Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!

Surely this one has to be at least a little better than the last!

Why bombing Ashkelon is the most tragic irony

Why bombing Ashkelon is the most tragic irony by Robert Fisk at

How easy it is to snap off the history of the Palestinians, to delete the narrative of their tragedy, to avoid a grotesque irony about Gaza which – in any other conflict – journalists would be writing about in their first reports: that the original, legal owners of the Israeli land on which Hamas rockets are detonating live in Gaza.

That is why Gaza exists: because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it – Askalaan in Arabic – were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They – or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren – are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don't come from Gaza.

George Washington's warnings and U.S. policy towards Israel

George Washington's warnings and U.S. policy towards Israel by Glenn Greenwald on

This article touches on some extremely important points.

But it becomes even more striking in light of the bizarre fact that the consensus view -- that America must unquestioningly stand on Israel's side and support it, not just in this conflict but in all of Israel's various wars -- is a view which 7 out of 10 Americans reject. Conversely, the view which 70% of Americans embrace -- that the U.S. should be neutral and even-handed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict generally -- is one that no mainstream politician would dare express.

In a democracy, one could expect that politicians would be afraid to express a view that 70% of the citizens oppose. Yet here we have the exact opposite situation: no mainstream politician would dare express the view that 70% of Americans support; instead, the universal piety is the one that only a small minority accept. Isn't that fairly compelling evidence of the complete disconnect between our political elites and the people they purportedly represent?

And, we've seen this in other areas of US government policy. Mr. Greenwald goes on to mention the Iraq war, but you could also talk about single-payer healthcare, US foriegn policy in general, an economic policy that bails out only the rich, the impeachment and arrest of government officials who break the law and other topics as well.

Why is this the case? I could talk a lot about money and politics. Or the corporate owned media that pretends not to present a view tilted towards corporate power. But the real key seems to be this. The United States is the most powerful country on earth. Control of the government of the United States leads to the control of a great deal of power and the ability to create, or steal, more wealth and more power. Is it any wonder that the people of the United States have lost control of their government?

With the value of hind-sight, one can see that it would have been a great struggle anyways for the people of the United States to have kept their control of such a powerful instrument. It seems obvious that the powerful and the greedy would attempt to seize such power. Only a vigilent and strong effort of the people could have kept this from occuring.

Instead we see people gladly divide into two camps to support and put into power corrupt politicians from two parties who's only real goal is to seize that power for themselves. We see people who gladly believe anything that is said by anyone from the party they support. We see people gladly believe any party slogan, whether its 'Change' from Obama or that the Republicans support 'Freedom'. We see politicians gladly lie during the campaigns, as Obama so freely admits he did (he calls it 'heated rhetoric during the campaign'), and we see legions of party supporters cheer him on while he does it and later applaud him for admiting he lied to seize power.

Few seem to realize that all of this behavior is destroying America. All of this is putting into powerful positions corrupt politicians who will gladly steal the wealth of the nation and put its people at risk. And, of course along the way, they'll ignore the wishes and opinions of the vast majority of Americans who really do love their country and care about their country. They'll send these loyal Americans to die in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they won't listen to their opinions. They'll send the jobs of loyal Americans overseas to raise the profits of their corporate sponsers, but they won't listen to their opinions (do you still remember Obama, talking to a bunch of rich contributors in CA, mocking the unemployed of PA?).

In this particular case, two things are happening. One is that five to ten billion dollars is being given to Israel every year. We are paying for this. And ask yourself this question, could we use that money at home this year? Could five to ten billion help stop some foreclosures and stabilize real estate markets? Could five to ten billion help keep some manufacturing jobs afloat in this country?

And ask yourself this as well. Its a pretty fair bet that the people of Gaza and the rest of the Arab world know who is paying for this and who is supplying the bombs. We've all seen the horrific scenes where people frantical try to dig through rubble to rescue survivors. We know it here in America from Oklahoma City and 9-11. In Gaza this week, as they dig through the rubble, they'll find bomb fragments with English writing on the side. Do you think they'll have any doubts about where these bombs came from?

So, the other question to ask is this, do you think the odds of a suicide bomb attack on random Americans just went up or down? Do you think anyone might strike out at the death of a family by attacking the people who made the bombs and sent them to the people who used them to kill that family? By some percentage, all Americans are a little less safe today.

America has had a hand in committing a vast outrage that has killed hundreds of people, wounded and maimed over a thousand, and a sickingly large percentage of those people were just innocents subject to a deliberate act of violence to try to change political policy. We built the bombs and we supplied them. We paid huge sums to create the military and the state that dropped the bombs. And we've issued many statements of support to those that dropped the bombs and killed the people.

Our government doesn't seem to listen to us when we say this shouldn't be occuring. But there is also no doubt that the vast majority of Americans just voted for the two political parties that are both nearly unanimous in their support of these acts.

And, even for myself, who didn't cast a single vote for either of these parties this time, I still have to ask if I'm doing enough to stop this. If I'm not, then how much of this blood is on my hands as well?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!!!

I wish for everyone a very happy holiday season. May peace, joy, happines and love find its way to all of you this year! :)

Open Thread

I'm going to be away from the Internets for most of the holidays. Here's a nice, empty open thread to post stuff into ... :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Prosecuting Bush and Cheney for Torture

Prosecuting Bush and Cheney for Torture by Dave Lindorff on

There is no mention of the obvious point that if crimes have been committed—and in the case of the authorizing of torture, which is banned by both international treaties to which the US is a signatory, and by US law, which folded the torture bans into the US Criminal Code for good measure, they clearly have been—the president and his incoming attorney general have a sworn obligation to prosecute them. That’s what “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” means, after all.

A “politically fraught” step? That should apply to not prosecuting criminals, should it not?

Mr. Lindorff is making a point that I've been trying to make for awhile about the Democrats. This thread runs back through events like the launching of the Iraq war and the question of impeachment of President Bush. That is that the Democrats are willing to sell out the Constitution of the United States for their own short term political gain.

We see it here. As Mr. Lindorff points out, President Obama is about to take an oathc to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foriegn and domestic. The very core idea of the Constitution is that we are a nation of laws. This is different from the rule of kings where the whim of the king sets the law. Instead, the principle at the very foundation of the American system is that there are laws that apply to all people, and that all people are subject to the same laws.

It is the duty of a government official, or an 'officer of the court' to report crimes that they know about. It is the duty of the Justice Department to investigate crimes they know about. This is not a political decision. This is not optional depending on the political situation. If laws have been violated, then its the responsibility of officials in the Justice Dept to investigate these and prosecute these as needed. And when Mr. Obama takes that oath of office, surrounded by 20,000 troops and police, in January, then he is giving his solemn oath that he will make sure this happens.

The Democrats have been very critical of the Republicans for 'playing politics' with the appointments of US Attorneys, and also of the various politically motivated investigations aimed at Democrats.

But, isn't it exactly the same thing if President Obama and his Justice Dept are making decisions to not to prosecute government officials who have broken the law based on politics? Obama promised 'change' in his campaign. But it looks like we still have the same old same old where its politics who determines who gets investigated and prosecuted, and not the law or the facts.

The Man in the Hat

The Man in the Hat by Phillip Doe on

Newspapers like the Denver Post refer to Salazar as a centrist. Apparently this is some sort of code meant to suggest a person Obama can be comfortable with, just as he seems to be comfortable with Ivy League retreads from Wall Street and the Clinton administration. But the Obama campaign was about “CHANGE” – I still have that sign. I hope it means something because millions of people who don’t give a damn about centrism or any other ism are depending on it.

Unfortunately, from where I sit, Ken Salazar as Secretary of Interior does not represent change, as Obama promised. Salazar represents defending the status quo and always has.

I'm also a Colorado resident these days. And likewise, I wasn't all that thrilled with Ken Salazar being given a cabinet appointment by President Obama. Ken Salazar has always been generally a reliable Republican vote in the Senate, despite the (D) after his name. For instance, he was a part of the 'Gang of Seven', which were Senators who got together to block any filibusters of Bush's judicial appointments ... thus insuring all of the worst of Bush's right-wing judges successfully made it to the bench.

Some 11,000 US troops to work during inauguration

Some 11,000 US troops to work during inauguration AP via

11,500 military troops in DC for the inaguration. Joined by another 8,000 police officers.

In 2004, we saw the spectacle of President Bush talking about 'freedom' during his inagural speech, while anyone who dared to shout out an contrary messages, dared to hold up a sign, or even wear a t-shirt with a contrary message was hauled out of the crowd by police.

Sounds like we have another great spectacle of democracy coming up, controlled by 20,000 troops and police.

The article says of course that these troops are there for 'anti-air' defense, 'medical support' and 'ceremonial' purposes. But, just below this post you can see how the US military likes to play semantic games with their 'mission' in order to be able to do whatever they wanted.

