Thursday, December 28, 2006

O.K., everyone over that Post-Christmas funk?

I think I am. All the presents are unwrapped and stowed in their proper places. All those annoying television commercials for Christmas gifts (e.g., diamond necklaces that say “I love you”, electric razors) that you never see any other time of the year are off the tube. Yeah, the kids are still out of school and we are still looking toward New Year’s, with its’ bacchanalian excesses and glut of mostly meaningless football games. But, we’ve pretty much shot the wad, and are faced with the inevitable challenge otherwise known as “your normal life”.

I really can’t imagine that 2007 is going to be much of an improvement over 2006. After all, Bush and his gang of street thugs are still in power. True, the Dems are going to take over the House and Senate in very short order, and Rumsfeld is gone. Those are hopeful signs. But I am filled with foreboding about what Bush might actually do in his last couple of years to “secure his place in history”. I really think that is mostly what is on his mind these days. He keeps comparing himself to Truman, who was unpopular during the last years of his presidency but history, for the most part, has vindicated. Bush says he is reading about Lincoln. This rather tells me what in on his rather shallow mind. He wants to be remembered, and remembered warmly, among the ranks of the great presidents. And I think he will do a lot in order to secure that. I mean, have we ever had a president in recent years who was planning on building himself a half-billion dollar library intent on securing his legacy, with two years to go in office? Tell me this guy isn’t worried about how history will treat him.

To me, all this seems like maybe the ancient Roman emperors and Egyptian kings who build massive monuments to themselves, part vanity, part in hopes of influencing the opinion of the gods and the populace, in the attempt to secure their rightful place in history. I think that is how Bush views himself. His main concern is not the anarchy that he has let loose in Iraq, or the implications on the entire Middle East. He is worried about how he will be treated by future historians.

This is what is behind his idea for a “surge” of troops in Baghdad. This is his last gasp at winning, even if we now have absolutely no idea whatsoever about what victory might look like. We don’t really even know whom we are fighting anymore. One day, it might be the Sunnis that are shooting at us. The next, it is the Shiites. We are “fighting ‘em over there so we aren’t fighting ‘em over here”, which is just about an insane reason as I can think of. So, our troops are sitting around over there like sitting ducks to be used as target practice for people with a grudge, so those self-same people with a grudge don’t come over here and plant IED’s in the streets of Lompoc or Grand Rapids? That is what our troops are doing?

I have a feeling that what history will be doing with Bush, given that we don’t have a complete breakdown as a country and end up like some Margaret Atwood novel, is a lot of psychoanalysis. They will be asking questions about both Bush and this country, the same way they currently ask questions of the McCarthy era or why were all those Japanese citizens interred in camps during WWII. Historians will be asking what kind of insanity was loose in this country in the first decade of the 21st century that got us into this mess. What kind of psychology drove Bush down the path that he is currently on? Was it all just a sublimated competition with his father? Was the fact that he is was a non-recovered ex-alcoholic with a God complex the thing that drove this country to bankrupt itself and destroy its’ moral standing in the world?

I hope that these are the questions that future historians ask themselves. I just wish more people were asking them right now.

The new buzzword of the month: Surge!

I am so tired of this. After an election that was as clear-cut as elections are going to be these days, all the powers that be in the White House and the Republican echo chamber have decided that the best move the U.S. can make is to vastly INCREASE the size of our military in Iraq. No matter that we have no idea what we are doing there now. We just need more troops for some as yet undefined mission that will undoubtedly result in many more causalities on all sides, including innocent Iraqi civilians. However, since we have a new cool buzzword that we can throw around, it all sounds very Important, Official, and Planned for Victory. Given how long the last buzzword hung around (“benchmarks”, remember that one?), I seriously doubt pulling some fancy new buzzword out of the hat will make a significant impact on the overall outcome. But it does keep the mainstream media enthralled for a while.

One question that is being asked now and again is, where are these new troops going to come from? All of our military is pretty much engaged already, either deployed in Iraq, waiting to be deployed, or in the short and getting shorter rotation period between their multiple deployments. The only thing that anyone can possibly do is to, once again, shorten the non-deployment time when the troops are recovering at home and to break down yet more barriers so that more National Guard and Reserves can be used as cannon fodder. We do not have the military to be used in this manner! We just do not! This is insane.

I was only in my pre- and early teens during the height of the Vietnam War, so I don’t believe I have a good basis for a side-by-side comparison. But it certainly seems that we are in the midst of the same insanity that ran rampant in the war planners in that little fiasco. And we all know how well that one turned out.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Well, so much for the hoping that the Baker Report would make Bush change his mind about Iraq.

An article in the WashPo sort of sets up the coming scenario. Bush is going to reject most, if not all, of the recommendations out of the Baker Commision and continue on with "stay the course", except he won't call it that, of course.

“President Bush vowed yesterday to come up with 'a new strategy' in Iraq but expressed little enthusiasm for the central ideas of a bipartisan commission that advised him to ratchet back the U.S. military commitment in Iraq and launch an aggressive new diplomatic effort in the region. . . .

"The emerging debate over the report sets a baseline for the administration's own internal review of Iraq policy, which officials hope to complete in time for Bush to give a speech to the nation before Christmas announcing his new plan for Iraq. . . .

"Yet, while the president called the Iraq Study Group's ideas 'worthy of serious study,' he seemed to dismiss the most significant ones point by point. He noted that Blair is heading to the Middle East to promote Arab-Israeli peace, but he gave no indication that he plans an aggressive new push of his own as proposed by the commission. Bush said he, too, wants to bring U.S. troops home but noted that the group qualified its 2008 goal by linking it to security on the ground.
"And he repeated his refusal to talk with Iran and Syria unless Tehran suspends its uranium-enrichment program, Damascus stops interfering in Lebanon and both drop their support for terrorist groups."

Eugene Robinson agrees, and comments how the report is a condemnation of how Bush and his cronies have run the war. And it doesn't even get into why we went there in the first place, which is a fiasco all by itself.

"It turns out that James Baker, Lee Hamilton and the other members of the group didn't have to worry about holding readers' attention. The 96-page main report -- an attempt to find a way for George W. Bush to get us out of his Iraq debacle without provoking World War III -- is full of solid reporting and analysis, with surprises along the way that make your jaw drop.


"The report is harshest on the president's "stay the course" option, pointing out that the longer we remain, the worse the situation in Iraq seems to get -- and the more American troops are maimed or killed.

"The document concludes with 79 recommendations, most of which are eminently reasonable and none of which will get us out of Iraq overnight. The president will probably reject some out of hand -- talking directly with Syria and Iran, for example. And while it would be good if the president finally realized that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would lower the temperature throughout the Middle East, I'm pretty sure it will take more than a phone call to persuade the Israeli government to give up the Golan Heights."

George Bush has shown, over and over, he has absolutely no desire, or maybe even the ability, to do any sort of self-introspection or self-criticism. There was no real reason to believe, in spite of all the nice words of bi-partisanship and “Baker saving the Bush family bacon”, that Bush would ever really change his view of anything once it has become established. This is especially true of Iraq, which is this administration’s crown jewel, like it or not. This is the matter upon which his administration will be judged, Katrina and tax-cuts aside. And he is not about to allow himself to view the debacle in Iraq as anything other than what he originally intended. Now, what exactly that was, I am not sure anyone but George Bush knows, since we have been handed so many stories that have constantly changed when the rationale for the last story started to fall apart.

If any other person in any other situation that didn’t involve being the President of the United States exhibited the same traits that Bush has done repeatedly, that person would have been removed from their position of power, such as CEO of a major corporation, and would also probably be directed to some sort of counseling. Bush is in some serious need of a psychological intervention. With that hypothetical “any other person” not being the POTUS, then the damage that the other person might inflict would probably be minimal at the national level. Oh, his workers would most likely be out of a job in short order, and the stockholders would be SOL. But the country’s military wouldn’t be coming apart at the seams and the reputation of the United States might still be intact around the world. However, with such a person actually being in charge of this country for eight long years, the damage that will have resulted from Bush’s psychological shortcomings will be lasting.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Burnout. Blogger burnout. War burnout. Bad news burnout. Snow burnout.

Just sort of...... burned out. Ever since the election results, I have had a hard time getting up any sort of enthusiasm for posting much. It all seemed rather an old rehash of things that other people have done, and done much better than I would have.

Plus, I am going on a business trip for a week. So, I won't be posting anything new for a while. If anyone is out there that checks in with any regularity, check back in about a week or so. I may have something new by then.

Ta fer now.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Have yourself a guilty little Christmas.

I found myself almost going through the motions on Thanksgiving. We visited some of my wife’s friends, had Thanksgiving dinner, watched a little football, talked about kids. I have been putting time into some of my hobbies, some more useless than others. But always, there was this undercurrent of guilt. Here, at home, we have all indications of “normalcy”. There was the Macy’s Day parade on television, lots more football games whose outcomes seem to be The Most Important Thing Ever, until the next week. I went to a college basketball game and cheered wildly at the halftime half court buzzer beater shot that helped out team win. But it isn’t really normal. We just want to pretend it is.

