Sunday, August 12, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

After arriving at the funeral home, Katherine Cathey pressed her pregnant belly to her husband's casket, moaning softly. Two days after she was notified of Jim's death in Iraq, he found out they would have a boy. Born on December 23, 2005, he was named James Jeffrey Cathey, Jr.

The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of "Cat," and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. "I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it," she said. "I think that's what he would have wanted."

Never forget that the decision to wage war has real and devastating consequences for Americans serving in the Armed Forces. Never forget that we should never send our troops into harms way without a clear objective, only for reasons of grave national interests, and with a clear plan for withdrawal. Never let the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, and the sacrifices of their families, be for anything but the most important of reasons.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Mitt Romney, 2008: "I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours... I don't think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort."

 From Mentat, from Here, at 2012-04-30 07:14:10 PM

"Any President would have given that order" Except Any President didn't. Only one man did.

 George Bush, 2004: "We haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban. But once we set out the policy and started executing the plan, he became -- we shoved him out more and more on the margins. He has no place to train his Al Qaeda killers anymore."

Mitt Romney, 2008: "I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours... I don't think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort." 

 Mitt Romney, 2007: "I'm not very concerned about him. It's not worth moving heaven and earth to get one man." 

Mitt Romney, 2008: "We'll move everything to get him. But I don't want to buy into the Democratic pitch, that this is all about one person, Osama bin Laden. Because after we get him, there's going to be another and another....This is the worldwide jihadist effort to try and cause the collapse of all moderate Islamic governments and replace them with a caliphate."

Joe Biden, 2008: "In order to look tough, he's undermined his ability to be tough, were he President. Because if you're going to go into Pakistan - which is already our policy by the way, if there's actionable intelligence- you need actionable intelligence from moderates within Pakistan working with you. Now if you're already going to say 'I'm going to disregard whatever the country thinks and going to invade,' the likelihood you're getting the cooperation you need evaporates. It's a well intended notion he has, but it's a very naïve way of figuring out how you're going to conduct foreign policy."

Chris Dodd, 2008: "While General Musharraf is no Thomas Jefferson, he may be the only thing that stands between us and having an Islamic fundamentalist state in that country. So while I would like to see him change, the reality is, if we lose him, then what we face is an alternative that could be a lot worse for our country."

Hillary Clinton, 2008: "You can think big, but remember, you shouldn't always say everything you think if you're running for president, because it has consequences around the world."

Hillary Clinton, 2008: "Last summer, he basically threatened to bomb Pakistan, which I don't think was a particularly wise position to take." John McCain, 2008: "Will we risk the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan?" John

McCain, 2008: "The first thing you do is, you don't tell people what you're gonna to do. You make plans and you work with the other country that is your ally and friend, which Pakistan is. You don't broadcast and say that you're going to bomb a country without their permission or without consulting them. It's just fundamentals of the conduct of national security policy."

John McCain, 2008: "I'm not prepared at this time to cut off aid to Pakistan. So I'm not prepared to threaten it, as Senator Obama apparently wants to do, as he has said that he would announce military strikes into Pakistan. Now, you don't do that. You don't say that out loud. If you have to do things, you have to do things, and you work with the Pakistani government."

John McCain, 2008: "in fact, [Obama] said he wants to announce that he's going to attack Pakistan. Remarkable. If you are a country and you're trying to gain the support of another country, then you want to do everything you can that they would act in a cooperative fashion. When you announce that you're going to launch an attack into another country, it's pretty obvious that you have the effect that it had in Pakistan: It turns public opinion against us."

 Barack Obama, 2008: "If we have actionable intelligence on al Qaeda operatives, including [Osama] bin Laden, and President Musharraf cannot act, then we should. That's just common sense."

 Barack Obama, 2008: I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear: There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will."

Barack Obama, 2008: "Nobody talked about attacking Pakistan. Here's what I said, and if John wants to disagree with this, he can let me know: That, if the United States has al Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out. Now, I think that's the right strategy; I think that's the right policy."

 Barack Obama, 2008: "And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act and we will take them out. We will kill bin Laden; we will crush Al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority."

