The battle over Memorial Day

A battle over Memorial Day has erupted and it's an ugly one.

It began last week when Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards called on Americans to speak out and rally against the Iraq war on Memorial Day. That triggered a vehement rebuke from the American Legion, which called the suggestion a "revolting" attempt to sully a hallowed day.

Faced with howls of outrage, Edwards supporters noted that the candidate had also urged people to use the holiday to pray for U.S. troops, send them care packages and thank all vets. Edwards said it was time to "reclaim patriotism" from President Bush and his party, and his backers said there is no better way to support the troops than to bring them home from Iraq.

That only added fire to the anger of veterans' groups, who decried the attempt to politicize a holiday that honors the more than 1 million Americans who have died in service to the nation — in both popular and unpopular wars — since 1775.

Apparently, neither side intends to back down.

Send your underwear to the undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Energy.

That's the bright — or, more appropriately, dingy — idea of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which dreamed up the stunt to protest the federal government's new energy-efficiency standards for washing machines.

The anti-regulation group says the rules requiring a 35-percent reduction in energy use for new washers that took full effect this year have produced machines that do a poor job of cleaning. The worst offenders are new top-loaders, they say, citing Consumer Reports tests.

So the institute is calling for mass agitation against the new standards by mailing undies to acting Undersecretary of Energy Dennis Spurgeon. For details, go to

Doesn't seem right that someone could be considered old enough to fight and die in Iraq but not old enough to drink a beer when he returns from the front.

The Marine Corps now agrees, and has just jettisoned a rule that forbade leathernecks under 21 from hoisting a brew while deployed overseas. From now on, young Marines can do so after their Iraq hitch, providing the host country's laws permit drinking by those under 21. Iraq remains an alcohol-free zone for U.S. troops.

For a Capitol Hill lawmaker, one of the scariest things about roller coasters is that there is no specific federal safety oversight of the amusement-park rides.

Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., wants to close what he calls a "loopy loophole" through which amusement parks escape the government regulations under which carnival rides operate.

As it is now, traveling carnivals fall under the watchful eye of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, but so-called "fixed-site" theme parks — such as Six Flags and Disney World — do not. Markey also tried to change this exception last year but failed. Amusement-park interests and others point to a solid safety record and say federal oversight is unnecessary.

You didn't hear it here, but you might want to remember to fasten your seat belt if you're on the road at night for the next couple of weeks. The National Highway Safety Administration is pushing a May 21-to-June 3 crackdown on the unbuckled between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The agency says 15,000 passenger-vehicle occupants died during those hours in 2005, and close to two-thirds of those weren't wearing seat belts. Stats also show seat-belt use is typically as much as 10 percent lower at night than during daylight hours.

At President Bush's joint appearance with outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a U.K. reporter asked Bush's opinion of British Conservative Party head David Cameron, who could become PM down the road.

The Conservatives have long been considered the counterpart party and reliable allies of American Republicans. But not Cameron. If the British media are correct, he is studiously avoiding being seen with Bush, in Washington or anywhere else.

Asked his view of Cameron, Bush replied tersely, "Never met him." And the president's body language added, "And if I have anything to say about it, I never will."


  1. stewart

    I really am surprised John Edwards had the audacity to call for a protest on Memorial Day. Free Speech is something we treasure and I support completely but this goes beyond common sense. Sadly, Edward’s spin jockeys tried to gloss it over useing several hmmmm and hawwws instead of getting him to say, oops, that was a wrong idea. As someone else has mention, since 1776 we have lost or had wounded thousands upon thousands of American military personel who were sent to do a job in both popular and unpopular wars. This day is set aside of 364 others to give these men and women the credit they deserve for defending and fighting for their country. Lets give them their day without sullying it with protest and an obvious disregard for what these men and women have done for us through our history from John Edwards who’s hair looks pretty but apparently he his little underneath it.

  2. Boots

    Memorial Day is an occasion to honor the nation’s men and women who died in military service to the country. Wave the little flag!

    Memorial Day would never be needed in a nation dedicated to peace, but one committed to perpetual war for an unattainable peace dishonors its youth in life and disingenuously honors those who died in imperial wars for conquest and plunder. Nations waging wars only guarantee more of them in an endless cycle of violence, militarism, brutality and shameless inhumanity to those made to suffer and die in combat theaters – so the privileged who get to stay home can profit from them. Like the families Bush and Cheney.

