I was reading through President Bush's last speech commemorating the 60th Anniversary of V-J Day when his references to WWII made me think. What is a terrorist attack? Who are terrorists?
In the speech, Bush drew a comparison to WWII and the current war in Iraq, a comparison that made me think. In an attempt to justify this illegal war in Iraq, Bush said this: "Once again, war came to our shores with a surprise attack that killed thousands in cold blood." This is where I have a problem with history. Pearl Harbor was indeed a surprise attack killing over 2,300 and launched us into war, no one would argue that. What I argue is the perception of the attack at Pearl Harbor and its reference to 9/11. When Japan attacked our Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor they were striking a military target. Granted some civilians did die but the attack itself was a military strike upon a known military target, a naval base to be exact. How then could George Bush possibly compare this to the terrorist attacks of 9/11? The World Trade Towers were not a military target, and the highjackers were not part of an army. All blame does not fall on Bush however. History teaches us that Pearl Harbor was a terrorist attack, a cheap shot if you will, on poor little America.
Because of this perceived terrorist strike by Japan on the helpless naval base of Pearl Harbor, the nuclear bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were accepted. Again, this is where I have some serious concern for the way America perceives it's actions upon others. How can the bombings of Nagasaki which incinerated 73,884 innocent civilians, and Hiroshima which incinerated 200,000 innocent civilians not be considered a terrorist attack? It was then and is to date the largest single terrorist attack launched. Those were not military bases, although there may have been some bases located inside those cities which were completely destroyed. The cold hard facts are: those were innocent people sitting in their homes in a country whose government they may or may not have supported.
Two attacks and two completely different points of view, not so surprising that both views favor the United States government. Which brings me to my next question. Who is the biggest group of terrorists in the world? The U.S.? How many innocent people have died in Iraq, a war the President continues to try to connect to the very real terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Maybe this is one of the root problems of the current administration and our way of thinking as a whole. History has been distorted. We continue to bully our way through the globe never once stopping to think of the consequences of our actions, but alas, history teaches us so.
I was reading through President Bush's last speech commemorating the 60th Anniversary of V-J Day when his references to WWII made me think. What is a terrorist attack? Who are terrorists?
Posted by Jason McMaster at 6:00 PM
Alright, so you know the number of dead US troops in Iraq: 1,643. You know about the number of wounded US troops in Iraq: 13,877. I would like to direct your attention to another little statistic created from this war: 13,263 U.S. Army medical evacuations, 6% of which were for psychiatric reasons, and this is just the Army.
A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine in July of 2004 showed 15.6% of Marines and 17.1% of soldiers interviewed after their tour of duty in Iraq "met the screening criteria for major depression, generalized anxiety, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)." This according to the the study published by the Center for American Progress: "Hidden Toll of the War in Iraq-Mental Health and the Military". Another report showed 17.4% of paratroopers showed symptoms of PTSD.
Earlier this month the Army's surgeon general stated that 30% of returning Iraq vets have developed stress-related mental health problems. This statement was the result of a survey done by the Army of 1,000 troops, a survey that found problems such as: anxiety, depression, nightmares, anger and inability to concentrate. Sounds just like the qualities I am looking for in say, a state police officer, the kind of job some of these troops will come home and work.
The standard procedure for troops departing to and returning from a war zone is the military health questionnaire that is issued to troops before departure and upon end of their tour of duty. However much like many other departments in this administration the DOD (Department of Defense) has managed to "drop the ball" on this procedure. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a Congress requested report in September of 2003 dealing with the practice of issuing the questionnaires. The GAO went over the record of 1,071 Army and Air Force members and found that 38% to 98% of the troops were missing one or both of their health questionnaires. This means that the numbers quoted above regarding troops mental health are severely under-reported.
According to Operation Truth, between January and September of 2004, the number of Iraq vets seeking care VA increased by 280%. More alarming is the 390% increase in troops needing treatment for mental health issues.
If you support this war, will you support these people when they come home from this rampage and integrate back into your community? How will the Bush administration support these mentally ill men and women who will no doubt be the next generation of people standing on the corner with a sign. Stop and add up all the numbers: the dead, the wounded, the discharged and the mentally ill. Now ask yourself if this is enough? How many more families and lives need to be destroyed by this war before support ceases?
Posted by Jason McMaster at 7:40 PM
How do you think the people of Louisiana feel about the war in Iraq right now? Martial law has been declared in New Orleans, as hurricane Katrina slams the coast. What does this have to do with George Bush and his decision to go to war?
The National Guard was established to well, guard the nation. Right now there are 8,902 National Guard and reserves serving in Iraq from Mississippi and Louisiana. These are thousands of people who could be home defending and protecting their homes and cities.
This is not a new problem, just public now. Back on August 1, 2005 ABC26.com ran this article: " LA National Guard Wants Equipment to Come Back From Iraq." The article exposed the problem of equipment taken to Iraq, namely: high water vehicles, humvees, refuelers and generators.
Wake up America, we have not made ourselves more secure with this illegal war. What has happened is that we have drained resources from the homeland thus exposing ourselves to attacks or natural disaters.
To make all this worse the Bush administration is destroying FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) the Cabinet-level agency that deals with natural disaters. The Department of Homeland Security has downgraded FEMA. They are no longer responsible for disaster preparedness. The only thing the Bush administration is concerned with is a possible terrorist attack, never mind the hurricanes and other natural disasters that are much more common.
Once again the Bush administration is not making us any more safe, just more scared so they can strip us of our rights. Eric Holdeman, director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management puts it best in his article: Destroying FEMA,
"To be sure, America may well be hit by another major terrorist attack, and we must be prepared for such an event. But I can guarantee you that hurricanes like the one that ripped into Louisiana and Mississippi yesterday, along with tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, floods, windstorms, mudslides, power outages, fires and perhaps a pandemic flu will have to be dealt with on a weekly and daily basis throughout this country. They are coming for sure, sooner or later, even as we are, to an unconscionable degree, weakening our ability to respond to them."
Posted by Jason McMaster at 3:30 PM
When will we start to lose our liberties in the name of this so-called war on terror? Many liberties have already been swept under the rug in the name of security by the Bush administration, but when will it become illegal to express your opinion? Perhaps the "snowball" has already started down the mountain.
Earlier this week the 2.7 million member strong American Legion (you know the building in every town) declared a "war on protestors". At the national convention in Honolulu, the National Commander, Thomas Cadmus, declared his wish for an end to all public protests and media events against the war in Iraq. What this means, I am not sure so here are the words of the American Legion:
"The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples."
Mr. Cadmus then went on to say: "No one respects the right to protest more than one who has fought for it, but we hope that Americans will present their views in correspondence to their elected officials rather than by public media events guaranteed to be picked up and used as tools of encouragement by our enemies."
Where do the freedoms of the average American rank with Mr. Cadmus? He had this to say about our "freedoms": "It would be tragic if the freedoms our veterans fought so valiantly to protect would be used against their successors today as they battle terrorists bent on our destruction.”
