Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 13, 2009

OT 09-02

News & views ... open thread ...

Posted by b on January 13, 2009 at 15:33 UTC | Permalink

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Clinical, methodical, and Goddamn, systemic...

Bush Says Torture Still Necessary; Obama pulls a Gerald Rudolph Ford and wants to move forward, backs Off Torture Prosecutions; Hate Groups Use Bad Economy As Recruiting Tool as they've always done; Dangerous Levels of Coal Ash Pile Up Across America

Clinical, methodical, and Goddamn, systemic... this is like watching the movie, ground hog day, Sisyphus rolling the rock etc etc... Cohesion Policy, sub rosa techniques, Instrumentation and pathology, over and over and over... same mother fucking symphony, different conductor's, same overture... And the American people beg, plead and shout for encores.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 13 2009 15:46 utc | 1

One of the things largely overlooked in discussions of the economic stimulus: much of any stimulus will not stimulate the American economy, because a lot of any incremental consumption will flow directly through WalMart to China. Congress should have learned from the last stimulus package, in which most of the stimulus went to pay for higher gas prices and flowed to Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria, etc.

Even much of the stimulus from infrastructure spending will flow abroad, because much of the wages paid will again flow through WalMart to China.

This is a very different scenario from the Great Depression, when America had a lot of idle production capacity. This time around, corporate America's production capacity is not here, it's there, in China. Under Bush the American economy became totally hollowed out (note: Clinton signed PNTR which enabled this.)

Much of the multiplier effect of any stimulus package has simply vanished. If we're lucky, China will use its export earnings to continue lending us more money to provide ever more stimulus. Alternatively, the stimulus package must be gigantic enough to float the whole world, thereby creating some eventual demand for American products. However, I can't say for the life of me what the world will find to buy from America--bogus financial instruments are no longer in vogue.

Washington has dug America a deep, deep hole...

Posted by: JohnH | Jan 13 2009 16:02 utc | 2

@JohnH, et al...

I guess it's pointless to point out, not only was Poppy Bush head of the CIA, or that the head of the CIA became President but he was also the ambassador the China...

I'll be here all night...lol

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 13 2009 16:14 utc | 3


For example...BBC: Bush's Grandfather Planned White House Coup...

Most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all. -unknown

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 13 2009 16:17 utc | 4

In now -$5B bankrupt Washington State, second-term (D) Governor Gregoire has ignored two voter referendums against it, and just proposed a revised plan for the porkbarrel $5B Tunnel-To-Nowhere, Seattle's Alaska Way Viaduct, choosing a different underground route even more expensive than the one that voters wisely shot down, one that passes through 19th century submerged quicksand landfill and aboriginal Duwamish Tribe burial grounds, tossing into the dumpster several years of populist effort in turning the derelict edifice into a "people-friendly" surface corridor, as San Francisco successfully did with their Embarcadero Freeway in 1989.

Gregoire reportedly is pitching the "infrastructure" project to the Obama Plan, even though it's still only in the design consultant brain-fart cost-plus bleed phase.

Seattle is better known as the US city that defied voters and built a new sports stadium on the debris of the old, right after they just spent $10M's to renovate their existing stadium, then levered up on that defiance of plebicite, and built a second, grander stadium, both stadiums still deep in State and City revenue bond debt, a debt so nice, they bought into it twice.

Meanwhile, no layoffs in State government, even though the State is dead busted flat broke, construction has ground to a near halt, MicroSoft is bleeding red and Boeing will lay off 4,500 workers. State employees covertly enjoy a 10% interest rate on their State pensions-for-life, the % difference between Fed rate being "borrowed without repayment" from the State General Fund, even as the State Department of Health and Human Services advises 100,000's of dispossessed, unemployed and homeless to expect drastic benefit cuts, and local municipalities move quickly to quash the homeless tent camps springing up all around Puget Sound.

"Would the last person leaving Seattle please turn off the grand larceny?!"

[link fixed - b.]

Posted by: Cheryl Abbotsford | Jan 13 2009 16:27 utc | 5

albeit that link poops on the idea, perhaps, one can think for themselves?

spacifically...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 13 2009 16:28 utc | 6

I've noticed that over the last several presidential campaigns or so all of the candidates stay away from making campaign promises. So instead of promising to do everything in their power to do this or that, candidates merely speak in very vague terms about kinda wanting to do this or that. The downside to all of this is that the electorate can no longer accuse presidents of being lowdown liars whenever they break any of their campaign promises!

Posted by: Cynthia | Jan 13 2009 16:57 utc | 7

Cheryl, check your link...

Chris floyd: The Plot to Sieze the White House by Jules Archer

Now for those whom don't have any history w/me and my postings, I'm not saying buy all this, I'm saying think, meta narrative, critically, and compare and contrast history then and now, and don't get caught up in names and labels etc...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 13 2009 17:07 utc | 8

Cynthia @#7

Linguist and professor George Lakoff speaks to that in his work... George Lakoff on The Political Mind

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 13 2009 17:11 utc | 9

Thank Goddess you are here, Uncle $cam. You keep me sane, if you can believe that.

Chomsky spent half a lifetime documenting why governments never choose economic programs which make sense and work, but only choose boondoggles. Short answer for those activists who don't have time to actually read Chomsky: because they are non-redistributive and serve to keep the population in check.

For a deeper look down the rabbit hole of Keynesian urban design as control mechanism, "THE RIGHT TO THE CITY" by David Harvey, is highly recommended.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 13 2009 17:41 utc | 10

An example of surgical IDF attack on Hamas armoured vehicle:

http://images32.fotosik.pl/435/bea79923b057ceddmed.jpg

Posted by: emes | Jan 13 2009 18:14 utc | 11

The basic message from the village and DC politicians is that things will get better. When analog TV is turned off, tens of millions will no longer hear their communications. The only question is when it will sink it that life is worse.

American workers are in a competition with Chinese for wages. The economy cannot get better until workers are paid a developed world wage. Tax cuts only aid the flow of money into offshore bank accounts. Every penny in stimulus has to go for jobs until the government stops to avoid default.

Afghanistan will be at war as long as it is occupied. Pakistan will be tumble into anarchy as long as it is bombed by outsiders and its government does nothing to stop it.

20th century history from the Great Depression to Vietnam has brightly illuminated America's future. But, each generation has to learn things all over again. January 20th will usher in new younger leaders but it is looking like they won't be able to stop the water rushing into the Titanic.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Jan 13 2009 18:22 utc | 12

Not when they are bailing the wrong way.

Good post, VV.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 13 2009 18:55 utc | 13

a couple articles on the united states' favorite east african dictatorship, both from january 12th

ETHIOPIA: Political Space Narrowing

ADDIS ABABA, Jan 12 (IPS) - Bertukan Mideksa has a reputation in Ethiopia as a competent politician, but voters will not be able to cast ballots for her in the next national election. The revocation of her 2007 pardon has sent a chill through Ethiopia's opposition parties.

After the 2005 elections, opposition protests against irregularities in the polls were followed by violent clashes in the streets. More than 100 opposition leaders were arrested. Mideksa was charged with treason, outrage against the constitution, inciting armed rebellion and more.

She spent two years in jail before being convicted and sentenced to life in prison in July 2007 along with 34 others. They were immediately pardoned by President Girma W. Giorgis; the government announced that they had requested a pardon and expressed remorse for their wrongdoings.

But while on tour in Europe in November 2008, Mideksa denied making a request for state pardon for the post-election violence. And on her return to Ethiopia, she told Unity for Democracy and Justice party adherents that her release from jail was the result of political negotiations, not government sympathy.

The Ethiopian government responded furiously with an ultimatum demanding that she categorically retract her claims within three days or face revocation of the pardon.

...

Her re-arrest has caused great indignation among opposition politicians who have condemned the act as part of a familiar pre-election strategy by the ruling party to intimidate its opponents ahead of elections scheduled for May 2010.

Mideksa is not the only opposition politician to be thrown in jail of late. On Oct. 30, the federal police commission arrested Bekele Jirata, the secretary general of another opposition party, the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement. He is accused of having a clandestine links to the rebel group Oromo Libration Front (OLF).

Opposition politicians are worried that the signal sent by these arrests will reinforce those who think peaceful political change in Ethiopia is not viable.

After their release in 2007, Mideksa and Dr. Berhanu Nega, at the time mayor-elect of Addis Ababa, debated this question. Nega came out of prison believing that armed struggle is the only way to attain political power in Ethiopia. Mideksa resisted the idea vehemently. Nega is now in the United States heading Ginbot 7, a new political party.

In an opinion piece published in the largest Amharic weekly Addis Neger, in reaction to the government's ultimatum, it was argued that the government's actions would make Nega feel vindicated.

"The government is totally reducing us to nothing," says Professor Beyene Petros, opposition MP and chairman of the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces. "The ruling party that first assumed power with a coup is indirectly telling the opposition to follow suit; that gaining power through the ballot box is impossible."

The veteran politician sees a country sliding backwards in terms of creating a competitive political landscape. "The door that was half opened in the 2005 election is now fully closed," he said.

meanwhile,

u.s. embassy in addis ababa: Launch of American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia Heralds New Era in Trade Cooperation

anuary 12, 2009 (Addis Ababa) –Minister of Trade and Industry Girma Birru and U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald Yamamoto today joined the board of the newly established American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia for the organization’s official launch. The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Ethiopia aims to promote economic development by strengthening Ethiopian-American business partnerships and trade and investment between the two countries.

...

U.S. Ambassador Donald Yamamoto praised the newly formed organization, saying, “The establishment of an American Chamber will create a new paradigm for how we do business in Ethiopia. This is a milestone in our two countries’ partnership, and it shows our commitment to a more prosperous tomorrow for all Ethiopian citizens.”

also see the indian ocean newsletter brief Ethiopia: Dignitaries active in business (requires no-charge registration)

Now that the EPRDF has been in power for almost two decades, its leaders have had time to accumulate wealth. We make a roundup – by no means exhaustive - of their activity.

Posted by: b real | Jan 13 2009 19:57 utc | 14

@uncle - finally rcvd the blue "New Feature for TypePad Bloggers" screen when trying to preview that last comment. the link is https://www.typepad.com/secure/services/signin?to=%2Ft%2F

i was unable to preview, at least from the same session, but it did allow me to post w/o any interruption

Posted by: b real | Jan 13 2009 20:01 utc | 15

How bout' this?

The U.S. government declares a moratorium on all mortgage payments for one year. It would be a voluntary program whereby any holder of a (single lived in house) mortgage can elect to not make their payments for up to a year. For every monthly payment missed, that monthly payment would be tacked back on the back end of the overall payment schedule, as in a "reverse mortgage". This way the obligation would not be eliminated but simply deferred until a later date. The program would be easy , cheap, and quick to administer. It would act to support relative real estate values. It would STOP most home foreclosures. It would free up the massive amount of money that would normally be paid to the banks, and inject it into the actual productive economy. It would allow people the time and resources to re-adjust to new economic realities, reinvest in education, re-location, and general refurbishment of sinking assets - they might even buy a new car. Or, they could continue paying their mortgage as usual, under much better circumstances.

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 13 2009 20:02 utc | 16

@b real:

If you hit the "back" button on your browser and try again it usually works.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 13 2009 20:10 utc | 17

scum surfacing & sucking one/anotherh

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 13 2009 22:56 utc | 18

scum surfacing & sucking one/another

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 13 2009 22:57 utc | 19

The Place Where Industry, Military & Government Converge

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 13 2009 23:28 utc | 20

I was afraid to click on that link, U$, I thought I might see a picture of an asshole, or at least a nuclear dump site.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 13 2009 23:44 utc | 21

(NPR) Nation Propagenda Radio: [hawk] Transcript Of Clinton's Confirmation Hearing

In these prepared remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during her testimony as Secretary of State-designate, Sen. Hillary Clinton said America must use "smart power" — which includes diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal and cultural tools.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 13 2009 23:51 utc | 22

Malooga and U$, excellent links, thank you.

From $cam's linked 6-part Dissident Voice Series, a highly-detailed takedown of the current disaster capital situation written between September 2008 and today ... a good description of why our current system needs an ever-growing creation of capital.

Followed by Malooga's equally pertinent The Right To The City link which describes what happens when that excess capital needs a place to be spent, in this example on luxury or industrial urbanization in place of people's homes ... people who are surplus labor. Robert Moses who "took a meat axe to The Bronx."

