Feed on
Posts
Comments

The Big Trifecta

In geopolitical terms – the big trifecta is Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India (that’s the yellow, dark-yellow, and the grey band just to the right of Iran).

While the occasional geopolitical manoeuvres in the dark make for a great Bond movie, we have an obligation to dig a little deeper. First step on our adventure is to zoom in on the Afghan/Pakistan border where that orange band in the middle (see illustration below) is Taliban territory.

Things get more interesting when we throw in details of the ethnic, cultural, family, history, loyalty thing – and in the following map we should be cognisant of the fact that geopolitical boundaries don’t take centre stage (after all – the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan was nothing more than an arbitrary 19th century British colonial construct).

Just for reference – that big brown blob in the previous illustration is the Pashtun ethnic population. The following map drills down and identifies the principal regions at ground zero.

But lets zoom out again and factor into this equation that discussion about the relationship (and/or conflict) between Afghanistan and Pakistan that is of direct interest to their neighbour Iran (the big bugger over on the left). After all, Iran has many of the same tribal problems that face the fledgling Afghanistan administration (and an outbreak of secular testosterone in Afghanistan is a potential problem in the making for Iran). Let’s also take into account that big chunks of Afghanistan could be argued to be more properly part and parcel of Pakistan (which would go a long way towards explaining some of the accusations of Pakistan/Taliban loyalty). Equally, when we talk about Pakistan and India (the big bugger over on the right) there is the inevitable engagement of China (the really big bugger over on the far far right) as a player with more than a passing interest. And let’s not even get into the parallel universe of the Kashmir equation.

Thing is, a failed Afghanistan state creates stress for Pakistan and stress for Pakistan creates opportunity for India, an India/Pakistan conflict plays into the hands of China, and at the end of the day a bunch of nation states (US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and Australia) just aren’t ready for that reality just yet. But what ties this all together is that none of the players want to see a united secular solution.

And for better or worse – what if this conflict may be our best hope for peace in our time? Why? Simply because an alignment of common interests between the principal players in this equation. That the simple thing of an alignment just may be a greater good than the atrocities that have and will be committed in the sustainment of this transient moment.

Prescrire le domaine des pour traiter sildenafil viagra difference la dysfonction érectile, mais aussi. Rendre au domicile cialis 20mg générique de cliquez ici personnes qui ont subi un épisode dépressif majeur tous âges confondus.

Recommended Reading

Agonizing over Afghanistan
David Shribman, 31 October, 2009

Pakistan is swiftly drifting towards an all out civil war
Abdus Sattar Ghazali, 28 October, 2009

613 Responses to “The Big Trifecta”

  1. 501
    Chris B says:

    Here’s a good visual of the history of NJ and Virginia. It appears they nearly always go the opposite to the new President.
    http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2009/Senate/Maps/Nov04-s.html#1

  2. 502
    paddy says:

    OT I know. But we have to maintain a certain standard of intellectual rigour around here. :-)
    So….For those who like their cartoons ….deep.
    Firstdog’s discussion of quantum metaphysics, cunningly disguised as a weather report.
    http://media.crikey.com.au/Media/images/091104-HoleAtTheCentre-e20688ff-c62a-477a-a887-b7c90269422f.jpg

  3. 503
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Tianamen Mouse Leases Marx House:

    In a deal two decades in the making, China is opening its doors to the Walt Disney Company, having finally given the quintessentially Western enterprise the go-ahead to bring Mickey Mouse and his fellow characters to Shanghai with a new Disneyland theme park tailored to the Chinese megalopolis.

    http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/20091104_ni_hao_mickey_mouse_disney_goes_to_shanghai/

    http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/77855

    Nov 4:
    http://www.news-journalonline.com/beattie/

    http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/77895

    Nov 4:
    http://news.yahoo.com/comics/pat-oliphant

    Nov 2:
    http://news.yahoo.com/comics/ted-rall

    Nov 3:
    http://news.yahoo.com/comics/tony-auth

    http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/77691/

    http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/77859

    GOP, the gall ! (we will decide who belongs to………)
    http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/77854

    Nov 4:
    http://news.yahoo.com/comics/mike-luckovich

    Nov 4:
    http://news.yahoo.com/comics/tom-toles

    http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/77732/

    http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/77831/

    http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/77901

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/11/4/800316/-Tonights-big-lesson

    Nov 4:
    http://news.yahoo.com/comics/matt-bors

    Nov 4:
    http://news.yahoo.com/comics/non-sequitur

    (got broadband back, the fault was telstra’s end, glommed a few gigs gratis after a Howard Beale performance to the factotum who swore it’d be fixed by midight Cup eve. Very therapeutic. He awarded me a “9” for the dummy-spit and we parted loling this morning. Nice to get a regional manager with a sense of humour)

  4. 504
  5. 505
    paddy says:

    503

    after a Howard Beale performance to the factotum

    Somehow I can see the resemblance Ecky. :mrgreen:

    I’ll bet you even threatened to sell all your Telscum shares and devastate the stock price if they didn’t fix it at once eh? :evil:

    BTW I think the script on that Kos Link is worthy of repeating.

    1. If you abandon Democratic principles in a bid for unnecessary “bipartisanship”, you will lose votes.

    2. If you water down reform in favor of Blue Dogs and their corporate benefactors, you will lose votes.

    3. If you forget why you were elected — health care, financial services, energy policy and immigration reform — you will lose votes.

    Tonight proved conclusively that we’re not going to turn out just because you have a (D) next to your name, or because Obama tells us to. We’ll turn out if we feel it’s worth our time and effort to vote, and we’ll work hard to make sure others turn out if you inspire us with bold and decisive action.

    The choice is yours. Give us a reason to vote for you, or we sit home. And you aren’t going to make up the margins with conservative voters. They already know exactly who they’re voting for, and it ain’t you.

  6. 506
    Catrina says:

    paddy and EC

    Not that I want to burst a lovely looking bubble or anything – but exit polls indicated that for the regular Joes were not thinking about Obama or federal issues – they were voting on who they thought could handle local issues. Sorry to break it to you but the HarryH breakout of ‘no surprise here, move along everyone’ is much closer to the money.

