Thursday, June 30, 2011

30 June 2011 GOP to Americans, “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!”

            The common historical comparisons thrown about these days have  compared the current period to Weimar and early Nazi Germany.  It is true that some of the comparisons seem to fit.  There is widespread unemployment among the working class and the middle class is joining the unemployed ranks rapidly.  Prices for staples, for heating and cooling, for transportation, are all rising at rates that outstrip the ability of families to keep up.  Health care is becoming un-affordable despite the passage of a reform bill during the last Congress. 
            We even have radio and television demagogues being paid fortunes to promote racial and religious hatred.  It is easy to place Muslims in America today in parallel to the Jews of Germany in the 1930’s.  The hatred directed toward immigrants and toward the educated class contributes to the comparison.  We seem to be bent upon placing poorly qualified  candidates who attract anti-intellectuals and the teavangelist components of our society in positions of great power.  The political right is bent upon shutting down government in their belief that favoring the wealthy and corporations will magically restore the country to its early industrial age status. 
            We need to go back a bit further in time, to the days of the French Revolution.
            In 1789, the  peasants and, to a lesser extent, the bourgeoisie, were burdened with ruinously high taxes levied to support wealthy aristocrats and their sumptuous, often gluttonous, lifestyles.
                        It was debt that led to the long-running fiscal crisis of the French government. On the eve of the revolution, France was effectively bankrupt. Extravagant expenditures on luxuries by Louis XVI, whose rule began in 1774, were compounded by debts that were run up during the reign of his even-more-profligate predecessor, Louis XV (who reigned from 1715 to 1774). Heavy expenditures to conduct the losing Seven Years' War against Britain (1756–1763), and France's spiteful attempt to poke a finger in the eye of the British by backing the Americans in their War of Independence, ran the tab up even further.
            There is a great similarity between France of 1789 and the U.S. today.  While we lack nobles, we can substitute financiers and CEOs who earn more in bonuses/year than the GDP of many small nations.  The evangelical fundamentalist churches have replaced the Catholic Church in attempting to run the country and control the lives of people. As in France, these “Churches” pay no taxes while meddling in affairs of government.   We have dept incurred by one administration, caused by beginning foreign wars, passed on to the incoming administration so that the economy is badly damaged. 
            The GOP/teavangelists in concert with the corporations that own Congress have taken up the position of the French aristocracy.  Rather than relinquish their positions of political power and the wealth that comes from serving their corporate masters, the teavangelists are willing to destroy the nation’s economy.  They seem to be operating from a position that values only great wealth.  Failure to amass such fortunes seems to them to denote who is worthy of support and who is not. 
            Since most of the Congress lacks any real understanding of history, they are quite ready to make the same mistakes other leaders and governments have made.  Thus, we find the continual demand for no taxes on the rich, no social safety nets, and leaders who appeal only to the un-educated.  Then entire teavangelist wing of the Congress is feeding at the public trough while doing all they can to remove everyone else’s access to public services and to any access to a viable economy. 
            They, the GOP/teavangelists, sit surrounded by security guards – public employees – and fill their pockets from the corporate purses that then tell them how to vote.  The people who sent them to Congress have less and less while the gap between the middle class and the “nobility” grows greater than that of France in 1789. Like the nobility, refusing to relinquish privilege for the nation's survival, the GOP/teavangelists sit with their thumbs on the self-destruct switch.  They will sacrifice the nation for their corporate masters.
            Can’t afford to buy bread this week?  Just wait.  Perhaps some cake crumbs will trickle down.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

