Archive for Iraq

Overnight: The Dirty Fucking Hippies Were Right

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hippies

From the 'About' section on YouTube about this video:

Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that.
There's a black granite wall in Washington D.C. that bears 58,260 names on it. All of those whose names are carved on that wall are dead. For what? Freedom? If this country had listened when kids were screaming to stop that slaughter, that wall would have been one hell of a lot shorter. Yet we as a nation still wage wars of choice. War encouraged by pluotcrats. Peace is never discussed. Peace has somehow become a pejorative. Peace is no perjoritive. Peace is essential to the survival of the human race. Those who advocate for war are a dangerous and fearful group who should be marginalized and disavowed. War is always the last choice.

The dirty fucking hippies were right!

Now the oceans have been rising and warming. The polar ice is melting at alarming rates. The climate is changing in irreversible ways. Our survival as a species is on a precipice. The science on this is clear: Humans are now in trouble..... because of our reckless stewardship of what we dominate. We have polluted this fragile jewel that hangs in space. Our only home. The food we buy is contaminated. The toys we give our children as presents for christmas are tainted with poison. The water we drink is rife with carcinogens. The fish in our seas, lakes and rivers are so full of mercury that it is only recommended we eat them once per week. We have now come face to face with our own extinction. I hate to say we told you so, but...

the dirty fucking hippies... were right!

As an old, peacenik hippy, I entirely approve of this message.

Want to know more about the hippies? Read this.

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96% Of Senate Republicans Vote To Damn And Punish U.S. Military Veterans

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up yours

We'll pay for you to go to war, but we won't take care of you when or if you come back. It's a one way ticket.

A whopping 96% of the Republicans in the Senate voted against legislation on Thursday that would have expanded federal healthcare and education programs for veterans, saying the $24 billion bill would bust the budget. 96 percent! I'd say that's almost unanimous as a party stance on the bill.

So you have to ask yourself, why? Is it really going to "bust the budget?"

Interestingly the same question was put before Senator Bernie Sanders (I - VT) by Chris Hayes last night on All In. Sanders response is heated, passionate and shows the real fallacies of the Republican thinking on this matter and just how much these GOP-ers are hypocrites when it comes to veterans. As a party they're always willing to start wars, just never prepared to fund them. Then afterwards, these same warmongers have a tendency to turn their backs on the lucky ones -- those that live through these atrocities. Our fighting men with real injuries and losses become just chess pieces, not real -- not flesh and blood. But to their families and friends they sure are real. Denying them dignity and aid is a total affront.

If Iraq and Afghanistan weren't bad enough in body count, those scarred, wounded, maimed, and mentally suffering from these battles deserve every bit as much attention upon their return as the unfunded battles that sent them overseas. But that's not the thinking of the GOP senators. They will only budge on the funding IF we tack on an unrelated sanctions bill that's sure to push us into war with Iran and raise the death count all even higher.

Sanders points out that Republicans have an 'open checkbook' policy when it comes to the costs of war.  Other costs always have to be offset by cuts. Not the case for wars: the sky's the limit for the neo-cons. But somehow it's nothing or next to nothing for our returning vets who fought their wars.

If you want to see the harm the Republicans are inflicting on our veterans, just catch this piece with Chris Hayes and Bernie Sanders. Then ask yourself how anyone who cares about this country can vote for a Republican incumbent senator the next time around?

If Democrats want to keep the Senate and retake the House, all they need to do is show this piece.

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Florida Republican Proposes Obama Lynching

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Noosew244h326

One can only hope that not all Tea Party Republican candidates are crazy. But seeing this gives me pause. I'm talking to everyone out there, but especially in Florida.

Fueling the fire of the adage, every family has its nuts, the Tampa Bay Times reported this the other day:

ST. PETERSBURG — As Americans honored the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, a Republican candidate for Florida House District 68 said President Barack Obama should be hanged for war crimes.

"I'm past impeachment," Joshua Black wrote on Twitter. "It's time to arrest and hang him high."

You'd think with all the negative press this has brought about, the Florida Republican Party would officially call for this man's dropping out of the Florida House District race. And this would be a unanimous call.

