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crickets's Journal
Posted by crickets in General Discussion
Wed May 04th 2011, 12:07 PM
That hadn't even occurred to me until now, and it's spot on. Nobody wants to go through another Iran hostage situation.

In a perfect world, we could have captured rather than killed bin Laden, obtained as much information as possible to neutralize al Qaeda, then put him on trial at the Hague.

It was never going to happen. Pride would have kept us squabbling about jurisdiction, too many other necks close to home were on the line if he testified, too many inconvenient secrets had to go to the grave with him. Does anyone really think he'd have gotten a fair trial after watching the Saddam show? Rather than closure, it would have been a propaganda nightmare.

We don't have to like it--I know I don't--but that's the reality. It was never going to happen.
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Posted by crickets in General Discussion
Tue May 03rd 2011, 11:24 AM
"...the Iraqi Army, American forces, Saddam Hussein’s henchmen, Al Qaeda in Iraq, and the sectarian groups, gangs and militias..."

No more. Not in our name.
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Posted by crickets in General Discussion
Tue May 03rd 2011, 10:05 AM
The attack on Afghanistan was always on the table, because the businessmen building the pipeline wanted a biddable government installed to reduce the risk to their investment. Plans for war were drawn up and in the works before Sept 11th.

November 20, 2001
US policy on Taliban influenced by oil
http://www.atimes.com/c-asia/CK20Ag01.html

PARIS - Under the influence of United States oil companies, the government of President George W Bush initially blocked intelligence agencies' investigations on terrorism while it bargained with the Taliban on the delivery of Osama bin Laden in exchange for political recognition and economic aid, two French intelligence analysts claim.

In the book Bin Laden, la verite interdite (Bin Laden, the forbidden truth), that was released recently, the authors, Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, reveal that the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) deputy director John O'Neill resigned in July in protest over the obstruction. -snip-

But, confronted with Taliban's refusal to accept US conditions, "this rationale of energy security changed into a military one", the authors claim.

"At one moment during the negotiations, the US representatives told the Taliban, 'either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs,'" Brisard said in an interview in Paris.

Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
US 'planned attack on Taleban'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1550...
A former Pakistani diplomat has told the BBC that the US was planning military action against Osama Bin Laden and the Taleban even before last week's attacks. Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials in mid-July that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October. Mr Naik said US officials told him of the plan at a UN-sponsored international contact group on Afghanistan which took place in Berlin. -snip-

He said that he was in no doubt that after the World Trade Center bombings this pre-existing US plan had been built upon and would be implemented within two or three weeks. And he said it was doubtful that Washington would drop its plan even if Bin Laden were to be surrendered immediately by the Taleban.

Thanks for bringing this up again, Truth2Tell. It's important to remember that the invasion of Afghanistan was always really about OIL and who is going to control as much of it as possible, wherever it might be found.
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Posted by crickets in General Discussion
Mon May 02nd 2011, 05:39 AM
What is going on right now in Japan is a crime against humanity. It's just harder to see because there are no big guns and planes involved, and no mushroom clouds.

It's no surprise given the horrendous circumstances after a natural disaster (and the reactions of some of DU's Japanese posters bear this out) that the Japanese people are in deep shock, still, and understandably so. There's a protective response toward all things familiar, all things 'home' and anything that threatens that is to be pushed against. Right now, the loudest voices of warning and caution are coming from outside, and that isn't welcome.

The protective response is normal and usually a good thing, but in this instance, it's DEADLY.

WAKE UP. You are being lied to. You and your children are going to pay for the happy talk lies with your health and your lives. Please wake up and listen.

I've got no explanation for anyone who shows up with popcorn in response to a news article about ingested radiation. That's just sick.


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Posted by crickets in General Discussion
Mon May 02nd 2011, 03:13 AM
The talking heads trying to downplay OBL's importance in Al Qaeda in recent years only (unintentionally) underscore this point.

For everyone who's so happy he's dead: me too, but not in a celebratory sense. We put a lot of effort into his training after all. Like Saddam, he was 'ours' to begin with.

