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Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's not even Halloween, and yet we're talking about Christmas already.......

Bob Layton roots out the nutjobs. Did you know that Beshear hates Christmas and Christians? Well clearly he does.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

6 years later...What has Iraq taught us? A commentary from a conservative turned liberal

On 9/11/2001 I was a senior in High School. I was 18 years old and was a registered Republican. Being raised in one of the most conservative counties in the state of Kentucky I in hindsight believe I was a Republican simply by the osmosis of my classmates and the common conservative culture that existed around me. I was a flight officer in the Civil Air Patrol in Boone County Composite Squadron 050, the official United States Air Force Civilian Reserve, a sort of ROTC program that provided Air Force assets to State and Federal agencies.

After college I had every intention of joining the military (I started the Marine Corp Officer program at NKU, then when I transfered to UK and enrolled in Air Force ROTC), but I didn't stay on that path. It was first hour English and the cell phone that I wasn't supposed to have in school rang. It was my mother, and she told me of a plane that had ran into the World Trade Center tower, I'd heard of it, but didn't really know what it was. I told our English teacher Ms. Daniels about what I'd heard. She didn't ask how I obtained this information out and flipped to TV on. The TV radiated the damage, the North Tower had smoke pouring out of it.

2nd period came, by this time the second plane had hit the South Tower. We watched as it happened. But were confused, we weren't sure if the second plane hitting the South Tower was a replay of the first plane hitting the North Tower. But I remember the news anchor saying something along the lines of, "Oh no, that was clearly intentional, the other tower has now been hit." We sat in Mr. Yelton's class, if you find this ironic at all it was American Government. Mr. Yelton was a Veteran, one of the older teachers. He enrolled in the Army in the early 60's and was deployed to Thailand before Vietnam got really heated. Mr. Yelton was a Conservative Republican and was someone I looked up to as a mentor. He had certainly reinforced my conservative values, and helped to shape the militaristic vengeance I would feel after 9/11.

We sat in American Government and watched the towers falling over and over again, the networks made sure they capitalized on the tragedy. I looked over at my High School best friend who stood beside me staring in disbelief and in an almost adolescent approval he turned to me and said "this is our generation's Pearl Harbor." We were at war, and now my generation had it's purpose. I can't recall if I was sent home before or after lunch but the call came over the intercom informing my High School chemistry teacher that I was to be sent home. My mother was scared, the nation was under attack and our High School was no more than a few miles from a major international airport.

On my way home I began to think of what I'd do if I ran across Middle Eastern terrorists who would be dressed in their ethnic garb crossing some obscure Northern Kentucky road, in hindsight this is completely laughable. But at the time, for the first time in my life I saw F-16 fighter jets screaming overhead at low altitude. Very quickly the networks indicated some Saudi Arabian man named Osama Bin Laden was behind the attacks. I remember hearing a very jazzy, sappy version of "America the Beautiful" playing over my radio and tearing up. My nation had been attacked damn it. We were the beacon of freedom in the world. Who were these monsters? And why would they attack us? When I arrived home, my mother and stepfather were both at the house already. My dad looked at me in the eyes and said, "What have I told you Stephen? People aren't afraid of the United States, someone who who will throw a rock at a tank, son, that's an entire different way of viewing life". That statement, in the long run would stick with me and would mean more to me than that day did.

A few months passed, President Bush stood in the remains of the World Trade Center Towers and told us we would get our revenge, it wasn't too long after that when we sent the CIA (for the second time) into Afghanistan along with American Special Forces embedded and aiding the Northern Alliance, a regime just as bad, if not worse than the Taliban.

I entered college in the fall of 2002, I was doing something every white upper middle class white kid did in Northern Kentucky. All of my friend were going to college, it was never a question of "if" but where. I choose NKU because it was close, had instate tuition, and comparatively cheap compared to other universities. I knew I had to get a bachelors degree to be an officer, something I had espoused to be my entire life. I had the influence of mentors who were retired military officers, the largest influence most likely came from a close friend of my father's, a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel who reinforced my desire to be
a pilot. There was nothing more exciting than the sexy allure of fast supersonic airplane that I could pilot. I wanted to fly an attack aircraft, a distinguishable difference in a fighter or bomber, an attack aircraft did both, it shot missiles at other planes as well as dropped bombs. What could be cooler? Having the best of both worlds right?

