Is America Burning - a Forum To Discuss Issues

All comments welcome, pro or con. Passionate ok, but let's be civil. ...Pertinent comments will be published on this blog. Air your viewpoints.


Skyline - Houston, Texas

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bush and Blair Fault Iran For Capture of British Marines

Bush calls capture of U.K. sailors ‘inexcusable’

Ahmadinejad rips U.K. for not following ‘legal, logical way’ to resolve issue

Bush demands release of British Marines
March 31: President Bush joined America's strongest ally today in demanding the release of 15 British Marines and sailors held in Iran. NBC’s John Yang reports from the White House.

Nightly News

Slide show
Iran-Iraq War
Iran’s perilous path in pictures
A click-through history of modern Iran and its love-hate relationship with the United States

Iran's nuclear network
An interactive look at Iran’s nuclear facilities

Slide show
An Iranian girl has her face painted like the Iranian flag during a demonstration in Tehran
Unseen Iran
27 years after the revolution, conservatives rule Iran. But Western culture still seeps in. Click to see images.

MSNBC News Services
Updated: 48 minutes ago

TEHRAN, Iran - President Bush said Saturday that Iran's detention of 15 British sailors was "inexcusable" and that Tehran must release them immediately.

"The British hostage issue is serious because the Iranians took these people out of Iraqi water. It's inexcusable behavior. I strongly support the Blair government's attempts to resolve this peacefully," he said, referring to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Meanwhile, Iran’s president said on Saturday the British government was not following “the legal and logical way” of resolving the dispute over the British naval personnel detained last week, state radio said.

rest of story:
Um-hmmm, Mr. President. And what would OUR government do if Islamic military or insurgents were caught in OUR international waters in military-type ships?

What did the Russkies do when they shot down our spy plane with pilot Gary Powers over Russian territory? And what tired old excuse did we give about our spy plane? It "strayed". It was an innocent, civilian weather research aircraft on weather reconnaisance flight, the oxygen must have malfunctioned causing the pilot to lose consciousness and the autopilot accidentally carried the plane over Russian waters. Yeah, right! The Russkies didn't buy that either, especially when it was determined that Powers was NOT a weather research man.
For younger readers who may not know about Gary Powers and the U2 spy plane:

--"A high-altitude surveillance aircraft which first flew in 1955 and figured prominently in the Cold War. It is still invaluable to military commanders. The U-2 was developed as a CIA project to photograph Soviet military facilities. To do so, U-2s were based in great secrecy at Adana in Turkey - later renamed the Incirlik airbase - and operated out of Pakistan. That was until 1960, when a U-2 was shot down by a volley of Soviet surface-to-air missiles. The pilot, Gary Powers, ejected but was captured and held for two years on spying charges."


Ofcourse the US and British governments would never lie, and we know that our president is the soul of veracity.

And insofar as accusations of Iran "saber-rattling", isn't that a case of the kettle calling the pot black? The US has been rattling the attack-Iran saber for a long time. Does Bush and Blair imagine that the Iranis and the world is ignorant of the fact that they - in collaboration with Israel - have had the attack-Iran plot on the table for several years, just as they did with Iraq?

Just another excuse for another illegal war.


peppylady said...
I guess anything Dubya does in the Middle East Mainly and his cronie Tony Blair I would greatly question it.Is the United States tying to provoke something?I personal wouldn’t put it pass those two.
Sunday, April 01, 2007 3:56:00 PM
Gary Baker said...
Or it could be the situation as Britain stated it. Iran took the Brits in international waters while trying to run contraband weapons to Iraq. You raise a valid point about needing to be skeptical of our government. However, given a choice between them and groups who have declared their desire for our destruction, I think I will give the allies the benefit of the doubt.
Friday, April 06, 2007 2:39:00 PM
Worried said...
once I would have believed implicitly in the word of my government and our president. Unfortunately, time and experience proved both to be liars. It is a shame when citizens can not trust politicians nor their government and view all that is said by ANY party with suspicion and skepticism. Where does the truth lie?
Saturday, April 07, 2007 6:25:00 PM



You may offer your opinions in comment page

Dirge for a ‘Surge’
In the latest NEWSWEEK poll, Bush’s approval rating remains at its all-time low as his plan to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq is met with widespread disapproval. Looking to ’08, declared candidate Hillary Clinton is in a statistical dead heat with other potential nominees.

For complete report on poll, click on to


God’s Numbers
The latest NEWSWEEK poll shows that 91 percent of American adults surveyed believe in God—and nearly half reject the theory of evolution. Also, Americans on John Edwards and the Senate's goal for troop withdrawal

For complete report on polls, click on to


Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Post Apocalyptic: A Tale of Two Totally Different Types- from Blasted Reality

Photo: Al Gore, our 45th Veep and legal President of the United States, 2000 election.

Most of us are familiar with Gore's work on Global Warming and his documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth". We also are quite familiar with his 2000 presidential win that was stolen from him, the American voters got shafted, and our nation plunged into war, trillions in debt and shamed before the world.

"He was the Democratic nominee for President in the 2000 election — one of the most controversial and highly contested presidential elections in U.S. history. Despite the fact that he won a plurality of the popular vote, with over half a million more votes than the Republican candidate George W. Bush, Gore ultimately lost the electoral college. A month of ballot recounts and court challenges in the state of Florida led the U. S. Supreme Court to end the highly disputed contest with its final ruling of Bush v. Gore, handing the electoral college victory, and consequently the presidency, to Bush.[1]"

We are also familiar with the New Orleans/Gulf Coast Katrina disaster and subsequent debacle that continues today. And familiar to the point of nausea with our president's silly photo ops and lying, ridiculous statements, including those during the New Orleans catastrophe.

Being a resident of the Gulf Coast and deeply concerned about the tragedy unfolding there during and after the hurricane, I kept abreast of all the news articles I could find in the media and on the internet. One news tidbit I did NOT see during that time and with which I was NOT familiar was the personal involvement of Al Gore in the midst of that tragedy.

UNTIL I was surfing Reverend X's blog, Blasted Reality, and read the following post about Al Gore. While Bush was posturing, armed mercenaries independent of local law enforcement agencies were patrolling the streets of an American city, FEMA was turning away rescue and aid groups and trucks loaded with water and supplies, people were stranded, the dead were floating in the streets, patients were dying in hospitals and nursing homes, GORE took action at his own expense and declined interviews so his actions would not be politicized.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Al Gore - working hard on getting his air lift operational

Please check out Blasted Reality's post, and please do click on to the link to Daily Kos, "self funded, not publicized" provided by Reverend X in the text. Get the entire , admirable story.
A Post Apocalyptic: A Tale of Two Totally Different Types

Thank you, Reverend X, for this article.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Question #1: Does this photo op give you a melting case of the warm fuzzies?
Question #2: Where did they get the big US flag to use as a backdrop for the photo op, carefully flood stained?
Question #3: After Bush re-boarded Air Force One, how long did it take him to hit the shower and wash off the sweat and touch of the hoi polloi from his elite body?


