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TorchesAndPitchforks's Journal - Archives
The American people have called for an end to the last 14 years of bitter partisanship and division. Obama is one of the most moderate, sensible, and unifying figures ever to grace the White House. He sincerely wants to work, through compromise, to finally address the mountain of problems that have been ignored over these many years and move us forward.

The onus is now on the Republicans in the House and Senate. Are they willing to put down their ideological blinders and cooperate to start resolving the nation's problems? Incremental change is better than no change. We are on the brink of catastrophe on so many fronts.

Or will most Repubicans become even more ideological? I think Democrats should give them a chance. Give them the first session of the new year to prove they are willing to put the nation above narrow partisanship.

If Republicans fail to work with us, the Democrats need to make that the top issue in this country. Put the national spot light on it, garner overwhelming public support, then crush them with power politics.
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Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Will it move them to the center left or will they move the party even more to the center right?

Can the progressive base coexist in a party that caters to the center right?

It might be a good thing. If the Democratic party becomes the main centrist party it will dominate for a generation. The Republican party will splinter when all moderates join the Dems. Extremists will stay extremists on the far right and progressives will become a more powerful bloc on the left. The centrists will want to partner with us progressives to get anything done and we will finally get a chance of moving this country forward.

Or does this spell doom?
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That was the little tyrant's favorite line in the days following the revelations of his warrantless wiretapping of Americans.


To wiretap an American, you need a warrant. DOES HE EXPECT US TO BELIEVE THAT A FISA JUDGE WILL NOT ISSUE A WARRANT to tap a phone line when there's a known terrorist on the other end?

He didn't go the FISA court because
1) he doesn't want to say WHO he's tapping
2) he doesn't want to say HOW he determines who to tap
3) he doesn't want anybody to tell him who he can or cannot tap

I really don't mind that they tap the phone of someone in the US who is talking to a known terrorist. In fact, I'm glad that they do as long they do it properly with a warrant. It's the shredding of our Constitutional rights that I can't abide.

Congress needs to step up and end the secrecy and abuse of power. The have to stop insulting our intelligence. They have to stop destroying the rights we have fought for over so many generations.

We need the TRUTH about how we are being spied on. We need to STOP trusting a ruthless right wing prevaricating tyrant and his henchmen. We need to STOP the destruction of America and everything it stands for and millions have fought and died for over the generations.

As RFK, Jr said, See you at the barricades.
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My cousin Joey was like a big brother to me. He had three sisters and no brothers of his own so he kind of adopted me. Taught me to ride a bike and play that table top football game with a folded up piece of paper. I liked him better than my real big brother, who was always mean to me. Joey always defended me. It was funny that he was called "Little Joe" by his family because he was always a real big kid. They called him that to distinguish him from Big Joe, his father, a WWII vet.

When Joey was getting ready to graduate from HS it was the early 70s and all anybody his age could think about was the war and the draft. Joey didn't want to go because he thought it was senseless and immoral. But Big Joe told him he would disown him if he didn't go. I remember one time the two of them almost came to blows. His mother was sobbing. I never saw Joey back down to anyone until then. Family was very important to him. After many months of anguish he went to Nam.

Joey's sister Sue was about to get married that same year to a great guy named Rich. Sue had been our favorite baby sitter, not the least reason being she was drop dead gorgeous. Big Joe said he wouldn't let his daughter get married to a coward and a commie.Rich heard the same thing from his old man. So Rich went off to war, too.

Both made it back alive -- sort of. Joey was never the same again. He would just sit on the couch staring into space with a beer in his hand. He wouldn't even say hi to me when I walked into the room. The next thing anyone knew he left Ohio to go work on the Alaska pipeline. No one in the family ever heard from him again.

Rich came back, too. We later became good friends. He was extremely mellow and we got high together a lot. He was the first one to ever tell me what it was like over there. He had some funny tales and a few terrifying ones. He seemed OK, though. He and Susan had two little babies - Adam and Eve.

Then the summer I went off to college I heard the terrible news. Rich and Sue were at a birthday party at his brother's house. They were drinking lots of beer and having a good time. Then, out of nowhere, Rich started babbling in Vietnamese. He ran into the house and grabbed a rifle and a pistol out of his brother's gun cabinet. He shot dead his brother, his best friend, and then himself. All in front of his wife and two small children.

