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Another Tale of Two Cities
Author: BobR    Date: 02/20/2008 13:05:00

Perusing some headlines about Iraq and the deplorable conditions there, I was becoming more and more disgusted. We have turned a once modern city (and country) into a 3rd world cesspool. What lack of vision and leadership allowed this to happen?

At the same time, I was getting this creeping feeling of familiarity. All at once it struck me - Atlanta is creeping towards a microcosm of the situation in Iraq! Allow me to explain:
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228 comments (Latest Comment: 02/21/2008 04:33:25 by livingonli)

Ask a Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 02/19/2008 11:31:20

Good Morning.

Today is our 1,798th day in Iraq.

We'll start today as we always do, with the latest casualty figures from the Warron Terra, courtesy of AntiWar.com:

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 3963
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3824
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3502
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3105
Since Election (1/31/05): 2525

Other Coalition Troops: 307
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 483


We find this morning's Cost of War passing through $495, 687, 000, 000.00. If I read that right, the next milestone is going to be 500 billion dollars...

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223 comments (Latest Comment: 02/20/2008 05:00:10 by livingonli)

Today is Election Day
Author: Raine    Date: 02/18/2008 13:32:06

Big election today. It may have been easy to forget about it. It hasn't really been on the news, at least not in America. Approximately a thousand people are in Pakistan to monitor the elections. Europe has sent 112 Union obseververs to monitor the elections. America is being represented as well, by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Sen. Joseph Biden, Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Chuck Hagel. Sadly, one would think that after sending more than 10 billion dollars in Aid to fight the Waronterra™, we would have more than 4 representatives from America. Even that almost did not happen.
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189 comments (Latest Comment: 02/19/2008 04:04:29 by Mondobubba)

Crazy Mother F*ckers.
Author: velveeta jones    Date: 02/17/2008 15:01:11

Today Velveeta will spoil this lovely Sunday that God has blessed us with, to remind you of the many crazy zombies out there, bent on destroying you. Its always good to remember that they are out there, waiting. And we all know that zombies do two things: move slow and eat brains. These particular zombies attempt to brainwash our more gullible citizens by appearing to know what they’re talking about. If a person has a radio or TV show on a major network, they must be smart, right? If someone gets paid to speak in front of large crowds of people, certainly, they must be an expert in their field?

Nope. Sorry. There are many crazy zombies out there - they spew the hateful words written in front of them, pander to other evil zombies, and make it seem as if everything they say is true.

So, I thought I’d take a moment to remind ya’ll of some of them. To be honest, its also a way to cut and paste my way through the blog this morning as Velveeta fights the flu/fever that is desperately trying to keep her down. But she will fight on! FIGHT! FIGHT! Fight (cough) ……….

So here are my awards to a few of the crazy mother fuckers who are trying to turn our brains into mush, attempting to zombie-fy us, so that we will end up spewing right-wing nonsense, walking slowly and trying to eat our friends and families brains infecting them as well.

I’m sorry there is no actual awards to give out, nor do we have the fabulous red carpet, Klieg lights, jazzy dance numbers or hot buxom blondes leading the winners off stage right - unless Raine volunteers.
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38 comments (Latest Comment: 02/18/2008 04:40:15 by livingonli)

Libertarian Saturday
Author: TriSec    Date: 02/16/2008 13:48:09

Good Morning!

It's Saturday of a long weekend (for some), so don't forget to get out there and celebrate Washington and Lincoln if you can...

There's been an awful lot of rhetoric kicked around the campaign recently about "change"...every candidate is trying to cast themselves as the one to make things different in Washington. But one candidate is doing thing differently. You've no doubt heard about Mr. Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope"?

Hope can be a powerful tool...and depending on who is wielding it, it can lead to great futures or total ruin. But Mr. Obama isn't the only one looking at this as a way to inspire the masses. Some in the libertarian movement see hope as a way to energize the movement.
I am currently reading a book entitled The True Believers written by Eric Hoffer in 1951. It is a fascinating study on the rise of what he calls “mass movements” over the last 5,000 years and some of the characteristics common to all mass movements. Whether a mass movement is religious, political, or national they use similar techniques to grow their movements and win converts.

On page 19, Hoffer makes an interesting comment: “If the Communists win in Europe…it will not be because they know how to stir up discontent…,but because they know how to preach hope.”

How often do we in the Liberty Movement preach hope? What do we offer potential converts? Think about the Muslim suicide bomber or the Japanese Kamikaze. They were both offered hope. You and I can agree that is not a reasonable hope, but hope does not have to be rational.

We know that Liberty like Communism was an outgrowth of the Enlightenment. We know that Democratic Socialism (communism’s close cousin) is the dominate political theory in the world today. What does it offer? Hope with a vote. The politicians can say, “vote for me and I will give you ‘free’ healthcare, ‘free’ education, ‘free’ whatever. The voters will buy it. Does the Green Party offer hope? Sure.

Hoffer goes on to say that one of the main reasons people join mass movements is to relieve themselves of personal responsibility.

