Obama Administration Commits America to Troops in Afghanistan Until 2024

America and Afghanistan have reached a “bilateral security agreement” to keep troops in Afghanistan until 2024.

Discussions leading up to the agreement were marked by what at least one article terms “brinksmanship” over whether or not the United States would apologize for actions in the recent Afghan war. We stood tough on that. No apology.

However, our government has committed us — meaning you and me — to continue spending billions of dollars in Afghanistan for at least the next 10 years. If past is prelude, this agreement is actually an agreement in perpetuity. World War II was over in 1945, and the Cold War ended in 1989, but we still have troops in Europe. And Japan. And the Philippines. And … well … everywhere we can have them.

I realize that Afghanistan may be a special case. I do not want it used again as a staging base for further attacks on America. For that reason, it may actually be in the interests of the American people, and in the interests of “keeping us safe,” to extend the time we have a military presence there.

However, the budget deficit is a serious threat to our national security, as well.

If we keep troops in Afghanistan, what are we going to cut elsewhere?

The talk in certain political circles is all about raiding social security and closing down medicare to “balance” the budget. The people are who are doing this are actually engaging in a ruse. The reason for raiding social security (and other retirement plans) is not to balance the budget. It is to drain the last big pool of available money into the coffers of special interests.

There is no way we can even begin to balance our national budget without bringing an end to the real “entitlement” that is draining our public coffers, and that is corporate welfare. The biggest pork barrel out there is military spending. Military spending has gone far beyond what is needed to keep this country safe and has become an economic anvil around our necks that is going to sink us.

It is an endless trough where the corporate hogs feed. Instead of building the roads, public transportation and goods that this country needs to stay strong, our major industry has become endless war.

No one seems to ask the question: If generations of people living off welfare become habituated to the dole and lose ambition and incentive and settle into non-productive mire, what happens to corporations that do the same thing?

Should we keep troops in Afghanistan to stop it from reverting to a staging area for further attacks on America? Perhaps. I honestly don’t know for sure. However, if we do that, we need to cut military expenditures in another area. Either that, or we should all get ready for a future of extreme personal poverty and deprivation.

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Wednesday that the United States and Afghanistan had finalized the wording of a bilateral security agreement that would allow for a lasting American troop presence through 2024 and set the stage for billions of dollars of international assistance to keep flowing to the government in Kabul.

The deal, which will now be presented for approval by an Afghan grand council of elders starting on Thursday, came after days of brinkmanship by Afghan officials and two direct calls from Mr. Kerry to President Hamid Karzai, including one on Wednesday before the announcement.

Just the day before, a senior aide to Mr. Karzai had said the Afghan leader would not approve an agreement unless President Obama sent a letter acknowledging American military mistakes during the 12-year war. But on Wednesday, Mr. Kerry emphatically insisted that a deal was reached with no American apology forthcoming.

“President Karzai didn’t ask for an apology. There was no discussion of an apology,” Mr. Kerry said. “I mean, it’s just not even on the table.”

After a war that stands as the longest in American history, the security agreement defines a training and counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan lasting at least 10 more years and involving 8,000 to 12,000 troops, mostly American.

Despite the sometimes harsh criticism from Afghan officials during the negotiations, the agreement includes concessions that the Obama administration could not win from Iraq during a similar process in 2011, leading to the final withdrawal of American troops there.

Now, the United States has at least an initial agreement from Afghan officials that American soldiers will not face Afghan prosecution in the course of their duties. And United States Special Operations forces will retain leeway to conduct antiterrorism raids on private Afghan homes — a central American demand that Afghan officials had resisted and described as the last sticking point in negotiations.

 

JFK: Cuban Missile Crisis Speech

The Cuban Missile Crisis was as close as the Cold War came to a nuclear exchange. Here is the speech in which President Kennedy explained the situation to the American people.

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Albuquerque Voters Defeat Late-Term Abortion Ban

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I wasn’t there. What that means is that I don’t know exactly what arguments, claims and counter-claims led up to this vote.

What I do know is that Albuquerque voters turned back an attempt to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. We are talking about babies that a mere week or so later in the pregnancy might very well be able to survive if they were born normally and not murdered. I would guess that there were some pretty wild machinations involved in the campaign to “sell” late-term abortions to the public.

