Watch Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and journalists, military and foreign policy experts, leading economists, and many more explain just how much the war in Afghanistan will cost us over how many years. View both the trailer and full segment of Cost of War, part three of the Rethink Afghanistan documentary. Last week, we delivered a petition to Sen. John Kerry and Rep. Howard Berman, demanding oversight hearings. These hearings could raise the critical questions about costs and many other issues. Now, we want to know what questions you would ask in such hearings. Would you want to know how exactly the war is weakening the U.S. economy? What about whether more troops can solve Afghanistan’s problems or the escalating instability in Pakistan, subjects explored in parts one and two of this documentary?

Our friends at Brave New Films are in Afghanistan, finding out about the cost of this war. Is it something we should continue to finance? If so, under what restrictions? What questions do you have that aren’t being answered? Is Congress exercising its oversight authority adequately?

Visit http://rethinkafghanistan.com/

Posted via web from baratunde’s posterous

Remember New Orleans? The battle over how it will be rebuilt continues. LSU wants to demolish 249 homes and re-center the medical life of the city away from downtown. Find out more at www.savecharityhospital.com

Posted via web from baratunde’s posterous

From USA Today

Nation needs youthful idealism more than ever
By Michelle Obama for USA TODAY

Embedded in our nation’s core values is a spirit of community, generosity and entrepreneurship — a can-do attitude that says no challenge is insurmountable.
When so many people are struggling to make ends meet, we need everyone pulling together to solve our nation’s problems and to lift up our fellow Americans. And this includes our young people. Today, more than ever, we need their energy, enthusiasm and idealism.

Service groups, non-profits, faith-based organizations, philanthropists, corporations, government and individuals all have a role to play in moving this country forward, and more and more students are filling these ranks.

Every day we hear stories of people rising to the occasion and making a real difference: the retiree who volunteers at the local elementary school to help children learn to read; the woman down the block who watches out for her neighbor’s kids after school — providing a snack, some wisdom and a home with a light on until parents return from a long day of work; the mothers and fathers in a neighborhood who coach Little League and soccer and teach kids about good sportsmanship and perseverance and teamwork.

These adults know the value of service and make it an integral part of their lives. And even more importantly, by being good neighbors, concerned citizens and solid role models, they are helping to train the next generation of community leaders.

Read the rest of this entry »

The following was written by Coby W. Dillard, blogger at The Dillard Doctrine and a committed conservative who regularly represents in the comments here at Jack and Jill Politics. We all give “D” a hard time, but we appreciate his presence. His counter perspective is necessary in an open society, so I’m going to save any of my own comments for later and just present his view of the Tea Party in which he participated

Hampton Roads Tea Partiers. Coby W. Dillard On Right

Hampton Roads Tax Day Tea Party

by Coby W. Dillard

I had the honor today to join about 2,000 people at Virginia Beach Town Center for one of the many Tax Day Tea Parties across the nation.

I arrived right as one of the co-organizers was giving her speech. She highlighted the theme of our event, which was “Yes, We Care and No, You Can’t!” Focusing mainly on the facts of Congress’ taxing and spending practices of the last few years, she said “The audacity of arrogance this Congress displays is beyond comprehension.”

In attendance-that I greeted-were two politicians: Chuck Smith, who is running for the 2nd congressional district seat as a Republican, and Thelma Drake, the former Republican holder of that seat. Drake gave her perspective of how the TARP bills were passed through Congress, and concluded by telling the crowd that their actions today “were the hope of America” and thanked them for standing up “for (their) children and grandchildren.”

After Drake spoke, I let the crowd know that I-264 was backed up with people still on the highway trying to get to our event. I then introduced the next speaker, Joel Hills-the head of Regent University’s Federalist Society-who spoke on generational theft.

During his speech, some pork rinds and tea bags were delivered to Sen. Webb’s office in Virginia Beach, which was across from where our rally took place. The staffers said that whatever we brought would be donated to a shelter or a food bank.

Some signs-and there were a lot: “Can we bankrupt the country, yes we can,” “Congressional blue plate special-pork fried lies,” and the obligatory “don’t tax me, bro!” sign.

