Wednesday, August 31, 2005

And on it goes.....

Bush has left Texas a few days early to go and oversee the recovery of Hurricane Katrina, and I have to say that he did the right thing. It is a small thing to go back a few days early, but it does speak to his commitment and compassion.

And now with him gone, Cindy "the ringmaster" Sheehan is packing up her circus in Crawford too. She isn't going home though, she is vowing to continue the protest.

But something she said as she was leaving struck me as very much a glimpse into her motives.

A friend sent me an email about this, and with a quick search I found the article in question, from the Seattle Times:

(hat tip to Sheri)

http://tinyurl.com/7byu9

CRAWFORD, Texas: The woman who led an anti-war protest since Aug. 6 near President Bush's ranch said yesterday that she is glad Bush never showed up to discuss her son's death in Iraq, saying the president's absence "galvanized the peace movement."

"If he'd met with me, then I would have gone home, and it would have ended there," Cindy Sheehan said.

Her comments came as war protesters packed up their campsite near the ranch and prepared to leave yesterday for a three-week bus tour that will stop in 25 states.

Buses on three routes will meet in Washington, D.C., for a Sept. 24 anti-war march.

First of all, the comment about it ending there is utterly ridiculous. It would not have, any more then it ended the first time she met Bush in 2004. She, or one of her high power handlers would have a press statement released, detailing his indifference and refusal to listen to her, and her reluctant decision to continue the fight before the mud dried on his shoes.

Second, Bush didn't galvinize a peace movement, any more then she did. She stepped onto the front of a well oiled, highly polished media machine, that had been created long before she arrived. She was nothing more then a new hood ornament.

Third, her comments about being glad he didn't come out were not a surprise, she as much admitted this same thing on Tony Snow's radio show weeks ago, a fact the media must have missed. And if nothing else it proves what her true intention was not to meet with him, but to make enough noise to get the press to notice her and be inconvenient enough to make him stay away.

For all her rhetoric and her signs crying *why*, it was all a joke, and she never cared about the answer. For her, the protest itself meant more then the reason behind it. But it still irritates me as it again, to me, shows how she cared less for her son's actual death then she did for the ammunition it gave her.

And finally, it appears she did not serve her purpose very well.

A recent poll found that 79% of people surveyed did not change their minds about the war, 10% are now pro war where they were against it and 9% now against when they were previously pro.

In other words, a net gain of 1% in favor of the war. It isn't really a significant or meaningful number, except when compared to the claims of overwhelming support she and her followers claim. If she wants to call a 1% net loss of support galvinizing, well ok.

Regardless, public opinion about her was 38% against, 35% for, and that mostly along party lines. Not a big surprise.

So on she goes, on her bus tour...or so it seems. It seems a report from within her camp has uncovered the fact that she will not be on the tour for the most part, she will be off doing speaking engagements and interviews. And that just proves that she is just a figure head, and the protest itself drives on without her at the wheel, which is not surprising, as it shows who is really driving.

By the way, read the report of what the inside of Cindy's protest really looked like here:

http://tinyurl.com/e3uxb

It was hardly the grassroots, simple tent meeting protest it appeared.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Sometimes I disgust myself

Ok, this is self reflecting, and non political. Sorry bout that.

In the wake of Hurricane katrina, I am reminded about how shortsighted I really am sometimes.

I am a fairly pragmatic person, and usually don't worry about weather, but recently I have been dwelling on missing the sunshine.

Lets face it, Seattle is not the sunniest 'burb in the world. It rains periodically for no apparent reason. And some of those days I drive the interstates to work, and curse the idiot drivers who cannot handle a bit of water on the road.

And I fondly recall where I grew up, where sunshine was more predominant.

Now, watching New Orleans slowly be buried by flood waters and seeing the death toll rise, it reminds me that a little rain here mixed with overcast and some sunshine, well we are pretty damn lucky. No (well extremely rare) tornados, earthquakes happen but very rarely, no Hurricanes or intense tropical storms. Even the snowfall here is light and occasionally even in the coldest part of winter.

The Pacific Northwest is also a beautiful place to live, and the occasional rain keeps it green normally, and despite popular opinion, all the green here is not moss.

No real point to this, this revelation won't save the world, lives won't be changed and I doubt I will lap out of bed tomorrow a new man. Its just something I need to remember a bit more often.

In the same light, I turend 44 today, and I was feeling a bit middleaged and depressed.

But....I am alive. Not everyone can make that claim can they? I have great friends, a good job and an awesome family.

Really, it isn't so bad, and I should be a little more ready to count my blessings.

Monday, August 29, 2005

She just won't quit

Sigh. Why won’t she shut up? Who you ask? Cindy Sheehan.

Look, the protest has been an incredible event, and media spectacle, but a part of that is a fascination of watching this woman slowly talk herself apart. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion on some video accident show on TV.

She is no stranger to controversial and plain ignorant remarks. She has uttered more then a few.

Among her comments:

  • Continues the meaningless and inaccurate rhetoric of calling Bush a murderer;
  • She has praised her son’s killers as freedom fighters;
  • She accused the soldiers she claims she is fighting for of killing innocent people;
  • She stated she wished that she had not allowed her son a military funeral;
  • She calls her son a war victim not hero, but then refers to herself as the mother of a war hero.
  • She has said her son was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel.
  • She also said “My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel”

Now, she says that her protestors from the Move America Along group who are staging a counter protest in Crawford are Brainwashed.

Oh the Horror!!! Not only is Bush a warmonger, he is also a mind controller.

Its pretty clear what her standard is. Apparently she can say anything she wants and believe anything she wants, but if anyone disagrees, they are wrong, stupid and or they must be brainwashed.

Cindy, honestly, try a new concept called disagreement. You believe something. Someone disagrees. It happens. Why does it have to degrade to insulting someone’s intelligence?

Who decided that only Cindy is right? There are plenty of people here, and over in Iraq, who believe in the cause you protest Cindy. No amount of publicity photos, speeches, sound bytes and TV interviews will change that.

Cindy, face the facts: Your son believed in something you did not, and he gave his life for it. All parents deal with the truth that sometimes our children do not share our values.

Let him go, let him be remembered for the life he chose, not for the excuses you make for him.

Hopefully when Bush’s vacation is over, she will go away, because rather then convincing me to agree with her, she is just using juvenile attacks, meaningless rhetoric and illogical premises about her beliefs, her protest and her detractors, all the while playing the grieving mom to the nth degree and basking in the adulation of her followers, and all it does is make me sick of the games she and her partisan attack dogs play. All this just to get George Bush.

And all the while she dishonors her son’s memory, his service and his sacrifice.

But that’s just my opinion, isn’t it.

Finally, something both sides can agree on

As a moderate minded person I often try to find common ground with the extremes on either side.

I want to give the people on all sides a chance to express their opinions, and try to make sense of them. It seems logical to me that if a person passionately believes in something, then there must be some kind of foundation to that belief. Most people do not just believe something on a whim, though there are obviously exceptions.

And by the same token, I have noticed that a lot of debates really have a lot of common ground on the two sides. Sometimes it’s just minor issues that really separate them.

And then again, many debates have no commonality at all except stubbornness and refusal to listen..

So when I look at the Anti Bush/War protesters and compare them to the Pro Bush/Support the troops folks, I have to admit, it’s hard to find a common ground. The lone exception is the concept of supporting the troops since both sides ‘claim’ to be supporting the troops in their own way. I will retain the right to blog on that another day.

Instead I found an issue I think most people on all sides might actually agree on, and here it is:

Fred Phelps is a Jackass.

Fred, or the Rev Fred Phelps as he is known, is the founder of Westboro Baptist in Topeka Kansas, and he is one of the Country’s most outspoken anti Gay activists.

He has many utterly contemptible websites, two of which are www.godhatesfags.com and www.godhatesamerica.com. God, according to Fred, also hates Canada and Sweden.

I looked on the sites and I am utterly speechless. He openly praises god for the deaths in Iraq, for the deaths in the London subway bombings and plenty of other similarly minded tripe. Look if you like, but I warn you, it is shocking.


Fred it seems, among other things, has taken to the belief that our soldiers are dying because God is unhappy with the US for harboring Gays and for the US having bombed his church in 1995.

Now look, I can deal with extremism, it exists all around us. And he is not the only one to have made some claims about the US being punished, I believe Falwell and Robertson have crossed that line.
But Fred and his followers have crossed a line that I believe to be so reprehensible, that the pro and anti war people would feel justified in jointly condemning it.

