Obama’s Moment of Truth-Are We Ready to Support or Oppose Him?

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As the Thanksgiving holiday ends, the nation is perched to hear what is being described as President Obama‘s most important speech to date. He will stand before Army cadets at West Point military academy and lay out his plans for increasing troops to Afghanistan to the tune of 30 thousand. He is likely to note that we must go to Afghanistan to defeat a grouped Taliban. He is likely to say we must go to Afghanistan to ‘finish the job’ of subduing Al Qaeda and capturing Osama Bin Laden. Obama is also likely to note that throughout his campaign he had promised that he would withdraw troops from Iraq and direct all attention to America’s ‘forgotten war’ in Afghanistan.

However 8 years after we first entered Afghanistan in response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks, many of the folks who enthusiastically voted for Obama are divided and troubled. Many of the people who came out and voted for Obama were the same people eager for change who had organized or showed up at large anti-war demonstrations when George Bush was in office. They’re looking at a man who was just awarded the Noble Peace Prize and saw this as a symbolic gesture that would give him a good excuse to find a more diplomatic approach to resolving the conflict and abandon the pro-war position they felt he had to take during the 08 campaign.

If folks recall during the 08 campaign Obama was saw his momentum halted when than rival Hillary Clinton sprung the infamous ‘Its 3am Who Do You want answering Phone commercial‘. Inexperience and too weak to stomach the hard decisions around war and conflict is what Obama was slimed with. His response was to come across as more hawkish. After all, it was the ‘weak on terror’ allegations that helped George Bush win his last election and push through all types of legislation and policies that gave him and the military lots of resources, leeway and power. Obama in his response not only promised to bring the war back to Afghanistan, but he even asserted that he would be willing to bomb a country without warning if it meant the US could get the ever so elusive Osama.

While many who voted for Obama understood him taking pro-war stances, what’s troubling is that with a democratic majorities in both the house and Senate and recent polls showing that majority of Americans not wanting us to continue in Afghanistan, why are building up troops? Is the country really in grave danger? Is this about saving face? Is this about political appeasement? According to recent USA Today Gallup Poll numbers 57% of Democrats want Obama to withdraw. Those numbers are being underscored by the recent bill introduced by an early supporter California Congresswoman Barbara Lee who introduced a bill H.R. 3699 that would prohibit funds for any escalation to Afghanistan. Estimates note that it would cost on average 1 million dollars per year per soldier in this new troop surge. Lee thus far has gotten 23 co-sponsors including former Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich and Houston congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee who earlier last week bestowed a Purple Heart and Bronze star on a Vietnam Vet who still suffers from Post Traumatic stress.

Standing in stark opposition of this are 72% of republicans want Obama to build up the troops and follow the recommendations of General Stanley McChrystal who actually requested and then ‘campaigned’ to get 40 thousand. That republican support or agitation has been amplified by right-wing pundits and talk show hosts who feel that America should be in Afghanistan kicking ass even though everyone from Genghis Khan to the Soviet Union has failed miserably in their attempts to tame this unconquered region.

Perhaps President Obama should challenge those who are eager for this fight to continue in Afghanistan, to stop eating the drums of war and step it up and volunteer their time. That would include talk show hosts like Sean Hannity who are quick to talk this talk but won’t volunteer his time to serve..even as a radio host ala actor Robin Williams in the movie Good Morning Vietnam. At the same time President Obama should let those opposed to the troop build up to not let up the pressure. They should call their representatives and get them to co-sponsor Barbara Lee’s bill.

Lastly Obama should re-emphasize one of his most important campaign points about this his Presidency being for the people by the people-hence all this crazy talk about Obama being in office for only one year and we should give him some time needs to cease once and for all. In matters of war every citizen should be weighing in. After all, what takes place in Afghanistan is being done in our name and with our tax dollars. People should also be reminded that george Bush was only in office for 9 months before he was faced with the 9-11 tragedy and declared his War on Terror. President Obama has been in office for 11 months. His presidency is in full swing.

It’s sad state of affairs, but the War in Afghanistan appears to be war of political posturing and not about war to end terror. How it all unfolds will have a lot to do with the political pressure applied to the President.

-Davey D-

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People Killing African Albino Kids for Sick Skin Trade Activities

Deadly Skin Trade Preys on African Albinos

by Theunis Bates

Source: http://bit.ly/6KvoAr

LONDON (Nov. 23) — East Africa’s albinos have long suffered because of the color of their skin. Some are abandoned as babies by parents who regard their lack of pigment as a curse. Many more are subjected to taunts of “zeru” (Swahili for ghost) in school and on the street. But now Tanzania and Burundi’s 8,000 albinos face a more horrible threat, fueled by a macabre combination of superstition and economics.

