Why Do the Republicans Hate the Troops… and Puppies?

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers’ Alliance, and My Left Wing.

Golden Retriever Puppy Wrapped in US Flag

As discussed here, Jim Webb’s bill would have mandated “dwell time” to give our exhausted troops a break. It stood a good chance of passing until Senator Warner did a 180 and withdrew his support. In the end only 6 Senate Republicans showed that they give a damn about the well-being of our fighting men and women.

Senate Republicans blocked a plan on Wednesday to give U.S. troops in Iraq more home leave, defeating a proposal widely seen as the Democrats’ best near-term chance to change President George W. Bush’s Iraq strategy.

The measure to give troops as much rest time at home as they spent on their most recent tour overseas needed 60 votes to pass in the Democratic-controlled Senate; it received just 56 votes, with 44 against.

It had been offered by Sen. Jim Webb, a decorated Vietnam veteran and former Navy secretary. The Democrat said U.S. troops are being “burned out” by repeated redeployments to Iraq, with tours of up to 15 months and less than a year off in between.

Axis of Evil The Junior Partner

(11 pm Time for new content. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Never ones to rest on their laurels of incompetence and failure the NEO-Con’s have set their sights on Syria deciding that it is now a Junior Member of the Axis of Evil while this is consistent with their vision of remaking the Middle East its how they are making the case for Syria’s inclusion that is interesting. As is their real goal which involves derailing the Six Party Talks on North Korea’s nuclear program.

As has been widely reported in the mainstream press on September 6 Israeli war planes made an incursion into Syrian airspace for reasons as yet unknown. But this hasn’t stopped the press or anyone else for that matter from speculating on exactly what happened even though both the Israeli and Syrian governments have never issued an Official Statement on the incident.

Was Israel’s attack aimed at testing Syria’s radar defenses? Did the air strike seek to disrupt arms shipments to Lebanon’s Hezbollah? Was it a dress rehearsal for a possible future strike on Iranian nuclear facilities?

Feeding the speculation, a familiar clutch of hawks in the administration of US President George W Bush appear to be suggesting that Israel’s apparent air strike targeted a joint North Korea-Syria nuclear venture.

“We know that both Iran and Syria have long cooperated with North Korea on ballistic-missile programs, and the prospect of cooperation on nuclear matters is not far-fetched.

  That’s a quote from an OP/ED written by John Bolton which appeared in the Wall Street Journal about a week before the incident took place. Considering just how difficult it is to develop a ballistic missile program considering the technology involved  the North Koreans have had some success in their quest for a delivery system. The actual test launches have met with limited success.

Here is North Korea’s statement over the speculation that they are providing Syria with assistance in developing a nuclear program.

It is groundlessly misleading,” said the North’s official Central News Agency, quoting an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesperson.
“We already declared in October 2006 that we as a responsible nuclear state would prohibit nuclear proliferation altogether,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying, recalling the time Pyongyang tested its first nuclear device last year.

?? “Our words are never empty, and we do what we promise to do, and never do things we say we will not do,” the spokesperson said, pointing at The New York Times and other unidentified media outlets as being behind the allegations that Pyongyang is cooperating with Syria in nuclear proliferation.

  From Yonhap a Korean News Service I know this is a statement made by the North Korean government. That said it has always been a stated goal of theirs to have full diplomatic and economic relations with the United States. So why would they risk the complete collapse of the Six Party Talks by involving themselves in such a venture. Does the North have a relationship with Syria yes but that has always been for the transference of ballistic missile technologies.

Further statements like these just fuel ones paranoia about the NEO-Con’s and George Bush’s real goals concerning the Middle East.

Comments made by a US State Department official last Friday fanned the flames and bolstered the neo-conservative argument. Andrew Semmel, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear non-proliferation policy, told the Associated Press that the US believes Syria has a number of “secret suppliers” to obtain nuclear equipment as part of a covert program.

Fortunately there are those who willing to call it what it is.

