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

Monday, July 28, 2008

Cookies Always Welcome

I'm not sure why our Government thought a slightly overweight, 40 year old National Guard sergeant should be in Iraq instead of helping with our forest fires but so it goes.

Here, in its entirety, is his first message to me.

Jim Clark

to me
show details 11:38 AM (2 hours ago)

Hey mama,
Got to Iraq just fine pretty nice post, cant complain. our address
is as follow.
Line 1: SGT Jim Clark
Line 2: 40th MP Company
Line 3: FOB Sykes
Line 4: APO AE 09351
Cookies are always welcome=)
I will try and call you this week at some point, love you much.

He'll welcome cookies; I'll be grateful for your kind thoughts.

Not that that was a hint (the cookies) but it's interesting to see where his priorities are.

Blogger Worried American said...

I'll keep you and son on prayer, positive thoughts list. I understand your position all too well. Grandson Gene is on his 4th foreign deployment, now in Afghanistan after 2 in Iraq and 1 in Korea. Our government/military needs more warm bodies and do not care about physical or medical conditions nor any home front needs. If Bush manages to attack Iran (or his successor) look for more of the same.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 12:40:00 AM

Blogger Worried American said...

P.S. Granny, how about posting some photos of your son? Seeing him makes the connection more personal.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 12:48:00 AM

48:00 AM

Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

"I'm not sure why our Government thought a slightly overweight, 40 year old National Guard sergeant should be in Iraq"
Neither is anybody else, but the criminal activities continue.

I think cookies are a way of touching home and Mother at the same time, with your hands. They are a personal touch, usually made with a Mother's hands, and there's nothing quite like those hands in this world. Us men run the place, or at least try to make you believe we do, but I'm a firm believer that The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Rules The World!

I remember one time I called home. They were setting off some old ordinance to dispose of it, and it sounded like we were under a pounding attack. I never gave it a thought when I called, but when Mom answered the phone and heard all the commotion, she started crying and asked "Are you OK?" Thinking she was crying because she was so glad to hear from me, I said: "No I'm not, Mom! I ran out of cookies last week!!!!" The tears quickly turned to laughter. Up until he died, Dad almost always called me "cookies" after that. Mom just said I was nuts.:)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 3:58:00 AM

Blogger Worried American said...

One of a Mother's way to continue nurturing her young. When my Horde of children, grandchildren, in-law children, out-law children (my "kids" of no blood nor legal status),neighbor kids, throw-away kids would descend upon me, they always headed for the fridge to gorge themselves, even if they had just had a meal before coming.

I called it "lactation from the pantry". There was just something special about Mom's cooking/food that gave them that nurtured feeling.

"...a Mother's hands, and there's nothing quite like those hands in this world."

P.S. Care packages from anyone are greatly appreciated by our men and women in the military.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 10:51:00 AM

Blogger Granny said...

Future's comment reminded me of when Jim was first in the Army (almost 20 years ago) and stationed in Germany. I can't remember exactly what happened but he suffered a rather serious injury to his hand.

So who did this tough, macho, soldier call first? His mommy.

Friday, August 01, 2008 9:37:00 PM


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Are Many Americans STUPID or What?

Are many Americans Stupid? Or just plain old IGNORANT, uneducated, unaware of current events, or WHAT???

We won't mention the 27% that still back the president; they have a right to their opinion. I'm talking about the vast numbers of today's citizens who are not only ignorant of our history but ignorant of what is happening TODAY! How can anyone in this era of access to mass media be so unaware? I want to beat my old grey head against a brick wall sometimes when I am talking to people. Watch this video and joing me in complete frustration - and embarrassment.

Ye gods, America!!!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

AlterNet: Flashback: McCain Joked About How Much Women Love to be Raped

WA:About as funny as his cute little song, "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" to the tune of the Beach Boys song. War AIN'T FUNNY, YOU IDIOT! And neither is RAPE. Maybe you'd like a nightstick forced up your rear orifice for a taste of what it is like? Most men who have suffered sexual assault don't like it - and neither do women, in any of their orifices.


Flashback: McCain Joked About How Much Women Love to be Raped

Posted by Amanda Terkel, Think Progress at 8:31 AM on July 16, 2008.

Rape: always a very funny subject.
Funny guy

The blog Rum, Romanism and Rebellion pulls out a 1986 Tucson Citizen article recounting a joke about rape told by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Speaking to the National League of Cities and Towns in Washington, DC, McCain allegedly said:

Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, “Where is that marvelous ape?”