I've lived in Washington for the past twenty years and I've never gone to see the wall. It has a lot of names on it, but for every name written on it there are many, many more that are missing.
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1. He purged the Baathists and dismissed the military because they were too smart and wouldn't have allowed the Americans to take over their oil.

2. He put DAWA and SCIRI (Iranian-backed terrorist organizations) and the Shia death squads in power in exchange for letting US set Iraqi oil policy.

3. Shia leadership shows some independence, Iran gets uppity, so he turns on the spigot to feed the Sunni resistance.

4. ISG report comes out saying the only solution is political and diplomatic compromise. He ignores it.

Had the sanctions been lifted American companies would have been left without any control of Iraqi oil and no oil-related contracts (and with Iraqi oil sold on the market in Euros). This war was fought for the benefit of large Anglo-American oil and gas companies. If a political compromise is ever reached that shuts out these firms the war would have been all for nothing.

They can't let this happen. Therefore they have to keep the civil war on a medium broil in the hopes that the situation will become so dire that an American-backed strongman will be welcomed by the people to take over control of the country. Even if it takes decades. That's why Bush needs to be impeached and our troops brought home immediately.
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All trained interrogation professionals know this. Regimes that torture only do this to terrify their political enemies and stifle the slightest sign of opposition. It makes the rest of the population reluctant to associate with anyone who expresses the least bit of dissent.

The point is NOT to gain intelligence of any value - its merely to intimidate. The more innocents who get tortured, the more effective the intimidation.

Its not only immoral but counterproductive as well because the suppressed hatred will linger for generations.

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If the bill Republicans present on the floor of Congress weakens the UCMJ even one iota Dems must lead a filibuster.

More than any other issue, this clearly illustrates the divide between the administration and the American people. It demonstrates how much they have destroyed American principles of morality. It would set up a debate lining up pro-torture Repukes against everyone else.

OTOH, if Dems allow torture to be codified I will think seriously about tearing up my DNC card. And before anyone jumps on me for saying that, this is the first and only time I've made that statement or even had that thought. Its THAT important.
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I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with moderate Republicans and independents who can't stand what the GOP is doing to our country but can't see Democrats as a viable alternative. They will join in denouncing bush and his Congress and beg for an alternative, but they see Democrats as weak and feckless, unsure of themselves and unwilling to take a stand to stop the madness going on.

They keep asking why aren't the Democrats doing anything to stop this? I tell them they can't really do much until they have majority. They say why can't they at least speak out forcefully? I tell them some are but the media doesn't report it. Then they point to the latest example of mush-mouthed crap coming out of the mouths of some of our leaders and there's not much I can say about it but admit they're right.

We are our own worst enemy most of the time.
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BAN television campaign advertising.

80% of campaign war chests go to buying air time and producing those idiotic ads. They are the sole reason candidates need to raise such enormous funds. It forces them to suck up to corporations and the wealthy because without it they wouldn't stand a chance in any federal level election. What's even more disgusting is that corporate monopolists and beltway insiders make all the profit off it.

Without television campaign advertising politicians will be forced to seek an alternative venue for getting out their message. It will force them to compel the broadcast media to give them air time for free (which is their right) where they can engage in real debates and air Perot-like campaign infomercials. Lacking their 30-second dollops of pablum, American voters just might make the extra effort to find out what politics is really about.

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Posted by TorchesAndPitchforks in Latest Breaking News
Sun Sep 03rd 2006, 10:51 AM
To the traditional conservative Muslim, Satan represents the "Tempter." It is the force that tempts men to stray from the teachings and brings harm to self and community. Women are covered because the female flesh tempts men by taking their minds off God and causes some to put their selfish desires before family and community. It protects women from men who are not able to overcome temptation.

The United States (and by extension the West) is considered the "Great Satan" because our greatest export is culture, not liberal democracy. Primarily movies, music, and consumerism. Prior to the cultural revolution of the 1960s, America was quite prudish and the backlash to change was and is still quite severe. The vast majority of the world was even more prudish than the United States. The backlash is even more severe abroad because this invasion of culture is "foreign."

American economic and military imperialism is also seen as temptation. They see quite clearly the objective is not the spread of liberal democracy, but profit and greed. Wealth and greed are contagious and a dangerous threat to traditional values.

