Monday, November 21, 2005
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Courageous Veteran John Murtha stands up to the Swift Boaters!
John Murtha as author on National Security
As summarized in his biography from his Congressional Website:
He learned about military service from the bottom up, beginning as a raw recruit when he left Washington and Jefferson College in 1952 to join the Marines out of a growing sense of obligation to his country during the Korean War. There he earned the American Spirit Honor Medal, awarded to fewer than one in 10,000 recruits. He rose through the ranks to become a drill instructor at Parris Island and was selected for Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia. He then was assigned to the Second Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In 1959, Captain Murtha took command of the 34th Special Infantry Company, Marine Corps Reserves, in Johnstown. He remained in the Reserves after his discharge from active duty until he volunteered for Vietnam in 1966-67, receiving the Bronze Star with Combat "V", two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He remained in the Reserves until his retirement.The Brad Blog reports on the cynical manipulation of the Murtha resolution to get us out of Iraq by the GOP leadership which rewrote the resolution to an unacceptable "cut and run" statement.
Note the excerpt from the original resolution:
Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of American in Congress assembled, That:And now here is the ENTIRE GOP revision:
Section 1. The deployment of United States Forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date.
Section 2. A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S. Marines shall be deployed in the region.
Section 3. The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy.
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.And this is supposed to be a repudiation of Murtha?
1 Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.
This is what Murtha said on Chris Matthews:
REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, I've come to the conclusion, Chris, after visiting Iraq two months ago and listening to the commanders who say obviously what the White House wants them to say — but they don't say it with the enthusiasm.Thank you Congressman Murtha for your courageous leadership and representation of Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District!
And they talk about the problems they have. For instance, they told me that every convoy is attacked that goes to Haditha. And I was in Anbar province, which has Fallujah and Ramadi and the areas where they're highly contested.
He doesn't have enough troops to protect the border, so he can't complete his mission because he doesn't have enough people.
He told me none of the Iraqis were up to where they should be. All of them were C-3, which is the lowest state of readiness for the Iraqi units. And he says they only work three weeks out of the month and they go home for a week.
Then I came home and I looked at the report which we required in the Appropriations Committee, and that showed no significant progress at all. For instance, unemployment is 60 percent. Energy is below prewar level. Oil production is below prewar level. And we've become the enemy.
I saw a British poll reported in the Washington Times that said 80 percent of the Iraqis want us out of there. Then I saw a poll, which was confirmed by the Defense Department, 45 percent think it's justified to attack Americans.
Now I'm convinced, until we turn this over to the Iraqis, we're not going to have the success we need. I'm convinced since we've become the enemy, I'm convinced since the U.S. is doing all the fighting or doing most of the fighting, that we're not going to be successful.
The Iraqis are not going to tell the U.S. people where the insurgents are. There's not a great number of insurgents there. There was no terrorism before we went there. And I'm convinced terrorism will be reduced if we redeploy our forces.
Now, a lot of people are saying, "Pull out." They've got a resolution on the floor today — a ridiculous resolution — which calls for an immediate pullout.
No Democrat is going to vote for that. That's not what we're saying. We have what I feel is a very constructive resolution which gives a good proposal about how this war can be ended in a favorable way.
These troops have done a hell of a job. Chris, I go out to the hospital almost every week and I see these young men and women who suffer. I see them asking for nothing. I see them not complaining. I see them actually bearing up very well under the burden.
One young woman from Notre Dame, a basketball player, lost her right hand. She is worried about her husband, because her husband was losing weight worrying about her.
Another young fellow that lost both his hands and was blinded, and the only thing the family asked for that he get a Purple Heart. And the reason he wasn't getting a Purple Heart, because this happened with friendly ammunition.
He got his Purple Heart.
But I find out a lot from the troops that are in the hospitals. I find out what's need. They don't complain.
Only the Congress of the United States can speak for the soldiers. I think we need to change direction in Iraq. I think we need to redeploy our troops beyond the horizon.
This resolution they're going to introduce today calls for immediate withdrawal. That's not what anybody is saying. We need a thoughtful suggestion, a thoughtful resolution, which concludes this war as quickly as possible.
