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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 03:48 PM
Number of posts: 7,569

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At the risk of being labeled a paranoid conspiracy theory monger, I will offer a few thoughts about the current round of "Oh-my-God-the-terra'ists-are-closing-in-on-Peoria" war drum beating that our august leaders -- of BOTH parties -- are engaging in.

First, a little refresher in recent history. Does anybody remember what the big news was last summer? You know, when the original neoconservative cheerleading squad for invading Iraq, along with a coterie of war profitee... -- er, sorry, defense contractors -- was suddenly demanding that the President intervene in Syria's civil war and to overthrow Assad, and the President appeared ready to go along with the idea? Of course, after some pretty intense public outcry, the President decided to consult Congress (even though he continued to assert he didn't legally need to do so). And then, as quickly as the whole 'crisis' arose, it simply disappeared. Congress never did actually vote on it. We did send some arms to the anti-Assad forces, but otherwise the matter was quietly dropped -- or so we thought.

Fast forward to this summer, and suddenly there's this group that had barely been mentioned -- ISIS, ISIL or just IS. They kill a couple of journalists and a British aid worker in a manner that offends our delicate imperialist sensibilities (after all, our murder-by-drone policy is infinitely more civilized, don't you think?), and suddenly it is imperative that we start a round of airstrikes in Iraq in order to save a subculture of Iraq's Kurds known as Yazidis to escape their mountaintop holdout, where they will surely die if we don't begin bombing -- oh, I'm sorry, I meant striking from the air (really not much more than a feather-dusting when you think about it).

Suddenly, lo and behold, our "no-boots-on-the-ground-limited-airstrikes-on-ISIS-in-Iraq has morphed into a "years-long" (as one top general has said) war against ISIS and Khorasan in where else but -- you guessed it -- SYRIA! Oh, but wait . . . . Korha-who? Suddenly, there's a new terra'ist group none of us has ever heard of before that we're also at war against. Oh, and they had an IMMINENT plan to attack the U.S.! So why have we never heard of this group that was surely about to hit Peoria next week? Because, the administration tells us, we didn't want to tip them off that we were hot on their trail. (Funny how that never stopped anybody from talkinb about Al Qaeda.) Oh, and Khorasan has an added benefit: if the administration can claim that they pose an 'imminent threat,' then it buys the President some time before he needs to seek authorization from Congress. That is, of course, if such authorization were needed, which, of course, it isn't, because by some novel legal contortions, the President is authorized to act under the original Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) passed 13 years ago in the wake of 9-11, which authorized the then-President to go after those responsible for 9-11.

So, let me see if I've got this straight: the President is authorized under a 13-year-old AUMF intended to permit the then-President to go after those responsible for 9-11 to intervene in a civil war of a country that had nothing to do with that event, and against a group that did not then exist. But hey, just in case that doesn't pan out legally, we have this handy-dandy imminent threat from still ANOTHER group that didn't exist 13 years ago. WHAT A COUNTRY!

Sorry, folks, but I ain't buyin'! We have been 'neo-CONNED' yet again. And most of us, it seems,are the neocons' willing dupes.

Polls are showing that something like 94% of Americans support airstrikes in Syria, thus once again proving the truth of that famous quote penned by H.L. Mencken: "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Sep 24, 2014, 12:05 PM (65 replies)

NY Times Editorial - Wrong Turn on Syria: No Convincing Plan

[font size=5]Wrong Turn on Syria: No Convincing Plan[/font]
[font size=1]By THE EDITORIAL BOARD SEPT. 23, 2014[/font]

President Obama has put America at the center of a widening war by expanding into Syria airstrikes against the Islamic State, the Sunni extremist group known as ISIS and ISIL. He has done this without allowing the public debate that needs to take place before this nation enters another costly and potentially lengthy conflict in the Middle East.

< . . . .>

The military action early Tuesday was quite different from what Mr. Obama explained in a televised speech on Sept. 10. For months the administration has focused on the ISIS threat, yet these strikes also targeted Khorasan, a group the government says is linked to Al Qaeda and engaged in “active plotting that posed an imminent threat to the United States and potentially our allies.”

