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Joe Guzzardi Is Afghanistan becoming another Vietnam?

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Joe Guzzardi

Posted: Saturday, March 3, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:41 am, Sat Mar 3, 2012.

Recently, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates proclaimed that taking U.S. soldiers out of Afghanistan too quickly would jeopardize the coalition's achievements made during the last 18 months. What achievements is Gates talking about?

Even in light of the recent anti-American rioting and the murder of two innocent American military advisers, Gates stands firm in his commitment even though the long-term Afghanistan goal — defeat terrorism, create stability and a democratic-style government — can't be achieved.

Apparently, neither the White House nor the Pentagon learned from Vietnam. In 1966, New York Times reporter Harrison Salisbury interviewed North Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Von Dong. Asked Von Dong: "How long do you Americans want to fight, Mr. Salisbury? One year? Three years? Five years? Ten years? Twenty years? We will be happy to accommodate you."

Von Dong explained precisely why defeating insurgents in their own backyard is impossible — invaders can't outlast them. Ask the Russians. During its decade-long Afghanistan invasion from 1979 to 1989, the Soviet Armed Forces suffered nearly 15,000 fatalities before withdrawing. If you want to put the most positive possible spin on that grim statistic, you could say that the 1,200 American deaths since 2001 are minor by comparison — little comfort to the families of those who died, however.

Nevertheless, in what sounds like echoes from Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson and Gerald Ford about Vietnam and George W. Bush about Iraq, the White House and Pentagon insist that the wave of violence against Americans will not derail the war strategy in Afghanistan or speed up the calendar for bringing American forces home.

Under current strategy, tens of thousands of U.S. forces will remain in Afghanistan at least through the end of this year. By the end of 2014, Afghan forces would have full control of the country's security.

Democrats and Republicans have said the timetable should move up. Polling taken last summer indicates that nearly 80 percent of Americans are war-weary. They want troop reduction to begin as soon as possible.

Imagine what American opinion is today after more than a week watching CNN televise the Afghan protests over the inadvertent Quran burning, plus the revelation that the war costs U.S. taxpayers $2 billion weekly! If made available for domestic spending, the fortune wasted on the futile Afghan war could be used to shore up Medicare or Social Security, rebuild roads and airports or dozens of other more worthwhile pursuits that would benefit all Americans.

I'm no fan of presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich. But I do endorse Gingrich's spot-on advice to President Obama. Saying that it's impossible to "fix" Afghanistan, Gingrich recommends that the U.S. tell Afghans to figure out how to "live your own miserable lives."

As for those in the White House, the Pentagon and the Beltway who claim that the U.S. can't pull out now, singer-songwriter Paul Simon offered the winning strategy in the chorus of his classic, "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover."

Here it is: "You just slip out the back, Jack/Make a new plan, Stan/You don't need to be coy, Roy/Just get yourself free. Hop on the bus, Gus/you don't need to discuss much/Just drop off the key, Lee/and get yourself free."

Simon's plan is easy to follow, has the support of the American majority and would be in everyone's best interest — including Afghanistan, which has never been enamored of the U.S presence.

Joe Guzzardi retired from the Lodi Unified School District in 2008 and lives in Pittsburgh. Contact him at guzzjoe@yahoo.com.

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35 comments:

  • Patrick W Maple posted at 10:14 am on Fri, Mar 9, 2012.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    Brian: Let's extrapolate those numbers to the same amount of time the US spent in Viet Nam...11K times 15 years...165,000 (three times as many) (and rising) people murdered at the hands of extremists? Are my numbers any where correct? Let's see...Viet Nam 55,000...15 years...for a war (and social programs) started by a Democratic president, paid for by Social Security funds...NOW they want to tell everyone that Bush started these wars (BO continues them) so it's the Republicans who got us into this Social Security quandry of not being able to pay the people who paid in to the Democratically begun system for years??? Hmmm...Yes people are afraid...not of the Muslims but of the idiotic people in charge right now.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 7:40 am on Fri, Mar 9, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Persecution_of_Non-Muslims

    Partly through fear and partly through politically correct hypocrisy, the Western media rarely publish news stories involving Islamic violence and persecution. This may seem a strange statement to some who constantly hear other proclaiming that the media focuses far too much on the negative actions of Muslims, but did you know that in 2008 alone, there were 2,204 separate documented incidents of Islamically motivated violence which led to death? In total there were 10,779 deaths and another 18,213 critically injured. That's more people killed each and every year in the name of Islam, than in all 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition combined.[1] More than 29 people are killed in religiously motivated attacks every single day at the hands of Muslims, but do do you hear of this on the TV or radio? If you spend just one short hour reading through some of the news articles we have compiled, there would have been another one to two deaths attributed to Islam and countless other incidents involving beatings, rapes, abductions, forced conversions, desecration of non-Muslim buildings etc. No other religion or ideology [past or present] inspires the sort of hate that Islam produces.

