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Mar-27-2011 17:31printcommentsVideo

Who Deserves Death?

Are we all, by our silence, guilty of being accessories to murder?

Bradley Manning
Bradley Manning

(JAMESTOWN, R.I.) - Should Bradley Manning die for allegedly leaking documents to the US public? He is now charged with aiding the enemy, but the government cannot tell you who the enemy is.

Are you OK with this logic?

The Pentagon routinely leaks information to media outlets all the time. Should they die? Some in the administration argue that Manning’s offense is different because his alleged leak endangered lives, but government officials concede that no one has died due to the leak. So who should die?

Take the time to watch the short version of the video that Manning allegedly leaked at and decide. The first of three featured at the above link is published below.

Do you have the right to know this? Did those in the video deserve death? Did the “Good Samaritan” deserve death? Did the two children deserve their fate?  Why does the US government not want you see this? 

Who should be put to death; Manning, who released the video because he thought it morally repugnant and believed you and I had a right to see what was done in our name, the people who pulled the trigger and committed mass murder, or those who gave the order?

Are we all, by our silence, guilty of being accessories to murder?

_________________________________ Writer Joe Clifford, lives in historic Jamestown, Rhode Island, and has contributed a number of articles relating to foreign policy to newspapers in the Rhode Island area for years.

He graduated from Providence College where he earned an undergraduate and graduate degree. After a lengthy career as a high school teacher he turned to the study of US foreign policy, and then to writing, as a means of expressing an alternative perspective. His reading and research on foreign policy is broad and extensive, especially as the policy relates to the Middle East. His interest in foreign policy was inspired by the American misadventure in Vietnam. You can write to Joe at this address:



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Manning moved April 21, 2011 10:24 am (Pacific time)

"Lessons from Manning's transfer out of Quantico"
Posted to facebook by Glen Greenwald on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 7:21am

Quote: A Pentagon official yesterday leaked word to the Associated Press that accused WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning was being transferred out of the Quantico Marine brig where he has been held under inhumane conditions for 10 months, and moved to the Army's prison facility in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. The Pentagon did not even bother to notify Manning's lawyer of the transfer...


Lynn Simmons April 20, 2011 9:14 am (Pacific time)

Jerry West I agree with many of your points, too bad the mainstrean media, our educational organizations, and other reporters of current/historic events don't take an unbiased perspective. Most of these outfits are rally groups for just one party's propaganda machine. Just the same, a brief history of the Clinton Administration is spelled out by my earlier post, and the seriousness of what he did and did not do was instrumental on how we got here, as were some other past administrations. Also since it's pretty normal to have diverse opinions, it's unfortutunate when people engage in often times violent acts against those who disagree with them. Obviously one person's puppet consideration, is a patriot to someone else. Our Republic will sort things out in the fullness of time, as it has in the past, and I believe that is what is most threatening to those who simply cannot tolerate those who have a different goal(s) for America. They think everyone else is deaf, dumb and blind but them. Such is life.

Jerry West April 19, 2011 6:51 pm (Pacific time)

Lynn, who said that the country was taken out of debt? You are avoiding the point. The country has not been out of debt since about 1835, and only briefly then. What the Clinton article did say was that he was reducing the deficit and slowed down the debt. --- As for Clinton going along with a Republican congress on tax bills and such, so what? Give the guy credit, he could have vetoed them, it is disingenuous to pump up the Republicans because Clinton cooperated instead of vetoing their bills. They are two parts of the same ruling party, after all. --- Arguing that Clinton was hostile to Iraq does not excuse the fact that Bush actually launched a war of aggression against our man in Iraq ----( ---- or against the Taliban in Afghanistan, even when they were willing to negotiate on Al Qaeda. Thousands of deaths and billions of dollars wasted for nothing other than the benefit of defense contractors, and far more damaging to Americans and others than any of the perceived ills that the TP wants to address. Of course, Bush was just the front man, a puppet for those behind him. You could check out PNAC for more background on the Iraq-Afghanistan war. The so called "war against terror" like the "war on drugs" is a scam and everything used to justify it a theatrical performance. --- As for the rest of it, we can point fingers all day and interpret (or invent) facts to spin things one way or another, but the bottom line is the whole Republicans vs Democrats thing is a puppet show run by the same people and they are all to blame. The TP is just letting itself be another puppet in this performance, which is my point. :) ---

Kevin, you asked: "Say regarding having congress provide legislation for funding a war, beyond passing ongoing bills to cover "changing" costs, what else did you have in mind?" --- What I have in mind is that the government does not spend money that it does not have on hand or have assured revenue coming in to cover. What I have in mind is that every spending bill have a revenue portion that outlines exactly what measures that will be taken to cover the costs. I would also suggest that if long term debt is necessary, that it be an item put to vote at the bi-annual election. --- That politicians campaign on one thing and do another is business as usual, it is a system we perpetuate because most voters apparently do not like complex reality and will vote against those who stick it in their face. Clinton raised taxes, so did George Bush I despite "read my lips" as did Ronald Reagan, and tax breaks that George the Lesser brought in helped the same people who are screwing the country, not the average person as the cuts are cited as contributing to the growing gap between the filthy rich and the rest of us. Of course we can throw all kinds of data at each other on this with contrary spin from various witch doctors, er economists, but so what? --- You wrote: "As far as the Bush Tax cuts, the lame duck congress, controlled completely by Obama and the democrats could have chosen not to renew them, they did not." --- Which proves my point, it is theater and they are all in it together. One of my biggest issues with the Republicans is that people think that they are substantially different from the Democrats, they are not. Both are part of the plutocracy which is right of center, but plays to both the far right and the middle and left with no intention of letting any of them get very far. --- You said: "I must admit I still do not understand all this acrimony over the Tea Party, they must be really effective." --- Or really silly and mislead, which is more likely. History is full of decent, everyday people who got taken down the garden path and used for purposes against their own best interests. --- Anyhow, I am posting another article soon, we should move any further discussion to there since following several threads wears out my aging brain. :)

Lynn Simmons April 19, 2011 10:19 am (Pacific time)

