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I would be remiss if I did not comment on a major shift that occurred quietly upon the Delaware bloggers scene.

A Republican has called upon Mike Castle to disengage his support for Bush.

Congressman Castle I think it’s time to call it a day with supports President Bush on his desire to continue the war in Iraq. I know it hurt many of us to call it quits but the time has come to do so.

With a touching only-in-Delaware-story that would make Celia proud, we hear of two bloggers clowning around with Castle…..and then a soft appeal from a “nephew”, for Castle to take off the yolk of oppression he has diligently worn to support Bush in Congress, and take up the mantle of wisdom, once beheld by his bespectacled ancestor……..

A brave man has stepped up. May more follow………..

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Congess finds out the dangers faced by our solders

We have heard so often that the surge is working. Perhaps it is working far too well. Four arch-Conservative Congressional delegates flying out of Baghdad, came under fire just as their C130 lifted off from the Baghdad airport. Judging from the depth of the Pentagon’s reaction, it was a close call.

The C-130 cargo aircraft conducted evasive maneuvers after a nighttime takeoff from Baghdad, said Ken Lundberg, spokesman for Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, who was on the plane.

In addition to Martinez, the plane was carrying fellow Republican Sens. Richard Shelby of Alabama and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, and Alabama Rep. Robert “Bud” Cramer, a Democrat.

With the exception of Cramer the Blue Dog Democrat, all of the three republicans would be considered extremely conservative. Shelby, was the individual responsible for announcing that we had intercepted Osama bin Laden’s phone messages. Inhofe accused the Weather Channel of creating global warming. Martinez was in charge of Bush 2000’s Florida campaign, and we all know what happened there. In 2006, he helped craft the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 that would be referred to by much of his own party, as “amnesty”.

All three of these are extremely conservative; all three are potentially embarrassing to the future Republican party; all three have uttered controversial statements like this one…. by Inhofe:

“I am outraged by the ‘outrage’ over the revelations of abuse at Abu Ghraib”, suggesting that liberals being outraged over Rumsfeld’s abusive tactics, were more of a outrage to American values, than the actual torture practiced on Iraqis by American servicemen.

Each of these Republicans has become and will be a future embarrassment to their party in the upcoming elections. Each of these statements will be pounded over the airwaves with undulating precision.

But if you look beyond the glossed over press reports there seems to be something deeper going on behind this incident. Perhaps it was more than just a close call?

For one, why would the C 130 fired upon as it left Baghdad, just happen to carry three of the most conservative members of Congress? Of course one option, and the first considered, is that it occurred randomly. However two other possibilities that could occur, are 1) either the Iraqi insurgents have remarkable intelligence capabilities, capable of communicating the precise moment the plane lets go its brakes to a position miles away, or……2) it was an inside job.

Was it random? At roughly 150 of these planes flying in and out of Baghdad on a daily basis, the odds at firing on this one randomly selected over the last five years, would be: 1 chance out of 273,750. That would be a 2737.5% chance of not happening. But anything is possible, right?

So let’s examine the logistics behind the alternatives. To fire upon this one plane, the enemy would need to know which plane out of the twenty five lined up on the tarmac awaiting takeoff, contained the conservative legislators. That means the insurgents would have had access to Baghdad military airport, in the heart of the super safe Green Zone.

If the enemy was this intelligent, they should know that killing four congressional legislators would not end the war. It would escalate it further. (To end the war they would need to kill liberals.) They would also know that creating martyrs out of the four most conservative Congressional members, would embolden a 9/11 response across this country. It would rally international support behind the US, now waning worldwide, and create an international environment more hostile to Al Qaeda. The insurgents would be foolish to fire upon that plane.

So who stands to gain if these men were shot down? Obviously those republicans waiting in the wings in their safe red districts, would benefit. So would the RNC. There would be NO chance of a blue taking any of these seats. Obviously the Republican party would be better off by not having their own comment blaming “the Weather Channel for creating global warming”, receiving international airplay. (They are so losing this next election; I hope that Mondale lives long enough to see his dubious record broken.) Obviously the next big republican scandal that will come out of Florida (Martinez), would be nice to nip in the bud. Furthermore anyone having a vendetta against that one single person responsible for leaking that nugget that we were listening to Osama’s phone calls just after 9/11, causing his GPS location to be lost to us forever, would rub their hands with revenge.

These shots fired, based on a cross reference of the press reports description and the Pentagon’s map of Baghdad, originated from an area safe from insurgents, and entrusted to private corporate mercenary services. The location of these shots makes it even more unlikely that an insurgent pulled the trigger. The odds that an operative of Al Qaeda, infiltrated a private security service such as Blackwater, was in real time informed as to when this very plane was taking off, and knew exactly when to pull the trigger seconds before he even saw or heard the plane, all without any experience of ever having done so before at this location…….. are impossible to calculate…………….

