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Archive for June, 2014

Posted by DownWithTyranny on June 24th, 2014

From our partners at DownWithTyranny!

And these lies and imbecilities come from a scumbag who should be living out the rest of his wretched existence in prison for his war crimes and crimes against humanity.

by Ken

It can’t be easy to be Dick Cheney. Even now, at his advanced age, in his precarious state of health, there are so many lies left to tell — and so little time to tell them in. And when you have a record as catastrophically dismal and overweeningly earth-destructive as his to obfuscate and explain away and cover up, that just makes it harder.

Still, you have to wonder what sort of human being is capable of this kind of “thinking”:

Possibly, of course, it’s just projection. He’s well aware that there are people in public life in the U.S. today who are evil at their very core and whose purpose for drawing breath is to turn the earth into the miasma of destruction, torment, and hate that they live in in their toxic heads. Unfortunately, perhaps because of his profound mental disabilities, he is unable to make the fundamental connection: Look! There in the mirror! There’s one of the human-hating Satanites.

As you know perfectly well, President Obama never said or so much as hinted at the time of the capture of bin Laden that the problem of terrorism was solved. That’s just your compulsive need to make up lies. What was true at the time of the capture of bin Laden was that it was something that, through either incompetence or lack of will, you worthless scumbags of the Bush Earth-Destruction Regime didn’t or couldn’t do. You know it, but something inside you just makes you lie your putrid guts out. It’s who and what you are.

The nonsense you spew is so childishly predictable. The demon Obama withdrew us from Iraq and is withdrawing us from without leaving forces behind and thereby creating “a big vacuum in the Middle East.” Let’s forget for a moment, Big Dick (and I do mean the Biggest Dick of Them All), the way you morons and sociopaths of the Bush Earth-Destruction Regime actually did leave Afghanistan behind for bin Laden and the Taliban — presumably so you could proceed to turn to the heroic task of turning Iraq into the shithole of your psychotic “dreams.”

You rattle off the list of groups filling that vacuum as if you know something about them, but of course as always you know nothing. Most of these are forces that you toxic scumbags of the Bush Earth-Destruction Regime did so much to make major players in the Middle East, even though you were warned by people who actually knew something about the Middle East that that would be the all but certain result.

But then, on a scale of zero to a kajillion, Big Dick knows diddly squat about Iraq or Afghanistan or any other frigging place on the planet. So it’s pointless to point out that he has zero clue as to how any problems in the Middle East might have been averted or even ameliorated. Because his specialty is creating problems that no amount of competence or good will could solve. He did everything in his considerable power to set forces in motion in the Middle East that would wind up, well, very much where they have wound up.

Then, of course, with such singularly scumbaggish lack of grace, he blames it all on somebody else.

Big Dick and his kind are creatures of such psychotic arrogance that they are probably literally incapable of receiving actual information and trying to figure out how it might be dealt with. Remember how he haunted the CIA rooting out all actual intelligence coming in from and about Iraq and forcing the analysts instead to rubber-stampe his lies and delusions?

Haven’t you done enough to turn the planet into living hell, Big Dick? Rot in hell.

I SUGGESTED THE OTHER DAY THAT IAN WELSH’S
POSTS OFFER A FRESH VIEW ON THE MIDDLE EAST

One that Big Dick might benefit from if he were actually interested in understanding what’s going on in the Middle East is “Military Effectiveness: ISIS, Taliban, Hezbollah,” which began:

I think it’s worth emphasizing that what we’ve seen over the past 30 years is a revolution in military affairs. New model militaries have arisen which are capable of fighting Western armies to a draw in irregular warfare, or even defeating them on the battlefield (Hezbollah v. Israel.) It’s not that guerrilla warfare wasn’t effective before (ask the Americans in Vietnam), it’s how stunningly cheap it has become and how brutally effective at area denial and attrition warfare.

As an example, Ian cited the transformative influence of IEDs.

With IEDs the cost for occupation soars, and entire areas of a country can be made no-go zones except for large groups of troops.

