Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Are American Soldiers 'Stuck in Iraq?'

Senator John Kerry was roundly criticized by leading Republicans after mis-speaking at his appearance in San Gabriel, California, Monday.

According to the report, he stated to the students:
'He then said: "You know, education -- if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well.

"If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.'
Apparently, this wasn't the intended lines in his speech. Per a Kerry spokesman, the lines should have been:
"I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq."
Tony Snow, the President's Press Secretary did not hesitate to jump all over Senator Kerry's mis-statement. He stated:
"This is an absolute insult," Snow said at a daily press briefing. "Senator Kerry not only owes an apology to those who are serving, but also to the families of those who've given their lives in this."
But was Senator Kerry wrong to say what he said?

Kerry fought back:
"I'm not going to be lectured by a stuffed-suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq."

He further expressed disgust with "Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country."

Kerry added that President Bush and Vice President Cheney "owe our troops an apology" because they "misled America into war."

Bush and Cheney "have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it," the senator said.
Sometimes we can speak the truth by saying something we never intended to say at all!

As early as 2004, during the last Presidential campaign, John Kerry recognized that our soldiers were getting "stuck" in Iraq! He pointed out:
"In a speech June 3, 2004, in Independence, Mo., Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry said, "The administration's answer has been to put Band-Aids on the problem. They have effectively issued a stop-loss policy as a back-door draft."
Today, the 'stop-loss' policy continues to keep our soldiers stuck in a conflict where thousands have lost their lives. As recently reported:
"September 26, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The Army is again extending the combat tours of thousands of soldiers in Iraq beyond the expected 12 months -- the second such move since August.

Soldiers of the First Brigade, First Armored Division had been expecting to return to their home base in Germany in mid-January. Instead, they will stay an extra 46 days in Iraq, the Pentagon said yesterday. The soldiers are operating in western Anbar Province, one of the most violent parts of Iraq.

The Pentagon also said the Fourth Brigade, First Cavalry Division will deploy to Iraq 30 days earlier than scheduled, starting in late October. The announcement did not say why the speedup was deemed necessary."
So Americans soldiers are getting stuck in Iraq....longer than their scheduled tours of duty!

And what about the idea that students who don't succeed might need to turn to the military for jobs or further training? That really isn't so far-fetched as the Republicans would like to make Senator Kerry sound.

As reported in June, 2005, the military is turning more and more to those young men and women who have problems with the traditional educational system:
"WASHINGTON, June 10 - The Army is having to turn to more high school dropouts and lower-achieving applicants to fill its ranks, accepting hundreds of recruits in recent months who would have been rejected a year ago, according to Army statistics."
Further evidence that financial and educational pressures may lead to a young person's turning to the military career is reported:
""A lot of the high recruitment rates are in areas where there is not as much economic opportunity for young people," said Anita Dancs, research director for the NPP, based in Northampton, Mass.

Senior Pentagon officials say the war has had a clear impact on recruiting, with a shrinking pool of candidates forcing the military to accept less qualified enlistees -- and presumably many for whom military service is a choice of last resort. In fiscal 2005, the Army took in its least qualified group of recruits in a decade, as measured by educational level and test results. The war is also attracting youths driven by patriotism, including a growing fringe of the upper class and wealthy, but military sociologists believe that greater numbers of young people who would have joined for economic reasons are being discouraged by the prolonged combat."
So Senator Kerry, you don't have to apologize to us!

America knows that you know as a real veteran and a real decorated military hero who knows what war is really about! You know how young people who may not have other opportunities may be forced into military service due to economic pressures. You know that our patriotic soldiers have found themselves "stuck" in Iraq by the poorly planned policies, the misrepresentations, and the misexecution of a botched military plan! And you know that this Administration, through its misrepresentations that led us into this unnecessary war threatens the viability of the all-volunteer army as well!

America deserves better! You may not have stayed exactly on message in your speech but you once again spoke truth to an America that is starting to listen!

Keep on coming John! We have got your back!


Keeping our Eye on the Ball!

I apologize.

I took the bait the Republicans were offering on the Gay Marriage Amendment.

As President Bush himself stated:
"For decades, activist judges have tried to redefine America by court order," Bush said Monday. "Just this last week in New Jersey, another activist court issued a ruling that raises doubt about the institution of marriage. We believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and should be defended."
President Bush wants to arouse the irrational fears of homosexuals among his base.

He wants you to believe like many in America, that if we allow same-sex couples rights, as they do in England, France, Spain, Denmark, South Africa, and elsewhere, that soon we will be allowing the legalization of bestiality or polygamy.

It aint true but people are easily manipulated.

So forget about Iraq if you wish. Only 101 G.I.'s died in October.

Forget about the Signing Statements and the violation of the Constitutional issues of balance of power. That is far too complex an issue for voters to grasp.

Forget about global warming.

Forget about the deficit and the tax cuts for the wealthy.

Forget about wiretapping without warrants.

Forget about secret prisons, rendition of people to third world countries for torture, and our own nation's adoption of torture techniques.

Forget about the loss of Habeas Corpus.

Because you have gays you can bash. People that want to get married! Now THAT is a crisis.

This nation needs new direction now more than ever in its history! Senator John Kerry offers that experience, wisdom, and honesty that we need today! Don't let them Swift Boat our nation Senator Kerry! Keep on coming! We have got your back!