There is no reason, none, zip, nada, to do an abortion at this stage of pregnancy to save the mother’s life. Abortions at this time always involve putting the woman through a delivery. The difference is that the baby is deliberately killed first. Woman after woman, girl after girl has testified to the barbarity of “delivering” their dead babies alone in toilettes, hotel rooms and other non-medical places, all as part of a late-term abortion.

The difference between delivering the baby and then trying to save its life, as opposed to jabbing a needle through the mother’s abdomen to kill the baby and then forcing a fast labor and delivery and letting the woman deliver alone is the difference between

1. Good medical care for both mother and child

and

2. Infanticide.

So what convinced Albuquerque voters to come out against a measure that would ban this barbarity? What inspired the healthy voter margin of 45% to 55% in favor of late-term abortion?

I don’t know, but I’m guessing that it wasn’t the truth.

One thing I do know is that this business of killing babies late-term in pregnancy does not benefit “women’s health.”

From CBS News:

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICOVoters in New Mexico’s largest city soundly defeated a ban on late-term abortions in a municipal election that was being closely watched as a possible new front in the national abortion fight.

 Voters rejected the measure 55 percent to 45 percent on Tuesday following an emotional and graphic campaign that brought in national groups and hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising. The campaign included protests that compared abortion to the Holocaust and displayed pictures of aborted fetuses.

 Activists on both sides of the issue said it was the first municipal ballot measure on the matter, which usually is debated at the state and federal level. Abortion opponents hoped a victory in Albuquerque would create momentum nationally in their long-running fight to ban abortion.

 A coalition of abortion rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and Planned Parenthood, called the results a huge victory for Albuquerque women and families.

 “Albuquerque families sent a powerful message today – they do not want the government interfering in their private medical decisions,” Micaela Cadena, of the Respect ABQ Women campaign, said in a statement. “Dangerous, unconstitutional laws like the one we rejected today have no place in Albuquerque, no place in New Mexico, no place anywhere in our nation.”

 NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said, “We hope today’s resounding defeat of this abortion ban sends a clear message to the extreme forces around the country now trying to impose their agenda on cities around this country. “

 New Mexico’s attorney general had said the ban was unconstitutional, reports CBS Albuquerque affiliate KRQE-TV.

Supreme Court Decides Not to Rule on Texas Pro Life Law (For Now)

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The United States Supreme Court has decided not to intervene in the Texas pro life law that requires abortion clinic doctors to have hospital privileges. 

That doesn’t mean that the Court has upheld the law. It also doesn’t mean that it has struck it down. It simply means that the Supreme Court has decided to let lower courts work. 

I think it’s interesting that a third of Texas abortion clinics have been forced to close because of this law that requires them to meet the same standards as other outpatient surgery facilities and that also requires that the doctors who do abortions have hospital privileges. 

I read what I think are bizarre opinions in the comboxes that laws like this are wrong because the people backing them want to limit access to abortion. That sounds a lot like the notion that abortion is everything and women are nothing.

Isn’t the primary argument behind legalizing abortion supposed to be that women will have access to safe and competent medical care? Why should abortionist be given special dispensation to perform surgeries without complying with the medical standards that are required for everything else? Why should doctors without hospital privileges being doing surgery in the first place?

From LifeNews.com:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia issued an opinion today indicating the Supreme Court will not get involved in a case out of Texas that has abortion facilities there appealing a law that has closed numerous abortion clinics that can’t protect women’s health.

In a big victory for pro-life advocates in Texas earlier this month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Lee Yeakel of the Western District Court in Austin and restored key portions of a pro-life law in Texas that will ultimately stop abortions and could close abortion clinics. Abortion clinics appealed that decision to the Supreme Court and Justice Scalia issued a ruling today saying the high court will not get involved.

“The underlying legal question — whether the new Texas statute is constitutional — is a difficult question. It is a question, I believe, that at least four members of this court will wish to consider irrespective of the 5th Circuit’s ultimate decision,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito concurring. “I would maintain the status quo while the lower courts consider this difficult, sensitive, and controversial legal matter.”

The justices voted 5-4 to leave Texas’ pro-life provisions in place and the four Democrat-appointed pro-abortion justices all voted to overturn the pro-life measure. Justice Stephen Breyer write a dissenting opinion saying he expected the case to return to the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy did not join an opinion or write their own, but they sided with Scalia, Thomas and Alito.

With the Supreme Court not intervening, the full appeals court has scheduled a hearing on the case for January to consider the lawsuit. The abortion businesses can proceed with the case there or ask another Supreme Court justice to intervene and stop the law from taking effect while the case continues.

