This blog will chronicle my comments and other critical articles, cartoons and videos. Time has come for us to put America first and Party 2nd. This page will have the good, bad and ugly of Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians alike, but will always offer pluralistic solutions effective June 8, 2012

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Who created Talibans?

Grisly Peshawar Slaughter - Who Created Taliban, Who Still Funds Them?
liban-who-still-funds-them/ 16, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci - LD) Taliban militants stormed an army public school in the northern city of Peshawar, killing over 100, including many young students. It is believed up to 10 militants took part in the attack, dressed as soldiers to first infiltrate the school's grounds before beginning the attack. 

While the details of the attack are forthcoming, the background of the Taliban and the persistent threat it represents is well established, though often spun across the Western media. 

Who Put the Taliban into Power? Who is Funding them Now? 

In the 1980's the United States, Saudi Arabia, and elements within the then Pakistani government funneled millions of dollars, weapons, equipment, and even foreign fighters into Afghanistan in a bid to oust Soviet occupiers. Representatives of this armed proxy front would even visit the White House, meeting President Ronald Reagan personally. "Mujaheddin" would successfully expel the Soviet Union and among the many armed groups propped up by the West and its allies, the Taliban would establish primacy over Kabul. While Western media would have the general public believe the US rejected the Taliban, never intending them to come to power, it should be noted that the Afghans who visited Reagan in the 1980's would not be the last to visit the US and cut deals with powerful American corporate-financier interests. 

In 1997, Taliban representatives would find themselves in Texas, discussing a possible oil pipeline with energy company Unocal (now merged with Chevron). The BBC would report in a 1997 article titled, "Taleban in Texas for talks on gas pipeline," that:
A senior delegation from the Taleban movement in Afghanistan is in the United States for talks with an international energy company that wants to construct a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan.
A spokesman for the company, Unocal, said the Taleban were expected to spend several days at the company's headquarters in Sugarland, Texas.
Image: Unocal, now merged with Chevron, had attempted to build a pipeline across Afghanistan in cooperation with the Taliban and with the expressed backing of the US government - then operating under the Clinton administration. 

However, it was already claimed by the US that the Taliban had been "harboring" Osama Bin Laden since 1996, and had branded the Taliban's human rights record as "despicable." The Telegraph in an artile titled, "Oil barons court Taliban in Texas," would report (emphasis added): 
The Unocal group has one significant attraction for the Taliban - it has American government backing. At the end of their stay last week, the Afghan visitors were invited to Washington to meet government officials. The US government, which in the past has branded the Taliban's policies against women and children "despicable", appears anxious to please the fundamentalists to clinch the lucrative pipeline contract. The Taliban is likely to have been impressed by the American government's interest as it is anxious to win international recognition. So far, it has been recognised only by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
It is clear that to the West, as they were during the proxy war against the Soviets, and during attempts to forge an oil pipeline across Afghan territory, the Taliban remain a tool, not an ally - to be used and abused whenever and however necessary to advance Wall Street and Washington's agenda - a self-serving Machiavellian agenda clearly devoid of principles. 

This can be seen in play, even now as the Taliban serve as a proxy force to torment the West's political enemies in Pakistan with and serve as a perpetual justification for military intervention in neighboring Afghanistan

The Global Post would reveal in a 2009 investigative report that the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan was mostly funded via redirected US aid. The report titled, "Who is funding the Afghan Taliban? You don’t want to know," would state: 
It is the open secret no one wants to talk about, the unwelcome truth that most prefer to hide. In Afghanistan, one of the richest sources of Taliban funding is the foreign assistance coming into the country.
The report would also reveal that Taliban members were in the capital city of Kabul, directly involved in redirecting the funds, apparently under the nose of occupying NATO forces:  
A shadowy office in Kabul houses the Taliban contracts officer, who examines proposals and negotiates with organizational hierarchies for a percentage. He will not speak to, or even meet with, a journalist, but sources who have spoken with him and who have seen documents say that the process is quite professional.  
The manager of an Afghan firm with lucrative construction contracts with the U.S. government builds in a minimum of 20 percent for the Taliban in his cost estimates. The manager, who will not speak openly, has told friends privately that he makes in the neighborhood of $1 million per month. Out of this, $200,000 is siphoned off for the insurgents.
Image: Could the longest war in American history be owed in part to the fact
that the US is "accidentally" funding their enemy 1 billion USD a year? 
But the narrative of the "accidental" funding of Taliban militants in Afghanistan is betrayed when examining their counterparts in Pakistan and their source of funding. While the US funds roughly a billion USD a year to the Taliban in Afghanistan "accidentally," their allies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia are confirmed to be funding the Taliban in Pakistan.