Daniel said...

Comparing Bush and Gore is like comparing a donkey's arse with the Mona Lisa. There is no comparison!


Saturday, March 31, 2007 3:47:00 AM

fjb said...

I've always thought that Al Gore was a rare bird when it came to being a politician (or even a human being for that matter). He's honestly genuine. I don't think the man could spin a line of B.S. if his life depended on it.


Saturday, March 31, 2007 2:07:00 PM


Global Warming Scientists Charges Bush of Nazi Tactics

I was cruising to see what Reverend X had been up to lately, and found his link to an article by the latimes.,1,1206407.story?coll=la-headlines-nation&ctrack=1&cset=true
Scientist accuses White House of 'Nazi' tactics
By Joel Havemann, Times Staff Writer
1:05 PM PDT, March 19, 2007
James Hansen click to enlarge
Related - White House Report on Global Warming
Related Stories - To find a witness list see the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform site - Carmakers fight warming suit - Conservation may limit global warming - Senate to turn up heat on gov. to fight global warming - Climate change laps at Bangladesh's shores - Energy CEOs encourage emissions caps - Business schools warming to environmental concerns - Updating Bush's spin on climate change - Deal with warming, don't debate it, scientists warn - Climate is changing, politically
WASHINGTON -- A government scientist, under sharp questioning by a federal panel for his outspoken views on global warming, stood by his view today that the Bush administration's information policies smacked of Nazi Germany. James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, took particular issue with the administration's rule that a government information officer listen in on his interviews with reporters and its refusal to allow him to be interviewed by National Public Radio.
"This is the United States," Hansen told the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee. "We do have freedom of speech here." But Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) said it was reasonable for Hansen's employer to ask him not to state views publicly that contradicted administration policy.
"I am concerned that many scientists are increasingly engaging in political advocacy and that some issues of science have become increasingly partisan as some politicians sense that there is a political gain to be found on issues like stem cells, teaching evolution and climate change," Issa said. Hansen said the Bush administration was not the first in U.S. history to practice information management over government scientists, but it has been the most vigorous.
He deplored a "politicization of science.""When I testify to you as a government scientist," he said, "why does my testimony have to be reviewed, edited and changed by a bureaucrat in the White House?" Sitting beside him was one of the bureaucrats Hansen was talking about: Philip Cooney, chief of staff to the White House Council on Environmental Quality from 2001 to 2005.
Cooney, an official of the American Petroleum Institute before going to the White House, acknowledged having reviewed some of Hansen's testimony as part of a long-standing practice designed to result in consistency. Cooney was asked about changing "will" to "may" in prepared testimony describing the impact of human activity--particularly the burning of oil and coal--on the Earth's temperature. He said his edits were based not on political views but a 2001 report by the National Academy of Sciences."I offered my comments in good-faith reliance on what I understood to be authoritative and current use of the state of scientific knowledge, and for no other purpose," Cooney said.
Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) didn't buy that. He said the basis of Cooney's editing changes was not scientific evidence but "loyalty to a person who had appointed you to a political position." Some of the sharpest exchanges came between Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), chairman of the committee, and a Republican member, Mark Souder of Indiana. Souder said the Democrats' approach made "a mockery of the hearing process."
["Cooney, an official of the American Petroleum Institute before going to the White House..." Another instance of a fox being placed to guard the hen house, one of Bush's favorite ploys.WA]


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bush's New War; Betrayal of Present vets, Old Vets

Today's Houston Chronicle has headlines about Bush deploying Naval and Air Forces to the Persian Gulf for a show of force (threat) to Iran but quite possibly an opening salvo of the US/Irani War. A good excuse besides the so-called "nuclear threat" by Iran is the capture of British troops who invaded Irani national waters (if you believe that was an "accident" I have some lakefront property in the Gobi to sell you). The truth is, Bush has been quietly building up forces in the Persian Gulf for some time and also sending agents provocateurs to stir up trouble in the old tried and true Salvadorian option ploy.

Internet news posted the news earlier in the week and posts were made on This Is War. Readers who are interested in the determination of the Bush Administration to continue the wars to take control of the Middle East (oil), embroil us in further wars, increase war spending and debt, and add more casualties, check out:

Opening Salvo; Us Show Of Force in Persian Gulf
US Will Attack Iran In April Says Russian Experts
Pentagon Will Attack Iran in April Says Russian Expert

In spite of almost identical titles, these last two are different news articles, both translated from a French post. Grammatical and spelling errors are due to computer generated translations from one language to another.
The Russians and the Chinese have a vested interest in the US activity in the Middle East and their assessments are not to be discounted. The Russian intellegence may be a bit off the mark re: dates, but there is little doubt that Bush is committed to "staying the course" and completing the Neocon plots for world domination while he is in office.

The Neocons display as little war expertise now as they did when plotting the attack on Iraq. They thought it would be a cakewalk of Liberation; we see what a quagmire it has become, with erroneous plans piled atop erroneous plans as events unfolded. Now they claim the Irani War will not involve ground troops; they believe that ship to shore attacks and an air war will do the trick , the Irani government will crumble and the Irani people will dissolve into puddles of panic and terror. The US can then waltz in and establish a US-friendly Irani government. Just like we did in Iraq, right?

They should check a little history. The last war initiated by the US against Iran (telling Saddam "let's you and him fight") resulted in an EIGHT YEAR Iraqi/Irani conflict with Iran at the last throwing CHILD soldiers against the Iraqi enemy. That should give them a clue as to the Irani peoples' disposition to dissolve into puddles of fear. Sometimes white supremacists err in judging the "ragheads".

War with Iran unlikely if Gates has any say
Simply put, the Pentagon chief is not a hawk on Iran

By Robert Windrem
Investigative producer
NBC News
Updated: 1 hour, 39 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Since taking over the Department of Defense at the end of last year, Robert Gates has gotten kudos for what he has done, demanding responsibility for mistakes like the Walter Reed debacle and the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s death. He is also known to have wanted to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo as a way of helping the United States recover some of its lost credibility in the Muslim world.
But Gates has also been getting quiet credit for something he hasn’t done: push hard on Iran, not raising the temperature in a time of crisis. In particular, Gates has distanced himself from some of the harshest criticism of Iranian operations in Iraq and pushed back on rhetoric calling for military solutions to U.S. problems in the Persian Gulf.
[For complete article, click on to: ]
[We shall see who wins: Gates or the Bush/Neocon babal.WA]


Kvatch said...
A good excuse besides the so-called "nuclear threat" by Iran is the capture of British troops who invaded Irani national waters...