If this was an inside job, perhaps instead of an assassination, it was a mere attempt at a scare. They missed on purpose. For by instilling fear in some of the most conservative members of the Congress, one could continue to count firmly on their future loyalty and support.  No doubt as they spoke before their respective branches of Congress, they could then be counted on to convey to others, that the threat was real.

For if on their return, had these four wavered and decided that all future expenditures were nothing but a massive waste of money, that the surge was not working, and that it was time to make a change in Iraq policy, then dreams of all neocons everywhere, would be nothing more than a wisp of gunsmoke……………

But such talk is just “hullabaloo” , really……… it was nothing more than a random event, a one in a 273,750 chance.
defensive actions by a C130 over Baghdad

WTF?photo by SUCHAT PEDERSON, News Journal

What would you do with 2.86 Billion?  Would you redo every Delawarean High School, and hire additional teachers?  Would you inspect and repair those bridges in danger of falling down?  Would you put it as seed money into forming a Single Payer health care system so needed by this state?  Would you invest it and use the interest to fund the Highway Fund on a yearly basis?  Would you buy up farmland  in danger of development, so Delaware will always be a wonderful place to live?

What is this 2.86 Billion anyway?  Why are we speculating on what we would do with it if we had it?

IT IS DELAWARE’S PORTION OF THE MONEY WASTED IN IRAQ.   If we were not spending it on a religious civil war over there……we could be spending it here, on us………

For those of you who still do not know, anyone still supporting the policies of this administration in that part of the world, is the person to be blamed for us not spending that money where it is needed.  Here!

That person needs to switch parties, and then support spending that money here, not there.

Mitt Romney never granted a pardon, even for the most trivial offense. But when asked if he would consider pardoning Scooter Libby, Mitt Romney said “It’s worth looking at that. I will study it very closely if I’m lucky enough to be president. And I’d keep that option open.” Yesterday he blamed the prosecutor and completely ignored the jury, saying that “the prosecutor knew that there had not been a crime committed.”

Does this mean that he too, like Bush/Cheney,  subscribes to a duplicity in American justice?  One set of rules for the elite (his supporters), the other, for the rest of us?

How does one possibly square the holding of John Atkins accountable to the laws of our nation, but not Scooter Libby?

Taking the Easy Pass Lane

So there I was as a young man, traipsing over the grassy knolls of a compound called Dachau……..and the single image of which I could not shake from my mind, was a view back home from the top of the former Twin Towers.………taken while walking  around the observatory in a slow 360 degree circle and realizing that the entire mass of humanity in that circle of twenty miles, was less than the amount of those eradicated by the Nazis, without a whimper from the German people.

And as my eyes watered a bit, ((no I did not cry), I was still too young), while gazing upon the fake showers, and peering into the cyanide vats on the other side, a tiny child’s voice between my ears, kept repeating a phrase I had stumbled across before the tour on the floor inside the museum. ” You saw us being beaten, you saw us wearing stars, you saw us humiliated, you saw us being transported, and YET YOU DID NOTHING……… I remember at the time being quite angry at the timidity and the complicity of the German people. For a brief moment I hated them…….and in a typical fashion common of that gender in possession of high and excessive levels of testosterone, in those emotional moments I vowed that I, (superior being that I was) would never fear or cave in to brutal intimidation………..

Today, my friend’s friend, lies buried in Arlington……And when I clicked on a forgotten link……(do I still need this?…) and saw the face of a very brave New Castle citizen…….looking back from her high school picture…..those jaded eyes of mine wet over again as I slowly realized that I too had failed to live up to that promise I once made on a bright July afternoon, while standing beside a giant trench planted over with flowers……….

So where was I when it happened? What was I doing that was so important as events played around me? Nothing earth shattering really, and if you probe and scrape all the residue away, I was simply way too busy going through motions in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, to really worry making those tough sacrifices that are personally required to implement the necessary changes (piece of crap, I am)……. Then,……… something about that girl’s picture…………..pissed me off. I think it was how much like my own daughter she was……

So what can I do? Not much, I am no Kissinger nor Howard Baker. I cannot bring these people together and make a settlement. But I can make a choice……and that choice is this.

I can choose to STOP DOING NOTHING. I can go on record and suffer the surprise trip to Guantanamo that may come in the middle of the night (risk diminished), or the bullet to the back of the head in some forgotten landfill (not likely), if it comes to that. And most particularly, I can look at those who enabled and supported this administration when it chose to invade a nation that had not attacked us, a nation that had no intention of attacking us, a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11…….but only a nation that had the poor unfortunate distinction, of being the chosen victim that this bully of an administration had decided to make an example of………..long before the 2000 elections were ever held!

