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Just came across this exchange…..

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey: “The answer to whether I support additional support for the moderate opposition is yes.”

Senator Bob Corker (R, Tennessee): “And this authorization will support those activities in addition to responding to the weapons of mass destruction.”

Dempsey: “I don’t know how the resolution will evolve, but I support – ”

Corker: “What you’re seeking. What is it you’re seeking?”

Dempsey: “I can’t answer that, what we’re seeking…

====

And now…. you know…. the rest of the story….

And as an aside… the number of those opposed in America to this engagement where we don’t know what we are seeking…. is now above the combination of those who don’t know, and those who as Arlo Guthrie put it best in Alice’s Restaurant…. want to kill….

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I Do solemnly swearPhoto Courtesy of US Marine Corp

Today is Armed Forces Day.  There is a parade in Newark to mark the occasion.  Take time to whisper a thank you to all who have served, past, present, and future.  I could say much more, but what’s the point.  I’ve already said, all that can be said. Just a heartfelt thank you will do…….  Words fail when emotion is real.


Right click to open full image… Pictograph Courtesy of Viral..

So, can someone tell me again, why we shouldn’t tax the rich, and instead, balance the budget on the backs of everyone else?…….

I seem to be missing that little detail where that all makes sense……

Call it temporary insanity but let’s pretend, let’s just say, …that at one moment in time, if I chose to donate my youth out for my country, to be compensated back in the form of low pay; to completely and unjudgingly offer my fate up to the will of bureaucrats, all for the loss of my own self esteem, all for unending stretches of boredom, sparsed with interludes of a few intense seconds, that fortunately thorough my reactions and training, enabled me to continue living as I do today………….

I could reasonably be expected to be honored for that service to my nation, right?

In a perfect world, that is….

One would think, that in a perfect world, as needs were being debated across the universe of public funding, that a hierarchy resembling this, would sort of be the guideline, if not the rule?

National Heroes…..

over

We, The People…..

over

LLC corporations….

After all, if it weren’t for us, there’s a good chance those LLC. corporations wouldn’t be able to do business in a free and prosperous society, you would think?….

One would think, that if one of these heroes needed medical care, with the tremendous amounts of money being thrown away by our government daily, in the forms of corporate tax breaks enabling corporations to make “record breaking profits”…. that they would be put at the top of the list.. don’t you think?

Sorry, CEO… your operation will have to wait… We have a veteran who is in dire need ahead of you….

In a perfect world….

One would think, that a voucher system would be in place, or a blank check, where any veteran could walk into any hospital, and get immediate, necessary medical attention, have his prescriptions filled as a privilege for his service, and that the bill would be willing be paid by those with monetary resources more than adequate for their own needs?

One would think, (right?)… that it would be CEO’s, those who give pink slips so they can break profit records, those who cut benefits so they can break profit records, those who don’t invest in America so they can break record profits, ….who should be the ones finding themselves regulated to CEO hospitals, where they would then have to settle in on a waiting list for the next opening to occur, where they had to endure budget cutbacks and go without life-saving medicine because there was no money left in the CEO fund, perhaps because it had all gone to Veterans to pay THEIR expenses?

In a perfect world…..

In a perfect world, veterans would need no freebies…. They would not need welfare, or a pension, or a humble stipend to eke an existence… They would be working, contributing to society, in any way they could… If they had no legs, they would be outfitted at corporate’s expense, so that would not be an issue… If they had no arms, they could be outfitted at corporate’s expense so that was not an issue. If they had psychological damage, (and who wouldn’t?) they could be treated at corporate’s expense… so that was not an issue.

If they were so badly damaged that they create an efficiency drain on society, they could be honored for their sacrifice, and a useful voluntary capacity could be created to honor that commitment once made so long ago… Perhaps speaking about serving one’s country in every class, in every school, in every county? Can you think of any better civic’s lesson?

There’s a lot that can be done…

The problem is that veterans are deemed as just another expense…. Because to corporate America, that is just what they are… An expense, an obligation to be met that gets in the way of their making more money…

Unfortunately, our Congress is owned by Corporate America….

What should and does need to happen, is this relationship needs to be exposed. We need to call them out on it…

Republicans and Democrats are both complicit in allowing corporate raiders this unprecedented power. But Republicans are the symbol of Corporate America. Republicans are the ones who championed the Corporate Takeover. Republicans are the ones who dismanteled the safeguards that had been put in place to prevent that takeover from happening. That is why they need to go. Disappear… Whoever is left, the remainder, most likely after seeing the elimination of a large majority of their peers, will think twice before following their Dark Lord, now a soul less wanderer eking existence.. ……

In a perfect world…

Unfortunately, today we need to contend with obscene amounts of money saying Corporate is Good; Government Fairness is Bad….

