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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

“Trust and Betrayal”

“Trust and Betrayal” by Paul Krugman was first published in the New York Times.

“In this place where valor sleeps, we are reminded why America has always gone to war reluctantly, because we know the costs of war.”- President Bush last year, in a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

“These were fine words, spoken by a man with less right to say them than any president in our nation’s history. For Mr. Bush took us to war not with reluctance, but with unseemly eagerness.

“Now that war has turned into an epic disaster, in part because the war’s architects, whom we now know were warned about the risks, didn’t want to hear about them. Yet Congress seems powerless to stop it. How did it all go so wrong?

“Future historians will shake their heads over how easily America was misled into war. The warning signs, the indications that we had a rogue administration determined to use 9/11 as an excuse for war, were there, for those willing to see them, right from the beginning — even before Mr. Bush began explicitly pushing for war with Iraq.

“In fact, the very first time Mr. Bush declared a war on terror that ‘will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated,’ people should have realized that he was going to use the terrorist attack to justify anything and everything.

“When he used his first post-attack State of the Union to denounce an ‘axis of evil’ consisting of three countries that had nothing to do either with 9/11 or with each other, alarm bells should have gone off.

“But the nation, brought together in grief and anger over the attack, wanted to trust the man occupying the White House. And so it took a long time before Americans were willing to admit to themselves just how thoroughly their trust had been betrayed.

“It’s a terrible story, yet it’s also understandable. I wasn’t really surprised by Republican election victories in 2002 and 2004: nations almost always rally around their leaders in times of war, no matter how bad the leaders and no matter how poorly conceived the war.

“The question was whether the public would ever catch on. Well, to the immense relief of those who spent years trying to get the truth out, they did. Last November Americans voted overwhelmingly to bring an end to Mr. Bush’s war. Yet the war goes on.

“To keep the war going, the administration has brought the original bogyman back out of the closet. At first, Mr. Bush said he would bring Osama bin Laden in, dead or alive. Within seven months after 9/11, however, he had lost interest: ‘I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s at the center of any command structure,’ he said in March 2002. ‘I truly am not that concerned about him.’

“In all of 2003, Mr. Bush, who had an unrelated war to sell, made public mention of the man behind 9/11 only seven times.

“But Osama is back: Mr. Bush invoked his name 11 times in a single speech, warning that if we leave Iraq, Al Qaeda — which wasn’t there when we went in — will be the winner. And Democrats, still fearing that they will end up accused of being weak on terror and not supporting the troops, gave Mr. Bush another year’s war funding.

“Democratic Party activists were furious, because polls show a public utterly disillusioned with Mr. Bush and anxious to see the war ended. But it’s not clear that the leadership was wrong to be cautious. The truth is that the nightmare of the Bush years won’t really be over until politicians are convinced that voters will punish, not reward, Bush-style fear-mongering. And that hasn’t happened yet.

“Here’s the way it ought to be: When Rudy Giuliani says that Iran, which had nothing to do with 9/11, is part of a ‘movement’ that ‘has already displayed more aggressive tendencies by coming here and killing us,’ he should be treated as a lunatic.

“When Mitt Romney says that a coalition of ‘Shia and Sunni and Hezbollah and Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda wants to ‘bring down the West,’ he should be ridiculed for his ignorance.

“And when John McCain says that Osama, who isn’t in Iraq, will ‘follow us home’ if we leave, he should be laughed at.

“But they aren’t, at least not yet. And until belligerent, uninformed posturing starts being treated with the contempt it deserves, men who know nothing of the cost of war will keep sending other people’s children to graves at Arlington.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The New Strategy

Trent Wisecuff the chief of staff, for Rep. Joe Knollenberg of Michigan, told antiwar activist Bruce Filk of MoveOn.org: “You are against the country... Go away, we don’t want you here.  You are not a citizen.  You are a political hack with a political agenda.  You are for everything that is wrong in this country.  You want our soldiers to lose in Iraq.  You want Toyota to beat G.M. If we followed your approach, Michigan would be in the tank.” 

After the confrontation hit the Internet, Mr. Wisecuff provided Politico.com with additional statements: “True Americans make their political arguments with vigor, honor and pride.  I have looked the MoveOn.org movement in the eye and I speak with certainty that this element does not want America to win in Iraq. 

This episode in Michigan is a valid indication of the state of our politics today. It’s where politics starts and something even more brutish than politics begins. 

Joe Knollenberg’s district is trending more Democratic and he is on the wrong side of all the big issues.  He’s on the wrong side of the war, the SCHIP bill, global warming and didn’t bother showing up for the minimum wage vote.  He is losing his district on the politics and has decided to not compete on a political level. Instead, Knollenberg has decide to confront political activists and denounce political activism as something that is un-American. 

This was a deliberate strategy change on the part of Knollenberg to take the focus off his voting record. They had a meeting and decided that Trent Wisecuff would deny somebody’s right to protest by insisting that protesters are not a citizen, un-American, and a hack with a political agenda. The strategy claims a person can’t be an American if they are a political activist, because real Americans have no political opinions and are sheep. So just get back in the barn and be a good, quiet American without an opinion who doesn’t descent.  Real Americans don’t disagree is the substance of their message.

Leaving Iraq is seen by most Republicans as losing. However, the presence of our military is not making us any safer. In fact, our occupation serves to encourage more terrorism. When our military leaves Iraq, we’ll begin to win the so called war on terrorism, because it will allow us to spend our limited resources in areas, which will actually make America safer.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sing Out

In 1861, abolitionist Julia W. Howe wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic during the civil war, when she visited a Union Army camp and heard the soldiers singing the song “John Brown’s Body.” She was impressed by the strong marching beat and hence both songs share the same beat.

Songwriter Bruce Springsteen insists: “What’s really unpatriotic is to remain silent.” He believes every citizen has a stake in the direction, which our country has taken. He points out that’s the reason we vote and that it’s unpatriotic at any given moment to sit back and let things pass that are damaging to the country, we love so dearly. Springsteen has observed things happening over the past six years that he doesn’t think anybody ever thought they’d see in America. In the pass, when people thought of our national identity, they didn’t think of torture, illegal wiretapping or the loss of habeas corpus, because those things were considered anti-American.

In American history, songs such as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic served as the canary in the coal mine, when things got dark. Springsteen believes that our country is dark again, because we live in a time when what is true can be made to seem a lie and what is lie can be made to seem true. He thinks that the successful manipulation of the truth has characterized several of our past elections. Arrogance and deceit has gotten us in the mess that we’re in right now. The best things about our nation have been undermined in the name of protecting our freedoms. By removing our freedoms, we’ve become something much different. America is a beautiful idea, which needs to be preserved and protected. As it was in 1861, it’s time to sing out for freedom and justice.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Harsh Reality

The Blackwater disaster in Iraq is exactly what should have been expect to happen, by sending heavily armed macho men into a war zone with inadequate training and insufficient disciplined. They don’t have to answer to anyone, because they’re not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice or to Iraqi law. This is not a new story. This has been going on with Blackwater ever since this war began. 

