Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saddam Hussein's death

Saddam Hussein, hate him or love him, he deserved a better ending in his death than he got. I had heard the story that his executioners swore at him minutes before his death as they were slipping the rope over his head. I find this abhorring and I question why in the world are we there engaged in an obvious ethnic struggle where revenge may take decades, a century or thousands of years. I was no fan of Saddam Hussein. I thought the noblest thing to do by Iraqi's was after they had found him guilty, for the purpose of unity in government, they would have turned him over to the World Court at the Hague for trial under the War Crimes Act. That would have justified in my mind why we were there helping the Iraqi's. Now we have, under the guise of justice, allowed the Iraqi's the expedient course to their Civil war. And make no mistake about it, this Civil war will be quite uncivil and it has begun for real now. God help those that hoped for peace, the innocent children of Iraq. It is a sad way to end 2006 for Iraqis.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Freedom and the responsibility that comes with it

What is the price of freedom and how do we pay for it every day? I love living my life freely: to choose where I live, what I do for work, where I spend my free time, where I can go and with whom I choose, how I spend my own money, who I help and who I choose not to help, what I can say, listen to and write about. If we have these freedoms as individuals, shouldn't we be mindful of people around the world who don't have the same freedoms, and allow them to exercise their freedoms as well?

Democracy works when free people think and exercise their freedoms based upon their own self-interests and what they perceive will be the consequences on others, their neighbors and family. Exercising freedom preserves our freedom in all its forms. When we take our freedoms for granted, over time, an erosion takes place. Because people who can, will take power away from those who can't protect themselves. So unless freedom is continually exercised through daily practice, it decays as all living systems do, following the basic Laws of Thermodynamics (Entropy) and dies. Some have argued that the passing of the Patriot Act killed some of our freedom.

We are aware that giving up some freedoms can significantly alter our lives as free people. So, when it comes to changes in the rule of Law governing our freedoms, we are very mindful, as a society, of what we are willing to allow and what we are not, . Now comes the ethical dilemma.

I now have the freedom to write nonsense and/or provocative thoughts on this Blog and to search for any topic I want on the internet. Since these freedoms are protected under current laws, would you vote in favor, as a free person, to take away this freedom from the rest of us? Well this is the current conscious choice faced by many Technology companies today that want to do business in China.

The Chinese Government wants to restrict what individuals can search for, along with other liberties we take for granted. They take spying on their citizens to a new level of intrusiveness. One can argue that Chinese society is not free. Therefore we would not be taking away anything from them, if we allow for the use of Technology to limit their freedoms. But wouldn't that mean that every day we allowed our Technology to be used this way, we each are responsible for creating the loss of freedom to these people? As if we were personally denying it ourselves each day of their lives? The question here is this: Should there be laws that limit the exporting of Technology to countries that would use this Technology to limit individual freedoms? The argument for trading this Technology is that if we don't sell it to them, then someone else will. Is that a meaningful and socially conscious argument? I think not, but what do you think?

Call it naive if you like, but to me, if people want to use our Technology for government purposes and you think it is good for your people, BUT you want to decide for them what they may search for and how they use it, then you are not ready or mature enough as a society for its benefits. And as citizens of the free country which has been the hope for many enslaved in the world, I say we should pass laws that restrict the conditions under which our Technology can be purchased, and that condition is it must be used as intended, or not at all. That means no censuring of key words, phrases or anything else for that matter. You buy it off the shelf, as we do.

I don't think many of us care that much about this, especially at this time of year. We care more about Iraq, Afghanistan, our soldiers away at Christmas from their families, the joy of family times as Christmas. If we want to prevent having to go to wars in the first place, we could start by a simple act and say we believe in real FREE Trade and we won't be selling our best Technologies to countries that abuse Human Rights and Freedoms, period! Forget the cheap Christmas toys from China. Spend more time on family gatherings, giving thanks for our freedoms, our good life in this country, and for all the blessings we get as a result of being lucky enough to be born here. Or to come here and call this your country too. Yes and spend less time on cheap, discounted, materialistic things you bought that were made in repressive China. Thank God that you weren't born there, as most of the world's population is. Think about the peaceful people of Tibet and what they have experienced after the Chinese invaded and took over their country. And if you are a Technology person or work for a Technology company, ask yourself if your company is doing the right thing or is it making excuses for its behavior based upon the motive of profiting? Don't take this personally; just think about it as a free person who enjoys the gift of freedom for life. Once you've thought about it, ask yourself if you disagree with your company's practice, do you feel "free" to speak your mind about it? Have you?

