LEFT OF DAYTON

Afghan War: A Time of Great Discontent Looming: Obama’s Wars

January 7, 2009
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The true measure of a man is what he does with the promises
he makes. During last years presidential race I remained
skeptical about all of the candidates. Heard it, seen it
 before. Would Obama be a further disappointment as well?
His unwavering& uncritical support for Israel and a
willingness to escalate the US military involvement  in
Afghanistan have particularly troubled me. It really sounds
simplistic, but really, war is NOT the answer. In today's
NY Times the columnist  Bob Herbert writes about The Afghan
Quagmire [http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/06/opinion/06herbert.html?th&emc=th]
and, on the Huffington Post, Tom Hayden offers an even
broader perspective.Will Obama piss of theprogressive/populist/left
base that helped put him in office? I hope not. At the same
time we cannot simply sit back and not be critical of
looming errors in judgment that could derail a much broader
agenda of hope and change.

Afghan War: A Time of Great Discontent Looming: Obama's Wars
By Tom Hayden
January 6, 2009

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-hayden/obamas-wars_b_155669.html

On January 21, President Barack Obama will take
personal responsibility for the wars in Afghanistan and
Pakistan launched under President Bush. The Afghan-
Pakistan war is uniquely Democratic in origin, however.
Since John Kerry's 2004 campaign, hawkish Democratic
security and political consultants have asserted that
Afghanistan is a good and necessary war in comparison
with Iraq which they label a diversionary one.

This argument has allowed Democrats to be critical of
the Iraq War without diminishing their standing as
hawks who will employ force to hunt down Al Qaeda. As a
result, the rank-and-file base of the Democratic Party,
and public opinion in general, remains divided and
confused over Afghanistan. As a result, opponents of
the Afghanistan escalation remain at the margins
politically for now, although backed by a healthy
public skepticism given the Iraq experience. (more…)
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WAS [IS] REV JEREMIAH WRIGHT REALLY THAT WRONG??

May 2, 2008
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Apparently I am missing something in the brouhaha over Rev Jeremiah Wright and Senator Barack Obama.

I read and reread the Chicago Tribune transcript of his comments at the National Press Club.
I watched his speech to the NAACP in Detroit. Watched major parts of it again on various “news” channels.
Watched members of the conservative wing of the Democratic Party fall all over themselves on various cable and network news shows trying to either distance themselves from or engage in attacks on Obama and Wright that were straight out the Republican play book.
Witnessed liberals being liberals; falling prey to an incipient McCarthyism. Hillary is disgusting in this respect.
Even normally rational NY Times columnist Bob Herbert denounced Wright in his column. Eric Alterman, author of Why I Am a Liberal and chief protagonist at Media Matters,fell prey in critiquing Maureen Dowd’s Times column:”
It’s his Farrakhan-like fantasies that make this preacher beyond the pale, not his feelings about the candidate”…
Didn’t see, but clearly imagined John McCain [alias Bush’s 3rd term] chortling in his scotch over the disarray within the Democratic race.
Got very disgusted.

You see, I just don’t get it.

Please, pray tell [sic] What specifically did Jeremiah Wright say that so freaked these people out??
Damned if I can figure it out.

His speech on Sunday was an old fashioned stem winder, a grandiose display of chutzpah, rhetoric and facts.
He detailed the works that his church had been involved in over tha last three decades. With Aids, with self help programs, with school scholarships and so much more.

He explained the Louis Farrakhan connection for what it is, a TWENTY YEAR OLD comment. He never endorsed the Nation of Islam or any policy of racial separation, but he did rightfully point out that in fact, the Nation, and its leader, are very serious forces in the Black community. What other African-American organization can, or has, put ONE MILLION people on the streets of Washington DC in the last twenty years?? That’s a LOT of people.

And AID as a government plot? This is NOT NEWS. I heard this same view expressed 10-15 years ago from African American acquaintances.
According to the London [ UK] Guardian:

Almost half of all African-Americans believe that HIV, the virus that causes Aids, is man-made, more than a quarter believe it was produced in a government laboratory and one in eight think it was created and spread by the CIA, according to a study released by Rand Corporation and the University of Oregon.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/jan/26/aids.usa

From the NY Times: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE6DC1038F931A25756C0A964958260
The Education Forum: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/lofiversion/index.php/t3034.html

The Secret AIDS Genocide Plot :http://www.whale.to/b/cantwell19.html

And it is impossible to ignore the fact of the notorious Tuskegee syphilis experimentation carried out by our governmentfrom 1932 to 1972 on 399 black Men in the later stages of syphilis affliction. FORTY YEARS! http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0762136.html]

Maybe. just maybe, there might be some basis for the fears

And Terrorism by the USA as a causative factor in 9/11???