Monday, October 30, 2006

More on "Hate, Greed, and Fear"

I recently wrote of the article I had written on the exploitation of the emotions of hate, greed, and fear, by the Neocons who wish to manipulate the voters. I was fortunate to have a conservative response which I include here from Steven McLaren who wrote:
"October 28, 2006

I, very strongly, disagree with most all the comments written by Robert Freedland. Please, read his entire letter first and then read mine. (I'm not going to quote everything that he wrote for my letter.)

I interpreted from Freedland s letter that much of society s ills, not just the same-sex issue, are a result of the conservatives, republicans, or religious folk within our society. (He seemed to lump all of these people into one group.)


Robert states, In Wisconsin this November, as has been and shall be in other states, are efforts to limit marriage to just "one man and one woman". In our state, this will also make civil unions illegal. Just yesterday the highest court in the State of New Jersey stated that same-sex families deserve equal protection under the law. Is this really the result of "activist judges" or is the justice system simply trying to be fair to every American?

Well, using this same philosophy/logic, let's be fair to every American and approve (among other things) PLURAL MARRIAGE and BEASTIALITY (sex with or union of man and animal). Don't tell me you don't approve! "The glue that holds these 'unions' together is not sin but love." We may get sick to our stomach thinking about it, but isn t this another non-traditional household?

Well, join the club, I also get sick to my stomach when thinking about same-sex unions. [It wasn t too long ago that same-sex unions could and would have never been considered as a civil union. Why not look to our future? Using this logic, we'll soon be confronting the EQUAL RIGHTS of those practicing in beastiality.]

Let s also accept all these other so-called unions (not just same-sex). Let's ACCEPT them/this in the name of EQUALITY, LOVE, and SOCIETAL PROGRESS! NOT!! EVER!!

He also placed the responsibility for many of our other societal problems on one party of our government. Government is, in reality, responsible for many of our problems, or lack of cures. However, don t just blame one party. There have been a lot of government officials from all parties get us to where we are today!!

Thanks for reading and considering the gravity of our current national situation. Vote wisely. America needs you now more than ever!! Fight for what is right, and fight for YOUR RIGHT to live in a society as free as possible from moral decay.


Steven McLaren
Ketchikan, AK"
But how do we answer comments like Mr. McLaren's? Don't worry. I have not been short on arguments to debunk his comments. I responded last night with the following:
"October 30, 2006

Steven McLaren has written That he strongly disagrees with my letter: "Hate, Greed, and Fear." Within that letter, I advocated for the expansion of the understanding of marriage and family by including Civil Union Couples and same-sex couples within that tradition. I believe strongly in the institution of marriage and the stabilization of families that results. I understand that many benefits of marriage include hospital visitation, insurance coverage, inheritance for children, child support and custody of children in the case of divorce. There are other well-known benefits to marriage.

But Mr. McLaren has tried to use the powerful emotion of FEAR to dissuade the readers that what I said was reasonable. He brings up false issues, what are called "straw-man" arguments that are not even being considered as possibilities. He states my argument amounts to " Well, using this same philosophy/logic, let's be fair to every American and approve (among other things) PLURAL MARRIAGE and BEASTIALITY (sex with or union of man and animal). Don't tell me you don't approve! "The glue that holds these 'unions' together is not sin but love." We may get sick to our stomach thinking about it, but isn t this another non-traditional household?"

Did I suggest that multiple people should be considered marriage? Did I or anyone really advocate for marriages between farm animals and people? Of course not. But maybe it scared you just a little.

I do not necessarily approve of any couple's sexual habits and preferences. But that is a matter of privacy between two consenting adults. Does Mr. McLaren wish to have the government spy on people in the privacy of their bedrooms? I don't think so. Mr. McLaren finds same-sex activity disgusting. He writes: "Well, join the club, I also get sick to my stomach when thinking about same-sex unions."

Fortunately nobody is asking Mr McLaren for an endorsement of their sexual activity. Nor do I think he would like us to review and judge his sexual activity.

But unless Mr. McLaren is not aware of what is going on in America, the traditional marriage unit of biologic father, biologic mother, and biologic children is becoming more rare daily. And legislation to declare that a marriage is only one man and one woman will not improve this statistic. We can all share concerns about this fact; but we need to live in reality, not on a 1950's sit-com like "Father Knows Best" or "Leave it to Beaver".

The fact remains that today's family units often consist of just a single mother, a single father, mothers and fathers bringing children from prior marriages together, parents with adopted children or foster children, and yes families headed by same-sex parents. In the United States, as of the 2000 census, there were 701,733 same-sex parent households. (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0908878.html)

So what are we as a society to do with these households which often include children? Should we attempt to harm them? Should we pass Constitutional Amendments to deny them legal status? To deny them insurance? To deny those children in these homes benefits?

We do not need to approve of these households, but these homes are real and they exist in Alaska and Wisconsin and every state between. Decency demands that we extend love and not hate to these people. That we work to pass laws and Amendments that help children and not hurt them. That we do not succumb to fear and ignorance and act in a shameful fashion that we shall regret in the future.