29 June 2011 No pay for Congress

            Congress is currently playing chicken with the national debt limit.  The Democrats are trying to preserve Medicare, Social Security and the social safety nets.  They hope to raise taxes for the wealthy and end subsidies for oil and gas companies.
            The GOP/teavangelists want to destroy Medicare, Social Security, and the social safety nets.  They want to lower taxes for the wealthy and destroy what is left of the middle class using taxation as a weapon.  They intend to continue subsidies to the large industries that fill the war chests of GOP legislators for re-election. 
            Congress, unlike most Americans, can receive a pay raise.  They don’t have to ask for it.  They don’t have to vote for it.  They simply have to ignore the matter and the salary fairy will fly by and fatten their paychecks.  The really ugly thing about their raise is that it is set up to happen automatically unless Congress votes to forego it.  Isn’t that a lovely little poke in the eye at a time when unemployment is far in excess of the official figure and most of us haven’t seen a raise in years!
            This year and last year, Congress chose to skip their cost of living raise.  I wonder what triggered such demonstrations of pseudo-solidarity with the average citizen.  Was it truly concern for their constituents, or was it fear that constituents might take sufficient umbrage as to defeat their re-election bid and return them to the ranks of people who actually have to show up at work and produce something other than press releases?
            This dept limit fight has the potential to destroy our economy and trigger a deepening to the worldwide depression that already stalks the globe. 
            The GOP’s latest tap-dance, a “balanced budget amendment”  that will take years to be approved if it ever makes it out of congress.  I don’t understand how anyone can support the teavangelists.  They, collectively, operate on fear, greed, bigotry, and lack of education.  They seem all too willing to vote against their own self-interest. 
            The Democrats need to realize that they will never field a candidate that suits everyone and begin to pull the moderate center into their tent.  It is time for massive campaign ad campaigns that focus on truth, not lies. 
            I hate the thought of another 2-year campaign.   However, if we don’t have it, the teavangelists will publish nothing but lies and smears, which unchecked may well do this nation in. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

28 June 2011 Recognize your local GOP?

Cassi Creek: 
            This certainly depicts our Congressman accurately.    A former OB/Gyn, he is now a teavangelist/GOP minion who can be found voting the party line at every opportunity. 
            He opposes any regulation of energy companies.  He eagerly supports mountain top removal mining and the subsequent sale of MTR coal to China in order to allow continued profits by the coal producing companies. 
            He has voted against hazardous duty pay increases for active duty troops, and against increased funding for suicide prevention among active-duty troops and veterans. 
            He wants to destroy Medicare and replace it with vouchers for corporate health care managed by insurance companies.  As a physician, he knows how rapidly those vouchers will become inadequate and how seniors will be relegated to a position of no health care as in the pre-Medicare days. 
            He opposes the EPA and FDA.  If he can’t destroy them, he will attempt to starve their functions.  He wants no regulations to maintain breathable air, potable water, and safe disposal of trash and other forms of pollution.  If he and his fellow polluters have their way, the Great Smokey Mountains will once more be subject to acid rain destruction.  Our trout fishing industry will be devastated by fouled, oxygen-depleted water. 
            Our food supply will rapidly become a source of ever-expanding food-borne illness as production plants forsake safety and clean food for a smaller production cost and greater incidence of infection.  Corporate America will not police itself. 
            China is already a source of increasing amounts of counterfeit medicines.  If our FDA is gutted, how many of us will fall prey to illness caused by pills that do nothing except fill the pockets of the greedy? 
            He will, however, support any laws that are leveled at abortion, at family planning, at sex-education in schools.  He will continue to attempt to close Planned Parenthood, lying about its actual role in today’s health care delivery for poor and working-poor women. 
            He, like all the GOP/teavanagelists, is quite willing to legislate a theocracy into being.  He will work for any regulations and laws that put his personal religion in a position that allows subversion of our 1st Amendment protection from a state religion. 
            It is time for Mr. Roe, and all his fellow teavangelists to be unseated.  They were placed into Congress by a voter base that is singularly un-informed and which is motivated by fear and bigotry.  The 2012 election will be critical.  We can stand back and allow our government to be captured by oligarchs and theocrats, or we can find candidates who will reverse the pattern of the Reagan/Bush II years.  It is up to us to block the teavangelists.  We have to begin doing so now.

“What’s wrong with this?” department:
            “First-class passengers aboard some Malaysia Airlines flights won't have to worry about being woken up by a crying baby anymore. The airline has banned infants in first class of its Boeing 747-400 jets, and has plans to do the same in their new Airbus A380 superjumbo jets, the Australian Business Traveller reported.
Cassi Creek: 
            Wouldn’t it be better to ban infants and children from the economy class seats?  The poor folks flying economy are starved, have no foot or legroom, no real reclining seats, and must pay dearly for any semblance of a meal, fluids, or other creature comforts.  To inflict the children of others on them in addition is truly cruel and should not be tolerated.  It seems far better to demand that people flying with children be required to buy 1st class seats.  There are far fewer 1st class passengers on a 747 than economy class passengers.  The loss of revenue would be minimal and the chances of open rebellion by a group of adults driven to the brink of madness by cattle car conditions and bratty behavior by parents who seem to believe that their children must be allowed to annoy others without being forced into polite, submission for the duration of the flight would be far less. Parents objecting to first class fares should be offered the option of shipping their offspring in pet crates in the cargo compartment.   If it is good enough for our dog, it is certainly good enough for their little darlings.  

