Docudharma Times Tuesday May 12

The Lone Voice

Of The Republican

Party Dick Cheney

Rush’s Towards The 19th Century  

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Obama’s Push for Health Care Cuts Faces Daunting Odds

Shelling kills dozens at Sri Lankan hospital

Taleban using white phosphorus, some of it made in Britain

The flipside of Europe’s ‘common identity’

Italy arrests ‘al-Qaeda plotters’

Pope angers Israel with call for Palestinian homeland

Iran shows hints of moderation

My African culinary safari, Part II

Pursuing smugglers, border agents become trackers

Commander’s Ouster Is Tied to Shift in Afghan War


Published: May 11, 2009

WASHINGTON – The top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David D. McKiernan, was forced out Monday in an abrupt shake-up intended to bring a more aggressive and innovative approach to a worsening seven-year war.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced the decision in terse comments at the Pentagon, saying that “fresh eyes were needed” and that “a new approach was probably in our best interest.” When asked if the dismissal ended the general’s military career, Mr. Gates replied, “Probably.”

The move reflects a belief that the war in Afghanistan, waged against an increasingly strong Taliban and its supporters across a rugged, sprawling country, is growing ever more complex.

Taliban on the run in Swat

By Syed Saleem Shahzad  

ISLAMABAD – Following a barrage of American pressure, Pakistan abruptly abandoned all its existing plans to thwart insurgents and, in a televised speech by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, promptly declared all-out was against the Pakistani Taliban.

Within hours, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Pervez Ashfaq Kiani, launched an aggressive military operation – supported by gunship helicopters, heavy artillery and fighters jets – into northern North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), ransacking Taliban sanctuaries in Swat and other areas. Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the BBC that an estimated 200 militants were killed over the weekend, bringing the total killed in fighting in the region to 700.

Water, electricity and lines of communications were completely cut; the Taliban had no option but to flee.


Prices Fall To Match A New Frugality

Retailers Respond To Shopping Habits Forged in Recession

By Ylan Q. Mui

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The nation’s retailers have begun to embrace the new cost-conscious consumer, developing products they can sell at lower prices without driving themselves out of business in the post-splurge era.

Starbucks dropped the price of a medium iced coffee last week to just under $2. American Eagle cut out the ribbon from the inside waistband of its khakis and lowered the cost. Pottery Barn launched a new “Comfort Collection” sofa that starts at $999.99, which is $300 less than the “Basic Collection” sofa. Even Rock & Republic, whose trendy denim has graced the backsides of celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, recently unveiled a line of recessionista jeans selling for $128, a 29 percent reduction.

Obama’s Push for Health Care Cuts Faces Daunting Odds



Published: May 11, 2009

WASHINGTON – President Obama engineered a political coup on Monday by bringing leaders of the health care industry to the White House to build momentum for his ambitious health care agenda.

Mr. Obama pronounced it “a historic day, a watershed event,” because doctors, hospitals, drug makers and insurance companies voluntarily offered $2 trillion in cost reductions over 10 years. The savings, he said, “will help us take the next and most important step – comprehensive health care reform.”

Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said Mr. Obama had told the health care executives, “You’ve made a commitment; we expect you to keep it.”


Shelling kills dozens at Sri Lankan hospital

Medical staff say attack came from government troops; Colombo says reports are part of rebel propaganda

Gethin Chamberlain in Delhi, Tuesday 12 May 2009 08.35 BST

At least 47 people were killed today and more than 50 injured when a shell struck a makeshift hospital treating casualties of the fighting in north-eastern Sri Lanka.

A doctor working in the hospital said the shell appeared to have been fired from government positions. The UN described the attack as a war crime.

The attack was confirmed by two members of the medical staff working in the hospital, set up in Mullaivaikal East primary school. The Sri Lankan military has denied using heavy weapons against civilians in the area and has questioned the truth of the accounts.

Taleban using white phosphorus, some of it made in Britain

From The Times

May 12, 2009

Michael Evans, Defence Editor

Taleban fighters have been using deadly white phosphorus munitions, some of them manufactured in Britain, to attack Western forces in Afghanistan, according to previously classified United States documents released yesterday.

