April 15, 2010 archive

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

Obama: Israel should sign NPT

OMG.  Obama is an Iranian tool!

When Obama was pressed on the question of Israeli nukes at the nuclear summit, he first hemmed, hawed, and balked:

“Initially you were talking about US behavior, and then suddenly we’re talking about Israel. Let me talk about the United States,” the president said. “I do think that as part of the NPT, our obligation, as the largest nuclear power in the world, is to take steps to reducing our nuclear stockpile. And that’s what the START treaty was about, sending a message that we are going to meet our obligations…as far as Israel goes, I’m not going to comment on their program.”

Well, why not comment on their program that they don’t even have?

He went on:

“What I’m going to point to is the fact that consistently we have urged all countries to become members of the NPT. So there’s no contradiction there,” he said. “And so whether we’re talking about Israel or any other country, we think that becoming part of the NPT is important.  And that, by the way, is not a new position. That’s been a consistent position of the United States government, even prior to my administration.”

Kudos to the president.  Wingnut heads will explode.

Update: Israel responds.

“The policy of ambiguity is the foundation of Israel’s security; it has always been and will continue to be. President Obama did not ask to change it in the current period,” Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told public radio.

Nukes?  What nukes?  Israel who?

Codepink will send reps to Tea Party Tax Day

It’s amazing to me that, so soon after the Democrats got their turd of a healthcare plan passed, which was compromised by nobody more  than Obama, instead of declaring war on corrupted Democrats, lefty websites are more intent on whining about Tea Parties. Well, that’s my impression, anyway.

Medea Benjamin doesn’t think this way, and while I don’t know that she’s leading any anti-corruption crusade against Democrats, she at least has the integrity and good will to reach out to Tea Partiers, instead of looking, endlessly, for angles to smear them with:

A Peace Offering to the Tea Party for Tax Day

We are not naïve to think that it would be easy for the Tea Party and the peace movement to work together. Our core values are different. We have had our battles in the past. We would certainly part ways in terms of how to redirect Pentagon funds, with progressives wanting more government investment in healthcare, jobs, clean energy and education-which is exactly what the Tea Party opposes.

But building peace means reaching out to the other side and trying to find common ground even with those people whose beliefs contradict so many of our own.

Tomorrow is here.

Tomorrow is here. The game is over. The crisis has passed – and the patient is dead. Whatever dream you had about what America is, it isn’t that anymore. It’s gone. And not just in some abstract sense, some metaphorical or mythological sense, but down in the nitty-gritty, in the concrete realities of institutional structures and legal frameworks, of policy and process, even down to the physical nature of the landscape and the way that people live.

The Republic you wanted – and at one time might have had the power to take back – is finished. You no longer have the power to keep it; it’s not there. It was kidnapped in December 2000, raped by the primed and ready exploiters of 9/11, whored by the war pimps of the 2003 aggression, gut-knifed by the corrupters of the 2004 vote, and raped again by its “rescuers” after the 2006 election. Beaten, abused, diseased and abandoned, it finally died. We are living in its grave.

[snip] [snip]

The war which we were told the Democrats and ISG consensus would end or wind down has of course been escalated to its greatest level yet – more troops, more airstrikes, more mercenaries, more Iraqi captives swelling the mammoth prison camps of the occupying power, more instability destroying the very fabric of Iraqi society. The patently illegal surveillance programs of the authoritarian regime have now been codified into law by the Democratic Congress, which has also let stand the evisceration of habeas corpus in the Military Commissions Act, and a raft of other liberty-stripping laws, rules, regulations and executive orders.

David Waldman on Process And Lessons Learned Fighting for Health Care

cross-posted from Sum of Change

Death and Surrender in the Korengal Valley

CORRECTION Media Pink Boxers

Soldiers from the U.S. Army First Battalion, 26th Infantry take defensive positions at firebase Restrepo after receiving fire from Taliban positions in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan’s Kunar Province on May 11, 2009.  (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

More than 40 U.S. soldiers have been killed, and scores more wounded, in helicopter crashes, machine-gun attacks and grenade blasts in the Korengal Valley, a jagged sliver just six miles deep and a half-mile wide. The Afghan death toll has been far higher, making the Korengal some of the bloodiest ground in all of Afghanistan, according to U.S. and Afghan officials.

In the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, the American presence here came to an abrupt end.

For U.S. commanders, the Korengal Valley offers a hard lesson in the limits of American power and goodwill in Afghanistan. U.S. troops arrived in 2005 to flush out al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. They stayed on the theory that the American presence drew insurgents away from areas where the United States had a better chance of fostering development. The troops were, in essence, bullet magnets.

“Bullet magnets!” Put that on all those recruitment posters that Army recruiters plaster all over inner-city neighborhoods!

