Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dropping the ball in Idaho...

Letter to the Editor sent to Times-News, March 21, 2007 originally posted March 2007.

Representative Simpson recently stated that “We must continue to support the troops and provide them with the resources they need to do the job so they can return home safely.”

However, this week he joined other Republicans opposing a requirement for our troops to be properly prepared for their mission and protected with armor.

This shouldn’t be surprising considering his record of supporting veteran issues and concerns. In 2006, Simpson received a “C” from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and a 66% rating from Disabled American Veterans. (He improved from 2003-2005--where he was rated ZERO each year.)

Senator Craig recently published a statement distancing himself from the Walter Reed situation. After reading it, one might conclude Craig is committed to veteran’s issues. It might be shocking to learn IAVA gives Craig a D- last year. DAV rated him 20% (2005 = 42%, 2004 = 0%). The Retired Enlisted Association also gave Craig a 0% rating for 2004.

Unfortunately, Senator Crapo repeats the pattern. In 2006, IAVA gave Crapo a D. Crapo followed Craig’s footsteps, earning the exact same scores from DAV during 2004-2006. Another repeat in 2004 with a 0% rating from TREA.

Idahoans need to ask themselves if this is acceptable. As our troops return from the Middle East, they will need our support. We cannot continue to slap happy yellow ribbons on our cars and claim we’ve have done our duty for our military. The Walter Reed situation proves that Americans have dropped the ball. We need to be involved, informed, and vigilant. We need to demand accountability from our representatives. If we fail that, we have failed our country and the men and women who so bravely and faithfully give so much of their lives in our name.

They deserve better from us.

Our local paper DID provide coverage...

Last night's demonstration felt rewarding to those who were there. I don't think I'm the only one who wishes there were more of us participating but the fellowship and support was still energizing even among our small number.

I think that we had about 30 participants, if we include those who were not able to stay the whole hour. It was great to see some familiar faces and really great to see some new ones.

What was even MORE wonderful was the responses from the people who drove by... we received many honks and waves. My favorite was the guys in desert camo (National Guard?) who hollered and gave us a "thumbs up"! THAT IS WHY MANY OF US WERE THERE... to protect those who have sworn to protect US.

Yeah, we had a couple negative reactions. A "couple" means literally that! TWO. (That I saw anyway...) One guy gave us the bird and another guy hollered "California is THAT way!" Ummmm... yeah, really intelligent response, "dude". Whatever.

The saddest part for me was the drivers who avoided eye contact with us. They were deliberately ignoring our presence and our signs and our message. To me, they symbolize the many Americans who have turned their backs on our troops, who have ignored truth and reality, who are unaware of our soldiers' sacrifices and how many of our politicians... our IDAHO politicians ... are betraying our military and our veterans in the name of pride, arrogance, and blind loyalty.

Like I told the Times-News reporter, you don't have to agree with me... just make the effort to be aware and informed. Don't turn away from the issues because you are too lazy, too selfish, too "busy", or too arrogant.

Speaking of the Times-News, I am pleased to say that the reporter spent a lot of time talking to us about our concerns and our reasons for being there. The photographer also visited with us. Both were respectful and considerate. The article seemed accurate in my opinion and they both respected my "off the record" requests.

And if you ever visit Mr. Greenwood, attorney at law, please pass on our appreciation for sharing his parking lot with us. Maybe that will make him a bit happier than he was last night...

In closing, our signs last night reminded the public about the 3616 casualties (which means dead American soldiers and Marines...)

Since then, our numbers have increased to 3,619 confirmed casualties.
There are four waiting to be confirmed "pending notification" (totaling 3623 casualties).

As you read this, there are four families whose lives are being shattered forever. There are four mothers who are screaming. Four fathers who are crying.

How many more days... months... years... will this be acceptable to the American public? Call your senator and representatives NOW... before another mother gets "the visit" that will break her heart and shatter her life.

Right now, please pray for the families of Jeffrey Chaney and Patrick Wade. They were killed today...

Interesting poll at KMVT (local CBS affilliate)

Last night I checked our local media websites to see if there had been any coverage of our demonstration in front of Senator Crapo's office. Even though I had been told that a KMVT representative had briefly stopped by, there wasn't anything on their website.

However, I found the results of their poll VERY interesting--considering the red/conservative/"Bushie" mentality that pervades the Magic Valley...

Do you agree with President Bush in commuting the sentence of Scooter Libby?