Such transparent political theater. England typically needs no help in dealing with nations that threaten British citizens. The last time somebody pissed off the Brits, they went in with everything they had and kicked the shit out of the Argentinians.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007 2:55:00 PM

The Future Was Yesterday said...
I have wondered for some time, what the rest of the world will have to say, notably China, if Bush's oil grab becomes too threatening to them, thus my very real (imo) fear of WWIII.Oil=Money, Money=Reelection. For that reason, there will be many Democrats supportive of his actions, even if behind the scenes. I think we're seeing some of that right now.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007 6:09:00 PM

Worried:You are right on the money, Kvatch. The Brits have demonstrated that they are quite capable of kicking a** and rollerskating when the spirit moves them.

TFWY: Unfortunately, there are many Dems who are Repubs in Dems clothing.

Daniel said...
Who says what will depend whether or not America has decided you're an ally and can share in some of the oil action (but not too much). Those nations out in the cold will squeal loudly and form anti-American groups.Think I'll buy a horse!
Thursday, March 29, 2007 12:03:00 AM

Readers who followed the scandals of Veteran medical care abuses and neglect at Walter Reed and who are interested in further, continuing abuse and betrayal of our vets check out the following links.

When my grandson returned from his 2nd tour of duty in Iraq suffering from PTSD, Marty on the Homefront warned me that the military was often misdiagnosing troops as suffering from "personality disorder" in order to avoid treatment and benefits. Read this and see how our government betrays the trust of the veterans and robs them of benefits for LIFE:

Bush and the Pentagon's attitude towards our vets:

"Bush administration has claimed veterans benefits are “hurtful” to national security. In 2005, the Wall Street Journal noted the growing cost of veterans benefits due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pentagon’s response was to complain that it would “rather use [the funds] to help troops fighting today.” “The amounts have gotten to the point where they are hurtful. They are taking away from the nation’s ability to defend itself,” says David Chu, the Pentagon’s undersecretary for personnel and readiness."
[read that," taking away from the nation's ability to wage wars of imperial conquest".WA]

If our present veterans are being royally shafted by the Administration, read what they are doing to our aging veterans, Old and Useless so Let Them Die:
Nursing homes for our aged vets: sent to hospital for MAGGOTS in bedsores! Other abuses and neglect.

Please check out previous post about Revamping Blog.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Revamping the Blog

Recent visitors will have noted a change to this blog. It may be temporary, depending upon personal opinions of blog owner after it has a trial run.

When this blog was first created, I wanted to have a forum set up, wherein visitors' comments were published below the posts. However I did not know how to do that and still don't.

At present during this trial run, pertinent comments will be published as posts. Your viewpoints, pro or con, are welcomed. Please feel free to comment as you desire, either briefly or at length.

addendum: Although my partner, Granny Ann of Roc Rebel Granny, and I share many common opinions, I want to stress that I am solely responsible for my personal viewpoints expressed on this blog. If you find them objectionable, do not blame Granny.

Adjust feed to title in orange bar.

Worried American

So far I am pleased with the changed format, although my partner has yet to offer an opinion, which she will I am sure as soon as she has time to evaluate it.

Our reader comments are instructive and offer ideas for further exploration. Your input is valuable for readers who want to be in the know.


Propaganda and Lies to Deceive the People

"never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.":
Joseph Goebbels : Nazi chief of propaganda

Propaganda: The similarities between G.W. Bush and Goebbels speeches

Propaganda: Did Goebbells Write The Bush Administrations speeches?

From an address to a joint session of the US Congress: President George W. Bush.
"Americans are asking ``Why do they hate us?'' They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other. " George W. Bush, 20 September, 2001

From Goebbels' New Year address to Germany
They hate our people because it is decent, brave, industrious, hardworking and intelligent. They hate our views, our social policies, and our accomplishments. They hate us as a Reich and as a community. They have forced us into a struggle for life and death. We will defend ourselves accordingly. All is clear between us and our enemies. Goebbels 31 December 1939
Richard Perle, policy advisor to G.W. Bush, 2001
"No stages. This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq, then we take a look around and see how things stand. That is entirely the wrong way to go about it ... If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don't try to ... piece together clever diplomatic solutions ... but just wage a total war against these tyrants, I think we will do very well. Our children will sing great songs about us years from now." ---

- Richard Perle, policy advisor to G.W. Bush, 2001

Joseph Goebbels, 1943
So total war is the demand of the hour. We must put an end to the bourgeois attitude which we have also seen in this war: Wash my back, but don't get me wet! The danger facing us is enormous. The efforts we take to meet it must be just as enormous. The time has come to remove the gloves! We must use our fists now! There is no excuse for only superficially and carelessly making use of the war potential at home and throughout Europe. We must use the full resources, as quickly and thoroughly as it is organizationally and practically possible. Unnecessary concern is wholly out of place. The future of Europe hangs on our success in the East! We are ready to defend it! The German people are shedding their most valuable blood in this battle. The rest of Europe should at least work to support us. Those who do not understand this fight today will thank us on bended knee tomorrow that we took it!

- Joseph Goebbels, 1943

There are those who squall like wounded panthers in response to comparisons made between Nazi Germany and our current Administration, between Hitler and Bush. And yet the similarities and even identical practises are unmistakable. The Bush family has a long history of ties to Nazi Germany, to Hitler, and to the ideology espoused by the Nazis. WA


Progressive Traditionalist said...
Hello, Worried.Another excellent post.Not the only similarities by far, but one could go on and on about that.

One thing I would like to recall at this point is a letter I had read some time ago. This letter was written from a party (National Socialist) leader to a military officer in Russia at the time of the German occupation.The letter was a response to the issue of a Russian housemaid who had served the officer, and was found to his liking, so she was sent to his family in Berlin. This was a great act of kindness to the maid, as it was a time of great hardship in Russia (adequate food and clothing for the girl were stated considerations in the officer's letter).

The officer's wife took a liking to the maid as well, and allowed her to sit at the table to take meals with the family. The letter was a firm reprimand of such actions, filled with supremacist ideology; that the conqueror endangers their own by any act of kindness toward their lessers.

What struck me is how comtemporary those arguments seemed to be. (you probably won't have to use your imagination much on this one)
Some things may never go out of style, but we would be better off if some things did.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007 11:57:00 PM
Progressive Traditionalist said...
I went to go look it up. My recollection was a bit foggy.Here's a link, from an old research folder.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007 1:47:00 AM

Jolly Roger said...
Another aspect that never gets covered is the fact that Germany didn't really go to a war economy until 1944. By the time they did, of course, it was way too late.The "don't ask for sacrifice" lesson also seems to be one Chimpy has adopted himself. You wonder why he seems to not understand that the stances he favors are those of the loser. A BIG loser.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007 10:47:00 AM

Worried said...
Posting the link, PT.