And what about morality? Morality demands that we have laws that respect the rights and privacy of every American citizen. Morality is not about your sexual orientation no matter how you want to spin it. Morality is about love, respect, decency, and yes concern about children. It is a moral thing to allow two people who love each other the right to be married. It is immoral to place laws to keep people apart and deny them legal benefits you reserve for yourself.

We will not improve the sanctity or morality of anything by passing additional laws to ostracize, demean, and hurt people who are different than us. And yes, I believe we will be damned not by what we tolerate but by how we respect our fellow human being on this planet. God, if anything, is about love and understanding. Those that distort his teachings to promote hate are misguided and unfortunate.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and for encouraging others to do so as well.

Robert Freedland"
Thank you Mr. McLaren for responding with the usual Republican talking points.

America needs a new direction. A leader that can move us ahead and address the problems of the world. A leader that recognizes the dignity and worth of every American regardless of their color, their sex, their sexual preference, their disability, or their religious or political orientation.

John Kerry is that leader! Keep on coming John! We got your back!


Friday, October 27, 2006

Hate, Greed, and Fear!

I wanted to share with you this letter that I recently had published in SitNews out of Ketchikan, Alaska.

October 26, 2006
Thursday PM

What is wrong with Americans? It used to be that we were all determined to love our fellow citizen, give back to our nation even with out financial support, and confidently deal with the rest of the World. And yet today, our politicians seek to exploit our support for their programs by depending on the worst of our psyche, by exploiting the emotions of hate, greed, and fear. Let me explain.

Many of us, myself included, are in traditional marriage arrangements. My wife and I enjoy the many benefits (and responsibilities) of marriage as we seek to do the best for us and our children. I hope we have succeeded in this endeavor!

But across America there are many non-traditional households. And many of them struggle to do the best that they can do for themselves and yes for their children. Some of these households are led by single moms. Some by single dads. Some are in Civil Unions. And yes, some are led by same-sex parents.

In Wisconsin this November, as has been and shall be in other states, are efforts to limit marriage to just "one man and one woman". In our state, this will also make civil unions illegal. Just yesterday the highest court in the State of New Jersey stated that same-sex families deserve equal protection under the law. Is this really the result of "activist judges" or is the justice system simply trying to be fair to every American?

Many of our religious institutions have been instructing us to vote against these non-traditional households. They tell us they are sinners and are going to hell. But for these families, as in other families, the glue that holds them together is not sin but love. It isn't love that many of us understand or even accept or endorse. But it is a love that brings two people together that wish to have children and raise a family. And many do.

So why do politicians use hate instead of love? I don't understand and I don't accept this. Think about this when you have the opportunity to decide on this issue.

And what about greed? Politicians exploit this when all they talk about is how they are going to reduce your taxes. They don't tell you how they are going to balance the budget. They don't tell you how they are going to get this nation out of debt, deal with education, poverty, unemployment, or improve the quality of medical care for those who cannot even manage to pay for a doctor's appointment or fill a needed prescription. No. They just tell you how they are going to fill your wallet with greenbacks.

That is a nice thought, but isn't it time we consider what John Kennedy had to say about "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!" Isn't greed going to only hurt our nation as each of us scramble to get our own piece of the pie?

And fear? Politicians are telling us to be afraid! They want us to justify their suspension of our civil rights because otherwise we are going to be attacked right here in our home town! I am ashamed at leaders who exploit the fears of our people to abuse our Constitution. There is no excuse for the President who failed to go to the FISA Courts to get a warrant before using a wiretap. It was simply illegal. but he wants us to be afraid so we won't ask questions.

America doesn't need to torture our captives. We don't need to suspend the Geneva Conventions. And we don't need to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus that guarantees everyone the right to know the charges against you or to have your day in court and not be detained indefinitely in secret prisons. Shameful. But fear is effective!

So this year, think about how you are being manipulated by exploitative demagogues who ask you to be hateful. Who ask you to be greedy. And ask you to be fearful.

Reject these claims. Vote out of love. Vote out of patriotism for this nation. And vote to be unafraid.

America needs you now more than ever!

Robert Freedland
Is that too much to ask?

Make sure that when you vote this Tuesday, that you do so with love in your heart, patriotism in your soul, and without fear!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

America Needs to Support Embryonic Stem Cell Research!

Michael J. Fox understands Parkinson's Disease.

Unfortunately, Republicans in power have put roadblocks in the way of scientists looking for a cure. Science and investigating the cures to diseases should never be politicized; but with these so-called 'family-values' fundamentalists calling the shots in Washington, people like Michael J. Fox must accept the despair that comes with the loss of hope---or work to change the political world to help bring cures to people with diseases. Michael J. Fox has chosen the latter.

Watch the video below and feel Michael's pain. This is not "Back to the Future". This is back to the dark ages when scientific investigation was suppressed.

Click HERE to go to Claire McCaskill's website to find out more about her campaign against Jim Talent.

An ad like this could make anyone uncomfortable. Especially a conservative who believes that "family values" includes interfering with research on cures using embryonic stem cells.

Listen to this mp3 from Rush Limbaugh on this ad. Listen and get sick.

