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Today President Obama lost a veto override and now, 9/11 victims can sue Saudi Arabia.  A lot of blame is being placed on the proximity to Election Day, and how no one wants to be seen as being soft on terrorism just before votes get cast…

The original vote and over-ride were overwhelming… Originally passed unanimously in the Senate, and with one dissenting vote on the over-ride, the bipartisanship on this bill in this Congress, is amazing.

They can’t agree on something good, but they can all agree on something bad?

Obviously on the surface there is some feel good benefit to making Saudi Arabia suffer in court because we had to suffer in real life.  There is a sense of justice behind that…

But what is so amazing about the myopia of this Congress is that they don’t look outside their four walls when making this decision…

When you go against a tradition and smash it down, others will do the same… Which eventually means that what once protected you… now protects you no more…

The legislation will permit courts to waive a claim of foreign sovereign immunity when an act of terrorism occurs inside US borders, according to the terms of the bill. But it would make the US vulnerable to retaliatory litigation in foreign courts that could put American troops in legal jeopardy.

If an American GI even allegedly rapes what he thought was a hooker, he has no protection even if based on a military base.  The laws of that land prevail..  We could have public stonings of US soldiers ordered by courts because of this. One more kink in making the world run smooth.  Furthermore if called upon to defend oneself under fire, the victims of those bullets can now sue him personally for just doing his job. These lawsuits can now come even if brought forth on the flimsiest of evidence… Even false evidence would be enough.

This too effectively will end our drone policy.  For if we are allowed to sue an Arab nation who had some of its nationals bring down 4 airplanes… how can a nation like Yeman, Somalia , Syria, and Iraq, not be tempted to sue us when the military forces of our state itself, commit terrorism on their soil with collateral damage hurting women, children, and first responders…

Someone who should have know better, Senator Bob Corker (R TN), chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, said “With tremendous reservations and concerns about where this legislation is going to lead us, with tremendous empathy towards the victims that have lived through so much, have seen loved ones gone, that has affected their lives and will affect their lives for the long term, I’m going to support passage of this legislation today, but I do so understanding that there could be in fact unintended consequences that work against our national interest and with a determination, should that occur, to work with others in this body to try to overcome that.”

So the threat is there; just that it is too hard to be accused as kowtowing to Saudi Arabia this close to election… When voting against the bill was actually in America’s best interest…

The sentiments behind the bill’s passage and override can be gleaned from statements from Grassley and Schumer…

Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, said the families of 9/11 victims favored the measure and accused Obama of bowing to Saudi pressure. “All they want is the opportunity to present their case in a court of law,” he said on the Senate floor. “And that’s what this legislation would give them.”

True, the Saudi’s pressuring which included a massive hiring of lobbyists, backfired and made overriding this veto become almost a symbol of national pride..Their effort almost forced anyone trying to do the right thing (which would be to protect American troops overseas), to be accused of bowing before Saudi pressure by their political opponents back home… Something no one would want to do… and the vote was rather overwhelming… 97-1 in the Senate to override; 348-77 in the House…

As Texas senator John Cornyn noted about the unity: “In our polarized politics of today, this is pretty much close to a miraculous occurrence . 

On the softer Democratic side, Schumer was quoted by the Associated Press as saying: “The White House and the executive branch [are] far more interested in diplomatic considerations (like War and peace)… We’re more interested in the families and in justice.”..

One would certainly hope the president would be concerned about War and Peace… What is surprising is that Congress puts the perception of kowtowing, and the perception of support of families and justice, over the very real element of protecting American lives working for us overseas…

We know certain other countries would jump at a chance to use JASTA to justify similar immunity exceptions  to retaliate against us, to target US policies and activities which they oppose.Foreign governments would be able to act “reciprocally” and allow their courts to exercise jurisdiction over the United States and its employees, for allegedly causing injuries overseas through American support to third parties.

“If any of these litigants were to win judgments – based on foreign domestic laws as applied by foreign courts – they would begin to look to the assets of the US government held abroad to satisfy those judgments, with potentially serious financial consequences for the United States,” Obama wrote to Senate Leaders…

Here is the sober reflection given by the director of the CIA, John Brennan… “The most damaging consequence would be for those US government officials who dutifully work overseas on behalf of our country. The principle of sovereign immunity protects US officials every day, and is rooted in reciprocity. If we fail to uphold this standard for other countries, we place our own nation’s officials in danger.”

The United States has a larger international presence, by far, than any other country, and international sovereign immunity principles protect our Nation and its Armed Forces, officials, and assistance professionals, from foreign court proceedings.

