Mind and Destiny

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

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Success and Victory

On 8/18/08, McCain told the VFW Convention: “Though victory in Iraq is finally in sight, a great deal still depends on the decisions and good judgment of the next president.  The hard-won gains of our troops hang in the balance.  The lasting advantage of a peaceful and democratic ally in the heart of the Middle East could still be squandered by hasty withdrawal and arbitrary timelines. And this is one of many problems in the shifting positions of my opponent, Senator Obama.”

Obama hasn’t shifted his position, since July 2007, when he said: “I think we can be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in.”

In June of 2003, McCain said: “many argue that the conflict (in Iraq) isn’t over. Well, then why was there a banner that said ‘Mission Accomplished’ on the aircraft carrier?  Look, I have said a long time that reconstruction of Iraq would be a long, long, difficult process, but the conflict, the major conflict is over.  The regime change has been accomplished, and it’s very appropriate.”

On 5/22/o3, McCain reiterated that position on the Senate floor: “We won a massive victory in a few weeks, and we did so with very limited loss of American and allied lives.  We were able to end aggression with minimum overall loss of life, and we were even able to greatly reduce the civilian casualties of Afghani and Iraqi citizens.”

After, declaring victory in Iraq, five years and three months ago, he’s now telling the VFW Convention: “victory in Iraq is finally in sight.”

Furthermore, at the convention, McCain claimed: “Senator Obama commits the greater error of insisting that even in hindsight, he would oppose the surge.  Even in retrospect, he would choose the path of retreat and failure for America over the path of success and victory.”

What is McCain’s definition of success and victory? Another 100 years in Iraq?

The surge hasn’t work, because it was supposed to promote a political reconciliation in the Iraqi government and that has not happened. If the surge had actually worked, our troops would be home from Iraq or at least we’d have the same number of troops in Iraq presently, as we had at the time the surge began.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tax Evasion

Clinton provided tax breaks for the middle and lower incomes, who in turn spend the money. Bush provided disproportionate tax breaks for the wealthy, who stash their money in numerous tax havens. Billions and billions of dollars worth of U.S. assets find their way into these secret tax havens. Each year, our treasury loses an estimated $100 billion in tax revenues from offshore tax abuses. Tax havens are engaged in economic warfare against honest, hardworking American taxpayers.

LGT is a private bank owned by the royal family of Liechtenstein. The country is a tiny alpine nation of 35,000 citizens, which supports 15 banks that together boast of holding more than $200 billion in assets. Liechtenstein boasts of secrecy laws even more stringent than those in Switzerland, which has become famous for hidden bank accounts.

Switzerlands UBS bank is one of the world’s largest financial institutions and the world’s largest manager of private wealth. UBS has an estimated 19,000 so-called “undeclared accounts” for American citizens with an estimated $18 billion in assets that have been kept secret from the IRS.

In February 2008, a global tax scandal erupted after a former employee of LGT provided tax authorities around the world with data on about 1,400 people with accounts at LGT Bank in Liechtenstein. By mid-February, the IRS announced it had initiated enforcement action against 100 U.S. taxpayers in connection with accounts in Liechtenstein. Since, February, nearly a dozen countries have announced plans to investigate taxpayers with Liechtenstein accounts, demonstrating not only the worldwide scope of the tax scandal, but also a newfound international determination to fight against tax evasion facilitated by tax haven banks.

The former employee who exposed LGT’s dirty laundry had to go into hiding to avoid arrest by Liechtenstein, which listed him as its number one target for arrest. A $10 million reward has been placed on his head by unknown parties on the Internet.

According to Democratic Senator Carl Levin: “Tax evasion eats at the fabric of society, not only by starving health care, education, and other needed government services of resources, but also by undermining trust.” Consequently, honest Americans feel like they’re being abused when they pay their fair share.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Psychopaths

Excerpts from “Twilight of the Psychopaths,” by Dr. Kevin Barrett

“‘Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.’ - John Lennon
“Civilized people, we are told, live peacefully and cooperatively with their fellows, sharing the necessary labour in order to obtain the leisure to develop arts and sciences. And while that would be a good idea, it is not a good description of what has been going on in the so-called advanced cultures during the past 8,000 years.
“Civilization, as we know it, is largely the creation of psychopaths. All civilizations, our own included, have been based on slavery and ‘warfare.’ Incidentally, the latter term is a euphemism for mass murder.
“The prevailing recipe for civilization is simple:
“1) Use lies and brainwashing to create an army of controlled, systematic mass murderers;
“2) Use that army to enslave large numbers of people (i.e.seize control of their labour power and its fruits);
“3) Use that slave labour power to improve the brainwashing process (by using the economic surplus to employ scribes, priests, and PR men). Then go back to step one and repeat the process.
“Psychopaths have played a disproportionate role in the development of civilization, because they are hard-wired to lie, kill, injure, and generally inflict great suffering on other humans without feeling any remorse. The inventor of civilization - the first tribal chieftain who successfully brainwashed an army of controlled mass murderers- was almost certainly a genetic psychopath. Since that momentous discovery, psychopaths have enjoyed a significant advantage over non- psychopaths in the struggle for power in civilizational hierarchies - especially military hierarchies.

“Military institutions are tailor-made for psychopathic killers. The 5% or so of human males who feel no remorse about killing their fellow human beings make the best soldiers. And the 95% who are extremely reluctant to kill make terrible soldiers - unless they are brainwashed with highly sophisticated modern techniques that turn them (temporarily it is hoped) into functional psychopaths.”

Dr. Kevin Barrett is a co-founder of the Muslim-Christian-Jewish Alliance for 9/11 Truth, and has taught English, French, Arabic, American Civilization, Humanities, African Literature, Folklore, and Islam at colleges and universities in the San Francisco Bay area, Paris, and Madison, Wisconsin.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Flying Monkeys

I highly recommend this very important book by a local author.

Words of praise for The Einstein Sisters Bag the Flying Monkeys:
"I wish St. Paul had included comic satirists in the list of indispensable gift ministries.  Humour and laughter are much in need."
            — Rev. Stephen Sizer, Vicar, Christ Church, Virginia Water, U.K.
            Author Christian Zionism: Roadmap to Armageddon?
"Einstein Sisters an informative and funny read"
— Jessica Lewis, The Evening Sun, Norwich, NY
"You've woven a fascinating tale with so much information."
— Len Bjorkman, retired Presbyterian minister
"Readers, young and old, will delight in this empowering story, as they are taken on a remarkable journey. . .that shows how ordinary people. . .can change the course of history."
            — Joanne G. Gruettner, Delaware County Times, Delhi, NY
"Students of the New Testament can easily identify the recurring warnings about false teachers, frauds, charlatans, and false prophets.  These warnings are not simply from Paul, they are from Jesus as well.  In his political and religious satire, Hall shows how charlatans and cult leaders can make a religion of nationalism and war.  He has focused on this blasphemous disaster in the spirit of Dante.  Yes, here we have a Divine Comedy that identifies the false gods of hatred and idol worship.
          —Blase Bonpane, PhD., Director, Office of the Americas, Los Angeles
". . .thought provoking from the standpoint of my Christian beliefs, informative from its historical perspective, and suddenly funny when you least expect it.  I was impressed by the author's depth of knowledge of both current politics and biblical history and how successfully he mastered the challenge of weaving both topics into one great novel.  We should all experience the simple and uncomplicated relationship that the youngest heroine, Tina, has with Jesus. . .through the eyes and heart of a child"
— Ellen Mordus, Medical Worker, Hamilton NY
The Einstein Sisters Bag the Flying Monkeys
by Irving Wesley Hall
Not In Kansas Press, 2008
ISBN-13 978-0-9801252-2-1

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Who Do You Like?

