Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Kerry "Dead Last" in Likability Poll!

It certainly was disappointing to read of a "likability" poll from the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in Connecticut. This is not a news report that I can ignore. I support Senator Kerry for President in 2008. But I also, like the Senator, want to deal truthfully with the facts of our world and that includes the news stories like this one.

As reported:

"Monday, November 27, 2006; 5:00 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
Democratic Sen. John Kerry, mulling a second bid for the U.S. presidency,
finished dead last in a poll released on Monday on the likability of 20 top
American political figures.

Among those placing ahead of Kerry were about
a dozen potential 2008 White House rivals, including Democratic Sen. Hillary
Rodham Clinton of New York and Republican Sen. John McCain of

"This is bad bad news for Kerry," said Peter Brown, assistant
director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in Hamden, Connecticut,
which conducted the survey.

"Americans know who he is, and have pretty
much decided they don't like him," said Brown. He noted the poll found that 95
percent of respondents said they had heard enough about Kerry, who lost the 2004
White House race to President Bush, to rate the Massachusetts

The poll of 1,623 registered voters was conducted after the
November 7 national elections, which saw Democrats win back control of the U.S.
Congress from Republicans."

This speaks well to the effectiveness of the swift-boat attack on Senator Kerry.

Kerry is quite a 'dark-horse' in the 2008 race.

As events develop in Iraq. As we see our economy struggle against the ill-thought policies of this Administration. As we see the unfolding effects of global warming. And the failures of a foreign policy that depends on confrontation and not diplomacy. Americans will once again see the wisdom of Senator Kerry!

Can he succeed from this deficit? Can he connect to Americans? We cannot choose our Presidents on the basis of "likability contests", otherwise we shall be reduced to selecting leaders like we pick the most popular toys for the Season...
this is not a selection of "Tickle me Elmos" or Furby.

We are looking to choose an American from among us who can lead us through these difficult times.

This blogger understands that Senator Kerry understands the issues and the solutions for this nation. This blogger is not interested in popularity polls but answers and leadership. Senator Kerry has never failed to deal with challenges directly whether as a Veteran in Vietnam, or as a Senator facing controversy in Washington.

Our world is full of nuance and Kerry has been attacked because he understands that the solutions to those problems are equally nuanced. It is never simply a question of just right and wrong. Black and white. Evil or good. These are "TV land" solutions to real world problems.

People laughed when he said he first voted for the appropriation then voted against it. Flip-flop they screamed. But anyone with half of a brain would realize that all of the Republicans first voted against it then they voted for it as well. They just didn't say it.

He was attacked because he stated he was in Cambodia and somebody thought he was JUST in
Vietnam. Well he served his nation in Southeast Asia and received Purple Hearts for his efforts. More than some Republicans in the highest office of this nation who send young men and women from this country to die and lose their limbs for a mistake and for a lie.

He filibustered Alito when the other Democrats said they didn't have the votes. But trying to stop this nominee was the right thing to do and Kerry was there to do it. Alito was the author of the paper about signing statements. He is the one who believed in an Executive who could take power from Congress. And Senator Kerry understood this. And this President has been usurping power from the legislative branch.

And he was attacked by his foes because he mentioned a "global test", suggesting we should consult with our Allies before implementing our foreign policy. The wisdom of this is shown time and time again as we become bogged down in the quagmire of Iraq that we decided to do with "go it alone" cowboy foreign policy.

While media attention is diverted from him, now is the time for him to speak out on the challenges facing our nation without concern to what is politically correct, politically expedient, or politically advantageous. Now is the time for statesmanship from the junior Senator from Massachusetts!

America is waiting John! We have your back. You are #1 on our list!


Monday, November 27, 2006

Give "Peace" A Chance!

I came across a story that deserves attention.

Apparently, Lisa Jensen, of Pagosa Springs was causing too much trouble when she put up a modified Christmas wreath in the shape of a Peace Sign.

As Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs states:
"Somebody could put up signs that say drop bombs on Iraq. If you let one go up
you have to let them all go up,"

But as Lisa herself stated:
"Peace is way bigger than not being at war. This is a spiritual thing."

As reported:

"The association in this 200-home subdivision 270 miles southwest of Denver
has sent a letter to her saying that residents were offended by the sign and
the board "will not allow signs, flags etc. that can be considered

The subdivision's rules say no signs, billboards or advertising are permitted without the consent of the architectural control committee. Kearns ordered the committee to require Jensen to remove the wreath, but members refused after concluding that it was merely a seasonal symbol that didn't say anything. Kearns fired all five committee

Never thought of Peace being divisive.

It is the kind of thing that usually brings people together this time of year. You know, loving each other, not having wars, and "turning swords into plowshares!"

Must be some kind of liberal plot I guess.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

President Bush: Failing to Learn the Lessons of History!

President Bush visited Hanoi last week as part of a three-day Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Our President was asked about the "lessons of Vietnam" in relation to our involvement in Iraq.

He stated:

"Yes, I mean, one lesson is, that we tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take a while,''' he said. "But I would make it beyond just Iraq. I think the great struggle we're going to have is between radicals and extremists versus people who want to live in peace, and that Iraq is a part of the struggle. And it's just going to take a long period of time to -- for the ideology that is hopeful, and that is an ideology of freedom, to overcome an ideology of hate.

"Yet, the world that we live in today is one where they want things to happen immediately,'' he said. "And it's hard work in Iraq… We'll succeed unless we quit.''

Were these the real lessons of Vietnam?

That we could succeed "unless we quit"? Was this the extent of his understanding? That our ideology of "freedom" was struggling to overcome an ideology of "hate"?

Robert McNamara was Secretary of Defense during most of the Johnson Administration, and was involved in the development and implementation of Vietnam policy for this country.

In 1995, years before our current involvement in Iraq, Secretary McNamara summarized his understanding of the lessons and the reasons behind our failure in Vietnam.

McNamara stated:

"The important point is the decision was ours, not Eisenhower's. And we were wrong. We made the decision; he didn't make the decision. And to demonstrate how and why we went wrong, I review in key detail the key decisions that we faced over the ensuing seven years. And I discuss each of them. What the alternatives were, how we evaluated the alternatives, why we acted as we did, what might have happened if we'd chosen a different alternative. And it's from that review that I identify our failures, and it's from that review that I draw from the lessons, which I believe will be applicable and relevant to the 21st century. Now, I'm going to go through. There are eleven of them."

He states:

"The first point is we misjudged them, and I think we're misjudging today the geo-political intentions of our adversaries. In that case, it was the geo-political intention to North Vietnam and the Viet Cong supported by China and the Soviet Union. And we exaggerated the dangers to the U.S. of those adversaries. And I think we're continuing to do that."

Perhaps instead of the "domino theory", we are frightened into supporting this war with the lie that we will have to fight them here if we aren't fighting them there!

As Vice-President Cheney frequently points out:

"We can't guarantee there won't be another one, obviously, but we've gone over four years now. And I think it's been because we've been fighting them on their turf instead of having to fight them here on the streets of our own cities."

McNamara continued:

"Second mistake. We viewed the people and leaders of South Vietnam in terms of our own experience. We're still doing that. We saw them as having a thirst for a determination to fight for freedom and democracy. We totally misjudged the political forces within that country."

Again, we have made the same mistake. As President Bush himself stated after the last Iraq elections:

"Our efforts to advance freedom in Iraq are driven by our vital interests and our deepest beliefs. America was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and we believe that the people of the Middle East desire freedom as much as we do. History has shown that free nations are peaceful nations. And as Iraqi democracy takes hold, Iraqi citizens will have a stake in a common and peaceful future."

Do Iraqis really believe that all men are created equal? Are we reading into Iraq our own values? The answers are obvious.

Again, back to McNamara:

"Thirdly, we underestimated the power of nationalism to motivate people. In this case, the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong. Then we underestimate the power of ... (inaudible) to motivate a people to fight and die for their people."


"Fourthly, our misjudgments of friend and foe alike reflected our profound ignorance of a history, culture and politics of the people in that area, and the personalities and habits of their leaders."

