Monday, March 26, 2007

Letter to Crapo, Craig sent today

March 26, 2007

Dear Senator,

I'm writing to urge you to support the Defense supplemental bill that contains benchmarks and a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. As you might expect from me, I firmly believe that this bill does not do ENOUGH, however it still is critical as a first step toward getting us out of Iraq.

Across the country INCLUDING Idaho, it is obvious that “we the people” are in support of a timely withdrawal from Iraq. It is my understanding that this bill utilizes President Bush's own benchmarks to determine when or if we start redeploying.

I realize that over the years you have been committed to following your party line and have supported President Bush through your past legislative votes—but at some point in time, you need to recognize that your obligation to the citizens of Idaho and America should take precedence over the GOP expectations. Even Sen. Hagel has realized that changes must be made by stating on ABC’s This Week: "I will not continue to support with my vote the status quo.”

You and your fellow Republicans need to see how badly change is needed. You need to support this bill. Do NOT remove the deadlines from the bill. Even though I (and many others) would prefer stronger and earlier deadlines to be established, I am willing to compromise AT THIS TIME. I hope you are willing to compromise as well with this bill so we can begin to move forward.

As you know, I oppose the war in Iraq. I oppose any and all funding to continue the war -- although I support funding to properly arm, protect and train our currently deployed troops. I understand that demanding all or nothing isn't going to end the war, or get any troops home. This bill is a first step in the process to ending the war. There is a long-term strategy at work here and I realize that getting every single thing I want isn't possible. TOGETHER, we must reach a compromise.

This should not be about being a Republican or a Democrat.

This should not be about personal pet projects or campaign fund-raising.

This should not be about re-elections.

This should not be about ego or power or “who supports the troops more” arguments.

This is about acknowledging the reality of the situation.

This is about recognizing what needs to be done and doing it.

This is about listening to the people across America and responding to their cries.

This is about supporting a bill that contains benchmarks and a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq.

"Goodnight... I love you... give Mommy a hug from me..."

A daddy, a husband, a son, a friend, a brother...
So loved... so missed...
"Cap'n Rowe"
Oct. 3, 1968 - Sept. 3, 2004


Thank you, Newsweek, for this week's theme.

Friday, March 23, 2007

XXX Adult Content XXX


Perhaps Tony Snow is using 'adult' in the way 'adult' is used for 'adult' content? It sure seems as if we're getting screwed by this administration. This administration should be rated XXX for graphic Constitutional rape scenes and ongoing war violence.

Don't let the kids watch -- they might figure out that they are the ones who'll be paying the bill down the road!!

[Can we bring back Ashcroft so he can throw a drape over this entire administration?]

Watch Bush screw America here...


* Thanks to comments over at DailyKos for giving me the right words for this post... I merged several of them together because their comments expressed what I was thinking perfectly. --drp

Pssst! Look behind you!!!


Bush is whining about "POLITICAL THEATER"...

"Just over an hour later, Bush appeared at the White House alongside veterans and family members of troops to accuse Democrats of staging nothing more than political theater that delays the delivery of resources to soliders fighting in Iraq. "

I was under the impression that active duty soldiers appearing IN UNIFORM at a political event was a violation of the military's rules of conduct. Maybe I'm wrong... but when one thinks about how important it was to President Eisenhower and President Truman to emphasize the civilian aspect of control of the military, Bush using soldiers as stage props is the the utmost insult to our brave men and women of our military.

Call the White House [202-456-1111]
and tell them what you think
about his version of political theater
and (mis)use of troops.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

SILENT VIGIL for solidarity

[UPDATE to my previous post to include a more complete message and more information...]

Please join us in a press conference & silent vigil to celebrate Cesar Chavez and to demonstrate our solidarity and respect for our country of immigrants. PLEASE WEAR WHITE.


Thursday, March 22, 2007
PRESS CONFERENCE at 5:30 pm
SILENT VIGIL at 6:15-7:30 pm
Boise State University Student Union Patio


We will surround the Student Union Building (in appropriate areas) with a sea of white.


This is a silent vigil. There will be no yelling or arguing, instead we will send a message to the people attending the College Republican's event that we are peaceful people, and it is inappropriate and hurtful for people's lives to be made into a game. In this case, silence WILL speak louder than words.

Signs are ok but should be positive messages such as WE SUPPORT IMMIGRATION, AMERICA IS A LAND OF IMMIGRANTS, OUR LIVES ARE NOT A GAME, IDAHO IS TOO GREAT FOR HATE, etc. We will not allow signs that participate in name calling or make derogative statements. No signs are allowed inside the Student Union Building.