And, if anyone wanted to know what NORTHCOM was doing, note that the general making this announcement is the commander of NORTHCOM and this is a NORTHCOM operation.

Generals Propose a Timetable for Iraq

Generals Propose a Timetable for Iraq on

Basically, the Pentagon trying both to push Obama into keeping troops in Iraq for longer than what he said in the campaign. And also to break or get around the recently signed SOFA with Iraq.

For instance, this legal agreement we signed with the Iraqi government says all US forces should be withdrawn from Iraqi cities by next summer. Here's the Pentagon's response ....

One way commanders say they will try to meet that first deadline is by effectively reassigning combat troops to training and support of the Iraqis, even though the difference would be in some cases semantic because armed American troops would still go on combat patrols with their Iraqi counterparts.

The participants at the Chicago meeting did discuss the deadline for all American combat troops to be withdrawn from Iraqi cities by June, as outlined in the agreement with the Iraqi government. A person familiar with the talks said those at the meeting discussed whether the Iraqis would allow “remissioned” combat forces to remain in Iraqi cities after June. Mr. Gates and Admiral Mullen did not rule out the idea that Iraqis might permit such troops, the person said.

In a briefing to reporters last week in Balad, Iraq, General Odierno said that some American forces would remain in a support role in Iraqi cities beyond the June deadline. He said that the troops would be deployed at numerous security outposts in urban areas to help support and train Iraqi forces. “We’ll maintain our very close partnership with the Iraqi security forces throughout Iraq even after the summer,” he said.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rep. Dennis Kucinich on His Battle With the Banks

Rep. Dennis Kucinich on His Battle With the Banks by Rep. Dennis Kucinich on

Once they were as gods, but the deities of the American banking system are now in ruins, plunged from their pedestals into the maw of taxpayer largesse. Congress voted to give the banks $700 billion, lifting them temporarily out of their sepulcher of debt, while revealing a deep truth about the condition of America’s financial powers:

They never had the money they said they had as they constructed their debt-based monetary system which now lies in ruins. Their decisions on behalf of depositors, shareholders and investors were lacking in basic integrity and common sense. Green gods bailing out with their golden parachutes.

There was a time when their power was real. Come with me to Cleveland 30 years ago today.

Mass Actions on the 6th Anniversary of the Iraq War - March 21, 2009

Mass Actions on the 6th Anniversary of the Iraq War - March 21, 2009 on ANSWER's web page.

Mass Actions on the 6th Anniversary of the Iraq War - March 21, 2009
Bring All the Troops Home Now - End All Colonial Occupations!
Fund People's Needs, Not Militarism & Bank Bailouts!

Marking the sixth anniversary of the criminal invasion of Iraq, thousands will take to the streets of Washington D.C. and other cities across the U.S. and around the world in March 2009 to say, "Bring the Troops Home NOW!" We will also demand "End Colonial Occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Everywhere," and "Fund Peoples’ Needs Not Militarism and Bank Bailouts." We also insist on an end to the war threats and economic sanctions against Iran.

The ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) is organizing for unified mass marches and rallies in Washington D.C., Los Angeles (a Southern California regional action), San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and other cities on Saturday, March 21, 2009. Stay tuned for more details on the L.A. action, including organizing and volunteer meetings. Months ago we obtained permits for sixth anniversary demonstrations. ANSWER has been actively involved with other coalitions, organizations, and networks to organize unified anti-war demonstrations in the spring of 2009. ANSWER participated in the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations that was held in Cleveland, Ohio on June 28th-29th and attended by 450 people, including many national and local anti-war coalitions. The National Assembly gathering agreed to promote national, unified anti-war demonstrations in the Spring of 2009

I've never been a big fan of ANSWER. The times I've been around them, they can be a pain over trying to claim all the credit, hog all the speaker spots on the platform, etc ... ie, all the little organizational details that go on behind the scenes during a rally.

BUT, if they are the ones organizing a big anti-war march, then that's it. This is something where we need unity and numbers to appear together. Splitting and holding a different march just because you don't like the group organizing it is self-defeating. Thus, mark your calendars ... antiwar marches in several cities on 3/21/2009!

Waiting on a President to Do the Right Thing

Waiting on a President to Do the Right Thing by Ron Jacobs on

One of the main 'antiwar' groups, "United for Peace and Justice" has decided to abandon any attempt to protest the wars and instead protest Wall Street. Not that I don't think Wall Street should be protested, but its a strange action for an 'antiwar' group. Apparently they only oppose wars while Republicans are in the White House.

Like I said before, as long as these groups continue to speak for us without listening to what we have to say, nothing will change. As long as self-avowed leadership organizations like UFPJ refuse to unite with other segments of the antiwar movement and work all-out to end the occupations now and not in 2012, the antiwar movement will never be effective. Even if you voted for him, if the man in the White House is not ending the wars and occupations you are against, then that policy must be opposed.

Given the recent decision by the 100 or so UFPJ delegates to reject a spring 2009 unified protest against Washington’s war and to move away from protest politics that might be seen as against Obama (the future face of Washington’s policies), it might be time for the antiwar rank and file that have appeared by the tens of thousands at protests in DC and elsewhere to create a new movement that does want to end the occupations and wars before the end of 2009.

Amen! Remember, WE are the antiwar movement. Not a bunch of self-appointed 'leaders' who have the time and money to go meet at a conference somewhere. WE need to be organizing an anti-war march in DC. From the article, it sounds like there might be some attempt to do this in April 09. The article just says that UPFJ has decided they can't join a protest against Democratic wars, but the hint is that someone else is. I'll see if I can find out more.

If not, WE need to start such a protest on our own. People are dying every day, and that doesn't become 'right' just because a Democrat is President.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Is CommonDreams acting funny to everyone else?

Today's list of articles, that I can't seem to get access to ... yet, look pretty funny.

The one that really gets me is the one at the top where they attack the Republicans for killing the big giveaway of our tax money to the big Detroit autocompanies. Why is this funny? Because the Democrats and the Republicans have been right their together in creating that situation. Then as always, the two partners try to find ways to blame each other.

In the world of today, the union workers for the big auto companies are very much overpaid. Don't ge me wrong, I think working people should be paid well, and I wish the world should support these sorts of salaries. Even an old fascist like Henry Ford used to be able to realize that it was better for him if workers could afford his cars. But that's not today's world. And its the Democrats who largely created the world where these workers are now overpaid.

It was the Democrats who passed NAFTA and WTO. It was these 'trade agreements' that opened up lower paid labor sources to big corporations. Its the entire policy of 'free trade' that says we can't put tarrifs on imports to protect our own industries and workers, and the Democrats have fully supported and pushed 'free trade' for close to two decades now.

And, the one thing the government could really do to help big American industries like this would be to pass a single-payer, national health insurance plan. Since almost all other industrialized countries have this, that means its only in the case of American workers do corporations have to bear the high cost of health care. A single payer health care plan would quickly take a lot of expenses for employee health care and retiree health care off the books of these auto companies.

But, the insurance companies have apparently out-bid industrial America in bribing the Democrats, so single-payer health care is 'off the table' with the Democrats.

Maybe we should start calling the Democrats the 'tiny table party', because there sure isn't much room on that 'table' of theirs.

But hey, if you aren't blocked by the CD censors, you can go over to CD and read all about how this is all the Republicans fault.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Open Thread

As usual, its the middle of the week and I'm not posting as many articles because I'm working. So, if anyone else has anything they think worth reading .....

Outgoing US Intel Official: Iran Has Not Restarted Nuke Program

Outgoing US Intel Official: Iran Has Not Restarted Nuke Program on

Speaking to a small group of reporters Dr. Thomas Fingar, the outgoing chairman of the National Intelligence Council, defended the reports findings, adding that he believes Iran has not diverted any of the low-enriched uranium for its soon-to-be-completed nuclear power plant to weapons use. The IAEA has repeatedly certified the same, but officials still portray Iran’s civilian enrichment program as dangerous.

Dr. Fingar says he still stands behind the report, and believes that Iran has not made any decision to pursue nuclear weapons, in spite of President-elect Obama’s claims to the contrary and reports that the Israeli military is preparing to attack Iran, ostensibly to halt the program.

There seem to be more articles on that are 'blog' style. Which means you have to dig down a second level by following links to get to the original article. In this case, it seems to be this article in the right-wing Washington Times.

Just got to remember this when Obama and the other Republicans are bleating on about how we have to be willing to attack Iran to stop their nuclear weapons program. They don't have one.

An Obama Public Works Program?

