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Friday, May 30, 2008

Remember when the US led the world?

I'm not that old--unless you're 18 or younger--and I certainly remember when the US led the world in all that was moral and right and good. A lot of things, anyway.

So now this, today:

"111 nations adopt cluster bomb treaty, but not U.S."

(The link to the story is here:

Yeah, we USED to be moral. We used to do the right things. No longer. Not right now, anyway.

The United States lead the world in reducing pollution? Sure. In the 1960's and 70's. Not now. We famously/infamously bailed on the Kyoto Protocol, with this administration. We have to protect corporations, instead. Clean air? Clean water? Clean earth? Maybe. If it absolutely doesn't interfere with corporate profits.

The United States also famously/infamously jumped ship on what seemed to be a good idea to eliminate land mines in the world. You'd think we'd want to, since they kill and maim civilians--including children--particularly after the wars are over, right?

But no, that would hurt business.


That's the one, big, glaring reason we don't do "the right thing" anymore, nationally and internationally, on a range of different topics: we don't want to curb business--actual or prospective, of any kind.

All we can do right now is contact our legislators for change. That and vote and hope that the "next leadership" for the country and our own locales are more moral and right and good than they are now.

The way we used to be.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

More of what "W" has wrought

Army suicides reported up again — at 108

By Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press Writer 16 minutes ago

The number of Army suicides increased again last year, amid the most violent year yet in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Two defense officials said Thursday that 108 troops committed suicide in 2007, six more than the previous year. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the full report on the deaths wasn't being released until later Thursday.

About a quarter of the deaths occurred in Iraq.

The overall toll was the highest in many years, and it was unclear when, if ever, it was previously that high. Immediately available Army records go back only to 1990 and the figure then was lower — at 102 — for that year as well as 1991.

The 108 confirmed deaths in 2007 among active duty soldier and National Guard and Reserve troops that had been activated was lower than previously feared. Preliminary figures released in January showed as many as 121 troops may have killed themselves, but a number of the deaths were still being investigated then and have since been determined to have resulted from other causes, the officials said.

Suicides have been rising almost steadily during the five-year-old war in Iraq and nearly seven-year-old war in Afghanistan.

The 108 deaths last year followed 102 in 2006, 85 in 2005 and 67 in 2004.

The increases come despite a host of efforts to improve the mental health of a force stressed by long and repeated tours of duty. Increasing the strain on the force last year was the extension of deployments to 15 months from 12 months, a practice that is being terminated this year.

More U.S. troops died in hostilities in 2007 than in any of the previous years in Iraq and Afghanistan. Overall violence increased in Afghanistan with a Taliban resurgence and overall deaths increased in Iraq, even as violence there declined in the second half of the year.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I want my country back

If you didn't see HBO's movie, "Reount", you need to make sure you do. After having seen it, it's easy to come to a few important conclusions:

1) It shows on film what we've read about for years and already knew and that is that George W. Bush, the Republican Party and W's brother, colleagues and associates literally stole the 2000 Presidential election and its results;

2) The United States and its 150,000 soldiers would not be in Iraq today;

3) 4,083 American Soldiers who have since died, to this date, in Iraq would not have died;

4) The 30,000 plus American Soldiers by official count, up to 100,000 by unofficial count, would not have been maimed and/or wounded;

5) the half-million Iraqis who have since died in their own country would not be dead

6) the United States would not be in the debt we are in today and

7) finally, as my friend Bryce first and once told me--and I quote him here--"Republicans are evil, Democrats are retarded."

We don't any longer have a democracy folks, if we ever did.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day, 2008

Posted by Picasa

The picture above, of peonies, is from some very close--best--friend's garden this past week. Naturally, I post it in the tradition of Memorial Day, for everyone no longer with us.

May they truly rest in peace.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Article from Yahoo just now

"Veterans' burials nonstop at cemeteries"

Think about that the entire Memorial Day weekend.

And for any- and everyone who voted for George W. Bush once or twice, and/or supported this goofy-assed idea of a war, you're welcome to accept the responsibility for it, too.

"The scene at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery is repeated nationwide more than 100 times a day. Military veterans are being buried at such a rapid rate that national cemeteries use heavy equipment to make room."

Think about it.

More importantly this weekend, let's all think about what we can do to support our troops and get out of Iraq and this war.

You can see the entire article at:

I see where the "Current Occupant", in his weekly radio address, asked all Americans to "keep Vets in mind" this Memorial Day weekend.

That's rich.

The way his administration took them into this war so more than 4,000 could die and so the others, who are wounded, could be neglected and/or mistreated by his own Veteran's Administration? US keep the Vets in mind?

How about "W" keeping them in mind?

How about "W" getting them out of his hair-brained, illegal, groundless, baseless war?

Now THAT would be keeping the Vets in mind.

We all owe it to ourselves--and the Vets--to read this article. Sure the Vets dying are, for the most part, from previous wars but it's the ones in harms way now to whom we owe thought and commitment.

