Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Discussion Of Zionism, Women’s Rights in Afghanistan, 1973 Oil Embargo, & Mideast Oil

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Original photo from this post is missing this is my substitute.

This is part of a debate on Facebook I participated in during August 2013. Interestingly since then most of the Pakistani and Iranian posters have disappeared from my Facebook page. I don’t know if they simply deleted themselves or if other posters have simply dominated the conversation but I notice that most of the serious posters from that time have disappeared and I am seeing more personal and trivial posts. All images have been added on Jan. 7th 2014.

Vision of restored Caliphate.

Brian B: too many fools in the west is the problem..
Aug 11

Patrick H: Many non-Americans assume we support our country’s war, I’d say a majority of us do not want to be in the Middle-East. When it comes to supporting Israel, it’s a bit more controversial.
Aug 11

Pandora H: Pull every foreign troop out of Islamic nations I say.
Aug 11

Brian B: it will never happen.
Aug 11

Pandora H: I know and that sucks. No one else other than citizens of those countries need to be there. Let the men and women involved come home and be with their own families I think
Aug 11

Eric W: I actually agree with something mustafa posted! lol
Aug 11

Pandora H: So you think it’s Americans and Jews are to blame for everything in the middle east?
Aug 11

Muhammad Q: The space in picture didn’t allow some other countries to be mentioned I guess..
Aug 11

Muhammad H: Only Pakistan, Iran and Turkey are protected in muslim world.
Aug 11

Muhammad Q: Hammad bro Pakistan is suffering a lot due to America…we love American people but almost the whole Pakistan hates American policies against terrorism that are producing more and more terrorists day by day attacking Pakistanis…every week and usually every day their drones hit the civilians and it is very less that some terrorist is killed in that attack..
Aug 11

From Guardian Commentary about Drone strikes

Muhammad H: Dear Muhammad Q you don’t know the power of Pakistan ARMY and ISI. Just wait and watch. If USA can lost war in Afghanistan so Pakistan is much powerful than Afghanistan. Having nuclear missiles and 7th world nuclear power.
Aug 11

Muhammad Q: I was saying something else…as uu said Pakistan is one of the protected countries, I don’t agree..
Everyday on average a dozen of people are killed by terrorists…America was never serious to eradicate this terrorism…pakistan’ s army has suffered more than America against terrorism…our whole socio-economic system has been destroyed and blah blah..
Aug 11

David O: Wow. So simplistic, even an illiterate Saudi could understand it.
Aug 11

Richard L: Well David… you’d actually be describing most of the Middle East…Not just the Saudi’s
Aug 11

RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan was founded in 1977 by Meena and other women in Afghanistan as a political/social organization fighting for human rights and social justice.

Gary C: Interesting, so will the women of Afghanistan be better off under the Taliban? Or was the whole argument about being in Afghanistan to protect women’s rights just propaganda? Certainly the Saudi model of women’s rights is not exactly a model of equality and it is not opposed by the US in way shape or form. That is considered to be cultural diversity. Hypocritical, you bet, but both on the part of the left and the establishment.
Aug 11

Ibrahim A: They didn’t came to bring democracy nor to help the Afghans. In fact the Afghans were forced to help them.
Aug 11

Gary C: True but there was some benefit for women, just as when the Secularists ruled in Afghanistan.
AUG 11

Ibrahim A: This women rights issue was just a mean to justify the invasion. If something has changed than it is surely not because of the government but then it was about a cultural change. I actually believe nothing have changed.

I mean to throw acid in a woman’s face is not Islamic. It’s barbaric. But abuse of women happens everywhere but only in muslm countries they link it to islam while when it happens in the west the perpetrator is just a lunatic and not catholic, mormon or whatever.
Aug 11

Martin R: That should be an Islamic symbol, not Jewish
Aug 11

Gary C: Soviets used similar arguments to justify coming to the aid of the Afghan socialists, about aiding female rights, etc. USA shows how little it cares about women’s rights, and I don’t want to single out Islam, Christian fundamentalists are when it comes to Abortion rights just as barbaric, blowing up clinics and killing doctors. But the US did make it an issue and thus it is right to call them on the issue of woman’s rights.

“In Afghanistan, U.S. shifts strategy on women’s rights as it eyes wider priorities”

“Changes stem from a desire at the top levels of the Obama administration to triage the war and focus on the overriding goal of ending the conflict, a senior U.S. official said.”
Aug 11

Remembering American Afghan Policy

Martin R: Gary C; but without the excuse how else would they ‘invade’? Had the issue not been present there would have been no excuse.

And do you know how much better like was before the West got involved? Life there was far greater but that was before Islam infected the lands.
Without Islam the middle-East would know peace
Aug 11

Gary C: Lest we forget…

“Nov. 8, 1959 During an independence day celebration, women from the royal family appear unveiled, marking the end of state-enforced veiling.
Jan 1, 1964 Marxist Anahita Ratebzad forms an offshoot of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA). They pressure the Afghan government to combat illiteracy and to end forced marriages and walwar, a payment made by a prospective husband to a woman’s parents.
Oct. 1, 1964 A new constitution creates a modern democracy with free elections, equal rights, freedom of speech, universal suffrage, and allows women to enter into politics.
July 17, 1973 Shah takes an official trip overseas and Mohammed Daoud Khan seizes power in a bloodless coup. Khan installs himself as president instead of King and attempts to pass some liberalizing reforms, but they’re not enacted outside of urban areas.
Jan 1, 1977 A jirga – a traditional Pashtun council – approves a constitution that establishes a presidential one-party system of government.
Jan 1, 1978 The PDPA takes over the government, resulting in further social reforms including separation of religion and government, banning burquas and raising the minimum age of marriage.
April 28, 1978 The PDPA assassinates Mohammed Dauod. Tribal leaders incensed over social reforms begin an armed revolt in rural Afghanistan.
May 1, 1978 After a period of political infighting within the PDPA, Nur Mohammad Taraki becomes president, prime minister and general secretary of the party. The country is renamed the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
Oct. 1, 1978 A decree from the PDPA-controlled government requires education for girls, abolishes walwar and sets the legal age for marriage at 16.
Sept. 16, 1979 Taraki and another PDPA leader struggle for power as countryside revolts continue. The Soviet Union offers military aid and personnel to the government.
Dec. 27, 1979 The PDPA government, led by leftist Babrak Karmal, encourages women “to further their education and to take jobs, often in the government.”
Dec. 29, 1979 The Soviet Union officially topples the Afghan government. Their occupation lasts nearly a decade.
Jan. 1, 1981 Afghanistan becomes a major Cold War pawn between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The CIA pours money and advanced weaponry into rural Afghanistan to support the guerilla fighters known as mujahideen.”
Aug 11

Ibrahim A: Martin R

The root of war and trouble in the Middle-East is Zionism and before that colonialism. Not Islam.

