Marriage is love.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bush's Plan As Captured by the Rude Pundit

"Quick Note On Bush's Strategy and Speech:
Apparently, all that's needed for "Victory in Iraq" is a shiny cover on the same old shit."


Namby Pamby Answers: how to respond?

UPDATE from Ms. Julien: Shakespeare's Sister has a complementary post and comments on this subject.

Of all things, today, I got copied on an incredibly pathetic E-mail addressing the Iraq war from one of my Senators.

Specifically, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The commentary was spineless, waffling, and engaged in gross self-justification: it was the kind of ammunition the Republicans love to use to illustrate the "Spineless Democrat" mantra.

Of all things, today, I lost my temper and, in an E-mail, told my Senator off.

I probably should not have done that, as I am now sure I probably broke some laws and ended up on the Patriot Act radar screen . . . and while I must confess the telling-off process felt amazingly good, it was also pathetic and childish.

So here is a copy of the apology letter I sent this afternoon: much better, don't you think?

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
In Care Of: Rochester Regional Office
Kenneth B. Keating Federal Office Building
100 State Street
Room 3280
Rochester, NY 14614

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Senator Clinton:

Earlier today, I was copied on an E-mail by a constituent that had, in turn, already received comment via your office (the responder was “Ann” and the E-mail is Both the original E-mail and subsequent response addressed the Iraq war. The constituent who wrote was concerned about your stance on Iraq (and a variety of issues directly related) and the response was so profoundly vague, muddled, and non-committal, I can’t quite determine where you stand.

I responded to that person’s E-mail and copied your office at the same address as above – and I regret that, at that moment, I thoroughly lost my temper and responded rather vulgarly. I must apologize for my crass words: I behaved rather badly and I apologize. But I also need to express my concern rationally as this is a concern I hear expressed by many New York Democrats.

Senator, I saw your press conference after you returned from Iraq: you were, very clearly, cheerleading for both the war and for Bush policy. As I watched that interview, I grew disgusted. “Bipartisanship” is one thing. Doing the opposition’s dirty work is yet another, entirely.

Let me be painfully frank with you: I am a Democrat who lies in the Democratic Branch of the Democratic Party. I am profoundly liberal and profoundly pragmatic at the same time. In a sentence, I support full-on gay marriage and a graduated tax structure, but would never wear Birkenstocks or eschew eating meat in some misguided attempt at fostering a chicken’s “feelings.” Furthermore, I am a New York citizen by choice. I moved here from Ohio because, quite simply, I was utterly sick of and disgusted with the constant Conservative, Republican, Christian stupidity that runs Ohio. I am, in fact, a Red State Refugee who sought a better place to live and a better life in Blue New York.

I do not regret my decision to make New York my home: it was, indeed, the right decision to make.

Senator, in the coming election I will most assuredly vote for you – and I will do so because you are the Democratic candidate.

But thanks to both your “moderation” and the Democratic Party as a whole taking less-than-granite-bound positions and subsequently defending those positions like frightened school children? If that self-same chicken I like to eat could prove it could and would peck a Republican’s eyes out?

I would put down my fork and seasoning and vote for the chicken in place of you.

Senator, you now live in New York – which, if I may remind you, is the home of progressive thought on the East Coast: please plan both your positions and subsequent battles accordingly. As I left the Midwest for a more enlightened place, allow me to remind you that you did, too. You may have noticed attitudes are different here: embrace the difference, please.

I would also like to point out there are already rumblings about a challenge within the party. These rumblings concern me because it’s painfully clear the party is weak. That said, if a strong Democratic candidate to oppose you emerged? Thanks to your straddling the fence, I would contribute to that challenger's campaign.

The people of New York have put their trust in you – and I happen to be one of those people: please do not let us down. There is, indeed, a time to shake hands. There is also, however, a time to use fists. Clearly, the Republicans understand that difference. Don’t you think it’s time the Democrats did, too?

Mobeen Shirazi

I close with one sole word.



Jewish Leader Calls for More Resources to Fight HIV/AIDS

In advance of World AIDS Day, December 1, 2005, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued a statement noting, "We are forced to admit to ourselves that, notwithstanding real advances, we continue to lose the fight against HIV/AIDS."



JTA: JDate comes out of the closet

Jewish Dating Website welcomes gay searches

NEW YORK, Nov. 29 (JTA) -- For all the nice Jewish boys looking for other nice Jewish boys -- and nice Jewish lesbians looking for love -- has come to the rescue.

The popular Jewish online dating site expanded its search capabilities this month to allow gay men and lesbians to seek matches. The Web site, which is popular among Jews of all ages, now asks people for their gender and the gender they're searching, allowing men to search for men and women to search for women.

When his sister didn't marry a Jewish boy, Gary Pinsky was told by his mother that he had to. Pinsky, 32, joined JDate several weeks ago after returning to New Jersey after living in South Africa for several years....


Support Equality-Minded Companies

Download this guide from the Human Rights Campaign:

Buying for Equality: A Guide to Companies and Products That Support Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Equality
A publication of the Human Rights Campaign, November 2005


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

BBC: George Michael to Wed Kenny Goss

I remember when "Careless Whisper" came out - a very sexy song:

Pop star George Michael is to marry long-term partner Kenny Goss next year, he has revealed.

The former Wham! singer said he would marry his partner of nearly 10 years in a small, private ceremony "without the whole veil and gown thing".

The first civil partnership ceremonies for gay couples begin on 21 December.

Referring to his own plans: "It'll be relatively soon after it comes in, probably early next year."

As to where the 42-year-old star will wed Texan Kenny Goss, 47, he added: "We'll probably do it here, not abroad."

The singer was speaking after a screening of a new documentary about his career.

He said he would be attending the civil partnership ceremony of singer Elton John and partner David Furnish next month.

The 21 December has been named as the "probable" date for Elton John's ceremony.

The government has predicted that up to 22,000 gay couples will take civil partnership in the first five years.


War Words Fail Us All

"Costly Withdrawal Is the Price To Be Paid for a Foolish War

The number of American casualties in Iraq is now well more than 2,000, and there is no end in sight. Some two-thirds of Americans, according to the polls, believe the war to have been a mistake. And congressional elections are just around the corner.

What had to come, has come. The question is no longer if American forces will be withdrawn, but how soon — and at what cost. In this respect, as in so many others, the obvious parallel to Iraq is Vietnam.

Confronted by a demoralized army on the battlefield and by growing opposition at home, in 1969 the Nixon administration started withdrawing most of its troops in order to facilitate what it called the "Vietnamization" of the country. The rest of America's forces were pulled out after Secretary of State Henry Kissinger negotiated a "peace settlement" with Hanoi. As the troops withdrew, they left most of their equipment to the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam — which just two years later, after the fall of Saigon, lost all of it to the communists.

Clearly this is not a pleasant model to follow, but no other alternative appears in sight.

Whereas North Vietnam at least had a government with which it was possible to arrange a cease-fire, in Iraq the opponent consists of shadowy groups of terrorists with no central organization or command authority. And whereas in the early 1970s equipment was still relatively plentiful, today's armed forces are the products of a technology-driven revolution in military affairs. Whether that revolution has contributed to anything besides America's national debt is open to debate. What is beyond question, though, is that the new weapons are so few and so expensive that even the world's largest and richest power can afford only to field a relative handful of them.

Therefore, simply abandoning equipment or handing it over to the Iraqis, as was done in Vietnam, is simply not an option. And even if it were, the new Iraqi army is by all accounts much weaker, less skilled, less cohesive and less loyal to its government than even the South Vietnamese army was. For all intents and purposes, Washington might just as well hand over its weapons directly to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Clearly, then, the thing to do is to forget about face-saving and conduct a classic withdrawal.

Handing over their bases or demolishing them if necessary, American forces will have to fall back on Baghdad. From Baghdad they will have to make their way to the southern port city of Basra, and from there back to Kuwait, where the whole misguided adventure began. When Prime Minister Ehud Barak pulled Israel out of Lebanon in 2000, the military was able to carry out the operation in a single night without incurring any casualties. That, however, is not how things will happen in Iraq.

