Saturday, November 17, 2007

Two little ones with their deployment bears

Daddy's little girl dissolves into tears knowing it is real Daddy is leaving this weekend.

Making deployment bears for the little ones the night before Daddy deploys to Iraq. I have said my goodbyes to my son-in-law, but words totally fail me as I find I don't know what to say to him on this, his second deployment to Iraq. There aren't words to express and the photo of his 2 younger children says what I can't find words to say to him, to my daughter, to my grandchildren. I am humbled by the dignity with which they are having to manage two deployments.

post from their mother, on the night before their father leaves for his second deployment to Iraq:

Last night we went to the xxxx Mall and let the kids make a build a deployment bear. They dressed them in Army outfits. Hubby went to the back room at the store and recorded his voice so they could put his recording in each of the kids bears. After he was finished making the recordings she put each of them into the kids bears arms, stuffed them and then the kids grabbed hearts to put into their bears.

But it was very very neat because my husband also took two hearts and together the kids and my hubby
rubbed the hearts to warm them up,
patted them to get the hearts beating,
touched their forehead to make the bears smart,
touched their noses so the bears would know them,
touched their knees so the bears would need them,
touched their muscles so their bears would be strong,
and touched their hearts so their bears would love them,
then each of them kissed their hearts and put them into the bears.

It was so adorable because there was my hubby standing with the kids saying and doing everything the girl said to do with the hearts. Now the kids have hearts in their bears right besides daddy's heart.

Daddy told him he is the man of the house while Daddy is gone. Is his son's expression wondering how he will live up to being the man of the house.

Two little ones trying so hard to be brave for Daddy, and now it is real for them with these deployment bears that he is leaving for Iraq this weekend.
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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Iraq war has me down; in another venue doing something positive to counter the malaise

Not the usual kind of content or material that I post to my Dying to Preserve the Lies blog. I have other blogs for other elements of my life, and sometimes there is a cross-over. Somehow, I think the post I'm sharing here is a crossover -- well, for me, and where I am with myself after 5 years of activism in trying to bring conclusive end to Iraq war. I'm activism weary, war-weary, military family weary, and in trying to resume areas of our lives that I've let drift in my activism intensity, I am reminded of old teachings about the need for balance in our lives in order to have the stamina, strength to pursue with passion the things we love.

Well, I surely don't love anything about the Iraq war, and I grow disheartened with the repetition in the activism activities seemingly not getting any better results in year 5 than in year 1 of the Iraq war. I never much liked politics and these days like it even less and yet politics governs aspects of our daily lives in powerful ways, that ignoring the fact of politics is perhaps why we find ourselves as a country and nation where we are now.

But in the feeling of defeat that direct activism, direct head on activism to end Iraq war, to get out troops home has not brought about that result, I am in need of finding things I can do that bring about positive influence. Being a young wife and mother in the 1970's, I appreciated the back to earth living principles of that time that are revived in 2000 with a whole new look - sustainable living. Before it was called sustainable living in reaction to global climate warming, it was known by other names; homesteading, spirit of independence within community, simplistic living, abundant living, meaningful living, reductionism, communes, living off the grid, communities caring for each other, self sufficiency and/or any other labels by which the lifestyle is called.

Before 2001, before this country's Administration decided to invade Iraq, I was on my own path towards reviving some of those old skills while we tried to fly in the face of the norm by reducing to a one-income household. And along the way, we kept up with that goal, but only with my half-hearted attention and not half the measure of the intensity and focus I was giving to my calling as a military family to speak out in opposition to Iraq war as exploitive of the principles our military holds dear.

My son-in-law says goodbye to his wife and children (my daughter and three grandchildren) to leave next week for his second deployment to Iraq. It will be another extended 'stop-loss' 15 month deployment for him. It is being whispered that it will be an 18 month deployment, a rumor prospect that once he and his unit arrive in Iraq, another 3 month extension, 'stop-loss' will be added on top of the already 15 month stop-loss deployment. I feel a deep sense of personal failure, a difficult sense of futility in not being able to do enough or the right kinds of things that would have prevented he and all the troops from having to do repeat deployments.

Out of that sense of futility, I find myself uninspired to participate with any of the planned 'anti-war' activist projects. I recognize this is not a good place to be with myself, personally. I also recognize that one of the strategies that does seem to be working in holding the supposed 'anti-war' movement in check is that activist will tire and get weary and lose stamina, lose intensity, lose focus, lose heart.

