Sunday, July 30, 2006

Restoring America's image -taking a very different path

I have given much thought as to how to bring American hope and stature back into the World. My thoughts coalesced this morning after two pieces of information fell into place. The first was supplied by Tom Friedman, of the NY Times in his latest article, "On the eve of madness, yet again, in the Middle East."

In the article Friedman said, "America should be galvanizing the forces of order - Europe, Russia, China and India - into a coalition against these trends. But we can't. Why? In part, it's because our president and secretary of state, although they speak with great moral clarity, have no moral authority. That's been shattered by their performance in Iraq.

The world hates George Bush more than any other U.S. president in my lifetime. He is radioactive - and so caught up in his own ideological bubble that he is incapable of imagining or forging alternative strategies."

The other piece of information was provided by my local newspaper's Editorial page. It was written by Todd Hooper, the Republican candidate for Congress, who is opposing Democratic Congresswoman, Lynn Woolsey. (Woolsey called for the impeachment of George Bush just before our June primary, in which she beat her Democratic opponent, who was trying to unseat her.)

The Republican candidate, Todd Hooper, states, "Impeaching the President would be a colossal distraction for Congress and the nation, and particularly misguided at this junction in our history. Solutions to critical issues - the war, immigration, federal deficits, education - would be delayed and distorted by the circus atmosphere. Even most Democrats in Congress don't want impeachment because they know that nothing productive would result. We learned this from President Clinton's impeachment process."

Friedman is correct about what this President has brought us in the world. And I totally disagree with Todd Hooper. Impeaching President Bush AND VP Cheney is probably the one single thing that would send a message to the rest of the world that the American people have reclaimed their government.

It would put into perspective our disagreement with the stated policies of Bush and Cheney from their acceptance of torture as a means to deal with prisoners from Abu Grahib to GITMO, renditions of people we capture and scoop of the streets of cities in Italy and elsewhere, to violations of the Geneva Convention, and the illegal spying of Americans without FISA Court approval. In addition we would be saying loud and clear that we think we need to use more diplomacy in the world, we should be uniting our supporters and dividing our enemies and not through military means.

I have said many times over the past 5 years, I am ashamed at what our government has done on behalf of America. If Americans aren't ashamed they should be before it is too late. So I can't think of anything more important to the world and our country than to initiate impeachment proceedings against them. And to Todd Hooper's claim most Democrats in Congress don't want impeachment because they know that nothing productive would result and we learned this from the Clinton impeachment, I say wrong again. Maybe that is what you learned, Todd. I learned it was a waste of time to drag a President (Clinton) through impeachment process for covering up an illicit, but personal affair, which is not the same nor as serious a matter as a President (Bush) who has repeatedly broken the laws he swore to uphold, violated the Constitution of the United States and will violate a treaty, namely the Geneva Convention, (which we were major players in its formation after World War II) and the authorization of NSA spying on Americans in direct violation of our law which stated that this must be approved by a FISA Court. Even the ABA has scolded the President on his repeated use of "signing statements", over 800 to be more precise, in which, while he signs the law passed by Congress into effect, he states he will not follow the laws.

This is how to bring hope back to a very fearful world with apocalyptic events shadowing common sense and civility. It is time for us all to speak out. Friedman has stated courageously the obvious but unspoken truth. Reading carefully between the lines, he is saying a very similar thing. Because there is little hope this President will change. As Andrew Sullivan, of The New Republic and writer for Time, said this morning on the Chris Matthews show, "he (Bush) has a fantastically strong denial mechanism – that’s how he has survived his whole life! It means he can deny the reality in front of him, especially as a recovering alcoholic – has a very clear idea of black and white and can’t tolerate gray.”

There is still time before the whole world blows up, but time is running out and Americans must be willing to see how things are not going well under this President. We are not better off today than we were 7 years ago. That is what Todd Hooper needs to address as he has embraced a party which has failed America. At least Congresswoman Woolsey (D) has a very positive and powerful suggestion of how to right the wrongs that have been done. I say Bravo! It isn't an easy solution but it is a courageous one and one that would gain the respect of the world.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Lou Dobbs on this President's Signing statements

Here Lou Dobbs joins the conversation about President Bush and signing statements:

Dobbs: Why is the president ignoring our laws?
Bush, feds flout the Constitution by finding ways around laws

By Lou Dobbs

Wednesday, July 26, 2006; Posted: 9:56 a.m. EDT (13:56 GMT)

Lou Dobbs argues that President Bush has been flouting the Constitution by picking and choosing which laws he enforces.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- With upraised right hand and left hand on the Bible, each of our presidents, from George Washington to George W. Bush, has solemnly sworn to "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution of the United States.

The American Bar Association claims President Bush has violated that oath by issuing hundreds of "signing statements" to disregard selected provisions of the laws that Congress passed and he signed.

