Thursday, December 31, 2009

Obama Administration Hits Back At Cheney HARD

The Same Old Washington Blame Game

Posted by Dan Pfeiffer on December 30, 2009 at 03:34 PM EST

There has been a lot of discussion online and in the mainstream media about our response to various critics of the President, specifically former Vice President Cheney, who have been coming out of the woodwork since the incident on Christmas Day. I think we all agree that there should be honest debate about these issues, but it is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers. Unfortunately too many are engaged in the typical Washington game of pointing fingers and making political hay, instead of working together to find solutions to make our country safer.

First, it’s important that the substantive context be clear: for seven years after 9/11, while our national security was overwhelmingly focused on Iraq – a country that had no al Qaeda presence before our invasion – Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda's leadership was able to set up camp in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they continued to plot attacks against the United States. Meanwhile, al Qaeda also regenerated in places like Yemen and Somalia, establishing new safe-havens that have grown over a period of years. It was President Obama who finally implemented a strategy of winding down the war in Iraq, and actually focusing our resources on the war against al Qaeda – more than doubling our troops in Afghanistan, and building partnerships to target al Qaeda’s safe-havens in Yemen and Somalia. And in less than one year, we have already seen many al Qaeda leaders taken out, our alliances strengthened, and the pressure on al Qaeda increased worldwide.

To put it simply: this President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action. Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country. And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President.

Second, the former Vice President makes the clearly untrue claim that the President – who is this nation’s Commander-in-Chief – needs to realize we are at War. I don’t think anyone realizes this very hard reality more than President Obama. In his inaugural, the President said “our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.” In a recent speech, Assistant to the President for Terrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan said “Instead, as the president has made clear, we are at war with al-Qaida, which attacked us on 9/11 and killed 3,000 people. We are at war with its violent extremist allies who seek to carry on al-Qaida’s murderous agenda. These are the terrorists we will destroy; these are the extremists we will defeat.” At West Point, the President told the nation why it was “in our vital national interest” to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to fight the war in Afghanistan, adding that as Commander in Chief, “I see firsthand the terrible wages of war.” And at Oslo, in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, the President said, “We are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land.”

There are numerous other such public statements that explicitly state we are at war. The difference is this: President Obama doesn’t need to beat his chest to prove it, and – unlike the last Administration – we are not at war with a tactic (“terrorism”), we at war with something that is tangible: al Qaeda and its violent extremist allies. And we will prosecute that war as long as the American people are endangered.

Dan Pfeiffer is White House Communications Director

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

One Year Later, Palestinians Live in Rubble While Israel Blocks Aid

From Crooks & Liars

One year after Israel launched its three-week offensive in Gaza that killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and damaged or destroyed over 50,000 homes in a campaign aimed at stopping Hamas rocket fire, the survivors are still living in rubble. And it is not for want of money that thousands of residents of the coastal enclave remain homeless this winter: Moved by the plight of Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinians who were already reeling from a two-and-a-half year economic siege imposed by Israel with help from Egypt and the U.S. even before Israel's air and ground assault had begun, international donors earlier this year pledged over $4.5 billion to repair war damages. But that aid has failed to reach Gaza, according to Palestinians and relief agencies who accuse Israel of imposing Kafkaesque rules that bar entry to vital reconstruction materials and items as bizarre as glass, most schoolbooks, honey and family-sized tubs of margarine.

Says Chris Gunness, spokesman for the United Nations' Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), "Because the Israelis are not allowing in any reconstruction material, that $4.5 billion is just a paper figure." With over 80% of Gazans now surviving on humanitarian handouts from UNRWA, Gunness adds,"Palestinians are becoming more desperate and more extreme."

Relief officials estimate that Gaza needs 40,000 tons of cement and 25,000 tons of iron to start repairing the homes, hospitals, schools and shops destroyed during Israel's offensive. But so far, according to GISHA, an Israeli legal rights group, the Israelis have allowed only 19 trucks carrying construction material into Gaza since the war ended last January. "You could say that Israel has bombed Gaza back into the mud age," says UNRWA's Gunness, "because that's what they're building their houses out of now — mud."

