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Open Thread for Night Owls
The centrist American Security Project released a new report Thursday, U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan: Five Lessons We Should Have Learned, authored by Joshua Foust. As noted in the introduction, the report is not a list of everything that has gone wrong or right in Afghanistan, but "they are issues that just aren’t being discussed in the public debates about the war. They need to be.”

Foust focuses on the "magical thinking" that he sees as the root problem of the U.S. experience in Afghanistan. The root problem, on the contrary, was and is imperialist pride locked into a militaristic mindset, exceptionalist arrogance combined with a profound ignorance and the superiority complex of leaders who, despite all evidence to the contrary, thought America could do in Afghanistan what nobody since the Mongols had done—get it under control.

Several times in the past 11 years of direct U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, somebody has come up with a new silver bullet. Gen. David Petraeus's answer, and the one adopted for the 2009 surge under President Obama, was counter-insurgency, for which the general co-wrote the manual. Even taken on its own terms, however, that was doomed from the start. Petraeus himself had previously said that such an effort would require at least a decade to succeed and far more troops than any president would be willing to commit.

So, it was done on the cheap, comparatively speaking, in terms of number of troops, duration of commitment and the never-fully realized "civilian surge." Despite Washington's ability to legitimately point to a bustling bazaar over here and a much quieter province over there, counter-insurgency failed and was abandoned in favor of counter-terrorism even before the first troops of the 68,000 deployed in the surge began their withdrawal.

No empire does things exactly as its predecessors. The Macedonia of Alexander did it differently than Assyria. Britain did it differently than Rome. America did it differently than the USSR. But Foust's target of criticism is less existential, more mundane than all that. It nevertheless speaks to some issues worth paying attention to.

U.S. Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Matthew Lewis, a Security Force member of Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah, provides security during an Afghan Local Police graduation ceremony in Dizhak Village, Farah province, Afghanistan on May 29. PRT Farah is a unit of soldiers, sailors and airmen tasked with facilitating governance and stability in the region by working hand in hand with local officials and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. (U.S. Navy photo/Lt. Benjamin Addison)
Magical thinking does not clear the way.
 (U.S. Navy/Lt. Benjamin Addison)
Like magical thinking of every kind, there is an assumption that certain acts, certain rituals, certain incantations will produce certain outcomes. That, Foust writes, has been the key to failure in Afghanistan:
The US government has engaged in significant magical thinking in Afghanistan. For the last ten years, military and civilian leaders have promised that if something was built, or a certain area of the country was “cleared” of militants, or if some other singular event like a presidential election took place, the war would be won. It was the political equivalent of a rain dance—rather than understanding the complex reasons why bad things happened in Afghanistan, policymakers chose to assume that simple fixes could produce victory. The result was expensive—not just in lives, but in money.
The other four unlearned lessons, in Foust's view: understand the environment; the war is a political conflict; a failure to plan; and, real success only matters over the long term.

Here's what he has to say about the failure to understand the environment:

Counterinsurgency advocates have insisted for years on the importance of understanding the enemy and the population where you’re working. It is a lesson the US Army is trying to internalize. Colonel Thomas Roe, the director of the US Army’s Center for Lessons Learned, recently said in an interview that troops need to adopt a more cultural approach to fight effectively in places like Afghanistan:“That goes very deep in the sense that one village may be different culturally from the next one.”

However, this understanding has most often taken the form of crash courses in “culture” during pre-deployment training for some soldiers. Tens of thousands of other civilians have also served in Afghanistan, but one would be hard pressed to identify where increased cultural understanding has become practice.

For example, a new part of pre-deployment training for soldiers involves teaching them agriculture: beekeeping, tree pruning, and other practices. The training lasts one week and takes place in Central California, which trainers say is similar to Afghanistan (“fertile valleys, semi-arid plains and mountains”).

While these short agricultural training camps sound innovative, they bump up against other efforts to account for Afghanistan’s farming culture. Agribusiness Development Teams, or ADTs, are National Guard units from US farming communities that already travel around Afghanistan with the purpose of liaising with local farmers. Many ADTs encounter Afghan demonstration farms, which seem to function and thrive without much western input. Afghan farmers even teach the ADTs about local farming conditions and issues. It is difficult to see why and how Afghans actually need help farming—whether from an ADT or from regular soldiers who spent a week at an orchard in California.

The US government’s approach to understanding Afghanistan is based on superficial assumptions and does not account for what Afghans already know. Soldiers cannot meaningfully learn about Afghanistan’s farming culture or techniques in a weeklong crash course in California. Experienced farmers who deploy with the specific purpose of supporting Afghanistan’s farms arrive surprised at Afghans’ ability to farm on their own.

What deploying soldiers really need to learn is how and why Afghan farmers do certain things—like using shovels to dig irrigation canals near roads. Many soldiers have confused Afghan farmers engaged in basic construction work with insurgents laying IEDs. Learning to tell the difference – which doesn’t require a week of beekeeping—will lead to a better understanding of the environment.

Understanding the environment cannot only be a military affair: it requires efforts from beyond the military. In reflecting on the war in Afghanistan at the end of 2011, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, “One of the most important lessons… is that military success is not sufficient to win: economic development, institution building and the rule of law, promoting internal reconciliation, good governance,
providing basic services to the people are essential to success in state building.”

Gates was indirectly referencing Clausewitz’s dictum that war must serve politics – a refrain that has become cliché. The public discourse about the war, however, is dominated by an arbitrary debate over troop numbers rather than discussing any substantive political goals or even an end state to the conflict. The current strategy favored by the White House, transitioning security responsibility to the Afghan National Security Forces, is a military-first policy that does not include a political, cultural, or economic component.

For example, a recent project spearheaded by the US Embassy in Kabul created an Afghan version of Sesame Street in December of 2011. “Teachers here in Afghanistan will discover that Sesame Street can help children start school well prepared,” said the US ambassador to Kabul, Ryan Crocker. “Perhaps most importantly, it shows children the world around them.”