But just as bad is the cost-effectiveness. Western militaries are brutally costly. Islamic “militias” are cheap. The Taliban runs on blackmail and drugs, ISIS runs, to a large extent, on donations from rich Muslims along with some state support. These armies cost peanuts compared to the US or British or Israeli military. Nothing. And they are capable, at the least, of tying down Western militaries for years, bleeding them white and eventually winning. Hezbollah is capable of defeating, in battle, what was (before Hezbollah proved otherwise) widely considered one of the most effective militaries in the world.

“Americans keep thinking,” Ian wrote, “they can assassinate their way to victory. They can’t.”

In any actual effective organization, lower level people can fill the slot “above them, and the slot above that. A strong ideology, and strong doctrine means that leaders are replaceable. Western leaders don’t believe that because as a class they are narcissists, who think that leaders are something super-special. Almost no leaders are actually geniuses, for every Steve Jobs or Rommel, there are a hundred CEOS or Generals who are just effective drones. They don’t matter. Any reasonably bright person with a bit of experience could run their company or army corp just as well and almost certainly better. (Canadian troops were amongst the most effective in WWI in part because they weren’t professionals. So they did what worked.)

Western societies are hard to run precisely because we refuse to actually fix our problems. Temporizing, “managing” is hard. Fixing problems is a lot easier. I know, again, that most people don’t believe this, because they don’t remember ever living in a country that actually tried to fix problems, and have never worked for a company that wasn’t dysfunctional, but it is so true.

So the West uses assassination and highly expensive troops who don’t want to die and extensive surveillance. And the various Islamic militias, on budgets that aren’t even shoestring, survive and grow stronger. They are evolving: getting smarter all the time. They are Darwinian organizations: if you screw up, you die.

A military doctrine which is hundreds of times more expensive than its main competitor has problems. In general, in military affairs, effectiveness is more important than efficiency. But if your effectiveness doesn’t actually let you win, in the sense of making it so your enemies stop fighting, then efficiency will start to run against you.

The West is not unaware of this: drones are cheaper than planes, for example. Ground combat robots, which the army is working on hard, may be effectively cheaper than troops, as well as having the advantage of requiring fewer troops, meaning less danger to the elites and more likely to fire in the case of a revolution.

Finally, I note again, that I do not expect drones and the new ground combat robots (about 10 years out) to remain tools of the powerful for all that long. Competent technicians will be able to make home brew models fairly effectively and quickly.

Got that, Big Dick? Any of it? No, I didn’t think so.

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Posted by Just Foreign Policy on June 6th, 2014

From our partners at Just Foreign Policy

 If you want to understand why it’s the case that on the one hand the U.S. public and the majority of Congress turned against the war in Afghanistan a long time ago, and yet on the other hand, it’s been so hard to end the war, this week’s warmonger media storm against the diplomatic rescue of U.S. prisoner of war Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been very instructive.

It’s been known for years that a key step towards ending the war would be exchanging five Taliban prisoners of war at Guantanamo for the release of Sgt. Bergdahl.

There has never been any serious dispute of the case that this would be a key step towards ending the war. I challenge anyone to find a counter-example to my claim.

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Posted by Just Foreign Policy on June 5th, 2014

From our partners at Just Foreign Policy

Tell us how your call to your Senator went using the form below.

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Posted by DownWithTyranny on June 4th, 2014

From our partners at DownWithTyranny!

I just started reading Rick Pearlstein’s new book, The Invisible Bridge: That Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan. In the first chapter, he talks about who “America the Innocent” is “always searching for totems of a unity it can never quite achieve– even, or even especially, when its crises of disunity are most pressing: it is one of the structuring stories of our nation.” This leads to a look at the national orgy of self-congratulatory ecstasy and patriotic spectacle over “Operation Homecoming,” the release of the last American prisoners of war held in Vietnam.

