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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 07/24/2011 - 07/31/2011
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Friday, July 29, 2011

So, I'm a Republican...?

because of my deep disillusionment with obama and the democratic party, my oldest and bestest friend in the world is accusing me of "going republican"...
Please stop sounding more Republican all the time!

it is to laugh...

here's the response i sent off a couple of hours ago...

got nothin' to do with "republican," my friend... i'm just wising up to the fact that there's no daylight between dems and repubs... our 2-party system is completely bogus... i consider myself a liberal but i can no longer in good conscience call myself a democrat (and would certainly never dream of calling myself a republican)...

i'm for a return to the notion that the country was supposedly founded on - the common good - a notion that seems to have completely disappeared in the national discourse... both dems and repubs are completely in thrall - and have been for years - to our military-government-corporate revolving-door system, the profiteering of endless war, the fear-mongering industry, and the politics of global hegemony, and are cravenly beholden to the super-rich elites who pull the strings behind the scenes... obama, geithner, bernanke, boehner, reid, mcconnell et al. are all bought-and-paid-for tools and whether they're repubs or dems is a distinction without a difference... the notion that any elected official in this country is even remotely accountable to the so-called constituency that elected them is pure crap... the ones who shoveled the most money to get them elected are their only real constituency... for obama, that's wall street, period... the koch bros, rupert, lloyd blankfein, jamie dimon, and their ilk, hold all the cards and won't rest until they have vacuumed up every last scrap of global money and power... then they will ensconce themselves in their guarded, gated, well-provisioned communities while the rest of us grovel outside for a crust of bread...

the current "debt crisis" is nothing more than the usual kabuki theater, entertainment for the masses, manufactured to erase any remaining vestiges of a social contract and all traces of the "new deal," something our super-rich elites have been having wet dreams over since the days of fdr... the stage is being set for what's currently happening in greece - and will soon hit italy, spain, portugal and ireland - namely the wholesale divestiture of public assets into private, super-rich elite hands... it's the final chapter in the greatest money and power transfer the world has ever seen... if the u.s. moves into default, it will happen quickly... if the default is averted, it will just take a bit longer... either way, the outcome is assured...

maybe obama is being held hostage or maybe he's only following his own natural inclinations... no matter... i voted for him out of a belief that there was some hope... sadly, i was blinded by my own desperate desire to see meaningful change and a return to things that mattered... now, however, even obama's own most trusted former colleague and mentor, cornel west, has abandoned him... i'm not defending cornel west or his world view, but i do find it telling that a very liberal, very intelligent, highly respected black colleague of obama's has jumped ship...

speaking for myself, i believe that any president who can stand behind a policy calling for the extra-judicial assassination of anyone, including american citizens, is morally bankrupt and in direct violation of both international law and the united states constitution...

with all that said, i would be deliriously happy to be proven wrong...

happy to be wrong... definitely...

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Electroshock torture, lethal beatings and humiliation at Guantánamo

first-person testimony on guantánamo torture...

from russia today...

German Guantanamo detainee Murat Kurnaz has publicly spoken about being subjected to electroshock torture, lethal beatings and humiliation during his years of unlawful detention.

In an exclusive interview with Russia Today news network on Monday, the former detainee said he was held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp for five years before being released without charges.

Kurnaz went on to say that Americans have not apologized for his years of torment at the notorious detainment facility, and he doesn't think they would ever do so.

He further explained that he was arrested in Pakistan in 2001, and turned to the Americans after he had visited a school run by Tablighi Jamaat -- a religious movement hated by the al-Qaeda and the Taliban for its non-political stature -- in the Asian country.

Kurnaz had earlier become familiar with Pakistan-based Tablighi Jamaat movement through its assistance to homeless people and youth, who had problems with drugs.

He added that when he got booked, Pakistani forces didn't tell him anything about what was going on.

"They didn't tell me that they were looking for terrorists or whatever. They said we're just going to check your passport. I didn't know at that time they get a bounty of $3,000 for each person. Not under my name, but for anyone turned over to the Americans as terrorist they get $3,000, and $3,000 in Pakistan is a lot of money," Kurnaz said.

He noted that after being transferred to Kandahar in Afghanistan, he witnessed all kinds of things that one can imagine as torture.

"I saw many killed under torture. I was one of those who survived those kinds of torture. They used electroshocks on me because I would not sign papers."

"I was forced to agree I was a member of the Taliban and the al-Qaeda and I said I'm not. Really I didn't know at that time what al-Qaeda was, I didn't know [anything] about al-Qaeda. So when they asked me about al-Qaeda and Taliban, I said I'm not a member of them. And they brought me papers, forced me to sign. I refused," the former Gitmo prisoner said.