An Obama Public Works Program? by Steve Conn on

More Ralph Naders are needed, not less. New Ralph Naders who are not looking for jobs in the Obama administration or tickets to one of the Balls. Ralph Naders who say what millions of Americans do not hear on TV about class warfare, the rich getting richer and the middle class disappearing when illness and job loss strikes a family member. People ready to be under constant surveillance and challenged by the troops to be stationed in America to deal with complainers.

Barack Obama has dumped the progressive agenda of his campaign, piece by piece, that he used to delude liberals who actually begged to be deluded. So where did he find a public works program? From Ralph Nader’s writings and platforms in 2000, 2004 and 2008 and even before. Back when the country had a national surplus and only corporate flaks to tell Clinton, Gore, and candidate Bush how to spend it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The CIA and its reporter friends: Anatomy of a backlash

The CIA and its reporter friends: Anatomy of a backlash by Glenn Greenwald on

Important because in this one case it exposes news outlets you can't trust not to print propaganda, reporters you can't trust not to print propaganda, and specific items about these stories that point to them being propaganda.

The backlash from the "intelligence community" over John Brennan's withdrawal -- which pro-Brennan sources are now claiming was actually forced on Brennan by the Obama team -- continues to intensify. Just marvel at how coordinated (and patently inaccurate) their messaging is, and -- more significantly -- how easily they can implant their message into establishment media outlets far and wide, which uncritically publish what they're told from their cherished "intelligence sources" and without even the pretense of verifying whether any of it is true and/or hearing any divergent views:

Gen. Hayden and the claimed irrelevance of presidential appointments

Gen. Hayden and the claimed irrelevance of presidential appointments by Glenn Greenwald on

Until five weeks ago, I literally never heard anyone claim -- in either party -- that it was irrelevant who the President appointed to his Cabinet and other high-level positions. I never heard anyone depict people like the Defense Secretary and CIA Director as nothing more than impotent little functionaries -- the equivalent of entry-level clerical workers -- who exert no power and do nothing other than obediently carry out the President's orders.

In fact, I seem to recall pretty vividly all sorts of confirmation fights led by Democrats over the last eight years (John Aschroft, John Bolton, Alberto Gonzales, Michael Hayden, Steven Bradbury) -- to say nothing of the efforts to force the resignation or dismissal of people such as Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Gonzales -- that was based on exactly the opposite premise: namely, that it does matter who is empowered to lead these agencies and departments, and specifically, that their ideology not only matters, but can, by itself, warrant rejection. Nobody ever claimed that Ashcroft, Bolton or Hayden were "unqualified." It was their beliefs and ideology that rendered them unfit for those positions, argued Democrats.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Paradoxes by Eduardo Galeano on ZMag (a 'classic' reprinted from 2002.)

On first thought it seems incomprehensible, and on second thought as well: in the places where progress has progressed the most, people work the longest hours. The illness caused by too much work leads to death. It is called karoshi in Japanese. Now the Japanese are adding yet another word to the dictionary of technological civilization: karojsatsu is the name given to suicides caused by hyperactivity, an increasingly frequent occurrence.

In May of 1998, France reduced the work week from 39 to 35 hours. Not only did such a measure prove effective against unemployment, but it also provided a rare instance of sanity in a world that has got a screw loose--or several, or all of them. For what is the use of machines if they can't reduce the amount of time humans spend at work? But the Socialists lost the elections and things in France went back to normal, so a law that had been dictated by common sense is already on its way out.

Technology produces cubic-shaped watermelons, featherless chickens, and a lifeless labor force. In a few hospitals in the United States robots already take on some nursing tasks. According to the Washington Post, robots work 24 hours a day, but they cannot make decisions because they lack common sense--an unwitting portrait of the ideal worker in the world to come.

Who Are the Afghan Insurgents?

Who Are the Afghan Insurgents? by Anand Gopal on

If there is an exact location marking the West’s failures in Afghanistan, it is the modest police checkpoint that sits on the main highway 20 minutes south of Kabul. The post signals the edge of the capital, a city of spectacular tension, blast walls, and standstill traffic. Beyond this point, Kabul’s gritty, low-slung buildings and narrow streets give way to a vast plain of serene farmland hemmed in by sandy mountains. In this valley in Logar province, the American-backed government of Afghanistan no longer exists.

Instead of government officials, men in muddied black turbans with assault rifles slung over their shoulders patrol the highway, checking for thieves and “spies.” The charred carcass of a tanker, meant to deliver fuel to international forces further south, sits belly-up on the roadside.

20 minutes south? In Denver, 20 minutes doesn't get me out of the city. In Kabul, that's the limits of what's controlled by the US and the puppet government?

Gee, I guess that's why the other article is talking more like any new troops go into Kabul to help stave off the insurgents than in any big new campaign to 'win' the war.

And, when was the last time an outside power 'won' a war in Afghanistan? Russians, nope. British, nope.

Obama's Favoritism

Obama's Favoritism by Michael Hudson on

There is a strange double standard in President-elect Obama’s largesse with the public purse when it comes to Wall Street’s banks and insurance companies as compared to his more exacting stance toward bailing out the U.S. auto industry. In his December 7, 2008 interview with Meet the Press he set conditions for an auto industry bailout, but said nothing about setting similar conditions for the financial sector.

A quick trip to reveals the following list of top ten interest areas that have contributed to Obama's Senate accounts.

Total Campaign Contributions Received: $350,573,336

Top 10 Interests Funding
Interest Contributions
Retired $41,377,564
Attorneys & law firms $37,193,295
Schools & colleges $15,955,408
General commerce $12,306,371
Security brokers & investment companies $6,946,172
Civil servant/public employee $6,353,080
Business services $5,995,808
Democratic/Liberal $5,671,243
Book, newspaper & periodical publishing $5,392,514
Physicians $4,530,946

Contributions from political parties and from other candidates are not included in top 10 lists.

The obvious answer to Mr. Hudson's point is the Security brokers and Investment companies sitting there at 5th on the list, while the auto makers don't make the top ten. Detroit has obviously gotten behind on their bribe, uh contribution, payments.

The reason why Wall Street and Detroit aren't treated the same is rather obvious. Follow the money, and it will reveal much if not all you need to know about politics in DC.

Children 'executed' in 1950 South Korean killings

Children 'executed' in 1950 South Korean killings from the AP.

Government investigators digging into the grim hidden history of mass political executions in South Korea have confirmed that dozens of children were among many thousands shot by their own government early in the Korean War.

The investigative Truth and Reconciliation Commission has thus far verified more than two dozen mass killings of leftists and supposed sympathizers, among at least 100,000 people estimated to have been hastily shot and dumped into makeshift trenches, abandoned mines or the sea after communist North Korea invaded the south in June 1950.

The killings, details of which were buried in classified U.S. files for a half-century, were intended to keep southern leftists from aiding the invaders at a time when the rightist, U.S.-allied government was in danger of being overrun by communist forces.


The AP has reported that declassified U.S. military documents show U.S. Army officers took photos of the assembly line-style executions outside the central city of Daejeon, where the commission believes between 3,000 and 7,000 people were shot and dumped into mass graves in early July 1950.

Other once-secret files show that a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel reported giving approval to the killing of 3,500 political prisoners by a South Korean army unit he was advising in Busan, if the North Koreans approached that southern port city, formerly spelled Pusan.

The files show the U.S. command was aware in other ways as well of the organized bloodbaths.

The old lie was ....

Although at the time U.S. diplomats reported confidentially they had urged restraint on the South Koreans, there was no sign the U.S. military, with formal command over the southerners, tried to halt the mass executions.

After last month's meeting, embassy spokesman Robert Ogburn said the U.S. mission would not comment publicly on it.

File under ... never believe the government

US troops to be deployed south of Kabul as Taliban insurgency approaches Kabul

US troops to be deployed south of Kabul as Taliban insurgency approaches Kabul on

The great majority of a 4,000-strong brigade, due to arrive next month, will be stationed in provinces neighbouring Kabul, irather than in the south or east, which have seen the heaviest fighting.

Security around Kabul has dramatically worsened in the past 12 months. Taliban insurgents hold sway over large areas and often control major roads out of the city. Attacks on foreign and Afghan forces have risen steeply.

Meanwhile, this headline doesn't sound good at all. If we are going to be putting our troops right into Kabul to protect the capital from a growing revolt, that's not at all a good sign.

Obama's Afghan Dilemma

Obama's Afghan Dilemma by Robert Dreyfuss on

Some of this is kinda dreamy stuff about how Obama won't do what he's been saying he'll do. But its still and interesting read, and this part really caught my eye.

"What began as a punitive raid aimed at beheading Al Qaeda and chastising its Afghan household staff has somehow morphed--with no real discussion or debate--into a prolonged effort to pacify Afghanistan and transform its society," says Freeman. "This moving of the goal posts gratified neoconservatives and liberal interventionists alike. Our new purpose became giving Afghanistan a centrally directed state--something it had never had. We now fight to exclude reactionary Muslims from a role in governing the new Afghanistan." Freeman suggests that this is an untenable goal, and that it is time to co-opt local authorities and enlist regional allies in search of a settlement.
This is from 'Chas Freeman, president of the Middle East Policy Council and a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia.'

