Iraq: Things keep getting worse

bq.. Weve lost this war. We’ve literally lost entire swaths of Iraqi territory to the insurgents. We’ve empowered Al Qaida and Islamist militants with new recruits and pictures of prison torture and rape to fuel their cause. We”ve stretched our military thin, hurt recruitment, made it impossible to respond to actual threats.

In short, this is the biggest political and military blunder this country has faced since — I’ll let the historians decide when. But as things are going, this is going to have worse repercussions for our nation than Vietnam ever did.

>> ‘Daily Kos’:

p. Or as a Newsweek headline put it, ‘Its worse then you think’:

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Some cows have it good

bq.. For the developing world, *farm subsidies are slow-motion weapons of mass destruction.* Yesterday�s ‘WTO agreement’: is the first multilateral deal in a decade that pledges reductions. If it holds, much could change � but it could also mean new pressures for adherence to international IP laws.

In 1994 developing countries made a deal at the WTO. In exchange for TRIPS (the Trade Related Intellectual Property Agreement), they were supposed to get major reductions in agricultural and textile subsidies.

It was a bad deal. The world got TRIPS, but it didn’t get much of the agricultural reform that was promised. Europe, the United States, and Japan have mostly moved backward on agriculture since 1994. *The average European cow lives on $2.50 a day subsidy when 3 billion people live under $2 a day.* The average Japanese cow, meanwhile, lives on a healthy $7.50 a day[1], rather like a college student.

But yesterday’s deal is a new hope. It agrees most prominently to reductions in cotton subsidies. We in the U.S. pay out $4 billion a year to 25,000 cotton farmers who then produce $3 billion a year in cotton. That’s $160,000 per farmer — we’d save alot of money by just opening a federal amusment park that employs everyone in the cotton industry.

>> ‘Lawrence Lessing: An agreement that may change the world’:

Read moreSome cows have it good

Iraq Update

The US has managed to bumble its way up shit creek in Iraq spectacularly, as ‘predicted many months earlier’: Just about every report in the ‘NYTimes coverage of Iraq’: is negative. The NYTimes is supposed to be somewhat ‘left leaning’, so to balance that lets see say about ‘4500 other news sources’: to get a broader overview of the whole Iraq/US mess. Nope, not a single positive news item anywhere as far as the eye can see. Hell, even Fox News, that bastion of goodness, freedom and American Pie has been bashing Bush and co. _softly, with padded sticks_, but it’s a start nonetheless.

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the Iraq misadventure

bq. >Can I ask you a question about what is happening over there.

>As of today, there is more horrific mayhem in Iraq.

>What do you folks make of this? I really do not trust our media

>to represent the truth. How do the Pakistan people in general

>feel about the US being there? If you have time to respond,

>it would be appreciated. If others there have comments they

>also would be appreciated. Thanks, Dave

Read morethe Iraq misadventure


Long ago, in centuries gone past, England was famous for its fish and chips. No more! Balti shops have stormed the maignot line and taken over in Birmingham. It takes a brave soul to venture into a Balt shop, for the recipe for making Balti is basically to chuck whatever meat is at hand into, you guessed it, a Balti with lots of ghee/oil and spices and stir it for 20 minutes. Voila, its the poor mans karahi! -Some- Many people claim its a Kashmiri dish, but thats just a attempt to give this fast food atrocity an exotic sounding lineage.

So we went hunting for fish and chips, and in between the hundred’s of balti shops finally came across a few. But as I said to MO, if the fish and chip shop is also selling donor kebabs and cheeseburgers, its just not cricket. Fish and chips was just about the only enduring worthwhile British tradition, so it’s a sad loss. I know they have all these funny superstitions and rituals involving this old woman in a big house, but I figure it must be some strange tribal custom which they’ll outgrow as Britain integrates into the world. But damnit, why the fish!

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John Kerry

John Kerry seems to have become the Democratic “canidate”: for president. Anyone who could make this speech back in ’71 has my vote:

bq.. …We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country, we could be quiet, we could hold our silence, we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel, because of what threatens this country, not the reds, but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out.

…We are asking Americans to think about that, because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

…We are here to ask, and we are here to ask vehemently, where are the leaders of our country? Where is the leadership? We’re here to ask where are McNamara, Rostow, Bundy, Gilpatrick, and so many others? Where are they now that we, the men they sent off to war, have returned? These are the commanders who have deserted their troops. And there is no more serious crime in the laws of war.

>> “Democracy Now: John Kerry Then: Hear Kerry’s Historic 1971 Testimony Against the Vietnam War”:

p. If you change Vietnam to Iraq, and the names of the officials to Rumsfield and co. then this speech could have been written for today’s war. At the most a para needs to be deleted.

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You see, the trouble is, Im not actually American …

Articulates brilliantly what people all over the world have been feeling about the American preoccupation with terror and their ham fisted way of dealing with it. Sometimes it seems like this entire war on terror is just a big pacifier for the so called American people. To call it a blinkers like they have on … Read moreYou see, the trouble is, Im not actually American …

U.S. Rejects Iraqi Plan to Hold Census by Summer

The U.S. seems to have exported “Catch-22”: to Iraq: bq.. BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 3 : Iraqi census officials devised a detailed plan to count the country’s entire population next summer and prepare a voter roll that would open the way to national elections in September. But American officials say they rejected the idea, and the … Read moreU.S. Rejects Iraqi Plan to Hold Census by Summer