Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Burma's Saffron Revolution Faces Violence from the Government.

YANGON, Myanmar -- At least four people were killed and 100 injured Wednesday as Myanmar's security forces clamped down on anti-government protests led by Buddhist monks, according to officials and witnesses. About 200 people were also arrested, as many as half of them Buddhist monks, as soldiers and police cracked down on tens of thousands of protesters who swept across Myanmar's commercial hub Yangon, according to witnesses and diplomats.

Myanmar officials said at least three monks were killed, including one who was shot as he tried to wrestle a gun away from a soldier. Two other monks were beaten to death, they told reporters.

Police used batons and teargas, sometimes firing warning shots over the crowd to disperse the protesters.

But throughout the day, the protesters regrouped.
James: We knew that it would come to this and we morn the death of those who sacrificed their lives for the liberty of the masses. We grieve with this tense, down-trodden, oppressed country. I am so proud of these fearless monks, nuns and citizens. It takes amazing strength to march for your rights in the face of violent backlashes. Yet I urge the demonstrators to continue their steady wearing down of the walls of oppression if they feel the call. Stay safe as best you can as you face down the paper dragon. Don't let them intimidate you, they can not stop the masses no matter how many bullets and clubs they wield.

May the injured heal quickly and may the imprisoned monks and civilians be freed immediately.

May the government realize it's mistakes and turn to talk rather then violence. To engage in violence is cowardly, very unskillful. To sit down, talk and more importantly listen is the hard part but the only way to unite people to have pride for their beautiful, noble country, solidify reconciliation and hope for a better future. Do not respond to violence with more violence. Let us all heed the voice of the great Guru and master of non-violence, peaceful opposition, Mahatma GandhiMahatma Gandhi:

I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before any one even at the cost of your life. I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

James: May those in the military who are Buddhist cease and desist their abuse of the sangha and fellow citizens. May they realize the error of their ways and leave the military to allow Democracy to wash over the country and clean off the grime of oppression and brighten the faces of all Burmese. A new day is dawning.

May we continue to write our leaders to keep the pressure on the Burma junta leadership to stop this madness. They must know that the world is watching and will hold them responsible for tese crimes against humanity. Let us also urge our leaders to lobby China (the junta's closest ally) and India to help intervene and broker a peace accord. Here are a few email addresses that you might want to use:

American President George W. Bush: comments@whitehouse.gov

The United Nations: inquiries@un.org

Speaking of the U.N., I hear from CNN International that the U.N. Security Council will soon convene to address the Burmese Golden Revolution. Let us urge the U.N. to work with the junta to send a peace keeping for to "the golden land."

In closing, I'd like to end my post today with one more inspirational quotes from Gandhi:

When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it--always.

CLICK HERE to reach the page where I found the Gandhi quotes.

AND, CLICK HERE to see many pictures regarding the on-going protests.

By the way, I have started to use the old name Burma to protest the Myanmar government.

~Peace to all beings~

PHOTO 1: Burmese military blocking a street in Yangon, Burma during a 9th day of protests by monks and civilians. Photographer unknown.

PHOTO 2: Burmese monks march in protest of the junta government. Photographer known but I will not post the name here for fear of reprisals. I'm not sure if the photographer is in Burma but I won't take that chance and risk this person's safety.

CROSS POSTED AT MY BUDDHIST BLOG.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Myanmar Monk Revolution Continues Despite Government Threats



Rangoon, Burma -- Burma’s junta threatened unspecified action against protesting Buddhist monks yesterday as up to 100,000 people marched in the biggest protest seen in a week of ever-expanding demonstrations in the city of Rangoon.

The protests have gone on for 8 days now despite the government threats of violence. Democracy advocate, Aung San Su Kyi has now been moved from her house arrest to a notorious prison in the country. It seems, unlike the protests of 1988, this movement is mostly led by unarmed, non-voilent monks and if the junta opens fire on them the world will come down very hard on them. It could very easily backfire on the government.

The Myanmarese have suffered for a brutal 45 years under the military dictatorship and it appears that they have finally had enough. They are following the courageous, fearless monks who know all about the inevitability of change. The monks are not afraid to put their lives on the line for the good of all Myanmarese. They are not attached to their bodies and that gives one great courage to suffer brutality for a higher cause, liberation. These monks meditate and practice the Dharma (teachings of the Buddha) to help others and themselves achieve liberation from suffering, and political suffering is a big one.

