This is Our Moment! Clean Energy and Climate Change Legislation



The Fix: Robert Redford Reflects on the Gulf Oil Disaster

On behalf of all people, planet-wide, I wish to present this powerful and thoughtful possibility.  With thanks to Robert Redford, The Natural Resources Defense Council, and even BP, without which we, at least in America and hopefully internationally, might never have seized an opportunity to truly reflect on the damage we have caused.

Copyright © 2010.  Natural Resources Defense Council

Comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation could create 2 million jobs, cut 2 billion tons of pollution and save 2 trillion dollars.

A bill can create two million American jobsthat can’t be shipped overseas and build a domestic clean energy market that will allow U.S. firms to compete in the rapidly expanding global clean tech industry. The money saved comes from cutting our oil imports in half. And by reducing our pollution, we simultaneously address the most pressing environmental challenge of our time — climate change.

We cannot wait any longer to put our nation on a path to clean energy.

Americans support these goals. To achieve them, comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation must do four things:

  • Promote investment in energy efficiency as well as wind, solar and other renewable sources of power.
  • Set a cap on the carbon pollution that is contributing to climate change.
  • Complement, not discard, existing state and federal efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. And governments in a number of states have taken action already to protect their citizens from rising levels of carbon. Federal legislation should complement these efforts, not compromise them.
  • Provide the leadership we need to support international efforts to deal with climate change — real carbon reductions, preserving forests around the world and aid for the poorest and most vulnerable people on earth in coping with the ravages of climate change.
  • These are the cornerstones of a successful bill that will make our economy stronger and our country more secure.  Oil and coal companies are expected to spend millions lobbying to protect their profits and keep the United States dependent on polluting energy sources. The oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexicographically demonstrates the dangers of our dependence on fossil fuels.

    Rising global temperatures, even at the lower end of predicted ranges, could cause extensive melting of sea ice and glaciers, widening desertification, sea level rise and other changes that could be potentially devastating for the United States, our economy and people around the world. This year alone, smokestacks and tailpipes worldwide will pump a record 33 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air, most from the burning of coal, oil and gas. The United States can’t wait any longer to curb emissions, reduce our dependence on oil and develop clean energy technologies.

    References for The Fix . . .

    Politician, Represent Thyself

    copyright © 2010. Jerry Northington. Jerry Northington.com

    For years now I have been a blogger and avid reader of political blogs.  A recent post by an immigration blogger used the title of today’s pondering.  The point of the other posting was to make politicians (and other people in the nation today) stand up for what is right against what is wrong.

    In my childhood, people in my hometown did not allow other people to be mistreated the way we see on the news today.   People were allowed to live their lives and work to sustain their families without lots of questions.  When people had trouble, they were given aid.  If a farmer was ill or injured and unable to plow or harvest his crops neighbors pitched in to take care of the job and insure the success of the farming community.

     Too often today, we hear politicians and others railing about one subject or another in ways that are often empty rhetoric without supporting evidence or real substance.  The fear card is often played these days by politicians hoping for election or reelection.  The pols twitter about and change positions like a bird on a live wire.

    The mental and personal deficiencies of too many politicians and other public figures today leaves them unable to represent with any degree of fairness the millions of people in our nation today.   Fear drives human beings to strange corners and unreal belief systems.  Fear drives politicians to say and do whatever it is that promises reelection and continued exposure to the public eye.

    As a nation, we need to stop the current course of always blaming the underprivileged or the weak for our ills.  We need one and all to take a real stand and let others around us see just who we are and for what we stand in this life.  We must be true to ourselves first if we are to be true to any other person.  Our politicians need the same reminders and directions if they are to be fair and reasoned in their public lives.  

    Peace.

    For Further Information on Northington Notes

    I am keeping my hand in Delaware politics.  Regular commentaries will appear on the blog at

    www.JerryNorthington.blogspot.com.

    Anyone may subscribe to Northington Notes, a twice a month commentary.

    Please forward this newsletter to friends and neighbors who may be interested. The list is a private one which will not be sold or shared.

    Thanks for your time, and I look forward to keeping in touch and joining with you in activism to address the great issues of our time.

    Peace,

    Jerry Northington

    Thoughts on Crops

    copyright 2010. Jerry Northington. Jerry Northington.com

    Growing up in farm country in mid-America the relationship between seed and crop was more than easy to see in our back fields.  The land was rented to local farmers who grew corn, soybeans, wheat and other crops year after year all my time at home.  Those farmers saw the proof of the old adage, “You reap what you sow.”

    A few days ago I was reminded about another similar adage.  Those who sow violence (read that any who institute a violent act of any sort) may solve one problem but very likely another issue will arise.  The reaction to violence in most human cultures is more and escalating violence.

    Today we live in a world of escalating military expenditures, increasing amounts of arms and ammunition, and a continual race to be the biggest of them all.  To what purpose?  What benefit does humankind see from more and more arms and armament?  Is national security made more sure by a nuclear arsenal that could turn our planet to a cinder in minutes?