Much as I'd love to see a nationwide 'Consumer Strike' where no one purchased anything for a week or more; or everyone didn't go to work for several days; or everyone got out into the streets to express their concern with the multitude of current issues that are breaking down our country; or my deep concern that a military draft will have to be introduced at some point bringing about the furor of concerned parents and a military draft is not something I want to see but given that the current military is spent and exhausted and no end in sight to war in the Middle East.....

In turning my attention to some positive kinds of things we can do, with absolute results, I post the below as part of my own respite. How does this help ---- well for one thing it suggests in positive ways how to create and build community - commonality - communities caring for each other and looking out for each other, the foundation stones of stewardship for caring for our very home on this planet. Stewardship, caring, actively engaging --- all these are principles that, I like to think, can unite us towards life-giving pursuits, detouring us from this path of fostering hate-mongering and destructive pursuits.

Doing Something Positive - The Urban Pioneers are doing it, so can we!

Excellent video encapsulating wide array of concepts in Sustainable Living. These Urban Pioneers got a jumpstart back when it was called self-sufficiency- meaningful living, abundant living, simplistic living, getting off the grid. And they go even further back ... see the video below. Big hat tip to Path To Freedom Journal blog.

from the Path to Freedom Journal blog 'about us'
On 1/5th of an acre, this family has over 350 varieties of edible and useful plants. The homestead's productive 1/10 acre organic garden now grows over 6,000 pounds (3 tons) of organic produce annually,providing fresh vegetables and fruit for the family’s vegetarian diet along with a viable income.

In addition they have chickens, ducks, goats, brew their own biodiesel (made from waste (free!) vegetable oil) to fuel their car, compost with worms, solar panels provide their electricity needs, a sun and earthen oven is used to cook food in.
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Doing Something Positive - The Urban Pioneers are doing it, so can we!

Excellent video encapsulating wide array of concepts in Sustainable Living. These Urban Pioneers got a jumpstart back when it was called self-sufficiency- meaningful living, abundant living, simplistic living, getting off the grid. And they go even further back ... see the video below. Big hat tip to Path To Freedom Journal blog.

from the Path to Freedom Journal blog 'about us'
On 1/5th of an acre, this family has over 350 varieties of edible and useful plants. The homestead's productive 1/10 acre organic garden now grows over 6,000 pounds (3 tons) of organic produce annually,providing fresh vegetables and fruit for the family’s vegetarian diet along with a viable income.

In addition they have chickens, ducks, goats, brew their own biodiesel (made from waste (free!) vegetable oil) to fuel their car, compost with worms, solar panels provide their electricity needs, a sun and earthen oven is used to cook food in.
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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thrift Store Shopping Tips

Thrift Store Shopping Tips

by: Sintilia Miecevole

If you are tired of seeing the same old clothing styles at mall department stores and boutiques, it may be time to add a little spice to your wardrobe. Rather than looking just like everyone else, thrift stores offer access to unique items not found anywhere else- at least not in the last twenty or so years! Not only are thrift store clothes relatively inexpensive, but they can also be ultra hip. If you approach it the right way, you may be able to create your very own personal style by mixing the old and the new.

When you first decide to embark on a thrift store shopping spree, there are a few things to remember. Firstly, a lot of thrift stores only take cash, so if you are used to grabbing Daddy’s credit card and going to town, you’ll have to make other arrangements. Some stores do take checks, so you might want to have your checkbook handy. Secondly, a lot of thrift stores do not have dressing rooms, so you’ll probably want to wear a light t-shirt so you can try on your finds right where you find them. And most importantly, you are probably not going to find anything that fits you absolutely perfectly. You can’t go in looking for “your size.” You will have to try on what looks promising and see if you can alter it in any way if needed.

Believe it or not, thrift stores in the hippest parts of town generally have the least hip clothes. This is because there are hundreds of people just like you who are picking through their stock of wearable items every day. If you want to find authentic vintage clothing at inexpensive prices, you’ll have to drive to the most uncool parts of town. This could mean the suburbs, and it could mean farmland, depending on where you are located. You will find, however, that it is well worth the drive, and that your treasure is definitely another woman’s trash.