I see no progress at all that's being made. So I came to the conclusion, after almost a year of thought, that it had to be changed.
Now, we provide everything the troops needed. We've made sure they had all the equipment they needed.
When though they went into this war with not enough people for the transition to peace, they come into it with less than the number of people they needed, and also they came in without the body armor they needed, the up-armored Humvee.
They completely miscalculated the degree of resistance they would run into. State Department told them, CIA told them — they ignored that.
The former plan called for a lot more troops and they whittled it down because they thought they could win this thing on the cheap. They said oil would pay for this.
Now let's compare this with his father. His father had a legitimate coalition. He had 500,000 with 100,000 coalition troops. $60 billion — and I was chairman of the committee at the time — went through our committee, was paid for by the international community. Japan, Germany, France — all of these other countries helped pay for it.
He decided not to go into Iraq. He liberated Kuwait with the U.N. resolution and he decided, "I'm not going to go into Iraq." Why? He didn't want to rebuild it. He didn't want it reconstruct it and he didn't want to occupy it. He had an exit strategy.
There is no exit strategy. The path to victory — victory is not a strategy.
I sent a letter to the White House, Chris, in September of last year and I got an answer in May, saying what I suggested they ought to do.
They don't reach out. His dad reached out to everybody, reached out to Republicans and Democrats.
And yet the chicken-hawk Republicans continue to attack and smear.
"They want us to retreat. They want us to wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world," said House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.Or Dick Cheney on dissenting senators:
On Wednesday, Vice President Dick Cheney said the suggestion by some senators that the administration purposely misled the public about the reasons for invading Iraq "is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city."Or Rep. Kay Granger, a Ft. Worth Republican, believes that more young men and women need to die to add "meaning" to the deaths of those who died before them. Granger stated:
Cheney said that a number of the senators who have attacked the president reviewed the same prewar intelligence and voted for the use of force against Saddam Hussein.
"What we're hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war," Cheney said. "The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone — but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history."
But Rep. Kay Granger, a Fort Worth Republican who also sits on the defense appropriations subcommittee with Murtha, slammed his call for a troop withdrawal as "reprehensible and irresponsible."The White House joined in on the personal "swift-boating" of Murtha:
Referring to the U.S. war dead in Iraq, Granger said a pullout would mean that "their lives have been lost in vain." As of Thursday, 2,082 American troops had died in combat in Iraq, according to the Associated Press.
In a broadside issued Thursday night, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said that it is "baffling that [Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha] is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party."White House Counselor added to the smear:
McClellan called Murtha, a retired Marine colonel who earned a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam, "a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting America."
But McClellan added, "The eve of an historic democratic election in Iraq is not the time to surrender to the terrorists."
White House Counselor Dan Bartlett called Murtha's position "out of the mainstream of his own party," and said that "immediate withdrawal would be, as one general on the ground put it, a recipe for disaster."Murtha had this to say about Vice-President Dick Cheney's attack on him and fellow dissenting Democrats:
Bartlett also called Murtha's reference to Cheney's draft deferments "unfair" and "beside the point," noting there is a long list of wartime presidents who served ably without military experience.
"I like guys who've never been there who criticize us who've been there," Murtha said. "I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and sent people to war and then don't like to hear suggestions that what may need to be done."Senator John Kerry had this to say about the controversy:
Cheney avoided military service during the 1960's Vietnam era with a series of draft deferments, and Bush served stateside in the National Guard during Vietnam.
Murtha was wounded twice in Vietnam.
"You can differ on the policies, and we should talk about the policy," Kerry said. "The administration has continuously misled Americans about our presence. We need to have the debate and figure out how we bring our troops home in a responsible way. John Murtha is really just adding to the debate in a very personal way. This man's statements have to be taken seriously even if you don't agree with his policy."Thank you Senator Kerry. Thank you Congressman Murtha. We need leaders who lead and not persevere for the sake of consistency. A wrong decision is never made right by being in error over and over day after day!
