Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Gotta Love Texas

Is there any wonder why Texas legislators are considered a joke?

Remember the whole situation when they tried, under Tom DeLay's lead to gerrymander the voting districts in a way that would steal elections for Republicans and the Democratic Legislators actually fled the state to prevent the vote?

How about when they voted against cheerleader skirt lengths?

How about this one?

Watch as Texas Legislators (you'll notice almost all Republicans) vote ILLEGALLY for members that are not present to vote... even casting votes for Democrats who were not present. Nothing they do is straight forward... they even cheat in actual floor votes.

This is sickening.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Steps to Take Back Our Country: Rewriting Our Textbooks

One of the least talked about ways that the Right Wing has infiltrated our daily lives is by brainwashing our children in the classrooms. It's been happening since big business got more influence in the direction of our public education's curriculum somewhere between 1890-1920.

Since then our history textbooks have been less about injecting actual history so much as they have blind patriotism into the ever molding minds of our children.

The America we think we all know is a group delusion. This group psychosis is from years of flag waving, non-controversial white washing of our history to take out most of the bad things America has done and present a glowing view of a country that is always good and always right.

It white washed the history of Christopher Columbus who committed genocide against the Arawak Indians. It purposely omitted that the Pilgrims, who supposedly suffered from religious persecution back home, came and did the same to Indians. They also directly and indirectly killed most of the neighboring Indian tribes through their own actions and through diseases they brought over that the Indians' immune system could not adjust to.

They spent years demonizing John Brown, a white man who fought battles to end slavery by calling him insane. They avoid slavery as a major factor in the Civil War and even try to re-frame it as a battle for Southern Rights. In fact they're even worse on Reconstruction in which they treat as a short phase where blacks were given some power and failed and the white Republicans that supported them were somehow incompetent and unpopular.

None of that is true but history textbooks aren't meant to tell you the truth. Truth would have you questioning the system.

For this very reason history textbooks never talk about social class either.

As James Loewen put it in his terrific book, "Lies My Teacher Told Me" (from pages 205-206):

Ultimately, social class determines how people think about social class. When asked if poverty in America is the fault of the poor or the fault of the system, 57 percent of business leaders blamed the poor; just 9 percent blamed the system. (Some replied "don't know" or chose a middle position.) The largest single difference between our two main political parties lies in how their members think about social class: 55 percent of Republicans blamed the poor for their poverty while only 13 percent blamed the system for it; 68 percent of Democrats, on the other hand, blamed the system while only 5 percent blamed the poor.


Many teachers compound the problem by avoiding talking about social class. Recent interviews with teachers "revealed that they had a much broader knowledge of the economy, both academically and experientially, than they admitted in class." Teachers "expressed fear that students might find out about the injustices and inadequacies of their economic and political institutions." By never blaming the system American History courses thus present "Republican history".

This is entirely true. Republican history, and I'll re-frame this to RIGHT WING HISTORY since the Republican party was filled with different thinking people during Reconstruction, is the embodiment never blame the system because the 'rich deserve their wealth and the poor deserve their struggles' philosophy. This is what they stand for to their core.

These textbooks wave the flag much like FOX NEWS does, hoping the flag waving will distract you from the fact that they just spouted hate speech, slandered someone or totally lied and distorted facts.

In the history textbooks the facts ignored or distorted involve anyone of a different race (slavery was not that bad, Indians liked how they were treated, etc) or religion. This is evident when Christians are portrayed as believing in a civilized religion while any other form of religion, while equally provable as Christianity is, is considered some barbaric fools' religion. Native Americans worshipped animals and are mocked at times for it. Egyptians worshipped cats and the sun, Greeks had gods with different powers, Romans worshipped completely different gods until Constantine used brutality and needless wars to slaughter Christianity into power during the Roman Empire.

But as much as textbooks avoid religion, it is their tone towards other beliefs when describing other cultures that is condescending and sends the wrong message.

Another pro-right wing/pro-corporate view is that Unions are considered corrupt and useless old relic that are unnecessary now (although as we have seen with outsourcing and corporate greed in the past 30 years, strong unions are needed now more than ever). This view is pushed continuously in many different history textbooks.

These textbooks, the ones that are in classrooms around the country, are mind numbingly simple and boring. A presentation of partial facts and anecdotes done in a way to make kids grow up learning to respect and love their country.

What is the benefit to this? Those children who move on to college find themselves over their heads when confronted with an entirely different history they had not learned about.

