Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Young Marine Speaks Out

I heard this letter read on the Mike Malloy Show of Dec. 14th and apparently Randi Rhodes also read it on her show.

"This letter was written by Philip Martin. He has been a Marine for 2 years. He is in the infantry (a "grunt"), and spent 7 months in the al-Anbar province of Iraq. He went on more than 180 combat patrols in and outside of the city of Fallujah, where he was hit with 2 IEDs (luckily never injured) and was involved in a number of firefights. He is currently stationed in Twentynine Palms, CA, and due to return to Iraq for a second deployment in April 2007. He is 21-years-old. "

By Philip Martin
I'm sick and tired of this patriotic, nationalistic and fascist crap. I stood through a memorial service today for a young Marine that was killed in Iraq back in April. During this memorial a number of people spoke about the guy and about his sacrifice for the country. How do you justify 'sacrificing' your life for a war which is not only illegal, but is being prosecuted to the extent where the only thing keeping us there is one man's power, and his ego. A recent Marine Corps intelligence report that was leaked said that the war in the al-Anbar province is unwinnable. It said that there was nothing we could do to win the hearts and minds, or the military operations in that area. So I wonder, why are we still there? Democracy is not forced upon people at gunpoint. It's the result of forward thinking individuals who take the initiative and risks to give their fellow countrymen a better way of life.
When I joined I took an oath. In that oath I swore to protect the Constitution of the United States. I didn't swear to build democracies in countries on the other side of the world under the guise of "national security." I didn't join the military to be part of an Orwellian ("1984") war machine that is in an obligatory war against whoever the state deems the enemy to be so that the populace can be controlled and riled up in a pro-nationalistic frenzy to support any new and oppressive law that will be the key to destroying the enemy. Example given – the Patriot Act. So aptly named, and totally against all that the constitution stands for. President Bush used the reactionary nature of our society to bring our country together and to infuse into the national psyche a need to give up their little-used rights in the hope to make our nation a little safer. The same scare tactics he used to win elections. He drones on and on about how America and the world would be a less safe place if we weren't killing Iraqis, and that we'd have to fight the terrorists at home if we weren't abroad. In our modern day emotive society this strategy (or strategery?) works, or had worked, up until last month's elections.
My point in this; to show that America was never nationalistic. If anything they were Statalistic (giving their allegiance to the state of their residence).

You'd do yourself a disservice by not reading the entire letter.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ching Chong Rosie

What is going on with Rosie O'Donnell?
In a Dec. 5 segment, O'Donnell joked about how Danny DeVito's recent — and seemingly drunken — appearance on the ABC daytime talk show had become international news.
"You know, you can imagine in China it's like `ching chong, ching chong chong, Danny DeVito, ching chong chong chong, drunk, ``The View, ching chong.' "

Here's the clip:

" You know it was never (my) intent to mock," O'Donnell said on Thursday's show (12/7), "and I'm sorry for those people who felt hurt or were teased on the playground. But I'm also gonna give you a fair warning that there's a good chance I'll do something like that again, probably in the next week — not on purpose. Only 'cause it's how my brain works."

For those that demanded an apology, "there's a good chance I'll do something like that again" doesn't really cut it, does it?

But let's put things in perspective: Asians were insulted. Some have slammed her for her insensitive stereotype including conservative Michelle Malkin. But Malkin goes on a tirade and tries somehow to make it political, calling O'Donnell "one of the Left's loudest voices", and a "holier-than-thou liberal celebrity". She then compares her mockery to former Sen. Al D'Amato's mockery of Judge Lance Ito, for which he later apologized on the Senate floor.

You're comparing a comedienne with a politician?! Hey Michelle, didn't you write a book approving the Japanese internment during WWII? You can't have it both ways, or is it acceptible because you're Filipino?

Don't get me wrong, I am not a Rosie fan. I happen to think she fell off the deep end since she came out to the world. And her rant regarding Kelly Ripa's incident with Clay Aiken doesn't help matters. It's not very smart to call Ripa a homophobe when Aiken hasn't claimed he is homosexual. Oops! But let's lighten up.

O'Donnell is/was a comedienne. If you watch the video clip in context, it's not nearly as inflammatory as some are trying to make it. If she decided to go with France instead of China and spoke french jibberish, would we be hearing as much? There was no intention to harm. It wasn't about Chinese newscasters, it was about Danny DeVito.