Not only are American forces perhaps 30 times larger, but so is the country they have to traverse. A withdrawal probably will require several months and incur a sizable number of casualties. As the pullout proceeds, Iraq almost certainly will sink into an all-out civil war from which it will take the country a long time to emerge — if, indeed, it can do so at all. All this is inevitable and will take place whether George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice like it or not.

Having been thoroughly devastated by two wars with the United States and a decade of economic sanctions, decades will pass before Iraq can endanger its neighbors again. Yet a complete American withdrawal is not an option; the region, with its vast oil reserves, is simply too important for that. A continued military presence, made up of air, sea and a moderate number of ground forces, will be needed.

First and foremost, such a presence will be needed to counter Iran, which for two decades now has seen the United States as "the Great Satan." Tehran is certain to emerge as the biggest winner from the war — a winner that in the not too distant future is likely to add nuclear warheads to the missiles it already has. In the past, Tehran has often threatened the Gulf States. Now that Iraq is gone, it is hard to see how anybody except the United States can keep the Gulf States, and their oil, out of the mullahs' clutches.

A continued American military presence will be needed also, because a divided, chaotic, government-less Iraq is very likely to become a hornets' nest. From it, a hundred mini-Zarqawis will spread all over the Middle East, conducting acts of sabotage and seeking to overthrow governments in Allah's name.

The Gulf States apart, the most vulnerable country is Jordan, as evidenced by the recent attacks in Amman. However, Turkey, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, Israel are also likely to feel the impact. Some of these countries, Jordan in particular, are going to require American assistance.

Maintaining an American security presence in the region, not to mention withdrawing forces from Iraq, will involve many complicated problems, military as well as political. Such an endeavor, one would hope, will be handled by a team different from — and more competent than — the one presently in charge of the White House and Pentagon.

For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men. If convicted, they'll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.

Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University, is author of "Transformation of War" (Free Press, 1991). He is the only non-American author on the U.S. Army's required reading list for officers."


See the Guardian's take on the above:

"Nowhere to run

After what has been described as the most foolish war in over 2,000 years, is there a way out of Iraq for President Bush, asks Brian Whitaker

Tuesday November 29, 2005

There is a remarkable article in the latest issue of the American Jewish weekly, Forward. It calls for President Bush to be impeached and put on trial "for misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC sent his legions into Germany and lost them".


Toledo Blade: Coleman is quitting Ohio governor's race

Not sure what's going on here:

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman plans to announce he will drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination for governor. A news conference is scheduled for this afternoon to formally announce his withdrawal from the race. Coleman met with his family members over the Thanksgiving holiday and made the decision...

Cross-posted at The Moderate Voice.


The Bush Schism Continues: a historically-liberal people collectively find their balls and say, "Oy! Enough Already!"

As many readers here know, I am one of two Jewish contributors on Julien's List. Many readers here who know I am Jewish also know that, politically, I am a profoundly liberal Jew, despite being a religious one, too.

Further, as many readers here know via some rather impassioned discussions in the comments on Julien's List, most Jews - whether secular or observant; and if observant, whether observantly relaxed (Humanistic Judaism, Reform Judaism), or even more traditional (Conservative Judaism, Masorti Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism, or Modern Orthodox Judaism); tend to have progressive politics. Whether out of personal views or otherwise, the way Jewish teachings and traditions are applied, it's hard to be Jewish and Republican because the two views are, in reality, incompatible.

The huge irony in the neo-con rise has been the role of Jews in this administration. These are Jews who were raised by 1930s - 1950s liberals; the community that was the hotbed of Socialist and Communist thought at that time. The slur "Jewish Communist" was not just for the Rosenbergs - although in the case of the Rosenbergs the slur stuck beyond what appears to be the executions of innocents, as one can find by exploring this PBS Nova special website.

Many have theorized as to the hows and whys of this trend between the silence of Jewish leaders, the rise of Jewish Neocons, and the mess today - but those who try to paint "The Jews" with a broad brush (especially when the painter is not Jewish) and those who retort with the tired counterattack of, "Anti-Semite! Anti-Semite!" do not seem to address the core issue at hand.

I have long suspected that the role of the Jewish folk in the neocon movement is multifold: (1) the neocon Jews are secular - note none of them has an overt synagogue or movement affiliation: affiliation at worst means enough of a sense of guilt to try to put a decent image on things, even (and perhaps especially) if the core is rotten; (2) the neocon Jews are very success and power driven - no surprise, given their parent's generation was, in truth, very leftist and was, as a result of that leftism and ethnic minority status, left out of the fruits of American society. At the same time, these Neocon ex-liberal turncoats were raised in a community that taught "work hard, do well, and help make the world a better place;" and what I suspect finally happened is (3) these folks got sick of being the minority - of being looked down upon by their Conservative, Christian, Rich, Powerful, East-Coast peers and of working hard playing the minority boot-lick to make their bread: they decided to embrace the opposing side for fun, gain, and profit.

Granted, I can't prove my theory: it's sort of a "gut instinct" thing.

There is good news, though: after a very long period of time silent (silent, in fact, since the 1970s), very broad swaths of the progressive North American Jewish Community collectively found their balls in the last week and are, once again, standing up to their Conservative enemies rather than continuing to do like the Democrats (who are still playing nice and hoping for a crumb). This fantastic article breaks the story and is worth the required registration or day pass.

Here's a taste of what's there:

Jews and the Christian right: Is the honeymoon over?
...And then he (an observant Jewish social and political leader) launched into the most controversial part of his sermon -- an impassioned denunciation of right-wing homophobia that invoked the historical parallel of Nazism. "We understand those who believe that the Bible opposes gay marriage, even though we read that text in a very different way," he said. "But we cannot understand why any two people who make a lifelong commitment to each other should be denied legal guarantees that protect them and their children and benefit the broader society. We cannot forget that when Hitler came to power in 1933, one of the first things that he did was ban gay organizations. And today, we cannot feel anything but rage when we hear about gay men and women, some on the front lines, being hounded out of our armed services. Yes, we can disagree about gay marriage. But there is no excuse for hateful rhetoric that fuels the hellfires of anti-gay bigotry."

Yoffie's sermon was more than 8,000 words long, and ranged over all kinds of subjects. By all accounts, though, the crowd responded most enthusiastically to his salvos against the religious right. This was something that American Jews have been desperate to hear from their leadership, but much of that leadership has been unable or unwilling to say it. As the Jewish newspaper the Forward wrote in an editorial, "There are many reasons to applaud this month's back-to-back speeches by Abe Foxman and Eric Yoffie on the dangers of the religious right, but here's the most important: They have given voice to something their constituents have been thinking and feeling for a long time."

The Jewish Leftists are back - and I am just so proud I could pop!


Women on UC rowing team sue, say men's sports unfairly get far better facilities

Cincinnati Enquirer:

CALIFORNIA, Ohio - They gather for practice here, on the banks of the Ohio River, in a stuffy trailer with wood paneling. There is no plumbing, no electricity. Outside, their boats are surrounded by a chain-link fence. Two portable toilet stalls sit nearby.

For the 60 or so women of the University of Cincinnati's rowing team, this is a familiar place, one they visit almost daily during the season.

It's also the main reason they're suing UC.

Monday, the team filed suit against the university, saying UC has spent millions on men's sports while not providing the women's rowing team so much as a boathouse...


Monday, November 28, 2005

NY Times: Evolution's REAL Winners

Insects are one of life's great success stories. They have evolved into five million living species, dwarfing the diversity of all other animals combined...


Anything Missing?

More cartoons from Auth


A Must Read, Part II

Maureen Farrell provides us with the second of a three part series over at titled: "Tired of Being Lied to? Modern History You Can't Afford to Ignore Part II -- 1990- 2000

Here is Part I.


