Monday, December 03, 2007
Australia's new Prime Minister's first course of action after taking office today was to sign the agreement to commit to curbing carbon emissions.
"This is the first official act of the new Australian government, demonstrating my government's commitment to tackling climate change," Rudd said in a statement.
First of all I would like to congratulate Prime Minister Rudd on taking this great step in the right direction so quickly after being elected. Second I have to ask, why on earth haven't we signed yet???
I know what the first argument is going to be. We rely far to heavily on fossil fuels in this country for our economy and to restrict emissions would do far to much damage to our economy. Well that's simply not true. Yes we are far to dependent on fossil fuels, an issue we should be trying to fix not blame for lack of progress. It is true that our economy might suffer slightly but can anyone show me a single shred of proof showing that it would cause any serious damage?
I sincerely doubt that every other developed nation would not have a problem but we would, think about it we are not the only ones who are dependent on fossil fuels. As a matter of fact that was Australia's argument against it until "a new report from the environment think tank the Climate Institute, written by government and university scientists, found that Australia's economy could easily cope with strong cuts in greenhouse emissions.
It said growth would fall by only 0.1 percent of gross domestic product annually if Australia set a target of 20 percent cuts in emissions by 2020 and aimed to be carbon neutral by 2050." Although I am sure that the numbers would vary slightly for the U.S. they would probably be similar.
Even if we take a bit of a hit to the economy the benefits far outweigh the risk. If our economy slumps a little we can always bring it back, if our ozone continues to be damaged at the rate it is currently there is no way to repair it. We are not talking about something that is political or something that effects us only today. We are talking about something that could easily mean the end of life on this planet if it isn't taken seriously and we don't do everything we can to stop it.
I know that people will say I am being overly dramatic, but when you get right down to it if Global Warming isn't stopped we all die. That simple. So instead of being the bull headed people we tend to be lets take action and sign the Kyoto agreement and start to take serious measures towards stopping it.
Well over the last year or so since I have been on I have moved to beautiful Olympia, WA and I am actually preparing to join the United States Army. That's right, for all of you who always slammed my articles because you said I had no right to talk having never served, I'm putting my money were my mouth is.
I will be jumping right into the middle of things right off the bat. With the elections just around the corner, the war still raging, the Iran issue, and everything else that is going on in the world right now there is plenty to discuss.
Because I have been gone for so long I would like to just give a little refresher on the rules that I have for this blog. They are fairly simple:
- I believe very firmly in free speech and therefore I ask that everyone respect everyone else's right to their own opinions and right to post. Speak your mind, but please do so in a respectful manner.
- Although I believe in free speech I also believe that your rights end were some one's nose begins. Therefore I will not tolerate any kind of post which are purely for the purpose of slandering others, spreading bigotry of any kind (Racism, Sexism, Religious Persecution, etc.). I do understand that from time to time certain topics that are discussed will result in post which may be offensive to some but overall have a purpose of some kind. These post will be allowed, in the event that a post is set to be removed if the author is a registered user I will first attempt to contact them to allow them to edit the post to make it less offensive but still get their point across.
- Post soliciting illegal behavior of any kind will be immediately removed.
- "Spam" will be immediately removed, please stay on topic. Repeated "spamming" will result in being blocked from the blog.
These are very simple rules and if you think about it it's basic common sense, be courteous and have a good debate.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
On average Diabetes kills a person every 10 seconds around the world, and more than 3.5 million deaths per year are caused by diabetes -- equal to the amount of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS -- however the United Nations has yet to recognize World Diabetes Day. The reason, because Diabetes, has deadly has it is, is still overlooked by the majority of politicians. It's cast aside as the disease that you only get if you eat wrong and that can be controlled if people would just be responsible enough to eat right and loose some weight. The fact is that those who live with this life changing illness know that that is simply not the case.
I myself and lucky in that while I have Diabetes I have a very mild case, but billions of people around the world are not as lucky. Please take a second out of your day and sign the petitions here and here. You can learn more about Diabetes in general at The American Diabetes Association.
10 seconds of your time could save someone's life, maybe even your own. Think about that.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I would be willing to put a large amount of money down however that says that the Administration will refuse these talks citing that the U.S. does not negotiate with terrorist. What they seem to have not learned yet is that we are no longer dealing with a few terrorist in Iraq, or even a few terrorist cells. We are dealing with well organized, well trained militias who have the popular support of many of the civilians because they are local. It is time that Bush and his administration swallow their pride and admit that the best way out of this for our troops is to try and negotiate a peace with those that we are fighting and let them actually make the decisions for their government. And if that means splitting Iraq into multiple countries then so be it, it's their country they can split it if they like.