I say this not to defend backward beliefs, but in response to my fellow progressives who believe the only proper reaction is condemnation and hatred. If we really want to help those who are oppressed by this ideology we have to address it from a position of understanding. Aggressively denouncing people's cultural beliefs leads to a defensive reaction which only strengthens the grip of the oppressors over their society.

We see this clearly in Iran's reaction to our country's increased hostility (e.g., "axis of evil"). Moderates in Iran were making great gains, but this hostility led to a backlash that gave greater power to the religious extremists. This backlash leads to an even greater hostility from the United States. If progressives join in this cycle of doom there will be no hope for the future.

I think many progressives cannot empathize with the discomfort felt by many traditional cultural conservatives because we are smart enough to avoid wrecking our lives and families by enjoying the fruits of freedom. Most people can drink and not become alcoholics. Some can do cocaine and other drugs without ruining their careers. Others can watch sex or violence on TV without it triggering immoral or criminal behavior. But we ignore the fact that far too many fall prey. Look at the astronomical rates of violence, rape, incest, pedophilia, and homicide that we have here in our country.

I'm not blaming freedom for these ills, but clearly some people cannot handle the large degree of freedom we enjoy here. As progressives we seek to ameliorate the social conditions that lead people to fall prey to these social problems. By doing so we can help our fellow man enjoy freedom without degrading society. We need to build a society where traditional conservative do not have to fear freedom or see it as an unbearable temptation for ruination. To do this requires understanding, not hostility.
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Divide and conquer Muslims worldwide: Shiite versus Sunni, moderate versus radical, Arab versus non-Arab, etc.

Any attack on American civilians can serve as a pretext for massive military retaliation (with overwhelming public support).

Anyone who tries to cut off our oil will face our full fury. We will seize the oil fields and sea lanes and turn the rest of the region into smoldering rubble. BUU-WAH-HA-HA-HA-HAAA!

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I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

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I think most of these swing voters are confused about their political identity right now. They were brainwashed to believe conservative meant steady, strong, and reasonable but are now beginning to realize they're being screwed over.

We should adopt Ike as an honorary Democrat because he has a ton of admirable quotes that speak eloquently to contemporary liberal values. He makes a helluva lot better idol for Republicans than Nixon, Reagan, or bush!

I'd welcome Eisenhower Republicans into the Democratic Part with open arms. It would define the new center of American politics and banish neocons, fat cats and fundies to the fringes for good!

America's adventure in free government is threatened by a military industrial complex. . . We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
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But there is some historical gravity to the name, too. By 1833, Mount Misery's owner was Edward Covey, a farmer notorious for breaking unruly slaves for other farmers. One who wouldn't be broken was Frederick Douglass, then 16 and later the abolitionist orator. Covey assaulted him, so Douglass beat him up and escaped. Today, where the drive begins, Mount Misery seems a congenial place, with a white mailbox with newspaper delivery sleeves attached, a big American flag fluttering from a post by a split-rail fence and a tall, one-hole birdhouse of the sort made for bluebirds although the lens in the hole suggests another function.
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For the most unintentionally hilarious line of the the entire Rove-Leopold saga!!!

Seriously now, I admit that a healthy dose of skepticism and iconoclasm is required if one wants to be a thinking, truth-seeking person. This "band" has done us a service by educating us all about some areas that we have no experience in and pointing out flaws in Mr. Leopold's story that may have initially escaped our radar. However, I find it disappointing that this knowledge sharing has often been punctuated by condescension and snideness, which unfortunately is de rigeur for anonymous message boards.

However it is beyond the pale when a fellow member of DU is accused of deliberately lying or of using his good will here to intentionally deceive us. There is no evidence to the "truth and reality" that Will Pitt is maliciously deceiving us. Long-time DUers know Will has opened himself up to us on a scale unprecedented for a respected author and journalist. This is not idol worship, it comes from a long acquaintance with a brave, talented man who has dedicated so much of himself to fighting the good fight.

Will is a public figure and so he must be considered "fair game" to those who want to question him or throw stones. But he is also a member of our community, a human being many of us respect and admire despite his shortcomings. Will is not DU and DU is not Will, but he's a good man and he's on our side. He deserves better than what has been heaped upon him in the past week. If you are truly dedicated to truth and reality, you will not prejudge until all the facts are in.
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