Saturday, May 29, 2010


Every once in awhile, I miss the south. For a few seconds, then it passes.

I'm assuming this picture is from the south. It just feels like 'back home' to me. Somehow this just feels like a southern thing to this old boy who's now so very, very happy to live far, far away from the nearest Ammo Barbecue.

Friday, May 28, 2010

An Obey for All Seasons

Ray McGovern has an outstanding open letter to Rep. Obey out on the internet. Very good read, and not too long. You really should click that link and take the minute or two to read it.

There is a bigger picture here. Every time I hear of Mr. Obey, I hear of his progressive past. I hear of the causes he used to fight for. From the Democrat propagandists, this is a part of their image creation. The modern Democratic leader apparently needs a faux-progressive image. But even the more lefty writers always refer to it. Unfortunately, its completely irrelevant.

At some point in my youth, I saw the film of "A Man for All Seasons". Its the story of Thomas More, who was Henry the Eighth's drinking buddy. Henry was having his constant problems with the church, so when an opportunity presented itself, he made his drinking buddy the Archbishop of Canterbury. Problem solved, right? Not quite. Because when More takes up the office, he realizes that he takes up its role in the system. He opposes the King, only to be assassinated.

This is a story of someone taking on a more heroic role by taking on an office. Of a man who does something noble when he probably would not have done so had he stayed merely the King's drinking buddy. With today's Democrats, you see just the opposite. Not only Mr. Obey, but other top leaders in today's Democrat Congress used to be very progressive liberals. Heck, Speaker Pelosi herself used to be a liberal back-bencher, and still represents one of the most left-wing districts in the country in the heart of San Francisco.

But, these people have taken on their offices and they serve the role of that office in today's affairs. Who they used to be is rather irrelevant. Just as the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury used to be Henry the Eighth's drinking buddy ended up being irrelevant to their relations.

The leadership of the Democratic party serves big money. Period. That's it. Nothing else matters. The key thing to realize is that if they didn't, they would not hold that office. To get the office, they had to swear off their earlier lefty views. I don't know if they hold some secret skull-and-bones-like ceremony where the candidates are forced kneel in their underwear and forswear their lefty past. I kinda doubt it. But the image is a good symbolism of what must occur.

If Chairman Obey did not at some point let it be known that he would be a perfect servant of big money, he would not be in his position of chairing the most powerful committee in the Congress. If Speaker Pelosi did not at some point let it be known that she would be a perfect servant of big money, then she would not be the Speaker of the House.

What they used to say, even if they used to believe it, does not matter today. We have to see them as the people that they are today, executing the offices that they hold today.

Sir Thomas More: I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.

The really sad thing is that both Obey and Pelosi represent very progressive left wing districts. These are the districts that should be sending our fighters to the Congress. These are the districts that should be the bastions of fire-brand lefties who put forth our views and fight the fights that must be fought. Instead, two total sell-outs to war and corporate profits hold these two seats.

These two districts are important to our cause. These are strategically important districts because they should give us relatively safe lefty seats. They should give us safe seats which can embolden politicians to speak out on lefty issues, knowing that the people of their districts support them. These representatives from these districts should be our warriors and our champions, they should be our spokespeople and our leaders. They should be the loudest voices putting forth what we believe and what we care about. That the representatives of these districts are instead the very people shepherding war funding through the Congress is our major blow to our cause. Not only because the wars continue, but because of the the silence that results from the progressive voters in these districts not being represented in this Congress.

If the left has any strategic sense at all, it has to try to win these two seats back. Strong independent campaigns in these two districts, with massive grassroots support, should be in there trying to win those seats. Not campaigns for show or for public education. Real, serious, play-to-win campaigns. And if the left in this country can only muster a few thousand volunteers to go door to door, then these are the two seats that should be the targets of whatever puny efforts we can muster politically these days.

We need these seats for our voices to be heard. A very pleasant side effect is that a lefty political rebellion that took out either the Speaker of the House or the Chair of the Ways and Means committee would be a shot heard round the world for lefty politics.