This analysis is beginning to make sense.


Dissident Voice

What nearly everyone fails to understand — or in some cases understand sufficiently well — is that the real root of the problem lies with our money creation system. Presently we have bank credit serving as money. It is a money of accounts, rather than a money of exchange. Put another way and as former Senator Robert Owen, original co-sponsor of the 1913 Federal Reserve Act, later complained, some last minute back-door tweaking of the Fed Act gave us a currency with debt-creating power instead of a currency with debt-paying power.

As a result our money is essentially being created by the Federal Reserve and other banks through the making of loans or providing of credit. Up until now, this has been done primarily through the fractional reserve system, which allows the banking system, as a whole, to create many times more “money” as loans than what the initial reserves amount to. In point of fact the initial reserves are not themselves “money” but actually loans — or perhaps more accurately, credit — provided by the privately-owned Federal Reserve to our government.

Thus, it is the privately-owned banking system that controls our money supply because it is through this system that our money gets created. Today, a shadow banking system is also creating our money through the highly leveraged “off balance sheet” activities of the derivatives market.

Some refer to this type of money as false money or substitute money because money is in effect created when banks make loans to a borrower. These loans always have interest attached and yet no money is created to pay the interest charges due on this debt. The only way to pay these interest charges is by creating more debt as “money” — and this then serves to increase the “money” supply.


The Right To The City

Capitalists have to produce a surplus product in order to produce surplus value; this in turn must be reinvested in order to generate more surplus value. The result of continued reinvestment is the expansion of surplus production at a compound rate—hence the logistic curves (money, output and population) attached to the history of capital accumulation, paralleled by the growth path of urbanization under capitalism.

The perpetual need to find profitable terrains for capital-surplus production and absorption shapes the politics of capitalism. ... If labour is scarce and wages are high, either existing labour has to be disciplined—technologically induced unemployment or an assault on organized working-class power are two prime methods—or fresh labour forces must be found by immigration, export of capital or proletarianization of hitherto independent elements of the population.
...
Consider, first, the case of Second Empire Paris. The year 1848 brought one of the first clear, and European-wide, crises of both unemployed surplus capital and surplus labour. ... Bonaparte, who engineered a coup in 1851 dealt with [the crisis] by means of a vast programme of infrastructural investment both at home and abroad. In the latter case, this meant the construction of railroads throughout Europe and into the Orient, as well as support for grand works such as the Suez Canal. At home, it meant consolidating the railway network, building ports and harbours, and draining marshes. Above all, it entailed the reconfiguration of the urban infrastructure of Paris.
...
cafés, department stores, fashion industry and grand expositions all changed urban living so that it could absorb vast surpluses through consumerism. But then the overextended and speculative financial system and credit structures crashed in 1868. Haussmann was dismissed ...
...
Fast forward now to the 1940s in the United States. The huge mobilization for the war effort temporarily resolved the capital-surplus disposal problem that had seemed so intractable in the 1930s, and the unemployment that went with it.
...
As in Louis Bonaparte’s era, a hefty dose of political repression was evidently called for by the ruling classes of the time; the subsequent history of McCarthyism and Cold War politics, of which there were already abundant signs in the early 40s, is all too familiar. On the economic front, there remained the question of how surplus capital could be absorbed.

In 1942, a lengthy evaluation of Haussmann’s efforts appeared in Architectural Forum. It documented in detail what he had done, attempted an analysis of his mistakes but sought to recuperate his reputation as one of the greatest urbanists of all time. The article was by none other than Robert Moses, who after the Second World War did to New York what Haussmann had done to Paris.

Very interesting, as Moses went out of favor after decades that transformed the US from urban and rural to basically a soulless suburbia, a main point of the later part of the article.

What follows from this is the idea that there are tremendous amounts of surplus capital (money) in the world right now, and a surplus of labor once again. What will happen? The money will buy up homes and resources, but what if any infrastructure creation will occur, and how will that change the way we live?

Thanks for a great afternoon's reading, keep up the good work.


Final paragraph from The Right To The City

One step towards unifying these struggles is to adopt the right to the city as both working slogan and political ideal, precisely because it focuses on the question of who commands the necessary connection between urbanization and surplus production and use. The democratization of that right, and the construction of a broad social movement to enforce its will is imperative if the dispossessed are to take back the control which they have for so long been denied, and if they are to institute new modes of urbanization. Lefebvre was right to insist that the revolution has to be urban, in the broadest sense of that term, or nothing at all.

Posted by: jonku | Jan 14 2009 1:06 utc | 23

so subtle, yet so definitive - this small passage in italics at the end of a NYT article about Al-Jazeera today:

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: January 13, 2009

An article on Monday about Al Jazeera’s coverage of the Gaza conflict misidentified the streaming service that the television network uses to put its content online. It is Livestation, not LiveStream.

touche

Posted by: bea | Jan 14 2009 1:20 utc | 24

hmmm, how timely

Israel could be on the brink of a historic discovery: preliminary tests indicate there's natural gas n the sandy layer beneath the sea floor at the Tamar offshore drill site, 90 kilometers west of Haifa.

Euphoria reigned on the stock exchange yesterday, where shares of companies associated with the undersea exploration shot up.

Posted by: bea | Jan 14 2009 2:35 utc | 25

Further mining of the link to the series The Place Where Industry The Military And Government Converge

Despite the Fed’s action, reconstituted M3 estimates can now be found on the internet which tell an intriguing, if somewhat frightening, tale. What these charts show is that somewhere around mid-2005 the growth of the M1 money supply began to trend significantly downward to zero and below while the growth of the M3 money supply began to trend dramatically upward, increasing some 12% in a little over three years. [John Williams' Shadow Government Statistics: Alternate Data Series]

Because the only difference between the M1 + M2 measurement and the M3 measurement is the addition of huge institutional funds it is clear that these funds are where nearly all the new money was being created — and it was being done primarily through the highly leveraged, non-transparent, risk-laden, “off-balance sheet” derivatives market. This market of course is the exclusive playground of heavy rollers who have the where-with-all to deal with large institutional funds not to mention incredible risk.

In other words, a new “off-balance sheet” highly leveraged and highly privileged money creation system — a shadow banking system if you will — has in effect been operating through the derivatives markets. Until recently and without question, this new system of money/debt creation has been on steroids, as reflected in M3 growth.

But what goes up must come down, and that means that tax-payers will increasingly be put on the hook for “capital building” otherwise known as taxpayer debt — which helps to increase M1 figures. This is born out by data provided at John William’s Shadow Stats website for the relevant months of 2008 showing an up-tick in M1 as “liquidity” was being pumped into the system through taxpayer funded bailouts — and a corresponding down tick occurring in M3, as the “off balance sheet” money supply began to implode.

Interestingly, the most recent M1 data posted at Shadow Stats shows a decisive down-tick in M1. Could the reason for this be due to the Fed’s aggressive use of its reserves to inject liquidity into the global market place as well as here at home? If so, the decline in reserves may be at least part of the reason why taxpayers were required to immediately fund a $700 billion Wall Street bailout, since the corresponding government debt would increase reserves. No matter, because as one analyst remarked, “Net net, all these liquidity injections are merely moderating the collapsing credit facilities, and not actually injecting much in the way of credit into the economy.”5

Despite the current and substantial contraction taking place in the M3 money supply, the fact is that over the long term — and especially since the 1980’s — the U.S. money supply has increased dramatically, going from less than $2 trillion in 1980 to an estimated $14 trillion in 2008. Significantly, in 1980 total public and private debt totaled roughly $5 trillion, with about $1 trillion of that representing public debt. Today public and private debt totals roughly $50 trillion, with over $10 trillion of that representing public debt.

[note: above shows that money supply increased by 7 times since 1980, but debt increased by 10 times.]

What these figures clearly show is that total debt has been outstripping the money supply for many decades due to the cumulative effects of unpayable interest. This fact alone makes it ever more difficult to deny — among all but the most hardened apologists — that the entire money creation system is, as Dick Distelhorst of the American Monetary Institute wrote in a recent newsletter, “an oxymoron — ‘the more money we have, the deeper in debt we are.’ This is ridiculous on its face, and yet we continue to accept it.

Tragically, our collective, continued acceptance of the current money creation system means that we will be forced to participate in what may well be the most massive upward transfer of wealth in history, even as we face the potential of an almost limitless, globally connected daisy chain of meltdowns, for which governments will increasingly be looking to taxpayers for the funds needed just to keep their economies going.

Posted by: jonku | Jan 14 2009 3:00 utc | 26

jonku, @#26

Indeed, like I've been saying, 'Clinical, methodical and systemic'...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 14 2009 3:59 utc | 27

This is a mean rant. Not much new in it, probably not even any truth, just my crazy views on life at the moment. I had to spew this somewhere–try not to get any on you and remember to flush when finished.

The news has me in a funk.

Listening to Democracy Now! Driving home from a buddy’s house and hearing pro-israel supporters at a rally talking about killing Palestinians and sounding exactly like rednecks, but with funny, whiny accents. They were vomiting hate and shitting-out horror fantasies of what needed to be done to Gaza. After about three minutes of their racist anger, the program switched to a group of jewish folks condeming israel’s actions, and voicing their support for the Gazaans.

This group, by design or luck sounded like scholars compared to the hate mongers, when discussing the plight of Gaza and the horrors caused by the IDF. The contrast between how both groups sounded when talking got me thinking, and then I started to feel even worse as I realized I was hearing the voice of typical political thuggery from one group and the voice of the soon-to-be disappeared intellectuals out of the other.

I felt a darker sadness wash over me as I thought about what is about to happen in the world… And I’d suggest you find extra copies of the books you care about, and hide them someplace very, very safe.

History is the same tired, three-act play preformed over and over. The script doesn’t change; the leading actors spend most of their time lying and seeing who can bugger the most extras before the curtains close. Think Caligula, the movie, and the moment his lard-covered fist…Which shows how things have gotten worse, as they don’t even bother with the lard these days.

I’ve read too many books, too much about history to see any quiet future left for me. Instead I see but a bunch of those “interesting times” the Chinese like to curse others to enjoy.

I think reading Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Fitzgerald’s, A Diamond as Big as the Ritz would show you some of the possible futures we might experience. But there is also part of me that could be convinced of a future earth as seen though the eyes of Douglas Adams

I feel like I’m viewing the past through a stained-glass window; the exact same scene, but a different color and shade, depending upon which pane you choose to look through. Looking out my magical multicolored window at the Obama moment and I can see many different possibilities through the slices of tinted glass.

I have the most unpleasant feeling come over me while thinking about what the next months of Obama’s administration are likely to bring. The sensation is similar to food poisoning in that I don’t know if I want to puke, shit or both.

It isn’t that Obama himself makes me sick. He is just another in a long list of actors who play their part with enthusiasm and gusto on the public stage. He’s done a damn fine job of saying his lines and making his audience believe he is the second coming of both dead Kennedys, and the Black Jesus, all rolled-up into one.

America’s Summer-of-Love-Woodstock-hippies let Nixon walk and ended up voting Reagan into office after tiring of the touchy-feely former nuclear submarine commander called Carter.

They did this while snorting coke in urban hot tubs and proclaiming that, “Greed was good!” which they have continued to shout loudly for 29 years, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

The Baby Boomers, which are a mighty generation of massive, mindless, television worshiping degenerates who have, though laziness and ignorance, squandered the country their parents and grandparents saved pennies to buy–while fighting two terrible world wars to protect (well, at least this is what they thought they were fighting for.)

Voting Obama into office is a wishful, wistful way the spoiled generation of Boomers is hoping to prove they didn’t really sell-out and the “justice” they fought for was finally realized. This, they think, will be their legacy when like Bush’s, it’s just more of the same old crap, repackaged all nice and touchy-feely.


“Oooh, we’s finally gots us one of them colored fellows elected president, damn ain’t we progressive?”

Obama will do to and for the average black dude, what the typical white politician does, and that’s screw him. Just like what happens to the average white dude and average Hispanic dude, ect. I just wonder how hard a screwing the middle class will take before they wake-up and realize their poopers hurt even worse than before.

The reason for their rectal pain is easy to understand, what will happen because of it is another thing.

