Friday, October 7, 2011

Yippee! OccupyWallSt Won't Back Down - Ten Years In Afghanistan!!! Iraq Up Next!!!! (No . . . Not Libya . . . Iraq's 10-Year Anniversary Is Next!) & NC Education Screwed!

Welcome to the #OWS 99% Movement “We Will NOT Be Co-Opted” Working Group

This is not an official statement from the #OWS 99% Movement. As a decentralized leaderless movement, in our opinion, there is no one group, organization, website or individual who can speak for the movement as a whole. We, a working group of people currently occupying Liberty Park and many other locations throughout the US, are growing increasingly concerned about divide and conquer attempts being made to co-opt the movement. In the following message, we are issuing our first proposed statement. ... Read More >>

From my bestest gf, Malignant Bouffant, at Just Another Blog From LA:

Where have we heard this before?

One of America's most celebrated generals has issued a harsh indictment of his country's campaign in Afghanistan on the 10th anniversary of the invasion to topple the Taliban.

The US began the war with a "frighteningly simplistic" view of Afghanistan, the retired general Stanley McChrystal said, and even now the military lacks sufficient local knowledge to bring the conflict to an end.
Thinking, remembering ... Oh, yes: We've heard it everywhere this benighted nation of ignoramuses has stuck its fat nose in the last 50-odd yrs. Really, will the sheep ever stop being proud of their ignorance?

Tony, at Afghanistan War (in Great Britain), enlightens us further on this most (in)auspicious occasion (and we don't get this type of info easily in this country - not that it's not owned by the public).

10 Years, 10 Facts

Ten years on from the invasion of Afghanistan ...
07 October 2011

Today is the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan by the United States and its allies - including the UK - in the aftermath of the horrific attacks on 9/11.

It is a time to reflect and deliberate. Here are ten important things about the conflict that are worth considering on this particular anniversary:

1) The British government has spent more than £18 billion on the war in Afghanistan. Last year alone, the Treasury allocated £4 billion for the fight against the Taliban.

2) There have been 382 UK military fatalities in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001 - 35 of them this year. The UK military death toll in Afghanistan long ago exceeded the number of military casualties in the Falklands war (255) and the invasion of Iraq (179).

3) The average age of British casualties in Afghanistan is 22; 28 of those 382 dead soldiers were teenagers.

4) According to figures collated by the United Nations, the number of civilians killed in conflict in Afghanistan rose by 15 per cent in the first six months of this year to 1,462 non-combatants. Insurgents were held responsible for 80 per cent of the killings, with pro-government forces (including western forces) held responsible for 14 per cent of all civilian deaths.

5) The invasion of Afghanistan has not made the UK safer - the London bombings occurred four years after the commencement of military operations against the Taliban. On 7 July 2005, British troops were serving in Afghanistan when the four suicide bombers struck the capital's transport network. In fact, 7/7 bomber Shehaz Tanweer explicitly referred to British forces fighting in Afghanistan in his suicide video. As one of the UK's leading security experts,John Mackinlay of King's College, told me almost two years ago: "Afghanistan is the recruiting sergeant for what is happening in the UK."

6) The US and UK governments say we are fighting against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan - yet, as long ago as October 2009, Obama's (then) national security adviser, General James Jones, told CNN that "the al-Qaida presence [in Afghanistan] is very diminished. The maximum estimate is less than 100 operating in the country. No bases. No ability to launch attacks on either us or our allies."

7) The Taliban is a brutal, reactionary and despotic movement but it isn't a terrorist group, international or otherwise, and nor does it pose a direct or imminent threat to British national security. None of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Afghans or members of the Taliban. Of the dozen or so major terror plots that UK security agencies have successfully prevented since 11 September 2001, none have been linked to Afghanistan. Of the 100 or so Islamists imprisoned in Britain on terrorism offences, not a single one hails from Helmand.