Patheos’ Beer Guy and Choc Beer

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Patheos’ Beer Guy, Frank Weathers

My husband and I took a rambling drive through the Oklahoma hills yesterday. 

We wound around the Talihina Drive and ended up at Pete’s Place in Krebs, Oklahoma. For those of you who don’t know, that means we were well and royally fed. 

I admired the beer menu, and the good folks at Pete’s gave it to me. Here it is, for the perusal of all you poor folks out there who aren’t Okies. (And, of course, Patheos’ own beer connoisseur, Frank Weathers) I’m not a beer drinker, but those who are say that Pete’s and Choc beer are beyond compare. 

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Trading on the Female Body

What do you call doctors who run ads in college newspapers, on Facebook, etc, enticing young women to risk their health for money?

What do you call doctors who do this to sell these women’s eggs on the internet to the highest bidder to use in embryonic stem cell research or to create designer babies which they then sell for thousands of dollars?

This is not infertility treatment because the women in question are not infertile. It is a misuse of fertility drugs to hyper-stimulate a young woman’s ovaries far beyond what any fertility doctor would do. It is medicine without conscience, for profit and built on lies. The first lie is that young women can trust these doctors.

We’ve lived in a world where doctors use their powers to make people well rather than sick for so long that we just instinctively trust the white coat. But egg harvesting and surrogacy are breaches in that trust big enough to drive unnecessary deaths for the physician’s profit through.

What do you call doctors who deliberately make well people sick in order to rake in profits for themselves?

I think we should call them Mr, Ms or Mrs, as in someone who is no longer licensed to practice medicine.

Aside from the obvious misogyny of this practice, it does raise the question of whether or not anyone can trust their doctor if doctors start making well people sick to make profit.

The medical profession protects these parasitical doctors. The gay rights movement defends them by calling those who oppose them names (you should see my delete box.) Wealthy buyers of women’s bodies create television shows normalizing what is nothing more than a new form of prostitution and dehumanization of women. The feminist movement sold out women for abortion a long time ago. Elected officials bow down to the $$$ from the medical associations, the gay rights movement and the wealthy exploiters.

All the talk is about “families.”

But what about your family? What about your daughter?

In this, as so much else, you are going to have to protect your daughter alone, without the support of the powers that be, because the powers that be are busy elsewhere, raking in the cash that comes from farming your daughter’s body, compromising her health and fertility and endangering her life.

If you love your daughter, keep her away from this.

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Obamacare and Losing Your Insurance: President Says ‘This is on Me’

President Obama gave an explanation of how he turned out to be so wrong when he told Americans that under Obamacare, they could keep their health care plans if they liked them.

He says there was a “grandfather clause” in the bill that he thought would take care of this, but it didn’t work and that he is planning to “fix it.”

The video below is a clip from his explanation of this.

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Is It Possible to Have Individual Freedom of Conscience and Gay Marriage?

The debate is boiling down to a wall-punching, head-butting disaster. 

On the one side, there are gay marriage advocates who decry religious freedom and personal conscience exemptions to participation in gay marriage except for the most isolated cases, and even that quickly comes into question as discussions proceed.

On the other side, are gay marriage opponents who decry the loss of personal freedom of expression and religious liberty. They quickly move to a position of banning gay marriage to preserve their freedoms. 

Those who advocate each position have worked themselves into such a froth that they are incapable of civil discussion, much less actual compromise. I have been a victim of this myself. I lost a friend who I thought of as my brother, a friendship spanning decades of our lives and which had given both of us a great deal of love, loyalty, fun and support. He ended this friendship with the finality of an amputation because I could not support gay marriage. 

That is the level of acrimony and nastiness this issue raises. 

But in truth, the argument itself is based on considerations which have ample precedence in American life and jurisprudence to allow any and all of us to live together in harmony. America has a historic tradition of honoring freedom of conscience as it pertains to religious faith. The most poignant example of this is the exemptions we allow for those whose religious faith demands that they not participate in combat. 

We even extend this to people who are not members of a faith which demands it.

I know because a friend of mine obtained conscientious objector status after he was in the military during the Viet Nam war. He made this request based on his personal conviction that killing anyone was murder. It was not based on his faith, since he was a member of a church that did not teach this. 

The United States Army granted him conscientious objector status. I have also known Mennonite men who were granted conscientious objector status because of their faith. 