 Barack Obama, 2008: "I want to be very clear about what I said. Nobody called for the invasion of Pakistan. Senator McCain continues to repeat this. What I said was the same thing that the audience here today heard me say, which is, if Pakistan is unable or unwilling to hunt down bin Laden and take him out, then we should,"

 Only one man had the balls to not only say what had to be said, but backed up his words with actions. Any President might have given the order, President Obama actually gave the order.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Why I Won't Vote For Romney

Long time between posts, but life has pretty much cured any need to vent on a daily basis about the stupidity around my. So, for what may be my last post in a while, I just want to explain why I will never vote for Romney, beyond that I'm a liberal Democrat happy with Obama's Osama killing policies.

The fact is, that, right now, I'm a 30ish father of three boys, happily married, member of the middle-class. My wife owns her own business which employs five people, and I continue to be a solo practicing attorney. Right now, we are doing our taxes, taking care of our three boys, thinking of having a fourth, and looking to move. And, I don't think Romney has a clue what that means. He has no idea what it is like to plan to move so that a wife can be closer to her work, a family can be closer to their mother-in-law for child care, and they can be in a better school district. The whole idea of having to move is foreign to him. In order to move, we have to take into account just how much equity we can expect to get out of our current house, how much we can negotiate the price of the new home down from the builder, how much time we want to spend looking for a buyer for our home before my oldest reaches kindergarten age, how much more we will pay in property taxes and home owners insurance, basic stuff everyone in the middle-class worries about and has to consider. And Romney has never had to do that. He has always been able to do whatever he wishes because he was born in a family of wealth and means and will never understand the minutia of middle-class life, the stuff that makes the middle-class the middle-class. Obama does. He was not born to wealth and privilege. His wealth was based mostly on getting lucky enough to write a best-selling book. He knows what it's like to pay a mortgage and pay school loans and raise a family. And his polices reflect that.

So, that's why I will never vote for Romney. He simply can not understand the concerns of a guy like me. And if he can't understand my concerns, he will never understand the policies needed to address those concerns. And that is why I will never vote for Romney.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

And now, some Holiday Music

And When Christmas Meets Star Wars, nobody wins...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Memorial Day

After arriving at the funeral home, Katherine Cathey pressed her pregnant belly to her husband's casket, moaning softly. Two days after she was notified of Jim's death in Iraq, he found out they would have a boy. Born on December 23, 2005, he was named James Jeffrey Cathey, Jr.

The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of "Cat," and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. "I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it," she said. "I think that's what he would have wanted."

Never forget that the decision to wage war has real and devastating consequences for Americans serving in the Armed Forces. Never forget that we should never send our troops into harms way without a clear objective, only for reasons of grave national interests, and with a clear plan for withdrawal. Never let the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, and the sacrifices of their families, be for anything but the most important of reasons.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Iraq War Finished

Good news.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Friday declared an end to the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the country by year's end.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Qadaffi Kaput

Zero American lives lost, $1 Billion in spending, as part of a NATO operation, no invasion, no occupation, to rebuilding, one dead dictator. Thanks, Obama.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Palin Not Running

Ah, yes, Palin has officially announced that, even though the worst person in the world in ruining this great country with his socialistic, communistic, anti-America tax and spend policies, and she could easily out-wit him in all the debates and win the presidency, as I've heard her supporters parrot repeatedly for the past two years, you betcha'! Wink!, Palin will not run for the Republican nomination for the presidency.

Republicans, this is you're second chance to determine if you can tell the difference between a true candidate, like Romney and Perry, or someone just out to make a quick buck pretending to run for the presidency, like Trump and Palin. If you thought Palin was floating her name for the presidency in a serious manner, and not as a way to make loads of money off gullible people yearning for someone to save them, you really, really, need to have a reality check-up.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Military Ban on Gays Officially Over

Gays can now officially serve openly in the United States military. Thanks for your service, gay men and women of the military.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11: Ten Years Later

This is a re-post of my original 9/11 post, with slight revisions. It will be the last time I do this. With the death of Osama bin Laden, killed in a daring raid ordered by Obama, the Tenth anniversary of 9/11 feels to me like the closing of an awful chapter in American history. We caught the son of a bitch. The lessons of the last two decades can be now taught separate from the 9/11 remembrances. Even now, the administration is working hard to prevent other terror attacks, and has apparently disrupted a plot to mark the 9/11 anniversary with terror bombings. We must always remain vigilant.

It is now the Tenth Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that killed over 3000 of our fellow citizens. The actual number of Americans killed by the events of 9/11 continues to climb, due to illnesses striking many of those involved with the clean-up and recovery efforts of ground zero. These illnesses are directly related to the release of poisonous chemicals and hazardous waste resulting from the falling of the towers. This post is an attempt to come to some understanding of the totality of events surrounding 9/11. This account will rely on my memory of events and accounts that have come out later, and Wikipedia, and as such, may not be wholly reliable. When Wikipedia and I conflict, I will go with my memory.