The problem with bringing Sesame Street to Afghanistan is that most homes do not have any electricity. It is magical thinking born of not understanding the environment. Despite the international community spending nearly $60 billion to develop Afghanistan’s electrical infrastructure, only 497,000 of Afghanistan’s 4.8 million households have any access to electricity. According to the most recent UN data, Afghanistan’s per capita GDP is only about $500, or less than $2 per day, yet it costs Afghans $11 per month to power a television. Every single light bulb costs $2.60 per day.

The Sesame Street project is not just an example of magical thinking—assuming that a TV show will somehow get more children through school—it is also astonishingly ignorant of the local conditions that will prevent it from ever having an effect on Afghan children. Even “tweaks” the show’s producers came up with—calling dancing “exercise” in an effort not to offend conservative Muslim parents—rings so false it is difficult to understand what the project leaders were thinking when they created it. Additionally, an understanding of basic infrastructure in the country would have shown that creating a high-cost American-imported children’s show wouldn’t have a chance to be successful because so few would ever have the opportunity to watch it.

The war in Afghanistan has been fought largely outside a basic understanding of the country and its culture. As a result, many missteps have been made and billions of dollars wasted on schemes that had little chance of success. Moreover, what should have been a collaborative effort between the military and civilian agencies of the government has been overly militarized and focused on narrow military objectives. Even= the much-vaunted “civilian surge”—meant to supplement the military mission, no less – never fully materialized. A better understanding of the society in which a war takes place will allow for less expenditure and fewer lost lives.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2011:

Today was the day Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks testified before a parliamentary hearing. Short version: nobody knew anything. And they are really sorry. And about halfway through it there was a pie.

Tweet of the Day:

"I will release 12 years of tax documents tomorrow." -- Mitt Romney (quote assembled via Romney-style splicing
@jamisonfoser via Echofon

Logo - Daily Kos Radio
Tune in Monday to Friday from 9-11 AM ET for Daily Kos Radio, hosted by David Waldman a/k/a KagroX. You can listen here. DemFromCT led off today's "Kagro in the Morning" show with compelling insight on the Democracy Corps focus group study of the Ryan budget that you really just have to listen to in order to fully appreciate. The political news continues to center on Romney's tax returns, business practices, and now, thanks to his wife Ann's latest comments, the family's insensitivity to... well, just about everyone in the world.


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Comment Preferences

  •  455,335 registered users on dKos now. (18+ / 0-)

    Here are the 10 newest registered users on dKos.  Hope to see their comments and diaries here soon!  (If they're not all spammers.)


    And since our society is obsessed with numbers that end in a lot of zeros as milestones, here's a special shoutout to users:
    #451,200: stanleylyngg512
    #451,300: hayesbraun12
    #451,400: reinaldokarl614
    #451,500: hadrienabdi24 (spammer)
    #451,600: stannorth1127
    #451,700: ethelbarefoo1229
    #451,800: delltherkels1128 (spammer)
    #451,900: ilyankaya36
    #452,000: dangarrett12 (spammer)
    #452,100: vesteraberna1025 (spammer)
    #452,200: coycooley410
    #452,300: rollandroble24 (spammer)
    #452,400: marianoflood12
    #452,500: earlelohmann922 (spammer)
    #452,600: theodorelamo37
    #452,700: ladokundize925
    #452,800: levrahexsong1986
    #452,900: daqumadkypy837
    #453,000: CelestineDeMatti
    #453,100: kimsilver (spammer)
    #453,200: hsyslzkj47 (spammer)
    #453,300: averymogense37
    #453,400: cpaddon (spammer)
    #453,500: tibbewilhelm614
    #453,600: chaunceyclay512
    #453,700: luisvilhelms11
    #453,800: doctordrachm1025
    #453,900: juliusirwin410
    #454,000: apolloniosha1230
    #454,100: jellsmingo (spammer)
    #454,200: dukegoldman35 (spammer)
    #454,300: earlmcbride1229
    #454,400: olinlassen712 (spammer)
    #454,500: arendvad990
    #454,600: ssmith70
    #454,700: ruthpowell616
    #454,800: stonepavements92
    #454,900: sethclemons1230
    #455,000: dayton123 (spammer)
    #455,100: eligesiegel
    #455,200: Itzl Alert Network (group)
    #455,300: giustostrang615

    We've added a whopping 4,179 more users in just the last two days.  This is a continuation going back to May where we've been absolutely flooded with new users.  I'm pretty sure almost all of these new users are spammers or bots.  Notice how they all have a number at the end.  And the rate is getting faster, people.  What are they planning?

    And for your Diary Rescue music pleasure, here's Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts".

  •  In just a few hours... (12+ / 0-)

    I'll be at the midnight showing of......................


    •  I was walking out the door (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, Jeff Y, JML9999, LinSea, Larsstephens

      But I think I'll wait until the bargain matinee.

      Be sure to lower your expectations. The Dark Knight is one tough act to follow.

      James Gordon Jr.: Why's he running, Dad?
      Lt. James Gordon: Because we have to chase him.
      James Gordon Jr.: He didn't do anything wrong.
      Lt. James Gordon: Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.
      And Batman will rise but damn that was one great movie.
    •  TP's take on DKR (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat

      ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ And The Limits Of Christopher Nolan’s Batman

      This consideration of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy contains mild spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises.

      Halfway through Batman Begins, Alfred (Michael Caine), the Wayne family’s loyal butler, points out to Bruce (Christian Bale) that his anti-social behavior and strange injuries will invite comment, and suggests that he find a way to live a public life to minimize prying. “What does someone like me do?” Bruce asks him. “Drive sports cars. Date movie stars. Buy things that are not for sale. Who knows, Master Wayne?” Alfred tells him. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, complete this weekend with the release of The Dark Knight Rises, has been an extended meditation on the power of symbols, the juxtaposition between fascism and anarchy, and recovery from trauma. But it’s also intermittently a story about what billionaires are for and what they do, a question The Dark Knight Rises seems to want some credit for posing, but not responsibility for actually answering.