Joseph Cirincione, director for nuclear policy at the Washington-based Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank, has gone so far as to describe the story as “nonsense”.
Selective leaks are being used to play up the Syria-North Korea connection, he writes on the online site of the journal Foreign Policy.

“This appears to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted ‘intelligence’ to key reporters in order to promote a pre-existing political agenda. If this sounds like the run-up to the war with Iraq, then it should,” he writes.

Castro Sucks, And Chavez Does Too

There. I said it. Whatcha gonna do about it?

Ok, I’ll come clean. There was a meta war without me. I’m jealous.

And no, I am NOT an ADMIN-AL.

I am not an elephant either.

Some say I am not a man. But not to my face.

I/P, Schmie-P. MEMEMEMEMEMEME!

…and Gosh Darn, People Like You

I was going to write something tonight on economic policy, and how a logical, moderate approach to the issue would put you to the left of today’s Democratic Party, but then I read Buhdy’s front page essay.

So instead, I’ll riff on some thoughts on what I see good about this blog. Folks sometimes focus on what they think they’re doing wrong, and ignore the things they actually are doing right.

So without further ado, some thoughts on why I feel good about this place:

– Your mission statement is excellent. Better than any I’ve seen on any other Liberal Blog.
– Your initial group of front page folks are fabulous.
– There is much less nitpicking over the small shit here than I’ve seen in many other places.
– Cosmic Debris posts here.
– You are making a good faith effort at being open and honest on, well, everything.
– It is fun to post here.
– You are loyal to your friends.
– Fuck George Bush.

How the hell did that last one get in here?

If you are able to build on the good things above, I honestly see no reason why this can’t become one of the preeminent liberal blogs on all the intertubes.

None whatsoever.

I invite anyone else to post their reasons why they like this place so far, just below.

Cheers.

How to fix education and eliminate drug use

For decades now, we’ve had a war on drugs. And, we’ve had a variety of programs to address the educational problems of this country – the latest is a complete mess called No Child Left Behind.  Perhaps we’ve been going about it all wrong….. perhaps I have a better idea….. perhaps it’s below the fold

Well, we’ve had a long war on drugs.  Long and expensive.  Millions of dollars spent. Millions of people in prison.  And, now…. it’s impossible to buy illicit drugs….  hmmm

and we’ve got No Child Left Behind…. yes, it’s the plan by the President who never got educated to fix our schools by sending money to corporations… hmmmm…. is our children learning?

What we need is 

War on Education!

That’s right, folks.  We’re going to wage war on education!  No more schools!  Anyone caught learning or teaching will be off to jail.  There’ll be lots of room, because…. we’re going to stop the drug war and introduce

No Child Leaves Drugs!

Yup.  We’ll start kids off with some alcohol, and test them annually to see if they’re ready to move on up to pot, cocaine, and heroin!  Right!  Tests!  We’ll make the drugs legal, and require kids to buy them from US Corporations.  Tax ’em, too.

oooooh!

/snark

Photo Essay and poem from Protest in St Paul Minnesota

(“…poor priorities are killing

infrastructure and civilians.”
– promoted by exmearden
)

Around 2000 persons met at the St Paul Cathedral on Saturday afternoon (September 15) to hear anti-war speeches from veterans and others before heading as a group to the Excel Energy Center, the site of the upcoming Republican National Convention. After reaching the Excel Energy Center, we walked to the State Capitol grounds where speakers continued the rally.

We had a message for anyone who continues funding the unjust war in Iraq and from the sign below you can see that we had a special message for Republicans.

I took pictures of the event, but rather than write a diary that summarizes the content of the speeches, I prefer to present the words to a poem that Katrina Plotz, its author, read at the Cathedral before the march. I will also provide some captions for a few of my images.

The mother in the image above has her daughter by her side and her son is in Iraq. The mother’s sign says “My son is not a small price to pay.”


