A Liberal Marines Progressive Perspective

Marines are defenders of the republic and the Constitution. That is our oath, that is our purpose, that is our calling. Many are Democrats. This is the journal of one such Marine. This leatherneck's progressive perspective is as follows...

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Location: Southwest, United States

U.S. Marine,0300 MOS,eight years in,honorably discharged,college-educated. To all the damned trolls, you better believe there are liberal Marines. Read "War Is A Racket" by 2-time Medal of Honor recipient Maj.Gen.S.D.Butler, plus Lewis B. Puller, Jr.'s "Fortunate Son" and maybe then you'll understand. Semper Fi!

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Bush Administration Like A Bad Episode of 'Green Acres': The American Republic, Our Rich Tradition of Leaders with Vision and the Need to Earnestly Focus on the Re-Establishment of America's Liberal Political Leadership Posted by Hello
Good morning to all. It's a little overcast here, but hopefully the sun will come out later. By the by, I'm going to get the new book, 'The Survivor' (authored by 'Washington Post' national correspondent John F. Harris, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/31/books/31kaku.html) as soon as I can. In the book, Harris reports that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY and future Democratic candidate for President of the United States), as First Lady at the time, told then President Clinton that his advisors were "...wimps..." for not going on the offensive and sticking it to the GOP at every turn during what can only be called the 'Whitewater Inquisitions' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitewater_scandal), or, the pathetic and fruitless attempt by the conservative establishment to bring down and discredit a young, vigorous, brilliant and popular Democratic President through manipulation, distortion of facts and just downright lying in terms of an old land deal that (in the end) proved unwarranted and without merit. Sen. Clinton also went on to say that "...JFK had real men for advisors..." (http://www.nysun.com/article/14612). When I heard about the comments, I have to admit...I got motivated (as any red-blooded American liberal should)...this lady is hard as nails...she's awesome. I'm a Clark guy (www.securingamerica.com), and I hope he secures the 2008 Democratic nomination (and I will give all that I've got in that endeavor); but, I would love to help Hillary Clinton win the White House in 2008. She's talking about fixing bayonets and going on the offensive...she understands, like so many other Democrats/Liberals, that going on the offensive and taking the fight to the enemy is the only way we're going to win elections! Shifting gears and FYI, looks like the President is going to have a press conference this morning in the Rose Garden around 1045 hrs (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8046041/). Wow, a press conference...a rarity in terms of this President. However, I must say it's certainly interesting he's having the press conference in the late morning when most people are at work or on their way to work. The funny thing is this guy really thinks he's fooling people. Well, based on the 2004 election he is certainly fooling some, but definitely not all, of the American electorate (51 million for GWB versus 49 million anti-GWB respectively, http://www.princeton.edu/~rvdb/JAVA/election2004/). With that said, I'm really getting sick and tired of the current Administration's sad practice of "blowing smoke" and trying (oh so deperately) to bamboozle the American public; in other words, talking a whole lot of baseless and factless smack (directly or through their "official" mouth-pieces) in a disturbing and failed effort to placate the American people into a somatic intellectual slumber. Examples run the gamut: from saying Bin Laden will be captured soon (http://talkleft.com/new_archives/007787.html) to obnoxiously playing up the story Iraqi insurrgency leader al-Zarqawi has been seriously wounded (http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/05/29/zarqawi/; quite frankly, I still can't make heads or tails of this story...because now, it's being reported the injuries al-Zarqai were "minor" and not at all as serious as had been previously reported, http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/world/3204250) to Saddam Hussein will be put on trial in the near future (http://www.kesq.com/Global/story.asp?S=3411210 ...two years have gone by and still no trial date set), etc. The latest one to come down the pike is Vice-President Cheney saying that the Iraq War will be over by 2009 (http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/30/cheney.iraq/index.html). This is outrageous! What is he talking about? Can anyone please explain to me how Dick Cheney (or any mortal for that matter) can possibly predict when the war is going to end? Folks, is it me or is this just the absolute height and pinnacle of arrogance and hubris? This Administration will say and do anything in their sad, misguided and pitiful attempt to keep the bad poll numbers away. However, based on recent data and evidence, it's looking more and more like the American people aren't buying it (http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0505/052405op.htm). Now, with that said, on with the topic of discussion today which is actually a series of questions concerning homeland security and it's inadequate funding and the GOP/conservative establishments inability to lead. How can we protect "the Homeland", when the country is broke, and the economy wrecked thanks to the Presidents massive tax cuts? The President continues to fumble the ball when it comes to adequate funding, and here we are almost four years removed from the attacks on 9/11. Here is a link from the 'Bangor Daily News' that addresses the issue in more detail, http://www.bangornews.com/news/templates/?a=108936. Here is a portion from the article:

"...President Bush's proposed budget worsens this problem by not specifically allocating money to the security of U.S. ports, rail lines and other non-aviation infrastructure".

Former U.S. Senator Warren Rudman’s think-tank released information, as far back as 28 June 2003-29 June 2003, stating that state and local authorities are sorely lacking the funds needed to adequately prepare for and counter any forthcoming terrorist attack or attacks on the United States; CNN link is as follows, http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/06/29/rudman.report/. So, how can the Bush Administration promote unneeded and unwarranted tax cuts, while homeland security programs at the state/local level (seriously lacking in revenue) continue to languish in neglect? The two main questions (in my humble opinion) are these: (1) how can President Bush can give away billions/trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, while the homeland security program (especially at the state/local level, something the Bush Administration pushed when it realized how much political capital the concept was worth) is left languishing and dangerously under-funded? (2) Why is the Bush Administration shoveling, at break-neck speed, money into the bank accounts of the wealthy instead of passing those financial resources on to the police officers and firefighters that are in desperate need of funding? The 'Seattle Times' has syndicated columnist E.J. Dionne's op-ed article which examines these very questions, titled 'President's Compassionate Conservatism Gone Astray', at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion. Really Mr. President, what’s more important in these perilous times? A huge tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, or protective equipment and gear for state and local authorities? Democrats must start asking these questions loudly and with great strength and vigor. If we slam these questions home to the American public, they’ll see the inconsistencies, get the point and (hopefully) begin asking the very same questions themselves! Semper Fidelis

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day 2005: Lest We Forget , as well as, Remembering It's All About A Republic That's Of the People, By the People and For the People Posted by Hello
Good morning to all aboard the blog. I hope all of you are well on this fine Memorial Day Monday. Before I begin, I first want to bring something to the fore. A friend of mine told me yesterday that after reviewing my blog, this friend of mine believes the blog to be (in my friend's words now) "...very partisan, angry and creepy...". Needless to say, said remarks caused me a fair amount of distress and consternation in that, although I can admit the blog IS partisan (I have no problem with that representation, since yours truly IS a proud Democrat/Liberal...and I make no bones about that), does it really rate the characterization of "angry" and "creepy"? I'd like to get some feedback from the loyal readers of the blog in terms of whether or not it's fair to call this blog angry and creepy? If so, I am more than happy to take suggestions in terms of how I can tamp down whatever excesses take away from the message I'm trying to convey. Again, I'd really appreciate any feedback that would facilitate this endeavor. OK, now on with the show. Today is Memorial Day 2005, a time to reflect on the common sacrifice of so many that have died in the struggle to maintain this grand socio-political experiment and this grand Republic. It is a time to understand that freedom isn't free and that many a gold star (so to speak) have been placed in many a window in the name of maintaining this Republic since the very inception of this great social experiment called the United States of America back in 1776. In fact, to give us all an idea of the magnitude of said sacrifice, here's a breakdown of the sheer massiveness of the American sacrifice placed on the altar of freedom over the past 229 years ("major" wars only; information via wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page):

Revolutionary War (1775-1783)/ 6,824 killed in action
War of 1812 (1812-1815)/ 2,260 killed in action
Mexican War (1846-1848)/ 1,733 killed in action
Civil War (1861-1865)/ 359,528 killed in action*
Spanish-American War (1898)/ 2,446 killed in action
World War I (1914-1918)/ 126,000 killed in action**
World War II (1939-1945)/ 405,399 killed in action***
Korean War (1950-1953)/ 54,000 killed in action
VietnamWar (1963-1975) 58,000+ killed in action****
Persian Gulf War (1990-1991)/148 killed in action*****
Iraq War (2003-???)/ 1,657 killed in action******

*: only counting the Union lost, not concerned about Confederates in any way, shape or form.
**: WWI began in 1914, but U.S. didn't officially put "boots on the ground" until 1917.
***: again, WWII began in 1939, U.S. didn't get involved (really) until 1941.
****: Vietnam had been at war for a thousand years, and had been battling the French since 1945 (with U.S. assistance). French got out in 1954 (after fall of Dien Bien Phu), U.S. took their place and sent in "advisors" under President Eisenhower, but President Kennedy really ramped it up when he sent even more advisors in 1963. However, it went "full-tilt" in 1965 when President Johnson had the Marines land at Da Nang marking the beginning of the American "full-court press".
*****: hostilities didn't officially kick off until January 1991, but (for all intents and purposes) the war began with Operation DESERT SHIELD in 1990.
******: the Iraq War sadly continues, thus the KIA toll continues to rise.

