Book Review: Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power

Quick aside before I start: I grew up in the military.  My little sister and I were dropped off at The Nursery on the Naval base in Norfolk when my parents wanted to go out for dinner.  My sister, going through a period of separation anxiety, would cry for what seemed like hours.  I spent the first hour trying to console her and the rest of the evening having a blast with other kids, playing games and watching cartoons from an overhead projector.  If our parents were late, there was a room with bunkbeds for the kids who hadn’t been picked up yet.  It was like a sleepover and we’d talk quietly to one another until our moms and dads plucked us out of bed and took us home.

We got our healthcare from The Dispensary.  That was a clinic staffed with corpsmen and doctors who handled our shots, my bout of hepatitis A when I was four and my sister’s unending stream of asthma attacks.  There was a pharmacy on site that dispensed bottles of thick yellow Tedral that made my sister jittery but allowed us all a few hours of peace each night to sleep.  My parents shopped at the PX and The Commissary.  My family ate generics before the rest of the country knew what they were.  They weren’t even store brand.  They were canned foods with white labels with black block lettering that said “Peaches” or “Green Beans”.  Nothing fancy but sound and good and American grown by some farmer in the midwest.

In the summer, we went to Summer Fun at the base at Pearl Harbor where the first thing we did each day was swim 40 laps in the officer’s pool followed by survival training where we learned to stay afloat for hours in case riptides dragged us and our boogie boards out to sea.  We took field trips and polished kukui nuts and made flowers out of wire petals dipped in a liquid plastic material that is probably now off limits to children.  At night, we ran around military housing until the wee hours and dodged the patrol cars trying to enforce curfew.

So, my experience of growing up military brat was mostly positive.  Changing schools so often wasn’t fun but it was easier when other kids were in the same boat.

I suspect it’s not like that anymore.  In fact, on Google maps, I can’t find the old military housing where I lived in Pearl Harbor.  My old elementary school is there but the rowhouses with the enclosed lanais have been replaced by pods of condos.  But there was a price to pay for being a brat during the Vietnam War.  From the age of 2 until I was 10, I saw my dad for only a couple of months a year.  And we were the lucky ones.

[Katiebird (KB) here. My comments will be in italic: ] My childhood experience was a little different too.  My parents met while working at a Navel Atomic Energy Research Lab and my dad worked there until he transferred to Water Pollution Control (later the EPA) in 1967. So I had some exposure to the fringes of military life although we were very much civilians. And the mission of the lab my dad worked in was to find a defense against nuclear weapons so that was a little weird too.]

Rachel Maddow’s book Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, is about the modern military and how we got here.  If you are a fan of Rachel’s style on Air American and MSNBC, you’ll find this book an entertaining read.  I read the first two chapters and then listened to the rest of it on Audible.  And while we are going to give away a signed copy of the book, I recommend the audible version.  Maddow’s snarky, ironic style comes across better in her oral interpretation of the book in the audio format.

This book is well researched and very well written.  Each chapter moves smoothly into the next.  She hits what she considers to be the most important series of events that lead from the limited use of our military for serious wars to the establishment of a full time military with unprecedented lethality but burdened with unaccountable private contractors and the loss of generational technological memory.

[KB] I was stunned by the amount of research that went into this book.  And her skill in condensing and combining facts in an interesting and readable fashion.

Early on, she introduces us to the Abram’s doctrine, which arose out of Vietnam.  During the Vietnam war, President Johnson made the decision to not involve the Reserves or National Guard.  This was unprecedented in American military history where previous conflicts involved them.  Instead, Johnson used the draft to meet the increasing demands of an escalating war.  The Reserves and National Guard became a haven for the rich and well-connected and the draft the place for the less fortunate.  As the war was winding down, the Abrams doctrine was introduced to tie the hands of the president.  With respect to future conflicts, the involvement of the Reserves and National Guard would be hard to avoid so that the whole country would feel the sting of war and would therefore enter into one more cautiously.  After the implementation of the Abrams doctrine, the president would need to consult with Congress to get approval for committing troops to wars and the Reserves would need to be included.  As you can imagine, the Republicans didn’t much care for tying the hands of their executives.

[KB] I really liked being reminded about the relationship of the draft and the Vietnam war vs National Guard & the wars since. That might be my biggest takeaway from this book.

