Meh Culpa

Splish Splash: Skimming

I finally got around to reading ProPublica, well into the depths of an article about Wikileaks and the Congressional Research  Service, an org that  pumps information only for members of Congress.   I am so not interested in CRS reports, but, now that’s another bag of tomatoes. is to spreading secrets as Madge was to dishwashing liquid.  Today I discovered a NATO report dated January 14, 2009, Metrics Brief 2007-2008 (.pdf file), that records a 45% increase in Afghan civilian deaths in the last year, while kidnappings are up 50%.   IED attacks, which have risen 27%,  are deemed the “single largest cause of casualties.”  Many of them would seem to be against the Afghan government, as attacks  against that entity have skyrocketed to almost 120%.  The document’s all graphs, slides, and stats,  so it’s a fairly easy read.

Another  link that caught my eye has to do with a white supremacist shot to death by his wife two months ago in a domestic violence homicide.   I suppose we should be a grateful public.  By gunning down her husband, the independently wealthy James G. Cummings, Amber Cummings of Belfast, Maine has potentially saved us from a “dirty bomb,” the makings of which were in her home.   No one,  from the coppers to Senator Collins, has any comment.  Natch.

In other news,  there’s the article “McCain Solicits Russian U.N. Ambassador” originally published at the conservative  WaPo last year.  At first I thought it was a sex story because that’s what sells,  but it’s about campaign donations.  Still, very droll.  The Russians despised McCain’s positions–and might wish they had a few missiles aimed at Sarah’s house–so they  wouldn’t have given his campaign any money even if they were allowed.   The article does show how far wrong McCain’s campaign could go, which makes it amusing and a tad pitiful.

A 2007 document alleges that the United States has violated chemical weapons conventions in Iraq.  I thought that was common knowledge.  I guess I was wrong.

There’s about 237 pages worth of SOP for Camp Delta (.pdf file) in Guantanamo signed by the nefarious Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller,  who was later sent to Abu Ghraib to make that facility more  Gitmo-esque.  The article preceding the .pdf file claims evidence of psychological torture, which I assume is about cavity searches and intimidation by military dogs.  There could be more evidence I’m not getting because it’s written in dull militarese and I’m short on time.

When I do get some time–after my next two exams and the paper about ovarian cancer–I’m going to look into the Counterinsurgency link, which boasts military doctrine for unconventional warfare used by US  Special Forces;  UK insurgency doctrine from 2007, or doing-to-the-Taliban-and-Al-Qaeda-what-they’ve-done-to-us;  there’s ” McCain’s real Petraeus doctrine,” about US trained death squads and a number of other slimy details the Pentagon doesn’t want you to know.  We’ve got all sorts of goodies here at Wikileaks, boys and girls.   I counted forty-three links, although some,  such as those under “Catalyzed analysis and reportage,”  may redirect and talk about related doctrine, reports, and projections.

Be good and learn a lot.  😉

February 19, 2009 Posted by | Afghan War, Afghanistan, Defense, Foreign policy, Guantanamo, Pentagon, Russia, torture, UK | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Equal Opportunity Snark

  • Cheney cracks me up almost as much as Michelle Malkin. He thinks he’s lovable. To whom?
  • According to rumor, LiveJournal may be biting the dust.  Sup cut about one-half to two-thirds of its US staff, calling it restructuring.  Not precisely the diction I’d be using for a “growing company.”
  • Obama is proposing useless tax cuts as part of his stimulus package.  WTF?!  That’s part of what got us into this mess in the first place.   Somehow this does not look like CHANGE, it looks like playing kissy-face with Republicans, what with erasing all those earmarks the McCain team decried during the campaign that Obama said wouldn’t amount to a hill o’ beans when compared to our current nightmare budgetary problems. And, you know, a good share of those tax cuts is going to big business and such. Where is the Trickle-Up, I ask you?
  • Seems as if both Republicans and Democrats have forgotten for whom we voted and why.  Now is not the time for ideological rejection of New Deals or Keynsian  style rescue packages.  I agree with Paul Krugman:

What gets lost in such discussions is the key argument for economic stimulus — namely, that under current conditions, a surge in public spending would employ Americans who would otherwise be unemployed and money that would otherwise be sitting idle, and put both to work producing something useful.

  • Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General? You’ve gotta be kidding.  Item one against Gupta (and that’s all you need): his slipshod analysis of Sicko.  Dude not only got the numbers all wrong,  he accused Michael Moore of lying. What a dolt.  I thought Gupta was on crack.

January 8, 2009 Posted by | appointments, Bush administration, Cheney, Congress, earmarks, Economy, Executive branch, layoffs, stimulus package, tax cuts, transition | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s play pretend

President Mikheil Saakashvili has been taking Sarah Palin’s opinions too seriously. He has written an op-ed column for the WSJ claiming that Georgia was simply defending against Russian aggression this past summer.

The question is, rather: What democratic polity would have acted any differently while its citizens were being slaughtered as its sovereign territory was being invaded? South Ossetia and Abkhazia are internationally recognized as part of Georgia, and even some areas within these conflict zones were under Georgian government control before the Russian invasion. We fought to repel a foreign invasion.

Just for drill, here’s a timeline of the region’s history, going back to 1801.

While South Ossetia declared its intention to secede from Georgia in 1990 by holding a referendum–as Georgia declared its independence from the USSR in 1991–Ossetians have been at loggerheads with Georgia at least since the 1920’s.  Saakashvili pretends that Russia ignored Georgia’s sovereignty, although the case can be made that the Georgian president did the same to South Ossetians by refusing to allow its people the autonomy they’ve long wanted.

Aside from Russia no one in the international community has acknowledged South Ossetia’s claim of independence, but perhaps that has more to do with a fear of Russian hegemony than about supporting a people’s right to form their own government. Besides,  if you’re going to refuse Russian incursion anywhere, it should be in Abkhazia which lies next to the Black Sea and would provide a window on the West (a la Peter the Great).  South Ossetia would ordinarily prove less important because, even though the Roki Tunnel provides the only transportation across the Caucasus Mountains to the Black Sea, Russia doesn’t need to use the tunnel to get there.  It only needed the Roki Tunnel for its attack on Georgia. On the other hand,  if Iran were otherwise successfully blockaded as a sanction for developing a nuclear arsenal (that it may not be developing in any case), the Muslim country could ship its oil on the Caspian Sea (yes, there it is!) and transport it over the mountains to the Black Sea via the Roki Tunnel provided Russia had possession of the Tunnel.

Let’s pretend then, shall we, that the USA and Europe don’t like the idea of Russia with its petrodollars(!!) helping Iran move oil because controlling the Roki Tunnel and keeping Iran from selling its black gold anywhere in the world–should Ayatollah Khamenei decide nuclear weapons aren’t against his religion after all–is way more fun.  You could say the Roki Tunnel serves a strategic interest for the US.  It would also explain why the Georgians didn’t blow up the tunnel as the Russians advanced.  (The other explanation: Imagine how ticked off Putin would be!)  Using the Roki Tunnel rationale  doesn’t really work in that way, though.   At stake, according to Global Research, are Anglo-American oil companies’ interests in safeguarding methods of transporting energy through the region–and Georgia seems to be receiving NATO  aid and training in a quid pro quo as a stand-in for us.

Personally, I’m not at all pleased with the idea that the USA would play up the notion of sovereignty for Georgia, which we  supported for independence , without doing the same for the people of South Ossetia.  I suppose it’s what you’d call Selective Democracy;  we get to pick and choose who’s free.  For  oil, again.

December 4, 2008 Posted by | appointments, Bush administration, civil liberties, Energy, Foreign policy, Georgia, Iran, oil, politics, Russia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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