Another aspect of this catastrophe, is that this would not have happened if more Americans had been required to share the sacrifice of this war, in the first place. Going to go war, ought to be a shared sacrifice by all segements of the population and our country shouldn’t be employing mercenaries. This war would not have happened, if the sons and daughters of the privileged elite were vulnerable to a draft.

There’s no question that our troops would have been doing the security details, which Blackwater mercenaries are doing, if there had been a shared sacrifice. 

The ideological aspect of privatizing functions that used to be taken care of by government has serious consequences. The Bush regime wants to privatize as many government services as possible in order to make money off of it. 

Our troops are fighting for Mobil and Exxon, who are making enormous profits. When Bush came in office, gas was a dollar and a half a gallon.  Today, it’s over $3 a gallon and it’s affecting the lives of middle class Americans the most. 

When will our representatives in Washington admit that this was economically driven war and is about our need for gasoline. We have to get down to the harsh reality that each life that was lost, each limb that was lost, each life that was ruined and changed irrevocably was for oil.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Generous Bonuses

Food and Drug Administration officials have testified that they don’t have enough money and inspectors to do their jobs, of protecting American consumers. They are unable to screen more than 1 percent of all the food that’s imported into the United States.

Congressional lawmakers report that the Food and Drug Administration has been failing to keep dangerous food imports out of our country. Nevertheless, top FDA officials have awarded themselves generous bonuses.

Chris Waldrop of the Consumer Federation of America has reported that a lot of bonuses are going to the top officials and not to the people doing the work every single day of protecting the American public.

According to congressional records, FDA annual retention bonuses ballooned from $2.7 million in 2002 to more than $8 million in 2006. Margaret Glavin, the associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, received a cash bonus of more than $48,000 in 2005 and an another cash bonus topping $44,000 in 2006. These bonuses were in addition to her annual salary of more than $150,000 a year.

Wenonah Hauter of the “Food and Water Watch” says: “I think that people would be pretty shocked to know that this is how their taxpayer dollars are being spent. We need more inspection. We need more testing. And the agency says that they don’t have the money to do this, but, yet, they have the money to do bonuses.”

The agency has requested more funding in next year’s budget. During a hearing, Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak, who chairs the subcommittee that oversees the FDA asked Dr. David Acheson the Commissioner for food protection for the “Food and Drug Administration” how much of an increase was being requested in the 2008 budget. Acheson said about $10 million to which Rep. Stupak inquired: “And what was the $10 million going to be targeted for? Hopefully not bonuses.”

Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have asked the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate the bonuses handed out and Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan has asked for the Government Accountability Office to conduct a similar review.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Price Tag

Bush’s veto of a $35 million increase for children's health insurance coverage, was upheld by a majority of the Republicans in the House. Now, he wants $46 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he can’t seem to understand why Democrats have charged that his priorities are misplaced.

Forty-six billion dollars would fund the entire yearly budgets of the departments of Agriculture, Transportation and Treasury. That amount of money brings the total tab for Iraq and Afghanistan to $200 billion for this year alone and there is no end in sight.

The war in Iraq is now costing $330 million a day. That could pay for 1,700 more border patrol agents or provide health care to an extra 45,000 military veterans, or the funds from just one day in Iraq could give 270,000 more children coverage under the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Unfortunately, the entire war in Iraq has been paid for with borrowed money. We're borrowing money from China, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Europeans to finance the war. The interest is subsidizing the Chinese government to the tune of $50 to $100 billion a year, which could easily double over next five years.

Furthermore, money is being borrowed from the Social Security Trust Fund for the Iraq war. FDR started the Social Security Trust Fund in 1935. It was intended to have contributions deposited into an interest-bearing bank account. In 1968, LBJ transferred the Social Security Trust Fund to the general fund, which helped lessen the financial burden of the Vietnam War. The fund is empty, except for pieces of paper called bonds. Present-day workers’ contributions are paying the pensions of retired persons. Whatever is left over after monthly Social Security payments are made is spent on government business, including the war in Iraq.

The last time there was a projection for the next 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan, the figure was $1 trillion. The new projections from the Congressional Budget Office will be an additional $1 trillion on top of the $800 billion that's already been spent.

Since September 2001, Congress has approved $602 billion for the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Congressional Budget Office estimates about 70 percent of that money, more than $421 billion, has been spent on Iraq since the invasion more than four years ago.

War spending averaged about $93 billion a year between 2003 and 2005, but the price tag jumped to $120 billion in 2006, and up to $170 billion this year.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

War Powers Act

Excerpts from: “Congress and the courts must recommit to the legislative branch’s sole authority to declare war.” by Mario M. Cuomo

“Most Americans want the war in Iraq ended, but it continues and Americans are killed, mutilated or wounded every day, as the Democratic majorities in Congress struggle to produce legislation that will take our forces out of harm's way. Meanwhile, President Bush continues to insist that as commander in chief, he has the constitutional power to go to war and decide when to end it, unilaterally. At the same time, another possible disaster emerges from the shadows: Bush appears to be considering a military assault on Iran, again apparently without Congress declaring war first.

“How did we get to this point and what, if anything, can we do now? The war happened because when Bush first indicated his intention to go to war against Iraq, Congress refused to insist on enforcement of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. For more than 200 years, this article has spelled out that Congress -- not the president -- shall have ‘the power to declare war.’ Because the Constitution cannot be amended by persistent evasion, this constitutional mandate was not erased by the actions of timid Congresses since World War II that allowed eager presidents to start wars in Vietnam and elsewhere without a ‘declaration’ by Congress.

“Nor were the feeble, post-factum congressional resolutions of support of the Iraq invasion -- in 2001 and 2002 -- adequate substitutes for the formal declaration of war demanded by the founding fathers.

“What can be done now? First, Democrats should make clear that it is the president who is keeping the war in Iraq from ending. Even if Congress were able to pass a veto-proof bill with respect to withdrawal, the president would resist enforcement of the bill, insisting that as commander in chief, he is immune from Congress’ decision. That would raise a constitutional issue for the courts.

“However, the political-question thesis is nowhere referred to in the Constitution, and it denies the people the protection of the Constitution in dealing with perhaps the most serious question the nation has to face: ‘Should we go to war?’ That position should be challenged as an abdication of constitutional duty by the courts, but the sad truth is that the current conservative-dominated Supreme Court would probably support our current conservative president. As a practical matter, that means only the president can end this war or change our strategy in Iraq.