As for you Vice-President Cheney, Mr. Bartlett, and the rest of the White House cronies, perhaps you are a bit irritable because Mr. Patrick Fitzgerald is not done with his investigation. Did you think that the indictment of the Vice-President's Chief of Staff was the extent of the damage? As reported:
WASHINGTON - The special prosecutor in the CIA leak case said Friday that he would use a new grand jury in his continuing investigation, a development that seems certain to extend the political cloud hanging over the Bush administration and could draw new players into the investigation.Maybe you are eligible for a deferment from testimony from his Grand Jury?
The prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, told a federal judge in a court filing that he would begin additional proceedings before a grand jury different from the one that brought an indictment last month against I. Lewis Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.
The 18-month term of the previous grand jury expired last month. In his previous statements, Fitzgerald had left the door open to using a new grand jury in the case.
The prosecutor also made clear in the new court filing that ``the investigation is ongoing,'' after saying last month that ``the substantial bulk of the work in this investigation is concluded.''
Thursday, November 17, 2005
"Tales from the Bed" The Jenifer Estess A.L.S. Story
Tales from the Bed is an autobiography of Jenifer Estess, and her struggle with the fatal disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (A.L.S.), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Photo of Jenifer
If you haven't heard about this woman, read the book. Please.
I found a memorial about Jenifer written by Douglas Martin from The New York Times. He wrote:
Ms. Estess was told in 1997 that she had the condition, a degenerative disease of the nerve cells that control muscular movement. It affects 30,000 Americans and is usually fatal within two to five years.If you can, please visit the Project A.L.S. website and make a donation.
With friends and family members, Ms. Estess set up Project A.L.S., and, calling on her experience as a producer, she raised more than $17 million and brought together scientists from different laboratories to cooperate in the search for a cure.
Stem cell research and in particular embryonic stem cell research has shown the most promise in regards to possible treatments for this horrible disease. As reported:
Research in Dr. Tom Jessell's laboratory demonstrates that mouse embryonic stem cells can indeed be differentiated into motor neurons and when introduced into the spinal cord of embryonic chicks, motor axons form contacts with skeletal muscle. This promising research demonstrates the progress that has recently been made. Scientists acknowledge that the leap from an embryonic chick to a human adult is huge and currently an unobtainable goal. However, the promise of stem cells as vehicles for trophic support for dying neurons is possibly a more feasible goal and many studies are focusing on this approach. Several studies have shown that embryonic stem cells in culture can be genetically modified. Using this technology, stem cells can be modified to deliver genes and other factors to dying motor neurons. More research is needed in this area.Congress has been trying to override President Bush's limitations on Stem Cell research.
However, Republicans have successfully delayed a confrontation with the President. As reported on Bloomberg:
Republican Senator George Allen of Virginia said stem cell research shouldn't have a prime slot on the lawmakers' agenda.The cold-hearted Administration of this President is already showing negative effects on the search for the cure of this and other related neurologic diseases. As noted by the University of Washington newspaper:
``If nothing happens on stem cells, it's not the end of the world,'' he said. ``Research on embryonic stem cells will go on, financed by states and the private sector.'' A resolution of the asbestos issue, Allen said, ``is a must-do.''
Cuts in federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research may slow medical progress, lead top scientists away from the UW and ensure that human embryonic stem cell research continues without public dialogue, University researchers say.Congress is willing to allow additional research on embryos that are destined to be destroyed anyway. Congressmen know that Americans realize that it isn't a sign of morality to allow embryos to be tossed into the garbage in fertility clinics when they could be used to alleviate and provide potential cures to diseases as devastating as A.L.S.
The ban on federal funding for new cell lines has greatly slowed the pace of research, said hemtology professor Anthony Blau. The ban has also allowed countries like South Korea -- which federally funds human embryonic stem cell research -- to progress much faster than the United States, he said.
In May, the House of Representatives defied President George W. Bush's veto threat and easily approved bipartisan legislation that would expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research -- although not by a veto-proof margin.It is time for new leadership in Washington. We need Representatives and Senators that can lead with a view towards cures and providing hope for Americans who are suffering medical maladies with no cures in sight. Above all, we need a President who understands morality. Understands that lying is not consistent with the Ten Commandments. That starting wars is not consistent with a good-neighbor policy. That science education does not allow the insertion of religious tracts. And that medical policy must include a respect for science, allowing approval of Plan B when scientists testify overwhelmingly in its support. And that people with diseases like Jenifer Estess can believe in an America that fights disease, leads the research, and does not place roadblocks in our scientists path on phoney moral platitudes with no relationship to reality.
