August 2009

By Cessna

Ladies and gentlemen, the Senator has left the building.

He is finally at peace, hopefully.

He fought his entire life for real change, real progress. And through countless family–and personal–tragedies he continued to fight. For equality, for minimum wage, and his final battle, health care. Ted Kennedy stood up for those too weak to fight. He was never there for himself, he was there for you. He fought to give everyone the opportunity to live the American Dream.

By saving and helping countless lives with his efforts, he more than made up for his mistakes.

Hopefully he is out there somewhere watching, and hopefully we can complete his one final task. It is our duty to pass legitimate health care reform, WITH the public option intact. This is not something to do in honor of Ted Kennedy, this is something to do in honor of those who wouldn’t be where they are right now without his efforts, and those that still need his help.

I will close with the story that President Obama told when Kennedy received the Presidential Medal of Freedom:

An old man was picking up objects off the beach and tossing them out into the sea. A young man approached him and saw that the objects were starfish. “Why in the world are you throwing starfish into the water?”

To this the old man replied “If the starfish are still on the beach when the tide goes out and the sun rises high in the sky, they will die”

Upon hearing this, the young man replied “That is ridiculous. There are thousands of miles of beach and millions of starfish. You can really believe what you’re doing could possibly make a difference!”

The wise old man picked up another starfish, paused thoughtfully, and remarked as he tossed it out into the waves, “It makes a difference to this one.

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By Wink

Peter King, a New York Republican congressman with senatorial aspirations, has decided to make headlines by ripping the Obama administration’s decision to investigate Bush-era CIA interrogations.

The always classy congressman said… “It’s bullsh*t. It’s disgraceful. You wonder which side they’re on.

He is further proof that the average IQ in the House of Representatives is 20+ points below that of the average U.S. Senator.

These type of comments insult our intelligence, but where have we heard them before?

Oh yeah, from former Vice President Dick Cheney, and he is at it again. Cheney has issued a statement suggesting the administration’s decision to name a prosecutor to investigate CIA interrogations under President Bush fuels “doubts about this administration’s ability to be responsible for our nation’s security.

He also said the released documents prove enhanced interrogation techniques yielded valuable information that “provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al Qaeda.”

Dick, you are the master of saying things that SOUND like they could be true, the red herring.

You choose your words carefully though, don’t you Dick? You don’t say ‘torture’ is how we got the good information, and you won’t say it for two reasons…

1. Torture is illegal under U.S. law and under the Geneva Convention.

2. Torture DID NOT get us any of the valuable information you carefully allude to in your statements.

And you never stop lying. You KNOW the torture didn’t work.

Some liars are political animals, who will do or say anything for the sake of the party. Rush lies to promote his party. Beck lies because he is a ‘Rush wannabe.’ (Seriously, Beck is such a doofus I don’t think even HE believes what he is saying. He certainly doesn’t UNDERSTAND what he is saying, as it is all written for him by someone else.)

Not you, Dick, I think your lies are pathological. To me you are “G. Gordon Liddy-type scary,” and you know what I mean.

Dick, your fat, ugly lies have been splitting this country in two. That you knowingly do this approaches ‘evil,’ and I do not throw that word around lightly.

Many people want to trust the president and vice president. They want to think the vice president would never lie to them, and actually knows what is best for America.

You could not possibly care less.

You will stress the valuable info we received from Al-Qaida’s Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. You will NOT STRESS that he gave that up BEFORE we started torturing him. He was quite proud of his sickening deeds and wanted to brag about them. When the torture began, he stopped giving information. Why? Because TORTURE DOESN’T WORK.

Dick, you know the TV show “24” was NOT a documentary, right?

Feel free to ignore the legality (illegality) of it if you wish. If you like government officials breaking the law, we can loan you a flamethrower so you can torch the Constitution. (Whatever happened to the Republicans being the ‘law and order’ party?)

But please, please discuss interrogation techniques with those who have studied it, and those who do it for a living. Both military and CIA interrogators will tell you the following….

Working positively with detainees doesn’t always persuade people to give up valuable information, but it works a hell of a lot better than torture. One Gitmo detainee gave up some incredibly useful information after we started serving him ice cream. Ice cream, Dick.

