Or, Those Bumper Stickers Are Sticking in My Craw

I’ve had it.

I never want another current Republican, or Democrat office holder for that matter, ever again to utter the phrase "Support the Troops" or assert they do so.

● It is not supporting the troops if you do not adequately equip or train them to do their job.
● It is not supporting the troops if you don’t have enough of them to do their job.
● It is not supporting the troops if you keep them too long or too often overseas.
● It is not supporting the troops if you do not allow them adequate rest and recuperation time in between.
● It is not supporting the troops if you do not adequately take care of the wounded, whether mentally or physically.
● It is not supporting the troops if you do not keep your promises about how long they have to serve.
● It is not supporting the troops if you do not give them the GI Bill benefits you bragged about to entice them to join.
● It is not supporting the troops if you keep relying on the National Guard except in emergencies.
● It is not supporting the troops if you hire mercenaries like Blackwater guards with taxpayer funds to do the same thing as privates for five times the pay privates get.
● It is not supporting the troops if you fire the generals who got it right and promote those who got it wrong.
● It is not supporting the troops if you ignore the advice of them on how to do their job.
● It is not supporting the troops if you send them in alone with just token allies.
● It is not supporting the troops if you discriminate against non-Protestant members of the military or harass the females or those in uniform who might be gay.
● It is not supporting the troops if you do not abide by the Geneva Conventions or our own Constitution.
● It is not supporting the troops if you use them under false pretenses, frivolously, for your ego or arrogance or ignorance, for your personal economic gain or greed, for your political party partisan purposes, for using it as an attempt to distract from domestic woes or personal stupidity, for keeping "score" internationally or bragging about "winning" or being "#1", or without adequate attempts at all other alternatives.
● It is not supporting the troops if you have not studied history and investigated thoroughly your opponents.

It is a harsh thing to say, but I personally believe you are a liar or an ignoramus if you claim to be supporting the troops and yet you have allowed any of the above things to happen unchallenged. Worse, you are arguably a traitor to everything this country once stood for. You have made Osama bin Laden gleeful if you have remained silent these past several years.

I am not insisting you enlist and serve in a shooting war close enough to hear the bullets impact as I did, but if you want to assert you truly do support the troops, then speak out regarding the malfeasance our elected officials have been committing against our own troops. It is bad enough the cowardly REMFs in the West Wing have encouraged atrocities against foreigners and international laws. It is worse for us to metaphorically do the same thing to our own troops and laws.

In any event, you are not entitled to use the phrase hereafter if you voted for or encouraged any of those things in the "bullet list" above that are still coming out of Washington, or voted for anyone who voted for any of those things once in office, especially if you continued to do nothing about those in power once you discovered any of those things had occurred. It is particularly odious if you utter the phrase after having avoided military service for yourself or your family members, or after complaining about taxes or petroleum prices, or after sacrificing little or nothing while troops were in the field. A special place in Hell ought to be reserved for those who say they are going to give up something like the Prez claiming he was going to give up golf as long as the troops were off in mortal combat and then was filmed secretly cheating on his pledge. It was an idle, worthless, even demeaning gesture to begin with, but to then to dishonor it altogether by ignoring even that minor inconvenience shows how low some hypocrites can go.

Thoughtful, reasoned, intelligent supporting of our combat soldiers, sailors and airmen who happen to be legally doing their job is a duty of all citizens at all times. Blind obedience to a President or empty bravado or pasting a yellow ribbon or a bumper sticker on your big gas guzzling SUV or Humvee with the phase or wearing a flag lapel pin made in China to pretend you are a patriot is not. Those naked and minuscule whims cannot be considered as really supporting the troops. It is posturing.

Those troops who put themselves in jeopardy for you deserve more. If you have not at least carefully followed and independently questioned what is going on, then you have failed in your duty as a citizen and you have failed those who needed you.

Keep in mind, there will be a test on such duties. It is about time you stopped failing it.



Or, a Few Relevant Questions to Ask about Yet Another National Financial Fiasco

Shouldn't some portion of the massive bailout taxpayers are handing the incompetent company officials who recklessly got us in this mortgage mess be used instead to hire more regulators to insure we don't keeping throwing Treasury money away like this every few years? Shouldn't a few of those who cost us maybe trillions be fired or jailed or at least demoted for their incompetency and greed which has jeopardized our entire economy. At what point should greed start amounting to being a traitor or a threat to national security? Why have they allowed our future to be mortgaged to the hilt to foreign countries who wish us ill? Why are we extracting all our scare resources and tapping all our limited capital today just for short term gains without saving anything for the future?

