"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin
Saturday, January 28, 2006
(guest post by -Scott)
" Staying the Course "
Results of Bush's War on Terrorism
2003 world incidents of terrorism: 1,898
2004 world incidents of terrorism: 2,640
2005 world incidents of terrorism: 4,483
( Covers both domestic and international incidents of terrorism. )
SOURCE: The National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism
" Staying the Course "
Recent Results in Bush's Push
to a Democratic Middle East
Egypt: militant Muslin Brotherhood in Egypt wins significant gains in elections.
Lebanon: militant Hezbollah wins significant gains in elections.
Iran: a newly elected President of Iran: When recently responding to the question of what measures have you adopted to ward off threats by the US and Israel?
"A global front against oppression and hegemony is now taking shape and all noble nations, justice seeker, and thoughtful individuals are gradually putting hands in hand to shape up a vast front against the hegemonic system and mentality." - Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 1/20/06.
Iraq: Shi'a majority backed by militia with close ties to Iran wins significant gains through elections.
Palestine: militant Hamas wins significant gains through elections
Friday, January 27, 2006
Some Gave All
Twenty years ago,(January 28,1986) space shuttle Challenger blew apart into jets of fire and plumes of smoke, a terrifying sight witnessed by the families of the seven astronauts and by those who came to watch the historic launch of the first teacher in space.
I recall with aching clarity exactly where I was on that cold January morning. Living in Fairbanks, Alaska, working as a school crossing guard. It was a cold clear morning, the temperature was in the negatives, my son Robby, who was only 2 at the time, lay asleep in the back seat of our station wagon (you know, the car families drove before mini vans took over). The car was running, so it would stay warm inside, I listened to the radio as I waited for each group of kids to come along. I remember the countdown, although to be honest I wasn't really paying that much attention. It wasn't a big deal in the overall scheme of my life.
I remember the chill that ran down my spine when the announcer said, "Oh dear God!". Then there was this long minute of silence, when he spoke again there was a tremble in his voice. It was clear he was having a hard time maintaining his composure. It was heartbreaking. I had to get out to help a few late stragglers cross, I remember feeling weak, shaking. Their bright, happy little faces had no idea the tragedy that had just befallen our nation. Our world.
As I look back I realize it wasn't the event itself that shook me so much as it was the feeling of being an unseeing witness to death. One moment they were there, bright, shining with hope, and excitement, the symbol of exploration and adventure. The next they were gone.
"It was one of those defining moments in your life that you will always remember," said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who had flown on the shuttle mission preceding Challenger. "Because in 1986, the space shuttle was the symbol of technological prowess of the United States and all the sudden it's destroyed in front of everybody's eyes."
On board that morning was the first civilian in space. How appropriate that it should be a school teacher. A builder and shaper of young minds. Christa McAuliffe joined flight commander Dick Scobee, pilot Mike Smith and astronauts Ellison Onizuka, Judy Resnik, Ron McNair and Greg Jarvis.
Today I take my hat off to the crew of the Challenger, to all those who have gone before them and who have come after. It is through their sacrifice that we may one day see human life expand from our little planet into the universe and beyond. They too served their country. They too gave their all.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
State of the Union
Soon the President will deliver his annual 'State of the Union' address. As gut wrenchingly boring as it will be we all need to take the time to watch and listen. As he stands before us, a nation he has sworn to serve with dignity and honor, he will tell us all is well
here in the land of Oz. The economy is booming, we're on the verge of seeing his tax cuts becoming permanent, the Patriot Act needs to be made permanent, and Alito needs to be confirmed. The war he will tell us is moving right along. Iraq is well on her way to becoming an independent country, a thriving democracy.
When you hear these things said to you by your Commander in Chief,(one only need watch him to understand why the acronym COC is SO appropriate here) a man YOU may well have voted for, not once but TWICE. Try remembering a few things.
Our nation now has the highest national debt it has EVER known. EVER. Our children won't have to worry about it. Nope it will our grandchildren who are left to deal with this monumental debt. Yes, there will be those who will tell you it's no big deal. Just ask yourself if it's no big deal why can't we get it paid down? If the economy is booming then why are we seeing Ford Motor Company announcing they will be laying off 30,000 employees over the next few months?
