May 18, 2009 archive

Four at Four

  1. The NY Times reports Joint Chiefs chairman criticizes air strikes in Afghanistan. “The United States cannot succeed in Afghanistan if the American military keeps killing Afghan civilians, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Monday.”

    “We cannot succeed in Afghanistan or anywhere else, but let’s talk specifically about Afghanistan, by killing Afghan civilians,” Admiral Mullen said, adding that “we can’t keep going through incidents like this and expect the strategy to work.”

    Of course, but will the Obama adminstration actually stop the air strikes?

    According to the LA Times, “Afghan officials, including President Hamid Karzai, say the tactic is overused in populated areas. But the Obama administration has rejected Karzai’s calls for an end to airstrikes, saying they are an essential part of the Western arsenal.”

    The LA Times investigates Who is to blame for Afghan civilian deaths? “Afghan officials say at least 140 civilians died, two-thirds of them children and teenagers, in what may prove the most lethal episode of civilian casualties since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.”

    At some point in the late afternoon or early evening, the decision was made to call in airstrikes, a measure most often taken when Western commanders believe an outpost or a field contingent is in danger of being overrun…

    The aircraft summoned to Garani, two F-18 fighter jets and a B-1 bomber that U.S. officials said were based outside Afghanistan, took aim at three targets. In strikes that came about 20 minutes apart, three village landmarks, the mosque and two large compounds, were hit, residents said…

    American officials have advanced the theory that the Taliban killed large numbers of villagers with grenades, infuriating local people who describe buildings clearly blown apart by far larger external blasts.

    We blame America,” said Saeed Barakat, a father who has three girls in the burn unit as a result of the attack. “With all their technology, they don’t determine who is a fighter and who is an innocent. Now my house is gone. My wife is dead. My children are burned.

    Spiegel reports the German Army can’t protect Afghan girls’ schools. “Six girls’ schools were closed in the northern province of Kunduz following” letters received by the schools that threatened more “acid and gas attacks” on the teachers and students. “The German army, which has led a reconstruction team in Kunduz since 2003, doesn’t feel able to protect the schools, and the German government doesn’t know how to respond to the threats.” If an army cannot protect people, then what good is it?

    Elsewhere, the NY Times reports Ahmed Wali Karzai, the corrupt younger brother of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, claims he narrowly escaped assassination by the Taliban fighters “laying in wait for his motorcade while traveling from the eastern city of Jalalabad to the capital.”

    It was likely a drug deal gone bad, in my opinion. According to McClatchy, Karzai “routinely manipulates judicial and police officials to facilitate shipments of opium and heroin… People who accuse Ahmed Wali Karzai of ties to the drug trade often don’t stay around very long.”

Four at Four continues with an update on Pakistan, news from Iraq, the Tamil Tiger leader claimed to be killed, and Alaska’s melting glaciers.

My Insomnia Essay

that didn’t get written because I decided to try to sleep instead, and I did.

Sleep that is. Last night.

But it was fucking brilliant, I want you to know, brilliant, I tell you.

The title was leaning strongly towards:

“When the Tiger is Laying Down… Dont Say S/He Is Sleeping” which is my favorite Cambodian proverb. Well,the only one I know actually. And Im not sure if the tiger is she or a he.

baby tiger sleeping Pictures, Images and Photos

The waterboard, which inflicts no pain.

The new news is that there is a mounting body of evidence that Dick Cheney ordered waterboarding to produce the connections necessary to wage a war on Saddam Hussein. (See diaries by dday for a primer, and buhdydharma for a link to Rachel Maddow.) Our knowledge of Dick Cheney’s penchant for torture now grows and convolves with the dubious War on Iraq. While the Bush team is morally reprehensible for creating evidence to strike, it is not clear that lying to wage a war is actually illegal in the United States. We do know that torture is illegal — we signed the Geneva Convention. The Bush team must be breaking the law by ordering prisoners to the waterboard…

…except there is a contemporary controversey in the United States about whether or not waterboarding qualifies as torture…

What follows is not for polite company — it is a graphic description and analysis of waterboarding.

Bush Rejected Legal, Humane Torture Alternative?