They can break your arms and legs, they can break up houses but they can never break up the spirit of liberation. They can not break our spirit unless we let them. I wish that I could walk hand in hand with my brothers and sisters in Myanmar. I urge them to stay peaceful and not to engage in violence as that would only give the government an excuse to shoot into the crowds to stop the movement.

The monks know that they have a gentle strength in their devoutly Buddhist country and that they serve as a fearless, united core of peaceful civil disobedience for the average citizens to rally behind. It is like water molecules banding together to form a massive, unstoppable tidal wave that over-whelms anything that gets in it's way. The government might be able to arrest a few of them but not hundreds of thousands of them. They can control the media and some of the protesters but even the most powerful, brutal dictatorship can not stop the inevitability of impermanence. And the impermanence of the military junta in Myanmar has become very clear during this past week. Never underestimate the power of the people when they are united and resolute.

The message is getting out to the world of these brave and inspirational protests, despite the tightly controlled media. We here at the Genius of Insanity want to lend our support to all Myanmarese in resisting the massive suffering that has been imposed upon them for generations. We thank-you for your bravery in getting this information out to the rest of the world. Be strong, your hour of liberation is at hand. I urge all people of all religious affiliations and ethnic groups within Myanmar to join the cause. We stand with you and you are in my thoughts ever day. In unity with these monks and citizens I meditate with you. I hope to one day visit Myanmar and rejoice in your freedom. Let us not forget that we are all interconnected in this world and the suffering in Myanmar is our suffering.

I was heartened to hear on CNN International this morning, that President George W. Bush called for more sanctions on the junta government today at the United Nations. Including sanctions upon the financial backers of the military state. He is also calling for an expanded travel ban on those behind human rights violations. In addition, the American president is calling for increased support for humanitarian groups and pressure on the U.N. to help the Myanmarese reclaim their freedom.

I am going to send off an email to many leaders in the American government to support the growing opposition in Myanmar and I urge you to do the same where ever you are living in this country (America) or elsewhere in the world.

We will over-come suffering in all it's forms.

---End of Transmission---

Monday, September 24, 2007

President Bush Can't do Math and Senator David "Playboy" Vitter Secures Tax Payer Dollars for Anti-Evolution Group.

The Democratic leadership in Congress is set to pass a host of domestic funding bills that would exceed Bush’s request by $22 billion. The extra funding would help go towards veterans health care, infrastructure improvements, education, and other domestic priorities.

Speaking to business leaders at a White House event this morning, Bush railed against the relatively modest increase in spending, arguing that $22 billion is “a lot of money”:

Some in Congress will tell you that $22 billion is not a lot of money. As business leaders, you know better. As a matter of fact, $22 billion is larger than the annual revenues of most Fortune 500 companies. The $22 billion is only for the first year. With every passing year the number gets bigger and bigger, and so over the next five years the increase in federal spending would add up to $205 billion.

GOI: In other words he is saying, we can't spend $22 billion on America because we need $200 billion for the failed Iraq war. It shouldn’t take a “CEO President” to figure out that $200 billion is greater than $22 billion.

SENATOR DAVID VITTER SECURES TAX-PAYER FUNDS FOR ANTI-ABORTION GROUP:

GOI:
Perhaps we now know why the Republican party didn't react as strongly to the David Vitter prostitute scandal as they did to that of Sen. Larry, "Wide Stance" Craig. He was working on a deal to dish out public funds to an anti-evolution group working to insert religion into the science classroom.

In a move ostensibly aimed at providing "better science education" in Louisiana schools, Sen. David Vitter has secured $100,000 in taxpayer dollars to fund an anti-evolution effort spearheaded by a religious group politically connected to the alleged prostitute-soliciting Republican. Vitter secured an earmark in an upcoming labor, health and education financing bill for the Louisiana Family Forum, which The New Orleans Times Picayune reports has "taken the lead in promoting 'origins science,' which includes the possibility of divine intervention in the creation of the universe." The group was founded by Tony Perkins, a former Louisiana state lawmaker who now leads the conservative Family Research Council. The Louisiana Family Forum works to "present biblical principals" on public policy issues, and until a reporter questioned them about it, the group's Web site included a "battle plan to combat evolution," which argued the theory "has no place in the classroom."

Despite Vitter's admission earlier this year that he used a Washington, DC, call-girl service and allegations that he frequented prostitutes in New Orleans, the first-term Republican has maintained the support of religious conservatives in his home state.

The political ties between Vitter and the group go beyond some much-needed recent PR help and stretch to the senator's first campaign in 2004, although the Family Forum's tax exempt status prohibits it from engaging in political activity, the Times Picayune reports.

