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CA 10: Memorial Day and “The Ultimate Sacrifice”

(Some thoughts for Memorial Day from CA-10 Candidate Anthony Woods… – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

Woods1The willingness to make the “ultimate sacrifice” in defense of our country stands as the enduring value which binds every active duty serviceman, servicewoman, and every veteran of the United States military.

Each Memorial Day we are reminded—and rightly so—of the courageous Americans who have given their lives in defense of our nation–between 1 million and 1.3 million since the American Revolution, depending on whose numbers you read.

Indeed the willingness to make that sacrifice is the pre-requisite-along with adherence to a strict code of conduct and respect for the chain of command—to joining an impenetrable fellowship as diverse as the nation every veteran has pledged their lives to defending.

As the son of a veteran, a West Point Graduate and Iraq War Veteran, Memorial Day will always be a day of gratitude, of solemn reflection, and remembrance for me.  

Gratitude for the courage and untiring loyalty of the 81 soldiers I was proud to command during my two combat tours in Iraq.  And a special appreciation for the fact that I was able to bring every one of them home alive.

Solemn reflection upon the near misses that are impossible to forget–like the roadside bomb attack 4 members of my unit narrowly survived during my first tour, the intensity of urban combat in Tal Afar, and the carnage of suicide bomb attacks on civilians in Baghdad.  

And remembrance of the friends I came to know at West Point, during officer training, or on the sands of Iraq—those who made the “ultimate sacrifice,” the families they left behind, and those who may have left Iraq, but are still a long way from really “coming home.”

At parades and ceremonies across our country this weekend, we will read names, recite stories of battlefield heroism, and recommit ourselves to the cause of keeping our nation’s promise to honor and care for all veterans, past, present and future.  And we must.

If we watch and listen closely this weekend, we’ll see that the capability to serve, and the willingness to make the “ultimate sacrifice” for America is not limited by era, branch, rank, age, gender, or the popularity of the mission they were called to serve.  The reading of the names of the fallen will make no mention of race, ethnicity, marital status, the number of children left behind, religion, political affiliation, or sexual orientation.

And why?

Because what matters in defending America has never been our differences, but the common cause, common values, common bonds and the shared sacrifices that unite all who serve.

That said, and in light of ongoing policy debates about who gets to serve in our military, it is important to remember, that among those who have given their lives for America, and among those who have stepped forward with a willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice in defending America today, are large numbers of every conceivable demographic group…

…including members of the LGBT community.

For example, the Urban Institute estimates that of the 27.5 million living American Veterans, about 3%, or 1 million, are gay or lesbian.  

If we apply this trend over history, that means that at least 35,000 of the 1-1.3 million Americans that have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country since the American Revolution were gay or lesbian.  That’s more than the total number of Americans Killed in Action during Iraq, Afghanistan, Desert Storm, Pearl Harbor, the War of 1812 and the American Revolution COMBINED.

Military leaders have reported that approximately 65,000 members of the LGBT community are currently serving in the Armed Forces —substantially more than the total number of U.S. troops currently fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.  

And every day, at great cost, two more servicemen and women who have volunteered to give their lives if necessary in defense of our country are forcibly discharged for reasons with no relation whatsoever to their capacity to fight for the freedom of others.

I would know.  I was one of them.

So as we honor our fallen heroes this weekend, and recommit ourselves to all who wear the proud uniform of our nation, I hope we can remember that for more than two centuries, protection of the land of the free has never been the responsibility of a narrow ideology, or a singular demographic—but by the willingness of brave Americans, from every walk of life, to step forward and if necessary, to make “the ultimate sacrifice.”

May God protect every single one of our troops.

Anthony Woods

Democrat for Congress, CA 10

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Bill Richardson indirectly calls Bill Clinton Misinformed

(Crossposted at Daily Kos)

Brian has a diary about the session Bill Clinton had with Superdelegates at the CDP convention, and his comments to Rachel Binah about Carville calling Bill Richardson Judas.

(I had a chance to meet Rachel this weekend, and she is a great person, and very sharp.)

Then there is the excellent Op-Ed by Bill Richardson on the issue of his endorsement of Obama, and James Carville’s comments referring to Richardson as a Judas:

“Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic,” Carville told the New York Times.

Carville, who usually appears on CNN as an analyst, today was an interviewee, telling Wolf Blizter that his quote “had its desired intent” — i.e., depicting Richardson as disloyal to the Clinton brand that he once had been so firmly affixed to.

Where this story gets interesting is when Bill Clinton is quoted in the SF Chronicle today as saying:

“Five times to my face (Richardson) said that he would never do that,” a red-faced, finger-pointing Clinton erupted.