Maybe you think I am over-reacting. Certainly people wouldn't go to jail for speaking out against the government or the war? Not in America! Time for a history lesson regarding this wonderful "democracy" we have here in America and all we have to do is go back to WWI.
The First World War was very unpopular and quite similar to this war in regards to the way it was "sold" to the people via propaganda and lies. For time purposes I won't get into the Woodrow Wilson/George Bush similarities but one may be surprised regarding the anti-war movement of the day.
In the name of "security" from the Germans and other sympathizers, the Espionage Act of 1917 was passed. This act made it a crime for a person to convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its ememies, punishable by 20 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Can you imagine how bad George and company would love to resurrect this one?
People were still marching and protesting the war at this point so the Sedition Act of 1918 was passed. This act was an admendment to the Espionage Act of 1917. The act forbade an American to use "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the United States government, flag, or armed forces. Also the act allowed the Postmaster General to deny mail delivery to dissenters.
This was America in the late nineteen-eighteens, on the verge of and then involved in a war that was vastly unpopular, a war that the President led America into on the back of lies and false "intelligence". It was a country where it was illegal to speak out against the government or the troops and hundreds of people went to federal prison.
Why is this important? We must learn from history or it repeats itself over and over. America of today is not that far removed from the America of 1918. Not only did these laws choke the life out of the anti-war movement, it may be the reason we have only a two party system of government today. Eugene V. Debs, the leading Socialist of the time, and a 4 time Presidential nominee in a time when Socialism was gaining imense popularity in America was jailed for 10 years under the Sedition Act of 1918 and the entire party was suffocated without the use of the United States Postal Service. Taking away freedom in the name of freedom, how absurd!
Posted by Jason McMaster at 8:15 PM
How many families has this illegal war touched? Here is a link to the number of dead and injured American troops, it breaks down the deaths and injuries into categories and is accurate as of August 6, 2005. Unfortunately this was the deadliest month so the numbers are even higher now. Support the war? Know the facts. The blood is on Bush's hands, how many more need to come home in caskets or in wheelchairs?
Posted by Jason McMaster at 3:30 PM
Thought I would share this e-mail from The Project on Defense Alternatives, have fun.
Dear Colleague: The Project on Defense Alternatives has just added one thousand full-text links to its public access Internet Library pages. These links lead to online documents, reports, and articles published in 2005 by more than 200 official and NGO sources. Our libraries include:
>> Terrorism, counter-terrorism, homeland security: http://www.comw.org/tct/
>> Defense Strategy Review: http://www.comw.org/qdr/
>> Chinese Military Power: http://www.comw.org/cmp/
>> Revolution in Military Affairs: http://www.comw.org/rma/
>> Occupation Distress: http://www.comw.org/od/
>> War Report (Iraq & Afghanistan): http://www.comw.org/warreport/
The sites also contain more than 4,000 document links from pervious updates. I hope you find them useful for research, reference, and teaching. If so, please share the URLs with others.
>> Also see: PDA publications index: http://www.comw.org/pda/pub-list.html
>> And: PDA Military, War, & Peace Bookmarks: http://www.comw.org/pda/milbkmrk.html
Posted by Jason McMaster at 1:00 PM
Here is another E-mail from Dahr Jamail regarding the ongoing conflict in Iraq. This is the type of account we don't get from our "media". Once again here it is, if you support this war then you support this type of practice...sleep well.
*** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **** http://dahrjamailiraq.com ***
This is an appeal written by Iraqi Doctors concerning what is happening in western Iraq. It is both extremely informative as well as an important appeal. Operations in many of these areas are on going today,despite the fact that this press release is a week old: Doctors for Iraq warns of urgent humanitarian crisis as us/Iraq military attacks continue in the west of Iraq* As US/ Iraqi military attacks continue in Haditha, Rawa, Parwana and Heet in the West of Iraq, Doctors for Iraq is warning of an urgent health and humanitarian crisis unfolding on the ground.Haditha, Rawa and Parwana have been under attack for the past three weeks with US/ Iraqi military activities intensifying over the past fewdays. The main hospitals in the area are reporting shortages of medicine oxygen, sugerical kits, anti-biotics and other basic medicines. Civilians have fled to neighbouring towns and villages such as Ana andare in need of basic foods, water and shelter. Shop keepers are unable to open their premises because of the US/ Iraqi operation, and trucks with urgent food supplies are facing serious difficulties entering the seiged areas. Eyewitnesses and medical personal have told Doctors For Iraq that snipers are operating inside some of the seiged cities. Haditha hospital estimates that at least eleven civilians were killed during the attack and 15 injured. The US military prevented ambulances from entering the areas and medics from working freely. The area remains under siege. Local people say that US marines invaded the town of Rawa and carried out air strikes bombing many buildings and homes. It unclear how many civilians have been killed or injured in the areas where the military is carrying out operations a school building in Parwana was bombed with people inside the school. It is unclear how many people were inside the school and who they were. Doctors for Iraq has organised for medical aid to reach some of the hospitals and a medical team has been sent to the affected areas. The military operations in the West of Iraq have left the health care system paralysed. Hospitals in the area are unable to provide sufficient medical services for the population. The new military attacks are further compounding the suffering of people in the area. Doctors for Iraq is calling for the *_immediate_* *_end_* of US/ Iraqi military attacks in the area. Doctors for Iraqi is calling for an independent investigation into the serious breaches of the Geneva Convention, the alleged killing of civilians and obstructing medical personal from carrying out there work. We need urgent medical supplies to be delivered to the hospitals in the area.
Posted by Jason McMaster at 2:00 PM
Here in central Massachusetts, one of our local papers is the Telegram & Gazette, a paper owned by the New York Times (did you know that RedSox fans, our paper is Yankee run). I would like to take a second and point out some of the issues I have with this paper.
For an example of what I am talking about, I would refer you to yesterdays issue, Thursday, August 18, 2005. The subtle Jedi mind-tricks start on page A4 with an article about Jean Charles De Menezes, the Brazilian shot dead by British police. The first paragraph outlines the recent leaked report regarding the investigation of the shooting. It is with the second paragraph that I have issue. So here it is:
"Also yesterday, an Italian court approved the extradition to Britain of suspected London bomber Hamdi Issac but said he must remain in Italy for another 35 days so Italian authorities can finish their investigation. Issac's lawyer said she would appeal the ruling."
Here is the problem I have with this paragraph. It doesn't belong. The paragraph is there on purpose, and I believe the purpose is to lead the reader into a state of fear, to believe that Mr. De Menezes had something to do with the London bombings. Why put it there otherwise? The whole story, which is 8 paragraphs long, has to do with the investigation of his death, not the subway bombings. The bombings were used as an excuse to murder this man in public and now it is being used as an excuse once again. If I am writing about apple pie, why throw in a paragraph about jogging? Again, this is not an accident. It is a deliberate attempt to sway your thought process. Its persuasion disguised as reporting.