    ;-)

  7. 507
    Catrina says:

    Italy Convicts 23 Americans In CIA Terrorist Kidnapping Case

    MILAN — An Italian judge found 23 Americans and two Italians guilty Wednesday in the kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect, delivering the first legal convictions anywhere in the world against people involved in the CIA’s extraordinary renditions program.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/04/italy-convicts-23-america_n_345274.html&cp

  8. 508
    Catrina says:

    Australia Puts Its Refugee Problem on a Remote Island, Behind Razor Wire

    “They put this center way out here on this remote island, and then they built it way, way, way out on the island in the jungle,” said Charlene Thompson, a social worker who counsels asylum-seekers here. She equated the new center to Port Arthur, a 19th-century penal colony in Tasmania, Australia’s southernmost island. “It’s a jail, a high-security jail, and it feels like the asylum-seekers are being treated as criminals.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/05/world/asia/05island.html

  9. 509
  10. 510
    paddy says:

    506
    Catrina says

    Not that I want to burst a lovely looking bubble or anything – but exit polls indicated that for the regular Joes were not thinking about Obama or federal issues –

    But..but…but…
    I was just getting into the swing of an old fashioned chardonnay swilling rant. You’re such a bloody killjoy Cat. :-)

    Meanwhile as far as the Italian court case on rendition goes….I guess it’s just as well it wasn’t a *French* court.
    Glen Beck’s head would have gone *nuclear*. :lol:

  11. 511
    paddy says:

    The rude one is worth a look today.

  12. 512
    gaffhook says:

    505 and 506

    Being the thinking person that i am i think i will go with the Rude Pundits version of the results.
    Written in easy plain language to understand. :mrgreen:

  13. 513
    gaffhook says:

    511
    Paddy
    “snap”

  14. 514
    gaffhook says:

    Joe the Arsehole has his resume submitted for him for his job when he goes in 2012, a Frankston level crossing Flagman.

    Enough of this clown. He should be stripped of his Senate chairmanship and sent across the aisle to his boon companions on the right. He should be ignored out of hand on the matter of health care reform, and anything else he decides to address. He has raised being wrong, craven, untrustworthy and useless to the level of high art. Anyone with a full understanding of his record and reputation would know better than to trust him with a job as a crossing guard, and never mind as any kind of a leader on issues of major national and international import. The man is a living, breathing train wreck, and he has no business whatsoever being allowed in the same postal code as the decisions to come that will shape our lives.

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/Little-Joe-by-William-Rivers-Pit-091104-953.html

  15. 515
    gaffhook says:

    How will Barry react to the UN basically shutting down in Afghanistan.

    “It looks like the UN may be on the verge of pulling out two thirds of its international staff; those who remain will be moved to secure accommodation compounds,” our correspondent said.

    “We’ve heard from high-level sources that this would be a radical reduction in operations.

    “The UN staff would be reduced in all agencies, not just the political one – Unama, but the world food programme, the refugee agency, UNHCR.

    http://www.opednews.com/populum/linkframe.php?linkid=100726

  16. 516
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Well, Cat, we’ll have to wait a year for the Midterms to see if BHO’s base turns out in 2008 numbers. The exit polls didn’t question those who did not show up on the day though. The Dems dumbly ran with a dud candidate for VA guber. They deserved to be whipped like egg-sucking dogs!
    http://www.our-happy-cat.com/image-files/6651409fdde6ac7f4small.jpg
    —————————-

    The Shorter Doubleplusgood Duckspeak dictionary defines “extraordinary rendition” as:
    kidnap and torture (execution, whole body shredding and dispersal optional) with the tab being picked up by American taxpayers.

  17. 517
    Catrina says:

    paddy at 510

    But..but…but…
    I was just getting into the swing of an old fashioned chardonnay swilling rant. You’re such a bloody killjoy Cat.

    Retribution for your disparaging cat comment at #504!
    It will not be forgotten.

  18. 518
    megan says:

    LOL!!

  19. 519
    Enemy Combatant says:

    “Being the thinking person that i am i think i will go with the Rude Pundits version of the results.
    Written in easy plain language to understand.” :mrgreen:

    gaffy, does your brain feel like it wants to explode when you think really, really hard? Some days my head seems like the one on one of those old JJJ t-shirts showing a radio-head wired to coconuts while sporting a frequency modulated head charkra :mrgreen:

  20. 520
    Chris B says:

    Here’s more on BBC News. Although it is hard to find.
    ===========================

    CIA agents guilty of Italy kidnap.
    An Italian judge has convicted 23 Americans – all but one of them CIA agents – and two Italian secret agents for the 2003 kidnap of a Muslim cleric.

    The agents were accused of abducting Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, known as Abu Omar, from Milan and sending him to Egypt, where he was allegedly tortured.

    The trial, which began in June 2007, is the first involving the CIA’s so-called “extraordinary rendition” programme.

    The Obama administration has expressed its disappointment at the convictions.

    “We are disappointed by the verdicts,” state department spokesman Ian Kelly said in Washington.

    He declined to comment further pending a written opinion from the judge, but said an appeal was likely.

    Three Americans and five Italians were acquitted by the court in Milan.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8343123.stm

  21. 521
    paddy says:

    517
    Catrina says:

    Retribution for your disparaging cat comment at #504!
    It will not be forgotten.

    So then, my fine, furry pussy cat………I see it’s the Pinot Noir, versus the Chardonnay at 20 paces eh? :lol: :mrgreen:

  22. 522
    Chris B says:

    520 So as they keep convicting them is the USA going to keep ignoring them. Spain should be the next ones to convict.

  23. 523
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Hey! What’s a lttle rendidtion here and there among friends?

    (Chris, it’s not just happening in Italy)

    A Court Decision That Reflects What Type of Country the US Is
    Even when government officials purposely subject an innocent person to brutal torture, they enjoy full immunity

    by Glenn Greenwald

    I want to add one principal point to all of this. This is precisely how the character of a country becomes fundamentally degraded when it becomes a state in permanent war. So continuous are the inhumane and brutal acts of government leaders that the citizens completely lose the capacity for moral outrage and horror. The permanent claims of existential threats from an endless array of enemies means that secrecy is paramount, accountability is deemed a luxury, and National Security trumps every other consideration — even including basic liberties and the rule of law. Worst of all, the President takes on the attributes of a protector-deity who can and must never be questioned lest we prevent him from keeping us safe.
    This is exactly why I find so objectionable and dangerous the ongoing embrace by the Obama administration of these same secrecy and immunity weapons.

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/11/04-1

  24. 524
    gaffhook says:

    Told you it was all about maths.

    My Dear Wife,
    You will surely understand that I have certain needs
    that you, being 54 years old, can no longer satisfy.
    I am very happy with you and I value you as a
    good wife. Therefore, after reading this letter,
    I hope that you will not wrongly interpret the fact that I will be
    spending the evening with my 18 year old secretary at the Comfort Inn
    Hotel. Please don’t be upset—-I shall be home before midnight.
    When the man came home late that night, he found the following
    letter on the dining room table:

    My Dear Husband,
    I received your letter and thank you for your honesty about my being 54
    years old. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that you
    Are 54 years old.
    As you know, I am a math teacher at our local college.
    I would like to inform you that while you read this, I will be at the Hotel
    Fiesta with Michael, one of my students, who is also the assistant tennis
    coach. He is young, virile, and like your secretary, is 18 years old. As
    a successful businessman who has an excellent knowledge of math, you will
    understand that we are in the same situation, although with one small
    difference – 18 goes into 54 a lot more times than 54 goes into 18.
    Therefore, I will not be home until sometime tomorrow.