Jerry West your review on President Clinton needs further development. The country was never taken out of debt while Clinton was president. Also consider that the economy did not really pick up steam during the 1990s until the GOP took control of the House and Senate in 1995. At that time. Clinton talked about merely cutting the deficit in half in 10 years. GOP policies such as welfare reform and capital gains tax cuts, which Clinton finally, albeit reluctantly, went along with, gave us the first balanced budgets since 1969. Regarding Bush, as deciding on his own to attack Iraq? History clearly shows members of the Clinton administration were arguing that Saddam had WMD and, therefore, was a "clear and present danger at all times" as they were leaving the White House in January 2001? Clinton, Gore, Albright, Berger, et. al., continued to claim that Saddam had WMD prior to the invasion in March 2003. So claiming Bush lied about Saddam's WMD, wouldn't it be more accurate to say that Clinton and the Democrats were the primary people claiming Saddam had WMD's? Though I'm sure the Kurds would agree! Who messed up on multiple attempts to kill Osama? After the 1993 WTC bombing, what was done, policies created, to protect America from future terrorist attacks by Clinton? Remember Jamie Gorelick's, Reno's second in command, who created policies building a "wall" between intelligence agencies? And let's remember that the deficit was falling under Bush and the Republicans after it shot up in the wake of the Clinton recession. The last budget that Bush and a GOP House and Senate were responsible for was just $168 billion. That's about a tenth of the deficits Obama and the Democrats have given us. Since Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took over the House and Senate in January 2007, the debt has grown by nearly $5.5 trillion, and the unemployment rate began ticking up. The [informed] consensus is that the bailouts were the result of the bursting of the housing market bubble. The bubble and subsequent bursting were created by Democrat policies during the late 90's, not Repubican incompetence. Check out Fannie and Freddie lending policies back then, and who pushed changing them to incorporate bad business lending principals, resulting in the subprime fiasco.

Kevin April 19, 2011 7:44 am (Pacific time)

Hi Jerry. Say regarding having congress provide legislation for funding a war, beyond passing ongoing bills to cover "changing" costs, what else did you have in mind? Also I have become somewhat familiar with the Clinton Administration over the years from some independent study with an assortment of friends and associates, can you name some bill, any bill, that Clinton created, which led to a rather positive economy after 1995? In 1993, after he had campaigned about not raising taxes, he immediately went back on his word. Shock when a politician does that. As you know, the 1994 election swept in a massive power change (almost similar to the 2010 election, though I believe 2010 will actually be an even larger change of power because it has happened during the census period and the redrawing of political districts will have long term impacts). Every bill I've seen coming after this 1995 power change was originated by a republican congress, and Clinton simply signed those bills, and that's all he did (well, not all), he never created legislation on his own. Remember when Bush took office, we were in a recession ( a seemingly natural process of the economic cycle, review that cycle and see), taxes were cut on a bi-partisan level, and then we were attacked. Jobs were being created, unemployment was relatively low, even when Bush left office it was below 6%. Who knows what it really is now. Actually if you look at the economic data, the economy started a steeper decline in 2007, and we had a power change then. As far as the Bush Tax cuts, the lame duck congress, controlled completely by Obama and the democrats could have chosen not to renew them, they did not. Just like they could have passed a budget, they did not. History and the facts that accompany it, can be exposed if one understands the process, objectively, well that's another thing. I must admit I still do not understand all this acrimony over the Tea Party, they must be really effective.

Jerry West April 18, 2011 1:49 pm (Pacific time)

Charlene, you wrote: "making an analogy re: bailouts for comparing the TP and communist party is pretty creative," -- Yes, it points out that even opposite numbers have some shared values and everything isn't exactly black and white, or black and red in this case. --- "It is ironic that when it comes to funding wars, this is when government spending gets the most bang for our buck." Well, that depends on what kind of a bang you are looking for. Still, wars should be funded on balanced budgets, for every dollar in expenses there should be a dollar in revenue. --- "The below link that shows the IRS data sure trumps Mr. Reich," You will have to explain that one, the meaning is not clear. --- Chase, you wrote: "The tax cuts led to a increase in revenue," So, prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. --- A rational thinking process, Chase, would include increasing revenues by capturing excess pools of private wealth and putting them to public use. This is particularly true in a time like ours where consumption is out pacing the ability of the planet to sustainably keep producing renewable resources and growth has become a deadly cancer on society. As for who is responsible for the debt, that would be everybody since FDR, though Clinton seems to have slowed it down a bit before W put a rocket on increasing it. --- "In 1993 President Clinton inherited the deficit spending problem and did more than just talk about it; he fixed it. In his first two years, with a cooperative Democratic Congress, he set the course for the best economy this country has ever experienced. Then he worked with what could be characterized as the most hostile Congress in history, led by Republicans for the last six years of his administration. Yet, under constant personal attacks from the right, he still managed to get the growth of the debt down to 0.32% (one third of one percent) his last year in office. Had his policies been followed for one more year the debt would have been reduced for the first time since the Kennedy administration. Contrary to the myth fostered by our right-wing friends, under a Democrat, revenue increased and spending decreased. When President Bush II came into office in 2001 he quickly turned all that progress around. With the help of a Republican controlled Congress he immediately gave a massive tax cut based on a failed economic policy; perhaps an economic fantasy describes it better. The last year Mr. Clinton was in office the nation borrowed 18 billion dollars. The first year Mr. Bush II was in office he had to borrow 133 billion[8]." --- --- You said "Where is your evidence that it is not overspending, regardless of the tax code?" It is overspending in relation to revenue, you disagree with that? Is your issue really with the debt, or on what it is spent on? Mine is that we spend more than we take in, plain and simple, I guess the TP disagrees with that?

Chase April 18, 2011 9:48 am (Pacific time)

The democrats spent $3.6 trillion last year, and only took in $2 trillion. so lets do the math, overspent $1.6 trillion on a paycheck of $2 trillion. umm... The tax cuts led to a increase in revenue, so how could you claim tax cuts cause a deficit? Where is your evidence that it is not overspending, regardless of the tax code? It's the increase in spending that followed that resulted in the deficit! The U.S. has added $6 trillion (TRILLION!) to its debt under Obama, a sure sign of being on the road to Third World status. Three years ago, the U.S. had $7.9 trillion in debt. Today, we have over $14 trillion. Debt and Voodoo economics by Whom? That is the TP's focus, to save our economy! So all that tax revenue coming in during the late 80's, through Clinton's terms and beyond, what was going on then to enhance those revenues Jerry? As far as the TP advocating for those issues you mentioned, seems that one needs to prioitze their resources to be most effective. They are not a party with multiple platforms like the Republicans or Democrats, who jointly got us into this current mess. One needs a rational thinking process to engage in positive pragmatism, not the glibness we see coming from those who have no skin in the game, nor any real experience to bring to the table other than myopic rants.

Charlene Young April 18, 2011 8:13 am (Pacific time)

Jerry making an analogy re: bailouts for comparing the TP and communist party is pretty creative, but a nonsensical distraction,and adds nothing in exposing the eventual endgame for the communists, and the Tea Party, rather dissimilar don't you think?. Wars are certainly costly, especially for our most important resource, our citizens. It is ironic that when it comes to funding wars, this is when government spending gets the most bang for our buck. I assume you have no formal training in economics, other than those undergraduate requirements UC had for their core curriculum, correct? We have had economist's of all stripes trying to figure out the best and most fair way to have a tax code, well getting spending under control should come first don't you think? There will always be the arguement, it seems, about what creates jobs, but all one has to do is look at the evidence, for history provides a very rich amount of evidence. The below link that shows the IRS data sure trumps Mr. Reich, as do most economists who appreciate the empirical over the marxist view.

