Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Steve Evil
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Steve Evil » Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:05 pm

Last year I had to teach a grade seven class about Afghanistan and the Taliban. I dare say it was one of my finer moments, though in a perfect world, would not have been necessary.

So I have nothing good to say about those people (the Taliban, not my Grade 7s) and no desire at all to see them flourish or even survive. But I've become deeply skeptical of our ability to do anything about them.

The Taliban have become the de facto representatives of the Pasthun majority ethnic group, which were unwisely left out of Karzai's government (except for Karzai himself). Until they get their share, they are going to keep resisting foreign intervention. Most of them aren't even real Taliban - the original religious students who rallied under Mohamed Omar and took Kabul - though we label them all the same.

The best we can do is broker a power sharing agreement which brings the fighting to a close. (And stop bombing wedding parties.) This social engineering project we're currently engaged in is doomed to failure.

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Moderator » Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:15 am

FrankChurch wrote:Ezra, we killed about a million in Iraq, not counting the sanctions. We killed about two million in Vietnam, more in Laos, Cambodia. That's three million, just a fraction of the deaths.


Frank -- "We" weren't the only offenders. If you're actually saying the US is responsible for three million deaths cite your sources -- explicitly. I mean "explicitly" -- I won't accept "well, so and so says". There are statistics -- independently verifiable such as by the Red Cross and Red Crescent. Cite your sources.

Your numbers are just flat wrong unless you're including the insurgency forces, terrorists, street thugs, the Khmer Rouge and the viet cong in your stats.

FrankChurch wrote:I don't live in China. I can only affect what my country does.


Im going to finally just move ahead and call bullshit on this once a for all. It's an irresponsible attitude for one. You don't live in Palestine or Israel either. I freely condemn what China is doing to Tibet. What they've done to some of their own citizens. Likewise Russia has considerable internal blood on its hand, as does the US. The US and Russia have fought offensive wars of convenience. Many countries have. Condemning one and giving the others a pass because you don't live there is burying your head in the sand.

If you won't condemn both sides for atrocities, or atrocities committed by places you don't live, your words become as biased and suspect as those uttered by the Coulters of the world.

FrankChurch wrote: Our attacks gave China and Russia the go ahead to approve their crimes. Unilateralism catches like a sneeze.


Bullshit. The purges in Russia and China occurred before Vietnam. The great step forward occurred concurrently. Russia invaded Afghanistan well before we attacked Iraq the second time. (Much as I hate it, the first Iraq war had much more justification behind it. Whatever tacit approval Hussein thought he had is irrelevant.)

Frank, you've got good intentions, but you're boxing yourself into irrelevancy. Until you stop with the inflated rhetoric, pay attention to actual facts and statistics, and understand that condemning only those you chose to condemn places you in precisely the same category as those selectively-agenda'd politicians you claim to oppose, you're doing nothing more than spinning your own political line. '
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Ezra Lb. » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:34 am

Steve Barber there's nothing I can add to your last post so I will show rare restraint and not add anything.

Steve Evil you express my view of the war in Afghanistan almost exactly. I think there are actions we should be taking to oppose the Taliban but our current strategy is self-defeating and I'm afraid, doomed to fail. We've hitched our wagon to a central govt whose deep corruption is one of the forces motivating the Taliban in particular and the wider insurgency in general.

We're carrying all the assumptions and prejudices of a western power into a situation completely unfamiliar to it. We are taking a strategy based on our experience in Iraq into a situation almost completely different.

My reaction to Obama's speech was just: here we go again.
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby FrankChurch » Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:02 pm

Barber, I was talking about Russia's actions after 9/11.

I condemn all bad actions, but mostly ours because I can affect change here. Dissidents always condemn their country first, because we can affect change. Miami Cubans condemn Castro, not Mao. Russians condemn Stalin, not Pol Pot. Iraqi's condemn Hussein, not Suharto. Timorese condemn Suharto, not Pinochet. You know what I mean.

It would be highly immoral to go off on everything, not concentrating on my own country, the one I can affect change in. This is because full time activism is needed to stop our crimes. Focusing on other things would take time away from the central theme, affecting change here.

