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Monthly Archives: April 2009

Winston Churchill Tortured German POWs?

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This morning, April 30, 2009, during his self aggrandizing morning talk fest, Rush claimed that Barack Obama lied during his primetime press conference last night when he said Winston Churchill didn’t torture captured German pilots.

Answering a question addressing the use of torture by the Bush Administration, the President said, “We could have gotten this information in other ways, in ways that were consistent with our values,” he said, “in ways that were consistent with who we are.”

Using Britain’s experience in the Second World War, “when London was being bombed to smithereens”, President Obama pointed out that Winston Churchill had refused to allow torture of 200 German prisoners because to have done so would have corroded “the character of a country”.

While Rush said nothing about the point the President was making, which was although the British certainly would have had a reason to torture, in order to find out information on future raids, or locations of airfields etc, they didn’t. Rush instead attacked the British and Mr. Churchill’s memory, stating that it was a well known fact that Britain tortured German POWs after the war, starving them, beating them, etc…

Rush also stated that when British Intelligence Operatives during the war gave captured German spies a choice to be hanged as spies, or to assist MI5 by sending false or misleading messages regarding the allied landings in France, that this was torture. Spies are hung Rush. The British gave them a choice. They didn’t hang them until they almost died and then got them to help. They were told, in essence, help fight the Nazi Government of Adolph Hitler, or die as the spy you are.

During the Bush Administration we weren’t capturing spies in America and then giving them a choice; we took prisoners and tortured them. The men at Abu Ghraib and GITMO were not spies. And oh, by the way, you’re not allowed to torture spies either. You can execute them, but you can’t torture them.

Rush continued to try to show that Churchill wasn’t a paramour of virtue to be held up as a shining example, “One thing, about Obama last night, all of a sudden singling out Churchill as some moral guidepost for not torturing, or being cruel or mean, or whatever you have to do to get information from prisoners.” Rush tried to make a connection between Churchill’s government and the torture of German prisoners at one of two locations Bad Nenndorf, near Hanover, or the “London Cage”  following the end of World War II.

Is this the same Rush who was furious over a statue of Churchill being returned to the UK? The same Rush who on so many occasions has sung the praises of Churchill’s courage and leadership, who claims that Britain is our strongest ally? Um, Maha Rushdi, pretty sure Brits aren’t going to think very highly of you demeaning a national icon and hero like Winston Churchill.

There is of course one huge historical problem in trying to tie the British torture of German POWs to Churchill; Churchill was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 10, 1940 to July 26, 1945. The torture of POWs took place beginning in late 1945 to 1948, during the government of Prime Minister Clement Richard Attlee, of the Labour Party; wrong PM “truth detector”.

Rush, why attack a man who has been looked at for years as a great and inspirational leader? Why? Because Rush has an irrational hatred of President Barack Obama that’s why. If Obama praises someone then they’re a target for El Rushbo. So Rush, who’s next on your hit parade? Moses?Abraham Lincoln? Ronald Reagan? Jesus Christ?  I mean after all the President claims to be a Christian, you’d better make sure no one holds up Christ as a paramour of virtue either.

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2009 in Politics, Torture

 

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War on Poverty a Failure?

During his daily radio bombast yesterday, 29 April 2009, Rush Limbaugh, America’s self-proclaimed “truth detector”, who claims to have been certified as being right 99.9% of the time, claimed, “Not one government program has ever worked…the War on Poverty is a failure. The percent of poor people has not changed in this country”.

Once again Rush you’re wrong. The facts of the matter – according to the United States Department of Commerce – are that in 1959 there were almost 40 million Americans living in poverty, or 23% of the population. As of 2005 there was about 12.5% of the nation’s population living in poverty.

Now I don’t know how they teach percentages in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, but 12.5% is about half of 23%. I would have to say that’s a significant change in the percentage of poor people in America, don’t you think Rush?

Has the War on Poverty been won? Obviously not; but, to claim, “The War on Poverty is a failure, and that the percent of poor people has not changed in this country”. That’s a flat out lie. So, either you’re a liar, or an ignoramus. Which is it Rush?

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2009 in Economics

 

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Arlen Specter a Traitor?

Senator Arlen Specter (R/D) Pennsylvania decides to switch parties, and everyone on the GOP side of the political spectrum is surprised? Come on Republicans, wake up. What exactly did you expect him to do?

As early as his January 6, 2009 broadcast, Sean Hannity was threatening that Specter and others who voted for the President’s stimulus package should be driven from the party. Hannity said he feared that Specter would sell us out (meaning the GOP) on the stimulus package and added “that any Republican [Senator] who supported the package needs to be thrown out of office.”