Without parts to replace machinery damaged in the war, 97% of Gaza's factories have shut down, raising unemployment to over 43%. With scarce sources of income, many Gazans would probably starve if not for food handouts from the U.N. and other agencies. Over 40,000 Gazans have no electricity, 10,000 have no running water in their homes, and because Israel bans entry of the spare parts needed to run its sewage treatment plant, every day 87 million liters of sewage is dumped into the Mediterranean (which washes up on Israel's beaches, too.)

Although the international community occasionally protests Gaza's ongoing tragedy, so far no real pressure has been applied on Israel to loosen its stranglehold. One senior official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government recently confided to a U.N. colleague that Israel's goal for Gaza was: "No development, no prosperity, no humanitarian crisis." The U.N. official interpreted that to mean that Israel would provide Gaza with an intravenous drip of relief to keep its 1.5 million inhabitants alive, but just barely, in hopes that the people would overthrow the Hamas government they voted into power in the last Palestinian elections. But that hasn't happened yet, nor is it likely to; Hamas smuggles arms, money and supplies into Gaza through tunnels from Egypt, and, increasingly, joining the militants has become the only source of a monthly wage for young males. In the meantime, said John Ging, UNRWA's chief officer in Gaza, the Israeli siege is "facilitating the destruction of a civilized society." Before the siege Palestinians in Gaza prided themselves on the excellence of their schools and industriousness of their workforce, many of whom, in more peaceful times, found jobs across the fence in Israel.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thank you for your service

What does service mean these days, and how do you show genuine respect in these polarized political times?

"Thank you for your service."

If you're a soldier, you get this all the time. Sometimes it's a blatant dodge; I've had conservatives trot this out after bashing me, as if trying to cover their asses for treatment that they dish out only to liberals. (Conservatives also invariably try and separate you from the group, another sure sign that they're up to no good.) But soldiers are sacrosanct, so even while they disrespect liberal soldiers and the very notion that there can be liberal soldiers, they feel some twinge of...something. Not guilt, because there's no such thing as guilt to people as sublimely untroubled as this, but maybe fear of exposure. I mean, if people really are so grateful for soldiers' service, why was John Kerry hung out to dry when his opponents were so obviously biased, untruthful, and sloppy?

Service is an interesting conundrum politically, because the service rates of conservatives and liberals differ so markedly, and because talking the talk as a substitute for walking the walk is harder and harder these days, with the internet serving as a kind of user-friendly archeolgical dig. Bill Clinton didn't want to serve in Viet Nam, and got ridiculed for it: George W. Bush avoided service by means that remain mysterious to this day, and don't you dare apply to his service the same vicious tactics that were used on a genuine hero like Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. More to the point, Kerry quietly and honorably---along with the late Teddy Kennedy---went to every funeral of every Massachusetts soldier who fell during the Bush administration.

Bush never went to a single one.

Soldiers, you see, have this thing about other soldiers. I served with too many soldiers---white, black, yellow, red, gay, straight, married, divorced, conservative and liberal----who found out that when the shit hit the fan all that demographic stuff didn't matter nearly as much as the fact as you had a buddy by your side, experiencing the same hell. And maybe you wouldn't be buddies in the real world back home without the military, but once you go through it, it's the rare battle buddy indeed that turns their back on those they served with. And, yes, that includes conservatives, for the most part, because again---real life has a tendency to temper those black-and-white opinions. If the other soldier who saves your ass is gay or Muslim, it might just give you pause about making that gay or Middle Eastern joke. And expecting that of your fellow soldiers gives you an idea of how the military's training doesn't make the troops into quite the cold-blooded killers of popular myth and movie. Like or not, you go through a war and come home and it's that type of honor that you find lacking in civilian life. Only your buddies can provide it, whatever they are.

People looking into the military with an agenda know this, of course. They know this just as surely as they know that if they put black and white guys together in stressful times, barriers are going to fall and friendships are going to form, just as if you put men and women together under a good commander you'll see the same thing. Ironically, the military--this machine of war---does an awful lot to promote friendship at least in the ranks, and if only we could bottle it and spread it around. Familiarity doesn't breed contempt; it breeds compassion.