I’d venture to guess the voting-block that brought Obama to the white house will refuse to see the obvious, like the emperor who’d heavily invested in a new set of clothes. This combined with their increased chance of age-related dementia, prescription drug use and general grumpiness will give the State an endless army of rats, informers and willing prison guards who all vote Democrat, so they can’t be evil? Can they?

I don’t want to believe that a society that can give us Dunkin’ Donuts, the Internet and Madonna is but inches away from stepping right back into some backwoods bullshit past. But from where I sit it looks like it wouldn’t take a very big, or very slippery, banana peel to cause us to slip right back into some feudal freak show with thumb screws and hot irons.

Them good old Inquisition dayz are here again, Dawg.

Posted by: David | Jan 14 2009 5:07 utc | 28

Surgar Weekly English Edition

Gul Agha Sherzai: No more bloodshed

By Qadir Afghan, reporting for Surgar, Kabul
English Editors Rahimullah Akrami and Peter Torbay

Surgar obtains an exclusive interview by reporter Qadir Afghan with the Presidents'
consulting minister and Nangarhar province governor, His Most Honorable Gul Agha Sherzai)

Surgar:

A while ago, in the Karzai-ruled government, the reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar was invited to peace talks by the Afghan president Hamid Karzai. Some believe peace talks with the biggest opposition group of the Afghan government, the Taliban, is a possibility, while others insisted it's not going to happen. Thus, Surgar has approached the president's consulting minister and Nangarhar's governor Gul Agha Sherzai, to ask his insight on the issue.

Let's initiate this interview with perhaps the most frequently asked question about the popular face in Afghan politics: What's your secret of being tremendously beloved by the Afghan people?

Sherzai:

First of all, I am blessed that I am a Muslim and an Afghan. Including my father, many of my relatives have sacrificed their precious lives in order to fight against the foreign rule and save the country. With God's grace, I have also carried out the loyal duty. Starting from the colonizing Communists, Al Qaeda and any foreign groups who have attempted to rule our country, we will fight and oust them out of the country. This is our country. We hold the rights to be served. So to have served the country, we would spill blood, if we need to, we will sweat, if we have to, and we will fight the holy war, when we need to.

Although I shouldn't talk about my accomplishments, to be more specific in regards of your question, I should say I work for the people, and when they like my work I feel joy. So They are the ones who have the rights to judge me in that area, not me.

But meanwhile, I would like to say that I have worked night and day to my best in order to serve my people. If Allah will invest more power in me, I will continue the humble service. However, I thank the people for having love for me and who appreciate my work.

Surgar:

As an active politician in the country for the past three decades, you might have noticed that Afghanistan has not only suffered in the reconstruction areas, but it struggles in several other areas as well, such as loose security, and failing to maintain freedom. So, why has your efforts only been in the reconstruction area?

Sherzai:

I feel assured that every Afghan is aware that I was the first one who suggested to organize a joint peace council (Jirga) under the leadership of tribal leaders among Afghanistan and the neighboring country Pakistan in order to restore peace in the restive areas on both the Afghan side of the border and the Pakistan side of the border. We approached the president Hamid Karzai and asked him to organize the Jirga amid the two countries, which was called Peace Caravan, in order to wipe out the growing violence in the restive borders of the two countries and unit the people of that area.

After the president approval, we held the peace Jirga and the representatives from both countries participated. So, I can tell you that I have not only paid attention to the reconstruction of the country, but I have also made efforts to maintain security and providing a secure environment for my people. As the governor of Nangarhar, I have taken vital steps in order to create a peaceful environment and maintain security there. Eradicating poppy growth to an zero, providing educational opportunities to the youth of not only Nangarhar, but every young man in the country, including the Kandaharis, are other examples of my work as the governor.

I don't want to brag about my works or accomplishments, but since you have asked, I told you some as examples. What I want the most, and what matters to me the most, is peace. Peace is Allah's word and all the good deeds are mixed within the peace. Our prophet Mohammad, Peace be upon Him, has also said that the act of forgiving gives more joy than taking one's revenge.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to ask those Afghans in opposition to the government to put an end to the long war and join the hands of peace with their brothers. As a peace-sider, I don't want any more bloodshed to flow in Afghanistan. If we notice, both sides at war and killing each other are Afghans.

Therefore, I urge the opposition Taliban to agree to peace talks. We Afghans should join hands together, and stand under one flag: the flag of peace.

Surgar:

Mr. Sherzai, if one notices, taking a look back at the seven years of Karzai government, you have had many accomplishments in the reconstruction programs for a number of areas of the country. What's the reason of your success in this area?

Sherzai:

I love to reconstruct my country. In whichever provinces like Kandahar, Nangarhar and including the capital Kabul of the county, I have carried out rehabilitation works. It was all for the good of the country.

But to really help the country, I couldn't carry out all this reconstruction activity on my own. I was assisted by many other Afghans, especially the people of Nangarhar. I should not forget about the assistance I have received from the people and the government of America, the United Kingdom, Japan, European United Nations, and many other countries world wide which have supported me in rebuilding my country.

As you all know, every work needs a plan and a strategy, whether a rehabilitation project, eradicating poppy or maintaining security. So whenever I do service for my country, I move on with a plan, a plan I have focused on well. So my success lies within a well organized and effective plan for carrying out everything.

Surgar:

Mr. Sherzai, in order to find out people's opinion about who they will vote in the upcoming presidential elections, Surgar has taken a survey putting some well know political faces including your name into the voting circle. After the completion of our survey, we found that you had the most votes. So, we may have answered the popular question today, who will Afghans vote for?

Would you tell us if you have any plans of announcing yourself as one of the candidates for the upcoming presidential elections?

Sherzai:

It's people's love and kindness to support me. I have been informed of other top positions, in several surveys taken by both the domestic and the international media, including a special survey taken by the United Nations for the elections. However, it's early to say whether or not I want to announce myself as an official candidate. I believe it all depends on both the peoples' and the nation's good will.

So I am not able to tell you anything about the issue just yet.

Surgar:

A number of political experts believe that you are the most important member of the U.S. president-elect Barack Obama's team in Afghanistan. They claim the best reason is the first hand visit of the new president with you. What is your point of view on the issue and where do you see these rumors going? Is there any truth there?

Sherzai:

I can't say much. But to address your question, Obama's first visit with me was in appreciation of my accomplishments in the country. Second, at that time, he was a candidate for the U.S. presidential elections and asked my opinion in maintaining stability and putting an end to the ongoing violence in Afghanistan. As a champion in the reconstruction of the country, becoming the Personality of the Year in 2006, and receiving people's support were all the reasons Obama chose to visit me on his first trip to our country.

He asked many questions about the country's current security, rehabilitation and the restive border areas of the country in order to find a solution. As the president-elect was informed that I carry out my works in accordance with detailed plans, therefore, he chose to visit me first and asked my opinions. I shared all I had in mind. Then, he requested that I give him some written ideas, and I fulfilled this request as well.

However I should say that after asking some of our top experts, scholars, politicians, I called for a meeting in order to discuss ways of bring security and restoring peace in the country. Then we arranged a written plan addressing the problems and sent it to president-elect Obama as our consensus position paper.

We pray to Allah that they put the plan into practical work, so our country can develop and stand in the list of the developed countries.

Surgar:

Would you share some of the most important points of your consensus plan that you sent to the U.S. president-elect?

Sherzai:

We urged long-lasting projects in the war-troubled countryside, which will help lower the high unemployment rates, help maintain security and result in the gradual cessation of hostilities, by bringing an end to this long war in the country. We also insisted on a local jobs creation provision in our proposal, because most of our population is illiterate. Many Afghans either work for very low pay, or do not have a job at all. We are starting all over again.

Therefore, we thought that in a society with so much illiteracy after thirty years of war, we should focus on creating jobs and employment, gradually raising economic standards, providing skills training and the organization and management to support such a large redevelopment program.

Second, we insisted on calling on our Afghan brothers in opposition to the government, to accept peace and put an end to the bloodshed in our country, an end to Afghan youth killing Afghan youth. Another part of our plan recommended that those occupation forces practicing capture or execution of Muslim scholars and Taliban fighters should cease and desist, then the National government should negotiate peace with the opposition groups, so reconstruction can begin.

Foreign forces should carry out their joint military and reconstruction support operations along with the Afghan forces. Civilians' house searches must stop, but if the situation requires a house search, then Afghan forces should do the search, not the international forces, in order to avoid any cultural affronts and unforgiveable insults to civilians by foreigners.

At last, I recommended the political divide between the neighboring countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan should be removed.

Surgar:

Mr. Sherzai, when President-elect Obama asks your opinion, naturally he should have his own opinion and strategy as well on the country. If he spoke of one, what were the important points? Was it similar to that of George W. Bush's or different?

Sherzai:

Obama has not yet publicly announced his policy about Afghanistan. After taking my opinions, he took President Hamid Karzai's insight and he might have taken other politicians ideas too. Bush's presidency is history now, and Obama is ready to govern, so we will see what policy he has in mind. Only time will tell us if Obama goes on the Bush path, or creates his own vision.

Surgar:

Being the key member of the Karzai administration, or, and if it's said in another way, as one of the establishers of his government, and looking back to the past seven years of the current government, how do you analyze it. Good, or the opposite?

Sherzai:

It's generally understood that every long-lasting government has its own revolutionary people within every region. President Karzai took over the country while it existed in violent turmoil. Foreigners have intervened in the country for twenty years. Treachery was paid for by foreign countries, including neighboring countries, to harm our democracy and destroy Afghanistan. Opposite political parties leaders were active. So, by looking at all this crisis, Karzai's government is faced with many
difficult struggles.

The language difference in the country was yet another challenge in Karzai's administration. The president always tried to keep the balance and make up a team of his own choice, giving every tribe a chance to govern in his administration. By not being able to fully do so, his current administration is crippled. Some ministers serves the country, others did not. Some governors work for the country, others do not, and the same way goes for police commanders and others in power.

There are even some in his administration who worked directly against the president to cause failure in his policies.

Keeping all these points in mind, many people complain about the Karzai government, some of which are true, some are not. We can say that president Karzai didn't come from a specific political party. If someone becomes the president after him, it's likely he would face some difficult challenges and problems as well.

However, besides all these points, Karzai's government solved some problems as well in the country. The country was rebuilt, the economy strengthened, and attempts were made to create a National government. So success and failure is ultimately all in The Almighty's power. I can say that president Karzai has worked to his best, but I will leave the analysis whether the Karzai leadership was positive or negative to the people of Afghanistan, to the international communities and to history.

Surgar:

As you have been active in politics for a long time, in your point of view, why are the Pashtun areas of the country restive and face more violence than other parts of the country? If we notice, Pashtuns have suffered more than anyone in Karzai's government. Why and what are the reasons?

Sherzai:

You all know that the Taliban movement came from the south of the country, the Pashtun populated areas of Kandahar and Herat. The movement initiated from the south, especially from Kandahar, so most of the Taliban are from the Pashtun areas. Not only in Afghanistan, there are Pashtuns residing on the Pakistani side of the border as well. For example, 13,000 religious schools (madrasas) are built in that unsettled border region. Taliban and Al Qeada leaders first coalesced in that area and started their resistance struggle against the foreign occupiers and then the current Afghan government.

One of the other reasons why the Pashtun areas suffer more violence than any other parts of the country is the constant arrest and imprisonment of those Taliban leaders and scholars who we were supposed to be inviting to sit for peace discussions. For example, I invited the foreign affairs minister of the Taliban regime, Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil, to peace talks, but unfortunately he was made a prisoner instead, and my word was breached.

This is what increases violence and the opposition's fight against the National government. But I have the solution for this major crisis, and I believe if it's put into practical work, it will bring peace and the war will end. The Taliban should be invited to peace talks, and only those should be subdued and arrested who in the name of Islam have destroyed Afghanistan.

For instance, the Al Qaeda leader, Al Zhawari, who claims Afghan soil as his "own". A while ago, he asked the U.S. president to withdraw his forces from Afghanistan. This is not his business and it stands as interference within our internal affairs. If Zhawari has problems with the US, he can go back to his own country and clear them out there.

Surgar:

Mr. Sherzai, by looking at the current violent situations in the country, foreign interference, international forces presence, the growing violence, and many other deep problems, do you see peace talks as a realistic possibility with the biggest group opposing the Afghan government, the Taliban?