If any of you have ever felt that you too have done too little, that you too were lulled and fooled into believing this war made you safer, then come, join me outside Delaware congressman Mike Castle’s office on Friday July 6th. And should you be too busy, I will understand. Most likely you do not have that haunting childlike voice as do I between my ears, that implores ……..AND YET YOU DO NOTHING…….…But if, by some ancient gene, you do…… possess the capacity to know right from wrong, and if…… by the grace of God, you have been given time to come and be counted, and if…… you do not want to pass on, having never made a difference in anything………… then take the half hour, and come and join us; be counted on this upcoming Friday at 11:00am. (Tell Boss-women you have a doctors appointment if you have to……or call on someone you know who feels like you do, and unlike you, has nothing going on at moment in time.)

Results:

If ten people show, the war goes on, but us ten can rest at ease that we did our part. If twenty show, our numbers just grew 100% !!…….If hundreds show, one or two lines will appear in the News Journal and it will not have been in vain. If a thousand people show, the Congressman and staff will take notice. And just maybe……just maybe……..find within themselves the moral courage to add their voice to echo ours……..WE CAN MAKE A CHOICE……WE CAN DO SOMETHING.

In democracy, the real leaders are always “We, the people“: it is us who tell the government what We want them to do…… Please……..come with us……….and make our stand?

Occasionally something pops up and causes me to remember Senator Lloyd Bentsen, D Texas, responding to soon to be Vice President Quayle’s allusion that he, a young Republican was the new John Kennedy.

“Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

Today another John is in the news, albeit briefly. Often as human beings we sometimes tend to make assumptions about the motives of another person, based solely upon our own emotional reaction. Because we happen to be in a somber or serious mood, any form of satire, humor, or silliness is taken verbatim and acted upon as an actual threat………..Only when one accounts for the degree of damage caused by a humorous action, can we hold its perpetrator accountable. For example, it would really be hilarious to yell fire in a crowded theater and watch all the fools (those not in on the joke) get flustered and crawl over each other to get out. Only when the bodies were counted, would we realize that our joke was not very funny to those families lined up to claim those corpses. Only then, would we understand the serious implications behind our actions.

John is a funny guy. He is outrageous. He is probably slightly crazy. (I love this quote)

“Daniello is the type of guy who can ask, as he did Saturday, “Can we all stand for the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, please?” and make it sound like a threat. Do not cross him when he has a gavel in his hand.” With this reputation it would be irresistible not to utter some outlandish proposition, strut and fret your hour upon the stage, and watch the minions scurry away in fear and trepidation.

John Daniello received his 15 minutes of fame last night, making it all the way to Kos and perhaps Malkin with his reported comment. Quite possibly he got more hits last night than he got votes against Dupont in 1970!

Many young bucks, restless after years of hiding behind a Bush, want to let chips fly, open wide the doors to opportunity, and let anyone and everyone have a run at the gold ring, and with a “what the hell,” throw all to the wind and let the voters decide, then accept whoever the voters choose. But underlying their premise, is the unspoken notion that the Democrats are going to take it anyway, so why not let them fight it out, and let the best man win the primary? It will be good for the state. Or will it?

Ask John Daniello. “Yo, John, know any Shipleys?”

The war was bad then…….just as it is today……great dissatisfaction was prevalent with the status quo, because of some guy named NIxon (no relation to Tyler). A general malaise had fallen over the entire country. Democrats were sure to win in the off year election, especially in a solidly Democratic state such as Delaware.

Two contenders, both beloved favorites of the party, both with strong support from their respective contingents, thought it was their time to grab the ring. Neither candidate, nor their supporters, could fathom that the other side would feel just as strongly for their candidate. Each side would run clean positive campaigns. But only one group can win, right?

What happened? If you don’t remember that primary you are telling your age. Daniello got into a lobster fight for the 1970 congressional nomination with Samuel L. Shipley, later a Democratic state chairman. After some double-dealing and a fistfight between two rival supporters, Daniello won the party’s backing at a wild, wild convention, but Shipley forced their feud to a primary. Daniello won again, but there were so many hard feelings that his candidacy was doomed in the general election.

It took 12 years and a young Tom Carper to put the House Seat back into the Democratic column.

If Democrats cannot hold together like glue, and based on tonight’s story and the blogger’s reaction, it looks like they can’t, the upcoming primary will result in a Republican’s capture of the governorship for the first time in 16 years.

So what’s with John’s beef with bloggers? Daniello sees bloggers as being the wild cards stirring up the embers, just as those long haired radicals, Tom Carper and Ed Freel did in the seventies. Just like those young bucks, the bloggers run on their own agenda, fueled by the passion of the moment (and a couple of beers), and as we have all read in the comment sections, they often threaten to switch parties if such- and= such does not happen.

But what if our flagrant actions were to result in the postponement of progressiveness’s moving forward. What if the electorate, recoiling from the animosity expressed so recently in a September primary, on November makes the emotionally safe choice, instead of the rational “better-we -go- this- way” choice……….

We pay for our sins a long time.