Right now more deaths are occurring because of the existence of U.S. troops in Iraq and religious differences than any other reason. The number one reason is religious differences and each religious group wanting their own territory and their own rights. The second being deaths associated with groups attempting to get the U.S. to leave, so why not let them do what they want, it's NOT our country and it's time we learned that.
Maybe I'm wrong and they have other reasons, but it would seem to me that the best way to find out those reasons and to try and stop them would be to actually talk to those who are willing, like the people asking for peace talks. The worst that can happen is that the talks fail and we go back to fighting, the best that can happen is we work out a peace deal that all parties are happy with and the fighting ends. I think the choice is clear, keep fighting and refusing to talk and the fighting and death definitely continues, or take a chance on the talks and it might end, you decide.
Call your Government Officials today and tell them you want us to take peace talks in Iraq seriously and want our soldiers home!
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
One of the most amazing things to me is that even now the administration seems to not be taking them seriously. Yes they all seem to agree that the test were real, but they are still refusing to do the one thing that might keep this from going further. Talk to North Korea directly. I mean what would it hurt for the United States to stop acting like a sulking bully for once and actually admit that sometimes the answer is to simply communicate with other countries leaders. I understand that Bush has a very limited vocabulary, but I am sure his aides would be able to walk him through direct talks. This alone would at the very least make sure that the situation doesn't escalate any further for the time being. Instead of rattling our sabers we should try actually making peace, not more war.
This first part was my reply to them....
First of all I would like to state that this is one of the most obviose money scams that I have yet to see. You give away a few things eary. For example, the fact that you claim it is a lotto, something that requires people to sign up. Right away I know it is a scam because I did not play any lotto. Also keep in mind the fact the way that lotto's can pay out is that they recieve money for the purchase of tickets from those who enter the lotto. Because I did not pay anything in again I am positive that I cannot win anything.
The next thing that jumps out at me is the fact that this email came not from "SUPERENALOTTOITALIA.COM" as it claims but from firstname.lastname@example.org. Now why would a multi million doller sweepstakes not have their own web address to send out e-mails. We are a small non for profit and we do, so I know you can afford it if you are who you say you are.
Third is the fact that you state that there was a mix up of names and addresses and you want to keep it all nice and quite until then so as to not have multiple claims, yet you know that I am a winner. Amazing how that works.
Finally there is the fact that you stated that this contest was "held on the 2ND OF OCTOBER 2006, this result was initially delayed due to mix up of numbers and addresses, the results were finally released on the 6TH OF OCTOBER" and then in the end of the message you state that I need to "Remember all prize money must be claimed not later than 30TH OF SEPTEMBER 2006. After this date, this fund will be returned to the next draws as unclaimed fund."
See a major lottery offering this kind of money would not make a typo such as this that would confuse winners into thinking that it was past the deadline already, of course the deadline to claim funds is before the drawing but hey that's just a small technicality I guess right.
There is of course the broken English, horrible grammer, and mispellings throughtout that give it away as well, but I guess that is to be expected from a putz who actually expects this kind of scam to still work. What worries me is that there is probably some poor person who is very low on their luck right now and who will buy into it just because they need any straw to grasp to and they will think that they have won. They will reply to this e-mail and you will then ask them to either pay a lump sum up front to cover taxes, or you will ask for their banking information so that you can put the money in when in fact you will simply remove whatever money they do have. One of two things will then happen. Either they fall for it and you scam them out of thier hard earned money and also break thier hearts because they were really counting on getting the money because they needed it. Or they don't fall for it and the second part still holds true when they realize it's a scam.
People like you are pathetic lowlives who should be rounded up and pelted with rocks by those that you have hurt. Rest assured that I will be reporting this e-mail to the Attorney General as well as to as many scam busters as I can to make sure that no one else falls for it. And may you die a slow and painful death for the pain that you cause others.
And this was the original email....