In my opionion, some of us have gotten too politically correct. Everyone is walking on egg shells after the Michael Richards fiasco and now it seems white comedians aren't allowed to offend anyone. I suppose Jeff Foxworthy is out of business. Or are rednecks still in season?

Let's just put a moratorium on comedians - you can comment on and satirize anything BUT race, religion and sexual orientation. Oh, and let's throw in obese drug addicts and anorexics with big feet... but we wouldn't want to offend Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, would we?

Convert Or Die!

So what are you getting your kid for Christmas? How about this new and exciting video game where players get to convert non-believers or mow them down? I kid you not.

"Left Behind: Eternal Forces" is selling like hotcakes in stores everywhere including Wal-Marts, Best-Buys, Sam's Clubs and others. The Campaign to Defend the Constitution and the Christian Alliance for Progress, two online political groups, plan to demand that Wal-Mart dump the PC game inspired by a series of Christian novels that are hugely popular, especially with teens. Protesters are targeting Wal-Mart, where the game retails for $39.96, because it is one of the biggest video game sellers in the United States.

In Left Behind, set in perfectly apocalyptic New York City, the Antichrist is personified by fictional Romanian Nicolae Carpathia, secretary-general of the United Nations and a People magazine "Sexiest Man Alive."

Players can choose to join the Antichrist's team, but of course they can never win on Carpathia's side. The enemy team includes fictional rock stars and folks with Muslim-sounding names, while the righteous include gospel singers, missionaries, healers and medics. Every character comes with a life story. When asked about the Arab and Muslim-sounding names, Frichner said the game does not endorse prejudice. But "Muslims are not believers in Jesus Christ" -- and thus can't be on Christ's side in the game.
"That is so obvious," he said.

Jeff Gerstmann, senior editor at, an online publication, said the game isn't popular. The game itself, which Gamespot rated 3.4 out of a possible 10, has lots of glitches. "And it's kind of crazy," Gerstmann said. "One of the evil characters is a rock musician. ... If you get too close to him your spirit is lowered."

Convert to Christianity or be killed... good thing this doesn't happen in real life... oh wait... nevermind. Seems a little different than the "do unto others" idea that I always associated with the little baby Jesus.

Tim Johnson and the Senate Majority

Senator Tim Johnson, a Democrat from South Dakota, was in intensive care today after undergoing surgery late Wednesday night for a brain hemorrhage, a development that highlighted the fragility of the Democrats’ new majority in the Senate.

If Mr. Johnson’s health problems prevent him from serving, his replacement would be named by Gov. Michael Rounds of South Dakota, a Repulican. If Mr. Rounds named a Republican, the 51-49 Democratic majority in the new Senate would become a 50-50 split. Vice President Dick Cheney would break tie votes, effectively giving Republicans control of the chamber.

Currently, there is no law to force a member of the Senate or House of Representatives to resign due to incapacitation and in the past, some ill members of Congress have missed substantial time.
In 1969, two years into his fourth term, South Dakota Sen. Karl E. Mundt, a Republican, suffered a stroke and was unable to continue voting. He offered to resign, but only on the condition that South Dakota's governor appoint Mundt's wife to fill the vacancy. The governor refused, and Mundt retained the Senate seat, even while missing three full years of votes. He even remained on three committess until 1972, when the Senate Republican Conference stripped him of these assignments.
Similarly, in the 1940s, Sen. Carter Glass of Virginia missed two years' worth of votes due to illness—he was 87 and in failing health—but refused to retire even as newspapers from across his state pressured him to step down.

According to information from the Senate historian cited on, at least nine senators have taken extended absences from the Senate for health reasons since 1942. Robert F. Wagner, Democrat of New York, was unable to attend any sessions of the 80th or 81st Congress from 1947 to 1949 because of a heart ailment. Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, missed about seven months in 1988 after surgery for a brain aneurysm. And David Pryor, Democrat of Arkansas, suffered a heart attack in April 1991 and returned to the Senate in September that year.

If either house of Congress wanted to institute disciplinary action for absentee representatives, they would have to amend their rules of operation. But it's unlikely that members would vote to give themselves stringent attendance guidelines.

Politics aside, let's all hope Senator Johnson has a full recovery.