But we have our lives telling us the opposite… It will take courage and strong will, to override all the overload of sensory data being pipelined into our soul, but we still have hearts, and those hearts are attuned to what makes America special. great, and the best place to live on this earth….

WE can still dream….

And those dreams should include a perfect world… one we CAN make happen, at least for those without whom we would not have the freedom, the resources, the nation, we have today….

Here’s to a perfect world?

Waxing nostalgic I searched my files and came up with this:… a nugget of how things once were….

We’ve changed; I’ve changed…

i remember the controversy over Donvitti’s Veteran’s Day picture… Many were moved at it’s evocative message to complain vociferously … Now jaded as we are, we’d just say”that’s Donvitti” and shrug it off… Yes, things have changed…

I think young people thrive on change: old people hold onto pieces of the past… and as much as I hate to admit it, I am less young than I once was.

Memorial Day used to sweep me with emotion as I remembered those who had gone before… Back then, I hadn’t had to bury any of them… I think funerals change a person. I think they provide a reality check against some of the dreams to which we aspire… So now, I accept out of duty, and go through the motions, of celebrating Memorial Day… But is more empty than it was before…

I wonder sometimes, if blogging burns out neurons. It seems to… Sort of the same way that drinking strong coffee, towards the end, doesn’t jolt to the same effect as did that first cup…. or that flush from a light Chardonnay, gets lost at the bottom of the third bottle, … or how attending aother funeral, becomes “just another one..’

So how does one celebrate Memorial Day? What is the most fitting way of doing something grand? Something that can be done year after year, without losing its impact, its effect, its meaning?

Attending services at first seems like a viable option… Showing your respect by driving around the state, stopping from memorial service to service to shake a few hands, thank veterans for their service…. but after a while, when you look at the impact of what you’re accomplishing, versus the time, versus the effort you paid out, and you start feeling it’s a lost cause, an issue of spending years collecting pennies in mason jars, only to find at life’s end, no one wants them?

But,

Huddled on a moonscape tonight, is someone’s little boy… someone’s baby girl,… Perhaps their eyes are blue, or maybe they’re brown… Perhaps their hair is fine, flopping the breeze, or maybe it’s wiry, cropped close to the scalp? Bottom line, and cold reality is: tonight, any one of them, could breathe their last …

And for what?

For a gabble of egoistic, cranky old coots jamming the halls of Congress? For a man, (or women) having the luck to convince more levers, more buttons, more check-marks, to be cast for his name as opposed to his rival’s? For their spouses sleeping around the base back home? For their kids missing a parent, and taking that frustration out on those in school? For less taxes, more taxes, too many taxes, not enough taxes? For giant building projects? For protecting the simple wetlands needed to keep a little quiet in the urban world?

Why?

These ideas go through every service person’s mind, just before the order to move out, comes down… “Why am I here. they wonder?”

The answer lies in a small word, with a big meaning…. America… People have tried to put their finger on it, just what that means… and no one can: It is just too big…

How can you describe standing on the rocky beach in Portland, Maine, looking out toward Europe on a clear blue day, and compare it to the hotness lining the burr-yos outside Los Angeles, where the most amazing senioritas strut their stuff? How can you link hiking under the spires of the pristine rain forests on the Olympic Peninsula, with laying in the sun, sweating on top of an Alabama haystack sharing that moment with your high school sweatheart and two cans of PBR?…. Impossible? Yet but all that and more, fall under the umbrella of that single word “America….”

All are indeed worth dying for…

So, I think when it comes down to it, my best way to honor those who went off and didn’t come back, is to ask, …. “what would they want to do right now, if they were here? What is the one thing they miss the most?”

That would be: spending quality time with friends and family… That would be my answer… Personally, if they were here again, I doubt that they would spend all day going from service to service… Instead, they would be hugging their children, never letting go of their spouse, laughing with their grandparents, chilling with their friends, … they would be living life…. a life they did not have.

THAT is what they’d want to do, … if they were still here…

So, that’s how I’m spending my holidays… with family. with friends. Doing some catching up, some future planning, some sharing….

And the thought occurs to me at some point during that time… THIS is what they gave up… THIS is the true nature of the sacrifice they made…..

And that stupid little tear that always forms in the corner of the eye, almost always at the most inopportune moment, is now…. there again..

Today, in Lakehurst, NJ, the Navy announced it allegedly launched an F18 using electromagnetism. Recently, it also announced using electromagnetism to fire a projectile at nearly Mach 8.