In 1993, a truck bomb was detonated in the parking garage of the World Trade Center. This bomb was intended by the bombers to release a chemical cloud and poison the Trade Center inhabitants. Fortunately, the explosion burned-up the poisonous gas and the number of casualties was low, only 6 people were killed.

Contrary to Right-Wing Propaganda, the Clinton administration caught, tried and convicted 10 people involved with the 1993 bombing. The linking of this bombing to al Qaeda as we understand the term is tenuous, at best. Nonetheless, this attack was a warning to everyone that the Towers were a terrorist target.

In 1996, the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia was the scene of a truck bombing which killed 20. The perpetrators of this attack were initially attributed to Saudi Hizbolla, not al Qaeda. The evidence linking this attack to al Qaeda is also tenuous. There remains the possibility that this was a joint operation or that the Saudis lied to us. The Saudis claimed to have caught and executed the perpetrators of the bombing, but never, apparently offered to grant Americans access to the suspects.

Finally, in 1998, two American embassies in Africa were bombed, killing hundreds of civilians but few Americans. This is the first terrorist attack that brought al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden to international attention. Clinton responded by launching cruise missile attacks on Osama's training camps in Afghanistan.

There was one other terrorist attack on Americans on Clinton's watch, the attack on the Cole, but we will get to that presently. Because the 1998 embassy attacks are where Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress failed the American people.

The Embassy bombings where a direct attack on the American people. It was the equivalent of an attack on American soil, and the American government responded in a pathetic manner. Why did this failure occur?

Partisan politics. It was the the height of the Lewinsky Scandal, and Republicans in control of the Senate and House were more interested in pursuing Bill Clinton for his sexual indiscretions than they were for protecting the American people. No one in the Senate, of either party, stood up and pointed out the need to respond hard militarily to the attacks. Not One. McCain himself, on month after the bombings, warned Clinton against greater use of military force in Afghanistan, warning of another Vietnam. Partisan cowards, every single one.

Clinton failed as well. He failed to use his bully pulpit to inform the American people of the true nature of the embassy attacks and rally the country to an attack of substance. Instead, being a politician of consummate ability, he took just those actions he knew would be most easily undertaken in the political environment. Even these pathetic attempts were used against him by Republicans who accused him of trying to distract the American people from the important work of determining what Lewinsky and Bill did in the Oval office.

And Americans have a share of guilt as well. Whether because of racism (oh, its just a few hundred Africans being killed, no need to be alarmed), distraction (what did Clinton really do with that girl?), or some other reason, Americans showed ZERO interest in going hard after the perpetrators of the bombings. Going hard meaning declaring war and putting boots on the ground.

What should have happened?

Bill Clinton, the day after the attacks, should have marched down to the Senate and said the following:

Men and Women of the Senate, to answer that question that is most on your mind, Yes, I fucked her. I shagged her good. And because it was embarrassing and frankly had not an iota of bearing on the civil case for which the question was asked, I lied about it under oath. Now you know, and you can, if you so choose, impeach and convict me of this private mistake I made. But before you do so, you WILL recognize that America was attacked yesterday and you WILL give me a declaration of war on the perpetrators of these attacks, and you WILL support all military efforts I, or, in the event I am impeached, President Gore, undertake to bring run these attackers to ground and destroy them. Because, have no doubt, war HAS been declared on us. And it will not be over till one side or the other has been destroyed.

Clinton did not, of course, give this speech. But there was another group with the power to rally Americans to the reality of what the attacks meant, and that group was the Senate. The Senate has the final word on declaring war. They could have made a Declaration of War and given eloquent speeches to the public and forced Clinton to go hard after al Qaeda. But that might bolster Clinton's approval ratings, and the Republicans could not have that. The Republican lead Senate was more than happy to sit back and pretend the attacks never happened because they were SO happy having their hands in Clinton's pants, rooting around for Clinton's cock. That was THEIR priority in the late 1990s, not terrorism, not al Qaeda, not Osama, but Clinton's cock.

So, from 1998 to 2000, Americans of both parties ignored the implications of the African Embassy bombings and went about their lives, debating whether they should choose to be lead by a politically-connected failed businessmen made governor of a state which limited the powers of their governors drastically, or a man who was VP during an era of a booming economy, relative peace, and fiscally responsible government leadership. Neither of which, it should be said, made terrorism a campaign point. Neither of which proposed to go hard against al Qaeda, even after the Cole bombing.

