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It’s working out so well… 9 June 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, Afghanistan War, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC, WAR!.
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Swat Valley, Pakistan: Bakht Meena, 80, waits for a tent in Jalozai refugee camp [Emilio Morenatti/AP]

This is from ’24 hours in pictures’, appearing today, at the Guardian…

I looked up this particular refugee camp … of course first off was Wiki:

Jalozai refugee camp, 35 kilometres southwest of Peshawar, Pakistan, was one of the largest of 150 refugee or transit camps in Pakistan, holding Afghan refugees from the 1980s Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

It had an estimated 70,000 refugees at its peak.

New Jalozai adjoined the original Jalozai camp in November 2000, taking in a new wave of arriving Afghan refugees. The camps briefly received an additional influx of refugees in the period after 9/11, leading up to the United States invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001. After the fall of the Taliban, the vast majority of refugees in the Jalozai camp returned home or were relocated elsewhere. In February 2002, with a remaining population of 800, Jalozai camp was formally closed. But some problem elements remained through at least 2003, necessitating Pakistani military raids on the former camp that year. …

Eventually it was shut down…

But here is an interesting tidbit that Wiki tosses out at us:

Osama bin Laden was identified as a visitor to the Jalozai camp in the 1980s on one occasion. Bin Laden had been based around Peshawar since 1981, where he and Dr. Abdullah Yusuf Azzam were running a large contingent of foreign Arabs and material support involved in the Afghan resistance. Haji Dost Mohammad, the Jalozai security chief, and also a resident of Peshawar since 1979, recalled in a Reuters interview in 2001 that Osama bin Laden had visited Jalozai camp in 1987. According to Mr. Mohammad, “Once he came to the camp, 14 years ago, to deliver dates. He came only once. I haven’t seen him since, and at the time I didn’t know who he was.” [1]

***

May of 2009 – CNN:

JALOZAI REFUGEE CAMP, Pakistan (CNN) — It’s an exodus on an almost biblical scale. And it has produced a mosaic of plastic and canvas that is now home to more than 93,000 people — with more arriving each day.

This is Jalozai refugee camp near Peshawar, suddenly almost a city in its own right as thousands flee the violence raging between the Pakistani army and Taliban fighters.

The United Nations estimates that it’s the biggest movement of people in Pakistan since the country was formed in 1947. Officials say up to 1.8 million people have been forced from their homes.

Food is available at this camp — fruit traders work their way through the avenues of tents. But people here can’t afford to buy much.

They make bread with flour handed out by the United Nations, but they say it’s not enough. “It’s very difficult, there’s lots of jostling,” says Mehboob Shah, a man at the camp. When there is food, he says, “it’s very poor quality — even the cows won’t eat it.”

Sar Bari Khan arrived 15 days ago with his wife and three children. He says his family walked almost 62 miles to escape the fighting. They had to leave his father behind.

snip

And on the edge of the camp, workers are clearing the ground for more tents. There is no sign of this influx ending any time soon.

yes it is all working out so well…

***

Very well:

Israeli towns adopt “loyalty oaths” to bar Arab residents

Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 8 June 2009

A community in northern Israel has changed its bylaws to demand that new residents pledge support for “Zionism, Jewish heritage and settlement of the land” in a thinly-veiled attempt to block Arab applicants from gaining admission.

Critics are calling the bylaw, adopted by Manof, home to 170 Jewish families in the Galilee, a local “loyalty oath” similar to a national scheme recently proposed by the far-right party of the government minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Other Jewish communities in the central Galilee — falling under the umbrella of a regional council known as Misgav — are preparing similar bylaws in response to a court petition filed by an Arab couple hoping to build a home in Misgav.

“It looks very much like this is being coordinated by the Misgav council in an attempt to pre-empt the court ruling,” said Ronin Ben Ari, resident of another Misgav community, Mikhmanim, and an opponent of the bylaw change.

Manof’s move comes in the wake of efforts by Ahmed and Fatina Zbeidat, who live in the neighboring Arab town of Sakhnin, to win admission to the Misgav community of Rakafet.

It gets better:

In line with the ruling, the Zbeidats demanded the right to take a suitability test when their application was turned down in 2006.

Examiners found Fatina too “individualistic” for life in a small community while her husband lacked “knowledge of sophisticated interpersonal relations.”

And I am sure something or other in their lives was the wrong color, the wrong religion, the wrong, the wrong, the wrong….  The family dog perhaps was “wrong”….

How many walls can they build?  That big one with the watch towers, cameras, police, military —  the caged walkways to the check points and the this and the that.. is not enough.

***

Elie Wiesel is on with Charlie (the transcript is not up yet)…   Now he is nearly weeping (he is down to whispering) at the greatness of the Buchenwald visit.  He says Obama is a man of ”moral vision”. And he says had we learned from the Holocaust there would have been ”no Bosnia, no Cambodia, no Rwanda, no Darfur”…

Oh sweetie.  And what of Gaza?

He adds that he did take issue with Obama (Wiesel heard the Cairo speech on AF1), after speaking of the Holocaust, using, “on the other hand” to speak of Palestinian suffering. There is no “moral equivalency”.

Wiesel says Obama “corrected himself” in a follow up interview with Brokaw.

I bet he did.


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1. marisacat - 9 June 2009

Oh just to drive that nail into the wall… From a link at Left i on the news (up at “Buchenwald visit”)… Wiesel supported Bush’s Iraq war.

Full text:

MONTREAL (AFP) – Nobel peace prize laureate Elie Wiesel said the war on Iraq (news – web sites) is justified and blamed unnamed European countries for failing to prevent it through pressuring President Saddam Hussein (news – web sites). ( http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20030406/ts_afp/iraq_war_canada_wiesel )

“If some European countries put as much pressure on Saddam Hussein as on (US President George W.) Bush, there would have been no war,” he told a press conference in Montreal.

“Saddam Hussein had to be disarmed (and) there were no other means,” said the Nazi concentration camp survivor and author who was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1986 for his message “of peace, atonement and human dignity.”

The press conference was organized by the Quebec-Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Montreal Jewish community’s official public action group on behalf of Israel.