More than anyone else, John Daniello knows the pitfalls that a divisive all state primary will create…………he knows that war, sometimes seems glamorous from afar, especially to both young bucks and wizened draft-deferring Republicans, but when its ugliness is experienced up close……war exposes the worst of the human capacity.

Do we want to go there? Remember Franklin’s admonishment: we must all hang together, for surely if we don’t, we will all hang separately. Still want to go there?

We do?……. Good, I was hoping someone would say that. For a second I was afraid that I had convinced you otherwise. So lets get the rumble going……
I’ll start: That John Carney is nothing more than an ostrich, full of feathers, head in the sand, lays a couple of big eggs, and is so damned ugly……or was it Markell I was supposed to say that about…….damn, I can’t remember…….I’ll get back to you later as soon as I figure out which side I’m on…..It was Markell, right, oops I mean Carney, Markell………its time for some chocolate………

The clock is ticking down……less than forty hours remain. Friends….that is only 2400 minutes! Or even worse, just 144,000 seconds. The countdown continues…..

Remember when the General Assembly was sworn in early in January, At that time the 1st of July seemed a long way off.

But in 2359 minutes, it will be here! January to June, let us see…..six months? we should be tidying up by now with just a few knick knacks left to finalize…..Right?

Let us see what is on the agenda’s of today’s General Assembly.

In the Senate: as of 12:00 (yesterday) only one thing: Tony De’Luca’s bill to have various organizations within the state, look for extra money and report back on 12/21/07 on what they find. I find this a little confusing. Why do we need to tie up the remaining 2398 minutes with a bill that does nothing but say “we need to do this”. On the surface, when you first hear it, it seems sound good. “I, Tony DeLuca, got tough with our bureaucrats and demanded they look for other ways to fund our government.” But isn’t that naturally what happens when you, your business, your government runs out of money? Your first priority becomes to find “where you can get more”……….Since there is no funding within the bill, and there is really nothing new in the bill, this bill, as it says from the outset, it is just a proclamation……..A commission, proposed within this bill, could just as easily be appointed by the governor to find revenue streams and report back.

If someone could get back to me on why this bill is important, I would like to hear. But in reading it, it sounds like ‘much ado about nothing.” One would think with only 2397 minutes left, we could find something far more worthwhile to debate……………..

On the house side more is going on. You have Senate Bill 36 which quietly sells government employees down the river. AFSCME may still be around for years, but as for saving pension plans or bargaining for better insurance, forget it. This bill would forever remove those items from the collective bargaining table:

Position classification, health care and other benefit programs established pursuant to Chapter 52 of Title 29, workers compensation, disability programs and pension programs shall not be deemed to be compensation for purposes of this section;

So if in the future if it becomes necessary for the state to economize by cutting benefits to minimize costs, the unions will be unable to protest it. This appears to be the first quiet, hidden attempt to cut state employee’s benefits. This Rubicon, if crossed, will forever diminish labor’s effective voice. Due to the lack of outcry, I doubt if most of them know……….or will know with only 2396 minutes left.

Next comes HB 177, the fusion bill. This would eliminate candidates who may have lost the primary, from running as a third party candidate in any general election aka Joe Lieberman or Connecticut. As Delaware Watch points out this bill would force organized labor to support just one of the two major parties. And you know they won’t support Republicans. Obviously this is one Democrat’s attempt to keep its rank and file from trickling away, aka the Berlin Wall. Thanks to the watchfulness of Dana this bill became public knowledge. But with only 2395 minutes left it had a good shot at going through.

Next comes HB 208, which says that a person has committed burglary as soon as they enter a building without permission. They do not have to steal anything, just be there. This would effectively cut down on the solid American tradition of checking on elderly neighbors, just to see if they might need medical attention. But most likely this issue will not be raised with just 2394 minutes left.

House Bill 251 prevents convicted criminals from becoming volunteer fireman. Perhaps this is ok, but I think there is no harm in letting Freeberry fight fires if she wants to. But these ramifications will go unnoticed with only 2393 minutes left.

The Senate Joint Resolution 3, organizes a leviathan task force to see what can be done with Wilmington’s schools. The makeup of this monstrous 33 member task force, will be big on names, but seriously short on talent. It will pass on the feeling of “lets do something nice for Wilmington” because no one will have time to look too hard at it with only 2392 minutes left.

House Concurrent Resolution 32 creates another task force, this time of 23 people, to look at new assessment possibilities instead of the current DSTP used in schools today. 3 of those will be on the above task force as well. (I hope they have daytimers). This report is due late May 2008, too late for serious action by the second half of this General Assembly. But it should generate plenty of controversy for the upcoming election. 2391 minutes and counting.