"Dan Richey, the group's grass-roots coordinator, was paid $17,250 as a consultant in Vitter's 2004 Senate race," according to the newspaper. "Records also show that Vitter's campaign employed Beryl Amedée, the education resource council chairwoman for the Louisiana Family Forum."

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Friday, September 21, 2007

The Hypocite, er, Republican Party Shifts the Debate From, "How do We Get Out of Iraq?" to Attacking a Stupid Ad.

UPDATE: I heard that MoveOn.org is getting flooded with donations after the GOP assault on their freedom of speech. By midnight, over 12,000 people had donated $500,000—more than they've raised any day this year.

So, I just donated $25 myself and will donate more the longer these bastards keep up this bait and switch game. Let's put our money where our mouths are, literally. To save the right to say whatever we want to come out of our mouth. CLICK HERE TO DONATE.

Ah, the Repubicon artists. They are the masters of the "bait and switch" tactic. They wasted precious time yesterday, time our soldiers don't have on a meaningless bill attacking freedom of speech by criticizing a controversial ad in the New York Times by MoveOn.org.

Never the less, they were the same party who criticized the Democrats for an all-night debate on Iraq as a "waste of time." As well as saying that a no confidence vote against then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was a meaningless resolution (which I agree with actually). The Dem's were wasting time then but so is the G.O.P now. And wasting time when lives are hanging in the balance.

And yet, they had no problem with the TV ad picturing then Democratic Senator Max Cleland (a triple amputee hero from the Vietnam war) with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. As well as the Swift-Boat ads against Vietnam veteran, Senator John Kerry and Republicons going around wearing purple band-aids to mock Kerry's Purple Heart badge gained from being wounded in the Vietnam war. They claimed that he wasn't wounded enough to deserve it. So, now they roll out the dog and pony show with fake outrage over a silly, stupid ad to try and draw attention away from the bigger issue of trying to end this war and claim the Democrats hate the troops and vets. But that's who they are, the G.O.P, "Grand Old Party" which should actually be, "Gang of Propagandists."

Bush was the one who trotted Petraeus out as his political puppet to deflect criticism away from himself. Bush is the one who put a big fat target on the General's back and he's now surprised when people have distrust in that man? Your fake outrage "Mr. President" is even beneath YOU.

Also, Rising Hegmon has a great post on the GOP attacking Wes Clark as a general and generals all together.

Keith Olbermann can say this all better as he did last night in his "Special Comment" on his excellent MSNBC show, "Countdown with Keith Olbermann." Check it out:



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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dennis Kucinich is the Candidate that Best Fits my Views

Website, VA JOE has a nifty little calculator that supposedly will point you toward the candidate that best fits your views and not surprisingly mine came up Kucinich. It's kind of fun. It might also be fun for non-American readers to fill out and see who fits their views in American politics.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Secretary of Defense Gates Doesn't Know if Iraq War Was a, "Good Idea."

This from Think Progress:

In an
interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks published today, Defense Secretary Robert Gates was hesitant to endorse several cornerstones of President Bush’s foreign policy: I don’t think you invade Iraq to bring liberty. You do it to eliminate an unstable regime and because sanctions are breaking down and you get liberty as a byproduct,” he continued.

GOI: No, the byproducts are chaos, ethnic cleansing, millions of civilian deaths, civil war, a broken military, a depleted treasury and the wasted lives of our brave and noble American soldiers. Liberty my white, hairy ass. It's more like liberated them from their bodies by putting them in an environment where they find themselves on the wrong side of the barrel of a militia members gun.

I asked him [Gates] whether invading Iraq was a good idea, knowing what we know now. He looked at me for a bit and said, “I don’t know.”

GOI: First it was General Petraeus, the head of military operations in Iraq who "didn't know" if the Iraq war was making us safer here in the states and now It's the Secretary of Defense!! How does this administration expect people to think this war is worth it when their own Sec. Def. and head of military operations in Iraq have themselves doubts?

And they accuse the Democrats as hurting troop morale? The Dem's and anti-war Independents want to save our troops and bring them home. Where as the leadership of the war within the administration (not including the goof ball brothers, Bush and Cheney) have no idea what to tell the troops. They have no clue what the war was about, is about or what it is accomplishing. Yeah, those seem like good reasons to stay there, because we don't know what else to do? Here's a thought, let's try LEAVING!!!