Islam was just a motivation to fight oppresion and invasion.
Aug 11

Muhammad H: Yes, What USA is doing here?
Aug 11

Middle East Before Islam

Gary C: Before Islam, ie in 600 AD, the Persian Empire and the Roman Empire dominated in what is called the Mid East, Afghanistan was more part of central Asia or a borderland between the Indian Subcontinent and the Persian Empire, ruled by Greeks for a few centuries even. Persians were Zoroastrian, Romans Christan, the Romans were pretty intolerant and the Persians alternated between repressing other religions and supporting sects that were out of favor among the Romans to gain influence.
Aug 11

Gary C: Zionism is a symptom of a greater problem, western imperialism, but in the long run it is nothing but a temporary issue. As soon as Europe and the US decide to switch alliances Israel will be making up with all its neighbors.
Aug 11

Martin R: Ibrahim A; it isn’t Zionism it’s the current religion and what it instilled within its people.

Consider the Oil Embargo of the early nineteen hundreds. After America discovered oil the Muslim populace fought back saying that we were ‘leading’ you away from ‘true Islam’. We were at peace and trading openly but your religious extremists prevented it from continuing.
Aug 11

Gary C: Are you talking about the oil embargo of 1973? That was a result of the USA supporting Israel against the Egyptians and their allies. It was a rare example of Arab solidarity.
Aug 11

Martin R: Gary Crethers; I’m speaking of the entire century and chain of events
Aug 11

Scene from 1973 Oil Embargo

Gary C: Time line for Oil Embargo from Wikipedia article Chronology

“January 1973—The 1973–1974 stock market crash begins, as a result of inflation pressure, the Nixon Shock and the collapsing monetary system.
August 23, 1973—In preparation for the Yom Kippur War, Saudi King Faisal and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat meet in Riyadh and secretly negotiate an accord whereby the Arabs will use the “oil weapon” as part of the upcoming military conflict.
October 6 – Egypt and Syria attack Israeli occupied lands in Sinai and Golan Heights on Yom Kippur, starting the Yom Kippur War.
night of October 8 - Israel goes on full nuclear alert. Sec. Kissinger is notified a few hours later the morning of October 9. United States begins to resupply Israel.
October 8 – 10—OPEC negotiations with major oil companies to revise the 1971 Tehran price agreement fail.
October 12— The United States initiates Operation Nickel Grass, an overt strategic airlift operation to provide replacement weapons and supplies to Israel during the Yom Kippur War. This followed similar Soviet moves to supply the Arab side.
October 16 – Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Qatar unilaterally raise posted prices by 17% to $3.65 per barrel and announce production cuts.
October 17—OAPEC oil ministers agree to use oil as a weapon to influence the West’s support of Israel in the Yom Kippur war. They recommend an embargo against non-complying states and mandate a cut in exports.
October 19—US President Richard Nixon requests Congress to appropriate $2.2 billion in emergency aid to Israel. This decision triggered a collective Arab response. Libya immediately proclaims an embargo on oil exports to the United States; Saudi Arabia and other Arab oil producing states follow suit the next day.
October 26—The Yom Kippur War ends.
November 5—Arab producers announce a 25% output cut. A further 5% cut is threatened.
November 23—The Arab embargo is extended to Portugal, Rhodesia, and South Africa.
November 27—U.S. President Richard Nixon signs the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act authorizing price, production, allocation and marketing controls.
December 9—Arab oil ministers agree to another five percent cut for non-friendly countries for January 1974.
December 25—Arab oil ministers cancel the five percent output cut for January. Saudi oil minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani promises a ten percent OPEC production rise.
January 7–9, 1974—OPEC decides to freeze prices until April 1.
January 18—Israel signs a withdrawal agreement to pull back to the east side of the Suez Canal.
February 11 – United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger unveils the Project Independence plan to make U.S. energy independent.
February 12 – 14—Progress in Arab-Israeli disengagement brings discussion of oil strategy among the heads of state of Algeria, Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
March 5—Israel withdraws the last of its troops from the west side of the Suez Canal.
March 17—Arab oil ministers, with the exception of Libya, announce the end of the embargo against the United States.
May 31—Diplomacy by Henry Kissinger produces a disengagement agreement on the Syrian front.
December 1974—The 1973–1974 stock market crash ends.”
Aug 11

Gary C: I remember the gas rationing. I planned a trip during that and saw lines, and armed guards at gas stations.
Aug 11

Gary C: Martin you have to be more specific. That is too broad a statement to be responded to sensibly.
Aug 11

Martin R: Gary C; I was speaking of the oil discovery of the early nineteen hundreds to today
Aug 11

Gary C: Nice clear description of oil discoveries with map in Middle East. The USA first discovered oil in 1859. Persia 1908, Saudi Arabia 1938.
GEO Expro The First Oil Discoveries in the Middle East
Aug 11

Masjid Sulaiman and Well No. 1 in 1908. Photo: Anglo-Persian Oil Company

Gary C: But the oil companies dominated and took most of the profits until OPEC united in the 1973 oil embargo and flexed its muscles. The British had dominated Iraq and Kuwait, the Gulf states were protectorates and Iran had an uncooperative regime overthrown by the US and British in the 1950’s when the elected leader threatened to nationalize.
Aug 11

Melvin O C: I can make a meme with sharia law as death as well but I agree that the US should stop supporting Israel and change its foreign policy. It does more harm than good to the world and the US.
Aug 11

Gary C: The world keeps changing. 100 years ago the Ottoman Empire was still a major force

