This weather has been intoxicating. A high of 75 today — it was just delightful. And it’s supposed to be like this until the weekend.

True the Vote

Ballot box bullies are coming to a state near you — and true to wingnut tradition, will be doing their best to do the exact opposite of what they say they’re doing.

Common Cause, League of Women Voters, the NAACP and other organizations are training poll watchers to report any intimidating activity. Targeted states include Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

Why we’re still in Afghanistan

Russ Baker from with a look at what could be the real reason we’re staying in Afghanistan:

When the United States decided to invade Afghanistan to grab Osama bin Laden—and failed, but stayed on like an unwanted guest—could it have known that the Afghans were sitting on some of the world’s greatest reserves of mineral wealth?

We’ve raised this topic before (see here)—where we noted the dubious 2010 claim, published by the New York Times, that “the vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was [recently] discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists.” Other evidence, and logic, point to the fact that everyone but the Western public knew for a long time, and before the 2001 invasion, that Afghanistan was a treasure trove.

So we were interested to see a new piece from the Times that emphasizes those riches without stressing the crucial question: Was the original impetus for the invasion really Osama—or Mammon?

The failure to pose this question is significant because the pretense of a “recent discovery” serves only to justify staying in Afghanistan now that the troops are already there—while ignoring the extent to which imperial-style resource grabs are the real drivers of foreign policy and wars, worldwide.

As long as we continue to dance around that issue, we will remain mired in disaster of both a financial and mortal nature. As long as we fail to tote up who are the principal winners and losers then we fail to understand what is going on.

Some of the least likely candidates for insight are waking up. To quote Alan Greenspan: “I’m saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.” Who will say the same about Afghanistan and its mineral wealth? Once we acknowledge what General Wesley Clark claims (and which the media keeps ignoring)—that he was told the U.S. had plans ready at the time of the 9/11 attacks to invade seven countries (including Iraq and Afghanistan)– then the larger picture begins to come into view.

Toeing the line

So yesterday I broke one of my toes, the middle one. (A quart of paint fell on it.) From the top, it looks fine; from the back, it’s all purple and black. And of course, I’m limping. I’ve broken toes at least a dozen times, but this is the first time I’ve had trouble walking on one.

Sometimes it feels like the universe is conspiring to keep me from walking like a normal person.

UPDATE: The doctor says it appears to be a slight fracture of the metatarsal head and is sending me for an x-ray.

Bernie Sanders

On Bill Moyer:

Bill Moyers: No, what we hear is continuing calls for bipartisanship, even as Republicans have waged the most partisan and obstructionist agenda in modern history. And even the other day, the president said, “I’m sure that after I’m re-elected, the Republicans will work with me.” I mean, I don’t understand that, frankly. And you’ve been down there all of this time. From his speeches, he seems to be a fighter. But from his behavior, he caves.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: I don’t understand it, either. Look, there’s nothing wrong with bipartisanship. If you and I disagree and we can come up with a decent compromise that’s good for the American people, let’s do it. But when you have people whose main function in life is to obstruct and destroy every single initiative, when you have the Republican leader in the Senate say, “Our main goal is to make sure that Obama is a one-term president.”

And you keep reaching out. And they keep cutting you and cutting you and cutting you, there comes a time when you say, “Hey, I got to stand up to you. I have to rally the American people.” He has not done that. Is he a fighter? I think that you have a very competitive guy, in terms of himself getting reelected. I think this guy’s going to work like a dog.

Bill Moyers: That’s his career.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: That’s right. He’s a tough guy in that sense. In terms of public policy, standing up for Republicans, I think we’re looking at a different president.

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