Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

DeMint: The Richest 0.7 Percent of the Population is “Lots of People”

Posted in class divide, Economy, politics, wealth divide by allisonkilkenny on February 25, 2009

Matthew Yglesias

The right-wing is flinging smokescreen rhetoric about income taxes and small businesses so quickly that it’s difficult to keep track of what they’re saying. But the important things to recall are that very few people find themselves in the top two tax brackets, and that though some of these people are small businessmen they’re paying taxes on net income. These are brackets for a small number of unusually prosperous people. For example, here’s Jim Demint:

It looks like he’s gonna try to get a lot of that revenue from raising payroll taxes on upper income and that sounds good but basically that affects small businesses and their ability to hire people. So I just think it shows a lack of understanding of the private sector. A lot of people make — who are reporting a quarter million dollars — you know, I’ve done that before in my small business, and I was actually taking home like 50 or 40.

In fact, about 0.7 percent of households file in the top two brackets: 

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Meanwhile, I don’t know why DeMint thinks people who are only taking home $40k or $50k would be filing as people who earn $250,000. I think he wants people to think that the government is taxing gross business receipts, so that if I spend $230,000 on my business to earn $300,000 in revenue, that I’m taxed on all $300,000. But that’s not how it works at all. You deduct business expenses and pay taxes on your net income. Any small businessman who’s earning a middle class income isn’t paying in the top two brackets, just as any salaried employee who’s earning a middle class income isn’t paying in the top two brackets.

Watch the Demint video here.

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VIDEO: Sanford Offers Unemployed Resident ‘Prayers’ Instead Of Funds

Posted in politics, poverty, religion by allisonkilkenny on February 23, 2009

Note from Allison: Someone tell Sanford poor people can’t eat prayers.

Think Progress

praying for YOU!

praying for YOU!

Following the lead of a number of his fellow Republican governors, Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) has given some indication that he will not accept some of the money slated for South Carolina in the $787 billion economic recovery bill President Obama signed into law last week. “At times it sounds like the Soviet grain quotas of Stalin’s time,” Sanford said yesterday on Fox News.

On C-SPAN’s Washington Journal this morning, Sanford received a call from a Charleston resident who said he lost his job because he has been taking care of mother and sister, both of whom have serious illnesses. The caller told Sanford he is “wrong” to decline the money. “A lot of people in South Carolina are hurting. And if this money can come and help us out we need it.” In response, Sanford could offer him only his prayers:

CALLER: I hope you all are not playing politics with this. People in South Carolina are hurting. You know how unemployment rates are high right now and going up higher. We are running out of money in the unemployment bank — we need money for that, the people that need help. And I’m one of them, I can’t get no help. […]

SANFORD: Well I’d say hello to Charleston because its home and I’d say hello to this fellow this morning and say that my prayers are going to be with him and his family because it sounds like he is in an awfully tough spot.

Sanford offered no other alternative solution for his constituent and instead argued that the state could not accept money to extend unemployment benefits because “increasing the tax on unemployment insurance” would negatively “impact the caller’s family” (although he didn’t say how).

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) — who sponsored an amendment to the stimulus bill that would allow state legislatures to “accept stimulus funding over the objections of conservative governors” — chastised Sanford on MSNBC this morning. “This program is an opportunity for Governor Sanford to target” the “chronically unemployed” and “chronically sick” communities in South Carolina. “I have got to believe that he is willing…to help these communities,” Clyburn said, asking,”Why won’t he?”

Watch the video here.

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VIDEO: Fox News “War Games” the Coming Civil War

Posted in Barack Obama, media, politics by allisonkilkenny on February 22, 2009

Glenn Greenwald

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Glenn Beck: Im in ur country, leadin ur revolution

Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 gave rise to the American “militia movement”:  hordes of overwhelmingly white, middle-aged men from suburban and rural areas who convinced themselves they were defending the American way of lifefrom the “liberals” and “leftists” running the country by dressing up in military costumes on weekends, wobbling around together with guns, and play-acting the role of patriot-warriors.  Those theater groups — the cultural precursor to George Bush’s prancing 2003 performance dressed in a fighter pilot outfit on Mission Accomplished Day  — spawned the decade of the so-called “Angry White Male,” the movement behind the 1994 takeover of the U.S. Congress by Newt Gingrich and his band of federal-government-cursing, play-acting-tough-guy, pseudo-revolutionaries.

