Thursday, December 31, 2009

MY O Face

Deep in the belly of the beast

Scoop McQuack reporting from deep inside enemy territory....the Buckeye bullseye...Columbus, Ohio.

Not much to see here yet.....a bunch a people wearing red, but looking kind of dazed....almost as if they cannot believe they're beloved nuts are going to have to face the Mighty Oregon Ducks tomorrow.

Your intrepid reporter will boldly plant the flag in a sports bar just off the Ohio State campus tomorrow afternoon. If I you don't hear from me after the means that I didn't make it out alive. The crazed Buckeye fans, after suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of the webfeet...turned on the nearest target to vent their inhuman rage......

I will not go down without a fight!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The ever eurdite Larisa Alexandrovna

Her latest posting at her blog...simply amazing. She sums up all I wish I could say, but can' least with such eloquence.

Fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here...sort of...

Ah! the patriots are afoot. More war against more nations. We have NO MONEY, a demoralized and over-deployed military, a crumbling infrastructure, and a world against us and our wars.

The greatest nation in the world apparently goes to war with the rabid nationalism it has, not the power or strength that it imagines itself to have. Opining on the recent failed terror attack aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253, Republican-pretend-independent Senator and opportunist, Joe Lieberman had this to say:

"Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) Sunday said that Yemen could be the ground of America's next overseas war if Washington does not take preemptive action to root out al-Qaeda interests there.

Lieberman, who helms the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday" that the U.S. will have to take an active approach in Yemen after multiple recent terrorist attacks on the U.S. were linked back to the Middle Eastern nation.

The Connecticut senator said that an administration official told him that "Iraq was yesterday's war, Afghanistan is today's war. If we don't act preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow's war."'

Iraq was yesterday's war? Then why are our troops still there? Oh right, because we are fighting them "over there, so we don't have to fight them over here." How is that working out?

And where will we get the resources to go to war in Yemen? Why Yemen in any case and not, say Saudi Arabia or the UAE, from where the majority terrorism funding issues?

Let's recall that the alleged Flight 253 terrorist - Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab - is Nigerian. Why then are we interested in attacking Yemen? This is similar to the argument relating to the 9/11 hijackers, most of whom were Saudi nationals. Instead of attacking their financing-- via Saudi and UAE organizations and individuals; or going after Pakistani ISI -- which trains many of the terrorists groups we have been fighting, we attacked Iraq instead. Why? What is this war on terror that does not target terrorists, the countries that harbor them, their financing, and their training camps? Then panic and surprise and finger-pointing when yet another one of "them" attacks us over "here" despite us fighting "them" over "there."

That argument, that justification for why we went into Iraq and stayed there, has now been disproved, exposing the most opportunistic of motives. We now know Bush wanted Iraq well before 9/11. We know that the Cheney cabal wanted Iraq, then Iran well before 9/11. So when a horrific opportunity presented itself, we went to war based on lies, under the banner of fighting terrorism, and succeeded in accomplishing nothing but death.

Now because a terrorist suspect made a pit stop in Yemen from where he allegedly got his explosive underpants, we now will be attacking that nation or at least some are hoping we will be and the argument is the same: fighting them over there, not here, despite the obvious.

Apparently, just like Mohammed Atta (pdf) and other 9/11 hijackers, Abdulmutallab also had a visa despite being on an international terrorist watch list. Seems to me that the issue is not Yemen, but serious problems at the State Department. But since Lieberman wants yet another war, then despite his age, he should volunteer to be on the front-lines just once. I, for one, have had enough of cowards sending others - brave and patriotic - to die. Especially since Yemen did not attack us on Christmas, just like Iraq did not attack us on 9/11.

At Largely

Think about this the next time you pack your kids off to their Government School....

I AM a math teacher at Brockton High School, the site of a school shooting earlier this month.

Current school security procedures lock down school populations in the event of armed assault. Some advocate abandoning this practice as it holds everyone in place, allowing a shooter easily to find victims.

An alternative to lockdown is immediate exodus via announcement. Although this removes potential hostages and makes it nearly impossible for the shooter to acquire preselected targets, it unfairly rewards resourceful children who move to safety off-site more shrewdly and efficiently than others.

Schools should level playing fields, not intrinsically reward those more resourceful. A level barrel is fair to all fish.

Some propose overturning laws that made schools gun-free zones even for teachers who may be licensed to securely carry concealed firearms elsewhere. They argue that barring licensed-carry only ensures a defenseless, target-rich environment.

But as a progressive, I would sooner lay my child to rest than succumb to the belief that the use of a gun for self-defense is somehow not in itself a gun crime.

