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How to Succeed at Failing, Pentagon-Style

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  • The Pentagon’s Progress 
  • Will American “Successes” Lead to More Iraqi Military Failures?
  • Trumbo to Trump, When Did America Become So Afraid?

Nick Turse, TomDispatch

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Nick%20Turse%20%7C%20Tomorrow%27s%20Battlefield.jpgJanuary 21, 2016 | Iraq and Afghanistan are separated by more than 1,000 miles and, although they both exist in what is now known as the Greater Middle East, they had little in common -- at least until March 2003, when the Bush administration followed up its 2001 invasion of Afghanistan by invading Iraq.  Since then, they’ve had quite a bit in common, including vast infusions of U.S. funds and the massive levels of corruption that accompany them, as well as the way refugees from both countries have been joining the same flow of the desperate and dispossessed heading for Europe.  These days, with the spread of an Islamic State franchise to Afghanistan, even their insurgents are becoming part of the same “brand.” And there’s one other thing they’ve had in common in these years: ghosts.

In both countries, the U.S. military has built, on paper, vast local security forces from scratch to the tune of at least $65 billion in Afghanistan and at least $25 billion in Iraq.  Their armies and police forces have, however, both turned out to be remarkably spectral in nature.  They are filled with “ghost soldiers” and “ghost policemen” who are being paid salaries but don’t exist.  In some cases, they are quite literally already dead and wandering in the world of spirits.  Their U.S.-funded salaries are, in turn, being pocketed by commanders and other senior military officials in an operation that couldn’t be more profitable or "successful" -- at least until their ranks, sometimes thinned to nonexistence, are attacked by flesh-and-blood enemy forces.  In Iraq, in 2014, after significant parts of that country’s American-built army had abandoned its weaponry and fled its posts in the country’s northern cities in the face of modest numbers of Islamic State fighters, the prime minister announced that there were at least 50,000 “ghost” troops in his military.  (That figure was widely believed to be an underestimate.)

Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch and a fellow at the Nation Institute. He is the author, most recently, of Tomorrow's Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, as well as Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Nation, and is a contributing writer for the Intercept.

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Related:

Trumbo to Trump, When Did America Become So Afraid? Mike Hegedus, Huffington Post 

  • We, you and I, all of us, bear the responsibility of knowing and understanding what is going on--in our communities, our states, our nation and the world. 
  • Do all this from a position of strength, a positive, unafraid, place, as citizens. Be engaged, be smart, indulge yourself in critical thinking. Take nothing at face value and care enough to get the answers. 
  • Maybe not the answer you 'want' but THE answer none the less.
  • Are Americans Too Insouciant To Survive?

 

Why You Need to Care About What's Happening to Melissa Harris-Perry

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  • Today (2/26/16) it was revealed that Melissa Harris-Perry is removing herself from the air; a result of MSNBC jerking her schedule and her show around and providing her no reason for these decisions.
  • This is more than just “not cool.” It should be acknowledged and regarded as what it is. An insult to her and her work. Which, by proxy, is an insult to us.

Damon Young, Very Smart Brothas

http://verysmartbrothas.com/images/2016/02/mhp-479x430.jpg 2/26/16 | The cover photo from my Facebook profile is a screenshot of my appearance on Melissa Harris-Perry last August. I don’t get anxious much when meeting new people; at least not anymore. But I was anxious then. Partially because it was my first time on national television, and I hoped my dad and my aunts in Cincinnati would approve of my suit, posture, and hand placement. But mainly because of Melissa Harris-Perry’s status as an intellectual powerhouseTa-Nehisi Coates once called her “America’s foremost public intellectual” (a bold claim I happen to agree with). 

Basically, I didn’t want to get up there and look stupid. Also, although I was very familiar with her work and her writing and her show, I had no idea how she’d be in person. I didn’t know if I’d be meeting Miranda Priestly. (Adding another layer to this anxiety lasagna is how the show is structured. You don’t meet or even see her until 60 seconds before your segment will air.)

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. And a columnist for EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. 

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The media is NOT doing its job! Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • http://media.salon.com/2010/04/white_house_reporters_afraid_to_criticize_the_white_house-460x307.jpgThe American people deserve a better media: one that learns and remembers the role and responsibility it holds as the fourth estate. Not only do we  deserve it, but the survival of American values and functioning also  requires it.
  • We must force (political leaders) to think about the consequences of their words and their policies. But to do so we need a probing, intelligent, and courageous press - long MIA. 
  • Part 1: American Media Is Failing Us
  • Part 2: A Very Good Question for all Candidates and Reporters

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Trumbo to Trump, When Did America Become So Afraid?

  • We, you and I, all of us, bear the responsibility of knowing and understanding what is going on--in our communities, our states, our nation and the world. 
  • Do all this from a position of strength, a positive, unafraid, place, as citizens. Be engaged, be smart, indulge yourself in critical thinking. Take nothing at face value and care enough to get the answers. 
  • Maybe not the answer you 'want' but THE answer none the less.
  • Are Americans Too Insouciant To Survive?

Mike Hegedus, Huffington Post 

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/3831000/images/n-FEAR-628x314.jpgPatrick Sheandell O'Carroll via Getty Images 

02/25/2016 | Here's the scene setter. My living room, a glass of wine (or two), early evening, and---- I'm watching the recent film 'Trumbo' with Academy Award Nominee Brian Cranston in the lead role and about halfway through I jump up and yell, 'I can't believe it, it's just like today! They're talking about today!!!' I keep going on about it for nearly ten minutes, my wife alternately pausing and playing the film in between outbursts so she doesn't miss any dialog. 'What do you mean it's like today?' she wants to know. 'It's like today because those guys played on the public's fear of 'communism', wanted to deport 'unAmericans', black listed a bunch, wow, just like today!' 'Uh Huh', she says. She has seen me do this before. Back to the movie.

