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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 04:48 PM
Number of posts: 6,010

Journal Archives

The Right's Idiocracy Strikes Again

I was just reading articles on CNN and USA Today about the President's speech about the Ebola crisis. The comments are chock full of statements like, "Since WHEN is a virus in AFRICA our problem?!" I gather they would prefer we wait until it hits Iowa or something. American idiocy at its finest!
Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Sep 16, 2014, 08:19 PM (3 replies)

NYT: U.S. General to Seek Combat Troops if Airstrikes Can’t Stop ISIS

I guess this is what "no boots on the ground" looks like.

U.S. General to Seek Combat Troops if Airstrikes Can’t Stop ISIS


WASHINGTON — Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress on Tuesday that he would recommend deploying United States combat forces against Islamic extremists in specific operations if the current strategy of airstrikes was not successful, offering a more expansive view of the American role in the ground war than that of President Obama.

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he said that while he was confident in the ability of the coalition of American, European and Middle Eastern governments to stop the Islamic State, he could not completely close the door to eventually asking Mr. Obama to commit ground troops to fight the group, known as ISIS or ISIL.

“My view at this point is that this coalition is the appropriate way forward. I believe that will prove true,” he said. “But if it fails to be true, and if there are threats to the United States, then I of course would go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of U.S. military ground forces.”

Any future commitment of American personnel on the ground could put Mr. Obama in a difficult position, as he has repeatedly insisted that no American troops would engage in the battlefield, and Gen. Dempsey sought to explain the apparent contradiction.

< . . . . >

Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Sep 16, 2014, 03:07 PM (1 replies)

"Never forget" indeed!

Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Sep 12, 2014, 05:13 PM (1 replies)

Taking a pass on the annual national orgy of reliving 9/11

Pausing to reflect on those who died on that day is one thing. But most of what passes for "remembering 9/11" these days amounts to trying to relive, by way of video, the events of that horrible day. This does nothing to honor those who died. As far as I am concerned, watching the videos from that day is rather like a parent, whose son was killed in a horrific traffic accident that was caught on surveillance video, watching that video again on every anniversary of their son's death. It is maudlin. It is unhealthy. If that parent were a friend of ours, we would urge him or her to get professional help. Watching these videos over and over again, year after year, and telling ourselves we are doing it to "remember" those who died, reduces the lives of those who died to the manner of their deaths, rather than the lives they lived. No, we're not "remembering" those who died; we're remembering, and in many cases, deliberately and self-indulgently trying to relive, how we felt on that day -- which has little or nothing to do with those who lost their lives.

Rather than this annual orgy of emotional self-indulgence, I submit a far better way of honoring those who died would be to focus our efforts on making the world a better place. For my part, I took a few moments when I woke up today to reflect on those who died, and those who were left behind. But, thanks but no thanks on the disaster porn.
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Sep 11, 2014, 09:53 PM (9 replies)

"Oceania was at war with Eurasia; . . ."

" . . . therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia." (George Orwell in 1984).

Think about it.
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Sep 11, 2014, 03:54 PM (44 replies)

Hillary: Kissinger Stands Up for American Values

I have no words for this. Is this really who we want to field in 2016? Aaargh!

Hillary Clinton Praises a Guy With Lots of Blood on His Hands
In lauding Henry Kissinger, the possible Democratic presidential nominee goes far beyond her usual hawkish rhetoric.
By David Corn | Fri Sep. 5, 2014 1:44 PM EDT

<. . . .>

Sure, perhaps there is secretary's privilege—an old boy and girls club, in which the ex-foreign-policy chiefs do not speak ill of each other and try to help out the person presently in the post. Nothing wrong with that. But former-Madam Secretary Clinton had no obligation to praise Kissinger and publicly participate in his decades-long mission to rehabilitate his image. In the review, she calls Kissinger a "friend" and reports, "I relied on his counsel when I served as secretary of state. He checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels." She does add that she and Henry "have often seen the world and some of our challenges quite differently, and advocated different responses now and in the past." But here's the kicker: At the end of the review, she notes that Kissinger is "surprisingly idealistic":

Even when there are tensions between our values and other objectives, America, he reminds us, succeeds by standing up for our values, not shirking them, and leads by engaging peoples and societies, the sources of legitimacy, not governments alone.

