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Showing posts from 2005

Some Light At Last

I haven't written anything political for nearly three weeks now. I've been watching, listening, and trying to be patient as the grand illusion created by the Bush administration finally begins to lose its hold on a majority of the American public.
I've been listening to Senators and Representatives speak of impeachment. I heard the President admit that he committed an impeachable offense against the citizenry.
I watched this same President claim that "we are winning" in the everybody-loses invasion and makeover of a country that didn't even exist a century ago, and would not exist today as a political entity if the people who actually live in the region could choose their own destiny.
I'm trying oh, so, hard to remain patient with the hundreds of pundits and bloggers who act as if they're shocked to learn that this administration is spying on innocent citizens in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights.
And I'm seeking the path of forgiveness when …

So much blood shed...

A vast amount of blood has been spilled in Iraq during the past fifteen years. Beginning with our response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and continuing today, some five thousand American citizens and soldiers have been killed. During that same time at least 100,000 Iraqi citizens have been killed by American weapons – possibly many more.

Some of those now-dead Iraqi were soldiers or extremists engaged in battle with US military forces, but they're only a small percentage of the total.

Some of the dead were, from their perspective, simply defending their country from an invading force. They were not terrorists, not even insurgents – just people defending their homes and cities, their land and their families.

Some were seekers of vengeance – the survivors of an American assault that killed someone they loved, or who watched their child die from a lack of medical care that was once available, before the US invasion of Iraq began.

But most of the Iraqis who have died a violent death du…

Polls, Predictions, Soothsayers and a False Reality

Polls, predictions, soothsayers and a false reality

Ask a dozen people who they think are the most powerful families in the US today, and you’ll get a short list of answers. All of them will, almost certainly, be wrong.
The Bush family would probably be mentioned most often in response to your informal poll – after all, they can seat a President, an ex-President and a Governor at the table for Thanksgiving dinner. That’s a tough trifecta to beat.
The Clintons can do pretty well on holidays with a Senator and an ex-President to claim. The Kennedys also have an impressive collection of resumes at their family reunions, especially if Maria brings Arnold with her.
But no clan comes close to wielding direct power over the social fabric of American life as The Nielsen Families do, those carefully chosen anonymous few whose television viewing habits are electronically measured. The economic impact of television is in the hundreds of billions of dollars, yet the industry depends entirely on myste…

Lies And More Damned Lies

Irvin "Scooter" Libby may go to jail for lying to a grand jury and obstructing an investigation into the outing of a CIA agent. Karl "Turd Blossom" Rove may yet be indicted for similar crimes.

Scooter’s boss is Dick "Vice" Cheney, a master of the art of lying to the American people. In December 2001, speaking on "Meet the Press" about a link between the lead 9/11 hijacker and Iraq, Vice clearly said "it's been pretty well confirmed". That wasn't true, as we know now and he knew then – but when confronted with his own words in a subsequent interview, Vice denied three times that he had said "pretty well confirmed."

Vice has been scowling in the background in this ugliness from the start. He also knew that Scooter was lying about both of their involvement for two years, and allowed White House representatives to repeat Scooter's lies to the world throughout that time.

Turd Blossom’s boss, George "Shrub" Bush,…

Ethics, Oaths and the Big Spin

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison on October 23, 2005, put a big hypocritical spin on the matter of lying while under oath to a grand jury. Speaking about the Fitzgerald investigation into the leak of classified information for personal revenge and political reasons, she stated:
"I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality..."
On February 12, 1999, Hutchison spoke about her vote to impeach then-president Bill Clinton for perjury – for lying under oath:
"The edifice of American jurisprudence rests on the foundation of the due process of law. The mortar in that foundation is the oath. The oath is how we defend ourselves against those who would subvert our system by breaking our laws. There are Americans in jail today because they violated that oath."
That kind of partisan, unethical, flopping behavior is one of the three root problems choking the life out of Ame…

Miers – a non-partisan bad choice

In a nation that is increasingly defining itself - and dividing itself - with political labels like conservative and liberal, there is some unity on at least one issue. Informed people on both sides of the divide are speaking out against President Bush's choice of Harriet Miers, his former personal attorney with no judicial experience, as a Supreme Court nominee.
Charles Krauthammer wrote, "If Harriet Miers were not a crony of the President of the United States, her nomination to the Supreme Court would be a joke, as it would have occurred to no one else to nominate her."
George Will spoke against her as well, saying, "There is no reason to believe that Miers' nomination resulted from the president's careful consultation with people capable of such judgments. If 100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers' name probably would not have appeared in any of th…

Cruel, Inhuman and Perfectly Acceptable

Cruel, Inhuman and Perfectly Acceptable

"I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A."
Former president Jimmy Carter, winner of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.

In November of 2003, one Iraqi prisoner, an insurgent group leader in Qaim, was interrogated for sixteen days then beaten by Iraqi paramilitaries with fists, a club and a length of rubber hose while American Army officials watched. Two days later, an Army interrogator and a military guard stuffed the prisoner into a sleeping bag, tied it closed and beat him until he died.