In less than 5 seconds, the F18 was airborne. The electric catapult, manufactured by General Atomics, must be delivered to the Newport News Shipyard by this upcoming May, in order to meet the production schedule of the new Gerald Ford class aircraft carrier due to be christened in 2015. Failure of this test, would have caused a redesign to allow the re-installation of the now inefficient old fashioned steam catapults.

With the growing reliance upon electromagnetic technology, comes renewed concern over it’s its functionality in the event of an EMP. The Iranian nuclear crises, exposes this vulnerability. One Iranian missile launch, coupled with a crude nuclear device exploded over it’s own airspace, could blind our Mid-East operations for months to come.

With out capacitors, we could no longer launch planes into the air.


Courtesy of US Navy and General Atomics

It is such a great time. The cold front has passed, warm moist air flowing in, misty rain, not enough to get you wet, but enough to wake you up as it dances across the face. In it one can feel the snow coming two days early… For a weekend night, outside it’s peaceful… Those with money, have finished shopping. Those without, are waiting for that last check before the holidays…

The annual tradition of trading favorite YouTube’d carols over the internet, has begun in earnest… Strains of Mozart, Celtic Women, Cat Stevens, Bon Jovi, Metallica, and tons of favorite carols by assorted artists, have caused all the stress, pain, heart attacks, symptoms of short breathing,……….. to melt away somewhere into the distant future, as we float back into all those happier times as we remember fond memories of our past……..

Happy Holidays.. Happy Holidays
Courtesy of All American Patriots

AFghanistan
Courtesy of Pat Dollard

Afghanistan: like walking on the moon
Courtesy of Theodore’s World

Things aren’t so nice for 100,000 plus Americans now fighting in Afghanistan. Things aren’t so nice for their families, friends, and lovers back home,… now that things have really heated up over there….

Take a second: Imagine you’re a Taliban fighting this foe invading from a very distant land. Imagine the hope, and shot in the arm a headline like this from the United States, would instill in you upon having it read to you. Imagine how quickly its words would resonate in your blood, and how less inclined you would be to throw in the towel against overwhelming odds? Imagine if you had rounds of waterproofed AK 47 ammo hidden in your well, how inclined you must now be to pull them up, and lay in wait for an American serviceman, any American serviceman, to come close enough to fire a killing shot.

That Headline….

Republicans Shoot Down $700 Military Appropriations Bill Funding War in Afghanistan. Bill Not Passed.

Republicans just aided and comforted our enemy…. Can you hear the Taliban cheering?

It’s the holiday season;  I’ll be honest.

David Anderson: you served. How can you stomach supporting the Republican Party when they refuse to fund American servicemen in combat?

Frank Knotts: How can someone with your passion for all that America has stood for, still call yourself a Republican when they play games with Americans living and dying for our shared values?

Hube:  What gives?  Where is the line across which the Republican Party stops supporting America, and the Tea Party begins to represent the Conservative’s cause?

Tyler Nixon: How can any ex service man, support the party that is so self centered, they have no clue of how their vote to, not fund the war, emboldens our enemies?

Kilroy of Delaware: What kind of political party would play with funding for troops in active combat? How can that be tolerated?

Oh, well, it’s not skin off my teeth. It’s your party… do what you want. I don’t care… But I’ll tell you this… This nation needs a little old one horse Tea Party for this one reason alone: so conservatives have somewhere else to go without crawling on their knees to suck up to the moral backruptiveness of the Republican Party, that’s why…

Oh, well, I’ve said too much already. It’s not my problem. I just think that:

Our servicemen deserve better.
Conservatives deserve better.
Our republic, the United States of America, deserves better.

Conservatives: isn’t it way past time to switch your parties affiliation?  It’s the holiday season!  What better gift to your kids and grand-kids  could you possibly give?

When Johnson fired Edwin Stanton back in ’68, Radical republicans decided that this firing violated the Tenure of Office Act , and politically inspired, they drew up impeachment proceedings against then president, Andrew Johnson. It was 1868. Based on party lines the vote looked good and most republicans were casting straws to see who would become the next president.

Their plans came to a quick end when one of their own, Edmund Ross, refused to lay down the deciding vote. He voted no on impeachment. ” I looked down at my open grave.” is is often commented as saying.

As one commentator remarked, the political climate in ’68 was so divisive that Andrew Johnson would have been impeached for “stepping on a dog’s tale”. The Republicans had been looking for a chance to impeach for over a year and finally had their opportunity. One man, Edmund Ross, went against his party, for a higher ideal. He believed the president should be allowed to hire and fire whom he pleased. He also believed that just because Congress was of a different political stripe, one did not fire the president for a minor trumped up charge.