---End of Transmission---

Monday, September 17, 2007

Vicente Fox Calls Bush Cocky and Moqtada al-Sadr Pulls Out of the Iraqi Government

Former President Vicente Fox states in his new book that President George W. Bush is "the cockiest guy I have ever met in my life." This is nothing new to most Americans though. Bush compensates for lack of intelligence and political skills by acting cocky and arrogant. He angers many that he meets (especially other world leaders it appears) and is a national embarrassment abroad. He tries to come off as a statesmen but ends up just acting like a total dork and asshole.
In Iraq news, Shiite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's group will pull out of Iraq ruling Shiite bloc:

Najaf, Iraq - The movement of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said on Saturday it would withdraw from the Shiite bloc that leads the Iraqi government, in a new blow to the faltering political process.

Maliki has said he will announce a cabinet reshuffle but has so far not been able to fill the vacant seats left by the Sunni and Shiite ministers.

He is currently running the government with 23 ministers out of an original 40.

Political analyst Said Abu Rish, author of a number of books on Iraq, believes Maliki's days as prime minister are numbered.

"Maliki is a dead duck," Abu Rish told AFP. "The Shiites won't accept him. He has nothing."

GOI: Even if the surge has been somewhat successful, the more important issue of government progress finds itself in the opposite of a surge. It's more of a retreat and an unraveling then a surge of success. There is a larger potential problem with Sadr's group leaving the government then a further crippled central government. If Sadr is no longer involved in the political process, that leaves violence and intimidation as the likely avenue for him to follow to flex his influence. We all know by now that the ultimate solution in Iraq must come from a unified and stable government that actually gets things done rather then just squabbling and taking time off.

This leaves our military forces high and dry. They are caught in the middle of a sectarian feud that can not be settled by a foreign military. Our troops are the tip of the spear, meant to be used to win battles and gain ground--not govern. This leaves us wondering why our troops are still over there twisting in the breeze with nothing to do but walk around and wait to be blown up or shot at. Oh wait, I forgot, they're there to provide cover for Bush so that he can run the clock out of his presidency and slink back to Texas. It's always messing having to clean up after an elephant who has chronic diarrhea.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Petraeus: "I Don't Know" If my Iraq Policy Makes America Safer

The war supporters "savior," General David Petraeus doesn't know if the war in Iraq is making us safer (thanks to Randi Rhodes for picking up on this):

WARNER: I hope in the recesses of your heart that you know that strategy will continue the casualties, stress on our forces, stress on military families, stress on all Americans. Are you able to say at this time, if we continue what you have laid before the Congress, this strategy, that if you continue, you are making America safer?

PETRAEUS: Sir, I believe that this is indeed the best course of action to achieve our objections in Iraq.

WARNER: Does that make America safer?

PETRAEUS: Sir, I don't know actually. I have not sat down and sorted out in my own mind.

GOI: Does this scare the shit out of anyone else?? This is the head of military forces in Iraq and he has no clue whether the war is making us safer? The lives of thousands, if not millions of people depend upon this guy and he doesn't know??? He has no better idea then someone like me who isn't there and is the furthest thing from a four-star general, a general who is very familiar with the fight. I guess at least he didn't give the "knee-jerk," propaganda answer of, "Yes. We are fighting them there so we don't have to fight them at home."

Never the less, it still worries me, greatly. So in other words it's a 50/50 situation for him and with that mind, how can we say anything is working in Iraq?? These young folks are dying and getting severely injured over there and their top general can't even say that their sacrifice is doing anything to make us or Iraq safer. Because, clearly if it's not making us safer it's definitely not making Iraq any safer, where they face the bombs, the bullets and the executions on a daily, sometimes hourly basis.

So "the surge" might have bought us a little time and space but not nearly close to being enough. It's like saying to someone who is slowly and painfully dying with cancer that, "Well, the good news is that we've bought you some more time but the bad news is that your immune system isn't capable of doing anything with it." "The surge," has bought us time, but it isn't much time and the Iraqi government has already wasted most of that time and isn't capable of doing what is necessary in the little time remaining (pulling the country together and disarming the militias amongst a long list of other things).

Meanwhile the good general's boss, CENTCOM chief Admiral William Fallon doesn't have much good to say about Patraeus, "Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be "an ass-kissing little chickenshit" and added, "I hate people like that", the sources say." The story quoted a senior official as saying that referring to "bad relations" between them is "the understatement of the century".

The CENTCOM commander believed the United States should be withdrawing troops from Iraq urgently, largely because he saw greater dangers elsewhere in the region. "He is very focused on Pakistan," said a source familiar with Fallon's thinking, "and trying to maintain a difficult status quo with Iran."
Fallon had a "visceral distaste" for what he regarded as Petraeus's sycophantic behaviour in general, which had deeper institutional roots, according to a military source familiar with his thinking.