2006----- Original Message -----
From: "SUPERENALOTTOITALIA.COM" <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 10, 2006 6:33 PM
Subject: URGENT CONTACT
ONLINE SUPERENALOTTO LOTTO COMMISSION FROM: THE DESK OF LOTTERY DIRECTORREFERENCE NUMBER: SE/203/1200023BATCH NUMBER: 5620032 ATTN: LUCKY WINNER, RE: AWARD NOTIFICATION FINAL NOTICEThis is to inform you of the release of the Online superenalotto Lottery International sweepstake lottery-promotion held on the 2ND OF OCTOBER 2006, this result was initially delayed due to mix up of numbers and addresses, the results were finally released on the 6TH OF OCTOBER 2006, and your name attached to ticket number BL-06-0021 with Serial number 02104-06, which drew the lucky numbers of 67-31-25-05-75-07, which consequently won the lottery in the 3rd category. You are therefore approved for a lump sum payout of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS ONLY ( US$ 500 , 000 .00 ) in cash accredited to file reference number: OBL/203/1200023, This is from a total cash prize of TWELVE MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS ONLY ( US$ 12, 500 , 000.00 ) Shared among the Twenty-Five international winners in this category. TO CONFIRM YOUR WINNING VERY WELL VISIT OUR WEBSITES,www.superenalottoitalia.com and mladenmalik,www1.50megs.com/superenalotto.html CONGRATULATIONS ! Your fund is now deposited in one of our accredited finance house here in Italy insured in your favor. Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this award from public notice until your claim has been processed and money remitted to your account as this is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unwarranted abuse of this program by participants as it has happened in the past. All participants were selected through a computer ballot systems / shopping ticket-foils and traveling ticket-foils and e-mail addresses drawn from 45,000 Company names and individual names from Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, America, Africa and North America as part of our annual-international promotional programs. We hope that with this winning , you will be able to participate in our next high stake promotion of EURO 58,680,000.00 (FIFTY-EIGHT MILLION, SIX HUNDRED AND EIGHTY THOUSAND EUROS ) To begin your lottery claim, please contact your claims agent, CHRIS SIROCCOon firstname.lastname@example.org . Remember all prize money must be claimed not later than 30TH OF SEPTEMBER 2006. After this date, this fund will be returned to the next draws as unclaimed fund.NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delay and complication, please remember to quote your reference and batch numbers in every correspondence with your agent or us. Furthermore, should there be any change of your address, do inform your claim agent as soon as possible. Congratulation once again from all members of our staff and thank you for being part of our International promotion program. Yours SincerelySANDRO MARINI ***************************************************************************************************************CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail communication and any attachments may contain confidential and privileged information for the use of the designated recipients named above. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you have received this communication in error and that any review, disclosure, dissemination, distribution or copying of it or its contents is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the Gaming Control Board immediately by e-mail at email@example.com and destroy all copies of this communication and any attachments
I am going to in fact be reporting this and will let you know what happens.
Friday, September 29, 2006
The 6th Amendment states:
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."
The first thing that is unconstitutional about this new law is the fact that these suspects are not being given the right to a jury. They are being tried by military personal who are far from impartial. Not to be cynical but something tells me that a member of the armed forces may not be completely impartial towards someone accused (it's important to remember that these people have not been found guilty of anything) of killing American soldiers or plotting to.
Also they are not being informed of "the nature and cause of the accusation" in most cases. They are simply arrested for "suspicion of terrorist activity". How much more fague can you be?
The next part I am not sure of yet but I am researching and maybe someone knows the answer to this. Are these suspects being allowed to bring witnesses on their behalf? And are they being allowed access to legal council? Like I said, not sure of the answer, but trying to find out.
Then of course their is the big part of this Amendment the right to a "speedy and public trial" These suspects are not being allowed a public trial and considering most have been detained for years I would say that it is far from speedy.
Now even if you are able to look past this somehow their is one other thing. The writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum has been used since long before the U.S. was a country and has been celebrated as one of the best ways to protect freedom for centuries. The U.S. has a law which makes this not just an idea, but legally binding.
This writ allows an individual who has been detained but not yet proven guilty of a crime the right to challenge the legality of their detention. The bill that just passed in the Senate does not allow prisoners to call for habeas corpus, a clear violation of civil liberties, even if not Constitutional Liberties. The right to challenge your arrest is what keeps our legal system fair. Those who are arresting know that they can be asked to prove that they had justification to detain someone and therefore they are more likely to ensure that they actually have reason. Take this away and you have situations like the detention of Maher Arar who was detained and tortured on suspicion of terrorism when he had no real ties to terrorism at all. While mistakes like this may still happen at least with habeas corpus he would have had the opportunity to challenge his arrest and possibly shown then that he did not have any real ties, ending that horrible ordeal before it began.