As an aside, Rudy Giuliani became mayor of New York City in this time period and failed to update the emergency responders equipment in time, and moved his terrorist response center into World Trade Center Seven, a known target for terrorism, rather than to a recommended site in Brooklyn. He also openly cheated on and divorced his wife. After 9/11 is another story. Then he earned the ire of firefighters by trying to recover fallen firefighters' bodies using scoop and dump rather than the slower and more respectful method of recovery by hand.

After the election was decided, Americans were once more made aware of the terrorist threat with the attack on the Cole, a U.S. ship at harbor, in October 2000. Another clear declaration of war if done by a foreign power, this attack cost 17 Americans their lives. Clinton failed to respond to this attack because the C.I.A. refused to declare without reservation that al Qaeda was the perpetrator. It was not until February of 2001, when Clinton had left office, that investigators finally declared that al Qaeda was the perpetrator. Bush declined to respond to the Cole attack in any manner.

Despite his flaws and failure to respond forcefully to the African Embassy attacks, Clinton's administration took many positive steps to prevent attacks of terror on American soil. From the initial Trade Center bombing in 1993 to 2001, there were no attacks on American soil, and the administration was able to foil a clear attempt in the millennium bombings. Clinton responded many times to CIA reports of potential attacks by calling all his people together to craft counter-measures. His people attempted to educate the incoming administration on the importance of al Qaeda, but Bush's people would have none of it.

In January 2001, George Bush took office, and immediately set himself apart from Clinton by showing himself to be completely uninterested in fighting terror. Clinton's people attempted to set up meeting to educate the incoming Bush people on the threat posed by al Qaeda, by these meeting where brushed off. From January to September of 2001, Bush was mainly known for his penchant for vacationing. On one of his vacations, he was given a Presidential Daily Briefing entitled Al Qaeda Determined to Strike in America. Bush stayed on vacation. There were no attempts by the Bush administration to better America's position regarding al Qaeda in these initial months. He called off a submarine patrol whose job it was to launch cruise missiles at a moments notice into Afghanistan if intelligence sources could identify Osama's position. And if Clinton was at fault for failing to respond adequately to years of provocation, then Bush is doubly at fault for the same failure during his early months in office.

On 9/11, almost three thousand Americans lost their lives. There was no inside conspiracy. It was the work of al Qaeda, without a doubt. Despite administration protests, there were signs that summer that an attack was coming. Probably not enough to stop the attack, but there were signs. We will never know what a competent President would have done under the same circumstances. Americans of both political stripes rallied behind Bush as did the world. The French Newspaper LaMonde declared, "We are All Americans." Bush would take this support and completely squander it.

The day after the attack, on the still burning rubble, Bush declared his intent to bring justice to those who attacked us. He would later declare that he would get Osama "Dead or Alive." And he tried. And failed. He attacked Afghanistan but, by failing to use adequate American troops, Osama escaped at Tora Bora. The man who was responsible for the deaths of 3000 Americans was free to plot and taunt us. Then Bush failed to secure Afghanistan. Using too few troops, the country slipped further and further away from stability. It became the greatest opium exporter in the world. The Taliban and al Qaeda reconstituted in the mountains of Pakistan, protected from American military action by an administration too fearful of offending Pakistan to launch military actions without their permission, giving time for targets to be warned and to escape.

A year passed, two years passed. Bush declared that he really didn't think about Osama much. But I did. And most Americans did. Not Republicans, of course. They were all to happy to make excuses for their failure of a joke of a President's inability to catch Osama. Instead, Bush decided to go on an Iraqi adventure, hampering any chance of success in Afghanistan, and allowing bin Laden to live, issuing tapes every few years, showing the world that American threats are not to be feared.

And John McCain supported him every step of the way. Oh sure, he said he had disagreements about troops levels or strategy, but McCain encouraged our Iraqi adventure wholeheartedly, even though anyone with brains could see that we had not won in Afghanistan and that a war in Iraq would hamper efforts in Afghanistan.

Three years passed, and the Republicans had no problem rewarding Bush for his failure to catch the mass murderer of 3000 fellow citizens by reelecting him to the office. After all, they said, he tried. That fact added to the fact that he was Republican was enough for them.