A bipartisan, 11-member panel of the ABA found that President Bush is not only disregarding laws but using such signing statements far more than any president in history. In fact, Bush has used signing statements to raise constitutional objections to more than 800 provisions in more than 100 laws. All of the presidents combined before 2001 had issued only 600.

The ABA asserts that signing statements cannot be a substitute for a presidential veto and that such an assertion of presidential power amounts to a line-item veto, which the Supreme Court already has ruled unconstitutional.

The matter will likely be resolved in court. But it stands as a metaphor for a 21st century America that is no longer secure in the claim to be a nation of laws.

President Lincoln devoutly believed that rule of law assured that ours would continue to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Lou Dobbs and I agree on that! See my previous posting below.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Presidential Signing statements and the ABA

The American Bar Association has issued a statement again on the defiance of this President to keep his sworn oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.

The ABA opposes the issuance on Presidential signing statements that claim the authority or state the intention to disregard or decline to enforce all or part of the law the President has signed, or to interpret such a law in a manner inconsistent with the clear intent of Congress. The ABA, a Conservative organization, reasonably urged Congress to "enact legislation enabling the President, Congress, or other entities or individuals, to seek judicial review, to the extent constitutionally permitted, in any instance in which the President claims the authority, or states the intention, to disregard or decline to enforce all or part of a law he has signed or interprets such a law in a manner inconsistent with the clear intention of Congress."

In the history of our country from our first President, Thomas Jefferson, there have been 600 signing statements; most of which did not object to the law being signed and many were in support of the law. However since President Bush there have been 800 additional signing statements with most in disagreement of the law he has signed and many spelling out the sections he would not follow or enforce. This is a violation of the law and the Constitution and, in my humble opinion, enough grounds for impeachment of this President.

However, with duplicity from the Attorney General, the Republican controlled Congress and a neutered Congress, nothing will be done. This is why the elections in November are so important. It is the only chance the American people have of changing the Congress and switching control from the Republicans and their lack of oversight of this President, to the Democratic Party. It is more important than the Presidential election in 2008. If you truly care about your country, the Constitution and rule of law get involved now and work hard to elect enough Democrats to change the balance of power and the majority party in Congress and the Senate. This is not a partisan issue. This is about getting back the country so that it is truly a country of the people by the people and for the people!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Democracy in Iraq, the whole Middle East in turmoil- How have we created this mess?

Well the Bush doctrine has a democratically elected Iraq now telling Israel that their incursions into Lebanon and the force used is disproportionate with the capture of the soldiers and wants Israel to stop the aggression. When I watched the President at the G-8 meting, caught by the open microphone, saying things that made me cringe, I realized we have a high school student running our government. I was ashamed. But heck, I didn't vote for him. Hmmm, come to think of it a majority of Americans didn't either. That's what you get when you don't vote. You have no right to complain, but I do.

I thought we could all just wait out for his term to end in 2008 and then we would have a new President and Vice President and the world would not be that much worse in those few years. Well, based upon what is going on in the Middle East, we can still make more of a mess of things there and in the dealing with North Korea. This is the time for all Americans to speak out. Forget it's summer and you are on vacation. Maybe your vacation could have taken you to Lebanon and you would be feeling abandoned by your country, as you're trying to get you and your family out. There are not many places on earth where you will be able to "get away" if things continue as they have. It is time the Silent Majority get involved and be more accountable for the mess this Administration has gotten us into, starting with IRAQ! We must bring the troops home. We have changed the Middle East for the worse with our invasion of Iraq. Saddam Hussein, as much as he was a bad actor, kept Iran in check. With no check on Iran now, we see their tentacles reaching next door in Iraq and far beyond its borders, now entangling Israel in Lebanon, using Hezbollah as its tool.

The Bush Administration has no plans to solve any crisis, but they seem to have the standard plan to create a crisis anywhere they can.

When Katrina happened, people realized that the government couldn’t help and respond in a crisis even when they know that one is coming. My local first responders have told me that I better plan to be on my own for up to 2 weeks in a disaster.

My dear friends don't let our country's leadership off the hook. Make them accountable for this mess. We have lost the moral high ground we once had under previous Presidents from Reagan to Bush 1 to Clinton. Where our leaders and our country had stature and respect. After 911 we had the whole world with us. Since President Bush and Vice President Cheney and the idealogues chose to go to war with Iraq, we did it very much alone without the diplomatic mission and finesse his father had in getting the world to act as one in the first Iraq war. His father was wise and his son didn't learn a thing.

If we must impeach our President and Vice President because of their lack of competency, and because they have broken our laws, including the Geneva Convention and the wire-tapping of Americans without FISA Court approval, then so be it. It will be a quick process, as there is so much evidence of the failure of this Presidency and Vice Presidency.