Our service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan probably did not enjoy Thanksgiving much, and will not enjoy Christmas. In fact, there are probably a few that are not going to be around to see Christmas. This is not to say anything of the Iraqi people that are dying in pretty horrible ways by the day. Upwards of a million people are on the move, trying to avoid a similar fate because of the Sunni/Shia sectarian violence.

Yeah, Saddam was a monster and will deserve whatever he ultimately gets, which looks to be a public hanging. However, I can’t see that the situation in Iraq was any worse than what we have unleashed by invading the country with absolutely no concept of what we were doing and not doing any contingency planning past not getting hit in the eye by all the flowers that were going to be thrown at us.

I really hate this. There are terrible implications if the U.S. stays in Iraq. There are terrible implications if we leave. This is much worse that a “bad situation”. No matter what happens or what we ultimately end up doing, it is going to be a catastrophe.

Thank you, George Bush and all your neo-con warmongering friends. Thank you for bankrupting this country, for making us about the most distrusted and hated country in the world. Thank you for trying with all your might to hold onto the reins of power while doing everything in your power to dismantle a governmental system that had been working wonderfully, more or less, for over 200 years.

Merry Christmas, George. I truly hope that you can't sleep at night.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Let the madness begin!

No, not the war or the secret plot for all Republicans ousted from office to come in and stage a coup to dispose those nasty decadent Democrats who drink champagne directly from the shoes of Warren Beatty and Annette Benning. (Blech....) No, I am taking about the annual madness called Christmas Shopping.

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and I am already tired of the barrage of television commercials that imply that you can’t really have a Merry Christmas or even Being of Good Cheer, and some go more than just “imply”. Ads for jewelry are particularly noxious. All ads (unless they are of the “cute” variety such as the ad for Aflac where Santa gets stuck in the chimney) are aimed at making the audience believe that the MUST participate in this orgy of spending and buying in order to have yourself a perfect Christmas.

What is amazing about all of this is how at least ¾ of Christmas has become this non-secular “end of the year” holiday and have very little to do with the religious holiday. I am not a Christian, but I can see why Christians are upset. They have had their holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus hijacked by Madison Avenue. There is a bit of a problem with the political correctness of not being able to say “Merry Christmas” during the Christmas season. However, I figure this is probably just karma getting back at them, since most scholars believe that Jesus was not born on December 25th, but sometime in July. The holiday was set on the date it currently has by Constantine, the first Pope, who was hoping to hijack a pagan holiday celebrating the winter solstice. That certainly happened, so maybe a second hijacking is some sort of revenge by the Earth Mother. She’s still annoyed.

Anyway, back to shopping. The amount of focus and energy that people devote to getting that “perfect gift” for their loved ones, or related by unloved ones. Stores are now open at 5 a.m. on Thanksgiving for people who just can’t wait for that traditional day of orgasmic consumerism. That is today. There is no way that I am going to go anywhere near a mall this weekend. These people who brave the elements and the huge crowd of savage shoppers don’t fool around. Even if you find a parking place and make it inside the mall safely, that is no guarantee of your continued safety. People will walk right out in front of you like you aren’t even there. They will run over your foot with their shopping cart. In fact, they don’t even seem to be aware that there are any other people in the mall besides themselves, unless it comes to the point where they are both competing for the same product. And I do mean “competing”. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there today and it would be best for you to keep your puppies safely in the confines of your own home.

It’s days like today, and actually the rest of the Christmas shopping season, that people revert to their true selves that hide under the very thin veneer of a polite society. We will no longer starve if we are on the losing end of a competition for food or will be homeless if some brute with a bigger club than we have chases us out of our cave. But that mechanism is still there, buried in our primal psyche, waiting to make itself known. And this is the time. The urge to obtain and retain your “possessions”, whatever those might be, is right out there for all to see.

Heaven help the person who gets in the way. Of course, Heaven may not hear you, as everyone there is currently trying to figure out how to get their holiday back.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

More television advertising that really annoys me.

One very prevalent television commercial these days normally seen during football games (and probably NASCAR races which I never, ever watch) is for KFC “Famous Bowls”. Excuse me? So, you can just declare yourself to be “famous” these days? I suppose if Paris Hilton can do it, that opens the field to pretty much anyone or anything, even if it happens to be a bowl full of cold lumpy starch with cheese. Actually, now that I think about it, those two things are somewhat similar….. Paris Hilton…. Bowl of mashed potatoes. Their talent for music is about the same, and they have about the same level of awareness of the universe outside of themselves. However, the big mound of mashed potatoes featured in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND that Richard Dreyfuss prodded so lovingly with his fork could probably out-act Paris Hilton any day.

I already think it is rather laughable that KFC is now a supposedly meaningless acronym, instead of admitting that the “F” in KFC stands for “Fried”. Oh, no. Can’t admit to the truth, you know. I am also very tired of hearing the intro to “Sweet Home, Alabama” as their little “mind hook” into consumers. Playing to the Deep South NASCAR dads much?

I just think that anointing yourself or one of your products as “famous” immediately at the product introduction is a remarkable instance of over-hype. People are famous. Bill Clinton. Luther Vandross. Jerry Mathers as the Beaver. Those are famous people. Historical landmarks like the Washington Monument are famous. Mashed potatoes with some gravy and cheese on top are most definitely NOT famous.

They also never show how big these things are. Whenever you want to hide the true size of the product you are advertising, whether it is a bowl full of mash potatoes or a small pickup truck with a max-cab but a four foot long bed, never show the product in the same frame as something recognizable, like a human. Keep the size very vague and the potential customer will never know, until he/she actually BUYS one, that they are going to be overcharged by a factor of about three.

KFC also had a good advertising campaign a few of years ago for nine different “collectable” tubs of fried chicken featuring pictures of “famous” NASCAR drivers. Collectable? COLLECTABLE?! Cardboard containers with puddles of congealed chicken grease on the bottom are now “collectable”? Please…. If anyone actually tried to display their collection of these things, they would have every stray dog and raccoon in the neighborhood scratching at the basement door trying to get in.

“Famous” bowls…. Sheesh. Yeah, and I am a “famous” blogger.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Draft? What draft? Who said anything about a draft?

Charles Rangel (NY-D) has renewed his call to reinstate the military draft. Predictably, the Democratic leadership immediately came out and said that they would not introduce or pass any legislation that included such a measure.

As someone who just missed the military draft for the Vietnam War era, I would be a big hypocrite to say that I support a draft now. I would really detest to see my kids or anybody else’s kids sent off to fight a “war” which they did not support. Politically, this is about as close to a non-starter as it gets.

However, I think this is a really good dialog to have at this point in time. There are many calls for INCREASING our military presence in Iraq. “Escalation” is the euphemism, I believe. But at the same time, so many knowledgeable people across the political and military spectrum who are saying that this is really not feasible. Our current military structure is at the point of breakdown right now. Where are we going to get 30,000 more troops, or whatever it is they are calling for? They just are not there. We already are seeing mandatory call backs of 40 and 50 year old veterans. That is just plain ol’ scary.

So, the point here is by Congressman Rangel is to point out the complete lunacy of this situation and what some people are openly advocating. It makes about as much sense as a person that wants to go buy a Lamborghini with cash when he only has enough in his pocket to go get a Quarter Pounder with fries. Plus, he is also pointing out the hypocrisy of the ruling class in this country, along with their cheerleaders and enablers, who so boldly support this war and trash anyone who dares suggest that it might not be going so well or that going into Iraq with no planning and minimal force in the first place was not a such good idea. There are very, very few Senators or Representatives who have relatives in harm’s way. There are a few, whose names escape me right now, but not very many.

Let them have THEIR sons and daughters go get shot at or blown up and see how they much they support this war. That’s the good I see coming out of this discussion. But the rest of the Dems in office are not going to let that national discussion occur. Political suicide, I suppose, and there are no doubt better ways to try to deal with the absolute mess that Iraq has become for all involved. But it sure would be fun to see how the Rethugs and neocons would have tried to talk their way out of that one.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

More police state action from Southern California law enforcement.

Just a couple of weeks ago, there was another Rodney King-type video of LA police on top of a guy who was laying on the pavement, and the police were whacking his head repeatedly on the ground. Now, we have this video from the Powell Library on the campus of UCLA. The campus police or someone associated with the university came into the library and picked out a student of Iranian descent who was just sitting there at his computer, finishing up his assignment. They demanded that he produce his student I.D. He refused, asking the police to go check a bunch of the white students I.D. as well. The situation quickly degraded into a full-fledged incident where the student was tasered three different times. At no time was he actively resisting the three or four policemen. At most, he just went limp and refused to move, at which point they tasered him again. When other students demanded the policemen’s badge numbers, they were also threatened with the taser.

These things are no joke. It is not just some harmless toy. There have been something like 130 deaths in the U.S. and Canada that have been attributed to the person getting hit with the full effect of a taser. It may not be “lethal force”, but it is close. It is not a joke.