So why can’t we work out something for gay marriage? I am not talking about exemptions for established churches, even though that is absolutely necessary if America is going to be America. I am talking about preserving the conscience rights and right to religious freedom of all American citizens. 

Gay marriage zealots can be single-minded, intolerant and destructive in how they approach their cause. They resort far too often to labeling everyone who disagrees with them as bigots or some such and then excoriating and slandering these people and institutions in a concerted way that can only be described as character assassination. 

My own friend, who I would have trusted with my life, has gone on the internet and written things about me to hurt me. None of these things he’s said advance the cause of gay marriage. They are simple expressions of hatred because we disagree over this issue. 

I’m not sure what causes this level of ugliness. People who fought the great Civil Rights battles of the mid twentieth century did not engage in it, and the level of oppression and suffering they were battling makes any complaints that homosexuals have pale by comparison. 

Perhaps the difference is that Martin Luther King Jr led from a Gospel standpoint. He based his cause in the inalienable human rights found in the Gospels of Jesus Christ. People sang hymns, prayed and talked about how they were saving the soul of America before they left to face the firehoses that were turned on them in Civil Rights marchers. 

Their bravery and their powerful witness to their own humanity not only won the day, it did indeed, ennoble the soul of this nation. 

No cause can do that if it stoops to the level that some of the gay rights advocates have chosen in their work for gay marriage. There is no nobility in slander, name-calling and bald-faced bullying. There is certainly nothing of a higher calling in attempts to advance your desires by attacking and limiting the basic human rights of other people. 

That, at root, is what freedom religion and freedom of personal conscience are: Basic human rights. The freedom to believe in God and to follow your own faith is second only to the basic right to life and freedom from violence in the hierarchy of human rights. It is what separates us from the animals. 

Alone of all the creatures on this planet, we know that we are going to die. Also alone of all the creatures on this planet, we know that there is right and wrong and dignity to every human soul.

Can there be human rights for gay people and freedom of religion for everyone?

Certainly.

Is gay marriage a human right for gay people? I don’t think so.

To be honest, I think that gay marriage, if it is regarded as the same as marriage between a man and a woman, is a delusion. Two men or two women are not the same as a man and a woman. There are basic legal rights that gay couples should have, simply because the laws of America have to be for everyone. But marriage between two men or two women is simply not possible. We can all pretend and call it marriage. But that won’t make it so. 

The next question is, should gay people have the same civil rights as other Americans?

Of course.

Should every American, gay or straight, have the right to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion?

Absolutely. That’s not only imperative, it’s easily done if people of good will try to do it. 

We can work it out. We can even work it out if we change the definition of marriage. 

But will we?

I don’t know the answer to that. 

We have the means and the power. The last question is simply, do we have the will?

Blumenthal Announces Bill to Overturn State Abortion Laws

A small group of members of the United States Congress announced plans today to introduce a bill that sounds as if it would completely federalize abortion.

The proposed legislation, by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) is designed to override state regulations on abortion clinics. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA, Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Lois Frankel (D-FL) are backing the bill.

I know this is going to sound odd, but the thing that disgusts me about this the most is the title they’ve given the bill. They’re calling it the Women’s Health Protection Act. That really raises my feminist ire.

I am so sick of hearing abortion equated with “women’s health.” What, I ask you, about ovarian cancer? Or, rape? Or egg harvesting? How about sex-selected abortion?

Or … dare I say it? … unsafe, unclean abortion processing stations that call themselves clinics and that are run by doctors without hospital privileges who allow non-doctors to perform abortions and prescribe dangerous drugs without proper medical evaluation? How about outpatient surgical clinics — whose only surgery is abortion — that do not have the basic health and safety equipment that is required of every other outpatient surgical clinic?

It is so wonderful that members of the United States Congress want to spare women the egregious requirements of having doctors who are licensed and have hospital privileges and do the procedures themselves rather than farming them out to underlings. I think we need to start doing that for prostate surgery and gall-bladder surgery and appendectomies. Those are “routine” too. Let the nurse do the surgery and use doctors who can’t practice in a nearby hospital. Do it without proper medical equipment.

But wait. This is only women we want to spare the rigors of good medical care while they exercise their “right” to “women’s health” by having abortions.

If you ever wondered how someone like Kermit Gosnell was able to operate for so long, let me explain it you. This is how.

The Gosnells are protected by “abortion advocates” who oppose any and all regulations of abortion clinics.