  25. 525
    Chris B says:

    Convicted CIA Spy Says “We Broke the Law”.
    ==================================

    One of the 23 Americans convicted today by an Italian court says the United States “broke the law” in the CIA kidnapping of a Muslim cleric Abu Omar in Milan in 2003.
    “And we are paying for the mistakes right now, whoever authorized and approved this,” said former CIA officer Sabrina deSousa in an interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson.

    DeSousa says the U.S. “abandoned and betrayed” her and the others who were put on trial for the kidnapping. She was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison.

    Representative Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), a member of the House Intelligence Committee told ABC News that the trial was a disaster for CIA officers like DeSousa on the frontline.

    continued on ABC News

  26. 526
    Chris B says:

    523 EC I hope they all keep pursuing it. What I am worried about is the timing. We have an election in less than 12 months. My worry is that it will backfire on the Democrats. Even though it is fully the responsibility of the Repugs. I can imagine them turning it around into an anti American thing somehow. I keep waiting for some major blow up before Nov 2010.

  27. 527
    Catrina says:

    paddy at 521

    I see it’s the Pinot Noir, versus the Chardonnay at 20 paces eh?

    Presented with the scenario of a setting sun, the to-do-list of cleaning up the blood with the remaining dregs of a warm Chardonnay against the subtle edge of Pinot Noir as the darkness descends …

    I have considered the options and I will do the better thing …

    I put to you, a bottle of Pinot Noir Chardonnay NV.

    gaffhok at 524

    18 goes into 54 a lot more times than 54 goes into 18

    When you go to sleep at night – ask yourself the question …

    Which gender has the numerical advantage?

    :-)

  28. 528
    Chris B says:

    Tory EU stance will ‘castrate’ UK.

    The Conservatives’ stance on the EU has been attacked as “pathetic” by a French government minister who says it will “castrate” UK influence in Europe.

    France’s minister for Europe, Pierre Lellouche, said EU leaders would not help the Tories re-negotiate treaties.

    He was responding in the Guardian to David Cameron’s vow that “never again” would powers be transferred from the UK to Brussels without a referendum.

    He was outlining his new policy after ruling out a Lisbon Treaty referendum.

    Mr Cameron said all future treaties would be put to a public vote.

    He also promised a sovereignty bill if the Tories win the next election to “lock in” the supremacy of UK laws.

    And the Tory leader vowed to repatriate powers on the Charter of Fundamental Rights, employment and criminal law – which would need the agreement of all 27 EU nations.

    continued on the BBC News
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8343641.stm
    What? Fundamental Rights, employment and criminal law? Does that rule out any more Thatcherism? :)
    It would be nice to see the conservatives explode in the UK. That is not likely to happen. Even if it did, Labour would not do the right thing while in power. Brown is a ditherer.

  29. 529
    Chris B says:

    In Denmark, the government has taken the bold step of allowing pupils full access to the internet during their final school year exams.

    A total of 14 colleges in Denmark are piloting the new system of exams and all schools in the country have been invited to join the scheme by 2011.

    Greve High School, south of Copenhagen, is one of the pilot schools.

    On the morning of the exam, the exam room the floor is covered in cables. IT experts are busy helping the teenagers set up their laptops, making sure they all work.

    continued on The BBC News.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/8341886.stm

  30. 530
    Chris B says:

    New row over Colombia-US accord.
    ===============================

    Colombian opposition groups have reacted angrily after details of a controversial military deal with the US were made public.

    Under the 10-year deal, the US military will not only have access to military bases, but also be able to use major international civilian airports.

    US personnel and defence contractors will also enjoy diplomatic immunity.

    President Alvaro Uribe says the agreement will help rid Colombia of drugs gangs and left-wing rebel groups.

    But leading opposition senator Gustavo Petro, of the left-wing PDA party, said the deal amounted to a virtual US occupation of Colombia.

    The accord was signed last Friday but full details were only made public on Tuesday.

    It’s quite possible the USA hasn’t learned a thing!
    continued on BBC News.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8343692.stm

  31. 531
    Chris B says:

    Cornyn Forced By Teabagger Base To Keep NRSC Out Of Senate Primaries.
    This is pretty big news that shows the institutional power of the tea party conservative base. In the wake of last night’s disaster in NY-23, John Cornyn, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the GOP campaign arm for Senate races, announced that his organization will not endorse or spend money in “contested primaries.”
    continued on Firedoglake

  32. 532
    paddy says:

    527

    I have considered the options and I will do the better thing …

    I put to you, a bottle of Pinot Noir Chardonnay NV.

    Faced with such grace, I can only bow before magnificence mistress Cat . :-)

  33. 533
    Catrina says:

    paddy at 532

    I can only bow before magnificence mistress Cat.

    The power of the dark side …

  34. 534
    paddy says:

    533
    :lol: :lol: :lol:
    I think I preferred Darth.

  35. 535
    Chris B says:

    Fort Hood Shootings: 12 Dead, 31 Injured On Texas Military Base.
    The U.S. Army says 12 people have been killed and 31 wounded in a shooting rampage on the Fort Hood Army base in Texas. Lt. Gen Bob Cone said at a news conference that one shooter has been killed and two suspects were apprehended on Thursday. He says they are all U.S. soldiers.

    Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/05/fort-hood-shootings-7-dea_n_347366.html&cp

  36. 536
    Chris B says:

    The shooter was: Major Malik Nadal Hasan.

  37. 537
    Chris B says:

    Is the Japanese ice cold exterior cracking?
    Hand-Holding Hatoyamas: Japan’s First Couple Partakes In PDA (PHOTOS)

    Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/05/hand-holding-hatoyamas-ja_n_328706.html&cp

  38. 538
    Chris B says:

    Study Paints iPhone Users As Porn-Watching Egomaniacs.

    Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/05/study-paints-iphone-users_n_346644.html&cp
    I haven’t got one. :lol:

  39. 539
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Spiritually uplifted by his church service, P.M. Rudd explains how Practical Australian Christianity is dispensed to The Swarthy.

    Do the young people who wrap themselves in the flag at Gallipoli every April understand that only the lies have changed? Like Kevin Rudd’s stage-managed press conferences outside his church, the symbols of Anzac are constantly manipulated in this way. Marches. Medals. Flags. The pain of a fallen soldier’s family. Serving in the military, says the Prime Minister, is Australia’s highest calling. The squalor of war, the killing of civilians, has no reference in this higher calling. What matters is the illusion.