Since when do police have the authority to come into any establishment where there is no incident currently taking place, instigate one on their own by picking out some guy “randomly”, and end up taking such extreme actions when the person, at no time, was violently resisting them? What is this? Has our society gone so far down the road toward fascism and video game violence that people in authority think this is in any way acceptable behavior? And we have some defending their actions? AT THE MOST, the police should have cuffed the guy, if they thought there was reason (and I would argue that not producing a student I.D. while sitting quietly at a computer in a library hardly constitutes a reason to use force), and taken him out of the building. Where do they get off on such violent action?

First off, the guy has retained a very high profile lawyer and plans to sue the hell out of someone. Good for him. If UCLA is smart, they will disavow any connection with this incident, make a public statement condemning the police in no uncertain terms, and fire all the people involved. I hope the guy wins big.

But I always worry about the larger issues when something that seems like an isolated event happens. What does this really say about our society? Where are we going? Before the elections two weeks ago, I was very worried that the future might include a bunch of brown shirts going around and rounding up liberals and gays (the new Jews and gypsies), and sending them off to camps somewhere. Now, it seems like most of the country has repudiated strong-armed tactics out of our government. However, there is a very large percentage of the population of this country that would willing participate in such a round up and deportation. I am convinced of that. Mike Savage, Ann Coulter, and Michelle Malkin would be, out front, leading the cheerleading.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Douglas Feith after 9/11: “Hey, I’ve got a great idea! Let’s attack South America!”

This is insane. More than insane. There isn’t a word in the English language, or any other language on the face of the Earth, I suspect, to describe how insane this is. And this isn’t coming from a run-of-the-mill nutjob you find on the street corner, yelling at the top of his lungs to no one in particular. This probably came from Douglas Feith, the Defense Under Secretary. You know, one of the neo-cons that worked for Donald Rumsfeld, and who helped lead us into this fiasco called the Iraq War.

The unsigned top-secret memo, which the panel's report said appears to have been written by Defense Under Secretary Douglas Feith, is one of several Pentagon documents uncovered by the commission which advance unorthodox ideas for the war on terror. The memo suggested "hitting targets outside the Middle East in the initial offensive" or a "non-Al Qaeda target like Iraq," the panel's report states. U.S. attacks in Latin America and Southeast Asia were portrayed as a way to catch the terrorists off guard when they were expecting an assault on Afghanistan.

The idea was to catch all those terrorists “off guard” by attacking remote areas of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, because everyone would be expecting the U.S. to actually hit the country that actually attacked us on that horrible day, like, oh, maybe Afghanistan. Luckily, no one acted on this insane recommendation. Cooler heads prevailed and we attacked Iraq instead.

That worked out well, dontcha think?

CNN: The new Fox News?

You know, I am not terribly surprised that there are many racist, xenophobic and hysterical people in the United States. Fear, ambition, and downright stupidity can work wonders on the human psyche. However, it is amazing to me that a person with his very own television show on (what used to be) a rather well thought of (which excludes Fox News) 24/7 news channel can actually say this when interviewing a newly elected congressman.

"Prove to me that you are not working with our enemies."

Yeah, the interviewee happened to be the first Muslim American congressman, but this is ridiculous. Yes, I happened to have caught Glenn Beck’s little shtick several times. I just came away shaking my head thinking, “They gave this clown his own television show?” I guess CNN must be desperate to try to peel away viewers from Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the Fox News wingnuts.

“Prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.” That’s astounding. However, it is in line with the rest of the thugs running this country these days. The new standard is “Guilty until proven innocent”. You don’t like the way someone looks, or thinks, or the signs they hold up at rallies? Declare them the enemies and make them disprove it.

What a country we are living in these days.

Fear and loathing at the gas pump.

O.K., is it just me? Why have the prices at my local gas station suddenly jumped up 35 cents a gallon the two weeks after the election, after they had been doing down by almost a dollar a gallon the three months just prior to the election?

You would have thought that they would be just a tad less obvious about this. Man. I wish the new Democratic majority would look into this one as well. However, I think they are going to have their hands full with quite a lot of other things for some time.

Bad blogger! Bad!

I haven't been posting lately, for several reasons. Not feeling very well, busy weeknights, tickets to the local college basketball team for three successive nights, and mostly, just a feeling of elation and exhaustion after the election. Sort of like the day after Christmas, I guess.

I'll try to do better. Really I will...... (**whimper**)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Post election thoughts.

Maybe one of these days, I will get around to posting about something else besides politics and elections. Hopefully, things will start going well enough in this country that I have enough energy to devote to some other subjects.

I have seen several predominant suppositions regarding the blowout election. Many passionate people are making the case that their view is “the truth”.

Many of the right wing “pundits” are actually saying that this election really shows that their view was correct all along. The election was a victory for conservatives. This theme has two variations, as far as I can tell. First one goes, the Republican party wasn’t properly “conservative enough and had abandoned its’ conservative roots. I’ll go along with the part about “abandoning its’ roots”. That has been obvious for a while. This current crop of thugs in charge of the Republican party is in no way conservative, other than they think taxes are evil. In all other ways, they are not the party of Goldwater or even Ronald Reagan. This supposition is nonsense, and the people spouting this one are doing what they always do; say the first thing that comes into their minds that they think will validate their position. Truth is secondary.

The other variation on this theme is that large amounts of people voted for conservative Democrats. They contend that these new Democrats, such as John Tester in Montana and Jim Webb in Virginia, are really Republicans who ran as Democrats. If this is true, their logic must conclude that Republicans really “won”. Again, these theories are voiced without any supporting evidence. Yeah, Tester has a crew cut and wears cowboy boots. Webb is an ex-Marine and used to be Republican. The fact is that many of their policies that these two endorse are not at all conservative. I won’t go into digging up the proofs here. That has already been done by several other bloggers. Again, this theory is floated out there because it is the only way that some people can conclude that their side actually lost the election and a majority of Americans don’t agree with them on many issues.

So, the theories coming from the Right are, for the most part, complete fabrications. They are just more of the same tactics that people such as Hugh Hewitt have used as long as they have had their mouths open.

There are a couple of competing theories that are coming from the Left, and some people are getting really loud about it. One is that the very Liberal side of the party was very instrumental in winning the election, and there is no way the Democratic party should try to play the middle ground here. The left won the election so they need to play it that way. This argument is being used to say, yes, we damn well should do a lot of investigations into what BushCo. Has been doing the last six years, and while we are at it, we should impeach the President as well. Use the power of the purse strings that the Dems now have in their hands, now that they are in the positions of power in both houses.

The other side of this argument is the election was won by the fact that very many “middle of the political spectrum” independents and even some Republicans supported the Democrats. This argument goes that the Dems should be very careful that they not “overreach” like the Gingrich Revolution did, lest their new supporters abandon the party in 2008. Take the high road, try to be conciliatory and try to reach across the aisle in a bi-partisan way. Try to keep the “big tent” open to all who voted Democratic this year, and try not to alienate those supporters whom the Dems would not have won without.

Frankly, I am not sure which one of these competing theories is correct. Truthfully, I don’t think they are necessarily mutually exclusive; I think there is a more than a little truth in both visions. I think that it was necessary to get the very liberal, anti-war part of the Democratic party energized in a way they have never been since the Clinton election. But, I also think that there was a substantial part of the voters who voted not so much FOR the Democrats on the ticket. They voted AGAINST the Republicans. An example of this is Lincoln Chaffee in Rhode Island, a very moderate Republican and the only one who voted against the war from the outset. Yet he lost. I think people in RI were voting against the national Republican party.

I would hate to see the Democrats start warring among themselves about which way to play this. Maybe playing it close to the vest is a good way to start. I think Nancy Pelosi has been doing a good job so far. But if the Rethugs start playing games again, even though they are now in the minority with a lame duck President, the Dems should not hesitate to play hardball.

In the words of a very good Republican president, maybe the best way to proceed is “Walk softly but carry a big stick”.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Fundamentalist beliefs as seen in bumper stickers.

I probably should have posted this one prior to the election, but I was too wound up about the election to think about much else. Maybe now the election is over and “the people have spoken”, I might be able to concentrate on some other stuff.

Anyway…… I was stuck in very slow traffic the other day behind a car whose driver (unless he just bought the car and hadn’t taken off the bumper stickers, which is a possibility but I doubt it) was obviously one of the right wing, NASCAR, fundy, gun loving types. Among several bumper stickers that I could only sort of understand but were obviously tied to racing and race cars, there were a couple of really big ones that really stood out. One said “REAL MEN LOVE JESUS”. Right next to that one was one that had the traditional red, white and blue donkey symbolic of the Democratic party, shown as being viewed through a gun site, and it read “GOT AMMO?”