Grand Total of U.S. KIA = roughly 1,017,995 Americans killed in action (and these are only those Americans killed in what are called the "MAJOR" wars...doesn't include the sacrifices made during the smaller wars, i.e., the Barbary Pirates conflict, the Black Hawk War, all the Indian Wars, the Banana Wars,Grenada, Panama, etc).

And the sacrifice continues, every day in Iraq...every, single day (although, this war AIN'T about freedom as most of us know it, it's really about another seven-letter word spelled "P-R-O-F-I-T-S"...but that's a discussion for another time). No, good people, freedom is certainly NOT free. Take care and keep the memories of these Americans that gave the ultimate sacrifice (and their families) close in your thoughts and in your hearts this Memorial Day 2005. Semper Fidelis

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Era of the Gut-Busting, Muther-Loving Navy War Is Over, a/k/a, Beware the Rise of the Infernal ChickenhawksPosted by Hello

A grand and glorious good morning to all aboard the blog. Today's brief topic will be on the rise of the chickenhawks, a most vile and intolerable breed of human that must be called out and pushed to the margins of society for the sake of the Republic. But, first, allow me to do some house-cleaning and post a review on the biggest story (in my opinion) of the week: King Fahd of Saudi Arabia was hospitalized (http://www.ameinfo.com/61156.html) after experiencing distress due to a serious infection in the lungs that has exacerbated the King's many other health problems...at least that's what the SPA (the Saudi Press Agency, the official press organization of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, http://www.spa.gov.sa/newsar.htm) is telling the world...who knows what's really going on in the Kingdom. Of course, oil prices (always as nervous as a chihuahua and hyper-sensitive to any disturbances in "the Force") went ape upon hearing the news of the King's health condition (http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/2992.html). If the King, already 82 years old and in bad health since his stroke in 1995 (upon which time, real control of the Kingdom was transferred to his half-brother, Crown Prince Abdullah. So, for all intents and purposes, although not officially stated by Saudi Arabia, Abdullah has been effectively "running the show" since 1995, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1894793.stm), does shuffle off of this mortal coil, than Abdullah (per the line of succession) would become king; but, alas, therein lies the rub. Abdullah himself is already 81 years old (although, there is some contention in terms of his real age, but officially, he is 81 years old), which means he won't be sitting in "the big chair" for very long. Thus, one can easily see the crux of the problem the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is facing...which is, who will lead Saudi Arabia into the 21st century and (more importantly) what philosophy/ideology will control the direction of the world's largest oil producer. In short, we are looking at the real possibility of serious domestic (as well as, international) ramifications when the time comes for the House of Saud to choose a successor to the brothers Fahd and Abdullah; and it is most certainly NOT hyperbolic to say such a transition has the potential to turn the already "egg-shell walking" Kingdom (in terms of all of its internal/domestic fissures and cracks) inside-out and upside-down. Now, with all of that said, on to the chickenhawks. A loyal reader of the blog, by the name of Maddaline, inadvertently got my mind to thinking about chickenhawks the other day. I personally find Maddaline's wit and charm refreshing and I hope she (or, perhaps he?) continues to enjoy the blog. Chickenhawks are those people that will beat the drums of war the loudest, but send others off to be severely maimed, wounded and/or killed in their stead, i.e., Dick Cheney, Trent Lott, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, etc, etc. Moreso, they tend to find shelter and a home in the ranks of the GOP. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ, http://lautenberg.senate.gov/), a World War II veteran, has been at the forefront in terms of calling these bastards out and lambasting them on the Senate floor for all the world to see, i.e., http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/28/Senate.military/ (in fact, the photo above is that of Senator Lautenberg pointing at "The Chickenhawk" illustration on the easel before the United States Senate, http://www.lautenberg.senate.gov/chickenhawk.html). So, as we enter this Memorial Day holiday and as our thoughts (appropriately)
turn to those many veterans that gave what Lincoln called "...the last full measure of devotion..."
(http://www.law.ou.edu/hist/getty.html) let us also turn our collective noses up with contempt for those chickenhawks (Republicans for the most part) that will gladly beat the drums of war and rattle so many sabers; but, when the trumpet calls for battle, they are none to be seen. You know, there's another word to describe chickenhawks. In fact, this word has been bandied about and used for centuries to describe people that will call for war, but when the time comes to actually go to war, will not serve...the word is coward. Take care and remember, like the Billy Ray Cyrus song states: "...all gave some, but some gave all". Semper Fidelis

Friday, May 27, 2005

Democrats Hold the Line: Forward Movement of Advancing Bolton Nomination Halted Posted by Hello
Praise be! Good morning to all of the faithful aboard the blog on this glorious day. What am I so excited about? Well, just in case you haven't heard the good news, here it goes: the John Bolton for U.N. ambassador nomination has been halted in the U.S. Senate...the Democratic grand strategy of of attrition in this political war is taking hold! Those wonderful Senators (vast majority being Democrats) have shown (once again) that we still have a whole lot of juice and with a little more effort, we can slam dunk this guy for all time! In fact, the 'Washington Post' is reporting yesterday's events this way (www.washingtonpost.com, dated 26 May 2005):

"The vote marked another setback for the troubled nomination that has become a test of President Bush's political clout in his second term".

First, I must say kudos and "huzzah" to the Senate Democrats, especially to Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) being one of them (Sen. Obama has come "out of the blocks" representing in an honorable fashion since jump street, http://obama.senate.gov/). By doing what they did, those Senate Democrats had the guts, temerity and fortitude to throw a tremendous monkey-wrench into the GOP works (not to mention putting a significant dent in the current Administration's enormous ego...mandate my foot) and muck-up the conservative neocons misguided fantasy dreams of seeing this guy positioned as our next ambassador to the United Nations. Be advised, this stunning event in NO WAY guarantees the Bolton nomination will be defeated (although, as Republican support in the Seante begins to dwindle for this clown, i.e., GOP Sen. Thune of South Dakota today stating that he will no longer supprt the Bolton nomination, http://www.keloland.com/NewsDetail2817.cfm?Id=0,40003, it's looking more and more like the Bolton nomiantion is on some form of life-support) yesterday's action on part of Senate Democrats was still outstanding and inspiring in every way. In summation, I am so happy to hear the news this morning that it's looking more and more like John R. Bolton, the President's uber-flawed nominee for the position of U.N. ambassador, may be on his way out the door. Of course, the real momentum for these turn of event is precipitated on Senator George Voinovich's (R-OH) stellar performance about a month ago (a modern day "profile of courage", if you ask me, http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/news/state/11455292.htm) vis a vis shutting down the voting process and putting the brakes on Bolton so Voinovich and his staff could do some more "research" on the nominee ("research" is a code word that meant Voinovich wanted to dig into whether or not Bolton is really the major league a**hole that everybody is saying he is...trust me, he is!). In fact, Senator Voinovich is quoted as saying the following concerning the Bolton nomination: "...People are discounting the fact that I say that interpersonal skills and the way one treats their fellow man is important. But it is important. It's important that you know how to get along with other people and that you treat people with dignity and respect...". Senator Voinovich's actions, in conjunction with the White House circling the wagons "all panicky and herky-jerk" (just like they did with the doomed nominations of Linda Chavez and Bernard Kerik) were already key indicators that Bolton 's nomiantion was "wobbly", at best. Of course, all of this (along with former Secretary of State General Colin Powell's damning input a few weeks ago, http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/3147352) certainly does not help Bolton's case. With all of this weight bearing down, it's really starting to look as though Bolton's nomination has been gutted and neutralized. What's so fascinating about Colin Powell is that BEFORE he joined the Bush Administration in 2001, his favorability ratings (in terms of the American people's perception) were stratospheric, I'm talking golden (http://www.jointcenter.org/2000_election/2000_NOP.pdf). Of course, some of that gold was tarnished DURING/AFTER his tenure in Bush's jacked-up cabinet as Secretary of State due to the fantastical, magical thinking-like and downright crazy twists/turns the Bush Adminstration put the poor man through, i.e., placing Powell as the front-man for Bush's calamity of a Middle Eastern foreign policy, as well as being paraded before the U.N. (with George Tenet and John Negroponte in tow) to convince the world that war against Iraq was justified, etc. Yet, upon Powell's wise decision to leave the "insane-clown posse" that is the Bush Administration and return to civilian life (and to his Volvos and baseball), Powell's star, popularity and respect level are back on the rise (http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=935). It seems as though the American people understand that Powell (who is usually soaring with the eagles) was, unfortunately at the time, dealing with a bunch of GOP/neocon turkeys; the American people seem to sympathize with Powell and his plight and understand he was at odds with the madness of the White House from the very beginning and, more times than not, was up against the wall and in the proverbial "doghouse". In short, this is why I believe Powell's comments and opinions (in terms of Bolton's character and personality traits), as well as all the other variables that are battering Bolton about the head, neck and shoulders, have extreme gravitas, have resonated throughout the corridors of Congress and have ended up making a tremendous impact (even moreso than the President's input and political clout, in this case). Bolton's defeat will be an amazing victory, not only for the Democratic Party (again, in showing that we are still a vigorous, vibrant and vital political organization that still knows how to outflank our enemies and cut their legs out from under them)...way more important then that, it will be a victory for the American people who won't have a Wyatt Earp-looking, pompous, arrogant, GOP knuckle-dragging a**hat for a U.N. ambassador. The times we are living in cry out for tough diplomacy, to be sure. But, these times also cry out for diplomacy that is also compassionate and sensitive (especially culturally-sensitive) and not the kind of brazen, roughshod and "a**hole-ish" diplomacy that Bolton oozes out of every orifice and pour of his being. Bottom line, the guy is a jerk...much like the guy that nominated him. But, you know what they say, birds of a feather flock together. Bye, bye Bolton, nothing personal, strictly professional; or, don't go away mad, just go away. Semper Fidelis

