Military Families Speak Out Washington State Chapter


Bring Them Home Now!

One of the features of military families in this war that differs from previous wars is that there are more young married soldiers.

Here are some statistics:

-- in Iraq war, soldiers often married, with children

-- 55% of military personnel are married. 56% of those married are between 22 and 29.

-- One million military children are under 11.

-- 40% are 5 or younger.

-- 63% of spouses work, including 87% of junior-enlisted spouses.

Source: Department of Defense and National Military Family Association.

Dissent is loyalty Robert Taft, the conservative Ohio senator who is a hero to many of today's conservatives, gave a speech at the Executive Club of Chicago in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.

There are a number of paragraphs that are just grand, but here's the best one, which is worth quoting in full:

As a matter of general principle, I believe there can be no doubt that criticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government

... too many people desire to suppress criticism simply because they think that it will give some comfort to the enemy to know that there is such criticism.

If that comfort makes the enemy feel better for a few moments, they are welcome to it as far as I am concerned, because
the maintenance of the right of criticism in the long run will do the country maintaining it a great deal more good than it will do the enemy,
and will prevent mistakes which might otherwise occur.

Drink in those words.

That's not William Fulbright two years into the Vietnam War.

It's not Ted Kennedy last week.

It's Mr. Republican, speaking -- when? Not mid-1943, or even March 1942

Taft delivered this speech ... on December 19, 1941!

That's right: Twelve days after the worst attack on American soil in the country's history,

perhaps with bodies still floating in the harbor,

the leader of the congressional opposition said to the president, 'we will question, we will probe, we will debate.'

By Michael Tomasky,
The AMERICAN Prospect online

Order and send postcards to Congress - Fund our Troops, Defund the

Bring Them Home Now postage stamps

For more information see Appeal for Redress website.

For more information go to dvd 'The Ground Truth' website.

Some Past Campaigns - Washington state chapter MFSO members participation


(photo - Daniel Ellsberg, Lt. Ehren Watada)

(photo - Organizing Team; Lietta Ruger - MFSO - WA chapter introduces the Panelists)

(photo - on the Panel - Elizabeth Falzone - GSFSO/ MFSO - WA chapter and Rich Moniak - MFSO - Alaska chapter listen to two days of testimony)

(photo - close up of Panelists Elizabeth Falzone - GSFSO/ MFSO - WA chapter and Rich Moniak - MFSO - Alaska chapter)

(photo - rRetired Diplomat Col. Ann Wright gives her testimony)

(photo - Organizing Team - Lietta Ruger - MFSO - WA chapter with retired Col. Ann Wright - Testifier)

(photo - Stacy Bannerma, wife of returning Iraq veteran - WA Natl Guard, gives testimony)

(photo - close up Stacy Bannerman, author of 'When The War Came Home' gives her testimony. Formerly MFSO - WA chapter. For more on Stacy, her book, media archives, see her website at

(photo - IVAW veterans Geoffrey Millard and former Lt. Harvey Tharp give their testimony)

See website; 'Citizens' Hearing on Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq';

Jan 20-21- 2007, Tacoma, WA.

A 2 day citizens' tribunal support action in defense of Lt. Ehren Watada court martial at Fort Lewis.

(Organizing Team from MFSO - WA chapter; Lietta Ruger, Judy Linehan)


(photo Lietta Ruger, MFSO- WA, in support Lt. Ehren Watada, June 2006, Tacoma, WA)

(photo - Jenny Keesey, Judy Linehan, Lietta Ruger - from MFSO-WA in support of Lt. Ehren Watada June 2006, Tacoma, WA)

(photo - Lietta Ruger, Judy Linehan, Jenny Keesey - from MFSO - WA chapter, June 2006, Tacoma, WA)

(photo - Judy Linehan, MFSO - WA at support rally for Lt. Watada, June 2006, Tacoma, WA)

June 2006 ongoing through court martial Feb 2007

For more information, see 'Thank You Lt. Ehren Watada' website.

(photo - right is Stacy Bannerman, MFSO -WA; organizing team)

Representative Brian Baird, Washington state 3rd Congressional District, in blue shirt comes out to talk with MFSO members at 'Operation House Call')

'Operation House Call' June thru August 2006 in Washington DC.

MFSO members make individual calls on Senators and Representatives advocating to Bring Them Home Now.

For more information go to 'Operation House Call' website.

postcards sent to Congress - summer 2006, 'Operation House Call'


(photo - Lietta Ruger, MFSO-WA on central tour. Not pictured - Stacy Bannerman, MFSO -WA on northern tour)

Bring Them Home Now tour - Sept 1 thru Sept 25 2005. From Crawford, Texas to Washington DC. see Bring Them Home Now tour website

(photo - left Lietta Ruger, MFSO -WA with center Cindy Sheehan and right Juan Torres at Crawford, Texas, Camp Casey, Aug 9, 2005


photos from Newshour with Jim Lehrer; segment 'Homefront Battles' aired Oct 2004.

Online video, audio and article still available at Newshour website. photo - Sue Niederer, MFSO. Her son U.S. Army 2nd Lt.Seth Dvorin, 24 yrs old was killed in Iraq Feb 3, 2004.

photo - Nancy Lessin, MFSO Co-Founder

photo - Lietta Ruger, MFSO - WA

photo - Stacy Bannerman, MFSO - WA

See at Seattle PI; List of casualties with Washington state ties

This is one of WA state casualties; Army Spc. Jonathan J. Santos, Whatcom County, Washington died Oct 15, 2004

Watch a slide show of family photos and listen to audio recordings of Army Cpl. Jonathan Santos' mother, brother and the woman who's documenting his life.

See the trailer for the documentary "The Corporal's Boots." (QuickTime 7 required).

A special thank you to mother, Doris Kent - GSFSO/ MFSO - WA for her generous sharing and contribution in speaking of her son's life and death in Iraq

Title 17 disclaimer In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Contact us

Military Families Speak Out
is an organization of people who are opposed to war in Iraq and who have relatives or loved ones in the military. We were formed in November of 2002 and have contacts with military families throughout the United States, and in other countries around the world.

As people with family members and loved ones in the military, we have both a special need and a unique role to play in speaking out against war in Iraq. It is our loved ones who are, or have been, or will be on the battlefront. It is our loved ones who are risking injury and death. It is our loved ones who are returning scarred from their experiences. It is our loved ones who will have to live with the injuries and deaths among innocent Iraqi civilians.

If you have family members or loved ones in the military and you are opposed to this war join us.

Send us an e-mail at
You can call us at 617-522-9323
or Send us mail at:
P.O. Box 549
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130.

click here - MFSO Membership Form – to join Military Families Speak Out or

JOIN us by sending an e-mail to

MFSO - Become a Member

Membership in MFSO is open to anyone who has a family member or loved one serving, since August 2002, in any branch of our Armed Forces

* The Reserves

* The National Guard

* Returned from serving but still eligible for redeployment under stop loss.