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/no-shipload-of-whites-fleeing-disaster-would-be-treated-like-this-20091105-i067.html

  40. 540
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Obama’s Generals:

    “Meanwhile back in Washington, our pair of hyper ambitious generals – David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal – have thrown all their resources into the latest offensive aimed at pushing another American president to go for broke. Their rendezvous with destiny is now Obama’s. McChrystal, lest we forget, was author of the self-serving Pat Tillman myth and the man who institutionalized torture at Camp Cropper in May 2003. Now he is authoring “hearts and minds” strategies – evidently a man for all seasons.

    In the duo’s current dubious battle, they are given encouragement by the nation’s editorial writers and receive near unanimous backing from the capital’s galaxy of think tanks. The famed Rand Corporation is using millions of Pentagon dollars to pursue the Mother of All Counter-Insurgency Studies. The project is promising, one of its directors former Ambassador James Dobbins told me, because it wisely has set as two positive reference points for successful, foreign led counter insurgency efforts: Vietnam and Iraq. We all have ways of amusing ourselves – I guess.”

    Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-brenner/afghanistan-obamas-led-ze_b_347318.html&cp

  41. 541
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Scott Ritter on Military Madness in Afghanistan:(audio recommended)

    Our podcast conversation with Scott Ritter was alarming, because it reminded me of his warnings before the Iraq war. He told me on the phone in March 2003 that there were no weapons of mass destruction and that we were going to war without cause. It was his tone and logic that I remember most about that day on the phone. I heard that tone again as we talked about the current conflict in Afghanistan.

    “It’s high time we stopped talking about defeating the Taliban and started talking about working with the Taliban.”

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20091105_scott_ritter_on_afghanistan_dont_believe_the_hype_report/

  42. 542
    gaffhook says:

    541
    EC
    That is a good listen, that interview with Scott Ritter.

  43. 543
    Chris B says:

    533 Catrina Brilliant! :lol:

  44. 544
    Chris B says:

    Breaking: Fort Hood Alleged Shooter Now Confirmed Alive.
    continued on Firedoglake

  45. 545
    Chris B says:

    Now I have seen everything. Live TV on petrol pumps. That wouldn’t be to distract you from watching how much you are putting in the tank, would it? Along with the Internet being used in exams (Denmark). It is going to make it very hard for the fundies to avoid TV and computers. Especially if governments makes exams on the Internet a compulsory part of schooling.

  46. 546
    Chris B says:

    GOP’s special elections losing streak.
    =============================

    Lost amid the Republican euphoria surrounding Tuesday’s elections is this inconvenient fact: The GOP just got its clock cleaned, again, in another high-stakes House special election.

    It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, since Republicans have lost 20 of the past 29 House special elections, dating back to January 2003. And in perhaps the most worrisome aspect of the trend, the GOP lost its fifth consecutive competitive special election in Republican-friendly territory.

    In New York’s historically Republican 23rd District, where Democrat Bill Owens prevailed Tuesday, the GOP squandered a 43 percent to 31 percent voter registration advantage over the Democratic Party. In New York’s 20th District, where Scott Murphy — like Owens, another unknown Democrat with no experience in elective office — won a March special election, the GOP blew a 65,000-voter registration edge.

    continued on Politico.
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1109/29212.html

  47. 547
    Katielou says:

    Chris B @ 536
    The gunman has been identified as Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a military psychiatrist who was about to be deployed to Iraq.

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/twelve-dead-in-texas-military-base-shootings-20091106-i0ne.html?autostart=1

  48. 548
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Tomorrow: the Tom-Tom drum of the neighbourhood

    http://www.salon.com/news/joe_lieberman_iconn/index.html?story=/comics/tomo/2009/11/02/tomo

    http://www.salon.com/comics/tomo/2009/10/19/tomo

    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/sarah_palin/index.html?story=/comics/tomo/2009/10/26/tomo
    —————————
    Hope all’s going well for you and family, DG.
    ————-
    Yes, Gaffy. Ritter’s got bulk cred. He was one of the few career military people who spoke out against the rush to war in Iraq, 2003. Dunno if your saw any footage of Ritter confronting Saddam’s strongmen on the ground in Iraq when he was a UN WMD hunter. Very impressive. His passionately argued: why should U.S. personel have to die in another bullshit war with abysmally articultated objectives and no exit strategy?…… is both timely and valid.

    Meanwhile, the surge is a done deal. Numbers? Can’t see any less than 15,000 or more than 25,000 US troops in the C-I-C’s upcoming announcement.

  49. 549
    paddy says:

    Cane toads for a free Tibet strike back with the ultimate fart joke.
    http://media.crikey.com.au/Media/images/091106-BossaNova-75c08e56-a7d4-493e-8b8f-347c2d4daba1.jpg

  50. 550
    Chris B says:

    Thank god Eddie Maguire doesn’t hit on naval officers like this!
    Who Wants to be a Millionaire Host Meredith Vieira Hits on a Naval Officer.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3rR9e4asl8

  51. 551
    Chris B says:

    Mo Money Mo Problems: Rothstein Is Latest Crist Fundraiser Under Cloud.
    Something is rotten in the state of Florida?

    With the accusations this week that Scott Rothstein, fast-living Fort Lauderdale attorney and friend and donor to Gov. Charlie Crist, orchestrated a massive fraud out of his law firm, there are now three Crist moneymen caught up in alleged criminal or extremely shady activity.

    Crist, whose career has been fueled by his skill as a fundraiser, finds himself entangled with the trio of scandals just as his U.S. Senate primary campaign against conservative Marco Rubio is attracting national attention. And there’s already talk down in Florida that the Crist-linked scandals may become a factor in the primary contest.

    So what’s it all about? Let’s go to the tape.

    continued on TPM

  52. 552
    gaffhook says:

    Kevin Rudd looks like he is about to roll up the sleeves and start throwin a few.
    At his speech at the Lowy Institute today he gave all the Deniers and Sceptics a pretty clear message.
    A very good speech IMHO.

    My message to the climate change skeptics, to the big betters and the big risk takers is this:

    You are betting our children’s future and the future of our grandchildren.

    You are betting our jobs, our houses, our farms, our reefs, our economy and our future on an intuition – on a gut feeling; on a political prejudice you have about science.

    That is too big a risk, too radical a departure from the basic conservative principles of public policy.

    Malcolm, Barnaby, Andrew, Janet – stop gambling with our future.

    You’ve got to know when to fold ‘em – and for the skeptics, that time has come.

    The Government I lead will act.

    His speech in full;
    http://www.pm.gov.au/node/6305

  53. 553
    HarryH says:

    Just because he always makes me laugh…and nod.