Shirts are typically the easiest items to find at thrift stores, because they allow more flexibility in the fitting department. You can find some excellent western shirts in rural areas, and there are always witty t-shirts on the little boy’s racks. If you are looking for a good pair of jeans, however, you might want to check the men’s section. Thrift stores typically stock a plethora of pleated-front tapered-leg acid-washed jeans in the ladies section, so you will rarely find anything cool on those racks. However, the men’s section can be filled with surprisingly girlish slacks in interesting colors and textures. There have also been known to be great pairs of vintage Levi’s hanging in the men’s racks.

If vintage dresses are your think, you will have a field-day going through the strange fashions of yesteryear that you will find in any thrift store. Once you make your way past the obnoxious flowery Sunday dresses and the strange lime green pleated skirts, you may find one or two keepers. Don’t give up until you looked at the last one, because chances are there will be a diamond in the rough there just waiting for a little nip and tuck from your sewing machine.

Thrift stores are also an excellent place to find work clothes for a job interview or a new office job. If you’d rather save your money for more fun items, you can always replenish your work wardrobe with some inexpensive black skirts and dress shirts from the local Salvation Army or Goodwill. Work people will never know that your new suit only cost you five bucks. They’ll just be happy that you’re not wearing your favorite club get-up to the important meeting again.

About The Author

Sintilia Miecevole, host of provides you with shopping information from franchises, business, great buys and seasonal items to ecommerce and more. Be sure to visit for the latest information.

Source: Articles 3000

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« One Man’s Trash… Could Be Your Treasure - 3 Rules Of Thrifty Product Sourcing

Thrift shops and consignment stores can be excellent sources for your product inventory — they always have fresh items to pick through and you can find some great pieces for rock-bottom prices.

• Consignment stores, are commission-based. People bring in products for the store to sell on commission — what doesn’t sell is returned to the owner.

• Thrift stores are often ‘not for profit’ and get most of their goods via donations.

In comparing the two, thrift stores are typically more willing (and able) to bargain with you simply because they have more room to do so.

Online retailers sometimes feel that these types of resale stores are not a good place to find inventory because there’s not enough of a profit margin. But author Kate Holmes, founder of Too Good To Be Threw (, disagrees. Holmes asserts, "These stores have a very limited market. If nobody in their town happens to want to buy a pair of Jodhpurs that week, those Jodhpurs will be sitting there waiting for an eBay seller to snap them up.” The end result can be amazing deals on quality items with an online demand.

In addition to a narrow market, Holmes also cites restricted space as a factor in second-hand stores’ bargain pricing. She points out, "They only have so much space, so they can only carry so many things. If they can move an item on and bring something else in, they’re pleased with that.”

3 Rules of Sourcing Products in Thrift and Consignment Shops:

1. Shop the Edges. Even resale stores tend to carry certain types of products. What doesn’t fit a shop’s profile, they usually want to move out quickly. They tend to put these products around the store’s edges, so start there.

2. Shop Often. These stores are constantly turning over product and bringing in new items, so don’t let a dry trip or two discourage you. Your persistence can pay off in a big way.

3. Cultivate Relationships with Shopkeepers. If they like you, they’ll be much more willing to give you deals. They may also be more willing to set things aside for you, if they know what you’re looking for, and guide you to items you might have otherwise missed.

If you’re just starting out, a good place to find resale stores is in the Yellow Pages, under either “consignment” or “thrift.” Don’t be afraid to ask shopkeepers if they know of other stores in the area — if they don’t have what you’re looking for, they’ll usually be happy to refer you to someone they think might.

Product Sourcing Radio is Created and Hosted by Chris Malta and Rob Cowie of, Home of OneSource: The Internet's Largest Source of Genuine, Factory-Direct Wholesalers for online sellers. Click Here for FREE E-Biz & Product Sourcing info!

Source: Articles 3000
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Let's Talk About Thrift Stores

I do and don't like to shop at Thrift Stores. I love thrift store shopping when I have extra money to spend and encounter those thrift stores that are clean, well merchandised, and prices are affordable, and I feel like I have purchasing power. I don't like thrift store shopping as much when I have fewer choices and absolutely have only XX dollars to spend and I'm not in the 'mood' for gently used anything. Usually when I'm in those kind of moods, it's dark anyway and I'm more in memory of childhood days when sometimes it was 'hand-me-downs', and not much other choices. So, it's a frame of mind for me.

Over the years, from teen, to young parent, to middle aged parent of almost adult kids, to grandmother, my identity, self esteem, and needs have changed. In my teens, having cool, new clothes of the 1960's made a major difference to how I felt about myself. As a young wife and mother having fun clothes was important to me as I assumed my new identity as wife and mother. As a working wife and mother, career woman of the 1970's and 1980's, having a professional wardrobe was important to my sense of identity. Making sure my children had new home, new clothes, new toys, plenty of groceries was important to my sense of being a successful parent.

