Saturday, March 31, 2007

George channeling Harry...

I was partially asleep at the switch the other day, cycling through the bogus historical analogies and personages used by the President recently to cast himself in a better light. How could I possibly have forgotten Harry S. Truman, the only man with approval ratings lower than Bush's? Well, Rupert Cornwell of the Independent hasn't, so a sampling of his take on these two Presidents is in order.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

There he goes again, pt. 250

Did you catch the President's speech at the Cattleman's Association meeting yesterday? He worked himself up into high dudgeon over the naysayers(nattering nabobs of negativism?) responsible for imposing a timeline on his war in Iraq, asking the crowd to imagine Dwight Eisenhower having to put up with miserable micromanaging nonentities in the Congress as he planned the Normandy invasion. That's a very literate and thoughtful group, the Cattlemen, and they were clearly appreciative of this interpretation of current events.

So let's once again review the abuses of history that this President is responsible for thus far: Iraq is the Revolutionary War/Bush George Washington, Iraq is the American Civil War with Bush as Abraham Lincoln, Iraq is World War II, with Bush as FDR and/or Winston Churchill, Iraq is postwar Japan or Germany(hey, reconstruction takes time!), with Bush as MacArthur(!?). Now the "troop surge" is the Normandy Invasion, with Bush in the role of Dwight D. Eisenhower. How one could make any comparison between the Normandy invasion and the "troop surge" in Iraq is completely beyond me, but never mind.

What's next? Maybe we ought to have a contest in which readers draw up additional flattering scenarios from American history into which Bush could project himself in explaining this war. Bush as Theodore Roosevelt at San Juan Hill? Bush as Patton, pushing on to Berlin despite unreleting criticism of his tactics and behavior? Bush as General Pershing, rebuffing allies who want to command our troops? I'm afraid he's looking more and more like Nixon and/or General Westmoreland, but I doubt he would accept either of those roles.

Bush as King Hal before Agincourt maybe? "We few, we happy few?"

Monday, March 26, 2007

And the lions shall lie down with lambs...

Since we're all about historical perspective here, the announcement out of Belfast today is truly rich vein. Think anti-Communist crusader/Red baiter Richard Nixon going to China in the early l970s, Anwar Sadat heading to Jerusalem in the early l980s, for that matter Reagan summiting and reaching agreement with Mikhail Gorbachev as the Cold War waned. Those are the kind of analogies appropriate to the agreement reached between Ian Paisley, the very embodiment of "no surrender" Protestants, and Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams, who orchestrated determined guerilla warfare against them for nearly 30 years. The two sat down together today at the same table and agreed to the key provision of the Good Friday agreement: a power-sharing arrangement in which Catholics and Protestants will jointly determine the future of northern Ireland.

Some will say this means the IRA and Catholics "lost," since their goal was not just to force the British army out of northern Ireland, but to bring about the union of British northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland. In truth, though, everybody won in this outcome, because the future of the region will now be resolved peacefully, through the democratic process, with the consent of the governed. And that qualifies as a genuine miracle, a shaking of the earth, if you consider the 3,000 victims of this conflict, the years of poverty and dislocation, the blighted lives and the unremitting bitterness on both sides...I often believed that it was hopeless, that this conflict was a geopolitical fact for the forseeable future, like the Cold War. I'm so happy to be proven wrong today.

Look up into the sky towards the east...I think you might see some green and orange pigs flying on the horizon.

What is to be done?

James Carroll has another thought-provoking column in today's Boston Globe. He talks about the anguish the Iraq war has caused in the country, and wonders whether this misadventure will lead to a serious reassessment of US policies in the long run. A couple of excerpts:

"The sorrow is back. Everywhere you go, friends greet one another with a choked acknowledgment of a nearly unspeakable frustration at what unfolds in Iraq. This seems true whether people oppose the war absolutely, or only on pragmatic terms; whether they want US troops out at once, or over time. Even about those distinctions, little remains to be said. Bush's contemptuous carelessness, his inner circle's corrupt enabling, the Pentagon's dependable launching of folly after folly, the Democrats' ineffectual kibitzing, even your heartfelt concern for the troops -- these subjects have exhausted themselves. The "surge" of the January escalation was preceded by the surge of public anguish that resulted in Republican losses in November. That election was a stirring rejection of the administration's purposes in Iraq, a rejection promptly seconded by the Iraq Study Group. But so what? Bush's purposes hold steady, and their poison tide now laps at Iran.

