Monday, March 23, 2009

Marching, Twittering, Afghanistan, Bush Hunting, Following The Money, Anti-Union Move and Spy (vs) Spy! Soros OSI, Humor Finale.

Marching, Twittering, Afghanistan, Bush Hunting, Following The Money, Anti-Union Move and Spy (vs) Spy! Soros OSI, Humor Finale.



OH My; I’m all a Twitter over the Government Twitter Directory. A nice lady sent me this and I’m not going to be stingy about it. Everyone can have a copy! HERE! Yes it’s the real Directory to all those Twits.


A Diary Left Open: People Want Peace - by Patty Mooney
By Patty Mooney 
Cindy Sheehan would later comment that there were more marchers in San Diego than in San Francisco. This alarmed my friend, Bridget, who said that it seemed evident that many people who normally come to marches had decided to sit back ...
A Diary Left Open -


Why Are We In Afghanistan 7 Videos


Afghanistan: Hearings Not Escalation 
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL | We can't afford to repeat the mistake of blind escalation in Afghanistan as we did in Iraq and Vietnam.


Pakistan: Now or Never?  Perspectives on Pakistan

March 23rd, 2009

Talking to the Taliban and the last man standing

Posted by: Myra MacDonald

Tags: Pakistan: Now or NeverAfghanistanObamaPashtun,TalibantalksUnited States


The debate about whether the United States should open talks with Afghan insurgents appears to be gathering momentum — so much so that it is beginning to acquire an air of inevitability, without there ever being a specific policy announcement.


The U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, became the latest to call for talks whenhe told France’s Le Monde newspaper that reconciliation was an essential element.  “But it is important to talk to the people who count,” he said. ”A fragmented approach to the insurgency will not work. You need to be ambitious and include all the Taliban movement.”


His remarks follow much more guarded comments by President Barack Obama whosaid in an interview with the New York Times that Washington might look for “comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and in the Pakistani region” as it did in Iraq, involving “reaching out to people that we would consider to be Islamic fundamentalists, but who were willing to work with us.”

Vice President Joe Biden has also said that U.S. assessments were that only five percent of the Taliban were “incorrigible”.  He told a news conference in Brussels that whatever happened would have to be initiated by the Afghan government. “But I do think it is worth engaging and determining whether or not there are those who are willing to participate in a secure and stable Afghan state.”


According to the New York Times, the Afghan government has already begun exploring the potential for negotiations with the Taliban leadership council of Mullah Omar and with mujahideen leaderGulbuddin Hekmatyar. Al Jazeera has also reportedthat the Afghan government has begun talks with Hekmatyar, while the Christian Science Monitor said Kabul had opened preliminary negotiations with the network of mujahideen commander Jalaluddin Haqqani.


I have just written an analysis on what any U.S. dialogue with Afghan insurgents would mean for India and Pakistan, two countries with a major stake in any political settlement, and am still trying to pin down the implications for other major regional players, including Russia, Iran and China.


One theme that is emerging is the extent to which any dialogue with the Afghan insurgents would aim to peel them away from the Islamist ideology of al Qaeda by stressing their Pashtun identity above their religious affiliation. (The Pashtun lost their dominant position in Afghanistan when the Pashtun Taliban were toppled by the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.)


According to C. Raja Mohan, quoted in my analysis, “Addressing Pashtun grievances is indeed the key to any settlement. The real problem is different: all Taliban are Pashtun; not all Pashtun are Taliban. Finding the space here is the real challenge.”


The distinction between stressing the Pashtun identity over the religious identity of the Afghan insurgents could prove to be fundamental in the coming months (and that is not to suggest that the insurgents can be reduced to a single identity — you have to assume that like everyone else they have multiple loyalties, to religion, tribe, nationality, ethnic group, family etc etc).


And that brings me to what I think are the most interesting questions about any U.S.-backed talks with Afghan insurgents. How would you frame these talks in such a way as to reach a political settlement that would satisfy both the people of Afghanistan and the regional players?


