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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Friday, August 19, 2005

On the Verge of a Serious and Significant Social Upheaval: Cindy Sheehan, Gas Prices, the Iraq War and the Initial Signs of Stress and Crisis on the Face of a Nation on Edge Posted by Picasa
Greetings to all. It has certainly been awhile since my last post, but as stated repeatedly, I am in the process of shoving off for graduate school. For all of you good people out there who are interested, I was able to secure a substantial sum of financial aid but presently find myself fighting the V.A. (www.gibill.va.gov) "tooth and nail" for my GI Bill benefits (in fact, V.A. sent me a charming letter saying that I no longer rated my benefits...damn bureaucracy...look, I just want my little piece of money. It ain't much, but I sure as shi* earned it). Anyway, enough of that, now time to play "catch-up". The Space Shuttle Discovery returned to Earth safely on 9 August 2005 at 8:12 AM EDT and yours truly (like so many other concerned folks not only in this country, but around the world) was up and glued to the television as she landed so gracefully and flawlessly at Edward's Air Force Base (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwards_Air_Force_Base) after being waived-off of landing at the KSC (Kennedy Space Center, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennedy_Space_Center) and White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Sands_Missile_Range). In fact, today's headlines report NASA (www.nasa.gov) won't launch another shuttle until sometime in 2006 (http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=4&id=346756) ...good idea NASA, it is obvious there are still a few things that need "tightening up" in terms of the shuttle fleet (i.e., big chunks of foam falling off of the shuttle as it headed into orbit, among other things) Also, kudos to devildog Paul Hackett (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Hackett) who wasn't quite able to secure the OH-02 Congressional seat during that district's special election on 2 August 2005. Although defeated in the election, Hackett had a fantastic showing, receiving 48.25% of the vote and giving GOP candidate Jean Schmidt a real run for her money in an election where the GOP should have skated to victory...but the GOP had to slog and scrabble for votes every step of the way...in short, Hackett brought the funk! Paul Hackett is nothing short of a hero who has inspired the Democratic Party; more importantly, he has showed that Democrats can not only bring the fight for the soul of America right into GOP territory (http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=7009), but can also hold their own in GOP territory. I find it ironic that this war in Iraq, the one GWB and his GOP (for the most part) cohorts were so hot to pursue and prosecute may, in fact, be the catalyst for the creation of a whole new generation of "super-Democrats", i.e., political candidates who are war veterans (of Iraq or Afghnaistan); and, moreover, are also Democrats/Democratic-leaning who (because of their military/combat experience) will have the "juice" to "rain the thunder down" on the heads of the GOP and drive the Republicans out from their current power position. In other words, the very war that was a creation of Republican ideologues is turning out to a nurturing field that is cultivating a whole new generation of tough-minded liberal/Progressive/Democratic candidates who will come home, run for office and kick the Republicans out of power. You have to admit there is a kind of poetic justice about the whole thing. Since I'm talking about Iraq and this fu**ed-up war, allow me to focus on Ms. Cindy Sheehan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cindy_Sheehan), who one might call the "John Brown of the anti-war movement" (or, what I call, "the Iraq War resistance movement"). Bottom line here is: she's a saint. Cindy Sheehan has become the embodiment and personification of a feeling and an urgency that has been without a leader/front-person since this madcap war began. Enter Ms. Cindy Sheehan and we now have a full-fledged movement, not just a bunch of protesters...but a full-fledged-movement. In short, add one screwed-up foreign policy/war that is costing thousands of young lives (http://icasualties.org/oif/), plus a frustrated citizenry who feels "hijacked" by it's national leadership and who are also willing to step up and sound-off and then add one earnest, honest and passionate personality (i.e., Ms. Cindy Sheehan) and (watch out!) you've got yourself a movement which can do nothing but grow in strength and intensity. What Ms. Sheehan and those brave Americans are doing down there in Crawford/Waco (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McLennan_County,_Texas ) is nothing short of American patriotism, grit and courage at its very best. What is happening down there in the Waco/Crawford area is inspiring a nation and waking-up a country that has been asleep at the switch for far too long. God bless Ms. Sheehan and the American patriots down there who have the "cojones" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cojones) to tell the truth to power and not back down. For all those concerned the Democratic Party has lost it's will/ability to fight, let me refer you to Ms. Sheehan, the Crawford Peace House (http://www.crawfordpeacehouse.org/) and those warrior Americans who are standing tall against this current Administration's screwed-up policies right there (literally) in the President's backyard. That's guts people. You see, that's the kind of guts Paul Hackett exemplified a few weeks ago in Ohio and it's the kind of guts the American people respond to and respect (regardless of party affiliation) and it's the kind of guts that's going to give us victories in 2006 and in 2008. This is awesome, Democrats and Progressives flexing their muscles again after long last. Semper Fidelis

