Dr. Straightlove


or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the War on Marriage

Anyone else having flashbacks to last year's War on Christmas?

This race to rescue marriage bears an eerie resemblance to the compulsion politicians felt back in December to "protect" that poor, endangered holiday. (Why is it that politicians characterize a war as inexcusably destructive and call for its immediate end pretty much exclusively when no actual war of any sort is involved?)

In his 2004 State of the Union address, President Bush called marriage one of the "pillars of civilization." The very next month, he said marriage is "the most fundamental institution of civilization." He repeated those exact words again this week, causing a flurry of news stories (although none I saw mentioned that he's just recycling an old line.)

Although many disagree with the president, the idea is not completely irrational. What is irrational, however, is the idea that marriage is under a brutal attack it cannot possibly survive without the help of American politicians.

Debaters, you know I am a gigantic fan of the U.S. Constitution, but I don't see how enshrining something in even this venerable document could have much impact on an institution that has been fundamental to civilization for millennia. I do, however, see how codifying discrimination in our nation's highest law should be very obviously a step we do not wish to take.

Memo to election-year politickers: Marriage is not in any danger. Marriage, like Christmas, doesn't need your protection. It isn't going anywhere.

By Emily Messner |  June 6, 2006; 9:36 AM ET  | Category:  Misc.
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Amend the Constitution to talk away rights??? Everytime it's done, every time it's revoked, because that document is to guarentee rights, not take it away from only certain people.

It'll fail, like the ERA did, because unless the rules are applied evenly to everyone, the public doesn't want any more sticky fingers smudging the ink of our Constitution.

Leave that sacred document to protect the rights of EVERYONE not just one group -- we don't need the USA to be Balkanized.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 6, 2006 10:47 AM

Transparent political shtick that has no chance of passing. It might bump his approval rating a few points because conservatives will approve of the measure; then again, it might bump his "greatly disapprove" level up a few points if Independent voters see through it.

Completely unserious measure.

Posted by: Will | June 6, 2006 10:58 AM

Marriage and how it is made or unmade is a state issue and does not belong anymore at the federal level than did Michael Schaivo's decision. It is a wedge issue pure and simple that is being used to get a fanatic republican base, which believes it is under constant attack, to care about the upcoming election. Shame on Bush and all who try to manipulate the voter into worrying about a state issue in a federal forum. It shows a lack of leadership and a need to spread fear, uncertainly and doubt (FUD) to obscure the real political issues. It proves once again that Bush is a manipulator and divider of Americans for the pure benefit of maintaining republican power.

Enough is enough!

Posted by: Sully | June 6, 2006 11:46 AM

Bush & Co are in the crapper as far as any clout remaining with most of the American electorate. They (Frist etc.) are hoping by re-energizing this Gay marriage ban that they might be able to get enough of a rise out of the religious right to possibly save their majority in both houses come this November. Without help from this far right wing-nut base they are looking at what they did to the Democrats in 1994. They know they don't have nearly enough votes to hope for a 2/3 majority passage, in fact they more than likely don't even have a simple majority in both houses for passage, but they can start screaming come election time that they brought it up, and the left wing, with their activist judges defeated them and they can hopefully rile their base enough to save their crooked asses.

Posted by: Lab Rat | June 6, 2006 11:52 AM

This is just desperation showing. They know they probably will lose both the House and Senate and can't find any real reasons for anyone to vote them back in. So they throw out this, hoping it might work.

It won't.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | June 6, 2006 12:12 PM

Pointless, divisive, and designed to fail. Also a prime example of the Bush tendency to make autonomous judgments with overarching finality (remember stem cells), where he has more opinions than facts and is not representative of Americans at large.

A lot of us have reservations, centered on a matter of symbolism perhaps, about use of the conventional term "marriage" to describe a same-sex union. But the real substantial issue is what legal recognitions (taxes, estates, custodianship) need to be examined and legislated as a fair and humane consensus that clarifies an important set of issues for millions of our people. Real progress needs to be made by lawmakers, and at the federal level. Let's get going on the issue for sure, but the constitutional amendment nonsense is a real setback for the rational congressional leaders we may still claim to have.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 6, 2006 12:15 PM

I really do hope that a majority of the electorate sees this exactly for what it is. This country is facing some very tough issues which truely need to be addressed and sooner not later. The people our elected representitives are supposed to be working for, I hope open their eyes as to exactly what the Bush Administration and the Republican party are really about. I have noticed as of late that there have been several articles about all the lobbiest & corporate sponsored trips, to some really nice vacation spots, our elected representitives, their spouses, and even their aides have been taking. I wish that full discloser was made law so that the electorate could actually see how our elected officials have been bought and paid for by these lobbiests and corporations. I couldn't sleep at night, much less live with myself if I acted the way our representitives do, All these so called perks are just short of bribery.

Posted by: Lab Rat | June 6, 2006 12:37 PM

Hitler, a great manipulator of people, wrote:
"The great masses' receptive ability is only very limited, their understanding small, but their forgetfulness is great. As a consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda has to limit itself only to a very few points and to use slogans until even the last man is able to imagine what is intended by such a word. As soon as one sacrifices this basic principle and tries to become versatile, the effect will fritter away, as the masses are neither able to digest the material offered nor to retain it. Thus the result is weakened and finally eliminated."

That is what the republicans have done with the "Defense of Marriage Act", and the sad truth is, it works here in America, a highly educated nation. What is sadder is that the MSM is lapping this up, incluing Emily here, with total disregard to its importance to America saying that they HAVE to cover it in detail since Congress is discussing it. The MSM instead should use its front pages to focus Americans on the important topics and write about them to educate the great masses, thus preventing this type of manipulation through propaganda by the Bush administration and the republicans.

Posted by: Sully | June 6, 2006 01:25 PM

I agree with everything that has been said, but I think its important to remember the group of people we are dealing with here. To social conservatives, issues like this, stem cells, abortion, etc., really are paramount. By and large, defense of their position on these issues trumps dealing with any other set of issues. And even if someone agrees with the substance of their position, if one disagrees about the means of implementation, that person is denounced as soft on the issue.

Posted by: Irene | June 6, 2006 01:27 PM

Notice the rhetoric: "Marriage is under ATTACK. It must be DEFENDED." Sound familiar?

(Yes, even as we speak vicious hordes of gays and lesbians are bearing down on marriage and will rend it assunder with their teeth. Feh.)

Even if I DIDN'T think this is one of the more nauseating aspects of the Shrub administration's attempt to play kiss-bottom with the idiots, the re-hashed language of DANGER is beginning to drive me mad. ("Today's Marriage Threat Level is Code Lavender.")

It reminds me of the 18th Am., which was driven by fear of the scary Catholic folks coming into the US from places like Ireland and Poland. However one could at least argue that there is some connection between alcohol consumption and a person's health (though no where near as high as it was presented by that decade's batch of hysterics). Now Bush etc wants the public to believe that there is an unspecified threat not to people or property but to a CONCEPT that can only be turned aside by amending the Constitution. It is pathetic and it is insulting, not just to gays and lesbians, but to anyone with a brain.

Posted by: | June 6, 2006 03:18 PM

Notice the rhetoric: "Marriage is under ATTACK. It must be DEFENDED." Sound familiar?

(Yes, even as we speak vicious hordes of gays and lesbians are bearing down on marriage and will rend it assunder with their teeth. Feh.)

Even if I DIDN'T think this is one of the more nauseating aspects of the Shrub administration's attempt to play kiss-bottom with the idiots, the re-hashed language of DANGER is beginning to drive me mad. ("Today's Marriage Threat Level is Code Lavender.")

It reminds me of the 18th Am., which was driven by fear of the scary Catholic folks coming into the US from places like Ireland and Poland. However one could at least argue that there is some connection between alcohol consumption and a person's health (though no where near as high as it was presented by that decade's batch of hysterics). Now Bush etc wants the public to believe that there is an unspecified threat not to people or property but to a CONCEPT that can only be turned aside by amending the Constitution. It is pathetic and it is insulting, not just to gays and lesbians, but to anyone with a brain.

Posted by: Now I'm Irritated | June 6, 2006 03:19 PM

The fundamental objection to same sex marriage is derived from religious origins. Considering this fact, an amendment to the Constitution would be blatantly in violation the separation of Church and State.

As mentioned by most commenters, this is just election year political pandering to the conservative religious right base of the Republican Party. I'm not to worried, if this administration runs the war on Same-sex marriage the way the have run the War in Iraq, then same-sex marriage may end up being a constitutional right.

As for effect on the conservative religious right, perhaps most of them have finally awakened to realize that conservative right politicians have been playing them for fools to get election victories from their electoral support. Bush and the conservative right have had six years of domination to ban same-sex marriage, but we never hear about it except at election time and after the election the subject is never broached again till the next election.

Posted by: Jamal | June 6, 2006 03:40 PM

Washington Post Lets White House, Senator Lie on Op/Ed Page

READ MORE: George W. Bush, Karl Rove, New York Times, Washington Post, 2006
Most people probably know that the op-ed pages aren't exactly untarnished beacons of truth-telling. That's a given. Still, you'd hope that editors would ask their op-ed writers to at least try not to lie.

At the Washington Post's op-ed section Monday, that was apparently too much to ask.

Key to the page were dueling pieces debating a proposed repeal of the estate tax.

This kind of setup, altogether similar to "he-said, she-said" news reporting, isn't uncommon. There's little wrong with the idea, per se, except perhaps for the futility of the exercise -- here, readers: two totally opposing views; now, decide which one is right! But the enterprise depends on the truthfulness of both writers. On that scale the Post, and op-ed contributor Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), failed miserably.

Up against regular Post columnist Sebastian Mallaby, Sessions pulled up a familiar argument: the estate tax -- he refers to it as a "death tax" -- will hurt small businesses and family farms. Indeed, Sessions says,

"The death tax hits hardest at heirs of small-business owners and family farmers. In many cases, the heirs cannot afford to pay the tax and are forced to downsize, lay off employees or even sell their business or farm."

Wonderful that he'd be so compassionate to small-business owners and family farmers; horrible that he'd lie, and reprehensible that the Post, fully aware of his lie, would let him get away with it.

See, what Sessions said -- "the death tax hits hardest at heirs of small-business owners and family farmers" -- well, it's just not true. According to whom, you might ask?

How about the Washington Post's editorial page?

"This assertion," the Post's editorial writers concluded in a July 2005 editorial entitled "Estate Tax Myths," "is more convenient myth than fact ... A new study by the Congressional Budget Office examined estate tax returns filed by farmers and owners of small businesses in 1999 and 2000. The numbers that owed estate tax, the CBO found, were paltry, and the number without enough cash on hand to pay the bill even punier: In 2000, for example, just 1,659 farm estates had taxes due, of which 138 didn't report enough liquid assets to cover their tax liability.

"But at that time the amount of money that could be passed on to heirs free of taxes was just half what it is now. With the current exemption level of $1.5 million, the CBO analysis found, only 300 farm estates in 2000 would have owed any tax at all -- and of those, just 27 would have a tax bill in excess of their liquid assets. At the even more generous exemption scheduled to take effect in 2009, $3.5 million, the ranks of those potentially hit hard by the tax would have dwindled even further; 65 farm estates would owe taxes and 13 would not have enough cash to cover the bill." (The CBO report can be found here. A similar report from Factcheck.org notes that "The Tax Policy Center projects that roughly 440 taxable estates were primarily made up of farm and business assets in 2004. And even considering estates for which farming or business was a sideline, the Center found only 7,090 taxable estates for 2004 that included any farm or business income. That's still just 38 percent of all taxable estates. The fact is that repealing the estate tax entirely... would benefit mostly non-farmers and non-business-owners.")

And here's the best part: the Post's editorial page didn't just explode the myths it allowed Sessions to publish unchallenged not even a year later -- it got preachy about it, chiding anyone who would stoop so low as to, well, do exactly what it did ten months later.

"The image of the grieving heir packing up his hoe as he trudges away from the family farm is just that," the editorial said, "a powerful image but not an accurate one. Over the years, the discussion of the estate tax hasn't exactly been noted for its intellectual rigor. But members of Congress debating the issue now ought to look at the facts assembled by the CBO -- not the misinformation peddled by those maneuvering to make repeal permanent."

...

Sen. Sessions' article wasn't the only truth-challenged piece to appear on the Post's op-ed page Monday. There was also the White House press release.

Well, okay, it wasn't really a press release -- but it might as well have been. Peter Wehner, the director of Karl Rove's in-house politics shop, the Office of Strategic Initiatives, penned "And Now For Some Good News," a column devoted to telling Post readers just how good President Bush has made the country -- despite what that evil media might have told you, of course. And heck, it does read like a press release, hitting many of the same economic points as one the administration put out on June 2.

That the Post allowed what is essentially a press release to run on their pages is bad enough; then they allowed the writer to lie. Wehner's column is filled with distortions, omissions and outright lies.

Let's start with the lies.

As part of his list of reasons why we should all think the economy is doing well, Wehner says, "Tax revenues are at an all-time high." That claim is so easily debunked as to be laughable; indeed, it's not even what the rest of the administration is asserting. Rather, according to the Treasury Department, tax revenues for April 2006 were the second-highest of all-time. And even that number is suspect: it's not in real dollars.

Using an inflation calculator to adjust tax revenue numbers into real dollars, we find that April 2006 wasn't the second-highest. This April's revenues were $3.15 trillion, supposedly second only to April 2001's $3.31 trillion (which in real dollars works out to $3.77 trillion). Then there's April 2000, which at $2.95 trillion works out to $3.45 trillion in real dollars, and April 1999, which at $2.66 trillion works out to $3.21 trillion, and April 1998, which at $2.61 trillion works out to $3.22 trillion.

Then there are the omissions.

"The American economy ... has added more than 5.3 million jobs since the summer of 2003," Wehner wrote. True enough, but not as impressive as Wehner wants it to sound. See, those jobs aren't created in a vacuum: every month, new people enter the work force, and they need new jobs. 150,000 people, to be exact. Now, Wehner doesn't say when in the summer of 2003 he's counting from, but that June 2 press release does -- August. That's 33 months. 150,000 times 33 gets you... 4,950,000, meaning that an honest writer would tell you that in actuality only 350,000 truly new jobs have been created.

Wehner went after social indicators as well. He did no better there, noting that "property crimes are near the lowest levels in the history of the federal survey" without mentioning that property crime rates have, after a long decline, been stable over the past half-decade and trumpeting a lower teen birth rate without mentioning the country's skyrocketing STD rate.

Truth? On the Post's editorial page, we don't need no stinking truth.


This is an excerpt of a column that originally appeared in the online magazine Dragonfire. The full column is here.

