Archive for February 22nd, 2012

by lizard

It should be noted that the big banks have gotten away with systemic fraud.

9 million homes have been lost to foreclosure since 2007, and there will be another 9 million before we’re done. Homeowners have lost $8 trillion in home equity (in the last 4 years) and 11 million people are currently underwater on their mortgages. All of this is unprecedented. All of this is the result of fraud.

Ok, now back to snarky commentary about the GOP (scary) clown show.

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by lizard

When it comes to state politics in Montana, I’m probably the least informed contributor at 4&20. Twelve years living in this weird bubble called Missoula, with only three years actually paying attention to local politics, doesn’t gain me much unique insight.

BUT, as an outsider, without any investment of time or money in any active campaigns, I can speak as a somewhat average consumer of our state democracy, examining a bit more objectively the packages being sold.

Like Pam Bucy. Apparently the bow on her gift-wrapping is her status as Helena Insider. I infer this from the duplicitous Cowgirl(s) site (no link, you know where to find “her”) and the flak-contagion Pogie received for this post at Intelligent Discontent.

Based on that, and reading that Pam’s been keen on killing Medicinal Marijuana, my vote is more than likely going for Jesse Laslovich.

Denny’s seat I’m having a little more trouble with. Dave Strohmaier’s “social host ordinance” was a waste of time, IMO, and it doesn’t seem like he’s got wider traction outside the bubble, so I’m leaning toward Franke Wilmer, but with reservations.

Franke is touted as informed when it comes to foreign policy. Part of her pedigree in the bio on her website regarding her scholarly work reads:

Franke Wilmer came to Bozeman in 1991 to accept a position on the faculty of Montana State University. Her research has focused on war, ethnic conflict, and indigenous peoples’ self determination. Franke has written three books, numerous articles and been an invited guest lecturer in the US and abroad. She conducted field research in former Yugoslavia during the war and over five years following the Dayton Peace Accords.

After reading the bio, I found the ISSUES button and read the two paragraphs dedicated to foreign policy:

In an age where terrorist attacks pose the greatest threat to national security, the most effective tools are intelligence with a global reach and well-trained and well-equipped U.S. military Special Forces, not 80,000 troops on the ground in two countries. The greatest threat we face today comes from unconventional enemies that will not be defeated by conventional military tactics.

I have visited more than 50 countries to do research or as an invited speaker and am a professor of international relations. I have spent significant time in an active war zone. I know the great personal costs of war to civilians and military personnel. When we are asked to send our young men and women as well as our tax dollars overseas for a military intervention, we need someone in Congress who will ask the right questions and show restraint in supporting those requests.

I think there’s some decent messaging here, but the lead in framing of Wilmer’s stance features the kind of red meat I reflexively gag on. Getting beyond the arguable claim that terrorist attacks pose the GREATEST threat to national security, the following endorsement of the still-evolving Obama doctrine ( light footprint NATO-style regime change and JSOC assassinations) is going to make it difficult for Franke Wilmer to be the kind of congressperson she claims to want to be, someone who will ask the right questions.

One of many “right questions” to be asking: how’s Libya doing? Not so good.

“While the Canadian government celebrated Gadhafi’s overthrow, the countries in the region were feeling the effects.

The Libyan strongman not only had provided aid for many African nations, but employment for their citizens. His demise set into motion a mass exodus of workers back to their original countries.

That, in turn, created a domino effect as those nations struggled to deal with hundreds of thousands of traumatized and impoverished people, according to a recently released UN report for the Security Council.

Crime and drug and human smuggling have spiked in the region and the return of more than one million people to their homelands has worsened an “already challenging, humanitarian, development and security situation,” the report noted.

But Gadhafi’s overthrow did breathe new life into one organization — al-Qaida.

As Gadhafi’s forces retreated from NATO’s relentless air attacks, theyabandoned bases and ammunition depots holding thousands of weapons, including surface-to-air missiles. In the chaos that engulfed Libya, the sites were quickly pilfered, either by rebels or black marketeers.

African nations were the first to sound the warning. In late March, just weeks into the conflict, Chad’s president, Idriss Deby Itno, told journalists that al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM as it is known, had obtained missiles and small arms from abandoned Libyan stockpiles. “This is very serious,” he said. “AQIM is becoming a genuine army, the best equipped in the region.”

Canada was slow to recognize the problem. In April, Canadian Forces spokesman Brig.-Gen. Richard Blanchette said the military didn’t have any information about missing armaments or missiles.

But a month later, Algerian intelligence also was warning that looted Libyan weapons were in the hands of AQIM.

“The region has turned into a powder keg,” Mohamed Bazoum, Niger’s foreign minister, later would tell delegates to an anti-terrorism conference. “Things have changed and degraded since the Libya crisis and the region is on a war path. With stolen weapons circulating, al-Qaida’s total impact is growing.”

There are serious consequences for how the US&Co bumble-fuck around in the Mid-East and Africa. I hope candidate Franke Wilmer is willing to consider the potential blowback of Obama’s preference to use low-casualty humanitarian/terrorist-killing bombing of a half dozen countries to get at those “unconventional enemies”.




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