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bito On January - 17 - 2013

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Every so often I intrude TO/OT with a personal pick of a site that I find important that I feel needs to be shared and not lost in the shuffle of the constant flow of thoughts on The Planet.

And yet with globalization, we seem to have developed a strange apprehension about the efficacy of our ability to apply the innovation and hard work necessary to successfully compete in a complex security and economic environment. Further, we have misunderstood interdependence as a weakness rather than recognizing it as a strength. The key to sustaining our competitive edge, at home or on the world stage, is credibility — and credibility is a difficult capital to foster. It cannot be won through intimidation and threat, it cannot be sustained through protectionism or exclusion. Credibility requires engagement, strength, and reliability — imaginatively applied through the national tools of development, diplomacy, and defense.

The Y Article

A National Security Narrative



Written by bito

Was once a handsome frog until kissed by an ugly corporate princess.----- Like a well honed knife, the internet can be a wonderful and useful tool. It can be used to prepare and serve a delicious meal or it can be used to cause harm. peace

13,303 Responses so far.

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  1. Nirek says:

    Why do I keep hearing that the problem is the old folks? I am old. I spent the day at the hospital (took my brother for an operation and waited to see him in recovery room). Talked to a lot of older folks and every one of them said they were frustrated with the shutdown and blamed the republicans. We old folks are strong Democratic voters!

    • Assumed Name says:

      …stereotyping is an evil that knows no bound…that and people tend to forget that being elderly is but one stage of life. (I hope to be so lucky! *smiles*)

    • AdLib says:

      Nirek, hope your brother is recovering well, sending my best thoughts your way!

      It’s not old folks who are behind the Tea Party and GOP, it’s the old folks who think like old folks. And there are plenty of younger people who think like old folks too. All the old prejudices, hatreds and fears.

      My mother is in her 80’s, she has worked for Obama’s campaign on the phones both in 2008 and 2012 and she’s raring to go in 2014 to get rid of the Tea Party. Many older folks work beside her too so absolutely, older folks can teach some of our less engaged younger people a thing or two about being part of the solution!

      • Nirek says:

        Ad, thanks for the well wishes. I went up to the hospital to bring him home this morning. He is fine.

        I fear that younger people do not respect us older folks and don’t understand that we have gained some wisdom through experience.

        • AdLib says:

          Good to hear, Nirek.

          That’s always a problem though, younger people thinking they have all the answers and discounting older people.

          Until they get into trouble, that is.

  2. agrippa says:

    The news media are like birds on a wire.
    When one comes, they all come.
    When one leaves, they all leave.

  3. Assumed Name says:

    …from the evil (sincerely w/out tongue in cheek) Huff Post an article ref. sexual assault of imprisoned youths (and of a piece with my contention that American prisons are a form of slavery):


    (Sorry to be cryptic and , most likely, not quick to respond--working, etc. *smiles*)

    • AdLib says:

      Appreciate the link, Assumed. This is atrocious. This private prison system has infiltrated into our society like a disease but cloaked as a savior and is now so embedded as well as invested in our court system and laws putting so many non-violent “criminals” in jail.

      A start would be Progressive governors being elected and changing laws imprisoning so many non-violent drug offenders. Rehab is cheaper and far more constructive.

      • Ad, one of the biggest wrongs regarding these private prisons are the “mandatory minimum,” sentences that most states have. It takes any real power to sentence on a case to case basis, away from judges. Like many of our laws today, MM sentences are draconian and should be abolished.

      • Assumed Name says:

        Absolutely, AdLib. I’m interested in the “for profit” aspect of private prisons. Do you (or anyone else) know of reliable statistics regarding he growth of private prisons, their revenue stream, how prisoners are compensated for work, etc.?

        • AdLib says:

          Assumed, I don’t have all the details and don’t know what’s available, possibly due to this:

          As it turns out, the federal disclosure system — the federal Freedom of Information Act — doesn’t apply to private prisons. So if a private prison company doesn’t explicitly reveal information, FOIA won’t force them to.

          In other words, if serious questions arise about the 27,970 or so prisoners in privately managed federal lockups or the approximately 16,500 federal immigration detainees held in privately-operated facilities under contracts with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, there’s no legal remedy in place forcing those questions to be answered.


          • Assumed Name says:

            Thank you for this source, Ad Lib. This is excellent. (Current work on servitude focuses on human trafficking (which is heinous, to be sure), but I feel strongly that imprisonment under certain conditions, is servitude as well--actual and not metaphorical.)

    • Private prisons are modern day slavery. Their stock value rises and falls according to how many they incarcerate. An incentive to imprison people is so wrong in so many ways, it’s a genuine shame on America.