Fred and his ilk protest military funerals.

http://tinyurl.com/8xjyu

This story illustrates one example of it:
(excerpts only)

SMYRNA, Tenn. (AP) - Members of a church say God is punishing American soldiers for defending a country that harbors gays, and they brought their anti-gay message to the funerals Saturday of two Tennessee soldiers killed in Iraq.

The Rev. Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist in Kansas, contends that American soldiers are being killed in Iraq as vengeance from God for protecting a country that harbors gays. The church, which is not affiliated with a larger denomination, is made up mostly of Phelps' children, grandchildren and in-laws.

The church members carried signs and shouted things such as "God hates fags" and "God hates you."

Lovely. Lets make a families pain that much more painful.

It almost happened here in the Seattle area as well. A rumor circulated here that his people were coming to protest at a funeral. A large group of people stood ready to completely block him access, but he didn’t show, thank God. But honestly, you shouldn’t need bouncers at a funeral, should you?

The people in Smyrna took similar action:

The church members were met with scorn from local residents. They chased the church members cars' down a highway, waving flags and screaming "God bless America."

So many counterdemonstrators were gathered in Ashland City that police, sheriff's deputies and state troopers were brought in to control traffic and protect the protesters.

The church members held protesting permits, and counterprotesters in Smyrna turned their backs to Westboro Baptist members until time expired on the protest permits.

And as I said, both sides of the war debate seemed to join on this:

"My husband is over there, so I'm here to show my support," 41-year-old Connie Ditmore said as she waved and American flag and as tears came to her eyes. "To do this at a funeral is disrespectful of a family, no matter what your beliefs are."

"If they were protesting the government, I might even join them," Danny Cotton, 56, said amid cries of "get out of our town" and "get out of our country."

"But for them to come during the worst time for this family - it's just wrong."

And that is exactly the point. Both sides had a common enemy in Mr Phelps. In this case, respect came before ideology.

Not to say both sides will not argue all the way home from the funeral, but its good to know that in some fundamental matters, common sense prevails.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

What wonderful creatures, are these trolls....

I am new to the concept of trolls, so having my first couple has been interesting.

Normally some writers would ignore or delete them, but I am not so indifferent to them as yet.

So here I will answer Anonymous. Here is his post, in full, with my extracted responses to follow.

At which point do you get to realize this war has been and continues to be an unmitigated disaster for America? A growing number of Republicans are being vocal about this now, but you… oooohhhh nooo. On you go, spouting the same mindless, unthinking rhetoric that got America into this mess in the first place. The war is already lost. Much as we would love it to be different, it isn’t. Better get used to it…

1) We have created a terrorist superstate where it didn’t exist previously.
2) Iraq and Iran are increasingly forming an alliance where it didn’t exist previously.
3) Iraq is fast moving towards becoming an Islamic state where it wasn’t previously.
4) Oil prices are soaring
5) Oil security for the United States is greatly compromised.
6) More than 1,800 US troops and many times more Iraqi’s have died for absolutely nothing. Absolutely nothing.
7) The US is now the most heavily indebted country in the world, with 25% of all US treasuries owned by China.

It’s time to put an end to your debacle in Iraq. We will secure nothing. The war was lost long ago.
Ok, first, I looked at my posts, and so far I have personally said little about the war. I have focused my comments on supporting the troops, and my comments about Cindy Sheehan were primarily addressed to her methods, her using her son and those who are using her protest to further partisan agenda, not to her protest in principle.

In fact, I have openly stated several times that she has a right to protest anything she wants. So characterizing me as a war monger/lover is wrong.

Also, consider this, my troll. The majority of people in the military hate war, they despise it, and they should, since it may cost them their lives. They, however, do it because they have decided it needs to be done, and that it is worth the cost. In World War II the men drafted then had no love of war, but many fought with enthusiasm because the cause was something they believed in. These people today show even more dedication and belief, because they didnt get compelled, they volunteered.

A person who “loves” war would be close to a psychopath, in my opinion.

On to my response.
“At which point do you get to realize this war has been and continues to be an unmitigated disaster for America? A growing number of Republicans are being vocal about this now, but you… oooohhhh nooo. On you go, spouting the same mindless, unthinking rhetoric that got America into this mess in the first place. The war is already lost. Much as we would love it to be different, it isn’t. Better get used to it…”
As I said, I have spouted nothing about the war, so your comment is cute, but off target. Also, the war is not lost, is not being lost and is not a disaster. This is scare tactics that ignore the realities. Go to a site like Debka.com, and read about the good things that happen that the main stream media ignores.

“1) We have created a terrorist superstate where it didn’t exist previously.”
False, Al Qaeda existed long ago. We didn’t create it.

”2) Iraq and Iran are increasingly forming an alliance where it didn’t exist previously.”
Really? And you figure this how? Iran may have allowed weapons in but that is in support of the insurgents (who are increasingly foreign), not the lawful government of Iraq. This comment is false.

”3) Iraq is fast moving towards becoming an Islamic state where it wasn’t previously.”
Saddam for all his secularism still maintained the façade of being a Muslim state, and called for Muslims to defend him. So say it wasn’t one before is ignorant.

”4) Oil prices are soaring”
Having nothing to do with Iraq, that is to do with production and market manipulation. And actually this complaint continues to be a giggle for me, since people complained Bush wanted war to get cheap oil.

”5) Oil security for the United States is greatly compromised.”
We have always been vulnerable to this because of our dependency on foreign oil, the majority of which comes from places not called Iraq or Saudi Arabia. Maybe you were late in oil Class when they mention that Canada and Mexico are the two biggest importers, with Saudi Arabia in 3rd place.

Look on the DOE pages (http://tinyurl.com/7ldt) and you will be surprised to find out we get only 16 percent of our oil from Saudi Arabia. Here, don’t strain yourself, this is a chart of the major oil importers for June 2005. Click on it for a larger view:

You wanna complain about oil, I am with you, but check your facts.

”6) More than 1,800 US troops and many times more Iraqi’s have died for absolutely nothing. Absolutely nothing.”
You are so wrong, so pitifully wrong.

"7) The US is now the most heavily indebted country in the world, with 25% of all US treasuries owned by China."
I am no economist, so I don’t know if this is true or not. And the whole China thing, what is the point?

”It’s time to put an end to your debacle in Iraq. We will secure nothing. The war was lost long ago.”
Tell that to the soldiers like my friend Tristan or radio host Bryan Suits of KVI radio (KVI.Com) who just returned, and can tell stories of first hand experiences of people who’s lives were changed for the better by our futile and losing debacle.

My friend, you are a victim of a campaign to make it look as bad as possible and ignore any actual benefit.

And tell me, even if you are right, how will us leaving now help any of that? Will plunging Iraq into civil war and emboldening Al Qaeda terrorists with a victory help?

For the record, I opposed going to war when we did, not because I did not think our cause was right, but because I felt we needed a stronger coalition. Obviously the President disagreed. Now that we are there, we have to see it through.

Therefore, I support the troops now. I support the effort we have begun as being necessary, and being something that having begun it, we must finish it.

If you disagree, fine. But please, do not categorize this as MY war. It is not. But as a veteran, these troops are MY troops, my brothers in arms.

The bottom line is that I will defend them against any and all disrespect and dishonor, regardless if it is a parent, a politician or a fellow military member.

In the case of Cindy Sheehan, she has chosen to dishonor her son’s service, and I have chosen to disagree with her.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Who supports the grieving mother?

Did you see this picture? http://tinyurl.com/cjctz It was from a photo diary on Cindy’s website, and also on Fox News.

Cindy sitting pretty with her personal foot masseuse.

Now I don’t want to focus too harshly on what is likely just a guy doing something nice, but it causes me to wonder who else she has in support there.

I mean, we read about Camp Casey and hear about it, but we rarely see it, or the support staff that runs it. It, as I discovered is fairly extensive. They have doctors, lawyers, attorneys, mail sorters etc, some out of Crawford House, and some at the camp.

And that's cool, when people believe in something, they want to support it. Good for them.

But I had heard mention of other support, things like media management and consultants, people screening the press etc...So I wondered who they are, who supports her with money and advice and political management. Let's be honest, it's a slick operation down there, with press reports, and interviews ans such.

So I wondered who supports her and ABC7 in San Francisco kindly provided the answer (hat tip to Mike F). So here is a list of who is now standing behind her protest.

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=politics&id=3382521

PR Machine Behind Cindy Sheehan?