Cleaning Stuff - Thinking About The Plan In Afghanistan

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

I hate it. Cleaning. But it feels good once you do it. I tend to let things pile up and then make a major effort and throw out the old bills and receipts and debris that I accumulate from anti war demonstrations and the daily life. I still keep too much, copies of the Militant that I will never read, pay stubs and bank statements from years gone by.
I should toss the whole lot of it but I keep all these old papers for a few years and then when I can’t stand it anymore or when some woman decides I have had them around for too long. Then they go in the trash. I wish I still had all my underground newspapers from the 1960’s or those original copies of the Black Panther Paper that I used to sell. But nope my mom tossed all that stuff when she moved to Florida. All I have from my youth are fading memories. No physical evidence.
It is hard to get excited about world affairs right now. Obama made a piecemeal peace treaty with the Russians. I wonder what secret side bars are involved with Poland, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and the rest. The Russians are on the front line, the gateway to the orient, on the edge of the Muslim world. One wrong step and they are at war. Fortunately for them there are no strong Moslem powers in the world like the Ottoman Empire was as recently as a century ago. Russia and the Moslems have been going at one another at least since they replaced the Byzantines as the bulwark of Christianity over 5 centuries ago.
But now the Russians with Islamic fundamentalists biting at the heal like some small yappy dog, have to watch their step and might even run back into the woods like a bear chased by a pack of dogs. If that bear decided to turn and swipe at those dogs, they would probably have regrets, but a hungry pack of dogs know they have numbers and that they can wear the bear down. That seems to be the Jihadi approach to the west altogether. Wear down the huge forces of the USA and the Russians or anyone else who decides to take on the Islamic hinterlands. It is not necessarily an Islamic resistance but it amounts to the same thing when all the fighters call on Allah to see the justice of their cause. Often it is because some relative was blasted to bits by some western bomb from a casual drone attack on a semi seen target who happens to be at a wedding party or a funeral with non combatants who happen to live there. This radicalizes people more than any abstract cause, watching you cousin or uncle or aunt getting blown away as collateral damage has fueled the jihad more than anything else.
American and other foreign troops should withdraw from the countries we are trying to help. Our help, outside of something like an emergency disaster aid like after the Quake in Haiti, anything else is simply imperialism and will give us cause for regret.
Look at Kyrgyzstan. We go there and pay the country pennies for a base and then shovel millions of dollars in secret deals with the rulers and their relatives, corrupting the local political process and then we wonder when the place explodes what happened? From the reports I have heard on the radio and the BBC news, the place was allowed to degenerate into a kleptocracy because the USA wanted to get the base there on the cheap, bribing local officials instead of paying a decent rent for access. We blew it in Uzbekistan with our base there. And now we need this base in Kyrgyzstan if we are to have an alternative route for American supplies to get into Afghanistan besides the Khyber Pass from Pakistan.
This whole effort in Afghanistan is built upon a house of cards. Karzai is playing footsie with whatever allies he can find. The US war effort is based on a contradiction, increased presence with a less aggressive footprint. How is that supposed to work? Is it supposed to be like having a cop on every corner? Well Afghanistan is an awfully big beat and I don’t think a zero tolerance for graffiti and broken windows will work. Not when the brother of the President is running a protection racket for heroin exporters. Not that I have anything against the business, but just that well, its illegal in 9/10th of the world. I don’t see how protecting the opium growers from the Taliban for the sake of the official Afghani government dealers is really helping anything. But then maybe I don’t understand the plan.
But the USA has got itself in a war about as far away and logistically hard to get to as is possible. This could be another Vietnam if the USA allows itself to become bogged down in a war in an isolated country with forbidding terrain and a decentralized rural society. It is about as opposite to what our technology is prepared for as you can get. There are easy choke points where our supplies can be blocked and we are dependent upon unstable regimes in central Asia for alternative supply routes. Iran is next door and could at any time become a major problem for everyone around. The whole situation looks like a disaster in the making. But then what do I know. I am going back to cleaning my place up.

Notes From the Afghani War, Pakistan & World Allocation

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

I picked this up from a posting on a site I subscribe to. It is not particularly new information. The War in Afghanistan is being fought without the people of Afghanistan. They are bystanders and are simply waiting for the westerners to get tired and leave. When the west leaves then the Afghani people will decide what to do.

*American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains
The Times (London)
October 8, 2009

*American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains *

American soldiers serving in Afghanistan are depressed and deeply
disillusioned, according to the chaplains of two US battalions that have
spent nine months on the front line in the war against the Taliban.

Many feel that they are risking their lives — and that colleagues have died
— for a futile mission and an Afghan population that does nothing to help
them, the chaplains told The Times in their makeshift chapel on this
fortress-like base in a dusty, brown valley southwest of Kabul.

“The many soldiers who come to see us have a sense of futility and anger
about being here. They are really in a state of depression and despair and
just want to get back to their families,” said Captain Jeff Masengale, of
the 10th Mountain Division’s 2-87 Infantry Battalion.

“They feel they are risking their lives for progress that’s hard to
discern,” said Captain Sam Rico, of the Division’s 4-25 Field Artillery
Battalion. “They are tired, strained, confused and just want to get
through.” The chaplains said that they were speaking out because the men
could not.


October 7, 2009

*Afghan Taliban say they pose no threat to the West*

By Sayed Salahuddin Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL – The Afghan Taliban pose no threat to the West but will continue
their fight against occupying foreign forces, they said on Wednesday, the
eighth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion that removed them from power.

U.S.-led forces with the help of Afghan groups overthrew the Taliban
government during a five week battle which started on October 7, 2001, after
the militants refused to hand over al Qaeda leaders wanted by Washington for
the September 11 attacks on America.

“We had and have no plan of harming countries of the world, including those
in Europe … our goal is the independence of the country and the building
of an Islamic state,” the Taliban said in a statement on the group’s website

“Still, if you (NATO and U.S. troops) want to colonize the country of proud
and pious Afghans under the baseless pretext of a war on terror, then you
should know that our patience will only increase and that we are ready for a
long war.”