Yet another example of this ever-so-subtle suggestioning would be on page A12, in an article titled: Cheap gas in Iraq seen as threat to economy. Well, maybe this one isn't so subtle, as you can figure out for yourself from the story title. Other than the obvious hate-driven title of this article, I would like to direct you to the first paragraph:
"Motorists stuggling with high gas prices in the United States and Europe may be surprised to learn that consumers in Iraq pay as little as 6 cents a gallon, according to the International Monetary Fund's first assessment of the Iraqi economy in 25 years."
Why don't they mention that in Iraq, in order to fill up your canister with this super-cheap gas, you need to stand in line for 24-48 hours under constant threat of suicide bomber or military fire? Why doesn't the Telegram & Gazette mention anywhere in this article that the gas mentioned is the property of Iraq? Of course it's cheap there! It comes from there! What this article is trying to do is sway your thought once again. This time blaming Iraqis for our high gas prices and not the government. Hate the Iraqis; they have cheap gas. How dare they!
I will say this. I am not sure the T&G has any staff reporters. The articles I mentioned were written by members of the Associated Press, and maybe the blame lies there. Then again it is the T&G that chooses to publish these skewed articles under their name. Of course they also publish the weekly Thomas L. Friedman article, but this blog isn't large enough for me to start in on what is wrong with his writing.
Posted by Jason McMaster at 6:50 PM
Funny how the truth finds a way to wiggle itself free from the chains of lies. British ITV news has reported a leak in the investigation into the shooting of Charles De Menezes, who I wrote about previously in a post titled: Judge, Jury and Executioner. The facts are starting to ooze out based on eyewitness accounts and closed circuit TV footage.
The original account from police claimed they were immediately concerned with the "suspect" (you might want to substitute "innocent man" here) due to his clothing, which they claim was a bulky winter coat. Wrong! It comes as no surprise that, just as the family of Mr. De Menezes has claimed all along, he was in fact wearing a denim jacket. Doesn't that sound suspicious? Who knows what he had under that denim jacket! Maybe he had patches on it.
The second and most disturbing piece of information to leak out flies in the face of the official report, to which Blair and Lord Stevens all but congratulated the officers for their work under "stress". The original account from police claimed officers drew their weapons and ordered Mr. De Menezes to "stop", at which time the "suspect" ignored orders, ran into the subway station, hurdled a ticket barrier, and leaped onto the Northern Line train. Wrong! It turns out Mr. De Menezes was never approached or ordered to stop. The truth is that Mr. De Menezes casually walked to Stockwell Station, actually stopping to pick up a newspaper before he rode down the escalator, boarded the train and sat down. This is when British terrorists, call them police if you will, pumped 7 shots at close range into the skull and face of Mr. De Menezes. How terrifying: a Brazilian man dressed in a denim jacket buying a newspaper and boarding the train!
Remember, this is the policy of the British police. It is the policy implemented by then Commissioner of the Met, Lord Stevens. This same policy is backed by Tony Blair and George Bush; the "shoot-to-kill-to-protect" policy. Explain to me how shooting and killing an innocent man protects anyone? Who dies in the name of "security" tomorrow? You, me?
Posted by Jason McMaster at 4:45 PM
How do you feel about the Iraq war? Do you think we should leave Iraq? Do you support the troops, really? Here are some of the wonderful ways the Bush administration is showing its support for the men and women it sends to Iraq to do their bidding.
The first little story takes place in Austin Texas. Surely they support the troops in Texas. Carl Basham, a decorated Marine recently back from two tours of duty in Iraq, decided to enroll in classes at Austin Community College. Being a Texas resident, Mr. Basham thought he would only have to pay roughly $500, compared to around $2,600 for out of state registrants.
Support the troops, because Mr. Basham did two tours of duty in Iraq and he now no longer meets state requirements for residence in Texas. This means he now has to pay $2,600 a semester for these classes. Now if that isn't support, what is? I wonder if this is what the armed services mean when they speak of all the college money you can earn ( Here is an e-mail the army sent me: Hi Jason, I just wanted to get in touch with you to discuss the great opportunities in the Army Reserve. Give me a call as soon as you get this email so we can discuss, the college money, bonuses, income and vocational training. SSG Delmolino 508-347-5089)
Another great way Bush has shown his support was the government's usage of Lariam on our troops. This controversial anti-malaria medication (Is there even malaria in Iraq? Not one troop has contracted malaria-even since they stopped using Lariam last year) has been used on thousands of troops. According to Pentagon records, the number of prescriptions issued for active-duty personnel are as follows: 18,704 in 2002; 36,451 in 2003 and 12,363 in 2004 taken in the form of white pills every week.
So, what is the problem with Lariam, which is the brand name for the anti-malaria drug Mefloquine? Well, the FDA has a pamphlet (18-pages) that is required to be given to all patients receiving Lariam. Some side-effects listed in the pamphlet and on the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website are: headache, nausea, dizziness, difficulty sleeping (great for troops), depression (also a bonus for a person with a gun) and my personal favorite psychosis.
The FDA itself warns that because of these side-effects, Lariam is not recommended for people suffering from depression, anxiety or other psychological disorders. I have never been in a combat situation before, but it seems common sense to me that people in such an atmosphere might feel depression and/or anxiety. The troops are under fire and under threat of death every day. They are in Iraq; how can they not feel anxious or depressed?
These are just two examples of how the Bush administration is showing their support for the troops. How about you? How could a person possibly claim they support the troops when this so-called support results in this type of treatment by our own government on the people they claim to be our heroes? Is this how you would like the people coming back from this illegal war to be treated? What about when they come home and are living in your neighborhood with their service-issued firearm and the Lariam related hallucinations start, then will you support them?
Posted by Jason McMaster at 8:30 PM
If you really want to show some support, take that stupid meaningless ribbon magnet off your car and drive yourself to your nearest Cindy Sheehan candlelight vigil. As of this morning, there are over 1,400 planned vigils across the country. Check out MoveOn.org for your nearest vigil. If you claim to support the troops, then support the mother of someone who died in combat. She has paid the ultimate sacrifice.
The vigils start at 7:30 nationwide. Show this administration that we don't want anymore dead soldiers or grieving mothers. If you can't make it to one, then maybe you could just go out on your porch/deck/lawn, have a moment of silence, and light a candle. As a side note, you may also want to take a second during the vigil to think about the mothers in Iraq also grieving for their dead sons and daughters.
Posted by Jason McMaster at 5:15 PM
The Pentagon opposes the release of 87 photos and 4 videotapes ordered for released under the Freedom of Information Act filed by the ACLU. The photos in question come from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. I believe we all remember the first set of photos to come out of there. So, why have they not been released yet?
General Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has an answer for that. He believes if the tapes and photos are made public they could incite riots and violence. Wait, that isn't the only reason the world cannot see what we are doing to the people of Iraq. Gen. Myers also had this to say: "It is probable that Al Qaeda and other groups will seize upon these images and videos as grist for their propaganda mill, which will result in, besides violent attacks, increased terrorist recruitment, continued financial support and exacerbation of tensions between Iraqi and Afghani populaces and U.S. and coalition forces."
Stop, let's try to sort this out here. The administration is afraid that if Al Qaeda and other groups get a hold of the photos and videos that show the mighty democratic America torturing (reportedly raping) innocent people, then they might use it as propaganda? Whose propaganda mill do you think is larger? Ours or theirs? I think we may have just had a breakthrough. The images that are on the tapes and photos are the reason these groups hate us and our blatant hypocrisy. So our illegal invasion and occupation of a country did not help terrorist recruitment, but videos and photos of what our "boys" are doing in Iraq will? The truth will?
Who knows exactly what is on these tapes and photos, but judging by the lengths to which the Pentagon is going to keep them from the public would suggest they are much worse than the previously released photos. Gen. Myers had this to say of the tapes and photos: "I condemn in the strongest terms the misconduct and abuse depicted in these images. It was illegal, immoral and contrary to American values and character." I would disagree, I bet what is in the photos and tapes is exactly in line with current administration's values and character.
Certainly, the most pathetic and feeble excuse for not releasing these tapes and photos was when Gen. Myers stated that the release of these materials could instigate violence similar to what happened in May after Newsweek published a story of Koran abuse. The pathetic part of that excuse is that Gen. Myers is clearly grasping at straws. It was he who told reporters in May: "It is the judgment of our commander in Afghanistan, General Eichenberry, that in fact the violence that we saw in Jalalabad was not necessarily the result of the allegations about disrespect for the Koran, but more tied up in the political process and the reconciliation process that President Karzai and his cabinet are conducting in Afghanistan. He thought it was not at all tied to the article in the magazine." There is that propaganda mill churning again. Only in America could the government not release things the court ordered them to and use the excuse of "security" as reasoning.
Posted by Jason McMaster at 8:50 PM
What is wrong with the people in Washington? Recently democrats Joseph Biden and Hillary Clinton have called for increasing the troop size in Iraq. How at a time when even the administration is considering lowering troop levels can these democrats now decide that more troops are needed. Did they get the memo? We could send the entire population of the U.S. to Iraq and it won't solve the problem. They don't want us there! This is just another example of what is wrong with the democratic party.
Posted by Jason McMaster at 7:21 PM
This is to President Bush, his administration and anyone else who supports the war in Iraq:
If you claim to support the war then enlist. If you are too old, have your children enlist. If you have no children then send another family member. Wait until you/they are deployed to Iraq and then tell me how much you support the war. Come back here and tell me then how much you want to bring "freedom" to the people of Iraq. I beg you to throw off your facade of support, your ribbon magnets and actually put you or your family's ass on the line. When you have someone that matters to you in harms way, let me know how much you support the murder of these people.
Posted by Jason McMaster at 6:50 PM
The White House is withholding an estimated 50,000 pages of documents relating to John Roberts work as Special Assistant to Attorney General William French Smith from 1981 to 1982, and as Associate White House Counsel during the Reagan administration from 1982 to 1986. Along with those documents, the White House is also reviewing specific memoranda relating to 16 cases Roberts worked on while principal deputy to Solicitor General Ken Starr, during the Bush I administration from 1989 to 1993.
The documents in question were requested by the Senate Judiciary Committee for the upcoming nomination hearings, set to start September 6, 2005. These documents are crucial to the process, especially in lieu of the fact that Judge Roberts has little experience in the District Courts and has few published opinions. Why are these documents being held up and reviewed by the White House? President Bush hides behind the facade that this is the law and the White House has the right to withhold and review documents from previous Presidents. The fact is: it is true! On November 5, 2001 President Bush signed Executive Order 13233 ,giving the White House the power to do just that.
In order to understand Executive Order 13233, we must first look at the law the order affects, the 1978 Presidential Records Act. Among other things, it established that:
* Presidential papers are the property of the public
* Presidential papers are public record 12 years after the President is out of office
Of course, there were exceptions to the rule and in those circumstances (national security) the incumbent President did have the right to withhold and review said documents. Executive Order 13233 changed all of that, giving the incumbent President the right to withhold and review all papers and documents from previous administrations, even if the former President (after review) decides the documents may be made public. What a great deal! There is a law allowing Bush to withhold sensitive political documents because he previously made and passed just such a law saying he can; doesn't that reek of democracy?
So here we have it: the Bush administration nominates a candidate for the Supreme Court, a lifetime position on the most important court in the land, and he then sifts through, withholds, and delays the information that is needed to make a proper vote on the nominee. What are they trying to hide, and how long have they been working at this? This is not an issue of pro or con Judge Roberts. This is simply an issue of giving the Judiciary Committee the proper tools needed to do their job. Don't worry though, the administration promises the documents will be delivered by August 22, 2005, just two week before hearings are set to begin. That should be plenty of time to properly review all 50,000 pages and formulate questions.
By the way, this is not the first time the administration has refused to turn over information for the benefit of the public. Early in 2001, Bush blocked the release of 68,000 pages of confidential communications between then President Reagan and his advisors, despite the wishes of the National Archives and the Reagan library to make them public. Why was this important? The requested papers had to do with people in high ranking positions with the current Bush administration. Ah, democracy at work.
Today, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) said: "While the privilege is not absolute, it is my conclusion that the absence of any issue of misconduct and the extensive disclosure of numerous other relevant documents prepared by Judge Roberts support the White House conclusion." So let's get this straight; if there is an issue of misconduct then the President should turn over the documents? Who is going to let us know if the documents that the White House holds have misconduct issues in them--Bush?
The administration has also used the excuse of lawyer-client confidentiality for withholding documents of past Presidents. Think about it: if a lawyer represents the President, in his role as President, and the President is a public servant in a public office, then who is the lawyer really working for?
Posted by Jason McMaster at 8:00 PM
Oil prices are increasing, winter is looming, and President Bush's energy bill does not address U.S. dependence on oil, or gas and oil prices. What can be done? My suggestion is for Bush to sell off some of our oil reserves.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) was created in 1975 as a result of the 1973 energy crisis. The program was built on tax dollars and set up to prevent another economic crisis, and to have some leverage against OPEC. The SPR has a total capacity of 700 million barrels of oil. Since 2001 it has been receiving about 160,000 barrels a day, delivered to the U.S. on a "royalty-in-kind" program. This, in essence, is free oil. It comes from companies who acquire leases on the federally-owned Outer Continetal Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico. As of August 2005, the SPR was 99% full, and the Bush administrations stance on the reserve is that it is not to be touched.