Jerry West April 18, 2011 12:12 am (Pacific time)

Actually Chase, the Communist Party is opposed to the bailouts, so if they have nothing in common with the TP then are you saying that the TP favors the bailouts? ---- You said "The Iraq war was voted on by a bi-partisan congress after over a dozen UN resolutions." And, so why isn't the TP targeting all of those in congress who voted for wasting resources on this war crime? You also said "There were over 60 countries that initially participated." So what? Some out of fear of the US, no doubt. Sixty bad decisions does not make it anything but bad. As for Libya, might be another bad decision, who said the current administration is any better in some respects than the last one? And Palestine, why not change policy there? Their human rights surely are being violated. Supporting the suppression of the Palestinians and protecting Israel is a bi-partisan activity, lets see the TP start vocally condemning Israel. You said "As far as the cost of these wars being the primary cause for our downed economy, of course not. World War II sure...." A disingenuous reply. The cost of the wars and the borrowing to pay for them are certainly a factor in the deficit. Now you can argue that deficit government spending is good for business if it creates jobs to feed the war machine. It is still deficit spending, though, and if we are against deficits borrowing to fund wars, particularly wars that do not need to be fought to defend the country, should be high on the list of any organization that claims to favor fiscal responsibility. As for who pays how much in tax, you have to look at more than the income tax. Some things to check out ----- ----- ----- ----- And you might even find something to use in this one: ----- As for a flat tax, I think that it is a good idea if done right. Give a basic deduction in the amount of the median income, then take however much of what is left that is needed to balance the budget up to say 95%.

Chase April 17, 2011 6:52 pm (Pacific time)

Jerry the below data is from the IRS and shows exactly whose paying income taxes, and at what percentage rate, and those who are not paying income taxes. I say let's rewrite the tax code and have a flat tax rate. If you recall, back in the 50's and 60's when we had those high tax rates at over 90% there were all kinds of loopholes and allowed the rich to pay even less than they are now. As far as funding wars, well yeah, good idea. The Iraq war was voted on by a bi-partisan congress after over a dozen UN resolutions. There were over 60 countries that innitially participated. The attack on Libya was not voted on, just done. Why? Compared to other human rights problems, like what's happening to the Palestinians, why not help them? As far as the cost of these wars being the primary cause for our downed economy, of course not. World War II sure upticked the downed economy back then and showed the futile aspects of Kenysian policies, which it is those policies now employed by the Whitehouse that is continuing the bad economy, which the TP is trying to stop. Things were put in motion in the late 90's that lit the fuse for our current situation. Here's that tax data, which should prove eye-opening for some: " The top 1% pay 39%; top 10% pay 70%; The bottom 50% pay 2.9%. This link gives a breakdown as per IRS over several tax years that show the trend: /Jerry are you familiar with the American Communist Party list of goals dating back nearly 50 years? They have nothing in common with the TP as you reference re: bailouts, or most anything else.

horrific April 17, 2011 1:22 pm (Pacific time)

put your paragraphs away, No matter what anybody says THIS IS WRONG. If it was vice versa they were in the plane we were gettin shot, We would be right, Because that comes along with being an american, Your right, Even if your wrong.

Jerry West April 17, 2011 3:35 pm (Pacific time)

Chase, you wrote: "We are essentially broke, and we have no choice but to cut back,...." --- We are essentially broke because of the Bush policies and needless wars of aggression that were not properly funded. Every war should come with sufficient tax increases to fund it, not tax cuts. As for fixing being broke, reducing unnecessary expenses is only part of the solution, raising taxes on those who have more than enough to provide themselves with the minimum basics for survival is yet another, and quite fair. ---- Lynn, you are dreaming about Sarah Palin, she would be the ideal opponent for Obama to run against. ---- Chase, the Tea Party pinning their hopes on the Republican Party is like Little Red Riding Hood trusting the Big Bad Wolf. They would be much better off funding a third party based on their principles. Of course that would go against what both the Republican and Democrat tag team stand for and the people who back the TP now would become their enemies as they went off of the approved script. I do note that when it comes to the bail outs the TP and the Communist Party are both opposed. :)

Lynn Simmons April 17, 2011 11:04 am (Pacific time)

Jerry, you touched on Wisconsin in your last post, have you had the opportunity to listen to the brief talk given by Sarah Palin the other day in Madison Wisconsin? She has tapped into the American electorate in terms of speaking for the majority of us. I expect that if she runs for president, she will easily win as Reagan did in 1984. Here is a link to her brief talk, and I would be very surprised if any accuracy problems could be pointed out. Though the media, and one major one, provided old footage of past union rally's to represent the union crowd at her speech. There were several close-ups showing signs to vote for the democrat for Judge on this past April 5th. Here look and hear for yourself, and see a kingmaker (and former union member) tell it like it is.

Chase April 17, 2011 8:48 am (Pacific time)

Jerry I saw that report re: Walker's policies raising taxes on the poor, but that is absurd. The tax rates for "income tax" is based on income, and maybe a gander at that tax schedule will show you that nearly 50% of workers do not pay income taxes. I agree with you that the elite certainly appear not to govern very well, especially considering the "mandate" the Republicans received in last November's election. Though my guess is that the Tea Party will once again apply leverage to the "rino's" and some hardball will be coming. We are essentially broke, and we have no choice but to cut back, and maybe closing the government down will get some straight thinking going on by the idiots in the democratic party. You may have noticed that they are losing seats as congressional districts are being withdrawn, so their power will be steadily decreasing. This is why we need to put pressure on those "rino's" to act responsibly now, or remove them in 2012. I remain confident, even optimistic, that conservatives in power will get America back on track.

Jerry West April 16, 2011 3:26 pm (Pacific time)

RG, what is your point? The Borowitz Report is a satire and a pretty good one if you consider that the US really is a plutocracy, no matter how much people might think different. Do Dems pad elections, no doubt and so do the Republicans, George Bush comes to mind when we talk about recent dirty dealings. Of course if we are locked in a Republican vs Democrat contest we miss the real issue since both parties are owned and operated by the wealthy and dedicated to protecting a small percentage of the population from the rest of us. As far as Wisconsin goes, who knows at this point whether it is straight or not, or if it will ever be truly sorted out. I did note this, though from AP, in one report on Walker's folly: "MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A new nonpartisan analysis of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal shows that it would raise taxes for poor people, while decreasing taxes overall. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau report shows that taxes for low and moderate income people would increase more than $49 million over two years. The largest increase comes to families who qualify for the earned income tax credit and homeowners who receive a homestead tax credit." ----

RG April 16, 2011 10:34 am (Pacific time)

