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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 03:48 PM
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Any Hillary supporter who wants to talk about Bernie's age would do well to remember . . .

. . . that should Hillary get the nomination, she will almost certainly be running against a younger -- possibly considerably younger -- Republican opponent. Hillary is only 6 years younger than Bernie. Ben Carson is the oldest one of the bunch, and he's 63. Jeb Bush, at 62, is five years younger than Hillary. Scott Walker is 47; Rand Paul is 52; Carly Fiorina is 60; Graham is 59; Cruz is 44 . . . do I need to continue? You really might want to think twice before you go down that particular path! Just sayin'.
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed May 27, 2015, 08:37 PM (15 replies)

About that violinist on the derailed train many were so quick to pillory. . .

I posted the article linked in the original thread on this topic to Facebook. An ex of mine (whom I am still good friends with), who is also a classical violinist (and a staunch and politically active Democrat in Putnam County, NY), and who happens to know Jennifer Kim, responded as follows:

Jennifer used to be a member of the American Symphony Orchestra, until she moved down to DC. She is such a sweet, gentle person - and a wonderful violinist and colleague. The only things callous on her are the fingertips of her left hand! Our violins are not only our voice, they are irreplaceable works of art as well. If my 315 year baby was on that train, I'm sure I would have reacted similarly. Jennifer certainly doesn't need social media shaming for her reaction.

And another violinist, a friend of my ex's, also chimed in:

I remember Jennifer. I heard about this nonsense earlier today. Only people who have no clue what it's like to be a professional string player and/or someone who is in shock would react badly to this. Could she have not tweeted this, of course. Was it I bad taste the way it was written, yes. But understanding who she is, what she does, and what she has just been through changes everything.
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu May 14, 2015, 12:17 AM (137 replies)

Sy Hersh Stunner: The Killing of Osama bin Laden

Hersch exposes a series of self-serving lies, as well as double crossings, on the part of the President regarding the killing of bin Laden. Bin Laden's location was not discovered by our crack CIA, but by a walk-in tip from a Pakistani official, he wasn't 'hiding out' in Abbottabad, but had been held in custody by Pakistan since 2006, the Pakistani intelligence services were fully aware of the raid in advance, and even made sure the Seal helicopters would be able to fly in over Pakistani airspace without triggering an alert, bin Laden was not armed and there was no firefight with the Seals, the story about removing garbage bags full of computers and Al Qaeda operational materials was a fiction concocted to justify killing bin Laden rather than taking him into custody, since he was no longer operationally relevant -- it was a premeditated hit. And the President, in making an immediate public announcement of the killing over the objections of Secretary Gates, violated an agreement that had been made with two Pakistani intelligence officials who had cooperated with the raid and without whose efforts the raid would not have been possible. And there's more. From the London Review of Books:

[font size=5]The Killing of Osama bin Laden[/font]

Seymour M. Hersh

< . . . . >

Five days after the raid the Pentagon press corps was provided with a series of videotapes that were said by US officials to have been taken from a large collection the Seals had removed from the compound, along with as many as 15 computers. Snippets from one of the videos showed a solitary bin Laden looking wan and wrapped in a blanket, watching what appeared to be a video of himself on television. An unnamed official told reporters that the raid produced a ‘treasure trove … the single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever’, which would provide vital insights into al-Qaida’s plans. The official said the material showed that bin Laden ‘remained an active leader in al-Qaida, providing strategic, operational and tactical instructions to the group … He was far from a figurehead [and] continued to direct even tactical details of the group’s management and to encourage plotting’ from what was described as a command-and-control centre in Abbottabad. ‘He was an active player, making the recent operation even more essential for our nation’s security,’ the official said. The information was so vital, he added, that the administration was setting up an inter-agency task force to process it: ‘He was not simply someone who was penning al-Qaida strategy. He was throwing operational ideas out there and he was also specifically directing other al-Qaida members.’

