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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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Days of Callousness: Why are Republicans So Mean? Posted by Picasa
Good evening to all reading this blog. Once again this post is an unusual evening post in that this is the only time over the last few days where I have had the time to squeeze in a post. First, let me apologize for not being able to make regular postings like I used to do. My life has become a swirl of activity as my main focus of attention is preparing to head to graduate school. In fact, a bit of good news on the graduate school front is that I have been able to secure a bit of financial aid (www.fafsa.ed.gov) through a Federal Stafford loan (www.staffordloan.com). However, there is still a need to secure a bit more financial aid in order to completely clear the "money hurdle" (as it were) and advance unscathed into the ivy-leaved-entwined columns of post-graduate academia. With that said, I'm also feeling like a little cold or something is coming on, in that my behind is seriously dragging. Oh well, we are all dealing with something or another, thus (in the spirit of Churchill) we must all take heart in this knowledge and press on. This entry is a re-observation of a post made awhile back concerning the character traits of those who belong to the opposite party. The question of the day 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, provided by the great 'Daily Kos' (www.dailykos.com) website, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/5/5/211218/4946. 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?Is it me or do others out there dig what I'm talking about? The picture above is one of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice while she was serving in the capacity of National Security Advisor. Why is she looking so mean? Why are Republicans (generally speaking) so mean? What is the deal with the sheer nastiness, bile and emotional hardness Republicans exude from their very core. In short, why is it that the biggest jerks around tend to be Republicans. Let me put it this way: 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 who 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 read a book a few months ago about the psyche of the the GOP "Big Kahuna" himself, 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 in general (and the Republican mind-set) as a whole. I suggest all those reading this blog check out the book; although the book made me squirm a bit in terms of the gravity and seriousness of the subject matter (namely, the mind of the current President of the United States), it is still a fantastic and worthwhile read. 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, in all fairness 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

Friday, July 22, 2005

Political Ranks Continue to Swell with Progressive Marines: Iraq War/Marine Veteran Runs for Congressional Seat as Democrat Posted by Picasa
Greetings to all aboard the blog. This is truly a good morning. Just got wind of this story via 'The Raw Story', an outstanding website that is both refreshing and insightful (www.rawstory.com). See, this is what I'm talking about...we're reaching a tipping point here folks...a tipping point where the American people are finally beginning to wake up from their collective slumber and critically reassess the current Administation, the neoconservative agenda and the Republican Party's lackluster idea of American government as a whole (http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/20/poll/). Here is a snippet from the Yahoo/AP News piece on Hackett written by 'Associated Press' writer Dan Sewell found on the 'Raw Story' site:

"SEAMAN, Ohio - A few months ago, Paul Hackett was flushing out insurgents and avoiding ambushes in Fallujah, Ramadi and other hotspots in Iraq. Today, the Marine is trying to round up votes in small southern Ohio towns like this one. Hackett, a Democrat, is running in a special election Aug. 2 in a bid to become the first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress".

So, Major Paul Hackett, a United States Marine field grade officer and veteran of the war in Iraq, is running for the House of Representatives by way of Ohio's 2nd Congressional District (www.hackettforcongress.com). Now, we all know about Ohio and what Ohio represents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohio) ...if Kerry/Edwards had won Ohio's 21 electoral votes (which they probably did, but that's a subject for another post), we'd have an entirely different Administration in the White House right about now. Alas, we were outflanked in Ohio and lost the state...but, we'll get the bastards next time. Anyway, my point is Ohio is a tough nut to crack and Ohio's 2nd Congressional District (located in the southern portion of the state) is notoriously conservative and Republican. In fact, when he wins, Major Hackett will become the first Democrat to be elected in Ohio's 2nd District in thirty years. Again, we are reaching a tipping point where veterans are returning home from Iraq en masse and realizing that the Republican talking points being belched out incessantly from the GOP "windbag machine" are nothing more than empty rhetoric...full of volume and heat, but without any semblance of substance. Good folks, a number of Iraq War veterans are returning home (in fact, returning home as we speak) and if they didn't leave the United States as Progressives, they are certainly returning as Progressives. A large percentage of our veterans are coming back to the United States from the Iraqi desert with the stunning realization (at least for those whose eyes weren't opened before they left for southwest Asia) that the current Administration's expedition in Iraq in particular, and its foreign policy in general, is lacking at best and bankrupt at worst. Yes, bottom rail is beginning to inch its way to the top now. I love this!!! Republicans are spinning, I mean how can they square up against not only an Iraq War veteran, but also a U.S. Marine who is also a Democrat. This is like their worst nightmare. Marines who are Democrats...*gasp*...what's more, Marines who are liberals?!? I can just imagine those GOP political consultants hoping against hope that the gallant warriors returning home from Iraq, the majority of whom are regular voters and the hand full of those veterans who will be political candidates one day (maybe sooner than later, like Major Paul Hackett, www.hackettforcongress.com), would all get off the boat/airplane as loyal Republicans, in lockstep with the views and philosophies of the Republican National Committee and the current Administration. Guess again. These great veterans are returning home and beginning to understand what Shakepeare meant in 'King Lear' when he wrote (Act III, Scene 6, Lines 19-21): "He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf...". In other words, it's beginning to crystalize in their minds (generally speaking) that you just can't trust those GOP bastards...they'll zap you everytime. Oh, this is awesome! Major Hackett, as stated previously, is running for Ohio's 2nd Congressional District in a special election which will be held on 2 August 2005. When Major Hackett becomes Congressman Hackett, he will be the first Iraq War veteran to become a member of Congress. His will be a strong and refreshing voice in the halls of Congress, a voice of one who has been on the ground and had the full experience of what the war in Iraq really means, not in terms of the cotton candy-like slogans, tin-plated lapel pins and magnets obnoxiously plastered all over the backends of too many lumbering SUV's, but in the more real and visceral terms of the blood being spilled, lives being lost and progress being made on the ground. Major Hackett, as Congressman Hackett, will lead his Ohio district just as he led his magnificent Marines in the field: with a strong sense of duty, responsibility, concern and compassion. You see, Major Paul Hackett not only understands in the abstract the meaning of the Marine Officer Candidates School (www.ocs.usmc.mil) motto, "Ductus Exemplo" (Latin for "Lead by Example")...he has lived it! And I have no doubt Major Hackett will continue to lead by example when he represents the good people of southern Ohio in Congress, just as he did when leading his Marines in garrison during peacetime and just as he did leading his Marines within the furnace of battle during war. Good luck Major Hackett and Semper Fidelis

