Showing posts from May, 2010

German president quits over Afghan remarks

Political parties really should install mute buttons on some of their politicians. Some politicians just have to speak out no matter how stupid and unfortunate for the party what they say. This is from the BBC. The Afghan mission is very unpopular in Germany and the government is already down in the polls.
German President Koehler quits amid row over military

German President Horst Koehler says he is resigning immediately, following criticism of remarks he made about German military deployments abroad.

Mr Koehler, whose job is largely ceremonial, had linked missions such as the Afghanistan deployment with the defence of economic interests.

His remarks drew criticism from a number of German politicians.

Mr Koehler, 67, was re-elected last year to serve a second five-year term as president.

He made the controversial remarks in a radio interview after a brief visit to Afghanistan earlier this month.

He said that for an export-orientated country like Germany, it was sometimes necessary to d…

Brig. Gen. Daniel Menard top commander in Afghanistan ousted.

Canadian military brass are not exactly getting much good press these days. Colonel Russell Williams a former base commander is charged with murdering two women, sexual assaulting two others, and many break ins. Now our commander in Afghanistan is relieved of his duties and sent home.

The commander Gen. Daniel Menard certainly did nothing on the scale of Colonel Williams but he has done enough to lose his position. Menardh first got in hot water for accidentally firing his rifle. He was at the time with the head honcho of Canadian forces Walter Natynczyk. as they were boarding a helicopter. Fortunately no one was injured.

Menard faced a court martial and fined $3,500 dollars. Menard's new problems come from fraternizing with a female soldier said to be a member of his staff. This is strictly forbidden but no doubt often happens. When it is not hidden brass are often punished more harshly to set an example to the lower ranks. Perhaps Menard will set an example as a way for others w…

War on Terror is Assault on Civil Rights

This article shows the manifold ways in which civil rights are being sacrificed to the War on Terror. Of course Obama wants to use different and perhaps less threatening language. All the better to fool people no doubt. Obama is catching up with and surpassing Bush in use of drones and no doubt the research described in this article is ongoing under Obama. Perhaps it is funded as part of a great Stimulus Package!
America's "War On Terror" Morphs into a Diabolical Assault on Civil Rights
DARPA's "Deep Learning"

by Tom Burghardt

Global Research, May 28, 2010
Antifascist Calling... - 2010-05-23

As America's War On Terror morphs into an endless assault on civil and human rights, the technophilic fantasies of our masters, and the corporations whom they lovingly serve, even amidst the doom and gloom of capitalism's global economic collapse, have taken extraordinary steps to ensure that the "state of exception" spawned by the 9/11 provocation remain…

In Canada once more U.S. troops fleeing war.

Since there is no draft in the U.S. there is probably less support for American troops seeking refuge in Canada. The soldiers sign up voluntarily rather than being forced to serve. However, many believe that the Iraq war is unjustified and though willing to serve are not willing to serve there and so flee when they are ordered to go there. Former Vietnam refugees help some of them out. The Harper government is both conservative and a supporter of U.S. foreign policy on the whole. The Harper government has been completely unsympathetic to any claims of U.S. soldiers to refugee status. This is from USA Today.

In Canada once more, U.S. troops fleeing a war

By Judy Keen, USA TODAY
TORONTO — Patrick Hart came here in 2005, when he couldn't face a second deployment to Iraq. A U.S. Army sergeant with almost 10 years of active duty, he would rather stay in Canada forever than return to a war he thinks is wrong.
Hart, 36, knows that some people think he is a traitor, but he has no regret…

Robert Naiman: Obama Originally Supported Iran fuel swap brokeder by Turkey and Brazil.

This is an interesting article. I had thought that Brazil and Turkey were working on the deal just to show that the medium powers could do what the big powers could not do, broker a deal with Iran. However, this article shows that originally the deal was supported by the U.S. but later probably due to domestic political considerations the U.S. changed course completely. The U.S. media has been complicit in covering up this drastic change. This is from huffington post.
Robert NaimanPolicy Director of Just Foreign Policy

U.S. Media Censors U.S. Support of Iran Fuel Swap
Sao Paulo - If you get your information from major U.S. media, and you follow U.S. foreign policy, then you know that last week Iran, Brazil, and Turkey signed an agreement for Iran to ship about half of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Turkey, in exchange for subsequent Western supply of higher-enriched uranium to fuel Iran's medical research reactor - fuel Iran needs in order to treat Iranian medical patien…

IMF and the Global Economic Outlook.