Friday, August 05, 2005

Who Is This Fat Lady and Why is She Singing?: Ohio-Based, 3rd Battalion/25th Marines Suffers Devastatingly Brutal Losses While Americans Begin to See Iraq War as Unwinnable Posted by Picasa
Good morning to all. This will be a moderately quick post touching on the events of the past week. First, 3rd Battalion/25th Marine Regiment (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/usmc/3-25.htm). Covers off and "huzzahs" to the bravery and service of 3rd Battalion/25th Marines. The losses 3/25 has suffered over the last week (3/25 suffered 20 devildogs KIA in 48 hours!!! http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/12286648.htm) are felt and shared by so many of us who have served in or are serving in the United States Marine Corps (be they USMC active-duty or USMC reserves, it doesn't matter...they ALL bleed red). In fact, the latest polls are illustrating how the majority of Americans are beginning to believe that the President's ill-advised and ill-planned war in Iraq was a bad idea and is now unwinnable (http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/news/12311599.htm). 3rd Battalion/25th Marines is a Marine reserve infantry battalion made up of the following components (thanks to John Pike's Global Security.org for the breakdown, www.globalsecurity.org):

H&S Company, Brookpark, OH

3/25's H&S (it's headquarters) is located in Ohio, as are two more of its combined five companies. Bottom line here folks is that Ohio is hurting, and I mean in a big way. I can't really describe how I feel about their losses. You know, I served with 1st Battalion/23rd Marines at one point (another reserve Marine infantry unit, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/usmc/1-23.htm), and it was some of the most enjoyable service I'd ever rendered in the naval service of the United States. Those Marine grunts are something else (http://archives.cjr.org/year/03/3/dillow.asp), you really got to hand it to them. Again, make no mistake, Ohio is bleeding folks; if we non-Ohioans are feeling the pain, you can only imagine how the loved ones of those fallen Marines are feeeling about these exorbitant losses. To all the loved ones...God bless. Other points: speaking of Ohio, Paul Hackett (www.hackettforcongress.com) really went for the gusto, and although he was defeated in the OH-02 special election, Hackett pulled in 48% of the vote versus Schmidt's 52% (that's a difference of a mere 4 percentage points in a Congressional district that has historically been known as a GOP stronhold mind you, http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/08/03/011318.php). In other words, Hackett definitely went down standing up and in a blaze of glory. There's just no question Hackett held strong throughout the campaign and all the way up to the hilt, making Jean Schmidt really fight and scratch for every point in what can only be called a "pyrrhic victory" for the Republicans (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05217/549119.stm). Hackett's defeat was actually a victory for Democrats and Progressives throughout the country (especially for Democrats/Progressives in Ohio)...Hackett's campaign is a testament to the reality that the Democratic Party is a long ways from gutted and that the elections of 2006 (House and Senate) and 2008 (regaining the White House) are still in play and may, in fact, be the Democrats to lose. The tide is definitely turning (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7899754/), stand by for more details. Also, the citizens of Detroit (although not excusing him completely from the stage as I had hoped) placed "soon to be ex-mayor" Kwame Kilpatrick in the "number-two column" as former city government official and front-runner Freman Hendrix (http://www.fremanhendrix.com/) defeated Kilpatrick by gaining the most votes in the Detroit mayoral primary conducted this past Tuesday, 2 August 2005 (http://www.freep.com/news/statewire/sw119339_20050803.htm). Yes, Detroit's long local nightmare, within a broader national nightmare, will soon be at an end when (this coming 8 November 2005) they throw the wannabe thug Kilpatrick out of City Hall and onto his 300 lbs. keister. Another point: columnist and political commentator Robert Novak stormed off of the CNN (www.cnn.com) set after fellow political commentator (and former Marine, http://www.answers.com/topic/james-carville) James Carville turned to CNN cameras and said (in response to an earlier Novak comment):

"...He's got to show these right wingers that he's got a backbone, you know. It's why the Wall Street Journal editorial page is watching you. Show 'em that you're tough."