Monday, June 27, 2011

27 June 2011 Have the Asian and European students stopped laughing at us yet?

Miss USA versus the Scopes — proof of evolution?
It was a hot summer in Dayton, Tenn., almost 86 years ago.
John Scopes, a 24-year-old science teacher and football coach, was to be tried for daring to teach evolution — banned at the time under Tennessee law. The famed lawyer Clarence Darrow came to his defense; the former presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan opposed him.
Crowds gathered for the trial like flies flocking to fresh meat. The press was buzzing. H. L. Mencken even showed up, producing a series of scathing tirades.
We tend to look back on this trial and grimace. Put a man on trial for teaching science? And convict him? How mortifying!
But this week, the Miss USA contestants were asked whether evolution should be taught in schools. And by and large, the answers were horrifying….”
            Perhaps if the relationship between religion and science remains so fraught, it’s because we don’t know our history. It has been a forgetful 86 years since that Tennessee summer. It has been even longer since Galileo decided that his allegiance to fact trumped his obligation to offend no one…”
            t might be offensive to people to teach evolution? Maybe it’s offensive to other people to teach special relativity, because it implies that regular relativity is not good enough. But both of them have proved handy tools for explaining the world. That’s what science is supposed to do, explain the world. It will not tell you why the world hates dodos and what it was that happened to it in its youth to make it yell incoherent things at passersby. That is religion’s job.
            “We once understood that…”
H.L. Mencken's Account 

A Reporter's Account

Cassi Creek:  Things have not changed all that much.  Not only has Tennessee preserved its students from the realities of acquiring scientific knowledge; so, it seems, has the rest of the nation. 
            I listened to the 50 contestants wrestle with the possibility that evolution might be taught to schoolchildren.  Then I called up Mencken’s account of the trial.  Mencken would have felt quite at home in today’s culture.  It is plain to see that there has been no further evolution in the genus Homo sapiens, sapiens.  The young women, obviously prime material in the process of selection for species continuation, are examples of regression rather than evolution. 
            Of course, they don’t understand that Darwin’s “theory” is in this usage, proven fact by scientific method.  “Theory” does not equate with unsubstantiated and non-provable religious dogma.  In parallel with Unified field theory, Einstein’s theory of relativity, and many other solidly proven tenets of science, evolution is reproducible observation made solid.  Even Engineering’s WAG is based upon observation, calculation, and repetition. 
            Our educator and legislators wail about falling math and science test scores when our students are measured against Asian and European students.  When we, as a society approve of teaching fairy tales as if they are true, when we equate science with religion; it is easy to see why our students are lacking. 
            Here’s the deal, folks.  If you get annoyed that all our jobs are being offshore, that we’re hiring foreign borne and trained engineers and scientists for the few remaining jobs, If you want to talk to an American when you call a help-line for your electronics; it’s simple.  Quit teaching self-esteem.  Quit funding football instead of textbooks.  Make math and science required for graduation.  If your kids can’t pass it and can’t graduate, they aren’t college material anyway.  And most important of all, religion is not science and does not belong in public schools under any guise. 
Today is our 18th anniversary.  I couldn’t be happier with the way things have turned out since we met.  I’m looking forward to the next 18 years. 
            Dinner tonight: bone-in Cowboy-cut rib eye steaks from Earth Fare.  They were $5.00 each with a coupon.  Each is well over a pound and an inch thick.  They’ll go onto the grill along with fresh corn on the cob. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

