Showing posts from September, 2009

Whither Acorn?

This is an evaluation of the Acorn situation from the left. Rather than simply write off the attack from the right Fletcher freely admits that the revelations of the right plus the question of embezzlement of funds should be a wakeup call. Instead the organisation has often reacted arrogantly. It seems that the leadership has its head in the sand like an ostrich and just refuses to look at itself. Fletcher has some positive suggestions as to how ACORN should move forward. One could add that a first step would be for the president leadership to simply resign.

Whither ACORN?By Bill Fletcher,
Executive Director
Sometimes an organization is faced with a crisis of such proportionsthat it calls into question its integrity and relationship with thepublic. In the corporate world, one can think of the airline ValuJetwhich, after the disastrous crash into the Everglades of one of itsplanes, so lost the confidence of the public that it had to shut down;remake itself; and bra…

Justin Raimondo: September Surprise..

This is a point of view that you rarely see. Most of the mainstream media rarely mention the fact that Israel has nuclear weapons. They developed them secretly too and jailed Vannunu the whistleblower who revealed what was going on. But then as Raimondo points out Israel has a special relationship with the U.S. If the idea of Israel joining the NPT is even mentioned Israeli authorities go ballistic. Iran has every reason to fear Israel and the US as well. The US makes not the slightest bones about wanting regime change in Iran even though that would probably do little to change Iranian attitudes about nuclear development.
As Raimondo points out as well the US has known for ages about this facility. They could have outed Iran at any time. Yet it was Iran itself that informed the IAEA and is apparently willing to allow inspectors to visit the facility.

- Original - -
September ‘Surprise’
Posted By Justin Ra…

Obama Advisers split by Afghan troop request.

This is a typical New York Times piece that often reflects quite well what the administration is thinking. The idea that the Afghan war might come to define in part Obama's tenure is a bit ingenuous since during the campaign Obama stressed that he would make the Afghan war a priority and was going to devote more resources to it. His Afghan policy has been Bush on steroids making his anti-war supporters look foolish! Now he faces a large majority of Democrats who do not support further troop deployment in Afghanistan and a majority of Republicans who do. But overall US citizens no longer support the war period!
Within the administration Obama is clearly having second thoughts and Biden represents an alternative to a surge while Clinton and Holbrooke, the guy who thought the Afghan election was hunky dory, represent the continuing hawkish stance which until now was the trademark of Obama himself!

By Peter Baker and Elisabether Bumiller
Afghanistan Troop Request Splits Advisers to…

Brazilian embassy in Honduras harassed.

There have been a lot of rumours about the illnesses inside the embassy and of chemical or biological contamination. From the doctors report there does seem to be contamination of some sort causing the illnesses but the exact cause is yet to be verified. Several different accounts have been circulating plus the explanation of the doctor which has been questioned by commentators who point out that the mysterious item covered by a garbage bag looks to be a listening device of some sort. The sound generating equipment is made in the US and the same type of machine was used at G20 protests by the police. The article is from this site.

Honduran Coup Regime Mocks UN Security Council with Embassy Attacks
Posted by Al Giordano - September 25, 2009 at 3:23 pm
By Al Giordano
After today’s emergency session of the United Nations Security Council in New York, US Ambassador Susan Rice emerged to read a warning to the Honduras coup regime:
"We condemn acts of intimidation against the Brazilian emba…

Retiring marine general who built and ran Guantanamo says it was a mistake.

The rest of the article is at this site. General Lehnert did complain but within the chain of command and nothing ever happened of course. One could hardly expect him to do much more at the time.

Retiring Marine general calls Guantanamo prison bad move
By Jeanette Steele
Since the 1960s, the base has served as a logistics point for the Navy's Atlantic Fleet. It also supports anti-drug operations in the Caribbean.
Joint Task Force 160 was activated in December 2001, and Camp X-Ray was prepared as a temporary location for detainees, who started arriving the next month.
More than 520 prisoners have been released to other countries; about 220 remain.
CAMP PENDLETON — Saying the United States lost the moral high ground, the outgoing Marine general who built and ran the Guantanamo Bay military prison in early 2002 said he quickly concluded that it was the wrong path and that the cells he constructed should be emptied.
Retiring Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert, now commander of seven Mar…

U.S. drone crashes into Iraqi Islamic Party office in Mosul.

