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    • The politics you’ve got
      MANDOS POST Take a look at Joe Biden—he appears to have, for now at least, considerable staying power in the Democratic primary opinion polls (although, of course, this may change as the actual primaries come through). If your model of political psychology can predict a strong core of popular support for Trump without also predicting […]
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Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is a 14 year old activist living in the Swat valley of Pakistan.  Her mission is to see that girls have access to education.  She and her father have publicly defied the Taliban who have moved into the valley and now she has paid a price.

The Taliban shot her in the head and neck.  Not only that but if she lives and continues to protest, they vow to do it again because she is a “secular-minded lady”.

The NYTimes has more:

Ms. Yousafzai came to public attention in 2009 as the Pakistani Taliban swept through Swat, a picturesque valley once famed for its culture of music and tolerance and as a destination for honeymooning couples.

Her father ran one of the last schools to defy Taliban orders to end female education. As an 11-year-old, his daughter Malala — named after a mythic female figure in Pashtun culture — wrote an anonymous blog documenting her experiences for the British Broadcasting Corporation.

“I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban,” she wrote in one post titled “I Am Afraid.”

Later in 2009, the army launched a sweeping operation against the Taliban in the area, displacing many militants into neighboring districts or across the border into Afghanistan.

Ms. Yousafzai continued to grow in prominence, becoming a powerful voice for the rights of children in the conflict-affected area. In 2011, she was nominated for an International Children’s Peace Prize; later, Yousaf Raza Gilani, the prime minister at the time, awarded her Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize.

In recent months, she led a delegation of children’s rights activists, sponsored by Unicef, that made representations to provincial politicians in Peshawar.

“We found her to be very bold, and it inspired every one of us,” said another student in the group, Fatima Aziz, 15.

“She had this vision, big dreams, that she was going to come into politics and bring about change,” said Ms. Minallah, the documentary maker.

She won a national peace prize last year.  Right now, she’s in critical condition and has been transported to another hospital for treatment.  Let’s hope she pulls through so she can keep helping her friends and defy the enemies of women.

It looks like this assassination attempt, where a couple other girls were also wounded, may have just been the tipping point with the Pakistanis against the Taliban.

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Peter Galbraith Tells His Side of the Afghan Election Story

Peter W. Galbraith

Peter W. Galbraith

A couple of days ago, I predicted we would be hearing more from Peter Galbraith on his recent firing from his post as deputy special representative of the United Nations in Afghanistan, by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Today Galbraith tells his side of the story in The Washington Post. Galbraith says he was ordered not to talk to the press, but since the UN chief didn’t honor their agreement on the public announcement of his firing, Galbraith no longer feels bound by that agreement.

Peter Galbraith is the son of economist John Kenneth Galbraith, and the author of two books on the war in Iraq: The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End (2007), and Unintended Consequences: How War in Iraq Strengthened America’s Enemies (2009). In 1987, Galbraith discovered Saddam Hussein’s systematic genocide of the Kurds. In 1997, Bill Clinton appointed Galbraith U.S. Ambassador to Croatia. He worked for the UN in East Timor and has taught at the National War College. Galbraith tried to convince the Reagan administration to act by writing the “Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988”
, but the bill was never passed, and Colin Powell convinced Reagan and Bush to let the gassing of the Kurds slide.

Now Galbraith is making an impassioned plea for the U.S. to recognize the fraud that took place during the recent election in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s presidential election, held Aug. 20, should have been a milestone in the country’s transition from 30 years of war to stability and democracy. Instead, it was just the opposite. As many as 30 percent of Karzai’s votes were fraudulent, and lesser fraud was committed on behalf of other candidates. In several provinces, including Kandahar, four to 10 times as many votes were recorded as voters actually cast. The fraud has handed the Taliban its greatest strategic victory in eight years of fighting the United States and its Afghan partners. Continue reading

Saturday: Stuff

Ivan Boesky: They dont bust them like they used to

Ivan Boesky: They don't bust them like they used to

I’m going to dinner in NYC this evening so I may miss part of the “Worst Music Video Awards” ceremony.  I have made my submission in the category of Worst International Music Video.  Myiq2xu has it.  It’s very promising.  Let’s just say that the disco era was not kind to India.