“It is frightening that our government has permitted this fundamental and costly constitutional transgression to persist for more than four years... We must do everything we can to end the war in Iraq and avoid a new tragedy abroad by recommitting to strict adherence to the rule of law and to the Constitution by the president, Congress and the courts -- especially with respect to war powers.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Epidemic

Albert Einstein stated: “But could not our situation be compared to one of a menacing epidemic? People are unable to view this situation in its true light, for their eyes are blinded by passion. General fear and anxiety create hatred and aggressiveness. The adaptation to warlike aims and activities has corrupted the mentality of man; as a result, intelligent, objective and humane thinking has hardly any effect and is even suspected and persecuted as unpatriotic.”

Those that have had their eyes blinded by passion are exibiting hate and aggressiveness. It’s seen both in our nation’s foreign policy and in the harassment of antiwar activist in Delhi and Margaretville.

Intelligent, objective and humane antiwar activist are verbally abused on a regular basis by those, whose with a corrupted mentality. They’re the superpatriots and by definition they’re always ready to follow our national leader without questions, especially when it involves the use of military force. By making members of our military the issue, attention and blame is shifted away from what is being perpetuated by the current leadership. Superpatriots claim a monopoly on patriotism and seek to defame dissenters for not loving their country.

Their strategy is designed to take the focus off the financial and human cost of the war, but also their candidates voting record. They seek to discourage free speech and peacefully assemble, by insulting and intimidating peaceful antiwar protesters. During the Vietnam War, their battle cry was: “America love it or leave it.” For the Iraq War it’s: “Support the troops.” The covert message is support Bush’s war.

The substance of their message is political activists are unpatriotic political hacks, because true Americans don’t disagree. By speaking truth to power and daring to descent, you will demonstrate that your mentality has not been corrupted by Bush’s warlike aims.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Angry Inside

“But not wanting to be tainted with losing a war, President Johnson authorized a surge of 25,000 troops. At that point, there had been 24,000 U.S. troops killed in action. Five years later, when the withdrawal of U.S. troops was complete, we had suffered 34,000 additional combat deaths.” - Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, USA, Ret.

More than three decades, after they protested the war in Vietnam, musicians David Crosby and Graham Nash are calling on Americans to protest the war in Iraq. They were at the Washington National Cathedral recently and again singing for peace. Clergy of many faiths prayed for peace around the world, and although Crosby and Nash acted peacefully, they were angry inside.

They’re angry that by Bush calling Iraq part of the war on terror and he’s taken the force out of protest. Crosby and Nash say this administration has conned many young Americans into thinking it’s unpatriotic to criticize the war.

Very likely, David Crosby had Hitler in mind, when sharply criticizing Bush. He said: “You can watch all of these same moves out of any other dictatorship.” For their fans, it has a familiar ring. Both are vehemently anti-war and famous for one of the Vietnam era’s most defining anti-war songs. “Ohio” was born on May 4, 1970 after four students were killed by National Guardsmen in the midst of an anti-war protest at Kent State University. Some believe their deaths brought about the end of the Vietnam War and defined the power of protest in this country, a lesson, which Crosby and Nash feel has been lost.

“An evil exists that threatens every man, woman, and child of this great nation. We must take steps to ensure our domestic security and protect our homeland.- Adolph Hitler, explaining the formation of the Gestapo, 1933.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Creative Destruction

The war in Iraq has been a rewarding success for an elite group in this country who have hijacked the implementation of foreign policy in the Middle East and national security.

The authors of the Project for the New American Century and a small clique of radical ideologues were instrumental in implementing the policy. It began with a position paper written in the 1980’s by the future Assistant Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith for Israeli’s Likud Party candidate Benny Netanyahu. Their Iraq War policy called for the dismemberment of Iraq into ethnically cleansed, tribal states ruled by clients under the control of our military-industrial complex. This is the reason Paul Bremer disbanded the entire Iraq state apparatus, by implementing the Doctrine of “Creative Destruction” of an entire sophisticated society and sovereign modern republic.

For them Iraq is a great success and the Neocons are congratulating themselves on a job well done. Their accomplishment includes over 800,000 Iraqi civilian dead and over 4 million refugees. According to UNHCR a total of 1.7 million people have been displaced within Iraq. A total of one million have fled to Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon.

Bush continues to claim that we’re fighting the people who attacked us on 9/11. We’ve taken a situation where there were a few committed terrorists, who were out to get us and made it into a situation where most Muslims are thinking about going after us. In “Imperial Hubris” Michael Scheuer writes: “The reality is that many of the worlds 1.3 billion Muslims hate us for our actions not our values.”

Iraq has only been a country since 1932 and the Iraqi Army is never going to stand up, because they don’t care about Iraq. They care about Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites.

Congress continues to focus on a foreign policy, which mostly calls for military solutions. The budget approved by Congress allocates 95 percent of all federal dollars for foreign engagement to the military. The joke has been on the American taxpayers, who have been burdened with a trillion dollars in debt, which will eventually reach 2 trillion.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fetal Position

Voters are frustrated with congressional Democrats and they want them to show leadership on this war.  They have majorities in both houses of Congress, but they don’t have the votes to over turn the policies of the Bush regime. 

Four out of five Democrats think that Hillary Clinton and their representatives in Congress are not fighting to get our troops out of Iraq.  They should be taking their argument to the voters, by showing this war is a disaster for the country. They should be going back to their districts and make the case against the war in Iraq, but its not happening. They seem to want to have it both ways.  Apparently, the Democratic leadership doesn’t want to alienate middle of the road voters. They seem to be hoping to bring some Republicans on board to expand their majorities in 2008. 

The Democratic leadership would be wise to recognize that the Republican party is a much more disciplined political party, and will continue to demonstrate great loyal to its political leaders. This is a reflection of the thinking of the average Republican. They have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to support the strongest and most hawkish candidate for the presidency.

The Democrats may take the White House next year, because things are so fouled up for the Republicans. However, Democrats could blow it, because they’re being overly cautious and their party is considered a very timid. The present Democratic leadership has failed to show strength and determined leadership. 

Our country has followed strong leadership on the left and the right.  It followed Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan. Democratic candidates need to show the country what they stand for and that is not happening. 

“They‘ll back anyone with any position as long as it’s not the fetal position.” - Drew Weston

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Costly Mistake

Congressman Ron Paul was asked: “Would we have gone to war in Iraq if we weren’t so dependent on Middle East oil?”