Aug. 25 - With the President back at his Crawford ranch, the anti-war protest right outside his ranch is getting a lot more media attention. ABC7 looks at who is financing the operation and who's providing on-the-ground support.

The camp at Crawford is full of Cindy Sheehan supporters, people from all walks of life, but off to the side are a small group of professionals skilled in politics and public relations who are marketing Cindy Sheehan's message.

Cindy Sheehan kneels before a cross with her son's name on it, touches his picture, wipes her tears. It's an outpouring of emotion that is part of a scheduled news event organized daily for the television, radio and print reporters who crowd in to capture a mother's grief.

Cindy Sheehan: "I'm never going to see him again, I'm never going to hold him again, I'm never going to hear his voice again."

Sheehan's message hasn't changed since she got here, but the support staff interested in getting that message out to the world has grown considerably.

Organizers are set up in a house trailer. Their meetings closed to reporters.

Leading the group is Fenton Communications employee, Michele Mulkey, based in San Francisco. Fenton specializes in public relations for liberal non-profits.

Their bills are being paid for by True Majority, a non-profit set up by Ben Cohen -- of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream fame.

Ben Cohen, True Majority: "People are willing to listen to her and we want to do as much as we can to make her voice heard."

Cohen's group has teamed up with Berkeley based MoveOn.org, an anti-Bush group co-founded by Joan Blades.

Earlier this month, MoveOn helped organize anti-war vigils in support of Cindy Sheehan.

Current Democratic National Party Chair Howard Dean's organization Democracy for America is also involved, as is the more radical anti-war group Code Pink organized by San Francisco's Medea Benjamin.

Money donated through these groups and others is helping to pay for Gold Star families whose children have been killed in Iraq to attend anti-Bush protests.

This week Simi Valley California Gold Star wife Melanie House flew to Idaho for a protest and then flew to Crawford.

ABC7's Mark Matthews: "Can you tell us if you're getting help in airfare to come down here?"

Melanie House: "What difference does that make?"

There is real reluctance to talk about who's paying, and the P.R. machine that's promoting Cindy Sheehan, but not everyone here is completely comfortable with it.

Gold Star mother Karen Meredith came here from Mountain View. Her son Ken Ballard died last year.

Karen Meredith, Gold Star mother: "Sometimes things don't feel quite right to me. They don't feel wrong, but maybe that's how they do it in the marketing business."

ABC7's Mark Matthews: "You feel you're part of a marketing business?"

Karen Meredith: "Possibly. Yeah I think so."

On the other side, pro-Bush supporters are getting on the ground to help reiterate their message.

Grassfire.org and IM4W.com came back to the same Iowa-based conservative public policy organization, an organization with ties to the Republican National Committee.

There is also the "Cindy you don't speak for me tour," a caravan of military wives and mothers led by Deborah Johns of Roseville. Her son William is a marine who has served two tours of duty in Iraq.

Johns and her supporters are traveling to Crawford to confront Cindy Sheehan.

Deborah Johns, caravan leader: "It means everything for me to be here, to see the support. We're so proud of him."

The caravan is getting a lot of help from MoveAmericaForward.org. It's a non-profit organization co-chaired by former state assemblyman Howard Koologian. Koologian is a Republican who takes credit for launching the recall against Governor Gray Davis. His co-chair is KSFO Radio talk show host Melanie Morgan. The group's PR firm is led by a veteran California political strategist and the firm claims clients running from a county supervisor to President of the United States.

So it appears that the grass roots beginning of this has been usurped by the left wing political machine, and of course to be fair, the counter protests are beginning to receive support in kind.

To me it cheapens the whole idea of the grieving mom crying to be heard, because she is being reduced to being nothing more then another Democratic shill.

She may indeed have started this sincerely, but it seems in her zeal she has sold out to partisan politics. And her supporters are not concerned with peace, they are continuing a 5 year old campaign to destroy Bush, and (as has been quoted before) she is the human bazooka they are launching this time.

Ben Cohen’s Comments says it all for me:

"People are willing to listen to her and we want to do as much as we can to make her voice heard."

That is exactly what is going on. As long as people will listen, they will prop her up, stand behind her, support her and feed her sound bytes to the nightly news.

But, in my opinion, when her 15 minutes are up and her message is no longer fresh, they will be on their way, to prop up the next person people are willing to listen to.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sheehan: Terrorists are Freedom Fighters

I always enjoy an article that tickles two of my pet peeves at a time. This one sure does:

Cindy Sheehan and Media Bias.

(I am also posting a note from Drudge on how far the protesters will go, at the end of this blog)

First up, we have this article at Worldnet:
http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=45938
(the website includes a video link)

In it, Cindy is quoted as saying:

..."You know Iraq was no threat to the United States of America until we invaded. I mean they're not even a threat to the United States of America. Iraq was not involved in 9-11, Iraq was not a terrorist state. But now that we have decimated the country, the borders are open, freedom fighters from other countries are going in, and they [American troops] have created more terrorism by going to an Islamic country, devastating the country and killing innocent people in that country. The terrorism is growing and people who never thought of being car bombers or suicide bombers are now doing it because they want the United States of America out of their country."

So they are freedom fighters, despite the fact they kill far more of their own people then Americans.

Now to be fair, she isn't the first, and obviously wont be the last to say this. But it still is an ironic position, as you will see.

The article goes on to point out, the remarks were made to a CBS reporter during an interview, and yet magically never made the news:

She made the remark during her trek earlier this month to Crawford, Texas; but her equating the enemy with freedom fighters has not been highlighted by the mainstream media, despite her telling it directly to a reporter for CBS News. Sheehan's comments were recorded on video by Veterans for Peace, a group pushing for Bush's impeachment.

She also made one of the most disrespectful comments I have heard, in my opinion as a vet:

Sheehan also referred to her son, Casey, not as a war hero, but rather a war victim:

"If I was thinking straight, which I wasn't, I never would have allowed a military funeral, and I wouldn't have buried him in his uniform," Sheehan said. "I just basically stayed sitting on my couch, crying and drinking for a week."

I lose more sympathy for this woman daily.

Noted in the article is a biting comment, but it is interesting at the same time:

"What's her problem then?" asked one messageboard poster on FreeRepublic.com, "Her son was killed by a 'freedom fighter.' She should be proud."

Maybe that's pushing it, but it does raise an interesting point. The people she is subtly supporting killed her son, ambushed him as he was on a rescue mission.

Has that crossed her mind at all? And as she apparently supports their cause now, will her anti war protests embolden them, as some critics charge? Will her efforts to end the war actually cause more death?

Time will tell, and we can pray not.

A final note on a protest related story, courtesy of Drudge:

http://drudgereport.com/flash7.htm
ANTI-WAR PROTESTERS TARGET WOUNDED AT ARMY HOSPITAL
Wed Aug 2005 24 21:20:05 ET

Anti-war protestors besieged wounded and disabled soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C, a new web report will claim!

CNSNews.com is planning to run an expose on Thursday featuring interviews with both protestors and veterans, as well as shots of protest signs with slogans like "Maimed for a Lie."

The conservative outlet will post video evidence of the wounded veterans being taunted by protesters, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Developing late...

This, if true would rank fairly high on my disgusto meter. If true, this is proof that these people have no decency at all, and comes very close to pushing me over the line from irritated to very angry.

The soldiers in that hospital, regardless of how you feel about what happened to them, deserve the chance to recover in peace. They can decide to protest or not later for themselves.

How would the anti war protestors feel if the pro war protestors went to Cindy's mom's hospital to protest Cindy's actions?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Look out Crawford, here they come!

Attention Camp Casey, reality is coming and it wants to talk to you.

By reality I mean the reality that your position is not the only one protected by the Absolute Moral Authority of having lost a child in the war.

Bush Backers Amass to Counter 'Peace Mom' .
Aug 22 10:57 PM US/Eastern
By KATHLEEN HENNESSEY
Associated Press Writer

VACAVILLE, Calif.

A caravan proclaiming support for U.S. troops began a tour through California on Monday, stopping in the hometown of Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war mother who gained national prominence during a vigil outside President Bush's Texas ranch.

Conservative activists and military families embarked on the tour they call "You don't speak for me, Cindy!" They planned rallies in several California cities before heading to Crawford, Texas.

About 30 Bush supporters staged a rally outside the offices of the Vacaville Reporter newspaper.

"It's time to lay down the anger. We need to continue to uphold those people over there, to uphold those men and women with their boots on the ground," said Deborah Johns of the Northern California Marine Moms, who helped organize the caravan, which is sponsored by Move America Forward, a Bay Area-based group.