As reported by the Washington Post:
"He is exaggerating the effects of the disease," Limbaugh told listeners. "He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act....This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting."
But experts have pointed out the ignorance, and sheer insensitivity to Rush's mouthing off. As noted:
"Anyone who knows the disease well would regard his movement as classic severe Parkinson's disease," said Elaine Richman, a neuroscientist in Baltimore who co-authored "Parkinson's Disease and the Family." "Any other interpretation is misinformed."
Even the Mayo Clinic Website explains the complication of the disease and its treatment:
"Medications for Parkinson's disease also may cause a number of complications, including involuntary twitching or jerking movements of the arms or legs (dyskinesia), hallucinations, sleepiness, and a drop in blood pressure when standing up (orthostatic hypotension)."
But don't take my word for it.

Michael J. Fox has explained in an interview:
"Q. Your public familiarity also means people look to your illness as the typical case of Parkinson's.

A. But I'm not a test case. This dyskinesia you're seeing, it comes from too much L-dopa. It's tough to get the exact amount you need. So it's kind of a trade-off between being able to sit and talk to you in a fluid way or being kind of halted and rigid.

In my day-to-day life, my kids are used to me saying things twice, or kind of haltingly, so I don't feel the same impetus. But people with P.D. will see me on television and then come up to me on the street and say, You're taking too much medication. And I'll say, Well, if you had to sit in front of Larry King for 45 minutes, you'd take too much medication too. The disease is idiosyncratic, idiopathic, and my life is so idiopathic and idiosyncratic, and the combination of the two means I'm not a test case for anybody."
As The New Republic found out, Dr. William J. Weiner, professor and charman of the department of neurology at the University of Maryland Medical Center who is also the director of the Parkinson's clinic there stated, regarding the video:
"What you are seeing on the video is side effects of the medication. He has to take that medication to sit there and talk to you like that. ... He's not over-dramatizing. ... [Limbaugh] is revealing his ignorance of Parkinson's disease, because people with Parkinson's don't look like that at all when they're not taking their medication. They look stiff, and frozen, and don't move at all. ... People with Parkinson's, when they've had the disease for awhile, are in this bind, where if they don't take any medication, they can be stiff and hardly able to talk. And if they do take their medication, so they can talk, they get all of this movement, like what you see in the ad."
But this won't stop the Conservative bloggers and spinmeisters. As Hugh Hewitt complains:
"The most distasteful aspect of the ad is the way it exploits Michael J. Fox’s physical difficulties. Fox is an actor, and clearly knew what he was doing when he signed up for the spot - no victim points for him for having been manipulated by the McCaskill campaign. The ad’s aim is to make us feel so bad about Fox’s condition that logical debate is therefore precluded. You either agree with Fox, or you sadistically endorse his further suffering as Fox accuses Jim Talent of doing."
"But it’s strange that Fox has so eagerly bought the promises of the stem cell research community. If Fox thinks that stem cell research offers him (or me) hope, he’s mistaken. Stem cell research, both embryonic and otherwise, right now represents nothing more than a promising theory. If it bears fruit, and that’s a huge “if”, it will likely do so too late to benefit Fox, me, and our contemporaries. In spite of the silky rhetoric of John Edwards-type politicians, dramatic medical innovations come slowly and take decades to pan out, not months."
Maybe Hewitt didn't see this article on ScienceDaily from 2003:
"New York, September 21, 2003 New research from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), Cornell University, and The University of Connecticut describes a novel way of producing therapeutic nerve cells that can cure mice with Parkinson's-like disease. The work, which will be published in the October issue of Nature Biotechnology (available online September 21), provides the first evidence that cloned cells can cure disease in an animal model."
Oh and by the way, much of that research was sponsored by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

The contrast between the Democrat McCaskill and the Republican Talent couldn't be clearer. As they responded regarding a proposed Missouri Amendment to guarantee stem cell research:
"AP: Do you support the state ballot initiative to protect federally allowed stem cell research in Missouri? Why or why not?

McCASKILL: I have been consistent on this issue from the beginning. I strongly believe in the lifesaving cures possible through stem cell research and I support the state ballot initiative to protect this research in Missouri. Sen. Talent, however, took 203 days after the announcement of the Missouri Cures Initiative ballot language to make up his mind. In the past year, Sen. Talent has co-sponsored a bill to criminalize doctors, patients and researchers who support this valuable research, has said that he would not take a position at all on the issue until it made it onto the ballot, and has said he is against federal and state measures to protect stem cell research.

TALENT: I cannot support the initiative because I've always been opposed to human cloning and this measure would make cloning embryos a constitutional right--without regard to medical necessity or changing technology. Missouri would be the only state to write this cloning procedure into its constitution. I respect opposing points of view and encourage every Missourian to consider the moral and scientific issues involved in the ballot initiative and reach their own judgment."

Oh yes it is blunt and uncomfortable to see a real person with Parkinson's suffering and asking politicians to support research.

But so much is riding on these elections in 2006.

Senator John Kerry understands this.

Back in the 2004 election campaign, in a radio address, he stated:
"Stem cells have the power to slow the loss of a grandmother's memory, calm the hand of an uncle with Parkinson's, save a child from a lifetime of daily insulin shots or permanently lift a best friend from his wheelchair,'' the Massachusetts senator said.

Stem cells from human embryos can form all types of cells, and scientists contend they could be used one day to replace cells damaged from such conditions as diabetes, spinal cord injury or Parkinson's disease."
Thank you Michael J. Fox! Thank you Senator John Kerry! And thank you Claire McCaskill!