On January 17, 1991, President Bush I announced that the U.S. Energy Department would sell as much as 2.5 million barrels of oil a day from the stockpile. As a result of this announcement (the U.S. did not sell that amount), oil prices around the world fell. Just the thought that the U.S. was going to flood the market with more oil was enough for the world market and OPEC to reduce oil prices.
Here we are again. Whether it's the war, civil rights, the economy, or the nation's energy, President Bush continues his one way street mentality of always taking and never giving. Why do we need 700 million barrels of oil on reserve? The whole program was set up on the American taxpayers money, and even worse the government has been receiving the oil free for the last 4 years. They owe us! Much like his father, all Bush has to do is just tell the world that the U.S. is considering releasing oil from the SPR and prices would fall back in line. Ah, but there is the ever present problem: Bush and the administration are friends of oil companies. Why would they want to help the average American when Bush and Cheney can fatten the pockets of thier oil buddies?
Posted by Jason McMaster at 8:50 PM
With the "trials" in GITMO set to start up again thanks in part to Judge Roberts, the recent memos obtained by various news sources from two former military prosecutors offer a great view into the process.
These memos were sent to the Office of Military Commissions in March of 2003, from prosecutors Major Robert Preston and Captain John Carr. Once again, if you claim to support the troops then listen to them speak of the actions of this administration.
Major Preston wrote in his memo: "I consider the insistence on pressing ahead with cases that would be marginal even if properly prepared to be a severe threat to the reputation of the military justice system and even a fraud on the American people." He went on to say: "Surely they don't expect that this fairly half-arsed effort is all that we have been able to put together after all this time." In the most telling part of the memo Major Preston expresses his dilemma with the process: "I lie awake worrying about this every night." "After all, writing a motion saying that the process will be full and fair when you don't really believe it is kind of hard, particularly when you want to call yourself an officer and a lawyer."
Captain John Carr had this to say of the GITMO proceedings: "When I volunteered to assist with this process and was assigned to this office, I expected there would at least be a minimal effort to establish a fair process and diligently prepare cases against significant accused. Instead, I find a half-hearted and disorganised effort by a skeleton group of relatively inexperienced attorneys to prosecute fairly low-level accused in a process that appears to be rigged." Later in the memo, Captain Carr had this to say: "You [chief prosecutor] have repeatedly said to the office that the military panel will be handpicked and will not acquit these detainees and that we only needed to worry about building a record for the review panel."
So there you go, straight from a Captain and a Major in the armed services who were assigned to prosecute the "detainees": the process is corrupt and rigged. The people in GITMO are low-level accused who have been illegally detained, tortured and now are being dragged through a kangaroo court. How can anyone support the detention of these people? Even the administration is starting to admit that most of the detainees are not the "most dangerous" people that they had previously claimed. This is obvious from the recent Bush plan to release nearly 70% of the 510 detainees from Guantanamo.
Posted by Jason McMaster at 2:10 PM
I would like to direct you to a post by JJ, on Truth Be Told, dated August 7, titled Bush on Vacation. This information is too good not to pass on. How can Bush justify his frequent vacations while Americans and Iraqi's die everyday? No matter if you agree with Bush or not the amount of days he has spent on vacation should be a crime. How can he claim to be making America safer while relaxing on his ranch in Texas?
Posted by Jason McMaster at 8:10 PM
Posted by Jason McMaster at 4:45 PM
Thought I would post a list of reports and essays worth reading. They are in no particular order, and some have to do with the agenda of the current administration and some of the social issues of war. Enjoy!
The War Prayer- Mark Twain
The National Security Strategy of the United States of America
Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations
The Changing Balance Of U.S. and Global Dependence On Middle Eastern Energy Exports
Securing The Bomb- An Agenda For Action
National Strategy for Homeland Security
Rebuilding America's Defenses- Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century (Report for PNAC)- drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice- president), Donald Rumsfeld (defense secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), George W Bush's younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff) in September, 2000.
War Is the Health of the State- Randolph Bourne
The War and the Intellectuals- Randolph Bourne
Posted by Jason McMaster at 3:05 PM
I don't usually like to post other people's work on this blog, but this interview by Dahr Jamail is too important to just link to. These are the words of U.S. soldiers who have been to Iraq. How can you possibly support the war after hearing their accounts?
** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **** http://www.dahrjamailiraq.com/index.php ** August 05, 2005
"What Have We Done?"
As the blood of US soldiers continues to drain into the hot sands of Iraq over the last several days with at least 27 US soldiers killed and the approval rating for his handling of the debacle in Iraq dropping toan all-time low of 38%, Mr. Bush commented from the comforts of his ranch in Crawford, Texas today, “We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq.”
Just a two hour drive away in Dallas, at the Veterans for Peace National Convention in Dallas, I’m sitting with a roomful of veterans from the current quagmire.
When asked what he would say to Mr. Bush if he had the chance to speak to him, Abdul Henderson, a corporal in the Marines who served in Iraq from March until May, 2003, took a deep breath and said, “It would be two hits-me hitting him and him hitting the floor. I see this guy in the most prestigious office in the world, and this guy says ‘bring it on.’ A guy who ain’t never been shot at, never seen anyone suffering, saying‘bring it on?’ He gets to act like a cowboy in a western movie…it’s sickening to me.”
The other vets with him nod in agreement as he speaks somberly…his anger seething.
One of them, Alex Ryabov, a corporal in an artillery unit which was inIraq the first three months of the invasion, asked for some time to formulate his response to the same question.
“I don’t think Bush will ever realize how many millions of lives he and his lackeys have ruined on their quest for money, greed and power,” hesays, “To take the patriotism of the American people for granted…the fact that people (his administration) are willing to lie and make excuses for you while you continue to kill and maim the youth of America and ruin countless families…and still manage to do so with a smile onyour face.”
Taking a deep breath to steady himself he continues as if addressing Bush first-hand; “You needs to resign, take the billions of dollars you’ve made off the blood and sweat of US service members….all the suffering you’ve caused us, and put those billions of dollars into the VA to take care of the men and women you sent to be slaughtered. Yet all those billions aren’t enough to even try to compensate all the people who have been affected by this.”
These new additions to Veterans for Peace are actively living the statement of purpose of the organization, having pledged to work with others towards increasing public awareness of the costs of war, to work to restrain their government from intervening, overtly and covertly, inthe internal affairs of other nations and to see justice for veterans and victims of war, among other goals.
I type furiously for three hours, trying to keep up with the stories each of the men shared….about the atrocities of what they saw, and committed, while in Iraq.
Camilo Mejia, an army staff sergeant who was sentenced to a year in military prison in May, 2004 for refusing to return to Iraq after being home on leave, talks openly about what he did there:
“What it all comes down to is redemption for what was done there. I was turning ambulances away from going to hospitals, I killed civilians, I tortured guys…and I’m ashamed of that. Once you are there, it has nothing to do with politics…it has to do with you as an individual being there and killing people for no reason. There is no purpose, and now I’m sick at myself for doing these things. I kept telling myself I was there for my buddies. It was a weak reasoning…because I still shut my mouth and did my job.”
