Saturday, February 24, 2007

bin Laden, schmin Laden!

"I don't know whether we'll find him," Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, said in a speech to the Rotary Club of Fort Worth. "I don't know that it's all that important, frankly."

Hmmm... Osama bin Laden, mastermind of 9/11, murderer of over 3,000 American civilians, is capturing him really not that important? What is going on here? When did we become so lax?

Realistically, Schoomaker may be right. What if we get bin Laden? Then what? Al-Qaeda will most likely not fall apart, mainly because we're concentrating on Iraq instead. But it would do wonders psychologically for the citizens and a big boost to morale for the country and the troops, no?
Then again, perhaps this Administration doesn't want to fall into a habit of actually accomplishing missions.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Open Letter to Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)

Congressman Young,

Last week, you spoke on the House floor and apparently misquoted Abraham Lincoln when you said, "Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged."

I find it odd that Abraham Lincoln would have ever said something like that, and I was right. He never did. As you know probably know, just because you see it printed in a newspaper, especially the Washington Times or on a website that doesn’t check its facts, like Insight Magazine Online, doesn’t make it true. The same goes for the Nancy Pelosi plane request that she never requested and the madrassa that Barack Obama never attended. No, he isn’t a Muslim either.

Here is the Lincoln quote which I think you meant to recite:

"Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure.

Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after you have given him so much as you propose. If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us' but he will say to you 'be silent; I see it, if you don't.'

The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us."

Lincoln wrote these words while America was at war with Mexico, under the presidency of James Polk, and while Lincoln was a member of Congress. But Lincoln did more than talk about the fraud that had been used to launch that illegal and imperialistic war. He introduced a resolution demanding that Polk provide proof. Polk claimed to have launched that war only after American blood had been shed on American soil. Lincoln's resolution required Polk to identify the spot where that blood had been shed.

When President Polk did not answer, Lincoln and John Quincy Adams sought a formal investigation of the president's pre-war intelligence claims, and of his use of secret funds to launch his fraudulent and illegal war. Under this pressure, Polk announced that he would not seek reelection. Lincoln, Adams, and their allies in Congress then passed a resolution honoring the service of Major General Zachary Taylor "in a war unnecessarily and unconstitutionally begun by the President of the United States."

So it would seem that Lincoln opposed the war for its illegality while at the ame time supporting the troops... interesting.

My question to you, Congressman Young, is how can anyone in public office see a quote this inflammatory, attributed to Abraham Lincoln, and not check to see if the quote was accurate? On its face, the thought that Lincoln would advocate the arrest, exile, or hanging of congressmen in disagreement with a war based on the premise that it would undermine morale is incredibly suspect. The fact is that Lincoln did just that very thing you state as being a hanging offense and falsely attribute it to Lincoln, albeit through ignorance.

I hope with this new information, you will go to the House floor and correct your statements for the record, although since the actual quote doesn’t suit your needs, you’ll forgive me if I don’t hold my breath.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Conditions at Walter Reed Hospital

Okay, let's see how the administration handles this one.

"We've done our duty. We fought the war. We came home wounded. Fine. But whoever the people are back here who are supposed to give us the easy transition should be doing it," said Marine Sgt. Ryan Groves, 26, an amputee who lived at Walter Reed for 16 months. "We don't know what to do. The people who are supposed to know don't have the answers. It's a nonstop process of stalling."

The common perception of Walter Reed is of a surgical hospital that shines as the crown jewel of military medicine. But 5 1/2 years of sustained combat have transformed the venerable 113-acre institution into something else entirely -- a holding ground for physically and psychologically damaged outpatients. Almost 700 of them -- the majority soldiers, with some Marines -- have been released from hospital beds but still need treatment or are awaiting bureaucratic decisions before being discharged or returned to active duty.

By now you have probably already heard of the deplorable conditions at Water Reed. Half-fallen down ceilings weighted with mold, mouse droppings and dead cockroaches, stained carpet and cheap mattresses. But the question remains, how is this administration going address it and answer for it? And how is the press corps in the White House going to ask the questions that need to be asked?

Here is part of an interview between Keith Olbermann and Jon Soltz, an Iraq war vet who is now Chairman of the political action committee

SOLTZ: Last year, the Republican Congress decided they were going to "brac" a lot of military installations around the country, which means "base realignment enclosure". Walter Reed came up on that list. So I think you're seeing the effects of that policy, which is "why are you going to fix the paint and clear the mice out of an institution that's closing?" I think the second striking thing about this piece is that this is actually a part of the Department of Defense. This is not the Veterans Administration which we know is woefully underfunded. The DoD is responsible for these soldiers until they leave active duty.
So basically, the same administration that brought us no body armor and no up-armored humvees is the same administration that brought us mice at Walter Reed. Their support for the war fighter is abysmal.

OLBERMANN: Even if this country had to pay full price at private hospitals so these guys, our neighbors and our friends, could get the care that they need... at full price - no insurance - could the cost possibly amount to more than a microscopic fraction of the billions we've seen vanish down the rabbit holes in Iraq?