Senator Specter said he made his decision based partly on the GOP slide to the far right, “As the Republican Party has moved farther and farther to the right, I have found myself increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy and more in line with the philosophy of the Democratic Party.”

He also said he made it because it had become increasingly more obvious that he wasn’t going to be able to win the Republican primary in 2010. So, once again my question to the GOP propaganda ministers, Rush, Hannity, et al, still stands; what would you expect him to do?

Specter’s a senior United States Senator, with a lot of power which translates into benefits for himself and especially for his state. I suppose he should have just kept running along as a Republican, and then lose the primary? Specter may be a lot of things but he isn’t stupid.

I thought it very telling that this morning I received an e-mail message from the “alleged” head of the GOP, Michal Steele. He of course wasted no time throwing out the hate, blame and fear cards.

On the Senator’s decision to switch Steele said, “Specter claimed it was philosophical–and pointed his finger of blame at Republicans all over America for his defection to the Democrats.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t believe a word he said.”

I suspect this is not so much a case of “don’t believe” as it is a case of “won’t believe”. Steele and the propagandists won’t allow themselves to believe there is anything wrong with the Republican Party. The patient is dying and they don’t want to hear it. The patient is dying and they don’t want to think about what might be necessary to save it. How can anyone leave the party of Rush and Hannity? Why would they ever want too?

Steele continues, “Arlen Specter committed a purely political and self-serving act today. He simply believes he has a better chance of saving his political hide and his job as a Democrat. He loves the title of Senator more than he loves the party–and the principles–that elected him and nurtured him.”

So, a United States Senator’s loyalties, according to the RNC chairman are to the party? I thought they were to the state from which they were elected? To the people who voted for them? Ever watch the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” Mr. Steele? I wonder which set of characters you, Rush and Hannity would be supporting? Here’s a hint, you wouldn’t be with Jimmy Stewart.

Chairman Steele then moves from the world of “I can’t believe anyone would leave the GOP” to the land of “The leftists are coming the leftists are coming”! Along these lines he said, “Arlen Specter handed Barack Obama and his band of radical leftists’ nearly absolute power in the United States Senate.”

“…his band of radical leftists”? Band meaning a group of thieves, or outlaws? Like Robin Hood’s band of merry men? So, the attempts by the GOP of spreading fear and gloom just never seem to go away.

Steele continued, “In leaving the Republican Party–and joining the Democrats–he absolutely undercut Republicans’ efforts to slow down Obama’s radical agenda through the threat of filibuster.”

“…radical agenda…”? As in “relating to or affecting the basic nature or most important features of something”? Or did you mean the more contemporary definition, “excellent, admirable, or awe-inspiring”? No, what Steele meant was the sweeping move away from the traditional GOP way of doing things. Things like torturing prisoners, wire tapping homes, deregulating financial institutions to the point of collapse, cutting taxes while starting two wars, you know, those good old fashioned American values everyone loves and admires.

“Facing defeat in Pennsylvania’s 2010 Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record, and an end to his 30 year career in the U.S. Senate, he has peddled his services–and his vote–to the leftist Obama Democrats who aim to remake America with their leftist plan”, Steele said.

See, what did I say earlier? The land of, the leftists are coming! The leftists are coming!  This of course contrasted to the path of the GOP; The path that was quickly heading down a dangerous slope into fascism. Don’t know what else to call a political way of thinking that supported torture, invading other countries based on lies and deception, willingness to wire tap private citizens homes, and talk of sending military troops into private citizen’s homes without warrants. Sounds like fascism to me. But I digress.

Steele continued to attempt to work the GOP into frenzy, “His defection to the Democrat Party puts the Democrats in an almost unstoppable position to pass Obama’s destructive agenda of income redistribution, health care nationalization, and a massive expansion of entitlements.”

“…to pass Obama’s destructive agenda…?” Come on Steele, “destructive agenda”? This is second rate fear mongering at its lowest form.

Now after all of these arguments came Steele’s appeal to the patriots of the Republican Party, “You and I have a choice. Some will use Specter’s defection as an excuse to fold the tent and give up. I believe that you are not one of those people. When Benedict Arnold defected to the British, George Washington didn’t fold the tent and give up either.

“He grit his teeth more determined than ever to succeed. That’s what I’m asking you to do today.”