In response, Novak then swore "bullshi*t" and stormed off of the set. Folks, Novak is ridiculous, he really showed his a** during 'Inside Politics' (http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/inside.politics/) yesterday....what a jerk. And for all of those who believe Carville was a wimp for not preventing Novak from throwing a tantrum and exiting prematurely from the program (i.e., namely the clowns who make up Don Imus's support team on 'The Don Imus Show', http://wfan.com/imusinstantreplay/) allow me to set you straight: Carville conducted himself in a most appropriate manner and was completely professional. If Bob Novak (who is 74 years old, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Novak) wants to act like a six-year old who didn't get his way in the local community grocery store, then the joke is on Novak not Carville. Last point is that Space Shuttle Discovery has been given the green light to come on home; Discovery is scheduled to return around 0400 hours on 8 August 2005 (http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/08/05/space.shuttle/). My question is this: why is NASA bringing Discovery home so early in the morning (when it is still dark outside) when hardly anyone will be up (although I imagine alot of people who are interested in Discovery, her crew and the space program in general will more than likely be up to monitor the re-entry)?!? Is it because NASA doesn't want anyone to witness another potential shuttle disaster as clearly as we did on that beautifully clear morning of 1 February 2003? Is this NASA's way of conducting P.R./disaster control? Why not let Discovery re-enter the Earth's atmosphere when the sun is out, the North American continent is brightly lit and when the American people can see clearly what is happening? A close and dear friend of mine says he doesn't believe they're going to make it...I pray that he is wrong. I suppose we are all on stand-by mode. Take care and Semper Fidelis

