Archive for December, 2007

December 31, 2007

ANDY MARTIN ON “CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR,” GO SEE IT

ANDY MARTIN
Executive Editor
ContrarianCommentary.com

�Factually Correct, Not
Politically Correct�

PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN: A TWO-PART SERIES

PART TWO: “CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR,” GO SEE IT

(CHICAGO)(January 1, 2008) My relationship to the crescent of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan is a rather close one: my existence almost ended there, more than once, and I am sure the worst day of my life was spent in that region. Positively. So the area continues to exert a hold on me.

When I heard that Hollywood had made a movie of George Crile’s book “Charlie Wilson’s War,” I was curious. When I saw that Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times was praising the film as a comedic masterpiece, I knew I had to see the movie.

Having experienced various wars and revolutions over the past forty years, I do not normally see war movies or related topics. I retain my own images, and memories, and photographs of shooting and killing. They are sufficient to remind me of the horrors of conflict. On the other hand, I also know that the bad guys have to be fought and, when you fight the bad guys, you have to win. There is no substitute for victory, no margin for error, no opening for mercy when it comes to eliminating the enemies of peace and freedom. And so I went to see Charlie Wilson’s War.

Go see it.

The film revolves around a Huston socialite who wants to fight the commies, a CIA agent who is a rogue in the finest sense of the term, and a congressman who sees the light and sees to it that The Company gets the means to fight the Russkies.

Now some may question how war, death, and tragedy may be the topic of comedy. I can speak with experience. One of my favorite movies is “Air America,” which is also a madcap comedy, but which comes very close to capturing the goofiness of the “secret war” in Laos and the men who made it happen on a daily basis, Air America pilots. Like CIA agents who want to destroy communism, Air America pilots were not perhaps the type of boys, or men, you would want to bring home to meet your parents. But they had fun, and lived with the insanity of war and the daily prospect of death by laminating insanity to humor and extravagance.

Humor is how people cope with the insanity of war. Taking off from a short runway on the tip of a mountain on a Pilatus Porter is enough to give anyone religion, irrespective of how many times you perform that feat. Likewise, dealing with piles of bodies hacked up in pieces leaves a lasting impression that must be washed away. Somehow. When Kate Webb died last year I had occasion to revisit my memories of my early conflicts. The images are still vivid.

They haven’t made a movie of my activity in that part of the world, yet, but then it would also be laced with moments of utter panic and heapings of sheer levity in the face of extreme danger. And so I went to see Charlie’s War as a kindred spirit.

Afghanistan was a brutal place. In the 1960’s and 70’s the United States and Soviet Union had competed for influence. We even built a highway there. There was an “American colony,” and schools and an expatriate community. All that evaporated in the mid-70’s when the coups, counterattacks and invasions began a downward cycle. I became very close with an expatriate Afghan family, and shared their challenges, including the death of my close friend at the hands of the Northern Alliance (before they were part of our alliance).

The movie actually comes close to presenting the truth in an intelligible sort of way. The arrogant CIA station chief who was following “policy” to bleed the Russians rather than defeat them is a classic example of the mad bureaucrat. The indescribable suffering of civilians caught in the “Great Game” of Cold war conflict is captured. “Gunga Dan” (Rather) of CBS in Afghanistan in full mujaheddin finery. And Charlie Wilson, a liberal congressman on domestic policy but a strong conservative on foreign policy is the unsung hero of the Congress.

The movie documents how the U. S. was committing pitiably small resources to assisting the mujaheddin, and how the deployment of surface-to-air missiles eventually leveled the playing field and chased the Russians out of Afghanistan.

One moral that is not clear in the movie but that is worth noting is that the effort to defeat the Russians was a bipartisan operation. There was none of the hyperpartisanship that we see today in Washington.

After we won the Cold War, we became intoxicated as a nation with our self-proclaimed role as “sole superpower.” One Yale professor wrote arrogantly of the “end of history.” Politicians in both parties decided that the United States had become de facto world master. We are still paying the price for that era of self-delusion.

And we fumbled away our victory in Afghanistan.

