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

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Identity Theft

The Bush regime has failed to secure our borders, and neglected to protect citizens from having their Social Security numbers stolen by illegal aliens. About eight million W-2 forms have no match of names and Social Security numbers. Although, it's against the law to file fake W-2s, nothing is being done when an illegal alien and his employer file work papers with a false Social Security number. The Internal Revenue Service commissioner admitted to Congress that not one employer has ever been penalized for filing false Social Security numbers.

The Social Security Administration guidelines to employers read: "You may not verify someone's name and Social Security number until after you have offered him or her a job." If there is a problem, their advise is: "A mismatch does not make any statement about an employee's immigration status and is not a basis, in and of itself, for taking any adverse action against an employee."

The Social Security Administration keeps lists of employers with large numbers of discrepancies, but it claims Section 6103 of the tax code bars them from notifying other government agencies. The Social Security Administration has been told, not to share their list of employers who are filing massive numbers of fraudulent W-2s to the Department of Homeland Security.

More than four and a half years after September 11th, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff admits that his agency knows it's a problem, but still can't get the list from another government agency. Social Security blames the IRS, and Homeland Security says Congress should change the law. All the agencies seem to be playing a convenient blame game.

A new law could be passed, but the simple solution, is for Bush to intervene and say this will be the interpretation, this will be the policy. Bush didn’t hesitate to unilaterally instituting domestic spying programs in violation of the Constitution.

The Bush regime isn’t serious about national security. They are all bravado and no substance, when it comes to port and border security. This is just another example of Congressional Republicans prostituting themselves to rich and powerful corporate interests.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

No Free Lunch

Republican strategists hope voters will be impressed by 70 billion in new tax cuts. It’s expected to give a much needed political boost to Bush and Congressional Republicans, because a tax cut strategy has worked for the Republican party in the past, and they hope it will work again.

The Republican controlled House passed the bill with a straight party line vote and the Senate quickly followed with a 54-44 vote. The White House is confident that voters will again fail to recognize that there is no free lunch.

Democrats have repeatedly pointed out that during a time of war tax cuts are fiscally irresponsible and result in out control deficits. These tax cuts are a gift for the wealthy, especially the extension of a tax break on capital gains and dividends. Democratic Minority Leader, Harry Reid said that the Exxon boardroom is cheering, but the people that work for Exxon are not cheering.

The tax cut package has sparked a political battle over who benefits from these cuts. Republicans say everyone gains, while Democrats say the tax cuts are just another taxpayer giveaway to the wealthiest Americans. According to the Tax Policy Institute, low-income earners, $20,000 to $30,000 a year, will have their taxes reduced by about $9 a year. Those earning $50,000 to $75,000 a year will gain $110. Anyone earning between $100,000 and $200,000 will get to keep almost $1,400. Those of you that make a million, will save a whopping $42,000. You'd expect the tax cut to be bigger for higher income people. However, the higher the income is, the larger the tax cut is as a share of income.

Congressional Republicans have been slicing tax rates for five years. Nonpartisan observers insist a major security threat is looming. They say it’s irresponsible to add another $70 billion to the deficit at a time when the debt is heading toward $9 trillion, with competitive foreign governments like Communist China holding much of the debt.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dubious Integrity

Cynicism is defined as: “showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one’s actions.”

Ray McGovern a former CIA analyst, with 27 years of experience, considers the way Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld conjured up a nuclear threat in the form of that famous mushroom cloud was the height of cynicism. Recently, McGovern publicly confronted Donald Rumsfeld concerning Rumsfeld’s allegation that there was evidence of ties between al Qaeda and Iraq. The importance of Rumsfeld’s claim was that it suggested Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. Rumsfeld had called the evidence bulletproof, when in reality it was nonexistent.

Rumsfeld maintained Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons. However, Chief UN arms inspector Hans Blix remarked that the White House maintained 100 percent certainty that the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction existed based on zero percent evidence. Furthermore, six months before Iraq was invaded the Defense Intelligence Agency said, “we have no strong evidence there are chemical weapons, and there's still less evidence that they are able to manufacture them.”

The intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was make up in response to the wishes of Cheney, who visited CIA headquarters ten times. A very malleable CIA Director George Tenet succumbed to the vice president's wishes to magnify the threat. McGovern believes the process was corrupted, the evidence was politicized and that Congress was lied to, in order to get the war approved.

When asked what he thought about General Michael Hayden’s nomination to head the CIA; McGovern pointed out that Hayden did as he was told, although, he was fully aware that he was not bound to obey an illegal order. McGovern believes Hayden should have refused to follow the illegal order and ask for reassignment, when told that the Bush regime had developed a plan to monitor American citizens, without going to Congress and with total disregard for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act laws. Instead, Hayden dismantled all the standards that the National Security Agency had religiously aspired to.

McGovern said; “Gen. Hayden is the wrong candidate to head the CIA not because he wears the uniform, but because he has demonstrated dubious integrity. Bush claims Hayden has impeccable credentials. What Bush means is he'll do what he's told.”