Jolly Roger; During WWII the stakes were such that the public willingly made sacrifices to help win the war. Even as self centered as Bush and the Neocons are, they apparently have enough sense to realize that asking sacrifices of the American people (other than the lives of their sons and daughters) for an unpopular war would result in an even greater anti-war movement.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007 12:43:00 PM


Death of Democracy; Death of the Constitution ?

"Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.":
Daniel Webster (1782-1852), US Senator - 1851

We now have a president who asserts that the Constitution is just a "g**d*** piece of paper". We have gutless members of Congress who slavishly go along with the president and the Neocons. Is The Constitution and Democracy doomed? Is America doomed?
Democracy Dreaming

By Joel S. Hirschhorn

03/26/07 "ICH " -- -- What is this thing called democracy? So easy to talk about, so difficult to make real. Pure democracy is not what our Founders gave us. Who would want a simple majority to control the minority? Instead, America was given a representative democracy within a constitutional republic where laws that protect all people trump majority rule. Standing between majority-won elections and government power are elected representatives: writing, overseeing and implementing laws. But when you can no longer trust the elected representatives what happens to American democracy? It becomes an oxymoron.

We have arrived at a delusional democracy. Delusional because Americans overwhelmingly cannot admit the painful truth that their limited democracy no longer works for the good of most citizens. Instead, through corruption and dishonesty, our representative democracy has morphed into a plutocracy that serves the wealthy, power elites and corporate masters that control the political system and through that the economic system.

The Framers of the Constitution had deep concerns about the long-term viability of the government structure they created. Some think that the checks and balances among the three branches of the federal government preserve its integrity. Really? The money that controls the legislative branch also controls the executive branch, and both of those control the judicial branch. Even worse, it has become clearer to increasing numbers of Americans that many parts of the Constitution – the supreme law of the land – have been directly or more deviously disobeyed or distorted. Constitutional rule is a myth.

We have a Congress that gives its constitutional power to declare war to the President and refuses to impeach him for his many violations of laws. We have a President that openly signs laws but says he will not honor them. We have a Supreme Court that decides who becomes President rather than the voters and often amends the Constitution unconstitutionally. We have elections that are not to be trusted. We have a government using free trade globalization hogwash to sell out the middle class. We have rising economic inequality that is creating a two-class society: the wealthy Upper Class and the Lower Class for everyone else.

Overlaid on this delusional system is the myth that having just two major political parties somehow is right and necessary for our representative democracy. In reality, partisan differences are just another layer of corruption, dishonesty and deceit. Artificial political competition distracts. Big money from the wealthy and corporate and other special interests controls both parties, producing mutually assured corruption. They are two faces of the same coin, two heads of the same monster, two puppets controlled by the same masters. Of course the two-party system provides stability. It has stabilized a criminally corrupt government.

Delusional political competition supports a delusional democracy based on a set of delusional checks and balances. The whole system that once worked has become a sham.

Did the Framers anticipate that their system could become such a travesty? They did.

So, in addition to the better known parts of the Constitution, they imbedded what might be called a legal loophole – a kind of escape clause, just in case things went terribly wrong. They have.

The public is largely ignorant of Article V’s option for a convention, when asked for by two-thirds of states, to propose amendments to the Constitution. Worse, nearly all people with political power have opposed using it. Even worse, despite Article V explicitly saying that Congress “shall” call such a convention when a sufficient number of states have asked for one – and that is the ONLY specified constitutional requirement – for over 200 years Congress has willfully disobeyed the constitution and NOT granted a convention. In fact, Congress never had the integrity and constitutional respect to even set up a system of any kind to collect state requests for an Article V convention. Still, we know from the hard work of many that there have been well over 500 such state requests.

People with power in the present corrupt political system fear an Article V convention. Operating independently of Congress and the White House, it might reduce their power and ignite widespread public interest in deep reforms. One trick of the power elites has been to fool people that an Article V convention would inevitably become “runaway” and threaten all that Americans hold dear – especially their freedom. Nonsense. A convention can only propose amendments that, just like proposals made by Congress, must be ratified by three-quarters of the states. Most absurd are the anti-convention right-wingers who profess total allegiance to the Constitution, except for Article V. John T. Noonan, Jr., observed in 1985: “RESPECT, indeed reverence, for the Constitution is a proper attitude for conservatives to cultivate. Is it respectful to the Constitution to maintain that of the two methods of amendment specified by Article V one is too dangerous to be put to use?”

Exactly why did the Framers give us the option of an Article V convention? Listen to the wise words of one of the nation’s foremost legal scholars. Professor Paul Bator wrote this in 1980:

I think the Article V convention represents a profound political protection for us, as a people, against the tyranny of central government. And whatever we say about Article V, I think it is very, very wrong, just because we may disagree with the content of any particular constitutional amendment that is now being proposed, to interpret Article V in such a way as to clip its wings as a protection for the liberties of the people. That is why I think it is profoundly important, particularly for constitutional scholars, to be hospitable toward the concern that Article V represents, which is that there be a way out for the states and the people if a willful and intransigent central authority governs us in a way we find unacceptable.

We definitely need a way out. Two of our best presidents explicitly supported using the Article V convention option – Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower.

Have any recent presidential candidates expressed support for an Article V convention, even mavericks like Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, Mike Gravel, and Pat Buchanan? They have not. Have any third parties demanded an Article V convention? They have not. Have any mainstream media exposed Congress’ failure to obey the Constitution’s Article V? They have not. Has the Supreme Court or any elected official that swore to obey the Constitution faulted Congress for disobeying the Constitution? They have not.

If you are not a rich and powerful American, ask yourself: Has your government become so untrustworthy, dysfunctional and unacceptable that you should demand what our Constitution gives you a right to – an Article V convention?

Thomas Jefferson said “a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms are in the physical.” Have many Americans concluded that rebellion has become necessary? They have not.

But some of us want to pursue political rebellion, not by using violence and not hoping against reality that necessary reforms will come from within the two-party controlled political system. No, we want to use what the Constitution grants us. We have created Friends of the Article V Convention to inform the public about this constitutional option and also to prod the states to demand a convention and the Congress to finally obey the Constitution and give us one. Check the group out at to learn much more, and seriously consider becoming a member.

What do they say about insanity? Repeating what has not worked in the past? As in the past, no Democrats, no Republicans and no elections will give us what we truly need. Whatever risks an Article V convention pose, they are worth taking. Every rebellion is waged because the benefits sought outweigh the risks taken. Jefferson and the other Founders knew that. Not fixing the government they gave us dishonors them and all the Americans that have died and sacrificed for their country. And it makes our lives miserable and penalizes future generations. Has time run out for restoring American democracy? It has not.

[The author’s new book is Delusional Democracy – Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government:]


Progressive Traditionalist said...
Hello, Worried.There are a few things here I would like to set straight, not to detract from the overall theme of Article V (of which I know next to nothing), but of some of the supporting statements in the article.

[O]ur representative democracy has morphed into a plutocracy that serves the wealthy, power elites and corporate masters that control the political system...