There is no membership fee. Donations are welcome.

People who are not eligible for MFSO membership may join our Supporter Group. You are welcome to attend meetings that are open to the public, volunteer to help with event preparation and participate in our community actions and events. Supporters may purchase MFSO t-shirts and wear them with the "Proud Supporter of MFSO" button. Buttons may also be worn without the t-shirt.

Our Supporters provide emotional encouragement and physical help to our MFSO military families who are under extreme stress, especially if their loved one is in Iraq or Afghanistan

We welcome your involvement, please contact us.

click to see the list MFSO chapters other than Washington state forming around the country.

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27 Mar, 06 > 2 Apr, 06
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Friday, 19 January 2007

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Local Lobbying

Doc Hastings; David Reichert are the only WA Legislator to Support Escalation in Iraq

Check the list to see how our WA Senators and House Members stand on escalation - Iraq war.

I'd like to see discussion on this develop here and I'd like to hear from supporters of  Doc Hastings -R- WA4  as to why - why support him in supporting an escalation?

Oh and look, Dave Reichert-R-WA8 refused to answer. What does that mean - he doesn't know his own position? Did I read down the list and correctly assert the position of our WA Legislators?  If I made a mistake, missed someone, please comment and let's get it accurate.  

Link - Senators and House Members on Troop Escalation

Perhaps it is untimely to post this as front page story and it would have better served as a diary.  I will be away from computer over the weekend. I have duties as one of the organizers of the Citizens' Hearing on Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq that is taking place this weekend in Tacoma. (see more at

Perhaps precisely because of the work that has gone into organizing what will be a citizen's tribunal on legality of Iraq war, it is so offensive to see any of our WA state Legislators take a stand in support of escalation in Iraq.

I do know about Dave Reichert, and I don't know much about Doc Hastings, but I am very disappointed to see there is not a unanimous stand of opposition to the escalation from our WA Legislators.    

Take a look at nationally among Senators and House Members who stands where on the escalation here .  

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Topic: Local Lobbying

I spoke with Gene Marx via telephone last night and asked him to write and send a detailed eye-witness account of the meeting. The following was in my morning email - Arthur

VICTORY for BELLINGHAM: Troops Home! Resolution Passes 6-1

On Monday night, Oct 9th, the Bellingham City Council passed the Troops Home! Resolution by a 6-1 vote, with only Councilman Bob Ryan voting against it, becoming the first city in Washington State and the 108th nationally to adopt such an initiative.

Councilman Terry Bornemann sponsored the resolution and strongly supported the Troops Home! Advisory Committee's efforts from the outset in June. The resolution was co-sponsored by Councilwoman Joan Beardsley.

Before the vote, Bornemann, a Vietnam Veteran, powerfully stated that he supported this resolution to honor Gold Star mother Doris Kent, whose son Corporal Jonathan Santos was killed in Iraq two years ago this week, and other parents of soldiers; and also to honor the many Vietnam Veterans who still suffer from the consequences of that war.

Council President Gene Knutson said that when our national representatives won't listen, the people come to their local politicians.


" When the federal government isn't listening, and the state government isn't listening, where do citizens go? They go to their local officials...we are elected officials, and we have that right to do what we're doing here tonight."


Knutson also took on stay-the-course detractors.

"Look at the highest levels of our government that are using cut-and-run, look at the people that are using cut-and-run, look at their military backgrounds."

When Council Member Joan Beardsley questioned whether it was appropriate for the city council to make a vote on behalf of ALL the citizens of Bellingham, Bornemann and Knutson strongly stated that every time the Council votes, they are voting on behalf of the City of Bellingham and ALL its citizens.

In addition to making Northwest news, Bellingham's victory is being celebrated by the national peace movement and Cities for Progress.

Whatcom Peace and Justice Center (, under Executive Director Marie Marchand, was the Resolution's organizational sponsor from its inception.

For a refreshing counter-balance to The Bellingham Herald's inaccurate coverage of the council meeting, check out Seattle's KOMO 4's 11:00 pm news from Monday night, October 9.

Bellingham's victory was the top news story, even trumping N. Korea's test detonation. The powerful City Council presentation (Sep 25th - beginning at 22 minutes) and successful vote (Oct 9th - beginning at 54 1/2 minutes) can be viewed on


Gene Marx
Board of Directors,
Whatcom Peace and Justice





On September 26, 2006,  about 150 people gathered at a Bellingham City Council meeting to present a Troops Out Now resolution.  

A group of Bellingham parents of soldiers (both deceased and Iraq veterans) and peace advocates prepared and presented the resolution proposal to the Bellingham city council.

Among these families are members of Military Families Speak Out Washington State Chapter.

Speakers included Doris Kent, Victoria Marx, Susan Livingston, Eileen Herring, and other parents of soldiers.

MFSO member Anna Lawson from Bellingham explains that "this   resolution, of course, has no power other than highlighting that one city strongly opposes federal policy and actions.
... and we hope that Bellingham's council will be the first of many in Washington to do so."

Bellingham Herald Article: City asked to send anti-war message

Parents of soldiers bring resolution to council, 150 attend meeting

The link below describes the resolution and provides much more information.



The Troops Home! Resolution urges Congress to end the occupation of Iraq and bring American troops home.

Some 106 other U.S. cities have passed similar troop withdrawal resolutions.

To date, no other Washington cities were listed as having passed this type of resolution.

For citizens in other cities in Washington state interested in initiating a City Council resolution to bring the troops home; see the toolkit at link Cities for Progress.

The council will vote at its Oct. 9 meeting to adopt the resolution or not.

Video of the City Council meeting is available online  (September 25, 2006).
The Hearing begins around minute 22 of the video.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Local Lobbying

Two more Ft Lewis Stryker soldiers killed - Cantwell to rally support from veterans

Two different stories this morning struck me in what seems a cruel juxtaposition of WA Senate elections politicking this Iraq invasion/occupation. Story in The Olympian - Sen. Cantwell meets in a rally with veterans who support (in my opinion, her mediocre politically profitably emerging ) position on Iraq; another story today in Tacoma News Tribune reports two Fort Lewis soldiers - Stryker - died in Iraq Sunday.  The count is three Fort Lewis soldiers of the recently deployed (June 06) Stryker brigade our of Fort Lewis who have died in Iraq.

These were two of the six U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq this past weekend, Sunday. The reports tell of an explosive, violent, bloody Sunday in Baghdad.  

It seems to me still a bit unclear what Sen. Cantwell wants to have happen in Iraq; quoting from The Olympian article

Cantwell also has supported efforts to turn the management of the country over to Iraqis more quickly. She has differed from her main opponent, McGavick, who acknowledges mistakes have been made in the Iraq occupation but bluntly opposes talk of a timetable for withdrawing troops.

Oh so close to November elections, and if we could just hold on till then ... yeah, I know the argument.   In other words, despite civil war in Iraq, despite it now being politically correct and acceptable to take issue with the Bush failed policy in Iraq, still politicians want to hedge their bets in fear of the November elections.