So, now Senator Specter is Benedict Arnold? Well I suppose that’s preferable to being Joseph Goebbels, you know what I mean here, Rush, Hannity et al, “if a lie is audacious enough and repeated enough times, it will be believed by the masses.” Or perhaps a Heinrich Himmler type of Republican Mr. Steele? You know the type. Developing ways to torture your enemies, and to justify all in the safety of the state? Of course there wouldn’t be anyone in the GOP supporting those kinds of ideas.

Of course Steele wasn’t the only Republican to go after the senator. Not long after Specter met privately with Republican senators to explain his decision, the party’s “so-called” leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell, said the switch posed a “threat to the country.”

The issue, he said, “really relates to … whether or not in the United States of America our people want the majority party to have whatever it wants, without restraint, without a check or balance.”

Well now, Senator McConnell, let’s see? American voters voted overwhelmingly (53% to 46%) to elect Barack Obama as President, and also voted in more Democrats than Republicans in both the House and Senate. I don’t know, but that appears to me to be the voice of the American people saying they want “the majority party to have whatever it wants”. As far as claiming that President Obama, and the majority party, having no restraints and no check or balance; We the People established a Constitution to provide those. It was you – the Republican Party – that for the last eight years that seemed to conveniently forgot we had any checks or balances.

In the end, the Republicans have no one to blame but themselves for losing the last general election. They have no one to blame but themselves for losing control of the Congress. So, Mr. Steele, Senator McConnell, Sean, Rush, et al, what did you expect Senator Specter would do? Did you expect him to stay in a Republican Party which is becoming more and more filled with the rhetoric of hate, block and blame? You all, helped create this political mess for your party when you allowed your spokesmen – people like Sean Hannity – to call for “…any Republican [Senator] who supported the package needs to be thrown out of office.” The GOP – like Victor Frankenstein – created monsters in talk radio, and now – just like Victor Frankenstein – you can’t control what is occurring. Your creations have become your nightmare. Your move to the far right will not pay off in additional voters, it will pay off in further losses in the Congress and an eroding base of support from the electorate.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2009 in Politics

 

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Caldera Not Qualified?

America’s self-proclaimed truth detector has screwed up again. Yes, the man who claims to be right 99.9% of the time has made another mistake.

Jason McLane / AP Photo

Jason McLane / AP Photo

This morning – April 28, 2009 – during his second hour of bloviation, El Rushbo, while attacking the Obama Administration’s horribly bad decision to allow the plane used as a back-up for Air Force to make low altitude flyovers of New York City, claimed the person being held out as responsible isn’t qualified to be in the position of director of the White House Military Office.

Really Rush? Are you 99.9% sure of that?

Louis Caldera, (serving as director of what Rush?) the Director of the White House “Military” Office, is a 1978 graduate of the United States Military Academy, or for all you ditto-heads, West Point. He served his country as an officer in the United States Army from 1978 to 1983.

You’ve never served have you Rush?

Oh that’s right, old football injury. Or would you have had a problem passing the drug screening?

At any rate, not only is Mr. Caldera a West Point graduate, and a veteran, he also served as Secretary of the Army from 1998 to 2001. So who isn’t qualified to do what Rush?

Now, was it a bone headed decision to allow the flyover? Yes it was. But it is important to see the quality in the man who made the decision to allow the flyover, Mr. Caldera. He said he made the decision to allow it, and he apologized for it, and he said he takes full responsibility for the decision.

How refreshing to have people in positions of power who take responsibility for their actions. The previous administration would have probably claimed the pilot made the decision to perform the flyover, and if he hadn’t stepped forward and made that announcement himself, they would have used enhanced interrogation techniques on him until he did.

You, Mr. Limbaugh, are wrong again. What else is he telling his 25% share of the Republican Party (aka his loyal listeners) that isn’t accurate?

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2009 in Obama Cabinet, Politics

 

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Flag Pins and Patriotism

After looking into where all the flag pins had gone, I decided to see who else wasn’t wearing flag pins? I thought, “If flag lapel pins are that important in determining who was, and who was not a patriot, then surely the Presidents of our great land would have worn one?”

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The Father of our country never sported a flag pin…

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The author of the Declaration of Independence never wore a flag pin…

The Father of the Constitution isn’t wearing one…

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The hero of the Battle of New Orleans doesn’t seem to have one…

Abe Lincoln 2

The man who saved the union! No flag pin?

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No pin for U.S. Grant…

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Teddy! I’m shocked!

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FDR didn’t sport a flag pin?

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Ike didn’t seem to have a need for a flag pin in his lapel. Was the hero of World War II not patriotic? Did he not love his country?

Not only did these great men, not one of whom could be called unpatriotic, but not one President up until George W. Bush ever seems to have worn a flag lapel pin. What does this say? Does a small pin of our flag truly gauge ones love of country? Does it point out the patriot from the traitor?