Thursday, May 26, 2005

It is Time for Democrats and Liberals to Strike Back Posted by Hello
Good morning to all of the faithful. This will be a quick post/rant and then I'm out. The photo above is of Marines learning basic fighting skills...Democrats should be learning the same thing (both figuratively and, perhaps even, literally). Be that as it may, allow me to touch on a topic that bothered me a few months ago and (surprise, surprise) continues to vex me to this very day. I have been noticing for a while now (over the last few months actually) how it seems the GOP has a new semantic strategy in that they are now referring to the Democratic Party as the "Democrat" Party. Has anyone else out there noticed this sad, fascist GOoPer attempt at doublespeak? This really came home during the "great week" when the Ohio electors were contested in Congress (thank goodness for Sen. Boxer and Rep. Tubbs-Jones, http://www.truthout.org/docs_05/010705V.shtml and http://www.afsc.org/pwork/0502/050220.htm). A number of GOoPers (both in the House and the Senate) continuously referred to the Democratic Party as the "Democrat" Party; at the time (and today, for that matter) I found this to be jarring and obnoxious and (as far as I was concerned) the last straw. Those bastards will stop and nothing to try to erode what so many have stood up for and (sadly) been felled for. It's like the GOP has been taken over by a gang of sophomoric, pubescent boys giggling and thinking of little smartass ways of operating and sniping at their opponents. So, in the great spirit of bipartisanship, I propose that all good Democrats begin referring to the Republican Party as the "Republic" Party. It certainly will take the sting out of their sad attempt at undermining what the Democratic Party is all about.This is what I'll be doing. There's a kind of justice that one feels when you say "Republic" Party for the first time. Fight fire with fire I always say. Don't kid yourselves, this is war. Heck, that's how they see it. Semper Fidelis

Monday, May 23, 2005

U.S. Says Absolutely No to Bilateral Talks with North Korea...Unless, Of Course, Those Talks Are on a "Freebie" Friday. Posted by Hello
Good evening to all aboard the blog. This will be another unusual post due to the fact that it is night time and not the early morning. Haven't posted in awhile because of all the commotion swirling around in my personal areas of operation. With that said, let me make a quick post and then I' m out. Wanted to touch on the fact that the current Administration, although all along stating that it would NOT participate in bilateral talks with the North Koreans (repeat: WOULD NOT participate, http://www.antiwar.com/prather/?articleid=3703) did just that last Friday, 20 May 2005 (link is as follows http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=782405). In short, in a break from long-standing U.S. policy, the United States engaged in bilateral talks with the North Korean government last Friday. Folks, this is bullshit diplomacy and, moreover, a bullshit(and confusing, I might add) foreign policy. You know, it's funny, I recently spoke with Mr. John Pike, founder and director of Global Security.org (http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/staff/pike.htm); easily one of the finest sources of military and foreign policy intelligence in existence today (www.globalsecurity.org). I spoke with Mr. Pike via telephone about a week before the current Administration decided to knuckle-under, kowtow and engage in what must be described as a confusing and byzantine foreign policy when it comes to the North Korean regime vis-a-vis bilateral talks (http://www.whotv.com/Global/story.asp?S=3377963). My question for Mr. Pike was why was the North Korean situation's "countdown counter" at such a high time number (opposed to the lower time number I thought was more representative and indicative of the seriousness of the situation, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/korea-crisis.htm)? Mr. Pike's response to my question was that the clock was set at the correct time, in his opinion, and he went on to add that he was more inclined to increase the time alloted (in terms of the time left before a major showdown) rather then decrease the time. Mr. Pike also went on to explain that as far as he was concerned (based on his own sound analysis, as well as, the analysis and observations of colleagues) the current Administration knows full well there isn't a viable solution to the present crisis on the Korean peninsula in terms of a practical, military solution. Although I disagreed with Mr. Pike's assessment initially, the current Administration's "about-face" via dealing with North Korea's nuclear proliferaton by way of engaging in what can only be honestly characterized as "bilateral talks" (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7889414/), has caused me to begin to see Mr. Pike's point. It's interesting, the Bush, Jr. Administration likes (in deed, LOVES) to talk tough, in order to rake in the political points. Yet, when it's time to deal with the realities of situations, they continuously shrink and fall back (in terms of foreign policy, as well as, domestic policy for that matter) like the hypocrites and amateurs they really are. Where are we headed? It's anyones guess, but with the current Administration clearly unable to chew bubblegum and walk at the same time (especially in the foreign affairs/foreign policy arena), it's looking more and more like the Korean peninsula will be nuclearized by the end of this year. Semper Fidelis