The Romanian-born Wiesel, who became a US citizen in 1963, said he did “not justify” war and was “not comfortable” with it, but that he was not a pacifist and believed in the “right to interference”.

He added: “You can accuse me of being naive, but I think in all conscience that this war was necessary.”

Dismissing suggestions that he is a “hostage of the American right”, Wiesel said: “I am not against paradoxes, I take them on, as someone who opposes war, who has seen war and who hates war.” [they all say that! –Mcat]

The US-led war on Iraq, he said, “will change the world.”

He said he was optimistic over prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians after the appointment of Mahmud Abbas, a moderate known as Abu Mazen, as Palestinian prime minister.

Stressing that Palestine Authority President Yasser Arafat (news – web sites) had been “a big disappointment” for the Israelis, Wiesel said he hoped a three-month moratorium on terrorist actions would be called “to give a chance” to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (news – web sites).

“The problem is terrorism (but) it will be necessary one day to settle this tragedy” in the Middle East, he said.

He says a lot.

2. marisacat - 9 June 2009

Marie Cocco in TruthDig

[M]eanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported last week that financial institutions and affiliated trade groups have spent $27.6 million lobbying to relax rules governing how they must account for the value of securities they hold.

Already, a loosening of accounting rule changes made in April—under pressure from sympathetic lawmakers—has helped some banks get through the Obama administration’s “stress tests” despite widespread assumptions that the banks were overstating their strength.

The industry also is digging in—and doling out money for lobbying and campaign contributions—for a battle over how to regulate derivatives, the financial instruments traded in opaque ways that are among the core contributors to the financial crisis. snip

air kiss air kiss..

What has changed? So is it 3 years, 5 years?… not many more I would guess and probably a lot less.. to the next big[ger] crash.. as we careen along in the big flat line at the bottom of a “U”.

CBS News overnight is playing tapes of Obama campaigning in PA last year, leading a rally (We Love You! the wee ones call out) with “We’ve lost 750,000 jobs under Bush – in 9 months… we tried it their way, it’s not working!” (Yes we can! the wee ones chant)…

CBS played it again then said we are now losing 750,000 jobs about every 9 weeks.

Life is so very very cruel. But! I think he gets re-elected. No sweat. For a long, torturous second term. It may make Bill C’s second term look like just a few problems.

After Democrats serve R, the R enjoy doing all they can to destroy them, in public.

***

LOL Eugene Robinson in TruthDig says all that matters is how great Ob is.

3. marisacat - 9 June 2009

hmm I just heard Stephen Colbert say that military families are going into foreclosure at FOUR times the national rate.

Alan Abelson has a piece on no bottom in the housing market… and he says a few things about the unemployment figures. And the state of the recession…

[B]ut, with a willful tenacity that we fear approaches obsession, we find ourselves clinging to the notion — in the face of the mounting insistence in Wall Street, Washington and other seamy precincts that less bad is the equivalent of good — that the impaired economy is still a long way from anything worthy of being called a recovery.

And what’s more, it will stay in that sorry state until housing, whose collapse triggered the chain reaction that threatened to all but demolish the economy, pulls itself up from the depths.

Ah, we can hear the fluttering flocks of cheerful chirpers scolding us for not opening our eyes and catching the luminous signs of a turn in housing’s fortunes. Well, our eyes are wide open, and what we see is something quite different: the mother of all head fakes. snip

After a segment of detailed mortgage and loan default info… (rather scary frankly) Abelson gets to this:

[W]E EARNESTLY HOPE THAT SHOULD he chance to glance at these scribblings, Timothy Geithner isn’t disconcerted to the point that he’s unable to give his undivided attention to the serious business of running the Treasury. We’d feel just awful if we thought that something we’ve written had distracted Mr. Geithner from formulating another way to reward the banks for their gross imprudence. snip

4. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 June 2009

Fareed Zakaria talked to author of Liars Poker, Michael Lewis, about what the future is for Wall Street and the economy

ZAKARIA: And we are back with Michael Lewis.

Michael, there are sort of two views on the future of Wall Street. One is, this whole game is over. And sort of, to a certain extent, you’ve been expressing it a little bit, that, you know, this is a 30-year boom. We’re going to look back it the way we did the 1920s, maybe the 1890s.

But there’s another view that says there are so many smart people out there, and they are so hungry, and they desperately want to find ways to make money, that you’re going to actually see new and interesting ways that these firms will either produce money, or there’ll be a whole series of smaller firms — you know, risk-taking firms like hedge funds on the one side, much more staid banks on the other.

What do you think? What does your gut tell you the future of Wall Street is going to look like?

LEWIS: I think that we are in for another day of reckoning down the road. I just don’t know when it is.

I think that they haven’t even properly evaluated the institutions. They haven’t been honest about what these institutions have on their books. They’ve had phony stress tests.

So, we’re in a kind of, I think, right now, in a period where there’s a false sense that it’s over, that the crisis is passed. I don’t think the crisis is passed.

Now, they haven’t all deleveraged. Morgan Stanley did, to its chagrin. But everybody else is still running these huge — a huge amount of leverage. But that’s going to change. I think the general sense that this sort of risk-taking should not take place in a public corporation, especially one that’s too big to fail, will express itself in regulation that will prevent it from happening.

But you’re right. There are all these smart people. And they’re used to making huge sums of money. And it’s kind of hard to believe that that will just end.

I don’t think it will just end. I think it will find a different expression. I think that what you’ll see is hedge funds will become more and more interesting.

ZAKARIA: But what happens to these storied…

LEWIS: These big institutions.

ZAKARIA: … these massive, massive banks? I mean, they used to define American power in a way, these massive, multinational banks that were all headquartered in New York.

LEWIS: I think they steadily become much more boring. I think they steadily attract a less a caliber people to work for them, and they pay less. They pay less.

I think that — it’s hard to see now, because what’s odd — one of the things that’s odd about the current situation is that the people who created the problem are so powerful in deciding what the solution to the problem is going to be. There is a great tradition on Wall Street of making a fortune, creating a mess, and then making a fortune cleaning it up. But to do it on this scale is breathtaking to me.