What was most remarkable about this allegedly “anti-government” movement was that — with some isolated and principled exceptions — it completely vanished upon the election of Republican George Bush, and it stayed invisible even as Bush presided over the most extreme and invasive expansion of federal government power in memory.  Even as Bush seized and used all of the powers which that movement claimed in the 1990s to find so tyrannical and unconstitutional — limitless, unchecked surveillance activities, detention powers with no oversight, expanding federal police powers, secret prison camps, even massively exploding and debt-financed domestic spending — they meekly submitted to all of it, even enthusiastically cheered it all on.  

They’re the same people who embraced and justified full-scale, impenetrable federal government secrecy and comprehensive domestic spying databases conducted in the dark and against the law when perpetrated by a Republican President — but have spent the last week flamboyantly pretending to be scandalized and outraged by the snooping which Bill Moyers did 45 years ago (literally) as part of a Democratic administration.  They’re the people who relentlessly opposed and impugned Clinton’s military deployments and then turned around and insisted that only those who are anti-American would question or oppose Bush’s decision to start wars. 

They’re the same people who believed that Bill Clinton’s use of the FISA court to obtain warrants to eavesdrop on Americans was a grave threat to liberty, but believed that George Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping on Americans in violation of the law was a profound defense of freedom.  In sum, they dressed up in warrior clothing to fight against Bill Clinton’s supposed tyranny, and then underwent a major costume change on January 20, 2001, thereafter dressing up in cheerleader costumes to glorify George Bush’s far more extreme acquisitions of federal power.

In doing so, they revealed themselves as motivated by no ideological principles or political values of any kind.  It was a purely tribalistic movement motivated by fear of losing its cultural and demographic supremacy.  In that sense — the only sense that mattered — George Bush was one of them, even though, with his actions, he did everything they long claimed to fear and despise.  Nonetheless, his mere occupancy of the White House was sufficient to pacify them and convert them almost overnight from limited-government militants into foot soldiers supporting the endless expansion of federal government power.

But now, only four weeks into the presidency of Barack Obama, they are back — angrier and more chest-beating than ever.  Actually, the mere threat of an Obama presidency was enough to revitalize them from their eight-year slumber, awaken them from their camouflaged, well-armed suburban caves.  The disturbingly ugly atmosphere that marked virtually every Sarah Palin rally had its roots in this cultural resentment, which is why her fear-mongering cultural warnings about his exotic, threatening otherness — he’s a Muslim-loving, Terrorist-embracing, Rev.-Wright-following Marxist:  who is the real Barack Obama? — resonated so stingingly with the rabid lynch mobs that cheered her on.

With Obama now actually in the Oval Office — and a financial crisis in full force that is generating the exact type of widespread, intense anxiety that typically inflames these cultural resentments — their mask is dropping, has dropped, and they’ve suddenly re-discovered their righteous “principles.”  The week-long CNBC Revolt of the Traders led by McCain voter Rick Santelli and the fledgling little Tea Party movement promoted by the Michelle Malkins of the world are obvious outgrowths of this 1990s mentality, now fortified by the most powerful fuel:  deep economic fear.  But as feisty and fire-breathing as those outbursts are, nothing can match — for pure, illustrative derangement — the discussion below from Glenn Beck’s new Fox show this week, in which he and an array of ex-military and CIA guests ponder (and plot and plan) “war games” for the coming Civil War against Obama-led tyranny.  It really has to be seen to be believed.

Before presenting that to you, a few caveats are in order:  There is nothing inherently wrong or illegitimate with citizens expressing extreme anger towards the Government and the ruling political class.  There isn’t even anything wrong or illegitimate with citizens organizing themselves into a movement that — whether by design or effect — is threatening to entrenched elites.  If anything, we’ve had too little of that.  In fact, it’s only a complete lack of fear of a meek, passive and impotent citizenry on the part of political and financial rulers — a certainty that there will be no consequences no matter what they do — that could have given rise to the endless corruption, deceit, lawbreaking, destruction, and outright thievery of the last eight years.  A political and financial elite that perceives itself as invulnerable from threat or consequence will inevitably vest itself with more power and more riches.  That’s what we’ve had and, largely, still have.