But in the 1980's something happened. Brand name labels became the 'have to have' among kids and with the brand names came gradually escalating prices until ridiculous prices was the operating word. Tennis, running, basketball shoes jumped to over $100.00 a pair and kept climbing. And that was rather my own personal 'wake up call' and when I put my foot down, explaining to my children, by my logic, that this brand name label clothing was a marketing device and nothing more. I wasn't going to buy into it.

Not so easy for them, because part of their forming identities was tied to what the kids at school were wearing and having whatever was the newest, coolest marketing product. Things like Cabbage Patch dolls began the trend towards 'must have at all costs' toys that parents needed to get for their children. Where was this mentality coming from, I wondered, while I didn't purchase Cabbage Patch dolls at outrageous prices? Well I did purchase some of the trendy toys of that era for my children, but only in what I considered to be an 'acceptable and affordable' range by my standards.

Fast forward through the 1990s to the present, and the trend of buying the newest, latest products is a firmly entrenched mentality among families today. I shudder at the challenges my children, now adults with children of their own face in their efforts to satisfy the perceived wants and needs of their children. If I were faced with some of those financial challenges now, I would have to consciously work to stay above the fray.

But now I sound like my own grandparents sounded to my ears when I was a lot younger. So I've reached 'that age'. Even so, I have growing concerns for my adult children and my grandchildren because I sense strongly the lifestyle we enjoyed when I was raising them is more elusive as they raise their own children.

I began frequenting thrift stores for the fun of finding those very special finds --- cut crystal, unique bags, vintage tablecloths and napkins, yard ornaments, occasional kitchenware. But I didn't 'have to' shop thrift stores, so it was a fun way to spend an afternoon and I was spelunking, looking for those great finds. And then I tried my hand at looking for certain collectibles and antiques in thrift stores and the best of the best thrift stores were when we lived in a city that had wealth that was measured only by more wealth. I found some of the best quality of whatever I was looking for in the thrift stores that dotted that city. It was my ideal of shopping manna.

When we moved from the city to a more rural setting, in region known to have a shrunken economic baseline, so did the availability shrink in the shrunken towns that comprised the region. The spelunking changed and took on a different element, but was still fun, because I could ocassionally find authentic antiques at thrift store prices, and collectibles not yet priced at collectible prices. When we made the decision to go from two incomes - his and mine to one income - his - we felt proud of our decision, made the shifts to tighten our belts, and I earnestly began to look at reviving all the dollar saving hints and tips I'd learned growing up as a child in an economically-challenged family.

I wanted to see if I could do with our household what some of the Depression-era people did to creatively stretch a dollar, recycle, re-use, re-fashion, and remake. It wasn't easy to find reading material on such things, and I wished I could have been in the tutelage of some of the elderly who knew how to do what I did not and could teach me. I realized that I had grown accustomed to the ease of consumerism, and began to contemplate ideas like what if.......

-- what if the economy implodes and we have no choice but to revive some of the older skills?

-- what if we couldn't drive cars any and everywhere because gas cost too much and global warming was a concern?

-- what if and the what if's went on in my mind

And perhaps it could be called an intuitive sense of changing times because as a society, a nation, we seemed to have reached a point of needing to reconsider lifestyles permitted to evolve at the hands of marketing devices.

I'm most encouraged though by the creativity I am seeing among the young families and especially the young women of today as they try to manage their lives and lifestyles on a shrinking dollar. I see a revival of a need to find creative ways to re-use, re-make, re-fashion, re-cycle, and I see young families finding ways to do more with a bit less and keeping a good spirit while doing so. For some it seems to be an effort to restore or return to a prescribed faith-based lifestyle that puts women in their homes with their families. For some it is a flair for the artistic in finding new ways to create clothing, fashion, home decor, gifting. For some it is the challenge forced upon them.

And the thrift store takes on a new prominence in the modern era. Or so it seems to me. So let's talk about thrift stores.
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Then and Now

Over the years, the imaginary character, skinflint curmudgeon, has been evolving as our own times have been evolving. When he was invented, there was a movement towards abundant simplified living, living off the grid, meaningful living and enriching the act of living. Since he was invented, politics in this country (USA) has so altered the landscape of living life enough that there are economic conditions that rather force a change in lifestyle for those not among the wealthy and more wealthy.