It is imperative that those of us who still believe in freedom to stand up and let the Administration and Congress know that we will not allow them to take anymore of our freedoms away. Although this has now been passed in Congress and is expected to be signed by the President it can still be challenged by the ultimate protector of freedom The Supreme Court. Although I originally was worried with some of the nominations last year I have been happy to see that the Court has upheld the freedoms of the people non-politically the way that it was meant to do. I urge all of you to please write to the Supreme Court and urge them to challenge this new law and protect the 6th Amendment. Letters can be sent to:
Public Information Officer
Supreme Court of the United States
Washington, DC 20543
Please take part in this very important issue.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
I am not the only one that has said this for a very long time. Their have been so many blog debates regarding this topic that it would be impossible to read them all. But the entire time their were those, especially in the Administration who continued to stand by the belief that the Iraqi war is fighting, not causing terrorism. I have even been called unpatriotic and a soldier hater for my views regarding this.
The question is why is this a surprise? Why are there people who are actually shocked to hear that those in the intelligence sector may thing that Iraq spawns terrorism. Have Americans been so brainwashed by Bush's "every thing's going great" rhetoric that they can not see the simple logic behind this statement.
Think about it logically for a second. We invaded a sovereign nation. We then began occupying that nation turning a deaf hear to the please from it's citizens for us to leave. To makes matters even better we started torturing those citizens as well as other Muslims around the world. Add in a little rape and mass murder and you have a terrorist recruiters best ad campaign. All the Osama bin Laden's of the world have to do is point to Iraq and say "hey see what those American dogs will do if we let them" and the recruits come flocking towards them. History has proven time and time again that the oppression of a certain sect of people or a nation for the gain of others never works, and almost always backlashes against the oppressor.
Now don't take what I am saying to mean that I think our soldiers are oppressing the people of Iraq, I don't. I think that our current administration is, I think our military leadership is, but I do not think that the common soldier is. I think most soldiers are doing their job either because they truly want to help the people of Iraq and/or truly believe that they are keeping America safe or that they are following orders even though they do not agree with them because they are loyal to their country, and I highly respect them for this. I do not think however that our leaders have done them justice, and it's a shame.
The thing that is important to remember is that regardless of your intentions, good or bad, it is your actions the determine if a group of people will consider you an oppressor. Regardless of whether the U.S. Military in Iraq and the administration back home are trying to oppress the people of Iraq their actions make it seem as if they are. Any time you use torture and fear to reach a goal this is going to be the reaction. Anytime that the few bad apples of the military who commit atrocities that truly do not reflect the military as a whole (the rape of Iraqi women for example) and are not punished to the fullest extent of the law the message is sent that this must be acceptable to all of the brave soldiers in Iraq.
Now I am sure that you are thinking that a rational person would see that this is not the case, that most soldiers are just there to help and that the American people as a whole do not want an occupation of Iraq, but just want to help them rebuild. But understand that someone who just saw their best friend killed, or watched the neighborhood that they grew up in get blown up is not rational. Someone who has no money, no education available, and no way out is not thinking rationally when the "terrorist recruiter" comes along and tells them about how bad the U.S. is.
What they see is someone who can give them something the U.S. is not giving. Protection from the death squads and destruction in Iraq, and a chance to escape. Sure that escape might be for their family after they sacrifice themselves to detonate a bomb, but in their mind at least their family will be safe, and free. Whether they are right or wrong, whether you think they are completely ignorant to think this way, there is one inescapable fact. And that is that anytime you put someone in a situation were they have nothing to loose they will listen to the first person who gives them hope, in this life or the next. Right now their is no hope for those in Iraq, and the only ones talking are the terrorist, so the people are listening.
There is only one way to stop that and that is to change the way we approach our foreign policy when it comes to Muslim nations and when it comes to Iraq. Instead of automatically assuming that any group that takes up arms and is Muslim is a terrorist organization and automatically siding with the other side (i.e. Israel in their recent invasion of Lebanon) actually attempt to see why they are taking up arms and try to fix the problem instead of just condemning them and killing them.