Torture tends to get you two possible results: no information at all, or bad information (a tortured person will say anything to get the torture to stop, and give you answers even if they know nothing). This is fourth-grade psychology, but maybe, Dick, you never studied psychology.

To stop some of the waterboarding, Mohammed invented some stories about plots.

This intelligence saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks,” – Dick Cheney

No it didn’t. Mohammed has since joked about all the effort the U.S. put into following up his phony leads, including the red/orange/yellow alerts, and other efforts to scare the crap out of Americans. (Duck tape the windows! )

It was all phony, none was true, but Cheney used it all to scare Americans into re-electing Bush. (Remember: thrice-injured Vietnam veteran John Kerry was not the type of guy who would ‘protect’ America. Military-avoiders Bush & Cheney were the REAL patriots.)

The macho posturing of ‘we will torture you’ only makes every American a target for the Muslim extremists. You play right into their hands, Dick. Don’t you get it? In the end you only create more terrorists that want to kill Americans.

Mr. Cheney, I do not feel more safe because of what you did. I feel much-much less safe. I feel less safe here at home, and I fear traveling overseas. You have put a bulls-eye on my back.

Your stupid arguments work for small-minded people, but I’ll best most Americans, Republicans included, feel less safe today than before you took office.

Oddly, I think that was your ultimate goal, to make us all feel unsafe. Congratulations.

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By Wink

Do you love your country? (I bet you said yes.)

Is your country America? Yes?

Then find a way to get to Washington D.C.. It turns out that this is the capital of the good old U. S. of A. (all 52 states). What a well-kept secret!

After a couple of visits I can tell you……

The Smithsonian Institute, a collection of buildings that house vast quantities of Americana, is really cool. The art (which includes much non-American stuff, like Van Gogh), technology (Spirit of St Louis and space modules), the Hall of Documents (Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, the Constitution) and other historical stuff (like Lincoln’s hat) are all first class, and these exhibits are free!

The Spy Museum in downtown D.C. is not part of the Smithsonian, so there is a cost, but it is worth it, especially if you are geeky and interested in the underside of history. (One of my favorite parts: During the cold war the U.S. built a tunnel from West Berlin under East Berlin so we could listen in on, and record, classified East German conversions. Because East Germany also had spies, they KNEW we were building the tunnel, but didn’t let on. In fact, they didn’t tell their own agencies they were being recorded because they didn’t want to risk tipping off who their own spy was……cool). The Spy Museum has a fun gift shop too.

Gads, D.C. has so many memorials….Korea, Vietnam, WWII, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument. There are two more obvious choices, The Holocaust Museum and the White House. On and on… this town is loaded with things to see…

Do you ever reference the Founding Fathers “intentions” to justify some political argument? Then please meditate on the words inscribed in the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Above the 19-foot statue and just below the dome are his words: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” The sentence is taken from a September 23, 1800, letter by Jefferson where he defends the constitutional REFUSAL to recognize a state religion. Meditate….meditate….

And you are totally obligated, at least one time in your life, to visit Arlington Cemetery. No excuses. Deceased American veterans are buried all over this country and, indeed, all over the world, but nothing quite puts it all into perspective like a visit to Arlington. And while there, DO NOT MISS the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier….. very moving.

Last tip: We did not stay in D.C. We stayed in Maryland and took the train in every day. From the train station you can walk (or take a trolley) everywhere you need to go.

Note, We took the above photo in D.C., from the WWII Memorial back toward the Washington Monument.

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By Cessna

“Liberals” have pretty much been on the right side of every major issue in the history of this country.

Ending slavery. Medicare. Social Security. Voting rights. Every one fiercely opposed by conservatives.

Those soft-hearted liberals were against going to war in Vietnam and Iraq. Those ventures both went well, didn’t they?

Now liberals want to make sure everyone has health care benefits.

Is there any hope this will pass, or did Obama just stick his foot in the biggest bear trap?

And if he doesn’t succeed in this, what will his presidency even be about??

“W” had a presidency with a purpose: He wanted to go to war, specifically with Iraq. It took some creativity* to convince the American public that there was a REASON to go to war with Iraq, but he succeeded, and got us into that war. Yeah!