More of the Republican Collapse

"SAN DIEGO - Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, an eight-term congressman and hotshot Vietnam War fighter jock, pleaded guilty to graft and tearfully resigned Monday, admitting he took $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors to steer business their way.

"The truth is I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my office," the 63-year-old Republican said at a news conference. "I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, most importantly, the trust of my friends and family."

He could get up to 10 years in prison at sentencing Feb. 27 on federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud, and tax evasion."


Only the Beginning.
Only the beginning of what I want to feel forever.
Only the beginning.
Only just the start.


How Symbolic!

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A basketball-sized piece of marble molding fell from the facade over the entrance to the Supreme Court Monday, landing on the steps near visitors waiting to enter the building.
The piece that fell was over the figure of Authority, near the peak of the building's pediment, and to the right of the figure of Liberty, who has the scales of justice on her lap.


Gannett: Schmidt's foes having field days

WASHINGTON - Lest we all forget that Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Miami Township, has an opponent in next year's re-election campaign, Democrat Jim Parker of Waverly e-mailed folks at The Enquirer to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

So what does Parker, 37, a health care administrator, think about Schmidt telling Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., a decorated Marine, that "cowards cut and run, Marines never do"?

Parker posted his response to Schmidt's comments on an Ohio politics blog, which can be linked to through Parker's own blog...


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Want to Read Frank Rich?

Karen Zipdrive at Pulp Friction features his column today.


Another Time Reporter Agrees to Testify

WASHINGTON - A second Time magazine reporter has agreed to cooperate in the leak case and will testify about her discussions with Karl Rove's attorney, a sign that prosecutors are still exploring charges against the White House aide.

Viveca Novak, a reporter in Time's Washington bureau, is cooperating with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald...


Senator urges Bush to explain Iraq war

Senator urges Bush to explain Iraq war
By Jackie Frank Sun Nov 27, 1:29 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee urged President George W. Bush on Sunday to go before the American public to explain his plan for the war in Iraq.

Virginia Sen. John Warner told NBC's "Meet the Press," that such a public address would be helpful to hold on to public support during the next six months while Iraq sets up its own government and gains the ability to maintain its security.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

Israel: Holy Union?

Newsweek Periscope

Nov. 28, 2005 issue - Gay marriage in the Holy Land? Five Israeli gay couples who got hitched in Canada under its 2003 gay-marriage law asked judges in Israel last week to order authorities to recognize their unions as binding. Israeli law is strict on matrimony, going so far as to bar unions between Jews and non-Jews. But authorities do recognize mixed couples who tie the knot abroad, a legal custom that the couples' lawyer now wants applied to gay unions.

The stakes are mainly political. Israel already has labor laws and court judgments extending benefits to same-sex partners. But in a country where religious parties usually wield enough power to make or break ruling coalitions, a liberal decision by the bench could trigger a political backlash from ultra-Orthodox members of Parliament. "We made the decision to marry knowing it would spark a battle in Israel," Yosi BenAri, a petitioner, told NEWSWEEK.

Israel's chief justice, Aharon Barak, has appointed an expanded panel to hear the case. Analysts believe the court, often a trailblazer on liberal issues, will side with the petitioners. But Avraham Ravitz, a rabbi and member of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's coalition, said Parliament would block gay-marriage advances through legislation. "We have a coalition agreement that says when the court makes decisions against religious principles, Parliament will correct them," he says.

—Dan Ephron

© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.


Friday, November 25, 2005

Some House Races to Watch

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 11/25/2005 by Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post

The Friday Line: Ten House Races to Watch

What better way to recover from a Thanksgiving gorging than to settle down in front of the computer and check out the latest Friday line? This week The Fix tackles the top 10 House races; the contests are ranked from the least likely to switch party control to the most (just like a Thanksgiving dinner, you have to wait until the end to get the good stuff). As always, your comments, queries and criticisms are welcome, and you can compare this list to the last line on the House.

Without further ado, the Friday Line:

10) Indiana’s 8th district – Rep. John Hostettler (R):
Yes, we know Hostettler does almost nothing incumbents typically do – raise money, for one – and still always managed to win reelection in this southern Indiana district. And, yes, we know that Democrats tout their candidate in this seat every two years only to be disappointed on Election Night. But we just can’t resist putting this seat on the line – especially after Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth (D) seemed to be all over television after tornadoes ripped through the area in early November. Hostettler, keeping with his un-politician image, had previously voted against more than $50 billion in relief dollars for Hurricane Katrina victims and initially balked at visiting parts of the district hit by tornadoes because he said it would distract from clean-up efforts. He eventually did visit the ravaged areas but voters may remember his early reluctance next year. (Previous ranking: N/A)


5) Ohio's 6th district – OPEN, Rep. Ted Strickland (D) is running for governor:
The resounding defeat of a handful of reform propositions on the ballot earlier this month gave us pause about just how much trouble Ohio Republicans are really facing next November. Right now, their problems seem more minor than we thought as just a month ago. National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) uses every opportunity to praise the campaign of youthful state Rep. Chuck Blasdel (R). Democrats seem encouraged by the performance of state Sen. Charlie Wilson, who is their likely nominee and has the moderate bona fides to win in this southeastern Ohio seat carried by President Bush with 51 percent of the vote in 2004. Republicans insist that Wilson’s background is riddled with political landmines that will doom him. (Previous ranking: 7)



Indy Star Poll

This week's Intake Poll - Indianapolis Star:

Should the city-county council support a proposal to ban discrimination against gays in the workplace?


Sex Education

It doesn't get talked about much on JL, but sex education (or the lack of, or the religious education in the schools part of) is part of the current political trend in this country. I just found this quote. It made me smile.

"Sex education will encourage kids to have sex? No way. I had 4 years of algebra and I never do math." - Elayne Boosler


Editorial Cartoons...

Editorial Cartoons by Dan Wasserman of the Boston Globe.

I couldn't find the specific cartoon I was looking for but found other good ones in the archive.


Miami U. Domestic Partner Benefits Challenged

Protecting marriage? Give me a break - these fanatics are all about attacking gay people. Can't they go attack hunger or poverty or something?

COLUMBUS - A year ago, the attorney who wrote Ohio's ban on civil unions said it wouldn't affect the few public universities already offering health insurance to employees' same-sex partners.

Now he and State Rep. Tom Brinkman Jr. are suing to overturn the benefits at one of those universities.

Other schools offering the benefits say they aren't changing their policies but are watching the lawsuit against Miami University closely...


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Elton John & David Furnish Plan Their Ceremony

LONDON (AP) -- Elton John says he and his partner David Furnish plan a small private ceremony to seal their civil partnership under new legislation offering gays many of the legal protections available to married heterosexuals.

''It'll be a very small family affair and then in the evening there'll be a soiree somewhere, which we have yet to work out,'' John was quoted as saying in an interview with Attitude magazine released Thursday....


Princeton Featured in Two Unflattering Stories (UPDATED)

If you put together today's AMERICAblog post on Samuel Alito's membership in a Princeton alumni group which sought to keep out women and minorities with the recent Diane Rehm Show interview with Professor Jerome Karabel, a sociologist who details the history of admissions policies at Harvard, Princeton and Yale, you see an very unflattering picture of racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and homophobia at the Ivies.

Cross-Posted at The Moderate Voice


New York Times review of Karabel's book.


Happy Thanksgiving

No politics today, just a few links that might make you laugh, smile, or raise your eyebrows.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Enquirer: Schmidt planning Iraq trip

U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Miami Township, said Wednesday she has been asked to go to Iraq early next year as part of a congressional delegation....


Indiana Supreme Court upholds abortion waiting

Indianapolis Star

The Indiana Supreme Court today upheld a state law requiring women to wait 18 hours before having an abortion.

In a 4-1 decision released this morning, the justices said the law doesn't impose a "material burden" on any right to privacy or abortion.

The law has been under attack since it was passed in 1995 over the veto of then-Gov. Evan Bayh....


Happy Thanksgiving, All!