But this Rush-Limbaugh/Fox-News/nationalistic movement isn’t driven by anything noble or principled or even really anything political.  If it were, they would have been extra angry and threatening and rebellious during the Bush years instead of complicit and meek and supportive to the point of cult-like adoration.  Instead, they’re just basically Republican dead-enders (at least what remains of the regional/extremist GOP), grounded in tribal allegiances that are fueled by their cultural, ethnic and religious identities and by perceived threats to past prerogatives — now spiced with legitimate economic anxiety and an African-American President who, they were continuously warned for the last two years, is a Marxist, Terrorist-sympathizing black nationalist radical who wants to re-distribute their hard-earned money to welfare queens and illegal immigrants (and is now doing exactly that).

That’s the context for this Glenn Beck “War Games” show on Fox News this week — one promoted, with some mild and obligatory caveats, by Michelle Malkin’s Hot Air.  In the segment below, he convened a panel that includes former CIA officer Michael Scheuer and Ret. U.S. Army Sgt. Major Tim Strong.  They discuss a coming “civil war” led by American “Bubba” militias — Beck says he “believes we’re on this road” — and they contemplate whether the U.S. military would follow the President’s orders to subdue civil unrest or would instead join with “the people” in defense of their Constitutional rights against the Government (they agree that the U.S. military would be with “the people”):

Watch the insane videos & keep reading…
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David Brooks: Protecting Us From Poor People

Posted in class divide, Economy, politics by allisonkilkenny on February 20, 2009
ts-brooks-190

David Brooks: Dreaming of Killing Poor People

At 7:14 AM this morning, I learned that the recession is being caused by dumb, poor people. David Brooks, one of many elite and clueless New York Times’s writers, injected some crazy into his normally awful column:

Our moral and economic system is based on individual responsibility.

BAM! Right out the gate, I got slapped across the face with Brooks’s giant, wet fish of a declarative statement.  Here I’ve been, assuming the American tax system unfairly favors large corporations and the upper echelons of our society, but apparently we’ve been operating on a level playing field this WHOLE time! I can’t believe I’ve been so silly, assuming the minimum wage is slave labor, and it reenforces a de facto caste system where the poor are forever poor, and the rich elite hoard all wealth, prosperity, and power among their tiny tribes forever, and ever, and ever..

Thanks, David! These stupid poor people just need to take some darn responsibility for all of those shady mortgages sold to them with the ludicrous interest rates from subprime bandits working on commission. 

Keep reading…

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VIDEO: Buy A Car, Return It When You Lose Your Job

Posted in Economy by allisonkilkenny on February 19, 2009

2454497289_e942db4d65Hyundai Assurance Protection: Buy any new Hyundai and in the next year if you lose your income, we’ll let you return it.

Taste the recession.

Not a shot at Hyundai. This is just yet another sign of the hard times.

Watch the video here.

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VIDEO: NYU Students Occupy Cafeteria

Posted in activism, education, politics by allisonkilkenny on February 19, 2009

Democracy Now

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Here in New York, several dozen student activists have barricaded themselves inside a cafeteria at New York University. The group Take Back NYU has submitted several demands, including the establishment of a socially responsible committee, a full disclosure of the school’s annual budget and support for Palestinian students in the Gaza Strip.

Student: “The first two orders of the socially responsible finance committee will be an in-depth investigation of all investments in war and genocide profiteers, as well as companies profiting from the occupation of Palestine.”

Video behind the cut of the 2-18-09 Take Back NYU occupation

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VIDEO: America’s Craziest Sheriff

Posted in Barack Obama, human rights, immigration, politics, racism by allisonkilkenny on February 18, 2009

Democracy Now

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Joe Arpaio: Crazy

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County has forced prisoners to march through the streets of Phoenix dressed in just pink underwear, housed prisoners in tents in the searing heat, and appears on a Fox reality-TV show. Now he could be facing a federal investigation for civil rights abuses and a trial on charges of racially profiling Latinos. He’s also been accused of focusing on immigration enforcement at the expense of other law enforcement duties. 

Guests:

Ryan Gabrielson, reporter with the East Valley Tribune. He’s just won the 2008 George Polk Award for Justice Reporting along with Paul Giblin for their five-part series on Sheriff Arpaio called “Reasonable Doubt.”

