Friday, October 20


Kevin Tillman, Pat Tillman's brother, who enlisted in the Army with him after 9/11 and fought in Afghanistan and Iraq but unlike Pat, survived, has written the most moving, eloquent reflection on what he has observed and learned since he and Pat joined up. You must read the whole thing. These excerpts do not do the narrative justice.

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we get out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:
Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.

I think it's clear what Kevin is saying. He's saying that those responsible for this debacle, for turning our beloved nation from a beacon of light to the world into a heart of darkness must be boldly rejected, voted out of office, and held accountable for their ill-considered strategies and their disastrous consequences. Their lies, their thirst for power and their venality have betrayed the two centuries-old values that are the foundation of the "great American experiment."

We vote again the day after Pat Tillman's birthday. We will honor him with a vote against those who dishonored his noble intentions with their ignoble actions, and diminishing their power to continue to pervert this great nation.

Tags: ,

Thursday, October 19


Rush Limbaugh today: "The terrorists are the early voters. And they're voting Democratic."

Expect to hear it repeated all over wingnut media tomorrow.


I've just listened one of the most bizarre, absurd exchanges I've ever heard. Lou Dobbs asked (Ret.) General David Grange if our generals are matching the excellence of our troops in Iraq. Grange said he wanted to reframe the question. No, Lou replied, answer the question, I can't remember another war in which SOME general didn't get fired. Grange tried to spread blame to the media and the American people for our failures in Iraq.

Excuse me? That's like an NFL coach saying after three years of losing seasons, "If only the sportscasters and fans had supported us more, we'd have won! They didn't cheer loudly enough!"

Losing coaches get fired. The fans are just spectators, and so is the American public in this fiasco -- there's no draft, we've been asked for no sacrifice (other than that we permit our taxpayer dollars to be squandered on it). The media were the war's greatest cheerleaders until after the second losing season.

And when Athletic Directors don't fire the losing coaches, they get fired themselves.

Wednesday, October 18


Glenn Greenwald counters wingnut outrage about the "political use" of sex and homosexuality.

It's a must-read.


But of course that won't change his course.

President Bush said in a one-on-one interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that a newspaper column comparing the current fighting in Iraq to the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam, which was widely seen as the turning point in that war, might be accurate.

Stephanopoulos asked whether the president agreed with the opinion of columnist Tom Friedman, who wrote in The New York Times today that the situation in Iraq may be equivalent to the Tet offensive in Vietnam almost 40 years ago.

"He could be right," the president said, before adding, "There's certainly a stepped-up level of violence, and we're heading into an election."

Tags: , ,

Tuesday, October 17


Well, we "infiltrated" the Kay Bailey Hutchison fundraiser luncheon today and got more than I bargained for. Our company table was positioned, and I was seated, so that when Kay Bailey took her seat at the adjacent table she was almost directly side-by-side (just enough room for a waiter to squeeze between us) with me. And BONUS: to my other side, in a similar position, was Barbara Bush. I didn't even know she was coming! The five Republicans at our table thought it was mighty peculiar that the three Democrats were closest to their superstars. There was a good deal of joshing at our table before Kay and Barb arrived that various senior executives had made our Repubs pledge to "control D-----" (me) and "make sure she doesn't embarrass us."

Okay, now for the actual remarks. I'm not going to waste much time commenting on BB's because she principally told funny stories about George 41 and hardly even mentioned George 43. Her only comment on Kay's Democratic opponent, Barbara Ann Radnofsky, was to say that the "worst thing she's been able to say about Kay is to call her an 'aging prom queen.'" (Completely feminine and irrelevant comment: Kay looked fabulous for her age, very pretty, 1000% better than she looks on TV -- I wish I looked so good!)

But now to Kay. Where to start? She said Iraq was the most important fight for our freedom in our history. Well, I nearly screamed right there. How is fighting in Iraq going to protect our freedom in the U.S.? Oh, is the implication that Muslim fundamentalists/terrorists are going to conquer the U.S. and deprive our populace of our constitutional rights? She spent some time belaboring the Republican meme, "We're facing an enemy unlike any we've ever faced." The enemy, you see, doesn't care if they send their children to die for their cause, they don't care if they kill innocent people to advance their aims. (The Democrats among us later asked of each other, "Do these people not hear what they're saying? Are we not sending our own children to do the same? Are we not killing innocent people in Iraq to advance some vague PNAC agenda?") Of course, Hitler was nothing compared to Al Qaeda. They killed 3,000 on 9/11 and haven't had a huge hit since then. Hitler, that pretender, only killed six million. What a wimp.

Then she hit us with the real motherlode (it's not a pun). This conflict can't compare, she said, to either World Wars, the Korean conflict, or Vietnam. It's comparable to the Cold War, which, as she noted, "took 40 years to win." Kay said we need the same resolve and patience with this war. Omigod. Is she suggesting that we should invest 40 years in Bush's Iraq adventure????

