Thursday, January 25, 2007

A new blog for me.

I would like to say good-bye and hello to all of my friends.

As suggested, I have started a new blog called Making a Ripple on blogspot. I do not know whether this ripple I create in the blogosphere will ever amount to anything more than that. But together we can dream of the waves we can create when good people put their hearts to important purposes.

I do not know where this road will go. But you are welcome to visit and help me along the way.

Senator Kerry shall not be running for President in 2008. But his work is also just continuing in the Senate. From Katrina to Iraq, this nation is challenged each day with new problems that have been addressed in ways that need to be changed.

Hopefully, I shall be able to add to that discussion.

Thank you all for your visits, your participation, and the enthusiasm I have shared and continue to share with fellow Kerrycrats who shared dreams and enthusiasm for a great American Hero.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Thank You Senator Kerry!

Senator Kerry has bowed out of the 2008 Presidential race.

As reported, he stated on the floor of the Senate:
"Two years ago I sought the presidency to lead us on a different course.
I'm proud of the campaign that we ran," Kerry said.
"We came close, Mr.
President, certainly close enough to be tempted to try again," he continued.
"There are powerful reasons to want to continue that fight now. But I've
concluded that this isn't the time for me to mount a presidential campaign. It
is the time to put my energy to work as part of the majority in the Senate, to
do all I can to end this war and strengthen our security.
"The people of
Massachusetts have given me an incredible privilege to serve, and I intend to
work here to change a policy in Iraq that threatens all that I have cared about
and fought for since I came home from Vietnam," he said."

Thank you Senator Kerry! You have given all of your energy to this nation. Whether it was in Vietnam, for the State of Massachusetts, or as the 2004 Democratic Nominee, you sacrificed your own interests for what you believed was better for America!

After serving in Vietnam, you came back to testify about the wrong-headedness of our war effort in Southeast Asia. It was the patriotic thing to do. Some people didn't understand. There will always be some who believe that dissent is unpatriotic. The rest of us understood and applaud you for your courage as a young man.

In 2004 you were attacked and smeared by a right-wing machine without scruples. You chose the high road. Maybe you would have gained votes by jumping into the mud with the swift boaters but you did not believe American politics would be better for it.

In November, 2004, when the election in Ohio was decided amid the foul-ups and voter machine problems, you also chose the high road. Choosing to move on from the election was an act of Statesmanship, not an act of weakness. It is the job of Americans to repair the electoral process. It was not the time or place to throw this country into chaos. You again chose the high road. Some may differ with me, but I applauded you for your courage at doing what you viewed as best for the nation, although not necessarily best for you.

In 2006, after a botched joke, the swift boaters came out in an organized fashion attacking and distorting your words. This attack was coordinated from the highest offices in the land. Initially lashing out, you became convinced that it was best to get out of the spotlight in order to insure that Democrats would be elected to office. That the Veterans you supported would succeed. You sacrificed your own future for the benefit of those Democrats and for the instruments of change to proceed in this nation. Some may criticize the wisdom of your decisions, but we understood that your priority was others. As it always has been.

So today, you once again have stepped away from the race for Presidency, accepting the wisdom of others that you could be more effective this election as a United States Senator from Massachusetts working to end our mistaken war in Iraq rather than pursuing the Presidency in a difficult race. Once again we applaud you.

We cannot help but be disappointed knowing that this nation will not be led by a certain John Kerry from Massachusetts. But we are heartened that you shall be there for us, leading this nation on the floor of the Senate with an effort to make America better for future generations.

We had your back on this website since November, 2004. We shall continue to have your back going forwards. That is the way it is with brothers.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Hope is On The Way!

Recalling the 2004 election, I remember the thoughts of possibilities.

The possibility of having a President who was qualified to lead the nation. The possibility of restoring America to its rightful place in the world as a beacon of liberty and not an abuser of civil liberties. Restoring reason to an America that seemed to have become tone deaf to international relations. So many things that could have been that had to wait.

The Presidential field is crowded. John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, and who knows who else will announce. And yet it is imperative that Senator Kerry join the race.

I really don't know which way the Senator from Massachusetts will decide on this difficult question. I only know that a lot is in the balance.

Senator Kerry has been the target of attacks from the right wing dating back to the days of Richard Nixon.
This is a photo of John O'Neill and Richard Nixon and Charles Colson at the time of the Nixon Presidency.

As reported about this creation of O'Neill:

"Former Nixon special counsel Chuck Colson has said that Kerry was an "articulate" and "credible leader" of those veterans calling for an end to the Vietnam War and therefore "an immediate target of the Nixon administration." As such, the Nixon administration found it necessary to "create a counterfoil" to Kerry. Colson recounted, "We found a vet named John O'Neill and formed a group called Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace. We had O'Neill meet the President, and we did everything we could do to boost his group." Articles from the April 21 edition of the Houston Chronicle and the June 17, 2003, edition of The Boston Globe confirm close ties between O'Neill and the Nixon administration."

Senator Kerry has been the victim of endless attacks originating with the Dirty Tricks of Richard Nixon and continuing on in the present with the Lee Atwater protege Karl Rove.

John Kerry's greatest crime was his ability to serve our nation and earn medals in combat only to return and tell America that it was a mistake.

There is nobody running for the Presidency that has that type of credibility.

The Swift-Boating of Senator John Kerry continues to this day. As he fights for America to stop sending young American men and women to die for another mistake--Iraq.

Nobody running for President has that level of credibility.

Senator Kerry has a Senate record. You probably can find evidence of votes on different sides of issues as votes are taken out of context.

But that doesn't really matter.

Senator Obama made a great speech at the 2004 election and it is said he has "charisma".

But that doesn't really matter.

Senator Hillary Clinton would be the first woman President.

But that doesn't really matter.

Senator Bill Richardson would be the first Hispanic in the White House.

But that doesn't really matter.

Nothing matters as much as the war. And nobody has the credibility of Senator John Kerry at once again leading our nation out of a war of choice, started on misrepresentations. Americans are again dying for a mistake.

Senator Kerry is right about the environment. He is right on Women's Issues, Katrina, Civil Rights, Abortion rights, and the proper role of science in our schools and the role of religion in government. He is right on all of these issues and more.

But his understanding of the war in Iraq is unmatched by any candidate.

John Kerry may not be the most charismatic candidate. But when I have heard him speak I have found him to be full of charisma. He may not be the most nimble in delivering his lines or jokes in speeches; but when I have heard him speak, I have heard insight into complex issues facing our nation. He may have a wealthy wife; but when I have heard him address poverty, I have heard him speak about the need to provide healthcare for children and to address the problems facing the hardest-hit after Katrina.

Senator Kerry may indeed demur on running. He may decide that the pundits and political hacks have destroyed his chance for the White House. If so, that shall be our loss.

It is my hope, it is my prayer, that Senator Kerry will find it in himself to make that sacrifice of time and money. To once again brush off those that would choose to smear an American hero, and instead wade ahead, through the mud of politics and the lies and smears to reach out to all of us once again, sharing with us once more his dreams, hopes and aspirations for America.

America can become America once more.

Keep on Coming John! Run John, Run! America is waiting!


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Jonah Goldberg: "A Contrary Indicator"

There is a wonderful scene in my old favorite movie Little Big Man where Custer asks Dustin Hoffman about going into Little Big Horn. Custer doesn't trust Hoffman because he is a white man who was captured by the Indians and then once again rejoined the cavalry as a scout.

Hoffman warns Custer not to go into Little Big Horn because he tells Custer, there will be Indians all along the ridges who will swoop down and kill all of the cavalry.

