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  • kapock commented on the blog post US To Stay In Afghanistan Indefinitely

    2014-10-01 15:01:12View | Delete

    They’ve made it clear for years that they would stay until 2024 at least. It was just a question of how many and what bases, etc.

    That’s definitely true. It was always the media interpreting the purposeful double talk about “combat” troops vs. the other kind (whatever they are) and the like that led to reports that the plan was to leave Afghanistan this year (or any declared date). I honestly don’t know whether the White House/Pentagon desired the media to put that particular misinformation out there, but they certainly never actively pushed back against it.

    Since it’s back in the news: it’s more clear to me than ever that without Bush’s SOFA, Obama would never have pulled all forces out of Iraq.

  • kapock commented on the blog post US Air Travel Snarled by One Guy Not a Terrorist

    2014-09-30 15:13:43View | Delete

    You don’t see non-contractor government employees showing this kind of initiative.

  • kapock commented on the blog post Satire: Everyone Hates America’s New Album

    2014-09-25 14:45:30View | Delete

    I have their old stuff on vinyl: the new album is just more of the same. And I think Obama is Autotuning.

  • I should have mentioned Vietnam

    And the Philippines: the U.S. has been training ineffective local “patriots” and “democrats” to legitimize and assist with its campaigns to kill and dominate abroad for more than a century,

  • I don’t disagree with you in any way whatsoever on this. I was only observing that the government has an escape route here other than a favorable court decision on its farfetched state secrets argument.

    I may be underestimating the political cost of such a ploy, but if it happens, you read it here first!

  • I’m just going to indulge in repeating something I wrote in a late comment to Kevin’s last post on this case:

    The government has a way to get what it wants here simply by opening its checkbook: the government can offer to indemnify UANI for any damages if UANI agrees to not contest the allegations, and move straight to the question of damages.

    No amount Restis could plausibly get here would put a dent in the vast, unaccountable spy/kill budget, and the political fallout would probably be limited to places like FDL and maybe a 10-minute segment on Chris Hayes.

    Of course, while such a solution would keep secret whatever spooky slime they’re trying to conceal here, it wouldn’t yield a legal precedent for further expansion of “state secrets” unaccountability, and thus lacks a certain charm from the government’s perspective.

  • I just saw Manning’s article on the Guardian site, and came here to see whether Kevin had something about it.

    Of course he did! With context and reaction to boot!

    I’ve respected your contributions here from the start, Kevin, but I think your work is just getting stronger as you gain more experience.

    Manning’s article is also first-rate: a very practical, down-to-earth, and—as Kevin says—level-headed analysis and plan of action. Far from the anti-U.S. screed I would write if given the chance (not that that wouldn’t be well grounded factually; just less useful). She seems to be a really remarkably intelligent person. Combined with her courage and principles, it’s a tremendous loss for us that she is incarcerated.

    I’m not sure why there is no link in this post to Manning’s Guardian piece. Maybe there’s a reason; otherwise I suggest inserting one.

  • Shocking case. This is such a novel overreach that it isn’t too hard to imagine the court knocking it down.

    The courts being what they are, I certainly wouldn’t bet on the government losing this secrecy bid, especially on appeal, should it come to that. But it’s relatively plausible, I think, which makes me wonder if a loss in court would really mean this information gets out.

    This is just a civil defamation case, after all. If the government takes its own national security argument seriously, it could just promise to indemnify UANI, and tell them not to contest the underlying case. UANI could still contest damages, which I think wouldn’t involve these troublesome secrets, and the government could then indemnify UANI for the damages to Restis et al. from the limitless, unaccountable security/defense/anti-terror budget.

    Such a workaround would be outrageous, of course, but it wouldn’t be in the interest of the establishment to make a big deal out of it, so it wouldn’t become a political problem, I’d guess.

  • I am still waiting for the Peace Dividend.

