Tuesday, October 27, 2009

US to pay Taliban to switch sides

How is this any different than the CIA paying Afghan officials to help our side? The NY Times might want to answer this question.

in reference to:

"The US military in Afghanistan is to be allowed to pay Taliban fighters who renounce violence against the government in Kabul.The move is included in a defence bill which President Obama is set to sign. Such payments have already been widely used by US commanders in Iraq, but it is the first time the system is being formally adopted in Afghanistan."
- BBC NEWS | South Asia | US to pay Taliban to switch sides (view on Google Sidewiki)

"A Drop in the Wrong Bucket"

More government buying votes with our money. And then sticking us with the bill.

in reference to:

"If you wanted to help the economy and you had $14 billion to bestow on any group of people, which group would you choose:

a) Teenagers and young adults, who have an 18 percent unemployment rate.b) All the middle-age long-term jobless who, for various reasons, are not eligible for unemployment benefits.c) The taxpayers of the future (by using the $14 billion to pay down the deficit).d) The group that has survived the Great Recession probably better than any other, with stronger income growth, fewer job cuts and little loss of health insurance. The Obama administration has chosen option d — people in their 60s and beyond. The president has proposed sending a $250 check to every Social Security recipient, which sounds pretty good at first. The checks would be part of his admirable efforts to stimulate the economy, and older Americans are clearly a sympathetic group. Next year, they are scheduled to receive no cost-of-living increase in their Social Security benefits.Yet that is largely because they received an artificially high 5.8 percent increase this year. For this reason and others, economists are generally recoiling at the proposal.President Obama’s own economic advisers raised objections, as my colleague Jackie Calmes has reported. Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution told me she thought the idea was crazy — and then noted she was in her 70s. Rosanne Altshuler, co-director of the Tax Policy Center in Washington, says that the checks “seem to be pure pandering to seniors.” Indeed, the politics are attractive. People over 65 vote in large numbers. Saying no to them is never easy."
- Economic Scene - $250 Checks for Social Security Recipients Overlook Reality - NYTimes.com (view on Google Sidewiki)

Report: Afghan President's Brother Is on CIA Payroll

This is an unpatriotic act by the NY Times. The only people who will benefit from this information coming out, is the Taliban. Why is it necessary for the world to know that CIA has some Afghan officials on the payroll? Doesn't this endanger the lives of Afghans cooperating with the CIA. What's wrong with the CIA having foreign government officials working for them. Isn't that part of the intelligence gathering process? Didn't we have Soviet citizens working for the CIA during the cold war? We are at war in Afghanistan. This report by the Times is a betrayal our country.

in reference to:

"The brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who faces a runoff election next week, is on the payroll of the CIA, the
New York Times reports, citing unnamed current and former American officials.The Times reports that Ahmed Wali Karzai
has provided a variety of services for the CIA for the past eight years, including finding recruits for Afghan paramilitary
forces that operate under the direction of the CIA.A CIA spokesman wouldn't confirm the allegations for the Times'
story.Such a relationship between Karzai's brother and the CIA could be a problem for the already complicated relationship
between the United States and Afghanistan's sitting president -- particularly as Karzai fights off the perception among some
in his country that he is a puppet of the Americans, as well as allegations that he is benefiting from the country's opium
trade."If we are going to conduct a population-centric strategy in Afghanistan, and we are perceived as backing thugs,
then we are just undermining ourselves," Maj. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the senior American military intelligence official in
Afghanistan told the Times."
- Report: Afghan President's Brother Is on CIA Payroll - Political News - FOXNews.com (view on Google Sidewiki)

Long Lines, Low Supplies Plague Swine Flu Vaccine

Are we seeing the government butcher another crisis...or create one? At the very least they are making it worse. We'll have to wait and see how bad it's going to get, if at all.

in reference to:

"A crowd of anxious and patient people began lining up at 9 a.m. today in Chicago outside a school gymnasium. It started small, but soon grew into a group of hundreds all waiting for one thing -- the H1N1 vaccine.

For six long hours they packed the hallways, spilling over into the gym. The vaccinations weren't scheduled to begin until 3 p.m.

Jennifer Viverito has been hunting for the H1N1 vaccine for herself and her 2-year-old son."
- Swine Flu Vaccine Lines Last for Hours - ABC News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Afghanistan haunted by ghost of Vietnam

The lessons have not been learned. And Obama is repeating the same mistake.

in reference to:

"While President Obama's war council deliberates its strategy toward Afghanistan, the ghost of Vietnam is often invoked as a warning. Afghanistan, U.S. and coalition forces have been fighting in Afghanistan for eight years and until recently the war had been overshadowed by the one in Iraq. In March, Afghanistan will become America's longest war, surpassing the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War, which cost 58,000 American lives, is the one most often invoked when U.S. troops are committed overseas."
- Afghanistan haunted by ghost of Vietnam - CNN.com (view on Google Sidewiki)