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

All Eyes on Space Shuttle Discovery and Her Brave Crew, or, What is Going Wrong with American Leadership? Posted by Picasa
Good afternoon to all of those aboard the blog. It is hot as all get out here in the American Southwest this afternoon...it has to be over 100 degrees out there. Once again, I'm posting an unusual afternoon addition to the blog, but as mentioned in previous postings, my life has become a swirl of activity as I get ready to head to graduate school in the eastern portion of the United States. Still need to secure more financial aid (www.fafsa.ed.gov) /VA benefits (www.gibill.va.gov) as well as secure my housing status, but most of those things should be reconciled by this coming Friday. With that said, many things are on my mind concerning the present state of our nation and this devildog needs to put them down before I pop. In all honesty, this is going to be a bit of a rant, so just bear with me. Folks, first off, the trickle-down theory of economics does not work. Regardless of how badly our Republican "colleagues" wish that it did work...it just doesn't. Don't take my word for it, just ask David Stockman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Stockman), President Reagan's budget director and (at one time) one of the main proponents of the trickle-down theory. Stockman finally woke-up and is on record declaring the economic theory of trickle-down simply doesn't work (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trickle-down_effect). In fact, the only thing that does "trickle-down" folks is leadership. In other words, the vision and character of leadership trickles-down throughout all aspects of an organization, institution and/or society. Good people, as far as I'm concerned, our country is in the middle of enduring eight years of failed leadership...an eight year blight of anemicly weak leadership. Let me give you an example of what it is I am talking about: the President just had his annual physical and his numbers look good (http://i-newswire.com/pr39560.html). But my question is this, Mr. President...you're in shape and that's great. You love to PT (Marine jargon for physical training/physically train)...that's also great. You're physically fit...wonderful. So why, pray tell, is the rest of the country (generally speaking, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm) overweight, overfat and all out of shape? Don't blame the previous Administrations, Mr. President, this is your watch...you're in charge now! So how about using your bully-pulpit and advocating the reintroduction of physical education into the elementary and secondary educational systems across the country (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/02/education/02gym.html)? How about leading your nation, Mr. President? So what if you're fit Mr. President, what about the rest of the country? How about following JFK's lead, advocate physical fitness in this country ( http://fitness.gov/physical_activity_fact_sheet.html) and frame physical fitness and physical education as a national security issue (which, in fact, they are). See, the President reminds me of those candidates at OCS (www.ocs.usmc.mil) who would have their lockers squared away for inspection but not help the next candidate with his/her locker or (what's worse) he reminds me of the candidate who would find out there was a surprise inspection coming down the pike and not say a word about it to his/her fellow candidates...he just made sure his junk was in order. In other words, he would just have his stuff squared away but not lock on his fellow candidates in terms of how to succeed. You see that's called being one selfish son-of-a-bitch and it goes to the very heart and essence of a person's character and sense of involvement with their fellow human beings. Hey everybody, guess what...the President is in great shape...wonderful...who gives a shit?!? What about the other 299,999,999 Americans that he is supposedly leading? Mr. President, are you making sure the rest of the country is as physically fit as you are? Unfortunately, we all know that the answer is, in fact, an unequivocal "no". Leadership and the lack of it is what I'm talking about this day and it's also what has me so hot and livid. The Space Shuttle Discovery is another example of how we are, in what can only be called, a "leadership vacuum" at this juncture in American history. Good people, the bottom line here is that NASA (www.nasa.gov) rushed back into space and the recent events surrounding this "mishap of a mission" are bearing this out to be (oh so sadly) the case. My goodness, stuff was coming off and striking the craft as it was hurtling out of Earth's atmosphere and into space! This isn't suppossed to happen folks! Have we (or really the operative word is "they") not learned anything since/from the Columbia tragedy (STS-107 on 1 February 2003: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Columbia) two and a half years ago that took the lives of seven promising and brilliant astronauts? What is this? Am I the only one perplexed, agitated and highly irritated by the stunt NASA has pulled, this rush to judgement (there's alot of that going on...I refer you to the months leading up to the Iraq invasion) that could once again (Lord forbid) end the lives of seven brave astronauts and set the space program back for (quite possibly) a generation (can you say no more manned space travel for a long time to come, perhaps for 15 to 20 years?) just because NASA "leaders" couldn't be patient, take their time, fix the problem and then head back into space?!? Gee whiz, the astronauts are trying to repair the heat shield while in space!!! That seems just a little nuts to me (http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/12284462.htm), but perhaps my logic is faulty. It's kind of like trying to fix a flat tire or adding oil to the engine while the car is in motion! My advice to NASA is to not even try for re-entry this coming Monday, 8 August 2005, it just isn't worth it (that's my humble opinion...seven more dead astronauts just isn't worth it, especially if you can prevent it). Instead, put the Discovery crew in the International Space Station (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Space_Station) and either: (1) send Space Shuttle Atlantis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Atlantis) up to get them (that is, if Atlantis is "sea-worthy" and at the rate NASA is going, it's anybody's guess), (2) ask the Russians to go up and get them (although humiliating for NASA, the Russians would jump at the request all the more to save the stranded Discovery crew because IT WOULD BE humiliating for NASA...the Russians have loved to stick it to the American space program since the 1950's/1960's), or (3) use the escape pod on board the ISS to get the Discovery crew back home safely (that's if the ISS even has an escape pod and also assuming, if it does indeed have one, that the pod can hold seven astronauts). We'll see what happens. Leadership and the lack of it now takes me to Michigan and today's Detroit mayoral primary election (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,164314,00.html). In short, I'm really hoping the city will anoint former city government official and mayoral front-runner Freman Hendrix (http://www.fremanhendrix.com/) as their main candidate for the November ballot and kick Mayor Kwame Kilaptrick (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwame_Kilpatrick) and his thuggish crew to the curb. Kilpatrick, son of U.S. Congresswoman, Congressional Black Caucus member (http://www.cbcfinc.org/) and all around "good-guy" Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (http://www.house.gov/kilpatrick/), entered into office four years ago in 2001 with a whole lot of promise as the youngest mayor in the history of Detroit, as well as the youngest current mayor of any major city in the United States. Wikipedia states the following concerning Kilpatrick's abhorish behavior while in office and his subsequent fall from grace (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwame_Kilpatrick):

"...Recently, the Detroit media has been reporting on the issue of Mayor Kilpatrick's overspending of city funds. One example is a $25,000 lease on a new Lincoln Navigator which Kilpatrick initially disavowed any knowledge of but that eventually he admitted was for his wife.
In May 2005, the Detroit Free Press reported that over the first 33 months of his term, Kilpatrick has charged over $210,000 on his city-issued credit card for travel, meals, and entertainment. Kilpatrick has also been under scrutiny for an allegedly inappropriate party at the mayoral mansion".


"...As of April 2005, Kilpatrick's approval rating in Detroit has been declining due to the scandals and the perceived lack of improvement in the city. As a result, the April 17, 2005 issue of Time Magazine listed him as one of the three worst big-city mayors in the United States. The other two mentioned in the article are Dick Murphy of San Diego and John F. Street of Philadelphia".