Erosion of middle class economics, inflated housing market prices, inflated and rising petroleum/gas prices which absolutely will have impact on our carbon-based economy and way of life. Meanwhile the discretionary income margin we permitted for ourselves when we deliberately reduced to one income lifestyle has been consumed by the ever increasing petroleum-based essential products, like groceries, heat for our home, and for us there no longer is a discretionary income margin. Every dollar is budgeted and accounted for and we have yet to make what will be required cuts to manage the cost increases ahead.

So while our fun little character, skinflint curmudgeon, was just going to give ornery type old fashioned advice in a whimsical kind of way, it is becoming less fanciful fun and more a necessity to shave costs, squeeze more out of the dollars we have and look at new ways to manage our lives since the foundational plan of our younger years will not carry us well into our later years.
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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

'No End in Sight'

No End In Sight - documentary about the war in Iraq; the (deliberate? careless? ignorant?) incompetence of those who started and managed it.

Placing here because it gives a useful historical context. So much has happened in 5 years, so many outrages, so much disassembling of our Constitution, so many bait and switch crisis issues, and so much effort at 'normalizing' the concept of the United States at war in Iraq as a block of many blocks in the supposed 'war against terror' in the Middle East over the next decade, over the next 50 years. Doesn't hurt to remind ourselves of the history from time to time of the original invasion into Iraq and the amazing inconguities that took place and continues to be in place...

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A.F. General Michael Hayden, CIA Director banned Waterboarding as torture.

Officially, the administration backed off the so-called torture memo, though reports that waterboarding continued to be used have persisted. In September (2005), ABC News reported that Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, officially banned the use of waterboarding.

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Army Chief of Staff, General Shalikashvili says Waterboarding against Geneva Conventions

In 2005 a dozen retired general and flag officers wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee over the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to head the Justice Department. Gonzales, the former White House counsel, was linked to the so-called torture memo that effectively loosened the rules on interrogation and deemed that enemy combatants did not fall under the protections of the Geneva Conventions.

But the retired generals and admirals, among them retired Army Chief of Staff Gen. John Shalikashvili, slammed the policy.

"The United States commitment to the Geneva Conventions the laws of war flows not only from field experience, but also from the moral principles on which this country was founded, and by which we all continue to be guided," the group wrote. "We have learned first hand the value of adhering to the Geneva Conventions and practicing what we preach on the international stage."

Officially, the administration backed off the so-called torture memo, though reports that waterboarding continued to be used have persisted. In September, ABC News reported that Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, officially banned the use of waterboarding.

Now the practice is back in the debate, as senators initially seemed poised to approve Mukasey with all haste. But his response to questions about waterboarding has prompted some committee members to raise serious concerns, and has thrown his nomination in doubt.

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Waterboarding - It's Torture - Intelligence Consultant Homeland Security, Malcolm Nance -

While the Senate Judiciary Committee and U.S. Attorney General nominee Judge Michael Mukasey go around and around over the question of waterboarding and whether it constitutes torture, a man who has been there and done that has spoken out against the practice.

It's torture, says Malcolm Nance, a counter-terrorism and intelligence consultant for the special operations, homeland security and intelligence agencies. Nance, writing for the Small Wars Journal website, called the debate over waterboarding "a crisis of honor."

And accepting it as a tool for interrogation, he says, does the United States no honor.

"As a former master instructor and chief of training at the U.S. Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School in San Diego ... I know the waterboard personally and intimately," he wrote. "I have personally led, witnessed and supervised waterboarding of hundreds of people."

SERE, he wrote, is designed to show how "an evil totalitarian, enemy would use torture at the slightest whim. If this is the case, then waterboarding is unquestionably being used as torture technique."

Nance is among the latest, but not the first, former American service member to rap waterboarding and other aggressive questioning methods, which the administration calls enhanced interrogation techniques.

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Waterboarding IS torture - Daniel Levin, former Asst. Attny General - submitted to being waterboarded and pronuonced it Torture

Waterboarding IS torture - Daniel Levin, former Acting Asst. Attorney General had himself waterboarded - he would know.

Special Comment: On waterboarding and torture
Special Comment: On waterboarding and torture

MSNBC video
Special Comment: On waterboarding and torture
Nov. 5: Keith Olbermann comments on Pres. Bush and Michael Mukasey’s
response to allegations of waterboarding in the Bush administration. Why
was an Acting Assistant Attorney General forced out – just because he had
the guts to do what Pres. Bush couldn't?