Senate Bill 119 seeks to insert this clause into the Delaware code: “(1) The amount to be raised by taxation shall not exceed 20.97 cents on each $100 value of real property in Sussex County for the tax year 2008, 22.23 cents for 2009, and 23.50 cents for 2010 and all years thereafter.” This is to fund Vocational Schools only. And with only 2390 minutes left, no one will even know……..

Senate Bill 123 further seeks to streamline and professionalize the educational process by controlling who those parents are on the advisory boards, which used to be siphoned from the Delaware Congress of Parents, but now are to be hand picked by the Secretary of Education.

Senate Bill 126 finally does some good. This bill alone should save the state billions over its lifetime if enacted. This bill returns the determination of fines back to the discretion of the judge, by eliminating the predetermined amounts, which unfortunately sent many people into our correctional system, who really did not need to be there. Let’s hope there is enough time, with only 2388 minutes left.

House bill 189 removes one more roadblock that stands in the way of remaking Sussex County into a sea of aluminum sided houses. This obsolete law, which on its surface makes sense to update, will, by its removal, allow many developments to go forward which have been so far held back. This bill still is stuck in committee. It may not see light in the next 2387 minutes left. Oops just passed the House.
HS 1 for HB146 seeks to mandate stateside recycling. Unlike most bills before the House this time, this one has the means to pay for itself. However constant vigilance and discipline need to be exercised to insure the recycling fund is not pilfered by Republicans whose modus operandi has always been: “see it, spend it” despite their political rhetoric to the contrary. Oh! Just got shot down…………..

House bill 241 seeks to make this change which will affect 5 employees of the state………all well known to every legislator.

Section 1. Amend §5201(b), Title 29 of the Delaware Code by adding the following sentence at the end thereof:

“An Individual qualifying for a service pension under §5522(e) of this Title shall not be an ‘eligible pensioner’.”.

Section 2. Amend § 5501(d), Title 29 of the Delaware Code, by inserting therein a new paragraph to read as follows:

“(22) Service as a per diem employee with the House or Senate of this State.”.

Senate bill 133 seeks to mandate the separation of children from sex offenders. This is a good bill. Let’s us hope it gets a hearing with only 2384 minutes left.

HB 220 could with tongue- in- cheek, be called the John Atkins bill. Should he ever return to political notoriety at a whim, he could be hauled in and tested. This bill extends alcohol monitoring indefinitely instead of ending in one year. This could be a good thing for those repeat offenders, but more than likely, knowing how most legislators can put down several very stiff drinks in a very short span of time, it could also be used for intimidation and control once an arrest was made. But in their stupor, there is no time to consider this, with only 2383 minutes left.

House Bill 172 seeks to impose the monitoring of uninsured motorists driving upon the road. It tightens reporting requirements on those who get insurance to buy a car, then let it lapse with no payment. Within ten days the state will know. But, to those who like to hold public officials accountable for their actions, this warning is appropriate: you had better make sure your insurance gets paid on time…….

HB 240 seeks to clarify criminal offenses by switching many minor ones over to civil offenses where they belong. This bill is an interesting read for it includes a list of minor infractions that should be civil in nature. Check out for yourself how many times you were a criminal, and because you did not get caught, you never knew it? This bill is overdue. The cost savings from tying down courts, the AG’s office, and law enforcement, over the life of this bill, should save billions.

HB 212 widens the area sex offenders cannot be seen in to include parks, playgrounds, daycare centers.

SB 160, again by DeLuca, provides one more slap in the face specifically to those American workers who get HURT ON THE JOB. They are being asked to incur at least 15% of the medical costs that occurred from accidents while they were on the job. Currently, they receive medical attention at no cost to themselves for employer mandated accidents. Considering that most current Americans do not have enough money to pay for gas , electric, ARM mortgages, car insurance, or car payments,….. their answer to the question “Do you want to go to the hospital for that?” will turn into an emphatic “no,” a decision that may perhaps kill them a few months later from its complications, but save them from paying their part of the 4000 dollar medical bill, which if paid, would push them into bankruptcy. This is just one more example of how a leadership position, removes a thoughtful person away from reality.

Senate Bill 111 seeks to move one offense the other way, towards a felony. Violation of a Domestic violence protection order, will be upgraded from a Class A misdemeanor, to a Class F felony. Knowing how those to violate these orders, are under passionate emotional influences, and immune from normal rational thought , this bill falls into that feel-good status, (look, we did something) just as mandatory sentencing did, and not into effective control. The only effective difference will be the charge presented to the court, long after the women and children are dead.

House bill 266 attempts to standardize the definitions of abuse thought the state’s governmental system. However, based on their definition of “emotional abuse” that definition could be in a thesaurus under “marriage”.

SB150
will give those medical professionals who help out during emergencies, freedom from any liability for any action occurring as a result of their involvement, the same way state emergency responders are protected.

HB 207 seeks to give the same penalties for selling counterfeit drugs, as for the drugs themselves. No more getting off because the actual drug sold, acetaminophen, was not on the controlled substance list……… but was being sold as something that was……..