Yet fewer and fewer Americans know anybody who's in the military these days. Immigrants have always seen the deal that the military offers and seized it, while native born Americans seem a bit squeamish about the notion that they dirty their hands with hard unglamorous labor.

The public suspects what we do, but it also fears it. That fear is fed by movies that depict the satire or savagery of war, but find it hard to show the true measure of, say, what you'd call in civilian terms---supervisors or bosses. I've never had civilian bosses as good as I've had high-ranking souls in the Army treat me, and being respected gets to be addictive after a while. It also tends to make you perform at a higher level as well. You can't fake that kind of regard, and soldiers are used to a level of comeraderie that most civilians don't ever get to see.

So the public looks in and doesn't know what to make of all the conflicting stories, and we've moved on from the times when there was a soldier in every family. Nowadays, we have an all-volunteer service, which means people want to be there, often out of need. What often happens is that we join for one need and find another. The allure of brother- or sister-hood is extremely powerful once you get a taste of it.

When I went to Basic Training, I was the second-oldest female there and something of an object of curiosity amongst the teens who formed the majority of my platoon. Our drills were all male so there was quite the interesting clash of gender roles and resistance for a while. Sexism does work for some women, as long as they're willing to sacrifice a true connection with other women and men. (If you want to see real hatred of men, go check out conservative women. If you're not a six-foot-tall macho man who kills and skins deer with your bare hands and disdains diaper changing, you're not a man to the likes of Phyllis Schlafly, etc, etc.,)

You can't really connect to other people if you think of them in terms of, say, checklists of items that they have to fulfill, and so when at Basic a young female soldier propositioned another drill from another company via mash note, I expected to see her ripped apart by the drill as a disobedient soldier at best. She was my battle buddy, and so I was present there in the office as a witness to the sort of meeting occasioned in so many different ways by the very gender roles I was only mistily aware of at the time.

My drills were a short, red-faced redneck who bluntly had identified himself as a former drinker, a genial Hispanic NCO who was the most relaxed of the three, and a black NCO who managed to be both a dandy---at FTX, no less---and yet a stern taskmaster as well. Conducting the meeting that day in the office was the first drill, a man who I had not yet had time to assess, but by that time I'd had plenty of experience with men in the real world and knew what to expect when the subject was, say, sex and women. Or so I thought.

The drill showed the private the note and asked her gently if she'd written it---something that had been quite clearly forbidden during orientation. (One of the things that shocked me during the initial briefings was seeing men discuss, say, menstruation and sexual desires in a stressful environment and how to handle both. I wasn't used to what I'd call regular guys treating such things---and by extension, women---in such a matter-of-fact, non slut-shaming kind of way.)

When she admitted that she'd written it, the drill squared his shoulders and looked from me to her, then fixed on her. "Private, I want to ask you something, and I want you to be honest. I'm tryin' to help you here. All right?" All of this was said, by the way, in the deepest cracker accent possible, a roller coaster of luxurious cadences that would have led a biased viewer to a rather negative view of the speaker. If so, they'd be wrong.

"Private, have you been messed with before you came here?"

To make a long story short, she had, and the drill got her counseling while obeying the regulations. It's that kind of imagination and compassion that make you bond with your fellow soldiers, and it's that kind of thing that is glaringly missing from when conservatives talk about John Kerry or some other liberal soldier. It's been missing from far too many interactions that I personally have had with various entities from the VA, yet repeatedly when I've talked to even the lowliest civilian pencil pusher from the Army I've been driven nearly to the point of tears by the compassion. Who's serving whom here?

"Thank you for your service."

Well, um....You know, some of us want to serve, to do good things for others anonymously, to be part of a cause, and those who serve alongside us are often the most sincere in their respect. Those who've been through the shit of course know what it's like, so it's glaring and obvious when the phrase is used in the manner of, "No offense, but...." or "I'm not blaming the victim, but...."

What one might run up against while using the phrase is the frank discomfort of many on the receiving end. The military is not a monolith, and so some soldiers admit frankly they didn't so much serve as hang out, chill, and pass the time. They might not want to pretend otherwise. Do we judge the service level and proportion our gratitude? Or do we offer the same thing to one and all? Is that appropriate? Who asks? Who answers? How, in the end, do we honor those who serve?