The Time Magazine cover is from prior to the last presidential election. The teaser on the cover asks the question “Does the president that led us into Iraq know how to lead us out? George W Bush’s reelection hinges on the answer.” We know what the answer is….


Veterans, young and old, protested against the Bush administration policies.


Below is the poem:

Break Away

vehicles slowed by endless construction
on the surface of a highway
raised above a river
under weight and neglect
the foundation starts to shiver…
and shake
brake lights came too late
no escape in the wake of a man-made earthquake

Now a frantic search and rescue
for anyone alive
witnesses disbelieve
the scene before their eyes
victims whisper their goodbyes
camera flashes light the sky
sighs of relief
still beg the question
Why?

Same day, far away
near the Tigris and Euphrates
explosions detonate
among panic-stricken faces
sidewalks crack
bridges collapse
lungs trapped beneath concrete
heave and breathe their last

No one rushes to the rescue
on the streets plagued with danger
no savior for a people
occupied by strangers
no relief for their sighs
just grief in their eyes
no surprise
just anger
as they fight for their lives

Back in the states
leaders struggle to explain
shake heads and shrug shoulders
but refuse to blame
“Bridges in America
aren’t supposed to fall,”
were the words of lawmaker
laced with shock and awe.

For war and occupation
they allocate billions
poor priorities are killing
infrastructure and civilians.

After four years of war
what lessons have we learned?
can we salvage any pieces
of the bridges we have burned?

In the aftermath of tragedy
we can’t reverse the damage
but the bandage of denial
doesn’t serve any advantage

We can’t
force our will
with perpetual war
we can’t fix
what is broken
by breaking it more
we can’t claim
to be humane
while delaying an end
to a brutal occupation
can we honestly pretend
to value security
with overpasses crumbling
to celebrate democracy
with apathy abundant?

“Wait and see”
is not the strategy we need
procrastination
won’t change the nation
we need money for human needs
not for guns
we can’t afford to fund wars
for corporate thugs
we can’t cross this bridge
when the time comes

The time is NOW
To make each other proud
From the streets yell it loud
Bring the troops home now!


Is it Too Late for Al Gore? Maybe Not

crossposted at Daily Kos and Truth & Progress

Is it too late for Al Gore to enter this year’s presidential race?

For those of us who are political junkies and are fervent supporters of our candidates (declared or not), we probably don’t have the ability to see the forest from the trees. As for the majority of voters out there in this massive country of ours, the longevity of Campaign 2008 seems to be getting on their nerves by a 2:1 margin

While political junkies have enjoyed the extended pre-season for Election 2008, most voters say that the debates and other campaign activities so far have been annoying and a waste of time.  A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 56% of Likely Voters hold that view while only 29% say the campaign so far has been interesting and informative.

Read below the fold as to why there may be hope for late entrants to this ‘War and Peace’ long of a presidential campaign.
 

A month ago, I wrote this diary — Was Al Gore Right About the 600-Day Campaign? — in which I analyzed a Pew Research Center survey with the below findings

These are the results of a survey (via the Chicago Tribune‘s ‘The Swamp’) released by the Pew Research Center a few days ago and here’s who thinks that presidential campaigns are too long: Most Americans – 52%; Men – 55%; People 65+ – 56%; Whites – 56%; College grads – 64%; People living in the Midwest – 57%; Suburbanites – 57%; Registered voters – 55%; Republicans – 61%; and Conservatives – 56%.

In the Rasmussen Reports survey released today, almost 3 in 4 voters favor a campaign not to last more than one year

In fact, 72% of voters would favor a proposal to shorten the Presidential campaign season so that no one could begin campaigning more than a year before election day.  Just 14% of Likely Voters are opposed and another 14% are not sure.

Consistent with this view, just 25% of voters nationwide believe that Fred Thompson hurt his campaign by skipping a New Hampshire debate and appearing on the Tonight Show to formally announce his candidacy.

What are some of the other findings in this survey?

