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, November 30, 2007

A Different Strategy

Bush’s surge has done nothing to resolve the fundamental differences in Iraq. The Iraqi government has had opportunities to make fundamental political decisions that don’t relate to security. An oil revenue law does not take security to be passed. It takes political will.  The Iraqi government hasn’t shown the political will to change the fundamental equation and create leverage in our relationship.

Our occupation is making us weaker in the war on terror.  It’s emboldened Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah. America has lost leverage in the region and we need a better policy. Iran and al Qaeda love our being bogged down in Iraq. 

A better policy would make it clear to the Iraqis that we are leaving over a period of one year. A majority of the Senate has voted to withdraw our troops over that period of time, but Senate Republicans are obstructing the ability of the Senate to change the policy on the war.  Bush says a year from now we’re going to have 130,000 troops in Iraq, that is not putting pressure on the Iraqis.

Democrats are not talking about abandoning Iraq. There’re talking about adjusting the mission so that combat troops are withdrawn, within a year. Unfortunately, Democrats plan to continue to provide the basic support necessary to finish the training, so they stand up on their own.

General Petraeus admitted that there were no al Qaeda in Iraq, before we invaded.  We’re expending our troops while Iraqi politicians use us as cover for their own games. When, Bush says: “We’ll stay as long as it takes,” America has no leverage. We have to tell them that they must take responsibility for security over the course of the next year.

No Americans ought to give their life or be grievously wounded so Iraqi politicians can delay making fundamental decisions that they haven’t made over four and a half years.

The Shiites and the Kurds will never allow al Qaeda to take over Iraq. That’s at least 80 percent of the country. Recently, the Sunni in Anbar have decided they don’t want al Qaeda in Iraq.

Our own National Intelligence Estimate said that we’re attracting more terrorists because we’re in Iraq.  We need to get out of Iraq in order to be stronger to deal with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. If we announce that we’re leaving, the Iraqis themselves will drive out al Qaeda and prevent Iran from coming into the country.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Two Years Later

November 18, 2007, marked the two year anniversary of Jack Murtha’s public call for the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq. He issued the following statement:
 
“I was convinced that the President’s lack of strategy in Iraq was harming our military, our international credibility, and the strength of our nation. Two years later, the President remains without a plan and I remain convinced that we must begin an orderly redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq as soon as practicable.
 
“All Americans want stability in the Middle East. But while our military is bogged down in Iraq, instability is spreading throughout the region. Pakistan is in political turmoil, Iran continues development of its nuclear technology, Turkey is pressing towards an invasion of Northern Iraq, and attacks against American and NATO troops in Afghanistan have increased substantially.
 
“As a nation, we can either continue along the President’s path, one that has fostered instability, or we can listen to the demands of the American people and forge a new direction in Iraq and the region. Political reconciliation and reform in Iraq is the responsibility of the Iraqi government, not the U.S. military. I believe that the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq will give the Iraqi Government the incentive to take over their own country.
 
“This week the House of Representatives passed legislation that provides the President, our troops, and our nation with a responsible plan for bringing our troops home. It requires the redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq to begin within 30 days, with a target for completion of December 15, 2008. It ensures that our troops are fully trained and equipped before they are sent to Iraq. It extends the Army Field Manual to all personnel, making torture not only unacceptable but also unlawful. And it transitions our forces from a combat roll to specifically supporting and training Iraqi Security Forces and counterterrorism operations.”
 
Unfortunately, in the Senate nearly all Republicans elected to stand by Bush. Over the past two years, Bush’s rubber-stamp Republicans have cost taxpayers an additional $235 billion, while at the pump gas prices have increased by 91 cents a gallon and more than 1,784 of our troops have been killed.
 
 

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wiped Away

Triple amputee, and former Senator Max Cleland insists: “the deepest wounds and scars of war are psychological, mental and emotional, which you carry to your grave. Major depression should be anticipate and if we don’t intervene with the emotional aftermath of war early, it can turn into alcoholism, drug addiction, depression and suicide.”

Many more of our veterans have been committing suicide than troops have been dying in Iraq. According to a recent report at least 6,256 former servicemen took their lives in 2005. Veterans are more than twice as likely than the rest of the population to commit suicide. Some have claimed this high rate of suicides among veterans demonstrates a “mental health epidemic” linked to post-traumatic stress.

The suicide rate among Americans as a whole was 8.9 per 100,000, but the level among veterans was at least 18.7. That figure rose to a minimum of 22.9 among veterans aged 20 to 24, which is almost four times the nonveteran average for people of the same age.

“Not everyone comes home from the war wounded, but the bottom line is nobody comes home unchanged,” said Paul Rieckhoff, a former Marine and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America.

Another study shows that military veterans make up one in four homeless people in America, even though they represent just 11 per cent of the general adult population. Younger soldiers are already trickling into shelters and soup kitchens after completing tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2005, it’s estimated that on any given night 194,254 veterans were homeless.

“We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our memories of that service; as easily as this administration has wiped away their memories of us.” - Vietnam Veteran, John Kerry’s testimony before a Senate committee - April 1971.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Nuclear Power

The price of oil on the commodities market is going to stay at $100 and we’re stuck with it. 

Ten years from now, we’ll be asking; “Remember when oil was only $100 a barrel?” The world is running out of oil and given the rate of growth of the world’s economy, cheap oil is not going to last much longer last.  

According to Jim Cramer the host of “Mad Money” on CNBC, we could see $4 a gallon, within the next three months, because of the refineries are going to slow production down. Furthermore, we could be paying $10, $15 a gallon in the next five years. Oil will be taking more of our money, which presently is going for food, health care, college tuition or new shoes. 

Solar stocks are up 50 points, because the voltaic cells that they’re producing is cheaper than oil. Wind power has become much cheaper than oil, but these are only small substitutes. If we could push nuclear energy in this country, we could begin to unhook ourselves from oil.  Nuclear is coming and if people have to choose between the risk of nuclear power and the near-term reality of high gasoline prices that are killing the average family economically, they are going to go with the nuclear.

Presently, France is 80 percent nuclear for electricity generation, because they have no intention of being held hostage to the oil-producing countries that support terrorism. Our nuclear powered ships have steamed 90 million miles without a reactor accident or release of radioactivity.

Unfortunately, we haven’t switched to nuclear power and the earliest, we could have a new nuclear power plant on line in this country is 2014. Like it or not Democrats and Republicans politicians will eventually have to agree that nuclear power plants operate much cheaper than coal plants and can be our salvation. 

Monday, November 26, 2007

Neocon Agenda

The neocon agenda is to increase the federal budget deficit up to the point where they can cut back government to where they want it to be.  They’re seeking to privatization everything they possibly can and get rid of entitlement programs. This is the reason the neocon agenda is so unpopular.

Neocons have a 25-year plan to break the bank to a point that middle class entitlement programs will have to be drastically cut or abolished. Americans want accountability and they don’t want privatization of program that have worked such as Social Security, Medicare or our armed forces.

The Pentagon has plenty of money for our troops, but most of the appropriations are going to private militias such as Blackwater. There are as many “contractors” in Iraq as regular members of our armed forces.

