Friday, September 21, 2007

Does Congress Have Anything Better to Do?

As cross-posted on The Democratic Daily:

Time for Congress to ‘Move-On’!

Posted by Robert Freedland
September 20th, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

Something really awful happened in the Senate today.

The 1st Amendment was symbolically sacrificed to the alter of the Military and the War Machine.

On December 15, 1791, the 1st Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. It stated:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Yet today, the Senate took the time to pass a symbolic resolution defending the honor and criticizing the ad on General Petraeus and stated that Petraeus

“deserves the full support of the Senate” and the Senate “strongly condemn(s) personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.”

However, moments earlier Senators failed to condemn the same kind of political activity, failing to support the ‘Boxer Amendment’, which also included condemnation against attacks on politicians and Veterans like Max Cleland, the Vietnam Veteran who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam who lost to Republican Saxby Chambliss who compared him to Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Or Senator John Kerry, the multiple-decorated Vietnam Veteran whose reputation was slimed by the Swift Boaters.

But criticism of the so-called apolitical General Petraeus, who found time in the weeks before the 2004 election to write and submit a very political and misleading column about the success of the Iraq effort helped turn the tide for President Bush against Senator Kerry–that kind of criticism is simply unacceptable in America according to these America-love-it-or-leave-it Senators.

On September 26, 2004, just weeks before the Presidential Election, Petreus took the time to write about how well things were going in Iraq. He stated:

“Nonetheless, there are reasons for optimism. Today approximately 164,000 Iraqi police and soldiers (of which about 100,000 are trained and equipped) and an additional 74,000 facility protection forces are performing a wide variety of security missions. Equipment is being delivered. Training is on track and increasing in capacity. Infrastructure is being repaired. Command and control structures and institutions are being reestablished.”

And yet even Petraeus has a spotty record in Iraq.
As the Washington Post reported on August 6, 2007:

“The author of the report from the Government Accountability Office says U.S. military officials do not know what happened to 30 percent of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year as part of an effort to train and equip the troops. The highest previous estimate of unaccounted-for weapons was 14,000, in a report issued last year by the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

The United States has spent $19.2 billion trying to develop Iraqi security forces since 2003, the GAO said, including at least $2.8 billion to buy and deliver equipment. But the GAO said weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005, when security training was led by Gen. David H. Petraeus, who now commands all U.S. forces in Iraq.”

Oh, but there I go again being critical of Petraeus when it is Move-On.Org that is our nation’s biggest problem.

Our fearless President understands that if we criticize Petraeus, then it is the criticism of him that is treason. As was reported:

” Bush told reporters at a White House news conference that’s ad in The New York Times about Gen. David Petraeus was a “sorry deal.” The September 10 full-page ad was titled “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?”

“I felt like the ad was an attack, not only on Gen. Petraeus, but on the U.S. military,” Bush said. “And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democratic Party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad.”

The Vice-President, even though he is not really part of the Executive Branch, felt compelled to jump in on the pile-on. Cheney stated:

“The attacks on him by in ad space provided at subsidized rates in The New York Times last week were an outrage.”

But that is pure Cheney. The outrage is that somehow they got a good rate to make the attack. Maybe if they had paid a higher rate at the Times, Cheney wouldn’t have had any comment. Or maybe he would have been busy hunting and shooting somebody in the face instead.

Even though Giuliani ran an ad in the same paper the same day at the same rate, better to talk about the liberal media. The same blog in the NYTimes points out:

“Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican presidential candidate who is among those who criticized the MoveOn ad, paid the same rate for his own advocacy ad that ran in the Friday editions of The Times.”

But maybe all of the Congress is betraying us. They haven’t stopped the war that was started on false pretenses. The mission isn’t accomplished. And as a report in the Guardian today (9/21/07) noted:

The latest identifications reported by the military:

- Army Sgt. Edmund J. Jeffers, 23, Daleville, Ala.; died Wednesday in Taqqadum of injuries from a non-combat related accident; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

- Army Pfc. Christian M. Neff, 19, Lima, Ohio; died Wednesday in Baghdad of wounds from an explosive; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

- Army Spc. Aaron J. Walker, 23, Harker Heights, Texas; died Tuesday in Baghdad of wounds from small-arms fire; assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Vilseck, Germany.

- Three Army soldiers died Tuesday in Muqdadiyah of wounds from an explosion. All were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Fort Lewis, Wash.

Killed were Spc. Joseph N. Landry III, 23, Pensacola, Fla.; Spc. Nicholas P. Olson, 22, Novato, Calif.; and Spc. Donald E. Valentine III, 21, Orange Park, Fla.

None of these young men and women died because somebody protested a war.

