General Stanley McChrystal has issued a near panicky report in which he concedes that, after eight years in country, the Pentagon is approaching "failure" in Afghanistan, as the designated enemy controls more territory than ever before and the population is tiring of foreign occupation.
Our brilliant general therefore imaginatively concludes that he needs more troops -- tens of thousands of them -- and quickly. And, oh yes, that storied Afghan army, which US taxpayers have for years been training, arming and paying, simply must be enlarged, as well.
The fact that our nation is bankrupt with trillions of dollars in debt seems never to enter the minds of Pentagon planners. But, neither did it dawn on Soviet managers, until the late 1980s when the costs of their Afghan adventure became untenable, soon leading to their societal collapse.
Largely since he's made such a big deal of it, Barack Obama is now faced with a momentous decision that will determine the fate of his presidency and the course of our country for many years to come. Either he intends to address the pressing needs of the American people or he will fight a doomed war against the Afghan people. He can't do both, as these two missions are mutually exclusive.
Will the real socialist health care please stand up?
While in a Florida union hall recently, I heard several members discussing the right-wing attack of Obama's health care plan as a gateway to socialism, at which point, one woman asserted, "If the public option is socialism then socialism is what we need!"
Ironically, when stopping at a turnpike rest stop this weekend I was overwhelmed by three busloads of New Jersey's Tea Party activists returning from this weekend's "anti-Obama-care" rally in DC.
From these two brief and wondrous experiences, I wondered why we weren't taking more opportunity to engage working people in this battle of ideas.
Just like the Florida union activist, the "tea-baggers" (a recently popularized, but not so recent, homophobic term) are typically working-class individuals who are facing job loss, housing foreclosure, cuts in social services, etc. Just like the union activist, these extreme conservatives are angered by the negative impacts on their lives of global finance capitalism in the form of factory closings or increased gas prices.
Yet, unlike the union member they blame the public sector, are persuaded by racism, and live in constant fear that the federal government, and President Obama in particular, is going to take away their freedom. You know...the freedom to not have health care, the freedom to not have a job, the freedom to not have a house.
The Tea Party, supported by the large insurance companies and other sectors of finance capital and the ultra right, offers simple solutions to otherwise complex problems, not unlike the BNP in Britain or the Nazis in pre WWII Germany. This we all know.
But what solutions are pro-socialists offering?
In the current political moment, we obviously want the public option to prevail. If it doesn't, not much else will.
To do so requires a strategy different from simply defending the Obama administration and the public option. Instead, our unique contribution to the fight back should differentiate a public health insurance option from socialized health care.
As the real socialists, we should step up and define real socialized medicine where doctors, pharmacists and hospital administrators are government employees. After all, the Tea Party, the general public, and the members of Congress that will ultimately make or break the public option, need to know that this is actually a compromise, and we the people ("tea baggers" included) need much, much more.
Spanish Civil War help
We are looking for anyone who might have recollections of Edward Muscala. Edward was raised in Minneapolis, was a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and died in Spain in April 1938.
Recently, a graffito that Edward carved in a ruined chapel in Aragon, Spain, has come to light. The graffito includes his name, the date (Christmas Day 1937), his hometown of Minneapolis and the words "Lincoln-Washington Battalion 15th Brigade." It is likely that he carved the graffito before the battle at Teruel.
A number of comrades became aware of Edward's graffito while on a tour of battlefields of the Spanish Civil War last fall. They, along with friends in Spain, have become involved in efforts to preserve the graffito. They are also hoping to learn what they can about Edward's life. They have located family members who have shared their recollections of Edward, but also hope to locate political friends.
If you knew Edward, or knew of him, and would like to share your recollections, please contact me at 505-858-0115 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help get story out
People's World recently covered the demonstration at the Army experience center.
After the demonstration, six protesters were arrested. One of our reporters, Managing Editor Cheryl Biren, was at the event strictly as a reporter and photographer. She was arrested by the police as she was taking photos.
We'd like to get this story wide coverage. I've written this article:
www.opednews.com/articles/OpEdNews-Reporter-Arrested-by-Rob-Kall-090914-331.html and Linda Milazzo has written this one: www.opednews.com/articles/OpedNews-Journalist-and-Si-by-Linda-Milazzo-090914-985.html
Rob Kall is publisher of opednews.com, which reaches 350-800,000+ unique visitors a month, ranked in technorati.com top 200.
California moves on ENDA
The California State Assembly passed a resolution Sept. 12 in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009 (ENDA), which would expand federal employment laws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. House Resolution 20, authored by Assembly member Mike Eng, D-Monterey Park, calls on the United States Congress to pass and for President Obama to sign the ENDA into law.
"Too often Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender workers do not report harassment or discrimination for fear of being fired," Assembly member Eng said after the Assembly adopted HR 20. "It is time our laws provide equal protections and security for all of our nation's workers."
HR 20 is a companion to Senate Resolution 27 by Senator Mark DeSaulnier, D - Concord, which was approved last week by the California State Senate. Both legislative resolutions are sponsored by Equality California.