McCain was swiftly criticized by women’s groups. A spokeswoman for NOW in Arizona said the organization’s members were “incensed by his cruel and sexist remark.” McCain said he did not “recall” telling the joke. More recently, the McCain campaign scheduled a fundraiser with a Texas oilman who compared rape to the weather while running for governor. "As long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it," said Clayton Williams in 1990. After public outcry, the event was “postponed.”

Update: Huffington Post's Sam Stein spoke to reporter Norma Coile, who wrote the original article. Coile told Stein, "I'm not sure exactly what the wording was of the joke, but something was said. Some joke involving a rape and ape was said."


Tagged as: mccain


AlterNet: Fourth Circuit Court Ruling Gives Bush Dictatorial Powers

Fourth Circuit Court Ruling Gives Bush Dictatorial Powers

Posted by Steven D., Booman Tribune at 4:39 AM on July 17, 2008.

Disturbing, to say the least.

Quick note from Joshua H: The headline on this piece was based on my December interview with the Center for Constitutional Rights' Michael Ratner -- who has fought like hell against Bush's claimed war powers. Ratner told me, "The difference between a police state and a nonpolice state is, fundamentally, whether the executive can pick you up and disappear you or whether you can go to a court and challenge the executive, whether you can say: 'What's the legal reason you're holding me?'"


The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (one level below the Supreme Court) has just ruled that Bush was granted the unlimited power by Congress to detain indefinitely anyone in the United States (you, me, your teenage son or daughter, anyone at all) merely be declaring them an enemy combatant. In a split 5-4 decision the Fourth Circuit also held that said enemy combatant was permitted to "challenge" that detention, but failed to elaborate on what form that challenge should take. From the NY Times:

President Bush has the legal power to order the indefinite military detentions of civilians captured in the United States, the federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled on Tuesday in a fractured 5-to-4 decision.

But a second, overlapping 5-to-4 majority of the court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, ruled that Ali al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar now in military custody in Charleston, S.C., must be given an additional opportunity to challenge his detention in federal court there. An earlier court proceeding, in which the government had presented only a sworn statement from a defense intelligence official, was inadequate, the second majority ruled. [...]

The court effectively reversed a divided three-judge panel of its own members, which ruled last year that the government lacked the power to detain civilians legally in the United States as enemy combatants. That panel ordered the government either to charge Mr. Marri or to release him. The case is likely to reach the Supreme Court.

How helpful the decision will be to Mr. Marri remains to be seen, as the majority that granted him some relief was notably vague about what the new court proceeding should look like. In that respect, Tuesday's decision resembled last month's decision from the United States Supreme Court granting habeas corpus rights to prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay.

Mr. Marri is the only person on the American mainland known to be held as an enemy combatant. The government contended, in a declaration from the defense intelligence official, Jeffrey N. Rapp, that Mr. Marri was a Qaeda sleeper agent sent to the United States to commit mass murder and disrupt the banking system. [...]

Jonathan L. Hafetz, a lawyer for Mr. Marri with the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, called the Fourth Circuit's decision deeply disturbing.
"This decision means the president can pick up any person in the country -- citizen or legal resident -- and lock them up for years without the most basic safeguard in the Constitution, the right to a criminal trial," Mr. Hafetz said.

This is a "deeply disturbing" opinion, even though it comes from only one appellate court, and one of the more conservative ones at that. It points up the danger of allowing Republican Presidents to appoint judges to the Federal bench who have authoritarian and partisan leanings. I have little doubt that the same justices who signed off on this grant of unlimited power to the Executive Branch would have seen the matter very differently if a Democrat held the office of President.

Of course, Congress can resolve this issue simply by passing legislation limiting the effect of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (the AUMF, for short). I doubt those in Congress, which passed the AUMF shortly after 9/11, ever intended to grant the President the unlimited power to detain Americans merely by declaring them "enemy combatants." On the other hand, I seriously doubt that our current crop of Democrats will have the political courage necessary to revise the AUMF to limit the scope of the President's authority. Certainly not in an election year. They've already shown their cravenness in the debate over the amendments to FISA when they caved in to President Bush's demands. It's highly doubtful they would suddenly develop a spine on this matter, regardless of Bush's massive disapproval rating among Americans. Mention the wqrd "terrorism" and they all seem to cower in fear for their political lives, despite all the evidence that Republicans and their policies are loathed by a majority of Americans.