For me, that encapsulates the basic, very real danger that fundamentalist thinking in this country presents. One on hand, this person obviously thinks he is very religious and is the very role model of today’s Christian. On the other hand, he is also so convinced that he is morally right on every single subject that exists that he is a proponent of shooting his political adversaries. Oh, sure. If you were to confront this guy, he would say that it is a “joke”. However, jokes like that always reflect what a person ultimately believes. That’s why the person thinks something is funny.

I believe that Jesus existed. I very seriously doubt he was the Son of God. He was just a guy who went around preaching things that the Romans and their supporters didn’t like and were fearful of, so they killed him. But I do believe he existed. As such, this is what I think. Jesus probably never imagined something like a gun that can be used to kill other people with ease. However, I just cannot see Jesus, in any manifestation that you might like to see him as, would condone stoning someone to death just because they didn’t believe in him. I just don’t see it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The New Truthfulness: Lie and then admit you are lying, but you’re O.K. with it.

The fallout of the blowout election is occurring all over the place in the ranks of the Republicans and their conservative followers. It is all very amusing to watch. But a couple of nuggets really hit me when I saw these.

Rush Limbaugh, Mr. “Dittohead” himself, just admitted that he is full of crap and doesn’t believe at least some of the stuff he says to literally millions of his listeners. This is what he said the other day.

The way I feel is this: I feel liberated, and I'm going to tell you as plainly as I can why. I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don't think deserve having their water carried. Now, you might say, "Well, why have you been doing it?" Because the stakes are high! Even though the Republican Party let us down, to me they represent a far better future for my beliefs and therefore the country's than the Democrat [sic] Party does and liberalism.


I'm a radio guy! I understand what this program has become in America and I understand the leadership position it has. I was doing what I thought best, but at this point, people who don't deserve to have their water carried, or have themselves explained as they would like to say things but somehow aren't able to? I'm not under that kind of pressure.

So, here is Rush saying that he said what he needed to say because he needed to support his Republican party. No matter that he didn’t believe in what he was saying, he said it out of necessity. Hey, lying is lying; the circumstances in which the lie was told do not matter. In fact, the more serious the situation you are lying about, the more serious the lie. “White lies” that ultimately don’t do much harm are still lies. But when you are lying about the big stuff, hey, that’s some serious lying going on.

So, Rush has come out and rather admitted that he will say whatever he feels necessary in order to bolster what he believes in. Doesn’t this call into question everything that he says? Literally, everything he has ever said on the radio is now suspect.

The same goes for President Bush. Many people are now pointing out that, several days prior to the election, Bush gave both Cheney and Rumsfeld a ringing endorsement and said that both of them would be in is administration until the end. Fast forward now to one day after the incredibly devastating election. Devastating to the Republicans, anyway. Rumsfeld is gone, resigned and/or fired. When asked about it by a reporter, who pointed out the contradiction with what Bush said just days earlier, Bush replied that he responded the way he did was to deflect the question and get on to another question. Bush already knew that what he was saying wasn’t true. He said he didn’t want to get into telling the truth about Rumsfeld right before the election. End of story.

Bush apparently didn’t have any sort of problem with this. He lied when it suited him. He had already been caught out in a similar situation during the Plamegate debacle. Bush already knew that Rove and Libby were involved in leaking Valerie Plame’s name to the press when he said in a press conference that he would fire anyone in his administration who was involved. And he also knew that he wasn’t going to fire them. He said whatever he felt was expedient at the time.

Al Franken nailed it with the title of his book, “Lies And The Lying Liars That Tell Them”. These folks have now admitted that they lie whenever the need arises, and they do so without any sort of guilty conscience about it whatsoever. They see nothing wrong with this. By extension, everything that the Bush administration or Rush Limbaugh is now suspect. (As if we didn’t know that before.) Everything. Truth is secondary to supporting whatever it is you believe in, in whatever way necessary. The war in Iraq, outing Valerie Plame/Wilson as an undercover CIA agent, tax cuts for the top 1% of the country, being concerned about the devastation and anguish caused by Hurricane Katrina, everything. Every single thing that these people have ever told us is now under suspicion, by their own admission!

At least they are straightforward enough to admit it. However, I just can’t understand how they think that the country will casually accept being lied to as a matter of policy. That is what we came to expect out of the Soviet Union and Pravda. That is not what we expect out of the United States of America.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I went to bed last night (after the election) jubilant, and I am not in that mood very often. Just not my style, really. I just hope that we can get Senate wins in both Montana and Virginia. Both are leading, but Tester apparently has only about a 2000+ vote lead. How can so many elections across the country in the last few years come so close? I know that the country is “divided”, but to have so many races come down to tenths of percentage points seems, to me, to be statistically very improbable.

Anyway, I wonder what Bush and his cronies are thinking today. Somehow, I doubt he is going to come off as a conciliatory, gracious loser. That’s not HIS style. (As an aside, as much as I wanted to see Santorum lose in Pennsylvania, he certainly did give a very gracious concession speech.) I almost would like to see Bush come out today as some sort of wounded dog, snapping at everything that comes into range. And Tony Snow, the Presidential Press Secretary, is also going to have an interesting couple of weeks or months.

Maybe he could get caught making passes at some young lady (or guy), blame it on his “drinking problem”, and disappear into “rehab”. That’s what everyone else seems to be doing these days.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Soldier commits suicide after two days of administering Cheney’s “aggressive interrogation techniques”.

This is a repost of this one from a few days ago. Blogger seems to have mysteriously "disappeared" it.)

This story, via Taylor Marsh, tells about how a young woman in the military apparently became so despondent after two nights of interrogating prisons at an air base at Tal-Afar in northwestern Iraq. I say “apparently”, because the military has again tried to hush the story up, just as they did in the friendly fire death of Pat Tillman and no doubt countless other stories. Army specialist Alyssa Peterson, 27, died September 15, 2003 due to “non-hostile weapons discharge.” The reporter that uncovered the story only did so after years of digging around, trying to uncover the truth, and after filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Here is a snip from the story at Editors and Publishers.

She was only the third American woman killed in Iraq, so her death drew wide press attention. A “non-hostile weapons discharge” leading to death is not unusual in Iraq, often quite accidental, so this one apparently raised few eyebrows. The Arizona Republic, three days after her death, reported that Army officials “said that a number of possible scenarios are being considered, including Peterson's own weapon discharging, the weapon of another soldier discharging, or the accidental shooting of Peterson by an Iraqi civilian.” (Her parents now say they were never told about her objections to interrogation techniques.)

But in this case, a longtime radio and newspaper reporter named Kevin Elston, unsatisfied with the public story, decided to probe deeper in 2005, "just on a hunch," he told E&P today. He made "hundreds of phone calls" to the military and couldn't get anywhere, so he filed a Freedom of Information Act request. When the documents of the official investigation of her death arrived, they contained bombshell revelations. Here’s what the Flagstaff public radio station, KNAU, where Elston now works, reported yesterday:

“Peterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners. She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokespersons for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to. They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed. ...".

She was then assigned to the base gate, where she monitored Iraqi guards, and sent to suicide prevention training. “But on the night of September 15th, 2003, Army investigators concluded she shot and killed herself with her service rifle,” the documents disclose.

This is such a tragedy, albeit a small one in the midst of the much larger tragedy that is Iraq. This fine young woman joined the military as a translator. She was fluent in Dutch. She looked to be equipped to go amazing places in this world. And yet, the Army assigned her to a detention center to help wring “the truth” out of detainees who have not had a day in court and had not been found guilty of anything. She killed herself after only two nights, and the Army once again tried to hush it all up, lie about it if necessary and hope it all goes away. Which, in this particular case, it almost did.

This is the policy that Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney have gone to great lengths to defend. This is what is vitally important to our country, something that makes a young lady kill herself after her participation.

I feel sick over this.

“Oh, Lord. Please deliver me from your True Believers!”

There is so much hypocrisy in the Republican Party and their supporters these days. You can hardly pick up a newspaper or go on-line without tripping over yet another story involving the Republicans and/or their evangelical supporters saying one thing and getting caught in another. Rush Limbaugh and his “drug problem”. Anyone involved in the Abramoff scandal. Duke Cunningham and his program of legislation for profit. George Allen, the candidate for the Senate in Virginia, and his history of nooses hanging in his office, his love for the Confederacy, his famous “macaca” statement. The list goes on and one.

This latest one (via Huffington Post) has me simultaneously rolling my eyes toward the ceiling and laughing hysterically. Ted Haggard, the leader of about the biggest evangelical groups in the country and who is said to meet with Bush or his advisors on a weekly basis, has been forced to resign because it appears that he paid for sex from a male prostitute. Oh, yes. He also bought crystal meth from the guy. His excuse? He didn’t have sex with the man, only got a massage. And he threw away the drugs, even though he “was tempted”. Yeah, sure. I really believe that. What do you bet that he will now go into a drug rehab center for about three months until this all dies away?