This is what's always struck me about our war in Afghanistan. What are we doing there? The original bit about going after Bin Laden I understood. And if the Taliban was standing with Bin Laden and protecting him, even that expansion of the effort made at least some sense.

But, what the heck are we doing there seven years later? We should have gotten out ages ago. We could have left behind the message saying if the Afghanis let groups that would attack us reform there, then we'd be back (in our best Schwarznegger voice). But what in the heck are we doing there with all these troops that Obama now wants to 'surge'?

Democracy Now! to receive "Alternative Nobel" prize

Democracy Now! to receive "Alternative Nobel" prize

This year's winners:
Krishnammal and Sankaralingam Jagannathan, and their organisation LAFTI (Land for the Tillers' Freedom) (India), who receive an Award "for two long lifetimes of work dedicated to realising in practice the Gandhian vision of social justice and sustainable human development, for which they have been referred to as 'India's soul'."

Amy Goodman (USA), founder and award-winning host of Democracy Now!, a daily grassroots, global tv/radio news hour, is honoured "for developing an innovative model of truly independent political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media."

Asha Hagi (Somalia) The Jury honours Asha Hagi "for continuing to lead at great personal risk the female participation in the peace and reconciliation process in her war-ravaged country."

Monika Hauser (Germany), gynaecologist and founder of medica mondiale, receives an Award "for her tireless commitment to working with women who have experienced the most horrific sexualised violence in some of the most dangerous countries in the world, and campaigning for them to receive social recognition and compensation."

Today's show has interviews with founder of awards and other winners from Sweden

Sunday, December 7, 2008

New evidence on nuclear bomb tests points to cover up

New evidence on nuclear bomb tests points to cover up on

THE MINISTRY of Defence (MoD) has been accused of "a cover-up of a cock-up" in the wake of new evidence that it failed to investigate genetic damage among the veterans of Britain's nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s.

Confidential correspondence from 1984 reveals that the Medical Research Council (MRC) discovered DNA defects in a test veteran that were characteristic of radiation damage. But the council was never asked to look for similar problems in other veterans.

The revelation is seen as the "smoking gun" that could bring justice for the veterans, who have been campaigning for compensation for illnesses they blame on radiation for decades. They recently launched legal action against the MoD, which has promised an inquiry.

File under ... never believe a government.

CIA ‘lied’ over fatal attack on missionary plane

CIA ‘lied’ over fatal attack on missionary plane on

FOR Jim and Veronica Bowers and their two small children, the flight up the Amazon in a single-engined Cessna float plane should have been a routine return to the remote house-boat where the family lived during missionary work with Indian tribes.

It ended in 90 seconds of horror when a Peruvian air force jet guided by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contractors mistook the Cessna for a drug-smuggling plane and shot it out of the sky. Veronica, 35, and her seven-month-old daughter Charity, were killed by a bullet that pierced the Cessna’s fuselage, passed through the mother’s back, and lodged in her infant’s skull.

and later

More than seven years after the family was shattered by a terrible mistake, the CIA has been accused in a new report of repeatedly lying to criminal investigators, members of Congress and White House officials about what happened 5,000ft above the Amazonian jungle.

File under ... never believe the government.

Police: NY hotels vulnerable to Mumbai-type attack

Police: NY hotels vulnerable to Mumbai-type attack on

Get ready for a new wave of police state actions.

The attacks, Kelly added, also "represent a shift in tactics toward low-tech weaponry and a coordinated effort by a small group of men."

You can spot the propaganda aimed at promoting a police state by the sheer nonsense of it. For instance, 9-11 was carried out by fewer attackers than apparently hit Mumbai, and their weaponry consisted of box-cutters. Mumbai was actually an attack by the same size or larger group of attackers using higher-tech weaponry like machine guns and explosives.

The NYPD officials advised the hotels to train their staffs to be on the lookout for anyone loitering in lobbies or guest floors. They also recommended being suspicious of guests booking unusually long stays — a sign someone may be using a room as a staging area for conducting extensive surveillance or storing weapons.

Gee, I was just getting new floors put in the house, and thus spent two weeks living in hotels while this work was done. I guess that would make me a suspicious possible terrorist now.

Mumbai attacks: police admit there were more than ten attackers

Mumbai attacks: police admit there were more than ten attackers

Computer-generated photographs of two suspects, who are believed to be on the run, were circulated to Mumbai's police stations. Until this development, the number of gunmen was officially placed at 10 - with nine killed in the fighting and another captured alive.

But the orders for police to hunt two suspects indicates that at least 12 terrorists raided prominent targets cross the city. Eleven days after the attacks, the definitive number of gunmen is still unknown, with some estimates ranging as high as 24.

File under ... never believe a government

The Final Secret of Pearl Harbor

The Final Secret of Pearl Harbor by John Flynn from 1945

File under ... never believe the government.

More than 160 US, NATO vehicles burned in Pakistan

More than 160 US, NATO vehicles burned in Pakistan on AP.

Militants blasted their way into two transport terminals in Pakistan on Sunday and torched more than 160 vehicles destined for U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan, in the biggest assault yet on a vital military supply line, officials said

Ooops! Oh well, I guess GM needed the orders for replacing a bunch of Humvees.

The attackers fled after a brief exchange of fire with police, who arrived about 40 minutes later, Khan said.

They blasted down the gate with a rocket propelled grenade, but it still took 40 minutes for the police to arrive? Doesn't sound like the police were all that anxious to help out the Americans.

The attack was the latest in a series that have highlighted the vulnerability of the supply route to the spreading power of the Taliban and other Islamic militants in the border region.

Not good. And gee, Obama and the other Republicans want to put even more troops at the far end of this fragile supply line?

Shahedullah Baig, a spokesman for the interior minister in Islamabad, insisted Sunday that the extra security covered the terminals.

"They are fully protected, but in this kind of situation such incidents happen," Baig said.

Someone's idea of 'fully protected' is a bit different from mine. See the picture in the article of the pile of smoking rubble for this spokesperson's meaning of 'fully protected'.

Analysis: Obama defense agenda resembles Gates'

Analysis: Obama defense agenda resembles Gates' by Robert Burns on

For a Democrat whose opposition to the Iraq war was a campaign centerpiece, President-elect Barack Obama is remarkably in sync with Defense Secretary Robert Gates on many core defense and national security issues — even Iraq.

The list of similarities suggests the early focus of Obama's Pentagon may not change dramatically from President George W. Bush's.

Given that Obama made the unprecedented decision to keep the incumbent Republican defense secretary, it would seem natural to expect that they see eye to eye on at least some major defense issues. But the extent of their shared priorities is surprising, given Obama's campaign criticisms of Bush's defense policies.

Well, its not surprising to the people who had figured out that Obama would say anything to get elected. And that he meant none of it. He presented himself as an alternative to Hillary during the primaries, and now that he's recreated much of the Clinton White House, that was obviously a big lie. So, its not surprising that when he presented himself as an alternative to Bush in the general election, that this was also a lie.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Comedy Night at arabwomanblues

For Laugh Not Quite

Comedy Night over at arabwomanblues. Couple of nice videos.


"Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness." - The Matrix Reloaded

Friday, December 5, 2008

Muslim Revolution

Muslim Revolution by Paul Craig Roberts on

Is Pakistan responsible for the Mumbai attack in India? No.

Is India’s repression of its Muslim minority responsible? No.

Is the United States government responsible? Yes.

The attack on Mumbai required radicalized Muslims. Radicalized Muslims resulted from the US overthrowing the elected government in Iran and imposed the Shah; from the US stationing troops in Saudi Arabia; from the US invading and attempting to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, bombing weddings, funerals, and children’s soccer games; from the US violating international and US law by torturing its Muslim victims; from the US enlisting Pakistan in its war against the Taliban; from the US violating Pakistan’s sovereignty by conducting military operations on Pakistani territory, killing Pakistani civilians; from the US government supporting a half century of Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their lands, towns and villages; from the assault of American culture on Muslim values; from the US purchasing the government of Egypt to act as its puppet; from US arrogance that America is the supreme arbiter of morality.

As Justice Brandeis said, crime is contagious. Government teaches by example, and America’s example is lawlessness. America’s brutal crimes against the Muslim world have invited every Muslim to become a law unto himself--a revolutionary. It is not terror that Washington confronts but revolution.