Mejia then spoke candidly about why he refused to return:
“It wasn’t until I came home that I felt it-how wrong it all was and that I was a coward for pushing my principles aside. I’m trying to buy my way back into heaven…and it’s not so much what I did, but what I didn’t do to stop it when I was there. So now it’s a way of trying to undo the evil that we did over there. This is why I’m speaking out, and not going back. This is a painful process and we’re going through it."
Camilo Mejia was then quick to point towards the success of his organization and his colleagues. “When I went back to Iraq in October of2003, the Pentagon said there were 22 AWOL’s. Five months later it was500, and when I got out of jail that number was 5,000. These are the Pentagons’ numbers for the military. Two things are significant here-the number went from 500-5,000 in 11 months, and these are the numbers from the Pentagon.”
While the military is falling short of its recruitment goals across the board and the disaster in Iraq spiraling deeper into chaos with each passing day, these are little consolation for these men who have paid the price they’ve had to pay to be at this convention. They continue topay, but at the same time stand firm in their resolve to bring an end tothe occupation of Iraq and to help their fellow soldiers.
Ryabov then begins to tell of his unit firing the wrong artillery rounds which hit 5-10 km from their intended target.
“We have no idea where those rounds fell, or what they hit,” he saysquietly while two of the men hold their heads in their hands, “Now we’ve come to these realizations and we’re trying to educate people to save them from going through the same thing.”
After talking of the use of uranium munitions, of which Ryabov stated 300 tons of which were used in the ’91 Gulf War, and 2,200 tons and counting having been used thus far in the current war, he adds, “We were put in a foreign country and fire artillery and kill people…and it shouldn’t have even happened in the first place. It’s hard to put into words the full tragedy of it-the death and suffering on both sides. I feel a grave injustice has been done and I’m trying to correct it. You do all these things and come back and think, ‘what have we done?’ We just rolled right by an Iraqi man with a gunshot in his thigh and two guys near him waving white flags….he probably bled to death.”
Harvey Tharp sitting with us served in Kirkuk. His position of being incharge of some reconstruction projects in northern Iraq allowed him to form many close friendships with Iraqis…something that prompts him to ask me to tell more people of the generous culture of the Iraqi people. His friendships apparently brought the war much closer to home for him.
“What I concluded last summer when I was waiting to transfer to NSA was that not only were our reasons for being there lies, but we just weren’t there to help the Iraqis. So in November of ‘04 I told my commander I couldn’t take part in this. I would have been sent into Fallujah, and he was going to order me in to do my job. I also chose not to go back because the dropping of bombs in urban areas like Fallujah are aviolation of the laws of warfare because of the near certainty of collateral damage. For me, seeing the full humanity of Iraqis made me realize I couldn’t participate in these operations.”
Tharp goes on to say that he believes there are still Vietnam vets who think that that was a necessary war and adds, “I think it’s because that keeps the demons at bay for them to believe it is justified…this is their coping mechanism. We, as Americans, have to face the total obvious truth that this was all because of a lie. We are speaking out because we have to speak out. We want to help other vets tell other vets their story…to keep people from drinking themselves to death.”
When he is asked what he would say to Mr. Bush if he had a few moments with him, he too took some time to think about it, then says, “It is obvious that middle America is starting to turn against this war and to turn against you…for good reason. The only thing I could see that would arrest this inevitable fall that you deserve, is another 9/11 or another war with say, Iran. There are some very credible indications in the media that we are already in pre-war with Iran. What I’m trying to do is find a stand Americans can take against you, but I think people are willing to say ‘don’t you dare do this to us again.’ My message to the American people is this-do you want to go another round with these people? If not-now is the time to say so.”
The men are using this time to tell more of why they are resisting the illegal occupation, and it’s difficult to ask new questions as they areadding to what one another share.
“I didn’t want to kill another soul for no reason. That’s it,” adds Henderson, “We were firing into small towns….you see people just running, cars going, guys falling off bikes…it was just sad. You just sit there and look through your binos and see things blowing up, and you think, man they have no water, living in the third world, and we’re just bombing them to hell. Blowing up buildings, shrapnel tearing people to shreds.”
Tharp jumps in and adds, “Most of what we’re talking about is war crimes…war crimes because they are directed by our government for power projection. My easy answer for not going is PTSD…but the deeper moral reason is that I didn’t want to be involved in a crime against humanity.”
Ryabov then adds, “We were put in a foreign country to fire artillery and kill people…and it shouldn’t have even happened in the first place. It’s hard to put into words the full tragedy of it-the death and suffering on both sides. I feel a grave injustice has been done and I’m trying to correct it. You do all these things and come back and think,what have we done?”
Michael Hoffman served as a Marine Corps corporal who fought in Tikrit and Baghdad, and has since become a co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
“Nobody wants to kill another person and think it was because of a lie. Nobody wants to think their service was in vain,” says Hoffman.
His response to what he would say to Mr. Bush is simple, “I would look him straight in the eye and ask him ‘why?’ And I would hold him there and make him answer me. He never has to deal with us one on one. I dare him to talk to any of us like that, one on one, and give us an answer.”
Hoffman then adds, “What about the 3 year old Iraqi girl who is now an orphan with diseases and nightmares for the rest of her life for what we did? And the people who orchestrated this don’t have to pay anything. How many times are my children going to have to go through this? Our only choice is to fight this to try to stop it from happening again.”
Earlier this same day Mr. Bush said, “We cannot leave this task half finished, we must take it all the way to the end.”
However, Charlie Anderson, another Iraq veteran, had strong words forBush. After discussing how the background radiation in Baghdad is now five times the normal rate-the equivalent of having 3 chest x-rays anhour, he said, “These are not accidents-the DU [Depleted Uraniaum]-it’s important for people to understand this-the use of DU and its effects are by design. These are very carefully engineered and orchestrated incidents.”
While the entire group nods in agreement and two other soldiers stand up to shake his hand, Anderson says firmly, “You subverted us, you destroyed our lives, you owe us. I want your resignation in my hand in the next five minutes. Get packin’ Georgie."
More writing, photos and commentary at http://www.dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/
Posted by Jason McMaster at 5:45 PM
We are in a global war on terrorism according to Bush, but what do we do when it is the United States that is supporting/creating terrorist groups? A recent Washington Post article reveals the creation of an Iraqi terrorist group code-named the Scorpions.
The group, made up mostly of former exiles recruited by the Kurds, were authorized by a presidential finding signed by Bush in February or March 2002 according to the article. It is reported that the CIA spent millions of dollars training and equipping the Scorpions for prewar missions of "sowing confusion". It turns out the CIA did not use the Scorpions for pre-war and instead started using the armed group of thugs in the interrogation process. According to Curtis E. Ryan, an Army investigator: "At some point, and it's not really clear how this happened, they (Scorpions) started being used in interrogations...because they spoke the local dialect."