 ... in fear ....  tell our deployed troops and their families why they have to continue to die while their politicians at home play it safe.

In June, I posted story reporting on Operation House Call at Washblog that if we wait till November elections, 350 more U.S. troops will die, untold numbers will suffer casualties, and hundreds to thousands of Iraqis will die.  

Guess we keep on just counting the fallen right up through November; Sen. Cantwell gets re-elected, then what?   More deaths until the Iraqis take control - more quickly?  What does quickly mean, anyway - 2 years, 1 year, 1 month - what?

When is it acceptable to redeploy the troops out of Iraq using established military protocols (not Congressionally set time-tables - what do they know about it anyway)?  When is it acceptable to bring them home NOW (which doesn't mean by tomorrow, despite politicians, including Sen. Cantwell, pooh-poohing and using tactic to dismiss the message in deliberate obtuseness of implying when we say Now, it means tomorrow)?   When is it acceptable for Congress to get around to pulling the funding of this failed policy in the Iraq invasion/occupation.  

Sidebar note; reading an article at Truthout by Geoffry Millard,an Iraq veteran and member of IVAW and VFP, is it true that Dal LaManga, co-chair of Sen. Maria Cantwell's 2006 campaign was among the delegation that met in Jordan with eleven members of the Iraqi parliament August 2 this month in a US Peace Delegation?  

According to article at truthout,  part of a 12-person peace delegation included CODEPINK co-founders Medea Benjamin, Jody Evans and Gale Murphy; former US Army colonel and US diplomat Ann Wright; ex-state senator from California Tom Hayden; United For Peace and Justice national co-chair Judith Le Blanc; an Iraqi-American, Raed Jarrar, of Global Exchange; Franciscan priest Father Luis Vitale; Congressional candidate against the war Jeeni Criscenzo (D-Calif.); businessman and peace activist Dal LaMagna; a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War; and others.

... I wonder what Dal LaMagna learned from this meeting and shared with Senator Cantwell. Since I recognize most of the names of the people who comprised that delegation, it is a hopeful sign to me that Dal LaMagna is keeping company among the voices for bring them home Now. There is hope yet ... perhaps ... why can't it be sooner than later?

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Monday, 10 July 2006

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Local Lobbying

Simplistic says David Goldstein... Simplistic!! What does he know about it?

When Goldy is ready to stake 'real cost' beyond words like local/region efforts have been simplistic.....that's when I will begin to take him more seriously.  

Goldy interviews Senator Cantwell and candidate, Mark Wilson on his radio show yesterday.  I didn't hear it live, as I was deeply involved in tele-conference call with the Friends and Family of Lt. Watada national council at the time.  When I finished, I checked my email to find an invitation from Goldy for Arthur and I (as from the anti-war movement) to call into his show/interview with both Senator Cantwell and Mark Wilson.  Unfortunately, Goldy cited 9 PM and there was a shift in the line-up of his guests, so we missed the opportunity of Goldy's invitation.  Too bad and a shame, cause Goldy Does Not speak for me and I'm extremely disappointed in his dismissiveness of local/region efforts to call attention to Sen. Cantwell's position on Iraq war/invasion.

Courtesy of Daniel K, who provided a podcast, I did just listen to the podcast interview Goldy did with Sen. Cantwell and Mark Wilson.  And having dedicated every waking and sleeping hour this past 3 + years to the campaign to bring our troops home now and take care of them when they get home, I can't help but react to Goldy's dismissiveness of my personal efforts as 'simplistic'.  

Goldy made that statement that drives me into outrage in stating that Dems need to win the election if we're going to turn things around, and we need Sen. Cantwell for that.......

Really!  We need Sen. Cantwell to continue to give neutralized politically safe statements on how she believes we might transition the Iraq war/occupation?  We need more of the same next year, the year after and the year after and that is a mark of courageous politics?  We need to buy into the false choice belief that once Dems take back Congress they will act to change the course in Iraq?  

Who.....who among the Dems have actually said they would act to change the course in Iraq?  What is the basis of this political argument that with Dems no longer the minority party, they would act cohesively to change anything about the course of Iraq war/occupation?

As to our region/local efforts to call attention to Sen. Cantwell's position on Iraq war which Goldy has called simplistic...a slow burn causes me to react strongly to Goldy's characterization.  Without the 'simplistic' efforts of local/region activists Goldy would not have had the opportunity to have this interview with Sen. Cantwell.  

With support like that from our friend Goldy, maybe we should just give it up and bury our heads and silently continue to count the daily deaths of our own loved ones who are military and being sent into repeat deployments (count them x 2,3,4 and more)  Yeah, right Goldy, that's real simplistic bet, they live or die .. it's that simple.  And the Iraqi civilians, women, children, bet, they live or die daily .. it's that simple.

So I invite Goldy to 'advise' us in our local/region activist efforts how we might act to be more than 'simplistic' as clearly he has some ideas about what it is that we should and can do to articulate our message in sophisticated terms beyond simplistic.  And Goldy, I invite you to engage directly with military families and troops and get a close-up view of reality that will help you in your language perhaps transcend perpetuating the current political shell game.


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Monday, 26 June 2006

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Local Lobbying

'Operation House Call' and Meeting w Sen. Murray - topic - what else - Iraq occupation

 In Seattle, WA, you might say we're making a 'house call' on Senator Murray.  You may remember we have already made three separate 'house call's' on Sen. Cantwell. A meeting has been scheduled to meet with Senator Murray, Wed., June 28, 2006. Actually the meeting will be with her Dir. of Special Projects, Ardis Dumett. Veterans, military families, faith community,student activists and concerned citizens have scheduled meeting to discuss strategy for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.  

I'm invited to the meeting in Seattle representing Military Families Speak Out, and cannot make that time and date. As you may know, I'm fairly busy, along with thousands of others, in support actions for Lt. Ehren Watada right now.  But I sent an advance statement (below the fold) for consideration at the meeting.  

Meanwhile, over in the other Washington - DC, while our Senators and Representatives are in DC on Tues/Wed/Thurs --

Stacy Bannerman, from Kent, WA, is in Washington DC  for summer-long 'Operation House Call'. Stacy at right, wearing cap

Military Families Speak Out  has mobilized 'Operation House Call' a visual display summer- long campaign to highlight the damage caused by the Iraq War. See press conference on C-Span . While we make 'house calls' on our Senators at home in WA state, Stacy Bannerman , of our MFSO - Washington state chapter will be making 'House Calls' on our U.S. Senators and Representatives in DC. She plans to remain in DC through the summer, and I'm sure she'll be making a House Call on both Sen. Murray and Sen. Cantwell, along with the other Senators and Representatives hard at work in DC. Daily Blog from Operation House Call - read it here .