And it is amazing to me the degree to which, say, Goldman Sachs is intertwined with the Treasury, and how they’re — there don’t seem to be any independent voices in the thick of the decision-making. The decision-making is all being done by people who one way or another might expect to make a lot of money from Goldman Sachs in the future.

ZAKARIA: You talked about that in an op-ed in the “New York Times.” Describe that amazing revolving door between the SEC and the investment banks.

LEWIS: Well, that’s the — that’s sort of the down market version. But the directors of the last three — let’s see, three of the last four or four of the last five directors of enforcement of the SEC work for big Wall Street banks now.

ZAKARIA: And expected — right. And…

LEWIS: And you can just assume, I think, that if you’re a prominent person at the SEC, your exit strategy is to get a lot of money from a Wall Street firm. And nobody says anything about it. That’s the amazing thing.

It’s not even thought scandalous. It’s just thought normal. It’s like a natural career — a step in a financial career. Regulate…

ZAKARIA: And regulators, of course — you are highly unlikely to enforce in a very punitive manner any of the SEC’s mandates, if your hope is the next day, you know, to leave and get a job.

LEWIS: You’re not going to want to not get along with the head of Goldman Sachs. That’s absolutely right. You’re not going to — there’s a limit to how much trouble you’re going to be willing to cause.

I think that only partly explains the SEC’s impotence. I mean, the truth is also that an awful lot of what happened to create this crisis wasn’t even illegal.

ZAKARIA: Right.

LEWIS: So, there wasn’t anything the SEC could have done about it.

So, on a grander scale, if I’m Tim Geithner and I’m the secretary of the treasury, what do you think he’s going to do when he stops being secretary of the treasury? His natural next step is go work in the financial sector. I don’t think he’s actually thinking, “I’ve got to be nice to the people on Wall Street, because they’re going to make me rich on the back end of it.”

But I think it can’t help but influence his behavior, that that option even is there.

Elijah Cummings is on Morning Joe talking about how wonderfully the banks are helping people avoid foreclosure, thanks to Saint Barack’s leadership.

We are SOOOOOOOO skrewed.

marisacat - 9 June 2009

Maybe Ob will let Elijah drive AF1.

A few days ago in the Newsweek edited by Stephen Colbert… Zakaria had a piece all about how we are not imperialists.. AND we can win. In Iraq and in AfPak. But we are not imperialists. No we are not. Not. Notnotnot.

catnip - 9 June 2009

There is a great tradition on Wall Street of making a fortune, creating a mess, and then making a fortune cleaning it up. But to do it on this scale is breathtaking to me.

A “tradition”, indeed. Just ask the Military Industrial Complex.

5. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 June 2009

We don’t need no CCTV in our classroom

Many users suggested that cameras were a good idea because they could be used to keep an eye on bullying and student behaviour, we were accused of been “narcissistic megalomaniacs” angry at “being nabbed for our churlish troublemaking”. This stereotypical and frankly ignorant view ignores the fact that Davenant Foundation School produces some of the best exam results in Essex. Violent behaviour among pupils is simply not an issue, making the justification for putting cameras in our classrooms more surprising.

Adults are often quick to define the youth of today as stereotypical troublemakers and violent offenders – generalisations which are prompted by the media – when in fact the majority of students at our school are as responsible and arguably better behaved then the majority of adults. Some commentators insinuated that we overheard adults talking about rights and repeated it. That notion isn’t worth the space it was typed upon. We are A-level politics students who have been studying civil liberties as part of the curriculum for the last two years. Sam campaigned for David Davis when he resigned over the issue of civil liberties and spoke at speakers’ corner about the issue. The criticism of our campaign only serves to illustrate the ignorance of adults who have surrendered within only the last few years our right to protest in parliament, our right to go about our business without being stopped and questioned by police about our identity and our affairs, and our personal privacy.

Eroding standards in schools and deteriorating discipline are down to a broken society and the failure of the education system. The truth is that we are whatever the generation before us has created. If you criticise us, we are your failures; and if you applaud us we are your successes, and we reflect the imperfections of society and of human life. If you want to reform the education system, if you want to raise education standards, then watching children every hour of every day isn’t the answer. The answer is to encourage students to learn by creating an environment in which they can express their ideas freely and without intimidation.

Bravo!

6. marisacat - 9 June 2009

Fleur Cowles died.. tho seeing she made it to 101, she is likely much forgotten. Or mostly forgotten…

[C]owles’s first book, Bloody Precedent (1951), was a biography of the Peróns. Of Eva Perón she wrote that she could not “obliterate the image of this woman-politico with too much power, too much rage, too many flunkies in high government places, too little opposition, too much greed, too much money, a woman too fabled, too capable, too sexless, too driven, too overbearing, too slick, too neurotic, too sly, too tense, too sneering, too diamond-decked, too revengeful, too hateful of North Americans, too ambitious — and far, far too underrated for far too long by the world”. …

7. marisacat - 9 June 2009

It would be funny if it were not tragic. Politico.. in an article that reveals many mine fields. And vague and hesitant non believers, just happy to be invited to the WH for milk and cookies. They even accept the milk in a baby bottle. the cookies crushed to pabulum. Special WH Visitor bibs.

[M]eanwhile, some nonbelievers are also nervously waiting to see whether Obama will appoint former Human Genome Project Director Frances Collins, a born-again Christian, to run the National Institutes of Health.

Bloomberg News recently reported that Collins was the front-runner for the position, a prospect that troubles folks such as Harris.

I think it is excellent. Stick a crucifix on top of the WH. Everyone to wear a cruciform pin.. on the lapel. Forced baptisms in the fucking fountain.

****
Politico is spelling the name wrong … it is FranCIS B Collins. And yes he is freak. Why were so many on that damned project (Human Genome) freaks. Watson was too.. and old doddering medieval christian.

Here is Collins’ bio. http://www.genome.gov/10001018

he got Jesus climbing a mountain.

So I had to accept the plausibility of a powerful force, a creative Mind, that existed outside of Nature. But was God only to be found in the abstract, or did he also care about me? I felt an increasing hunger to answer that question.