Rep. Paul answered: “Probably not, but that should not be a reason.  That’s an old mercantilistic theory. It’s neo-colonialism, that you have to maintain your supply routes and your natural resources. This war is a very costly mistake, which has a lot of economic ramifications.

“We have this huge deficit, and we’re spending nearly $1 trillion maintaining our empire overseas. At the same time we owe foreigners $2.7 trillion. It has to do with our monetary system, as well as our foreign policy. If we want prosperity, we have to change our foreign policy and we have to live within our means.

“That’s the reason all of our money goes overseas.  We are financing military activity overseas and it’s bankrupting this country. Not only that; it’s a threat to our personal liberties. We must change our policy, both overseas and domestically.” 

Rep. Paul believes that the transfer of wealth from the poor and the middle class to the wealthy is not a consequence of free markets. 

He says: “This comes about because of the monetary system we have.  The Federal Reserve system benefit the banks and Wall Street, because they get to use the money first. The middle class gets wiped out, when a currency is inflated. That’s why you have more billionaires than ever before. It’s because of our monetary system and excessive spending.  As long as we live beyond our means we are destined to live beneath our means.

“We’re depending on the creation of money out of thin air, which is nothing more than a debasement of the currency.  It’s a predictable consequence that you’re going to have people benefit from it and other people suffer.

“It’s always the poor and those who are on retired incomes that suffer the most.  Politicians and those who get to use the money first, like the military industrial complex make a lot of money from it.”

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Discontent in Iran

Recently, a group of 100 Iranian students staged a public protest, shouting, “Death to the dictator”, as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a speech in the presence of riot police, who didn’t stop them. Last December students set his picture on fire and booed him. Ahmadinejad is getting increasingly unpopular at home, as the economy takes a nose dive and unemployment grows.

Tufts University professor, Vali Nasr, an expert on Iran has authored a book entitled: “The Shia Revival.” He says there is a lot of opposition to Ahmadinejad’s economic policies in Iran. Inflation is high and their president hasn’t delivered on promises made.

The sanctions imposed by the United Nations are taking a bite out of the economy and he has become more dictatorial than in the past. Ahmadinejad’s intelligence services have been harassing women and students. There is a sense that some of this pressure is now beginning to boil over within Iran itself.

Experts have suggested that younger people in Iran are fed up with Ahmadinejad. They’re on the Internet and they want to see things change.
However, these are not the people who actually voted Ahmadinejad into office. He relied on the vote of poor Iranians and promised to make their lives better once he became president. The students have shown a bold initiative to oppose him, but the next step will be to see if those, who continue to suffer economically will join in with this uprising.

Ahmadinejad is not the ultimate head of state in Iran. The head of state is the supreme leader, who controls the judiciary and the military forces. He controls the day-to-day administration of government and is seen as responsible for the failures of the government.

We’re not going to see a change towards democracy any time soon. According to Vali Nasr, the smartest strategy for the United States is not interfere in the internal affairs of Iran, because opposition to Ahmadinejad would be seen as doing the bidding of the Bush regime. We should continue with an international approach to Iran and let the opposition in Iran take on Ahmadinejad.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

An Excellent Candidate

At the most recent Republican debate, Congressman Ron Paul was asked: “Do you believe the president needs authorization of Congress to attack strategic targets in Iran’s nuclear facilities?”

Paul insisted: “Absolutely... Why don’t we just open up the Constitution and read it? You’re not allowed to go to war without a declaration of war... The thought that the Iranians could pose an imminent attack on the United States is preposterous. This is just war propaganda, continued war propaganda, preparing this nation to go to war and spread this war not only in Iraq, but into Iran, unconstitutionally. It is a road to disaster for us as a nation. It’s a road to our financial disaster if we don’t read the Constitution once in a while.”

When Rep. Ron Paul was asked: “Do you promise to support the nominee of the Republican Party next year?”

He replied: “Not right now I don’t.  Not unless they’re willing to end the war and bring our troops home.  And not unless they are willing to look at the excess in spending.  No, I’m not going to support them if they continue down the path that has taken our party down the tube. I mean, we’ve lost credibility because of all our spending, because we have violated the civil liberties of all the American people, and we have adopted the Democrats’ foreign policy. Why don’t they run on a humble foreign policy of no nation-building and don’t police the world? Then I’ll support them.”

Concerning the economy Dr. Paul said: “We have to have a sound economy, and we don’t.  We’re overtaxed.  We’re over-regulated.  And our prosperity is slipping. We are overextended overseas. You can’t have a prosperous economy at home when you’re spending all the money overseas.  You can’t even have a strong national defense if you’re spending all this money overseas in wars that we’re not winning.

So, if we want a prosperous economy here, we have to change these policies and we can’t be bailing out farmers, this is just the wrong way to go.  The taxpayers pay for the subsidiaries, and then they pay for higher prices when they buy the gasoline or buy the food; it never works.

It’s sad that the Republican Party is so dominated by Neocons, that we will not have an opportunity to vote for Dr. Paul in 2008.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Child Health Plus

Yesterday, Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand had an Op-Ed article published in Albany Times Union entitled: “For sake of kids' health, override Bush veto”. She believes that all Upstate New York children deserve affordable quality health care. 
   
“All the children of New York deserve affordable quality health care. Yet, on Oct. 3, for only the fourth time, President Bush used his veto power to block a bill to fund a program in New York and other states that makes great strides in making that goal a reality. The program known as Child Health Plus was created in 1997 to provide coverage for children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance.

“In New York, Child Health Plus offers 400,000 children access to quality health care. Yet, despite the success of this program, almost 300,000 children still lack health care coverage. Nationwide, there are still 9 million children who have no health insurance at all. The majority of them come from families that work full-time, but whose jobs do not offer health insurance. That's mainly because of the spiraling increases in health care costs that have hit every upstate New York family in recent years.

“To deal with this crisis, congressional Republicans and Democrats came together and passed a bipartisan solution to reauthorize and improve the State Children's Health Care Program that would provide health care to 10 million American kids. When children are healthy, they are able to fulfill their God-given potential. Healthy kids do better in school and require fewer emergency trips to the hospital. Their parents do not have to miss as much work to take care of them.

“Insuring children is also a sound, long-term investment for our country's economy and for controlling health care expenses. At a cost of only $3.50 a day to cover a child under Child Health Plus, it is far less expensive to pay for preventing an illness than for treating a serious condition in the emergency room, where a single visit can cost thousands of dollars.

“When trying to justify his veto, the President said that parents could take their children to the emergency room for health care. However, that places the economic burden on the taxpayers, and our state and local taxes increase as a result of this hidden unfunded mandate.