Following a USMC vet who spoke, a representative from the Patriotic Resistance took the stage. He spoke a little about his group and what they were working towards:  “a peaceful, patriotic resistance.” He was followed by a local representative from FairTax.org, who highlighted what he felt were problems with the current tax system, and some of the more unpopular taxes that have recently passed.

More signs-“don’t spread my wealth;  spread my work ethic,” “Obama-nomics=trickle-up poverty,” and “isn’t the free market supposed to be free?”

The head of the Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance was the final speaker. He spoke on the need to stay involved and active. One of his best lines was, “We have two wings on a bird; a left wing and a right wing. Both take you and your children’s money.” He also suggested that “if they don’t teach the Constitution in schools,” then parents should “teach it at home.”

I got to close out the event by thanking the two local organizers and leading the Pledge of Allegiance.  Before the Pledge, I thanked the crowd on behalf of my children and told them “My children may never know you, but they will benefit from your efforts today.”

Some things that didn’t occur at the Tea Party:

There were no attacks by a majority of the speakers that referenced President Obama directly. The representative for the Patriotic Resistance said during his speech, “When President Obama says only government can solve our problems, we resist!” and that was about the extent of it.

There were also no signs attacking President Obama from a racial angle. I did see one “stop Obama bin Lyin” sign that someone left in their truck. There were signs that suggested Obama was a socialist-and one that called him a “thief”-but nothing so objectionable that myself or the organizers had to ask that it be removed (in full disclosure, we asked people prior to the event not to bring anything that could be considered racist or offensive in nature).

All in all, a very spirited-and peaceful-event.

Note from Jack. You can read the post over at the Dillard Doctrine as well.

Afternoon Open Thread

15 Apr 2009


The Mother by Gwendolyn Brooks

Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb
Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh,
Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.

I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed
children.
I have contracted. I have eased
My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck.
I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized
Your luck
And your lives from your unfinished reach,
If I stole your births and your names,
Your straight baby tears and your games,
Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches,
and your deaths,
If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths,
Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.
Though why should I whine,
Whine that the crime was other than mine?–
Since anyhow you are dead.
Or rather, or instead,
You were never made.
But that too, I am afraid,
Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said?
You were born, you had body, you died.
It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried.

Believe me, I loved you all.
Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you
All.

Much love to SusanG and Kos over at DailyKos for linking to my post on The Rotting Racist Underbelly of the Tea Party Protests.

SusanG ended her discussion of the faux populism around the Tea Parties and its connection to the racism on display by the teabaggers in her piece “Would you like a little racism with your tea?“:

I think this is a decent starting point to judge the coverage of the Fox faux teabagging extravaganzas as they unfold. And sad to say, I’m sure we’ll come up with yet more criteria for detecting undercover (or not so undercover) racism based on those very same staged celebrations in the days ahead.

DailyKos bloggers and diarists have been on top of the truth behind the tea and it ain’t pretty. (Also check out $aveTheRich.com). Our own Jack Turner hooked me up with this DKos diary “ACORN And Conservative Paranoia“. It’s a good read & here’s a highlight:

ACORN could not merely stay a nonprofit organization advocating for certain things: they needed to be elevated in importance into something that would represent a true threat — a threat you wouldn’t get laughed out of the room for being terrified of (well, at least not in conservative circles.)

To that end, ACORN became a supposed secret arm of a secret, oppressive Obama army since nearly the first moment conservatives learned their name. It is a given to conservatives that the nominee-now-president funds and directs the group, along with the omnipresent Liberal Jewish Banker, George Soros, who is the Kevin Bacon of the conservative degrees-of-separation game. And so we arrive at the present day, yet another jump-the-shark moment of a conspiracy that has already logged more flights than the Berlin Airlift.

Operatives from ACORN, you see, are going to disrupt conservative Tea Parties.

For the next 9 days, the left-wing blogosphere and left-wing clueless pundits will hammer away with their unreality-based Tea Party smears.And on the ground, the tax-subsidized and Soros-subsidized troops are going to try and wreak havoc every way they can. Many readers and fellow bloggers have seen signs that ACORN may send in ringers and saboteurs to usurp the anti-tax, anti-reckless spending, anti-bailout message.