As reported on RAW STORY:

"In his new book, The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created A War Without End, Galbraith, the son of the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith, claims that American leadership knew very little about the nature of Iraqi society and the problems it would face after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

A year after his “Axis of Evil” speech before the U.S. Congress, President Bush met with three Iraqi Americans, one of whom became postwar Iraq’s first representative to the United States. The three described what they thought would be the political situation after the fall of Saddam Hussein. During their conversation with the President, Galbraith claims, it became apparent to them that Bush was unfamiliar with the distinction between Sunnis and Shiites.

Galbraith reports that the three of them spent some time explaining to Bush that there are two different sects in Islam--to which the President allegedly responded, “I thought the Iraqis were Muslims!”

McNamara continued:

"Fifth, forsaken lesson. We failed then as we have since to recognize the limitations of modern high technology military equipment and forces in doctrine in confronting unconventional highly motivated people's movements."

As Dan Baum wrote in the New Yorker in January, 2005:

"In Iraq, the Army’s marquee high-tech weapons are often sidelined while the enemy kills and maims Americans with bombs wired to garage-door openers or doorbells. Even more important, the Army is facing an enemy whose motivation it doesn’t understand. “I don’t think there’s one single person in the Army or the intelligence community that can break down the demographics of the enemy we’re facing,” an Airborne captain named Daniel Morgan told me. “You can’t tell whether you’re dealing with a former Baathist, a common criminal, a foreign terrorist, or devout believers.”

McNamara continued:

"Sixthly, we failed and we came damn close to making this mistake in connection with the Gulf War. We failed to draw Congress and the American people into a full and frank discussion and debate of the pros and cons of large scale U.S. military involvement."

"And seventh, after the action got underway, and unanticipated events forced us off our planned course, we fail to retain popular support, in part, because we hadn't explained fully what was happening and why we had to do what we did."

The support for the Iraq war continues to plummet. As reported four days ago:

"Washington | Americans' approval of President Bush's handling of Iraq has dropped to the lowest level ever, increasing the pressure on the commander in chief to find a way out after nearly four years of war.

The latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found just 31 percent approval on his handling of Iraq, days after voters registered their displeasure at the polls by defeating Republicans across the board and handing control of Congress to the Democrats. The previous low in AP-Ipsos polling was 33 percent in both June and August.

Erosion of support for Bush's Iraq policy was most pronounced among conservatives and Republican men - critical supporters who propelled Bush to the White House and a second term in 2004."

Back to McNamara:

"Eight, we didn't recognize that neither our people nor our leaders are on a mission. To this day we seem to act in the world as though we know what's right for everybody. We think we're on a mission. We aren't. We weren't then and we aren't today. And where our own security is at stake, I'm prepared to say act unilaterally, militarily. Where our security is not at stake, not directly at stake, narrowly defined, then I believe that our judgement of what is in another people's interest, should be put to the test of open discussion, open debate, and international forum. And we shouldn't act unilaterally militarily under any circumstances. And we shouldn't act militarily in conjunction with others until that debate has taken place. We don't have the God-given right to shape every nation to our own image."


"Ninth, we didn't hold to the principal that U.S. military action other than in response to direct ... (inaudible) to our own security should be carried out only in conjunction with international forces who are going to share in the cost. And I don't mean financial cost, although I certainly include financial cost, but I mean primarily the blood cost, the blood risk."


"Tenth, we failed to recognize that in international affairs, as in other aspects of life, there may be problems which there are no immediate solutions, certainly no military solutions."

"And finally underlying many of these ten mistakes lay our failure to organize the top echelons of the executive branch to deal effectively with the extraordinarily complex range of problems that we were facing. Political issues, military issues."

No Mr. President. The lesson of Vietnam was far more complex than we can succeed if we don't quit.

The lessons include not trying to impose our way of life on others who might not share our cultural values. Includes understanding what those cultures are before we get there. Not assuming that high tech can defeat low tech as we have learned from the deaths from IED's. Not lying to Americans about WMD's or 'fixing the facts' to get us involved in the conflict. Not attacking with our military when we were not militarily at risk. And maintaining the communication and cooperation with Congress to maintain support for this effort.

No Mr. President, our failure is much due to your failures. And Americans continue to pay the ultimate cost.

We need a new direction in America. Senator Kerry understands what it means to send an American to die for a mistake. Senator Kerry supports our soldiers in ways far more real than the neoconservative cheerleading for "victory". He may not be able to tell a joke.

But he can tell the truth.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Senator Kerry 5th in Latest Presidential Preference Poll!

CNN recently released the results of their 2008 Democratic Presidential Preference poll.

They reported:

"Clinton was ranked first among 10 potential Democratic candidates.

Second place for "likely" support was nearly even among Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois (15 percent), former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina (14 percent) and former Vice President Al Gore (14 percent), given the poll's margin of error or plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic nominee in 2004, lost support, dropping from 12 percent in late October to 7 percent in the latest poll.

Worse news for Kerry: a majority of registered Democrats say they do not want to see Kerry win the party's nomination in 2008."

So what are we to make of this? Should we fold this blog up? Should we go home and post some Hillary bumper-stickers? Or put up a new blog for Barack? These other Democrats are fine Americans. And I may well go on to support them in 2008 if indeed Senator Kerry is not the nominee.

But this blogger is convinced that Senator John Kerry has the 'right stuff' to be President! I am not a fair weather blogger, a fair weather activist, or a fair weather American.

Our nation is at a point in its history where our citizens will need to determine which direction we are going. Are we as a nation to continue with a foreign policy that allows for proactive wars on fixed facts? Are we as a nation to allow the compromise of voting, the lack of a paper trail, the suppression of registered voters stripped from voting lists, the implementation of voter I.D. requirements that work to deny the poor and the disadvantaged the right to vote? Shall voting be made entirely provisional?

Does this nation endorse torture? Are secret prisons acceptable? Can evidence obtained under torture and coercion be allowed in a court trial? Can accused individuals see the evidence arrayed against them? Is hearsay allowable in a trial? Does Habeas Corpus matter in America?

And our courts? Does the President have rights and powers above other Americans? Is he above the law? Do we change the laws to accommodate the President or do we require the President to follow the laws?

What about signing statements? Does the President have the right to change the law without a veto just by his signature? Will this Congress provide oversight?

My support of Senator Kerry is about what Senator Kerry stands for. He is the most qualified, the most knowledgeable, and the most courageous candidate for President for this election. There is no question that he is now a dark horse. He is not the front-runner. The odds are indeed long that he shall succeed. But I wouldn't bet against the junior Senator from Massachusetts.

America needs his leadership. His wisdom. His courage. And yes, his understanding of where America needs to go in this century depends on the right candidate for President. In November, 2004, when I started this blog, I asked the question, "Why Kerry?". In that entry I wrote:
"We need a leader with the understanding and capability to lead this nation back onto the right course. This nation cannot tolerate another four or eight more years without the leadership that Kerry can provide."

This is not about a popularity poll. This is about the future of our country.

Keep on coming John! We have got your back!


Bush Needs to Learn the Lessons of Vietnam!

Keith Olbermann says it all.

Watch HERE for the video courtesy of Crooks And Liars.

Senator Kerry understands these lessons. He is attacked because he is the one who reminds us of those lessons.

Our foreign policy is not a grade-B movie as those in this Administration would like to believe.

The lesson of Vietnam was not that we will win in Iraq unless we quit.

No domino effect. No spread of Communism. No fighting them there or we will be fighting them here. No WMD's. No more lies.

We have got your back John! Keep on coming!


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Kerry on Fox: Fending off Chris Wallace!

Senator John Kerry went to Fox to face his toughest critics. He didn't run to his friendliest venue like Vice-President Cheney did after his shooting crisis.

He faced his conservative critics head-on!

Click HERE to watch the clip from Fox from Crooks and Liars.

Keep on coming John! 2008 is around the corner and we have got your back!


Saturday, November 11, 2006

More Evidence on Getting "Stuck in Iraq"!

Most of the smoke has cleared from Senator Kerry's unintentional mis-statement that was mis-interpreted by the right-wing hit-squads to suggest if students didn't study they might get 'stuck in Iraq'.

But what hasn't disappeared is the evidence that more and more brave young men and women are indeed getting stuck. Stuck in a war that we started. Stuck in a war advanced on false pretenses. This 'back-door draft' involves units of the military and now of the National Guard who are having their tours of duty extended and repeated, beyond the 'deals' they anticipated when they enlisted. As reported today in the USA Today:
""We are doing contingency planning for one or two (units), and we have contingency plans for more than two if necessary," Blum said on Wednesday. The North Carolina brigade, he said, is being considered since it was one of the first to go to Iraq after the war began in 2003.