This is all starting to look like a pattern. Several years ago now (it seems like a thousand), we had “Jeff Gannon” and his extremely bizarre questions to the Presidential Press Secretary. He was a male prostitute with his own website, and yet continually got a “freebie” pass to the press briefings in the White House, when reporters from legitimate news organizations could not get them. And then, just recently (also seems like ages ago), we have the whole Mark Foley chasing young male pages around, sending them really creepy and disturbing e-mail, offering up his house for an ex-page to stay in if the said ex-page would perform sex on Foley. That’s just icky. And now, we have this one. Haggard was dismissed from his post after all this went public.

"It was an easy decision once we discovered there was a sexual immorality," Ware said, noting that Haggard agreed dismissal was the right course. "He has a concern and a love for this church. He knows he has hurt people and he needs to heal."

Ware said he believes Haggard was not honest in his statements to the media last week because of the stress and pressure on him.

"This is a clash between divinity and humanity," Ware said. "We're all human, and we make mistakes."

The oversight board will continue to investigate Haggard so "a plan of healing and restoration can begin.”

What IS it with the Republican party and the evangelicals and homosexuality? There has been some things written lately about the possible psychological makeup of people like this. They have such desires (i.e., lust) that they may or may not act upon. Many times, it appears they do act upon them. But apparently, they feel so guilty and immoral about it, they go out and use the position of power (i.e., the bully pulpit) to go disparage gays and try to make them seem like inhuman monsters.

Almost like a projection of self-hatred, yes?

When I heard about this last week, I will admit that I said to myself “Oh, boy. I really, really hope this is true.” I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning. It smells like victory. Hopefully on this coming Tuesday, but perhaps also for the ultimate smashing open of the dark soul of these True Believers. That might show the country what they are truly made of.

Read more in this story at Huffington Post

Friday, November 03, 2006

Ouch! NY Times throws a right hook to the chin.

Here’s the link.

As President Bush throws himself into the final days of a particularly nasty campaign season, he’s settled into a familiar pattern of ugly behavior. Since he can’t defend the real world created by his policies and his decisions, Mr. Bush is inventing a fantasy world in which to campaign on phony issues against fake enemies.


In Mr. Bush’s world, there are only two kinds of Americans: those who are against terrorism, and those who somehow are all right with it. Some Americans want to win in Iraq and some don’t. There are Americans who support the troops and Americans who don’t support the troops. And at the root of it all is the hideously damaging fantasy that there is a gulf between Americans who love their country and those who question his leadership.

Mr. Bush has been pushing these divisive themes all over the nation, offering up the ludicrous notion the other day that if Democrats manage to control even one house of Congress, America will lose and the terrorists will win. But he hit a particularly creepy low when he decided to distort a lame joke lamely delivered by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. Mr. Kerry warned college students that the punishment for not learning your lessons was to “get stuck in Iraq.” In context, it was obviously an attempt to disparage Mr. Bush’s intelligence. That’s impolitic and impolite, but it’s not as bad as Mr. Bush’s response. Knowing full well what Mr. Kerry meant, the president and his team cried out that the senator was disparaging the troops. It was a depressing replay of the way the Bush campaign Swift-boated Americans in 2004 into believing that Mr. Kerry, who went to war, was a coward and Mr. Bush, who stayed home, was a hero.

It’s nice to see that most of the country is now fully aware that, not only is the emperor sans clothes, he would stand out in a nudist colony. Only about six years too late, but still, it’s nice to see.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Some conservatives are truly upset with Bush and the current Republican party.

Boy, this conservative is really upset. I admire John Cole for writing this and admitting his disillusionment with his identified political party. That takes a lot of guts, as well as the ability to go back and reexamine your belief system. That is never easy. He is already getting his very own personal character assassination from the attack dogs on the extreme right. Andrew Sullivan, whom I read on a regular basis and quote from often, is another person who regards himself as a conservative but has totally lost faith with the current Republican party. Almost daily, he says something like “Abstain from voting, or vote Democratic”. Those things must be hard for a person to say after a lifetime of saying you are a Republican.

Here is a reply to John Cole’s post from Kos. It’s quite nice. I didn’t realize that Marcos used to be a Republican.

Here is how I guess I view it. Although I do consider myself a liberal and a Democrat, I wonder how much of that is really saying “I am against everything that the current conservatives and Republicans stand for”. I don’t really want to make the same mistake that the Republicans always make (if it can actually be called a “mistake” and is not, in fact, a cold calculation). Hardly anything is a “black or white and that’s the only choices you get” proposition. There are all sorts of shades of gray in this society of ours. So, just because I am infuriated with this current crop of Republicans, I wonder if that automatically makes me the Democrat I think I am. Yeah, I am rather liberal when it comes to social issues. For instance, I think what gay people do is their own business and the government has no damn business interfering. When it comes to fiscal matters, I think I am more on the conservative side. We have no business giving huge tax cuts to anyone, much less the top five percent of this country, at a time we are running up huge deficits. That is more than just irresponsible. That’s criminal. I don’t know what that makes me. I know I just feel much more comfortable with the label of liberal Democrat than I do with “independent”.

Anyway, although I don’t agree with a lot of things they say and think that they tend to be overly patronizing and insulting at times, I do commend John Cole and Andrew Sullivan for coming out as strongly as they have, publicly, when they know they are going to get slammed by the thugs of the Republican party for it. I believe there are many, many very principled people who are just as mad at how the Bush administration and his enablers are manipulating this country down a very dangerous path.

One of Sullivan’s regular readers makes this point about the need for principled people to come together and really get this country back pointed in the right direction.

I do not agree with all your views on particular policies - but that's not necessary, because I respect and trust your good intentions and good faith, your essential humility and humanity.


In any case, we agree on the bedrock issues, which utterly transcend left and right. We can agree to disagree on particular policies here and there - and get on with it. The challenges we face in the coming years - from global warming to nuclear proliferation to economic instability - will require us to meet on common ground.

This country really need two healthy, principled, and respectful political parties in this country. They act as a constant check that neither goes too far astray, which is unfortunately what has happened now with the Republican party. They do not stand for the same things now as they stood for in the past. No, things will never, and have never been in the past, ideal. There has always been and will always be people who try to manipulate the system for their own gains. However, the system we have now has not just jumped the tracks but has fallen off the cliff into the river. We need to find a way somehow to get back to political discourse as a way to resolve issues. Vowing to destroy your enemies, which are defined as “anyone disagreeing with you about anything”, and doing whatever you can, no matter how devious, cynical or manipulative just to stay in power, is not how this country became great.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Gort, Klaatu barada nicto.

As it is Halloween evening, I’ll take a break from ranting about politics for a bit. I am really getting into a rut. So, I’ll talk about one of my other favorites subject, films.

Because of my training and employment as an engineer and scientist, I tend to analyze a movie to death. The first time I see a film, I usually just sort of “go with it” as the filmmaker probably intended. But on a repeat viewing, I’ll sit and go “Wait a minute, didn’t this just happen? So, what’s up with this new thing here? That doesn’t make any sense.” Or, “Now, that was really a cheap trick there, that wasn’t necessary.” In other words, I am an overly anal retentive, overly analytical engineer. (When you get right down to it, is there any other kind?)

One of my favorite sci-fi films is THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. It’s still a classic, although I wonder how it could have been directed by the same person who did THE SOUND OF MUSIC and WEST SIDE STORY. Here are some of the things that occurred to me when watching it for about the fourteenth time. O.K., I’ll admit up front that most of these can be attributed to “artistic license” or “the need to advance the plot regardless if this makes sense or not”. Still, these things bug me as obvious discontinuities.

Anyway, here’s the deal. A flying saucer from somewhere in outer space has landed on the mall in Washington D.C., rather close to some very special national landmarks. There’s a large robot standing there that has already evaporated a number of jeeps and tanks with his death ray. An alien, whose intentions are as yet unknown, is on the loose in the city after having escaped from Walter Reed hospital. Yet, at night, there are a total of TWO soldiers standing guard at the ship, and there are absolutely no gawkers around checking out this once in a millennia event!?! Where’s the National Guard? The Army? Multi-departmental civilian force? If an interplanetary spaceship complete with giant robot just landed in my city, I would be standing there taking pictures and checking that thing out, no matter the time of day or night. But there’s a total of two guards with a couple of rifles just standing around like some sentries at a desolate Army barracks somewhere in the middle of Montana! Weird.

Next, after Klaatu was shot by the Army and his body was being held in some downtown jail, Gort the giant eight foot tall robot is able to stroll through downtown Washington D.C., find the jail, blast a hole in the prison wall with his death ray, grab Klaatu’s body and then walk back to the spaceship, all without anyone ever seeing him!?! I don’t think so. If nothing else, someone should have at least tried to mug him.

And what was Klaatu’s ultimate message that he had to deliver to all mankind? “Don’t be violent, or we’ll blow you up.” Wow, that’s a real uplifting message, although just a tad on the hypocritical side. It is rather a one-sided version of the Cold War’s philosophical approach of Mutual Assured Destruction. I suppose if it works for the rest of the universe….