Posted by: Truthiness Exposer | June 6, 2006 03:40 PM

GOP Priorities: Gay People (Against), Brown People (Against), Tax Cuts for the Rich (For), Theocracy (For), War (For-Irony those two together), Stem Cell Research (Against), Executive Power (For), Constitution As Intepreted by Current Judges (Against), Constitution As Interpreted by THEIR Judges (For - Which means not much of a Constitution)

America's Needs: Healthcare Reform, Tax Reform, Federal Fiscal Responsibility, Effective Foreign Policy, Environmental Protection (See Healthcare), Security, Reduction of Class Economic Class Divide.

So...be sure to vote Republican this November so we can finally hit rock bottom and wake up in 2008.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 6, 2006 03:47 PM

When Statistical Measures Fail to Capture Reality
in Data Analysis | Economy | Employment | Inflation | Psychology/Sentiment
The Sunday New York Times had an interesting story by Dan Gross about one of our favorite themes: What happens When Statistical measures fail to comport with experienced reality?

This phenomena is the result of how the economy got to where it is today: Post crash, the massive government stimulus created an artificial recovery. The details of the stimuli -- ultra low rates leading to a real estate boom, tax cuts that primarily benefited those in the highest tax brackets -- are why the aggregates present a misleading picture.

The typical measure was never designed to capture the details of such a bifurcated economy. Perhaps these models are creatures of an era when wealth distribution was far less concentrated. They seem to be unable to keep up with the present shift, and the downsizing of the middle class.

"This strange and unlikely combination -- strong and healthy aggregate macroeconomic indicators and a grumpy populace -- has been a source of befuddlement to the administration and its allies. It's not unreasonable to assume that Mr. Snow is being replaced as Treasury secretary in part because he couldn't make Americans appreciate just how well the economy is performing. And it's possible to detect among Bush partisans an element of frustration at the public for what they see as its failure to do so. In Iowa last month, Rudolph W. Giuliani bluntly dismissed concerns about the economy and higher gas prices by saying, "I don't know what we're all so upset about."

Gas prices and the Iraq war have surely contributed to this disconnect. But a lesser-known factor is also at work: the misleading aggregates.

Aggregates -- big-picture figures like the unemployment rate, productivity and growth in the gross domestic product -- are highly useful to economists. But to most people, they're abstractions. You can't use a low unemployment rate to pay a mortgage.

As a result, large aggregates "are something that people may hear about in the news, but don't have a direct impact on how people feel," said Lynn Franco, director of the Consumer Research Survey at the Conference Board." (emphasis added)

How can this be? Low unemployment (NILF), Low Inflation (Ha!), strong GDP (carried over from Q4). It turns out there is a simple explanation -- the data is "simply misleading:"

"Aside from being abstract, many of the most popular aggregates are simply misleading. Dean Baker, a director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, puts the Consumer Price Index -- the main gauge of inflation -- at the top of the list.

"It has no direct relationship to what people perceive as inflation," he said. Mr. Baker notes that the index doesn't take account of rapidly rising co-payments and higher insurance deductibles when it calculates health and medical costs. And to gauge inflation in housing, the index approximates a measure of rent instead of looking at home purchase prices.

"We've had a huge run-up in the price of housing, and that doesn't show up in the C.P.I.," he said. So while the index shows that inflation is elevated but still under control -- up 3.5 percent from April 2005 to April 2006 -- many Americans find themselves paying sharply higher prices for essential goods and services."

http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2006/06/when_statistica.html

Posted by: Truthiness Exposer | June 6, 2006 04:09 PM

Jamal wrote:

"I'm not to worried, if this administration runs the war on Same-sex marriage the way the have run the War in Iraq, then same-sex marriage may end up being a constitutional right."

Well said.

I must also point out that with all of this hand wringing over poor old marriage I have YET to hear a concerned politico suggest an amendment to ban divorce. Who could object to that? You could of course put in exceptions, but wouldn't that make marriage a lot safer? Wouldn't that show how much America values the main pillar of our society (or whatever Bush calls it)?

Why haven't you heard chest beating and tub thumping about that I wonder?

(Yes I am being sarcastic.)

Posted by: AC | June 6, 2006 04:13 PM

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
June 4, 2006

Rushing To Judgment

Shame on John Murtha for presuming Marines' guilt in Haditha

By Jack Kelly

Jesse Macbeth, a self-styled "special forces ranger," regaled moonbat audiences with tales of the atrocities he committed in Iraq:

"Fallujah is where we slaughtered people in mosques," he said. "We would dig holes and leave mass graves of children, women and old men."

Unfortunately for Mr. Macbeth, he made a video which was seen by actual veterans. In it, he is wearing his beret improperly ("like a pastry chef," said an Army spokesman). He's wearing a Ranger beret, but it has a Special Forces flash. The sleeves on his battle BDU jacket are rolled up the way the Marines do it; not the Army.

In short, Mr. Macbeth was a fraud so obvious even the moonbats should have seen through him, but they didn't because they wanted so badly to believe the terrible things he was saying about U.S. forces in Iraq.

In every war America has ever fought, a few soldiers have committed war crimes. In no war has their behavior been representative of our soldiers as a whole, or been sanctioned by their superiors. But the moonbats think smearing our servicemen and women discredits the war effort.

To his everlasting shame, Rep. John Murtha, a Democrat from Johnstown and a retired Marine reserve colonel, is playing to the same crowd. He's accused Marines of having committed "cold-blooded murder," and their superiors of covering it up.

"It goes right up the chain of command right up to Gen. [Peter] Pace [chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff]," Mr. Murtha said on ABC's "This Week" program last Sunday.

Something horrible did happen in Haditha on the morning of Nov. 19, 2005. A powerful roadside bomb destroyed a Marine Humvee, killing Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, 20, and injuring two other Marines.

The incident report filed by Lance Cpl. Terrazas' unit said the IED was accompanied by small arms fire, which the Marines returned, killing eight insurgents and wounding another. The report said 15 Iraqi civilians were killed in the blast.

That wasn't true. Autopsies indicated the 15 civilians -- four of them women and four of them children -- had all suffered gunshot wounds.

The civilians were killed inside two houses near the blast site. An Iraqi journalism student videotaped the bodies in the morgue and the scene in the two houses. It was shown to reporters for Time in Baghdad.

Time gave a copy of the tape to a military spokesman in January, which triggered an investigation which is now nearing completion.

Residents of Haditha told Time they were pleased with the thoroughness of the investigation.

"They asked detailed questions, examined each bullet hole and burn mark," a relative of the victims told Time's Aparism Ghosh. "It was a very professional investigation."

Criminal charges are likely to be filed against the 13 Marines in the squad involved in the shootings.

But in our system, it is customary to hear the evidence before rendering a verdict. The Marines have yet to be charged, let alone convicted.

"Cold-blooded" implies emotionless premeditation. From what little we know of the case, it seems the Marines were guilty of a hot-blooded over-reaction. Perhaps some Marines committed murder. But perhaps it was manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide.

And maybe they're innocent. Haditha's a hotbed of insurgent activity. Perhaps the Marines were receiving fire from the houses, as they claimed.

If the Marines under suspicion are found guilty of murder or manslaughter, they should be punished severely. But they deserve the presumption of innocence until then.

Rep. Murtha's accusation of a cover-up clearly is false. The Marines under investigation apparently lied in their report of the incident, but as soon as their superiors were made aware of the discrepancies in their story, they ordered an investigation which the Iraqis say is thorough, and which is about to result in criminal charges.

But if there is no cover up, it is harder to turn the incident into a broad indictment of U.S. policy in Iraq.

News media that haven't reported much on the heroism of U.S. troops in Iraq have been playing this incident up, as they did the appalling conduct of a few guards at Abu Ghraib prison. The incident routinely is described as a "massacre," a term journalists don't use when insurgents bomb a mosque or a marketplace.

Smearing our troops gives our enemies a propaganda victory. But whatever happened at Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005, has nothing to do with the wisdom or justness (or the lack of it) of the war in Iraq.

Jack Kelly is national security writer for the Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio.

Posted by: Truth Bringer | June 6, 2006 04:14 PM

Let them eat cake!

"The way in prehistory that humans or hominids rose from prey to predators was through collective action. I mean that is the great human trick. Weapon-making, too. We're smart at that. But there's a human ability that doesn't get enough attention -- that ability to mobilize concertedly as a group. I think that's ultimately what tipped the balance in our favor... Similarly, to get out of these internal prey situations in our own economy, you've got to band together. That's not just a lesson from the last 200 years of labor history, but one of the deepest lessons from thousands of years of human experience." --Barbara Ehrenreich, "A Guided Tour of Class in America,"

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 6, 2006 04:17 PM

Washington Times
May 31, 2006
Pg. 18

In The Combat Zone


The investigation into the Haditha incident is not even complete, no one has been charged, and no defense has been given to the charges, but politicians such as Rep. John Murtha and liberals in the news media already want to publicly hang some young Marines ("General to teach rules of war" Nation, Friday).

Before you pass judgment on these young men, you must step out of the fantasyland in which most Americans live and understand there is a war in Iraq and, as in any war, nothing is black and white.

There is no way to understand the Al Anbar Province of Iraq until you have lived here in this combat zone. The culture is different, and in this urban guerrilla war, jeopardizing the lives of your family members and neighbors is perfectly acceptable behavior for the terrorist insurgent.

There are many good people in Iraq. I have had the opportunity to work with some very brave Iraqi army soldiers and interpreters who risk not only their lives, but also those of their families for just a chance at freedom, but be aware that there also is an evil here that people in America cannot even imagine, let alone fully understand.

Terrorist insurgents constantly use civilians, their own people, as human shields, especially women and children. They know that American soldiers and Marines will hesitate to return fire in these instances, giving the terrorists time to retreat back into the population.

They will shoot from their own homes, plant bombs (IEDs) in their own markets and are more than willing to perform suicidal attacks for even a chance to kill an American or Iraqi soldier. Those are the facts, I have seen these things in Al Anbar.

If these Marines are guilty, they will have to pay the consequences for their actions, but at least allow them a defense and a fair trial before you pass judgment.

We in the military do not want your pity.

We are not victims, we are volunteers willing to serve in this extremely difficult situation in defense of our nation. If you want to direct your hate at someone, hate the evil terrorist insurgency that puts civilians, soldiers and Marines in these situations every day here in Al Anbar.

Sgt. Mark Russak, Al Anbar Province, Iraq

Posted by: Truth Bringer | June 6, 2006 04:20 PM

Ahh yes...let's not SPECULATE on the facts as presented until they are made official.

WARNING: This does not apply to anyone suspected of killing a pretty blonde woman, anyone wishing to put a loved one to rest who is brain dead, anyone with brown skin and a beard, any liberal, any Democrat, any Clinton or anyone Karl Rove/BushCo/Fox News does not like et al.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 6, 2006 04:28 PM

Interesting that the soldier conflates the two situations of "collateral" damage/death due to civilians on the battlefield and the accusation that the civilians in question were executed in cold blood.

We are talking apples and oranges. We have, for the most part, endured the killing of civilians when it could not be helped in the conduct of combat operations. What we SHOULD not and WILL not condone or endure is the outright execution of civilians outside of combat operations.

EXAMPLE: The WSJ has a fascinating piece inside with military officials saying GIs at checkpoints and in convoys are only mistakenly shooting one Iraqi per week, down from seven a week a year ago. (The military is reportedly patrolling less nowadays. So, has the "per checkpoint" rate been reduced that much?) In any case, as the WSJ notes, the numbers suggest "hundreds of Iraqi civilians" have been killed in such encounters. Military officials added that they didn't start tracking casualties from such shootings until last July.

-----

THIS is an example of the unfortunate deaths of civilians due to the battlefield environment. In virtually every case, no one has been prosecuted and probably rightly so. But THIS is not the same as lining up and shooting people.

Get a clue truth-boy...most can make the distinction...only you chicken-hawks can't seem to get it.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 6, 2006 04:35 PM

Lots of good comments on same-sex marriage above. (How did those 'death tax' tirades get in there? Great topic and some good thoughts, but did you ever hear the word 'relevant?')
Kudos to AC for asking why, if marriage is sacrosanct, its 'defenders' don't want an Amendment banning divorce.
And what if every single man and women in the USA paired off heterosexually through some big Internet mating service and got married, never having to meet, just for the tax benefits or whatever? Would the same group be howling then? If not, then marriage certainly can't be in danger because it's a precious commodity (less valuable if everybody has one) or because it has to do with raising kids (so why not abolish the marriages of all childless couples while we're at it?).
What's left as their excuse, logically, if not simple homophobia?
Someone else commented on President 'Shrub's' (!) use of retreaded cliches; might also throw in the tired old reference to 'activist judges' he's been dragging out again. And what's an activist judge? One who interprets the law in a way you don't like, as opposed to one using the same degree of interpretation to come to a conclusion you favor, of course.
I was very impressed with former Governor Christie Whitman on the Bill Maher show last season, when she surprisingly suggested that marriage is really a religious and cultural institution, and government should get out of it entirely - separation of church and state, that sort of quaint notion! Now, there's something you might also want to debate - abolish joint tax returns, let everyone designate their official next-of-kin without regard to relationships, etc., so that being married is like being engaged - you are if you say you are, and let everyone else take it for it's worth to them. May be hard to effectuate as it's so deeply ingrained in law, but possibly worth the effort.

Posted by: JUDGITO | June 6, 2006 05:01 PM


Please bookmark the following uncensored sites:
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info
www.wsws.org

500 Conspiracy Buffs Meet to Seek the Truth of 9/11
By ALAN FEUER

CHICAGO, June 4 -- In the ballroom foyer of the Embassy Suites Hotel, the two-day International Education and Strategy Conference for 9/11 Truth was off to a rollicking start.

In Salon Four, there was a presentation under way on the attack in Oklahoma City, while in the room next door, the splintered factions of the movement were asked -- for sake of unity -- to seek a common goal.

In the foyer, there were stick-pins for sale ("More gin, less Rummy"), and in the lecture halls discussions of the melting point of steel. "It's all documented," people said. Or: "The mass media is mass deception." Or, as strangers from the Internet shook hands: "Great to meet you. Love the work."

Such was the coming-out for the movement known as "9/11 Truth," a society of skeptics and scientists who believe the government was complicit in the terrorist attacks. In colleges and chat rooms on the Internet, this band of disbelievers has been trying for years to prove that 9/11 was an inside job.

Whatever one thinks of the claim that the state would plan, then execute, a scheme to murder thousands of its own, there was something to the fact that more than 500 people -- from Italy to Northern California -- gathered for the weekend at a major chain hotel near the runways of O'Hare International. It was, in tone, half trade show, half political convention. There were talks on the Reichstag fire and the sinking of the Battleship Maine as precedents for 9/11. There were speeches by the lawyer for James Earl Ray, who claimed that a military conspiracy killed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, and by a former operative for the British secret service, MI5.

"We feel at this point we've done a lot of solid research, but the American public still is not informed," said Michael Berger, press director for 911Truth.org, which sponsored the event. "We had to come up with a disciplined approach to get it out."

