John Oliver On Drones

This is an absolutely excellent on The United States drone program.  While most news is entertainment posing as news, this is news posing as entertainment.  You will see a far more in depth discussion on our drone program than you will see on almost any cable news channel.  It just happens to be delivered by someone that can pepper the information he is delivering with some great jokes.  Our use of drones is one of the moral and ethical dilemmas of our time.  The fact that we are not having a greater discussion on this is troubling.  I have admitted to supporting Obama in the past.  This is one issue that he is terrible on and should be held accountable for.

The Foggy Morality of War

I have been traveling a lot lately and have been ridiculously busy, as well as dealing with some personal things.  Because of this I don’t feel that I have been able to come to any strong opinion if we are taking the right course of action against ISIS.  I feel like the only way you can get a bead with what is going on in the world anymore is to read a host of different opinions and try as best you can to parse the truth out of them piece by piece.  (And don’t watch the TV news ever!)

However, I have had some random thoughts and questions that do speak ill of our times.  I thought I would share them:

1.  What does it mean when we have been at war so long that the fact we are bombing another country doesn’t seem all that odd?  Like I should either be morally outraged or cautiously supportive, but I can’t seem to feel any strong emotion one way or the other.  Is this how peace in our time truly dies?  Little by little, year after year, until we just except the horrible state of things?

2.  What does it say that when we go to war I no longer trust the reasons that we are being given?  I like Obama overall, at least a million times more than his opposition, but I can’t help but feel that any president from either side is at least going to be partly influenced by our ever growing military industrial complex.  The Bush Administration’s bogus Iraq War did a great deal to damage the credibility of our leaders.  However, if you read American history from the end of World War II on, we don’t exactly have a great track record.

3.  Would a group like ISIS even be an issue had we stayed out of the Middle East?  Is our involvement now going to bring a group even worse than ISIS in the future?

Look I am under no illusions that the world would be better off without ISIS.  However, knowing that, how that fact is dealt with is where things start to become murky.  Obama may very well be taking the best approach that he can given the circumstances that he is facing.  I don’t feel that I have read enough to know what to think about our current military approach.  But it does trouble me that we have reached a place, where due to the events of recent years, that the morality of our country at war appears more foggy than ever.

High Speed-Rail

images

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/07/us/delays-persist-for-us-high-speed-rail.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSumSmallMediaHigh&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

This is an article about why we have failed to implement more high-speed rail in our country during the Obama years.  There is plenty of blame to go around as the administration, Republicans, and local governments have either made mistakes or directly opposed progress on this issue.

When I was in Japan last year I was blown away by how great the public transportation was.  In seeing the traffic around most U.S. cities, I will never understand why there isn’t a greater public push for more public transportation.

Sullivan on Torture

bushobama1-2

 

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/08/03/obama-torture-transparency-and-the-rule-of-law/

 

A pretty powerful post by Andrew Sullivan about the torture.  Although he views Bush and his gang as war criminals, he also finds Obama’s unwillingness to address the issue in any kind of meaningful way deeply unsettling.  

The Dance of Dumbness Goes On…

Steve_Scalise

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/27/gop-impeachment_n_5624554.html

The above article is about how new incoming House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) is claiming impeachment won’t be taken off of the table if Obama signs an executive order limiting deportations.  Fucking hell!  I feel like swearing and playing a kazoo at the same time.  I feel like running through the streets naked with only a gorilla mask on.  There is no sense to anything.  As Leonard Cohen sang, “Things are gonna slide in all directions.”  

One cretin replaces another.  The dance of dumbness goes on.  Impeachment, for possibly showing empathy towards the less fortunate?  Read Matt Taibbi’s The Great Divide and learn what immigrants really go through in this country.  The Klansmen that were my target in my previous post, while being hateful figures of comic absurdity, are at least honest about the way they feel.  This manicured douchebag hides behind patriotism and a fancy suit.  What was that about patriotism being the last refuge of the scoundrel….