Since then, backers of the legislation, which would basically lift the limits Bush imposed on stem cell research in August 2001, have been pushing for a Senate vote.
The stem cell legislation would allow federally funded research on stem cells derived from leftover embryos in fertility clinics. There are currently about 400,000 such frozen embryos, many of which will otherwise be destroyed.
Bush has vowed to veto stem cell legislation because embryos are destroyed when the stem cells are extracted.
America deserves better!
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Message to FOX: "Fire Bill O'Reilly!"
A major San Francisco tourist attraction, the tower has a colorful history. As reported:
It is a matter of historical record that the Coit Tower art project was the prototype for the decade of the New Deal art that followed, 1933-43, halted finally by World War II. Utilizing carefully selected artistic talent, the project provided an iconography of the "American Scene" for the largest of all the art programs at that time, the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project (WPA-FAP) which followed a year after the PWAP.This is Bill O'Reilly.
The themes of agriculture, education, urban and rural life, social protest, and New Deal Idealism established at Coit Tower were to become the subsequent subjects of those same artists and of others who took up paintbrushes and sculptors' tools under further government-sponsored art programs throughout the nation.
Bill O'Reilly didn't like how San Franciscans voted. How they exercised their DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS. So this is what he said on Fox after the California election:
You know, if I'm the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium and I say, 'Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds,' " O'Reilly said Tuesday on his radio show as San Franciscans were approving the two measures. Perhaps, he didn't realize that he'd be speaking mostly to foreign tourists and suburbanites if he were standing in Union Square.So go away Mr. O'Reilly. Take your hate speech, your un-American garbage, and shrivel up somewhere. America deserves better, even from Fox. And if you don't have the brains to apologize, go sooner not later.
"Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead," O'Reilly went on. "And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."
Go HERE and listen to the original broadcast.
Bill O'Reilly thinks he is wise and can advise kids. He has even written a book for young people.
Last month, in an inverview with CBS, he had this advice for young Americans:
"What you do is, basically, as a parent say: Look, you're an American. We live in the United States. Get them a map. Say, here it is. Here's the United States. And you are a part of the country. Therefore, you have a responsibility to the country. And the kid is going to go, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah.' You know how it is. You can say, 'This is why we don't commit crimes. This is why we don't steal or set people on fire, because we're all in this together.' And try to get a sense of pride.This map of California is for YOU Bill!
"Look Bill, YOU are an American. We live in the United States. San Francisco is in the United States. Therefore you have a responsibility to this country."
And Bill says, "Yeah, yeah, yeah."
And I say, "You don't steal, set people on fire, or INVITE TERRORIST ATTACKS because we're all in this TOGETHER!"
Meanwhile Bill has to go. He has to leave. He has to find some far away place never to be seen or heard again. Because he HATES America! He hates the democratic process. He hates those who hate war. He hates those who are different. He is full of hate. And young people shouldn't hear him.
And Bill O'Reilly has responded to this criticism:
O’REILLY: Yeah, the writer of the article didn’t even call me. He took all his information, as usual, from radical left-wing websites. Lazy, terrible reporting, which is the hallmark of the Chronicle, which is why the Chronicle is going to go out of business. I mean, look, everybody knows what’s going on there. What I said isn’t controversial. What I said needed to be said. I’m sitting here and I’m looking at a city that has absolutely no clue of what the world is. None. You know, if you had been hit on 9/11 instead of New York, believe me, you would not have voted against military recruting. Yet the left-wing, selfish, Land of Oz philosophy that the media and the city politicians have embraced out there is an absolute intellectual disgrace.I am sorry Mr. O'Reilly, it is you who is out of the Land of Oz. It is you who has no brain, no heart and no courage.
You were right when you admitted on the CBS interview:
What I did when I was a kid. I was really the dumbest kid in the world, there's no question.Well Bill, I have to agree with that. Well you are grown up now. And you must be the dumbest adult in the world as well.