“President Bush has falsely labeled this legislation as fiscally irresponsible. I find this type of rhetoric appalling. As the President vetoed legislation that would provide health care for 10 million children, it was reported that $88 billion in government contracts and programs in Iraq and Afghanistan are being audited for financial irregularities and that an additional $6 billion is under review by criminal investigators.

“On Thursday, the House will vote on whether to override the President's veto. I will continue my effort to convince those representatives who are still undecided that this legislation is the right choice for all of our children. Providing affordable quality health care for kids is the morally and fiscally right thing to do.

“The House only needs 24 more votes for an override that will insure 10 million children. I will continue to fight.”

Monday, October 15, 2007

Customer Safety

One of many potentially dangerous product made in China are counterfeit blood testing strips used by millions of American diabetics and sold under the brand names OneTouch Ultra and OneTouch Basic. Johnson & Johnson's “Lifescan” makes the strips that have been copied.

Diabetics count on the blood strips to help measure blood sugar levels. A false reading could result in an injection of the wrong dose of insulin.

Johnson & Johnson discovered the bogus strips last year when customers called in to complain. After a global investigation, the company found the counterfeit strips were imported from Halson Pharmaceutical, a company based in China.

The owner, of the company has been locked up in a Chinese prison. His company produced not only testing strips for diabetics, but also tuberculosis, pregnancy and HIV test kits. This is a huge public health problem, which is potentially as dangerous as an infectious disease.

Health and Human Services Secretary, Mike Leavitt says: “We need to coordinate not only among government agencies, but with those who ship and those who produce and those who receive and those who sell.”

A spokeswoman for China's regulatory authority admits, "We can see that weaknesses exist in the supervision and exports of drugs and medical devices.” China depends on those who import their goods to check them to insure their safety, which usually means the American customer.

Fortunately, Johnson & Johnson is a reputable company with the resources to conduct a widespread investigation. Johnson & Johnson claims that it has taken care of that matter, but make sure you’re buying your medical supplies from a reputable company.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sacred Contract

Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa has been working hard to pass the Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Act.  The bill is named for a soldier from Grundy Center, Iowa, who took his own life after returning from Iraq. The bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to step up screening, counseling and other mental health services for returning war veterans.  The bill passed the House unanimously. With a few small changes the bill in the Senate also passed unanimously.

Memories of combat haunt many of the brave men and women who have served our country.  We have a responsibility to our veterans to make sure they have access to the mental health care they deserve. Every American should be looking forward to Bush signing this critical bill into law to ensure that programs are in place to meet the needs of all veterans.

Furthermore, legislation has been added to the Defense Authorization Bill, that will increase support for families of those deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially members of the National Guard and Reserve.

Senator Harkin was inspired to introduce this bill after Bush decided to escalate the number of troops deployed in Iraq. More than 600 soldiers with the 133rd Infantry of the Iowa National Guard were notified that their combat tours in Anbar Province would be extended to 16 months. He received scores of anguished letters and calls from their family members, who were already struggling alone with the stress of having their loved ones deployed in one of the most violent regions of Iraq.  He realize that, while active duty families benefit from a number of family support programs, Guard and Reserve families do not have access to the same services, despite the fact that the Guard and Reserves are shouldering a significant burden of our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As a veteran, Senator Harkin believes that our government has a sacred contract with those who have fought for our country and sacrificed so much and to their families. 

Friday, October 12, 2007

Black Gold

“Politics is an expression of economic interests and war is the ultimate expression of politics.”- Benjamin Turon

The invasion of Iraq was a cover for the global war for oil, which was motivated by economics. Weapons of mass destruction and a desire to spread democracy to the Middle East were pretexts for invasion. The reason for the continued occupation of Iraq, as well, as the escalation of tensions with Iran is that they sit on two of largest deposits of oil in the world. Politicians of both parties remain exceptionally silent on the subject of trading red blood for black gold.

Congress continues to pretend that our government’s occupation of Iraq and preoccupation with Iran has nothing to do with oil. We have five percent of the world’s population, but are consuming 25% of its oil. Most of our politicians believe our addiction to oil provides a valid reason to bomb and invade other nations and engage in wars of aggression.

In “The Political Brain”, Drew Westen asks congressional Republicans: “Would you send your own child to die in Iraq?  And if so, have you done everything you can to convince your children that if this is truly the war you say it is, for our freedom, for our very way of life, to keep the terrorists over there so that they won’t fight them over here, they should drop their lucrative investment banking careers and be all they can, all they can be over in Baghdad?”

The Democratic leadership needs to ask themselves; “Whether they would send their own children to die in Iraq.  And if the answer is no, they need to vote as if every soldier were their child, because that’s what it means to support our troops.”

Every patriotic American should be asking themselves these questions.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I’m Delighted

Six months ago, I wrote several members of Congress with a suggestion concerning future minimum wage increases, but had not received a response. Incredibly yesterday, Senator Clinton sent the following e-mail. Excerpts from that e-mail appear below.

“Dear Mr. O’Leary: 

“Thank you for contacting me about the minimum wage.  I appreciate hearing from you on this important topic.
 
“This year, my colleagues and I in the Senate delivered on our promise to give working families the pay raise they need and deserve.  The Senate and the House each passed separate bills to increase the minimum wage to $7.25 over two years.  This increase was signed into law in May and went into effect in July of this year.  This is a real victory for millions of working families who have waited ten long years for Congress to act.
 
“The passage of the minimum wage legislation will make a real difference in the lives of many Americans. Women especially will benefit from this wage increase. Nine million women earn the minimum wage - 59 percent of all minimum wage earners - many of them struggling to support families and make ends meet.  This increase provides a pay raise of more than $4000 a year to help pay for groceries, housing, energy costs and all of the other necessities of every day life. 
 
“I am proud to have introduced the “Standing with Minimum Wage Earners Act” in the 109th Congress, a bill to mandate that every time Congress gives itself a raise in the future that Americans earning the minimum wage get a raise as well.  This is the right and fair thing to do for hardworking Americans.”

“Sincerely, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton”

I was delighted to read about the “Standing with Minimum Wage Earners Act.”
On several occasions, I’ve recommended this legislation on my website, Mind and Destiny. com

The entry of 4/24/07 stated: To insure faith in America and that economic injustice will not occur again, all pay raises for members of Congress should require a corresponding percentage increase in the minimum wage. For example a pay raise of $35,000 for a member of Congress, should at least require a $3.50 raise in the minimum wage over the same nine year period.

Please, request that your representative in the House consider sponsoring similar legislation.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Slow to Learn

Our Democratic representative in Congress made a terrible mistake in 2003, by allowing Bush to seize the power to invade Iraq. Some Democratic members of Congress haven’t learned from that mistake, because they’re again tagging along with the Republicans.