This was not always the case. In fact, it was a rather recent development. In 1974, the Supreme Court ruled to allow PACs to make campaign contributions. Since then, things have gotten really lax in regard to campaign finance, to where, now, your employer can make a campaign contribution in your name without your knowledge.The answer to this is real and meaningful campaign finance reform. (remember when that was one of McCain's big talking points?)

...a Supreme Court that... often amends the Constitution unconstitutionally.

Not so. Constitutional amendments require ratification by the states.There are three manners in which laws are created-- legislative process, executive order, and judicial opinion-- one for each branch of government. By far, the majority of laws are written by judicial opinion.

It's a paper, rock, scissors method of one trumps the other.

[T]he myth that having just two major political parties somehow is right and necessary for our representative democracy.

No myth there. This is a congressional, not a parliamentary, democracy. There can be two, and only two, parties-- the majority, and the minority.Even were there a third political party with a sizable number of seats in congress, were they neither the majority nor the minority, each individual member of that third party would have the option of caucusing with either the majority party or the minority; although the one which they would chose would have no effect on which party would assume those roles.There is a great myth about having a strong third party, when in reality third party candidates split the opposition. Consider the recent Texas gubernatorial election where Rick Perry won with, I believe, somewhere around 42% of the vote. Splitting the opposition is an ineffective strategy.

I could go on about committee chairmanships and agendas, and the role of the Speakers, but I think you get the idea.Similarly, the President sets policy for all governmental agencies, without opposition.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007 12:43:00 AM

Worried said...
Thank you for the clarification, PT. There is much about the processes of government of which I am woefully ignorant, as well as many of my fellow citizens. It is important for us to learn all that we can in order to combat abuses of the system. I think the Administration counts on 2 factors in order to take complete control of the nation and citizenry: apathy and ignorance.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007 12:57:00 PM


Monday, March 26, 2007

Imperial Conquest - Manifest Destiny of the Wealthy Elite

Imperial Conquest - Manifest Destiny of the Wealthy Elite
The Moral Imperative
By Charles Sullivan
The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. --Andre Lorde
03/26/07 "ICH " -- -

It should surprise no one that the United States invasion and occupation of Iraq four years ago was based upon lies and fabricated evidence. Other wars instigated by the U.S. were begun in the same way, but we never seem to learn the lessons that history could teach us. The purpose of the U.S. invasion was not to free the Iraqi people or to spread democracy (when has the government ever done that?); it was to privatize the natural wealth of the region and to transfer ownership from the Iraqi pubic domain to the coffers of U.S. corporations.

We have a long and shameful history of imperial invasions and occupations, and no experience building democracies.

The United States Middle East policy is also intended to suppress the enemies of radical Zionism and to extend Zionist control of the region, as well as to prop up the sagging U.S. dollar against the strengthening euro. It is the continuation of Manifest Destiny; the foolish but stubborn believe that Americans are superior to everyone else; what historian Howard Zinn refers to as American exceptionalism.

Manifest Destiny and the spread of capitalism go hand in hand. The growth of the military industrial complex requires imperial conquests and continuous expansion—an impossibility on a finite planet. We have yet to learn that wherever reality clashes with economic myth, reality prevails. The Pentagon, which is the iron fist of American capitalism, requires enemies in order to justify its vast expenditures to an unquestioning public, even if it has to invent them. In the past those enemies were the spread of communism and socialism, which were a threat only to Plutocratic rule, not to the American people themselves.

Now the danger is as cryptic and ubiquitous as state propaganda—the exaggerated threat of Islamic terrorism. I do not contend that there is no real threat of terrorism against U.S. citizens. I do, however, assert that those threats remain small and are a direct response to unjust U.S. foreign policy, including the Israeli occupation of Palestine. It is important to understand that the interest of the people and the government are always in conflict. The will of the people has never mattered to the ruling clique, as evidenced by the ongoing occupation of Iraq, despite overwhelming public opposition. What matters to America’s rulers is the acquisition of private wealth through war and expansionism.

The ruling elite have never hesitated to sacrifice the lives of our soldiers and workers for imperial ambitions, or to sanction the deliberate killing of innocent civilians in unknowable numbers.

To read the complete article, go to:


Sunday, March 25, 2007

It's A Boy!!

Belated congratulations to Tina at Fuzzy & Blue and her husband who have welcomed their second child, a little brother for big sister. Click on the link for the whole story and some adorable pictures of baby and family.

For any who don't know her, Tina is one of the many brilliant women bloggers out here plugging away.

With all that's going on in the world, it's wonderful to share good news for a change.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Support for Our Peace Activists

Re: "Freeway Bloggers for Peace" and "Our Marty On The Homefront" posts below.

Comments by Granny and Marty. Each movement, including Spadoman's, is growing. I hope they snowball into an avalanche.


Granny said...
We had a special vigil on Monday in addition to our usual Friday nights.I've been doing the vigils (off and on as time permits) for a while now. I noticed on Monday that our support from passersby has at least tripled and there was only one sour note.People are waking up? This is a conservative city, not San Francisco.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007 6:21:00 AM

Marty said...
We have had an outpouring of support in Pasadena. It is absolutely incredible. Many people have come out to search for family members and friends who were killed in Iraq. When they are found we tie a yellow ribbon around the flag. Several with family members in the military have expressed an interest in joining Military Families Speak Out. This memorial is a labor of love and the Pasadena residents have recognized that and opened their hearts to us.
Thursday, March 22, 2007 11:57:00 PM

[WA: The little flags arranged at the Memorial bore the name and other pertinent information for each military casualty. See photos and articles in below post, "Our Marty...".

I understand the people searching for their loved one's flag. When the Traveling Wall used to come to Houston my family always attended every day, and we would search for the names of those dear to us whose names were on the Wall ( the miniature replica of The Wall in Washington honoring the casualties in the Vietnam War). Only daughter Jo and her husband Lloyd (a Vietnam veteran) were able to attend the dedication of the Wall in Washington; the rest of us could not but we flocked to see the Traveling Wall and attend the ceremonies each time it came here. We'd join the candlelight vigils and put flowers and gifts at the base of the wall where our loved ones names were inscribed. Daughter Wild Child always took her gigantic POW flag and vowed the POWs would not be forgotten.

Somehow it is very important to the grief stricken to see their loved ones remembered, even by names on a wall or on little flags. To know that that dear one, so important and precious to the grieving, is not just written off and forgotten. A celebrity like Anna Nichole dies and the media has reams and hours of publicity about it. A soldier dies on behalf of his country and maybe it makes a brief article in the hometown paper.
Marty and her friends did a good work on behalf of the deceased and the families. ]

Granny, can you post here some photos of some of your vigils? Didn't you and the girls make the paper one time?