Pasadena Church Threatened by I.R.S.
This is a picture of the Rector of All Saints Church, J. Edwin Bacon, Jr.
And now the Church is being singled-out for alleged improper political activity. As reported
The IRS in a June 9 letter warned the church that its tax-exempt status was in jeopardy because the federal tax code prohibits such organizations from intervening in political campaigns and elections. The church's current rector, J. Edwin Bacon, told his congregation about the problem on Sunday.LISTEN to the sermon HERE
"It's important for everyone to understand that the IRS concerns are not supported by the facts," he told the congregation.
Is this the best the Internal Revenue Service could do to find inappropriate campaigning by churches? Is it surprising that this Administration that uses all of the tools available to it to advance its political agenda, should use the power of the I.R.S. to hypocritically beat up on a church that made an anti-war sermon?
Did the Internal Revenue Service or the Federal Elections Commission find anything wrong when the Bush/Cheney campaign recruited churches to be directly involved in the 2004 election?
As reported by the Washington Post on July 1, 2004:
The Bush-Cheney reelection campaign has sent a detailed plan of action to religious volunteers across the country asking them to turn over church directories to the campaign, distribute issue guides in their churches and persuade their pastors to hold voter registration drives.The article continued:
Campaign officials said the instructions are part of an accelerating effort to mobilize President Bush's base of religious supporters. They said the suggested activities are intended to help churchgoers rally support for Bush without violating tax rules that prohibit churches from engaging in partisan activity.
The instruction sheet circulated by the Bush-Cheney campaign to religious volunteers lists 22 "duties" to be performed by specific dates. By July 31, for example, volunteers are to "send your Church Directory to your State Bush-Cheney '04 Headquarters or give [it] to a BC04 Field Rep" and "Talk to your Pastor about holding a Citizenship Sunday and Voter Registration Drive."Did the I.R.S. investigate any of this mixing of religion and politics. Or is the point of the I.R.S. to beat up on liberal viewpoints to get Congress to relax laws limiting the role of churches in American politics?
By Aug. 15, they are to "talk to your Church's seniors or 20-30 something group about Bush/Cheney '04" and "recruit 5 more people in your church to volunteer for the Bush Cheney campaign."
By Sept. 17, they are to host at least two campaign-related potluck dinners with church members, and in October they are to "finish calling all Pro-Bush members of your church," "finish distributing Voter Guides in your church" and place notices on church bulletin boards or in Sunday programs "about all Christian citizens needing to vote."
And does the I.R.S. think that the entire Catholic Church should be denied tax-exempt status for as reported in Catholic World News on September 23, 2004:
Denver, Sep. 23, 2004 (CWNews.com) - In a tough statement on Catholic political responsibilities, Denver's Archbishop Charles Chaput has said that politicians make "a deal with the devil" when they support legalized abortion.And what of the recent visible campaigning for Proposition 73 among churches? Will they be investigated or threatened with their tax-exempt status?
Writing in the Denver archdiocesan newspaper, the archbishop noted that many Catholic politicians are trying "to explain why their faith won’t 'dictate' their public actions." Although Archbishop Chaput did not name Senator John Kerry in his column, the logic of his argument clearly applies to the democratic presidential candidate.
Protection of church-state separation mandates that Churches should stay out of politics and Government stay out of churches. But using the power of the Internal Revenue Surfact to challenge a church that gives a sermon while ignoring the direct cooperation of churches with a Presidential campaign is obscene.
And do not forget the Rev. Ronnie Floyd, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Springdale.
As reported by the Christian Post:
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State filed a complaint on July 20 against Floyd’s July 4th message on the civil duty to vote.America deserves better! We need a President who builds an administration designed to foster religious freedom and not to tear it down. We need a President who appoints qualified people to high positions and not cronies. A President who honestly informs Congress on Intelligence that leads us into war and who does not distort the truth to pressure our legislators.
"Pastor Floyd's presentation seemed more like a Bush campaign commercial than a church service," said Barry Lynn, Americans United executive director, in a statement made in late July. "His sermon was clearly intervention in the campaign on behalf of Bush."
