EJ Dionne Jr
"America is now a country where social conservatives are as comfortable as liberals with the idea of women in high office. More strikingly, they’re comfortable voting for working mothers..." - Ross Douthat
"Certainly there's no good news for Gulf business owners. They've been trying to get BP to process their claims. BP today said that they're on the way. These are the two big lies in life, remember? The check is in the mail, and I won't spurt in your gulf." –Bill Maher
"This week we had primaries and they say this is 'The Year of the Woman.' The women dominated. As opposed to the last election cycle, which was 'The Year of the Closeted Gay Republican.'" –Bill Maher
$1 trillion of minerals. That's more than enough for every citizen to get a satellite TV dish and a new Toyota pick-up! "The report, which was produced by the American military and the United States Geological Survey, found that Afghanistan had at least $1 trillion in mineral wealth. In a news conference primarily with Afghan reporters, President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman, Waheed Omar, described the report as “the best news we have had over many years in Afghanistan.”
“The Afghan government is actively looking to its Ministry of Mines, to its Ministry of Commerce and to other entities in the Afghan government to start to bring these to the benefit of the Afghan people,” he said."
Our counterinsurgency thingy isn't going so well, it would take years to actually do what Gen McChrystal hopes to do in Kandahar Province in a few months, and if lucrative mineral rights get involved, you will never be able to develop an honest government in the area. As Blake Hounshell, in Foreign Policy,points out: "But I'm (a) skeptical of that $1 trillion figure; (b) skeptical of the timing of this story, given the bad news cycle, and (c) skeptical that Afghanistan can really figure out a way to develop these resources in a useful way. It's also worth noting, as Risen does, that it will take years to get any of this stuff out of the ground, not to mention enormous capital investment." He also said that the US Geological report has been on its website for the last three years, and it also has been on the Afghan Ministry of Mines website. Why is it news all of a sudden, reported in the Times? Something stinks...
So, our military stays until lucrative contracts have been signed by the most corrupt division in the Afghan government ( there was a $30 million bribe by the Chinese for a copper contract. The minister was fired, but the contract was given to the Chinese, and the bribe was not returned), then the country gets developed by giant international companies who strip mine the hell out of the mountains, flushing out any hiding places for extremists who want to impose sharia law somewhere. Because the new wealth will corrupt any Taliban, who will find it easier to rest their bones in hot tubs and drive Mercedes to and fro into Pakistan, buying their turbans on some local version of Home Shopping Network... The US figures that greed will have a more stabilizing force on the population, because the mineral deposits are in some of the Taliban strongholds. So quit the Taliban and get on the gravy train; besides, the Taliban leadership are safely living hundreds of miles away from the fighting, telling you what to do by cell-phone, cowards that they are...
more ships to gaza...
sending two aid ships to Gaza. The ships are said to be filled with toys, clothing, construction supplies, and anything else they can think that will embarrass the Israeli government. The ships will be crewed by young volunteers who were offended by the commando raid on the turkish ship, and are willing to spark incitement for a similar situation to happen on their ships. Already there are calls by hot-headed Israelis to blow the ships out of the water, because they must be carrying guns for Hamas, neatly falling into the trap and what Iran is hoping for, more martyrdom of innocent people. Oh yeah, they might be allowed to unload without incident, deflating the whole affair, but then again, it's supposed to be a humanitarian gesture for the poor people of Palestine, who once again will be used as pawns... as a piece of street-theater, it should be interesting.