Salvador Reza, member of the Puente movement in Phoenix that grew out the spate of arrests and deportations under Sheriff Arpaio in 2007. He is part of a large group of organizations calling for a national demonstration in Phoenix next Saturday against 287(g) agreements.

 

WATCH VIDEO HERE

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VIDEO: Penn. Judges Plead Guilty to Taking Bribes in Return for Placing Youths in Privately Owned Jails

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on February 17, 2009

Update: Video from Democracy Now below.

Democracy Now

prison_incAn unprecedented case of judicial corruption is unfolding in Pennsylvania. Several hundred families have filed a class-action lawsuit against two former judges who have pleaded guilty to taking bribes in return for placing youths in privately owned jails. Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan are said to have received $2.6 million for ensuring juvenile suspects were jailed in prisons operated by the companies PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care. Some of the youths were jailed over the objections of their probation officers. An estimated 5,000 juveniles have been sentenced by Ciavarella since the scheme started in 2002. We speak to two youths sentenced by Ciavarella and to Bob Schwartz of the Juvenile Law Center.

In addition to jailing the youths, the judges also admitted to helping “facilitate” the construction of private jails. The U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Martin C. Carlson, unveiled the charges last month.

On Thursday, Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan entered guilty pleas on charges of wire fraud and income tax fraud. They”re currently free on a one million dollar bail bond pending sentencing. Their plea agreements call for jail sentences of more than seven years. No charges have been filed against the private prisons that paid the bribes.

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has appointed an outside judge review all the cases tried by Ciavarella and Conahan. But the case has prompted calls for broader reforms of the juvenile justice system in Pennsylvania and nationwide.

We are joined now by two of the thousand of youths jailed by the corrupt judges. On the line from the town of Scranton, Pennsylvania, is eighteen-year old Jamie Quinn. She spent more than eleven months in a privately-run juvenile prison camp after being sentenced by Judge Mark Ciavarella as a first-time offender.

And also on the line with us from the nearby town of Wilkes-Barre is twenty-two year old Kurt Kruger. Another first-time offender, he spent more than four months in a privately-run juvenile prison camp after also being sentenced by Ciavarella.

And joining us from a studio in Philadelphia is Bob Schwartz. He is a co-founder and Executive Director of the Juvenile Law Center, which helped expose the corrupt judges and is now involved in the class-action suit brought on behalf of the jailed youths’ families.

We asked PA Child Care—the main private jail company linked to the bribes—to come on the broadcast. We were directed to an attorney who did not respond to our request.

Bob Schwartz, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Juvenile Law Center, which helped expose the corrupt judges and is now involved in the class-action suit brought on behalf of the jailed youths’ families.

Jamie Quinn, spent more than eleven months in a privately run juvenile prison camp after being sentenced by Judge Mark Ciavarella.

Kurt Kruger, spent more than four months in a privately run juvenile prison camp after being sentenced by Judge Mark Ciavarella.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, death row prisoner in Pennsylvania reading his commentary “With Judges Like These” (Prison Radio Project)

WATCH VIDEOS HERE
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VIDEO: Gay Snipers Attack Marriage In West Virginia Campaign Ad

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on February 16, 2009

Jason Linkins

s-gay-sniper-largeVia Christy Hardin Smith comes this new advertisement from an organization from Georgia called Campaign Secrets — yes, that is their real name — that has decided to wade into electoral politics in West Virginia with a website: wv4marriage.com. That’s where you will find this bonkers ad, designed to scare the bejeezus out of everyone about gay marriage. The moment that already has the blogosphere blowin’ upcomes about a minute in, when a nuclear family of dedicated, bubble-blowing West Virginians get targeted by THE GAY SNIPERS.

That’s not the only good part of the video, though! I also love how gay marriage has brought America under attack from a rain of terrorist push-pins! And how can anyone refute the logic that’s presented when they prove the evils of gay marriage through MATH. Same Sex Couple + Affordable Air Fare To San Francisco + ACLU Attorney + Nice Lunch At The Auberge du Soleil + Drive Through Wine Country + Remembering To Save Time To Visit Amoeba Records + Uneventful Return Flight = NIGHTMARE FOR WEST VIRGINIA!!

Anyway, I guess the economy in West Virginia is just killing it, if this is what they are seriously going to worry about this year.