During his sermon, Rev. Floyd told his congregants that the presidential election is “one of the most critical elections in U.S. history. ... Rarely have we seen two candidates so diametrically opposed in their convictions."
Floyd then went on to contrast the candidates’ stance on gay “marriage.”
“One candidate believes marriage is a God-ordained institution between one man and one woman and has proposed a constitutional amendment protecting marriage." Floyd said as a picture of George Bush showed up behind him.
"The other candidate was one of only 14 U.S. senators to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996," Floyd added, as a photo of Kerry appeared.
As Senator Kerry has explained:
As he recently put it to Time magazine, "I don't tell church officials what to do, and church officials shouldn't tell American politicians what to do in the context of our public life."This was very different from the Bush Campaign which made promises to religious organizations, including Catholics, to serve their needs, including giving them Federal Funds.
President Bush meeting with Knights of Columbus members prior to the election.
As reported on August 4, 2004:
DALLAS, Aug. 3 -- President Bush told an effervescent crowd of 2,500 Catholics at the annual convention of the Knights of Columbus on Tuesday that they have a friend in the White House who will work with them to restrict abortion, provide vouchers for parochial schools and champion a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.Keep on coming John Kerry! America needs your leadership in Washington! Help us restore the proper relationship between our government and our Houses of Worship! Our religious freedom is in jeopardy!
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Failing to Learn the Lessons of Rosa Parks
If you don't know much about Rosa who died recently, this short note explains much of her story:
"Our mistreatment was just not right, and I was tired of it," writes Parks in her recent book, Quiet Strength, (ZondervanPublishingHouse, 1994). "I kept thinking about my mother and my grandparents, and how strong they were. I knew there was a possibility of being mistreated, but an opportunity was being given to me to do what I had asked of others."What was the lesson of Rosa Parks?
The rest of Parks' story is American history...her arrest and trial, a 381-day Montgomery bus boycott, and, finally, the Supreme Court's ruling in November 1956 that segregation on transportation is unconstitutional.
Was it not that each person should have the equal rights and opportunities as his or her neighbor? Was it not that governments are empowered to protect those rights and whenever any group of individuals presupposes that they have greater rights than any other group that this is contrary to our Constitution? That the role of government is not to deny individuals rights but to guarantee and protect the equal opportunity our nation provides. That is what is truly unique about America!
Thomas Jefferson understood what the proper role of government is supposed to be.
Portrait of Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson was the main author of the Declaration of Independence within which was written:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.Jefferson stated at a later date:
"No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him." --Thomas Jefferson to Francis Gilmer, 1816. ME 15:24So how is it an American tradition to go to the ballot box and vote to deny any group of individuals their equal rights? Their desire to pursue happiness in the way that they choose? Is this a moral value or even an American value? Since when do we amend our state Constitutions to deny individuals freedoms instead of using our legislative power to protect freedom for all Americans?
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Texans voted overwhelmingly to add a prohibition of same-sex marriage to their constitution on Tuesday, becoming the 19th U.S. state to do so.It is not the role of the American government to deny any group of individuals rights guaranteed to all others. This is not the American way. We should not pass legislation designed to hurt people, to discriminate against them, to make them second class citizens.
With about 550,000 votes counted, Proposition 2 was heading for ratification with 75.5 percent in favor.
No, America has not yet learned the lessons of Rosa Parks. We can lay her to rest with honors, but if we fail to learn the lessons of respect and tolerance, we really haven't progressed ahead of that embarassing time in the history of our nation.
Whatever we may think about homosexuals, it is not the place of government to single them out and deny them rights and freedoms guaranteed to other individuals. We will not encourage one single gay person to go straight by denying them equal protection under the law. But we shall manage to undermine the freedom in America for all of us if we fail to overturn this type of activity even by the electorate, that in the rush for morality, may be willing to trample on the rights of minorities. It has happened before, and it is happening again today.
Republicans Upset Over Leaks--Not Secret Detention Centers!
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert are circulating a letter calling for a congressional leak investigation into the disclosure of secret U.S. interrogation centers abroad.Frist and Hastert are right.