The presidency is now a criminal conspiracy

Olbermann: Bush may not observe the rules, but the country abides by them

It is a fact startling in its cynical simplicity and it requires cynical
and simple words to be properly expressed: The presidency of George W.
Bush has now devolved into a criminal conspiracy to cover the ass of
George W. Bush.

All the petulancy, all the childish threats, all the blank-stare
stupidity; all the invocations of World War III, all the sophistic
questions about which terrorist attacks we wanted him not to stop, all the
phony secrets; all the claims of executive privilege, all the stumbling
tap-dancing of his nominees, all the verbal flatulence of his

All of it is now, after one revelation last week, transparently clear for
what it is: the pathetic and desperate manipulation of the government, the
refocusing of our entire nation, toward keeping this mock president and
this unstable vice president and this departed wildly self-overrating
attorney general, and the others, from potential prosecution for having
approved or ordered the illegal torture of prisoners being held in the
name of this country.

"Waterboarding is torture," Daniel Levin was to write. Daniel Levin was no
theorist and no protester. He was no troublemaking politician. He was no
table-pounding commentator. Daniel Levin was an astonishingly patriotic
American and a brave man.

Brave not just with words or with stances, even in a dark time when that
kind of bravery can usually be scared or bought off.

Charged, as you heard in the story from ABC News last Friday, with
assessing the relative legality of the various nightmares in the Pandora's
box that is the Orwell-worthy euphemism "Enhanced Interrogation," Mr.
Levin decided that the simplest, and the most honest, way to evaluate them
... was to have them enacted upon himself.

Daniel Levin took himself to a military base and let himself be waterboarded.

Mr. Bush, ever done anything that personally courageous?

Perhaps when you've gone to Walter Reed and teared up over the maimed
servicemen? And then gone back to the White House and determined that
there would be more maimed servicemen?

Has it been that kind of personal courage, Mr. Bush, when you've spoken of
American victims and the triumph of freedom and the sacrifice of your own
popularity for the sake of our safety? And then permitted others to fire
or discredit or destroy anybody who disagreed with you, whether they were
your own generals, or Max Cleland, or Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, or
Daniel Levin?

Daniel Levin should have a statue in his honor in Washington right now.

Instead, he was forced out as acting assistant attorney general nearly
three years ago because he had the guts to do what George Bush couldn't do
in a million years: actually put himself at risk for the sake of his
country, for the sake of what is right.

And they waterboarded him. And he wrote that even though he knew those
doing it meant him no harm, and he knew they would rescue him at the
instant of the slightest distress, and he knew he would not die — still,
with all that reassurance, he could not stop the terror screaming from
inside of him, could not quell the horror, could not convince that which
is at the core of each of us, the entity who exists behind all the
embellishments we strap to ourselves, like purpose and name and family and
love, he could not convince his being that he wasn't drowning.

Waterboarding, he said, is torture. Legally, it is torture! Practically,
it is torture! Ethically, it is torture! And he wrote it down.

Wrote it down somewhere, where it could be contrasted with the words of
this country's 43rd president: "The United States of America ... does not

Made you into a liar, Mr. Bush.

Made you into, if anybody had the guts to pursue it, a criminal, Mr. Bush.

Waterboarding had already been used on Khalid Sheik Mohammed and a couple
of other men none of us really care about except for the one detail you'd
forgotten — that there are rules. And even if we just make up these rules,
this country observes them anyway, because we're Americans and we're
better than that.

We're better than you.

And the man your Justice Department selected to decide whether or not
waterboarding was torture had decided, and not in some phony academic
fashion, nor while wearing the Walter Mitty poseur attire of flight suit
and helmet.

He had put his money, Mr. Bush, where your mouth was.

So, Levin was fired.

Because if it ever got out what he'd concluded, and the lengths to which
he went to validate that conclusion, anybody who had sanctioned
waterboarding and who-knows-what-else on anybody, you yourself, you would
have been screwed.

And screwed you are.

It can't be coincidence that the story of Daniel Levin should emerge from
the black hole of this secret society of a presidency just at the
conclusion of the unhappy saga of the newest attorney general nominee.

Another patriot somewhere listened as Judge Mukasey mumbled like he'd
never heard of waterboarding and refused to answer in words … that which
Daniel Levin answered on a waterboard somewhere in Maryland or Virginia
three years ago.