 (You're welcome to borrow the postcard image and send your own postcards daily to both Sen. Murray and Sen. Cantwell's offices ... make your own 'House Call'.)

My statement for consideration this Wednesday meeting with Sen. Murray's Director of Special Projects, Ardis Dummett.

Dear All,

  I'm unable to attend, wishing you all well with Wednesday meeting with Senator Murray's Director of Special Projects, Ardis Durnett.  If I were to have a  presence as a military family with 2 returning Iraq veterans in our family; both from Washington state; it would be in advocacy to remove our troops who have decidedly become the targets in the insurgency in the U.S. occupation of Iraq.   Further I would point to Lt. Ehren Watada, a U.S. Army officer, at Fort Lewis who has refused what he has, as an Officer, discerned to be an ' illegal' order to deploy to Iraq.  He is currently confined at Fort Lewis, aware of the potential consequences of his decision and action.  I and many military families view it as a courageous act on the part of Lt. Watada.

   I would point out the recent situation described in the Washington Post of a 'fragging' in Iraq with a U.S. Sgt killing two of his officers, June 7, 2006.  I would point to the recent reports of the horrific manner in which two of our U.S. soldiers were killed with their bodies desecrated in a most public message.  I would point to the recent reports of seven marines and one sailor who will be charged by the military with 'murder' for the killing of Iraqi citizen.  I would point to Sgt Kevin Benderman, a returning Iraq veteran, who is now serving a prison term at Fort Lewis as a result of his actions to file as Conscientious Objector After serving in Iraq, and  charged with missing movement. I would suggest there are additional anecdotal instances of our troops and  now Officers who are registering opposition to participation in Iraq occupation in the few venues available to them.

  For that reason, I would point to the continuing need for Military Families Speak Out with a national membership of 3,000 military families across the nation to speak out in advocacy of the need for our elected officials to serve the public with the same kind of honor, dignity and ideals we absolutely and unequivocably expect from our military - from our young 19 and 20 something year old service men and women.  I would urge Senator Murray to stand in support to bring our troops home now and to take care of them when they get home.  It is fully understood that use of the word now in bring them home now does not mean tomorrow, rather the time it takes to mobilize a redeployment of our troops.  I would further suggest that the amount of time it took to mobilize our troops to invade Iraq would be about the same amount of time it might take to redeploy our troops out of Iraq.

  I would point out that since March, 2003, on average, over two service men and women have died each day as a result of the war in Iraq; that fatality rate continues in June, 2006. Discussions in Congress about the war in Iraq and exit strategies include many proposals for bringing troops home after the mid-term election in November, 2006. If Congress waits until November to act, it is likely that 350 or more U.S. servicemen and women will die along with countless Iraqi children, women and men.

    Additionally, now with the new Iraq democracy in place, with newly elected Iraq officials as result of  military actions in Iraq, it would appear that the continually changing identified missions  assigned our troops has been accomplished.  As the newly elected Iraqi Prime Minister has indicated a preference for withdrawal of U.S. troops, I would urge our country and our elected officials to heed such request.   Therefore, I respectfully request that Senator Patty Murray, who in courage did not vote for war in Iraq, go yet a step further in courage and stand in support of bringing our troops home - now.


Lietta Ruger

Lietta Ruger,  chapter coordinator
Military Families Speak Out - Washington state chapter
military family with 2 returning Iraq veterans,
PO Box 335
Bay Center, WA  98527

visit website of national Military Families Speak Out

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Sunday, 21 May 2006

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Local Lobbying

Urgency about death, dying, political failure and why suddenly I feel sheepish ...

I'm not a Democrat first and a patriotic civic-minded American citizen second.

I'm not one of the local flagship bloggers who don't seem to be able to resist showing off their political savvy and acumen obtained and presumably earned over perhaps five years of political struggle complete with battle scars that make others swoon in the moonlight.

No I don't swoon and although a late-comer in terms of speaking out, I'm not a late-comer in terms of seeking out political truth for civic reasons, voting my conscience and having my own collection of scars - some inflicted before most readers under 40 years old were born - and much deeper than some supposed shame in my state's possible loss of a senate seat to a Republican.



I'm also not a member of the fighting keyboardists who talk about war, Iraq and collateral damage as if it were some aspect to a video game where the pleasure is in pretend.

Military families (those who speak out, those who can't and those who don't dare) are all part of one big family whose actual and potential sacrifice on behalf of this nation is way out of proportion with the rest of the country. Those of us who speak out have not been fooling with theories, strategies nor tactics that pander to my blogging colleagues and their pretense that lock-step voting and campaigning will lead to the most prompt and immediate end to death and dying.

Truth is, we have no guarantee that a Democratic sweep of both houses will lead to the quickest end to death and dying in Iraq.

We have no guarantee that a democratically controlled congress will have as its first or highest priority, the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the consequential immediate lowering of the amount of gasoline America's presence in Iraq pours on the fires of resistance and contributes to our family losses and killing of Iraqi civilians.

We do face a strong likelihood that a foolish newly elected Democratic majority will arrogantly allot to itself a greater wisdom in how to get the job done in Iraq and how to accomplish what Bush and neocon nutcases (Just ask Francis Fukuyama ) couldn't do right. If you want proof, go to the Democratic Leadership Council site and read their foreign policy nonsense.

Mark my words and I promise you that if/when party takeover of Congress happens, my words will be true:

The Demos will attempt to accomplish the same goals the Republicans couldn't.

The Demos will not take immediate action to remove the troops and get this country's inflammatory presence out from its position as the direct cause of dreadful effects in Iraq.

Too many voters and leaders see this from an abstract point of view and so long as it remains an abstraction, the competitive gaming-lure of strategic debate remains more enticing and involving than actually staunching the flow of blood.

We are seeing DLC strategy played out even as I write this. We are seeing why Cantwell, the DLC/neocon under-informed foreign policy lightweight, believes that she can go through motions with folks like we who've met with her, that she can ultimately point to having met with us several times and heard us out, and then do nothing inconsistent with her unchanged attitude, philosophy and voting record.

In the meantime, the DLC/Democratic tactic of doing nothing while Republican scandals multiply seemingly exponentially - thereby facilitating a greater probability of their being swept out of power - means that the DLC/Democratic tactic is also to express that two military and several civilian deaths every single day in Iraq are needful and worth the price of doing nothing.

How would you like to be standing at the lip of a human meat grinder watching your military loved one move forward in the sacrificial line and listen to do-nothing Democrats like Maria - who are content to do nothing but watch eroding Republican popularity - tell you that when your loved one steps off the lip and into the grinder, it's for a higher national good?

But if we acquiesce, shut our mouths and pretend that supporting Ms. Cantwell is the wisest and most patriotic act we can take, we fool ourselves and pass me another glass of Kool-Aid.

What can we count on if we let the Democratic Party stay fully managed by DLC centrists and their local party fools in every state? Will stopping the killing in Iraq be one of the highest priorities - like, for example - putting out a house fire where people are dying?