Every year, hundreds of billions of emergency appropriations never go to support our troops. Instead they have been sent directly into the pockets of crony war profiteers. This is another form of foreign outsourcing. We now know that many thousands of these mercenaries have been recruited by Blackwater from countries like South Africa and Chile.

We spend billions of dollars training our armed forces, but many leave to go to Blackwater, who in turn sell their services back to us at a massive markup, as much as 10 times as much. This impacts the morale of our troops who see mercenaries, who are better equipped getting rich for doing the same duty.

The ranks of our troops are constantly decimated, by offering our best men deals to leave the service to become mercenaries. It’s being done with taxpayer money and our military can’t compete. The privatization of the military is absolutely the worst possible thing for democracy and peace. It makes endless war a corporate imperative.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

General Sanchez

Last week, retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said that he supports Democratic legislation that calls for most troops to come home within a year.

Since leaving the Army, Sanchez warned that the war in Iraq was living a nightmare with no end in sight. He blames the Bush regime for a catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan and denounced the current surge strategy as a desperate move that will not achieve long-term stability.

The former general denounce Bush’s handling of the war by stating: “After more than fours years of fighting, America continues its desperate struggle in Iraq without any concerted effort to devise a strategy that will achieve victory in that war-torn country or in the greater conflict against extremism.”

Sanchez is the most recent retired general to harshly criticize Bush’s conduct of the war. Asked why he waited nearly a year after his retirement to present his views, Sanchez said that it is not the place of active duty officers to challenge lawful orders from civilian authorities.

He added that civilian officials have been derelict in their duties and guilty of a lust for power. Nevertheless, Sanchez’s main criticism was leveled at Bush’s failure to mobilize our entire government, to contribute meaningfully to reconstruction and stabilization of Iraq.

He insists: “National leadership continues to believe that victory can be achieved by military power alone.... Continued manipulations and adjustments to our military strategy will not achieve victory.”

Sanchez claims that this administration has failed to craft a detailed strategy for achieving those steps that went beyond the use of military force. He concludes: “The administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency, especially the State Department, must shoulder responsibility for the catastrophic failure, and the American people must hold them accountable.”

Hopefully, they will be held accountable next November.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Mind-boggling

Mayor of Salt Lake City, Ross “Rocky” Anderson a Democrat asks: “What part of ‘Thou shalt not kill’ do you not understand? What part of the ‘Golden rule’ do you not understand? What part of ‘be honest,’ ‘be responsible,’ and ‘be accountable’ don’t you understand? What part of ‘Blessed are the peacekeepers do you not understand?” 

Mayor Anderson is angry with the Bush regime, Congress and the mainstream media for having failed our nation miserably. He strongly believes that they have repeatedly demonstrated greed, cruelty and incompetence, while leading this once great nation to a moral, military, and national security abyss.

Anderson says that they have violated the trust of the American people, undermined our Constitution and betrayed the rule of law. They have allowed human rights abuses never before accepted in our nation’s history as a matter of official policy. They have sent our troops to kill and be killed on the basis of lies, without competent leadership, and without even a coherent plan for success.

Anderson points out: “They have acted in direct violation of values that Americans who love our country, hold dear. They have deceived us in the most cynical, outrageous ways. They have allowed the undermining of, our constitutional system of checks and balances and have helped lead our nation to the brink of fascism.”

He’s concerned that our world is far more dangerous, our nation is far more despised, and the threat of terrorism is far greater, because of the jingoistic false patriotism exhibited by Bush supporters.

Anderson insists that they have committed the most horrendous acts, causing needless tragedy in the lives of millions of people, yet they continue to wear their so-called religion on their sleeves, asserting that God is on their side. What they have done flies in the face of any religious or humanitarian tradition. Their hypocrisy is mind-boggling and disgraceful.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Duty Honor Country

West Point Graduates Against The War is a grassroots movement to redeem the honor of our country, which stands opposed to the Bush regime and its callous disregard for honorable behavior. The West Point Honor Code was assaulted by Bush’s falsehoods, which culminated with Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation to the United Nations on February 5, 2003.

The West Point Honor Code states: “A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.” It defines honor and duty as a way of life. This provides graduates with a lifelong sense of duty, a shared responsibility for them to do the right thing, even admonishing our country’s leadership when democracy and its inherent freedoms are at stake.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was a champion of the right to dissent. He stated: “Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.”

Eisenhower was clear, when it came to preventive war, the kind that Bush and most members of Congress have embraced. Eisenhower said: “When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war.”

When West Point graduates took their commissioning oath of office, they swore to protect the nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The deceitful connivances of the Bush regime has resulted in a war catastrophic to our nation’s interests: politically, economically, militarily, and morally. The time has come for every American to speak out about these deplorable conditions.

We must seek justice for all victims of this illegal war, our military and the citizens of Iraq. We stand opposed to the undoing of Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms by this most dangerous, oppressive regime.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Day of Reckoning

Devvy Kidd has recently written that voters need to take a hard look at who they support, and determine if that candidate really cares about the long term survival of this republic and our children’s future? The destruction of our nation has been underway for nearly a century and the buzzards are circling. America used to a self-sustaining, self-reliant, productive nation. We have seen the destruction of our most important manufacturing and industrial jobs by unconstitutional trade treaties, which have stolen the fruits of our labors. We’re very close to becoming a beggar nation, because Congress and the White House are bought and paid for by mega corporations, who depend on wars to stay in business.

The quagmire in the Middle East will continue to suck up trillions of borrowed dollars, and has made us less safe. Military contracts to the favored companies of the Bush regime have already run into the hundreds of billions of borrowed dollars, since there’s no money in the treasury.

In “Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic”, author Chalmers Johnson points out that America suffers from an overabundance of public ills, which can be traced to militarism and imperialism. Our constitutional system of checks and balances has nearly collapsed, but none of the remedies proposed by politicians address the root causes of the problem.

Andrew Bacevich, author of “The New American Militarism” insists: “None of the Democrats vying to replace President Bush is doing so with the promise of reviving the system of check and balances. The aim of the party out of power is not to cut the presidency down to size but to seize it, not to reduce the prerogatives of the executive branch but to regain them.”

These are the reasons, Ron Paul would be the best candidate for president.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

True Statesman

Can you imagine a liberal Democrat, voting for this conservative Republican candidate in the next presidential election?

Has never voted to raise taxes.
Has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
Has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
Has never voted to raise congressional pay.
Has never taken a government-paid junket.
Has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.
Voted against the Patriot Act.
Voted against regulating the Internet.
Voted against the Iraq war.

Refused to participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
Returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.

Dr. Ron Paul is a pro life gynecologist. Nevertheless, he is my candidate, because he loves America with a passion and may be the only true statesman of our lifetime.

Peter Schiff, President and Chief Global Strategist, Euro Pacific Capital wrote: “Do not get me wrong; electing Ron Paul will not stop America’s day of reckoning from coming. The piper will have to be paid no matter who is in the White House. However, President Ron Paul will be extremely important if we are going to dig our way out of this giant hole. Any other declared presidential candidate will make the job far more difficult if not completely impossible. Rebuilding a viable industrial economy will require a return to our constitutional roots of limited government, low taxes, minimal regulation, and sound money. Ron Paul is the only candidate capable of bring those reforms about. He has already proven that his principles are more important than his own reelection. He is the only man in Congress I know that power did not corrupt. In fact, with Ron Paul as President, many others in Congress might actually find the courage to vote their conscience as well.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Empathy

In a letter to an editor of Middletown’s Times Harold-Record, Debra Martino pleaded: “I am blessed to live in the greatest and wealthiest country in the world with some of the best medical minds. Yet, I am a middle-class citizen who has had a medical problem for the last four years and I can’t seem to get any help. In desperation, I tried to receive help from the state, and I was told I make ‘too much’ money. So I therefore would have to quit my job as a schoolbus driver or look for a job offering less pay to receive help from the state.”