    My heart tells me if we sow violence we are likely to reap more of the same.  What about if we as a nation were to take on the course of sowing peace?  There are

    many examples around the world of peaceable intervention leading to improved lives.  What is to stop us as a people from doing even more.

    The sowing of peace can begin with each of us in every aspect of our lives.  Instead of responding in kind to that unkind word or gesture perhaps we would be better to respond with a measure of kindness and friendly words. We need not allow ourselves to become doormats accepting all the misfortune people can hand out, but maybe if we reduce the level of the adversity in the situation we can in the end spread a message of peace and reduced militarism around the world.  At least in my mind the idea is one worth a moment or two of real thought and honest consideration.

    Peace.

    Quote of the Day:

    If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

    ~ Mother Teresa

    For Further Information on Northington Notes

    I am keeping my hand in Delaware politics.  Regular commentaries will appear on the blog at

    www.JerryNorthington.blogspot.com.

    Anyone may subscribe to Northington Notes, a twice a month commentary.

    Please forward this newsletter to friends and neighbors who may be interested. The list is a private one which will not be sold or shared.

    Thanks for your time, and I look forward to keeping in touch and joining with you in activism to address the great issues of our time.

    Peace,

    Jerry Northington

    If you wish to communicate with Jerry Northington

    Jerry Northington, DVM

    Jerry@JerryNorthington.com

    Post Office Box 7987?Wilmington, DE 19803

    White Defenders



    racist16_400

    copyright © 2010 Forgiven.  The Disputed Truth

    Originally Published on Sunday, January 10, 2010

    In a private conversation reported in a new book, Reid described Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign as a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

    I have to be honest that I am always a bit skeptical when white folks feel compelled to step up and defend black folks from other white folks. I am even more cynical when it is white Republicans doing the defending. This would be the same Republican party who has since the 60’s run on the southern strategy, whose conventions look more like all-white country clubs, and who have from his election sought to de-legitimize this President. Now we are to believe that they are so concerned with the delicate psyche of African-Americans that Senator Reid’s remarks rises to the level of Trent Lott?

    For those who don’t remember Trent Lott was the Republican majority leader who stated that the country would have been better off if unrepentant segregationist Strom Thurmond had won the presidency in 1948.

    For the sake of argument, let’s look at Senator Reid’s reported statement concerning then Senator Obama. He stated that he was a light-skinned black man which as far as I can tell would be a true statement. My guess is that Senator Reid was alluding to the fact that historically lighter skinned blacks have fared better in American society than darker skinned blacks so that would be a positive in his bid to become president. On the surface this would appear to be a callous statement however if we look at not only the history of blacks within the majority society but also within the black community the statement tends to stand on its own merits. Now does this excuse the fact that darker-skinned blacks tend to be discriminated more than light-skinned blacks? Of course not, but the truth is still the truth.

    Let’s face it folks whites tend to be more comfortable with light-skinned blacks. If you were to poll blacks and say does the fact that President Obama is light-skinned does that diminish his status as an African-American I think the answer would be a resounding no based on the fact that he received almost 100% of the black vote.

    The second part of Senator Reid’s remarks could be more problematic in the sense that he stated that Obama had no Negro dialect which could be offensive to some blacks. The question then becomes do blacks, as a group, speak differently from whites and can those differences be readily apparent to the listener? I think Senator Reid was stating that Barack Obama could choose to speak black or white depending on his audience. The problem here is that we are talking about politicians who often craft their message depending on their audience and for a politician to be able to speak to multiple groups is an asset. I think I remember during the campaign how Hillary and Bill changed dialects when they were speaking in black churches or to primarily black audiences. Does that make them racists? I think not, it makes them politicians.

    As every successful black man knows who is not in the entertainment business or a professional athlete knows, we live in two different worlds we have to adept in the white world as well as the black world. I have to be able to speak to white businessmen as well as black community folks and they are not the same.

    The biggest problem I have with this faux Republican outrage is that in order to determine Reid’s remarks one has to look at his intent. Was his intent to racially disparage Barack Obama? No, in fact in his mind he was giving a list of the positives for then candidate Obama. We must remember this was the beginning of a historical campaign and who amongst us did not consider these if not other positives and negatives of the candidates. The problem for Senator Reid is that his remarks were recorded. To me this just demonstrates the problem with the current Republican strategy and that is it shows their total lack of principles. When you attack everything you find yourself defending some former positions that you once opposed, by doing this you appear hypocritical at best and insane at worse. Republicans defending Medicare?

    So what we have is Senator Reid stating that Barack Obama was a light-skinned black man who could speak to both black and white audiences. Yeah, that’s grounds for his immediate dismissal. Speaking as a black man I’m still missing the outrage no matter who had made the statement.