Quincy are a fucking idiot.

Now..the question Doug's letter satire?

For some of us.....Every day is Memorial Day

Sunday, December 27, 2009

While we're on the subject of Iran

Let's clear up a little myth - "wiping Israel off of the map".

The statement has been bandied about like a war cry by Zionists and US hardliners alike. Even if the Iranian President [who doesn't really wield much power in Tehran] said those exact that justification for military action? Foreign policy mimics playground taunting and retaliation?

My recent comment piece explaining how Iran's president was badly misquoted when he allegedly called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" has caused a welcome little storm. The phrase has been seized on by western and Israeli hawks to re-double suspicions of the Iranian government's intentions, so it is important to get the truth of what he really said.

I took my translation - "the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" - from the indefatigable Professor Juan Cole's website where it has been for several weeks.

But it seems to be mainly thanks to the Guardian giving it prominence that the New York Times, which was one of the first papers to misquote Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, came out on Sunday with a defensive piece attempting to justify its reporter's original "wiped off the map" translation. (By the way, for Farsi speakers the original version is available here.)

The New York Times goes on: "The second translation issue concerns the word 'map'. Khomeini's words were abstract: 'Sahneh roozgar.' Sahneh means scene or stage, and roozgar means time. The phrase was widely interpreted as 'map', and for years, no one objected. In October, when Mr Ahmadinejad quoted Khomeini, he actually misquoted him, saying not 'Sahneh roozgar' but 'Safheh roozgar', meaning pages of time or history. No one noticed the change, and news agencies used the word 'map' again."

This, in my view, is the crucial point and I'm glad the NYT accepts that the word "map" was not used by Ahmadinejad. (By the way, the Wikipedia entry on the controversy gets the NYT wrong, claiming falsely that Ethan Bronner "concluded that Ahmadinejad had in fact said that Israel was to be wiped off the map".)

If the Iranian president made a mistake and used "safheh" rather than "sahneh", that is of little moment. A native English speaker could equally confuse "stage of history" with "page of history". The significant issue is that both phrases refer to time rather than place. As I wrote in my original post, the Iranian president was expressing a vague wish for the future. He was not threatening an Iranian-initiated war to remove Israeli control over Jerusalem.

Two other well-established translation sources confirm that Ahmadinejad was referring to time, not place. The version of the October 26 2005 speech put out by the Middle East Media Research Institute, based on the Farsi text released by the official Iranian Students News Agency, says: "This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history." (NB: not "wiped". I accept that "eliminated" is almost the same, indeed some might argue it is more sinister than "wiped", though it is a bit more of a mouthful if you are trying to find four catchy and easily memorable words with which to incite anger against Iran.)

MEMRI (its text of the speech is available here) is headed by a former Isareli military intelligence officer and has sometimes been attacked for alleged distortion of Farsi and Arabic quotations for the benefit of Israeli foreign policy. On this occasion they supported the doveish view of what Ahmadinejad said.

Finally we come to the BBC monitoring service which every day puts out hundreds of highly respected English translations of broadcasts from all round the globe to their subscribers - mainly governments, intelligence services, thinktanks and other specialists. I approached them this week about the controversy and a spokesperson for the monitoring service's marketing unit, who did not want his name used, told me their original version of the Ahmadinejad quote was "eliminated from the map of the world".

A very last point. The fact that he compared his desired option - the elimination of "the regime occupying Jerusalem" - with the fall of the Shah's regime in Iran makes it crystal clear that he is talking about regime change, not the end of Israel. As a schoolboy opponent of the Shah in the 1970's he surely did not favour Iran's removal from the page of time. He just wanted the Shah out.

Let me give the last word to Juan Cole, with whom I began. "I am entirely aware that Ahmadinejad is hostile to Israel. The question is whether his intentions and capabilities would lead to a military attack, and whether therefore pre-emptive warfare is prescribed. I am saying no, and the boring philology is part of the reason for the no."

Read the rest

"Nothing soft gets in..."

Saturday, December 26, 2009

And here the Republicans want you to believe that they're the party that supports the troops....

(Hat tip to MadMikesAmerica)

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-G.A.) today (Wednesday, July 22) introduced the Service Dogs for Veterans Act, which will set up a pilot program within the Department of Veterans Affairs to pair service dogs with veterans who have physical or mental wounds, including PTSD.

This bipartisan legislation marks Sen. Franken’s first piece of legislation since taking office two weeks ago.

Additional co-sponsors are Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-L.A.), Sen. Mark Begich (D-A.K.), and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-O.H.).