Instead of trying to set up a puppet government in Iraq let the Iraqi people actually have a voice, and protect them from those who would try to take it away instead of standing by as those who are not of the right religious sect are killed by radicals. (Baghdad Burning's blog gives a very in depth and grim explanation of why I say this.)
And finally, if they want to separate let them! If the Iraqi people want to form three separate states, one for each major religious sect, LET THEM! It's their country, not ours. We have no right in telling them that they should be forced to stay together. What is the point of forcing three groups that obviously want their own government's to stay under the rule of one unpopular government. The only logical explanation I have been able to come up with as to why the U.S. is so adamant about Iraq staying as one nation even though the people seem to make it clear that they would like it otherwise is oil. It is easier to negotiate with one puppet government than three government that are not controlled by the U.S.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
I have to thank Steve over at Web611 for all of his help designing the site. (I should say for designing it period as he did all of the designing, I just watched in awe)
Although they can design sites of any kind I do know that hey specialize in Real Estate sites and I would definitely recommend them to anyone in this field.
Currently the site is in it's very early stages so if you have any suggestions please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, but please be kind.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Just when I thought that Congress could not find any other way to incrouch upon the Civil Liberties that we hold dear in this fine country they're at it again. The Target this time, The Internet. The holy grail of free speech. The one place were anybody and everybody can put their views up for the whole world to see without limitation and without censor, or at least that is how it is for now.
If Congress has there way companies such as AT&T and Comcast will have the right to decide what you do and do not have access to online. This is decpicable to the core. It is true that there are things online that if I had a child I would not want them to see them, so I would block them out myself, I don't need a company to do it for me.
I urge all readers to do one of, or all of these few things:
First, boycott AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner (the companies backing this attack on freedom) and make sure they know that the reason you are doing it is because you don't believe that a large company should control what can and can't be seen online in order to fatten their profit margin, or for any other reason for that matter.
Second, find out more about this very important issue by checking out these great sites that are heading up the fight to save the internet and become educated on the issues and what you can do:
And finally make sure and either sign the petitions avialable online at these sites or contact Congress and let them know that you support those politicians that want to Save the Internet.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I know that many who read my post on a regular basis are probably thinking that this is about to be a post on how bad things are being run right now in Iraq, but at the moment there are enough people talking about that and there is a much larger issue that I feel should be discussed. That is the true cost of this war. I am not talking about dollars and cents, or machinery and bullets. I am talking about the human cost. A cost that we have not truly heard about from the mass media until this report. I have, in the past, searched long and hard to find out the death toll of citizens in Iraq and could only find estimates from private relief organizations because accurate figures were either a) not being kept (which I find hard to believe) or b) were not being published in the U.S. because the government was leaning on the Media. I am glad to see that this is no longer the case.
The report is clear and well reported on here for those who have not had a chance to look at it, and because of this I do not wish to rehash what is said in the article. Instead I would like to discuss what I feel needs to be done now that this very grim report is out.
The first step that must be taken is the U.S. needs to admit that we do not have the control that we would like to think we do on the security in Iraq and we need to fix it. I do not have the audacity to claim that I have a perfect solution for how to increase security, but I know that there are those who have at least some idea of what to do, but the first step is actually admitting we have a problem. It is very hard to ask other countries to assist us in securing Iraq when we claim that everything is going wonderfully and we have it completely under control. If Bush would simply stand up and say "I was wrong, and we need help to make sure that Iraqi citizens are safe" I am sure that countries who have been very weary of helping to much because of the mess we started in Iraq would be willing to help. And I know that my respect for him would increase dramatically. The fact is as long as we keep trying to hide that the situation is FUBAR the deeper a hole we will dig.
Second, instead of simply labeling anyone who disagrees with the U.S. presence in Iraq a terrorist actually hear what they have to say. It is true that some of those who are fighting, and or instigating the fighting in Iraq would do so no matter what. But when was the last time that you heard of U.S. and U.S. backed Iraqi officials actually trying to talk peace with any of the groups fighting us. It would seem to me that it would be a good idea to at least attempt to open up communications with them. The one thing that seems to be universally known is that a large portion of the population believes that we are oppressors who are occupying their country. There is obviously a reason for this beyond our troops being there. It seems to me that if we were actively rebuilding the country and attempting to help the citizens of Iraq that a larger number of them would support the occupation, at least until they could stand on there own. The simple fact is that most do not because they do not feel that the U.S. cares about what is in their best interest, change this mindset and a lot of lives could be saved.