In the Guardian's article, "WikiLeaks cables portray Saudi Arabia as a cash machine for terrorists," the US State Department even acknowledges that Saudi Arabia is indeed funding terrorism in Pakistan:  

Saudi Arabia is the world's largest source of funds for Islamist militant groups such as the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba – but the Saudi government is reluctant to stem the flow of money, according to Hillary Clinton.

"More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups," says a secret December 2009 paper signed by the US secretary of state. Her memo urged US diplomats to redouble their efforts to stop Gulf money reaching extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide," she said.

Three other Arab countries are listed as sources of militant money: Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
Pakistani terror organization Lashkar-e-Jhangvi - which maintains ties to the Taliban - has also been financially linked to the Persian Gulf monarchies. Stanford University's "Mapping Militant Organizations: Lashkar-e-Jhangvi," states under "External Influences:" 
LeJ has received money from several Persian Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates[25] These countries funded LeJ and other Sunni militant groups primarily to counter the rising influence of Iran's revolutionary Shiism.  
Astonishingly, despite these admission, the US still works politically, financially, economically, and even militarily in tandem with these very same state-sponsors of rampant, global terrorism. In fact, Wall Street and Washington are among the chief architects and beneficiaries of this global terrorism. 

Just as in Libya and Syria where the US and its Persian Gulf allies funded terrorist fronts in bids to overthrow each nation's respective governments, this unholy alliance is working in Pakistan to create a militant front with which to menace political groups in Islamabad and reorder the country to reflect and serve their collective interests. And just as in Syria now, where the US feigns to be locked in battle with terrorists of their own creation, the fact that the US is funding their own enemy billions of dollars while allegedly fighting them in Afghanistan creates a perpetual conflict justifying their continued intervention in the region - overtly and covertly. 

When a terrorist attack is carried out in Pakistan by the "Taliban," it must then be looked at through this lens of global geopolitical reality. Attempts by the Western media to reduce this recent attack to mere "extremism," preying on global audiences emotionally, provides impunity for the state-sponsors of the Taliban - those funding, arming, and directing their operations across the region, and then benefiting from their horrific consequences.

It appears, just as in Libya, Syria, and Iraq, the West and its allies are waging a proxy war in Pakistan as well. Attempts to exploit the tragedy in Peshawar compound this insidious agenda. Those across Pakistan's political landscape must understand that their is no line these foreign interests are unwilling to cross in achieving their agenda - be it a line crossed at a perceived ally's expense, or a perceived enemy's expense. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Torturer Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney has no problems if our soldiers are captured and tortured by rogue nations. Did he ask the permission from the folks whose spouse, parent, kid or sibling who is serving in the armed forces can be tortured, should they be caught by the enemy? I hope our veterans will hold him accountable for his irresponsible statements. Shame on our civility, this man has pulled us down.  Mike Ghouse


