Monday, January 25, 2010

What Makes Victory so Desirable?

The rhetoric of recent years about the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War has included the call for victory. But is that victory "at all costs"?...A term used at times when fighting battles to hold a position or to take an objective "at all costs". The term means no matter how many casualties, secure the objective; even if everyone dies.

Are we to consider the costs of our wars? Is there ever a time when the costs are too high to proceed? Can the costs be too high to continue after having initiated war? Do we have to finish all wars just because we engaged?

World War I started Aug. 2 1914 and in five months more than 800,000 Germans had become casualties. French and Austro-Hungarian casualties came to 1,000,000 each. Russian casualties amounted to 2,000,000. British 125,000. That's about 5 million casualties in 5 months. No one had achieved the advantage or "the victory" so desired. And what was some men's desire was the ultimate nightmare for millions of others. What they had achieved was stalemate and they spent the next 3 years in stalemate while these casualties dramatically increased. The winter offensive in early 1915 added 800,000 Austrian casualties and achieved nothing. Thousands froze to death when after exhaustion they would fall asleep to never awake. All for the call of victory. Those were the days when General's sons and King's sons were also offered up on the alter to achieve victory.

The leaders continued to believe that "victory lay just ahead and could be achieved with just one or two more effusions of sacrificial blood" as stated by G.J. Meyer in A WORLD UNDONE. There was no victory for the ones who died or for their families.

What price victory? Do our goals make any more sense than the goals for which literally millions died in WWI 1914-1918, only 4 years?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Open Letter to The President

Dear Mr. President,

We are only human. We are disappointed. How could we not be? We believed that you would attack what we think is the basic problem in Washington DC. The Massachusetts senate election shows how disappointed we are. We thought you would not let the big issue be bumped down for a later date. We thought your criticism of "business as usual in Washington DC" meant you would at least make the attempt right away to change how it has worked for such a long time. Were we nieve?

When one looks at the approval ratings of the US Congress they have continually slid downward for many years. Talk about the "slippery slope"... Why has that happened? All the movies make "hay" out of government distrust, incompetency, and snooping on it's citizens. Most conversations about politics these days have several references to the influence of money and lobbyist. People are very disgusted with "how it works" there in DC.

There are really a lot of good hard working law abiding citizens in this country. They don't generally take bribes or pass off shoddy products and workmanship. There may be at times some real B.S. when it comes to advertising but we're kind of used to that. So are we supposed to get used to "politics as usual"? The middle class is largely an honest bunch of folks, but"honest" doesn't seem to be the adjective frequently used in describing politicians.

That was the big issue we trusted you with Mr. President. We were hoping that you would find a way to start making politicians be more honest. We can't afford the big payoffs to get our agenda moved to the top. We're just ordinary people. Our emails, calls, and letters aren't noticed. We just don't have the money to get "our representatives" to listen to us. Seems like money is the only thing they do actually listen to. We thought this was the chance of a lifetime for the ordinary people to get a grip on our do what The People really want done. That's why you got elected Mr. President.

When we call this the big issue, that's what we mean. If real progress could be made on money for political campaigns, then all issues would fall in behind that. Do you understand what we mean? We are talking about lobbyists. We are talking about bribes! Bribes and corruption are the hallmark of backwards and undeveloped nations. Is that what we have become? Is it normal, greasing someone's palm?

Perhaps there is time to turn over a new leaf. If not, at some point the American public will be fed up. They are close. Eventually they will figure out a way to take their government back. Don't count that out!

Your friend and loyal citizen,
Judson Malone

Friday, January 15, 2010


"War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debt and taxes; and armies and debts and taxes are the known instruments for the bringing the many under the domination of the few" James Madison

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fwd: New Year Wish List

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David Van Os - Notes From a Texas Patriot <>
Date: Wed, Jan 6, 2010 at 5:04 AM
Subject: New Year Wish List

Notes from a Texas Patriot
David Van Os
January 6, 2010 
Dear Friends:
To share some food for thought, here is my wish list for the new year and beginning new decade.  Admittedly my list is idealistic.  The only thing that makes us think there is a difference between  idealism and realism is our unwillingness to dare.
1.    Health Care

The current health care bills are scrapped; President Obama asserts leadership and appoints a task force chaired by Dr. Howard Dean to write a new bill; the Dean task force writes a bill that provides universal access to health care, forces competition, regulates insurance premiums, profits, and coverage, allows imported drugs, repeals the health insurance industry's antitrust exemption, and does not trample on individual freedom by forcing people to purchase anything as a condition of life in America; Obama exercises his new-found leadership muscle and insists that Congress pass it; a newly energized public turns out in huge rallies to support the bill; Reid and Pelosi follow suit; the Senate Democratic Caucus warns Joe Lieberman he will be stripped of his committee and subcommittee chairmanships if he doesn't support the basics of the bill;  the bill passes and America's health care delivery system joins the 21st century. 