Cromwell: I have evidence that Sir Thomas, while he was a judge, accepted bribes.
The Duke of Norfolk: What? Goddammit, he was the only judge since Cato who didn't accept bribes! When was there last a Chancellor whose possessions after three years in office totaled one hundred pounds and a gold chain?

When was the last time we had a Speaker who wasn't rich?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Blind, Dumb, Invisible Hand

Why "markets" should not be allowed to rule the world. Or probably shouldn't even be allowed to choose the local dog-catcher.

From The Eurozone's Self-Inflicted Crisis by Mark Weisbrot.

To make it worse, “the markets” can’t seem to decide what they want from these governments in order to love them again. Two weeks ago the Euro was plummeting because the financial markets wanted more blood: they wanted Greece, Spain, Portugal, and the other currently victimized countries of Europe (Italy and Ireland) to commit to more spending cuts and tax increases. Then they got what they wanted, and within a day or two, the Euro started crashing again because “the markets” discovered that these pro-cyclical policies would actually make things worse in the countries that adopted them, and reduce growth in the whole Eurozone.


Who's bright idea was it to put "markets" in charge? Markets are probably useful things as a means of enabling trade. I kinda like that I can buy something with money instead of trying to acquire the two chickens and a health insurance policy that my auto mechanic might otherwise request.

But promoting "markets" from a useful tool to the supreme arbiter of all human affairs was obviously a really stupid idea.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gary Swing - Green Party - CO -1

The Coalition Against War Spending has issued a call against more war funding and asked for support for this statement.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost Americans over $1 trillion in direct costs, and over $3 trillion altogether.

At a time when our national debt exceeds $13 trillion, we can no longer afford these wars.

It's time for Congress to reject any funding except to bring all our troops safely home.

There is a list of Congresspeople and candidates who have endorsed this position. Go look to see if there's one in your district.

There is in mine ... CO -1, Denver, CO
Gary Swing, Green Party endorsed with this statement.
"I endorse your statement, though I would change the word 'our' to 'American' or 'U.S.' I don't have any troops. If I did, they certainly wouldn't be killing the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. I support an end to all foreign wars, a permanent ban on the stationing or deployment of U.S. troops outside of U.S. territory, closure of all overseas bases, prosecution of American war criminals, and transition to non-offensive national defense of U.S. territory."

The Democratic incumbent for this district, Dianne DeGette has not endorsed. And she has not opposed funding for the Afghan war. When back in her very liberal district, she talks like she opposes these wars. But, she never does anything about it. And when the war funding needs a vote, she's been a ready vote for the Democratic leadership in favor of escalating the Afghan war. She certainly wouldn't endorse this statement, and she'd never really oppose war funding and mean it and stick with it.

This is her statement on the latest 'New Afghanistan policy' from her congressional website.
“I am pleased that President Obama has laid out a clear strategy to end the war in Afghanistan. It is in our national security interest to stabilize the country and prevent terrorists from using Afghanistan as a base for terrorist activity. Accelerating the recruitment and training of Afghan security forces will allow Kabul to take control and responsibility for its own security more quickly. Unfortunately, these goals were long-delayed when the previous Administration was distracted by a war in Iraq.

“Before I agree to support funding the President’s increased troop levels in the 2011 budget, I will closely examine the efficacy of his plan to ensure that it is stabilizing Afghanistan, and preparing the country to defend itself.”

She tries to talk anti-war, but the key to the statement is her support for the war in Afghanistan and more war funding. Only conditioned by her review to make sure that we are efficiently killing the people of Afghanistan.

This picture probably looks like a lot of other districts. A Democrat faux-liberal that talks lefty but is really a sure vote for war money when they need it. But there are usually other names on the ballot that might take a different position. If people really want the wars to end, its time to abandon the fake-Democrats who won't end them, and to instead vote for the candidates that say they really will go to Congress and vote to end these wars.

This is the key question. The writers of the Constitution put the power of the purse in the hands of Congress and particularly the House of Representatives. If someone asked them today how to end these wars, they would simply point out that they gave the Congress the power to end any such war by making sure that the Congress had control of the money.