By defeating the Kyl-Lieberman amendment Democrats had an opportunity to show real leadership and lead the way in opposing military action against Iran. Unfortunately, they failed. If Democrats are going to be imprudent, when it comes to going to war, then how are they any better than Bush?

Declaring war has always been the most important question that would face our country. Our founding fathers addressed that question at the Constitutional Convention. They had two choice, either give that power to the President or give it to Congress.  George Washington, who led the Constitutional Convention, said that under no circumstances should a President have the power to declare war and it should go to the Congress. 

By invading Iraq, Bush ignored Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution, which states the power to declare war belongs to the Congress. Members of the Constitutional Convention recognized the danger of giving the power to declare war to one man. Instead, the founding fathers gave it to Congress for deliberation, because they represent the whole country. That power cannot be delegated to a President.  Congress must not delegate it’s responsibility with a resolution, because the decision is too hot for them to handle.

The Kyl-Lieberman amendment gave Bush the authorization to attack the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Bush failed to tell the truth about the reason we invaded Iraq. He was wrong about how many troops we needed.  He was wrong about how we would be greeted.  He was wrong about the civil war, wrong about how much it would cost, wrong about how long it would last. Nevertheless, many of our Democratic representatives in Congress voted to give Bush passive approval to start another war. 

Presently, Bush can claim that because both the Senate and House has urged that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard be designated a terrorist organization and they’re associated with al Qaeda, he doesn’t need to go back to the Congress.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Your Choice

You’re fortunate to have a computer and the right to vote. Please, try the “select a candidate” link. http://www.wqad.com/Global/link.asp?L=259460

It’s a very interesting exercise. You answer questions and then click the “find your candidate button” and the program selects the candidate whose position on the issues is most like your own. I was somewhat surprised by the results.

I’ve suspected that my views were unquestionable liberal, and this exercise proved it. I got a score of 69, because Dennis Kucinich wisely agreed with me on every issue. On the issues of Iraq and Immigration Chris Dodd dared to disagreed with me, for a score of 55. Next was Bill Richardson with a score of 52, because he oppose my views on the Death Penalty, Energy and the Line Item Veto. Senator Dodd and Gov. Richardson are in fact my top choices for president.

Clinton, Obama and Edwards had the audacity not agree with my positions on Iraq, Immigration and the Death Penalty. Clinton, Obama, Edwards and Gravel earned a score of 50, which was considerably higher than Giuliani’s score of 36 and Ron Paul’s score of 31.

The questions included:
What is your opinion on the war in Iraq?
What is your position on immigration?
Do you believe the 2001 and 2002 tax cuts should be made permanent?
Should federal funding of embryonic stem cell research be expanded?
Do you oppose the concept of universal health care in America?
Do you favor or oppose the concept of privatization of Social Security to a degree?
Do you favor or oppose giving the president a “line item” veto, such as, the ability to remove parts of a spending bill without needing to veto the bill.
Do you support federal assistance for the production of ethanol and/or biofuel as an alternative to oil?
Do you favor or oppose the use of the death penalty for certain crimes?

The exercise was all about my opinions and for you it’s all about your opinions. Power to the people!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Fundamentalist

While with the CIA, Michael Scheuer wrote “Imperial Hubris.” He believes that “Evangelical Christians have a fervor for God similar to the Islamists”.

In “Our Endangered Values” Jimmy Carter writes that characteristics of fundamentalism are: rigidity, domination, and exclusion. He points out: “Fundamentalist movements are led by authoritarian males who consider themselves to be superior to others and have an overwhelming commitment to subjugate women and to dominate their fellow believers. Fundamentalists draw clear distinctions between themselves, as true believers, and others, convinced that they are right and that anyone who contradicts them is ignorant and possibly evil. Fundamentalists are militant in fighting against any challenge to their beliefs. They are often angry and sometimes resort to verbal or even physical abuse against those who interfere with the implementation of their agenda. Fundamentalists tend to isolate themselves, and to view change, cooperation, negotiation, and other efforts to resolve differences as signs of weakness.”

Until his death, Jerry Falwell continued to connect liberal beliefs to Islamic terrorism, by blaming the attacks of September 11th on the prevalence of abortion in America. He caused a huge amount of controversy after 9/11 when he said that the Lord was removing his protection from America.

Radical opponents of abortion waged their holy war against abortion clinics. Bombings, arson, assassinations terrified many women. The bombing at a Birmingham clinic killed a police guard. From Boston to Florida, Christian zealots murdered seven people, three of them doctors.

I would stop criticizing fundamentalist Christians and respect their right to their beliefs, but they must do the same and stop justifying hatred of people through the Bible, by conveniently ignoring the parts about “love thy neighbor.”

Fundamentalist should accept the rights of Muslims, homosexuals and atheists. Instead of using the Bible to fill peoples hearts with animosity and hatred, they should try love, tolerance and mutual understanding.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Jobs and Health Care

Health care benefits have dropped, while costs have risen tremendously. The most interesting phenomenon is that industry has been feeling the brunt of the health care crisis. To insure their workers, General Motors had to raise the price of their cars an extra $1,500 per car. These costs get translated to the marketplace and really have an effect on our competitiveness internationally.

Ross Eisenbrey, Vice President of the Economic Policy Institute says that General Motors claims they will not make commitments to the United Automobile Workers to keep the 73,000 jobs that are left at GM in the United States.  They’re interested in continuing to move jobs to Mexico, China, Eastern Europe, or Russia.  The UAW says that they’re making concessions and point out that they’re the most productive workers in the world. They are the most productive, but the problem is that GM has tremendous retiree health benefit, which our government could help with. Employees, who felt secure about their health care, in the early 1990’s no longer feel secure.

Many retired auto workers are living on health care that they negotiated, when they worked at GM. Many corporations are discarding these responsibilities, by using bankruptcy to dump their health care liabilities.  The UAW has fought to preserve benefits for 350,000 people, who are no longer working in the plants. 

Consequently, many in the business community are interest in bring about major changes, with the right leadership in the White House. We need national health insurance, in order to lift that obligation off the back of General Motors and similar industry, so that they can keep these middle class jobs in America. Once that happens, GM will be able to produce cars competitively.

It’s been predicted that if GM is able to bust the union, their stock will increase five fold in America, but getting stock up as high as you can, hasn’t done anything for the middle class in America. Ninety percent of Americans have seen their share of national income go down by 270 billion dollars in the last three years.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Presidential Economics

by Robert Weiner and John Larmett

“At last week's news conference, President Bush again said that he’s reduced the deficit to $239 billion, created 8 million jobs and generated unemployment at a low 4.5%. He said the economy is strong, largely due to his tax cut policies.
 