The benefit comes to one group of people. Keeping people from finding out about the injustices of America when it comes to race and gender (or at least watering it down tremendously), our military actions abroad, or the inequalities of social classism creates passive students. Passive students never have the urge to fight back against the class war they are having waged against them every day. The rich stay atop the heap and nobody will take them or their dynasty families down.

To this point I am unaware of the extreme Right taking over our textbooks and inserting revisionist current history in there but you can tell it's just a matter of time. When Ronald Reagan died the mainstream media, owned mostly by a handful of right wing media moguls, glossed over the man as if he were a Saint. All of the class warfare he waged on the poor was lost to time. His efforts to arm Iran illegally (part of the problem we have there is our penchant to arm all sides of the conflict there out of sheer greed. Our monetary gains trump common sense policy and have angered, rightfully so, many citizens of the involved countries we did this with in that region) gone. No big deal now.

That was the first sign that modern history will be revised. There is an old saying that says "History is written by the winners". Well there are no bigger winners than the rich who own the publishing companies.

Last year we saw this revisionist version of right wing history make its way to ABC as a "docudrama" in "The Path to 9/11". It was bad enough that the movie ignored all the facts and blamed Bill Clinton for the whole attack while absolving George "You've covered your ass" Bush from his Administration's ignorance to warnings, but they went a step beyond TV.

They actually tried to distribute this to schools through Scholastic which has long been a trusted source for learning materials and book sales for schools for decades. Thankfully Scholastic pulled their materials and reworked them to avoid the controversy in this presentation.

In Japan, Right Wing textbooks have been distributed and caused all sorts of anger from neighboring countries. It too, whitewashed atrocities committed by Japanese troops in favor of blind Nationalism.

The outrage to the textbooks there should give Americans a template in which to show their own dissent towards what our children and their generation will be taught.

Rest assured though, the next ideological battlefront will be in the classrooms. In some respects they're already winning. A poll a couple years back asked high school students if "Freedom of the Press goes too far", to which 32% of students said yes. 36% thought Newspapers should get Government approval to run stories. Now all jokes about how close the lapdog media is to this concept aside, those are incredibly high numbers for high school students who are supposed to be taught about the strengths of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

That 30-35% is pretty close to the same number of people that support Bush and one could make an inference that many of those students probably are children to Bush Supporters and FOX NEWS viewers. Still in high school, we're supposed to be teaching them about the strengths of having civil liberties and rights and instead they believe we should chuck them in favor of fascism... which I am not sure they learned about considering their responses.

Then there's this wonderful gem that only furthers my theory that they are pressing to take this war to the classroom:

They're almost all there, although they're missing a couple... Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity spring to mind although in fairness maybe they couldn't fit them in.

Anyway that's a pretty large group of Right Wing Sycophants trying to get your classrooms and schools to include them in their curriculum and hang their poster on their walls.

To some degree I agree with them! No I don't want them writing our textbooks or rewriting our history but I agree they should be included!

After all what would history teach without the horrors of Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot?

Clearly history is about learning about the past. REAL history is about gaining a broad perspective of the time period, the characters involved in shaping it and taking from it lessons for the future.

As Teddy Roosevelt (a Republican no less) said, "Those who do not learn the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them."

We need to know of the atrocities hoisted upon mankind to prevent ourselves from doing it again. Whether its a holocaust, slavery or even just derogatory attitudes from the time period it is a worthwhile message to learn the lesson and prevent ourselves from following the same foolhardy path.

Now I am not likening those Right Wing pundits above to Hitler (rather they seem to be closer to Joe McCarthy), but I do think they represent much of the morally and criminally corrupt enterprise that have pushed their agenda onto America, unfortunately for us, successfully over the past 14 years or so. Even those who are detrimental to society in every possible form should be included in the history of a time period.

These people are scourge no doubt. They label and demean citizens and politicians that disagree with their talking points or tactics as traitors or cowards or worse. They use dangerous hate speech calling for violence against people of other races, religions or sexuality. Still, they deserve inclusion in our texts.

What they must do (and unfortunately our current history textbooks that seem to do this presently for any American they include) is not perform any acts of idolatry on them.

Those with murderous intentions should be exposed for such. Those who speak of treasonous actions to be performed onto political opponents should be called to the carpet for such offenses.

In doing so we serve two purposes.

Firstly, we expose an incredibly dangerous and war mongering ideology. It teaches our children of the frailty of the American dream and ideal if we choose not to defend it against those who would dispose of it in the name of absolute power.

Secondly, it gives us a narrative in which to avoid mistakes of the recent past.