Do they ever ask about the women who end up in clinics like Gosnells?

Or what about the women who have abortions performed by non-doctors, or who are prescribed RU-486 by a staffer with no ultrasound beforehand?

Bleeding to death from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy evidently doesn’t constitute a “women’s health” problem if the rupture was caused by an abortion drug. That’s what can happen when non-doctors prescribe these drugs without proper medical evaluation.

Why is it onerous to provide women with the same outpatient surgical care that the law requires for every other kind of surgery? Why is abortion so much more important that, ummmm, women’s health?

The emphasis on abortion at the cost of every other right, every other need and all safety precautions is not only demeaning to women, it endangers them. This proposed law is particularly egregious because it is a law against passing a law. When you read the language in the thing, it is not a statute that stands on its own. It is rather a proposal to codify limitations on what laws the states may consider.

That’s far-reaching and rather sinister. The idea has almost limitless applications that go far beyond abortion or any issue. It strikes to the heart of the notion of separation of powers in a federalist government. I expect more legislation by other members of Congress acting on behalf of special interest groups that attempts to shut down the states from enacting laws on all types of subjects, many of which will involve corporations and special interest money.

This particular piece of legislation will not become law for the simple reason that it will not get a hearing in the Republican dominated House of Representatives. However, it will be a campaign fundraiser for the Ds and a campaign issue for the Rs.

The abortion issue is necessary for both political parties. If you don’t know that, you don’t know American politics.

From Senator Blumenthal’s website:

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) – joined by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11), and Lois Frankel (D-FL-22) – announced the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013.

The Women’s Health Protection Act would protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion by stopping restrictive regulations and laws – such as those in place in states including Texas and Wisconsin – intended to curtail reproductive health services for women.

 

 

Dolan: Christian Persecution is “a Humanitarian Catastrophe’

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God love Cardinal Timothy Dolan. 

He took the podium at the annual fall assembly of Catholic Bishops to speak out for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Public Catholic reader, Manny, sent a wonderful letter to Cardinal Dolan a few weeks ago, encouraging the Cardinal to do all that he could to help persecuted Christians. Perhaps we should all take to our word processors and send letters.

Christians need to stand in unity with persecuted Christians and not be intimidated by foul-mouthed attacks from those who seek to silence us. People who try to deny the persecution of Christians and who attack those who speak out for them are fellow travelers and enablers of those who carry the guns, wield the clubs and light the flames. 

From Catholic News Agency:

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York addresses the USCCB Fall meeting Nov. 11, 2013. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York addresses the USCCB Fall meeting Nov. 11, 2013. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.

.- Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, urged his fellow bishops to be advocates of Christians persecuted for their faith around the world, encouraging prayers as well as action on their behalf.

In his address to the assembly, Cardinal Dolan said one million Christians have been killed for their faith in the first years of the 21st century, which he called “a new age of martyrs.” Citing the Pew Research Center, he said that over 70 percent of the world’s population lives in countries with restrictions on freedom of religion.

He declared a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Syria, where two Orthodox bishops have been kidnapped amid the ongoing civil war. He said the Iraq war and its consequences have “devastated” Iraq’s ancient Christian community. The 2012 attack on Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad resulted in a massacre of 58 Christians.

The cardinal also noted a “serious escalation of violence” against Christians in Egypt, where dozens of Coptic churches have been burned. An August attack on a school run by Franciscan nuns resulted in the rape of two teachers. Three nuns were paraded “as prisoners of war.”

There have also been attacks on African Christians, such as shootings of priests and church burnings …

Cardinal Dolan said the situation in India is “grave” in the aftermath of the 2008 Orissa massacres that killed hundreds of Christians and displaced thousands more. Thousands of homes and about 400 churches were destroyed. 

In addition, the cardinal noted the pressures on Christians in China, such as the state supervision and imprisonment that faces Catholic bishops and other religious leaders.

In light of these grave global challenges, Cardinal Dolan made several suggestions for action.

The bishops should encourage “a culture of prayer for persecuted Christians,” both in private prayer and in liturgical intercessions …

He encouraged the bishops to make others aware of the suffering of other Christians through their columns, blogs, speeches and pastoral letters … ask pastors to preach on the topic … encourage Catholic media to “tell the stories of today’s new martyrs.”

The bishops can insist that U.S. leaders listen to persecuted Christians and make their protection “a foreign policy priority,” he added, observing that this has not been a high priority for presidential administrations of either major political party.


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