It is here that the story really starts to reveal itself. The Scorpions were used by the military to interrogate non-compliant detainees. Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush was detained after showing up at a base named "Tiger" in Qaim on November 10, 2003. First reports from the military were that he had been detained in a raid, and so the lies begin. According to a Washington Post article regarding the murder charges of two Army soldiers with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Fort Carson, Colorado, Mr. Mowhoush died in military custody November 26, 2003. What happened to Mr. Mowhoush in the 16 days of his detention illustrates the hypocrisy of this administration regarding terrorism and freedom.
Mr. Mowhoush was found dead in a sleeping-bag, wrapped in electrical cord. The official death certificate listed the cause of death as "asphyxia due to smothering and chest compression." A December 2. 2003 autopsy revealed contusions and abrasions covering Mr. Mowhoush's body along with six fractured ribs. In an interesting twist, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology's autopsy examination report regarding Mr. Mowhoush had this to say about his death: "This Iraqi [redacted] died while in U.S. custody. The details surrounding the circumstances at the time of death are classified." What was the government trying to hide?
The propaganda machine started to spin hours after Mr. Mowhoush's death. The U.S. military issued a news release claiming the detainee had died of natural causes after complaining of feeling sick. Clearly, the government and namely the CIA were trying to cover up the death of Mr. Mowhoush at this point, but why? On the day of November 21, 2003, Mr. Mowhoush was moved from Qaim to a detention facility in the Iraqi desert. It is here that he encountered the Scorpions, which led to the CIA cover-up of his death.
In the Washington Post article mentioned earlier, one Army soldier tells talks about the use of the Scorpions in interrogation processes:
"Detainees knew that if they went to those people, bad things would happen, it
was used as a motivator to get them to talk. They didn't want to go with the
masked men." Army Special Agent Curtis Ryan testified in court: "Soon after
Mowhoush's detention began, soldiers in charge of him reached a collective
decision that they would try using the [redacted] who would, you know, obviously
spoke the local, native Iraqi Arabic as a means of trying to shake Mowhoush up,
and that the other thing that they were going to try to do was put a bunch of
people in the room, a tactic that Mr. [redacted] called 'fear up' "
Mr. Mowhoush was interrogated by the Scorpions on November 24, 2003. He was then punched and beaten with a hose according to investigative records quoted in the Washington Post. It was also reported that Mr. Mowhoush had to be carried back to his cell by Army guards after his interrogation. On November 26, 2003 he was taken to an interrogation room and questioned for roughly 30 minutes. After a 15-minute break, Chief Warrant Officer Lewis E. Welshofer Jr. and Spec. Jerry L. Loper decided to put Mr. Mowhoush into a sleeping bag and tie him up in electrical cord in order to induce claustrophobia and "crack" the prisoner. Reports show that Mr. Mowhoush died at 9:06 a.m. that day.
What does the military have to say about the death? Col. David A. Teeples declared in court: "My thought was that the death of Mowhoush was brought about by [redacted] and then it was unfortunate and accidental, what had happened under an interrogation by our people." While the practice of "stuffing" a human being into a sleeping back to psychologically torture him completely unacceptable to most, it is apparently approved by the U.S. government. The real story here, however, is the CIA's creation and implementation of a terrorist group called the Scorpions.
Who knows how many people this group has tortured and/or murdered. The actions of the CIA since the death of Mr. Mowhoush indicates it is worse than can be imagined. This is the freedom we have brought to Iraq: CIA directed bands of armed thugs who beat and murder illegally detained persons of Iraq. Is this practice of creating a group that terrorizes the people of a country not terrorism? More is bound to come from this trial; the layers of lies and wrongdoings will come to the surface. Once again, the administration proves the old adage: do as I say, not as I do.
Posted by Jason McMaster at 12:15 PM
This post may be asking a bit much, but here's my request: go to the White House website and read the new fact sheet: President Bush's Second Term Accomplishments and Agenda. It may take a minute, but really read it and the propaganda within. Some people may just write this post off as Bush-bashing but it is not. This is a real critique of his supposed accomplishments and agenda. The "fact sheet" is broken down into categories so I will address each of these.
1. The American Economy Is Growing And Creating Jobs. I don't think I have to put up numbers or stats here. If you live in America, ask yourself how much better is the economy now? When was the last time you got a raise? How much have gas/oil bills increased?
2. The Deficit Is Decreasing. No thanks to Bush's tax cuts. Despite the bloated numbers the administration originally projected for the deficit and the subsequent actual deficit being a bit lower, it is not decreasing. The only thing that has decreased is the "projected" deficit.
The Central America And Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement:
1. Bush signed CAFTA to "level the playing field for U.S. workers and create new markets for American goods. Bush claims that this will keep jobs in the United States. Is that what free trade has done for America? Or are we losing our jobs to out-sourcing?
2. CAFTA makes America safer and supports young democracies in the region. I honestly don't know how to respond to this ridiculous statement, exept to say, how? (The President does not explain...)
1. President Bush will sign into law the first national energy plan in more than a decade. This is true; it is an energy plan. However, it does not address our growing dependence on foreign oil, nor does it address global warming. It does give more money to Halliburton and other energy companies in Texas, and it does ignore alternative energy sources such as solar and wind technologies.
1. President Bush will sign into law the highway bill. I don't usually quote or reference a Robert Novak article, but he hits the nail right on the head with his assesment: this bill is full of pork.
Patient Saftey Bill:
1. President Bush signed the patient safety and quality improvement act of 2005. What does this bill do? Well, in general, the legislation encourages health professionals to confidentially report errors. Patient safety organizations would be established to analyze them, look for weaknesses in the system and recommend ways to reduce mistakes and save lives -- without setting off an avalanche of malpractice lawsuits. That sounds great for doctors: make a mistake and avoid a malpractice suit. Sounds like more of Bush's support for the rich and powerful at the expense of the average American.
Class Action Reform:
1. The President signed class action reform to curb lawsuit abuse. This takes the class action lawsuit away from state courts where the people involved have issue, and turns them over to the Federal Courts where it is much harder to get a case processed. What this does is effectively stop groups of citizens from suing large corporations for damages.
1. President Bush signed Bankruptcy reform that makes the system fairer for creditors and debtors. This bill pretty much wipped out the ability for the average American to claim bankruptcy. I could go further into detail however, I direct you to my post on this subject from 4-1-05 in the archives.
A Disciplined Budget Resolution:
1. President Bush is calling on Congress to deliver a fair and disciplined budget. Obviously, it is convenient for Bush to ask Congress to do something when it benefits him (I guess there is no way to pass a budget while Congress is on recess).
War Supplemental :
1. President Bush delivered the funds our troops need to fight and win the war on terror. Did he really? Or, were the troops complaining of being ill-equipped? What about the unarmored Hummers and the soldiers without bullet proof vests? Not to mention equipment that was never meant to be used in desert warfare.