“As someone who's spent time with our troops on USO tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, and met wounded warriors at Walter Reed and Bethesda, I feel a real obligation to the men and women who have risked life and limb on our behalf,” said Sen. Franken.

“There’s a huge return on investment here. Service dogs can do amazing things, and there is evidence to suggest that increasing their numbers would reduce the alarming suicide rate among veterans, decrease the number of hospitalizations, and lower the cost of medications and human care.

“I believe it is enough simply to improve the lives of those of whom we asked so much. But this program isn't just the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do. This small investment will pay dividends for these veterans for years to come.

Read about the Dogs

More on the war drum continues to beat

Since I'm in favor of informed decision making.......Information that I'm still trying to ascertain is:

- Is safeguard non-compliance a violation of the NPT? The academic jury appears to still be out on least until the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May 2010, where one would think the issue would be raised and decided.

- What is the legal presumption to take military action against Iran in the event they acquire a working weapon? There doesn't appear to be one, yet a sizable number of people agree that that shouldn't stop us from acting unilaterally.

- Are the second and third order effects of such a strike worth the cost compared to allowing Iran to maintain nuclear weaponry unmolested? I believe a more fruitful case could have been made for disallowing Pakistan to gain such a capability, with it's homegrown extremist base and shaky central government.

Friday, December 25, 2009

One of the most brilliant men of our time

I had listened to Thomas Barnett's speech on my MP3 player, as I worked out one night in Baghdad...but I never saw the video of his presentation. So now that I have run across it on YouTube, I wish to share his wisdom on this Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Tis the watch movies

Terrible life lessons, brought to you by your favorite Christmas movies:

Movie: The Polar Express (2004)
Bad Lesson: If You’re a Minor and a Stranger Offers You a Ride, You Should Probably Say “Yes”

Movie: The Santa Clause (1994)
Bad Lesson: If You Kill Santa Claus, You Will Become Santa Claus

Movie: A Christmas Carol (1951)
Bad Lesson: People Will Like You Instantly If You Give Them Money

Movie: Home Alone (1990)
Bad Lesson: People in the Chicago Suburbs Never Call the Police for Any Reason Whatsoever

Movie: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
Bad Lesson: Sometimes Chevy Chase Makes Good Movies

Movie: Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Bad Lesson: If People Were Mean to You as a Kid, That Excuses ANY Malicious Criminal Behavior You Might Commit When You’re an Adult

Movie: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Bad Lesson: If You’re in Need of a Moment of Clarity – Why Not Give Suicide a Try?

Movie: Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Bad Lesson: If Enough People Say Something Is True, Eventually, It Becomes True

Movie: A Christmas Story (1983)
Bad Lesson: Toy Safety Warnings are Pointless and Should Be Disregarded Immediately


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What to do with Iran.....

The discussion continues to revolve around sanctions or air strikes, to halt Iran's march towards acquiring nuclear weaponry.

A problem with using air strikes to halt Iran's nuclear program is that would most certainly have the opposite effect, encouraging Iran to redouble it's efforts in acquiring a WMD arsenal.

Further, of the 18 or so known sites, many are located near or in urban and historical areas. A strike would have to rely on a margin of overkill to be assured of effectiveness....thereby potentially causing thousands of civilian casualties. A strike conducted or condoned by the US would only serve to further damage our wounded standing among civilized nations, and further incite those who already believe that we are waging a war [or crusade] against Muslims. This of course would guarantee second and third order effects on our operations in Iraq and name but two.

Only a policy of acknowledging Iran's role as a regional power, encouraging foreign investment, re-establishing diplomatic relations and unfreezing Iranian assets....will succeed in convincing them to halt their nuclear ambitions. This of course must be met with verifiable suspension of the enrichment of uranium and research into nuclear weaponry, with stringent inspections; and the halting of any and all support of extremist groups. While this may simply seem to the flag waving chest beaters as our knowledge, this type of diplomacy hasn't been offered before.

Convince Iran that a deal such as this is in their best interest, as opposed to threats, sanctions and bluster. Iran maintains suitable conditions for transforming into a democratic state in the near term....but a military strike would most certainly stall or reverse that.

Another wrinkle in our Afghan policy

India is a key [if not the key player] in the region regarding Afghanistan.....even more so than Pakistan I believe....due to India's relations and conflict with both nations. India has retained strong tie with Afghanistan stretching back through the reign of King Zahir Shah, even supporting the Soviet backed regimes and the Northern Alliance. India also maintained relations with the Pashtuns in southern Afghanistan by supporting their theoretical goal of a semi-autonomous 'Pashunistan'. This place pressure on Pakistan to keep forces on the Durand Line, and away from the frontier with India.

