Thousands took to the streets of London last week to protest against the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, as NATO leaders agreed on a strategy to withdraw their troops from the country. US President Barack Obama was expected to announce an exit strategy from Afghanistan at the NATO summit in Lisbon; instead he postponed troop withdrawal beyond 2014. Vice President Joe Biden told one media source: “Daddy is going to start to take the training wheels off in October — I mean in next July, so you’d better practice riding.”
End date 2014, there’s nothing firm about it. “2014 is a goal not a guarantee.”
Everything is tentative, nothing is concrete. They are pursuing what has been called an “endless war.”
What is less known is the US Government supported the Taliban, because their priority was a stable government in Kabul, that would permit the construction of a pipeline.
They needed a pipeline to transfer these giant hydrocarbon reserves, we’re talking about 206 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 60 to 200 billion gallons of oil reserves.
This was all before 2001, it was planned. There’s plenty of evidence. There’s a long speech in the Congressional Record in 1998 about the critical importance of building a new pipeline in Afghanistan.
This is all geopolitical and economic, it’s empire building.
It became converted into a war on terror, after 9/11.
At the same time there’s no money to pay unemployment compensation and all the urgent social needs at home to put people back to work
The anti-war movement needs to reiterate the origins of the war and the rationale.
There’s no draft, only a small percent of the population has placed Afghanistan at the top of the priority list.
Past anti-war movements: we had a mass base among the students. We need to tie the war to the economic crisis, bring the war dollars home.
When they kill leaders, they get replaced, and it generates recruiting among the insurgents.
US Labor Against the War was able to get the AFL-CIO to take a position of rapid withdrawal from Iraq.
Our biggest problem in terms of constituencies, we do not have a mass base. It’s the students, the labor movement and the religious community. Everything is imploding in this country.
Guest – Jerry Gordon, the main organizer of the well-attended anti-war conference in Albany last summer. He was the leader in the anti-Vietnam War movement and recently retired from the SEIU.
In November, 70% of Oklahoma approved ballot initiative Question 755 — or the “Save Our State” constitutional amendment — which bans Sharia from being considered in Oklahoma courts. The ballot states that Oklahoma courts must “rely on federal and state law when deciding cases” and forbids them from “considering or using international law” and “from considering or using Sharia Law.”
Recently, Muneer Awad, executive director of CAIR-OKC filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of State Question 755, and an Oklahoma City judge extended a temporary ban on implementation of a constitutional amendment. U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange said she will rule after weighing the issues. Muneer Awad, who is Muslim, says the amendment demonizes his faith.
- Labeling Islam as a unique threat to Oklahoma courts. It was a clear message that Islam is a threat to Oklahoma.
- I think what happened is a handful of politicians realized that Islamophobia is politically popular.
- I can count on one hand how many politicians didn’t vote to put this on the ballot.
- Those politicians were attacked during the campaign as being people that wanted to bring Sharia to Oklahoma so terrorists can use Islamic law in our courts.
- If we don’t act now our state will be in peril. There are politicians that deliberately misinform people, that deliberately lie to people in order to gain political popularity in the polls.
- There are a number of non-Muslim Oklahomans that are concerned by State Question 755 and the perception and effect it has on Oklahoma.
- We’re trying to remind people that this isn’t a reasonable conclusion people made after a lot of thought and reasonable research. These were people that were misled by politicians that have lied to us.
Guest – Muneer Awad, executive director of CAIR-OKC
In a scathing attack from the left, former editor in chief of Harper’s magazine, Roger Hodge, offers a powerful critique of President Barack Obama in his new book, The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism. Hodge articulates what many of listeners may already know. President Obama has served the corporate masters. Hodge draws a list of examples, such as cheerleading globalization, designing a health care plan where insurance companies make a killing, extrajudicial assassination of American citizens, boundless state secrecy, and unlimited corporate bailouts, to name a few.
In explaining the book, Hodge told Harper’s magazine in an interview, he used 18th century reflections to James Madison, whose philosophy aligned with republicans such as Machiavelli and James Harrington in the argument that a moderate balance of wealth must be maintained, that too great a distinction between the rich and poor would naturally lead to the decay of republican governance.
- Obama’s most enthusiastic supporters have really been lying to themselves.
- Part of the book is an argument against this tendency for people to deny what’s going on right in front of them.
- We ran a piece in Harper’s by Ken Silverstein, a great investigative reporter who argued, this guy is a conventional machine Democrat.
- He set up shop. Come to me, Corporate America, with your problems and I will try to solve them.
- You listen to this inspiring rhetoric, if you look at it on paper, there wasn’t a lot of content there.
- When it comes to an Obama/McCain-Palin – there’s an argument to be made constitutionally we might be better off with the Republicans.
- Corporate backers: FIRE sector. Finance/Insurance/Real Estate.
- The number one corporate backer was Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs collectively gave Obama almost $1 million but invested only $230,000 for McCain.
- Obama’s backers also included Morgan Stanley; Citi Group is up there with $750,000, JP Morgan Chase…they don’t do this out of the goodness of their hearts.
- They expect to get something, and as we saw in the rolling bailouts, the financial sector got tremendous return on investments.
- Democratic think tanks set the stage for the financial crisis that we’re still living through, by deregulating finance, by breaking down the New Deal protection, repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, and deregulating derivatives with the Commodities Futures Modernization Act.
- The old idea, that unfortunately is still with us, that the Democrats are the liberal party, the party of the common man who are fighting the big business bad guys in the Republican Party, is really a myth, and it’s a pernicious myth.
- Healthcare was a bailout for the insurance companies, Obama and his team always saw that as a bargaining chip, they never really planned on pushing that through. Having health insurance does not guarantee health care.
- Rahm Emanuel, this is a guy without principles, he’s all about winning and raising money.
- You can say, at least he’s tough, but he didn’t fight for anything worth fighting for.
- A president surrounds himself with people who are illiberal, who are completely compromised by their connections with Wall Street.
- We have to gain some leverage over our representatives. It’s a real double bind. People don’t want to reckon with the sheer awfulness of our political culture.
Guest – Roger Hodge, former editor of Harper’s magazine from March 2006 through January 2010. Hodge attended the University of the South, where he majored in comparative literature. He began graduate work at the New School for Social Research and completed a master’s degree in philosophy, but joined Harper’s before finishing his dissertation. Hodge first came to Harper’s as an intern in 1996 and was subsequently hired as a fact checker. Hodge edited the Harper’s Reading section from 1999 until 2003.