These claims were fabrications: there wasn’t much activity for bin Laden to exercise command and control over. The retired intelligence official said that the CIA’s internal reporting shows that since bin Laden moved to Abbottabad in 2006 only a handful of terrorist attacks could be linked to the remnants of bin Laden’s al-Qaida. ‘We were told at first,’ the retired official said, ‘that the Seals produced garbage bags of stuff and that the community is generating daily intelligence reports out of this stuff. And then we were told that the community is gathering everything together and needs to translate it. But nothing has come of it. Every single thing they have created turns out not to be true. It’s a great hoax – like the Piltdown man.’ The retired official said that most of the materials from Abbottabad were turned over to the US by the Pakistanis, who later razed the building. The ISI took responsibility for the wives and children of bin Laden, none of whom was made available to the US for questioning.

‘Why create the treasure trove story?’ the retired official said. ‘The White House had to give the impression that bin Laden was still operationally important. Otherwise, why kill him? A cover story was created – that there was a network of couriers coming and going with memory sticks and instructions. All to show that bin Laden remained important.’

In July 2011, the Washington Post published what purported to be a summary of some of these materials. The story’s contradictions were glaring. It said the documents had resulted in more than four hundred intelligence reports within six weeks; it warned of unspecified al-Qaida plots; and it mentioned arrests of suspects ‘who are named or described in emails that bin Laden received’. The Post didn’t identify the suspects or reconcile that detail with the administration’s previous assertions that the Abbottabad compound had no internet connection. Despite their claims that the documents had produced hundreds of reports, the Post also quoted officials saying that their main value wasn’t the actionable intelligence they contained, but that they enabled ‘analysts to construct a more comprehensive portrait of al-Qaida’.

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Posted by markpkessinger | Sun May 10, 2015, 09:38 PM (79 replies)

Regardless of whether you support HIllary or Bernie, I hope we can all agree. . .

. . . that the Democratic Party looks pretty good right now. I mean, we have two very different potential nominees, both of them serious and substantive (irrespective of what anybody may think of either one). Meanwhile, the other side is closing in on 20 potential nominees, and every one is either a lunatic, an egomaniac, a sociopath or a retread -- or some combination thereof!
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed May 6, 2015, 03:55 PM (11 replies)

VIDEO: Fox Issues Startling On-Air Retraction: 'Nobody Has Been Shot'

Internal conversation at Fox News:

Exec #1: Let's see . . . things are quieting down in Baltimore. But surely we can find a way to milk this story a little more. Any ideas?

Exec #2: HEY, I KNOW! Let's make a false report of a cop shooting a fleeing African American, wait an hour to see what happens, and then retract it, claiming it was a 'mistake!'

Exec #1: Yeah, that's the ticket!

[font size=5]VIDEO: Fox Issues Startling On-Air Retraction: 'Nobody Has Been Shot'[/font]

Fox News host Shepard Smith issued a startling on-air retraction on Monday, saying the channel had "screwed up" when a reporter said an hour earlier that he'd witnessed a black man being shot while running from Baltimore police.

"What's happened is we screwed up what it sounds like," Smith said. "I can tell you one thing, Mike Tobin would never — I've been through this. Mike Tobin thought he saw somebody get shot. And there was a gun. And there was a patient on a stretcher. And there was a woman who said she saw the cops gun him down and there's gonna be violence and all the rest of that. And what we have is nothing."

"Nobody has been shot," Smith said. "No police officer pulled the trigger."

Smith said the conditions were unusual and that the news crew had made an "honest" mistake.

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Posted by markpkessinger | Mon May 4, 2015, 07:14 PM (1 replies)

Kent State and Baltimore: A sad parallel

With tomorrow marking the 45th anniversary of the tragic events at Kent State, I cannot help but to see a very sad parallel in the way many Americans reacted to those events at the time and the way many have reacted to the events in Baltimore in recent days. 45 years ago, many Americans responded to the deaths of four college students, and the wounding of nine more, at the hands of the Ohio National Guard, with an attitude of, "It's about time they started shooting some of these dirty, smelly hippies." They focused on the violence of the anti-war protesters that had occurred in the days leading up to the shootings, while remaining willfully ignorant of the violence being perpetrated by our government on the people of Southeast Asia, as well as on a generation of Americans that was being forced to serve as cannon fodder in a totally unjustifiable war. Today, many Americans have chosen to focus on the violence of the demonstrations in Baltimore, while remaining willfully ignorant of the pattern of violence and oppression levied against a particular community, of which the death of Freddie Gray has become such a potent symbol. We never learn.
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun May 3, 2015, 08:26 PM (4 replies)
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