Now, you might ask yourself — of all the groups that would possibly disrupt a conservative Tea Party (and I am going to great lengths to take these protests seriously for one moment, so shut up please, lest we all break out in another round of laughter), why would an advocacy group for affordable, non-discriminatory housing play the front role for such a devious plan? If one were to invent an enemy, in a world chock full of potential enemies already, why would anyone choose one whose most devious skill was the ability to understand real estate contracts?

Why? Probably because ACORN happens to be led by a black woman and to do work that helps minorities. It would be ludicrous if it weren’t very frightening. Because the lie has been parroted on places like #TCOT & #teaparty on twitter, conservative blogs, talk radio and Fox News, there are elements who planned to be armed and resist the phantom ACORN bogeymen. This means a dangerous situation, especially for minorities in the vicinity. From the white supremacists over at StormFront who have given coping with ACORN a lot of thought for Tea Parties:

ACORN are communists with the potential for extreme violence, so beware. I suggest you keep your G-3, or FAL rifle ready, with you L3 kevlar body armor in case they follow you home. You might also want a legal blade length knife and/or your handgun, if you have a concealed carry permit. Also keep an eye on your loved ones.

And

Do you know what our Grandfathers would have done with Acorn back in their younger days?

I think you do.

Let’s bring back the old days in honor of our Grandfathers.

And

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Legion View Post
Yes I know a couple wn friends who are on the inside watching these marxist nut jobs.. They are college students in Chicago and they are getting paid and you woulldnt believe the **** there telling me..

Well, tell us man! What are those jews and lip-lickers up to behind closed doors?

Be careful out there today, y’all.

Again, what I’m concerned about here is the threat to minorities that radicalized and violent right wing extremists pose. Think Progress summarizes below. And Fox News shudders. Conservative bloggers like wackos Michelle Malkin and Newsbusters are spittin’ nails (cuz they got caught), and I don’t care. I support free speech. Here’s what I don’t support: incitement to violence, radical recruiting via hate speech or treason talk on our airwaves. We know already that white supremacists are planning to recruit during today’s Tax Day Tea Party protests.

Throughout the presidential campaign, the public saw extreme right-wing rhetoric on display at several McCain rallies, with some yelling “kill him” about President Obama — and others even calling him a “terrorist.”

The extreme right — those who are “hate-oriented,” “mainly antigovernment,” or those dedicated to a “single issue” — is a legitimate threat that law enforcement must deal with, according to a new assessment from the Office of Intelligence and Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security. The report, which was coordinated with the FBI and is being given to federal, state, and local law enforcement, warns:

[R]ightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.

Most extremists have made “rhetorical” statements and have “stopp[ed] short of calls for violent action,” but since the 2008 election, right-wing extremists are “reaching out to a wider audience of potential sympathizers.” Some highlights from the report:

Anti-immigration: “Rightwing extremist groups’ frustration over a perceived lack of government action on illegal immigration has the potential to incite individuals or small groups toward violence. If such violence were to occur, it likely would be isolated, small-scale, and directed at specific immigration-related targets.”Recruiting returning vets: “Rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.”

Gun-related violence: “Heightened interest in legislation for tighter firearms … may be invigorating rightwing extremist activity, specifically the white supremacist and militia movements.”

If the “uncertain economy” and a “perceived rising influence of other countries” continues, “rightwing extremism is likely to grow in strength,” the report adds. “[L]one wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.”

I saw Oliver Willis tweet this post around yesterday. This actually falls under my criteria of an uncover racist attack: unique for Obama/illogical & impossible/wild-eyed & desperate delivery by a guy struggling in the polls. Because God forbid that a God-fearing “Merican should have to accept a black man as their president and commander-in-chief. Without even allowing time for any of his policies to work or fail and within the first 100 days of Obama’s presidency, the Governor of Texas is hinting at secession of his state for reasons that are unclear. I think we all know what “states’ rights” is code for here at JJP. The last time Southerners starting bleating about “oppression” and “states’ rights” was during the battle to desegregate. Hmm, the connection would appear to be… discomfort caused by reduced oppression of black people! Here’s Glenn Beck on his radio show.