In the meantime, the economic crisis continues to slouch towards Gommorah.  Bill Moyers has an interview with William Black, senior regulator during the S&L crisis of the late 80’s.  It’s worth a listen because I get a sense that when Moyer’s asks Black whether he is disillusioned with Obama after having supported him last year, he is really expressing his own disillusionment.

I am disillusioned with Moyers.  His embrace of Obama seems to have been driven by his desire to fulfill Martin Luther King’s Dream than by any real sense of what might be good for America at this time and place.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am convinced on a daily basis that Obama’s victory in November has had a profound effect on African-Americans.  It is evident in everyday interactions demonstrated by a greater openness and friendliness that just wasn’t there prior to his election.  And if anything good can come out of Obama taking credit for the decades of work by more dedicated members of the Civil Rights Movement, then I guess we can console ourselves that it has done some good to heal the rift of race relations in this country.

But Moyers succumbed to a carefully planned assault.  Some young, testosterone poisoned males were targeted by misogynistic messages that allowed them to shuffle off the thin bandage our country had put on gender relations.  Some liberals were targeted with messages about corporatism and lobbying that linked Hillary with those two no-no’s inextricably.  They got under Moyers’ skin with civil rights.  Moyers came to Washington from Texas with the LBJ crowd.  I just finished listening to The Irregulars by Jennet Conant, about the British secret propaganda unit in Washington during WWII.  She covers  a lot of history regarding the liberal Texas establishment in wartime Washington.  In short, there were a lot of liberal, New Deal type of Democrats from Texas.  These were ruthless politicians but deeply sincere about liberal causes.  Moyers is from this stock.  He was a sitting duck.  More than this, he was just about the only truly credible, liberal journalist left to us on TV.  Capturing him was a prize.

Moyers is a cautionary tale.  We all have to be on our guard about who and what we listen to and how our emotions might be leveraged.  We all have triggers.  For example, that video that we posted last night of the Pakistani girl being beaten by the Taliban invoked in me the desire to bomb the whole no-man’s land of Waziristan back to the stone age.  Wherever the Taliban is, I want to hunt every one of those bastards down and cut their balls off.  The whole Taliban region should be made into a vast smoking crater and every Taliban mullah eliminated.  See where I’m going with this?

We don’t have to become as cold and detached as Michael Dukakis, but we need to sometimes pull back and think calmly about our intentions.  Maybe we need to question our sources.  Where did that video come from and why did it suddenly surface on YouTube?  Is it genuine or staged?  After all, we were suckered into the first Gulf War by a staged presentation in front of Congress by a well connected Kuwaiti girl who claimed to have personally witnessed dozens of premature Kuwaiti infants unceremoniously dumped out of their incubators by Iraqi soldiers.  Even as I was outraged at her testimony, the back of my mind wondered how Kuwait, a tiny country, managed to have so many premature infants in one hospital.

Now, the video in question looks authentic enough but until we know the answers to where it came from, I suggest we proceed with caution.  You never know who is trying to distract or for what reason.  If we’re not careful, we might end up stepping up and prolonging a war or take our eyes off the financial crisis ball.

Or end up electing a president whose only tangible asset was that he is black.


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Obama Keeps A Promise

article-1035293-01f0dd9700000578-382_468x286The news media is all a-twitter about President Black Obama’s decision to deploy additional troops to Afghanistan, like this is something newAll accounts suggest the decision is in response to a standing request by General David McKiernan, but, it seems more likely to be a campaign promise fulfilled.  In his own words, here’s what he said in the New York Times in July:

As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan. We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there. I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq.

In January of 2008, the video below was posted on You Tube, and, though he has been accused of blowing off Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on the subject, going after Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan is probably the one thing Barack Obama has been consistent about since Day One.

X-posted at Cinie’s World