This is good grist for conspiracy theorist mills. One wonders how it managed to hit the office of the Iraqi Islamic Party in Mosul. You would think that is would be in the countryside. Of course it is quite possible that it went out of control. No word about any casualties or what damage it caused. We usually think of drones in Pakistan or Afghanistan but they are obviously used all over.

U.S. drone crashes into Iraq political party office
Saturday, September 26, 2009 10:01 AM
MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - An unmanned U.S. reconnaissance drone crashed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul early on Saturday, hitting the offices of one of Iraq's biggest political parties, the U.S. military said.
No injuries were reported, and there was no indication the aircraft was shot down, said Major Derrick Cheng, a military spokesman in northern Iraq.
Cheng said it was a coincidence that the drone struck the local offices of the Iraqi Islamic Party, Iraq's biggest Sunni Arab political group, th…

EU report to blame start of Georgia conflict on Georgia?

This is from the Georgia Times. The paper sounds more pro-Russian than Georgian! It seemed to me at the time that it was clearly Georgia that started the fracas underestimating the Russian reaction and ultimately leading to disaster for Georgia. So far very few countries have recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Nicaragua being one. Appparently the US is helping to rebuild the Georgian Army and there are reports that by 2015 there may be US military bases in Georgia.

Who dreads conclusions of the “mission for truth” in Georgia?
Before Heidi Tagliavini's commission report on the reasons of the conflict in Caucasus last August is made public Hansjörg Haber, head of the European Union Monitoring Mission (see photo) made a very serious statement remarking that the mission has to reckon with Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
"I believe we'll have to live with this state of things as Russian presence is a vital factor there", - Haber told journalists i…

If Acorn goes down will Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grunman be next.?

Somehow I doubt that Glenn Beck will be presenting with any revelations about this corruption. The constituencies are much more important and besides it is not clear how he would be able to bring in outrage at promoting underage prostitution. The corruption in these cases involves contract violations which although they may end up costing the taxpayer a great deal of money spent for no value does not have the shock value of the corruption revealed at Acorn. If I were a gambler I wouldn't bet a cent that either of these giants will be punished by not receiving any further contracts!

If Acorn Goes Down, So Might The Military-Industrial Complex?

Here's a shout-out to Ryan Grim who first noted the delicious irony when the House of Representatives last week rammed through a motion to defund Acorn, whose roughly 1,200 chapters serve as advocates for poorer communities. That was the culminating moment after a weeklong orgy of cable hysterics after a couple of undercover conservative ac…

Amnesty International reports more human rights violations in Honduras.

There seems to be very little coverage of these violations in the mainstream press. If this were happening in Iran there would be plenty of coverage. Yesterday there were reports of one to ten people being killed. As this article notes media opposed to the coup have been interrupted so that they could not cover events.

PRESS RELEASESeptember, 23 2009
Two Days After Honduran President Returns to Capital, Amnesty International Reports Rise in Police Beatings, Mass Arbitrary Arrests, Closing of Media Outlets, Harassment of Activists Since Coup
Human Rights Organization Cites "Alarming" Incidents, Including Police Tear Gas Attack Monday on Rights Organization in Capital
(New York) -- Amnesty International reported today that police beatings, mass arrests of demonstrators and intimidation of human rights groups have risen sharply in Honduras since the June coup d'etat, including the firing of tear gas at the building of a prominent rights group on Monday with 100 men, women and c…

Matt Taibbi on the sad state of US health reform..