From their own site where pretense begins with the visual illusion that the DLC is somehow "official" party authority:


Democrats should begin by reaffirming their party's commitment to progressive internationalism -- the belief that America can best defend itself by building a world safe for individual liberty and democracy.

Progressive internationalism occupies the vital center between the neo-imperial right and the noninterventionist left, between a view that assumes our might always makes us right, and one that assumes that because America is strong it must be wrong. It stresses the responsibilities that come with our enormous power: to use force with restraint but not to hesitate to use it when necessary; to show what the Declaration of Independence called "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind"; to exercise leadership primarily through persuasion rather than coercion; to reduce human suffering where we can; and to bolster alliances and global institutions committed to upholding an increasingly democratic world order.

They can pretend they sit "between" neo-imperial and non-interventionist, but they are still advocating spreading American's version of corporate capitalistic democracy from the barrel of gun if necessary.

The barrel of a gun philosophy is the precise reason why today, tomorrow, the next day and every f***ing day from here on out two soldiers and who knows how many Iraqi civilians will be killed while politicians and parties in this country continue to behave badly, unwisely and stand with their fingers stuck up their politically failed orifices.

Geov Parrish  expressed the problem we face with blind and nervous support of the (D)-bird in hand versus  more appropriate alternative (D)-birds in the bushes around America where dumb DLC Democrats need them to stay.

After doing more homework, something I recommend to local party strategists, I'm feeling more sheepish than ever, going to have to flip flop and withdraw my declaration of intent to vote for Maria Cantwell in my party's primary election.

There is a significantly more important election for Democrats than the November midterm and that is their soul-searching primary election - regardless of all those "in-place" leadership Demos and self-appointed PAC apologist-type party activists who have yet to prove that they possess a higher wisdom for the well-being of this country and that they can win with it.

Until or unless they ever do, I'm not throwing in with them.

I'm not throwing away any opportunity to say that I also have a voice that is NOT traitorous to America because it disagrees with narrow party fearful thoughts

I also have a voice and ask everyone else who reads me to speak up, even if your voice shakes - or even if others who read me tell you, like they tell me, to shut the hell up. We have opinions that can and should be expressed in a public venue regardless of who likes it and who doesn't.

At this stage in the midterm election process, the (D) bird in hand is not worth more than what's out in the bushes. The one in hand has made no declaration that expresses anything other than a DLC/neocon foreign policy foolishness that in this case has a disproportionate share of the families in this country at risk for paying the highest price for everyone else's right to live free or die.

Like General Zinni, as a veteran, I served to preserve the right I myself and all of you have to speak out, to dissent, to criticize presidents and senators. Folks like us have the least obligation to shut up or defer to other folks who didn't serve, who have no intention of serving and who in fact live in a world of political and economic abstractions based on pretense.

Why in the land of the free and home of the brave where Lincoln sits on a granite chair, and where a rowdy group of 18th century dissenters are now revered as founding fatherly icons of the United States of America, who the hell has the right to say or imply that what Mark Wilson stands for isn't good enough?

In Washington State Democratic hands is a bird who wants to just sit in your hand, look pretty, look senatorial and do nothing of immediate good for this country.

In the Democratic bushes however is a candidate who has spoken out, who has gotten up off his ass and put his money and his personal life where his mouth is.

All of a sudden I have to ask why that isn't good enough?

Why is it shameful or stupid to recognize that?

Why can't a citizen run and a party respect that running? (BTW: I still haven't seen explanation or justification from King County or Suzy Sheary - see my wonderings on 5/11/06)

Why do people who haven't taken that step have the gall to pretend they are greater judges of American character, core values and citizenship, not to mention behaving as self-appointed expert advocates of political expediency?

Why must we settle for mediocrity because that's the Republican standard in this country?

Why must we diminish ourselves and concede to an ignorant lower standard of political acumen, civic duty and citizenship patriotism?

Why are so many of us fearful of standing up, speaking out and working to make a difference?

Why do so many pretend it is wise to accept mediocrity out of a fear of the loss of one election, a fear that leaves us caught in the headlights and too terrorized or intimidated to do more than stare at an oncoming disaster, hoping it passes by with as little damage as possible?

Why are so many afraid to fight?

Is it more convenient because Maria Cantwell gives an excuse not to get in there and mix it up directly with the bad guys?

to sit back, vote Maria in the primary, tell everyone else to be quiet?

And wait for Cantwell to do the dirty work of resisting and overcoming the Republican villains?

When she's demonstrated that she voted to support dirty work in the first place?

I'll say it again, I'm not a Democrat first and a patriotic civic-minded American citizen second.

And there are no lines to read between here.

I do not endorse Maria Cantwell who hesitates and has lost for herself and for all of us more than we can measure.

I do endorse Mark Wilson.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Sunday, 7 May 2006

Now Playing: MFSO reps meet with Senator Cantwell
Topic: Local Lobbying

Cantwell speaks to party faithful, then meets with critics in private

[Excerpts below. Click here to read the entire article. ]

 In Seattle for the weekend, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell got a rousing reception from 400-500 of the party faithful at the King County Democratic Party convention.

She didn't say much about Iraq there, but afterward, she talked about the war, an issue on which she differs with some of the city's liberal activists. She met privately downtown with a delegation representing military families opposed to the war and calling for an early troop withdrawal.

... On Iraq, she stuck with a slogan — "In Iraq, 2006 must be a year of transition" — that her critics deride as too vague.

"What does it mean? Transition to what? ... There's no clear definition," said Lietta Ruger of Military Families Speak Out, one of those who met with Cantwell afterward and who wants a clear and short timeline for troop withdrawal.

Rejecting demands that she make a clear call simply to withdraw, she [Cantwell] said very few of her critics truly believe that the troops can be pulled out quickly.

Cantwell left the convention to meet with exactly such critics: members of Military Families Speak Out and Gold Star Families Speak Out, two activist groups that claim 3,000 members nationwide.

Interviewed before the meeting, delegation members said they would press Cantwell to support an explicit near-term withdrawal from Iraq.

"We want the troops out now," said Ruger, of Bay Center, Pacific County, in the southwest corner of the state. "We understand there's a withdrawal process. ... It can be a matter of weeks to months." Her son-in-law and nephew both served in Iraq.

Ruger's group flatly rejects the argument that U.S. troops are needed to prevent anarchy in Iraq.

"The problem in that nation is the ongoing U.S. occupation," said Stacy Bannerman, of Kent. The wife of a national guardsman, she is the author of an anti-war book, "When the War Came Home."

"We need to remove the cause of the pressure, which is American forces," she said.

Speaking partway through the meeting with the military families, Cantwell spokeswoman Charla Neuman said the meeting was going "pretty well, considering it's an emotional topic" for the families involved. But Neuman said the group was very skeptical of Cantwell's contention that real progress in promoting Iraqi self-reliance is possible in the near term.

