Daily Archive: August 11, 2009

Four at Four

  1. McClatchy reports Army General Stanley McChrystal wants huge boost in U.S. civilians in Afghanistan, plus 45,000 more troops. McChrystal will request double the number of U.S. goverment civilian workers in Afghanistan as “part of a 60-day assessment of the strategy in Afghanistan.”

    “It’s not clear, however, whether the State Department can deploy enough civilians fast enough to make progress in an economically backward nation that remains plagued by an Islamist insurgency, internal rivalries, inadequate infrastructure, official corruption and a booming opium trade. What’s more, nearly eight years after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, one thing that many of its people have in common is growing discontent with the presence of foreign forces.”

    The CS Monitor asks Are more U.S. troops in Afghanistan inevitable? “The 21,000 US troops promised to Afghanistan have still not all arrived, yet speculation is rife that rising violence may force the senior commander there to ask for more.”

    “Last month was the deadliest ever for US forces in Afghanistan. In all, 76 coalition troops were killed. Seeking to reverse that trend, the top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is preparing an assessment of the mission. News reports suggest that he could ask for an additional 10,000 to 45,000 troops.”

    Meanwhile, the NY Times reports the Taliban seize building for an attack on Afghan government offices. “Taliban gunmen and suicide bombers seized a five-story building in” Pul-e-Alam, the provicial capital of Logar Province. In a battle with Afghan and American forces that lasted several hours and left at least four dead.

    Also, according to a new opinion poll by Glevum Associates and financed by the United States government that surveyed more than 3,500 Afghans from July 8 to 19, Afghans have less concerns about security than corruption and lack of jobs.

Four at Four continues with an update from Iraq, a look at tough times, nuclear power in Florida, and Green China.

Fear

Simulposted at Daily Kos

“Fear is the mindkiller, the little death.”

Frank Herbert

Fear is the death of reason.

And we are soaking in it.

Everybody is afraid of something right now. The wingnuts are afraid of death panels and Kenyans. The Liberals are afraid of the Wingnuts bursting into flames and violence.

The Centrist Dems are afraid of the Leftist Dems, and the Leftist Dems are afraid that Obama and Rahm et al are selling them out. And everybody is afraid of the future right now, because the future is so unshaped. The Right is afraid that the world will change too much, and the Left is afraid that the world will change too little.

And at the center of all this fear is a man. A man whose supporters built up in to some kind Superman who can save us all from all of the problems we face (in order to get him elected)…Or on ther other side, a man who will destory America for the “Real Americans.”

A man, it turns out, who is just a man after all. A man who everyone on the Left and the Right think is in charge, thinks is so powerful that he can either order their granny put to death, or who they think is infallible enough to deserve their blind trust. Each side has their delusions about who this man is and each wants him to be powerful enough to either prove their fears right so that they can revolt, or wants him to be so powerful that they can stop thinking and working because he is in charge. But he is not in charge.

Chaos, the kind of chaos that is absolutely necessary for real Change to occur is the only thing in charge right now.

Chaos and the fear it brings.

In times of chaos and fear their is only one thing that everyone, on all sides, agree on…..SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!!!!

We MUST either fight or not fight, flee or not flee, adopt this startegy or condemn that strategy as the one that will be the final straw that KILLS US ALL!!!

My fear tells me one thing and I listen to it, your fear tells you another thing and you listen to it. I yell out my fear and you yell out your fear and our fears begin to fight. Then someone yells out that everyone should just calm down and our fears unite to turn and fight that person, whose fear has told them that this is all getting out of control and s/he must tell everyone to calm down and STFU.

We roil about in the mud of fear and chaos and yell and pull each others hair and there is only one winner….the fear itself.

Then we all get tired. Then something happens….as it always does….to calm or dissolve our fear. And we all return to some degree of rationality. But we are all then just a little more afraid, a little less trusting, and a little heavier burdened with grudges and resentments.

Which just makes it easier for the next wave of fear to grab us by the scruff of the neck and shake us all about.

In the past, in times of fear, we have looked to our leaders to step up. To calm the fears and to implement levelheaded solutions. That won’t work this time. Because we are coming out of a time, a time long enough to seem like an era, where the “Leaders” of society USED and encouraged fear, instead of quelling it. And in the process of using fear as a political and cultural tool, found it necessary to abolish what were once the court of last resort to address our fears…..facts.