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

We Ain't Forgot You Boy: Karl Rove and his Despicable Actions are Still Front and Center Posted by Picasa
Good morning to all aboard the blog. It is a lovely morning here in the American Southwest (although it promises to be another scorcher) as I listen to the Crosby, Stills and Nash song 'Carry on/Questions' (CSN rocks, now that's what I'm talking about). So, the President has chosen Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_G._Roberts_Jr.) as his guy to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. Outstanding. But don't think for a second we're going to allow these Supreme Court activities to in any way distract us from Karl Rove, what he did and how he should either be prosecuted, sent packing or both. More on this later. Anyway, it's been awhile since I lasted posted and so much has been going on both in the world and on the homefront. The reasons for my lack of postings are as follows: late last week my surge protector/back-up battery went on the blink by way of turning on and off all by itself and, as a result, causing my computer to turn on and off at the most inconvenient times. When I finally got the time to deal with the problem (which was over the weekend), I was able to rectify the situation by getting another surge protector (not as high-speed as the other surge protector, but it fits the bill). I've also been trying to rustle up some financial aid for graduate school via FAFSA (www.fafsa.ed.gov) as well as through the VA (www.gibill.va.gov) ...and folks, this ain't no easy process...very time consuming and (at times) exasperating...but, it's worth it. I've also been helping a close friend square away her new apartment and that has also been time consuming. Plus, logging onto the blogosphere has been hit or miss (at least for me) for some unknown reason for the last few days. What's going on with Picasa and Blogger? Who knows, but I still love 'em. OK, I'm done complaining, now on with the topic of the day: Karl Rove, his insidiousness and how his presence corrupts the American political system. But before I go there, allow me to acknowledge the passing yesterday of General William C. Westmoreland, former MACV commander (1964-1968) and Army Chief of Staff (1968-1972). General Westmoreland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Westmoreland), although tainted by his lack of success in terms of the Vietnam War, was nevertheless the quintessential soldier's soldier/warrior's warrior in that he deeply loved this country and her armed forces and demonstrated his love of country by selflessly serving in the United States Army for 36 years. In fact, General Westmoreland graduated from the United States Military Academy (West Point, www.usma.edu) in 1936 at the age of 22 and, while serving in World War II, attained the rank of colonel by his 30th birthday. That's remarkable folks and very telling in terms of his competency, warrior genius and leadership capability in that most warriors don't make full colonel until their early to mid-40's (traditionally speaking). Unfortunately, during his stint as MACV (Military Assistance Command Vietnam, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MACV) commander, Westmoreland never did understand Vietnam in terms of being able to wrap his mind around the big picture; and, because of this, American overall progress on the ground in Vietnam was lackluster during the years 1964 to 1968 in terms of overall strategic/socio-psychological (the "winning of hearts and minds") success. Of course, this culminated in the strategic/socio-psychological defeat of American forces vis a vis the Tet Offensive(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tet_Offensive) of early 1968, while although a tactical victory for American military forces, Tet was a devastating blow to American morale (especially back in the United States) that was also a disastrous and overarching defeat in the strategic arena. The Tet Offensive debacle was the main reason Westmoreland was "excused from his responsibilities" as MACV commander and brought back to Washington, D.C. to serve out his career as Army Chief of Staff until his retirement in 1972. General Westmoreland went on to become a vocal advocate for veterans (especially Vietnam veterans) and, although a Republican, he seemed to really care about the plight of all veterans after the bugles blared and the trumpets had long since faded. An interesting sidenote is how General Vo Nguyen Giap (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vo_Nguyen_Giap), General Westmoreland's "opposite number" and arch-antagonist during the war (as supreme commander of North Vietnamese military forces and orchestrator of North Vietnam's subsequent success), continues to outlast his nemesis (even on the battlefield of life) in that he is alive and well in Vietnam and aging gracefully at the ripe old age of 93 years old (http://www.carpenoctem.tv/military/giap.html). Render salute to General William C. Westmoreland and thank you sir for your dedicated service to the Republic. Now on with the topic of the day: Karl Rove (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Rove), his unscrupulousness and his need to step aside and move into the shadows and margins of American politics. I say back into the shadows because, let's face it, this fu**ker may leave the White House (which would be a good thing), but he will always be included in this President's tight, little circle of close advisors. Although he will more than likely pull a "Karen Hughes" (you know, he's-not-there-but-he-is-there for all intents and purposes), I'll still consider it a great victory if we can run his ass out of his West Wing office (and out of the White House altogether) on a rail. Listen, I don't hate Karl Rove...in fact I admire and respect his political saavy, dexterity and prowess (the guy is a political tactical/strategic genius with rare talent of the first order); but he is the enemy as far as I'm concerned and there is no getting around that. I encourage all to read "Bush's Brain" (www.bushsbrain.com) by James Moore and Wayne Slater. It is truly a revealing expose into the mind and motivations of this maniacal political genius. Not since the days of Rasputin ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigori_Rasputin) and Cardinal Richelieu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinal_Richelieu) have we seen someone with this much influence over a nation's chief executive and who has so effectively (and disturbingly) melded the worlds of politics and policy into one big conflagaration...in other words, to the point of not knowing where politics ends and policy begins. Again, the crux of the matter here is that Karl Rove has got to go, meaning he must exit the White House and be pushed as far away (albeit, geographically) from the White House as is possible. I'd like to see him return to Austin (capital of Texas) and although (like I've already stated) he will forever be a close advisor (the closest, more than likely) to the President, at least he won't be slithering around the White House with his evil thinking cap on, stinking up the place. Put another way, whether or not Karl Rove broke the "letter of the law" (which is certainly debatable) he most definitely broke the "spirit of the law" and for that infraction, Rove (for the sake of the country and for the sake of all that we, as a collective American community and nation, hold dear) should be excused from the White House and sent on his way (whether that way is to the private sector or to prison doesn't really matter to me, as long as he is out of the White House). In a nutshell, Karl Rove (whether knowingly or unknowingly) has a corrosive and toxic effect on the American political system. Karl Rove has proven time and time again that his scruples and sense of decency go right out of the window when he is playing "hardball politics". I mean exposing a CIA case officer (http://slate.msn.com/id/2122393/) just to get back at her husband?!? Not even considering nor caring what the overarching and overall ramifications/consequences would be if such a thing was done?!? Folks, we've got a journalist languishing in jail because of Rove's actions (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8417075/), a promising CIA career in rubble because of Rove's indiscretions and who knows how many people's lives/Valerie Plame's contacts around the world were placed in jeopardy (or, Lord forbid, extinguished) by way of exposing Valerie Plame's identity as CIA?!? Folks, bottom line here is Karl Rove is a loose-cannon and extremely dangerous. You see, Karl Rove is like a razor blade in terms of his intensity and zeal for the game of political hardball...finely sharp, cold, clinical and without remorse. And like a razor blade, the danger is in the fact that he can cut both ways...and, like a razor blade, his cuts can be extremely deep and damaging. Karl Rove, for the sake of this republic, should come on out of the White House and move on to new pastures. And if he doesn't do this voluntarily (which he won't), he should be forced out with a swift kick in the ass. Semper Fidelis

