Sunday, October 29, 2006

Guts

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Our world is often lacking in heroes and true courage is sometimes hard to find. Last week, I pointed out the article by Kevin Tillman. It took some serious guts to write those words. To cross through the doubt, deception and often bone-deep brainwashing that our societies are so filled with.

Here are some soldiers that have that measure of courage as well.

B'hatzlacha.....

Buyer's Remorse

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Last week I voted for Harold Ford Jr. for Senate in Tennessee.

Despite my misgivings about the entire Democratic Party in general and Ford's whole " I like to film campaign adds in church" thing.

I voted for him simply because he wasn't a Republican, and because his opponent, Bob Corker, is a corrupt good 'ol boy who reminds me way too much of Deputy Dawg from the old cartoons.

Earlier today I saw a television add for Ford that just made me want to burn my ballot in protest.

Corker's campaign has been running an add against Ford claiming that he "wants to give gays the right to marry" and " he wants to give the abotion pill to high-school kids" among other wonderful things.

Ford was so worried about this add that he did a rebuttal add saying that he didn't want to give teenagers abortion pills and, in large bold letters, VOTED FOR THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT. The rest of the rebuttal was fine with just having Ford narrate in his intense-yet-earnest way that makes him so dangerous to the talking-points crowd and intellectual midgets like Corker. But he wanted to make sure everyone watching knew where he stood on them gays wanting to marry.

Message received Harold.

Then there's this quote from Ford from yesterday's campaign stop in Paris, Tennessee:

HAROLD FORD, JR.: My friend Lincoln Davis who chairs our campaign says there are, there's one big difference between us and misfortunate Republicans when it comes to our faith: he said that Republicans fear the Lord; he said Democrats fear AND love the Lord .

This is now what passes for political debate in our nation. We love our imaginary friend more than they love their imaginary friend.

I knew who this guy was before I voted for him, but the race is a dead heat and we've got to try and do something to derail the Crazy Train that is our current government.....

I swore in 2004 when I voted for John Kerry I would never again vote for the lesser of two evils just to have a chance to win.

sigh

Suckered again.

Ruled by Faith

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It all makes a bit more sense now......

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Repairs

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I'm going to be doing some major repairs and re-loading of the blog template. There is a glitch somewhere in my template HTML that neither Blogger nor I can locate or repair. This is not my semi-annual tear-it-all-up-and-start-again blog murder. I just want to fix all the problems that are occuring with the graphics and even some comments and posts.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Powerful

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Kevin Tillman, brother of NFL player-turned-soldier Pat Tillman, has written an incredible indictment of the current status of the war in Iraq and the state of our nation.


You can feel the heat coming off of this one.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Farmers in the Field

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They're not wasting any time

A friend of mine asked me today "You don't actually think that the government is going to start throwing Americans in prison idefinitely without trial, do you?"

I'm constantly amazed at the ability my fellow Americans have for not being able to understand that we are not special. We are not exempt from history. Just because you want to close your eyes and pretend it's not happening or prefer to simply not think about it, won't stop what's coming. The only thing, the one and only thing that protects the American people from tyranny is the Constitution of the United States. Not the good will of the government. Not God. Not wishes or hopes.

Only the document that President Bush had referred to as "Just goddamned piece of paper."

If you listen to various mainstream news sources they will tell you that this law doesn't apply to Americans.

They are either unforgivably stupid or they are simply lying. Or a mixture of both.

From the Military Commissions Act of 2006:

"Any person is punishable as a principal under this chapter who commits an offense punishable by this chapter, or aids, abets, counsels, commands, or procures its commission,"

Another provision of the law states that "any person subject to this chapter who, in breach of an allegiance or duty to the United States, knowingly and intentionally aids an enemy of the United States, or one of the co-belligerents of the enemy [presumably U.S. military allies, such as Great Britain and Israel], shall be punished as a military commission ... may direct."(emphasis mine)

Anybody want to explain to me how a non-citizen could be "in breach of allegiance or duty to the United States"?


I also love how you are now considered an enemy combatant if you help groups that may be hostile to Israel.