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A Movie I Want to See Made: 'Grant', with Robin Williams in the Lead Role Posted by Hello
Evening to all aboard the blog. This is an unusual post for me, in that it is the evening opposed to the morning. But, there was so much going on today that I was unable to post. However, there are a number of things I'd like to touch on before hitting the rack, so here it goes. First off, allow me to extend a hearty "bravo zulu"(http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq101-2.htm) to newly-elected Los Angeles mayor and Progressive champion, Antonio Villaraigosa. In this rematch, Villaraigosa secured a landslide victory and now (being that he is mayor of the second largest city in the United States, as well as, being an Hispanic mayor of a major city on the national and international stage, etc, etc.) has a national stage on which to spread his Democratic/Progressive message. I will have to admit that the initial returns had me a bit worried, with Villaraigosa and his opponent, James K. Hahn, looking to be neck and neck. But, much to my delight (and many other fellow Villaraigosa supporters I would imagine), those first returns were absentee and early voting votes and once the days actual votes started to come in from the precincts, it was evident that Villaraigosa was going to have a landslide victory on his hands. Poor incumbent James K. Hahn, he now goes down as the first L.A. mayor since 1933 to be defeated in his first term (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=769133). You know, based on reports, it seems like Hahn never really connected with the city and his resounding defeat at the polls yesterday pretty much hammered that assertion home. With the finally tally being 59% to 41% (the Los Angeles electorate has most assuredly handed Antonio Villaraigosa a mandate, http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-05-18-voa54.cfm). Yes, extended congratulations to Antonio Villaraigosa and his staff are definitely in order here for executing a brilliant and successful campaign that resulted in a stunning victory. Once again, congratulations and good luck Mr. Mayor-elect Villaraigosa...like the campaign worker told Governor Jack Stanton after he was elected President in 'Primary Colors', "...now don't break our hearts". My second comment concerns the situation with the 'Newsweek' story which broke earlier in the week concerning the desecration of Muslim holy items aboard the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and the serious consequences and implications that resulted from said incident/story. In fact, a reader of this blog (who will remain anonymous) gave me a fit because he was disappointed I didn't touch on the story and by not doing so (in his opinion) I have, by default, allied myself with the terrorists by virtue of my silence on the matter. Well, I'm very flattered and appreciative this individual is reading my blog...thanks alot. I do, however, take grievance with the accusation that, because I didn't address the 'Newsweek' situation (fast enough apparently), I am now in cahoots with the common enemies of our common country. Sir, that is a ridiculuous charge and I think most (if not all) reasonable people would dismiss such a charge as nonsensical drivle. Concerning the 'Newsweek' fiasco, let me say this: I believe, with every fibre of my being, that 'Newsweek' got the story correct and that the White House's attempt at squashing the truth (by heavily leaning and putting maximum pressure on 'Newsweek' to retract the story) is disturbing to say the very least. I'll even go you one further: the Bush, Jr. Administration, by putting the screws on 'Newsweek', is once again trying to muscle, intimidate and bully the Fourth Estate simply because it (the current Administration) cannot handle the truth. In short, the current numb-skulls running the Executive branch want everyone to be as deluded and truth-averse as they are and, like they did Dan Rather and CBS News right before the 2004 election, they are resorting to threats to have their way (although, in my opinion, Dan Rather and CBS News were also correct in their reporting). In the case of CBS News, yes, the methodology was slipshod; but, the essence of the story, i.e., that Bush, Jr. failed to fulfill his military obligation in a way that, at best, raises suspicion and at worst, may have been criminal, was right on target. Unfortunately, CBS News buckled under the massive amount of heat the White House was doling out...but again, the ESSENCE of Dan Rather's report, in terms of the current President's derelection of duty in the Texas Air National Guard, was extremely accurate and on point; and (in fact) since then, the report has been substantiated by numerous other factual accounts (http://gnn.tv/articles/111/The_Lynching_of_Dan_Rather). So, again, my assessment of the 'Newsweek' situation is: 'Newsweek', in reporting that alot of fishy stuff is going down concerning Islamic holy items being desecrated at the Gitmo terrorist detention facility, IS ACCURATE...heck, we know some funky crap is going on down there in the name of intelligence acquisition and national security. Indeed, for all of us who have served in the armed forces, we can EASILY see some enlisted (or, officer personnel for that matter) individual trying to flush a holy book down the toilet or even worse. So, yes (in my estimation), the 'Newsweek' report is accurate, the White House knows that it's true, but the White House (per their m.o./modus operandi) is desperately trying to keep the truth tamped down as much as possible. But, like Ben Bradlee and the 'Washington Post' did circa 1972/1973, it looks as though the big-wigs/editors at 'Newsweek' are "...standing by their boys..." (http://slate.msn.com/id/2107249/ and http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/5/15/19221/4742). Good for them! My last comment concerns an idea for a movie that I've had for quite sometime. Bottom line, is I want to see an epic picture about the life of Ulysses S. Grant produced in the near future and I want to see Robin Williams in the starring role. Not only is Robin Williams a great, GREAT artistic and dramatic talent whose range could certainly reach what is required to play the military savior of the Union and 18th President of the United States but he is also a dead-ringer for Grant (at least in my humble opinion). After reading Grant's memoirs a few years back (got the book as a Christmas gift, started reading it immediately and didn't finish until the May-June time frame. The book I have is in a footlocker right now, but if memory serves I believe it is a little over 770 pages...just an awesome, awesome read, http://www.mscomm.com/~ulysses/page165.html). In fact, I sort of super-imposed their likenesses against each other so folks could appreciate the physical similarities vis-a-vis Grant and Williams. And, I'd also like to see Captain Dale Dye (www.warriorsinc.com) in the picture as well. Captain Dye brings a wealth of knowledge and espirit de corps that would certainly help bring added flavor to a film of this magnitude. Again, someone out there please make this happen...an epic picture (on the scale of 'Lawrence of Arabia', 'Glory', 'Saving Private Ryan', etc.) that covers Grant's life from 1822 to 1885 (with the Civil War, of course, having the lion's share of the film time...or perhaps, focus the entire film on Grant's Civil War experience of 1861-1865...regardless, it would be a wonderful production). Either way, it is time (especially now, in these perilous times when we need to see great, epic films about courage, character and strength of heart) for a great movie about a great American, General Ulysses S. Grant, to be produced and put on the big screen...with Robin Williams in the starring role. Semper Fidelis

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Day of Reckoning: Villaraigosa and the Progressive Movement's March to Victory Posted by Hello
Good morning to all. Got a late start this morning, so I'm going to post and get out of here. Well, today is the day...the run-off in Los Angeles that will determine the next mayor of that great city (the second largest city in the country). The race is between the incumbent, James K. Hahn, versus Antonio Villaraigosa (http://www.antonio2005.com/), the Progressive favorite. After trouncing the field on 8 March 2005, Mr. Villaraigosa (in an upset of significant proportions, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2005/03/09/state/n044705S54.DTL) brilliantly gained the majority vote and never looked back. With Mr. Villaraigosa ahead in the polls, the race is looking like it is his to win or lose (http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0511/p01s01-uspo.html). Yes, we have finally arrived at the "battle royale" between these two, municipal behemoths to determine the course and direction of America's second largest city. This is Mr. Villaraigosa's second attempt at securing the L.A. "top job"(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4554873.stm) and it is certainly looking more and more like the second time is going to be the charm, at least in Mr. Villaraigosa's case. As an historical footnote, if and when Mr. Villaraigosa wins tonight, he will be the first Hispanic mayor of Los Angeles in 133 years, since Cristobal Aguilar (http://www.latinola.com/story.php?story=2092) held the job way back in 1872 (http://www.nbc4.tv/politics/4497397/detail.html); and if you ask me, it's about time and long over-due. Yes, yes I know the 2005 L.A. mayoral race is Democrat against Democrat (which is pretty refreshing, to be honest about it) with the contenders for the office being (again) Democrats Antonio Villaraigosa and James K. Hahn. However, Antonio Villaraigosa is the only candidate (in my opinion) that is not only talking about building bridges but has already demonstrated, in real life and in real terms, the hands-on experience of building bridges between multiple communities...and as far as this devildog is concerned, that's what it is all about. All the pretense and horses**t can go out the window...it's simply all about working people pulling together, cutting through the wedge issues and forming alliances that will allow them to lead better lives. That's what Villaraigosa is talking about and (more importantly) that's what he's been talking about his entire political career, based on what I've read on the man (http://www.canyon-news.com/artman/publish/article_2557.php ). I'm really pulling for him and hoping that he will win today, and win decisively (no "photo finishes", although we'll take victory any way we can get it) which will mean winning by a landslide (or close to a landslide; either way, such a victory will certainly mean a mandate). Today's results will be found at the following link, http://cityclerk.lacity.org/clk/election/Results.htm. In closing, I want to say good luck Mr. Villaraigosa, your victory will resonate and resound far outside of the city limits of Los Angeles and the surrounding Los Angeles area; in fact, a victory will positively impact millions of good people hungry for real inspiration and real leadership in this time where both are (due, in large part, to the "leaderless-ship" exhibited by the current office-holders in the White House) noticeably and regrettably absent from the American political landscape. Semper Fidelis.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

America is a Rudderless Ship of State, or, My Fellow Democrats/Progressives...It's Time for War to be Our Judge: Political Warfare and Our Quest to Take Back the American Republic Posted by Hello
Morning to all. Had some pretty bad storms pass through here last night, but this morning the sun has come out. Above is a photo of American soldiers in Iraq despondent over the fact they don't have the phone services to allow them to communicate with their friends, family and loved ones back home. The photo struck a cord with me in that it represents exactly how I (and, I would think, so many other Progressives/Democrats) feel about the current state of affairs in our beloved country. In essence, we are a rudderless nation, gliding adrift on the ocean of life with (it seems) no one of any real competence at the helm; the only competent members of the current Administration (i.e., Colin Powell, Paul O'Neill, Christy Todd Whitman, etc.) have all bailed. Case in point was the situation last week in the nation's capital when an unknown aircraft was approaching the highly-restricted Washington, D.C. airspace (http://www.wtopnews.com/?sid=518358&nid=25). In a nutshell, the District (already on pins and needles since 9/11, and understandably so!) went absolutely ape-wild with fear and panic; all the while, the President, who was blissfully ignorant of the situation, was riding his bike in the suburbs of D.C. and reading a book of fiction. In fact, Taegan Goddard's Political Wire (http://politicalwire.com/) fleshes it out more and reports the following:

After the evacuation of the White House and Congress a few days ago, we learned President Bush was off mountain biking. But for those worried the president wasn't busy during the middle of a work day, the Washington Post reports Bush also took some reading with him: "In a photo taken just after the ride, Bush is holding what appears to be a copy of I Am Charlotte Simmons, the Tom Wolfe novel about debauchery on a college campus."