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

NASA Rushes, Throws Caution to the Wind and the Possibility of British Army Elements Being Involved in London BombingsPosted by Picasa
Hello, once again, to all those reading this blog. This is an unusual double-posting, but I had to put my thoughts down concerning two points of interest: (1) tomorrow's hare-brained (in my estimation) "rush-launch" of Space Shuttle 'Discovery'/STS-114 along with her brave crew of seven astronauts (http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/) and (2) tracking down the killers/perpetrators responsible for the wanton destruction caused by the London bombings of 7 July 2005. First, the space shuttle. Bottom line, as far as I'm concerned, is that this is a reckless attempt by NASA (www.nasa.gov) to regain its "juice" without first doing everything necessary to exponentially increase the safety parameters one would expect of America's premier space agency. Folks, in a nutshell, NASA is rushing... they're rushing to get back into space whatever the cost (materiel, human life, whatever) and just about everyone recognizes this to be the case (http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/12035214.htm). In fact, I just heard a CNN and BBC newsflash (please tell me it's not true) that one of the cockpit window protectors fell out and crashed into the tail of the space shuttle, damaging some of the protective tiles (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4677495.stm). Come on man...this is egregious people...just totally and completely unsatisfactory. Listen, I know "going throttle up", escaping Earth's gravity and attaining orbit is the "muscle-flexing", "high-octane", "beefy", "steely-eyed missile man" stuff NASA just loves and lives for (you know, just like in the Marine Corps it's all about the infantry, in the Navy it's all about surface warfare, in the Air Force it's all about the fighter jocks, etc., etc.). In other words, at NASA you better believe they love their solar sails (http://solarsails.jpl.nasa.gov/) and slamming space machinery into comets (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4672157.stm), but in it's "heart and soul" NASA is all about going "go for launch", "lighting the candle" and putting heroically brave men and women into space to explore the cosmos a la the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs of the space administration's heyday. Let me be clear, we've got seven super-bright, super-intelligent Americans (http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/) who are willing to put their lives on the line in the name of America, in the name of science and in the name of idealizing and personifying the hopes and dreams of how space exploration can benefit all of mankind. NASA should not put these good people in harm's way simply to "save face" and because NASA can't wait to get back into space. Look, chances are space isn't going anywhere soon...why not take the time to cross-all-the-"t's" and dot-all-the-"i's"...I mean, what's the rush NASA? Don't we owe these brave astronauts as well as the American people as a whole that much in terms of safety and precautions?!? I mean, I understand space travel is inherently dangerous, but gee whiz, we've got window protectors falling out of cockpits and damaging protective tiles less than 24 hours before launch...is that the soul of caution? Is that wise? Let me say this: I think it is too early to return to manned space flight, I think NASA is jumping the gun and recklessly throwing caution to the wind in the name of "face saving" and glory seeking (and now that I think about it, probably because it also has alot of corporate contracts in regards to sending stuff into space and placing things in orbit that are just collecting dust on the proverbial shelf, i.e., companies like Raytheon saying "...hey we paid you all 'x' amount of dollars to put 'x' amount of things into space, so you all at NASA better hurry up, pull your heads out of your a**es and get your ships back up into space ASAP...". Corporate capitalism once again rearing its ugly head at the potential cost of human life). Even with all of that said about NASA's brass and their recklessness (or, perhaps in spite of it), I still say good luck and godspeed to Discovery and to the brave crew of STS-114! Second thing I want to address is the London bombings and its aftermath (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7_July_2005_London_bombings). Quite frankly, I'm really concerned this terrorist operation included elements of the British Army (http://www.army.mod.uk/) who have served in Iraq, returned to the U.K. and either: (1) have "gone native", or (2) are irate with the policies of the Blair Administration and are resorting to terrrorism/violence, or (3) both (http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2005/s1411075.htm); or, perhaps it's a situation where elements within the British Army provided "indirect" assistance to the terrorists by serving as advisors (i.e., technical assistance, providing bomb-making material, providing tactical knowledge, etc.) . The latest reports are that the bombs were lightweight and yet packed a devastating wallop in terms of their explosive power which equals explosive devices that are more along the lines of military explosives moreso than simple homespun, homemade devices (http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/07/12/news/london.php). Heard reports today stating most or all of the bombers were suicide bombers killed in the blasts(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4677509.stm), but I don't believe it. In fact, I spoke with a Marine officer buddy of mine this afternoon and he doesn't buy that explanation either. We both believe those devices were timed to detonate and the perpetrators were long gone and out of harm's way when the bombs exploded, wounding upwards of 700 civilians and killing more than 35 (http://i-newswire.com/pr35445.html). As I've already stated, it is my opinion we are dealing with (quite possibly) elements of the British Army (again, British soldiers who have served in Iraq, much like Timothy McVeigh having served in the U.S. Army during Gulf War I only to come home and blow up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City) who are now sympathetic/leaning towards the philosophy of al-Qeda/al-Qeda sympathizers and are using their battle skills to wreak havoc and advance the terrorist philosophies of al-Qeda vis-a-vis terrorism in the capital of their country as well as (more than likely) beyond the confines of London. I also spoke with a close and dear friend today who is a British citizen who believes (as I do) that the perpetrators have NOT fled the country and are (in fact) still in-country and planning more attacks in a campaign of terror to be waged across northern and southern England. Also, the Administration's recent decision to ban American troops from visiting London was chickenshit (http://www.rte.ie/news/2005/0712/london.html) ...THIS IS NOT how you support your friends and allies during a time of crisis. Hell, when Hitler was bombing the stuffing out of London in 1940 during the Battle of Britain, what if FDR had said no American service people can go into London? Yeah, Churchill would have really loved that one. Alright, end of unusual evening post. Take care and Semper Fidelis

'Grant': An Inspirational Story That Must Be Produced and Made Into an Epic Film with Robin Williams in the Starring Role Posted by Picasa
Good morning to all those reading this blog. Will make this post quickly and then I'm out. I'm running late, been on the phone most of the morning with the VA (www.gibill.va.gov) trying to get my educational benefits squared away for graduate school (for all those not "in-the-know", I've been accepted to graduate school, just got the letter middle of last week) ...and let me tell you, dealing with the bureaucracy that is the VA is no easy task. In fact, I'm starting to break out with hives! The topic of the day 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 is in one of my footlockers 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, if you look at a picture of Robin Williams and compare it to one of Grant, I'm sure you can appreciate the physical similarities vis-a-vis Grant and Williams. And, I'd also like to see Captain Dale Dye (http://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 this perilous age 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...again, with Robin Williams in the starring role. Semper Fidelis