I don't know how to answer that, because I've only got vague feelings of discomfort with the phrase to offer---and the far firmer opinion that people who really are grateful for service don't act the way conservatives have acted toward liberal service members. It seems to me that people are often deeply uncomfortable with the idea that soldiers---whether they be Pat Tillman or Lyndie England---come from the same towns and communities as the rest of the population, and that when we do extraordinary things one has to ask why others do not come from those same small towns and pick up the load as well. People respect soldiers uneasily, often, and, and as long as that unease exists, so, too, will ignorance about what we do, how we really do it, and what it does to us.

Maybe, just maybe, the way to respect someone's service is to find a new phrase for every soldier, to spare a moment of one's day in thinking up a conversation that doesn't include any one-size-fits-all phrases. Maybe the best way to respect us is to ask how our day's going, what it consists of, and what we need. Those who serve, it turns out, might one day need that favor returned. When you say, "Thank you for your service," It's almost, in some hands, like a tip on a check in a restaurant. And we all know about bad tippers, right? Do we get to make demands? Do we get to set the rate? What's the going rate on respect?

And that, it turns out, is one of the few services that cannot be done for you. You have to come to that answer on your own. All I can do is point out that respect is evident, as noted above, amongst service members. Beyond that, it's up to you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


For the past several weeks, the usual suspects have been attacking President Obama for not making a decision on troop levels in Afghanistan quickly enough for their warmongering taste. And despite the fact that whatever the ultimate decision is, additional troops won't be deployed until next spring, they continue to insist that a decision must be made now.

Here are just a few examples from the WMD-mushroom cloud-cakewalk-in-Iraq crowd: we have the "dithering" Dick Cheney suddenly concerned about our troops being in danger, John "President Wannabe" McCain still wanting tobomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb something, and Charles Krauthammerwho has taken it upon himself to decide how a president must act -- which would presumably fall somewhere between himself and Attila the Hun.

And in a class(less) by himself is Bill Kristol, the lead cheerleader for the war in Iraq, who unbelievably says:

... what the White House thinks in the sense that they think it's an excrutiating decision, it's very tough. I think that's pathetic ... why is this a tough call?

Why is this a tough call? As we have learned over the past six years, there are thousands of reasons.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2,266 Veterans Died In 2008 Because They Were Uninsured

The Huffington Post | Elyse Siegel

According to a study released by the Harvard Medical School, 2,266 veterans under the age of 65 died last year as a result of not having health insurance. Researchers emphasize that "that figure is more than 14 times the number of deaths (155) suffered by U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2008, and more than twice as many as have died (911 as of Oct. 31) since the war began in 2001."

The 1.46 million working-age veterans that did not have health insurance last year all experienced reduced access to care as a consequence, leading to "six preventable deaths a day."

Like other uninsured Americans, most uninsured vets are working people -- too poor to afford private coverage but not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid or means-tested VA care," said Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a professor at Harvard Medical School. [...]

Dr. David Himmelstein, the co-author of the report and associate professor of medicine at Harvard, commented, "On this Veterans Day we should not only honor the nearly 500 soldiers who have died this year in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also the more than 2,200 veterans who were killed by our broken health insurance system. That's six preventable deaths a day."

The study's authors warn that the health care legislation "would do virtually nothing for the uninsured until 2013" and would "leave at least 17 million uninsured over the long run when reform kicks in," leaving many veterans still without care.

Tom Coburn Continues To Oppose Funding For Wounded Veterans And Their Families

Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 10:22:03 AM PST

On a day set aside to honor all military veterans, let's take a moment to remember Tom Coburn (R-OK) -- no, not for his military service, because hereally lucked out on the draft lottery in 1969 -- but for his one-man roadblockagainst:

... assistance to caregivers of veterans, to improve the provision of health care to veterans, and for other purposes.

... otherwise known as the Caregiver and Veterans Services Act of 2009, that can't get to the Senate floor because of the hold placed on the bill by Coburn.

