August 26, 2009 archive

Aug 26

GWU Edu. NSA: The CIA’s Vietnam Histories

On the heals of  What were they hiding? concerning the torture policies of the cheney/bush administration/CIA/Private Contractors/Military, the George Washington University National Security Archives brings a slew of documents on the CIA and Vietnam conflict years, before our invasion, during and after.

Aug 26

DFH Eulogy

All right, I don’t fully grok what a DFH is in political terms.  I only learned what those letters actually meant around 5 months ago.

But still.

No offense to anyone, but all the “do _____ to make Teddy proud!” touched something off in me.

I have to laugh (in sort of a double-entendre-like fashion) to think of what folks would tell others to do in my memory if I kicked the bucket.  All this talk about Ted put me in a Tom Sawyer’s funeral kind of mood, you see.

Ok, want to read something insufferably pompous to a DFH like me?

Ted Kennedy was a flawed human being.

Well, who gets to judge that?  The human being who has no flaws?  And who might that be?

Sure wouldn’t be me.  Can’t touch that, as MC Hammer once said.

Really.  Fuck that shit.  Seriously.

Me, I’d be happy for someone like … oh, Peter Guralnick, who wrote a two-volume biography of Elvis Presley — to write about Ted Kennedy’s life without that shit about being a flawed human being and moralizing.

His bio of Elvis was the kind of bio where you don’t judge at all because you’re so amazed by the story itself, and Guralnick doesn’t get in the way of that.

Anyway, barring some really talented biographer who actually knows the craft of biography, I’m not going to judge Ted Kennedy’s morality or personal life.

Not that I’m not curious … I’m as susceptible to gossip as anyone.  Heh.

What a brilliant screen he was, though, for a certain generation of us to project our highest aspirations and watch them turn into mandalas of golden light.

(“Did you get a hit?”)

Maybe this isn’t a DFH eulogy, maybe it’s my attempt as a female to do a gonzo eulogy.  Now that would be a laugh.

Aug 26

Four at Four

  1. The NY Times reports Widespread fraud is charged as Afghans tally votes. “Accumulating charges of widespread fraud cast new doubts on the credibility of the election” in Afghanistan. “Even as election officials announced the first glimpse of returns, presidential candidates presented a growing bank of evidence of vote rigging. Most of it appeared to favor President Karzai, and in some cases, to have taken place with the complicity of election or security officials.”

    The CS Monitor adds Afghan election fraud allegations mount as Karzai lead widens. “Afghan investigators say they’re scrutinizing all complaints, but since electoral observers weren’t present at many polling places, much fraud could have taken place out of view. Aside from a negligible contingent of international monitors, independent Afghan monitors only covered 60 percent of the polling centers.”

    “Even with partial coverage of the election by observers, at least 1,461 complaints have already been filed with the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC). More than 150 of these, if found true, could change the final election tallies. The ECC includes international experts, but its mandate is merely to investigate specific irregularities – not analyze patterns to judge the entirety of the election.”

    BBC News reports Karzai widens lead in Afghan poll. “Karzai has 45% to his nearest rival Abdullah Abdullah’s 35%, with 17% of ballots counted, vote officials say… Widespread accusations of fraud and vote rigging and concerns about low voter turnout have cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election.”

    The AP reports Afghan elections seen as a setback for women. “Early reports strongly suggest that voter turnout fell more sharply for women than for men in Thursday’s polls. Election observers blame Taliban attacks, a dearth of female election workers and hundreds of closed women’s voting sites.”

    “At least 650 polling stations for women did not open, according to the Free and Fair Elections Foundation of Afghanistan, the country’s top independent vote monitoring group. In the southern province of Uruzgan, only 6 of 36 women’s polling stations opened, the group said.”

    Meanwhile, McClatchy reports U.S. deaths in Afghanistan are headed for another record. More American soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan this year “than in all of 2008, and August is on track to be the deadliest month for American troops there since U.S. operations began nearly eight years ago.”

    “In July, 45 U.S. troops died in Afghanistan, the highest monthly toll this year. So far in August, 40 Americans have died, many in the south, and Pentagon officials say privately that with nearly a week left in the month, they expect August to exceed July’s number. Americans make up the majority of the 63 coalition troops killed so far this month; 75 coalition soldiers died in July. In 2008, total coalition deaths were 294, 155 of whom were Americans; the 2009 total through Tuesday was 295, of whom 172 were Americans.”

    Underscoring the mess we’re in, the NY Times reports on deadly Afghan bombing strikes at foreign agencies. “A huge bomb detonated on Tuesday night in a part of Kandahar where international aid agencies and United Nations offices are clustered, in an attack assumed to be by the Taliban on foreigners in the country.”