Meaning, Bill Clinton is saying that Richardson told him that Richardson would never endorse Obama, I suppose that means Richardson would endorse Clinton or at least not endorse.

In any case, Bill Clinton is adamant in this quote that Richardson told him that he would never endorse Obama and probably would endorse Clinton.

Richardson in his Op-Ed, Loyalty to my Country, yesterday says:

And while I was truly torn for weeks about this decision, and seriously contemplated endorsing Sen. Clinton, I never told anyone, including President Clinton, that I would do so. Those who say I did are misinformed or worse.

Richardson says that those that say that Richardson would endorse Clinton are “misinformed

There could be alot of word parsing here, but this sounds like there are inconsistencies in the business of was Richardson going to endorse Hillary Clinton or not, and did he tell Bill Clinton that he was going to endorse anyone, or did he just tell Bill Clinton he would never endorse Obama.

Bill Richardson, by virtue of this Op-Ed, could be saying that Bill Clinton is misinformed or worse.

Update: Bill Richardson on CNN:

“I never did,” Richardson said. “I never saw [President Clinton] five times. I saw him when he watched the Super Bowl with me. We made it very clear to him that he shouldn’t expect an endorsement after that meeting.”

“I held back. I waited. I felt the campaign got nasty. I heard Senator Obama; he would talk to me continuously,” Richardson said.

“The Clintons should get over this,” he added.

Dan Lungren: I cannot say Waterboarding is Torture

In a rare moment of unusual candor, a wanton display of unrestrained recklessness, an attempt to wag his “strong-on-Terra” manhood (or a combination of some or all of the foregoing), the absentee chickenhawk congressman of the 3rd congressional district of California reached into the darkest crevices of his soulless   being and bravely declared as follows:

I cannot say, per se, that waterboarding is torture.

Edit: Watch more Dan Lungren’s defense of torture

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, your taxes at work  – this is the congressional representative of the people of CA-03. Watch and weep (barf bag highly recommended).

Presented below is the response from Dr. Bill Durston, the Democratic challenger who (with your support and able assistance) will defeat this congress critter in the next election and help restore the needed sanity and prestige to the United States’ Congress.

Please meet Dr. Bill Durston (THE Prescription for Change), in his own words:

Lungren “Cannot Say that Waterboarding is Torture”

By Bill Durston, M.D.

At a town hall meeting in Folsom, California, on November 28, Congressman Dan Lungren was asked, “What’s your position on waterboarding?”

Lungren replied, “I cannot say, per se, that waterboarding is torture.”

Waterboarding, which has been used since the Spanish Inquisition, involves restraining a captive on his back on a board while water is repeatedly poured over the subject’s face. Although waterboarding may leave no lasting physical injury, it can result inhalation of water into the lungs and death. Even when there are no lasting physical effects, waterboarding causes extreme and often prolonged mental distress. Subjects are rarely able to tolerate the agony for more than a few seconds before begging their captors for mercy.

Waterboarding  has long been regarded as a form of torture by most military and legal experts. Torture is prohibited by the U.S. constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment, by similar provisions in U.S. military law and the Geneva Conventions, and by the United Nations Convention Against Torture. U.S. soldiers who have been caught waterboarding enemy captives have been prosecuted by the U.S. military as long ago as the Spanish American War and as recently as the Vietnam War.

Waterboarding came to public attention in 2005 when ABC News reported that terrorism suspects in U.S. custody were being subjected to waterboarding during interrogations. Congress reacted by passing an amendment to the 2006 Defense Authorization Act prohibiting torture of detainees. Republican Senator, John McCain, who was himself subjected to torture while a prisoner of war in Vietnam, authored the amendment. McCain described waterboarding as “very exquisite torture.”

The November 28 Folsom Town Hall Meeting was not the first time that Lungren has faced questions about torture. Lungren voted against the prohibition on torture in the 2006 Defense Authorization Act. During his re-election campaign in 2006, Lungren was asked in a debate in Elk Grove about his position on torture. Lungren replied, “Some people confuse the question of torture and aggressive means of interrogation.”

The same night that the question on waterboarding was posed to Lungren in Folsom, the question was posed to Republican presidential hopefuls on a nationally televised debate. Senator McCain re-emphasized his position that waterboarding is torture and expressed astonishment when Mitt Romney, like Lungren, equivocated. During Senate confirmation hearings earlier this month, Attorney General Michael Mukasey also refused to characterize waterboarding as torture.