I have decided that the best take on the holiday - EVER - is what Rob of AmericaBlog said today:
I've decided that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There is no religion, no gift buying, no bull. Just a good reason for a gathering of family and friends (and the next day off from work). What could be better?
I concur. And my girl is coming down TODAY!

We are going to spend Thursday at the beach, then have reservations at the Ritz-Carlton at 8:30 for our meal...

Happy day, everyone!



Letters to the Cincinnati Enquirer

Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Letters to the editor

Schmidt just mouths attacks of leaders

Why are we so outraged at the inappropriate remarks of Rep. Jean Schmidt? She is just mouthing the same sorts of attacks that the Bush administration and many of their supporters have been leveling at anyone who would dare to disagree with them. It is far braver to speak out against decisions that are harming our country than to just follow blindly.

Betty Bryant
Villa Hills

Schmidt spoke truth, owes no apology

I do not understand the outrage at the message Jean Schmidt delivered the other night; she was just relaying a message from a Marine that they do not cut and run. I say kudos to Schmidt for delivering the message. The backlash she is receiving is ridiculous, and I don't think she should have to apologize.

The people asking for the immediate withdrawal from Iraq should ask the Marines and soldiers in the field how they feel, and I am sure they would tell Congress: "Let us do and finish the job, and stop all the rhetoric about immediate withdrawal and pre-war intelligence."

Susan Shepherd
Colerain Township

Schmidt should listen more, speak less

With just a few words, Rep. Jean Schmidt has managed to embarrass herself, her district, and the entire Greater Cincinnati area by calling her colleague, a highly decorated war veteran, a coward on the floor of the House. Perhaps the gentle lady could better represent her district with more listening than more speaking.

Rebecca Montag


A Friend Sent Me This Cartoon

I hope that you like it!


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

2 Local CongressPersons Targeted by MoveOn.Org

According to the New York Times, Republican CongressPersons Jean Schmidt of Ohio and Geoff Davis of Kentucky are included among 8 US Representatives featured in a new advertising campaign by MoveOn.Org


The latest assault on equal civil marriage in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Family Institute's Vote on Marriage project announced today that it has, with the help of the state's Republican Party and its hatemongering governor, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, garnered double the number of signatures (they claim 120K of a required 65,825 registered voters) needed to put a referendum to steal civil marriage equality from the people of that state via constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2008 -- despite that the majority of the state's citizens, having had the chance to see that the sky didn't fall now that thousands of loving same-sex couples have civilly married there, would prefer that Kris Mineau and his hate squads would find something that actually helped instead of hurt Massachusetts families to work on instead.

The saving grace is that the measure has to make it through the state's legislature in two consecutive sessions before it goes to the ballot.

This isn't just Massachusetts' battle. We can't afford to lose the one state we have, thus it belongs to all of us. The coalition fighting the amendment, The Freedom to Marry Coalition of Massachusetts has stuff for sale. Better yet, just join them or give them money straight up. I personally attest to the fact that they are good stewards of our donated funds.

UPDATE - FTMC Thanksgiving Message (apply it to your life and your state, too!):
There is much to be thankful for this year as we celebrate Thanksgiving with our families and friends. Over 6,500 gay and lesbian couples are legally married. The Goodrige decision legalizing equal access to civil marriage for same-sex couples just celebrated its second anniversary. The legislature overwhelmingly defeated a constitutional amendment in September that would have eliminated equal marriage. All of these are reasons to celebrate but also offer us--whether we are straight or gay--the opportunity to discuss with our families and friends the challenges that lie ahead in protecting marriage equality in Massachusetts.

In between overindulging on turkey and pie, hitting the after Thanksgiving sales, and watching football, please talk to your family and friends about marriage equality. Only by expanding support for equal civil marriage can we ensure that Massachusetts will remain the shining example of equality that it is for the rest of the country. The gay and lesbian community cannot succeed in this endeavor without the support of family and friends.

Talking Points for the Thanksgiving Holiday:

1. Marriage Equality is not secure – Our opponents have just finished collecting signatures for a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, thus eliminating marriage equality. If they are successful this amendment could be on the ballot in 2008, but first it must be approved by the legislature. Please ask your friends and family to contact their legislators to ask them not to support any amendment that would make gays and lesbians unequal. They can do this right from our website And please take a moment to contact your legislators yourself.

2. It’s particularly important to talk about marriage equality with older voters. The holiday can provide an excellent opportunity to talk to older relatives and friends. Let them know in personal terms why you support marriage equality. And if you are going out of state please consider letting folks know how things are going in Massachusetts.

Click here for news about marriage equality

3. Tell your Story – Tell your story of why marriage equality is important to you. Our success so far is largely due to individuals both gay and straight who have told their stories to others and their legislators. Talk about it over the Thanksgiving holiday and take a moment for yourself and your family and friends to contact your legislature.

Please take the time this holiday weekend to discuss this very important issue. Only with your help can we build a coalition that can preserve Marriage Equality for gays and lesbians across the Commonwealth.

Happy Thanksgiving


Truth fights back in Kansas

From the AP story, Univ. of Kansas Takes Up Creation Debate:

A course being offered next semester by the university religious studies department is titled "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies."

"The KU faculty has had enough," said Paul Mirecki, department chairman. "Creationism is mythology," Mirecki said. "Intelligent design is mythology. It's not science. They try to make it sound like science. It clearly is not."

As my cousin, Debbie Truscott, a KU grad, put it, "Rock Chalk, Jayhawks!"


You get what you vote for... (UPDATED)

Which one is uglier? I'd say the real thang...

And just to have your "party" elected - you pick this, a person who "made up" the comments she quoted about Murtha being a coward, instead of an Iraq who voted for this imbecile are some pieces of work, that's all I have to say. Say, is her district anywhere near Quicksand Jeezus?


According to Blogger Daniel S. at The Kentucky Democrat, Ms. Schmidt may also be ethics-challenged. Note Daniel's follow-up comment today:
It appears that Jean Schmidt's people must read blogs because the addresses are no longer up there.


Ohio 2 Blog: Hate Radio Host Talks With Jean Schmidt


According to the Cincinnati Enquirer (as linked above by Ms. Julien):

Danny Bubp, a freshman state representative who is a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, told The Enquirer that he never mentioned Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., by name when talking with Schmidt, and he would never call a fellow Marine a coward.


WVXU-FM: Jean Schmidt says she's not backing down
By Maryanne Zeleznik 11/22/2005 12:32:40 PM

Ohio Congresswoman Jean Schmidt says she’s amazed her remarks on the House floor last week have become such a national story. In a written release, Ohio’s second district Representative, Jean Schmidt says she’s still opposed to a Democratic plan to withdraw troops from Iraq. She was booed on the House floor last week when she said “cowards cut and run and marines never do.” Schmidt directed the statement to Pennsylvania Congressman and former marine John Murtha who introduced the Democratic plan. Schmidt says she never intended to attack Murtha personally. Schmidt says she has been attacked personally, but she is not shying away from her opposition to the minority’s position.


Cincinnati CityBeat: All The News That Fits
Mean Jean Breaks Oath

The notion that opposition to U.S. policy somehow qualifies as cowardice or disloyalty is noxious, an affront to the very Constitution Schmidt is sworn to uphold. But Schmidt's speech violated another oath, one she imposed upon herself when she took office, according to State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Mount Lookout), who had opposed Schmidt in the GOP primary last summer.

"When she was sworn in 75 days ago," Brinkman says, "she said, 'This House has much work to do. On that we can all agree. We will not always agree on the details of that work. Honorable people can certainly agree to disagree. However, here today I accept a second oath. I pledge to walk in the shoes of my colleagues and refrain from name-calling or the questioning of character. It is easy to quickly sink to the lowest form of political debate. Harsh words often lead to headlines, but walking this path is not a victimless crime. This great House pays the price.'

"Boy, she sure forgets quick, doesn't she?"


