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    • Is The Afghan War Lost?
      Danny Sjursen makes the case at the American Conservative. The piece as a whole is worth reading, but the bottom line is that the Afghan government’s own military and police are hopeless: losing to the Taliban.  The US military, with current force levels, cannot hold most of the country. Unless the US is willing to […]
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Put down the Kool-aid and step away from the punchbowl

 


I really thought saying “I told you so” would be more fun. From Michael Moore:

 

Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new “war president”? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do — destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they’ve always heard is true — that all politicians are alike. I simply can’t believe you’re about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn’t so.

It’s so, Mike. You fucked up and bet on the wrong pony. How’s that “hope and change” bullshit working out for you?

Maybe you should have learned your lesson back in 2000 when you said there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between George Bush and Al Gore. Stick to muckraking and stop endorsing bad candidates.

From another bad judge of character:

On Tuesday Barack Obama will announce a major escalation of the war in Afghanistan. A week later he’ll be in Oslo accepting his Nobel Peace Prize. Pretty good timing, no?

There should be some red faces in Oslo next week. I wonder how they’ll feel when Obama orders the bombing of Iran? Then he can put “first Noble laureate to start a war” on his resume.

 


 

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New Movement Survey #1

The time is right for a new movement.  The American middle class is sick and tired of getting trampled by the well connected who have our government by the balls.   But if we are going to get this baby off the ground, we’re going to have to do this right.   Successful movements have certain things in common. Timing is important.  But so is critical mass, messaging, leadership, discipline. To start off our exploration of movements that worked, I want to start with The Protestant Reformation and the American Revolution.  Those of you who haven’t seen HBO’s fantastic series John Adams should rent it ASAP.  The first several episodes are the important ones.  For those of you not familiar with the Reformation, check out this excellent introduction from PBS’ Empires based on the life of Martin Luther: Driven to Defiance and Reluctant Revolutionary.

Now, before we get started, I would like to conduct a survey.  This is not the first time we have tried to get our act together and we are not the only ones trying to do it.  Violet Socks is testing the waters as well.  But we continue to face resistance, from ourselves mainly, to actually doing something.  So, this survey is intended to help us figure out what we are doing wrong.

Notes and my humble opinion:

  • Those of you who are hankering for a National Womens Party should give it up.  It’s DOA.  If you go that route, you will end up marginalizing yourselves and leave the rest of us without your critical mass.  Seriously.  I don’t want to be a part of a movement where we are already starting down the path to splitting ourselves up.  You can get everything you want from a new entity without making yourselves irrelevant from inception.  Sorry to be so harsh.  I could be harsher.  I am a feminist interested in equality.  Sentimental feminism bores me to fricking tears.  Don’t test my patience.  Feel free to disagree with me but before you do, first do a thought experiment and carry out your proposal to its logical conclusion.
  • Yes, tea partiers are well intentioned but crazy.  If you are a tea partier, I share your frustration with the way things are.  But the tea party movement was started by Republican operatives and, I’m sorry, but Republicans have lost all semblance of credibility.  They are bent on destruction of our government and have been  successful at destroying it since Ronald Reagan got his mitts on it. Rush Limbaugh is an evil man.  Glenn Beck is both evil and stupid.  If you can’t see what is really going on in the tea party movement, please sit this one out on our threads.
  • Think *VERY* carefully about how you want to construct your message.  I have seen what happens when a bunch of Conflucians or Reclusiveleftists or other left of centerists get together in a blog and decide to brainstorm.  It isn’t pretty.  Here is a taste of what *has* been successful:
  • Think about how to spread the message once we have one.  Blogging isn’t the answer.  Most people don’t read blogs.  Also, the news media isn’t going to cover us until we are too obvious to ignore anymore.  THIS is the place to be creative.

Ok, GO!

