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Links With Your Coffee - Sunday


  • 9 U.S. Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan, Official Says -

    Why is it again that we are in Afghanistan? Bin Laden is in Pakistan. It appears to me that we are fighting a civil war, Karzai and his crowd against the Taliban

  • McCain on equal pay - Fact Checker
    John McCain claimed today that he is determined to ensure "equal pay for equal work." But women's groups were quick to point out that the presumptive Republican nominee has announced his opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which seeks to do exactly that. The Arizona senator believes that the measure would "only serve to fatten the pockets of trial lawyers."

    Let me see if I have this right. You have a right to equal pay for equal work, but if you need an attorney to try to enforce your rights, that's not okay

  • Stephen Payne: a hotshot lobbyist who can get you into White House - Times Online
    A lobbyist offered access to Dick Cheney and other US leaders in return for a donation to the Bush library

  • George Saunders on Realist fiction | News | Books
    Last night, in a biker bar, I overheard two men discussing what distinguished "realist" fiction from more "experimental" work. Although one shouldn't generalise, I never expect bikers to be literary critics. Well, these were literary critics, and good ones - in fact, they'd bought their "hogs" with royalties from a book they'd co-written, Feminine Desire In Jane Austen: Them Ho's Lived To Get Freaking Hitched.

    After some verbal "sparring", during which they tested my "street cred" by "throwing me out of a window" then "torturing" me with cigarettes while asking questions about F Scott Fitzgerald's vision of the fallen American utopia, I explicated my theory of realism to Duke and StudAss the Gonzo Lithuanian.

  • George Saunders on experimental story | From the Guardian | The Guardian
    Experimental fiction is the art of telling a story in which certain aspects of reality have been exaggerated or distorted in such a way as to put the reader off the story and make him go watch a television show. Another aspect of the experimental story is the innovative use of language. Here is an example of non-innovative use of language: "As Bill arrived at the store to buy milk, it started to rain." What a snore! Anyone can write that! That is not innovative. That does not open our eyes to the hypocrisy of our society. Try this: "Went buy to arrived as he rain started it Bill Bill Bill the milk, Bill the milk!" Or, in the tradition of Kafka, the writer might turn Bill into a giant bug, who can't buy milk because he can't reach the counter, and when Bill gets home his wife has also turned into a bug who, with her tentacles, signals, "Hey Bill, where's the milk?" That's when Bill realises all meaning is subjective and sprays his wife with a can of insecticide that he happened to buy at the store, because that store keeps the insecticide on the floor.

    Incidentally, the way they execute bugs? Murdering bugs like Bill, who used to be human? A big foot comes crashing down.

  • Sticking A Wrench In The Gearbox - Politics on The Huffington Post

  • Literature meets activism: Barbara Ehrenriech | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times

  • YouTube - Dan Dennett: Ants, terrorism, and the awesome power of meme

    I've linked to this before, but for those of you who missed it the first time, remember there are no third chances.



John McCain claimed today that he is determined to ensure "equal pay for equal work." But women's groups were quick to point out that the presumptive Republican nominee has announced his opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which seeks to do exactly that.

I really hate this type of politics. Someone introduces the "Goodness and Prosperity For America" bill and if you don't vote for it, they claim that you are against goodness and prosperity for America!!!

why do you hate America?

about the 9 soldiers in afghanistan- the article states this was the most deadly attack on americans in 3 years! not to minimize the deaths of these 9 soldiers, but that sounds like a pretty low intensity conflict. it also states that23,000 people have been killed this year alone, MOSTLY "insurgents". damn, forgive me for saying so, and not to condone war god forbid etc. etc., but it sounds like you guys are kicking ASS over there.

of course, im sure there are lots of other facts and stats that paint a bleaker picture...

and norm, bin laden isn't in pakistan. i saw him on a tel aviv beach with elvis and don cornelius just last weekend.

jonathan .. the purpose of the guys being over there is to establish peace and to protect the common Afghans people from getting killed by the Afghan warlords and Taliban/AlQaeda/Packistan invaders.