Because while Coburn may wave a flag and have a properly pinned lapel when it suits him, he's not interested in the pleas from:

The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, AmVets, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Blinded Veterans Association, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Vietnam Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Jewish War Veterans, plus the Military Officers Association of America, National Military Family Association and Wounded Warrior Project.

... to get this bill passed, even though:

Thousands of disabled veterans with serious medical conditions and the family members who care for them are counting on this additional support. [...]

Steve Robertson, legislative director for The American Legion, said delaying the bill hurts families caring for severely wounded combat veterans who would benefit from the stipends, health care, counseling and respite care that would be provided to caregivers in the bill.

“For a lot of family caregivers, delay is costing them their jobs and their savings. It’s having a big impact,” he said.

So, what is Coburn's objection to the bill? He hates "the idea of creating new benefits without paying for them" and wants the funding to come out of the economic stimulus money.

Yesterday, Harry Reid (D-NV) called Coburn's stance "illogical" given that he never raised any objections "when we were spending a trillion dollars on the war in Iraq."

Which is a good point. One that Reid should make while making a motion to proceed to consideration of the bill, forcing Coburn to publicly filibuster against benefits for veterans, rather than continuing to allow him to hide like a coward behind his anonymous hold.

Update: From a press release:

Over 13,000 petition signatures, raised in a matter of less than a week, were delivered to Senator Tom Coburn, calling on him to end his hold on a veterans spending bill. The petition, sponsored by and retired General Wesley Clark's “Securing America,” calls on Coburn to end his hold on S. 1963, "The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2009."

We the undersigned call on you to stop this disgraceful move of holding up some very important veteran legislation, S. 1963, "The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2009." While this is a legal move, we think it is morally wrong for you to hold up any veterans benefits during a time when our men and women in uniform are giving so much to our country.

You are denying veterans a myriad of benefits and services ...

Now is not the time to play petty political games with our veterans. What you are doing is shameful, and those of us who are veterans and support veterans will not stand for it.

Outrage! GOP won't join in Ft. Hood moment of silence!

Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 12:50:04 PM PST

When Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) convened a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development yesterday, he asked everyone to join him in a moment of silence for the victims of the Ft. Hood shootings, and not a single Republican would join him!

Of course, that's probably because there wasn't a single Republican in attendance. (Gee, maybe I should have gone with that as a headline. Darn it all, it's Fox's world, we just live in it!)

And why wasn't there a single Republican in attendance, as near as I can make out at any point, throughout the two hours during which the committee sat?

Probably because of the subject of the hearing: "Ending Veterans' Homelessness."

Republicans, we know from Bill O'Reilly, do not believe there is such a thing as a homeless veteran. So they won't sit still for a hearing on something as absurd as that, nevermind that it was the day before Veterans' Day.

Watch the archived footage of the hearing for yourself, and see if you can spot so much as a scrap of paper on the table where the Republicans are supposed to be.

Little Steven - "Leonard Peltier"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pennsylvania state lawmaker: Veterans who support climate change legislation are ‘traitors.’

I don't like being called Traitor or the rest of what this guy stands for. Dump State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe

A coalition of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, under the name Operation Free, is on a 21-state bus tour to alert the public about the dangers of global warming and itsthreat to national security. Upon hearing about the group’s visit to Pennsylvania, State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R) blasted the veterans as “traitors” and compared them to Benedict Arnold:

As a veteran, I believe that any veteran lending their name, to promote the leftist propaganda of global warming and climate change, in an effort to control more of the wealth created in our economy, through cap and tax type policies, all in the name of national security, is a traitor to the oath he or she took to defend the Constitution of our great nation!” Mr. Metcalfe’s email reads. “Remember Benedict Arnold before giving credibility to a veteran who uses their service as a means to promote a leftist agenda. Drill Baby Drill!!!”

Rep. Metcalfe, who served in the U.S. Army from 1980-84, today defended the remarks, saying that “if the type of policies that an individual promotes undermines the Constitution and the law of the land in our country, then they are not patriots.”