Sherzai:

Absolutely Yes! But after special diplomatic missions, which should first go out to religious scholars, tribal leaders, local politicians and military officials, seeking their opinions and then be putting into practical work. These people should be made part of a joint meeting, and devise the plans. The plans should then be shared with the international communities and they should support them.

But as I mentioned earlier, if this issue is not considered seriously by the neighboring countries and occupying forces, and they are not agreed to support them, then peace talks with the Taliban become impossible. Without an effective plan, Jirgas and every other attempt at pacification have no point, and will only cause more problems by raising expectations, then failure.

Our wish is to stop more bloodshed by elders and the youth of the country, so we can see a peaceful environment spared of war.

Surgar:

Mr. Sherzai, many politicians do not agree with you. They claim as long as foreign forces stay in the country, peace talks with Taliban and other opposition groups is impossible and will not bring an end to the war. Then, on what basis do you maintain an opposing viewpoint to theirs?

Sherzai:

The situation is not as they portray it. If foreign forces leave, we will start killing each other, in an all-out civil war. Anyone who opposes talks has personal interests in maintaining the conflict in the country and don't want to end the fighting. The international community has come to Afghanistan with a stated intention of rebuilding the country. It will not leave until it reaches its goal of restoring order. And mostly importantly, we (Afghans) should start making a peace plan, then share it with the international community, and the community should approve it so we can bring peace to our country.

In brief, if there is no assistance by the international community, we can not solve the problems on our own.

Surgar:

Some analysts believe foreigners have come to Afghanistan not to maintain peace in the country, but are supporters of a long war and for continuing violence in the country on behalf of their own private economic interests. Do you believe this is true?

Sherzai:

No, if Afghanistan is rehabilitated, gets its own National army, has a well enforced law and has the opposition force guerrillas removed and deterred against further action, the odds are high that Afghanistan will one day stand on its own feet. I can assure you, unless a strong national government is implemented in Afghanistan, foreigners' withdrawal will be harmful for the country.

We have had this bitter experience in the past as well. When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan (1989), that era's president Doctor Najib's government turned upside down, and foreigners stopped paying attention to the country. At that time, the Americans had achieved their goal, to oust Russians out of Afghanistan (in retribution for the Viet Nam War), and so they turned away.

So when the Najib government failed, a civil war emerged among the Afghans and the Taliban rose up. The unsettled situation then provided an opportunity for the neighboring countries to interfere as well. A competition of building a sought-after government was going on, and every neighboring country wanted to create an (Afghan) government of their own image.

You all have seen the ruins of that earlier war, especially in the capital Kabul. Currently, it's the same situation in the country. If there were no foreigners, our president wouldn't be sitting in the presidential palace now.

Surgar:

As you know, the registration process for voting in the upcoming presidential elections has already begun, and has even been completed in some provinces. But in the south of the country, the process is slow and delayed due to poor security reasons. Looking at these security problems, how concerned are you, and if you are, what do you have in mind to do for the elections?

Sherzai:

We have made some efforts in order to solve this issue. But in the begining, an exact date for the elections should be pointed out and meanwhile the international community should support the elections and provide a peaceful environment for the voting process. I have talked to the top commander of the ISAF forces who said 25,000 fresh soldiers will be deployed in the near future around Afghanistan, most in the south. I believe that the international community and the president will get together to establish an exact date for the elections, so people can make preparations to register and vote in a peaceful environment.

Surgar:

Do you agree with the delay in the elections, or you support having it proceed on the exact date?

Sherzai:

Security problems do exist. So carrying out this voting campaign for the next 120 days will face some problems. But a plan should be made ahead of the elections in order to solve the security reasons. I personally haven't thought about either supporting the delay or holding elections on the exact date. I believe holding to the law is also important and improving security situations is also important.

Surgar:

A question about Kandahar. There are rumors that you have been asked many times to take back the position as the governor in the provincial capital, Kandahar. If these rumors are true, would you choose to be the governor of that province again?

Sherzai:

I have been asked to go back to Kandahar and carry out my job as a their governor. After the historical attack on Kandahar prison which freed hundreds of prisoners, the president asked me to come to his presidential palace and asked for my opinion in order to iron out the problems there. He said that all the security officials in that province asked him to send me back to the province.

But then, he said that I should stay in Nangarhar, which is border province with Pakistan.

Surgar:

You have mentioned that you suggested a plan for Kandahar, in order to solve the special problems in that war troubled province. Would you tell us some of the things you suggested?

Sherzai:

I suggested that a change should be brought in Kandahar security organizations. Kandahar should get an empowered governor, and representatives from the province should be invited here so they can express their problems in their own terms. They should then be asked to provide their own solutions to these problems.

Posted by: Shah Loam | Jan 14 2009 5:08 utc | 29

David @28: The Baby Boomers, which are a mighty generation of massive, mindless, television worshiping degenerates who have, though laziness and ignorance, squandered the country their parents and grandparents saved pennies to buy–while fighting two terrible world wars to protect (well, at least this is what they thought they were fighting for.)

maybe a little mean, but i have launched similar diatribes against Boomer's cultural signature: a hedonistic "me-ness" that was all too easy to co-opt, providing enticing justifications for their subsequent complicity in looking the other way as the gloves slowly came off to expose a giant corporate fist sizing up the elasticity of our rectums.

and i think it's important to consider the impact of their approaching/already here mass retirement, and how difficult it will be for such a prolific, self-absorbed generation (many who have very old parents if they're still breathing, and kids returning home in droves, sunk by college debt with job prospects drying up) to mentally adjust to whatever path we choose to go down.

*

i started a weekly writing group as part of a larger curriculum i'm helping develop at this new drop-in center for homeless folks (who can't stay sober enough to stay at our main shelter), and the center opened just in time for a brutal cold snap. doing what i can for them makes me feel a little less guilty about the horrible things i support through citizenship and submission to taxation.

i still believe the words we say can have actual, powerful effects. the words from our leaders are sugar-coated cyanide pills, sure, but when words form songs and lines of verse and fiction that tears our heart out, the effect can be transformative.
here you can find my attempts. there are still some kinks, but what the hell.

and though it's been derided here by some, i use the "k" instead of the "c" when spelling the name of my country, partly because i believe the decision makers who have run this show always had certain beneficiaries in mind, and the others have always been expendable to them.

Posted by: Lizard | Jan 14 2009 7:06 utc | 30

jonku 23) i'm still hearing that 'soulless suburbia' meme even today from folks too young to remember when you could walk around new york city from little italy clear up to harlem, sampling one deli after another, one basement cafe after another, one night club after another, soul food of all castes and creeds, and everyone in the street on holidays and weekends like those small pueblos in mexico used to be at christmas time, full of light and sound and dancing.

Soulless suburbia then, at least it seemed down in the village, so much going on, that was before the city of light became a city of machines, realm of financiers and property developers, gentrification and chain brandification, clear out all the street people, the music, the loitering, push them out, away, insert the traffic, neon, nothing more sterile than a giant dead christmas tree with 10,000 points of artifical light and robotic skaters twirling lifelessly in bryant park at night.

i remember a hoe-down upstate, a pot-luck and a marriage in the barn, everyone up in the hayloft getting high, pregnant bride holding the barn door closed against a sudden summer squall, happy groom, preacher reading from a nursery rhyme instead of a bible, homemade wine and ice cream, homemade beer and cider, and bluegrass fiddle music under the fireflies and glow worms phosphorescent light, long into the night.

i remember a banya party far up in the wilderness mountains beyond the last road, far at the end of the gravel, the homemade yurts, the gals all prettied up for a saturday night, big potluck dinner by lamp light, smell of herb and shroom in the air, the crackle of cedar kindling fire, then everyone naked in the sweat house together, pouring hot water on red stones and screaming at the blistering heat, jumping through a trapdoor in the floor into a glacial stream running beneath.

and so much more soul, all gone, lost, like tears in rain, or that benjamin buttons.
'soulless suburbia, soulless city!' this whole culture is gone dead and sterile and stinking ripe, like a bloated cow in the pasture, its legs up, prolapsed intestines pushing out the anus like a party balloon. what the hell happened to this country?!

will we wear collarless work shirts, slave for wages in some government salt mine far underground, filing reams and reels of surveillance documents away for the day when they can be "useful" for bringing some politician back in line? will we all watch American Idol and gag? will we all watch Dancing with the Stars, tears in our eyes because we can almost, almost remember when it was we who were dancing, when it was our music, our laughter, instead of RIAA's and Clear Channels'. Will we all become biscuit thieves, ratting each other out like Winston and Julia? at the end, will we watch the fully automated UAV's circling slowly overhead, stabbing with death lasers anyone still loitering after curfew, laughing under a lamp post?

"We have invented happiness", say the bureaucratLast Men, and we are so tired and broken and worn and weary with this endless war against the soul that we smile.

Gob bless.

Posted by: Red Buttons | Jan 14 2009 7:48 utc | 31

Lizard,
Thanks, and regarding the mass retirement of the boomers, I think the current financial mess is going to help cover the asses of companies that have massive lingering commitments with up-coming retirements. My gut feeling is the way most american's retirement was structured between the 1960's and the 1980's,they were designed so the companies could loot these funds with different speculative schemes that were supposedly to benefit the workers. Also, the current financial debacle will be an excuse to basically stop payment on many retirees. Not a pleasant thought, but probably some truth in it.

I'm pulling my hair out trying to find some type of foundation to plant my psyche upon as everyday brings with it news of some medieval horror which has survived into the new millennium. The world has become so crazy, so fast, it is like there is some sort of global "shock and awe" campaign being waged against everyone, everywhere, regardless of all the usual labels WE humans use to separate ourselves from THOSE humans.

I wish I had access to the HAL2000...I betcha if we could plug every major event, and every major player into a super-computer, have it crunch all these seemingly separate events and see what patterns it could discover–the results might surprise us.

It's good there are still some places willing to help the hopeless homeless. I become very conflicted when I see the multi-million dollar second, third or what-ever homes of the wealthy, that often remain empty for months at a time, some houses might only be occupied for two weeks every other year. The rest of the time they remain vacant with their lights on, heaters set to 70 degrees and the driveway melting any falling snow before it becomes ice. Growing up poor, I can understand why a person might want and feel justified owning such a space, but when tonight there will be people in america that freeze to death because they don't have any place to go, it becomes impossible for me to consider such a waste of space and resources anything more than pathetic, sad and aggravating.

And the politicians in our country have the audacity to criticize the conditions of other country's citizens? Rrrrrr!

"So I'll meet you at the bottom if there really is one
They always told me when you hit it you'll know it
But I've been falling so long it's like gravity's gone and I'm just floating" The Drive-By Truckers, Gavity's Gone

Posted by: David | Jan 14 2009 8:39 utc | 32

Thanks Red.

My father tells me that he can sing because that's what he and his friends did on a Friday or a Saturday night, sing the songs they learned from the radio.

Or if they were in a car with one, along with the radio.

The soulless suburbia noted in the article is the roadway-connected tracts of detached homes that sprawl between the cities we know (I too have wandered the village and the loweasida, and subway'd and taxi'd uptown to the latin quarter) and the countryside that once was local farmers' land.

The article states that suburbia has also claimed the plains of the midwest with factory farms and their employees.

On a road trip last summer through Czech Republic and Slovakia I saw the fields of grain, with the occasional coal or hydro, or the very occasional wind power plant.

But where did the farmers live? There were no homes near the road, no barns ... only later did we see the centrally-planned apartment buildings planted ill-conceivedly, inorganically up on a miles-distant hill. One supposes that a bus would take these workers to the fields, just as they do here in the Fraser Valley.

This is not what we might think of as a natural landscape, perhaps efficient but still inhumane. Shouldn't the workers and owners at least sleep on or near their livestock and crops?

Posted by: jonku | Jan 14 2009 8:44 utc | 33

Thanks for celebrating the life of new york which I think must still continue, except probably not on 42nd street anymore.

Brooklyn has its life last time I was there, even though the soulless are still trying their best.

Lighthouse Cafe on 3rd Ave. at 75th Street is still full of the smell of fried eggs and coffee as must be every other breakfast joint and deli. If I could only walk into a deli and ask for a tuna and cheddar cheese sandwich on whole wheat, with mustard and mayo on whole wheat (my own recipe!) and then a regular coffee at the register, total elapsed time about two minutes, before lighting a smoke for the short walk back to work ... then I could show you what the benefits of urban living are.