In respect for FREE SPEECH, if you choose to attend the Robert Vasque speech, there will be absolutely NO disruptions allowed! If you are disruptive, you will have to leave.


We Stand In Solidarity.


At 7:30, come see the film "Wetback" for a realistic, educational look at the true experience of immigrants in the Jordan Ballroom .

This Action is Sponsored by:
Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan
Idaho Progressive Student Alliance
Organization for Gender Equality and Education
Campus Democrats
Organizacion de Estudiantes Latino-Americanos/as
Idaho Women's Network
Bisexuals, Gays, Lesbians, and Allies for Diversity
Idaho Hispanic Caucus
Boise State Students for a Democratic Society
The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho
BSU Organization of Student Social Workers
Idaho Catholic Diocese

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lead, follow, or get the f*** out of the way...

Across America, citizens are discussing the actions of the GOP representatives who must have fallen asleep last November and are still sleepwalking through legislation, blindly following the map of their dark prince and NOT listening to their constituents or making choices in the best interest of our military.

It started this morning over at DailyKos and continued after lunch... citizens who support the troops and have high expectations from our representatives... blogging all over the place!

Here in Idaho, Red State Rebels has linked to Idaho bloggers who are expressing their frustration with Mike Simpson's hypocrisy and poor record of supporting our military and our veterans.

Simpson conveniently issued a press release today, continuing his verbal commitment to fully fund the troops. Similar to his testimony before Congress on February 16, 2007, he reminds us:
"...the one thing we must not do is cut off funding for our troops. Americans will not stand for it as our Armed Servicemen and women deserve better.”


Idahoans, join me in reminding Rep. Simpson that the troops also deserve adequate armor and weaponry, responsible leadership from Congress, a defined mission and an EXIT PLAN, and appropriate resources when they come home!

Join me in reminding Simpson that as an elected Republican representative from the beginning of this war, he's had plenty of time and funding to provide for our troops and our veterans... and he's FAILED.

Join me in informing Simpson we will no longer allow him to continue representing Idaho like he has been. He needs to realize that America gave GOP four years to accomplish their mission in Iraq and they've failed to do so. This administration has failed our country and our military in oh-so-many ways...

Simpson's had his chance to lead... he now has two choices remaining... what's it going to be?

Kiss a public servant goodbye and they turn into a pig at the trough...

UPDATE [3/22/08, 10:58AM]

The article that was previously posted on my blog was written by John Miller of the Associated Press. As I'm still in the lower levels of the learning curve, I was unaware that (1) it was an AP article and (2) the protocol/etiquette involved in publishing things like that on my blog.

Mr. Miller just contacted me and very gently and kindly explained the situation so I am quickly deleting the content of this post.

For more information, a much better post (with legal and appropriate links/references) can be located at The MountainGoat Report.

"BSU group's flier angers some Hispanics"

That was the headline in my local paper on Monday. "Some Hispanics" were angered, according to them.

I would like to invite all intelligent and rational human beings of all colors, creeds, religions, and political parties who would like to be included with the "some Hispanics" expressing their "anger" to join the following event...

There will be a peaceful demonstration Thursday, March 22 against a hateful, stereotypical flier produced by the BSU Republican students aimed at immigrants. The protest is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on the patio in front of the Student Union building at BSU. Participants will stand in solidarity with Democrats, human rights groups, progressive student groups and others to let the campus and the media know that such disgraceful behavior is NOT acceptable. No RSVP is needed -- just come out and join the number of peaceful demonstrators if you are available!

If you are not familiar with the "flier" or the incident of reference, check out the following:



Mike Simpson does NOT support troops OR Veterans

March 21, 2007

Dear Representative Simpson,

Supporting the troops” is more than a bumper-sticker phrase. It actually requires action which DO support our troops during and AFTER deployment.

On February 16, 2007, you expressed shame about congressional “posturing” and “hyperbole”. You stated that Congress owes honesty to their constituents and “to the men and women fighting this war.”

I agree, Congress owes honesty to all Americans. That is what we’ve been asking from you for years now: Honesty and accountability.

  • Honesty about why we are in Iraq.
  • Honesty about the mission, the plan, the exit strategy.
  • Accountability to the military, to the generals, to the taxpayers, to the voters.
  • Honesty and accountability about how well our troops are prepared.
  • Honesty and accountability about their needs for armor, weapons, and troop numbers.
  • Honesty and accountability regarding the private subcontractors providing supplies, etc.