I think they call it blowback.
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Posted by crickets in General Discussion
Fri Apr 29th 2011, 04:23 AM
Companies could make a reasonable profit at home without creating artificial shortages or selling our energy resources out from under us abroad. Our national policy should reflect this, shouldn't it?
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Posted by crickets in General Discussion
Fri Apr 29th 2011, 04:10 AM
A Story We Somehow Knew Was Coming (TSA Dept) - Full Body Scanners are a Waste of Money, Isreali Expert Says
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/arch... /
"I don't know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747," Rafi Sela told parliamentarians probing the state of aviation safety in Canada.

"That's why we haven't put them in our airport," Sela said, referring to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport, which has some of the toughest security in the world.
Hijackings and plane bombs are not new. Governments have dealt with the problem pretty well before now by using intelligence and keeping an eye on the people they thought might actually be a risk. That doesn't mean they've always been successful, obviously, but it is a hallmark of a truly free society that you do your damnedest to safeguard your people without treating the citizenry exactly the way you would the criminals you wish to catch.

An attack like Sept 11th happened partly because the intelligence apparatus hamstrung itself with interdepartmental rivalries and largely because the people at the top ignored the warnings that got through, warnings which might have been enough to prevent the attacks if they'd bothered to listen. Without having to remove shoes or virtually drop trou, there are at least two things we could do as a country to be safe: beef up intelligence abilities to augment the pre-Sept 11 security that worked just fine aside from a rather lax rule on long sharp things, and most important, stop being international assholes.

Broad Coalition Urges Homeland Security to Suspend Airport Body Scanner Program
http://bordc.org/press/pr-2010-04-21.php
The groups contend that body scanner systems are "uniquely intrusive" and subject all travelers to an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment. They also say that the Department of Homeland Security failed to comply with the Privacy Act when it did not inform the public about this new system that would collect personal information. And they say that the Chief Privacy Officer violated the law when she approved the program.

Chip Pitts, President of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), said “The program should be suspended. The body scanners don't work for the purposes claimed and actually harm true security by diverting scarce resources and offending allies and populations critical for genuine intelligence."

Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, said, “The government's use of invasive imaging technologies strays beyond both the limits of what is constitutionally permissible and the agencies' representation of their own capacity.”
As for the gropedown, it's far worse than any random "papers, please!" nightmare that might be used to stifle free travel. All I can say is, sabrina 1 is my heroine for expressing every ounce of my rage and frustration, both toward the people who've perpetrated this travesty as well as those willing to put up with it, far more eloquently than I ever could.
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Posted by crickets in General Discussion
Tue Apr 26th 2011, 03:26 PM
"No, the question is, what would Jesus take? That's the question people need to ask in order to put this in perspective. Of course, the answer is nothing."

This after a long diatribe about Dems using religion at their convenience, when it serves their purposes, that using Jesus as a patron saint of liberalism is "what he's good for." Then he starts ranting that Jesus knew "who to punish" (the rich) and that he championed the downtrodden and slothful (?!) blahblah -- it was tough to sit through all of the bilious logical disconnect.

O'Donnell's answer is that Jesus would take everything.

He quotes Mark 10:17, 10:21, 10:22-23 & 10:25, Mark 12:43-44, Matthew 19:21-25, Matthew 25:31-46, Luke 14:33 and using these passages calmly takes Limbaugh apart. It was beautifully done. Hopefully there will be a full transcript at a later date.

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Posted by crickets in General Discussion
Mon Apr 25th 2011, 05:35 PM
"The Democrats are always able to offer up a least-worst alternative while, in fact, doing little or nothing to thwart the march toward corporate collectivism." --> Got it in one, especially as long as we quietly allow them to do this by not asking for better representation, insisting that they must do more for their constituents, and loudly yanking the public discourse toward more socially responsible government. The so-called radical left (waves) should not and cannot sit down and behave because our ideas are "politically inconvenient" or "ill-timed" or "asking too much too soon" or... You get the picture.

His conclusion that "The game is over. We lost." is one I refuse to share. To concede defeat is not the way.
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Posted by crickets in General Discussion
Mon Apr 25th 2011, 04:20 PM
US lawmakers seek to ban chimp experiments
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu...
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110413/sc_af...
"Scientists worldwide have halted chimpanzee experiments, because these intelligent creatures suffer immensely and are poor models for researching human diseases," said Elizabeth Kucinich, director of government affairs for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medecine.