Blum also said defense officials have been discussing whether they need to adjust their policy that limits the deployment of reserves in the war to 24 months.

"When that policy was originally formulated, I seriously doubt anyone thought we would be where we are today, at the level of commitment that is necessary today," he said.

Just last month, defense officials said the Marines are drawing up similar plans that would for the first time send some reserve combat battalions back to Iraq for a second tour.

Under the authority by which Bush ordered a call-up of the Guard and Reserve after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, troops could be mobilized an unlimited number of times as long as each mobilization is no longer than 24 consecutive months.

Until now, Pentagon officials have interpreted that as 24 cumulative months.

While the ultimate goal for the National Guard is to deploy one year overseas and spend six years at home, Blum said the current demands could force soldiers to deploy as often as one year every three or four years."
The repeated tours of our soldiers may be something they accept, for that is the chance they took when they enlisted, but it will likely adversely affect our ability to continue to attract talented young people to the service whether in the National Guard or the regular armed services.

Not only has this become an endless war for our nation, our soldiers are being asked to serve in an endless fashion for their country!

It is time for you to speak to America once again Senator Kerry! America needs your leadership at the helm.

Democrats now control the House and the Senate. We need a Democrat at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who can work to bring America home once more. Home to a leadership that respects the Constitution, respects international laws, respects our Allies and who believes in the possibilities in the good of mankind that regardless of their religious or ethnic backgrounds also yearn for peace and a future for their children and their children's children.

Keep on Coming John!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

John Kerry Jokebook: Great Editorial from Star Tribune

This is a provocative editorial to be published in tomorrow's Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune:
"A man went to his doctor, who informed him that he was overweight. The patient protested, "I want a second opinion." The doctor replied, "OK, under the Bush administration, Medicare is unfairly prohibited from negotiating with the pharmaceutical companies."

• • •

A couple in their 80s went to see a divorce mediator. The mediator said, "You've been married nearly 60 years! Why would you want to get divorced now?" The husband answered, "If we'd had children, they might be dead by now thanks to President Bush's refusal to fund embryonic stem-cell research."

• • •

A fellow who had been unemployed throughout the Bush administration came up to me on the street the other day and said he hadn't had a bite for a week. Then he bit me.

• • •

Knock, knock.

Who's there?


Banana who?

Knock, knock.

Who's there?


Banana who?

On second thought, I prefer oranges.

A duck went into a pharmacy and asked for some lip balm. The druggist asked what the duck wanted with lip balm, and the duck replied that he wanted to put it on his bill, especially in light of the high cost Americans must pay for health care.

There was a traveling salesman whose car broke down, so he approached a nearby farmhouse to ask whether he could spend the night. The farmer said, "All right, but you'll have to sleep in my daughter's bed. She's away at college, despite skyrocketing tuition."
I guess it is never too gloomy to laugh a little. Especially with the Democrats' terrific performance on midterm elections.

Campaign 2008 is now resuming! No joke.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Michael Reagan: The Kamikaze Columnist

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of former President Ronald Reagan, works as a right-wing talk show host and columnist. His recent hatchet job on Senator John Kerry: John Kerry: The Kamikaze Kid was shameful and consistent with the usual pack of lies spread by those who find Kerry's frank discussion of America uncomfortable. They choose to 'kill the messenger' than seek to understand our nation's challenges.

Responding to Mr. Reagan, this was published today in SitNews in response:
"Why John Kerry Still Matters!
By Robert Freedland

November 07, 2006
Tuesday AM

Elizabeth Whittington writes (November 04, 2006): "I agree with Michael Reagan's column re: Sen. John Kerry. I am actually glad he finally made a complete fool of himself, both in his comment and 'apology'. He's one less Democrat to be concerned about."

Ms. Whittington may be right. Senator Kerry may have had his career destroyed by the Republican smears. But let's take a closer look at Michael Reagan's column, and we will see how Mr. Reagan spins his web of lies and distortions in his participation in the attack on a courageous American Veteran and Statesman.

First, Mr. Reagan starts out his name-calling by comparing Senator Kerry to a "vampire" recoiling from a cross. I suppose that Mr. Reagan believes that once again Senator Kerry and the Democrats are somehow heathens and that religion is on the side of the President. We know too well about the hypocritical, holier than thou Christians who have jumped in bed with the Republicans. Leaders like Ted Haggard, who while railing against gay marriage, was busy buying Methamphetamine and consorting with a homosexual prostitute.

Mr. Reagan claims Senator Kerry is like a "Kamikaze", alluding to the Japanese suicide pilots who attacked Americans. But it was Senator Kerry who served his nation in the military, and is a decorated Vietnam war veteran. We know that President Bush used his family influence to avoid the draft and get into the Texas Air National Guard, where his attendance is still questioned. And Vice-President Cheney used multiple deferments to avoid service! So why is this decorated military veteran being attacked by Mr. Reagan, who no doubt has an extensive record of service, as being a "Kamikaze", somebody who has undermined out military. Nothing could be further than the truth. But that is the point.

Mr. Reagan goes on to refer to the "L'affaire Kerry". This is another often-repeated slur about the Senator. That he speaks French. It is well-known that our President has difficulties with the English language. But that is considered amusing. The attack on a politician because he is fluent in a foreign language is the most anti-intellectual, xenophobic thinking that I can imagine. I guess the President is better because he speaks Texan. I suppose speaking French infers some sort of feminine attribute to Senator Kerry. Sort of like he must be limp-wristed if he speaks French? In any case, this is part of the standard pack of lies, and defamation of the Senator that is continued by Mr. Reagan.

Reagan goes on and states: "When John Kerry stands up and implies that the members of our armed forces now engaged in a bloody and dangerous war on behalf of the American people are a bunch of poorly educated high school dropouts, he is expressing what his colleagues in the Democrat leadership believe." This is a plain lie. Kerry never said this. Reagan knows this.

Let's look at his actual mis-statement (the text of his original speech is available). He stated: "Education -- if you make the most of it and you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well," said Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat. "If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq." His entire set-up for this was his attack on Bush and not the Troops.

But what is the truth on this? Because of the endless war in Iraq, military recruiting is getting more difficult. And the Army has been allowing high-school dropouts to join. It isn't a bad thing; it is just the truth. As reported in the Army Times:

"The program allows recruiters to enlist a high school dropout, according to S. Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. But the enlistee must have the GED before shipping off to basic training. The Army will pay for individuals to attend a course to prepare for the GED test and will cover the cost of taking the GED exam."

Also as reported in Slate:

"Faced with repeated failures to meet its recruitment targets, the Army has had to lower its standards dramatically. First it relaxed restrictions against high-school drop-outs. Then it started letting in more applicants who score in the lowest third on the armed forces aptitude tests a group, known as Category IV recruits, who have been kept to exceedingly small numbers, as a matter of firm policy, for the past 20 years. (There is also a Category V those who score in the lowest 10th percentile. They have always been ineligible for service in the armed forces and, presumably, always will be.)"

These are unpleasant truths. But that doesn't make Mr. Kerry guilty of slurring the troops even if he did state the truth unintentionally.

And getting "stuck in Iraq"? Are our soldiers also stuck there? (Mr. Kerry was referring to this Administration being stuck, but for the sake of argume, let's see if our soldiers are getting stuck!)

As reported in the Los Angeles Times:

"WASHINGTON - In the latest sign of pressure on troop strength from growing violence in Iraq, the Pentagon said Monday that it had extended the combat tour of 4,000 soldiers, the second time in as many months that an Army brigade has seen its yearlong deployment lengthened.

The 1st Brigade of the 1st Armored Division, which is assigned to Ramadi, the capital of volatile Al Anbar province, will remain in Iraq an additional 46 days, defense officials said. Originally scheduled to leave Iraq in January, the brigade is now due to return to its base in Germany in late February."

This is not an isolated incident.

As reported in the Boston Globe:

"The Army and Marine Corps have carried much of the load. Of about 500,000 members in the active Army, more than half -- 279,393 -- have been sent overseas in the past three years. And of those, 34.6 percent have served multiple tours, some for a year or more and others several months at a time.