Honeymoans From the Left

Honeymoans From the Left by Alexander Cockburn at

One striking feature of these complaints is that if thethe many of complainers had their suspicions about Obama during the campaign, they kept their mouths firmly shut. Across eight presidential campaigns, since Jimmy Carter’s successful run in 1976, I’ve never seen such collective determination by the liberal left to think only positive thoughts about a Democratic candidate. Indeed, some of the present fury may stem from a certain embarrassment at their own political naivety.

and then ...

The obvious question is whether this chorus of political disillusion on the liberal left is of any political consequence.

Yes it is.

And the one way to show that is in the next elections. And there are two good reasons to start right now. One is that the sort of people-powered, underfunded sort of campaigns we'd have to run take more time to build. The other is that any building that is going on in this area shows the Democrats political power right now.

If key Congresspeople start seeing organizing in their districts this winter and spring, then that tells them the consequence of ignoring the left. We don't have to wait until the election day 2010 to have an impact. Congresspeople are already watching and planning for the next election, thus any building and organizing we start now will be noticed ... and that's a way to influence events now instead of two years from now.

Ralph Nader and Medea Benjamin on Obama’s Cabinet and Grassroots Organizing Under the Next Administration

Ralph Nader and Medea Benjamin on Obama’s Cabinet and Grassroots Organizing Under the Next Administration on

I added an RSS feed from Democracy Now at the top. So that's the links to their recent stories. I had that on my other site and liked it, so its on this one now.

This is one of the stories I saw on today's list.

[Amy Goodman] ... I want to talk with both of you about the cabinet picks. Juan and I have some questions, starting with Ralph Nader. Just go through the cabinet picks—again, they have to be approved—of Barack Obama, your, well, former opponent. You ran for president, as well, Ralph Nader.

RALPH NADER: Well, it’s symbolized in an article in the newspapers a day or two ago. The headline was “Obama Turns to Consider Liberals for Cabinet Positions.” I mean, you know, after appointing all the heavyweights, keeping Gates as Secretary of Defense, Hillary Clinton at State Department, and other positions—Treasury, for example, coming from Wall Street—the article said, well, it’s time now to consider some liberal appointees.

Well, what’s left? Department of Labor. Now, will David Bonior, who is a genuine progressive and spent many years in the House of Representatives from Michigan, get the job? That remains to be seen.

It’s really interesting. As long as liberals and progressives gave Obama a pass during the election and didn’t demand anything in return, he knew that he had their votes and he had their support regardless and moved right, moved to the corporate. And that’s reflected in the appointments that he has been putting in place.

The link goes to the rush transcript of the interview. Also from there you could listen to the audio or watch the video.

Community Organizers Attend Washington Event

Community Organizers Attend Washington Event by Scott Hadley on (link goes through

Their profession mocked by Republicans on the campaign trail, hundreds of community organizers - including more than a dozen from Ventura County - got a little payback this week by flexing their political muscle in Washington and meeting with members of the incoming Obama administration.

Their forum, dubbed Realizing the Promise, attracted more than 2,000 grass-roots, religious and political leaders from around the country.

The meeting was partly a follow-up to the Heartland Forum a year ago, when Barack Obama promised to include community organizers in helping to shape his administration's agenda if elected

Obama Doesn't Plan to End the Iraq Occupation

Obama Doesn't Plan to End the Iraq Occupation by Jeremy Scahill on (link uses anonymous for those banned for saying the same thing in commments).

Anyone who took the time to cut past Barack Obama's campaign rhetoric of "change" and bringing an "end" to the Iraq war realized early on that the now-president-elect had a plan that boiled down to a down-sizing and rebranding of the occupation. While he emphasized his pledge to withdraw U.S. "combat forces" from Iraq in 16 months (which may or may not happen), he has always said that he intends to keep "residual forces" in place for the foreseeable future.

Remaking the World in America’s Image

Remaking the World in America’s Image by William Pfaff on

“Fundamental” is the key word, meaning change in the goals pursued and the assumptions that underlie policy. One expects an end to the blatant contempt for international law and institutions displayed by the Bush administration. The torture, illegal seizures of individuals and secret imprisonments, and flaunting of generally accepted norms of human rights will probably end, although the records of all the new appointees are not entirely clear on this subject.

However, the war on Muslim radicalism will go on. The evidence suggests that American policy under Obama will be a continuation of the neoconservative foreign policy of the Bush administration, given a human face.

According to Obama’s own intention to carry the war against al-Qaida into the Pakistan tribal territories, the current American attitude toward national sovereignty remains unchanged.



By the time he officially enters the White House with his revived cabinet of Clinton appointees, President Obama will have calmed the angry public backlash at the executive responsible for tampering with an established brand of “soft” Imperialism and exposing it as a crude, corpse strewn land grab. Like the subsequently re-branded ‘Coke Classic’, Brand Obama has never been about “change” but merely reversion to an executive branch that pretends to “feel your pain” while continuing to inflict it even more brutally on vulnerable and impoverished populations overseas.

Who Are the Afghan Insurgents?

Who Are the Afghan Insurgents? by Anand Gopal on

Who exactly are the Afghan insurgents? Every suicide attack and kidnapping is usually attributed to “the Taliban.” In reality, however, the insurgency is far from monolithic. There are the shadowy, kohl-eyed mullahs and head-bobbing religious students, of course, but there are also erudite university students, poor, illiterate farmers, and veteran anti-Soviet commanders. The movement is a mélange of nationalists, Islamists, and bandits that fall uneasily into three or four main factions. The factions themselves are made up of competing commanders with differing ideologies and strategies, who nonetheless agree on one essential goal: kicking out the foreigners.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Open thread

During the week I get busy at work and can't post as many article links. So, here's an open thread to put stuff that others think are worth reading and talking about ......

Campaign Promises on Ending the War in Iraq Now Muted by Reality

Campaign Promises on Ending the War in Iraq Now Muted by Reality on

On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama offered a pledge that electrified and motivated his liberal base, vowing to “end the war” in Iraq.

But as he moves closer to the White House, President-elect Obama is making clearer than ever that tens of thousands of American troops will be left behind in Iraq, even if he can make good on his campaign promise to pull all combat forces out within 16 months.

Gee, that's a surprise.

So, Obama isn't even going to implement the agreement that Bush negotiated to completely withdraw from Iraq?

The lesson is, for anyone who wants these wars to end, voting Democrat is NOT the answer.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why is Single-Payer Health Reform Not Viable?

Why is Single-Payer Health Reform Not Viable? by Mike Dennison on commondreams. (the link should go through if it works like I intended).

When it comes to health care reform in America, there is a relatively simple solution that will cover everyone's basic health care, control costs and save businesses, most people and the country a lot of money.

It's called a single-payer health plan, where the government collects taxes to finance national health insurance. The government, which is the "single payer," covers all citizens and pays the bills when they visit private (or public) doctors, hospitals and other facilities for medical care.

All would have basic coverage, regardless of whether they have a job, or where they work. Nobody gets billed for basic care. No-body goes broke because of medical bills.

Yet this option has been declared "off the table" by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who's among those leading the charge for health care reform in America.

The writer works for a paper in Billings, so he manages not to mention the key point. Money. Go to Its a nice site that analyses campaign contribution records. If you look at Max Baucus, here's what you see as his top contributors.

Total Campaign Contributions Received: $15,975,018

Top 10 Interests Funding
Interest - Contributions
Attorneys & law firms - $950,692
Security brokers & investment companies - $478,703
Lobbyists & Public Relations - $477,870
Insurance companies, brokers & agents - $397,435
Other physician specialists - $322,699
Commercial banks & bank holding companies - $320,157
Pharmaceutical manufacturing - $294,620
Life insurance - $281,900
Pro-Israel - $280,191
Hospitals - $256,097

Gee, so why is it we can't have single-payer?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Barack Obama's security team delights the hawks

Barack Obama's security team delights the hawks on

Barack Obama will announce his national security team today to approval from the military establishment and Republicans, distant cries of dissent from liberals and head-scratching from others.

The President-elect is expected to confirm the nomination of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, ask Robert Gates to remain at the Pentagon, and make General Jim Jones his National Security Adviser.

Yep, that is certainly 'change we can believe in'.

Note: Its now been 1996 to present, 12 years, that the Republicans have controlled the Defense Dept. The Clinton administration also ceded control of 'defense' to the Republicans with Wm. Cohen as Sec of Def. If you vote Democrat, it certainly doesn't mean 'change' in the Pentagon.

Pentagon to Detail Troops to Bolster Domestic Security

Pentagon to Detail Troops to Bolster Domestic Security on

The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A system on the edge

A system on the edge by Lee Sustar on International Socialist Review (

The Democrats will step into this situation to once again take the role they have played historically—adapting to popular pressure to make some modest reforms on one side, while rationalizing and restructuring capital on the other. Whether or not the “change” promised by Obama becomes a reality will depend on the level of organization, political consciousness and struggle of working people. In the near term, the initial shock of a deep recession may delay a fightback. But with social inequality in the U.S. already at its greatest level since the 1920s, and an utter failure of neoliberal ideology and politics, the stage is set for heightened class struggle. It’s time to get prepared.

