Sunday, October 19, 2003

Ambush Teams Strike U.S. Targets in Iraq

Ambush Teams Strike U.S. Targets in Iraq
By CHARLES J. HANLEY AP Special Correspondent
published 09:39 PM - OCTOBER 19, 2003 Eastern Time

If this article doesn't help you to see just how bad things are going in Iraq, God help you.



Howard Dean has made this recent statement regarding the $87 Billion Appropriation..
in part:

"..I would oppose President Bush's latest request for a blank check unless the President submits a new plan that is paid for out of the tax cut. The new plan must give our troops what they need and bring them home safely, share this burden with other nations, ensure the stabilization and rebuilding of Iraq, and make sure that the billions of dollars we are spending are not wasted and used to pay off big corporations. Congress must demand that the President submit this new plan immediately.

"Too many in my party, like Senators Kerry, Edwards and Lieberman, and Congressman Gephardt allowed the President to get us into this misguided war. It is clear General Clark also supported the war at this time. The right choice would have been voting 'no' last fall; voting 'no' now cannot erase that poor decision. Trying to have it both ways demonstrates neither strong leadership nor good judgment."




"I'm not surprised that Governor Dean would oppose this. I've lost confidence that he has any understanding of the national security responsibilities of a president."

-- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), to whom the formerly insurgent Howard Dean is often compared.

McCain was speaking to the Manchester Union-Leader
about Dean's opposition to the $87 billion requested for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq
and Afghanistan.



[Page: S4611-Congressional Record]


If McCain has such "understanding" and others had fallen in line with hawkish-him and Biden in 1999, we would have had
a hell of a lot of dead American troops!
As it turned out, thank God and Clinton and General Clark, there was not one American life lost.

Look at this tripe from McCain in 1999 re: S.J. 20:

Mr. McCAIN: Mr. President, I want to speak plainly in the few minutes remaining to me. What I say now may offend some people, even some of my friends who support this resolution. I am sorry for that, but I say it because I believe it is the truth, the important truth, and it should be said. The President of the United States is prepared to lose a war rather than do the hard work, the politically risky work, of fighting as the leader of the greatest nation on Earth should fight when our interests and our values are imperiled.

We all know why in a few minutes this resolution is going to lose. It is going to lose because the President and members of his Cabinet have joined with the opponents to the war **???** and lobbied hard for the resolution's defeat. Do not believe administration officials when they tell you that the resolution would have been defeated even without their active opposition. Had they worked half as hard in support of it as they did to defeat it, the result would have been different today.

No, it is not that they could not win; it is because they did not want to win *???* that we are facing defeat this morning. That is a shame, a real shame.

I have said repeatedly that the President does not need this resolution to use all the force he deems necessary to achieve victory in Kosovo. I stand by that contention. And I have the good company of the Constitution behind me.

I had wanted this resolution considered in the now forlorn hope that the President would take courage from it and find the resolve to do his duty, his duty by us, the American people, by the alliance he leads, and by the suffering people of Kosovo who now look to America and NATO for their very lives. I was wrong, and I must accept the blame for that. The President does not want the power he possesses by law because the risks inherent in its exercise have paralyzed him. Let me identify for my colleagues the price paid by Kosovars for the President's repeated and indefensible ruling out of ground troops..."

To which Senator Tom Daschle replied:

DASCHLE: The distinguished Senator from Arizona made some comments about the President's unwillingness to use ground troops. It isn't just the President. It is all of his Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is everybody in the Pentagon who advises the President who has said, This is not the time; we do not want to commit ground troops at this point, Mr. President; don't request them. And he has not.

It is for this reason, Mr. President, that I reluctantly join in tabling this resolution today...

Until we have given every opportunity for the air campaign to work, moving to a new strategy is premature..."

Here is a Statement of Senator Carl Levin Vote on that same McCain/Biden Resolution:

Washington--The Senate this morning voted 78 to 22 to table the McCain/Biden Joint Resolution that would have authorized the President to use all necessary force, in concert with United States allies, to accomplish United States and NATO objectives in Yugoslavia.
While, I favor the thrust of the resolution, i.e. that NATO must do everything necessary to prevail in this conflict, I do not favor its timing.

The 19 NATO nations are united in their determination that Milosevic's campaign of terror will not be allowed to succeed. If the Senate had adopted this resolution, I believe that we would have put the Senate and this nation in a significantly different position than the rest of NATO in advance of a need to do so. NATO is unified on an air campaign. It is not yet unified on a ground campaign. A premature debate on a ground force could negatively impact on the unity of the Alliance.

I do believe that contingency planning for a NATO ground force should proceed as a prudent step, but there is no need for the Senate to authorize a ground force at this time. We must not be distracted by a premature debate about ground forces. Our focus and our efforts should be on accomplishing the military mission of significantly reducing Milosevic's capability to keep a stranglehold on Kosovo.