You asked your “colleagues to put themselves in the positions of the thousands of soldiers on the ground in Iraq.” You were trying to make a point that criticism of the war is sending a “terrible message” to those “brave soldiers”.

What kind of message do you think our soldiers receive when they are lacking appropriate armor, weapons, training, and medical care? What kind of message do they receive when their food is spoiled and their water is contaminated? What kind of message did we send them with the Walter Reed situation? What kind of message do they receive when they needed more troops and were denied over and over and over again…until this pitiful, too little, too late “surge”?

In particular, you state that the two things that keep them going is the “thought of returning home” and the “knowledge that you are doing something to protect your nation from terrorism”.

How do you think they feel about returning home in a casket due to inadequate armor and exhausted, poorly trained, and limited troops? How do you think they feel about returning home and having to fight the bureaucracy for their benefits and medical care? How do you think they feel about returning home to shattered families due to their long seemingly unending absences after their third and fourth deployment? How do you think they feel when they are reminded that the 9/11 terrorists were from countries OTHER than Iraq and you played a “bait and switch” game with their lives and loyalty?

You then state that “While our brave military men and women are putting their lives on the line every day in Iraq to preserve our freedoms, Congress is debating a resolution designed to do nothing more than embarrass the President.”

Is THAT what you think this is about? Embarrassing the President? With all due respect, sir, but are you really this out of touch? The majority of Americans do NOT support this war or this administration. The majority of Americans believe they have been deceived about the purpose of the war in Iraq. The majority of Americans want our troops home as soon as possible because they do not believe there is any further purpose for them to stay and die in Iraq. This is NOT about the President. This is about our BRAVE SOLDIERS who need to be brought home—safely and quickly.

“I believe that we should be above playing politics with war. 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.”

Those are YOUR words, Mr. Simpson. You claim that you want to provide the troops with the resources they need to do the job.

Then PLEASE explain to your constituents why you were among the Republicans who opposed requiring that the troops sent to Iraq be properly prepared for their mission and protected with armor.

"As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

Rumsfeld's statement was UNACCEPTABLE in 2004 and it is even MORE UNACCEPTABLE today. As we are now entering the fifth year of this war and we are sending yet more troops into battle, you CANNOT allow us to send them without what they need to survive the fight!

In addition, I have learned that:

  • In 2006, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave you a grade of C and you supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans only 66 percent of the time.
  • In 2005, you received a ZERO rating from the Disabled American Veterans.
  • In 2004, you also received a ZERO rating from the Disabled American Veterans. For that same year, on the votes that The Retired Enlisted Association considered to be the most important, you voted their preferred position ONLY 33 percent of the time.
  • In 2003, on the votes that the Disabled American Veterans considered to be the most important, you voted their preferred position ZERO percent of the time and you received a 50 percent rating from American Veterans.

You moralize about congressional “posturing” and “hyperbole”. You cry out that Congress owes honesty to their constituents and “to the men and women fighting this war.”

As far as I can tell, you do not support our brave men and women while they are bravely serving our country nor do you support them after they return home to their families. Pretending otherwise as you lecture the Democrats is dishonest and hypocritcal.

Shame on YOU.

{FAXED to Twin Falls and DC office on Wednesday March 21, 2007 at 12:00pm. You can contact Rep. Simpson here.}

Abandoning the troops... isn't that a crime or something?

Why were so many people "shocked" about the Walter Reed situation under Republican leadership in the executive and legislative branches?

Because we're lazy and not paying attention.

Why do so many Americans stereotype the Republicans as being the party that supports the troops?

Because we're lazy and not paying attention.

Too many Americans are not doing their "homework" and are relying on "stereotypes" and assumptions.

This laziness is doing a HUGE disservice to the Americans who are risking and sacrificing their lives, their physical and mental health-- as well as the traumatic impact it has on their families during and after deployment.

To put it mildly, it is unpatriotic to consider this "acceptable".

To be blunt, it is treasonous.

Even AFTER the last election, where Americans attempted to get the message across to our elected officials that we wanted change, Republicans are still not getting it.