The final blow (after many) was her tribute to Barbara Bush. Since this was billed as a "Dallas Women for Kay Bailey Hutchison" event, she had to bring into her remarks some reference to the advancement of women under Bush 43. She said directly to Barbara Bush, that Dubya (plus Laura, she said) has made more progress for women than anyone in U.S. history. She referenced Afghanistan and Iraq. Which provided more fodder for our Dem discussions later. Does she expect that her audience is not aware that Afghanistan is perilously close back to their former rule by Taliban leaders who condemn women to the bourka, the veil, and that Iraq, which under Saddam Hussein allowed women a Western-style freedom, is close to a rule-by-Shia that will relegate them to a similar existence?

But hey! I've forgotten to record KBH's paean to our booming economy, with its low unemployment rate (sure, since Wal-Mart has put many of its employees on part-time duty, so they can hire more and deliver less, and Bush's administration has expanded the federal payrolls far beyond the Al Gore-as VP-mandated government downscale) and record-high stock market. Kay said early in her speech that tax cuts generate revenue, and said that the Democrats (that's us, guys) have only two ideas: raise taxes and increase deficits. Has anyone not challenged Kay to explain how the past six years of Republican control of the Congress and the White House has reduced taxes on only the uber-wealthy and reduced the budget SURPLUS achieved under the Clinton (read: Democratic) administration to an incredible deficit? And she didn't even address the trade deficit!

As we were driving back to the office (not more than a mile from the event), we passed a multitude of under-construction uptown Dallas high-rise condo projects. I've asked before, where are the people who are going to buy these multiple million-dollar condos coming from? As we went through the corridor, the Dems in the car commented, "There're your 'tax cuts' at work."


There are several state ballot initiatives proposing a hike in the minimum wage. The opposition to one (in Colorado) is running an ad in which Moses and the voice of God speak against it.

Well, Oklahoma pastor Dr. Bruce Prescott has an eloquent response: There'll be a payday, someday.

It's powerful. Read it.



Is the Repuglican goose cooked?

I don't know about you, but during the past few weeks I've been surprised by the animosity I'm hearing and seeing for Bush, the Rethuglicans and the economically elite among low-six-figure middle-manager-types. I'm talking about people who earn in the area of $150,000 per annum. The disparity betweem CEO/senior management salaries ($2-20 million) and that of average workers, the pay for members of the Board ($100,000-$300,000 for four-six days of work per year), and the linkage with the Bush policies of tax cuts for the uber-wealthy and Republican fights against a minimum wage hike seem to be taking their toll. I don't say Iraq, because the formerly-Republican folks I'm talking about don't mention it much.

Today I'm going, along with nine other middle-management types, to represent my company at a fundraising luncheon for Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). Several of us were laughing yesterday at the prospect of attending, since we're all extremely anti-Hutchison and anti-Republican. But we thought it would be a hoot to infiltrate the opposition and hear what they say when they think they're among "friends." What struck me as interesting is that I'm the only Democrat and progressive in the bunch. The anger and repudiation the others (traditionally proto-typical Republicans) expressed took me aback.

Then shortly afterwards my secretary, who has always voted Republican, came into my office and casually asked me if I was definitely voting for Democrat Chris Bell for Texas Governor. I said, "Of course -- he's the only candidate who isn't an embarrassment," and asked her if she'd seen the debate between candidates Bell, incumbent Rick Perry, Carole Keeton Strayhorn (Scotty McClellan's mama), and Kinky Friedman. "I saw part of it," she replied, and then went on to say, "I think every time Bush opens his mouth, he embarrasses Texas."

She's voting for Bell, too.

I'd be more encouraged if I weren't so cynical about the prospects of Republican vote fraud --

Sunday, October 15


George Will said he recently had lunch with Barack Obama. As he left, he thought:

"This must be how the scouts felt when they saw Alex Rodriguez play high school baseball. It's not the Big Leagues, but he's on his way."


Fahreed Zakaria points out that the countries that could have developed nukes but haven't, and that had them (such as Ukraine and Bellarusse) after the implosion of the Soviet Union but dismantled their programs and gave up the weapons, did so because of (1) direct talks and (2) incentives. Fahreed says sanctions won't work against North Korea, the most isolated, sanctioned nation in the world. "These people live on grass," he said.

Martha Raddatz is saying on This Week that you cannot get the Bush administration to talk about anything concerning North Korea but sanctions, sanctions, and sanctions, except for when they're talking about how Clinton's policy was a failure, and the failure of their policy isn't theirs, but North Korea's.

George Will says that the two most-sanctioned countries in the world are the two most enduring governments -- Cuba and North Korea. George thinks that sanctions don't work.

Fahreed thinks there may be a wizard of Oz behind the North Korean nuclear program. "A country that can't make a phone," he says, probably isn't sophisticated enough to have a program that is a serious threat.