More on our peace activists and how support is growing: has photos and good texts. also has photos and good texts

Related articles:


Freeway Bloggers For Peace

Bloggers are very vocal about ending the war and establishing peace. A number within our blogging circle are physically active as well.

I am sure that everyone who visits this blog and Roc Rebel Granny is well aware of Granny Ann's weekly vigils, in which the girls often participate.

Spadoman also hold vigils every Tuesday in his home town and his group is growing. I don't have his permission to post any of his photos but visit his Peace blog at and check out his Tuesday's posts.

Marty On The Homefront is also very involved in peace activism and veterans' issues. She participated in the Memorial in Pasadena, Texas, helped set up the 3,000+ flags for each casualty in the war. See second post below, "Our Marty On The Homefront..." and took one of the photos posted. Also, check out her two posts and photos at

She is also involved in Freeway Blogging For Peace. See photos below.

I am very proud of our blogger friends and support them 100% in spirit even though I can't join them. But I can and do set out little green soldiers, the Kommandos.


email from Marty On The Home Front:
Here is an interview with KPFTs Renee Feltz with a few of those involved with the Memorial in Pasadena and some of the residents who came out.

And here are some pictures of us on 59...we were on the Dunlavy bridge. These pictures were taken before I arrived. I couldn't get there until after 6pm so our "Military Families Speak Out Banner" isn't there yet. Shoot! And I, being in a rush, forgot to take my camera!

If I get my hands on some more pictures I'll send them your way.



Photos-Freeway Blogging for Peace, US-59
by Bill C Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2007 at 11:21 PM

Photos of freeway bloggers for peace and impeachment, March 20, 2007, in commemoration of the 4th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq

Hazard St. Bridge

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These photos were taken from US-59 eastbound (going towards downtown Houston) a little after 6 PM, before many of the freeway bloggers had arrived.

They in order from west to east:
Hazard Street bridge
Woodhead Street bridge
Dunlavy Street bridge
Mandell Street bridge
Graustark St. bridge
Montrose Blvd. bridge

See the announcement about this at and

add your comments

Woodhead Street bridge
by Bill C Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2007 at 11:21 PM

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

add your comments

Dunlavy Street bridge [Some of Marty's group. WA]
by Bill C Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2007 at 11:21 PM

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add your comments

Mandell Street bridge
by Bill C Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2007 at 11:21 PM

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

add your comments

Graustark St. bridge
by Bill C Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2007 at 11:21 PM

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add your comments

Montrose Blvd. bridge
by Bill C Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2007 at 11:21 PM

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add your comments

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 7 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
ImpeachRancidWednesday, Mar. 21, 2007 at 1:03 PM
The Corporate Media Can Kiss Your AssKeithWednesday, Mar. 21, 2007 at 11:25 AM
Thanks for the snackshbwWednesday, Mar. 21, 2007 at 10:39 AM
MsLee LoeWednesday, Mar. 21, 2007 at 10:14 AM
Make Peace a LifestyleTraviesoWednesday, Mar. 21, 2007 at 10:01 AM
Keep Coming Out To Freeway BloggingJoseph KayeWednesday, Mar. 21, 2007 at 9:05 AM
Yea!keefskiWednesday, Mar. 21, 2007 at 5:02 AM

© 2000-2003 Houston Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Houston Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer Privacy

You Go! Granny and Spadoman and Marty !!

Cross posted from


Monday, March 19, 2007

Texas Death Rates Highest in the War

March 18, 2007, 12:19AM

Texas paying heavy price in troops, casualtiesAt Iraq war's 4th anniversary, our death rate per capita exceeds other large states'
Copyright 2007
Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