The following Senators voted against Hayden's nomination:
Bayh (D-IN) Cantwell (D-WA) Clinton (D-NY) Dayton (D-MN) Dodd (D-CT) Dorgan (D-ND) Durbin (D-IL) Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA) Kennedy (D-MA) Kerry (D-MA) Menendez (D-NJ) Obama (D-IL) Specter (R-PA) Wyden (D-OR)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Port Security

Democratic congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts is on the Homeland Security Committee and has been fighting for years for better ports security funding, because the easiest way to smuggle a nuclear weapon into this country is through our ports.

Last year, he introduced an amendment to improve port security, which mandated 100 percent of the cargo inspection of all ships coming in from overseas. Every Republican on the homeland security committee voted against his amendment, although they knew that 95 percent of the cargo that comes into our ports isn't inspected. For years, Democrats have introduced no less than a dozen amendments that would have increased funding for port security, but were rejected by the Republican leadership.

House Republicans are finally coming to the realization that there is no national security without strict port security, and have passed a $7.5 billion port security bill that they are calling an important step in homeland security enforcement.

The prospect of a nuclear bomb coming to a major port in a container ship is a very real possibility. The House bill wants electronic radiation screening equipment at our domestic ports and the bill also calls for document checks of all containers in overseas ports before the containers come to the United States.

Markey says this bill has a loophole big enough to drive a cargo container filled with nuclear weapons material through it. He wants overseas ports to electronically scan all containers before they come to our ports, and claims that the bill is flaw, because once a ship containing a nuclear weapon enters our port it’s to late.

The White House issued a statement backing the bill, but it says the cost is high, the new domestic screening technology cannot be put in place by September 2007. That will be seven years after September 11th, and the cost is pocket change compared to what we’re spending in Iraq.

The Bush regime and Congressional Republicans have allowed the corporations to decide how much security will be provided for the American people. They believe that commerce is more important than national security.

House Republicans have failed to fulfill their oversight responsibilities, and this port security bill allowed those up for reelection to appear tough on security.

Personal Responsiblity

In 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" pointed out; "In a democracy, people get the government they deserve."

After the election our troops will continue to be killed in Iraq. Wages will continue to be depressed by illegal immigrants from Mexico. Republicans will continue to ignore middle class Americans to pursue the interests of their privileged class lobbyist.

Impeachment will not change a thing in Iraq, or improve border security, because Republicans own the position of Commander-in Chief, until January 2009. Congressional Republicans are only able to offer tax cuts and the illusion of being tough on national security. Most politicians fear that withdrawing our troops from Iraq would anger those macho fools, who keep voting for chickenhawks, who lead America into war and increasing debt.

Bush propagandist will continue to lie and try to deceive us. Hopefully, voters are awakening to the fact that they have been manipulated by the most secretive, corrupt, incompetent, unaccountable and dangerous administration this country has ever experienced.

Prior to the invasion of Iraq, two thirds of voters believed it was pay back for Iraqis attacking the World Trade Center and Pentagon on 9/11. Today, many voters remain completely ignorant of the facts and issues, which are critical to making an informed decision. Mature voters have a responsibility to become informed, understand the issues and make difficult choices.

In a dictatorship you are encouraged to put your head in the sand, and remain uninformed. Many registered voters are shamefully unprepared for critical thinking, but continue to consider themselves informed and patriotic. In 2004, approximately 79 million Americans didn't vote. Infantile voters either don't vote or are so misinformed that the act of voting devalues citizenship and dishonors democracy.

Essentially, we get the government we deserve, because our politicians represent our collective wisdom.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Vision for America

The Democratic Party’s Vision for America has recently been announced:

1. Honest leadership and open government. We will end the Republican culture of corruption and restore a government as good as the people it serves.

2. Real Security. We will protect Americans at home and lead the world by telling the truth to our troops, our citizens and our allies.

3. Energy Independence. We will create a cleaner and stronger America by reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

4. Economic Prosperity and Educational Excellence. We will create jobs that will stay in America by restoring opportunity and driving innovation.

5. Healthcare Systems that works for everyone. We will join 36 other industrialized nations by making sure everyone has access to affordable health care.

6. Retirement Security. We will ensure that a retirement with dignity is the right and expectation of every single American.

It’s regrettable that the vision of bringing our troops home from Iraq is not a realistic goal until the 2008 election. At that time “we the people” can vote to replace the Commander-in-Chief. Those that suggest impeachment of Bush must recognize that Republicans own the White House until Jan. 2009, and replacing Bush and Cheney is will not change that fact.

The election campaigns for 2006 have begun. It’s very discouraging that most Republican politicians seem to be election-proof, because of gerrymandered districts. For example; John Sweeney’s 20th district includes parts of Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Otsego, Rensselear, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties.

Congressional Republicans are in a position where they could be courageous, and do what’s right for the country, but they are unlikely to challenge Bush, who controls the purse strings in their culture of corruption. Republicans in Congress should be calling for Bush’s impeachment, but they won’t because they’re election-proof and that's your fault.