Senator Carl Levin

Thank God these men and other men and women like them in Congress had the good sense not to follow hawks McCain and Biden into war folly.

I wish many of those same Congresspeople would have recalled their intelligent 1999 decision when presented with the Iraq resolution in October, 2002.
Instead, many of them acted like frightened and brainwashed boobs....McCain among surprise.

Facing It
by Yusef Komunyakaa

"My black face fades,
hiding inside the black granite.
I said I wouldn't,
dammit: No tears.
I'm stone. I'm flesh.
My clouded reflection eyes me
like a bird of prey, the profile of night
slanted against morning. I turn
this way--the stone lets me go.
I turn that way--I'm inside
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
again, depending on the light
to make a difference.
I go down the 58,022 names,
half-expecting to find
my own in letters like smoke.
I touch the name Andrew Johnson;
I see the booby trap's white flash.
Names shimmer on a woman's blouse
but when she walks away
the names stay on the wall.
Brushstrokes flash, a red bird's
wings cutting across my stare.
The sky. A plane in the sky.
A white vet's image floats
closer to me, then his pale eyes
look through mine. I'm a window.
He's lost his right arm
inside the stone. In the black mirror
a woman's trying to erase names:
No, she's brushing a boy's hair.

Copyright Yusef Komunyakaa 1988

Autumn brings the memory of
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Autumn marks both the birth and the passing of a great American figure, Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Born November 12, 1815.. died October 26, 1902.

On July 19,1848, the first woman's rights convention was called by Stanton and Massachussetts-born Lucretia Mott (who was first President of the American Equal Rights Association.)

The first women's rights convention was held at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, NY...not far from where I call home.

In Seneca Falls, N.Y.

Wesleyan Chapel, Seneca Falls, N.Y.. as it stands today.

Near the end of her life, the wise and enlightened Stanton penned one of the most meaningful speeches ever made in American history.
At the 1892 National American Woman Suffrage Association convention, Stanton retired as president and delivered her “Solitude of Self” speech, the fullest expression of her feminist philosophy.
The PBS "Not For Our Ourselves Alone" website says: "On January 18, 1892, Elizabeth Cady Stanton delivered her Solitude of Self address to the Congressional Judiciary Committee...." and presents the speech in its entirety.

In 1895, Stanton published the first volume of the Woman’s Bible, the culmination of her life-long interest in correcting biblical passages that are demeaning to women. It became an immediate bestseller and aroused widespread controversy.

Elizabeth did not live to see the 19th Amendment enfranchise women, which occurred on August 26, 1920..eighteen years after her death.


click photo for Women's Rights National Park site

"...Neither the man movement nor the woman movement had a dated beginning. In the struggle upward toward political freedom, men were called upon to overthrow the universally accepted theory of the Divine Right of Kings to rule over the masses of men; women, the universally accepted theory of the Divine Right of Men to rule over women. The American Revolution forever destroyed the Divine Right of Kings theory in this country, but it left untouched the theory of the Divine Right of Man to rule over woman. Men and women believed it with equal sincerity, the church taught it, customs were based upon it, the law endorsed it, and the causes which created the belief had been so long lost in obscurity that men claimed authority for it in the "laws of God." All opposition to the enfranchisement of women emanated from that theory.

Students of human progress might have predicted at the inception of the American Republic that, should it continue, universal manhood and womanhood suffrage would become inevitable. The official announcement of the causes that led the American patriots into revolution emphasized two maxims as explanatory of all their grievances, namely, "Taxation without representation is tyranny" and "Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed." Although in the minds of the Colonists these aphorisms undoubtedly were limited in application to the relation which the Colonies bore to their Mother Country, it was as clear to individual men and women then, as to hundreds of thousands of them a hundred and forty years later, that a nation that proclaimed these principles upon the one hand and denied them upon the other, applied them to men and refused to apply them to women, presented so untenable an inconsistency that sooner or later professions and deeds would have to be squared..."

Carrie Chapman Catt / Nettie Rogers Shuler


A wonderful book about the Seneca Falls/Finger Lakes region of NY from a unique perspective:
FROM WHERE WE STAND: RECOVERING A SENSE OF PLACE by Deborah Tall deals with ways we can authentically learn about our adopted places of residence.. by the consciousness of the heart and by our educated imagination. We come to discover our true home and roots by doing so.

Liberty and Justice by Degree by Todd J. Schneider/Free Thinker's Page

Liberty and Justice by Degree
By Todd J. Schneider
Free Thinker's Page
12 October, 2003

All my life, or at least since I realized that the socio-political arena was where my game was being played, I have struggled to find the one defining idea for the fight against the right that I could put into words, to share with others. There would be a day when my neurotransmitters were hooked up correctly, and I always imagined that I would sit down and write something that always had the title, “Why We Fight”. But I knew that there was this wonderful fellow named Capra back in the forties that produced the masterpiece of wartime propaganda by that name, which served as a tool to justly beat back one of the greatest tyrants in history. So the title would never stand a chance. Meanwhile, I would visit this quest for the definition of that feeling inside that causes me to shed the fears of a commoner and take a stand. Driving a car, fixing a lamp, in the shower; these were all the forums for my Q&A to myself, always hoping for a conclusion.