The rest of the book highlights how various presidents have attempted to get around the Abrams doctrine and how, over the intervening 40 years, they have mostly succeeded.  The sections featuring Ronald Reagan’s “Arms for Hostages” Iran-Contra affair are both hillarious and horrifying.  The impression one gets about Reagan is that he was playing a dangerous game but that trying to get around Congress was just a lark to him.  Either Reagan was the simpleton Maddow makes him out to be, which is terrifying enough, or he knew exactly what he was doing and his actions should have gotten him impeached.  After all, what the Arms for Hostages deal involved was selling missiles to Iran through Israeli middlemen in order to free Americans who were kidnapped by Hezbollah in Lebanon.  Then the money from those sales were passed on to the Contras in Nicaragua.  Congress had specifically prohibited any help whatsoever from the US government to the Contras through the Boland Amendment.  But Attorney General Ed Meese had found chinks in the amendment that would allow the assistance, even going so far as to say that Congress hadn’t prohibited the Department of Agriculture or Health and Human Services from aiding the Contras.  In other words, the Reagan Administration was going to do it no matter what impediment Congress put in Reagan’s way.

[KB] I read through the bits about Iran-Contra several times because I’ve never understood what happened there.  At the time it seemed like the entire Reagan Administration was going down…. and then it was never mentioned again.  Well, Rachel has pages of detail – quotes from Congressional Hearings, Time Magazine & a step-by-step description of what happened and when. But, the climax is just as vague to me now as it was then:

The president had been caught red-handed. Congress had exercised its legal and constitutional prerogative to restrain the executive france from waging a war in Nicaragua. Reagan responded by by breaking the law, waging the war anyway, and funding it by illegal and secret weapons deals that the president insisted weren’t happening. The secretary of defense was indicted on multiple counts, as were two national security advisers, an assistant secretary of state, the chief of Covert Ops at the CIA, and two other senior CIA officials. The president himself escaped largely by pleading exhaustive ignorance and confusion: “I’m afraid that I let myself be influenced by others’ recollections, not my own . . . the simple truth is, I don’t remember — period.” The Reagan presidency — the whole mythology of Reagan’s leadership — was laid bare. This was competence? (pg. 122)

Is that clear? “The president escaped largely by pleading exhaustive ignorance and confusion” Really?  Is that really how that happened? Because from there we skip onto George H. W. Bush and his pardons — and we don’t really look back. From then on the precedent was set and we just don’t have to expect trivial respect for legalities from our Presidents anymore.

Maddow details the disaster in Grenada and it comes off sounding like a tragic version of Keystone Kops planned the invasion and 19 servicemen died.  She recounts Bush Senior’s conflict with Congress over the first Gulf War as well as the Dynacor contractors in Bosnia who bought sex slaves with US taxpayer dollars as the military shifted to private contracting in the 90s.  In her last chapters, she talks about what is happening to our nuclear arsenal and the almost complete absence of documentation that would help the military maintain and replace components, including the hydrogen producing substances in the missiles themselves where the recipe for making more material has gone missing and military scientists are unable to reproduce it.  North Dakota is at the mercy of a socket wrench and air force specialists don’t bother going through safety checklists.

Throughout the book, Maddow maintains attention to resources and detail.  It is obvious that a lot of research went into writing this book.  Where she found time, I’ll never know.  But I do have some issues with the way the book was written and, based on my short discussion with Katiebird, we both are finding it problematic in the same way.  Maddow lays out pretty clearly how the drift occurred but she makes no attempt to suggest why it happened.  One almost gets the feeling that if you are a follower of Maddow’s brand of politics, you don’t have to wonder why it happened.  You just know.  It is to be assumed that the military industrial complex is driving things and that the presidential players are in on it, although her treatment of Bill Clinton and Al Gore seems ambivalent at best.  According to Maddow, it was all those Nurseries, Dispensaries and Summer Fun that persuaded Clinton and Gore outsource military dependent care to private contractors.  Maybe it’s just because I was an adult during the 90s and old enough to pay attention but I suspect that the high price of daycare on military bases was a Republican concern.  Consider military brats the equivalent of the welfare queen.