Do I think that the government will begin wholesale roundups ofU.S. citizens today?

No.

But how about if there's another large scale "terrorist attack" on the United States?

How long after something like that do you think people who openly speak out against the government will be deemed to be "providing support for the enemy."


This descent is upon us. I never wanted to believe it. I kept thinking that somewhere, somehow, something would put a stop to this runaway train. But it's too late.

All that's left is follow this nightmare to it's logical conclusion.


"Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted,' that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these 'little measures'. . . must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. . . . Each act. . . is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow."-- Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free. The Germans: 1938-1945.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Last Voice

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10/18/06

Keith Olbermann and the damnable truth of it all.....

Olbermann: And lastly, as promised, a special Comment tonight on the signing of the Military Commissions Act and the loss of Habeas Corpus.

We have lived as if in a trance.

We have lived. as people in fear.

And now - our rights and our freedoms in peril - we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid of the wrong thing.

Therefore, tonight, have we truly become, the inheritors of our American legacy.

For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.

We have been here before - and we have been here before led here - by men better and wiser and nobler than George W. Bush.

We have been here when President John Adams insisted that the Alien and Sedition Acts were necessary to save American lives - only to watch him use those Acts to jail newspaper editors.

American newspaper editors, in American jails, for things they wrote, about America.

We have been here, when President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Espionage Act was necessary to save American lives - only to watch him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans, especially those he disparaged as "Hyphenated Americans," most of whom were guilty only of advocating peace in a time of war.

American public speakers, in American jails, for things they said, about America.

And we have been here when President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted that Executive Order 9-0-6-6 was necessary to save American lives - only to watch him use that Order to imprison and pauperize 110-thousand Americans.

While his man-in-charge.General DeWitt, told Congress: "It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen - he is still a Japanese."

American citizens, in American camps, for something they neither wrote nor said nor did - but for the choices they or their ancestors had made, about coming to America.

Each of these actions was undertaken for the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And each, was a betrayal of that for which the President who advocated them, claimed to be fighting.

Adams and his party were swept from office, and the Alien and Sedition Acts erased.

Many of the very people Wilson silenced, survived him, and one of them even ran to succeed him, and got 900-thousand votes ~ though his Presidential campaign was conducted entirely. from his jail cell.

And Roosevelt's internment of the Japanese was not merely the worst blight on his record, but it would necessitate a formal apology from the government of the United States, to the citizens of the United States, whose lives it ruined.

The most vital. the most urgent. the most inescapable of reasons.

In times of fright, we have been, only human.

We have let Roosevelt's "fear of fear itself" overtake us.

We have listened to the little voice inside that has said "the wolf is at the door; this will be temporary; this will be precise; this too shall pass."

We have accepted, that the only way to stop the terrorists, is to let the government become just a little bit like the terrorists.

Just the way we once accepted that the only way to stop the Soviets, was to let the government become just a little bit like the Soviets.

Or substitute. the Japanese.

Or the Germans.

Or the Socialists.

Or the Anarchists.

Or the Immigrants.

Or the British.

Or the Aliens.

The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And, always, always. wrong.

"With the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?"

Wise words.

And ironic ones, Mr. Bush.

Your own, of course, yesterday, in signing the Military Commissions Act.

You spoke so much more than you know, Sir.

Sadly - of course - the distance of history will recognize that the threat this generation of Americans needed to take seriously was you.

We have a long and painful history of ignoring the prophecy attributed to Benjamin Franklin that "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

But even within this history, we have not before codified, the poisoning of Habeas Corpus, that wellspring of protection from which all essential liberties flow.

You, sir, have now befouled that spring.

You, sir, have now given us chaos and called it order.

You, sir, have now imposed subjugation and called it freedom.

For the most vital. the most urgent. the most inescapable of reasons.