Mr. Berger, 40, is typical of 9/11 Truthers -- a group that, in its rank and file, includes professors, chain-saw operators, mothers, engineers, activists, used-book sellers, pizza deliverymen, college students, a former fringe candidate for United States Senate and a long-haired fellow named hummux (pronounced who-mook) who, on and off, lived in a cave for 15 years.

The former owner of a recycling plant outside St. Louis, Mr. Berger joined the movement when he grew skeptical of why the 9/11 Commission had failed, to his sense of sufficiency, to answer how the building at 7 World Trade Center collapsed like a ton of bricks. It was his "9/11 trigger," the incident that drew him in, he said. For others, it might be the fact that the air-defense network did not prevent the attacks that day, or the appearance of thousands of "puts" -- or short-sell bids -- on the nation's airline stocks. (The 9/11 Commission found the sales innocuous.)

Such "red flags," as they are sometimes called, were the meat and potatoes of the keynote speech on Friday night by Alex Jones, who is the William Jennings Bryan of the 9/11 band. Mr. Jones, a syndicated radio host, is known for his larynx-tearing

For the rest of this article go to:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/05/us/05conspiracy.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print

Posted by: che | June 6, 2006 05:15 PM

SandyK wrote:

"Amend the Constitution to talk away rights??? Everytime it's done, every time it's revoked, because that document is to guarentee rights, not take it away from only certain people"

I'm with you 100% The Constitution should be for setting the basic structure of our government and protecting rights and freedoms. We need to be very careful about amending it with restrictions. A perfect example is Prohibition. Let states regulate marriage.

Democrats need not not pay any political price here if they confidently get out in front on this issue with solidarity and say exactly that for those reasons. If they so choose they can advocate for civil unions as an alternative or not. The main thing is to protect the purpose of our Constitution.

Posted by: DK | June 6, 2006 05:40 PM

Oh, please TB and Che, give us a rest.

"Perhaps some Marines committed murder. But perhaps it was manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide"

TB, is that really the best you have? Do you read this stuff before you post it?

Posted by: patriot1957 | June 6, 2006 06:05 PM

Posted by: AfghanVet

"Get a clue truth-boy...most can make the distinction...only you chicken-hawks can't seem to get it."

Our leaders who started the war in Iraq, I stand by that statement, were all chicken-hawks when it was their turn to serve in combat. Our chicken-hawk leaders portrayed the case we were liberators, we would never commit crimes, and we would always treat people fairly. People are people and out of several hundred thousand who have served in Iraq, a few are going to commit crimes. Whether it is theft or murder or whatever, it is going to happen. Excluding collateral damage, a few of our soldiers have committed murder.

It does surprise me that we, to the best of my knowledge, have not used portable pop-up barriers at check points to prevent having to shoot, after the fact, innocent civilians. I guess just another example of poor planning in this war.


Posted by: Jamal | June 6, 2006 06:20 PM

Business partners are bound by and protected by laws governing their joint benefits and responsibilities. Married couples are bound by and protected by laws governing their joint benefits and responsibilites.

So why would two people not in any kind of legal partnership be entitled to enjoy the legal benefits of a partnership (including things like being covered by your partner's medical or life insurance, retirement, tuition etc)? Why should I pay more for benefits because someone decided to falsely call their best friend/roommate a "domestic partner" so he/she could get free insurance, tuition, or other benefits?

Domestic partners who wish to receive the legal benefits of partnership should be subject to the same requirements as anyone else - a legal entanglement between the two in the form of a marriage or civil union.

If you want someone to enjoy the legal benefits of your partnership, including being the one with legal authority to raise your partner's children in the event of their death or make end of life decisions for you in the hospital, then enter a legally binding commitment with them. I don't care whether you call it a civil union or a marriage.

Posted by: patriot1957 | June 6, 2006 06:23 PM

If a same-gender couple wants a legal partnership, what is the logical complaint from the social policy perspective?

(1) Tax wise, they might just discover the marriage tax and realize they could actually pay a price. (It used to be even a more severe penalty than it seems to be now.)

(2) Family-unit wise, a certain degree of interdependent support would put private mutual support ahead of public welfare during hard times.

(3) Sexual-activity wise, two likely outcomes might increase. First, fidelity might be upheld with positive social effects compared to the alternative. Second, like many man-and-wife relationships, there might be no sexual activity at all, surprise. And where there is, legal approval has precious little bearing on what a couple of people consentually do with their bodies.

The president keeps talking about taking groups of people out of the shadows. What does this sincerely mean? You just do it when it helps the economic engine? Well that might be the case here.

It's far out, but not not illogical to consider one unintended outcome. If same-union union is recognized as a standard conventional choice, then what logic would limit the number to a simple pair? There are no natural parental responsibilities to weigh, and if a child is adopted who could argue that even more parents will not be to the advantage of the child?

The actual framework to think about is not "marriage" so much as "family." This is the real fundamental institution, not husband and wife marriage per se. We ought to get ready for some debate and fresh thinking, and cannot allow the president to do our thinking for us on things this important. We know better.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 6, 2006 06:26 PM

Emily,

We truly need these copy and pasters barred from posting, as it's a l-o-n-g scroll to read actual true content posts.

Che and Truthiness Exposer if you want your views known just copy and paste a damn link not the entire article!!

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 6, 2006 07:07 PM

its foolish to think we neeed to experiment with the "family" as we know it. You actually think more parents are good for one kid ? You
actually think having bigger families and
two or three husband/ wives would be better ?
Its hard enough for two people to work on a marriage. If gay marriage is defensible, then we should have no reason against any other type of varied relationships, but would most gay marriage supporters have any objections to any other forms of marriage ?

Posted by: franklin | June 6, 2006 11:18 PM

a shameless political ploy to use stupid people...


would be addressed as that on national television and by the media....


does the president really have homophobia or is he just


a user?


saying that a few times publically or when anyone brings the issue up would be the same thing as

addressing the truth of the situation...

he could care less,

just like he could care less about America,


it's about what he can get, he's the Used Car Salesman of the Elite....


it's all about his needs....f-uck yours.

.

Posted by: well, it seems to me that such | June 7, 2006 12:02 AM

is :


does the president really have homophobia or is he just


a user?

Posted by: the essence of the question... | June 7, 2006 01:02 AM

Why the false dilemna? Why is the leap from 2 homosexuals in a marriage to 3-100 homosexual unions any farther than the leap from 2 heterosexuals in a marriage to 3-100 heterosexual unions?

The assumption is that when two people of the same sex marry we are somehow giving moral ground. If that's the argument then it still must explain why heterosexual marriages currently hold the moral high ground over homosexual ones.

Posted by: Will | June 7, 2006 02:15 AM

OTP:

"It's far out, but not not illogical to consider one unintended outcome. If same-union union is recognized as a standard conventional choice, then what logic would limit the number to a simple pair? There are no natural parental responsibilities to weigh, and if a child is adopted who could argue that even more parents will not be to the advantage of the child?"

It's not so much "far out" as "out of this ballpark". What is special about heterosexual unions that arbitrarily limits them to "between two people" that doesn't similarly apply to homosexual unions? What is substantively different between a union among man/woman and man/man (or woman/woman NICE!) whereas the latter necessitates polygamy and the former does not?

Posted by: Will | June 7, 2006 02:18 AM

people that say the same thing without contributing anything to the blog barred...

Sandy K and chrissy fursqeezer...


thanks so much I look foward to reading some intelligent posts here...


and a tidy good night.

.

Posted by: dear emily you need these | June 7, 2006 02:23 AM

This marriage thing may not be very important in the grand scheme of things but it's a distinct relief from the more brutal issues raised by action in Iraq.

I admit to some bemusement on the subject of "marriage", which means very different things to many different people and groups (read religious groups). There is civil marriage as recognized by the state, then there is blessed marriage recognized (or not) by a religious institution. Things would be so much simpler if the states would all adopt the term "civil union" upon which to hang their legal framework defining uniform responsibilities and benefits associated with people engaged in such a union and leave the term "marriage" to be used by churches and religious sects as they see fit. It really would clarify some things.

For example....My first wife, who was (and probably still is) a good Catholic, remains my wife despite our long ago civil divorce which the Church, in its wisdom, does not recognize. My second wife, who is a not so good Catholic, remains the wife of her first husband despite their long ago civil divorce which the Church, in its further wisdom, also does not recognize. Am I married? In spades I am. I've got two wives, a civil wife and a blessed wife and trust me, they don't like each other one bit. Of course we are all of us living in sin by definition, except me, because I'm an atheist that refuses to recognize this religious nonsense.

The effort to restrict "marriage" to a relationship between one woman and one man is driven from two directions. One of them is religious, i.e. where the idea of marriage between two men or between two women is offensive or contrary to their religious definition of marriage, or be sinful in the eyes of their religion. The other is sheer bias and prejudice, i.e. where same sex sex is seen as threatening the national culture or sensibilities or whatever.

To the extent that marriage is and has been a religious construct sometimes taken in by the State, it would be keeping good faith with the Establishment Clause of the Constitution to drop the term entirely for civil purposes That would at least get rid of the conflict over who gets to define the term "marriage" and narrows the question to one of do we need a national definition of a civil union?

Posted by: Cayambe | June 7, 2006 03:31 AM

Do we change our dictionaries?

Main Entry: mar·riage
Pronunciation: 'mar-ij
Function: noun
1 : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a legal, consensual, and contractual relationship recognized and sanctioned by and dissolvable only by law --see also DIVORCE
2 : the ceremony containing certain legal formalities by which a marriage relationship is created.

Or... do we come up with a common phrase for the gay commitment. Civil Union comes to mind.

Posted by: RJ in Milwaukee, WI | June 7, 2006 04:06 AM

When I heard that the neocon/religious crowd was going to float this as an issue once again (along with it's bastard half-brother, the repeal of the Estate Tax), I had an epiphany. Same sex marriage has been the key problem facing our country and culture. This issue, and this issue alone, is what is keeping our great nation from it's glorious destiny. If you care to apply a small amount of logic, you will see how this huge issue impacts our everyday lives and is ultimately the cause of:

The war in Iraq

The war in Afghanistan

9-11

The shortage of affordable housing

Runaway healthcare costs

The response to Katrina

Corporate corruption

Congressional corruption

The watering down and/or outright elimination of our civil/personal rights

Stem Cells - need I say more?

The deficit

The debt

The influx of brown-skinned people

Global Warming (like we could actually pollute our own fish bowl - Jesus wouldn't let it happen)

Port security

Global arms trade (they're not terrorists until the guns you sold them are pointed your way)

Gas prices

Think about it - it all makes sense.

Posted by: smafdy | June 7, 2006 08:06 AM

I cannot see, have not seen, do not understand how the marriage of my neighbors affects my marriage. Michael Jackson - and a host of others whom you'd think should be prevented if anyone would be - have been freely allowed to marry. How does the marriage of any couple of whatever personal practice affect my marriage, your marriage, that of your children, friends, etc? If government has accorded some privilege or benefit to those duly married then that should be fairly applied to all who marry. It is long past time for Americans to stand for the fairness we purport to maintain. "Defense of Marriage" and "one man, one woman" are steeped in biased and bigoted ideology and deserve no place in our public discussion. The President is a fool.

Posted by: Jazzman | June 7, 2006 08:32 AM

well, we dont live in sealed houses so what yr nieghbors do and what they do affect everyone else. In a society that lives together, thats logic. If yr nieghbors are swingers and sleep around and dont believe in marriage or if they have a totally diff concept of marriage , then it will affect yr community. You can argue that gay marriage is good or not but to say that changing the fundamental building block of
a society (which is the family) has no effect on society makes no sense.

Posted by: drew | June 7, 2006 08:52 AM

Truth Bringer posted an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazatte which ended with this statement:
"Smearing our troops gives our enemies a propaganda victory. But whatever happened at Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005, has nothing to do with the wisdom or justness (or the lack of it) of the war in Iraq."

First, most in Iraq knew about Haditha before the American MSM decided to cover the story, and then only after pictures made it to Time Magazine which was the only entity investigating what had happened. How letting Americans know what happened in Haditha gives the enemy a victory is clearly an unusual statement. Should all information from Iraq be suppressed from Americans to prevent such enemy victories?

Second, what happened in Haditha, if it is true, IS an indicator of the "wisdom" of the Iraq adventure. If true it would indicate we have come to the level of war we had in Vietnam at the time of My Lai. A level of war where there are no clear goals for the troops, no clear enemy to fight, no support for the troops from commanders or this administration. If the administration truly cared for our troops, it would have worked to bring stability and order to the country, but based on their post-war planning (none), they did not care about what the troops would have to face after the war ended. And even today, after their lack of planning and its results are visible for even them to see, they still do nothing except to attack anyone who questions the justness of their war or how they are carrying it out.

Haditha is a bellwether of where we are in this conflict and Vietnam is the historical example that will play out unless the administration changes course, and quickly.

Posted by: Sully | June 7, 2006 09:29 AM

drew-

By equating homosexuality with the destruction of the family, or with promiscuous "swingers", you assume the point you are supposed to be trying to make: does homosexual union fundamentally change the fabric of society?

There's nothing novel about homosexuality, it's been with this nation since its inception. The state can no more force a homosexual couple to raise a family than they can a heterosexual couple to do the same. Whether or not homosexuals can adopt a child should be a separate debate from whether they are allowed to get married. In any event, they should, and will, be allowed to do both in your lifetime.

As Cayambe said, religions are free to defend their institutions as they please. But the institution of "marriage" happens to be married to the federal government, since Uncle Sam sees fit to write tax laws that apply to the married but not the unmarried.

That would be restricting access to favorable tax laws to a group of people based off their sexual preference, a violation of the 14th in my opinion. If Uncle Sam sees fit to inject himself into the institution of marriage, then the institution becomes a government program and should apply to all Americans equally.

Posted by: Will | June 7, 2006 10:11 AM

will, why not allow civil unions ?, give every benefit the gov will allow.But leave "marriage" a seperate distinct relationship between a man and a woman. In truth, civil unions are not enough for gays. They want there lifestyle stamped and approved and taught to others as
perfectly acceptable. Well, whats wrong with that you say ?, There are many because of religious beliefs or whatever who do not agree and do not want there kids taught that this is acceptable. Yes you can call this behavior various bad names but we are in a democracy that means we have to live together, forcing one side to approve someone elses behavior should not be done.
No problem with civil unions and the attendant rights that go along with it , but its much more then that.

Posted by: drew | June 7, 2006 10:51 AM

RJ asks:
"Do we change our dictionaries?"

Great idea. The dictionary we use today is not the dictionary our grand-parents or even parents used. The dictionary the next generation uses will be a different thing again. That is the nice thing about language, it evolves.

I'd much rather change the dictionary to make it more inclusive than the Constitution to make it more exclusive.

Posted by: AC | June 7, 2006 10:56 AM

I can completely handle that. If religions want to protect the sanctity of their traditions more power to them. If the state co-ops the institution then the state has a responsibility to extend the benefits to all citizens in accordance with the 14th amendment.