'Nobody supports the Taliban, but people hate the government'

'Nobody supports the Taliban, but people hate the government' by Robert Fisk at

The collapse of Afghanistan is closer than the world believes. Kandahar is in Taliban hands – all but a square mile at the centre of the city – and the first Taliban checkpoints are scarcely 15 miles from Kabul. Hamid Karzai's deeply corrupted government is almost as powerless as the Iraqi cabinet in Baghdad's "Green Zone"; lorry drivers in the country now carry business permits issued by the Taliban which operate their own courts in remote areas of the country.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

America's hidden hungry

America's hidden hungry by Nicole Colson on

The media almost never talk about a hunger problem in the U.S. But according to "Household Food Security in the United States 2007," a report released this month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 11.1 percent of U.S. households--including 28.3 million adults and 12.4 million children, or one in every eight Americans--were "food insecure" during last year.

"Food insecure" is the term the USDA uses to describe households that struggled to provide enough food for all their members due to a lack of food or money.

Of course, in America, its usually not a lack of food that is the problem.

'Food insecure' should be a nominee for an award for Orwellian euphemism of the year. Replace it with 'hungry', and the report hits you in the gut a little harder.

AND IF these are the statistics through the end of 2007, the hunger crisis is sure to be much worse now with a further downturn in the economy.

Across the country, food pantries are reporting a spike in the number of people seeking help.

More fundamentally, the scale of America's hidden hunger crisis should make everyone ask how it is that a government that can find billions of dollars each week to spend on the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and hundreds of billions more on a bailout for Wall Street can't afford to feed its own citizens.

Open Thread

I've been posting articles to what I've been reading. What else are people reading (or seeing or hearing)? Post links in this open thread.

The Election, Economy, War, and Peace

The Election, Economy, War, and Peace By Noam Chomsky on Znet

There were some surprises. One was that the election was not over after the Democratic convention. By usual indicators, the opposition party should have had a landslide victory during a severe economic crisis, after eight years of disastrous policies on all fronts including the worst record on job growth of any post-war president and a rare decline in median wealth, an incumbent so unpopular that his own party had to disavow him, and a dramatic collapse in US standing in world opinion. The Democrats did win, barely. If the financial crisis had been slightly delayed, they might not have.

A good question is why the margin of victory for the opposition party was so small, given the circumstances. One possibility is that neither party reflected public opinion at a time when 80% think the country is going in the wrong direction and that the government is run by "a few big interests looking out for themselves," not for the people, and a stunning 94% object that government does not attend to public opinion. As many studies show, both parties are well to the right of the population on many major issues, domestic and international.

A tribute to Prof. Chomsky on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Happy Birthday!

"This World Order is not just murderous, it is absurd"

"This World Order is not just murderous, it is absurd" an interview with Jean Ziegler on Znet

Jean Ziegler: The collective consciousness is about to begin a process of apprenticeship and analysis. The social counterattack is getting organized. We are currently experiencing a very favorable stage of this movement. France is certainly socially unjust, but it is a vibrant democracy. Information is circulating. The freedom of the press is guaranteed. Thus, it is time for analytical reasoning to begin. Outsourcing, for example, is rooted in the concept of social dumping. In response to this, the reactions of employees have often been resignation: "There is nothing we can do, it is the market that decides." There was a very profound alienation on the part of the working classes when faced with the "invisible hand" of the market. Many workers had come to believe that unemployment, deregulation and labor insecurity were inevitable. Meanwhile, over the past decade, social protection of employees has melted like snow in the sun. However, these lies have now collapsed. The invisible hand has finally became visible: it is the hand of the predators. How will the social counterattack be organized? We do not know yet, but that is the central issue.

In the Public Interest: Between Hope and Reality

In the Public Interest: Between Hope and Reality Posted by Ralph Nader on Saturday, November 8, 2008 at

Dear Senator Obama:

In your nearly two-year presidential campaign, the words "hope and change," "change and hope" have been your trademark declarations. Yet there is an asymmetry between those objectives and your political character that succumbs to contrary centers of power that want not "hope and change" but the continuation of the power-entrenched status quo.

Far more than Senator McCain, you have received enormous, unprecedented contributions from corporate interests, Wall Street interests and, most interestingly, big corporate law firm attorneys. Never before has a Democratic nominee for President achieved this supremacy over his Republican counterpart.

Anti-terror law requires God be acknowledged

Under state law, God is Kentucky's first line of defense against terrorism. on

The 2006 law organizing the state Office of Homeland Security lists its initial duty as "stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth."

Specifically, Homeland Security is ordered to publicize God's benevolent protection in its reports, and it must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, "The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God."

Hey, I'm originally from Kentucky. So, I just gotta laugh. :)

Actually, if they were taking the 'christian' point of view that promoted a policy that followed Christ's advice and turned out other cheek and loved our enemies as if they were our brothers and said that then we would be safer and more secure as a nation, then I probably wouldn't be laughing.

But no, this sounds more like God will appear with his gleaming sword and defend the commonwealth like a character in a comic book.

Uproar in Police-State Britain

Uproar in Police-State Britain By DEEPAK TRIPATHI on

The arrest and interrogation of Damian Green, one of Britain’s leading opposition politicians, by the counter-terrorism police (November 27, 2009) on ‘suspicion of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office’ is an extraordinary event. Counter-terrorism officers searched his homes and offices in London and his constituency. He was questioned for nine hours and released on bail without charge, but must return next February for further questioning. The police action happened when the world’s attention was focused on the terrorist attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai.

The Conservative Party, the main opposition in the British Parliament that has been leading in opinion polls this year, is furious at the treatment of one of its star performers. In all probability, Green, a former journalist on the London Times, would be a minister if the Conservatives won the next general election. He had raised some uncomfortable questions for the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and his government in the past year.

The Obama "Dream Team" , Rubin Clones and Other Fakers

The Obama "Dream Team" , Rubin Clones and Other Fakers by Mike Whitney on

The truth is, Obama was shoehorned into the White House because the ruling elite saw that the country was slipping into a consumer-led depression. They needed a bright new face to restore confidence and spark optimism during the tough times ahead. But now that he's been elected, they've surrounded him with the very men who, to great extent, created the present crisis. Lawrence Summers pushed for the repeal of the laws which prevented commercial banks from merging with the Wall Street casinos and he also helped to deregulate derivatives trading which now threatens to bring down the entire financial system if a major player, like Citigroup, goes under.

Friday, November 28, 2008

There will be “multiple Republicans” in the administration

Citigroup Should Be Held Accountable, Obama Aide Podesta Says

Podesta, a former chief of staff in the Clinton White House, also said Obama would complete “virtually the whole Cabinet” by Christmas, and the new president’s team will reach beyond the Democratic Party.

There will be “multiple Republicans” in the administration,” Podesta said. “You’ll see them spread throughout the administration.”

Sure, there will be lots of Republicans in this administration. What seems to be incredibly rare in this administration is anyone from the left or who might be described as 'progressive'.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Key parts of US-Iraq pact could be lost in translation: officials

Key parts of US-Iraq pact could be lost in translation: officials AFP on YahooNews.

"There are a number of areas in here where they have agreement on the same wording but different understandings about what the words mean," said one US official.

In the event the SOFA is approved, the US could simply circumvent parts of the agreement, said officials.

The American Indians could probably warn the Iraqis about the worth of treaties with the US gov.

Holiday Rituals

Ah, there are always those wonderful holiday rituals that create such warm memories when looked back on. Thanksgiving with the family, watching the Lions lose, big turkey dinners, and threats that terrorists will cause mass mayhem.

We of course hear this every holiday travel season. And so far, none come true. That's a good thing of course. But it does make you wonder about these threats that always make big news for the holidays, but which never materialize. Here's the latest, and I hope its as bogus as its predecessors.

Al Qaeda's Goal: Cripple Amtrak's N'east Corridor

If Al Qaeda terrorists have their way there will be chaos and mayhem here this holiday season, a mass transit bomb plot that would probably affect all the subway and train lines at Penn and Grand Central stations.

I can't help laughing about the call back to the evil Al-Qaida secret command post buried deep in the Kush mountains.

Terrorist: "Obama, the plot is in place. We destroy Amtrak this week!"

Obama: "Amtrak? Why are we bombing Amtrak? If we just leave it alone it will go broke and destroy itself!"

Obama: (aside after putting down the cell phone), "Ah, its so hard to find good terrorists these days."