“On the other side, Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), House Appropriations Committee chairman complained of our limited resources, because of Bush’s gargantuan deficits, which he created with a stupid war and those stupid tax cuts paid for with our money.”

“There is a widely held belief that Republicans are better for business than are Democrats. Let’s look at the facts.

“The wild stock market ride of recent weeks does not compare to the two worst stock events, the crash of 1929 and the 1987 free fall, which also occurred under Republican administrations. Since 1900, Democratic presidents have produced a 12.3% annual return on the S&P 500, Republicans only 8%. Gross Domestic Product growth since 1930 is 5.4% for Democratic presidents and 1.6% for Republican presidents.

“Bush inherited from President Clinton an annual federal budget surplus of $236 billion, the largest in American history. Clinton balanced the budget for the first time since 1969. Budget surpluses were expected to total $5.6 trillion between fiscal year 2002 and 2011.

“Despite this, Bush transformed the surpluses into a $1.1 trillion annual deficit in just three years because of the Iraq war and his relentless push for permanent tax cuts for wealthy Americans, a new iteration of Herbert Hoover’s equally catastrophic “trickle-down” theory. Bragging about a $239 billion deficit sets such a low standard that Bush can claim horrific failure as a good thing for the country. The Bush administration’s annual loss of three-quarters of a trillion dollars is unprecedented.

“Bush presided over the loss of 2 million American jobs in his first 2 1/2 years and has net gained 5.6 million in six years, the worst since Hoover. Clinton created 23 million jobs.

“It’s not rocket science to figure out the difference. Clinton: tax breaks for the middle and lower incomes who actually spend the money, no Iraq war. Bush: disproportionate tax breaks for the wealthy (50% to the wealthiest 1% by 2010), $750 billion for a war monetarily benefiting only a few military contractors and a financial sieve for the country.

“Democratic presidents spread the wealth through spending on needed social programs and targeting tax cuts to lower and middle income Americans, stimulating the economy more broadly. Republicans pump into defense contractors and high-income Americans, creating a significant detriment to the whole economy with larger deficits and higher interest rates.

“Economist John Maynard Keynes was right in 1936: When you “prime the pump” into people programs (like jobs or lower income tax cuts to help Americans buy what they need), you get people results. On the other hand, when you move money from the economy into tax cuts for the rich and a military vacuum, you don’t prime the economic pump; you deplete it.

“Contrary to opinion, we do not have record high stocks. It would take 14,300 for the Dow Jones industrial average just to match for inflation the 11,750 under Clinton in 2000. We’re now around 13,000, meaning, in real terms, a stagnant market with a loss for the past six years.

“Democrats empower the buyers, Republicans the sellers. Misdirected tax cuts, plus the Iraq war, have taken the money not just from America’s working class but from America’s businesses as well.”

Friday, October 05, 2007

Helpless Rage

Michael Hirsh wrote in “Newsweek”: “Imagine a universe where a man can gun down women and children anytime he pleases, knowing he will never be brought to justice. A place where morality is null and void, and arbitrary killing is the rule.”

Such a place exists today and it’s called Iraq. The man who made it possible is George W. Bush. Iraq is where Blackwater USA guards can kill Iraqis and never be prosecuted for it. The Bush regime could have prevented this situation, but it didn’t bother, in it’s rush to occupy an oil rich country. The Pentagon knew that our all volunteer military couldn’t be used to guard State Dept. civilians. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld convened a task force to consider new laws that might be needed to govern the privatization of war, but nothing was done.

Two days before Coalition Provisional Authority administrator, Paul Bremer left Iraq, he signed a blanket order immunizing all Americans, because he wanted to make sure our civilian contractors were protected from Iraqi law.

The Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act of 2000 permits charges to be brought in U.S. courts for crimes abroad, but it applies only to Defense Department contractors. Blackwater and other security firms work for the State Department, despite the fact that Blackwater and the other security firms, employ up to 30,000 operatives. Apparently, Iraqis have no recourse, if they are abused or killed by them. Many Blackwater operatives are brave and honorable, but some have long been known to be cowboys, who act as if they are free to commit homicide as they please.

The unspoken rule of Bush’s counterinsurgency efforts over the past four years has been that almost all Iraqi males, are guilty until proven innocent. Arrests, beatings and killings at the hands of security firms and sometimes our military units are arbitrary, often based on the flimsiest intelligence and an Iraqi has no recourse whatever to justice. Imagine the sense of helpless rage that emerges from this sort of treatment.

Morality begins when people take responsibility for their actions. But no one in the Bush regime has taken responsibility for one disaster after another in Iraq. Nor does anyone seem to care.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Corporate War

The Bush regime has failed to build the coalition of the willing, so instead it has build a coalition of billing.  Bush has assembled a corporate army in Iraq that’s larger than our uniformed fighting force. There are 180,000 so-called private contractors operating alongside 169,000 U.S. troops.  Our military is the junior partner in the coalition that’s occupying Iraq. 

According to the Pentagon we have 169,000 troops and 12,400 coalition forces stationed in Iraq. Bush has a preference for contracting out government functions to the corporate world, both at home and in Iraq. The situation in Iraq raises questions of whether our troops have become so dependent on corporate contractors that they could not function properly without them.

More than 180,000 Americans, Iraqis and nationals from other countries work under federal contracts to provide security, gather intelligence, build roads, improve infrastructure, forge a financial system and transport needed supplies in Iraq.

Blackwater USA is the most dangerous and heavily armed mercenary army. Blackwater was awarded a $50 million no-bid contract to protect Paul Bremer, the original ambassador to Iraq. Without continued congressional funding of the war in Iraq, Blackwater USA wouldn’t exist. The head of the Blackwater company is Eric Prince, who is a radical right wing Christian evangelical and a major bankroller of political campaigns of Bush and his allies in Congress.  Blackwater literally is making a killing off the escalation of violence and bloodshed in Iraq. 

A Blackwater guard got drunk at a Christmas party in the Green Zone and boasted to his friends that he was going to kill someone. According to both Iraqi and U.S. officials, he stumbled out and went to an area where a high-ranking Iraqi politician lived. He argued with an Iraqi security guard, and shot him once in the chest and three times in the back. The next day, Blackwater put this premeditated killer on a private plane and flew him out of the country.

There have been numerous allegations that Blackwater operatives have shot civilians and some of their operatives have used blended metal type of ammunition that’s banned by our military, and were then overheard bragging about watching the Iraqi victim’s stomach explode.

Recently, Blackwater guards killed 20 Iraqis at a traffic stop, including a woman and a child. Even, Bush acknowledged at a news conference that “evidently” innocent lives were lost in the incident.