As for the Taliban claim that the war on terror is a pretext to impose control, other than as a transit point for oil from central Asia and a means to insure that India stays in the western camp, I don’t see much point in the USA being in Afghanistan. It is simply to provide a hedge against Russian and Chinese hegemony and as a threat to Iran which is facing Americans on two sides. Afghanistan itself is of little value to anyone except for the poor people of Afghanistan who simply want to live. Its only economic value is for its opium crop that is controlled by warlords and the various interested parties.
The USA is acting as a criminal nation trying to impose its will upon the Afghani people in the name of the war on terror. As we all know Pakistan is where Al Queda lives.
But Pakistan has its own set of problems. It is a nation that was formed out of the old British imperial province of India. But more than that it is a reflection of the gradual spread of Islam across the center of Asia. Pakistan is the second largest Muslim nation after Indonesia with India being the third. The encroachment of Islam upon this largely Hindu land has been taking place for centuries. Moguls ruled much of India for centuries before the British came. But the appeal of Islam with its simplicity and relative egalitarianism has forced the Hindu religion to reform, this can be seen in the various Vaishnavite movements for equality among the castes where a devotee upon initiation is taken as a Brahman thus creating an equal opportunity movement and a counter attack to some of the appeals of Mohamedism. But that is a problem specific to India where tensions between the haves and the have nots sometimes are expressed in religious ans sometimes a secular manner.
Pakistan itself is wracked with the contradictions of a nation that is on the one hand attempting to live out the promise of Islam where all men are treated as equals and women are to be respected and the modern state with it secular tendencies Marxism with its alternate promise of equality through state control of the economy and capitalism with its promise of affluence if the state and religion are suppressed for the sake of economic interests of the captains of industry. These forces contend and underneath them all are the traditional practices of the people who have lived on the land and have their folk ways that predate the state, Islam and capital. All of these forces come to play in Pakistan and it is in this cauldron that the USA is now putting on the heat.
This is from the NY Times.

“Aid Package From U.S. Jolts Army in Pakistan
By JANE PERLEZ and ISMAIL KHAN Published: October 7, 2009
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — In an unusual move, the Pakistani Army expressed public anger Wednesday at the terms of a large American aid package, saying it interfered with Pakistan’s national security, a posture that set the military at loggerheads with the American-backed civilian government.
The legislation passed by Congress last week gives Pakistan $1.5 billion over the next year for the Zardari government to build roads, schools and other infrastructure, a gesture intended to shore up the weak civilian government and turn around the widespread antipathy toward the United States among Pakistanis.
The section of the legislation that has outraged the army says the secretary of state must report to Congress every six months on whether the government is exercising “effective civilian control over the military.”
The secretary must assess the extent to which the civilian government has oversight over the military chain of command, promotion of generals and the military budgets, provisions that even Pakistani politicians have taken strong exception to as meddling in Pakistan’s business.
The legislation also says Pakistan must show progress in ending support for terrorist groups, and dismantle groups operating out of Quetta and Muridke.
The generals were specifically infuriated by mention of Quetta, which the Obama administration says is a base for Taliban who fight American forces in Afghanistan, and of Muridke, which is a well known base for Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant group formed two decades ago by the Pakistani government to fight India.
In a conciliatory address to Parliament on Wednesday evening, the prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, argued the legislation was not binding. He assured Parliament that the government would “never” allow a foreign power to have access to Pakistan’s nuclear assets.
His reference to nuclear capability was apparently to allay anger over a reference in the legislation asking Pakistan to continue to cooperate with the United States in efforts to dismantle networks trying to acquire nuclear weapons-related materials.”

This is nothing new but the problems of Pakistan are of importance to the rest of the world because it is a nuclear power. In fact I would argue that Afghanistan is a sidebar, Pakistan is the real issue. If Muslim militants were to gain control here then problems with Iranian nukes would be a moot point. The problem is that the nuclear genie is out of the bottle and at some point one of these nations are going to be tempted to use it just as the USA did at the end of World War Two. We justified it saying it saved the lives of millions at the end of the war, but in reality it placed the entire planet in a situation where at any time extinction could be unleashed upon the entire planet.
This is no joke. It is the reality that every one of us lives with every day and until every nuke is dismantled it will remain a threat that hangs over the entire planet. America has no real interest in Afghanistan. But we all have an interest in Pakistan. If you have any interest in achieving peace it is important that we deal with Pakistan. The people there deserve a decent life as any people in the world do and the interests of international Capital or any other system should not be allowed to jeopardize the peaceful development of that country. If we do then we are threatening to turn the land over to the fundamentalists. In any case much care and trepidation must be used when it comes to dealing with the people there. Or we will reap the whirlwind.
I recommend that we act with intelligent watchfulness. Respecting the local interests and letting them know when they step on our interests but otherwise let them determine their own course. I am speaking on several levels here. There is the spiritual one in which each person seeks liberation or salvation, there is the political in which states act. There is the economic in which parties have interests and there is the cultural in which we express our sense of collective purpose.
Ultimately the USA has tried to play the role that the British Empire played and that game of world dominance cannot be sustained. There are too many players in the field all wanting a piece of the action and a more sophisticated means of allowing this play to occur without endangering the lives of the collective whole must be developed. That is the multilateral approach that the Nobel Prize was meant to encourage and why it was given to Obama. Will it lead to liberal enlightenment or a new age of warring states, we shall see.
Resources have to be allocated. Are the markets the best way? Who determines who gets the oil, the highest bidder or the most efficient user or the one with the biggest military machine? Right now bidders and military machines dominate. What would make more sense is allocation based on efficient us sage. Whomever could most efficiently transform that resource into energy would seem to be the sensible one to send it to. Unfortunately that is not the case.
Rational prioritising of allocation until there has been a sufficient change over to renewables in an international system mutually agreed upon would be the best course to follow. This would imply a rational discernment of need, a practical analysis of who has capability to properly refine and transport and the development of efficient consumption that penalizes waste. Every person in the world should have a minimum allotment of fuel for heating. lighting, cooking, transport. Each locality should have systems that most efficiently allocate for these needs. A rational grid of electrical allocation should be spread across the planet with the right to not participate respected on the part of those who have their own resources. But because of the disparity of allocation of resources it seems that a world system of distribution would make more sense. This should be in place for all basic commodities in which there is an established need and a scarcity that requires some controlled allocation. Sunlight would not be in this, and up until recently water would not have been. Now water is becoming scarce and a fair and equitable distribution just as with electricity should be made. But there is a difference water is an essential requirement for life and thus should be a social good made available at cost and subsidized for those who cannot afford it. But electricity is not as basic. We can live without it. Although we do need some means of generating heat in cold climates. It should be fairly distributed and the cost of generation should be covered and sustained by the users. It is a social benefit that allows for what we call modern civilization. And on it goes. Allocation needs to be fair and equitable based on need and rational decision making. It should not be based on the profit motive. Greed is not good. It represents a failure to communicate. Enough said.