But even after the credits rolled and sleep intervened the thought just wouldn't go away. When did we, America and it's citizens, become so afraid? The current political climate is oft explained by my colleagues in the media and those running for office as a reflection of America's 'anger'. We're pissed off at Congress, the President, the government in general, Wall Street, big 'pharma', you name it 'we' don't like it very much. However, anger is often simply a mask to cover up something else. We're afraid.

Mike Hegedus: Media consultant, Journalism Instructor and former CNBC correspondent

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Are Americans Too Insouciant To Survive?, Paul Craig Roberts, OpEdNews

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  • The inability of Americans to realize that they are being taken into a conflict that benefits only the profits and power of the military-security complex and the ideology of a small group of crazies demonstrates the impotence of American democracy.
  • Losing Our Way

 

Series | ‘Days of Revolt’, Part 2: Chris Hedges, Jill Stein Confront the ‘Corporate Leviathan’

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  • Hedges frames the discussion by asking what the response should be “for those of us who care about reclaiming our democracy and creating an equitable fair and just society.” 
  • Series | ‘Days of Revolt’, Part 1: Chris Hedges, Jill Stein Take On the Scam of American Politics
  • Ralph Nader & Abby Martin on US Rigged Corporate Elections

Chris Hedges and Jill Stein, teleSUR / Truthdig

http://www.truthdig.com/images/eartothegrounduploads/jillsteinhedges_360.jpg teleSUR

Feb 24, 2016 | In the first installment of this two-part series for teleSUR‘s “Days of Revolt,” host and Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges and Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein identified the problem: the “corporate leviathan,” a bought two-party political system. In this episode, they discuss solutions.

There’s been a lot of chatter this campaign season—much of it from unlikely or untrustworthy sources—about how the economy is rigged. Trying to attack that issue from within the existing framework, however, isn’t going to change anything, according to these two thinkers.

Watch the full clip here to see what he and Stein come up with in the way of answers (via The Real News Network)

Jill Stein: Green Party presidential candidate

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society.  

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Series | ‘Days of Revolt’, Part 1: Chris Hedges, Jill Stein Take On the Scam of American Politics

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Ralph Nader & Abby Martin on US Rigged Corporate Elections, Ralph Nader and Abby Martin <@AbbyMartin>, Media Roots

  • A long-time political figure with unique experience fighting from the center of Washington, Nader joins Abby Martin on The Empire Files to discuss today’s political climate, the corporate government and rigged elections. 
  • Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change

Due Process is Dead: A Staggering 95% of All Inmates in America Have Never Received a Trial

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  • Justice, as an untold — though no doubt, appalling — number can attest, has been utterly abandoned for the interests of the careless expedience, apathetic convenience, and unabashed profiteering of the U.S. prison-industrial machine.
  • Scalia Funeral | Crooks rule; Officialdom Honors a Partisan Shameless Grafter

Claire Bernish, Free Thought Project  

January 25, 2016 | In the Land of the Free, one-quarter of the entire planet’s prison population, some 2.2 million people, currently languish behind bars; yet, an astonishing number of them — around 2 million — have never been to trial. Indeed, these figures categorically debunk the notion the criminal justice system in the United States maintains any semblance of its formation’s original intent: to ensure the guilty suffer punishment befitting their crimes, while the innocent avoid false conviction.

As the fundamental basis for the justice system in the United States, the Sixth Amendment states: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”

Justice, as an untold — though no doubt, appalling — number can attest, has been utterly abandoned for the interests of the careless expedience, apathetic convenience, and unabashed profiteering of the U.S. prison-industrial machine.

Claire Bernish: Avid anti-war activist, propaganda watchdog, corruption-buster, muckraker & dogged disinformation assassin | Journalist: the Anti-Media 

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Related:

Scalia Funeral | Crooks rule; Officialdom Honors a Partisan Shameless Grafter, TGP Staff,  the Greanville Post 

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  • The media prostitutes were naturally happy to report with no commentary on the ridiculously extravagant funeral accorded Antonin Scalia, one of the most notoriously corrupt reactionaries in the history of the US Supreme Court, a man who facilitated, among other things, the coming to power of George W Bush and the global corruption and appalling destruction that followed.
  • Abominations--The Passing of a Very Corrupt Man

Before Barack, Hillary, and Bernie, there was Shirley Chisholm

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“The next time a woman runs, or a black, or a Jew or anyone from a group that the country is ‘not ready’ to elect to its highest office, I believe that he or she will be taken seriously from the start … I ran because somebody had to do it first.” --Shirley Chisholm

Denise Oliver Velez, Daily Kos

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http://images.dailykos.com/images/210069/story_image/congressional_portrait.jpg?1455575723 Shirley Chisholm: The first black woman elected to Congress, and first to run for the Democratic nomination for President.  Attribution: Kadir Nelson in the Collection of the US House of Representatives

Sunday Feb 21, 2016 | As we move through the last year of Barack Obama’s presidency, and as we watch Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders vie for the Democratic Party nomination, my thoughts turn to the person who became the first black woman to be elected to Congress in 1968, and was also the first black woman to run for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1972.  I am, of course, thinking of Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm.

In one dynamic package, Mrs. Chisholm combined many of the intersectional elements we have in front of us in today’s Democratic Party. She opened the campaign doors for African Americans and for women. She also took on the establishment, refusing to be bowed or cowed by the weight of the innumerable powerful interests that shape our political landscape. The essence of her campaign slogan—“Unbought and unbossed”—has been adopted by many who came after her.

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders owe her props.

Denise Oliver Velez: Feminist, Activist, former Young Lords Party and Black Panther Party member, applied cultural anthropologist

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