SB 35: Section 1. Amend Subsection 1014(a) of Title 26 of the Delaware Code by striking the figure “$0.000178” in the first sentence thereof and replacing it with the figure “$0.000356”. This extra money goes into the Green Energy fund at the residential electrical cost of .18 cents per household. This is to generate home grown energy projects on a person’s own property.

And most importantly, with ramifications greatly affecting all Delawareans, is the Dick Cathcart sponsored HB 245. This bill will change history by changing the method moist snuff is taxed within the state of Delaware.

UPDATE: JUST LAID ON SPEAKERS TABLE

Keeley HJR 7 establishes yet another task force, again devoid of funding, to look into statewide recycling. I guess she doesn’t have the necessary votes to pass HB 146.

Then there is the HB 250, the appropriations bill for 2008: all 256 pages of it. But no worries, mate, there still are 2377 minutes left. (9.28 minutes to read and absorb each page, that is if so choose not sleep.)

Hopefully they are taking amphetamines. Because if they decide to get a good night’s rest over the next couple of working days, they will squander 480 minutes of that time left. One must assume that they will sleep on the floor of the offices, because commuting times will bite into 120 more of those minutes. Unless they eat while working they will use up 120 minutes and estimated bathroom time should fall between 100 and 120 minutes. So if we are willing to forgive these personal indulgences (a whopping 820 minutes), they have only 1577 minutes left……a little over twenty six hours to do all of the above and the bond bill as well, which as of yet, has not arrived out of committee…

There is a lot for our legislators to absorb in the next several minutes. To make it even tougher, our lobbyist’s contingent insists… that our legislators follow the Dr. Pepper rule these last few days……..

Dr. Pepper rule? Don’t know that one? That is a classic. It stands for having two drinks by ten, two drinks by 2, and two drinks by 4. Is it any wonder that our citizens get the short end of the deal at the end of every legislative session?

For true insight on how democracy works, show up at legislative hall on Saturday night.It is free and open to the public…… And bring a camera phone.

Daddy, what do you know about the Electronic Revolution? Teacher says it took place early this century and that it changed a lot of how we do things today. I would like to know more, but teacher says I should ask you.

“She did, huh?”

“Well……. your grandpa and a couple of people at the same time just got mad at how things were being run in their small state and decided to use a new medium at the time to yell about it. As more and more people began checking into what exactly they were saying, more and more people came into agreement, and said, yeah, we feel that way two. Suddenly the entire population felt the same way as they did.”

“This made a several powerful people angry, because they had secret plans that they wanted to accomplish. And before, when no one was paying any attention, they could do a lot of bad things with other people’s money, like spend it on themselves, and no one would ever know. But after the Electronic Revolution, when everything they did became known by everyone else, they had no choice but to change their habits and not do those bad things anymore. Everybody was watching.”

“What bad things were they doing?”

“One of the worst, was they were not changing with the times. As people became more and more modern they wanted more things done. Like you want to do more now that you are 9, than you did when you were 3. You used to be happy walking around in a big circle…….remember that? Walking, running, walking? You did it all the time. But it is not so fun anymore, now is it?”

“So when someone wanted to change the law to make things better for everybody else, these people would stick it in a drawer and never open it again. That law would stay in that dark drawer with all the other bills people wanted passed, because by law, that was the end of the bill. And when they wanted to talk about how to spend our money, no one was allowed to listen in. It was done in secret, and we would find out too late, that our money was already spent by some friends of that man who put the bill in his drawer……”

“Teacher said something about newspaper’s? What were they?”

“Ahhh……newspapers…….that goes way back. Well, in those days believe it or not, many people did not have computers, and if they did, most of them did not know how to properly use them. So they got their information printed on big sheets of paper, which newspaper boys sold to make some money. But at that time the newspaper companies had became so preoccupied with getting more and more money that they stopped printing what people wanted to hear, and since the news was always uncovered first on a blog anyway, most people stopped buying the papers.”

“Why did they stop printing what people wanted to hear?”

“Well the newspapers became more concerned with presenting a certain point of view. Telling others only what they wanted them to believe. They were trying to print only good news about the bad people, and were not telling the public just how bad those people were……..”

“So how did people find out?”

“Well these few brave people, one of which was your grandfather, would talk to people who had something to say and then write it on their blog for everyone to see. Those people your grandfather would talk to had first gone to the newspapers, who would pretend to be interested, but in end, wouldn’t print the bad news for people to read, because they were paid lots of advertising dollars by those very candidates who put bills in drawers. So those people told the bloggers what they knew and the bloggers printed the truth for everyone to see.”

“When did it happen?”

It happened between 06 and 07, many years ago. Many people learned to blog for the 06 election. After it was over, they continued looking at the government officials and wrote about them nonstop.”