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

President Bush & VP Cheney and The "Games People Play"

The President appears to be playing a psychological game called "Kick Me", once coined by famous psychologist, Eric Berne, in his book, The Games People Play. He keeps on doing things that most of us are outraged about. Think of a child that wants their way, but knows their way is wrong. They do things that invite them to get psychologically "kicked". When a psychological kick is not administered, they often escalate their behaviors, almost daring us to do something about it (hence them). The abuses to our Constitution by President Bush and VP Cheney have tried our patience, as if they are wanting to test the extremes of Executive power. The Judicial Branch has handed them a few setbacks, but they disagree with their findings and reluctantly agree to follow their pronouncements, but we are dragging them all the way.

I'm afraid that the only course of action with these ultimate psychological "victims" (President Bush sees himself subconsciously this way) is to provide the psychological kick. If a kick is not administered, they usual y escalate their behavior to more intolerable ones inviting us to do something about it. That has been the profile of this President and VP.

And what form should this kick take? Impeachment proceedings, for I fear they are up to no good for the remainder of their term of office and we are watching, as well as the rest of the world, to what we are going to do about it. Will we have courage or will we decide for political expediency, with the 2008 elections on the horizon? Only time will tell.

Suggested reading: Wilkopedia on Games People Play

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Why Bush delays his decision on Iraq

He's making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who's naughty and nice, Santa Claus is coming to town. He knows if you've sleeping, he knows if you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake.

You better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout, I'm telling you why, it's too late Mr. President and Mr. VP, cause Santa Claus is coming to town. He knows about Abu Grahib, he knows about Wire Tapping without getting approval from the FISA court, he knows about your positions on torture and violations of the Geneva Convention, he knows about the incompetence during Katrina and the general incompetence in handling Iraq.

I know why you are delaying your decision about Iraq until after Christmas. You're hoping Santa is going to be good to you both. Don't worry, he won't put coal in your stockings this year. He knows you're both Oil men. So when you check your stocking this Christmas, put your hands down and grab that Oil slime. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What to do with a President that refuses to listen?

President Bush may ignore the bipartisan Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group recommendations, according to media sources today. So what's new! Did you really believe somehow he would see the light? Once in his lifetime is all that is allowed to "see the light" and he found Jesus that time. I wonder what Jesus is thinking now about him, or us?

The real question is this. Do the American people have the courage to stop Bush from making a bigger fool of himself than he has already. The country needs to initiate an "intervention" of both Bush and Cheney. Call it "tough love", but soon to be Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, needs to reconsider her earlier statement that "IMPEACHMENT" is off the table for these two. As the close friend of President Bush, the Senator from Oregon stated as recently as today. it is criminal to allow our soldiers to face roadside bombs every day and being shot by both Sunni's and Shiites in their Civil war while they are shooting each other.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A formula for Guaranteed Iraqi success!

Here's another thought about Iraqi's standing up, so we can stand down. We need to turn over the Green Zone to the Iraqi's to protect. If they can't protect even one square mile, they will never protect the country. The Iraqi politicians, Sunni, Shiite and Kurds, all have a vital interest in being protected. It has been shown that in order to solve large problems, any group that has differences, (and the 3 Iraqi groups definitely have a dog in this fight,) needs to work together to solve small problems, then with the experience they have gained and the increased trust can solve larger problems. So by having all 3 groups responsible for security in the Green Zone, there is a chance that once their lives are entrusted to each other they might compromise and rise to the occasion. If not, and they can't secure the Green Zone, the leaders will eventually be killed and a new government will need to be formed but in any event, the current stalemate will be resolved. :)

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A novel way forward for President Bush: Will he dare to take it?

There is one thing that President Bush could do to signal a change in rhetoric and a coming change in actions. He needs to get rid of Karl Rove as an advisor and the "Architect" of much of the Partisan bickering and demagoguery of the past 6-7 years. There has been no one more at cause for all the rancor than Karl Rove. He has done a disservice to this President and more importantly this country and needs to go. This could salvage the Presidents final year's agenda.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Democrats need to show what support of our troops looks like!

As today ends the Republican's control of Congress and their time comes to an end after too many years at the helm, all their rhetoric about Democrats not supporting the troops and Democrats wanting to cut and run, needs to be answered. And I have the fitting answer they should give!