TEXAS FAITH: Is torture ever justified as an instrument of American policy in a dangerous world?
Wayne Slater Follow @WayneSlater Email
Published: December 16, 2014 3:21 pm
A new Senate report has rekindled the debate over enhanced interrogation, or torture – an issue of profound political, social and moral implications. We know the context: enhanced interrogation was a desperate attempt to prevent another 9-11. It worked or didn’t. It was used sparingly or wasn’t.
In retrospect, some religious voices make a clear case that torture is immoral and should never be used. Others say that even if immoral in full or in part, the 39 captives subjected to it should be viewed against the larger evil of 3,000 people killed on 9-11.
Mark Tooley, a frequent commentator on matters of religion and politics, writes this: We can be confident of course in God’s love for all people. But until God sets forth the new heavens and new earth, temporal security will indeed require threats of harm or weapons of war.
He notes that unvarnished torture is practiced by tyrannical regimes and murderous terrorists, often on innocents who don’t share a particular political or religious view. He suggests it’s justified as a necessary evil in order to prevent a greater evil. Obviously, there is a strong, religiously based counterview – some things cross a line, are morally repugnant, never acceptable.
This week’s question is simple, and hard.
What does your faith say about enhanced interrogation – about torture – as an instrument of American policy in a dangerous world?
As expected, our Texas Faith panel of theologians, clergy, activists and experts take a dim view of torture — but come to their views from various traditions that are guaranteed to provoke thought. 
MIKE GHOUSE: President, Foundation for Pluralism and speaker on interfaith matters, Dallas
Torture is reprehensible and should not be an instrument of American policy. We are a civil society and to remain civil, we should act civil.
After the battle of Trenton, General Washington issued an order to his troops regarding prisoners of war: “Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain of our copying the brutal example of the British Army in their treatment of our unfortunate brethren who have fallen into their hands,” he wrote. In all respects the prisoners were to be treated no worse than American soldiers; and in some respects, better. Through this approach, Washington sought to shame his British adversaries, and to demonstrate the moral superiority of the American cause.
By legitimizing, “he would do it again” VP Dick Cheney has shamelessly approved other nations torturing our soldiers. Did he ask permission from the folks that the rogue nations can torture their spouse, parent, kid or sibling caught by the enemy? He has the guts to say they would rather “behead.” The VP indicates his bias towards one ignoring other nations. I hope our veterans will hold him accountable for his thoughtless statements.
We are also a party to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of prisoners of war.
What does Quran say about torture?
Finding the truth is one’s own responsibility, it gives clarity and peace of mind knowing that the causer of life, the creator God is kind and merciful.
Verse 9:5 is projected in the market as, “When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them and lie in ambush everywhere for them.”
The story goes like this, when you hear me say, “I will kill you” you get all worked up and become aggressive. What an intelligent human would have done was recall what I said before “I will kill you”, and that would be, “don’t rob me or don’t dare to throw me out of my home.” If he keeps coming after you; you repeat the warning and add if you do that, I will kill you” followed by these words, “If you back off or repent, I will not attack back at you, and the bonus, if you ask for forgiveness, I will forgive you.”
This is the formula in Quran for literally every such verse.
9:5  And so, when the sacred months are over , slay those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God wherever you may come upon them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every conceivable place! Yet if they repent, and take to prayer, and render the purifying dues, let them go their way: for, behold, God is much forgiving, a dispenser of grace.
What was said before verse 9:5?
9:4 But excepted shall be from among those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God – [people] with whom you [O believers] have made a covenant and who thereafter have in no wise failed to fulfill their obligations towards you, and neither have aided anyone against you: observe, then, your covenant with them until the end of the term agreed with them.  Verily, God loves those who are conscious of Him.
After verse 9:5
9:6 And if any of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God seeks thy protection,  grant him protection, so that he might [be able to] hear the word of God [from thee]; and thereupon convey him to a place where he can feel secure: this, because they [may be] people who [sin only because they] do not know [the truth].
1. The Quran had been purposely mistranslated down through history. In the middle Ages, European leaders commissioned a hostile Quran translation to foster warfare against Muslim invaders. Later, Muslim leaders produced another translation to inflame Muslims against Christians and Jews. It was all for politics.  Thank God the Arabic version has remained intact and better translations are produced now – the best one is by Muhammad Asad.
2. The biggest Muslim problem is they have equated the words of a few medieval scholars as word of God. Muslims have started denouncing their work. Two Islams – Mangled up and Pristine –
3.  Prophet Muhammad was called a mercy to mankind, meaning he was kind and merciful to humanity, all humanity, not just Muslims. The bad things about him are “cooked up” and Muslims are becoming increasingly aware of it, and resorting to just Quran as the source of guidance. Quran is not for Muslims

To read the take of other panelists, please to go to Dallas Morning News at:
# # #

...............................................................................................................................Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is a staunch defender of human rights and his book standing up for others will be out soon, and a movie "Americans together" is in the making.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links and his writings are at and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

Architects of Iraq War

Monday, December 15, 2014

Comedy, Bill O’Reilly and the exposure of right-wing patriotism lies

Everything I wanted to say, not every thing, but most things, are said here in this report.  Some of the quotes are brilliant.

"In those pre-torture report days anyone who criticized the Bush administration was immediately accused of treason."

"Since when did asking questions become unpatriotic?

" Somehow, though, we live in an era when folks like Beck, O’Reilly and Hannity have cornered the market on patriotism."

"He reminded us that being critical can and should be a central feature of active citizenship."
"When the character goes to rest we will lose one of the most important figures in U.S. political comedy of all time."

