See, I have the exact opposite viewpoint when it comes to drone strikes being effective in the war on terror. What could possibly be better for our international image than that of a faceless nation that has so little value for human life that we send out robots to do our bidding? Has anyone not seen the movie 'The Kingdom'? Where invading the Middle East and killing an entire family suspected of terrorist activities is creating more terrorists by building resentment for the U.S.? How are giant flying robots that kill indiscriminately supposed to make that better? At least when we send in real troops, it puts the value of all their lives on an even playing field.
It also gets me thinking about 'Ender's Game', which hits theaters soon. If you aren't already familiar with the story, it takes genius-level children, puts them in "training exercises" designed to simulate actualy battle situations, and later reveals that all their training was actually--for lack of a better term--live drone combat. The idea of turning actual warfare into little more than an interactive video game is truly sickening, and I hope some level of international regulations come to fruition before we have to start worrying about drone strikes here on U.S. soil.
I'm sorry, but am I the only one who finds it side-splittingly hilarious that a guy named Anthony WEINER is obsessed with his weiner? C'mon, this is comedy of the utmost quality! Still, Carlos Danger is a pretty bad-ass alias.
...Sorry, just needed to get that off my chest.
'What year is this?'
'It's 2013, mate.'
Sadly indicative of society today.
Never to be served with a slice of cake.
The Obama Administration has accelerated the drone program in it's six years in office. It has had good success in taking out terrorists in countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen as well as Libya and Mali. While a high percentage of kills are on terrorists there is an alarmingly high number of civilian casualties that are drawing attention to this new form of warfare.
The White House Spokesperson Jim Carney, I believe, spent a large amount of time yesterday defending the drone program as one of the most effective types of warfare in combating terrorism. The problem is that human rights groups are underlining the US non-cooperation with international protocols on the rules of war concerning drones as they are being developed. More and more countries are acquiring drone warfare capacity and it has been pointed out that it is in the US interest to make sure some type of internationally agreed rules of drone war are agreed to.
One of the main things is that the relatively high percentage of non-combatants (24%; 33% - 50%?) who are being killed. Nobody really knows as it is classified information. What is known is that the US has a very spotty record in compensating obviously innocent victims. One grandmother standing in a field who was killed by an errant drone strike had her family compensated $100. This in contrast to high publicity massacres like Sgt. Bales slaughter of 13 women and children which drew compensation of $25-50,000 each. I don't think I'd want to be the government official in charge of assigning a value to a human life in a foreign country.
Then there is the question of the cost of human empathy on drone operators. They are not eligible for PTSD benefits as they are not considered to be in a war zone. Yet they do get to graphically see their mistakes. There is now a large body of evidence that the toll from human empathy related to errant strikes is taking a huge psychological toll, such as binge drinking for days on end ending in blackouts. These people are commuting to work on highways in our country. The contrast between their job and life in the US must take a terrible cost, especially if they have ever actually traveled abroad to the countries where their drones strike.
It would behoove the US to participate in international protocols before this type of warfare starts proliferating to our own foreign-based military installations and homeland. And if the percentage of human casualties who are innocent is as low as claimed by the military then more compassionate payments should be calibrated based on the real value of human life.
Who'd have thought Anthony could have stood there and had a satori about his own junk? Wow, I do remember being truly impressed when I heard that on a TV news program. So self-effacing (Or is that self-Effexoring?) Anthony Wiener has a revelation about his own genitalia? So honest, so unpretentious -- it almost makers you want to cry
You know what? On 2nd thought, I think this was just a relatively unsophisticated attempt to drum up sympathy by using a canned line. My heart still goes out to him as a fellow suffering human being...
Politicians! Will they stop at nothing? No, they will stop at nothing. This particular one is lucky he has a wife who will stand by him.
The former congressman had this to say about himself last week: "I’m just an empty, soulless vessel." This came as a real surprise to me because I had written him off as a completely self-absorbed narcissist who possesses no awareness of how others perceive him.
good luck Ruby Tandoh!
we're supporting you tonight!
The campaign cry of Hispanics for Hillary Clinton in 2008. Hillary Clinton will almost certainly be the next president of the United States. She is already lining up the entire party behind her. Biden might make a token challenge, but it will be just that.
I think, Parkas, the Republicans are in a battle for their own party with the Tea Party dufuses and, amazingly, it is a real question if they can herd enough of them into the mainstream to put up a real fight. There is real conjecture right now if the Repubs. can hold on to the House in the mid-terms. A few more of them have to croak or resign but it's close.
The more important question is who can they put up for president? The Dems. are praying that it is Ted Cruz but it won't be. Paul Ryan could step up to the plate and do some real horse-swapping on the budget. If the Dems. aren't careful in obstructing him and not giving away most of the entitlements they could have Ryan in their face front and center for the next election. John Huntsman is very well-connected and also comes to mind.
Who else is there out there with enough charisma and organizational support? Nobody, unless you count Anthony Weiner, who is on the cover of GQ this month. Maybe the American people will vote for his junk!
As Jerry used to sing: "...it doesn't really matter anyway!" Hillary will be no different than Bill Clinton who was described as the best Republican president we ever had. Rich people and corporations have both parties cradled in their hands and no vetted candidate will stray far from interests of the rich.
The only question now is how badly the supporters and financiers of the Republican Party are willing to shoot themselves in the foot between now and the next election. Intelligent people like us won't soon forget what so recently transpired, but how much of the general American public will? True, there are some individuals who blame the shutdown on Obama for whatever reason they heard on Fox News, but I get the feeling we'll be seeing at least another 4 years with a Democrat in the White House come 2016.
And yes, the glass is half full. Why do you ask?
Can we really blame this whole fiasco on freshman tea-party members, gerrymandered redistricting, and stupid Senate rules that require a super-majority?
I don't think so. Everybody knows the tea-party is a creation of the super-rich. Deficits have dropped by half under Obama. There is no reason to believe that deficits are going to sink our country. They haven't in the past and most probably won't in the future, if the right measures are taken. And good luck with that in the next 90 days!
Politicians are being called out for their stupidity and greed and self-contentedness. The Congressional Gym stayed open during the shutdown? One can imagine them in the steam room discussing how to cut health care for their staffers. With their new districts and a 90% re-election rate, they only thing they fear is a challenge in the primaries.
If Obama had been able to get 2/3rds of his agenda passed we'd have some needed new taxes and more human needs programs funded and infrastructure being worked on by Americans bringing home middle-class paychecks. It's not the Congress stopping this (except for the Tea Partyers), they're not cruel and heartless enough. It's their super-rich handlers and bank-rollers like the Koch Brothers.
I believe the real reason we have this mess is that the WASPS who sit on interlocking Corporate Boards of Directors (with very few women) are still choking that they couldn't buy the last election. They are choking that a black man is president. They want no residue of him left after 8 years. No clue that he existed. They want the White House fumigated after the Obama's move out.
But most of all? They want the Fed. to continue with Quantitative Easing (printing 85 Billion Dollars a month). That money is in corporate hands and the stock market keeps hitting new highs, awash with inflated money spent only on sure things.
Look for your benefits like health care, social security and medicare to get cut while the dollars you saved for retirement to shrink due to inflation (unless you have a massive 401k). Most of all, don't look for anything meaningful to happen for the rest of the Obama presidency, never mind the next 90 days.
Ship Of Fools.