Sheehan began a protest vigil Aug. 6 on the road leading to Bush's ranch, an act that has encouraged anti-war activists to join her and prompted peace vigils throughout the country. Sheehan's 24-year-old son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed last year in Iraq.

A verbal confrontation erupted when the caravan arrived in Sacramento and was met by anti-war protesters chanting "Bring them home." Sheehan supporter Dan Elliott, 71, confronted caravan members by waving a sign reading "Death is not support" and heckling Johns as she addressed the crowd.

"You are ruining the morale over there," responded Greg Parkinson, a Bush supporter.

Some caravan members called the anti-war protesters communists and said they were "aiding and abetting the enemy." Those comments enraged Sheehan supporter Dee Ann Heath, who said she has two sons serving in Iraq and another preparing to leave.

"I don't support the war, but I support my sons," she said. "I simply want them to come home."

In Vacaville, Toni Colip, 50, said her son, David, went to high school with Casey Sheehan and is now in the Marines, although not in Iraq. She said her son opposes Sheehan's activities and has asked her to support his military service even if he is injured or killed.

"He said, 'Don't dishonor me, don't walk on my grave,'" Colip said.

The pro-Bush caravan plans to join fellow supporters who have set up their own camp in downtown Crawford as a reaction to the Sheehan- inspired vigil.

Bush was in Salt Lake City on Monday, where he spoke to a national veterans group to rally support for the war.

Sheehan vowed to remain in Texas until Bush agreed to meet with her or until his monthlong vacation ended Sept. 3, but she flew to Los Angeles last week after her 74-year-old mother had a stroke. She is expected to return to Texas in a few days.

Several of those in the caravan said they understood Sheehan's anger but disagreed with her protest.

"This is not the way to honor her son," said Lori Judy, 49, of Vacaville, whose son, Tim, served in Iraq.
Already in place in Crawford, and mentioned above, is Fort Qualls:

By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer
Sun Aug 21,12:49 PM ET
http://news.yahoo.com/news

A patriotic camp with a "God Bless Our President!" banner sprung up downtown Saturday, countering the anti-war demonstration started by a fallen soldier's mother two weeks ago near President Bush's ranch.

The camp is named "Fort Qualls," in memory of Marine Lance Cpl. Louis Wayne Qualls, 20, who died in Iraq last fall.

"If I have to sacrifice my whole family for the sake of our country and world, other countries that want freedom, I'll do that," said the soldier's father, Gary Qualls, a friend of the local business owner who started the pro-Bush camp. He said his 16-year-old son now wants to enlist, and he supports that decision.

Qualls' frustration with the anti-war demonstrators erupted last week when he removed a cross bearing his son's name that was among hundreds the group had put up along the road to Bush's ranch.

Qualls called the protesters' views disrespectful to soldiers, and said he had to yank out two more crosses after protesters kept replacing them.

Cindy Sheehan, whose 24-year-old son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, died last year in Iraq, started the anti-war demonstration along the roadside on Aug. 6. "Camp Casey" has since grown to about 100 core participants, and hundreds more from across the nation have visited.

Sheehan vowed to remain there until Bush agreed to meet with her or until his monthlong vacation ended, but she flew to Los Angeles last week after her 74-year-old mother had a stroke. Her mother has some paralysis but is in good spirits, and if she improves, Sheehan may return to Texas in a few days, some demonstrators said.

In her absence, the rest of the group will keep camping out for the unlikely chance to question the president about the war that has claimed the lives of about 1,850 U.S. soldiers.

Bush has said he sympathizes with Sheehan but won't change his schedule to meet with her. She and other families met with Bush about two months after Casey Sheehan died, before she became a vocal opponent of the war.

Large counter-protests were held in a ditch near Sheehan's site a week after she arrived, and since then, a few Bush supporters have stood in the sun holding signs for several hours each day.

Bill Johnson, a local gift shop owner who created "Fort Qualls," said he wanted to offer a larger, more convenient place for Bush supporters to gather.

He and others at "Fort Qualls" have asked for a debate with those at the Crawford Peace House, which is helping Sheehan.

It's unclear if that will happen. But a member of Gold Star Families for Peace, co-founded by Sheehan and comprised of relatives of fallen soldiers, said her group would not participate.

"We're asking for a meeting with the president, period," said Michelle DeFord, whose 37-year-old son, Sgt. David W. Johnson, was in the Army National Guard from Oregon when he was killed in Iraq last fall. "We don't want to debate with people who don't understand our point of view."

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Fienstein: bad memory or in denial?

I don't think anyone doesn't know who Diane Feinstein is, the Senator from California. What many people may not know is a small event recently that has an ironic resonance from her past history.

We start here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5224366,00.html

San Francisco Shuns Retired USS Iowa
Sunday August 21, 2005 6:01 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The USS Iowa joined in battles from World War II to Korea to the Persian Gulf. It carried President Franklin Roosevelt home from the Teheran conference of allied leaders, and four decades later, suffered one of the nation's most deadly military accidents.

Veterans groups and history buffs had hoped that tourists in San Francisco could walk the same teak decks where sailors dodged Japanese machine-gun fire and fired 16-inch guns that helped win battles across the South Pacific.

Instead, it appears that the retired battleship is headed about 80 miles inland, to Stockton, a gritty agricultural port town on the San Joaquin River and home of California's annual asparagus festival.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a former San Francisco mayor, helped secure $3 million to tow the Iowa from Rhode Island to the Bay Area in 2001 in hopes of making touristy Fisherman's Wharf its new home.

But city supervisors voted 8-3 last month to oppose taking in the ship, citing local opposition to the Iraq war and the military's stance on gays, among other things.

"If I was going to commit any kind of money in recognition of war, then it should be toward peace, given what our war is in Iraq right now,'' Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said.

Feinstein called it a "very petty decision.''

"This isn't the San Francisco that I've known and loved and grew up in and was born in,'' Feinstein said.

Stop there. Ok, San Francisco is a lot of things but in the last few decades, it has become increasingly more hostile to the military.

It's true, The City has a long military tradition. I marched in an Armed Forces day parade down Market Street in 1984, and I can vividly recall the pride in some places and protests in others.

In part, some of that is understandable. The military's history of not allowing gays to serve openly is an obviously unpopular opinion.

In the late 80's Ms Feinstein, then Mayor of San Francisco was courting the USS Missouri to a homeport basing there. I can recall, as I was stationed not far away, the hostility to that in the general population and the anti nuke sentiments.

The Missouri instead went to San Diego.

In 1989 in the lead up to Desert Storm San Francisco made no Military friends when it declared itself a sanctuary city for deserters trying to avoid deployment.

And in the recent conflict, San Francisco has been very vocal in its anti war sentiments.

When you add it up, the council voting to reject this matter isn't much of a surprise at all.

The City has been heading there for years, partially under Dianne's leadership.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Backlash! War moms attack Cindy Sheehan

This is an article from World Net Daily, about the growing backlash against Sheehan.

The interesting thing to note is her use of names on the crosses to make them more poignant has backlashed as that has offended the familes of some of those fallen heroes.
***

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=45826

CAMPED OUT IN CRAWFORD
Backlash! War moms attack Cindy Sheehan

Parents of American fighters in Iraq say protester doesn't speak for them

By Joe Kovacs

The continued focus by the nation's media on Cindy Sheehan, the so-called "Peace Mom" who's demanding a second meeting with President Bush in the wake of her son's death, is sparking a backlash from parents of other American servicemen and women in Iraq.

One Texas family of a fallen Marine became so enraged with Sheehan's use of their son's name on a protest cross, they drove from the town of Spicewood to Crawford to remove it.

"I went there and had Matthew's name taken off of there," said Matt Matula, whose son, a 20-year-old Marine, was killed by hostile fire last year. "It's fine for people to grieve their own way. It aggravates me to see them using other people's names to further their cause."

"He's not a victim, he's a hero," he told KXAN-TV, "and I think that everybody that's serving our country [are] heroes."

Cpl. Matthew Matula, whose wife, Julie, was pregnant when he was killed in action, had planned on bringing his wife and baby back from his base in Southern California to Texas to get a ranch and build a house.

He earned a host of decorations, including the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Operation Iraqi Freedom Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. His younger brother youngest son just recently joined the military and is also heading to Iraq.

"Matthew was very proud of being a Marine and proud of his unit and what they were doing," his mother, Toni, said.