    For Michael Steele to go on television and equate what Senator Reid reportedly said to what Trent Lott said is beyond me. Are we to believe that saying the country would be better off today if in 1948 an avowed racist had won the Presidential election is comparable to saying that Barack Obama was more electable because he was light-skinned and he spoke to both blacks and whites? I don’t think so. Have we become so racially sensitive that stating the obvious is now considered racist? The reason Mr. Steele will never be able to accomplish what he was elected to do which I think was to reach out to African-American voters is because in order to defend his task masters he losses any credibility with the very voters he is charged with attracting. Mr. Steele’s remarks may appeal to whites but if that is his core audience then the Republicans would have better served if they had elected another white man who would not have brought the baggage Mr. Steele has obviously brought. Do Republicans believe that blacks are that gullible? I hope not for their sakes.

    “Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”

    ~ Elbert Hubbard  

    CIA’s changing role in U.S. imperialism’s expanding war

    copyright © 2010 Michael Prysner.   Party for Socialism and Liberation

    Originally Published on Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Attack highlights increased military operations of brutal secret agency

    CIA agents in Afghanistan in 2001.

    In eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border, a member of the resistance infiltrated a CIA compound and detonated an explosive belt, killing seven CIA operatives and wounding six others.  

    The CIA promptly vowed revenge for the attack.  Some agents spoke candidly on the day of the bombing, chest-thumping that they were in this fight for the long haul.  “There is no pullout [in 2011],” said one agent anonymously, “there is no withdrawal or anything like that planned.”

    In a statement released by the CIA after the attack, the agency stated, referring to the casualties, that “we pledge to them and their families that we will never cease fighting for the cause to which they dedicated their lives-a safer America.”

    This “noble cause” that the CIA and its agents are vowing to fight until the end did not begin in Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11 attacks.  CIA operations in the country began in the late 1970s.  

    Washington’s public rationale for why the U.S. government must fight in Afghanistan-lack of women’s rights, Islamic law, lack of education, and so on-have not always existed in Afghanistan.  There is, in fact, a period during which Afghanistan was on a progressive path.  In 1978, under the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, women’s rights and anti-sexist laws were enacted for the first time in Afghanistan’s history.  Schools began opening throughout the country and a literacy campaign was initiated.  The government functioned on a secular, democratic platform, after a long feudal era.

    As Afghanistan was building equality, increasing literacy and education, and building a new progressive society, Washington was worried about one thing.  The new government wanted independence and would not allow itself to be made a puppet serving the interests of U.S. capitalism.  The CIA was promptly dispatched, not for a “safer America,” but for a safer region for U.S. companies to exert their dominance.  

    The CIA’s history in Afghanistan begins like this: spending billions of dollars to crush the only progressive period in the country’s history.  

    How did they do this? By heavily funding and fighting alongside the most reactionary religious organizations, who began killing and maiming women not observing the most fundamentalist interpretations of Islamic law, destroying schools and murdering scores of civilians throughout the country.  Those CIA-backed forces then took state power, and ruled the country-while still receiving millions of dollars from the CIA.  Then, they were overthrown by the CIA in 2001.  

    The CIA orchestrated the overthrow of the Taliban government in 2001, commanding the war with its operatives on the ground.  One of those agents who masterminded the U.S. takeover in 2001, Henry Crumpton, recently spoke out about the CIA tactics used.  He and his agents would visit tribal leaders, and offer them this ultimatum: “If you do not cooperate, the chances of your survival are greatly diminished.” 

    If that particular tribal leader refused to assist the invading foreign forces in his country, Crumpton and his team would openly murder him.  Crumpton admitted, “And the next day, we’d talk to the tribal leader that was next door.  … Given the incentive that we had set the previous day, he was much more amenable to negotiations in our favor.”

    The terrorist tactics used by the CIA in Afghanistan make it obvious why their base was targeted.

    The CIA has long commanded military operations, from its death squads in Latin America to bloody military coups in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.  But there has been a fundamental change in the CIA’s military role since 2001.  

    Now, the CIA is on the front lines in Afghanistan more so than in any other mission.  Previously, the CIA primarily commanded U.S. military special operations troops, as well as local militias.  The CIA’s own paramilitary branch, known as the Special Activities Division, was small and rarely used in lieu of U.S. and foreign troops.  

    After the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration began the process of militarizing the CIA, which continues today.  The Special Activities Division was increased in size and funding.  They were given greater authority to clandestinely conduct military operations in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and other countries where U.S.  troops are not legally allowed.  

    Now, instead of commanding U.S. or foreign military units and local reactionary militias, the CIA is increasingly conducting military operations with their own agents.  They even operate out of their own firebases scattered all over Afghanistan and Iraq.  This constitutes a major change in the structure of the CIA.  

    The growing trend of privatizing the military can be seen as the CIA militarizes.  In addition to increasing their own number of troops, the CIA has also absorbed sectors of the notorious mercenary company known as Blackwater (now known as Xe).  

    It was recently revealed that the CEO of Blackwater, right-wing evangelical billionaire Eric Prince, works directly for the CIA.  Blackwater troops became CIA troops, and have been conducting assassination campaigns and military operations in Pakistan and other countries.  

    But the CIA’s militarization spans beyond commanding their own troops.  The CIA established a vast network of secret prisons, where suspects endure vicious illegal torture and absolutely no legal rights.

