Monday, November 27, 2006

Let's Make a List

It is time to ask ourselves the questions: What should the Democrates investigate?

I think it is time to compile a list. I doubt any one of us can come up with all the things we need answers to.

After we get the list compiled we can prioritize it.

Please make your suggestions in the comments or email me at

Friday, November 24, 2006

Our Survival

Our country is made up of people from all over the world. Name a country on the planet and someone who was born there lives here. Name a religion and it is practiced here. Name a political idea and someone here advocates it.

So what do we have in common besides traffic jams, wide open spaces, sky scrappers and one room shacks?

Up until George W. Bush hit D.C. we had the United States Constitution. What will become of our society without it? Will we become a land of warring tribes and ethnic cleansings? Will our apparent ability to shrug off Habeas Corpus, wink at torture and accept what the media tells us is true lead to witches being burned at the stake? Or will we graduate to rounding up “others” and putting them in death camps?

There seems to be a concerted effort to make Muslims the enemy in this country. The poor are already the enemy and poorly educated have always been seen as less than important. Gays are objected to on religious grounds and “cooty” grounds.

We need our Constitution back if we are to go forward. A motley crew like us can not be relied on to do the right thing without guidance. Before the investigations begin (and they should) I want our new Congress to at least attempt to rescind the Military Commissions Act and the Patriot Act. They need to end warrantless wiretapping.

Only with a fully intact Constitution will this nation ever survive.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

We Will Be In This Quagmire for A Very Long Time

The number of troops we sent into Iraq was inadequate. It was not because Rumsfeld was not told ahead of time; he was. He cloaks his planning in terms of “a leaner, meaner fighting force.” The truth is his vision was to run the occupation with outsourced contractors. This serves several functions. Contractors do not get pensions which are a continuing expense for the government when it comes to taking care of our veterans. Contractors are not added to the number of troops killed and wounded, thus significantly hiding the actual number from the general public. The contractors hired by the Pentagon have close ties to the members of the Administration. What are friends for if they can’t line your pockets once they hold the most powerful positions on the planet? The contractors we sent in further outsourced their labor by bringing in desperate low paid workers from India and Southeast Asia which let the average Iraqi to fend for himself.

This alienated the Iraqi people but it should be noted that this is the model for all occupations and even disaster relief efforts. It would seem the motto of the Neo Cons is, “In every disaster let there be profit.”

The plainly stated vision of the occupation of Iraq was to set up a Super Capitalist model of how the world should work (at least in their eyes.) Step one is to privatize everything. This does two things. It places the profits in the hands of the few and removes power from the masses. If you want to survive in this model you had damned well better cooperate or you will be out of a job. Never mind that the pay will barely get you by. People busy with two jobs have little time for dissent. Sound familiar?

The Pentagon made a big show of allowing newspapers to start up all over Baghdad but beyond the atrocity of bombing Al Jazeera both in Afghanistan and Iraq they have systematically shut down the press in Iraq. Most recently the Iraqi Government shut down two television stations last week.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction was a lie. Installing Democracy is also a lie.

So where do we go from here?

If we leave the ensuing and further destabilization of the region will be exacerbated. I fear the same will happen if we stay.

If we could start all over again my first suggestion would be to not invade. Obviously that is inadequate now. Having gone in we should have excluded all private contractors, brought in an adequate force, not allowed any looting to take place at all, bestowed a general amnesty on the entire population and hired the Iraqi people to rebuild the country.

We can not start over again. Nothing that I can envision will make things better outside of a Summit Meeting in a neutral country of all concerned factions in the region. And, yes, that would include Iran and Al Qaeda.

At best this process will take years and an entirely different Administration and mindset.

For now we are simply screwed.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Looking Ahead to 2008

On the heels of this election instead of patting ourselves on the back for more than one day I think we need to look ahead to 2008. There are a couple of things we can do to positively change the course of this country. I think we should explore the possibilities.

There were a lot of referendums on the ballots across the Nation on Tuesday. I would like to first of all suggest a couple and then explore how we can get them on the ballots in our own states.

I would like first of all to propose a referendum making a print out of all ballots at every electronic voting booth in the country that will then be placed in a separate box to be counted later to verify all election results.