As one of the first orders of business as they lead, the Democrats should restore Veteran's benefits that were cut by the Bush Administration and should pass new legislation and increase benefits for those who have given much in this war of choice by President Bush and VP Cheney. This Republican Congress followed in line with what Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld wanted. Now it's time to show what support of our troops really looks like. Nancy Pelosi, my Congressional Representative and Speaker of the House, should include this in her 100 hour strategy for leading the new Congress in January. Let's show them integrity of language and actions, something lacking these past 6-14 years by this Congress.

Vindicated at last, Hastert claims. What a joke!

Back on Oct. 2nd I posted the following Blog "Hastert: I Don't recall being informed on the Rep. Foley emails. Ah, yes, the old "I don't recall excuse. If you believe that I have a bridge I want to sell you in Brooklyn!"

Well today the Ethics panel released their findings and according to this report said, " the committee harshly criticized Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., saying the evidence showed he was told of the problem months before he acknowledged learning of Foley's questionable e-mails to a former Louisiana page. It rejected Hastert's contention that he couldn't recall separate warnings from two House Republican leaders.

Hastert said he was pleased the committee found "there was no violation of any House rules by any member or staff."

You see lying is a genetic disease of this Republican Administration. I am hoping it becomes suppressed in the Democrats genetic code as well, or we will have to cull all politicians from the general population, as vaccines against this disease don't work. There was also a lack of accountability by the leadership, including Rep. Boehner, the new minority leader. As I stated on a later posting, "Rep. Boehner knew about the problem, said he notified Speaker Hastert, and then decided to drop the matter from his responsibility, since he had told Hastert. I wonder what he would have done if it were his child that was approached by Rep. Foley and saw the emails. I'll bet he wouldn't have just told Hastert and dropped the matter! What hypocrisy!"

This is a fitting day for the Republican Party's grip on the House of Representatives. Shame, shame, shame on yourselves for not protecting our children in your keep. You deserved to lose power this time and hopefully others will learn from your mistakes. Yes it is a few bad apples that can spoil the bunch and this bunch of scoundrels is no exception.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Iraq Study Group Report

I know I haven't written anything on the Baker/Hamilton report yesterday. I won't comment on it until I have personally read the entire Report. I did the same thing with the 9/11 Commission report. I had to read all the reports published by the group before commenting. Sorry, it's going to take some time. I can comment on the spirit present when it was presented and I was very pleased that they reached unanimity in their recommendations in a bipartisan fashion. That felt like a breath of fresh air.


Bush Administration, Iraq and the Media

I was watching Tim Russert's Meet the Press from this past Sunday and came to the following conclusion regarding the media's responsibility in giving the Bush Administration a pass on this Iraq war, most likely out of fear of the power of the Presidency and what this Administration is willing to do to keep everyone off balance. Tim had been questioning Stephen Hadley and had him on the ropes with some great questions. He was questioning Bush's comments on Iraq and that the President was still pushing to stay the course right up to the mid-term election and Hadley was rebutting another view that the President wasn't wanting to make the decision on the firing of Rumsfeld for political reasons.

At that very moment I thought Russert should have responded, "That's B.S. Mr. Hadley!" Then I realized there have been many moments just like that over the past 6 years where not one media person had the guts to call them on what their statements were: "BULL S--T". If we are ever going to regain the independence of the media, respect for truth from government officials again, we are going to have to call them on their lies without consideration of fear of reprisal. That is when you know we are truly free again. We do not have a truly FREE PRESS. But I sure would like to see them take a stronger stand in the face of obvious deceit.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Best Centrist Blog Award given to The Moderate Voice

Congratulations to The Moderate Voice for receiving nominations for Blog Awards "Best Centrist Blog" for 2006. You will notice I have a link to them under my mini poll to the right. Their site is well worth the visit. I like the content and the number of daily postings they can amass. Congrats to Joe Gandelman and all the guest writers, and I add congrats to Jeremy Dibbell of Charging Rhino. It's my favorite site to visit daily.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Gates testimony yields some hope for bipartisanship

I listened to about 3 hours of testimony today by Dr. Gates, identified by President Bush as Donald Rumsfeld's replacement for Secretary of Defense. I must admit the answers showed candor and a freshness I hadn't heard come out of Washington in along time. Answers to questions such as, "I don't know Senator, but I promise to do all I can to get up to speed on that if I am confirmed", and, "Yes Senator, I would hope that we can approach the Defense of our country in a bipartisan manner and I am certainly going to do all I can to make that happen."

In answer to specific questions on whether as Defense Secretary Gates will turn over requested to Congress he said, "Senator, if it is within my authority I will!"