“Eternal vigilance if the price of liberty.” In Afghanistan we were lucky that the system, fitfully, worked. Three people came together to spearhead an operation that if it did not win the Cold war certainly contributed to the demise of the Soviet Union. See the movie.

[I will also be doing a special column on the film for Greek-Americans and if you request a copy we will be delighted to send it to you.]
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Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of ContrarianCommentary.com. � Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world events with forty years of experience. He has almost forty years of experience in the Middle East, and is America�s most respected independent foreign policy and intelligence analyst. Andy is currently a candidate for U. S. Senator from Illinois. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. Columns also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; contrariancommentary.wordpress.com. Comments? E-mail: AndyMart20@aol.com. Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites: ContrarianCommentary.com. AndyforUSSenator.com

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(Expecting) Affordable Internet Plans

December 31, 2007

Nowadays, more and more activity and transaction we can do via internet rather than just via conventional way. Indonesia with increasing of Internet usage penetration up to 8.9% (according to Internet World Stat) needs a strong infrastructure to support the growth. Yes, the key is INFRASTRUCTURE to connect user and ISP. Indonesia is not lack of ISP and internet connection choices, especially big cities such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung and other major cities. But that’s all can’t meet demand, supply and buying power of most population.

A most common connection is using dial-up modem with maximum speed of 64Kbps. This connection type is most widely available as it use PSTN network as its medium, and most ISP has dial-up service, prepaid and post paid. But priced at Rp. 165/min (US$ 1 = Rp. 9400) Telkomnet, the mostly used dial up service, we cant really it’s satisfy.

Recently Telkom, the biggest telecommunication provider in Indonesia, has just upgraded some of its network to digital line on some major cities which is available for ADSL-level connection. With ADSL connection the maximum speed can be reach is 512Kbps (downlink) and 64Kbps (uplink). This speed is quite reasonable compare to its price. But as Telkom more focus on its CDMA Telkom Flexi, fixed line expansion growth is almost zero. So area that is not covered yet, we have no idea if Telkom plan to cover it or leave it to be covered by wireless.

Thankfully, there’s more and more public available WiFi. And also some area has local available internet backbone. But as it serve a limited area only, we can not rely and hope them to cover some not-so-promising area such as rural and urban area.

Last choice, the most public available connection, is by wireless company provider (GSM and CDMA). But for its price at average Rp. 12/Kb and Rp. 3-5/Kb for GSM and CDMA respectively, can you imagine if this connection is use for daily activity that may consume up to 1GB data per day ? There is plan for 250MB – 4GB per month, with variance price from one provider to another. As it has limitation, I always feel uncomfortable to use it. There’s unlimited plan price at Rp. 350.000/month with external ISP, but they limit the speed at max. 64Kbps even newest 3G modem is used. Forget the HSDPA and 3G claims for data speed rate !

My last word is, if you’re a wireless internet provider (GSM and CDMA), please consider to launch an affordable internet plan. I think the price should be no more than Rp. 100.000-150.000/month. Be different ! I believe this will bring a very promising revenue for your company.

BBC Censored Benazir Bhutto’s Reports that Bin Laden Had Been Murdered

December 30, 2007

phew–thoughts on another year

December 29, 2007

So, here we sit on the cusp of another year.

I am still planning on taking a road trip out to Massachusetts to the farm, though that nearly didn’t happen. I asked my wonderful mechanic bro A3 to change my oil and flush my transmission for me and upon doing these things he found a few EXPENSIVE other things that needed tending. And being the Boy Wonder that he is, he is fixing everything and footing the bill for my Christmas/Graduation present. He is awesome. However due to the holidays and part stores being closed, my on order parts won’t be in until after the 3rd, so no driving to Buffalo to meet up with B1&B2…