This is an article on the IMF and the global economic outlook by JulioHuato from his blog. He argues that wealth distribution may actually help the economic recovery. However the opposite seems to be happening. The IMF recipe is to promote austerity to save creditor banks. The onus will be mostly on the creditors. There is certainly no sign of the idea suggested here of repudiation of debt and spending that is in the interest of creditors. The Greek bailout is premised on cutting pensions, wages etc. It is all on the backs of the working class. For the workers to win the class struggle they would need to work towards appropriating the means of production distribution and exchange. As long as the means of production is owned by private capital and economic growth based upon profit and attempt to redistribute in favor of the working class will face barriers that are part of the capitalist system. For a time the developed countries were able to buy off their working people with a welfa…

SEIU leader Stern: Legacy not all bad!

This is a contrast to many of the accounts of Stern's Legacy. Many consider him a sellout and at the same time a leader who was autocratic and spent union money stifling dissent as much as organizing. This author thinks the health care bill was a great victory. Again many on the left consider it a big sellout and the right may very well be correct that it will be a big expense and involve cutting back of Medicare entitlements eventually. This is from newsweek.

Andy Stern's Legacy: Not All Bad
Jonathan Alter
Friday's Washington Post story about Andy Stern leaving the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) with debts offers a revealing look at the internecine strife that has long plagued the labor movement. And give the Post credit for covering a labor story, which most of the rest of the press simply ignores. But on the occasion of Stern stepping down after 13 years as head of the second largest (after the Teamsters) and fastest growing union in the country, the asses…

Fisk: Silenced for speaking the truth about Guantanamo

There was a brief flurry of articles about the Canadian reporters being kicked out of Guantanamo. Fisk reports that some newspapers were excluded from covering the trials but I thought it was just the reporters, or at least that is what other reports claimed. The trials are a farce from the beginning. Obama has gone along with the "reformed" trials it would seem after closing them down temporarily. The whole idea of his being tried when at the time of the incident he was fifteen is criticized by many. He should have been considered a child soldier according to some and sent home for rehabilitation. What has always bothered me is the catch 22 legal nonsense involved in the trial. As an enemy combatant Khadr could be held indefinitely without charge but as an unlawful or unprivileged combatant he can be charged for lobbing the grenade even though a regular soldier could not. To try to kill a combatant on the other side in a battle situation would never result in a charge …

Russia to slash external debt plans.

Russia has already placed a 5.5 billion Euro bond issue. All the rest of Russian borrowing will be in the domestic market even though originally it had intended to raise 17.8 billion abroad. Investors are obviously rather risk averse and so the costs of raising money abroad might be quite high. This is from the Moscow Times.

Finance Ministry's Pankin Says Russia Will Curtail Foreign Debt Sales

The government will slash external debt plans and may not tap the market at all in 2011-12 after pushing through its first eurobond in a decade before Greek woes spiked risk aversion, Deputy Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin said.

Russia raised $5.5 billion in its first eurobond in over a decade last month, with the oversubscribed issue showing how far it has come since the 1998 domestic debt default.

As well as plugging a post-recession budget deficit, the placement was intended to improve borrowing conditions for Russian corporates.

But investor risk appetite took a serious knock from the Greek…

Pakistani Investigators can't link Shahzad to the Taliban

The Obama administration is finding plenty of links and also others linked to Shahzad in the U.S. It seems that the U.S. wants to find links while Pakistan does not. Probably the truth is somewhere in between in that Shahzad may have some links to extremists in Pakistan but not all the connections he himself claims. These claims seem now to be accepted by the Obama administration while at first he was portrayed as a lone wolf. Everyone seems to be putting their own spin on these connections for their own political purposes making it more and more difficult to find out the truth. This is from rawstory.