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Martha Coakley for President Open Thread

I can’t reload that earlier thread anymore, so here’s a new one. From The Boston Globe:

Coakley: I oppose more US troops to Afghanistan

The Democratic front-runner in the race to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy issued a statement saying, “I believe we should begin the process of bringing our troops home.”

Coakley has said repeatedly she trusted President Barack Obama but would wait to hear him make his case if he wanted to increase the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.

Yet two days before Obama is scheduled to address the nation on the subject, Coakley said “based on what I know now,” she does not support a troop increase….

Coakley said she is “very concerned” the case for more troops still has not been made. And she believes there is no evidence Afghan President Hamid Karzai “is a legitimate or trustworthy partner.”

We need a President with guts. Of course the last time we had a President who had the courage to speak up to the generals, he was shot down on the street in Dallas.

Ray McGovern at Truthout:

as he studied the options, cost and likely outcomes, Kennedy came to see U.S. intervention in Vietnam as a fool’s errand. Few Americans are aware that, just before he was assassinated, Kennedy had decided to pull all troops out of Vietnam by 1965.

The Pentagon was hell bent on thwarting such plans, and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara found it an uphill struggle to enforce the President’s will on the top brass. Senior military officers were experts at “slow-rolling” politicians who favored a course that the Pentagon didn’t like.
When in May 1962 Kennedy ordered up a contingency troop-withdrawal plan, it took more than a year for the military brass to draw one up.

[….]

Assistant Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff, to whom fell the task of announcing President Kennedy’s death on Nov. 22, 1963, told James Douglass, author of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, that Kennedy’s mind was fixed on Vietnam the day before. Instead of rehearsing for a press conference that day, Kennedy told Kilduff:

“I’ve just been given a list of the most recent casualties in Vietnam. We’re losing too damned many people over there. It’s time for us to get out. The Vietnamese are not fighting for themselves. We’re the ones who are doing the fighting.
“After I come back from Texas, that’s going to change. There is no reason for us to lose another man over there. Vietnam is not worth another American life.”

Kennedy never returned from Texas and the war went on. Sadly, Obama is no John Kennedy.

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Vastleft asks a good question

 


From Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy:

 

How did “public option” become the One True Rallying Point for progressive elites? It’s simply too vague — and it quickly became too blatantly a bait-and-switch relative to Hacker’s vaunted plan — for even a moderately discerning person to think it had much merit.

Yet the top bloggers and biggest activist groups committed themselves to promoting and defending it — simultaneously, wholeheartedly, and resolutely. They wouldn’t answer the most obvious of questions (like how many people would have access to it, and what the yardsticks were for the oft-repeated notion that it should and would be “strong” and “robust”). Nor would they write about the most exciting progressive actions on health-care reform, like doctors, nurses, and everyday citizens getting themselves arrested to promote single-payer.

How does something like this happen?

During the debate on health care reform, discussion and advocacy of single-payer has been AWOL from the front pages of the “A” list lefty blogs. Those are the same blogs that sang in unison last year in the Kool-aid chorus. Co-inky-dink?

Maybe the answer is here.

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Surprise! Sarah: There are sexist jerks on both sides

I will be the first to admit that I’m dismayed at Sarah Palin’s recent panderings.  She had an excellent opportunity to forge her “maverick” style by ignoring ideologies and just doing what’s right.  Her record as Governor of Alaska revealed shades of this type of independence and until now I held out hope that she would resist the temptation of using ridiculous and useless rhetoric to fire up that base.  Maybe she thought joining these forces was the best defensive posture against the heinous sexist treatment she’s regularly pelted with.  She’s wrong.  Dead wrong.

Sexism clearly knows no political boundaries.  Case in point are the recent comments by Glenn Beck.  Apparently Sarah responded to a question regarding the possibility of a presidential pairing of her and Beck.  In a display of naivete, Palin remarked in so many words that such would be “a hoot.”  So, was Beck flattered?  Hell no.  He wasted no time spewing sexist insults meant to demean her status simply because she has a vagina.  In a “make me a sammich woman” moment, Beck scoffed at the idea of playing second fiddle to a woman.  *gasp*  This needs no intro or explanation.  Just have a listen.