STOP TORTURING PEOPLE! I'll just be blunt here because I have written about this in length many times. The fact is as long as we are torturing people, or condoning the torture of people Death Sqauds and revenge killings will continue. We cannot, with any credibility, say that we are there to help the people rebuild their country after the oppression of Saddam if we are doing the same things he was. As long as we continue to harvest this kind of animosity there will always be a long line of people ready to sign up to fight against us. (It's hard to recruit someone to support your cause of peace if he knows that a week before a person from the same area was tortured because he was a suspected insurgent.)
This is the last suggestion I have. Hire a publicist. Okay this may sound a bit funny but think about it. Every time something bad happens we all hear about it. Hey I admit that I write about them and I am glad that these things come out, it is the only way that we can make improvements and hopefully learn from our mistakes. But the same should go the other way. And I don't mean here. I mean there, in Iraq. In all honesty the mindset of Americans as to the war doesn't mean didly squat when it comes to the streets of Baghdad. Yes it makes a difference in the moral of our troops but honestly if they can't already see that the war has gone to hell nothing the media is saying right now will change their minds anyway. My point is to try stopping the killing and what CNN says about the mental deficiencies of our President (or what they should say anyway, sorry I had to get at least one stab at him in here) makes no difference to a 25 year old in Baghdad who is being asked to join up with the insurgents to fight against the American invaders who are destroying his homeland and who don't care about him at all. Not saying that that is truly the case, but that is what he hears, because he only hears from one side. The people who do want to keep the killing going because they truly are sick individuals (the every day insurgent only fights because he has been made to believe the things I wrote in that last sentence) have the propaganda war in Iraq won by a long shot, because we have never tried to win it ourselves. If you would like a good idea of what the people of Iraq are feeling simply look at this blog.... http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/.... which is written by a women in Iraq.
We have the largest media industry in the world. We have more publicist in the state of California alone than probably most other countries combined. So let's put them to use. Let's get adds circulating around Iraq that show the positive side of the U.S. being in Iraq. Bush is always telling us about the things that are being built there and the fresh water and the power and whatever else, tell them, they are the ones who need to hear it. I don't know what the best way to do it would be, because I am not a publicist, but I guarantee there are those who would have some great ideas if they were asked. Maybe it's time to ask.
Regardless of whether any of these ideas sound like they are worth a damn to you I am sure that we can all agree that 3000 people dyeing in one month, and who knows how many injuries (and that not being the highest) is a crisis of utmost proportion and something needs to be done. Forget the partisan lines, forget the religious differences, we need to work together to find a way to keep more innocent people from dyeing.
On a closing note...It is very easy for us to simply not think about the human cost of a war like this. Sure we get worried when we hear about the military casualty rates, because we most likely either know someone in the military or know someone who does and so we are worried about them getting hurt. It is also very easy to worry about the fiscal cost of a war like this because we see the cost of gas and the inflation on a daily basis. It is a little bit harder to think about a person thousands of miles away who we will never meet and who we will never know. But keep this in mind, these deaths are not those of people who are fighting, but of innocent women, children, and men. Next time you see your neighbor or even your child think about how it would feel to wake up tomorrow and find out that they were shot, or blown up, or worse yet unknown because they can't be found among the bodies. Think about what it would feel like to go to school and find out it was no longer there because it was blown up, along with many people the day before. When you walk into a restaurant for lunch think about how it would feel to not be able to eat is peace because you were worried about a bomb going off at any moment, or worse yet not being able to eat at all because you don't have access to food. This post is not to lay blame, but only to hopefully help in some small way to open people's eyes to a major crisis for humanity.
If you do feel like something should be done, and you would like to help I urge you to visit the site below which contains links and information on many reputable aid orginizations. They are working to ease the suffering of the innocent civilians in Iraq and could use all of the help that they can get. Thank you.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
In a speech last week, the Pope cited a Medieval text that characterized some of the
teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as "evil and inhuman," particularly "his
command to spread by the sword the faith."
This is what started the issue, the current status...The Pope made a public apology stating that he was "deeply sorry" that Muslims had taken offense. Some are questioning if this is a sufficient apology to the Muslim community especially on the brink of his first trip into a Muslim country since his becoming Pope.
