Thursday, March 30, 2006

Iraq War Referendum Commentary

Across many cities, there are referendums about whether we should stay in Iraq or leave. I wanted to share with you my letter I wrote in the online version of the University of Wisconsin Badger Herald, in response to their editorial recommending against passage. I have corrected a couple of typos that I had not picked up when sending in that letter.
"I was interested in reading of the Madison referendum as we here in La Crosse are also asked a similar question, whether the withdrawal of American troops should start immediately starting with the National Guard.

As we think about a resolution to this conflict, there are those that feel that we can depend on the establishment of a functioning democracy prior to departing. Unfortunately, any such Democracy is likely to be of a political nature more along the lines of Hamas in the Palestinian territories. Or perhaps, like the recent decision of the Afghanistan court that was in the process of sentencing an Afghan to death because of his conversion to Christianity, the government to be established will be more along the lines of an Islamic Sharia-based administration. Also not quite acceptable.

I am also concerned about the possible folly of arming and training the Iraqis to "Stand-Up" so we can "Stand-Down" and depart the country. Our experience in arming fighters in this region includes Saddam Hussein himself, who we armed with nerve gas, and Osama bin Laden and his "resistance fighters" who we armed with surface-to-air missiles to resist against their Russian oppressors in Afghanistan. Neither of these attempts at military-building was what I could label a resounding success.

It has been said that if we leave now than the thousands of American dead and wounded will have died in vain. Whether they died in vain or not does not depend on the utterance of the phrase "we made a mistake". Their losses are more related to the reckless pre-emptive attack on a nation that did not possess WMD's, did not pose a threat to our national security, was contained by no-fly zones, and was not involved in the 9/11 attack. Clearly, it will not enhance the meaning of their deaths, to send more young American men and women to die as well.

I have also heard that "it is better that we fight them there than fight them here". I believe Dick Cheney has expressed this explanation multiple times, when he himself is not busy hunting or listening to Fox. But this simplistic explanation, which is usually followed by the question "Have you seen any attacks on America since 9/11?" begs the question of whether our foreign policy is actually successful or not. Most studies have demonstrated, and our generals have testified, that our presence itself is a recruiting device for Al Quaeda membership.

The logic behind the "fighting them there" argument brings to mind the old Elephant Joke (I hope most of you readers are old enough to remember these jokes), of the "Why did the elephant paint its toenails different colors?" The answer: "To hide in the bag of M&M's". Which of course is ridiculous. But then comes the punch line....Have you seen any elephants in a bag of M&M's?" and "See, they hide pretty well, don't they?"

So since we haven't found any terrorists in our bags of M&M's, I don't think we can prove that fighting them there is preventing them from fighting us here.

No, what we are finding, is far too many G.I.'s in body bags not M&M candy containers.

I have also heard it argued that to vote for a referendum now would be "bad for morale". Who are these guys kidding? Do they think morale would be better if Americans were voting instead that these brave soldiers should be staying for an indefinite period? Voting to bring them home will only cheer the troops, although it may disappoint the politicians with little at stake personally."
Or as Senator Kerry said it best:
"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"
Keep on coming Senator Kerry!

Hope is still on the Way!


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Senator Kerry Campaigns in Salem, Massachusetts

As reported today in the Salem News, Senator John Kerry was once again exploring the waters for 2008.

He commented on the current sorry state of the Presidency:
"There is an absence of leadership that I have never seen," Kerry said. "(There is a) complete and total abdication of responsibility of serious engagement in issues that affect every single one of you here. It is driven by ideology, partisanship."
On the question of his own plans for 2008, Kerry was a bit more cautious:
"The short answer is, I'm thinking very seriously about it," Kerry said. "I know what it takes. I know how to do it, I know the mistakes we made, and we did make some mistakes."
Thank you Senator Kerry!

Keep thinking seriously about it. America needs your leadership! We can do it together!

Senator Kerry was quoted on some of the current issues facing America:
Iraq: "I think we have to get out of Iraq as fast as we can. ... Our guys are in the middle of a civil war. Who's kidding who?"

Immigration: "You have to have comprehensive reform. ... To just do enforcement is to invite a continued problem. ... We're going to have to have some people come in to do the jobs nobody wants to do."