After searching for two years more, I ultimately found my own answer — in the loving person of Jesus Christ. Here was a man unlike any other. He was humble and kindhearted. He reached out to those considered lowest in society. He made astounding statements about loving your enemies. And he promised something that no ordinary man should be able to promise – to forgive sins. On top of all that, having assumed all my life that Jesus was just a myth, I was astounded to learn that the evidence for his historical existence was actually overwhelming.

Eventually, I concluded the evidence demanded a verdict. In my 28th year, while hiking in the majestic Cascade mountains in the Pacific Northwest, I could no longer deny my need for forgiveness and new life –- and I gave in and became a follower of Jesus. He is now the rock upon which I stand, the source for me of ultimate love, peace, joy, and hope.

Madman in the Marketplace - 9 June 2009

I LOATH Collins.

Sam Harris tore his book apart a few years ago, when it was released:

Francis Collins—physical chemist, medical geneticist and head of the Human Genome Project—has written a book entitled The Language of God. In it, he attempts to demonstrate that there is a consistent and profoundly satisfying harmony between 21st-century science and evangelical Christianity. To say that he fails at his task does not quite get at the inadequacy of his efforts. He fails the way a surgeon would fail if he attempted to operate using only his toes. His failure is predictable, spectacular and vile. “The Language of God” reads like a hoax text, and the knowledge that it is not a hoax should be disturbing to anyone who cares about the future of intellectual and political discourse in the United States.

One wonders if the author has ever read a newspaper. The behavior of humans offers no such dramatic contrast. How badly must human beings behave to put this sense of universal rightness in doubt? And just how widespread must glimmerings of morality be among other animals before Collins—who, after all, knows a thing or two about genes—begins to wonder whether our moral sense has evolutionary precursors in the natural world? What if mice showed greater distress at the suffering of familiar mice than unfamiliar ones? (They do.) What if monkeys will starve themselves to prevent their cage-mates from receiving painful shocks? (They will.) What if chimps have a demonstrable sense of fairness when receiving food rewards? (They have.) Wouldn’t these be precisely the sorts of findings one would expect if our morality were the product of evolution?

Collins’ case for the supernatural origin of morality rests on the further assertion that there can be no evolutionary explanation for genuine altruism. Because self-sacrifice cannot increase the likelihood that an individual creature will survive and reproduce, truly self-sacrificing behavior stands as a primordial rejoinder to any biological account of morality. In Collins’ view, therefore, the mere existence of altruism offers compelling evidence of a personal God. (Here, Collins performs a risible sprint past ideas in biology like “kin selection” that plausibly explain altruism and self-sacrifice in evolutionary terms.) A moment’s thought reveals, however, that if we were to accept this neutered biology, almost everything about us would be bathed in the warm glow of religious mystery. Forget morality—how did nature select for the ability to write sonnets, solder circuit boards or swing a golf club? Clearly, such abilities could never be the product of evolution. Might they have been placed in us by God? Smoking cigarettes isn’t a healthy habit and is unlikely to offer an adaptive advantage—and there were no cigarettes in the Paleolithic—but this habit is very widespread and compelling. Is God, by any chance, a tobacco farmer? Collins can’t seem to see that human morality and selfless love may be derivative of more basic biological and psychological traits, which were themselves products of evolution. It is hard to interpret this oversight in light of his scientific training. If one didn’t know better, one might be tempted to conclude that religious dogmatism presents an obstacle to scientific reasoning.

Bill Maher smacked him around pretty good in “Religulous” too.

Madman in the Marketplace - 9 June 2009

oh, clip from Religulous:

8. marisacat - 9 June 2009

It also says the kneepad wearing non believers are ”keeping quiet” on the Francis Collins possible nom. Giving Oblation the ”benefit of the doubt”.

😆 GOOD LUCK!

Madman in the Marketplace - 9 June 2009

like every other national org tied to the donks … people really need to stay away from them AND the party.

9. NYCO - 9 June 2009

Some morning-after musings on the Albany coup…

1. It’s not about gay marriage. Gay marriage is only one ingredient in this particular stew, which probably sweetened the pot for Golisano’s meddling and probably for some other rogue Dems who didn’t show up at Malcolm Smith’s presser last night. Rumor has it that Espada was pissed that Smith wouldn’t give him his member items fast enough. In the end it is ALL about those member items (big pots of money doled out mostly to members of the majority). In short, it’s all simply business as usual. The culture has not changed in the slightest.

2. Planned for weeks by the GOP and nobody in the Dem caucus knew? Seriously? Get out of here.

3. No one on Daily Kos or elsewhere has been discussing the rule changes hastily enacted by the new GOP “coalition” just after they took over, including a 6-year term for Majority Leader, which would make Shelly “Majority Leader for Life” Silver look very much the dinosaur over in the Assembly. (However, the 6-year Majority Leader would have more absolute power over what happens on the floor.)

4. Malcolm Smith has been a disaster… full stop. We all knew it, but nobody wanted to come out and say it because his staff put up a very nice new Senate website that was actually useful for voters (wonder what happens to that, now).

10. catnip - 9 June 2009

I finally saw the doc The Corporation last nite. (Catching up on old releases since they’re 5 for $10 for 7 days at the video store here.) Well worth seeing and ever so relevant to what’s happening with the financial meltdown today.

Madman in the Marketplace - 9 June 2009

great documentary.

marisacat - 9 June 2009

Thanks for mentioning that.. I have Netflix now –and a new flat screen TV with a DVD player built in… LOL… partly grace a Ob’s $250.00…

Will look up The Corportion, add it to the queu.

11. catnip - 9 June 2009

I hope all of you are securely locked in your homes now that you have a Gitmo detainee in your midst.

marisacat - 9 June 2009

I am expecting NYC to simply self immolate.

12. catnip - 9 June 2009

Speaking of Peshawar:

A huge explosion has killed five people and injured at least 25 at a luxury hotel in the north-west Pakistani city of Peshawar, officials say.

The blast struck the five-star Pearl Continental, creating a scene of chaos outside as police rushed to and fro and Pakistani men stood looking stunned.

An Associated Press reporter said he had seen several injured foreigners.

Arcturus - 9 June 2009

hmm … I shd look it up before typing, but isn’t that the hotel the State Dept just announced that they want to turn into an embassy/consulate or somesuch (along w/ another in Lahore)? believe there were blasts in both Lahore & Peshawar the same week . . .