Nothing is demonstrably true anymore. The RW is demonstrating that very vividly right now, in the form of the Birthers. But it is not limited to them. You throw a ‘fact’ at me, and I throw a contradictory ‘fact’ at you. If we don;t agree that those are ‘facts’….they aren’t. By definition. And George Bush and Karl Rove and Fox news have taught us all how to cast enough doubt on any fact to make it….not a ‘fact.’

So all we are left with is trust. The Wingers trust in Rush, The Centrists trust in Obama, and The Leftists trust that they will be sold out….again.

And all of us trust that our fears are justified, and that our fear is more important than the other guys fear.

And fear wins again.

Yeah, I have some ideas as to what we can do about it. The only problem is…. that the people who fear me will be sure I am lying, becuase that feeds their fear. And as we all can see with a casual glance, fear is always hungry. And there is always someone ready to feed it, if they think that will benefit them…or their fear.

So there is only one thing left to say, quoting one of our last true leaders, who was trusted by Most of the People, Most of the Time….and who Time has proved mostly to be right over the decades.

Perhaps it is the last fact left.

We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.

Or to rephrase it…..fear will not lead us out of chaos.

And there is only ONE person who can deal with YOUR fear.

Fire and Brimstone

I’ve learned the hard way that it’s impossible to sway RePug “Christians” with fact-based arguments about health care reform or anything else.  They don’t care about facts.  They won’t believe a word a liberal tells them, they won’t believe what scientists say about global warming, they won’t believe Obama was born in Hawaii, they won’t believe that Limbaugh and Hannity and Beck are lying to them about health care reform and everything else.  

But they believe the Bible.

Verily, my experience said unto me, the only way to have any chance at all of penetrating the thick skulls of Republican “Christians” in my state is to grab a Bible and beat them over the head with it.  

So . . . I grabbed a Bible and beat them over the head with it.

Letter to the Editor: What Would Jesus Do About Health Care Reform?

Jesus taught us to have compassion for one another, to help the sick and the poor among us.  Liberals have always tried to do that, they believe we all have a moral responsibility to help those in need, not only as individuals, but as a society.  President Obama and liberal Democrats are trying to ensure that everyone in America can have access to health care when they need it.  They want to help those in need.  They’re doing what Jesus taught us to do.  

But what has been the response of Republicans?  Angry bellowing about socialism.  Threats of violence against the President of the United States.  Lies that President Obama wants to euthanize everyone’s grandmother. Disgusting townhall spectacles of Republicans demanding their free speech rights while shouting down everyone else who tries to speak.  

Health care reform is not a political issue, it’s a moral issue.  Helping those in need is not a political issue, it’s a moral issue.  I’m not telling you that.  Jesus is telling you that.  I would advise every Republican in this country who claims to be a Christian to heed what Jesus said in Matthew 25:41-45: “Whatever you did not do for the least among you, you did not do for me.”

If Republicans continue to ignore the teachings of Jesus, if Republicans continue to demonize liberals for wanting to help those in need, if Republicans continue to protect the rich and blame the poor for their poverty, Republicans will hear these words from Jesus on Judgment Day: “Depart from me, you who are cursed.  For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and you did not look after me.”

You have a choice to make, Republicans.  You can keep listening to the lies of Limbaugh and Hannity and Beck, or you can start listening to the Son of God.

Unions Step Up In Town Hall Battles

One thing needs emphasizing about the battles raging during the August recess as Congresscritters return home to visit their constituents and face whipped-up wingnuts: The trade union movement has done a very creditable job in stepping up to the front line and helping thwart efforts to destroy those meetings.

A good example is the the town meeting in Rep. Niki Tsongas’s MA district, which was diaried at Daily Kos by Mike08 a couple of days back. Mike mentions the signs being distributed SEIU members. The AFL-CIO website has a brief report from Rosa Blumenfeld, a young organizer who also attended the meeting.

She says that there were a dozen activists from IUE Local 201 and other union locals in the North Shore Labor Council and another dozen from the Service Employees:

What worked were simple signs with large print slogans like “Real Health Insurance Reform Now,” and “Stop Insurance Company Greed.” During Tsongas’ opening remarks, we applauded forcefully and many in the room cheered. We even had folks countering the extremist amongst the crowd waiting outside.

One of the most effective points during the Q&A happened when one union woman stood up and said:

I think that everyone in this room can agree that we need to stop unnecessary death. My grandmother got sick and died from breast cancer because her insurance company refused to pay for her treatment. The system isn’t working. People are dying. We need this health insurance reform.