* 77% of New Hampshire voters would not penalize Fred Thompson for entering the race too late.
* A solid majority (58%) think the “debates are boring.”
* Given that they are optimistic about their chances of winning in 2008, 37% of Democrats are happy with campaign events as they are “interesting and informative.”
* Only 19% of Republicans agree with the above assertion as the political climate favors the Democratic Party.

Earlier this year, Kos wrote a front page post in which he asserted that Al Gore could wait until late in the year to declare his candidacy.  To refresh your memory

One reason I’m not jumping aboard any 2008 bandwagons is that I’ll wait as long as necessary to see if Gore will jump in. That’s ultimately my guy this cycle.  And even though I don’t think he’ll run, he’s really got all the time in the world to make a final decision.

The (Nobel) prize will be announced in mid-October. So say Gore scores an Oscar and Nobel in the same year, he can announce in November and still become THE story in the primaries.  It’s not as if he’ll need the full year to get his name recognition up or make the case for his candidacy.  He would instantly raise gobs of cash (I’d bet on tens of millions in the first 24 hours) and become the media sensation of the winter.  He would instantly make hundreds of millions spent by his primary opponents obsolete.  Talent would flock to him, decimating the staffs of his opponents.

Heck, if done right, a serious “Draft Gore” movement could have the shell of an infrastructure in place for him to adopt.

But if the stars align properly, you never know.

So, what about those “stars” that Kos alluded to in February 2007?  Is there any alignment pattern that we can discern?  I’m no rocket scientist but I read a bit every now and then.


What About the Oscars?  You guessed it: a Gore Win!


And, how’d Gore Do at the Emmys?  Yep, another Win!

Is the Draft Gore movement making any headway?  You bet.  Well over 100,000 people have signed the online petition and there are chapters all over the country. See here and hereAmerica For Gore was recently launched by our very own MakeChessNotWar to coordinate online efforts by these various Gore Groups.  If there was no enthusiasm for Gore, how come he is leading all candidates in ‘The 2008 Bumper Sticker Primary?’  This is an unconventional method of keeping track of all campaign gear (bumper stickers, tshirts, buttons) sold for each candidate by an organization which is the largest online.  Earlier today, in what may be the first test of this movement, DKos diarist kimberlyweldon wrote this diary in which she states that 12,396 Sigs (Are Needed) by OCT 23 to get AL GORE on Michigan Ballot.  And unlike 2002, Gore hasn’t shut down these efforts in 2007.

As everyone here knows, politics is not a static phenomenon; rather, change is the rule than the exception.  I’m not sure what Kos’ thinking is today.  As far as I can tell, he hasn’t endorsed any candidate as yet whereas by Fall 2003, he’d already decided that either Howard Dean or Wes Clark would be the nominee.  Neither do I have any first-hand knowledge that Gore’s planning a late entry.  All I know is that Gore refuses to make a Shermanesque Statement.  And, for all the reasons Kos outlined above — almost 100% name recognition, ability to raise lots of money very quickly, attract quality campaign staff, create enormous buzz by winning an Oscar and an Emmy, and the like — I certainly think that given these two surveys in the past month where voters (by healthy margins) express their disdain for a long political campaign, it is conceivable that it would not be too late for Gore to declare his candidacy.

A “fresh face” — whose prescience about the Iraq Invasion many have not forgotten — in to reinvigorate interest in the 2008 Campaign?  I suspect a majority of voters would be receptive to exactly such a move by Al Gore.

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Ending the War in the Senate

I have said previously that the House, and not the Senate, will be the body to end the war. My argument at the time was:

Just look at the last supplemental vote. In the Senate, Only 14 voted against the bill. Two of those Senators who voted no were Republicans, and they did not vote no because they wanted to end the war in Iraq. In other words, not even a quarter of the majority in that body considered taking a serious step to end the war.

