Pete Stark and the False Outrage

Republicans on the Hill are claiming outrage at Democratic Congressman Pete Stark who said on the House floor that Republicans are unwilling to fund healthcare for the nation’s children but willing to send troops to Iraq where they would kill innocent people and get blown up for the President’s amusement.

“You don’t have money to fund the war or children, but you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.”

I found nothing wrong with what Congressman Stark had said. As an Iraq veteran I understand exactly what he was saying. Our presence in Iraq from the moment we invaded Iraq to today has caused more than 2 million Iraqis to flee and killed countless thousands of civilians. Of course, American troops are not the roving mob of marauders like the Medieval Crusaders were  but we, the American troops, do actually kill many innocent people who are caught in the crossfire. This is a result of us invading a country we did not full understand which had nothing to do with 9/11. So of course, Congressman Stark was right in saying what he said. He was also right in that President Bush does seem to be amused. He sleeps pretty soundly at night. He had said so himself on many occasions. How many people died because of Pete Stark’s comments? How many American soldiers and Marines died when President Bush told the terrorists in Iraq to “Bring it On.” How many people were amused when during a White House Correspondents’ Dinner President Bush joked about looking for WMDs under his desk?

Obama and Darth Cheney are distant cousins? HOLY SITH!!

In a recent MSNBC interview, Second Lady Lynne Cheney said that she had discovered that her husband and Presidential-hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL, are eigth cousins through a 17th-century Massachusetts ancestor.

You can watch the interview here

The title of this post is reference to a joke that Dick Cheney made a while back where he called himself the “Darth Vader” of the GOP and the Bush Administration. And that title just keeps on coming back to haunt the Democrats. Now, one of their own is related to the most evil man on the planet. When asked if the genealogical discovery made her a supporter of Barack Obama, Mrs. Cheney replied, “No.”

Killing the rhetoric

When I hear a politician speak about the war in Iraq and the military I hear words like “freedom” and “liberties” being thrown around liberally. My guess is that most people buy it or else politicians wouldn’t be selling it. The Beltway crowd is pretty adept at telling the mob just what they want to hear. Well, I have a problem with that. Because, I don’t believe that the Gulf War or the Iraq War was launched over freedom. I believe that politicians believe it’s in America’s best interest, or more accurately in the Corporations’ best interest. When I hear a politician telling the crowd that we’re in Iraq for freedom I imagine an Aztec priest with a knife ready to slaughter a helpless prisoner of war. The GOP and the neoconservatives are priests to the God of War. The military isn’t about keeping this country free. It’s about keeping America safe. Secure borders keep our nation free. That’s what a strong military is supposed to ensure. It’s why we have the National Guard and the Reserves. The Constitution keeps our country free, free from despots and the tyranny of the mob. The war in Iraq is a war of choice which was started because people were afraid after 9-11. We were coaxed into wanting war because we trusted in our leaders and we believed them when they said that the smoking gun would be a mushroom cloud over an America city. So we believed them and we supported the overthrow of Saddam and his sons.

I can’t stress enough that politicians wouldn’t be using the same tired-old rhetoric if it were not for the fact that most people would like to believe in America’s greatness. It’s Manifest Destiny; that being the greatest country in the world is our rightful and inevitable position. It infuriates thinking people and it infuriates veterans who after having served in the hot spots question the reason why good men and women have to die. So please, whenever you’re in a town hall meeting and you hear a politician say that we’re in Iraq for freedom, remind them that we’re already free.

Lapel Flag Pins

Anyone who thinks that they’re being patriotic by wearing a flag pin on their person is simply an idiot. Anyone who thinks that people who don’t wear flag pins are unpatriotic is unpatriotic himself. It reminds me of the Nazi propaganda films where citizens are marching down the streets waving the swastika and chanting slogans. Is this what  passes for patriotism these days? “I’m more American than you are because I’m wearing a flag pin that you can barely see and that is most likely made in China?” The people who think that flag pins are the new patriot issue are probably the same people who voted for President Bush…the same man who has taken this country to war recklessly, destroyed our standing on the world stage, sent troops into war without adequate armor, and failed to give proper medical care to returning veterans. You don’t think Bush is unpatriotic?

No Guts, No Galaxy. Why everyone needs to watch Battlestar Galactica

Star Trek veteran Ronald D. Moore has produced a masterpiece of a series which from the moment of its conception has transcended the science fiction realm and has become a mythology all unto its own. In the distant future or past, or in a separate universe altogether, mankind is living peacefully as the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. It has been 40 years since the end of the First War against the Cylons; artificial machines who rebelled against the humans who had created them to serve as their slaves and soldiers. Over the last three years, the saga of BSG has touched upon war, torture, and suicide bombing and other controversial issues in the real world today.

The audience is left to sympathize with the human suicide bombers and his reasons for strapping on a bomb and killing himself and others. The religious fanatics are the Cylons who worship the “one true God.” The protagonists in the series are flawed beings and you almost find yourself wondering who to root for in every episode. The commander of the beleaguered human fleet is William Adama who, upon the eve of the Cylon attacks, was about to retire from 40 years of service. The leader of humanity is the soft-spoken but firm-minded Laura Roslin, the Secretary of Education who becomes President when the 42 people ahead of her in the line of succession is killed. This is television at its finest and I encourage everyone to watch it.

Note: BSG starts with a miniseries which eventually paved the way for a full season.

House in Order

A Congressman has to raise at least $10,000 a week for his reelection campaign. Since the 110th Congress convened, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has put the House on a 5-day workweek. Some members are complaining because the schedule leaves them little time to go back home to meet constituents, take care of matters in their districts, and yes, to raise funds in order to keep their jobs. I normally don’t make it my business to defend Congress but is the 5-day workweek really necessary or is it just showboating by the Democratic Congress in order to look good?

What good can Congress do in a 5-day workweek? One unintended consequence could be that the MCs will lose touch with the voters back home. Another is that Congress will pass too many dumb laws. But on the other hand, if they are forced to actually educate themselves on matters of the State then perhaps it will mean the we’d have a more efficient Government. Maybe if Congressmen did not have to go home so often, maybe if they could communicate with their constituents back home via satellite then perhaps they stay connected to the people that they serve. I’m all for Congress working better but more does not equal better.

Or maybe, it’s simply good for the American people to see that their tax dollars are actually being put into maximum use when they see their Representative or Senator on C-Span everyday.

Writing to soothe my soul

And so after a three month hiatus, I have decided to write again. I think it was President George H.W. Bush who lamented the advent of the internet because of the dearth of written letters. At first I thought that he was just remembering with longing a simpler time but I find myself agreeing with him. Written letters are far more superior than e-mails, if less convenient and quick. Written letters are preferable because you can physically touch them and file them away. Noone else but you can look at them. You can take it with you wherever you go. You can’t fold up a laptop or desktop in your pocket. You don’t have to charge your letters like you would a palm pilot. Simpler but efficient. I think I missed out on treasure by not writing in a journal all these years. A record that I actually existed. A record so that my kids could look at and relate.