CLARIFICATION: The photo above is not of Jean Schmidt but rather an actress on Saturday Night Live who is imitating her. Here is the Enquirer's caption:
Actress Rachel Dratch of NBC-TV's "Saturday Night Live" portrays Rep. Jean Schmidt of Clermont County as a laughingstock lawmaker.


'No idea' Murtha was a Marine

U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt said this afternoon she had “no idea’’ when she created an uproar on the House floor that she was addressing a remark to a fellow House member who is a much decorated Marine veteran of Vietnam.


Caveat emptor, indeed!

Another indictment, this time of the corporate immorality alert kind: WalMart was just caught with its greed showing -- again. Two professors studied receipts from a number of the chain's midwestern and western stores and found a whopping average of eight percent of the purchases were overcharged at the register.

When, I wonder, does incompetence in this area cross the line to the legally actionable -- especially given that WalMart has a reputation for being particularly unpleasant with customers who insist that such errors be corrected, an attitude that leads logically to laxity if not outright intentionality of these discrepancies being part of their corporate culture. Certainly there has to be a class action in something so pervasive -- but that's too easy and, for crooks of the WalMart kind, probably not enough to prove salutary. No, this is the sort of thing that a courageous, creative prosecutor -- or few hundred, pursuing things as far up the corporate chain of irresponsibility as can be traveled, should tackle.

In the meantime, check your area for uniform pricing ordinances/statutes. These typically require that you be charged the lower of an item's marked price or actual price and that if you are overcharged, that the offender pay ten times the difference between the marked price and price charged as a penalty. If your area lacks such an ordinance or statute, ask your councillor/ alderperson/ commissioner/ legislator to author one.


Monday, November 21, 2005

If Bush admires him, he is NOT doing us any favors...

...the DINO below is obviously looking to keep his job by hiding behind what he thinks is the majority. Holding on to dear leader's coattails.


Among other things, [Bush} said, "the progress in Iraq is amazing" and rejected Murtha's complaint about Vice President Cheney, who received five deferments during the Vietnam war, questioning the "backbone" of Iraq war critics who had served in battle. "I don't think the Vice President's service is relevant in this debate," Bush said.

He also hailed "fine Democrats like Senator Joe Lieberman share the view that we must prevail in Iraq."

Eww. So, you are fine only if you agree with a war that was started based on lies, started to pad Cheney's Halliburton pockets, and which has caused us to be more hated than EVER...

If that is fine - count me OUT. And count anyone who has any hope of getting my vote out also!

There is a lot of other crap in the article also - particularly about how it is not "relevant" that Cheney is authorizing war and torture, yet had a record FIVE goddam deferments.


And Miami Herald readers weigh in also...

...they hate the Worst. President. Ever. too!

As I watched President Bush attack

Democrats critical of his


As I watched President Bush attack Democrats critical of his handling of pre-war intelligence -- while donned in military regalia -- I wanted to cry out: ``But Mr. President, Halloween was two and a half weeks ago.''


Now that the United States has bought enough avian-flu vaccine to protect only 1 percent of the population, who will be vaccinated? It wouldn't be the 1 percent that controls most of the wealth in the United States, would it?


President Bush's conservative supporters should rent the movie Hotel Rwanda and then tell me that our troops couldn't have been bigger heroes in other parts of the world plagued by horrific governments.

PETER KONEN, Miami Shores


You know it is bad for the GOP when you see letters like these.... the Indianapolis Star:

GOP plans to leave no millionaire behind
Republican members of Congress held true to their unofficial motto by simultaneously passing in the House sweeping cuts to student loans, food stamps and other social programs while passing in the Senate extensions to tax cuts on investment income but blocking higher taxes for oil companies.
Now Congress is considering granting $2 billion in hurricane relief funds to Northrop Grumman, an enormous defense contractor. This proves that the Republican Party plans to leave no millionaire behind in its quest to trample the poor underfoot.

Aaron Hubbell

Be wary of calls to give up freedom for safety
Richard Feldman's column (Nov. 15) encourages giving up freedoms for security. I wonder why so many writers are telling us to give up more liberty to be "safe." Does anyone remember history class? The USSR and Nazi Germany convinced their citizens that certain liberties and freedoms were to be given up for the safety of the many. Eventually, all liberty and freedom was gone. We don't need more laws taking away more freedom. I for one do not want to be put in a "safe environment" (read "ghetto"). Our ancestors fought for our freedom; the least we can do is hang onto it.
Sondra Jarrett

Critics of war critics blindly follow Bush
I am growing very tired listening to Bush supporters slam Democrats for criticizing the president for his blatant manipulation of war intelligence. Angie Spaulding's and James Gregory's letters to the editor are prime examples of conservative Bush supporters who have been brainwashed by this administration into believing what is not true. They claim that there is "too much evidence" supporting Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. There may have been evidence supporting Saddam's WMD, but there was also an extraordinary amount of intelligence that proved that Saddam did not have WMD. The president did not lie about the intelligence he chose to present to Congress and the American people, but he clearly did manipulate intelligence by refusing to present credible evidence that would have weakened his case for war. I suggest Spaulding and Gregory objectively investigate the whole truth instead of blindly following their conservative leaders.
Patrick Wanzer





From the horse's mouth -- a few decades removed ...

In "A Cheney-Libby Conspiracy, Or Worse? Reading Between the Lines of the Libby Indictment", Findlaw's John Dean deconstructs the indictment against 'Scooter' Libby and Fitzgerald's odd mention of the uncharged Espionage Act in it and the press conference announcing the indictment to determine that Cheney has plenty to worry about -- particularly if we retake the Senate from the Forces of Darkness in 2006.

It is particularly telling in light of the fact that mutually loyal Mary Cheney's leaving her father's employ and making another jump to a corporate shelter job, the announcement of which was timed for just prior to the Libby indictment. Papa Cheney, in other words, is not having his fav daughter dragged down with his ship. The sport of Mary-watching having always proved informative about Dick in the past...well, you know they always said that Machiavelli's daughter was more dangerous than her sire.

I consider this article a "must read". After all, if anyone is in a position to understand how these things play out, it's Mo's guy.


$19 million in restitution

"Ex-DeLay Aide Pleads Guilty in Conspiracy

By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer

Michael Scanlon, a former partner to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to bribe public officials, a charge growing out of the government investigation of attempts to defraud Indian tribes and corrupt a member of Congress.

Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle and agreed to pay restitution totaling more than $19 million to the tribes.

Scanlon, who is expected to cooperate in the investigation of Abramoff and members of Congress, could face up to five years in prison.

Outside the courthouse, Scanlon attorney Plato Cacheris said his client "is regretful for what happened to the tribes" and is trying to do what is right by cooperating with the investigation.

The charge was in a criminal information filed Friday accusing Scanlon of conspiring with Abramoff to defraud Indian tribes and engage in a corrupt scheme that lavished trips, sports tickets and campaign donations on a member of Congress, Rep. Bob Ney (news, bio, voting record), R-Ohio.

DeLay is among those facing scrutiny for his associations with Abramoff, including a trip to Scotland and use of Abramoff's skybox at a Washington sports arena.

Abramoff's lobbying network stretched far into the halls of Congress. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show nearly three dozen lawmakers helping to block an American Indian casino in Louisiana while collecting large donations from the lobbyist and his tribal clients.

Among the documents were private e-mails, released by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, in which Abramoff said he had persuaded Ney to attach language to an election reform bill to help an American Indian tribe in Texas reopen a closed casino.

Abramoff directed a Texas tribe, the Tiguas, to donate to Ney's re-election campaign and PAC by e-mail.

Abramoff and Scanlon were paid more than $80 million between 2001 and 2004 by six American Indian tribes with casinos.

Mark Tuohey, a Washington attorney for Ney, has said the congressman was misled by other people and was a victim in the circumstances involving Scanlon.

Ney's office performed certain acts and "there was certain other wining and dining situations like other people do," Tuohey said.