I still think it’s more likely that ending the war in the House will be easier, but the numbers in the Senate from a seemingly insignificant vote this evening yield an interesting result.

more

Look at the roll call of John McCain’s bullshit answer to the defeated Webb amendment. In this case, 55 were in favor of ending debate, and 45 against. The 45 noes interest me greatly:

NAYs —45
Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Hagel (R-NE)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Kohl (D-WI)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lincoln (D-AR)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Obama (D-IL)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

This is not a list filled exclusively with anti-war liberals. There a very few indeed in the Senate today. Rather, this is a list of the mainstream Democrats in the senate, plus one independent who almost always votes with them and one anti-war Republican.

These Senators are enough to filibuster any war funding bill that does not include firm, enforceable, deadlines. If we can convince them all to commit to that, and it is a tall order, then we can end the war with the not spending power, as the framers intended.

This Is an I/P Diary

I am against buhdydharma’s new policy against I/P diaries.

Some people are expert on I/P. I happen to be one of them.

So buhdyfreakindharma, bite me!

Here’s your damn I/P diary, now BAN ME!

I/P I/P I/P I/P I/P I/P I/P I/P I/P I/P I/P I/P I/P I/P I/P I/P  I/P I/P I/P
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Mark Your Calendar – National Solar Tour

Every fall, chapters of the American Solar Energy Society sponsor home tours around the country.  This year, most of the tours are on October 6, but some are earlier, such as this coming Sunday, September 23, in San Francisco.

It’s a great opportunity to find out what kinds of alternative energy measures people have adopted in your local area.  For example, there’s nine throughout the state of Colorado.  There’s literally 100s of them nationwide.  Unless you’re in the Dakotas, Wyoming or West Virginia (West Virginia??); there’s one in your state, and also in Puerto Rico.  Bowling Green, Kentucky’s having its “first annual” solar home tour this year.

Here, too.

They’re all organized by local chapters of ASES, and there’s no uniformity of presentation.  Some have fees, some don’t, for example.  Some have chartered buses (parking issues, or perhaps the carbon footprint?)  Others are self-guided.  But they’ll all have clever and interesting ideas put into practice, and people on site to explain what they’ve done.

Dyer, Nevada’s Quad D Ranch is one of the sites in Nevada, near a town I’ve never heard of, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Nevada:

Tour will last 2-3 hours on 25 September. Items to see include: solar space heating, domestic hot water heating, therapy pool heating, solar electric power panels (32 on fixed mounts, 64 on dual-axis trackers), wind power generation; energy conversion and connection to the grid, and battery back-up power.

This solar stuff is starting to catch on!  And, in fact, people are learning that it’s especially helpful in remote areas where the costs of transmission and maintenance on the grid are really high.  Local conditions vary, and have different suites of solar technologies that are helpful, so you can learn what’s suitable to you own area.

It’s probably a decade since I first went to one of these.  And will do so again this year, this time with one of our fellow Kossacks I convinced to let me drag along.  I’ll see if I can convince *DallasDoc* to write one of his all-too-rare diaries about it.

The Solar Capitol of the World

You may remember Gary Johnson, that libertarian/Republican governor of New Mexico before Bill Richardson.  The one who used to go on cable news arguing for the decriminalization of marijuana?  He has a house in this area, and I’ve seen him in recent years at the grocery store, looking like Sean Penn’s Jeff Spiccoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  Into extreme sports: climbed Mt. Everest shoftly after leaving office.  Not long thereafter broke his back in a hang-gliding accident at Haleakala Crater on Maui.  Very strange dude.

He used to say that he wasn’t elected to get along with the legislature.  And he used to veto every damned thing; there was a Republican Governor in Arizona then (Meacham?) who did a lot of vetoing, too.  I can recall joking that they were competing for a spot in the *Guinness Book of World Records* or sumpthin’.

He issued some ridiculous vetoes, too.  One in particular sticks in my mind:  The legislature decided that in addition to a state bird (Greater Roadrunner), state tree (Pinyon Pine), state flower (one of the yuccas), and so on, the state should henceforth have a state question.