In the latest iteration of US sponsored terrorism we need go no further than the current conflict in Iraq. Do the words Abu Grihab or Rendition bring any pleasant thought to mind? I didn’t think so.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. From the late 1800s through WWII the US military invaded one Central and South American country after another, with the end result almost always being that we ended up supporting a brutal dictatorship. In Argentina, in Chile, in Paraguay and many other countries. In the Philippines we looked the other way crimes committed by the dictator Ferdiand Marcos in part because of our need for the military bases in the Islands that were essential to the Vietnam war effort. In South Africa … wretched, racist South Africa…the US supported a brutal apartheid regime for over 30 years..

And Saudi Arabia….please, don’t get me started on the medieval mores of Bush pals the House of Saud.

Did the American people bring this on? No we did not. But acting in our name, one successive government after another, usually acting on behalf of the Corporations who are most often the beneficiaries, whether its united Fruit in South America or US financial institutions in South Africa, in part, DID. And, we the voters, we elected those people who did…

The problem is not with Rev Wright, self important grandstander though he may be. It lies with the inability of the candidates to see the truth behind the rhetorical flourishes. It lies with the Democratic candidates pandering to a neo con firestorm of fear. Rather than take the substantive issues raised by the Reverend in context we are smitten with sound bite after sound bite, always OUT of context and perversely annotated to a page in Karl Rove’s Republican Play book of Fear Mongering

And the bit about being at Obama’s White House door on January 21st…that’s Democracy. If the will of the people is embodied in a president, it is incumbent on that people to ensure that the holder of that office act on BEHALF of the people, and that, my friends, means holding his feet to the political fire. Trust, but verify.


http://www.etext.org/Politics/AlternativeOrange/2/v2n2_misa.html
http://www.easternct.edu/personal/faculty/pocock/milact.htm
http://mondediplo.com/1998/12/05safr


What we are talking about here is American Imperialism and how the empire has sought to enforce its will and prerogatives.

Now, Rev Wright did not call it that. I did. But nonetheless, the fact remains that we, the USA of A, land of Liberty, of fields of amber grain on the fluted plain, are not seen very favorably by much of the “Third” world. We are NOT loved. And it is not the least bit surprising that a conclusion could be reached that, at the very least, some of the chickens HAVE, in fact, come home to roost. That, dear reader, is also a reality.
Pew Research: http://pewresearch.org/pubs/6/arab-and-muslim-perceptions-of-the-united-states
Council on Foreign Relations http://www.cfr.org/publication/8934/perceptions_of_us_public_diplomacy.html

And, amid all the controversy. the WORDS spoken by Rev Wright are too easily overlooked…

Transcript of Rev Wright’s speech before the National Press Club on Monday April 28, 2008.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-wrighttranscript-04282008,0,3593201.story

Read. Then ask your self, how wrong was Rev Wright???


Unraveling Iraq:12 Answers to Questions No One Is Bothering to Ask about Iraq/By Tom Engelhardt

April 21, 2008
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12 Answers to Questions No One Is Bothering to Ask about Iraq

By Tom Engelhardt

Can there be any question that, since the invasion of 2003, Iraq has been unraveling? And here’s the curious thing: Despite a lack of decent information and analysis on crucial aspects of the Iraqi catastrophe, despite the way much of the Iraq story fell off newspaper front pages and out of the TV news in the last year, despite so many reports on the “success” of the President’s surge strategy, Americans sense this perfectly well. In the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, 56% of Americans “say the United States should withdraw its military forces to avoid further casualties” and this has, as the Post notes, been a majority position since January 2007, the month that the surge was first announced. Imagine what might happen if the American public knew more about the actual state of affairs in Iraq — and of thinking in Washington. So, here, in an attempt to unravel the situation in ever-unraveling Iraq are twelve answers to questions which should be asked far more often in this country:

1. Yes, the war has morphed into the U.S. military’s worst Iraq nightmare: Few now remember, but before George W. Bush launched the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, top administration and Pentagon officials had a single overriding nightmare — not chemical, but urban, warfare. Saddam Hussein, they feared, would lure American forces into “Fortress Baghdad,” as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld labeled it. There, they would find themselves fighting block by block, especially in the warren of streets that make up the Iraqi capital’s poorest districts. (more…)


SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SCALIA TESTS TORTURE

February 22, 2008
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cartoon-scalia-in-ice-water.gif