So today, I was mowing my lawn and mulling over the statements by Pat Robertson and Joel Mowbray that The State Department could be dealt with as an enemy with a nuclear bomb. And that led to thoughts about the Rove/Novak treason against Valerie Plame and our nation. All that they have to say is “I didn’t do it.” a la Bart Simpson, and the whole thing just goes away! But, should a pip-squeak like myself, or one of you make a similar statement, we’d be on a list faster than you can say phony cowboy. And that was the moment. The dispensation of unequal rights according to wealth and privilege are the reasons I fight. The very fact that one man or woman deserves more protection under the law, according the eternally evil premise that who I know, what favors I’ve done, and how much money I’ve contributed to your election affords me this unequal right, makes me sick to my soul.

To hell with the toys and goodies of the affluent. I could care less about these temporal things. Even the bible says not to envy those of their material goods; they can all be stolen or turn to rust. What I am talking about is the very and only thing that makes America real - and without which our republic is doomed to tyranny. It is the notion that, under the law, Sanjay is no different than Bill; that Betty deserves justice no more than Juanita, and Park has the same chance for prosperity according to his own honest industry. Likewise, these individual rights are a two-sided agreement that counts responsibility as payment. And should the moment present itself, that the friend of the president be held to the same standard of accountability as I or my neighbor.

This idea can be applied to a wide array of issues that define our great land and system of government. Freedom of religion, freedom of the press for example, are based on the simple idea that when the rights of an individual are disregarded, so are the rights of all. But the whole balance of this noble concept of rights and responsibilities is upset when the access to it is defiled by class and political influence. Any one of us that is able to open a book knows that this is not a new phenomenon. This scourge of class and privilege has always hovered around the fringes of our republic; sometimes made to feel more welcome than at other times. Indeed, this has been a struggle that has been a camp follower in the march of history. In most of the story of mankind, the peasant had no say, and ‘the inner circle’ was the dream of many.

But we were going to be different. America was going to take the folly of the past and collectively mold it into something that would benefit the whole of its citizenry. Sure, there would be greed and corruption, which ultimately can only be cured by the voice of one’s own conscience. But, BY LAW, we were for ever after to be counted as equal - the smallest voice as important as the largest - the poorest as rich in justice as the wealthy. Our nation’s history has been a slow, hard-fought battle toward maturity, where someday we’d be a people that rejected race and color. We would be a land where the captains of industry honored their grant to wealth by offering socially responsible business practices, grown of a sense of civil duty. We would be a country that thrilled at the thought that every man, woman or child was truly innocent until proven guilty, and in turn repaid this gift through responsible and honorable actions.

Something’s gone horribly wrong, though. We live in a time when all those notions are turned on their head. A time when favors for profit, profit for elections and a lusting greed for permanent power have elevated a class of citizens to a level where there are no consequences to be paid for them to break the law. Indeed, when the law is broken, there is a formula to deny, distract, then claim victory that is used with impunity by the friends of the bush White House. In other words, “No, I didn’t do it.”, “Maybe someone should have done it.”, and “Ok, I did it. So what? I was right to do it, because it served the interests of commerce or the President’s political motives.” John Ashcroft reveals trial information from a federal case, against all known judicial ethics codes. Karl Rove (or someone who looks, talks, and smells a lot like a ‘turd blossom’) reveals the name of a covert intelligence agent. Or the man who pretends to be our president speaks contemptuous lies on a daily basis. All with no consequences. Meanwhile, Rebecca gets rubber bullets shot at her head because she was at a peace rally, or Bob gets fired from his reporter’s job because he wanted to do a story that presented facts contrary to the administration’s line. Or Jamal gets a lethal injection, even if he’s innocent, because it’s more important for some right wing politician to be seen as being ‘tough on crime’.

These are the reasons we fight. We fight because the inspired doctrine of our land, the Constitution, has been taken from us. This document that gives life to our republic is held in contempt by our new ruling class, only to be paraded before us to serve the interest of some administration-sponsored, political hocus-pocus. And worst of all, this grand parchment, to which all liberty is owed, has become officially a set of laws made conditional upon the amount of influence enjoyed between citizen and White House. Our American way of life has become a system of Liberty and Justice by degree, according to one’s political contribution to, what the White House hopes, will soon be a one-party system. Angrily, I say to you that this is never what the writers of the Constitution intended, and would be standing somewhere on a box, telling us so. I would be honored if they let me join them.

Copyright 2003 Todd J. Schneider