For some background and information, go to the following link to read the 10 reasons by there is a group Iraq Veterans Against the War (see links on the right of this page):

There should be no better source for information and reasons why we should get out of Iraq than taking it from the very soldiers who have fought or are fighting this absurd, ugly war.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sen. Obama needs to seize on these books

In case you didn't catch Thomas Friedman's article about the US' position in the world, I show it here, below. I think it's pretty important and insightful.

Senator Obama should take this, Fareed Zakaria's and David Rothkopf's book material into his campaign. It would be smart to indict the current administration with it, dismiss Sen. McCain's "McSame-ness" with existing policies and yet present a path to this new future.

The New York Times

May 21, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

"Imbalances of Power"
By Thomas L. Friedman

There has been much debate in this campaign about which of our enemies the next U.S. president should deign to talk to. The real story, the next president may discover, though, is how few countries are waiting around for us to call. It is hard to remember a time when more shifts in the global balance of power are happening at once — with so few in America’s favor.

Let’s start with the most profound one: More and more, I am convinced that the big foreign policy failure that will be pinned on this administration is not the failure to make Iraq work, as devastating as that has been. It will be one with much broader balance-of-power implications — the failure after 9/11 to put in place an effective energy policy.

It baffles me that President Bush would rather go to Saudi Arabia twice in four months and beg the Saudi king for an oil price break than ask the American people to drive 55 miles an hour, buy more fuel-efficient cars or accept a carbon tax or gasoline tax that might actually help free us from what he called our “addiction to oil.”

The failure of Mr. Bush to fully mobilize the most powerful innovation engine in the world — the U.S. economy — to produce a scalable alternative to oil has helped to fuel the rise of a collection of petro-authoritarian states — from Russia to Venezuela to Iran — that are reshaping global politics in their own image.

If this huge transfer of wealth to the petro-authoritarians continues, power will follow. According to Congressional testimony Wednesday by the energy expert Gal Luft, with oil at $200 a barrel, OPEC could “potentially buy Bank of America in one month worth of production, Apple computers in a week and General Motors in just three days.”

But that’s not all. Two compelling new books have just been published that describe two other big power shifts: “The Post-American World,” by Fareed Zakaria, the editor of Newsweek International, and “Superclass” by David Rothkopf, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment.

Mr. Zakaria’s central thesis is that while the U.S. still has many unique assets, “the rise of the rest” — the Chinas, the Indias, the Brazils and even smaller nonstate actors — is creating a world where many other countries are slowly moving up to America’s level of economic clout and self-assertion, in every realm. “Today, India has 18 all-news channels of its own,” notes Zakaria. “And the perspectives they provide are very different from those you will get in the Western media. The rest now has the confidence to present its own narrative, where it is at the center.”

For too long, argues Zakaria, America has taken its many natural assets — its research universities, free markets and diversity of human talent — and assumed that they will always compensate for our low savings rate or absence of a health care system or any strategic plan to improve our competitiveness.

“That was fine in a world when a lot of other countries were not performing,” argues Zakaria, but now the best of the rest are running fast, working hard, saving well and thinking long term. “They have adopted our lessons and are playing our game,” he said. If we don’t fix our political system and start thinking strategically about how to improve our competitiveness, he added, “the U.S. risks having its unique and advantageous position in the world erode as other countries rise.”

Mr. Rothkopf’s book argues that on many of the most critical issues of our time, the influence of all nation-states is waning, the system for addressing global issues among nation-states is more ineffective than ever, and therefore a power void is being created. This void is often being filled by a small group of players — “the superclass” — a new global elite, who are much better suited to operating on the global stage and influencing global outcomes than the vast majority of national political leaders.

Some of this new elite “are from business and finance,” says Rothkopf. “Some are members of a kind of shadow elite — criminals and terrorists. Some are masters of new or traditional media; some are religious leaders, and a few are top officials of those governments that do have the ability to project their influence globally.”

The next president will have to manage these new rising states and these new rising individuals and networks, while wearing the straightjacket left in the Oval Office by Mr. Bush.

“Call it the triple deficit,” said Mr. Rothkopf. “A fiscal deficit that will soon have us choosing between rationed health care, sufficient education, adequate infrastructure and traditional levels of defense spending, a trade deficit that has us borrowing from our rivals to the point of real vulnerability, and a geopolitical deficit that is a legacy of Iraq, which may result in hesitancy to take strong stands where we must.”

The first rule of holes is when you’re in one, stop digging. When you’re in three, bring a lot of shovels.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Simple, elegant solutions to 4 of the world's biggest problems

Yes, that's what I said.

There are, in fact, simple and elegant solutions to 4 of our world's largest problems and the list isn't long. The problems I'm speaking of are:

1) Dependency on fossil fuels
2) Global climate change
3) War in the Middle East
4) Pollution

The 2 solutions to these "Big 4" problems are to invest in solar technologies--as I've said here before--and LED lighting. These 2 changes alone would do the following:

1) Reduce--and eventually, possibly quickly, eliminate--our use of oil for transportation, a huge help to mankind around the world;
2) Reduce--and, again, eventially eliminate--our use of hydro-electric power--and power companies--around the world. This would have the added benefit of returning our world's waterways to their natural states, in short order, so the plants and animals that grow from them could and would thrive again. Like salmon? Like fish? The world need them. This would help them return to healthier states;
3) Reduce pollution. 'Nuff said;
4) Reduce carbon that is put into our environment,thus reducing our "carbon footprint", globally, and therefore, decrease our forced changes in the environment;
5) Take the United States and, indeed, the world, out of the Middle East and it's archaic, millenia-old religious wars.

