Here’s hoping that you enjoyed your Memorial Day yesterday and remembered the troops and others who have sacrificed everything to allow Americans to enjoy the freedom of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Unlike much of the world, we allow those with divergent, and sometimes abhorrent, views to speak without official consequences. And unlike much of the world, we are comfortably ensconced in an environment which is relatively safe with few physical worries.
To commemorate Memorial day, I have selected several stories which have brought a glimmer of hope to my eyes.
- Cindy Sheehan Resigns as the face of the anti-war movement. America talks to Iran.
- Barbra Streisand cancels her concert as consumers protest price.
- The New York Times frames the Iraqi war as a matter of trust and expectation between our two cultures.
- A rock star criticizes those who use their stage and celebrity to preach to the public.
Cindy Sheehan hangs up on Democratic Party, puts Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas up for sale. As she appears to remain bitter and cynical, I can only wonder, did the money run out? Or did her “backers” simply abandon her after her news value diminished as a consequence of over-exposure?
As seen on the ultra-left blog, Daily Kos …
“I have come to some heartbreaking conclusions this Memorial Day Morning. These are not spur of the moment reflections, but things I have been meditating on for about a year now. The conclusions that I have slowly and very reluctantly come to are very heartbreaking to me.”
“The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a "tool" of the Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our "two-party" system?”
“However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the "left" started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of ‘right or left’, but ‘right and wrong.’”
“I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called "Face" of the American anti-war movement. Especially since I renounced any tie I have remaining with the Democratic Party, I have been further trashed on such "liberal blogs" as the Democratic Underground. Being called an "attention whore" and being told "good riddance" are some of the more milder rebukes.”
“I have also reached the conclusion that if I am doing what I am doing because I am an "attention whore" then I really need to be committed. I have invested everything I have into trying to bring peace with justice to a country that wants neither. If an individual wants both, then normally he/she is not willing to do more than walk in a protest march or sit behind his/her computer criticizing others.”
“Camp Casey has served its purpose. It’s for sale. Anyone want to buy five beautiful acres in Crawford , Texas ? I will consider any reasonable offer. I hear George Bush will be moving out soon, too...which makes the property even more valuable.”
“Good-bye America ...you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it. It’s up to you now.”
For those wishing to read her entire letter in context, it can be found at http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/5/28/12530/1525
The United States is talking to Iran…
As reported by the left-leaning BBC news…US warns Iran over arming Iraqis
“The US has called on Iran to stop arming militants in Iraq at the first bilateral public talks between the two countries in almost 30 years.”
“US envoy Ryan Crocker said his Iranian counterpart had rejected the charges at the four-hour talks in Baghdad, which focused exclusively on Iraq's security.”
“Both countries agreed that a secure and stable Iraq was in their interests.”
“Iran's ambassador, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, described the meeting as a success and said there were plans for future talks.”
“As the talks ended, a car bomb exploded near an important Sunni mosque in the centre of Baghdad, killing at least 20 people and wounding dozens of others.”
The full story can be found at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6696971.stm
Limousine liberal and major democratic fund raiser Barbra Steisand has abruptly canceled her Italian concert date in the face of consumer protests.
As reported by the Associated Press (via Yahoo News)…
Barbra Streisand canceled her concert in Rome next month — a move that followed protests by Italian consumer groups angered by what they said were excessively high ticket prices.
Last week, consumer groups Codacons and Adusbef protested as "absurd and shameful" ticket prices ranging from just under $200 to more than $1,200, calling on authorities to deny Streisand use of the 24,000-seat stadium.
The stadium "is public property and cannot be used for immoral deals that are shameful to a civilized country," the groups said in a statement.
Concert organizers indicated the decision was not connected to the outcry, saying that production delays had forced them to scrap the June 15 concert in the capitol's Stadio Flaminio, what would have been the singer's first concert in Italy and the start of her European tour.
The report can be found at http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070528/ap_en_mu/people_streisand_2
Meanwhile, the leftist and ultra-liberal New York Times uses interviews with a small number of soldiers to loudly proclaim “As Allies Turn Foe, Disillusion Rises in Some G.I.’s.” And yet, the article accurately frames the Iraq issue: it all comes down to America’s ability to trust the corrupt Iraqi government and those Iraqi citizens who favor religious fervor over democracy.