The role of government: "'It's not the government's money, it's your money' ... (is) a very difficult proposition to defend against. The problem is, it's also your pothole and somebody's got to fill it. It's your school and somebody's got to manage it. It's your bridge and somebody's got to fix it."

Partisanship: "I have never seen the United States Senate and House as partisan as they are today. ... You don't have the kind of compromise that we used to have, where we used to look for 80 votes, 90 votes, instead of 51 votes."

The public's interest in government: "The attention span of Americans has changed. ... The people who don't want to listen to the president go to 'American Idol,' or they go to the game."
Keep those ideas coming!

America needs leadership with a coherent foreign policy.

A leader who will place qualified individuals in high positions and not cronies.

A leader who can recognize that he or she has made a mistake, instead of doing the same wrong thing over and over again.

A leader who values the environment, cares for those in need, believes in the posibilities of science, and treasures diversity among all of us and among all those around the world. A leader who believes that our National Parks are treasures and not pieces of real estate that can be sold off. A leader who believes that America is the beacon of freedom and not the object of inquiries into torture. A leader who believes that when the City of New Orleans loses 250,000 jobs, the President can do more than create a "tax incentive zone". A President can help those 250,000 people do the more than 250,000 jobs that need to be done!

We neeed you Senator Kerry! Hope is still on the Way!


Friday, March 24, 2006

Is This What Democracy Looks Like?

Afghan Woman Voter September, 2005

As Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated on September 20, 2005, after the Afghan elections:
"The country that hosted Osama bin Laden, that supported training camps for al-Qaida, endured decades of civil war, Soviet occupation, drought, Taliban brutality, is now a democracy that fights terrorists instead of harboring them,"
Or, as President George W. Bush stated after the Afghan election:
"I congratulate the Afghan people and Afghan Government for today's successful parliamentary elections, which are a major step forward in Afghanistan's development as a democratic state governed by the rule of law. Braving deadly attacks and threats of violence, Afghans voted in large numbers for representatives to their new National Assembly and Provincial Councils. We commend the tremendous progress that the Afghan people have made in recent years, and we pledge the full support of the United States as Afghanistan acts to meet the new challenges ahead."
This is Abdul RahmanAs reported:
"Rahman, a father of two, was arrested and is on trial for rejecting Islam. The Afghan constitution, which is based on Sharia, or Islamic law, says that apostates can receive the death penalty."
And what exactly was his crime?
"He had been arrested after telling local police, whom he approached on an unrelated matter, that he had converted to Christianity. Reports say he was carrying a Bible at the time.

He said he converted to Christianity 16 years ago after working with a Christian aid group that assisted refugees in neighboring Pakistan."
And this is what we are fighting for in the Middle East?

So that we may establish Sharia Law in Afghanistan that would put a man to death for converting from Islam to Christianity?

And this is what we are facing in Iraq as they get their laws together?

There were no WMD's in Iraq. We aren't going to be creating Democracy in these countries. We may be helping religious persecution under Sharia law instead.

America deserves better.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Thank You Senator Feingold!

Senator Russ Feingold is not afraid of being a maverick. Wisconsin is proud to have him as our elected representative in the United States Senate.

Feingold's censure resolution states in part:
“Resolved that the United States Senate does hereby censure George W. Bush, president of the United States, and does condemn his unlawful authorization of wiretaps of Americans within the United States without obtaining the court orders required.”
The Republicans have answered this with a petition from Ken Mehlman:
" This week, liberal Democrat Russ Feingold called on the Senate to censure the President for a program that is successfully stopping terrorists. After months of searching, Democrat leaders are finally beginning to find their agenda: take away the tools America needs to fight terror. In the last 24 hours, fringe groups like and Democrat leaders from John Kerry to Harry Reid to Dick Durbin have rallied to Feingold's side, praising his grandstanding as a "catalyst" for the investigation of the President.

Weakening our national security is their agenda. Is it yours? Sign the petition to tell the Democrat leaders to stop undermining the War on Terror with cheap political stunts.