Let me get this correct, I name a couple specific, significant achievements that I think Obama will accomplish after his election, and within a reasonable time frame. “If we can agree on them now, and if he accomplishes them,” you’ll support of him. But, Obama needs to be elected in order to accomplish anything.

You say that: “i’m done with projecting blind hope, faith, and trust onto any pol who hasn’t earned them through solid, consistent performance.”

I assume “pol” is your shorthand for politician. Can you name a politician, who has earned your trust through solid, consistent performance? Who do you consider a better choice for vice president than Joe Biden?

Are you aware that the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which served to further inflame our relationship with Iran passed by a vote of 76 to 22? Biden voted against that amendment. Only two Republican Senators voted against the Kyl-Lieberman amendment and McCain wasn’t one of them.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers Lobby) applauded Senator Biden’s statement of opposition to the Bush regime’s decision to sell F-16 fighter-bomber jets to Pakistan in the wake of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination.

Biden is considered the foreign affairs expert for the Democratic party. He was critical of Bush for talking about World War III and Iran’s nuclear weapons program ever though he had the information that it had been shut down last August. Biden pointed out that according to the 16 American intelligence agencies, Iran had shut down their program to build a nuclear weapon in 2003. He called Bush’s remarks irresponsible and insisted it’s the same kind of misrepresented, cherry-picked intelligence that led to the invasion of Iraq.

On the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden joined Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy in opposing Mukasey’s nomination to be Attorney General.

Biden proposed a plan to give regional control in Iraq to Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. He believes the people of Iraq would support the idea of a confederacy which offers a lot of autonomy to the three separate groups. He emphasized that 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.”

Biden said: “cutting the funding is not going to end the war, because it’s not going to change the president’s mind. Bush may be willing to use them as pawns, but I’m not willing to do that.” He insisted that we need to protect those we put in the field and take care of those we bring home.

Under Biden’s questioning it became clear that Bush’s domestic spy program isn’t contributing anything to protecting Americans from al Qaeda type terrorism. Biden asked whether the program had achieved any results. Attorney General Gonzales claimed, it had helped identify would-be terrorists here in the United States. Biden asked: “Have we arrested those people we’ve identified as terrorists in the United States?” Gonzales replied: “When we can use our law enforcement tools to go after the bad guys, we do that.” Biden concluded: “It kind of worries me because you all talk about how you identify these people, and I’ve not heard anything about anybody being arrested.”

Biden brought Republicans and Democrats together to pass the 1994 crime bill, putting 100,000 cops on the streets and started an eight-year drop in crime across the country. He wrote the Violence Against Women Act, which offered woman a place to turn for support. Biden has been at the forefront of the fight for judges who respect the fundamental rights and liberties of the American people, affordable college tuition, equal pay for women, family leave policies and a rising minimum wage. Biden passed laws to lock down chemical weapons and encouraged bringing Europe’s newest democracies into NATO.

Obama would send at least two more combat brigades to Afghanistan, where our troops face rising violence and endured their deadliest attack in three years.

At a Peace Vigil several weeks ago, Joel Canfield stopped by to discuss several issues. He immediately asked Kate Ryan and I, whether we planned to continue our Peace Vigils if Obama, became commander-in-chief and sent two more brigades to Afghanistan. Both, Kate and I indicated that we’d continue to participate in Peace Vigils.

I agree with a statement Reverend Jeremiah Wright made on national television: “Last year, I said to Barack Obama: If you get elected, on November the 5th, I’m coming after you, because you’ll be representing a government whose policies grind under people. It’s about policy, not the American people. And there is no excuse for the things that the government, not the American people, have done. That doesn’t make me not like America or unpatriotic. When Jesus says, ‘You’ll be brought down to Hell,’ that’s not bombastic, divisive speech. If so maybe we ought to take Jesus out of this Christian faith.”

I'd like to see Jeremiah Wright become our vice president. That would be a miracle. Although, I don’t believe in miracles, I do acknowledge that despair could well be the only unforgivable sin.

The reason I remain an optimistic pragmatist is because I have the audacity to hope. As Michelle Obama said on 8/25/08: “this time we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears.”

If McCain overcomes the terrible harm done to our nation during the past eight years, by Bush supporters, we deserves whatever bad things happen to us.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nick’s Response

“Well, honey might work if the species has a sense of sweet. But some, like cats, have a deficient gene and no sweet taste. Pols seem to have an extra gene that senses money, votes, and pressure.
“Look, you and i probably have a 99+% agreement on what programs and policies we think would best serve the country. The problem isn’t agreeing on them, but how to get there, and that's where the battles start.
“When i stand on the square in Delhi, all i’m saying is, stop the war. i’m not advertising any particular course of action. That’s for other venues. (By the way, i’m not so much pacifist---yet---as i am anti-war and anti-imperialist.)
“You know very well that we could both spend countless hours and pages arguing specific points about Obama, partisan politics, and questions of incrementalism and accomodation and maybe get nowhere budging each other. Thousands of smarter guys than us are defending both positions every day.
“Obama’s not off to a good start. Picking Biden? That might be smart politics, but what does it say about his principles? Biden voted for bush’s Iraq war---our most disastrous foreign policy issue---which is the main item of bad judgement for which Obama consistently criticized Hillary. So he turns around and picks a VP with the same bad judgement? Give me a break. And Biden voted for NAFTA, opening the gates to global capitalism and the dismantling of American manufacturing and the loss of millions of working class jobs---our most disastrous economic issue.
“So i’ll simplify things.  Tell me a couple specific, significant achievements that you think Obama will accomplish after his election, and within what reasonable time frame. If we can agree on them now, and if he accomplishes them, i’ll join you in active support of him and his base. And i’m not asking you to commit to anything.
“Until then, i’m done with projecting blind hope, faith, and trust onto any pol who hasn’t earned them through solid, consistent performance. nick”

“(We) may live diminished lives in the midst of noise, of darkness, and of deadly exhalation. But the world cannot become a factory, nor a mine...Neither the avarice nor the rage of men will ever feed them.” -Ruskin, 1860, Unto This Last

Tomorrow I’ll respond, because I don’t consider hopelessness an option.

Monday, August 25, 2008


The following letter to the editor, from Nick Albaugh was published in the Oneonta Daily Star on 8/23/08.

“Congratulations on your well-reasoned editorial urging a moratorium on gas drilling. New York needs a period to study the hazards and implement safeguards.

“But the current quandary is largely a result of congressional giveaways, when our elected officials legislated the 2005 Energy Policy Act repealing Public Utility Holding Company Act and exempting the oil and gas industry from provisions of the Clean Water, Clean Air, Superfund and Right-To-Know acts.

“Local residents must demand of our representatives _ particularly Sens. Clinton and Schumer and Reps. Arcuri and Gillibrand _ that Congress repeal those outrageous exemptions and restore the protections that govern the operations of other industries.

“As for the presidential campaign, there is little encouragement in the facts or the rhetoric that either major candidate will help us. Despite their token support for alternative energy, Obama voted for the 2005 Act, and although McCain voted against it, his mantra to drill is hardly encouraging. Both of them were AWOL for last month's vote to extend the solar and wind credits set to expire in December.”

I have known Mr. Albaugh for several years. My response was in the form of the following e-mail.


I disagreed with your letter in the Oneonta Star this morning for the following reasons: Honey catches more flies than vinegar. I’ve learned that making demands of others and especially our representatives in Congress can be counterproductive.

We have stood together in some very cold winter weather at Peace Vigils in Delhi. Apparently, frustration and anger have you and other protesters ready to imitate those, who voted for Ralph Nader in Florida in 2000. Voting to send a message in Florida resulted in eight years of death and destruction, when Bush became president. Hopefully, you’ll recognize that your decisions on election day could result in prolonging the blood shed in Iraq.

