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Memorial Day Musings

I am working through the Memorial Day weekend and in my busiest time of year for work.  I have not had time to write at all, but I do have a few thoughts about this Memorial Day.

Memorial Day.  Even though it isn’t enough for many on the right, Obama is attending a service at the Abraham Lincoln Cemetary in Elwood, Illinois today.  The echo chamber of the right is reverberating with plaintive wails about Obama not going to Arlington for the service.  My concern though is that these military cemetaries are filling up and for no good reason.  Where is the Memorial Day dialogue or debate about the rightness…the reasons, that we are even in two wars.  Make no mistake, our soldiers are still dying in Iraq.  It is not “Mission Accomplished” there by a long shot.  The coffins come trickling in and the debate is about where the president goes to honor them?  How about a debate on why they are even in harms way.

Our history is riddled with the useless sacrifice of our troops.   In Vietnam alone we threw over 50,000 U. S. lives away for nothing.  The great menace of the “Domino Theory” proved wrong and now Communist Vietnam makes T-shirts for us as members of the WTO.   If we spent time asking ourselves why we are in conflicts, what is actually to be gained, are the goals realistic, then maybe the graves would quit filling up.  Or at least slow down.  But that will never happen.  When the powers that be decide War is the Way then they throw out that flag for all the young men and women to wrap themselves in.   Or, as in times like we are in now with the level of unemployment and lack of opportunities, the young come fleeing a dead future with the military as their only viable option.  But even if the reason for our citizens coming to our military is pure self aggrandizement and the military their chosen path for a career, we owe them all the promise that we will not piss their lives away for buzzwords and clichés.  Freedom, Democracy,  National Security and a whole lot more of words that get thrown at us that really have little or no bearing on the conflict at hand.

Where is the battle for our freedom and national security in Iraq?  What sort of “Democracy” have we shoved down their throats on the end of our gun barrels?

And the coffins are coming in from Afghanistan at a more steady rate.  For what?  Now the military is drawing up or dusting off plans to attack Pakistan.  Recently it came out that GW Bush when meeting with Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner said that War is what drives the U.S. economy. 

GW Bush put us in the wars we are in now.   He and his administration mismanaged them and left this administration with a very difficult situation.  I always hope that at some time our leaders in times of prolonged war will take the advice of the old saying, “no matter how far you have gone down the wrong road, turn back.” 

With a Nobel Peace Prize under his belt, it does not look like President Obama plans on doing that any time soon.  But he is honoring our sacrificed soldiers at Abraham Lincoln Cemetary today.

Yippee!

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Bachmann’s Baby

I think this can go all the way back to Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.  Her anti census rhetoric and scare tactics took such deep roots that Karl Rove came out of his cave to urge Americans to get on board with it.  A far right wing radio hate monger that CNN for some reason has given credibility and a forum said back in April:

ERICKSON: This is crazy. What gives the Commerce Department the right to ask me how often I flush my toilet? Or about going to work? I’m not filling out this form. I dare them to try and come throw me in jail. I dare them to. Pull out my wife’s shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door. They’re not going on my property. They can’t do that. They don’t have the legal right, and yet they’re trying.

It looks like the Palin/Bachmann/Right Wing Fear & Anger Machine ™ did its job.  From the Sacramento Bee:

Woman Killed After Confronting Yuba City Police With Shotgun

I wonder where she got that idea?  To pull a shotgun on a census worker?  You can read the piece for what few details it provides.  I would bet dollars to donuts though that these people were daily consumers of right wing hatriot rhetoric.

But as I said, this can probably be traced all the way bach to Bachmann’s scare talk about the census.  Palin jumped on that bandwagon as well.  In fact it was one of those fear de jour things for the entire GOP.  Just throw some fear out there.  The census is a tool for Obama to put us into concentration camps (no…really), unleash the socialist, muslim antichrist agenda and whatever else.  Just have a few of the plausibly deniable extremist of the party get it started and then let the echo chamber carry it on the wind…

Of course, this may have just been some crotchety old couple that would have pulled a gun on a girl scout selling cookies.  But I doubt it.

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Palin’s Pick Plagerizes?

Hmmm….a coinkydink?

GOP candidate Vaughn Ward of Ohio.

Plagiarism, like BJs in the men’s room at airports, is a Republican family value.  And this is the candidate that Sarah Palin actively supports.  Palin supported a GOP candidate in S.C. for governor, Nikki Haley recently also.  Some conservative blogger has just come out and said he had an affair with her.

Adultery, plagerism…Why is Sarah Palin hangin’ around with these reprobates?  Why….she must be guilty by association! Sort of like when she accused Obama of “pallin’ around with terrorists.” 

