No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post
We killed lots of people in Somalia this week:
- US drone raid kills 9 Somali civilians
- US terror drone kills 18 in Somalia
- US terror drones kill 24 in Somalia
- US terror drones kill 11 more in Somalia
Combat operations have concluded for:
- Marine Staff Sgt. Vincent J. Bell, 28, of Detroit, MI.
- Army Sgt. 1st Class Dennis R. Murray, 38, of Red Broiling Springs, TN.
- Marine Cpl. Adam J. Buyes, 21, of Salem, OR.
That NATO raid has provoked a huge backlash. One reason to scan a site like PressTV that’s outside the US sphere of influence is to see a headline like this: “US moves to mollify Pakistan over raids.” Note the word choice; “mollify” implies a certain inequality. A parent will try to mollify a child. Think the New York Times would use a word like that to describe US diplomatic overtures?
Oh and by the way, it looks like there may have been some concessions in the wake of the raid. That may also explain why there seemed to be fewer bombing headlines this week than usual, though it’s not something I track.
Another reason to check out a site like Press TV is for analysis like this:
At a strategic level, they blame Pakistan for trying to resurrect some kind of a Pashtun dominion in Kabul. From Pakistan’s point of view, they look at Afghanistan as their strategic depth i.e. if India ever invades Pakistan the Pakistani military can retreat into Afghanistan - that’s how Pakistan looks at Afghanistan; as part of their war with India.If you only click on one link in this post, make it this one.
I think with other claims about the capability of the Afghan forces - that’s highly problematic. Yes, it’s true the Americans and their allies have put in huge resources into training the Afghan army and the police, but they really haven’t paid dividends. The Afghan police for instance has an absolutely abysmal record in terms of drug use amongst its employees and violence, particularly casual violence and all sort of deviancies.
The Afghan army, when it comes to fighting real battles, is not fit for purpose. It may be useful in terms of holding a garrison here and there when there isn’t serious fighting, but I think anybody who looks at this situation seriously and who travels to the region and talks to the stakeholders, it’s highly unlikely that should foreign forces depart the arena tomorrow that the Afghan army would be able to hold the fort - they wouldn’t. The system that the Americans installed in Kabul is extremely precarious and unstable as a result. So, the rosy official picture, which is being drawn unfortunately doesn’t correspond with reality.
Oh, and also: I needed to check out a Persian state news outlet to find out the latest from Cedar Rapids.
…and one last link from them: “According to a report published by the Congressional Research Service in mid-November, nearly half of all American troops killed in Afghanistan were killed between 2010 and 2011. In addition, two-thirds of all US troops injured in the Afghan war were wounded during the same period.”
Line of the week: “It is very easy for disengaged people to rest their heads on the pillow of criticism.”
Also from Susie, Occupy may well be very committed to voting next year. One of the lazy, unsupported criticisms lobbed at the movement has been that its members won’t go to the polls next November. I know many of the president’s ardent supporters would love to just fast forward eight or nine months and get to the exciting Cult of Personality phase of our electoral process, but some folks are interested in civic engagement in the runup to the grand pageant. When the time comes it looks like they’ll be voting in strong numbers, though.
He has been superb on education, weaning the Democratic Party from blind support for teachers’ unions while still trying to strengthen public schools.He doesn’t provide links to either assertion in that sentence, though he furnishes them for the other ones in the paragraph. It’s quite an omission. I’d like to know more.
If the forcible removal of Occupy’s light infrastructure (tents, generators, etc.) persuades some natural allies of the movement to provide more tangible support, this could be another example of a crackdown backfiring.
Barney Frank announced his retirement this week and people on the left were falling all over themselves to sing his praises. Thankfully there were some dissents as well:
Dodd-Frank was, and is, weak. It had many good features, to be sure. As I said, it meant well. But as market reform it was a flop, for the simple reason that it was not intended to be market reform. It was, instead, a political reaction to the crisis that did not go far enough, and did not purport to do so.Which is as good an answer to Frank’s smug, arrogant question (“If you take money from them, but you don’t vote [for] the things they want, how does that put you in conflict?”) as you could ask for. He ran cover for the 1%, putting a facade of reform on top of the status quo.
And it’s frankly ridiculous that it’s taken this long for this information to be made public. We’re now fully ten months past the point at which the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s final report was published; this data would have been extremely useful to them and to all of the rest of us trying to get a grip on what was going on at the height of the crisis. The Fed’s argument against publishing the data was that it “would create a stigma”, and make it less likely that banks would tap similar facilities in future. But I can assure you that at the height of the crisis, the last thing on Morgan Stanley’s mind was the worry that its borrowings might be made public three years later. When you need the money, and the Fed is throwing its windows wide open, you don’t look that kind of gift horse in the mouth.And it became public not by the valiant efforts of that incorruptible iconoclast Barney Frank but because of the dogged pursuit of a FOIA request by Bloomberg.
Steve Benen: “I know policymakers couldn’t allow the U.S. banking system to simply collapse, and I can also appreciate how much worse the crisis could have been if the entire financial industry was left to implode.”
Atrios: “If it was best to save the institutions, the people who ran them should have been escorted out of the building.”
There were options available apart from “let the system collapse” and “let the criminals take all the money they want and walk away.”
Our project of pushing the envelope on how much fossil fuel extraction waste our ecosystems can properly recycle may have crossed a threshold:
In other words, you can’t dilute any more in the Monongahela. It doesn’t matter what it is - if it’s Marcellus, if it’s mining, if it’s sewage, if it’s treated sewage, if it’s untreated sewage, we’re there. And I think it’s just a matter of what is it that’s going to tip the scale now and push us over the edge.
Those sports palaces come at a price. It’s good to see some real scrutiny.
Sunday funnies from digby: “‘Change’ is like a song that I once loved but has been so overplayed that I switch the station every time I hear the opening chords. It’s a song I don’t ever want to hear again.”
mistermix: “Carrier IQ is saying that it can’t tell us what the software it sells does until the investigators it pays tells them how their own software works. This makes me wonder how Carrier IQ’s software came to be.”
Jim Newell on how an 18 year old pwned the Kansas governor: “This is a power play for the ages.”
Mary Elizabeth Williams on someone who really doesn’t need the clicks but gets them anyway.
And: Like Houdini If Your Bra Was Locked and Bolted.
ECONNED EXCERPT from pp. 210-1:
The inflation of the 1970s, plus the success of the pro-business push, led to a fundamental shift in policies. One of the big factors that made the stagflation price rises self-reinforcing was that workers had meaningful bargaining power. Wages and prices this kept leapfrogging each other.
Prior to the 1980s, U.S. policy was mindful of average worker wages and trade deficits. But starting in 1979, the character of U.S. business cycles changed. Large trade deficits, debt increases in excess of income growth, asset price increases, and a failure of workers to capture the benefits of productivity growth became the norm. As Thomas Palley, former chief economist of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, explained:The new cycle rests on financial booms and cheap imports. Financial booms provide collateral that supports debt-financed spending. Borrowing is also supported by an easing of credit standards and new financial products that increase leverage and widen the range of assets that can be borrowed against. Cheap imports ameliorate the effects of wage stagnation.Before, U.S. policymakers saw trade deficits as a cause for alarm, a sign that U.S. demand was being dissipated abroad rather than supporting at-home production and employment. But the new world view was that any trade imbalance was the result of market forces, and hence virtuous. Moreover, given that keeping inflation at bay was now a high priority, the Fed saw competition from foreign workers as a way to keep U.S. wages in check. Suddenly the virtuous circle of rising worker incomes leading to greater prosperity was put in reverse gear.