Friday, December 4, 2009

18 More least - Is It Officially The Obama Doctrine Now?

While I applaud Obama for deciding on a date to bring troops home from Afghanistan, I would have preferred there wasn’t an eighteen month escalation preceding it. Of course critics say that the only thing Obama’s 18 month plan does is create a month 19 plan for the terrorists. Well, maybe so, but realistically we can’t capture and kill them all so just how many more American lives need to be wasted as we stumble around looking for a clear path to a perceived victory? How many times in the last eight years has the mission been changed just to keep us there? Even though I never viewed Bush as a legitimate President, I supported his decision after 9/11 to go into Afghanistan with the mission to capture and/or kill Osama bin Laden. I wanted the man responsible for the attack on our country “dead or alive”. On March 13, 2002, the part-time resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue stated in regard to bin Laden, “I am truly not that concerned about him. I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." That was just six months after the worse attack ever on US soil.  Clearly, W’s heart wasn’t in it as he discovered they had no oil, so he shifted his attention to Iraq where he forced unfounded ties to Al Qaeda and the Taliban and used them to sell to congress and the American public the need of a pre-emptive war. Of course for the Bush administration, it was a financial windfall to keep the war going and capturing bin Laden was never a priority because it would have destroyed any way of justifying going into Iraq. Cheney’s lifetime ties to Halliburton and the millions he's made from them are rarely included in this sad story either. When Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow bring it up, they're assailed as enemies of "real" America.  Who is the real enemy?  U.S. Marines allegedly had bin Laden trapped in Tora Bora in December of 2001 and asked for additional support. A decision to not deploy those requested American forces to go after him or block his escape was made by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his top commander, Gen. Tommy Franks. Why would they do that if not to prolong the war and start another one?  How many American lives could have been saved.

Wednesday night on The Rachel Maddow Show, Rachel was joined by our U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice. The two had a very respectful back and forth as Rachel believes there’s an undeclared war in Pakistan while Rice denies that is the case and explains the differences in our Middle East involvements. It’s informative to watch two adults talk about U.S. policy.  The two parts are about 23 minutes combined:

This interview should be enlightening for those of us truly trying to understand our mission and goals.  Unfortunately, we have an electorate that, for the most part, has no real intellectual curiosity and in fact dislikes anyone who does.  Surely, 23 minutes of two smart women (gasp) talking about military strategy can not be taken seriously by the "right".  They see this type of discussion reserved for conservative white males only and it wouldn't have taken 23 minutes, just six words, "bomb the hell out of them."  They much prefer the primal instinct of war over a well reasoned peaceful policy discussion and decision.  In their eyes, "fight makes right" and anyone who disagrees is viewed as a traitor or weak.  These people agreed with McCain and his 100 year war idea.  Most of our low information voters rely on “key” words/topics like;  liberal, socialist, fascist, czar, Marxist, Nazi, Hitler along with Kenyan, ACORN, abortion, same-sex marriage, etc…to get them fired up -- no thought needed.  These words are delivered on a nightly basis from Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity on Fox and Rush Limbaugh on the radio.  The fact that their listeners/viewers repeat these words after hearing them on these shows even though many of the terms are contradictory certainly doesn’t deter them, that’s for sure!  They applaud the untrained, unsophisticated views of their hero's.  The only one in that group who completed what he started is O'Reilly (Marist College).  The people that hang on to their every word, despise Maddow (Stanford & Oxford), Olbermann (Cornell), Ed Schultz (Minnesota State) and Thom Hartmann (Michigan State).  I'm not sure when having an education became a bad thing in this country.  Except for the occasionally bombastic Schultz, have you also noticed that our commentators have a much calmer demeanor?  I'm also not buying that being a "liberal" is the profanity that conservatives have turned it into. By definition, we favor progress and reform, the protection of civil liberties. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.  Those aren't bad things!

Obviously President Obama has more information about the situation than we do, but I’d love to see our service members come home. I'm just not sure that the goals that Susan Rice explained are realistic.  These wars have done nothing positive for our country and there’s so much more we need to focus on. I did not vote for Obama to follow in Bush's footsteps in any manner, including Iraq and Afghanistan.  We live in a world of microwave ovens and high-speed internet so we’ve grown accustomed to wanting everything now…if not sooner! Besides the war, President Obama is being criticized a lot for not accomplishing anything in his first year because we can’t see sure evidence. The stimulus appears to be working, yet because unemployment didn’t immediately fall to 5%, conservatives call it a failure. The health care impasse has been caused by "just say no" Republicans and conservative Democrats. Granted, Obama should take a more active role, but with the eight year mess he was handed, there remains only so many hours in a day. George W. Bush was most likely the worst leader (I won’t call him Prez) this country has ever had and his legacy is quite possibly going to destroy Obama’s as well unless giant steps are taken.  I think one of the things that has caught him off guard is there is no longer a "no drama Obama."  Everything he does is getting ridiculed and scrutinized by the right in ways that they weren't totally prepared for, so they've taken some heat.  He came out of the gate strong with broadening stem cell research and passing the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  He appeared to be a strong, quiet, no frills Commander-in-chief when he ordered the Navy Seals to kill three Somali pirates who were holding an American cargo ship captain hostage.  Then the health care debate began, Sarah Palin spoke of death panels, the crazed fringe took over informational town hall meetings and all the wonderful momentum and hope we had for this young President came to a screeching halt.  I hope he can clean up most of the damage before the 2010 elections.  While I don't think the Democrats will lose the majority in the House, it may no longer be a strong majority.