White phosphorus, which can burn its victims down to the bone, has been found in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in regions across Afghanistan including in the south, where British troops are based. It has also been used in mortar and rocket attacks on American forces.

Last night the US military in Kabul condemned the use of white phosphorus by the insurgents as “reprehensible”. White phosphorus is banned as an offensive weapon under international rules of armed conflict.


The flipside of Europe’s ‘common identity’

The EU’s priority is the smooth functioning of markets – and workers are paying the price

David Cronin, Tuesday 12 May 2009 08.00 BST

I’ve just learned something that depresses me deeply: Norman Tebbit seems to have a fan club.

Its headquarters are located in the Czech Republic and it is led by Mirek Topolanek, who has stepped down as that country’s prime minister after delivering a message that was eerily reminiscent of Tebbit’s “on yer bike” entreaty to the unemployed. “I am going to lose my post as prime minister but I won’t be out of a job,” Topolanek said. “If you look for work, you’ll find it. And I think the same applies to everybody.”

Since the beginning of the year, this rightwing clown had been in charge of the European Union’s rotating presidency. His occasional tendency to speak his mind was regarded as something of an embarrassment by the coterie of officials in Brussels who continuously fret over anything perceived as undermining the EU’s credibility.

Italy arrests ‘al-Qaeda plotters’

Two French nationals detained in Italy over alleged illegal immigration offences are now suspected of being key al-Qaeda figures, Italian police say.


Bassam Ayachi, a 63-year-old Syrian-born imam, and Raphael Gendron, 34, were arrested in November in Bari.

They have now been served with arrest warrants for planning “terrorist attacks and guerrilla actions”, Italy’s Ansa agency said, citing court files.

One of the intended targets was Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, they added.

However, police said they believed there was no immediate threat.

‘Leading men’

Mr Ayachi and Mr Gendron had lived in Belgium before they were arrested by Italian police six months ago in the southern city of Bari on suspicion of trying to smuggle five illegal immigrants from Greece.

Subsequent investigations allowed officers to identify them as “two leading men for the communication of al-Qaeda in Europe”, a police statement said.

Middle East

Pope angers Israel with call for Palestinian homeland

From The Times

May 12, 2009

James Hider in Jerusalem

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Israel yesterday to make an appeal for peace in the Middle East, calling for the creation of a Palestinian homeland alongside the Jewish state.

In his address after stepping off an aircraft from Jordan, the Pope – on his first trip to the Holy Land – made the first of a series of speeches calling for peace, justice and security.

He has tried to avoid politics in what he says is a spiritual pilgrimage, but his call for a Palestinian homeland set him at odds with the right-wing Israeli Government, which has refused to back a two-state solution. Aware of the controversy over his reinstatement of a British-born bishop who denied the extent of the extermination of European Jews in the Second World War and of his background in the Hitler Youth, the Pope denounced anti-Semitism.

Iran shows hints of moderation

Analysis: U.S. journalist’s release could open door to greater dialogue

By BRIAN MURPHY Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The judicial reversal that led to the release of an Iranian-American from prison in Tehran on Monday could now offer hints of moderation by Iran’s ruling Islamic clerics – making room for possible overtures by the Obama administration.

The release of Roxana Saberi may also seek to boost hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s goodwill credentials before next month’s re-election challenge from reformers.

“It was certainly in the interest of Iran to close this case,” said Nadim Shehadi, a Middle East analyst at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. “No one wanted this to linger on.”


My African culinary safari, Part II

Posted by Shashank

I was happy to see that my list of favorite foods from Africa generated some feedback. There’s probably nothing so subjective as food, so please keep the comments coming as I round out the list:

Swahili curry, Kenya/Tanzania

The staple of the East African coast — a coconut milk-based curry with onions and lime that’s great with fish and rice or chapati, the thick, Indian-style flatbread. Not a lot to say here; it’s as good as it sounds.