Maybe Sarah will see this moment as her opportunity to grasp the painful truth that she will not escape sexism by clinging to any ideological group; and she will not be spared their misogynistic wrath even if she spreads their empty, parasitic mind-viruses.

The people of America are looking for independent thinkers who do something because it’s the right thing to do, not because it’s in line with some Madison Avenue-designed talking point.  So many women whose eyes were opened during the 2008 primaries are newly independent and fiercely protective of their rights in this democracy.  This was a golden opportunity for Sarah Palin, yet for some reason she has chosen to align herself with and parrot talking points written by those who will attack and degrade her with the same ferocity.

Because of these things I offer the following advice to Sarah Palin:

Do yourself a huge favor and follow the lead of Hillary Clinton.  Support issues that raise women up regardless of ideology.  Abandon those who want to hold women down and who use sexism and misogyny to keep women from their rightful place in society.  If for no other reason, do it for your daughters.

Let this be your final wake-up call.  Quit knocking on the door of the He-man wimmen haters club — they won’t let you in.

Carpe diem, my friend.  Carpe diem.

Lazy Saturday Mid-Morning News and Gossip Update

Wow, I slept till 8:30 this morning. It sure is nice being on vacation. I’ve done practically nothing but sleep, read, eat, and surf the ‘net since Tuesday afternoon. Today, I guess I’ll have to get moving and prepared to return to teaching on Monday. I heard a couple of interesting stories on Twitter last night. Did you hear that Amy Goodman was stopped and interrogated at the Canadian border?

Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now , a radio and television show aired by public and college broadcasters across North America, was entering Canada around 6 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday evening, set to speak at the Vancouver Public Library in an event co-ordinated by a campus radio station at Simon Fraser University.

“When I handed our passports over the border guard, they told us to pull over. We had to go over to the border facility. And they started asking me questions about what I was going to be speaking about. I was totally taken aback. They wanted to see my notes,”

Amy Goodman

Goodman was going to Canada to promote her new book. Oddly, the guards kept accusing her of giving a talk about the Vancouver Olympics. She had no clue what they meant by that, but they wouldn’t believe her. They searched all of her notes and her and her colleague’s computers and took photographs. It sounds truly Kafkaesque. Apparently Canada is really worked up about the Olympics. They didn’t care that she was going to talk about opposing wars or the economic meltdown–just whether she would criticize the Vancouver games. Goodman didn’t even know there was a Vancouver Olympics. I didn’t either. Did you?

In another strange story, Tiger Woods left his house in the middle of the night and drove right into a tree and a fire hydrant. He was barely conscious after the accident and his wife had to break open the car window with a golf club to get him out. Did they have a fight or something? Apparently there was no alcohol involved. From the LA Times story:

The initial media reports that instantly spread around the globe sounded dire: Tiger Woods had been “seriously” hurt in a car accident early Friday and was hospitalized.

It turned out the superstar golfer’s injuries, first reported by the Orlando Sentinel, weren’t as dreadful as the word “serious” implied in the police report. But as additional details emerged, it appeared Woods certainly suffered more than a fender bender.

Woods, 33, was backing out of his driveway in the Isleworth community near Orlando, Fla., at 2:25 a.m. when he struck a fire hydrant and then hit a neighbor’s tree, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

It was almost 12 hours before the police issued an accident report, and it is still unknown why Woods was out driving at that hour and much about the incident remains unclear.

The police plan to question Woods about the incident.

Florida Highway Patrol Sgt Kim Montes said two troopers had attempted to contact Woods on Friday evening, but his wife said he was sleeping and they had agreed to come back on Saturday.

According to the highway patrol, alcohol was not a factor in the incident.