Reagan had two goals, giving tax cuts to the wealthy and spending more on the military. He succeeded on both counts.

Obama did have one goal foisted on him, to bring the U.S. out of the economic chaos of a recession. It is way too early to determine his success on this.

Oops, almost forgot, getting us out of Iraq was another pressing goal. While the end in Iraq (to some extent) appears to be in sight, we may be in Afghanistan a long-long time.

Those are not Obama’s programs though, they are just pre-existing issues that needed fixing. Health care for all Americans is really his baby. His legacy.

Will he succeed? The verbal fighting is fierce, with lots of insane red herrings being tossed about (death panels??).

Regardless, SOME DAY there will be national health care in America.

Republicans are now staunch defenders of Social Security and Medicare. To NOT do so is political suicide. When these programs were proposed, however, they used the same scare tactics they are using now …too expensive, socialist, communist.

They have a great new scary word though…. Nazi. Yep, apparently the scariest thing about the Nazi’s was a plan to provide health care for all their citizens. JUST LIKE OBAMA !!!

The Nazi’s also had BMW provide many/most of their vehicles and other war equipment. Wouldn’t that make any American who buys a BMW a Nazi? It works for me!

If and when it is passed, you can put large amounts of money on this: Republicans will eventually say that national health care is one of the things that makes America great, and they would never dream of dismantling it.


*Creativity = Huge lies repeated endlessly so that morons believe them to this day.

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By Wink

We survived our recent camping adventure.

A number of years ago a few of my friends and I just did this as a lark. We knew of a great place to canoe, and two or three of us took the seven hour drive on up there.

It was such a good time that we turned it into an annual event, and it continues now, two-plus decades later.

The spouses went a few times, early on, but they have a different definition of ‘fun’ and have since bailed on us.

Regardless, the size of the excursion has expanded anyway, as more and more people learned of the fun we were having.

As I said in a previous article, this is our annual attempt to prove how manly we are. Once the spouses stopped going we started referring it as a ‘men-only’ event. No kids, no wives.

That held for a few years, until some of our ‘kids’ got old enough to go, but it was still ‘guys-only.’

That too, held for a few years, but then some guys wanted to bring their daughters.

Fine. Bring ‘em. We are so far (time-wise) past the ‘men-only’ version that I don’t care WHO you bring. There is still one hard and fast rule though….

NO WHINERS

To the wimpy, camping is a never-ending series of difficulties: pitching tents, bugs, hot weather, cold weather, rain, dirt/mud, outhouses. What, no shower? And why don’t they make a sunscreen that also repels bugs?

By the way, the ‘whiner’ tag does not only apply to women. Over the years we have had whiney men who, not surprisingly, no longer go with us.

I am beginning to think we have to ratchet up the degree-of-difficulty though because, not only did we again have a handful of ‘girls’ along with us… they didn’t complain about ANYTHING.

They must have been raised right….

——————————————————————————————-

Totally unrelated post-script: Scientists recently determined that 90 percent of paper money circulating in U.S. cities contains traces of cocaine. As they always say down at the U.S. Mint, “Say hello to my little friend…”

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by Kasson

To few surprises, the national debate has moved past Obama’a birth certificate, and the Gates incident. To where it probably belongs, health care. Since our politicians spend all of their time arguing debating, they might as well do it on something worth while.

My problem with the debate is that it is not fair.  Many, many politicians (on both sides) receive substantial contributions from the health care industry.  Let’s take Ben Nelson (D-NE), a former health insurance exec, has received over $2 million dollars for his three campaigns. On which side is his bread buttered?

If I were to pay you $10,000 every year, as an insurance company, and told you that if you supported health care reform I would stop paying you.  Would you ever support health care reform? The answer is no. You like making money, you like being in office, so you’ve got to stay on their good side by opposing any meaningful bills.

This debate would be better represented if you took 535 citizens without pre-identified conclusions (about the debate), and then let each side tell all of them their story. Then let these citizens debate from the arguments they heard, and reach a conclusion.

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By Wink

I suppose, like all guys, my friends and I like to think of ourselves as the ‘outdoorsy’ type. We are not, but we DO make an effort every year to prove our manhood.

