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The S&L ‘Hive’ – Please Talk Amongst Yourselves

Here is our weekend discussion thread, where comments on the general topics of the day are very welcome.

But please remember to post and comment on specific news items in the ‘Reader Selected News’ thread below or via the ‘News Selected By Our Readers’ link found in the sidebar.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, May 23rd, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “The S&L ‘Hive’ – Please Talk Amongst Yourselves”

  1. canary says:

    Obama’s random surprise walk in DC talking selfies with stunned visitors and vendors


    We know he hates the WH, but perhaps he just had a lamp thrown at him from his wife.
    Or, he bought off Politico

  2. canary says:

    China launches security crackdown in Muslim region after blasts raise concerns over terrorism

    y DIDI TANG and LOUISE WATT, Associated Press

    URUMQI, China (AP) — Saying terrorists will be “hunted down and punished,” authorities launched a security crackdown Saturday in China’s Muslim northwest, site of a deadly bombing that has the central government in far-off Beijing bracing against violence that some say heralds a rise of organized extremism in the region.

    Thursday’s bombing at a morning street market selling vegetables and other produce in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang region, killed at least 43 people and left the region’s ethnic Chinese on edge.

    Police announced names of five people blamed for the attack and said they were part of a “terrorist gang.”

    Based on their names, all appeared to be Uighurs, the region’s most populous Muslim minority.

    Police said that four of the assailants were killed in the bombing and that the fifth was captured Thursday night.

    An anti-terrorism campaign with Xinjiang “as the major battlefield” will target religious extremist groups, underground gun workshops and “terrorist training camps,” the official Xinhua News Agency said. “Terrorists and extremists will be hunted down and punished.”

    Thursday’s bombing has raised questions about whether Beijing’s tightening grip might be feeding anti-China anger and a rise of organized terrorism in the country.

    A heavy-handed response might backfire by inciting sympathy from Central Asian radicals about “the plight of Muslims in Xinjiang,” said Ahmed A.S. Hashim, a terrorism expert at Singapore’s Nanyang Technical University.

    “In fact, groups like al-Qaida and others are now beginning to think that China could be a new oppressor of the Muslim world,” he said.

    In Beijing, police announced that they were canceling vacations for officers and would step up patrols at train stations, schools, hospitals and markets.

    Thursday’s violence was the deadliest single attack in Xinjiang’s recent history, and the latest of several that have targeted civilians in contrast to a past pattern of targeting police and officials.

    It was the highest death toll since several days of rioting in Urumqi in 2009 between Uighurs and members of China’s dominant Han ethnic group left nearly 200 people dead.

    “I am here to remember the dead,” he said. He was quickly pulled away by an official who warned him not to talk to reporters.

    Ji, 80, said he was shopping in the crowded market Thursday morning with his wife when the two off-road vehicles raced into the street.

    “When they passed me, I heard explosions and saw flames going up into the sky and smoke filling up the air,” he said.

    An Associated Press reporter who visited a Uighur neighborhood was escorted away by 11 uniformed police officers and street wardens.

    The influx of ethnic Han Chinese has left Uighurs (pronounced WEE-‘gurs) feeling marginalized in their homeland and excluded from decision-making.

    In March, 29 people were slashed and stabbed to death at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming. That attack was blamed on Uighur extremists.

    Beijing says an organized militancy with elements based overseas is behind the attacks. However, little evidence has been provided to back up the claim and many analysts doubt such an organization exists.

    Xinhua, the government news agency, said the group blamed for this week’s attack “took part in illegal religious activities, watched and listened to terrorist violence video and audio materials.”

    Beijing promotes the notion of a “terrorism movement” in Xinjiang to justify heavy security while avoiding foreign criticism and possible damage to relations with Islamic nations, said Hashim, the terrorism expert.

    A handful of Uighur activists might be veterans of fighting in Afghanistan, he said.


    AlJazeera: China to help Afghanistan fight ‘terrorism’


    Rueters: China says to work with Afghanistan to fight terrorism

    Mar 8, 2014

    And now Pakistan offers to help China crack down on Islamic Terrorists

    May 22 2014

    The Irony of where this is all going

  3. captstubby says:

    Memorial Day
    Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.
    Early Observances of Memorial Day
    The Civil War claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history, requiring the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.
    Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.
    It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo—which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.
    Decoration Day
    On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.
    On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Many Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.
    Evolution of Memorial Day
    Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.
    For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.
    Memorial Day Traditions
    Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. On a less somber note, many people throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because it unofficially marks the beginning of summer.

  4. canary says:

    White House Blows Cover of CIA Chief in Afghanistan for Obama’s Memorial Day Visit

    The Guardian: White House staff tried to ‘un-ring the bell’ after revealing CIA chief’s identity
    • White House press office unaware it had circulated name
    • Washington Post journalist sounded alert after filing report

    By Tom McCarthy – May 26 2014

    The White House blew the cover of the top CIA agent in Afghanistan on Sunday, when the person’s name was included on a list given to reporters during a visit to the country by President Barack Obama.

    The name was then emailed by the White House press office to a distribution list of more than 6,000 recipients, mostly members of the US media.

    The agent in question, listed as chief of station, would be a top manager of CIA activity in Afghanistan, including intelligence collection and a drone-warfare programme under which unmanned aerial vehicles mount cross-border attacks into Pakistan.

    The name appeared on a list of attendees requested by White House officials for the president’s visit to Bagram air base to mark Memorial Day, the national day of tribute to fallen service members. The list of 15 people was drawn up by the military, written into a routine press report and sent to Washington. The Obama press office then sent the list, unredacted, to the larger group.

    The mistake did not come to light until the reporter who had filed from Afghanistan, the veteran Washington Post correspondent Scott Wilson, looked more closely at what he had sent and noticed the name and title.

    “I drew it to their attention before they had noticed what had happened,” Wilson said on Monday, hours after returning from the 33-hour trip overseas.

    “I asked the press official that was with us on the trip if they knew that the station chief had been identified in the list. That person said that they did not know that, but that because the list was provided by military, they assumed it was OK. By this time the list was out.

    “Soon after, I think that they talked to their bosses, and realised that it was not OK. And they tried to figure out what to do about this, if there was a way to kind of un-ring the bell.”


  5. captstubby says:

    U.S. to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan
    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will seek to keep 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the war formally ends later this year and then will withdraw most of those forces by 2016, senior administration officials said Tuesday.
    Obama’s decision is largely in line with what military commanders have been seeking and will allow the president to fully end the American-led military effort by the time he leaves office.
    Obama was to announce the plan at the White House Tuesday afternoon. He is just back from a surprise weekend trip to Afghanistan where he met with U.S. commanders and American forces serving in the closing months of America’s longest war.
    After Karzai refused to sign the bilateral security agreement, Obama asked the Pentagon to plan for the possibility that all American forces would withdraw by a year-end 2014 deadline. But given the supportive comments of the candidates in Afghanistan’s presidential election, Obama signaled during his holiday weekend trip to Bagram that he was likely to keep some American troops in the country.


    Obama asked the Pentagon to plan for the possibility that all American forces would withdraw by a year-end 2014 deadline.

    to fully end the American-led military effort by the time he leaves office.
    end of 2016
    in the closing months of America’s longest war.

    OK, lets put on our thinking caps and see if there is a purpose or pattern here.

    “I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank. “
    – Barack Obama Campaign Promise – October 27, 2007

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