Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Progressive Update--09/11/2007

On this anniversary of 9/11, let us recommit ourselves to ensuring that this is the last time that politicians have been able to feed on Americans’ fears to mislead our country so very, very badly.

It has been almost two months since I sent out a blast, and updated the blog (http://paulprogressive.blogspot.com/). This is not because there has been any material, but rather there has been so much, and I’ve felt worn down, disappointed that many Americans seem to be falling for this ‘success and victory’ garbage, and by the awful job that the mainstream media (ABC, NBC, CBS, and don’t get me started on FOX) has done with sensationalizing ‘news’. The complete abdication of their investigative responsibilities by the media is abhorrent. If I spend too much time dwelling on it, I just get pissed off.

I will try to post one rant a week on the blog, and then send out an email once a month of the recent rants and perhaps new material. I do this primarily as therapy for myself. Let me know if it helps you!


I submitted the following letter to the editor to the Wilmington News Journal on Monday the 10th, and they ran much of it today (the 11th), at http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070911/OPINION10/709110310/1111/OPINION . Given that they edited it heavily, I list the original submission, and note in blue the sections that the paper struck.

Do you understand President Bush, or the commercials pushing for continuing the occupation of Iraq? I don’t. I don’t understand what victory can be had at this point. There is no army to defeat, merely civil war and chaos. I don’t understand what success can be had at this point. Bush has vetoed every effort to set conditions and timetables for success. Success that requires a blank-check, of time, money, and lives, is not success, but failure.

US citizens want to end the Occupation of Iraq. This past November we ejected 36 Republican Senators and Representatives who failed to hold Bush accountable, who gave him a blank check in Iraq. While a majority of Senators, including some Republicans, want to end the Occupation, there are not yet enough to override a certain veto by Bush.

Iraqi citizens want to end the Occupation of Iraq. In this week’s ABC/BBC/NHK poll of Iraqi citizens, two-thirds say that political dialogue, security in surge areas, security in other areas, and reconstruction and economic development are worse due to the surge, yes WORSE. 100% of Iraqi citizens polled in Bagdad and Anbar want US troops out NOW. It doesn’t get any clearer than 100%, except if you are Bush, the Denier-in-Chief.

Let’s look at the numbers: 27,767 US combat troops wounded, and 3,762 US combat deaths in Iraq. What has the surge accomplished? 222 more US troops were killed in Iraq in the first half of 2007 versus 2006. While 166,000 US troops served in Iraq for 31 days in August, 0 politicians served in the Iraqi parliament in August. In what fantasy world is this is a path to success, to victory?

As the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman has suggested, you can’t want peace for someone more than they want it themselves. US citizens would welcome a solution which brings order to Iraq, however the Iraqi people clearly don’t want it enough to end their civil strife, and feel that we are more a part of the problem than the solution. What they do want is for US troops to leave. Let’s succeed, by fulfilling the wishes of the US and Iraqi people—let’s end the Occupation of Iraq, now.

More on War—If you live in Delaware, call Congressman Mike Castle at 302-428-1902 to let him know that you have had enough of giving President Bush a blank check in Iraq, and you want Rep Castle to stand up for Americans, for the troops, and for the Iraqi people, and demand and end to the Occupation of Iraq. Call today!

There is a march on Washington DC this Saturday. For more information, contact Pacem in Terris (www.paceminterris.com) at 302-656-2721.

A wonderful movie on Iraq, No End in Sight (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0912593/ ), is playing the next three nights at 6:30 at the Newark Cinema Center 3. For more information, go to http://www.newarkfilm.com/pages/tickets.html#best


Republican Senator from Idaho Larry Craig hit the headlines in August based on his actions in a Minneapolis airport men’s room. Some have questioned why his transgressions are newsworthy. Let me weigh in.

Guilt—He pleaded guilty to lewd behavior, a misdemeanor. He claims that he rashly chose to not consult an attorney. I find it extremely hard to believe that a US Senator did not understand the implications of not consulting with an attorney before pleading guilty.

Consenting adults—Some have asked how the alleged crime is criminal. I agree that sexual activity between consenting adults should not be prohibited, however most states prohibit soliciting such activity to be conducted in public places, such as public restrooms. This prohibition certainly seems reasonable.

Innocence—Many of us are learning that there is an entire ‘language’ for soliciting sex in men’s restrooms, and this language appears to be developed such that there can be no innocent miscommunication (when is the last time you moved your foot under the wall and tapped the foot of the person in the next stall over?). I conclude that Senator Craig knew exactly what he was doing when the undercover police officer caught him.

Duplicity—Me thinks the man doth protest too much. Craig has a strong anti-gay voting record in Congress. This raises both anger and compassion. I am angry that our culture, and the Republican Party in particular, forces politicians to put on a false, anti-gay public front. I am sorry that Senator Craig apparently had to hide his orientation from his wife, his adopted children, his colleagues, and constituents. This, to me, is the larger crime.

So What—Senator Craig’s problems this year compel me to work harder to end discrimination based on sexual orientation. In Delaware, Senate Bill 141 is designed to enable Delaware to join Maryland and New Jersey in making it illegal to discriminate against someone based on sexual orientation. If your Delaware state senator is Nancy Cook, Charles Copeland, or John Still, please let them know that you oppose such discrimination, and you would like them to vote to release SB 141 onto the full senate. If you are in another district, please contact your senator and ask them to support voting to pull SB 141 from committee onto the senate floor.

DEfogDEfog stands for Delaware For Open Government. This is a new bipartisan, grass-roots group that is dedicated to open up state government to the people. FOIA is the Freedom of Information Act. When FOIA was passed by the state legislature, they conveniently made themselves exempt. Convenient, isn’t it? Senate Bill 4 is designed to have the General Assembly covered by FOIA.

Jack Markell quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a meeting last night. In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, he distinguishes between just and injust laws. He states “An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself.” DEfog wants the General Assembly to follow FOIA itself. It is that simple. There is only one group that opposes this legislation—legislators. It is time to de-fog the Delaware legislature.

Like cockroaches, bad behavior and bad politics run from the light of day. Bring the light of day to Dover, and look for opportunities to work with DEfog to get Senate Bill 4 passed in Dover. Stay tuned for meeting dates and times.

Delaware Governor Primary RaceI heard state treasurer Jack Markell speak last night. I really like this guy. Disappointingly, he and another very good Delaware Democrat, state lieutenant governor John Carney are both running for the same position. I would not hesitate to contribute to a campaign in which Jack Markell is running against a Republican (or a Democrat whom I don’t like). I plan to contribute to the campaign of whomever wins the September 2008 primary, and if the Republican challenger is strong, I will volunteer for him. But I simply refuse to contribute to a campaign that is against a good Democrat.

There is only one way that I will support Markell or Carney in the primary race—if the other candidate turns negative. If that happens, and the opponent keeps on the high road, I will jump in. Thus far, both candidates are keeping it clean and constructive, which we appreciate and expect.

Election SeasonThe Delaware Democratic Party (www.deldems.org) is beginning to gear up for the election season. They are looking for neighborhood captains, and to deepen their database of voters. The annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner will be on the riverfront on October 29th. It’s a great high-energy gathering of the faithful!

I will keep an eye out for areas of high need, house (or senate) election districts where we can grab a seat from a Republican, like we did in the 25th with John Kowalko in 2006, and Bryon Short earlier this year. I will also keep an eye out for county and state seats that need some extra help, and will let you know when I see these opportunities

Paul S Baumbach

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