Crossposted from Antemedius

RawStory is reporting this morning that “The Bush administration was given clear and unequivocal advice encouraging a detainee interrogation system that followed humane practices that adhered to US and international law…”

“A detailed memorandum authored by a counselor to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2005 also reveals that the Bush Administration was offered a comprehensive alternative to its use of torture techniques. The author, Rice deputy Philip Zelikow (along with then-acting deputy secretary of defense Gordon England), asserted that the adoption of a clear and humane approach to interrogation would pay dividends for the US in the years to come.”

The Zelikow/England draft memo (.PDF)  stamped “Sensitive But Unclassified” was apparently written in June 2005, and was published May 14, 2009 in a post by Steven Aftergood at Secrecy News, a Federation of American Scientists project website.

Authoritarianism….. Welcome Refugees!

Human Beings are weak.

We are weak because of one thing. Buddha called it attachment, I call it ….need.

Other than food, air, water, shelter, and the need to reproduce, other than and greater than….is our need to be loved.

That is all humans want, to be loved. Every human everywhere shares that need. It is the very core of the human condition. It is what drives us all. It is what drives every single thing that we do, from the best of us to the worst of our behaviors. Give me an example, any example of human behavior and i will trace it back to that human acting, sometimes in simply incredibly “illogical” and horrendous ways, back to the very root of all of humanity. The deep undeniable and driving need to be loved.

It is, in my opinion, (and I qualify that only because I don’t want to alienate anyone….and thus take the chance that they may not love me) because we are separate.

Some would say we are separate from the collective unconscious, some would say we are separate from the stars galaxies and the universe, that we are individual evolved life forms and thus can never really know true union with anything but ourselves…..some would say it is because we are separate from God or Goddess.

But we are separate and we…all of us…seek not to be.

Weekly Torture Action Letter 10 – Time For The Media To Call It Torture

Good Morning and welcome to the tenth in the Dogs letter writing campaign series. Every Monday ( Well except for last week. Sorry the Dog was in training and could not post) the Dog writes a letter trying to move accountability for the Bush era State Sponsored Torture program forward. These letters can be cut and pasted or used as the jumping off point for the readers own letter. The goal is to remind decision makers on a weekly basis there are citizens who will not let this issue be lost, who will insist on the rule of law being followed.  

This is my home now. May I rest in peace, .. or not.

*** Please note, that I checked with Budhy prior to posting this, and while he had not seen nor approved the actual content, he ageed that a banning that recently took place at Daily Kos, is worthy of discussion.***

Well, Markos at DailyKos has banned “ToquedeVille”, for his diary urging further examination of the events of September 11. It was NOT a CT diary (sorry, no link handy, and I refuse to ever visit DKos again). It was instead, a well written treatise urging an re-examination of the events that took place that day. If any group came under critical comment in the diary, it was the Bush regime for their well documented malfeasance before, during, and after the events. Still, Markos banned Toque. Why?

I have a distinct feeling that Markos was urged to ban Toque by a very specific group of people. This group, no matter how benign the discussion might be, if 9/11 (and certain other international issues) are a part of the diary, they (and if you look at the comments surrounding this travesty, you’ll easily be able to discern who “they” are) are there to terrorize any and all commenters, and the diarist. These people are obsessed, rude, and out of line. They have a primary interest, one I share, but I DO NOT share their fascistic methods of dealing with it. I am of them, but not one of them…. I don’t know how else to put it. And yes, I am being purposely cryptic.

This clique, a growing and powerful one, from the “front page” through the diaries, appears to be trying and control the subjects presented at DKos, and how they are discussed. They have a “primary interest” in doing so, one not everyone shares, thankfully. OK, that may seem a bit CT in and of itself, but I’ve been active at DKos for over 5 years (UID – 5***), and before that, a “Front Pager” at Democratic Underground. I am over 60, a journalism major, and former newspaperman, among other things.

I know when something stinks.

Now, this diary may seem like so many sour grapes, and perhaps this is not the right venue for it, but I am someone who cannot tolerate the “group think” that now pervades DKos, and think it worthy of protest, here, and elsewhere. If you care/dare to further zero into this matter, visit DKos and check out my latest, and forever final, comments (same screen name, “Hornito”), ….if they are still there (ie, haven’t been censored). You can also see the hundreds of comments in the thread from other people who protested this latest “McCarthyite” like action.

OK, enough of that. I have been watching this site for some time as well, and particularly Buhdy’s efforts, which I have long supported, to bring justice to the Bush cabal. Those efforts are to be complimented and encouraged. That’s why I am here, and here I shall remain. That said, I sincerely hope that I can add to the site, and that you won’t find my comments too offensive, now, or in the future.