Clearly Joe McCarthy was considered misguided at best, evil at worst and just as our opinions shifted towards him over time, through the lens of reflection we will see the evils of intolerance once more and these pundits will be cast in a similar unflattering historical view.

Ann Coulter pictured at her favorite politician's grave site:

One of the ways to bring America to be the progressive nation it claims to be and advance deeper into the 21st century as a respected voice and leader in the international community is to open the minds of our children so that they can handle the complexity of life that comes from complicated decision making questions.

Our textbooks don't need to be blatantly slanted to our point of view the way theirs would need to be to be successful in shaping liberal, progressive minds. All they have to do is tell the truth, present broader context of historical periods, empathize with both sides. If they do that people will learn to accept the complexity in situations and approach their own life decisions with an open mind in anticipation of the shades of grey that life provides.

Maybe George W. Bush said it best (yes I just said that) when he said, "Is Our Children Learning?".

Grammatically incorrect as that might be, it presents a good question about our education system and the citizens that it produces.

Americans have been taught one view of our country. It is the very same thinking that presents the Black and White, Right or Wrong simplicity in our decision making process these days.

Absolution is easy. Once can come to their conclusions without much struggle or deliberation. On the other hand an open mind is scary.

If you think with rational clarity and have been taught to accept both sides of the story you have to conclude that the false reality of the "Good Guy Interventionist America" image that our textbooks create has failed us and that actual foreign policy based on this assertion has created justifiable enemies.

We might have to look to ourselves and take some personal responsibility for global warming as well. We might have to examine our lack of civil liberties and freedoms and determine that many European countries have done democracy better than us.

Opening our eyes to the shades of grey would cast doubts upon our purity as a nation.

As our children attend class everyday, one of the greatest affronts to our country is their education. For far too long our students have been taught distorted and many times false information under the guise that our textbooks should be teaching blind patriotism over truth.

It's time to re-write history with a new narrative. A narrative of open discussion of our sin as well as our success and treating people different from ourselves as respected equals rather than "savages", "barbarians" or worse might open a line of thinking where we put ourselves in the shoes of the people in other countries when making future decisions. We might just stop ourselves from getting into future wars and creating generational regional hatred towards us.

This is one of the places we need to take back. Now if only we had a Democratic money man who could take this cause on.


Greatest Speeches of the 20th Century: Part 2

In mentioning the great speeches of all time rarely does a speech from a Republican deserve inclusion. Usually their speeches are those of corporate protectionism, over aggressive foreign policy or intolerance towards people that are different than them. President Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation deserves such inclusion.

The date is January 17, 1961 and the political climate is shifting greatly. During the Civil Rights movement there seemed to be a large seachange in which party represented what. By today's standards the old soldier Ike would sound a lot like General Wesley Clark and would likely be called a hardcore liberal by our insane media.

Even so Ike deserves a lot of credit for being Nostradamus-like in his ability to foresee the problems the Military Industrial Complex would cause our country. You can easily make a case that they would be very involved in attempting to force a war with Cuba, involved heavily in the assassination of JFK, involved in getting us into and keeping us in Vietnam and you could make a case that they are the main reason we got into and are staying in Iraq currently.

When the almighty dollar and the war machine run the policy of our country we have much to fear. As it stands we face a military fascist state in which our Constitution, Bill of Rights and every civil liberty we ever fought for is being stripped for us in an effort to exhibit totalitarian control.

Here are two clips (audio only) from his speech. Unfortunately I could not find a full version that runs straight through. These speeches are definitely in need of being preserved in their entirety on sites like YouTube or Google Video. It would certainly be a more important watch than Chris Crocker and his Britney rant (not that I didn't enjoy his Fox News rant).

Part 1 of 2:

Part 2 of 2:

Good evening, my fellow Americans: First, I should like to express my gratitude to the radio and television networks for the opportunity they have given me over the years to bring reports and messages to our nation. My special thanks go to them for the opportunity of addressing you this evening.
Three days from now, after a half century of service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.

This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.

Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.

Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on questions of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the nation.

My own relations with Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and finally to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years.

In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the nation well rather than mere partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the nation should go forward. So my official relationship with Congress ends in a feeling on my part, of gratitude that we have been able to do so much together.

We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.

Throughout America's adventure in free government, such basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among peoples and among nations.

To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people.

Any failure traceable to arrogance or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us a grievous hurt, both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle – with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in the newer elements of our defenses; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research – these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in light of a broader consideration; the need to maintain balance in and among national programs – balance between the private and the public economy, balance between the cost and hoped for advantages – balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between the actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their Government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well in the face of threat and stress.