But Custer cannot be swayed by the scout played by Hoffman and assumes that since the scout had been living with the Indians, he should do the opposite. He figured Hoffman was trying to trick him, so he decided the wise thing was to go ahead and go into Little Big Horn. The rest as they say is 'history'.

Jonah Goldberg, the National Review Columnist has been wrong so many times, it is useful to read what he has to say, to find out the truth on matters.

Today, Jonah took the opportunity to throw some more mud at Senator John Kerry. Jonah Goldberg doesn't think Senator Kerry should run for President.

He states:
"The simple fact is that John Kerry never should have gotten the nomination in 2004 anyway. He stumbled into it after tripping over the crater left behind by Howard Dean's self-destruction. Democrats figured Kerry was the most "electable," forgetting that electability is often cover for spinelessness and, in voters, is usually based on the hope that someone else will like the guy even if you don't. Quick: Ask yourself what Kerry has accomplished after more than two decades in the Senate. Kerry himself couldn't even come up with a good answer to that. Even former Democratic National Committee chair Terry McAuliffe labels the Kerry campaign a case of "political malpractice."

In 2008, the election won't be a referendum on President Bush, and without Kerry's advantage of being "not Bush," renominating a dull-witted Boston aristocrat would be malpractice on the order of picking an accountant as your heart surgeon.

Democrats convinced themselves that Kerry was a war hero slandered by the Swift Boat Vets for Truth and Karl Rove. But the basic fact is that Kerry was a unique case. Fine, he served honorably in Vietnam. Good for him. But he returned home to disparage the troops and the United States and build a lifelong political career not on his service abroad but on his protest at home."

John Kerry earned the nomination in 2004.

It is amusing how this right-wing political pundit turns two decades of experience in the Senate as some sort of liability.

Terry McAuliffe attacked John Kerry's campaign strategy. He did not attack Senator Kerry.

Dull-witted? Aristocrat? Democrats convinced he was a war hero? Slandered? Do we need to debunk the lies once again?

But Goldberg has been wrong on so many other things.

Eavesdropping abuse by the President? What did Goldberg have to say?
"At first, I thought this NSA story was a big deal on the merits, and I wrote that Bush should have asked to fix the law rather than work his way around it. I still think that, in a perfect world, the White House would try to get the laws it needs from Congress. Nevertheless, after 9/11, Congress declared that "the president has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism" and authorized "all necessary and appropriate force" against al Qaeda. That strikes me as ample justification for tapping phone calls between al Qaeda associates in Cleveland and Cairo."
Wrong Mr. Goldberg. The President was required to go to the FISA courts. Violation of laws are indeed impeachable offenses when done by the President. In our country nobody is above the law.

And what did Goldberg have to say about Abu Ghraib? Did he condemn the abuse?

No. Jonah was wrong again! The biggest crime he could see was that the press actually released the photos.

"The Abu Ghraib images are so shocking, so offensive, and so sensational they will in all likelihood make America's job in Iraq and the Middle East immeasurably harder for a long time to come. That means more American deaths — such as Berg's — more Iraqi deaths and a diminished future for that country and that region.

I don't support censorship. The government has almost no role in this. But if CBS showed the same self-restraint it did for, say, the Danny Pearl video, it could still have reported the story shedding light instead of heat.

I originally wrote that CBS should be "ashamed" for airing the photos. I now concede that might be too harsh. But, in conceding that, I'm showing more reflection and self-examination than I've seen from the entire media establishment amid the Abu Ghraib hysteria."

And what about Global Warming? Is Jonah alarmed or annoyed at the "liberals"?

Jonah stated, discussing Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth:

"Hence the irony of the title An Inconvenient Truth. It is the green scare that has no patience for inconvenient truths. For example, Gore blames the disappearing snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro on global warming, but a study in Nature magazine identified the clear-cutting of surrounding moisture-rich forests as the culprit. In the famously fact-checked New Yorker, editor David Remnick pens a love letter to Gore in which he laments that Earth will "likely be an uninhabitable planet" if we don't heed Gore's jeremiads. Oh ... come ... on!

This is just a small taste of the millenarian battiness running through the green scare. Sure, a one- or two-degree-per-century rise in average global temperatures may have unpleasant consequences — with some pleasant ones as well — but in what study did The New Yorker's fact-checkers verify that Earth will become uninhabitable? Moreover, the greens' proposed solutions to global warming are even more otherworldly. Reducing global carbon-dioxide emissions to 60 percent of 1990 levels before 2050, while China, India, and (hopefully) Africa modernize, is inconceivable, ill-conceived and also immoral because it would consign generations to poverty."

Well wrong again Mr. Goldberg! Global warming is real and the Arctic ice is melting!

How about torture? Goldberg is wrong again! He uses 'double-speak' to justify torture by Americans.

He writes:

"Sullivan complains that calling torture “aggressive interrogation techniques” doesn’t make torture any better. Fair enough. But calling aggressive interrogation techniques “torture” when they’re not doesn’t make such techniques any worse.

Still, there is a danger that over time we may not be able to tell the difference.

Taboos are the glue of civilization because they define what is beyond the pale in ways mere reason cannot. A nation that frets about violating the rights of murder-plotters when the bomb is ticking is unlikely to violate the rights of decent citizens when the bomb is defused.

I suspect this is what motivates so many human-rights activists to exaggerate the abuses and minimize their effectiveness. Slippery-slope arguments aren’t as powerful as moral bullying. Still, their fears aren’t unfounded. Once taboos have been broken, a chaotic search ensues for where to draw the new line, and that line, burdened with precedent and manufactured by politics, rarely holds as firmly as the last. But that is where history has brought us."

How about a "little dunk" Jonah?

Or Katrina? Was it really the biggest failure of the Press as you suggest or perhaps the disaster that still remains of New Orleans is a disaster that should be put at the feet of our own government? Particular Mr. Bush in Washington!

Goldberg writes:

"On a recent edition of Larry King Live, liberal Republican Congressman Christopher Shays, eager to put some distance between himself and the president, explained what he thinks is George Bush’s real albatross. “Let me just say that I think the thing that has hurt the president most is not Iraq. It’s Katrina,” Shays said. “People saw an arrogant but confident administration, but when they saw Katrina, they saw arrogance and frankly incompetence, and that was very unsettling.”

This sentiment is pervasive among Democrats and the press. Time writes matter-of-factly that “the government’s inept response to Hurricane Katrina” is a major liability for Republicans in ‘06. Howard Dean and other Democrats mention Katrina as a staple talking point. That’s certainly fair, given that the bar is set pretty low for what constitutes fair in American politics these days. But it is worth reminding people that the Katrina they think they remember wasn’t the Katrina that actually took place. In fact, it is difficult to think of a bigger media scandal in my lifetime than the fraudulently inaccurate coverage of Hurricane Katrina."

Fraudulently inaccurate coverage? Have you been to New Orleans recently? While media mistakes were made, it is easy to attack the messenger rather than the underlying failure of President Bush. Sort of like attacking the poor fellow who used his cell phone to record the botched hanging of Saddam rather than criticizing the event itself.

Goldberg is even opposed to the government negotiating with drug companies for lower prices for seniors. What is wrong with a little negotiation like Wal-Mart does with its own suppliers. Jonah is wrong again and writes:

"The subtlety of mind behind the Democratic push to have the government “negotiate” — i.e. dictate — drug prices can be summarized in a statement by Robert M. Hayes, president of something called the Medicare Rights Center: “It only makes sense that if the industries do less well, the taxpayers and the consumers will do better.”

By all means then, let us burn these industries down and salt the earth where they stood, for then we will live in consumer nirvana!"

No Jonah. Not destroying drug companies. How about just asking them to give American seniors the best price they can? Why must Canadians have better prices and the 'free-traders' are all in a twit trying to prevent 're-importation' of drugs?