Would you, for example, use Saudi Arabia as an intermediary, as has been done in the past? Saudi Arabia had close links with the Taliban before they were ousted in 2001, and is also a U.S. ally.  At the same time, its foreign policy tends to have a religious tint to it, and its involvement could create problems with Iran - a major rival in the Islamic world, which also wants to be sure that any government in Kabul respects the rights of Afghanistan’s non-Pashtun Persian-speakers and of its Shi’ite minority.


Does the United States have a choice? Or, facing financial mayhem at home, will it accept any settlement in Afghanistan as long as it eliminates al Qaeda as a global threat?  (Shazia Rafi at The  Women’s Media Center and Fareed Zakaria at Newsweek both have interesting takes on how far the United States should be ready to compromise with hardline Islamists.)


I don’t have answers, but I did scroll back to a blog I posted last May asking:Who will be left standing when the Afghan war ends? At the time, I asked the Reuters reporter who covered the fall of Saigon in 1975 for his answer to that question. He quoted me the following truism of asymmetric warfare; “the strong lose if they don’t win and the weak win if they survive.”


The situation in Afghanistan seems to have moved very quickly since then, until we are now asking not whether the United States should support dialogue with the insurgents, but how.




Reagan, Bush & how presidents got above the law - PoliticalGroove ...
By Chrisbb 
Are you frustrated that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their minions plotted torture tactics, illegal wiretapping,, political manipulation of the. ... As the new Speaker of the House in 1987, Texan Jim Wright would have been tasked to oversee the impeachment of Reagan, and he candidly admitted a few years after the fact that he just didn't have the stomach for that, and that the congressional investigations of Iran-Contra that did take place were therefore rushed. ...
PoliticalGroove Forums -


The Konformist Blog: Cheney is guilty of 'murder' if Hersh claims ...
By Robalini 
In the Bush-Cheney Days, they reported directly to the Cheney, Cheney office. They do not report to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or to Mr. Gates, the secretary of defense. They report directly to him. ...
The Konformist Blog -


World Prout Assembly: Afghanistan and Iraq: War Crimes Against ...
By Editor 
The best kept secret of the Bush's war crimes is that thousands of children have been imprisoned, tortured, and otherwise denied rights under the Geneva Conventions and related international agreements. Yet both Congress and the media ...
World Prout Assembly -


"That's been going on, in the name of all of us."
OpEdNews - Newtown,PA,USA
It seemed that W, and his president of vice, Cheney, became addicted to Jack Bauer in 24 ... but numerous courts have ruled that the Bush administration has ...


By Jason Leopold
Torture Memo Author John Yoo Blames Ruined Reputation On "Hippies, Protesters And Left-wing Activists"
According to people familiar with the OPR report, Yoo was briefed on the report in January. Yoo is said to have informed officials at the University of California at Berkeley, where he is a tenured law professor, according to two senior law school officials. He took a leave of absence in January to teach foreign relations law at Chapman.


Guest Post by Lawrence Wilkerson: Some Truths About Guantanamo Bay


Obama Administration Careening Towards Disaster (and Taking the ...
By dlindorff 
Prosecute Bush & Cheney! Visit the Democratic Party ... Six months after the failed Bush administration effort to "rescue" the US financial system, and after two months of failed efforts by his own new administration, at an expense to the American public of several ... latest book is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's Press, 2006 and now available in paperback His work is available at ... - The Aggressive... -




By Mary MacElveen
AIG Bonuses: Borrowing From China Is The Far Greater Picture And Threat
I just wonder what the Chinese government is thinking as they watched the proceedings take place between AIG and our congress yesterday. In fact, it scares me.


Galbraith On The Economy: No Return To Normal
The oddest thing about the Geithner program is its failure to act as though the financial crisis is a true crisis. If banks are recapitalized without changing their management, why should we expect them to change the behavior that caused the insolvency in the first place?


Madoff Employee Breaks Silence
one of the fraudster's employees tells Lucinda Franks that the supposedly legitimate brokerage operations were in fact just money-losing fronts for the fraudster's scheme. Plus, what Madoff's sons told staff the day after Bernie's arrest, trips to the company's secretive 17th floor, Bernie's obsession with the color black and employee neatness, the roles of other family members, and visits to the founder's Montauk home.