Senator McCain knows what torture is. As he has repeatedly stated, waterboarding is torture, plain and simple. Like other forms of torture, it is illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional. It is also an ineffective method of gathering reliable intelligence. Most tortured subjects will tell their captors whatever they believe their tormentors wish to hear. In an extensive report published in December 2006, the Intelligence Science Board concluded that the information gathered by the torture of subjects held in U.S. custody in the 21st century was just as unreliable as the information gathered by torture during medieval times.

The fact that candidates for high level government positions in the United States of America are being asked in 2007 about their positions on torture, and that some of them do not condemn it, is an indication of how traumatized our country remains following the September 11 terrorist attacks, and how far we have strayed from the principles upon which our country was founded.

These are frightening times, and the threat of terrorism is real. But torture is both morally reprehensible and forensically unreliable. A ban on cruel and unusual punishment is one of the key principles upon which our country was founded. In difficult times, we should return to these principles, not abandon them.

As you can see, there is no doubt that Bill Durston’s position contrasts vividly against the pernicious and glib response given by his opponent in the referenced video. There is no doubt that a majority of humanity agrees with Bill Durston on this and that a change is warranted, given what we know about his opponent. We are working assiduously to make this change happen in the next election cycle and we implore you to please help draw the needed attention to this race by contributing, volunteering or just talking about it. We are not merely looking to make this a “competitive” race this time around – we are determined to (and confident that we will) WIN it outright. But we cannot do so without your support.

So, we ask you to please:

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HRC Demands Exclusive Inclusiveness

UPDATE: Gospel singer says he is not anti-gay

My Comments are at the bottom of the Diary.

I don’t see anything about this on The Human Rights Campaign’s website, but if the report of HRC’ “Ultimatum” to Senator Barack Obama is true, then it is my considered opinion that all well-meaning Democrats ought to be outraged at the apparent incongruity of an organization devoted to the advocacy of “inclusiveness” demanding that the same consideration be not extended to another person or entity with which it disagrees.

According to HRC, the very existence of the organization is dedicated to “…..HRC envisions an America where GLBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights….”

That HRC is demanding that Senator Obama cancels his scheduled campaign appearance with an ostensibly unpalatable character in order to pacify an organization that many others regard as equally unpalatable is, again in my opinion, the height of hypocrisy. Does HRC not believe that other people have equally pressing needs and opinions, and that those needs and opinions are also “Rights” worth protecting? Is HRC stating that when someone else’s rights collide with their members’ then only their members’ rights deserve to be protected? Does one not have a right to hold opinions and beliefs, however lunatic and extreme those opinions might be? Isn’t there a constitutional right for a stupid person? Or does stupidity make one less entitled to rights worthy of protection?

Let it be said that the Democratic Party is deemed (rightly so) to be the party of inclusiveness. We like to tout the fact that we have a bigger tent and accommodate more shades of characters than the other major party. We do not strive to create outcasts or discriminate against individuals or entities based on their “differences”.

HRC cannot be advancing the interests of one segment of the society, asking that they be treated as the equal part of the society and at the same time be DEMANDING that the same rights and platform they seek for their constituents be denied others. That is reversed discrimination, and it not does not positively help advance HRC’s causes.

The Democratic Party needs the maximum support and inclusiveness it can get from every part of the society. Yes, this position opens up the possibility that we will have amongst us a number of people, beliefs and opinions with which a large part of “Big Tent” will disgree, and with which they will be uncomfortable. But, that is what inclusiveness is all about. The diversity of opinions and beliefs creates a fertile ground for us to understand our differences and work towards reconciling them. The other major has made the art of pitting several segments of the society against one another its exlusive purview. I say let them continue to do so. We do not need to emulate such discrimination and divisiveness. Much as it may distress many within the Democratic Party, the evangelicals in this country are viable, strong and, yes, Americans. They vote, too, and they have voices that also need to be heard.

We cannot and should not seek to silence people with whom we disagree. If HRC truly believes in equal rights for ALL (and not just for their GLBT constituents), then it must be willing to work with others to advance that cause, rather than seeking to ostracize people it deems antagonistic to its cause. I suggest that, rather than DEMANDING that our candidates (nay our party) not work with others it doesn’t like, HRC can do better and find more sympathetic ears by actively championing the expansive inclusivness that having those people within the tent presents.

Politics is about elections. Elections is a numbers game. Sinister as that might sound, it is a fact. We cannot continue to cede the religious grounds to the other party – there are too many of us in the Democratic Party who are truly religious and would like to have our positions and concerns listened to. I am a Democrat because I believe that it is the better of the two major parties when it comes to diversity of beliefs and opinions. HRC is not doing us any favor by striving to stiffle that diversity – it is what makes us better than the “other side”.


