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Afghan officials are still counting the votes from this weekend's parliamentary elections, marked by violence, a low turnout and widespread fraud.  What are the possible consequences for US policy with troop strength rising to nearly 100,000 troops. Also, eight officials in the Bell are arrested as the Los Angeles District Attorney prepares charges, and what Wall Street might get away with won't fly in Britain, even with Conservatives in charge. We hear about threatened retaliation against banks that pay "sky-high" bonuses to executives after taxpayer bailouts. 

Banner image: Election workers count votes after the parliamentary elections at a polling station on September 18, 2010 in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan. More than 2,500 candidates will contest for 249 seats in the lower house of the Afghan parliament. Photo: Majid Saeedi/Getty Images


Sebastian Junger;Tim Hetherington

Making News Eight Officials in Bell Arrested as LA DA Prepares Charges 7 MIN, 35 SEC

The blue-collar City of Bell in Los Angeles County has become a poster-child for municipal corruption in the United States. Today, District Attorney Steve Cooley announced the arrests of at least eight former officials, including one-time city manager Robert Rizzo, whose compensation totaled $1.5 million. Shelby Grad is city editor of the Los Angeles Times.

Shelby Grad, City Editor, Los Angeles Times

Main Topic Afghanistan Elections and Rethinking the War 37 MIN, 40 SEC

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has canceled plans to attend this week's UN General Assembly so he can stay home and watch over the process of counting votes from Saturday's parliamentary elections. The elections have been all but ignored in this country, but they've raised some familiar questions about the US and Afghanistan. Violence and intimidation kept turnout low, and massive fraud will taint whatever results are finally announced. What do Afghans think now of democracy? Is there any way to check the corruption of the Karzai regime, which reportedly undermines America's basic strategy and makes the Taliban stronger? Should the US change its political focus from the central government to local leaders, abandon counterinsurgency and get by with fewer troops? 

Alissa Johannsen Rubin, New York Times (@alissanyt)
Ahmad Nader Nadery, Chairman, Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan
Richard Fontaine, Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security
John Arquilla, Professor of Defense Analysis, Naval Postgraduate School
Matthew Hoh, Center for International Policy (@matthewhoh)

Reporter's Notebook UK Government on the Warpath against Hefty Bank Bonuses 5 MIN, 23 SEC

In the aftermath of the TARP bailout, Wall Street firms have gone back to paying large bonuses without much complaint from Washington. In Britain today, Finance Secretary Vince Cable told BBC Radio that banks paying “unjustified” bonuses risk “very serious action.” He promised action against what he described as “an industry that has been bailed out by the taxpayer when these same taxpayers are now having to make very serious sacrifices in their own lives.” Financial journalist Felix Salmon is blogging editor for Reuters News.

Felix Salmon, Host of the Slate Money podcast, WIRED (@felixsalmon)

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