We are a nation at war. Our President has no more basic responsibility than to protect the American people and fight terrorists who want to kill us. It's one thing if a lone Senator wants our government to look the other way when an Al Qaeda terrorist contacts a sleeper cell inside the United States. It's entirely another when Democrat minority leader Harry Reid commends Feingold's censure move for "bringing [the terrorist surveillance program] to the attention of the American people."

Democrat leaders never miss an opportunity to put politics before our nation's security. And now, they would rather censure the President for doing his job than actually fight the War on Terror. It's what the wing of their party wants, and now, it's their agenda -- from the top of the ticket on down.

Make your voice heard. Tell Democrat leaders to stop playing politics with national security."
Thank you Mr. Mehlman.

You forgot one thing.

The President of the United States needs to follow the law.

We don't have a KING in America. We have a President. A President who swears to uphold the Constitution, not hold it hostage.

Do Republicans no longer believe the President is required to be law-abiding?

We support the fight on terror. We also support the law.

Even in the hardest of times, Americans have supported preserving our Constitution and our freedoms. We all support the fight against terrorists and evil-doers.

But apparently, the Republicans believe that it is ok for the President and his cronies to take the law into their own hands. To decide for themselves which laws need to be obeyed and which can be ignored.

Americans know better.

Thank you Senator Feingold. From one John Kerry blogger who is proud to be in the same party as this brave Senator from the state of Wisconsin!


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

More Xenophobia in Minnesota!

Representative Bud Heidgerken is worried about college students in Minnesota. Apparently some of them are having a hard time understanding their professors.

Representative Heidgerken has heard complaints from constituents about this educational problem. As he stated:
"I've had many students say they dropped a course or delayed graduation for a semester because they couldn't get around this one professor they couldn't understand," the Freeport Republican said. "All I'm trying to accomplish is getting the best education we have for postsecondary students."
Thus he has introduced legislation to address this "problem". H.F. No. 2798 states:

1.1 A bill for an act
1.2 relating to higher education; requiring clear English pronunciation as a condition
1.3 of instructing certain students at public postsecondary institutions; proposing
1.4 coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 135A.

1.6 Section 1. [135A.156] PRONUNCIATION OF ENGLISH.
1.7 Subdivision 1. Policy required. The Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State
1.8 Colleges and Universities shall, and the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota
1.9 is requested to, adopt a clear, understandable written policy requiring clear English
1.10 pronunciation as a condition of instructing undergraduate students at public postsecondary
1.11 institutions. The policy shall be made available to students by appropriate means as
1.12 determined by each institution, which may include publication in a student handbook or
1.13 other institutional publication, or posting by electronic display on the Internet, and shall be
1.14 posted at appropriate locations on campus.
1.15 Subd. 2. Policy to include. (a) A policy adopted under subdivision 1 must, at a
1.16 minimum, accomplish the objectives provided in paragraphs (b), (c), and (d).
1.17 (b) Before employing or assigning an individual to instruct undergraduate students,
1.18 the chair of the department in which the individual would be employed or assigned must
1.19 conduct an oral interview with the individual and document that the individual speaks
1.20 English clearly and with good pronunciation.
1.21 (c) If a student notifies in writing the chair of the department and the dean of students
1.22 of the public postsecondary institution the student is attending that the student believes that
1.23 an individual employed or assigned to instruct a class in which the student is enrolled, does
1.24 not speak English clearly and with good pronunciation the postsecondary institution, upon
2.1 request of the student, must reimburse the student for all tuition and fees paid for the class
2.2 and permit the student to withdraw from the class without financial or academic penalty.
2.3 (d) When the dean of students of any public postsecondary institution receives
2.4 notices under paragraph (c), from students equal in number to ten percent of those enrolled
2.5 in a class on the tenth academic day, the individual must be reassigned to a nonteaching
2.6 position and may not be permitted to instruct students until a hearing before a panel is held
2.7 and determines that the individual can speak English clearly and with good pronunciation.
2.8 A panel under this paragraph must include a member of the public postsecondary
2.9 institution's student governing body, selected by the president of the student governing
2.10 body, and a representative selected by the president of the public postsecondary institution.
What's wrong with that? Shouldn't every student in Minnesota be able to learn from a professor who speaks perfect English?