The Washington Post reported Nov. 2 on the existence of secret U.S. prisons in Eastern Europe for terrorism suspects. The Bush administration has neither confirmed nor denied that report.
"If accurate, such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences, and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks," stated the letter, which Hastert's office said the House speaker had signed. There was no immediate word on whether Frist had given it his signature.
This disclosure could be damaging to America.
But America is not about secret prisons and detentions of prisoners without charges. America is about tough enforcement of laws. Tough fighting against terrorism. Tough enforcement of our own high standards of decency, integrity, and behavior that extends to all of the branches of our government, including the CIA.
We must not condone activity that could compromise America if became publicly known. It is not the leak of the secret that is threatening to America. It is the content of that information.
America needs new leadership! Americans sent a message to the Republicans last night, turning back Republican bids in New Jersey, Virginia, and Republican sponsored legislation in California. America understands! We shall restore America to its rightful place in the world. Let us elect a President more in the mold of John Kennedy who when he traveled the world, he was met with love and adoration and not riot police.
Hey John Kerry! We got your back! 2008 is closer than ever!
Monday, November 07, 2005
President Bush: "We do not torture."
President Bush stated at the news conference:
"There's an enemy that lurks and plots and plans and wants to hurt America again," Bush said. "So you bet we will aggressively pursue them but we will do so under the law."I would be greatly relieved at this revelation except for the fact that I read newspapers and watch the news. Otherwise, this was good news for America.
He declared, "We do not torture."
This is a picture of Army Pfc. Lynndie England at Abu Ghraib:
Using dog leashes with detainees is torture.
As the Washington Post reported on an FBI investigation of Guantanamo:
Detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were shackled to the floor in fetal positions for more than 24 hours at a time, left without food and water, and allowed to defecate on themselves, an FBI agent who said he witnessed such abuse reported in a memo to supervisors, according to documents released yesterday.That was torture also.
In memos over a two-year period that ended in August, FBI agents and officials also said that they witnessed the use of growling dogs at Guantanamo Bay to intimidate detainees -- contrary to previous statements by senior Defense Department officials -- and that one detainee was wrapped in an Israeli flag and bombarded with loud music in an apparent attempt to soften his resistance to interrogation.
Or what of this story from CBS News from March 16, 2005:
At least 108 people have died in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan, most of them violently, according to government data provided to The Associated Press. Roughly a quarter of those deaths have been investigated as possible abuse by U.S. personnel.The evidence for torture is everywhere.
America must press the fight against terrorism around the world. But we cannot succumb to the temptation of torture and abuse. We cannot deceive our people and the rest of the world cannot be fooled.
We need new leadership in America. We need leadership that understands that America is not about torture. That we fight tough and we respect the basic standards that divide us from savagery. Lies just don't cut the mustard.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Kerry Campaigns in New Hampshire!
John Kerry in New Hampshire in January, 2004
Kerry commented to the New Hampshire Sunday News about the Senate's closed session:
"It is impossible to hijack an institution by its own rules," Kerry said. "And so the Republicans are whining and crying to try to once again hide their unwillingness to tell America the truth. All that we tried to do was hold them accountable, to have the investigation into the intelligence that led America to war that they promised us. And just as they didn't tell us the truth about that, they haven't lived the truth with respect to that investigation."He went on to discuss the challenges facing Democrats in America today:
Kerry said the tactic was effective. "It got what we wanted, and we're moving on.
"And who are they to talk about hijacks when they're the authors of a thing called the 'nuclear option' and they want to terminate the ability of the United States Senate to do what it's done for years," he went on, referring to a procedure some Republicans have threatened to use to stop a possible Democratic filibuster over judicial nominations.
"The Republicans have been putting, over the years, greater energy into that, and we're now very focused and very determined to fight back on the issues that really make a difference to people.Beginning right here, right now. Isn't that what it is all about?
"We don't have any committees, we don't have the White House, we don't have the Supreme Court. So this is where we begin, right here."
And as for his plans for 2008? Kerry commented:
As for his own Presidential ambitions for 2008, Kerry told the Sunday News he will make that determination "sometime in the future."Keep that door open Senator Kerry! America knows that it made the wrong decision in 2004! America knows that religious values are about what you do to help people, to heal the world, to bring people together in understanding, respect, and love. America knows that you walk that walk. We got your back John!