In a letter to the Oneonta Daily Star, Jean Jones questioned: “Are you willing to give up your present health care for some pie-in-the-sky rationed Care?”

My answer is: Yes! This decision is made with full knowledge that, only our elected representatives in Congress may have better health care than I do. Empathy is my unpatriotic reason for suggesting such a socialistic program.

Setting aside emotions, it might be useful for rational Americans to consider the following facts:

Americans with above-average incomes find it more difficult than Europeans to get care on nights or weekends without going to an emergency room and many Americans with health insurance wait six days or more for an appointment with their doctors.

We need national health insurance, in order to lift the obligation off the back of General Motors and similar industry, so they can keep middle class jobs in America only then will GM be able to produce cars competitively.

Fourteen years ago, Hillary Clinton’s health care plan was removed from the agenda. Our government admits that because 47 million aren’t insured, we’ve had 18,000 people a year die in this country, because they don’t have health insurance. That’s six 9/11’s every single year. Not having universal healthcare for the pass 14 years has added up to an additional 252,000 Americans having died, because they didn’t have health insurance.

Americans continue to spend $2 trillion a year on health care, which is more than 15 percent of our GDP on health care. France spends about 11 percent, and Canadians 10 percent.

Spending more money does not equal better care, since both the French and Canadian systems rank in the top 10 of the world’s best healthcare systems, according to the World Health Organization. The United States comes in at number 37. The rankings are based on general health of the population, access, patient satisfaction and how the care is paid for.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Point The Pen

A recent letter in Middletown’s Times Harold-Record entitled: “Send critics to war” by Alma Wilson prompted a constrained rebuttal. I had a letter published in that paper two days earlier and don’t expect the newspaper will publish my rebuttal. Consequently, I’ve decided to post it.

The letter complained: “There are too many films coming out this fall critical of America. With approximately 200,000 men and women in combat zones, left-wing loonies want to denigrate our country.

“During the Second World War, President Roosevelt censored U.S. films that depicted scenes that might be used as ‘enemy propaganda.’ But today it is ‘chic’ in the entertainment industry as well as the media to bash America — even while Americans are dying overseas. Solution: Send them all over to the battlegrounds for a year and then we can talk again. Cowards.

“To quote Edgar A. Guest, ‘These are the days when little thoughts must cease men’s minds to occupy: The nation needs men’s larger creeds, Big men must answer to her cry: No longer selfish ways we tread, the greater task lies just ahead.’”

My rebuttal stated: On 11/17/07, Alma Wilson suggested that people that “bash America” should be sent to war, because they’re “Cowards.” She quotes: Edgar A. Guest to illustrate her point. However, I prefer to quote Theodore Roosevelt, who said: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but it is morally treasonable to the American public.” 

I’m one of those left-wing loonies, who condemn Bush and our imperialistic military-industrial complex for depreciating America, by invading Iraq.

Shortly after my 18th birthday, I enlisted in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. Today, I’m considered a “Coward.” At 72 years of age, our military-industrial complex would find me psychologically unacceptable to be used as economic cannon fodder. It’s too risky, because I recall the last line of Dalton Trumbo’s timeless anti-war masterpiece “Johnny Got His Gun.” Quote: “You plan the wars you masters of men and point the way and we will point the gun.”

Furthermore, during WW II, we lived near a military base and found it foolish that our troops were not allowed to see “Gone With The Wind.”

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Propaganda Offensive

Bush intends to keep the war in Iraq going until he can dump it on his successor. He’s been forced to recycle the same lies that were used to sell the invasion of Iraq.

In a speech on June 28, Bush referred to al Qaeda 27 times, but avoided mentioning the sectarian violence, which is at the heart of the Iraqi civil war, because our military is powerless to stop it. Our military is following Bush's script verbatim. In May, there were 9 references to al Qaeda in a military news releases, but in late June, al Qaeda was mentioned 33 times.

The Bush regime’s stated purpose for the occupation was to create: “an Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself ... and an Iraqi army that would stand up so we could stand down.”

That is not happening. Therefore, a new mission is necessary. The newest propaganda is: “Victory is defeating al Qaeda, which continues to be the chief organizer of mayhem within Iraq.” And according to Bush: “the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th.” However, al Qaeda didn’t exist in Iraq, until after our invasion in 2003.

ABC News reported that al Qaeda in Iraq may be responsible for no more than 15 percent of the attacks in Iraq. Bob Woodward wrote in The Washington Post, that CIA director Michael Hayden told Bush last November that al Qaeda was only the fifth most pressing threat in Iraq, after the insurgency, sectarian strife, criminality and general anarchy.

Al Qaeda operates with impunity out of Pakistan. However, Bush has never allowed facts get in the way of his political agenda. The Republican agenda is to avoid taking responsibility for losing a war and it doesn’t matter how many more Americans are tossed into its carnage.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cost of War

According to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, the total cost of the war in Iraq, so far is $1.2 trillion and there’s no end in sight.

The Congressional Budget Office says these wars could eventually cost $2.4 trillion through the next decade. That amounts to about $8,000 for every man, woman and child in this country. This figure includes more than $700 billion in interest, since these wars are being fought on borrowed money and more than 70 percent of this money is going to the war in Iraq.

In the run-up to the war, Bush said it would cost about $50 billion. In testimony before Congress, former undersecretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz stated: “Iraq already has, on the order of $15 billion to $20 billion a year in oil exports....We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.”

Bush has drained our treasury and indebted generations of Americans. The money could have been better spent on higher education, funding full medical coverage for all U.S. citizens and securing Social Security. The amount of money could have been used to place solar panels on every home in America, thereby bringing down the price of a barrel of oil.

Americans seem incapable of understanding that this war is ruining the financial stability of our country.

Albert Einstein’s insight may provide the answer: “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.”

Friday, November 16, 2007

Very Strange

Yesterday, I received a very strange letter from Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand dated Nov. 7th. It was posted to the correct name and address. It began:

“Dear Mr. O’Leary,

Thank you for contacting me about visiting your unit during my recent trip to Iraq.

I would have appreciated the opportunity to visit with you and your unit, and I asked repeatedly to meet with service members from my district and our state, but because of strict security guidelines, I was told that any unscheduled visits to individual units would not be allowed. The trip was organized by the military and there was no allowance for Members of Congress to deviate from the set schedule....”

My reply of Nov. 15th stated:

Dear Rep. Gillibrand,

Per your letter of Nov. 7th, I have never contacted you regarding your failure to visit my or any other unit in Iraq.

I’ve never been to Iraq and the closest I came was Istanbul in 1954, with the Fleet Marine Force. I’m 72 years old and although our military is pressed for new recruits, I doubt that I would be acceptable cannon fodder for the military industrial complex, because of my antiwar sentiments.