Whatever the government decides to call them is unimportant. They can call them buxnosies for all I care. Civil unions? Grand. But allow them access to the same tax breaks or government recognition of union that you allow to heterosexuals.

"In truth, civil unions are not enough for gays. They want there lifestyle stamped and approved and taught to others as
perfectly acceptable."

Says you. Who cares, really, because it doesn't matter what gays want, what matters is what the Constitution grants them. And the Constitution protects their equal treatment under the law; not their equal treatment under the Church.

Posted by: Will | June 7, 2006 10:58 AM

will,

civil unions may be the best compromise availible. No problem with following the constitution but gays do not want civil unions, they want marriage.I'd be happy to call it civil unions and move on.

Posted by: drew | June 7, 2006 11:36 AM

Oh...darn...IT failed in the Senate. Guess will just have to live with the gay agenda after all.

Alright, let's get down to REAL business...FLAG BURNING and the PARIS HILTON TAX CUT!

Posted by: | June 7, 2006 11:54 AM

Hmmmm...another failure feather in the cap of BushCo.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 7, 2006 11:55 AM

More red meat from Bush to base conservatives. Conservatives need to learn to mind their own business and stop trying to dictate to other people how they should behave. They have a complete lack of respect for people that dont look, think or act as they do.

What is really amazing how base conservatives control the agenda for President Bush, especially if he gets too off base or far away from their tenets and demands. On issue after issue he caves in
to their demands. They say jump-he says how high.

Posted by: Cassini | June 7, 2006 12:07 PM

Just when you thought the collective IQ in the White House couldn't drop any lower, there is this GEM from Tony Snow(job), comparing an amendment to BAN gay marriage with things like Amendments that ALLOW women and blacks to vote:

WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY TONY SNOW: Whether it passes or not, as you know, Terry, there have been a number of cases where civil rights matters have risen on a number of occasions, and they've been brought up for repeated consideration by the United States Senate and other legislative bodies...
CBS News's Bill Plante: You mentioned civil rights. Are you comparing this to various civil rights measures which have come to the Congress over the years?
TS: Not -- well, these -- it --
BP: Is this a civil right?
TS: Marriage? It actually -- what we're really talking about here is an attempt to try to maintain the traditional meaning of an institution that has maintained one meeting for -- meaning for a period of centuries. And furthermore --
BP: And you would equate that with civil rights?
TS: No, I'm just saying that I think -- well, I don't know. How do you define civil rights?
BP: It's not up to me. Up to you.
TS: Okay. Well, no, it's your question. So I -- if I --
BP: [Chuckles.]
TS: I need to get a more precise definition.
(Translation - I have not the least [expletive deleted] idea what I'm talking abuot but like my Fearless Leader I'm too bloody brain dead to realize it and shut my pie hole.)

Posted by: NII | June 7, 2006 12:19 PM

coherent ideas shouldn't be allowed to post...


like this drew person, who does she thin k she is...


I mean, like gay s or swingers have cooties...


or drew doesn't spend hours in starbucks oogling the goths and tatooed kids...


secretly thinkin g about swapping underwear with them so she can see what other people smell like...


just an opinion...

.

Posted by: I think that people that can't form | June 7, 2006 01:02 PM

jumps is that olde money cuts deals with other olde money...


even if it has interests that are contrary to his countries interests...


and since lying and subtrefuge has been a part of the manipulation of nations since the beginning by the royals...


well, it's all about keepin g the preasants under control...

although the tenets of this country sort of point to it being set up differently...

you don't find a lot of support for that IDEA in the Excutive branch or the sitting congress..........


right?


I say take 'em out and beat the s-hit out of 'em....ethically of course....using nerf bats...


he he he....


serendipity pays george avisit on thursday..

.

Posted by: actually the reason bus h | June 7, 2006 01:07 PM

Three percent. Yes, that's right. Three percent. And even that's being optimistic. Polling indicates that between 1 and 3 percent of Americans believe that the issue Bush so enthusiastically championed Monday is our most pressing matter. So the next time someone asks you what percentage of Americans still stand by the president, tell them the truth: Three percent.

Two polls, one by the Center for American Progress and the other by Gallup, asked two very relevant questions. The former asked those surveyed what they thought was the "most serious moral crisis in America today". The latter asked, "What issue do you think should be the top priority for the president and Congress to deal with?" Two very important questions. And two that go right to the heart of Bush's actual approval rating.

Those polled by the Center for American Progress considered "kids not raised with the right values" the nation's most pressing moral crisis at 28 percent. Next at 22 percent was "corruption in government/business". Third, at 17 percent, was "greed and materialism" or "people too focused on themselves". President Bush's idea of America's most pressing moral crisis, however, is gay marriage. How many of the poll's respondees feel the same way? The 3 percent who answered "abortion and homosexuality". Three percent.*

http://hughesforamerica.typepad.com/hughes_for_america/2006/06/the_3_percent_p.html

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 7, 2006 02:02 PM

It's just the relegious right, moral majority, and the rest of the republican base trying to further their plan for all americans. They know what's best for you to watch on tv, read in books and magazines, listen to for music and on the radio. In fact they even know what pornography is, even though they can't define it, they know what it is if they see it.

Posted by: | June 7, 2006 02:06 PM

How is it that Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart are the only ones who can stand up to these people?

------

Stewart: So why not encourage gay people to join in in that family arrangement if that is what provides stability to a society?

Bennett: Well I think if gay..gay people are already members of families...

Stewart: What? (almost spitting out his drink)

Bennett: They're sons and they're daughters..

Stewart: So that's where the buck stops, that's the gay ceiling.

Bennett Look, it's a debate about whether you think marriage is between a man and a women.

Stewart:I disagree, I think it's a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition or just a random fetish.

-----

SNAP! Re-Framing the Right-Framed debate in a single sentence!

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 7, 2006 02:22 PM

sounds like some very angry leftists. But I think I'll take the high road and avoid the
personal accusations and name calling. But kinda dissapointed since the left usually prides itself as more educated and civilized. In truth you can see from these posts that whether yr left /right pro/anti gay marriage, everyone thinks they know the "truth" and would like to impose it on someone else.
For the record, I believe 1 state allows gay marriage, one allows civil unions and eleven ban it. 40 states have defined marriage as between a man and a women.
Thats a lot of people who dont agree with gay marriage.

Posted by: drew | June 7, 2006 03:08 PM

Drew:

Is it not possible to personally define marriage as a union between a man & woman without imposing that viewpoint on people that dont agree with it?

I really dont believe that base conservatives can do so because they believe they are the "moral compass" for the entire U.S. If you dont think, look
or act as they say, something is definitely wrong with you, not them. Conservatives need to mind their business and stop trying to force their beliefs on the rest of the country.

Posted by: Cassini | June 7, 2006 03:43 PM

Washington Times
June 7, 2006
Pg. 18

The Real Iraq

By Cal Thomas

The Pentagon has concluded its investigation into the March 15 deaths of 13 Iraqis in the town of Ishaqi. It found American soldiers acted within the rules of combat when they fired on a house after first being fired upon by a suspected al Qaeda operative. The investigation of a Nov. 19 incident in Haditha in which 24 Iraqi civilians were killed continues, though some people have already rushed to judgment and convicted a group of U.S. Marines.

Some news reports about the Ishaqi incident noted that U.S. military commanders believed the Iraqi police report was part of an attempt to discredit American troops and foment resentment among locals.

That view and the related strategy to undermine support for the war at home receives strong support from Amir Taheri, former executive editor of Kayhan, Iran's largest newspaper. In the June issue of Commentary magazine, Mr. Taheri contends Americans are presented a false picture of conditions in Iraq. Noting the difficulty of covering Iraq adequately, Mr. Taheri writes, "many of the newsmen, pundits, and commentators on whom American viewers and readers rely to describe the situation have been contaminated by the increasing bitterness of American politics. Clearly there are those in the media and the think tanks who wish the Iraq enterprise to end in tragedy, as a just comeuppance for George W. Bush."

For the antiwar left, hatred of the president is the filter through which all information flows. It has created a "conventional wisdom" that nothing good is happening in Iraq and even if it is, inevitable defeat awaits the U.S. when it must ultimately withdraw, leaving chaos behind.

"Current reality," writes Mr. Taheri, "is very different ... and so are the prospects for Iraq's future."

One can understand nothing of the region without knowing its history. Mr. Taheri recalls that for some time history has been pointing "in an unequivocally positive direction." His evidence begins with refugees. He notes that when things were very bad in Iraq, people formed long lines at the Turkish and Iranian borders, hoping to escape. Since the toppling of Saddam Hussein, he writes, they are coming home: "By the end of 2005, in the most conservative estimate, the number of returnees topped the 1.2 million mark." If the entire country is consumed by chaos and disorder, why would so many Iraqis return to their homeland?

Another encouraging sign cited by Mr. Taheri is the increased flow of religious pilgrims to Shi'ite shrines. When Saddam began massacring Shi'ites after a 1991 revolt against him, religious pilgrimages all but ceased. In 2005, the holy sites received an estimated 12 million pilgrims, making them the most visited places in the entire Muslim world, ahead of both Mecca and Medina.

Other positive trends seen by Mr. Taheri include the increase in value of the Iraqi dinar, especially compared to the region's other currencies; a revival in Iraqi agricultural activity, which had experienced unprecedented decline under Saddam; and the return of "freedom of expression" to Iraq, especially in the media.

Mr. Taheri also has a strong rebuttal to those who claim the United States is trying to "impose democracy" on Iraq. He writes of Iraq's history with democracy prior to the 1958 pro-Soviet military coup d'etat that established a leftist dictatorship. Iraq came into being through a popular referendum in 1921. It established a constitutional monarchy modeled on Great Britain, with a bicameral parliament, several political parties and periodic elections.

Mr. Taheri says, "Contrary to received opinion, Operation Iraqi Freedom was not an attempt to impose democracy by force. Rather, it was an effort to use force to remove impediments to democratization, primarily by deposing a tyrant who had utterly suppressed a well-established aspect of the country's identity."

The key to victory for Iraq and the United States is staying the course until the elected Iraqi leadership can defend itself and the country. The insurgents and terrorists are betting we won't. Much of the media and some politicians have already conceded defeat; giving sustenance to killers who believe that if they stay the course they will win. They will win if we don't. They won't win if we do.

The Taheri essay is a must-read for anyone not fixated on giving President Bush "his comeuppance."

Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist

Posted by: Truth Bringer | June 7, 2006 03:54 PM

cassini,

well, when kids in grade school are taught that gay marriage is accepted like hetero marriage,without there parents having any say then who is imposing on whom ?, when
institutions such as the boy scouts are
excluded from federal property , then who is excluding who ? Again, each side claims they have the truth . I see very little diff in the high horse mentality on both sides of the debate. If you read these blogs, what do you see ? everyone claiming the truth left and right(although there seems to be more lefts). Whats the diff between a person who claims a moral compass and those who say he is wrong. Both sides claim a religious like zeal in dispensing truth.
The answer in a democracy is not endless debates but resolutions based on compromise, its not perfect but the alternative is a fractured country.

Posted by: drew | June 7, 2006 04:08 PM

I do think there should be a federal law concerning gay marriage- it should not be left to the states. Only a few decades ago some states still outlawed marriage between blacks and whites, and it took federal law to nullify these bigoted state laws. Eventually it will be found that all of these state laws allowing marriage only between a man and a woman are unconstitutional, and people will agree that banning same sex marriage was based on fear, ignorance, and bigotry, just like banning marriage between blacks and whites. I wonder if back then politicians used interracial marriage as a wedge issue to get out the racist vote like they're doing with gay marriage to get out the homophobic vote...

Posted by: Bamagrrl | June 7, 2006 04:13 PM

drew-

You're missing the point. The difference between a Devout Christian With Absolute Moral Authority who says that marriage absolutely must positively be defined by society as "Union between man and woman" and the Devout Secular With Absolute Moral Authority saying marriage should not have sexual preference qualifications inherenet in it is that the former is excluding behavior whereas the latter is not.

It's a matter of social exclusion. The Constitutional Amendment crowd wants to restrict the freedoms of a group of people, the anti-Constitutional Amendment crowd are trying to inclusively allow a certain group of people to freely engage in a legal behavior the rest of society enjoys.

When the federal government "excludes" private groups, such as the Boy Scouts from federal lands (link please?), it does so from the auspices of freedom; allowing a group to practice its exclusive policy on Federal property could be interpreted as respecting that group over the people it excludes. The Federal Government is in no position to do this, is explicitly prohibited from doing so as regards religion (1st amendment) or for any other reason (14th amendment).

The simple answer to your simple question "Whats the diff between a person who claims a moral compass and those who say he is wrong. Both sides claim a religious like zeal in dispensing truth" is that the group that tries to legislate its moral authority over others is in the wrong and must be stopped. I don't care if heterosexuals get married, or have premarital sex... or don't. Or pray. Or drink wine and call it blood. Or privately chastize the rest of us heathens. Or do so on a street corner, for all I care (as I write this there is a preacher on the corner of the office building I work at screaming his head off).

But don't legislate those behaviors on me. And just as important, don't legislate government restrictions over certain categories of people because you privately disagree with their lifestyles. Christians are free to join in civil unions recognized by the state... why shouldn't some group of Non-Christians (or Christian homosexuals?)

Posted by: Will | June 7, 2006 04:26 PM

Drew, I think you need to reconsider the cool aid you've been given about what it means to be "liberal".

I go to church, sing in the choir and teach Sunday school, believe parents should set and enforce limits for their children, and that people should take responsibility for themselves as much as possible. I believe families should eat dinner together, give their children a spiritual education privately, and practice courtesy and respect. Yet, because I also believe we should help those in need, that we shouldn't be publicly exploring what two consenting adults do in their bedroom, and that gays are not "converting" straight kids, I am tagged a liberal by your coolaid brewers. This is an artificial wedge issue designed to make you box us off into some category as "different" or "amoral", but the truth is the center of America isn't all that far apart without these wedges.

We "liberals" are sick and tired of the hypocrisy of the "conservative' heroes. Jim Baker (adultery, embezzling), Henry Hyde (adultery), Oliver North (perjury), G Gordon Liddy (perjury), Newt Gingrich (adultery, ethics violations), Jerry Falwell (adultery), Bill Bennett (addicted gambler and hypocrite), Rushie boy (addicted drug user and hypocrite), Ralph Reed (will go down in the Abramoff scandal), and the list goes on and on - these are your heroes? The hypocrisy of wrapping yourself in religion and patriotism like these guys have, only to find out they were selling you cool aid about who they were and what they wanted is just too much for an educated mind.

According to the guys I know posted there, we're on the verge of losing the war in Afghanistan to the very same Taliban the coolaid makers told you we "disassembled". This will strengthen them enough to try to take out Musharraf and mount a coup in Pakistan, thus giving nuclear bombs to the Taliban. Why don't you join the sane side, stop worrying about your neighbor's sex life, and start demanding competence from this administration.