So when Jonah Goldberg says John Kerry shouldn't run, I fee confident knowing his prior track record, that this is a positive endorsement of Senator John Kerry!

Kerry is indeed a true war hero who has spent twenty years in the Senate in service to America! Senator Kerry understands what it is like to be sent into war for a mistake and will be working to correct our mistaken foreign policy. He understands the importance of healthcare for all Americans, he understands the need to have an environmental policy that addresses Global Warming! He is prepared to meet the needs of cities like New Orleans when they face national disasters. He will be appointing qualified people not cronies to higher office.

And above all he shall be following the dictates of the Constitution!

"Run John, Run!" We have got your back!


Art Buchwald (October 20, 1925- January 17, 2007)

Art Buchwald has died.

America has lost a great writer who knew how to make you smile when you thought there was nothing funny left to laugh about. We shall miss him dearly.

Buchwald has a fascinating biography
"Art Buchwald was the son of Joseph Buchwald, a curtain manufacturer, with three sisters: Alice, Edith, and Doris. He grew up in a residential community in the Queens Borough of New York City. He did not graduate from high school, and ran away from home at age seventeen.

He wanted to join the Marines but was too young, so he lied about his age and bribed a drunk with half a pint of whisky to sign as his legal guardian. From October 1942 to October 1945, he served with the U.S. Marine Corps, attached to the Fourth Marine Air Wing. He spent two years in the Pacific Theater and was discharged from the service as a sergeant.

On his return, Buchwald enrolled at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles on the G.I. Bill. At USC he was managing editor of the campus magazine Wampus; he also wrote a column for the college newspaper, the Daily Trojan.

In 1948 he left USC, without having earned a degree, and bought a one-way ticket to Paris. Eventually, Buchwald got a job as a correspondent for Variety Magazine in Paris. In January 1949, he took a sample column, on which he had been working, to the offices of the European edition of The New York Herald Tribune. Titled Paris After Dark, it was filled with scraps of offbeat information about Parisian nightlife. Buchwald was hired and joined the editorial staff. His column caught on quickly, and Buchwald followed it in 1951 with another column, Mostly About People. They were fused into one under the title Europe’s Lighter Side. The column in which Buchwald explains Thanksgiving Day to the French people in 1953 is reprinted every November with ceremonial regularity. Buchwald’s columns soon began to recruit readers on both sides of the Atlantic. On August 24, 1959, TIME magazine, in reviewing the history of the European edition of The Herald Tribune, reported that Buchwald’s column had achieved an "institutional quality."

During this particular time, while in Paris, he became the only correspondent to substantively interview Elvis Presley, both at the Prince de Galles Hotel, where the soon-to-be Sgt. Presley was staying during a week-end off from his Army stint in Germany, as well in places like "Le Lido", where Buchwald witnessed, first hand, Presley's interaction and that of his entourage, with the girls at the world's most famous nightclub. Presley's impromptu performance at the piano, as well as his singing for the showgirls after most of the customers had left the nightclub, became legendary following its inclusion in Buchwald's bestselling book, "I'll always have Paris".

Buchwald returned to the United States in 1962 and is at present syndicated by Tribune Media Services. His column appears in some 300 newspapers."
One of the things he liked to write about was the political scene. I found this column that ran in the March 17, 2005, Washington Post. It is an interesting perspective on the dirt that we now call American politics.

Thank you Art.

It's a Mud Mud Mud Mud World

By Art Buchwald

Thursday, March 17, 2005; Page C02

The truth is that there is more mudslinging going on in the country than ever before. But where do people get the mud?

One of the most successful mud-making factories in America is in Washington. I visited it the other day. The head of marketing, Ike Seller, showed me around.

Next to the factory was a railroad siding, where a freight car was pouring unrefined mud into the basement.

"Where do you get the mud?"

"From all over," Seller bragged. "We make the best mud of any factory in the land. When our customers sling it, it sticks."

"How's business?" I asked.

"Better than ever. We're now working three shifts."

"Is there a shortage of mud in America?"

"There is always a shortage of mud, particularly in a democracy. We got a big surge during the 2004 elections, when the Swift boat veterans ordered tons of it to sling at John Kerry."

"I knew they were slinging mud at Kerry, but I didn't know where the mud came from."

"We have a $10 million contract with the same Swift boat people for mud they can throw at AARP, the senior citizens' lobby that's fighting Bush's Social Security plans."

"What are they doing with the mud?"

"They use it to show that AARP is for gay marriages and against our boys in the armed services."

"Does the president know about the contract?"

"No, because his Social Security advisers in the White House want him to pretend he is above slinging mud at anyone who doesn't agree with his reforms."

We were given photo ID passes, then we walked through a door marked "Top Secret."

Seller said, "This is where we manufacture our mud balls. Each has to be perfect. We don't want the slinger to miss his target."

"Who are those people over there?"

"That's where we test the mud balls."

"But aren't you throwing them at senior citizens?"

"Yes, but they're paid $10 a day to be targets. It supplements their Social Security checks."

"Do you provide mud for the Democrats as well?" I asked.

"Of course. Mudslinging is the mother's milk of politics. There are no great mudslingers in the Democratic Party, and their only real target at the moment is Congressman Tom DeLay. The party is still waiting to see what Howard Dean will do."

"Do you supply mud for nonpolitical clients?"

"Either mud or dirt, whichever they want. The scandal sheets will take any kind, as long they can use it against Hollywood stars."

I said, "The Star, Enquirer and Globe must be your best customers."

"They are, and the beauty is, they will buy rejects that People magazine won't use."

We were coming to the end of the tour. Our guide gave us a bag of dirt and said, "Just add water and throw it at anyone you don't like."

The bag of dirt is back in my office. I can't wait to mix it up and sling it at one of my targets.

© 2005, Tribune Media Services"
Buchwald was an inspiration to many who cared about what was going on in America and the need to make things better.

As Buchwald stated shortly before his death,
"What's beautiful about death is you can say anything you want to, as long as you don't lord it over others that you know something they don't," he wrote in his March 14 column. "The thing that is very important, and why I'm writing this, is that whether they like it or not, everyone is going to go. The big question we still have to ask is not where we're going, but what were we doing here in the first place?"
We will miss you Art. There will be a few more smiles in Heaven with you around.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Obama Exploring Presidential Bid for 2008

Senator Barack Obama of Illinois is moving closer to announcing his candidacy for President.

As reported:
"At 10:06 a.m. Tuesday, Mr. Obama filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to open a presidential exploratory committee. After disclosing his decision on his Web site — a friendly venue where he would face no questions — he immediately began making telephone calls to key Democratic leaders in states with early contests in the party’s 2008 nominating calendar."
This blogger is a big fan of Senator Obama. He was the 2004 Keynote speaker whose choice was facilitated by the John Kerry campaign. He is indeed interested in many of the same issues supported by Senator Kerry.

While polls show him within striking distance of Hillary Clinton, we should all remember this poll that was taken in March, 2002, for the 2004 election:
"Al Gore (26 percent) Hillary Clinton (19 percent) Tom Daschle (8 percent) Joe Lieberman (7 percent) Dick Gephardt (7 percent) John Kerry (6 percent), John Edwards (2 percent) and Howard Dean (1 percent.)"
Of course, we are now even closer to the November, 2008, election than when that poll was taken before the 2004 election.

But the lesson is the same.

Polls are not to be ignored. But the public at this time is not locked into any particular candidate. Candidates rise and fall in the public's assessment.

As our nation continues to be tragically engaged in a war of choice based on distortions of the truth and as we continue to count our dead and wounded, more Americans will realize that there was only one candidate that has the first-hand experience of a young man going to war and returning asking our leadership to stop sending our young citizens to die for a mistake.