Arcturus - 9 June 2009

yea, I’ve still a few working brain cells left

boyscouts ever ready to ‘help’:

“If you’re going to have people live in a car bomb-prone place, you are driven to not have a light footprint,” said Ronald Neumann, a former US ambassador to Afghanistan and the president of the American Academy of Diplomacy. Mr. Neumann called the planned expansions “generally pretty justified.”

. . .

The US government also plans to revamp its consular buildings in the eastern city of Lahore and in Peshawar, the regional capital of the militancy plagued North West Frontier Province. The consulate in the southern megacity of Karachi has just been relocated into a new purpose-built accommodation.

A senior State Department official confirmed that the US plan for the consulate in Peshawar involves the purchase of the luxury Pearl Continental hotel. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

The Pearl Contintental is the city’s only five-star hotel, set in its own expansive grounds, with a swimming pool. It’s owned by Pakistani tycoon Sadruddin Hashwani.

Peshawar is an important station for gathering intelligence on the tribal area that surrounds the city on three sides and is a base for Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The area also will be a focus for expanded US aid programs, and the American mission in Peshawar has already expanded from three US diplomats to several dozen.

catnip - 9 June 2009

Good catch.

catnip - 9 June 2009

Also important for the traveling public to know they should check US government news before they book their next hotel room.

marisacat - 9 June 2009

Yes I think it is.

But he gave the Cairo speech. It was supposed to be the big band aid of life. They would no longer hate us for our freedoms. Etc.

13. marisacat - 9 June 2009

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is nearing agreement with the remote South Pacific island nation of Palau to resettle a group of Chinese Muslims now held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, The Associated Press has learned. snip

they might take some Uighurs… along with a load of “development” money.

catnip - 9 June 2009

Palau? Where they filmed Survivor one season? Coincidence?

marisacat - 9 June 2009

I am trying to picture it.. frankly.. Chinese Muslims from the far reaches of China… will be in a dive joint island. Okaaaay. Not saying it would not be workable

When I was going to school smallish groups of Tibetans were relocated to Switzerland, to high mountain villages. You could be driving thru the alps in the deep of winter and there would be a few Tibetans on the road, walking from one village to some alpine outpost. But there were similarities in the people, high mountain dwellers, some of their traditional fabrics were very similar.

BooHooHooMan - 9 June 2009

Maybe it’s a fixer upper dive joint island gulag.
We have a knack for these things.
With the Recovery and Change coming along and all, We’re only a nifty public/private joint venture away from the well heeled being able to buy their own little jackboot condo in Paradise:

I can here the pitch now:

Imagine enjoying horseback riding on miles of pristine beaches, sailboarding, and golf at stunning Cruel Lagoon™.

Enjoy “To DIE For” Amenities at the Community Sunset Pavilion include a Fitness Center, Party Room, and Torture Chamber. Cruel Lagoon. It’s Just Beyond the Horizon™.

marisacat - 9 June 2009

Get yur Mongolian Muslim dumplings here! Wash down with Palau China Beer!

We have an Islamic Chinese restaurant here in SF.. way out in the long stretch of flatlands, out toward Ocean Beach… just because it would be DIFFERENT, I wish I could drop in a for a meal…

14. marisacat - 9 June 2009

I am so fucking tired of this sort of bullshit. Ob is just the latest who shoves this scheisse:

“Entitlement increases and tax cuts need to be paid for,” said the president. “They are not free, and borrowing to finance them is not a sustainable long-term policy.”

But the wars go on. And expand. And imo he is not really talking about ”increases”. They will be cutting bone.

15. marisacat - 9 June 2009

😆

Tapper v Gibbs (with Major Garrett of FOX in the mix)

TAPPER: Two questions about developments today. One regarding the Ghailani trial — him being flown to the United States — if any of the detainees who are brought to trial through the U.S. criminal courts, or even through military commissions — if any of them are found not guilty, will the administration let them free?

GIBBS: Well, I’m not going to get into hypotheticals about…

TAPPER: Forget the military commissions.

GIBBS: I’m not going to get into hypotheticals about the court cases either.

TAPPER: Well, this is an important part of — you’re talking about a credible justice system; bringing these people to justice. You’ve spoken at great length about this — the president has. If they are found not guilty, will they be found…

GIBBS: Well, let’s discuss that if it ever comes to fruition.

TAPPER: But isn’t that what is underlying a credible justice system? The idea that if you’re found not guilty, you’ll be free?

GIBBS: Sure.

TAPPER: So…

GIBBS: But I’m not going to get into hypotheticals about how certain cases may or may not play out.

TAPPER: So you’re not willing to commit to freeing people if they’re found not guilty?

GIBBS: I’m not willing to get into playing hypothetical games.

TAPPER: It’s not a game, Robert. It’s a question about the credibility of a justice system.

MAJOR GARRETT, FOX NEWS: Just the principle of it.

GIBBS: No, it’s — I’m not debating legal principles. I’m just not getting into the hypothetical back and forth of what happens on a case.

TAPPER: OK. So the Obama administration is refusing to say that if someone is found not guilty, they will be set free?

GIBBS: Jake, I am not going to get into the hypotheticals about specific outcomes of cases.

TAPPER: I’m not asking you to talk about a specific case. I’m talking about in general.

GARRETT: For all the detainees brought to the system — into this system of justice, which this administration said can and has in the past handled adequately — more than adequately, according to your talking points this morning, the terrorism cases brought before it in whatever venue — if that justice system, which the administration says should be trusted, renders a verdict of not guilty, is that person released?

GIBBS: We will talk about what happens about a verdict when a verdict comes.

TAPPER: Well, then how is the world supposed to have any confidence that this new system of justice that you guys are ensuring is going to be the case with detainees, is actually credible?

GIBBS: We think the Southern District of New York has a very good record, as it relates to trying and convicting terror suspects.

TAPPER: I believe what your — the facts sheet said this morning — was that it has a 90 percent success rate.

GIBBS: I think 90 is pretty good.

TAPPER: I’m not questioning whether 90’s pretty good. I’m asking you about the 10 percent.