Pakistan's relations with Afghanistan were never great until 1996, when the Taliban gained power in Kabul. India provided technology, equipment and medical support to the Northern Alliance during it's fight against the Taliban. Aside from gaining a seat at the table at the Bonn Conference in 2004, India has managed to support both the Karzai regime and Tajik challenger Abdullah Abdullah. Several government ministers are well disposed towards India.

Now aside from India's goal of keeping the Pakistani threat in check on on their shared and contested border, there also lies the problem of Indian support and relations among the Tajik leadership in northern Afghanistan, where there is serious discontent over what appears to be [by nearly all accounts] a fraudulent election of Hamid Karzai [Pashtun from the south]. Some reports have indicated an influx of arms moving into the north to the various Tajik warlords. I'm not predicting civil war...but that dynamic cannot be discounted, as the government in Kabul is increasingly seen as corrupt, powerless and a puppet regime.

India is heavily invested in the reconstruction and economic aid to Afghanistan, to include the deployment of the Indian Border Road Organisation (BRO). The BRO has security provided for them by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force. This isn't akin to the Indian Army itself being deployed....but you can sense Pakistan's concern over the influx and influence .

A List of India's Involvement in Afghan Reconstruction:
• Around 400 BRO personnel involved in Zaranj-Delaram highway.
• Afghanistan's Parliament Building
• Power transmission line from Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul
• Reconstruction of Salma Dam power project, Herat
• Telephone exchanges in 11 provinces
• Televison network uplink from Kabul, downlinks in all provincial capitals
• CII project for training 3,000 Afghans in vocations ranging from carpentry, plumbing to masonry and tailoring.

[The list is not exhaustive though, there are other projects with active Indian participation]

Pakistan's largest fear is that India will use it's influence to aid Pakistani militant groups withing Baluchistan; groups intent on undermining or overthrowing the government in Islamabad. Since we recognize the imperative of convincing Pakistan to fight against extremist groups within it's own borders, we realize that this cannot happen while Pakistan views India as it's overwhelming threat, not only in terms of nuclear arsenals or the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir, but also the threat on it's western frontier.

A good primer for India's role and relations in Afghanistan can be found in this issue paper by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Britney Murphy is dead.

What? I'm writing about a celebrity, dead or alive?? Say it ain't so.....

No, not really. But I am going to quote an esteemed Moderator of, who pretty well sums up my opinion on the celebrity drama that crowds out actual news on our pretend 'news' channels:

While I appreciate y’all’s chivalrous Judeo–Christian sentiment on the subject, I don’t share it. …I don’t pretend to be nice person, so I can hate people as arbitrarily as I see fit.

Actors and actresses are the grown up thespian kids from high school that were weird and irritating. If they are successful and make it in Hollywood they somehow inexplicably morph into a social class that’s known for its egocentrism, arrogance and lack of regard for the common man (much like pro athletes tend to do). Yet in the eyes of popular culture, they are somehow role models and therefore enjoy preferential treatment by the political class. So generally speaking, these are people who A) I didn’t like in high school, B) get wealthy doing something I don’t respect, C) at every opportunity shit on the working class people who buy the tickets to their movies, and D) are afforded legal and social advantages that they don’t deserve. …It’s easy for me to hate them.

This gal had a reputation for liking her drugs. Odds are she over indulged and stabilized her own vital signs. That sucks for those who loved her, but I really couldn't give a fuck.


At least somebody likes the snow.....

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Day!

I'm stuck in upstate NY trying to get home....while my home is blanketed in snow. The missus threw a Scooby Snack out into the backyard, and my intrepid puppy went in after it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Progress on the little things.....

Defense Secretary Robert Gates' decision announced Wednesday to order a review of the Pentagon's payments to retired senior officers for their advice was prompted in part by how much these "mentors" get paid.

Other than the Marines, which contract with mentors directly, the services have declined to release complete data on how much mentors have been paid, arguing that such information is not public because the retired officers were not hired directly by the government. Retired officers who serve as mentors also collect their pension, which in some cases can pay up to $220,000, according to the Pentagon.

A USA TODAY investigation published last month found that 80% of 158 mentors the newspaper could identify had ties to defense contractors. The mentors are not required to disclose those affiliations because they are hired as contractors, not temporary federal employees.