Ask yourself is the Patriot Act really vital to our security or is it just another means of chipping away at the Constitution? Placing more and more power in the executive branch of the government. That's the President by the way. If your a Republican ask yourself if you really want to entrust that kind of power to the next President. Who by the way, just might
be another Clinton.
About those tax cuts. Have YOU benefited from them? Do you personally know anyone who has? Or are you and your family still struggling just to make ends meet?
Now, lets talk about Iraq. Lets start with this exert from a story by CNN reporter Michael Holmes."It was January 27, 2004, my third "tour" of Iraq. I'm now nearing the end of my fifth, and the sad reality -- for me, at least -- is this place seems less secure each time I've come. More necessary security, more danger, a greater likelihood you could get killed doing your job.
I've had my share of risky assignments, from Afghanistan to Gaza and the West Bank, Rwanda to Romania during the 1989 revolution. None come close to the daily feeling here that anything could happen to you, at any time."
Now add this,"Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a "thin green line" that could snap unless relief comes soon, according to a study for the Pentagon.
Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who wrote the report under a Pentagon contract, concluded that the Army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency. "You really begin to wonder just how much stress and strain there is on the Army, how much longer it can continue,"
Do they look like THEY believe this administrations claim that all is getting better? Do YOU?
The next time someone mentions supporting the troops, remember that report by a Mr Krepinevich.
While your at it, remember that now on an almost daily basis we are seeing the ongoing saga with Iran. Condlazza Rice is traisping her way around Europe and the Middle East talking tough talk about what "Iran has to do...". I can't help but wonder just what Ms Rice is going to be doing when Iran tells her she can take her ultimatum and stick it where the sun don't shine? Will she strap on military garb and put her butt on the front lines? Will Bush, or Rumsfield, or Cheney, or Rove? Will THEIR children? No. No, they'll expect you and me to send OUR children, and grandchildren. Just like they expect our children and grandchildren to shoulder the responsibility for country so deep in depth, we owe our souls to China.
This man who stands before you, who told you he was going to be a "uniter" not a divider. He was going to bring honor and dignity to the White House, and he is standing there lying to you. Oh they won't call it lies. No, it's perceptions. It's spin. Of course when Clinton lied about Lewinski that was perception and spin too. Did YOU give HIM a break? Did his lie cost anyone other than himself a single thing?
Speaking of honor and dignity, take a look at the scandal involving numerous Senators and Congressmen. Ask Jack Abramoff if he was greasing the palms of republicans AND democrats? Why would he? Democrats had no power to do him any good. Again, just try reality. Take a look at Duke Cunningham, Tom DeLay and Bob Ney.
It's time for a good old fashioned house cleaning in the halls of Congress. A good many people need to be sent home and maybe to the penalty box (jail). This is an election year. If your state has Senators and Congressmen up for election, take the time to take a long hard look at them. Are they REALLY serving YOUR best interest? Or their own? If all politicians are corrupt then it's time we put a stop to it. Kick them out of office, and keep kicking them out, until they get the message.
"IF" you live in Alabama and you are even thinking of voting for Roy Moore, please let me know because we need to have a very long talk about voting responsibly. Bob Riley is an excellent governor (yes I KNOW he's republican). To even consider replacing him with Roy Moore is sheer idiocy. Seriously. Sorry if that offends you, but this is OUR state we're talking about here.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
just who's choice is it?
As we mark the anniversary of Roe-v-Wade this week, we are facing the real possibility that this may be the last year this landmark ruling will stand.
The Supreme Court handed down its decision in Roe vs. Wade on Jan. 22, 1973, and abortion has been legal in the United States ever since. But efforts to restrict or outlaw the procedure have been just as enduring. Many are convinced the appointment of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court all but insures this controversial decision will be overturned.