      Nolan’s vision of Gotham has always been sharply divided: we see billionaires and the very poor, but with the exception of the prisoners on the Joker’s barges or the ticketholders to the football game that Bane bombs, and the police themselves, there is no visible middle class in the city. The poor and the criminals who prey on them are often literally an underclass. In Batman Begins, district attorney Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes) drives Bruce below an underpass to confront crime boss Carmine Falcone, telling him “They talk about the depression as if it’s over, and it’s not.” Poverty goes unseen because it is physically subterranean. In The Dark Knight Rises, an orphan who lives at the same boys home where Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a young police officer who maintains his faith in Batman even as Gotham has reviled the vigilante as a criminal, grew up tells Blake that the boys who age out of the program, which has cut back on services because the Wayne Foundation’s funding has dried up, are disappearing into the sewers because “they say there’s work down there.”

      While the trilogy is clear that threats to Gotham rise from that underworld, Nolan also appears significantly pessimistic about the ability of charity to permanently ameliorate the conditions that contribute to crime. “Gotham’s been good to our family. But people less fortunate than us are suffering,” Bruce’s father tells him as the family rides the monorail to their fateful night at the opera. “So we built a new, cheap public transportation system to unite the city.” That same monorail becomes the delivery weapon for Ra’s al Ghul’s weapons later in Batman Begins. In that same movie, Alfred reflects on the elder Wayne’s strategy after Bruce decides to return to Gotham, noting that “In the depression, your father nearly bankrupted Wayne Enterprises combatting poverty. He believed that his example could inspire the wealthy of Gotham to save their city.” When Bruce wants to know if the strategy worked, Alfred tells him “In a way. Their murder shocked the wealthy and the powerful into action.” When Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent have dinner during The Dark Knight, Bruce promises Dent that “you’ll never need another cent,” after Wayne throws Dent a fundraiser. But it’s not enough to secure the fortunes of a promising politician if he goes bad. Reform is a process, not a dinner party. In The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce is bitterly critical of the approaches of those who emulated his father, complaining that the proceeds of a charity function sponsored by the investor Miranda Tate will only go to pay for a lavish spread, rather than reaching their intended recipients. “It’s about feeding the ego of whatever society hag put it on,” he tells her.

      Not blaming Bush for the mess we're in, is like not blaming a train engineer for a fatal train wreck because he's no longer driving the train.

      by JML9999 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 08:54:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Me, too. Uh, that is if my magical thinking could (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat

      make me 40 years younger.  These days, it's the bargain matinee, after it's been out for a week or two to lessen the crowds.

      Dance lightly upon the Earth, Sing her songs with wild abandon, Smile upon all forms of Life ...and be well.

      by LinSea on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 09:17:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Is this the movie where the Dark Knight (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, OLinda

      combats mega villain Rush Limbaugh?

    •  Me too! I'm at the show now (0+ / 0-)

      We got here 2 hrs early and the only seats left were in the front! :-(

      40 minutes to go!

      When the operation of the machine becomes so odious that you can't take part,you've got to put your bodies upon the gears;you got to make it stop.Indicate to the people who run it that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all

      by YoungArizonaLiberal on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 11:20:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Park Avenue Views (12+ / 0-)

    Rafael Barrios was on the Park Avenue Malls.

    Note to Trix: Another horizontally challenged triptych.

  •  Everyone should watch... (10+ / 0-)

    the Nat Geo show Seconds from Disaster, which carefully details major disasters in recent world history, and the chain of events that went horribly wrong that led to disaster.  With manmade things, there's almost always some regulation that a corporation wanted to skip to reduce costs, and lack of oversight from that evil government the Republicans and libertarians always want to cut back on.

    Well, folks, this is what happens without regulations, when you let private industry dictate the rules.  Watch the entire episode about the 1954 Comet air crash.

    Many of the episodes are available in full on YouTube.  Watch them while thinking about what could have been done to prevent those disasters from happening, and in almost every case, it's government that could've mandated some extra check or regulation to stop the disaster.  And usually, they DID end up stepping in, but only after the disaster happened and hundreds of people died.

    Some other examples are:

    Hyatt Regency walkway collapse, 7/17,1981

    Chicago crash of American Airlines Flight 191, 5/25/1979

    Texas BP oil refinery explosion, 3/23/2005

    Tenerife airport disaster, 3/27/1977

    Mount St. Helens eruption, 5/18/1980

    Bhopal toxic gas release, 12/2/1984

    Potomac Flight 90 plane crash, 1/13/1982

    Guadalajara gas explosions, 4/22/1992

    Everglades Flight 592 plane crash, 5/11/1996

    Austrian ski slope fire, 11/11/2000

    USS Forrestal fire, 7/29/1967

    South Korean department store collapse, 6/29/1995

    TWA Flight 800, 7/17/1996

    London subway inferno, 11/18/1987

    Puerto Rico gas explosion, 11/21/1996

    Amsterdam air crash, 10/4/1992

    German mid-air collision, 7/1/2002

    Sioux City Flight 232 crash, 7/19/1989

    Piper Alpha oil rig disaster, 7/6/1988

    English Channel ferry sinking, 3/6/1987

    Norweigan ferry arson fire, 4/7/1990 (with commercials)

    Flight 587 crash in Queens, 11/12/2001

    Mumbai terrorist attacks, 11/26/2008

    The latest season covered topics from Fukushima to Deepwater Horizon, to the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.  BTW, in the infamous USS Forrestal fire, the show talks about two of the pilots who tried to escape the fire.  The pilot in the plane between them, who escaped with shrapnel wounds, was none other than John McCain!

    And despite the fact that NatGeo is ultimately owned by News Corp., like I said the other day, I'm still going to promote this show, simply because it's a damn good show that explicitly shows the need for strong government oversight.  Don't want to watch it on their channel?  At least watch the episodes that have been uploaded to YouTube.  And share them with your conservative anti-government friends, and ask them if they feel comfortable about leaving their safety in the hands of a private corporation without ANY government oversight.

    •  There you are (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BruinKid, Aunt Pat

      I missed you last night.

      "The whole thing ended up in a stalemate tied three ways. I think I had a beer." Me

      by nellgwen on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 09:17:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think that instinct-driven people try to (0+ / 0-)

      preempt because they can't prepare.  It's a matter of not being able to think ahead.  Instead such people have to respond (quickly) to events or their instincts, regardless of whether they're right or wrong.
      When McCain said Obama has "poor instincts," he was referencing what he relies on and indulging in wishful thinking -- i.e. his emotions.  Wishful thinking is probably not thinking at all, but what serves as a substitute to the cognitive impaired.