Keep picking them Sarah.  The mid-terms are looking better each day.

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Is This Guy Running?

If Grayson was running for president I would vote for him.  A progressive with cajones.  Virtually unheard of today.

I have been waiting for somebody to stand up and say something like this for a long time.   A big hat tip to Rep. Grayson for doing so.

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The Old 80-20 Rule

Close.  Very close.

An interesting article in My Budget 360.  The title is worth the read:

America’s Wealthiest 25 Percent of Households Own 87 Percent of All U.S. Wealth.  How The Middle Class Face Growing Income Inequality In The New Era of The Psychopath Corporatocracy

A true measure of economic vitality is measured by wealth.  We can look at incomes or other measures of productivity but real wealth is measured by net worth.  Who controls wealth in the U.S.?  According to a study from the Joint Center for Housing Studies the top 25% of U.S. households control 87% of all wealth in the country.  That number comes out to a nice hefty sum of $54.2 trillion. 

If we look even closer at income distribution, we will find that the top 1 percent in our country control 42 percent of all financial wealth.  By all measures being able to acquire a piece of financial wealth was the hallmark of the middle class of previous years.

One percent own 42 percent of all financial wealth.  A somewhat sobering (I better start drinking heavily…) statistic.  After noting that even after the financial problems our nation grows wealthier, there is this:

Yet more and more of this added wealth is filtering its way to a smaller group and not necessarily the most productive in our country.  In the first quarter of 2010 some of the biggest banks in this country made continuous profits without really adding any benefit to our economy or society.

Anyway, an interesting read, especially the comparison of corporations to psychopaths. 

BP anyone?

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Ariznarky.

The new name for the Grand Canyon State.

Yeah, that’s cutting edge political wit and humor there governor.  Sassy and Snarky.  Meanwhile, the world stifles a collective gag reflex.  As Think Progress notes:

Global Leaders Express Concern Over Arizona’s New Immigration Law

Last week, following Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s speech before Congress, many conservatives blasted Calderon for slamming Arizona’s new immigration law and “meddling” in U.S. politics. “It’s about us. It’s about our citizenry,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “I just think that’s a line I would prefer that he did not cross. He went farther than I’m comfortable with,” stated Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). A statement released by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) read, “It’s unfortunate and disappointing the president of Mexico chose to criticize the state of Arizona by weighing in on a U.S. domestic policy issue during a trip that was meant to reaffirm the unique relationship between our two countries.” However, Calderon isn’t the first international figure to voice his concerns over the law. In fact, he joins a loud chorus of global leaders who have criticized the drastic measures that Arizona is taking to lock out undocumented immigrants:

And you can read the pice to see the thoughts of world leaders in Central/South America, Europe and Africa.  The most significant comment, to me, was made by Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa:

“Abominations such as apartheid do not start with an entire population suddenly becoming inhumane. They start here. They start with generalizing unwanted characteristics across an entire segment of a population,” wrote Tutu. “A solution that degrades innocent people, or that makes anyone with broken English a suspect, is not a solution”

And, as TP points out:

When it comes down to it, Arizonans may not care about what the international community has to say about its controversial new law, but global leaders have every right to care about what might happen to their countrymen and woman who visit, live, or travel through their state. In the end, it’s not meddling, it’s diplomacy with a stick.

And this law should give all Americans concern as well.  When they start hunting for people you never know when they’re going to come for you. Por ejemplo, as Newsvine reports:

Republican Congressman, Duncan Hunter Wants To Repeal 14th Amendment, Deport American-Born Children

The Los Angeles Times reports that, at a tea party rally in the San Diego County city of Ramona , Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) stated that U.S. citizen children of undocumented immigrants should get deported along with their parents to save the state of California money. [..]

The U.S. Supreme Court explicitly ruled in United States v. Wong Kim Ark that anyone born in the United States would be a citizen regardless of their parents’ nationality.

It gets a toe hold and it just gets meaner.  You have to nip it in the bud.  Hopefully this Arizona immigration law will be challenged in the Supreme Court and ruled unconstitutional.  For all of our sakes I hope so.

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Just A Blurb…

We’re killing women and children in Afghanistan.  We are doing it on a regular basis.  We’re “on the hunt.”  America.  Don’t mess with us or we’ll bring Democracy ™ to your ass.

UPI reports:

Pakistan: 9 Killed By Drone Airstrike

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, May 22 (UPI) — A suspected U.S. drone strike killed nine people in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, local officials said.

The airstrike in North Waziristan Friday night allegedly killed two children, two women and five men, Pakistani intelligence and administrative officials said, CNN reported.

No big deal.  We’ll kill a few more tomorrow.  Move along now.  Nothing to see here….

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