This man is getting scarier and less realistic day by day and hour by hour. He has, of course, talked about "terroristststs" ever since he embarked on his catastophic adventure in the middle east.
Now, however, his motivation has definitely changed again. First, it was Sadaam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction, but that didn't pan out exactly as planned (we found out). Next it was bringing democracy to Iraq (with all eyes on the future and the distance). That is not going well, either, with more and more Iraqis demanding that we get the hell out. They, a people unused to voting, were suckered into the process on the day the vote began, motivated by hope, but with little knowledge of what it was supposed to achieve for them. (That is not hard to understand, seeing as how we, the citizens of the world's greatest democracy, were suckered into two of the most preposterous elections in human history, with hangers-on reportedly still at work on the same tactics in the election earlier this month.)
So now he is highlighting the terroristststs and stressing that if we do not defeat them over there, they will attack us over here. Unless his government can do alot better at preventing the terroristststs from attacking us here at home, it won't make any difference if we prevent them from attacking from Iraq. On what basis can he make a reliable claim that killing everyone in Iraq through the deaths of thousands of our own forces will be successful at anything beyond reducing the populations of both countries? And, of course, this does not take into account the morality of his methods, if morality is high on your list of values.
It is very likely that if you took transparent copies of all of his speeches and laid them, one on top of the other, that all of the words would line up. They are heavily laden with words like freedom, values, liberty, freedom of religion, peace, happiness, families, freedom, liberty, faith, values, freedom, etc. on one side, as opposed to terroristststs, hate, killing, terroristststs, etc. on the other.
As of today, Muqtada al-Sadr and his coalition have left the government, supported by members of other groups, as promised, following the meeting between Bush and al-Maliki. Their meeting, incidentally, accomplished nothing but a carbon copy of his earlier speeches.
It is apparent in every word and gesture from Bush, that what he wants most to defend is his claim of calling from God to bring democracy and (Christian) faith to the world.
This man is getting scarier and less realistic day by day and hour by hour. He has, of course, talked about "terroristststs" ever since he embarked on his catastophic adventure in the middle east.
I think he wants either Bush out or the draft in.
Frank Schaeffer's most recent book is Baby Jack a novel about class, politics, service, God, the military, and the America of today---where a few are asked to give their lives while most are asked to sacrifice nothing. Here's what he has to say about, Charlie Rangel, the Draft, And Bush:
Charles Rangel is right to call for a draft. The present system is unfair. We don't really have an "all-volunteer" military. We have a recruited military and the recruiting is mostly done where it works, in other words in middle class and working class neighborhoods and from "legacy" families where someone is already in the military. Where recruiters usually don't bother going---and often aren't even allowed to go---is to elite private high schools and colleges.
The spirit of the Vietnam-era deferments has carried into the all-volunteer era. There is a subtle unstated, unplanned but nevertheless real collusion between the upper middle class, the military and the civilian government. Everyone is happy to leave things the way they are. The upper classes aren't asked to serve. The government doesn't have to spend money on expensive ROTC programs in top schools or fight to get recruiters on anti-military campuses.
No one has done more to perpetuate the recruiting status quo than President Bush. After 9/11 he asked our military to go to war. He asked the rest of us to travel, go on vacation and shop.
Following 9/11, like most Americans, I rallied behind our president. And I had a very personal stake in the success of the "war on terror." My youngest son was a Marine. I desperately wanted to believe in the man who held my son's life in his hands. My response to friends who spoke against Bush was basically; "Go to hell, how dare you criticize my son's commander while my beloved boy is in harm's way?"
Bush said we were in a "global war" then sent fewer soldiers to Afghanistan than there are cops in Manhattan. He let bin Laden get away with murder and let jihad-funding Saudi Arabia off the hook. Bush called two-faced, terror-sponsoring Pakistan an "ally" and then attacked Iraq. The Commander in Chief changed his "reasons" for war from eliminating weapons of mass destruction to "building democracy." Then---by not sending enough troops to Iraq, for the post-war "reconstruction" phase---he showed himself to be one of the most incompetent war leaders in American history. And throughout Bush has never asked his own class, the most privileged Americans, to step up.
Do you remember after 9/11 how we were so ready to do whatever was asked of us? What did President Bush NOT ask?
My fellow Americans we are at war. I am calling on every American of military-service-age to consider volunteering including those of you fortunate enough to be in our best private colleges or employed in highly paid jobs. The spirit of defending our democracy requires that Americans of all classes fairly share the sacrifice we must now make.