      Willard is another of the cognitive impaired.  His assessments of his environment are wrong.

      If we did an assessment, it would probably turn out that instinct-driven people have poor driving records and are accident-prone. The irony is that they hate public transit, even though it keeps people like them safe.
      I think the driving records of candidates for public office should be inspected and people with lots of accidents should not be hired for positions that require forethought and anticipation.

      Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

      by hannah on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 03:11:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not sure they believed it (8+ / 0-)

    They needed a rationale to justify staying. The motivation for staying was to avoid a Vietnam-like defeat, which in the military/political world is the ultimate humiliation.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 08:36:29 PM PDT

    •  which shows the failure of what passes for COIN (4+ / 0-)

      in the military establishment.  No matter how long you stay, you are still doomed to eventual defeat because you raise fresh insurgents with each one you kill.

      •  Perhaps some day (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder, Garrett, allenjo

        the military and the policy makers will come to understand that no one likes a foreign military occupation on their soil and the ways in which it disrupts their lives.

        Hubris too often gets in the way of common sense.

        This is not a war, it is an occupation and you don't win occupations.

        ... it is a natural human reaction to resist by force an alien foreign military occupation, whereas people are inclined to be more tolerant of their own government, before they take up arms, no matter how badly they act. Understanding this simple fact explains why the US has not been and will not be successful in its military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

        Don Bacon from June of 2008

        Droning funerals and first responders and anyone who behaves like a "militant" is not COIN. Neither are midnight raids kicking down doors in family compounds in the middle of the night. Neither is attrition, killing a Taliban "leader" every few days. In fact these tactics are the in direct opposition to COIN guidelines.

        On the other hand they know this. Obviously there are other factors in play.

        Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

        by truong son traveler on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 04:17:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Re-Tweet that's the ticket- splice romney saying (7+ / 0-)

    stupid(er) things to.

    Not blaming Bush for the mess we're in, is like not blaming a train engineer for a fatal train wreck because he's no longer driving the train.

    by JML9999 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 08:37:23 PM PDT

  •  One Too Many Words In That Headline: (12+ / 0-)
    Open thread for night owls: 'Magical thinking' blurs U.S. policy
    Hard to think of a policy that doesn't fit this version.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 08:39:43 PM PDT

  •  Sesame Street (13+ / 0-)

    The problem with bringing Sesame Street to Afghanistan is that most homes do not have any electricity.

    One might think that would provoke a laugh on reading. It didn't.

    Just Win, Baby. -- Al Rodgers, Feb. 24, 2012

    by OLinda on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 08:42:40 PM PDT

    •  I heard a story - not sure how true it is (6+ / 0-)

      About the military being bothered by how often insurgents hid in long stalk fields. Corn, I think? Anyway, they heard about short corn. Spent a lot of money getting it over to Afghanistan... where they then found out it was short period, not short height. It's the same height, grows at a faster cycle.

      I really want to think government is competent but sometimes... sometimes...

      This Sesame Street thing reminds me of that.

    •  I hate to admit it, me being me, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, JeffW, rbird, divineorder

      But the _Sesame Street_story just made me very sad.

      Today's word, boys and girls, is


      Can you say that?


      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 10:09:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It doesn't have a thing to do with Afghanistan (6+ / 0-)

        Forgive me for being cynical, but the ludicrous programs mentioned in the ASP article have absolutely nothing to do with Afghanistan.  It has everything to do with the military industrial complex.  Someone, somewhere, pitched each of these ideas to a procurement officer or a member of congress.  Maybe a lobbyist with some pull got behind it, and as if by magic, these programs were put into place.  Contractors, trainers, production teams, and corporations were then paid serious money for silly crap.  This silly crap can be harmless or it can be a detriment to American success.  It doesn't matter.  The purpose has been served, someone's made another buck off of the Pentagon.  I am convinced that Ike had multiple reasons for giving that speech about the military industrial complex.  Not only is the existence of this creature a threat to American democracy, it is solely concerned with gaining profit, not with supplying the tools and ideas to win a war.  Win, lose, they don't care.  They get paid.

        Please feel free to HR me for my informative and argumentative nature. 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

        by rbird on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 11:20:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Suckling at the public teat. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, divineorder

          It's what doling out "free" natural resources has evolved to. It's a variant of stealing their land and then selling it back to the Indians.

          "Free market" = taking free stuff to market for a profit.

          Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

          by hannah on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 03:19:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Explanation of Sesame Street for Afghans... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, rbird, divineorder

      ...someone with some connections to someone with some authority:
      a. needed a job doing something that would look good on a resume or application to grad school.
      b. needed a job that putatively appeared to be in or related to Afghanistan in order to flesh out a foreign service aspect to a DC career.
      c. some other such...


    •  I dunno. I had a good chuckle. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Thank you, MB (13+ / 0-)

    for this diary and your writing.

    Just Win, Baby. -- Al Rodgers, Feb. 24, 2012

    by OLinda on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 08:43:13 PM PDT

    •  Yes, couple of us had been wishing for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      some coverage of Afghanistan couple days ago, and POOF, our magic thinking worked because here it is!  ;0

      How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

      by divineorder on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 10:06:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  #OTC vs BTB (BitetheBullet) (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff Y, Eric Nelson, palantir, nellgwen, JeffW

    I'm sure we're all caught up on the #OfftheCliff campaign. Let all tax cuts expire. When "you people" see your paychecks shrink in 2013, you will demand that your cuts be in reinstated.
    The Repubs will have no choice; fuck Norquist. They will have to vote for it without holding it hostage to reinstating the Bush tax cuts.
    One question: have the Repubs ever given a shit about what "you people" think? Or want? Especially when it will be two years until the next election.
    Will americans bite the bullet to fight this out? How long? How long before they turn on the Dems?

    Just a thought. A lousy thought, but...

    Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

    by franklyn on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 08:47:02 PM PDT

    •  It has to be done and I'm behind it 100% (9+ / 0-)

      I'm tired of having a sleezy Washington lobbyist (Norquist) fucking up American tax policy.

