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Archive for February 9th, 2010

Sarah Palin: Faux Populist

Alec Baldwin
Actor
Huffington Post– Posted: February 9, 2010 01:13 PM

So, you think Sarah Palin is embarrassed by the crib-notes-on-the-palm incident?

You’re kidding, right?

This woman, like national candidates of both parties, doesn’t draw a breath without a team of political and image consultants vetting her choices. Wardrobe, hair, make-up, speaking style, text, context. This woman hasn’t moved a muscle spontaneously since she was selected as McCain’s running mate.

These gaffes represent a gamble by Palin and her handlers, a bet they are hedging. Republicans and economically weary, anti-Obama independents want W back again. You remember. George W Bush, who, as Ann Richards famously stated, was “born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.” Bush, who stumbled through his eight years with an anti-intellectual, homespun style that embraced malapropisms and a legendarily incurious attitude toward issues and the world. Some celebrated him as honest and more real. That was all calculated, too.

Palin reads off the palm of her hand because she can’t whittle or cast a fly rod or shoot a wild animal while giving a policy speech. (Then again, who knows?) She reads her palm in order to send a message to her anti-Eastern establishment, Obama-hating, OK-You’ve-Had-Your-Black-President-Experiment, Tea Party types. That message is, “I’m just one person, doing the best I can with what God gave me. Like all y’all out there.”

And it was aimed right at that camera. Right at you and me.

I still believe in Barack Obama. Each new president since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 has been faced with an ever-growing mountain of problems that resist solutions, let alone solutions crafted with bipartisan support. Energy, America’s dwindling role in the global economy, health care, terrorism and its impacts.

We may struggle for the remainder of our history to solve those problems and we may come up short. But we are doomed to failure if we choose another incurious, phony populist who pulls off some bad Will Rogers moves and calls that a presidency.

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The Ronettes- Do I Love You

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Blackwater, Now Xe, Vying For $1 Billion Contract To Train Afghan National Police

HuffPo-  First Posted: 02- 8-10 12:36 PM   |   Updated: 02- 8-10 03:17 PM

“Blackwater Worldwide’s legal woes haven’t dimmed the company’s prospects in Afghanistan, where it’s a contender to be a key part of President Barack Obama’s strategy for stabilizing the country,” the AP reported recently.

Now called Xe Services, the company is in the running for a Pentagon contract potentially worth $1 billion to train Afghanistan’s troubled national police force. Xe has been shifting to training, aviation and logistics work after its security guards were accused of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians more than two years ago.Yet even with a new name and focus, the expanded role would seem an unlikely one for Xe because Democrats have held such a negative opinion of the company following the Iraqi deaths, which are still reverberating in Baghdad and Washington.

During the presidential campaign, then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, now Obama’s secretary of state, backed legislation to ban Blackwater and other private security contractors from Iraq.

Xe eventually lost its license to operate as guardian of U.S. diplomats in Iraq and the State Department, with Clinton at the helm, elected not to rehire the company when the contract expired in 2009. Delays in getting a new company in place led to a temporary extension of the State contract.

Derrick Crowe of Rethink Afghanistan notes that Xe is in the running for this contract “despite the fact that they’ve ‘trained’ the notoriously corrupt and incompetent Afghan Border Police. Recently, two Blackwater / Xe trainers were indicted for murdering Afghan civilians, and the company has a history of hiring people with a criminal record. Xe Services / Blackwater is a liability to the American cause around the world and doesn’t deserve another dime of taxpayer money.”

Rethink Afghanistan has posted a new video on the topic featuring Afghanistan-based correspondent Anand Gopal.

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Bolton: Either Iran Gets Nukes Or ‘Israel Or Somebody Else Uses Military Force To Stop It’

Think Progress- By Ben Armbruster on Feb 8th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Last week, Iran’s President Mahmoud Amadinejad said Tehran would have “no problem” agreeing on a deal to send its enriched uranium abroad for further enrichment. But today, Iran told the IAEA that it would back out of the deal and begin enriching its uranium stockpile in Iran.

On Fox News today, John Bolton declared that “Iran simply has no intention of being talked out of its nuclear weapons program” and that “very severe sanctions” will not work. Later, when host Gregg Jarrett asked if military action is “the only answer,” Bolton agreed:

JARRETT: Is military force probably in the end the only answer?

BOLTON: There are two outcomes, one is Iran getting its nuclear weapons, the other is Israel or somebody uses military force to stop it. That’s where we are.

Watch it:

Bolton has been calling for military strikes on Iran to eliminate its nuclear program for sometime, despite claiming that he “always said, that the use of force against Iran’s nuclear program is deeply unattractive.” Last year, he said that “targeted force” is the “only option.”

But Bolton conveniently never discusses the sobering consequences of military action on Iran. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said war with Iran would be “disastrous” and “the last thing we need.” “There is no military option that does anything more than buy time,” Gates said last year. Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni answered war hawks like Bolton calling for military action against Iran:

After you’ve dropped those bombs on those hardened facilities, what happens next? … [E]ventually, if you follow this all the way down, eventually I’m putting boots on the ground somewhere. And like I tell my friends, if you like Iraq and Afghanistan, you’ll love Iran.

A top defense official said an attack probably would “incentivize the Iranians to go all the way to weaponize” their nuclear material and have “a number of destabilizing” consequences for the region. Bolton actually thinks attacking Iran “would lead to greater stability in the region” but that if anything goes wrong, a simple “campaign of public diplomacy” will sort everything out.

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