I rocked out my first semester at NKU, making the dean's list, I did something then that seems sort of silly in hindsight, I took 8am classes, if given the choice now, I wouldn't take a class that starts before 10. While at NKU I quickly latched on to my first political science professor, a masters student seeking a PhD named Keim. She was a veteran as well, and a big supporter of President George W. Bush. I had a 100 level class with her and it was in her class that I learned a lesson then which would have a great implications in my future thinking. The book she assigned for us to read was 'The Prince' by Niccolò Machiavelli. A book which helped to inspire Western Imperialism, and justify Western cruelty upon the people in which they dominated.

The fall of 2002 passed, with my first year of college under my belt and on the dean's list I was on riding a high. I was a patriotic American, I was going to join the military and fight the enemies of America and reign vengeance upon the people who'd attacked our Republic. And along came the spring of 2003. The case against Saddam Hussein was firmly set. Here were my notes from: 2/5/2003 justifying a case for war.
Iraqi policies.

-Set oil wells on fire
-Released oil into the sea

-Invaded Kuwait in 1990

-Launched scud missiles into Saudi Arabia, and Israel
-Prepared suicide squads to act in Israel
-U.S. evidence that Iraq is funding terrorism

-Gassed Iranian people
-Gassed Kurds
-Killed opposition when coming to power
-Used civilians in Gulf War as human shields

-If not sooner then later we’ll deal with him.
-Appeasement didn’t work in 1939.
-Has Chem. weapons, trying to develop nuclear
-Weapons inspectors given run around
-French are unsupportive due to oil to their country
(a gross violation due to the embargo they signed)
(fear of terrorist action within their country to due security)
-Political opposition die under Saddam, everyone has right to freedom
-War is one of liberation
-War is one of security for U.S.
-War would stabilize region

-Democrats attempting to reenact the draft even though a draft is entirely unneeded to draw support away from the president.
-Russia was not supportive due to the multi-billion dollar debt in military supplies the Russians supplied under Soviet rule
-Europe opposed due to biased one sided-unbalanced media.
-France opposed due to oil

-War is inevitable
-Iraq like Afghanistan will be grateful
-Casualties will be light (Gulf War casualties were 240, 776 wounded against the fourth largest army in the world in 1990)
-If not acted upon pacifists and appeasers are no better than the people that sat under Adolph Hitler and did nothing
-Good and evil does exist in the world and curse those who wouldn’t act to help another human being be free.


And with this in mind, we fast forward to March 2003. This news coverage was something entirely new to the American people, this news coverage was literally live. I remember watching Fox News as the troops rolled across the border, live. This was infotainment at it's finest, and boy did I lap it up.

The invasion happened and I watched it live on TV, being that I was white, upper middle-class and in the grand scheme of things privileged I didn't enlist into the military. I planned on going officer and nothing less. We rolled over the Iraqi defenses within one month. Now ask yourself why. Why did the American military fight and occupy a country which at one point was the world's 4th largest army. The answer? We'd been bombing Iraq from 1990-2003, Iraq couldn't keep a tank that we didn't try to bomb. The sad reality of the situation of Iraq was that it was a once American puppet, and when that puppet became uncontrollable after the invasion of Kuwait, Iraq and Saddam Hussein (a sudo-American CIA agent) became a threat, Saddam was a tyrant, a killer, a murderer. Little did I know a the time that Saddam was put into power by the United States Government in the late 1970's. He was seen as a asset due to the fact that he was an enemy of the Iranian Revolution. Keep in mind, the United States only condemns tyrants when they aren't our government's tyrants. We have a long track record on this issue.

Of course this dissenting information wouldn't make it's way to my ears until years later, maybe it was there from the beginning, but I just couldn't hear it. Words like "blowback" wouldn't emerge into my consciousness until a few years later. I remember small things about the lead up to the war now, strange things, like how Scott Ritter, a UN weapons inspector was silenced when he opposed the invasion. Somehow sealed court documented were leaked to the media, Ritter had been accused of soliciting a 16 year old girl however the case was dismissed. A convenient little stunt no doubt pulled by a friend of the Bush administration to drown out voices of opposition and discredit anyone not following lockstep with the war-hawks. I remember hearing of anti-war demonstrations on NKU's campus, I sought them out and hurled words at them like "traitor" and "terrorist".

After Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' speech things started to unravel, both my trust in the administration and the severity of the insurgency.

The summer of 2003 was a bloody one in Iraq, it seemed like every day there were headlines in the papers about US Military personnel being killed. I was working for a friend's father at the time and I remember during my lunch breaks I would look for anything I could find about the American presence in Iraq. It was during the first semester at NKU that I began to watch Fox News. Bill O'Reilly was consuming the cable news market, and I watched his program every single night.

In the fall of 2003 I decided to move. Northern Kentucky seemed stale for some reason. My friend was transferring to UK and I thought this was an opportunity for a change in my life. Not to leave the military out of the equation, I quickly enrolled in UK's Air Force ROTC program. Lexington Kentucky was vastly different in just about every way. The campus was an actual campus, students lived within the city limits and the professors were unapologetically liberal.

The first political science course I took was with a man named Berres and the first day of class we learned that he was a self-pronounced socialist. I, being the smart patriotic American that I was challenged him in class, basically calling into question his patriotism and letting the class know I was in fact a ROTC student. I was rightfully put in my place when turned out that Berres wasn't only a veteran, but was a Vietnam veteran, who was in military intelligence. We're friends now, I look back on that exchange and shake my head in disgust to how ignorant I was.

It was the summer of 2004 that I began to punch holes in my registration in the Republican Party. It was clear that the war was a vehicle for Cheney's Halliburton to makes millions in no-bid contracts, the occupation of Iraq had turned into a bloodbath, the oil companies were reaping record profits at the expense of the American people while Bush and the Republican congress shrugged their shoulders and chalked it up to free market principles. I've always thought of myself as a populist, and the Republican Party was offering tax breaks to the wealthiest and to the oil companies. Not to middle class Americans.

Going into the fall of 2004, I knew I wasn't going to vote for Bush, it didn't matter who was on the Democratic side but I knew progressive principles were right. Universal Healthcare, a living wage, a tax structure that benefited the majority of Americans and not those who had the most (they justified the tax cuts by saying it created jobs). Bush had in fact created nothing less than an inefficient bloated cash cow called the second Gulf War. The entire government was up for sale to the most well connected corporation. In the fall of 2004 I voted for John Kerry, the first Democrat I had ever voted for. I actually voted straight ticket Democrat, and voted against the gay marriage ban that Daniel Mongiardo co-sponsored. If you'd come to in the summer of 2003, I would have told you Bush should be reelected. My populist ideals couldn't justify a big business pro-oligarchy party.

In 2006 I joined the UK College Democrats and began to actively work in Democratic politics. After 2004 I was burnt, I couldn't believe Bush was reelected and knew I had to get involved in the process. I began to study the labor movements of the 19th and 20th centuries and saw the brutality that corporations exerted on their workers. I'd studied to the Utopian ideals of the right and saw that those on the right were as naive as communists.

In 2009 it's important to remember that I'm not exactly happy with the Democratic Party either. When President Obama took office we were 1.2 trillion in debt, we're now 1.4 trillion in debt, only a 12% jump in the overall debt. We're the only industrialized western nation without a universal healthcare system and yet the blue dogs in the Democratic Party are complaining about our national debt, fine, put the tax rates back to where they were before 1980 and lets pay down the debt, our society ran just fine before 1980. I'm irritated with the Democratic Party, because it's given far too much to Wallstreet and not enough for main street. I'm an FDR Democrat, and believe every American deserves a job, food and shelter.

The Democrats have given way too many concessions to big business, and bought into their promise that if they're left to their accord, they'll employ people and create wealth. And yet Americans today make less than they did before Reagan, are drowning in debt (student loans are a sham) and yet are the most productive people on earth. Remember when your parents told you to work hard and go to school and you'd do okay? This society isn't living up to these principles and the policies of the 20th century after WWII have benefited those with the most.