Enactment of JASTA could encourage foreign governments to act reciprocally and allow their domestic courts to exercise jurisdiction over the United States or U.S. officials — including our men and women in uniform — for allegedly causing injuries overseas via U.S. support to third parties. This could lead to suits against the United States or U.S. officials for actions taken by members of an armed group that received U.S. assistance, misuse of U.S. military equipment by foreign forces, or abuses committed by police units that received U.S. training, even if the allegations at issue ultimately would be without merit.

Pandora’s box…. just got opened…..

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The cannon fire could be heard from Brandywine Hundred. It was louder in Concord. It was deafening in Chadd’s Ford. The Battle of the Brandywine was in full swing, and the result was a defeat of the American Forces leaving Philadelphia wide open to the British invasion.

Sadly for us this marks the end of Delaware’s direct involvement in the Revolutionary War. After this battle, the war in the North became a sitting game, and Cornwallis felt compelled to shift to the South to try and gain some momentum. He misread the South’s resilience, and the war of course ended when he got boxed at Yorktown.

As for Delaware, the British had previously marched up from Glasgow through Newark then up Kirkwood Highway and camped at Marshalltown. One can still see the embankments they threw up. The Americans realized that they had only a narrow route north before did the British. Had the British chosen to fight through the night, the war would have been over with Washington’s defeat. He was trapped by water on three sides. General Howe was a person adverse to exertion, and chose to investigate the following morning. When the British awoke, they saw the Americans had disappeared in the night, leaving their camp fires burning to fool the British watchmen.

The British marched north to Kennett Square, probably along what is now Route 82… On the morning of 9/11 the British marched towards Philadelphia. Washington assumed the lazy Howe would march the easiest route and set up defenses in Chadd’s Ford covering the road to Baltimore, which is Route 1 today. What Washington miscalculated is that the British had better intelligence than he. Here is how.

Washington was employing those in Philadelphia to give him advice. Howe was approaching on the outside, and chose those locals to tell him the layout. The difference in intelligence was a simple as one looking out, and one looking in. Perhaps you may remember the meme last decade of showing a city as the makeup of their entire World? For instance one of Rehoboth, would show Rehoboth and Dewey and Ocean City in Great detail, and Washington and Baltimore as tiny patches on the last edge of the map? Well that myopia actually affects our judgment. As one approaches the unknown, one is apt to know only his one way. But to use that same analogy backwards, as one approaches the known, from the area of the unknown, one is far more perceptive of all other options leading towards that goal or destination.

So it was with Howe, who found out there were two ford to the north, both overlooked by Washington, and the access to the battle field was relative easily. Howe committed 5000 of his 18,000 troups to attacking Washington’s front lines, and sent 13,000 north to cross both the west and east branches of the Brandywine, then head south. imagine the surprise of the American army who had been confident that they were holding their own, to find they’d been fighting a measly 5000 men in the fog, and now had 13,000 marching behind them on their right side….

We retreated. Some said it was a disciplined retreat, and Lafayette is given a lot of credit for that. He was wounded this day in history by the way, yet he established a rallying point, communicated it to all the troops, and an orderly retreat was managed. But the surprise to our right cost us dearly. We lost 11 of our 14 artillery guns. The British listed 587 as killed, missing or wounded, but no records of the Americans lost is known.. General Nathaniel Greene is later quoted as guessing 1200 to 1400 Continentals were lost… Commander Howe wrote to the British Foreign Secretary that 300 dead, 600 wounded, 400 prisoners were the total of America’s casualties.

One cannot imagine how dark things seemed for the prospects of an American nation after this day.

  • Americans had been tricked and easily routed.
  • They’d lost 79% of their artillary, having only 3 cannons left.
  • The Continental Congress fled in the night to Lancaster for one day, then to York.
  • Military supplies were moved to Reading.
  • Philadelphia, the cradle of democracy, was wide open to the British Army.
  • It was 52 years before the founding of Yeungling’s brewery, so none was available to drown one’s sorrows.

They suffered fully sober.  If we can remember the tragedy of our 9/11, try to imagine something ten times worse. There was no hope, period.

A makeshift hospital was scrambled together in Wilmington Delaware, and 350 causalities were sent.

August 6th… Classified Document: ” Bin Laden Determined To Attack US!”

We did nothing….

So you tell me, is reacting  to the identical same type of threat, good judgment? 

So just putz, putz, putzing around the internet, all snug in the Holiday spirit, off a click of a click, I saw a heading saying something like “Wire tap bill moves to Friday’s vote…”

Wiretap Bill? Gosh, that is so far in back of my head, I really haven’t thought of wiretaps since… Cheney left?
Of course I’ve heard Obama hasn’t done much to mitigate, in fact he has made it worse, but wasn’t that set in stone back in 2008 or something?

No. The 2008 Bill expires 12/31/2012…. After that point, Comcast, Verizon, Facebook or any other telecommunication network, can no longer turn your information over to the government without a warrant…..

