Friday, September 25, 2009

Are we really that stupid?

Are we Americans really that stupid?

Of course this is a rhetorical question and of course the answer is yes. And here is why this morning:

Iowa Poll: 47% oppose health care reform effort
By TONY LEYS • • September 25, 2009

When asked how they feel about the overall health reform plans, 47 percent of Iowans say they're opposed, and 43 percent say they're in favor.

However, most Iowans say they like specific reform ideas, such as health care co-ops, a national insurance exchange, a requirement that employers offer policies, and a requirement that U.S. residents have coverage. Even one of the most controversial proposals, to create government-run "public-option" insurance plans, draws support from a slight majority. Iowans oppose only one of the six specific options noted by the poll - the idea of cutting payments to doctors and hospitals.

A national expert said the Iowa Poll's findings are consistent with those of many national polls. "When you talk about specific options, people tend to think they're pretty good ideas," said Mollyann Brodie, who oversees polling for the Kaiser Family Foundation. However, she said, many Americans worry that bills being debated in Congress will wind up costing too much and harming their families' medical care and health insurance.

Poll participants who expressed negative attitudes about the debate in Washington, D.C., were asked to rank reasons for their feelings. Their top-ranked reason was the sense that "members of Congress are not being truthful about what is and is not being considered." Next came feelings that the proposals would be too expensive and that the plan "sounds like socialism."
Oh, jesus christ, "sounds like socialism." Do the morons who say things like that even know what socialism is? Again this is a rhetorical question this time, however, the answer is no.

As an example of how stupid those contacted by the Iowa Poll are, from the same news story:
Poll participant Carol Cox of Clinton agrees with all of those statements.

"I think the cost is going to be so much more than they say it's going to be, and it feels like we're getting closer and closer to socialism," Cox, a Republican, said in a follow-up interview.

Cox, 61, said she's always had good insurance through her husband's work as a school administrator, but her volunteer service brings her in contact with people who have no insurance. She wants private-market reforms that will help cover such people, but she doesn't think the government needs to expand public programs to achieve that goal.

Cox plans to sign up for Medicare when she's 65. She thinks Medicare generally is a good program, but she worries that it will be hurt by politicians' efforts to add other public insurance plans. "I'm afraid they'll rob Peter to pay Paul," she said.
[Barbara Larson, 66, of Knoxville] said she and her husband have been happy with their health insurance, which for years was through Blue Cross and now is through Medicare. She noted other polls showing most other Americans feel the same way. Some Americans are uninsured, and the country should help them, she said. "But when 80 percent are happy, why do we have to revamp the whole insurance system to cover a small percentage?"
Here we see the magnanimity, the humanity of the oldest of the aging Boomers. They got theirs so fuck everybody else.

And the stupidest "argument" against a public option and mandated insurance I have heard in this "debate" from Republicans and Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh is that young, healthy people think they don't need health care insurance. Anyway, society will take care of them if they have a traumatic accident or a serious illness, right?

Well, way don't we take this "libertarian" argument against a socialist medical system and extent it to its "logical" conclusion and tell these young, healthy anti-mandated health care insurance kids: "If you get your leg cut off and you don't have medical insurance, society has no obligation to treat you. Bleed to death. If you're 25-years-old, get cancer and don't have insurance, society has no obligation to cure you."

Yes sir, Jimmy Carter was so right when he said America deserves government as good as its people.

Shouting Conservatives and Whining Liberals

Shouting Conservatives and Whining Liberals

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Afghanistan is not Vietnam

Let us be very clear: Afghanistan is not Vietnam.

Aside from the obvious geographical and climatic and ethnic differences our Afghan foe, the Taliban, does not enjoy of support and aid of powerful and nuclear armed allies as did North Vietnam in the Soviet Union and China. This is assuming, of course, that the government of our ally Pakistan, Afghanistan's next door neighbor to the east, does not fall the influence of religious fundamentalists, then Katy bar the door.

And, in light of Afghan theater NATO commander US Army General Stanley McChrystal's call for more "boots on the ground" or all is lost, we must keep in mind that most generals have what I call "McClellan's disease." For like the U.S. Civil War's most magnificently incompetent field commander, George B. McClellan, regardless the true size of the enemy arraigned before them our generals will always say they never have enough troops to complete the "job."

Yet to my way of thinking, the biggest difference between the current Afghan conflict and the Vietnam war is in the composition of the US army and Marine Corps this is, after all, an all volunteer force.

In an Associated Press news story on the ninth anniversary of the al Qaida attacks on the United States, reporter Heidi Vogt writes:
Many of the troops now fighting here were high school students at the time. Some saw the attacks on TV during class, and vowed to sign up when they were old enough.

Army Sgt. Joshua Applegate of Springfield, Mississippi, was in high school when the planes hit the towers, and enlisted two years later, though he said he had wanted to do it right away.

"I like my country too much not to," said Applegate, who arrived in Afghanistan in April

Many troops called Friday's anniversary a galvanizing event, and said marking the day reminds them that the U.S. mission here is important.

"It's still one of the reasons why we're here. Sept. 11 is part of it. For those of us who see the repercussions of fighting, it's still there every day," said Air Force Capt. Christopher Dupuis, 26, of Lacey, Washington.

"I feel that a lot of people have forgotten. I would have them replay the video from that day," said Air Force Technical Sgt. Shawn Merchant, 33, of Ellsworth, Maine.

"It became what Pearl Harbor was in World War II: Now we step up," Merchant said.