GOI: It seems to me that Bush is using Petraeus to continue to try and sell this war as no one listens to dubya anymore. Petraeus seems like a puppet created out of cloth. A brown-nosing, ass kisser is just what Bush likes. And amidst all of this, President "Kicking Ass" is going to speak tonight from Candyland, er, the White House and say, blah, blah, surge, blah, blah, Patraeus, blah, blah, "long war, blah, blah.

Gee, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

---End of Transmission---

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Growing Myth of the Freedom of Religion in America

The annual poll from the First Amendment Center regarding religion in the United States was released today and found some disturbing (although not exactly surprising) numbers:

Sixty-five percent of Americans believe that the nation's founders intended the U.S. to be a Christian nation (GOI: Despite most of them being Deists, which is not Christian) and 55% believe that the Constitution establishes a Christian nation, according to the “State of the First Amendment 2007” national survey released today by the First Amendment Center.

GOI: Of course there is no mention as to which brand of Christianity, Christian Americas would establish as "our" national religion. I shudder of the idea in general let alone battles that would be fought between Christian sects and the increased abuse and discrimination of non-Christians.

-Just 56% believe that the freedom to worship as one chooses extends to all religious groups, regardless of how extreme — down 16 points from 72% in 2000.

-
Four decades after the Supreme Court declared state-sponsored religious practices unconstitutional in public schools, 58% of respondents support teacher-led prayers and 43% favor school holiday programs that are entirely Christian. Moreover, 50% would allow schools to teach the Bible as a factual text in a history class.

GOI: These are all very disturbing but having a history degree I was especially drawn to the last figure. It is very disconcerting as history is very stringent in using the most accurate sources possible, especially emphasizing primary sources.

In other words, sources that record events described or recorded by
someone who either participated in or witnessed the events or who got their information from others who did. Examples include newspaper accounts, letters, diaries, notebooks, and interviews.

GOI: The Bible should only be taught in public schools in a comparative religion class where other religions are taught as well. No special emphasis should be granted to Christianity in the public arena.

This statistic confirms even more for me that history is becoming more and more de-emphasized in our society. I feel a big reason that we got involved in this boondoggle in Iraq was from not understanding history. It seems that most Americans don't even know our own history let alone that of a region we were about to go to war with!! The state of geography is even worse. I don't laugh at things such as the "Jay-Walk All-Stars" on "The Tonight Show" here in America where average people are interviewed about history, geography and current events. Embarrassingly, In most cases people fail miserably.

This can be seen in the following aspect of the survey:

“The strong support for official recognition of the majority faith appears to be grounded in a belief that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, in spite of the fact that the Constitution nowhere mentions God or Christianity.

GOI: Here's a funny thought, If the Christian "God" exists and is involved with every aspect of our lives, then why did he just award millions of dollars to a Wiccan in the latest mega-lottery here in the states?

I find it sadly ironic that many of these Christians oppose radical Islam wanting to establish Islam as the state religion of many countries (rightly so) and yet they fight to make America a Christian nation!!

We must remain vigilant and involved in the process to make sure that our religious freedoms are not further eroded.

---End of Transmission---

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11th 2007. Where is Osama? Also, a Few Highlights from Day Two of the Patraeus-Crocker Hearing

It has been 2,191 days since the first plane hit the first World Trade Center tower on September 11th 2001.

This from the Osama clock:

It will be stopped only when there is a confirmation that Osama Bin Laden has been brought to justice.

GOI: May the victims families find solace and peace on this grim anniversary. Let us never forget. There is a debate as to whether we should "move on" or not. However, how do you tell grieving family members to forget their loved ones?? Come on, it was horrible. Let people move on with their lives in their own time.

In other news regarding the questioning of General Patraeus today, Senator Barack Obama said something very interesting and right on I thought:

The Illinois Democrat said the only reason that Petraeus and Crocker can claim progress in Iraq is because "We have set the bar so low that the modest improvement in what was a completely chaotic situation ... is seen as progress, when it's not."

---End of Transmission---

Monday, September 10, 2007

The General Patraeus Report on Iraq, Part 3

Click here for part 1 of this series of live blogging posts regarding the testimony of General Patraeus before Congress on Iraq.

Click here for part 2.

The microphones aren't working now that they've tossed the floor to the General. It seems a bit of a metaphor for our inability to get even the basics right in Iraq. O.k., now the mics are working so let's hear what the man has to say.