I would like a referendum mandating that all candidates that get “x” number of signatures on a petition to qualify him or her to run for office be given public funds for all campaign costs. I want all qualifying candidates to be given the exact same amount of money to spend as he or she sees fit. I want to ban all corporate donations to any campaign. I want to limit all private campaign contributions to $100.00. I want to ban all television, radio and print media advertising of political campaigns. I want all qualified candidates to participate in a round table debate with little or no moderator interference (let the candidates speak freely.) I want a round robin one on one debate among all the candidates under those same conditions. I want all of these debates to be aired on television and radio. I want the money for these campaigns and this airtime to be paid for with tax dollars.

I am sure there are other ideas out there. Please let me know yours in the comment section or by emailing me:

Not Yet Time For Reconciliation

There is a lot of talk about reconciliation and bipartisanship going on right now. This is the last thing this country needs right now. The Democrats swept Congress and gained six Governors not so we can sit here and watch the war and the torture and the spying go on.

We need to press our newly elected members of the House and the Senate to repeal the Military Commissions Act that allows the torture of detainees and the indefinite detention of anyone the President of the United States deems to be an “Enemy Combatant.” This Act removes Habeas Corpus from our rights and must not stand.

We need to repeal H. R. 5122 SEC. 1076. USE OF THE ARMED FORCES IN MAJOR PUBLIC EMER- GENCIES. This law allows the President to over ride the Posse Comitatus The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385) passed in 1878 after the end of Reconstruction. The Act was intended to prohibit Federal troops from supervising elections in former Confederate states. It generally prohibits Federal military personnel and units of the United States National Guard under Federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress. The Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act substantially limit the powers of the Federal government to use the military for law enforcement.

The original act referred only to the United States Army. The Air Force was added in 1956, and the Navy and the Marine Corps have been included by a regulation of the Department of Defense. This law is often mentioned when it appears that the Department of Defense is interfering in domestic disturbances. (From Wikipedia.)

We need to stop domestic spying without a warrant.After Bush decides to help us clean up his mess in Iraq; after he admits he was wrong to lie, torture and detain; after he makes certain that the torture and detentions have stopped then we can harbor thoughts about reconciliation. Until then he remains a criminal at large. Until then we must do what we must to resist him at every level of our society.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

November 8, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Hope You Voted

I just returned from voting. While standing in line behind two people who were checking in I just stopped for a moment and took in the scene. There were all kinds of people voting and all kinds of people judging. It struck me perhaps for the first time that this simple act is very precious. We have taken it for granted far too long. I know I have. Until the debacle in 2000 I had not thought enough about how serious it is. I think people are taking it very seriously now. Turnout is high in Maryland and the interest in seeing to it that it is fair bodes well.

The dirty tricks popped up today. Mailboxes in Baltimore had fake sample ballots listing the Republicans as Democrats. In Alexandria, Virginia Jim Webb’s name was reported to be lengthened to “James H. Webb” but showed up on the computer screens as “James H.” Democracy truncated.

I am sure after I post this I will find out about more dirty tricks. They happen every year. We can no longer feel secure about the official results of an election but perhaps in our history we never had a right to. Those people who feel the least secure are often more secure than those who have a false sense of security.

I want to thank everyone who voted. I want to thank every judge. I want to thank everyone who is concerned about the process.

I hope with all my heart that the Republicans lose the House and the Senate.

Monday, November 06, 2006


On this, the eve of the elections of 2006 there is certainly fear and trepidation in the air. No one can be certain of the outcome. No one can be sure their vote will be counted.

This does not absolve us of our responsibility.

When I was much younger and spent hours, days, weeks, months and even years picketing, protesting, feeding and housing the homeless and getting arrested on their behalf I was fortunate enough (early on) to meet twice a week for almost two years with Phil Berrigan.

His brother Dan was once asked by a frustrated activist, "How do you handle it when you work so hard to change people's minds and you do not get any positive responses?"

His answer was exceedingly simple and straight to the point:

"We do not have a responsibility to be heard. We have a responsibility to speak."

Follow your conscience and vote!


Sunday, November 05, 2006

My Computer is Up

I am back online and will be writing again soon.

Friday, November 03, 2006

My Computer is Down

Tuesday my computer crashed and will be going into the shop November 4. I have a warranty on the mother board and CPU which I installed last November 8 so i should be ok. My question is, "Why didn't my PC wait until the 9th?"

I have another PC in mothballs which I will set up tommorow as well. I am using my new roommate's PC to write this but he uses it most of the time he is home.

I will try to write something when things settle down.

I wish all the non Republicans luck on Tuesday!

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