DeLay, who relinquished his post as House minority leader after a separate indictment in Texas, is due in court in Austin Tuesday for a hearing seeking dismissal of conspiracy and money laundering charges."


A Must Read

Maureen Farrell provides us with the first of a three part series over at titled: "Tired of Being Lied to? Modern History You Can't Afford to Ignore."

It starts this way (and you should take the time to read it if you can):

"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

"The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know." ~ Harry S. Truman

A couple years ago, historian Chalmers Johnson predicted that thanks to the "entrenched interests" of the military-industrial complex, the United States can look forward to a future of perpetual war, increased propaganda, fewer Constitutional rights, and a bloated executive branch. America, he warned, "will cease to resemble the country outlined in the Constitution of 1787" unless there is a "revolutionary rehabilitation of American democracy."


Curveball Struck Us Out

From publius:
" . . . I do hope everyone reads the LA Times article on Curveball. This was my favorite passage:
One CIA-led unit investigated Curveball himself. The leader was "Jerry," a veteran CIA bio-weapons analyst who had championed Curveball's case at the CIA weapons center. They found Curveball's personnel file in an Iraqi government storeroom. It was devastating.

Curveball was last in his engineering class, not first, as he had claimed. He was a low-level trainee engineer, not a project chief or site manager, as the CIA had insisted.

Most important, records showed Curveball had been fired in 1995, at the very time he said he had begun working on bio-warfare trucks. A former CIA official said Curveball also apparently was jailed for a sex crime and then drove a Baghdad taxi.

Jerry and his team interviewed 60 of Curveball's family, friends and co-workers. They all denied working on germ weapons trucks. Curveball's former bosses at the engineering center said the CIA had fallen for "water cooler gossip" and "corridor conversations."

"The Iraqis were all laughing," recalled a former member of the survey group. "They were saying, 'This guy? You've got to be kidding.'"

There's a great Coen Brothers style black comedy here if anyone has any screenplay writing skills. The flunkee engineer turned taxi driver pervert who led America to war."


Torah Sparks on The Sin of Sodom


"The Lord said, because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to her cry, which has come to me; and if not, I will know." (Genesis 18:20-21)


What was so evil about Sodom and Gemorrah that God would destroy them? Is there a hint in the behavior of the men of the city, who tried to attack the visitors in Lot's house? The rabbinic tradition said that visitors (outsiders) were not welcome in Sodom. Why not?

The Talmud teaches, "One who says, 'What is mine is mine, what is yours is yours,' this is a mediocre person. Some say this is the way of Sodom." (Avot 5:14) In Sodom, people did not steal from others ("what is yours is yours"). But in Sodom, people also did not share with others ("what is mine is mine"). Selfishness ruled, and people would not share their wealth with others. The people there thought in terms of scarcity (there is only a limited amount of wealth, and if I share with you I will have less).

The Talmud developed this idea. One long section considers the selfishness of Sodom. Among the stories in that section, one tells of a poor man who came into town. A young woman was kind to him and shared her money with him. When the people heard this, they attacked and tortured her (Sanhedrin 109b). Helping the poor would set a bad precedent for the community; beggars and poor people would move into town. The Torah teaches that "God heard her cry" (Genesis 18:21), the cry of a generous young woman attacked by her wicked neighbors. Another story tells how the people would give a poor person marked coins. No merchant would accept those coins, so the poor person could not buy food and eventually would starve. Of whom were the people of Sodom scared? Why did they try to keep the poor, travelers, and beggars out of their town?

Is the way of Sodom similar to modern cities that try to keep the homeless out? Are there ways that the self-absorbed nature of Sodom can be seen playing itself out in our world?

We all have a little Sodom in us as we think that "what is mine is mine, and I do not wish to share it." How can we overcome our own scarcity complex?


Dick Cheney's Five Deferments

And note that number five is the birth of his lesbian daughter. The man is pure smarm, and is sure good at keeping his fat ass out of the war while sending YOUR kids over to fight for a war that has raised his stock in Halliburton 3000%. No joke. Hat tip

But hey, christian soldiers, keep sending your kids into Cheney's war by voting Republican. After all, those durn Democrats is all out to steal y'er least that is what the GOP wants you to think when you vote to send your boys and girls to be obliterated in the war for oil.


1st deferment: Cheney enrolled in Casper Community College in January 1963 -- he turned 22 that month -- and sought his first student deferment on March 20.

2nd deferment: (student) after transferring to the University of Wyoming on July 23, 1963.

3rd deferment: (student) on Oct. 14, 1964.

4th deferment: attended graduate school at the University of Wyoming on Nov. 1, 1965.

5th deferment: On Oct. 6, 1965, the Selective Service lifted its ban against drafting married men who had no children. Nine months and two days later, Cheney had his first daughter. Cheney applied for 3-A status, the ''hardship'' exemption, which excluded men with children or dependent parents. It was granted.


Some Better News....

Longtime Physician To Head FDA Office Of Women's Health Drug Review Officer to Fill Position Left Vacant in Protest of Contraception Ruling

By Marc Kaufman, Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 21, 2005; Page A02

The Food and Drug Administration has selected a veteran agency official with considerable experience in drug review to head its Office of Women's Health -- a politically sensitive post that became a center of controversy earlier this year when its former director resigned to protest agency decisions on emergency contraception....


A Dog Is A Woman's Best Friend

If it takes an act of Congress (literally) to allow this brave woman to bring her dog home with her from Iraq, so be it.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Collapse

High-tech slump

The Republican downfall reminds me of the tech crash. They were so high, breaking every level of resistance in sight, nothing could stop their rise, their power, their arrogance, which in the end is no more than an illusion, as Murtha said on Iraq.

But Scooter, Abramoff, Delay, Scanlon, Ney, Brownie, Kerick, Meirs, and the rest of the 'bad boys and girls' who roam the halls of the White House, Congress and the Senate (and they know which ones they are), are crashing and burning, and the irrational exuberance that the wing nuts felt as they sent our men and women onto their deaths and to their injuries, and sent our deficit and debt sky high, and endangered all liberties that American holds dear, will be their end.

God or whatever, bless those Americans who deserve blessing, and arrest the rest that deserve to be on trial.


Exit Iraq: A Learned View

From Global Guerrillas


The United States is losing the moral conflict with Iraq's guerrillas. The US President's support among Americans has dropped to the lowest levels since Richard Nixon and opposition groups are becoming more strident and popular. Opposition calls for a rapid withdrawal from Iraq are now supported by a near majority of Americans. The development of these non-cooperative centers of gravity is due to the propagation of the following factors of moral conflict:
  • Uncertainty. Can we leave in five years or next year? Is the Iraqi government worth fighting for? Will Iraqi troops ever be good enough to fight on their own? Is the insurgency growing or collapsing?
  • Menace. Will US troops continue to die at the current high rate? Will the conflict devolve into a civil war with US troops caught in the middle? Will the conflict spread?
  • Mistrust. Did Bush lie about the reasons for going to war? Are the Democrats playing politics with the war? Is the opposition treasonous?
Isolation Drives Vulnerability to Moral Conflict
The decline in US moral cohesion is a natural consequence of the isolation of US decision makers from the external reference environment. Instead of making connections, we severed them (for a complete analysis of why this occurred, read my earlier brief on "Boyd on al Qaeda's Grand Strategy"). This isolation (across mental, physical, and moral vectors) drove:
  • Bad decision making. The willingness to accept flawed intelligence on Iraq's WMD capabilities. The failure to stop the looting after the invasion. The decision to disband the Iraqi military. The failure to send enough troops.
  • Ad hoc planning and strategy development. The lack of a plan to win the peace in the Iraq. The plethora of different military plans since then: build Sunni militias (Fallujah), stability for elections and a political solutions, aggressive counter-insurgent sweeps, clear-and-hold (oil-spots), etc.
  • False or corrupt internal dialogues. An internal: Are you with us or against us? Democracy throughout the Middle East was the real goal of the US invasion. This is another Vietnam.
The Controlled Chaos Exit
The end result of this break-down in moral cohesion will be the following:
  • A withdrawal within the next three years. The inevitable result of a collapse in US moral cohesion is a quick withdrawal. The pressure to leave will only increase.
  • A reliance on "loyalist" paramilitaries. Despite the claims that Iraqi troops are capable of independent action, they aren't. While some few may be able to lead an engagement, they don't have any of the support systems necessary to sustain an army in the field (from medical to supply to air power). This support capability won't emerge before we leave since it takes many years to develop. This means that we will rely on Shiite and Kurdish paramilitaries to enforce the peace (we got a taste of what that means when the US raided the Badr Brigade's/Interior Ministry's torture chambers in November).
  • The collapse of the Iraqi state and the spread of the conflict. The withdrawal of US forces will cause the Iraqi state to split. The Kurds will be the first to leave. An independent Kurdish state will inflame regional tensions through the activation of guerrilla groups in Turkey, Iran, and Syria. A slow burning war between Shiites and Sunnis will draw in regional powers and cause substantial instability in the Gulf Monarchies with large Shia populations. Finally, as Iraq's global guerrillas return home from the Iraqi training grounds, they will bring disruption with them."