    People don’t want wars but can always be made to support and fight in them using the proven method of choice that always works – fear based on shameless lies and deception by governments with hidden motives unrevealed because who would go along with them if they did. Only by deceitfully scaring people enough to believe the nation’s security is threatened will they support foreign wars and fight in them thinking they have no other choice. When traumatized enough, those wanting peace can be convinced to go along with the most outlandish schemes planned that if ever explained would be condemned and never supported.

    If people only knew the wisdom of iconic investigative journalist IF Stone, they’d know in times of war, or events leading to it, truth is the first casualty. He told young journalists that “All governments are run by liars and nothing they say (about anything) should be believed, and on another occasion shortened it saying, “All governments lie.” Of course the Bush Regime has brought that to an art form.

    Serial lying is the defining characteristic of the Bush administration, but all others earlier were duplicitous as well including the one led by the Republican former president just passed whose short two and a half year tenure only gave him less time to commit fewer crimes of war and against humanity. He managed to do his best with the time he had, yet we honor him instead of exposing his shameless acts deserving condemnation. Gerald fooled a lot of people a lot of the time.

    It’s almost like it’s preordained and in the country’s DNA that this nation is warrior state sending its expendable youth to fight and die in foreign wars but not for national security, honor or the rights of free people anywhere. It’s always for wealth and power that conquest and plunder afford the privileged who get to stay home safe and in comfort letting others do their dying and then shamelessly hold a day of remembrance honoring them for their sacrifice. This is the long tradition of this nation that since inception in 1776 has been at war with one or more adversaries every year without exception from that time to the present.

    Memorial Day is a symbol of this nation’s depravity and ultimate crime against humanity and wasted lives it’s taken. It ignores what Lincoln hoped for at Gettysburg in November, 1863 when he said “we here resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” He knew the horror of war and understood for that to be they must end. He also feared they would not and had to reflect that future wars would take their leaders to new battlefields in an endless cycle of death and destruction wars always guarantee.

    Pass the hot-dogs, burgers and fries and hey, keep swilling that beer.

  3. Stoney13

    Boots, I can agree with a great deal of what you wrote, however there are nations like Japan and Nazi Germany that HAD to be fought! If not, we would be speaking German, or Japanese right now, and you, my friend would enjoy neither the means, nor the freedom to make the statement that you just have.

    I won’t say that Bush didn’t sent this country into a war of empire, based on a web of deceit, so profound, that you would be hard-pressed to find it’s like in American History!! Neither do I argue that this country would have been better off never going to Iraq or Afghanistan. (Even though in the matter of Afghanistan, I can understand the reasoning, even if not the manner and methods of how it was done.).

    I don’t argue that this country has some very dark chapters in it, and as a man of Native American Decent, my people were the victims of some of it’s darkest days! But to say all is wrong, and no war ever had just cause is to paint with a very large brush a lot of individual armed endeavors which may be proven or not to have had true relevance as to protecting the nation as a whole, and allowing us the freedoms to debate their in a forum such as this. Or merely high-handed land grabs to further empire and subjugate those who have no will to be subjects! There is likewise no doubt that given the time and efforts, you will find many examples of both in American History.

    In the mean time allot peaceful people are finding themselves on “No Fly” lists just for speaking out on the subject, and THAT is a battle worthy of your voice, and your vigor! For if one is not free to speak, then none are free to speak!

    I move you to use the strength of your voice to right the wrongs that are being perpetrated right now, and to shed no tears over long-dead bones who are beyond all aid. Then we can remember those who died on BOTH sides of the struggle, and stand united with one voice and declare, “NOT IN MY NAME!!! NEVER AGAIN!!!!”

    Then, and only then can we look upon “The government of The People, by The People, and for The People” and be truly proud of our accomplishment as the sons and daughters of the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Black Kettle, Tsali, Susan B. Anthony, and Dr Martin Luther King! Then only then will our forefathers, and fore mothers gaze down on us from the next dimension, and be truly proud of us!