      Chicago--Proud Home of the 1908 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs

      by Jeff Y on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 08:55:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tax collection is focused on tapping a portion (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      franklyn, JeffW, divineorder

      of our currency as it moves.  If it doesn't move, doesn't change hands, gets shifted around in accounts, it doesn't get taxed.  If it doesn't move and doesn't get taxed, the rate doesn't matter.
      The problem we have is that, despite the quantity of money having increased at a steady rate since 1971, the rate at which it moves through the economy has slowed by 2/3 since about 1980. There's more and more money and more and more people, but each person gets his hands on less. Why? Because money is being hoarded for purposes other than mediating exchange and trade of goods and services. Financial engineering has to be the most esoteric development ever.
      Trying to get financiers to give up their hoarding is going to be like getting teens to give up their computer games.

      Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

      by hannah on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 03:31:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wall Street Corruption (8+ / 0-)

    This is too much.  There should be more outrage!

    Occupy Wall Street should again highlight this.

    wall Street Casino is the root of the problem. Don't call them banks.

    by timber on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 08:50:24 PM PDT

    •  Begins with you! Go for it! One of the best OWS (0+ / 0-)

      stories I read about was one guy in Santa Fe who spent some of his free time each day in front of a bank and urged the customers to move their money. One guy took action. Think about it.

      Here's another idea:

      Oakland Coalition to Stop Goldman Sachs

      This coalition is united to work toward economic and social justice in the city of Oakland. We are particularly interested in severing the relationship between Oakland and Goldman Sachs.

      How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

      by divineorder on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 10:35:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can you actually tax the wealthiest people.. (13+ / 0-) your society? - asks Chris Hayes @ The Last Word with Lawrence ODonnell and Alex Wagner  7/19/2012
    Chris Hayes said/asks something rather brilliant tonight about taxes and the elites of society:

    “Look.. the taxes [returns] of extremely wealthy people are bizarre and strange and alienating. And the reason, is that they pay people a lot of money to game the system…”
    “What is remarkalbe to me about this story is that the embarrassment is about what this says about how the entire system functions.

    This is how the system functions. We no longer have the ability  in this country to really tax people at the top, and that is an existential statement about the strength of the American state.

    Which is; ‘Can you actually tax the wealthiest people in your society?’. If you can’ Greece couldn’t, we see how that goes.

    Societies that are in decline, or low on the development index [infrastructure, education, eg. spending rejected by republicans except for miitary, private mercenaries and corporate tax expenditures] have a very hard time extracting money (taxing) from the elites in their society.

    That is the direction we are headed and that is what is represented in the Mitt Romney tax return."

  •  Any Philly-area lefty talk radio fans here? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Yeah, sorry, I stole one of your guys :-D

    Bob Harper's been talkin' at me (and other theoretical computer science wonks) at the Oregon Programming Languages Summer School at the UO. Turns out homotopy type theory is the shit, and Coq's view of propositional equality and proof irrelevance are totally wrong :-)

    (It's funny, he's famous in the programming language theory community for talking smack about other people's theories and languages, and generally being opinionated and provocative. Very easy to picture him doing liberal talk radio :-D )

    Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
    Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
    Code Monkey like you!

    Formerly known as Jyrinx.

    by Code Monkey on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 08:59:04 PM PDT

  •  Romney's off on his "I know Foreign Policy" trip (10+ / 0-)

    No doubt hoping the clamor for his tax returns will die down by the time he returns.

    Romney hopes trip shows him as a statesman

    "We don't need someone who can think. We need someone with enough digits to hold a pen." ~ Grover Norquist

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 08:59:43 PM PDT

  •  the US problem in Afghanistan is crushingly basic (12+ / 0-)

    1. they don't want us there.


    2. there's no way we can force them to want us there.

    They will shoot at us forever until we leave.

  •  So, what are you people doing out there tonight? (7+ / 0-)

    Me, I'm having a very un-Patrician fudgsicle.

    I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence. --The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley

    by Wildthumb on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 09:03:47 PM PDT

    •  I just got home (8+ / 0-)

      I have to do some research for my mother on a particular wine she wants me to look for.
      A Riesling -Peter Mertes.
        She drank it on her vacation that she just got home from.
        Then I'm going to the bathroom.
        Then I'm going to get my night cloths on and relax watching something.
        Later on I'll have an un-Patrician Dryers Pomegranate frozen Fruit bar.

        Rachel's show was very good tonight. So was Lawrence.
        But on the Ed Show there was a panel talking about Michele Bachmann and the dangerous, evil and on-going, fear mongering witch hunt.
        There was a political comedian John Fugelsang and he said after a clip. "Actually if you read it, it's much better in the original German."
        Then he went on to say, "What a lot of people don't realize is that Michele Bachmann is one of the only Congress people serving on an out-patient basis."

      "The whole thing ended up in a stalemate tied three ways. I think I had a beer." Me

      by nellgwen on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 09:59:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am sitting in my very unpatrician... (6+ / 0-)

      ...skivvies, whilst Calamity Jean has dozed off next to me on the couch. I'm letting my very unpatrician dinner of florentine rice with cheese digest for a bit, before I head to bed. Tomorrow is the second of the three weekly visits we make to her father. It's safer to let her sleep, since she is driving, and she is somewhat comfortable on the couch. Me, not so much.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 10:09:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I forgot I forgot (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wildthumb, JeffW

         One of the best things on Rachel's show tonight was her Best New Thing in the World.
          I don't know where any of you are but if you are in Providence Rhode Island, and you still have your un-Patrician ticket to see The Who in 1979...
          You are in luck. Because The Who is going to do a show in Providence, and they are honoring those old tickets.
          The show was cancelled by the Mayor of Providence because of security issues.
          The concert was scheduled after that infamous concert in Cincinnati where people were crushed to death, and the Mayor didn't want the same thing to happen there.
          So if you still have your ticket...
          Long Live Rock
          I need it every night...

          The mayor of Providence at that time was named Buddy Cianci. His wife's name was Nancy Ann.
           So Nancy's full name was Nancy Ann Cianci.

        "The whole thing ended up in a stalemate tied three ways. I think I had a beer." Me

        by nellgwen on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 11:22:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  A good friend located some 125-ish year (5+ / 0-)

      old Sourdough starter that another friend of ours  had been given by his mom.  He picked it up over 4th of July, drove it over 750 miles, and dropped it off at my husband's office, where it sat on his desk until he brought it home.