And what to say about Rush and the rest of the Cons? Not much. Only that their values make me sick. And keep others without cures!

Fight disease! Fight Republican fundamentalists! Fight to take back America!

Keep on coming John! We have got your back!


Monday, October 23, 2006

First He was For Staying the Course Before He Was Against It!

Another Bush "flip-flop"?

Watch this VIDEO from Crooksandliars.com!

And then read what thinkprogress.org says:
"BUSH: We will stay the course. [8/30/06]

BUSH: We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. [8/4/05]

BUSH: We will stay the course until the job is done, Steve. And the temptation is to try to get the President or somebody to put a timetable on the definition of getting the job done. We’re just going to stay the course. [12/15/03]

BUSH: And my message today to those in Iraq is: We’ll stay the course. [4/13/04]

BUSH: And that’s why we’re going to stay the course in Iraq. And that’s why when we say something in Iraq, we’re going to do it. [4/16/04]

BUSH: And so we’ve got tough action in Iraq. But we will stay the course. [4/5/04]"
On the same program, Senator John Kerry pointed out the folly of the Republican leadership and its Iraq policy:
" SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA): Yes, between Shia and Sunni. This is a civil war. Donald Rumsfeld said our soldiers will not be caught in a civil war. George Bush said we will not tolerate North Korea having the nuclear weapon. Both are happening, and they're just sitting there with the same-old, same-old. This administration doesn't have a policy. Their policy is stay to course. The president said again -- he misled America there.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You haven't --

KERRY: He said we won't stay the course. He said we'll stay the course again and again and again.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You do have --

KERRY: You have to set a date because it's the only way to get Iraqis to respond."
Thank You Senator Kerry!

You have had an honest policy on Iraq for quite awhile now.

And this President is trying to disavow "stay the course"?

And right before the election?

Keep on coming John! We have got your back!


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Kerry Decries Loss of Habeas Corpus in America!

On October 17, 2006, President George W. Bush signed new legislation establishing military tribunals and aggressive interrogation techniques.

As reported:
"The bill on interrogations and trials also would eliminate some rights common in military and civilian courts. For example, the commission would be allowed to consider hearsay evidence so long as a judge determined it was reliable. Hearsay is barred from civilian courts.

The legislation also says the president can "interpret the meaning and application" of international standards for prisoner treatment, a provision intended to allow him to authorize aggressive interrogation methods that might otherwise be seen as illegal by international courts."
This legislation allows the President to define torture. It allows evidence obtained under torture to be admitted in legal proceedings. It denies suspects the right to inspect evidence arrayed against them. And it even allows for indefinite detention of "unlawful enemy combatants" who have no recourse in court to sue for their own freedom.

This is a shameful development in America.

Bruce Ackerman, professor of law and political science at Yale had this to say:
"The president walked away with a lot more than most people thought," Ackerman said. He said the bill "further entrenches presidential power" and allows the administration to declare even a U.S. citizen an unlawful combatant subject to indefinite detention. "And it's not only about these prisoners," Ackerman said. "If Congress can strip courts of jurisdiction over cases because it fears their outcome, judicial independence is threatened."
As explained by the Jurist, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law:
"Under the Military Commissions Act [CRS summary], the president is authorized to establish military commissions to try unlawful enemy combatants. The commissions are authorized to sentence defendants to death, and defendants are prevented from invoking the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials] as a source of rights during commission proceedings. The law contains a highly-controversial provision stripping detainees of the right to file habeas corpus petitions in federal court and also allows hearsay evidence to be admitted during proceedings, so long as the presiding officer determines it to be reliable. The law addresses permissible interrogation methods, making US interrogators subject to only a limited range of "grave breaches" purporting to reflect the requirements of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, and clarifies [JURIST report] what actions would subject interrogators to liability under the existing federal War Crimes Act."
What is Habeus Corpus and why does it matter?

And what did our founding fathers have to say about habeus corpus and illegal detention?

As explained by BBC News,
" Habeas corpus (ad subjiciendum) is Latin for "you may have the body" (subject to examination). It is a writ which requires a person detained by the authorities be brought before a court of law so that the legality of the detention may be examined.

The name is taken from the opening words of the writ in medieval times.

Although rarely used nowadays, it can theoretically be demanded by anyone who believes they are unlawfully detained and it is issued by a judge.

It does not determine guilt or innocence, merely whether the person is legally imprisoned. It may also be writ against a private individual detaining another.

If the charge is considered to be valid, the person must submit to trial but if not, the person goes free.

The Habeas Corpus Act passed by Parliament in 1679 guaranteed this right in law, although its origins go back much further, probably to Anglo-Saxon times."
Thom Hartmann explains the long history of habeas corpus and its relationship to the Magna Carta better:
"The modern institution of civil and human rights, and particularly the writ of habeas corpus, began in June of 1215 when King John was forced by the feudal lords to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede. Although that document mostly protected "freemen" - what were then known as feudal lords or barons, and today known as CEOs and millionaires - rather than the average person, it initiated a series of events that echo to this day.

Two of the most critical parts of the Magna Carta were articles 38 and 39, which established the foundation for what is now known as "habeas corpus" laws (literally, "produce the body" from the Latin - meaning, broadly, "let this person go free"), as well as the Fourth through Eighth Amendments of our Constitution and hundreds of other federal and state due process provisions.