Posted by: patriot1957 | June 7, 2006 04:35 PM

AfghanVet wrote:
===========================================
"Three percent. Yes, that's right. Three percent. And even that's being optimistic. Polling indicates that between 1 and 3 percent of Americans believe that the issue Bush so enthusiastically championed Monday is our most pressing matter. So the next time someone asks you what percentage of Americans still stand by the president, tell them the truth: Three percent."
===========================================

It's clear that Bush and Company are truly out of touch with mainstream America. The Constitution isn't just some law to be changed every 2 years, it's THE Law of the Land that's only amended rarely, upon careful consideration with popular approval by ALL -- not for taking away rights of citizens from the many over the few.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 7, 2006 04:43 PM

the current administration, tried to pass through an estate tax ban...


as it focused on the "gay marriage thing,"

what you're all missing is that bush isn't homophobic...

he's using fear of other people for differences as a tool of polarization....


he holds hands with Saudi Princes in movies...is that homophobic...


and like Jon M., saying that I was communist for wanting to make people responsible for their actions...a direct misinterpretation of intent of comment,


a purposeful misinterpretation of comment.


the gay thing is like, we need to polarize the old people and catholics in order to get California to turn that extra 3%


it's cold, hard manipulation of a vulnerable segment of the population...


sort of like Jessie Helms routinely asking if people wanted blacks sleeping with their wives anytime a race became close...


kneejerk response from neandertals, stomp your feet make the sheep run to the other side of the pen......it's not about the gays as an issue...


that's what is sad, the Harriet Miers appointment shows how anti-liberal he is, and the UAE ports deal shows how anti-terrorist he is...it's a ploy and Americans are apparently very gullible...

.

Posted by: please note, | June 7, 2006 05:02 PM

Ensign Furd: Ayre, gay marriages in port!

Commodore Kotza: Where where?

Ensign Furd: Boston Harbor, sire.

Commodore Kotza: You scare me there, ensign.

Ensign Furd: Why sire?

Commodore Kotza: Thought you mean here in Dubai port. We'd have to go in and take them out.

Ensign Furd: Take them out sire?

Commodore Kotza: Defense of Marriage Act. Or maybe executive order. We'd have no choice but to take them out. The gay couples.

Ensign Furd: But not home sire?

Commodore Kotza: Nah, Posse Comatosetus. Or something like that. Besides you don't want to land in Boston Harbor or on Fisherman's Wharf.

Ensign Furd: Why not sire?

Commodore Kotza: Too dangerous. They ran down the Red Coats once. We don't want to make same mistake.

Ensign Furd: It's not dungerous here sire?

Commodore Kotza: Nah, Dubai is piece of cake. They'll welcome us with flowers.

Ensign Furd: Like Iraq sire?

Commodore Kotza: Yeah, like it used to be. Before they got all democrat like.

Ensign Furd: Democracy is bad sire?

Commodore Kotza: Not bad, just messy. Too many guns, gays, and gin rummies.

Ensign Furd: Like home sire?

Commodore Kotza: Yeah like San Francisco. Here, not too many gays. Men are men. Women wear burkas. And you never mistake them for the port workers. The emir is a man's man.

Ensign Furd: No gay marriages here sire?

Commodore Kotza: No, definitely not. The way a righteous society should be.

Enssign Furd: Is that why we're here sire. To defend the emir and his righteous society?

Commodore Kotza: And the Marriage Act.

Ensign Furd: And them sire?

Commodore Kotza: Them who?

Ensign Furd: Them there sire. The port walkers... I mean workers.

Commodore Kotza: Yeah. Them make the men men. And the women wear burkas.

Ensign Furd: You're absolutely right sire. It's righteous to be here.

Commodore Kotza: I like it here ensign. Let's go greet the port workers.

Ensign Furd: Ayre ayre sire. Dubai Ho!

Posted by: Righteous Worker | June 7, 2006 05:17 PM

Bamagrrl asks:
"I wonder if back then politicians used interracial marriage as a wedge issue to get out the racist vote..."

Good point and yes, you are absolutely right. The same inflammatory rhetoric designed to rile the masses with lurid hints of contact with icky people.
(Only I HOPE this sort of talk won't spark a lynching during the latest game of "If you hate them, vote for me.")
The same type of rabble-rousing speechifying has always been used against desegregation of any type. "Egads, those horrible brown people will rape our lily white daughters."
Because of course in the little minds of some people, ALL minorities (race/religion/nationality/partner preference etc., etc.) are rampant amoral sex zombies.

-NII

I must go, Righteous Worker made me spill soup on my lap.

Posted by: NII | June 7, 2006 06:02 PM

the only solution is education...


to some extent, party members that allow themselves to be manipulated loose their power...


the people that are victims of the manipulation,


honest politicians, such that exist, need to speak directly about the manipulation, rather than simply attack the manipulators...


it's like explaining a magicians trick, it has to be done every couple of years as the rubes forget what re-direction is....


going to market, you tell your younger brother, not to play the shell/cup and pea game...

Posted by: in case it isn't obvious to you | June 7, 2006 06:29 PM

Drew,

Marriage is not the fundamental building block of society, you're just bush-washed, oops I meant to say brain-washed. The family unit is the basic building block, caring for, supporting on another, be it single parents, unwed parents, or same sex parents. The claim you and bush make is b******t.

If you call marriage the building block, then it's a weak building considering about half of all marriages end in divorce. No single person, religion, sexual orientation, or government holds a patent on the term marriage. So why are you lying about the definition of marriage?
From Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: mar•riage
Pronunciation: 'mer-ij, 'ma-rij
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English mariage, from Anglo-French, from marier to marry
1 a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage b : the mutual relation of married persons : WEDLOCK c : the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage
2 : an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected; especially : the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities
3 : an intimate or close union

Posted by: Jamal | June 7, 2006 11:31 PM

moron. ;-)

I mean big moron...

did the estate tax removal thing pass by the by?

like we're in the middle of a world record deficit and we don't need money...


well I guess this administration is almost over, it's sort of like walking out on the check...stiffing the restaurant, in this case

you.

Posted by: gee I right pretty good for a | June 8, 2006 12:12 AM

Drew
It's refreshing to hear that somebody realizes the impact that the pushy left will have on our future generations. Instead of having moral fiber the radical, liberal left will next try to tell us that marriage has nothing to do with family and a stable future on the world. Hold onto your hat. I suppose the next step to the gay marriage issue is they want test tube babies so they can have a family for future generations of liberals....

Posted by: RJ Milw | June 8, 2006 08:11 AM

RJ Milw wrote:
"Instead of having moral fiber the radical, liberal left will next try to tell us that marriage has nothing to do with family and a stable future on the world. Hold onto your hat. I suppose the next step to the gay marriage issue is they want test tube babies so they can have a family for future generations of liberals...."

Speaking of moral fiber, you sound like the "liberals" you are bashing. You conservatives need to be careful. In the debate on gay marriage you are attacking state's rights, advocating larger government and the intrusion of the government into personnal matters, all concerns, we are told, of conservatives who want the government to leave their guns alone, allow states to pass laws without federal interference and reduce the size and influence of the federal government. Or maybe Terry Schaivo changed your mind? Is the government now the savior of American values and if so does it only apply when a conservative is elected? Your moral fiber reaks of elitism, hypocracy and bigotry.

Posted by: Sully | June 8, 2006 09:53 AM

"Divorce Is Not Caused Because 50% Of Marriages End In Gayness"

- Jon Stewart

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 8, 2006 09:55 AM

"Instead of having moral fiber the radical, liberal left will next try to tell us that marriage has nothing to do with family and a stable future on the world."

Pretty typical divide and conquer stuff
1. "instead of having moral fiber" - an accusation with no backup anywhere in the message
2. radical liberal left - labels that artificially divide and compartmentize anyone who disagrees, trying to force everyone else into "the good people's side" aka 'my way"
3. will next try to tell us - puts words in our mouth that the vast majority of us wouldn't say

Time to get out the checkbook and pay Luntz for something that can't be so easily seen through any more

Posted by: pig in a poke | June 8, 2006 09:57 AM

"pushy left" WTF Over?

Hello, kettle, this is pot, your black.

Yeah, it's the PUSHY LEFT that wants to AMEND the CONSTITUTION to EXCLUDE a group of people.

It's the PUSHY LEFT that wants to allow people RESPONSIBLE for dispensing LEGAL medicines to people to NOT DO THEIR JOB because some LEGAL MEDICINES "offend" them.

Etc, etc, etc...

Got it.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 8, 2006 09:59 AM

Forgive me Emily for using a vulgarity in my post yesterday. You were right in not accepting it. It is just that it is so frustrating to see that come election time--for all of their sniveling and complaining about how bad things are--the public ends up voting for the very people who have wrought such wretched policies.

It is one of the reasons I said that I have little sympathy for all of those majorities who now have turned against the war in Iraq and who are indicating in every poll taken that they believe this batch of politicians in Congress and in the administration are on the wrong track.

The reason for my frustration is that for much of 2004, there were similar polls showing the same wrong track-right track numbers and yet, what did they do in Novemeber of that year? they returned to power in even greater numbers the same incompetent ideologues for whom government and governing is anathema.

America is declining. Anyone with even a scintilla of reasoning ability can see that. And that decline is indirect proportion to the number of conservative ideologues who have taken over governing institutions in this country that they do not believe in and are dedicated to dismantling.

Let me give you an example: Just yesterday, the House revived a bill that would for all intents and purposes put PBS and NPR--both institutions the Bush administration loathes because they offer programming that fundamentally educates the American people about things that Bush and his corporate and religious supporters do not want people educated on.

Throughout their sad long tenure in office, conservatives have driven the country toward a one party dominance of our governing system and an ideologically conservative dominance of our media. It is something they have always yearned for--absolute power, absolute atuthority, absolute control.

The one fly in the ointment is the voter. And it looks to me like they have sovled that problem in the same way the Roman Empire did by offering up bread and circuses to an increasingly dumbed down public.

Posted by: Jaxas | June 8, 2006 10:01 AM

Pig, you are on target and should fire for effect.

----

Empty language is a term that refers to broad statements that are so abstract and mean so little that they are virtually impossible to oppose. It is often used to sway public opinion. While used by both Republicans and Democrats, it is employed more regularly by the Bush administration than by any previous President. Conceptually:

Empty language is the lingustic and emotional equivalent of empty calories. Just as we seldom question the content of potato chips while enjoying their pleasurable taste, recipients of empty language are usually distracted from examining the content of what they are hearing. People use empty language to conceal faulty generalizations; to ridicule viable alternatives; to attribute negative motivations to others, thus making them appear contemptible; and to rename and "reframe" opposing viewpoints. See deep framing, moral politics, conceptual metaphor, information warfare, deep trolling and spin doctor and spintern on these principles and related concepts.

Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech contained 39 examples of empty language. He used it to reduce complex problems to images that left the listener relieved that George W. Bush was in charge. Rather than explaining the relationship between malpractice insurance and skyrocketing health care costs, Bush summed up: "No one has ever been healed by a frivolous lawsuit." The multiple fiscal and monetary policy tools that can be used to stimulate an economy were downsized to: "The best and fairest way to make sure Americans have that money is not to tax it away in the first place." The controversial plan to wage another war on Iraq was simplified to: "We will answer every danger and every enemy that threatens the American people." In an earlier study, In the 2000 presidential debates Bush used at least four times as many phrases containing empty language as Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush Senior or Gore had used in their debates.

Another glaring example of empty lanuage is the ubiquetious use of the slogan "support the troops" to silence and marginalize views which oppose war and bringing harm to "the troops".

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 8, 2006 10:02 AM

More on Empty Language and BS:

When George Orwell wrote his magisterial essay on Politics and the English Language in 1946, public BS was political BS. There is still a lot of that about. Election campaigns in Britain, constitutional arguments in Europe, and global summits in Scotland have produced political BS in quantity.

But the worst abuses of the language now come from business people and management gurus. In the last year, books by the Australian writer, Don Watson, the Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt's, and my colleague Lucy Kellaway have attempted, in very different ways, to dissect this phenomenon.

Lies and spin communicate, but what they communicate is false.

The defining characteristic of BS is that it does not attempt to communicate at all. BS has the vocabulary and syntax of ordinary language, but not the meaning. The metaphor is not apt. What we describe as BS is more like candy floss - when you bite into it, there is nothing there.

The symptoms of BS are familiar. The repetition of stock phrases which can be parroted without thought - change drivers, organisational transformation. Words are given meanings different from their ordinary sense - government spending is called investment. BS creates new words - empowerment, creovation™ - but these do not define original ideas, but describe concepts too nebulous to be expressed by terms with known meaning.

http://www.johnkay.com/trends/397

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 8, 2006 10:13 AM

Let me explain what I mean by "bread and circuses". In Rome's declining days, the ruling politicians in the Senate and the Imperiat distracted the public from all of the problems Rome with having its borders breached by the increasing hordes of barbarian intruders from Asia and Eastern Europe by staging lavish, violent entertainment spectacles in their arenas. Thse spectacles came replete with the most base forms of torture and execution, some involving wild animals, and with a handy enemy for the public to foucus its anxieties and prejudices on.

In a similar manner today--but without the more violent extremes--the ruling elites in Washington, finding themselves on the defensive regarding their governing policies, have come up with their own form of bread and circuses to distract the public from the more pressing concerns of the day. That is why we are likely to be treated to a variety of "hot button" cultural and moral issues prior to this election cycle which will be promptly forgotten once the election is over.

The mark of a society in decline is its citizen's full compliance in following after the bread and circuses while its rulers do their dark works hidden from public view.

Posted by: Jaxas | June 8, 2006 10:18 AM

"Hold onto your hat. I suppose the next step to the gay marriage issue is they want test tube babies so they can have a family for future generations of liberals...."

News Flash!

Your hat is LONG gone RJ, dahling. Your hat has left the building and is on its way to the bloody airport. Gay and lesbian couples have been having babies since WAY before this current debate began. In vitro, artificial insemination, surrogate mother, (all ways straight couples have reproduced lest ye say only horrid lefties indulge in such behavior) in addition to children from previous marriages.

I also wonder what you would say if MJ Cheney decided to have a child with a partner. Is she automatically a Lefty Liberal because she is a lesbian or does she become one if she tries to reproduce?
Sure.

People don't need a piece of paper and a pat on the head from a priest to form a FUNCTIONING family unit. Just as getting married by the pope himself won't guarantee you'll still be with your spouse in ten years time and you won't neglect your children or raise criminals. You want an Amendment to protect marriage? Lobby your representative to amend the Constitution to ban divorce. Demand laws that make adultery a felony with long prisons sentences for the guilty. Oops! That's not going to happen because chances are your rep is either divorced, thinking of getting a divorce or has a little you know wot on the side.