We see what we want to believe. I wanted to believe that our generation would fight America's new enemy, an enemy banking on our nation's destruction simply because they hated our freedom. This made things overtly easy, it satisfied my moral reservations about war. We were invading Iraq to liberate it's people against a brutal tyrant who had to be stopped...... except none of that is true. We invaded Iraq because corporate elites had to have the oil, so that the wealthiest few could control more of the world's natural resources and become even richer. Their power grab has cost an estimated 100,000 Iraqi lives and over 4,000 American servicemen.

Iraq was a power grab devised by the wealthiest most powerful men in the world, and the invasion was draped with the merits of freedom and democracy.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Meghan McCain shows all, psychic family tries to outdo her, sends 6 year old up in magic balloon to talk to aliens.

The last two days have been so exciting! Meghan McCain posted a sexy sex picture on her twitter account in regards to some hippy druggy she's in love with pissing off the entire conservative establishment.

Not to be outdone, some wife swapping family sent their kid up in a magical balloon so he could be closer to the voices in his head.

Turns out he didn't actually go up in the balloon, he was just hiding in the attic, I think.

Well, that's what they said happened.

And then the kid said something else on CNN, something along the lines of "We did this for the show."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

PBS's: Obama's War

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Think the GOP has a hope in 2010? Numbers say otherwise......

October 8, 2009 - American Voters Oppose Obama Health Care Plan, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; GOP Gets Lowest Grades Since Obama Elected

American voters oppose 47 - 40 percent President Barack Obama's health care reform plan, and don't want an overhaul that only gets Democratic votes, but they support key parts of the plan, including 61 - 34 percent for giving people the option of a government health insurance plan that competes with private plans, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

By a 57 - 37 percent margin, voters say Congress should not approve a health care overhaul with only Democratic votes. Democrats are OK with a one-party bill 63 - 29 percent, but opposition is 88 - 9 percent from Republicans and 62 - 32 percent from independent voters.

President Obama's job approval is 50 - 41 percent, virtually unchanged from his 50 - 42 percent rating August 6, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey of 2,630 American voters finds. The President's 41 - 51 percent negative rating on health care is barely changed from his 39 - 52 percent rating August 5. His 47 - 46 percent score on handling the economy is slightly better than a 45 - 49 percent negative in August.

But Republicans get their lowest grades since Obama was elected on several measures:
Voters disapprove 64 - 25 percent of the way Republicans in Congress are doing their job, with 42 percent of Republican voters disapproving;
Only 29 percent think Republicans on Capitol Hill are acting in good faith;
Voters trust Obama more than Republicans 47 - 31 percent to handle health care;
Voters 53 - 25 percent have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party.
"President Barack Obama's approval rating has held at 50 percent over the past two months of high-intensity debate on health care and other issues," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "And while the spotlight is on the President, Republicans are taking a public opinion pounding."

"The public says it doesn't want Congress to pass a plan that only gets Democratic votes, but with apparently solid opposition from the congressional Republicans to Obama's plan it will be interesting to see how this issue plays in 2010 should the Democrats push through a bill with just their own votes," said Brown. "The long-term politics of a Democratic-only bill are clear as mud because they would almost certainly depend on how the public likes the finished product when it comes time to vote in 2010 and 2012."

The public view on the specifics of the proposed health care overhaul has not changed much, although a bare 50 - 45 percent majority now supports requiring people to have health insurance, compared to 51 - 44 percent against in a July 1 Quinnipiac University poll.

American voters also support 73 - 23 percent requiring businesses to help pay for employee health insurance, compared to 73 - 24 percent in July.

On the negative side, voters don't believe 71 - 19 percent that Obama can keep his promise that health insurance reform will not add to the federal deficit, down from 72 - 21 percent disbelief August 5. Even Democrats believe 50 - 32 percent that health insurance reform will add to the deficit.

"Voters overwhelmingly see the Republican opposition as not making a good faith effort to cooperate with Obama and the Democrats in Congress on health care and by a smaller 46 - 41 percent margin feel the Democrats are not playing fair with the Republicans," said Brown. "They trust Obama more than congressional Republicans on health care. Yet there is no groundswell of support of his health care plan itself."

From September 29 - October 5, Quinnipiac University surveyed 2,630 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 1.9 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research.

For more data or RSS feed-, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?

Here's the link to the poll.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Jack Conway and Diane Lawless at the UK College Democrats meeting



Friday, October 2, 2009

Main difference between liberals and conservatives......