Feed on
Posts
Comments



Deep thoughts

I had a friend who was a psychologist, one of the first people to use cognitive therapy. One of his philosophies is that depression results from using the word “should” — that depression is the result of telling yourself how things “should” be, instead of accepting them the way they actually are.

I was thinking how this applies to politics, and economics, and the shithole we’re in. We’re not the first people to live through tremendous negative conditions, and even in the worst of times, people sought and frequently managed not only to survive, but to find some small joys. It doesn’t do any good to allow ourselves to steep in despair. It’s a good idea to shift focus, at least some of the time. Because really, all this crap is paralyzing us.

Your thoughts?

Drone base for Willow Grove Air Force Base

Yeah, of course this is what passes for a jobs program from a lifelong Republican toady like Pat Meehan, who doesn’t even wipe his ass without checking with his betters. Why the hell would we (or any other town, for that matter) want this walking bad karma here? Dave Lindorff writes:

Although I have been a journalist now for 40 years, I have, by design, never sought an assignment as a war correspondent. The idea of dodging enemy bullets, avoiding mines, and of course “friendly” fire, has never appealed to me. And yet, even as President Obama is claiming to be having second thoughts about the drone slaughter he has been overseeing from the White House, I find that I am now a war correspondent in a combat zone in spite of myself.

A month ago I learned, courtesy of my congressional representative, Republican Pat Meehan, that my neighborhood, the Upper Dublin and Horsham area of Montgomery County, PA, is being made into a front-line battle zone in the Afghanistan War.

Not that Rep. Meehan put it that way. No. His announcement was that Montgomery and Bucks County were going to get 250 new jobs thanks to a decision by the Pentagon to set up a new piloting facility for killer drones at the currently mothballed Willow Grove Naval Air Station. This new drone piloting facility, like the ones in Nevada and upstate New York, will be flying drones not from the Willow Grove facility’s huge airfield, but in Afghanistan, Pakistan and wherever else America is fighting the so-called War on Terror.

With this decision, the war has literally come home. Two miles from my house, to be exact.

According to a report in the Lansdale Patch, a local weekly, the US Air Force “has chosen the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 111th Fighter Wing, located at the 238-acre Horsham Air Guard Station, adjacent to the shuttered Willow Grove air base to take on a new Remotely Piloted Aircraft mission.”

Effective October 1 the Air Force will have established, in already existing buildings on the currently unused base, a ground-control station for the MQ-9 Reaper. This is one of the two drones (the Predator is the other) that have been responsible for most of the drone killings during the Obama administration’s over four-year expanded use of drone warfare, and that has, according to the organization Drones Watch, been responsible for the documented deaths of over 172 children.

Col. Howard “Chip” Eissler, commander of the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 111th Fighter Wing, which had been flying A-10 Warthog ground attack jets from the base on training runs for years until the base was shut down, issued a press release saying, “This is an exciting time for our wing, and our airmen are energized to embrace this new mission.”

Two-person military teams control each Reaper from a virtual cockpit, with one serving as pilot and the other as a sensor operator. The drones, which carry deadly high-density explosive Hellfire missiles, would not be flying locally, but rather in war theaters or on missions in countries where the US is not at war, but where the Obama White House deems “enemies” to be located.

Left unsaid in the hoopla over the supposed 250 new jobs (only 75 of which would be full-time), is what it means to have combat personnel responsible for killing operating in a densely populated suburb of a major city like Philadelphia.

“I’ll get back to you on that,” a press spokesman for Rep. Meehan said, when I asked him about whether the congressman had thought about the security issues involved in locating a drone piloting operation in Horsham. He never did return the call, or a second one leaving a reminder message.

John Braxton, a leading local peace activist and founding member of US Labor Against the War (USLAW), said “We need jobs, but we need jobs for a sustainable world, not drone piloting jobs. I’m sorry to learn that our region has to play a part in illegal and immoral operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” He added, “Morality aside, it certainly doesn’t make sense to put one of these operations in a populated area. If someone decided to retaliate against the drone strikes here, it could cause a lot of injuries and deaths.” Braxton also speculated that while the Pentagon is stressing that no drones will be flying locally from the base’s airfield for domestic purposes, “These things do tend to get out of hand once they get started.”

Charles Rossi, president of the Philadelphia chapter of Veterans for Peace, said, “This is really sad. One of the things that bothers me is that they’re bringing this operation into a very populated area. That’s a major mistake. It’s a terrible, terrible idea. I’m not surprised that Pat Meehan thinks it’s great, but what a lousy idea!”

Looking for work?

Try this. Can’t hurt!

She’s out

And the investigation into her campaign had NOTHING to do with it! Crazy Eyes Bachmann:

Tornado in Erie, PA last night

Which is a little odd:

Interesting

That SCOTUS refused to hear this case. Considering abortion’s a conservative touchstone, I wonder why?

Life on Mars

Bowie:

I’ll be your mirror

Nico:

Berlin

Lou Reed and John Cale:

He didn’t answer the questions

Brad Friedman writes about Medea Benjamin interrupting Obama’s speech last week:

Here’s what she said, as well as I was able to capture her remarks from the video…

It’s not Congress. It’s you, sir. There are 102 people on a hunger strike [in the Guantanamo Bay prison]. These are desperate people. 86 have been cleared for release. You are Commander-in-Chief. You can close Guantanamo today. You can release those 86 prisoners today.

How about Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a 16-year-old American killed by drones. Is that the way we treat a 16-year-old American? Why was he killed? Can you tell us why Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was killed?
Can you tell the Muslim people their lives are as precious as our lives? Can you take the drones out of the hands of the CIA? Can you stop the signature strikes that are killing people on the basis of suspicious activities? Will you apologize to the thousands of Muslims that you have killed? Will you compensate the innocent family victims? That will make us safer here at home.

I love my country! I love the rule of law! The drones are making us less safe. And keeping people in indefinite detention in Guantanamo is making us less safe. Abide by the rule of law. You’re a Constitutional lawyer!

For the record, the President absolutely can release the 86 prisoners who have been cleared for release immediately, as Benjamin noted. He does not have to, as he likes to suggest, get approval from Congress to do that. He can release them immediately. He only needs Congressional approval to move prisoners (such as the ones who may actually face some sort of trial or military tribunal) to another prison on the U.S. mainland.

Despite his assertions to the contrary, as seen in the video below, Obama did not address the concerns of Benjamin. He did not explain why 16-year-old U.S. citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was killed. He did not answer whether drone strikes would be taken out of the hands of the unaccountable CIA and given to the slightly-more-accountable military. He did not respond to the question about compensation to the families of innocent victims killed in drone strikes. He did not speak to whether “signature strikes” with drones (attacks based on profiles of those believed to be gathered at a particular location, rather than a specific person believed to be in the group) would be ended. He should address all of those issues.

* * *

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

eXTReMe Tracker