By the way, your "They'll breed like bunnies," racket reminds me of every other bigoted argument against a minority group. "Look at 'em going at it like rabbits, they'll take over!"

Better get busy with the counter breeding program, then. Go on, hop to it. Caution: Check your state's sodomy laws before you begin, don't want to rip up the moral fiber do we?

NII

Posted by: News Flash for RJ | June 8, 2006 11:19 AM

Jamal,

Bread and Circuses was more than just the entertainment, it also signaled the corruption and slothness of the Roman senate (who spent it's riches not only on entertainment, but on lavish imports, draining the treasury in the process). By the time the barbarians reached Rome proper, it was too poor to even assemble a force to defeat them (nevermind most of the Roman military were of foreigners at that time, with questionable loyality to begin with).

Which is a reminder that...

1. Fiscal responsibility and government oversight is a necessity.
2. Entertainment should not come at the expense of our way of life and the country's very existence.
3. The military should be of citizens only.

But watch nothing will be done until it's too late, like with any prepareness, since optimists that politicians are, don't want to scare the masses with reality (crowd control is more important, since we don't need any French or Russian style revolutions at their expense).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 8, 2006 11:21 AM

Sully wrote:
===========================================
"Speaking of moral fiber, you sound like the "liberals" you are bashing. You conservatives need to be careful. In the debate on gay marriage you are attacking state's rights, advocating larger government and the intrusion of the government into personnal matters, all concerns, we are told, of conservatives who want the government to leave their guns alone, allow states to pass laws without federal interference and reduce the size and influence of the federal government."
===========================================

At the same time conservatives of all stripes understand that this is the latest Democrat "actiongram" script. Now fight the conservatives (you really meant your cousins the Neo-Cons, who are by the majority, converted Democrats) on small government and all. That message doesn't go with social conservatives, as they're the same ilk as the 1960's Democrats, who believe in shoving civil rights and a host of other variables down the throat of everyone. It took 30 years, but the backlash has come back in spades. Instead of spending time on education and letting society "swallow" change at a space that doesn't alienate the majority, radical change creates a backlash that stems all sorts of countermeasures from assasinations to overthrowing the other party out of congress and the senate. The more extreme one side pushes changes, the other extreme pushes back, and citizens get nowhere because the 2 muck it up for everyone else -- who like everyone else in the ENTIRE world want a good life free of the BS of either party brings to the table with their BS partisan hogwash.

So instead of pointing fingers in yet another political ploy (both sides), why don't you grow a backbone and make changes by education and gradually, not be yet another generation of hypocrites screaming they're "oppressed", "underrepresented"; "discriminated against", and repeat history over and over and over again??!!

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 8, 2006 11:31 AM

"People don't need a piece of paper and a pat on the head from a priest to form a FUNCTIONING family unit. "

I've been thinking a lot about this statement.

I was doing Christmas baking at a good friend's house one year when her normally easy two year old decided to cram a year's worth of misbehavior in one day. Finally, I wanted to either give in and let him have his way, or hit him until he shut up. His mother, obviously also at the limits of her patience, picked him up, carried him over to dad and said "he's your's". Although dad only lasted an hour with him, we had a cup of coffee and recharged. I knew then and there that I would not have what it took to be a single parent, and living hundreds of miles from close family did not have the local support network to sustain me as a parent either.

Whether it is an opposite sex parent, a same sex partner, or a grandparent or relative or "parenting buddy", there has to be someone to rely on when the choice is to give in to the kid and raise an undisciplined brat, or hit them. Someone to help make up the "functioning" family unit.

No, you don't need a piece of paper to be a family, but you need the committment that piece of paper is supposed to represent. That is why I support civil unions. I think that the benefits of a relationship (insurance, legal property status, the right to make health decision for your partner) should require some kind of legal committment or entanglement. Otherwise the people outside the relationship administering the benefits have no way to measure the level of committment to that relationship. People could simply call another person their SO as a favor to get them on their health insurance policy.

Posted by: pig in a poke | June 8, 2006 02:30 PM


Finally that bastard of Zarqawi is dead.

Congratulations to you all!!!

Posted by: che | June 8, 2006 03:09 PM

Restoring the Draft: The Universal National Service Act of 2006

by Michel Chossudovsky

May 30, 2006
GlobalResearch.ca

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Congressman Charles Rangel, a Democrat (NY), introduced on 14 February 2006 a bill in the US Congress which requires:

"all persons in the United States, including women, between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform a [two year] period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes."

The bill applies to both US citizens and non-citizens, to men and women. There does not appear to be a provision which would exempt women who are pregnant and/or caring for infants/children in a young age.

While there was some media coverage of Rangel's initiative prior to the formal introduction of the bill, the matter has not been mentioned by the US media since it was introduced in February. There has been a deafening silence: since February 2006, not a single article or editorial has appeared in print on the Universal National Service Act of 2006.

Neither has it been the object of public debate. The bill has been referred to the House Armed Services Committee and the Subcommittee on Military Personnel. Ironically, in previous discussion leading up the bill, Rangel's initiative to restore the draft was described as "an anti-war tactic".

"Rangel opposes war with Iraq and seeks to make the point that many soldiers are volunteers from low-income and minority families. Political leaders, his reasoning goes, would think twice about sending into war the sons and daughters of a more complete cross-section of America. But whether or not one agrees with Rangel's rationale, many Americans would agree that universal service can be a great leveler and a unifying force in society."

Despite Rangel's antiwar resolve, the bill supports Washington's stated objective to extend the war into new frontiers and to ultmately send an entire generation of young Americans to fight an illegal, and unjust war. It is worth noting in this regard that the Neoconservative Project for a New American Century calls for increasing active duty strength from 1.4 to 1.6 million.

The bill also supports Big Brother. Those who are not sent overseas to the war theater would, according to the clauses of the bill, be inducted into the civilian homeland defense corps and other civilian duties, including the

For the rest of this article go to:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20060530&articleId=2535

Posted by: che | June 8, 2006 03:13 PM

"Instead of spending time on education and letting society "swallow" change at a space that doesn't alienate the majority, radical change creates a backlash that stems all sorts of countermeasures from assasinations to overthrowing the other party out of congress and the senate."

Sorry SandyK, this doesn't work. "Wait a little bit longer" (or "Now is not the time" or "Society is not ready,") has ever been the cry of the majority when it is feeling pressed to make a change. It is always followed, no matter how careful and well thought out and QUIET the request by "Well, of course we set the dogs on you, you RUSHED US."
Blame the victim anyone?

How casually condescending is it to say to a group of Americans "You'll get your rights when WE'RE ready to give them to you." Because it always means "You can vote or use the same water fountain when I'm laying six feet down." But whoops, by that time children have been raised with the same attitudes so people are supposed to wait for that generation to die...
I do NOT think so.
People don't like change. Some people like it less than others. Sometimes all you can do is make the change and let people realize that all of their fears were baseless and they were being silly. Otherwise there is no reason for the majority to let go of that fear and discomfort. There is no INCENTIVE "We like things just as they are thank you very much." Yes, most of the country was probably "alienated" during some of the big moments in equal rights history, but what's the alternative solution? How would one educate people to show them it isn't a big deal to let women vote other than by letting women vote? Civil Rights for African-Americans? I don't buy that people who made up the majority living during that period were unaware of the way their fellow Americans were being treated. They either didn't care or thought that is the way things should be. How would one educate people to change that attitude? Meet the Negro sessions at the local church? ("Don't panic folks, he won't steal your wallet or your wife.")
Pandering to bullies and cowards never works. I don't know about you, but I'm alienated by the idea of a minority being unjustly mistreated because the majority can get nasty when asked to stop grinding faces quite so hard.

Posted by: NII | June 8, 2006 04:08 PM

Actually you don't or won't understand what I stated.

History proves that any drastic change will launch a counter-change movement. As citizens don't like radical changing of their way of life. This is especially true with race relations, where education is a prime way to desegregate not another forced law (throwing them in jail only punishes, and they'll learn even more about race in prison by joining one of the racial gangs there to survive it).

Gays would do more good by educating folks of their lifestyle and disperse their stereotypes (some gay ways are sadly not stereotypes -- like looking for pickups at rest stations; the multiple partner rackets [which heterosexuals understand have an impact on their perceptions of "family stability]). Not as ActUp! hooligans, real people from Middle American, not San Francisco (which is like Mars to a lot of folks not into the "anything goes" lifestyle there).

That is a much better, longer lasting, and more thorough change, that also takes a bite out of a counter-attack. Otherwise, brace yourself for more anti-gay legislation from folks who fear drastic change.

BTW, to answer your question on how to better educate others: by example. A lot of folks want freedom, but few want to accept the responsibilities that go with it.

Nothing in life comes free.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 8, 2006 04:33 PM

SandyK - why do gays have to educate straights about themselves? Do straight people discuss their bedroom life with total strangers? If people are stupid enough to believe that gay people have some secret agenda to make straight children into gay ones, they will believe it in spite of a shred of evidence to the contrary. You will find what you look for.

Is promiscuity more common in the gay community? I have no idea. Most of the gay and straight people I know want the same American dream - a fulfilling job with enough money to be comfortable, a little real estate to call home, and the love of friends and family. But given the number of members of Congress with opposite sex dalliances, the number of cops devoted to the prostutition beat and the number of "Mayflower Madams", and that fact that our kids watch movies like "40 days and 40 night" (or some such blather) suggesting its somehow abnormal to go without sex for a month when you are single and not in a relationship, I kinda think promiscuity is pretty rampant everywhere these days (sigh). But then, I'm from the generation that touted "if it feels good, do it", even though I suspect not that many of us were actually doing it.

Posted by: patriot1957 | June 8, 2006 05:02 PM

Well, bases empty and two strikes.

Strike 1 - gay marriage (finito)
Strike 2 - estate taxes (finito)
and now the neocons are swinging at flag burning

Shut Down! No runs! No hits! Noone on base!

It's 33 percent for the deadenders and 67 percent against the Iraq War .. time to call it a day!

Posted by: Will in Seattle | June 8, 2006 05:25 PM

Education is important to stamping out ignorance. So much falsehoods are out there about gays/lesbians/transgendered that a thorough education campaign is needed.

It's not about the bedroom, Johnny (it's like saying being heterosexual is only about the bedroom, it's not, and it speaks exactly of the ignorance in the public that needs to be stamped out).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 8, 2006 05:28 PM

It's not about the bedroom, Johnny (it's like saying being heterosexual is only about the bedroom, it's not, and it speaks exactly of the ignorance in the public that needs to be stamped out).

OK Sandyk, educate us. Besides the bedroom what makes gays different? Do they have more rhythm? Or more artistic talent? Can they dance better? Are they more likely to wear pink? More likely to abuse children? More likely to keep a lawn without crabgrass? More likely to molest you at the supermarket? Less likely to go to church?

Posted by: | June 8, 2006 05:40 PM

Make it Don't. I don't understand this either. Let me take what I think are your key points:

History proves that any drastic change will launch a counter-change movement. As citizens don't like radical changing of their way of life.

I don't dispute that, but so what? To a man who thinks his life is in danger because he's been taught people of a certain group are violent, asking him to share a bus seat with a person from that group is pretty darn drastic. However, the man who doesn't want to share his bus seat is not being reasonable and I don't want to live in a country that is run based on what an UNREASONABLE person (or group of people) wants. Life is chaotic enough without letting phobics run the show.

This is especially true with race relations, where education is a prime way to desegregate not another forced law (throwing them in jail only punishes, and they'll learn even more about race in prison by joining one of the racial gangs there to survive it).

I'm lost here. Are we talking about the majority or the minority? How would you educate these people while keeping them apart? Where is the incentive for people to learn about each other if they don't MEET? How will they meet if they aren't put together? Outside of jail hopefully.
(Note: I don't think this is just a majority perception of the minority thing. People of all colours have stupid ideas about each other.)

(some gay ways are sadly not stereotypes -- like looking for pickups at rest stations; the multiple partner rackets [which heterosexuals understand have an impact on their perceptions of "family stability]).

Hello? You haven't listed anything here that straights don't also do, just as often and just as hard. You're smart but you're buying one bigotry's big lies:
The minority is ALWAYS RANDY.
From the wild eyed black man bent on raping every white woman in the vicinity to the Jewish tycoon with his harem to laundries owned by Chinese people being fronts for white slavery markets (Wish I were making these up). Now we have the gay man or lesbian who is out to have his/her wicked way with the unsuspecting straight person. (And of course you can't really rape a woman from any of these groups because she "Wants it.")
That is the elegance of such a stereotype. It is impossible to dispute. If the minority says "No really, I don't want to have sex with everything that moves," people gasp and rebuke the speaker for mentioning sex.

That is a much better, longer lasting, and more thorough change, that also takes a bite out of a counter-attack. Otherwise, brace yourself for more anti-gay legislation from folks who fear drastic change.

No, there is always going to be an attack (I don't like the phrase counter-attack because that implies these folks are responding to an attack when they ain't) no matter how slow you go unless you just hold still and shut up and wait for folks to get used to the idea. In which case forget it, because the majority WON'T. They won't even think about it. That is why history is full of such events. And I'd rather see nitwits trying to pass laws than forming lynch mobs.
Here's another thing: Do you really think the people pushing anti-gay legislation are going to have a change of heart if they are better educated about gay people? You're talking about the George Bush/Dick Cheney base. They know Cheney has a lesbian daughter whom he really does seem to love and they STILL act this way? Why? They have their good example (Mary Jane) they know one of their leaders loves her. What else does it take?
Nothing, and there's no point in trying to play kiss-bottom with that crowd. If MJ Cheney went out and captureed Osama Bin Laden single-handedly they would STILL be bigots because they don't WANT to change their minds.

Perhaps you're also falling into a trap I occassionally still step in: Thinking the people pushing this legislation are legitimately concerned about some threat to society. Perhaps a FEW are (but they're being unreasonable so I don't care). The polititians? It's a power play, pure and simple. If they thought their voters wanted cats outlawed you'd see legislation introduced to Protect America From the Feline Menace.

BTW, to answer your question on how to better educate others: by example. A lot of folks want freedom, but few want to accept the responsibilities that go with it.

Nothing in life comes free.

Right, that's why people honor folks like Martin Luther King, Jr. and the other people at the lunch counter and on the bus rides. THOSE FOLKS KNEW they were going to get the snot knocked out of them and they took the radical step (for it WAS radical) of VERY QUIETLY saying "Stop treating me this way." And because they did it and BECAUSE people saw footage of people getting the snot beat out of them, more people than not RECOILED from the idea that this could go on in America. But do you follow what I'm saying? They had to take the RADICAL step of sitting down at the counter or nothing would have happened.
To the majority at that time even SPEAKING OUT was radical. EYE CONTACT was radical In some places a black person could get hurt, badly, for allowing his SHADOW (his frickin' SHADOW) to cross a white person's path. What can you do with people who take offense at a shadow? Treat them like what they are - Unreasonable - ignore what they want and appeal to the REASONABLE part of the population.
Today, coming out is seen as too radical by many of the "majority" (I don't think they really are a majority I just think they're bloody loud and obnoxious). Some people regard coming out as a come ON and get stupid. Even the act that would allow a gay man or woman to teach by example (because they can't start setting an example until someone knows they're gay) upsets people because they don't want to THINK about gay people. What the heck is the gay person supposed to do? If he lets people know he is gay they'll get angry and scared and scamper. Should he wait for people to notice on their own? But they're already of the mindset that GAY = BAD so if they like him they'll just say "Oh that's George and his housemate Tom."
Progress made = ZERO.