And - again, Mr. Bush - all of them, wrong.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has said it is unacceptable to compare anything this country has ever done, to anything the terrorists have ever done.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has insisted again that "the United States does not torture. It's against our laws and it's against our values" and who has said it with a straight face while the pictures from Abu Ghraib Prison and the stories of Waterboarding figuratively fade in and out, around him.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who may now, if he so decides, declare not merely any non-American citizens "Unlawful Enemy Combatants" and ship them somewhere - anywhere - but may now, if he so decides, declare you an "Unlawful Enemy Combatant" and ship you somewhere - anywhere.

And if you think this, hyperbole or hysteria ~ ask the newspaper editors when John Adams was President, or the pacifists when Woodrow Wilson was President, or the Japanese at Manzanar when Franklin Roosevelt was President.

And if you somehow think Habeas Corpus has not been suspended for American citizens but only for everybody else, ask yourself this: If you are pulled off the street tomorrow, and they call you an alien or an undocumented immigrant or an "unlawful enemy combatant" - exactly how are you going to convince them to give you a court hearing to prove you are not? Do you think this Attorney General is going to help you?

This President now has his blank check.

He lied to get it.

He lied as he received it.

Is there any reason to even hope, he has not lied about how he intends to use it, nor who he intends to use it against?

"These military commissions will provide a fair trial," you told us yesterday, Mr. Bush. "In which the accused are presumed innocent, have access to an attorney, and can hear all the evidence against them."

'Presumed innocent,' Mr. Bush?

The very piece of paper you signed as you said that, allows for the detainees to be abused up to the point just before they sustain "serious mental and physical trauma" in the hope of getting them to incriminate themselves, and may no longer even invoke The Geneva Conventions in their own defense.

'Access to an attorney,' Mr. Bush?

Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift said on this program, Sir, and to the Supreme Court, that he was only granted access to his detainee defendant, on the promise that the detainee would plead guilty.

'Hearing all the evidence,' Mr. Bush?

The Military Commissions act specifically permits the introduction of classified evidence not made available to the defense.

Your words are lies, Sir.

They are lies, that imperil us all.

"One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks," you told us yesterday. "said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America."

That terrorist, sir, could only hope.

Not his actions, nor the actions of a ceaseless line of terrorists (real or imagined), could measure up to what you have wrought.

Habeas Corpus? Gone.

The Geneva Conventions? Optional.

The Moral Force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed out.

These things you have done, Mr. Bush. they would be "the beginning of the end of America."

And did it even occur to you once sir - somewhere in amidst those eight separate, gruesome, intentional, terroristic invocations of the horrors of 9/11 - that with only a little further shift in this world we now know - just a touch more repudiation of all of that for which our patriots died -

Did it ever occur to you once, that in just 27 months and two days from now when you leave office, some irresponsible future President and a "competent tribunal" of lackeys would be entitled, by the actions of your own hand, to declare the status of "Unlawful Enemy Combatant" for, and convene a Military Commission to try, not John Walker Lindh, but George Walker Bush?

For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And doubtless, sir, all of them - as always - wrong.

Good night, and good luck

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

October 17, 2006

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Yesterday the President of the United States of America, George W. Bush, signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

This law gives the President the authority to deem any person, American citizen or not, an "enemy combatant" and confine them for an indefinite period of time without charges or trial.

It also makes it legal for any "enemy combatant", citizen or not, to be tortured for information.

This happened.

Here in America.

The President of the United States essentially named himself judge and jury over everyone in the entire world.

Some people are outraged.

Some people are trying to get the country to understand.

And some people are buying guns.

I've said it before: It's weird here in America. We're all going about our daily lives like this is still a nation of laws. Like things are like they were.

The President can imprison and torture you, me, or anyone if he so desires. Without charges. Without review.

I've suspected it for quite a while, but this makes it official.

America is dead.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Real Time

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Via Crooks and Liars Bill Maher tells it like it is.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Treason

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Lost amid the sports figures crashing into buildings and the Democrats forcing a poor congressman to send naughty messages to young boys, something important actually happened.

For the first time in fifty years, the United States has charged someone with treason.

Glenn Greenwald runs it down with his usual brilliance.

Interesting timing, no?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Amish

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This is is not my typical post. It's topical and I believe newsworthy but I'm not posting links with it because it's more of a spur-of-the-moment observational thing.