As far as staying in contact with your office, it’s quite possible that, I express my concerns via e-mails more than any other of your constituents. However, they are most likely deleted by your staff.

I write monthly letters to nearly every newspaper within 80 miles of Delhi. My concern is that since, these strong views have resulted in ill-tempered rebuttals, anonymous letters and phone calls, I suspect some dirty trick is underway. I have not and will not contact you by snail mail, but may resort to a phone call.

You had better pay attention, because a recent rebuttal letter in the Walton Reporter referred to me as a “mad dog partisan.” :-)

Sincerely,
Jim O’Leary
mindanddestiny.com

P.S. The letter published in the Times Herald Record this morning was sent by this mad dog partisan.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Telecom Spy Lawsuits

AT&T whistle-blower, Mark Klein has told members of Congress a great deal about AT&T’s cooperation with the Bush regime to spy on overseas communications. The 22 year, AT&T technician stated that despite Bush’s claims to the contrary virtually all of America’s use of the Internet has been spied on for years.

Klein had obtained AT&T schematics showing how his former company used splitters to duplicate every fiber-optic signal routed through its facilities. This involved not just AT&T customers, but virtually every Internet and telecommunications company, and virtually all e-mail and web traffic in the country, without a warrant, without any mechanism for separating domestic from overseas, without separating suspect from patriot. Klein’s job was to connect circuits into the splitter device, which were hard wired to the room in an AT&T’s secure room, in San Francisco, accessible only to those cleared by the NSA. 

Klein’s documentation and claims are now part of a class action lawsuit against AT&T, which is only one of 38 telecom spy lawsuits. The Senate is considering granting the telecom executives immunity, but Klein has lobbied Congress not to do so. Granting immunity would effectively shut down the lawsuits and the American people wouldn’t find out what’s really going on. Klein insists that Congress should let the judicial process go forward. 

Klein didn’t have security clearance, but the splitter devices, he installed copied the entire data stream of Internet cables into the secure room. This included phone conversations, e-mail, web browsing, everything that comes across the Internet. 

As a technician, Klein had the engineering wiring documents, which explained how the splitter was wired to the secret room and that splitter device had no selective capability, it copied everything, domestic traffic, as well as international traffic. It involved millions of communications, a lot of it domestic communications that they’re copying wholesale and sweeping them into that secret room.

This a huge difference from the White House claim, that they were just intercepting international communications; no domestic communications were affected. Klein feels that he was assigned to connect George Orwell’s 1984, big brother machine. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Just Shut Up

“Fight the War Yourself or Just Shut Up” by Camillo Bica, Ph.D.

Dr. Bica is a professor of philosophy at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. As a veteran recovering from his experiences as a United States Marine Corps Officer during the Vietnam War, he founded, the Veterans Self-Help Initiative.
 
“Recently, at a community forum on the war in Iraq, three individuals who termed themselves collectively as the ‘Patriots’ made the argument that the war in Iraq was, and continues to be, necessary and important to fighting the war on terrorism, creating stability in the Middle East, and perhaps, even to prevent World War Three. Interestingly, none of the three ‘patriots’ were, are, or intend to become members of the military. Nor were any of their immediate families. In response to my question about whether this fact somehow jeopardizes their credibility on the subject and the force of their argument, together the patriots formulated the response that they did not believe it necessary to join the military or to have family members who do, in order to be patriotic, to recognize a serious threat to our country, and to conclude, however reluctantly, that war is a necessary, legal, and moral response in such dire situations. Given the difficulty the military is experiencing in meeting its recruitment quotas, I don’t think it farfetched to view these three individuals as representative of many of those self proclaimed patriots who continue to support President Bush’s occupation and escalation of the war in Iraq.

“For purposes of argument, I will accept that such patriots - those who remain personally unaffected by the war in the sense that neither they nor members of their family serve in the military - sincerely believe in the justness and morality of their position. For why else would sane and rational human beings advocate an enterprise that results in the deaths and injuries of so many Americans and Iraqis and support the expenditure of billions of dollars that could certainly be better spent on health care, education, developing alternative fuels, etc. Though it may be the case that greed and ambition has and continues to motivate unscrupulous individuals and corporations to urge and support war, I am going to accept that these patriots are not ‘war profiteers.’

“To urge that our nation continues, even escalates, the occupation and war in Iraq, entails the belief that Iraq poses a real and imminent threat to our national security, to our economy, and to the values we hold most sacred. In the face of such a threat, the patriots argue, war is justified, perhaps even morally required. There is, as well, a dire sense of urgency as ‘we cannot wait for the final proof - the smoking gun - that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.’ Not being a pacifist myself, I accept, at least theoretically, the patriots’ general contention that sometimes, as in a response to aggression, war may be a moral and legal recourse of last resort.

“Rational analysis will show, I think, that the patriots’ argument advocating and supporting war while at the same time ‘choosing’ not to participate or to have their family members participate, is, at best, confused and inconsistent, at worst, disingenuous and dishonest. Since war requires a citizenry willing to make great sacrifices in behalf of national defense, if the patriots have no intention of fighting the war themselves or of sending their children to fight, then clearly they must reject the validity of their own argument. That is, they must believe that the threat is not real, or imminent, or, perhaps, not serious enough to warrant risking their own lives or well being or that of their family members. Since we conceded, however, that our patriots are sincere in their belief that the war in Iraq is necessary and must continue, they must believe the threat posed by Iraq is real, immediate, and grave. So I guess we must rule out this explanation for their non-participation.

“Another possibility is that perhaps these patriots do not love America sufficiently to be willing to make the necessary sacrifices in its behalf. Again, since we conceded the verisimilitude of their patriotism, we must rule out this explanation as well. The only possibility that remains, I think, is that the unwillingness of these patriots to participate in what they argue is a necessary war is indicative of their belief that they and their loved ones are somehow exempt, perhaps for reason of affluence, power, status, or ethnicity, from the inconveniences and risks entailed by fighting in war. They are arguing essentially that America must continue to the occupation and war in Iraq, and that it is the obligation of other people, and of other people’s children, to make the necessary sacrifices.

“Certainly, civilians and non-veterans can be patriotic. Surely, they can recognize a serious threat to our country, and conclude that war is necessary to maintain our freedom. Patriotism requires, however, especially in a democracy with an all volunteer military, that the onerous burden of national defense be shared by all who love America - by all of America’s citizens. When war is just and necessary, we are all equally bound, rich and poor, powerful and powerless, not to the extent that wealth and position can enable avoidance of sacrifice, but to the extent to which we are capable of serving. Justice requires that the burden be shared fairly by all who benefit from living in this nation. Freedom is not free, you know. Perhaps one may even argue that those who benefit most from their freedom, those who have become wealthy by availing themselves of all that America has provided, have even a greater obligation to serve than does those who have benefited least - the poor and the destitute.