Bailout Turkey

Bailout Turkey a cartoon on

Who yelled 'tyrant' at AG Mukasey? A judge

Who yelled 'tyrant' at AG Mukasey? A judge on

Sanders said he "passionately" disagrees with those policies and felt compelled to say so. Sanders, who is a Federalist Society member, said that he wasn't heckling Mukasey, and left shortly after his outburst.

"I believe we must speak our conscience in moments that demand it, even if we are but one voice," he said in a statement Tuesday.

Delay May Lead to Iraq Referendum on US Troops

Delay May Lead to Iraq Referendum on US Troops on

The Iraqi government continues to scramble to get ready for tomorrow’s talks on the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and tentatively the vote (though it has already been delayed twice this week).

Does anyone notice that while the Iraqi parliment is going to vote on this, and apparently the Iraqi people might just get to vote in a referendum on the occupation continuing, here in the greatest democracy in the history of the universe, we are getting no such thing.

There is no vote in the US Congress about ending the occupation and the war. And there is certainly no referendum before the American people on the issue. Instead, we get an 'election' where one candidate pretends to be an 'anti-war' candidate while really intending to do nothing but continue pretty much the same policies as before.

Meanwhile ... Congress should vote on Iraq agreement

The Iraqi Parliament delayed to Thursday the long-awaited vote on a measure outlining the terms of a U.S. troop withdrawal. In an article in the Boston Globe Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, noted it was "sad" that lawmakers on Capitol Hill did not have a similar chance to weigh in on the agreement.

Back during the campaign, Obama apparently felt that it would gain him some votes to say he wanted to have this go to a congressional vote. on SOFA

Obama and Biden also believe that any security accord must be subject to Congressional approval. It is unacceptable that the Iraqi government will present the agreement to the Iraqi parliament for approval—yet the Bush administration will not do the same with the U.S. Congress.

Karsai and Obama

The Afghan President Karsai, who the US put into power, seems to be begging the Obama administration not to 'surge' in Afghanistan.

Karzai Wishes He Could Shoot Down US Planes on

But today the Afghan President took his complaints to a new level, publicly lamenting that he was unable to shoot down the US planes which have been bombarding Afghan villages. Karzai added that if he had a rock attached to a piece of string, he’d use it to try to down the planes, “but that’s not in my hands.”

Karzai says US, NATO created 'parallel' government on

"The problem here is, in a diverting play, the presence of the international community has created a parallel government to those such as of the Afghan government that are functioning. The PRTs in certain parts of the country have become a parallel structure to the governor of the province," he told the U.N. team.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Starving for Change

Starving for Change by Chris Hedges on

Elba Figueroa worked as a nurse’s aide until she got Parkinson’s disease. She lost her job. She lost her health care. She receives $703 a month in government assistance. Her rent alone costs $750. And so she borrows money from friends and neighbors every month to stay in her apartment. She laboriously negotiates her wheelchair up and down steps and along the frigid sidewalks of Trenton, N.J., to get to soup kitchens and food pantries to eat.

Trenton, a former manufacturing center that has a 20 percent unemployment rate and a median income of $33,000, is a window into our current unraveling. The financial meltdown is plunging the working class and the poor into levels of destitution unseen since the Depression. And as the government squanders taxpayer money in fruitless schemes to prop up insolvent banks and investment houses, citizens are callously thrown onto the street without work, a place to live or enough food.

Obama Chooses Wall Street Over Main Street

Obama Chooses Wall Street Over Main Street by Robert Scheer at

Maybe Ralph Nader was right in predicting that the same Wall Street hustlers would have a lock on our government no matter which major party won the election. I hate to admit it, since it wasn’t that long ago that I heatedly challenged Nader in a debate on this very point.

But how else is one to respond to Barack Obama’s picking the very folks who helped get us into this financial mess to now lead us out of it?

OK, any commentary starting with "Ralph Nader was right" is one I had to link to. :)

Of course he was. Of course he still is. I guess we are in that short window between elections when the Democrats can acknowledge this.

Weapons Come Second. Can Obama Take on the Pentagon?

Weapons Come Second
Can Obama Take on the Pentagon?
by Frida Berrigan on (full text in comments)

Meanwhile, the Democrats over at CommonDreams are still delusional. I like Frida Berrigan. But there is no sign at all that Obama is going to cut the defense budget. He actually promised to raise it during the campaign. His much repeated promise to expand the size of the Army and the Marines. And his campaign website had more promises to increase training and 'modernize' equipment. Both are promises to raise the defense budget.

And, just in case there was any doubt, he's now proposing Bill Gates to run the "Defense Dept".

When will the Democrats learn? Not any time soon judging from this article. They keep spinning delusions as to what Obama might do, while ignoring all that he really does. Which means, if you really want change, the Democrats are not the answer.

Obama's Odious Entourage

Obama's Odious Entourage by Eric Wahlberg on

He would never have made it past the first, obscure primary without his army of selfless, grassroots activists, and his coffers were first filled by millions of small, personal donations. Surely these are the people he should honour with at least a few names. Even Clinton had his Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala (at least until she was tarred and feathered by the right). Obama’s one token progressive appointment was Melody Barnes of the Center for American Progress, who was chief counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy, and will head the toothless Domestic Policy Council.

Not one of the 23 Senators and 133 House Representatives who voted against the war in Iraq are on his transitional team or even on a short-list for an important post in his Cabinet. The only promise that might be kept is to close Guantanamo, though he could hardly do less. The entire US legal establishment seems to be pushing to end this outrage.

I think I like Vincent Chase's entourage better. :)

Now It Can Be Told (Except in North Carolina)

Now It Can Be Told (Except in North Carolina) by Steve Conn on

Attention Progressives. It’s official: Now it can be told.

Three weeks after the Presidential vote. Now it can be told. Norm Chomsky says Joe Biden’s nomination by Obama was a slap in the face (he used stronger words) to Obama’s supporters because of Biden’s positions on foreign policy and his special job of destroying credit card debtors’ pathway of escape by means of loan-shark- friendly bankruptcy reform. Now it can be told. Rob Emanuel is Wall Street’s Guy and the ultimate hawk on the War in Iraq. (Israel? Forget about it.) Now it can be told. The line- up of economic advisors and hedge fund managers who Obama selected to get us out of the mess are the very ones who got us into the mess (along with other lovely kleptocracies like the former Soviet Union). They ought to be indicted, not nominated.

I think "Norm Chomsky" is Prof Noam Chomsky's brother who also lives in Boston and hangs out at the corner bar named "Cheers". :)

The Obama Letdown

The Obama Letdown by Michael Hudson on

Reality had to raise its ugly head. Barack Obama was elected with overwhelming approval to inaugurate an era of change. And at his November 25 press conference, he said that his decisive victory gave him a mandate to change the direction in which America is moving. But his recent economic and foreign policy appointments make it clear that when he chose “change” as his campaign slogan, he was NOT referring to the financial, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sectors, nor to foreign policy. These are where the vested interests concentrate their wealth and power.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

When It's a Clear Day and You Can't See GM

When It's a Clear Day and You Can't See GM by Paul Craig Roberts on

The head of the FDIC is trying to get $25 billion--a measly 3.5 percent of the $700 billion for the banksters--with which to refinance the mortgages of 2 million of the banksters’ victims, and Bush’s Secretary of the Treasury Paulson says no. Why aren’t the Democrats all over this, too?

Apparently, the Democrats still think they are the minority party or else their aim is to supplant the Republicans as the party of the rich.

That's why I like Mr. Roberts. In one sentence, he hits the nail squarely on the head. Of course the Democrats are trying to supplant the Republicans as the party of the rich.

Monday, November 17, 2008

John Brennan and Bush's interrogation/detention policies

John Brennan and Bush's interrogation/detention policies by Glen Greenwald on

This is a follow up piece to ...

The Democrats of 2002 and 2007 haven't gone anywhere by Glen Greenwald on

The latest piece is details on the person who's transition advisor on intelligence policy. He is a big supporter of 'redition', FISA immunity and shall we say enhanced interrogation technigues.

The older piece has the amazing news that Joe Lieberman will likely get a key Senate chairmanship for the committee on Homeland Security.

America’s Wars of Self-Destruction

America’s Wars of Self-Destruction by Chris Hedges on

War is a poison. It is a poison that nations and groups must at times ingest to ensure their survival. But, like any poison, it can kill you just as surely as the disease it is meant to eradicate. The poison of war courses unchecked through the body politic of the United States. We believe that because we have the capacity to wage war we have the right to wage war. We embrace the dangerous self-delusion that we are on a providential mission to save the rest of the world from itself, to implant our virtues—which we see as superior to all other virtues—on others, and that we have a right to do this by force.

America the Illiterate

America the Illiterate by Chris Hedges on

We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities.

I'll admit I love Chris Hedges' writing. His book "War is a force that gives us meaning" is a great read. For me it was a slow read, as every page made me stop and think. But its a wonderful book.