    If you want to see the peace dividend, go to Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, soon Syria, who knows where else, and look up: the skies are full of it, with pieces of it occasionally falling noisily to earth,

  • I wouldn’t bet on the factual basis of the minister’s statement: the Ukrainian leaders seem to have an irresistible urge to fill any microphone they happen to be standing next to with whatever they’d like us to believe.

    It’s not in the Reuters article linked, but I heard elsewhere that this minister (or maybe another one), also threatened to develop nuclear weapons to counter Russia. I guess anything goes as long as you are playing the part assigned you by the White House/State Dept., and the media is glad to co-operate by burying anything off-color, even a threat of nuclear proliferation.

  • kapock commented on the blog post A Surprisingly Weak Primary Victory for Andrew Cuomo

    2014-09-10 16:47:53View | Delete

    Ditto, except as of now I’m planning to vote for Repub Astorino in November. If he wins, it will be understood to be as much the work of the left as of the right.

    I don’t know much about Astorino, but I don’t see why he, as a mainstream Westchester County Repub, should hold any special terror for me relative to Cuomo.

  • kapock commented on the diary post Pull Up a Chair: Last Night on Earth by Elliott.

    2014-09-06 07:50:43View | Delete

    I just want to take this final opportunity to tell you all how much I despise the whole villainous lot of you …

    … wait, the damn rock’s already gone by?? I meant, admire you—love and admire.

  • kapock commented on the diary post Update on “Suicide” of Handcuffed Man in LA by OldFatGuy.

    2014-09-02 19:46:08View | Delete

    And where, precisely, was the gun found? Will forensic examination confirm it could have gotten there when dropped by White after he shot himself? Or could it reveal it was dropped to make it look like he did so? I understand there may be no answers to any of these questions at this point, but [...]

  • kapock commented on the diary post Update on “Suicide” of Handcuffed Man in LA by OldFatGuy.

    2014-09-02 19:33:28View | Delete

    One thing that has bothered me about the coverage of this case (someone please correct me if I’ve missed it): There is never any mention of the weapon itself. I mean, I assume even the cops aren’t contending he did all this while handcuffed and then hid the gun . So what about it? Whose is it? [...]

  • kapock commented on the blog post Come Saturday Morning: Some Good News

    2014-08-30 07:36:03View | Delete

    The Market Basket story is really nice, and congratulations to all the New Englanders who forced this result.

    But, man! This is pretty emblematic of the almost non-existent scope of social justice possible in the U.S. today: workers and consumers mobilize to restore the position of the capitalist who has shown he is personally liberal. I mean, I’m sure medieval serfs always appreciated a lenient lord of the manor, but it isn’t too reassuring if we’ve circled back to the modern equivalent of that being the most we can hope for.

  • The passage of the law itself I can’t forget. Keeping the Abu Ghraib photos under wraps provided the impetus, though in retrospect I shouldn’t be surprised it was applied more broadly.

    And of course I well remember His Hope and Changeness flipping to the suppression side.

  • I never knew that the 2009 law required recertification of the secrecy after three years. Good for the ACLU for continuing to dig.

    I imagine that ultimately the government will come up with enough classified, ex parte scary stuff to give this judge, or failing that the appellate court, cover for keeping this evidence of atrocities buried, but who knows.

  • kapock commented on the diary post So, I Asked the Russian Ambassador What He Thinks of NATO by David Swanson.

    2014-08-28 15:02:05View | Delete

    Most interesting. Thanks, David.

  • There’s been some press the last couple of years about the “Memphis model”: that city’s concerted effort to handle encounters with agitated or mentally ill people in ways where no one gets hurt.

    Basically it’s not the proverbial rocket science to keep these situations from escalating. It just requires the authorities to take it seriously and put people on the scene who have the desire and sense to keep everyone safe.

  • A law was passed that allowed Nazarbayev, and only Nazarbayev, to run for president as many times as he wants – subsequent presidents will be term limited.

    It sounds like Nazarbayev may also be getting advice from Michael Bloomberg.

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