    In addition, the CIA now has its own personal air force, commanding and piloting drones that are now being regularly used all over the world, conducting bombing missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere.  The Obama administration recently approved even more funds to increase the CIA’s drone capabilities, putting bombs and missiles at their fingertips.  

    The CIA is playing a more direct role in U.S. wars than ever before.  The U.S. ruling class wants the so-called “war on terror” to be shifted into the shadows.  

    The anti-war movement exploded in late 2002, drawing the largest anti-war demonstrations in history against the invasion of Iraq.  The anti-war movement during the Vietnam War grew to a point where the U.S. government was forced to abandon its colonial aims in Vietnam.  Now, the United States is involved in what is already the longest war in U.S. history, which is growing more unpopular everyday.  The occupation of Iraq still has no end in sight.  The Pentagon brass has made it clear that we should brace for a long and bloody fight in Afghanistan.  Additionally, U.S. imperialism has goals elsewhere in the region.  

    Capitalism has developed into a global economic system.  The United States and a handful of countries in Western Europe have competed with each other to dominate the markets and resources of the rest of the world for the past century.  They have also cooperated together in their joint struggle against socialism or against independent non-socialist governments in the developing world.

    This has led to the bloodiest century in human history and shows no signs of abating.  

    One way that the militarization of the CIA benefits the ruling class is that it allows the U.S. government to substitute other forces for those the U.S. military would have deployed.  U.S. military operations are much more subject to publicity and scrutiny, but clandestine CIA operations are ambiguous.  Working in the shadows allows the government to deny its own role in secret bombings, targeted assassinations and economic sabotage in other countries.  The history of the CIA includes the most blatantly criminal military operations, using the most brutal and murderous tactics to overthrow popular, democratically elected governments who do not submit to U.S. corporations, and installing the most reactionary and repressive dictators, from Guatemala, to Iran, to Haiti, to the Congo, and countless others.  If U.S. troops deployed to conduct these operations, there would have been even greater public outcry.  But they are instead conducted in the shadows, to mask the true nature of the system we live under.

    Outright military invasion is often a last resort for the ruling class, when their other methods have failed to achieve their goals of economic domination.  With the changing role of the CIA, the extent of the capabilities of conducting covert operations has been stretched to new boundaries.  The CIA can now deploy its own soldiers, pilot its own bombing missions and manage its own prison apparatus.

    In eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border, a member of the resistance infiltrated a CIA compound and detonated an explosive belt, killing seven CIA operatives and wounding six others.  

    The CIA promptly vowed revenge for the attack.  Some agents spoke candidly on the day of the bombing, chest-thumping that they were in this fight for the long haul.  “There is no pullout [in 2011],” said one agent anonymously, “there is no withdrawal or anything like that planned.”

    In a statement released by the CIA after the attack, the agency stated, referring to the casualties, that “we pledge to them and their families that we will never cease fighting for the cause to which they dedicated their lives-a safer America.”

    This “noble cause” that the CIA and its agents are vowing to fight until the end did not begin in Afghanistan in response to the Sept.  11 attacks.  CIA operations in the country began in the late 1970s.  

    Washington’s public rationale for why the U.S. government must fight in Afghanistan-lack of women’s rights, Islamic law, lack of education, and so on-have not always existed in Afghanistan.  There is, in fact, a period during which Afghanistan was on a progressive path.  In 1978, under the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, women’s rights and anti-sexist laws were enacted for the first time in Afghanistan’s history.  Schools began opening throughout the country and a literacy campaign was initiated.  The government functioned on a secular, democratic platform, after a long feudal era.

    As Afghanistan was building equality, increasing literacy and education, and building a new progressive society, Washington was worried about one thing.  The new government wanted independence and would not allow itself to be made a puppet serving the interests of U.S. capitalism.  The CIA was promptly dispatched, not for a “safer America,” but for a safer region for U.S. companies to exert their dominance.  

    The CIA’s history in Afghanistan begins like this: spending billions of dollars to crush the only progressive period in the country’s history.  

    How did they do this? By heavily funding and fighting alongside the most reactionary religious organizations, who began killing and maiming women not observing the most fundamentalist interpretations of Islamic law, destroying schools and murdering scores of civilians throughout the country.  Those CIA-backed forces then took state power, and ruled the country-while still receiving millions of dollars from the CIA.  Then, they were overthrown by the CIA in 2001.  

    The CIA orchestrated the overthrow of the Taliban government in 2001, commanding the war with its operatives on the ground.  One of those agents who masterminded the U.S. takeover in 2001, Henry Crumpton, recently spoke out about the CIA tactics used.  He and his agents would visit tribal leaders, and offer them this ultimatum: “If you do not cooperate, the chances of your survival are greatly diminished.” 

    If that particular tribal leader refused to assist the invading foreign forces in his country, Crumpton and his team would openly murder him.  Crumpton admitted, “And the next day, we’d talk to the tribal leader that was next door.  … Given the incentive that we had set the previous day, he was much more amenable to negotiations in our favor.”