But if it is true that the military industrial complex is driving the drift to permanent war standing, why doesn’t she take that theory to its logical conclusion?  I mean, she justifiably comes down pretty hard on George W. Bush for starting two wars, one of them wholly unnecessary, and then giving the country a series of irresponsible tax cuts, but she spares Obama for extending the Bush tax cuts when we simply cannot afford the wars anymore.  Obama did this unnecessarily and irresponsibly as well.  Where is the condemnation for that?

Similarly, Obama is given credit for signing the new START treaty at the beginning of his presidency but not condemned for negotiating a contract for modernizing our nuclear defense systems which will include nuclear laden drones.  The price tag is crushing and the prospects of unmanned nuclear drones terrifying but you get the idea that Obama’s hand was forced by Republicans.  He’s just being dragged into things.  None of this is his fault.  It’s everyone else’s fault for starting wars and hiring private contractors. Obama is the only president who seems to be blessed with an excuse.  I’m not buying it.  Not only am I not buying it but if we have drifted into maintaining an expensive standing army at perpetual war, then it would seem that a good way of turning American’s attention to it would be to fix the economy first to free up some mental capacity for putting an end to the trend. But there is no suggestion that that might be necessary or that Obama has the wherewithal to do it.  And if that’s the case, can we please get a replacement who knows what the heck he/she is doing?

Another oddity is that Maddow almost entirely skips the controversy of the Iraq War Resolution.  I’m not sure why she chooses to do this since it was the basis for the left favoring one candidate over the other in 2008.  You’d think the IWR would merit some kind of coverage but I guess we’re all supposed to be so familiar with it that there’s no need to rehash all of the ugly details.  And she doesn’t say too much about the shocking use of misleading information and propaganda that was used by both Bushes for their excursions to the Persian Gulf.  I can’t account for this since the rest of the book is heading for it and then it just disappears, *poof!*, from the historical record.

[KB] I was kind of confused as well.

I think the problem with “Drift” might be the collision of Maddow the Researcher vs Maddow the Democrat.  My biggest complaint about the book is that I do not believe that any of the events had anything at all to do with “Drift” — Nothing so consistent as our move toward scaling back domestic spending and building up military spending happens without a deliberate decision among Very Serious People. And that decision had to include Republicans and Democrats.  It had to. If the Democrats were against it — truly against it — they would have made sure there were headlines in all the appropriate places. And the same thing goes for the Iraq War Resolution (perhaps in this case she didn’t want to expose just how limited that resolution was).

And while I appreciate the high level of research and quality of the writing, I’m still dissatisfied that Maddow didn’t take more time to find out what was driving Reagan, Bush Sr. and Dick Cheney.  Maybe in the end, it doesn’t matter why they did it as long as we voters insist that it stops because it is bankrupting us.  But if we never identify the actors who made it happen, and I think the public actors are not at all the whole story, we can never get to the source of the problem: the aspects of American culture that encourage a cavalier attitude for profit and glory at the expense of rules and the common good.  On this problem, one can almost hear Maddow saying, “Beats me! I have no f*$(ing clue.”

[KB] I think this book comes right up to being a fantastic history of how the relationship between the President & Congress evolved through the last 45 years or so. I am, however, disappointed by her lack of courage — or whatever it was that held her back from sharing the full story. I don’t believe she has “no f*$(ing clue.”  She’s too smart for us to let her get away with that.  This is a great book for what it is. It could have been off the scale with a little more work.   

Still, pretty good read.  Very entertaining.  Get the audible version and clean your house.  On a scale of 1-5, this one rates 4 sponges.

*****************

We are giving a signed copy of Rachel’s book away.  If you are interested in reading it, please indicate in the comment thread below.  I’ll use a random number generator to select a lucky recipient and will contact you through your email address.  If you have previously indicated that you wanted to read it, I will add your name and address to the entries.

Open Thread: John Nichols Smacks Down “Whiner in Chief”

Please don't hurt my feelings!

Please don't hurt my feelings!

This morning at The Nation John Nichols sternly reprimands the Obama administration for its attempts to control “left of left” bloggers with humiliating “off the record” remarks from anonymous administration sources, as well as its childish “war” with Fox News Network

Nichols writes:

…before the president and his inner circle go all Spiro Agnew on us, they might want to consider three fundamental facts regarding relations between the executive branch and the fourth estate

Next, Nichols discusses three main points about WH-media relationships: 1) media outlets have always been partisan; 2) “Presidents are supposed to rise above their own partisanship”; and 3) Obama is asking for trouble by “trying to ‘whip’ relatively like-minded” media sources “in line.”