Solar power, both through passive solar collectors and photovoltaic cells are truly, completely non-polluting and so, absolutely green and non-polluting. Once you've gotten over the price of purchasing the cells, there is almost no other cost for them or for electric generation from then on, unless and until they should need to be replaced. Unlike nuclear power--which drives me crazy--we don't have to concern oursleves or worry about where we're going to store the radioactive waste for thousands of years, at huge cost, financially, and the additonal cost--which we ignore--of the possible threat to our ecology, should the radiation in some way effect underground waterways or other aspects of nature.

LED lights, alone, use tiny amounts of power and have, already, if you saw the CBS Sunday Morning show today, shown to be used with solar collectors so there is NO EXPENSE at creating light. The technology already exists. It's available now. The only prohibition, so far, is cost, and this is reported to be going down at a rate of 20% per year now. If we throw financial, tax incentives at the problem, it could go lower than that.

Solar power could, in fact, power our transportation. The big obstacle here is our battery technology. It is too cumbersome and expensive. It works already, though, so this is not a "pie in the sky" offer at a solution. With tax incentives and a push for better technologies, perhaps this revolution could come about quicker than it would otherwise. I feel sure that history, technology and need shows that it would.

If we could make this happen sooner, can you imagine how much improved our lives would be? So much less pollution. The emphasis of the Middle East, with all it's thousands of year old tensions and animosities could be left in the desert, to be ignored.

There are so many technologies, like these, that make the way we've always assumed the way the world works, obsolete.

We should stop printig newspapers on paper. Yes, let's read them, online.

We should stop paying power companies to create electricity--we'd be making our own, on our rooftops, with photovoltaic cells.

We should abandon the internal combustion engine. It's killing us.

We can do this. As a people. As a world.

We can do it. We have to. We already have the capabilities. We already have the solutions and they are simple, elegant and, frankly, obvious. We just have to make these changes.

And the sooner the better.

It's enough to give a person hope.

And ending, side note: Did you see today where the President is loosening Clean Air Act rules again? It's your government, folks.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

From a local guy--and the Kansas City Star

An important article from the Kansas City Star today, by a General at Fort Leavenworth, who served in Iraq in the last few years:

Missed Signals from Iraq Resulted in Wrong Responses, Retired General Recalls

By Scott Canon
The Kansas City Star

FORT LEAVENWORTH | Premature declarations of victory ultimately doomed the Iraqi occupation to lost opportunities, a former commander of U.S. troops there said Friday.

Ricardo Sanchez, a retired Army lieutenant general whose Iraq command stretched through the first year after the invasion, told more than 1,000 mid-career officers that Washington’s expectations of good news blotted out drearier reports coming from Baghdad in 2003 and 2004.

“We honestly believed what we had been told — that we’d be greeted as liberators,” Sanchez said in a 90-minute talk to students at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

So when Sanchez and others began reporting that a deadly and powerful insurgency was brewing in the country, and that Iraqis saw Americans as occupiers, not saviors, he said, the Bush administration was slow to accept the reality. That, in turn, meant troops ill-equipped and poorly trained for the burgeoning insurgency.

So at the very time when the military needed more armor and counterinsurgency expertise, he said, the White House wanted symbols of success.

Sanchez, on a tour to promote his memoir, cited as a chief example the turning over of sovereignty to a disorganized Iraqi government before it was ready to assume power.

He said unreal expectations also prompted a retrospectively foolhardy overreaction to the killing of four Blackwater security employees in Fallujah in 2004.

Seared in the public consciousness, the burning and hanging of two of the bodies off a bridge was “tactically insignificant,” Sanchez said. Yet it created political pressure to show that U.S. troops were not just sitting ducks.

When the subsequent offensive in Fallujah turned out to be bloodier than expected and threatened to tilt the 2004 U.S. elections, Sanchez said, the White House ordered a retreat.

In his book, Wiser in Battle, published last week, he said he refused because it would have given the enemy a resounding victory while putting his troops in unreasonable peril as they withdrew from the city under fire. He threatened to quit.

That won him a compromise, he said: The U.S. offensive would halt, but there would be no retreat.

Resigning, he said in an interview after Friday’s speech, would have been a perilous turning point, putting “our mission at much greater risk.”

Such a public rebuke of the President Bush and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld by a field commander would have been “a tumultuous situation at the highest levels of command (putting) a question in the mind of the soldier on the battlefield.”

Sanchez’s book has drawn varying reviews — lauded as a frank look at the tension between military commanders and the White House, and criticized as being self-serving.

In The Washington Post, reviewer Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations wrote that Sanchez “is so busy castigating erstwhile colleagues that he never stops to wonder if he might have erred.”