Chief Daniel Saylor of the Windermere Police Department said: “From what we understand, his wife came out of the house when she heard the accident, him hitting the fire hydrant, (and) used a golf club – that’s what we were told – to break out the rear window to gain entrance into the vehicle, removed him from the vehicle and laid him down in the street.

“He was in and out of consciousness with lacerations to his upper and lower lip, with a little bit of blood in his mouth, but he was conscious enough to be able to speak a little bit. According to my officers, it was not life-threatening injuries.”

In comments to the Associated Press news agency, Chief Saylor said his officers found the 33-year-old lying in the street with his wife hovering over him.

This just broke on Google, could explain what happened: Tiger Woods’ Car Crash Came After Explosive Story Claiming Affair

Tiger Woods’ bizarre overnight car crash outside his Florida home came only two days after the National Enquirer publish an article claiming the golf champ was having an affair.

Police said they had no knowledge of a fight between Woods, 33, and his wife, Elin, before Woods left their house at 2:25 a.m. Friday — backing out of his driveway and plowing into a fire hydrant and a neighbor’s tree in a gated community near Orlando.

The Enquirer’s explosive story hit the stands Wednesday contending that Woods has been seeing New York night club hostess Rachel Uchitel and that the pair recently were spotted in Melbourne while Woods was playing in the Australian Masters tournament.

Take it with a grain of salt, since it’s The Enquirer and Fox, but it sounds like a reasonable explanation to me.

There were a few articles yesterday about how the story spread around the world through Twitter and other social media before it could even be reported in any detail by the MSM.

In the Age of Realtime, Twitter is Walter Cronkite


Tiger Woods and Car Accident: CNN and Twitter


This is Why the Internet (and Twitter) Wins

Tongues are still wagging about the couple who supposedly crashed the President’s state dinner the other day. The couple are still claiming they were invited, and it was revealed yesterday that they did meet President Obama.

The White House said late Friday that Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the Virginia couple auditioning for a Bravo reality show, not only got past layers of experienced, executive-branch security but also shook the president’s hand in the Blue Room of the White House during the Obamas’ first state dinner. Late Friday, the White House also released a photo of Michaele Salahi’s audience with the president, with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh smiling nearby.

The security breach has caused hand-wringing inside the White House, bewilderment among Tuesday night’s guests — and late on Friday, prompted an apology from the Secret Service.

From Politico: President Obama Orders Review of Crashers

President Barack Obama has ordered a full review into how a Virginia couple managed to make their way into the White House for last week’s state dinner without an invitation, even getting so far as to meet the president in the official receiving line, according to a White House official.

Three days after a pair of Virginia socialites and reality TV wannabes crashed the administration’s first state dinner, the White House acknowledged for the first time Friday that they met Obama himself at the event – raising even more questions about whether the breach could have posed a security risk.

No kidding.

I saw this on Twitter too: Hillary’s Bombshell: Obama Administration Subtly Launches Dramatic Policy Change on Peace Process

Hillary made a short statement on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and a number of blogs are breaking it down piece by piece to divine it’s true meaning. I don’t know enough about I/P to really understand it, but thought the analysis was interesting just the same. No fighting about this in the comments, please, but if you can make sense of it please discuss politely.

Here’s another analysis of the statement from a Palestinian point of view.

Just breaking news:

Russia train crash ’caused by bomb’

The Nevsky Express derailed in remote countryside on Friday night as the train travelled between the capital Moscow and St Petersburg.

Investigators found “elements of an explosive device” at the scene, the Russia’s federal investigative committee said in a statement.

A senior intelligence official said a bomb had derailed the locomotive.


Dubai World Unit Faces Default Test Monday With Bond Payment

European Stocks Fall for Second Week as Alpha, Compass Decline

HAVE A STUPENDOUS SATURDAY!!!!!

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Caption This Photo: Open Thread

How priceless is this image?  But it so desperately needs a caption.

Oh…and this is an open thread.  What’s going on where you are?