Jerry this Borowitz link you provided is more like a surrender to the absurd when one can no longer provide factual analysis in an objective manner. I found it interesting in the recent Wisconsin SC Judge vote, the democratic candidate when behind, a new precinct seemed to find just enough votes to give her a small lead. The AP, who has no official reporting status kept reporting the vote see-saw until all the state's precincts reported what totals they had, but not the "official" and final count prior to final accounting scheduled for 4/15, but the demo was a few hundreds votes ahead. Recall those new ballots that kept being "found" in the governor's race in Washington, and the senate Minn. race a few years back? Now because someone did not update a county total, though the town that was left out, had their election total on their website that evening of the vote, a final total count AP was reporting was left out for a day or two. No votes were found, they were there, and their historical vote count for the town's previous elections was way below their norm. So we have truth in voting in this county, but for some, it must be a "Borowitz-style" fiction, or someone is engaged in fraud. You think more votes would have been found if that little town had it's voted counted while AP was reporting? So if the demo candidate asks for a recall, wonder if she can make up over 7,000 votes? You know, tens of millions of dollars are at play...I wonder if withholding those votes was planned, so as to make sure no new votes were created in real time?

Jerry West April 15, 2011 6:53 pm (Pacific time)

More truth than fiction? :) ----

Chase April 15, 2011 11:24 am (Pacific time)

Manning has exposed the far left for what they are... Governor Palin is Heading to Wisconsin Tea Party Rally, and the Left is already ‘joking’ about violence. Here’s a quick and important rundown of the hopelessly biased, corrupt-to-the-core media world in which we presently live… A few dopes, most of them likely Leftist plants and Larouchers, show up at Tea Party rallies with a few dumb signs and it’s a national news story for months. No one from the Tea Party yells the N-word at a Capitol Hill ObamaCare protest and yet there’s a week-long media storm saying someone did — and nary a peep once it’s proved they didn’t. Someone commits a heinous mass murder in Tucson and the entire MSM Complex spends days blaming Sarah Palin because the suspected shooter never saw some campaign maps she was supposedly associated with once upon a time. And yet, this can happen in Wisconsin and the national media all but ignores it and the local media all but says “you reap what you sow.” Oh, wait — that’s exactly what they said. And finally, this can happen to a Black man at the hands of union thugs and our precious media willfully looks the other way. Tomorrow, former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin will speak at a Tea Party rally in Madison, Wisconsin. Unless you’ve been asleep for the past few months, you know that right now Madison is Ground Zero in the ongoing political battle to take our country back from corrupt public unions and the Democratic politicians corrupted by them. This battle represents the very heart of what the Tea Party is about, where the national spotlight should be, and yet I don’t see a long line of political types heading to my home state to take advantage of that spotlight.

Jerry West April 14, 2011 7:44 pm (Pacific time)

Judging Manning pro or con is a bit premature until his trial is over. If he did do what he is accused of, then he is guilty of telling people about criminal acts and other follies that the government was hiding from them under the guise of security. Who, then, is to blame for the abuse of security protocols when they chose to hide this kind of stuff in with items of legitimate security concern? Been there, seen it happen.

Anonymous April 13, 2011 6:02 pm (Pacific time)

Manning will never be free again. Hopefully he will do the suicide route so we don't have to consume anymore resources for this POS. Peace and love.

Editor: Pretty sure you weren't raised to think like that, right?  I know some people just hate the truth, they want to kill the messenger.  However that is siding with the low lifes, sort of like wanting to be the bad guy in a film.  God Bless Brad Manning; he is a thousand times the person most are.  

Jerry West April 12, 2011 4:43 pm (Pacific time)

Dear whoever you are: you wrote "Are you suggesting that we dissolve our Republic form of government?" ---- Do you mean to say that the Tea Party is suggesting just that when they say that they want more democracy? What is the difference other than the issue being voted on? In a true popular democracy, unlike our representative one that the TP seems to think does not represent popular will, all subjects would be admissible to the table for a popular vote, even constitutional rights. Majority rule, after all, right? If the majority want to strip the rich, why not? That would be democratic. Whether I would personally want to see this happen or not is not the issue. The issue is where certain demands can logically lead. --- Of course if the majority did rule, George Bush II would have never been president, and the US would probably have a single payer national health care plan.

Anonymous April 12, 2011 2:50 pm (Pacific time)

Jerry you wrote: "Personally I would like to see more democracy in society, particularly public votes on how to distribute wealth." Are you suggesting that we dissolve our Republic form of government? Even the Soviet Union Marxists of long ago would have never suggested such action. The only group I have seen that also suggests what you wrote is the American Communist Party. You know of some other group, or is this just your personal view? How would you structure such a vote? You think people with any assets like a home, would be somewhat concerned about such an action? I can see where the deadbeats would like it, and that's how Lenin came to power, and over time tens of millions were slaughtered. You have a way to avoid that? I'm not sure it would just be conservatives that would want that kind of democracy "you envision." Maybe some very rich Hollywood liberals would like to start the ball rolling and disburse their assets? I'll give them my bank routing numbers.

Jerry West April 11, 2011 11:56 am (Pacific time)

Charlene: Whether distribution of union funds is a democratic process or not would depend upon the structure of the union and ones definition of democratic, as in direct or representative democracy. --- Personally I would like to see more democracy in society, particularly public votes on how to distribute wealth. I note that Governor Brown in California is aiming to put the state's budget problem directly to the voters. I also notice that the conservatives are opposed to this much democracy.

Charlene Young April 11, 2011 10:39 am (Pacific time)

Jerry your views are clear, thank you. My guess is that the simple-minded every day Americans associated with the loosely structured Tea Party will do just fine. Their track record to date has been impressive, so maybe keeping things honest and simple allows for that successful process; while outfits like, media matters, and others of similar "financially-dictated" structure, struggle in the wilderness of the obverse, while compiling a record of questionable activity, and diminishing results. By the way, do you labor under the notion that political distribution of union dues is a democratic process? What's your view that unions, via their puppets in congress, are opining for open voting in union elections? They have had no luck so far, but as you know, there are those types who simply don't care about majority opinion, and choose to take that lonely fork in the road, which very few others seem interested in following. Recent election results appear to bolster changes are a coming to undemocratic activities.