Costco, Starbucks, Whole Foods Offer Alternative Union Bill
Bloomberg - USA
Several Democratic senators -- including Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor from Wal-Mart’s home state of Arkansas, and Mark Warner of Virginia -- have said ...
See all stories on this topic


By Holly Rosenkrantz

March 22 (Bloomberg) -- Costco Wholesale Corp.Starbucks Corp. and Whole Foods Market Inc. offered an alternative to the union-backed “card-check” legislation that U.S. business groups are spending millions of dollars to defeat.


The legislation, known as the Employee Free Choice Act, would let employees form a union once a majority signed cards requesting one. Currently, companies have the right to require a secret-ballot election to unionize.


Costco, Starbucks and Whole Foods consider the legislation “seriously flawed” and are pushing a different approach that would guarantee a secret ballot in forming a union, said James Sinegal, Costco’s chief executive officer, on a conference call today with reporters. The card-check measure, backed by President Barack Obama, is organized labor’s top goal this year.


“Our proposal is not anti-union, and it’s not anti- business,” Sinegal said. About 20 percent of his company’s workers are represented by the Teamsters Union. Starbucks and Whole Foods employees aren’t unionized.


Under the alternative being sought by the three companies, management could demand a secret-ballot election, and a provision of the original bill requiring binding arbitration for union contracts would be dropped. Penalties would be increased for companies that take action against workers before union elections and refuse to participate in collective bargaining.


The alternative would also set a fixed period in which a union election must be held, and would provide unions with the same access to meet with workers as employers get before an organizing vote.


Discussed With Staff


Lanny Davis, a former White House special counsel under President Bill Clinton, is pushing the alternative measure and said he has discussed it with the staffs of about two dozen Democratic and Republican senators.


Most indicated the senators for whom they worked were positive about the approach, “including many Democratic senators who were co-sponsors” of the bill in 2007, according to Davis. The 2007 bill failed to get the 60 votes needed to cut off debate in the Senate.


“We see our approach as a less polarized way to reform current labor law and level the playing field,” Davis said. “We will wait and see if other companies want to join us.”




The chief sponsors of the Employee Free Choice Act, Representative George Miller of California and Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, both Democrats, said in an e-mailed statement that the company-backed alternative is “unacceptable” and “written by CEOs, for CEOs.”


Bill Samuel, legislative director for the AFL-CIO, said “a proposal coming from corporations, some of whom have their own history of violating workers’ rights, is simply not an alternative.”


Business groups trying to defeat the Employee Free Choice Group rejected the alternative approach as well.


“No proposal that makes it easier for union bosses (or employers) to impose forced unionism on workers is acceptable,” said Doug Stafford, vice president of the National Right to Work Committee, in a statement. “Costco, Whole Foods and Starbucks should learn from the mistakes of the Big Three automakers who pursued this same kind of compromise approach toward legislation seeking new union special privileges in the past.”


Seattle-based Starbucks is the world’s largest coffee-shop chain. Issaquah, Washington-based Costco is the biggest U.S. warehouse-club chain. Whole Foods of Austin, Texas, is the largest natural-foods grocer in the U.S.


Wal-Mart, Home Depot


Wal-Mart Stores Inc.Home Depot Inc. and Burger King Holdings Inc. are among companies that oppose the card-check bill, as does billionaire investorWarren Buffett, an Obama supporter and adviser. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has said it will spend more than $20 million to defeat the measure.


The Employee Free Choice Act would amend the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, the Depression-era law that helped build the modern labor union movement in the U.S. It would let workers form a union when a majority of company employees sign a card requesting representation, rather than permitting their employer to require a secret-ballot election run by the National Labor Relations Board.


Several Democratic senators -- including Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor from Wal-Mart’s home state of Arkansas, and Mark Warner of Virginia -- have said they aren’t sure they will support the current version of the card-check measure. Some lawmakers have said the bill, expected to boost union membership, could cost jobs and be a burden during the current recession.