Articles 38 and 39 of the Magna Carta said:

"38 In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.

"39 No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land."

Thomas Jefferson, in his First Inaugural Address in 1801 stated:
"Freedom of the person under the protection of the habeas corpus I deem [one of the] essential principles of our government."
And Alexander Hamilton in Federalist #84 had this to say:
"It may well be a question, whether these are not, upon the whole, of
equal importance with any which are to be found in the constitution of
this State. The establishment of the writ of habeas corpus, the
prohibition of ex post facto laws, and of TITLES OF NOBILITY, to which
we have no corresponding provision in our Constitution, are perhaps
greater securities to liberty and republicanism than any it contains.
The creation of crimes after the commission of the fact, or, in other
words, the subjecting of men to punishment for things which, when they
were done, were breaches of no law, and the practice of arbitrary
imprisonments, have been, in all ages, the favorite and most formidable
instruments of tyranny. The observations of the judicious Blackstone,[1]
in reference to the latter, are well worthy of recital: "To bereave a
man of life, [says he] or by violence to confiscate his estate, without
accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of
despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the
whole nation; but confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to
jail, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a
less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary
government." And as a remedy for this fatal evil he is everywhere
peculiarly emphatical in his encomiums on the habeas corpus act, which
in one place he calls "the BULWARK of the British Constitution."[2]
But what does the United States Constitution itself say about the Writ of Habeas Corpus?

In Article 1, Section 9, is stated very clearly:
" The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."
I am proud that Senator John Kerry understands the need for the protection of our basic Constitutional freedoms.

He commented last month on the floor of the Senate with these words:
" The Constitution is very specific when it comes to Habeas Corpus. It says “[t]he Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” We are not in a case of rebellion. Nor are we being invaded. Thus, we really don’t have the constitutional power to suspend the Great Writ. And, even if we did, the Constitution allows only for the writ to be suspended. It does not allow the Writ to be permanently taken away. Yet, this is exactly what the bill does. It takes the writ away—forever—from anyone the Administration determines is an “enemy combatant.” Even if they are lawfully on US soil and otherwise entitled to full Constitutional protections and even if they have absolutely no other recourse.

Think of what this means. This bill is giving the administration the power to pick up any non-U.S. citizen inside or outside of the United States, determine in their sole and unreviewable discretion that he is an unlawful combatant, and hold him in jail—be it Guantanamo Bay or a secret CIA prison—indefinitely. Once the Combatant Status Review Tribunal determines that person is an enemy combatant, that is the end of the story—even if the determination is based on evidence that even a military commission would not be allowed to consider because it is so unreliable. That person would never get the chance to challenge his detention; to prove that he is not, in fact, an enemy combatant.

We are not talking about whether detainees can file a habeas suit because they don’t have access to the internet or cable television. We’re talking about something much more fundamental: whether people can be locked up forever without even getting the chance to prove that the government was wrong in detaining them. Allow this to become the policy of the United States and just imagine the difficulty our law enforcement and our government will have arranging the release of an American citizen the next time our citizens are detained in other countries."
But the bill Bush signed is even worse. The President can call any American Citizen an enemy combatant as well whereupon they shall lose many of their Constititutional rights we all hold so dear.

It has been said that the Republicans use fear to advance their agenda.

Fear of terrorists, fear of gays, fear of God, and yes fear of Democrats!

But for the first time I must tell you that they are succeeding. I am becoming afraid!

Afraid of an America that turns its back on the most basic of freedoms dating back to the Magna Carta. Fear of a nation that legislates torture, allows rendition to third world countries and endorses secret prisons.

It is time for America to look deep within its own heart to listen to the words of our founding fathers and patriots who gave their lives that we might enjoy the freedom they so longed for.

We cannot sacrifice the Constitution so easily. We cannot give up our freedoms without calling out for change in America! Thank you Senator Kerry for once again having the courage to speak truth to power. I find myself so ashamed of so many in Congress who accept less for us and our children. Our freedoms shall never be taken by forces from without this nation. But their are forces afoot that find expediency more valuable than judicial review. Who find torture acceptable and merely 'aggressive interrogation techniques'. And who do not share out love of what America means!

Come Home America!

The 2006 mid-term elections are near. And 2008 is just around the corner! We have your back John! Keep on coming!


Friday, October 13, 2006

Kerry in New Hampshire: "Time to Clean House"

John Kerry in Nevada 10/10/06
John Kerry speaks truth to power!

Speaking tonight in New Hampshire he stated:
"A lie, a lie, a lie, a lie. What we have in Washington is a house of lies, and in November, we need to clean house."
John Kerry spoke of the failures of this Administration and the trail of lies that have followed this Presidency.
"They tell us we're making progress in Iraq and that there is no civil war. That is a lie," he said. "It's immoral to lie about progress in that war in order to get through a news cycle or an election cycle."
Recently, Senator John McCain tried to provide some cover for the President by shifting blame on the latest failure of this Administration on President Clinton.