It is puzzling that Mr. Obama would address the nation on a terrorist threat and not mention the group that officials now say poses an imminent threat to the United States, which ISIS does not. They say they kept details about Khorasan secret so the group would not know it was being tracked. But past threats, including Osama bin Laden, were discussed openly even as they were tracked.

These incongruities — two enemies now, instead of one — call into question whatever sense of purpose and planning the administration hopes to project. Mr. Obama has said airstrikes alone are not enough, and native ground troops in both Iraq and Syria will be relied on after the bombings. But it will be months before Americans can turn the mainstream opposition into a fighting force; in Iraq, after six weeks of American airstrikes, Iraqi Army troops have scarcely budged ISIS from its strongholds.

< . . . . >

Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Sep 24, 2014, 05:37 AM (12 replies)

A familiar name came up on "The Roosevelts"

Just finished watching the final episode of "The Roosevelts" (i watched all seven parts online). My ears perked up at the mention of FDR's cousin, Laura Delano, who was with him in the last days of his life at Warm Springs, Georgia, and to whom fell the task of providing the details of his death to Mrs. Roosevelt when she arrived there (including the fact that also with him had been her long-time nemesis, Lucy Rutherford Mercer).

In the 1990s, I met, on many occasions, Laura Delano, who by then was known as Laura Delano Adams Eastman (her last marriage, prior to her coming out as a lesbian, had been to the heir of the Eastman-Kodak fortune). She was a regular in attendance, along with her partner, Ms. Bunny Diehl (whom she would introduce as, "my partner, the formerly straight Miss Bunny Diehl" at the Sunday services of the Episcopal Chaplaincy of Fire Island Pines, over which my friend, Fr. Craig Bustrin, presided and for which I often played piano. She was a wonderful woman, who spoke in the same patrician accent as her famous cousin and carried herself with all of the dignity and refinement as one would expect. And yet, there was not the slightest hint of snobbery about her. She was very warm, VERY funny and never took herself too seriously!
Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Sep 19, 2014, 08:48 PM (23 replies)

My favorite mental image from "The Roosevelts" so far

Teddy Roosevelt, ever the effete, upper class Easterner even as he undertook his adventures in the West and beyond, riding a round-up with cowboys in the Badlands of South Dakota, exhorting a fellow cowboy to, "Hasten forward quickly there!" I guess that was the equivalent among the upper class gentry of the day to, "Giddy up!" or "move your ass!."
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Sep 18, 2014, 07:40 AM (6 replies)

And the cynics tell us bipartisanship is dead - HAH!

As long as we're debating how to conduct endless war for endless profit, we'll get all the bipartisanship a defense contractor could ever want!

[font size=5]House Grudgingly Approves Arms for Syrian Rebels[/font]
WASHINGTON — Sep 17, 2014, 8:56 PM ET

(AP) The Republican-controlled House voted grudgingly Wednesday to give the administration authority to train and arm Syrian rebels as President Barack Obama emphasized anew that American forces "do not and will not have a combat mission" in the struggle against Islamic State militants in either Iraq or Syria.

The 273-156 vote crossed party lines to an unusual degree in a Congress marked by near-ceaseless partisanship. Top Republican and Democratic leaders backed Obama's plan seven weeks before midterm elections, while dozens of rank-and-file lawmakers in both parties opposed it.

The provision was added to spending legislation that will ensure the federal government operates normally after the Sept. 30 end of the budget year. Final approval is expected in the Senate on Thursday.

Even supporters of the military plan found little to trumpet. "This is the best of a long list of bad options," said Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va.

< . . . . >
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Sep 18, 2014, 07:02 AM (20 replies)

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, 07:19 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.

[font size=5]U.S. General to Seek Combat Troops if Airstrikes Can’t Stop ISIS[/font]

[font size=1]By JEREMY W. PETERS and MARK LANDLER SEPT. 16, 2014[/font]

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, 02:07 PM (1 replies)

"Never forget" indeed!

Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Sep 12, 2014, 04:13 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, 08:53 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, 02:54 PM (44 replies)
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