Do you want a vote for more war money in Congress? Or do you want a vote for no more war money in Congress? The choice is likely clearly before you on the fall ballot. And if it isn't, maybe its time to get a campaign started where you live and make sure there is a solid vote against the war on the ballot in every district in this country.

Lexicalist - Peace and War

Progressive Review had a link to an interesting web site called Lexicalist.

This website monitors a lot of blogs and other 'chatter' on the internet, and then can report back on the how often words are used. Somehow this only focuses on America.

For example, I typed in "Peace" and "War"

Words per time used ..... 1 in 12,456
increasing / decreasing ..... same as last month
highest age group ..... 55+ declines steadily with age
highest gender ..... male (51.1%)
highest state ..... N.Dakota (7.9%)

Words per time used ..... 1 in 10,492
increasing / decreasing ..... 17% more than last month
highest age group ..... 55+ declines more steeply with age than "Peace"
highest gender ..... male (67.0%)
highest state ..... W.Virginia (4.9%)

Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace, Peace, peace, peace, peace,

Hello Mr. Taliban

Interesting nugget from the CIA worldfactbook web page on Afghanistan.

The population of Afghanistan as decreased by 4,000,000 people since Dr. Brezizenski started the war with the Soviet Union there.

There are 4,000,000 fewer people in Afghanistan today. Wow!

All these wars might be good for some people in Moscow and Washington, but they sure as heck aren't good for the people of Afghanistan.

BTW, since Afghanistan is now part of the US empire, they get to have a census this summer. I wonder if they are just going to let each regional warlord report how many people he rules so he gets that much of the US money that flows into the central government. Or, if they are going to have Afghan census workers knocking on the doors and saying "Hello Mr. Taliban, I'm with the Afghan government and we'd like to ask you a few questions verifying your numbers and your consumer preferences."

Check for your nearest lifeboat

Iran, Sun Tzu and the dominatrix By Pepe Escobar

Pepe Escobar is usually an interesting writer. And one who's far too unread in the US. Today, he's striking an eerily similar theme to my recent posts, but on a completely different topic- Iran and sanctions and yet more war.

Of course, at all times remember that this whole debate/crisis is about a nuclear weapons program that Iran supposedly has but about which no one can ever offer any real proof that they have.

Let's face it: Hillary Clinton is one hell of a dominatrix.
She framed the drive towards sanctions as "an answer to the efforts undertaken in Tehran over the last few days". Wait a minute. Immediately after a genuine - and fruitful - mediation on a very sensitive dossier by two emerging powers - and honest brokers - in the multipolar world, Brazil and Turkey, Washington and its two European Union allies at the Security Council, France and Britain, torpedo it. Is this what passes for global "diplomacy"?

Yep, that's a pretty nice description of American diplomacy these days. A few years ago I went back and read William Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the 3rd Reich". Its an interesting read. Especially the chapters on how Hitler 'negotiated' during the crisis over the Rhineland, Austria and Czecoslovakia before WWII began. If you go read a description of those negotiations, don't be surprised if they sound eerily familiar.

And a second thought on this. Do you notice how Clinton as Obama's Secretary of State sounds absolutely identical to Rice as Bush's Secretary of State? Are you getting the change you voted for? Hint, if not, vote for a different party in November.

But back to the parts of Mr. Escobar's piece that caught my eye.
China and Russia pull a Sun Tzu
Ancient Chinese military general, strategist, philosopher and author of The Art of War, Sun Tzu said, "Allow your enemy to make his own mistakes, and don't correct them." China and Russia, both master strategists, are applying this maxim with panache regarding the US.

which, after a description of the details of the current situation with the Security Council, leads to this ...

So we have come to a situation whereby a real, Iran-approved nuclear fuel swap is on the table at the International Atomic Energy Agency while an offensive towards sanctions on Iran is ongoing at the UN. Who is the real "international community" going to trust? Erdogan could not have put it better; "This is the time to discuss whether we believe in the supremacy of law or the law of the supremes and superiors ..."