Kissinger reminds us that America succeeds by standing up for its values? Did she inhale?

Corn goes on to remind us of the "values" Kissinger upheld in places like Chile, Argentina, East Timor, Cambodia and Bangladesh. He continues:

<. . . . >
And there's more. Kissinger's mendacity has been chronicled for years. See Gary Bass' recent and damning book on the Bangladesh tragedy, The Blood Telegram. There's Seymour Hersh's classic, The Price of Power. In The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens presented the case against Kissinger in his full polemical style. As secretary of state, Kissinger made common cause with—and encouraged—tyrants who repressed and massacred many. He did not serve the American values of democracy, free expression, and human rights. He shredded them.

< . . . . >

Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Sep 5, 2014, 07:47 PM (179 replies)

Lions and tigers and bears (and ISIS), oh my!

Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Sep 3, 2014, 03:29 PM (0 replies)

Actually, I appreciate when people announce their departures . . .

. . . particularly if it is someone whose postings I make a point to read. I see it as a courtesy, so folks don't have to wonder whether someone is ill or has died.

It was claimed that folks who feel the need to announce their departure from this group have developed an "unhealthy relationship with ... a discussion board of mostly anonymous people," my own experience with discussion boards, and in the early days of the internet, with email discussion groups, has led me to believe that when you read what someone writes over an extended period of time, when you read about the things they care passionately and deeply about, as well as about the things they dislike or don't care about, in fact you really do get to know a person rather well, even if the name attached to those writings is just an email handle.

Beginning in about 1989, for a period of close to 10 years, I participated in a email discussion list called The Anglican Mailing List (devoted to matters of Anglican theology, spirituality and liturgy). It consisted of maybe 300-400 members, but about 150 of which were regular correspondents. In due course, many of us had occasion to meet in the flesh. We even organized some intentional reunions (in New York, Washington, DC, Phoenix and a few other locales). Although some folks, as it turned out, looked rather different than I had envisioned them, when it came to their personalities, in not a single instance did I find that their real-time personalities were at all different from their virtual personalities. Even though that list is now defunct, I have remained friends (in BOTH real and virtual time, thank you) with a great many of those folks to this day, and I still see many of them when the occasion permits.

I think it all depends on how you choose to approach a discussion group such as this one. If you approach it as a mere random collection of anonymous screen names, well, that's exactly what it will be. On the other hand, if you approach it as a community, and actually try to begin to understand the real, flesh-and-blood people behind the screen names and their postings, then it can be that, too. But hey, if that's not your thing, that's cool. But is it really necessary to armchair psychoanalyze those who view it differently from you?
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Aug 27, 2014, 07:16 PM (36 replies)

Horrifying video compilation of police "protecting and serving" over the last several years

Sorry, the video is embedded in the php script of a Facebook posting, so I couildn't just grab the direct link to the video.

Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Aug 21, 2014, 01:22 AM (1 replies)

Professionalism and the Police

in addition to the horror of a summary execution of a citizen whose arms were raised in a sign of surrender, and the outrageously heavy-handed and militarized response to demonstrations, the attempts to quash reporting on the demonstrations, and overall bungling of the entire situation by the Ferguson Police Department, something else has really bothered me about all of this.

Yesterday, I watched a clip (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/17/police-threaten-reporters-ferguson_n_5686674.html ) in which police were telling the media to "get the fuck out of here," and threatening to 'shell' them if they didn't comply. In the initial encounter between police and Michael Brown, a cop is alleged to have said to Brown and his friend, "Get the fuck off the street!" Look, I'm no language prude, and am certainly not beyond dropping an occasional f-bomb of my own; but when did it become acceptable for police to address citizens in such a manner? When did standards of professional conduct fall so far that this became an acceptable way to address a citizen under ANY circumstances? I have to wonder how differently things might have played out had the cop said to Michael Brown something like, "Excuse me,. guys, but I need you to move off of the street and onto the sidewalk."

It seems as if police, not just in Ferguson but around the country, have become mighty thin-skinned about being 'disrespected.' Maybe my view of things is quaint or old-fashioned, but I was always taught that if one wished to be treated with respect, one first had to show it. Has anyone else been bothered about this aspect of the whole mess?
Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Aug 19, 2014, 04:53 PM (13 replies)
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