“My advice, therefore, to those patriots who would argue that the occupation and war in Iraq must continue is that they must re-evaluate their position. Unless they are willing to fight in the war themselves, and/or encourage their family members to fight as well, they must abandon their support for the war and argue instead for its immediate cessation. It is time that these ‘patriots’ are recognized for the chickenhawks that they are and either back up their shallow words with actions or just shut up.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Waterboarding

The Bush regime received a first-hand account on waterboarding from former acting assistant attorney general Daniel Levin, who volunteered to let himself be waterboarded. Levin conclude waterboarding is torture and he was promptly fired. Bush nominated Michael B. Mukasey for attorney general, who will not concur with, nor dispute Mr. Levin conclusion that waterboarding is torture. Nevertheless, he was recommended by the Senate Judiciary Committee to become Attorney General. 

In the Justice Department, Levin was in charge of determining which “enhanced interrogation techniques” could be used legally. Levin went to a military base outside of Washington and was waterboarded.  Although, he knew he would not die, the experience was so terrifying that he concluded waterboarding was clearly torture. 

Levin was formulating a memo outlining that waterboarding was legally torture, when Alberto Gonzales became the attorney general.  Gonzales considered Levin “Too independent” and “Not somebody who could be counted on.” and he was forced out of the Justice Department. 

Furthermore, most senior lawyers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps testified to Congress that waterboarding violates the laws of war, but Bush continues to insists on defining torture as being, whatever his lawyers say it is.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy, joined Democratic Senators Biden, Kennedy, Durbin and Whitehouse in opposing Mukasey’s nomination to be Attorney General. However, Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer broke ranks with their own chairman and join nine Republicans to send Mukasey’s nomination to the full Senate, where he was confirmed by a 53-40 vote.

Senator Leahy had pointed out: “Judge Mukasey was not asked to evaluate any secret facts and circumstances.  He was asked a very clear question, is waterboarding illegal? American law makes torture illegal and water waterboarding is torture and under American law it is illegal.” 

Sidney Blumenthal wrote: “Torture is state-sanctioned deviant behavior. It is degrading, arbitrary, cruel and illegal. Torture feeds secrecy. It undermines democracy. And it is shameful. At the Nuremberg war crimes tribunals, the U.S. tried, convicted and executed Nazi leaders for engaging in torture.”

Torture is not a defense of freedom, but the hallmark of tyrannies.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wrong Priorities

Money is being borrowed from the Social Security Trust Fund for the Iraq war. The money in the trust fund could be generating interest and be a self-sustaining program, but it continues to be used in ways other than designated by statute. Congress is aware of this, yet does nothing.

Social Security can be made solvent by merely raising the FICA cap on employee and employer contributions. Warren Buffett one of the wealthiest men in the world has said: “I personally would increase the taxable base above the present $90,000. I pay very little in the way of SS taxes.”

In addition to “borrowing” from the Social Security Trust Fund, we’re selling off our financial independence to the Chinese, Japanese, and Europeans. In 2001, the outstanding federal government debt topped $6 trillion. Thirty percent of that debt was held by foreign lenders. In the past five years that debt has grown by another $3 trillion, with foreign lending accounting for 80 percent of the increase.

We’re subsidizing the Chinese government to the tune of $50 to $100 billion a year, which could easily double over next five years. With rising interest payments, that means more money leaving our country, and less money for schools and health care. Economists agree this is not sustainable, but Congress has failed to demonstrated the political will to reign in budget deficits.

In 2004, Senate Republicans obliged the Bush regime by voting to raise the debt limit to nearly $9 trillion. Some Senators wanted to attach conditions to limit the increase. However, Republicans blocked an amendment to look at the impact of foreign held debt, and an amendment to set up a pay-as-you-go measure that would force lawmakers to pay for future budget increases.

Many believe that it’s political suicide, for a politician to suggest a tax increase, because most voter continue to be so short sighted that they’re almost blind. Instead, of tax and spend liberals, we’ve had borrow and spend conservatives. In 2006, ninty-six percent of America’s debt, which was sold on financial markets was bought by foreign investors. According to Montana Democratic Senator, Max Baucus the solution is simple: “You’ve got to cut spending and you’ve got to look at revenue and just match the revenue with the spending.”

America must spend less on its military, whose primary mission is to protect the assets of the wealthy. We must also stop giving tax breaks to the wealthy, but most importantly, we must stop electing politicians with the wrong priorities.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Struggle

Long ago, abolitionist Frederick Douglass said: “A struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it maybe both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.”

Our struggle is to free ourselves from the the tightening grip of imperialistic Fascist. Fascism has been defined as: “A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.”

Eisenhower warned: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Eisenhower’s Sec. of State John Foster Dulles observed: “In order to bring a nation to support the burdens of maintaining great military establishments, it is necessary to create an emotional state akin to war psychology. There must be the portrayal of external menace. To achieve this it is necessary to depict one’s own country as a shining hero and the other country as the vilest villain. Once such an ideology has been fostered, the nation is a long way on the path to war”.

In 1946, Hitler’s designated successor Hermann Goering said: “It is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship.”... “Voice or no voice the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Our Policies

It has been ascertained that al Qaeda was responsible for 9/11, and fifteen of the nineteen perpetrator were Saudi Arabian Sunni Muslims. None were Shiites from Iraq or Iran.

The problem is that 60 percent of the people in Iraq are Shiites, and 20 percent are Sunni. The Sunni insurgents don’t want to be ruled by the Shiites majority, so their fighting against Democratic rule. The Shiites majority includes people like al-Sadr’s militia, who are viscously fighting back. 

Senator Joe Biden the ranking Democrat on foreign relations presented a plan to give regional control in Iraq to Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. Biden believes the people of Iraq would support the idea of a confederacy which offers a lot of autonomy to these three separate groups. However, the decision to divide up Iraq into three regions must be a decision made by the Iraqi people and not one imposed by an imperialistic occupier.

We supported Saddam Hussein in a bloody 10 year war against Iran and the Republican capitalists are again threatening the Iranians. Americans don’t understand Iran’s desire to possess a nuclear weapon to protect themselves from capitalistic imperialist.

In the Holy City of Qom, Grand Ayatollah Saanei insists: “Martyrdom for your faith should never be confused with suicide terrorism.... Terrorists should go to Hell, and that is our belief. But if the enemy attacks us, we have the right to defend ourselves in any possible way.... We love martyrdom because it leads us to heaven and because we will be helped on the Day of Judgment.”

Iranians claim to be God’s warriors and as God’s soldiers, they kill in the name of God. Everybody understands if your country is attacked, you will defend it. But what many Americans don’t understand is the love of martyrdom that exists in Islam and particularly Shiism. The true believers are still in Iran. If an enemy attacks even an inch of their territories, all Iranians from children to old men, are ready to fight.

The former head of the bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer insists: “It’s about the impact of our policies in the Islamic world. And because we won’t talk about that here in America, we’re not adequately defended.”

Friday, November 09, 2007

Imam Hussein

Imam Hussein was the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson. Shiites make up about one tenth of all Muslims, his story represents the eternal battle against oppression and injustice, and the willingness to sacrifice even one’s own life for that struggle.

In 680 A.M. in a fight over who would succeed the Prophet Mohammed, Hussein and his entire family were slaughtered in a heroic last stand and that would lead to the bloody Shiite/Sunni rift that continues to this day.

The story may have happened 1,400 years ago, but it’s still relevant to Iran today. Just as it was relevant during the Iran/Iraq War, when young Iranians did not hesitate to be martyrs. Iran’s eight year war with Iraq is seen as a triumph of faith.