From OliverWillis.com:

Folks, this is the mainstream of the conservative movement, not some fringe nut in his or her compound with a shortwave radio and a stock of provisions.

And of course, as Abraham Lincoln could tell you, no secession is not a viable constitutional option. Idiot.

And here’s Gov. Rick Perry embarrassing himself, desperately bottom-trolling for votes in his GOP primary battle to keep his job with the more moderate Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (via DKosTV):

From the transcript:

Where’re you gonna’ stand? With an ever-growing Washington bureaucracy, or are you going to stand with the people of this state who understand the importance of state’s rights.

Texans need to stand up. They need to be heard, because the state of affairs that we find ourselves in cannot continue indefinitely…

…We think it’s time to draw the line in the sand and tell Washington that no longer are we going to accept their oppressive hand in the state of Texas. That’s what this press conference, that’s what these Texans are standing up for. There is a point in time where you stand up and say enough is enough, and I think Americans, and Texans especially have reached that point.

Jed Lewison has more context about the radicalization of the right who are vocally calling for the overthrown of the government around this story over at DailyKos.

Wednesday Open Thread

15 Apr 2009

US-POLITICS-OBAMA-EASTER EGG ROLL
The First Family Hosts the Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Good Morning.

As you make it through Hump Day, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And always, have a peaceful day.

Read the rest of this entry »

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Question: how much race-baiting, acid-tripping, premise unraveling pseudo insight can one fat, drug-addicted, sex buying leader of the Republican party fit into one hour of radio?

Answer: so very much.

Seriously, get drunk before reading this transcript, but do read it. I’ve clipped an excerpt, but the entire segment is a abstract masterpiece of crackheadian proportions.

via: Media Matters – The Limbaugh Wire for 04/14/2009.

Coming back from the break, Rush helpfully explained his comments from the top of the hour — if George W. Bush had ordered pirates shot, that evil mainstream media would have reported that Bush ordered the killing of three black teenagers on the high seas. That seems perfectly likely to us. Rush then suspected that pirates had already infiltrated the U.S., reading from a story about how two men died in a sword fight in Indiana. But it turned out that the sword used was from World War II-era Japan, so Rush’s theory went out the window.

Revisiting yet another story from yesterday, Rush noted that the woman who leapt into a polar bear enclosure at a Berlin Zoo will not face charges. As he did yesterday, Rush blamed the whole thing on global warming and Al Gore: “Why would somebody do this? Why would somebody jump into the polar bear encamp — this is — I don’t want to make a bigger deal out of this than it should be, but I think it’s — I think there’s an indication here about just how off-track everybody has become with all of this lying SOB sack-of-manure crap that is global warming.” Rush said the woman should sue Gore for the “fake” pictures of dying polar bears in An Inconvenient Truth.

Really though, stop working. Take a break from reality and delve into the collapsing abyss of nothingness that is the mind of the Leader Of The Republican Party. This is the dude the Republicans are afraid to criticize. I love you Right Wing America. I really do.

And yes, I’m a secret Muslim, black community organizer polar bear pirate… and I’m sharpening my sword right now to disrupt tomorrow’s teabagging teaparties. Because I hate freedom. And probably Jesus.

Afternoon Open Thread

14 Apr 2009


Black Man Talks of Reaping by Arna Bontemps

I have sown beside all waters in my day.
I planted deep, within my heart the fear
that wind or fowl would take the grain away.
I planted safe against this stark, lean year.

I scattered seed enough to plant the land
in rows from Canada to Mexico
but for my reaping only what the hand
can hold at once is all that I can show.

Yet what I sowed and what the orchard yields
my brother’s sons are gathering stalk and root;
small wonder then my children glean in fields
they have not sown, and feed on bitter fruit.

