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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I will no longer rely on the Blue-Red color system I've been using. I'll just let the words speak for themselves. Please let me know what you all think. -NG

Pat Tillman's Death, Revisited

"Somehow, the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes. Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground,"
-Kevin Tillman, former Army Ranger and brother of the late Pat Tillman, who left the NFL and joined the Army after 9/11

Both Tillman's joined the army together, were sent to Iraq together, were sent back for Ranger training together and were then sent tp Afghanistan together. Pat was killed by "friendly fire" near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Kevin Tillman is angry because of the reasons we went into Iraq and how the Bush administration is screwing it all up. Pat Tillman was used by the GOP as the poster boy for self-sacrifice in the face of danger. It appears that he was. However, his death was covered up by the Bushies because it would have been an embarrassment to reveal that a true American hero was killed, not by the enemy, but by a mistake.

"Pat knew what he was doing. He knew the risk he was taking, and in that sense, I have peace of mind. He was naive about the fact that his government would use him and cover up the friendly-fire incident."
-Mary Tillman, Pat and Kevin's mother

And what did the Bush administration spin machine say about Mrs. Tillman when she expressed doubt about her son's death being caused by the enemy? They made her out to be this crazy, grieving mother looking for excuses. I wonder when they found out that Mary Tillman was right, if either Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush or even some lower-tiered lachey gave her a call and said, "Oops! Sorry."

"Everybody acts like we're this crazy grieving family. We're grieving, but we're not crazy."
-Mary Tillman

Mrs. Tillman has become a bit cynical since Pat's death. Much like the rest of the nation now believes, the Bushies just aren't getting the job done, unless, of course, the job is to line the pockets of his "base" of "haves and have mores", Remember that the only ones benefitting from this Bush presidency has been the ultra-rich, global corporation and, especially, those war profiteers, like Halliburton, who just put up a 22 percent gain of some $611 million in just the last quarter alone!

"You cannot trust your government. It is not patriotic to trust your government too much."
-Mary Tillman

Too bad that our REPUBLICAN-led congress, whose oversight responsibilities have been neglected, don't feel that way, too.

Pat Tillman would have celebrated his 30th birthday on November 6th, just a day before election day.

-Noah Greenberg

And here is Kevin Tillman's letter:

After Pat’s Birthday
by Kevin Tillman
(Courtesy of the Tillman Family)
(from http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/200601019_after_pats_birthday)

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we got out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.
Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.
Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.
Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.
Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.
Somehow torture is tolerated.
Somehow lying is tolerated.
Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.
Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.
Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.
Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.
Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.
Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.
Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.
Somehow this is tolerated.
Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.

Defining Kansas

So you want to know what's wrong with Kansas? Here's part of a Headline Story from The Hutchinson News in West-Central Kansas:

"We share (Democratic challenger John Doll's) frustrations with the Bush administration's policies in Iraq and on many domestic issues, including energy and the environment, as well as Congress' inaction on important issues such as Social Security and health care."
-From an editorial in The Hutchinson News

The editorial was titled
"Dogged determination"
"Moran distinguished by his hard-working ways"

The basic theme appeared to be, "Yeah, we know that Rep. Moran is in the pocket of the Bushies, but he's a REPUBLICAN."

"In some cases, (Jerry) Moran (REPUBLICAN-KS-1, INCUNBANT) probably is part of the problem. But not categorically."
-The Hutchinson News editor

That's code for, "We're supporting him because he's a REPUBLICAN." The message is clear. There can be no doubt that if these country bumpkins had Mark Foley as their representive (of a district that represents parts of 66 Kansas counties), that their support would read something like this:

"Although Rep. Foley has been caught trying to fondle young boys and even though he has supported just about every single program that the Bushies have put together, we still support Moran."

It must be a GOP group-think thing.

Just so you know, Moran's record includes:
-An 8 percent (out of 100 percent) rating from the League of Conservation Voters
-A 27 percent rating by the ACLU
-An 18 percent rating from the AFL-CIO

According to www.congress.org, Moran's ranking, even as a majority GOP party veteran representative is pitifuly low. He is the 142nd ranked REPUBLICAN in the house and the 172nd ranked congressman overall. Moran's "influence rank" is a big, fat goose-egg (that's a "zero"). His other rankings are about the same. Out of a possible score of 75, Moran's overall score is an incredibly low 16.37. This is the guy that the Hutchinson News thinks is doing a good job.

"While Moran generally toes the party line, he has shown an independent streak on occasion."
-The editorial

Moran votes just enough against George W. Bush that they can claim he has an "independent streak." Of course, he makes those "independent" votes when the point is moot. He is the atypical GOP representative: Just win oyur seat, take your salary, and cave in when we tell you to.