In the book, Sanchez took some responsibility for the abuses of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. Yet, he said Friday that the scandal’s seeds were planted in 2002 when the administration decided some terror suspects were not necessarily protected by the Geneva Conventions. Consequently, Sanchez said, abusive interrogation techniques became commonplace and accountability for abuses fell apart.

Bush was focused on the war, attuned to its difficulties and supportive of the military, Sanchez said in his interview. But he said the president “does not impose his will.” For instance, he said Bush was slow to demand action in Fallujah.

And then this quote, from a sign on a poster a lady held in a picture in that same newspaper today:

"Blind faith in bad leadership is not patriotism."

Obvious but important to say.

Have a great weekend, folks. American soldiers are still out there, fighting and dying in your name, for your oil.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Keith Olbermann gives good advice to Pres. Bush

From Keith Olbermann on his show, "Countdown", last evening, giving this advice to President George W. Bush:

"This last piece of advice. When somebody asks you, sir, about Democrats who must now pull this country back from the abyss ... about the cooked books and fake threats .. about your gallant, self-abnegating sacrifice of your golf game ... shut the hell up!"

Way too late but still nice to hear.

Go to the following link to see the whole special comment:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

An email I received last week

What the Bush has done since 2000:

-I spent the U.S. surplus and bankrupted the US Treasury.

•I shattered the record for the biggest annual deficit in history (not easy!).

•I set an economic record for the most personal bankruptcies filed in any 12 month period.

•I set all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the stock market.

•In my first year in office I set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in US history (tough to beat my dad's, but I did).

•After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, I presided over the worst security failure in US history.

•I set the record for most campaign fund raising trips by any president in US history.

•In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their jobs.

•I cut unemployment benefits for more out-of-work Americans than any other president in US history.

•I set the all-time record for most real estate foreclosures in a 12-month period.

•I set the record for the fewest press conferences of any president, since the advent of TV.

•I presided over the biggest energy crises in US history and refused to intervene when corruption was revealed.

•I cut health care benefits for war veterans.

•I set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.

•I dissolved more international treaties than any president in US history.

•I've made my presidency the most secretive and unaccountable of any in US history.

•Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history. (The poorest multimillionaire, Condoleeza Rice, had a Chevron oil tanker named after her for a while.)

•I am the first president in US history to have all 50 states of the Union simultaneously struggle against bankruptcy.

•I presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud in any market in any country in the history of the world.

•I am the first president in US history to order a US attack AND military occupation of a sovereign nation, and I did so against the will of the United Nations and the vast majority of the international community.

•I have created the largest government department bureaucracy in the history of the United States, called the "Bureau of Homeland Security

•I set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any other president in US history (Ronnie was tough to beat, but I did it!!).

•I am the first president in US history to compel the United Nations remove the US from the Human Rights Commission.

•I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the Elections Monitoring Board.

•I removed more checks and balances, and have the least amount of congressional oversight than any presidential administration in US history.

•I rendered the entire United Nations irrelevant. I withdrew from the World Court of Law.

•I refused to allow inspectors access to US prisoners of war and by default no longer abide by the Geneva Conventions.

•I am the first president in US history to refuse United Nations election inspectors access during the 2002 US elections.

•I am the all-time US (and world) record holder for most corporate campaign donations.

•The biggest lifetime contributor to my campaign, who is also one of my best friends, presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation).

•I spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in US history.

•I am the first US president to establish a secret shadow government.

•I took the world's sympathy for the US after 9/11, and in less than a year made the US the most resented country in the world (possibly the biggest diplomatic failure in US and world history).

•I am the first US president in history to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.

•I changed US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.

•I have removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in US history.


• I have at least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas driving record has been erased and is not available).

•I was AWOL from the National Guard and deserted the military during time of war.

•I refuse to take a drug test or even answer any questions about drug use.

•All records of my tenure as governor of Texas have been spirited away to my fathers library, sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

•All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

•All minutes of meetings of any public corporation for which I served on the board are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

•Any records or minutes from meetings I (or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.

Monday, May 12, 2008

And now this...

Headline from 19 minutes ago:

Ex-Government Officials Say the Bush Administration Ignored Iraq Corruption

By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer

Get the whole story at this link:

Okay, folks, let's get this straight:

They lied to us about why we should go over there;

They lied to us about why we should attack a sovereign, foreign nation WHICH IS AGAINST INTERNATIONAL LAW;

They lied to us about the "enemy" having weapons of mass destruction, and it's been proven;

They lied about "winning", prematurely;

They lied to us and to themselves about it being a "fast" war (we're going into our seventh--yes, that's seventh--year);

They lied to us about this being a "cheap" war (we're at ONE-HALF A TRILLION DOLLARS now, and still counting);

They lied to us about not losing very many soldiers (we're over 4,000);

They didn't have a plan for the country once they created their power vacuum;

They blew up the country--and continue to do so;

We are now rebuilding same country--THAT WE BLEW UP;

They've given away millions of sweetheart deal contracts;

They didn't compete these same multi-million dollar contracts;

They've literally HANDED OUT millions of dollars in COLD HARD CASH (yeah, there's a good idea, huh?);

They cannot prove that Iran has been supplying arms, in large quantitities, to Iraqi insurgents;

and just generally screwed everything up for the last 7 years and now this--proof positive that this same Bush Administration IGNORED multi-million dollar corruption by the officials in Iraq that we're supposed to be helping and who are supposed to be helping us rebuild their country.