Why should you not be demoralized and depressed? But the sorrow of war goes deeper than the mistaken policies of a stubborn president. Next to Bao Ninh's book on your shelf stands "The Sorrows of Empire" by Chalmers Johnson. That title suggests how far into the bone of your nation the pins of this problem are sunk. In effect, the disastrous American war in Iraq is the text, while America's militarized way of being in the world is the context. Armed power at the service of US economic sway has made a putative enemy of a vast population around the globe, and that enemy's vanguard are the terrorists. Violent opposition to the American agenda increases with each surge from Washington, whatever its character. Both text and context reveal that every dream of empire brings sorrow, obviously so to the victims of imperial violence, but also to the imperial dreamers, whether or not they consciously associate with what is being done in their name.

But the word sorrow implies more than grief and loss. The palpable sadness of a people reluctantly at war can push toward a fuller moral reckoning with the condition of a nation that has made its own economic supremacy an absolute value. To take on the question of an economy advanced with little regard for its sustainability, much less for its justice, implies a move away from the focus on Bush's venality to a broader responsibility. How do the sorrows of war and empire implicate you?"

Clearly, the course and objectives of US foreign policy have landed us in this sorry condition. But how do we answer his last question? What can we do, collectively or individually, to change direction in this country, to project a different image to the world? I'm feeling awfully powerless these days...the country seems oblivious, indifferent or worse.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Abramoff Dominos Keep Falling

Who's the tenth person to face criminal charges in the Abramoff case? Step up J. Steven Griles, former #2 official in the Interior Department.

Griles admitted lying to the Senate about his relationship with Abramoff (who used Griles to intervene at the Interior Department on behalf of his Indian tribal clients). Griles, you may remember, was a former mining lobbyist (who else would the Bush administration pick for Interior than a mining lobbyist).

Prosecutors agreed to a sentence of 10 months in exchange for the plea. Just five of those in jail and the rest in a halfway house or in home detention. Sentencing is set for 6/26, and the judge isn't bound by that recommendation.

Perhaps she'll offer Griles access to nearby golf courses and mini bars while in the jail.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Democrats? Really?

Ok, a bill for a timetable to get out of Iraq by 2008. Great. Oh, what's that hanging off of the end of the bill? Did somebody say inducements? No, not for the Iraqis to step up and take over for departing US troops. No, inducements for Democrats who apparently did NOT hear the voters last year to vote for the bill. So we've got millions for agriculture bills or shrimp industry or who knows what.

It's just a little too much like the earmarks of yesteryear for my tastes.

Raping GI Jane

The number of sexual assaults in the military increased 24% last year. The single nugget of good news in this story is that more than twice as many offenders were punished this year over last. But even that isn't much to brag about -

2,400 sexual assault reports filed in 2005
3,000 filed last year.

The Pentagon argues that the increase in numbers is due "in part to the vigorous effort to encourage victims to report the crime." The report provides a breakdown of some of the assaults:

756 of the victims were members of the military. Of those, 285 were Army soldiers, 247 were in the Air Force, 144 were in the Navy, 48 were Marines and one was in the Coast Guard.

The DOD's sexual assault awareness website is here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

From the dissemblers' dictionary...

In regards to those pesky mistakes that Popessa referenced earlier, the ones that keep being made, keep creeping in there mysteriously, they now have an official name: they are part of the EXONERATIVE PAST TENSE, a prominent feature of a dialect unique to politicians and government officials living in or near Washington, DC.

And here it is again: if any mistakes were made above, they certainly weren't made by me. Just so you know.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Good March

It was very very cold yesterday, but the sun was shining. About 20-30,000 people is the number I've been hearing. As many as 60 buses full of people didn't make it in because of the storm. So who knows how much larger it would have been.

But it was certainly a tremendous opportunity to raise a voice of protest against the illegal and immoral war. I didn't get close enough to hear any of the speakers, but I enjoyed the group. Somebody was carrying a huge sign that asked "Who Would Jesus Bomb?" which was a great addition. There were lots of paper machier heads, more common to 21st century protests than to 20th. Some great "Know Your Enemy" signs with Bush's face on them. And of course the truth that a great chant is never out of style -- because a People United Will Never be Defeated!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Mitt the Swift?

Remember the Swift Boaters? Hard to forget that crew. Mitt Romney's crew just added Bob Perry as a member of their "Texas Leadership Team" -- a fundraising crew out of Dallas. You may remember Perry as the primary funder of the swift boat 527 crew.

Well Mitt, is it true that you can tell the character of a man by those he surrounds himself with?