And this someone also heard George Bush say, "The United States of America
does not torture," and realized either he was lying or this wasn't the
United States of America anymore, and either way, he needed to do
something about it.

Not in the way Levin needed to do something about it, but in a brave way

We have U.S. senators who need to do something about it, too.

Chairman Leahy of the Judiciary Committee has seen this for what it is and
said "enough."

Sen. Schumer has seen it, reportedly, as some kind of puzzle piece in the
New York political patronage system, and he has failed.

What Sen. Feinstein has seen, to justify joining Schumer in
rubber-stamping Mukasey, I cannot guess.

It is obvious that both those senators should look to the meaning of the
story of Daniel Levin and recant their support for Mukasey's confirmation.

And they should look into their own committee's history and recall that in
1973, their predecessors were able to wring even from Richard Nixon a
guarantee of a special prosecutor (ultimately a special prosecutor of
Richard Nixon!), in exchange for their approval of his new attorney
general, Elliott Richardson.

If they could get that out of Nixon, before you confirm the president's
latest human echo on Tuesday, you had better be able to get a "yes" or a
"no" out of Michael Mukasey.

Ideally you should lock this government down financially until a special
prosecutor is appointed, or 50 of them, but I'm not holding my breath. The
"yes" or the "no" on waterboarding will have to suffice.

Because, remember, if you can't get it, or you won't with the time between
tonight and the next presidential election likely to be the longest year
of our lives, you are leaving this country, and all of us, to the
waterboards, symbolic and otherwise, of George W. Bush.

Ultimately, Mr. Bush, the real question isn't who approved the
waterboarding of this fiend Khalid Sheik Mohammed and two others.

It is: Why were they waterboarded?

Study after study for generation after generation has confirmed that
torture gets people to talk, torture gets people to plead, torture gets
people to break, but torture does not get them to tell the truth.

Of course, Mr. Bush, this isn't a problem if you don't care if the
terrorist plots they tell you about are the truth or just something to
stop the tormentors from drowning them.

If, say, a president simply needed a constant supply of terrorist threats
to keep a country scared.

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Kris Kristofferson, Military Brat, Army Helicopter Pilot, son of a General, Rhodes Scholar --- 'In The News'

Another military brat bringing his message and views via what he is known for - his songs. I say another military brat, because I am a military brat, an Air Force Brat. I learned that Kris Kristofferson is a military brat, AF brat, when I learned of the dvd 'Brats - Our Journey Home' and that Kris Kristofferson was the narrator. I own the dvd, and find it most compelling, giving me, as a military brat, reconciliation, affirmation and healing. But I digress some because the point of this post is to share what Kris Kristofferson has to say via his song, via youtube video below.

Kris Kristofferson was born in Brownsville, Texas. Like most military brats he moved around much as a youth; he finally settled down in San Mateo, California, where he graduated from San Mateo High School. Kristofferson's father was an Air Force general who pushed his son toward a military career .....

BRATS: Our Journey Home

An Intimate Portrait of a Lost American Tribe
narrated by Air Force brat Kris Kristofferson

Kris Kristofferson, Narrator
Air Force BRAT, former Army helicopter pilot, Rhodes Scholar, Golden Gloves boxer, This Old Road, The Highwaymen, Lone Star, A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries, A Star is Born
* "Most people have a place they think of as home all their lives. But for some, home is not a place, it's a state of mind."
Kris Kristofferson, another mil brat speaking out.
Hat tip to a friend of mine for sharing the video at her On The Homefront blog.

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Harvey Tharp, former Navy Lt, Iraq veteran - Why The Army is running scared in court martials (An analysis of the Watada and Israel War Resister cas

Harvey Tharp, Navy Lt. who resigned his Commission, provides an analysis well worth considering. And with that, I'll leave a link to his blog and not try give an analysis via harvesting his analysis.

Harvey Tharp was one of several Iraq veterans who were invited and came to Washington state to give testimony in support of Lt. Watada at Citizen's Hearing.

Harvey Tharp's PTSD and Bipolar Recovery Blog: WHY THE ARMY IS RUNNING SCARED IN COURTS MARTIAL (An analysis of the Watada and Israel War Resister cases)
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YouTube - Bill Moyers on October 2007 Anti-Iraq War Demostrations

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Friday, November 2, 2007

How To : Canning Tomatoes. Salsa, Tomato Sauce

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