Here are few salient exerpts from Nichols’ pithy piece:

Fox hosts do go overboard in their savaging of Obama and the Democrats — sometimes ridiculously so. But their assaults on the president are gentle when compared with the battering that Benjamin Franklin Bache’s Philadelphia Aurora administered to John Adams (appropriately) or the trashing that Colonel McCormick’s Chicago Tribune gave Franklin Roosevelt (inappropriately).

Obama should be better than [Dick] Cheney. But aides are not helping the president prevail in what ought to be an easy competition.

Cheney saw newspapers such as The New York Times and news channels such as CNN as little more than branches of his Democratic opposition.

…bloggers should…take [WH] criticism as confirmation that they are right when they suggest that this administration is increasingly out of touch with the progressive base that secured Obama the Democratic nomination and ultimately propelled him to the White House.

The fact is that the results of the 2008 election did not reveal “a closely-divided country.” Obama arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with the most muscular mandate accorded any Democrat since Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 landslide.

Please read the whole thing, and then come back here and discuss.

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The Culture of Cannibalism in US Politics: The Cycle of Corruption

MarkTwain_arts Mark Twain, in “Cannibalism in the Cars,” suggested that cannibalism of the body politic is a logical outcome of the practice of the political values of the elected representatives of the United States, in dire circumstances. What would occur, if such dire circumstances did not require a natural disaster, but became a systemic feature of the political landscape?

doncamp

The current economic crisis and America’s abject failure to provide economically-efficient, affordable healthcare are two examples of dire circumstances that are systemic features of America’s political landscape. Both crises are the results of bad governance. Both circumstances are direct products of the growth of influence of en-corporated political interests (encorps) in the system of governance of the United States. Bad governance, in both cases, involves a betrayal of the public trust that is manifested in not regulating the encorps in a way that protects the public’s interests, especially with respect to not meaningfully regulating the encorps ability to influence government officials.

The United States was born wary of the power of vested interests to influence public policy. Alexander Hamilton’s comments in the Federalist Papers are an example of this concern. .

In republics, persons elevated from the mass of the community, by the suffrages of their fellow-citizens, to stations of great pre-eminence and power, may find compensations for betraying their trust, which, to any but minds animated and guided by superior virtue, may appear to exceed the proportion of interest they have in the common stock, and to overbalance the obligations of duty.

Unfortunately, keeping the vested interests out is not a simple matter. How can it be when parties themselves are collective expressions of a set of weighted interests? Frankly, it is sensible for people of like purpose to strive together to achieve their aims, and there is nothing necessarily insidious about the practise. In fact, it’s a cornerstone of Democracy and civil society.

It is also, however, the entry way for corruption because the crux of the matter is not that people have differing and competing interests: it’s that they differ so greatly in terms of their power to realize those interests. When the power to realize those interests is used to unjustly deny the interests of less powerful, but equally or more deserving citizens, through a donation that is traded for a piece of unjust legislation, then it can be said that a positive feedback loop of corruption has been initiated.
The overly simple analysis that follows attempts to describe the basic workings of this system.
Continue reading

Morning Rainy Tuesday Post: Cheney Is to The Left of Obama On Gay Marraige

I… I am speechless.

Dick Cheney rarely takes a position that places him at a more progressive tilt than President Obama. But on Monday, the former vice president did just that, saying that he supports gay marriage as long as it is deemed legal by state and not federal government.

Speaking at the National Press Club for the Gerald R. Ford Foundation journalism awards, Cheney was asked about recent rulings and legislative action in Iowa and elsewhere that allowed for gay couples to legally wed.

“I think that freedom means freedom for everyone,” replied the former V.P. “As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute to protect this, I don’t support. I do believe that the historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled, on a state-by-state basis. … But I don’t have any problem with that. People ought to get a shot at that.”

And it is so very interesting, isn’t it, that this is just about the exact same position our Current Secretary of State has:

In an appearance early Wednesday evening in front of roughly three-dozen LGBT leaders, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton indicated that she would not oppose efforts by Eliot Spitzer, the odds-on favorite to become the new governor, to enact a same-sex marriage law in New York.

