Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member


babylonsister's Journal
babylonsister's Journal
August 31, 2021

A Better Place


Personal History
A Better Place
Why the euphemisms? My father did not “pass.” Neither did he “depart.” He died.
By David Sedaris
August 30, 2021

Doesn’t all our greatest art address the subject of death—its cruelty, its inevitability? The shadow it casts on our all too brief lives? “What does it all mean?” we ask ourselves.

Allow me to tell you: death means that the dinner reservation you made for a party of seven needs to be upped to ten, then lowered to nine, and then upped again, this time to fourteen. Eighteen will ultimately show up, so you will have to sit with people you just vaguely remember at a four-top on the other side of the room, listening as the fun table, the one with your sparkling sister at it, laughs and laughs. Or perhaps you’re all together but not getting your main courses because the chef, who should be in the kitchen, cooking, is getting dressed down by your brother-in-law, who did not care for the soup. Or maybe your party has been split into six groups of three, or three groups of six. While the specifics blur together, there will remain one constant, which is you, having to hear things like “Well, I know that your father did his best.”


As for my father, if anything, he’s looking up at me, not down. He was ninety-eight. “A blessing,” you keep saying. “He must have been a wonderful man to have been rewarded with such a long life.” As if it worked that way, and extra years were tacked on for good behavior. All kinds of good people die young. You know who’s living a “good long life”? Dick Cheney. Henry Kissinger. Rupert Murdoch.

“He’ll always be with you” is another tiresome chestnut that I’ll be happy never to hear again. In response to it, I say, “What if I don’t want him with me? What if sixty-four years of constant criticism and belittlement was enough, and I’m actually fine with my father and me going our separate ways, him in a cooler at the funeral home and me here at the kids’ table.” He won’t be in his grave for another few days. Is that the “better place” you’ve been assuring me he’s headed to? The cemetery that people pass on their way to the airport? Perhaps a plot with a view of the Roy Rogers or that car wash that went out of business? And what, exactly, is it better than? This restaurant, clearly, but what else? This state? This country? This Earth?

No offense, but how can you be so sure of his whereabouts? You didn’t even know where the men’s room was until I told you, so why should I suddenly believe that you’re omniscient? The best you can say with any degree of certainty is that my father’s in another place, meaning not the one restaurant in town that could accommodate a party of eighteen with five hours’ notice, which, hint, it could do only because nobody else wants to eat here, especially me, only I need to keep my strength up. Because I’m grieving.
August 31, 2021

Joe Biden ended the war in Afghanistan after 20 years. That's a BFD.


Joe Biden ended the war in Afghanistan after 20 years. That's a BFD.
Ending America's longest war despite pressure to keep it going deserves our credit and respect.
Aug. 31, 2021, 5:32 AM EDT
By Mehdi Hasan, MSNBC Opinion Columnist

OK, I’ll say it again: I was wrong about Joe Biden.

During the 2020 presidential primaries, I was aghast at the prospect of an Iraq War supporter winning the Democratic nomination. I reminded readers that Biden was the only Democratic candidate “to have voted for the Iraq War” and had “(falsely) claimed the United States had ‘no choice but to eliminate the threat’ from Saddam Hussein.” I said his “hawkish” foreign policy record should be “disqualifying.”

I never expected Biden to be anything other than belligerent once he was seated inside the White House Situation Room.

Yet as of Tuesday evening, Biden has done something that three previous presidents either wouldn’t or couldn’t: ended the longest war in American history. The last U.S. troops left Afghanistan on schedule and ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

But Biden has also done something that no other president has managed to do in living memory: He has stood up to the generals.


He vowed to “not repeat the mistakes we’ve made in the past,” mistakes that include “attempting to remake a country through the endless military deployments of U.S. forces.”

America’s longest war is over. And it was the guy whom I once dismissed as “the hawkish chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who provided cover for Bush's dodgy and dishonest arguments about WMDs” who, astonishingly, gets credit for that. To borrow a line from the president himself, it’s a “BFD.”
August 31, 2021

Richard Engel Is Very, Very Sad About U.S. Leaving Afghanistan


8/31/21 4:38am
Richard Engel Is Very, Very Sad About U.S. Leaving Afghanistan
For decades, we have poured billions into our wars -- while fighting over every penny intended for the poor.
By Susie Madrak

While we see elite military advisors and journalists predicting dark things for America as a result of leaving Afghanistan, I thought about Martin Luther King Jr.'s seminal speech, "Beyond Vietnam -- A Time To Break Silence":

Since I am a preacher by calling, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

For years, we've asked, "Why can't America feed our hungry, or provide health care for the sick? Why is there always enough money for war?"