Monday Morning Business Update

Monday Morning Business Update is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Business

1 Wall Street may brake for housing, Home Depot

By Ellis Mnyandu, Reuters

Sun May 17, 7:46 pm ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks are likely to hit more speed bumps this week as investors become more wary of Wall Street’s ability to rally further and housing starts, jobless claims and other indicators are in the spotlight.

With first-quarter earnings reports winding down and recent optimism about economic stabilization already factored into stock prices, analysts said there appears to be very little on the horizon to help extend the recent run-up.

Quarterly earnings from rival home-improvement chains Home Depot Inc (HD.N) and Lowe’s Cos Inc (LOW.N) may shed some light on the consumer’s ability and inclination to spend. The numbers may also give a hint of any further fallout from the housing slump.

Docudharma Times Monday May 18

It’s Nice To See That

Pakistan Clearly Understands

Its Priorities

More Nuclear Weapons

Monday’s Headlines:

At Notre Dame, Obama tackles abortion debate

Sri Lanka declares end to war with Tamil Tigers

Security tight at Suu Kyi trial in Burma

Anger over expenses could push voters into arms of BNP and UKIP

Lithuanians vote in female president

Somali anti-pirate coastguard bid

Darfurian Rebel Commander to Face War Crimes Charges

Mideast leaders defend free market at economic forum

Iraq’s once-envied health care system lost to war, corruption

Mexico sees inside job in prison break

At Geithner’s Treasury, Key Decisions on Hold

Many Advisers’ Roles Are Undefined And Others Still Awaiting Confirmation

By David Cho

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, May 18, 2009

Seven weeks after the Treasury Department announced that it was ousting General Motors chief G. Richard Wagoner Jr. in the federal bailout of the company, he is still technically on GM’s payroll.

Wagoner’s removal has been held up because senior Treasury officials have yet to decide whether he should get the $20 million severance package that the company had promised him.

The delay is one of many hitches that have slowed a host of important policy actions in the four months since Timothy F. Geithner became Treasury secretary. While Geithner has taken dramatic steps to address flashpoints in the economy, the work of carrying out those policies has bogged down because critical decisions about how to do so aren’t being made, interviews with a broad range of federal officials show.

Pakistan Is Rapidly Adding Nuclear Arms, U.S. Says


Published: May 17, 2009

WASHINGTON – Members of Congress have been told in confidential briefings that Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear arsenal even while racked by insurgency, raising questions on Capitol Hill about whether billions of dollars in proposed military aid might be diverted to Pakistan’s nuclear program.

Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed the assessment of the expanded arsenal in a one-word answer to a question on Thursday in the midst of lengthy Senate testimony. Sitting beside Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, he was asked whether he had seen evidence of an increase in the size of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.


Prosecutors Block Access to DNA Testing for Inmates


Published: May 17, 2009

In an age of advanced forensic science, the first step toward ending Kenneth Reed’s prolonged series of legal appeals should be simple and quick: a DNA test, for which he has offered to pay, on evidence from the 1991 rape of which he was convicted.

Louisiana, where Mr. Reed is in prison, is one of 46 states that have passed laws to enable inmates like him to get such a test. But in many jurisdictions, prosecutors are using new arguments to get around the intent of those laws, particularly in cases with multiple defendants, when it is not clear how many DNA profiles will be found in a sample.

The laws were enacted after DNA evidence exonerated a first wave of prisoners in the early 1990s, when law enforcement authorities strongly resisted reopening old cases. Continued resistance by prosecutors is causing years of delay and, in some cases, eliminating the chance to try other suspects because the statute of limitations has passed by the time the test is granted.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Dharma upholds both this-worldly and the other-worldly affairs.

–Krishna, the Mahabharata

Phenomena I: inhaling



A notion

and intention


Ideas congeal

words emerge

slide into place

some locked

some fit

to be tumbled

pliantly capable

of movement

until unity forms

Structural collapse

conceptual disintegration

and verbal desertion

are neighbors


on the other side

of walls too thin

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–March 18, 2008

Late Night Karaoke

 Everything Counts

Who Is Jack’s Smirking Revenge?

(Crossposted from The Free Speech Zone)

…the better question?

Who the fuck cares?

Well in case you do, see me below the fold…

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