Thursday, July 07, 2005

URGENT-URGENT/The Sum of All Fears: London Absorbs Devastating Strikes and Coordinated Terrorist Attacks at Height of Morning Rush HourPosted by Picasa
Not a good morning folks, not a good morning at all. Got up around 0500 hrs., turned on NPR (www.npr.org) and heard the shocking news. Couldn't believe it then and can't believe it now. In fact, I hit the rack listening to the BBC (www.bbc.co.uk) on NPR around 0200 hrs., and the discussion/conversations were still focused on London's excitement at being chosen the host city for the 2012 Summer Olympics (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8476616/). Then I got up four hours later, turned on NPR and hear that over the course of four hours the situation had gone from one of absolute celebration to one of absolute horror. Here it is in a nutshell (http://www.itv.com/news/index_100560.html): London was struck by multiple terrorists attacks (at least seven coordinated attacks on the London public transportation system) which have inflicted, at last report, some 200-300 casualties including at least forty fatalities (unfortunately, the fatality figure is most assuredly going to rise). My first thought when I heard the news was this was al-Qaeda (probably like most everyone else thought); then I started to think this might be Provisional IRA activity (Provisional Irish Republican Army, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Republican_Army) which (although not ruled out) I de-emphasized almost immediately because the IRA hasn't gone operational in London for nearly a decade (no IRA activity in London proper since at least 10 February 1996 when IRA attacked the South Quay DLR station, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Quay_DLR_station). Then I started considering radical environmentalist organizations and anti-G8 summit anarchists...these groups haven't been completely ruled out (as of yet) in terms of their potential culpability (i.e., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eco-terrorism and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_anarchist_organizations). CNN is now reporting a group calling itself 'The Secret Organization of al-Qaeda Jihadists in Europe' has claimed responsibility for the attacks (www.cnn.com). It is also being reported Prime Minister Blair, who is attending and hosting the G8 summit in Scotland, is heading back to London to assess the situation. This is outrageous and tragic to say the very least. Again, it is amazing how just yesterday, London (and England as a whole) was celebrating the fact it was chosen to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games; and within a span of 24 hours the situation has gone from one of celebration to one of tragedy and horror. Alright, let me break down my concerns (in the form of two questions) in terms of the overall geopolitical/security situation:

I.) How does this impact the security of the United States and is this a coordinated assault on all or some of the G8 nations (U.S., U.K., Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Russia and Italy)?: The explosions began around 8:50 a.m. (3:50 a.m. ET) which is the beginning of rush hour and the morning commute for most Londoners...a "target-rich environemt" in military parlance if there ever was one. My main concern is whether or not this is an internationally coordinated assault designed to be "cleared hot" during rush hour times around the globe (especially here in the United States). Let me put it this way, Great Britain is a relatively small, island nation and if MI-5, Great Britain's superb and world-renowned domestic intelligence and security agency (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MI5), was unable to foil such a well-coordinated and (obviously) well-planned assault in the country's capital of London/London proper what does that say about our ability in the United States to protect our country (which spans an entire continent) from a series of well-coordinated and well-planned terrorist strikes? Again, MI-5 is definitely "no slouch" when it comes to domestic security, counter-terrorism and intelligence operational procedures, so I am scratching my head on this one. What went wrong in terms of British governmental entities not being able to neutralize the bastards BEFORE they executed their horrific plan? Hopefully, we'll soon find out what went wrong and learn how to counter these insidious threats more effectively.

II.) Is this proof al-Qaeda is "born-again hard"? Has al-Qaeda thwarted international law enforcement (et al.) and established within its organizational matrix a new and improved 'Table of Organization/Equipment (T/O & E)' which gives it the flexibility, capability and capacity to project itself in ways not seen since Madrid, 11 March 2004 and NYC/Penn./D.C., 11 September 2001?: This is an essential question (and perhaps, THE essential question as far as I'm concerned). If this is al-Qaeda's work (and it more than likely IS al-Qaeda based on the modus operandi of the attacks, although this in no way rules out the anti-G8 summit anarchist elements/radical environmentalist organizations I'd mentioned earlier), are we witnessing a resurgence of the operational capability/lethality of al-Qaeda? In other words, al-Qaeda has been relatively dormant for the last few years (not counting the big Madrid bombings of 2004) and instead of "having its back broken" as so many neocons/"political-Pollyannas" would have us to believe, is it possible al-Qaeda has (instead) been refitting and preparing itself to execute a new, offensive campaign, i.e., a campaign which equals a new and more formidable wave of attacks around the globe?

Those are my two, big questions concerning the implications and ramifications of what happened in London this sad day. Although, I'm sure there are numerous other questions, these are the ones of paramount importance (at least, as far as my thinking is concerned). But the bottom line is this: there is no question the war in Iraq has been more of a hindrance than a help in terms of overall global security in that it has proven to be a source of angst and motivation for those who wish to do great harm to the United States and her allies. The war in Iraq has done little more than prove itself to be the ultimate training ground and inspiration point for future generations of terrorists and terrorist sympathizers who can't wait to put what they've learned on the battlefields of Iraq into practice on the streets of Western capitals/cities...the Iraq War has done nothing but foment a new form of terrorist monstrosity that may have (for the first time since the Iraq War began) reared its ugly head on the streets, buses and subways of London this very morning. Semper Fidelis

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Jarhead General Says Marines Impervious to the Relentless Stress of Killing/Combat and (as a result) Can't Suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderPosted by Picasa
Greetings to all aboard the blog. First, I want to acknowledge the passing of Vice-Admiral James Stockdale at the age of 81, who exited the stage yesterday as reported by the press (http://www.10news.com/news/4687960/detail.html). Admiral Stockdale is probably most recently known as Ross Perot's running mate during the 1992 Presidential race as well as his somewhat befuddled performance during the 1992 Vice-Presidential debate held at the Theater for the Arts on the campus of Georgia Tech and moderated by Hal Bruno of ABC News, a debate which also included Al Gore and Dan Quayle (http://www.debates.org/pages/trans92d.html). Yet, Admiral Stockdale was more than his unimpressive 1992 Vice-Presidential performance...much, much more. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Stockdale) describes Admiral Stockdale as follows:

James Bond Stockdale (23 December 1923 – 5 July 2005) was one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the United States Navy. He was the highest ranking naval officer held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Stockdale led the U.S. air squadron during the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident. He was awarded 26 personal combat decorations, including the Medal of Honor and four Silver Stars. Stockdale is also remembered as a Vice Presidential candidate in the 1992 election on Ross Perot's independent ticket.