On discrimination:
“I don’t believe that even from a religious point of view that Jesus ever discriminated toward anyone, nor do I. Most of the things that were said were totally out of context and then other things weren’t true.”

Does he mean that this is all a manufactured outrage? I hope someone gets back with documented facts that debunks this assertion.

On what he’s doing hanging with Obama:
“My only concern is to be in place with Sen. Obama in unity and bring all the factors together for the sake of change…..That’s my only thing. Of course some agents have twisted it as though he [Obama] were embracing a racist or a Nazi, and that is anything but true.”

Hmmmm…… maybe the facts will show otherwise.

A believer?:
“‘I believe in his stance. I believe in his platform and his agenda. So when they asked me if I would be a part of it, there was no problem,’ said McClurkin, who has performed at both parties’ conventions and identifies himself as a Democrat. ‘We don’t have to agree on everything, but we do have to agree on the main thing: that there needs to be change and I believe he is the candidate to bring it.'”

Why so anti-gay?:
…..his ministry is open to those who say they no longer want to live as a gay person. What he doesn’t do, he says, is crusade against homosexuality.”

On “curing homosexuality”:
“There’s never been a statement made by me about curing homosexuality. People are using that in order to incite anger and to twist my whole platform on it. There’s no crusade for curing it or to convert everyone. This is just for those who come to me and ask for change.”

Will this pacify HRC and its supporters? What? Not even if we add the fact that there is now an openly-gay Minister on the same platform, providing a counter-balance to the damage that McClurkin (regardless of his protestation to the contrary) may be doing to the GLBT community?

For the sake of sanity and objectivity, I hope it does.

Are You Crazy?

(Another great post from akogun on CA-03. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

CA-03 is a “Safe” District. It is a Republican “stronghold” and the rethugs have a unshakeable stranglehold on it. Are you crazy? Do you seriously believe that your candidate stands a chance against the “shock and awe” political juggernaut of the incumbent? That’s what they tell me.

You are crazy – aren’t you? You are a lunatic, yes you are. You must be a certifiable loco to believe that the 2006 elections would have turned out as posititvely as they did for the Democrats.

30 House Seat net gain? Did you ever think that was possible? If you did, you have more than a few screws loose. Not only that, there is thyme mixed into your bong.

6 Senate Seat net gain? I mean, seriously, that pony you are riding is a unicorn.

You must be crazy to think that the “next big thing since grated cheese”, the inimitable, imposing and everlasting honorable Macaca himself, the next annointed “shoo-in-for-the-Presidency” would lose his seat to a neophyte, a political nonentity.

Too much mushroom mixed in with your free-basing concortion led you to even entertain the possibility that Roach-Man Tom Delay, the inventor of pecuniary lubrication, the super-duper exterminator himself, will not only lose his seat, but also be impelled to ignominously relocate his domicile.

You didn’t listen to your Doctor’s advice not to mix your prescriptions, right? That led you to believe that an uppity farmer from nowhere will be replacing the “Guatemalan importer” and “Abramoffed” Conrad Burns.

That Santorum will be a past tense today?

That the highly-connected Mike Dewine will not only be disconnected, but also won’t be wining and dining with anyone not wearing orange jump-suit?

That all this will come to pass in your life time? And that all you had to do to be a witness to all this is just believe in the efficacy of your own confirmed insanity?

You must be insane. To think that you could move mountains with nothing but the power of your lonesome self. That when your very individually-insignificant self joins forces with other Lilliputians of indeterminate lucidity, you actually make things happen.

CA-03 is a safe, R+7 District, they told me. And I am crazy to think that Dr. Bill Durston – a Vietnam Veteran – can do to the incumbent what Jerry Mcnerney and his loquacious bunch of “rabid rabble rousers” did to the “unbeatable”, never-met-a-forest-I-didn’t-wanna-plunder Richard Pombo.

I am crazy. But I know that I am in the midst of more irredeemable keyboard-analysts. I am surrounded by lunatics who are more lost than I am.

And now, I ask you. Please act crazy. Help me bring some insanity to the equilibrium that dictates that CA-03 is a “safe” district where a Publican can hold sway forever, without any semblance of accountability to the constituents.

More than anything else, please tell your fellow lunaticos about this crazy movement. Have anyone on your IM, mailing list, rolodex, or buddy list in CA-03 ? Rather than Foley’ing around with them, please send them our way. More than your money, the Campaign NEEDS more Crazy and Phony dis-Believers. PLEASE VOLUNTEER

Disclaimer: I do not speak for the Durston for Congress Campaign in ANY official capacity.