Her feelings are echoed by another war mom, Debbie from Indianapolis, who called radio host Rush Limbaugh today to say her own son was wounded in Iraq when his vehicle ran over a land mine twice in one day, and he's now serving his second tour of duty.

"I would never dishonor his actions by doing what this woman is doing," she tearfully said, referring to Cindy Sheehan. "What she's doing is not only dishonoring her son, she's dishonoring mine. ... [Casey Sheehan] didn't die for nothing, he died in the United States Armed Forces.There's nothing more honorable than that. These kids volunteered, they were not yanked from their cradle by an evil government to send them someplace they didn't want to go ... My son knew what was in store for him, and my son stepped up to the plate."

Lee Miller, who has a long list of family members in the service, wrote the China Daily newspaper to blast Mrs. Sheehan, while at the same time heaping praise on her son, Casey.

"He is a better person then you will ever be. So go home and honor his name instead of dragging it in the dirt. Make a difference instead of trying to be in the limelight. You're making an a-- out of yourself. I know your pain. I have been down that path – it hurts, but don't blame someone for a choice a person makes when it doesn't work out. Build a bridge and get over it. Your son was proud of what he did, so be proud of him."

The backlash has led to the creation of the "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" tour, a caravan of military family members who plan to converge on Crawford for a rally Aug. 27.

The event is being promoted by MoveAmericaForward, and is led by Deborah Johns of Northern California Marine Moms, whose son, William, is a Marine serving in Iraq.

"I am deeply sorry for Ms. Sheehan's loss; however, Ms. Sheehan's actions are only causing pain to those of us who have loved ones serving in the war against terrorism," Johns said. "We understand the need to fight the terrorists overseas rather than face attack here at home. We understand that it was the terrorists led by al-Qaida in Iraq who are responsible for the deaths of U.S. service members, including Casey Sheehan."

Johns is now starring in a new television commercial she produced.

"William is helping to bring about freedom, and people are realizing that freedom is a gift," she says in the spot. "He supports what we're doing over there."

The backlash is not going unnoticed by Cindy Sheehan.

"The right wingers are e-mailing me and spewing filth about me on the radio and on the television saying that I am dishonoring my son's memory," she writes. "The right wingers are really having a field day with me. It hurts me really badly, but I am willing to put up with the cr--, if it ends the war a minute sooner than it would have."

She's also disputes allegations her anti-war protest is all about her.

"I was just the spark the universe chose for some reason to spark this off, because, like I said, the movement was already there."

As WorldNetDaily previously reported, Sheehan met with President Bush in June of last year, and even posted a photo of herself being kissed by the commander in chief on her website designed to honor her son. The photos of Bush have since been surgically removed from the site.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The other side of the story.

Maureen Dowd made a fairly interesting statement. Speaking of Cindy Sheehan, she said that parents who bury their children have Absolute Moral Authority.

I took her meaning as another lefty trying to make Cindy unimpeachable. Indeed, Air America, Michael Moore and the Huffington Post are full of gushing praises and defenders.

"How dare you attack her, she is a national hero" said one Slate commenter.

But I think they all miss the point that Dowd made. She needs no defense, she has Absolute Moral Authority because she buried her child, killed in war.

So keeping in mind that the left insists she has Absolute Moral Authority, I have a question.

Do the other parents who buried their children have the same level of authority? And if they should ask to be heard in response, would the left give them equal courtesy?

And funny, but what should I notice not too long after I made that observation, but this:

http://www.moveamericaforward.org

"Move America Forward is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization committed to supporting America's efforts to defeat terrorism and supporting the brave men and women of our Armed Forces." says the website about itself.

Now I doubt the non-partisan aspects of it, the Board has some prominent conservatives, but actually that isn'trelevantt. Is someone going to suddenly claim Moveon.org is non partisan? Please...so to hear the right has an advocate group in this was expected.

What I found interesting was this. The group is organizing a rally/cross country tour called "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy."

The purpose of it is to take groups of military families to Texas to confront the protest Cirque du Cindy Sheehan and present the other side of the story.

"The overwhelming majority of military families support their loved ones and the missions they are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. These military families do not share Cindy Sheehan's view of the war on terrorism, and the true story needs to be told. We invite Americans to join us en masse in Crawford, Texas on August 27 so we can send a message to terrorists around the world that American resolve is stronger than ever," says the press release.

And it raises a good point, that the protests have a larger effect, thatemboldenbolden the terrorists because they see it as proof our resolve is fading.

I applaud the group for heading to Crawford and confronting this, because it is important that people realize that there is another side to her protest.

That side needs a voice too.

And since they too have Absolute Moral Authority then there will be no one on the left who should oppose their right to join in the protest.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Ok, that's going overboard

I have openly said I think the Sheehan protest is a circus, but make no mistake, it is legal. She is cooperating with local law enforcement and the secret service. She has a right to protest, and I may not agree with her issues, but I have to respect that right.

That said I understand why neighbors are frustrated, and hearing that one guy fire a gun in the air wasn't much of a surprise. Traffic is likely bad, with crowds and noise....so a little irritated is understandable.

But this to me is going overboard.


http://www.kwtx.com/news/headlines/1686471.html

Complaint Filed After Driver Crushes Crosses At Anti-War Protest Site
Makeshift Memorial Run Down By Pickup Truck Driver

Larry Northern, 59, of McLennan County, was charged Tuesday with Criminal Mischief Over $1,500 and under $20,000 after a pickup truck tore through a row of white crosses erected by anti-war protesters gathered near the PresidentÂ?s ranch in Crawford.

Bail was set at $3,000.

The crosses bear the names of U.S. military personnel who have died in the war in Iraq.

Witnesses said the driver swerved the truck in and out of the makeshift memorial Monday night.

The protesters who are camped out in Crawford expressed outrage at the vandalism.

Cindy Sheehan, the California woman around whom the protesters have rallied since Aug. 6, is the focal point of national controversy.

She is demanding a meeting with the President about the death of her son Casey, a 1st Cavalry Division soldier who was killed last year in Iraq.

"Our hearts are broken about this," Sheehan said in a prepared statement about the destruction of the crosses released Tuesday afternoon.

"We continue to work closely with local law enforcement offices and the secret service to be good neighbors," she said.


You want to disagree? Go hold up a sign. Go talk to her. Write a letter. But taking a truck and mowing over crosses, even if you think they are just a cheesy display, is too much in my opinion.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Well, she said it.

Two quotes from one of Cindy's daily rants:

George Bush took a 2 hour bike ride on Saturday, and when he got back, he was asked how he could go for a two hour bike ride when he doesn't have time to meet with me, and he said: "I have to go on with my life." (Austin Statesman, August 14) WHAT!!!!!????? He has to get on with his life!!! I am so offended by that statement. Every person, war fan, or not, who has had a child killed in this mistake of an occupation should be highly offended by that remark. Who does he think he is? I wish I could EVER be able to get on with my life. Getting on with my life means a life without my dear, sweet boy. Getting on with my life means learning to live with a pain that is so intense that sometimes I feel like throwing up, or screaming until I pass out from sorrow. I wish a little bike ride could help me get on with my life.
Oh Cindy, you hit the nail on the head, and you didn't even see it.

Cindy you need to GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE. He is gone. Move on. He chose something you despise. Deal with it. He gave his life to save others, respect it.

I am more convinced then ever that her biggest problem is that she cannot face reality.

But then I saw this...
I need to focus on the positive, though, and there is so much. I had so many amazing things happen today. I couldn't walk through Camp Casey or the Crawford Peace House today without hugging people and getting my picture taken. Now I know how Mickey Mouse feels at Disneyland.
And that is interesting too....I guess being the grieving mom has its perks.

Sad.

Maureen Down says referring to Cindy that "The moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute"

I assume then that on the other side, Lynn Kelly and Linda Ryan, two more grieving moms who also buried children killed in Iraq, have that same Moral Authority.

Lets hear from them then:

I don't agree" with Sheehan's views, said Lynn Kelly...whose son, Marine Cpl. Sean P. Kelly, was killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq in January.

"I wouldn't say, 'Bush, you killed my son.' I don't agree with that," said Kelly.

"I think we had to do something and I believe that ultimately, I was one of the few that had to make the ultimate sacrifice, which isn't fair, in my eyes," she said.

"But I don't believe that Mr. Bush was the one that pulled the trigger," said Kelly.

She said she believes there are other issues she could address with the president, but not the issue of the war.

"I think we needed to be there, something needed to be done," said Kelly

"As far as what is happening now, our country wasn't built in 17 or 18 months, either. It's going to take time. Unfortunately, we got stuck in the middle of all this," she said.