Do you lack the political savvy to recognize that the only reasonable chance that we have to stop the killing in Iraq and prevent the invasion of Iran is to elect Barack Obama? Reelecting Democrats to Congress will provide Obama with the support he’ll need to bring about the changes our country desperately needs.

I’ve noticed that pacifists constantly complaining about politicians, but are never able to come up with a plausible solution. They appear to be so “principled” that they are incapable of being pragmatic.

Your letter provided misinformation about the positions Democratic candidates have proposed regarding energy legislation. On national television, Obama said: “I’ll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we’ll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills.”

Gillibrand voted several times to repeal $14 billion in tax breaks to oil and gas companies and reinvest those savings to create jobs to diminish our dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

Has the Delhi peace movement been infected by third party operatives, who are attempting to persuade unsuspecting Americans to not vote, or vote for a third party candidate?

I’ve sent dozens of messages to Gillibrand, Clinton and Obama. I offered compelling accurate information in persuasive language, which I believe works better than demands.

Tomorrow, Nick’s response.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Illegal Wiretap

Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who was appointed to the bench by former President George Bush is the chief judge for the Northern District of California. He has ruled on a lawsuit brought by an Oregon charity and determined that the wiretapping law established by Congress was the exclusive means for the president to eavesdrop on Americans, and rejected the government’s claim that a president’s constitutional authority as commander in chief trumped that law.

The Oregon charity insists that it has evidence of an illegal wiretap used against it by the National Security Agency under the secret surveillance program established by Bush after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Justice Department has tried for more than two years to kill the lawsuit, by claiming that any surveillance of the charity or other entities was a state secret and citing Bush’s constitutional power as commander in chief to order wiretaps without a warrant from a court under the agency’s program.

In a 56-page ruling, Judge Walker rejected the claims of the Justice Department, by writing that the rules for surveillance were clearly established by Congress in 1978 under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires the government to get a warrant from a secret court. The judge wrote: “Whatever power the executive may otherwise have had in this regard, FISA limits the power of the executive branch to conduct such activities and it limits the executive branch’s authority to assert the state secrets privilege in response to challenges to the legality of its foreign intelligence surveillance activities.”

Judge Walker’s voice carries extra weight because all the lawsuits involving telephone companies that took part in the N.S.A. program have been consolidated and are being heard in his court.

The ruling came as the Senate was about to overhauling the foreign intelligence law. The measure would reaffirm FISA as the exclusive means for a president to order wiretaps through court warrants, but it would also provide legal immunity to phone companies involved in Bush’s eavesdropping program.

The immunity issue would not directly affect this lawsuit because the Oregon charity was suing the government and not the phone companies.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Decision

I don’t support the petition, that was posted yesterday, because it was promoted by a pacifist, who has no intention of voting for a Democrat.

Frustration and anger has some pacifists imitating those, who voted for Ralph Nader in Florida in 2000. Voting to send a message in Florida resulted in eight years of death and destruction, when Bush became president. The most hawkish representatives in our government are sometimes elected by good citizens who do not vote or vote to send a message. Voters should consider the possibility that their decision might result in continuing the blood shed in Iraq.

Some pacifist lack the political savvy to recognize that the only realistic chance that we have to stop the killing in Iraq and prevent the invasion of Iran is to elect Obama. Reelecting Clinton and Gillibrand to Congress would provide him with the support he’ll need to get the job done.

I’ve concluded that some pacifist are so “principled” that they are incapable of being pragmatic. This isn’t unlike atheists and “the faithful,” who are incapable of being intellectually honest by admitting they “don’t know.” Some pacifist constantly complain about politicians, but seldom write letters to the editor, which might educate voters and correct misinformation.

In 1977, Jimmy Carter pardoned 10,000 draft evaders, which became a factor in his being a one term president. Only a Democrat in the White House would consider pardoning a deserter, who is wants to stay in Canada.

I object to the petition, because it singles out two Democrats in the first paragraph. The second, third, forth and fifth paragraphs have considerable merit. However, the last two paragraphs are irrational, because under the Constitution, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are part of the executive branch of government. Congress can’t “direct” them to request direct diplomatic talks with Iranian leaders and Iraqi leaders. Furthermore, should McCain be elected President it will be his prerogative as Commander-in - Chief to renewed ties with Iranian diplomats and protect our departing Armed Forces. It’s highly unlikely McCain would use diplomacy with Iran or end the occupation of Iraq.

I can’t imagine Congress passing or a President signing a bill, that says: “any United States personnel or elected representative engaging in any provocative, aggressive, or covert or overt military or lethal behavior towards leaders in Iran be censured or removed from office.” It’s naive to suggest it could happen.

The Peace movement might be infected with Republican or third party operatives, who are attempting to persuade us to shoot ourselves in the foot by not voting for a Democratic candidate.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Petition

Petition For A More Positive Engagement With Iran:

To be respectfully presented to Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman, New York 20 th Congressional District, and Hillary Clinton, Senator New York State.

We the undersigned are moved to petition our elected representatives, who are responsible for articulating and managing our international ties with other nations, who are responsible for maintaining harmonious relationships between the United States and foreign nations. We ask that you guide our government to make fundamental and expeditious changes in how our country acts and speaks to leaders of the nation of Iran. We ask that our representatives in our Federal government including the Department of State and the Executive Branch of government make a complete reversal of the current actions toward the nation of Iran.

We the undersigned recognize that the history of our relationship with Iran has been negative, with errors and grievous injustices committed by both nations. We wish to extend a had holding an olive branch to the people of Iran and their leaders. We ask for open, unconditional diplomatic contact with the leaders of Iran in order to arrive at a new relationship in which any and all issues can be openly discussed.

Recognizing that nations can be threatened just as individual humans can feel threatened, we ask that all aggressive language directed towards Iran be restrained and in its place, we ask for respect to be given to Iranian diplomats and leaders, in complete disregard for any offensive remarks either party have expressed in the past.

Recognizing that America is a vast military and economic power and that our past sanctions have threatened Iran’s economy and the health of Iranians, we ask that sanctions be terminated or at lease eased as they affect the well being of ordinary citizens, the least powerful persons in this situation.

Recognizing that we need Iran as an ally to establish peace in Iraq and in Afghanistan, we ask that Congress direct the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the the Joint Chiefs of Staff to request direct diplomatic talks with Iranian leaders an d Iraqi leaders. As our forces leave Iraq , we ask that renewed ties with Iranian diplomats be established firmly, in order to protect our departing Armed Forces and to strengthen the security making powers of the remaining Iraqi Armed Forces.

In conclusion, we regard peace and diplomatic relations with Iran so highly, that we ask that any United States personnel or elected representative engaging in any provocative, aggressive, or covert or overt military or lethal behavior towards leaders in Iran be censured or removed from office. We are saddened that our petition has to include the later request.

I’ve been asked to support the above petition. Tomorrow, I’ll post my decision.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

McCain’s Agenda

Initially, the Russian invasion of the Republic of Georgia seemed to be just what John McCain’s candidacy needed. Namely, a foreign policy crisis that provided an opportunity to show voters that his experience was needed in a dangerous world.

The Russian action in Georgia was intended to support separatist pro-Russian enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Furthermore, it demonstrate to other former Soviet Republics that alliances with the West have very little value if they come into conflict with Russian interests. The Russians know our mismanaged national security has left America with very few options to limit Russian influence.

Our military units are either deployed, preparing to deploy or recovering from deployment. Presently, our military doesn’t have the wherewithal to respond militarily to a crisis even if such a response was appropriate.

The occupation of Iraq has made it very difficult for America to take the moral high ground against Russia when six years ago we invaded Iraq, which didn’t have weapons of mass destruction to threaten our security.