One of my later thoughts about the film is that, given what I know now about computers and how they are continually screwing up, crashing, and doing things that generally you would prefer they not do when you are in the middle of entering vast amounts of data in a multi-dimensional spreadsheet, I would be really hesitant in putting the fate of all civilized worlds into the hands of a bunch of all-powerful robots who can never be turned off. More than likely, we would instead end up with HAL, the psychotic computer with a persecution complex, only this time he would have his own spaceship complete with weapons that could vaporize the Earth or any other planet whose inhabitants accidentally entered an incorrect keystroke and caused a system crash.

What a cheery thought. And here I was, looking for something to distract me from politics, the war, the election, North Korea with The Bomb, Iran with The Bomb, Pakistan with The Bomb…..

Cut and Run ex-general!

This is a pretty amazing column by one Lt. Gen. WILLIAM E. ODOM (Ret.) that was run in the L.A. Times today. I don’t know if you have to be registered at the LATimes web site in order to get this story or not. Just in case, here it is. I’ve highlighted some very interesting sentences.

THE UNITED STATES upset the regional balance in the Middle East when it invaded Iraq. Restoring it requires bold initiatives, but "cutting and running" must precede them all. Only a complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops — within six months and with no preconditions — can break the paralysis that now enfeebles our diplomacy. And the greatest obstacles to cutting and running are the psychological inhibitions of our leaders and the public.

Our leaders do not act because their reputations are at stake. The public does not force them to act because it is blinded by the president's conjured set of illusions: that we are reducing terrorism by fighting in Iraq; creating democracy there; preventing the spread of nuclear weapons; making Israel more secure; not allowing our fallen soldiers to have died in vain; and others.

But reality can no longer be avoided. It is beyond U.S. power to prevent bloody sectarian violence in Iraq, the growing influence of Iran throughout the region, the probable spread of Sunni-Shiite strife to neighboring Arab states, the eventual rise to power of the anti-American cleric Muqtada Sadr or some other anti-American leader in Baghdad, and the spread of instability beyond Iraq. All of these things and more became unavoidable the day that U.S. forces invaded.

These realities get worse every day that our forces remain in Iraq. They can't be wished away by clever diplomacy or by leaving our forces in Iraq for several more years.

The administration could recognize that a rapid withdrawal is the only way to overcome our strategic paralysis, though that appears unlikely, notwithstanding election-eve changes in White House rhetoric. Congress could force a stock-taking. Failing this, the public will sooner or later see through all of the White House's double talk and compel a radical policy change. The price for delay, however, will be more lives lost in vain — the only thing worse than the lives already lost in vain.

Some lawmakers are ready to change course but are puzzled as to how to leave Iraq. The answer is four major initiatives to provide regional stability and calm in Iraq. They will leave the U.S. less influential in the region. But it will be the best deal we can get.

First, the U.S. must concede that it has botched things, cannot stabilize the region alone and must let others have a say in what's next. As U.S. forces begin to withdraw, Washington must invite its European allies, as well as Japan, China and India, to make their own proposals for dealing with the aftermath. Russia can be ignored because it will play a spoiler role in any case.

Rapid troop withdrawal and abandoning unilateralism will have a sobering effect on all interested parties. Al Qaeda will celebrate but find that its only current allies, Iraqi Baathists and Sunnis, no longer need or want it. Iran will crow but soon begin to worry that its Kurdish minority may want to join Iraqi Kurdistan and that Iraqi Baathists might make a surprising comeback.

Although European leaders will probably try to take the lead in designing a new strategy for Iraq, they will not be able to implement it. This is because they will not allow any single European state to lead, the handicap they faced in trying to cope with Yugoslavia's breakup in the 1990s. Nor will Japan, China or India be acceptable as a new coalition leader. The U.S. could end up as the leader of a new strategic coalition — but only if most other states recognize this fact and invite it to do so.

The second initiative is to create a diplomatic forum for Iraq's neighbors. Iran, of course, must be included. Washington should offer to convene the forum but be prepared to step aside if other members insist.

Third, the U.S. must informally cooperate with Iran in areas of shared interests. Nothing else could so improve our position in the Middle East. The price for success will include dropping U.S. resistance to Iran's nuclear weapons program. This will be as distasteful for U.S. leaders as cutting and running, but it is no less essential. That's because we do share vital common interests with Iran. We both want to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban (Iran hates both). We both want stability in Iraq (Iran will have influence over the Shiite Iraqi south regardless of what we do, but neither Washington nor Tehran want chaos). And we can help each other when it comes to oil: Iran needs our technology to produce more oil, and we simply need more oil.

Accepting Iran's nuclear weapons is a small price to pay for the likely benefits. Moreover, its nuclear program will proceed whether we like it or not. Accepting it might well soften Iran's support for Hezbollah, and it will definitely undercut Russia's pernicious influence with Tehran.

Fourth, real progress must be made on the Palestinian issue as a foundation for Middle East peace. The invasion of Iraq and the U.S. tilt toward Israel have dangerously reduced Washington's power to broker peace or to guarantee Israel's security. We now need Europe's help. And good relations with Iran would help dramatically.

No strategy can succeed without these components. We must cut and run tactically in order to succeed strategically. The United States needs to restore its reputation so that its capacity to lead constructively will cost us less.

This is pretty frank talk from an ex-military man who probably prefers twelve simultaneous root canals while getting a screening for colon cancer at the same time than to go public with such hard hitting criticisms of the current “commander in chief”. That is usually a “not done” thing. However, many ex-military types have been lining up these days to give their assessment of the situation in Iraq.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Lie, Damn Lies, and Presidential Press Secretaries

I would hate to be Press Secretary for President Bush. The gyrations these guys have to go through to avoid stating the obvious is amazing. I think maybe Scott McClellan had a great approach – that of a fencepost being asked to extract a cube root of a integer. He didn’t even acknowledge that he looked like a complete idiot. However, he was effective in his job. It has been reported that Bush once congratulated him after a press conference for not saying anything. I am paraphrasing here, but that is essentially what he said.

However, Tony Snow is something else entirely. He’s obviously a bright guy. However, when you have an obviously bright guy trying to defend something that cannot be defended or try to avoid answering a question by linguistic tricks, he cannot come off as anything but a smarmy hack that will say anything. Watching him last week trying to explain Bush’s “We’ve never been stay the course” bit has now been followed by his “tortured” explanation of Cheney’s assertion that it is a “no-brainer” to “dunk someone” if it could save American lives. Was he referring to waterboarding? After WWII, the U.S. prosecuted people who used this technique as war criminals. Oh, no, declares Snow. Cheney would never talk about specific techniques when questioning suspects. And beside, everyone knows that the U.S. does not torture. O.K., so if he wasn’t talking about waterboarding, what was he talking about? Several people have commented in the last few days that anything involving water and interrogating terrorists suspects has to induce some sort of fear into the detainee. So, it is isn’t waterboarding and the threat of imminent drowning, what are we talking about here? There just isn’t anything else that fits. Yet, Tony Snow pretends that he doesn’t know what the press is so upset about and why they won’t accept his non-answers as answers.

I don’t understand how these people can really live with themselves. O.K., if you really believe in what you are doing, if you would stand before God and be judged on your actions, then why not tell the American people the truth? The obvious answer is that they know they can’t do that. If they were to tell the American people what is really up with torture, or illegal wiretapping of phone conversations, or any one of about one hundred other nasty little secrets that the Bush administration doesn’t want anyone to know, they know that most of the true Americans would howl in protest. They absolutely know they are in the wrong and cannot defend their answers. Therefore, all we get is this little tapdance between the press and Bush or his mouthpiece where they try to trip each other and score cheap points as if someone is keeping a running tally. We hardly ever get the truth. And when we do happen to get a truthfully nugget now and then, it is almost always by accident.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My personal confusion and uncertainty about the Iraq war.

I am going to admit something here that I have been considering privately for the last year or so, ever since it became evident that, not only were things going very badly in Iraq, but very badly, we had and continue to have no idea of what victory might look like, and it is making our own country less secure.

I want us out of Iraq. I absolutely detest the idea that the men and women of our military are dying and are suffering horribly even when they aren’t maimed for life, all because of the blinding stupidity and hubris of a few individuals of this country who came to power in this country with a pre-formed agenda and who will lie and manipulate facts and emotions in order to do whatever the hell they want to. I hate that. We are not accomplishing anything good over there. All the commentary and reporting I have seen on this, some of it from some ex-high level military and government people, is that our only option is to give up on this pie-in-the-sky idea of a democratic Iraq being a beacon in the Middle East which serves as the tipping point for the entire region. We must now accept whatever we can figure out might be the course that will do the least harm.

That is the rub with me. The “least harm” from whose perspective? I want the military out as soon as possible. But I also believe that if we were to just pull out totally, like we did in Vietnam, the situation on the ground in Iraq will go from very, very bad to much, much worse. Yes, it’s pretty much anarchy now, with death squads from each side roaming freely and doing whatever they want to with the innocent civilians on the other side. We are not going to cure the fact that the deep animosity that the Sunni and the Shia have for each other, not to mention the Kurds. The most that can be done, I believe, is to keep them from slaughtering each other in a wanton fashion.