Well, war makes defense contractors, mercenaries, and assorted other people rich. And it gives journalists a high profile that increases their career standing and clout.
Maybe this is one of the reasons Richard Engel is so sad. While war is hell, adrenaline is addicting, and soldiers often have a hard time adjusting to relative calm. The same is probably true of journalists: "Without the war, who am I?"

Well, Richard, your feelings should not be the basis of foreign policy.

You said, "This is the worst capitulation of Western values in my lifetime." Really, Richard? More than the entire Trump era?

Your speech crossed a line, I think. You are neither a historian, nor a pundit. Finally, Richard, you are no Walter Cronkite. No doubt your employer will try to equate your speech with his, but you fall far short of the standard.

We know which side today's media is on, and it ain't ours.

Thank you, President Biden, for choosing the rest of us over the Endless Wars.
August 31, 2021

Trump's Legacy: Hate Crimes Surged To A 12 Year High In 2020


Posted on Mon, Aug 30th, 2021 by Jason Easley
Trump’s Legacy: Hate Crimes Surged To A 12 Year High In 2020

One of the many bad legacies of the Donald Trump presidency was hate crimes reaching a 12 year high during his final year in office.

CNN reported:

The report, released on Monday, found more than 7,700 criminal hate crime incidents were reported to the FBI in 2020, an increase of about 450 incidents over 2019. The increase comes even as fewer agencies reported hate crime incidents in their jurisdictions to the FBI than in previous years.

Last year had the highest tally of reported hate crime incidents since 2008, when 7,783 incidents were reported to the FBI.

The data released on Monday showed that bias against African Americans overwhelmingly comprised the largest category of reported hate crime offenses pertaining to race, with a total of 56% of those crimes motivated by anti-Black or African American bias. Asians have been targeted during the Covid-19 pandemic amid online and political rhetoric stigmatizing them, though this category of hate crime is often underreported.

Trump’s legacy is not just vast amounts of crime and corruption or killing hundreds of thousands of Americans with pandemic management negligence. Trump also remade parts of America into his own bigoted and hateful image.

No president has been viscerally associated with hate more than Donald Trump. The former president didn’t invent hate. There has been bigotry and racism in the country long before it was the United States.
Trump took the hate out of the nation’s darkest corners, gave it a stamp of approval, and made it mainstream.

Hatred is who Trump is, and his mentality was reflected in the federal hate crime statistics.
August 31, 2021

Florida Is Now Refusing to Pay School Board Members Who Order Mask Mandates

I sincerely hope desantis is digging his own grave.


Florida Is Now Refusing to Pay School Board Members Who Order Mask Mandates
Jamie Ross
News Correspondent
Published Aug. 31, 2021 5:06AM ET
Reuters/Marco Bello

Florida is refusing to pay monthly salaries to school board members in counties that defied Gov. Ron DeSantis to introduce mask mandates on their campuses. The state’s Department of Education confirmed the move Monday, saying it had “withheld the monthly school board member salaries in Alachua and Broward County” because of the mask mandates, which it said “violate parental rights by not allowing a parent or legal guardian to opt-out their child.” The statement added that the salaries will not be paid until the districts abandon their mandates. The move came despite a court ruling last week that school districts can enforce temporary mask mandates to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Broward County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Vickie Cartwright said late Monday that the county will continue its mask requirements, saying: “The health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff continue to be our main priorities.”
August 30, 2021

US to be removed from EU travel 'safe list': report

US to be removed from EU travel 'safe list': report
By Joseph Choi - 08/30/21 08:11 AM EDT

The European Union is reportedly planning to recommend that its member nations reinstate restrictions on travelers from the U.S. due to the rising level of COVID-19 infections.

EU diplomats speaking to The Associated Press said the recommendation to reverse a June decision to lift restrictions on U.S. travelers could come as early as this week. However, the AP reports that any decision regarding this matter would be nonbinding, as the EU does not have a unified COVID-19 policy on tourism.

The Hill has reached out to the EU for further comment.