When you're dealing with a group that is that fat-headed all you can do is at some point say: Here's the way its going to be. Get used to it. Or: I don't care how much noise you make, I'm going to continue until I get a bit of fair treatment.
And who knows, maybe this lot of attacks will disgust enough people that they'll distance themselves from the current lot of idiots trumpeting about a non-existent threat.

Posted by: NII | June 8, 2006 06:36 PM

I pray the Lord and Lady will let me see the day when people get as worked up over whom somebody hates as they do over whom somebody loves.

Posted by: wiccan | June 8, 2006 06:39 PM

Chris Ford;

Your absence from this debate topic is conspicuous. Got any thoughts on the issue? I'd be surprised if you didn't. Then again, if you don't want to post, it's none of my business.


(Pregnant pause)


Hope you ain't sick or nothin'.

S

Posted by: smafdy | June 8, 2006 07:14 PM

gawd inspired issues.....


there is something called seperation of church and state, as a constitutional thing...


I'm kind of tired of some ahole continually bringing up irrelevant things like


homophobia, false patriotism, and CIA agents that masquerade as dead Al Queenda leaders....

has the president recently told the truth?


alright.

in case it isn't obvious to you


the only solution is education...


to some extent, party members that allow themselves to be manipulated loose their power...


the people that are victims of the manipulation, the voters, the newscasters, the writers, the honest politicians


honest politicians, such that exist, need to speak directly about the manipulation and how it's being done, rather than attacking the manipulators...


it's sort of like explaining to the kids that are too wrapped up in the movie....those "bullets," are called squibs...if you watch closely you can see they look like packets of ketchup being exploded on people...


that's the way to explain the media orchestration that occurs with this administration...


start complaining about _illegals_ and a week or so later "he" promises to send 6,000 untrained National Guard troops to the border...

it's always after, never before,


say that you want to have employers arrested for hiring illegals, a couple of weeks later "he" starts saying it...


as I understand it Al Zachariah was a fabrication, I can find a finger in my chili that disappeared from a med-school...

I believe the president like I believe any other liar, not at all....


it's like explaining a magicians trick, it has to be done every couple of years as the rubes forget what re-direction is....


going to market, you tell your younger brother, not to play the shell/cup and pea game...


you tell him to watch the sequence of events....next thing you'll be hearing that they caught Obama Bin Laiden...

schtuppin laura...

Posted by: regarding raising issues that are | June 9, 2006 01:10 AM

One request... Please stop flaming. That is, if you actually want to debate it. If you want to scream about injustice and such you cannot expect any real meaty discussion to come out of it. The temptation to do so, of course, is always there. To some, certain issues seem so obvious its stupid. Such seems to be the case on this issue. As Drew rightly pointed out, liberals are supposedly far more open-minded than the hole-in-the-sand GOP, however when I see behavior such as has been exhibited by some (not all! some of you are great!) of the posters here, and I go listen to conservatives debate among themselves on similar forums, its hard for me to say that the liberals are the more open-minded ones. Get discussion going on this. According to Gallup polls that are frequently being cited (by the Washington Post and other news agencies), those who support Gay Marriage are in the minority. If all you do is yell and scream about injustice, nothing good will come of it. If you actually want something to happen, you need to establish a dialogue and begin calm discussion with your "enemies". Instead of passing social conservatives off as bigots, religious zealots, and clinically insane, try to think of the issues they have with Gay Marriage, then address them one by one in a manner that is compassionate to -their- point of view. In order to accomplish change in this country, one must change minds, and in order to do so one must convince someone to change their mind; one cannot force it to change. So in conclusion, if change is your goal, stop flaming, calm down, do some extensive research, and get some good, constructive discussion going. Be a standard for your cause. Thus far the standard I see from some is pure, compassionless hatred. Turn that around if you want change.

Posted by: Politically Independant & Sick of Flaming | June 9, 2006 02:20 AM

One last note.... In case this is not properly understood, the reason why it is important to compassionatley appeal to another's viewpoint is not that it is necessarilly superior, but rather that it is the only way to change the mind of that person.

Posted by: Politically Independant & Sick of Flaming | June 9, 2006 02:24 AM

Such tactics work with moderates and independent voters (who aren't straight ticket voters). Partisans think burning bridges are the only game in town. It requires zero charisma, no grass-root organizational skills, no leadership abilities, and they don't even need to vote (which online most of the heated flames comes from non-voters -- the 15 year-olds and college kids more interested in getting drunk and laid). The ones that do vote their counter-parts are equal in venom, and the polls show campaigns are now partisanship rounds with races won by 50/50; 49/50; 52/48 percentage points. The general public just gets Twiddle Dee or Twiddle Dum, instead.

The day partisans clean up their act is the day responsible government will exist (not in our lifetime).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 9, 2006 06:37 AM

A very confused Nll wrote:
===========================================
"I'm lost here. Are we talking about the majority or the minority? How would you educate these people while keeping them apart? Where is the incentive for people to learn about each other if they don't MEET? How will they meet if they aren't put together? Outside of jail hopefully."
===========================================

If jail is the only alternative (that is to learn of extreme racism from within the walls; or extreme views about homosexuality), can you see how the current policy doesn't help?

If folks voluntarily segregate themselves (like I witness in high school), or socio-economically do so (i.e., white flight from inner cities and beyond; or to avoid areas where gays are renovating -- usually the older and pricey homes in the inner cities), does the laws help in mainstreaming rights?

No.

You can't force people to change against their will (it'll create things like this social conservative; or flaming liberal idealogy), all anyone can do is hope better education and myth busting will do that jump GENERATIONS from now. It's the only way to avoid a backlash, the only way for two who can't agree to eventually soften their stances. Artificial laws becomes barriers, and it also disrupts the socio-economic and cultural aspects of communities (and in my city, a vibrant Black community, with firsts in the nation, low crime, with high marriage rates among them are gone now. All because an untested social experiment didn't factor in the true costs on their community. It's wants now, consequences later approach, which kills and maims groups more). On the race issue no one wants to go back to the Jim Crow days, but the demise of their once strong, clean, mostly-crime free, and faithful marriages isn't something to be desired too.

History will show, again, that Walden Ponds and Utopias are fantansies that rarely factor in the complexities of reality and the REAL human condition -- that change, like evolution, takes time, generation time to produce true and lasting results.

Polly Anna ideals don't work, period.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 9, 2006 06:52 AM

For uncensored news please bookmark:

www.wsws.org
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info
otherside123.blogspot.com

THE UNTOLD STORY ABOUT THE ZARQAWI BASTARD!!!

UNREPORTED: THE ZARQAWI INVITATION
by Greg Palast

They got him -- the big, bad, beheading berserker in Iraq. But, something's gone unreported in all the glee over getting Zarqawi ... who invited him into Iraq in the first place?

If you prefer your fairy tales unsoiled by facts, read no further. If you want the uncomfortable truth, begin with this: A phone call to Baghdad to Saddam's Palace on the night of April 21, 2003. It was Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on a secure line from Washington to General Jay Garner.

The General had arrives in Baghdad just hours before to take charge of the newly occupied nation. The message from Rumsfeld was not a heartwarming welcome. Rummy told Garner, Don't unpack, Jack -- you're fired.

What had Garner done? The many-starred general had been sent by the President himself to take charge of a deeply dangerous mission. Iraq was tense but relatively peaceful. Garner's job was to keep the peace and bring democracy.

Unfortunately for the general, he took the President at his word. But the general was wrong. "Peace" and "Democracy" were the slogans.

"My preference," Garner told me in his understated manner, "was to put the Iraqis in charge as soon as we can and do it in some form of elections."


But elections were not in The Plan.

The Plan was a 101-page document to guide the long-term future of the land we'd just conquered. There was nothing in it about democracy or elections or safety. There was, rather, a detailed schedule for selling off "all [Iraq's] state assets" -- and Iraq, that's just about everything -- "especially," said The Plan, "the oil and supporting industries." Especially the oil.

There was more than oil to sell off. The Plan included the sale of Iraq's banks, and weirdly, changing it's copyright laws and other odd items that made the plan look less like a program for Iraq to get on its feet than a program for corporate looting of the nation's assets. (And indeed, we discovered at BBC, behind many of the odder elements -- copyright and tax code changes -- was the hand of lobbyist Jack Abramoff's associate Grover Norquist.)

But Garner didn't think much of The Plan, he told me when we met a year later in Washington. He had other things on his mind. "You prevent epidemics, you start the food distribution program to prevent famine."

Seizing title and ownership of Iraq's oil fields was not on Garner's must-do list. He let that be known to Washington. "I don't think [Iraqis] need to go by the U.S. plan, I think that what we need to do is set an Iraqi government that represents the freely elected will of the people." He added, "It's their country ... their oil."

Apparently, the Secretary of Defense disagreed. So did lobbyist Norquist. And Garner incurred their fury by getting carried away with the "democracy" idea: he called for quick elections -- within 90 days of the taking of Baghdad.

But Garner's 90-days-to-elections commitment ran straight into the oil sell-off program. Annex D of the plan indicated that would take at least 270 days -- at least 9 months.

Worse, Garner was brokering a truce between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds. They were about to begin what Garner called a "Big Tent" meeting to hammer out the details and set the election date. He figured he had 90 days to get it done before the factions started slitting each other's throats.

But a quick election would mean the end of the state-asset sell-off plan: An Iraqi-controlled government would never go along with what would certainly amount to foreign corporations swallowing their entire economy. Especially the oil. Garner had spent years in Iraq, in charge of the Northern Kurdish zone and knew Iraqis well. He was certain that an asset-and-oil grab, "privatizations," would cause a sensitive population to take up the gun. "That's just one fight you don't want to take on right now."

But that's just the fight the neo-cons at Defense wanted. And in Rumsfeld's replacement for Garner, they had a man itching for the fight. Paul Bremer III had no experience on the ground in Iraq, but he had one unbeatable credential that Garner lacked: Bremer had served as Managing Director of Kissinger and Associates.

In April 2003, Bremer instituted democracy Bush style: he canceled elections and appointed the entire government himself. Two months later, Bremer ordered a halt to all municipal elections including the crucial vote to Shia seeking to select a mayor in the city of Najaf. The front-runner, moderate Shia Asad Sultan Abu Gilal warned, "If they don't give us freedom, what will we do? We have patience, but not for long." Local Shias formed the "Mahdi Army," and within a year, provoked by Bremer's shutting their paper, attacked and killed 21 U.S. soldiers.

The insurgency had begun. But Bremer's job was hardly over. There were Sunnis to go after. He issued "Order Number One: De-Ba'athification." In effect, this became "De-Sunni-fication."

Saddam's generals, mostly Sunnis, who had, we learned, secretly collaborated with the US invasion and now expected their reward found themselves hunted and arrested. Falah Aljibury, an Iraqi-born US resident who helped with the pre-invasion brokering, told me, "U.S. forces imprisoned all those we named as political leaders," who stopped Iraq's army from firing on U.S. troops.

Aljibury's main concern was that busting Iraqi collaborators and Ba'athist big shots was a gift "to the Wahabis," by which he meant the foreign insurgents, who now gained experienced military commanders, Sunnis, who now had no choice but to fight the US-installed regime or face arrest, ruin or death. They would soon link up with the Sunni-defending Wahabi, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was committed to destroying "Shia snakes."

And the oil fields? It was, Aljibury noted, when word got out about the plans to sell off the oil fields (thanks to loose lips of the US-appointed oil minister) that pipelines began to blow. Although he had been at the center of planning for invasion, Aljibury now saw the greed-crazed grab for the oil fields as the fuel for a civil war that would rip his country to pieces:

"Insurgents," he said, "and those who wanted to destabilize a new Iraq have used this as means of saying, 'Look, you're losing your country. You're losing your leadership. You're losing all of your resources to a bunch of wealthy people. A bunch of billionaires in the world want to take you over and make your life miserable.' And we saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities, pipelines, of course, built on -- built on the premise that privatization [of oil] is coming."

General Garner, watching the insurgency unfold from the occupation authority's provocations, told me, in his understated manner, "I'm a believer that you don't want to end the day with more enemies than you started with."

But you can't have a war president without a war. And you can't have a war without enemies. "Bring 'em on," our Commander-in-Chief said. And Zarqawi answered the call.


**********

Greg Palast is the author of Armed Madhouse out this week from Penguin Dutton, from which this is adapted.

Posted by: CHE | June 9, 2006 09:04 AM

Che,

1. What's the title of Emily's article above?

2. Where does it mention anything about Iraq?

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 9, 2006 09:22 AM

Civil Unions are a concept that I think is worth pursuing even outside of the gay marriage debate. If we define civil unions as a contract between two parties whereby their wealth is comingled jointly, civil unions could be used by many people who consider themselves to be married, such as gays, or by friends, relatives, parent/child, anyone who wishes to consider themselves as financially and personally comingled.

For example, two sisters who are now widows and plan to live together for the rest of their lives. An aging parent and a child who has trouble living on his own. Two elderly friends who cannot imagine living away from each other and would like the other to have rights to make medical decisions, inherit the other's wealth and all the other legal benefits of what today can only be obtained through marriage or through many separate legal documents.

I doubt there would be so much yelling if we were debating the topic in this light. Its only when homosexuality comes into it that fevers go up. I think civil unions are a perfect solution to the gay-marriage debate and would provide benefits for non-gays in circumstances many would think are unusual but are all too common. It leaves out the word and concept of marriage, which was never defined by governments but by religions. The passage of such a bill could be swallowed by conservatives if they see the benefits to non-gays and any benefits to gays would simply be a consequence.

Posted by: Sully | June 9, 2006 09:24 AM

Sully,

That's a "separate but equal" clause, which brought the discrepencies of that approach during the 1950-70 Civil Rights era. Because of those failings, if it's not a marriage with the same sentiment, "separate but equal" won't be accepted.

In a perfect world civil unions will work, but the world isn't perfect, and the same groups that love to discriminate, will find ways to make civil unions not equal.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 9, 2006 10:00 AM

SandyK said "Such tactics work with moderates and independent voters (who aren't straight ticket voters)".