You gotta' be kidding me.

If you were either the bad guys--who want us there to kill us--or the good guys--who want us there so they can take our money--WHY WOULD YOU WANT THE US TO LEAVE??

Oh, yeah, great plan, George. You just keep outdoing yourself.

News flash: John McCain wants to continue on this "path of progress."

(Bang head on wall here).

I'm going to end today's post with a quote from the end of this same article by Senator Byron Dorgan, Head of the Democratic Policy Committee--and then a question: "It is a cruel irony if we are appropriating money next Thursday or did appropriate money last month or last year and that money ends up actually providing the resources for an insurgency in Iraq which ends up killing Americans," said Dorgan, D-N.D.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

This week's count

24 more American soldiers died this week.


At what point does the American public pay attention?

At what point do we change this?

How many is it going to take?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Why aren't you people angry?

The following is an email written by Lee Iacocca, according to You remember Mr. Iacocca--the former President of Chrysler Motors. He turned that company around and has been straightening everyone out ever since.

It seems Mr. Iacocca asks the right question, and that is, why the heck isn't the American people out and out angry about the way their country is being run--and has been run ever since this knucklehead took over, having stole the election in 2000?

Really, why aren't you people aware and angry?

Herewith is the email:

Remember Lee Iacocca, the man who rescued Chrysler Corporation from its death throes? He has a new book, and here are some excerpts.

Lee Iacocca Says:

"Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car.

But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course"

Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America not the damned "Titanic". I'll give you a sound bite: "Throw all the bums out!"

You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore.

The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq , the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving 'pom-poms' instead of asking hard questions.

That's not the promise of the " America " my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for.

I've had enough. How about you?

I'll go a step further. You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged. This is a fight I'm ready and willing to have.
The Biggest "C" is Crisis!

Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It's easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else's kids off to war when you've never seen a battlefield yourself. It's another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.

On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes.

A Hell of a Mess

So here's where we stand. We're immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving. We're running the biggest deficit in the history of the country. We're losing the manufacturing edge to Asia , while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs. Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy. Our schools are in trouble. Our borders are like sieves. The middle class is being squeezed every which way These are times that cry out for leadership.

But when you look around, you've got to ask: "Where have all the leaders gone?" Where are the curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, omnipotence, and common sense? I may be a sucker
for alliteration, but I think you get the point.

Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo. We've spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened.

Name me one leader who emerged from the crisis of Hurricane Katrina. Congress has yet to spend a single day evaluating the response to the hurricane, or demanding accountability for the decisions that were made in the crucial hours after the storm.

Everyone's hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping it doesn't happen again. Now, that's just crazy. Storms happen. Deal with it. Make a plan. Figure out what you're going to do the next time.

Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing. Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when "The Big Three" referred to Japanese car companies? How did this
happen, and more important, what are we going to do about it?

Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debt, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem. The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the
middle class dry.

I have news for the gang in Congress. We didn't elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity.

What is everybody so afraid of?

That some bonehead on Fox News will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don't you guys show some spine for a change?

Had Enough?

Hey, I'm not trying to be the voice of gloom and doom here. I'm trying to light a fire. I'm speaking out because I have hope I believe in America . In my lifetime I've had the privilege of living through some of America's greatest moments. I've also
experienced some of our worst crises: the "Great Depression", "World War II", the "Korean War", the "Kennedy Assassination", the "Vietnam War", the 1970s oil crisis, and the struggles of recent years culminating with 9/11. If I've learned one thing,
it's this: "You don't get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action.

Whether it's building a better car or building a better future for our children, we all have a role to play. That's the challenge I'm raising in this book. It's a call to "Action" for people who, like me, believe in America . It's not too late, but it's getting pretty close. So let's shake off the crap and go to work. Let's tell 'em all we've had "enough."

That's it. That's the email. At its end, you are to email it on to other people on your email list.

I bet most people don't even do that... what with Nascar being on TV and everything.

Friday, May 9, 2008

President Al Gore

Simply, honestly, realistically put, following are things that would be different if George W. Bush had never been placed as President:

1) The United States would not be in an open war in Iraq, of any kind

2) The United States wouldn't have broken international law against attacking another, foreign, sovereign nation without provocation

3) 4073 American Soldiers--at current, latest count--would not have died

4) 30,004 American Soldiers, by official count (up to 100,000 by unofficial count) would not have been wounded in any way

5) A documented 83,469 to 91,040 Iraqi civilians would not be dead

6) The United States wouldn't have blown up Iraq, only to... (see no. 8)

7) The United States would not have spent more than $518 Billion dollars on this war, to date (actually, to this minute) on rebuilding Iraq

8) The United States wouldn't have taken out the iron-fisted leader in Iraq, only to create a powerless vacuum, in which chaos and anarchy would be created--and thrive in the most geopolitically sensitive, volatile area in the world

9) Pat Tillman wouldn't be dead (If he were your son, brother, friend or neighbor, that would matter a great deal to you)

There are lots more things that would be different but just imagine if only these 9 weren't true. Just those 9. The world would, admittedly, be a vastly different--and much improved--place to be.

