Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How did Our Union get into such a State?

For the 80% of the American workforce whose salary (adjusted for inflation) has decreased as prices (adjusted for inflation) have increased, the economic outlook is not the rosy, robust one being seen by likes of exxon/mobile. Who, under the current regime's corporation based tax cut and spend economic policy, has made Record Profits. It's no wonder so many people feel the need to buy the cheapest Chinese products they can at their global wal-mart. Not that there is much surprise that the new regime's current policies do little to help those that need help.

The lack of action
in both preparing for and reacting to a natural disaster in New Orleans, despite estimations known to this presidential administration, was an appalling dereliction of duty. And saying your responsible for mistakes made, only to turn around and refuse to release documents or testify under oath concerning the "response" to Hurricane Katrina, is beyond even that. An extra marital affair and real estate deal from before you took office, and the president is made to TESTIFY UNDER OATH. Incompetence that leaves 1,200 people to die and thousands more stranded then displaced, and we get a shrug, a smile and a "heck of a". Mr. president, if you visit New Orleans before your next State of the Union speech, maybe you could leave the Garden District and walk where the flood waters raised, people scurried to rooftops and waited for Days. I guess the City of New Orleans and its police department didn't have a fleet of helicopters to swoop in from aircraft carriers sitting in the Gulf.

As Al Gore said, before he was made to refute more red lies, "A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government,” 72 HOURS. That's how long the administration, NSA, CIA, ETC. have to obtain a secret court's order AFTER performing an emergency warrant-less wiretap under the current Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Why are they still not getting these secret court orders? What judge or secret court would not grant such an order for a tap on al qaeda or someone legitimately "linked" to al qaeda? Who exactly are they tapping? Are there "fishing" expeditions going on? One can only hope they are not spying on the same peaceful activist groups that the FBI is. But don't bother asking the president, he'll just tell you, to ask is to help the enemy?

At least there is this administration's "shock and awe", "you're with us or you're against us" foreign policy. At the forefront of which is Iraq. Iraq, where cheney's friends at halliburton are giving our troops water contaminated with sewage. Iraq, where "rebuilding" funds have gone untraced, and at times were stored in footlockers and bathrooms. Iraq, where even US reports say reconstruction has hit delay after delay. Iraq, where the president's pre-emptive war of choice is "straining" Our Army. 2,245 American soldiers have been killed. 16,420 American Soldiers have been seriously injured. $240,000,000,000.00 has been spent. And for what? The "trial" of saddam hussein? The spread of democracy, in hopes that it won't be the wrath of democracy like that felt from Palestinians voting hamas into power or the less recent election of the current president of Iran? And now there are reports of a case of bird flu in Iraq. Let's hope the human to human mutation of the virus doesn't start there.

In 2000, george w. bush said “I will restore honor and integrity to the White House.” I guess, the powerful, lifelong republican, K Street lobbyist and "pioneer" for the Bush/Cheney campaign, jack abramoff must have been a "means" to justify those "ends". With ties to numerous elected officials, not the least of which is former majority leader tom delay, ohio congressman bob ney, speaker of the house dennis hastert, and the pres., who is trying to keep images of himself and abramhoff hidden better than the images of torture he let slip through rummy's hands. As reds and blues scramble to smell less like corrupt dung, and the reds claim that "they did it too", consider this. Jack Abramoff was and is a republican, the republicans currently have the power to buy, and the number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled since 2000 (the year the current regime Took office) to more than 34,750.

So as the red rubber stamped, litmus tested, federalist socialite, sam alito, gets voted into his life term seat on the highest court in the land, the president's buddy "kenny" lay goes to trial, al-qaeda's "number two" man rises from the dead to thumb his nose at us again, and a failed oil man takes center stage for a prime time speech that he has rehearsed for days, but will still have to read word for word, all we can do is wonder. How did Our Union get into such a State?

Friday, January 13, 2006

What am I hearing.

The demonizing/canonizing that was the hearings of bush nominee to the US Supreme Court, samuel alito, seemed little more then senators putting question marks on the end of their own opinions. Every question was loaded, not that alito would have given a straight answer to a straight question anyway.

Whether they were trying to educate the public with their soliloquies, or deflect the "discussion" from what the qualifications and/or predispositions of a Supreme Court nomineeee, there were points when alito was little more than a spectator as senators threw jabs at each other. And the crying of alito's wife, though enough time and text has been wasted on this already, whether planned or not, was covered to the point of being important to a nominee's chances of be confirmed a life term member of the highest court in the Country. A truly bizarre scene in a hearing that left a bad taste in the mouths of many.