    The terrorist tactics used by the CIA in Afghanistan make it obvious why their base was targeted.

    The CIA has long commanded military operations, from its death squads in Latin America to bloody military coups in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.  But there has been a fundamental change in the CIA’s military role since 2001.  

    Now, the CIA is on the front lines in Afghanistan more so than in any other mission.  Previously, the CIA primarily commanded U.S. military special operations troops, as well as local militias.  The CIA’s own paramilitary branch, known as the Special Activities Division, was small and rarely used in lieu of U.S. and foreign troops.  

    After the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration began the process of militarizing the CIA, which continues today.  The Special Activities Division was increased in size and funding.  They were given greater authority to clandestinely conduct military operations in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and other countries where U.S. troops are not legally allowed.  

    Now, instead of commanding U.S. or foreign military units and local reactionary militias, the CIA is increasingly conducting military operations with their own agents.  They even operate out of their own firebases scattered all over Afghanistan and Iraq.  This constitutes a major change in the structure of the CIA.  

    The growing trend of privatizing the military can be seen as the CIA militarizes.  In addition to increasing their own number of troops, the CIA has also absorbed sectors of the notorious mercenary company known as Blackwater (now known as Xe).  

    It was recently revealed that the CEO of Blackwater, right-wing evangelical billionaire Eric Prince, works directly for the CIA.  Blackwater troops became CIA troops, and have been conducting assassination campaigns and military operations in Pakistan and other countries.  

    But the CIA’s militarization spans beyond commanding their own troops.  The CIA established a vast network of secret prisons, where suspects endure vicious illegal torture and absolutely no legal rights.

    In addition, the CIA now has its own personal air force, commanding and piloting drones that are now being regularly used all over the world, conducting bombing missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere.  The Obama administration recently approved even more funds to increase the CIA’s drone capabilities, putting bombs and missiles at their fingertips.  

    The CIA is playing a more direct role in U.S. wars than ever before.  The U.S. ruling class wants the so-called “war on terror” to be shifted into the shadows.  

    The anti-war movement exploded in late 2002, drawing the largest anti-war demonstrations in history against the invasion of Iraq.  The anti-war movement during the Vietnam War grew to a point where the U.S. government was forced to abandon its colonial aims in Vietnam.  Now, the United States is involved in what is already the longest war in U.S. history, which is growing more unpopular everyday.  The occupation of Iraq still has no end in sight.  The Pentagon brass has made it clear that we should brace for a long and bloody fight in Afghanistan.  Additionally, U.S. imperialism has goals elsewhere in the region.  

    Capitalism has developed into a global economic system.  The United States and a handful of countries in Western Europe have competed with each other to dominate the markets and resources of the rest of the world for the past century.  They have also cooperated together in their joint struggle against socialism or against independent non-socialist governments in the developing world.

    This has led to the bloodiest century in human history and shows no signs of abating.  

    One way that the militarization of the CIA benefits the ruling class is that it allows the U.S. government to substitute other forces for those the U.S. military would have deployed.  U.S. military operations are much more subject to publicity and scrutiny, but clandestine CIA operations are ambiguous.  Working in the shadows allows the government to deny its own role in secret bombings, targeted assassinations and economic sabotage in other countries.  The history of the CIA includes the most blatantly criminal military operations, using the most brutal and murderous tactics to overthrow popular, democratically elected governments who do not submit to U.S. corporations, and installing the most reactionary and repressive dictators, from Guatemala, to Iran, to Haiti, to the Congo, and countless others.  If U.S. troops deployed to conduct these operations, there would have been even greater public outcry.  But they are instead conducted in the shadows, to mask the true nature of the system we live under.

    Outright military invasion is often a last resort for the ruling class, when their other methods have failed to achieve their goals of economic domination.  With the changing role of the CIA, the extent of the capabilities of conducting covert operations has been stretched to new boundaries.  The CIA can now deploy its own soldiers, pilot its own bombing missions and manage its own prison apparatus.

    Obama’s Strategy on Afghanistan

    copyright © 2099 Jerome Grossman.  Relentless Liberal

    It is difficult, even impossible, to accept President Obama’s “New strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan” as described by him in a formal speech on March 27.  It fails by imperial and non-imperial standards.

    First the imperial: Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA agent, reports in his book Nemesis: “The Carter administration deliberately provoked the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  In his 1996 memoir, former CIA Director Robert Gates acknowledges that the American intelligence services began to aid the anti-Soviet mujahideen guerillas not after the Russian invasion but six months before it.  President Carter’s purpose was to provoke a full-scale Soviet military intervention to tie down the USSR.”  Will an expanded military effort in Afghanistan tie down the U.S. as it did the USSR?

    Obama plans a U.S. military effort in Afghanistan lasting at least five years in a country 50% larger than Iraq in area and population.  The NATO allied forces are token in size and commitment and rarely leave their base camps.  A serious U.S. military effort will require at least 250,000 troops tied down in Afghanistan/Pakistan.  Will America be unable to react to other challenges as they arise especially its obligations, to protect Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, to deter Iran from a nuclear program, to support Pakistan from collapse; etc?

