primer for many to catch up on the latest sham going on Washington, one that will further pit the haves against the have-nots. This time, the very life of your dear old granny could be at stake. As if Bush gives a shit.

Read on...a recent column by E. J. Dionne in the Washinton Post.

They went in to design a prescription drug benefit for seniors and came out with an aardvark.

It's said that a camel is a horse designed by committee. But the camel metaphor doesn't do justice to the Medicare prescription drug bill that came out of a House-Senate conference over the weekend. It is not a compromise but a weird combination of conflicting policy preferences. It is unprincipled in the technical sense. Nobody's principles are served by this bill.

The problem is that many conservatives, especially in the House, don't like Medicare as it is. They would prefer a system in which the government guaranteed everyone a certain amount of money that could be used to buy private health insurance. Ending Medicare as we know it is their long-term goal. They call this "expanding choice."

Most Democrats and many Republican moderates say this is a dangerous illusion. As it stands, Medicare guarantees the real choices most seniors care about -- a choice of doctors and treatment. That's why experiments with HMOs have failed so far.

The virtue of Medicare is that it creates a large risk pool. The wealthy and the healthy are in the same boat as the poorer and the sicker. Busting up Medicare's risk pool would almost certainly raise costs to poorer and sicker seniors, as insurance companies make more money insuring healthy people than sick ones. It would take an enormous amount of regulation to prevent this sort of "cherry-picking."

Now, what does any of this have to do with a prescription drug benefit? Good question. If this were only about providing a limited prescription drug benefit, Congress could have debated the best ways to cut up the $400 billion it has allocated for this purpose. The amount covers a little more than a fifth of seniors' drug costs. Logically, this limited sum would have been best used to help the poorest seniors who are not now covered by Medicaid, and the sickest -- those whose drug costs are especially high.

Instead, Republican negotiators, joined by Democratic Sens. John Breaux and Max Baucus, went behind closed doors and decided to use the public's demand for drug coverage as an opening wedge to change Medicare. The shame of it is that Republicans and Democrats in the Senate had already reached a real compromise. The bipartisan proposal, crafted in cooperation with Sen. Ted Kennedy, was inadequate. Yet it was better than this bill. It passed the Senate overwhelmingly because it left the larger Medicare issues open for real debate later. - continues


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