Unfortunately, not all of the brilliant minds and talented professors would pass the test.

Albert Einstein probably wouldn't be able to teach in Minnesota if the law was passed. As reported:
He was the embodiment of pure intellect, the bumbling professor with the German accent, a comic cliché in a thousand films. Instantly recognizable, like Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp, Albert Einstein's shaggy-haired visage was as familiar to ordinary people as to the matrons who fluttered about him in salons from Berlin to Hollywood. Yet he was unfathomably profound — the genius among geniuses who discovered, merely by thinking about it, that the universe was not as it seemed.
Helen Keller probably wouldn't be able to teach in Minnesota either.

As recorded:
Unfortunately though, Helen’s speech never really improved beyond the sounds that only Anne and others very close to her could understand.
But the goal of reaching ethnic purity among teachers is not new in the world. As the holocaust unfolded in Nazi Germany, efforts were made to make sure that only Aryans could teach. According to the Danish Center for Holocaust and genocide Studies, in 1933:
7 April Jews in public jobs are dismissed, including schoolteachers and university professors.
And by 1936:
15 October ‘Non-Aryan’ teachers are prohibited from teaching in public schools.
I am sure that Representative Heidgerken is motivated in the best interests of the students of Minnesota.

But like so many of these "wedge issues", the Republicans have chosen to hurt people who are different than them. Who maybe don't share their religion, their complexion, their nationality, their sexual orientation, or even their way of pronouncing English.

America is the Big Tent. Representative Heidgerken's ancestors probably didn't speak perfect English either. And I would fight to protect their rights as well!

America needs new leadership in Washington, and in Minnesota as well. We need leaders who are tolerant and inclusive and respectful of the various ethnic and religious backgrounds and yes even the different sexual orientations or our citizens.

Freedom is not just another word for nothing left to lose.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Kerry Outlines Democrat Platform in New Hampshire

Photo of Senator John Kerry in New Hampshire Yesterday

Senator Kerry knows what the Democrats stand for.

Campaigning for Democrats in Nashua, he stated:
"Don’t let anyone tell you we Democrats don’t know what we stand for. We know who we are and we know what’s worth fighting for. Let me tell you how Democrats will lead if you give us the chance in 2006,” Kerry said at the first joint dinner for the Nashua City Democrats and the Hillsborough County Democrats at the Nashua Country Club.

“Here’s what we’ll do. Tell the truth. Find Osama bin Laden and secure our ports. Stop subsidizing big oil and start investing in energy alternatives. Make access to affordable health care a right and not a privilege. Fight for American jobs that restore the American dream. Obey the law and protect our civil rights. Fire incompetents and restore competence and integrity to Washington.”
Thank You Senator Kerry!

America needs your wisdom and understanding in Washington!

Keep on coming John! We have your back.


Kerry to New Hampshire: Campaign 2008 Continues!

Keep on coming Senator Kerry!

Like the boxer Jake La Motta in the Martin Scorcese classic boxing movie, Raging Bull, John Kerry seems to be able to absorb the punishment of the Republican spin machine and Swift Boating and yet continue to keep on coming.

America needs that spirit and drive!

As reported, Senator Kerry related:
'When you get knocked on your ass and lose a race, you've got to stop and reflect on what you're doing, why you're doing it, what matters, and what's important. And I did," Kerry said in an interview in his Senate office on Thursday. ''There's a very different John Kerry now who is absolutely crystal clear about how I communicate what I need to communicate. . . . People are going to be looking for leadership."
Thank you Senator Kerry!

America needs your wisdom, your experience, your leadership, and yes your vision to get us through these difficult times.

Kerry gave us some insight about his 2008 plans:
''I only know that I'm in a position to make this choice," Kerry said, reflecting his belief that he'd be a viable candidate should he decide to run. ''I'll do what I think is the right thing to do, based on my own gut and desire. I will not worry one instant about conventional wisdom. It was dead wrong in the last race, and it probably will be dead wrong again this time. I just don't buy into some of the things I hear around here based upon what happens when I go out and see people around the country."
John Kerry has work to do! There are many Democrats who are still frustrated by the 2004 loss to President Bush.