Here is my take on this. His apology is technically enough. He is saying that he did not mean to cause any offense and that is really all that is "technically" required. However in a situation as this a little more give on his end might be a good idea.
It is true that he was not referring to his own views when he cited the text, however by using it he should have had the forethought to see that it could cause offense to the Muslim community. Especially given that has a Cardinal the Pope spent a good amount of effort attempting to keep Turkey out of the EU. Whether his comments had anything to do with this or not he now needs to consider that it does make him look a bit bad to have done that and now to say something that makes him look very anti-Muslim while at the same time stating that he want to coexist with Islam.
I am of two minds on this. The first tells me that what he has offered as an apology is enough and the Muslim community should be open minded enough to accept it. The other tells me that if he is sincere in his apology it would do no harm, and a lot of good, for him to make the apology a bit more clear and personal. Something along the lines of "I am truly sorry that I offended the Muslim community, it was not my intention and I will be more sensitive in the future as we continue to work together for a peaceful coexistence." rather than something that could be interpreted as him saying that he's sorry that they got offended, but not that he said it.
Just my two cents on this issue.
This all started in 2002 when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police informed, incorrectly, the U.S. that Arar was on a watch list for possible links to al-Quida. In fact Arar was not under investigation, but had simply had brief contact with someone who was. This was a mistake on Canada's part, and they are taking responsibility for this mistake. As a matter of fact it was there investigation into the matter that showed that they were at fault in this manner. Had the mistake ended there however it would have been no problem. The U.S. would have kept a close eye on Arar while he was in the U.S. on vacation, seen nothing wrong, and let him return home without further issue. This is how it should have occurred. He should have been given his right to freedom the same way anyone else is until they are proven guilty of a crime. This, however, is not what happened.
What did happen was he was detained by the U.S. government and then sent to Syria where he was held and tortured for a year before he was released and his innocence was proven. The investigation by the Canadian government into this incident showed that not did he have no connection to al-Quida, but there was no evidence to suggest he did.
Now I know that there are some who are reading this and bursting to say, but Canada said he was under investigation for possible links and we just took there word on it, and if he was al-Quida torturing him might have stopped a terrorist attack so it was okay to try.
A few things wrong with that argument. First of all since when is suspicion, understand they had not proven a link, they were simply investigating a possible one, of a crime justify arrest and detention without a trial or that crime being proven in any way. I thought that our laws, heck our Constitution (sixth amendment for those who don't know), stated that a person had the right to a "fair and speedy trial" and that individuals could not be held without being charged of a crime. Of course the case of Jose Padilla proved that we don't extend that courtesy to our own citizens so why would we bother extending it to foreign visitors. Amazingly enought at the same time that we are doing such atrocities on our own soil we are condemning China for it's unlawful arrest of individuals...
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos condemned Chen's jailing on "questionable charges" and called on Beijing to release him and stop
harassing his family.
"We are concerned that Chen's arrest, the detention of his lawyers and the reported detention of another activist Gao Zhisheng appear part of a larger pattern of official harassment of individuals working to advocate for the legal rights of their fellow citizens," Gallegos told reporters.
First though let me clarify the other major issue with the argument that I know many will retort with. That is the part of that argument that states that "torturing him might have stopped a terrorist attack and then it would have been worth it." WRONG! I don't care what the circumstance, what the possible risk, or what the possible reward, torture IS NEVER ACCEPTABLE. Regardless of what information a person may have that could be used by us they are still a person, end of story. Humanity demands that we treat them with at least a shred of decency. Torture is such a horrid form of interrogation that every major country in the world agreed to outlaw it in the Geneva convention. Plus I seem to remember a few of the pro-war folks in the early days of the Iraqi war saying that one of the reasons we should be there is the inhumane way that Saddam treated his people, one of the reasons for this statement was that he tortured his people to get information from them and as punishment. So.....wrong for them, okay for us?
Even if we step back and forget about the inhumanity of torture, it's simply illogical as a form of interrogation. It has been proven that a person in a situation as painful and stressful as someone being tortured will say anything to get the pain to stop. ANYTHING. Not the truth, not information that will stop an attack, whatever pops into their mind that they think the interrogator will believe. They will indicate anyone, give false plans, whatever they have to do. Every time in history that torture has been used to gleam information from prisoners false information has been given. I am not saying that it always will be, you may get lucky and get some people to give real information, but the success rate if very low. Especially when you consider the fact that the people who would actually have the information a) are higher up and most likely not the ones we have and b) are fanatics who believe that they are suffering for a righteous cause and believe that if they last through that suffering without giving up God's plan they will be rewarded in death. Whether their belief is right or wrong (and trust me I believe it to be wrong) history has shown that this kind of belief will keep a person from cracking under the worst conditions.