Yes 26%
No 74%

Hmmmmmm.... even if people are afraid to publicly stand up and speak out, perhaps they are at least THINKING clearly! Now if we can only get them to speak up... Hey, Crapo/Simpson/Craig... are you listening???
The opinions expressed in this poll do not necessarily represent the collective views of our community, this station or its management.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Anti War Protest in Twin Falls

{For those of you NOT in the Magic Valley,
please pass this on to your friends who are...
\check to see if you have a local event in your area or host your own...
or blog about it!}

Please consider joining us in an anti-war event:
WHEN: Tuesday, July 17 5-6 PM
WHERE: 202 Falls Avenue, Twin Falls (Senator Crapo's office--the nearest cross street is Monroe. There is parking in the CSI parking lot across the street.)
WHY: On Monday or Tuesday, the Levin-Reid amendment to begin troop pull-out from Iraq will be presented in the US Senate. Republican Senators intend to filibuster the bill. We will hold a counter (citizens') filibuster on Falls Ave. We will be reading real letters from US troops for our filibuster. It would be just great to have more than a puny turnout. We need to get word to our senators and to Magic Valley citizens (and other Idahoans) that we give them permission NOT to be the last two supporters of the Bush war.PLEASE try to help, even if protests are not your favorite thing to do.

The war is four and a half years old, no end is in sight, we've lost over 3600 troops, and the cost is more than one billion dollars per week.

Think of the horrible misery in Iraq.

If you think that participating in this event is "inconvenient"... think of the sacrifice being made by our loyal and brave troops and their families as they obey the call to serve our country. I'm sure they all have things they would like to be doing tomorrow night as well, but instead our administration sent them to Iraq...

Bring some friends, bring water, and shade for your head, and a sign if possible. Pass this on via e-mail and pick up the phone and call your friends. If we don't protect our troops, who will?

This is a Move-on event. (Sign up to encourage others!)

Citizen Counter Filibuster
to US Senate Republican sponsored filibuster
of Iraq war pullout bill
Address: 202 Falls Ave. (Map)
Location: Twin Falls, ID 83301
Host: Jeff Ruprecht, 733-9639
It's pretty outrageous: Senate Republicans are planning to block key votes to stop the war this week because they know they'll lose.

You read that right: with the Democratic majority plus three key Republicans ready to vote for an exit strategy for Iraq, the Senate has enough votes to pass legislation that would force President Bush to bring most troops home by April. But the Republicans are trying to stop that vote.

We have a plan to fight back. Tomorrow night, as Republicans try to block the vote, we're holding citizens' counter-filibusters to remind Republicans and the media that this isn't about partisan games—it's about peoples' lives.

At the events, we'll gather in towns and cities across the country with candles and signs to read first-hand accounts from Iraq vets and their families about the true cost of the war. This is a key moment.

The timing couldn't be better. We're at a cross-roads in Congress—the Republican stonewall is starting to cave (see below for some examples).
This fight comes at a critical time.

Republicans are abandoning President Bush on Iraq. For the last two weeks Republican support for the war has crumbled in Congress.1 Prominent Senate Republicans like Senators Lugar (IN), Voinovich (OH) and Domenici (NM) have called for a change in course while others, like Senators Snowe (ME), Hagel (NE) and Smith (OR) have co-sponsored Democratic legislation to bring our troops home.

The White House is panicked. Last week, ABC News ran a report with the headline "'Crack in the Dike': White House in 'Panic Mode' Over GOP Revolt on Iraq."2 The report indicates that the White House is looking for ways to "appease Democrats and keep wobbly Republicans onboard."

Editorial boards across the country are pushing for exit from Iraq. Just last week the New York Times—a bellwether newspaper with an influential editorial board—officially endorsed withdrawal from Iraq. The New York Times now joins papers like the Portland Press Herald—which helped swing key Maine Senator, Olympia Snowe to support exit plans, the Los Angeles Times and others in saying it is now time to leave Iraq.3

The Iraqi Prime Minister says U.S. troops can leave. Polls of Iraqi public opinion have shown that Iraqis want American troops to go home.4 And on Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told the press that his government is capable of taking care of Iraq and American troops can leave "any time they want."5

All these recent developments around the war have contributed to the Republican collapse on Iraq. This filibuster is a desperate attempt to stall progress on ending the war.

On Tuesday night we're going to show the Republicans in the Senate that blocking the will of the people from even being voted on won't work. If they keep siding with the president over the voters, they're going to feel a real backlash at home.

If you aren't near Twin Falls, click below to host your own counter filibuster on Tuesday night.

The ground is shifting in the fight to end the war and we're closer than we've ever been to turning key Republicans in Congress against the war. Tuesday's events could help push them over the top. We need your voice with us to do it.

1. "Reid Reaches Out to GOP Defectors to Vote for Change in Iraq," ABC News, July 11, 2007.

2. 'Crack in the Dike': White House in 'Panic Mode' Over GOP Revolt on Iraq, ABC News, July 9, 2007
3. "The Road Home," The New York Times, July 7, 2007
"Bring Them Home," The Los Angeles Times, May 6, 2007
"Blunders Leave Troops With No Hopes of Success," Portland Press Herald, April 29, 2007
4. "Democracy's support sinks," USA Today, March 19, 2007
5. "Al-Maliki dismisses doubts about Iraq government," Associated Press, July 15, 2007.