After the meeting with Cantwell, Arthur Ruger, Lietta Ruger's husband and a Vietnam veteran, described it as powerful. "It was very frank. She spoke openly," he said, "She has made her position clear. She stuck to that."

"It was a very intense two hours," he added. "Even if she doesn't change her position, definitely she's got things to think about."

Asked if he would be voting for Cantwell, Ruger said yes, that had never been in doubt. He said he has not voted Republican since 2000 and the meeting Saturday reinforced his desire to vote for Cantwell.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007 11:31 AM PDT
Saturday, 6 May 2006

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Local Lobbying

Is Maria talking and walking the DLC version of reality?

Maria's recent op/ed has echoes of somebody else's point of view.

I wrote the following last October in a Daily Kos Diary. I've done some minor editing for grammar and clarity purposes as well as updating my thinking from last October.

October, 2005:

An email from the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC)  was forwarded to me yesterday. The following excerpts reveal why those in this country who are smart but remain political spectators need to turn off Survivor, Lost, Nascar, Monday Night Football and step onto the playing field.

DLC: Idea of the Week: What To Do Now In Iraq


While the Bush Administration has committed a long series of mistakes in the aftermath of the removal of Saddam Hussein, America must remain committed to success in Iraq.

From Democrats who think they have their fingers on the pulse of everyday working America? The Republicans have yet to define what that success looks like - and much of what they've instigated still smells of a permanent presence in Iraq.  If the DLC refuses to tell Americans what that "success" looks like, it sure looks like they are in bed with the Republicans.


A failed state in Iraq would destabilize the entire region, hand our jihadist enemies a major victory and result in a devastating blow to our national security credibility and interests.

Come again? Are you DLC'ers telling Democrats, progressives and independents that if we don't fight them over there we'll be fighting them here?

And you supposed politically astute geniuses are flat out stating that "our jihadist enemies" are not primarily trying to extricate their nation from the consequences of America's self-interest at the expense of the national security credibility and interests of Iraqis themselves?


But the right course now is neither to give the terrorists a victory by withdrawing, nor to continue Bush's failed policies.  We urge progressives to place maximum pressure on the administration to reverse its mistakes and pursue a new strategy linked to clear benchmarks for success in Iraq and in the broader war on terror.

That is neither the talk of an opposition party nor the supposed wisdom of progressive thinking.  No, it's pure unadulterated neocon ideology - the sort of thing we expect to hear from the Republican National Committee and the Weekly Standard. But for God's sake, not someone pretending to be the heart and voice of Democratic wisdom.

You jokers are not speaking for or with the best interests of the people of this country at heart.


Here are three ways the U.S. can do exactly that:

First, we should formally disclaim any interest in permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq; clearly shift the primary responsibility of defending the country to the Iraqi military (with embedded Coalition troops), and adopt a joint military strategy based on proven principles of counterinsurgency. The last point means abandoning Vietnam-style "search and destroy" missions against the insurgency and instead focusing on progressively securing territory where reconstruction can proceed and normal civic life can resume.

Tell me, how is it that we can justifiably recruit our own young flesh and blood and within 6 weeks to 3 months train them "adequately", ship them to Iraq right smack dab into harm's way and task them with the primary responsibility of defending someone else's country

- yet we have failed to justifiably accomplish the same objective with Iraqis themselves - who have to be more invested in the sacrifice on behalf of their own nation?

Why haven't we accomplished this with the more-motived Iraqis also in less than a year?

This logic no longer holds water. DLC'ers are singing a Republican tune.


Second, we should launch a new political strategy aimed relentlessly at winning Sunni support for the new government, and at isolating jihadists. We still have considerable leverage among Shi'a and Kurdish leaders; we should use it to push for confidence -- building measures like the integration of communal militias into the Iraqi army and police forces; a blanket amnesty for former Baathists not implicated in atrocities; and for intensified talks with Sunnis on supplemental protocols to the proposed constitution that would ensure a viable central government and minority rights.

We have lost the ability and justification to accomplish this in any meaningful way. Without your neocon assumptions, this also does not hold water.

This situation is Colin's Powell's "If you break it, you own it" philosophy. Except that the real owners have seen that you cannot fix it to the ideal you propagandized before walking into the establishment with shock and awe thinking of flowers in your paths.

It is screwed up so badly, they just want and need you to leave.


Third, we should muster all our diplomatic resources to create a more supportive international environment for the new Iraqi government. It should not be that hard to establish a UN-authorized international contact group to coordinate political support and economic assistance.

Now you're talking! ... and that more supportive international environment for the new Iraqi government needs to have ceded to it all authority and credibility necessary to create trust inside Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

Republicans and their neocon appointees have made of America the mean drunk whose behavior has been so poor that the drunk needs to walk away and stop trying to fix it by  making it worse.


We should cash our sizable chits with Saudi Arabia and Egypt to work directly with Iraqi Sunni Arabs, using economic incentives where possible, to undermine support for insurgency and encourage political engagement. These Arab states should also push Syria (in conjunction with potential U.N. sanctions) to finally close off travel routes into Iraq for jihadists.

We should come clean with our own populace as to what those sizable chits with Saudi Arabia and Egypt are - how they became sizable and why they have value.

We should come clean with the American public as to what our true investment risk and expected outcome is in these relationships.

Our government should come clean about what the relationship to oil, torture and permanent bases is in connection with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the rest of the Middle East.


We should formally push for indictment of chief terrorist Zarquawi for crimes against humanity in Iraq, drawing worldwide attention to the vicious anti-Shi'a ethnic cleansing campaign that characterizes the insurgency. All these steps ARE politically feasible, but there's no evidence the administration is taking them.

We should do whatever it takes to acknowledge and then take all necessary measures to address the global indictment of our country for crimes against humanity in Iraq, drawing worldwide attention to our vicious anti-Iraqi nationalist cleansing campaign that characterizes our foolish neocon attempt to impose an American control.

These steps are politically feasible but there's no evidence that neither the administration nor the DLC is interested in taking them.


In calling for this new strategy, we acknowledge that we are asking brave Americans to sacrifice still more for a crucial goal under the direction of an administration that has failed so often to pursue that goal competently or honestly.

We share the anger of most progressives towards Bush's blunders, even as we urge them not to let that anger obscure the very real national stake we all have in taking every step possible to leave Iraq in a condition where it will not become a failed state and a terrorist base for global operations.

As usual, Tony Blair best articulated those stakes, for our people and his, just this week:

"This is a global struggle. Today it is at its fiercest in Iraq. It has allied itself there with every reactionary element in the Middle East. Strip away their fake claims of grievance and see them for what they are: terrorists who use 21st century technology to fight a pre-medieval religious war that is utterly alien to the future of humankind."

That's a reality that all of us, whether or not we supported the original invasion of Iraq, need to keep in mind, holding our leaders most accountable not for their blunders, but for their willingness to recognize them and change course now.