Sarah Palin Update:  Since my last post was on Thanksgiving, I wasn't yet aware of The Turkey Trot To Nowhere.  Evidently Sarah agreed to run the 5k Kennewick “Turkey Trot.”  But she quit 40 minutes in!  She wanted to avoid the adoring masses at the finish line.  The article is linked above from "The Mudflats."  It appears that the infamous Palin bus tour is a hoax.  Joe McGinniss reports she's in fact flying around America on a private jet, specifically a luxurious "Gulfstream II 12-passenger jet rented from Universal Jet Aviation of Boca Raton, Florida, at a cost of more than $4,000 per hour."  Yes indeed, her fans say she's "just like them!"  In addition, camera's and recording devices are being banned from her book signing stops, BUT for a fee, you can get a photo taken of yourself with the former Alaska Governor for the following size/prices: 5x7 $15.99, 8x10 $20.99, 8x12 $23.99, 11x14 $35.99.  Has any of her "fans" figured out yet that she's just in this for the money?  Speaking of the former Governor, the Minnesota Mall of America announces she wants to be called Governor and wants only English speaking press when she appears there.  Why should they call her Governor?  Honestly, the way her gaffe filled book signing tour is going, you'd think she'd ban English speaking press so her never ending flow of ignorance wouldn't be reported daily!
Palin has also called on President Obama to boycott the Copenhagen climate conference since she feels the hacked emails from the the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England prove that man-made climate change is a hoax.
"Policy decisions require real science and real solutions, not junk science and doomsday scare tactics pushed by an environmental priesthood that capitalizes on the public's worry and makes them feel that owning an SUV is a 'sin' against the planet."
In some ways Palin's sudden enthusiasm for science comes as a surprise, since she has suggested evolution is not real and wants creationism taught in schools. Then again this gives her the chance to once again recite "Drill baby, drill." 

Quick Thoughts: On the Tiger Woods' ongoing saga: You know, the story seemed pretty conflicted right from the start, and has unfolded exactly as I expected it too, including my vision of the night in question and how the window of the Escalade was smashed.  I am the last person who will condone any form of domestic violence, but as more and more information comes out, don’t you get the feeling that he probably wishes he just stayed in the house and took the beating?... On Thursday, Republican Senators David Vitter (R-La.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla) introduced the gimmick filled "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act". "The idea, broad-brush, is that whatever government option is in the bill, every senator and every representative should be enrolled in it," Vitter told 'The Hill'. "No other possibilities, no other choices." "It's called leadership," Coburn said. "If it's good enough for everybody else, we ought to be leading by example." Funny thing happened though, Democrats called their bluff. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) who tried to become a co-sponsor and was given the cold shouldar, was joined by Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), and Al Franken (D-Minn.) in support. These are the kind of Democrats we need -- one’s with a spine!  I like Sherrod Brown a little more every time I see him. ... You will love this headline: "Arlington, Tennessee Mayor Russell Wiseman Assails 'Muslim President' For Pre-Empting 'Peanuts":  Seriously, this guy believes that President Barack Obama's West Point address, in which he announced his intention to escalate the war in Afghanistan, was intentionally timed to prevent Christians from watching Charlie Brown, stating, “Ok, so, this is total crap, we sit the kids down to watch 'The Charlie Brown Christmas Special' and our muslim [sic] president is there, what a load.....try to convince me that wasn't done on purpose”:  The Peanuts Christmas show?  Really? Now I could see if it was Rudolph or Frosty, but...These conservative fools weren’t embarrassed by eight years of a court appointed corrupt Presidency with the Bush-Cheney Regime, but they still can’t get over the fact that the young, black Hawaiian (yes Republicans, it was a state in 1961) won. Southerners get upset that they're perceived as uneducated, but they keep electing people like this.  In fact, they should be embarrassed that people like Wiseman (ironic, isn't it?) continue to pop up on television and other media and make every southern stereotype be proven true.
Snarky comment of the week from Huffington Post commentator MCISMetal: "I can't comment on the Kyoto Accord as I've only ever seen the Honda" - Sarah Palin

In case you missed it...
News of the "get a life -- and a new iron":  Nov. 27 METHUEN, Mass. (AP) -- A Massachusetts woman who recently separated from her husband and had her hours cut at work says an image of Jesus Christ she sees on her iron has reassured her that "life is going to be good."  Mary Jo Coady first noticed the image Sunday when she walked into her daughter's room.  The brownish residue on the bottom of the iron looks like the face of a man with long hair.  The 44-year-old Coady was raised Catholic. She and her two college-age daughters agree that the image looks like Jesus and is proof that "he's listening."  Coady tells The Eagle-Tribune she hopes her story will inspire others during the holidays. She says she plans to keep the iron in a closet and buy a new one.

The "image of Jesus" that she sees has only reassured me that what's going to be good in her life is not burning down her house.  The good news is she's going to put it in the closet and buy a new one.  Since it looks like it's very old and well used, this is a good call...although I'll be expecting it to be up for bid on Ebay!
UPDATE 12/6/09:  Just did a quick search on Ebay and there already is an iron with Jesus alleged image listed!  The reasonable seller zinsanemods (amazingly the same person also has an Ozzy Osbourne iron - what are the odds?!) has allowed a $3000 Buy It Now.

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