McCain has appointed Randy Scheunemann a paid foreign agent (lobbyist) to be his chief foreign policy adviser. As a board member of the Project for a New American Century, Scheunemann was a major organizer of the campaign to get America to invade Iraq. Neo Cons, Donald Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were among 18 signatures on a manifesto, which in 1998 was sent to President Clinton urging a preemptive war against Saddam Hussein. Of the eighteen signers of the manifesto, eleven held post in the Bush administration, when Iraq was invaded.

According to the Justice Department’s foreign agents registration office, Scheunemann’s two-person firm received $830,000 from Georgia since 2004. Although, Scheunemann claims to have taken a leave of absence from lobbying, his latest contract, with Georgia’s National Security Council, was signed on April 17th.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Quick Fix Scheme

“I’ve been an oil man all my life, but this is one emergency we can’t drill our way out of.” - Legendary Texas Oilman, T. Boone Pickens

The era of cheap oil is over and opening up environmentally sensitive areas for oil drilling is not going to change that reality. Members of Congress must oppose efforts to expand drilling in environmentally sensitive areas and support market-based policies to reward energy innovation, which could free us from our addiction to oil.

Americans are angered by $4 per gallon gas prices. Consequently, deceitful politicians are suggesting a quick fix scheme. They’re insisting that Congress lift the ban on offshore drilling and expand drilling in environmentally sensitive areas like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. However, our government’s own Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that the amount of oil that might be available in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would reduce the cost of gas by a few pennies per gallon in 2027.

Furthermore, the EIA estimated last year that opening the coasts to offshore drilling would have no significant impact on oil prices before 2030. The only way to free ourselves from expensive oil is to get off of oil and the best way to do that is to create incentives to unleash clean energy innovation and create a clean economy for the 21st century.
That’s precisely what a cap on global warming pollution will do: cut our oil imports by as much as $490 billion over the next two decades, and kick start the development of clean energy alternatives. America has waited too long to develop a common sense national energy policy, and we must demand better energy policies, which rewards innovation. We should make a commitment to free ourselves from depending on foreign oil, by developing renewable and clean energy alternatives.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Arrogant Elitist

William Eckardt spread misinformation by stating that Obama: “exposed himself to the American public as an arrogant elitist.” (see post of 8/16/08.)

For the purpose of this article arrogant is defined as presumptuous and elitist is defined as a person of the highest class. These are dictionary definitions of those words.

Apparently, Eckardt labels Obama an arrogant elitist, but ignores the fact that John McCain is one of the richest people in Senate, which is filled with millionaires.

Obama was raised by a single mother and his grandparents. At one point, his mother was on welfare and the family lived in a modest apartment. Obama’s attendance at private school in Hawaii was made possible by his grandparents, sacrificing their own prosperity for the sake of Obama and his sister.

On the other hand, John McCain, was born into a family of privilege, his father and grandfather were Admirals in the Navy. His mother is an oil heiress and his wife Cindy is a beer distributor heiress and is said to be worth $100 million. Reportedly, McCain and his wife own more than eight homes, which include several plush, multi-million-dollar houses. McCain wears $500 Ferragamo loafers, which sound rather presumptuous and not like a regular guy, who is in touch with the working-class.

Obama was asked, what the dividing line should be between the rich and the middle class. He said that people making $250,000 per year were in the top 3% of Americans and that under his tax plan, those making less than $150,000 per year would actually get a tax cut, while those making more than that would see a modest tax increase.

When asked the same question, McCain gave his standard answer: “I don’t want to raise taxes on anybody.” When pressed for an answer, McCain said that if it were to be decided solely on income, rich would be around $5 million.

Five million dollars definitely puts a person of the highest income class.

William Eckardt continued distorting the truth by writing: “Then there’s William Ayres, the homegrown terrorist who is one of Obama’s closest friends.” The truth about that relationship was posted on this web site on 8/9/08 and is entitled “Eight Years Old.”

Monday, August 18, 2008

Jeremiah Wright

In his letter of 8/12/08, William Eckardt wrote: “Birds of a feather flock together, and the ‘birds’ Obama chose to flock with were not American heroes but the anti-Semitic bigot Jeremiah Wright, who hates America and was Obama’s mentor for 20 years.” (see post of 8/16/08.) Eckardt never provides the reason, that he considers Jeremiah Wright an anti-Semitic bigot. Nevertheless, the following are reasons many of us consider Rev. Wright to be an American hero.

He gave up his student deferment, left college and joined the Marine Corps and became part of the 2nd Marine Division. In 1963, after two years of service, Wright transferred to the Navy and entered the Corpsman School at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, where he graduated as valedictorian. Having excelled in corpsman school, Wright was then trained as a cardiopulmonary technician at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland where he graduated as salutatorian. In 1966, Wright was assigned as part of the medical team charged with care of President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1967, the White House awarded Wright three letters of commendation.

On national television, Rev. Wright pointed out: “Our congregation has sent dozens of boys and girls to fight in the Vietnam War, the first Gulf War, and the present two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. My goddaughter’s unit just arrived in Iraq this week, while those who call me unpatriotic have used their positions of privilege to avoid military service, while sending over 4,000 American boys and girls of every race to die over a lie.”

Furthermore, Wright stated: “Last year, I said to Barack Obama: If you get elected, on November the 5th, I’m coming after you, because you’ll be representing a government whose policies grind under people. It’s about policy, not the American people. And there is no excuse for the things that the government, not the American people, have done. That doesn’t make me not like America or unpatriotic. When Jesus says, ‘You’ll be brought down to Hell,’ that’s not bombastic, divisive speech. If so maybe we ought to take Jesus out of this Christian faith.”

Theodore Roosevelt 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.” 

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tire Pressure

William Eckardt criticism of Obama included: “Tuning up your car and checking the tire pressure was one of his latest ‘lala land, dumb de dumb’ ideas, claiming it would save us from having to do any off-shore drilling.”

In fact, when talking about energy and low gas prices, Obama responded to a question from his audience by stating that one way the average American can help lower gas prices and keep energy costs down is to inflate their tires and get tune-ups. 

Obama didn’t suggest inflating your tires would be an end all, but McCain’s sarcastically dubbed those words as “Obama’s energy plan.” McCain asked: “Do you think that’s enough to break our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. My opponent doesn’t want to drill. He doesn’t want nuclear power. He wants you to inflate your tires.

Actually, Barack Obama’s energy plan fills page after page on his web site. Furthermore, Obama has suggested that Congress put together a comprehensive compromise bill, which would open up off shore drilling. He has never ruled out more nuclear power plants, but insists that a plan be in place for the disposal of nuclear waste. Bush and McCain seem to have forgotten that it’s the constitutional responsibility of Congress to make our laws. At the present time nothing is getting done in the Senate because our representatives are not willing to compromise. That will change after the political campaigns and voters have made their decision. Remember, Americans get the government we deserve.

The Automobile Association of America isn’t mocking tire inflation and points out that on some vehicles, just one tire, being under inflated would result in losing about 8 percent of your fuel economy.

Obama fought back against Republicans like William Eckerdt, who have been mocking him about keeping tires inflated.  Obama responded: “They know they’re lying about what my energy plan is.  But, the other thing is they’re making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption by three to four percent.  It’s like, these guys take pride in being ignorant.”
Joe Klien of “Time” magazine said: “I think the McCain campaign has this weird idea that you can win a presidential election through mockery.”

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Republican Strategy

William Eckardt is a regular contributor to the Star and for years has been throwing out misinformation in hope that some of it will stick. On 8/12/08, the following letter by Eckardt was published in the Oneonta Daily Star.

“Barack Obama’s recent international jaunt was an attempt to portray him as a world leader and improve his polling numbers. He believed this phony strategy would put a stake into John McCain’s heart and start an unstoppable political steamroller. Even with the mainstream press swooning over his every word, he exposed himself to the American public as an arrogant elitist offering nothing but idea changes based on polls.