The Amish.

Now most of you regular readers here know that I have very little respect for religion of any sort. In my view religion can be traced directly to many of the problems facing mankind on any given day. Judaism, Islam, or my particular most-hated, Christianity, are all guilty of systematically working to destroy all that is good and real within the human spirit.

But I have to say, within the sphere of this particular shooting incident in Pennsylvania, the Amish have impressed the hell out of me

I know very little about the Amish. I know they are ultra-fundamentalist in their worldview. I know they speak German. I know they give their teenagers that have been raised in their sheltered world the opportunity to live life outside their world to see what he "real" world is like. I know they call us "the English".

So my knowledge of these strange folk is maybe just a little better than average, but I'm still woefully ignorant of their ways.

Until now, they seemed just another kooky cult. Much less harmful than most, but still a bunch of religious nuts.

Imagine my surprise when this horrific crime showed the world what people of genuine peace and faith actually do when attacked.

The following stories are entirely anecdotal. I'm sure I could track them down and link to them, but trust me, all of this I've heard reported several times in the mainstream media. Take that for whatever it's worth.

During the standoff, 13-year-old Marian Fisher appealed to the gunman, Charles Roberts, to shoot her first so as to buy time and perhaps life for the other children.

Anybody out there got that kind of guts? I don't.

The body of the killer had not even been removed from the scene when a group of Amish men went to Charles Roberts house to tell his wife that they didn't hold this crime against the family and that they forgave Roberts.

Want to try an imagine that scene? Here's the home of a man that just murdered several of your extended families' children and you go out of your way to quickly try and bring some sort of comfort.

You think that a group of Southern Baptists would do the same? A group of Muslims? Imagine if you will, a group of Orthodox Jews traveling into the West Bank to comfort the mother of a suicide bomber.

Over a hundred mourners from the Amish community attended the funeral of the killer.

Today the school where the shooting occurred was torn down. A day after the tragedy, the elders of the Amish community announced that they would do so because "one of the children was having nightmares about the school. "

One of the children was having nightmares.

A woman in South Carolina smothered her newborn twins today because they were crying too loudly. She then rolled over and went back to sleep.

Do I have to list how many ways we are monsters in America when it comes to children?

Lots of kids had nightmares about returning to Columbine. They walled off the library and left the rest of the school standing. It was rather new after all and was a state-of-the-art learning institution and the state would have lost tens of millions of dollars if they had torn it...........

One kid had nighmares and the Amish decided that was too much pain.

Who are these people?


AmI losing my angry edge? Do I suddenly think religion is a good thing? No.

Am I going to run away and join the Amish? No. There are too many video games I have yet to play. I've also fallen deeply in love with SpongeBob SquarePants and I just couldn't leave him and Patrick.

I don't know enough about the Amish to say that this behavior is atypical. I'm sure there are plenty of horror stories out there about life in their perfect little world.....

But between the bloodthirsty Christians screaming for war and the bloodthirsty Muslims screaming for war.....

It's just really refreshing to see someone live up to the teachings of their faith. To behave as if there really is some peaceful and good force guiding their actions.

And to do it in such a brave and honorable way.



Ron Kovic-Patriot

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The ever-dependable Nemo sent me a link to another brilliant writer who knows what the hell he's talking about.

The film version of Kovic's searing Born on the Fourth of July was in theaters when I was waiting for my own date to report to Parris Island. I saw it and was was moved by the story. Unfortunately I was too young to understand that what's past is prologue and Vietnam wasn't just bad because of the terrain and the brutal enemy, although that certainly was a large part of it. Vietnam was bad because of the government lies piled upon government lies and it amounted to millions of wasted lives.

But what did that have to do with today, right?

I stumbled upon Kovic's book after I left the Corps in the early 90's, a much wiser and infinitely angrier man. Even though I could appreciate how bold a man he was for the journey he made, it still didn't hit me where I live. The programming ran too deep. I could not reconcile the voice in my head telling me something was wrong with our society and the voice of Ron Kovic.

These days I hear you, Ron.These days I know where your anger comes from and your hope.