Instead I don't smoke any more (yay!) and I make my own sandwiches to have with my herbal tea.

The story of the city is also the story of energy efficiency and social support, not to mention happening on a gallery opening or wedding celebration, or just a bodega selling cervezas on your way home.

Posted by: jonku | Jan 14 2009 8:57 utc | 34

Have I missed something, or doesn't anyone think it newsworthy that Olmert openly boasted about having persuaded Bush to change the UNSC Resolution for a cease-fire from a yeah to an abstention?

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-us-olmert14-2009jan14,0,5295919.story

The State Dept. denial is implausible.

Posted by: Parviz | Jan 14 2009 9:57 utc | 35

Such good writing! Too bad I am written out for the night.

Good to see you around, jonku.

If #27 is true, which I know it to be, then #26 explains my assertion yesterday of how commodities markets are being manipulated.

And I do get angry when people refuse to believe that what we are seeing is in the words of U$, "Clinical, methodical and systemic."

If you refuse to see and act on that information, and you continually make excuses for our rulers calling them "incompetent," then no matter how you view yourself, there is no difference in your effect upon the system and others, than the worst sort of reactionary.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 14 2009 10:00 utc | 36

just a shout-out to Lizard, I followed your link to some awesome b&w sketches and poetry ... good poetry!

INNOCENCE

Milkshake memories, earthquake blues
Bathed in summer twilight hues
Apple cheeks and wheat-sleek hair
The way her angry nostrils flare--

Willow toes and grass kazoos
Jeans rolled up and floppy shoes
With one big leap, a mighty show
The surface breaks, her image goes--

To rippled pieces, out from here
Where a central fool, from ear to ear,
Is grinning like a kid at play
Glad mischief on proud display--


- Lizard

Posted by: jonku | Jan 14 2009 10:54 utc | 37

Brief, hard-hitting dose of realism is provided below by Alastair Crooke, former Mid-East negotiator:

The War in Gaza: A view from the Arab street

The culture of resistance in the Arab world has become more uncompromising and more anti-European as a result of the attacks on Gaza and the round of international diplomacy that has followed it. Israel and its supporters have already suffered a major strategic defeat.

By Alastair Crooke, former EU mediator with Hamas

(The article is part of a RUSI.org forum containing different perspectives on the crisis in Gaza and the Middle East)

The round of international diplomacy that has just concluded has left this part of the Arab world incredulous, extremely angry and polarised. The demonstrations in Syria this weekend were marked by use of extreme slogans seldom heard in public, and images of Osama bin Laden were paraded at protests in Jordan. The feel is of strategic tremors that hint at some fundamental shifting of the plates of Muslim opinion.

The searing images emerging from Gaza have long since undergone a subconscious transfiguration: from originally being about Hamas they have metamorphosed into an archetypal image of Israel attacking the Gazan people, the Palestinian people and Islam. Happening as they did during Ashura, the Shia commemoration of the martyrdom of Hussein – providing the backdrop to the speeches by the Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayed Hassan Nasrallah that have gripped the region – the attacks have Islamiised political discourse and given events in Gaza the aura of Hussein’s sacrifice in the face of injustice.

The conviction of injustice has drawn added passion from a UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution that would allow Israel to keep its troops in position in Gaza after ceasefire, whilst postponing any resolution - until some later and indeterminate dialogue – of the opening of the crossings into Gaza. This was the very issue that was the cause of the earlier ceasefire to collapse.

The prime aim of the UNSC Resolution was to exclude Hamas as a main party to any political process – other than to be deemed in breach of the Resolution - were the smuggling across the Egyptian border through the tunnels to persist. The Resolution simply ignores the need to lift the siege of Gaza, and to secure a normalisation of the life of Gazans, as the key to a solution.

The real anger, however, has been reserved for the proposals advanced by the Egyptians and conveyed to Hamas during bilateral meetings in recent days. It has been plain that this initiative, encouraged by European leaders and the US, is intended to bypass the now solidly united Gazan movements by bringing back the West’s favoured Palestinian interlocutor Mahmoud Abbas, whose term in office as President expired on 9 January, as the authority in Gaza.

The Egyptians also proposed to Hamas the indefinite postponement of elections and internal Palestinian reconciliation, while demanding that Abbas be authorised to negotiate an agreement with Israel free from Palestinian political scrutiny or constraint. The Egyptians propose that only when all is complete – the resistance ended, the Rafa’a crossing and Gaza returned to Abbas’ control, and Abbas’ negotiations with Israel concluded – would the possibility of elections (under Abbas’ control) become possible.


This represents yet another attempted coup against the movement that overwhelmingly won the 2006 parliamentary elections. Unsurprisingly, it was rejected categorically in a speech by the Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau Khaled Mesha’al on Saturday, and has been rejected, similarly, by all the movements in Gaza. It seems that a fresh crisis has been ushered in by the European and American desire to land a blow on the so-called ‘arc of extremism’. The price will be paid by the Gazans.

The aim is clear enough: Israel and the West intend to damage Hamas so severely that it will send a message to Hezbollah, which will in turn chasten Syria and ultimately weaken Iran. This, the proponents of the new ‘Great Game’ such as Tony Blair hope, will strengthen the moderates and secure Israel.

From the evidence to date, it will do neither. Whatever the outcome with Hamas in Gaza – and the outcome there is by no means assured because at the time of writing the military formations of Hamas and the resistance have not been significantly degraded - the culture of resistance in the region has solidified and become more uncompromising and anti-European.

Palestinian unity has fallen pawn to a bigger game of tilting the regional balance of strength towards the so-called forces of ‘moderation’. But even were this to succeed in this particular phase of the struggle in Gaza, its proponents do not seem to grasp that Gaza and the Palestinian conflict has become the iconic image for Muslims of the struggle between the West and the Muslim world – for which the western ‘Great Game’ of moderates versus ‘extremists’ is no more than a cynical ideological device.

When it does end, Israeli and American experts will point to the benchmarks of claimed success: militants killed, tunnels destroyed, homes levelled. But the fact of their strategic defeat will be lost within this torrent of pseudo-empiricism.. Archetypal images in this region are more powerful than benchmarks: Gaza has become the Sunnis’ ‘Kerbala’ (the battle at which Hussein was killed) and Hamas the new Hezbollah. This round has already been won.

Posted by: Parviz | Jan 14 2009 14:24 utc | 38

This round has already been won. - agreed ...

Posted by: b | Jan 14 2009 15:17 utc | 39

Lizard,

I just flew over to your page-sweet sadnesses and soulful symbolism. Good stuff, thanks for sharing.


Posted by: David | Jan 14 2009 15:36 utc | 40

Powerful editorial.

So now they are reduced to doing bodycounts, except this time coverage has proved that the bodies are those of young children, not "enemies."

The parallels between Gaza and Haiti, the two niggers of the developed world, are striking. Especially the European complicity........

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 14 2009 15:47 utc | 41

Talking on the phone to a friend and I realized how damn appropriate the name Gaza is for the area of Palestine being attacked. The way the israelis are going, every citizen in Gaza will be soon wrapped in gauze...

Malooga@41
And according the awful people I heard being interviewed at a pro-israel rally, those babies are just terrorist seeds and should be killed before they can sprout. Sick, sick, sick. And our sanctimonious politicians just sit by nodding their heads together in agreement like a pack of Bobble-headed dolls riding in the back seat of an israel tank. Each time its weapon is fired the pack of heads heads nodding even more vigorously up and down in agreement.

Posted by: David | Jan 14 2009 16:28 utc | 42

@40&37: thanks

Posted by: Lizard | Jan 14 2009 16:35 utc | 43

Round for the house in honor of MOA's poet laureate, Lizard. I've taken the opportunity to blog about his sublime and seminal work at my place: here.

I'm so honored to be among some of the best thinkers, poets, writers, artists and muckrakers in the blogshpere, from beq, to anna missed to the untold extraordinary commenter's and essayist's, b you have a national treasure museum and a fine fine bar here...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 14 2009 17:09 utc | 44

U$@44

Here, here and let me raise a glass to everyone too!

A favorite quote from the strange Dr Thompson-"when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."

I realized my rigs been warming up while I sit and write and write and write...I wonder how many replies to the gallon I'm getting.

Posted by: David | Jan 14 2009 17:31 utc | 45

b you have a national treasure museum and a fine fine bar here...
Indeed. MoA's OT-threads are pure goldmines, this one being another leading exemplar. Even tho I’ve been quietly frequenting this bar for years, the depth and width of b’s forum still astounds me. Much appreciated.
If you refuse to see and act on that information, and you continually make excuses for our rulers calling them "incompetent," then no matter how you view yourself, there is no difference in your effect upon the system and others, than the worst sort of reactionary.
Malooga, as always you’re putting the finger right on the wound. The apathy amongst people, the more or less silent consent, given year in year out by the ever chewing sheep in the paddock, is one of the main reasons for the dilemma mankind finds itself in today. Following our ancestors footsteps, repeating the behavior patterns which for millenniums now have allowed the balance of power to hang crooked, war and murder to go unpunished, if not rewarded. It almost seems as if it is a fundamentally human condition to walk through life with eyes wide shut.

I recently came across this profound piece of writing which I feel somehow expresses my thoughts on this existential problem much more elegantly than I ever could:
_____________________________________

Everybody knows things are bad in the world. Everything is not peachy. The problems are innumerable, the economy, our freedoms, our happiness, our quality of life, we are suffering in all aspects of life and though we hope for a better future we feel as though the things which are outside of our control will only get worse. The situation we are in is overwhelming, we feel like there is something we can do but we don't know what to do! Whenever anyone is faced with this overwhelming situation, the question always becomes "what do we do about it?"

Do we run out on the streets? Do we protest and go on strike? People do not really know what to do, they just do nothing or else they go and look for an out to it all. They join some political party or they become religious or they start drinking or taking drugs. They try to make money or work their way out of it, or they try to pleasure their way out of it with food or sex.

There are many different paths people can take, but what they all have in common is this: Avoidance.

When a person says "what do we do about it" they are looking for an out. They want a savior to come and save them from it all, or they want to find some distant world where they escape it all. This is totally normal and perfectly reasonable. There is nothing wrong with people for feeling this way, I am as guilty of it as anyone else and I am not above it.

The problem we are in is not one of our making. Once again: the problem we are in is not one of our making. History is filled with butchery and murder, tyranny and theocratic oppression is the norm. We've all been born into a nightmare and we're just now waking up to how terrifying and all encompassing it all is. We are searching for outs but there are none, we are hoping to one day wake up and find it was all a bad dream. This is why it's not uncommon to hear the question "what do we do about it?"

There are endless people who say they have found the outs.

"It's the economic system!" they say,
"It's the government!" they say,
"It's the religions!" they say.

None of these things are at the root of the problem. How do I know this? Because none of these things are actually real. History has been dominated by these three systems but what do they all have in common... ?

They are all faith-based belief systems.

Economics is not actually a science, the entire system is based on faith. If no one believed the money they or anyone else had was worth anything, it would not be worth anything. Are you starting to get the picture? It's a belief system, it's based on faith and nothing more. Many people realize this, what most do not realize is that "government" is the same thing. There is no such thing as a "government." Government is an idea, to quote GHWB on the New World Order, "It is a big idea." People think that the government is something real, they see the huge buildings and pillars and statues and they feel like it is a separate entity unto itself which rules over things. This is an illusion. And this is where we start to get to the root of the problem.

Let me introduce you to a word which is in almost no ones vocabulary. The word is hypostatized. As I type it right now my Firefox spell check says it's not a word.

hypostatized
hy⋅pos⋅ta⋅tize
–verb (used with object), -tized, -tiz⋅ing.
to treat or regard (a concept, idea, etc.) as a distinct substance or reality.

Also, especially British, hy⋅pos⋅ta⋅tise.

Origin: 1820–30; < Gk hypostat(ós) (see hypostatic ) + -ize

This word describes the exact problem which is at the root of all other problems people believe they suffer from. We live in a faith based system, we live in a belief system, we think it is real and a distinct substance but it is not, we are only regarding it as such.

Just as the power of money would cease to exist if people did not believe in it, the power of government would cease to exist if no one believed in it. And I say that knowing what I'm talking about is a nonexistent entity which does not exist outside of peoples minds.