"That's why they tried to make me sign by electroshocks. And another time they forced me by water boarding. Another time they hanged me on chains. I was hanging on the ceiling. They were pulling me on the ceiling with the chain, and until my feet were over the floor. After a few days I started to pass out, because in that situation I couldn't eat or drink and it was freezing cold. It was wintertime and I had no clothes on," he added.

Kurnaz said Guantanamo detainees were chained hand to foot in a fatal position on the floor with no chair, food, or water for 24 hours or more.

He also said that the youngest Gitmo prisoner was nine years old, and the second underage detainee in Guantanamo was 12.

Upon taking office, US President Barack Obama signed an executive order to stop military commissions in order to close down the facility by 2010. However, this has not happened yet.

accountability...? fughedaboudit...

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Monday, July 25, 2011

A truly uplifting experience - in AFGHANISTAN...!

i simply must share one of the most amazing, uplifting experiences of my professional career...

the number two senior manager in the very large afghanistan government organization in which i'm working came and sat down with our team this afternoon and proceeded to - very nicely, but most sincerely - lecture us on his views of leadership...

what he had to say was perhaps the most right-on profession of enlightened leadership principles i've ever heard from a person at his level... my jaw was literally on the floor as he went on for nearly a half hour... i ended up telling him that i had spent the vast majority of my career trying to get other senior managers i've worked with to subscribe to those principles and found that i was usually wasting my breath...

i simply never would have believed that i would hear such an intuitive, principled view of leadership so grandly articulated by any senior manager ANYWHERE, much less in AFGHANISTAN... who woulda thunk it...?

it's been a good day...!

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Obama isn't "caving" to corporate interests, he is in full support of corporate interests

a call for 2012 primary opposition to obama...

The sad truth, as shown by Glenn Greenwald, is that Obama had arrived at the White House looking to make cuts in benefits to the elderly. Two weeks before his inauguration, Obama echoed conservative scares about Social Security and Medicare by talking of “red ink as far as the eye can see.” He opened his doors to Social Security/Medicare cutters -- first trying to get Republican Senator Judd Gregg (“a leading voice for reining in entitlement spending,” wrote Politico) into his cabinet, and later appointing entitlement-foe Alan Simpson to co-chair his “Deficit Commission.” Obama’s top economic advisor, Larry Summers, came to the White House publicly telling Time magazine of needed Social Security cuts.

At this late date, informed activists and voters who care about economic justice realize that President Obama is NOT “on our side.”


Imagine if a credible candidate immediately threatened a primary challenge unless Obama rejects any deal cutting the safety net while maintaining tax breaks for the rich. Team Obama knows that a serious primary challenger would cost the Obama campaign millions of dollars. And it may well be a powerful movement-building opportunity for activists tired of feeling hopeless with Obama.

It’s time for progressives to talk seriously about a challenge to Obama’s corporatism. Polls show most Americans support economic justice issues, and that goes double for Democratic primary voters.

ya know, i'm sorely tempted to believe that mounting a primary challenge to obama might just be a good idea but then i stop and remember just how seriously i've been bamboozled by our totally bogus two-party system in the past and my enthusiasm wilts like a you-know-what once the viagra wears off...

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The behavior of the United States violates everything that she and her colleagues were being taught the United States stands for

an excellent report of an interview of afghan women judges conducted by david swanson for truthout...
The first judge to reply spoke of the horrors of the Taliban, and of the initial gratitude for the U.S. overthrow of the Taliban 10 years ago. But, she said, the mission changed to one of fighting terrorism, and through that "we lost all of our civil rights." She described U.S. troops kicking in doors of houses at night with women and girls asleep in their beds. She described disappearances and accounts of torture. What the United States and NATO are doing, seizing people, locking them up, disappearing them, and torturing them is clearly illegal and against international law, she said. According to international treaties, she went on, when one country occupies another, the host country does not lose its sovereignty, and yet all decisions are now being made by the occupying country without any say by the Afghan government.

A second judge spoke up. "Your Constitution speaks of freedom and a people's government," she said, "but the United States is running secret prisons, torturing, disappearing people, and locking people up for years with no due process." The behavior of the United States, she said, violates everything that she and her colleagues were being taught the United States stands for. "It may seem trivial," she continued, "but it effects our daily lives." If a member of the international occupying forces gets into a hit and run with their car, and you go to the base to complain, you are threatened. They have total immunity from any rule of law, she explained.


The first judge to have spoken then joined back in, remarking that "the United States tells other countries how to be democratic and operate within a rule of law, but the United States as role model breaks every one of those things."

as i sit here in kabul behind my laptop, i can give first-hand validation to every one of the perspectives expressed in this article... the depth and breadth of american hypocrisy is beyond belief and it is one of my most significant daily challenges to keep myself from absolutely drowning in it and staying focused on relating to the afghans as fellow human beings and assisting them in whatever ways i can...

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