“This modern-day Judas had the audacity to meet with the very troops he betrayed. His 30 pieces of silver strategy would have left Iraq in bloody chaos, reopened the door to a revitalization of worldwide terrorism and elevated Iran's political and military influence, while throwing Israel under the bus. How the troops kept from throwing up is a credit to their training.

“As chairman of the Senate subcommittee with oversight of Afghanistan, Obama never uttered a peep about the war. But that's par for the course, since in his entire "finger-pointing" career he never had the courage to take the lead on any major subject.

“Tuning up your car and checking the tire pressure was one of his latest "lala land, dumb de dumb" ideas, claiming it would save us from having to do any off-shore drilling. If McCain said that the media would have laughed him right into a mental institution.

“Birds of a feather flock together, and the ‘birds’ Obama chose to flock with were not American heroes but the anti-Semitic bigot Jeremiah Wright, who hates America and was Obama’s mentor for 20 years. Then there’s William Ayres, the homegrown terrorist who is one of Obama’s closest friends.

“No stranger himself to shady land deals, Obama is on a par with Harry ‘the bird’ Reid, who has more hold-ups to his credit than Jesse James.”

It will take more than one letter to the Star to pick apart the distortions Eckardt's letter contains. Therefore, I’ll start posting my responses tomorrow.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Extinction of Reason

In a letter, published in the Delaware County Times on 8/8/08, Edgar Thompson again expressed an unsubstantiated opinion, by stating: “Obama is dead wrong on every issue.... and his election would lead to “the extinction of common sense.”

On the issue of invading Iraq, Obama was not wrong. Therefore, Thompson’s opinion that Obama is “dead wrong on every issue,” is an exaggeration, irrational and contradicted.

Logic suggests that a Creator would expect us to acquire vast amounts of objective information and make maximum use of our ability to reason by thinking critically. By doing so, we would be making use of the greatest gift a Creator might bestowed upon mankind.

Common sense is based on common experiences, but no two adults have had identical experiences. Thus, common sense is irrational at best. My concern is that electing John McCain would lead to the extinction of reason.

For example: Regarding the situation in Georgia, McCain denounced the aggressive posture of Russia by claiming that: “in the 21st century nations don’t invade other nations.” Anyone, who is capable of critical thinking would immediately recognize the statement as ludicrous and irrational, because our military is currently occupying two foreign nations, while threatening to attack a Iran.

Iran’s interest in a nuclear weapon is to insure that an imperialistic superpower would hesitate, before invading them for their oil reserves. However, it’s unreasonable to insist that Iran would attack Israel with a nuclear weapon, because the Iranians recognize that Israel wouldn’t hesitate to retaliate by completely destroying their country with dozens of nuclear weapons.

Reasonable people recognize that spending nearly a trillion dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is irrational and unsustainable. For the Republicans in the Senate to refuse to raise taxes on war profiteers and the wealthy elite of our county, who are making unconscionable profits is unreasonable and blatantly pandering to a greedy constituency.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

“Ignorant Nonsense”

On 8/6/08, the Oneonta Daily Star published, “No basis for impeachment” by Edgar Thompson of Treadwell.

“I thought it was very interesting to read your criteria for consideration for publication of letters stating that you will not include letters that make unverifiable accusations. Yet you published, “Impeach our administration” and “Call Bush out on broken laws” that do just that. These two letters are ignorant nonsense, as are your so-called criteria for publication. No matter how badly you and these letter writers wish their words to be true, every word is false. Just because the liberal media, which you are obviously part of, continually repeat this nonsense, that does not make it any more true.

“Anyone who brings up the word “impeach” in regard to this administration is simply speaking from utter ignorance and can’t possibly have any idea what it means. There are obviously no impeachable offenses. This president is constantly lambasted by the liberal media simply because he is Republican. Democrats have used the same methods that this administration has, and that is a fact. How naive can someone possibly be?

“Don’t expect the government to take care of your every need. Liberals have this sense of entitlement. Liberalism is a mental disorder. We are individuals. Get off your rear end. Get an education and make something of yourself.”

****My response:

Edgar Thompson’s accused others of “ignorant nonsense” and concluded: “Don’t expect the government to take care of your every need. Liberals have this sense of entitlement. Liberalism is a mental disorder. We are individuals. Get off your rear end. Get an education and make something of yourself.”

Thompson insists that: “We are individuals,” but immediately over generalizes by suggesting that liberals are uneducated and a burden to society. My family has always been very liberal, and fortunately liberalism has not resulted in a mental disorder or being uneducated. I was the first in our family to attend college and my younger brothers followed. Today, we have obtain advanced university degrees and enjoy a comfortable living.

It’s true many liberals are in favor of impeaching Bush, but I’ve written several, factual, persuasive and rational arguments defending Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to impeach.

Furthermore, Thompson appears to be somewhat paranoid regarding both the Delaware County Times and the Oneonta Star. He may suffer from a mental disorder known as denial. If so, it’s “ignorant nonsense,” to expect him to write a reasoned persuasive letter or to substantiate his opinions with factual information.

For example, my least factual, persuasive and rational argument against Bush’s impeachment would be that it’s too lenient a penalty, because I’d rather see him “go down to the vile dust from whence he sprung, unwept, unhonored, and unsung.”

Monty Calandros of Walton had the following letter published in the Oneonta Daily Star entitled: “Impeachment can be justified." His rebuttal of Edgar Thompson’s letter convinced me that there was no need for me to respond with a letter in the Star.

“Upon reading Mr. Thompson’s rant on liberalism and impeachment of Bush, I searched for even the slightest bit of informed intelligence to back his stance. Instead, I found accusations of ‘ignorant nonsense’, ‘utter ignorance,’ ‘liberalism is a mental disorder,’ ‘liberals have a sense of entitlement’ and ‘should get off their rear ends and get an education.’ Wow! What an intelligent and well-founded piece of writing! No proof, no facts, nothing.

“It is apparent that Mr. Thompson’s education consists of reruns of Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh’s tired rhetoric. No originality here.

“Basis for impeachment Mr. Thompson? Read on.

“The president and his administration invaded a foreign country under false pretenses, possibly manufactured by themselves.

“Authorization and monitoring of American citizens’ e-mails and phone calls by the NSA without even the most minimal authorization of the FISA courts.

“Using the FBI to monitor and collect information on anti-war protesters, as was done during the Vietnam era. More?

“Policies advocating the torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners. Holding same, some American citizens, indefinitely without trial, access to legal counselor or having their cases reviewed by courts of law.

“Conservative Bill Barr, former congressman from Georgia, stated, ‘The American people are going to have to say ‘enough of this business of justifying everything as necessary for the war on terror.’ Either the Constitution and laws of this country mean something or they don’t.’ He is no liberal.

“The president and his administration should be held accountable for the many untold lives lost and, as a direct result, the harsh economic times this country will face for years to come.

“If that means impeachment, so be it. He has committed far graver offenses than the last impeached president!”

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Liberal Agenda

Thompson’s letter of 7/25/08, ended with him playing the fear card: “If it weren’t for conservatives keeping the liberal agenda at bay, this country could not exist.”

Definitions of the word liberal include: “radical, tolerant, progressive and not traditional. Advocating progressive political reform; representative forms of government as opposed to monarchies; and maximum individual freedoms, which are secured by government protecting our civil liberties.”

Without liberals this county wouldn’t exist, because our founding fathers were radicals, who weren’t satisfied with the status quo and declared their independence from the English monarchy by establishing a representative form of government. Those founding fathers, who were most radical insisted on maximum individual freedoms in a Bill of Rights, which would secure our government’s protection of those civil liberties.

Radical abolitionist were tolerant of differences in skin color. They asserted that it was intolerable for white Americans to consider men from Africa their property and treat them as slaves. The radical suffragette movement advanced the status of women by demanding the right to vote. More recently radical members of Congress insisted that we ensure the security and dignity for our senior citizens, by creating Social Security and Medicare programs.