“Because of them, many changes took place in the state. Some of those bills that were buried in the drawer, were pulled out and became law. People were happy.”

“Why is it called the Electronic Revolution?”

“Because it changed things. Before, with just television, people learned how to control it and would only tell people what they wanted them to hear. If you had a question and wanted to find something out about a candidate, you couldn’t. You just had to listen to whatever he said and decide whether you liked him or not…….”

“During the electronic revolution, instead of only a few hundred reporters looking over your shoulder, and most of them only wrote follow up stories based on what one or two reporters who broke the story, you had anyone and everyone who knew how to search the internet, looking at everything you ever did. Because politicians knew that someone would one day find out the truth, they were more careful to look like they actually cared for their citizens.”

“Also, especially in our small state, the bloggers on opposite ends would actually post messages to each other, and eventually they realized that both sides wanted changes to take place that would allow the public to see what was going on.”

“So Dad. how can I sum it up for my report tomorrow? The electronic revolution did………?”

“How about this. The electronic revolution returned the power of government away from elected officials, and back to the people, for the people, giving them once again, a government of the people?

George W's  Imperial Palace:  Baghdad

As the Bush administration struggles to weave together any positive pieces out of Iraq, into a quilt large enough to hide themselves and his administration behind, more servicemen die each day. More money goes bye-bye. More bad news filters back.

With everything going on I missed the anniversary of a deceit fostered on Congress by this administration. Just a little over a year ago today, Bush spoke before a large Chicago convention and said, ” We have now reached a turning point in the struggle between freedom and terror”, he said, pouring on the optimism. “Iraqis have demonstrated that democracy is the hope of the Middle East, and the destiny of all mankind. …….Years from now, people will look back on the formation of a unity government in Iraq, as a decisive moment in the liberty, a moment when freedom gained a firm foothold in the Middle East and the forces of terror began their long retreat.

Two days later an intelligence assessment (pg 471), classified as SECRET, was circulated among White House staff members that showed the forces of terror were not on retreat. It was a stunning refutation of the president’s forecasts most recently made in Chicago, just two days earlier.

In large print it stated: “ATTACKS IN MAY WILL LIKELY SURPASS APRIL LEVELS WHICH WERE THE HIGHEST EVER RECORDED. THE SUNNI ARAB INSURGENCY IS GAINING STRENGTH AND INCREASING CAPACITY DESPITE POLITICAL PROGRESS AND IRAQI SECURITY FORCES DEVELOPMENT.

This was next to a chart showing average attacks per day climbing consistently from January 06 at 72, up each subsequent month: 87, 95, 110, 113 in May 06. A ten point average daily climb would result in an increase of 30o each month. It is the trend that is noticeable, not the number of attacks. As we Americans back home were propelled towards a midterm election, we were being force fed on our progress in Iraq, not that we were steadily losing the battle of security.

This SECRET report continues: INSURGENTS AND TERRORISTS RETAIN THE RESOURCES AND CAPABILITIES TO SUSTAIN AND EVEN INCREASE CURRENT LEVEL OF VIOLENCE THROUGH THE NEXT YEAR. The picture could have not been darker.

The US had about 130,000 troops, about 80% of the height of 160,000, and the Iraqis had steadily added security forces and now had some 269,000 military and police. Many of these Iraqis had taken the lead, running security operations within Iraq, although even they had US military advisers embedded with them. We were doing all the right things……….why was it not getting better?

The SECRET transcript says more. ASSESSMENT: CONTINUING SECURITY AND SABOTAGE DIVERT RECONSTRUCTION FUNDS TO TRIAGE REPAIRS AND FUEL IMPORTS. PRODUCTION UNLIKELY TO MEET 2006 MINISTRY OF OIL TARGETS WITHOUT INFRASTRUCTURE REHABILITATION, ENHANCED SECURITY AND EXPANDED FOREIGN INVESTMENT.

The political front was preoccupied with the fight for control between the ministries of Sunnis and those of the Shiites. MINISTERS WILL BE POLITICALLY LOYAL TO THEIR RESPECTIVE PARTIES AND SOME MINISTRIES ARE LIKELY TO BECOME HAVENS FOR THE POLITICAL PARTIES WHO CONTROL THEM.

THREATS OF SHIA ASCENDANCY COULD HARDEN AND EXPAND SHIA MILITANT OPPOSITION AND INCREASE CALLS FOR COALITION WITHDRAWAL.”

SHIA MILITIA INTEGRATION MAY ALIENATE SUNNI ARABS, MANY OF WHOM VIEW SHIA GROUPS AS COMPLICIT IN EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS.

Other intelligence added to the bleak picture. It was at this time that advanced IED’s called explosively formed penetrators (EFP’s) were tearing apart our Humvee’s, Bradley’s, and even penetrating our Abrams. They were not that high tech, but required sufficient sophistication that they could not have been handmade. The high quality of machining and the higher quality of triggering devices had been traced to Iran. Some were triggered by passive infrared devices that could overcome US countermeasures.