      A lot of these prisons house people convicted of non violent crimes, like drug possession and sales. Most of their “crimes,” are victimless.

      There is a really good documentary about this called “The House I Live In,” done by the creator of the hit series The “Wire.” It shows, clearly, how the war on drugs perpetuates poverty stricken inner city neighborhoods and keeps our private prisons full of inmates.

      It’s really well worth watching.

  4. Nirek says:

    Charles Krauthammer was on CBS this morning claiming that the Republicans will keep the House. His reasoning was that they have so many seats that are secure.

    What I think is that some of the TP House members will lose and some of the more sane Republicans will lose to Democrats.

    Charles gave me the impression that he is a “sexual intellectual” (a F**king know it all).

    • Kalima says:

      😆 Thanks for clearing that up Nirek, I thought that Krauthammer was a bearded lady living as a hermit in Alaska or just a sour grapes Republican loser with chronic constipation.

    • Assumed Name says:

      …if only this were 2014. (People have short memories I fear…)

      • Kalima says:

        I don’t think people will forget who was responsible for the shutdown or what is sure to come next from these lunatics, and those who do, were never going to vote for a Democrat anyway because they don’t care or don’t want to know how much the country lost in revenue during those 16 days.

        If the Dems push the truth about this fiasco in their campaigns, they have a strong chance of ridding the country of some of the piles of manure taking up space in the House, as long as people who can vote, do vote.

        • Assumed Name says:

          Getting out the vote is key…and to do that, not only must eligible voters be registered, but they need to be in compliance with new voter identification requirements as well as be clear on where to go to vote. (Off topic: They changed our polling station last year from the township hall which is adjacent to the most heavily populated subdivision to a church that is isolated from residential areas. The same number of people voted--you have to have a vehicle to survive here--but I couldn’t see the logic behind the move, especially since the church probably had to be paid for the use of their space. Phooey!!)

          • Kalima says:

            What is missing in our modern society is the feeling of community that used to be so commonplace. The feeling of wanting to help others without expecting a reward. The registering is a one time thing right? So why can’t groups of concerned people with transportation access, give a few hours of their time to drive someone who can’t drive themselves to register, get the necessary documentation? On voting day a neighbour could take another neighbour to a polling station.

            A sense of community is to feel that we belong and to try to help others, and I’m sad to say that it is something that is becoming rarer and contributes to the lack of communication which leaves more people just caring about themselves than ever before.

            It might be more difficult to register new people to vote, but with a little thought, effort and a willingness to get involved, it’s not impossible. A few hours out of our day or week is not asking for the moon, and if it helps to keep the bad people out of government, isn’t it a small price to pay? Everyone who can vote, should vote.

            • Kalima says:

              Have a good evening, I’m off to cook lunch. Take care. It was great talking with you again. :)

            • Assumed Name says:


            • Kalima says:

              The Snowden fiasco has annoyed me from day one because every country spies on other countries and everyone knows it. France and Germany have to make a fuss now because it’s out in the open and people expect their leaders to be outraged. What Snowden and the drama queen Greenwald have done is to damage the way America gathers intelligence information and in my opinion, that is aiding and abetting the enemy so a serious and punishable crime against the country and the government.

              In the meantime any Tom, Dick and Harry can buy a gun to kill innocent people with. Immigration reform is stalling. Women no longer control their bodies, and a bunch of insane anarchists are allowed to hijack the functioning of the government for 16 days draining the economy by billions of dollars, who want to cut SS, Medicare and Medicaid while destroying the ACA for millions of Americans. Something is very wrong with this picture.


            • Assumed Name says:


              **Very** nice analysis reference skewed priorities--the whole Snowden oddly cum Merkle thing has irritated me greatly, and I couldn’t put my finger on the reason, but you’ve nailed the reason why.

            • Kalima says:

              I agree AN, it is sad when there was no real backlash during the time of your shutdown and yet now there are protests against NSA spying. So the country’s economy can go to pot but don’t you dare spy on us to take away our freedom. Mixed sense of priorities there because if the country is damaged and not functioning, who the hell worries about being spied on?

              About the loss of community, that is what makes people become selfish. You can maintain your privacy and still reach out to others. Actually, it’s very rewarding and costs nothing but a little of our time.

            • Assumed Name says:

              I agree, Kalima, that there is no longer strong sense of community…at least not like there was in the past. I think part of it has to do with physical mobility--at least in the States people don’t often remain or return to where they grew up. Not only are old friends scattered, but so are first generation families once children reach adulthood. In addition, in the west generally, and the US specifically there exists a cult of individualism (and individual freedom). I’m an unabashed left leaning liberal and all that, but it’s a part of the human condition that we thrive with social contact and its give and take.