On a completely different note - off to the mall and a stroll over to the Pentagon. Some snow on the ground, and it's cold out - but the sun is out, few clouds in the sky, it looks like a good day for supporting the troops - in the most real sense!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Let's Stay Warm Out There Tomorrow

No snow so far tonight, but lots of rain and sleet and a little ice. It should be tolerable by the time the march gets together around noon tomorrow. If you're coming on down, bundle up. It will be cold. But I guarantee you'll feel warm for participating.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

There's something happening here...but what?

Help me understand this confession Khalid Sheikh Mohammed just made down in Gitmo--he supposedly admitted responsibility for every terrorist act in living memory, from the WTC truck bomb to the murder of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan after the spectacular 9/11 attacks. What is going on?

When I heard about this confession, this word garment stretched to cover just about anything, I immediately thought of those high-ranking purge victims in Soviet Russia, circa l937. They all confessed to long lists of the most heinous crimes imaginable--wrecking Soviet industry, plotting the murder of Kirov/Stalin/Ezhov/Vyshinsky/insert prominent Soviet official here, spying for Japan, spying for Great Britain, spying for France, bourgeois nationalism, Trotskysm. KGB thugs tortured these confessions out of them by order of the authorities, who wanted certain points made. Is this what happened with the Sheikh? Did someone want to claim victory in the war on terror without the capture of Bin Laden?

Is Sheikh trying to deflect attention from others, take a bullet for the the other old boys? He's already in custody and will certainly fry in the chair...why wouldn't he?

Does Sheikh have an enormous ego? Is this perhaps his last will and testment, i.e. It was ME! It was ME! It was ALWAYS ME ALL ALONG!!?

I just can't figure this one out. What do YOU think this all means?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Those Old Mysterious Mistakes at it Again!

Have you noticed that no one in the Bush administration has ever made a mistake? It's an amazing record for an administration that has screwed up so badly, and as often, as this one has. How do they do it?

By noting that instead of making mistakes, that mistakes were made. Yup. I didn't do it, but somehow those ol' pesky mistakes found their way into work I am responsible for.

The latest to hid behind the shield of "mistakes were made?" Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. In a statement today, the Att. General noted that:

"I acknowledge that mistakes were made here. I accept that responsibility . . . I'm responsible for what happens in the Department of Justice. I pledge to find out what went wrong, so it won't happen again."

Yes, you heard it here first boys and girls. Gonzales will NOT rest until he's found out . . . what he ordered done?


The General Pace gaffe

I have to confess I'm baffled by General Peter Pace's remarks concerning the "immorality" of homosexuality and its consequent inadmissibility in the US armed forces. They are positively senseless on several grounds, namely,

--Homosexuality is a biological fact. Biological facts are neither moral or immoral. They are just that, facts.

--those who believe homosexuality IS immoral despite the facts base their beliefs on the old testament of the Christian bible. In case no one has noticed, this is a very diverse country with an accordingly diverse set of religious beliefs. Why should the entire country and everyone who wishes to serve it in the armed forces be held hostage to the beliefs of a few individuals, beliefs that are not grounded in fact? And what is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff doing in that responsible job when he refuses to acknowledge established facts? Well, maybe that isn't so strange, considering the faith-based administration he serves...

--Reports indicate that some 50 Arabic linguists have been forced out of the service because of their sexual orientation. And there are how many people proficient in Arabic in the Green Zone? 5 or 6? The last time I checked, linguists can be pretty valuable in an area that's full of bad guys who wish American citizens and soldiers ill. And I don't think morality or immorality or anyone's personal beliefs factor into the equation when you can help soldiers read insurgent graffiti or make friends for this country in respectful dealings with Iraqi citizens.

It seems to be that our modern-day Nero will have to move over temporarily, because there are plenty of fiddlers like General Pace who want to join him as Baghdad/Kabul/_______(insert critical language country here)burns. Like I said, just baffling.

Monday, March 12, 2007

What's it all for?

I didn't want anyone to miss the appreciation of Mohammad Hayawi, the legendary bookseller of Mutanabi St., Baghdad, published yesterday in the WaPo. The author was the WaPo's gifted Middle East correspondent, Anthony Shadid, who also wrote an excellent book on immediate pre and post-war Iraq, "Night Draws Near."

Mohammed Hayawi was a mainstay of Mutanabi street, which was one of the unofficial centers of intellect and culture in war-torn Baghdad. He was intelligent, rational, non-sectarian and proud--once, when stopped at a checkpoint and asked by a US army officer, "who are you," he responded, "who are YOU?! what are YOU doing here? you are a guest in our country!" Mostly, he was a good businessman, maintaining his book stall on Mutanabi street despite the terrible turmoil afflicting the center of the Iraqi capital.