. . . . Our response to unprovoked aggression must involve every American. So I'm proud to tell you that my military-age children walked to a military recruiting office this afternoon and volunteered. We are all in this war together. . . .
Rangel was quoted as saying*:
There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way.
We are now so used to the anti-democratic and immoral status quo where we ask some to give everything while most Americans are asked to give nothing, that I'll bet Rangel's bill doesn't stand a chance. If the leaders of both parties haven't even asked their own children and their own class to volunteer why would they support a draft?
The Democrats and Republicans are as frivolous in wartime as the nation they represent. Today the Democrat's idea of a good potential Commander in Chief is Barack Obama, a man who never served, has no international experience and whose "qualification" for the presidency is that he's spent about as much time in Congress as he has on Oprah. And the Republicans have given us Bush, a president who is so incompetent a war leader that tolerating his "leadership" is an immoral act. If the Republican Party cared about our troops they would be asking President Bush to resign.
And the rest of us are little better. We prove every day that we are unworthy of the sacrifice our troops are making. We're still driving terrorist-funding gas guzzlers. And we're still playing "red-state" "blue-state" gotcha-political games. If 9/11 didn't get our attention what kind of cataclysm will it take?
Yes, I too am reveling in reading and hearing the words “The majority party, the DEMOCRATS!” as much as I savor reading and hearing “The minority party, the REPUBLICANS.” God, what a long, nasty fight it has been and now our moment has finally arrived. Oh, how we deserve this! I pray it will bring about a sea change.
I am hesitant about seeing the film. I was at The Ambassador all those years ago with my husband and friends who had worked for RFK. Our friend, Joel Siegel, was a speechwriter for him and my (ex)husband, a photographer, was on the stage next to RFK and Rosie Grier. (Just this year, via e-mail, he told me he never got his film back from the FBI.) I will never forget the exuberance and hope that filled that room as Bobby left the stage. The camera lights had been turned off and I was shuffling through the crowd toward the exit to look for my husband. Suddenly I heard what sounded like firecrackers. Then a tsunami of panic and pain hit me and the people around me and then spread behind us in fan-shaped waves to the back of the room and out into the foyer. People were screaming that he had been shot. I recall so vividly watching the wave as it engulfed smiling, laughing people turning the smiles and laughter to screams and tears. People in the front of the room were crying and shouting while people in the back of the room were still innocently smiling and laughing. The present, the past and the future in the same moment, in the same room. It was amazing. I jumped up on a table to look into the kitchen. I was worried about my husband who I had last seen right behind Bobby as he walked into the kitchen. I could see a crowd of people standing and kneeling around something on the floor. I kept hearing howls of “He’s been shot, God-damn it, he’s been shot. Not again, God-dam it. He’s been shot.” The helpless anger, rage and anguish in those voices I will never forget, nor have ever heard again.
After the shots I found myself in a stupor in the foyer. Men were getting into fist fights over whether he was dead or not and were shoving each other into the fountains. Women were screaming and crying. I was holding some strange man as we sobbed together. Suddenly I heard loud shouts of “He’s got a gun, watch out, get down, he’s got a gun.” I was shoved to the floor. I heard lamps breaking, more screaming as the lights were going out. A sofa was overturned onto the man and myself. I managed to raise my head off the floor long enough to see Sirhan Sirhan being rushed through the crowd surrounded by police with long guns pointed outward like a moving human mace. I don’t recall how I found my husband or friends that night. I must have given my name and phone number to the FBI because they called me days later. I don’t know what I said. I wanted to say something helpful, something that would catch who had really done this because I just couldn’t believe, nor do I today, that 3 great men, all with similar dreams, were all gunned down in such a short time. I think that is when this new evil began.
Back at home with our baby son, mesmerized with horror, we watched over and over, as a 22-year-old mini-skirted me kept jumping onto the table. We heard over and over Walter Cronkite telling the audience to watch the young women jump onto the table and throw her hands over her face in horror and grief and then a hand reaches up to my back and I disappear into the crowd. My mother was on the phone when we got home(the FBI kept us there until early morning) as she had recognized me from the news and thought I had fainted and been hurt.