But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise.

Of these, I mention two only.

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system – ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war – as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years – I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

So – in this my last good night to you as your President – I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and peace. I trust that in that service you find some things worthy; as for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the future.

You and I – my fellow citizens – need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nations' great goals.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and continuing aspiration:

We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.

Now, on Friday noon, I am to become a private citizen. I am proud to do so. I look forward to it.

Thank you, and good night.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cowards and "Ass Kissing Chickenshits".

I know I haven't written in awhile, but let's start off with the biggest issue out there.

The Petraeus lie session is over.

I warned everyone for months exactly what was coming. It was Petraeus, doing his best acting work ever in playing Gen. William Westmoreland during Vietnam and reading exactly what the White House wrote for him.

Bravo! It takes a lot of balls to be a Yes Man in the military. Well I suppose it's all you are allowed to be thanks to the pesky rules against free speech they have.

Those of us who were wise to the con (apparently everybody minus the morons in Congress) knew what was coming, saw through it and wanted a rebuke of Bush for putting a uniformed man out there to make his pitch for him.

Obviously Bush knew that everybody at this point is aware that he is a compulsive liar. So he threw the pristine image of a good, honest soldier in front of Congress. Hiding like a coward behind Petraeus' medals.

The thing is Petraeus' military service was only good enough to talk up as a point of thwarting attacks on the credibility of a scam artist report.

Who really thinks Bush gives a fuck about the US Military or any of the soldiers anyway?

He had a respected General in Colin Powell debase himself in front of the United Nations (supposedly after he tried to talk the Neo-Cons out of war) and tell Bush's blatant lies about Iraq WMDs to get us into this war.

He had the gall to send our troops into battle in two different countries without any real plans and worse without the Humvee and body armor they deserved (or prohibiting them from wearing the best armor available thanks to alliances to certain corporations!).

He keeps them there on stop loss measures and doesn't allow them to leave the military when their time is up.

He uses them as political hostages when he throws a tantrum about time lines and says he will hang the troops out to dry and veto their funding if he doesn't get his wish for perpetual Iraq War.

He employs mercenaries through his right wing financial connections (Blackwater) and allows them to freely kill however many civilians they want. They operate under no laws, are paid ten times as much as the military soldiers and oh yeah their reckless actions are helping to get our soldiers shot and killed by angry Iraqis who can't tell one from another. So much for the goodwill our soldiers are trying to create. And here's the kicker... they've actually killed our own troops themselves!

He opposes military pay raises and veteran health care increases.

But hey, hey can fly out under the cloak of darkness and have a photo shoot with them!

What a great fucking guy!

Petraeus, in his role as the General in charge of the Iraq War is supposed to be fighting in the best interests of America and the citizens here that the military is suppose to serve. The President is Commander in Chief but the General's main responsibility is not to him but to us and his soldiers.

That's why many Americans who see this was for what it is, felt betrayed by him deciding to be Bush's puppet. Make no mistake about it, that's what he was. From the RW talk shows to the RW blogs, they sent him out on a propaganda campaign to speak to Bush's base.

So ran an ad calling a spade a spade. "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?"

Wow did the Right blow up.

It was hilarious. Fox News was leading the charge and just like election night in 2000 when they pulled bullshit and called the election for Bush despite proof to the contrary, the rest of the Mainstream Media fell right in line. Hell even half of the Democrats in the Senate fell in line when they voted to condemn the ad.

Of course this vote came right after another one that got less press. See Senator Jim Webb, a former military man himself (and Reagan appointee) is no liberal. He even voted to condemn the MoveOn ad. But being a former military man with a son serving in Iraq he can see the forest through the trees so to speak.

He tried to push a bill in which he constantly gave the Republicans what they wanted to try to pass it, that would allow soldiers time home after their tour in Iraq, equal to the tour they just served. Figuring these soldiers who have been stretched thin already could use the mental, emotional and physical break as well as the time home they deserved.

Strangely though after the whole Petraeus farce, Bush gave a speech in which he tried to connect 30,000 troops coming home mid to late next year as a troop reduction based on the success of the surge.

The funniest part was everyone knew that was a red herring (I called the whole thing right here on this blog). We've mentioned it here that the surge could not be maintained. That troop rotations dictated that some troops had to come home regardless of the success of the surge next year. It was Bush pulling more lies out of his ass.

But where you find a lie, you find a gullible stupid Senator not far behind. Enter outgoing Virgina Coward, John Warner.