    “At least 31 people were killed and 56 wounded in the blast” which came from a single truck bomb and “most of the dead and wounded were civilians. The explosion flattened the headquarters of Saita, a Japanese company engaged in reconstruction efforts, destroyed at least 20 homes and set off raging fires.”

    A witness, Muhammad Anwer, said the devastation was immense. “I thought it was doomsday,” he said. “I saw dead men and children lying on the road.”

    Elsewhere, BBC News reports Four US soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. According to Brig. General Eric Tremblay, the four soldiers were killed by a bomb “”while patrolling in one of the most violent areas of Afghanistan”.

Four at Four continues the CIA report, news from Iraq, Australia sending $41 billion in gas to China, and Ted Kennedy remembered.

Aug 26

Pepe Escobar On The Afghanistan Presidential Election

Does it matter who will win the Afghan presidential election – Hamid Karzai or Abdullah Abdullah? Not that much, as this was an election to legitimize the US and NATO occupation of parts of the country not controlled by the Taliban. But in terms of the New Great Game in Eurasia, as Pepe Escobar argues, that’s when the grand American strategy can be perceived in full bloom : it involves nothing less than rehabilitating the “evil” Taliban. Anything goes when it comes to Washington trying to establish an energy corridor from the Caspian to South Asia, bypassing Russia.



Real News Network – August 26, 2009

The Afghan Chessboard

Pepe Escobar commentary: The real meaning of the Afghan elections

Aug 26

If You Name it after Teddy, It Better Be Good

Simulposted at Daily Kos

It has become obvious that The Republicans are out to destroy Obama by defeating his signature issue by any means possible. Including flat out lies designed to terrify people.

It became painfully obvious when at least a couple of SENATORS, people from that hotbed of collegiality and comity (that exists only in the mind of Dems) flat out said….”We are out to destroy Obama by defeating his signature issue by any means possible.”

It only took a few months and several dozen variations of republican Senators, Reps, and Limbaughs saying “We are out to destroy Obama by defeating his signature issue by any means possible.” Before, voila, a light bulb went off over every Democrats head and they all realized that, hey! the Republicans flat out saying….”We are out to destroy Obama by defeating his signature issue by any means possible.”

ACTUALLY meant…

“We are out to destroy Obama by defeating his signature issue by any means possible.”

Good job on decoding that, guys.

Aug 26

Ted Kennedy Was My Neighbor

There’s been rumblings lately among some on the other side of the health care debate that neighbors should take care of each other, and I couldn’t agree more.

You see, Ted Kennedy was my neighbor. He was your neighbor, too.

When my two children were born with autism, a developmental disability, Ted Kennedy was there speaking out about the need for head start, a program that my son used to help him make eye contact and understand that he could communicate his needs with words, and not just with crying: http://www.tedkennedy.com/jour…

Aug 26

Sen. Kennedy – Don’t Mourn, Organize!

Today there will be a lot of looking back at the life of Senator Kennedy. There is a lot to look back upon there can be no doubt. Sen. Kennedy was a human, just like all of us, he had his faults, and he had his high points. What made him special is the time he put in for public service. It was the true idea of Noblesse Oblige. He came from power and wealth. He could have chosen a path where all he did was increase that wealth and live a fat, happy life. Instead he chose public service. He not only chose to serve but put as his guiding principal the idea someone had to stand up for the little man, the working folks of this nation who did not have the same benefits of wealth and family power.

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

Aug 26

Bernanke renominated: the corporations declare war on America

The American Corporatocray/Plutocracy has unofficially declared war on the general population with the confirmation of Ben Bernanke. The out-of-the-box financial “rescue” solution of Bernanke, triggered by the criminal malfeasance of much of the financial sector, was to MAKE GOOD THEIR LOSSES. This took the Fed into the uncharted waters of trading treasury debt for any toxic garbage presented by a gangster financial institution.

The confirmation of Bernanke indicates that each of the approaching waves of the American insolvency plague will be treated with the same medicine: unlimited taxpayer bailouts. If you tally up the cost of making good all the coming bad debt in credit-cards, commercial real estate, commercial loans, and additional mortgage defaults, you end up with a taxpayer bill of over 20 trillion, and this doesn’t encompass possible derivatives exposure, which nobody seems to understand.

There is no way for the US Treasury to absorb all of these losses without crushing the value of the US Dollar and cratering the general standard of living of the American people. The top .01% however will make out nicely, because Ben Bernanke cannot imagine an American economy without highly concentrated wealth and lavishly paid business leaders. Thus, he will keep moving money from taxpayers to CEO’s and financial racketeers until our money becomes worthless.

