Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February 24 2010 Travus T. Hipp Morning News & Commentary: It's Not About Health Care Reform It's About 'Can Obama Overcome Republican Obstructionism'

"All The News You Never Knew You Needed To Know ...Until Now."

Cabale News ServiceFebruary 24 2010 Travus T. Hipp Morning News & Commentary: The Bottom Line - It's Not REALLY About Health Care Reform, It's About 'Can Obama Overcome Republican Obstructionism And Accomplish Anything?'

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In The News:
Running out of volunteers. Secretary of Defense Gates is calling for a reorganization of NATO even as the fighting continues in Afghanistan with new intensity and a number of Afghani Senators get fed up as their constituent civilians die in the ongoing NATO attacks and drone strikes... They're calling for the death penalty for anyone who kill a civilian Afghani national... "An eye for an eye." Juan Cole:
Pajhwok News Agency reports that on Tuesday, the Afghanistan senate deplored the foreign airstrikes that killed 21 innocent civilians in the province of Daikundi on Sunday, and demanded that NATO avoid any repetition of this sort of error.

But some senators went farther, demanding that NATO or US military men responsible for the deaths be executed. Senator Hamidullah Tokhi of Uuzgan complained to Pajhwok that the foreign forces had killed civilians in such incidents time and again, and kept apologizing but then repeating the fatal mistake: "Anyone killing an ordinary Afghan should be executed in public."
Maulvi Abdul Wali Raji, a senator from Baghlan Province, called for the Muslim law of an 'eye for an eye' to be applied to foreign troops for civilian deaths... ...Note that those speaking this way are not Taliban, but rather elected members of the Afghanistan National Parliament, whose government is supposedly a close US ally. [In Full]
Also, from that same article by Juan Cole... Only the finest!
As for those nearly 100,000 trained Afghan troops that Washington keeps boasting about, it turns out that the Pentagon sub-sub-contracted the troop training and "a Blackwater subsidiary hired violent drug users to help train the Afghan army." Many journalists doubt that there are actually so many troops in the Afghanistan National Army, citing high turnover and desertion rates, while others suggest that two weeks of 'show and tell' training for illiterate recruits is not exactly a rigorous 'training'-- even if it were done properly, which it seems not always to have been.

A truce has been reached(al Jazeera) between Sudan and two of the three rebel groups in breakaway Darfur. Whether the Sudanese Liberation Army, who have not agreed, will sabotage it, remains to be seen. More from VOA

More Afghanistan. Fifteen hours ago the governor of Kandahar province Afghanistan (Kandahar being the next target on NATO's "Hit List" after NATO 'builds it's confidence' attempting to hold ground with 15,000 troops against what was estimated to be 400 insurgents in Helmand/Marja) said '...he is already preparing to roll out government services in areas that are cleared of insurgents.'...but his "information and culture" department chief won't be around to help... he has been assassinated by a couple of motorcycle mounted insurgents.

Which brings us to... Waziristan, where, in a village, two people were found execute with notes attached to them indicting they were killed because they were informing US forces in the targeting of drone strikes. If it WAS true, they won't be doing that anymore.

Spain is about to take the first of five Guantanamo detainees... A Palestinian. There are still approximately 100 Yemenis awaiting relocation... and despite the fact that they've apparently done nothing, their lives are still at risk until they are moved to some non-murderous, non-concentration camp, facility. Case-in-point from Bill Fisher:
The deaths of the three men at Guantanamo were the subject of a jaw-dropping article in Harper’s Magazine by Scott Horton, an attorney who has written extensively on US detention policy and practice. Horton wrote, “The official story of the prisoners’ deaths was full of unacknowledged contradictions, and the centerpiece of the report -- a reconstruction of the events -- was simply unbelievable.”

None of these men had any links to terrorism and two of them had already been cleared for release.