As reported:
''I'm a very big fan of John Kerry, and I wish he had won very, very much. But I think he's had his shot, and we need a new direction," said John Wertheim, an early Kerry supporter in the last presidential race who is now chairman of the New Mexico Democratic Party. ''I do sense that there is a feeling in the party that he has had his chance, and that we need to move on to someone new. We need a real breath of fresh air, a new voice for the party."
Leadership in America is NOT about breaths of fresh air or new faces or new voices.

Leadership in America is about finding individuals with the right ideas and the right understanding to get our country out of the mess we find ourselves.

Leadership in America is about dealing with problems and dusting oneself off and continuing to deal with them.

We don't need a "red-state governor" or another voice when we have the voice that spoke truth in the face of lies in 2004 and is speaking truth again for 2006 and 2008.

Hey John Kerry! Keep on coming. They can throw any hook or punch at you they want. They don't know about real heroes in the Republican Party. They just know about paper tigers and chicken hawks.

America needs you more than ever!


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Are Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee 'Lap Dogs' of the White House?

Republicans are "tough guys".

Macho men.

Like Dick Cheney, they are good with guns.

And they are never a victim of "push-back" dealing with even the toughest challenge of nature.

They have been skillful at getting answers with tough questions.

So why would anyone think that they were "Lap Dogs" of the White House?

This is Senator Pat Roberts, Republican from Kansas.

Senator Roberts is Chairman of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He doesn't like being called a "lap dog". According to him, he negotiated firmly with the White House about the Domestic Wiretapping controversy.

He stated:
"There was a lot of pushback," Mr. Roberts said. "So we kept saying, I am sorry, that is not acceptable, and the reality is such that you will either do this or you will face bigger obstacles and we will get into confrontation."

This is Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia:

Senator Roberts and Senator Rockefeller don't exactly share the same opinion on how the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee stood up to the White House.

As reported:
The Republican proposal would give Congressional approval to the eavesdropping program much as it was secretly authorized by Mr. Bush after the 2001 terrorist attacks, with limited notification to a handful of Congressional leaders. The N.S.A. would be permitted to intercept the international phone calls and e-mail messages of people in the United States if there was "probable cause to believe that one party to the communication is a member, affiliate, or working in support of a terrorist group or organization," according to a written summary of the proposal issued by its Republican sponsors. The finding of probable cause would not be reviewed by any court.

But after 45 days, the attorney general would be required to drop the eavesdropping on that target, seek a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or explain under oath to two new Congressional oversight subcommittees why he could not seek a warrant.
Mr. DeWine, a principal author of the proposal, said it would give "very specific pinpoint oversight."

"We will be seeing specific cases coming back and seeing why they are not going into the FISA court," he said.

In an emergency, the existing FISA statute permits the government to eavesdrop for 72 hours before getting a warrant, and for 15 days after a declaration of war. The Republican proposal would permit eavesdropping with no warrant for 45-day periods, with no limit on how many times they could be renewed.
Thus, the Republicans were real tough with the White House.

When the President is found to be in violation of FISA law, they don't prosecute crime, they change the law to facilitate abuse.

So what else is new?

But don't worry. President Bush didn't have sex in the Oval Office with anyone.

Now THAT would be an impeachable offense.

No, the Republicans aren't lap dogs.

Lap dogs are cute. They are lovable. They are earnest and loyal.

No those on the Intelligence Committee who facilitate abuse of Civil Liberties in America are worms.

America deserves better! We deserve politicians who are statesmen and not flunkies. Leaders who defend the Constitution and who do not cave in to political pressure.

Hey John Kerry! America needs your strength and integrity to provide leadership in this rudderless Senate. We need your ideals and convictions to defend our freedoms.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Missouri Considers "Christian Nation" Resolution!

Representative David Sater of Missouri wants to make his state more Christian.