 

It’s a Queer World

It’s a queer world, God knows, but the best we have to be going on with. – Brendan Behan

If you read the headlines enough they become like a tickertape of the absurd.  I go to Huffington Post once or twice a day as it is usually a good place to see what the country is talking about.  I don’t really read many of their articles, there are way better places to get in depth knowledge, but it’s a good place to get the pulse of what is going on.  Just today they had a morning headline about how the Iraq War architects were being brought back into the fold by the media as if they had any credibility left.  They should be in shackles for all the poor men and women they sent to their deaths, not on TV voicing their opinions.  Then tonight I see the headline is that our country is going to execute three convicts within 24 hours starting tonight.  It’s like that scene in David Lynch’s Wild at Heart where the characters of Sailor and Lula ride through the desert flipping through the radio.  Every station features news darker and more degrading than the last, until they finally can’t stand it and decide to crank heavy metal music.

However, there are reasons to be hopeful.  President Obama finally made the speech that he needed to on climate change.  It obviously remains to be scene what he can actually accomplish, but it was a strong speech that no other President has dared to make.  It also looks that despite the media giving some voice to the insane warmongers who got us into Iraq, that there is also some genuine pushback to stay out of the Middle East for once.  I am no Thomas Friedman fan, but in the Sunday Times he mentioned that the two countries that are doing best in the Middle East, Tunisia and Kurdistan, are also the countries that we have largely stayed out of.  Hopefully some of those in power understand this.  

I just recently started a part time job canvassing for a political organization.  I thought it would be a good way to make a little extra cash and do something positive in my community on days I don’t have shows.  Going door to door I have found most people to be polite and kind.  Flipping though mainstream TV and paying attention to the headlines is an easy way to find oneself depressed.  However, there is good in this world and it is worth remembering that all hope is not lost.  You might have to dig for it sometimes, but it is there.  Don’t let the bastards get you down…

Bergdahl: The End

This is my last post about the Bergdahl scandal, unless something crazy comes out, because I believe that this scandal is merely a ridiculous distraction.  In reading some internet comments, good lord I am stupid for doing so, I read somebody say that if President Bush did this we on the left would have wanted him impeached.  That is completely idiotic.  Why am I taking the time to respond to one random idiotic internet comment?  It’s because I believe that is what some of the hoopleheads on the right actually believe in theory.  That we simply hated Bush, and everything he did, because he was President Bush. 

When Bush came to power I was hoping for the best.  I remember thinking he had a reputation as a moderate.  It wasn’t until he sent thousands unnecessarily to their deaths in Iraq that I hated him.  He took a country that had the entire world’s sympathy after 911 and threw that all away.  I traveled a great deal during his presidency and even in allied countries like Britain they were appalled by U.S. actions.  Then came even further deregulations which eventually led up to our financial crisis.  (And yes I am well aware that President Clinton played a large part in setting the stage for them as well.)  Then there was his disgraceful handling of Hurricane Katrina.  And all of these things went down while there was sort of a shallow patriotism being thrown around where the only thing you had to do to be a patriot was to keep shopping.  Those were just some of the many things that Bush did that I didn’t like.  But that is my point; that Bush did actual things that I didn’t like and that I didn’t just dislike him because he had an R in front of his name. 

But when Bush did something good, and honestly I can’t remember much that he did that was good other than giving aid to Africa, I was honest enough with myself to admit that it was good.  It’s kind of like the pope.  I am not a religious person and most of my life I felt The Pope to have been a hindrance to progress around the world.  Pope Ratzinger was never well liked in these parts.  However, and I admit to not knowing enough to make a final decision, Pope Francis has said a lot of things that I believe might lead the world to possibly being a better more progressive place.  I understand the traditionally conservative nature of his position and that he can’t do everything at once, and that he may even be more conservative than I realize.  However, I don’t like or dislike a pope because they are the pope, but because of what they do.  I don’t like or dislike someone because they are a Republican politician, but because of what they are actually doing or not doing. 

Also The President, any President, makes decisions that can affect millions of lives.  No one in that position can do a perfect job.  This decision is not one of the bigger ones he has made.  If you want to get angry with Obama, as I said last night, get angry at him for our drone policy or the fact that his Justice Department has not done a good job of policing our markets.  But in this case one human is alive that may not have been if he hadn’t made the decision that he did, and that is a good thing, no matter who that human is.