“I thought: ‘What are we doing here? Why are we still here?’ ” said Sergeant Safstrom, a member of Delta Company of the First Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. “We’re helping guys that are trying to kill us. We help them in the day. They turn around at night and try to kill us.”
“With few reliable surveys of soldiers’ attitudes, it is impossible to simply extrapolate from the small number of soldiers in the company. But in interviews with more than a dozen soldiers in this 83-man unit over a one-week period, most said they were disillusioned by repeated deployments, by what they saw as the abysmal performance of Iraqi security forces and by a conflict that they considered a civil war, one they had no ability to stop.”
“But in Sergeant Safstrom’s view, the American presence is futile. ‘If we stayed here for 5, even 10 more years, the day we leave here these guys will go crazy,” he said. “It would go straight into a civil war. That’s how it feels, like we’re putting a Band-Aid on this country until we leave here.’”
Captain Rogers acknowledges the skepticism of many of his soldiers. “Our unit has already sent two soldiers home in a box,” he said. “My soldiers don’t see the same level of commitment from the Iraqi Army units they’re partnered with.”
“Yet there is, he insists, no crisis of morale: “My guys are all professionals. I tell them to do something, they do it.” His dictum is proved on patrol, where his soldiers walk the streets for hours in the stifling heat, providing cover for one another with crisp efficiency.”
“Now 22, Sergeant Griffin is a Delta Company section leader. On the night of May 5, as he neared an Iraqi police checkpoint with a convoy of Humvees, Sergeant Griffin spotted what looked like a camouflaged cinderblock and immediately halted the convoy. His vigilance may have saved the lives of several soldiers. Under the camouflage was a massive, six-array, explosively formed penetrator — a deadly roadside bomb that cuts through the Humvees’ armor with ease.”
“The insurgents quickly set off the device, but the Americans were at a safe distance. An explosive ordnance disposal team arrived to check the area. As the ordnance team rolled back to base, they were attacked with a second roadside bomb near another Iraqi checkpoint. One soldier was killed and two were wounded.”
“No one has been able to explain why two bombs were found near Iraqi checkpoints, bombs that Iraqi soldiers and the police had either failed to notice or helped to plant.”
The full article may be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/28/world/middleeast/28delta.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
Here is a refreshing and truthful viewpoint — criticism leveled at rock stars and celebrities who take politically active positions and preach to the public.
From NME.COM, Europe's biggest and most viewed music website which has earned worldwide respect for its rock music news and features.
“Pet Shop Boys singer Neil Tennant has spoken out against this summer's Live Earth concerts.”
“Tennant has also hit out against Bono for his politically active role.”
“He said: “The Princess Diana concert is fair enough, but I feel more uneasy about the Al Gore thing. I've always been against the idea of rock stars lecturing people as if they know something the rest of us don't - it looks arrogant.”
"It's not as if they have a private source of information. To state the obvious, as if you are the only person that knows it, is intellectually weak."
“Of the U2 frontman he told Yahoo: "Bono uses his celebrity but in doing so he increases his celebrity. I've never even totally convinced that the rest of U2 feel comfortable with that."
The article can be found at http://www.nme.com/news/pet-shop-boys/28571
What can You do?
Do not wait for Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day to honor those who died and those who fought to preserve our freedoms. Every time you hear someone say something outrageous, be thankful for their contribution to making and keeping our nation great.
Renew your commitment to those who are fighting on your behalf … here and abroad. Do not overlook the many brave and dedicated public servants who serve domestically as firemen, policemen and paramedics. Or those who risk life and limb to keep the infrastructure safe and functioning.
Consider those who are self-serving and use their prominence to push their own agendas. Hold them to a simple standard: like Ed Begley Jr. who actually lives a “green” existence, make sure they walk the walk before you listen to them “talk.”
Vote against those who are destructive, disruptive and are willing to sacrifice America’s freedom and culture for their own political or monetary gain. Forget politics and vote your pocketbook. Vote for freedom. Vote for moderation and those who actually do something useful for the public. Shun those that posture and propose easy solutions to something they know little about.
And, have a great summer.
A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell