Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25


Winning hearts and minds

I guess sooner or later, the people we liberate get sick and tired of having their wedding parties blown up:

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has given U.S. special forces two weeks to leave a key battleground province after some U.S. soldiers there were found to have tortured or even killed innocent people, the president's spokesman said on Sunday.

The decision by Karzai could further complicate negotiations between the United States and Afghanistan over the presence of Americans troops in the country once most NATO forces leave by the end of 2014.

Speaking at a news conference in Kabul, Karzai's spokesman Aimal Faizi said villagers in Wardak province had lodged a series of complaints about operations conducted by U.S. special forces and a group of Afghans working with them.

The decision was reached at a Sunday meeting of the Afghan National Security Council, chaired by Karzai, Faizi said.

"The Ministry of Defense was assigned to make sure all U.S. special forces are out of the province within two weeks," he said.

"After a thorough discussion, it became clear that armed individuals named as U.S. special forces stationed in Wardak province were engaging in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people," Faizi added.

Sunday's announcement came days after Karzai issued a decree banning all Afghan security forces from using NATO air strikes in residential areas, in a bid to curb civilian casualties.

While you are watching Oscars tonight, imagine what you would feel like if all of a sudden all the houses around you blew up because someone on the other side of the world decided that the neighbor who lives down the street might have connections to terrorism. Why, I bet you'd be willing to join the cause of the people who just blew up your neighborhood. After you put the fires out and bury your neighbors, of course. Relax, those kids were collateral damage and part of the fog of war.

But then again, let's remember- you had it coming. I mean, why else are you living where you are? Obviously you brought this on yourself and your neighbors for living down the street from someone who may or may not have been a terrorist. Shit happens, bro.


For such an apparently smart guy, Sen. Ted Cruz(R-TX) is an idiot. On paper he is a 1995 graduate of Harvard Law School, and an editor of the Harvard Law Review, which they tell me is a big thing.

As part of a typical right-wing rant given at a Koch brothers sponsored event, Cruz mentioned, as per normal, that President Obama was "the most radical" President "ever to occupy the Oval Office."

Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, who was there and took notes, writes that:

He then went on to assert that Obama, who attended Harvard Law School four years ahead of him, "would have made a perfect president of Harvard Law School." The reason, said Cruz, was that, "There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government."

Just when you think they won't go there, they reintroduce their damned imagined McCarthyite lists.

Quite predictably, Harvard University, through spokesman Robb London, defended its reputation by saying, among other things, "We are proud of our longstanding tradition of freedom of speech and the robust range of views and debates on our campus." Read more »


(The Raw Story): "Emotional pope says God asked him to retire"

Did he ask him to rape and/or cover up the rape of children too?


Michigan GOP Overwhelmingly Backs Election Rigging Plan

13 GOP Pennsylvania Senators Introduce New Plan To Rig The Electoral College For Republicans

VIEWPOINT: The Debt Everyone Is Freaking Out About Does Not Exist

Bobby Jindal: Republicans Can Continue Discriminating Against Gays And Still Win Elections

In November the British LGBT rights group Stonewalldenounced O'Brien as their "Bigot Of The Year" after he described gay relationships as "harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing" and compared marriage equality to child abuse and slavery.

Here's an excerpt from O'Brien's statement
I have valued the opportunity of serving the people of Scotland and overseas in various ways since becoming a priest. Looking back over my years of ministry: For any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended. I thank Pope Benedict XVI for his kindness and courtesy to me and on my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Scotland, I wish him a long and happy retirement.

LaPierre thinks background checks are a trap door leading to gun confiscation.

"Don't you be fooled, there is nothing universal or reasonable about it," LaPierre said at the 2013 Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah. "This so-called universal background check… is aimed at one thing: It's aimed at registering your guns. And when another tragic opportunity presents itself, that registry will be used to confiscate your guns."

There have been reports indicating that background checks, the smallest-ticket item in the menu of new gun control laws, enjoys enough Republican support to pass. Considering LaPierre's increasing loss of shpadoinkle, I don't know if that's entirely true. In fact, watch for congressional Republicans to begin repeating this in 5… 4… 3…

We're going to have to fight like hell just to get the most likely new gun regulation passed.


For your daily does of "WTF" — a San Diego couple is suing their kid's school for offering yoga classes. Because being healthy is unconstitutional. Or something.


Who Suffers The Fools Of Sequestration?

The people who can least afford to be economically flogged, of course.

The highlights, via PoliticsUSA:

Two million people will lose their SNAP (food stamp) benefits and another 44 million will see them cut.

Two hundred thousand children will lose school lunches

$1.7 billion dollars per year will no longer go to child welfare services that address child abuse prevention

Over half a million women and children will no longer receive WIC benefits (Women, Infants, Children) which provide milk, eggs, cereal, fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods to low-income families. About 1,600 will also be cut as a result

Children's Health Insurance (CHIP) is slated for dramatic cuts

Twenty-five thousand children will no longer receive child care services

Community health care centers serving the poor will lose $55 million in funding

Over 7,000 special education teachers will be laid off

Seventy thousand children will no longer be able to attend Head Start, and 10,000 Head Start teachers will be laid off

Title I education funds will be cut resulting in the loss of funding for almost 1.2 million disadvantaged students, including another 16,000 teachers and staff laid off

Rental assistance to 125,000 families in the very deepest poverty levels will be cut putting them at high risk for homelessness

More than 100,000 formerly homeless people will be basically put back on the streets as the programs that serve them are cut

People receiving unemployment benefits will see their benefits cut by 9.4% which translates into a loss of more than $400

Almost 375,000 adults and children with serious mental illnesses will see their services cut

The Indian Health Service will be able to provide 804,000 fewer outpatient visits and 3,000 fewer inpatient visits, and $130 million more will be cut from Tribal services ranging from social services to public education

734,000 low-income families will no longer receive assistance with utilities

Because "Jobs and the Economy!"

Maybe the poor should just re-brand as "Defense Contractor?"

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