There are no exact numbers on the dead in Vietnam, so I can only use the standard numbers, from 2 million to upwards of 4 million. I am using the smaller number to be fair.

--------------

Steve Evil has it correct.

The Taliban are bad guys but they can be dealt with. Not a great thing to have them around, but they are not going anywhere. The Pashtuns having more government power is a good call. Karzai should never have been reeinstated. The people just don't trust him, rightly. There has to be new elections, without him.

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby FrankChurch » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:04 pm

Kudos to Howard Dean for wanting the Senate Health Care Bill to be axed. The Obamaites are doing a dirty tricks play on him, I fear.

The left elect this mook and look what he gives us? Doesn't he know he cannot win without us?

No handouts to big Insurance and big Pharma. Dean is right.

---------------

Ron Paul would pull us out of Afghanistan now! Right on!

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Duane » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:12 pm

Exactly what the far Right says when one of their moderates steps out of line to work through to a compromise on a profoundly complex issue.

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Jim Davis » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:19 pm

Duane wrote:Exactly what the far Right says when one of their moderates steps out of line to work through to a compromise on a profoundly complex issue.


And this is exactly what Democrats or Obama-supporters write when someone criticizes the build-up of forces into Afghanistan: It's complex! He's working on a compromise! Look what those kooky Republicans do!

Funny how these arguments, such as they are, never are used against military action, only for it.

Oh, and here's a must-read article about how Obama got exactly the health care bill he wanted.
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Jim Davis » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:24 pm

A simple question for everyone who support's Obama's surge: what do you think will be the outcome, given that the Karzai government is corrupt, ineffective (Karzai doesn't even have a cabinet), and disliked by the majority of Afghans?
--

"His plan therefore was not to refuse admission to the idea, but to keep it at bay until his mind was ready to receive it. Then let it in and pulverise it. Obliterate the bastard."--Samuel Beckett

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby FrankChurch » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:58 pm

Jim, Obama has magic powers, didn't you hear?

The "compromise" should have been a strong public option. Obama should have started with Single Payer. He wants to pass anything now.

Here's what I would do: threaten a Senator: Obama should call up these corny conservative Democrats: "Ok, Cappie, you want money for your next election, right? You want support from the party? Here's what you do, you either support the health bill or I will fucking kill you--not literally, but I will make sure you do not get our support and we will support someone else, you got that fucker? You will also not get any money for your town if you don't play ball, got it? Now play ball or I will have your balls.'"

Ah, to dream.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Ezra Lb. » Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:15 pm

So passing the Health-Care bill is like invading Afghanistan? Huh?
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Steve Evil
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Steve Evil » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:38 am

I guess Duanne's statement could be applied to more than one situation.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Ezra Lb. » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:45 am

Well I was responding to Frank and Jim. I too oppose the war and think the health-care bill should be chunked into the Marianas Trench but their chain of reasoning is missing a few links.
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“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Lori Koonce » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:01 pm

Care to elaborate Ezra.

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Gwyneth M905 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:46 am

As a faithful, and desperate, follower of the Health Insurance Reform bill(s) working their way through Congress, I'm deeply disappointed in what the Senate has done with Insurance Reform.

The question is: do the other portions of the bill offer enough consumer protections and leashes on Big Pharma and Big Insurance to warrant passage, albeit with noses held?

Here's Paul Krugman's take:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/18/opinion/18krugman.html?_r=1

I'm terrified by the prospect of legislating that all Americans must have health insurance without offering an expansion of Medicare and the ability to buy into the plan offered to Congress.

On the other hand, the bill does legislate that insurance companies may no longer cherry pick and deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Which begs the question, "What else will they find to use to deny coverage?" :(
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Ezra Lb. » Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:39 am

What Gwyneth said.

Sure it's a good thing to stop rejection based on pre-existng conditions but this bill forces millions of people into the waiting arms of the insurance companies. And no way this bill will curb costs which was the whole point I thought.

There's only one real solution and of course it was off the table from the start.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter


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