Under the leadership of America’s first female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi bills were passed, by progressive members of the House of Representatives, which instituted lobbying and ethics reform, increased the federal minimum wage, expanded children’s health care, lowered the interest on college loans and implemented the recommendations of the 9/11 commission.

Radical members of the House are committed to fiscal discipline in the form of pay-as-you-go, reforming healthcare by lowering the cost of prescription drugs and investing in stem cell research, but unfortunately none of this is apt to become law, because of the very close majority in the Senate.

Conservatives insist liberals spend money foolishly. However, they remain silent as Bush spends $10 billion a month in Iraq. For what we spend in three weeks in Iraq, we could secure our public transportation systems and for what we spend in five days, we could put radiation detectors in all of our ports.

“Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.” — James Thurber

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Worst President"

On 7/25/08, Edgar Thompson announced in a letter, which was published in the Delaware County Times, that Jimmy Carter was: “The worst President of our lifetime.” (See post of 8/1/08.) In fact, Jimmy Carter was a President with foresight, who spoke the truth, without regard for political considerations. Edgar Thompson is a propogandist for the Grand Oil Party.

Presently, oil and gas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, John McCain and Barack Obama have come up with energy policies. However, they’re three decades too late. In 1977, Jimmy Carter demonstrated the political courage and foresight to call for a comprehensive energy policy, that would free America from being held hostage by our over reliance on foreign oil.

In a letter to the editor of the Albany Times Union aspiring Republican politician, “Sandy” Treadwell wrote: “Since the energy crisis of the 1970s, we have heard many times how government is going to enact new energy policies that will end our reliance on foreign oil. But 35 years later, it still hasn’t happened.”

Indeed, it hasn’t happened, but it wasn’t because Democrats didn’t try. In a televised speech to the nation in 1977, Carter predicted: “With the exception of preventing war, this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes. It is a problem we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse. Our decision about energy will test the character of the American people and the ability of the president and the Congress to govern. This difficult effort will be the moral equivalent of war except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not destroy.”

Bush’s preemptive, imperialistic invasion of Iraq clearly demonstrates that destruction and conquest have become the choice of many Americans.

Carter proposed 10 principles for our national energy plan, but those principles were attacked by the oil and gas industry. When Reagan was elected, those principles were ignored. In 1982, McCain, who is the son of a very wealthy oil heiress joined President Reagan in gutting and terminating Carter's programs. The Republican Party continues to be owned by the oil and gas industry. We’re getting hammered again by Big Oil, but as Harry Truman asked: “How many times do you have to be hit over the head before you ask who is hitting you?” It’ll be interesting to see if the voters can get it right this time.

On 1/25/08, additional excerpts from Carter’s 1977 speech were posted on mindanddestiny.com and the next day the ten principles of our National Energy Plan of 1977 were posted.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Failed Energy Policy

I again find myself correcting another of Edgar Thompson’s inaccurate statements made in his letter of 7/25/08. He wrote: “And as for oil/gas prices, you can thank democrats like Obama.” (See post of 8/1/08.)

We have had over seven and a half years of failed energy policy by the Bush regime. We have a faltering economy and Republicans running for office need a diversion from that reality. John McCain suggested that if Democrats would allow oil companies to drill in protected areas, the price of gasoline would come down and the economy would be better off. However, Bush has acknowledged, that drilling in protected areas would not bring down the price at the pump.

Experts insist that more drilling would take 10 years and it’s unlikely new drilling or extensive exploration programs will be able to significantly increase oil production. A much better solution is required, because today oil is a finite commodity and more drilling is not a solution to our energy problem.

Speaker of the House, Pelosi will not allow the issue of offshore oil drilling, to come up for a vote on the floor of the House. She insists that instead of drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, which is a protected area, oil companies should be drilling in the 68 million acres in the lower 48 or the millions of unprotected acres in Alaska. Pelosi says oil companies have no reason to drill in environmentally sensitive areas, until they have drilled in the unprotected areas. Pelosi insists a pipeline be built from Alaska down and wants a law, which prevents Alaska’s oil from being exported to China, Japan or any other countries.

Democrats asked Bush to free up 10% of the over 700 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Our strategic reserve is 97.5 full, which is the largest supply ever and it has already been paid for by the American taxpayer. Putting that oil on the market will increase supply and reduce price. Once the price comes down, we can buy back the oil for our Strategic Petroleum Reserve at a lower price. Releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would bring down the price at the pump in 10 days.

Pelosi insists: “Democrats have a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices by cracking down on price gouging, rolling back the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, tax breaks and royalty relief given to big oil and gas companies, and increasing production of alternative fuels.”

The House has passed every one of those initiatives, but have run into a brick wall in the Senate and the White House. Four dollars per gallon gas can be attributed to oil men in the White House, and their protectors in the Senate.

On 8/4/08, Obama recommended that our representatives in Congress work together on a compromise bill.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Derogatory and Racist

Edgar Thompson wrote that Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright’s “derogatory and racist words cannot be defended.” (see post of 8/1/08)

Rev. Wright’s words have been shaped by the way he sees other humans. In his book “God in the Ghetto”, Dr. William Augustus Jones argues that one’s theology, that is to say, how one sees God, determines how one sees humans.

For example: if God is seen as a white male, if God is seen as superior, if God is seen as over us, then God is apt to be seen as mean, vengeful, authoritarian, or sexist. Consequently, white males are considered superior and all others inferior.

In his speech to the National Press Club, Rev. Jeremiah Wright pointed out: “The way the slaveholder and the way the slave see God is not the same. What each means when they say ‘I am a Christian’ is not the same. The prophetic theology of the black church has always seen all of God’s children as sisters and brothers, equals who need reconciliation, who need to be reconciled as equals in order for us to walk together into the future, which God has prepared for us.

“Reconciliation does not mean that blacks become whites or whites become blacks and Hispanics become Asian or that Asians become Europeans. Reconciliation means we embrace all of our individual histories. We retain who we are as persons of different cultures, while acknowledging that those of other cultures are not superior or inferior to us. They are just different from us. Reconciliation means that we root out any teaching of superiority, inferiority, hatred, or prejudice.”

For the first time in America’s history, we have a candidate for president with a different color to his skin, a different texture to his hair and very different life experiences.

Rev. Wright’s words are not “derogatory and racist words.” They don’t need to be defended, but deserve to be praise. Wright speaks a truth, which many Christian, white males don’t want to hear, because their alleged superiority is being challenged.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Eight Years Old

Regarding Obama, Edgar Thompson wrote: “His friends such as William Ayers... who bombed the Pentagon, wrote about it and has no regrets... Don’t tell me these associations are not significant.” (see post of 8/1/08)

The significance of Obama’s association with William Ayers should be determined with the following factual information in mind.

William Ayers, who was a former Weather Underground leader is now an education professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago. In the early 1970s, the Weathermen claimed responsibility for bombing the Capitol, the Pentagon, the State Department Building and banks, courthouses and police stations. Ayers was indicted in 1970 for inciting to riot and conspiracy to bomb government buildings. However, the charges were dropped in 1974 because of prosecutorial misconduct, including illegal surveillance.

Ayers and Obama were both members of the nine-member board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, which focused on issues that affected the area’s least advantaged, including welfare reform, affordable housing and tax policy as a tool in reducing poverty.

In 2001, Ayers contributed $200 to Obama’s re-election fund to the Illinois State Senate. They lived within a few blocks of each other in the Hyde Park section of Chicago, and moved in the same liberal-progressive circles. Obama described Ayers as “a guy who lives in my neighborhood,” but “not somebody who I exchange ideas with on a regular basis. I’m unjustly being linked to “somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old.”