Folks, is it me or is this just crazy?!? This is so disturbing that I'm really unable to expound on it any further without going bonkers myself. Again, this is where we are people, this is our present state of affairs...President's of the United States glibly bicycling in the wooded suburbs of the D.C. metropolitan area, with fiction novels in tow, while the nation's capital is going beserk and in utter chaos...that's leadership? Sounds more like a page out of Emperor Nero's playbook to me (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nero). But, how silly, what am I thinking...it's his world isn't it...don't worry be happy, right...not a care on God's green earth ('Bush on the Couch' goes into further detail concerning the psyche of the current officeholder, http://hnn.us/articles/7106.html). Geez, this is batshit crazy! Also, the situation in Iraq sadly continues to deteriorate from bad to worse on a daily basis as the insurrgents continue to attack and destroy targets and human life wantonly, while U.S forces look more and more impotent in terms of neutralizing and stemming the terrorist tide (http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=4553556). Folks, to put it plainly: the death toll is rising daily (http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0512iraq-main12.html), the Iraqi War is beginning to encroach seriously on, and dangerously close to the Syrian border (http://www.itv.com/news/world_205422.html) and we've now reached a tempo and crescendo of violence in the war/insurrgency where whole Marine squads (fyi: Marine squad equals 12-15 Marines, http://www.2ndbn5thmar.com/SLSeries/ssdm.html) are being destroyed in one fell swoop (http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m11683&l=i&size=1&hd=0). Day after day, it continues to look as if the whole ball of wax is spinning more and more out of control. Simply put, our current "leadership" (and I use that term loosely, quite frankly) are the wrong leaders for this time in American history...they are simply out of touch (generally speaking) with what it means to be an American citizen vis-a-vis the common people and the common welfare. They just don't hurt and bleed for the masses...and (more disturbingly) they don't even know how. This batch of elite GOP/Republican leaders (from the President on down) are, at a fundamental level, UNABLE to relate to the common man. Why is this the case? Well, primarily because Republicans simply have access to too much money and are too insulated (both culturally/socially and financially) from what it means to be a real American that is living, breathing and struggling in the early 21st century! To be sure, Republicans show who they really are every time they raise millions of dollars in a single day. The Bush CREEP (Committe to Re-elect the President) raised millions upon millions of dollars in support of President Bush's re-election bid; in fact, the Republicans demonstrated their "money-grubbing" prowess by raising $5.7 million dollars in one day (on or about 23-24 June 2003), and over $2 million in North Carolina the following day http://www.wral.com/news/3496711/detail.html. Bush raised an unprecedented $100 million in the 2000 campaign and he raised an outrageous $100-200 million for the 2004 campaign, link is as follows http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2002-08-11-bush-usat_x.htm. This kind of fundraising simply dwarfs any and all attempts at fundraising by Democratic candidates and the Democratic Party as a whole. But, therein lies our advantage as Democrats, as the true party of the people and the worker/laborer class…and we must stress this point to the American people. The Republican Party will always (underscore always) be able to out raise and out spend the Democrats because that’s what Republicans are all about…in short, Republicans are the money people. They are the party that represents the well-connected and the extremely comfortable. They are the party representative of those Americans that are simply awash, saturated, and waterlogged in money, wealth, power and influence. Whether it be through legtimate means or war profiteering (http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=5326), the GOP has absolutely no scruples when it comes to financial acquisition. Listen, how can wealthy Republicans, who have access to such enormous sums of money, ever relate to the average working American? The 'Sun News' op-ed article (http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/mld/sunnews/news/opinion by Susan Estrich (dated 11 February 2005) goes into more detail regarding this matter. The following is an excerpt from the article:

"...the richer you are, the more likely you are to be a Republican. Most very, very rich people are Republicans. Business PACs vastly outnumber labor PACs, and they favor Republicans."

Writer Robert Scheer also touches on the same subject matter in his 'Sun News' op-ed article titled, "Reforms: GOP makes gifts to big business" (dated 25 February 2005) at http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/mld/sunnews/news/opinion. Again, the question begs to be asked: how can Republicans TRULY relate to the American who is struggling to make their car note, the American that’s struggling to pay their rent every month, the American that is desperately trying to keep food on the table and keep their children clothed? How can they POSSIBLY relate? The answer is they can’t! This message must be hammered home over and over until it finally takes hold in the American voters psyche! In essence, the Republicans advantage in the financial realm can prove to be their most formidable disadvantage in the upcoming elections (2006 and 2008). Democrats MUST get about the business of "busting chops" and turning the GOP's financial advantage into that party's worst disadvantage by sound tactical political maneuvering. This might sound nuts, but I'm not talking to Republicans anymore in terms of trying to convince them that their philosophy/ideology is off-base. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, they're the enemy...and it is time for political war to be our judge...the book 'Before the Shooting Begins' by James Davison Hunter touches on this very topic (http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9411/public.html). Give them the black flag ladies and gents; show no quarter, politically, to Bolton, DeLay and the rest of their ilk. We must defeat them and marginalize them for generations...it is no hyperbole to say they've done so much (TOO MUCH) damage! But, it's not too late, we can fix it...the damage is not irreparable, at least not yet. Like the great military genius Sun Tzu stated over 2,000 years ago in his treatise 'The Art of War' (http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.html): "...After that, comes tactical maneuvering, than which there is nothing more difficult. The difficulty of tactical maneuvering consists in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain". I hear the horn of battle, we can win this thing...let's go Democrats! Semper Fidelis

Thursday, May 12, 2005

It's the Lack of American Leadership a/k/a The Shame of It All: Marine Corps Leadership Callously Allows Delivery of Worst Possible News to Parents of Slain Marine on Mother's Day Posted by Hello

Good morning to all. Folks, I'm hot this morning...stark, raving angry! First let me say this: I love the Marine Corps ...I love it down to the very epicenter of my being. I always wanted to be a Marine and was absolutely ecstatic when I became a Marine at MCRD San Diego in the summer of 1996. Everybody who knows me will testify my love for the Corps is true and strong. But you know what...loving something/someone doesn't always mean playing cheerleader all the time. Sometimes loving something/someone means telling it like it is, looking the loved one/thing straight in the eye and letting loose...warts and all and come what may. In fact, I'm so upset about this I can't see straight. What am I enraged about? In short, finding out the Marine Corps delivered the tragic news of the death of a Marine to his loved one's on Mother's Day, Sunday/8 May 2005 (incident took place in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05131/502414.stm). There's no other way to describe this as other than insensitive, callous and wrong. The Marine Corps was simply wrong to deliver the news of the death of a fellow Marine to his parents (especially his mother) last Sunday on Mother's Day. See this is the kind of crap that really tears my drawers. When I first heard the scuttlebutt (that the Corps actually sent out casualty officers on Mother's Day, of all days)...I didn't believe it...I couldn't believe it...impossible...not my beloved Corps. But, after more facts came to light, the harsh reality set in. Folks, this is some bullshit!!! This is simply outrageous and wholly unbecoming of an organization as auspicious and honorable as the United States Marine Corps. There aren't enough adjectives in the English language to describe how I'm feeling about this...the disappointment, the shame, the anger. Yes, I know mission accomplishment supersedes troop welfare (http://www.oo-rah.com/store/editorial/edi43.asp)...the Corps is forever talking about mission accomplishment overriding troop welfare; but folks, this is taking that principle too far...I mean this is beyond ridiculous. How indifferent to pain and insenstive to basic human emotion can you get? Was it really necessary to come out on Mother's Day and drop a bomb like that? Come on guys! Newsflash ladies and gents, this ain't how you win the PR battle with America's parents nor is it how you win the friends and influence the people you want to join our beloved Corps. The Marine Corps (like the Army) is already hurting in not reaching its recruiting goals (in other words, it's not pulling in as many bright, shiny and eager faces as it wants and/or needs, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7802712/) and this gesture of shocking indifference certainly will not help. Who (in their right mind) wants to join an organization that is so "ass-holish" as to deliver news of a loved ones demise in the service of Corps and country on Mother's Day? Or Father's Day for that matter? What's next, Thanksgving Day and Christmas?!? No, believe me, no one is going to want to serve in an organization that shows little or no understanding of basic human empathy, sensitivity and/or understanding; see, this is another sign/indicator of how the current Admnistration's lack of leadership skills has trickled down to every level of government and has gone on to permeate throughout the country as a whole. One first has to come to the disturbing understanding that our current President is emotionally-impaired (in other words, socially-maladjusted/maladapted, especially when it comes to being able to relate to people in a real, very fundamental and empathetical way). We've seen numerous examples of the current President's emotional handicap and detachment, i.e., not allowing video/pictures of U.S. war dead coming home, not attending any funerals of U.S. war dead, going on vacation and having a good time while American troops are deep "in the shit", telling Iraqi insurgents to "bring it on" (which the insurgents did, in fact, do...thus increasing U.S. casualties) etc. You see, leadership is REALLY the only "trickle-down economic"; that's how leadership works, it tends to "trickle-down" to the lower levels of an organization or organized body. In essence, leadership is the rhythm of any organization or nation, it is both overarching and pervasive...in short, leadership SETS THE TONE for any organized body, be it a military, a business, a nation, whatever it is. For example, it should be no surprise under the brutally indifferent leadership of the current commander-in-chief, the following asininities happened (or, are happening) under his watch (in no particular order): the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Ghraib_prisoner_abuse), the Guantanamo Bay POW camp abuses, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4539477.stm (i.e., sexually-themed techniques used at Gitmo in the interrogation of Islamic prisoners of war, Islamic holy book desecration and disrespect, security techniques that are way outside the parameters called upon by the Geneva Conventions and on and on...outrageous! These atrocities MAY garner short-term intelligence gain, but these tactics certainly don't take into account the long-term, geopolitical consequences...winning the war on terrorism?!?...shucks, we're LOSING the war on terrorism!), trying to push a dumb-a** and bankrupt Social Security "reform" plan that would literally leave who knows how many senior citizens out in the cold, http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=734635 (be it now or in the near future, either way Bush's plan will cut alot of senior citizens loose at a time in life when people need MORE help, not less!), huge tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the average American thus driving the nation into a financial ditch(http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/11532929.htm), policies that promote drilling in places like ANWR and other natural preserves thus wrecking the environment all in the name of hydrocarbon acquisition (http://progressivetrail.org/articles/050504Hartmann.shtml), the disgust that was the Enron scandal, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enron (you know, all those COO's and CEO's, CIO's and CFO's that were absolutely C-U-C-K-O-O)...those big-time Republican stalwarts and Republican contributors like Andrew Fastow and his wife, along with Jeff Skilling, Ken Lay, et al. were simply allowed to run ape-shi* wild at the expense of so many American citizen's personal and financial security (in fact, all of those bastards should be escorted to the nearest guillotine ASAP, with all of their countless victims chanting "this way motherf***ers", http://www.corporatemofo.com/stories/020127enron.htm) and so on and so forth. Now, the sickness has infected my beloved Corps (sending casualty officers to a home on Mother's Day...that's just plain wrong). See, what we have here are people looking at the current leadership, picking up on the callousness vibe exuded by that leadership and then saying subconsciously (or perhaps even consciously): "...that's what he wants, that's how he rolls and operates...I guess it's ok...if it's ok with him, then it's ok with me...I'll do it too!". All this talk about Christianity...folks, I don't see the action, I don't see them walking the walk ...I just don't see the practical application of what they espouse with such frequency! Lot of talk from on high about "on High", but the policies just don't match up with the sanctimonious rhetoric. Something is wrong here, am I the only one that feels this way? I'll tell you this, if I was in charge of the First Marine Corps District (First Marine Corps District is responsible for Pittsburgh-area Marines in this capacity, http://www.1mcd.usmc.mil/) let's just say devildog's butts would be on the carpet...Marines just don't do this kind of thing dammit! We stand for something higher....REAL Marines stand by each other and FOR each other....we DON'T stand for the kind of outrageous and vulgar behavior displayed on 8 May 2005 when Marines were dispatched to the home of a fellow Marine (who was killed in action!) to tell his mother, on Mother's Day mind you, that her son was killed in Iraq thus tainting that special day with a kind of unimaginable heartache, grief and sadness for all time. That kind of behavior might even warrant a conduct unbecoming charge (Article 133) or, at the very least, an Article 32 investigation (and, if none of those, certainly an NJP/non-judicial punishment is in order). If there are any Marines out there, tell me what you think. I think the whole thing went down foul and the Corps could have done a much better job handling the situation. But, it's sadly not surprising when you've got a leadership team as cold and hard-hearted to human suffering as the current, insane clown posse we've got in the White House right now; they clearly, and consistently, demonstrate their lack of GENUINE human empathy time and time again and (sadly) at every opportunity. Semper Fidelis