Senator John Kerry is uniquely qualified to be President! It does not detract from my respect for Senator Obama, my admiration for Senator Edwards, my appreciation for Senators Clinton or Dodd. It is just in these difficult times, it takes a special American to bring America back home. To bring us home to the American values and respect for our Constitution that has been cheapened by the current Administration.

Senator Kerry is up for that job!

"Run John, Run!"

Monday, January 15, 2007

Still Dreaming After All of These Years!

Happy Martin Luther King Birthday!

If you haven't listened to the "I have a dream" speech, listen today.

Americans are still dreaming.

Dreaming of a day when love will replace hate and peace will replace war as the news of the day.

"Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty! Free at Last!"


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"The Tar Baby" Strategy

President Bush is preparing to unveil his latest twist on military strategy for the Iraq conflict. According to this news report:
"President Bush will tell the American people tonight that the United States can safely withdraw its troops from Iraq only after it augments those who are already there with about 20,000 more, his aides said today."
This approach is contrary to the just released findings of the Iraq Study Group which reported:
"Sustained increases in U.S. troop levels would not solve the fundamental cause of violence in Iraq, which is the absence of national reconciliation. A senior American general told us that adding U.S. troops might temporarily help limit violence in a highly localized area. However,past experience indicates that the violence would simply rekindle as soon as U.S. forces are moved to another area. As another American general told us, if the Iraqi government does not make political progress, “all the troops in the world will not provide security.” Meanwhile,
America’s military capacity is stretched thin: we do not have the troops or equipment to make a substantial, sustained increase in our troop presence. Increased deployments to Iraq would also necessarily hamper our ability to provide adequate resources for our efforts in Afghanistan or respond to crises around the world."
In other words, the President's own bipartisan advisory panel advised against any increase in troop levels.

So where did the President get this idea? The surge idea probably came from Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute.

Mr. Kagan wrote about a possible "surge" of troops in the Washington Post on December 27, 2006, along with retired Army General Jack Keane. President Bush's privatization of war extends so far to include private consultants from the AEI, over the United States Institue of Peace, which according to their website is
"The United States Institute of Peace is an independent, nonpartisan, national institution established and funded by Congress. Its mission is to help:

* Prevent and resolve violent international conflicts
* Promote post-conflict stability and democratic transformations
* Increase peacebuilding capacity, tools, and intellectual capital worldwide"
But why should the President listen to anything as 'cuddly' as a Peace Institute, when he could listen to a former professor of Military History?

Back to Kagan's plan. And the President's.

Kagan and Keane's plan:
"U.S. forces working with Iraqi troops can clear neighborhoods fairly quickly. Unfortunately, past endeavors such as Operation Together Forward relied too much on that ability. We sent forces into the city that were large enough to clear a few neighborhoods at a time but not large enough to maintain the security they had established. Any plan for bringing security to Baghdad must include forces for the "hold" phase as well as the "clear" phase."
In other words, Kagan recognizes that American soldiers can clear areas but now is proposing that they "hold" them. In other words, act as police in the middle of the sectarian violence of civil war in Iraq.

This is a recipe for failure. A recipe for more death, more injuries, and more cost to the brave American men and women serving our nation in uniform.

One of my favorite columnists, Maureen Dowd, writes in the New York Times today of the "story" of Iraq. (subscription required) She comments:
" At times, the American-Iraqi relationship seems so cursed that the most apt metaphor would be a fairy tale like “The Golden Goose” of the Brothers Grimm, in which a girl sees a bling bird that belongs to a despised boy and tries to pluck a feather for herself, but instead her hand gets stuck fast to the goose. Her sister comes along, thinking she can snatch a feather, but she gets stuck as soon as she touches the first girl. Then there’s a Surge, when the third sister rushes to help but ends up stuck in a daisy chain of disaster.

With the Surge, as with the invasion of Iraq, W. is like the presumptuous date “who reserves a hotel room and then asks you to the prom,” as my friend Dana Calvo put it."
But the fairy tale isn't about a Brothers Grimm story. It is the famous Uncle Remus Tale of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby.(Image from

As the Tar Baby story relates:
"One day Brer Fox thought of how Brer Rabbit had been cutting up his capers and bouncing around until he'd come to believe that he was the boss of the whole gang. Brer Fox thought of a way to lay some bait for that uppity Brer Rabbit.

He went to work and got some tar and mixed it with some turpentine. He fixed up a contraption that he called a Tar-Baby. When he finished making her, he put a straw hat on her head and sat the little thing in the middle of the road. Brer Fox, he lay off in the bushes to see what would happen.

Well, he didn't have to wait long either, 'cause by and by Brer Rabbit came pacing down the road--lippity-clippity, clippity-lippity--just as sassy as a jaybird. Brer Fox, he lay low. Brer Rabbit came prancing along until he saw the Tar-Baby and then he sat back on his hind legs like he was astonished. The Tar-Baby just sat there, she did, and Brer Fox, he lay low.

"Good morning!" says Brer Rabbit, says he. "Nice weather we're having this morning," says he.

Tar-Baby didn't say a word, and Brer Fox, he lay low.

"How are you feeling this morning?" says Brer Rabbit, says he.

Brer Fox, he winked his eye real slow and lay low and the Tar-Baby didn't say a thing.

"What is the matter with you then? Are you deaf?" says Brer Rabbit, says he. "Cause if you are, I can holler louder," says he.

The Tar-Baby stayed still and Brer Fox, he lay low.

"You're stuck-up, that's what's wrong with you. You think you're too good to talk to me," says Brer Rabbit, says he. "And I'm going to cure you, that's what I'm going to do," says he.

Brer Fox started to chuckle in his stomach, he did, but Tar-Baby didn't say a word.

"I'm going to teach you how to talk to respectable folks if it's my last act," says Brer Rabbit, says he. "If you don't take off that hat and say howdy, I'm going to bust you wide open," says he.

Tar-Baby stayed still and Brer Fox, he lay low.

Brer Rabbit kept on asking her why she wouldn't talk and the Tar-Baby kept on saying nothing until Brer Rabbit finally drew back his fist, he did, and blip--he hit the Tar-Baby on the jaw. But his fist stuck and he couldn't pull it loose. The tar held him. But Tar-Baby, she stayed still, and Brer Fox, he lay low.

"If you don't let me loose, I'm going to hit you again," says Brer Rabbit, says he, and with that he drew back his other fist and blap--he hit the Tar-Baby with the other hand and that one stuck fast too.

Tar-Baby she stayed still, and Brer Fox, he lay low.

"Turn me loose, before I kick the natural stuffing out of you," says Brer Rabbit, says he, but the Tar-Baby just sat there.

She just held on and then Brer Rabbit jumped her with both his feet. Brer Fox, he lay low. Then Brer Rabbit yelled out that if that Tar-Baby didn't turn him loose, he was going to butt her crank-sided. Then he butted her and his head got stuck.

Brer Box walked out from behind the bushes and strolled over to Brer Rabbit, looking as innocent as a mockingbird.

"Howdy, Brer Rabbit," says Brer Fox, says he. "You look sort of stuck up this morning," says he. And he rolled on the ground and laughed and laughed until he couldn't laugh anymore.

By and by he said, "Well, I expect I got you this time, Brer Rabbit," says he. "Maybe I don't, but I expect I do. You've been around here sassing after me a mighty long time, but now it's the end.

And then you're always getting into something that's none of your business," says Brer Fox, says he. "Who asked you to come and strike up a conversation with this Tar-Baby? And who stuck you up the way you are? Nobody in the round world. You just jammed yourself into that Tar-Baby without waiting for an invitation," says Brer Fox, says he. "There you are and there you'll stay until I fix up a brushpile and fire it up, "cause I'm going to barbecue you today, for sure," says Brer Fox, says he."
So tonight, the President of the United States is going to ask Americans to send some more soldiers to get stuck in the tar-baby of Iraq.