With an executive drunk with power and a desperate legislature, Our judiciary needs to be more than a permanent fixture of a sitting president's positions. Unfortunately, this branch of Our government is losing my faith right along with the others.

I didn’t expect this president to nominate someone that would oppose his view on abortion. I didn’t expect the nominee to be anymore transparent than he absolutely had to be. I did expect more then senators and others coaching the nominee on how to answer confirmation hearing questions. And I did expect more from the Democrats then pin pointed attacks on two decade old statements and the use of statements made by wing nuts, other than alito, against him.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

2006, Democracy, and Hope

2006 has begun with the deaths of 200 people, including 11 US soldiers, in Iraq, 11 coal miners in West Virginia, and the "extensive" stroke of Israeli President Ariel Sharon. How sad a start. After a period of realization and mourning, how will Israel react to the absence of Ariel Sharon? How will the Palestinians, whose "democracy" has put more Hamas in the government then ever, react?

It’s funny how democracy works. The people of Iraqi voted for an Iraqi National Assembly last month, and now that results are mostly in, the Iraqi "government" is trying to figure out how to put more Sunnis in, despite all the votes against them. Chalabi has worked his way back in, in spite of the democracy that's “on the march”. In Bolivia, Chavez friend and bush foe, Evo Morales was elected president and got there by being anti-bush.

And in our democracy, the little king is bypassing the advice and consent of the United States Congress with more controversial recess appointments of his cronies and crooks. And while we wait for the Fitzgerald's next shoe to drop, we have a HUGE red lobbyist whose agreed to turn state's evidence for a deal that will cost him $26.7 million and up to 11 years in prison. Makes you wonder what the prosecutor has on him, if that's the best deal he could get. Palm greaser jack abramoff has red capos falling over themselves trying to give donations, the mafia style stoolie gave them, away but what about all the money he Raised for them. One can only hope that this scandal can really cleanse Our government of its status quo, everyday corruption. They say Democrats are involved too. But before you jump on that band wagon take a look at the dollar totals paid and raised for reds and compare that to what kickback jack did for the Democrats. Why would he be greasing down the minority anyway? But when it comes down to it, if they're dirty they don't belong there, red or blue. Watching the hearings on how abramoff and his associates fleeced Native Americans, a long standing American tradition, and used his connections to get his influence into the US Department of the Interior, I couldn't help but think, the FBI has files on PETA, follows the Mormons and the Catholic league around and has Nothing on the Conservative Republicans for the Environment's connection to lobbyist turned deputy secretary of the interior turned lobbyist, steven griles. I guess spying with these guys is focused on terrorism….. and liberalism. Spying you say?

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allows wiretaps on international calls without warrant in emergency circumstances, as long as a judicial order of approval is obtained from the secret FISA court within 72 hours. So if the administration needed to wiretap an individual who they suspected was plotting against the US, they need not wait for a warrant. They could get authorization afterward, within the 72 hour period. This law was usurped by a president who knew he could not get support from congress to change the act in favor of completely warrant less searches. He did so as an "exercise of executive discretion", to quote Solicitor General Paul D. Clement on the somewhat related recent transfer of 3 year enemy combatant Joseph Padilla. The administration also sited in their first round of reasoning that it was the "resolution that authorized the use of force in Iraq" that gave him said powers, though it states nothing about altering or completely ignoring existing law. So what do We the People get to explain whether or not the president is above the law? We get an investigation into who told the public that the administration was conducting warrant less wiretaps on Americans, not the legality of those taps. Why would this administration be held accountable for anything?

The President of the United States should be made to answer questions that have been raised of him, the administration and the policies for which He is responsible. President Clinton was put under oath, without the vice president by his side, to answer questions about an extra marital affair. In a lapse of judgment and intelligence, he lied about this affair and was impeached in the name of National Security. The current administration's list of scandals out stretch that of President Clinton or President Nixon for that matter and their ability to avoid any accountability is almost as astonishing as the lack (for the most part) of outrage seen America's citizenry and the traditional or "mainstream" media.

Maybe 2006 will bring enough indictments against the bush administration and the folks that run with them that the Country will stand up and take notice. Maybe the 2006 elections will see enough votes for Democratic and Independent senators and congressmen (and women) that the balance of power will sway from the rubber stamping right to the left of center. Maybe 2006 will see more good news that's not just bad news for the other side. I’m a hopeful man.

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream. - Martin Luther King, Jr.