For the smaller Marine Corps, the percentage of the total force dispatched to Afghanistan or the Persian Gulf is greater -- 98,979 of about 120,000. Of those, 27.6 percent have done multiple tours, according to the Pentagon's count. The corps will be adding about 3,000 more troops to reduce the burden.

For part-time soldiers who leave jobs as well as families behind, the percentage serving multiple tours is even higher. Of the 90,649 Army National Guard soldiers deployed, 35.9 percent have been called up more than once.

For the Army Reserve, 34.6 percent of the 64,978 that have served since the Sept. 11 attacks have returned home, only to be redeployed within months.

Meanwhile, nearly half of the 41,093 members of the Air National Guard called to active duty have served two or more tours in the same period."

Americans are getting stuck in Iraq. Senator Kerry has been fighting to bring them home. That is how you support our troops.

So Senator Kerry wasn't really far off was he when he suggested inadvertently that failure in education could lead to one turning to the military for employment and that those same soldiers could get stuck in Iraq! Of course he was referring to the President, but nonetheless.

Michael Reagan continues with a quick reference to Senator Kerry's Winter Soldier testimony to Congress, by stating: "Remember, this is the man who came back from his brief four-month tour of duty in Vietnam to charge his fellow American servicemen with rape and murder."

Americans would rather feed on the Pablum of the Republican spinmeisters and believe that every American soldier was a good guy. That we never did atrocities in Vietnam or elsewhere. And that instead of pointing to the bad soldiers who do atrocities as the unAmerican ones, it is easier, according to Mr. Reagan and his ilk to point out to the brave and patriotic Americans like Senator John Kerry who bring our failures to our nation's attention. Maybe we all would prefer to pretend that things like this didn't happen. Who wants to eat the lunch given to us by Senator Kerry, wouldn't we all like to be dumb and stupid and feed on "happy meals"?

But atrocities, like rape and murder DID happen in Vietnam. It wasn't Kerry's mistake, it was the failur of our forces and their command. It isn't unpatriotic to be a whistle-blower. But we all would rather 'shoot the messenger' who in this case was Senator John Kerry, then a returning Vietnam war veteran.

Read what the Toledo Blade had to say about Vietnam atrocities among just one single unit. They wrote in 2003:

"Promising victory to an anxious American public, military leaders in 1967 sent a task force - including Tiger Force - to fight the enemy in one of the most highly contested areas of South Vietnam: the Central Highlands.

But the platoon's mission did not go as planned, with some soldiers breaking the rules of war.

Women and children were intentionally blown up in underground bunkers. Elderly farmers were shot as they toiled in the fields. Prisoners were tortured and executed - their ears and scalps severed for souvenirs. One soldier kicked out the teeth of executed civilians for their gold fillings.

Two soldiers tried to stop the killings, but their pleas were ignored by commanders. The Army launched an investigation in 1971 that lasted 41/2 years - the longest-known war-crime investigation of the Vietnam conflict.

The case reached the highest levels of the Pentagon and the Nixon White House.

Investigators concluded that 18 soldiers committed war crimes ranging from murder and assault to dereliction of duty. But no one was charged.

Since the war ended, the American public has been fed a dose of movies fictionalizing the excesses of U.S. units in Vietnam, such as Apocalypse Now and Platoon. But in reality, most war-crime cases focused on a single event, like the My Lai massacre.

The Tiger Force case is different. The atrocities took place over seven months, leaving an untold number dead - possibly several hundred civilians, former soldiers and villagers now say."

So was Senator Kerry really wrong in testifying what he did to Congress? I doubt it. But it was embarassing to American soldiers. So why didn't he just shut up? Why did he have to go and let everyone know about the ugly side of war and that Americans were involved? Didn't he hate the soldiers for doing this? I don't think so. Senator John Kerry was a patriotic young man when he went to Congress to testify. He wanted to help our nation fix some of the wrongs it had involved itself in. And for that he has been perpetually castigated by the right-wing fanatics who would rather Americans didn't hear the truth. That when they heard about Vietnam, they thought about some John Wayne movie where Americans were always the good guys and the Cong were the evil-doers. It wasn't always that way in reality. And John Kerry is about reality and not fantasy.

Reagan goes on to attack Kerry reporting that he spoke to CBS's Bob Schieffer, "And therre is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breakins sort of the customs of the--of--the historical customs, religious customs."

Was Senator Kerry defaming and lying about American Troops again, as Mr. Reagan infers? Was this another undermining of support for the soldiers? Did Kerry hate America?

Or was this a re-statement of actual events?

As the International Committee of the Red Cross reported:

"6. Arrests as described in these allegations tended to follow a pattern. Arresting authorities entered houses usually after dark, breaking down doors, waking up residents roughly, yelling orders, forcing family members into tins room under military guard while searching the rest of the house and further breaking doors, cabinets and other property. They arrested suspects, tying their hands in the back with flexi-cuffs, hooding them, and taking them away. Sometimes they arrested all adult males present in a house, including elderly, handicapped or sick people. Treatment often included pushing people around, insulting, taking aim with rifles, punching and kicking and striking with rifles. Individuals were often led away in whatever they happened to be wearing at the time of arrest - sometimes in pyjamas or underwear - and were denied the opportunity to gather a few essential belongings, such as clothing, hygiene items, medicine or eyeglasses. Those who surrendered with a suitcase often had their belongings confiscated. In many cases personal belongings were seized during the arrest, with no receipt being issued (see section 6, below).

7. Certain CF military intelligence officers told the ICRC that in their estimate between 70% and 90% of the persons deprived of their liberty in Iraq had been arrested by mistake. They also attributed the brutality of some arrests to the lack of proper supervision of battle group units."

Senator Kerry was guilty of repeating unpleasant facts. Americans need to know the truth to make their own decisions. But to accuse Kerry, as some critics have done, as somehow making up stuff to discredit our soldiers is another big fat lie.

Reagan attacks the distinguished veteran Jack Murtha as accusing Marines in Haditha of cold-blooded murder. But what do we know about this a year later?

As reported by ABC News:

"Oct. 30, 2006 - Almost a year ago, 12-year-old Sofa Younis lost her entire family.

Her home in Haditha, Iraq, was raided by American Marines on Nov. 19, 2005.

"They broke into the bathroom. They detonated a hand grenade into the bathroom. We were all sitting in a room. Then comes the American soldier, and [he] shot us all," Sofa said. "I pretended to be dead, and he did not know about me."

Sofa survived, but 24 Iraqi civilians died that day, including six children and four women. All 24 were killed by U.S. Marines from the Kilo Company.

American military authorities have investigated the events of that day and have compiled a 3,500-page report that has yet to be released."

It doesn't sound very good for the Marines does it? But lets attack Murtha instead of investingating, or criticizing the execution of this war.

Or let's attack Senator Dick Durbin, who, according to Reagan, "...compared our interrogators at Guantanamo to the monsters who worked for Pol Pot, one of the greatest mass murderers in history, and those who worked in the inhuman Soviet gulags and in the Nazi death camps." Another irresponsible Democrat I suppose, or was Senator Durbin also guilty of revealing and highlighting unacceptable American behavior at Guantanamo?

And what was behind Senator Durbin's statement? Was he totally out of line?

This was based on an FBI report. Not some left-wing nutcase, as Mr. Reagan would prefer, it was an agent of our own Federal Bureau of Investigation who made observations at Guantanamo! As reported by CNN:

"The memo was written in July 2004 by Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Thomas Harrington, and was directed to Maj. Gen. Donald Ryder of the Army's Criminal Investigation Command.

In the first incident outlined by Harrington, an FBI agent was present in an observation room while an interrogation of a detainee was under way. A "Sgt. Lacey" (the memo says her first name is unknown) entered the room and ordered a Marine to duct tape a curtain over the observation window, thereby blocking the view of the interrogation.

On a monitor showing the view of a surveillance camera, the FBI agent saw the sergeant "apparently whispering in the detainee's ear, and caressing and applying lotion to his arms.... On more than one occasion the detainee appeared to be grimacing in pain, and Sgt. Lacey's hands appeared to be making some contact with the detainee," the memo states.

Later it says the Marine who had been in the room came out, and the FBI agent asked what had happened.