A VIDEO BY SALLY ANTHONY “SO LONG”:the anguish of today

February 2, 2008
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AN ANTI-IMPERIALIST VIEW OF “CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR”

January 18, 2008
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Imperialist Propaganda Second Thoughts on Charlie Wilson’s War
by Chalmers Johnson
I have some personal knowledge of Congressmen like Charlie Wilson (D-2nd District, Texas, 1973-1996) because, for close to twenty years, my representative in the 50th Congressional District of California was Republican Randy “Duke” Cunningham, now serving an eight-and-a-half year prison sentence for soliciting and receiving bribes from defense contractors. Wilson and Cunningham held exactly the same plummy committee assignments in the House of Representatives — the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee plus the Intelligence Oversight Committee — from which they could dole out large sums of public money with little or no input from their colleagues or constituents.Both men flagrantly abused their positions — but with radically different consequences. Cunningham went to jail because he was too stupid to know how to game the system — retire and become a lobbyist — whereas Wilson received the Central Intelligence Agency Clandestine Service’s first “honored colleague” award ever given to an outsider and went on to become a $360,000 per annum lobbyist for Pakistan.In a secret ceremony at CIA headquarters on June 9, 1993, James Woolsey, Bill Clinton’s first Director of Central Intelligence and one of the agency’s least competent chiefs in its checkered history, said: “The defeat and breakup of the Soviet empire is one of the great events of world history. There were many heroes in this battle, but to Charlie Wilson must go a special recognition.” One important part of that recognition, studiously avoided by the CIA and most subsequent American writers on the subject, is that Wilson’s activities in Afghanistan led directly to a chain of blowback that culminated in the attacks of September 11, 2001 and led to the United States’ current status as the most hated nation on Earth. (more…)

Tom Hanks Tells Hollywood Whopper in ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’

December 29, 2007
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By Melissa Roddy, AlterNet
Posted on December 21, 2007, Printed on December 28, 2007
http://www.alternet.org/story/71286/

“We just can’t deal with this 9/11 thing. Does it have to be so political?” from an anonymous source at Playtone Productions

There are true stories, and then there are true-ish stories. It is a given that, in creating Charlie Wilson’s War which purports to be the true story of a hard-partying U.S. congressman from Texas who engineered the defeat of the Soviet Union by the Afghan Mujahiddin, sometimes the truth gets a little bent, but it’s against the rules to change facts that change the outcome of history. When telling the story of Antony and Cleopatra, they gotta die at the end, n’est pas. It’s inappropriate, for example, to tell the story of World War II and pretend that, because the United States might have given a box of guns to the French Underground, there was no Holocaust. That’s a pretty good analogy for what’s been done in Charlie Wilson’s War. (more…)


MEGA VOTE/HOW CONGRESS VOTED 11/17/07 UPDATE

December 18, 2007
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Congress.org
presents:
MegaVote

Congressional Directories
 
 
 
 
Recent Senate Votes
 
CLEAN Energy Act of 2007 – Vote Agreed to (86-8, 6 Not Voting)

The Senate passed a pared-down version of the energy bill that the House passed last week.

Sen. George Voinovich voted YES……send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Sherrod Brown voted YES……send e-mail or see bio


FHA Modernization Act of 2007 – Vote Passed (93-1, 6 Not Voting)

The Senate passed legislation to ease the burden of mushrooming interest rates on homeowners by allowing them to transfer their finances into federally insured loans.

Sen. George Voinovich voted YES……send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Sherrod Brown voted YES……send e-mail or see bio


National Defense Authorization Act, FY2008 – Vote Agreed to (90-3, 7 Not Voting)

On Friday, the Senate gave final approval to this bill authorizing defense spending for fiscal year 2008.

Sen. George Voinovich voted YES……send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Sherrod Brown voted YES……send e-mail or see bio


Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007 – Vote Passed (79-14, 7 Not Voting)

The Senate approved this $288 billion, five-year bill that sets agricultural policy and authorizes funding for agricultural related programs such as commodity support, conservation, and nutrition.

Sen. George Voinovich voted NO……send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Sherrod Brown voted YES……send e-mail or see bio


 
Recent House Votes
 
Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act – Vote Passed (303-116, 12 Not Voting)

The House passed this bill that would help the insurance industry cover costs in the event of a terrorist attack, after making slight revisions to the Senate version that passed last month.

Rep. Michael Turner voted YES……send e-mail or see bio


National Defense Authorization Act, FY2008 – Vote Passed (370-49, 12 Not Voting)

The House passed this bill to authorize defense appropriations.