Most of all, what the developing world sees is the past - US, France, Britain, Germany - fighting against the advance of the future - China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia. The global security architecture - policed by a bunch of fearful, self-appointed Western guardians - is in a coma. The "Atlanticist" West is sinking Titanic-style.

Mr. Escobar sounds about as confident about the long-term future of American diplomacy as I sound about the short to medium term future in Afghanistan. Mainly that its time for anyone in danger to start thinking about grabbing an early spot in the lifeboats. Because you can dang well bet that the people in charge of these disasters haven't provided nearly enough lifeboats.

It gets worse, or better, depending on your point of view.

At a recent Council on Foreign Relations speech in Montreal, luminary Dr Zbigniew "let's conquer Eurasia" Brzezinski warned that a "global political awakening", along with infighting among the global elite, was something to be deeply feared. The former US national security adviser remarked that "for the first time in all of human history mankind is politically awakened - that's a total new reality - it has not been so for most of human history".

Who do these politically awakened upstarts such as Brazil and Turkey think they are - daring to disturb "our" rule of the world? And then uninformed Americans keep asking themselves "Why do they hate us?" Because, among other reasons, unilateral to the core, Washington does not hesitate to lift its middle finger even to its closest friends.

Who's all for a GLOBAL POLITICAL AWAKENING? Here, Here! Everyone, all together, three cheers for a GLOBAL POLITICAL AWAKENING! Whooo - HOOOO! Sounds better than what we got now. At least to a American worker bee who's been told by corporate America that he's no longer needed.

This is a fascinating little nugget buried at the bottom of this story. The first is that this very well-informed and plugged-in strategist of the militarists and corporate elite says that the political awakening HAS ALREADY OCCURRED!

Sitting at the bottom of the US propaganda bubble, its awfully hard some times to tell what's going on. One is constantly blasted with news of their supposed victories, denied any news of defeats unless they can't be hidden, and generally told that the rest of us have lost and that there is no alternative to the mighty power of wall street.

Yet, here's one of their leading strategists saying that the worldwide political awakening has already occurred. What an American leftist can only dream about occuring someday, we are being told that this is a world wide reality.

I suppose Prof. Brzenski thinks that I should view this as bad news. He certainly seems to be presenting it as bad news to his elite audience. But, to view it as bad news, I have to believe a long and complicated threat that says that what's bad for "America" is bad for me, and that what's bad for Exxon or Goldman Sachs or GE or the rest of the mega, originally American corporation, or even a British corporation like BP, is bad for "America".

Therefore, a global challenge of a politically awakened world to the rule by force of the Exxons and GEs and Goldman Sachs and the BPS of the world is supposed to be bad for me. Thus, I am supposed to be willing to hand over all of my money in taxes, and then either go die myself or send my children to go die to make sure that the rule of the world by Exxons and Goldman Sachs of the world can continue uninterrupted.

As a free citizen, I disagree. And I view a globe full of politically awakened people to be a very good thing. The predominant pattern of human history has been dominant leaders using an unawakened world population to fight and work for the enrichment of these elite, dominant leaders. One can only hope that an awakened world would someday stop doing that.

The fascinating thing is that the elites seem to be flailing hopelessly in dealing with all of these challenges. In fact, they seem committed to a course of certain stupidity.

After all, the empire is massing all of its available troops in Afghanistan. And, even then it finds itself so short of fighting strength that it can only manage a desperate hail mary type operation to turn the tide of a war that currently has insurgents attacking the perimeters of the empires major bases. When you can't control a poor country of 29,000,000, does it really seem to be wise to be expanding and escalating a war into a bigger and richer nation of Pakistan (178,000,000 people) and threaten to start a new war with Iran (68,000,000 people with the 17th richest economy in the world).

If you're a bully, perhaps you should take note of the fact that the scrawny, underfed poor kid is giving you a tougher fight than you expected, and not start fights with crowds of bigger kids who are in better shape?

Back to the quote from Sun Tsu. Let your enemies make their own mistakes, then don't correct them.