He's saying that much of the success of the surge has been from shutting down al-Qaeda in Iraq which, although important, represents a fraction of the sectarian fighters/violence. He is stating the fall in ethno-sectarian deaths but has failed to mention the impact of ethnic cleansing in those statistics.

Now he is speaking about targeting Shia militia extremists and I can't help but wonder what the Shia population thinks of the U.S. arming those sketchy, "former" Sunni insurgents while going after their own militias. See, this is the problem with trying to referee a civil, sectarian war, you end up pissing one side off and they turn on you. Then, at some point you piss of the ones you've just armed and funded and they turn on you again too!! It's a revolving door of tension, distrust, entanglement and violence.

He's recommending a draw down of the surge forces in the near future and that's at least a start but he hints at a long term effort in Iraq. He isn't giving us much hope for leaving Iraq any time soon. In fact, it sounds as though he is saying that we might have to be there into the next decade. This is what I wish to as the General, "If we follow this open-ending recommendation when will we be able to see far enough down the road to know when our best efforts aren't enough?"

There have been some vocal protesters throughout the hearing who have been escorted out of the chamber. I'm glad that there are some people there to make sure the opposing voices of some Americans are heard in this hearing.

Now, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker is testifying. He appears to be trying to compare the difficulty in Iraq with our growing pains in the first years of our Independence from England. The difference of course being that in our early inception as a country we didn't have sectarian violence as they do in Iraq. There were no massive levels of Americans killing Americans over which direction our country should take. Our disagreements were hammered out in the confines of a central government, not in the streets.

The Amb. just said that Iraq is and will remain for some time to come a traumatized society. I feel for Iraqis but what about our traumatized injured vets returning home from the Iraq war? What about traumatized loved ones of fallen soldiers? What about a traumatized populace and government here at home? What about a traumatized budget that is bleeding our treasure to pay for this stalemate in Iraq? At what point do you decide to cut off the infected leg to save the body? In other words, at what point do we cut our loses and return home to rebuild our military and beef up our police and intelligence agencies to focus on preventing terrorist attacks on the homeland, rather then trying to prevent terrorist attacks in a country that does not want us there?

---End of Transmission---

The General Patraeus Report on Iraq, Part 2

Click here for my first post on the today's Iraq-Patraeus hearing.

Patraeus touts the success in Anbar province where the Sunni leaders are working with the Americans. However, we must consider why they are working with us. It seems most likely that they are working with us because it gives them leverage against their enemies and is a way for them to consolidate power. They allegiances are unclear at best. AND what happens when they turn again on us after not receiving an adequate power sharing agreement with the Shia run government? At that point they would stand even more dangerous as we have armed them more then they were before!!! Arming and funding some of the Sunni insurgents to work as bounty hunters will only make political and national reconciliation even more difficult. It seems that we have bought some time by employing this tactic but at what cost?

The other point in the decline in sectarian violence is that it doesn't reflect the reality that many of the neighborhood's touted have been ethnically cleansed and therefore calm depending upon which group di the dominating.

Representative Tom Lantos reminds us of the danger in arming "former" insurgent groups with shady alliances by calling our attention back to the Soviet-Afghan war where we armed the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's future al-Qaeda fighters/leaders. As well as arming and letting the Afghani militias go after bin Laden at Tora Bora rather then do the job ourselves. The other thing to keep in mind as the GOP touts the success in Anbar is to realize that Anbar only contains 5% of the Iraqi population (as Mr. Lantos stated). Baghdad is by far the biggest indicator of success or failure in my mind.

Rep. Duncan Hunter is spouting off right now saying that success in his mind is being seen by the 131 Iraqi battalions "maturing" as we speak. This is such spin that I'm surprised Hunter isn't whirling around in his chair like a particle accelerator. The Iraqi forces have been "maturing" since the first year of the war and there has STILL been little success with them standing up on their own. They still can not do much without our heavy involvement. And forget about the Iraqi police who are as corrupt as corruption goes. So if that his Mr. Hunters sign of success then we are indeed failing.

---End of Transmission---

The General Patraeus Report on Iraq, Part 1

I've got CNN on right now and the testimony of General Betray Us, er, Petraeus regarding "progress" in Iraq is about to start and I'll be blogging this post in real time as best I can. This will be post 1 as we go along.

This is interesting because there is a gaping hole of opinion between the testimony of General, Ambassador Crocker, the Bush White House versus the Iraqi people in regards to the success of "the surge."