Global warming is inextricably linked to national security, with the potential to “aggravate existing problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions” around the world, which “could increase the pool of potential recruits into terrorist activity.” In the past, Metcalfe has refused to support Domestic Violence Awareness month in Pennsylvania because the resolution referenced domestic abuse suffered by men, which Metcalfe interpreted as part of a “homosexual agenda.” He also opposed a vote to “honor the 60th anniversary of a Muslim group in the state, because ‘Muslims don’t recognize Jesus Christ as God.’”

Monday, October 12, 2009

Reconsider Columbus Day

Friday, October 9, 2009

Black NFL Players ‘Wouldn’t Play’ For Limbaugh’s Team: ‘He’s A Jerk’

from Think Progress

Earlier this week, the media reported that hate radio host Rush Limbaugh is involved in a bid to purchase the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams franchise. Many sports media figures lambasted the idea of Limbaugh owning an NFL team, with one writer saying it “would definitely hurt” the Rams while another said his “head exploded after hearing this Limbaugh news” because he is “a pungent bowl of stark raving bigoted lunacy.”

Now, the players themselves are piling on. Specifically, many African-American players have explicitly stated that they would never play for a team that Rush Limbaugh owns. “All I know is from the last comment I heard, he said in (President) Obama’s America, white kids are getting beat up on the bus while black kids are chanting ‘right on,’” New York Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka told the New York Daily News, adding, “I don’t want anything to do with a team that he has any part of.” Other black players expressed similar sentiments:

[New York Jets linebacker Bart] Scott says players remember what Limbaugh said [about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donavan McNabb], and adds that the NFL would be wise not to allow the nationally syndicated host into the league.

“It’s an oxymoron that he criticized Donovan McNabb,” Scott said. “A lot of us took it as more of a racial-type thing. I can only imagine how his players would feel. I know I wouldn’t want to play for him. He’s a jerk. He’s an —. What he said (about McNabb) was inappropriate and insensitive, totally off-base. He could offer me whatever he wanted, I wouldn’t play for him. … I wouldn’t play for Rush Limbaugh. My principles are greater and I can’t be bought.”

Indeed, as CNN reported at the time, ESPN fired Limbaugh from Sunday NFL Countdown for “his statement that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated because the media wanted to see a black quarterback succeed.” But, of course, Limbaugh has a long sordid history with making racist remarks. Some of his more recent lowlights:

– “Look, let me put it to you this way: The NFL all too often looks like agame between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.”

– “We need segregated buses. … This is Obama’s America.”

– “President Obama is black. And I think he’s got a chip on his shoulder.”

– Democrats are interested in Darfur to secure black “voting bloc.”

– “Minorities never do anything for which they have to apologize.”

– Obama’s nomination for president “goes back to the fact that nobody had the guts to stand up and say no to a black guy.”

– Obama is a “halfrican-American.”

Advising the NFL to block Limbaugh’s pursuit of an NFL franchise, St. Louis Dispatch sports columnist Bryan Burwell wrote recently, “Dancing with Limbaugh is like dancing with a snake. Eventually, the snake will bite you. That’s his nature.”

RNC Hates America, DNC Calls Them On It

By BarbinMD via Daily Kos

The Republican National Committee, still giddy over America losing its bid to host the 2016 Olympics, had this to say about the President of the United States being award the Nobel Peace Prize:

The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?’ It is unfortunate that the president’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain – President Obama won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.

Actually, the real question Americans are asking is, "Why do Republicans hate America?" Or as the Democratic National Committee put it:

The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists — the Taliban and Hamas this morning — in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize. Republicans cheered when America failed to land the Olympics and now they are criticizing the President of the United States for receiving the Nobel Peace prize — an award he did not seek but that is nonetheless an honor in which every American can take great pride — unless of course you are the Republican Party. The 2009 version of the Republican Party has no boundaries, has no shame and has proved that they will put politics above patriotism at every turn. It’s no wonder only 20 percent of Americans admit to being Republicans anymore – it’s an embarrassing label to claim.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Democracy 101: Pittsburgh G20 Protests and the Police Occupation of Pitt University