"The Marine said Sgt. Lacey had grabbed the detainee's thumbs and bent them backwards and indicated that she also grabbed his genitals. The Marine also implied that her treatment of that detainee was less harsh than her treatment of others by indicating that he had seen her treatment of other detainees result in detainees curling into a fetal position on the floor and crying in pain," the memo states.

The memo included another incident from October 2002 that involved a detainee being "gagged with duct tape that covered much of his head," according to an FBI agent's account. A contractor observing the detainee's interrogation told the FBI agent the detainee "had been chanting the Koran and would not stop."

The final case involves FBI agents allegedly observing a dog being used in an "aggressive manner to intimidate a detainee," who was subject to what the FBI official called "intense isolation" in a "cell that was always flooded with light."

Senator Durbin was not the embarassment. It has been our own policy of torture in Abu Ghraib, Guantanmo, and elsewhere that is the shame that was revealed. And yet it was this President, and his henchmen in Congress, who piled on Durbin to shut him up. And they did. And they got him to apologize. And they did it to Kerry this week. And they got him to apologize as well. But Durbin was right. And so was Kerry.

I support Senator Kerry and Senator Durbin and all Americans who fight for the truth. We can disagree with each other on foreign policy, but when we seek to attack Americans who reveal unpleasant realities, we are shirking our responsibilities as citizens to engage in the political process with all of the information available.

John Kerry is a brave American who has fought in war and has defended Veterans from attacks from chickenhawks like Michael Reagan who are living in a war dominated by Grade-B John Wayne movies where everything America does is good and everything everyone else does is bad.

America can be a better country. Let us join in fighting for those ideals. Let us not embrace torture, let us not embrace the tactics of our foes, and let us support politicians who have the courage to speak to us about the truth and not live in fantasies that are more comfortable but equally unreal.

Robert Freedland"

Please go out and vote and work for change in America! America is threatened as much by demagogues within as by terrorists without! It is time for a new direction!

Keep on coming Senator Kerry! Your brothers have not cut and run! We have got your back!


Like the Intrepid, Are We Stuck in the Mud?

Like the USS Intrepid, the museum ship, the United States is finding itself stuck in the mud this election day.

Stuck in the mud of dirty politics that could only make a man like Karl Rove smile in glee.

A nation once again stuck in a quagmire of overseas military involvement with no end in sight.

A nation stuck in the mud of torture, rendition, secret prisons and illegal wiretapping.

A nation stuck in the mud of intolerance, with advocates crying to amend a Constitution written to defend liberty and freedom, with new restrictions on homosexuals in America.

Help push the Intrepid out of the mud. Be intrepid yourself! Vote for a new direction with another political party in the lead. We can and must do better!

Come on back John Kerry! We need your voice in these difficult times! We haven't cut and run on our brother. We have got your back!


Monday, November 06, 2006

Why John Kerry Still Matters

I very much wanted to have something pithy to say tonight.

The election opens in just a matter of hours and I felt I needed to move on from The Simpsons to dealing with the awesome challenge we face in the upcoming days.

I am saddened by the silencing of Senator Kerry after his mis-statement and then his mauling by Republican partisans.

America needs his wisdom, his experience, and yes his courage at the helm. Maybe he does need a little work on delivery of his jokes, but I can live with that. Lord knows, we have lived with more and survived. I pray that after the election, we will hear once again Senator Kerry speaking for all of us for all of the things that matter.

At election time we often hear about how important it is for us to go out and vote. This time, I cannot think of anything more important for any of us who are concerned with the future of this Republic.

We have at our helm a President who scoffs at Congress, ignoring the will of our elected representatives, and who revises laws with 'signing statement' that makes him more of a King than an elected representative. And yet our Congress remains silent.

He disregards the courts, making a mockery of the FISA courts, set up by Congress, to monitor the actions of the President. He just goes and orders wiretaps anyhow. Even if FISA can keep this secret. Even if FISA can allow retroactive approval as long as it is done within 72 hours. And the Congress remains silent. Even further, they modify the law to accommodate his usurpation of power. Shame on them.

We have a President that believes he is able to define what torture is. And then does it. And a Vice-President who believes water-boarding is just a "little dunk". And then lies about it. And what does Congress do? Do they challenge this Administration that views the Geneva Conventions as "quaint"? No. They roll over, lick his feet, and change the law to accommodate his mad grab for power. They allow the suspension of Habeas Corpus, allow for torture, allow for evidence obtained by torture to be allowed in military courts, and allow the denial of evidence review by those who are accused of being "enemy combatants." Shame on them.

We have a "stay the course" President who believes like John Wayne, that victory is the only way. Even when we hear that our actions are increasing and not diminishing terror. A President who failed us when 9/11 occurred, an Administration which was deaf to the calls for action by Richard Clarke, and a President who sat for seven minutes staring at a children's book when the Towers were struck. Shame on them.

And if we fail at this important hour, to change the people who have failed us. If we fall prey to calls for greed instead of sacrifice, hate instead of tolerance, and fear instead of confidence, well then shame on us.

Senator Kerry, we need your voice! We do not cut and run on our support for you! You have worked to support our troops in the very best way possible, getting them out of harms way when being there is accomplishing nothing!

Keep on coming John! We have got your back! And we are going to be voting with our heart and soul for the future of this great Nation!


Wisdom from The Simpsons!

Hat tip to Atrios for this video. I do not follow the Simpsons, but maybe I should! I hope you enjoy this clip. I did. Remember to vote tomorrow. It is time for a change!


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Mitch Albom Comments on Kerry Controversy!

I came across a provocative editorial from Mitch Albom that I would like to share with you:

November 5, 2006

With a week to go before a critical midterm election, the president, his supporters and most of the media acted as if the most important issue in America wasn't a costly war, failed international policies, failed domestic policies or the battle between religion and science. Instead, what apparently mattered most was a bad joke.

If you don't do well in school ... "you get stuck in Iraq." That was the punch line of an ill-advised, badly delivered attempt at humor by Sen. John Kerry, who has never been strong in that department.

He says he was trying to criticize the president, not the troops, and any careful reading of what he said supports that, as does common sense. Why would Kerry insult troops on foreign soil? For one thing, unlike George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Kerry actually was one. Besides, what would such a crack gain him politically?

But instead of recognizing that, instead of being bigger than that, the president himself joined right in with the chorus of bloggers, radio hosts and bee-buzzing media who happily glommed onto a tempest in a teapot, rather than face anything difficult, like where did all those guns we sent to Iraq disappear to?

Words that come back to haunt

Within hours, Tony Snow, the president's press secretary, was demanding Kerry apologize. Soon, so were Sen. John McCain and other Republican lawmakers. Then Cheney. And finally, showing he can't resist returning to his few glory moments -- standing on the rubble of the World Trade Center or whipping up on the inept Kerry -- Bush did, too.

"The members of the United States military are plenty smart and plenty brave," Bush exhorted to a crowd of supporters, "and the senator from Massachusetts owes them an apology."

What's sad is that Bush, who is supposed to be the president of all of us, not half of us, can't pass an opportunity to thump on a dead horse while ignoring the ones running wildly through the barn door. John Kerry isn't even running for anything. Who cares what he says at this point?

Yet one sentence at one small college appearance suddenly is the biggest issue in America? Not nukes in North Korea or Iran? Not education? Not a 700-mile fence? Not the numbing numbers of newly dead in Iraq?

Call me simple. But if Bush, Cheney and the angry legions who tell us Kerry or Bill Clinton are the root of all this country's problems -- or that their occasional offensive remarks stand for anyone who ever disagrees the White House -- then perhaps those same people would take ownership of a few other words.

For example:

"Mission accomplished."

"We will be greeted as liberators."

"I'm a uniter, not a divider."

Anybody care to explain those?

Because they weren't jokes. At least they weren't supposed to be.

The dirty tricks of politics

Kerry's comment, even taken as he meant it, was rude and unnecessary. But the president knowingly sinking to the lowest interpretation and turning it into a national distraction was far worse. After all, last time I looked, Kerry wasn't running the country. Bush was.

And if we elected Bush because he was better than Kerry, then he ought to behave that way.

Instead, anything that gets your mind off the issues and back on hating the other guy is the strategy -- especially when one party owns the House, Senate and White House, because it can't pass the buck on those issues.