Horton went on to explain that, “According to Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) documents, each prisoner had fashioned a noose from torn sheets and T-shirts and tied it to the top of his cell’s eight-foot-high steel-mesh wall. Each prisoner was able somehow to bind his own hands, and, in at least one case, his own feet, then stuff more rags deep down into his own throat. We are then asked to believe that each prisoner, even as he was choking on those rags, climbed up on his washbasin, slipped his head through the noose, tightened it, and leapt from the washbasin to hang until he asphyxiated. The NCIS report also proposes that the three prisoners, who were held in non-adjoining cells, carried out each of these actions almost simultaneously.” [In Full]

The $15 billion dollar "Job Bill" may pass a Senate vote today (It has) despite continuing Republican objections... Perhaps there will be some pressure applied to certain Republicans by their respective state governors, who in their annual conference, have begging for job creation funds from the federal government.

In other news...

A bill has been broached in congress that would ban security contractors from war zones.
Two congressional lawmakers have announced legislation that would effectively remove military contractors from war zones.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the "Stop Outsourcing Security Act" on Tuesday. If passed, the act would force the United States to phase out its controversial use of private security contractors in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The legislation would restore the responsibility of the American military to train troops and police, guard convoys, repair weapons, administer military prisons, and perform military intelligence," the lawmakers' offices said.

"The bill also would require that all diplomatic security be undertaken by US government personnel," they added.

While the bill is likely to meet stiff opposition from the Pentagon and the defense industry, it's certain to be well received among progressives and peace activists, who have watched with alarm as the use of private contractors in war zones has skyrocketed in recent years.

Last month, a report (PDF) from the Congressional Research Service found that one-fifth of the US armed forces in Iraq consists of private contractors, while in Afghanistan that number reached one-third by September of 2009.

The report found that there were some 22,000 "armed private security contractors" in the two war zones, and that the number in Afghanistan is likely to keep growing. [In Full]
IMHO, it will NEVER pass, but it's nice to know someone is trying.

But IF it DOES pass, can anyone feel a 'draft'?

(and what WILL these thugs do for a living? Bouncer at bars and security @ 7-11)

A Federal Bureau of Investigations and US Attorney probe follows up a lawsuit filed by parents of students who were given APPLE computers by their Pennsylvania school district, which had rigged the built in webcams to be able to spy on the students at home
In Pennsylvania, audio footage has surfaced of a computer technician discussing the software used by a suburban Philadelphia school district to switch on laptop computer cameras inside students’ homes. The Lower Merion School District issued Apple laptops with webcams to all 2,300 students at its two high schools, but students were never informed the school had the ability to remotely activate the laptop cameras. School officials say the cameras were only remotely activated to find missing or stolen laptops. In an audio recording apparently intended for other software technicians, school district employee Mike Perbix discusses how the technology works.

Mike Perbix: “As soon as the computer gets put on a network outside your home network, the heartbeat tries to come into your existing LandRev server. And once it establishes that connection, it gets told, hey, computer tracking is turned on. And then that computer will start sending back, at regular intervals, will start sending back screen shots. And if you have a built-in iSight camera, it will start sending in camera shots.”

Perbix went on to praise the software’s use in monitoring students.

Mike Perbix: “It’s an excellent feature. Yes, we have used it, and yes, it has gleaned some results for us. [In Full]

...and a correction. Yesterday it was reported by Reuters, and recounted in this news synopsis, that the death toll of US troops in Afghanistan had reached 1,000... courtesy of DemocracyNow!:"Several media outlets reported a US death toll in Afghanistan of 1,000 based on figures from the website But the website’s tally includes fatalities from US military operations outside Afghanistan. According to iCasualties, the US death toll in Afghanistan is actually at around 926."

Quote of the day: “President Obama, the former constitutional law professor, is actively defending in court every hideous atrocity that the Bush administration inflicted upon the Bill of Rights, civil rights, civil liberties, human rights, international law, and the United States Constitution with the acquiescence and/or approval by Congress.” --Professor Francis A. Boyle, University of Illinois law school


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