He has sponsored a resolution, House Concurrent Resolution #13 that states:
Whereas, our forefathers of this great nation of the United States recognized a Christian God and used the principles afforded to us by Him as the founding principles of our nation; and

Whereas, as citizens of this great nation, we the majority also wish to exercise our constitutional right to acknowledge our Creator and give thanks for the many gifts provided by Him; and

Whereas, as elected officials we should protect the majority's right to express their religious beliefs while showing respect for those who object; and

Whereas, we wish to continue the wisdom imparted in the Constitution of the United States of America by the founding fathers; and

Whereas, we as elected officials recognize that a Greater Power exists above and beyond the institutions of mankind:

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the members of the House of Representatives of the Ninety-third General Assembly, Second Regular Session, the Senate concurring therein, that we stand with the majority of our constituents and exercise the common sense that voluntary prayer in public schools and religious displays on public property are not a coalition of church and state, but rather the justified recognition of the positive role that Christianity has played in this great nation of ours, the United States of America.
Mr. Sater and his co-sponsor, Rep. Barney Joe Fisher are confused. The majority has never had its rights protected as a group in the Constitution. Our Bill of Rights protects each individual American in their pursuit of freedom. To reserve special rights or privileges to the majority is exactly what is prohibited by our Constitution when discussing religious freedom!

James Madison, the author of the First Amendment, wrote of the dangers of establishing too close a relationship between Christianity and our Government in the writings of the Detached Memoranda (1817-1832):
"In the course of the opposition to the bill in the House of Delegates, which was warm & strenuous from some of the minority, an experiment was made on the reverence entertained for the name & sanctity of the Saviour, by proposing to insert the words "Jesus Christ" after the words "our lord" in the preamble, the object of which would have been, to imply a restriction of the liberty defined in the Bill, to those professing his religion only. The amendment was discussed, and rejected by a vote of agst (See letter of J. M. to Mr. Jefferson dated )1 The opponents of the amendment having turned the feeling as well as judgment of the House agst it, by successfully contending that the better proof of reverence for that holy name wd be not to profane it by making it a topic of legisl. discussion, & particularly by making his religion the means of abridging the natural and equal rights of all men, in defiance of his own declaration that his Kingdom was not of this world. This view of the subject was much enforced by the circumstance that it was espoused by some members who were particularly distinguished by their reputed piety and Christian zeal."
Our founding fathers never intended this to be a Christian nation!

America is a nation where every individual has an equal right to freedom and recognition by the government.

Where no religion has any advantage over any other religion.

Where the law respects the free exercise of religion of each citizen regardless of the number of fellow citizens who also follow those beliefs.

Shame on those Missouri legislators who would advocate the compromise of religious freedom protections from those least capable of defending themselves, the children of the state of Missouri! To advocate for school prayer is to trample on the rights of minorities who may not pray in the same fashion as the majority. To endorse a Christian God by state legislators is disrespectful to every non-Christian in the state and is an unnecessary prop to Christianity in America.

Let America know that it was the Republicans who threaten to trample on the Constitution in Missouri!

Let America know that it was the Democrats who voted against Intolerance.

We can deal with this wedge issue just fine, thank you. We are the party of diversity, the party of tolerance, the party of mutual respect.

And yes we are the party of religious freedom. You make the call.

Hey John Kerry! We got your back around here! We need you today for your leadership and inspiration; we need you in 2008 to help bring America home!


Monday, March 06, 2006

South Dakota Bans Virtually All Abortions

This is Governor Mike Rounds of South Dakota.

Governor Rounds signed a strict abortion law today banning virtually all abortions in South Dakota except in the rare case it might be necessary to save the life of the mother.

As reported:
"The Bill would make it illegal to have an abortion except in rare cases when it might be necessary to save the life of the mother.

No allowance would be made for women who had been raped or were victims of incest.

Doctors who performed an abortion would be punished with five years in prison and a $5,000 (£2,850) fine."
This is Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council:

Mr. Perkins thinks the action in South Dakota was a good thing for America. He released this statement:
"This is how our system of government should work. The elected representatives of the people set policy that is reflective of the people they represent. For far too long, elected leaders have based their policy decisions upon how a judge or judges might react to the enacted policy. The South Dakota legislature sent a bold statement to the rest of the nation that the day of judicial intimidation is over; human life will be protected in South Dakota.