Her research ethics group has campaigned for the bills now being sponsored in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
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Posted by crickets in General Discussion
Mon Apr 25th 2011, 11:48 AM
Alternate link for folks who don't go to Huffpo: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/0...
These are simply American values. The progressive movement is a patriotic American movement. People who call themselves "centrists" share progressive views on important issue areas, but have conservative views on other major issue areas. The areas vary from person to person. There is no single moral perspective, no single set of agreed upon issues. -snip-

The reason the DLC has been attacking progressives, Smith argues, is that DLC members have major conservative values and are threatened by the progressive base.

In other words, perhaps they are philosophically separate from the base of the progressive political party to which they supposedly belong.

Right now most Americans--regardless of political party--are in agreement that we need to raise and enforce higher tax rates for corporations and the rich, that we need to get out of Iraq, and that the federal budget should involve cutting defense spending rather than monkeying around with Medicare and Medicaid. Any representative who is claiming otherwise is either embarrassingly clueless or just plain dishonest. There's no need to triangulate to some imaginary 'center' to find agreement on these issues. So why are politicians--often regardless of political party--trying so hard to pass legislation that does the opposite?
The reason the DLC has been attacking progressives, Smith argues, is that DLC members have major conservative values and are threatened by the progressive base. Some of those values are financial: Wall Street, the HMO's and drug companies, agribusiness, developers, the oil companies, and international corporations that benefit from trade agreements, outsourcing, cheap labor abroad, and practices that harm indigenous populations but bring profits. A powerful motivation for the party has been that, if they take such positions, they, like the Republicans, can get big money contributions from Wall Street.

Lakoff's discussion is intriguing and he makes a lot of good points, but I don't think he underlines this one enough: big money contributions from Wall Street, not political inclinations or the needs of the people, are what is driving a lot of the policy in Washington.

From the OP: "Obama, like Carter, is reacting to warning signs by seeking to split the difference between dispirited Democrats and increasingly radicalized Republicans."

I disagree with many of the article's points about Carter, but addressing that would take a whole 'nother post.

'Dispirited democrats' - it would be more accurate to include dispirited Republicans and Independents too, but that ruins the binary setup.

'increasingly radicalized Republicans' - oh, that's just sad. The Tea Party has dwindled to a small rabble easily shouted down in Wisconsin earlier this month.

The rhetorical setup in the article is a classic example of divide and conquer over political parties, when in truth most citizens across the spectrum are in agreement on many major issues, at least for the moment. The binary party system and the way it pits two "sides" against one another like football teams, complete with a sometimes blind team loyalty, and the nattering on about moving to the center are distractions for citizens to argue over while the fat cats walk away with as much swag as they can carry. A great deal of policy being formulated in Washington is not about us or our party affiliations or the common welfare of the country at all: it's about power, it's about greed, and it's about corporations and the lackeys who are bribed to please them.
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Posted by crickets in General Discussion
Sat Apr 23rd 2011, 11:30 PM
Obama's Iraq Withdrawal Timeline
http://www.chrisweigant.com/2010/08/02/oba... /

A little history of how this was hammered out is relevant here. Bush started from the position "no timetables for withdrawal," which he stuck to as long as he could. Then he tried a Machiavellian way of having his cake and eating it too -- he tried to "fuzzy up" the language, so that he could claim to the American public that there was no timetable in the agreement, while the Iraqis could claim to their public that there was a hard deadline for withdrawal. Perhaps "Orwellian" is a better way to describe this, as it gave rise to the Bush administration's memorable phrase "we have only agreed to aspirational goals for a time horizon," which he really, really hoped would work. It didn't. Not only did the American media actually scoff at such horse manure (asking "what exactly is an 'aspirational goal for a time horizon'?" but the Iraqi public didn't buy it either. Maliki went back to the negotiating table and demanded clear language and a clear timeline for withdrawal. Bush caved. This was about the same time Maliki made friendly comments about Barack Obama's 16-month timetable. So Bush pushed back, and demanded that the timetable end one day before 2012 started (far enough out, he thought, for nobody to notice that it was what Obama was demanding and what Bush adamantly refused to back). But Maliki's countermove was even stronger. Maliki upped the ante, by agreeing to the December 31, 2011 date but changed the stakes to "all U.S. forces out" by that date (previously they had been discussing "combat troops" and not "all U.S. forces"). furthermore, Maliki added in the bit about U.S. forces withdrawing from Iraqi cities in six months, which (again) raised the ante. Bush caved, once again, and this is what Maliki got in the end.