I am afraid that even though we here safe and secure in the United States desire a speedy withdrawal of US forces from a seemingly unwinnable situation in Afghanistan, there may be little support for a stateside peace initiative among the troops over there. Unlike the conscripted army and to a lesser extent Marine Corps in Vietnam, this is an all volunteer force. And while war may not be healthy for children and other living things is it positively wonderful for the career militarist. As a Vietnam era Marine Corps vet friend of mine relates, "My sergeant said, 'Boys when this war's over you better tattoo those strips on your shoulder. That rating's not going anywhere until Washington gets us into another one.'"

For the career militarist combat is the quickest route to promotion and in the AVF promotion means more than advancement in rank and medals. Not asking questions and following orders is the surest path of advancement in the AVF. As the late Col. David Hackworth observed:"Volunteers tend to go with the flow and seldom blow the whistle on military stupidity, flawed tactics and self-serving leadership. And draftees don't hesitate to make waves and tell the truth."

Quite frankly, the conduct of whatever one chooses to call the situation in Afghanistan it is clearly out of the control of the civilian leadership in the United States. The Democratic Congress at this time may say it opposes more troops for the Afghan theater and the president may demure but General McChrystal will in the end prove persuasive. Meekly, and under cover of darkness, the general's request for more troops will be approved.

The Frankenstein's monster which the late neoclassical economist and "free market-Jesus" Milton J. Freidman created at the behest of the crafty Richard M. Nixon, who out manoeuvred and manipulated the effete suburban, coordinator class anti-Vietnam war activists at every turn, is clearly in the driver's seat in Afghanistan. And we, the American people, had better "click it, or ticket it!" for we are along for a very bumpy ride.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pres. Obama's removal of missiles from Poland is a good thing, too bad we won't hear about it on TV

Ever since President Obama announced a cancellation of a stupid anti-missile missile system that numb-nuts Bush wanted sited in Poland with the radar unit in the Czech Republic back on September 17, our right wing media has been having a field day saying it shows the guy's a push over and scared of Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Morons of both the mainstream media and the Republican Party are peddling the bullshit that "we're abandoning our "allies", Poland and the Czech Republic. Seems these badasses are afraid Iran, a goofball country surrounded by Islamic enemies with nukes to the east (Pakistan) and nuclear armed Jewish enemies to the west (Israel), will want to nuke Poland just to fuck with somebody their own size.

Well, here's what the Polish people think:
WARSAW (Reuters) - Almost half Poland's population supports a U.S. decision to scrap a planned anti-missile system partly based on their soil, a survey published on Saturday showed.

The survey published in the daily Rzeczpospolita by polling firm GFK showed 48 percent of Poles believed the decision was good for Poland, while 31 percent had the opposite view.

Political analysts say the economy is a far bigger priority than missile defense for Polish and Czech voters.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk's center-right, pro-EU government never embraced missile defense as keenly as its more conservative predecessor led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski which it ousted in 2007.

Make you wonder why these brave American assholes didn't consult the people of Poland, doesn't it?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Remember, folks...

I don't want to hear a peep...a whimper...a squawk...or a squeak out of any of you when the Taliban march into downtown Kabul, round-up a bunch of women and begin murdering them for the television cameras in the soccer stadium for imagined offenses to the Qur'an, a book no one can read much less understand. Once again an Abrahamic religion rears its ugly head.

I don't want to hear or read one word about how terrible the Taliban is because these turbaned punks, many of whom are the sons of our old mujahideen buddies from twenty years ago, stop little Afghan girls from going to school.

And I especially don't what to hear one word of surprise or shock or indignation when our fighting soldiers and Marines march off those airliners and up to the TV cameras and tell the world, they could have finished the "job" (that "job" being to kill as many Afghans as humanly possible) if the politicians and "liberals" hadn't stabbed them in the back!

Believe me, we will hear interviews echoing those sentiments from returning G.I.s and Marines once some one pulls the plug on this thing in Afghanistan. Why? Because this is an All Volunteer Force, the bastard child of anti-Vietnam war activists and Richard Nixon, midwifed by free market Jesus, Milton J. Friedman. Our men and women in uniform are there because they want to be there. never mind if it is because of economic necessity, just don't take my son to be a soldier. Take the neighbor's boy.

Another reason many returning vets will be ungrateful because President Obama or the Congress or whomever pulled their sorry asses out of Afghan quagmire is because they were doing "God's" work killing and/or converting heathen Muslims. Remember this article from April 21, 2007 Birth of the Christian Soldier: How Evangelicals Infiltrated the American Military, by Michael L. Weinstein and David Seay, Thomas Dunne Books? Or how about this news story from Agence France Presse from February 13, 2008 US military accused of harboring fundamentalism. Or This one from Democracy Now! from May of this year: “The Crusade for a Christian Military”: Are US Forces Trying to Convert Afghans to Christianity?

Won't that be just great. A bunch of pissed off ex-Marine, ex-paratrooper snake-handlers and holy rollers ready, willing and able to convert the country to their twisted "Taliban" version of Christianity by force if necessary. Quite frankly, I think I'd rather we funnel off these armed and dangerous Jesus-loving pinheads off to fight and die, especially die, in a pointless war in a foreign land than hand them jobs in our civilian police departments.

Whatever the out-come in Afghanistan, it will not be pretty. But a percipitious withdrawal, say within 90 days, will have even uglier repercussions domestically.

Please think about it. You have been warned.
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