      I babied it the last few days, feeding it twice a day  (after blending it into a bit of the very young starter I had created myself). Despite its travels, it recovered, bubbling and happy. I made the dough today. It's been proofing (rising) for the last 7 hours, and I just put it to bed in the refrigerator to proof overnight.

      So incredibly unpatrician: the gift of a starter that passes from mother to son to friend to friend to make bread to feed our families

      The bread will be baked on Saturday, and mr grover and I will drive to our friend's house to share the first loaves fresh from the oven with him and his family.

      There are things money can't buy.

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 10:33:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jumping jesus on a pogo stick (9+ / 0-)

    Sesame street?  In a stone age country?  Are they out their damned minds?

    Santorum/Bachmann 2012

    by sujigu on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 09:10:55 PM PDT

  •  Viet Na...uh, Afghanistan? nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Clio2

    Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

    by franklyn on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 09:18:24 PM PDT

  •  Shout out to Michele Bachman (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LinSea, Aunt Pat, Eric Nelson, Lying eyes

    Chicago--Proud Home of the 1908 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs

    by Jeff Y on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 09:19:04 PM PDT

  •  disconnects in war fighting. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, luckydog, squarewheel, grover

    This has always been a problem for the modern American army. (post WWII).

    Because we are physically isolated from the rest of the world, average citizens are homogenous to an incredibly huge percentage of the population.    

    Something like 37% of Americans have passports.  The rest never plan to leave the borders.  

    We have nothing to compare other cultures against, except our own.

    Add that ignorance to a powerful arms manufacturing industry, and every problem looks like it needs America and her guns.

    Americans do not realize that we are the new kids.  Everyone else on the planet has been doing the civilization thing without our help.

    We also worship technology and money.  We forget that the technology has to be sustainable for the intended population.

    We keep giving out things that can't be maintained or repaired with local skills and materials.

    All a result of magical thinking and sheer ignorance of the world.

  •  If the purpose of the US involvement in Afganistan (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, grover, Zinman, Clio2

    was to turn it into a modern stable country with a rising standard of living, I must have missed the memo. I think the war was sold as payback for the Taliban. It is difficult to achieve ambitious goals when you haven't gotten buy in from the US public.

    Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune. Walt Whitman

    by Sacramento Dem on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 09:50:31 PM PDT

  •  the old saw is that the military always fights the (5+ / 0-)

    last war but in the current situation, we are continuing to fight VN and lose the same way we lost there and we comfort ourselves with the same myths about our valiant fighting men being undercut by the DFHs at home (though many DFHs also served).
    When will we learn the lesson we should have learned circa 1958-1975?

    •  we have learned it (0+ / 0-)

      1 talk all the time about protecting the country, and how were all under threat from terrorism.

      2 don't institute a draft.

      3 make sure the economy sucks so that we have plenty of volunteers and they all come from the 90%.

      4 preach austerity, but pull the military tax dollars home to your district and make sure and increase the military budget while preaching austerity.

      we've learned the lessons very, very well.

      and remember, there's lot's of americans who are very happy with this sorry state of affairs.

      big badda boom : GRB 080913

      by squarewheel on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 10:31:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Avoids the real question: why be in Afghanistan? (6+ / 0-)

    The problem comes when we view other countires as problems to be solved rather than independent entities with their own people.   The usual answer to why be in Afghanistan (or Iraq) was to "protect us from terrorists" -- a justification that falls apart on reflection.    Terrorists require very little territory or governmental support since their aims are limited to causing physological change.    Horrific carnage has been caused by as little as one terrorist working alone in his basement, so the idea that you can stop terrorism by taking over a nation is absurd.

    •  I'm personally a believer in the creating (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      2020adam, PhilK

      terrorists theory.

      when Obama orders a drone strike which takes out 20 terrorists, i mean enemy combatants, I mean who-the -hell-knows who we hit, and 10 civilians, he just created far more than 20 new recruits.
      The level of fear that has to engender in the local population where being in the wrong place at the wrong time means your dead, cannot be good for accomplishing any supposed goal of "eliminating terrorism".

      and yet, how are you every going to bring some solace to the lives of women in places like Afghanistan if you don't have a presence of some sort there.

      Even if all you do is build schools and medical clinics wouldn't you need troops to guard the facilities from the islamic maniacs who want to burn down those same facilities ?

      big badda boom : GRB 080913

      by squarewheel on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 10:42:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Afghan women need us around like they need... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clio2, truong son traveler, JeffW

        another hole in their husbands' heads.

        Brutality toward women is either tolerated or encouraged by the Karzai government and our presence appears to have no bearing on that fact.

        •  Yes, alas (4+ / 0-)

          Certain Establishment types here in the U.S. have been wringing their hands over the plight of women in Afghanistan, on and off, since well before the war, strictly in an effort to reinforce public support for interference in Afghan affairs. U.S. intervention has not changed the status of women substantially there or anywhere else. In practice, the U.S. position is strictly hands-off deference regarding repression of women in other nations.  

          Moreover, if the U.S. Establishment has such a bleeding heart towards women, why not lean a little bit on  Saudia Arabia, which is totally repressive towards women and where, in fact, a lot of the socially extemist propaganda in the Arab world, including demands for female repression, has originated for decades? Oh, yeah, that would be because it's actually all about the oil.

          There are people in the U.S. who do care very much, of course, about the plight of women in Afghanistan and, heck, right here in the U.S., but they generally aren't in positions of power.  

    •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

      Afghanistan is basically the hard lump, the remaining difficult political problem in South Asia in which all the residual problems of South Asia are in some sense concentrated.

      Afghanistan was originally the name of a geographical and cultural area defined by mountains.  It wasn't a nation or a state when the British conquered it but a patchwork of tribes with a lot of cultural similarity from everyone being mountain farmers and herder.  The most fundamental division was between Indic peoples (the Pashtu, Beloshi, and a few minor others) in the southern half and a set of Turkic/Central Asian tribal groups (Uzbek, Kirgiz, Hazara, Turkmen) in the northern half.  There are also a few small groups in the southwest that are Iranian.