GIBBS: And I’m, in this specific case, not going to get into those hypotheticals.

Of course Micheal Wolffe in VF says one reason that Gibbs is such a laughing asshole is because Obrama gamers feel the media is on their knees… and needs Ob more than Ob needs the media.

Prolly true.

catnip - 9 June 2009

TAPPER: OK. So the Obama administration is refusing to say that if someone is found not guilty, they will be set free?

lol…reads like a freaking Monty Python sketch.

Madman in the Marketplace - 9 June 2009

bring in … THE COMFY CHAIR!

What a joke it all is.

16. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 June 2009

Taibbi in full rant: ‘It’s time to enshrine Hank Paulson as national hero’ WTF? (hat tip to Clusterstock for pointing me to it):

He wrote this in response to a Paulson worshipping piece by Evan Newmark in the WSJ (the paper also failed to disclose that both are affiliated with Goldman Sachs):

Dear WSJ,

Just out of curiosity — did Evan Newmark ever work for Goldman, Sachs? And if the answer to the question is yes, don’t you think that might have been a good fact to disclose before he fellated Hank Paulson in his “Mean Street” column?

Sincerely,
Matt Taibbi

I didn’t get an answer, which I guess is not surprising. But in the interim I found out that Newmark did, indeed, work for Goldman. I find it funny that a business journalist has to disclose if he’s invested in this or that stock, or short this or that security, before a newspaper will allow him to have an opinion about anything even distantly related to that company — but you don’t need to disclose anything if all you’re doing is kissing your former boss’s ass.

Can you imagine what a craven, bumlicking ass-goblin you’d have to be to get a job working for the Wall Street Journal, not mention up front that you used to be a Goldman, Sachs managing director, and then write a lengthy article calling your former boss a “national hero” — in the middle of a sweeping financial crisis, one in which half the world is in a panic and the unemployment rate just hit a 25-year high? Behavior like this, you usually don’t see it outside prison trusties who spend their evenings shining the guards’ boots. I can’t even think of a political press secretary who would sink that low. Hank Paulson, a hero? Are you fucking kidding us?

Exactly what part of Paulson’s record is heroic, Evan? The part where he called up SEC director William Donaldson in 2004 and quietly arranged to get the state to drop capital requirements for the country’s top five investment banks? You remember that business, right, Evan? Your hero Paulson met with Donaldson and got the rules changed so that Goldman and four other banks no longer had to abide by the old restrictions that forced banks to actually have a dollar or two on hand for every ten or so they lent out. After that, it was party time! Bear Stearns in just a few years had a debt-to-equity ration of 33-1! Lehman’s went to 32-1. By an amazing coincidence, both of these companies exploded just a few years after that meeting, and all of the rest of us, Evan, ended up footing the bill, thanks to a state-sponsored rescue of Bear and a much larger massive bailout of Wall Street in general, necessitated in large part by the damage caused by the chaos surrounding Lehman’s collapse.

Meanwhile your own Goldman, Sachs ended up with a 22:1 debt-to-equity ratio a few years following that meeting, a number that would have been much higher if one didn’t count the hedges Goldman bought through a company called AIG. Thanks in large part to Paulson’s leadership in his last years as head of Goldman, the company was so massively over-leveraged that it would have gone under if AIG — which owed Goldman billions when it went into its death spiral last September — had been allowed to collapse. But thanks to Hank Paulson, who heroically stepped in and gave AIG $80 billion the same weekend he allowed one of Goldman’s last key competitors, Lehman, to collapse, Goldman didn’t have to go without that money; $13 billion of the AIG bailout went straight to Goldman. So I guess we have Paulson to thank for the fact that he used about $13 billion of our taxpayer money to essentially bail out his own fuckups. I mean, that’s heroism if I’ve ever seen it. Audie Murphy has nothing on that. Sit your asses back down, Harriet Tubman, Thomas More, Gandhi and Jesus Christ. Hank Paulson is in the house!

snip

Even if it weren’t about five years too early to make any kind of judgment at all about whether or not TARP helped, the notion that Henry Paulson is a hero is complete and utter madness because TARP would never have been necessary if someone, anyone who wasn’t a greed-addled incompetent like Paulson had actually been regulating the economy in the last years of the Bush adminstration. If anyone besides Paulson had been running Goldman Sachs earlier in this decade — if a person with a serious brain injury had been in his place, for instance, or a horse, or a head of lettuce — we’d all be better off today, because there wouldn’t be so many toxic Goldman-underwritten mortgage-backed CDOs on the market. We, all of us, are paying the freight for assholes like Paulson, and like you, for that matter. And while we’re getting over it, slowly, you’re really not helping when you open your mouth and pat yourself on the back for all the good deeds you’ve done. Spare, us, okay? Just give it up.

marisacat - 9 June 2009

I am surprised they did not answer him… frankly. Of course it is likely becasue he would have published it.

About 20+ years ago The New Yorker, when it was still sane, had a long drippy piece by William H Buckley… all his sailing drool. For some reason it REALLY bothered me.. so I dropped the TNYer a snippy note. And they were quite snide in return. LOL But of course I had nowhere to publish their snideness.

marisacat - 9 June 2009

sigh. It’s our deification process.

We don’t have a great pantheon of gods.. nor a shelf of household gods. No we have shit gods.

17. marisacat - 9 June 2009

Speaking of Shit Gods… Biden opened his mouth today

[F]lanked by a dozen District of Columbia police officers, Biden said Sotomayor, a former prosecutor, could be counted on to support law enforcement while on the high court.

“As you do your job, know that Judge Sotomayor has your back as well. And throughout this nominating process, I know you’ll have her back,” Biden said.

“I think what Biden said was foolish,” said Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University who is a prominent legal ethicist. “She’s not there to ‘have their back.’ She’s there to interpret the law as she sees fit. . . snip

LINK

18. Arcturus - 9 June 2009

Bill Blum (curiously only in email so far – it’s not up on his site) commits the ultimate heresy:

Team Obama/Cult Obama
The praise heaped on President Obama for his speech to the Muslim world by writers on the left, both here and abroad, is disturbing. I’m referring to people who I think should know better, who’ve taken Politics 101 and can easily see the many hypocrisies in Obama’s talk, as well as the distortions, omissions, and contradictions, the true but irrelevant observations, the lies, the optimistic words without any matching action, the insensitivities to victims. Yet, these commentators are impressed, in many cases very impressed. In the world at large, this frame of mind borders on a cult.

