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07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

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07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

07.04 On reflection: how the 'albedo effect' is melting the Antarctic

07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn

07.03 Deep-sea mining to turn oceans into ‘new industrial frontier’

07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]

07.02 American Medical Association sues North Dakota over abortion laws

07.02 'Committed' CO2 emissions jeopardize international climate goals, study finds

07.01 New Solar + Battery Price Crushes Fossil Fuels, Buries Nuclear

07.01 Freak summer hailstorm buries cars in Mexico's Guadalajara [0:50 video]

07.01 Climate Change is Devastating India With Heat Waves and Water Shortages [13:48 video]

06.30 American farmers can't afford this administration's climate apathy

06.30 The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 140 countries combined [Could a world-wide moratorium of military activity dramatically slow the climate crises?]

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07.16 Describing 'Future We Want to Live In' Scores of Groups Unveil New Blueprint for Reproductive Rights

07.16 'Do not take the bait': congresswomen denounce racist Trump attack [3:50 video]

07.16 Money Laundering Scandal Forces Puerto Rico’s Governor to Cut His Vacation Short — Just in Time for Another Scandal

07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]

07.15 Finding the Future in Radical Rural America

07.15 Sanders Accuses Biden of Parroting Pharma and Insurance Industry Script With Attacks on Medicare for All [Like Trump, Biden explains why he's unelectable every day.]

07.15 If there is an 'immigrant' who has failed to integrate in America, it's Donald Trump

07.15 Trump tells Ocasio-Cortez and other female progressives to 'go back' to 'original' countries

07.15 Trump Takes Pelosi's Side Against AOC and The Squad as Intraparty Fight Over Immigration Continues [Its about much more than immigration, its about the Corporate Dominance—by many of the same companies, even—over both major Political Parties. With too few exceptions, neither party has represented The Public since Nixon generously raised the minimum wage (Part D Medicare and ACA both became Frankenstein legislation due to excessive corporate price-fixing influence), and that has to change!]

07.14 Trump: People like Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party [Then it's too bad he didn't stay to finish the job!]

07.13 Trump's POS Labor Secretary, Acosta, Out. POS Number 2, Linked to Abramoff, to Fill Role [A willingness to perform criminal behavior seems the only competency required...]

Justice Matters

07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]

07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]

07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]

High Crimes
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

International & Futurism

07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

07.15 India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]

07.14 Kasich: The chilling effect of British ambassador's leaked memos

07.14 'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]

07.13 New Zealand Begins Gun Buyback Prompted by Mosque Attacks

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning

07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]

07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]

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  Obama Misses the Afghan Exit Ramp

COMMENTARY:

Obama Misses the Afghan Exit Ramp

by Ray McGovern
Originally published in ConsortiumNews.com yesterday, 24 june 2010

Is President Barack Obama so dense that he could not see why Gen. Stanley McChrystal might actually have wanted to be fired — and rescued from the current March of Folly in Afghanistan, a mess much of his own making?

McChrystal leaves behind a long trail of broken promises and unfulfilled expectations. For example, there is no real security, at least during the night, in Marja, which McChrystal devoted enormous resources to conquer this spring.

Remember his boast that he would then bring to Marja a “government-in-box” and offer an object lesson regarding what was in store for those pesky Taliban in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second largest city?

But it’s now clear that there will be no offensive against Kandahar anytime soon. On its merits, that is surely a good thing, but it is a huge embarrassment for McChrystal and his former boss, the never nonplussed Gen. David Petraeus.

When McChrystal and his undisciplined senior aides let a Rolling Stone reporter know what they really thought of the “intimidated” Obama and most of his national security team, Obama and his advisers rose to the bait.

They let McChrystal fold his tent in the night and steal silently away from the disaster he leaves behind. White House advisers then came up with the idea of replacing McChrystal in Kabul with the straight-arrow Petraeus whose is known for running a tight command.

Since the announcement Wednesday, the Stanley-out/David-in move has been hailed by Official Washington as a political master stroke, but not for the right reasons.

The conventional wisdom holds that Petraeus is the military genius who can still prevail in Afghanistan, but the real cleverness of the choice is that it dumps in Petraeus’s lap a mess that he also helped create, along with McChrystal and Obama (not to mention, Bush, Cheney, et al).

Petraeus gets a mission that virtually everyone but Sens. John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham realizes is an impossible assignment. It also gets Petraeus out of the country and, the Obama folks hope, out of contention for the 2012 Republican nomination.

Instead of possibly running against what a mess Obama has made of Afghanistan, Petraeus has been put in charge of the mess.

Vietnamistan

Still, the White House maneuver is too clever by half — and is extremely dangerous. It also makes the prospects dimmer for Obama executing a rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan beginning in July 2011, as some of the relative doves in his administration had hoped.