"The passage of this law is a reflection of growing pro-life sentiment across the country and points toward a post-Roe era. Technology and information about embryonic and prenatal development have steadily overcome the myths and lies about abortion and the millions of babies whose lives have been destroyed by it. Give the people or their elected representatives a voice and you will find that most of America wants major changes in the abortion-on-demand regime that has stood only by judicial fiat for 33 years."
Myths and lies about abortion? Human life will be protected in South Dakota? Perhaps. But maybe it would be helpful to examine another area of the world where the "pro-lifers" have been successful in banning abortion.

As reported:
In most Central, South American and Caribbean countries, a woman wishing to terminate a pregnancy has either to go abroad or risk an operation performed by unqualified medical personnel.
And what has been the result of these laws to deny women the right to a safe and legal termination of their pregnancy, a safe and legal abortion?
Every year four million women in Latin America have an illegal abortion, according to the World Health Organisation.
As the report notes:
"It is the first to the third cause of maternal death in different countries in Latin America," the chair of the conference, Maria Consuelo Mejilla - director of Catholics For The Right To Decide, a Mexican pressure group - told BBC World Service's Outlook programme.

"It is affecting mostly poor women.

"Unsafe and illegal abortion in Latin America is a social justice problem. Women who have no resources die."
Maybe Governor Rounds would like South Dakota to be more like Peru where " estimated 50,000 women either die or suffer serious complications after an illegal abortion."

You see Governor Rounds, whether you like it or not, whether it is legal or not, women will continue to seek abortion in South Dakota. The only choice is whether you as Governor make sure that women are safe and offered abortions that keep them alive and healthy. These are your sisters, your daughters and your mothers Mr. Rounds.

Shame on you.

Senator John Kerry supports abortion rights for women.

As reported:
• Supports abortion rights.
• Said he will appoint only pro-choice judges to the Supreme Court.
• Opposed the legislation that would outlaw the procedure call partial-birth abortion because it makes no exception for a case in which the life of the mother was threatened.
• Opposes parental notification requirements.
• Said health plans should cover contraceptives.
You see Senator Kerry is one of those "Reality-Based" politicians.

You know, one of those leaders who is concerned about the effects of his actions. The effects that may result in the death and injury to thousands of young American women because of politicians who choose to grandstand instead of lead. Who choose to ignore the effects of their action and who pander to religious fundamentalists out of touch with the public health needs of America.

America deserves better!

We have your back John. 2008 is just around the corner!


John Kerry Addresses University of Ulster on 21st Century Security

Listen ***HERE*** for Senator Kerry's speech.

Kerry stated:
"History is replete with examples of conflicts that at times seemed endless and intractable. But history also teaches us that if the desire for peace stays strong, it is always possible to prevail.

"There are lessons of perseverance and determination for peace to be learned from your experience here in Northern Ireland. You know better than anyone how long and arduous this process can be.

"The citizens of Northern Ireland have proven that progress is possible for those with the courage to seize it."

Mr Kerry said Iran was the "world's leading state sponsor of terrorism", which had defied the world by moving forward with its nuclear programme.

"A nuclear armed Iran clearly poses an unacceptable threat to global security," he added.
Thank you Senator Kerry! America needs your leadership now more than ever!


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Fixing the Facts?

I don't know what to make of this story:
U.S. Archivist Allen Weinstein called on all intelligence and security agencies March 2 to stop removing documents from the open shelves of the National Archives and Records Administration for reclassification purposes and to return as many records as possible that they had pulled as part of a secret program in operation since 1999.
The moratorium on reclassification came in response to a letter from a group of historians who complained that the CIA, the Defense Department, and the Department of Justice had withdrawn some 9,500 documents from the Korean War and early Cold War eras and reclassified them as secret.
Maybe I should feel safer. Maybe some documents which were public should be made classified again. But then again, maybe this is once again an example of the over-management of information.

But I recalled the Downing Street Memo in which it was stated:
C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.
Intelligence and facts being fixed?

Is this isolated?

What about Mr. Philip A. Cooney who helped "fix the facts"?
"In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports."
But that must have been an isolated event. Or was it? What about the Armstrong Williams story? Remember that one?
"WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 - Federal auditors said on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party.