How much of that decision will depend on who else is running? "None," he said firmly.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Arnold Schwarzenegger at Stanford
The actor-turned-politician governor explained his view of abortion:
Schwarzenegger told the Sacramento Bee in an interview earlier this week that he would "kill" someone who took one of his own daughters in for an abortion. He has four children, including two teenage daughters.This proposition is about harming children! While seemingly acting to protect young people, this bill shall put young women at risk for dangerous alternatives to abortion and does not reduce abortion procedures among the young.
While he clarified the remark to say that he would not literally kill someone, he said it makes no sense that a school notifies parents about a child receiving first aid after a schoolyard scrape or fall but that a minor can have an abortion without her parents' knowledge.
The referendum is summarized by the California Secretary of State:
PROPOSITION 73Planned Parenthood points out the potential harm of this type of legislation:
WAITING PERIOD AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION BEFORE TERMINATION OF MINOR'S PREGNANCY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
* Amends California Constitution, prohibiting abortion for unemancipated minor until 48 hours after physician notifies minor's parent/legal guardian, except in medical emergency or with parental waiver.
* Defines abortion as causing "death of the unborn child, a child conceived but not yet born."
* Permits minor to obtain court order waiving notice based on clear, convincing evidence of minor's maturity or best interests.
* Mandates various reporting requirements.
* Authorizes monetary damages against physicians for violation.
* Requires minor's consent to abortion, with certain exceptions.
* Permits judicial relief if minor's consent coerced.
Evidence suggests that lack of confidentiality in accessing sexual health care services severely delays or even curtails minors' use of those services. A survey of abortion patients around the U.S., conducted by the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), found that 63% of minors who were having later abortions (after 16 weeks' gestation) cited fear of telling their parents as reason for the delay (Torres & Forrest, 1988). In August 2002, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study of minors seeking sexual health care services at Planned Parenthood health centers in Wisconsin. Nearly half (47%) of the respondents reported that they would discontinue use of all Planned Parenthood services if their parents were notified that they were seeking prescription contraceptives. An additional 12% would delay or discontinue using specific sexual health care services if parental notification were required. But only one percent said they would stop having vaginal intercourse (Reddy, et al ., 2002).This referendum does nothing about protecting young women from the risks of abusive fathers or mothers who may wish to punish these girls for their sexual activity. This referendum does not assist young people in dealing with this awkward and stressful experience. It makes it worse for them. This bill is not about society showing its love and concern for these young women; this bill is about punishing girls for what is felt to be unacceptable behavior. This type of law does not belong in America!
Experience shows that teenagers who cannot involve their parents in their abortion services suffer harm in states with mandatory parental consent and notice laws. Whether they travel to other states or obtain judicial approval, the results are the same: delays that can greatly increase both the physical and emotional health risks as well as the costs.
And what of John Kerry?
Senator Kerry in Jefferson City, Missouri
As reported by the Annenberg Center:
Kerry did vote against a “parental notification” amendment in 1991 offered by Republican Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana. That measure would have required that parents or guardians be notified 48 hours in advance of any abortion on a pregnant daughter under age 18 performed by any organization receiving federal family-planning funds. The measure passed the Senate 52-47, mostly along party lines. Kerry was one of 42 Democrats who opposed it.The article continues:
Kerry voted for an alternative measure that would have allowed for much broader exceptions. The measure Kerry supported would have allowed a physician to perform an abortion on a teenager without notifying the parents if the doctor determined that she “is mature enough and competent to provide consent” herself, or if the doctor determined that notifying the parent or guardian would lead to abuse or “is not in the best interest of the minor.” The Kerry-supported measure also would have allowed the abortion to proceed without notification to parents if an “adult family member” gave consent. That family member could be an aunt or grandparent -- or even a older brother or sister over age 18.Senator Kerry cares about children and young women in America! We desperately need a nation that seeks to care for those in pain, and those in need, and not to ostracize and harrass women of all ages who seek to have the reproductive freedoms they deserve!
Vote NO on 73!