    A little Bill Maher

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlP09x2kxrU

  54. 554
    Catrina says:

    HarryH at 553
    Brilliant!

  55. 555
  56. 556
    Chris B says:

    John Stewart at his brilliant best. Especially the Glen Beck bit. A must see.
    http://www.thedailyshow.com

  57. 557
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Stewart on Beck on Public Option:

    “who’s to say they can’t take out your healthy appendix tomorrow and eat it in front of you and your children?”
    ———————————-
    ———————————-

    “The Horror” Makes A Home Call, Collect:

    The shooting at Fort Hood is very different from the one a few days ago, in Afghanistan, that claimed the lives of five British soldiers. In Afghanistan, the shooter was an Afghan policeman, who was being trained by the British. Hasan was as American as anybody—he was born here, and spent his entire adult life in the military. But there are resonances. In both cases, the soldiers were shot when they didn’t even think they were in danger—the Americans were filling out paperwork in their own country, the British were at ease, as the Times of London described it:

    Relaxing after their patrol, with their armour and helmets off, the troops were drinking tea only a few metres from their killer, a man they had been risking their lives to train.

    The coverage of Fort Hood will, rightfully, be extensive in the next few days. But it would be a pity if it completely overshadows how significant a story the killing of the British soldiers has become in their country. What the incidents may have most in common is that they occasion a reckoning with the costs of war. In New York, today, there’s a ticker-tape parade for the Yankees. What is greeting the soldiers who return from a war in which victory is not so much elusive as tragically undefined?

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2009/11/close-read-from-texas-to-afghanistan.html

  58. 558
    Enemy Combatant says:

    gaffy, after the way Ruddster micro-managed his monumental stuff up of the Sri Lankan refugees this week he needed to boldly speak. Looks good on paper let’s see how much leadership he can bring to bear in shaping world response in Denmark next month. Appreciate a good political speech, but talk is cheap and co-ordinated global action is required.

    “The Government I lead will act.”

    On behalf of all who share this pale-blue, biospheric-bubbled spaceship no doubt, Prime Minister.

  59. 559
    Enemy Combatant says:

    The Man That History Passed By: loses capacity to stun, amaze or pacify

    Clearly the Prime Minister should have offered his predecessor a proper job after the last election. Just about every other senior Coalition figure who has fallen from grace in the tragic years that followed has been handed a comfortable sinecure. We have Tim Fischer at the Vatican, Amanda Vanstone retained at the embassy in Rome, Brendan Nelson off to stun and amaze Europe with his diplomatic skills, even Lord Downer pacifying the Eastern Mediterranean, all with Rudd’s stamp of approval.

    In another touching show of eleemosynary* concern for a fallen foe, no less than Peter Costello gets a gig on the board of the Future Fund.

    But nothing for Howard. For a while there it looked as if he might be hired to run rugby league, only to have that kyboshed somehow by the vindictive red-ragger Anthony Albanese, the Minister for Infrastructure.

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/the-boots-on-the-other-foot-now-20091106-i22g.html

    * of or dependent on alms; charitable

  60. 560
    gaffhook says:

    ahhhh. Ther’s nothing like a good dose of Rude Pundit when he is fired up.

    And then tell him he better never lose whatever shitty job he has because his ruined sphincter is now a pre-existing condition.

  61. 561
    gaffhook says:

    558
    EC

    after the way Ruddster micro-managed his monumental stuff up of the Sri Lankan refugees this week….

    I don’t think it was a monumental stuff up and i think that the way the whole episode has played he is 100% correct with what has transpired.
    I also think that a lot of people are confusing the issues because of the spin being put the issue by the media and opposition to make it look like he has stuffed up.
    If the logic is followed he is clean.

    Persons on a boat in Indonesian sea rescue zone call for asistance because the boat they are in is in danger.
    Indonesia says it has no immediate facilities available to help these people.
    Indonesia calls for assistance from anyone who may be in the vicinity and can help
    Australia (two vessels in area) answers Indonesian request and is asked to assist by Indonesia.
    Persons on boat are rescued by one vessel and transferred later to a vessel Ocean Viking, (OV) which is better equipped to give medical, food and clothing etc.
    The rescued people probably identify themselves as refugees from Shri Lanka and are seeking Assylum in Australia.
    The OV has rescued these people and is still in the Indo rescue area and is required, when given permission to enter Indonesia territorial waters, to deliver these persons to the nearest safe port in Indo where they would then be under the control of the UNHCR.
    Indonesia is required to accept these people because they were in their maratime rescue area.
    The OV has arrived at the required port for disembarcation.
    The Indonesians did not prevent the people from disembarking and the crew of the OV did not prevent them either.

    The rescued people decided they would not disembark and they demanded to be taken to Australia.
    The indonesians and the OV have both said they will not use force to remove the people from the ship and want them to disembark under their own free will. While there is this mexican standoff i am quite confident that they are receiving proper and humane treatment.
    The problem is that these people will not disembark under their own free will at the nearest safe port as they are required to do so that the ship that rescued them can go about its legitimate business and clear Indonesian Territorial waters.
    Without the rescued people on board they would have no requirement to be in Indonesian territorial waters.

    At this point i will say that had they left the ship immediately they may or may not have been given quick processing and allowed to go to Australia or some other country.
    That did not happen so there is no answer to that question.
    There are several huge repercussions that would occur if these people are allowed to control the sequence of events.

    One is that people would get in to boats and go out to sea and call for assistance in the Indonesian Maratime rescue area knowing that if they are rescued they can bung on a blue and if it is an Australian vessel rescuing them, go straight to Xmas Island.

    Two is that given that any future rescue vessel, after seeing what a rescue vessel has done and is required to do by maratime law requirements, and the rescued people have refused to disembark,
    may just decide they do not want the same problem and sail past without offering any assistance whatsoever.

    The issue to me is not the humane / inhumane treatment of these assylum seekers but the precedent that would be set and come back to bite them, when foreign ships are requested to rescue people in other countries maratime rescue areas.

    By comparison the most recent boat that went down near the Cocos Islands was a tragedy with the loss of life.
    The sequence there though was that a foreign vessel rescued the survivors in Australias maratime rescue zone and was given access to the nearest safe port which was Xmas Island.
    They have disembarked without any problems and are now being processed to the best of my knowledge. The rescue ship is now on its way doing its business having done its duty under maratime rescue requirements.

    Had the OV rescued those others in Australian Maratime rescue area there is no doubt they would have been taken to the nearest safe port in Australia.
    Ruddster is 100% correct on this one, the rescued people are not in any danger, and the rest is just redneck dogwhistling at its best ably supported by Ruperts neocon press.