Maybe if we just butt our head into it, we can get our hands and feet out!

Or maybe we should be doing what Senator Kerry has suggested, redeploying our troops:
"We have already tried a trimmed-down version of the McCain plan of indefinitely increasing troop levels. We sent 15,000 more troops to Baghdad last summer, and today the escalating civil war is even worse. You could put 100,000 more troops in tomorrow and you're only going to add to the number of casualties until Iraqis sit down together at a bargaining table and compromise. The barrel of a gun can't answer the question of how you force Iraqi nationalism to trump sectarian loyalty.

The only hope for stability lies in pushing Iraqis to forge a sustainable political agreement on federalism, distributing oil revenues and neutralizing sectarian militias. And that will happen only if we set a deadline to redeploy our troops."
Thank you Senator Kerry for providing some reason in the midst of what appears to be a developing American tragedy.

We need Senator Kerry's leadership at the helm of this nation. To provide reason when folly is adopted as our foreign policy.

Keep on coming John! We have got your back!


Monday, January 08, 2007

"Run John, Run!"

Senator John Kerry is deciding about another run for the Presidency.

As reported today in the Boston Globe:
WASHINGTON _ After two years of sending strong signals about a second run for the presidency, Senator John F. Kerry has held no public political events in more than two months, even as his potential rivals ramp up their own campaigns.

Behind the scenes, Kerry has been more active, hiring several top operatives and hosting several major fund-raisers with Democratic activists, including a breakfast yesterday in New York City and a birthday event at his Beacon Hill home last month where he raised $250,000. Aides to the Massachusetts Democrat said he is still mulling whether he should run again for president in 2008, with a decision likely to come before the end of the month.

But Kerry’s low public profile in recent weeks has fueled speculation in political circles that the 2004 presidential nominee will forego another run, in recognition of the difficult task he would have in convincing primary voters to turn to him a second time.

``I wouldn’t be surprised if he sees the handwriting on the wall,’’ said Alan Wolfe, a political science professor at Boston College. ``I don’t see any chance of him getting the nomination. The only question is, does he think he has a chance?’’

To that end, Kerry has kept up his contacts with major fund-raisers through a series of meetings with his finance committee. He has a top-tier Democratic operative, Ed Reilly, running his political operation, and has a potential campaign team in place that includes former top Democratic National Committee aides John Giesser and Jackson ``Jay’’ Dunn.

Through his Senate office and his political action committee, Kerry has recently signed on several prominent political aides. Theo Yedinsky, who ran Kerry’s New Hampshire operation in 2004, is joining the PAC, along with Erik Smith, who was a spokesman for former representative Richard A. Gephardt. Vincent Morris, a former New York Post reporter who was communications director for outgoing Washington mayor Anthony Williams,joined Kerry’s Senate staff yesterday.
There are plenty of nay-sayers.

The polls have not been kind to Senator Kerry. The Swift Boaters are still out there spinning their web of lies and distortions, ignoring Senator Kerry's leadership and military experience.

John, please run for President!

You cannot become President unless you enter the race. You will not be able to shape the discussion unless you are at the table. There really isn't anything to lose. But there is everything to gain.

As President Bush prepares to launch his "surge", only you will have the credibility of asking our leadership when they will stop sending brave young American men and women to Iraq to die for a mistake.

$100 billion for reconstruction in Iraq?

How much is being spent to reconstruct New Orleans? How much is being spent to bring the 9th Ward back to life? To repair the levees? To restore the wetlands preventing the loss of the Gulf Coast adjacent to New Orleans?

There are many goals in life that seem unreachable. You are a dark horse Senator Kerry! You have been written off by the pundits who check the latest polls on the latest rage for the Presidency. Many seek form for the Presidency while you offer substance. Many seek the newest fad, while you indeed were last year's nominee.

But our nation doesn't need trendy. Our nation doesn't need just a new face. Our nation needs wisdom that comes with experience. Understanding of war that comes from living through it as a soldier. Our nation needs your leadership at our helm to guide us through these troubled waters. America needs the very best that you offer our country!

You have navigated difficult waters in your past. You have trudged through the mud that was Vietnam and you shall have to trudge through the mud of American politics. But your journey started years ago and hasn't yet revealed its destination. We are here waiting to slog through the difficult time ahead to work to make your pursuit of the Presidency the success this nation deserves.

Keep on Coming John! And keep on Running! We have got your Back!


Friday, January 05, 2007

More on Purple Hearts!

Senator John Kerry is a true American hero.

And I am sick and tired of those who lurk and attack American heros. Avoiding the important issues that face America. Issues like raising the minimum wage, dealing with global warming, supporting stem cell research to save disease, protecting religious liberty in America, and getting us out of Iraq. The Swift Boaters wear blinders, unable to see what is important in America today. They do not find it problematic that their candidate in 2000 and 2004 was a draft-dodger who used family influence to get into the Texas Air National Guard and then failed even to complete his obligations. They are more concerned about the depth of Senator Kerry's injury when he earned his first purple heart. Was it a gash or just a deep scratch?

This is from the USA Today and comes from another decorated Vietnam War veteran. You don't have to take my opinion on this, read his.
"The meaning of a Purple Heart
By David H. Hackworth
The patrol boat slipped quietly up the canal until the eerie silence was suddenly shattered by enemy automatic-weapon fire from both heavily vegetated riverbanks. The U.S. Navy crew instantly responded with a barrage of machine-gun, mortar and grenade-launcher fire while I looked for cover.

But I was in South Vietnam's Mekong Delta, stuck on the deck of the ultimate moving target, and there was no place to hide. The only protection I had from the singing slugs was my paper-thin U.S. Army jungle-fatigue jacket.

Soon, U.S. Navy helicopter gunships were hosing down the Viet Cong, who were dug in no more than 100 yards from us. Then we continued our surreal surf upstream through the miasma of cordite and smoke.

A Navy petty officer asked, "How's it going, colonel?"

"I gotta tell you, chief, this isn't my bag," I responded.

"What just happened is pretty much standard down here, sir," he replied. "Welcome to the Brown Water Navy."

This Apocalypse Now-type vignette took place in 1970, when I was running the advisory side of the 44th Special Zone. Along with primarily U.S. Army Special Forces and South Vietnamese Ranger units, a number of Brown Water naval units also fell under my control. Our combined job was to cut off the movement of communist troops and supplies out of Cambodia.

Staying close to troops

Since it was always my standard drill as a commander to stay in close touch with what was going down, I spent a lot of time in the boonies with the troops under my control. But during that year, I did the small-boat thing only twice. Why? Because as an infantry grunt, I simply didn't like the odds. And since those hair-raising trips, my steel pot has always been off to those sailors.

Now a number of war veterans have picked the campaign-stumping season to question the first Purple Heart that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry received during his four months as a small-boat skipper — where one day out on Vietnam's rivers and canals was a lifetime, and four months had to have been an eternity.

That Purple Heart was one of three awarded to Kerry. (He also won Silver and Bronze stars.) His critics — who incidentally never served under Kerry on his swift boat — are saying his particular wound wasn't serious enough to warrant the award.

But the Pentagon regulation governing the Purple Heart reads: "A wound which necessitates treatment by a medical officer and which is received in action with an enemy."

So — minor or major — a wound is a wound.