I remember waking in the morning and being devastated that he had died. I simply couldn’t comprehend that such a grand man could have been brought down even though we had just lived through the eerily similar murder of MLK and before that JFK. How could it have happened yet again I screamed. I grabbed my baby and ran to the elderly neighbor’s house and collapsed in tears. I cried for days. I gave up on politics for a long time after that. It was only this current poisonous administration that awakened that old passion in me. I wonder if we will ever return to something even close to what we had back then.I was watching the PBS special about RFK this year and burst into uncontrollable sobbing watching that scene again. It was grief not only for my lost youth but for a time when I had hope, when I never imagined anything like the administration we have(HAD!) today. The spectacular chasm between a man like RFK and bush was so overwhelming that it racked me with pain so deep, so profound and unexpected that I paced the floor and wept all night. Oh, God, what we lost that night!
I wonder who they interviewed for the crowd’s reaction to that terrible night at the Ambassador Hotel. It would interesting for me to know.
Thank you for your blog and for your dedication. Keep celebrating!!
In the days following the recent elections, when the Democrats came out to announce their new leadership positions, it was with expressions not of glee but of joy. They stated first and foremost that they looked forward to reaching out to the Republicans, and that they were anxious to make headway on important matters such as healthcare, education, and the economy.
When the Republicans came out to announce their soon-to-be minority leadership positions, led by House majority leader John Boehner, their expressions were angry, and they stressed that their primary purpose for the next two years would be to take back the leadership of Congress. If they mentioned any specific programs, such as healthcare or education, I didn’t catch them.
The Republicans are stepping up in droves to announce that they are forming exploratory committees to determine if they should run for president.
The Democrats, so far, have only Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, and a couple of relative unknowns who are making moves in that direction. Hillary is a very divisive candidate, and both she and Obama have chosen to make their first conciliatory moves toward the religious right. (In that regard, Republican John McCain has gone so far as to be filmed courting Jerry Falwell and his followers.)
It is time for those of us who rely on reason more than on faith to make ourselves known and demand our right to be heard. There are millions of us out here, and our group consists of people of faith who also rely on reason, as well as those of us who may not subscribe to belief in a religious faith, but very strongly subscribe to the creation in which we find ourselves and the reverence it deserves.
There is no one I can think of who is better fitted than Al Gore. He has more qualifications than anyone else, having served in the Senate and as Vice President, as well as undoubtedly having won the presidency in 2000. But, of all his qualifications, I can think of no one who can contend with him on the most important issue of our time, the environment. Add to that, he is a man of faith as well as a man of reason.
If you are a person of faith, you must believe that the earth was created by a God in some form. If you are a person of reason but not a person of faith, you still must be unsure of creation, but in awe of this wondrous globe which we are riding through the heavens. What Man has been doing to it is obscene. We need a leader who can think beyond mere politics and into the future which none of us will see, but for which we will all be responsible.
I realize that the recent election is barely over, not even a week, and the Democrats have their hands full trying to put democracy back into this Democracy. There is much, much for them to do, and as a Democrat who voted for Democrats, I fully support them and don't want to push.
But tragedies continue to follow tragedies, and catastrophes continue to follow catastrophes, and there are four little words that keep running through my mind, and they are getting louder and louder every day: High crimes and misdemeanors, high crimes and misdemeanors, high crimes and misdemeanors. I hope the Democrats will be able to clear my mind of these four little words before it is too late.
By Richard Earnhart:
It's 3am and I have a happy cat in my lap. The sky is blue gray from moonlight. It is so still that the stars don't even twinkle. I can't sleep. There shouldn't be a reason why. I am emotionally exhausted from months of politics. Maybe it's because I can hear glaciers melting in my dreams or that I can sense the spirit of a child leave its body in Darfur. I don't know.
The Democrats won Last week. More people will die in Iraq today, and tomorrow, and the day after that. The world, even if you press really hard on the brakes, won't stop on a dime. There is still a very dark momentum. But we came to the precipice and collectively looked over the edge and those of us who thought that maybe we shouldn't jump considered something different, like living, for instance.
Of course there is a lot of work to do. Of course there will be monumental failures along the way. The world really won't feel terribly different at breakfast. Or lunch. Or maybe even dinner. But slowly we will start to push the creeping darkness back. We will talk wiretaps. We will talk about feeding the hungry again instead of cutting taxes. We will start talking serious tax credits for alternative energy and home food production. We will start rewarding people for what they save instead of what they spend. We can start investing in our children again, in education and health, and see that that is the best savings account you can have.