There were other comments by Dr. Gates which suggest to me he will offer the President his views and not slant them to what the President wants to hear. He was asked about independent Intelligence groups such as the one headed by Doug Fiffe, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and Dr. Gates responded that he didn't like much any Intelligence group outside of those empowered with the responsibility for Intelligence for the country. This is also good news as the Defense Dept. had a group do just that under Rumsfeld so they could shape Intelligence to fit what the president wanted.

There is a distinctly new breeze blowing in Washington DC and our Government offices and hallways and it is not just a change in season towards winter. It is the effect of the result of the mid-term election and waht it means to the average American. maybe they are listening this time. Time will tell but I am a little more optimistic today.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bush accepts Bolton's resignation effective January

Today, President Bush announced he is accepting the resignation of John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador. Finally a decision Bush has made that was the right decision. Maybe he is listening after all. There were reports he was considering to use loopholes in the law to keep Bolton on, but many, including Senator Joe Biden, counseled against the move to bypass the law.

I will give credit when credit is due and this President has taken a small step towards bipartisanship. I had written a post in May 2005 asking, "Is this the man you want to be U.S. Ambassador to the UN?" It has taken this long for this battle to go away. At least while Mr. Bolton was at the U.N., he didn't embarrass us as a nation, and actually, from a historical point of view, may be seen to have done a good job. Thanks for submitting your resignation Mr. Bolton and thank you Mr. President for accepting, it in the spirit of bipartisanship

Sunday, December 03, 2006

It's all about me!

Kenyan's without food and starving send their wives to the cities for prostitution so they can buy food, Darfur has a population that is being eliminated through genocide, Global Warming is interesting as long as I don't have to sacrifice. It's all about me instead of us, isn't it. When is humanity going to awaken. Is it going to take a world catastrophe to act? Will it be too late then? I know, it's the holidays and who can afford to spend the time on others when it's about me and what I want. What ever happened to our social conscience? It got sublimated to the Bush/Cheney Administration fear mongering and we all bought in didn't we.

There are people all over the planet that truly care what happens to others. But it isn't enough. When we have a tragedy we want others to be thinking about us. But we must first think of others and that is what Christmas is supposed to be about. Maybe we will get back to the original meaning. Many are suffering more now than ever before. You can start with a random act of kindness and ask the person to pass it on to someone else.

Rumsfeld's leaked memo here

Rumsfeld's leaked memo on drawing down forces is here, courtesy of the NY Times and excellent reporting as usual I might add. It's no wonder the Administration doesn't like the NY Times. by these recent leaks, the NY Times has restored my confidence in them. Now to the story.

Since among several recommendations by Rumsfeld 2 days before he was removed from office by President Bush and a day before the elections, Rumsfeld sounds like a Democrat, not the leader of the Dept. of Defense. Several options given to the President included:

"Conduct an accelerated draw-down of U.S. bases. We have already reduced from 110 to 55 bases. Plan to get down to 10 to 15 bases by April 2007, and to 5 bases by July 2007."

"Position substantial U.S. forces near the Iranian and Syrian borders to reduce infiltration and, importantly, reduce Iranian influence on the Iraqi Government."

"Begin modest withdrawals of U.S. and Coalition forces (start “taking our hand off the bicycle seat”), so Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks, step up and take responsibility for their country."

Some of these same suggestions were made over the past 3 years by Senator Joe Biden. The question I have now is: Who could have leaked these memos and done such a public service?" And is there another purpose behind the leak? Does it provide cover to Bush and Cheney when the Baker Commission report comes out later this week? Rumsfeld's litany of options is probably going to be contained in the Commissions report. Does this make Bush's "Stay the Course" option less viable and impossible to defend? I hope so!

Thanks again NY Times reporters!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Want Iraqis to stand up? Give a timetable for closing the Green Zone!

It seems so obvious, yet nothing is written on the subject. You can't get the Iraqi military to stand up until you get the Iraqi GOVERNMENT to stand up and take charge. The Government officials are too comfortable in the Green Zone so why should they try and get the army and police to stand up? However, you give them a timetable for closing the Green Zone, where they enjoy complete protection against insurgents and the sectarian violence which have resulted in a Civil War, and watch how fast they take action!

Either give the government 6 months to stand up and take control or we will be closing the Green Zone! Right now there is no incentive for Sunnis and Shiites to negotiate with each other. I think this would definitely give them an incentive! Who needs the Baker Commission's recommendations? This suggestion will be better than anything they can come up with. Check back next week, after they have issued their findings, and see if this was correct.
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