"Not only has he chosen not to make Washington his permanent residence, when he returns to his district on weekends and during recess, he is busy traveling the 66 counties for speaking engagements and other appearances."
-The editorial

There can be no doubt that for elected representatives, such as Moran, the House has been a windfall. Big business contributions and a lack of an opinion make Moran the perfect REPUBLICAN: Just do as you're told. The fact that the Hutchinson News had to report that Moran has "chosen not to make Washington his permanent residence" just goes to show us all how little most GOP members of the House have to show for their time there. Anyone who has even the smallest knowledge of how elections work knows that one has to live in the district they represent in order to represent it. I guess they were searching for reasons to support Rep. Moran, and his address was as good as any.

And as for those "speaking engagements", one wonders if they are paid for or not.

The people of Kansas' first US congressional district have an opportunity to make a statement. Like most of America, the GOP is being tested and even the people of Kansas should know by now that they are being taken for a ride. They ought to make a stand.

-Noah Greenberg

To Stay the Course, or Not to Stay the Course
That is the Question

During an interview today on ABC’s This Week, President Bush tried to distance himself from what has been his core strategy in Iraq for the last three years. George Stephanopoulos asked about James Baker’s plan to develop a strategy for Iraq that is “between ’stay the course’ and ‘cut and run.’”

Bush responded, ‘We’ve never been stay the course, George!’ Watch it:

Bush is wrong:

BUSH: We will stay the course. [8/30/06]

BUSH: We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. [8/4/05]

BUSH: We will stay the course until the job is done, Steve. And the temptation is to try to get the President or somebody to put a timetable on the definition of getting the job done. We’re just going to stay the course. [12/15/03]

BUSH: And my message today to those in Iraq is: We’ll stay the course. [4/13/04]

BUSH: And that’s why we’re going to stay the course in Iraq. And that’s why when we say something in Iraq, we’re going to do it. [4/16/04]

BUSH: And so we’ve got tough action in Iraq. But we will stay the course. [4/5/04

Full transcript:

STEPHANOPOULOS: James Baker says that he’s looking for something between “cut and run” and “stay the course.”

BUSH: Well, hey, listen, we’ve never been “stay the course,” George. We have been — we will complete the mission, we will do our job, and help achieve the goal, but we’re constantly adjusting to tactics. Constantly.

When Bush says he's constantly adjusting tactics, he also means adjusting the truth to fit his lies of the moment, apparently.

-Submitted and commented on by Victoria Brownworth, with thanks to Nico

A Flag by Any Other Name...

Reading the tea leaves on whether the Bush Administration is considering a partition of Iraq:

[T]here are signs—slightly cryptic, but still worth noting—that the Bush Administration may be leaning towards partitioning Iraq. The main exhibit is an October 6 AP photograph of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President of Iraqi Kurdistan Massoud Barzani meeting in Irbil, the provincial seat. Rice and Barzani stood at a podium, flanked by a red, white, and green Kurdish tricolor flag. Neither the Iraqi flag, nor any other indication that the Secretary of State was in Iraq, was in view.

Given that in September, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a declaration that the Iraqi flag must be flown in all regions (Kurdish nationalists call the Iraqi flag “the flag of Ba'ath”), it's hard to believe that Rice's protocol people could let this one slip by accidentally. Imagine a foreign prime minister visiting America in 1861 and giving a speech while standing in front of a confederate flag—it's hard to imagine a Secretary of State could have missed such symbolism—and the Kurdish press certainly didn't.

Of course it's simply possible that the Kurdish flag complimented Rice's ensemble better than the Iraqi flag.

-Submitted and commented on by Victoria Brownworth, with thanks to talkingpointsmemo.com

A Bush Quote
Say Good-bye to SSI

(It Rhymes!)

"I want to deal with the unfunded liabilities inherent in Social Security and Medicare."
-President Bush on CNBC (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061023/pl_nm/economy_bush_dc_1)

This is exactly what Bush was pushing in 2004. So, it's there loud and clear, Bush and the Republican party are determined to privatize social security if they hold a majority in 2006.

There must be a change.

-Robert Scardapane

In response to "Taxes", Norma J F Harrison writes:

The trouble with taxation is that it taxes unfairly.
And the taxes are spent criminally.
Fair tax would let us build toward socialism so we wouldn't need tax; we'd just do the stuff we need and want to.

And in response to "and there was prosperity, absolutely no national debt," Dorothy Schwartz writes:

The largest middle class in the world and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

For some people anyway. Certainly not a large percentage of Afro-Americans, and probably many immigrant groups.

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-Noah Greenberg