We will still be a materially lustful society, committed to waste. But we didn't go over the edge of the chasm. At least not yet. Collectively we chose hope. We rejected the mantra of hate that we've had shoved in our faces 24/7, for a long time now. Instead, we decided to give ourselves another chance.
I can tell from the clarity of the sky that today is going to be another gorgeous day. There will be deer in the driveway. I will have fewer iris in the morning. If I am really quiet, I can hear the javalina snoring down in the arroyo. It is another magical night in New Mexico. It will be another miraculous day on planet Earth.
You can't read this without laughing out loud. This is dedicated to everyone who ever attempted to get into a regular workout routine.
For my fiftieth birthday this year, my wife (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me. Although I am still in great shape since playing on my college football team 30 yrs ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.
Called the club and made my reservation with a personal trainer named Belinda, who identified herself as a 26 yr. old aerobics instruc tor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear. My wife seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.
MONDAY: Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but it was well wor th it when I arrived at the health club to find Belinda waiting for me. She was something of a Greek goddess -- with blonde hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile.
Belinda gave me a tour and showed me the machines. She took my pulse after 5 minutes on the treadmill. She was alarmed that my pulse was so fast, but I attributed it to standing next to her in her Lycra aerobics outfit. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which she conducted her aerobics class after my workout today.
Very inspiring, Belinda was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time she was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!
TUESDAY: I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Bel i nda made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air, and then she put weights on it! My legs were a l ittle wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. Belinda's rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT!! It's a whole new life for me.
WEDNESDAY: The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.
Belinda was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. Her voice is a little too perky for early in the morning and when she scolds, she gets this nasally wh ine that is VERY annoying.
My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Belinda put me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Belinda told me it would he lp me get in shape and enjoy life. She said some other shit too.
THURSDAY: Belinda was waiting for me with her vampire-like teeth exposed as her thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late; it took me that long to tie my shoes.
Belinda took me to work out with dumbbells. When she was not looking, I ran and hid in the men's room.. She sent Lars to find me, then, as punishment, put me on the rowing machine -- which I sank.
FRIDAY: I hate that bitch Belinda more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic little cheerleader. I f there were a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat her with it.
Belinda wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps. And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the *&%#(#&**!!@*@ barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich .
The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?
SATURDAY: Belinda left a message on my answering machine in her grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing her made me want to smash the machine with my planner. However, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.
SUNDAY: I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year, my wife (the bitch), will choose a gift for me that is fun, like a root canal or a vasectomy.
Even though the election is over and has been decided, take a little time to watch the difference in facial body language between Republicans and Democrats. Almost universally, whether separately or in face-to-face discussions, Republicans tend to exhibit a supercilious put-down smile. Bush tends to show a face distorted by anger when he is not making demeaning jokes at the expense of reporters who are forced by the norms of courtesy and official deference to reply with respect. His smile, when he appears in public tends to reflect that he, rather than the audience, is what really matters.
Democrats, on the other hand, usually show serious expressions which reflect the seriousness of the discussion and personal awareness of the problems being considered. Smiles, when they appear, are genuine.
Somebody check this out for me and tell me if I am nuttier than I thought.
What a strange three days these have been for me! On Monday, I was trying to think of a vocabulary of triumph expressive enough to convey my joy at the possibility of a whole new world on Tuesday.
On Tuesday morning, it suddenly crossed my mind that I had no idea what kind of world we would have by afternoon, so my emotional slate sent blank.
On Tuesday afternoon, just as the returns started to come in, I was at the vet's office having my dear beagle Holmes put to sleep. His body, likely full of cancer, had finally and suddenly given out. Oh, how I miss his baying, which always came at times of my concentration on breaking news or when the phone rang! And last night I watched as my six cats and his best friend, my Jack Russell mix, spent the evening wandering around the house looking for him in vain.
This morning, political things were looking good, but my emotional self had been drained and numbed. I just sat staring into space, not really thinking about anything. At noon my daughter called and said she was coming to get me and drive me to her daughter Anmai's School, where her husband Carl had set up their telescope with a solar filter so that the children could look at Mercury traveling across the Sun. There were children all over the place and cars parked everywhere. It was a madhouse of activity, and someone made it even worse by bringing a bunch of 6-week old kittens to give away.