She goes on to describe the incredible tension and stress that exhausted the union folks by the end, and offer some insight about how her central labor council is tackling the problem. It’s worth reading.

And then take a moment to reflect on just how important unions are in this country.

Docudharma Times Tuesday August 11

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Founder of Special Olympics, Dies at 88

By CARLA BARANAUCKAS

Published: August 11, 2009


Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a member of one of the most prominent families in American politics and a trailblazer in the effort to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, died early Tuesday morning at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Mass. She was 88. Her death, at 2 a.m., was confirmed by her family in a statement. A family friend said that Mrs. Shriver had been in declining health for months, having suffered a series of strokes.

A sister of President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy and the mother-in-law of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, Mrs. Shriver never held elective office. Yet she was no stranger to Capitol Hill, and some view her work on behalf of the mentally retarded, including the founding of the Special Olympics, as the most lasting of the Kennedy family’s contributions.

With jobs harder to find, work gets easier for Army recruiters

Traditionally the Army has attracted the young. But as the number of jobs dwindles across the country, more Americans are enlisting later in life, drawn by the promise of steady work and benefits.

By Alexandra Zavis

August 11, 2009


If you’re looking for Michael March, he’s probably in the basement, slogging on the treadmill. Or he may be doing push-ups in front of the TV.

At 38, he wants to be prepared when he begins Army basic training later this week.

“I know I’m going to get picked on as the old guy in boot camp,” he said. “I don’t want to be last.”

Traditionally the Army has attracted the young, many of them fresh out of high school. They join for the promise of adventure, the chance to be part of something bigger, and a free college education. But as the number of jobs dwindles across the country, more Americans are enlisting later in life, drawn by the promise of steady work and generous benefits.

Although March may not be as fit as he was in his teens, his recruiters in Torrance say he brings to the Army experience and maturity that younger soldiers lack.

American found guilty of entering Suu Kyi’s home



The Associated Press

Tuesday, August 11, 2009; 2:50 AM


YANGON, Myanmar — A Myanmar court has sentenced American John Yettaw to seven years in prison, including four years at hard labor, for entering pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s home while she was under house arrest.

The 53-year-old Yettaw was found guilty Tuesday of violating the terms of Suu Kyi’s detention by swimming to her lakeside home uninvited and staying for two days.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

2009 Poems:  Dreamcatcher


Dream Catcher #2

Snagging Wisps

Strands of stardust

woven spacetime

arranged to collect

better days

true emotions

radiant ideas

clasping truth

in the clutches

of abstraction

to be spilled

when bleeding

is necessary

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–March 11, 2009

Obama, Lipton, To Seize World’s Teabags

WASHINGTON (FNS) – In a startling development related to the recent disruptions of town hall meetings, FNS is now able to confirm that the Obama Administration, with the assistance of Unilever Group and Queen Beatrix, both of the Netherlands, PepsiCo, Skull And Bones, and the Bilderberg Group, is unleashing a secret plot to dispatch fleets of unmarked aircraft and helicopters to prevent teabag protesters from having access to teabags.  

The goal of the plot: to disrupt protesters’ plans to save America from the destruction of our health care system.

FNS reporters have been following a trail of information that includes airport noise abatement records, classified documents, and the testimony of insiders, some of whom are now willing to be publicly identified.

We’ll begin our story by reporting on three events that occurred the evening of Friday, August 8th.

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

A Song For Honduras

Crossposted from Fire on The Mountain.

Golpe (Honduras) — Lyrics & Music by Simon Rios

Oye, Nica, Salvadoreño,

Indio, Garifuna, Brazileiro,

Gringo, Gaucho, y Caraqueño,

Chilango, Cholo, Potorro y Porteño

Esto es una llamada, en nombre de los Hondureños

Hay ke levantarnos todos, por este justo desempeño

Hay que defender ese pueblo, con puño y con cerebro

Hay que defender ese pueblo, con puño y con cerebro

June 28th, 2,009 was the day

When they uprooted los catrachos, from the progresista way.

Mel Zelaya was the president, who’d gone from right to left,

He was a magnate of the old school, but was calling out the theft

& pillage of Honduras, & the whole of the continente

by los gringos asesinos, & their local asistentes.

So they kidnapped Mel at gunpoint, at five o clock in the morn

And America woke that Sunday, said what the hell is going on?

Que carajo esta pasando? Otro golpe militar!

Otro once de septiembre, otro tiempo pa gritar!

This isn’t about Manuel Zelaya, it ain’t about the constitution,

It’s about the oligarchía, and it’s about the revolution.