This is such a difficult topic, and not just for me. People feel passionately about abortion. As they should. As for me, I'm strongly anti-abortion, but equally strong in my pro-choice stance. Abortion is bad, and the ideal number of abortions is zero. By conceding that, we don't end the debate, we narrow it. Once we agree that the goal is fewer abortions, the only thing left to debate is how to get there. As a politician might put it: "My opponent and I are both pro-life. We want to avoid as many abortions as we can. The difference is, I trust women to work with me toward that objective, and he doesn't."
What bothers me most about this issue is the hypocracy on both sides.
Anti-abortionist will tell you it's all about the 'sanctity of human life'. Yet they have no problem handing out death sentences or sending men and women into war, to die for the 'cause' de jour. Nor do they exhibit much concern for that life they've deemed most valuable once it's taken it's first breath. In other words they're all for forcing that drug addicted, homeless woman (or any woman for that matter) to have a baby she neither wants, nor can afford, but it's not their
problem what happens to that 'precious life' once it's a living breathing human being. By large they abhor welfare (entitlement) programs and the idea of a national insurance program is equally abhorent to them. Which leads me to believe it isn't so much about the sanctity of life as it is about punishing women for having sex. Any woman. Because even married women who have sex and get pregnant (even if they were using protection and it failed) should be forced to carry every pregnancy to term. No matter if it destroys her mentally or emotionally. She should have thought of that BEFORE she lay down and gave her body away.
Then you have the pro-choice crowd. They will tell you every woman should have the right to make this most personal decision herself. This is the most personal of all personal decisions. Those same people will turn right around and sit idly by while a man decides to end the life of his comatose wife. Even as her parents and family beg him to simply turn her welfare over to them and allow them to care for her. They're devoutly anti-death penalty, which is punishment for having committed a crime, but have no problem with ending the life of a fetus even in the last tri-mister of pregnancy.
Our planet is overpopulated. The population keeps growing. Overpopulation is one of the biggest threats to this planet and will be the issue
of the 21st century. The number 1 environmental issue facing mankind is overpopulation. But, will unlimited access to abortion help to resolve that issue? Maybe not. Look at China. A country where abortion is not only legal but state sanctioned and still they have the largest population in the world.[source
There are people who believe abortion is murder. I'm not one of them. One can hardly argue that we are at least killing something when we abort. However, as a society, we make choices of life and death all the time. For example, we let people in Africa starve to death. Is that murder? I think it's comes closer to murder than abortion.
There are those who say their faith tells them abortion is immoral. Okay, fine. That's your opinion. Your entitled to your OPINION. You are NOT entitled to force that opinion on ME or any other woman.
The bottom line seems to be not the morality of abortion, not the sancitity of life, but WHO gets to make the decision about that life and the life of the woman in who's body that life resides. Anti-abortionist say they, and the government should get to make that decision. Pro-choicers say only the woman and her doctor should have any say in that choice. Regardless of her age, or her reason(s).
I purpose the following, the next time you are confronted with this issue ask yourself the following.
If you are against abortion, are YOU willing to take that woman into your home, support her, provide for her medical care. Once the child is born will YOU take it, raise it, insure it's health care, it's education, meeting all it's needs until it reaches the age of 18? If not, then shut the hell up and mind your own business.
If your pro-choice and you want this woman to decide what's best for her, ask your self, how did she get to this point? Could she have done more to prevent this unwanted pregnancy? Is this her first abortion? Is she using abortion as a means of avoiding responsibility for her own careless actions? If she's further along that 8 weeks ask yourself why did she wait so long to face up to the situation and make a decision? Has she even considered the possibility of adoption? Does she understand what an abortion is? What really happens when that life is sucked from her body?
Because these are questions that need to be answered. We should never become complacent about an act of such significance.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Crude Quagmire in Freedom & Religion
(guest contributor -Scott)
After eliminating the weapons of mass destruction threat the US purpose and policy doctrine adjusted. It says that the US would have gone in anyway to “liberate” the Iraqi people into freedom and democracy – in general - even if Iraq’s primary export was anchovies rather than serving as second largest proven oil reserve in the world.
