February 21, 2009 archive

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 US finds 13 civilians died in Afghanistan strike

By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 7 mins ago

KABUL – An operation the American military at first described as a “precision strike” instead killed 13 Afghan civilians and only three militants, the U.S. said Saturday, three days after sending a general to the site to investigate.

Civilian casualties have been a huge source of friction between the U.S. and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has stepped up demands that U.S. and NATO operations kill no civilians and that Afghan soldiers take part in missions to help prevent unwanted deaths.

A U.S. military statement said the decision to dispatch a general to the western province of Herat to investigate shows how seriously the U.S. takes civilian casualties. The U.S. rarely releases the findings of civilian casualty investigations, and the disclosure this time could show the effect of Karzai’s criticisms.

Final Edition.

When Science Fiction Meets Marxism

Original article, by Christos Kefalis and subtitled John Carpenter’s “They Live“, via dissidentvoice.org:

Science fiction has been frequently utilized in embellishing the capitalist system. Suffice it to mention movies like Superman and Exterminator, which, under a seemingly innocent story, cover a barely hidden apology of its dominant values. In the history of the seventh art there exist, however, opposing examples where the symbolism of the imaginary is used for aims of social criticism. One of the most outstanding is undoubtedly offered by John’s Carpenter’s They Live. Although it appeared about 20 years ago, in 1988, the movie remains timely and relevant as one of the most devastating and sharp criticisms of American imperialism ever made. And it also reads as prophesy of what later crystallized to be the embodiment of its most brutal features, the corrupt and cynical Bush administration, now leaving the scene.

Glenn Beck: Prepare for Civil War

Via Raw Story

“What we are possibly looking at is something far worse than the Depression,” Beck began. “We are in much greater debt as individuals. We don’t know how to grow our own food.”

“We’re also looking at civil unrest all around the world,” he continued. “You need to prepare. This is something that could be … really dangerous. … My hands, now, for the first time in my life, are shaking. … We’re running out of exit ramps here.”

Beck’s greatest fear — which he suggests is shared by his friends in the military and the FBI — is clearly not the prospect of widespread poverty, hunger, or homelessness. Rather, it appears to be thenotion that worldwide civil unrest could precipitate a civil war between what he calls the “bubbas” and the United States government.

After this appearance Beck did a one hour show that started with this…

ANNOUNCER: Warning: Topics discussed on today’s program may be disturbing to some viewers. The views expressed in this program are not predictions of what will happen, but what could happen. The panelists have been asked to think the unthinkable. Viewer discretion is advised.

And ended with this…

Glenn Beck’s gut is panicking. And he wants to make sure your gut panics too.

President’s: Best to Worst

CSPAN just released “its second Historians Survey of Presidential Leadership. 65 presidential historians ranked the 42 former occupants of the White House on ten attributes of leadership.”

C’mon, you know you wanna read it. http://www.c-span.org/Presiden…

American Indians, Hollywood, and Stereotypes

Racism is based on ignorance and is passed down generationally.  One racist adult caretaker may infect a few children with their racism; however, one racist film or television show would infect many more and more deeply ingrain any racism that already was in existence in my opinion. Examples such as in the following video have contributed to anti – Indian sentiments in the popular American culture in the relevant generations who viewed such films.

VIDEO: How Hollywood stereotyped the Native Americans

Docudharma Times Saturday February 21

Off The Rails And Into

The Ditch

Alan Keys Calls Barrack Obama

A Radical Communist  

Saturday’s Headlines:

Guantanamo meets Geneva Convention standards, Pentagon study finds

Spain overturns EU law to keep fiesta fires alight

Germany and Poland square up in row over war

Festivities for Mugabe’s birthday feed anger in hungry nation

Gaddafi offers oil and power to people

Binyamin Netanyahu warns of Iranian nuclear threat

New jail opens at Abu Ghraib site

Sri Lanka’s government killing civilians, says Human Rights Watch

Surviving on a little luck and lots of street smarts

Soul of Rio’s Carnival in informal street parties

Obama Widens Missile Strikes Inside Pakistan


Published: February 20, 2009

WASHINGTON – With two missile strikes over the past week, the Obama administration has expanded the covert war run by the Central Intelligence Agency inside Pakistan, attacking a militant network seeking to topple the Pakistani government.

The missile strikes on training camps run by Baitullah Mehsud represent a broadening of the American campaign inside Pakistan, which has been largely carried out by drone aircraft. Under President Bush, the United States frequently attacked militants from Al Qaeda and the Taliban involved in cross-border attacks into Afghanistan, but had stopped short of raids aimed at Mr. Mehsud and his followers, who have played less of a direct role in attacks on American troops.

Obama was unconvinced by Bibi’s desire for peace

Barack Obama, they say, did not get on well with Bibi Netanyahu when he met him in Jerusalem before the American elections.

Robert Fisk  Saturday, 21 February 2009

Mr Obama, who figured out the Middle East pretty quickly, apparently found Bibi arrogant and unconvincing in his professed desire for peace with the Palestinians. What Mr Netanyahu thought of Mr Obama is not known, but he could scarcely have tried to hide his election line: security for Israel, but no Palestinian state.