But a bad joke? A stupid remark? It's like pulling a fire alarm just before a history test. Yay! An escape hatch! You almost could hear the blog nation screaming "all hands on deck" the moments Kerry's words left his mouth.

Politics have long been ugly. But voters have a harder time than ever focusing on the issues because our politicians seem so intent of distracting us from them, and our media seem only too happy to oblige.

But we have to be smarter than all of them. And we ought to be able to tell an issue from a bad joke. After all, when it comes to the Iraq war -- the most divisive, expensive and dangerous issue of all -- Kerry can comment on it.

But Bush has to answer for it.

There's nothing funny about that."
Thank you Mr. Albom. No, this is not funny. The Iraq War is not funny. And Senator John Kerry has been a leading critic of the war, not a critic of the service of our soldiers.

Keep on coming John! We have got your back!


Joe Gandelman on Not Buying Bush Cigarettes!

I found an interesting comment by Joe Gandelman who writes a terrific blog called The Moderate Voice. Gandelman writes a very serious piece about the importance of this election. Something is very rotten in our political system. We have a Congress that fails to provide oversight of this Administration, a President who feels he doesn't need to consult with the FISA Courts when wiretapping, and a President who doesn't feel he needs to follow the laws that are passed by Congress--writing 'signing statements' that amend law.

Gandelman writes:
"The feeling today is NOT the same as during the Vietnam era. The Vietnam war began to lose the public as campus turmoil erupted, generations turned against generations, and a mind-boggling body count began to pepper the front pages of daily newspapers and newscasts. In this war, anti-war demonstrations have largely been tepid, the campuses aren't erupting (not having a draft has something to do with that), there is no massive generational confrontation, and the tragically zooming body count has not (yet) reached Vietnam proportions.

In this war, the concerns boil down to three words: credibility, competence and oversight.

Many Americans of both parties and of no party are beginning to conclude this administration lacks all three and operates with virtually no controls or consequences.

Will Tuesday mark the day that changes?

Or will it be a day when we need to buy a bunch of bananas?"
Thank you Joe! It is too early for us to be writing off this great nation. But there are forces afoot that preach intolerance, xenophobia, disrespect for the law, and disdain for the Courts! America needs a new direction if it is to long survive.


"Freedom" Must Watch This Today!

With thanks to Democratic Daily, who found it from Shakespeare's Sister, who got it from The Reaction, and Limbo, who got this from A Dark Planet, this is one heck of a great video! Especially if you are feeling a bit discouraged, this should pick you up and get you ready for Tuesday!

Get out there and vote on Tuesday! America needs your support more than ever!


Muhlstein: "War in Iraq no joking matter"

Julie Muhlstein published a column in the Everett, Washington Herald today that deserves to be read. Iraq is no joke. Not even the conviction of Saddam two days before the election will bail out America or this Administration. It doesn't matter what Senator Kerry says or doesn't say because he isn't running for anything on Tuesday. But America had better pay attention to who is running. Vote for change on Tuesday!

"Published: Sunday, November 5, 2006

War in Iraq no joking matter

By Julie Muhlstein
Herald Columnist

Joke? A botched joke? I'm sorry. I know you're sick of this topic. There's no way I can let my thoughts about Sen. John Kerry's idiotic comments of last week go unsaid.

First off, that word. "Joke." A "botched joke" is what the Massachusetts Democrat called it when he first tried explaining away why he'd said this to college students last Monday:

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, 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."

It was supposed to be a joke about President Bush, Kerry said. There's nothing funny about the Iraq war. Nothing.

Someone sent me an e-mail suggesting I check out http://theleftshue.blogspot.com, a site with video of Bush, in a tuxedo at a fancy dinner in Washington, D.C., telling jokes about the search for weapons of mass destruction.

The Bush quips are interspersed with pictures of young Americans killed in Iraq - a 22-year-old private, a 26-year-old infantryman pictured with his new baby, and a 19-year-old woman soldier.

I repeat: There is nothing funny about the Iraq war. Nothing, not from either camp in a debate so contentious that one side can barely stand to listen to the other.

Now, about that Kerry comment - not the one he supposedly meant to say about Bush, but the one he did say.

At the risk of taking just the sort of heat now scorching Kerry, I'll admit this: In conversations with my 19-year-old son, I have linked academic achievement with finding oneself not necessarily "stuck in Iraq," but certainly joining the military.

My stern talks began with "If you mess up in school, you're joining the Navy" and continued to include the following points: He would grow up, get focus, possibly find a career and earn a salary and benefits.

The options I talked over with my son were in no way meant to discount military service - it was a way of pointing out a serious alternative.

With today's all-volunteer armed forces, serving our country in the military is a choice, and a noble one.

Young people make that choice for all kinds of reasons, from family tradition or strong support for the nation's current foreign policies to an interest in learning skills taught in the military. Those reasons are huge.

There is also economic need.

It's needing a job that would send my son to the Navy or the Coast Guard, if he didn't do well in college and was unable to support himself.

I suspect that money - which Kerry and Bush both have in abundance - is a driving force for thousands of people who find themselves "stuck in Iraq."

What's true for some is certainly not true for all. Among the many reasons Kerry's thoughtless words were so offensive is the broad-brush stereotype - you're not very smart, so you join the military.

On Wednesday, I went to church for the observation of All Saints' Day. There, I saw a mother whose three boys have all gone to the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. The oldest son was in my daughter's grade school class.

A 2005 West Point graduate, he recently left for Army duty in Iraq. There's no doubt in my mind that this young man could have chosen any career path. He chose the toughest one.

That's courage, and nothing less.

On a day when Kerry's remarks dominated the news, I watched his mother in church. I imagined how furious her family must be over those "stuck in Iraq" comments.

I started to approach her, but didn't.

What would I have said? That I pray for her son? I do.

Instead, I went to the Everett Station, where I cast my ballot Wednesday afternoon.

That done, I am now tuning out both political parties' talking points, ugly name-calling and belittling barbs.

In a time when there's little cause to joke and so much to disagree about, we need to listen carefully before marking our ballots.

I suggest listening, but not to the politicians. Listen to your own head and heart."
Senator Kerry has been a victim of hate and scorn throughout his life because he has been the bearer of bad news. Somebody had to say what he has been saying; John Kerry has not shirked from the task. Whether in the Winter Soldier testimony, or more recently his tough criticism of the failures in Iraq, his criticism has been twisted to suggest he was criticizing our soldiers. While critical of a misguided foreign policy and not willing to cover-up for anyone's misdeeds, Senator Kerry has devoted himself to supporting soldiers, supporting veterans, and working tirelessly for veterans campaigning for public office.

Anyone who hasn't seen that hasn't been paying attention.

Meanwhile, let us realize that Iraq is not a joke. It cannot be reduced to slogans and simplified and misleading comments. Vote wisely on Tuesday. America deserves voters who can sift through the lies and see the truth that is blazing in our direction.


Jonathan Chait's Perspective!

There was a good editorial in the Los Angeles Times reporting how the GOP political machine can quickly twist reality and divert attention from the 'man behind the curtain'. Wishing to divert attention from their failed policy in Iraq, the economy that isn't quite as strong as purported, the deficit in both our government and trade that is expanding, Senator John Kerry was used as the fall-guy after flubbing a joke!

Americans understand and won't be fooled.

"Jonathan Chait

November 5, 2006

I WROTE IN THIS space a week ago that the Republicans were desperate to avoid having Tuesday's election be a referendum on President Bush, Congress or even a comparison between the Republicans and the Democrats. Well, now we can see what they want the election to be: a referendum on John Kerry. When you go to cast your ballot Tuesday, the primary question Karl Rove wants you to have in mind is how much you dislike the guy who ran for president two years ago and lost.

There is no greater testament to the power of the Republican message machine than the fact that, for two days last week, the political news cycle came to be dominated by a bungled Kerry joke. Kerry, according to his prepared remarks, was trying to make a joke about Bush's lack of intellectual curiosity: "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. Just ask President Bush." Alas, Kerry wandered off the prepared text and tried to put the joke in his own words. As all of us who survived the 2004 election know, bad things happen when he tries to do that. And so the joke came out: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, 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."