Ayers insists exploiting his relationship with Obama was profoundly dishonest, because placing two people in the same room, doesn't prove that they are somehow responsible for one another's politics, policies, outlook, and behavior. It's guilt by association, and patently absurd.

The Weather Underground took responsibility for placing several small bombs in empty offices at the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. Ayers didn't defend those actions in his book "Fugitive Days," and admits enormous mistakes were made and terrible things done.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Indispensable Allies

Edgar Thompson stated in a letter published in the Delaware County Times on 7/25/08, that “The enemies of this country our (sic) praying that we Americans elect this kind of liberal.” (see post of 8/1/08.)

Obviously, Mr. Thompson hasn’t turn to experts in the field of terrorism for information. I recommend “Imperial Hubris,” which explores why terrorists hate us and reveals that “our policies are bin Laden’s only indispensable allies.”

“Imperial Hubris” was published under the pseudonym Anonymous, because the author Michael Scheuer was still employed by the CIA. This former senior member of the U. S. intelligence community has two decades of experience in national security issues.

Scheuer warned: “One of the greatest dangers for Americans in deciding how to confront the threat from al Qaeda lies in continuing to believe... Muslims hate us for what we think, rather than for what we do. We repeatedly hear: (because they hate freedom) from senior U.S. leaders. Such a conclusion is potentially fatal nonsense.”

Scheuer continued: “The reality is that many of the worlds 1.3 billion Muslims hate us for our actions not our values. Bin Laden has been precise in telling Americans the reason he is waging war on us. He could not enjoy his increasing level of success if Muslims did not believe their faith; brethren; resources and land were under attack by the U.S.”

Extraordinary rendition is a practice, which allows people to be kidnapped and sent off to countries that specialize in torture. As the former head of the bin Laden unit, Scheuer set up the extraordinary rendition program for Clinton. However, Clinton didn’t allow the CIA to torture the suspects, it was outsourcer to the Egyptians, thereby technically not violating the Geneva Convention.

Scheuer emphasizes: “We must recognize that our invasion of Iraq was not preemptive; it was an avarice, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat but whose defeat did offer economic advantages.” He wrote “Imperial Hubris” with certainty that: “al Qaeda will attack the continental U. S. again, that its next strike will be more damaging than 9/11.

The National Intelligence Estimate warned of the resurgence in Pakistan of al Qaeda. According to a senior government official who has seen the NIE, al Qaeda is the strongest it has been since the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Despite a campaign of military action and counter terrorism operations, al Qaeda has regained its strength and found safe haven in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

America needs a different kind of Commander-in-Chief.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Obama's Change

Edgar Thompson’s letter of 7/25/08, made another disparaging remarks about Obama, by stating: “Does this sound like change for the good? ....Whatever change he is preaching is exactly the kind we don’t need. (See post of 8/1/08.)

The change Barack Obama stands for is not the change John McCain stood for, when he voted with Bush 95 percent of the time, in the Senate last year. Obama will not offers four more years of Bush economic policies. Policies that have failed to create good paying jobs or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college.

Obama promises not to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians. He will not continue a policy, which looks for reasons to stay in Iraq and spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn’t making the American people any safer.

Obama believes that change is a not a foreign policy, which begins and ends with a war that should have never been authorized and never been waged. There are not many good options left in Iraq, but leaving our troops in Iraq, at a time when our military is over stretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored is not an acceptable option for Obama.

Obama insists: “We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in - but start leaving we must. It’s time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future. It’s time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care they need and the benefits they deserve when they come home. It’s time to refocus our efforts on al Qaeda’s leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st century -- terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. That’s what change is.

“Change is realizing that meeting today’s threats requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy -- tough, direct diplomacy where the President of the United States isn’t afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for. We must once again have the courage and conviction to lead the free world.

“Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who created it. It’s understanding that the struggles facing working families can’t be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving a the middle-class a tax break to those who need it and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools and renewing our commitment to science and innovation. It’s understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand.”

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Interesting Phenomenon

In a letter published in the Delaware County Times, Edgar Thompson warned: “Universal health care which would drastically increase - you guessed it- taxes, as demonstrated by other countries who have already adopted this system. This man wants to penalize the successful, those that build up this country and supply jobs, and reward those that do not contribute.” (see post of 8/1/08)

An interesting phenomenon is that industry has been feeling the brunt of the health care crisis. To insure their workers, Ford had to raise the price of their cars an extra $2,000 per car and General Motors raised its price $1,500 per car. These costs get translated to the marketplace and really have an effect on our competitiveness internationally.

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 has been making concessions and their workers are the most productive in the world, but the problem is that GM has tremendous retiree health benefit, which our government could help with.

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 middle class jobs in America. Once that happens, GM will be able to produce cars competitively.

The World Health Organization ranked the health systems of 191 nations. France was ranked 1st and America was a dismal 37th. Recently, the Commonwealth Fund compared us with other advanced nations. We ranked last compared to Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and England.

Other major industrialized nations provide universal health coverage, and most of them have comprehensive benefit packages with no cost-sharing by the patients. We have some 45 million people without health insurance and many more millions who have poor coverage. People without insurance postpone treatment until a minor illness becomes worse, harming their health and imposing greater costs.

We are the wealthiest of 25 industrialized countries, and the only one that doesn’t have universal health care. For 60 years, we’ve allowed the medical-industrial complex and its political allies to used scare tactics to prevent America from making access to health care a right for all its citizens.

Americans without health care can’t live their life with the certainty that forces beyond their control won’t take away their dignity and everything they own.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Borrow and Spend

On 7/25/08, Edgar Thompson wrote: “It would take an increase in every tax imaginable to support the foolishness he proposes.” His letter of 8/8/08, claimed that Obama is you’re guy, if you want increased spending, higher taxes and a weaker national defense. (see post of 8/1/08.)

I’ll avoid offering unsubstantiated opinion and provide factual information from experts, which refute Thompson’s illogical fear mongering. Warren Buffett, the second wealthiest man in America, has been described as a billionaire with a conscience. He said that our country is becoming a sharecropper society and economy. Buffett insists that if we keep doing what we’re doing, the world will own a greater percentage of our country, because we’ll send abroad a higher percent of our GDP every year just to service debt.

Regarding Social Security, Buffett insists: “I personally would increase the taxable base above the present $ 90,000. I pay very little in the way of SS taxes. The rich people are doing so well in this county, I mean we never had it so good... It’s class warfare, my class is winning, but they shouldn’t be.”

Buffett continued: “The rich are winning. Just take the estate tax, less than 2% of all the estates pay any estate tax. We raise $ 30 billion from estate taxes. I would like to hear a Congressman say who they are going to get the $ 30 billion from if they don’t get it from estate taxes. It’s nice to say wipe out this tax, but we’re running a huge deficit, so who does the $ 30 billion come from? Right now corporate profits as a percentage of GDP in this country are right at the high. Corporate taxes as a percentage of total taxes raised are very close to the historical low.”

Our national security isn’t foolishness and requires that we carefully evaluate every threat. Obama recognizes that serious threats are being ignored. Reportedly, China’s military buildup is destabilizing Asia and indicates that China’s massive military buildup is aimed at far more than simply preventing Taiwanese independence. A Pentagon report says: “Current trends could provide China with a force capable of prosecuting a range of military operations in Asia.” Several aspects of China’s military development have surprised military analysts, including the pace and scope of its strategic nuclear forces. It is “quantitatively and qualitatively” improving its long-range nuclear missile force.

Six years ago, thirty percent of our national debt was held by foreign lenders. Today, our debt has grown by another $3 trillion, with foreign lending accounting for 80 percent of the increase. The quagmire in Iraq is by far the primary reason for the enormous increase in our national dept. The money we have borrowed from China has enabled them to pump billions into their military. We have subsidized communist China’s massive military buildup to the tune of $100 billion a year, which could double over next five years.