      The history is that the British conquered all of Afghanistan and out of rivalry with the Russians, who had conquered Central Asia, refused to partition the place into the Indic and Central Asian halves.  This was not a horrible problem until the British left Afghanistan and the Russians Central Asia.  The British drew lines around a mountain geography and deemed the thing within the lines a nation-state called Afghanistan.  But these national boundaries cut the ethnic Central Asians in the mountains off from the countries run by their groups- Uzbekistan and Kyryzstan etc- and also cut the Pashto and Beloshi tribal areas in half, with the other halves in Pakistan.  

      In 2001 Afghanistan was fairly close to partition.  The Central Asian groups had largely formed the Northern Alliance and the Indic groups had largely considated politically under the Taliban organization and Mullah Omar.  The Taliban was trying to conquer northern Afghanistan and the Northern Alliance was holding a line roughly at where one would draw the partition line.  The Taliban were a pretty reactionary and spiteful lot- poor, remote, and full of pride and militantly religious.  After years of fighting and spiting, they permitted Al Qaeda in on a the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend logic or something like it.

      Then the U.S. came in in late 2001, ousting the Taliban and Al Qaeda.  But somehow the Bush people overlooked the reality- that partition was a good idea- and chose to try to make a real nation-state of Afghanistan.

      I think the true objectives of the American military force in Afghanistan are to kill off Al Qaeda (particularly ObL) and the pre-2001 cadres of the Taliban to prevent a repeat.  Then they should let the place partition.  But this bizarre faith in an Afghani nation-state in Washington causes this fruitless effort to combat Taliban footsoldiers and to "rebuild" Afghanistan.  It fills the time.

      I think they should focus on nabbing the last Old Taliban cadres.  And the State Department should be quietly working on partitioning the place- the Pashtu and Beloshi want to be in or allied with Pakistan.  The Central Asians are probably better off as concerns economic development in alliance with one or more of the Central Asian countries.

      Terrorism ends when the reasons for it disappear.  Afghanistan is no longer neglected by the West and the eleven years of occupation have also been eleven years of getting contact with Modern culture and cultural goods.  The resentment is a different one now- the contact with Modern civilization is established and the military element no longer so vital to do so.  Now it's about getting that stuff in an enduring way.  Which they see India and Pakistan doing.  That means stability, proper borders, good government.  No  more terrorists.

  •   in Foust's view: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, grover, Zinman
    understand the environment
    That has too rarely been an American concern. Plus too the right wing of this country proudly shuns anything foreign

    It seems all the other considerations stem off of that first failing  - then, that war is a political conflict we have no real business deciding so failure follows as the most likely result.
    So any plans we make further complicates things.

  •  it's time to play answer the libertarian troll (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grover, jan4insight, Eric Nelson

    this is a portion of real conversation with one of those libertarian idiots who thinks that they don't need to support society:


    "I don't agree with austerity and the answer to our problems is not to cut my mother-in-law's medicare"

    "why am I responsible for your mother-in-law's medicare, why didn't she provide for herself ?"

    "well I guess the free market should have given her a good job so she could save enough for her medical expenses"

    "the free market doesn't owe her a job  ..."

    I just gave up.  American the libertarian paradise.  I can't wait.  How do you explain to someone what a civilized society is for.

     office is full of libertarian knuckleheads.

    God, I'm really growing to despise them.  You have to explain why roads are a good thing while listening to their idealological preaching about how healthcare would just be wonderful if we'd let the free market take care of it.


    big badda boom : GRB 080913

    by squarewheel on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 10:26:09 PM PDT

    •  why doesn't she provide for herself? (6+ / 0-)

      Hmmm. I wonder what the heck all those medicare payroll taxes that she paid all those years were supposed to be for, if not Medicare recipients providing for themselves?

      The problem with having discussions with people like this is that they are willfully ignorant.

      How can you discuss Medicare with someone who refuses to acknowledge that current recipients paid into it (and if theyre employed, are still paying into it), even as they protest the fact that they are currently paying the exact same taxes?

      I refuse to speak logically with these people. I'd rather try to train the squirrels in my yard not to run on the fence and annoy my dogs. The result is exactly the same: utter disregard for what is reasonable.

      But at least, squirrels are playful, adorable, and understand the idea of putting away more acorns, peanuts, kernels of corn (and whatever else they snag from bird feeders) now than they could possibly need in the winter because they know they will forget where they buried some; some will rot;  and other squirrels will dig some up and it's just easier to have more than enough to go around.

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 10:51:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ah, but the standard response is that they (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        don't want to pay those taxes, but they are forced to by tyranny.

        they could use that money for their own HI, purchased on the glorious free market, of course, and all would be well.

        naturally if your circumstances aren't such that you can do that it's your own damn fault you just didn't work hard enough.

        job creator save us !

        big badda boom : GRB 080913

        by squarewheel on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 08:03:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Don'cha just love High Irony? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, JeffW
    economic development, institution building and the rule of law, promoting internal reconciliation, good governance, providing basic services to the people are essential to success in state building.”
    This was a US political dignitary saying what we had to do in Afghanistan. We're not told if he was laughing when he said this.

    I've been describing our Wars as "lunacy" for years now, meaning the word as a descriptive one and not merely a pejorative. Good to see someone official has come up with our core problem in Afghanistan, calling it "magical thinking."

    surprised at Afghans’ ability to farm on their own.
    Apparently that critical thinking disease which has Texan school boards all in a snit, hasn't affected the Pentagon's or ForeignLand Security's policy makers and planners.

    It really is "magical thinking" and magical thinking in the absence of any ability to connect any three real-world things together. Like, how long before we are bankrupt entirely from fighting the War Formerly Known as On Terror, But Now Expanded? Like, how likely is it that human beings will come to accept forever the imposition of completely alien values in their own homes?

    Yo! CIA, NSA, FBI, ONI, Homeland Security, somebody with a brain somewhere please tell the Pentagonians their lunatic Long War cannot be won. Please! We'll be serious about global hegemony after we start the Long-Term Feeding of the World instead of figuring out how to kill 'em all off.