Four year, five years. The Iraqi adventure became an Iraqi quagmire. Over 4000 additional Americans lost their sons and daughters, husbands, fathers, and wives in an attempt to keep together a country intent on destroying itself. And, because of Bush's failure to kill him, Osama inspired other to take up the name of al Qaeda and adopt his methods.

Seven years since 3000 Americans were murdered and the mastermind behind the murders continued to release videos, taunting us, showing our president to be powerless to stop him. Worse still, intelligence reports said that al Qaeda was as strong as it was in the summer of 2001. Despite 7 years of open warfare against al Qaeda, despite the claims of the administration that they have captured or killed a large percentage of al Qaeda members, al Qaeda was as strong as ever. And why not? Not only was Osama still alive, but so was his second in command. What an injustice.

The Republican candidates showed even less of an understanding of the impact of Osama. Fred Thompson said he's mostly symbolic. Romney said "It's not worth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person." McCain said he will chase him to the gates of hell, but refused to criticize the Bush administration for its failure to capture him. Moreover, McCain criticized Obama's doctrine that said that we should attack inside Pakistan if we have good intelligence, even without the permission of the Pakistani government. This doctrine had been adopted by the Bush administration and appears to have netted us 2 to 4 top level al Qaeda operatives. Why? Because with the Republicans it's always party before country. The over 3000 victims of 9/11 deserved better.

Obama became President in January of 2009. And, as of 9-11-11, if there are no spectacular attacks on American soil, he will have protected America for exactly twice as long as Bush did. Don't expect to hear any kudos from the Republicans for it, though.

And, as he promised in his campaign Obama has stepped up operations in Afghanistan, putting in more troops, and we have had increased casualties as a result. We have lost 299 Americans in Afghanistan so far this year. Obama has not forgotten Afghanistan. At the same time, he has kept his promise to draw down U.S. forces in Iraq, and end offensive military operations there. He has also stepped up the use of military drone attacks, resulting in more civilian casualties. At this point, some estimates are that there are less than a couple hundred al Qeada fighters still in Afghanistan. He set a date for beginning withdrawal from Afghanistan of June, 2011. He met this deadline despite the Afghan and Pakistan governments, governments riddled with corruption and incompetence.

But facts must be faced: the time to clean up Afghanistan was from 2001 to 2005, before the Afghan people became restive over living in the continual gun- and bomb-sights of the Americans. A country will live under military occupation only so long, even if the occupation is "in their own good."

Despite the lack of real progress in Afghanistan, and Osama's advantage of the seven years of Bush administration neglect to burrow in, Obama has accomplished the most important goal in the war against al Qaeda: he killed Osama. On Sunday, May 1, 2011, after Obama ordered a special forces mission into Pakistan, without permission of the Pakistan government, Osama bin Laden was killed and his computer containing intelligence on al Qaeda was captured by American forces. By bringing the mastermind of 9/11 to justice, Obama helped heal the wounds inflicted by 9/11 for all Americans. It is a great victory for all Americans.

But, despite this victory, not everyone learned the lesson of the bin Laden raid. Ron Paul, Republican candidate for the candidacy of the presidency believes that Obama should have risked losing Osama and his treasure trove of intelligence by telling Pakistan we were coming. It is unbelievable that no one seems to notice. Hopefully, the next president takes terror as seriously as Obama has. The victims of 9/11 deserve it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

Thank the progressive labor movement for:

Ending Child Labor.

Creating the 40 hour workweek, thereby,

Creating the Weekend, and

Creating Overtime Pay.

Creating the Minimum Wage.

Supporting Higher Wages for all.

Creating Sick Days,

Family Leave,

Company Provided Health Insurance Coverage,


Paid Vacations.

Improving Working Conditions, including

Workers' Health and Safety regulations.

If you enjoy any of the benefits listed above at your work, thank the Unions.

A new Labor day tradition from the Dropkick Murphys!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Did Not Know That...

Shingo, Aomori, a Japanese village, claims to be the burial place of Jesus Christ.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Libya Liberated

Another stunning international victory for Obama, the overthrow Qaddafi, the brutal dictator and terror supporter, including Pan Am 103 and the 1986 German Disco bombings. Qadaffi appears to have lost control of his country to rebels supported by a NATO bombing campaign, a campaign supported by Obama, in the face of Republican opposition who claimed he was both doing too little and illegally doing too much. Of course, again, like Clinton in Kosovo, Obama managed to accomplish a great international victory without a single loss of American life and at minimal costs. Great job, Obama.