McCain had this to say:
"I would remind Senator Clinton and other Democrats critical of Bush administration policies that the framework agreement her husband's administration negotiated was a failure," McCain said in a speech near Detroit, where he was campaigning for a Republican Senate candidate. "Every single time the Clinton administration warned the Koreans not to do something -- not to kick out the IAEA inspectors, not to remove the fuel rods from their reactor -- they did it. And they were rewarded every single time by the Clinton administration with further talks."
Senator Kerry made clear that Republicans cannot continue to blame their failures on a President who completed his term six years ago and did not allow the North Koreans to develop their nuclear capability as they have under President Bush. He added:
"That is a lie. North Korea's nuclear program was frozen under Bill Clinton. When George W. Bush turned his back on diplomacy, Kim Jong Il turned back to making bombs, and the world is less safe because a madman has the Bush bomb," he said.
John Kerry did not have any patience with the Republican effort to blame the Democrats for the Foley problem.

As reported by NewsMax.com on October 6, 2006:
"As evidence that Democrats were involved in the timing, Hastert said the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had Foley's explicit electronic messages before Hastert did.

"The DCCC was ready to go," Hastert said. "We were told by sources that they had that information on a Thursday night before we did, or Wednesday. They were up ahead of us for a day before we ever knew it was going to happen [on Friday]."

Hastert said the messages came out "on the last day after Foley can't get his name off the ballot, and we're leaving for a national campaign, and then this thing falls. It's kind of an October surprise, I guess you'd call it."
Kerry had this to say about the Republican spin machine trying to twist the facts to improve the fallout of this disastrous event:
""This issue is here because of a Republican cover-up," he said. "And those from the party that preaches moral values that covered this up have no right to preach moral values anymore."
Thank you Senator Kerry! I don't know if you commented on the biggest whopper this week by this President.

A report this week sponsored by Johns Hopkins University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was released this week estimating that more than 600,000 Iraqis had died by violence since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. We can question the findings of any report. But who can really question the credibility of the sources? The research was published recently in the British Medical Journal, The Lancet.

President Bush commented on the report this week:
"Six hundred thousand or whatever they guessed at is just, it's not credible," Bush said, and he dismissed the methodology as "pretty well discredited." In December, Bush estimated that 30,000 Iraqis had died in the war. Asked at the news conference what he thinks the number is now, Bush said: "I stand by the figure a lot of innocent people have lost their life."
Just deny it.

Just say it isn't true. Say it isn't credible. Lies, lies, and more lies.

As reported:
"Ronald Waldman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University who worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for many years, told the Washington Post the survey method was "tried and true." He said that "this is the best estimate of mortality we have."

Frank Harrell Jr., chairman of the biostatistics department at Vanderbilt University, told the Associated Press the study incorporated "rigorous, well-justified analysis of the data."
Lies, lies and more lies.

They lied to us about Iraq and Americans have died.

They lied to us about Social Security but haven't been able to derail that program yet.

They lied to us about coming to New Orleans and Katrina and the 9th Ward sits rotting.

They lied to us about wiretaps and ignored the NSA.

They lied to us about secret prisons. They lie to us about torture.

There are too many lies.

John Kerry, America needs your leadership in Washington! 2006 is near but 2008 is just around the bend! Keep on coming John! We have got your back!


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Bill Maher Interviews John Kerry 10/5/06

Thanks to aldav on youtube for this clip.


Keep on Coming John!


John Kerry at Johns Hopkins: Discusses Issues 9/28/06

I continue to look for interviews and speeches so that John Kerry will provide the content to this blog. I found this interview on Kerry support.com and appreciate the opportunity to present it to you for your review.


Keep on Coming Senator Kerry! We have got your back.


John Kerry: June 26, 2006 Speech on Energy Independence-Faneuil Hall

I have found another speech on Energy Independence from this Spring in Faneuil Hall. Thanks to theWatt for the speech.


I shall continue to look through the net to pick up more links to speeches by Senator Kerry. His words are far wiser than mine as he moves this nation ahead and in a New Direction! Keep on coming John!


Great Interview with Thom Hartmann!

Courtesy of the Intrepid Liberal Journal is this interview with Thom Hartmann:


Thank you Mr. Hartmann. Thank you Rob Ellman.

America needs a Change in Direction!


Friday, October 06, 2006

A New Podcast!


Thanks for visiting!


Monday, October 02, 2006

Kerry: Administration has made 'Katrina' of Iraq!

Senator John Kerry has been campaigning for Michael Mauro, candidate for Secretary of State in Iowa.

Kerry had this to say about our country's Iraq policy:
"With the new facts we now have available, I think Americans are going to be realizing that this is the Katrina of foreign policy."
Kerry continued:
"It is disgraceful what this administration has done to mislead America and denigrate legitimate dissent," Kerry said. "To me it one of the most serious, catastrophic moments of irresponsibility in the conduct of American security policy that I've ever seen."
Kerry referred to the upcoming 2008 Presidential election:
"I think as you go into '08, all these people who have been jumping up and down about this policy and ignoring the truth have misled America, and they have misled us into the most costly, disgraceful and unnecessary use of American might," Kerry said.

President Bush responded to critics of his policy last week and the belief that somehow his actions have made America less safe. As reported:
"Those arguments, he said, "buys into enemy propaganda that the terrorists attack us because we're provoking them. I want to remind American citizens that we were not in Iraq on Sept. the 11th, 2001."
As reported:
" Bush said such an attitude, if adopted by leaders in Washington, would lead America "back to the old days of waiting to be attacked and then respond."

