The Ides Of March Are Upon Us, Afghan Negotiations Underway, Public Option Update

by Danny Schechtor
hat tip: News dissector

We wish a speedy recovery to our least favorite person. CNN had it first. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger released from hospital in South Korea. [watch video for the “history” of Mr. Kissinger]

The IDES of March
Real Afghan Fight: How To Negotiate War’s End
Haitians Fear Future of independence

Just in case you were wondering what the IDES are, has the answer:

“The soothsayer’s warning to Julius Caesar, “Beware the Ides of March,” has forever imbued that date with a sense of foreboding. But in Roman times the expression “Ides of March” did not necessarily evoke a dark mood—it was simply the standard way of saying “March 15.” Surely such a fanciful expression must signify something more than merely another day of the year? Not so. Even in Shakespeare’s time, sixteen centuries later, audiences attending his play Julius Caesar wouldn’t have blinked twice upon hearing the date called the Ides.”

March 15 is also the 42nd anniversary of the radio station that dubbed me its dissector. Happy Anniversary, WBCN, even as your spirit and substance is now only online. Visit and click on FreeFormBCN: 1968 – 1990 It’s all the music from back in the day, thanks to DJ extraordinaire, Sam Kopper.

Welcome to the Ides, anyway. Daylight savings is here but will we ever get a season of truth? As the seventh anniversary of the war on Iraq approaches—actually it started well before the 1991 campaign—Americans still don’t have much of a clue of why we went there, how we fight there, what the costs and casualties are, and what has really been accomplished.

HBO is now dramatizing yet another heroic wave of “good war” battles in World War II, the ones in the Pacific that forever screwed up my Uncle George’s health and well being. Green Zone has opened in the theaters where at long last some questions are being raised—the kinds of questions The Hurt Locker avoided, perhaps the reason it was such a “safe” choice for the Motion Picture Academy, which detested Jim Cameron’s “King of the World,” arrogance and success.

At last, some of the crimes of Iraq are trickling out as in a new book, ‘BLACK HEARTS One Platoon’s Descent Into Madness in Iraq’s Triangle of Death,‘ By Jim Frederick about Bravo Company which, according to the review I read in the New York Times, was driven mad and became a “hit squad.” Of course, all of this had been documented before but largely ignored by a media which promoted the war in the guise of covering it. Today’s New York Times leads with a report revealing/confirming that the Defense Department has used contractors (ie. mercenaries) as hit squads in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help TRACK AND KILL “suspected Militants.” So much for the laws of war. Where’s the Academy Award film on this subject.

Most of the Left has been down on the lawyers who justified torture, what about the flacks that justified the war? TPM tells us they are coming back: All deserve the “Goebbels Prize” for shoveling BS.

Return of the Bush Flacks by Zachary Roth

Let’s run down the list:

• Ari Fleischer: Bush’s first and most aggressive White House press secretary (Americans “need to watch what they say, watch what they do,”) made headlines yesterday after reportedly huddling with Tiger Woods to help plot the golfer’s return to the PGA Tour in the wake of his bed-hopping-induced absence.

• Dan Senor: The former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq is said to be seriously mulling a run for the U.S. Senate from New York. The husband of CNN’s Campbell Brown, who also did a brief stint as a deputy spokesman for the Bush White House, recently teamed up with Bill Kristol to found the Foreign Policy Initiative, a neoconservative advocacy group.

• Dan Bartlett: Bush’s top communications aide now runs Public Strategies, a Texas PR firm which recently signed on with Goldman Sachs to try to buff the Wall Street behemoth’s tarnished image. Bartlett was a key architect of the controversial strategy of embedding reporters with military units in Iraq.

• Dana Perino: Bush’s last White House press secretary, a frequent Fox News pundit, is considering writing a book. She told a recent interviewer it will draw on her experience to help people “be gracious and dignified in sometimes undignified settings.”

• Gretchen Hamel: She’s not a household name, but the former top communications official for Bush’s trade policy recently launched a new advocacy group designed raise the alarm about “over-spending” — and slam the Obama administration. [More here →]

Missing on this list: Jim Wilkinson, the Congressional aide turned Bush operative who ran the protest to kill the Miami Dade Recount in 2000, ran the Coalition Media Center in Qatar; flacked for Condi and Paulson. Last sighting: working for a major US PR firm in Dubai.

What was the role of the Israel neo-con lobby in prepping the war on Iraq? Here are some questions posed in Islam Times:

Hillary says Israel has insulted the US because of its embarrassing Joe Biden during his recent trip to visit our #1 strategic partner. Tom Friedman, once dubbed “The Mayor Of The Middle East” criticizes “I am a Zionist” Biden for not leaving when the announcement was made that Israel will build more housing for settlers on occupied lands. Is it true that the US knew about that decision but only really objected to its timing, not its substance?

CCTV, China, Israeli Tanks Enter Lebanon

Two Israeli tanks entered the Lebanese territories in the south, al-Jazeera news channel reported Friday.

According to the report, two Israeli tanks crossed a checkpoint on the borders and rolled into the Lebanese territories for a few meters before being stationing at a hill that overlooks al-Wazzani area.

WayneMadsenReport: About those Israel mall vendors: kiosks providing cover for IDF training of militant Jews in United States

(WMR) — Israeli mall kiosk vendors, identified by the National Security Agency (NSA) and U.S. counter-intelligence agencies as part of an Israeli intelligence-gathering operation in the United States, have started to abandon their kiosks in malls across the United States, according to information received by WMR.

In particular, kiosks that sell Israeli Dead Sea skin care products have recently been vacated by young Israeli nationals at the Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover, Maryland, and at malls in the Philadelphia area. The kiosks have been emptied of their products and have been vacated, according to our sources.

In the past, Israeli mall kiosks sold products ranging from toys to ear jewelry.

NSA security warned NSA employees that the Israeli-owned kiosk at the nearby Columbia, Maryland, mall should be avoided by NSA personnel as NSA intercepts determined the kiosks are affiliated with Israeli intelligence-gathering operations in the United States.

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