Does that fact cheapen the value of the medal? During the ongoing conflict in Iraq, several U.S. military grunts have complained to me that while their bravery has gone generally unrecognized, the awards system has been unfairly tipped in favor of officers. In fact, I've written about an Army general who put himself in for a Silver Star merely for being in Iraq. And an Air Force bomber crew received the Distinguished Flying Cross for dropping a bomb from 30,000 feet onto a home where Saddam Hussein was believed to be hiding.

More recently, plans to award Bronze Stars to the Army's 800th Military Police Brigade were dropped after a report by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba and photographs were released about prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.

The awards system has always been fraught with abuse, but for anyone who has ever served in combat, the difference between earning a Purple Heart and death is, indeed, very slim.

Former Navy doctor Louis Letson clearly recalls treating Kerry and removing a small piece of metal from his arm with forceps, bandaging that wound and returning him to duty. And when Kerry was hit, he was certainly engaged with the enemy and in harm's way.

In fact, if the fragment Letson removed had been slightly larger and struck the lieutenant between the eyes, Kerry's award would no longer be a current-events issue — since he'd be planted in Arlington National Cemetery instead of campaigning to be the next occupant of the Oval Office nearby.

Medals were prized

Reports say Kerry was an aloof, gung-ho, super-ambitious, young stud whose eye was already on the White House and whose role model was Navy war hero Jack Kennedy. Like a lot of soldiers and sailors who valiantly served in Vietnam, he was eager to come home, but probably just as eager to scoop up the golden gongs that came his way. It's also worth noting that medals for officers were especially prized as magic steppingstones that could help propel the recipients onward and upward.

Under the circumstances, it wouldn't have made sense for Kerry to ask his commander to rescind the automatic orders for a Purple Heart — our country's first decoration. (It was instituted in 1782 and awarded originally only for bravery in combat. Subsequently, it was changed to honor our wounded and dead.)

On an earlier tour in Vietnam, one of my gallant soldiers, a draftee named Don Wallace, picked up seven Purple Hearts in less than a year without ever being hospitalized. Most of "Ole Magnet Butt's" wounds were easily patched up by "Doc" Holley, our battalion surgeon. But any one of them could have shut off his lights forever.

Jerry Sullivan, another trooper in the same "Hardcore Battalion," was wounded just once. He spent five years in hospitals and still lives in agony.

Whose Purple Hearts were more deserved? Should Wallace have measured his hits and turned down Purple Hearts for his smaller wounds? I don't think so.

But I do think that Kerry's Purple Heart wouldn't be considered problematic if he weren't a presidential candidate. The grousers, to a man, seem to be simply passing on secondhand bilge that they ought to stow in their sea bags and lay off.

The Purple Heart deserves less petty quantifying and more respect.

No one should play politics with any warrior's wounds.

David H. Hackworth, a retired U.S. Army colonel, is a King Features syndicated columnist and author of the recent best seller about Vietnam, Steel My Soldiers' Hearts. He was awarded eight Purple Hearts during 26 years as a soldier."
Thank you Senator Kerry for your service to America!

America needs your leadership at the helm.

There will always be those who will throw mud and smear patriots that challenge the staus quo. But your voice is needed in America!

Keep on Coming John! We have got your back!


Thursday, January 04, 2007

About Senator Kerry's First Purple Heart

In the 2004 election, Senator John Kerry did not pay much or enough attention to the Swift Boat Veterans who were a front for the Republican Party attack machine.

As has been reported:
"A group funded by the biggest Republican campaign donor in Texas began running an attack ad Aug. 5 in which former Swift Boat veterans claim Kerry lied to get one of his two decorations for bravery and two of his three purple hearts.
But the veterans who accuse Kerry are contradicted by Kerry's former crewmen, and by Navy records.

One of the accusers says he was on another boat "a few yards" away during the incident which won Kerry the Bronze Star, but the former Army lieutenant whom Kerry plucked from the water that day backs Kerry's account. In an Aug. 10 opinion piece in the conservative Wall Street Journal , Rassmann (a Republican himself) wrote that the ad was "launched by people without decency" who are "lying" and "should hang their heads in shame."

And on Aug. 19, Navy records came to light also contradicting the accusers. One of the veterans who says Kerry wasn't under fire was himself awarded a Bronze Star for aiding others "in the face of enemy fire" during the same incident."
This report continues:
"Two who appear in the ad say Kerry didn't deserve his first purple heart. Louis Letson, a medical officer and Lieutenant Commander, says in the ad that he knows Kerry is lying about his first purple heart because “I treated him for that.” However, medical records provided by the Kerry campaign to do not list Letson as the “person administering treatment” for Kerry’s injury on December 3, 1968 . The person who signed this sick call report is J.C. Carreon, who is listed as treating Kerry for shrapnel to the left arm.

In his affidavit, Letson says Kerry's wound was self-inflicted and does not merit a purple heart. But that's based on hearsay, and disputed hearsay at that. Letson says “the crewman with Kerry told me there was no hostile fire, and that Kerry had inadvertently wounded himself with an M-79 grenade.” But the Kerry campaign says the two crewmen with Kerry that day deny ever talking to Letson.

On Aug. 17 the Los Angeles Times quoted Letson as giving a slightly different account than the one in his affidavit. The Times quotes him as saying he heard only third-hand that there had been no enemy fire. According to the Times, Letson said that what he heard about Kerry's wounding came not from other crewmen directly, but through some of his own subordinates. Letson was quoted as saying the information came from crewmen who were "just talking to my guys … There was not a firefight -- that's what the guys related. They didn't remember any firing from shore."

Letson also insisted to the Times that he was the one who treated Kerry, removing a tiny shard of shrapnel from Kerry's arm using a pair of tweezers. Letson said Carreon, whose signature appears on Kerry's medical record, was an enlisted man who routinely made record entries on his behalf. Carreon signed as "HM1," indicating he held the enlisted rank of Hospital Corpsman First Class.

Also appearing in the ad is Grant Hibbard, Kerry’s commanding officer at the time. Hibbard’s affidavit says that he “turned down the Purple Heart request,” and recalled Kerry's injury as a "tiny scratch less than from a rose thorn."

That doesn't quite square with Letson's affidavit, which describes shrapnel "lodged in Kerry's arm" (though "barely.")

Hibbard also told the Boston Globe in an interview in April 2004 that he eventually acquiesced about granting Kerry the purple heart.

Hibbard: I do remember some questions on it. . .I finally said, OK if that's what happened. . . do whatever you want

Kerry got the first purple heart after Hibbard left to return to the US." gives a more complete explanation of Senator Kerry's first Purple Heart:
"Kerry and crewmates blew up the smugglers' beached sampans and then headed back to Cam Ranh Bay. "I never saw where the piece of shrapnel had come from, and the vision of the men running like gazelles haunted me," Kerry continued. "It seemed stupid. My gunner didn't know where the people were when he first started firing. The M-16 bullets had kicked up the sand way to the right of them as he sprayed the beach, slowly walking the line of fire over to where the men had been leaping for cover. I had been shouting directions and trying to un-jam my gun. The third crewman was locked in a personal struggle with the engine, trying to start it. I just shook my head and said, 'Jesus Christ.' It made me wonder if a year of training was worth anything." Kerry, never trying to inflate the incident, called it a "half-ass action." Nevertheless, the escapade introduced Kerry to the V.C. and earned him his first Purple Heart.