Warner, like Voinovich, like Dominieci are willing to talk the talk but walking the walk is a totally different beast on Iraq. He had said he would vote for the bill but once he heard the artificial "30,000" withdrawal number he fell for it hook, line and sinker, apparently believing Bush wanted to actually withdraw troops on his own or something. So as usual the cowardly Republicans voted against the bill and Bush wins again.

Republicans and Bush rule the day once more and punish our troops for not being rich enough or well connected enough to never have to serve in a military where they may be trapped forever in perpetual war.

So the MSM goes after about an ad that rightfully questions the integrity of a man who uses his uniform to spread propaganda but doesn't attack the Right Wing Cowards who never send their sons and daughters, let alone hardly ever served in the military themselves off to their wars of choice?

The priorities of this country's media are wrongheaded and very Pravda like. Except the Russians knew Pravda was propaganda and Americans foolishly believe that we have a choice in media and that even though a mass majority of the talking heads on radio and TV are spouting the same White House-approved talking points, that somehow the media is liberally biased and they are getting a real selection of views.

The problem with this whole deal is this:

Attacking's calling BULLSHIT on what was without question, bullshit, is saying they don't have a right to free speech.

The Right Wing smear machine, whom whined like babies over this, have been behind more attacks on military men than anyone.

They had no problem taking an honorable soldier like Max Cleland and trying to push him as friendly to Osama Bin Laden.

They had no problem taking an honorable soldier like John Kerry and swiftboating him with lies and trying to dishonor his service (all while their Commander was AWOL from Guard Duty).

The right wingers in CBS' news department (see the Dan Rather lawsuit for more on how that organization works now) fired General John Batiste when he spoke out in an ad against the Iraq War.

They go after the former General in charge of Iraq, Gen. Abizaid for saying America could deal with a nuclear Iran because we handled the Soviets when they had nukes and were a far greater threat.

They call the death of soldiers, "a small price to pay".

Not to mention Senator Chuck Hagel who happened to be the only Senator from the GOP with any integrity on this war, was labeled "SENATOR BETRAYUS" by Rush Limbaugh.

I guess only THEY can slam the military or use "Betrayus" right?

The sad part is that nothing is being done to stop the Iraq War. There is no end in sight unless you set January 2009 when a new President takes office as your timetable.

It's sickening that the pathetic lapdog media would go after for telling the truth.

Why they have never picked up on this plan for American empire that they clearly outlined in the PNAC strategy, that Wolfowitz was in charge of and was leaked to the NY Times back in 1992 and that Wes Clark has warned he was informed of right after 9/11, is beyond me. It's blatantly obvious that they wanted war with Iraq and want war with Iran.

It's also becoming more evident that they don't want to stop there.

To call Petraeus out for lying for his boss to keep this war going is an honorable thing to do. Our troops deserve a commander who recognizes the harm his soldiers face by continuing these neo-con policies.

If they get their way, the soldiers will never come home.

Maybe the best voice on this is Admiral William Fallon, Petraeus' superior who attempted to develop plans for a draw down and said the following about Petraeus:

In sharp contrast to the lionisation of Gen. David Petraeus by members of the U.S. Congress during his testimony this week, Petraeus’s superior, Admiral William Fallon, chief of the Central Command (CENTCOM), derided Petraeus as a sycophant during their first meeting in Baghdad last March, according to Pentagon sources familiar with reports of the meeting.

Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be “an ass-kissing little chickenshit” and added, “I hate people like that”, the sources say. That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior.

If only he were speaking to the gullible fools in Congress...

Thank you Admiral Fallon. You are a good and loyal American.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Greatest Speeches of the 20th Century: Part 1

There have been many great speeches in American History. In the 20th Century I think we were blessed with some great speakers in the Kennedys and Martin Luther King among others.

It's a damn shame that politics turned into this cheap game where the media dismisses you if you're not good at a 5 second soundbyte because they're too intellectually lazy to play an entire speech.

I love the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty speech by JFK.

In it he speaks of ourselves and our enemies and our common bond. Much of it can be applied to current times as well. If we want peace, we must seek it out and speak to those whom we may disagree with the most.

In my opinion a successful Presidency is not one in which a war was waged nor one in which a war was won. Rather a successful Presidency is one in which war was avoided. Peace is what we must seek as a Nation. To fail in that cause is to fail in the very concept that is America.

We cannot be the great beacon of light, shining from the hill, if we continue to dim the light to cloak ourselves in darkness and act as aggressors with no moral clarity of right or wrong and with no certain credibility to fight as good against evil.