1. No child left behind is working. Is no child left behind working? It sure is for the armed service recruiters who now have access to schools and student information under this new program. Fact is that no child left behind may indeed work, but to date it has been grossly underfunded.
1. President Bush calls on the Senate to confirm Judge John Roberts before October 3rd. If the Senate does not confirm Roberts, Bush will just wait untill they are on recess. Once again I would go more in depth into this subject had it not been discussed in a previous post (7-20-05 in the archives).
1. President Bush is working hard to strengthen social security for future generations. His "hard work" was a program that would take your money and invest it into the not-so-stable stock market. We all know about this mess.
1. President Bush has called on Congress to make his tax relief permanent, repeal the death tax, and reform tax code. There really is no way to spin Bush's tax cut to the rich as a tool for economic growth, though the administration has tried. This tax "relief" does not help the economy. It is a break for the richest in the country, the people who have lived the "American dream" and now don't want to give back.
1. President Bush supports comprehensive immigration reform. Nobody wants illegal immigrants in the country taking jobs away from American workers, but isn't this supposed to be a melting pot? Everyone reading this (except Native Americans) should be thankful for our immigration policies, since at some point we were all immigrants.
1. President Bush's new medicare coverage will ensure everyone on medicare has better choices. This is a complex issue and I confess to not have the knowledge to dive into this subject so I will link to a statement by Rep. Pete Stark.
2. President Bush supports efforts to institute savings in medicaid.
1. The President supports welfare reform. No he doesn't, and having never been on welfare he has no idea what it is about. His program will mandate recipients to put in 40 hour weeks either working or doing "work activities". This may sound nice, but take it from someone who came from a single mother household that was on welfare: if a person on welfare could work a 40 hour week that paid enough to support their family, they would. Along with this, the 2005 budget cuts low-income child-care funding by $300,000. The Healthy Marriage Plan is Bush's real welfare reform bill. This bill doles out $1.7 billion in federal and state funds to marry off the poor women of America and get them off welfare. The "Healthy Marriage Plan" is tucked into the FY2005 budget, giving out grants for such things as "healthy marriage promotion and research", while further limiting options for women and the gay community.
President Bush Is Committed To Winning The War On Terror:
1. America Is Fighting Terrorism Across The World. Are we really fighting terrorism across the world, or are we interfering with people and governments? Do our actions just help create terrorism by alienating and exploiting other countries? And for the record, terrorism is a form of warfare not an enemy.
2. The President Calls On Congress To Complete Reauthorization Of The Patriot Act. Honestly, this would take another post to explain all the ways that the Patriot Act is raping the American people of their liberties. What the Patriot Act definitely does is trample all over the Fourth Amendment, just to name one.
3. A Strategy For Sucess In Iraq. Whoa, did I miss something here? We have been in Iraq for over 3 years and I see no strategy for success. Once again, this would require multiple posts. Fortunately, I have already posted on this topic multiple times. There is no strategy and if there was one, it is not working.
Posted by Jason McMaster at 4:00 PM
On Monday, President Bush came out with an endorsement of intelligent design, saying that schools should teach both theories of evolution and intelligent design. The latter is the belief that life forms are so complex that their creation can't be explained by Darwinian evolutionary theory alone, but rather points to intentional creation, presumably divine. This is where Bush and the religious right are completely off-base. They want schools across the country to teach intelligent design in science classes. The problem is this: intelligent design is not a science. As the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have stated:
Not only are intelligent design and creationism not science, but whose god do they want us to believe created all this? Teaching intelligent design in school clearly flies in the face of separation of church and state. If you want your child to learn about creationism and intelligent design send them to a private school, otherwise keep religion out of the school system.
"The claim that equity damands balanced treatment of evolutionary theory and special creation in science classrooms reflect a misunderstanding of what science is and how it is conducted. Creationism, intelligent design, and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life or of species are not science because they are not testable by the methods of science."
Posted by Jason McMaster at 12:40 PM
President Bush sure has been busy this week while Congress is on break.
First, on Monday, Bush made John Bolton the U.N. ambassador for the United States in a "recess appointment". This appointment was made despite the fact that Congress (you know, the body of government who is supposed to approve this type of nomination) did not vote on it. This means that Bolton will be the U.N. ambassador until a new Congress takes office in January of 2007. Why bother with a vote when you can sneak your man in the "backdoor"?
On Tuesday, in the newest and certainly not the last "recess appointment", Bush decided he did not need the Senate and appointed Peter Cyril Wyche Flory to the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense for international security policy. Much like Bolton, Flory had not been voted on in the Senate since his nomination in June of 2004.
Who needs democracy and Congress when you have a guy like President Bush? I don't know about you, but I trust him to make all the decisions and appoint all the people he wants without any argument or investigation. All Hail Bush!
Posted by Jason McMaster at 7:35 PM
Here we are, August 3, 2005, continuing our illegal occupation of Iraq. Despite what the Bush administration continues to say, things are not getting better. They are progressively getting worse. Iraqi security forces are under-equipped and ill-trained, if not outright corrupt. Electricity and water availability have dipped to levels never before seen in Iraq. Unemployment is at it's highest and people's properties are in ruins.
What Iraq didn't have before the United States illegaly attacked:
*Weapons of Mass Destruction
*Technology to deploy chemical/nuclear/biological weapons
*Ties with Al-Queda
*Mobile chemical weapons labs
*Any connection to 9/11
*Chaos in the streets
What Iraq has now, after the invasion and occupation:
*Plundered archeaological sites
*Cities in ruins ( like Fallujah)
*Over 100,000 dead Iraqi's
*Estimated 1,000 to 2,000 tons of Depleted Uranium (something I will address soon)
More recently, 37 U.S. military personnel have been killed in the last 10 days alone, bringing the total U.S. military death toll to more than 1,800. An even more under-reported statistic is the 6,568 wounded U.S. soldiers, and these aren't paper cuts. These are the kind of things that are happening to "our" boys when they are not out kicking in doors and stealing money and jewelry from the Iraqis we are "liberating"(if you don't believe our troops would do this type of thing check out the documentary Soldier's Pay and hear it from them).
A recent GAO report on Iraqi spending shows a complete "cluster fuck", for lack of a better word. Contracts are given without any documentation or paperwork, money is un-accounted for and corruption is rampant. Halliburton and other "Americanalistic" companies are reaping huge rewards for stealing the resources of Iraq.
Is this all worth it? Did we do what we (Bush) said we were going to do in Iraq? The "insurgency" is not dying down, security forces are not being trained/equipped well, and all we have brought to the average Iraqi is death and destruction. Please, it is time we push this administration harder to leave Iraq! Let the people of Iraq rule and govern Iraq, let them have their oil and resources. Why must we push "our version" of democracy on the people of Iraq?
Enough is enough; it is time to end this war.
Posted by Jason McMaster at 5:00 PM