I would tell Cindy Sheehan that, as one mother to another, I do realize your loss is your loss and there's nothing you can do to heal from it," said Linda Ryan, the mother of Marc T. Ryan, of Gloucester City, was killed in an explosion in Ramadi, Iraq in November.

"George Bush didn't kill her son, it's the evildoers who have no value of life who killed her son. Her son made a decision to join the Armed Forces and defend our country, knowing that, at any time, war could come about," Ryan said.

"She's going about this not realizing how many people she's hurting. When she refers to anyone killed in Iraq, she's referring to my son. She doesn't have anything to say about what happened to my son," said Ryan.

"There is nothing in this world that can describe the agony of worry, the lack of sleep that comes from a child being in harm's way. I kept saying his training would get him through, and it did get him through more events than I can count," she said.

"I'm a proud Marine mom. I've earned the right to say, 'Semper Fi.' I'm a Marine's daughter, a Marine's wife and a Marine's mom," Ryan said.

"Marc believed in what he was doing and he couldn't leave his brother (Marines). He would say, 'If just one child lives to love America, I've done my job,'" she said.

"I don't agree (with Sheehan). I have a right to say that. My son fought for my right to say that," Ryan said.



Let all voices be heard......

Sunday, August 14, 2005

What's next in Crawford?

I don't want to do a daily diary about this, but the liberals at Horsesass and Daily Kos won't let it go.

To them, and the Michael Moore/Al Franken/Moveon.org she is the standard bearer, the champion and martyr they have waited for.

It won't amount to anything in the long run for a couple reasons.

First while she represents a lot of heart wrenching drama and seems to stimulate the sympathy of many, she isn't really saying anything new. Her comments are starting to read like a moveon.org playbook. Bush lied and blood for oil....it's the same only tripe people on the liberal anti war side have been parroting for a couple years. It isn't profound, it is just proof they seem to believe that "a lie told often enough becomes true" (Lenin).

The arguments are the same, the quotes are the same, she is yesterday's news in a sympathetic package.

And the liberals will milk her for all she is worth. They will flock to her, raise the media circus tent over her and spin and manage the story.

Daily Kos wants to start calling her Mother Sheehan (http://tinyurl.com/artlr) , and to frame it to make the most impact.

That illustrates her true weakness, that without framing she cannot stand alone, because she has no substantive content.

She is also aligning with some scary people, such as David Duke who hails her on his website, and preaches about the "anti-American, pro-Israel Iraq War". Indeed she herself is now raising Israel as an issue, saying the war was a "PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefits Israel" (http://tinyurl.com/9zye8).

At this I am speechless. I mean it boggles the mind how they arrive at this, but it appears she is squarely aligned with David Duke which is really scary.

So what next? Rallies, trips, speaking tours and the like until she is debunked or people are just tired of her ranting. And then they will discard her as not being necessary.

And still her son will be dead and his death and memory will go down as one of the worst publicity stunts in modern history.

Two final things. First there are a lot of military families who wish she would go away, and say she does not speak for them.

And second, her parting shot on her diary a few days ago still has me laughing:

George Bush: you work for me. I pay your salary. Come out and talk to me. Anyway, I have a feeling you are about to be fired!!!

Cindy? The election is over, he is now a lame duck who will be gone on his own in a few years, and no one has come close anything impeachable yet. But thanks for playing the useless rhetoric game.

UPDATE:
Read more about the people linked with Cindy Sheehan here:
http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archives/006397.shtml

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Apple blunder gives Gates iPod royalty

http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/article305638.ece

Apple blunder gives Gates iPod royalty
By Katherine Griffiths in New York

Apple Computer may be forced to pay royalties to Microsoft for every iPod it sells after it emerged that Bill Gates's software giant beat Steve Jobs' firm in the race to file a crucial patent on technology used in the popular portable music players. The total bill could run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

Although Apple introduced the iPod in November 2001, it did not file a provisional patent application until July 2002, and a full application was filed only in October that year.

In the meantime, Microsoft submitted an application in May 2002 to patent some key elements of music players, including song menu software.

Apple and Microsoft were two of several companies that developed portable players, but the iPod, with its sleek design and user-friendly controls, has dominated the market.

IPods make up three of every four portable music players bought in the US and account for almost one-third of Apple's sales. Piper Jaffray, a US analyst, believes Apple will sell 25 million iPods this year, bringing the total sold in the four years since its launch to 35 million.

In July, the US Patent and Trademark Office rejected Apple's application, saying some ideas were similar to an earlier application filed by a Microsoft employee, John Platt.

The dispute, which emerged this week on the closely watched website, Appleinsider.com, could lead to Apple having to pay a licence fee for the technology of up to $10 a machine.

David Kaefer, Microsoft's director of intellectual property licensing and business development, said: "In general, our policy is to allow others to license our patents so they can use our innovative methods in their products."

Apple has signalled it will resist the move. A spokeswoman said Apple would continue to try to get its patent recognised. The company could take the case to the patent office's appeals board. "Apple invented and publicly released the iPod interface before the Microsoft patent application was filed," it said in a statement.

The battle comes as Microsoft is squaring up against another competitor, Google. Microsoft last month launched a lawsuit against the search-engine giant, accusing it of poaching a top executive to head a new research laboratory in China. The Redmond, Washington-based company also sued the executive, Kai-Fu Lee.

Apple Computer may be forced to pay royalties to Microsoft for every iPod it sells after it emerged that Bill Gates's software giant beat Steve Jobs' firm in the race to file a crucial patent on technology used in the popular portable music players. The total bill could run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

Although Apple introduced the iPod in November 2001, it did not file a provisional patent application until July 2002, and a full application was filed only in October that year.

In the meantime, Microsoft submitted an application in May 2002 to patent some key elements of music players, including song menu software.

Apple and Microsoft were two of several companies that developed portable players, but the iPod, with its sleek design and user-friendly controls, has dominated the market.

IPods make up three of every four portable music players bought in the US and account for almost one-third of Apple's sales. Piper Jaffray, a US analyst, believes Apple will sell 25 million iPods this year, bringing the total sold in the four years since its launch to 35 million.

In July, the US Patent and Trademark Office rejected Apple's application, saying some ideas were similar to an earlier application filed by a Microsoft employee, John Platt.
The dispute, which emerged this week on the closely watched website, Appleinsider.com, could lead to Apple having to pay a licence fee for the technology of up to $10 a machine.

David Kaefer, Microsoft's director of intellectual property licensing and business development, said: "In general, our policy is to allow others to license our patents so they can use our innovative methods in their products."

Apple has signalled it will resist the move. A spokeswoman said Apple would continue to try to get its patent recognised. The company could take the case to the patent office's appeals board. "Apple invented and publicly released the iPod interface before the Microsoft patent application was filed," it said in a statement.

The battle comes as Microsoft is squaring up against another competitor, Google. Microsoft last month launched a lawsuit against the search-engine giant, accusing it of poaching a top executive to head a new research laboratory in China. The Redmond, Washington-based company also sued the executive, Kai-Fu Lee.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Oath his mother cannot understand

I have something in common with Casey Sheehan. It is something that I am now convinced his mom doesn't understand.

We both chose, once upon a time, to say something; something profound and nearly identical.

We both chose to say this small block of text:

I, , do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

I took mine in October 1983, as I went on Active Duty in the Air Force. I took it twice more as I reenlisted before leaving in 1995, though I stayed as a reservist for the next year and a half as well.

Casey took his once a few years ago, and again in Aug 2003.

When I took mine, the US was about at the peak of the arms race. I attended Soviet awareness briefings and learned about the mass firepower in conventional, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons arrayed against us in our ideological dispute. I served for many years as a member of the base Disaster preparedness team, learning about nuclear, chemical and biological threats in great detail, including treatment, decontamination and fallout shelter management. I participated in nuclear accident exercises. I also performed aircrew briefings to our pilots who flew into Saudi Arabia and Iraq in Desert Storm. While I never deployed to a hostile zone, nor fired a weapon except once in basic training, I was never for a moment unaware of the fact that I could be tasked for such duties. I saw friends deploy to the Middle East, including one who's barracks was destroyed by a scud missile. I joined knowing all this, and I stayed knowing all this. I made the choice.

It doesn't matter why I did, though:

It could have been for college money, but it wasn't. I got zip. It wasn't for a bonus, I actually got more money to leave then I did to come in or to stay. I joined to be a cop, but ended up a Mechanic, so it wasn't for career. And unlike many of my peers, I didn't join solely to serve my country.