Shiro, Ethiopia

If there’s a simpler and better-tasting African dish, I don’t know it: roasted, ground chickpeas mixed with chopped onion, a bit of oil and a mix of spices. It instantly injects plain rice or injera with incredible flavor, tangy and much easier on the stomach than the ubiquitous butter-based curries.

Latin America

Pursuing smugglers, border agents become trackers

New fencing and high-tech devices make it difficult for drug traffickers to cross the border. So smugglers hoist packs and take to the desert on foot. Agents use century-old tracking skills to follow.

By Scott Kraft

May 12, 2009

Reporting from Antelope Wells, N.M. — Bill Fraley knelt to examine the brown, pebbled soil, like an art professor studying a familiar drawing.

“See those two fine-lines?” he said, passing a finger over two shoe prints, each with washboard rows of ridges. His hand moved to another heel print a few inches away. “And there’s a doper lug,” the heel imprint of a boot sometimes worn by drug smugglers.

A few steps away, a 5-foot barbed-wire fence cut through the cactus and greasewood, separating the United States from Mexico. The Border Patrol agent stood and tipped back the brim of his Stratton cowboy hat, eyes hidden behind aviator sunglasses. A satisfied expression hung on his chiseled face.

There were at least three of them, he figured. “It rained all day yesterday and these signs are on top of the rain,” he said. “So I’d say they crossed yesterday, between 6 and 7. And it looks like they’ve got heavy loads of dope on them.”

Ignoring Asia A Blog


    • RiaD on May 12, 2009 at 15:21

    if the prices are falling i sure haven’t seen it at the grocery or hardware/lumber store…

    & certainly not at the pharmacy!!

    some news from Africa! those who say they are concerned about feeding Africa should first understand what Africans think about their own situation. here’s a fantastic excerpt from the article:

    Producers of genetically modified foods talk a great deal about feeding the world. However, cumulatively, food shortages don’t exist in the world. For example, has anybody ever heard the UN World Food Programme complaining about food shortages? It complains about lack of money to buy it. That goes for the hungry. They’ve got no money.

    For Monsanto et al to proclaim from mountains tops about feeding the world, is rubbish. Growing food for sale yes! Creators of the 3-Vitamins maize say their operation is humanitarian.

    Presumably, someone somewhere will dish out free seeds to farmers in sub-Sahara Africa. More rubbish.

    From an economic point of view, the hungry will remain hungry, with or without genetically modified food. It’s up to governments to rid their countries of causes of poverty and to fight monopolies like Monsanto.

  1. at the prices fall article. What a bargain 128$ for a pair of jeans, 98$ for a pair of ballet flats. I’d venture that the upscale addicted shoppers are not using plastic as much as they are now faced with reality and the credit card companies are upping their rates, making up for any discount on these overpriced status products.

    How come the banks the stores and manufacturers expect to make the same profit margin as before the fall? Insane, maybe they ought to think more about jobs (outsourcing and living wages) and pay as you can’t get blood out of a turnip. Seems pretty lopsided to base the economy on profit for ‘the market’ which isn’t the real one, the one where people buy stuff they need to live. Once again we all need to go shopping and barrow money, keep the wheel going for the casino.

    Afghanistan is the new Iraq. I believe nothing that comes out of the mouths of our military including the commander in chief. Who are we fighting there and why? the people who resist the insurgents, their old regime the Tailban who have now cut a deal with Karzai, or the possibility that they might start once again being the ‘headquaters’ for terrorist’s.

    ‘Gen. David Petraeus said affiliated groups have “enclaves and sanctuaries” in Afghanistan and that “tentacles of Al Qaeda” have touched countries throughout the Middle East and northern Africa. But he said the terrorist group has suffered” very significant losses” in recent months, and agreed with Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s recent assessment that there is no Al Qaeda based in his country.’

    RiaD, not only Monsanto not feeding the world but it is screwing up their crops.

    Monsanto uses insidious plan to gain control of world food supply…

    German courts are upholding the ban against Monsanto corn. Who wants to be feed by the makers of Roundup.


  2. Thanks for my favorite news comilation, The Docudharma Times rocks!

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