In 1980, Iraq’s president, Saddam Hussein, invaded Iran. Hussein was supported by the Soviet Union and the United States. They saw him as a bulwark against the spread of Iranian-style Islamic revolution.

The world assumed Iraq’s professional army would score a quick victory, but they didn’t reckoned with Ayatollah Khomeini’s holy warriors. Waves of young boys volunteered to become martyrs, clearing minefields by running across them. Eight blood-soaked years later, hundreds of thousands of young men and boys had been injured or killed. They had been inspired to fight on by their first martyr, Imam Hussein.

Amir Faker was one of the holy warriors. He volunteered to go to the front, when he was 13 years of age and was trained to defuse land mines. Imam Hussein’s courage inspired Amir, as well as, his two brothers, who were killed in the war defending their country. Twenty years later, their mother doesn’t regret the family’s sacrifice. She said: “I never wept for my sons when they went to war. In fact, I would have been angry if they had refused to go. That’s how important Islam is for the Shiites.”

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Anti-imperialist Activist

Retired Lieutenant General Bernard Trainor claims that Iraq is a power struggle, for who is going to run the “political fiction” called Iraq, and our military has been incidental to this process and will remain incidental. The media and members of Congress refer to the Iraqi government as an entity. However, the so called Iraqi government exist only inside the Green Zone.

Stan Goff is an anti-imperialist activist, writer and an Army veteran, who served from 1970 to 1996. He points out that the Maliki government relies on our military to survive. The armed forces being trained for his “government” are themselves loyal to factions with agendas, and filled with opportunists and infiltrators. Iraq is not merely Sunni against Shia. There are three major armed Shia factions, two major Sunni armed factions, and a Kurdish militia of 100,000 that resides in the north, which is also divided into two camps. None of these fractions can possibly gain control of the entire Iraqi population.

Goff insists that various sectors of the Iraqi population share the goal of stability in order to rebuild. That goal cannot be accomplished without negotiations between the various groups. Most Iraqis supporting armed resistance against the Anglo-American occupation, and American support for an Iraqi government is not preventing sectarian violence, it’s incubating it. Goff believes that there may be some fighting in Iraq after a withdrawal, but the balance of forces are most likely to produce negotiations rather than protracted civil war. At any rate, it is not the role of our government to shape the future of Iraq, because they are far more qualified to figure out a solution than the our Departments of State and Defense.

Stan Goff wrote that exiting Iraq is not a strategy; it’s a command. Elaborate plans about how to withdraw are the responsibility of the military commanders, not Congress. Leaving Iraq is a technical and tactical exercise. What is required of Congress is the political will to de-fund the war. De-funding the war should not put troops in danger. Specific conditional allocations of funds can be made available for the sole purpose of conducting a redeployment.

Americans want out of Iraq and they will remember who had the courage to act. Congress has one weapon to use against the Bush regime and that is the power of the purse. Cut the funds for the war, and bring the troops home now.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

War Propoganda

Although, increasing numbers of American are opposed to the continuation of the war in Iraq, members of Congress are refusing to take decisive steps to halt the occupation.

Iran and Iraq have never been a real threat to the security of the American people and most members of Congress are pretending that the occupation of Iraq has nothing to do with it’s oil reserves. They never make mention of oil, but it’s obvious that were it not for oil, our military-industrial complex would have little interest in the region or its people. Apparently, both political parties believe that controlling the oil reserves, of the Middle East is a valid reason to invade other nations and engage in wars of aggression.

We have lost the war in Iraq and continuating the occupation is about preserving our “national masculinity.” This machismo is the ideology of gangsters and that is exactly what our imperialistic military has become.

Our next president may continue to pander to the military-industrial complex, in order to, avoid being labeled weak on defense or as not supporting the troops. Through a combination of public apathy and fear mongering by the military industrial complex, both parties have been corrupted.

The military-industrial complex has gotten so big that those who make it run day to day in industry and government simply are perpetuating their own existence.

Republican congressman and presidential candidate, Ron Paul said: “The thought that the Iranians could pose an imminent attack on the United States is preposterous. This is just 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 financial disaster if we don’t read the Constitution once in a while.”

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Foreign Service

Foreign Service Employee, Jack Croddy said: “I'm sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it....who will take care of our children? Who will raise our children if we’re dead or seriously wounded?.... Any other embassy in the world, would be closed at this point, with all these incoming rocket.... You roll your eyes, but we have polled the Foreign Service. Only, twelve percent of your Foreign Service believes that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is fighting for them.”

Recently, Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice respond to the harsh criticism from her own employees during a town hall meeting, by sending a cable to diplomats around the world: “I commit to each of you that all those who serve in Iraq and their families will receive the department’s full support before, during and after their assignment.”

Ryan Crocker her envoy to Baghdad, insisted that the diplomats need to put national interests over their personal safety and those who don’t agree are in the wrong line of business.

Former U.S. ambassador to Syria, Edward Djerejian states: “It was incumbent upon the Foreign Service officers to accept hardship assignments, sometimes in war zones. And that certainly has been a tradition of the Service.”

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq is short by almost 50 diplomats and is having a hard time getting volunteers to fill the spots. Consequently, the State Department has ordered some to go, whether they like it or not.

Foreign Service officers were last forced into duty, during the Vietnam War. Rice is appealing to patriotism to help settle the diplomatic fury, by telling reporters: “People need to serve wherever they’re need. This is one of the highest priority tasks of the United States and we are going to meet our obligations.”

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

Monday, November 05, 2007

Selling the War

Eight years ago, former President Bush said: “I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources.  They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors.”

“Fair Game” by Valerie Plame Wilson is a reminder of how the Bush regime sold the Iraq war and then tried to silence critics.

Vice President Cheney said: “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”

Bush insisted: “We cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.” And in his highest profile speech before the war, Bush’s infamous 16 words in the State of the Union address stated: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

The CIA had already determined the Iraq/Africa uranium connection was not true. An inquiry, by Vice President Cheney prompted the CIA to send an ambassador to Niger to investigate, and that ambassador, Joe Wilson, found nothing to support the Iraq/Niger claim and reported that to the CIA.  In the spring of 2003, after U.S. forces invaded Iraq and found no WMDs, articles began referring to Wilson’s trip, prompting Cheney’s office, led by Scooter Libby, to start calling the CIA and State Department for information about Wilson.

After, Wilson wrote an op-ed titled, “What I didn’t find in Africa,” the White House efforts to smear him went into overdrive.  A week later, columnist Bob Novak tried to raise questions about Wilson’s credibility by revealing: “His wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative, two senior administration officials told me.”

In the midst of the ensuing uproar over the disclosure of a CIA operative’s identity, Bush declared: “I don’t know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information.  If somebody did leak classified information, I’d like to know it, and we’ll take the appropriate action.

U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was assigned to investigate the Plame leak.  Fitzgerald heard testimony from Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and eventually obtained testimony from reporters. Fitzgerald charged Libby with perjury, making false statements and obstruction of justice. Fitzgerald stated:  Mr. Libby’s story that he was at the tail end of a chain of phone calls, passing on to one reporter what he heard from another, was not true.  It was false.  He was at the beginning of the chain of the phone calls.