    The invasion of Iraq could be justified on imperial grounds because it is strategically situated in the heart of the largest concentration of oil in the world.  Afghanistan has no comparable resource, one of the poorest countries, no industry, little farming, rugged terrain, a land of banditry and bribery.

    The adventure fails from a non- imperial perspective.  Obama says “That country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.”  None of the 19 people who perpetrated the September 11 criminal tragedy were Afghan or Taliban.  Fifteen of them were Saudi.  There are no Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan any longer.  Osama bin Laden and what is left of his crew is in hiding somewhere in the wilderness of Pakistan.  The Al Qaeda operation is scattered and disorganized.  Yes, another 19 thugs could infiltrate the U.S. and kill Americans, but sending an army into Afghanistan is not going to prevent another such criminal act.  In fact, the hyped war in Afghanistan is more likely to divert us from protecting ourselves against another September 11.

  • Obama’s Strategy on Afghanistan
  • Bush/Obama Administration?

    Photobucket

    copyright © 2009 Forgiven.  The Disputed Truth

    The average American looks up, they distrust politicians in general and they don’t think they’ve been told the truth, and I think they got good reason. They’ve watched a Bush/Obama spending cycle that began with a stimulus package last year which failed at $180 billion, a housing package in August which fail–or July which failed at $345 billion, a Wall Street bailout at $700 billion, a Federal Reserve guarantee of $4 trillion; a stimulus package of $787 billion, which we’re now being told weeks later isn’t big enough, but which had to be passed so quickly no one could read it, because we had to get it out there immediately.

    ~ Newt Gingrich

    I saw the new, old face of the Republican Party this weekend on a Sunday talk show and I was shocked at the new tact of the Republicans. According to Newt Gingrich the last eight years has been the Bush/Obama administration. Who knew? In an effort to once again fasten President Obama to the current economic meltdown the new strategy appears to be to unite him to the failed policies of the Bush administration. The once revered George W. has now been turned into a tax and spend liberal by the very same people who heralded his accent to power. These people have no shame. They are willing to throw Bush under the bus for the sake of some political advantage that doesn’t exist. Do they think that the public is so incompetent that they don’t know the difference between Bush and Obama for the last eight years? Here’s a hint Obama is the tall, dark one.

    So are we to assume that the last eight years were not Republican run as we were led to believe by their policies and their utter failure? So Republicans were not the ones who put the economy and our nation on the road to a “China Syndrome”. You have to hand it to them though that is innovative. You attach the incoming administration not only from another Party but another galaxy to the previous failed administration which happened to have been from your Party. My guess is that the goal of this strategy is to try and reduce the amount of patience the American people will have with the new President since he has been in office for the past eight years and hasn’t done anything.

    Now for those following at home here is the latest. Not only did President Obama not inherit this economy he actually caused the economy to crash as a member of the Bush administration. Theoretically he has not been in office for only two months after all so his policies don’t deserve anytime to work. After all they are the same big spending, big government policies of that other liberal stalwart George W. Bush. How Mr. Gingrich can expect any national political aspirations to be taken seriously following comments like these are beyond me. But considering no one on the panel gave them a second look maybe he knows something I don’t. The problem with Mr. Gingrich and all of his new and old GOP faces is not that they are new or old; it is that their ideas are old. The GOP continues to repackage their “new” faces with the same failed ideas. I mean to try and pretend that the Republicans outside of George Bush had nothing to do with what is happening in the country today is ludicrous.

    Mr. Gingrich would rather join his other political cohorts and fiddle while the empire burns and continue to be apologists for the wealthy than pitch in and help. For anyone to say it is unfair for the taxes of the wealthy to be raised after decades of tax-breaks and inequitable distribution of wealth is completely out of step with the mood of the country. For anyone to argue against giving 95% of working Americans a tax-break they are out of step with the mood of the country and the polls attest to this fact. While Mr. Gingrich and the other ignore the polls munchkins continue to try and deny his popularity the President’s numbers continue to rise. Now the new line is that the President has popularity but doesn’t have credibility with the people. Let’s be clear it is not the President that doesn’t have credibility it is the bankers, politicians, and talking heads that have no credibility. The public is tired of hearing about bankers and wall-streeters who continue to take bail-out money and hoard it or continue to live in a culture of a by-gone era. The public is tired of politicians who refuse to understand that they are hurting and “Just say no” is not an option. The public is tired of media-types who live in a bubble telling them who is at fault and who to trust.

    Mr. Gingrich there was no Bush/Obama White House and until the Republicans can acknowledge their role in this economic melt-down and begin to articulate a new strategy that addresses these problems they have no credibility with the public. The public is not willing to ignore the last eight years or pretend they never happened. Until the Republicans can acknowledge their failures they are doomed to repeat them, but not at the expense of this nation. You can’t start a fire and then charge the firefighters with arson. The best thing the Republicans can do to avoid another 50 years in the wilderness is to begin to help craft real legislation that will turn this economy around at least then the Democrats won’t be able to take full credit for the salvation of our country.