That's just one incident from among hundreds of documented cases of prisoner abuse by American soldiers, CIA operatives, Department of Defense interrogators and foreign nationals working with US authorities. Maj. Gen. Jack L. Rives, the Air Force deputy judge advocate general, has said that at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and inside Iraqi prisons, the "more extreme interrogation techniques, on their face, amo…

Excerpts from Oct. 6 speech by GWB before the National Endowment for Democracy, with commentary added:

Reading the transcript of the speech, there were, as usual, a number of phrases that made me cringe. Here's just two of those...

"Evil men obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience must be taken very seriously, and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply."

What an amazingly ironic phrase for him to use... there are several million people - at the very least - in this country who would say that those words describe just how they feel about GWB and the people who are guiding him. It's a bit spooky to actually hear him say that. It would be even stranger if he had actually written those fine-sounding words...

"In Iraq, there is no peace without victory. We will keep our nerve and we will win that victory."

He can't just come straight out and say that American troops will be stationed in Iraq forever, if the NeoCons he works for get their way. Instead he can offer that bold phrase as the not-secret code for what is intended. That's been…

It takes a felony...

A man was asked to use his experience in the service of his country, to investigate rumors of a potential threat to national security. He did, and reported back truthfully what he found – that the rumors were false and no threat existed.

He was ignored by those in power who sent him on the mission. He remained quiet until the day he heard that false rumor and false threat used in the justification for war.

Again he spoke the truth, this time to the public through the press. Those in power responded with attacks on his credibility, character and reputation – then set out to destroy his wife's career.

Karl Rove, chief advisor to George Bush, and Lewis Libby, chief of staff for Dick Cheney went after Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame (Rove called her "fair game") in what was both an act of revenge and a naked abuse of power intended to intimidate critics of the administration.

Along the way, they violated every ethical standard that exists. They violated national securi…

Judge Not, Lest Ye Become A Judge

GWB has chosen as his newest Supreme Court Justice a person who has never been a judge. She'll fit right in with the new Chief Justice, who was never even an Associate Justice before assuming the leadership of the Court. She can join the FEMA Director who was never involved in emergency planning before his appointment – the one who quit after his inexperience was publicized. They can all hold hands with the World Bank president who has no history of financial management and the UN Ambassador who has no diplomacy skills of any kind.
GWB believes in the practice of putting untrained people in places of responsibility – after all, it's worked for him. He was handed an oil company when he had no business experience, and although he ran it into the ground, it somehow sold for a huge profit. With some help, he leveraged that profit into part-ownership of a baseball team. After he got bored with the business side of baseball, GWB sold his share of the team for an excellent profit.
Then…

A Cowardly War

If Congress can hold hearings to discover the truth about steroid use among professional baseball players, it should certainly hold hearings to determine the truth about the Bush administration's justifications for invading Iraq.

We have allowed the current government to commit extreme violence, supposedly on our behalf. Under the false premise of protecting our personal safety, our military has killed untold thousands of completely innocent Iraqi people.

We have allowed the use of depleted uranium in the weaponry fired by our soldiers, poisoning the earth for generations for the people who live there, as well as our own soldiers.

We allow our CIA operatives to abduct people, to detain and interrogate them, while wearing black hoods and gloves in order to remain anonymous and unaccountable.

It's all being done in the name of safety, in the cause of freedom; we are allowing terrible things to happen to innocents in our desire for the illusion of safety.

We can never win a war on te…

A President who favors torture?

The U.S. Senate will soon debate two amendments to a bill that will provide the Defence Department's funding. The amendments are intended to prevent the abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody, which seems to happen quite a bit in many different places around the world.

Both proposals have been opposed by the White House. President Bush threatens to veto any bill that contains the no-torture policy amendment introduced by Senator John McCain. It's not too surprising that the Bush regime would take such a wrong position.

What is surprising is that it's unlikely that the United States Senate would override Bush's veto. It may not be possible to have 67 of our 100 senators defy the President and vote against his desire to keep using torture as a interrogation tool.

On the floor of the US Senate, the use of torture against "suspects" in "detention" will be defended. At the very heart of our democratic republic, facism will – once again – be justified with word…

Aloha, and welcome...

Folks who've read my writing from my years at the Haleakala Times on Maui keep telling me that I should be blogging. This is new to me, but why not? Another opportunity to rant is difficult to pass up...
My wife Karen and I moved to the coastal hills of Oregon at the end of April, and we've been renovating a house built in 1930, located in the Blachly township, in Lake Creek Valley about 45 minutes west of Eugene.
I've not done much writing since leaving Maui. because we've been a bit preoccupied with making this place comfortable. Once I get this blog up to full speed, however, I hope you'll find it an interesting place to visit. I'll be posting my thoughts along with info gathered around the world to try and encourage folks to make this world a better place.
Please feel free to open a dialogue on any subject you wish, and we'll see what develops...