Kilpatrick has squandered all of the promise he enjoyed at the beginning of his term in office in exchange for dressing like an overweight gangster, hanging around nightclubs, rolling around in Escalade SUV's and having large entourages that come and go with him at all hours of the day and night. In short, this "bling-bling" mayor has disappointed not only the citizenry of Detroit with his small-mindedness and lack of vision, but he has also let down the entire African-American community as a whole. Look, we as an American people need leaders dammit..men and women with vision who are (at the very least) trying to take us to a higher level. We DO NOT need wannabe pimps, hustlers and thugged-out "civil servants" who want to imitate the dreg elements of our society. In closing and as stated previously, it is my most earnest hope that Detroit will knock Kwame Kilpatrick and his crew of nitwits off of the ballot and allow a civil servant with vision, experience, imagination and high intelligence to come in and steer Detroit into more safe and more serene waters in terms of its health and status as a major American city (because, let's face it people, Detroit is one American city that has certainly lost its luster over the last few decades, http://www.ci.detroit.mi.us/default.htm); and Kwame Kilpatrick should pull his head out of his gargantuan ass and start trying to emulate the BETTER angels of our nature instead of the worst. My thoughts on leadership and the lack of it now steers me to the recess appointment of John Bolton to the position of U.N. ambassador (http://progressive.org/?q=mag_wx080105). When I first heard the news, the first word that came to mind was "mothersnucker"! Folks, this is outrageous, just outrageous. All the testimony before the U.S. Senate in terms of Bolton's temperament and character and how he is simply NOT the right person for the job...GWB just discarded and flushed down the commode. As is GWB's modus operandi, he just forced it through roughshod and without any thought of how he was disrespecting and usurping the authority and coherent counsel of the United States Senate. Again (as usual) GWB, in all of his stubbornness and hard-headedness, rammed Bolton down all of our proverbial throats. Yeah, that's a leader for you...who cares what my advisors tell me, it's my way or the highway. See, the sad thing about GWB (and people like him for that matter) is they really think their stubbornness and hard-headedness proves that they are "tough", "firm" and "true leaders". When, in fact, it proves the opposite: it actually proves that somewhere along the way (during their childhood development more than likely) they were seriously hurt and wounded emotionally and that their supposed adult displays of "decisiveness", "persistence" and "doggedness" are really classic indicators of an immature and poorly developed mind uncomfortable with rejection of any kind that has a long way to go before attaining psychological maturity. John Bolton is the last person we need representing us at the U.N. during these highly-sensitive and perilous times. The only silver lining in this thing is, since it is a recess appointment, Bolton will only be able to "stand and deliver" at the United Nations until January 2007 when he will once again have to "stand and deliver" before the United States Senate in order to get legitimate approval to hold the position he was just given via recess appointment. Hopefully, he won't do too much damage by then whereas the Senate will slam dunk him come 2007 and replace him with a real ambassador with diplomatic skills, intelligence and grace. Leadership and the lack of it now takes me the hottest race in the country right now...the special election in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District between Marine Major and Democrat Paul Hackett (www.hackettforcongress.com) and GOP mouthpiece, rubberstamp and overall shill Jean Schmidt. Although in the American Southwest and thus not a citizen of Ohio, I'm still behind Paul Hackett 110%!!! Yes, it's going to be a tough race especially since the district in question is strong GOP territory and since a Democrat hasn't won in this district since John J. Gilligan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_J._Gilligan) in 1966. However, stranger things have happened and with seven Marines killed today (six of whom were in fact from Ohio, http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/12286648.htm) and the number of KIA in the Iraqi campaign now over 1,800 killed and fast approaching 2,000 killed (http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/44212.html), perhaps the good citizens of OH-02 will finally wake up and smell the coffee. If Paul Hackett wins this race, it will not only be a devastating blow to the Ohio GOP (and I mean devastating), the ripple effect of a GOP defeat will be felt all over the country...especially in those so-called GOP strongholds throughout the nation. With veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan coming home everyday; and with more than a few of these veterans coming home with slightly different political mindsets than before they left, i.e., they were Republicans or GOP-leaning before they left, began to realize while overseas that the GOP really doesn't give a damn about them in the long run and, as a consequence, returned home as either Democrats, Democratic-leaning or sympathetic to the views of the Democratic Party...in other words, the GOP will be beaucoup concerned if Hackett pulls off an upset victory over Schmidt in today's special election. Let's all hope and pray Paul Hackett will win this day in the OH-02 race and today will be recognized as the day America returned to its liberal heritage and declared before itself and the whole world that we want our leadership back...leadership that knows what it's doing and leadership that has intelligence, good sense and a vision for a better tomorrow for us all. Semper Fidelis