No More-on

Click here to see the now-world-famous video. I am so embarrassed that this man is leading our country. We are the laughingstock of the world.


Quotations from the Deputy Leader

posted by Gen. JC Christian, Patriot [at his blog ---->]| 2:20 AM"


Colonel John Murtha

Cong. Murtha with President Reagan -1980

"As the first combat Vietnam veteran elected to Congress, Jack represented the U.S. House alongside President Reagan in commemorating the Unknown Soldier of the Vietnam War."

"Biography of John P. Murtha

U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha has dedicated his life to serving his country both in the military and in the halls of Congress. He had a long and distinguished 37-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring from the Marine Corps Reserve as a colonel in 1990; and he has been serving the people of the 12th Congressional District since 1974, one of only 131 people in the nation's history to have served more than 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and one of only 224 Members of Congress who have served 30 or more years.

Congressional Service

Congressman Murtha has worked hard to bring thousands of long-term, family-sustaining jobs to Western Pennsylvania. With the disappearance of the coal and steel jobs that for more than a century were the lifeblood of the area, he pushed the region in a new direction, intent on diversifying the economy to help insulate it from future shocks. In the early 1990s, new companies in an industry unfamiliar in Western Pennsylvania - defense - began to spring up, bringing more than 5,000 jobs to the district he represents. He founded the House Steel Caucus and has brought millions of dollars to the United Mine Workers to retrain displaced miners and train new miners.

He fights for policies that help people, including a patient's bill of rights, prescription-drug benefits, a better minimum wage, and protecting Medicare, Social Security and veterans' benefits. For example, when Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was about to be killed by federal regulations, he convinced the White House to be more flexible and saved the program. When EPA said the six-county Pittsburgh Air Basin would get no permits for industrial growth, he inserted language allowing time to finish a balanced, community-based plan. When Medicare refused to pay for preventive health care such as mammograms and flu shots, he included language in an appropriation that convinced the agency to provide coverage. He has twice saved the health care program of retired miners.

His crusade to improve the health and well-being of Pennsylvanians could benefit people across the nation. Determined to reverse the diabetes epidemic in Western Pennsylvania, he has directed funding to UPMC's Diabetes Institute for diabetes prevention, education and outreach, and to Children's Hospital for a project on Type 1 diabetes. He has forged partnerships between Western Pennsylvania hospitals and world-renowned institutions such as Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital, one of which has led to research that could revolutionize the early detection and treatment of breast cancer and significantly advance efforts to eradicate the disease.

He has played a major role in tourism development in the region, starting the National Heritage Area program, which includes two areas in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The Rivers of Steel, dedicated to preserving the history of Big Steel, encompasses 3,000 square miles in Allegheny and six surrounding counties; and the Path of Progress winds through 500 miles in nine Southwestern Pennsylvania, linking heritage sites that pertain to the westward expansion of the early U.S.

His countless honors include the National Breast Cancer Coalition Leadership Award, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry's Government Leader of the Year, Pittsburgh's Riverperson of the Year and Pennsylvania's two highest honors, the Distinguished Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Military/defense service

Congressman Murtha is so well-respected for his first-hand knowledge of military and defense issues that he has been a trusted adviser to presidents of both parties on military and defense issues and is one of the most effective advocates for the national defense in the country. He is ranking member and former chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, a Vietnam combat veteran and a retired Marine Corps colonel with 37 years of service, a rare combination of experience that enables him to understand defense and military operations from every perspective.

He learned about military service from the bottom up, beginning as a raw recruit when he left Washington and Jefferson College in 1952 to join the Marines out of a growing sense of obligation to his country during the Korean War. There he earned the American Spirit Honor Medal, awarded to fewer than one in 10,000 recruits. He rose through the ranks to become a drill instructor at Parris Island and was selected for Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia. He then was assigned to the Second Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In 1959, Captain Murtha took command of the 34th Special Infantry Company, Marine Corps Reserves, in Johnstown. He remained in the Reserves after his discharge from active duty until he volunteered for Vietnam in 1966-67, receiving the Bronze Star with Combat "V", two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He remained in the Reserves until his retirement. This first-hand knowledge of military and defense issues has made him a trusted adviser to presidents of both parties and one of the most effective advocates for the national defense in Washington. At the request of Presidents and Speakers of the House, he served as chairman of delegations monitoring elections in the Philippines, El Salvador, Panama and Bosnia.

He was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal by the Marine Corps Commandant when he retired from the Marines."


Rewriting History

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Hat Tip: Can't Keep Quiet


They Lied and . . .

. . . thousands died. They should be indicted for criminal homicide.

"What I Knew Before the Invasion

By Bob Graham
Sunday, November 20, 2005; B07

In the past week President Bush has twice attacked Democrats for being hypocrites on the Iraq war. "[M]ore than 100 Democrats in the House and Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power," he said.

The president's attacks are outrageous. Yes, more than 100 Democrats voted to authorize him to take the nation to war. Most of them, though, like their Republican colleagues, did so in the legitimate belief that the president and his administration were truthful in their statements that Saddam Hussein was a gathering menace -- that if Hussein was not disarmed, the smoking gun would become a mushroom cloud.

The president has undermined trust. No longer will the members of Congress be entitled to accept his veracity. Caveat emptor has become the word. Every member of Congress is on his or her own to determine the truth.

As chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, and the run-up to the Iraq war, I probably had as much access to the intelligence on which the war was predicated as any other member of Congress.

I, too, presumed the president was being truthful -- until a series of events undercut that confidence.

In February 2002, after a briefing on the status of the war in Afghanistan, the commanding officer, Gen. Tommy Franks, told me the war was being compromised as specialized personnel and equipment were being shifted from Afghanistan to prepare for the war in Iraq -- a war more than a year away. Even at this early date, the White House was signaling that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein was of such urgency that it had priority over the crushing of al Qaeda.

In the early fall of 2002, a joint House-Senate intelligence inquiry committee, which I co-chaired, was in the final stages of its investigation of what happened before Sept. 11. As the unclassified final report of the inquiry documented, several failures of intelligence contributed to the tragedy. But as of October 2002, 13 months later, the administration was resisting initiating any substantial action to understand, much less fix, those problems.

At a meeting of the Senate intelligence committee on Sept. 5, 2002, CIA Director George Tenet was asked what the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) provided as the rationale for a preemptive war in Iraq. An NIE is the product of the entire intelligence community, and its most comprehensive assessment. I was stunned when Tenet said that no NIE had been requested by the White House and none had been prepared. Invoking our rarely used senatorial authority, I directed the completion of an NIE.

Tenet objected, saying that his people were too committed to other assignments to analyze Saddam Hussein's capabilities and will to use chemical, biological and possibly nuclear weapons. We insisted, and three weeks later the community produced a classified NIE.