So, I checked Amtrak and found that the train I needed to get there is sold out already…and so what did this young traveler decide on. *Cringe* That is right, I am taking a good old Greyhound to Buffalo to meet up with B1&B2 and then continue on to the farm in their car.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love traveling and I will do it any way possible and sometimes that means buses…but…oh, why can’t taking the bus be as glamorous as it always seems in the movies. Why can’t I while away the hours singing about the family I am soon to meet, or look at the back window and give a peace sign to the man who is in love with me and willing to forgive all my selfish qualms…? Ok. Seriously. I would settle for not having to listen to a baby screaming for three hours and then another passenger yelling at the parent of said child about being a bad parent; I can do without the smell of a mix of urine and sawdust; and could live another lifetime without needing to wake up to the ramblings of an obliviously senile woman–these are all things I encountered my last road trip roundtrip from the farm to MI. in the hot summer of 2003. That bus ride took over 30 hours roundtrip and I swore I would never get on a bus again. I lost. This is what I am willing to do for friends.

So, I set off on the next adventure late tomorrow night, driving through the night, connecting in Cleveland in the early a.m., and then arriving in Buffalo at 5:30 am. B2 is a good friend for promising to get out of bed and come get me.

All this travel that will happen over the next week makes me think of the thrust that has pushed me to this place. I wish I had some deep thoughts today, but I am still feeling the warmness after a brunch with some friends at best friend L’s house. It was nice sitting around with full bellies being grateful for the good food and company and the laughing kids upstairs. L & K’s daughters L (age 5), A (age–almost 3), were playing with my Monster niece S (age 3) and a friend’s daughter E (age 4). The laughs came floating down the stairs like the girls, who were dressed in Disney princess costumes; Monster nephew A sat playing with tinkertoys at the feet of the grown-ups as we discussed the loses of the past year and the deep connections that we have all managed over the past 10 years.

In these times I find I am more thankful in that moment then I have ever been on any Thanksgiving. Today was a good day. And maybe that is the best I can ulger as I face the next year. I would never be the person I am or be where I am without the wonderful family and friends who have spirited me here.

Cheers!

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Benazir Bhutto: US Policy Causes World Terrorism

December 29, 2007

Vote McCain, save the GOP

December 29, 2007

I�m an old-fashioned girl. I like my presidents to be heroes.

I yearn for an astute student of history, policy and diplomacy who walks among us today and not simply in dusty David McCullough biographies.

Because we are in the throes of a national identity crisis in education, globalization, foreign affairs, health care and retirement costs.

This is a time for heroes.

Of the 698 candidates for president, there’s only one whose hair was shocked white at age 29 after broken bones, rope bindings and dysentery courtesy of the North Vietnamese. He refused to be released unless every prisoner of war got the same deal – so there he stayed for more than five years.

That’s far more courage than most of us will ever be called upon to exhibit in a lifetime.

Maybe that’s why it’s been a simple matter of conscience for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to cross party lines hunting for reasonable solutions on campaign finance, immigration and judicial nominees. And why so many people respect him who don�t share his politics.

Maybe that�s why McCain has always cherished freedom � particularly freedom of the press � even in a time when George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton have perfected stonewalling, intimidation and mistrust of the media to an art form.

Maybe that’s why McCain�s humble enough to admit that some of the Machiavellian stunts he’s pulled in his quest to become the next Leader of the Free World – like softening his criticism of the Confederate flag – were just plain wrong.

Those are some of my personal reasons for voting McCain in the Jan. 15 presidential primary, just as thousands of independents did in 2000.

But even if you don�t agree, here’s another overarching reason why you should pull the lever for him.

We need to save the Republican Party. And it’s in the interest of all of us � Democrat, Republican or independent � to do so.

First, the obvious question: Why in the world would Democrats want to do that? Because the status quo of polarization and gridlock benefits no one but lobbyists and interest groups.

There�s no movement on the most important issues of the day � Iraq, immigration and taxes � because compromise is akin to treason. More importantly, it could cost you re-election.

You know we�ve struck nadir when political odd couples like Newt Gingrich and Bob Kerrey hit the talk show circuit bemoaning the bloody death of bipartisanship.

Decades ago, D�s and R�s would dish it out but come together on vital issues, particularly on Cuba, the Soviet Union and the Middle East. Many Republicans like Gerald Ford were considered more liberal on foreign affairs than Democrats. How refreshing.