Hayawi's mostly happy life ended last week, in a suicide bombing that apparently targeted that part of town. It is hard not to believe reason and tolerance were not the main objectives, because all the people on that street had lots of both. That's the problem with a broken state wracked with ethnic conflict--the rational, non-sectarian, objective people either leave voluntarily, as have thousands of academics, doctors and lawyers, or become the targets of zealots, like Hayawi. They understand that the situation in the country can no longer be mitigated by reason and logic, that emotion and sectarianism have triumphed. This leaves us with the true believers, the fanatics and which case, you have to wonder, what changes are American military personnel capable of making there? How in the world will foreign military forces do what the smartest, most rational and capable nationals were NOT able to do?

Has this occurred to any of the best and the brightest in the White House? Do you think they even READ the PAPER?!

What Did You Do In the War, Dick? FINALLY!

Kudos and congrats to Max Cleland. If you don't know ex-Senator Cleland's story, well that's another time. Suffice it to say while the Republican strike team took down this Vietnam war hero, Cleland is never out and does not back down.

The big Dick was speaking before the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Cheney was going on and on and on about the evil of timetables. Max Cleland took the Veep down in front of everyone. What did he have to say to the big Dick? Just this:

"Where the hell were you in the Vietnam War? If you had gone to Vietnam like the rest of us, maybe you would have learned something about war. You can't keep troops on the ground forever. You gotta have a mission. You gotta have a purpose. . . . You can't keep sending 'em back and back and back with no mission and no purpose. As a matter of fact, the real enemy is Al Qaeda, it's Al Qaeda stupid, it's not in Iraq."

Way to go Max!! You make us proud!

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Senator Eagleton's gentle goodbye

Thomas Eagleton had ups and downs in his life, the lowest down being his brief nomination as George McGovern's Vice President before acknowledging a serious bout with depression. The older folks here will remember Candidate McGovern's giving Senator Eagleton his 1000 percent support--prior to dumping him from the ticket. That was a terrible injustice to everyone who has suffered from clinical depression and a low moment in American politics.

Senator Eagleton managed to shake it off and continued a standout career in American politics. He was one of the staunchest proponents of the War Powers act, which restored balance between the executive and legislative branches after our longest undeclared war. After the Senate, he settled easily into the role of wise elder statesmen. He said shortly before his death that the Iraq war was the worst blunder of modern times. He had earned the right to say that, having witnessed the Vietnam fiasco firsthand.

At his funeral service yesterday, the Senator surprised everyone with a letter of farewell, which urged everyone to "go forth in love and peace, be kind to dogs and vote Democratic."

A prince of a guy...Godspeed.

Marching For Peace

Reminder - do your part this month - the fourth anniversary of this illegal, imoral and ineptly planned war. Check out United for Peace's website to find a march in your area, if you haven't yet done so.

Here in DC the big march will be this Saturday. You can read here for more information on that march.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

So Much Nonsense, So Little Time

The ongoing right wing & bush administration psychosis was running rampant this week. What to talk about?

The folks who wanted Clinton lynched for Monica-related sins begging the white house to pardon Scooter? The Justice Department finally noting that the FBI has been having its way with us through various patriot act laws? Bush's assertion that people have to be paid to protest against him & his policies?

No, I think I'll talk about the recent ruling here in DC that our no handguns in the home law is somehow unconstitutional. You know all of those people who spend weeks running around and shreaking on FOX newsless about activist judges? I've stood for a while with a hand to my ear, waiting and listening for their outrage. But all I hear is silence. Because apparently if the judge's rulings go your way, they're not activist judges. As a longtime DC resident, I'm used to being a Congressional plaything. We're the place Congress goes to make a point, making laws that rule how we live in DC to show off for the folks back home.

But this wasn't the usual Congressional rape of DC. This was a panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. It's a ruling that seems primed to head to the Supremes, which would mean the rest of the country would soon be paying attention. But for now, I can rest comfortably in my apartment, knowing that it's ok for the guy next door to have a gun. It's ok for us all to have guns. But we'll be ok, because as we all know, guns don't kill people, lunatic people with drinking and behaviorial problems kill lots of people when they have easy access to something more deadly than a stick or a knife.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

"Yanqui go home" on steroids

This comes from a linguist friend, who wonders, "what will they have to do to the WHITE HOUSE after he leaves?"

"Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate "bad spirits" after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.

"That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture," Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday.

Bush's seven-day tour of Latin America includes a stopover beginning late Sunday in Guatemala. On Monday morning he is scheduled to visit the archaeological site Iximche on the high western plateau in a region of the Central American country populated mostly by Mayans.

Tiney said the "spirit guides of the Mayan community" decided it would be necessary to cleanse the sacred site of "bad spirits" after Bush's visit so that their ancestors could rest in peace. He also said the rites — which entail chanting and burning incense, herbs and candles — would prepare the site for the third summit of Latin American Indians March 26-30."

No further comment.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

World Population Issues

The information below comes from one of several documents available at the UN Population Division site here. Anyone interested in the changing face of the world (and subsequent impact on so many issues) should check out some of the documents. Some of the things that caught my eye along with the shift from rural to urban were:

Mortality in Eastern Europe which had been increasing in the 1980s is going down. From 200-2005, the life expentency in that region was 67.9 years. In 1960-65 it was 68.6. The Russian Federation & Ukraine are particularly affected by rises in mortality -- due to HIV/AIDS.

The mega-city (10 million people or more) came from the 20th century. In 1950 there were only two mega-cities (New York & Tokyo). Today there are 20. These cities count for 9% of the world's population.

International migrants numbered 191 million in 2005. Three-quarters of all migrants lived in 28 countries in 2005. US had 1 out of 5 world-wide migrants. And yes, better living conditions and hopes for jobs are the top draws. But as the poorest of the poor don't have the resources to try and migrate, most migrants are from their middle class.

In 2005 61% of the population used some level of contraception. Put another way, 664 million out of the world population of 1 billion+ women of reproductive age who are married or in union use contraception. Highest (72%) was the Caribbean region. Lowest (27%) was Africa. 90% of those using contraception used modern methods. (sterilization, IUDs, pills, in that order).

In developed countries, 20% of today's population is 60 or older. By 2050 it will be 32%. Elderly have already surpased children (0-14) in developed countries. By 2050 there will be 2 elderly people to each child in the developed world.

Some countries projected to have FEWER people in 2050 than today include Germany, Italy, Japan, the Baltic States & most of the successor states of the former Soviet Union.

Between 2005-2050, 9 countries will house 1/2 the world's population. They are India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Dem.Rep of Congo, Bangledesh, Uganda, the United States, Ethiopia and China. (maybe everyone from Germany, Italy, Japan, the baltics & old USSR will have moved there?)

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In the United States, the 1920 census showed us a remarkable thing. For the first time in our nation's history, more people lived in cities and urban areas than in rural areas. 1920 is one of those benchmarks that we can point to in our move from what was to what will be.

Why am I bringing up the 1920 census now?

Because the United Nations has announced that by next year, for the first time in the history of this world, more people will live in cities than in rural areas across the globe. We have almost a century of US history since that remarkable tipping point to share with the world.

The range of issues that will come into play across the world are vast. Urban blight, agricultural abandonment, food prices, pollution, employment and training issues, these are just a few of the things we have lived through and -- from time to time -- learned from.

Are we teaching? Is the world listening?

Find an Anti-War Protest in Your Area

United for Peace has a searchable website to find a protest in your area. Take a look to see what is going on in your neighborhood. You might find that you don't have travel as far as you thought to let your voice be heard. After all, anti-war sentiment is the majority in the country now.

Let the Bushies & friends hear that majority this month by joining the protest of your choice.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Many Happy Returns!

Let me be the first to wish you Happy Stalin death day! The Soviet dictator was(thankfully for many, many people)felled by a stroke 54 years ago today in his dacha outside Moscow.

There are those who miss Stalin, who claim he was the greatest leader of Russia OR the USSR. He WAS a co-architect of the victory over Hitler, I'll give him that. But he did a staggering amount of damage prior to, during and after that episode. A partial listing would include the intentional famine inflicted on the Ukrainian peasantry, the political purges that sent millions to their deaths or long sentences in labor camps, the murder of the Polish intelligentsia at Katyn, Khar'kov and Tver', the ethnic cleansing of the Volga German and Chechen nations, the military occupation of the east European states following "liberation," the notorious population transfer in the Baltic states, guaranteeing it would be impossible for them to separate easily from the USSR, and co-plotting the Korean War, which killed a couple hundred thousand people. He was planning the coup de grace when he finally kicked the bucket: a mass purge of the nation's remaining Jews, to culiminate in a public hanging in Red Square, a la Peter the Great in the late l7th century. His death didn't come a minute too soon.