But wait. There is an attempt to sneak it through now, while no one is paying attention. Extending it for 5 years… Meaning is will expire after Obama has left office.

The bill was to come up today, voice vote and pass. However watchdogs (EFF, ACLU, Judical Watch, etc) caught it and scurried to get enough people to cause it to be debated. Tomorrow, our rights are on the line. It needs a lot of calls and every citizen who has any libertarian steak inside, needs to get really excited and call their Senators.. (The House version passed a long time ago on a perfunctory voice vote with no debate.)

It must be stopped in the Senate. If the vote to extend it fails. then by January 1, 2013. It is done.

This bill was enacted over the objections of Congress by executive order of George W. Bush. It was to expire in 2008 when it passed confirmation and became law for 4 more years.

9/11 is done. We have left Iraq. We are leaving Afghanistan. We do not need the government going through our private matters unless of course it has reason to… That will be decided by a judge… He will issue a warrant.

As an example of why we need this, the Obama administration has taken a position that makes the Bush administration pro-secrecy campaign seem pale in comparison: namely, that no one can challenge warrantless surveillance unless the government tells you in advance that you’re being surveilled—which national security interests prevent it from doing…

Which means, unless this law expires. it can’t be challenged.

Your voice is needed. The EFF, Electronic Frontier Foundation is the easiest way to reach Carper and Coons. Type in your zip code and a form pops up which sends your message directly to their Senate office. Or the old fashioned way……

Sen. Tom Carper
Phone:(202) 224-2441
Fax:(202) 228-2190

Sen. Chris Coons
Phone:(202) 224-5042
Fax:(202) 228-3075

Debate begins at 11 am Eastern…. Vote is later this day….

The recession has popped a lot of dreams… It has forced a re-evaluation of priorities. It has put reality in the forefront.

So wiping off the table of everything, everything, and sitting down to a blank space, and asking myself, … what do I want, by the time I die.

It is:

A country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home and secure their retirement,”

After watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” you can be sure it can’t happen on a Republican’s watch….. For that dream to happen, we need protection from corporations and Big Money; not giving them more and more of what we make.

We need more money funneled away from big business, to be reinvested into the Middle Class… Since they haven’t done it voluntarily, we’ll have to force it.

Republicans can’t force anyone to do anything. They are putz’s. It will take a government of all Democrats to make Americans who die, at least die happy that they were able to secure:

“A country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home and secure their retirement”.


Photo Courtesy of the horse’s mouth

Closing remarks of FDR’s declaration of war:

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese government also launched as attack against Malaya.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Wake Island.

And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. .

Compiled by the FBI….

Rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.

The consequences of a prolonged economic downturn—including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit—could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past.

Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda

The current economic and political climate has some similarities to the 1990s when rightwing extremism experienced a resurgence fueled largely by an economic recession, criticism about the outsourcing of jobs, and the perceived threat to U.S. power and sovereignty by other foreign powers…. During the 1990s, these issues contributed to the growth in the number of domestic rightwing terrorist and extremist groups and an increase in violent acts targeting government facilities, law enforcement officers, banks, and infrastructure sectors.

Reminds me of another president, who joked with reporters while holding a document plainly titled: Bin Laden Seeks To Attack US… That was August 6, 2001….. 35 days later, the Twin Towers were rubble.

Again, lifted from Der Spiegal

The current favorite? He’s a political dinosaur, dishonored and discredited. Or so we thought. Yet just because he studied history and speaks in more complex sentences than his rivals, the US media now reflexively hails him as a “Man of Ideas” (The Washington Post) — even though most of these ideas are lousy if not downright offensive, such as firing unionized school janitors, so poor children could do their jobs.

Pompous and blustering, Gingrich gets away with this humdinger as well as with selling himself as a Washington outsider — despite having made millions of dollars as a lobbyist in Washington. At least the man’s got chutzpah.

The hypocrisy doesn’t end here. Gingrich claims moral authority on issues such as the “sanctity of marriage,” yet he’s been divorced twice. He sprang the divorce on his first wife while she was sick with cancer. (His supporters’ excuse: It’s been 31 years, and she’s still alive.) He cheated on his second wife just as he was pressing ahead with Bill Clinton’s impeachment during the Monica Lewinsky affair, unaware of the irony. The woman he cheated with, by the way, was one of his House aides and 23 years his junior — and is now his perpetually smiling third wife.

Americans have a short memory. They forget, too, that Gingrich was driven out of Congress in disgrace, the first speaker of the house to be disciplined for ethical wrongdoing. Or that he consistently flirts with racism when he speaks of Barack Obama. Or that he enjoyed a $500,000 credit line at Tiffany’s just as his campaign was financially in the toilet and he ranted about the national debt. Chutzpah, indeed.

Yet the US media rewards him with a daily kowtow. And the Republicans reward him too, by having put him on top in the latest polls. Mr. Hypocrisy, the bearer of his party’s hope.