The problem is, how do we do that? Can it even be done? I doubt it. But I also think that the U.S. military is currently acting as some sort of brake on Iraq. We have seen what such hatred spawns when unchecked in the Balkans after the breakup of the Soviet Union and its’ satellite state of Yugoslavia. Are we to just pull out and leave the Iraqi people, many innocent people who just want to be left alone to live their lives without the constant threat of violence, to the same fate?

That does seem totally immoral from our perspective. We are not going much good in Iraq right now, many very knowledgeable people are saying our presence is making things much worse. But what is going to happen if we leave? I am not at all worried about “emboldening the enemy”, another emotional catchphrase of the Bush administration. I am worried about the people we would be leaving behind. This isn’t about terrorists wanting to harm the U.S. This is about unleashing Pandora’s Box among the Iraqi people. George Bush and his cronies are responsible for this. They are the ones that opened the door by invading the country without provocation and without the slightest idea what would come of it. Our country, the United States of America, was the cause of this. And to just pull out by saying “Well, you’re on your own. Sorry this didn’t work out” is heartless and cruel. We went in without a plan, and now we are probably going to leave without a plan. Many more tens of thousands of Iraqis will die until things are “sorted out”, just the way they were “sorted out” in Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Croatia. It was an incredibly bloody and brutal 10 years for those people. Are we going to wish the same on the Iraqi people?

This isn’t even getting into the political situation and what could happen on the world stage. Iraq and the Middle East, unlike the Balkans, is hugely important strategically. It is in the middle of a pressure cooker, with Israel and the Palestinian conflict in the middle of it. Iran is a growing threat and wants nuclear weapons. The Middle East is sitting on top of the greatest reserve of oil the world has left. Fundamentalists who desire nothing more than to destroy their enemies and make the world into a Muslim theocracy are exerting more and more influence each passing day in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Yemen, and Egypt. Turkey is most likely not going to accept having a Kurdish state sitting on its’ southern border.

In short, it is hard to imagine the situation being any worse than it is now. The conflict in the Balkans, bad as it was, was at least self-contained. It didn’t really affect world events. This is not the case in Iraq and the Middle East. Things could spiral out of control on “the Big Stage” very quickly. Yet Bush and his minions have no clue other than to keep doing what we have been doing, which is patently obvious to anyone with a brain that it isn’t working.

That is why I am torn. “Least harm” for whom? What are the ramifications if we pull out? It doesn’t matter if we pull out slowly or all at once; the results will pretty much be the same if we don’t have a game plan on how to control the logical outcome of this situation. What are we going to do?

That is why I get furious when I hear how the Democrats “don’t have a plan” for Iraq. I have actually heard of several. Whether or not any of them would actually do any good, I do not know. But it isn’t like they don’t have “a plan”. On the other hand, we know, for a fact, that the Republicans have no clue of what they are doing and haven’t for the last six year. They have proven themselves to be incompetent, corrupt, cynical, and will do anything just to remain in power. How could giving the Democrats a chance to act as oversight to this mayhem be any worse than what we have now?

We are all in a very, very dire situation and the Bush administration has been lying to the people about the real situation. We have no idea really how to extricate ourselves without unleashing total anarchy. By electing a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress would at least put some people in some sort of oversight role who at least acknowledge that we are in deep trouble.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

George Bush stops even attempting to make sense, Part II.

George’s latest limbo attempt with the English language comes as he is attempting to explain whether we are winning or losing in Iraq, what winning means, and why “staying the course” is our only option, except now that we aren’t really “staying the course” anymore.

Here is a comment from a reader of Dan Froomkin’s White House Briefing.

"That struck me as an unbelievable contradiction of all logic -- 'the only way we can't win is if we leave, but if we can't win, we'll leave' -- so is he saying that if we don't stay in Iraq, we'll leave? I'm confused -- what's winning?"

He’s apparently not the only one who’s confused. Here is a comment (via the same Froomkin article) from Kathleen Parker, a conservative writer.

"Bush tried to clarify what 'winning' is.

"This is a little tricky, so pay attention.

"First, 'winning' is closely tied to 'staying the course,' another term seeking definition the past few days. As of this writing, 'staying the course' means 'winning,' which means 'not losing,' but you knew that.

"And what does 'not losing' mean? According to Bush, it means not leaving. Which no one wants to hear, but there it is. . . .

"At this point, the only real question, said Bush, is whether we can help the Iraqi government succeed. 'Not only can we help them, we must help them,' he said.

"Which means not leaving. Which means not losing. Which means winning, maybe, as currently defined."

So, how confusing is that? This from the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, whose own supporters can’t even figure out how to explain what the hell this guy is talking about and what point he is making.

I’ll be glad when this election is over.

I am just so overwhelmed by all that is going on and the kitchen sink of dirty tricks and downright sleaze that the Rethugs are throwing up in their desperation. Maybe that’s why I haven’t posted much in the last few days. I’m overwhelmed.

How despicable is it when an ad such as the one the Republican candidate Corker is using in Tennessee against Harold Ford that has shown to be full of demonstratably false accusations, and yet the RNC refuses to pull the ad? Or that the hidden racism of a large percentage of the southern supports of the Republican party is now pretty much out there on the table for all to see? Karl Rove and his pals seem to believe that the negatives (such as the exposed racism) outweigh the positives of dragging their hard-core, good ol’ Southern boy out of his house on election day.

I am just so depressed about how mean and nasty people can be when they get scared. There is nothing noble about this at all.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The monster within.

The Rethug party sure is finally exposing what is really inside its' soul. This is being exposed sort of like the Monster From The Id showing up in the classic sci-fi film, FORBIDDEN PLANET. Except in this case, unlike Dr. Morbius in the film, the Rethugs know EXACTLY who they are and what they stand for. They just hardly ever say it out loud, because they know that most of the people in the U.S. would be repelled. However, the threat of imminent defeat and loss of one or both houses of Congress sure put the fear of.... something or someone into these jerks. Their true nature is being shown on national television and in the press.

This is how the Rethugs are finally exposing themselves for what they really are.

This amazing commercial put on the RNC is nothing more than an ad for Osama Bin Laden himself and all the other terrorists who would like nothing more than to do harm to this country. However, the Rethug party has decided to pick up the tab and do the job for them! The approach is no less than “Let’s scare the everlovin’ bejessus out of everyone! Death! Mayhem! Destruction! Then they’ll have to vote Republican!” As Keith Olbermann pointed out on his show the other night in his special comment, this is clearly a terror tactic in and of itself. This time, however, it comes to you courtesy of the political party in power.

There is the ad being run in Tennessee against the Democratic challenger, Harold Ford. Jr. It is in every way racist to its’ very core, and yet the defenders of this piece of garbage are saying, “Come on! It’s funny! Get over it!” Ken Mehlman says that the ad is fair. How very commendable of him.

There’s Rush Limbaugh, the bag-o-flatulence extraordinaire, who is accusing Michael J. Fox of exaggerating or even faking the effects of Parkinson’s disease so that he will appear more sympathetic on his series of commercials supporting candidates that favor stem cell research. This from a convicted drug abuser who got off lightly because he is a Personality.

Here and here are a couple of other good links to well written posts regarding the current cesspool of slime and excrement, otherwise known as GOP Standard Operating Procedures.

And there is so much more going on just recently that I haven’t even touched on. Their conduct is nothing less than shameful, disgusting, hypocritical, and bigoted. I am beside myself to even think that these people consider themselves as Americans or Christians.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Was this what it was like during the 60’s?

I was in my early teens during the late 60’s, and was terribly unaware of what was going on in the country. Almost all I know about that period was what I have learned after the fact. I was vaguely aware that there was a war, but didn’t understand who or why we were fighting. I knew my oldest brother was in the Army but was in Korea, supposedly out of “harm’s way”. I remember seeing all those infamous body count numbers on the evening news. I remember being confused as to who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. I knew that the U.S. was one of the good guys, but there were three other labels on the screen with their own body counts. I didn’t quite get the distinction between North and South Vietnamese and the Viet Cong.

I didn’t really understand the huge split in the country at the time. I was vaguely aware of various student demonstrations and takeovers of this or that building. I remember the students being killed by the Guardsmen at Kent State. I knew that one of the kids from our little town in Colorado that went to school with my brothers was killed in Vietnam. I knew there was a draft, but I was still years away from that.

All in all, I was a very self-absorbed kid with little understanding of any events going on beyond my own little sphere. I was too busy just trying to survive adolescence, including my mom and dad’s divorce when I was in the third grade and my mom’s continual struggle to survive what must have been at near poverty levels. So, I suppose it isn’t too surprising that I didn’t have a clue at the time.

Still, from what I can piece together from my own memories and from my vantage point looking back at what is now a past national trauma, it seems like what is happening in this country is different than the cultural rupture that occurred in the 60’s.