Peter Boyle Dies at 71

A former monk, a good friend of John Lennon (Lennon was his best man) and veteran actor in movies by Martin Scorsese and Mel Brooks, Emmy-winning actor Peter Boyle -- most recently known for his recurring role on "Everybody Loves Raymond" -- died Tuesday in New York. He was 71.
The actor's publicist, Jennifer Plante, told the Associated Press that he had been suffering from multiple myeloma and heart disease.

Rest in peace.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Evangelicals in the Pentagon?

From the Washington Post:
Inquiry Sought Over Evangelical Video

"A military watchdog group is asking the Defense Department to investigate whether seven Army and Air Force officers violated regulations by appearing in uniform in a promotional video for an evangelical Christian organization.
In the video, much of which was filmed inside the Pentagon
, four generals and three colonels praise the Christian Embassy, a group that evangelizes among military leaders, politicians and diplomats in Washington. Some of the officers describe their efforts to spread their faith within the military."

Now I don't particularly care if anyone practices their religious beliefs. Everyone is different. You can be Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, it doesn't matter. But in my opinion, when it comes to matters of government, you leave your religion at the door. Otherwise, we will end up living in a theocracy, not a democracy. I don't want a military officials to make decisions on what Jesus Christ wants him to do after prayerful meditation.


The phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in the Constitution, but rather is derived from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a group identifying themselves as the Danbury Baptists. In that letter, quoting the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, he writes: "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."

Jesus Christ is sometimes credited with the invention of the separation of church and state when he advised his followers, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." (Matthew 22:21)

I advise you to watch the video, and if you can stomach it all the way to the end, tell me it doesn't scare you a little.

Courtesy of Crooks & Liars:
Quick Time Version
Windows Media Player Version

MSNBC: No Iraq Announcement Yet

This just in from MSNBC at 1:02pm:

"Now it looks like there won't be a pre-Christmas announcement for Iraq after all. Instead look for President Bush to announce a strategy change after the holiday. White House officials say there's still work to be done on the new plan and that the key is to get it done right. At the same time the offical says the delay does not reflect a plan for a major shift in direction by the Administration."

Outsourcing the Presidency

Well, it's still early but it seems that the Iraq Study Group was just another waste of time and money. Of the 79 recommendations in the report, Bush has inferred that he doesn't like any of them. Not a one. I find it a little disheartening but not surprising.

"A week after the bipartisan Iraq Study Group gave Bush 79 recommendations for changing direction in the unpopular Iraq war, Bush did not appear to be warming to some of the panel's major conclusions as he prepared his own plan."
From Dec.9th : Richard Perle, a prominent neoconservative and early advocate of invading Iraq, dismissed the panel as a “misadventure” that should be ignored. “
You don’t outsource the responsibilities of the commander in chief,” Mr. Perle said. “The whole thing is absurd.”

Outsourcing the Presidency? Well, I suppose one could look at it that way. I've also heard rumors that the panel was a 'come to the rescue' effort initiated by Bush Sr. But now I suppose that the term "outsourcing the presidency" has made it into the Republican talking points, because W. had this to say:

From Paul Krugman's NY Times Op-Ed piece on Dec.11th entitled "Outsourcer in Chief":

"According to U.S. News & World Report, President Bush has told aides that he won’t respond in detail to the Iraq Study Group’s report because he doesn’t want to “outsource” the role of commander in chief."

Hmm... sound familiar? Krugman then goes on to say that for an administration that has outsourced everything from a Coast Guard modernization program, to police training in Afghanistan, to FEMA evacuation techniques during Hurricane Katrina, they've all been a dismal failure.

The result of these three mentioned?

The Coast Guard spent $17 billion and Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman gave them "expensive ships that aren’t seaworthy. The Coast Guard ignored 'repeated warnings from its own engineers that the boats and ships were poorly designed and perhaps unsafe,' while 'the contractors failed to fulfill their obligation to make sure the government got the best price, frequently steering work to their subsidiaries or business partners instead of competitors."

"In Afghanistan, the job of training a new police force was outsourced to DynCorp International, a private contractor, under very loose supervision: when conducting a recent review, auditors couldn’t even find a copy of DynCorp’s contract to see what it called for. And $1.1 billion later, Afghanistan still doesn’t have an effective police training program."

FEMA's "job of evacuating people from disaster areas was given to a trucking logistics firm, Landstar Express America. When Hurricane Katrina struck, Landstar didn’t even know where to get buses. According to Carey Limousine, which was eventually hired, Landstar “found us on the Web site.”

