December 2, 2009 archive

‘But Obama always said he would send more troops to Afghanistan’

Yes he did.

In July of 2008 during the presidential campaign Obama wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times.

As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan.

While this disappointed many of his supporters, it was widely regarded among progressives as a hat tip to the conservadems, and not really in character with his true anti-war persona.

Be that as it may, many are now defending Obama’s latest troop escalation declaring that he always promised us that he would increase troop levels in Afghanistan.

Let’s put an end to that assertion.

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

Now with World and U.S. News.  54 Story Final.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Suicide bomber kills one in Pakistan navy HQ attack

by Khurram Shahzad, AFP

1 hr 43 mins ago

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – A suicide bomber attacked Pakistan’s navy headquarters in the capital Islamabad on Wednesday, killing a naval policeman and injuring 11 others in the latest blast in the insurgency-hit nation.

A young man walked up to a checkpoint at the entrance to the complex and detonated his explosives when challenged by security forces. The blast scattered body parts across the busy city centre road, police and witnesses said.

Islamist insurgents frequently target military installations and attacks have intensified as Islamabad pursues a fierce military offensive, under Western pressure to do more to eliminate Taliban and Al-Qaeda sanctuaries.

Empire in the Post Cold War Nuclear Age

Barack Obama was in large part awarded the Nobel Prize for his stated determination to clean up yet another mess that he chose to be handed. The mess of thousands of nuclear weapons floating around after the Clod War.

Apparently the price of doing that right now is continuing the American Empire and continuing killing people who have never done anything to us and never will or would.

Afghanistan is after all, at this point, just a huge, costly and deadly cover story for the CIA to try to “secure” Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Nothing more, nothing less. We certainly don’t care about the Afghan people, since we have been killing them and locking them in Bagram for eight years.

Which brings us to perhaps THE worst legacy of George and Dick’s Bogus Journey into Empire. After all the torture, all the completely innocent dead in two countries, all the children and future children deformed by the depleted uranium we spread around so casually, it may seem tough to settle on that title of ‘worst.’

Open Pass


Obama’s “Empire”

Real News Network CEO Paul Jay talks with freelance journalist and author Reese Erlich following Obama’s announcement about dispatching 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

Erlich’s books include the 2003 best-seller, Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You, 2007’s The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of US Policy and the Middle-East Crisis, and his newest release Dateline Havana: The Real Story of US Policy and the Future of Cuba. He has produced many radio documentaries, including a series hosted by Walter Cronkite.

Real News Network – December 2, 2009

Obama’s “empire”

Obama says US is not an empire as he sends 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

Obama: War President?!

Last night after the Presidents speech at West Point, and since, everyone is attempting to break it down, praise it, or totally attack the policy of another escalation of troops into an already long running occupation of the country of Afghanistan. This occupation stopped being anything about the attacks on this country on Sept 11, 2001 as soon as the first drumbeat towards invasion and then long occupation of an innocent country and people Iraq. Afghanistan stagnated into an occupation and insurgent war of continuing death and destruction to all involved but especially to the greater innocent population of Afghanistan now into it’s ninth year!

I miss you guys and gals

Just thought I’d pop in and say hello to all you dharma bums out there. I’ve been pounding the streets looking for work and finding that what is out there is either demeaning, mind numbing or something I’m over qualified for, and nothing will pay me enough to live on and climb out of debt with. Truly, we are wage slaves for rent, and that is more apparent now than ever. When Corporatists speak of freedom it is the freedom to rob you and your freedom to starve that they speak of. Let every corporatist feel the hunger and cold of poverty so that they know of the rotten fruit they have sown.

It is, to be blunt, fucking frustrating.

My computer has a virus and is down, so I can’t weigh in on subjects the way I am used to, but my absence from the sunny shores of DD has bothered me tremendously, as I miss the friends I have here, so I thought I’d offer this meager explanation as a way to stay in touch and solicit all the ponies you have. I need them now more than ever.

    I’ll leave the politics aside for now, and get more personal. I am curious to hear how things are in your respective worlds, my dear Dharma Bums. I hope all is well, and if not I hope it is getting better. Don’t be afraid to share your good news with me, I’ll be glad to know that someone who isn’t on the wrong side of the class was is doing better nowadays, and if things do suck for you too let me know. You’ll never find another more sympathetic ear as mine.

Wishing you all well in the trenches of the class war.



(P.S. I’m typing on my cellphone, and since I haven’t paid the bill in months I am on whatever free WiFi I can pick up. I may not respond immediately to comments, but I’ll try to keep up as much as coverage and chance allow.)


Is Separtism Necessary Anymore?

With the slow demise of old media has also come the demise of niche media like websites which cater specifically to women’s studies and women’s interests.   Prompted by the demise of Double X, an offshoot of Slate, itself an off-shoot of the financial troubled Washington Post, one can tell  how both female-centric media and academic fields are usually the first to go in times of economic crisis, budget cutbacks, or higher education famine.  While part of me laments that such sites end up being placed first on the chopping board when revenues plummet, another part of me wonders if we are finally ready to rid ourselves of the need for specific media designed for identity group solidarity.   In another time where persecution was harsh and undeniably swift to those outside of the mainstream who dared tread into uncharted territory, I think we may be ready to draw up tentative plans for full unity.  