  62. 562
    Chris B says:

    558 gaffy, you missed the bit where a certain Liberal wanted to invade Indonesia to get them off the boat. So did Labor. Otherwise and excellent article. (Wilson Tuckey).

  63. 563
    Chris B says:

    Was Fort Hood Shooter Taking Army-Administered Medication?
    =============================================

    At a time when no official details have been released about the possible motives of the Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Malik Hasan, some are speculating that the Army Major might have been taking a drug with documented psychotic effects.

    In a December 2002 article for Vanity Fair, Maureen Orth wrote about the deadly summer of 2002 at Fort Bragg, when three soldiers stationed at the North Carolina base murdered their wives. Back then, many people blamed an Army-administered anti-malarial drug mefloquine, also known as Lariam, which is often given to soldiers headed to Afghanistan. Orth pointed out that the drug’s manufacturer, Hoffmann-La Roche, was forced to put labels that warned the drug “May cause psychiatric symptoms in a number of patients ranging from anxiety, paranoia and depression to hallucinations and psychotic behavior” as well as rare cases of suicide, “though no relationship to drug administration has been confirmed.”

    Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/06/fort-hood-shooting-provok_n_348740.html&cp

  64. 564
    Chris B says:

    AFL-CIO Threatens To Cut $$ to ConservaDems Who Don’t Vote for Health Care.
    =================================================
    This could have a lot of influence on the outcome.
    continued on Firedoglake

  65. 565
    Jen says:

    ain’t this` the truth..
    ‘The New York Times, which sent a reporter to Christmas Island, said Australia had a ”primordial fear” of people arriving on boats ”instilled over past decades of anti-Asian immigration policies and is still stoked by conservative politicians”.

    Mr Rudd was described as ”rattled” by the influx of boat people, which had swung elections in the past.’
    :mad:

  66. 566
  67. 567
    HusseinStWorm says:

    Elizabeth Warren Introduces COP’s November Report

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6voWAKel2o&feature=player_embedded

  68. 568
  69. 569
    Chris B says:

    “A new study found that women’s faces age and wrinkle just like their mothers. The study was conducted by the American Society of Wrong Things to Say to Your Wife.”
    —Jimmy Fallon

  70. 570
    Chris B says:

    “This weekend, President Obama declared a national emergency in response to the growing threat of swine flu. … In response to Obama’s declaration, the Republican leaders this morning came out in support of the swine flu.”
    —Jimmy Kimmel

  71. 571
    Chris B says:

    Paraguay leader sacks army head.
    ========================

    Paraguay’s president has sacked the head of the armed forces, after warning some officers were plotting a coup against him.

    The commander has been replaced by a general seen as more loyal to President Fernando Lugo.

    Two days ago he also replaced the heads of the army, navy and air force, after warning of what he called “pockets of coup-plotters” in the military.

    The opposition has accused him of trying to strengthen his hold on power.

    Rear Adm Ciber Benitez was the fourth military commander to be fired in just a few days by the president, who took office in August 2008.

    He will be replaced by Gen Juan Oscar Velazquez, seen as very loyal to Mr Lugo.

    continued on the BBC News.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8347424.stm

  72. 572
  73. 573
    Enemy Combatant says:

    gaffy, the thrust of my swipe at Rudd over the fate of the 78 Sri Lankans is from a humanitariam not a procedural viewpoint, which I didn’t make clear. It certainly didn’t come from the shills of Rupe’s rag. Reckon the 78 human beings should have been brought straight to xmas Is. for processing because they stand a better chance if they are cleared as bona fide refugess here in Oz than in Indon.

    As for sending a message that’s it’s open slather for boat people fleeing brutally oppressive regimes, I’m not so sure. Since WW2 Australia has ~3,5000,000 new settlers of whom ~30,000 arrived by boat, the majority of whom were welcomed by Fraser after Vietnam. That’s less than point one percent by boat. Australia’s social fabric has been hugely enriched as a result of their making home here. Fears that new settlers are a threat to us is blown way out of proportion to the reality of Australia’s post WW2 social harmony yet a lot of Australians remain astonishingly hostile towards boat people.
    Davis Marr on Q&A this Thursday said polls show a third of us say “no boats no way”. This is Rudd’s realpolitik. He’s got to manage the “2 Minute Hate” sessions dished out by the parrot and his tabloid and online equivalents. On the same program Maxine McKew mentioned how complex this particular issue was with half a million people from Sri Lanka being displaced over the last 25 years of viscious civil war.

    So Rudd, I agree, played it straight bat according to maritime law and procedure, but my heart is out there on the high seas and in the backwaters with 78 refugees.

  74. 574
    Chris B says:

    Ever wonder what happens to an aircraft when a propeller gets too close? You can just make out the name Australia on it, eight images down. Also check out the lions a bit further down.
    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=105×8931121

  75. 575
    gaffhook says:

    573
    EC
    I am sitting in the same chair as you from all the humanitarian points and numbers of boat persons %wise etc. No worries there.

    The point from this which has to be unequivocal is that a boat/ship in a maratime rescue area should be rescued by coordination from the area to which it belongs and those rescued are to disembark at the nearest safe port in the country that is in charge of that rescue area.

    To do anything else prior to that or in lieu of that and cave to the demands of the survivors sends the wrong message. That is why Indonesia will not refuse to accept them.

    That is by example;
    Malcolm Turnbull, Joe Hockey, Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop are on an 80 meter cruiser with Rupert Murdoch, Andrew Bolt, Laurie Oaks and some other distinguished guests taking a liesurely cruise to areas of the Far East. They are not in Indonesian territorial waters but in their rescue zone when they collide with a, just under the surface, shipping container lost overboard from another ship during a typhoon.
    The speed at which they are cruising when they collide with the container causes a large gaping hole in the cruiser and the pumps can not gain on the flooding water.
    SOS goes out.
    Indonesia does not have available a suitable rescue facility so calls for assistance from any other vessels in the area.

    Only other vessel in the area is a huge bulk carrier, they do not know the nationality of those on the sinking vessel, and the Captains controlling company says , because of the problems with the last boat load of survivors that were picked up in the same area, we require you not to go to the assistance of that vessel but go direct to Singapore and load with fuel.
    At $700,000.00 per day we we can not have you sitting idle in an Indonesian port for any length of time and it will be cheaper should anything come of it to pay a fine for not picking them up. It will be much less messy. We did not get the may day because our radio was on the blink etc but we are really sorry we were unable to help.

    Result; no survivors.

    It would be good as well. :mrgreen:

    I don’t know whether that is clear but that is the unfortunate situation that these survivors may be responsible for by their actions to refuse to disembark.
    Ruddster would be quite entitled to remove them by force but I do think that he may fear some backlash because of the the noise being made here, which is more the pity.