Out of the increasing misery of the general population, a new political order will arise. It may be a dictatorship, if the plutocracy can keep the lid on with massive repression, or it may be a turbulent reformed government, but the outcome will be the result of our corporation-controlled Bushbama government giving the Federal Reserve the power to further enrich a tiny elite while pauperizing the vast majority of Americans. Historians will regard the re-appointment of Bernanke as a disastrous error that accelerated America’s economic decline.

Ian Welsh summarizes Bernanke’s mischief very neatly:

Bernanke bailed out the banks and the rich.  You know this, but what is not clear to many people is that bailing out the banks and fixing the banking system were not connected at the hip.  It was possible to fix what was wrong with the banks by taking the big banks into receivership and then using them to lend directly.  Wipe out the shareholders, write down the bondholders to the actual value of the banks, but keep lending to the real economy, and indeed increase lending and capital flows, by, say, deciding to refit every single building in America for energy efficiency and generation, and to take every clunker off the road.

The banking class, and the rich as a group, tanked the system.  They committed what amounted to systematic fraud, and earned billions of dollars of bonuses for themselves by crashing out the system and daring Bernanke and other politicians (and Ben is nothing if not a pol) to do something about it.  Bernanke folded, and threw trillions of dollars at them.

Despite what Bernanke’s, Paulson’s, Bush’s and yes, Obama’s, apologists say, this was not necessary.  It resulted from a deep confusion of banks with what banks do, and a deep desire to keep the same class of people in charge of the economy, despite their manifest failures.  Ben Bernanke, Paulson, Geithner, Bush, Obama and so on could not imagine taking out their friends-could not imagine letting them suffer the consequences of their results-could not even understand that their friends were parasites who were not necessary for the continuation of the system but were instead the people who had caused it to collapse.

. . .

Source: http://www.ianwelsh.net/road-t…

Aug 26

Dear DLC, Go Fu¢$ yourselves. Not another ¢ent until we get a Public Option.

Crossposted at Daily Kos

I’ll keep this relatively simple.

    In memory of Senator Kennedy, hear me roar.

    Per DKos diarist slinkerwink’s Reclisted diary from yesterday, the DLC is trying to justify losing the Public Option in healthcare reform via there bullshit third way think tank.

    And frankly, I think that sucks ass.

    Therefore, I have decided to share my thoughts with the DLC and other like-minded organizations, as well as you, my most welcome readers.

Just to clarify:

Once upon a time before I discovered teh blogs I made a few contributions to the DLC..

That is why I wrote this. I haven’t contributed anything in over a year, but I am sending this to them and to everyone I know who does contribute, or who cares about the Public Option

    More below the fold . . .  

Aug 26

A Liberal Lion, RIP Teddy.

UPDATED: I SUGGEST WE NAME THE SINGLE-PAYER BILL STILL FLOATING OUT THERE AFTER TEDDY!!!!!

Name HR 676 “Kennedy Expanded Medicare Bill”

Its a cold rain falling.



Photobucket

Ted Kennedy passed overnight.

A 2002 tribute in The Nation seems so very poignant and fitting, I offer the link and a quote from it.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/2…


Now, forty years later, Ted Kennedy looks like the best and most effective senator of the past hundred years. He has followed the counsel of his first Senate tutor, Phil Hart of Michigan, who told him you can accomplish anything in Washington if you give others the credit. Kennedy has drafted and shaped more landmark legislation than liberal giants like Robert Wagner, Hubert Humphrey, Estes Kefauver and Herbert Lehmann. He has survived tragedy and scandal, endured presidential defeat, right-wing demonization, ridicule by TV comics. Now, at 70, he has evolved into a joyous Job.

Universal Health Care was one of his biggest dreams, and God, how I wish he was here and well enough to fight those fights, call in those chips and rekindle the alliances that could make that happen.

Aug 26

Veteran’s Owed Apology

Michael Steele Owes an Apology to Veterans

To knowingly and intentionally tell our Veterans such a blatant lie, that their own government is encouraging them to commit suicide, is unconscionable and reprehensible. Only a truly sick mind could make such a statement. Unfortunately, the sick mind making the statement is one of the most prominent members of the Republican Party in the United States………..Read Rest Here

Aug 26

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Science

1 Encyclopedia of Life grows; clues on ageing, pests

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent, Reuters

Sun Aug 23, 10:11 am ET

OSLO (Reuters) – An online encyclopedia aiming to describe every type of animal and plant on the planet has reached 170,000 entries and is helping research into aging, climate change and even the spread of insect pests.

The “Encyclopedia of Life” (http://www.eol.org), a project likely to cost $100 million launched in 2007, says it wants to describe all the 1.8 million known species from apples to zebras within a decade.

“We’re picking up speed,” James Edwards, EOL Executive Director based at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, said Sunday of the 170,000 entries with content in a common format vetted by experts. A year ago, it had 30,000 entries.

Load more