Every where you look, it starting to look like 'head for the lifeboats' time. And maybe to start thinking about what sort of world we can have after this Titanic finally sinks and the new world of a globally awakened populace takes charge.

More between the lines

Latest news from Afghanistan ....

Taliban admit Kandahar attack from the Independent (UK)

I love the wording of that headline. Like the headline writer expects the Taliban to be ashamed of kicking our rears. They 'admit' it. More likely they jumped up and down and shouted it at the top of their lungs.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for an assault with rockets, mortars and automatic weapons on Kandahar airport, Nato's biggest base in southern Afghanistan, in the third major attack on the military in six days. Several coalition troops and civilian employees were wounded.

This post goes with the one below. So read it as well.

Then, think about Gen. McCrystals quote in that post. And then think about this. The insurgents in Afghanistan have launched three major attacks on NATO/US installations in a week. That's as close as McCrystal is going to get to having the guerrillas come out in the open and fight the battle that a US general who was trained to fight the Soviets in a massive tank battle in central Europe wants.

Three times in the last week, the guerrilla have massed themselves for a major attack on a NATO installation.

The Saturday night attack against Kandahar base was the second ground assault on a major NATO installation this week. Officials said a number of soldiers and civilians were wounded but gave no figures. They said there were no confirmed deaths among the more than 20,000 people who live and work at the base.

Militants unleashed rockets and mortars about 8pm and then tried unsuccessfully to storm the northern perimeter of the base, about 300 miles southwest of Kabul. One of the rockets hit a shop-lined boardwalk where soldiers socialize in the evenings.

Its one thing for guerrillas to sneak up outside a base, fire off a couple of mortar rounds, and then run away before there's a response. You'd think a mighty empire that rules the world could control the perimeter around its massive major bases well enough to stop this, but it still happens.

The key words in that paragraph are how they tried to 'storm the northern perimeter'. Think about that. They are trying to openly launch ground assaults on the perimeter of a major base that holds 20,000 NATO troops and civilians.

Gen. McCrystal? Are you there? You say you want an open battle against the guerrillas. Well, they are at the northern perimeter right now and it looks like they want to come fight you as well.

This is not good for a guerrilla war. When the guerrillas stop hiding in caves and instead come out and openly attack your major bases at the airfields of Kabul and Kandahar, that's usually a sign of the beginning of the end. That's Tet Offensive time, and a sign that our fantasies about convincing the Afghan people to become model western consumer/slaves are coming to an end.

Read between the lines when dealing with propaganda. Especially with military propaganda that comes from a military that openly states it wages information wars and tries to control information. When you hear that the guerrillas who are always described as cowards who are too afraid to fight are instead massing and attacking NATO/US bases with impunity, pay very close attention. This is not news from a victorious army.

Note also how these are becoming NATO bases. Can't tell the US people that US bases are being attacked and in some places captured. So, suddenly the spin machine starts to call them all 'NATO' bases. If this war continues to go downhill, watch how much this becomes a 'NATO' war in the US media.

If they put the US brand on this war, then that says they think they are winning and they want to claim the glory for themselves. That's how Afghanistan was for years. But, when they start to pull the US brand away from this war, that tells you they don't want the brand name tarnished by what's to come.

PS ... if you like observing how the propaganda works, note how this same attack was portrayed in the LA Times. U.S. troops, Afghan police sweep through Taliban stronghold

In the US papers, the attack on a major base of 20,000 soldiers/workers becomes just a minor little footnote in an article that describes yet another victory and successful operation for our brave troops. We actually sent 400 or so troops and police out of their forts into an Afghan town in the daylight. This is a major victory worthy of a major LA Times article ... and the detail that our major base in the area was attacked is reduced to mere footnote.

Hours later, insurgents launched a rocket, mortar and ground attack on the main base used by foreign troops, at Kandahar's air field a few miles east of Kokaran. Explosions wounded several troops and civilian workers, said Capt. Scott Costen, a North Atlantic Treaty Organization spokesman at the base. Costen said he could not provide details on the attack, the number of wounded or any insurgent casualties.