Pakistan can't link N.Y. bombing suspect to extremist groups

Saeed Shah | McClatchy Newspapers

KARACHI, Pakistan — Pakistani investigators have been unable to find evidence linking Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bombing suspect, with the Pakistani Taliban or other extremist groups, Pakistani security officials said Tuesday. Investigators also have been unable to substantiate Shahz…

A left critique of Kagan

In spite of all the criticism on the left of Bush's extension of executive privilege Obama seems to be heading in exactly the same direction to amplify his own administration's power. Kagan would seem to go along the same direction. As this article points out there are other aspects of her legal viewpoints that show she is not likely to push for the sort of liberal affirmative rights that many leftist Obama legal supporters would like. While the right may have some bones to pick with Kagan on some issues, overall she may gain support from those on the moderate right. While Dean of Harvard Law school she actually supported hiring of some conservative leaning faculty members.
Kagan's Troubling Record
by Marjorie Cohn
After President Obama nominated Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court, he made a statement that implied she would follow in the footsteps of Justice Thurgood Marshall, the civil rights giant and first black Supreme Court justice. Kagan served as a l…

Noam Chomsky: How the Tea Partiers are Getting Screwed by Their Own Ideology

Chomsky seems to spend quite a bit of time on Joe Stack rather than the Tea Party. However there is a family resemblance between his ideas and those of the Tea Party. However many of the Tea Party Protesters benefit from the programs that the big government they are protesting provides. Although they claim to hate big business as well as big government some of their policies would help big business and hurt themselves and in that sense Chomsky is correct that they are being screwed by their own Ideology to a considerable extent. This is from alternet..

Chomsky: How the Tea Partiers Are Getting Screwed by Their Own Ideology
'We should not underestimate the depth of moral indignation that lies behind the furious, often self-destructive bitterness about government and business power."

On Feb. 18, Joe Stack, a 53-year-old computer engineer, crashed his small plane into a building in Austin, Texas, hitting an IRS office, committing suicide, killing one other person and injuring oth…

Robert Naiman: On Obama and Peace Talks in Afghanistan

Of course Obama is not really interested in peace talks at the moment and when peace talks to take place the US would like to control events as much as possible. Pakistan is also involved in all this since they have some senior Afghan Taliban leaders under arrest. They too want to have a say in peace talks. The group that Naiman talks about is not the major insurgency group but a group allied with the warlord Hekmatyr. The main Taliban groups will not negotiate a peace without a clear commitment to NATO withdrawal. For now it seems that US policy is stuck with the McChrystal counter-insurgency plan and offensive in Kandahar that will no doubt produce more deaths and misery for the Afghans as well as NATO. This is from

Obama: Say Yes to Afghan Peace Talks
Posted By Robert Naiman

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in Washington this week, where he’ll be meeting with President Obama on Wednesday. Afghan government officials have said that a top priority for these talk…

Raimondo: Has Shahzad started a war.

Raimondo considers Shahzad a partly deranged individual who can't make a bomb properly and who probably makes up a lot of the stories he is telling to interrogators. The Obama administration is using them for their own ends to try to pressure Pakistan for even more actions against Islamic militants. Many in Pakistan also have doubts about the U.S. administration spin on the situation and even believe that the whole affair was stage managed by the USA. Shireen Mazari has an article in the Nation(Pakistan) to this effect. This is from While I doubt that Shahzad has started a war he has started even more reckless drone attacks in North Waziristan. Eventually the reaction in Pakistan may cause the already weak Zardari government to fall. If the U.S. decides to engage in limited incursions into North Waziristan this will be even more certainly cause political chaos in Pakistan.

Has Faisal Shahzad Started a War?
Remember the Maine?

by Justin Raimondo,
The Obama administration…

An anarchist take of the Greek protests.

This piece neglects to mention the facts that France and Germany are also urging Greece to buy expensive armaments from them and even are suggesting that this would help get Greece a bailout. Even without the foreign bank loans Greece does not collect enough tax to finance its social programs but as the article points out this is in large part a function of corruption and weak tax collection from Greek capital. The type of protests happening in Greece are likely to repeated in other places. Romania is already experiencing similar protests. This is from anarkismo.

The Greek working class is angry, and with good reason, with the attempt to load responsibility for the bankruptcy of the Greek State onto their shoulders. We maintain instead that it is the international financial institutions and the European Union who are responsible. The financial institutions have plunged the world, and Greece in particular, into an economic and social…