Within moments, the entire apparatus of the Republican Party sprung into motion to convince the public that Kerry had slandered the troops. Bush berated Kerry for not understanding "the consequences of words." George W. Bush, grammar marm. Vice President Dick Cheney called it "another swipe at the U.S. military." Couldn't you just as easily have interpreted that as a swipe against Iraqis? (After all, much of the educated Iraqi middle class has fled the country in the postwar chaos.)

John McCain, continuing his descent into shameless hackery, chimed in: "The suggestion that only the least educated Americans would agree to serve in the military and fight in Iraq is an insult to every soldier serving in combat, and should deeply offend any American with an ounce of appreciation for what they suffer and risk so that the rest of us can sleep more comfortably at night."

Everybody in professional politics, conservative or liberal, understands that Kerry was trying to make a joke about Bush. And yet the GOP has succeeded in convincing the country that he was denigrating American soldiers.

In the classic fashion of political news, media outlets simply covered the "controversy," reporting that Bush insisted Kerry was slamming the troops and that Kerry denied it. Most news stories I saw did not include the prepared text of Kerry's remarks.

The point here isn't that Republicans are liars. Both parties are perfectly willing to shade the truth. The difference is that Republicans have a network of partisan outlets that can create a news story out of thin air. The fact that numerous Democrats have had to denounce Kerry is tribute to the power of this machine.

Consider a point of contrast. J. Dennis Hastert, the Republican who runs the House of Representatives, railroaded through Congress an "earmark" that increased the value of property he owns by several million dollars. Unless you live in Chicago, you probably haven't heard about this story.

But of course not only is Hastert's land deal vastly worse than Kerry's joke (and would be even if Kerry had intended to demean the troops), the more relevant fact is that Hastert, unlike Kerry, is on the ballot this week. And every Republican in the House is going to vote for him for speaker. Yet Kerry is the one dominating the news."
Thank you Mr. Chait.

And thank you Senator Kerry for everything that you have done for America! We are waiting to hear from you once again! We have not been fooled by the Republican spin machine. We understand and appreciate your patriotic service to this country!

We have got your back Senator Kerry! Keep on coming!


Saturday, November 04, 2006

"What Really Demoralizes the Troops"

There have been many attacks on Senator Kerry regarding his now well-known gaffe in California. Some may say that after manipulating Kerry's speech, that he was somehow criticizing the soldiers when in actuality he was criticizing the President. Some may add that this may help demoralize the troops. Senator Kerry has always been an advocate of soldiers and veterans. He understands what it likes to serve his nation in uniform, unlike many of the chickenhawks so quick to attack him.

I found this video of Geoffrey Millard, an Iraq War veteran, who answers the question, "What really demoralizes the Troops."

Let us all hope that Senator Kerry continues to speak out against the injustice of this President, the injustice of the war in Iraq, and the injustice against our young people serving in this endless war. We support the Troops! But we ask about the other side of that contract; the obligation of government to not send soldiers into harms way where they can lose their limbs or their lives unless it is absolutely necessary. And when doing so, make sure they are sent in adequate numbers, and are adequately supplied.

Keep on coming John! We have got your back!


Who Needs to Apologize?

Like Dorothy's visit to Oz in the Wizard of Oz, the Republican National Committee is very anxious that you not look 'who is behind the curtain'. For if you look there you will see the quagmire of Iraq, the violation of Separation of Powers with Signing Statements, the suspension of habeas corpus, the approval of torture, the deficits that are overwhelming our government, Abramoff, Libbey, Rove, Ney, Cunningham, DeLay, Foley, Hastert, Jeff Gannon and phoney White House reporters, close relationships with Haggard, and lawyers who rewrite global warming reports prior to going to work for Exxon Mobil. No don't look there. Look over here at John Kerry who made a gaffe while working to elect Veterans to higher office across this great nation of ours.

The joke is on us if we fail to stand by Senator Kerry now!


Friday, November 03, 2006

Because of Iraq!

A great video from American veterans and General Wesley Clark.

Because of Iraq, so many things have been threatened in America!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dick Cheney: First he was For Water-Boarding before he was Against It!

Vice-President Dick Cheney has not hesitated to try to get some mileage off of the Kerry gaffe. His contribution:
"Of course, now Senator Kerry says he was just making a joke, and he botched it up," Vice President Dick Cheney said in remarks prepared for a campaign appearance in Montana. "I guess we didn't get the nuance. He was for the joke before he was against it."
That is almost funny. Clearly the Vice-President is better at delivering lines than John Kerry!

Unfortunately, he isn't as well-controlled when talking to Scott Hennen at WDAY Radio:
"Friday, October 27, 2006; A09
Excerpts from an interview of Vice President Cheney in Washington on Tuesday by radio broadcaster Scott Hennen of WDAY in Fargo, N.D.

HENNEN : I've had people call and say, 'Please, let the vice president know that if it takes dunking a terrorist in water, we're all for it, if it saves American lives.' Again, this debate seems a little silly given the threat we face, would you agree?

CHENEY: I do agree. And I think the terrorist threat, for example, with respect to our ability to interrogate high-value detainees like Khalid Sheik Mohammed, that's been a very important tool that we've had to be able to secure the nation. Khalid Sheik Mohammed provided us with enormously valuable information about how many there are, about how they plan, what their training processes are and so forth -- we've learned a lot. We need to be able to continue that. . . .

HENNEN: Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?

CHENEY: Well, it's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there I was criticized as being the vice president for torture. We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in. We live up to our obligations in international treaties that we're party to and so forth. But the fact is, you can have a fairly robust interrogation program without torture, and we need to be able to do that."
So I guess he was FOR water-boarding at that time.

The White House immediately DENIED that Vice-President Cheney was talking about water-boarding:
" Lee Ann McBride, a spokeswoman for Cheney, denied that Cheney confirmed that U.S. interrogators used water-boarding or endorsed the technique.

"What the vice president was referring to was an interrogation program without torture," she said. "The vice president never goes into what may or may not be techniques or methods of questioning."
But Scott Hennen himself indicated he was obviously talking about water-boarding of terror suspects:
"Bottom line: Water-boarding is NOT torture. We even use it in training our own troops. And according to a Brian Ross story on ABC, the use of the water-boarding technique with KSM produced key information that disrupted planned attacks and saved lives. So to the critics I ask this: Would you rather we not have a robust interrogation program, short of torture, and let people die? Not me!

Posted by: Scott Hennen on 10/27/2006 at 5:55 AM"
But Cheney denied that this discussion was about water-boarding at all. As was reported:
"Washington: Vice-President Dick Cheney has said he was not referring to an interrogation technique known as "waterboarding" when he told an interviewer this week that dunking terrorism suspects in water was a "no-brainer".

Cheney told reporters aboard Air Force Two on Friday night that he did not talk about any specific interrogation technique during his interview on Tuesday with a conservative radio host. "I didn't say anything about waterboarding. ... He didn't even use that phrase," Cheney said on a flight to Washington from South Carolina."
It is very hard to keep track of this Orwellian spin.

But it gets better. That story continues:
"Earlier on Friday, White House press secretary Tony Snow told reporters that the vice-president was talking literally about "a dunk in the water", though neither Snow nor Cheney explained what that meant or whether such a tactic had been used against US detainees. "A dunk in the water is a dunk in the water," Snow said.
Oh really?

Was the Vice-President talking about putting terror suspects in a carnival dunk tank?

I guess according to Snow he was.

But I don't think so.

What exactly is water-boarding? And is it torture?

As reported:
"6. Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.

According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.

"The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law," said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.

The techniques are controversial among experienced intelligence agency and military interrogators. Many feel that a confession obtained this way is an unreliable tool. Two experienced officers have told ABC that there is little to be gained by these techniques that could not be more effectively gained by a methodical, careful, psychologically based interrogation. According to a classified report prepared by the CIA Inspector General John Helgerwon and issued in 2004, the techniques "appeared to constitute cruel, and degrading treatment under the (Geneva) convention," the New York Times reported on Nov. 9, 2005.

It is "bad interrogation. I mean you can get anyone to confess to anything if the torture's bad enough," said former CIA officer Bob Baer.

Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer and a deputy director of the State Department's office of counterterrorism, recently wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "What real CIA field officers know firsthand is that it is better to build a relationship of trust … than to extract quick confessions through tactics such as those used by the Nazis and the Soviets."
The report continued:
"According to CIA sources, Ibn al Shaykh al Libbi, after two weeks of enhanced interrogation, made statements that were designed to tell the interrogators what they wanted to hear. Sources say Al Libbi had been subjected to each of the progressively harsher techniques in turn and finally broke after being water boarded and then left to stand naked in his cold cell overnight where he was doused with cold water at regular intervals.

His statements became part of the basis for the Bush administration claims that Iraq trained al Qaeda members to use biochemical weapons. Sources tell ABC that it was later established that al Libbi had no knowledge of such training or weapons and fabricated the statements because he was terrified of further harsh treatment.

"This is the problem with using the waterboard. They get so desperate that they begin telling you what they think you want to hear," one source said.
So sometimes, the torture is so severe, that you get confessions of anything you want to hear. Now that is hard to believe! And yet this evidence is now admissable under the new Military Tribunal law.

Shame on this President and his Republican pals to pass such Medieval legislation!

Watch this video if you don't know what water-boarding is about!

It is time for change in America! It is time for a Vice-President who advocates torture to apologize to the American people and for America to investigate these unknown 'interrogation techniques'!

Keep on coming John! You may be 'for the joke before you were against it' but you were never for torture!


Jimmy Tingle on John Kerry...a great mp3!

Here is a quick one if you are a Jimmy Tingle fan!

Listen HERE for a short comment by Jimmy Tingle on the John Kerry flub. And how he thinks President Bush owes America an apology!


"Dear World" A Great Letter by Debi Smith!

Debi Smith has written a wonderful letter about Senator Kerry's need to apologize for something he didn't really do and the President's failure to apologize for things he really did do.

Debi wrote:
"Dear World,

How are you doing? What have you been up to lately? Sorry it's been so long since I've written.

I was actually in the middle of writing an open letter to President Bush when I thought of you.

I was asking him, respectfully of course, about his insistence that Senator John Kerry apologize for his botched joke. Perhaps you've heard of all this nonsense? You must think we're pretty ridiculous. I mean look at all that's going on in the world, and all Bush and his friends (including a mostly compliant media) want to talk about the past couple of days is a poorly thought out and delivered joke. Big deal. I'm sure that Kerry, a veteran himself, meant nothing disparaging against his fellow soldiers, past or present. Anyhow, I was asking him why he would insist Kerry apologize for a stupid joke when he himself so stubbornly refuses to apologize for anything/everything he has done wrong the past five plus pretty botched years of his presidency. Things that have had consequences of such greater magnitude that, to say the least, it boggles the mind.

Like refusing to apologize for not taking those pre 9/11 warnings seriously. Refusing to apologize for sitting in a classroom reading a story about a pet goat for seven long minutes after learning that the country was under attack. Refusing to apologize for the lies he told and cooked intelligence he used to start a war of aggression against a sovereign nation. He continues to bullheadedly refuse to apologize for all the miscalculations that have been made since, at every turn along the way, in that illegal war. Refuses to apologize for all the thousands and thousands and thousands of stolen Iraqi lives. Refuses to recognize, and then apologize for, the fact that his lies and deceptions have also directly led to the deaths of over 2800 (to date) brave men and women from the United States.

(By the way, speaking of bad jokes, what about those not so funny wmd jokes Bush told that one time?)"
She continues:
"There is so much to be sorry for. Especially so the past five years of Bush's presidency. Sorry that he and his administration didn't heed the warnings regarding an impending terrorist strike within the US. Sorry that he used the awful events of that day to justify a global and "long" (seemingly unending) war on terror that has, by all accounts, only increased terrorism. Sorry the good will that was directed at us immediately following 9/11 was so quickly squandered. Sorry that the will of hundreds of thousands of people around the world, saying no to war, went unheeded and unappreciated. I'm so sorry that we couldn't stop the war machine from its costly (yet so profitable to the warmakers) and oh so deadly crawl across Afghanistan and Iraq. Sorry that so many many innocent people were crushed in its path. Sorry that we invaded a country, under false pretenses, destroying its beauty, culture, infrastructure, lives.... Sorry that we then had the audacity to authorize no bid contracts for the rebuilding of it to the very people who destroyed it.

I'm sorry that we don't seem to appreciate the sickening absurdity of it all.

I'm sorry that our "leaders" don't seem to care about being good stewards of the earth. Sorry that they laugh in the very real face of global warming. (Especially since the US is such a big contributor.) I'm sorry for the very real problems around the world that they, and by extension-we, continue to ignore. Sorry that the focus continues to be mostly only in areas of the world that are abundant in valuable resources or that are deemed important for strategic reasons. Sorry that these reasons usually, if not always, have nothing whatsoever to do with humanitarian causes/crises.

Sorry that it might appear that we all, the people, permit these things, though I do hope you realize that appearances can be deceiving (maybe you've noticed that we have some issues with the integrity of our voting system).

I'm sorry for the exasperation and frustration and justified anger that you must feel when you observe our actions, and the actions of our government. I'm sorry for all the sleepless nights you might experience because of the big ass bully storming through your neighborhoods. (And, just to loudly clarify, I'm not referring to the mostly good men and women in uniform who are on the ground in these neighborhoods). I'm sorry that our current leadership is the bully. And that I and my fellow countrymen and women have so far failed to reign that bully in.

I'm sorry for all the things I don't know, and therefore can't act upon. And for all the things I do know and don't act upon.

I realize now that Bush and I are very much alike in one way. We both have many more things to be sorry for than we can list here."
Thank you so much Debi!

We are all so sorry about what has happened.

And I am sorry that I want Senator Kerry to continue the fight! I am sorry that the nation has been attacked not only by enemy terrorists in airplanes but by domestic demagogues intent on tearing apart our Constitution. Intent on ignoring the will of Congress by signing statements. Intent on ignoring the Courts by ignoring the need to go to FISA courts. Intent on ignoring the International Geneva Conventions and for the first time, suspending Habeas Corpus, allowing the President to define torture, and to allow evidence obtained under torture in military tribunals where the defendants won't be guaranteed access to the evidence.

I am so sorry for all of this.

But I am proud of Senator Kerry for his efforts on behalf of all of us. Hang low for a day or two Senator, but then come out swinging once more.

Our nation depends on you in so many ways!


Albany Times-Union Editorial: A Must Read!

Here is an excerpt from today's editorial:
"But let's get this much straight. Mr. Kerry wasn't disparaging the American troops in Iraq. No one who has been in combat, as he has, would think of saying such a thing.

Here's what Mr. Kerry did say as he campaigned Monday for California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides: "Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

For that, Mr. Kerry is getting ambushed by the White House in a manner that's awfully reminiscent of the smearing of his Vietnam War record during the 2004 presidential campaign.

Here's President Bush: "The senator's suggestion that the men and women of our military are somehow uneducated is insulting and it is shameful. The senator from Massachusetts owes them an apology."

This, from the very president and commander in chief who last month suggested that the Iraq war will go down in history as just a comma. This, from a president and commander in chief who should be paying less attention to a defeated political rival and more attention to U.S. forces having to retreat, in essence, from the streets of eastern and central Baghdad.

Stuck? Did someone say stuck?

It's, yes, Mr. Kerry who sees this war for what it's become, and is refreshingly willing to say as much."
Thank you Times-Union!

You said what needed to be said.

That this President and his Administration has failed us miserably, getting us bogged down in an endless war while using this war as an excuse to grab powers from Congress, from the Courts, and yes from the American people!

Keep on coming John!

We have got your back!


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Standing With Senator Kerry!

I am proud to be standing with Senator John Kerry and continue to support him for President in 2008!

Keith Olbermann had an outstanding commentary tonight!

Click HERE to listen to Olbermann's comments.

Senator John Kerry speaks truth to power. He threatens those who are uncomfortable hearing about where America is going. He understands that America can not long survive if the Constitution is threatened and our civil liberties trashed.

They have ambushed you Senator Kerry! Through their hacks and operatives, they will spin lies, spread attacks and employ all of the tactics of the politics of personal destruction. They do this in 2006 because they are afraid. They see truth in your words and strength in your soul.

There will be times Senator Kerry when you might wish to not have this task that has been given to you. But this job is yours! It is your role to play!

America needs Senator John Kerry more today than ever before!

Keep on Coming John! We have got your back!