March 23, 2011 archive

A Tweet From Wasilla

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is what hunting from helicopters teaches you-

Soldier Admits Killing 3 Afghan Civilians

By WILLIAM YARDLEY, The New York Times

Published: March 23, 2011

Specialist Morlock, 22, of Wasilla, Alaska, is the first of the five soldiers to face a court-martial. He pleaded guilty on Wednesday to three charges of premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit murder, assault and other charges.

Before the plea offer, Specialist Morlock gave several interviews to investigators, including some on videotape that have been broadcast nationally, in which he described how members of his unit, part of Stryker brigade deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010, faked combat situations so they could kill Afghan civilians who he said posed no threat.

(h/t dday)

More from dday

These are not the pictures that President Obama tried to block in 2009, because the incidents from this Army Stryker unit Der Spiegel describes in their story are from 2010. So the change in commanders-in-chief has not occasioned a halt to atrocities and war crimes in Afghanistan.

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

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No basketball tonight.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Cops Of The World

Simultaneous War III continues. Nobody knows its goal or how or when it ends.  Or who’s in charge of operations. Or what a success might look like. In fact, the many questions US airstrikes on Libya have raised seem to have struck many (including me) dumb. Why?  Because I just don’t get it. I don’t understand the point of this latest military adventure. Or what it is supposed to accomplish.  Or how.

There are lots of countries in which dictatorships with varying degrees of brutality toy with the lives of the citizens, suppressing dissent, imprisoning, killing, disappearing, repressing in one way or another. These countries are not democracies.  How many are there in which tyrants of one stripe or another are in charge and acting like, well, tyrants? I don’t know, but you can bet that Libya isn’t the only one in Africa. And, of course, all of these countries, to one degree or another, have nascent opposition groups that are involved in various kinds of opposition to the tyrant, including demonstrations, rebellions, or outright armed insurrection. But the US isn’t busy lobbing $1 million missiles at these countries in support of the rebels, or flying airstrikes to blow up their military defenses, or coordinating with the allies to advance the opposition, or even threatening them to straighten up and fly right.  Or else. Libya is special, probably because of oil.  

Libya, Democracy and Hypocrisy, and American Exceptionalism

Crossposted from Antemedius

Both the powerfully seductive myth of American Exceptionalism and the loudly proclaimed goal of “humanitarian intervention” in Libya’s civil war appear to be driving the narrative in US media and from the US Government.

But the history of US involvement and war in Vietnam and in the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions and occupations, historically illustrate quite clearly the level of “concern” the US Government has for civilian populations, and US domestic policies the past few years at least illustrate the same level of “concern” re the American people. Why anyone would think developments in Libya will be different from those of any other US foreign “intervention” is somewhat of a mystery.

On Tuesday morning Paul Jay of The Real News spoke with Columbia University Professor Hamid Dabashi about the Libyan situation and US intentions there.

   JAY: So, Hamid, you have been studying the Libyan situation for years, and you’ve written about the Iranian situation. You teach at Columbia. So, first of all, what’s your take on what’s happening as we speak?

   DABASHI: Well, there are two takes. One is to take everything on face value that United States and its European allies are in this to protect the civilians and establish a no-fly zone.

   But we, given the history of United States and its European allies, have every reason to doubt that this indeed is the agenda.

   What has happened is–and for this difficulty, Muammar al-Gaddafi himself is the principal culprit–a peaceful, by-and-large peaceful revolutionary uprising in North Africa that has come to conclusion, perfect conclusion, peaceful conclusion in Tunisia and in Egypt, has been bloodied.

   And what we are witnessing today in the aftermath of this military operation by US and its European allies is further bloodying of a peaceful revolutionary uprising.

   In other words, what Muammar al-Gaddafi has done, the last and lasting contribution of Muammar al-Gaddafi to these revolutionary uprising, is to give United States and European allies a military foothold in the revolutionary uprising in North Africa.

   I see the events in Libya, the military operation on the eighth anniversary of US-led invasion of Iraq, in tandem with Secretary of State Clinton telling in effect the Egyptians that you had a peaceful revolution because of your military, and your military is our military, and then going to Tunisia to tell the Tunisians that she’s there to help them.

   In other words, what the US and its European allies are doing are trying to use and abuse the criminal atrocities of Gaddafi to get a foothold, diplomatic and military foothold, in the peaceful revolutionary uprising that we are witnessing in North Africa.


   The United States and European allies had already intervened in the battle between Muammar al-Gaddafi and Libyan people on the side of Gaddafi, by arming Gaddafi to his teeth, both United Kingdom and United States.

   Also, professors from Harvard University to Princeton to Johns Hopkins, etc., were on the payroll of Muammar al-Gaddafi to whitewash his criminal atrocities and present him as something pleasant and acceptable. These are the contexts. So, suddenly, from the same political culture, from the same military culture, you cannot expect a situation that they are going in with shining armor to defend the civilians.

Real News Network – March 22, 2011

Democracy and Hypocrisy in Libya

Hamid Dabashi: Foreign intervention using crimes of Gaddafi

to strengthen their hold on Northern Africa

Problem? What Problem?