Blackwater is trying to declare itself above the law.  It’s being sued for wrongful death by families of former employees. Blackwater claims it should be entitled to same immunity from civilian litigation as the military.  However, Blackwater’s highly paid lobbyists complain that it would be inappropriate to place them under the uniform code of military justice because they’re civilians. Thus, they’ve declared themselves above the law. 

It has taken Congress four years to wake up to the fact that there are more contractors than troops in Iraq, and there’s no punishment for the crimes these mercenaries are committing. 

Rep. Jan Schaknowsky of the House Intelligence Committee said: “We know virtually nothing... We think that about forty cents of every dollar goes to private military contractors. We think about eight hundred of them have been killed in Iraq, but we don’t know that. They’re not even counted... And we can’t find out.

Democratic Rep. David Price from North Carolina has sponsored two bills that would bring all security contractors under federal criminal codes and the FBI would be required to set up units in Iraq to investigate suspected misconduct. More importantly it would require that the Pentagon provide more information about the cost and duties of private contractors.

Rep. Price has inserted rules in the defense authorization bill, which is being debated in the Senate, to set standards for the rules of engagement and hiring of private-security contractors, along with improved communication between contractors and the military.

Last year, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham inserted into the defense authorization bill a clause that made contractors working with the U.S. military subject to courts-martial. However, the Pentagon hasn’t drawn up specific guidelines, according to a security expert with the Brookings Institution in Washington.

The concern that Blackwater’s hired guns have itchy trigger fingers is outlined in a 15 page report prepared for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Among the findings, Blackwater has been involved in 195 escalation of force incidents in Iraq since 2005 and 84 percent of the time fired first.

The congressional memo cites previously unreported Iraqi deaths at the hands of Blackwater forces, which include a civilian being shot in the head, the alleged cover-up of a shooting that killed an innocent bystander and a traffic accident that left an Iraqi vehicle in a ball of flames.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Your Child

Psychologist, Drew Westen’s book “The Political Brain” states: “The question Democrats have never asked Republicans since the war began is the only one that really matters: Would you send your own child to die in Iraq?  And if so, have you done everything you can to convince your children that if this is truly the war you say it is, for our freedom, for our very way of life, to keep the terrorists over there so that they won’t fight them over here, they should drop their lucrative investment banking careers and be all they can, all they can be over in Baghdad?”

Westen further suggests: “The Democratic leadership needs to ask themselves whether they would send their own children to die in this war.  And if the answer is no, they need to vote as if every soldier were their child.  That’s what it means to support our troops.”

Democrats are taking a calculated risk, by positioning themselves in the middle. Anti-war voters may not vote in the 2008 election, until Congressional Democrats admits the war is all about oil.

They wouldn’t let their child die in a war that was not worthy of that sacrifice, and Iraq is not worthy of the sacrifice our troops are making and that’s the reason we shouldn’t be fighting it.

We’re going to end up with a Shia theocracy far more loyal to Iran than it is to America, and equally repressive of women’s rights and human rights.  With half the troops that we’ve put in Iraq, our military could have gotten rid of al Qaeda in Pakistan, and eliminated the real jihadist threat from those, who actually did attack us on September 11th. We should have stay focused on the headquarters of al Qaeda, which has never been in Iraq.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

“I was wrong”

The Kyl-Lieberman amendment passed the Senate by a vote of 76 to 22. It will serve to further degrade America’s relations with Iran and lead towards war. 

The following Senators demonstrated wisdom by voting against the resolution:

Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Dodd (D-CT)
Feingold (D-WI)
Hagel (R-NE)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Leahy (D-VT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Lugar (R-IN)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Sanders (I-VT)
Tester (D-MT)
Webb (D-VA)
Wyden (D-OR)

The Kyl-Lieberman amendment endorses the “use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq,” including military. While it calls for “prudent and calibrated” measures, this amendment can easily be perceived as a blatant threat against a state that has never threatened us. 

This seems all to familiar. The Bush regime is again building its case against Iran with allegations that the Iranian government is supporting attacks on our troops in Iraq. Most Republicans maintains a constant drumbeat for action to stop Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. 

Provocative measures such as the Kyl-Lieberman amendment can result in military confrontation between the US and Iran. Rather than escalating tensions, we should pursue a tough-minded dialogue and diplomacy, which are far more likely than military force to produce a satisfactory resolution in the case of Iran. A strike against Iran will only strengthen the hand of extremists seeking to overthrow governments in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and nuclear armed Pakistan. 

Senator Clinton voted for the resolution giving Bush authority to put more pressure on Iran, while the Senators that voted against the Kyl-Lieberman amendment warned it could open up a new front in Bush’s “war terror.”

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said: “I was wrong to vote for this war, and I accept responsibility for that. Senator Clinton also voted for this war, but I have no intention of giving George Bush the authority to take the first step on a road to war with Iran.”

Monday, October 01, 2007

Columbia University

Many Columbia University students welcomed Ahmadinejad’s visit, because they got to subject him to questioning that he will never face in Iran. 

The President of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger insulted the president of Iran in his televised introduction by saying: “Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator.” Among his other comment were: “You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated.  Why have you chosen to make the people of your country vulnerable to the effects of international economic sanctions and threaten to engulf the world in nuclear annihilation?”

Apparently, Bollinger was trying to cover his tracks for inviting Ahmadinejad in the first place. Bollinger visiously trashed his guest before giving him a chance to even speak and by doing so he won sympathy for Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad played Bollinger off beautifully.  He said: “In Iran, we don’t invite guests and then insult them to their face, and secondly, we let the audience decide whether what they have to say, if they agree or disagree with it.  And you’ve sort of insulted the audience.”

This was not a great day for America, the land of freedom of expression.  Bollinger looked like the bully big shot from powerful country picking on the little guy he had invited into the lion’s den. The president of Columbia University appeared to be afraid to engage in dialogue. 

There was a tremendous opportunity to give students the opportunity to challenge the Iranian president in free and open debate. They exercised their First Amendment rights, by questioning Ahmadinejad’s policies, his horrible stance on international issues.  Fortunately, the students of Columbia University set an example by engaging in a debate, which raised questions and held Ahmadinejad accountable. 

Ahmadinejad used the opportunity to express Irans moral indignation towards our country. For years Iranians were subjected to repression by the shah, who was placed on the throne by our CIA. Furthermore, Ahmadinejad made the point that America supported Saddam Hussein throughout the Iraq/IranianWar, when Saddam used chemical weapons against the Iranian people.

As president of the Iranian people, Ahmadinejad call for diplomatic relations to be increased between our two nations. The students of Columbia University were able to recognized that without dialogue, violence quickly becomes the answer.