I’m so proud of how “No Drama” Obama handled the pirate crisis. I also appreciated that there was little exploitation, swagger or gloating about the killing of what are likely to be very young men and the capture of a 16 year old kid, one of the pirates originally holding the captain of the Maersk Alabama. What a difference from the Bush years. It’s easy to romanticize or demonize the pirates off Somalia but I’m an advocate of understanding what’s driven these desperate young men to such dangerous acts. You know, so we can stop it. It sounds sadly similar in a way to the crime trends you see among the hopeless young men of the slums outside of Paris or in America’s ghettoes & inner cities. Crime is wrong, but hopeless people without work or healthcare are always a danger to society. Clearly the short term gains of a few are taking a heavy toil on everyone else in the region as it suffers environmental damage, threatening lives and livelihoods. If we really want to stop piracy, things gonna have to change re: how Somalis are being treated by the rest of the world. Stronger security in the region needs to protect Somalis as well as protect others from the dangers of Somali pirates. I recommend reading both of these articles to understand the real dynamics of piracy in the region, and the history of piracy, generally. Here are a few excerpts.

First from a Somali journalist (via AlterNet):

After the overthrow of Siyad Barre, our charmless dictator of twenty-some odd years, two major forces of the Hawiye Clan came to power. At the time, Ali Mahdi, and General Mohamed Farah Aidid, the two leaders of the Hawiye rebels were largely considered liberators. But the unity of the two men and their respective sub-clans was very short-lived. It’s as if they were dumbstruck at the advent of ousting the dictator, or that they just forgot to discuss who will be the leader of the country once they defeated their common foe. A disagreement of who will upgrade from militia leader to Mr. President broke up their honeymoon. It’s because of this disagreement that we’ve seen one of the most devastating wars in Somalia’s history, leading to millions displaced and hundreds of thousands dead. But war is expensive and militias need food for their families, and Jaad (an amphetamine-based stimulant) to stay awake for the fighting. Therefore a good clan-based Warlord must look out for his own fighters. Aidid’s men turned to robbing aid trucks carrying food to the starving masses, and reselling it to continue their war. But Ali Mahdi had his sights set on a larger and more unexploited resource, namely: the Indian Ocean.

Already by this time, local fishermen in the coastline of Somalia have been complaining of illegal vessels coming to Somali waters and stealing all the fish. And since there was no government to report it to, and since the severity of the violence clumsily overshadowed every other problem, the fishermen went completely unheard. But it was around this same time that a more sinister, a more patronizing practice was being put in motion. A Swiss firm called Achair Parterns, and an Italian waste company called Progresso, made a deal with Ali Mahdi, that they could dump containers of waste material in Somali waters. These European companies were said to be paying Warlords about $3 a ton, where as in to properly dispose of waste in Europe costs about $1000 a ton.

Second, from The Independent:

In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tuesday Open Thread

14 Apr 2009

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Good Morning.

As you go through your day, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And always, have a peaceful day.

Read the rest of this entry »

From ABC.com:

President Obama to Lift Restrictions on Cuba
April 13, 2009 12:29 PM

ABC News’ Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller report:

At today’s daily White House briefing, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs will announce that the administration will lift travel, remittance, mail and business restrictions relating to the Communist nation of Cuba.

The changes will allow unlimited visits to family members on the island as well as unlimited remittances — the cash recent immigrants to the U.S. send to relatives back home. President Bush imposed stricter restrictions on both in 2004.

“As hard as we search, we can’t find anyone who thinks the limitations Bush put on family travel and family remittances in 2004 were a good idea,” a senior administration official tells ABC News.

The Obama administration will also take steps to enhance the flow of information by allowing U.S. telecommunications networks to link the U.S. and Cuba; and will allow an expansion of humanitarian items that can be sent to the island (including clothing, personal hygiene items and fishing equipment). It will remain illegal to send items to senior government officials and members of the Communist Party.
“These steps are being taken in support of the Cuban people’s desire to freely determine their own future and to open up the space needed to see democratic progress in Cuba,” says a White House official.

Rest of article for link above.

Time to go all the way. Lift the embargo. Period. It’s time to turn a new chapter in Cuba. The President won in Florida in 2008. He would have won in 2008 WITHOUT Cuba.

Lift the embargo.


Who We Are

Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

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