Jerry West April 9, 2011 8:23 pm (Pacific time)

Charlene: I have no doubt that TP rank and file are every day Americans, but then, the Nazi supporters in Germany were everyday Germans, and so too most of the members of the Republican and Democrat and other parties in the US are everyday Americans. Who said that they were not? Being just an everyday person is no guarantee of ability or intelligence. If you are familiar with history, which I assume that you are, then you no doubt have seen instances where the average person got it wrong. (Often because they were taught to get it wrong). Just being an everyday person means nothing except being an everyday person. It does not mean that one's ideas are the best ones or even good ones. ----- I don't happen to think that the financial interests behind the TP are trampling on members heads like you felt that you were in your union. They are just making it possible for people prone to be agitated in a direction that suits their agenda to get help in doing so. If you can not find any evidence of the Kochs or of Dick Armey, for example, involved in the TP, then you have not looked for it very well. As for your union problem, if the union was controlled by organized crime, then perhaps your head was being tramped on, or leg broken or whatever. But, if it was a democratically organized union, then you must have been in the minority, else things would have changed. That would make you a victim of democracy. ----- I enjoyed the links that you gave. Found them amusing and somewhat simplistic in their views. Reminded me a bit about that earlier TP type uprising that happened in 1861. I also found them to be quite a hodge podge, sprinkled in with some things with which most of us would probably agree were things that might be racist or violate human rights or were so ill defined that they could mean a number of different things. Then there was the contradiction of wanting freedom and liberty, but possibly not for those who want an abortion, or gays who wish to marry and so on. Of course, how it appears to each of us is subjective, as are each of our own definitions of freedom and liberty.

Charlene Young April 9, 2011 7:02 pm (Pacific time)

Jerry your opinion about the Tea Party comes in loud and clear, but how well informed your opinion is, is another matter. May I suggest typing in "Tea Party websites" on any search engine and see how many differentsites relating to them come up. Most clear thinking people have reached the conclusion that no outside malevolent power is controlling their agenda, it is both static and fluid at the same time on a national, even international level (there are now TP-like groups forming throughout Europe, and no Koch's influence there either). Maybe you're use to seeing people like the "donator" to, media matters, ad nauseum, and various union heads controlling other political agendas (while trampling on a significant number of union dues payers I might add. I use to be one!) that you think the same thing is happening with the Tea Party? Not so Jerry, at least there is no evidence that I could find that the Kochs, or any other rich "dudes" are setting the stage for TP's activity. Of course there is an organizational format, and there will always be "big ego-types" that will try to get into a control mode, but no primary leadership has clearly been formed yet. In fact it's quite remarkable how they have become so successful with such a transient type of leadership. Must drive some of their detractors nuts trying to do opposition tactics on them, successfully. Look what happened to the CBC and Pelosi, just spinning and burning rubber. These are just every day Americans, many are combat veterans, Phd's, teachers, lawyers, cowboys, etc., of all political stripes. Here's a few TP links of literally hundreds for you to review, most provide clear and concise mission statements, way beyond your one-trick pony assumption re: "...only agitates for tax cuts ..." / //

Jerry West April 9, 2011 3:37 pm (Pacific time)

Charlene: Rasmussen's accuracy and professionalism are not in question. However, you can not use the two polls compared to conclude whether one is more accurate than the other. They did not ask the same questions, and possibly not the same methods were employed. It is quite possible that almost half of the population could agree with the TP on what some of the problems are, and disapprove the TP in general at the same time. As for all of the attention showing how powerful the TP has become, not necessarily, it might just speak to how useful they are for some very rich and powerful interests. Which brings us to who is paying for it, legality isn't my point, and yes other groups fund other political causes, and yes it is a good thing that we can do this. However, who funds something can indicate what the real agenda is. This funding is not done altruistically, it is a payment for services, and in the case of the TP services that promote the interests of the super-rich like the Kochs over the interests of much of the public . You might note that many of us, and myself in particular, do not believe in deficit spending. What I find objectionable to the TP approach to this is that it is narrow minded and one sided. It does not look at the whole picture but only agitates for tax cuts. Raising revenue is also a way to solve this problem, and fair taxation rather than no taxation probably speaks more to American values, whatever they are. And what are the American values that the TP reflects, aside from the rights of assembly and free speech? Different American have different interpretation of the values, the KKK will tell you that they stand for American values, so would the John Birch Society and the American Family Association. My guess is that after 2012 not much will change and no matter who is in charge we will have the same problems, which may be the primary goal that the TP is being guided to.

BG at home April 9, 2011 9:36 am (Pacific time)

Jerry some good points by you, but remember political survey polls are generally structured as quick "snapshots" and over time the use of "close-ended" questions have proven to be the most reliable/valid to measure not just that moment, but to collectively show trends over time. When one uses the "open-ended questions" that you opine for, it really causes the need to have highly trained interveiwers to interpret results. Since many people like to prattle on with their answers the reliablity and validity becomes prone to a thing we call "interviewer's error" which happens to even the best trained. Regardless it causes the "snapshot" to become sluggish and also not very cost effective. Since Rasmussen uses many types of survey polls, those highly trained in this field can glean much useful data, and has led to Rasmussen becoming highly accurate in their extrapolations and predictions. Those "open-ended" questions you opine for are excellent for market surveys, so maybe that's what you are thinking of in terms of the surveys you prefer. Jerry it takes a while to train people in polling structure and interpretation, not to mention the specific math and statistical skills needed, so it's understandable regarding your limited knowledge base in this field.

Jerry West April 8, 2011 3:32 pm (Pacific time)

Bill: Thanks for the info, but I am well aware of it. It still does not change my point that responses to a machine (like hanging up) would mirror responses to a live pollster. It also does not account for the difference in the questions. As for the differences between the political class and mainstream, what really is mainstream for one, and what is the point for two. One could argue that 1000 years ago the mainstream believed that the earth was flat, does that make them correct? Rather than arguing over whether a belief is valid or not depending on the number of those who believe it, perhaps the debate should be over the substance of the belief. In any event, the mainstream or whatever we want to label them have beliefs that are formed and channeled by elites. In this case the TP is a product of one segment of the elite who are using the TP for its own personal purposes. Now, Kevin would probably argue that this is no different than what other groups are doing, and he would be correct. The issue then comes down to whose purpose best serves the public, not a simple issue.


Kevin: We could probably agree to some extent on what is fair and not fair. I have had experience where I have watched unions oppose environmental policies that were good for the public and good for union members in the bigger picture, but resulted in reduced employment and significant reduction in corporate profits. However, in many cases they do represent the views of the majority of their members, more so than any organization based on equity position rather than one member one vote. In fact when it comes to stockholders many people own stock indirectly and generally have little idea what their money is supporting. Also, one should keep in mind that businesses are also subsidized by taxpayers (and the environment and the future through unsustainable practices), and that profits are really just another form of taxation, only levied by private interests, not by public interest. Perhaps we would have no further need for unions if public law mandated wage, benefit and work condition standards for all employees on par with the best collective agreements. In any event, we have managed to wander far afield from the original topic of this thread.