So, in effect, we are at the mercy of Justice Kennedy, the one conservative member of the Supreme Court who has shown himself willing to vote with the more liberal justices on issues involving the rights of individuals detained by the Bush administration as enemy combatants. Kennedy was the justice who wrote the most recent majority opinion which held that detainees at Guantanamo Bay had the right to invoke the writ of habeas corpus to challenge their detentions. If and when this case reaches the Supreme Court he will be the one who decides what rights, if any, persons detained by Bush will have.

We already know how the other eight justices will vote. Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia demonstrated in the dissenting opinions written in the Boumediene v. Bush that they would have granted President Bush any authority he deemed necessary to indefinitely imprison individuals suspected of terrorist sympathies without any right of habeas corpus review in the federal courts.

Similarly, we know how the so-called "liberal" Justices Stevens, Ginsberg, Souter and Breyer will likely vote on the matter. They will probably decide that Bush cannot imprison American citizens or non-citizens without giving them the rights to (1) challenge their detentions in federal court, (2) be presented with the evidence against them, (3) cross-examine their accusers, and (4) present evidence showing that there is no basis in law or fact for their detention. It's also likely that these four justices would refuse to countenance the notion that the AUMF gave Bush a free hand to imprison anyone he saw fit. So, in the end, it will all depend on how Justice Kennedy interprets the Constitution and the AUMF. Only his opinion matters as to whether or not Bush is free to detain you or I as enemy combatants, and the extent to which we could challenge that detention in the federal courts.

Until that happens, be very careful what you say and to whom. For who knows what constitutes evidence of terrorist allegiance in the minds of our national security professionals. Mr. al-Marri still doesn't know what precise information landed him in prison as a suspected Al Qaeda sleeper agent. All he knows is that someone at the CIA signed an affidavit claiming that he was a terrorist. Because that is all it takes, my friends, to put you in prison and deprive you of your liberty. The opinion of one man. And until Congress or the Supreme Court holds otherwise you live in a police state, different from that of the former Soviet Union or Argentina under the rule of the Generals only by the degree to which that authority has been exercised -- so far.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

History - Quotes

George Santayana:

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

George Wilhelm Hegel:

What experience and history teach is this -- that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles.

Gerda Lerner:

What we do about history matters. The often repeated saying that those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them has a lot of truth in it. But what are 'the lessons of history'? The very attempt at definition furnishes ground for new conflicts. History is not a recipe book; past events are never replicated in the present in quite the same way. Historical events are infinitely variable and their interpretations are a constantly shifting process. There are no certainties to be found in the past.

Gerda Lerner:

We can learn from history how past generations thought and acted, how they responded to the demands of their time and how they solved their problems. We can learn by analogy, not by example, for our circumstances will always be different than theirs were. The main thing history can teach us is that human actions have consequences and that certain choices, once made, cannot be undone. They foreclose the possibility of making other choices and thus they determine future events.

Adrienne Rich:

False history gets made all day, any day,
the truth of the new is never on the news.

[Just check out Fox News!]

Ambrose Bierce:

HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.


Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

That's an insightful collection!! The problem is, it takes a degree of intelligence to understand them, and that is one thing sorely lacking in our government!!

Monday, July 14, 2008 12:47:00 AM

Blogger The Beltway B@stard said...

So what your saying is, we are all doomed? I'm with future - lack of intelligence in the government.

Things might change, if we could wrangle the reigns of government from the elitist politician, and hand them to the common-sense joe on the street. That might make too much sense though, and might sound too communist to the average repuke.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 11:23:00 PM

Blogger Worried American said...

You said it, fellows!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008 12:57:00 PM


Readings from Howard Zinn's "Voices of a People's History of the United States"

For the 4th of July Gadfly posted Price of Freedom.

GDAEman posted a comment with the following link. It is an interesting listen/watch to Howard Zinn's book on our history. I recommend it.

Thank you for this link, GDAEman.

reading of People's History...

July 04, 2008


July 4th Special: Readings From Howard Zinn’s “Voices of a People’s History of the United States”

On July 4th, we feature a Democracy Now special–a dramatic reading of legendary historian Howard Zinn’s classic work, “A People’s History of the United States.” First published more than a quarter of a century ago, the book has sold over a million copies and is a phenomenon in the world of publishing–selling more copies each successive year. Howard Zinn gathered with a group of actors, writers and editors for a public reading of the book at the 92nd Street Y in New York. The cast included Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut, Danny Glover and many others.