I just wish I could find your kind of courage.

This post is a perfect companion to the one below about Chris Hedges. Just as Hedges knows when a hellish meltdown is coming from his own painful experiences, so to does Ron Kovic know a terribly wrong and disastrous war when he sees it.



A quick aside about the new study listing 600,000 as the body count in Iraq. I have always believed that when the true final death toll of this little venture in Iraq is known, the world would recoil in horror.

600,000 is much closer to the truth, but it's still a low estimate.

When the true numbers are known everyone from the Limbaugh-type cheerleaders, the politicians, "newspeople", and bloggers will try to say "Duhhhhhh...we didn't know".

Don't..... let........ them.

Just as we won't forget the criminal administration who started this, we won't forget all of you mass-murder enablers.

And payback is a bitch.

Monday, October 09, 2006

As bad as it can get

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Something turned my eyes from the sputtering and confused response of the Bush administration to North Korea's nuclear test.

This article by Chris Hedges, one of my favorite authors and journalists.

This is so bad.

Chris Hedges is not an alarmist. He is not a foaming-at-the-mouth Bush hater with an axe to grind.

Chris Hedges is one of the most honest and clear-headed journalists out there. If he says we're on the brink of Armageddon you can take that to the bank.

This is so fucking bad.....

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Let The Day Start - Battlestar Galactica

There is a reason to go on living.

3rd season of Galactica is here!!!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

#@@$!#$$$@!!!!!!

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Once again an HTML glitch has moved my sidebar to the bottom of the page. As soon as the offending post is archived my links will be back where they belong.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Two Suns in the Sunset

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On October 4, 2006 the Assistant Secretary of State of the United States of America, Chris Hill, threatened to destroy North Korea if they test a nuclear weapon:

"We are not going to live with a nuclear North Korea," Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill told the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University on Wednesday. "We are not going to accept it."

"North Korea can have a future or it can have these weapons, it cannot have both."

The question of who gets to have nukes and who doesn't has always been one I have found infuriating. The United States has more nuclear weapons than any nation on earth. It is the only nation in history to use nuclear weapons against human beings.... twice.

And yet, America somehow feels it is the judge of who is deserving to have the bomb.

Here's the bottom line on this: Iran and North Korea want nuclear weapons so they can prevent the same exact disaster that befell Iraq. You know, invasion and occupation by the United States. All of this current sound and fury are simply over a test. We already know North Korea has the bomb, but we are simply unwilling to let them demonstrate it on an international stage.

We're afraid, I kid you not, that it might make us look weak.

And it might give other countries ideas.

They might get all uppity.

See, as per our new doctrine of the Bush Blitzkrieg, we can invade and occupy any nation that we suspect of terrorism-related-activity-idea-thingies.

But the U.S. doesn't like the idea of trying to invade a country that has a nuclear weapon. It might be somewhat bad for troop morale if an entire ground invasion force or aircraft carrier battle group were to simply disappear from the face of the earth in a flash.

The truth is America is a cowardly bully and wants to keep the deck stacked.

Here's the part that's really just priceless.

There has been no-zero-zilch-nada- ---no outcry from anyone that a senior member of the Bush administration has threatened the "future" of another nation if they simply test a weapon within their own borders.

No calls for clarification, apology, or retraction.

That's the worst part of all.

Nobody here gives a damn.











Sunday, October 01, 2006

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Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation


-Kahlil Gibran

Alas Babylon

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William Rivers Pitt sums up what is rapidly becoming the worst (and perhaps last) moment in the history of this nation.

Once again I have not blogged about this in any sufficient length, or really at all. Much like the continuing occupations and slaughters in the Middle East, what more can I say?

What is more horrifying than the truth right in front of us?

Many personal setbacks and some new heartbreaks have been distracting me from almost all but a cursory following of the news. It's an indication of just how bad the situation is that I'm somewhat grateful for the personal pain. I don't know how closely I want to view the national and international stages in the coming years.

(sigh)


And when the Second American Revolution comes, and make no mistake, it is coming, we will see.

We will see what we as Americans are truly made of.