23,000 people killed this year means that the mission is failing.

you mean, they're supposed to "establish peace" and protect common afghanis from armed "warlords" and "invaders" without killing people? that's a neat trick.

i admit i'm not that clear on what the mission is, i guess i'll just take your word for it.

i guess "kicking ass" isn't it, though. too bad for them, since that's what armies are trained to do.

Huffington Post - I note that the Denver Group's Goal is quoted as "to insure substantive and legitimate selection of the nominee." In my book the verb "insure" means (among other things) "to protect against".

Maybe they meant "ensure" - "to make certain that"

Or maybe not.....

Why is it that the Stephen Payne story seems to have gotten so little attention, even in the so-called liberal blogosphere? It seems to me that soliciting bribes in exchange for face-time with high ranking executive branch cabinet members (and potentially action by those members) is right up there with shredding the Constitution in terms of urgency. Am I just off-base here? I understand why every Bush scandal can't possibly be hyped because there are too many, but this one in particular seems like it deserves more than just cataloging.

just to add to the McCain flip flops and the equal pay maybe maybe not fodder:

Am I just off-base here? I understand why every Bush scandal can't possibly be hyped because there are too many, but this one in particular seems like it deserves more than just cataloging.

Let's face it - the rule of law is kaput. The Democrats:

(1) took impeachment off the table,

(2) participated in the immunization of lawbreaking telecoms and the highest officials of the Bush administration in so doing,

(3) refuse to do anything about violations of international and American law concerning torture,

(4) participated in the gutting of habeas corpus,

(5) have so far done nothing to Rove for refusing to testify to Congress (an "executive privilege" excuse having been offered in a matter totally unrelated to national security),

(6, ... 369) etc....

What's a little bribery?

jonathan becker: "i guess "kicking ass" isn't it, though. too bad for them, since that's what armies are trained to do." If the 23,000 people that were killed so far this year were all members of the re-surgent Taliban, then I'd agree with you, at least that the war there was going well enough.

If the Army were the ones doing the most of the killing of the Taliban, and this were not simply the emergence of a civil war in Afghanistan between waring factions, then I'd also agree with you that the Army was kicking ass, but I don't think that's the case either.

I totally agree on the Stephen Payne story. Caught on video! What more could the media want?

If the 23,000 people that were killed so far this year were all members of the re-surgent Taliban, then I'd agree with you, at least that the war there was going well enough

i don't understand why you would agree, since whoever was being killed would be a result of civil war, as you said, and not the actions of the "coalition". unless the army's job is actually to provoke civil war...but i understood what you said to mean their job is to stop it and "establish peace". what the hell is their "mission" anyway? i'm not entirely ignorant of the various theories, but i admit to having no real understanding. i mean, i know people who think their real mission is to protect heroin supply routes. go figure... anyway, thanks for being so gentle in your attempt to straighten me out. and i hope no one else gets killed over...whatever they're trying to do over there.

i went back to the article again, to make sure i wasn't just being retarded (it happens) but no, my question is really the same as norms: what is america doing over there, anyway? it seems from the article (and a few more i googled) that the soldiers main job is to be a target for "insurgents". i hope the (volunteer)soldiers are being paid well. whatever is really going on, im sure somebody is.

there used to be a lot of really bright people posting on this blog. could somebody clarify for me please, who is getting rich off this particular conflict, or how it fits into the wider middle east conflict so that somebody is making out like a bandit? because somebody must be, that much i've learned about war in my 44 years on this fucked up planet.

yah, well thanks a lot for nuffin, ya bums :)

found this on youtube while looking for somthing else:

looks like i was right. the main job of american soldiers in afghanistan seems to be waiting and preparing to be attacked by taliban from, as norm hinted, over the pakistan border. and i just heard on the news that obama wants to send a couple more divisions (or whichever size army unit he was talking about, i forget) over there.

you guys take care now.

Jonathan: 4 words:

Caspian Sea Oil Reserves.