At the very least, Stalin cast a long, dark shadow over the past century. If you wanted to try for a more incendiary epitaph, it would be hard to disagree with the British historian who called him the "greatest serial killer in modern history."

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Portrait of the terrorist at 50

Robert Fisk of the Independent has updated his 1993 portrait of Osama bin Laden. It's worth reading, particularly for the following passage, which indicates how alive the misbegotten history of the middle east since l920 remains for him and others:

" But as the years after 11 September 2001 went by, I watched the al-Qa'ida leader's beard go grey in the videotapes. He talked about history more and more: the Balfour Declaration, the Sykes-Picot agreement, the end of the Ottoman Caliphate."

More proof that for this generation of jihadists, as for so many people, the past isn't prologue--it isn't even past!

What Really Matters to the Troops

Something that never ceases to astound me is the droning on and on from the Bushies & right wingers that demands to bring the troops home is . . . not supporting the troops. As though they're over there facing danger and death on a daily basis thinking "God no! Don't let them demand that we go home!"

George, Dick & the rest of the right wing brainless trust - take a listen to the troops for what really matters. And it isn't what Nancy Pelosi or Cong. Murtha or anybody else trying to get the troops out of Iraq has to say. It's this, from WaPo - Tom Rick's war inbox. Check out the story for the full list of 63 items. Here are a few. What's depressing is how many of the wish list items are there because issued equipment is poorly functioning or poor quality.

1. Any extra Class VIII you can bring from HS is good to have.
2. Wolfhook single point slings.
3. Desert Tan spray paint.
4. Space blanket(s).
5.100 mph tape, 550 cord, TP, other expendables you think would come in handy.
6. Drop Leg Holster (Blackhawk or SERPA) and Uncle Mike's Holster for wearing around every day (drop leg will wear a hole in ACUs over time). I also have one for my IBA so I can have my 9mm handy when in the gun hatch going through towns.
7. Weapons lube that DOESN'T ATTRACT SAND (MILTECH or Remington Dry Lube).
8. Two copies of addresses, phone numbers, account numbers, etc.
9. Two pairs of GOOD boot insoles.
10. A Good Tactical Flashlight (SureFire, even though you will get issued one with M4).

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

A Gathering of Morons

As most people have probably heard by now, there will be a March on the Pentagon this March 17 here in DC. The marchers are coming to DC to protest against the war, and ask that the administration and its supporters actually do what they say they do -- support the troops -- by bringing them home and stop spending American lives in this horrifyingly bungled war.

They were gathering near the Vietnam war memorial and marching to the Pentagon.

This simple piece of info apparently has set off some of those 31% who still support Bush's war. In a bizarre twist, some of these right-wing blowhards have decided that the marchers' true agenda is to deface the Vietnam memorial and have called across the nation for a "gathering of eagles" (anyone else have a flash of Nazi imagery there?) to "protect" the memorial from the peace marchers.

I've lived in DC many years, and was here before that memorial was even drawn up. I remember the screams of outrage from America's right wingers that the memorial was not a true memorial to the war, but a "slash in the ground" - and they insisted on having statues of soldiers added nearby.

Well here we are so many years later and the same people who protested against the memorial's design are crying out to protect it from ... yes, peace marchers. Why on earth this group of pseudo-patriots has determined that peace marchers want to deface this memorial is a mystery. Maybe they're not getting enough sleep and are having hallucination issues. Maybe they're just so tired of being proven wrong time and time again on Bush & this conflict that they're flailing around trying to find other areas where they can thrust out their chests and feel like men. Then again, maybe their local bars just raised the price of a beer and these guys have nothing else to do.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Wanted: wise men and women in the White House

On last night's News Hour with Jim Lehrer, the historian Robert Dallek lamented that there are no more "public intellectuals" like Arthur Schlesinger in contemporary Presidential administrations. In other words, there are no distinguished historians or political scientists, or hard science scholars for that matter, in modern political life--the ranks of Presidential and Congressional advisers seem to be filled with partisans, political consultants and your generic hacks. There are Karl Roves close to power now, not Carl Sagans. I think every President has a duty to seek out wise people, experts, people with perspective to advise him.

I doubt we can expect to see the current occupant of the White House reaching out to scholars and specialists, but maybe the next President will welcome them. The question is, who are the learned men and women you read and respect? Who are the candidates to become the next Arthur Schlesinger? Why?

So put forth your people and make an argument already.

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