Admiral Stockdale was the highest ranking officer/POW during the Vietnam War and endured years of torture and abuse at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors during his long captivity in NVA prison camps, an experience he shared with fellow naval aviator and now Senator John McCain (R-AZ, http://mccain.senate.gov/). In fact, Admiral Stockdale rushed to his warrior-brother's defense during the 2000 Republican Presidential primaries when brutally malicious and vulgar accusations and disparaging remarks were made concerning Senator McCain's overall health status by the Bush Jr. campaign (most especially in South Carolina, http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/08/31/148237). Admiral Stockdale stood up for his friend ("friend" really isn't the word for it, their relationship was so much more than that) and wrote a beautifully moving article which was run in the 'New York Times' titled 'John McCain in the Crucible' (http://www.farfromglory.com/admstockdale.htm). Outside of his illustrious and honorable service in the armed forces, this was probably his finest hour...what character, what integrity. There is no question that we owe much, as a collective American community and as a nation, to individuals and true patriots like Admiral James Stockdale who gave so much and asked for so little in return. Thank you Admiral Stockdale and sir, may you only know fair winds and following seas. The second thing I want to report is that I have been accepted to graduate school! Just got the letter yesterday and I'm extremely excited about it. Wow, graduate school...can't believe it, but I was accepted! Now, on with the topic of the day: stupid-ass comments from a Marine general officer. I touched on this subject a few months ago, but think it's appropriate to touch on it again. In World War I the condition was called "shell-shock", in World War II and Korea it was called "battle fatigue" or "war neurosis". Then, in Vietnam, the modern term of "post-traumatic stress disorder" was created. My point is this: the phenomenon of post-traumatic stress disorder as a culmination of the breakdown of the human psyche resulting from prolonged and intense (or, a combination of the two) external and internal pressures vis a vis the stress and carnage produced by combat actvities is UNDERSTOOD to be a given. In other words, PTSD (as a real psychic syndrome) is no longer up for rational debate within the medical community. In fact, if one was to suggest that PTSD was not real, they would not be taken seriously and would probably be laughed out of house and home. Yet, there is a bone-headed leatherneck general out there who is actually suggesting PTSD is NOT a factor in the human equation in terms of human combat and human coping capability. I caught wind of this by way of the 'Draft Zinni' for U.S. Senator blog (http://draftzinni.blogspot.com/), an excellent blog dedicated to get a Marine general, Gen. Anthony Zinni (a Marine general who ACTUALLY has some sense) into the political arena. Anyway, this kind of stuff (and the sheer ignorance of it) burns me up; here we are in the 21st century and we actually have to spend time talking about the efficacy of PTSD in relation to veterans (combat veterans, no less) as to whether or not PTSD really exists...this just chaps my hide! The Marine officer who made the jackassed comments to the 'Marine Corps Times' concerning PTSD and its "non-existence" (as far as he is concerned) is Brigadier General Joseph Dunford USMC, who is the assistant commander of 1st Marine Division. Brigadier General Dunford, quite simply, dismisses wholesale the study in the 'New England Journal of Medicine' (a weekly, medical journal that is considered the world's leading medical periodical, http://content.nejm.org/) that has found "...17 percent of Iraq combat veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder". The article link is as follows, (http://www.marinetimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-750444.php). You see, this is the kind of dead-headed, pseudo-intellectual thought process that is going to hurt more people then it helps and perhaps even get some people killed. While reading the general's official Marine Corps biography (http://www.marines.mil/genbios2.nsf/Act_Brig_Gen_Bio, go to Brig. Gen. Dunford), I found the following:

"Brigadier General Dunford was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1955. He was commissioned in June 1977 after graduation from St. Michael’s College. He was subsequently assigned to the 1st Marine Division where he served as a Platoon and Company Commander in 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines and Company Commander in 1st Battalion, 9th Marines..."


"...Brigadier General Dunford is a graduate of the U. S. Army Ranger School, Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, and the U. S. Army War College. He holds a M.A. in Government from Georgetown University and a M.A. in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy...".