For this our country needs to change our course, at home and abroad, or she will forever be tarnished to those who wish to be our allies.

Here's a video that has some of the more powerful excerpts of the speech:

Now onto the words of the late great, John F. Kennedy:

President Anderson, members of the faculty, Board of Trustees, distinguished guests, my old colleague, Senator Bob Byrd, who has earned his degree through many years of attending night law school, while I am earning mine in the next 30 minutes, ladies and gentlemen:

It is with great pride that I participate in this ceremony of the American University, sponsored by the Methodist Church, founded by Bishop John Fletcher Hurst, and first opened by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. This is a young and growing university, but it has already fulfilled Bishop Hurst's enlightened hope for the study of history and public affairs in a city devoted to the making of history and to the conduct of the public's business. By sponsoring this institution of higher learning for all who wish to learn whatever their color or their creed, the Methodists of this area and the nation deserve the nation's thanks, and I commend all those who are today graduating.

Professor Woodrow Wilson once said that every man sent out from a university should be a man of his nation as well as a man of his time, and I am confident that the men and women who carry the honor of graduating from this institution will continue to give from their lives, from their talents, a high measure of public service and public support.

"There are few earthly things more beautiful than a University," wrote John Masefield, in his tribute to the English Universities - - and his words are equally true here. He did not refer to spires and towers, to campus greens and ivied walls. He admired the splendid beauty of the University, he said, because it was " a place where those who hate ignorance may strive to know, where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see."

I have, therefore, chose this time and this place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is to rarely perceived - - yet it is the most important topic on earth : world peace.

What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace - - the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living -- the kind that enables man and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children - - not merely peace for Americans by peace for all men and women - - not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.
I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all of the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by the wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations unborn.

Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use them is essential to keeping the peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles - - which can only destroy and never create - - is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace.

I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war - - and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.

Some say that it is useless to speak of world peace or world law or world disarmament - - and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it. But I also believe that we must re-examine our own attitude - as individuals and as a Nation - - for our attitude is as essential as theirs. And every graduate of this school, every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward - - by examining his own attitude toward the possibilities of peace, toward the Soviet Union, toward the course of the Cold War and toward freedom and peace here at home.

First: Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many of us think it is unreal. But that is dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable - - that mankind is doomed - - that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.

We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade - - therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable - - and we believe they can do it again.

I am not referring to the absolute, infinite concept of universal peace and good will of which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny the values of hopes and dreams but we merely invite discouragement and incredulity by making that our only and immediate goal.

Let us focus instead on a more practical, more attainable peace - - based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions - -on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single, simple key to this peace - - no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process - - a way of solving problems.

With such a peace, there will still be quarrels and conflicting interests, as there are within families and nations. World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor - - it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever. However fixed our likes and dislikes may seem the tide of time and events will often bring surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbors.

So let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable - - and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly - - by making it seem more manageable and less remote - - we can help all peoples to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly toward it.

Second: Let us re-examine our attitude toward the Soviet Union. It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write. It is discouraging to read a recent authoritative Soviet text on Military Strategy and find, on page after page, wholly baseless and incredible claims - - such as the allegation that " American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of wars…that there is a very real threat of a preventive war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union…(and that) the political aims of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries…(and) to achieve world domination.

Truly, as it was written long ago: "The wicked flee when no man pursueth." Yet it is sad to read these Soviet statements - - to realize the extent of the gulf between us. But it is also a warning - - a warning to the American people not to fall into the same trap as the Soviets, not to see only a distorted and desperate view of the other side, not to see conflict as inevitable, accommodations as impossible and communication as nothing more than an exchange of threats.

No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue. As Americans, we find communism profoundly repugnant as a negation of personal freedom and dignity. But we can still hail the Russian people for their many achievements - - in science and space, in economic and industrial growth, in culture and in acts of courage.

Among the many traits the peoples of our two countries have in common, none is stronger than our mutual abhorrence of war. Almost unique, among the major world powers, we have never been at war with each other. And no nation in the history of battle ever suffered more than the Soviet Union suffered in the course of the Second World War. At least 20 million lost their lives. Countless millions of homes and farms were burned or sacked. A third of the nation's territory, including nearly two thirds of its industrial base, was turned into a wasteland - - a loss equivalent to the devastation of this country east of Chicago.