And at the very end, we paid off the Taliban to permit us to run away in peace, for 6,000 gallons of fuel, and some rusty equipment.

If U.S. troops were allowed to leave peacefully, the Americans wouldn’t destroy the base, the crane and the fuel. (Village chieftain Shamshir) Khan assured (Local US commander Captain Mark) Moretti that the valley’s fighters would honor the deal.

So that’s the end of our stupid adventures in the Korengal Valley, but until that very moment, we were just as stupid as always.

Moretti had been boycotting weekly meetings of the elders and avoiding Zalwar Khan as a way to pressure them into greater cooperation. He also hoped that by ignoring Khan he could force him to build a relationship with Afghan government officials.

“You are the only American commander I have known who refuses to see me,” Khan said in Pashto, his face just inches from Moretti’s. “You are the only one who doesn’t sit at the weekly shura. Why?”

“The shura is a waste of time,” Moretti replied. “All we talk about is dead goats.”

“All we talk about is dead goats…”

…in a valley too poor to graze sheep on scarce bottom-land, and where nothing except goats can scratch out a living on the rocky slopes. Three or four goats is the difference between milk for children and cheese in the winter and even a little meat on very special occasions for most of the families in the Korengal Valley.

But Americans don’t want to talk about dead goats!

And now we can forget about everything else in the Korengal Valley, too, along with the names of so many brave soldiers who died there…

Staff Sgt. Thaddeus S. Montgomery, of West Yellowstone, Mont. and PFC Richard A. Dewater, 21, of Topeka, Kan., and Staff Sgt. Nathan M. Cox, 32, of Walcott, Iowa, and Pvt. Joseph F. Gonzales, 18, of Tucson, Ariz. and Staff Sgt. Kristopher D. Rodgers, 29, of Sturgis, Mich., and Sgt. Joshua C. Brennan, 22, of Ontario, Ore., and Spc. Hugo V. Mendoza, 29, of Glendale, Ariz., and Pfc. Juan S. Restrepo, 20, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., who left his name to “Firebase Restrepo” in Korengal Valley, and Pfc. Timothy R. Vimoto, 19, of Fort Campbell, Ky., Sgt. Edelman L. Hernandez, 23, of Hyattsville, Md., and Spc. Christopher M. Wilson, 24, of Bangor, Maine, and Cpl. Angelo J. Vaccaro, 23, of Deltona, Fla., and Cpl. Fernando D. Robinson, 21, of Hawthorne, Calif., and Sgt. Russell M. Durgin, 23, of Henniker, N.H., and PFC Richard A. Dewater, 21, of Topeka, Kan., along with 25 other American soldiers and many more Afghan civilians.    

Happy Birthday Birth Control Pill

This essay was previously posted on Daily Kos.

Birthday Candles

The birth control pill turns 50 this year.  In June, 1960 the Food and Drug Aministration (FDA) approved a pill containing estrogen and progesterone for use in the United States as a contraceptive method.  Currently more than 100 million women worldwide and 12 million women in the United States use this combined oral contraceptive (COC) as their preferred method of planning parenthood.

This diary offers background on the inception of this method and how it influenced the long-lasting inequality between women and men.

For Your Consideration: Sacrificing Principles

In an Op-Ed on 4/12/2010, Robert Wright wrote about President Obama’s authorization to target a US citizen for assassination and his use of unarmed drones to kill Al Qaeda leaders in villages in Pakistan.

I wouldn’t have believed you if you’d told me 20 years ago that America would someday be routinely firing missiles into countries it’s not at war with. For that matter, I wouldn’t have believed you if you’d told me a few months ago that America would soon be plotting the assassination of an American citizen who lives abroad.

Shows you how much I know. President Obama, who during his first year in office oversaw more drone strikes in Pakistan than occurred during the entire Bush presidency, last week surpassed his predecessor in a second respect: he authorized the assassination of an American – Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical Imam who after 9/11 moved from Virginia to Yemen, a base from which he inspires such people as the Fort Hood shooter and the would-be underwear bomber.

Off The Wall :: Meta, Mega Meta, and Nina

“Off The Wall” (OTW) is my ongoing Thursday Series about life, cultures, and random stuff that preoccupies my mind. (NOTE: today is Thursday on Wednesday… I’ll be out of pocket for much of tomorrow morning, so publishing early, as per the muse.)

“There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person.

The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.”

meta, mega meta, and nina, emo’s emu’s and empaths…

I know, I know. Enough with the meta. Enough with blathering on about That Other Place and all that.  I’m not actually going to get deep into the GOS meta.mud here. At least, not right outta the gate. lol. Let’s have a little Nina:

What I have churning in my head, in response to all the meta, is more…. a stepping back. A looking inward. And an effort to try to look at The Big Picture.  Keep perspective. Gain perspectives.

There are struggles and then there are struggles.

Load more