Kevin April 8, 2011 11:38 am (Pacific time)

Jerry there is a considerable difference between corporate political donations and public union donations (including the smaller non-government unions). Since by fact, not theory, a stockholder can sell their stock and disassociate from a corporation's political donation, a union member does not have that option if they want to keep their job, a significant difference. Include into the mix the large percentage of union members who disagree with the use of their union dues going to candidates/issues they don't support. The dollar amount the unions give to democrats simply dwarf the private corporations, but it's all legal so I have no difficulty, but do feel that individual union members should be allowed to vote (anonymously) on how these political funds should be distributed. How about you, see that as fair? You getting a kick out of "idiots sporting tea bags at the TP gatherings" (your words) is remarkable. Keep in mind that, if you are able to itemize, union dues and other job expenses are deductible to the extent that they exceed 2% of the adjusted gross income. So ALL UNIONS are being subsidized by taxpayers. Private donators have a different tax formula, but the public is not getting dinged front, middle and back by these private organizations/individuals. I wonder how those couple million federal workers, who have no collective bargaining rights (where's the anger?), feel about what's going on in Wisconsin and other states? Of course California, New York City, etc. are different animals. So would they rather have their current salaries and benefits to be in parity with state union members and have collective bargaining? So during a down economy they could have the same layoff exposure. I wonder, not. So back to the Tea Party theme: cut deficit spending, harmless tea bag props and all. By the way, are main operation is in eastern Oregon, NE and SE areas, but are also expanding in the near future to the Baker vicinity.

Bill Griffith April 8, 2011 10:13 am (Pacific time)

Jerry West for your info update (Re: your 5:40 PM post), maybe the below will better fit the narrative for you? : "Data for Rasmussen Reports survey research is collected using an automated polling methodology. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. Generally speaking, the automated survey process is identical to that of traditional, operator-assisted research firms such as Gallup, Harris, and Roper. However, automated polling systems use a single, digitally-recorded, voice to conduct the interview while traditional firms rely on phone banks, boiler rooms, and operator-assisted technology. For tracking surveys such as the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll or the Rasmussen Consumer Index, the automated technology insures that every respondent hears exactly the same question, from the exact same voice, asked with the exact same inflection every single time. The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 1-2, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. There’s a similarly sharp divide between Mainstream and Political Class voters. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of those in the Mainstream think the Tea Party is good for America, but 69% of the Political Class say it’s a bad thing. So the latter "elite group", what real importance, statistically speaking, is their view to the American voter and our values? When you break down the numbers, the elites have no significant impact, so maybe we are diminishing those oligarchs via the Tea Party values?

Charlene Young April 7, 2011 7:21 pm (Pacific time)

Jerry West just a brief comment on the pollster Rasmussen...he has been the most accurate pollster for several election cycles, including not just national elections, but right on down to local area politics and other opinion trends. I have several friends who work in the polling field, and they have a very high regard for this man's professionalism. As far as the Tea Party and it's members, the sterotype some provide these people is just that, a stereotype, which is based mainly on ignorance by some, and maybe even some vindictive jealousy by others. This just shows how powerful they have become, and boy have they gotten under the skin of many out there. Regardless, they have developed into a political force, and we all should be thankful we live in a country where groups like this can form, develop an agenda, and push for it. As far as their funding, well so what, is something illegal going on? How about those who fund groups considered anathema to the supporters of the Tea Party? Am firmly convinced that the Tea Party is nothing more than a reflection of American values, and those who don't like their values will always be troubled by groups such as this. My guess is that after the 2012 elections they will have succeeded in securing their primary goals, and will fade out.

Jerry West April 6, 2011 5:40 pm (Pacific time)

Bill: The time difference between the polls is insignificant.  Methodology may be more important, as well as how they targeted their audience.  Both used about 1000 people.  Rasmussen used an automated phone service which I gather means they only received results from people who like to play with talking machines rather than real people.  I an not sure what ORC used for the CNN poll.  They also asked different questions.  It is quite possible that one's views could be closer to the Tea Party then Congress' and still not have a favorable view of the Tea Party.  I would probably fall into that category.  It is also possible that one could both think that the TP is good for the country and not agree with it.  So neither of those questions makes a positive case for the TP.

The question of who has a better understanding probably speaks more to the ignorance of the respondent than to the ability of either the TP or Congress. And, the favorability of descriptions does not tell us a whole lot since those descriptions probably mean different things to different respondents.

An interesting item from the ORC poll is that the TP, Democratic Party and Republican Party all have a less than 50% favorable rating.

Kevin: I have been OK.  Hope that your planting goes well, what part of the state are you farming in?  Been a pretty cool spring here, too.

That is an interesting list of political contributors, but doesn't erase the fact that the TP is funded by special interest groups like the Kochs, nor does it counter my point that the TP is being used to serve those special interests.  Of course my point is not demonizing anyone, but just pointing out the money trail.  To paraphrase an old saying, he who pays the piper calls the tune.  I would, like you, argue that the Koch's and Armey, and etc. have not taken over the message.  I would argue that they were part of the process that originated it in the first place.  Shades of the John Birch Society in the TP, no surprise, the Kochs had their hand in there, too. </P>

<P> An interesting, and probably the most responsible, way to gage political donations as to how populist they are, would be to express them in dollars per person.  In case of unions that would the donation divided by the number of members.  In the case of organizations that would be the donation divided by the smallest number of stockholders or contributors that make up 50.01% of the stock or contributions.

You know, ".... smaller government and to decrease spending to available resources, Bill of Rights, U.S. Constitution, etc." is a pretty broad aim, and it is possible to have that aim and not agree with the TP.  There are many ways to do deal with it.  Smaller government could mean cutting the military, abolishing Homeland Security, selling off all of the public highways and bridges to toll companies, disbanding the Border Patrol and so on.  Matching spending to available resources could mean tapping into available resources currently not being utilized, like much of the upper level income that is not being taxed, and so on.  Bill of Rights issues could include flag burning as free speech, and expanding abortion and gay marriage as rights.  The point being that general statements of goals really does not tell us much at all.  In fact general statements are used all the time in political discourse to hide real intentions. :)

PS: I get a real kick out of seeing pictures with idiots sporting tea bags at the TP gatherings.  What a misuse of history.  The issue really was not about being taxed too much, but about being taxed without representation, something that the current TP can not claim.  They are represented whether they like that representation or not.  Perhaps the movement should have found another historic incident to wrap themselves around.  Maybe the southern treason of 1860-65?  (By the way, I may have had ancestors involved the original TP or associated events, as my family was three to four generations in New England by that time).