In replacing McChrystal with the popular Petraeus, who outnumbers Obama 100 to zero in the merit badges on his left breast, the President has given the sainted general the option of calling for more and more troops and firepower lest we “lose” in  Vietnamistan — sorry, Afghanistan.

But where would the additional troops come from, and what would they be able to do that is not already being done?

For those old enough to remember a similar stage in the “counterinsurgency” operation in Vietnam, the ramrod image of Petraeus evokes shivers. He resembles much too closely the American commander in Vietnam, Gen. William Westmoreland, an equally handsome gent decked out with all manner of ribbons and medals with which to dazzle Congress in a way that President Lyndon Johnson could not.

A lawsuit after the war demonstrated that Westmoreland deliberately misled Congress by insisting that there were only half as many Vietnamese Communists under arms as his intelligence analysts knew there were.

Westmoreland’s periodic appeals for more and more troops – as he pursued the light at the end of the tunnel – built U.S. forces up to 536,000.

Finally, in early 1968, President Johnson convened more sober and honest advisers who told him Vietnam was a fool’s errand. Johnson finally told Westmoreland “no,” but it was too late. Johnson wound up losing the presidency as well as the war, opening the door to Richard Nixon and all that followed.

In later mea culpas, Johnson’s Defense Secretary Robert McNamara bemoaned the fact that as many as three million Vietnamese were killed, as well as over 58,000 American troops. As the contemporary song went, “When will they ever learn?”

Rock and Hard Place

Obama’s main dilemma now is likely to be how to say “no” when, as seems inevitable, Westmoreland — sorry, Petraeus — makes requests for more “surges” of troops into Afghanistan.

Petraeus is likely to tell Obama he must have additional forces, or he will go the way of McChrystal and invite removal — and then possibly run for president in 2012. In that case, Obama’s political advisers would probably say send more troops from wherever they might be scrounged up.

Casualties would rise exponentially; there would never be enough troops; most of those NATO allies that have not already withdrawn their troops would do so. The remaining “coalition forces” would not “prevail” (whatever that means).

And by the end of 2011, the Teflon-as-well-as-merit-badge-clad Petraeus might well quit anyway and join McChrystal in blaming the carnage on the “clowns” around President Obama.

We may well end up with either a President Petraeus or another President Clinton in the person of Obama’s hawkish Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was one official praised by McChrystal’s wild-boy crew because she favored giving the general whatever troops he wanted.

A McChystal aide is quoted as saying, “She said, ‘If Stan wants it, give him what he needs.’”

Is it possible that Obama can be blissfully unaware of the dangerous political kill zone into which he has maneuvered his presidency?

The tragedy is that all this is unnecessary. If President Obama could get beyond these ill-conceived short-term political considerations, he already has available some well-reasoned guidance as to how to extricate the United States from the Afghanistan morass.

He got solid advice last fall from retired Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, his ambassador in Kabul, who knows more about Afghanistan than Petraeus, McChrystal and special envoy Richard Holbrooke do, put together.

And that knowledge and experience shows through clearly in sensitive cables Eikenberry sent to Washington in early November 2009. It’s telling that the New York Times editorialists have suggested that Obama should include Eikenberry in a “wider housecleaning” of the administration’s Afghan brain trust.

The news columns of the Times, however, do deserve credit for having published the text of Eikenberry’s cables, posted online. To the credit of the Times’ source (reportedly a U.S. official), he/she was able to do a truly patriotic thing to ensure that those interested could learn about what Eikenberry really thought, especially his doubts about the effectiveness of a military escalation.

Clearly, the source saw what ethicists call a “supervening value” in making that unauthorized disclosure to the Times.

Nevertheless, last fall, President Obama apparently put his finger to the prevailing political winds of Washington and chose to go with McChrystal’s counterinsurgency “surge” rather than the advice from Eikenberry and from Vice President Joe Biden, who also opposed the escalation.

Obama sided with McChrystal, Petraeus and Clinton (as well as Defense Secretary Robert Gates), agreeing to triple the U.S. troop levels to about 100,000. In the months that have passed, the levels of American casualties have jumped but the prospects for victory (or some modicum of success) remain stuck in a deepening quagmire.

Now, with some indiscreet comments to Rolling Stone magazine, McChrystal has managed to get plucked from the swamp as if some “deus ex machina” derrick from a Greek tragedy had appeared magically behind stage and lifted the hero out of an impossible situation.

Obama now has turned to what might be called “Petraeus ex machina” to salvage his benighted strategy in Afghanistan, but this new device is unlikely to lift the larger military cause out of grave danger. Instead, many of the U.S. troops committed to this dubious plan seem doomed in what is becoming a real-life tragedy.


Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served as an Army infantry/intelligence officer in the early Sixties and then as a CIA analyst for the next 27 years. He is now a member of the Standing Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on June 25, 2010.

 

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