Day: February 27, 2009

The End of the Iraq War in Sight?

President Obama today announced that all combat forces will be out of Iraq by August 31, 2010, a full seven and a half years after the intervention began on March 19, 2003.

This will make the Iraq involvement the second longest war in US History, only outdone by the slightly longer operation in Vietnam, if one considers the real combat stage to have begun under Lyndon Johnson in February 1965 after the attack by the Viet Cong at Pleiku, South Vietnam, and the end being in March 1973 when Richard Nixon finally withdrew the last US combat forces after eight years and one month.

While this is, of course, an event eagerly awaited, one has to wonder if a change in the war situation between now and then might delay that date.  Also, the intention of Obama is to keep somewhere between 35,000 and 50,000 non combat forces in Iraq beyond 2010, which leaves the impression that we are going to have a long range presence in Iraq, similar to Korea, Germany and Japan.

That is not a welcome thought, but probably inevitable, as we have never really left anywhere we have intervened in a major military conflict, with the one glaring example of Vietnam.

A Sad Day for American Newspaper Journalism

The news that the Rocky Mountain News is shutting down today after 150 years, leaving the Denver Post as the only newspaper in the area, is a sad commentary on the decline in promotion of information and of alternative sources.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the San Francisco Chronicle are also in danger of being silenced forever due to the economic hard times and the fact that fewer people buy and read newspapers, other than online.

American democracy is the loser, and this is yet another example of the decline of American culture and American society.  This is a day that will be mourned when we look back in the future at the horrible turn of events, the rapid disintegration of what is good about America!

The “Old” South Continues Its Disgraceful Historical Record

Here we are in 2009, and the "Old" South is back!

The Republican governors of the states of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas are now promoting policies that remind us of the "Old" South of the Democratic party for the long period from after Reconstruction ended in 1877 through the early 1960s.  That is, in that disgraceful past, racism, antisemitism,  and sexism reigned.  A small elite of wealthy Southern whites victimized African Americans, Jews, Catholics, Hispanics and women but also gave short shrift to poor whites.  These states became infamous not only for discrimination against the poor, but also for lackluster education, health care, and social services, and reveled in the denial of equality as the rest of the nation advanced.

Now, those  newly unemployed or those already terribly deprived will become greater victims by the refusal of these governors to show responsibility and concern for those less fortunate, by their stated refusal to accept increased aid for unemployment benefits.  Poverty will spread ever more in this section, which includes already the poorest states in the United States.

What a nerve that these governors are shirking their responsibility to their citizenry and only show concern for the rich and powerful!  This is another argument for mandating that the states MUST accede to federal regulation and controls.  The Southern Republicans, the backbone of the present GOP, have become as despicable as the old Southern Democrats of past eras!

“Joe the Plumber” and the Conservative Political Action Conference

Regrettably, “Joe the Plumber” is back in the news.  🙁

Fresh off the John McCain campaign and being a Middle East “correspondent” on the Gaza War, Sam appeared yesterday at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, and talked again about running for Congress from Ohio, but also expressed the thought that he might spend a lot of time in jail because he would hit fellow Congressmen in the head who he disagreed with.

What a degrading of conservatism is taking place, when CPAC feels a need and desire to invite this man to their conference and give him a starring role.  He actually makes Sarah Palin look like a genius in comparison!  🙂

If “Joe the Plumber” is being considered one of the “leaders” of the Republican party along with talk show host Rush Limbaugh, then liberals and the Democratic party have nothing to worry about.  As Dana Milbank of the Washington Post has observed, “Joe the Plumber” running for Congress will provide comic relief in the midst of much tension and turmoil economically.  If by some chance, his Ohio congressional district were to elect him a member of the House, they would deserve what they had done to themselves.  But to bring things down to a sober level, the sitting member of Congress in that district won by 75 percent of the vote, so let’s not get too carried away that “Joe the Plumber” is about to join other “distinguished” members of Congress of both parties who would embarrass the Founding Fathers, who would be shaking their heads and wondering what has happened to the “voice of the people” that they created in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention.

Obama’s Budget Plans a Reversal of Ronald Reagan

President Obama is attempting to reverse the Reagan economic plan, which promoted a growing economic inequality over the past 30 years.

It is about time that the middle class and the poor got a fair shake, and it is clear that not only did the Reagan Administration promote a policy of the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer, and the middle class being pushed downward, but also the rapid promotion of deregulation,  accelerated in the administration of President George W. Bush, has led to the economic disaster this nation  now faces.

New books are coming out now that demonstrate that our national adulation of President Reagan is misguided, as much of what he brought about can now be seen as negative and counterproductive.

Conservatism has had its run, and the damages wrought now must be reversed, and Obama is making clear his readiness to bring fundamental change.  This should be applauded and promoted, and the American people seem prepared to back this necessary transformation  in government policy in many different areas!