Open Thread

If you have articles you'd like to share with others, post a link in here. Also, I'd be happy to open up the posting privilidges to others to post articles here. Just let me know if you'd be interested. My goal is to make this an open site for a community of people

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama and the Rogue Regime

Obama and the Rogue Regime by Ralph Nader on

As President, he cannot remain silent and do nothing, otherwise he will inherit the war crimes of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney and become soon thereafter a war criminal himself. Inaction cannot be an option.

Violating the Constitution and federal laws is now routine. What is routine after awhile becomes institutionalized lawlessness by official outlaws.

Mr. Nader, a lawyer himself, makes a very key point. Obama must act to reverse and prosecute the crimes of the Bush administration, or become a criminal himself.

With a site like CommonDreams, that bans people without giving any reason, its hard to know exactly what gets one banned. But one comment I have made there in the past is to ask when would we begin the "Impeach Obama" movement. Without saying so directly, that is exactly what Mr. Nader is saying. Obama will quickly become a criminal who should be impeached if he continues any of the crimes of the Bush administration or if he fails to prosecute known and clear violations of law.

This article is not on CommonDreams ... of course.

Obama Acts To Drive The Lobbyists Out of Washington

Obama Acts To Drive The Lobbyists Out of Washington by Leonard Doyle on

The leader of Barack Obama's transition team has delivered some bad news to the hordes of lobbyists plying their trade in the fancy restaurants and faceless offices along Pennsylvania Avenue: they are not welcome.

This one is a classic of why a site like CommonDreams needs an open comment policy. The headline is very misleading. Between it and the lead to the article, a reader would be very, very misled as to what's going on. And these days, when you go to CommonDreams, typical is the first comment that is pure Dem suck-up of saying this is a good first step.

More as a comment ....

Sunday, November 9, 2008

March on Washington, Jan 20, 2009

I've seen a couple of references calling on people to march on Washington for Obama's inagural. For movements where Obama's policies differ from what the people who voted for him want, this seems like an important action to take.

While Obama is planning his surge in Afghanistan, and his slow drawdown that would follow the Bush plan in Iraq, let him at his inagural see mass crowds of people saying "Bring the Troops home, NOW".

The Democrats keep saying we have to push them not to be evil monsters as they rule. So, how do we push them? We know it won't be easy, as they ban us from their websites and try to push us back with riot police like here in Denver. But we still must push. This seems like a golden opportunity to begin.

March on Washington, Jan 20, 2009

What next for struggle in the Obama era?

What next for struggle in the Obama era? on asks leading voices on the left--Howard Zinn, Mike Davis, Sharon Smith and others--about the prospects for our struggles in a new era.

Dems' Election Day Message: Our First Responsibility Is to Appease Republicans

Dems' Election Day Message: Our First Responsibility Is to Appease Republicans by David Sirota on

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) delivered Democrats' election-day message this morning on Fox News. Officially speaking for the Obama campaign, McCaskill told Fox that Barack Obama's first order of business as president is to appease Republicans and start filling his cabinet with them.

Can we talk about the real Obama now?


Now the party is over and it's time for people to put away their Barack and Michelle dolls and start dealing with what has truly happened.

This, I admit, is difficult because the real Obama doesn't exist yet. He follows in the footsteps of our first postmodern president, Bill Clinton


There is one story from Chicago, however, that remains relevant. A citizen walks into his alderman's office looking for a job. "Who sent you?" he asks. "Nobody," he replies. Says the staffer: "We don't want nobody nobody sent."

Who sent Barack Obama remains a mystery. He has risen from an unknown state senator to president in exactly four years and that only happens when somebody sends for you.

Go read the whole article. I'm trying to keep the posts on this page short with a view snips to get the flavor of a piece. But this one has so many good bits that its hard to do that. Follow the link to go read the whole piece.

Anyone feel a draft in the air?

OBAMA PLANS DRAFT from Freedom Beat blog of the Progressive Review.

Obama Transition Team - Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.


Rep. Rahm Emanuel wants to force people 18 to 25 to labor for the government. Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, President-Elect Barack Obama's choice for chief of staff in his incoming administration, is co-author of a book, The Plan: Big Ideas for America, that calls for, among other things, compulsory service for all Americans ages 18 to 25.

This was hinted at during the campaign. This article mainly refers back to some of those references. And of course, there was always the open question of how Obama was going to fulfill his promise of adding 90,000+ troops to the Army and the Marines in an era where recruitment was declining. Of course, the Republican\Democrat crash of the economy and the loss of 240,00 jobs in one month might take care of that for them.

The killing continues ...

Two articles, side by side on

U.S. military acknowledges dozens of Afghan civilian deaths in the past week, By M. Karim Faiez and Laura King on

The U.S. military acknowledged today that 37 civilians were killed and 35 injured during fighting this week in Kandahar province between insurgents and coalition forces.

Bush Expected to Recommend Obama Add Troops to Afghanistan by Jason Ditz on

With just over two months left in office, President Bush is hoping to add his voice to the calls for a military surge in Afghanistan, and will reportedly endorse General David McKiernan’s call for an increase in the number of troops in Afghanistan.

Of course, Obama has already promised to do a 'surge' in Afghanistan as soon as he's sworn in. So, that undoubtably means innocent civilians will keep dying. Gee, I'm so glad America voted for 'change'.

Open thread

Post links to interesting articles here.

Now that I've started this, unfortnately I have to be on the road for a bit. So I don't know how much I can put new stuff up here in the next few days. So, I'd encourage others to do so. Eventually, we'll have to figure out a way to let more than just me put new posts on here. But for now, just put links into a thread like this one. :) Long term, I want a community and what's interesting to that community, not just my idea of what are interesting articles.

One reason of course is because I have to work a day job, so this is at best a part time thing for me. I'm not like some other sites who get hundreds of thousands of dollars of subsidies, and thus can push party propaganda full time. So, to make this a more interesting site, it would be better if others could also post interesting articles up here.

BTW, welcome to everyone who's found this place. :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Getting the Change We've Earned

Getting the Change We've Earned , by Dave Lindorff published at

Now that the street dancing is over, and President-elect Barack Obama is measuring the drapes for the new Oval Office (let’s hope he loses the mounted Saddam Hussein matching pistol set and that he has the direct hard-wired link between the Vice President’s Office and the Pentagon severed), it’s time to start focusing on how to make this new president live up to his mantra of “Change We Can Believe In.”

Well over 65 million people voted Obama in on the belief that he meant what he said with that largely empty slogan. They are going to be hugely disappointed if he doesn’t deliver.

Obama, Emanuel and Israel

Obama, Emanuel and Israel , by John V. Whitbeck published on

In the first major appointment of his administration, President-elect Barack Obama has named as his chief of staff Congressman Rahm Emanuel, an Israeli citizen and Israeli army veteran whose father, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, was a member of Menachem Begin's Irgun forces during the Nakba and named his son after "a Lehi combatant who was killed" -- i.e., a member of Yitzhak Shamir's terrorist Stern Gang, responsible for, in addition to other atrocities against Palestinians, the more famous bombing of the King David Hotel and assassination of the UN peace envoy Count Folke Bernadotte.

Hail to the Chief of Staff

Hail to the Chief of Staff, by Alexander Cockburn published on

The first trumpet blast of change ushers in Rahm Emanuel as Obama’s chief of staff and gate keeper. This is the man who arranges his schedule, staffs out the agenda, includes, excludes. It’s certainly as sinister an appointment as, say, Carter’s installation of arch cold-warrior Zbigniev Brzezinski as his National Security Advisor at the dawn of his “change is here” administration in 1977.

Common Debate

Once upon a time, there was a site called Common Dreams. It used to publish a wide range of articles of different opinions on the left. And then it added a comment feature that became the home to a free debate of ideas.

Then came the election campaign and Democratic censorship. First, the selection of articles became restricted to those that supported the Obama campaign. Then the site became very aggressive in removing any comments critical to Obama and the Democrats and in blocking the access to the site of anyone who was critical of Obama and the Democrats.

The goal of this site would be to try to create an alternative, especially for those who used to like the old Common Dreams. The idea is that this site could publish articles, or links to articles, with a wider range of opinion than what CommonDreams has these days. And that this site would be a place for a free debate and expression of ideas.

Unlike those who run CommonDreams, I'm not afraid of free debate. In fact, I find it healthy and educational. And for any who would like to try to participate in the political discourse of this nation and this world, its good practice.

My idea of a comments policy would be that
1) No profanity, or at least keep it limited.
2) No personal attacks or name calling.
3) No spam or advertising.

But, a free debate should be allowed. I don't care if you agree with me. Be willing to discuss ideas and events with a bit of civil decorum, and there won't be any problem with it on this site.

If you like this idea, say hello below.