So we head off to the great wilderness. Once we get there we will camp for several days and kayak. It doesn’t matter which river we are kayaking, so let’s just call it… ‘the Colorado River.’

Our version of the Colorado River has many swoops and drops (and one loop-the-loop), and we almost always lose one or two of our group in the rapids. Oh well, this is a small price to pay to achieve maximum macho-isity.

(By the way, if you still canoe rather than kayak, you need to have your head examined. Put your canoe into the river and let it float, empty, to the Gulf of Mexico. Then go get a kayak. If your nearby river does not empty into the Gulf of Mexico, you must move closer to a river that does.)

So camping is the number one reason we go, and death-defying kayaking is number two.

Is that enough reason to go? Well, yes, but we have a BIG reason number three.

We choose this time of year to camp so we can get away from the big city lights during the Perseids meteor shower, which peaks this year on August 12th.

I don’t know where you are, but you should make it a point to get into the countryside to see this. If you do (and if it is not too cloudy) you will get a chance to see hundreds of meteors screaming across the sky over a few hours.

As I age, I am constantly trying to convince people that I have seen it all, and I HAVE seen this meteor shower each August for many years. It doesn’t matter, this event is breathtaking every time. I am never disappointed.

In these trying economic times it is nice to know Mother Nature will put on a big-time show for free.

Perseids fever – catch it.

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By Wink

Sometimes I am really naïve. I thought my July 22 article about Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship would not be controversial. Let me synopsize:

1) Obama is a U.S. citizen
2) Anyone who says he isn’t is an idiot

Some of the responses were fun, but not Matt’s. Matt is a very serious person, and he is serious about Obama’s citizenship and our Constitution!

In Matt’s response he said I should “try addressing the real issues involved with this topic instead of using the Al Sharpton approach.” I guess by the “Al Sharpton approach” he means blaming racism for everything.

You know, I have never really been a big fan of Al Sharpton. More than once he has yelled ‘fire’ (racism) in a crowded theater before he knew all the facts.

Know this though, Sharpton’s main motivation seems to be to represent the powerless and voiceless among us, and he is not always wrong. Because of his missteps he has paid a price in credibility so that, even when he is right, some people will not listen to him.

But Matt, aren’t you being just as judgmental? You imply that I think everyone who expresses doubts about Obama’s birth is a racist.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I am just looking for facts. When ALL THE FACTS point one way, and you point the other, I begin to question your motivation.

As I said previously, your search doesn’t appear to be for truth, because truth has already been established: Obama was born in the U.S.

You simply choose to deny his citizenship in spite of all the evidence.

– Anyone can see the birth certificate. It is on-line.
– The hospital says it is valid.
– The Republican governor of Hawaii says it is valid.
– There is an August 1961 birth announcement in the Honolulu paper saying his mom and dad had a baby boy.

None of what I just wrote matters to you, does it…

Why, Matt, do you deny the obvious evidence? Admit it, NO AMOUNT of evidence will satisfy you.

Matt opines: “Oh, anybody who wants to exercise their Constitutional Rights is a racist?”

Golly Matt, NO! All of us here at Winkest Link are delighted that you care so deeply for the Constitution. I presume you were equally concerned when Bush and Cheney were using it as a floor mat.

In fact, I have the constitutional right to imply that you are gay. I would never say that, because I don’t know you, but I appreciate your granting that I have that right. That doesn’t bother you, does it?

Likewise, you have the right to question whether Obama was born in the U.S.

Same deal, right?

Look Matt, my article wasn’t about ‘rights,’ it was about motivation. What is your purpose in denying the evidence, on its face, that President Obama was born in the United States?

Well, I don’t know you Matt. I have no idea if you are a racist or not. Maybe you are just a conservative shill who hates Obama for political reasons and will do and say ANYTHING to try to destroy him. (Okay, I am really confident that this is true.)

C’mon Matt, even if you are not racist you have to admit the obvious: At least some, and maybe most, of those who are making an issue of the birth certificate, are not TOTALLY comfortable with the idea that a ‘black guy’ is president.

I don’t know if you are a racist Matt, but I know one thing for sure: If you think Obama was not born in the United States, you are an idiot.
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