Today, should total war ever break out again - - no matter how - - our two countries would become the primary targets. It is an ironical but accurate fact that the two strongest powers are the two in the most danger of devastation. All we have built, all we have worked for, would be destroyed in the first 24 hours. And even in the Cold War, which brings burdens and dangers to so many countries, including this Nation's closest allies - - our two countries bear the heaviest burdens. For we are both devoting massive sums of money to weapons that could be better devoted to combating ignorance, poverty and disease. We are both caught up in a vicious and dangerous cycle in which suspicion on one side breeds suspicion on the other, and new weapons beget counter-weapons.

In short, both the United States and its allies, and the Soviet Union and its allies, have a mutually deep interest in a just and genuine peace and in halting the arms race. Agreements to this end are in the interests of the Soviet Union as well as ours -- and even the most hostile nations can be relied upon to accept and keep those treaty obligations, and only those treaty obligations, which are in their own interest.

So, let us not be blind to our differences - - but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.

Third: Let us re-examine our attitude toward the Cold War, remembering that we are not engaged in a debate, seeking to pile up debating points. We are not here distributing blame or pointing the finger of judgment. We must deal with the world as it is, and not as it might have been had history of the last eighteen years been different.

We must, therefore, preserve in the search for peace in the hope that constructive changes within the Communist bloc might bring within reach solutions which now seem beyond us. We must conduct our affairs in such a way that it becomes in the Communists' interest to agree on a genuine peace. Above all, while defending our vital interest, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy - - or of a collective death-wish for the world.

To secure these ends, America's weapons are non-provocative, carefully controlled, designed to deter and capable of selective use. Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplines in self-restraint. Our diplomats are instructed to avoid unnecessary irritants and purely rhetorical hostility.

For we can seek a relaxation of tensions without relaxing our guard. And, for our part, we do not need to use threats to prove that we are resolute. We do not need to jam foreign broadcasts out of fear our faith will be eroded. We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people - - but we are willing and able to engage in peaceful competition with any people on earth.

Meanwhile, we seek to strengthen the United Nations, to help solve its financial problems, to make it a more effective instrument of peace, to develop it into a genuine world security system - - a system capable of resolving disputes on the basis of law, of insuring the security of the large and the small, and of creating conditions under which arms can finally be abolished.

At the same time we seek to keep peace inside the non-communist world, where many nations, all of them our friends, are divided over issues which weaken western unity, which invite communist intervention or which threaten to erupt into war. Our efforts in West New Guinea, in the Congo, in the Middle East and in the Indian subcontinent, have been persistent and patient despite criticism from both sides. We have also tried to set an example for others - - by seeking to adjust small but significant differences with our own closest neighbors in Mexico and in Canada.

Speaking of other nations, I wish to make one point clear. We are bound to many nations by alliances. These alliances exist because our concern and theirs substantially overlap. Our commitment to defend Western Europe and West Berlin for example, stands undiminished because of the identity of our vital interests. The United States will make no deal with the Soviet Union at the expense of other nations and other peoples, not merely because they are our partners, but also because their interests and ours converge.

Our interests converge, however not only in defending the frontiers of freedom, but in pursuing the paths of peace. It is our hope - - and the purpose of Allied policies - - to convince the Soviet Union that she, too, should let each nation choose its own future, so long as that choice does not interfere with the choices of others. The communist drive to impose their political and economic system on others is the primary cause of world tension today. For there can be no doubt that if all nations could refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, then peace would be much more assured.

This will require a new effort to achieve world law - - a new context for world discussions. It will require increased understanding between the Soviets and ourselves. And increased understanding will require increased contact and communications. One step in this direction is the proposed arrangement for a direct line between Moscow and Washington, to avoid on each side the dangerous delays, misunderstandings, and misreadings of the other's actions which might occur at a time of crisis.

We have also been talking in Geneva about other first-step measures of arms control, designed to limit the intensity of the arms race and to reduce the risks of accidental war. Our primary long-range interest in Geneva, however, is general and complete disarmament - - designed to take place by stages, permitting parallel political developments to build the new institutions of peace which would take the place of arms. The pursuit of disarmament has been an effort of this Government since the 1920's. It has been urgently sought by the past three Administrations. And however dim the prospects may be today, we intend to continue this effort - - to continue it in order that all countries, including our own, can better grasp what the problems and possibilities of disarmament are.