    According to Islamic laws, non-Muslims in Islamic Lands should be subdued and be treated as dhimmis (second class citizens). They should be coerced and intimidated to convert to Islam, through special humiliating taxes like Jizyah imposed on them. This has been happening in the Islamic World since the last 1400 years. While Muslims demand for concessions in non-Muslim countries, non-Muslims are systematically persecuted, terrorized and ethnically cleansed from Islamic lands. With the recent rise of the Muslim population in the traditionally Christian/Secular West, also comes the noticeable rise of Islamic violence and terrorist activities aimed towards the non-Muslims.

     
  • Patrick W Maple posted at 9:29 am on Wed, Mar 7, 2012.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    All anyone has to do is look at the treatment of soldiers before, during and after Viet Nam...they were in fact spit on literally, figuratively and psychologically. NOT because of what part they played in the (Democratic) political fiasco but because many did not want to be identified as a participant for fear they would be treated even worse! Sooo...they went "underground" like many who returned from WWII and Korea (remember the silent war? I was kept silent for many reasons) because they did not want to have to talk about or describe what actually went on. Please...do not ASK a veteran to tell their story...just let them and then listen and understand...I lost my brothers before they died for not understanding the devastation in their lives...don't be me.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 6:15 am on Wed, Mar 7, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Brian stated...in my opinion, he is not a right wing extremist as you make him out to be
    ( this in reference to Ms Bobin's perception of Mr Kinderman)

    Hummm... Brian... I could very well believe that Ms Bobin sees Mr Kinderman as a right wing extremist... anyone who thinks Obama walks on water... sees bigots around every corner ... thinks Juan Williams is aright wing conservative...sees Nancy Pelosi as balanced honest reasonable woman... might very well see Mr Kinderman and 75% of all other Americans as right wing extremists.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 5:15 am on Wed, Mar 7, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    Great column Joe. Yes, I'm war weary too. Unfortunately, we won't change the mindset
    of the vast majority of the people in Afghan. In my opinion, it will probably take the second coming of Christ to make any difference over there and in the Middle East.
    And yes, it was an inadvertant Koran burning. So what's all the commotion about it anywa?. The Koran was desecrated. Had it been found by a responsible Muslim, it would have probably gotten burned anyway.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 5:05 am on Wed, Mar 7, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    Perhaps Jerome could confer with me many of his conservative viewpoints were solidified because of his military service. If that is the case, then I still maintain my opinion Ms. Bobin disparages him because of his military service.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 5:01 am on Wed, Mar 7, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    Ms. Bobin wrote:

    So, because I disagree with Mr. Kinderman's extreme right wing opinions I have "spit" on his service in the military.

    -Well Ms. Bobin,

    If you want to take credit for spitting on just about everything Jerome believes in except for his military service, go right ahead. But I do need to clarify, in my opinion,
    he is not a right wing extemist as you make him out to be. I suspect you accuse him of this in order to have an excuse to spit on him for that.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 4:32 am on Wed, Mar 7, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    Ms. Bobin wrote:

    Since when did someone appoint Mr. Docktor the legislator of the world - a world in which everyone MUST agree with Mr. Kinderman's positions. You really need to see someone (preferably a professional) regarding your delusions, Mr. Docktor.

    -Classic Ms. Bobin when she gets backed into a corner. She won't admit to all of her character assinations of Jerome nor will she admit she makes it a point to find something wrong with every post he makes. Now she is attacking me. And she's telling me I have delusions? All I'm asking for is acknowledgement and perhaps a simple apology.

     
  • Patrick W Maple posted at 11:57 am on Tue, Mar 6, 2012.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    msb: Apparently you are not up to the challenge: If you will admit here that you supported the mission and method of the war in VN and did not "spit" on the troops as they came back from VN, I will write an apology befitting your admission. Deal?