This is the pot calling the kettle black. Quoting Tony Blair reveals more about whose agenda the DLC supports. The DLC is voicing the ultimate arrogantly ignorant assumption that we can ask brave Americans to sacrifice still more for a goal it (the DLC) has failed to describe as different from the administration's neocon stupidity.

The DLC does not share the same anger as progressives towards Bush's blunders so long as they offer only a better way to break more things and cause more damage worldwide.

Deny it as they may, the DLC is assuming that their anger reflects the disapproving American voter opinion in the polls - justifiable anger based on DLC self-interested assumptions - which do not take into consideration the very real personal stake we all have in a peaceful future.

Iraq as a pre-invasion terrorist base for global operations is not something that has been proven or validated.

Iraq as a failed state of forced American design needs to go through the failed state transition - with the help of a supportive international community before we can understand how any country seeking its own independence is doing so purely out of an intent to become a  terrorist base for global operations.

Republicans and the DLC reflect an arrogant assumption that American wisdom, primarily because America entered the 21st century as THE sole superpower, is the best wisdom for global harmony.

It's an assumption based on sustaining those who have the power, Republican or Democrat, who remain part of a minority working to remain permanently in the driver's seat.

Rejection of the DLC is imperative if progressives and liberals are going to unite and take back the country via election of Democratic politicians.

If anything, all citizens should see clearly that groups such as the DLC want a status quo that - precisely as the Republican-controlled government, stays on the wrong course.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Friday, 5 May 2006

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Local Lobbying

Arthur quoted with link to Washblog in today's Seattle Times article

Weren't we surprised this morning to see today's Seattle Times article; 'Cantwell's stance on Iraq keeps volunteers away, party chief says' by David Postman, Seattle Times Chief Political Reporter, May 5, 2006.   Arthur's writings at Washblog with a link to Washblog were quoted in the Seattle Times!

I'm not surprised as much that Arthur would get quoted since I have long admired his ability with words both in writing and in oral presentation.  He has a knack of what I call putting in words an immediate visual picture snapshot of the concept he's trying to express.  But, I am surprised that Seattle Times would take notice of Washblog - a blog, no less, and give it credibility.  I'm pleasantly surprised to see someone out there is actually reading Arthur's writings at Washblog.  Someone at the Seattle Times.  My moment of pride in my husband, indulge me.

more below the fold; Arthur attending tomorrow's meeting with Sen. Cantwell...


  Tomorrow, both Arthur and I, will be attending the meeting with Sen. Cantwell that came as her response to the sit-in April 26 at her Seattle office. Representing Military Families Speak Out . I already met with Senator Cantwell on April 10 along with several other diverse interest groups for the sole purpose of discussing her position on Iraq. Tomorrow then, I look forward to hearing Arthur, a Vietnam-era veteran speak at our meeting with the Senator.

  Another person I look forward to hearing from tomorrow is another Washington Military Families Speak Out member, Stacy Bannerman.  Wife of National Guardsman deployed to Iraq in extended deployment, she is also on the Advisory Board of national Military Families Speak Out.  (A plug coming) She is quite busy now with her newly published book When the War Came Home' An Inside Account of Citizen Soldiers and The Families Left Behind' (Continuum Press, 2006) and I'm pleased she is still finding time to participate in our actions (Stacy was at the sit-in; the only woman there among the men, I might add) to help Senator Cantwell see her way clear to a more responsive and responsible leadership role on Iraq.

  Another military family,and veteran, Joe Colgan, whom was also quoted in the Seattle Times article today, (also see his guest op-ed "The Killing Has Got to Stop    Feb 2, 2006 in Seattle PI as result of the December 04 meeting with Sen. Cantwell)  will attend tomorrow's meeting.  He was at the sit-in and I look forward to hearing his thoughts again.  He has our best interests at heart in that his son, 1st Lt Benjamin Colgan, was killed in Iraq in Nov 2003, and he does not wish us to be forced to endure having our loved ones deploy to Iraq to not return.

   Returning Iraq veteran, Josh Farris, will also attend the meeting tomorrow, and was at the sit-in, and the Dec 04 meeting with the Senator. I look forward to hearing again his first-hand account of what he believes as result of his deployment in Iraq.

  Another Washington military family of Military Families Speak Out; the Gold Star Families Speak Out chapter who have the distinction of having a loved one die in Iraq, Elizabeth Falzone, may also be attending the meeting tomorrow. She attended the meeting with Sen. Cantwell in Dec. 04.  I look forward to hearing her thoughts again.  

   91 year old war veteran of Spanish War and WW II, Abe Osheroff, who was at the sit-in and the Dec 04 meeting with the Senator will attend tomorrow's meeting. I have heard only a hint of what Abe has to say from his own experiential and historical background, and look forward to hearing more fully from him tomorrow.

   This comprises the 'stakeholders' who, although unrecognized as such, have the largest stakes in policy decisions on the Iraq war (and the distant drums banging on Iran).  Not in any way to neglect calling attention to the other major stakeholders in this war - the Iraqi people themselves, but that is better left represented by the Iraqi people, who are able to directly articulate the enormity of the costs to their people.

   Others attending tomorrow's meeting include strong and diligent supporter, Dr. Howard Gale, who was at the sit-in, also at the Dec 04 meeing with Senator Cantwell and I need to take a moment of recognition here for Howard.  He has volunteered so much of his time and talents to serve as a kind of steering chairperson in keeping the continuity going for us all since these actions began back in November 04 with a letter to Senator Cantwell signed by most of us listed above.  

  Also attending tomorrow's meeting will be new on board, student activist at Seattle Central Community College, Adam Garcia.

   We don't know who will 'moderate' the meeting, and I hope it will be Alice Woldt as she served us all very well in the April 10 meeting with Senator Cantwell. Alice has talent in bringing together in collaboration diverse groups for mutual purpose.

   Maybe readers, you'd like to read the compelling account of one of our own Washingtonians, a returning Iraq veteran, double amputee, living in Chelan County with his wife and their three children.  A poignant account of daily life after Iraq, minus two limbs.  Recommending 'War Without End Series' which is permanently posted at my own blog Dying to Preserve the Lies .  


The war in Iraq arrives on America's shores by gurney. More than 16,000 U.S. soldiers have been wounded -- almost 400 have lost arms, legs, hands or feet. Each injury ripples through lives with its own pattern and force. And as two soldiers and their families are discovering, the war will be with them forever.

Follow the stories. Follow Sgt Michael Buyas, who became a Ranger with the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, out of Fort Lewis, Wash., and left for Iraq in October 2004. Follow his return to Central Washington, their personal family story of recovery as Michael Buyas and his wife, Carrie and their three children learn to live with the life-changing process of recovery. IED in Iraq took both of Michael's legs.

How the series was reported Chronicle reporter Joan Ryan and photographer Deanne Fitzmaurice began documenting "War Without End" during an April 2005 visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where they met Sgts. Michael Buyas and Brent Bretz.