You see, when you understand this the problem is not what do we do about it, the problem is why have people ceased for thousands of years to realize this extremely basic fact of life? Why do people believe this nonsense and let it run their lives?

Because at the root of everything is the most basic human condition and the most basic and all pervasive of human problems, the avoidance of the obvious. Everybody knows what is wrong with the world and themselves, the problems are not complex, but people avoid the basic solutions which are staring them right in the face. They do not want to face up to the truth, they do not want the responsibility which it implies, they are afraid of life and of actually living.

This is the real problem with the world, it's blatant and it's staring you in the face. When you look at a puppy or a child they are free, they don't recognize the false belief systems and fake systems of control which we "civilized" adults all believe are basic and real, all they recognize is life, their feelings, their soul, their spirit, these things are the essence of life.

People believe themselves to be their beliefs, they say things like "I'm a Christian,"
"I'm a Democrat,"
"I'm a Philosopher,"
"I'm a Salesman,"

No. That is what you believe yourself to be. What you really are is your spirit, you are your mind, your soul, you are your feelings, you are your yearnings and your hopes and dreams. You are the spirit you had in you as a child and the spirit that is in a gallant puppy dog at the park.

You've been tricked into hypostatizing so many beliefs to the point where you actually think that they are what you are. I am here to tell you that you are not your beliefs, you need to wake up to this, this is the only thing keeping you from being truly free…
__________________________

Truly free, huh? At that point I think the piece drifts slightly into the metaphysical and therefore imho also slightly out of context. I mean, "Freedom", try to define it. For me freedom has always been more a question of time than of location, being able to leave when I want overrides the freedom to go where I want. Anyway, as important as philosophical discourse is, it's besides the point, very little relevance to the actual suffering I set out to address.

Mankind was doomed the moment the first time a man rammed a stake into the ground proclaiming it to be his now, and everybody else believed him. With land comes wealth and power, peasants who'd pay taxes. Taxes buy warriors, which rob more land. From AD to BC, right up to today, Iraq, Palestine, the story hasn't changed. The actors have, the fashion of clothes has, but the script has been the same, it appears forever.

Collectively we need to wake up to the comforting fact that without us, the worker bees, the obscenely wealthy parasites in their security patrolled uptown residences would not be able to exist. As a species, we need to discover a sense of responsibility, stop blaming others, and start to actively contribute to the revolution that is needed to bring back equal rights.

And our sanctimonious politicians just sit by nodding their heads together in agreement like a pack of Bobble-headed dolls riding in the back seat of an israel tank.
That is right, but lets not forget that we knew that Israel would attack again, we knew that the politicians we voted in would be sitting there with their nodding heads agreeing to the mayhem. And yet we voted for them. Which by my deduction means we are at fault. I repeat, we are at fault. Why? Because we have the power to change things but don't use it.

Our complacent and spineless governments exist because we put them there in the first place, don't do jack shit about their shocking performances, re-elect them even, letting one generation of war criminals after another walk scot-free. Sad but true, the blame lies with us, for believing in and thus enabling our heartless system. The public discourse is impregnated with petty issues, leading upfront the most trivial issue, even well before what type of cocktail Paris Hilton had three weeks ago, the Democrat v. Republican charade. Almost the entire civic bandwidth is taken up by us discussing the minuscule differences between two parties, fully falling for the sham. Instead we could be thinking, discussing, formulating alternative forms of government and wealth distribution, much to the despair of our incestuous elites.

Public opinion is the elephant in the room. In order to sway it, we need to do the job the MSM is not doing, conveying the awful truth. In order to get the population's attention, and Obama can confirm this, any revolutionary movement would need a lotta cash. To gain the citizenry's attention, for the heads to rise from the feeding trough, the messages has to be loud, and the MSM sells exactly that, volume. If we, the ones pissed off enough with the current system that we stopped believing in it, start to believe in ourselves instead, embraced our civil strength and reach, we would in no time be able to fill a war chest with all the silver needed to spread the word.

Should BO or HRC only mention the words invasion or military intervention, mass strikes across the nation need to convey the people's message that those days are well and truly over and any further steps in that direction would mean a run on the banks and large scale civil disobedience. Maybe I am just waffling here, but I do believe that where there is a will there is a way. Where is the will?

Posted by: Juan Moment | Jan 14 2009 21:06 utc | 46

yes, thank you lizard, love 'heron' & of course i bow respectfully to my dear uncle $cam tho i'm sure yr a wee slip of a thing

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 14 2009 22:33 utc | 47

malooga

the president of the general assmebly of the un who i have been follwing seems to be a good, good man - old & pained enough not to use the baton but sufficiently sane to speak the truth - i now little about him but what i have seen impresses me

& yes salut to our greek comrades

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 14 2009 22:36 utc | 48

Jaun@46,

Nice post, but one thing to consider is that most of the people don't want to wake-up to any truth.

"Public opinion is the elephant in the room. In order to sway it, we need to do the job the MSM is not doing, conveying the awful truth." Juan Moment.

The awful truth has been available to the general public for many years now–even before the internet, but most people would rather dwell in the State's illusions than try and think their way out of it. And this is our problem because it is the group-think of the faceless majority that allows the murderous crimes of state to happen.

Regardless of what we want our reality to be, it is unfortunately dependent on the humans around us as to what sort of reality we get to experience. There is such a mass of humanity that has bought into all the State's illusions that they practically force the rest of us to admit these shades exist.

Americans are like lobsters in a pot of slowly heating water; the water temperature has become close to boiling but no one notices. When they finally do, they'll have already started cooking and the wealthy will be melting butter. What's that I smell?

Posted by: David | Jan 14 2009 23:04 utc | 49

Lizard - So much to digest. For now, I'm full. But I'll be back.

Thank you.

Posted by: beq | Jan 14 2009 23:59 utc | 50

it seems the courageous fighters of gaza are giving exemplary resistance to the machine of war of israel - while the arab client states of us imperialism bend & bow in what can only be called a millenial shame

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 15 2009 0:18 utc | 51

& in the west the govts consume the catastrophe as ifthe brown blood of palestinains is chocolate

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 15 2009 0:20 utc | 52

Lizard:

I am treasuring your work, slowly.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 15 2009 1:50 utc | 53

Has any MOA's been keeping up with the Connell plane crash news? The reason I ask, is I don't see any of my usual blogs discussing this...

New information sheds more light on GOP IT guru's tragic death

This is becoming pretty bizarre...

Snip:

Connell is also alleged to have been involved with the scrubbing of emails from White House staff which had been sent through an alternate system hosted on Republican National Committee servers.
Information "Lockdown" - Details Withheld from Fire Department
Capt. Geisner expressed considerable frustration during several Raw Story interviews over what he alleges was the withholding of critical details by authorities.

"While en route to the fire, I asked dispatch to learn the size of the plane and the number of souls on board," Geisner explained. "This was not provided us."

Such details allow fire department officials to determine whether additional equipment is needed and if a wider search and rescue is required. Within fifteen minutes of the crash, after officials from Akron-Canton Airport had arrived on the scene, Geisner again sought to confirm the number of passengers.

"After calls were made I was told that the ATC [Air Traffic Control] was 'all in lockdown,' and that they said 'we can't release that information,'" Geisner said.

Todd Laps, Fire Chief of the Akron-Canton airport fire department and a liaison to the Transportation Security Administration and the Air Traffic Control, echoed Geisner's account.

"I had some phone calls placed to see if I could get that number [of people on board]. It didn't come in a timely enough fashion," Laps said.

But Laps says that the words "lock down" were not used. When asked to clarify his earlier comments, Gaisner insisted that the words "lock down" had been used in reference to information.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 15 2009 2:38 utc | 54

U$@54-

Damn, so much coming at us these days it's hard to stay on top of everything. I almost forgot about this convenient "accident", thanks for the reminder...I smell the stink of cover-up. Why does Vince Foster's name come to mind?

Posted by: David | Jan 15 2009 3:10 utc | 55

With regards to poetry of late, and not to distract from our Lizard, at all, at all, but for myself, there is some kind of weird thing that happens between reading and listening to it spoken, not that one is any more powerful than the other, they both move me, but in different ways, however, there is something in the cadence of the sound of it, the oral tradition? that accesses a different part of my,-perhaps limbic- brain and can be euphoric in a unexplainable way.

I wanted to not like the following, at first I though, yeah yeah, some emo kid, but my body over ruled my mind and I liked it, it moved me....perhaps you will too:


Death, Decay and Windy Days

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 15 2009 3:19 utc | 56

Here is a link the the crash report from the ntsb regarding the crash:

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20081223X12815&key=1

and an interesting graf from the report:

The airplane received radar vectors to the instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway 23. The airplane was vectored to intercept the approach about two miles from the outer marker. The airplane was inbound from the outer marker when ATC advised N9299N that it was left of course. ATC asked if N9299N would like to be resequenced and N9299N responded by transmitting “correcting.” The airplane altitude was still about 3,200 feet (the intermediate segment altitude for the approach is 3,200 feet). ATC then advised N9299N that it was “well left of the localizer” and if it would like to be resequenced. N9299N responded by transmitting that it would “like to correct.” N9299N was about 2 ½ miles from the airport when it then transmitted if it could execute a 360-degree turn. ATC then instructed N9299N to climb and maintain 3,000 feet and queried N9299N’s present heading. N9299N transmitted, “heading due north and climbing.” N9299N then declared an emergency.

I sounds to me like someone was fucking with the signals his plane was supposed to be receiving from the airport to cross-reference his altitude and caused him to think he was at a higher altitude than he was. But then I like to wear an aluminum hat on occasion too.

Posted by: David | Jan 15 2009 3:24 utc | 57

And here is the blogg where I found the above link.

http://discussions.flightaware.com/viewtopic.php?t=7433&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=&sid=ab616af2747c94f2144d17920eaa7a9f

Mostly pilots and some raised interesting questions, but one poster did have a rather sober take on how it could have been pilot error.

Posted by: David | Jan 15 2009 3:31 utc | 58

Other pilot mishap mysteries ... from the International Herald Tribune: "We've learned over time that he's a pathological liar - you don't believe a single word that comes out of his mouth," said Charles Kinney, an airline pilot from Atlanta who alleges that Schrenker pocketed at least $135,000 of his parents' retirement fund.

In a feat reminiscent of a James Bond movie, the 38-year-old businessman and amateur daredevil pilot apparently tried to fake his death in a plane crash, secretly parachuting to the ground and speeding away on a motorcycle he had stashed away in the pine barrens of central Alabama. ... Schrenker was flying his single-engine Piper Malibu to Florida from his Indiana home when he radioed from 2,000 feet, or 600 meters, that he was in trouble. He told the tower that the windshield had imploded, and that his face was plastered with blood.

Then his radio went silent.

Military jets tried to intercept the plane and found the door open and the cockpit dark. The pilots followed until the aircraft crashed in a Florida bayou surrounded by homes. There was no sign of Schrenker's body. They now know they should never have expected to find one.

Okay, does this strike you as just a little bit funny -- that military jets can find and check on a small plane somewhere over Alabama when the pilot says his windshield is cracked, but they can't intercept 4 hijacked airliners on Sept. 11th?

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over and out.

Posted by: jonku | Jan 15 2009 4:49 utc | 59

Jesus fucking Christ...

Army routinely used unlicensed psychologists until 2006

Soldier’s suicide spotlights troops’ mental care

"WASHINGTON - In 2005, an Army captain in Iraq asked for a mental health evaluation for one of his soldiers, a private first class from North Carolina who was known to put the muzzle of his weapon in his mouth. The case was assigned to a psychologist who was unlicensed — a common practice in the early years of the war, when the Army rushed mental health counselors to the combat zone even if some weren't certified or fully qualified.

The psychologist reported that a screening indicated the 20-year-old private, Jason Scheuerman, was "capable of claiming mental illness" to manipulate his superiors and did not have a mental disorder. Three weeks later, Scheuerman stepped into a barracks closet and shot himself to death. He had nailed a note to the closet that said, "Maybe finally I can get some peace."

His death, the subject of an internal Army investigation exposed to The Associated Press by his family, casts light on the armed forces' reliance on unlicensed counselors before the Army policy was changed to exclude them in 2006.