But 3,791 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March, 2003.

And Congress, including some intimidated Democrats, is now busy passing resolutions condemning those who protest this needless war as being somehow not supporting our troops. For them, it is necessary to send soldiers into harm’s way without honest justification as the only true way to show your support.

And please be quiet if you disagree, or you shall be labeled a traitor. Forget about the 1st Amendment. Forget about our freedoms. We are at war now. And those need to be saved for some future reference.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Taser Controversy and Senator Kerry!

Watch HERE for the Video.

As reported:
"Meyer refused to leave the microphone after his allotted time was up, police said. He had asked Kerry about impeaching President Bush, why he didn't challenge the 2004 election results and whether he and Bush were members of the secret society Skull and Bones at Yale University.

After Meyer repeatedly and loudly refused to walk away, two officers took him by the arms. Kerry can be heard saying, "That's all right, let me answer his question."

Audience members applauded, though it was difficult to tell whether it was for the officers' action or Kerry's remark. The audience for the most part sat quietly and watched the fracas.

Meyer struggled for several seconds as up to four officers tried to remove him from the room. He screamed for help and tried to break away from officers with his arms flailing, then was forced to the ground and ordered to stop resisting.

As Kerry told the audience he will answer the student's "very important question," Meyer yelled at the officers to release him, crying out, "Don't Tase me, bro," just before he was shocked. He was led from the room, screaming, "What did I do?"

An officer, however, said in the police report that Meyer's "demeanor completely changed once the cameras were not in sight" and that he was "laughing" and "lighthearted" on the way to jail.

Kerry, D-Mass., said Tuesday he regretted that a healthy discussion was interrupted, and said he never had a dialogue end that way in 37 years of public appearances.

"Whatever happened, the police had a reason, had made their decision that there was something they needed to do. Then it's a law enforcement issue, not mine," he told The Associated Press in Washington.

Senator Kerry went further to explain the situation:
"In 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way.

I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but again I do not know what warnings or other exchanges transpired between the young man and the police prior to his barging to the front of the line and their intervention.

I asked the police to allow me to answer the question and was in the process of answering him when he was taken into custody.

I was not aware that a taser was used until after I left the building. I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured.

I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted."

I even received an email from Greg Palast who I greatly respect.

Palast wrote:
"We warned you: 'Armed Madhouse' is a dangerous book. Yesterday, Andrew Meyers, a University of Florida student was attacked by five cops, zapped with tasers and arrested after demanding that Senator John Kerry answer the question.

Meyers, just released from jail and now facing five years in prison for resisting arrest, held up a copy of the book and began,

Student to John Kerry: "I want to recommend a book to you. It's called 'Armed Madhouse by Greg Palast.' He's the top investigative journalist in America."

Kerry: "I have the book. I've already read it."

Student: "... In this book, it says there were 5 million votes and you won the election. ... How could you concede the election on the day?"

Meyers, a telecommunications student at the Gainesville campus, asked related questions including a query as to why Kerry refused to vote for impeachment. When he passed his alloted one minute mic time, five cops jumped him, threw him to the ground, shot him with taser shockers.

Kerry, true to character, stood immobile.

Now, I've given many talks. And some questioners have taken too long at the mic. But I've never done the Stalin thing of cops and electronic beating to limit the discussion. (Yes, it's true that Randi Rhodes recently threatened me with a taser when I've monopolized the mic in her studio.)"

But it really wasn't quite like that when you watch the video.

Andrew Meyers did raise important points and important questions.

But he certainly wasn't civil and orderly in his demeanor.

He didn't state a question, he attempted to make a speech. Senator Kerry was prepared to answer. But didn't have a chance.

Senator Kerry didn't order any tasering.

He didn't regulate what the police did.

But he is the whipping boy of the left. He refused to take the election to the streets when the 2004 results were announced. He chose to preserve the Republic rather than start a revolution.

I do not disagree with Palast's findings. John Kerry should have won in 2004 and would have won if all the votes were properly counted and allowed. And that the removal of voters and the caging of voters and the improper procedures hadn't occurred, we know the result.

Senator Kerry continues to work within the system at reform.

He is not the problem. He is part of the solution. We need to stop beating up on our own. We don't need more tasering of demonstrators. But we do need civility in our discussions.

I stand both with Greg Palast and with Senator John Kerry! There are so many things wrong that need to be made right in America! But let us not descend into the internal bickering and self-destruction that we seen to be heading into. Senator Kerry and Greg Palast as well as Andrew Meyers are part of the solution and not part of the problem. Let us all join together to work to confront those that have threatened our Constitution, challenged our system of government and have led us with lies and deceit. And let us not attack each other.