Why is it that none of those in charge can seem to think beyond the next fiscal quarter or the next election cycle? Shouldn't we finally stop listening to some of the mindless Pollyannas in the media who kept saying nothing was wrong, was wrong, was wrong? Why have we forgotten so soon the 1980s disaster these same nincompoops got us into with the now defunct savings and loan industry? Doesn't it strike anyone as interesting how often someone named Bush seems to be playing a prominent role in these debacles? Why did the Republicans when in control dismantle all the useful regulations and inspections of the finance industry? What made any sane person think controls weren't needed or that the ones profiting wouldn't help themselves to extra given the chance? Were did such arrogance and assumption of "entitlement" come from?

The Democratic Party office holders have nothing to be proud of for their rolling over whenever Republicans sneer on the subject, but is there anyone left who still believes that the Republican party deserves a reputation for knowing anything about financial security or conservatism other than how to line their own pockets at the expense of everyone else? Surely that myth has been dispelled forever by now. Surely those who voted Republican any time in this century ought to feel embarrassed. Why then doesn't this seem to make a difference to the voters? What is it about our education system that seems to prevent them from analyzing this for themselves?

It would be nice if we got a few trustworthy answers on these questions, although the corporate media we need to look into the questions seems as hell bent as lemmings to follow the corporate financial leaders right off the cliff. What is it about investigative journalists that they can’t seem to the one job we really need them for?



Or, Why can't Democrats in Office at least Pretend to be Democrats?

Almost every Democrat in Congress deserves a hard kick in the rear end for being lazy, cowardly, clueless, witless, naive, delusional and apparently keeping their fingers crossed when they took their oath of office to defend the Constitution.

How can they live with themselves? Stranger yet, how can they continue to call themselves leaders of the Democratic Movement which used to support the concept of the Golden Rule rather than the crass He Who Has the Most Gold Rules? They all deserve to be voted out of office and would be but for the fact that the Republicans are all those things at the moment plus rapaciously greedy and infinitely scary as well. Scary trumps stupidity when deciding who NOT to vote for.

Nevertheless, if the supposed "Democrats" who are doing nothing but take up space in the halls of Congress can’t put a halt to the depredations of the Republicans such as the further extension of the odious and overtly unConstitutional FISA law, then we will ultimately find some real Democrats to run who can.

If they want to keep their cushy, guaranteed paycheck, full health coverage jobs, as Democratic Party office holders, they'd better start acting like they belong to that party.



Or, Why Are We Such Doctrinaire Idiots About Changing Positions?

What is with the remarkable obsession everyone, particularly political junkies and punky pundits, seems to have regarding altering political positions or "flip flopping" as it is derogatorily known in the popular parlance? The question should not be whether a politician has changed position, but what exactly is his or her new position and why did he or she change.

It is not as if Moses brought down our political positions carved on stone tablets. We were not born with political positions. They evolve over time for almost everyone, normally slowly, albeit occasionally fast as when wars and personal frights warp judgments sometimes overnight. Normally, such evolution and change is a good thing (so long as it is not hormonal or adrenalin driven). Change usually demonstrates the person is a mentally healthy, intelligent adult, one showing the ability to adapt to new evidence and information as it is revealed.

In fact, never changing positions is the mark of either a liar or someone likely anal retentive, mentally deficient and unable to properly evaluate changing circumstances. By the same token, constantly changing positions from day to day suggests a frightened individual, incapable of making a decision even when needed, an equally scary person to put in office. Both are symptoms of mental illness of one degree or another, certainly not someone to elect.

But, considered change based upon carefully considered information to the extent then available is not automatically to be condemned. That is the essence of the Scientific Method that has served us so well most of the time.

Of course, if the person cravenly changed positions just to curry favor with a particular group of voters, that demonstrates someone not to be trusted. That is the moral equivalent of lying to everyone.

Consequently, suppose a candidate has proclaimed in the past that, say, the leader of a specific religious group is a biased lunatic who spouts hatred against others. Yet now, the same candidate embraces the same religious leader. Is there anything to support the theory that such hatred is no longer being broadcast by that religious leader? If so, good for everyone and the “flip flop” is a good thing. We should reward conversions when someone comes to their senses. Conversely however, if there is nothing to suggest the religious leader is doing anything different to merit the embrace, then the switch by the politician is suspicious and deserves condemnation. Not for the fact he flipped, but for his purpose in doing so.

We need the full facts, something the media steadfastly fails to deliver with the 30 second sound bites that pass for reporting “news” these days. We need more than just the fact that a supposed “flip flop” has occurred. What and why are more important.

For instance, I, for one, am willing to change my disgusted and low opinion about most so-called “journalists.” If only they would give me a reason. Please give me a reason. They can start with stop reporting so-called flip flops unless they give more information to go with it.