On the back page of the LP’s new 24-page flyer, it lists our 3 pillar arguments as: “limited government, individual freedom, and personal responsibility.” How do we, as a movement, preach hope to a population that is desperately seeking to avoid personal responsibility?

I have also said for the last couple of years that we should sell the benefits and the features of Liberty. This is sales 101 to any of you who are sales people. For those of you who are not, it is simple. People buy benefits not features. For example, no one goes to a store to buy a washing machine with a permanent press cycle (feature); they want to buy clean clothes (benefit).

Look at our 3 “pillar” arguments/sound bites:

1. Limited government (feature)
2. Individual freedom (benefit of limited government)
3. Personal responsibility (feature)

So, from a potential convert’s point of view, our key Libertarian sound bite offers one benefit and feature, and a feature that they are seeking to avoid when they join mass movements.

As I see it, we have a 6-fold challenge to turn this thing we call the Liberty Movement into a Mass Movement:

A ) Preach hope
B ) Preach the benefits and the features
C ) Preach the message in 30 seconds
D ) Relieve converts of personal responsibility
E ) Be honest and non-hypocritical
F) Have a Libertarian solution

Is it possible to succeed given these parameters? How would we rate ourselves?


Continued...

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14 comments (Latest Comment: 02/17/2008 02:43:40 by livingonli)

Morning in America
Author: BobR    Date: 02/15/2008 13:31:33

It's almost morning in America again. Bush and the congressional Republicans are finally seeing that they won't get their way every time, and boy are they pissed. Once again, Bush babbled through an uninspired speech in a lame effort to strong-arm House Democrats into renewing his Constitution-breaking law. Watching it, you got the sense that Bush himself didn't even believe what he was saying.

This time, however, they didn't flinch. The Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence sent a letter to Bush that said:
I urge you, Mr. President, to put partisanship aside and allow Republicans in Congress to arrive at a compromise that will protect America and protect our Constitution.

I, for one, do not intend to back down – not to the terrorists and not to anyone, including a President, who wants Americans to cower in fear.

We are a strong nation. We cannot allow ourselves to be scared into suspending the Constitution. If we do that, we might as well call the terrorists and tell them that they have won.

The House Democrats instead took up a vote to indict two key Bush aides with Contempt charges, prompting the Republicans to stage an "impromptu" walkout (which ended up at a conveniently placed dais and mics on the House steps). By doing so, they ensured that the contempt vote would pass, and the FISA law would expire. Bush helped on that account by refusing a 21-day extension that would've allowed the House and Senate to reconcile the bills, hoping that once again the Dems would cave. He bluffed. He lost.

Now the Bush Administration is asking the SCOTUS to limit judges' authority to scrutinize evidence against detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Perhaps he'll have better luck with them. In the interests of fair trials, I certainly hope not.

Seven years ago, it must have seemed like a neo-con wet dream. A "charismatic", president that could be marshalled by his neo-con master of a vice president (and other advisers) ready to remake the world with their blueprints. With the advent of 9/11 (whether you believe it to be MIHOP, LIHOP, or something else), they had all the money, toys, and support they needed to put their plans into place. They wasted no time.

How disappointing it must be for them to see their dreams spiraling away into oblivion, like the water in a toilet bowl. Only Cheney remains, and - with the American people pushing and yelling and threatening - the Democrats and Congress are finally reasserting their rightful Constitutional powers.

Bush has cried "wolf!" one too many times. Congressional Democrats have stood up to the bully and found themselves unscathed.

It's almost morning in America again. I just hope it doesn't rain.

195 comments (Latest Comment: 02/16/2008 04:18:14 by livingonli)

Steroids? How about rape?
Author: Raine    Date: 02/14/2008 13:56:05

It isn't as fun to talk to woman about thier sexual assaults as it is to talk to a Famous baseball player, but tough shit. It is high time Congress does something about this issue. Woman make up more than half of our population and deserve better treatment than they are getting
Limbo for Woman Reporting Assualts in Iraq
Mary Beth Kineston, an Ohio resident who went to Iraq to drive trucks, thought she had endured the worst when her supply convoy was ambushed in April 2004. After car bombs exploded and insurgents began firing on the road between Baghdad and Balad, she and other military contractors were saved only when Army Black Hawk helicopters arrived.

But not long after the ambush, Ms. Kineston said, she was sexually assaulted by another driver, who remained on the job, at least temporarily, even after she reported the episode to KBR, the military contractor that employed the drivers. Later, she said she was groped by a second KBR worker. After complaining to the company about the threats and harassments endured by female employees in Iraq, she was fired.

“I felt safer on the convoys with the Army than I ever did working for KBR,” said Ms. Kineston, who won a modest arbitration award against KBR. “At least if you got in trouble on a convoy, you could radio the Army and they would come and help you out. But when I complained to KBR, they didn’t do anything. I still have nightmares. They changed my life forever, and they got away with it.”

Ms. Kineston is among a number of American women who have reported that they were sexually assaulted by co-workers while working as contractors in Iraq but now find themselves in legal limbo, unable to seek justice or even significant compensation.
[...]
The Criminal Investigation Command of the Army has reported that it investigated 124 cases of sexual assault in Iraq over the last three years. Those figures, provided to Senator Bill Nelson, the Florida Democrat who has taken the lead in the Senate on the issue, include cases involving both contractors and military personnel, but do not include cases involving contractors or soldiers investigated by other branches of the military.
[...]
Linda Lindsey, of Houston, who worked for KBR in Iraq from 2004 until early 2007, said that she often saw evidence of sexual harassment or discrimination, and that male supervisors often tried to force female employees to grant sexual favors in exchange for promotions or other benefits.
[..]
Pamela Jones, of Texas, a KBR logistics coordinator in Kuwait in 2003 and 2004, was sexually assaulted by a supervisor.
124 cases that do NOT include what is going on with private contractors. And NOTHING is being done. Arbitration is just not acceptable. People should be going to jail for these actions. JAIL. This is criminal and KBR is allowing it to be treated as a civil situation. Since when does a company get to decide what AMERICAN LAW IS?
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249 comments (Latest Comment: 02/15/2008 03:36:54 by shelaghc)

A Tale of Two Stories
Author: BobR    Date: 02/13/2008 13:14:26

There were two big stories yesterday, one which dominated the news, and the other which seemed to slip through unnoticed by most of the MainStream Media. The one getting all the press is that Obama swept the Potomac primaries and now leads in the delegate count.

The story that was eclipsed by the primaries was the spying bill vote. Yesterday, the Senate once again gave Bush everything he wanted:
After more than a year of heated political wrangling, the Senate handed the White House a major victory Tuesday by voting to broaden the government’s spy powers after giving legal protection to phone companies that cooperated in President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program.

The Senate rejected a series of amendments that would have restricted the government’s surveillance powers and eliminated immunity for the phone carriers, and it voted in convincing fashion — 69 to 29 — to end debate and bring the issue to a final vote. That vote on the overall billwas an almost identical 68 to 29.

The House has already rejected the idea of immunity for the phone companies, and Democratic leaders reacted angrily to the Senate vote. But Congressional officials said it appeared that the House would ultimately be forced to accept some sort of legal protection for the phone carriers in negotiations between the two chambers this week.

The Senate debate amounted to a proxy vote not only on the president’s warrantless wiretapping program, but also on a range of other issues that tested the president’s wartime authority, from secret detentions to wiretapping issues. The discussion in effect presaged the debate over national security that will play out this year in the presidential and congressional elections.

Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, who spoke on the Senate floor for more than 20 hours in an unsuccessful effort to stall the wiretapping bill, said the vote would be remembered by future generations as a test of whether the country heeds “the rule of law or the rule of men.”

But with Democrats defecting to the White House plan, he acknowledged that the national security issue had won the day in the Senate, even among many of his Democratic colleagues. “Unfortunately, those who are advocating this notion that you have to give up liberties to be more secure are apparently prevailing,” Mr. Dodd said. “They’re convincing people that we’re at risk either politically, or at risk as a nation.”

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164 comments (Latest Comment: 02/14/2008 04:10:12 by Mondobubba)

Four Freedoms DC MEETUP!
Author: Raine    Date: 02/12/2008 19:55:40

http://www.fourfreedomsblog.com/images/meetupboard.jpg


We're having a Four Freedoms meet up in Washington DC on the Weekend of April 26, 2008!


Some of us will be arriving on friday evening, but if anyone wants to come for an overnighter that is fine as well!

All members of Four Freedoms are invited as well as our progressivive friends around the internets. We will be staying at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge. Many have found that it may be cheaper to book a room at one of the many travel sites out there, rather than directly thru the link provided.

The 4F Blog members and Staff hope you wil join us for a weekend of discussing politics, ending this war, getting some culture, visiting history and of course, cocktails...


So, if you would like to be a part of the meet-up, tell us here!

This blog is also the place to discuss all that we want to do for the weekend, including the possibility of carpooling if anyone needs or wants, sharing a room, travel information, and directions as the weekend nears, and other logistics as they arise.

We hope to see you in DC!
:peace: and :heart:
Four Freedoms

UPDATE: The photobucket location for the photos is: http://s203.photobucket.com/albums/aa213/FourFreedoms/Meetup08/

I've emailed the login and password to everyone that attended...
185 comments (Latest Comment: 04/29/2008 01:36:32 by shelaghc)

Ask a Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 02/12/2008 11:39:04

Good Morning.

Today is our 1,791th day in Iraq.

We'll start this morning as we always do, with the latest casualty figures from the warron terra, courtesy of Antiwar.com:

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 3960
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3821
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3499
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3102
Since Election (1/31/05): 2522

Other Coalition Troops: 307
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 482

We find this morning's Cost of War passing through:

$ 493, 723, 975, 000. 00

You'll notice that the total is rapidly approaching $500,000,000,000.

Continue reading...

195 comments (Latest Comment: 02/13/2008 05:47:43 by shelaghc)

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