Afghanistan

Friday Morning News Roundup

Yesterday, the president spoke at the University of Miami and basically defended a balanced approach to solving our energy crisis. He was 100% correct in pointing out that simply drilling here, there and everywhere is not an answer to our problems. Instead we need to invest in developing all forms of alternative energy. Some progressives had a problem with the fact that he did include nuclear power in the discussion. Personally, I think we need to back away from nuclear power. I believe that we must actually have a solution as to how we’re going to get rid of the nuclear waste. Simply burying it in a big hole is fine for Wiley E. Coyote, but it’s not a real energy plan.

Sometimes, I find humor in these debates. The fact that Ron Paul continues to let himself be treated as the crusty old grandfather who really has nothing meaningful to say in the debate I find amusing. I also find it funny that it surprises people that Newt Gingrich says something outrageous and attacks the media. Not only is it not surprising, it should be expected. The stupidity of Newt Gingrich’s infanticide comments cannot be overemphasized.

Every now and then, you know it must suck to be the president. You are responsible for so much and yet so much is out of your control. Recently, we had another burning of the Koran in Afghanistan. How does this happen? We know exactly what the response will be – angry mobs which will turn violent. In my humble opinion, there is simply no excuse for us to be burning Bibles, the Torah or the Koran. The fact that Newt Gingrich is outraged that we apologized for this ridiculous act of thoughtlessness should not surprise anyone.

Sears is dying. It has been on life support for some time. I’m not sure that smart commercials are going to save it.

GOP is losing women voters. Dems seem to be winning.

Several lawmakers received threatening letters containing white powder. This should remind all of us that, in spite of spending billions of dollars on security, we still really are not safe. By the way, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert received the envelopes, also.

A 10,000 year old carving was found in Brazil. It is thought to be the oldest human carving in America.

The Department of Homeland Security has been tracking Americans on social media, despite having told Congress they weren’t really doing that.

Representative John Sullivan (Republican – Oklahoma) formally apologized on Thursday after he was said that he would need to kill members of the Senate in order to pass the Republican budget. An apology is all that is needed? Now everything’s okay?

By the way, did you noticed in Obama’s speech that he pointed out that the United States is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years? Where is the harsh and vicious retort from Republicans? Where are the accusations that president Obama is a liar and a communist? Crickets.

What’s on your mind?

By |2012-02-24T08:48:39-04:00February 24th, 2012|Afghanistan, House of Representatives, Media, Party Politics, Terrorism|Comments Off on Friday Morning News Roundup

A Time for Reflection – More Than a Decade of War

I know that we’ve intermittently talked about this before, but now seems to be a perfect time to discuss our wars with Iraq (our troops are coming home, finally) and Afghanistan. Make no mistake, we were definitely attacked on September 11, 2001. A group of 19 terrorists with the aid of Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban took down the World Trade Center, tore a huge hole in the Pentagon and crashed an airliner into a rural portion of Pennsylvania. We now know that these acts of terrorism set in motion a cascade of events which have cost the American people well over $1.5 trillion. 6200 American soldiers have died. Tens of thousands of American soldiers have been wounded. What did we get in return?

When you invest blood and sweat into a project, you should at least hope to get something out of it. Stability in the Middle East? A thriving economy in Afghanistan? At the time of the Iraq invasion, many Americans believed that we were invading Iraq in order to secure their oil. Do we have secure oil agreements in place? Did we, at least, improve our relationships with other governments in the Middle East?

Some of these questions don’t really have answers. Others of these questions do have answers and the answers, unfortunately, are depressing. We spent a lot of time and effort and nearly destroyed our military in the process. We have simply the death of Osama bin Laden and several of his lieutenants to show for our efforts. Questions like whether we madr terrorism worse still linger. Now is the time for us to figure out what we did wrong. We should also assess what we did right. We need to make sure that we do not repeat the same mistakes which led to the disastrous decisions to invade both of those countries. I would submit that we could have infiltrated Afghanistan with a couple hundred to a couple of thousand troops with appropriate air support and eliminated Osama bin Laden and most of Al Qaeda within a matter of weeks or months. I don’t know. What I do know is that spending $1.5 trillion and losing over 6000 troops, breaking our military and getting almost nothing in return is unacceptable.

By |2011-12-16T19:13:00-04:00December 16th, 2011|Afghanistan, Bin Laden, Iraq, Terrorism|Comments Off on A Time for Reflection – More Than a Decade of War

Thursday Afternoon News Roundup

The Swing

  • I took some golf lessons with my grandson yesterday. We then played a couple of holes of golf. Playing with a seven-year-old is clearly different than playing with my normal partners. 🙂
  • President Barack Obama announced a loose timetable for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. I’ve talked about Afghanistan on a number of occasions on this blog. In 2006 and 2007, I referred to Afghanistan as the “good war.” That was probably a little naïve. If our goal remains to make sure that there is no sanctuary for Al Qaeda, I’m not sure that we’ve achieved that goal. I don’t think that we have the ability to remove lawlessness from the world. (Al Qaeda will always look for pockets of the world where government intervention is minimal. There remain vast spaces of Asia, Africa and the Middle East where this is still true.) So maybe our strategy should be to infiltrate pockets of extremism and strike when they become a threat. Anyway, I believe that President Obama has made the right step in drawing down our presence in Afghanistan.
  • The McKinsey healthcare study has been widely panned. I think that healthcare needs to be a basic right in the United States. We need to extricate employers from the health-care system. Employers need to stick to what they do best. We need to be able to pay for basic healthcare services (we can argue or discuss what those basic healthcare services are) through a government based program.
  • Denny Green, as coach of the Arizona Cardinals, had a famous tirade after losing a game. He stated, “They are who we thought they were.” I think the same can be said for Godfather Pizza CEO and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. The former CEO was asked about oil production and he said his solution would be to appoint oil executives to a commission or a board and they would tell him which regulations they would follow. Mr. Cain, we have been through this before. This was a core belief, a core principle of George W. Bush. Let industry police themselves. Sounds good, if it weren’t for all that money they would make by skirting the rules. Bush implemented such policies in Texas as governor and of course he implemented the same policies as president of the United States. What we got was lawlessness. Air quality worsened. Water quality worsened. Oil prices increased. The reason that we had several food recalls was that we weren’t policing the food industry any more. They cut corners and people died. We saw none of the benefits that Republicans have touted.
  • More on the Justice Clarence Thomas ethics scandal. I have no idea how we can make this guy resign. He will not bow to pressure. Congress has little or no stomach for true investigations. Everything seems to turn into a political circus on Capitol Hill. I doubt the Justice Department wants to take on something so controversial. Therefore, Justice Thomas and his shady ethics will continue.
  • Oh, let’s get back to Herman Cain. He’s happy to play the race card whenever it suits him. I think that suggesting that Jon Stewart is attacking him because he’s Black is not a good strategy. I think when you say something stupid like all bills should be no longer than three pages, you should expect to be late-night fodder.
  • House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is pulling out of the deficit reduction talks. I think it’s a wise move. If you have no intention of compromise you shouldn’t take part in a discussion which requires compromise.
  • Harvard study finds that peanuts are good for you and potatoes, not so much. If you want to stay slim, stick with peanuts.
  • It appears the United States and several industrial allies are going to tap their oil reserves to release somewhere around 60 million barrels of oil over the next 30 days in order to compensate for the loss of Libyan oil.

Claude Monet's water lilies

By |2011-06-23T12:10:23-04:00June 23rd, 2011|Afghanistan, Healthcare, Military, Party Politics|Comments Off on Thursday Afternoon News Roundup
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