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Question of the Day: Why Are Republicans So Mean? Posted by Hello
Good morning to all. It is a lovely day here in the American Southwest...clear skies and sunny (although it's pretty humid and it'll probably get up to 90 degrees today). Quick post and then I'm out, still have to shower (good PT session this morning) and then get going. The question of the day (as I've already stated) is why are Republicans so mean? Generally speaking, it seems like every Republican I've met and/or seen/heard on TV/ radio is always a real mean and ornery son-of-a-gun? You know, I'm talking about always out to get somebody, chip on the shoulder, axe to grind, mean-spirited, etc. Why is that? I mean you can feel the meanness just resonating, just oozing from their very being? Here's an example of what I'm talking about, just came down the pike this morning, http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/10/church.politics.ap/index.html. This is ridiculous, a Republican pastor running his liberal congregation members out on a rail simply because they are down with the Democratic struggle?!? That's just crazy...can you imagine that?Is it me or do others out there dig what I'm talking about? The picture above is a crazy collage (kind of a GOP Dagwood sandwich) of President Bush, Condoleeza Rice, John Bolton and Darth Vader; these folks (and one fictional character) sum up exactly what I'm talking about in terms of the sheer nastiness, bile and meanness that Republicans exude from their very core...in short, the biggest jerks around tend to be Republicans. I placed Darth Vader in my collage as a tip of respect to George Lucas, but also because I'm convinced Darth Vader would be a registered Republican if he had the opportunity to exist in reality and register to vote. Now, of course there are mean liberals/Democrats/progressives out there; but, in general, I haven't run into too many a**hole progressives, in fact they tend to be very sweet, generous and nice people. You know, the kind of folks that bleed for their fellow man. It's funny, I like to tell my GOP "friends", when they call progressives "bleeding-heart liberals" that Jesus was a bleeding-heart too...that usually shuts them up. To shed some light on this phenomenon, I'm reading a book about the psyche of the "chiefarooni Republican", titled 'Bush on the Couch' by Dr. Justin Frank, a psychiatrist at George Washington University Medical School (http://hnn.us/articles/7106.html); as the title suggests, Dr. Frank breaks down the psyche of the President and I think his observations (at a certain level) can be applied to Republicans (and the Republican mind-set) as a whole. I'm only on Chapter Three, and the book is already making me squirm a bit; to think that an individual as screwed-up as GWB could be running the big show (a/k/a our country) is beyond me. Now, of course, this is just one psychiatrist's analysis...but it sure does ring true once you start getting into the book. Again, this is a short post, but folks please offer your perspectives on this phenomenon of Republicans tending to be mean bastards, why this is and (more importantly) what are the overarching consequences/implications of such a reality on our national character and national well-being. Take care. Semper Fidelis