WATCH VIDEO HERE

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(VIDEO) Continuing Bush Policies in Israel and Afghanistan

Posted in Afghanistan, Barack Obama, foreign policy, politics by allisonkilkenny on January 26, 2009

Glenn Greenwald

us-israelBy all accounts, the U.S. is suffering extreme economic woes.  We continue to borrow trillions of dollars simply to prevent financial collapse.  Our military resources are spread so thin that the establishment consensus view blames the failure of our seven-year (and counting) occupation of Afghanistan, at least in part, on the lack of necessary resources devoted to that occupation.  And a significant (though not the only) reason why we are unable to extricate ourselves from the endless resource-draining and liberty-degrading involvement in Middle East conflicts is because our one-sided support for Israel ensures that we remain involved and makes ourselves the target of hatred around the world and, especially, in the Muslim world.

Despite all of that, the Bush administration, just days before it left office,entered into yet another new agreement with Israel pursuant to which the U.S. committed to use its resources to prevent guns and other weapons from entering Gaza.  That agreement cites “the steadfast commitment of the United States to Israel’s security” and “and to preserve and strengthen Israel’s capability to deter and defend itself,” and vows that the U.S. will “address the problem of the supply of arms and related materiel and weapons transfers and shipments to Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza.”

Speaking about that new U.S./Israeli agreement on her show late last week, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (in the course of aggressively questioning an absurdly evasive Sen. Claire McCaskill on the wisdom of Obama’s plans to escalate the war in Afghanistan and noting the cadre of Bush defense officials on whom Obama is relying — video below) observed that the Obama administration has enthusiastically expressed its full support for the new Israeli agreement entered into in the last days of Bush’s presidency.  Maddow said (h/t Antiwar.com):

Also, not particularly change-like, then-President Bush made a deal in his final day in office with Israel about the terms of Israel’s relationship with Gaza. I’m sorry – it wasn’t his last day in office. It was within his last few days in office — my mistake.

The U.S. under President Obama is bound by that last-minute agreement between the U.S. and Israel. And a statement from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today says that President Obama supports the agreement fully.

That new agreement has already led the U.S. Navy last week to take risky and potential illegal actions in intercepting Iranian ships that were transporting arms.  As The Jerusalem Post reported:

The interception of an Iranian arms ship by the US Navy in the Red Sea last week likely was conducted as a covert operation and is being played down by the US military due to the lack of a clear legal framework for such operations, an American expert on Iran told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday evening.

International media reported that an Iranian-owned merchant vessel flying a Cypriot flag was boarded early last week by US Navy personnel who discovered artillery shells on board.

The ship was initially suspected of being en route to delivering its cargo to smugglers in Sinai who would transfer the ammunition to Hamas in Gaza, but the US Navy became uncertain over the identity of the intended recipient since “Hamas is not known to use artillery,” The Associated Press cited a defense official as saying. . . .

Prof. Raymond Tanter, president of the Washington-based Iran Policy Committee, said, “It is not surprising that the US Navy is reluctant to acknowledge the operation, which may have been covert,” adding that maritime law posed challenges when it came to intercepting ships that fly the flag of a sovereign country. . . .

For the time being, the interceptions and searches are being carried out on the basis of the memorandum of understanding signed between Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and then-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on January 16, which is “aimed at halting arms smuggling into Gaza as part of efforts to clinch the cease-fire,” Tanter said.

The article quoted Emily Landau, director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the Institute of National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, as arguing that the risk of provoking a confrontation with Iran from such interceptions is low — but not non-existent — because “Iran is not looking for an armed confrontation [with the US Navy] at this point.”

And Haaretz reports that preventing Palestinians in Gaza from re-arming itself is now — for some reason — an ongoing military operation of the United States:

A United States naval taskforce has been ordered to hunt down weapons ships sent by Iran to rearm its Islamist ally Hamas in Gaza, The Sunday Times reported.

Quoting U.S. diplomatic sources, the British daily said that Combined Task Force 151, which is countering pirates in the Gulf of Aden, has been instructed to track Iranian arms shipments.

There were several aspects of the Israeli attack on Gaza that made it even more horrifying than the standard atrocities of war:  (1) the civilian population was trapped — imprisoned — in a tiny densely-populated strip and were unable to escape the brutal attacks; and (2) it was a completely one-sided war, because one side (Israel) is armed to teeth with the world’s most sophisticated and deadly weapons, while the other side (the Palestinians) is virtually defenseless, possessing only the most primitive and (against a force like the IDF) impotent weapons.