Start getting involved if you haven't already. Write editorials to your local newspaper. Run for office. Make a comment on one of the national broadcast news stations like CNN. Apply pressure on your local governments to pass an impeachment resolution in your town. And make sure you vote this November to throw the bums out! Change Congress and you start to change the White House. If you don't, 2 years from now, you may not be able to vote, as your country must respond to a world catastrophe and voting rights have been suspended "temporarily"!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Another Katrina unfolding in Lebanon?

U.S. planning to evacuate Americans seems to me to have similarities to the response of hurricane Katrina. We knew Katrina was big and was coming and yet no quick response was planned. As I watch other countries evacuating their citizens, I wonder whether others will draw the same analogy. It isn't like we haven't had some time to address this as over a week has passed since the start of the conflict.

If folks vote to return Republicans to Congress and the Senate as the controlling party, then we certainly get what we deserve as a country.

Planning any travel soon? Well don't count on the US gov't to assist you in an emergency. That includes travel around your own city or town! What incompetence. What a mess!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Hey G-8, I get no respect!- Kim Jong il of North Norea

North Korea's Kim Jong il must be pulling the rest of his hair out of his scalp. While he sends 7 Missiles into the stratosphere on our July 4th, no sooner than a few days later, Iran gets the world's attention and then the Middle East starts to go crazy with Hamas kidnapping an Israel's soldier. Then Hezbollah in Lebanon kills several Israeli soldiers and captures two more. What does Kim have to do to get some respect? Now the G-8 meeting will not focus on North Korea as Kim had hoped but on the Middle East. Rodney Dangerfield, what can a leader do to get some respect?

If you enjoyed the satire here, think really what Kim Jong il must be considering to get some attention. It is frightening and not because of his saber rattling but the ineptness of our own government headed by the Bush/Cheney team can't manage things in parallel!

UPDATE: July 15, 2006 1:15pm PDT

Well adding insult to injury, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to demand that North Korea must stop its missile testing and that member Nations are not to trade any goods or services with North Korea that support any weapons of Mass Destruction projects or activities or aid in any development of those programs. This is the first unanimous Resolution by the Security Council against North Korea in 13 years. Still no respect for Kim Jong il.

Middle East conflagration and the Republican and Democratic Responses

And now we have the Middle East on the brink of war with Israel, and the Palestinians, Lebanon and Iran and Syria all in the mix. Where is the leadership from the Bush Administration? Many Republicans and Democrats have called for immediate intervention in a leadership role by the United States. The world has never been more dangerous, nor has the leadership by the US been so weak. This brought to you by a President and VP who follow their own path, dragging willing complicit Republicans along with them. Where are the Goldwater Republicans? Have they faded away? Can't they seize back control of the Republican Party from the Kool-Aid drinking ideologues? For the sake of the world, I hope so. Democrats have been too busy positioning themselves for 2008 and the upcoming 2006 elections. Well wake up folks, while you are playing your electoral violins, the world, including the US is burning! Grab a fire hose and help put out the fires before you get burned too!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Train bombings in India- When will world leaders say enough is enough?

World violence has been increasing dramatically since 911. Now we add to the list the Train bombings in India. My question is this, When are world leaders going to recognize it is ultimately in their best interest to join the US, Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy, Japan and others in the fight against terrorism? I was pleased to hear Pakistan's immediate condemnation of the violence in India.

A few big problems in China and Russia and you might see more of a willingness to join the cause. I thought for sure Russia would have been on board with us since their children were blown up in a school while officials seemed powerless to stop them. But Putin has not lived up to Bush's great promise of an ally here. It is time to put both China and Russia on notice that their actions do matter and avoiding any actions is the same as supporting the ideals of terrorism.
The issue with North Korea and Iran will supply ample evidence of their true intentions of both of their countries. We are either united or by default divided.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

World Cup: ITALY Wins!

What can I say, they did it. Against what seemed to be a never ending assault by France in the final 2 overtime periods, Italy won in a Goal shoot out. as France missed one and Italy got all theirs in the net.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

World Cup: Good luck Italy!

As an American with Italian decent parents, I am wishing the Italian Soccer team good luck tomorrow in its game against France. Go Italy! Walk proud, as you deserve being here.

The Treason Card- Amen Paul Krugman!

Well respected writer Paul Krugman, of the NY Times, posted something today titled "The Treason Card". I came across it not on the NY Times Website but on Voxverax Blog. Here it is in its entirety. Much of what he writes I have been saying for a long time about the Bush/Cheney team grab for total Executive power. Here is Paul's article today:

"Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Treason Card
New York Times

The nature of the right-wing attack on The New York Times — an attack not on the newspaper's judgment, but on its motives — seems to have startled many people in the news media. After an editorial in The Wall Street Journal declared that The Times has what amount to treasonous intentions — that it "has as a major goal not winning the war on terror but obstructing it" — The Journal's own political editor pronounced himself "shocked," saying that "I don't know anybody on the news staff of The Wall Street Journal that believes that."

