Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Name:
Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Patriotic?

If patriotism means supporting our troops and veterans, then no one is more lacking than President Bush. Hundreds of our wounded from Iraq were warehoused for months in places like Fort Stewart, Georgia in hot, dirty, overcrowded cement barracks waiting for medical treatment. They had to hobble across the sand to use the bathroom, and had to pay for their toilet paper. After protests from the U.S. Senate the administration stopped charging wounded soldiers $8.10 per day for their hospital meals. Many wounded said that they were seeing their pay and health benefits severely reduced, since they were no longer fit for active duty.

While, sending thousands of troops to fight in Afghanistan; Bush proposed tripling the cost of medication to needy veterans. He refused a congressional request for a modest $275 million to cover veterans, health care needs. In his 2004 budget, he slashed $2 billion in VA's funding and ordered officials to stop publicizing health benefits available to veterans. He opposed a proposal to allow National Guard Reservist access to the Pentagon's health insurance system. His administration announced a plan to reduce monthly imminent- danger pay by $75. and family separation allowance by $150. for troops in a combat zone.

Bush is patriotic in a symbolic way, which is completely empty of content. His style of patriotism consists of empty platitudes and meaningless phrases. He claims to love this country, but it doesn't translate into action to benefit the average American and certainly not the troops he's sent off to fight a war.

Validation

Howard Dean's " You have the Power" points out that moderate Republican and Democrats have come to realize America is ruled by people pushing an intolerant agenda under the cover of "compassionate conservatism". Anti-woman, anti- gay, anti-civil liberties policies are proposed in the name of God.

The Vermont supreme court ruled that their marriage laws were unconstitutional because they were discriminatory. Married people had certain rights that unmarried or single people didn't. The court ruled Vermont laws were unfair to a significant number of people, who are not allowed to get married because they're gay or lesbians. Homosexuals are not fundamentally different than us except they fall in love with people of the same sex.

Discrimination can affect people down to their very core. Gays and lesbians want validation. Gay pride is about recognition of their identity, which is truly a life changing event for a group of people who have so often had to hide who they were. Their parents have known what it is like to have a child who is forever discriminated against.

Intolerance, and prejudice can be defeated if people can learn to see their common humanity. We should figure out our personal bias and try to keep them from doing harm to others.

Marion Milne, a Republican was so appalled by the outpouring of hate the Vermont civil union bill generated. She ended up supporting the bill because all that hate made her stop and say to herself: "If this is what gay people have to put up with, then I have no choice but to stand up for them." Marion Milne and other fine people lost their seats in the legislature, because they voted for the bill.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Noble Cause

"The Charge of the Light Brigade" was written by Alfred Lord Tennyson to memorialize a tragic cavalry charge made in 1854. I am again reminded of the words: "Not tho' the soldier knew. Some one had blunder'd: Their's not to make reply, Their's not to reason why, Their's but to do and die: Into the valley of Death"

Bush has said that Cindy Sheehan's son and others died for a "noble cause". We should all want to know what the noble cause is and if it's such a noble cause why his daughters aren't serving in Iraq.

An honest answer to the question is that grief stricken parents must accept that children of the elite are not making the supreme sacrifice, because they are simply not expendable. Gold Star mothers are expected to graciously accept a neatly folded flag and quietly enduring lifelong grief.

Bush supporters expect congress, civilians and especially Gold Star mothers to conduct themselves as if they are in the military. "Their's not to make reply, Their's not to reason why" -- Their's but to demonstrate unwavering support for a blundering Commander-in- Chief.

Most of those that made the supreme sacrifice never knew that the alleged "noble cause" was first revealed by Paul Wolfowitz a decade before 9/11. Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Wolfowitz were among 18 signatures on a letter to then President Clinton in 1998, which urged a preemptive war against Saddam Hussein. Of the eighteen signers of the letter; eleven held posts in the Bush administration, when Iraq was invaded. Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill confirms that ten days after Bush's first inauguration the focus at his first National Security Council meeting was war with Iraq.

The invasion of Iraq serves to invite more terrorism and was an avarice, calculated, imperialistic plan to gain control of the world's second largest oil reserve. Allowing our troops to be used as economic cannon fodder for multinational oil corporations is unconscionable.

"Them that got shall get, them that's not shall lose"- Billy Holiday

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Spoke up

Admiral David Lamar Mc Donald was a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Vietnam War . Many years later he said: "Maybe we military men were all weak . Maybe we should have stood up and pounded the table... I was part of it and I'm sort of ashamed of myself too. At times I wonder, why did I go along with this kind of stuff".

Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser for George H. W. Bush, counseled against the occupation of Iraq at the end of the first gulf war. He said, "At the minimum, we'd be an occupier in a hostile land. Our forces would be sniped at by guerrillas, and, once we were there, how would we get out?"

Richard Clarke reported that within hours of the attack on 9/11, Donald Rumsfeld was suggesting Iraq as a battlefield, not because the enemy that attacked us was there, but because it offered "better targets" than the elusive bin Laden in Afghanistan.

Rumsfeld publicly rebuked Army's Chief of Staff, General Eric Shinseki, after he dared to tell the truth that several hundred thousand troops would be required to secure Iraq. Consequently, our troops are unable to provide security and Iraq has become a terrorist haven.