Barely a quarter of Iraqis say their security has improved in the past six months, a negative assessment of the surge in U.S. forces that reflects worsening public attitudes across a range of measures, even as authorities report some progress curtailing violence.

More Iraqis say security in their local area has gotten worse in the last six months than say it's gotten better, 31 percent to 24 percent, with the rest reporting no change. Far more, six in 10, say security in the country overall has worsened since the surge began, while just one in 10 sees improvement.

More directly assessing the surge itself -- a measure that necessarily includes views of the United States, which are highly negative -- 65 to 70 percent of Iraqis say it's worsened rather than improved security, political stability and the pace of redevelopment alike.

GOI: As for the American people, a recent CNN poll shows that only 40% of Americans believe that "the surge" in Iraq is succeeding whereas 54% feel that it is only staling the inevitable.

So, Patraeus says that we are having some success in Iraq with, "the surge" but that there has been little to no political success which is where the core of the problem lies. If the government can not govern then no amount of military success will do much good unless we are prepared to occupy Iraq for decades to come. The problem with this (amongst other problems) is that the longer we are bogged down in Iraq while holding their hands we are less and less prepared for another conflict should it arise.

In his opening statement, Congressman Ike Skelton used the example of a game of football. He says that while we are holding the opposing team back, the Iraqis haven't even picked up the football. And I would add that not only have they not picked up the football but that they are arguing who gets to pick up the football in the first place!!

---End of Transmission---

Friday, September 07, 2007

Republicans Catapulting the Propaganda on the Iraq War

Have you seen these new right wing nut ads supporting the war in Iraq? They say that the Dem's are playing politics with soldiers lives. Yet at the same time they resurrect the lie that Saddam had something to do with 9/11 by saying stuff like, "They attacked us on 9/11" and "we don't need another 9/11." There is also another ad that shows video of one of the jet liners about to hit one of the trade towers.

It's hilarious to hear them accuse the Dem's of playing politics in an ad, that clearly plays politics!!!!

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Larry Craig Supporters, My Take on Fred Thompson and the FOX Republican Debate

(Above: Larry Craig seen in the middle of a "manwhich." Those vests scream gay).

Larry "Wide Stance" Craig's supporters are just as insane and ridiculous as the Senator himself. They are going to "boycott" the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport:

BATTLE GROUND, Wash. -- Supporters of Sen. Larry Craig with the American Land Rights Association are calling for a boycott of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport. The association says the airport should apologize to Craig for what it calls "ambushing" the senator.

GOI: Larry Craig has supporters? Wow. So, Ambushed the Senator? Well, first off how did the police officer in the stall even know it was Senator Larry Craig until after he was arrested? All the officer saw before arresting the guy was the whites of his eyes and his "happy feet." Secondly, it doesn't matter if he was ambushed or not if he pled guilty to a crime!! The police ambush people all the time when they are running stings. What do these people think happens? That the police tip people off that they will be running a sting in that particular men's room between the hours of 9-5PM??? They don't give warning when they bust in to arrest a bail jumper or a drug dealer. The element of surprise is a basic tactic in police work. These people are shameless. They know how the police operate, after all they're the "law and order" crew!! They're all about tough law enforcement until they bust one of their own.

This airport ban is like that stupid ban on "French fries" in the House or Senate (I can't remember which) cafeteria after the French refused to co-operate in this stupid Iraq war. Remember? They wanted to rename them, "Freedom Fries?" Turns out the French were smart and those knee-jerk Republicans were wrong. How typically Republican.
So Fred Thompson is now officially in the race for the White House. He's already made a big mistake by not announcing his candidacy in New Hampshire and avoiding last night's debate there. The head of the New Hampshire Republican party, Fergus Cullen is rightly annoyed and had this to say about Thompson's absence:

"For him to then go on Jay Leno the same night and be trading jokes while other candidates are having a substantive discussion on issues is not going to be missed by New Hampshire voters."

Thompson doesn't get it that you can't get many delegate voters from the Jay Leno studio audience. It isn't wise to piss off, "Live Free or Die" New Hampshire voters.

Anyway, this was the worst kept secret ever. I personally think he waited too long with this absurdly shortened campaign season. I find it highly amusing that Thompson is both a lawyer AND an actor, both careerers that Republicans usually hate. Once again, hypocrisy raises it's ugly head.

He's trying to run as a "D.C. outsider" despite being in the legislature and a lobbyist for many years. His career in the Senate, however, was basically ineffectual and nothing to brag about. I wonder how many people will support him because they thought his character on "Law and Order" was "strong" and "decisive." This isn't a contest for the "Best Actor in a Drama" Emmy award people!!!