I suppose the Vietnam War will always be associated with the “hippy/peacenik movement”, drugs, rock and roll, and a new sense of sexual liberation. It wasn’t just that society was split on the war, it was split along cultural lines that would have existed without the war. The war just made it easier to rip society along that pre-existing perforation. On the one side, you had Spiro Agnew and his legion of blue-haired ladies and white men with thick jowls. On the other side, you had Jimi Hendrix, the Black Panthers, Timothy Leary, and Abby Hoffman. The Establishment vs. the Counter-Culture. The war loomed large, but that was not the only thing going on.

Today, there is still a split in society. There are many of the same players on the same sides as before. But there are also some new and very influential players as well that I don’t remember being around at that time. The fundamentalist evangelical is the biggest new player. They can no doubt be seen as being a direct outgrowth from the blue-haired set as a result of the free-wheeling Counter-Culture that looked like was taking hold of the college campuses back then. But this represents a fundamental new movement in the direction tug-of-war going on in society. This faction would like to see America become some sort of fundamentalist Christian theocracy with a heavy dose of military might and unfettered capitalism. So, one could say that the division in this country’s psyche moved to the right. No one is out there advocating drug use to free one’s mind, free love, or any other such nihilistic behavior. But the extreme right seems a lot further to the right than it was before. Maybe the difference is the major pull from the center is to the right now, where back in the 60’s, it was to the left.

Where am I going with this rambling discussion with myself? I have no idea. I suppose I am trying to get some perspective on what is going on with this country today. I have no idea how we got to the point that a very large percentage of the people in this country think that torture is an acceptable practice, invading a country that wasn’t directly threatening us is not only acceptable but required, habeas corpus and other parts of the Constitution and Bill of Rights can be deleted without discussion, the press should function as a propaganda arm of the government, and science as a discipline has been reduced to something akin to astrology. How in the world did we get here?

I do know one thing. This country has been hovering on the edge of a cliff, where the bottom of that cliff is a very nasty dictatorship where the freedoms that we currently take for granted are non-existent. It seems like to me that we have backed a few steps away from that precipice in the last few months. Perhaps people are finally beginning to wake up as to what has really been going on in this country for the past six year. Maybe. I hope it isn’t just wishful thinking on my part. We will see what the landscape looks like after the November elections. I am hoping for an outright repudiation of the thuggish tactics employed by the Republican party. It’s currently looking pretty positive, but I won’t rest easy until Wednesday, November 8th.

Make sure you vote!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Breaking news: Bush abandons even the pretense of making sense!

Sooo….. George Bush went on TeeVee this last weekend, being asked some interesting questions by George Stephanopoulos. Here is something that he just sort of let fly and left flopping around the studio floor like a dying carp.

Anchor George Stephanopoulos was asking Bush about comments from James A. Baker III, who has said that the independent commission he co-chairs is pursuing alternatives to "cut and run" or "stay the course" in Iraq.

Said Bush: "Well, listen, we've never been stay the course, George. We have been -- we will complete the mission, we will do our job and help achieve the goal, but we're constantly adjusting the tactics, constantly."

“We’ve never been stay the course.” Hmmm…. Let me roll that around my mouth a bit, sort of like sampling a wine before spitting it back in the cup. “We’ve never been stay the course.” And that wasn’t -- couldn’t have been -- just a slipup. Not after White House counselor Dan Bartlett said almost the same thing the next day. This must be yet one more Bush talking points, where all his minions are sent out to their favorite media outlets and repeat the same thing. Lately, it was “cut and run Democrats”. Earlier on, I remember the phrase “historical revisionist”. Everyone was saying that for about three days, then that catchphrase that never caught fire must have been shuttled off to the dustbin.

This week, it is “We’ve never been stay the course.” This is just so astounding to me. I really and truly cannot figure out which one of the only three things that this can possibly represent.

The first is that Bush truly believes what he says and cannot remember that, for the last several years, “stay the course” has been his one and only answer to any question about Iraq. It’s the opposite side of the coin from “cut and run Democrats”. Sort of like “yin/yang” and “Abbott /Costello”, one cannot exist without the other, at least in the mind of Bush and his neocon followers. That’s all I have heard from Bush and his supporters for the last eight months or so.

The second possibility is that Bush knows exactly what he is saying and what a load of cow flop that it really is, but he is banking on the stupidity and gullibility of at least a majority of the voting American public to take him at his word and continue to vote Republican in two weeks time. After all, this has worked out fine many times in the past (e.g., WMD in Iraq), so why not this time as well? It isn’t as if they have a lot else to offer. Obfuscation as a tactic works very well, so why abandon it now?

The third and final possibility is that Bush doesn’t even care if his answers make sense, and doesn’t really care if anyone believes him or not. I have been noticing this tendency in some people, mostly conservative Republicans for some time now. As long as they can utter anything in response, as long as they can appear that they are in control and have a retort to whatever comes their way, that is all that it takes to make them happy. It doesn’t matter if they believe if themselves, and they don’t even care if it makes sense or convinces the person or persons they are talking to. It isn’t important. Their psyche is satisfied; they have made the effort. It isn’t their fault if no one believes them.

So, I can’t really say which category that Bush really falls into. I have seen a number of people argue for the first. Bush is a non-recovered dry-drunk who is heavily into denial about his own shortcomings and has a lot of emotional investment into his defensive ego protection mechanisms. It is no surprise that such a person could utter something that totally contradicts what he was saying just last week, so long as that protects himself from any possible blame or criticism. I could certainly buy this argument. However, I don’t really like to consider the possibility that the current President of the United States of America is out-and-out delusional. That is what a person would really have to be in order to act the way he is acting just to cover up his own shortcomings. Who knows what a person might do if really pushed on a bad day? Dropping a nuke on Iran just to spite Democrats isn’t that much of a stretch.

The second possibility is also very plausible. It depends greatly on 1) Bush’s ego, 2) his utter contempt for the American people (or anyone else he decides is beneath him), and 3) his love of unfettered power. This is a very, very cynical view of the man and his handlers. However, if it were true, he wouldn’t be that much different that the people who were in power in the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. It is extremely possible to find people in today’s supposed Enlightened and Rational Age that are indeed that power hungry, who would do anything at all in order to remain in power and destroy their enemies. Again, that possibility is very disturbing to contemplate. On one hand, it might be a bit of a relief to know that Bush is using logic and understands the most likely outcome of his actions. He wouldn’t be considered to be a “madman” in the clinical sense of the word. However, this would mean that Bush will do almost anything to retain power and subjugate anyone who opposes him. Unfortunately, Bush’s own actions when viewed through this lens, show that this second possibility is very likely.

This last possibility is actually the one that I favor. I don’t know why. I have just had experiences with other, similar thinking people. I don’t mean that I know people who would use a national tragedy like 9/11 to go invade a country they were itching to go after before they even got into office and were just looking for an excuse. No, I mean that I have met people who would say just about anything when you hit them up with a question or point that they can’t answer. They just blurt out the first thing that comes into their heads. It doesn’t have to really address the point that was being made. It doesn’t even have to be rational or consistent. The important thing was that they need to have some pat answer that could, somehow, be justifiably seen as answering their critics. That’s all that is required, in their minds.

I suppose that this last possibility is actually part and parcel of the first possibility that I laid out. No doubt, psychologists have worked that all out long ago.

The main thing that comes from this sort of “thought experiment” is that, no matter which option you pick, it isn’t a very good conclusion for America. This is a man who has been handed the stewardship of the richest and most powerful country that has ever existed. He is treating it like his private plaything. He doesn’t consider the possible results of any of his actions after he leaves office. He takes no responsibility for any of the terrible things that have occurred as a direct result of his decisions. Having absolutely no fear or concern for any future events because you know that they can’t touch you removes all possible constraints for any decision you might want to make, no matter the reason.

I am hoping that a newly elected Democratic majority in the House, the Senate, or better yet, both, can put the brakes on this guy for the final two years of his term. If we get neither, then I really fear for the future of this country. What might happen in the last two years of Bush’s reign might make the first six look insignificant by comparison.

UPDATE: O.K, based on what has been going on about this "flip flop by any other name", it is obvious that the real answer for this particular question is #2. This renaming is now such a transparent political ploy, it is almost incomprehensible. Yes, this shows the absolute distain that Bush and his cronies have for the American public. Watching Tony Snow trying to do the linguistic equivalent of Chinese contortionists has been surreal. His feigned amazement that anyone would actually think that "stay the course" really meant... stay the course has been a wonder to behold.

The letter from Pat Tillman’s brother, Kevin.

This (via Truthdig) is all over the internet, but is not reaching the mainstream media. I did see that the Washington Post had a story on it, but I haven’t seen much on it elsewhere. I wonder why that is?

His letter is a powerful statement. I wish I could write something like this. It is all the more powerful because of who he is, what he has personally experienced, and his moral standing from what he has lost. Please pardon me for posting his letter in its’ entirety. That’s usually a no-no in the blogging world. However, I think that was probably the reason Kevin wrote this, so as many people as he could reach would read it.

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we got out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.
Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.

Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,
Kevin Tillman