Here in New Mexico, we tend to like food that bites back.  And we take our chilies very seriously – not unlike the French are about their wines.  *Hatch Green* or *Chimayo Red* mean very specific things, with centuries tradition attached.  People have fond childhood memories of time shared while peeling roasted green chilies.  Sort of a New Mexico analog to a quilting bee.  (Though we’ve got those, too.)

The state question they passed was “Red or Green?”.  Which is something you’ll get asked here in New Mexico if you walk into a restaurant and order, say, a chicken enchilada.  As it happens, one of the possible answers to the question is “Christmas”.

Ultimately, this is not something of much political consequence.  No monies were to be expended, beyond a press release, and it would only ever be of interest to the occasional travel writer (good for attracting visitors, and not controversial in the least), and not much else. 

And Gary Johnson vetoed it.

Johnson retired to spend more time playing!  If only that other governor from the adjacent state to the east had done the same, rather than move on to a job so far over his head.  But Johnson was ahead of Bush in the Unitary Executive department.  Because while he busy vetoing as much as he possibly could, he was issuing Executive Orders and Proclamations and like they were proof of his manhood.

And so it was that Governor Johnson issued an edict declaring Taos, New Mexico the Solar Capital of the World.  And if you believe there were proper checks and balances between the branches of the state government through all this, then Taos is indeed the Solar Capital of the World.

It’s a good place for solar: lower latitude, higher altitude and relative lack of overcast days combine to make it so.  And people have been fiddling around with solar energy here for decades, especially back in the years of the Carter energy credits.  Ronald Reagan’s Administration (including several of today’s top troublemakers) deep-sixed all that.  I can’t help thinking that the world would be in immeasurably better shape today than it is had Carter’s policies remained in force.

Passive Solar
People think of solar energy as being mostly about how many KWH can be produced.  But it’s not.  Every decision to plant a tree can be a solar one.  Conifers can break wind (here come the cheap jokes), and cutting/diverting wind can help save on heating costs.  I planted some cottonwoods for shade in the summer morning, keeping the place from heating up too much.  They’re placed just far enough north that they don’t block any of the winter sun, needed for heating.

That’s passive solar.  So are trombe walls, which are one of the niftiest things ever.

And solar ovens work good.  I know ‘cuz I’ve done demos where we baked cookies in one:

My house was designed that the part that would naturally be the coldest would be the pantry.  Dark and cool.  Good place to keep stuff like old photographs, too.

There’s more ideas than you can count.  And in each locality, you’ll find out about things that work well exactly there.

The American Solar Energy Society National Solar Tour is a good way to spend a day.

Can John Edwards Win? Can Anyone?

A few days old, but still, this difference in approach is something that needs to be discussed, and I would like your collective take on more aggressive progressives.

  *Cross Posted from My Left Wing, and at John Edward’s Website,(now hidden there, heh!) Progressive Historians, and Independent Bloggers Alliance.

I posted the beginnings of these thoughts in the Open Thread, but decided I was not done with the subject.

The video:

My original response is here, but I felt the need to expound.

Liberal leadership has learned one thing well.  The slash and burn tactics (now known as “swiftboating”) by the far Right makes them walk on eggshells.

What they did not learn is that the Right really doesn’t care who it pisses off.

Americans like to be pissed off.

If they employ the tactics of people like Coulter, Limbaugh and O’Reilly, they know someone will be offended… but others will enjoy that righteous-feeling indignant bullshit spewing.

It works.  It employs the “tsk tsk” factor of the religious right (defined by me only as the very fanatic sector) who love to give anyone their comeuppance. 

So they move the Overton Window merely by expressing the wildest accusatory *vindicatives (*Dianeism word) they can, and making it palatable by repetition.

Anyone who stands strong against their agenda is ridiculed, called Unpatriotic and bullied into submission.  Americans see the bullied left cower and retreat to these tactics and begin to believe the meme of “cut and run cowards”.  Gore was a perfect example.  A man suited well for the job lost respect even among those of us who liked his message for not having the balls to stand up & demand his election be honored. 