But I did however, join knowing that my country might demand that sacrifice whether I liked it or not, and I stayed knowing that as well.

As it was, I have Tinitus and high frequency hearing loss, permanent back injury and a few other problems which grant me the Disabled Vet title.

Casey, I cannot speak for specifically, but this stands out to me as I consider his enlistment, and later his death.

He made the same choices I did, and where as I did so facing possibilities, and mostly rear echelon support deployments, he did so knowing his unit was heading to Iraq and he would have to go with. He did so, in the case of his reenlistment, in the midst of a war. He could have left, but he chose to stay.

His mother has a pet list of excuses she rattles off to all listeners.

He joined for college money.

So what. He still reenlisted knowing what his assignment would bring.

He reenlisted because he knew his unit would deploy short handed without him and they would die.

Hog wash. There is no enlisted person so indispensable he cannot be replaced with another billet.

He joined based on lies told by the president.

Even if it was true - and it isn't, since no one yet has come close to showing that Bush lied about anything - but even were it true, he still made a rational choice and went.

He held up his hand and swore an oath. He, like me was standing next or near to a flag, perhaps holding a corner as I was when he swore this oath. He like I considered the weight of those words in relation to his choice, he likely felt the same butterflies and apprehension as I did.

But despite it all, and for reasons know only to him, he made his choice.

His mother needs to read the oath, and consider it because it represents why her son is dead. Not lies, excuses, oil or greed.

He is dead because he made a choice.

Its a pity she dishonors his choice with her politics, excuses and partisan agenda.

Read it again Cindy:

"I, Casey Sheehan, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

I salute the memory of Casey Sheehan.

A final word (I hope) on Cindy Sheehan and some scattered thoughts

NOTE: Welcome readers from Soundpolitics, thanks for dropping in.
******

She remains entrenched on the road to Crawford Texas. The liberal bloggers are flocking to her, and defending her, as I suspected, as the poor grieving mom the President is avoiding. Her family has disavowed her for the most part.

The way some columnists are shielding her behind the grieving mom is very telling. The liberals have long sought an unimpeachable figure head, and now they have her.

I think Mr Bush understands that if he were to meet with her, it would serve no practical purpose. She won't change her mind about the war, and he can't pull the troops on her demand. And frankly, when her main sign says he killed her son, I franly can't see him getting warm fuzzies about it.

Maybe he should send out Laura, do a mom to mom thing. That would disarm the press.

******

The Air America debacle finally reached the NY Times.....way in the back, in small print, under the panty ad I am sure, certainly not a headline.

If this had been a conservative radio network that diverted money ( I won't say stole ) money from orphans and widows, would it be this silent? I don't think so.

Al Franken would label them the Thieves and thieving liars or something for his next book.

Typical

*******

The Gas Tax rhetoric is still in high swing. Without the gas tax, they say people will DIE. At least oldy at Horsesass.org does.

Again, its a typical scare tactic that diverts the attention from the real issue, which is a Government that circumvents the will of the people, and businesses that are steeped in self interest.

I was glad to see the 912 campaign finally state they are appealing that bogus ruling. What a crock. THe more I read about it, the more my blood boils. I'll blog on that tonight.

More later.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

What's a mother to do?

"Why did you kill my son?"

That's the mantra of Cindy Sheehan, of Vacaville California. She lost her son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, in Iraq last year and this year she is demanding a meeting with Bush to challenge him with her question.

In her own words:

"I want to ask the president, why did he kill my son?" Sheehan told reporters. "He said my son died in a noble cause, and I want to ask him what that noble cause is."

Sheehan said hers was one of a group of about 15 families who each met separately with the president one day last June.

"He wouldn't look at the pictures of Casey. He didn't even know Casey's name," she told CNN Sunday. "Every time we tried to talk about Casey and how much we missed him, he would change the subject."

Sheehan said she was so distraught at the time that she failed to ask the questions she now wants answered.

"I want him to honor my son by bringing the troops home immediately," Sheehan told reporters Saturday. "I don't want him to use my son's name or my name to justify any more killing."


When I first heard about this on a Drudge Report, my first instinct was to be cautious. A grieving mom is a serious thing, and perhaps she needs this, perhaps she deserves some comfort and answers. Conservatives bristling at the obvious anti war flavor, and the dramatic rhetoric I thought should tread softly. But I read on, and there is much more going on here.

It seems when Cindy met with the president back in June of 2004 she had a much different account:

The mother of a fallen U.S. soldier who is holding a roadside peace vigil near President Bush's ranch -- has dramatically changed her account about what happened when she met the commander-in-chief last summer!

Cindy Sheehan, 48, of Vacaville, Calif., who last year praised Bush for bringing her family the "gift of happiness," took to the nation's TV outlets this weekend to declare how Bush "killed an indispensable part of our family and humanity."

CINDY 2004:

THE REPORTER of Vacaville, CA published an account of Cindy Sheehan's visit with the president at Fort Lewis near Seattle on June 24, 2004:"

'I now know he's sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis,' Cindy said after their meeting. 'I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith.'

"The meeting didn't last long, but in their time with Bush, Cindy spoke about Casey and asked the president to make her son's sacrifice count for something. They also spoke of their faith.

"The trip had one benefit that none of the Sheehans expected."

For a moment, life returned to the way it was before Casey died. They laughed, joked and bickered playfully as they briefly toured Seattle.

For the first time in 11 weeks, they felt whole again." 'That was the gift the president gave us, the gift of happiness, of being together,' Cindy said."

When you compare the two accounts they stand in sharp contrast. So what's the the truth? I don't know. She was noted as being more critical in August, so it seems more then likely she was anti war already. So why the gushing glowing praise in June?

So rather then try and figure out whether she is a hypocrite, a media hound or just a grieving mom who changed her mind, I decided to profile some other moms/spouses.

Crystal Owen, whose husband, Staff Sgt. Mike Owen, was killed in Iraq last year. She also met with the President, but this is what she told him:

'I know people are pushing you, but please don't pull the guys out of Iraq too soon. Don't let my husband -- and 1,700-plus other deaths -- be in vain. They were over there, fighting for a democratic nation, and I hope you'll keep our service members over there until the mission can be accomplished

Janet Norwood, who's son Sgt. Byron Norwood was slain in Iraq, embraced an Iraqi woman, Safia Taleb al-Suhail who's father was slain by Saddam's Intelligence Service had just voted in the first Iraqi Election. These two women who met last February, embody the duality of the conflict. One has lost a loved one to free the other of the cruelty that took her loved one.

"She thanked us for our son's sacrifice and made sure we knew the people in Iraq were grateful for the sacrifices that were made not just by our son, but by all of them said. I just told her how happy we were that the elections were successful and told her our son would have been pleased."


The fundamental differences I see between these two women and Mrs Sheehan is that first, they seem to understand that their loved ones volunteered and knew what they were volunteering for and they second, they are proud of them, despite their pain.

So far I have yet to see her express any pride in her son reenlisting in August, knowing he would likely go to war, but doing so anyway because he wanted to be part of his unit there. He made his choice, and in her interviews she constantly makes excuses. Did it for the college money....etc. She has her reasons why he shouldn't have, and those override why he actually did, in my opinion.

Cathy, a friend just sent me this:

My son Wes will be deployed to Afghanistan in February. Of course he faces various trainings prior to that, like needing to learn the language, etc. This will most likely be in Colorado. He and his best friend who joined together have been selected as top gunners. I am proud of him ,but of course scared. We have been dealing with a lot of emotions since the news. It is a reality check when your son sits you down to go over the benificiariy papers and what I am to do with them if the need arrives!

I can so feel her pain, but I also know her overwhelming pride. She has never expressed anything but total support and pride for him as long as I have known her. She seems to know that her son is an adult now, and has to make his own choices, and despite ever screaming instinct to hold and protect her child, she supports those choices.

It may be she will bear that bad news, I pray not. But I guarantee that if the worst were to happen, she won't be camped out in Crawford Texas, and won't be holding interviews with CNN about how Bush killed her son.

I feel Cindy's loss as much as any parent can, though I have never lost a child. But confronting the president - again - won't bring him back, and won't end the war. All it will do is cause her pain to fester, and force her to relive her son's death again and again. Maybe its time she accepted his adulthood, and his choice.

What's a mother to do? Let go. Instead she lives in the personal hell she carries in her heart.