At the time of Scheuerman's suicide, unlicensed psychologists and other counselors were allowed to examine soldiers provided they were supervised by licensed professionals. The same rules are common in civilian evaluations.

It is not clear whether the psychologist in Scheuerman's case, Army Capt. Chris Hansen, was supervised according to those rules before he sent the soldier back to duty..."

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 15 2009 9:53 utc | 60

jonku #59

Okay, does this strike you as just a little bit funny -- that military jets can find and check on a small plane somewhere over Alabama when the pilot says his windshield is cracked, but they can't intercept 4 hijacked airliners on Sept. 11th?

Perhaps, you should watch this:

Mineta testimony on Cheney stand down/shoot down censored

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 15 2009 9:59 utc | 61

You know that I'm as conspiratorially minded as the next person, but I don't understand how someone as bright as Connell would not know to secretly get his information out to others before even hinting that he was having thoughts of spilling the beans. Once stuff is out in the public domain, your life is, to some small degree, safer.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 15 2009 10:44 utc | 62

@ Malooga - Or purchase a contract if anything happened to him ala Superfly? lol.

I agree Uncle (#56) about the sound of poetry. I read two of Lizard's over the phone last night to SO and he (who doesn't say much about poetry) was thoughtfully impressed.

Kudos again Lizard.

Posted by: beq | Jan 15 2009 12:27 utc | 63

@beq:

One of my good friends around here, a lifetime Marxist, was drafted and about to be sent to Vietnam. Among the myriad forms one has to fill out, is a benficiaries form: where will the insurance money go if you are killed in battle? Most people put down their wives or their parents. He wrote in the most radical anti-war group he knew. And it saved his life! They made sure that he was never put in a potentially harmful situation.

So we do have small ways to resist and to save our own hides.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 15 2009 15:48 utc | 64

thank you all for the kind responses. it means a lot to me.

Posted by: Lizard | Jan 15 2009 17:40 utc | 65

Here is a link to a blog about the mumbai attacks. Some great investigating with links, interesting read.

http://www.wakeupfromyourslumber.com/node/9390

Posted by: David | Jan 16 2009 1:02 utc | 66

BREAKING NEWS: Obama proposes grandiose $850B Department of National Reconstruction, offers Director Cabinet position to Steve Ballmer, seen here singing the praises of the Grand Obama Buildout, and all the benefits that will bring to "private enterprise".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMU0tzLwhbE&feature=related

DNR Director Steve Ballmer, ladies and gentlemen, let's have a round of applause.

Posted by: Telly Yosarian | Jan 16 2009 2:23 utc | 67

Below is a link that I think is a great listen to for all in the U.S. by Gerald Celente. Probably important points there to ponder for all of us everywhere. I used a relevant quote from this interview in the Hamas Performance thread moments ago.

Link to Celente Interview

Posted by: Rick | Jan 16 2009 9:49 utc | 68

BREAKING NEWS!!!

Qatar and Mauritania just suspended economic and political ties with Israel. 2 down, 198 countries to go ..........

Posted by: Parviz | Jan 16 2009 15:09 utc | 69

b, malooga's 'Everything you wanted to know about how Zionists control US policy' link will not open for me, either the extended link, the comments link, or the links in the right hand column leading to the thread. all the other links seem to work.

Posted by: annie | Jan 16 2009 23:13 utc | 70

billmon on dk

Was it worth it-Hell yeah

Posted by: sabine | Jan 17 2009 3:16 utc | 71

An idea has recently coalesced in my mind regarding the election of Obama. I’ve come to the conclusion that many of his supporters are really closet racists and probably don’t even realize it.

The reason I say this is from my experience of waking up to my own racist beliefs, which, up until the time I met Vernal, I’d never admitted to having.

Vernal was one of the group of twenty-somethings I’d hangout with to drink beers when I’d get off work serving the lunch counter at Moma’s, down on Gerry St in SF (that’s for you annie.)

Those were good times: It was ’95 and the earthquake almost forgotten, the city less than 70% occupied, rents were cheap (I lived in my van anyway, it was even cheaper) the Cannabis Club was still located in a small upstairs loft between the Lower Haight and the Castro District, but one could feel the changes coming faster and faster (during the eight months I’d lived there, the population boomed and rents went back up.)

Almost every night I’d drink beers at the studio apartment of two brothers on walkabout from Australia. The group hanging-out there most often and drinking were; a girl from Columbia; a white kid from South Africa; Vernal, the black kid most recently from Atlanta; a couple of girls from Argentina; a kid from Peru, and the random flotsam of searching humans, all having washed-up in San Francisco from Somewhere Else and had found this strange little spot to drink.

One night I’d asked Vernal where he was from and he told me that he’d lived in San Diego, Seattle, Virginia and Florida with his family, and had went to collage in Georgia, which is how he ended up in Atlanta. I made a quick assessment of the places he’d lived, his skin color, and since he’d moved so much, I took a stab and asked, “Was your dad in the military?”

He laughed and said, “I’ve been moved.”

“Huh?”
Me, having grown-up country, didn’t get the reference, but then Vernal explained that his dad had worked for, “IBM…I’ve Been Moved, get it?”

I shall never forget that moment. It was then I realized how insidious racism is, how it is part of every human to some degree, and often it isn’t even noticed. I found it ironic that this black guy had grown-up even whiter and more middle-class than I had. I grew-up somewhere between food stamps and government cheese (what an ungrateful wretch I turned-out to be) and I'd just assumed that his dad was a military guy because Vernal was educated, well spoken and well, black.

We learn, but there is still more learning for me to do, that’s for sure.

Now, after that damn, longwinded soliloquy, how does having voted for Obama make a person racist?

It is in how they chose to perceive Obama as a “black” candidate and all the labels that go along with it. Think about what everyone has assumed about Obama because he’s black. Most folks expect, and hope, that he’ll be a big change. They can’t believe Obama won’t be any different than the rest of the nincompoops we’ve elected since president Reagan, ONLY because he’s black. A black democrat has got to be better than those white republicans, right? No, he doesn’t, and will probably be the last nail in the coffin of American politics.

I feel, despite all the “static noise” during the election, Obama was selected president four-years-ago when he gave the speech that “launched” his career at the convention. One might even think of that as his first acceptance speech, everything since has been the dog and pony show.

Obama was chosen because he is black. The powers that be knew Obama would be able to use his race as an advantage against any criticism. One doesn’t want to be labeled a racist any more than anti-semitic and this fact should play well during the next four or eight years.

I didn’t vote for Obama, but regardless of that, I too hoped that he might be something different. I realize now, any hope is probably for naught.

While he was running, I thought if he won he’d invite a lot of diverse people to come join him at the table of American politics, but since the election I see most of us are again going to be dodging the diner’s boots while fighting each other for crumbs on the floor.

One of the photos I cherish more everyday is the one I shot of my voting card with the vote for Cynthia colored in, nice and black.

Posted by: David | Jan 17 2009 5:38 utc | 72

israeli poet protests the war audio & text.

Posted by: Lizard | Jan 17 2009 7:07 utc | 73

Obama: I Always Thought Bush Was a "Good Guy"

Obama minimalism? Has to be, because he has made it pretty clear he's not stupid. And if it's minimalism, politics as usual, pandering then where's the 'change'?

Says he thinks Bush made "the best decisions that he could at times under some very difficult circumstances."

Nah, it isn't even dishonest pandering, IT'S FUCKING LYING!

Un fucking believable...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 17 2009 10:30 utc | 74

Part One:

Clinical:

I decided to coin Obama the methodical Rorschach president, of the pareidolia nation, where one projects their internalized image of their illusion on an object in hopes that it will reflect their unconscious phantasy (deliberately spelled with 'ph' to distinguish it from the word 'fantasy') The '"mental expression" of instinct is unconscious phantasy, It's a self defense mechanism of transference.

Methodical:

Example,

Once unconscious phantasy becomes embodied in a social institution a new process comes into play: individuals born into the culture are provided with pre-defined patterns of acting out. The responses to basic unconscious complexes are determined by the existent social institutions. And the persistence of these culturally defined patterns may be understood in terms of their capacity to provide more or less adequate means of coping with infallible conflict.

Systemic:

Further,

If an unconscious complex is shared by a sufficient number of persons in a culture, and if an imaginative modus operandi can be invented, social reality, possessing no inherent or fixed structure, may come to achieve the form which is dictated by the phantasy. Courtly Love, in these terms, was a projection of the competition with the father onto the external world and represented a way of resolving the Oedipus complex through the attempt to defeat the previously victorious father
.

In Object relations theory "[Projection] helps the ego to overcome anxiety by ridding it of danger and badness. Introjection of the good object is also used by the ego as a defense against anxiety. . ." in other words, people see what the want or hope to see, because to do otherwise to to painful and often terrifying. I'm reminded of the Buddhist saying that stipulates Meditation is not what you think. Wishful thinking happens when you refuse to see how painful things are.

One big mind fuck, psyop is what I have suspected for some time, the rulers have industrial psychologist's fer Christ sakes, think tanks, such as the franklin school, tavistock, Rand etc...that make Edward Bernays look like a freshman in an inner city community college.*

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 17 2009 12:28 utc | 75

Part Two:

In "Psychoanalysis of Culture, Ideology and History", one finds, "the social structure and ideology of an entire nation were [/are] shaped, in great measure, by the phantasies of a single individual". Or I suspect a group of individuals, such a million dollar think tanks.

In other word's -as clumsily as I am trying to convey- they are playing us on a mass scale like a violin. Using every tricks at their disposal. In addition, I'm reminded, of a phenomena that takes place in communication theory, in an interactive event that happens in which our unconscious brain fills in for missing signals, for instance with music. In many 4/4 time music, and driving hypnotic beats, an exceptional perpetual pattern develops in our neuro pathway's, this is much more evident and clear in house/techno/ trance beats that are anywhere from 90 to 100, even 120 beats per minute (bpms) this real time signal, once it has been acknowledged and anchored by our brain's real-time processing can then be removed and our brains will continue to recreate it in our head, even though the primary beat has stopped. It's interactive.

In other words, their is the physical action of the beat (snare, cymbal, whatever) played (outside) and once it's physically stopped, the pattern continues for a time (inside) your head. Hence the interaction between the two separate phenomenons. Physically beat outside the senses, re-patterned inside the mind.

Finally, it's a grown up version of the Delphi technique

They are the shamanistic DJ's, and we dance to their tunes.

If anyone has followed me thus far, I may try to unpack this further, if there is any interest, however, for now, any thoughts or insights would be welcome.

* not to denigrate community college, I'm thinking more the fiscal expenditures here.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 17 2009 12:28 utc | 76

Damn? mine grammar am foul.
Night yall...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 17 2009 12:40 utc | 77

someone from another board asks what I consider a pertinent question:

Was the 2008 election fixed and if not, why not?

The core of my question is in the thread title, really. Like RFK Jr., Greg Palast, Mark Crispin Miller and others have convincingly argued, every major election since at least the 2000 presidential election saw all kinds of graft and fuckery, including the congressional elections. After Obama won, there hasn't been so much as a peep about election irregularities (to my knowledge at least). Which is kind of understandable because Obama won. But still: where were the Diebold discrepancies, the odd differences between exit polling and final results? Did the elections go so smoothly this time because the field was so thoroughly vetted and weighed against the Repubs beforehand so that no blatant graft was necessary on the day itself?

And I ask, was it clinical, methodical and systemic?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 17 2009 17:09 utc | 78

U$@75-77

You're speaking my language man!

I think, contemplate and wonder if these DJ's are operating from their own ingrained beliefs, or are they able to step-back, as we're doing, and realize the cause and effect of their decisions?

I think I'm asking if their decisions are really coldly-calculated and made "knowing" exactly what the outcome will be, sort of human godheads residing on their Mount Olympus and causing the rest of us to jump about like fleas on a hot-plate.

Or are they blood, bone and flesh? Subjects and slaves to their backgrounds, beliefs and group psychology, unable to see beyond their own limited viewpoint?

Does Kissinger dream of electric sheep?

From our viewpoint of life, it seems as if their is some kind of ULTIMATE PLAN laid-out (or at least, should be) and we're just pawns on the board. But is this really the truth? Are we really just pawns or are we all queens (chess quees and not men dressing as whores), and able to move at will?