Ask yourself...
  • Do you have a "Support the Troops" bumper sticker on your car?
  • Do you ever say the words "I support the troops"?
  • Do you have a child, parent, spouse, lover, friend, or neighbor who served in the military or is currently serving in the military?
  • Do you vote?
  • Do you pay taxes?
  • Do you consider yourself a Christian?
  • Do you consider yourself compassionate?
  • Do you consider yourself a patriotic American?
If ANY of these apply to you, then you have an OBLIGATION to do the following (it will take much less time than an 18-month deployment, I promise!):

  • Watch this video. (Come on, it's ONLY 30 seconds long, you can give that much time to our troops, can't you?)
  • Check out the grades given to our Congressional representatives by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Don't just take a minute or two and just scan the last two columns (even though that alone will shock most people!)... but TAKE THE TIME to contact your own representative and either thank them for supporting our veterans... or demand an explanation! (One of my own state's senators was the head of Veteran's Affairs and HE received a D-!!)
  • Find out which Republicans STILL unanimously opposed requiring that the troops sent to Iraq be properly prepared for their mission and protected with armor. {Idahoans, MIKE SIMPSON IS ON THIS LIST!!! Is this acceptable to you???} They say they "support" the troops and then they vote to kill them by continuing to vote unanimously to send unarmored, untrained, unrested (and even, Salon and the Hartford Courant tell us, wounded and mentally unstable) troops to Iraq. This is unacceptable to me and should be unacceptable to EVERY American no matter WHICH political party they belong to...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

YES, Virginia, there IS an embassy in Iraq!

I've posted about this before but it needs repeating... as long as some Americans are still thinking that our troops are being sent to Iraq to bring democracy to the citizens and the other hooey Bush and Company is trying to sell us... and that it is NOT about "oil" or "Halliburton" or "ego" and so on... well, try selling me that swampland AFTER you acknowledge the following...
YES!!
We are building a permanent embassy in Iraq
and it's the BIGGEST and MOST EXPENSIVE embassy
EVER!!
While the glassy-eyed talk about "schools for the children" and "purple fingers" etc. to justify their need for our loved ones to be blown into hamburger or come back missing limbs or having screaming nightmares in the night... they neglect to mention the "21 buildings on 104 acres" employing "5,500 Americans and Iraqis...almost half listed as security" and who "rarely venture out into the 'Red Zone'.”

It "has been under construction since mid-2005 with a target completion date of June 2007". Sound familiar yet?

How about THESE observations?
...How is it that the Americans cannot keep the electricity running in Baghdad for more than a couple of hours a day, yet still manage to build themselves the biggest embassy on Earth?

Irritation grows as residents deprived of air-conditioning and running water three years after the US-led invasion watch the massive US Embassy they call “George W’s palace” rising from the banks of the Tigris.

In the pavement caf├ęs, people moan that the structure is bigger than anything Saddam Hussein built. They are not impressed by the architects’ claims that the diplomatic outpost will be visible from space and cover an area that is larger than the Vatican city and big enough to accommodate four Millennium Domes.

They are more interested in knowing whether the US State Department paid for the prime real estate or simply took it.

While families in the capital suffer electricity cuts, queue all day to fuel their cars and wait for water pipes to be connected, the US mission due to open in June next year will have its own power and water plants to cater for a population the size of a small town.

And how much will it cost us?

At $923 million for the 2006 fiscal year, the budget was 20 times that of the Beijing embassy's that year, according to the State Department.

Does anybody know which companies are building this embassy?

The lead contractor on the embassy project is a Kuwaiti firm, First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting, Higgins said. There are also five U.S. subcontractors, but he would not name them for security reasons.

I don't think we'd need to have security clearance to guess who they are...

So, I beg of you, those who want to slap at me for not believing the hogwash that we are in Iraq ...

  • Because of 9/11
  • To protect us from terrorists...
  • To protect us from WMDs
  • To protect us from Islamic fascists
  • Because Saddam is our enemy
  • Because we need Iraq to have a democracy
  • Because we need to rebuild Iraq
  • Or whatever flimsy justification that hasn’t been debunked yet or just doesn’t hold water…

Remember... follow the money ... and you'll probably find your answers.

Sources:

MSNBC
Times Online (UK)
Washington Post
USA Today

More observations at:
Common Dreams

One more thing...
Iraq may be facing a deadly civil war, but the Iraqi government is initiating major, costly repairs to its diplomatic building in Washington and expanding its real estate holdings here.
[Full article here...]

Far far away in the land that time forgot...

Remember Afghanistan?

Don't we still have soldiers fighting and dying over there?

Yes, I'm being sarcastic, but even the SOLDIERS have commented that the general American population seem to be unaware that we have men and women AT WAR in that country. One guy told me that when he came home on leave, folks get asking him about "Iraq". He kept trying to tell them "I'm serving in Afghanistan, NOT Iraq", to no avail. He told me that he finally just gave up and stopped correcting them.