In a blistering report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said the administration had disseminated "covert propaganda" in the United States, in violation of a statutory ban."
I don't know whether all of this manipulation of information is more like Orwell in 1984 and the Ministry of Truth:
But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -if all records told the same tale -- then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.' And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. 'Reality control', they called it: in Newspeak, 'doublethink'.
Or more like Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass:
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master - - that's all.'
But I fear for America! I fear for a nation where information is freedom and information is at risk!

The Constitution is more than a "goddamned piece of paper!"

Maybe "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose".

There is of course the famous quote from George Santayana who stated:
"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
But of course, after the facts have been fixed, history has been removed from the shelves, and information has been replaced with propaganda, we may well end up like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day condemned to repeat historic failures over and over, waiting to wake up to another day when we can learn from the past, discuss our errors, and search for a better way.

America deserves better!


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Wisconsin Republicans Exploit "Guns, God and Gays"

Once again we have another issue by the so-called 'values' crowd to get the voters confused and riled up. When all else fails, let's bash a few homosexuals to elect Republicans to higher office so they can erode public education, the quality of the environment, and protect the wealthy while cutting services for the poor.

It seems to work so well doesn't it?

As reported
"... MADISON, WISCONSIN -- Wisconsin voters will decide in November whether to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions after the proposal cleared its final hurdle in the Republican-controlled Legislature on Tuesday."
Besides the sheer injustice of passing a Constitutional Amendment to deny certain individuals the rights to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness", a certain group of Americans is being affected that these so-called values voters do not wish to concern themselves with.

As reported by the conservative Fox Network:
"For several years now, judges and lawmakers have relied on a growing body of research on same-sex parenting to make decisions in cases and legislation regarding custody battles and adoption. The numbers vary, but estimates of the number of gay parents in America is somewhere between 800,000 and 7 million, and the number of dependent children raised by homosexual parents is between 1 million and 9 million."
Shame on those who would pass Constitutional Amendments to hurt other people!

One of the most infamous persecutions of homosexuals was under the Nazi regime. As reported by the United States Holocaust Museum:
"After taking power in 1933, the Nazis persecuted homosexuals as part of their so-called moral crusade to racially and culturally purify Germany. This persecution ranged from dissolution of homosexual organizations to internment of thousands of individuals in concentration camps. Gay men, in particular, were subject to harassment, arrest, incarceration, and even castration. In Nazi eyes, gay men were weak and unfit to be soldiers, as well as unlikely to have children and thereby contribute to the racial struggle for Aryan dominance."
Hitler even had a special badge for homosexuals in Concentration Camps like Sachsenhausen where homosexuals were given the pink triangles to wear.
A chart of badges won in Nazi concentration camps
What is happening to the America I love?

My country tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died!
Land of the Pilgrim's pride!
From every mountain side,
Let freedom ring!

Or these words from the Constitution:

"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..."

I know what America means.

You know what America means.

We are a nation of freedom. A nation of Tolerance. A nation of many people who arrived at these shores escaping persecution from their native lands.

As Emma Lazarus wrote in The New Colossus, inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty:
"With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
I love America with all of my heart and soul.

Those that seek to turn the clock back on understanding are not acting true to the America I learned about in school.

Their homophobia is more in line with the Nazi scourge that attacked homosexuals, Jews, and Gypsies in the name of purity.

When you hear people talk of the sanctity of marriage, think about the purity they are trying to defend.

When a homosexual in an act of love desires to express a committment to another, that marriage is not something we should attempt to interfere with in an interest of protecting someone else's concept of "sanctity". To deny another the joy of marriage does not enhance my own marriage, it demeans it.

And for those children who live in a marriage headed by same sex parents, we are sending a message of scorn and disgust to children who love their parents who raise them and send them off into the world to be Americans.

These children have parents who deserve the respect and privileges of every American parent.

America is a land of opportunity for all. Not a place of hate and intolerance.

Bring back that America we are so close to losing! Bring back the America I grew up with. When America was above torture. When America was about protecting every religious view regardless of the size of that religious organization. When prayer in schools was realized to be an infringement of religious freedom of the smallest and least protected members of our society. When an American President travelled abroad, he engendered love from the crowd and not the need for protection by riot police.

Bring back America to all of us.

Bring back love and put away hate.

Bring back understanding and deny intolerance.

America is too important to deny.