Oh, and…

“Every single time since I’ve been elected speaker, I ever time I’ve picked up the phone to ask Senator Clinton to help the LGBT community, she has said yes,” Quinn said. “She’s assigned staff, she’s taken her own time and political capital to put in on the deal.”

And just to beat the Damned Horse to Death:

In honor of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and on behalf of the State Department, I extend our appreciation to the global LGBT community for its courage and determination during the past 40 years, and I offer our support for the significant work that still lies ahead.

At the State Department and throughout the Administration, we are grateful for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees in Washington and around the world. They and their families make many sacrifices to serve our nation. Their contributions are vital to our efforts to establish stability, prosperity and peace worldwide.

Human rights are at the heart of those efforts. Gays and lesbians in many parts of the world live under constant threat of arrest, violence, even torture. The persecution of gays and lesbians is a violation of human rights and an affront to human decency, and it must end. As Secretary of State, I will advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

This, as the article linked above notes, is to the right of the position Bam has on “Gay Marriage.” Which is described as follows:

Caught up in the debate is the Obama administration. The president has said he supports civil unions for gay couples but that he remains committed to marriage being between and man and woman. His press department has been completely quiet about the recent California Supreme Court case upholding a ban on gay marriage in the state — something that, it seems, Cheney would object to in spirit if not law.

That’s interesting isn’t it, that Dick Cheney is more evolved on this issue than the President is? DICK CHENEY!

You might have noticed that I am slightly obsessed with the issue of Gay Rights, and yes, I am. I admit it freely and without shame.

My identity as a Bisexual Fag Hag aside, the truth is that it was Gay Rights that inspired my half hazard interest in Politics in the first place. (Granted, I have always followed politics since I was very young, but I am talking about politics as a, er… hobby, or whatever you want to call it.) I have mentioned before that a close, old friend of mine committed suicide two years ago. She was a lesbian, and also died in April of 2007. The Presidential Campaign was starting to get it’s water boiling on the stove, but what actually caused me to start paying attention so early was what happened a few weeks after her funeral. That old superstition “Death Comes in Threes” applied in this case. Before she had died, another close friend of mine had also killed himself. And while he wasn’t Gay (he had a crush on me), he was constantly bullied with anti-gay slurs, day in and day out, until he broke.

For those of you who seem to think that bullying isn’t a problem in schools, I’m very happy for you. You seem to live in some kind of alternate reality, and it must be very pleasant: filled with Elves, Unicorns, Journalism, Liberal Baptists, and other things that either have never existed or are now nearly extinct.

But for the rest of us who do live in reality, losing two close friends in one month to suicide can be very hard, to put it mildly. Aside from that, it was just not a good time in my life. The “Third Death” was the loss of a family friend. She was very old and it was her Time, but that didn’t make it hurt any less.

The day after she died, I spoke to one of my friends’ father’s on the phone, and he told me, “You should try to set this aside for a while… focus on something else besides all of this.”

But I have never been good at ignoring or compartmentalizing my own feelings. I could not “set it aside” but I could try to understand why these sorts of things happened to people who didn’t deserve it, on my own time and on my own terms. I could channel my feelings into something important, somehow.

My senior year ended up being only six months long- I graduated from High School early. And thank the Goddess for that. But when I wasn’t working or in school (and that wasn’t very often) I shut myself up in my room and refused to answer phone calls and/or pleading emails from friends and family (before you start lecturing me, I did confide in one person, but that is a moot point). Mostly I was just avoiding my parents, which is always a must, but I was also reading books, thinking, playing Enya on my Xbox to try to make my splitting head aches go away, avoiding my parents some more (I was grounded 99% of the time anyway. Sometimes for breathing too loudly), and doing homework, if it was warranted.

While all this was going on, I was watching The Situation Room on CNN and getting Google updates on the Election in my cell phone. I think the reason I started to get very interested was because of the Research Paper I had to do. It was supposed to be twelve pages, which was the most I’d ever had to write for a paper, and I had to turn it in four months earlier than the rest of my class, since I would be leaving for good after Mid Terms. I tried doing it on a book my old Republican English Teacher had suggested when I asked her for advice, called A Thousand White Women. I liked A Thousand White Women, but there was no way I could do a twelve page research paper on it.