"Terrorism is not our fault," he said, quoting British Prime Minister Tony Blair. "We didn't cause it. And it is not a consequence of foreign policy,"

Bush said, "He's right. You do not create terrorism by fighting terrorism."
Thank you for your wisdom Senator Kerry. And thank you Mr. President for proving the wisdom of everything Senator Kerry has said.

You are right. We were not in Iraq on 9/11, yet our country was attacked. Attacked by WHOM Mr. President? Certainly not from agents from Iraq! It is well known that 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, not Iraq!

As your National Security Expert, Richard Clarke has pointed out:
"Clarke said that, a day after the attacks, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld pushed for a retaliatory strike on Iraq, though the evidence pointed to al Qaeda, because "there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq."

And he said Bush asked him to look for links between al Qaeda and Iraq the day after the attacks.

"Now he never said, 'Make it up.' But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this," Clarke said.

When Clarke told Bush that U.S. intelligence had nothing connecting Iraq with al Qaeda, he said the president responded in a "very intimidating" manner: "Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection."
And yes Mr. President. If you read through even the abridged edition of your Intelligence Estimate you might realize that our presence in Iraq CAN make things worse. It doesn't take a PhD to understand that a western military in an Islamic nation might stir things up!

The report related in part:
"The Iraq conflict has become the 'cause célèbre' for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement," the report stated. It also noted that "should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight."
But that was only four pages of the 30 page report! What did the other pages say?

And about those who oppose you on Iraq? What have you said about them?

As reported:
Speaking to a crowd of more than 2,000 supporters in this Bush-friendly Southern city, the president took Democrats to task for their criticism of the Iraq war, for their votes this week against legislation creating military tribunals to try terrorism suspects and for what he called misleading descriptions of the latest National Intelligence Estimate on global terrorism.

“Five years after 9/11, the worst attack on the American homeland in our history, the Democrats offer nothing but criticism and obstruction and endless second-guessing,” Mr. Bush said at a fund-raising event for Gov. Bob Riley. “The party of F.D.R. and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut and run.”
I am sorry Mr. President. But Democrats like Senator Kerry who have opposed torture understand what rewriting the Geneva Conventions and giving you the power to determine what torture is, may mean to Americans held as POW's in the future.

I am sorry Mr. President, but Democrats understand that FISA Courts are not there to impede you but to facilitate the legal implementation of wiretaps. That you placed yourself above the law. Declared that in the light of the never-ending war against terror, that you thus had powers as Commander-in-chief to ignore Congress.

I am sorry Mr. President, but Democrats object to evidence obtained while subjects are being tortured should not be introduced into courts.

So while you continue to spin the 9/11 connection that never existed, Americans are dying in Iraq. And losing limbs. And we aren't making things better.

We don't need to "cut and run" Mr. President. But we need a New Direction!

We need leadership like Senator Kerry at the helm. Not someone who attacks first and asks questions later. America deserves better!

Keep on coming John! We have got your back.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Kerry Campaigning for Mahoney in Florida!

Senator John Kerry spent the day yesterday campaigning for Democratic challenger Tim Mahoney who is trying to take the seat held by recently resigned Congressman Mark Foley.

Kerry had this to say about the Iraq conflict and this Administration's misinformation of the public:
""The picture in Iraq is bleak and getting worse," Kerry said, before referring to "a culture of unwillingness to level with the American people."
Regarding Mahoney, Kerry added:
""We need a congressman who knows how to make America safer and knows how to stand up and hold the people in power accountable," Kerry said.
There can be no excusing Mr. Foley's inappropriate and sexually harassing communication between himself and a 16 year old Congressional page from Louisiana. The truly disturbing part of this was the cover-up of this behavior by Republican leadership more intent on keeping a House seat this fall rather than protecting America's youth.

As has been reported:
"...Among those who became aware earlier this year of the fall 2005 communications between Mr. Foley and the 16-year-old page, who worked for Representative Rodney Alexander, Republican of Louisiana, were Representative John A. Boehner, the majority leader, and Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Mr. Reynolds said in a statement Saturday that he had also personally raised the issue with Speaker J. Dennis Hastert."
Tim Mahoney summarized it well:
"It is now clear from all the press reports that the Republican leadership knew what was going on and they had to make a choice," Mahoney said. That choice, he said, was to "do what was right for the children that were in the care of the government, or ... try to hold onto this seat. And they tried to hold onto this seat."
Sometimes we are able to see through this Republican hypocrisy on "Family Values".

On September 12, 1998, Rep. Mark Foley had this to say about President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky:
"Republicans were aghast at Clinton's behavior, with many saying it showed he had lied and abused his power.

"It's vile," said Rep. Mark Foley, R-West Palm Beach. "It's more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction."
It is sad Mr. Foley. It is sad Mr. Hastert. And it is sad Mr. Boehner.

America needs moral leadership. It is not coming from the Republicans, the party that covers up sexual misdeeds with children while claiming to be protecting children. The party that advocates torture of combatants while claiming we don't torture. The party that lies to America about Iraq, telling us things are going well while intelligence reports are released at the same time saying Iraq is a recruiting device for terrorists.

Hey Senator Kerry! Keep up your fine work in Florida and the rest of the United States! We could use some help here in Wisconsin as well!

Keep on coming John! We have got your back!