UPDATE, via the Drudge report:

FAMILY OF FALLEN SOLDIER PLEADS: PLEASE STOP, CINDY!
Thu Aug 11 2005 12:56:21 ET

The family of American soldier Casey Sheehan, who was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004, has broken its silence and spoken out against his mother Cindy Sheehan's anti-war vigil against George Bush held outside the president's Crawford, Texas ranch.

The following email was received by the DRUDGE REPORT from Casey's aunt and godmother:

Our family has been so distressed by the recent activities of Cindy we are breaking our silence and we have collectively written a statement for release. Feel free to distribute it as you wish. Thanks Ð Cherie

In response to questions regarding the Cindy Sheehan/Crawford Texas issue: Sheehan Family Statement:

The Sheehan Family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the the expense of her son's good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our President, silently, with prayer and respect.

Sincerely,

Casey Sheehan's grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins.

Interesting.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Rudeness redeux

I previously posted my feelings here on rudeness in the midst of political discourse(http://tinyurl.com/73jzj and http://tinyurl.com/7wpek ). As always these things resurface, and a couple things came to mind.

The first was a quotation running through my mind, from Robert Heinlein in his book Friday. The quote deals with what he felt was one of the worst signs of a dying culture.

"...a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than a riot. "

This struck me as I read about a couple local events, and considered them in light of the quote and my previous blogs.

First, the head of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation wrote an article on voter reform in response to the debacle of voting problems we had here in Washington. I wont argue the merits of it, except to say that any help would be a big help.

Rep Jim Moeller (d) from our states Legislature responded with this email:


Sour grapes Mr. Williams! You are a Republican (or perhaps Libertarian). Your candidate lost. End of story. People aren't being prosecuted because there was no fraud. You and the Republican party went venue shopping hoping you could find a sympathetic ear in Eastern Washington for your pleas and what you got was an ear full. Why or why did I not hear you howls of protest of fraud, enhanced ballots, and illegal voting after the presidential election of 2000? Because you candidate won! Jesus, you are so transparent as to be comical. Move on Mr. Williams or better yet, just move. Sincerely,

Representative Jim Moeller
49th Legislative District
P. O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7872

I found that to be rude and offensive and told him so in an email (well I tell people to write their congressman, so I took my own advice...):

Your recent email to Mr Williams of the EFF was rude. Flat out rude.

As an elected official, as a role model to the people of this state, I expect better behavior then I would from my children, whom would all be grounded for a letter like that.

It saddens me to see you resort to ad hominem attacks on him simply because you disagree with his position and you have a different party affiliation.

Will you respond to me in the same manner? Will you assume I am Libertarian or Republican , as if either of those is a bad thing, simply because I find rudeness inexcusable from an adult and an elected official, particularly when sent on your official email? Is this how you spend the resources of the state? To send abusive emails?

Will you use Jesus as an expletive in my email as well?

FYI sir, I am a non partisan socially conservative, fiscally moderate independent, and a catholic.

If you want to attack me, try those first.

Disappointed,

Karl Swenson

Ok, I admit, I was irritated, but I did refrain from any kind of profanity or insult.

He responded today:

Dear Mr. Swenson:
Thanks for your email. Rude? Candid. Politics and public opinion is an adult endeavor and if you are offended by the language and strong expressions perhaps you're not ready for it. I made no assumption regarding Mr. Williams. He is a well known public figure and has served as a Republican legislator. His motives and opinions are fair public comment. I, unlike many of your compatriots, did not comment on his patriotism, ethics, intelligence, initiative, sexuality, morality or manners.

FYI, I'm a Democrat. Socially liberal, fiscally moderate and a Lutheran and I really doubt Jesus cares that I used his name in my email.

Thanks for writing and please write again.

Sincerely,
Representative Jim Moeller
49th Legislative District
P. O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7872

Well, he told me to write again, so this was my response (with his words inline, exactly as sent):

Thank you for your reply Sir,

Dear Mr. Swenson:Thanks for your email. Rude? Candid. Politics and public opinion is an adult endeavor and if you are offended by the language and strong expressions perhaps you're not ready for it.

I think my frustration is two fold, and is not limited only to you, nor solely to Liberals. First is the general attitude of impoliteness that seems to permeate political discussion. Robert Heinlein once wrote:

"...a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than a riot. "

This is something I see far too often, not only in politics but in general. I am far from a prude, I served 12 years active duty Air Force, and I can describe behavior and language far in excess of most peoples experience. But the Military also maintained higher standards of behavior, and most of that non PC behavior was considered improper behavior.

I see this rampant on all sides of the political spectrum, but I see it the worst for some reason in the hard line liberals, and it escapes me why. As example, I posted some comments in reply to David Goldstein's Horsesass.org Blog. In my comments I was measured, respectful and used no invective at all. I was brutally filleted, called all manner of things, the nicest being wingnut, and my arguments were dismissed as stupid without any effort to engage in reason. Oddly when I corresponded directly to Goldy, he was as polite as I was. It was an eye opener. It was easy to see that while a few were there for discussion, most were there to insult in anonymous hit and run attacks.

But the lesson was clear, and has been borne out by Air America, Mike Webb, Moveon.org and other left supporting media outlets: Anything goes.

And to be clear, the conservative world has it's fair share of rude behavior, but it still seems to me, in my attempts to rationally evaluate it, that while both sides play rough, the left holds back less.

My other area of frustration was the fact that you decided to utilize your public resources to respond to the EFF, and that I think was unprofessional and wrong. It was that as much as my perceived rudeness that prompted my letter.

My service to my country was for the protection of that sacred freedom, the freedom of speech, and you as a citizen have every right to express yourself. I just expected you do so in a private format when your response was going to cross from disagreement to "candid" insult. To do so on official (electronic) letter head seems inappropriate.

I made no assumption regarding Mr. Williams. He is a well known public figure and has served as a Republican legislator. His motives and opinions are fair public comment. I, unlike many of your compatriots, did not comment on his patriotism, ethics, intelligence, initiative, sexuality, morality or manners.

From this I assume the greater responses to your email, or some other communication toward you must have been harsh, judgmental and based on personal factors, of which I care nothing about. My response was on behavior, and it was that alone that prompted my email. Just for the record.

Mr Williams actions are indeed fair game, as are yours. I was under no illusions of who or what he is. What bothered me was that a political disagreement, of which he is hardly a lone voice, is dismissed as whining.

What he wrote about is the most precious right we have, the franchise of voting. And how anyone can look at what happened last year here in Washington and not see the need for serious reform is a mystery. I read about the mounting pile of mistakes, the institutional incompetence and openly recognized holes in the security of the process, and I as a voter and Washington resident am appalled. I was more appalled by the reforms that were taken, that ignore the most obvious problems. And please note, I have never yet said or implied fraud, I allow for the likelihood of mistakes, oversight and occasional mismanagement.

I don't see anything there worth labeling whining or sour grapes. Voter reform protects all voters, it should be the most non partisan issue we have.

If you disagree, I would love any manner of comment you have against the specific issues he raised, since I really don't know your position that well.

FYI, I'm a Democrat. Socially liberal, fiscally moderate and a Lutheran and I really doubt Jesus cares that I used his name in my email. Thanks for writing and please write again.

I had no illusions about your affiliation, and I don't think Jesus is the one who was offended. It was the citizens who viewed your response as slightly over the top that were offended. And those citizens are the ones you are sworn to represent ethically and professionally, and in that regard, I don't think you have done so.

Thank your allowing me this opportunity to respond.

Karl Swenson

All in all it served to reinforce what I had believed before, that personal manners are less important to some politicians then making a point. I noted that he made no effort to care about offending people, or for having behaved unprofessionally.

Maybe it's me, maybe my manners are the throwback to a lost generation that actually cared about personal behavior. It doesn't seem, as I look around that modern society gives a rip that often.

Calling each other names reduces us to the level of kindergarteners and makes the process of actually resolving the issues that face us today seem impossible. Lost somewhere is discussion, dialogue and reason, where the merits of the argument mean more then a casually dropped F bomb or insult.

Is our culture sick and dying, as Heinlein believed? Perhaps it is. Maybe Nanny 911 will come in before we mess things up too much.

Perhaps my disgruntlement is a feeble attempt to appeal to an atavistic concept, to try and recapture the politeness of my youth.

Maybe.

All I know is I try and take a more measured approach, and it seems to serve me well, and frankly I think I'm a better person for it. I also note that my ideas are more often considered when I can present them calmly. Seems like a no brainer to me.

So call me names. Sticks and stones.....