    Those survivors must leave the ship before anything else can happen.
    They can march on to the wharf and identify themselves to the local authorities and then be allowed to march straight back on the ship, because of some agreement between UNHCR and Indo and OZ, and then be taken to Xmas Island for further processing.
    That would be fine, but they must leave the ship and go ashore first.

    Lots of clouds are hanging over the issue and now there is speculation that mr Alex is in fact a people smuggler.
    That being the case the authorities may be saying you are going nowhere until you identify who is arranging your attempted shipment to Australia.
    Who knows but it is complicated i am sure.
    I sincerely hope it all turns out positive for them.

  76. 576
    Catrina says:

    An AFP report on trouble in Honduras is bouncing around the news rooms of the world. Basically Zenya is refusing to play with the other kids unless he gets to be President.

    http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/honduras-crisis-deepens-after-collapse-of-deal-20091107-i2mk.html

    In the meantime the NYT has a piece up on it’s site with a little more of the background (and a notable bias with respect to their presumptions of what the agreement actually meant).

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/07/world/americas/07honduras.html?ref=americas

  77. 577
    Enemy Combatant says:

    “The point from this which has to be unequivocal is that a boat/ship in a maratime rescue area should be rescued by coordination from the area to which it belongs and those rescued are to disembark at the nearest safe port in the country that is in charge of that rescue area.”

    Aye, aye Cap’n. Unequivocably :)

    Gaffy, liked your tragic example of what could happen to a mogul and his very well-connected hangers-on after they copped a bit of bad luck at sea.
    Hadn’t realised that a merchant captain had to check with the vessel’s owners before assisting seafarers in life or death emergencies. Can you remember if Arne Rinnan had to get the nod from Willemsens before Tampa came about in 2001?

    Terrible thing though that *The Code of The Sea* is calibrated by commercial concerns before all else. If big ships have to change course to avoid perfect-wave weather, then perhaps the big ships could at least cruise on by and and toss people in danger of drowning some rip-inflatable floaties and a zodiac to tow themselves to the nearest land. Or perhaps the UNHCR could have their own vessels patrolling the lanes most frequently used and at least keep the poor bastards alive while following unequivocal procedures to the letter of maritime law.

    On a Samaritan Sea salted with essence of human kindness,
    the stricken would ne’er need permission to come aboard.
    On a Cruel Sea slicked with Mammon’s oil, the floating human damned are left to contemplate their transparency.

    So, gaffy, here’s me in six. :)

    First save lives; next follow procedure.

  78. 578
    gaffhook says:

    577
    EC
    I do not think it is necessary that a captain of a ship would seek permission from the owners, more the protocol would be that he has received a request to proceed to save some unlucky sods and there could be an overiding of those orders.
    It would then probably be left to the skippers discretion whether to disobey his orders.
    That is why i say that this incident is not good for the future the way it has panned out with these guys refusing to leave the ship.

    Pretty sure Arne did the right thing and i am pretty sure it was in Australias maratime rescue zone and he should never have been stopped from unloading them at Xmas.

    So in hindsight the fucken Rodent is now a crew member in the above cruise at 575.

    To my mind a real classic of expense to rescue a survivor at sea was the rescue of Mr Bullimore by the RAN.
    We had to foot the bill and i for one do not regret it as if i were in need of rescue at sea i would hope that someone did the right thing.

  79. 579
    gaffhook says:

    and i would love for him to be a chronic sea sicker.

  80. 580
    gaffhook says:

    The rodent that is.

  81. 581
    paddy says:

    576

    Basically ***Zenya*** is refusing to play with the other kids unless he gets to be President.

    You had me confused Cat. Suddenly, I thought there was another player in the mix. :-)
    But seriously, there does seem to be a surfeit of testosterone over there in Honduras.
    It’s all a bit tragic, and I fear it will end in bloody tears, if both sides can’t drag themselves back from the brink. :-(

    Where’s “Hils the heavy hitter” when you need her most?

    BTW Cat.
    I actually think *you* have a better, more nuanced grasp on this part of the world, than most of the blogosphere and certainly all of the MSN that I’ve seen.
    I’d normally slip into the left=good Vs right=bad Cant when thinking about the Americas.
    But you’ve given me plenty of “pause for thought” on numerous occasions. So thank you.

    Anyway…..Time to crack a nice bottle of Chardonnay in honour of a successful spring carnival.
    [After all, it’s not every day you back a long priced winner called IT’LLBEFANTASTIC. ] :lol:

  82. 582
    Chris B says:

    The prisoners are at it again. The world famous Filipino prisoners who presented Micheal Jacksons Thriller are back again. This time with Freddie Mercuries Queen. Do all the prisoners around the world a favour and send it on to your friends. Especially if you have any friends in the USA with a third of the worlds prison population.
    video on The Daily Beast

  83. 583
    Chris B says:

    Health bill reaches moment of truth
    By Jared Allen and Molly K. Hooper – 11/07/09 06:00 AM ET
    ===========================================

    The House healthcare bill has taken more twists and turns and has zig-zagged its way through more Democratic districts than the Mississippi River.

    And after a month’s worth of legislative wrangling and deal-making, the bill is approaching its final destination: a vote on final passage, expected sometime before the sun rises on Sunday. Pressing toward dawn on Saturday, the Rules committee passed a rule after nearly 12 hours that would set up a vote on the healthcare bill at 6 p.m.
    No Congress has ever come this close to the goal – first proposed by President Theodore Roosevelt – of providing universal health insurance.

    continued on The Hill…..
    http://thehill.com/homenews/house/66787-health-bill-reaches-moment-of-truth

  84. 584
    Chris B says:

    House Health Care Vote: Breaking Updates.
    ===============================

    Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/07/house-health-care-vote-br_n_349468.html&cp

  85. 585
    Chris B says:

    Come Saturday Morning: Tell Us What We DON’T Know, Mr. Steele.
    ==============================================

    Jonathan Martin, writing for The Politico, has a lengthy history of activism with the Republican Party in Virginia and Connecticut.

    – The Politico itself is a Republican-run outfit whose de facto news editor and story selector is apparently that famous transmitter of GOP talking points, Matt Drudge.

    – The Associated Press’ Washington bureau chief is Ron Fournier, who’s not only a good buddy of Bush advisor Karl Rove, but very nearly became John McCain’s official press secretary for McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. (To judge from his articles, he apparently settled for being McCain’s unofficial press secretary.)

    continued on Firedoglake
    I had a discussion with someone on here about the leanings of Politico, can’t remember who. It wasn’t David. The information is above.

  86. 586
    Chris B says:

    Catrina. Isn’t it time for a new thread. Titled Health Care vote?