A friend of mine told me I would probably like a book that she was reading called The Mists of Avalon. It was a book, she explained, about King Arthur and Camelot, but it was told entirely from the point of view of the women that wielded power behind Arthur’s “Throne.”

I ended up loving the book. And I did my research paper on it, which ended up being twenty two pages long. The book is focused on Matriarchy; Egalitarianism, even. In the story, Morgan Le Fey is a Druid Priestess and the plot’s tragic protagonist, and the climax occurs when she betrays “Avalon”, the Isle of Apples for King Arthur’s court, causing a sequence of events that eventually leads to the fall of Egalitarian Avalon and the Rise of Patriarchal Camelot through warfare and Religious Dogma.

My paper’s focus was on how the plight of the women of Camelot could be applied to the difficulties women of our society faced. While I was writing it I was all ready keeping track of the sexism of President Obama’s Campaign, even if I did this secretly and thought I was all alone in my thinking.

What struck me most about the story was the sexual antics, the freedom in particular, of the Druid women, particularly Morgan Le Fay. Her sexual orientation isn’t really discussed in the book, but it can’t be described anyway. She loses her virginity to her half brother, has sex with women, copulates with Sir Lancelet, who is Gay, and boinks various other men throughout. At one point she even helps the High Queen Guinevere have a threesome with Arthur and Lancelot so the High Queen can conceive a legitimate child on the throne. (Morgan LF also reminded me of our current SOS… in her character and in the resulting public dehumanization of her by Camelot and King Arthur’s Court that was done by Religious Leaders because of what she was and what she stood for.)

But with the entrance of Patriarchal religious dogma, represented by a rather unflattering portrayal of St. Patrick, women’s sexualities were restricted, their bodies and divinity diminished. In turn, Dogmatic figures seemed almost obsessed with sex, and their intention to control every aspect of a woman’s life seemed to be focused primarily on sex and sexuality.

I noted privately, of course (not in my paper), the duality in our own society. The Clintons had been the last semi-egalitarian Democrats to control the party and the White House, and Right Wing Extremists seemed so obsessed with both Hillary and Bill’s sex lives it was creepy and almost unhealthy.  I was beginning to draw a connection that would take me to the conclusion I am at today: that Patriarchy and Male Social Dominance should be eradicated, or else NOTHING will ever change (you may disagree with me on this if you like, but I will be writing a series on it later, so take it there, if you want to debate it).

Through all this, I remembered a conversation I’d had with my now lost friend, a few months before she took her own life. It was the end of winter break and I asked her what she’d done, and she said, “I came out of the closet to my dad (her father being a phony pseudo religious man). He wouldn’t speak to me all break. He wouldn’t look at me. And on Christmas all he gave me was a Bible with the passages about homosexuality highlighted.”

She was a religious person. There were a lot of factors that drove her to do what she did, and I had long since made peace with her death. That didn’t, however, change my conclusion about that memory. Homophobia, like racism, sexism, ageism, and a number of other things, is a direct result of Male Social Dominance. Homophobia and Misogyny is about sexuality because sexuality and sexual identity is part of being human. And to demean someone on sexual terms is make them less than human.

I graduated from High School on the day I turned in that paper. My Diploma and Community Service Cord was mailed to me a few months later. On the day of my Commencement, I went to  Cedar Point, North East Ohio’s very best Amusement Park, and rode Roller Coasters. To say that I wanted nothing to do with my graduating class and all the baggage that came along with it would be an understatement.

My concern for Gay Rights comes partly from a personal experience. But had that experience never occured, I wouldn’t be writing this right now, I wouldn’t understand the importance of what we are doing here, and at least that is worthwhile. For my part, I still don’t understand what I set out to learn two years ago as a result of those events- but the truth is, I don’t think I ever will.

In other News! This is how a Pro Lifer who is sane and has a conscience

Morgan Le Fay with the Sword of the Druid Regalia

Morgan Le Fay with the Sword of the Druid Regalia

reacts to the News of the Death of poor Dr. Tiller.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin released a statement Monday responding to the murder of Dr. George Tiller, a doctor in Wichita, Kansas who performed late-term abortions.

Gov. Palin has a staunchly pro-life record. She opposes abortion in all cases, including rape and incest, except when a mother’s life is in danger.