Davis said that the companies haven’t yet discussed their alternative with the Obama administration. A White House spokesman had no immediate comment.


To contact the reporter on this story: Holly Rosenkrantz in Washington at




WAS ELIOT SPITZER TAKEN OUT BECAUSE HE WAS GOING TO BUST AIG? Eliot Spitzer is back and he's talking. The thought of this, no doubt, brings a small shiver to the boardrooms of some of the perps walking around trying to figure out how to hide the money this week. These anonymous players must know that the jig is up in the land of easy-money. ........

Spitzer: The bonuses are a smokescreen - As every smart crook knows (as well as anyone who watches enough movies), if you want to commit a crime, the first thing you want to do is create a distraction. An explosion here, a car wreck there, a person going into convulsions over there (Drugstore Cowboy) ... as soon as people's attention is diverted, you have a nice window of opportunity to MoreŠ (Political News)

James Moore: A Second Act for Spitzer? - Let's put Eliot Spitzer back to work! "Name one person better qualified to get to the bottom of what happened on Wall Street, prosecute the bad actors, and help design laws that prevent a recurrence. There is no one more ably suited for this critical task."MoreŠ (Political Opinion)

BREAKING: Eliot Spitzer is Baaack - BREAKING: Eliot Spitzer is Baaack as He Exposes the AIG-Federal Reserve Ponzi Scheme MoreŠ (Political News) And the WSJ is whining....................


Eliot Spitzer Spouts Off - The disgraced ex-Gov still won't acknowledge his role in the AIG disaster. But he has plenty to say about us. Spitzer said, "The Journal Editorial Page has been wrong on just about every issue out there and I hope nobody relies upon them to make important life decisions." The Journal editorial says it takes Spitzer's words as a vote of confidence.MoreŠ (Political Opinion)


By Chris Herz
Why Anyone Needs Millions Of Dollars Per Year To Get Along, Escapes Me!
This is the real story, carefully announced whilst the US media and politicians divert attention to excessive bonuses to a few insurance executives in a division of the AIG Corporation that we are now learning had little or nothing to do with the meltdown of that corporation and of the financial masters of the universe.


By Kyle Hence
Some Say Cheney 'feeling The Heat' Over Potential Probes / Kentucky Election Officials Nabbed In Touch-screen Vote Scam
Several observers suspect that Cheney is nervous about calls for investigations into the Bush administration and is going on the offensive in his latest attacks on President Obama.Bush owes American people every penny of his fortune.AND "Commander in Chief?" Suze Orman sputters. "You blew up every single financial vessel we had and if you think you aren't personally responsible, well, the blame starts at the top.


By Jason Leopold
CIA Reveals It Has E-Mails, Transcripts Related To Videotaped Torture Of Prisoners
The Justice Department disclosed in a letter late Friday that the CIA has about 3,000 documents, including e-mails, transcripts and cables to officials in Washington, related to the videotaped interrogations of alleged "high-value" prisoners that the agency destroyed.


Further Accounts Of Gaza Killings Released
In the two months since Israel ended its military assault on Gaza, Palestinians and international rights groups have accused it of excessive force and wanton killing. Now testimony is emerging from within the ranks of soldiers and officers alleging a permissive attitude toward the killing of civilians and reckless destruction of property that is sure to inflame the debate about the army's conduct in Gaza.


Soldiers’ Accounts Of Gaza Killings Raise Furor In Israel
Testimony is emerging from within the ranks of soldiers and officers alleging a permissive attitude toward the killing of civilians and reckless destruction of property that is sure to inflame the domestic and international debate about the army’s conduct in Gaza.


By Steven Saw
Awash In Greed
Retention bonuses are the loophole exploited by crafty criminals on Wall Street. The narrow-minded lawmakers still falsely believe they are in charge while the companies pose as a trustworthy acquaintance. If one's been hanging around a known pick-pocket who quickly walks away, it would be wise to check all pockets before he gets out of sight!