Israel, Iran & Afghanistan, Battling Feudal Interests Around the World and At Home.

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Today on Ian Masters show talk is of international relations in the middle east and south Asia. His guest Wayne White states support for the peace process has dwindled away in Israel as a result of the second intifada. The majority of Israelis now think the Palestinians are not serious about peace and the extreme right wing is growing in Israel.
The Fatah has been weakened and is seen as collaborationist. Hamas is now fighting off hard line separatist groups on its own right who are advocating total war with Israel. He is not optimistic for positive resuts in the new peace talks.
Regarding Iran he states that the hard line taken by the current regime is not supported by a majority of the clerics and that there could be a weakening of the position of the government. Wayne White is a former member of the Iraq study group.

Karzai in Afghanistan is being accused of massive voter fraud. Karzai has recently pardoned convicted heroin traffickers who had been convicted by the new Afghani judiciary. A credible government that provides security and justice is what is needed in the country. As things stand a run off election may give some legitimacy to this corrupt government.
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah is seen as being a tool of the Indian government even more than Karzai by the Pakistani government. This motivates them to support the Taliban as stated on Ian Masters show today on KPFK.
This is from the Real News Network an article about the Heroin network in Afghanistan.

“Drug lords have friends in high places
Tom Lasseter: Afghan drug trade thrives with help, and neglect, of officials
May 10, 2009

By Tom Lasseter | McClatchy Newspapers
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — When it’s harvest time in the poppy fields of Kandahar, dust-covered Taliban fighters pull up on their motorbikes to collect a 10 percent tax on the crop. Afghan police arrive in Ford Ranger pickups — bought with U.S. aid money — and demand their cut of the cash in exchange for promises to skip the farms during annual eradication.
Then, usually late one afternoon, a drug trafficker will roll up in his Toyota Land Cruiser with black-tinted windows and send a footman to pay the farmers in cash. The farmers never see the boss, but they suspect that he’s a local power broker who has ties to the U.S.-backed Afghan government.
“In this country, if someone really tells the truth he will have no place to live,” said Agha Saqeb, who served as the provincial police chief in Kandahar, in the heart of Afghanistan’s opium belt, from 2007 to 2008. Naming Afghan officials who profit from drugs, he said, would get him killed: “They are still in power and they could harm me.”
The embassies of the U.S., Britain and Canada — the countries principally behind counter-narcotics in Afghanistan — declined to comment. A State Department report issued earlier this year flatly noted that: “Many Afghan government officials are believed to profit from the drug trade.”
It also said: “Regrettably, no major drug trafficker has been arrested or convicted in Afghanistan since 2006.”
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials in Kabul also refused to comment. Afghan and Western observers said the DEA had been hampered by inadequate staffing and by the difficulty of cracking down on drug trafficking in a country where local officials were implicated in it.
The corruption allegedly reaches the highest levels of Afghanistan’s political elite. According to multiple Afghan former officials, Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of President Hamid Karzai and the head of the provincial council in Kandahar, routinely manipulates judicial and police officials to facilitate shipments of opium and heroin.
According to several Afghan former officials in the region, however, the major drug traffickers in southern Afghanistan don’t worry much about getting caught because they’re working under the protection of Karzai and other powerful government officials.
For example, a former top Afghan intelligence official recounted an incident from about five years ago, when, he said, his men arrested a Taliban commander who was involved with drugs at a key narcotics-trafficking point between Helmand and the Pakistani border.
Late on the evening of the arrest, a local prosecutor dropped by and said that Ahmed Wali Karzai wanted the militant released, according to Dad Mohammed Khan, who was the national intelligence directorate chief of Helmand province for about three years before he became a member of the national parliament.
Khan said he released the Taliban commander, a man known as Haji Abdul Rahim, because he didn’t want to tangle with the president’s brother.
A week after his conversation with McClatchy, Khan — a large man with a bushy black beard who had a reputation for dealing with enemies ruthlessly — was killed by a roadside bomb that most attribute to the Taliban.”

What I don’t understand is what are all these highly educated people doing? Either the situation on the ground is much less clear cut that it seems from these reports, or we are really wasting our time in Afghanistan. So why are American and NATO troops in Afghanistan? The security we are providing is causing large numbers of civilian casualties.

This is from an article about the military vetting reporters allowed into the war zone in Afghanistan.

“New Files Prove Pentagon Is Profiling Reporters

Posted by Amanda Terkel, Think Progress at 6:01 AM on August 28, 2009.
The Pentagon hired a controversial contractor to screen journalists seeking to embed with U.S. forces.
This week, Stars and Stripes revealed that the Pentagon had hired a controversial contractor to screen journalists seeking to embed with U.S. forces. The Rendon Group determines whether reporters’ coverage “was ‘positive,’ ‘negative’ or ‘neutral’ compared to mission objectives.” The Pentagon’s decision was especially shocking in light of Rendon’s sordid past: The group personally set up the Iraqi National Congress and helped install Ahmad Chalabi as leader, whose main goal — “pressure the United States to attack Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein” — Rendon helped facilitate.
Military officials immediately went about furiously refuting the reports. “We have not denied access to anyone because of what may or may not come out of their biography,” said public affairs officer Air Force Capt. Elizabeth Mathias. “It’s so we know with whom we’re working.” Other officials for the Pentagon and Rendon went even further:
“They are not doing that [rating reporters], that’s not been a practice for some time — actually since the creation of U.S. Forces–Afghanistan” in October 2008, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters Monday. “I can tell you that the way in which the Department of Defense evaluates an article is its accuracy. It’s a good article if it’s accurate. It’s a bad article if it’s inaccurate. That’s the only measurement that we use here at the Defense Department.” […]
But new files prove otherwise. Stars and Stripes obtained profiles produced by Rendon. They clearly calculate the percentage of “positive” stories written by a reporter and offer ideas not about how to get the reporter to produce more accurate stories, but how to get more “favorable coverage” for the military. Fox News also obtained a slide from a Rendon PowerPoint presentation, where headlines from major newspapers are rated with “a plus sign, a negative sign or a capital ‘N,’ presumably for neutral.” Images from the profiles and PowerPoint:
Stars and Stripes also notes that one of the profiles looked at a reporter’s work as recently as May, indicating that the ranking did not stop in October 2008, as Whitman claimed.”