The only ones looking beyond that present asserted doctrine of truth is a tiny clump of conspiracy theorists, some partisan lunatics, a handful of un-Americans and a few misguided terrorist enablers. These misfits would ask if oil might not have had anything to do with it. They would question the noble purpose of giving the gift of freedom and democracy to the Iranian masses – an unconscionable insult that none should introduce into any dialogue of respectable truths.
(For this posting I would ask readers please put aside existing bias stemming from understandings that prior to elected Bush and his father were both chief executives of their own oil companies. The Royal Family of Saudi Arabia directed at least $1.4 billion in investments and contracts to companies in which the Bush’s and their associates held prominent positions. Vice President Dick Cheney is former CEO of Halliburton, the US’s largest oil-services company, and Condoleezza Rice is a former director of Chevron Texaco and an oil supertanker is named after her. All that - off the table please.)
Nevertheless, inherent in the “gift of freedom reasoning” is a fundamental problem at the core of our military quagmire; its the small issue of creating a free democratic Iraq with a Shi’a majority. Iraq’s Shi’a majority has close ties with Iran which is 90% Shi’a. Iran would, of course, also be an “axis of evil” for about 3 years and inextricably connected to Iraq by many substantive mutual interests and geographic adjacency.
Iran controls 10% of the proven world oil reserves from which it currently produces 30% of the world’s needed oil as OPEC’s second largest producer. (note: it holds the world’s second-largest reserve of natural gas too.) Analysts have suggested Iranian oil production has been considered untouchable by economic sanctions – too many depend upon it. Analysts estimate gasoline prices in the US would double and 1 million jobs would be lost if Iran halted oil production. Nevertheless sanctions were proposed to the United Nations (UN) in the past couple of weeks by Bush’s Cheney and Britain’s Blair, (re-establishing Iran as still being an evil empire axis.)
For “three birds with one stone” contextual background: only six (6) world nations reported revenues in 2003 higher than US-based ExxonMobile - who also earned the world’s highest profits. (There were 185 nations reporting lower annual revenues than Exxon.) The next-highest oil revenue giants were British-based “Shell” and “British Petroleum”(BP). Oil companies have economic interests impacted by UN policy. Those economic interests would be larger than most member nation interests. Oil companies don’t (yet) hold seats or vote at the UN - but they have politicians who do.
Iraq also shares borders with Saudi Arabia, which holds 25-30% of proven world oil reserves and world leading oil exporter. Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a minority are appallingly repressed by a US-backed Royal Family, (described as a fundamentalist tyranny), connected to the Bush Family (and associates) through private investment. If freedom for Iraq’s Shi’a majority was “genuine” the political effects will reach across its border into the concentration of Shi’a in eastern Saudi Arabia. It is difficult to imagine Bush, (of all people), acting to destabilize the Saudi Family rule, i.e., spreading the gift of democracy and freedom there.
The US may maintain major concentrations of forces in the Middle East for a very long time. So long as the US has substantive forces in Iraq, its interests, (which include oil interests), will retain control of access and flow of oil. Regarding the sideshows: as long as our fledgling democracy needs protection from both an insurgency and our “axis of evil” next door in Iran, (see: threat of suspected WMD), and while Al Qaeda runs about uncaught threatening…it seems reasonable, if not sort of certain, we’d continue beholden to camp out in that quagmire. In this is a suggestion that if this nation’s Truth were instead a framework focused on solving oil-related challenges - those paying costs of this war may be motivated to consider other solution sets – no?
read all about...
Here at The Podunt Post we are going to try something new over the next few weeks. Hopefully it will work out well and become permanent.
I firmly believe now is the time for using the immense talent, excellent thinking and writing skills that are abound in the blogosphere. This election year is an opportunity for "we" the people to step up, take a stand and fight like hell to get as many democrats back into the halls of Congress as we can.
This includes the commenters who do not have a blog. People like Scott for example. Scott is a frequent commenter here at the Post, and I have invited him to join me as a regular contributor to this blog. I believe Scott has a great mind and a plethora of ideas to share with us.
It is my hope that between the two of us we can keep the good work going and address as many of the relevant issues as possible. I also hope that in some small way we may inspire others to join the fight.
Scott, welcome aboard.