In the subsequent months, Ryan and Fitzmaurice -- later joined by photographer Michael Macor -- followed the treatment and recovery of the soldiers. They visited with and interviewed them regularly, traveling to Washington state and Arizona to chronicle their first trips home from the hospital.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Wednesday, 26 April 2006

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger at Washlbog
Topic: Local Lobbying

I knew about the sit-in too and I supported and encouraged it

[ed] In the dawn's early light I saw a grammar or two that needed clarifying.

And ain't nobody getting an apology from me because it happened or because it causes negative press to Ms. Cantwell.  Nor because it's thought of as a stupid idea or hurts her re-election possiblities. Those who believe that she could lose to McGavick because of dissent in this party  have bought a larger bridge from dumber con men that most.

I repeat. I'm going to vote for Maria but she gets no free pass from me.

The pretend political psycho spin-doctors who think like dirty-trick republicans and believe that their pulse-taking reveals an electorate that is too dumb and stupid to vote wisely are driving us all nuts.

Unwise folks think the smartest thing we as democrats can do is to not play to win, but to play cautiously not to lose.

Remember when the Oilers did that with a 35-0 lead on the Bills only to lose 41-38? I never forgot it and have little patience for those who have and can't see the similarity at a time when electoral success is so promising - because of all the holes shot in republican feet all over this country.

Joe Colgan and the sitter-inners are friends of mine and I wish I'd had and even greater part in the plot.

Joe Colgan - unlike the proud 30-something pretend strategists who are scared spitless of a paper tiger named McGavick - LOST A SON ... lost a son ... (his son was killed) - to a war that was a lie

... to a war that the honorable senator voted to support

and now, in a blind and proud unwillingness to recognize a foolish and cowardly political act when she and Kerry and the rest of them played "not to lose" and embarrassed all of us ...

God, need I go on?

You cannot find fault with that sit-in for politically strategic reasons.


If - perish the thought - I lose a loved one to this unjustified military disaster, there isn't anybody who's written at this site or in the entirety of Northwest Portal who could justifiably tell me to sit down, shut up and stop handicapping a senator who cast a vote that contributed to the death of my loved one.

She had the power to take an action to protect Joe's son.
Joe Colgan had none.
She didn't do that and hind-sight hasn't justified her not doing that.

Although she does not stand singly guilty nor bear more responsbility than the rest for Democratic passivity regarding this historic American embarrassment, as one of the group of 100 most powerful Americans she excercised the power we gave her but in doing so took a tragically consequential opposite action;

doing so from an unwise and fear-driven political perspective that has come back to haunt her, that has contributed to killing Joe's son and placing thousands more unnecessarily in harm's way.

No, she is not the solitary cause of those deaths. But she is not absolved just because she's up for re-election and slick logicians appeal to a purpose that in reality is not higher nor more noble. Her current attitude and the verbal bone she tossed when Kerry was standing behind her does not merit understanding, let alone forgiveness.

This is not about renomination or defeating Republicans so we can take back the government and eventually some day bring home the troops. We'll do that with or without Maria Cantwell. But if she is not part of it, it won't be because a small minority publicly disputed her own public position.

That sit-in is about the most basic and essential reasons why someone is voted into a position of speaking for the rest of us.

Those sitting-in today were not trying to un-nominate a senator nor advocate for another candidate.

This isn't about that and those who think it is are too shallow and need more civics and less political science classes.

Most of the readers/posters here who DON'T have skin in the game, and we know who they are ...

the college graduates and not-graduates who read-and-write-a-lot, drink loud and liberally but ain't  never-been-there-never-done-that,

the fighting demo keyboard political know-it-alls
with nothing momentous or of value to persuade those few of us not to hold her accountable;

not to hold a cowardly political party's feet to the fire and send Maria and Democratic leadership   a message that they're getting no pass.

Here I come again with points I've already made but points that seem to go way over the heads of people who couldn't or didn't struggle with the 60's and 70's, as late teens or in their early 20's and coping with a very real sucking into a maelstrom of killing,

who never had to use every venue possible to wake up an electorate and bring down liars.

Point One
Maria is going to win her primary easily.

But if someone like Paul Hackett were challenging her for the nomination, all you tip-toers would be standing on shaky crystal pedestals trying to get the rest of us to shut the hell up.

Point 2
If ever in the history of this country there was an opportune time to run against a repuglican candidate - incumbent or otherwise - in the entire U.S.A., 2006 is the year.

If a Democratic Pary cannot whip the majority of the Republican candidates around the country despite gerrymandering and any other swift-bloat tactics, then our party leadership is woefully inadequate and under-qualified. Too many people out there have not only pointed out Republican success tactics, but the flaws and ways to beat those tactics.

Republicans are so incredibly disadvantaged this year.

Our Demo leaders are so cowardly disingenuous in their shameful caution that seems to offer timidity as a strategy in a way that sets up Democratic dissenters as the potential and probable blame objects and fall guys should the long-time losing Demo leaders' dainty, cautious don't-rock-the-boat strategy fail again.

McGavick is no republican charismatic powerhouse who could ride roughshod over Maria due to some sort of sheer intelligence, skill, personality and leadership advantage. If he and his party succeed in building that lie, then it's our own damn fault for letting them get away with lying. Go read the state repug site. They're trying it already and Pelz made the right response.

She's got McGavick hands down right now.

In her first campaign she beat an incumbent for God's sake in a republican year and it really doesn't matter that the margin was thin. What makes anyone think she's so weak or vulnerable as an incumbent that "wise" democrats need to dumb up and shut up and quit expecting senatorial leadership?

She won it in a year when Republicans were kicking lots of Democratic asses all over the country. Gorton was a tough opponent back then but McGavick now?

... an uninspiring stereotypical corporate technocrat - the kind whose lack of leadership style and inability to inspire demonstrate themselves every time he's opened his mouth this year.

This is the time and this is the moment to run for election against a weak party full of weak candidates who have too much to defend and apologize for and too little to justify a vote for them.

Ir is not a time for democrats to act as if it is our party that has to overcome 5 1/2 years of mistakes.

You cannot take back any country that has been stolen from you by asking the Republicans,

"You guys wouldn't mind if we had a crack at governing for a while ... would you?"

That's what your strategies say more loudly than any verbal logic intended to tone down criticism of a candidate.

Trust us, we're noisy but we'll vote the right way.

But she owes this moment of accountability. and if we cannot hold a politician accountable about this kind of issue then we are not truly living in a civic reality. We are living in a world of spin and deception.

Her vote and position on this war have entitled her to the learning experience she's getting right now and the understanding that she is not untouchable;

that in another future venue, she'll experience a greater need for up-front honesty that recognizes the military contributions and sacrifices of a middle class who voted for her ... expecting that she'd represent more little guys and less big assholes.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT

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Criticism of the President is Patriotic

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else.

But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

Theodore Roosevelt, 1918, Lincoln and Free Speech