This weekend is a national holiday commemorating July 4th when American colonies declared their independence from England in 1776. While many in the US hang flags, attend parades and watch fireworks, Independence Day is not a cause of celebration for everyone.

For Native Americans it is a bitter reminder of colonialism, which brought disease, genocide and the destruction of their culture and way of life.

For African Americans Independence Day did not extend to them. While white colonists were declaring their freedom from the crown, that liberation was not shared with millions of Africans who were captured, beaten, separated from their families and forced into slavery thousands of miles from home.

Today we’ll hear excerpts of Howard Zinn’s classic work: A People’s History of the United States. It was first published more than a quarter of a century ago and has sold more than a million copies.

Howard Zinn gathered gathered with a group of actors, writers and editors for a public reading of the book at the 92nd Street Y in New York. The cast included Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut, Danny Glover. We begin with James Earl Jones.

Readings from Howard Zinn’s “Voices of a People’s History of the United States”,

James Earl Jones' reading - excerpt .

Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Whole Show | « Headlines


Saturday, July 05, 2008

One Tin Soldier


Joan Baez at the Operation Ceasefire Concert in Washington DC on 9/24/2005:

Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

From the Vietnam War to the Iraqi War, Baez continues her protests, still timely.

Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

She has been ridiculed for decades. The hair's a different color now, but her heart's still the same!!

An American's American!

Saturday, July 05, 2008 6:59:00 PM

Blogger Granny said...

Right. To paraphrase Jack Nicholson, "some people can't handle the truth" so they ridicule.

Sunday, July 06, 2008 5:56:00 PM


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners: men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr. noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall and straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of the declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."

They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books told you a lot of what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government!

Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't. So take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: Freedom is never free! I hope you show your support by sharing this with as many people as you can. It's time we get the word out that Patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball games.

~Author Unknown~
Contributed by: Harry Updegraff, Jr.

Anonymous Kvatch said...

...and our 'latter-day patriots' pose for photo-ops aboard mighty military machines, never having placed themselves in harm's way.

To such depths we have sunk.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008 4:16:00 AM

Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

Rocks were their pillows when they gave it all up so we could eat shitty burnt hot dogs and get so drunk we can't stand for the playing of the anthem when the band goes by on Main Street...(:

Wednesday, July 02, 2008 5:08:00 AM

Blogger The Beltway B@stard said...

Not enough people know what the founding fathers went through. Heck (wow, it's really hard for me to say words like heck), ask the average joe on the street and they won't even know what the 4th is all about.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008 8:55:00 PM

WA:Right on the button, Beltway. Hard to say "heck"? Say "hell" if you want to!!

Blogger Worried American said...

Hi, Kvatch! It's good to hear from our multicolored frog. Your new blog is doing great, last time I checked. Greetings to the Frogette. Come back again, soo. You are missed. You are soooo right about our photo-op "patriots" today.

Yes, Dan'l, so damned true. Too many of us citizens won't even take the time and trouble to email our reps to raise hell for them to represent the will of the people instead of the lobbying big businesses and special interest groups.

Beltway: Read on:

When the downstairs "whittlers and tobacco spitters" were ganged up planning their barbecue and (sneaky) beer bash, I asked them what the 4th was all about. A couple said, "holiday", "celebrate". One said, "independence day". I asked "independence from what?" Blank looks, then one said questioningly, "from England?" And another said, "Oh yeah!" and started singing, "In 1814 we took a little trip, down with colonel jackson on the mighty mississip, we took a little bacon and we took a little beans and we fought the bloody british in a town called new orleans...."

Right church but the wrong pew.

And these were not jr high kids! These were grandparents ages. Sheesh!!

To most people it means parades, barbecue, beer bashes or beaching it.

Thursday, July 03, 2008 4:31:00 AM

Blogger Granny said...

Or a backyard bbq which is what we have in mind.

Nevertheless, I do know that old Johnny H. was singing about the War of 1812.

Happy 4th everyone.

Thursday, July 03, 2008 7:54:00 AM

Yeh, Granny. 1812 was a little later than 1776. Some people remember the history of the War for Independence (the basics) but few really know what the patriots suffered and sacrificed.
Blogger GDAEman said...

I'd like to think the founder's motives were noble and pure, but I suspect the Revolutionary War was another fight among the elite (white men on this side of the Atlantic wresting control from the same on the other side of the Atlantic).

A 4th of July reading
from Howard Zinn's "A people's History of the United States" tells a different story.

Monday, July 07, 2008 12:41:00 PM