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WASHINGTON — As the nation commemorates the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war, a convincing argument can be made that Texas has contributed more troops and paid a higher price in blood than any other large state — and by a fairly wide margin.
More Texans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan than residents of any other state. Defense Department statistics list 160,100 active-duty service members and 23,161 National Guard troops and reservists from Texas deployed in the wars. No breakdown is available for the number of troops who have served in Iraq.
And of the 3,210 American service members killed in Iraq as of this weekend, 298 called Texas home. Of those, 69 lived in the Houston area.
That meant Texas had a death rate for its troops of 6.7 per half-million residents, far more on a per capita basis than other large states. California, the only state with a larger population than Texas, has a rate of 4.7 per 500,000, and New York, just behind Texas in population, lists its war death rate as 3.7 per 500,000.
Many more Texans were wounded. Through late February, more than 2,200 of the 23,677 wounded in the war listed Texas as their home state, according to the latest statistics available from the Pentagon.
One of those Texas soldiers who paid a price in blood is Luis Rodriguez, a 27-year-old sergeant.
The sniper bullet that found Rodriguez while he patrolled the city of Ramadi in late December pierced the Houstonian's back, shattering his collar bone and burrowing through his lung before exiting. "It felt like someone punched me, then my arm felt like it was burning down to my elbow," the Stephen F. Austin High School graduate recalled. "The next thing I remember, I woke up in Walter Reed (Army Medical Center in Washington), and it was three days later, New Year's Eve."
The Iraq war began exacting a toll on Texans in the first morning of the invasion after U.S. troops invaded Iraq from Kuwait on March 19, 2003.
The war's initial casualty was Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva of San Antonio, now retired, who stepped on a mine and lost his leg in the opening hours of the invasion.
Texas also had the sad distinction of suffering the war's 3,000th death. Spc. Dustin R. Donica, 22, of Spring, was killed on New Year's Day 2007.
A new directionFor wounded Texans, the experiences have run the gamut.
Rodriguez was struck by a bullet Dec. 28 while his unit with the 1st Armored Division worked near an Iraqi police station.
"I never heard the shot," he said, but reckoned that it came from a sniper at least a couple of hundred yards away. "I believe he was trying to make a head shot and didn't adjust for the wind."
Rodriguez, who said he has a large family that extends from Houston into Mexico, joined the Army after graduating from high school and working as a mechanic.
When Rodriguez's physical rehabilitation is complete and he regains some of the 32 pounds carved off his formerly 185-pound frame by the injury, he intends to leave the Army and use his education benefits to train as a mechanical engineer. He insisted the decision was not a result of serving two tours in Iraq or even suffering a severe wound.
"That was my plan all along," Rodriguez said. "I never saw myself as a lifer. I saw the Army as a steppingstone."
He won't be the first among his circle of friends to leave the service.
"After our first deployment lasted 15 months," he said, "most guys were saying 'uh-uh' to re-enlistment. I decided to do another tour, but I was one of a small number to do that."
The deaths of some Texas soldiers in Iraq have made headlines and illustrated the vagaries of a war fought for the most part without set-piece battles, front lines or rear areas.
During his 2005 State of the Union address, President Bush mentioned the heroics of Sgt. Byron W. Norwood of Pflugerville, near Austin. Norwood was killed Nov. 13, 2004, when he was shot by a sniper in Fallujah while saving the lives of seven Marines trapped by insurgents in a building, according to his fellow Marines. Norwood's parents, Janet and Bill Norwood, sat with first lady Laura Bush during the speech.
A Houston soldier, Pvt. Kristian Menchaca, was a victim in one of the war's most horrific episodes when he and another enlisted man were captured, tortured and killed by insurgents in June 2006.
The death in January of Staff Sgt. Hector Leija of Raymondville has raised issues about the clash between the media's war coverage and the privacy rights of a soldier and his family.
Leija's death unfolded under the eyes of two New York Times journalists. The newspaper published photographs of a dying Leija and posted on its Web site video of an interview with the soldier recorded just before he was mortally wounded. The Times later wrote the family a letter expressing "regret that the family suffered distress," according to a statement by the newspaper.
Cities feeling the bruntAlthough the war has been fought by a relatively small number of Americans who volunteered for active-duty military service or for the National Guard, many cities in Texas have felt a disproportionate impact.
From Killeen, the Central Texas home to Fort Hood, one of the Army's largest bases, the 4th Infantry and 1st Cavalry divisions have each deployed twice to Iraq.
Willie Browning, a volunteer with the Disabled American Veterans in Killeen, sees the toll of war at Fort Hood.
"Some of these men are ambulatory but still severely wounded," Browning said. "I have seen guys with closed head wounds, shrapnel still in their heads."
Browning works with soldiers who have had trouble adjusting, not just to their wounds but to the administrative and emotional challenges of suffering an injury during combat.
While not critical of the Veterans Administration's treatment of returning soldiers overall, Browning said, "some people fall through the cracks."
"Most of the frustration I see is with the bureaucracy people face in separating from the Army. Among the ambulatory wounded, there is more administrative frustration than medical frustration."
People in San Antonio, home to Fort Sam Houston and the Brooke Army Medical Center, also have seen a lot of the war's fallout.
Tammy Edwards has spent nearly two years in and around the medical center since her husband arrived there soon after he was severely injured in April 2005.
Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Edwards suffered third-degree burns over 79 percent of his body after a 500-pound bomb exploded under a Bradley Fighting Vehicle in which he was riding.
Tammy Edwards now works as a research assistant for the Geneva Foundation, chronicling the effects of injuries at Brooke. Bush recently named her to the federal commission created to review military medical care after recent disclosures of serious problems with the long-term care of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed.
"It hasn't been negligent by any means, but I feel like it could have been better organized," she said, speaking of her husband's care.
For example, she said that the psychological aspects of a severe injury aren't integrated into the overall treatment.
"They spend a lot of time convincing these guys that they are tough, and that they shouldn't have mental problems associated with their wounds," she said. "So then, when they are asked if they do have mental problems, they say no."
Stress of multiple toursMany service members who have returned to the United States from combat, and their families, come under increased stress because they are likely to deploy to the wars again, perhaps after just a short time.
Perry Jefferies, a Texas official with the Iraq Afghanistan Veterans Association, said the biggest strain he has seen in Texas has been the high deployment rate of the state National Guard — not just the thousands of troops who have gone to Iraq and Afghanistan but those activated for peacekeeping duties in Kosovo, Bosnia and other hotspots to free up combat forces.
"I've got a buddy in the Guard who went to Kosovo in '01, Afghanistan in '02, Iraq in '04, and they were looking to send him to Egypt in '05," said Jefferies, who served in Iraq as a first sergeant in 2003 before retiring from the Army.
Jefferies said his friend got out of the Guard and joined the Army. "He told me, 'I'll spend more time in the States if I go active-duty,' " Jefferies said.
Where is his friend now? "He's back in Iraq with the 1st Cavalry Division," Jefferies said.
For some, injury in Iraq has been a catalyst to a different life.
Jose Ramos of El Paso lost an arm in Iraq's Anbar province while serving his second tour as a Navy medic in 2004.
He has since enrolled at George Mason University in northern Virginia and is studying international affairs while minoring in Islamic studies and Arabic courses. Last week, he was named to the presidential panel investigating the care at Walter Reed and other facilities.
Ramos said the decision to study Islam and Arabic was part of a goal to "make a difference." He said he is not sure exactly what that means yet.
But Ramos is among those troops whose old life ended after seeing combat in Iraq. They now face an altered future.


Our Marty On The Homefront is much involved in peace activism and veterans' issues. She has been busy with the Iraq Veterans' Memorial this weekend.

March 15, 2007, 8:29AMFallen soldiers to be honored
Strawberry Park set to display 3,200 flags in memory of those killed in the Iraq war
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

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Photo by Marty On The Homefront
Marty volunteered to help set out the flags

A flag display in memory of those killed in the Iraq war opens Sunday in Pasadena's Strawberry Park.
The display, at Lafferty and Parkside streets, will be similar to a January exhibit in Houston's Memorial Park, said Mikal Hutto, a Pasadena resident and representative of the Houston Chapter of Military Families Speak Out.
Hutto and other members of the Military Families group are organizing the Pasadena flag display with the help of the Houston chapter of Veterans for Peace. Both groups are opposed to the war in Iraq.
This exhibit will include more flags than did the one in January because additional casualties have occurred in the past two months.
The two sponsoring groups are inviting volunteers to help place nearly 3,200 flags in memory of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq and about 160 private contractors who have died in the conflict, Hutto said.
Scheduled to end March 25, the display is intended to mark the fourth anniversary of the war's start on March 19, 2003, Hutto said.
"We think people should realize the devastation this war is causing and honor these people who have died in this war," said the Pasadena retiree whose son is a U.S. Army career soldier and served a year in Iraq.
Each U.S. resident who has died in Iraq will be commemorated with a 5 1/2 -inch-by-8 1/2 -inch U.S. flag on an 18-inch wooden stick. The stick also will have a tag bearing the person's name, age, military rank if applicable, home town and the date and circumstances of death.
Each day at dusk, an automatic bugle will play "Taps."
Within the 40,000-square-foot display, a separate section will be dedicated to more than 300 Texans who have died in the war.
Hutto's husband, Keith Hutto, and Jim Rine, president of Houston Veterans for Peace, last month asked the Pasadena City Council to pass a resolution allowing the flag display in Strawberry Park. Mikal Hutto said the men made the request at the direction of a city staff member.
But Mike Isermann, mayoral assistant for education and leisure activities, said last week he had determined it wasn't necessary for the groups to get formal permission.
"It wasn't something that needed approval by the council," Isermann said. "It's a public park."
Judging by the public reaction to the Houston display in January, Hutto said most people respond with deep respect and emotion. Many visitors were veterans.
"One (veteran) spent hours just reading all the names," she recalled. "I asked him, 'Are you looking for someone?' He said, 'No, I just want to know these people.'
"I asked him if he had lost buddies (in combat)," Hutto said. "He said, 'No. I'm just a veteran.' "