As generally understood, the Purple Heart is given to any U.S. citizen wounded in wartime service to the nation. Giving out Purple Hearts increased in 1968 as the United States Navy started sending swift boats up rivers in the Mekong Delta. Sailors -- no longer safe on aircraft carriers or battleships in the Gulf of Tonkin -- were starting to bleed, a lot. Vice Adm. Elmo Zumwalt himself would pin the medal on John Kerry at An Thoi about six weeks after the doctor at the Cam Ranh base took the shrapnel out of the young officer's right arm. "He called me in New York to tell me he had been wounded," his then girlfriend and later wife, Julia Thorne, remembered. "I was worried sick, scared to death that John or one of my brothers was going to die. He reassured me that he was OK."
As Salon explains, the 2004 election was about trying to destroy Senator Kerry, a true American Vietnam hero who was running against a draft-dodging pair of politicians. They continue:
"The name of the game is to find a conservative ex-Vietnam hand to say something negative about Kerry. It's an automatic newsmaker, guaranteed to get picked up by, the Weekly Standard, Rush Limbaugh, the New York Post and other conservative outlets. At issue is an attempt to downgrade Kerry's Vietnam War heroism. The major anti-Kerry Vietnam War Internet complaint, it seems, echoes Hibbard: that his minor wounds weren't big enough to warrant Purple Hearts. Unfortunately neither the Boston Globe nor New York Post takes the time to explain to readers that Purple Hearts are not given out to soldiers/sailors for the size of the wound. Only by the grace of God did the hot shrapnel that pierced Kerry's arm not enter his heart or brain or eye.

For the record, Purple Hearts are given for the following enemy-related injuries:

a) Injury caused by enemy bullet, shrapnel or other projectile created by enemy action.

b) Injury caused by enemy-placed mine or trap.

c) Injury caused by enemy-released chemical, biological or nuclear agent.

d) Injury caused by vehicle or aircraft accident resulting from enemy fire.

e) Concussion injuries caused as a result of enemy-generated explosions.

Examples of injuries or wounds which clearly do not qualify for award of the Purple Heart are as follows:

a) Frostbite or trench foot injuries.

b) Heat stroke.

c) Food poisoning not caused by enemy agents.

d) Chemical, biological, or nuclear agents not released by the enemy.

e) Battle fatigue.

f) Disease not directly caused by enemy agents.

g) Accidents, to include explosive, aircraft, vehicular and other accidental wounding not related to or caused by enemy action.

Given the hurly-burly circumstance of Dec. 2, 1968, Kerry -- and the other men on the mission -- are not sure whether they were hit by enemy fire or if shrapnel from one of the other men on the Boston Whaler injured Kerry. It could have even been Kerry's own M-16 backfiring that caused the shrapnel wound. It doesn't really matter. The requirement makes it clear that you are awarded a Purple Heart for "Injury caused by enemy bullet, shrapnel or other projectile created by enemy action." Does anybody dispute that Kerry's wound was created by enemy action? As the stipulation also makes clear, Kerry would have been awarded a Purple Heart even if he never bled, if, for example, he had suffered a concussion from a grenade. So to set the record straight: Kerry deserved his first Purple Heart -- period. To say otherwise is to distort the reality of the medal.

Unfortunately, the Boston Globe and New York Post stories omit fully reporting the bylaws. They present Hibbard at face value, downplaying the fact that he is a Republican criticizing a fellow veteran hoping to cause him public embarrassment. According to the Globe, Hibbard -- in classic blowhard fashion -- said Kerry "had a little scratch on his forearm, and he was holding a piece of shrapnel." Adding further verbal insult, Hibbard apparently claimed: "I've had thorns from a rose that were worse." The straight-faced Globe reporter, in fact, claims that Hibbard told him that Kerry's wound resembled a "scrape from a fingernail." Not included in either newspaper account, however, is Kerry's medical report from the incident. He shared it with me last year when I was writing "Tour of Duty." It reads: "3 DEC 1968 U.S. NAVAL SUPPORT FACILITY CAM RANH BAY RVN FPO Shrapnel in left arm above elbow. Shrapnel removed and appl. Bacitracin. Ret. to duty." Is shrapnel removed from an arm really like a "scrape from a fingernail"? Or a thorn prick? The answer, of course, as any sensible person can surmise, is no."
The Salon article concludes:
"According to Kerry, who should know, the doctor wrapped a clean white bandage around his arm. After the procedure he rightfully put in for a Purple Heart. Kerry clearly met the requirements -- as listed above -- for deserving one. From the hospital room Kerry returned to duty. That's apparently when he held the shrapnel out in his palm for Hibbard to see.

The Globe, however, let Hibbard off the hook, no serious questions asked. On the one hand he claimed Kerry was holding his shrapnel and then he also claims it was a scratch. Are we to believe that following his surgical procedure Kerry went to Hibbard and ripped off his battle dressing to show him the wound that looked like a "scrape from a fingernail"? Or is Hibbard simply surmising it was a thorn prick? Worse still, Hibbard now claims that he was opposed to Kerry being awarded the Purple Heart. Really? Then why didn't he fight against it harder? His superficial answer can be found in the Globe: "I do remember some questions, some correspondence about it. I finally said, 'Ok, if that's what happened ... do whatever you want.' After that I don't know what happened. Obviously, he got it. I don't know how." Does this sound like a reliable source? Is that fuzzy-mindedness worth reporting as serious news? Why wasn't Hibbard asked why he stayed quiet for 35 years?

Let me offer Hibbard an answer to his question. The U.S. Navy chose to award Kerry a Purple Heart because he qualified for it. Only a fool -- or an exceedingly modest man -- wouldn't apply for a Purple Heart that was due him. Kerry was neither. But Kerry did not receive it because, as the Post claims, he had "strong ties to the Kennedy machine in Massachusetts (Bobby Kennedy speechwriter Adam Walinsky wrote Kerry's famous 1971 antiwar Washington speech)." Kerry's only tie to the "Kennedy machine" was that as a college student he slapped a "Ted Kennedy for U.S. Senate" bumper sticker on his VW and campaigned for a summer around Cape Cod. As for Walinsky writing Kerry's famous April 22, 1971, speech/testimony -- it's utter nonsense. Walinsky has consistently denied the rumor. At his Boston home Kerry has a file brimming with his various drafts of the speech/testimony. He, in fact, had delivered parts of the speech months beforehand. Why is it so hard to accept the fact that Kerry -- like thousands of other Vietnam Vets -- was awarded a Purple Heart as a small token of appreciation for risking his life for his country?

Back in 1964 Bob Dylan wrote a lyric for the song "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)." At one point in it he asks whether nothing in American life is "really sacred." When retired U.S. naval officers, 35 years after the fact, start whining to the press that a war wound wasn't big enough to warrant a Purple Heart -- and the Boston Globe goes along for the ride -- you realize Dylan's prophecy. Today the tabloids truly are king. Call me naive, or too pro-veteran, but it seems to me we should be thanking every Purple Heart recipient for their duty to country, not demanding of them explanations for why their wounds weren't bigger or fatal. Ridicule Kerry on his liberal Senate record, or so-called aloofism, or even his outspoken Vietnam Veterans Against the War protests, but leave his old battle scars alone."
Enough said.

Senator Kerry fought hard for America in Vietnam. I am proud of him.

He recognized injustice in Vietnam and fought against a misguided foreign policy that cost Americans 10's of thousands of American lives. I am proud of him for that too.

He backed the President early on in Iraq along with almost every Senator. He has admitted his mistake and wants America to set a timetable for withdrawal of our soldiers. I am proud of him for this as well.

He flubbed a line that was totally distorted by the right-wing, and when requested to drop out of sight by the Democratic leadership, he got out of the way. He was a good soldier in 2006, and against his own desire to confront the Swift Boaters, he got out of the public view. I don't agree with him doing this. But I am proud of his humility in seeking to act in the way that would forward the Democratic Party. I am proud of him for that as well.

But I am not proud of Americans who seek to denigrate his military record while overlooking the military record of their Republicans. No veteran should smear another veteran like the Swift Boaters are continuing to do.