OK, all of that is outstanding....extremely motivating. His accomplishments are unquestionably impressive, to say the very least. However, I see nothing in his bio that suggests he is a medical doctor or a medical professional in any way, shape or form. In short, Brigadier General Dunford (with all due respect, sir) should stick to the tactical and strategic analysis/warfighting and leave the medical understandings and physiological, psychological and psychiatric analysis to the medical professionals. The general's comments are insensitive, ignorant and a slap-in-the-face to ALL veterans; especially to those veterans who laid down NOT ONLY THEIR LIVES, but also to those who have LAID DOWN THEIR MINDS in the naval services (or any service for that matter) of the United States. Not only is it a disservice to those who have served for Constitution and country, but his jaw-dropping ignorance simply borders on recklessness; but, in any event, his lack of knowledge coupled with his high leadership position make for a situation that is (most assuredly) dangerous. Dangerous in that his belief/attitude will "trickle-down" (so to speak) to all ranks below him, just as the SecDef's lax attitude towards torture "trickled-down" to Abu Ghraib personnel...and we all know how beautifully that turned out (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Ghraib_prisoner_abuse). To be sure, the Marine Corps is an extremely macho organization, just ask any "W.M." (or, "Woman Marine"...that's what they're called). Macho and machismo have always been a part of the Corps' motif and macho/machismo have their place in a warfighting organization; just as long as it doesn't facilitate gender discrimination, i.e., making sure women who want to participate and are CAPABLE of participating in the combat arms/non-combat arms are allowed to be just as "macho" as the next guy (and believe me, there are women in the military who not only CAN pull the load just as well as men, but there are also women who can pull the load BETTER than quite a few men...I've seen it folks, time and time again...learned that lesson for the first time at OCS...more on this subject in a future posting). But, sometimes that macho crap warps reality. The bottom line is this: regardless of what the good General may think, he is actually undermining the recoveries and potential recoveries of Lord knows how many Marines (and all veterans, for that matter) who are suffering untold heartache and pain (through no fault of their own) as a result of their service in the 'Global War on Terrorism'. My open message to Brigadier General Dunford is this: again, with all due respect sir, secure that nonsense...you simply don't know what you are talking about. This is just another glaring indicator of how desperately our country needs real leadership, intelligent leadership and NOT bone-headed braggadocio. Intelligent leadership that either understands human realities/human nuances or, (at least) is willing to pull together teams of bright people who DO understand these nuances; teams of bright folks who not only want real answers and want to reach for real solutions, but will rigorously work their intellects to get those solutions. We need bright leaders who are not afraid to address the realities of these issues instead of leaders who stick their collective heads in the sand a la denial. See, denial is like a spreading malignancy...it does nothing but destroy the host in the end unless it is aggressively confronted and checked. The sort of ignorance Brigadier General Dunford displayed and espoused for all the world to see in his statements to the 'Marine Corps Times' must be resisted by any means necessary fore that kind of attitude and mindset does more harm than good. PTSD does exist, if you don't believe me, go visit your local VA...do your own research and see for yourselves. Semper Fidelis

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Parchment a/k/a the United States of America's Most Enduring and Endearing Contribution to Mankind: the Apex Essence and Genius of Our National Democratic ExperimentPosted by Picasa
Good morning and Happy Fourth of July to all. Yes, indeed, Happy Fourth of July to everyone reading this blog! There seems to be something very special about this July 4th, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Of course, ALL July 4th's are special, no question...but there seems to be something different about this one...something very different. Does anyone else out there feel the same way about this year's Fourth or is it just me? I'm open to any and all feedback. I got up this morning and turned on NPR (www.npr.org), as usual. They were doing their annual reading of our Declaration of Independence in order to mark the day's special significance and relevance. It was really moving and I enjoyed and appreciated the gesture thoroughly (as, I'm sure, the vast majority of other listeners did). So, as a salute to National Public Radio's kind gesture and (more importantly) to mark this great day, I have decided to post the Declaration of Independence in the same spirit NPR read the Declaration since that is what the day is about: the American colonists extolling, through Thomas Jefferson's genius and inkpen, what needed to be said to Great Britain and the whole world in terms of explaining their noble actions vis a vis their desire for independence and the establishment of a new country and government on the North American continent. This is truly the most awesome political document ever conceived in any language in the history of all humankind. This 18th century document is a stroke of verbal and critical analytical genius that continues to stand the test of time, some 229 years after its inception. Please read and Enjoy!:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offencesFor abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Powerful, just political prose and poetry that is like honey and nectar to the minds and hearts of all those who yearn to be free and stand for freedom. This document, in a metaphorical nutshell, declared to the whole world 229 years ago that America was "open for business" and our business was (and still is) freedom. Again, Happy Fourth of July everyone. Semper Fidelis

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Age Quod Agis: The High Court, the End of an Era and the Upcoming Battle Royale Posted by Picasa
Good morning to all reading this blog. *Whew*, helped a friend move into her apartment last night around 2200 hrs and didn't get back home until about 0300 hrs. No, I don't like rolling around the big city at 0300 in the morning...way past my bedtime. Now, with that said and before going on with the topic of the day, I want to tip my hat to the great crooner and balladeer Luther Vandross who passed on yesterday at the age of 54 (http://www.kten.com/article.asp?id=8873). The news came down like a ton of bricks...just couldn't believe it. Vandross's lyrics and singing simply took the listener to a higher plane of emotional understanding and (at times) deep introspection...he was without a doubt in a class by himself. What a voice, what soulfulness, what a talent...he will be sorely missed. Although his voice was silenced, his music will continue to resonate unobstructed through time to be appreciated by future generations who will enjoy the lushness and beauty of his vocal talents. On to the topic of the day: which is the surprise resignation and stepping down from the highest bench in the land of the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (http://www.oyez.org/oyez/portlet/justices/), as well as the political ramifications and reverberations which will be a result of Justice O' Connor's resignation. Folks, to say Justice O'Connor's bombshell announcement was unexpected and "out-of-left-field" would be a gross understatement. In fact, I was on the road yesterday late morning when a good friend of mine called on my cellphone and alerted me to the news. We both couldn't believe it since we, like most political junkies, believed it would be Chief Justice Rehnquist who would bow out well ahead of any other Supreme Court justice (http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/21/rehnquist.future/), ...but we were certainly mistaken. Anyway, the bottom line is Justice O'Connor is out and who know's who's coming in. I have to tell you, THIS IS IT...in other words, this is going to be a political and ideological battle royale the likes of which none of us have ever seen. I mean this is the "big enchilada", i.e., a Gettysburg-esque (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Gettysburg) and Midway-esque (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Midway) political confrontation. Concisely, this will be a watershed event/confrontation that will simply change the course of history and determine the direction of American jurisprudence and Constitutional interpretation for Lord knows how long. Both sides are gearing up for the 'Tombstone'/'High Noon'-like showdown (shucks, they've been gearing up for sometime now, although the main battle schematics were drawn up around a Rehnquist retirement, not an O'Connor departure...but that's just "sauce for the goose"). The President stated yesterday he would move "decisively" and be "deliberate and thorough" in terms of deciding on who his nominee will be, but that it would be after his trip to Europe around 8 July (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4644243.stm) before he rendered such a decision. So, in the "meantime, in between time", the pundits and pontificators will be spinning their heads off (me included) trying to figure out the identification of said nominee. Be advised, I am certainly not a legal eagle nor a legal expert. But I want to play this parlour game too, so in my humble opinion here are three predictions for who will fill the now vacant seat on the Supreme Court (in order of highest to lowest possibility/probability):