A similar republican attempt occurred in ’98. This time it was 1998 with Bill Clinton. The charge was masqueraded as a perjury violation, but really it was a political move designed by republicans to sully the most popular president ever. It failed. Furthermore public opinion backfired upon Republicans who themselves heavily lost popularity points and many of those who were instrumental in its prosecution, became the butts of public jokes. Americans refused to buy into the philosophy that their president should be impeached for something that goes on in most American homes every day.

Ironically both times impeachment processes have been initiated in our nation’s history, they were 1) initiated by republicans and 2) done so for purely political reasons……..

With the clear view of hindsight, one could argue that perhaps the republicans knowingly went through the Clinton impeachment process so that their following president could break the law and not have to be impeached. It is unlikely that it was planned as such, but that is exactly what happened.

The best protection Bush/Cheney has against impeachment, is the recent memory of the folly of the last one 9 years ago.

Surely we do not want to go through with that process again. Or do we?

Let’s apprise our current situation and see where we stand.

When one US attorney refused to strip black voters off the registration forms in Missouri, he was removed. His replacement promptly did just that. It was irrelevant. They hate Bush so much in Missouri, that his candidate lost anyway. Manipulating an election. Not a crime.

During the 2000 election huge, monstrous contributions went into the Bush campaign treasury from BP, Exxon, Mobil, Texaco, and Chevron. For this, they were promised exclusive rights to the oil lying just under the sand in Iraq. It was tough but a war was created that put us over top of those sands. We are in the process of getting the Oil PSA’s some cover by having them legitimized by our puppet government, despite total Iraqi opposition. Those PSA’s will allow those companies to extract the oil for free up to amortization, then pay royalties on only 30% thereafter. Bribery perhaps? Not a crime.

Currently a member of the White house staff was forbidden to testify before Congress. Today it was learned that a warning went out: any judge or attorney who attempted to file a contempt of Congress charge on any White House staff member, would be fired………Embarrassing, perhaps? But not a crime.

The language for impeachment is specific. It must be for either “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. ” Precedent has shown that finding a little rule broken, does not constitute a high crime or misdemeanor. If impeachment is to carry, if done by the Democrats, it needs to be done right. Impeachment is a serious action and all its consequences need to be taken seriously.

Do we impeach Bush, or Bush and Cheney. Will the perspective of Pelosi as chief executive hurt, or help Bush’s case before the Senate.

Are the crimes that serious? Impeachment should be reserved for someone who accumulates power and refuses to listen to either 1) Congress, 2) the Judicial Branch, or 3) the American people. When once we have determined that we have a president like that, then it will be time to impeach…………….

Armed Service Day on the Green

Yesterday was an interesting day in downtown Newark. The yearly Armed Forces Service Day Parade was in full gear.

But this year there was something strangely different. The difference was so subtle, that it took many hours for me to realize exactly what it was. For one, because of the current war, I was much less gung-ho-America-rules- the-world, than I previously was when America was still a respected nation worldwide. Although in truth I must admit, that when the Huey buzzed Main Street low enough to see the hand waving from the gun port, and all the little old ladies put their fist over their head and said “Yes!”, a couple of those jingoistic embers left over from a previous time flared up inside of me, like leftover coals being blown early on a crisp morning. I confess, I still had pride watching those ghosts of what they once were, religiously marching down Main Street yesterday, straining under the weight of the flags they carried. But my pride in our armed forces this year, was tempered somewhat awkwardly by the shame of how our country has misused them most recently.

 

You can’t blame the soldiers. They truly are America’s best and are doing an amazing job. They have but one order: to do their duty. And they do it so well. When asked to serve, they stepped up, and anywhere they go, they make a large impact. If anyone is to receive the blame for this shame, it belongs, not so much to those who are responsible for putting our troops into this mess, but to those who abdicated their responsibility to pull them out on time, thereby abandoning them and leaving them stuck.

 

Perhaps this may help to clarify. In March 2003 we went to war for what we know now, were the wrong reasons. But, at that time since we didn’t have enough ground intelligence to know our reasoning was invalid, we chose to assume our motives were legitimate, and marched towards Baghdad. Perhaps some of the blame for this, can be laid at the feet of the late Sadaam Hussein. He tried hard to make us believe there were WMD’s implanted in 946 sites around Iraq. But for whatever reason, we made a decision and acted.

 

We know now we were wrong without a doubt. And now, the average life of most Iraqis is much worse than when Saddam ruled with an iron fist. And now we are reduced to begging two members of our former Axis of Evil, Syria and Iran, to help us to stabilize the area long enough so that we can pull our troops together and bug out of Iraq.