Borrowing and spending is foolishness, which jeopardizes our national security.

Special notation for John Henry of Walton, who accused me of distorting the facts regarding Obama’s speech to 200,000 people in Berlin. In fact, two rock bands did perform before Obama came out. However, I omitted that fact, because I didn’t think anyone would be so foolish as to suggest that the German police were able to forced 200,000 people to stay, wave American flags and cheer enthusiastically.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Absolutely Correct

Georges Santana wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Edgar Thompson’s version is: “One must learn from history or one is doomed to repeat it.” (see Thompson's letter posted 8/1/08) Thompson is absolutely correct, however I prefer Santana’s use of the word remember.

Let’s remember on election day, that since electing Bush, we have lost 3.3 million manufacturing jobs. We have higher unemployment, more Americans without health insurance and a record number of home foreclosures. Prices are skyrocketing, the median family income is down $1200 and purchasing power is down $4500.

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

Bush transformed those surpluses into a $1.1 trillion annual deficit in just three years, by initiating permanent tax cuts for wealthy Americans and an avarice, premeditated, imperialistic war in Iraq.

Clinton created 23 million jobs, while Bush loss of 2 million American jobs in his first 2 1/2 years. Clinton provided tax breaks for the middle and lower incomes, who in turn spend the money. Bush provided disproportionate tax breaks for the wealthy, who use offshore tax shelters. Fifty percent of the Republican tax breaks will have gone to the wealthiest one percent of Americans by 2010.

In Iraq, more than 4,124 young America men and women have been killed and at least 30,409 wounded. A million Iraqis that have met violent death and four million have been displaced from their homes.

Donald Rumsfeld’s Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz insisted General Shinseki’s estimate that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq was widely off the mark, and claimed there was no history of ethnic strife in Iraq. Wolfowitz insisted that a $100 billion cost estimate for invading Iraq and subsequent reconstruction was too high.

However, Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and Linda Bilmes estimated that the true costs of the war will eventually be more than $1 trillion, and possibly more than $2 trillion. Their study includes both direct and indirect costs of the war, which our nation will have to shoulder for generations.

Seventy years ago, Major General Smedley Butler reminded Americans that the price for war includes newly placed gravestones, mangled bodies, shattered minds, broken hearts and homes, economic instability, depression and all its attendant miseries and backbreaking taxation for generations.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Nuclear Ally?

Today, I’ll respond to the rest of the sentence, in which Mr.Thompson inaccurately describes Obama’s position on Pakistan. The derogatory sentence quoted yesterday continued: “, just one of many examples is his suggestion that we attack Pakistan -a nuclear ally!”

In fact, Obama said: “There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.” More recently, Secretary of State, Rice said: “Pakistan needed to do more to prevent Taliban militants from launching attacks into Afghanistan from its territory.”

President Musharraf’s cooperation with the United States in the war on terror, after Sept. 11, 2001, was accomplished by intimidation. At that time, Pakistan was one of a few countries supporting the Taliban government in Afghanistan, which harbored Osama bin Laden. The U.S. made it clear that that relationship would have to end. Musharraf has admitted that the message was delivered by then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in the most undiplomatic terms. Musharraf remembers being told: “Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age.”

Musharraf has been cooperating with our country, only because the Bush regime threatened to bomb the country into the stone age. I wouldn’t consider Musharraf, “a nuclear ally”, but rather a dictator, who recognizes that he is out gunned by our conventional and nuclear arsenals.

Senator Biden opposed the Bush’s decision to sell F-16 fighter-bomber jets to Pakistan in the wake of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. Last November, following the suspension of a democratic government in Pakistan by President Musharraf, both Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates indicated that they were going to carefully scrutinize the purchase of F-16 jets from the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales program.

Congress appropriated $350 million in Economic Support Funds and an additional $300 million in Foreign Military Financing for Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto was killed the day after the law was enacted, and four days later the Pentagon announced it was issuing a $500 million contract to Lockheed Martin for Pakistan’s F-16 fighter-bomber jets. Questions about President Musharraf’s possible role in the assassination remained unexplored. Defense Department officials estimate that Pakistan has received about $9.6 billion in federal funds, weapons and training since 2001, most of it military assistance.

Barack Obama has said we are over-invested in the Musharraf government in Pakistan and are being set us up for failure later on.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

"Extremely Naive"

Edgar Thompson’s letter contained the accusation: “He is extremely naive in regards to foreign affairs...”

As a counterpoint to that comment, I’ll point out that on 7/24/08, two hundred thousand foreigners in Berlin didn’t consider Obama lacking with regards to foreign affairs. I listened to him carefully and was very surprised, by the last paragraph of his speech.

“I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes. And there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions. But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived at great costs and great sacrifice to form a more perfect union, to seek with other nations a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom. Indeed, every language is spoken in our country. Every culture has left its imprint on ours, every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us, what has always driven our people, what drew my father to America’s shores, is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people. That we can live free from fear and free from one. And we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please. These are the aspiration that join the faiths of all nations in this city. These aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart.”

At that point of Obama’s speech, I proclaimed: Amen! Obama had demonstrated the courage to continued a patriotic tradition begun in 1847, by a freed slave. In Syracuse, New York, abolitionist Fredrick Douglass proclaimed in a speech entitled: “Love of God, Love of Man, Love of Country,” that “I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard on this or the other side of the Atlantic, 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.”

I’ve responded above to the first part of an inaccurate statement about Obama and tomorrow I’ll comment on rest of the sentence, which ended: “just one of many examples is his suggestion that we attack Pakistan -a nuclear ally!”

I’ll be sending my rebuttals to the Delaware County Times with hope that they will publish those responses in the coming weeks. Perhaps, Edgar Thompson will respond with additional letter to the editor and we could keep the discourse going until the election.

****Click on the comment below to read the persuasive statement by Reggie Putnam. Perhaps, the German police forced the 200,000 people to stay after the concert and to cheer for Obama.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Edgar Thompson

On 7/25/08, Edgar Thompson of Treadwell, N.Y. had a letter published in the Delaware County Times. It may take me two weeks to fully refute the many inaccurate and disparaging remarks Thompson made about Barack Obama.

Mr. Thompson wrote: “Barack Obama being touted as something new or a harbitor (sic) of change is a joke. The politician wants to bring back the same failed policies of the 1960’s which we have paid for dearly since that time. One must learn from history or one is doomed to repeat it. He wants to increase gas taxes, capital gains tax, the death tax, etc. It would take an increase in every tax imaginable to support the foolishness he proposes. Universal health care which would drastically increase - you guessed it- taxes, as demonstrated by other countries who have already adopted this system. The man wants to penalize the successful, those that build up this country and supply jobs, and reward those that do not contribute. Does this sound like change for the good? And as for bringing people together? The man is the #1 most liberal partisan senator in the senate. Doesn’t that tell you the exact opposite? Whatever change he is preaching is exactly the kind we don’t need. He is extremely naive in regards to foreign affairs, just one of many examples in his suggestion that we attack Pakistan -- a nuclear ally!

“The enemies of this country our (sic) praying that we Americans elect this kind of liberal. His friends such as William Ayers who bombed the Pentagon, wrote about it and has no regrets. Jerimeiah (sic) Wright, who he called his mentor- his derogatory and racist words cannot be defended. Don’t tell me these associations are not significant. And as for oil/gas prices, you can thank democrats like Obama. It is their liberal policies that have prevented new exploration and blocked the building of new refineries for many many years, and with the world demand for energy now increasing dramatically- we all pay.

“This man is worse than the failed Jimmy Carter presidency (The worst President of our lifetime, and the most embarrassing ex president) Barack Obama would be an absolute disaster for this country. Don’t be fooled by hollow words. If it weren’t for conservatives keeping the liberal agenda at bay, this country could not exist.”