Estimated to be 4 trillion Dollars worth of oil landlocked in the Caspian Sea basin between Russia, Iran and former Soviet republics.

Afghanistan is strategically located near the Caspian Sea. In 1994, the U.S. State Department and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency sought to install a stable regime in Afghanistan to enhance the prospects for Western oil pipelines. They financed, armed and trained the Taliban in its civil war against the Northern Alliance.

thanks for the link riley. made me think of the "i drink your milkshake!" scene from "there will be blood".

Looks like we may be attacking Pakistan even before Barak becomes president. I hope everyone advocating such a move understands Pakistan has nuclear weapons and they're not cool with it.


holy freakin' shit. thanks for the link, syngas. why is no one talking about this? it's looking like the real purpose of the u.s. troops in afghanistan is to provide a base with supply lines from which to attack packistan, the us's erstwhile allies. meanwhile,u.s. presence in iraq makes a convenient springboard from which to attack iran. it looks like somebodies being set up to get whacked.

and i sit here in israel, another of americas "dirt aircraft carriers" with its own independant motivations to attack iran. here, we've been preoccupied with one of the most insane prisoner exchange deals in history, probably. there are many lessons to be drawn from this sad situation and it's too painful for me right now to go into in depth or detail. but one lesson i will offer the good readers of 1gm: the nature of our enemies. by "our", i mean that both the u.s. and europe, along with israel consider, to varying degrees hamas, hizbullah, the iraqi "insurgents" and the taliban to be part of a more or less unified front of islamic fundamentalists who seek, at the very least, revenge for perceived abuses (like "defiling" muslim lands) if not our complete destruction.

i've been holding this rant in all day, so i beg your patience and forgiveness.

everybody knows the "rules" of kidnapping, right? you grab the unlucky target, get ahold of whoever cares the most, or can offer you the most (usually the same people) and tell them "look, we've got your boy/s girl/s. they're still healthy and more or less in one piece and if you want to get them back in that condition you will do/pay xyz." that's how it's done. even farc, the columbian marxist/drug lords with many interesting parallels to the palestinian groups play it like this. only hizbullah does this sick thing where they negotiate without providing any information whatsoever about the condition of the hostages. it's pure cruelty, it has no strategic value whatsoever, it doesn't help them in the negotiations whatsoever. all it does is to torture the families and friends of the hostages, in this case for two years. we didn't know for sure they were dead until this morning when we got the bodies. what sort of sick people would do this?

also: two words: samir kuntar. this subhuman is the key to the "hostage" exchange. he's the most important, the one they insisted on. without him there would be no deal. this creatures behaviour is acknowledged by all, no one, least of all his supporters denys it. i won't go into it here, if you want to know just how sick and evil a human being can be, just google his name if you don't already know. the lebanese are even now rolling out the red carpet for him. they have declared a national holiday and he is to be feted as a hero- not just in lebanon, but for the entire arab/muslim world. the thinking is, in a nutshell, that in the context of the arab/jewish conflict, his actions were laudable. (a moment of silence, for those who know what he did, to allow that to sink in.)

further: the man who alone decided on the course of negotiations with israel for the hostages who may or may not have been alive, the hostages whos kidnapping started the second lebanon war (during which i became a 1gm commenter in an attempt to communicate with the outside world about some of these issues) the man, i say, who is even now rolling out the red carpet for one of the most despicable murderers the world has ever seen, is himself, according to numerous polls over the last year, by FAR the most popular leader in the arab/muslim world.

that's the end of my rant. it isn't about who's right or wrong in the palestinian conflict, or even in the arab/western world conflict. it's about the very nature of what we're (the israelis and anyone else who feels threatened by, uh...current trends in arab/islamic thinking) dealing with.

sorry about my longwindedness, and i hope i'll be forgiven for being more emotional than usual. it's a tiny country and even the most cynical of us are affected by the implications of a prisoner exchange such as this abomination. i'll be back to normal tomorrow.


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