“I think he’s doing well just because he’s thinking,” former President Clinton told the conservative online magazine NewsMax. “People are hungry for ideas that make some sense.” Sense? Apparently it’s not just the Republicans who have lost their minds here.

As the logo suggests:  A good thing for the environment
Photo courtesy of the Telegraph

George Bush was considered a good leader after we had just gotten socked by 17 people in four hijacked airliners, when he picked up a megaphone and set the war against terrorism in motion…

They'll hear this

Fact: that war has diminished terrorism.

Today we are fighting in Afghanistan against Afghanistan people who think we and what we offer, are not the best thing for their future…

They have that right, just like you or I would have that right if an uncertain future were being imposed on us, as say 30 years ago, was portrayed in the movie Red Dawn…. But although the words terrorism get thrown about, …. most of us honestly think far less of terrorists now, than we did even during the most glorious days of the Clinton reign…..

I will say that is a success, one which can be measured by a quantified analysis of results. The US achieved success by diminishing global terrorism. Pretty unbelievable, based on the paradigm of the world we had 10 years ago….

But where I’m going with this,…. is that an event happened that impacted American prosperity, and everyone got together to overcome it…

Today, dead plant and animal material of 250 million years ago, is being forced out at high pressure into an underwater basin. Oil is washing up on shore; oil is creating a desert of life where once life thrived…

The equivalent of 9/11 would to not just simply go after BP, but to go after all of terrorism or in this case… dirty energy…. A real leader doesn’t solve a problem. He changes the paradigm….

What we need to do, is to leverage this unfortunate blemish upon the practices of the past, into a understanding and movement towards weaning ourselves off “dirty energy”….

Today, Obama did just that…

“We cannot consign our children to this future. The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash American innovation and seize control of our own destiny. ”

The time to embrace a clean energy future is now……

Sunrise on offshore Wind Farm

Two years ago, Delaware was poised to be the first state to have off shore wind… Legislation was passed, signed… the investment firm was pumped up… and then…. Babcock and Brown… collapsed.

The tragedy in the Gulf ….like a boot camp bugle too early in the morning, means that at this moment… we need to jump up, and go forward with upgrading the plans and building a 600 MWh wind farm off the Delaware coast…

Since private investors can’t handle it… we need a government who can…

We set a very similar precedent seventy five years ago…

Between July 1933 and March 1939 the PWA funded and administered the construction of more than 34,000 projects including airports, electricity-generating dams, aircraft carriers, and bridges, as well as 70% of the new schools and 1/3 of the hospitals built between 1933-1939. Some of the most famous PWA projects are the Triborough Bridge and the Lincoln Tunnel in New York City, the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington, and the Key West Highway in Florida.The PWA also electrified the Pennsylvania Railroad between New York and Washington, DC. The PWA did not create as much affordable housing as supporters would have hoped, building only 25,000 units of in 4½ years.

Those necessary structures today, would not be there without the Publc Works Adminstration. Simply put… It’s goal was to spread big bucks, on big projects… There is some argument that these expenditure did little to alleviate the Great Depression. The geography of the problem was too great: the solutions too small.. Only with the outbreak of WWII and Roosevelt’s realization that deficit spending was now mandated, did this nation begin to work its way out of the Great Depression.

Now try to imagine getting into New York today without either the Lincoln Tunnel or the Tribourough Bridge… Try imagine Boeing in the Northwest developing without the cheap power off the Columbia River…. Try imagine the US developing the atomic bomb without Oak Ridge, a subsidiary of the TVA…. Try imagining the Empire State, without the public funded Niagara Power Project, which held the price of power consistently from 1961 to 1981…

In each case, the long term benefits to the community far outweighed the benefits caused by just the new jobs alone…

Therefore it is time for us to do the same with Wind and Solar…

Private investment is stalemated; the active engine of the economy is (like it or not), the federal government…

For as little as 2 billion, we could begin construction within a year. The dreams of developing a wind farm construction-center right here in New Castle County, would again take wing. The dreams of importing the brains of energy to set up homes in Delaware, would once again become reality…

$2 Billion spread over 20 years… averages out at $100 million a year… Getting a return on that investment with wind energy, would be fairly simple… Between jobs, economic growth, full governmental coffers, and very cheap electricity for all… we could easily show that investment to be worthwhile…. And not to mention, were we to clear a little of our air, who can guess how much of a medical saving each household would garner?

But dreams mean little without action.. Now is the time to begin the pursuit of landing a large government contract to begin off the coast of Rehoboth as soon as possible..

We all know it works. Evidence as been there in the above structures… all our lives… We just need to do it….

So…

Do it.

……. and if that happens…. this BP disaster will have been a good thing in the long run…..

one visual carries the weight of a ton of blogging