Her statement on the Tiller murder was posted on her personal website:

“I feel sorrow for the Tiller family. I respect the sanctity of life and the tragedy that took place today in Kansas clearly violates respect for life. This murder also damages the positive message of life, for the unborn, and for those living. Ask yourself, ‘What will those who have not yet decided personally where they stand on this issue take away from today’s event in Kansas?’
Regardless of my strong objection to Dr. Tiller’s abortion practices, violence is never an answer in advancing the pro-life message.”

Governor Sarah Palin


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I Refuse to Be Invisible; I Will Not Be Silenced.

constitution_quill_pen

On election night I followed the returns on The Confluence. I simply couldn’t stand to watch television or even listen to Fox News on my XM radio receiver. Watching the electoral votes pile up for Barack Obama, I just felt numb. I went to sleep knowing that I cannot do what I did after Reagan was elected or after the debacle in 2000.

Back in the ’80s, I simply shut off the media and ignored politics completely. I went into my shell, read books, went to movies and just tried to stay sane as my country was dismantled before my eyes. Even though I tried not to pay attention to what was happening in Washington D.C., I saw the results of Reagan’s policies as homeless people appeared in the streets of Boston and surrounding towns. Early in the morning, even in the dead of winter, I saw people sleeping in their cars in a Star Market parking lot in Porter Square and a big open space next to Memorial Drive near Harvard Square.

After the debacle in Florida in 2000 and George W. Bush’s appointment by the Supreme Court, I again shut of the TV and refused to read newspapers for awhile. But this time I couldn’t shut it all out. What was happening was just too scary. Especially fter 9/11, I had to pay attention. What I saw was a bloodless coup by large, multinational corporations. I realized that my country was really an oligarchy now. Elections are only a pretense, a sop to the masses to make us feel as if we actually have something to say about what happens in our country. Continue reading

Questions for Obama

What full time jobs have you held since graduating from Law School?

What sort of organizations were they and how long did you hold the positions?

What were the 2 primary responsibilities for each?

What was your proudest accomplishment from each?

And if you manage to become President of the United States with the flimsiest resume possible (even with embellishments) who’s going to be your “Dick Cheney”?

Late Afternoon Developments- Holding Pattern

My curiosity has been piqued by the following interesting developments:

  • Admiral “Fox” Fallon is retiring. Yep, the guy who referred to General Petraeus as “an @$$-kissing, little chicken$hit” is calling it quits. Fallon was the last surviving top military honcho to stand between Dick Cheney and his Iran bombing Viagra. As Jane at FDL points out, retiring means he is free to spill the beans.
  • Eliot Spitzer is not resigning today. He may not resign tomorrow. It is unknown when he will resign. Except that the Republicans in the NY State legislature printed the Articles of Impeachment sometime back in January and it would be a shame to waste them. So, it appears that he may be trying to work out a deal to avoid indictment on some of the charges before he beats a hasty retreat. Oh, and apparently, his NY cheesecake was not cool with Silda.
  • John Boehner is threatening to close up the House if the president and the telecomms don’t get their way with FISA. There is a deal in the works to not give them blanket immunity but instead bring each infraction before a federal judge to determine whether there is a state secret involved. BUT we forget that Republicans have been in charge of nominating federal judges for the past 28 out of 40 years so what are the chances?
  • Pelosi scuttles any chance of a joint Clinton-Obama, Obam-Clinton ticket. Whew! That’s a relief. I guess she knows firsthand what it’s like to be the first female leader in her organization who has a male second in command forced on her who ignores her every word. Well, we’ll see, Nancy. It’s likely you won’t have any say in *this* matter either.

Guys, I don’t have to remind you that 3 out of the 4 items up above are a direct result of Republican skullduggery. They are nasty pieces of work who will scheme right up to the last minute when they are escorted off the premises and just before they leave, someone will give the signal to type “rm *” at the sys admin console while logged in as root at /. (I’ll bet the unix geeks just got a shivver from that)

In the meantime, item 4 shows how much we have let our guard down with respect to the Bushies while Obama has accused Clinton of being the Grand Master of the Chapaqua Branch of the KKK and the Obamaphiles are flipping out over the fact that Hillary says McCain has more national security creds than Barry. And what about the FL and MI delegates, guys? Could you please wrap it up so we can get onto keeping the barbarians from making any further incursions until we can send reinforcements?

Priorities, people!

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