    Inventing garbage...like ms fluke? or maybe obamacare? or maybe beergate? or maybe support for Israel (that does not exist)? or maybe hatred for a TP memeber?

    I once listened to a guy that said he didn't dislike the person he shot just that the person was a Christian. Hmmmm

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 8:45 am on Tue, Mar 6, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4485

    Mr. Docktor wrote: "-You refuse to agree with most if not all of his positions. And you won't because you despise anyone who dares to express their conservatism on these bloggs. I suggest you quit trying to backpeddle and admit what your agenda really is here."

    Since when did someone appoint Mr. Docktor the legislator of the world - a world in which everyone MUST agree with Mr. Kinderman's positions. You really need to see someone (preferably a professional) regarding your delusions, Mr. Docktor.

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 8:40 am on Tue, Mar 6, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4485

    Amazing that Mr. Maple and Mr. Docktor are INVENTING garbage out of thin air.

    So, because I disagree with Mr. Kinderman's extreme right wing opinions I have "spit" on his service in the military. You two are really reaching here by trying to conflate my opposition to his opinions with disparaging his military service.

    FYI, since you probably will have to reach for your dictionaries: Conflate = "to fuse into one entity; merge"

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 6:18 am on Tue, Mar 6, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    Not unlike Ms. Fluke. Ms. Bobin and her share the same Liberal agenda.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 5:35 am on Tue, Mar 6, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    Bobin wrote,

    As for Mr. Kinderman, I HAVE thanked him for his service and any comments I have made about him in this forum had nothing to do with his military service and everything to do with his opinions on the many issues discussed here

    -You refuse to agree with most if not all of his positions. And you won't because you despise anyone who dares to express their conservatism on these bloggs. I suggest you quit trying to backpeddle and admit what your agenda really is here.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 5:28 am on Tue, Mar 6, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    Bobin wrote:

    I've ever made - should I be flattered or freaked out?) where I disparaged anyone in the military and/or made "anti-American" comments,

    -The many outrageous comments directed toward Jerome are just the tip of the iceberg. Even though he isn't active military anymore, she's made it quite clear, in so many words, she despises everything he stands for.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 5:23 am on Tue, Mar 6, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    Ms. Bobin,

    First of all, you have dragged Jerome into so many conversations with the sole intent
    of slandering and discrediting him. I've lost count. Second of all, he is opposed to Obamacare. He never said he is opposed to social programs. He is opposed to people who syphon off all the funds who don't really need them. And lastly, you're sincerity rings hollow with the vast majority of us here when you say you apologize to Jerome. Unless you are going to follow it with many many other apologies you owe him, and I doubt this will ever happen. Crawl back in your hole.

     
  • Patrick W Maple posted at 7:18 pm on Mon, Mar 5, 2012.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    msb: "winning was not an option, much as the US did in Vietnam." and "If the White House garnered so much criticism from the GOP for exiting Iraq on Bush's timetable, imagine what criticism they would spew for pulling out of Afghanistan now" Soooo...it's bad if the GOP enters a war (the Dems expanded/exploded the war in VN) but if BO wants to stay in Afghanistan and let our troops get killed for a few more years you would still support him? If you will admit here that you supported the mission and method of the war in VN and did not "spit" on the troops as they came back from VN, I will write an apology befitting your admission. Deal?

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 4:39 pm on Mon, Mar 5, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4485

    Back to Mr. Maple's original accusation that I have "spit" on the troops - I challenge you to find ONE quote (perhaps you can go to Mr. Baumbach for that as it seems he has archived all the comments I've ever made - should I be flattered or freaked out?) where I disparaged anyone in the military and/or made "anti-American" comments, unless you believe that stating certain facts that YOU disagree with is "anti-American." I don't think that either you or Mr. Docktor is qualified to make that judgment.


    As for Mr. Kinderman, I HAVE thanked him for his service and any comments I have made about him in this forum had nothing to do with his military service and everything to do with his opinions on the many issues discussed here.

    Mr. Docktor wrote: "Many of her attacks were focused mainly on his disability as if he enjoys it."

    This, Mr. Docktor, is an outright lie. Mr. Kinderman has freely admitted that he is disabled, takes advantage, as he should, of his VA benefits and SSI or SSD, but is opposed to any and all "socialized" programs available to others. When one thinks they are entitled to certain benefits and others are not, or that, as Mr. Kinderman believes, Obama is taking us down the road to socialism when, indeed, he has benefited from socialism, it is just plain wrong.