Americans do not suffer a coward.

Then they line up a strong “Daddy” figure to make it all okay for us.  Works every time.  They can even get the village idiot elected by means of likability and strong use of sound byte cliche’s. Sound like you have unbreachable commitment and you win.

Remember this?  Remember COURAGE?


Now is the time for someone to Stand and Speak to the ideal of doing the Hard Thing because it is the Right Thing.

It was not enough for John Edwards to speak about ending the war.  Not enough.  He opened the door to the Right to abuse him, without speaking boldly ala Kieth Olbermann, that the ONLY Patriotic thing to do is stop bleeding our nation, both literally and figuratively by staying in a failed and ill-chosen war.

Americans are angry, have been angry for so many years now, it is turning into apathetic feelings of hopelessness.  Many of us here are writing less in the face of complete disillusionment with our Elected Representatives.  May I say that again, lest they forget?

You are elected to REPRESENT US, that is your job, and you are failing miserably, Washington.

Over 70% of the people want out of this war, yet still our representatives cower in the face of actually saying so!

I’m sorry, but the one who can tap this, the one who captures our attention will speak for us, thus:


WE ARE MAD AS HELL AND WE AREN’T GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!!

Address it, Mr. Edwards, or lose smiling.  Show your rage, show you feel as betrayed as we do.  Or lose.  Until someone stands for us, we will not show at the polls, will not vote for more of the same, we will “waste” our votes on Independents who actually speak for us in protest.

You know what we want?


1. Out of the War.
2. The Constitution not to be “A Piece of Paper”.
  a) habeas corpus
  b) illegal search and seizure
  c) civil rights
  d) no torture
3.  An Economy without the yoke of trillions spent elsewhere in an unwinnable conflict.
4.  Infrastructure.  Katrina is still not resolved.
5.  Rights over our own bodies, Roe v Wade
6.  Gay people to be treated as human beings under the law.

Get my drift?  Are you shaking in your boots for fear of all/any of those touchy issues?  Good, because so are they!  Were they NOT, they would not fight against them so vehemently.

The man (or woman) who will win our hearts and perhaps reclaim our country’s pride will stand.

Will Stand, not because it is easy, but because it is Hard, and the Right Thing to Do.

They will stand and say,

“A True Patriot knows in their hearts that our country was founded on equality, fairness, and the common good.

They will stand and say “I will HONOR this CONSTITUTION, not make a mockery of it, and you shall not fear your own government.  I am not the Decider, YOU ARE, and I will honor YOUR wishes, and allow the system of checks and balances to work as Our Founders intended.  I will not be a dictator.

I will bring our wearied soldiers home, to stand ready to protect you from the Real Dangers that are.  I will not spend their salaries on private Mercenaries who are robbing this country blind.

Americans have spoken, and I speak for them when I say, the Right Thing at this time is to leave Iraq.  It is not our battle and weakens our ability to protect ourselves by overextending ourselves there.

I am brave and strong and will guard our ports and honor GOOD intelligence.  That is the best way to protect us, not creating more terrorists by our interference in a civil war.

I will protect the poor from exploitation, and stand for their rights in face of a disaster.

While we each have the right to Worship as we choose, and do as our morals dictate, America was founded on Freedom, and I uphold the Freedoms for All Americans, and their right to pursuit of happiness.  The hard choice, the right choice is to allow people of any orientation choose partners and commit to them as they choose. To allow women the choice of their own reproductive rights.  Americans don’t dictate others lives.  It was not so long ago, that we left another country for the right to do as we chose, religiously, so we must not infringe on other, whether or not we agree with them.  Americans LOVE personal Freedom.

A Real American Leader will not sneak into your private affairs. A True Patriot does not break laws himself, and does not lower the American Way to that of torturers and bad guys.  We wear the White Hat and Do the Right Thing!