Anmai came running back and asked her mother if she could have one, but got no for an answer. But there was Grandma. So I asked her if there were any left, and there was just one, the little black runt of the litter. I told her to bring it back to me, and after a great deal of loving mauling by numerous children, he finally settled down in my arm. I named him Mercury in honor of the occasion, but he will be called Merc. (The view of Mercury crossing the Sun by the way, was spectacular.)
This evening, I am calmly excited about the election (if you can comprehend such a reaction), but my loss of an old dog at the end of his life has been tempered at the thought of a little black body in a carrier in the next room who is at the beginning of his.
Everybody, purse your lips together, take a breath, and see if we can't learn how to say....
so in denial . . . this is not an election anymore, it's an intervention.... It's unhinged. It suggests this man has lost his mind. No one objectively could look at the way this war has been conducted, whether you were for it, as I was, or against it, and say that is has been done well. It's a disaster.
For him to say it's a fantastic job suggests the president has lost it. I'm sorry, there is no other way to say it.
Oh, no! Tell me it ain't so!!??
Republican Pastor Ted Haggard has resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals after a male escort claimed he has been having a sexual relationship with the pastor for the past three years.
A statement from the New Life Church says Pastor Ted Haggard resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals Thursday and put himself on leave from his church. Haggard is the founder and senior leader of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. The church has 14,000 members. Haggard is married with five children and an outspoken critic of gay marriage.
Mike Jones, a gay man and admitted male escort, said on talk radio Wednesday he and Haggard had been in a "sexual business" relationship for the past three years. after being accused of paying the man for monthly trysts over the past three years. Jones also says Haggard used methamphetamine in his presence.
The statement from Martin Nussbaum, legal counsel for New Life Church, says Haggard put himself on administrative leave pending an investigation and a decision by the church’s board of overseers. Haggard said in the statement,
I am voluntarily stepping aside from leadership so that the overseer process can be allowed to proceed with integrity. I hope to be able to discuss this matter in more detail at a later date. In the interim, I will seek both spiritual advice and guidance.Carolyn Haggard, spokeswoman for the New Life Church and the pastor's niece, said a four-member church panel will investigate the allegations. The board has the authority to discipline Haggard, including removing him from ministry work.
The acting senior pastor at New Life, Ross Parsley, told KKTV-TV of Colorado Springs that Haggard admitted that some of the accusations were true.
I just know that there has been some admission of indiscretion, not admission to all of the material that has been discussed but there is an admission of some guilt
On Wolf Blitzer’s program just now, the subject was who had what plans for getting out of Iraq. Bill Bennett told Wolf that Bush was “doing the best he can with the world he has inherited.” HELL! IT’S THE WORLD HE HAS CREATED! Bennett was talking about the fact that Bush has certain principles and that he will not give up on them even if it means just himself, his wife, and the dog left holding on! How noble for a man who is surrounded by security and has sent thousands of other men to be killed and to kill hundreds of thousands of others!
As for those who keep asking, well, what plans do the Democrats have for getting out, there can be no plans because there is no solution to the mess that Bush and his tribe have created.
No, I’ll take that back. The only way out is to accept defeat and surrender. And if he had a hint of the values and heroism he professes, he would beg his countrymen, both alive and dead, to forgive him for what he has done to his nation, to the world, and to the Earth.
I am sick to death of the Republican attack on Kerry again. In my opinion as an enlistee in World War II, Kerry was being both ironic and honest at the same time.
There are many educated and wealthy men and women who have enlisted for patriotic and principled reasons. At the same time, military service also appeals to people who, because of lack of privilege and education, find it as a hopeful way out of a life with no future, a way in which to achieve some pride in themselves through serving their country and others.
A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle stated that new administration policy with regard to recruitment has lowered its requirements to include people with mental deficiencies, health problems, and trouble with the law and with drugs.
Bush’s spinmeisters, and of course, Bush himself have managed to turn things around so that Kerry’s remark is interpreted as an insult to the military, especially those serving in this terrible war. Bush also is positioning himself so that his successors will be saddled with his extreme pronouncements, such as that we will not leave Iraq without total victory for us and total defeat for the enemy, and that we will stay until the job of creating democracy and freedom in an area of the world where it has never existed and probably is not wanted or possible has been accomplished.
You notice that Bush still hasn’t called for a military draft, because that would mean calling up his base on the religious extremes, as well as those of great wealth. Have you also noticed how few from those groups have enlisted?
Bush, Cheney, and Tony Snow should be ashamed of themselves, and shamed by this country.