T.R.Reid is on Ian Masters show talking about health care. They are discussing how other countries do it. Germany invented a system that was given to everybody via the workplace in the 1880’s. Other countries with private health care have stricter regulations and they are run on a non profit basis. There is no ability to refuse to insure someone because of their health conditions. They also are not allowed to refuse to pay for treatments that have been authorized.
In Australia they use the Canadian model. The providers are private but the insurer is the state. Everyone is covered and the out of pocket expenses are minimal.
22,000 Americans die every year because they cannot afford the medical cost. That does not happen in any other wealthy countries in the world. We have the most expensive system in the world that simply doesn’t work. The rest of the world simply made the commitment for universal coverage and they figured out how to get there. We have never made that commitment in the USA.
Some Americans have the best medical care in the world, but millions don’t have any coverage at all. Many Americans are more concerned about the chance that some illegal immigrant will get health care, than they are about the millions of people who get no health care or have limited coverage. That is a case of penny wise and pound foolish.
It looks like the government will come up with a 1/3rd of the needed plan and the states will come up with plans of their own. When you cover everyone the costs go down. People go to get care here at the last phase when it is most expensive. If we had universal care there would be lower costs overall. Japan has universal care with for profit providers but the insurance plan is not for profit. No country but the USA has a for profit insurance company. If we had the will to provide universal health care, we could learn from other countries.

The author of “The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America”, William Kleinknecht is now on Ian Masters. People see AIG and GM fail and the government bails them out and people blame the government instead of the capitalists who are responcible for the failure. He says the people who know the truth need to speak louder to counter the voices of the Fox News liars. The wealthiest .1% own more than they ever did. Most Americans don’t understand the mechanism by which it happens. Teddy Roosevelt attacked the trusts and so should Obama. He should be telling the truth and not simply giving up and leaving it to Congress. Tax payer should be more concerned about getting value out of their tax dollars and not simply blaming the government.
Reagan-ism is about transferring public moneys to private industry. In 1982 the Reagan Administration stated that it was ending all funding for medical care and giving it to HMOs. They gave money to private industry to compete with the state. It really was a form of theft from the poor to those who don’t need it. Reagan claimed he was cutting taxes but what they did was shift the taxes from the rich to the workers. Under Reagan it was stated that the not for profit medical system was more concerned with providing a social good rather than a return on investment. That was the rationale for switching funding to for profit HMOs.
The Reagan administration was expert at obfuscation. They created simple images of welfare queens to turn people against welfare by playing on peoples racial prejudices. The right used simple distractionary issues like school prayer to get their attention focused on irrelevancies. We won’t make any progress until the system of legalized bribery has been conquered. He was speaking about corporations buying the votes of congress. What we need is a new progressive movement like what we had at the turn of the last century.
Since Obama is the equal of Reagan in his oratorical skills, he should use them to fight for change and not give in to the demands of the right wing.

Here is the column from Paul Krugman in the New York Times.

“Op-Ed Columnist All the President’s Zombies
Published: August 23, 2009
The debate over the “public option” in health care has been dismaying in many ways. Perhaps the most depressing aspect for progressives, however, has been the extent to which opponents of greater choice in health care have gained traction — in Congress, if not with the broader public — simply by repeating, over and over again, that the public option would be, horrors, a government program.
Washington, it seems, is still ruled by Reaganism — by an ideology that says government intervention is always bad, and leaving the private sector to its own devices is always good.
Call me naïve, but I actually hoped that the failure of Reaganism in practice would kill it. It turns out, however, to be a zombie doctrine: even though it should be dead, it keeps on coming.
Let’s talk for a moment about why the age of Reagan should be over.
First of all, even before the current crisis Reaganomics had failed to deliver what it promised. Remember how lower taxes on high incomes and deregulation that unleashed the “magic of the marketplace” were supposed to lead to dramatically better outcomes for everyone? Well, it didn’t happen.
To be sure, the wealthy benefited enormously: the real incomes of the top .01 percent of Americans rose sevenfold between 1980 and 2007. But the real income of the median family rose only 22 percent, less than a third its growth over the previous 27 years.
Moreover, most of whatever gains ordinary Americans achieved came during the Clinton years. President George W. Bush, who had the distinction of being the first Reaganite president to also have a fully Republican Congress, also had the distinction of presiding over the first administration since Herbert Hoover in which the typical family failed to see any significant income gains.
And then there’s the small matter of the worst recession since the 1930s.
There’s a lot to be said about the financial disaster of the last two years, but the short version is simple: politicians in the thrall of Reaganite ideology dismantled the New Deal regulations that had prevented banking crises for half a century, believing that financial markets could take care of themselves. The effect was to make the financial system vulnerable to a 1930s-style crisis — and the crisis came.
“We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals,” said Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1937. “We know now that it is bad economics.” And last year we learned that lesson all over again.
Or did we? The astonishing thing about the current political scene is the extent to which nothing has changed.
The debate over the public option has, as I said, been depressing in its inanity. Opponents of the option — not just Republicans, but Democrats like Senator Kent Conrad and Senator Ben Nelson — have offered no coherent arguments against it. Mr. Nelson has warned ominously that if the option were available, Americans would choose it over private insurance — which he treats as a self-evidently bad thing, rather than as what should happen if the government plan was, in fact, better than what private insurers offer.
But it’s much the same on other fronts. Efforts to strengthen bank regulation appear to be losing steam, as opponents of reform declare that more regulation would lead to less financial innovation — this just months after the wonders of innovation brought our financial system to the edge of collapse, a collapse that was averted only with huge infusions of taxpayer funds.
So why won’t these zombie ideas die?
Part of the answer is that there’s a lot of money behind them. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something,” said Upton Sinclair, “when his salary” — or, I would add, his campaign contributions — “depend upon his not understanding it.” In particular, vast amounts of insurance industry money have been flowing to obstructionist Democrats like Mr. Nelson and Senator Max Baucus, whose Gang of Six negotiations have been a crucial roadblock to legislation.
But some of the blame also must rest with President Obama, who famously praised Reagan during the Democratic primary, and hasn’t used the bully pulpit to confront government-is-bad fundamentalism. That’s ironic, in a way, since a large part of what made Reagan so effective, for better or for worse, was the fact that he sought to change America’s thinking as well as its tax code.
How will this all work out? I don’t know. But it’s hard to avoid the sense that a crucial opportunity is being missed, that we’re at what should be a turning point but are failing to make the turn.”