USA Today

At least one small portion of the Military-Industrial-[think tank]-Complex will be what avail we may never know. These incestuous relationships seldom come to light, are seldom accountable to the taxpayer, and are seldom eliminated.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Liquid Goodness

I thought I would share a beer that I've enjoyed lately. It costs anywhere from $7 to $12, but it's worth it. Be warned...this is a sipping beer. It's not Bud Light! I'm talking to you Allen.....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Do we not question why?

In response to the Administration's [and the Bush Administration's] rhetoric concerning the 'war on terror'......where is the rationale for a Taliban regime to again harbor Al Qaeda? In the Islamic culture, it is unseemly to turn away a guest, but if that guest has brought shame to your house, it is then appropriate to turn him away. Al Qaeda and Taliban share little in common strategically, but they are intelligent enough to realize that they would quickly lose power once again by hosting the terror group. Add to this the feelings of betrayal and mistrust between Afghan and the 'foreign arabs', as I've quoted and linked to in the past.

This argument is quite often bandied about, but universally never supported by evidence.

Most telling is an exchange between former counter-terrorism analyst turned academic Leah Farrall and Islamic militant Abu Walid al-Masri. al-Masri, in Farrall's words is a legendary figure in mujaheddin circles.

A 30-year veteran of jihad, he was known during the Soviet-Afghan war for his prowess as a military strategist. Years later, he became the first foreigner to swear allegiance to Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

He counts among his old friends Osama bin Laden and the senior leadership of al-Qa'ida, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan as well as Taliban-linked military commander Jalaluddin Haqqani.

But speaking specifically to the Taliban - Al Qaeda relationship, Farrall states:

In his most recent letter to me, where he responded to an article I wrote for The Australian on al-Qa'ida's Afghanistan strategy, he dropped the loudest bomb of all. He tells me the Taliban will no longer welcome al-Qa'ida in Afghanistan. Their return would make matters more complicated for the Taliban because "the majority of the population is against al-Qa'ida".

According to Abu Walid, the differences between al-Qa'ida and the Taliban are greater now than they were before the war. Not only is al-Qa'ida unwelcome in Afghanistan but so are other salafist groups who previously operated in the country.

He believes that disassociation is required. He tells me "if the link between the Taliban and al-Qa'ida is not broken the results will be bad for the Taliban and Afghanistan". And he thinks that the Taliban should also move away from the salafist movement so it can be liberated "from all of the restrictions that hinder its political options".

Last week, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke reiterated that the US would be willing to negotiate with the Taliban if it renounces al-Qa'ida. The Taliban is unlikely to renounce al-Qa'ida, but Abu Walid's letter indicates that it may disassociate.

The Australian

If only US media would actually report substantive news rather than debunked tripe about ACORN or Tiger's adultery, etc....

Again, a withdrawal would of course provide short term propaganda to Al Qaeda, but hollow rhetoric. A truly fervent jihadi will be drawn to the cause no matter the situation, but for all other financing and recruitment, a compelling threat must be conveyed to potential fighters and backers. By de-legitimizing Al Qaeda as a military threat, and as the overwhelming threat to western civilization.......and removing the perceived threat to Muslims [occupations], we take away that compelling threat that motivates many jihadi's.

So can someone....anyone....explain to me the rationale for even tepid support of escalation? Given that nearly all of the rhetoric provided fails to support the reality...does it simply boil down to 'well at least we're doing something?' Even though that something is counter-productive?

Friday, December 11, 2009

I've been slacking

in posting much lately. I'll blame it on the fact that the hotel I was staying in for the last week showed Fox & Friends every morning during breakfast.

I felt dumber every time I got done eating.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Obama = Bush

Here's the question more Americans should be asking.....why aren't factually based analysis' entering into the national debate? Why do we accept the meme that we are escalating in Afghanistan intent on 'disrupting and destroying terrorist groups'...when we all know that they aren't there? These reasons for escalation are just as intellectually corrupt as the buildup to invade Iraq.

If someone supports trying to defeat the Taliban simply because of their moral temperature when it comes to human rights, fine. Just don't frame it as an imperative to our national security.

Evil must be vigorously opposed, he declared as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday.

We've come full circle with Obama channeling Bush in his invocation of 'evil'. Just another statist, mainstream, god fearing political clone.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Quote of the day

Brought to you by Tom Friedman:

And I came home and just said to myself, does the president understand? This is nation-building. This is nation-building 101 in the most fragmented country in the world.

We're talking about Afghanistan. And we're talking about America in the middle of the great recession.

I feel like we're like an unemployed couple who just went out and decided to adopt a special needs baby. You know, I mean, that's really kind of what we're doing. And that's like, whoa, you know. That terrifies me.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Just counting the days 'till the upgrade....