26 June 2011 It can’t start too soon!

It Has to Start With Them
Published: June 25, 2011

            “WHEN President Obama announced his decision to surge more troops into Afghanistan in 2009, I argued that it could succeed if three things happened: Pakistan became a different country, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan became a different man and we succeeded at doing exactly what we claim not to be doing, that is nation-building in Afghanistan. None of that has happened, which is why I still believe our options in Afghanistan are: lose early, lose late, lose big or lose small. I vote for early and small…
            According to Friedman, since the Cold War ended,
             “We have increasingly found ourselves at war with another global movement: radical jihadist Islam. It is fed by money and ideology coming out of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran. The attack of 9/11 was basically a joint operation by Saudi and Pakistani nationals. The Marine and American Embassy bombings in Lebanon were believed to have been the work of Iranian agents. Yet we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, because Saudi Arabia had oil, Pakistan had nukes and Iran was too big. We hoped that this war-by-bank-shot would lead to changes in all three countries. So far, it has not…
            “Until we break the combination of mosque, money and power in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which fuel jihadism, all we’re doing in Afghanistan is fighting the symptoms. The true engines propelling radical jihadist violence will still be in place. But that break requires, for starters, a new U.S. energy policy. Oh, well…”

Cassi Creek:
            I’m quite willing to agree with Friedman with regard to how we should proceed in Afghanistan and the Mid East.  The last several decades have been horribly wasteful of lives and money.  We can’t police the world or solve all its problems.  That our right-wingers would like to do so, and in doing so dominate the social and economic lives of billions of people does not give us either license or ability to attempt enforcement of a Pax Americana. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

25 June 2011 Have another piece of chicken, Congressman.

            Today’s inspirational words may be found in the New York Times:
Dangerous Imports
Published: June 24, 2011

            “The Food and Drug Administration has proposed sensible steps to cope with the dangers posed by a flood of imported food, drugs, cosmetics and medical devices. The trouble is, Congressional Republicans are determined to cut the agency’s budget when it ought to be getting an increase to deal with this worsening risk…”
Cassi Creek:
            Since Congress is about to take another paid vacation, hammering home yet again their self-elevation above the once middle-class; we may wish to consider some political theater.    Since many foods commonly served at picnics are prone to bacterial infection during processing or during final preparation, perhaps those of us who believe that the FDA serves a necessary purpose in protecting the American food chain should host one or more picnics and invite, as guests of honor, those legislators who have voiced their contempt for the FDA. 
            Fried chicken often arrives with salmonella species resident in the raw flesh.  Careless preparation can easily spread that contamination to other chicken and to side dishes.  Packing it while it is warm and then holding it through a long-winded, self-agrandizing campaign speech or two makes it quite likely to infect any number of attendees.  If lucky, the politician will be among those so chosen by their own failure to fund the FDA. 
            I never eat chicken at any sort of pot luck, picnic, or other event where the purchase, storage, preparation, and transportation are out of my direct control.  I’m not running for political office and don’t have to worry about offending a voter.  Congresspersons, on the other hand, are always running for re-election. 
            Ground beef is an excellent source of enteric upset.  Campylobacter and many other pathogens such as E. coli can spread rapidly and widely as a result of poor sanitation at preparation and packaging.  See the chart below for more information than you want to know.
            Green salads are havens for bacteria.  They are often composed of vegetables and fruits contaminated in the fields by workers and not properly cleaned at processing and packing.  Bits and pieces of lettuces, peppers, tomatoes, and other veggies and greens can and do harbor enteric pathogens that can sicken and even kill consumer/tax payers. 
            Potato salad, macaroni salad,  and other sides can be contaminated with Staph aureus, producing a fast-acting entero-toxin that will appear rapidly after ingestion.  The effect is brutal, producing upset at both ends of the GI tract. 
            I’m not, of course, suggesting that anyone should attempt to infect or otherwise transmit a food-borne illness to a GOP or teavangelist legislator.  However,  since they show so little concern for the well-being of our citizenry, and are pledged to destroy the FDA by defunding it; as the Beachboys sang,” Wouldn’t it be nice.”