Much depends, of course, on whether Tzipi Livni will consent to join a Netanyahu government. For if Avigdor Lieberman slips into a ministerial position, Obama is in trouble. Does he congratulate a new Israeli prime minister who has introduced into his government a man who is prepared to demand loyalty signatures from his own country’s Arab minority? How would that go down in the United States, where a similar proposal – for a loyalty pledge by American minorities, for example – would be a scandal?

But those Palestinians who believe that Lieberman should be in a Netanyahu administration – on the grounds that the “true” face of Israel would then be clear to all Americans – are being a little premature. Obama is not going to change the US relationship with Israel. American foreign policy – like that of most states – is based not on justice but on power.



Bear Market’s Bite Could Go Deeper

Dow at 6-Year Low, but Analysts Say More Pain Lies Ahead

By Tomoeh Murakami Tse and Alejandro Lazo

Washington Post Staff Writers

Saturday, February 21, 2009; Page D01

NEW YORK, Feb. 20 — With the Dow Jones industrial average plunging past its lowest point since the financial crisis began, panicked investors are asking: How much uglier can it get?

Many market analysts and technicians armed with reams of historical data say that even though the Dow has given back all its gains — and more — from the five-year bull market that ended in 2007, it is unlikely the market has hit bottom.

Mark Arbeter, chief technical strategist at Standard & Poor’s Equity Research, said the current market environment is showing few of the signs that have characterized previous lows — high price volatility, high volumes of trading and even higher levels of fear.

Inappropriate Political Discourse: The Blood of Patriots and Tyrants

Crossposted from ePluribus Media.

"What sluggards, what cowards have I brought up in my court, who care nothing for their allegiance to their lord. Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?"

        — The Murder of Thomas Becket, 1170,
            Eyewitness to History.com

It’s begun. The wackos have all begun to unwind and step out from behind their stately faux patriotism with their lunatic friends, fomenting rebellion and attempting to instigate violence.  It’s an insidious fifth column of propaganda and divisiveness, delivered through auspices of free speech yet fooling few in the rank desperation of their calls to incitement.

‘Can the U.S. military do anything without KBR? No.’


President Obama has inherited a U.S. military different from the one Defense War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld described in 2004 as “the army you have-not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

Unlike at the start of the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the U.S. military is now almost completely dependent on private contractors for nearly everything but fighting.

Pratap Chatterjee, author and journalist, asks What will Obama do with KBR?

Obama needs to ask his Pentagon commanders this: Can the U.S. military he has now inherited do anything without KBR?

And the answer will certainly be a resounding no.

The Weapon of Young Gods #44: Radioactive Decay

Life as a thing starts almost immediately after he’s gone, but life as a thing is so unbelievable that I have to stay still for a long, long time just to wrap my head around it. Life as a thing is numb for a little while but pretty soon it gets absolutely unbearable once the reality of it begins to take hold, and then staying still is, like, someone else’s problem and it’s all I can do to just scream and scream and scream into the mattress instead of exploding all over the south wing and leaving thick layers of radioactive decay and poisonous fallout everywhere.

When the first wave of life as a thing subsides I can feel the sunlight dribbling in through the fog-which I can’t see but know is there because of the horn’s muffled moan out beyond the pier-but then Miss Thing comes back and who knows how long the new tsunami of convulsions lasts because really who’s watching the clock and why bother splitting hairs between things and objects like it even matters oh fuck it hurts and the sheets are soaked with I don’t want to know what of it’s mine and life as a thing is about to black out when the phone rings like a jackhammer and I freeze. It keeps ringing, five or six times-why’s the machine dead?-and just to make it stop I pick up but don’t say anything.

Previous Episode and Previous Pertinent Episode

Late Night Karaoke

A Thousand People In The Streets

Random Japan


According to Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, a small fortune in gold has been recovered from sludge at a sewage treatment facility in Nagano, apparently due to a number of precision equipment manufacturers using the precious metal in the area… ¥5 million worth so far.

Makers of electric toilet seats with warm-water bidets have issued warnings of potential fire risks after several incidents caused by defects and “improper usage.” Uh, how do you use this thing again?

In an effort to spruce up its image, Shibuya Ward is selling naming rights to its 14 public toilets. If you’ve ever dreamed of having a crapper named after you, here’s your chance.

Mount Asamayama, a snowcapped volcano 145 km northwest of Tokyo, blew its top, raining smoke and ash down on parts of the capital and prompting the good people of Karuizawa to cover their faces. No deaths or injuries reported.

In related news, a Japanese cosmetics company is pitching a face soap called Kingo Kingo, which contains volcanic ash spewed from Mount Sakurajima in Kagoshima.

Disrespecting the Pipe: TBS’S “Dances With Groceries”

1st actor: “Do you know what I think this is?”

Carl: “A bottle cap?”

1st actor: “It’s an arrow head, Carl. This is probably an ancient Indian relic. Right here, right here in the greens and grains.”

Carl: “We’re in the handicap zone.”

1st actor: “…I bet we can make some money off this; I’m not kidding you.”

Especially in light of “The ‘redface’ era returns(ing),” this is a poignant slap in the face.

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