But the attack seemed similar to an insurgent assault Wednesday on the sprawling U.S. base at Bagram, north of Kabul.

That single sentence 2nd paragraph is weird. It has the smell of a remnant of a larger paragraph that didn't clear the censors. If all the writer wanted to say was that one sentence, then it makes more sense attached to the end of the previous paragraph. I wonder what was cut from that 2nd paragraph?

Funny, other reporters got more details. But in the US, they can't be mentioned apparently. In fact, its highly likely that this LA Times reporter who was out with the troops in the daytime was staying inside this major base of 20,000 people when it was attacked that night. I'm just guessing, but I doubt that this American propaganda artist, who openly walks around with US troops, just checked into a local Taliban bed and breakfast to get a room.

But, we certainly aren't allowed any eyewitness details that he might have experienced. Instead we get the vague excuse from a NATO officer that no more details are available. Meanwhile, the article goes back to the 28 of 30 paragraphs the describe our victorious troops actually out in an Afghan city.

But even in the LA Times, note how they are pulling the US brand away from this. Especially when its a defeat or a setback. Now its just a base housing 'foreign' troops that was attacked, and that its NATO officers that they associate with this base. One would get the impression that this was a completely separate fight, involving few if any US troops, and unconnected with our great victory.

Instead, after a day when 400 soldiers and police, who have to be heavily armed and travel in a large force to even walk the streets, tried to hand out candy bars to win the local hearts and minds, their base was attacked that night with an attack that tried to storm their perimeter.

Yeah, we're winning, right? Its just a lot harder to tell what's going on if you read propaganda organs like the LA Times.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hail Mary

In American football, a 'hail mary' is a last second and desperate long pass attempt at the end of game by a team that needs to score immediately or else lose the game.

Results of Kandahar offensive may affect future U.S. moves
by By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post

The Obama administration's campaign to drive the Taliban out of Afghanistan's second-largest city is a go-for-broke move that even its authors are unsure will succeed.

The bet is that the Kandahar operation, backed by thousands of U.S. troops and billions of dollars, will break the mystique and morale of the insurgents, turn the tide of the war and validate the administration's Afghanistan strategy.

There is no Plan B.

That sounds like a classic 'hail mary' to me.

Lets see, how did the trial run for this in the great metropoltian area of Marjan go. The US troops met greater resistance than expected, took control of the area slower than expected. Then, after they did seem (or at least claim) to take control, they had a hard time convincing Afghan officials to go there and take up posts. And at last account most of the villagers still seem sympathetic to what we call the Taliban, and are mainly just keeping their heads down until we leave.

Which will probably be when this offensive meets greater than expected resistance and we proclaim a great victory of the pacification of the greater Marjan metropolitan area and pull the troops from there over to Kandahar.

In a system where you know you don't get honest facts about what is going on, and the military clearly states that they wage media and psychological warfare to control information, you have to read between the lines. When you do that with Afghanistan, the picture is very worrisome.

Our major Bagram airbase outside the capital of Kabul is under attack. Last month I saw another story about a US base occupied by insurgents. Meanwhile, we seem to be launching a desperate hail mary offensive. Since such plays are only called when defeat is imminent, what does that say about the situation in Afghanistan?

The one thing the Pentagon is not short of is people who've studied lots of military strategy. Its easy to think that an inexperienced Obama is launching a bad hail mary offensive that a more experienced military commander would have avoided. But that's not how things work in 21st century America. The US military wouldn't give up a golf course unless they wanted to, much less turn over control of military operations to a civilian. So, this plan is undoubtably coming from those many people in the Pentagon who've studied lots of military strategy.

If those guys and gals are doing that, and they are not dumb, then the war in Afghanistan is much more desperate than it seems.

Given the flood of propaganda that we all get blasted with about our brave and wonderful troops and all the victories that they win, it seems incredible to think that we might be on the verge of losing the Afghan War. But, that's what this plan in Kandahar seems to indicate. Its definitely a 'hail mary' of a military plan.