Thought of the day

"The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without."

~Dwight D. Eisenhower

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Has the new War Party been played for a fool by the old War Party?

Courtesy of The Daily Beast via/and Zandar:

Now that Obama has gone full in on THE AFGHANISURGE and given the GOP what they wanted, the exact same Republican hawks will now immediately turn on the war for the sole reason that Obama's running it. Reihan Salam lays out the game plan over at The Daily Beast:

Thus far, President Obama has primarily been worried about his left flank as he sends more troops to Afghanistan. He should be just as worried about his friends on the right. I fully expect that over the next year Republicans will begin to abandon the president en masse over Afghanistan.

Obama’s saving grace on Afghanistan has been that conservatives, from the Republican leadership in Congress to Sarah Palin to leading foreign-policy thinkers like Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, have backed a troop surge and have been mostly willing to back the White House on this particular issue. But now Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican known for his independent streak, has made a conservative case for withdrawal. And my guess is that by the 2010 congressional elections, dozens of Republican candidates will be doing the same across the country.

Nice. The Democrats lost to the Neo-Cons and don't yet know it. All to keep the war rolling along. Come next election cycle.....just remember which party professes unyielding support for the military...

No matter where you fall on the issue

of gay marriage......I defy someone to argue with this logic. If you don't want to watch the whole least start at 3:50.

Because I believe that people should be able to share their life with whoever they want, and that the role of government is to administer that contract that they agreed to enter into.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A most civil.......Civil War

On his way off the field Oregon State coach Mike Riley stopped at the goal line turned around, stood and watched it all.

It was Oregon 37, Oregon State 33 in the Civil War tonight. The Ducks go to the Rose Bowl. But it was the sight of Riley at the goal line that I can’t shake today.

Because he was waiting to congratulate Oregon’s Chip Kelly. And the Ducks coach was soaking wet from a Gatorade bath, 40 yards away, locked still by a mosh-pit of celebrating bodies. Also, ESPN cameras and the Rose Bowl Committee were waiting for him.

The field was filling with bodies. The players were leaving the field. And this is right about where most football coaches wave each other off, see.

But Riley stood.

And Kelly mushed on.

They eventually met at the goal line, shook hands, and wished each other well in the postseason. And that’s what I’ll remember most about Thursday’s Civil War.

I’m sure the Big 10 Conference is proud to send the Buckeyes to Pasadena, but they haven’t seen offenses like either of the ones on display in Eugene. And what we’re really talking about now is Oregon finishing the job that started in this rivalry game on Jan. 1 in front of the country.

It’s a simple game, we’re told.

Run. Block. Tackle.

But what Oregon must do now is take care of business in a Bowl Championship Series contest. Because the Ducks didn’t just outscore the Beavers on Thursday, they were validated by them.

It feels that way when you’re locked into a wonderful game with two of the best teams in the country exchanging wild possessions. And you had to realize that’s just what we had in the final five minutes, with both coaches unwilling to take their offenses off the field.

The first meeting of what will certainly be called “Mike Riley vs. Chip Kelly I” went to Kelly. And when I saw the men match wits, shuffle personnel and shake afterward, I thought, “Ohio State is toast.”

The Pac-10 is 9-2 in bowl games over the last two years. Conference commissioner Larry Scott said that not having USC as the conference champion helps validate the rest of the conference. But what happens if the Ducks go to the Rose Bowl and don’t win?

It becomes just another cute little story. The 90-day odyssey that was Boise State-to-the-Civil-War for Oregon ends up hollow without that big payday at the end. Not because of the stakes, but because it’s clear as the cold night that Ohio State couldn’t have handled what happened at Autzen Stadium.

Oregon State played a marvelous game. Even with Oregon wisely spying a linebacker man-to-man on Jacquizz Rodgers (64 rushing yards, 73 receiving), the Beavers still managed to make this close. They refused to stop playing and gave the Ducks a terrific test. By the end, everyone in the stadium must have agreed that if this game were played in a neutral site, we all might still be watching overtime.

But it ended with the Ducks offense, evaporating 6:09 with a 12-play drive.

Then, Riley waited and watched. You had to like that. And Kelly, in a first-class move, refused to jog over and accept a BCS berth before he'd shook the hand of the man he battled all night.

I'm not sure the Buckeyes understand where this is going.


This guy was elected

By the good people of Arlington, TN. Wow. The 'war on Jesus/Christmas/America/Whatever' continues.....