There were troubling aspects to this 90-page document. While slanted toward the conclusion that Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction stored or produced at 550 sites, it contained vigorous dissents on key parts of the information, especially by the departments of State and Energy. Particular skepticism was raised about aluminum tubes that were offered as evidence Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program. As to Hussein's will to use whatever weapons he might have, the estimate indicated he would not do so unless he was first attacked.

Under questioning, Tenet added that the information in the NIE had not been independently verified by an operative responsible to the United States. In fact, no such person was inside Iraq. Most of the alleged intelligence came from Iraqi exiles or third countries, all of which had an interest in the United States' removing Hussein, by force if necessary.

The American people needed to know these reservations, and I requested that an unclassified, public version of the NIE be prepared. On Oct. 4, Tenet presented a 25-page document titled "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs." It represented an unqualified case that Hussein possessed them, avoided a discussion of whether he had the will to use them and omitted the dissenting opinions contained in the classified version. Its conclusions, such as "If Baghdad acquired sufficient weapons-grade fissile material from abroad, it could make a nuclear weapon within a year," underscored the White House's claim that exactly such material was being provided from Africa to Iraq.

From my advantaged position, I had earlier concluded that a war with Iraq would be a distraction from the successful and expeditious completion of our aims in Afghanistan. Now I had come to question whether the White House was telling the truth -- or even had an interest in knowing the truth.

On Oct. 11, I voted no on the resolution to give the president authority to go to war against Iraq. I was able to apply caveat emptor. Most of my colleagues could not.

The writer is a former Democratic senator from Florida. He is currently a fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics."


Republican Crime Family?

The New York Times

November 20, 2005

"Corruption Inquiry Threatens to Ensnare Lawmakers

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 - The Justice Department has signaled for the first time in recent weeks that prominent members of Congress could be swept up in the corruption investigation of Jack Abramoff, the former Republican superlobbyist who diverted some of his tens of millions of dollars in fees to provide lavish travel, meals and campaign contributions to the lawmakers whose help he needed most.

The investigation by a federal grand jury, which began more than a year ago, has created alarm on Capitol Hill, especially with the announcement Friday of criminal charges against Michael Scanlon, Mr. Abramoff's former lobbying partner and a former top House aide to Representative Tom DeLay.

The charges against Mr. Scanlon identified no lawmakers by name, but a summary of the case released by the Justice Department accused him of being part of a broad conspiracy to provide "things of value, including money, meals, trips and entertainment to federal public officials in return for agreements to perform official acts" - an attempt at bribery, in other words, or something close to it.

Mr. Abramoff, who is under indictment in a separate bank-fraud case in Florida, has not been charged by the federal grand jury here. But Mr. Scanlon's lawyer says he has agreed to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation, suggesting that Mr. Abramoff's day in court in Washington is only a matter of time.

Scholars who specialize in the history and operations of Congress say that given the brazenness of Mr. Abramoff's lobbying efforts, as measured by the huge fees he charged clients and the extravagant gifts he showered on friends on Capitol Hill, almost all of them Republicans, the investigation could end up costing several lawmakers their careers, if not their freedom.

The investigation threatens to ensnarl many outside Congress as well, including Interior Department officials and others in the Bush administration who were courted by Mr. Abramoff on behalf of the Indian tribe casinos that were his most lucrative clients.

The inquiry has already reached into the White House; a White House budget official, David H. Safavian, resigned only days before his arrest in September on charges of lying to investigators about his business ties to Mr. Abramoff, a former lobbying partner.

"I think this has the potential to be the biggest scandal in Congress in over a century," said Thomas E. Mann, a Congressional specialist at the Brookings Institution. "I've been around Washington for 35 years, watching Congress, and I've never seen anything approaching Abramoff for cynicism and chutzpah in proposing quid pro quos to members of Congress."

Even by the gold-plated standards of Washington lobbying firms, the fees paid to Mr. Abramoff were extraordinary. A former president of the College Republicans who turned to lobbying after a short-lived career as a B-movie producer, Mr. Abramoff, with his lobbying team, collected more than $80 million from the Indian tribes and their gambling operations; he was known by lobbying rivals as "Casino Jack."

Mr. Abramoff's lobbying work was not limited to the casinos, though. Newly disclosed documents from his files show that he asked for $9 million in 2003 from the president of Gabon, in West Africa, to set up a White House meeting with President Bush; there was an Oval Office meeting last year, although there is no evidence in the public record to show that Mr. Abramoff had a role in the arrangements.

Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21, an ethics watchdog group that has called for tighter lobbying rules, said it was too early to say whether the Abramoff investigation would produce anything like the convulsion in Congress during the Abscam investigations of the 1980's, when one senator and five House members were convicted on bribery and other charges after an F.B.I. sting involving a phony Arab sheik.

"But this clearly has the potential," Mr. Wertheimer said.

So far, one member of Congress, Representative Bob Ney, an Ohio Republican who is chairman of the House Administration Committee, has acknowledged receiving a subpoena from the grand jury investigating Mr. Abramoff. Another, Representative John T. Doolittle, Republican of California, has acknowledged that his wife, who helped Mr. Abramoff organize fund-raisers, was subpoenaed.

The Justice Department signaled last month that Mr. DeLay had come under scrutiny in the investigation, over a trip that Mr. Abramoff arranged for Mr. DeLay and his wife to Britain in 2000 that included rounds of golf at the fabled course at St. Andrews in Scotland.

The department revealed its interest in Mr. DeLay, who is under indictment in Texas in an unrelated investigation involving violations of state election laws, in an extraordinary request to the British government that police there interview former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher about the circumstances of a meeting in London with Mr. DeLay during the trip five years ago.

London newspapers quoted a document prepared by the British Home Office that outlined the Justice Department's investigation and said that "it is alleged that Abramoff arranged for his clients to pay for the trips to the U.K. on the basis that Congressman DeLay would support favorable legislation."

Richard Cullen, a lawyer for Mr. DeLay, said in an interview Friday that he was "glad that the Justice Department is looking into all aspects of the trip because I think that a thorough investigation will show that the trip was substantive and transparent."

Mr. Cullen said that shortly after he was hired several months ago, he contacted the Justice Department "to let them know that Mr. DeLay is available to cooperate in any way."

The lawyer said he was "convinced that when the Justice Department completes its investigation of Abramoff and Scanlon, that it will be clear Tom DeLay has acted ethically and has conducted himself consistent with all laws and House standards of conduct." He said he had not heard from federal prosecutors since the initial contacts.

The situation could be more serious for Mr. Ney, a five-term lawmaker whose position as chairman of the House Administration Committee gives him power over the operations of the Capitol building and allows him to divide up Congressional perks like office space and parking.

Mr. Ney's ties to Mr. Abramoff have been revealed slowly over the last year, largely through testimony before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which has held a series of hearings into accusations that Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Scanlon defrauded their Indian tribe clients.

Mr. Ney was not identified by name in the documents filed against Mr. Scanlon on Friday. But the Ohio lawmaker's lawyers acknowledged that Mr. Ney was the lawmaker identified as "Representative #1" in the Justice Department papers, which charged Mr. Scanlon with conspiring to provide "Representative #1" with a golfing trip to Scotland, meals at Mr. Abramoff's Washington restaurant and campaign contributions.

Mr. Ney took part in a golf trip to Scotland in 2002 with Mr. Abramoff, where they played at St. Andrews, as Mr. DeLay had done two years earlier. Documents and testimony to Congress showed that Mr. Abramoff had asked an Indian tribe in Texas to sponsor the trip and that Mr. Ney was then asked for his help in trying to reopen a casino owned by the tribe that had been shuttered by state officials.

Mr. Ney was also a regular at Signatures, the expensive Washington restaurant that Mr. Abramoff owned and used to entertain clients, colleagues and lawmakers. Former Signatures employees have said that Mr. Ney frequently ate and drank at the restaurant without paying. Mr. Ney has acknowledged the gifts but said they were within limits set by Congressional ethics rules."