1.) Attorney General Alberto Gonzales- My #1 pick. He's a good ol' buddy of the President and has been with "W" as a loyal supporter since those "Texas and tumbleweeds" days in Houston and Austin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Gonzales). Gives off the vapors of a political moderate, but is more than likely (deep down inside) a conservative/strict constructionist/Federalist along the lines of a Justice Scalia or Thomas. He's also Hispanic, which would be damn near like a bullet-proof vest in terms of him making it through the Congressional nomination process...I mean who in Congress, especially with the Latino population rising and gaining all kinds of political strength and clout, wants to stonewall or shoot-down a guy who would become the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice in U.S. history...and Justice Cardozo doesn't count (even though he was an awesome Supreme Court justice, no question, an awesome jurist) because he was Sephardic-Jewish (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sephardi) and his heritage was Portuguese versus Spanish, so he's not Latino/Hispanic (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Hispanic, more on Justice Cardozo at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Cardozo). Also, as a bonus, Gonzales has already been (and recently too) vetted by the White House and FBI for his current position as Attorney General...in other words, no skeletons, bugs, or embarrassing zingers (a la Linda Chavez and Bernard Kerik) are in his closet which might dislodge or derail his nomination process. If he's nominated, he would more than likely be a lock.

2.) U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (D.C. Circuit) Judge Janice Rogers Brown- Although recently appointed to the Federal bench (and quite possibly because of it), Janice Rogers Brown (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janice_Rogers_Brown) could/would easily make the transition from the U.S. Circuit Court to the Supreme Court (and would be more than happy to do so in all likelihood). She's an African-American conservative (think a female Clarence Thomas...on second thought, don't think that...but you get my point) who has strong credentials in the conservative movement. Her stance on affirmative action, social programs and the culture war between the "Red and Blue" states (she has stated on record, as a government official, that she believes the country is on the verge of civil war, http://thinkprogress.org/index.php?p=718) is nectar and ambrosia to GOPsters...and all of this coming from the mouth of a Black Republican makes conservatives squeal and swoon with delight. She too would be a tough nut to crack in terms of the nomination process in the same way Alberto Gonzales would be hard to derail, i.e., she would be the first African-American woman on the Supreme Court in U.S. history...who wants to block that? Yet, as a caveat, it would probably be easier to block her nomination than Gonzales's because there would still be a woman on the high court in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg if Rogers-Brown didn't get the nod from the Senate; moreover, because Rogers-Brown's record is so glaringly "right-wing ideologue" she would be a catalyst for a really viscious political battle in the Senate, not to mention across the country (http://www.civilrights.org/issues/nominations/details.cfm?id=32149). In short, with all of that said, I believe she would still make it to the Supreme Court...but just barely.

3.) Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) - The junior United States Senator from Texas (Kay Bailey Hutchison is the senior Senator), John Cornyn served on the Texas State Supreme Court and was the state's attorney general before he won the Senate seat vacated by Phil Gramm after defeating former Dallas mayor and Democratic candidate Ron Kirk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Kirk) in the 2002 election (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cornyn). Bottom line, the guy is a loyal soldier to the GOP who just spews and gushes conservative ideology and will do the bidding of his handlers with zeal. A virtual unknown quantity on the national stage, he doesn't seem to have too many skeletons in his closet (in fact, he might not have any...but time will tell if he's chosen as the nominee). In short, Cornyn would probably make it through the process without much static principally because he is a U.S. Senator and the U.S. Senate is the most exclusive "100-member club" in the country, in other words (and I know this is sounds cynical as hell), U.S. Senators will take care of one of their own. Again, he would make it through the nomination process but not without a little turbulence.

Alright, those are my three choices...Gonzales, Rogers-Brown and Cornyn. Please feel free to share yours. Also, stand-by to stand-by...if the ailing Chief Justice Rehnquist also determines now (meaning sometime this calendar year) is an appropriate time to step down from the high bench, Bush will have a "two-fer" opportunity that would be unprecedented in modern American history (if not all of U.S. history) to stack the bench however he and his fellow conservatives want it. Oh, the conservatives are working themselves up into a real frenzy and a good ol' lather over this possibility...to replace two Supreme Court justices would be an ideological jackpot and right-wing coup de grace of epic proportions. Food for thought fellow Progressives. It's fighting time. Take care and good hunting. Semper Fidelis