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Echoes of Cambodia: Marines "In Hot Pursuit" on the Syrian Border Posted by Hello
Good morning to all aboard the blog. Hope all is well. Today's topic of discussion is the Iraqi War (also known as Energy War #2) and how it is slowly (but surely, mind you) spreading, expanding and is now encroaching upon the Syrian border. Before I delve into this, I first want to say that 8 May 2005 was the 60th Anniversary of V-E Day (Victory-in-Europe), or, the day the Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of all German land, air and sea forces and (effectively) thus ending World War II in the European Theatre of Operations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-E_Day). Of course, it would be another four months (in conjunction with a massive fire-bombing campaign and two, dropped atom bombs courtesy of Gen. Curtis LeMay and his XXI Bomber Command) before the Japanese Empire capitulated, ending World War II altogether. Yes, indeed, sixty years ago this year the most devastating war in all of human history (http://www.emayzine.com/lectures/WWII.html) came to an end. Yet, here we are sixty plus years later on the brink (potentially) of another world war. Like the Bob Dylan song, I can feel this one blowing in the wind and its labeled "coming soon to a theatre of operations near you". Ladies and gentleman, this current Administration (in my humble estimation) is maneuvering to attack Syria sometime this year. For my fellow veterans, military historians, analysts, operations officers, etc. this is not news. We've known this for awhile. It's 2005, the U.S. Presidential election is over and this is now the "mean season" in terms of increased military operations. No pesky reelection to worry about, as far as the neocons are concerned it's now time to go for broke. In fact, if I had to bet (and I'm not a betting man) the odds are far greater that the U.S. will attack Syria than attack North Korea (although it is looking more and more everyday that a "nuclearizing" North Korea is also on the chopping block). Indeed, with U.S. Marines vis a vis "Operation Matador" (http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/news/51005-homeland-matador.html) operating as close as six-ten miles from the Syrian border (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3195764.stm), it will only be a matter of time before this thing spills over into Syria (which it probably already has) and gets blown all the hell out of shape. It's only a matter of time before Syrian forces begin to engage U.S. forces in a way that cannot be minimized or "spun-down" so as not to be politcally inflammatory or exacerbating. Once you start conducting military operations on someone else's border, you create a very rich environment for serious misunderstandings and miscommunications. So, my question is this: when (not if...when) the United States attacks Syria proper, with the primary mission (primarily) being to neutralize and eradicate insurrgent platforms/bases of operation, neutralize Ba'ath leadership elements in exile (a la follow the Ho Chi Minh Trail into Cambodia in early 1970 , http://chnm.gmu.edu/hardhats/cambodia.html), as well as, facilitate the dismantling of the Basir Assad regime...what will happen next? Will this be a blip on the radar, or will there be severe consequences in terms of America's foreign policy worldwide and especially in the Middle East? How will the Arab world react to an expansion of the Iraqi War into other corners of the Middle East? Won't it begin to look more and more like a reincarnation of the Crusades (http://www.kingdomofheavenmovie.com/), just 21st-century style? In summation, Bush and his cronies had/have no idea what they were/are doing and I'm afraid they have set in motion events that are destined to spin out of control; as in the great film 'All the Presidents Men', we will all find ourselves like Kenneth H. Dahlberg...in the middle of something and we won't know what. Feedback and analysis encouraged. Semper Fidelis.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Colonel David H. Hackworth: Farewell to an American Warrior Posted by Hello
Welcome to all. Cloudy and overcast today in the Southwest and it'll probably rain later on in the day. Have some sad news to report, caught wind of this yesterday and I still can't believe it. Colonel David H. Hackworth, great American warrior and patriot, died in Mexico on 4 May of cancer. Colonel Hackworth was 74 years old. Oh, I can't believe it. What can I say about such an individual, about such a warrior. Col. Hackworth devoted his life and career to the service of his country in good times and bad, first (after lying about his age) joining the Merchant Marines during World War II at the tender age of 14; he then enlisted in the Army at 15 years old. Col. Hackworth went on to have a stellar 26-year career (7 of those 26 years were in full combat) in the United States Army, serving at the tale end of World War II, then in Korea and finally in Vietnam. Col. Hackworth rose from the rank of private to colonel by way of a battlefield commission in Korea (where he continued to rise to become the youngest captain in the Army) to Vietnam where he served as the Army's youngest full colonel. Col. Hackworth resigned from the Army in 1971 after declaring publicly that the war in Vietnam was "...a bad war...", "...unwinnable..." and that U.S. forces "...needed to get out...". With almost five years in-country, Col. Hackworth was the most senior American officer to give such a candid and dismal appraisal of the situation in Vietnam. After his retirement from the Army, he moved to Australia. Col. Hackworth left the Army having been nominated for the Medal of Honor three times (his last application is currently under review at the Pentagon). He was also twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (the Army's second highest honor for valor), along with 10 Silver Stars and eight Bronze Stars. He earned his first Silver Star and Purple Heart in Korea; however, Col. Hackworth always said he was proudest of his Combat Infantryman's Badge and eight Purple Hearts. After his Army service, Col. Hackworth continued to serve the greater human community by becoming the leading spokesman for Australia's anti-nuclear movement and, for his efforts, he was awarded the United Nations Medal for Peace. He went on to become a contributing editor for 'Newsweek' from 1990 to 1996 in which he covered the first Gulf War, plus the peacekeeping operations in Somalia, the Balkans, Haiti and on the Korean peninsula. Most recently, Col. Hackworth could be seen as a military affairs analyst/expert on numerous news programs on television and radio in that he was well recognized as an expert in the study of military science, warfare and warfighting. His column, 'Defending America', appeared weekly in newspapers throughout the country and on his awesome Web site 'Soldiers For the Truth' (www.sftt.org). I was shocked to learn, upon his passing, that Col. Hackworth had been suffering from bladder cancer for some time now. Bladder cancer is a cancer that appears quite frequently in Vietnam veterans exposed to defoliation/herbicidal agents like Agent Orange and Agent Blue (http://www.gmasw.com/ao_note1.htm). (Sidenote: that damned war is still causing casualties even to this day, so many Vietnam veterans continue to suffer to this very day...we must not forget them...we cannot forget them! Unfortunately, the same will be said about Afghnaistan and Iraq). Col. Hackworth was, in short, a warrior's warrior. He was understood to know what Ward Just, the longtime journalist and novelist, described as "the atmosphere of violence". Ward Just first met Col. Hackworth in the Central Highlands of Vietnam in 1966 and observed that Col. Hackworth "...knew how to keep his head, to think in danger’s midst. In battle the worst thing is paralysis. He mastered his own fear and learned how to kill. He led by example, and his men followed". Although I didn't agree with everything Col. Hackworth said/believed (especially in terms of his low opinion of General Wesley Clark, another hero of mine, http://www.hackworth.com/18may99.html), I agreed alot more with him than I disagreed. His summing up of the war in Iraq and appraisal of SecDef Rumsfeld (via Salon magazine) were spot on:

"...The retired colonel calls Donald Rumsfeld an "asshole" whose bad planning mired U.S. troops in an ugly guerrilla conflict in Iraq. His sources? Defiant soldiers sending dispatches from the front..."

In summation, Col. Hackworth was a warrior, anti-war activist and progressive that was more than a knuckle-dragging grunt...he actually used his mind socratically and always wanted the best for his country. Gee whiz, first the passing of Captain Frederick C. Branch (first African-American Marine officer) a few weeks ago and now the departure of Colonel David H. Hackworth...let us learn from their life example and continue to push forward. Semper Fidelis

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Democratic Party: The True American Patriots Posted by Hello
Good morning to all of the faithful. It's a sunny day here. PT'd this morning too. You can always count on some good physical training to get the juices flowing, to toughen up the sinews and to clear the mind. First let me say congratulations to Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Labour Party for their victorious outcome in the British elections yesterday (http://www.wbir.com/news/news.aspx?storyid=25467). Although not as strong an outcome as they were hoping for (http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2005/s1361507.htm), yesterday's results are still a validation that the British conservative movement (the Tory Party, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tory_Party) is either dead or comatose and that the Labour Party's socio-economic philosophies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labour_Party_(UK)) continue to be congruent with the social and political vision of the British people...hoping that same vision will eventually take hold here in the United States. On the heels of the Labour Party victory, some old questions came to mind: what is happening in America? What has happened to character, grit and strength of heart? What about integrity? What happened to honor, courage and commitment (the "Core Values" of the USMC by the way, more at http://www.ocs.usmc.mil/Used/Candidate%20Preparation.htm)? What has happened to those fine and wonderful virutes that made us the greatest country on the face of the earth? Why do I feel like my country is changing into something that is simply unrecognizable? Why are we growing softer and softer, both physically, intellectually ( http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1024398.cms) and in terms of (what I call) "youth development"(check it out at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56466-2005Feb26.html. You might need to register to read the article), while our antagonists and enemies (as a collective) are growing stronger and stronger as every day passes? Right now, the Chinese are struggling to become a world power in terms of "superpowerdom", hoping to fill the void left by the former Soviet Union; make no mistake, although not a threat now to the United States (http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=5612), the Chinese are getting tougher and more aggressive year after year. The Chinese certainly know how to dig deep and stay focused on a common goal. And what about the North Koreans and their social philosophy of juche (http://www.uriminzokkiri.com/English/RoJak/2/philosophy.htm) which talks about community, self-sacrfice and self-reliance? In short, what is going on here in the United States? Now, I am not above reproach...not by a long shot! There are many more things I could be doing, and eventually will be doing; but am I the only one that feels this way about what is going on around us? The present socio-political atmosphere in America reminds me of the scene in "JFK" when Kevin Costner's character, Jim Garrison, says we are through the looking glass and what's white is black and what's black is white. These are very strange and interesting times, indeed. Listen, it's time for Democrats and progressives to man the battle-lines and take the thunder to the Republicans; as the title of this post states, we Democrats are the true American patriots...the true defenders of the American republic. We need to start acting like it. The Republicans talk a good game, but they have shown (repeatedly) they don't know what in the heck they are doing. Record deficits, unending wars, more war on the horizon, etc. Geez, we are living in an era where the dumbasses are leading the smart people. Check out this link at http://www.neshobademocrat.com/main.asp?SectionID=7&ArticleID=9717&SubSectionID=302 ; or, as Col. David Hackworth (http://www.sftt.org/) said, this is a country where "...the best and brightest are being led by the worst and the dimmest". No longer should we cower and be intimidated by those conservative clowns in their hulking SUV's and obnoxious Hummers. Screw those GOP bastards! It's time to bring the funk to all Republicans wherever they may roam. We, as Democrats (and more importantly as Americans), must stop sitting idly by and letting these clowns wreck our nation and destroy what so many have fought, died and struggled for since the inception of this great republic. One thing we must do is expose the "conservative movement" for what it really is. In other words, show the GOP's true colors, not the crap they say in sound bites, but what is really in their collective heart and soul. We must link the current Republican Party to it's much beloved confederacy of 1861 to 1865. Make no mistake friends, the present day GOP is comprised of modern day Confederates (http://www.soulofacitizen.org/articles/Confederates.htm), i.e., same principles, same philosophies; heavy on states rights, sectionalism, etc. Just like the Confederate States of America, the "neocon-hijacked" Republican Party is a dangerous threat to the idea of the American republic. They (and their ilk) always said "the south will rise again", and indeed it is trying to in the newfangled form of "compassionate conservatism" and "21st century Republican Party-ism". In fact, the modern day Republican Party is really a weird mix of pro-states rights advocates, sympathizers of 19th century Confederate philosophies and mid-twentieth century fascism (http://www.mvp-seattle.org/pages/pageFascism.htm) all rolled into one. Strong attacks on this point will show the American people how much old Confederate ideals and modern fascist ideologies (where the state supersedes the indvidual) are meshing, and in fact living and breathing in the hearts and minds of these modern-day “conservatives”. As I stated in a previous post, we must stop them from spreading the myth President Lincoln was a “Republican”; he was technically, but in name only when compared to today’s Republicans. Explain to the public how 21st century Republicans are actually 19th century Democrats in terms of political philosophy. Also explain how the “Big Switch” between the parties began in 1933 with the inauguration of FDR (first “modern” Democrat; with his implementation of social programs and government increases to offset the damage the Great Depression was inflicting on the nation) and ending (the process being completed) during the Reagan-Bush years of the 1980’s to early 1990's. Also, no more conceeding squat to these clowns! We can fight too! Democrats can certainly fight too!!! Yes, indeed, this is a great time to be a Democrat and a progressive! It's time to fix bayonets friends. Let's do all that we can to "flip-the-script" on this Republican juggernaut and bring this madness to an end. Don't let them fool you; we, as Democrats, are the true defenders of the spirit and philosophy of the republic...not them. Semper Fidelis