              More to your point, again in the US, people aren’t particularly good about caring for but the most immediate of neighbors. There’s the radical individualism thing, and the fear of others thing (that the US is violent is just the case), and there’s the sheep thing (there are no protests against the government shut down or wage depression, and both occupy Wall Street and Wisconsin went out with a whimper).

              I dunno. It’s all rather infuriating and sad at the same time.

  5. Haruko Haruhara says:

    Pope Francis says that “Christian ideologues are a serious illness” in the Catholic Church.

    Rick Santorum responds by excommunicating Francis.


    • AdLib says:

      Haruko, thanks for this link. What Pope Francis said was really remarkable for The Pope to have said, thought I’d quote it here:

      “The faith passes, so to speak, through a distiller and becomes ideology,” he said, according to Radio Vatican. “And ideology does not beckon [people]. In ideologies there is not Jesus: in his tenderness, his love, his meekness. And ideologies are rigid, always. Of every sign: rigid.

      “And when a Christian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith: he is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitude of thought… For this reason Jesus said to them: ‘You have taken away the key of knowledge.’ The knowledge of Jesus is transformed into an ideological and also moralistic knowledge, because these close the door with many requirements.”

      “The faith becomes ideology and ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people, distances, distances the people and distances of the Church of the people,” Francis added. “But it is a serious illness, this of ideological Christians. It is an illness, but it is not new, eh?”

    • Nirek says:

      Haruko, I don’t think we have met. Glad to meet you here. I think Pope Francis is correct. The people he is talking about are those who pervert the church. They read the bible and take the parts they like and ignore the rest. Jesus was clear in his actions that the meek, poor, and sick were no worse than the rich, vociferous, and the well. (because they can afford health care)

      The Pope is calling it absolutely the way it is.

      Thanks for posting the link.

      • Nirek, that is called Catholicism ala carte. The picking and choosing of god’s law. The sheer nature of adherence to such laws reveals a serious flaw in the whole of it. It seems to be arbitrary at best.
        I have nothing against any person’s seeking a path to better understanding of the human condition, myself having been such a seeker. What I hate is totalitarianism in theology.
        I think there are short term benefits in religion and long term ill effects. The ill effects are numerous. The trend toward the end times, the allowance of slavery, the mutilation of children’s genitals, and most likely the most harmful is the idea that we are all born sinful creatures that need some sort of salvation. To me, that is the biggest assault of all. Not to mention the confinement of will.

      • Haruko Haruhara says:

        Konbanwa, Nirek.

  6. Nirek says:

    Check this out in relation to the last post of mine.

    • AdLib says:

      Heh! Using clips from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas to explain the Bush Admin seems too perfect.

      Hard to believe that just a handful of years ago, we had a President and admin performing torture as an official policy. All the outlaw behavior of the Bush years, seems like a bad dream when I think about it.

  7. Nirek says:

    I have to post this link to HP, sorry Ad.


    There is a post on the music thread that goes along with this story.
    I’ll post it after this .

    • AdLib says:

      No worries, Nirek, if that’s where the story is, so be it.

      I will be fascinated to hear more about Baker’s book but I do have my reservations about that aide’s quote since there’s been plenty of testimony about Bush going into Iraq to execute the pre-determined neocon plan to invade and take over Iraq and its oil, leading of course to their predicted domino effect which would give the US control over oil in most of the region thanks to the puppet democracies that would surely pop up after we installed one in Iraq.

  8. Kalima says:

    A Lobbyist And A Senator Walk Into A Restaurant …

  9. Haruko Haruhara says:

    The Tea Party lost. The Republicans lost. The Affordable Health Care act won? Obama won. The Democrats won. (though ultimately, they didn’t really gain anything).

    In short, the Tea Party got nothing. They got nothing. Good Day sir.

    Who didn’t see this coming? Everyone saw it coming but the Tea Party.


  10. Kalima says:

    It’s always good to know the names and see the faces of your enemies.


    Who voted against the Senate bill to end the government shutdown?


  11. Nirek says:

    In the school yard there is a bully. What is the best way to end the reign of the bully? Stand up to him and he will back down. A bully is basically a coward and when faced with someone standing there and fighting back he will retreat.

    In Congress there was a bully (Tea Party/ Ted Cruz) trying to intimidate the Democratic Party. To a person they stood up to the bully. They forced him to retreat with his “tail between his legs”.

    I’m proud our our Democratic Congressmen/women and Senators for not giving in to intimidation.

    We are going to have a Government up and running tomorrow. Thanks to the Democrats standing unanimously against the Tea Party (bully).

  12. kesmarn says:

    It’s looking as though the big boys (relatively speaking, of course) have reached some sort of accord on the debt ceiling:


    We shall see…

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