Gastrointestinal infection

Certain strains of E. coli, such as O157:H7, O104:H4, O121, O26, O103, O111, O145,and O104:H21, produce potentially lethaltoxins. Food poisoning caused by E. coli can result from eating unwashed vegetables or undercooked meat. O157:H7 is also notorious for causing serious and even life-threatening complications such as hemolytic-uremic syndrome. This particular strain is linked to the 2006 United States E. coli outbreak due to fresh spinach. The O104:H4 strain is equally virulent. Antibiotic and supportive treatment protocols for it are not as well-developed (it has the ability to be very enterohemorrhagic like O157:H7, causing bloody diarrhea, but also is more enteroaggregative, meaning it adheres well and clumps to intestinal membranes). It is the strain behind the ongoing and deadly June 2011 E. coli outbreak in Europe. Severity of the illness varies considerably; it can be fatal, particularly to young children, the elderly or the immunocompromised, but is more often mild. Earlier, poor hygienic methods of preparing meat in Scotland killed seven people in 1996 due to E. coli poisoning, and left hundreds more infected. E. coli can harbour both heat-stable and heat-labile enterotoxins. The latter, termed LT, contain one A subunit and five B subunits arranged into one holotoxin, and are highly similar in structure and function to cholera toxins. The B subunits assist in adherence and entry of the toxin into host intestinal cells, while the A subunit is cleaved and prevents cells from absorbing water, causing diarrhea. LT is secreted by the Type 2 secretion pathway
If E. coli bacteria escape the intestinal tract through a perforation (for example from an ulcer, a ruptured appendix, or due to asurgical error) and enter the abdomen, they usually cause peritonitis that can be fatal without prompt treatment. However, E. coli are extremely sensitive to such antibiotics asstreptomycin or gentamicin. This could change since, as noted below, E. coli quickly acquires drug resistance.[ Recent research suggests treatment with antibiotics does not improve the outcome of the disease[citation needed], and may in fact significantly increase the chance of developing haemolytic-uremic syndrome
Intestinal mucosa-associated E. coli are observed in increased numbers in the inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis Invasive strains of E. coli exist in high numbers in the inflamed tissue, and the number of bacteria in the inflamed regions correlates to the severity of the bowel inflammation


Enteric E. coli (EC) are classified on the basis of serological characteristics and virulence properties.Virotypes include:  see chart at link

Friday, June 24, 2011

24 June 2011 Opinions I can support

“Posted at 05:24 PM ET, 06/23/2011
Eric Cantor’s deception on the budget talks

“Okay, kids, let’s review the Republican fiscal position as of today. Eric Cantor has walked out of Joe Biden’s budget talks because Democrats are insisting that tax hikes be part of any debt-ceiling deal. But Cantor and his entire party have already voted for the Ryan budget plan, a plan that does not include any tax hikes and which as a result (despite its controversial spending cuts) still racks up $5.4 trillion in fresh debt over the next decade.
Before Thursday it would have been hard to find a purer example of political posturing and hypocrisy than Republican support for a plan that adds $5.4 trillion to the debt even as Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling. But that phoniness factor has just been increased by Cantor’s huff.
“For the umpteenth time, let me say it: President Obama should insist that both sides increase the debt limit only by the amount it would take to accommodate the Ryan budget’s debt over the next decade — and then say we can work out the details later. If the president came before a microphone and uttered these few lines it would change the entire news coverage, and thus the dynamics, of this negotiation overnight. With Cantor pulling stunts like this one, isn’t it time the White House did something creative?”
            Cassi Creek:  I’m fed up with the GOP’s “no tax increases position.   I’d be happy to counter it with a “No pay for legislators” position and then add to it, “No benefits of any sort for legislators.”  They can miss a paycheck or three, lose their personal and family health care access, and spend the hot humid summer months in D.C. with “No Congressional recess.” 
            Millions of us are depending on these spoiled children to resolve the debt-ceiling limit and to deal with the budget in a manner that displays some intelligence for a change.  Did I mention that corporate lobbyists should be booted out of D.C. for the duration of the budget fight?  And while we’re at it, we should find a convenient WWII barracks complex and move Congress into it until they remember who elected them.  Perhaps a week or two with no air-conditioning, no television, no internet, and no cell phones might help them remember what they are preparing to subject the rest of the nation to. 
And  the war drags on…

Why does the Afghanistan war go on?