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Tokyo Issues Tap Water Warning for Infants


Published: March 23, 2011

Ei Yoshida, head of water purification for the Tokyo water department, said at a televised news conference that infants in Tokyo and surrounding areas should not drink tap water. He said iodine-131 had been detected in water samples at a level of 210 becquerels per liter, about a quart. The recommended limit for infants is 100 becquerels per liter. For adults, the recommended limit is 300 becquerels.

Earlier Wednesday, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the public should avoid additional farm produce from areas near the power station because of contamination, according to Japanese media.

And the solution?  Same as it always is, more corporate welfare.

The economic cost of the disaster has hit the power company, also called Tepco, which is in negotiations with its bankers for loans of as much as about $24 billion, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified.

Additional loans will raise new questions about Tepco’s long-term financial health. The disaster led Moody’s Japan to cut Tepco’s debt rating to A1 from Aa2 and warn that further downgrades were possible. The Fukushima Daiichi station, which was only a few weeks ago listed on the balance sheet as an asset worth billions of dollars, may have to be largely written off.

“Our concern right now is not about whether we’ll be paid back,” the source said. “The important thing is to support the company.”

But of course this is just Japan, a backwards third world banana republic with a culture of denial-

DAVID SANGER, “NEW YORK TIMES” (on Hardball): Michael and I both lived in Japan at about the same time, and you know, the Japanese, first, often don’t want to talk very directly about bad news, particularly if they think it’s going to cause a panic.

Something like that could never happen here.

Update: dday.

Nobody Knows You, When You’re Down and Out

Why is the most common unemployment stat now 8.9% instead of 11.5%?

Because so many unemployed workers have given up looking for work and “disappeared.”

Millions of jobless Americans are no longer on the radar screen because they’ve stopped looking for work. The percent of the total workforce either in jobs or actively looking is at its lowest point in 25 years.

If the share of Americans who are either employed or seeking work was the same today as it was before the Great Recession, the current unemployment rate would be 11.5 percent instead of 8.9 percent.

There’s worse news, too.

The biggest losses during the Great Recession were jobs paying $19.05 to $31.40 an hour. By contrast, the biggest gains over the past year have been jobs paying an average of $9.03 to $12.91 an hour.

In other words, the big news isn’t the slow return of jobs. It’s the drop in pay.

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Fast Food for Harried Days


Baked Bean and Cheese Quesadillas

Broccoli and Red Onion Quesadillas

Black Bean and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Mushroom Quesadillas

Spinach and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

I want to take a look inside, but I’m scared of what I’ll see.

–Stone River

Splash of Color 3

Taking Back America: FISA & the Lies of Barack Obama

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The 2nd Circuit Court ruled that a law suit (pdf) challenging the constitutionality of the FISA law which shields government eavesdropping from judicial review, or as Glen Greenwald says, “(places) secret executive surveillance above and beyond the rule of law”, can move forward in the courts. Finally, there will be a review of the law that Obama promised to vote against, then voted for promising to revise after he was elected and now wields with the same impunity as his predecessor to cover up war crimes and protect war criminals in the name of national security. The bill not only gives expanded eavesdropping powers without a warrant but also gave retroactive amnesty to the telecommunication companies which participated in Bush’s illegal spying program.

At Salon, Greenwald explains the law suit:

In the case brought by the ACLU, the plaintiffs were a variety of human rights activists, lawyers and journalists (including Naomi Klein and Chris Hedges), who argued that both they and their sources have a reasonable fear of being subjected to this expanded surveillance, and that fear– by rendering them unable to perform their jobs and exercise their Constitutional rights — constitutes sufficient harm to vest them with “standing” to challenge the new eavesdropping law.  In response, the Bush administration argued — as always — that the plaintiffs’ inability to prove that they were actually targeted by this expanded surveillance precluded their suing; their mere “fear” of being targeted, argued the Bush DOJ, was insufficient to confer standing to sue.

In late 2008, a lower court judge granted the Bush argument and dismissed the ACLU’s lawsuit on “standing” grounds.  On appeal, the Obama DOJ — needless to say — faithfully adopted exactly the Bush argument to demand dismissal of the ACLU’s lawsuit on procedural grounds of “standing,” i.e., without assessing the merits of whether this law violates the Fourth Amendment.

Yes, the Obama DOJ is now using the very same argument that was used by the Bush DOJ. But now a three judge panel ruled unanimously that the plaintiffs do have standing:


(click on image to enlarge)

Late Night Karaoke

Working with Your Hands 20110322: Welding

My good friend wanted his trailer to have some metal over the sides of it to use to tie down his riding lawnmowers, his ATV, and his large pull behind mower.  He has several acres to mow, at his farm and here at his house.

Yesterday we went to the hardware store and got supplies, went to his farm to pick up the trailer, and to the welding supply firm to get material.  We welded a little last night, and finished it today.

Welding is almost like art.  One takes a design, and makes it into a fusion of art and utility.  Dad taught me how to weld.

from firefly-dreaming 22.3.11

Essays Featured Tuesday the 22nd of March~

Veruca Salt kicks off the day in Late Night Karaoke, mishima DJs

Six Brilliant Articles! from Six Different Places!! on Six Different Topics!!!

                Six Days a Week!!!    at Six in the Morning!!!!

puzzled shares the delightful Regretsy in Tuesday Open Thoughts


Words for the Working Person by Wendys Wink republished with permission by  RiaD

A new series from Timbuk3: The 100 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time!

Tonight #99  

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