In such cases one must look beyond the intellect and examine the emotional appeal. We all know the world is in big trouble — Three Great Problems: universal, incessant violence; financial crisis provoking economic suffering; environmental degradation. In all three areas the United States bears more culpability than any other single country. Who better to satisfy humankind’s craving for relief than a new American president who, it appears, understands the problems; admits, to one degree or another, his country’s responsibility for them; and “eloquently” expresses his desire and determination to change US policies and embolden the rest of the world to follow his inspiring example. Is it any wonder that it’s 1964, the Beatles have just arrived in New York, and everyone is a teenage girl?

I could go through the talk Obama gave in Cairo and point out line by line the hypocrisies, the mere platitudes, the plain nonsense, and the rest. (“I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States.” — No mention of it being outsourced, probably to the very country he was speaking in, amongst others. … “No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons.” — But this is precisely what the United States is trying to do concerning Iran and North Korea.) But since others have been pointing out these lies very well I’d like to try something else in dealing with the problem — the problem of well-educated people, as well as the not so well-educated, being so moved by a career politician saying “all the right things” to give food for hope to billions starving for it, and swallowing it all as if they had been born yesterday. I’d like to take them back to another charismatic figure, Adolf Hitler, speaking to the German people two years and four months after becoming Chancellor, addressing a Germany still reeling with humiliation from its being The Defeated Nation in the World War, with huge losses of its young men, still being punished by the world for its militarism, suffering mass unemployment and other effects of the great depression. Here are excerpts from the speech of May 21, 1935. Imagine how it fed the hungry German people.

{snip AH speech quotes}

How many people in the world, including numerous highly educated Germans, reading or hearing that speech in 1935, doubted that Adolf Hitler was a sincere man of peace and an inspiring, visionary leader?

marisacat - 9 June 2009

It is a cult.. plus I have felt for years, pre Obama, that many of the American people self hypnotise. They simply blank out, accept what is in front of them, respond as cued… willingly enter mesmerisation.

From what i have heard and read this happened in the front rows of some of Hitler’s rallies…

19. marisacat - 9 June 2009

Sometimes something works.. McAuliffe is OUT. On his tush.

UPDATE: AP calls it for Deeds.

Virginia counts fast, and the early returns are good for Creigh Deeds: With more than a third of the vote in, he’s at 51% — in a three-man race.

BooHooHooMan - 9 June 2009

LOL. –
Not that it matters much cuz it DON”T – LOL.
But I like it.

I know , I know-
Helluva thing, my considering it an electoral feat,
that the donkledingles were able to differentiate between the the protruding puckering ani from say ….just a …. black plumed cuckoo.

No illusions about it tho:
Now we’ll see Deeds fall all over the MilSpec types while pandering to the Foghorn Leghorn element in Va. With encouragement from the perennial retainers around DC:
He’s the New Warner! He’s the New Kaine! And so on…

He’s the new shit. ’bout it.
Sorry to have referenced a perfectly good cartoon when commenting on such crap-happy…

In news from NJ, Corzine got the rubber stamp from party devotees. I think he’s done in November, headline announcement about new tunnel to NY or not. 10,000 union hacks from North Jersey aren’t going to save his ass in the rest of the state. people are sick of the bullshit and corruption. Not that LOL, Christie isn’t an utter shit too.
Same here as everywhere: Pick your shit. Do you prefer soft and lumpy? Or perhaps you like your political feces species with semi digested food particles still visible. In the the Governors Beard. On THAT turds face? Pick your shit. Eat up!

Also of late in NJ- The cop who killed to teenage sisters after running red lights and stop signs at 90 on the way to complimentary pizza?

Yeh….
.
.
he got OFF.

marisacat - 9 June 2009

oh i know.. the Wapo endorsed Deeds… everyone acted like it was some big surprise… I am glad to be rid of McAuliffe tho.. he had a long rich thieving run.

BooHooHooMan - 9 June 2009

Oh I know YOU know, LOL.-
I’m embarrassed that I denied , tho plain as day,
the inherent, bipartisan corruption that has been so apparent for so many years. I came very close to becoming one at the rally, and effectively ratifiied this scheisse with “Lesser Evil” votes for many years.

Like I’d have wanted one of my daughters to come home with “Lesser Evil”:
Oh but Daddy, you can call him “Les”!

So easy to become one with The Rally when living in denial . I couldn’t help but think that a number of the Good Germans in that recent thread’s pic, like that old joke, might have wondered : What a coincidence! The Fuhrer addressing us at Adolf Hitler Platz!

I’m out. Great reads and threads, mcat.

marisacat - 9 June 2009

Like I’d have wanted one of my daughters to come home with “Lesser Evil”:
Oh but Daddy, you can call him “Les”!

That’s very good.. I had not thought of it that way. Yes: please meet the father of my grandchild and my daughter’s husband, Lesser Evil.

😆 Of course lots of people ended up with just that, either gender…

20. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 June 2009

Keep in mind the Iran has the legal right under agreements that it signed (unlike our friends Pakistan, India and Israel) …

Clinton Threatens to Attack Iran ‘The Way That We Did’ Iraq

Citing the disastrous 2003 US invasion of Iraq as an example, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today warned that by continuing to refuse to abandon its civilian nuclear program, Iran was risking the possibility of an invasion by the US or “some other enemy that would do that to them.”

The comments came during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” program, and when asked by interviewer and former Clinton-era official George Stephanopoulus, Secretary Clinton reiterated “that’s right, as a first strike.”

marisacat - 9 June 2009

Well I’d say to the Ob lovers, how is that vote working out for you?

The righties are delighted, I am sure, they loved what a hard ass for war she seemed to be… and still at it.

21. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 June 2009

there are some brutal pictures at this link, just by way of warning.

Never Again [link fixed –Mcat]

A ghettoized Gaza has become an open-air prison for Palestinians.