Note: I'll be adding more, unfortunately easy but important items to this list this weekend, as they occur to me.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Face it...

the Dixie Chicks were absolutely prescient, especially when compared to the American media.

Perfect Synergy and Symmetry

Remember when it used to be that the wealthy people had their country clubs and everyone wanted to belong and go there and exclude all the other "little people"? And it lasted forever. There have always been groups created to exclude other people and/or groups. It's always been that way.

Well, it occurred to me today, after driving to work the same way every work day, that just the opposite "perfect place" has been created for the lower social and economic levels of our society.

Surely you've noticed the perfect marriage when McDonald's restaurants have started locating in--yes, in--and around Wal-Mart stores?

Isn't that magnificent? You couldn't get better zoning if you legislated it. Really, that's magnificent. What better place to put these 2 organizations and their customers than side by side? Or, better yet, as I said, one INSIDE the other. Man, that's perfect.

One has horrible food that's absolutely bad for you, almost completely, while the other virtually abuses its employees. Talk about perfect. One exploits its employees to make money while the 2nd takes that same money and gives them fatty, unhealthy foods to "reward" them for that same hard work.

Even their logos are similar and work together.

I think Wal-Mart should buy McDonald's, personally, and marry the two even closer. It just doesn't get any better than that.

So now the underclass has a place to go to both shop and eat. Perfect. Like I said, it's the complete "Country Club" for the lower class. All they need now is a swimming pool.

I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

From a friend--satire with facts and evidence

What is a Republooney ?

A person with a serious derangement syndrom (RDS) in which a highly excitable far right wingnut with little or no curiousity for facts, wraps themselves in the flag and spouts jingo's and slogans spoon fed them by equally far right wingnut radio hosts while practicing Fascism and the violation of citizens rights as enemurated in the United States Constitution. Their creed is so close to the platform of Fascism the difference cannot be detected.

The 14 Points of Republooney Fascism :

1.) Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

September 11 Freedom Walk

Family Security Matters ? the right-wing front groupp, claims ‘multiculturalism’ threatens U.S.

New Majority Leader: Iraq War “May Be The Greatest Gift That We Give” Our Grandchildren

Headstones of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are inscribed with the Pentagons war-marketing slogans

White House and the RNC are going to make a habit of using uniformed military personnel as props at Republican political rallies, despite the fact that it is a plain violation of military regulations banning politicization of the armed forces.

"You must glorify war in order to get the public to accept the fact that your going to send their sons and daughters to die." The inside story of the cozy relationship between big box office American war movies and the Pentagon

2.) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

Oopsie: Torture victim's records lost at Guantánamo, admits camp general
One of the worst things you'll ever read about your government
We are now a torturing police state: Bush signing into law that will get rid of habeas corpus, allow hearsay evidence, and allow the President to determine what is allowable torture.
Bush Offers Himself Amnesty for Human Rights Crimes
Bush threatens to veto $442b defense bill if Congress investigates detainee abuses.
Guantanamo Judge: “I don’t care about international law. I don’t want to hear the words ‘international law’ again. We are not concerned with international law.”
Rumsfeld to approve new guidelines that will formalize the administration' s policy of imprisoning without the protections of the Geneva Conventions and enable the Pentagon to legally hold "ghost detainees,"
US 'preparing to detain terror suspects for life without trial'
U.S. oks evidence gained through torture
July 1, 2003: U.S. Suspends Military Aid to Nearly 50 Countries: because they have supported the International Criminal Court and failed to exempt Americans from possible prosecution.
US has at least 9000 prisoners in secret detention

3.) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause: The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

Congressman: Muslims 'enemy amongst us'
SB 24, Ohio law to muzzle "liberals"
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has joined a conservative Washington think tank, where he will found and direct a program called "America's Enemies."
Sean Hannity creates weekly "Enemy of the State" segment on his new program
Fox radio hosts suggests putting liberal commentators and activists in concentration camps.
World history textbook used by seventh-graders at Scottsdale’s Mohave Middle School was pulled from classrooms mid-semester amid growing right criticism of the book’s unbiased portrayal of Islam
Rallies planned against 'Islamofacism' : Event to 'unify all Americans behind common goal'

4.) Supremacy of the Military: Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

Bush’s Domestic Program Hit List

Bush slashes domestic programs, boosts defense. Arlen Spector calls it "scandalous"

Funding for job training, rural health care, low-income schools and help for people lacking health insurance would face big cuts under a bill passed Friday by the House

Pentagon to spend 75 billion for three new brigades

Bush budget to cut funding for just about anything that helps people, gives $35 billion more to the Pentagon (not including war costs), and guarantees record deficits for decades to come.
President threatens veto of $11B increase in education, health research and border security funding. Meanwhile, Iraq war costs taxpayers $12B a month
Bush lobbies Congress to have the funds saved from his veto of children's health care to be spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. The $45.9-billion emergency request would push the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over $600 billion.
8 states sue Bush Administration for cuts to Children Insurance Programs
Many national parks will have to cut back on staff due to a $2.5 billion budget cut, the equivalent to one week of the Iraq war
Bush wants to cut Iraq war funding. Just kidding, he wants to cut funding for a program that gives health insurance to poor children. Governors from both parties are opposing it.
Three cable channels now feed news, information and entertainment about the armed services into millions of living rooms 24 hours a day, seven days a week: The Military Channel, the Military History Channel and the Pentagon Channel.