But it's not. A few Florida Republicans have voiced "concern" over statements like this. Really? Just some concern.

Evidently the Secret Service is taking this crackpot seriously. They already visited with him about his making threatening statements.

Following the "concern" voiced by a few Republicans, Black took once again to the airwaves, tweeting:

Hours after the tweet, Black defended his comment. Obama should be held responsible for ordering a drone strike that killed a U.S. citizen overseas, he said.

"He should be executed for treason," Black said. "I think the appropriate punishment is death. They killed Benedict Arnold. (Obama) shouldn't be allowed to kill Americans without a trial."

Well, even that wasn't enough. After the offensive statements of justification above, Mr. Black went onto FaceBook with this:

Hours after the tweet, Black defended his comment. Obama should be held responsible for ordering a drone strike that killed a U.S. citizen overseas, he said.

"He should be executed for treason," Black said. "I think the appropriate punishment is death. They killed Benedict Arnold. (Obama) shouldn't be allowed to kill Americans without a trial."

Had enough yet? I hope the state of Florida, the Republican Party in particular, has.  It's time they distance themselves from wackadoos like Joshua Black. It's okay to disagree with the President, but calling for a public lynching is something that deserves a closer watching. Who knows what this dude's capable of doing? And who knows how many more there are like him. Maybe we'll find out when they hold the election.

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Former Defense Secretary Gates Admits To CNN On His Drinking And Psychotic Issues

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RobertGatesNeckBracew394h224

Robert Gates admits to being greatly incapacitated during his later tenure as Defense Secretary under Obama. In his interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN about the former CIA chief's recently released tell all book, Gates admits to an alcohol problem - drinking heavily every night in order to get through his job. He also confesses to being afflicted with and struggling with a severe form of post traumatic stress disorder.

It's sad that this dedicated civil servent even now plays it down and refuses to seek professional help. This turns out to be all too common with returning veterans who have these afflictions, but live in denial. Gates claims he doesn't need professional help with either his drinking or his stress situation, but then you look at him with the neck brace and can't help wonder if his recent "fall" which caused him vertebrae damage wasn't the result of a drinking incident or blackout. I wish him all the best but  hope he'll seek the professional help he so obviously is crying out for in his book and his CNN interview.

Here's the confession. It begins at 07:28 of this piece and runs through 08:56. Blizter asks him point blank about his mental capacity during his final months in his secretary-ship. It's quite frank and honest, yet scary.

This hard drinking, confused and psychotic man was going through such inner turmoil while entrusted with advising our president on defense issues, it's a wonder he didn't start another war.

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When Will We Learn, McCain Is Not A Diplomat?

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Oops I did it again

It takes a big (wo)man, not necessarily a good (wo)man, to admit he/she's made a mistake. John McCain this weekend proved he's that (wo)man. He's admitted what we've all known for years -- he means well, but is prone to exaggeration gaffs.

So in the spirit of fairness, I'm willing to say John simply got caught up in the moment, took some time to reflect on his own actions of the past and decided Obama's handshake with Raul Castro wasn't the disgraceful act of "appeasement" on par with the Neville Chamberlain/Adolph Hitler handshake. Time to get past that.

With that settled, I think it's about time that the US Government reconsider it's policy of sending McCain and usually his personal valet Senator Lindsay Graham on official "fact finding" trips to political 'hot spots' on behalf of this country. This hawk and his sidekick have never found a place where they didn't feel the US should make it a flashpoint for war.

They were early and multiply times visitors to Iraq where we escalated our efforts there -- remember the "surge" of troops?

They visited Syria and voted against Obama's using peaceful means to negotiate the chemical weapons disarmament.

McCain made a number of official visits to Israel where each time the middle east country announced increased anxiety over Iran which lead to threats of a possible unilateral Israeli strike on their warring neighbor. McCain went so far as to refer to then current Iranian leader this way according to NBC news:

McCain made a joke comparing Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a monkey.

The Arizona senator even more recently has been vocal on pushing new sanctions against Iran which would most certainly derail the peaceful efforts to negotiate a shutting down of the nuclear weapons development program in Iran despite pleas by Secretary of State John Kerry to allow unfettered negotiations to take place. 