In the OP's article:
The State Department is planning to roughly double its size in Iraq, to about 16,000 people, and it will require an army of private contractors to protect its personnel.

What are 16,000 State Dept personnel going to be doing? Why is an army of private contractors required? (As opposed to, you know, the ACTUAL army? Which is supposed to leav--oh.)


K&Rd to 5 recs earlier in the day.
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Posted by crickets in General Discussion
Sat Apr 23rd 2011, 10:34 PM
Holy crap. What is it with these megalomaniacs and their need for spreading death and ruin?

I was a whippersnapper at the time and have lots of memories of the Vietnam era, but filtered through the lens of a rural childhood. This is the first I can remember hearing of the nuke plan. *googles*

The Nukes of October: Richard Nixon's Secret Plan to Bring Peace to Vietnam
http://www.wired.com/politics/security/mag...

Omigod. "Codenamed Giant Lance" What is it with these megalomaniacs and their penis issues?

Thanks to those of you who protested. I was too young then. We've been doing our best now but it hasn't seemed to do any good.

So far.

Hope is the thing with feathers.


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Posted by crickets in General Discussion
Sun Apr 03rd 2011, 02:57 PM
They should have been evacuated. It's one thing to be asked to stay inside for a day or so if conditions are expected to improve, it's quite another to ask people to stay indoors indefinitely during a developing situation that continues to go from bad to worse.

Fate of Those Living Near Power Plant Raises Concerns
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405...

...The plight of Mr. Takahashi and other residents nearby is becoming one of the most pressing questions of Japan's nuclear drama, as authorities struggle to regain full control of the embattled Fukushima Daiichi plant. Trapped in a no-man's land between areas with potentially dangerous radiation and areas without unusual readings, they are agonizing over whether to stay or to abandon communities they may never see again in normal times.
-snip

The area in the next 10 kilometers, stretching out to the 30-kilometer boundary, is busy, with at least 20,000 of its 140,000 residents still there despite shortages of food and fuel. Most are in the city of Minamisoma, parts of which are within the 20-kilometer to 30-kilometer zone, parts of which are outside. In recent days, authorities have acknowledged they may need to extend the size of the evacuation area, potentially encompassing all of the city, while American authorities have suggested people stay 80 kilometers away from the facility.
-snip

What's stressful, the city official said, is being stuck indoors when people need to start rebuilding and repairing roads, some of which were damaged in the disaster.

For now, Minamisoma city seems to be in a pocket of relatively lower radition, but given the difficulty of going through more dangerous areas to get to them, they're still screwed. People are talking about rebuilding, clinging to the unrealistic hope that things will return to normal and they can go on with their lives as before, while the government dithers over extending the evacuation zone. Drawing out the inevitable this way is just cruel.


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Posted by crickets in General Discussion
Sat Apr 02nd 2011, 05:44 PM
I was just talking with a family member about this last night. He's very conservative and found my anti-nuclear stance amusing, until I started explaining the level of subsidies and told him about the Price-Anderson Act. The public is asked to shoulder a large portion of the costs for plant construction, industry oversight, plant decommissioning, and oversight of waste which lingers for thousands of years. If there's an accident, who really gets socked with the lion's share of the cleanup cost? The taxpayer. In essence, taxpayers are compelled to invest massive amounts of money in propping up a business which then meters and charges us AGAIN for the product, walking away with the profit. All of this to prop up an industry that uses the heat from nuclear fission to boil water, to create steam, to turn a turbine. Not factoring in ANY of the human cost involved in safety issues, it is a huge boondoggle.

Once he felt the hit in his wallet, he stopped laughing and quietly started asking for more information, which I e-mailed him. It's sad that my argument had to be economic in order to open his eyes, but whatever works to start changing people's minds about the nuclear industry needs to be spread far and wide.
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