What possible justification is there for the U.S. (as opposed to Israel) to use its military and the money of its taxpayers to ensure that the Palestinians remain defenseless?  In exactly the way that the U.S. felt free to invade Iraq (with its decayed, sanctions-destroyed “military”) but not North Korea or Iran (with its much more formidable forces), it’s precisely because the conflict is so one-sided that Israel feels no real pressure to cease the activities that, in part, feed this conflict (beginning with still-expanding West Bank settlements and the truly inhumane blockade of Gaza).  

Obviously, where one side has its foot on the throat of the other, the side with the far more dominant position has less incentive to resolve the dispute than the side being choked.  And it’s perfectly natural — not just for Israel but in general — for a party to want to maintain dominance over its adversaries and to want to prevent its enemies from obtaining weapons that can be used against it.  It’s entirely rational for Israel to desire a continuation of that particular state of affairs — i.e., for only Israel, but not the enemies with whom it has intractable territorial and religious conflicts, to have a real military force.

But what does any of that have to do with the U.S. Navy and the American taxpayer?  What possible justification is there for using American resources — the American military — to patrol the Red Sea in order to ensure that Gazans remain defenseless?  That question is particularly pronounced given that the U.S. is already shoveling, and will continue to shovel, billions and billions of dollars to Israel in military and other aid.  Why, on top of all of that, are increasingly scarce American resources, rather than Israeli resources, being used to bar Palestinians from obtaining weapons?   And why — as it is more vital than ever that we extricate ourselves from Middle Eastern conflicts — are we making ourselves still more of a partisan and combatant in this most entrenched and religiously-driven territorial dispute over the West Bank and Gaza Strip?

Israel is hardly the only country which the U.S. expends vast resources — including military resources — to defend and protect, and all of those commitments ought to be seriously re-examined.  But none of those other commitments entail anywhere near the costs — on every level — of our seemingly limitless willingness, eagerness, to involve ourselves so directly and self-destructively in every last conflict that Israel has.  Given what we are constantly being told is the grave economic peril the U.S. faces, shouldn’t we be moving in exactly the opposite direction than the imperial expansion which we continue to pursue?

* * * * *

The day after George H.W. Bush invaded Panama in one of the most absurd (though quite lethal) military operations of the last several decades (“Operation Just Cause”), The New York Times published an article by R.W. Apple on its front page celebrating Bush for having “shown his steel,” proving he was “a man capable of bold action” who “carried a big stick.”  The article proclaimed:

For George Bush, the United States invasion of Panama early this morning constituted a Presidential initiation rite as well as an attempt to achieve specific goals. . . . For better or for worse, most American leaders since World War II have felt a need to demonstrate their willingness to shed blood to protect or advance what they construe as the national interest. . . . – all of them acted in the belief that the American political culture required them to show the world promptly that they carried big sticks.

With only a week in office, Barack Obama has already fulfilled this Presidential initiation rite, as his body count — of civilians — already easily exceeds the number of days he’s been President.  Last week, two Drone missile attacks struck Pakistani villages, killing numerous civilians (including children) and maybe — though maybe not — a couple of “Al Qaeda operatives.”  And as Obama prepares to escalate the war in Afghanistan, a U.S. attack on Saturday killed 16 Afghan civilians (according to the Afghan government), and it was reported that more than 4,000 Afghan civilians were killed in the last year alone.  And read this harrowing account of what happened in an Afghan village several weeks ago during a U.S. raid and the effect this is all having on the attitudes of Afghan civilians towards the U.S. occupation (as is typically the case, the U.S. military denies the claims of the villagers). 

Despite all of that, Joe Biden yesterday told us all to expect a rise in casualties.  Questions of justifiability to the side for the moment, there is almost no discussion of what possible good will be achieved by escalating the seven-year war in Afghanistan (though the New York Times did run a thorough story on some of these questions over the weekend).  As part of the above-referenced MSNBC segment, Rachel Maddow highlighted all of the right questions, pointed to a number of vital parallels between our occupation of that country and the Soviet Union’s self-destructive attempt to control it, and tried — with total futility — to induce key Obama ally Sen. Claire McCaskill to address any of these questions in a meaningful way:

WATCH VIDEO HERE
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