5.) Rampant Sexism: The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

It's legal again, to fire gov't workers for being gay
Bush calls for Constitutional ban on same-sex marriages
Bush refuses to sign U.N proposal on women's "sexual" rights
W. David Hager chairman of the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee does not prescribe contraceptives for single women, does not do abortions, will not prescribe RU-486 and will not insert IUDs.
The State Department has awarded an explicitly anti-feminist U.S. group part of a US$10 million grant to train Iraqi women in political participation and democracy.

6.) Controlled Mass Media: Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

At the White House Christmas party for the press last night, “conservative talk radio hosts dominated the place: President Bush “smiled, patted him on the back and said, ‘Keep it up. We need you guys.’”

FBI Acknowledges: Journalists Phone Records are Fair Game
Report shows U.S. government has been engaged in illegal propaganda aimed at its own citizens and the story gets only 41 mentions in the media
Free Press details recent governmental propaganda efforts, from faux-correspondent Jeff Gannon to paid-off pundit Armstrong Williams, and from the demise of FOIA to video news releases passed off as news. also... See a Whitehouse fake news release here (opens realplayer)
Fox"news" hack lets it slip: Shep Smith says ‘Fox is Bush’s network after all.
US seizes webservers from independent media sites
Bush's war on information: US editors forbidden to publish certain foreign writers

7.) Obsession with National Security: Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses
Bush Aides ADMIT 'stoking fear' for political gain: Bush adviser said the president hopes to change the dynamics of the race. The strategy is aimed at stoking public fears about terrorism, raising new concerns about Clinton and Obamas ability to protect Americans and reinforcing Bush's image as the steady anti-terrorism candidate, aides said.
The Bush administration periodically put the USA on high alert for terrorist attacks even though then-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge argued there was only flimsy evidence to justify raising the threat level.

TSA agents save us from a 5 foot 1, 74-year-old Holocaust survivor grandmother who didn't want to drop her pants in the Palm Beach International Airport
GOP Ad These are the stakes
Keith Olbermann: "The Nexus of Politics and Terror."
Cheney warns that if Kerry is elected, the USA will suffer a "devastating attack"
GOP convention in a nutshell (quicktime)

Rove: GOP to Use Terror As Campaign Issue in 2006

8.) Religion and Government are Intertwined: Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

Jerry Falwell cleared of charges that he broke federal election law by urging followers to vote for Bush
NC congressman proposes law making it ok to preach politics from the pulpit
Texas Governor Mobilizes Evangelicals
Family research council: Justice Sunday
Thou shalt be like Bush: What makes this recently established, right-wing Christian college unique are the increasingly close - critics say alarmingly close - links it has with the Bush administration and the Republican establishment.
Park Service Continues to Push Creationist Theory at Grand Canyon and other nat'l parks

9.) Corporate Power is Protected: The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

The I.R.S.’s scrutiny of the nation’s biggest companies is at a 20-year low
A Bush administration plan to crack down on contract fraud has a multibillion- dollar loophole: The proposal to force companies to report abuse of taxpayer money will not apply to work overseas, including projects to secure and rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bush continues to abuse his power and issues a signing statement to avoid pesky things like a "commission to probe contracting fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan"
4,000 Mine Safety Violations Ignored On Bush Administration Watch
Bush Reappoints Mine Safety Chief Who Bungled Crandall Canyon Disaster
GAO report: The White House “pressured the Environmental Protection Agency to weaken requirements that companies annually disclose releases of toxic chemicals
The K Street Project is a project by the Republican party to pressure Washington lobbying firms to hire Republicans in top positions, and to reward loyal GOP lobbyists with access to influential officials. It was launched in 1995, by Republican strategist Grover Norquist and House majority leader Tom DeLay.
American Conservative Magazine: One U.S. contractor received $2 million in a duffel bag... and a U.S. official was given $7 million in cash in the waning days of the CPA and told to spend it “before the Iraqis take over.”
There are 6 Congressional Committees investigating the Oil-for-Food (UN) scandal, yet not a single Republican Committee Chairman will call a hearing to investigate the whereabouts of 9 billion dollars missing in Iraq
Bush money network rooted in Florida, Texas: Since Mr. Bush took office in 2001, the federal government has awarded more than $3 billion in contracts to the President's elite 2004 Texas fund-raisers, their businesses, and lobbying clients

10.) Labor Power is Suppressed: Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

Bush vows to veto anti-terror security bill if it allows airport screeners to unionize.
Labor Department warns unions against using their money politically
President Bush Attacks Organized Labor: Bush attacked organized labor Saturday, issuing orders effectively reducing how much money unions can spend for political activities and opening up government contracts to non-union bidding.
March 2001: President Bush signed his name to four executive orders on organized labor last month, including one that cuts the money unions will have for political campaign spending.
Congress and the Department of Labor are trying to change the rules on overtime pay, eliminating the 40 hour work week, taking eligibility for overtime pay away from millions of workers, and replacing time and a half pay with comp days.