After, a two-month-long trial produced evidence that Libby and Cheney sought out information about the Wilsons from multiple government officials.  The jury saw evidence that the vice president scribbled notes on Wilson’s column, gave directions to Libby, to declassify information, and even wrote out White House immediate denials after Novak leaked Plame’s identity.  Prosecutors argued Libby lied to protect Cheney, and the jury agreed and convicted Libby on four of five felony counts.

Judge Reggie Walton sentenced Libby to 30 months in prison.  Prosecutors hoped the threat of jail would convince Libby cooperate and finally tell the truth, but Bush commuted Libby’s sentence. Bush said that he would not rule out giving Libby a pardon to wipe away the felony record. 

In fact, Valerie Plame Wilson’s husband, Joe Wilson, was right from the beginning.  Iraq did not seek uranium from Niger and the Bush regimes case for war was wrong.

Complicating matters for the White House is the issue of Iran. Intelligence sources insist Valerie Wilson was part of an operation tracking the proliferation of nuclear weapons material into Iran. When Mrs. Wilson’s cover was blown, our ability to track Iran’s nuclear ambitions was damaged. The Bush regime not only ruined her career, but also harmed U.S. national security.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Peace Be With You

Dear Mr. Algar:

Your letter in the Walton Reporter is a textbook case of projection. You project onto me the very pathology you’re not willing to see in yourself. You consider me a “mad dog partisan”, but your letter demonstrates that you are also a partisan. Your anger is also apparent. A phrase from the Lord’s Prayer may bring peace into your life. Remember: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us.” It has helped me to become a more gentle person.

I have no objection to being called “mad dog”, because it has a certain macho ring to it. In fact, I’ve been known to foam at the mouth over our daughter-in-laws gourmet cooking. Don’t worry, I’ve had all my rabies shots.

Obviously, you’re a superpatriot. As such, you are 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.

I stand by everything in my letter and will start by addressing your most serious distortion of reality, which are the remarks about Senator Kerry.

A credible source of information about John Kerry’s service in Vietnam is “Tour of Duty” by Douglas Brinkley; professor of history at the University of New Orleans. John Kerry killed the enemy up close and personal, which very few in Congress have done. Over the course of a life time, few have demonstrated greater compassion for combat veterans than Kerry.

Kerry was assigned to the U.S.S. Gridley, and served in the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of North Vietnam. Upon returning to the U.S., Kerry requested service as a Swift boat commander. Swift boats, were heavily armed aluminum patrol boats, carrying a 5 man crew. While patrolling the rivers of the Mekong Delta, they often hit mines and came under rocket, mortar and machine gun fire. Kerry was responsible for transporting Navy Seals on counterinsurgency missions deep into the Viet Cong controlled jungles.

Admiral Elmo Zumwalt calculated sailors on Swift boats had a 75% chance of being killed or wounded while on duty. This explains how Kerry was able to earn a Silver Star, Bronze Star and 3 Purple Hearts.

“Tour of Duty” describes Kerry’s gallantry in combat in detail. The third time Kerry was wounded occurred, when the boat hit a mine and an ambush ensued. Green Beret Lt. Jim Rassmann was blown overboard. Upon realizing Rassmann was missing he ordered the boat to turn around, went to the bow and although wounded, pulled Rassmann aboard.

In 2003, Lt. Rassmann a Republican told a national TV audience at an Iowa caucus rally: “John came to the front under fire and pulled me over. Kerry could have been shot and killed at anytime, I figure I owe this man my life.” Lt. Rassmann recommended Kerry for the Bronze Star.

Furthermore, historian Brinkley goes on to describe Kerry’s involvement with the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. In 1970, Kerry gained a prominent roll in V.V.A.W. with a speech. Angered by the “atrocious conditions of V.A. hospitals,” Kerry said: “We are here to say that it is not patriotism to ask Americans to die for a mistake or that it is not patriotic to allow a president to talk about not being the first president to lose a war, using us as pawns in that game.” In April 1971, Kerry organized a week long antiwar demonstration in which no acts of violence were committed. In November, Kerry resigned from the V.V.A.W. because it had grown too radical. Former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey said: “People noted that I was a Medal of Honor winner. But there should have been medal winners for organizers of peaceful protests.”

In April of 1971 Senator Hatfield stated: “The moral sensitivity of the Nation has been aroused by the conviction of Lt. Wm. Calley. Several of the allegations made in testimony (at the Winter Soldiers Investigation) would place the United States in violation of the Geneva Convention. The testimony and allegations raised by the experiences of these veterans includes charges regarding the torture and murder of suspects and prisoners of war captured by Americans and South Vietnamese forces; the wanton killing of innocent, unarmed civilians; the brutalization and rape of women in the villages. I ask unanimous consent that the testimony presented by over 100 honorably discharged veterans in Detroit be placed in the Congressional Record.”

Later that month; at Senator Fulbright request Kerry testify before the Senate, as a member of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Kerry testified: “These are not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day to day basis with full awareness of officers at all levels of command. It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit or the emotions in the room and the feelings of the men, who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do...We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our memories of that service; as easily as this administration has wiped away their memories of us.”

Two years ago, Kerry made certain that the widows of soldiers aren’t kicked off of our military bases within a matter of months. He has worked to get additional money for mental health care for soldiers who are coming back with post traumatic stress syndrome.

Senator Kerry believes that any soldier, who desires to serve his country by putting on the uniform and doing what the commander-in-chief asks of them is a patriot and that their sacrifice is best honored by giving them the kind of policy that is successful.

Mr. Algar, you should consider writing another letter in order to clarify, if you are a recipient of the Purple Heart. Your statement: “Kerry shall never be my brother for he has dishonored himself and those who would be his brothers,” which was followed by Shakespeare’s quote: “But we... shall be remembered; we few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.” It isn’t clear if the: “with me shall be my brother” refers to yourself.

I’ll assume that you are a recipient of the Purple Heart and not trying to mislead the readers. Does your criteria also disqualify Kerry’s ardent supporter and friend, former Senator Max Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam from your band of brothers?

You have claimed: “O’Leary has dishonored them by his thesis. Shame!” Mr. Algar, I again urge you to write a letter to clarify exactly what the thesis is, which I’m expected to be ashamed of. Perhaps, anger caused you to ramble on about a demographer’s reputation and his findings that rural youth join the service at higher rates than those from metropolitan areas. Are you upset by the term “economic conscription?”

My comments don’t diminished the service of the members of the Fighting 69th Infantry or the 70 Americans from Long Island and New York City that were among the 4,000 American’s that have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

You dismiss my assertion that clergy in Delaware County encouraged their congregation not to vote for John Kerry, by stating: “I know of no clergyman who would so preach from his pulpit the above.” Do you know all the clergymen in this county?

In fact, a letter in the Delaware County Times shortly after the 2004 election stated: “I found that even the Catholic church would stoop to use the pulpit for politics and warn you that you are a sinners if you vote for a candidate who will uphold the law (pro-choice) and not force his religious believes on those that don’t have the same beliefs.” That writer stood up in church and declared “this is not right.” Others have verified the incident and at least one family started attending another church. The priest has been transferred out of the county.

Armageddon the “Left Behind” volume, which came out after 9/11 became the best selling novel of the year. At the time of the invasion of Iraq, it was very popular among our troops. Many critics of the series see a connection between its apocalyptic scenario and Bush’s apocalyptic rhetoric and Mideast policies.