    “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”

    ~ Albert Einstein

    Our Best And Our Brightest

    copyright © 2009 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

    For years, many blacks have just come to accept that integration was the path to success in America. Blacks who have been able to have deftly navigated the integration maze either through employment, education, or athletic achievement. And once reaching the pinnacle of their success they have chosen to leave their neighborhoods, friends, and communities to relocate into white America where they take on mythical status as being more than black. To whites they become not like those other blacks and therefore become more acceptable to their white sensibilities. And in some cases blacks believe they have some mythical characteristics that separate them from other blacks. In their wake they leave behind a community that is devoid of role models and success stories. They leave behind a community that is becoming more financially and morally bankrupt.

    Before integration and the black man’s desertion of the black neighborhood the only place for successful black men was within the black community. They didn’t have the option of leaving and joining the majority population so their influence and their example were there for all to see and emulate. With the exodus of these heroes the black community has been left with smoke hounds, drunks, and prison gang leaders for masculine role models. And people wonder why young black men are doing so well? When you remove the presence of successful men in a community a vacuum is created and as with any vacuum something or someone is always there to fill it. In the case of the black community it has been filled by despair, hopelessness, and this penitentiary mentality. The heroes we have been left with are those who exploit and pander to violence, criminality, and gangsterism.

    I remember when I was growing up we had professional athletes, doctors, and professional men as neighbors. We interacted with them daily and got to see that a black man could be successful without resorting to dealing drugs, robbing people, and killing their brothers. These men provided hope just by their very presence to many young black men who otherwise would have been consumed by their circumstances. Even children who did not have fathers at home still could go out into the community and see that there had been others who were able to overcome their surroundings and reach to another level. As blacks have been able to wrestle success from the clutches of an economic system that for so long had ignored and marginalized them they began to seek the safety and comfort of the suburbs. While I have no problem with anyone who wants to make a better life for their families in the suburbs, I do believe that we all have to be cognizant of the consequences of our actions. As more and more successful blacks have migrated to the suburbs in their wake they have left a more engrained and intransigent form of poverty, a poverty that feeds on itself and creates more poverty.

    In my opinion there are two ways to be successful. One is to migrate to the suburbs and integrate into an established system of success. This of course is the easy route to take because the only work involved is assimilation into the larger culture. The second and by far the more difficult way is to stay where you are and rebuild the institutions that you have. By doing this you create and enforce your own definition of success which may be different from the larger culture. The key question in all of this I guess is do successful black men owe any loyalty to their communities besides trying to sell them sneakers or an occasional drive through the hood? Each person must answer this question within themselves, but as a Christian I am not only judged on what I do but also on the opportunities I have to do the right thing and do not.

    Our black youth in our communities are at a crisis point. They are angry and for good reason. When they needed a black man to protect them and to lead them there was no one positive there. Instead what was there was gangs, criminals, and disengaged fathers. No longer were there positive role models to emulate and find a communal sense of pride in. As more and more black kids are growing up without fathers the need for hope has never been greater. These kids need to know that they matter in a world that has basically ignored, shunned, and made them feel invisible. They continue to cry out in dysfunctional ways, but it is the only way they know how to say we are hurting and no one seems to care. It is time for all of us to come together not as a white community or a black community but as one community to rebuild and restore our promise to one another. Yes, I am my brother’s keeper.

    The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy ~ Charles de Montesquieu

    The Morals Of A Gnat

    copyright © 2009 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth



    As I watched the rant of CNBC analyst Rick Santelli concerning the proposed housing bailout of the Obama administration I couldn’t help but think is this where we have evolved to as a country? Where our chief concern is what’s in it for me. Have we gotten to the place where we are taking our moral cues from the same greedy, profit at all cost mentality that got us into this mess? According to this crowd it is now immoral to help those who have become unemployed, sick, or homeless because they have had the misfortune of working for a company that had lay-offs and didn’t have golden parachutes. Because these people are still fortunate enough to be employed and have homes then the rest of the world be damned?

    The popularity of this type of behavior illustrates how through the media and our decades of greed we have become desensitized to the suffering of others. We are emulating the attitudes of the “Gilded Age” prior to the “Great Depression” where as long as the misery is affecting others then it is not my concern. This type of behavior is often times seen in courtrooms where we blame the victim in order for us to not believe that we ourselves could be victims of similar mishaps. It is a response to a deep-seated fear and insecurity because deep inside we all know that we could just as easily be that victim. So rather than accept the possibility that it could be us we place blame and give the victims characteristics that reduce their humanity. In this case that all of the people who are being foreclosed on are somehow responsible for their misfortune due to bad decision making or some other moral deficiency.

    The problem I have with this guy in particular and with the recent criticism of the economic plans of this administration in general is that people are treating this crisis like it is just another recession and so all we need are a few minor tweaks and the system will right itself. Anyone with the slightest understanding of this crisis and of our history realizes that this is not the 1970’s or 1990’s where we faced market corrections and slight downturns and our solutions did not require radical departures from previous policies. The current crop of naysayers whether they be the greedy or the Republicans seem to be focused on the short-term, for some reason they refuse to look at the overall view.