Houston & Texas News

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Dakota Hauff runs across Strawberry Park in Pasadena today. Flags representing all American servicemen and servicewomen killed in the Iraq War were placed today in ordered rows commemorating the fourth anniversary of the start of the conflict.
Steve Ueckert: Houston Chronicle

March 18, 2007, 5:31PM
Flags placed in Pasadena to honor fallen soldiers
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

Armed with a desire to honor the more than 3,200 service members killed in the war in Iraq, dozens of volunteers at Pasadena's Strawberry Park today placed American flags bearing the names, ages, battalions, branches and hometowns of the fallen.
Mother, fathers, sisters, brothers, veterans, and strangers converged on the park today, the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq.
Sherry Glover, wife of a Vietnam veteran and the mother of an Army veteran, volunteered to help arrange the flags.
"We're doing this regardless of any political affiliation," Glover said. "This is about creating a visual image of those who have died, and the families who have made the ultimate sacrifice."
Though most flags are arranged in chronological lots, there is a separate area for Texas soldiers who have died. They are commemorated by a Texas as well as an American flag.
[See article in above post, or click on to: ]
Yet another section honors those who have taken their own lives after returning from the war.
"This is another aspect that people don't think about — there are thousands of others who survived the actual war who have battles ahead when they return home," Glover said.
The flags will remain in place until March 25. Each evening at dusk taps will be played and flags for any new fallen soldiers will be placed in the ground.
Jim Rine, a member of Veterans for Peace and one of the event's organizers, hopes to "educate fellow citizens on the cost of war."
Funds to purchase the flags were donated by various local clubs, military families, and religious organizations.
Though the display has been mounted in Houston's Memorial Park, and will be again over the Memorial Day weekend, Pasadena resident Mikal Hutto lobbied to bring the display to her area.
"This is a very conservative area and I wanted to bring our message here. We all want to avoid these horrendous losses of humanity," Hutto said, gesturing to the flags waving in the wind.
"This is a very cathartic experience that comes to a real crescendo. When you start planning there is the worry, then the energy as you set it up, but when you get all of the flags in the ground it just hits you. It's so sad," said Hutto, whose son is a career member of the Army.
Connie and Al Meraz, whose home faces the park, expressed support for the display.
"It's really nice. I hope it will bring the community together," said Al Meraz, an Army veteran.
Hutto hopes that people of all political persuasions will appreciate the display.
"I don't want people to think that this is just a bunch of old hippies out here. I want them to realize that this is a group of people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and political beliefs," Hutto said.

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Re: Gays in Military; Gen. Pace; Rebuttal

from Houston Chronicle, Sunday, March 18, 2007 - Editorial

[This is a long post. I am a reader; I read books, magazines, newspapers, long posts, access links and sidebars, surf the net and research topics. Some people aren't readers; they want the printed equivalent of sound bites. Do whatever floats your boat. WA]

March 17, 2007, 7:27PM
General disagreement
What does it mean to be moral?Gen. Pace's condemnation of homosexual conduct as immoral demands a rebuttal

When Marine Gen. Peter Pace said last week that he opposed letting gays serve openly in the military because homosexuality is "immoral," he raised important questions about the role of individual moral codes in shaping broad social policy. But even more elementary is the question of what "morality" actually is. For a concept that's thrown around in discussions including abortion, global warming and the war in Iraq, there's often very little reflection about what it truly means to call a person or an act immoral.

The word "moral" shares a Latin root with "mores," which refers to generally accepted norms and customs. But this gives us only limited insight into how most people use the word "morality" today. After all, some cultures and historical eras found acceptable behaviors that most people now find grotesque, such as genocide in Nazi Germany or slavery in the Old South.

The modern meaning of "moral" is broader than this, referring to standards of goodness and rightness in character and conduct. To put it simply, something that is moral is beneficial to society, and something that's immoral causes society harm.

Pace said his opposition to homosexuality was grounded in the beliefs he was taught as a youth. "My upbringing is such that I believe that there are certain ... types of conduct that are immoral," he said, citing homosexuality and adultery.

Although people often conflate religion and morality, the two are not the same. Religion is about faith; morality is about goodness. Yet both are often invoked to express strongly held beliefs. Without offering an explanation of what is actually wrong with homosexuality, Pace, like those who invoke the Bible to oppose gay rights, is merely parroting dogma he inherited, not making a reasoned argument.

This may be, of course, all that Pace wanted to do. Dogma is not always a bad thing, as putting your every belief to the test of careful thought can be exhausting. But dogma shouldn't be the sole basis for forming a moral position. And when it comes to public policy, no debate can be confined to the moral code or religious faith of one particular group.

Pace later indicated that he should have kept his personal beliefs separate from his support of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, but the fact is that the policy is intimately bound up with the personal, moral beliefs of the political and military leaders who created it. That's because it is based on the assumption that service members, like Pace himself, find homosexuality so morally objectionable that they would not want to serve with gays and that cohesion would suffer as a result.

So what is the role of moral beliefs in a discussion about military service? Can we use logic, evidence and data to determine if something is immoral?

With some large philosophical issues (When does life begin? When is war justified?), the debate may be little more than a battle of opposing moral views. But for more practical issues — such as whether homosexuality impairs the armed forces or whether gay parenting hurts children — we can indeed ask whether homosexuality is immoral by examining whether it harms society.

In the case of the military, those against gay service generally haven't relied on Pace's argument that homosexuality is immoral per se. Instead, they claim that enough people find it immoral that allowing gays to serve openly would undermine the cohesion of fighting units and harm the military.

Social science, however, shows clearly that this argument is incorrect. Twenty-four nations now allow gays to serve openly, including the United States' major allies fighting in the Middle East, and detailed reports conclude that there is no effect on operational effectiveness. In some cases, those nations shared the kind of homophobic climate found in the United States. Within the U.S. military, studies show that thousands of straight soldiers, sailors and Marines know of gays in their units, and no harm to unit cohesion has been observed.

Opinion polls also show that Americans now overwhelmingly — up to 79 percent in a recent Gallup survey — support letting gays serve openly in the military, which further weakens the argument against gay service. In surveys of military personnel, a majority (72 percent in a Zogby poll from late 2006) are "personally comfortable" around gays. This increased comfort with homosexuality has pulled the rug out from under the unit-cohesion argument.

The same holds true in the debate over same-sex marriage, which many oppose because they presume it harms families and children. But no reputable study shows any harm whatsoever to children living in same-sex households.

So if homosexuality isn't actually harmful to important institutions in American life — the military and the family — how is it immoral?

Social science will not persuade millions of people to change their moral code, especially those who are content to adopt without question the morality they were raised with. But if you're going to say something is immoral, I believe you should be willing to consider why — to examine what is bad or hurtful about it. More people are harmed in this world, I would submit, by the refusal to look and to see than by the wish to ask and to tell.

Frank is senior research fellow at the Michael D. Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara. This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.