    The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

    by Jim P on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 10:48:55 PM PDT

    •  Its not like they have a choice. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      surprised at Afghans’ ability to farm on their own.
      They have had a few years of practice

      White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

      by BOHICA on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 11:03:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is known, but there are too many who (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P, JeffW

      .. love war - If there wasn't a reason to go to war one would be fabricatied - we have ample proof of that

      That's the thing about the Cheneys' of the world..

      somebody with a brain somewhere please tell the Pentagonians their lunatic Long War cannot be won.
      ..the chickenhawks who have never fired a weapon at an person who is firing back - Real danger in other words.

      War to them is a choice to them much like choosing to play the board game of 'RISK" instead of 'Monopoly' (although that is another real life plutocratic pastime).

      They never want to stop playing. It's vainglorious entertainment and way too lucrative. It's their drug of choice and as long as these chicken hawks are in control of policy, all our institutions under their control will carry out those policies imo

  •  At the midnight showing for The Dark Knight Rises! (0+ / 0-)

    Let's see if Bane/Bain is really meant to be a blanket attack on Romney!

    When the operation of the machine becomes so odious that you can't take part,you've got to put your bodies upon the gears;you got to make it stop.Indicate to the people who run it that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all

    by YoungArizonaLiberal on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 11:13:39 PM PDT

  •  There's a "policy" in Afghanistan? n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Garrett, lotlizard, JeffW

    "There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say." W.E.B. Dubois, 1956

    by TheMomCat on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 11:23:18 PM PDT

  •  I don't know (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The outgoing U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan said Thursday that he thinks it’s unlikely that the departure of most foreign troops by 2014 will plunge the country into another civil war or prompt a precipitous economic slide.

    “I tend to consider those unlikely scenarios,” Ryan Crocker told The Associated Press in an interview.


    what to say.
  •  Please check out my Community Spotlight (0+ / 0-)

    Diary that I posted about a Wisconsin legislator's attempt to pursue the same type of voter purge that Rick Scott is engaging in down in Florida.  All thanks to an attempt to renew faith in the integrity of our electoral process...because of all of the fraud Repugs keep chirping about that has been repeatedly discredited in Wisconsin (and virtually everywhere else.)

  •  and now, for your nightly enjoyment... (0+ / 0-)

    a "dancing horse" who's got rhythm!

    meet Fuego XII dancing his grand prix kur - and loving it!

  •  1. Invade countries (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2020adam, JeffW

    2. Magical thinking

    3. ????

    4. PROFIT!!!

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 01:37:42 AM PDT

  •  God, shooting at Aurora CO movie theater, 10 dead (0+ / 0-)

    and many in hospital.  Midnight showing of Dark Knight Rises.

    "There's been a little complication with my complication"

    by dash888 on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 02:27:48 AM PDT

  •  MB, can't we hold off on this "learning lessons".. (0+ / 0-)

    stuff until November? It's not like anyone I know is gonna die over there before then. And the next round of blowback will take years, so what's a few months?

  •  Cause and effect. (0+ / 0-)

    The inability to accurately connect cause and effect seems to pop up in a percentage of all populations. I suspect it's related to the perception of time and the sequencing function not being present or active in some brains, perhaps as a consequence of some birth trauma or subsequent injury. Since these cognitive functions are not essential and people get along quite well without them, their absence is hardly noticed.  Indeed, because the individuals lacking the capabilities that go with a sense of time tend to engage in behavior that's disappointing to them (the goof up), they are or become particularly susceptible to doing what other people tell them.  It's the safe alternative to be obedient.  And obedient people are, of course, what hierarchical organization, particularly the military, look for. Indeed, the military regimen seems almost designed to compensate for the deficits associated with a poor sense of time, distance, order, sequence, etc.
    For people who have no sense of time, things just sort of happen, magically.  They exist in an ineffable present, lacking an awareness of past, present and future. If they plan, it's a matter of having an idea that things should be different (not the conditional present tense), but, not having a sense of the future, they can't really prepare.  In a sense, preemptive behavior is behavior that's out of sequence -- a premature response (usually to fear) instead of a prepared response to an anticipated event. Perhaps the connection between cause and effect is not made because the distinction between thought and action is not perceived.  Preemptive behavior is prompted by instinct and emotion.  It is thoughtless. Thoughtless behavior relies on habit, which the military trains for because it is quicker.  Thoughtless behavior is also accurate, but not necessarily appropriate to the situation, which is often misunderstood. The military trains for situational awareness, but I suspect not successfully.  Diagnostic skills are different from executive.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

    by hannah on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 02:51:48 AM PDT

    •  Well, religion helps. Do stuff in the perpetual (0+ / 0-)

      present vis a vis some extremely hazy and conjectural future state which can't be confirmed. The only difference between shamanism and religion is whether the desired result is immediate or decades off.

      Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

      by dadadata on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 04:04:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Sesame Street example shows (0+ / 0-)

    the hubris, arrogance and ignorance of political public servants desperate to justify their role and existence as loyal patriotic Americans toward their superiors. It's a shame. If they just would withdraw and take care of their own problems at home. As if Sesame Street had solved ANY problems in public schools in the US even.

  •  Money down a rathole (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and lives cut short or ruined.  And all for what?  Exactly what does this country hope (and hope is most definitely the operative word) to do in Afghanistan whose people by and large prefer the 12th century over the 21st?

    It is difficult to believe that a poor country like Afghanistan can absorb the nearly $90 billion in aid that the U.S. spends each year when its GDP was only $20 billion in 2011. When almost three fourths of Afghanistan’s economy is driven by foreign aid expenditure, we should expect there to be fraud, waste, abuse, and corruption in the Afghan government.

    Examples of magical thinking abound, and they mostly take the form of spending incredible amounts of money for projects that go nowhere and help no one. The Kajaki Dam in Helmand province is one example – the U.S. has spent eight years and more than $500 million trying to rebuild it, and it does not work and has not helped southern Afghanistan. Another power plant near Kabul has cost almost as much, and it runs on diesel fuel the Afghan government cannot afford to supply it with.

    Similarly, the government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars paving Afghanistan’s highways on the assumption that doing so would bring security. But over the last four years, the insurgency has instead concentrated its attacks on those same paved highways – the opposite effect policymakers wanted.

    The Hill

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