But since the �80s, an increasingly hysterical minority has conquered the GOP, obsessed with politically irrelevant social issues. (How �bout this: Let the folks who went to med school sort out stem cells and abortion, let Chuck and Larry decide if they want to get hitched and spend some quality time perfecting your own damn marriage).

The result: New frontrunner Mike Huckabee, who honestly says he�s topping the polls because of �the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people.�

No matter how much Dems might salivate over this Christian caricature as the GOP contender, you don�t want him.

We deserve choices. We deserve at least two viable, thoughtful and sane parties. Look at the dearth of options on the D side of the Michigan primary. There are some Democrats I�d consider voting for, but they�re not on the ballot.

The law of averages and political cycles dictate Republicans will win some elections. We shouldn�t have to fear the draconian damage wreaked by extremists like Dick DeVos.

That also means there�s no competition in the marketplace of ideas. All Gov. Jennifer Granholm had to prove last year was that she was more likeable than a guy parodied as a beady-eyed, blueblood inbred. There was no real vision � and look at the mess we�re in now.

John McCain has ideas. You might not agree with them. Although a principled conservative and hawk, he refuses to be held captive by ideology or theology.

Unfortunately, I think he�s swallowed some bad advice, especially from his Mitten State campaign. He joined the fray, kissing the rings of religious right royalty.

Stop. No matter how many Bush henchmen or Swift Boat ad goons McCain hires, the true believers will never forgive him for calling them out in 2000.

It�s not too late to turn things around in Michigan and win the nomination. But if McCain doesn�t, many Republicans I�ve interviewed say they�ll part ways with the narrowing Party of Lincoln.

They�ll join the biggest political party today � no party.

Huckabee�s reaction may be the same as that to godless heathens who don�t get his success: �That�s probably just as well.�

Mine is: What a pity.

19%!

December 29, 2007

Chucklenutz is down to 19% approval (who the FUCK are these “people”?!) just so you know.

UP YOURS NANCY! TAKE IMPEACHMENT OFF THE GODDAMN TABLE BITCH!!!!!!!

3900! WHEN THE FUCK WILL THE INSANITY *END*?!?!?!?

December 29, 2007

3900 DEAD US SOLDIERS (that’s just the ones who died “in theatre” OH GODDAMNIT TO HELLFIRE ON A STICK, don’t you just FUCKING HATE HATE HATE that term!? Like it’s a fucking Shakespear or some shit?!?!?! NO COCKSUCKER, THIS IS ***REAL***!!!!) FOR THE BU$Hitler CRIME FAMILY’S *ILLEGAL* WAR/OCCUPATION OF IRAQ FOR OIL.
(And does ANYONE report ANYTHING from Afghanistan anymore?!?!!?)
Notice something!? The number KEEPS GOING UP! And it will CONTINUE TO GO UP…until this fucking BULLSHIT finally comes to a long overdue end. Beyond belief that it was even allowed to happen in the FIRST FUCKING PLACE.
Just for the record, I am going to keep posting posts like this UNTIL THIS BULLSHIT ILLEGAL OCCUPATION COMES TO ITS MUCH OVERDUE END.
Just what in the FUCK is it going to take America?!?!?!?!?!?!? 4,000?! 10,000?! 40,000?!
Oh I’m sorry to bother you, American Fucking Idol is on and you just got a call on your goddamn iFoney!!!
Republitards and their culture of life?????????????????????

S-M-R-T "Smart"

December 28, 2007

In case you were wondering–most literate cities–I have just mastered Dick and Jane here in Michigan…

2 headlines/articles to help y’all SLEEP BETTER AT NIGHT!

December 28, 2007

Further Alleged Confirmation that Bhutto Was Not Killed by Gunfire or Shrapnel. Pakistani Government Says She Fractured Her Skull. Who Knows the Truth? Any Grassy Knolls in Pakistan?

Report: Bhutto Did Not Die From Gunfire. No Autopsy Was Performed.

THIS WEEK IN DRUGS.