Now today we find McCain (without his Graham valet) once again off to a foreign land as an official envoy, this time in the rioting Ukraine.

In all these these cases, the McCain visits have turned out, by his actions once he returned, to be the opposite of our best interests. How many times must this old warhorse be sent to gather intel and report back? It's not as if his efforts have netted us any qualitative or even quantitative findings. He may be a good guy, and his military background -- at least in years spent as a prisoner of war -- is laudable. But like the accountant today who forgoes contemporary computer technology to prepare your taxes, he's slow, prone to human error and basically just out of it. He's got his old ways and refuses to change with the times. Rather than input data in a computer and have it instantly analyzed and metadata mined for multiple uses, he's still got the pencil, a paper spreadsheet (with coffee stains) and a hand-pull adding machine at his side.

We'll all be served when he finally signals his retirement. He doesn't need to be put out to pasture just yet, but he certainly doesn't need to be our eyes and ears on the ground surveying our next possible moves in volatile locations. He could help us best by passing on his knowledge in improving the standards of living and assistance to soldiers returning from service as well as issues affecting our growing aging population.

Internation diplomacy needs a bit more than just having served for a long time or a Senator singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."

It takes someone who thinks before he speaks. What it needs is diplomacy, not mockery. And lately, Senator McCain has proven he's doting with emotional lust for one final battle, not one grand peace. Let's stop putting our worst foot forward. Let's start putting our best.

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Luckily For Peace, Our Congress Is Inept

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nuclear explosion

If it weren't for the inability of either chamber of Congress to get their acts together and actually do something, we might be heading for war. Yup, war.

Just after Obama chose to involve Congress in a decision to take action against Syria for the use of chemical weapons, the elected officials went nutso. Everyone including the shoe-shine guy in the rotunda had an opinion and most were not leaning toward the elected official whose call it really was - President Obama's. The Republicans are a war machine and they wanted to start bombing. The Democrats were timid and were afraid they'd get nailed to the tree like they did when they went along with the phony war in Iraq. So they ran around like the beheaded chickens we've heard so much about.

Finally, in steps a possible diplomatic solution. You'd think everyone in Congress would breath a sigh of relief, even if only temporarily while the plan had a chance to be ironed out. But no, the Republicans were insisting on war. The only thing that kept us from spilling blood, lost lives both American and Syrian was that Congress can't agree on anything.

You'd think that's a bad thing. But there's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel here. Even that blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.

The good fortune in this picture is that we have a diplomatic chance to shut down, possibly even remove totally any threat of nuclear armament in Iran. Yes, that country who for over 30 years we had no official contact with. On the cusp of their going nuclear, a possible treaty is in the works. The only thing that could gum it up would be Congress. A warmongering Republican run House of Representatives. All it would take to tip the fragile preliminary diplomacy would be the House and Senate coming up with new economic sanctions against Iran. And the GOP were pushing as hard as they could. If they succeeded, the talks would be called off and probably immediate escalations would have taken place as a possible nuclear flash point could have been reached.

The Republicans in Congress didn't care if this would lead to nuclear war. The simple fact that Obama might go down in history for two huge diplomatic solutions to potential wars, on top of his successes with finishing up Iran's conflict and potentially running down the war in Afghanistan was just too much. How could a Black president be allowed a place like that in history?

So fortunately, the dis-functionality of Congress worked in the American people's favor this time.  Watch Rachel Maddow as she lays it out clearly, precisely and accurately for us. We owe our Congresspeople a collective acknowledgement that their inability to work is going to perhaps save our lives.

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Gitmo's Penny Lane Marriott - A Terrorist's "Home Away From Home"

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Guantanamo Bay

Ah, the spy game. When it comes to our national security, who better than George W. Bush and his neo-cons to oversee top secret programs? You remember GW, the man who ignored warnings of a possible attack on 9-11; the chief executive who felt it more important to read to kindergarten students when told of the attack than move to defend this country; the President who ordered Air Force One to the wrong position after the terrorists attack; and the man who raged war against the wrong country for weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist. Let's face it, this dude was in over his head. But only now are we finding out the further adventures in counter-terrorism of our former leader. Seems, according to the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the early years after 9/11, the CIA turned some Guantanamo Bay prisoners into double agents then sent them home to help the U.S. kill terrorists, current and former U.S. officials said.

