...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, November 21, 2005
      ( 7:46 PM )
Lost in the Debate

Is the ultimate reason why the Neocons wanted to go into Iraq in the first place. It is definitely heartening to see the Democrats finally starting to respond to the public's desire to bring our soldiers home to safety. Kos notes today that even the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people think there should be a timetable for withdrawal.

Iraqi leaders, meeting at a reconciliation conference in Cairo, urged an end to violence in the country and demanded a timetable for the withdrawal of coalition troops from Iraq.

In a final statement, read by Arab League chief Amre Moussa, host of the three-day summit, they called for "the withdrawal of foreign troops according to a timetable, through putting in place an immediate national program to rebuild the armed forces." No date was specified.

Kos sums it up by saying:

Democrats have increasingly joined the chorus for a withdrawal timetable. The American public want us out. The Iraqi leadership want us out. The Iraqi people clearly want us out. The Pentagon has even begun work on withdrawal plans.

It's only Republicans who want to keep us there indefinitely.

But see, the people who conned the leadership of this country and over half of its citizens into invading and occupying Iraq can't go along with any kind of withdrawal scenario. Because their purpose wasn't to create democracy and leave. Their purpose was to establish a corporatocracy where they could reap the profits for decades to come. They planned badly and it's all turned to crap. But if they agree to a timetable to withdrawal, then the whole point is lost for them. I don't see them ever giving up on their ultimate, greedy goals. They must be taken out of power. For the soldiers' sakes, for the world's sake.

As soon as possible.

| -- permanent link

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
      ( 5:43 PM )
Saluting Defiance

What seems like defiance is actually sensible thinking and action. And where did it come from today? The Senate! The Senate? Yes! The GOP-controlled Senate!

The Senate voted 98-0 today to an amendment that calls on the President to:

*restrict the techniques used to interrogate terrorism suspects
*ban their inhuman treatment
*provide lawmakers with quarterly reports on the status of operations in Iraq
*let the Guantanamo inmates appeal to a federal court their designation as enemy combatants and their sentences.

The measure "calls for the Bush administration to "explain to Congress and the American people its strategy for the successful completion of the mission in Iraq" and to provide reports on U.S. foreign policy and military operations in Iraq every three months until all U.S. combat brigades have been withdrawn."

This is a big deal. Not only has the Senate voted to ask for a timeline on withdrawal from Iraq, but they've done it while Bush is out of town. (Don't look at those silly people calling for the truth! Asian Bird Flu! Ack!)

The Senate's votes on Iraq showed a willingness even by Republicans to question the White House on a war that's growing increasingly unpopular with Americans.

Polls show Bush's popularity has tumbled in part because of public frustration over Iraq, a war that has claimed the lives of more than 2,000 American troops.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the outcome was "a vote of no confidence on the president's policies in Iraq." Republicans "acknowledged that there need to be changes made," he said.

[...]the Senate's political statement was clear — and made even more stinging when the vote was held with Bush abroad, in Asia, an embarrassing step Congress often tries to avoid. With Democrats pressing their amendment calling for a calendar for withdrawal, Republicans worked to fend off a frontal attack by Democrats by calling on the White House to do more.

The President might have had something to say about this outright defiance. But he's on his way to Mongolia. And besides, he only talks to his Mommy these days.

| -- permanent link

      ( 5:39 PM )
When the Going Gets Rough...

Ask for Mommy! Well, we mommies can't really argue with that logic. Except maybe when it's the President of the United States. I used to think that job would require a little more stalwart confidence and wisdom...but I gave up on that several years ago. Things seem to be getting rough for the Oval Office Occupant. Even the rightist Washington Times says so...

The sources said Mr. Bush maintains daily contact with only four people: first lady Laura Bush, his mother, Barbara Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes. The sources also say that Mr. Bush has stopped talking with his father, except on family occasions.

Now Bush's personal life may not be our business...but it's obviously affecting his decision-making abilities in his job. He's cutting off his advisors and other people who might temper his decisions and behavior. And as Hunter says over on Kos today:

This is a president who even in the best of times is insular, out of touch, and completely unwilling to have alternative points of view brought to him. Now, according to administration sources he's kicked out everyone else in his Oval Treehouse except for his mom, and three people who remind him of his mom? Shudder.

It's not comforting to know that the President is unable to become the leader that he sold himself as. He is facing extremely rough odds right now, and maybe for the next 3 years - so he's got to do something. Don't republicans always tell people to pull themselves up by their boot straps and take responsibility? Then again, they never said they required their leaders to follow that advice.