How much free thought do we have? When you consider biological affects, social affects and environmental affects, how much influence can we individually have over ourselves and our actions? Maybe we are nothing more than cogs upon some massive wheel turning in a gargantuan machine. It is hard to tell from where I sit, but I feel a little dizzy.

Posted by: David | Jan 17 2009 17:51 utc | 79

Fuckery, That's a damn fine word that I wish I'd invented!

Regarding Edward Bernays, as I'm new to his work and honestly haven't read much deeper than Malooga's post on him, but regardless, I already have formed one of them damn opinions and to me he reads like the Proto-manual to propaganda from which later organizations and people refined to fit their individual needs.

Since it's the weekend and I'm feeling really really kooky, I'll share the belief I formed when I was still trying to fit all this crazy world into a perspective I'd understand.

I came to the conclusion that earth was nothing more than a god-egg. From my understanding of eggs, once the chicken has laid one, everything the embryo needs to keep it alive is contained in the egg... at least for time.

As the embryo develops it uses-up the resources of the egg and at the same time it is polluting the tiny environment with waste. At some point before the waste becomes completely overwhelming, and the resources are completely diminished, the chicken will have to break-out of the egg to live.

And this is where I came up with the crazy earth/god-egg belief system (send $19.95+3.95 S/H for more info. Act now and I'll include FREE! The Seven Deadly Mistakes; a book on simple ways to avoid mail fraud)

People are really nothing more than tiny cells flitting about here and there with no real rhyme or reason. Obstacles appear and cells gather at these points and begin working together to over come the obstacle. Larger and larger obstacles appear and larger and larger groups of cells become jammed there until they over come the larger object and this continues on and on. At some point there will be such a large challenge that it will take every cell working in perfect union to overcome this mother-of-all obstacles.

At this point the individual cells will have lost their own identity out of the necessity to become one with every other cell in this new creation – call it what you will - so that the whole is able to survive.

Human experience has shown we are a herd animal gathering in ever greater numbers each generation, despite challenges from Nature and our own love of killing one another off. Some how a larger group is able to survive and even flourish, regardless of the pockets of cancer eating at some cells and creating small abscesses like Gaza.

The eventual outcome of all this, is a future great challenge that requires everyone to give up themselves to save the group. Non-conformist and individualist will need not apply, if any even remain at the time of this hideous future.

The powers that be are constantly winnowing the chaff from the wheat though their policies, wars and propaganda. Unfortunately we're the chaff because we are the ones who continue to ask why?

Eventually humans will have made such a damn fuckery of earth we won't be able to survive unless we become this one thing rather than all us individual things. At this point we'll be a "god" and will have to hatch or die.

And with thoughts like this it's a good thing that I stay far, far away from politics and neo-conartist think tanks!

Posted by: David | Jan 17 2009 18:52 utc | 80

I'm very disappointed that nobody commented on the Gaza song I posted on another thread, so I'm trying it on the general thread in case the other thread was inappropriate. The song is the most heart-rending (text, rendition and video) I've come across:

Please distribute this message as widely as possible and contribute to the UNWRA as requested by this singer with a conscience who has distributed it free:

WE WILL NOT GO DOWN (Song for Gaza)

Posted by: Parviz | Jan 18 2009 15:27 utc | 81

I'm very disappointed that nobody commented on the Gaza song I posted on another thread, so I'm trying it on the general thread in case the other thread was inappropriate. The song is the most heart-rending (text, rendition and video) I've come across:

Please distribute this message as widely as possible and contribute to the UNWRA as requested by this singer with a conscience who has distributed it free:

WE WILL NOT GO DOWN (Song for Gaza)

Posted by: Parviz | Jan 18 2009 15:29 utc | 82


California's Disabled, Blind People to Lose Disability Payments?

Posted by: Rick | Jan 18 2009 21:29 utc | 83

Entropa

Posted by: beq | Jan 19 2009 0:47 utc | 84

@ Parvis. Yes, I watched it and yes, I cried.

Thank you.

Posted by: beq | Jan 19 2009 0:49 utc | 85

and just because i am a romantic .......

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn't say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

good luck USA, may the new president be smart, wise, and compassionate. May he looks at his girls and may he sees his future grandchildren when contemplating every decision he takes. Good luck USA.

Maybe just maybe.......hope, ey?


and a big thanks to B and the community here (yes you to Slothrop), thanks for laughs, company, kinship, shared outrage, and many many hangovers. The last couple of years have been a wild ride in what can only be described as the best company ever.

Here is to the new POTUS - Cheers!!

Posted by: sabine | Jan 19 2009 5:54 utc | 86

once upon a time

there was a pet goat

Posted by: sabine | Jan 19 2009 8:25 utc | 87

once upon a time

there">http://www.sfgate.com/columnists/meyer/">there was a pet goat

and this time the link works!

Posted by: sabine | Jan 19 2009 8:29 utc | 88

Now sabine, we can't be allowing any Hope around here.

;) (Cheers to you too)

Posted by: beq | Jan 19 2009 16:43 utc | 89

beq,

hope, we all hope for something, but hope without trust is not a nothing, and will quickly turn into ugly despair.

I think about an essay written about a year or two ago, in which the author posits that first one has to abandon hope, than they can force change. Unfortunately i am really useless with names/titles (they just never seem to stick) otherwise i would go link hunting). but i did agree with the writers, as long as we hope things change without our doing, nothing will change. It is us that forces change, usually after we have lost everything that was dear to us.

Potus Obama needs no hope, he seems to have enough, he needs to gain trust. We will see.

Posted by: sabine | Jan 19 2009 18:48 utc | 90

@sabine

derrick jensen: Beyond Hope

Posted by: b real | Jan 19 2009 19:05 utc | 91

O, and here's a cynical use of hope that i pointed out in another thread the other night, from the CSIS Commission on Smart Power in 2007 november:

America's image and influence are in decline around the world. To maintain a leading role in global affairs, the United States must move from eliciting fear and anger to inspiring optimism and hope.

O boy

Posted by: b real | Jan 19 2009 19:14 utc | 92

b real, yes thats the one.

and to second you o boy, or as they say in nz, oh dear.
thanks for finding the article, it was a good refresher.

Posted by: sabine | Jan 19 2009 19:21 utc | 93

John Robb discusses 'open source' warfare and Israel's latest tact of hiring an "army" of bloggers to harass blogs and websites.

Halfon said volunteers who send the Absorption Ministry their contact details by e-mail, at media@moia.gov.il, will be registered according to language, and then passed on to the Foreign Ministry's media department, whose personnel will direct the volunteers to Web sites deemed "problematic."

Anyone here know the Hebrew word for "problematic?"

Posted by: Jeremiah | Jan 19 2009 20:18 utc | 94

In a few hours BHO will take the oath of office, and assume the burden of transforming hope into achievement.
To avoid both partisan adulation and factional disdain in discussing his presidency, it seems useful to propose a few benchmarks for judging of success or failure. Since events will certainly condition the new president's range of effective possibilities, it is clear specific administration goals may undergo recalibration in the face of unexpected obstacles or opportunities. Thus, while the benchmarks are intended to be sufficiently explicit as to permit evaluation of success or failure, that evaluation will itself be influenced by events, and should not be effected with draconian rigor.
Obama's much repeated vow to bring change to American polity will, thanks to his predecessor, have ample scope for implementation, but the following five fundamental criteria might provide an evaluative framework. The subheads represent specific items for evaluation.
Obviously, others will have differing or more specific criteria, so those cited below are not intended to be exhaustive. About a year from now it might, however, be interesting to measure performance against promise.


  • Restoration of government by law rather than presidential decree. (Constitutionality)
    a. Explicit end of tolerance for torture; prosecution with due process for the officials accused.
    b. FISA revisited; protection against invasion of privacy, TIA abandonned
    c. End to persecution of (American) Moslem activists (not terrorists) Al-Arian, Maher Al Ahar, etc.,
    d. Integrity of the election process
    e. Elevation of political discourse between government and opposition

  • Foreign Policy: Will there be a clear modification in the goals and execution of American foreign policy?
    a. End occupation of Iraq
    b. End war in Afghanistan
    c. Talks with Iran given greater prominence
    d. Begin a more balanced policy with respect to the Israel-Palestine issue
    e. Rapprochement with "leftists" in Latin America, and Latin America in general
    f. End of Militarization of Foreign Policy and beginning of retreat from imperial overreach;
    g. Distancing from mercenaries, PMC's
    g. Dialing down of overblown rhetoric on terrorism, "freedom", etc.

  • Economy
    a. Preventing or mitigating failure of GM, Chrysler, Ford, and other major industrial concerns.
    b. Preventing or mitigating the collapse of major financial institions
    c. Job creation aiming at full employment, or at least reduced unemployment
    d. Regulatory reform
    e. Greater transparency in government contracts
    f. Clean Energy initiatives

  • Social Justice
    a. Major Health care reform
    b. Educational opportunity for all
    c. Women's issues and rights
    d. Tax reform in favor of the middle class
    e. Immigration un-demonized
    f. End to air traveller regimentation and humiliation

  • Envirnoment and Quality of Life
    a. Multilateral agreements (towards Kyoto II)
    b. Green energy
    c. Drug trafficking in U.S., and abuse of pharmaceuticals
    d. Mileage and pollution standards (enforced)
    e. Support for non-military research

    Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Jan 20 2009 9:55 utc | 95

  • A comprehensive framework, Hannah K. O'Luthon, though not without its quandaries.

    One little example might serve as a part for the whole: I have a friend, an MD/PhD, who's been doing some very promising research on the genetic (DNA) transmission of prostate cancer. Hers is a thoroughly vetted project, conducted under the auspices of the most exacting institutions in the field, and yet her only available long-term funding, to my astonishment, comes from the DOD. The NIH, for whatever reason, has declined to participate. If she loses that DOD funding, her project will have to close down. This is irrational; it's also a fact, a given, historically speaking.

    Posted by: alabama | Jan 20 2009 11:04 utc | 96

    b, I have some fabulous attachments, including one proving that Muslims caused the U.S. Air crash, that I want to send you for posting. I don't have the URLs as they were sent to me as attachments. May I have your email address and I'll send you them for perusal? You have my new email address above.

    Posted by: Parviz | Jan 20 2009 12:26 utc | 97

    @Parviz - MoonofA_at_aol_dot_com

    Posted by: b | Jan 20 2009 14:09 utc | 98

    an article in jane's on recent training for AFRICOM's CJTF-HOA staff states

    US military personnel preparing to deploy to the Horn of Africa have been receiving stepped-up crisis response training to enable a faster response to terrorism, natural disasters and other security problems.

    Some 50 US military personnel from across the services participated in a mission rehearsal exercise in preparation for their February deployment to Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), headquartered in Djibouti.

    The exercise, which featured nine days of computer simulations and classroom training until 16 January, differed from earlier CJTF-HOA exercises with its focus on scenarios that required headquarters staff to be more proactive in co-ordinating their crisis response.

    "It requires them to do a lot more planning versus reacting," said Colonel Michael Rose, head of the Chief Operations Group at the Joint Warfighting Center at US Joint Forces Command (JFCOM). "We're making the CJTF staff develop the planning."

    Previously, CJTF-HOA's 50 core staff would have awaited orders, from either US Africa Command - established in October 2007) - or US Central Command before taking action. Now, however, CJTF-HOA will be encouraged to take the lead in generating its own ideas and then presenting a clear course of action to respond to a crisis instead of waiting for direction from AFRICOM, JFCOM officials said.

    that conflicts with stmts from AFRICOM officials trying to disarm concerns about the new combatant command signaling the militarization of the u.s. africa policy. for instance, this AFNS story from last october's standup put it like this:

    For his part, Ward emphasized that his new command will not hijack American foreign policy on the continent. AfriCom will take its foreign policy marching orders from the State Department and in concert with other U.S. government agencies and international partners, he said..

    given the push on phase zero (pdf) -- "an active effort to win the war on terror by destroying terrorism at its roots, while avoiding the high cost of major actions by conventional forces" -- is there any reason not to expect that "proactive" CJTF-HOA, fighting a "war on terrorism" will proceed w/ a broad definition of "crisis"?

    Posted by: b real | Jan 20 2009 14:40 utc | 99

    Sabine and b real:

    Thank you so much for looking for/supplying the Beyond Hope link. I've also been looking for that article this month.

    Posted by: catlady | Jan 20 2009 16:45 utc | 100

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