By Eugene Robinson, Published: June 23

“Some heard a declaration of victory, others an admission of defeat. The many contradictions in President Obama’s speech about Afghanistan Wednesday night were perhaps intended to obscure the bottom line: Tens of thousands of American troops will remain for at least three more years, some of them will be maimed or killed, and Obama offered no good reason why.
The only debate within the administration, it appears, was whether to bring home the troops far too slowly or not at all. Obama decided on the too-slowly option…
            “Three years from now, the Afghan government will still be thoroughly corrupt. The Taliban will still have considerable support, based on ethnicity and kinship, in the Pashtun heartland. Distrust of central authority will still be a defining national characteristic.
We have already done all that is within our power to eliminate the terrorist threat that Afghanistan once posed. It is not within our power to impose lasting peace and prosperity. Obama acknowledged that this can be achieved only through a political settlement. But only Afghans can make — and keep — such a deal.
In essence, we are using military means to pursue political ends that lie beyond our reach. Obama should realize that this makes no earthly sense…”
Cassi Creek:  In 2008, Obama opposed the war in Afghanistan.  Something has changed his outlook.   We won’t be given that reason.  His military advisors, doubtless, made him aware of how the withdrawal from Vietnam played out.  He has to avoid such a debacle as that.  But he needs to acknowledge the experience of his military advisers.  They know the danger of too rapid an exit. 
            I want a rapid and complete exit.  I would be happiest to see us form a battle line and begin marching/driving to the nearest deepwater port.  Any hostilities along the way should be dealt with immediately.  Once the coast is reached, bring in the ships and load the men and equipment.  Of course, along the way it would be just too bad if the Pakistani nuclear arsenal and labs were to meet with an industrial mishap. 

 Shabbat Shalom!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

23 June 2011 Circle the troops and bring them home

            The 30,000 “surge troops” essentially 3 combat divisions with support and ancillary units, are slated to be rotated home within the next year. 
            Good!  It is a start.  There is no such thing as instant withdrawal unless we are willing to leave every single bit of useful military hardware behind.  That should not happen.  The cost of replacement is too high.  The Afghans don’t need it.  Their army will not maintain it, will most likely sell or loot it if we leave it to them. 
            We left a lot of hardware to the ARVN.  Most of it was sold for black market profits, stripped for parts and then sold for scrap, captured by the PAVN, or thrown into the ocean because fleeing ARVN leaders used it to escape to nearby U.S. navy ships.  We don’t need to repeat that mistake.
            However, I believe that as we draw down our forces in Afghanistan two things will happen.  First, attacks upon our troops will increase in frequency and in efficacy.  Taliban and other anti-Karzai forces will co-opt the official Afghani army to join them, using their uniforms to more closely approach our compounds and patrols. 2nd, the official army leaders and civilian officials will increase their rates of theft and looting in preparation for their planned bailouts.  When the last U.S. combat unit leaves Afghanistan, there will be no government capable of or willing to oppose the Taliban.  We will see a route such as no one has seen since 1975. 
            So what we need to do is to pull back from risky, poorly defensible positions into strong interdiction bases.  We need to stop any patrols not necessary for continued security of those bases.  The Afghan army needs to take over all ground combat roles.  Looting of U.S. provided equipment, plants, and other resources should be stopped immediately. 
            We allowed micro-management similar to that which made Vietnam so hard to fight to prevent the capture of bin Laden at Tora Bora.  The Bush admin handed the nation two botched wars that resulted in no way to determine victory.  So it is time to follow the Nixon pattern; declare that we won and pick up our toys.  We can at least sell them for scrap if they are too badly used up.  I don’t want to see Afghans hanging onto choppers like Vietnamese. 


Posted at 09:26 PM ET, 06/22/2011
President Obama’s Afghanistan speech confirms America’s decline

            The American Century just ended. This was the phrase coined by Henry Luce, which so aptly described America as the modern-day colossus, more powerful than any nation had ever been. Wednesday night, President Obama said that power had reached its limit. He was bringing 10,000 troops home from Afghanistan. The war was not finished, but we are.
            “America, it is time to focus on nation building at home,” the president said…”
            I have heard this speech before. I heard echoes of Richard Nixon explaining “Vietnamization.” Gonna turn the war over to our stolid allies. We put them on their feet. We trained them. We supplied them. We schooled them at our elite military academies. They looked splendid in their uniforms. But when the U.S. pulled out, South Vietnam collapsed. It will happen again in Afghanistan. I think Obama knows that. He fought this war -- authorized the West Point surge -- because he did not know how to get out. Now, he does. As any previous president could have told him, it’s by getting out…”
            “Something similar has happened in Afghanistan. Bin Laden is dead. Al-Qaeda has been riddled by drones. The job is done, or done enough, and we are broke and in need of some R&R. Obama surely knows his history and does not want it repeated -- neither as tragedy nor as farce. We are not Henry Luce’s America -- not because we no longer want to be, but because we no longer can be.”