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I, among other kossacks, was chilled (to put it mildly) by the implications of Ralph Lopez' diary yesterday Why Obama Will Not Veto NDAA Military Detention of Americans: He Requested It.

Now today, in Politico, reporter Josh Gerstein has contributed a piece titled White House: No military detention for U.S. Citizens captured here.

Below the fold, please.

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Even though we're being governed by a corporatocracy, we still have (mostly) freedoms of speech, assembly and press.  These give you the only power you still have as a citizen, though they give you NO power if you don't put them into action.

In recent years, I've made two trips to Capitol Hill to do work as a Citizen Lobbyist, one totally on my own, and another as part of an organized effort.

I've also had plenty of in-person contact with my congress critters' local offices.

Why?  Because democracy is not a spectator sport.  An active and knowledgeable citizenry is crucial to the whole concept of a democracy.

Marches around the Capitol are ok, but the critters are not even in town on the weekends when marches take place.  I participated in a march around the Capitol once, and was left with the feeling that it didn't do a damned thing.

Far better it is to go into the office buildings during weekday hours, when the problem critters are there.

So, I'm ecstatic that, right now, we have a very active Citizen Lobbyist effort taking place. BRAVO! to RLMiller,  Something the Dog Said, SwordsandPens, MinistryofTruth and everyone else who is taking back Congress from the corporatocracy.

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Hat tip to Robert Naiman and the good folks at Just Foreign Policy for alerting about Senator Merkley's bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.

Co-sponsors as of Nov 21 include Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

Update:  An email from Just Foreign Policy identifies additional co-sponsors:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Sen. Bernard Sanders (D-VT)

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Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 02:18 PM PDT

Friday Kristol Funnies

by Hound Dog

The PBS Newshour had William Kristol on the program on Wednesday, June 22, commenting on the president's forthcoming speech on Afghanistan.

Or, I should say, the discredited William Kristol.

Way to go, Newshour!  What a way to torpedo your own credibility!

This inspired me to look up some of Tom Tomorrow's masterpieces on the subject of The Discredited Mister Kristol.

Thank you, Tom Tomorrow!

.     .

From January 9, 2008:

Kristol wrong

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I'm not sure if this has been posted on Dkos yet, but Senators Merkley, Udall and twelve others are circulating a letter to the President which strongly advises him to begin a "sizable and sustained reduction" of our deployment to Afghanistan as reported by Robert Naiman of Just Foreign Policy.

What's striking, for me, is that the senators actually lay out their reasoning.

I am quite pleased with the rhetoric, especially since I have been using much of the same facts and reasoning to try to convince Senator Durbin to start talking publicly about Afghanistan and to take action which results in redeployment (yep, I'm an Illinois resident).

Senator Durbin has mostly avoided any mention of Afghanistan, as if the place and our 100,000 service members there did not even exist.  He is a prolific issuer of press releases, but any about Afghanistan have been scarce.  Sen. Gillibrand, though, showed some serious fortitude by issuing a press release a couple months ago, which impressed me so much I wrote a diary on it.

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Odd, isn't it? that so few in Congress say much of anything about Afghanistan?

We're spending $100 billion+ this year on the export of more war to one of the poorest, most illiterate, most miserable places on Earth, the casualties to our own troops have ramped up in the past two years, yet members of Congress have little to say about the subject.

But it's not too difficult to figure out why we have so much silence from Congress;  any reasoning FOR a massive military footprint in Afghanistan is so specious, if not bizarre, that it's easy to wrestle it to the mat and pin it in seconds flat.  So, for a member of Congress to talk about this nasty war, which is based on specious, bizarre reasoning, is a VERY slippery slope, especially if you're one of them who are enabling it.  Better to not even talk about this massive, ugly beast in the room, pretend it's not there, and see if the media and a partisan electorate will give it a free pass...which is often what happens...than to say why you're NOT pushing back against it or not making any arguments FOR it.

Not so Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

Not only is Sen. Gillibrand an original co-sponsor of Barbara Boxer's S.186 -- Safe and Responsible Redeployment of United States Combat Forces from Afghanistan Act of 2011, but she has also issued a detailed press release in which she explains exactly WHY she supports S.186.

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Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 02:04 PM PST

Gen. Jack Keane's Afghan crystal ball

by Hound Dog

This week, Charlie Rose (CR) began what he calls a series of discussions on Afghanistan.

The first installment aired on Wednesday, March 9, with guests David Ignatius of the NYT, James Shinn of Princeton University, and Gen. Jack Keane, former Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.

Gen. Keane has deep insider connections
in the Pentagon, and in my own opinion, can be considered an advance man/proxy/stalking horse for Gen. Petraeus and for the Military Industrial Congressional Complex as a whole, i.e., the Fanclub For More War Spending In Afghanistan, especially considering the upcoming Petraeus dog-and-pony show in congress.
.     .

Jack Keane

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Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 10:53 AM PDT

Must See TV on PBS Tonight!

by Hound Dog

Tonight on PBS (check your local listings for time), POV will present The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.

If you don't know anything about the Vietnam war, Daniel Ellsberg, or the Pentagon papers, and want to bring yourself up to speed, or, if you just want a good refresher on what you already know, here's your chance.

From the full description of this film, below the fold:

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.     .

Presidents making a war escalation speech to enthusiastic supporters, now.....

.     .


"This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. "

President Barack Obama, VFW convention, August 2009.

.     .

Obama VFW

.     .

.....and back then.

.     .


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Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 01:23 PM PDT

10 - 2 - 2010 Rally, And More Ideas

by Hound Dog

There's lots of folks who are making preparations to go to the National Mall on October 2, 2010.

If you've never participated in such an event, then you really should consider this opportunity.  You'll get to carry signs, meet lots of like-minded believers, have a blast, and go home with some pleasant memories.

I've marched around the Capitol myself.

In the end, though, I've concluded that, though it's a great feel-good event, it doesn't DO much good towards influencing and turning government on the issues that you bring.


Because the very people that you want to influence - Congress, and the Executive Branch - will tune it all out.

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Cross-posted at Docudharma.

Two nights ago, President Obama said this in his Oval Office speech:

Now, as we approach our 10th year of combat in Afghanistan, there are those who are understandably asking tough questions about our mission there. (emphasis added)

.   .

And recently, Sen. Dick Durbin had this to say about Afghanistan:

Durbin, who voted against the Iraq war but for the Afghanistan war, said the consequences of combat in Afghanistan, particularly growing numbers of wounded and disabled veterans, "weigh dearly on me." He added that Americans must continue to ask not only what the US has achieved in Afghanistan but also "how will it end, when will it end, and at what cost." (emphasis added)

.     .

Neither Obama nor Durbin described exactly who is asking questions about Afghanistan, or exactly what questions are being asked and what answers are being given.

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Cross-posted at Docudharma and Firedoglake.

The mainstream media do not ask our government the questions they should be asking about Afghanistan.  

I diaried about this last week.

Since the MSM won't ask the tough questions, it's up to you and me, it appears.

I'm a military dad whose progeny has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan in heavy combat, where the batallion had many KIAs and serious WIAs.

I'm sick of constant endless war based on specious reasoning, and I have questions I want Dick Durbin, my senator, to answer about Afghanistan.  It's our service members and their families who are paying the price and bearing the burden for all of it.  Members of congress who keep shoveling the money for constant, endless war ought to look us families who OPPOSE it in the eye, and answer questions.

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