Kevin April 6, 2011 10:27 am (Pacific time)

Jerry, how have you been? Am taking a breather before spring planting. Too cold currently. I did a bit of research regarding how the Koch brother's compare to other wealthy groups/people regarding political donations, and they are way down on the FEC list at number #83. Their funding of political causes is just a tiny drop in the bucket compared to outfits like taxpayer funded public unions, even Mr. Soros has a more concentrated level of funding of groups that are politically polar opposite of the Tea Party. So I guess that's how it goes in a free society, give money to those who share similar values. As far as setting an agenda for the Tea Party, there is no evidence that Koch or anyone else has dominated and taken over the TP message: which is smaller government and to decrease spending to available resources, Bill of Rights, U.S. Constitution, etc. It appears some are attempting to demonize some donators, while ignoring others that spend much much more. Politics as usual, the distractors are always doing their thing, but are losing impact as time goes by. I saw this link on another article, good info:

Bill Griffith April 6, 2011 9:20 am (Pacific time)

Jerry West the recent below poll is more up to date than the one you posted @ 9:21pm. "48% Say Their Views Closer to Tea Party Than Congress."The latest Rassmussen ( April 05, 2011) national telephone survey finds that 48% of Likely U.S. Voters say when it comes to the major issues facing the country, their views are closer to the average Tea Party member as opposed to the average member of Congress... Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters think the Tea Party movement is good for the country, consistent with findings since May 2010...Forty-five percent (45%) say the average Tea Party member has a better understanding of the problems America faces today than the average member of Congress does... Voters see “Tea Party” a bit less negatively as a political label these days, while “liberal” and “progressive” have lost ground even among Democrats. “Conservative” remains the most favored description. Forty-one percent (41%) of all voters think the Tea Party will play a bigger role in the 2012 campaigns than it did in 2010, while 30% expect its role in 2012 to be about the same (that totals 71%). Just 21% say the movement will play a smaller role next year.

Jerry West April 5, 2011 6:03 pm (Pacific time)

Roger, check the Koch Brothers, Dick Armey and The Americans For Progress to learn more about the people behind the Tea Party. It is as much a spontaneous grass roots movement as Osama Bin Laden is a devoted Catholic or the SA were independent of the Nazi party. You could check our an article in the New Yorker: - which is one of many articles linking the TP to big money and the reactionary agenda. By the way, recently the Kochs have started pouring money into Canada to influence the governments here. There is nothing grass routes about them other than the decent grass roots people that they manipulate. Holding governments responsible might be a cute slogan for the TP, but the bottom line is political manipulation to serve the interests of the wealthy like the Kochs.

Roger April 5, 2011 9:59 am (Pacific time)

Jerry West you are underestimating the power of the Tea Party. There is such a growing negative campaign developing on demonizing this powerful group, which clearly demonstrates their effectiveness. You claim some big money is controlling them, you have sources? They do not exist Jerry. For over two years they have had everything thrown at them, and yet they continue on. They are not so much an organization as they are a movement of individuals, of all political stripes, who share a common focus of holding government responsible. They will continue to grow until government acts only within their constitutional mandate, so they'll be around for a few more election cycles, to the chagrin of the radicals.

Jerry West April 4, 2011 9:21 pm (Pacific time)

Bill, the Tea Party has traction because some wealthy interests want it to. When it is no longer useful to the plutocrats it will lose its punch. Lots of good people fooled by it will be unhappy. The Tea Party is analogous to a number of reactionary groups in history, like the SA, and look what happened to them when Hitler did not need them anymore. Of course it will be more subtle here. In fact it may already be on the decline according to recent reports that put support at around 32% and opposition at almost 50% of the public: -- I suspect in 2012 more than Senator Brown will be Tea Party favorites no longer in favor after they make the necessary compromises to keep the system functioning.

Bill Griffith April 4, 2011 6:16 pm (Pacific time)

Jerry you wrote: "The opinion of the majority is often inconsequential when it comes to government policy. It is wealth, not numbers that control the government, and a big share of the wealth is controlled by a small number of people." It appears that a quickly growing minority, called the Tea Party, has had a significant grassroots impact on public policy. After a couple years of intense negativity aimed at this group, they still get stronger. Even now their detractors are attempting a new push against them, which will fail. They keep trying to use "push polls"  to create negative public opinion, but they just don't get any traction. One of the TP's targets in 2012 will be Mass. Senator Brown who actually won because of their support, but who now has fallen in disfavor by not keeping his promised fiscal policies he claimed he would pursue. So this party, with little money and no highly defined organized top to bottom leadership pretty well neuters your above comment in my estimation. I have found when you have those who attack groups like the Tea Party, that means they are effective. Time to get the popcorn out. I wonder what role Manning will play in the 2012 election? Being soft on his actions may become more political than judicial. He may end up as a sacrificial lamb, hope not. May the court martial process be a fair process.

Jerry West April 3, 2011 11:45 pm (Pacific time)

Well, Mike, we agree that Manning's superiors probably dropped the ball, but from experience I am not surprised. As far as only a tiny, inconsequential portion of the population thinking that he did the right thing, the inconsequential part may be right. How tiny remains to be seen. The opinion of the majority is often inconsequential when it comes to government policy. It is wealth, not numbers that control the government, and a big share of the wealth is controlled by a small number of people. They are the consequential ones in our plutocratic form of government, the rest of us be damned.

Mike April 3, 2011 6:52 pm (Pacific time)

Editor I was running small elite combat operations in Vietnam when you were still in diapers. I do "get it!" My opinion(s) on this matter is based on actual experience, what is your opinion based on? The number of people who have been killed and will be killed will never be made public, but I assure you it is high, and most certainly something that should not have happened. I frankly do not blame this criminal act totally on Pvt. Manning, but on his superiors. They hopefully will not just have their carreers concluded dishonorably, but receive some serious incarceration time. The multiple special intelligence operations that have been compromised will never be known to the public, nor will you ever be informed just how damaging this event has been, which is still being calculated. The propaganda machines of our enemies are in full operation, and many Americans, and I presume inexperienced expatriots, have become the water-carriers for our enemies, hopefully not aware of what they are doing. If we do have a situation where we "declare war", remember the government can always make that retroactive, and then sedition and treason laws become a heavy fall. Just check out what FDR and Truman had done under their watch. This Manning may be a hero to some, but that is a very tiny inconsequential population that will never impact government policy much less majority public opinion. Watch how this unfolds, I assure you that Manning will be exposed as a treasonous and dangerous individual.

Editor: Ever heard of Ron Haberele?  He is one of my heroes, tell me he didn't do the right thing.  I have to go get changed, whah!