Pretty damn straightforward. What is it? Corruption. Pure and simple. Congress is bought out by corporate interests, right wing pundants on the payroll of the corporations are encouraged to rile up their listeners and right wing so called grass roots organizations funded by these corporations and run by PR experts then drive bus loads of these riled up and misinformed citizens to town hall meetings where they make incoherent sounds that are picked up by right wing corporate media and broadcast to the nation as if this was the spontaneous outrage of average Amercians. It is all corrupt and cynical. Then the bought out Congress persons have cover to lie to the people some more and use as an example of the ground swell of the grass roots these sound bites in the media that are orchestrated by the same pr people who are writing the scripts for these Congress persons.
I don’t know if Obama has been able to out flank them. He has been able to buy off some of the pharmaceutical industries money but he has not been able to get to the hard core corporate right wing and as long as they have money and control of some members of Congress they will play their hand for keeps.
They are fighting against the tide of history and the desires of the people. But they have lies and subterfuge and will use every bit of guile at their disposal to defeat any attempt at health care reform or financial reform. We have to encourage the liberal and progressives in government to fight this old guard and beat them. My friend Dean is an optimist and believes this is possible. I am thinking that we are on the right side of history and those forces for the wealthy elite are fighting for a return to feudalism, it won’t happen. Lets make sure it doesn’t.

What Next?

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

There is something to be said for the southern strategy of sinking the north, the liberals and the labor unions all at once. If they succeed they will be able to sink part of the Obama plan right at the beginning. If they succeed they will put the liberals on the defensive and they will destroy one of the last unionised areas left in private industry in the USA.
Will Obama be able to outsmart the new south and their allies? What has Bush done with his bailout of the Detroit auto industry? According to the UAW the plan has a poison pill built into it. The unions have to accept non union wages equal to those in the south. Toyota and the other foreign auto manufacturers want to put the squeeze on their workers and they know if the union workers in Detroit are broken, then the non union workers in the south will be pushovers.
It is essential that the unions hold the line. If they don’t then there will be nothing stopping the foreign companies from forcing lower wages on the non union workers and that means all over America lower wages. Already labor gets a smaller share of the wealth now than we have since the 1970’s when we reached the most equitable distribution of wealth in the country. Since then it has been down hill and in the last couple of decades debt has replaced earnings as the source of income increase for most Americans. That path has reached the end of the road. The wealthy have only one path left, that of forcing roll backs in wages and benefits. That is not something that most Americans are likely to take without resistance. Without unions how are we to resist? Complaining to the president won’t do much. We have to be organized and unions are how we fight back. Unions and direct action combined are our ways of fighting. The general strike is the ultimate weapon. If we refuse to work.. and occupy the workplace, they can’t do anything but give in and negotiate. Will we take the chance? If we don’t you know the opposition has and is. They have been all along.
The southern states have already given subsidies to these manufacturers. Southern tax payers were paying to keep Mercedes, Toyota and the others in their states. The workers had accepted lower wages already, all to keep the manufacturers from going elsewhere.
These southern governors needed to keep these corporations appeased because in their states they had no laws that would restrict their free movement. The laws that had enticed these companies also made it easy for them to pack up and leave. They had no loyalty to anything but their bottom line. The southerners will do their best to undercut the north and keep industry in their states. Will this strategy of divide and conquer work? We shall see.
As a child I had been a fan of the south in the Civil War. It wasn’t that I was in favor of anything they believed, but I had a romantic attachment to losers and since they had lost the war, I was interested in their struggle. Certainly something of the romance of the chivalry of the south as expressed in movies like “Santa Fe Trail” and the “Charge of the Light Brigade” rubbed off on me.
In fact I was fascinated by the military and as a child I was constantly reviewing and reliving wars. Civil war, World War 2, Roman battles in the Civil war between Cesar and Pompey, or Cesar vs the Gauls. Then there was the current war in Vietnam that I was studying as part of my school project.
Somehow in junior high school I began to become interested in the hippie subculture. I don’t know why, maybe it was the music, listening to songs like Hey Jude on the transistor radio, but somehow I began to change my views. Instead of being pro military I became an anti war advocate. It started in 8th grade. I was studying the effect of the bombing of the north and decided that it would not work. Johnson decided to stop the bombing in the fall of 1968. That would have been when I was in 9th grade. By then I was totally against the war. It wasn’t until the next year, in the fall of 1969 that I actively joined in protests. Prior to that I was merely opposed in the lunch room, class room and at the bus stop. Later I became aware of communism as a theory and studied Marxism, political theory, and feminism with the radicals in Connecticut over the next couple of years.
1971 I moved to Colorado where I studied communal living, construction, landscaping, organic farming, alternative healing and spiritual history with a gnostic group until 1977. We experimented with building geodesic domes, using solar power and raising our own food.
In the spring and summer of 1978 I became interested in the emerging punk scene and started a radio show with a friend of mine in Boulder. I also became interested in anarchism as an alternative to the communist states that seemed to me to be betraying communism not living it. I helped found Rock Against Racism as a means of bringing people of different races together and to counter the Nazi tendencies in punk rock scene.
After that I went to New York and ran an alternative club with the Yippies. I led demonstrations and organized press conferences in the winter of 1979-1980. This was under the auspices of Rock Against Racism which is why I went to New York, to run the chapter there.
In the spring of 1980 I went to San Francisco where I continued my work with Rock Against Racism there and anarchist activism in the community fighting against the gentrification of the Haight district. I hooked up with the Bound Together book collective and joined them.
I have lived in California most of the time since then. I made trips to India, France, back to New York and Connecticut where I grew up. I had children with my partners and even tried to make it as a businessman. At one point in the mid 1980’s I had a print brokerage, a graphic design business and was a salesman for another company. I worked 20 hours a day and made some serious money. But my wife left me, took my son and my heart was broken, I swore off capitalism. Since then I have worked, but never tried to make it rich.
When Regan was elected a darkness came over the land. The dreams of alternative energy, communal living, and coops began to die. Some thought people would rebel. But people gave Reagan a chance, even I decided to give it a try when he got reelected in 84. I quickly realized that the price was too high.
It has taken until now for the rest of America to agree. When Clinton was elected we thought it was going to change but he was simply a republican lite. So what we have now is another chance. Will the republicans pull another coup like in 94 and put the liberals on the defensive?