Last week I visited Philadelphia and the historic Arch Street Meeting House, a Quaker house of worship that prides itself as being the largest gathering in the world and the oldest still in use in the United States.   The main part of the building was separated into a larger worship space and a smaller one directly adjacent to it.   A faith committed resolutely to equality among all its members deliberately made accommodations to female attenders by giving them the option of using a women-only space during worship services.  There, ladies who would have otherwise felt constrained to speak from within their hearts and their convictions because of the close proximity of their husbands or out of fear of broaching social protocol could have a safe space of their own.  Within it they were allowed to verbalize that which they had every right to be express but too often kept inside themselves.   It need be noted, of course, that this arrangement no longer exists and that now the voices of women have been welcomed into larger fellowship.  I rejoice that progress has been made and hope it continues.


War Party

“For a President, the unit of measurement is real life.” Der Speigel rips apart the tissue of lies served up to an increasingly incredulous public. The once pro-Obama daily called the speech his ‘least truthful address’. Boink. When we’re talking about politicians, ‘least truthful’ is saying a lot:

For each troop movement, Obama had a number to match. US strength in Afghanistan will be tripled relative to the Bush years, a fact that is sure to impress hawks in America. But just 18 months later, just in time for Obama’s re-election campaign, the horror of war is to end and the draw down will begin. The doves of peace will be let free…It was a dizzying combination of surge and withdrawal, of marching to and fro. The fast pace was reminiscent of plays about the French revolution: Troops enter from the right to loud cannon fire and then they exit to the left. And at the end, the dead are left on stage.

This speech did not, however conjure up images of Jimmy Carter, or George H.W. Bush, although those comparisons will be made. Lebanon, battleships, high-jacked airliners, truck-bombs and dead marines, instead flooded back: pilots and passengers imprisoned in the heat.

Just how much damage this feckless narcissist is capable of wreaking on the world has yet to be seen, but even Republicans concede he’s off to a good start. Cheney isn’t yet content and doubtless won’t be until US planes are flying missions over Tehran, and maybe Islamabad.

Blackwater mercenaries
on the US payroll approved by a Dem Congress, with Dem oversight. The Dem White House authorizes private snatch and grab teams operating in Pakistan. This and the violence that 30,000 more US troops can generate will have to suffice. Of course, with all the firepower and troops on the ground, it’s hard to imagine a sudden outbreak of peace, but that could still happen. Well, it could..

The Taliban have a clear deadline when the US is planning to turn over power. Whether or not that deadline is binding is another question. Will the ‘situation on the ground’ compel merely a delay in withdrawal, or another surge, or perhaps even the draft. God knows Americans need jobs.

Republican Ronald Reagan took US Marines off the safety of their ships while launching broadsides from refitted ‘battle wagons’ cruising off the coast. Alert locals decided the right response would be to send a truck or two filled with explosives straight into the Marine barracks. Ronald Reagan needed to look tough and a whole lot of US troops ended up dead. But at least that part ended quickly.

Not my guy, Dems say. I oppose the Afghanistan surge, Dems say. Demonstrate against the surge, Dems say. The fact remains: Dems control the Senate and House. Republicans shut down government. Will Dems show similar backbone over war? I think we all know the answer to that question. The ‘progressive caucus’, tough on Fox, will bow and scrape; posture and preen in an orgy of pure CYA.

The speech at West Point truly was an historic opportunity. The speech could have been a clarion call to arms: we go in and stay to finish the job no matter how long it takes. He could have taken the boldest step and proclaimed: Campaign rhetoric is one thing, American lives are another; as President I’m authorizing the immediate withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan and Iraq. The days of the US being the region’s policeman are over. That didn’t happen Der Spiegel froze reality in time. The moment has come and passed. Even Eugene Robinson admits another US president stood before the American people and lied his face off.

No defense exists from a US President who can’t stand the thought of being seen as weak. And for that, I suspect, once again over the next three or four years we’re all about to pay a very heavy price.

Obamistan, and The War President

For anyone who didn’t want to watch it, the full text of Obama’s Tuesday night speech is available here, from AFP via RawStory.

On Monday (Dec 01) Gallup reported that Barack Obama’s approval rating on Afghanistan had dropped dramatically by nearly 20 points since July, and before his speech Tuesday night was sitting at 35%, trailing his already very low approval rating on virtually all other issues:

“Americans are far less approving of President Obama’s handling of the situation in Afghanistan than they have been in recent months, with 35% currently approving, down from 49% in September and 56% in July.”

Gallup’s poll results are rather striking in visual form:

Even when broken down by political party his approval slide has been consistent across the board.

Late Night Karaoke

Sleepwalk. (Repeat 3 times)

Rolling and falling, I’m choking and calling,

Name after name after name.

Sleepwalk. (Repeat 3 times)

Naked and bleeding, the streetlights stray by me,

Hurting my eyes with their glare.

Sleepwalk. (Repeat 3 times)

Helplessly breaking, exchanging my faces,

Destined, we had to collide.

Take Five!

Taut on the outside, I’m crumpling and crawling,

Watching the day drag away.

Spiralling deeper, I can’t feel my fingers,

Rip round my throat as I dream.


Sleepwalk. (Repeat 12 times and fade)

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement is an Open Thread

23 Story Final.

From Yahoo News Science

1 Antarctic melt to feed global sea rise

by Marlowe Hood, AFP

Tue Dec 1, 8:15 am ET

PARIS (AFP) – Quickening ice loss in West Antarctica will likely contribute heavily to a projected sea level rise of up to 1.4 metres (4.5 feet) by 2100, according to a major scientific report released on Tuesday.

Scientists long held that most of Antarctica’s continent-sized ice sheet was highly resistant to global warming, and that the more vulnerable West Antarctic ice block would remain intact for thousands of years to come.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — whose 2007 report is the scientific benchmark for the UN December 7-18 Copenhagen climate summit — did not even factor melting ice sheets into its forecasts for rising seas.

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