JS: No sir, not at all., we did this big commercial with body armor and we blew up the body armor and it cost me $1,000 on Ebay to buy the piece; and when my unit went to Iraq , we were cross-leveling plates, we didn't have up-armored humvees and took public embarrassment for that. So the tactical equipment is actually not that expensive. What makes this so shocking is that the money is there for the Pentagon. They get what they request, they get the supplemental from Congress. So what this is, is an administration that is dedicated to the high end corporate contractors, the high end weapons systems in the sky, the super-duper missile defense systems that alienate our allies. These are the same people that are making $40 million a year on their corporate contracts, and that money is coming into the political system on one side. One of the things we do at VoteVets is try to fight for the war fighter and in this specific case, there's no reason why we can't spend the small money on the regular war fighter when we're spending the large money on weapons systems that aren't making a difference on the war on terror.

KO: Where are the Republicans speaking about the treatment of these maimed Americans? And where are the Democrats in their protest on this? Why is there no outrage about this extraordinary circumstance?

JS: I think this is a larger issue. A lot of people think supporting the troops right now means putting a $3 yellow magnet made in Hong Kong on the back of their Hummer and saying they support the troops. I think debate has been absent for a long time, that people would rather flip the channel than deal with the war.
As for the Republicans, the president just presented another budget that slams the VA two years down the road; it was woefully underfunded last year by $2 billion.

As for the Democrats, I think we're seeing movement in this direction. Congressman Murtha's plan here is basically not to let more guys go into Iraq unless they're trained properly, unless they're equipped properly. So this is the first time we're seeing oversight from Congress and I expect to see that. And there's no reason why the President and the Secretary of Defense shouldn't have an immediate investigation. I think Congress should demand hearings immediately on this because our troops deserve the best, and they deserve support worthy of the sacrifices they're making in this war.

Now we wait for the next step. Will there be investigations into yet another administration atrocity?

Watch the whole interview

Washington Post Sunday, Feb 18 piece here.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bill Maher: New Rule - Misspeaking

Bill Maher's Huffington Post blog of February 16th concerning the way our Presidential nominees are chosen, or discarded as he case my be.

"There's more to being smart than just not misspeaking. The world is a complicated place. Sometimes it all feels like a runaway train of violence, resentment and insecurity - sort of like a family reunion at Ryan O'Neil's place. Which is why for this next election, we need to pick the smartest candidate, not the dullest one who simply never had a verbal gaffe and said a wrong word or phrase."

Read the whole post here.


Murdoch's New York Post

What the hell is going on here? The has to be the lowest point in the history of this rag. Take a look at the front page of Saturday's New York Post. The headline reads "TREASON". Apparently, the House of Representatives voting to disapprove of George the Liar's "plan" to surge is summed up this way: "COWARDS GIVE UP ON GIS - & GIVE IN TO EVIL"
Ralph Peters (who?) has written an article for the Rupert Murdoch owned newspaper. According to this halfwit, "We've reached a low point in the history of our government when a substantial number of legislators would welcome an American defeat in Iraq for domestic political advantage."

Yes, of course, that's exactly what this non-binding resolution does. It emboldens the enemy. We're "welcoming" defeat and in turn, "signaling our enemies that Congress wants them to win..." Is this moron serious? Just another hack stirring up the right wing propaganda and misleading the public of just what this vote was about.

Here's what the resolution states:
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that _

(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and
(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on Jan. 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

Well, after reading section 1, I'm not completely sure that is tantamount to treason. Is that what you'd call "providing aid and comfort to the enemy"? Where in this resolution does it say the funding will be cut? Where in this resolution does it tell you that the troops will be left out there to die?

And then this brainiac Peters, comes up with this: "And a word about those troops: It's going to come as a shock to the massive egos in Congress, but this resolution won't hurt morale - for the simple reason that our men and women in uniform have such low expectations of our politicians that they'll shrug this off as business as usual."

Well, which it is Repiglithans? Are we hurting morale or not? Are we "sending the wrong message to our troops" or do they even care what Congress thinks? These people make me sick.
All of this is moot, of course, because the Senate is filled with spineless, gutless Rethuglicans that won't even show up to vote. Yes, I'm talking about you, John McCain! What message does that send the troops, "Maverick"?
I happen to think that those who voted no to this resolution have just committed political suicide. They fell on their swords in the name of King George the Liar. Except for a few (17 Republicans in the House and 7 in the Senate), everyone else voted for in opposition of their constituency, the very people they were elected to represent. And I don't think the 70+% of Americans who are sick and tired of this illegal war in Iraq will soon forget how their "Representatives" voted come 2008.

You want to support the troops, you cowardly, bastards? How about sending our troops into Iraq with the proper equipment and body armor that you didn't feel like paying for the first time? How about sending our troops ARMORED Humvees instead of the death traps they have to ride in now? How embarrassing is it that the greatest fighting force in the world has to rummage for scrap metal in dumps to construct makeshift armor plating for their vehicles?!

Yes, the results of the vote on this resolution shows the world something, Mr. Peters. It shows the world how out of touch with reality people like you and George the Liar and the rest of his criminal administration are. It shows the world the disregard that this administration has for our troops by leaving them in harms way in the middle of a civil war; throwing another 20,000 into the meat grinder with no plan once they get there and no plan to get out; second, third, and fourth deployments of an already strained military, while trying to cut VA funding and veterans' benefits at home; leaving our borders and states unprotected with no National Guard.

It shows them a lot, Ralph. The world is watching and shaking their collective heads in disbelief at the ego, arrogance and stupidity of the murderer in the White House.