    My apologies to Mr. Kinderman - I was not the one who dragged his name into this conversation. He can thank Mr. Maple and Mr. Docktor for that.

     
  • Patrick W Maple posted at 12:17 pm on Mon, Mar 5, 2012.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    No Brian...msb will not get what she seeks from me. Jerome has a disability??? Couldn't prove it by me. My family has 54 veterans...I am proud of them all. I do think her husband served meritoriously and her brother admirably...therefore she will get a pass on that.. That said I must agree with your comments and conclusions..."When did it happen and where were you standing"...if you are anti-American now what were you then? John Kerry anyone? Spots don't often change themselves.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 8:12 am on Mon, Mar 5, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    I do thank Ms. Bobin's family member for mtheir service in the military. But it's rather unfortunate this family member is faced with the fact there are people out there who will ask him if he agrees with Ms. Bobin. I'm specificly talking about here outright attacks on Jerome Kinderman's character on many many occasions. He too served in the military. Many of her attacks were focused mainly on his disability as if he enjoys it.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 7:56 am on Mon, Mar 5, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    So Patrick,

    Ms. Bobin should now get a pass for all of her ridiculous and sometimes Anti-American rants now that we know someone in her family served in the military?

     
  • John Lucas posted at 7:51 am on Mon, Mar 5, 2012.

    John Lucas Posts: 2726

    I now believe in miracles. I agree completely with Joe Guzzardi. It does not happen often. Good job, Joe.

     
  • Patrick W Maple posted at 7:05 am on Mon, Mar 5, 2012.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    First and only...Mr Bobin to you and your brother-in-law... THANK YOU for your service to our country.

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 4:41 pm on Sun, Mar 4, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4485

    Mr. Maple wrote: "msb's doctrine is the same as it has always been...spit on the troops...they're the ones who killed all those babies and women...never mind that the VC used 5 and 6 year old children to frag the troops in their bunks."

    Mr. Maple: For your information, my husband, then ONLY an immigrant and legal resident of the United States, served in the US Army from 1965 to 1979. He had 2 tours in Vietnam from 1968 through 1971. I don't take this "conflict" lightly, nor do I take his service lightly, especially since he earned a Purple Heart and 2 Bronze Stars.

    My older brother was in the Medical Corp. and believe me, he saw some very gruesome sights and tried desperately to save many, many American lives. Most of his experience was so devastating that he could not even talk about the most unspeakable horrors. As a teenager, I used to sneak into his room and read the letters he received from his comrades who were still in-country. Their news was not pretty, and I was often reduced to tears to hear of his friends who were losing their lives in such horrific ways.

    Your comments imply that I am some sort of North Vietnamese sympathizer a la Jane Fonda. You are mistaken, and I think you should be serving crow for you Sunday dinner tonight. And issuing an apology.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 12:05 pm on Sun, Mar 4, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    http://www.studentnewsdaily.com/conservative-vs-liberal-beliefs/

    -Liberals POV

    War on Terror/Terrorism

    Global warming, not terrorism, poses the greatest threat to the U.S., according to Democrats in Congress.Terrorism is a result of arrogant U.S. foreign policy.Good diplomacy is the best way to deal with terrorism. Relying on military force to defeat terrorism creates hatred that leads to more terrorism.Captured terrorists should be handled by law enforcement and tried in civilian courts.

    -Conservatives POV

    Terrorism poses one of the greatest threats to the U.S.The world toward which the militant Islamists strive cannot peacefully co-exist with the Western world. In the last decade, militant Islamists have repeatedly attacked Americans and American interests here and abroad. Terrorists must be stopped and destroyed.The use of intelligence-gathering and military force are the best ways to defeat terrorism around the world.Captured terrorists should be treated as enemy combatants and tried in military courts.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 11:06 am on Sun, Mar 4, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    Ms. Bobin wrote:

    Mr. Docktor: "Chuckle"

    As always, Mr. Docktor's rewrite of history.

    -Chuckle,

    Of course Ms. Bobin can substantiate her claim my M.O. is to rewrite history
    just to make liberals look bad.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 11:01 am on Sun, Mar 4, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    I find it quite bizarre Ms. Bobin wants to deny many liberals, including herself, want wars to be fought with kid gloves.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 10:58 am on Sun, Mar 4, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    Ms. Bobin wrote:

    When will you realize that your constant rewrites of just about every topic make you lose, errrr, rather substantiate your lack of credibility about anything.