"How do you give a bonus to people from a company going bankrupt? They haven't produced anything. The only way you get a bonus is when you make money, not lose it. They should be arrested for stealing government money."


"The ear-splitting, self-righteous squeals over the AIG bonus awards are coming not from the barnyard but from the real world class porkers, our beloved elected representatives. They are outraged because they have been nosed away from the public trough by a bunch of amateurs who have temporarily laid claim to the blue ribbon for 'Sneakiest Porker of the Year.' This will not be tolerated."


"An employment ad said applicants must have good credit to qualify. Since when did people start using your credit against you to get a job?"




SERBIA: Gabriel Ronay


THE LATE President Milosevic's secret police chief and organizer of Serb death squads during the genocidal ethnic cleansing of disintegrating Yugoslavia was the United States' top CIA agent in Belgrade, according to the independent Belgrade Radio B92.


The claim that from 1992 until the end of the decade, Jovica Stanisic, head of Serbia's murderous DB Secret Police, was regularly informing his CIA handlers of the thinking in Milosevic's inner circle has shocked the region.


Stanisic is said to have loyally served his two masters for eight years. He is facing war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.


In the terrifying years of Yugoslavia's internecine wars, he acted as the willing "muscle" behind Milosevic's genocidal campaigns in Croatia, Kosovo and Bosnia, including Sebrenica.


According to the charges he faces, Stanisic was "part of a joint criminal enterprise that included former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and other Serbian politicians".


Dermot Groome, The Hague's chief prosecutor, has specifically accused him of sending in the Serb Scorpion and Red Beret death squads into the states seeking independence from Belgrade. Stanisic has pleaded not guilty.


Like in a Cold War spy thriller, Serbia's secret police chief met his CIA handlers in safe houses, parks and boats on the river Sava to betray his master's action plans. He provided, it is claimed, information on the whereabouts of NATO hostages, aided CIA operatives in their search for Muslim mass graves and helped the US set up secret bases in Bosnia to monitor the implementation of the 1995 Dayton peace accord.


This has raised awkward questions for Washington. With Stanisic providing chapter and verse of the genocidal slaughter of Croats, Bosnians and Albanians from the early 1990s, should President Clinton have cut a deal with Milosevic at Dayton, Ohio, ending the Bosnian war on such equitable terms for the Serbs? Or, using Stanisic's evidence, should the Americans not have unmasked Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic, the then head of Republika Srpska, as genocidal war criminals and demanded their surrender?


From his prison cell at The Hague, Stanisic countered the charges facing him with an aide memoir portraying himself as "a person who had sought to moderate Milosevic and had done a great deal to moderate the crisis".


In an unusual move, the CIA has submitted classified documents to the court that confirm Stanisic's "undercover operative role in helping to bring peace to the region and aiding the agency's work. He helped defuse some of the most explosive actions of the Bosnian war."


In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, William Lofgren, his original CIA recruiter and handler, now retired, said: "Stanisic provided valuable information from Milosevic's inner circle. But he never took money from the CIA, worked with the agency on operations or took steps that he would have considered a blatant betrayal of his boss."


Thus the judges at The Hague are having to judge a man who allegedly sent the Scorpion death squads to Srebrenica to "deal" with men and boys fleeing the UN-protected Muslim enclave, while working with the CIA trying to end Milosevic's ethnic wars.


The way the CIA apparently viewed their Belgrade "asset" is revealed in an interview with Balkan Insight, a little known south-east European publication.


The emerging picture is a quaint reflection from a hall of mirrors. Greg Miller of the Los Angeles Times, writing about the links between the CIA and the Serb secret police chief, is quoted as saying: "As I said in the LAT story, the CIA do not see Stanisic as a choirboy. When you talk to people who work in espionage, this is often the case.


"Because of the nature of that job, of that assignment, they are working with people who do not have unblemished records, it would be difficult for them to be effective if they only worked with people who had unblemished records.


"People in Belgrade who have been following the career of Jovica Stanisic would say that this was a guy who was an expert in his field; he was a highly-trained and highly-effective spy. His motivation may have been that he wanted to know what the United States was up to.