Over the past two years — according to a new report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies — at least 56 albinos in the two countries have been murdered, and their body parts used by witch doctors to make charms and potions. The last known killing took place on Oct. 21, when albino hunters attacked 10-year-old Gasper Elikana in northern Tanzania. A gang of men hacked the boy to death in front of his family and neighbors — who were wounded trying to protect the child — before fleeing with his severed leg.

albino child

 

Tony Karumba, AFP/Getty Images

Albino children take a break at a school for the blind in East Africa.

In the face of such brutality, thousands of albinos have gone into hiding, including 300 children being sheltered by the Red Cross at police-protected schools. “This is a great source of shame for the region,” says Isaac Mwaura, national coordinator for the Albinism Society in neighboring Kenya, and an albino himself. “These are people who lack melanin, who are vulnerable, who nature has not treated so kindly. To then attack them and deprive them of the right to live is simply barbaric.”

What sparked this outburst of targeted violence is still unclear. Some have blamed local folklore, which says albinos are endowed with mystical powers. “People think that we don’t die and many other things that aren’t true,” says Mwaura. “Albinos are seen as a cure, because they possess something out of the ordinary.”

However, Andrei Engstrand-Neacsu, one of the authors of the Red Cross report, says traditional beliefs aren’t solely to blame. He notes that the murders started in 2007, around the time of a mining and fishing boom in northern Tanzania, when many people launched new business ventures. Superstitious entrepreneurs desperate to succeed may have bought “good luck” albino trinkets from witch doctors. “This is mostly an economic activity carried out by criminals who have seized an opportunity,” he says. “They have found people sufficiently stupid to believe that by using magic potions made of albino body parts they could become rich or more powerful.”

What’s certain is that buyers — most of whom are believed to be Tanzanian — are willing to pay a high price for these horrific charms. Police have reported albino limbs being sold by witch doctors for $200, while a full “albino kit” — consisting of limbs, nose, tongue, ears and genitals – costs $75,000. That’s an astronomical sum in a country where almost 60% of the population lives on less than $1 a day, and it has led many experts to conclude that the demand for these goods comes from the upper-echelons of Tanzanian society. “Poor people cannot afford to spend so much money on a little concoction from a witch doctor,” says the Albinism Society’s Mwaura. “The buyers must be wealthy. They are not even trying to strike it rich, they’re trying to strike it richer.”

Under pressure from campaigners at home and abroad, the Tanzanian government has started to crack down on the grim trade. In January, it revoked all traditional healers’ operating licenses. (Many, however, flouted the ban and continued to trade.) In the spring, President Jakaya Kikwete ordered all adults to fill out a form and name anyone who they suspected of killing an albino. The courts have also been getting tough: So far this year, seven people have been handed the death penalty for taking part in albino murders.

Franck Alphonse, director of the Tanzania Albino Center (which cares for 79 albino children), though, argues that these recent cases have failed to unearth the true criminals who ordered the attacks. “The gangs who kill the albinos, who earn $250 for murdering an albino, have been sentenced to death,” he says. “But the sentence doesn’t touch those wealthy people who sent those criminals to murder the albino in the first place. The source of the crime is still there.”

Despite these doubts, there’s evidence that this hard-line approach is scaring off some albino hunters. The brutal killing of Gasper Elikana in October was the first reported murder in three months.

However, it’s likely that the region’s albinos will only feel truly safe when their black-skinned neighbors regard them as ordinary people and not supernatural beings. “What’s needed is education,” says Engstrand-Neacsu. “We need to make people understand what albinism really is. Ignorance is the origin of discrimination. And ignorance has ultimately led to these crimes.”

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Lou Dobbs weighing White House run in 2012

Lou Dobbs weighing White House run in 2012

Posted: November 23rd, 2009 08:17 PM ET
Can Lou Dobbs make the leap from the anchor desk to the Oval Office?

Can Lou Dobbs make the leap from the anchor desk to the Oval Office?

(CNN) – Can Lou Dobbs make the leap from the anchor desk to the Oval Office?

A radio interviewer on WTOP joked Monday about the “crazy” idea that the former CNN host could mount a White House bid in 2012 – but Dobbs wasn’t laughing. “What’s so crazy about that?” he responded in the interview broadcast on the Washington, D.C. station.

“Well, I’ll tell you this much: it’s one of the discussions that we’re having,” Dobbs said. “For the first time, I’m actually listening to some people about politics.”

Dobbs, who amicably parted ways with the network earlier this month, also told former Sen. Fred Thompson that he was definitely weighing a run.

 

“I’m going to be talking some more with some folks who want me to listen to them in the next few weeks,” Dobbs said on the 2008 Republican presidential candidate’s radio show. “I just don’t even know even what to tell you in terms of where I’m leaning, because right now I’m fortunate to have just a number of wonderful options.”

The former anchor’s strong views on illegal immigration have made him a lightning rod for criticism from Hispanic groups, and a popular figure in some conservative quarters.

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