8) Our chief ally in Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, has been described by senior US officials in internal diplomatic cables as "not an adequate strategic partner" who "continues to shun responsibility for any sovereign burden", is "paranoid, "weak", and has "an inability to grasp the most rudimentary principles of state-building". Peter Galbraith, who served as a UN envoy to Afghanistan until 2009, has since publicly questioned the "mental stability" of Karzai and even suggested that the Afghan president may be using drugs. In April 2010, Karzai threatened to quit politics and join the Taliban if the west put any further pressure on him to reform his government. I have referred to him elsewhere as Afghanistan's Ngo Dinh Diem.

9) Britons oppose the war in Afghanistan by a 2-to-1 margin. The majority, 60 per cent, of the public opposes the war in Afghanistan, while only a minority, 31 per cent, supports it. It is the same across the pond: the overwhelming majority of Americans, 73 per cent, are in favour of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

10) For the past decade, western governments have repeatedly claimed that the war in Afghanistan was justified by the Taliban's refusal to hand over Osama Bin Laden for trial. Ths is a lie. As the Daily Telegraph reported on 4 October 2001, three days before the bombing began:

A secret plan to put Osama bin Laden on trial in Pakistan has been blocked after President Musharraf said he could not guarantee his safety, it was disclosed yesterday.

Suggested by the Taliban's closest allies in Pakistan, it was a last-ditch attempt to satisfy Western demands for bin Laden's surrender while averting a war and ensuring the fanatical regime's survival.

A high-level delegation led by Qazi Hussain Ahmad, head of Pakistan's most important Islamic party, the Jamaat-i-Islami, met Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, in secret on Monday. Omar agreed that bin Laden should be taken to Pakistan, where he would be held under house arrest in Peshawar.

The proposal, which had bin Laden's approval, was that within the framework of Islamic shar'ia law evidence of his alleged involvement in the New York and Washington attacks would be placed before an international tribunal.

The court would decide whether to try him on the spot or hand him over to America

Ten long and bloody years later, Bin Laden is dead; al-Qaeda is scattered; Pakistan is on the verge of implosion; the US government is in talks with the Taliban - and yet still we continue to send British troops to fight and die in the killing fields of Afghanistan. It is one of the great tragedies, and scandals, of our times.

And, of course, the coup de grâce from Thers at Whiskey Fire:

October 07, 2011

Peace Sells, But It's a More of a Renter's Market This Season

by Ripley

Hey, kids! Nothing really new or interesting to say, but I thought we could reminisce about the good old days at the expense of our idiot breth(re)n on the other side of the aisle. Remember this plonk they were tossing out there a few years ago?
Oh, man! Those were the days, weren't they? You couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting some jackass calling you a Commie Pinko Faggot because you didn't support the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism. Booyah?
And yet, today... well, let's leave "the troops" out of it. Partisan politics aside, we all know those poor bastards were born for dying and, frankly, what can we do? Schedules and softball games and season permieres, life is so crazy! (You'll have to imagine my whacky sitcom character waving his hands around in a "What am I going to do? Life is so crazy!" kind of fashion.)
There's no reason, however, that we can't ask our Republican friends about their undying(!), unqualified(!), deeply heartfelt(!) support for the troops. Or, barring that, ask them for a squishy general mumble of support-y kind of vague acknowledgment, get back to you something or other... ah, fuck it.

Spaghetti-kid Apparently, America has greater problems.  For fuck's sake, when's the last time you heard from Melanie Morgan? Seriously, I didn't think there was a force on Earth that could shut her up, but along came Sarah Palin. And a black President, which totally changed some marketing campaigns and made quite a few boners shrink, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