If you like military strategy, you should read this article. Its hilariously funny. Although I'm certain that this important propaganda writer at one of the American government's lead propaganda organs didn't mean it to be so.

For just one example of many ....
U.S. civilian officials are simultaneously trying to wrest control from local power brokers and to correct imbalances that favor one tribal group. They plan to set up 10 administrative districts, each with a representative council and money to spend.

Since Kandahar is a largely Pashtun city, if they are 'correcting imbalances that favor one tribal group', then these councils aren't going to be very 'representative' of all the Pashtun's who live there.

But that's not as good as ...
"I actually think the U.S. military would love to find an enemy that was dug in on a piece of terrain, that we could establish a D-Day and we could attack with no civilians around," McChrystal said,

Uh, dude, guerrillas have known not to do that since at least "Lawerence of Arabia". And this is from the US military's leading genius on fighting a guerilla war. Or at least the propaganda says that. If that's true and this is what he's saying, then maybe I'll have to take back that part back about the Pentagon having lots of people who know military strategy.

[edit 5-24] ... from the story above. As this was being published, the guerrillas were coming out and offering just such a fixed battle when they tried to launch a ground assault on the perimeter of the Kandahar base housing 20,000 NATO soldiers/workers. There is of course one time when the guerrillas do come out in the open and fight. And that's when they've been building their strength for years and now feel strong enough to come out and fight ... and win. This is the final stage of a guerrilla war, when the guerrillas come out of hiding, show the true numbers that they've recruited, and march to take Saigon or Damascus. Gen. McCrystal might be having one of those times when you are sorry you get what you asked for.

Leaps in Logic

Sometimes, you see the most incredible leaps of logic in order to keep the propaganda line going.

Probe concludes torpedo sank South Korea ship: report
from Reuters.

For instance, spot the leap in logic in this small enclosed space of one sentence.
The metallic debris and chemical residue appear to be consistent with a type of torpedo made in Germany, indicating the North may have been trying to disguise its involvement by avoiding arms made by allies China and Russia, Yonhap quoted the official as saying.

Ok, so they identified the torpedo as being of German orgin. That's the fact part, established by analysis of the explosive traces and metals found.

But, the only conclusion drawn from this is that North Korea must be trying to hide its involvement.


Notice also the writing style where they try to connect the fact to the incredible leap of logic as tightly as possible. All in the same sentence with barely even a slight pause and the comma before rushing into the part you aren't supposed to think about very closely. From fact to fantasy without even a pause for breath.

What's obvious about that is that the official being quoted has made up his mind in advance that North Korea did this and he's adjusting his theories as he goes to maintain that conclusion. Ok, the official is an unidentified South Korea official (vaguely sourced quotes are always a indicator of propaganda), so I can maybe understand that attitude from them. But, for a reputable newswire to publish such an unsupported conclusion as the only possibility as to what's occurred? C'mon man.

I'm not saying North Korea didn't do this. Just pointing out that to go from saying the torpedo was from Germany to saying that its obvious that North Korea did this and they are only trying to cover their tracks is an incredible leap of logic.

Don't know what happened out there. But surely there are other possibilities that fit these facts as least as loosely as that theory does.

Now, read the post right below this one and ask this question. Would I be ok here since I've already link to government propaganda in order to show the incredible way logic leaps within it. Or since, I'm being critical of government propaganda, would this Obama 'communications czar' require that I link to still more government propaganda in order to counter-balance my critique of the original propaganda?

Under that proposal, I would of course be required to link to the identical Republican and Democrat statements that say that of course the presence of a German (aka NATO) torpedo indicates North Korean (non-NATO) involvement, and that we need to simultaneously strike North Korea and raise the defense budgets by $100 billion dollars and pay for a new trillion dollar Strategic Torpedo Defense Initiative because of this dastardly deed. And oh yeah, completely give up the last of our freedom because of the horrible threat North Korea poses to our very existence. At least I could try to have fun by searching for the incredibly tiny differences between Democrats and Republicans on an issue like North Korea.

Such a tangled web. Freedom is always much simpler.