Made in Pittsburgh within five days of the G20 summit by a team from Pittsburgh Indymedia, Twin Cities Indymedia, Chicago Indymedia, Glassbead Collective, and Mobile Broadcast News, a new documentary: "Democracy 101 (Rough Cut)". Democracy 101 is a look at the policing and pattern of issues that arise during National Special Security Events. Made with footage from the recent repression of dissent in Pittsburgh, salvaged from the broken cameras, stolen video and arrested reporters, and independent journalists from around the country.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

@greenpeaceusa09 Bridge Protest

Message Delievered at G-20

Greenpeace activists, rappelled off of some of Pittsburghís iconic bridges with massive banners displaying their message to Group of 20 leaders gathering for the September 24 summit. The banners, one nearly 80-feet by 30-feet in size, take the form of stylized ìroad signsî that warn of the political maneuvering and delay that have put a international climate treaty in jeopardy as the world enters the final stretch on the road to Copenhagen. The banners were hung in the downtown area on September 23, 2009. More Pics

More about Me for my new Twitter Followers

This Picture isn't the best cause I copied it from The 40 Years of Rolling Stone Magazine DVD. They interviewed me and a bunch of other steelworkers back in the mid 80s when the Steel Mills were closing. The picture was taken across the river from the Carrie blast furnace that is still there. I am wearing a Save Dorothy tee shirt, we tried but she is gone now. My hair is a lot longer now and I weigh a lot more, eating much better now. If your new to the blog go back year 2006 or search the blog for my poem The Big Gray Ugly. It's about what happened when US Steal closed the Homestead Mill and the effect on our lives at the time. Folks that aren't following me I am @wolfdancer5 on Twitter.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Teabagger Socialist-Free Purity Pledge

From The Daily Kos

Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 01:00:04 PM PDT

Daily Kos readers are awesome and send awesome emails:

I, ________________________, do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:

I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights.

I will complain about the destruction of my 2nd Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing unconcealed firearms in public.

I will foreswear the time-honored principles of fairness, decency, and respect by screaming unintelligible platitudes regarding tyranny, Nazi-ism, and socialism at public town halls. Also.

I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life. I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:

  • Social Security
  • Medicare/Medicaid
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)
  • Police, Fire, and Emergency Services
  • US Postal Service
  • Roads and Highways
  • Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)
  • The US Railway System
  • Public Subways and Metro Systems
  • Public Bus and Lightrail Systems
  • Rest Areas on Highways
  • Sidewalks
  • All Government-Funded Local/State Projects (e.g., seeIowa 2009 federal senate appropriations)
  • Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, outdoor hose!)
  • Public and State Universities and Colleges
  • Public Primary and Secondary Schools
  • Sesame Street
  • Publicly Funded Anti-Drug Use Education for Children
  • Public Museums
  • Libraries
  • Public Parks and Beaches
  • State and National Parks
  • Public Zoos
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services
  • Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, State or Federal Government (pretty much all of them)
  • Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them)
  • Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions)
  • Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking
  • Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies
  • Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies

If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forego my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care

I will not tour socialist government buildings like the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

I pledge to never take myself, my family, or my children on a tour of the following types of socialist locations, including but not limited to:

  • Smithsonian Museums such as the Air and Space Museum or Museum of American History
  • The socialist Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Monuments
  • The government-operated Statue of Liberty
  • The Grand Canyon
  • The socialist World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorials
  • The government-run socialist-propaganda location known as Arlington National Cemetery
  • All other public-funded socialist sites, whether it be in my state or in Washington, DC

I will urge my Member of Congress and Senators to forego their government salary and government-provided healthcare.

I will oppose and condemn the government-funded and therefore socialist military of the United States of America.

I will boycott the products of socialist defense contractors such as GE, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Humana, FedEx, General Motors, Honeywell, and hundreds of others that are paid by our socialist government to produce goods for our socialist army.

I will protest socialist security departments such as the Pentagon, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Department of Justice and their socialist employees.

Upon reaching eligible retirement age, I will tear up my socialist Social Security checks.

Upon reaching age 65, I will forego Medicare and pay for my own private health insurance until I die.


_____________ _________________________

Signed Printed Name/Town and State

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jim Carroll Band - Catholic Boy

R.I.P. Jim Carroll

The Jim Carroll Band - People Who Died