He stands for the good of all of you, not just the wealthy.  He will not stand idle while you lose your homes crying “NO TAXES” that in reality mean only for the wealthy.

We are the richest nation in the World, yet most of you are without health care, or the financial burden of said health care is crippling you; both privately, and in global competition for YOUR jobs by nations with health care.

I hear you America, and stand beside you, for you and at YOUR SERVICE.

*************************************

Until this happens, we all lose.

Until someone speaks for us, the boogeyman wins. Our collective frustration will follow he who stirs our blood, as always, for the right reasons or the wrong ones.

Its time for someone to speak to the roots and solutions, the REAL reason for our collective anger and fear.

For Americans are angry, and he who channels this Righteous Anger will win.

Come out swinging for once, and America will follow.

It is Time.

 

Apparently [Not] Deleted LA Times Story on Blackwater [Update]

Update 7:37pm EST 9/20/07 by LithiumCola]: The article is available at LATimes, again, here.

[Update 7:36pm EST 9/19/07 by LithiumCola]: In the comments at Kos, silence says that according to Ned Parker the apparent deletion is a technical glitch.  The information in the article is important enough for an essay, in any event.


[Update 7:54pm EST 9/19/07 by LithiumCola]: I can confirm that the original story is still on Lexis Nexis.  This isn’t as big a deal as I thought.  However, the story is hard to find on the net anywhere, so it’s good to have reference to it here, so I’m keeping the diary up.  My apologies to readers, to Ned Parker, and to the LA Times about any mistakes or confusion on my part.

A search at the LA Times website for articles by staff writer Ned Parker shows that he filed two stories on September 19th (“Maliki insists U.S. replace Blackwater”, “U.S. limits diplomats’ travel in Iraq”), one on the 17th (“Suspect arrested in Iraqi sheik’s death”), and one on the 16th (“Iraq’s war makes intimate enemies”).

But Ned Parker also filed a story on September 18th; this story doesn’t appear on the search.  It appears not to be on the LA Times site at all.  It’s hard to find.  This September 18th story is about Blackwater, and contains some startling claims made by employees of other contract security companies.

Here’s a passage from the apparently deleted article.  Don’t mind the headline . . . check out the stuff below:

Blackwater Security Firm Banned from Iraq
Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

September 18, 2007, 6:31 AM PDT

— snip —

Among fellow security companies in Baghdad, Blackwater is often disliked and even feared.

“They are untouchable. They’ve shot up other private security contractors, Iraqi military, police and civilians,” said one security contractor, who declined to give his name because of the sensitivity of the issue.

One contractor described an incident three weeks ago where a four-vehicle Blackwater convoy pushed through a crowded Baghdad street and pointed a gun at his team, even though they waved an American flag, an indicator used by security contractors to identify themselves to each other.

There have several fatal shootings involving Blackwater since late last year. On Christmas Eve, a Blackwater employee walking in the Green Zone stopped by an Iraqi checkpoint and after an argument shot dead the Iraqi, who was a guard for Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdel Mahdi, an Iraqi official and a U.S. diplomat said.

— snip —

I found the longest version of this article cached, from an also deleted post at the website of KTLA, a TV station in Las Angeles.  Here’s the cached postHere’s the AP article KTLA replaced it with.

I took the following passage from the apparently deleted article, and googled it:

“They are untouchable. They’ve shot up other private security contractors, Iraqi military, police and civilians,” said one security contractor, who declined to give his name because of the sensitivity of the issue.

That would seem to be important information.

I get three hits.  The KTLA post and two cropped versions.  One at Star-Telegram and one at Contra Costa Times

It’s very hard, then, to find this passage about claims of Blackwater employees shooting at or threatening “other private security contractors, Iraqi military, police and civilians”.  It’s not to be found, apparently, at the LA Times itself.

—————————————

Major Hat Tip to Magnifico, whose dead link to the LA Times story got me looking for this stuff.

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