The CIA promised the prisoners freedom, safety for their families and millions of dollars from the agency's secret accounts.

It was a risky gamble. Officials knew there was a chance that some prisoners might quickly spurn their deal and kill Americans.

For the CIA, that was an acceptable risk in a dangerous business. For the American public, which was never told, the program was one of the many secret trade-offs the government made on its behalf. At the same time the government used the risk of terrorism to justify imprisoning people indefinitely, it was releasing dangerous people from prison to work for the CIA.

The idea that infiltrating Al Qaeda to prevent more attacks is very sound. But how you do it takes some really well thought out assessment. And GW wasn't the guy to make that decision. Nor were his cohorts, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

So the pool of candidates was the Gitmo prisoners. Okay, maybe they were a logical place to start. But with all the torture and waterboarding going on, could these prisoners be trusted? What was to stop them from just lying and making it easier on themselves?

Candidates were ushered from the confines of prison to Penny Lane's (the cottages used for the double-agent trainees) relative hominess, officials said. The cottages had private kitchens, showers and televisions. Each had a small patio.

Some prisoners asked for and received pornography. One official said the biggest luxury in each cottage was the bed - not a military-issued cot but a real bed with a mattress.

The cottages were designed to feel more like hotel rooms than prison cells, and some CIA officials jokingly referred to them collectively as the Marriott.

Marriott Hotel

So, those were the conditions at the Gitmo Marriott. With treatment like that, I'm sure the program was a huge success -- so many volunteers that you had to beat them off with a stick -- if you weren't already beating them with a stick.

This was sure to be a successful program.

The U.S. government says it has confirmed that about 16 percent of former Guantanamo Bay detainees rejoined the fight against America. Officials suspect but have not confirmed that another 12 percent more rejoined.

That would make for a potential of roughly 3 in 10 returned to their old ways and killed American soldiers. A 70% win rate might be good in baseball or basketball, but it sure isn't in counter-intelligence. Each mistake made there could have cost hundreds of lives. But what can you expect from these hijacked soldiers, cuffed and hooded and whisked off to the balmy shores of Cuba?

Vice President Dick Cheney called the prisoners "the worst of a very bad lot." Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said they were "among the most dangerous, best trained, vicious killers on the face of the Earth."

Now isn't that a great pool of volunteers. I guess Bush and company saw something in these truly dangerous men that the outside world might find hard to see. It must be like trying to train people to have charisma or to grow taller, or develop a discerning sense for smell.

The U.S. government had such high hopes for Penny Lane that one former intelligence official recalled discussions about whether to secretly release a pair of Pakistani men into the United States on student or business visas. The hope was that they would connect with al-Qaida and lead authorities to members of a U.S. cell.

Of course. What a great plan! Finance, arm and set up the worst of the worst on American soil, setting them free to roam among us. No risk there. That's the surest way for the Al Qaeda guys in the middle east to pick up former freedom fighter ex-patriots and enlist them to run the domestic cells here. Surely nobody in the Al Qaeda hierarchy would be suspicious that these guys who were captured in Iraq, held prisoner in Guantanamo, then set free on U.S mainland soil with walking around money might have cut a deal and been secret double agents.

George W. must have thought the masterminds of the 9-11 attack would be pretty ignorant? Maybe he was looking at a group picture of his own cabinet and thought, hey, it's worked on these idiots.

So, how successful was the genius executive branch plan for counter-intelligence, code named, Penny Lane?

There's not a single shred of evidence than any of these turned double agents provided any intel that caused a disruption in any of the Iraq war plans. So much for the Republican brain trust and the neo-cons who actually ran our country and choreographed the war.

And these are the same people, the same party, that are imploring us to not seek out a peaceful solution the the nuclear potential in Iran. Let's see, trust the administration that ended the war in Iraq, is winding down the war in Afghanistan, tracked down Bin Laden, found a peaceful means of removing Syria's chemical weapons... or the people who started the war in Iraq to start with -- over faulty intelligence or just plain lies?

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