Perhaps we can find someone on the internet who can do a better job than the worst president ever. After all, it's not like the next person to have the job can do worse... but, boy, are they going to have a major mess to clean up.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I know I'm late to the party...

...but I'm having some fun researching these videos. And Keith Olbermann does such a good job with these clips that I thought I'd share.
So here, for your viewing pleasure is the "Stay The Course" video. Hope you get a chuckle out of it before you become enraged by these lying bastards... again.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The New Way Forward - Another Catchphrase

It sounds wonderful, doesn't it? The new way forward. But its meaning is lost a little bit more every time it is uttered.

Watching President Bush's press conference the day after the Iraq Study Group was released was painful. Mr. Deer In The Headlights kept repeating the new catchphrase over and over and over again until it had lost all meaning. There he stood, trying to sell us the equilvalent of a book report by a fourth grader who didn't read the book, just the title and the jacket cover.

Oh, he said he read it. He even wanted extra credit for it. "Some reports are issued and just gather dust," Bush said. "And truth of the matter is, a lot of reports in Washington are never read by anybody. To show you how important this one is, I read it..."

It seems to me that he didn't even read the Executive Summary (the Cliff Notes version) that is prepared for everything that crosses the president's desk. But he went on: "...and our guest read it. The prime minister read -- read a report prepared by a commission. And this is important."
I was then waiting eagerly for the press to finally take Bush to task and ask him a difficult question, like "President Bush, of the 79 recommendations in the ISG report, is there one that particularly caught your attention? Can you explain it for us?" But nothing. And of course, he didn't offer any specific recommendations he would adopt, because HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT'S IN THE REPORT!
Now, the British press, on the other hand, still like to consider themselves actual journalists, so we then got this gem:
A British reporter quoted the Iraq Study Group report in describing the situation in Iraq as "grave and deteriorating." He noted that the president's language in his opening statement Thursday was weaker, calling the violence "unsettling."
The reporter wondered whether the president is in denial about how bad things are.

"It's bad in Iraq," the president shot back. "Does that help?", then snickered his addle-brained snicker.

Why are you laughing, George? It's not funny. Dead soldiers aren't funny. Dead Iraqi civilians aren't funny. Billions upon billions of dollars poured into an illegal war is not funny.
He had more to say:
"Make no mistake about it, I understand how tough it is, sir. I talk to families who die. I understand there's sectarian violence. I also understand that we're hunting down al-Qaida on a regular basis and we're bringing them to justice. I understand how hard our troops are working. I know how brave the men and women who wear the uniform are, and therefore, they'll have the full support of this government. I understand what long deployments mean to wives and husbands, and mothers and fathers, particularly as we come into a holiday season. I understand."

... Do you think he understands? He says he understands. We hear him say he understands. Does he understand what 'understand' means? Understand understand understand understand! See? After a while it doesn't even sound like a real word.

Now we all know what he meant to say was "I talk to the families of the soldiers who die", but I'm tired of figuring out what Bush means to say. I am tired of this dim-witted dolt stepping on his tougue again and again and everyone making excuses for his "simple talk". We're talking about the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD! We're not talking about a pencil salesman on a street corner. We're not talking about a sanitation worker... and I mean no offense to the pencil salesmen or sanitation workers of the world. At this point I'd rather have one of them be president because our current Commander in Chief is an embarrassment.

Besides, the notion that Bush talks to the families of the fallen is a lie as well. I'm sure of it. Bush doesn't talk to the families of the soldiers who die anymore than he reads reports, whether it be the Iraq Study Group or Presidential Daily Briefings. If he did speak to the almost 3,000 families of our fallen troops, he'd never be off the phone! Do you think he's sitting at his desk making anywhere from 5-25 phone calls a day?! Obviously not!

Has anyone also noticed that when Dubya is really screwed and has painted himself into a corner, he always has a news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at his side? Is this supposed to lend some kind of credibility to this war criminal? 'Well, if Blair's standing next to him, he must be telling the truth.' Again, obviously not. The only thing it's doing is ruining Blair's already damaged credibility.

So let's wait and see what happens. Let's wait a week or two and find out if "The New Way Forward" is a reality. Or maybe it will just become another catchphrase to join the Bush lexicon like "stay the course", "fomenting sectarian violence" and "mission accomplished".