2.    Economy/Labor Relations

The Employee Free Choice Act is enacted into law; the Taft-Hartley Act prohibitions on secondary picketing and boycotting are repealed; Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act is repealed; federal labor law is amended to ban the permanent replacement of workers engaged in a legal strike; and a revitalized American labor movement grows rapidly to re-establish collective bargaining as the principal model for American labor relations, so as to eliminate the lowering of wages as an element of competition among businesses.

3.   Constitution/Bill of Rights

The Patriot Act expires without renewal.  A presidential directive bans all electronic surveillance by employees, agents, or contractors of the U.S. government except by judicial search warrants obtained through legal processes. 

4.   The Rule of Law

Because taking the United States of America to pre-emptive war on the basis of deliberate lies to Congress and the people and therefore killing thousands of innocent human beings without just cause is not an acceptable political judgment, George W. Bush is indicted and prosecuted for murder under the proposal by famed prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi in his book, The Prosecution of George Bush for Murder.

5.   The Rule of Law

Because torture is not a matter merely of bad judgment but is an intolerable violation of well-established law, in preservation of the rule of law Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, and all other persons in positions of authority who ordered or approved torture are brought to justice for their crimes.

6.   Environment

The human race collectively wakes up as a species and stops overheating its atmosphere and poisoning its own air, water, and food.  

7.   Good Government

Paul Krugman replaces Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury; James K. Galbraith replaces Summers as presidential economic advisor; Bill Richardson replaces Gates as Secretary of Defense; Maxine Waters replaces Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff; and Lloyd Doggett is appointed to the next U.S. Supreme Court vacancy.  

8.   Democracy

Non-paper trail voting machines are banned and hand-countable paper ballots become the method of voting in all elections. 

9.   Equality and Freedom

To preserve and protect the equality of human freedom, Congress repeals the Defense of Marriage Act; and the legislature and voters of Texas repeal the "marriage" amendment of the Texas Constitution. 

10.   Constitution/Economy/Democracy

Either the Supreme Court overrules its erroneous 19th century decision that declared corporations to have the same constitutional rights as human beings, or Congress and the people reverse the decision through a Constitutional amendment that inserts the word "natural" before the word "person" in the Due Process clause of the 5th Amendment and the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.

11.   Economic/Jobs/Standard of Living

NAFTA and other "free trade" agreements are repealed and tax penalties are enacted that make it financially prohibitive for American companies to relocate to or maintain production in other countries.

12.   Economic/Usury

Usury laws are restored, making it illegal to charge interest over 10% in any transaction.

13.   Economic/Democracy

Strong new anti-consolidation laws are enacted to break up all the great concentrations of economic power in every industry. The financial services industry is reined in under these new laws and the huge banking, investment banking, financial services, and insurance conglomerates are broken up. The practices of credit rating and scoring are banned.  The new anti-consolidation laws are used to break up the corporate media empires.  Strengthened antitrust laws revitalize fair competition for honest business entrepreneurs.  With the breakup of the agribusiness conglomerates, fair competition and fair pricing are restored for the family farmer, resulting in more young people remaining in the essential business of farming. 

14.   The Rule of Law
The Wall Street criminals whose runaway greed created the financial crisis are brought to justice for their crimes.
15.  International Relations/Economy

As a nation America finally realizes that World War II and the Cold War are both over, and resolves to dismantle its vast and unaffordable network of overseas military installations and adventures. For starters, all United States military personnel are withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan. 

16.  Justice/Democracy/Checks and Balances

Because restoring balance in the appellate courts is essential if the courts of Texas are ever to return to the people, all Democratic challengers for Republican-held seats win the 2010 elections for positions on the Texas Supreme Court, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and Texas Courts of Appeal.

17.  Democracy/Transportation
All parts of the Trans-Texas Corridor and all other plans for toll roads in Texas are rescinded permanently. 
18.  Democracy

Public financing of election campaigns is instituted at all levels of government. 

19.  Checks and Balances

The Democratic Party remembers its roots as the party of the people in the tradition of Jefferson, Jackson, Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, and Rayburn.

Thank you for your attention. What's on your list?
David Van Os
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David Van Os - Notes From a Texas Patriot | 158 Brees Boulevard | San Antonio | TX | 78209

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