But anyone who was genuinely shocked by The Journal's willingness to play the treason card must not have been paying attention these past five years.

Over the last few months a series of revelations have confirmed what should have been obvious a long time ago: the Bush administration and the movement it leads have been engaged in an authoritarian project, an effort to remove all the checks and balances that have heretofore constrained the executive branch.

Much of this project involves the assertion of unprecedented executive authority — the right to imprison people indefinitely without charges (and torture them if the administration feels like it), the right to wiretap American citizens without court authorization, the right to declare, when signing laws passed by Congress, that the laws don't really mean what they say.

But an almost equally important aspect of the project has been the attempt to create a political environment in which nobody dares to criticize the administration or reveal inconvenient facts about its actions. And that attempt has relied, from the beginning, on ascribing treasonous motives to those who refuse to toe the line. As far back as 2002, Rush Limbaugh, in words very close to those used by The Wall Street Journal last week, accused Tom Daschle, then the Senate majority leader, of a partisan "attempt to sabotage the war on terrorism."

Those of us who tried to call attention to this authoritarian project years ago have long marveled over the reluctance of many of our colleagues to acknowledge what was going on. For example, for a long time many people in the mainstream media applied a peculiar double standard to political speech, denouncing perfectly normal if forceful political rhetoric from the left as poisonous "Bush hatred," while chuckling indulgently over venom from the right. (That Ann Coulter, she's such a kidder.)

But now the chuckling has stopped: somehow, nobody seems to find calls to send Bill Keller to the gas chamber funny. And while the White House clearly believes that attacking The Times is a winning political move, it doesn't have to turn out that way — not if enough people realize what's at stake.

For I think that most Americans still believe in the principle that the president isn't a king, that he isn't entitled to operate without checks and balances. And President Bush is especially unworthy of our trust, because on every front — from his refusal to protect chemical plants to his officials' exposure of Valerie Plame, from his toleration of war profiteering to his decision to place the C.I.A. in the hands of an incompetent crony — he has consistently played politics with national security."

And he has done so with the approval and encouragement of the same people now attacking The New York Times for its alleged lack of patriotism.

Does anyone remember the editorial that The Wall Street Journal published on Sept. 19, 2001? "So much for Florida," the editorial began, celebrating the way the terrorist attack had pushed aside concerns over the legitimacy of the Supreme Court decision that installed Mr. Bush in the White House. The Journal then warned Mr. Bush not to give in to the "temptation" to "subjugate everything else to the priority of getting bipartisan support for the war on terrorism." Instead, it urged him to use the "political capital" generated by the atrocity to push through tax cuts and right-wing judicial appointments.

Things have changed since then: Mr. Bush's ability to wrap his power grab in the flag has diminished now that most Americans no longer consider him either competent or honest. But the administration and its supporters still believe that they can win political battles by impugning the patriotism of those who won't go along.

For the sake of our country, let's hope that they're wrong.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company"

I say Amen Paul and thanks for writing this today and thanks to Vox Verax for the posting on its Blog site.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

4th of July- Americans only day of celebrating freedom, and then it's back to work!

Today is the 4th of July and for most every year I celebrate this day by going to my local parade and pay tribute to our freedom and founding as a country, along with countless others. But this year was different for me. I didn't go to the parade and feel good about our freedom as I had in previous years. This year I made a silent protest. I did fly my crisp flag. But I realized that most Americans celebrate on the 4th of July and pay no attention the rest of the year to what has happened to their basic hard won freedoms.

I have been writing this Blog now for over a year, wanting Americans to wake up and pay attention to the fact our liberty and freedoms are being eroded by this President and VP and their Administration. There are the NSA wire-taps of our phones, bank account transactions being monitored, and recently disclosed information that political demonstrations have been monitored by Homeland Security in the city of San Francisco. If there were ever a city that was peace loving it would be San Francisco. But the Dept. of Homeland Security has been videotaping demonstrations against the war in Iraq as well as protests within the City. This is despicable and a violation of the very freedoms we are suppose to be celebrating we have, today. Please, if you are reading this, don't let the 4th of July be the only day you care about your freedoms. With an assault by the President and VP on the media of late for leaking selective information to us about these programs, they want the press to be silenced. If this happens my friends, we are only a short distance than the conditions, which were present in prewar 1939 Germany. Hitler used the law against the people to seize power of an apathetic and sleeping public. Wake up America! Let's hear from the Silent Majority before it is too late. One day you might wake up and find there aren't any 4th of July celebrations anywhere.
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