Protest Planned in OKC Against Afghanistan Escalation

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The Oklahoma City Peace House is organizing a demonstration Tuesday against escalating the military occupation in Afghanistan.

The demonstration will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at NW 23rd Street and Classen Boulevard. The Peace House is encouraging people against the escalation to bring signs and protest.

President Barack Obama, with heavy Republican and conservative Democratic support, is expected to announce Tuesday he plans to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. The planned escalation has divided the Democratic Party and could possibly lead to ongoing political turmoil within the party’s ranks, especially if it results in a growing number of deaths and casualties among American soldiers and innocent Afghanis.

On Nov. 14, the Peace House issued this statement about the military occupation in Afghanistan:

* After eight long years of war, we speak in unity: U.S. Military forces must be brought home.

* Military victory appears unachievable, or at the very least unsustainable.

* Our continued presence guarantees further escalation of long-standing anti-American sentiments.

* A surge in U.S. troop numbers will generate dramatic increases of casualties of our troops and Afghani civilians.

* We risk and even wider and deadlier regional conflict.

* Reconstruction and stability should be initiated and sustained by international peace-keeping entities and non-governmental organizations.

* Urgent domestic budget priorities demand a redirection of our tax revenues from war in Afghanistan to meeting human needs at home. Thirteen million Americans are unemployed in this economic downturn.

* We petition Congress, and the Obama administration, to initiate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan before the end of the year.

Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan has been compared by some pundits to the late President Lyndon Johnson’s disastrous decision to escalate the Vietnam War. The negative results and public fallout of that decision most likely led Johnson to not seek a second term in office.

The right-wing gets to have it both ways at this point. Obama continues to validate the right-wing’s radical, perpetual war ideology at the same time he endures the group’s bizarre criticisms that he’s an anti-military socialist or that he’s not even an American citizen.

Obama continues to alienate many voters who elected him to office in 2008. The disparity between how much hope Obama inspired in his campaign and the reality of his easy capitulation to right-wing vested interests from Wall Street bankers to the military-industrial complex is increasing political cynicism among his strongest supporters.

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Conservative Newspaper Supports Government Deficits, Waste?

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The Oklahoman editorial page continues its war against health care reform even as it supports a large escalation of the country’s military occupation in Afghanistan.

Let’s be clear: The Oklahoman editorial page continues to support deficit-increasing military occupations and wasteful defense spending while opposing a deficit-reducing domestic program that would help Americans.

Somehow this position, which contradicts historical conservative values when it comes to deficits, makes sense to the tea baggers, birthers and The Oklahoman. Perpetual military occupations, under this logic, define the essence of “freedom” while domestic programs are un-American, even socialistic.

A recent editorial titled “Government involved in health care? Why not?” (November 26, 2009) makes the overused, Reaganesque argument that government is incompetent. Consequently, government is incapable of managing health care reform or anything else.

According to the editorial in The Oklahoman,: which supposedly points out waste in the federal stimulus program:

lt has become clear the federal government doesn’t really have much of a clue about what’s going on with the money it’s disbursing.

So, according to the newspaper, nothing should be done about the country’s health care crisis because government is a terrible thing.

Compare that to the newspaper’s unqualified support for sending more troops to Afghanistan. A recent editorial, titled “Stakes high as Obama nears pivot on war,” (November 27, 2009) argues the military occupation should go on.

Obama’s decision on Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s request for 40,000 additional soldiers, to protect the Afghan civilian population and defeat a terrorist insurgency, is a chance to protect U.S. security interests and reverse a deepening sense the president and his foreign policy are weak.

The editorial doesn’t mention the occupation’s increasing costs. One organization pegs the cost of the Afghanistan occupation at more than $230 billion so far. Oklahoma’s share of that cost when divided among the states is more than $3.5 billion. Adding more troops could cost as much $1 million annually for each soldier. The editorial also doesn’t mention the obvious issue of wasteful defense spending.

None of this financial information deters The Oklahoman from its warmongering mentality. The newspaper was also a strong supporter of the botched military occupation of Iraq, perhaps the second worst foreign policy debacle in the nation’s history. That debacle has cost more than $700 billion so far.

So financial considerations only matter if it’s a national domestic program, according to The Oklahoman. Somehow it’s totally different when it comes to anything related to the military. Rack up the bills without any oversight and then support the views of U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, who wants us to forget the veterans when they come home because, well, it might cost too much. Ignore wasteful Pentagon spending practices.

The newspaper’s editorial page continues to base its credibility on slippery slope arguments, visceral appeals and contradictions. This is what passes as serious journalistic commentary these days in conservative Oklahoma. No wonder the newspaper and others are in serious decline these days.

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Planks and Dranks

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Aaargh! This is yer favorite pirate turkey Planksy, me hearties, fillin’ in for DocHoc, hoping to swig the barrel clean and coming at yer this tofurkey week with me annual planks and dranks. Imagine me, especially me, and me fearless, fowly crew—300 pirate birds a sailin’—as we fly with the wind down the streets of Oklahoma City with gobblers wavin’ purty under the Jolly Roger. Aaargh! So the rules: If yer doing scurvy, you walk me planks, lads and lasses with some sharks thrown in this here deal free. If yer doing right, yer get yer dranks, straight from Planksy’s favorite barrel and yo-ho-ho happy tofurkey times to yer. Ahoy!

Planks: Dr. No or U.S. Sen. Tommy Coburn keeps sailin’ the lily-livered way by pulling stunts to get everyone’s attention. He’s a squiffy, maties. Health benefits for war veterans? Not before scalawag spoiler Tommy gets a little media coverage and shows what a real landlubber can be like. Aaargh!

Dranks: I’m givin’ dranks this year to state Rep. Al McAffrey, who ain’t scared to call landlubber on landlubbers. When some scalawag said Oklahoma should opt out of a new federal hate crimes law, Al spoke up. Aaargh! This seadog Al knows how to sail. Here’s yer cup, me hearty. Enjoy.

Planks: Shiver me timbers! Planks galore to Oklahoma’s entire Congressional delegation, made up of mostly scalawags and lily-livered landlubbers, for opposing health care reform. The state has some of the worst medical outcomes in the country, but these here fancy pants politicos treat us like scurvy dogs, nay, the sickest scurvy dogs in the nation. Aaargh!

Dranks: More dranks than they can handle to everyone at the Oklahoma Gazette, which celebrated its 30th anniversary recently with a special issue. Me hearties, the Gazette gives OKC buccaneers their due and keeps rollin’ the presses year after year. Aye, the barrel awaits for all the lads and lasses who make this happen. Congrats.

Dranks: Special dranks go to OU quarterback Sam Bradford and OSU quarterback Zac Robinson. These buccaneers have given us Oklahoma pirate turkeys sweet treasure on Saturdays with thar playin’. Dranks and doubleloons to yer boys! Yo-ho-ho.

Special dranks: To none other than meself, yer favorite pirate turkey. Enjoy that tofurkey this year. See yer soon, me hearties.

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