    Stoney Browning

  4. stewart

    You obviously werent in the service or if you were had bad experiences. Pity….I might agree with your rant had you not been so blatantly Democrat in blaming the wealthy families like Bush and Cheney? …….hmmmmmmm, lets see who were some wealthy war monger Democrats…FDR? ring a bell, John F. Kennedy? How about LBJ……if you want to rant about war and war in general as being bad and Memorial Day being a glorification of bad choices….make sure you include ALL those engaged in as you would seem to be saying….”imperial wars for conquest and plunder”.

    So blame the military for war? Blame those who died? Those are the ones being honored in Memorial Day services not the Wilsons, FDR’s, Lincoln’s, Kennedy’s, Johnson’s or Bush’s. I have never heard a service anywhere that says God bless the President and all those who stayed home from war….just God bless the serviceman and woman who died believing their country was engaged in a conflict that was right….whether it was or not. They’ve done more to honor this country than any 10 of you or 100 or 1000 or million. I’ll fight for your right to speak your mind….would you fight for my right? Apparently not.

  5. bryan mcclellan

    Gentlemen :Get your heads out of the sand. Remembrance and protest go hand in hand,The Fathers of our nation would not have written the Constitution and Bill of Rights without measuring the effect of these two intertwined human emotions.P.S. I am a proud Veteran ,R.V.N.70/71 11th A.C.R. and would proudly defend your right to free speech…….

  6. Stoney13

    Amen, Brother!! I salute you and thank you for the service that you gave to this country and are STILL giving!

    Your comment above built bridges The Sea bees could never hope to better! It is time to get ALL sides together to exchange dialog to bring this sad mess in Iraq to a close, and if people meet over a line in the sand to discuss it, then it is far better thing than if they never met at all!

    It is a sad day when those who went forth and defended the Constitution of The United States like you and I did forget that for which we fought. When they try to silence those who have a different viewpoint! Those striving for peace aren’t disrespecting those who fought! On the contrary! They, for the most part ARE those who fought! They, like you and I have seen what war is! WE who saw it, smelled it tasted it, felt the rise of fear at the back of your throat, and yet fought! WE who, have buried our dead, and want nothing more than for our country to love and respect us as much as we love and respect it!

    This war will end when the ones who fight it end it! Those who love this country enough to die for it, SEE what this incredible cluster fuck is doing to her! All you have to do is to look at all the Iraqi Veterans groups striving to bring their brothers, and sisters in arms home to their families, and see the truth of my words!

    Peace is a wonderful thing! And like most wonderful things, it is seldom easy, and NEVER free!

    You are breath of fresh air into this old Squid’s lungs!

    May The Great Spirit give you comfort in all the things that you do,
    Stoney Browning

  7. Kam

    After over 20 years of membership, I canceled mine in the A.L., due to the leadership’s mindless support of Bush’s war policies, and attitude towards those who oppose it. Supporting the troops, in this situation, is bringing them home, and caring for them, when they get here. As a non-combat vet, I cannot attest to the reality of war, but I have seen its results!

  8. Bill Jonke

    Memorial Day is merely a vacation for Capitol Hill.

    The Congress proved that yesterday by selling out.

    Barbecues and beer/wine guzzling and a day off are certainly more important to them than an unjust war.

    A Day of Rest for Turnip Hill.

    End of story

    Bill Jonke

  9. kent shaw

    Stoney13: “Boots, I can agree with a great deal of what you wrote, however there are nations like Japan and Nazi Germany that HAD to be fought! If not, we would be speaking German, or Japanese right now, and you, my friend would enjoy neither the means, nor the freedom to make the statement that you just have.”

    Well. What can one say to that? Delusional would be kind.


  10. kent shaw

    Stoney13: “It is a sad day when those who went forth and defended the Constitution of The United States like you and I did forget that for which we fought.”

    Do you really think that the Iraq war is in any way shape or form “defending the constitution”?
    Please. Fighting for “our freedom” in Iraq? Come on now. You cannot seriously believe that.

    I respect the vets, no matter how deluded they may have been when they enlisted. They think they are doing the right thing. But they are deluded and they, whether they realize it or not, are nothing more than mercenaries for Exxon/Mobil. Poor bastards.