Enjoy the piece
Mike Ghouse

# # #

The comedian's hyper-patriotic persona was the key to parodying blathering know-nothings like Fox's Bill O'Reilly

Stephen Colbert schooled Fox News hard: Comedy, Bill O'Reilly and the exposure of right-wing patriotism liesStephen Colbert, Bill O'Reilly (Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake/AP/Mark J. Terrill)

As we enter the final days of “The Colbert Report” there is much speculation about what will come next for the comedian when he goes on to host “The Late Show.”  One of the most important shifts for Stephen Colbert will be that he will no longer be performing in character as a parody of a right-wing bloviating pundit.  While that shift might signal a welcome opportunity for greater creative license for Colbert, it’s worth remembering the unique features of Colbert’s character we will soon be losing — features that include Colbert’s special brand of patriotism.
Consider this: When Colbert first launched his new show as a spinoff from “The Daily Show” our nation was awash in the culture of fear that followed the attacks of 9/11.  In those pre-torture report days anyone who criticized the Bush administration was immediately accused of treason.  Those who thought the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were ill-conceived and immoral, who staunchly opposed torture, and who believed our nation depended on an active, inquisitive and critical citizenry were silenced.  In those days it was common to hear of journalists and professors losing their jobs because they had dared to question the administration and ask more of the media.
That was the atmosphere when Colbert took the stage in 2006 to roast President Bush to his face at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Standing only a few feet away from the president, Colbert dealt a scathing blow to the hubris of the administration and the docile media that covered it.  The moment was a real watershed in our nation’s history, because it was the only time in the entire eight years of the Bush administration that anyone had directly critiqued Bush in such detail to his face.
How’d he get away with it? Well, one way he did it was by being a comedian. Behind the mask of satire Colbert was able to impersonate a Bush-loving pundit. He wasn’t disagreeing with anything Bush did — he was exaggerating his enthusiasm.  He was out-Bushing Bush. As he liked to put it: “George Bush: Great president or greatest president?”  Thus one of his favorite ploys was to play the role of the uber-patriot.  Colbert wasn’t going to let Bush and his cronies dictate what it meant to love your country: He was going to outdo them.
Now the right has controlled the idea of patriotism for so long that it is easy to forget that there is no logical reason to think that Rachel Maddow loves her country any less than Glenn Beck.  Since when did asking questions become unpatriotic? When did bursting into tears mean you care? Wasn’t our nation founded by rebels sick of an oligarchy? Somehow, though, we live in an era when folks like Beck, O’Reilly and Hannity have cornered the market on patriotism.
Geoffrey Nunberg reminds us that the right has specifically attacked the patriotism of the left for decades.  And, he notes, the attacks have largely worked.  Ask yourself if the phrase “liberal values” seems weird when compared to “conservative values.” It does, doesn’t it? Nunberg explains that that weirdness is not because the left has no values; it is because the right specifically fought to control the idea of America. Somehow along the way questioning the right became equivalent to questioning your nation.
And that’s where Colbert and his character come in.  Bolstered by the satire of Jon Stewart, whose “America: The Book” served to offer another view of what it means to be American, Colbert developed a character who was ready to reclaim American values for those who think critically.
Entering the conservative pundit fray, Colbert created a show that consistently painted him as hyper-patriotic.  As I explain in “Colbert’s America“ and in “Is Satire Saving Our Nation?,” one of the unique features of Colbert’s satire has been the way he defined his character as an American patriot. From the red, white and blue theme of his set to his two books — “I Am America (And So Can You!)” and “America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t” — Colbert’s character was deeply tied to the idea that it was time to fight to redefine what it means to be patriotic. Colbert’s books were a direct spoof of pundit books like Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Patton,” “Killing Kennedy” and “Killing Lincoln.”  Colbert showed us that not only had we taken for granted the idea that the right defined patriotism, but we had also lost our own language of national values.  He reminded us that being critical can and should be a central feature of active citizenship.
Listen to any right-wing pundit’s show and you will note that it is not possible for any of them to do a segment without suggesting that they are the true patriots and that, by association, the more their audience loves them, the more they love their country. In response Colbert encouraged his fans to be the Colbert Nation. This meant that he could address his fans saying, “Now, Nation …” in a fun pun that could mean his fans or could mean the country as a whole. While adoring their pundit leader, Colbert’s fans could also benefit from the critical thinking offered by satire and by political comedy.  For the first time in decades we had a comedian critiquing the right and suggesting that such critique was the highest form of patriotism. Finally we had someone remind us that you could care about your nation and simultaneously find American exceptionalism disturbing. Colbert showed us that we are the ones that define our national identity and that it was time to get into the game.
All of this was on display when Colbert shot one of his final episodes in Washington, D.C., with special guest President Obama.  The special episode opened with a sequence depicting portraits of famous presidents — except all of them had had Colbert’s face superimposed on them.  He reminded viewers of his many interventions into U.S. politics: his rally on the National Mall with Jon Stewart in 2010; his run for president; his super PAC; his ongoing series “Better Know a District” and more. And then he did the most patriotic thing of all: He let Obama deliver a modified “The Word” segment – dubbed this time “The Decree” –where Obama playfully responded to critiques of the Affordable Care Act and encouraged the young audience to exercise their right to healthcare.
While we can console ourselves with the satirical brilliance of John Oliver on his HBO show, with Jon Stewart’s continuing tenure as host of “The Daily Show,” and with Larry Wilmore’s upcoming “The Nightly Show,” the fact remains that none of them will ever use satire to reclaim America for progressives like Colbert’s character did. When the character goes to rest we will lose one of the most important figures in U.S. political comedy of all time. With a boyish grin and a twinkle in his eye, Colbert reminded us that we are all patriotic when we ask more of our nation, when we refuse the status quo, when we favor truth over hyperbole, and when we remain committed to fighting for our values.
Sophia A. McClennen is Professor of International Affairs and Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania State University. She writes on the intersections between culture, politics, and society. Her latest book, co-authored with Remy M. Maisel, is, Is Satire Saving Our Nation? Mockery and American Politics.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Republicans match post-WWII record after holding two La. House seats

