One of my duties as Music Associate at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham, AL, is to play the organ for the annual Veterans Day service. The first of these for me was one year ago. The one part of the service that really struck me was the reading of the names of all U.S. military personnel who had died in all wars during the past year. A staggering 336 names were printed in the program and read, amidst the background of a snare drum roll, with the ominous boom of a bass drum after each name. With each boom of that drum, a penetrating, sinking feeling came over me as I thought of how the loss of that one life impacted so many loved ones. It was the longest part of the service, and it went on and on, for some 45 or 50 minutes.
Author and Director Eugene Jarecki appears on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, talking about his latest book The American Way of War, his film Why We Fight, and the reaction of John McCain’s campaign staff to the Senator’s candid interview in that film. We need more mainstream media discussion of the problems that have arisen due to the industrial complex that has formed around our permanent army/navy/airforce.
It’s no secret that Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post blogger who writes from a “conservative perspective,” is not a fan of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). She had frequently written screeds attacking his foreign policy views, which she erroneously labels as “isolationism,” and his approach to politics.
Rubin is, strangely, obsessed with Paul. She’s also written missives against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), classlessly calling him a “jerk” because he got under the skin of some of his Republican colleagues for challenging them on gun control legislation.
But Rubin’s latest post on Paul is breathtakingly incoherent and downright silly. She assails Paul for comments he made earlier this week on Fox News about proposed sanctions against Iran.
“The Kentucky right-winger apparently didn’t learn anything from the reception to his speech at the Heritage Foundation earlier this year, which suggested containment as an option for Iran.” wrote Rubin on Tuesday. “In a Fox appearance, he came out with this muddled mess: Containment ‘shouldn’t be our policy. But I don’t think we should also say the extension of that, that we will never have containment as a policy. Containment actually, for 70 years, was a great policy.’”
Shortly after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) ended his 21 hour speech against ObamaCare, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) turned to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to criticize conservatives, as he has so often done in the past.
McCain, who has hinted at retirement, has gone to bat for Reid as he tried to push for onerous gun control measure and push their big spending budget into a conference with the House without a guarantee against a stealth debt limit increase. He defended President Barack Obama’s drones policy, calling opponents “wacko birds.”
This time around, however, McCain gave what was essentially the “Democratic response” to Cruz’s speech, as Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) put it yesterday on Twitter.
“I would like to make sure that my colleagues, especially those who were not here in 2009, understand that there are many of us who are oppose to ‘ObamaCare,’ as its called — the Affordable Care Act,” said McCain, who gestured quotes with his hands, “and the opposition we mounted.”
The United States just averted what would have been an unnecessary war against Syria, largely due to public opposition. But Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is already beating the drum again, this time calling for war against Iran.
I believe the Iranians are trying to develop a nuclear weapon, not build a nuclear power plant,” Graham, who supported military strikes against Syria, told Mike Huckabee last weekend on Fox News.
“Look, how we’ve handled the chemical weapons threat in Syria. If we duplicate that with the Iranians, they’re going to march toward a nuclear weapon and dare Israel to attack them,” said Graham. “So in the next six months, our friends in Israel are going to have to take the Iranians on unless the United States can send a clear signal to Iran unlike we’ve sent to Syria.
Graham, who is facing three Republican primary challengers in his bid for re-election next year, said that he plans to put together a bipartisan coalition that will support the use of force to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
“I’m going to get a bipartisan coalition together. We’re going to put together a use of force resolution, allowing our country to use military force as a last resort to stop the Iranian nuclear program to make sure they get a clear signal that all this debacle called Syria doesn’t mean we’re confused about Iran,” explained Graham. “We may be confused as a nation on what to do with the chemical weapons in Syria, but we’re not confused as a nation as to what to do with the nuclear program in Iran.”
Some days I just shake my head and wonder if I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and into Wonderland, a topsy-turvy world where everything is upside down and backwards, and nothing makes sense. Scrolling through the news stories each day is enough to make you wonder if you are on a hidden camera show, with a TV audience laughing with delight at your expressions of shock, skepticism, and bewilderment. But alas, no, the stories are real, and the world really has become that bizarre. Just a few examples from recent news:
Barack Obama, proclaimed by leftist media and academic sycophants as the smartest man ever to become president, and “sort of a god”, was made to look like an utter fool on the world stage by Russian President Vladimir Putin. After looking pathetically weak and indecisive as to how to deal with Syria after the “red line “of chemical weapons use had been crossed, Obama declared the right to initiate force against Syria without Congressional approval, but then proceeded to ask for congressional approval.