I don't know - call me sentimental, but sometimes I miss those days when the Republicans had nothing but the wafer thin hypocrisy of "Support the Troops!". They were, what...? I guess it was a cuter kind of patriotic veneer back then. An absurd patina of machismo and longing for black and white movies where the actors yelled their lines, so daring you couldn't help but chuckle . . .
And now, feh! Bunch o' pikers pissing and moaning about "the DEFICIT!" and "there's a black man in the White House!" and chickens shitting on your porch. Really, Lord? This is why you put me on this Earth? To hear this whining?
Anyhoo - fuck it. Next time some fancy lad comes up to you, whips out his John Galt Junior Deputy Tax Dodger badge and tries to sell you some Republican ditch weed voodoo economic bullshit, ask him if he still supports the troops. Then tell him, "Support the troops? Pay your taxes, asshole! I do."
They got the house on the corner
With the rug inside
They got the booze they need
All that money can buy
They got the shapely bods
They got the Steely Dan T-shirt
And for the coup-de-gras
They're outrageous

And in North Carolina? Oh, the righties nationwide have been on a buying spree here. Just keep letting your representatives cut their taxes and see where that gets you and yours.

Everything's for sale these days, I guess.

Art Pope, director of the Koch-founded “Americans For Plutocracy Prosperity”
I first came across the Pope family name only a few weeks ago while Yasha and I were preparing our Koch-Hayek article. The letters that Levine discovered came from the Friedrich von Hayek Papers at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute. To get permission to quote from those letters for our article, we had to contact the man in charge of the Hayek papers, Bruce Caldwell, a professor of economics at Duke University in North Carolina. I looked up Caldwell’s name just to see who he was and to find out what to expect, and that’s when I came across the Pope family name.
Caldwell is the director of Duke U.’s “Center for the History of Political Economy,” a project founded in 2008 with money from the Pope family foundation.
What makes this a little scary is that it means that our understanding of the history of economics — a field whose political importance can’t be overstated—is funded by one of the most radical, and ambitious far-right oligarchs in the country. History — that’s another BIG area of interest for the top .01%ers. It’s not just “Ideas for Sale” but “History For Sale” too.
To make matters worse, George Soros just pledged a hefty chunk of money to the Pope economic-history program. So now the all-important study of the history of economics, the history of how wealth and power are divided and allocated, is caught in a tug-of-war between oligarch clans, and our minds and the major premises of how we understand things are the inevitable collateral damage. Thanks to Soros, the program has the appearance of objectivity — since under our warped understanding of “balance” today, Soros “balances” out Pope. We’re not even part of the weights and measurements anymore.
Meanwhile, Art Pope has been successfully copying the Charles Koch playbook for power and wealth in North Carolina and beyond — it’s a strategy that focuses on much more than just growing a business or bribing politicians for specific policy changes or legislation. Koch — and Pope — invest into changing the ideological environment to make it far more oligarch-friendly.
Thanks to Pope’s investments into economics departments in North Carolina’s highly-reputable public (and private) universities, today the Republican Party rules North Carolina for the first time in a century. And it’s not the Republican Party of your father’s day — or of the Reconstruction Era. This is the Koch-Pope Republican Party, the rankest, meanest, pro-plutocrat version of the Republican Party imaginable:
Even some North Carolinians associated with Jesse Helms think that Pope has gone too far. Jim Goodmon, the president and C.E.O. of Capitol Broadcasting Company, which owns the CBS and Fox television affiliates in Raleigh, says, “I was a Republican, but I’m embarrassed to be one in North Carolina because of Art Pope.” Goodmon’s grandfather A. J. Fletcher was among Helms’s biggest backers, having launched him as a radio and television commentator. Goodmon describes Pope’s forces as “anti-community,” adding, “The way they’ve come to power is to say that government is bad. Their only answer is to cut taxes.”
Yep, Pope’s free-market radicalism is too evil even for the Jesse Helms Fan Club, the new squishy moderates in this Pope-ified political environment.


TONY said...

Nice to listen to the Steelies in these dark days, Suzan. Tx.

Suzan said...

Walter and Donald always brighten mine!

Love ya,


"Bodhisattva, would you take me by the hand?"

("Black Friday")