In the opinion of Arlington Mayor Russell Wiseman, President Barack Obama's speech on Tuesday night on the war in Afghanistan was deliberately timed to block the Christian message of the "Peanuts" television Christmas special.

Wiseman made the statements on his Facebook page, where he declared Obama to be a Muslim. Only people on Wiseman's "friend's list" had access to the post. He has more than 1,600 friends on Facebook.

"Ok, so, this is total crap, we sit the kids down to watch 'The Charlie Brown Christmas Special' and our muslim president is there, what a load.....try to convince me that wasn't done on purpose. Ask the man if he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he will give you a 10 minute disertation (sic) about it....w...hen the answer should simply be 'yes'...."

"A Charlie Brown Christmas," which first aired in 1965, has become an endearing program for many because of its emphasis on the "real meaning of Christmas," including Linus' memorable reading from the Gospel of Luke of Jesus' birth.

In Wiseman's extensive thread that attacked the president, his supporters and Muslims, he stated " obama people need to move to a muslim country...oh wait, that's America....pitiful."

At another point he said, "you know, our forefathers had it written in the original Constitution that ONLY property owners could vote, if that has stayed in there, things would be different........"

No words necessary

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

So why did Obama choose more war?

Well crap...I don't know. But some I argue with daily have asked me what I though about military establishment influence on President Obama...and if that played a role in his decision last night. I can't say for sure obviously...but I believe the influence is there and very pervasive.

Today's DoD is far more independent from the Executive Branch than in previous decades. They are still subordinate obviously by means of chain of command, national security strategy and purse strings......but the animal has grown larger than it's cage.

There are incestuous relationships at play that dwarf Eisenhower's 'military-industrial complex' speech. Between military analysts funneling propaganda through mainstream media outlets to executive positions in defense corporations for retiring flag officers to my recent discovery of the 'Senior Mentor Program' [DoD hiring former flag officers working at defense corporations to mentor current combatant commanders]......and the think tanks who are hired to provide analysis and background to the partisan think tanks actually lecturing soldiers [Michael Rubin of AEI speaking to troops at Ft's Riley and Carson]....gone are the days of quiet subordination to the CinC....I believe.

That Petraeus [and now possibly McChrystal] attaining such a fiefdom with possible political aspirations only exacerbates the problem [not that that is a new phenomenon].

The bottom line is that aside from the axiom of no commander ever not asking for more, or tendering the assessment that withdrawal is required....Obama's commanders and senior military advisers will always push forwards rather than back. They will always look for the win rather than the reality. It's rather hardwired into most senior military leaders. Obama would have to truly buck the paradigm and show independent leadership to reverse the course we're on. I had held out some small hope that he might....and I was wrong.

Obama the War President

The speech last night at the US Military Academy was a Bush speech. Rhetoric and platitudes. We're sending more forces to a place where Al Qaeda isn' fight an enemy who didn't attack us and prop up a government that is the antithesis of legitimate. Obama spoke of the history of occupation of the Afghan's without mentioning our own occupying force. He spoke of being a partner not a patron to Afghanistan....without mentioning how Afghanistan would be able to sustain itself or it's security forces whenever we do finally leave. He spoke of partnering with Pakistan without mentioning their opposition to the escalation.

And on cue...the perpetual war hawks are on the airwaves decrying the mere mention of an exit strategy. Claiming that this threat is the most serious to face our nation since 1941, they draw comparisons with WWII without the requisite sacrifice or interruption of their daily routine. They speak in flowing vagaries about 'staying the course', 'finishing the job' and not 'surrendering'....without ever a mention of the realities that do not match the rhetoric. They want a perpetual 'long war' that only affects the military and their families, saps our economy, prevents us from reacting to any other threat [or to Al Qaeda itself].....all while subsidizing corrupt Afghans and providing them free health care. Ironic.

I make no apologies for tiring of aimless, vague and pandering rhetoric substituting for national policy. While most of America fixates on balloon boy, Tiger Woods or White House party crashers....I want accountability, direction and political courage. Obama had his chance to show that with Afghanistan. Instead, be mirrored the last Administration.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

There is no level of Hell....

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Conflict of Political Interests?

I can't find anything online about this yet, but listening to Bill Bennett interviewing Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute this morning....Rubin states that he will be traveling to Ft Riley, KS and Ft Carson, CO to 'speak to the troops'. AEI's website appears to be down, but RightWeb profiles Rubin and his partisanship:

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) who served as a Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq during George W. Bush’s first term. An outspoken and controversial proponent of hawkish U.S. foreign policies, Rubin is closely associated with neoconservativism. His track record includes working for a number of rightwing Israel-centric groups (including AEI, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the Middle East Forum), championing the U.S. invasion of Iraq, suggesting assassinating foreign leaders like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, reportedly misrepresenting translations of statements by Iranian officials, working at the heavily criticized Pentagon Office of Special Plans (OSP), and consulting for the Lincoln Group, a PR firm accused of planting propaganda in the Iraqi press.