 

So anyone who still supports the war at this late date, and has not yet come out strongly against it, is being, for lack of a better word, quite unpatriotic. Perhaps this twist bears further explanation. Based on today’s body counts, one can readily accept the fact that if you support the war today, you support the slaughter of US troops, not in combat mind you, but in standing around like target ducks while waiting for an order that never comes. And it is rather obvious that if you support the war today, you are supporting not necessarily a true Democracy, but instead, you are backing a puppet government that has no authority outside the Green Zone, And furthermore, if you support the war today, you are most certainly not improving the quality of life for 20 million Iraqis, you are instead, rapidly destroying it.

 

The changing events on the ground in Iraq, have pushed this country towards one of its most bizarre of ironies. For if you continue to support this war today, you are, in fact, doing the opposite of supporting the troops, you are infact hurting them by putting them in danger for no valid reason. There is only one valid excuse left to those still supporting this war, and that is………. to protect the reputations of those who decide to put us there under false pretenses.

 

Many of those die hards who still support the war, consider themselves to be members of a certain political party that desperately courts and survives on the support of its right wing religions. Within this small group, I am sure that most have heard the Biblical story of David and Absolam. That story boils down to one lesson learned. That lesson, mentioned here, is that there are two ways to kill a soldier. One, you can kill him yourself, and risk personal injury, or you can place him in a spot where you know he can not survive, and then pretend to mourn his loss. God specifically tells David that doing so is a sin. What we are doing to our best and finest, in the eyes of God, must then, using the same argument, also be a sin. For anyone to argue otherwise, means they 1) do not understand what God considers right or wrong, or 2) they have no clue what is going on in Iraq as we sit comfortable here and debate the issue.

 

Without religion to support themselves, no doubt some of this group will pull out the word “honor” to justify this quagmire we now find ourselves in. We need to honor our troops they will argue,

 

Saturday being Armed Services Day, allows me to honor our troops with this little story. There were two Vietnam Vets, hashing over old scars, and trading war stories. The topic of today’s war comes up, and one vet says to the other, “ what’s the president really thinking, doesn’t he have any self doubt?” The other one thinks for a while and says he had often wondered that as well. “Both of us, (the two vets) ”, he said, “ have self doubt. If you didnt’ wake up every morning asking yourself if you could still hit a home run and make it around the bases, you couldn’t be worth much.” The other one thought for a moment and then said, “I guess both Bush and Cheney cannot even consider the question of whether they are right or not. It is likely that neither can have any doubt because it then opens too many questions in their minds”. The other vet responded, “ He (Bush) says he is committed to pressing on in order to honor those who have fallen. To pull out now means that all those who are now dead, would have died in vain.” This seemed to agitate the other veteran immensely. “Has he thought this through?” he asked incredulously. “Your telling me that the president says we must press on to honor the memory of those who have fallen, right? Another way to say it, is that we have to have more of our men fall, in order to honor the memories of those who have already fallen.,,,,,,,,”

 

Perhaps you already recognized these two vets to be Powell and Armitage? (State of Denial, Bob Woodward,pg.325)

 

Oh Look, There's an SUV

Yesterday both Carper and Castle allowed themselves to be fixtures in the parade. Both seemed out of phase, Castle sprawled out like Paris Hilton on the back of a Corvette, and Carper trudging down Main Street, alone, like an isolated island within a sea of people. Perhaps it was nice that they were there, but neither candidate seemed comfortable fitting in well with the theme of honoring our troops. For both have voted for whatever reason, to give Bush as long as he wants to extend this war.

 

Calling a Congressman unpatriotic is nothing new. Hell, the republicans have been doing it every time someone dares mention the war is going badly. But the shoe is now upon the other foot. As evidence slowly accumulates, piece by piece, pointing all of us towards the realization that perhaps this war was in fact, truly masterminded by the Vice President, who, according to Senator Lautenberg, stands to reap flagrant financial rewards from his actions when he steps down from office, ……………….for any Congressman to continue to keep our troops in harm’s way, when the very people we went to protect see us as oppressors and consider us the enemy, can only be deemed to have some other viable interest at heart, and not the well being of our troops.

 

Honor our troops Congressmen. Stand up with 96 percent of America and work to bring our people home. Coming home now is not losing the war.. But staying longer, escalating the conflict, spilling even more blood, making things much worse for all Iraqi citizens, and then, sometime later, still bugging out and coming home empty handed, now THAT will be considered as losing the war.

 

Oh yes, I forgot to tell you about the subtle difference surrounding this year’s parade. There were missing people. All the marchers were either very old man or young kids still in school.. All the young, vibrant adult males (and females) who usually march, were strangely missing. I wonder where they were?