On September 12, 2005 the final Israeli settlement blocs in the Gaza Strip were dismantled and Israeli troops withdrew from the area after 38 years of military occupation. For Israel, the removal of troops signified an end to their occupation of Gaza. For the citizens of the Gaza Strip, however, the occupation had simply progressed into a new phase: the ghetto. The year 2005 marked the establishment of Gaza as an open-air prison for Palestinians.

The Israeli government controls the movement of all goods, including food, in and out of the Gaza Strip. A study done by Johns Hopkins University in 2002 showed that 17.5 percent of Gaza’s children aged 6–59 months suffer from chronic malnutrition and almost half of women and children suffer from anemia. These statistics have no doubt gone up in the wake of recent Israeli embargoes. Israel also controls basic necessities like power and plumbing. And of course it controls Gaza’s borders and airspace. The long ocean border, once an extremely viable source of income for Gazans through trade and fishing, is now strictly controlled by Israel.

For the most part, the movement of Palestinians into Israel is strictly forbidden. Until 2005 and the open revolt of Hamas in Gaza, Palestinians living in the territory were issued identification cards by the Palestinian Authority, with ID numbers given by Israel. These identification cards and their color casings determined what rights people had, where they were allowed to travel and, unofficially, how they were treated. Although they are no longer used in Hamas-controlled Gaza, these identification cards are used extensively in the West Bank, where Israeli checkpoints dot the region and prevent Palestinians from traveling freely within their territory. The situation of Palestinians in Gaza is unique: they have no official state and are thus treated as nonentities.

marisacat - 9 June 2009

oops Madman.. wrong link.. goes to Guttmacher graphs…

Madman in the Marketplace - 9 June 2009

Oops … here’s the one I meant.

http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/83/gaza.html

marisacat - 9 June 2009

I remember all of the Gaza photos, but the top one, of the truck delivering body parts…

Good for Adbusters. Someone has to BRUTALLY point out what the Israelis (and we) are doing. They are recreating mirror image horror. Fuck Wiesel and his pissant crap.

Madman in the Marketplace - 9 June 2009

They put some very straightforward stuff in their mag sometimes.

22. marisacat - 9 June 2009

It’s so haaaard. Hard. hard. hard to do. 😆 Harder to CARE.. they could give a flying hoohooo.

The prolonged absences of Sens. Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd may make it harder for Democrats to move forward on health care reform, the Employee Free Choice Act and the confirmation of a controversial Justice Department nominee.

The two men — the longest-serving members in the body — are each battling illnesses: Kennedy a brain tumor and Byrd a staph infection. It’s unclear when either will make a full-time return to the Senate.

What is clear is that their absence dramatically decreases the margins for their party. While Democrats still have an overwhelming majority without the two, it’s not the filibuster-breaking, 60-vote supermajority they’d have if Kennedy and Byrd were on hand and Al Franken were seated in the ongoing Minnesota race. Instead, Democrats have just a 57-40 majority — meaning that, on any issue, the GOP can lose two Republican votes and still deny the Democrats the votes needed to stop a filibuster.

“Congress ultimately comes down to numbers,” said a senior Senate Democratic aide. “When you start with one or two down, the harder it gets.” snip

what a scream. It is not just hard, it is impossible. Well here is wishing heart attack majorities for 2010. +30 in the house and +10 in the senate.

Cuz the Dems are the only game in town right? R dried up and blew away. Right?

23. catnip - 9 June 2009

News from the “black gold, Texas tea” dep’t –

Subtitle: St George needs an oil change…

RAMLA, Israel — Christians have been flocking to this dusty Israeli town to see what locals are calling a miracle: streaks of what looks like oil mysteriously dripping down an icon of St. George at a Greek Orthodox church named for the legendary third century dragon slayer.

Worshippers said Tuesday that the more than two dozen streaks might represent God’s tears or the Christian rite of baptism. The church priest, Father Nifon, first saw the streaks while preparing for Sunday morning services, they said.

“He kissed all the icons, and when he reached that one, he took down the picture and he cleaned it,” said Aida Abu el-Edam, an English teacher and longtime church member. “After 20 or 25 minutes, he looked again and he saw the oil again and said, ‘This is a miracle.'”

The US military immediately invaded.

marisacat - 9 June 2009

oh thank you.. that gave me a laugh.. [struggling in the set up of the new tv… and modernity and technology are WINNING… gah]

catnip - 9 June 2009

Congrats on the new teevee!

Yup, they’ve definitely moved beyond “plug and watch”when it comes to these new-fangled setups (from what I hear anyway…my teevee is a 1980s model. It works. It stays.)

marisacat - 9 June 2009

I HAD to get a new one for the digital switch over which is … Sat.. I think. tho my old Philips was on its last legs anyway… and here is a laugh, I have to thank ObRama.. for first the delay from Feb to now.. I was in a dither in Feb over other things.. no way I could have added this… and then he lobbed 250 to SS and SS Disabled… as our “rebate”… so I bought a slightly better TV, with a DVD player.. than I would have.

I managed to plug it in.. which was a miracle. will do the antenna tomorrow in the daylight. Good think I ordered an indoor antenna, as right now I am getting ONE channel. Local PBS…

I gather that Canada did not go digital?

catnip - 9 June 2009

cont.

El-Edam, 47, said she was convinced the streaks were a miracle in part because of a strange smell emanating from the icon. She said it reminded her of her visit as a teenager to the site of a miracle in Ermysh, Lebanon. There, she said, the odor came from a recently deceased woman whose Christian faith was legendary.

“It’s a special, holy smell,” she said. “It’s not ordinary, like olive oil. It’s something strange that comes from God.”

In these parts, honey, that’s known as “decomposition”.

marisacat - 9 June 2009

what a scream!

she’s smelling human rot!

catnip - 9 June 2009

Okay – now here’s where the story takes a slightly obscene turn:

The icon hangs near the front of the church, hidden from most pews by a small gold chandelier. A nun dressed in black was rubbing the bottom of the icon with cotton balls, which she handed to the faithful who sometimes smelled them before clutching them to their chests.

marisacat - 9 June 2009

oh ugh. I can skip that kind of extasy

24. marisacat - 10 June 2009

gnu…

LINK

……… 😯 …………


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