Do you know that Nixon called him "Dumb but friendly?" Yeah, you know, Republicans are suckers for a friendly southern accent and a "folksy," backwards demeanor. Not that all southern, folksy people are backwards but you get my drift. Who cares if he's dumb!! He folksy like me!! Yeah, I want someone in office as dumb as me so I can feel smart.

I predict that he might get a bump in the polls at first but will hit a wall once the luster of his "newness" fades. He ran an effective "shadow campaign" but that only works before so long and then you have to jump in and face the crucible like everyone else. I just don't think he has enough meat to satisfy a restless America.

If you want another wanna-be "John Wayne strong man" like Bush then by all means vote for this old windbag. If Thompson is a fresh face then you haven't heard of re-runs. He's a Bush re-run.
Did you see the debate last night on FOX with the Old White Man Party, er, Republican Party "candidates?" If not, well, you didn't miss anything. All they talked about was homosexuality, abortion and who has a bigger war dick. Sounds rather homo-erotic if you ask me, waving all those penis shaped missiles around at each other and all. No wonder they are so obsessed with homosexuality!!

You know who I found the most annoying? Senator Sam Brownback (speaking of gay, there's a gay porn star name for ya!! Brownback!!), spent most of the night just talking about "restoring the family." I just kept wondering, "How does he plan on enforcing that?" What, are we going to have the "family police" now that will pop in on you to make sure you're praying regularly and doing your best impersonation of the repressed, uber-fake 1950's style family???

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Senator Larry Craig Didn't Mean to Resign

Remember how Senator Larry, "Wide Stance" Craig claimed he, "regrets" that he pled guilty to lewd contact in a public restroom? Well now apparently he might now be saying, "I regret resigning." He left this following message on the wrong cell phone:

Arlen Specter is now willing to come out in my defense, arguing that it appears, by all that he knows, that I’ve been railroaded and all of that. Having all of that, we’ve reshaped my statement a little bit to say it is my ‘intent’ to resign on Sept. 30.

One GOP aide stated to Politico that Craig's indecision on resignation "defies reality." The aide went on:

"You can't make this up even if you are heavily medicated. The American people heard from Larry Craig that he would resign, and using the word 'intent' as a back door doesn't work with them."

GOI: He does a lot of reconsidering. First he said it was a mistake when he pled guilty and now he is hinting that it was a mistake to resign. I say come on back Fairy Craig, er, Larry Craig. It would only help the left to continue to make the case that the GOP is a party full of untrustworthy hypocrites. I'll even chip in to retro fit his Senate office into a men's room theme to put the Senator more at ease.

Why Specter his coming to his defense defies comprehension except perhaps Specter is his love slave.

This is all a classic example of the Republican party's "family values" of self-hate, denial, bigotry and hypocrisy.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Senator Larry Craig Resigns

PHOTO: Senator Larry Craig seen with hand on a bible right before it burst into flames.

Well, it's finally official. Senator Larry Craig has stepped aside but I wasn't able to see if he had a wide stance behind the podium. There was some applause and cheers when he officially stated he was leaving the Senate.

He trotted his wife out again but this time had 2 of his 3 kids with him too as if to say, "See, I'm not gay. I couldn't be gay because I had sex with my wife at least three times and had offspring!!"

Craig and the national Republicans want this all to go away as soon as possible but this kind of hypocrisy will continue until they embrace the reality of sexual diversity and that sexual expression within the confines of the law is normal, natural and healthy.

It seems that the oral majority party, er, I mean the so-called MORAL majority party, the Republicans, are ashamed and afraid of their own sexuality. When you repress sexual urges then they tend to come out in dangerous ways because human sexuality is as necessary as any other bodily function. The problem with Republicans sexual repression is that they claim to be the party of moral superiority (whatever THAT means) and so when they inevitably sexually act out they have obvious hypocrisy and credibility problems.

They need to give up this "moral majority" crap and realize that sex happens and fighting against it is as absurd as trying to push back against a waterfall thinking you'll stop the flow. Give up the moral superiority complex and exploiting the peaceful, accepting religion of Jesus to back up your bigotry, holier-then-thou condemnation of sexual expression. Especially in regards to homosexuality. Hate is not a family value and your families are just as screwed and as dysfunctional as anyone else's.

In other words, get over yourselves and face the fact that you have weaknesses and urges like anyone else and maybe people will stop seeing you as hypocrites.

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