This is not good.

| -- permanent link

Friday, November 11, 2005
      ( 9:59 AM )
Thank You

Today is a day that I publicly want to thank all those who are currently serving and who have served this country in military service. I grew up in the military and it is not altogether an easy choice for people, but they do it anyway, and with determination, pride and dignity. I thank my husband for his years of service, I thank my dad for his 30 years and his ongoing service to this country as a veteran and teacher, and I especially thank my brother, who is currently in theater in the Iraq War.

The men and women who have sacrificed their lives, families, futures and so much other stuff to serve and to do what they are told in order to provide the protection they believe we deserve, I send my heartfelt thanks and honor. I only hope the civilian government that makes decisions for the military and veterans will stop and consider all they've done to damage these fine people.

Republicans Voted Against Veterans' Health Care FIVE TIMES This Year, Despite Warnings of Budget Shortfall. Before the Department of Veterans Affairs announced a $1 billion budget shortfall earlier this year, Senate Republicans voted twice against $1.98 billion for veterans' health care, while also opposing a proposal to increase veterans' health care funding by $2.8 billion. And last month, Republicans said "no" to keeping veterans' health care funding in line with inflation and population growth. These votes all came despite at least five warnings from Sen. Patty Murray that the proposed federal funding for veterans' programs would not be enough to cover costs.

It's time that this government is held accountable for the way it set out from the beginning NOT to honor military members and veterans, but rather to steal from the very livelihood they most deserve.

We must all stand up for those who stand up for us.

To all Veterans, past, present and future: thank you for what you do and what you have done.

| -- permanent link

Wednesday, November 09, 2005
      ( 5:47 PM )
Suffer Not the Little Ones

Ahem...for those of you fundies..that's a quote from Jesus about how you shouldn't treat children badly. I'm with Hunter, a regular poster on the Daily Kos blog - I think it should be a stated policy of the United States not to burn the skin off little children. But evidently, our government and military thinks differently.

In a documentary to be broadcast by RAI, the Italian state broadcaster, this morning, a former American soldier who fought at Fallujah says: "I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it's known as Willy Pete.

"Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 metres is done for."

-- The Independent, US forces 'used chemical weapons' during assault on city of Fallujah

Whether you call it chemical weapons or incindiaries or whatever - we are using weapons that shame us as a nation. Need more evidence? A first-hand testimony also appears at the Kos:

I knew from watching similar explosions in training exercises that the cloud raining down on the target area was a white phosphorus round. They shot about 5 of them from my recollection.

I recall thinking, "Man, that is some evil stuff there." Knowing what I know about Willy Pete, it would be a terrible way to die. White Phosphorus is supposed to be used to mark targets for aviation flying high over an objective area. And I know for a fact that no fixed-winged aviation was dropping ordnance in that area, it was too close to friendlies. I know this for a FACT.

We are committing crimes against humanity and we are engaging in a war that puts our own soldiers in the unenviable positions of being in the middle of horrific actions on all sides, and that puts the civilian population of Iraq in even more devastating danger than it could have imagined when our troops first marched through the streets. We have GOT to stop this. We cannot continue to pursue a conflict like this that makes us the baby killers and sends the message to the world that we couldn't care less.

Hunter makes a very clear argument - I encourage you to read the entire post. His conclusion is cogent and I completely agree:

So in conclusion, I am going to come out, to the continuing consternation of Rush Limbaugh and pro-war supporters everywhere, as being anti-children-melting, as a matter of general policy.

Furthermore, I would suggest to the President of the United States that if you find yourself in the position where your on-the-ground forces find melting the skin off of children to be the preferable of all available options, your military outlook is well and truly fucked, and you might perhaps start considering alternative means of stabilizing the country.

Thank you for your time.

There has to be a better way.

| -- permanent link

      ( 5:34 PM )
I'm Back

My first quarter of teaching is over. Wow. I knew my first year of teaching would be tough, but I didn't realize how incredibly RELENTLESS it would be. It is so strange not to have the moments to myself that I'm used to - whether for blogging, or even just sending emails or just reading. I find that most of my "free time" is spent trying to just be with my family, whom I don't see as often. Next year will be SOOOO much better - I won't be just runningto catch up all the time. I'll know what I'm doing and have some basic plans in place. But that is next year. Meanwhile...I'm just trying to keep up...

| -- permanent link