Jerry West April 3, 2011 2:38 pm (Pacific time)

Mike: All of your argument still does not erase the fact that what Manning allegedly did was in balance a greater service to the country than not doing it. People truly concerned with the dangers in this kind of action may want to consider changing policy that puts it more in line with the nation's stated principles so that people will not be so inclined to blow whistles to expose hypocrisy and criminal acts. It is the engineers of our national policy and the needless undeclared wars and other criminal adventures that the country is engaged in that are really putting the lives of our troops and agents at risk. They should be in the brig, not Manning. As for declared war vs undeclared war, it is a matter of semantics which becomes important if we have laws that regulate conduct based on a state of war existing. It should be wrong to consider anyone's actions as happening during a state of war if war is not declared. If that model is not workable, then issue a declaration saying that the US no longer recognizes declarations of war, or any legal need for such, then wipe all reference to war from the legal codes. PS: you are not the only one exposed. :)

Mike April 3, 2011 8:38 am (Pacific time)

Jerry West I agree with you that it is a public service when criminal acts are exposed, and those whistle blowers deserve are protection. Private Manning did not release data in a selective manner, he dumped a massive amount, much of which was way beyond his clearance level. Those who failed to safeguard this classified info must also be sanctioned, and from my sources that has occurred. Mr. West I don't know if you have a background in counter-intelligence, but a massive release of information like this tips off intelligent-gathering outfits (many who are not U.S. friendlies) of a variety of "processes" that we use. You might say these outfits are always looking for puzzle pieces to fill in to expose various "processes." I have had some exposure to this and when people leave, e.g. , the military with high security clearances, their debriefing admonishes them never to talk about their background, even when they see that classified info becoming part of the public domain. It is the "process" that is of great concern. The word "process" is jargon for those who have a background in the intelligence field. Regarding your statement: "... a declared war and a combat/war environment are not exactly the same thing." I don't know if you have ever written letters to wives/families who have lost love ones in combat, or gone to their homes and informed them of their loss, it really makes no difference if it is a declared war or not. There are also many reasons why we have not officially declared a war since WWII. I invite you to talk to an expert in the state department for a briefing on that matter, for even an extensive college background in political science/foreign policy coursework may not provide you with the real reasons why. Of course there will always exist those that think they know, but it is always incident particular. Expect a declaration of war in the not too distant future from what I see coming, but hope I'm incorect.

Tim King: There are a lot of us who would die for the principles Manning represents.  He is legendary.  People who see it the way you do are often cowards, rats and narcs.  The ones without a backbone, scared little men with untrue hearts.  Where does that leave you 'Mike'?  I'd say Manning is one of the most important people alive and someone of your caliber could go years without 'getting it.'  

Rick April 2, 2011 7:03 am (Pacific time)

Should Bradley Manning die? Only in America would you even ask this question - come'on Manning did us all a favor - including your army - the information he released needed to be seen - can any one really deny that ?

Anonymous April 2, 2011 7:58 am (Pacific time)

Exexution is too good for filth like Manning. Just let him loose and Wikileak his adress and other personal information. He will get what he deserves.

Editor: You have the indecency to say that and lack the courage to list your name?   You sicken me.

Jerry West April 1, 2011 10:27 pm (Pacific time)

Roy, a declared war and a combat/war environment are not exactly the same thing. If it is not serious enough to declare war, then time of war should not apply. As far as releasing classified information being a public service, it depends, some times it is. When classified information is used to hide criminal activity and/or deceive the public for personal and political gain, disclosing it is a patriotic act. I do not know what exposure you may have had, but I can tell you first hand that not all stuff that is classified is done so to protect national security. As for people violating their oath, I can think of a lot of elected officials and appointed officials who have done so, leading the country into needless wars or carrying on other activities in contempt of Congress and the laws of the country, (traitors and a disgrace to my Marine Corps like Ollie North for example) who certainly belong in prison. But, the death penalty should not be on the table for any of this.

Roy April 1, 2011 8:46 am (Pacific time)

Jerry West you wrote: "Propaganda is used by both sides, exposing it when it masks criminal activity is a public service." PFC Manning falls under the UCMJ, so hopefully he has his rights properly observed. As far as a declaration of war being made, my guess is the tens of thousands of Americans killed since the Korean War would consider (and their families and loved ones) their deaths as a direct result of a combat/war environment. You have a different definition? Do you feel that releasing classified material that relates to national security is a public service? How about when it causes the deaths of others? Maybe a court martial that explores those questions and many others is really the public service, though quite likely the general public will not be privy to much of the evidence, nor should they be. The death penalty is on the table, as it should be. Our federal prisons are full of people who have violated their oaths, both military and civilian. One person's public service may be a felony act with our laws, and the real propaganda is when people minimize the seriousness of violating our secrecy laws. Many people have and have had high level security clearances, and the over-riding theme of thse clearances is "The need to know!"

Jerry West March 31, 2011 8:19 pm (Pacific time)

Quote: "Please keep in mind we are at war, and propaganda is a card always played by our enemy." Any declaration of war been made? What wars we have are wars of convenience in which we are the aggressors. Criminal enterprises, which makes those who release documents whistle blowers acting in the best interest of the country (if its principles and supposed values are to be taken seriously). Propaganda is used by both sides, exposing it when it masks criminal activity is a public service.

FEAR of TRUTH March 28, 2011 9:48 am (Pacific time)

The article states: "government cannot tell you who the enemy is." I think I may already know "WHO" the enemy is.... Pogo's "Daddy", Walt Kelly, wrote in June 1953: "There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us." Small flags waving and tinny blasts on many tiny trumpets are the preoccupation of those committing U.S. war crimes and those not wanting to hear the truth about them.

joe March 28, 2011 9:39 am (Pacific time)

Rolling Stone Article that the US Govt will HATE!!

Greg Lawson March 28, 2011 9:32 am (Pacific time)

Jo Ellen Ross, Valerie Plame was outed in the Washington DC social register, then by an assistant Secretary of State. Thing is she was not an undercover operative at the time, no law had been broken and Special Prosecutor Fitzpatrick could not bring any charges in this matter. Ultimately we had a perjury conviction that had nothing to do with any CIA outing. A witch hunt. As far as Manning, my guess is that the general public will never know the full truth, but Manning will have legal representation who will go public if his "military" rights are violated. Please keep in mind we are at war, and propaganda is a card always played by our enemy.

Colli March 28, 2011 6:39 am (Pacific time)

To quote Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." This observation is truly ageless and may be even more pertinent today than ever. When those in power assume they have the right to decide which facts we should be privy to and which facts we should not, maybe it is time to change those in power!

Jo Ellen Ross March 28, 2011 6:25 am (Pacific time)

If he should die what about the people who outed Valerie Plame?

Celinette March 27, 2011 10:05 pm (Pacific time)

I also read about the Afghan war diaries, also alledgedly leaked by Manning. US soldiers were notably describing in raw details how they were torturing Afghan children to death in front of their parents. Any human being with a basic sense of what's good and what's wrong could be outraged like Manning was and good on him for making these documents public, someone had to say it. His only mistake was that he should not have said to anyone a word about how he leaked these documents. The US government must take their responsibilities and condemn the crimes and the soldiers who committed them, and those who complicitly let this happen again and again. It is sad to think that these crimes are still going on today. The only reason why the US government will condemn Manning rather than the real bad guys, is that if they didn't, this would give reason to Wikileaks. I am appalled at these wars, at these soldiers behaviour. Ignorance and stupidity is the most dangerous, the US government will make their best to prevent their troops from thinking.

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Since 1985, Tattoo Mike is one of the most reputable tattoo artists in Oregon.

Tribute to Palestine and to the incredible courage, determination and struggle of the Palestinian People. ~Dom Martin

The NAACP of the Willamette Valley