The Honduran Magna Carta, was designed by the ruling class

With the oversight of Washington, & the rulers of the past

And Zelaya wanted reform, to promote participation

Cuz democracy ain’t about, pulling a lever & waiting patient

It ain’t about a rich criollo, sucking blood out of the nation

Its about power to the people, & the old order is changing

Pues America esta cambiando, por un modelo socialista,

anti-fascista, contra estes malditos golpistas

Tres-cientos mil up en la calle, dicen Zelaya no se va!

Los golpistas dicen democracia, mientras hacen coup d’etat

It’s like saying save the trees, while revving a chainsaw

It’s like saying it ain’t me babe, when you’re the one I saw.

And the golpistas waved a banner, reading we shall overcome

Which side would Martin be on, if Martin could’ve come?



Oxala pudiera cantarte, una rolita mas alegre

But the golpe en Honduras, makes me mutherfucking angry

I wish this was a nightmare, or a skit on cha cha cha

But its real as rigor mortis, cuz they made a coup d’etat

Hay que tener rabia pueblo, Honduras es America

La misma sangre y consigna, desde Ushuaia hasta Merida

Y de ahi para Recife, y de ahi pa Torreón

Desde el bosque de Chapultepec, hasta las minas de Cerrejón.

No importa que pinche dia, no importa en que lugar,

Pues la esperanza comun, es lo quieren asesinar.

And they speak of an invasion by Venezolano agents

Y no aguantamos eso, they say, cuz we’re a sovereign nation.

Sovereign nation? With a gringo base in Chaperola?

You mean sovereign to the people? Or sovereign to Coca Cola?

And you’d be foolish if you thought that the gringos didn’t play a role

You think that the ambassador, Hugo Llorens, didn’t know?

This ain’t the US of Obama, but of Reich & of la CIA

The ones who planned the golpe contra Hugo Chavez Frias

The ones who killed Allende, & who tried to kill Fidel

The ones who speak of freedom, while manifesting hell

The ones who infiltrated the mighty Tupamaros

The ones who drew & quartered, the brave Tupac Amaru

The ones who own la prensa, y las haciendas y maquilas

The ones who stand to profit, from the riches of the minas

And the reporters of the mainstream, are more full of shit & piss

Than the sewage tank at midnight, on the Chinatown Express

Sowing fear of comunismo, and a thousand huevonadas

Cuz la prensa esta vendida, y su gente, comprada

Comiendo baleadas, mientras los pobres comen basura,

And they still can’t understand, why there’s tanta amargura

And you think they give a damn about the starvation of a people?

The disenfranchising of a people? the genocide of a people?

Cuz they’re killing little kids, & they’re killing periodistas,

They’re killing esperanzas, & they’re killing sindicalistas.

Here’s a fist up for Murillo, martyr of Tegucigalpa

Whose death served to make la resistencia stand mas alta

Here a fist up to COFADEH, OFRANEH, y el COPINH

From the pueblo of Geronimo & Martin Luther King.

This is the wakening of Honduras, in the form of a class war

It’s a fight of good & evil, & the good ones are the poor

Nothing more, and it sure ain’t nothing less

And it wont stop till the coup drops, and justicia is addressed.

Caerá la dictadura, como todos los demas

Y llegará un tiempo de justicia, justicia con paz

Pero mientras tanto y los llantos, los molestaré con mi canto

En frente de las marchas, con mas bravura que mil Rambos

Ambos ladosde la izkierda y por debajo

Venceremos Hondureño dale duro pueblo catracho.

Land of Perpetual War: US Troop Levels in Afghanistan to Double from Last Year

According to a report by Paul Tait of Reuters, published at Truthout.org, U.S. forces in Afghanistan have expanded to near double the level of last year, with plans to expand to 68,000 troops or more by December, up from 32,000 at the end of 2008. Currently, with both U.S. and other allied troops, there are over 100,000 soldiers facing what is reported to be a more “aggressive” and “brazen” Taliban force.

Forty-one U.S. troops died in Afghanistan in the past month; 71 allied troops overall. The article gave no figures for Afghan deaths.

Commander of U.S. forces, U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal — formerly head of Special Forces for the Pentagon, during a time when Special Operations units were implicated in torture in Iraq — “said the resurgent Taliban have forced a change of tactics on foreign forces and warned that record casualty figures would remain high for some months” (emphasis added). No one asks why the Taliban should be stronger now, almost eight years after 9/11 — well, no one in the mainstream U.S. press.

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