You state: “As far as President Bush having lied about Hussein having weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaeda, only history will confirm or deny this as time passes.” I’m reminded of Simone Weil’s definition: “Official history consists in believing murderers at their word”

Those that joined the military after 9/11, were cynically duped by Bush into believing that they were going to fight the perpetrators of 9/11. It has been ascertained that al Qaeda was responsible for 9/11, and fifteen of the nineteen perpetrator were Saudi Arabian Sunni Muslims. None were Shiites from Iraq or Iran.

There were no weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein had no ties to al-Qaeda. The invasion of Iraq was an avarice, calculated, imperialistic plan to gain control of the world’s second largest oil reserve. Instead of making Americans safer, our occupation is creating more terrorist every day.

Bush commandeered our military, who are being used as economic cannon fodder by the military industrial complex to ensure outrageous profits for multinational oil corporations.

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill confirmed that ten days after Bush’s inauguration, the focus at the first National Security Council meeting was war with Iraq.

In “Where Have All the Leaders Gone?”, former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca, who voted for Bush in 2000, wrote : “Oil is behind the war in Iraq. Oil is the reason we give fundamentalists, terrorists breeding theocracy in Saudi Arabia a pass. Almost every important Bush administration official has a connection to the oil industry.”

Alan Greenspan, who served as chairman of the Federal Reserve for almost two decades wrote: “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

Retired Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold said: “My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions or bury the results.”

Bush dishonored the service of our troops, not “mad dog” O’Leary. Let me close by reminding you of a quote by Samuel Johnson: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

Comments: "You gave Mr. Algra all the facts, about Vietnam and about John Kerry - these people are so thick - it is scary when you think of it. How they can still say what they say in light of what has happened in the last 6 years especially. Take care. Mary"

Saturday, November 03, 2007

By the Superpatriot

Robert F. Algar wrote the following letter to the Walton Recorder expressing his disapproval of yesterday’s post by the Mad Dog.

“I thought it was time to put my pen to paper to rebut the mad dog partisan letter to you by James O’Leary published in your paper on Sept. 26. 2007.

“I don’t know who the demographer is or his reputation, but there have been some 3,000 combat deaths in Iraq since the 9/11/01 terror attacks. I dispute his thesis that “Rural youth join the military at higher rates than those from metropolitan areas because rural areas offer young people few alternatives to military service. The situation is best described as ‘economic conscription.’” He goes on to assert that “Delaware County youth could be enlisting in the military to become warriors for a Christian God.”

“Over 70 Americans from Long Island and New York City have died in Iraq and seven in Afghanistan. They were American born and foreign born. They grew up in city walkups and suburban middle class homes. They were high school drop-outs and college graduates, professionals with established careers and others who were just starting out. Many of these soldiers enlisted in the wrenching aftermath of the 9/11 attack. Some had family members or neighbors killed that day. Eighteen of these were members of the Fighting 69 Infantry who were at Ground Zero on 9/11/01. They wanted to defend their homes and their country. They wanted to serve. They were Christians, Muslims, Jewish and Buddhist. But above all, they were American warriors, not warriors for a Christian God. These brave, dedicated men and woman from Delaware County who went to war for us also fall into similar categories. They stood up when their country needed them. O’Leary has dishonored them by his thesis. Shame!

“O’Leary asserts that clergy urged their flocks “from the pulpit not to vote for John Kerry in order to reelect born again Christian, George W, Bush and thereby continue the killing.” I know of no clergyman who would so preach from his pulpit the above. As far as President Bush having lied about Hussein having weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaeda, only history will confirm or deny this as time passes. Not like the lying testimony given by John Kerry to a congressional committee under oath and stealing honors by wrongfully obtaining medals under devious methods. It took him 10 years to get discharged from the U.S. Navy after he was completely severed from that service. Kerry shall never be my brother for he has dishonored himself and those who would be his brothers.

“But we... shall be remembered; we few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.”- Wm. Shakespeare

“It appears that your paper is liberal in it’s opinions, but it is your duty to balance what you print.”

Friday, November 02, 2007

By the Mad Dog

The Walton Recorder published this letter of mine in September.

The war “against terrorism”, is more accurately described as the global war for oil. For many years, Delaware County has produced a precious commodity, which our military and global capitalist economy can’t do without. That commodity are the patriotic youth that enlist in the military.

According to a study by demographer William O’Hare, the death rate for “rural soldiers is 60% higher than the death rate for those soldiers from cities and suburbs.” Rural youth join the military at higher rates than those from metropolitan areas, because rural areas offer young people few alternatives to military service. The situation is best describes as “economic conscription.”

Rudyard Kipling wrote: “If any question why we died tell them because our fathers lied.” Bush lied about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaeda.

Delaware County youth could be enlisting in the military to become warriors for a Christian God. In 2003, an Associated Press poll found that 77% of Evangelicals favored the Iraqi war. Additionally, 62%, of Catholics and mainline Protestants were in favor of war.

Furthermore, some Evangelical, Protestant and Catholic voters in Delaware County were encourage from the pulpit not to vote for John Kerry in order to re-elect, born-again Christian, George W. Bush and thereby continue the killing.

Satirist Mark Twain’s “War Prayer” was in response to an assertion that this is a Christian country: “O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of guns with the shriek of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire... We ask it in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the source of love.”

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The 110th Congress

Following a meeting with House Republican leadership, Bush told reporters: “We’re near the end of the year, and there really isn’t much to show for it. The House of Representatives has wasted valuable time on a constant stream of investigations, and the Senate has wasted valuable time on an endless series of failed votes to pull our troops out of Iraq.”

He slammed the 110th Congress by complaining: “Congress is not getting its work done....The proposed spending is skyrocketing under their leadership. They have not been able to send a single annual appropriations bill to my desk. And that’s the worst record for a Congress in 20 years. The leadership that’s on the Hill now, cannot get that job done.”

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi rejected Bush’s attacks by insisting: “The president calls congressional oversight that has uncovered tens of billions of dollars in waste, fraud, and abuse in Iraq a waste of time. We call billions spent in no-bid contracts to Halliburton a waste of money.”

Pelosi pointed to several major bills that have been signed into law this year, including homeland security legislation, a minimum wage increase, and a tightening of lobbying and ethics rules.

She continued: “Instead of criticizing Congress, the president’s time would be better spent working in a bipartisan way to end this disastrous war in Iraq, keep our promises to our veterans by providing the largest veterans’ healthcare investment in history, and providing healthcare for 10 million children.” 

Bush attempted to painted the picture of “tax and spend” Democrats being in charge of Congress, saying that they have passed an “endless series of tax increases.” He pointed to recent legislation to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the farm bill, the energy bill and a small business bill as examples of Democrats’ effort to raise taxes.

Congressional Democrats accuse Bush of attempting to rewrite history, because Bush, increased spending 50 percent over Clinton, by turning a surplus into a $400 billion deficit. Furthermore, when Republicans controlled Congress, they regularly failed to send the president spending measures on time and Bush was not threatening to veto most of those bills.

House Speaker, Pelosi concluded: “I think the president’s statement, in many respects, was a waste of time.”