    They take snippets of data and scraps of the solutions and say this does nothing to change the crisis this week as if we got here overnight. The problem with many of them is that they believe the history of America started on January 20th and ignore the systemic problems brought about by years of neglect and greed.

    What I don’t understand is when did our morals become everybody for themselves? I find it hard to believe that we have become a nation of such selfish proportions. I was taught and firmly believe still that if my neighbor is struggling and if I can help him then I should. We are being bombarded by article after article and rant after rant about the ignorance of the average American for buying homes they could not afford or speculating on the real estate market. It is a common refrain of the right and the greedy to blame those less fortunate for their circumstances as if they were the ones who brought down our economy. It is like the welfare queens of Reagan claiming that every woman on welfare was a black woman driving a Cadillac and living in some fancy condominium.

    The sad part is that it resonates with people. It allows those who are selfish to ignore and overlook the suffering of those they see every day. It allows them to make judgments about those they don’t know and based on those judgments walk by the homeless, the hungry, and the poor without feeling guilty.

    Have we become so jaded that our national conscience can no longer be shamed into action on the part of those less fortunate? It is a shame how the wealthy and the greedy have turned this into a referendum of the middle-class and not a condemnation of the greedy who ran our economy into the ground. While the CEO’s are brought before the cameras not to be drawn and quartered for their excesses, but merely to be scolded like unruly children and sent back to their mansions and country club lifestyles. Yet those poor Americans who can and have lost their homes are told you were stupid and we won’t help you. We reward those who have lost billions of dollars of other people’s money and blame those who have lost thousands of their own dollars. Is it me or is there something wrong with this picture?

    No Mr. Santelli, the message our government is sending is not that you don’t have to pay your mortgage if you are laid-off or you have a rotten loan, the message that our government is sending is that we care for all Americans not just the greedy and the wealthy. The message we are sending is that we are a compassionate nation and if that offends your delicate sensibilities then maybe you ought to relocate to a country where excess and greed are not frowned upon. Do I think that it is fair that I have to continue to pay my mortgage while others may receive some help? Of course not, but I thank God that I am not in their shoes yet! How about you Mr. Santelli if it is such a great deal why don’t you quit your job and apply for foreclosure assistance?

    There are many more wrong answers than right ones, and they are easier to find

    ~ Michael Friedlander

    The Afghan Cemetery

    copyright © 2009 Jerome Grossman.  Relentless Liberal

    President Obama indicated through his press secretary that his administration would review its policy toward Afghanistan before making a decision about sending additional troops to fight in that country.  Richard Holbrooke, his envoy, was in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region talking with leaders about how best to address the military and political situation.  Obama also met with advisers at the Pentagon and the State Department.

    As recently as February 15, it was reported that Obama “is refusing to be rushed into his first decision to send troops into combat  . . . questioning the time table, the mission and even the composition of the new forces.”  However, Obama changed his mind on February 17, authorizing 17,000 additional soldiers and Marines for Afghanistan in what he described as an urgent bid to stabilize a deteriorating and neglected country, joining the 30,000 U.S. troops already there.

    Obama will be sending more troops to Afghanistan before he has begun to fulfill a promised rapid withdrawal of troops from Iraq.  His order leaves crucial questions of strategy and tactics in Afghanistan unanswered until the strategy review is completed in April.  Antiwar groups criticized Obama’s decision.  Tom Andrews, director of Win Without War said, “The president is committing these troops before he’s determined what the mission is…..  We need to avoid the slippery slope of military escalation.”

    The hasty decision ignored the many negative comments about the prospects for a U.S. victory.  General David Petraeus has called Afghanistan “the graveyard of empires.”  Holbrooke reported “a purely military victory is not achievable.”  British historians furnish the details of their three failed military attempts to pacify the country.  Twenty years after the troops of the Soviet Union pulled out of Afghanistan in defeat, the last Russian general to command them said on Feb 13 that the Soviets’ devastating experience, losing more than 15,000 troops in Afghanistan battling guerrillas “is a dismal omen for the U.S.”

    Supporters of expanded U.S. military operations in Afghanistan cite the successes of the American military against the Taliban in October and November, 2001, immediately after the tragedy of September 11.  However, that victory was accomplished by air power and bribery.  Airpower prevented Taliban military operations.  Hundred dollar bills bought warlord allies in this corrupt country whose main product is opium.

    Can we do it again, bribing our way through the drug lords?  Perhaps.  But history shows that Afghans don’t stay bought and that the guerrillas motivated by rebellion and nationalism will fight the invaders for hundreds of years, making a bandit’s living out of their tactics as they have done for time immemorial.

    Don’t think that General Petraeus does not know how to use money as a weapon.  While he was installing the “Surge” in Iraq adding 30,000 fresh troops with great fanfare, he was quietly bribing the insurgent Sunnis with $20 dollar bills and rifles, paying 100,000 warriors to stop fighting the Americans.