Two days of silence...A pandemic relief deal

A network of CIA-run death squads has been marauding through Afghanistan, pulling children from schools and summarily executing them, a new investigation by The Intercept has found. The story, by Andrew Quilty, is centered in Wardak Province, just south of Kabul, and uncovers a series of previously unreported massacres carried out by joint American and Afghan forces. It appears that the slaughter may have been ratcheted up as leverage to reach a peace deal with the Taliban. Democrats routinely speak loudly about the need for the “global war on terror” to be waged within the four corners of the law, and there’s simply no way that this was. One of the most outspoken proponents of bringing a fine legal eye to war has been Avril Haines, who will be Joe Biden’s Director of National Intelligence. She’ll have the authority and the ability to discover who in the CIA was involved in these operations, and bring them to justice. 

It’s been two days since this story was published, and the mainstream media has been largely silent on it. Imagine if the media treated the My Lai massacre this way. I know the impulse with stories like this is to resist reading, because it’s just too much, and too painful, but I hope you push through that for this one. The story is movingly rendered, and will stay with you. And if that helps keep pressure on the Biden administration to root out and prosecute those responsible, there’s at least some hope. 

Congress is close to a deal on a new pandemic relief bill, with the last remaining issue -- whether the Fed should be able to help small businesses and local governments -- having been apparently resolved. It’s remarkable that Republicans drew that line in the sand, hoping to block the Fed from using its full powers to fulfill its mandate -- ensuring full employment and controlling inflation -- so that the economy would suffer under Democrats. Sen. Pat Toomey led the failed charge, but Toomey himself was totally fine with the Fed lending programs back when they might benefit the economy under Republicans. Democrats held their ground, and Republicans won only a cosmetic, face-saving change. The upside could be that attention has now been put on this Fed authority (which I covered in a podcast a few episodes ago) and that could encourage Biden to actually push the Fed to use it . 

Speaking of the podcast, I took this week off and Vanessa Bee filled in for me. She talks about the recent vote in Puerto Rico for statehood, where that comes from, and what it means. Very much worth the listen.