Rep. Michael Turner voted YES……send e-mail or see bio


AMT Relief Act – Vote Passed (226-193, 13 Not Voting)

The House passed this measure to patch the alternative minimum tax that would be financed by a pay-as-you-go plan.

Rep. Michael Turner voted NO……send e-mail or see bio


Intelligence Authorization Act, FY2008 – Vote Passed (222-199, 10 Not Voting)

This bill authorizing intelligence spending would also ban waterboarding, mock executions, and other severe methods of interrogation.

Rep. Michael Turner voted NO……send e-mail or see bio


Making further continuing appropriations for FY2008 – Vote Passed (385-27, 21 Not Voting)

On Thursday the House passed this continuing resolution to fund government programs through Friday, December 21.

Rep. Michael Turner voted YES……send e-mail or see bio


 
 
 
 
 

 



Ex CIA Spook Says: Waterboarding ‘Greenlit at Top Levels of Power’

December 12, 2007
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Waterboarding ‘greenlit at top levels of power’

by Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington for Guardian Unlimited (UK) – December 11, 2007

The White House today was directly accused ofauthorising the waterboarding of al-Qaida suspects,putting President George Bush at the centre of a deepening controversy about the treatment of detainees.The charge from John Kiriakou, a former CIA official involved in the capture of senior al-Qaida operatives,comes at a time when the Bush administration is trying to contain a row over the destruction of hundreds of hours of video footage of the interrogation of a high-level al-Qaida suspect, Abu Zubaydah. (more…)


Arms Expert Scott Ritter Says the U.S. Plans to Attack Iran.

December 1, 2007
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A well respected expert in his field, Scott Ritter herein lays out a scenario regarding iran that could have incredibly bad results. It is a bit on the long side, but worth reading for the insight into current Bushevik policies.

Reposted from http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18809.htm

By Curt Guyette and W. Kim Heron

11/30/07 “Metro Times” — – – It seems that with each passing week there are more stories raising the specter of George Bush turning Iraq and Afghanistan into a bloody trifecta by attacking Iran.

In mainstream daily papers we see pieces like one by Gannett’s John Yaukey, who wrote in early November that “confrontation could be near” because “Iran continues to taunt the United States with its aggressive posturing in Iraq and Lebanon while pushing ahead with its nuclear research …”

We are also witnessing what appears to be a chilling rerun of the Iraq debacle. Confronted with evidence that calls into question the status of Iran’s nuclear program, the Bush administration is shifting its rhetoric.

“The Bush administration has charged that Iran is funding anti-American fighters in Iraq and sending in sophisticated explosives to bleed the U.S. mission, although some of the administration’s charges are disputed by Iraqis as well as the Iranians,” the Los Angeles Times reported in October. “Still, … diplomatic and military officials say they fear that the overreaching of a confident Iran, combined with growing U.S. frustrations, could set off a dangerous collision.”

Look beyond daily papers — from Seymour Hersh’s reporting in The New Yorker to articles in The Nation — and the picture emerges of an administration that is determined to attack Iran.

John H. Richardson’s “The Secret History of the Impending War With Iran That the White House Doesn’t Want You to Know” in the November issue of Esquire magazine is particularly eye-opening. Richardson, using two former high-ranking Middle East experts who worked for the White House as his primary sources, warns that the Bush administration is “headed straight for war with Iran” and that “it had been set on this course for years.”

“It was just like Iraq, when the White House was so eager for war it couldn’t wait for the UN inspectors to leave,” writes Richardson, who details the Bush administration’s success at scuttling diplomatic efforts — notably involving then-Secretary of State Colin Powell — to reach a peaceful accord with Iran. “The steps have been many and steady and all in the same direction. And now things are getting much worse. We are getting closer and closer to the tripline. …”

With all this in mind, we decided to talk with the man who literally wrote the book on Bush’s intentions. Nearly a year ago, Scott Ritter’s Target Iran was published, and he’s been sounding the claxon of impending war ever since.

A former Marine Corps intelligence officer, Ritter served as chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998 when he left as a pointed critic of the Clinton administration’s commitment to weapons inspection and its Iraq policy. Before the United States’ 2003 invasion, Ritter loudly disputed the Bush administration’s claims regarding weapons of mass destruction under Saddam’s control and predicted that, instead of the quick and easy war being promised, Iraq would turn into a quagmire, though not necessarily of the type he envisioned. His analyses have been embraced by both the right and the left at various points. He portrays himself as the straight-shooting analyst unconcerned by who supports him or whom he offends. (more…)


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61 Y/O VIET VET WORKING FROM THE LEFT OF CENTER

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