The one major area of these negotiations where the end is in sight- - yet where a fresh start is badly needed - - is in a treaty to outlaw nuclear tests. The conclusion of such a treaty - - so near and yet so far - - would check the spiraling arms race in one of its most dangerous areas. IT would place the nuclear powers in a position to deal more effectively with one of the greatest hazards which man faces in 1963, the further spread of nuclear arms. It would increase our security - - it would decrease the prospects of war. Surely this goal is sufficiently important to require our steady pursuit, yielding neither to the temptation to give up the whole effort nor the temptation to give up our insistence on vital and responsible safeguards.

I am taking this opportunity, therefore, to announce two important decisions in this regard.

First: Chairman Khrushchev, Prime Minister Macmillan and I have agreed that high-level discussions will shortly begin in Moscow looking toward early agreement on a comprehensive test ban treaty. Our hopes must be tempered with the caution of history - - but with our hopes go the hopes of all mankind.

Second: To make clear our good faith and solemn convictions on the matter, I now declare that the United States does not propose to conduct nuclear tests in the atmosphere so long as other states do not do so. We will not be the first to resume. Such a declaration is no substitute for a formal binding treaty - - but I hope it will help us achieve one. Nor would such a treaty be a substitute for disarmament - - but I hope it will help us achieve it.

Finally, my fellow Americans, let us examine our attitude toward peace and freedom here at home. The quality and spirit of our won society must justify and support our efforts abroad. We must show it in the dedication of our own lives - - as many of you who are graduation today will have a unique opportunity to do, by serving without pay in the Peace Corps abroad or in the proposed National Service Corps here at home.

But wherever we are, we must all, in our daily lives, live up to the age-old faith that peace and freedom walk together. In too many of our duties today, the peace is not secure because freedom is incomplete.

It is the responsibility of the Executive Branch at all levels of government - - local, state and national - - to provide and protect that freedom for all of our citizens by all means within their authority. It is the responsibility of the Legislative Branch at all levels, wherever that authority is not now adequate, to make it adequate. And it is the responsibility of all citizens in all sections of this country to respect the rights of all others and to respect the law of the land.

All this is not unrelated to world peace. "When a man's ways please the Lord," the Scriptures tell us, "he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him." And is not peace, in the last analysis, basically a matter human rights - - the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation - - the right to breathe air as nature provided it - - the right of future generations to a healthy existence?

While we proceed to safeguard our national interests, let us also safeguard human interests. And the elimination of war and arms is clearly in the interest of both. No treaty, however much it may be to the advantage of all, however tightly it may be worded, can provide absolute security against the risks of deception and evasion. But it can - - if it is sufficiently effective in its enforcement and if it is sufficiently in the interests of its signers - - offer far more security and far fewer risks than an unabated, uncontrolled, unpredictable arms race.

The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough - - more than enough - - of war and hate and oppression. We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we labor on - - not toward a strategy of annihilation but toward a strategy of peace.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lie or Die?

Just a quick, yet fun (well in my opinion) note for today...

Hidden in today's Washington Post article by Michael Abramowitz about Rove's super partisan hack replacement (to no one's surprise), was this terrific gem about Torie Clark who was Donald Rumsfeld's professional liar, er, "Press Secretary".

Draper also writes that Bolten first approached Donald Rumsfeld's old press secretary Torie Clarke about becoming White House press secretary after Scott McClellan quit in 2006. Clarke purportedly told Bolten she would rather commit suicide. The chief of staff then turned to Snow.

Snow, by the way, mangled several run-throughs -- failing to recite the White House talking points on Iraq -- but was given the job anyway, according to Draper.

Now, aside from the fact that it's funny that a RW Bush Administration shill from FOX NEWS couldn't get the White House Iraq talking points straight, I found the Torie Clark line hilarious.

A few things made me giggle at this. First she's been all over TV spouting that piece of crap book (shown above), "Lipstick on a Pig". We'll refrain from making comments about who that title could refer to.

Secondly, she lied for Rumsfeld who was almost as nuts and lost from reality as Bush is.

But ultimately she knew how often Bush lies and how hard it is to keep them straight (see: Tony Snow - Iraq talking points above) and how impossible it is to keep serious press from asking hard questions because you can only answer with complete bullshit so often.

That one would consider suicide over having to professionaly speak for this Administration, speaks volumes about the lies they are telling and how difficult a job it must be to go out and keep a straight face with the press daily when feeding them this garbage.

Of course for right wing ideologues, they think that if they spin the lie long enough it becomes the truth irregardless of facts so maybe that's how Fleischer, McClellan, Snow and now Dana Perino sleep at night.

These people have no conscience to say the things they do on behalf of Bush.

Of course Bush and Cheney have even less conscience which is why they are so dangerous to begin with.