The criteria for allowing residents to travel into the EU for nonessential travel requires no more than 75 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 over the past two weeks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the total number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has been more than 11,000 per 100,000 for the past two weeks. Most recently, 11,810 cases per 100,000 were reported.


August 30, 2021

1/6 Committee Wants The Phone Records Of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz...


Posted on Mon, Aug 30th, 2021 by Jason Easley
1/6 Committee Wants The Phone Records Of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, And Other
House Republicans
The 1/6 Committee has asked telecom companies to preserve the phone records of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan, and other House Republicans.

Via CNN:
According to the sources, this group was targeted because the committee concluded each of these lawmakers played some role in the “Stop the Steal” rally. They either attended, spoke, actively planned, or encouraged people to attend.

The list is said to be evolving and could be added to as the investigation steps up. As of now, it includes Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Paul Gosar also of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Jody Hice of Georgia and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.

Dozens Of House Republicans Potentially Involved In The 1/6 Attack

Kevin McCarthy is not on this list because the issue involving McCarthy isn’t the organization and support of the 1/6 rally, but the House Minority Leader’s conversations with Trump on 1/6.

The request to preserve the phone records suggests that the Committee is investigating a conspiracy to attack the Capitol. At the center of any organized effort to incite the crowd on 1/6 will be Donald Trump.

It is now clear why House Republicans have been trying to stop this investigation. Potentially dozens of members were involved in the 1/6 attack in some way.

The investigation could be devastating for the House GOP’s chances in 2022, which is why there is so much distraction and cover-up surrounding the events of January 6.
August 30, 2021

Rand Paul Says "Hatred for Trump" Influences Scientists Not Studying Ivermectin...

Posted on Mon, Aug 30th, 2021 by Alan Ryland
Rand Paul Says “Hatred for Trump” Influences Scientists Not Studying Ivermectin as Potential Covid-19

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) claimed that researchers won’t study ivermectin, a toxic anti-parasitic used to treat parasitic worms, lice, and skin problems in livestock because of their “hatred” for ex-President Donald Trump.

“The hatred for Trump deranged these people so much that they’re unwilling to objectively study it,” Paul said in an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer. “So someone like me that’s in the middle on it, I can’t tell you because they will not study ivermectin. They will not study hydroxychloroquine without the taint of their hatred for Donald Trump.”

Although he acknowledged that he does not know if ivermectin works, Paul said he will “keep an open mind.”

Former President Trump often promoted treatments that have not been shown to be effective in preventing or curing Covid-19 infections. He infamously endorsed using hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, when in office, even though doctors advised against it.

Ivermectin has not been shown to be effective in preventing or curing Covid-19 infections. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned advised individuals to stop taking it after receiving reports that people had been hospitalized for using the drug.


August 30, 2021

There's chaos and risk in Afghanistan exit, but Biden critics are getting it mostly wrong

There's chaos and risk in Afghanistan exit, but Biden critics are getting it mostly wrong
We have no ongoing security interest in Afghanistan, and we don't send troops everywhere to protect women and human rights. We do that in other ways.
David Rothkopf
Opinion columnist

The intellectual dishonesty in critiques of how President Joe Biden is handling the U.S. departure from Afghanistan has been off the charts. That's not to say some of them are not warranted. They certainly are. The swift fall of Kabul to the Taliban was predictable, and there is a case that we should have been better prepared for it. And there is no doubt that the risks we faced were great, as shown by the Kabul airport attack last week that claimed the lives of at least 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops.

But some of the arguments we are hearing are indefensible. Among the worst:

1. Biden owns this.

No. The authors of 20 years of war own this. The corrupt Afghan government and the Afghan military who stood down own this. The Trump administration that set the deadlines, drew down the troops, left behind the materiel and released up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners owns this.

2. Well, at least he owns the chaos surrounding our exit.

No. There's no way that the Taliban regaining control would not have led to chaos with many thousands of Afghans seeking to escape the rule of a thug regime. Whenever we began to airlift folks out, it would have started.

3. Well, at least he should have been better prepared for the chaos.

I'm going to give you this one, but it should be noted that efforts to prepare were rebuffed. The Afghan government did not want the United States beginning mass evacuations for the reasons cited in No. 2.



Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 08:54 PM
Number of posts: 170,597

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»babylonsister's Journal