It is obvious why this was not made public. If it had leaked it would have cause a fire that could have cost the election. First to fall would be the administration’s credibility. “Hey republicans, are you sure it’s not another WMD?” Second, if it were true, it meant that Iran was killing American soldiers, an act of war. Opponents of the original war had proposed that it would lead to war with Iran…..and here it was proving true. Third, the EFP’s were being fed to a few Shia groups in the south. Suppose the Iranians were to give the technology and knowhow to the militant Sunni’s, the group responsible for 95% of the attacks on US forces? Polls showed that 50% of Sunni’s had positive feelings towards the insurgency. Since Sunnis were 20% of the population of Iraq, that means that at least 10% of the entire population of 20 million, or at least 2 million, looked favorably upon the insurgency. It is now too late. There is no way to turn them around. To win, as republicans want us to do, we will have to kill 2 million people, one third of Hitler’s Holocaust totals.

Here is what we heard, the next day, if you dare remember. This is General Pace, Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff: ” Sure the attacks are up. Folks want this place to be ungovernable so that when it is ungovernable, we will walk away and they can take over. So you can expect the attacks to stay up because every day that Maliki and parliament meet it is a bad day for those who are creating the attacks.” The reporter asks: “so are they on the ropes?” He answered, ” they are on the ropes …………if this parliament continues to function, and this prime minister continues to function.”

” You are going to sound like Cheney…” commented the reporter. “You want to retract that?” “I do,” he replied. “I would like to retract that. Thank you. I appreciate that. I appreciate the courtesy.”

The reporter then asked about victory and how it might be achieved? He acknowledged that there would have to be self government and physical reconstruction of the country for that to happen. “Is this going to happen in your lifetime?” he was asked and he replied in true military fashion: “Yes it is. Well, I hope, yeah. I don’t know, “ he said. “I should retract that line. It can happen in my lifetime…….”

Here is the kicker. On May 26, two days after the intelligence assessment, and one day after Pace’s acknowledgment that we at least had very difficult times ahead, the Pentagon released a mandated public report to Congress entitled “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.” Although there was a report embedded in the middle of the 65 page document, that showed the attacks per week were over 600, the document put its most positive spin on stability and security.

Some of the happy talk: “Anti Iraqi forces, extremists and terrorists continue to fail in their campaign to derail the political process. and to foment civil war.” the report said, omitting any mention of the dark estimates lifted from the recent intelligence assessment. ” “More than 80 percent of attacks were concentrated in just four of Iraq’s 18 provinces”, it said as if violence had actually gone down. It failed to mention that those four provinces, included Baghdad, and contained 47% of the population. The report predicts that Iraqi rejectionists will maintain strength levels through 2006. But the report went on and completely fabricated this line: ” that the appeal and motivation for continued violent action will begin to wane in early 2007″. The Pentagon report to Congress flatly contradicted its own secret assessment two days earlier that said that terrorists and insurgents retained the resources and capabilities to ” sustain and even increase current levels of violence through the next year.”

Isn’t lying before Congress a crime?

So who’s to blame. You can’t blame the military. They are being forced to put their best face forward and spin positive the impossible task to which they have been given.

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 in Iraq.

The President is in denial. His administration can pursue only one option. We had this before, when the Nixon administration hunkered down, defending its cover up of the Watergate affair. We can yell at him all we want, but he can’t hear us…………

If America is to pull back from the precipice, and acknowledge that we can’t butcher the 2 million Sunnis required to win, and recognize that we need to pursue other options besides the military one, ir America is to change its destiny, the push that will tip the balance, needs to come from Congress. Not the Democrats mind you, for they do not have the 67 votes needed to overcome the certain veto. It will require the defection of Senate Republicans, one by one, away from the failed policies of Cheney-Bush who commenced a policy so flawed, that even our generals estimate that it will take the Holocaust of 2 million Sunni’s to win the war. It is strictly on the shoulders of these 18 republican (or independent) Senators, that all hope lies. If you have a Republican senator, they need to hear from enough of you, their constituents, to know that their jobs are in jeopardy should they fail. They also need to know they will be forgiven, if they change their votes right now. It is not the brave, but the fence sitters who now hold America’s future in their hands. The destiny of those who will not come back, lies in their decision. Those eighteen are in need of our prayers and our support. They need to know you care. Each voter who has a Republican Senator should take on as their personal responsibility, to call them and ask how long the are willing to prolong a dying cause. Tell them you know it will take the slaughter of 2 million Sunni’s for us to win? Tell them that is unacceptable for Americans. For without your pressure, calls, and letters, those eighteen would continue to plod along through a vacuum devoid of facts, spun by this administration deep in denial, and unknowingly throw this country’s reputation away for some cheap assurances of political loyalty.