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2009 in Politics

 

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What’s in a Handshake? Or Presidents Meet with Bad People?

The rightwing talkers have their knickers in a knot because President Obama shook hands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Oh no! Disaster on a global scale! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!

Grow up people. World leaders shake hands with each other; they may even appear to be palling around with each other. It doesn’t mean they’re selling us out.

During his Fox “News”’ The O’Reilly Factor, on Wednesday night, host Bill O’Reilly once again demonstrated the fact that he doesn’t know jack about history, when he falsely claimed that President Richard Nixon never met with Chinese leader Mao Zedong, and hence never shook his hand.

While discussing President Obama’s handshake with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Fox News political analyst Alan Colmes asked O’Reilly, “What do you, ignore somebody standing right next to you? Do we — because he touched him, put his hand on his shoulder, shook his hand? Do these people have a problem with Mao and Nixon?”

O’Reilly responded, “It was [Chinese Prime Minister] Zhou [Enlai] and Nixon. Mao was not involved.”

If I had been Alan Colmes I probably would have started my response, “Bill, you ignorant slut, once again you’ve proven you don’t know any more about history than you know about homeless veterans.”

In fact, Mr. Wizard, President Richard Nixon not only met with Mao on February 21, 1972, and horrors, he smiled at him, and he even shook his hand.

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I now understand why Alan Colmes couldn’t continue working every night with these guys. After attempting to communicate on an intelligent level with Mr. O’Rielly, Colmes said, “And now, I know that you people often think you — when I say “you people,” I mean, you — probably think that dictator DNA got off on him, and he’s going to come back and infect the United States because, look, he touched the guy.”

O’Reilly – aka Mr. Wizard – asked Colmes, (referring to the shocking handshake between President Obama and President Chavez) “…what did you find worthy about it?”

Colmes’ reply was the kind I’m usually shouting at O’Reilly, whenever I can stomach watching him, “Well, first of all, this shows — first of all, what do you, ignore the guy? When George W. Bush was at the UN and asked, “Will you ever — will you talk to Ahmadinejad if you’re in the same room?” “No, I won’t talk to him” — like a 5-year-old.”

Have any other Presidents ever shaken hands with dictators, and, you know, smiled?

Well, let’s have a look Billy.

nixon-palling-with-brezDick stop palling around with Leonid!

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Dwight David Eisenhower! Stop having fun with Nikki right now!

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Holy stop touching that Russian Bat Man! Truman and Churchill both touching Joe, and liking it!

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Not Gerald Ford too! Oh the humanity! The humanity!

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And what’s this? The Gipper and Gorby shaking hands? The leader of the Evil Empire?

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OMG! Bill! They’re even palling around!

One last imagine to consider:

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Yes Bill, that’s our former U.S. President George W. Bush, smiling and shaking hands with President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan. Musharraf is the self-proclaimed president of Pakistan, having come to power through a military coup. He’s a dictaitor. But, we can pal around with him because he was willing to help us defeat the Taliban. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, even when they let my enemy move into their country to escape being attacked.

Grow up Billy.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2009 in Foreign Policy

 

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Jack Ryan, Your Country Could Have Used You

This evening, listening as the contents of memo after memo was read, revealing how dark, sinister and twisted the Bush Administration really was when it came to authorizing and using torture, I found myself hoping there was just one hero. Just one person in either the Defense Department or the CIA who on some level said no; who on some level said, “This is wrong”; someone like Tom Clancy’s hero Jack Ryan.

But as the memos keep arriving, and as the digging goes deeper, the realization sets in that there were no Jack Ryans, or John Clarks, in the Bush Administration, just room after room and department after department of Robert Ritters and James Cutters.

I shed the first of many tears this evening, as I heard how torture was used to trump up the so-called 9-11/Iraq connection in order to justify America’s invasion of the latter. I cried for my friends, my comrades, my brothers and sisters, who have paid the last full measure of devotion in defense of their country believing in their leaders. Believing in men and women who are not worthy to lace up the boots of those they sent off to die.

I cried as I realized that unless my country prosecutes those responsible to the fullest extent of the law we will forever be stained with this abuse of power, this abuse of trust, this abuse of all that was good and sacred in our country.

I cried when I realized that unless there is a Jack Ryan out there somewhere, who stood up and said no; then my country, and all for which has stood for two hundred years is gone, and everything that is left behind is a mere shadow; an after thought of what it was before.

Jack Ryan, your country could have used you.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2009 in Torture

 

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