Archive for afghanistan war

LIVE VIDEO: President Obama Makes Statement on Afghanistan 2:45 EDT


Obama afghanistan

The president is announcing his plans to keep about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan. Below is the email alert via Politico:

President Barack Obama will announce Tuesday that he plans to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan after the end of the year to continue training Afghan forces and supporting operations against Al Qaeda, a senior administration official said.

The announcement comes just two days after the president made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to renew his pledge to end all combat operations by the end of the year and meet with commanders on the ground about steps forward.

"We will only sustain a military presence after 2014 if the Afghan government signs the Bilateral Security Agreement," the official said, referring to the document that so far outgoing Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign but both candidates to succeed him have said they would.

For more information...


Bernie Sanders: You can't fix the economy simply by shredding the safety net


GOP it's not about you

What oh what would we Progressives do without Bernie Sanders? In today's Los Angeles Times, he wrote an op-ed laying out in very clear detail how to make wise choices about how to fix the economy.

Sanders, thankfully, is a member of a budget panel composed of Democratic, Republican and independent Senate and House members doing what they can, supposedly, to avoid another GOP government shutdown.

Senator Sanders explains how to move forward (as opposed to the same old backward, destructive GOP ideas), and how we managed to go from healthy surpluses to (unnecessary) deficits.

He reminds us that by the end of President Clinton's presidency, we had a a $236-billion surplus, and that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted a 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion, meaning we could have erased the national debt by 2011.

Too bad Republicans screwed that up.

And of course, they're blaming President Obama for the horrible outcomes of their horrible policies and horrible obstruction. Here's how it really went down:

  • GW Bush's Afghanistan and Iraq wars were not paid for.
  • Those wars cost us up to $6 trillion.
  • Those wars were put on our national credit card.
  • Bush signed Congress's costly prescription drug bill.
  • That costly prescription drug program was not paid for either.
  • Bush and Congress gave big fat tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations.
  • As a result, revenue went down.
  • The 2008 recession, caused by the deregulation of Wall Street, also caused revenue to drop.
  • Big fat surpluses turned into big fat deficits.

tadaa3Now gather 'round kiddies, because it's Hypocrisy Time!


Interestingly, today's "deficit hawks" in Congress — Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and other conservative Republicans — voted for those measures that drove up deficits. Now that they're worried about deficits again, they want to dismantle virtually every social program designed to protect working families, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor.

In other words, it's OK to spend trillions on a war we should never have waged in Iraq and to provide huge tax breaks for billionaires and multinational corporations.


Sanders goes on to say that austerity doesn't work, because it clearly hurts those who are already suffering.

Instead of talking about cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, we must end the absurdity of corporations not paying a nickel in federal income taxes. [...]

At a time when we now spend almost as much as the rest of the world combined on defense, we can make judicious cuts in our armed forces without compromising our military capability.

He also thinks it would be a swell idea if Congress members started, you know, listening to the American people, especially because so many polls show that we don't want cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

In fact, according to a recent National Journal poll, 81% do not want to cut Medicare at all, 76% do not want to cut Social Security at all, and 60% do not want to cut Medicaid at all. Other polls make it clear that Americans believe that the wealthiest among us and large corporations must pay their fair share in taxes.

So, Republicans (and even some Dems), how about paying more attention to us, the voters, instead of trying to grab it all for yourselves? It's not about you. It's about all of us. It's about We the People.


A perspective on soldiers "that may not be agreeable to many people."


thinking hard

The Los Angeles Times Calendar section prints letters every Sunday in their actual hands-on, papery newspaper, the one I get every morning. Unfortunately, they do not post them online. So, no link for you (apologies to Seinfeld's "soup Nazi")!

However, I will transcribe one controversial letter that was worthy of note. It's a tough one to read, partly because of the many painful truths it lays bare, and partly because our instincts (and the media) tell us to "support our troops" no matter how we may feel about war, necessary or unnecessary, legitimate of fraudulent. Most of us do support the individuals, just not necessarily what they are often sent to do on our behalf. This letter prods us to analyze more deeply the people who wear the uniform.

Additionally, the author advances the "nobody sign up as soldiers" notion which would leave us to wonder how we would defend ourselves as a nation. But still, his points are as clear as they are compelling.

Agree or disagree, this one makes you think:

Jake Tapper offers that "we, as a society, in no small way caused this pain and inflicted these scars" [For Soldiers, a Postwar Battle Within," Oct. 6]. As moving and empathetic and noble as these sentiments are, his article fails, as with most articles of this genre, to consider a different, darker, hush-hush perspective of soldiers:

Regardless of why they volunteered for the military, they were of an age and maturity to know what they were getting themselves into, they had the same access as anyone else in this society as to why we went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they certainly had access to other soldiers who had come home in less than mint condition to know that was was indeed "hell" and not just about cowboys and Indians.

In other words, dare I say that these soldiers have no one to blame but themselves? That all they are, are pawns of a government controlled by corporate greed and dealers of weapons of mass destruction (and further attested to by their negative treatment by the government that used them after they came home), and they bought into it because of their failure to use common critical thinking skills? Or because, under the guise and lies of patriotism, they just wanted to kick somebody's ass because they're young and aggressive and didn't know how else to channel their emotions in a more constructive way?

Of course I espouse a perspective that may not be agreeable to many people and many may think of me as heartless, but this is the truth as I see it, and somebody's got to state it.

In other words, if nobody signed up as soldiers, then maybe there wouldn't be any war and our society would begin to transform itself for the better.

Hewitt Morris

Fullerton, CA


GOP hates spending, so Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) intros bill to boost Pentagon war spending by $5 billion


spend money guy


Watch as Senate Democrats point at laugh at the House Armed Services panel's Defense authorization bill that would hike Pentagon spending by $5 billion.

Because, see, what we need now is to pour more cash into the Afghanistan war, which is exactly what Chairman Buck McKeon's (R-Calif.) legislation would do. Republicans want to "make up for cuts to training and maintenance" due to that thing we all love to hate called "sequestration."

Yes, the party that hates spending wants to spend-- spend-- an additional five. Billion. Dollars.

The Hill:

The sweeping Pentagon policy bill pushes back on a number of administration proposals and priorities.

The measure includes restrictions on transferring Guantánamo detainees to the United States, which President Obama proposed to re-start last month as he looks to close the prison. The bill also included funding for new barracks at Guantánamo to replace temporary facilities.

The committee rejected base closures and new healthcare fees for a second straight year, and also said no to a smaller pay raise for troops... On sexual assault, an issue that has generated a host of attention in recent weeks, the bill strips commanders’ ability to overturn guilty verdicts and establishes minimum sentencing guidelines for sexual assault cases.

It does not, however, go as far as some lawmakers are proposing to remove the decision to prosecute sexual assault cases from the chain of command.

Did I say that thing we all love to hate is called "sequestration"? I meant "the GOP."