Thursday, August 12, 2010

The never-ending war

As Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio) tells Gilbert (Johnny Depp), "We're not going anywhere, Gilbert. We're not going anywhere, you know? We're not going anywhere" (What's Eating Gilbert Grape?), Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) reports:

Iraq will need U.S. military support for up to another decade to defend its borders because the Iraqi army won't be ready to guard the country when American troops leave at the end of 2011, according to U.S. and Iraqi commanders.
Commanders say they are reasonably confident in the Iraqi security forces' ability to keep order while facing insurgents or other internal threats. But when it comes to their capacity to protect against attacks from other nations, it is inconceivable that the Iraqi army will be able to stand alone by the time U.S. troops go home, said Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, commander of the U.S. military training program in Iraq.

Al Jazeera adds:

A top White House advisor meanwhile suggested that the US military presence in Iraq after the main pullout in 2011 could be limited to "dozens" or "hundreds" of troops under the embassy's authority.
"We'll be doing in Iraq what we do in many countries around the world with which we have a security relationship that involves selling American equipment or training their forces, that is establishing some connecting tissue," said Anthony Blinken, national security advisor for vice president Joe Biden.
"When I say small, I'm not talking thousands, I'm talking dozens or maybe hundreds, that's typically how much we would see."

Bob Higgins offers his take at Veterans Today. Trivia question: Name the PRI program and guest that apparently will be the only ones to discuss the staging areas around Iraq that the US will continue to use 'after' the war?

If that question is too hard, the guest was . . . Linda Bilmes. Is she going to be the only one to talk about it?

Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) notes, "On Wednesday, a senior Iraqi military leader, Gen. Babaker Zubari, stated publicly what most Iraqi officials say more privately – that he believed there would need to be a continuing US presence here after 2011. Under current plans to expand Iraq's armed forces, destroyed and dismantled by the US in the war, Iraq will not have the capability to secure its land borders and air space for almost another decade."

In other news, Michael Hirsh (Newsweek) informs:

Like the summer heat, fear of America’s impending decline is weighing on Washington these days. Has the United States lost its oomph as a superpower? Even President Obama isn’t immune from the gloom. "Americans won’t settle for No. 2!" Obama shouted at one political rally in early August. How about No. 11? That’s where the U.S.A. ranks in NEWSWEEK’s list of the 100 best countries in the world, not even in the top 10. And as the worst recession since the '30s festers on, along with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, no number of legislative triumphs-- financial reform! health care! -- seem capable of lifting the nation out of its doldrums.

In non-news, George Stephanopoulos (ABC News) explains that US House Rep Dennis Kucinich won't challenge Barack. Supposedly George is covering the 2012 primary but Kucinich won't challenge Barack period. Remember the vow not to vote for ObamaCare and then Denny K is the victim of extraordinary rendition to Ohio with Barack on Air Force One and the simpering, wimpering fool shows up near tears informing America he's breaking his promise and voting for ObamaCare. Or how about "I'm really running" Denny then handing over his Iowa delegates to Barack? Dennis Kucinich is a joke. I try to be kind about him but he's the weakest and most ineffective person in Congress. And if he wants to ever be taken seriously, he's going to have to find his spine and keep in place long enough to keep a "vow." (And you can toss his broken promises in Boston in 2004 in there as well.)

The Dry Land is playing in three cities currently: Los Angeles, New York and Dallas. The Ryan Piers Williams directed film stars America Ferrera, Ryan O'Nan, Wilmer Valderrama, Melissa Leo and Jason Ritter.


And it opens Friday at the following:

Scottsdale, AZ: Shea 14 Theater

Irvine, CA: Westpark 8 Cinemas

Palm Desert, CA: Cinemas Palme D’Or 7

Austin, TX: Arbor Cinemas at Great Hills 8

El Paso, TX: Cielo Vista 14

We'll close with this from the Green Party of Michigan:

Green Party of Michigan

** News Release **
** ------------ **
August 11, 2010

For More Information, Contact:
Dianne Feeley
(734) 272-7651

John A. La Pietra, Elections Co-ordinator / GPMI
(269) 781-9478

Green Party of Michigan Holds Nominating Convention

(Lansing) -- The Green Party of Michigan selected candidates over the July 31-August 1 weekend at its nominating convention in Lansing. Harley G. Mikkelson, from Caro, is the Green Party’s candidate for governor with Lynn Meadows, from Ann Arbor, as lieutenant governor.

In the wake of the oil spill on the Kalamazoo River, Mikkelson pointed out that "accidents always happen" when our society is dependent on oil and coal. "In a state known for its manufacturing we have to prioritize an alternative energy policy. Manufacturing plants running under capacity or closed should be converted into building mass transit. If private business is unable to do this, the state government should be working with communities and the work force to begin this transition."

The oil spill points to the intersection of two central issues in the 2010 Green Party campaign: tying the need for jobs to the need for move away from using non-renewable energy, whether oil or hydrocarbons, and transitioning toward wind, water and geothermal power. The party also opposes nuclear energy as a solution -- it also poses grave safety issues.

In the interim, as Julia Williams, of Fraser, who is running for U.S.

Congress in the 12th District, pointed out, regulations must be strengthened: "We need to get away from allowing corporations to write the laws. They can't be dictating our future. That means tough regulations and an oversight process that prioritizes safety and sustainability. We need to walk the walk when we talk about protecting our water and our air."

It was clear to Green Party activists attending the convention that both the BP oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico and the 35-mile long Enbridge Energy Company spill along the Kalamazoo River are the result of depending on corporate promises to do the right thing. But both cases are examples of how inadequate and unprepared the corporations really are. Both have been cited by various agencies but did not face immediate shutdown or takeover.

For those who ask, "Where can the money come from to convert our manufacturing?", Green Party candidates point to a federal war budget that only brings more war and destruction as well as starves our social programs and infrastructure. As Harley Mikkelson remarked: "The first priority naturally has to be people. We need to make education, continuing education and early education, more and more available. That has to be the number one priority, that and the environment, passing on an environment that's better than what was passed on to us."

For more information about all Green Party candidates in Michigan, go to:

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