This is a good piece of reading - Obama is not the first president to be in ditches, he just matched the record of Harry Truman. Obama has an outstanding record on economy and job creation. The Republicans tore him down, and the Democrats shamelessly took the punches instead of bragging Obama's record.  The betrayal cost them dearly in the 2014 midterm elections. 

Mike Ghouse

Center for American Politics

# # # Republicans match post-WWII record after holding two La. House seats|

Countesy Fox News:

Republicans matched their party's post-World War II record for most House seats held Saturday night by retaining two Louisiana constituencies in runoff votes. 

The GOP holds 246 seats, compared to 188 for Democrats, with one race, in Arizona's 2nd District, still outstanding. The 246 seats match the total the GOP had in 1947-49 when Harry S. Truman occupied the White House.

Republican physician Ralph Abraham won Louisiana’s 5th District congressional seat, defeating Monroe's Democratic Mayor Jamie Mayo. The seat was lost last month by GOP incumbent Rep. Vance McAllister, who was caught up in scandal after a video emerged that showed him kissing a woman who was not his wife.

Republican Party of Louisiana Chairman Roger Villere said Abraham “will be an excellent advocate for northeast Louisiana in Congress and a leader that Republicans can be proud of.”

Mayo, who has been the mayor of Monroe for 13 years, was the most prominent Democrat in last month's nine-candidate open race but a long-shot on Saturday in the runoff between the top-two vote-getters.

Republicans were divided in the Nov. 4 election but united behind Abraham going into the runoff.

In the Pelican State's 6th District congressional race, Republican Garret Graves, who most recently served as GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal's coastal restoration chief, defeated former Democratic Gov. Edwin Edwards, ending the 87-year-old's hopes of a political comeback after more than eight years in prison.

Villere said Graves ran “a tremendous campaign” and that “Louisiana voters will be well served by Garret and his leadership in Congress.”

In the midterm election rout, House Republicans prevailed on Democratic turf, netting 12 seats and winning in New York, Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire and Iowa. Republican challengers knocked out long-term Democratic incumbents in Georgia and West Virginia, seats that the GOP now could hold for generations as the party maintains its stranglehold on the South.

The GOP had entered the Nov. 4 midterm elections with a 234-201 edge. Democrats had held out hope of minimizing their losses despite Obama's low popularity and historic losses for the party occupying the White House. Democrats did manage to win three Republican-held seats in California, Florida and Nebraska, but Republicans had far greater success around the country.

Obama suffered an ignominious distinction. His party lost 63 seats in 2010 and then 12 more this year, and he is now the two-term president with the most midterm defeats, edging past Truman's 74.

There's still an automatic recount in a Democratic-held district in the Tucson, Arizona-area. Rep. Ron Barber trails Republican challenger Martha McSally by fewer than 200 voters.

If McSally wins, Republicans would have 247 seats, the largest majority since 1929-31 when the GOP controlled 270 seats in President Herbert Hoover's administration.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Clooney said the same thing I said back on November 4

Here it is:

Obama pulled the country out of disaster, unemployment is low, he passed equal pay for women act, but Republicans have rejected it. | The GDP has leaped forwards to 4.6% | Gas prices are below $3, how many people will thank him during the thanksgiving and Christmas holidays | Home foreclosures have gone down | 10 million new jobs have been created | Budget deficit is in checks | He will leave a good solid infrastructure of roads and bridges to last for another 30 years | Imagine the Romney presidency, he would have bombed Iran, but screwed American to the end, he would have finished the wreck Bush left, thanks to Obama for saving Americans from another disaster.

Obama has an impressive record but his folks did not make a big deal out of these and let themselves run down by the Republicans.