  87. 587
    Catrina says:

    Chris B at 589
    Email me text for the post and I’ll put it together.
    TTYL (off to a BBQ)

  88. 588
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Mammononics: god’s no longer away on business

    For Blankfein, in the end, it all comes down to one thing: finding the best, fastest, and safest way to make money with money, then make some more money, with money on top. He’s not interested in a reality check, just a bumper pay cheque for his clients, for his firm, for his staff, for his shareholders and, eventually, he believes, for us. His almost religious devotion to the dogma of finance is thrown into stark relief just before I walk out of the building with no name and find myself back in the autumn sunshine. I ask him the question …….

    “Is it possible to have too much ambition? Is it possible to be too successful?” Blankfein shoots back……. I don’t want to put a cap on their ambition. It’s hard for me to argue for a cap on their compensation.”

    So, it’s business as usual, then, regardless of whether it makes most people howl at the moon with rage?
    Goldman Sachs, this pillar of the free market, breeder of super-citizens, object of envy and awe will go on raking it in, getting richer than God?
    An impish grin spreads across Blankfein’s face. Call him a fat cat who mocks the public. Call him wicked. Call him what you will.
    He is, he says, just a banker “doing God’s work”

    *Blankie, however, didn’t denominate*

    http://www.bluffton.edu/womenartists/ch6(19c)/morganmammon.jpg
    ( ‘ere, is vat a gold sack wot dangleth from Mammon’s right claw, orwot? )

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2LSSgQMc2E

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/images/Mammon.jpg

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6907681.ece
    (bloody good read this, Ticsters, an endoscope into the belly of the beast)
    ————————-
    gaffy, I recall the Elizabeth Autissiere rescue incident in The
    Bight too. I hear what you’re saying about the refugess not “playing fair” by refusing to leave the boat and register, but also contend that after what they’ve suffered for the last years, it would be hard to trust any officials or people in uniform who makes promises.

    Nice punting, paddy, be back to swap selections next spring, the god of punt willing :)

  89. 589
    Chris B says:

    7:20 PM ET — Democratic aides: We’ve got the votes. “Today we will pass the Affordable Health Care for America Act,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on the House floor Saturday evening. Politico is reporting that Democrats have at least the 218 votes needed to pass the bill. Three Democratic aides tell HuffPost the same thing.

    Kristie Greco, a spokeswoman for Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), declined to confirm the number.

    The news that Pelosi has the votes can have unpredictable effects on undecided members. Some members, seeing the bill passing, may want to pile on and get on the side of history. Others react by thinking that they can now oppose it, look tough at home, but not jeopardize passage. Toward that end, watch for a handful of no votes to dribble out from Dems over the next hour or so.

    Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/07/house-health-care-vote-br_n_349468.html&cp

  90. 590
    Chris B says:

    It will be interesting to watch the polls as the process takes place. The senate bill also has to go through. Then both bills are combined and a stamp of approval applied. With the massive media coverage, will the polls climb as the process nears completion?

  91. 591
    Chris B says:

    They could vastly improve the Afghanistan war situation.
    ===========================================

    Despite being relatively few in number, the Afghan Taliban are thriving in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as they take advantage of Islamabad’s apparent ambivalence towards them, the BBC’s Hugh Sykes reports from Kabul.

    Despite their fierce reputation, Afghans are mostly gentle, thoughtful people – deeply courteous, with warm humanity that radiates from luminous eyes.

    They are also tolerant and very patient.

    There was clear evidence of barefaced election fraud, implicitly insulting people who went out to vote believing that their ballots would count. But there has been peace on the streets.

    One man said to me this week: “This is all so crazy I’ve just stopped thinking – and most of my friends are now simply depressed.”

    And Afghanistan struggles on.

    Despite eight years of international assistance, many places in Kabul are a mess.

    continued on the BBC News.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8348796.stm

  92. 592
    Chris B says:

    On the other hand.
    =====================

    Key Pakistan Taliban town ‘falls’
    Pakistani forces have captured the strategically important town of Ladha from the Taliban in ongoing clashes in South Waziristan, officials say.

    According to the military, 28 militants and five soldiers have been killed in battles over the past 24 hours.

    The army went on the offensive in South Waziristan on 17 October to root out militants behind a wave of bombings.

    The latest fighting took place as gunmen wounded an army brigadier in a drive-by shooting in Islamabad.

    There has been no independent verification of the military’s latest reported gains as journalists are not allowed into the area except on occasional trips organised by the military.

    continued on the BBC News.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8346089.stm

  93. 593
    Chris B says:

    It is being reported in the Huffington Post and Politico that they have 225 solid vote for the health care bill.

  94. 594
    gaffhook says:

    Chris
    The healthcare house debate is live on C-span

    http://www.www.cspan.org/Watch/C-SPAN_wm.aspx

  95. 595
    Chris B says:

    Thanks gaff. Was that you who had a discussion with me about Politico and their political leanings?

  96. 596
    gaffhook says:

    595
    NO!

    I have also been sin binned.

  97. 597
    Chris B says:

    Did I miss something?

  98. 598

    gaffy, can’t find any of your comments in moderation or in the spaminator. Sin-binned?

    Chris, think it was DG with whom you had an exchange of perceceptions about Politico. I peg ‘em for centre-right for the mostpart with the occasional bone tossed in to placate armchair lefties.

  99. 599
    gaffhook says:

    See if it goes this time.
    There is a good chance Michele Bachmann will be on her ten speed next year. Two good Dem lady candidates about to line up against her.

    Michele Bachmann took her paranoid campaign against the White House to new heights on Thursday, leading a mass protest inside the Capitol itself that led to multiple arrests. Antics like these have made her one of the breakout stars of the Republican Party in the Obama era, drawing praise from Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and even George Will. But her stunts have also made what is otherwise a relatively safe Republican seat potentially vulnerable to Democratic takeover.

    Her bid for reelection to a third term is still a year away. But two credible challengers have already emerged to vie for the Democratic nomination: physician Maureen Reed and State Senator Tarryl Clark. Both are making Bachmann’s extremist rhetoric the centerpieces of their campaigns.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-11-06/bringing-down-bachmann/

  100. 600
    Chris B says:

    !!!!!!!!!! THE HOUSE PASSES HEALTH CARE REFORM !!!!!!!!!!
    House passes historic health care reform legislation. 220 members of Congress — including one Republican, Rep. Joseph Cao of Louisiana — voted in favor of health care reform, advancing the legislation by the slimmest of margins. Thirty-nine Democrats voted against the bill, along with 176 Republicans.

    Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) cast vote #218, solidifying passage. Speaker Pelosi was “near sobbing,” HuffPost’s Ryan Grim reports. Here’s the roll call of how every member voted.

    Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/&cp