Anyway... if I remember correctly, didn't Afghanistan have something to do with Osama bin Laden and 9/11? Isn't it the OTHER country, the one that is NOT Iraq?

Yes, I'm being sarcastic again. But the following IS (or SHOULD BE) important to us all...

It may not surprise you that Afghanistan is requesting "serious assistance in improving the border security of their state, in both technical and personnel training terms".

It may also not surprise you that they are concerned with "the revival of Islamic radicalism and narcotics trafficking".

You still with me so far?

However, what might surprise you is discovering which country Afghanistan is contacting for help...

USA? Nope.

Britain? Nope.

How about RUSSIA? (But I'm sure you were expecting THAT one, right?)

"The Afghan side is most interested in having their military and law enforcement officers trained in Russia and other CSTO member states, as well as in purchasing Russian weaponry..."

You can wait til you read it in your local paper or watch it on Fox news or ANY American mainstream media... if you have a few years to waste.

Or you find out more at THE CSTO MOVES QUICKLY TO BOLSTER ITS SECURITY ROLE IN CENTRAL ASIA.

[Thanks, LeRoy, for sharing this with me...!]

Groundhog behavior...

You know the story of Groundhog Day, right?
In traditional weather lore, if a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day and fails to see its shadow because the weather is cloudy, winter will soon end. If the groundhog sees its shadow because the weather is bright and clear, it will be frightened and run back into its hole, and the winter will continue for six more weeks.

Well, that is probably the best way to explain what I experience and why I "disappear" every so often. I stick my head out of my hole and become "frightened"... not because of bright and clear weather, but because of the cloudiness of this administration and the despair I feel over the situation. I see the continuation of "misinformation", lack of mainstream media coverage, and I hear the echoes of the still-bleating sheep ("Give Bush's plan a chance!").

So I just crawl back in my hole and try to find comfort in the safety of my home and the distraction of my family's needs and activities.

But fortunately, I am blessed with friends (old and new) who are supportive, compassionate, patient, informed, intelligent, and kind.

I want to especially thank the following for all that you have done for me:
Donna P., Julie F., AK, Janet G., Deborah and Leroy, Jessica, Paula E-H, LeeAnn H., Tara R., Wendy J., Cousin Caroline, and my daughter's own Mr. "T".

I could list even more folks but as I sit here at this moment, these are the faces who pop up in my head (except for Tara, who I haven't met yet!). I want to especially thank them today for their support through their e-mails, their kind words, and their warm hugs. I cannot tell you enough how your thoughtfulness has made it easier for me to go through each day...

Thank you for making a difference in my life.

"Battle of Little Big Bush"

Yesterday, as I was trying to catch up on reading what I've missed online for the last few months, I noticed a reference to General Custer. Of course, for the life of me, I cannot find the webpage that I saw it on... but it made a reference to the fact that neither Custer or Bush had an "exit plan"... and look what happened to Custer's men.

That's what I wanted to post about this afternoon, but after searching, I still can't find where I read it yesterday!

However, I did find the following and hope folks read the whole article... FEEDBACK welcome!

Before the coming of George Bush and his shadow president Dick Cheney, the greatest military blunder in American History was thought to be Custer's Last Stand...
General George Custer was a man of towering ego and petty vanities who refused to listen to moderate voices that warned him of growing Indian unrest at Little Big Horn. He refused to listen to his own Indian scouts. Ring any bells?

It did not take a lot of hindsight to know that general Custer's vain assault on a much larger force of better-armed native Americans would come to no good end.

His own turncoat Indian scouts told him the encampment at Little Bighorn was far too large to be attacked. They were changing back into their native clothes en masse so as not to be associated with the white man.

But in his supreme arrogance Custer believed that HE knew better than his own best sources of intelligence. We all know the result of that one.

How uncanny are the parallels to the current situation in Iraq?

[Please read the complete article at the Radical Left... and pass it on...]

"There are so many good things happening here, Betty. I think we have gotten through to the savages and now they live in peace." wrote General Custer to his sister, Betty.

General Custer knew that the liberal media was focusing on all the bad things. He knew that a lot of good things were transpiring in and around the area of the Little Big Horn River. He fought til his dying days to bring out all the good things, and he fought the liberal media and their slanted message! "INDIANS!" was the last word General Custer spoke.

The liberal media had a field day with all the bad stuff that was happening. Why couldn't the liberal media report on all the good that General Custer and men were doing for the Indians at Little Big Horn?

I guess that just as today, the liberal media was too biased against conservative causes! I say, "Damn the liberals! We need more men like General George Custer!" [snipped from RepublicanPress...]