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

By Dawn's Early Light: On the Brink of the Second Korean War Posted by Hello
Good morning to everyone. I'm running late, way behind my schedule, so going to make a post and jet. It's a very overcast day (so far) here in the American Southwest...kind of cool and breezy out too. Listening to 'Crosby, Stills and Nash' right now...they're awesome. Topic of discussion this morning is the likelihood of an upcoming military clash on the Korean peninsula. I, like so many other "junior journalists", posted previously about the concern so many shared over the President's rather bellicose remarks during his press conference last week (28 April 2005, http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/10275) in terms of the effect of those statements on the North Korean leadership (especially Kim Jong-Il) and the potential for those ill-conceived statements to have far-reaching and unpalatable consequences (to say the very least). As predicted (by myself and so many others), the President's insensitive and misguided statements seemingly have exacerbated the already tenuous, delicate and fragile situation on the Korean peninsula to the point of no return (http://www.kfmb.com/stories/story.11493.html); hey, maybe that's what the President wanted all along. First, North Korea (three days after the President's press conference) test-fired a short range missile in the direction of Japan on 1 May 2005 (http://i-newswire.com/pr18104.html). The missile fell harmlessly into the Sea of Japan, but (as you could imagine) the gesture did not go over well, especially on the Japanese home islands. And now, we are all waiting with bated breath as rumours continue to swirl fast and furious about intelligence stating all the signs are there indicating North Korea is preparing to test a nuclear device in the near future (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1096966.cms). The stakes have become so "jacked-up" that the 'Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' (http://www.thebulletin.org/index.htm) reset the current time on the nuclear clock from nine minutes-to-midnight to seven minutes-to-midnight (midnight, of course signifying nuclear war). The current time of seven minutes to midnight is the same time the clock was set at when it was first established back in 1950 (http://www.thebulletin.org/doomsday_clock/) indicating that the perception of the danger of catastrophic events is on the same order as it was during the Cold War (sidenote: 1950 is the same year the first Korean War was started). In other words, we are right on the brink of going over the cliff; and with the current President and his little clown posse at the wheel, our chances of avoiding war on the peninsula aren't looking so good. If the North Koreans do (in fact) test a nuclear device, be it underground (still bad, but not as aggressive) or above-ground for all the world to see (very bad and very aggressive and indicative of a heightened, belligerent posture), the stakes on the peninsula will be at a level unseen since those early summer days of 1950. If the test should go ahead, the United States will have only three options that I can foresee; of course, there's always the "X" factor/option (representative of the unknown). But for all intents and purposes, the United States wil have three options per a North Korean nuclear test:

1) Attack North Korea-this would not be good, but the mission would (of course) be to neutralize North Korea's nuclear projection capability, as well as, their nuclear proliferation and production capability (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/oplan-5027.htm). The mission would also include (no doubt) "going for broke", or, the complete deconstruction and reconstruction of the North Korean political apparatus from the top down (in other words, "Operation Adios Kim Jong Il"). This would be a bloody mess and the likelihood of the introduction and implementation of nuclear weaponry vis-a-vis mission accomplishment (on both sides, i.e., the U.S. using tactical nukes on the battlefield and North Korea using tactical nukes on the battlefield and, quite possibly, strategic nukes lobbed at Hawaii and/or the West Coast of the United States) are better than fair to middlin'. In fact, if I was a betting man (and I'm not) I'd say the odds are in favor of seeing a Second Korean War that would include the implementation of nuclear weaponry as an offensive weapons system in the tactical and strategic spheres of battle/warfare.

2) Quarantine/Blockade of North Korea- the United States could instigate and execute a naval/aerial blockade of North Korea (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/korea-blockade.htm). Of course, the United States would more than likely do this under the auspice and aegis of the United Nations (to dilute the political impact and political force of the blockade, http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-04-28-voa16.cfm) and the blockade would more than likely be called something else, i.e., international containment zone, or temporary restrictive area, etc. But either way, it would be a blockade and a blockade is an act of war; and the North Koreans are smart enough to know that the United States would be the main "mover and shaker" in the establishment of said blockade, even if such a blockade is under the cover of a United Nations action. So again, a blockade would equal an even more angry and hostile North Korea and so we find ourselves at total war's doorstep. One of the only real questions concerning the effectiveness of such an action would be, if the U.S. did slap a blockade on the North Koreans, would the Chinese (North Korea's ally and neighbor to it's north) leave it's borders open; thus allowing the North Koreans an economic lifeline that would render any blockade pretty much impotent and without much bite.

3) Strategic, surgical strikes on North Korea's nuclear weapons/proliferation sites- this would equal sorties of American air power and naval power (like Israel did to Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, http://www.rense.com/general56/kjune.htm) targeting North Korean nuclear sites with pin-point, surgical accuracy in an attempt at rendering North Korea a country that is "nuclear weapons incapable" (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/oplan-5026.htm). This is probably the most attractive option to many in the National Command Authority, but they know (as so many of us do) that any action on our part like that would only trigger total war. So, once again, we find ourselves at the doorstep of war.

Ladies and gentleman, in short, this is not good...not good at all. Of all the players, the South Koreans have the most to lose in my assessment. They are connected to North Korea geographically (they share the same peninsula), as well as, familially; and any war, although terrible for all those involved, would be absolutely catastrophic for the people of South Korea. To be frank, I feel so sorry for them...anytime the tempers begin to flare on the peninsula, the South Korean government (for the most part) is always quick to downplay and minimize the situation like a family that is in denial of the true proportions of a problem within its home. They do this because they have so much to lose, on so many levels, if actual war breaks out on the peninsula (http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2003/030228-dprkwar01.htm). Most older South Koreans experienced the first Korean War of 1950-1953 first hand (in that they were in-country at the time) and they KNOW what war is...and civil wars are (generally) the most vicious and cruel in terms of the sheer magnitude and brutishness; so it is no surprise that they want to avoid war with their North Korean brothers and sisters at all costs. Of course, our current President doesn't really understand that because he's lacking in brainpower. In closing, if North Korea goes ahead and conducts a nuclear test, the situation on the Korean peninsula will change overnight, both dramatically and exponentially. With a nuclear weaponized North Korea (which is clearly unacceptable, as most of the major world players have indicated), there will be no more discussion concerning "six-party talks" or any party talks for that matter...the focus will shift to the conducting of total war on the Korean peninsula. And make no mistake, the North Korean's not only have the military capability and power to "bring the funk" in a way unseen since World War II, they also have the political will...this will be nothing short of an all or nothing venture for Kim Jong Il and the North Korean regime. Last time around, North Korea had the comfort of knowing that the Soviets wouldn't allow the situation to get too out of control, but now (with the Soviet Union gone and the Chinese unlikely to enter the fray via the Yalu River like they did in October of 1950) North Korea will have to "go for the gusto" on its own, just to hold on to what it's got...and they definitely want to hold on to what they've got! In short, this will be a much tougher, determined and resolute foe than the North Korea we faced in the summer of 1950. It must be understood that there is a rancor and burning hatred in the hearts of Kim Jong Il and the North Korean leadership towards the United States that has been building for sometime now (http://militaryweek.com/archived-nokorea.shtml)
...the stakes have never been higher. The clock is ticking ladies and gents, let us hope that we haven't run out of time. Semper Fidelis