"He did not believe that Milosevic was taking the country in the right direction - so he wanted to influence events. He saw himself as an important guy who could pull strings behind the scenes to make things happen in Belgrade."


Stanisic apparently did so on his own terms, while trying to remain a loyal Serb. He did not succeed.


Now he is having to account for his actions as Milosevic's loyal lieutenant at The Hague.


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World Prout Assembly: Afghanistan and Iraq: War Crimes Against ...
By Editor 
The best kept secret of the Bush's war crimes is that thousands of children have been imprisoned, tortured, and otherwise denied rights under the Geneva Conventions and related international agreements. Yet both Congress and the media ...





Zombie Newt Gingrich Wants More Brains, er Religion

Posted by Melissa McEwanShakesville at 12:02 PM on March 21, 2009.


Anyone who looks at the American landscape and sees "threats to religious liberty" is f*cking delusional.


Newt Gingrich's career is like the stubbornest zombie in all the land. What will it take to kill this thing—a silver bullet? A stake? A machete? A Molotov cocktail to the undead head? Somebody just tell me, so we can kill his stumbling, blue-faced, boil-crusted, shredded clothes-wearing, incoherently gurgling, and BRAINS!-craving career once and for all and get on with our lives.


VP Biden yucks it up at Obama’s expense during Gridiron dinner

In Obama's absence, Biden delights in bashing boss

Lots of ham on the menu at annual Gridiron Dinner

With Obama Out of Town, Biden Holds a Roast 

Joe Biden is Hysterical at Gridiron Dinner

 Biden steals the show at Gridiron



Former FBI Director, General, Diplomat, Clergy Call for Presidential Commission on Detention, Treatment and Transfer of Detainees


Press Release
February 19, 2009


Matt Dorf / Rabinowitz-Dorf Communications
1-202-265-3000 / 1-202-669-6553 (c)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Leading experts, including a former FBI director, an Army general who investigated detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib, and a former Under Secretary of State, today called upon President Obama to appoint a nonpartisan commission to fully investigate and examine the detention, treatment, and transfer of detainees following the September 11th terrorist attacks.

The commission's proposed mandate would allow it to identify detainee policy failures and their causes in order to formulate recommendations to address problems identified in the report.

The group issued the following statement detailing their call to action: 

We urge President Obama to appoint a nonpartisan commission of distinguished Americans to examine, and provide a comprehensive report on, policies and actions related to the detention, treatment, and transfer of detainees after 9/11 and the consequences of those actions, and to make recommendations for future policy in this area.

The statement was signed by: Juan E. Méndez, President of the International Center for Transitional Justice; Thomas Pickering, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs; Judge William Sessions, former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Major General Antonio M. Taguba, USA (Ret.); and Rev. Dr. John H. Thomas, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.  In addition, 18 leading human rights organizations have endorsed the statement.

"The president has a responsibility to protect and defend Americans and unfortunately, many questions remain unanswered as to whether the detention, transfer, and treatment of detainees following the September 11th attacks were in the country's best interest," said Sessions, the former FBI director.  "We need to understand what happened and how to prevent any illegal actions from taking place in the future."

Pickering, the former Under Secretary of State said, "the new administration cannot be effective in looking forward without a full accounting and understanding of how American policy got to where we are today."  He added, "a nonpartisan commission, removed from the burdensome barriers of politics, is a well-proven method of accomplishing these goals."

The organizations endorsing this effort are: Amnesty International USA; the Brennan Center for Justice; the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University, School of Law; the Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, University of California, Davis; the Center for Victims of Torture; the Constitution Project; the Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley; Human Rights First; Human Rights Watch; the International Center for Transitional Justice; the International Justice Network; the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights; the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; the National Institute of Military Justice; the National Religious Campaign Against Torture; the Open Society Institute; Physicians for Human Rights; and the Rutherford Institute.

A copy of the statement is available for download below.

Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who endorsed the statement, testified at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. View his testimony, "Getting to the Truth Through a Non-Partisan Commission of Inquiry," on the committee website.


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