Thursday, May 28, 2020
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Sunday News: “The Ice Is Leaving”; Kabul Suicide Bomber; Trump Denounces...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, August 18. Biggest Hong Kong Protest in Weeks Sends...

Friday News: “Stocks Tumble as Trump Ignites Fresh Trade Fears”; “Where...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, August 2.  The Greenland ice sheet poured 197 billion...

Friday News: “Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, January 18.  Theresa May’s Government Lives on—and So Does...

Friday News: “A sad day for America”; Mattis Departure Means “The...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, December 21.  Mattis resigns after clash with Trump over...

Tuesday News: Village Idiot Warned, Looks at Blinding Sun Anyway; Same...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, August 22. Trump outlines a revised vision, but few...

Monday News: “Failing All Tests of the Presidency”; “Trump’s White Nationalist...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, August 21. Navy destroyer arrives in Singapore after collision...

Remembering the Viet Nam Era

Viet Nam protest photo Protests_zpszyvxdduy.jpg When the neocons planned out the Bush Iraqi adventure the wave of popular sentiment toward the military arising from the first Gulf War had crested and begun to ebb. The undertow was Viet Nam. Somehow they had to make their war invulnerable to criticism. They found a shield: the troops.

Psychological operations directed against the people of the United States are not lawful. But the propaganda was so subtly crafted that the constant mantra, "Support the Troops," was never recognized for the actual message being delivered. The Iraq War was unassailable because to criticize the war was to criticize the troops. Then an unlikely propaganda ally gave the neocons 9/11. Politicians feared airing questions that begged to be asked. The military and veteran bandwagon took on a life of its own. There was no support for mass demonstrations against the war. Senior officers could take bribes and give girlfriends classified documents without indignation from our elected representatives. Support the Troops. What a contrast to the Viet Nam era. But in the end, how much support is there: compare the spending on veterans' programs to that on the continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Jack Trammell Is a Candidate of Substance

The crowd was unexpectedly large last evening at the home of Clark and Kelly Mercer in Ashland, Virginia. Expecting 50, more like 150 swarmed the unassuming Democratic candidate for Virginia's 7th Congressional District. The excitement was evident. Jack Trammell, has been thrust into a high profile race for Congress.

"I'm going to be a candidate of "yes." I'm going to be about the positive. I want to be able to reach across the aisle; I want to work with people. My career in academia ... I have friends here in the crowd who work at Randolph-Macon ... in academia we learn that research and social science functions within a peer review process where you work together collaboratively to solve problems."

Trammell's open and engaging personality is matched by his genuine sincerity and optimism. These qualities will more than make up for his freshman political status as he campaigns for soon to be former Congressman Eric Cantor's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. It is reflected in his supporters who are motivated by what is right about America rather than by bitterness and anger toward their own shadows.

"I like to say "yes" rather than "no." I say yes to change; I say yes to diversity; I say yes to ownership of your own body and mind; I say yes to possibilities; I say yes to equity; I say yes to opportunity; I say yes to responsibility to our collective good, we're too wealthy and too successful to stand by to watch that just happen without us; I say yes to a clean environment; I say yes to rules for fair play; I say yes to care before punishment; I say yes to access to healthcare; I say yes to love who you want to love; I say yes to access to education; I say yes to a fair wage."

There is much more to Jack Trammell as we will all discover going forward. My connection with him was immediate and personal as I learned his son attended Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro and later served in the Marine Corps. Mine served in Iraq; his Afghanistan. Mine returned whole; his was wounded by an IED (sadly, I don't have to spell out the acronym). There's just a whole lot more that I look forward to watching unfold.

Yes, Virginia, Trammell is positively a serious force to be reckoned with.

President Obama’s Afghanistan Speech; Tim Kaine’s Reaction


Tim Kaine's statement on President Obama's Afghanistan speech follows. I mostly agree, although I'd tie our security more to Yemen and especially Pakistan (what a mess; Christopher Hitchens has a particularly harsh take) at this point than to Afghanistan, if we're talking about specific countries (as opposed to non-state actors) we need to worry about. All in all, I'm happy to see that we're finally winding down the two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, that began in the aftermath of the 9/11/01 attacks. At this point, nearly 10 years later, we certainly need to keep Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups off balance and under constant pressure, but whether we really need to be occupying territory at such high cost, especially when we have such urgent needs here at home, is highly debatable. What do you think?
Tonight's announcement marks an important step for the United States in the global war against terrorism - a step that would not have been possible without the strategy employed by President Obama to dismantle al Qaeda's senior leadership and eliminate the organization's central command. I commend the President, our military leaders and the troops who carried out those missions, including the extraordinary Virginia Beach-based Navy SEALS responsible for capturing and killing Osama bin Laden, for a job well done.

Tonight is also a time to reflect on the sacrifice of so many American men and women who served in Afghanistan over the last decade as well as their families, many of whom are our neighbors and friends right here in the Commonwealth.

There is still more work to be done, but we are safer tonight than we were in the months following September 11th thanks to the leadership of our commanders and the bravery and dedication of our troops. As we move forward we must remember that our security is inherently linked to the situation in Afghanistan. I commend the President for his announcement and pray for a safe return of our troops still serving in the region.

A few facts about the military, and more, from Kristof

The United States spends nearly as much on military power as every other country in the world combined, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It says that we spend more than six times as much as the country with the next highest budget, China.

That's the first of four bulleted paragraphs of facts about the military offered by Nicholas Kristof in a column titled The Big (Military) Taboo. You might know that. You might even know that we have troops at 560 bases outside the United States. That's the 2nd. And the third?

The intelligence community is so vast that more people have "top secret" clearance than live in Washington, D.C.

But I have not yet offered the most shocking, from the 4th of those paragraphs, for which I suggest you continue below the fold.