Marine General Anthony Zinni established his impeccable credentials during nearly forty years of military service. He served as Colin Powell's special envoy to the Middle East, before disagreements over the Iraq war caused him to resign. For speaking out Zinni was called a traitor and turncoat by Pentagon officials. To those that claim that as long as troops are dying, it is morally reprehensible to criticize the flawed policies and tactics that caused the predicament. Zinni says:"Bullshit.".

Senior member of the our intelligence community, Michael Scheuer has decades of experience in national security issues. Scheuer wrote "Imperial Hubris", which states: "We must recognize that our invasion of Iraq was not preemptive; it was an avarice, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat but whose defeat did offer economic advantages."

Scowcroft, Clarke, Shinseki, Zinni and Scheuer and many other knowledgeable patriotic Americans stood up and spoke out, but Bush's propaganda drowned them out.

Obscene

We have repeatedly heard the slogan "family values" from the Republican Party, but the legislation they pass continues to demonstrate they only care about corporate values. Their bottom line is to benefit corporations by pushing down wages, maximizing profits, cutting health benefits, and laying off workers. Corporate globalization allows Republicans to pander to capitalists, which does nothing to enhance family values. Their agenda has resulted in the destabilization of family life in America. An unrestrained extreme form of capitalism is practiced without shame by the rich and powerful .

Bush is not a compassionate conservative and has no compassion for the average family. Bush and his lap dogs in Congress have provided the wealthy with huge tax cuts and ensured unconscionable profits for big oil, pharmaceutical companies and defense contractors. The energy bill contained six billion in tax breaks for big oil. In 2005, the three largest oil companies made 63 billion dollars in profits. By sending jobs overseas, corporate C.F.O.'s are making 12 billion a year, which is 431 times more than the average worker in America. Corporations hide money overseas to avoid paying taxes and nothing has been done to end special tax giveaways to companies that out source jobs overseas.

Life becomes increasingly difficult as a growing number of Americans find themselves working harder to stay afloat with fewer benefits, insufficient incomes, more stress and less job security. The gap continues to grow between the obscenely rich and the desperately poor.

Most Americans do not favor this situation, but as Michael Parenti points out in "Superpatriotism", they accept it as inevitable because of faith in Bush. Faith? Is this religion or politics? Bush is treated as an object of worship by fundamentalists. Apparently, Karl Marx's famous quote: '' Religion is the opiate of the people." has some validity.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Silenced

Sibel Edmonds was hired by the FBI as a contract linguist immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to translate backlogged material. She is fluent in several Arabic languages and was hired to help translate intelligence from electronic wiretaps.

She discovered the Dept. of Justice established rules which intentionally withholds certain intelligence and undermines the efforts of agents in the field from fighting the war on terror. Intelligence regarding terrorist cells and their activities, as well as, intelligence about certain countries and certain American business interests was not forwarded to agents no matter how vital.

Edmonds alleged that after 9/11 FBI translators were told to sit on much of the growing documentation in order to create a backlog of intelligence, which would create a favorable situation for those responsible for acquiring additional funding.

She raised these concerns with her superiors and was able to provide documentation. Other agents agreed to serve as corroborating witnesses, when she filed a complaint with the inspector generals of both the Department of Justice and the U.S. Air Force. Edmonds testified for over 31⁄2 hours in a closed session with the 9/11 Commission, but her testimony was reduced to a footnote in the official report.

She followed proper channels, but after the Inspector General of the Dept. of Justice found her complaints credible, she was fired by the FBI in March 2002 for alleged security breaches. Edmonds sued the Justice Department, but Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked the state secrets privilege in the case, which has prevented her and Congress from publicly discussing the matter. Lawyers for Sibel Edmonds filed a petition last week asking the Supreme Court to review her case.

We have an administration that has effectively silenced a former FBI agent who has proof that the war on terror is being selectively waged. The Bush administration is willing to betray the identity of a covert C.I.A. intelligence agent and withhold vital information from F.B.I. field agents. Why?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Coverup

The identity of CIA operative, Valerie Plame was divulged by senior members of the Bush administration in retaliation for her husband Joseph Wilson's disclosing the administration's practice of manipulating intelligence.

The Washington Post reported a State Department memo was circulated on Air Force One the week before the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife, C.I.A. officer Valerie Plame. The Post reported the paragraph containing information about Ms. Plame was marked with an S for secret. The claim that no one knew her identity was covert is therefore erroneous.

White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales was notified that the Justice Department, at the request of the C.I.A., had opened an investigation into the outing of Valerie Plame. That notification came on Sept. 29, 2003, but it took Gonzales 12 more hours to inform the White House staff that it must "preserve all materials" relevant to the investigation. Gonzales claims the delay was sanctioned by Attorney General John Ashcroft, another Bush loyalist. Inquiring Senate Democrats would like to investigate this 12-hour delay, but the coverup has been successful. When the missing 12 hours was first revealed almost two years ago Sen. Charles Schumer pointed out: "Every good prosecutor knows that any delay could give a culprit time to destroy the evidence"

White House spokesperson Scott McClellan declared that Karl Rove had personally told him he was not involved in leaking any classified information or telling any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the C.I.A. Recently, reporter Matt Cooper wrote in Time magazine that it was through his conversation with Rove that he "learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the C.I.A."

F.B.I. agents and the grand jury, may have an obstruction-of-justice issue which possibly is more grave than the hard-to-prosecute original charge of knowingly outing a covert agent. Karl Rove will provide plausible deniability for Bush, but it doesn't make sense that Rove would fail to get approval from Bush before revealing the name of a covert C.I.A. agent.