    -Pot, Kettle, Black.

     
  • Patrick W Maple posted at 9:57 am on Sun, Mar 4, 2012.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    Brian: msb's doctrine is the same as it has always been...spit on the troops...they're the ones who killed all those babies and women...never mind that the VC used 5 and 6 year old children to frag the troops in their bunks. Never mind that VN was a Democratic war...paid for out of the Social Security funds...LBJ opened the door...then created the "Great Socitey"...if it walks, quacks and swims like a duck...msb will swear that it is a chicken.

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:05 am on Sun, Mar 4, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4485

    Mr. Docktor: "Chuckle"

    As always, Mr. Docktor's rewrite of history. When will you realize that your constant rewrites of just about every topic make you lose, errrr, rather substantiate your lack of credibility about anything.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 4:01 pm on Sat, Mar 3, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    Ms. Bobin wrote:

    The country is still very unstable because any idiot who thought we could win a war and nation-build in the Middle East was dreaming.

    -Actually Ms. Bobin it was liberals like you who wouldn't allow the troops to take off their gloves so they could stop fighting a PC war that made the war last so long and become somewhat of a stalemate. Now that the reality has come to pass you and your liberal ilk have succeeded you could at least take the credit so we can move on.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 3:38 pm on Sat, Mar 3, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2813

    Ms. Bobin wrote:

    Your hatred is showing, Mr. Kinderman. But what else could one expect?

    -Chuckle:

    You abruptly ended what I thought was going to be long drawn out hate mongering for Bush so you could launch a hate mongered rant towards Jerome. But what else can one expect?

     
  • Patrick W Maple posted at 10:47 am on Sat, Mar 3, 2012.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    "How long do you Americans want to fight, Mr. Salisbury? One year? Three years? Five years? Ten years? Twenty years? We will be happy to accommodate you."

    Good point Joe: Except on the other side we had General Giap: ""What we still don't understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi. You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder, just for another day or two, we were ready to surrender! " Hmmmmm...maybe politics and the dope smokers had something to do with it??? Hmmmm...maybe the dope smokers and politicians (Demos) are having something to do with it NOW??

    Jerome...I agree with you: "it will most certainly be "The War Obama Lost." Can't have that now, can we?" We lost at least three generations from Viet Nam, not because of the war but because of how the idiots of this country treated the returning soldiers...physically and mentally.

    Just remember... MOST of those who served were NOT volunteers but were draftees!!! Oh yeah! Guess which party started that?? The Democratic party...specifically FDR.You know the guy who was "lend leasing" BILLIONS of dollars in aid and equipment to GB...BEFORE we were even close to going to war ....he was the original steel baron and job creator.Thank God the men of this country saw past the rhetoric and believed in the cause... Sometimes things are just hard and unpopular like our jobs.

    msb: There is no hope for your kind...nonsensical blather...go read a spy novel or something

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 10:45 am on Sat, Mar 3, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4485

    Really? - Obama took credit for ending the war in Iraq? We certainly didn't "win" in Iraq - we just got out when Bush promised we would get out. The country is still very unstable because any idiot who thought we could win a war and nation-build in the Middle East was dreaming.

    Your hatred is showing, Mr. Kinderman. But what else could one expect?

     
  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 9:32 am on Sat, Mar 3, 2012.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2303

    No we most certainly cannot leave Afghanistan at this point considering it is one war that President Barack H. Obama deemed to be worthwhile. Leaving Iraq on Bush's own timetable and taking the credit for it himself, our current CINC must somehow figure out the best way to actually win since if he pulls out before victory, it will most certainly be "The War Obama Lost." Can't have that now, can we?

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:09 am on Sat, Mar 3, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4485

    I agree with Mr. Guzzardi that we need to exit Afghanistan, a country we should have never entered militarily. We didn't learn any lessons from the Russians who abruptly left this miserable spot on the face of the Earth when they realized winning was not an option, much as the US did in Vietnam.

    If the White House garnered so much criticism from the GOP for exiting Iraq on Bush's timetable, imagine what criticism they would spew for pulling out of Afghanistan now, a country that has BEGGED us to get out of and leave them to their own corrupt devices.

     

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