One of the most quoted returning warriors was a colonel who noted all the signs reading “We Love You.” “In a deeper sense,” he said, “I think what people are saying is ‘We Love America.’” Another announced the greatest Vietnam miracle of all: that the POWs had won the Vietnam War. “I want you to remember that we walked out of Hanoi as winners. We are not coming home with our tails between our legs. We returned with honor.”

Pearlstein documents this kind of insipid glop for a few pages and then mentions that not all Americans were buying in. Long before an Australian neo-fascist ideologue and billionaire turned the New York Post into a crude scandal rag and an integral part of the Republican Party echo chamber, it was a respected liberal daily. Columnist Pete Hamill “pointed out that the vast majority of the prisoners were bomber pilots, and thus were ‘prisoners because they had committed unlawful acts’– killing civilians in an undeclared war.”

My natural instinct about the release of POW Bowe Bergdahl was to be happy for him and his family and to wonder if the U.S. had implanted tracking devices in the bodies of the 5 Taliban prisoners they had exchanged for him. I wondered if we’d ever find out. And then the Hate America Brigade at Fox News and the Republican Party went to work muddying the waters. Towards the end of the video above, from Maddow’s Monday show, there is the broader question Fox and the GOP don’t want to deal with: why can’t Obama just use the same powers he used to make the exchange to finally shut down the American gulag in Cuba? Fox News and Jason Chavitz may not want to deal with it, but Jason Leopold sure did.

Cori Crider, the strategic director for Reprieve, a U.K.-based human rights charity, said Monday that the transfer of the five inmates in exchange for P.O.W. Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. Army soldier, underscores that President Obama can move quickly to shutter Guantanamo if he has the political will to act.

“Many of these are being force-fed daily in a disgusting manner because they have been cleared so long they believe they will die in Gitmo,” Crider said. “Yet they could leave tomorrow with a stroke of Obama’s pen. Let’s hope this deal is a sign of more leadership from President Obama on letting the cleared men go home, too.”

When Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last December lawmakers gave Obama much more flexibility to transfer prisoners out of Guantanamo than they had in previous versions of the spending bill. The bill calls on the Secretary of Defense to notify Congress 30 days in advance of any transfer and outline the steps the administration has taken to ensure the detainee is not engaging in terrorist activities against the United States.

…It appears that Obama may have acted on the authority claimed from Congress in his signing statement when he turned over the five long-term detainees to the custody of Qatar.

…[White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin] Hayden also said the administration is “making progress on a number of additional promising opportunities” to hasten the closure of Guantanamo, consistent with a promise Obama made after he was sworn into office. She said 17 prisoners have been transferred since Obama gave a major counterterrorism speech in May 2013. While Hayden noted that Obama lifted the moratorium on the transfer of Yemeni detainees none have been repatriated. However, she said the administration is “now reviewing Yemeni detainees on a case-by-case basis.”

That said, don’t expect any parades for Bowe Bergdahl any time soon. Obama, in Warsaw Tuesday: “The United States has always had a pretty sacred rule, and that is: we don’t leave our men or women in uniform behind. Regardless of the circumstances, we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity. Period. Full stop.” Are Republican politicians and the Fox Nation still part of that “we?” Not from what I’ve been able to see in the last few years since the American people had the temerity to elect (and reelect) a person of color to the White House, something the Republicans will never forgive them for.

UPDATE: Wins For Bonnie Watson Coleman & Pat Murphy

Blue America celebrated a huge victory tonight for progressive champion Bonnie Watson Coleman in NJ-12. AP called her 4-way race a few hours after the polls closed. With 99% of precincts reporting, Bonnie had 15,121 votes (43%) to Linda Greenstein’s 9,974 (28%). Bonnie, who was also endorsed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, will be replacing Rush Holt in Congress if she beats Republican Alieta Eck in November. If you’d like to help make sure she does, please consider contributing to her campaign here.

In Iowa’s open first congressional district, Blue America-endorsed Pat Murphy lasso won. AP just called the race for him. Right now, with 98% of precincts counted, Pat has 37% in the 5-person race. His closest competitor, Monica Vernon was polling 24%. Pat needs to score 35% to avoid a nominating convention.

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