Then, when it was clear he would not get approval from not only the Republican-controlled House, but even from the Democrat-controlled Senate, Obama gave a speech to the nation, declaring he had asked Congress to delay an authorization vote in order to give diplomacy a chance (more about that in a moment). This is the political equivalent of your girlfriend dumping you unceremoniously, and then you yelling as she walks away that you think the two of you should see other people.
On the heels of several scandals — the IRS’s targeting of conservative organizations and massive spying through the NSA — and a failed push for an unnecessary war, a Gallup poll released on Friday showing that Americans’ trust in their government to handle domestic and foreign affairs is at a record low.
“Americans’ trust and confidence in the federal government’s ability to handle international problems has reached an all-time low, with 49% saying they have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence, two percentage points below the previous low of 51% recorded in 2007,” wrote Joy Wilke and Frank Newport of Gallup.
“Americans in the same survey also expressed historically low levels of confidence in the federal government’s ability to handle domestic problems, with 42% reporting a great deal or a fair amount of confidence,” they added. “This is one point below the previous low of 43% in 2011.”
The poll reflects partisan divides, depending on which party held control of the White House, with Democrats less likely to trust a Republican president and vice versa on both domestic and international issues.
There are other factors to take into account, as Gallup notes, including concerns over the economy and dissatisfaction with Congress. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that Americans are increasingly distrustful of their government, and for very good reason, given everything that has happened over the past several months and the implementation of an unpopular law (ObamaCare) that will impact virtually every American.
Despite concerns expressed by many members of Congress that the best organized groups fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are Islamic extremist, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is sending arms to rebels who hope to depose the regime:
The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration, according to U.S. officials and Syrian figures. The shipments began streaming into the country over the past two weeks, along with separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.
The arms shipments, which are limited to light weapons and other munitions that can be tracked, began arriving in Syria at a moment of heightened tensions over threats by President Obama to order missile strikes to punish the regime of Bashar al-Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons in a deadly attack near Damascus last month.
U.S. officials hope that, taken together, the weapons and gear will boost the profile and prowess of rebel fighters in a conflict that started about 2 1/2 years ago.
Despite taking his case for intervention in Syria directly to the American people on Tuesday night, President Barack Obama has been unable to sway their elected representatives in Washington. Votes continue to pile up against a potential authorization of force should a diplomatic solution fail, largely because of the confused, contradictory case the White House continues to present.
President Obama insisted that intervention against Syria was in our nation interest, even though he once again said that Bashar al-Assad’s regime didn’t represent a threat to the United States. He all but said that Assad’s government used chemical weapons against its own people, even though the Obama Administration can’t prove who ordered the attack.
And while he claimed that strikes would be a deterrent against future use of chemical weapons, President Obama didn’t present any plan for what happens should the situation in Syria escalate. The speech was basically a glorified summary of everything that has been said since the end of August, with the added detail that there may now be a diplomatic solution.
President Barack Obama did not make a convincing case for military intervention, according a CNN poll of Americans who watched the speech on Tuesday night.
Under intense criticism from members of Congress and polls showing a lack of support from the American people, President Obama hoped that he would be able to sway public opinion by taking repeating the same talking points that had been in the next for the past few weeks in a televised address.
But the CNN poll shows that 50% of Americans believe that President Obama failed to make a convincing case for military strikes. The poll found that 47% said that he did make the case, putting the results within the margin of error.
Additionally, 58% of Americans who watched the speech say that air strikes against Syria would not achieve significant goals for the United States. There was a slight shift in the numbers on this question from the pre-speech poll of the same respondents when 66% said that air strikes be unsuccessful.
Those who believe that air strikes would accomplish the United States goals’ rose from 30% pre-speech to 36% after.
Americans are, however, more confident in the outcome of a diplomatic solution brokered by Russia, with 65% saying that such an angle is likely to resolve the dispute.
Sixty-nine percent (69%) reacted positively to President Obama’s speech, with 35% describing calling their reaction “very positive” and 34% saying it was “somewhat positive.” Though that’s still a high number, it’s down from CNN’s past post-speech favorables.