11.) Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts: Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested.

Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
The A to Z guide to political interference in science
Bush's new economic plan cuts funding for arts, education
Artists from all over the world are being refused entry to the US on security grounds.
A group of more than 60 top U.S. scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates and several science advisers to past Republican presidents, on Wednesday accused the Bush administration of manipulating and censoring science for political purposes
Freedom of Repression: New ruling will allow censorship of campus publications

12.) Obsession with Crime and Punishment: Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations
Citizens who have done no more than criticize the president are being banned from airline flights, harassed at airports’, strip searched, roughed up and even imprisoned.

The 10 most outrageous civil liberties violations of 2007
The United States has now become the world leader in its rate of incarceration, locking up its citizens at 5-8 times the rate of other industrialized nations.
American Gestapo is here: "There is hereby created and established a permanent police force, to be known as the 'United States Secret Service Uniformed Division.'"
America: secret jails, secret courts, secret arrests, and now secret laws
Snitch-or-Go- to-Jail bill will make pretty much anything short of reporting on everyone you see for doing just about anything a jailable offense. With minimum sentences, up to and including life without parole.
The problem with Gonzales is that he has been deeply involved in developing some of the most sweeping claims of near-dictatorial presidential power in our nation's history, allowing him to imprison and even (at least in theory) torture anyone in the world, at any time
Police officers don't have to give a reason at the time they arrest someone, the U.S. Supreme Court said in a ruling that shields officers from false-arrest lawsuits.

13.) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

Bush Cronyism: Foxes Guarding the henhouse
An illustrated guide to Republican scandals
Who's been indicted, named as a co-conspirator or convicted? The Grand Ole Docket tracks trial dates, court appearances and sentencing hearings for players in the current array of national political scandals.

The Great List of Scandalized Administration Officials
FEMA official who coordinated the fake news conference resigns, lands a new gig heading public affairs at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) was forced to give up his seat on the powerful committee after the FBI raided his home as part of the Abramoff scandal. To replace him, the GOP leadership tapped Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), who was himself recently named one of Congress’ most corrupt lawmakers.
Making Sense of the Abramoff Scandal
In preparation for upcoming Congressional hearings, Bush Administration firing federal attorneys and appointing ringers without Senate confirmation via the patriot act.
If Bush's pick is confirmed, that will mean the five top appointees at Justice have zero prosecutorial experience among them.
Iran-Contra Felons Get Good Jobs from Bush
Big Iraq Reconstruction Contracts Went To Big Donors
Bush Wars -- Crooks Get Contracts : The main companies that were awarded billions of dollars worth of contracts in Iraq have paid more than $300 million in fines since 2000, to resolve allegations of fraud, bid rigging, delivery of faulty military equipment, and environmental damage.
US Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) lost track of $9 billion
"Contracting in the aftermath of the hurricanes has been marked by waste, corruption and cronyism"

14. Fraudulent Elections: Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Secure elections bill defeated in House after Whitehouse intervenes.
A couple of election workers have been convicted of rigging a recount in Ohio following the 2004 election
Rolling Stone does some investigative and rather exhaustive digging into public documents and says we’re almost guaranteed the 2004 election results were massively rigged
Powerful Government Accounting Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings
Conyers hearing in which Clinton Curtis testifies that he was hired to create hackable voting machines (.wmv)
The Republican Party has quietly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide private defense lawyers for a former Bush campaign official charged with conspiring to keep Democrats from voting in New Hampshire.
The Conyers Report (.pdf)
No explanation for the machines in Mahoning County that recorded Kerry votes for Bush, the improper purging in Cuyahoga County, the lock down in Warren County, the 99% voter turnout in Miami County, the machine tampering in Hocking County
Less access than Kazakhstan. Fewer fail-safes than Venezuela. Not as simple Republic of Georgia. The 2004 Elections according to international observers.
This picture is what stopped the ballot recounts in Florida shortly after it seemed that legitimate President Gore had a lead. The "citizens" started what was later called "the preppy riot". Screaming, yelling, pounding on the walls, these "outraged citizens" intimidated the polling officials to halt the court mandated recount. A closer look reveals who they really were. They were bussed and flown in at Republican lawmakers expense. Some even flew in on Tom Delay's private plane.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Man, it's been a while

Due to commitments beyond my control, I haven't been able to get any information out here. My regrets. Apologies.

I have a question for you. I have a question for all America.

That is, do you know how many American soldiers were killed in action, on your behalf, in the last week?

Do you know?

Did you check?

Do you care?

If you didn't check, if you don't know, what evidence is there that you do care?

For information, there were 15.

How many were in Iraq at the time of their demise?



Okay, now you know.

The families would like you to know.

Pay attention, folks. It's important.

Let's all be careful out there.