Since the election of Barack Obama, Rubin has proved a relentless critic of the president in op-eds published in rightist outlets like the National Review and the Wall Street Journal editorial page. In a November 6, 2009 op-ed, Rubin joined a chorus of conservative writers like Newt Gingrich in lambasting Obama for not attending ceremonies celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall, making the outlandish claim that this was a sign of “American isolation and weakness.” He wrote, “Pres. Barack Obama's decision not to celebrate one of the seminal events of the 20th century … [is] replete with symbolism. … I'm afraid that Obama does not understand how important his refusal to attend commemoration events will be, not only to those still suffering under the yoke of oppression, but also to adversaries who see American isolation and weakness as a phenomenon to be exploited.”

Rubin has repeatedly chastised Obama on Iran policy. In an October 2009 op-ed, Rubin charged that Obama’s insistence on pursuing a diplomatic process in the context of the P5+1 group of states would not halt Iran’s nuclear program, and would ultimately “leave Israel with no choice” but to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.

Rubin also blasted Obama for his decision to extend constitutional rights to suspected terrorists and try their cases in civilian courts, making the legally dubious argument that the Geneva Conventions do not “fully apply”—this despite the fact that the Supreme Court ruled against the George W. Bush administration’s argument that the conventions do not apply to so-called unlawful combatants. Rubin opined, nevertheless, that Obama’s decision “undermined national security and eroded the foundation of human rights law.”

Imagine the hue and cry if a senior fellow of a noted left wing think tank were speaking to soldiers. Radical indoctrination! Marxist brainwashing! Politiszing the war!

Tonight is the night

That President Obama loses any goodwill from the Constitution Insurgent. I don't care much for him and certainly didn't vote for him....but I held out hope that he might at least stem the tide of foreign interventionism and degradation of our national security.

Such will not be the case. Instead, Obama will have his LBJ moment. The moment where he could have shown true leadership instead of political cowardice. He continues to allow special interests to dominate public opinion and punditry on the airwaves, without bringing the narrative of reality to counter it.

He will tonight talk of security and sacrifice; of destroying Al Qaeda and establishing democracy in Afghanistan. And it's all tripe.

Al Qaeda is not in Afghanistan; they're everywhere else. Pakistan doesn't welcome this escalation. The Karzai Regime is corrupt and illegitimate.

Aside from the military and their families, is anyone sacrificing? Is anyone doing their part or doing without in this endeavor that is trumpeted to be such a calamitous threat to America itself? This underscores the hypocrisy of the Long War. It is at once both a dire threat to national security and the American way of life and such a non-issue that money need not be raised, bonds not be sold, national service need not be asked, etc... We are told simply to 'go shopping'. This 'war' [in Afghanistan] merely props up continued corruption and sets up a condition where the state will be unable to sustain itself if we ever leave. All while providing them free health care and your tax dollars. Add to this, the think tanks and companies that are making money hand over fist...and...have influence on policy and opinion. The invasion of Iraq was a fraud of epic proportions. The current endeavor is the epitome of fraud...both fiscal and intellectual. Any 'war' where we have taken the bait and played by the enemy's rules is fraud. Any 'war' where we consistently cannot define a mission, much less a metric for victory is fraud. A 'we'll know it when we see it' benchmark is a dishonor to those serving and those who have fallen.

Glenn Greenwald has an excellent piece today on the eerie similarities between the justifications for escalation in Iraq and escalation in Afghanistan.

In order to prepare Americans for Obama's Afghanistan escalation speech tonight at West Point (at least he's not wearing a fighter pilot costume), White House officials have been dispatched to speak to the media (anonymously, of course) to preview all of the new and exciting aspects of the President's plan. As a result, media accounts are filled with claims that there are major changes ordered by Obama that will transform our approach there.

But to anyone with a memory that extends back for more than a few weeks, all of this seems anything but new. In December, 2007, George Bush delivered a speech to the nation announcing his escalation in Iraq -- that one only 20,000 troops, compared to the 30,000-40,000 Obama has ordered for Afghanistan. It's worthwhile to compare what Obama officials are excitedly featuring as new and innovative ideas with what Bush said; I'm not comparing the Iraq and Afghan escalations: only the rhetoric used to justify them.