Amnesty: Israel withholds water from Palestinians

How does this solve the problem? How do bring about peace, which is what we need in that region. All this does is create more hatred. Thus more violence. And you won't hear much criticism from the politicians and press in the States. It should be our business because the U.S. is blamed every time the Israelis engage in this type of behavior.

in reference to:

"Amnesty International is accusing Israel of pumping disproportionate amounts of drinking water from an aquifer it controls in the West Bank, depriving local Palestinians of their fair share. The London-based human rights group also said in a report released Tuesday, that Israel has blocked infrastructure projects that would improve existing water supplies to Palestinians—both in the West Bank and those living in the Gaza Strip."
- Amnesty: Israel withholds water from Palestinians (view on Google Sidewiki)

GOP turns to self-funding candidates

That's what we need, more wealthy people in Congress.

in reference to:

"House Republicans are increasingly turning to wealthy candidates able to finance their own campaigns — a plan that has both risks and rewards. It could pay dividends: The less time a candidate has to spend on the phone asking for money, the more time he or she can spend asking for votes, attending events and bolstering visibility."
- GOP turns to self-funding candidates - TheHill.com (view on Google Sidewiki)

Recession's End Won't Stop Job Loss Pain

Maybe more of that bailout money should have been used to stimulate job creation.

in reference to:

"It's about to become official: The recession is over - but not the pain.

The government will release figures this week expected to show that the economy has awakened from its deepest slump since the 1930s and is in the early stages of a recovery. But the following week, the government will issue another set of figures expected to show unemployment continuing to rise toward and possibly above a clearly recessionary 10 percent."
- Recession's End Won't Stop Job Loss Pain - CBS News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Report: FBI not reviewing all of its evidence

Not very reassuring.

in reference to:

"An inspector general has found the FBI is still not reviewing reams of evidence collected in counterterrorism cases, and still needs more translators. Glenn Fine, the Justice Department's inspector general, issued a report Monday finding flaws in the FBI's translation and evidence review efforts. The bureau says the inspector general overstates the problem by double-counting recordings. The inspector general says since 2003, the FBI has not reviewed about 47,000 hours of audio files in counterterrorism cases—the equivalent of a single recording running for five and a half years straight. The bureau says the real backlog is only about a tenth of that, or 4,770 hours. The report says there are more than a million hours of audio still needing review in counterintelligence cases."
- Report: FBI not reviewing all of its evidence (view on Google Sidewiki)

Massacre, rapes at rally in Guinea premeditated

And whose to stop it? Where is the outrage? Who will be punished? What will be done? No answer coming.

in reference to:

"A U.S.-based human rights group says the Sept. 28 massacre by Guinean troops of at least 150 people and the rapes of dozens of women at a pro-democracy rally in Guinea were premeditated — and that rapes of kidnapped women continued for days."
- Newsvine - Massacre, rapes at rally in Guinea premeditated (view on Google Sidewiki)

Experts: Tigers fast dying out despite campaigns

Are we headed the same way? There is no indication that Humans are doing a good job in protecting the environment. This can only spell doom for this planet.

in reference to:

"The world's tiger population is declining fast despite efforts to save them, and new strategies are urgently needed to keep the species from dying out, international wildlife experts said Tuesday.
"We are assembled here to save tigers that are at the verge of extinction," Nepal's secretary of forest and soil conservation, Yuvaraj Bhusal, told a conference of tiger experts from 20 countries, including the 13 where wild tigers are still found.
An estimated 3,500 to 4,000 tigers now roam the world's forests, down from the more than 100,000 estimated at the beginning of the 20th century. All the remaining tigers are in Asia."
- Experts: Tigers fast dying out despite campaigns - Yahoo! News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Statisticians Reject Global Cooling Idea

The naysayers keep trying to disprove global warming. It's like saying the Earth doesn't circle the Sun. They have to play with the numbers to prove their point.

in reference to:

"In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time.
"If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a micro-trend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect," said John Grego, a professor of statistics at the University of South Carolina.
Yet the idea that things are cooling has been repeated in opinion columns, a BBC news story posted on the Drudge Report and in a new book by the authors of the best-seller "Freakonomics." Last week, a poll by the Pew Research Center found that only 57 percent of Americans now believe there is strong scientific evidence for global warming, down from 77 percent in 2006.
Global warming skeptics base their claims on an unusually hot year in 1998. Since then, they say, temperatures have dropped — thus, a cooling trend. But it's not that simple.
Since 1998, temperatures have dipped, soared, fallen again and are now rising once more. Records kept by the British meteorological office and satellite data used by climate skeptics still show 1998 as the hottest year. However, data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA show 2005 has topped 1998. Published peer-reviewed scientific research generally cites temperatures measured by ground sensors, which are from NOAA, NASA and the British, more than the satellite data.
The recent Internet chatter about cooling led NOAA's climate data center to re-examine its temperature data. It found no cooling trend."
- Statisticians Reject Global Cooling Idea (view on Google Sidewiki)