I think the American people are finally seeing through the wedges that were artificially separating us into a blind partisanship. I don't know anyone who votes a straight ticket as a matter of party loyalty - I have never voted a straight ticket either. I identify my politics more closely with Olympia Snowe or Lincoln Chaffee or Chuck Hagel. Yet, Chris Ford and the others have put me in a box tied up with a ribbon as a "Lefty" or "flaming liberal" because its convenient for them.

But I believe this administration is dismantling the constitution, that the unitary executive is a fancy name for dictator and most certainly unconstitutional, that amending the constitution to put in discrimination is against the entire purpose of the document, that waging first strike war under false pretenses is immoral, that state sanctioned torture and extraordinary rendition are immoral, and that the direction this country is headed is not only wrongheaded but dancing with fascism, disaster and decline. I believe the enemies of this country include not only terrorists, but traitors to the constitution who would wrap themselves in the flag and the cross to sow fear while they consolidate their power (and money).

Posted by: patriot 1957 | June 9, 2006 11:33 AM

History will show, again, that Walden Ponds and Utopias are fantansies that rarely factor in the complexities of reality and the REAL human condition -- that change, like evolution, takes time, generation time to produce true and lasting results.

Who said anything about Walden Pond? I'm not talking about Utopia, a PERFECT society, because you won't get one if humans are involved. I'm talking about a better, more equitable society. You know, the difference between life for women when they were still considered property and/or could not vote and afterward. The difference between Alabama circa 1940 and and Alabama circa 2006.

Again, to certain people ANY request for change is "bridge burning" on the part of the person who NEEDS the change. If you're suggesting those people need to be appeased then you're suggesting we should spend our lives dancing to the tune of the terminally ignorant, stubborn, cowardly and in some cases, hateful. Who needs 'em? I did not gain the right to vote or own property because people waited until every male in the country was comfortable with the idea. Social evolution, like any sort of evolution will NOT begin until there is some external pressure to change. Where society is concerned the people who apply pressure (no matter how gentle) will always be regarded as radical and hated by the people being told to stop being such bullies. The very word radical is most often flung about by the people most threatened by the change (rather like Anti-American in current debates about the war).
And again I say: So what? And I would also add GOOD. No pressure = No change. You may argue about the METHOD and if by "failed social experiment" you mean bussing and artifical qoutas, I'd say you're 110% right. But if you mean desegregation in general...you're wrong. But desegregation was a RADICAL thing.
Change must start somewhere because NOTHING happens spontaneously. By reading your post I get the impression you think there is not much difference between life for the non-majority in the 1930's and life for the non-majority now. Can't agree with that.

It also works both ways. There were and are just as many women, blacks, gays etc who did not want to rock the boat by presenting simple facts (education?) to an unreceptive public: "This is how you treat us and this is why it isn't just or right." Heck, go back a bit further: There were colonist who didn't want to break free of British rule or complain about taxes.
Are you suggesting these were the people who needed to be in charge of making life better for the down trodden masses?
Can't agree with that either.

The Founding Fathers, Ghandi, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Jr. Jesus Christ (if you believe he existed) etc, etc, ebloodytc - Were Pollyanna's?
Again, I beg to differ. They were heroes.

Posted by: NII | June 9, 2006 11:34 AM

There is no utopia. People don't change because they see the light. They change because they feel the heat.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | June 9, 2006 11:43 AM

Isn't it just amazing that the party which infamously espouses 'less government' (Republican, in case you've been 'Rip Van Winkling' for awhile) wants to be all in our business by way of monitored phone calls, etc; telling us whom to love/not to love, policing us in the privacy of our homes and bedrooms, using big government to fatten thier bottom line (and their fat bottoms, LOL) and awarding pork to their favorite canniballist pigs ...OINK!!!! ..and sooo on! Geeee..go figure!!!!!

Posted by: Sayitbert | June 9, 2006 11:45 AM

Patriot,

Bravo! Bully, Bully....

Posted by: | June 9, 2006 11:47 AM

Nll wrote:
===========================================
"You may argue about the METHOD and if by "failed social experiment" you mean bussing and artifical qoutas, I'd say you're 110% right. But if you mean desegregation in general...you're wrong. But desegregation was a RADICAL thing."
===========================================

Straight from the Cracker handbook --oops, the Neo-Con's one.

Let's check the talking points.

1. Bussing (evil) -- can't have white flight folks intermingling with poor Blacks.

2. AA (evil) -- can't have those who would've never entered college otherwise, due to racially insensitive testing, let alone knowing FULL WELL it takes generations to undo the White Man's burden of instilling hate into other races.

3. Desegregation (good) -- since it destroyed the historically sound Black community (and brought Welfare into the equation next -- remember Welfare wasn't acceptable even to Blacks until segregation took root). No, efforts to learn from the problems of desegregation (even today as it's taboo, since keeping the Black people in check is what either political party is interested in -- one for votes, one to use as coded scapegoats, i.e., AA and "welfare queens" which everyone knows didn't refer to White mothers in NYC, but the poor Blacks in the rural South).

What a crock, Nll, and you even know it.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 9, 2006 12:56 PM

If you want to look at successful school desegregation, look at Eleanor Roosevelt high school in the Greenbelt area of Maryland.

Half the school is a neighborhood (primarily black) school, and half is a highly competitive math and science technology program that attracts kids from every lily white suburb in PG County. My brother's kids sweated out the entrance exam and spent an hour on the bus just to get there every day and counted themselves lucky to have gone there.

It can be done.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | June 9, 2006 01:43 PM

I am a Republican, and I must say that I find this stuff silly. However, we got to get the votes of those holy rollers. Otherwise, it is a stupid "issue" and waste of time and money. One must sometimes do unpleasant and goofy things for the good of the country.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | June 9, 2006 11:52 PM

Very interesting reading. Think about it!


About the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution, in
1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of
Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some
2,000 years prior:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a
permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."

"The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
3. From courage to liberty;
4. From liberty to abundance;
5. From abundance to complacency;
6. From complacency to apathy;
7. From apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage "

Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul,
Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the 2000
Presidential election:

Population of counties won by: Gore: 127 million; Bush: 143 million;
Square miles of land won by: Gore: 580,000; Bush: 2,427,000
States won by: Gore: 19 Bush: 29
Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Gore: 13.2
Bush: 2.1
Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory Bush
won was mostly the land owned by the tax-paying citizens of this great
country. Gore's territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in
government-owned tenements living off government welfare..."

Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the "complacency & apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some 40 percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.

Everyone should realize just how much is at stake, knowing that apathy is the greatest danger to our freedom.

Posted by: RJ Milw | June 10, 2006 07:42 AM

Straight from the Cracker handbook --oops, the Neo-Con's one.

Oooh, nice one. Make statments and then forget you brought them up when people ask hard questions. Insult the person you're debating with when you have nothing to support your statements. Gee. Who does this remind me of? George...George someone.

Let's check the talking points.

1. Bussing (evil) -- can't have white flight folks intermingling with poor Blacks.

The idea of placing children in school buses and shipping them for MILES rather than making the schools that were all black DESIRABLE for EVERYONE was stupid. No one who lived through busing enjoyed it and many civil rights activists (Pollyanna's in your book) say it was a bad idea. It was a lazy solution to a complex problem. In addition, your earlier posts advocated slow change and education to prevent backlash (though you never said how this education would take place or why we should care about backlash). Now you seem to be saying that shoving people together in the most disruptive way possible was a good thing. Oookay, let's move on...

2. AA (evil) -- can't have those who would've never entered college otherwise, due to racially insensitive testing, let alone knowing FULL WELL it takes generations to undo the White Man's burden of instilling hate into other races.

I said artificial quotas: Grabbing a bunch of people from a particular race/gender etc and giving them a job or place in college to fill a pre-set number of slots and making no effort to make up for the historical problems that have caused them to be unprepared for higher education or a particular job. And then when they flunk out or can't perform one can say: "See? I knew those people were stupid." Again, an ARTIFICAL QUOTA does not help anyone. It even harms people because it implies that if an institution is 10% blacks or female that is enough and it needn't look at allowing more in. Yuck.

3. Desegregation (good) -- since it destroyed the historically sound Black community (and brought Welfare into the equation next -- remember Welfare wasn't acceptable even to Blacks until segregation took root).

OK, this is silly. If you're saying that you LIKE the idea of separate water fountains, swimming pools, seating in restaurants, schools, trains, then please take your seat with the "crackers."
If not, study history a bit and THINK for a few moments. The "sound black community" was a reaction to the fact that it was NOT SAFE to intermingle with the non-blacks because they tended to hang the men from trees if they made eye contact with the women. In addition, doesn't saying desegregation is bad contradict your first paragraph: "can't have white flight folks intermingling with poor Blacks."

Yep it does. And you STILL haven't said anything that supports your original argument: That gays need to educate people before asking for change unless they want to face backlash. Nor have you answered my question: Given that any request for change from the minority does create backlash, why should we care?
Neither have you produced a single fact to back up the rest of your statements, which (yes I do notice these things) have become even heavier on emotion and unsupportable mud-slinging (how do you know I'm a cracker, perhaps I'm a Dorito) and lighter on substance as you have gone on. It is almost funny that after I spent two posts trying to explain various civil rights movements to you (which you seem unwilling or unable to understand) you are trying to paint me as a cross-burning sheet wearer. Sorry, I don't buy it from the neo-cons you seem to despise when they call me Anti-American, and it is hilarious coming from someone who seems to consider him/herself a foe of the neos. I could throw a tantrum and call you a homophobe but it wouldn't make my point and it wouldn't make me right.

No, efforts to learn from the problems of desegregation

Again, since you've abandoned your original thesis (gays need to educate, change = backlash) I hope you'll explain why outlawing Jim Crow was a "problem."

What a crock, Nll, and you even know it.

Thank ye. I'll take my crock over ...well, I'm not sure what you're arguing now because desegregation is a good thing or a bad thing depending on which paragraph I read. Oh well, I'll take my crock over a broken crock any bloody day.

P.S. Since we were discussing marriage and who can and who can't: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/12/AR2006061201716.html

Posted by: NII | June 13, 2006 02:07 PM

RJ,

It would be OH so compelling...if it were true.

From Snopes:

Origins: The
piece quoted above has been circulating on the Internet since shortly after the November 2000 presidential election. We haven't examined it ourselves yet, but Mike Powell of Kennewick, Washington, was kind enough to send us his analysis, which we're happy to include here.

1. The population of the counties and square miles of area won by each Bush and Gore appear to be accurate. They are consistent with the election-result map published by USA Today on 20 November 2000.

2. The number of states won by each candidate is wrong, but the numbers given (29 and 19) imply this piece was written before the results of the Florida and New Mexico vote-counts were determined. The final tallies were 30 states for Bush and 20 for Gore.

3. The quote from "Alexander Tyler" is very likely fictitious. His name was actually "Lord Woodhouselee, Alexander Fraser Tytler," and he was a Scottish historian/professor who wrote several books in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

However, there is no record of The Fall of the Athenian Republic or The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic in the Library of Congress, which has several other titles by Tytler. This quote has also been cited as being from Tytler's Universal History or from his Elements of General History, Ancient and Modern, books that do exist. These books seem the most likely source of the quote, as they contain extensive discussions of the political systems in historic civilizations, including Athens. Universal History was published after, and based upon, Elements of General History, which was a collection of Professor Tytler's lecture notes.

Tytler's book, Universal history, from the creation of the world to the beginning of the eighteenth century, is available for viewing and searching on-line. The complete text was searched for each of the following phrases:
Athenian Republic
democracy
generous gifts
public treasury
loose fiscal
fiscal
bondage
200 years
two hundred years
spiritual faith
In no case was text identified that was remotely similar in words or intent to the alleged Tytler quote.

4. Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University is not the source of any of the statistics or the text attributed to him. Professor Olson was contacted (by me) via e-mail, and he confirmed that he had no authorship or involvement in this matter. And, as Fayette Citizen editor Dave Hamrick wrote back in January 2001:

I really enjoyed one recent message that was circulated extremely widely, at least among conservatives. It gave several interesting "facts" supposedly compiled by statisticians and political scientists about the counties across the nation that voted for George Bush and the ones that voted for Al Gore in the recent election.

Supposedly, the people in the counties for Bush had more education, more income, ad infinitum, than the counties for Gore.

I didn't have time to check them all out, but I was curious about one item in particular... the contention that the murder rate in the Gore counties was about a billion times higher than in the Bush counties.

This was attributed to a Professor Joseph Olson at the Hamline University School of Law. I never heard of such a university, but went online and found it. And Prof. Olson does exist.

"Now I'm getting somewhere," I thought.

But in response to my e-mail, Olson said the "research" was attributed to him erroneously. He said it came from a Sheriff Jay Printz in Montana. I e-mailed Sheriff Printz, and guess what? He didn't do the research either, and didn't remember who had e-mailed it to him.

In other words, he got the same legend e-mailed to him and passed it on to Olson without checking it out, and when Olson passed it on, someone thought it sounded better if a law professor had done the research, and so it grew.

Who knows where it originally came from, but it's just not true.
5. The county-by-county murder-rate comparison presented in this piece is wrong.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), in the year 2000 the national murder rate was about 5.5 per 100,000 residents. Homicide data by county for 1999 and 2000 can be downloaded from the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NAJCD), and the counties won by Gore and Bush can be identified using the county-by-county election results made available by CNN. (The NACJD provides not only the number of reported murders for each county, but also the population for each.) The average murder rate in the counties won by Gore vs. the rate in the counties won by Bush can be determined from this data.

By calculating the murder rate for each county and then taking the averages, we find a murder rate (defined as number of murders per 100,000 residents) of about 5.2 for the "average" Gore county and 3.3 for the average Bush county. But since people, rather than counties, commit murders, a more appropriate approach is to calculate the total number of murders in the counties won by each candidate and divide that figure by the total number of residents in those counties. This more appropriate method yields the following average murder rates in counties won by each candidate:


Gore: 6.5
Bush: 4.1

There is a distinct difference between these two numbers, but it is nowhere near as large as the quoted e-mail message states (i.e., 13.2 for Gore vs. 2.1 for Bush). Note that the average of these two figures is 5.3, which, as expected, is very close to the reported national murder rate of 5.5

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 14, 2006 03:24 PM

By now, this is an old string debating gay "marriage." There's just one further point, IMO, to weigh on the issue.

Social channelling of gay people into straight marriage relationships (that ideally ought to be lifelong) doesn't do anyone a service. Ultimately, intimate secrets are not kept and are revealed. It's destuctive. Opening an avenue for gays to form relationships outside of conventional marriage clarifies roles, and thereby reduces the problems for innocent heterosexuals getting into a deceptive relationship.

I'm amongst the majority who are straight in my orientation, but with no animus whatsoever against people who are wired differently. But it is clear to me that the ability to judge what your possible life partner is about is less than perfect at typical first marriage ages. Removing the cause for false pretense would a preventive solution in the lives of numerous relatonships where the goal is an honest reciprocal man-woman relationship for life.

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