When Senator Kerry spoke at the Winter Soldier testimony, he spoke about American Foreign Policy that had led to atrocities like My Lai.

When Senator Kerry protests the American policies in Iraq, when he asks for this nation to bring the soldiers home, he is not failing to support our troops. It is folly to believe that we must continue to support sending soldiers to die for a mistake...that we can express our greatest support for our fighting forces by sending them out on the streets of Baghdad to police a civil war between Muslim sects.

Senator Kerry brings first-hand experience as a Vietnam War Veteran to this discussion. But he has not been blinded by his service. He is not blinded by nationalism that knows no criticism of our own failures. He is wiser than that.

And for all of these things, I shall not be quiet when Swift Boaters are afoot once again, spreading their hate, spreading their lies, and spreading distortions of truth about a great American veteran who confronted an enemy abroad and who now has to be attacked by fellow Americans.

Keep on Coming John! We have got your back!


A Letter From Cindy Sheehan

There are those who are still obsessed with Senator Kerry's botched joke. They feel that he has done a terrible thing to the soldiers. Imagine that an accidental comment that some might have improperly interpreted to be a slur on soldiers.

Senator Kerry was slurring our President who has involved us in an unnecessary war of choice. A war that has left over 3,000 young American men and women dead and thousands more injured. For nothing. So that we can see a lynch mob hang up the former dictator Saddam? So that we can turn the reins of power over to a Shiite government that seeks to form closer ties with Iran? For oil that is not flowing?

This is what Cindy had to say. With credit to the Gold Star Families for Peace website.
"A Mile of Flags
11:00 AM Jan 01, 2007

A Mile of Flags
In Search of Peace
with Cindy Sheehan

Gerald Ford is dead. Every time I get a chance to turn on the TV I am incessantly reminded of this fact.

His body is lying in state on the same structure that has held up every dead president’s body since Abraham Lincoln. His widow constantly has a military honor guard to support her, sometimes even physically. The flag draped coffin is never left alone: there is always a military presence there to guard and honor the body. We have seen Ford’s flag-draped coffin entering and exiting planes and cars. The tradition can be quite moving at times, but, to me, also quite frustrating and gut-wrenching.

On April 04, 2004, my son, Casey was killed in Iraq. Between April 04 and April 10, we had no idea how Casey was killed, or what condition his body was in. We heard from the son-in-law of a friend who was stationed at Dover Air Force base that he had “unloaded” Casey from the transport plane that brought him from God knows where. Baghdad? Germany? Ireland where he had just passed through alive barely 3 weeks earlier? On April 9 (Casey’s grandpa’s birthday) we heard that he would be delivered to San Francisco International Airport the following day.

The limo from the funeral home picked us up around noonish. Casey’s dad, brother, sisters, my Mom, his Auntie, I, and a few close friends took our final ride to pick Casey up from the airport on his final trip home. I couldn’t get it out of my mind that we had joyfully picked him up from the Sacramento airport less then 4 months earlier when he had come home for his last Christmas on earth.

The trip from Vacaville to the City by the Bay is never fun---there is always heavy traffic, but Saturdays are definitely the worst. San Francisco is certainly a popular weekend destination. This trip to “The City” as we Northern Californians call it, would be the most nightmarish trip of my life.

When we arrived at SFO, our limo pulled up to the United Airlines loading dock. Casey’s body in his coffin, wrapped in a box had already arrived so we stood around and watched the United dock workers load Casey into the back of the hearse. If I remember correctly, about 99% of Casey’s collected loved ones were sobbing uncontrollably and trying to comfort each other, the reamining 1% stood alone in anguished and shocked bewilderment. This is the “honorable” way that Casey was delivered to us. And to make matters worse, his “honor” guard wasn’t with us yet---so we had to sit on the curb under a 101 Freeway off ramp for over 30 minutes waiting for him.

On December 31st, our 3000th child was killed for the lies of another president. While Gerald Ford lies in state, our 3000th troop will be brought home on his final airplane flight in the cargo area. This fine young example of humanity will be sneaked into the USA as if he, and not his Commander in Chief, were a criminal. His family will be left to mourn alone and his body will not be guarded night and day. After the funeral (that Bloody George will not attend), he will be forgotten by the country that sent him to die in a war that is as corrupt as the day is long, but his family will never be able to recover from his loss.

The news channels are infusing us with coverage of Ford’s pomp and circumstance and CNN Headline News gave 10 seconds to the 3000th American casualty of the Iraq bloody blunder. Why is a soldier’s life less honorable than a president’s life? If our soldiers are worthless to the American people, where do the 655,000 innocent Iraqis that have been slaughtered by Bloody BushCo fit in to daily consumeristic consciousness?

Yesterday, Camp Casey in Crawford, Tx, placed 3000 American flags down Prairie Chapel Road. The flags, which we planted about 12-16 inches apart extended for approximately a mile on each side down the road. The visual was somber, touching, and very reverent. We decided that yesterday was not a day for politics, but a day to honor our young people that have been so dishonored by the man on that same road who spends his days clearing brush while contemplating signing more death orders and his nights sleeping like a baby.

Being a peace activist is not a very safe position in Crawford, Tx. One of our neighbors came out with a shot-gun and threatened to shoot if we put flags in front of her property. Since the ditches are public property, and we believe that we are honoring the brave souls who are brave and dedicated, we put some in front of her home. When one of our Camp Caseyites went back this morning to pick up the flags, she had broken every one of them that we had put in front of her house. We already knew that many people in Crawford hate the sight of crosses, but we thought that the American flag would be a safe symbol that all of us, being patriotic Americans every one, could agree upon. Apparently, some people don’t like to visualize a number that was made possible by their support of serial killers.

After we had finished our memorial to our fallen heroes, we ciphered out a very sobering visual. If we put a symbol for each Iraqi death along a road, it would take up 220 miles of road, on each side! That is a road that would stretch from Crawford to Houston. From Baghdad to Vacaville and from Falluja to Crawford, and many points along the way, the heartache and mayhem just continue. Sorrow for war is born by loving, caring families on both sides of the conflict and profit and satisfaction are born with callous disregard for humanity on the other side---while any kind physical, financial, emotional, or political risk is minimal to the war-mongers, to say the least.

While millions of Americans, ordinary citizens, politicians, or news media, were very busy NOT thinking of 655,000 plus lives stolen and millions more lives destroyed, we at Camp Casey spent all New Year’s Eve day with our sorrow and with our devastating and totally un-called for and unnecessary losses.

May 2007 make such memorials obsolete.

The sorrow for the ones already gone will always be with us, but only grass-roots activism that is unrelenting and heartfelt will prevent more sorrow.

May 2007 see a massive dedication, or re-dedication to a Peace Surge."
While I do not claim to agree with everything Cindy Sheehan does, she knows that her son paid the ultimate price of our involvement in Iraq.

She knows that Senator Kerry is working to prevent other mothers from paying that horrendous price for the war.

His joke didn't kill anyone.

Those that "fixed the facts" are responsible for the death and dismemberment of thousands of young American men and women. Not Senator Kerry's bad joke.

For those who would like to smear the Senator, a true decorated Veteran, and place blinders on their own eyes, avoiding staring at the reality that confronts us, let them wallow in the mud of their own invention.

As for me, I am continuing to support Senator John Kerry for President in 2008 as long as he is interested in the job. Keep on Coming John! We have got your back!


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Coolest 'Cats' on the Web!

If you haven't visited Democrafty and DreamingofKerry's website, We Love John Kerry, then please stop by today!

They have been kind enough to send many of you visitors here from there, and as we all wait for Senator Kerry to announce his 2008 plans, maybe it is time to return the favor and tell you those two are the coolest "cats" on the web!

Have a wonderful 2007 Kerrycrats!