At least this is a fitting counterpoint to those US commentators who get up and say that in spite of its shortcomings the US has the best health care system in the world. Actually that might be close to the truth for those who are very well off. But the WHO ranked the US as 37th of 190 countries so Taibbi is perhaps being a bit harsh to say it is the worst though perhaps he is right about its being the dumbest! This is just a small part of the article from the Rolling Stone.

Watch Matt Taibbi break down his report on the sad state of health care reform in his blog, Taibblog.
Let's start with the obvious: America has not only the worst but the dumbest health care system in the developed world. It's become a black leprosy eating away at the American experiment — a bureaucracy so insipid and mean and illogical that even our darkest criminal minds wouldn't be equal to dreaming it up on purpose.
The system doesn't work for anyone. It cheats patients and leaves them to die, den…

Sarkozy proposes a Joie de Vivre Index

As the article points out Sarkozy seems to be multiple characters in one person! Nevetheless his promotion of the idea of a broader measure than GDP to measure the success of nations is a good idea. Not only is the GDP measure too narrow as it is, it is also too broad in that many things that add to GDP are arguably negative in nature. As the article also notes many eminent economists such as Amartya Sen and Stiglitz who have been advocating similar ideas but Sarkozy may help make the idea more of a political force. This is from the Independent.

Sarkozy proposes the joie de vivre index
By John Lichfield in Paris
The official measure of political success should be "revolutionised" to include happiness and well-being as well as growth, President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested today.
The French president said that he would lead a "fight" – starting at the G20 summit at Pittsburgh next week – to remove the "cult of figures" and the "cult of the market" from …

Secret talks aim to heal Afghanistan's political splits.

There seems little mainstream press interest in what is going on behind the scenes. Even if Karzai ends up winning as seems quite likely the occupiers will make sure that his government reflects their interest and Karzai's power is trimmed as much as possible precisely as this article suggests. However manufacturing puppets out of crafty Afghan politicians is not much easier than the battle with the Taliban.

Secret talks aim to heal Afghanistan's political splits
September 19, 2009
Afghan politicians, power-brokers and diplomats are playing a game of intrigue that could broker a compromise to bury the divisive legacy of last month's disputed presidential election.
Western missions in Kabul say the country's destiny will be decided by a recount of hundreds of thousands of suspect votes that could overturn the lead of Hamid Karzai, the incumbent president.
Behind closed doors, however, opposition leaders and foreign envoys are in talks that could boost the influence of techno…

Meet the man who changed Glenn Beck's life.

Glenn Beck is a great muckraker and loves to delve into the background of people he targets. It is only just then that there should be material dug up on Beck's own background and on the people who influenced him. This article exposes Beck's connections with a right wing oddball name Cleon Skousen. This is from Salon.
Meet the man who changed Glenn Beck's life
Cleon Skousen was a right-wing crank whom even conservatives despised. Then Beck discovered him
By Alexander Zaitchik

Sep. 16, 2009

On Saturday, I spent the afternoon with America's new breed of angry conservative. Up to 75,000 protesters had gathered in Washington on Sept. 12, the day after the eighth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, sporting the now familiar tea-bagger accoutrements of "Don't Tread on Me" T-shirts, Revolutionary War outfits and Obama-the-Joker placards. The male-skewing, nearly all-white throng had come to denounce the president and what they believe is his communist-fa…

New Poll Finds Strong Domestic Support for Iran Regime

While the remarks in this article about people being reluctant to express support for others than Ahmadinejad no doubt have some degree of validity, it seems clear that many supporters of the opposition are quite willing to go to much greater risk than just answering a survey in order to make their opinions known! They have demonstrated when demonstrations have been banned. Notice how the article relates every possible way that the poll could be skewed!    This poll along with polls before the election also by foreign pollsters show that Ahmadinejad probably did win even though there was some manipulation and fraud on the part of his supporters.

New Poll Finds Strong Domestic Support for Iran Regime

Posted By Jim Lobe  

Despite persistent mass demonstrations protesting June’s disputed reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a new survey of Iranian public opinion released here Saturday suggests majority domestic support for both him and the country’s basic governing institutions.