But now we are seeing the realization of some of our dreams from those days. Solar energy is back, the talk of high mileage cars is back and the oil industry is pulling out the stops to defeat the environmentalists. They have lowered the price of gas just as they put the squeeze on us last year now they have gas back where it was 5 years ago. This cannot be maintained for too long, but they only hope to keep it going long enough to defeat the environmental lobby in Washington. Will they be able to do it? Not this time. Not with the department of Energy in the hands of a scientist who is also a strong believer in alternative energy.
What about the rest of the administration? We have old school in the state and defence, they will probably try and win the war in Afghanistan. What they have to do is hold the line on the oil lanes for a few years and give the country time for massive infrastructure rebuilding for solar, wind and geothermal. If that can be done in the first administration then we can pull back internationally and let the rest of the world keep the oil for itself. But if we can’t build the alternative infrastructure, then we will be stuck defending sea lanes and oil overseas in an increasingly hostile and competitive world.
Why Afghanistan? It is the wedge between Iran, central Asian Oil, China and India. It out flanks Pakistan and keeps India protected. It allows for pipelines from central Asia to be built and keeps the American presence in central Asia. Will it work? Not likely. Unless we intermarry with the locals there will be resistance and those mountains are impossible to hold.
That is why we must build alternative energy here, because the plan to hold Afghanistan is not going to work and they already are planning on leaving Iraq. The pipelines are too hard to protect and too isolated. Any pipe line is going to be blown unless it is in friendly territory. That is not the case in Iraq or Afghanistan.
We need to get our act together, as workers we need to organize, as people we need to end our dependence on oil and the big corporations. Can we do it? We shall see.

Obama And Maliki Agree On Timeline

Monday, July 21st, 2008

The Iraqi prime minister, with upcoming elections and facing the hard facts that Bush is on his way out, has just positioned himself to agree with Obama that US troops should be substantially out of Iraq in 16 months.
CNN is reporting this as a major shift on the part of Maliki away from Bush, and after the administration spend the weekend spinning the statements in the German Paper Der Spiegel, made by the Iraqis where they indicated they would like a timetable. This statement coming out of Iraq today, July 21st, confirms the Iraqi position in favor of what they are calling an aspirational timeline.
This is a blow to McCain who has taken the administration position that there should be no timelines and that if the US needed to stay for 100 years that we would. This sounds to the peoples of the world outside of the US, not like a commitment to Iraqi democracy, but one to a new American Imperialism. The peoples of the Middle East do not feel reassured by the American presence, they feel threatened. Not by Americans per se but by the presence of the American military.
Since the Reagan administration attempted to occupy Lebanon in the early 1980’s and the Marines found themselves under attack by suicide bombers who managed to kill 300 marines in one swat, the Republicans have been obsessed with having a base in the Middle East that is not Israel.
The Bush family has long been close to the Saudi ruling class, elite that finds Israel to be inconvenient, not because they are anti Semitic, but because the mass of the Moslem world resents the presence of Israel and it is inconvenient for the guardians of Mecca to say that they would rather do business with Israel. It would be easier for them to have the Israelis disappear, and short of that, at least not be so much in the American corner.
The democrats are basically comfortable letting the Israelis do their dirty work in the Middle East. Leaving the tough work for the Navy and Air Force is the Democratic way. But not the Republicans, they want to have boots on the ground, and Bush senior succeeded when Hussein made the mistake of believing the US didn’t care if they took back Kuwait. Bush senior saw this as the perfect excuse to get American forces on the ground protecting the oil fields. This has been a plan of the Republicans at least since OPEC put the Squeeze on after the 73 war with Israel, in the first Oil Embargo while Nixon was president.
The democrats, at least on Carter’s watch wanted to develop alternative energy, and place emphasis on conservation. This was not accepted by the media who blackened Carter’s image as being out of touch with American aspirations. Reagan took advantage of the Hostage crisis in Iran to make Carter look like a wimp for not standing tall and asserting American greatness in the world. Reagan himself had his nose bled by that experience I Lebanon, but he then invaded Grenada, a tiny Island nation with almost no military, to show that America was standing tall.
Reagan in a short sighted move destroyed the efforts under Carter to develop solar and other energy alternatives, poo pooing conservation and putting his eggs in the Saudi basket through his Vice president Bush’s special relationship with the royal family.
Now the Republican plans for a permanent ground presence in the heart of the Middle East is crumbling with Maliki and Obama on the same page with a troop withdrawal by 2010. The Democratic alternative to put more troops on the ground in Afghanistan to put pressure on Iran and Pakistan from that central position may not be any better thought out than the Republican plan to take over Iraq.
The peoples of the Middle East do not want an American Imperial presence. The Republican attempt to seize the oil of Iraq is collapsing. But will the Democratic plan to move in on central Asian oil by securing a pipeline through Afghanistan work any better? I doubt it. The British those master imperialists could not retain Afghanistan. The huge Russian bear collapsed in its attempt to secure that land and I doubt if the Americans will have any better luck. It was the heart of Tamer lane’s empire, but every one else since Alexander has failed to maintain a base in that fiercely independent land. Alexander only succeeded by marrying a daughter of that land. People wonder why he would marry some obscure daughter of a distant tribal people instead of the civilized daughter of the queen of Persia. Possibly because these people reminded him of his own Macedonian relationship to the Greeks, being considered a rough country people by them as the hill people of Afghanistan were by the Persians. But more likely he appreciated their military prowess and he wanted a strong fighting force to anchor the north east while he went down into the heart of India and for centuries after Greek led kingdoms ruled from the Afghani heartland descending upon the Indus valley to conquer swaths of territory.
But Americans are not likely to marry the daughters of the ruling tribesmen, but that is what it will take to make them your allies, blood ties are the rule in those lands of the clans.
In the meantime, there is nothing but ‘the noise of politicians running around’, to paraphrase Lou Reed in his anthem to an era “Heroin”. In the meantime we have to watch them on the tube making squawking sounds.

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