Now to the most important part of this post. There is one other glaring problem with the unlawful detention and torture of citizens from other countries. We are quickly alienating ourselves from our allies. It is very hard for us to request that a country return a U.S. prisoner caught on their soil for some sort of crime to be tried in our courts when we do not extend the same courtesy to them. It is very hard for us to request the humane treatment of our captured soldiers when we torture the people that we capture, because like it or not the people we are fighting consider them soldiers and they will treat ours like we treat theirs. The point, if we wish to put our citizens and soldiers lives and well being at risk every time they are arrested or captured in another country the torturing is not an issue in this way. However, if we would like to guarantee the humane treatment of our citizens and soldiers we must first show that we are willing to do the same.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Yes one more thing that should outway our privacy. (okay that's a bit of a low blow stretch but I couldn't help myself)
The fact is however that this is a ridiculous argument. So the THC potency went up, big deal, it's still safer than tobacco. I am sure it's safer than alcohol at a high proof. And it's damn sure healthier than a lot of the crap that we Americans shove in our mouths every day from fast food joints.
And here's a great idea, lets legalize it and federally regulate it and tax it. This solves many issues. First of all by regulating it you can make sure that the THC potency is not higher than a set level. Also you can make sure that the marijuana that is being smoked is not laced with a stronger addictive drug like meth or other dangerous product, people will buy it no matter what at least this way we can make sure that it's safe. And finally if you tax it it is a big step towards lowering the deficit and helping to fund our schools, including an anti-drug campaign against the actual dangerous drugs, simply off the money the government would make.
Of course to get that far the Republican Party would have to stop thinking with their Bible for a second and start thinking with the mind. The simple fact is the majority of arguments that I have heard against the use of marijuana are religious and moral, not legal or logical beyond the spectrum of religion.
And for the record I do not, and would not if it were legal, use marijuana I simply do not believe that it is my place to tell somebody else that they cannot do something which does not hurt anyone but themselves, and whether it hurts them or not is still up for debate.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
It is a great breath of fresh air to see a member of the Senate stepping up to the plate and holding this administration accountable. If we want to continue to see this kind of strong leadership it is essential that we show our support for this measure. Moveon.org has set up a petition to be sent to the members of the Senate asking them to support this measure and to hold the administration accountable. Please click here to sign the petition and join the fight for our freedom.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The Israeli government today attacked a Palestinian prison and demanded the release of 6 prisoners into their custody, the prisoners crime? They were supposedly responsible for the assassination attempt on a few Israeli leaders, mmmmmmmmmm what's that remind me of....oh yeah the killing of key Palestinian leaders by Israel. Now I am not condoning either one of the Countries actions, but I think we should as a nation not be condoning Israel's and not condoning Palestine. It is very hypocritical of us to say it is okay for one to kill the other but not the other way around.
Now you may be wondering why a blog which professes it's purpose as being to spread the word on issues dealing with Constitutional freedoms would talk about this or many of the issues I talk about regarding other countries.
The reason is simple. When I do talk about them I am normally discussing issues of their freedom. In this case the freedom that we give Israel to run their government and military but refuse to give to Palestine to do the exact same.
I feel that if we are going to put on this facade of being the beacon of Democracy for the world then damnit we should live up to that name and support real freedom around the world, not freedom as long as it goes with our plans. That means that if a government is doing something that may not suite our fancy, but it is the will of the people that that government be in office and doing that, then we butt out and let them do as they wish. As long as it does not directly effect the safety of the American people it is none of our damned business. Now if a country is effecting the freedom of another country and that country ask for our help that is something all together different. We should then do what we can to help. The same holds true in a situation like Sudan were the government is committing atrocities towards the people and are obviously not working for the best interest or will of the people then we should attempt to help those people, but that is it, otherwise we should stay out of it.
A great example of this is the newly elected government of Palestine. The moment Hamas won we showed our true disdain for free elections. I mean that is all I can see us immediately saying we would not recognize them as bieng.
Without so much as giving them a chance to prove themselves, even as they were saying that they wanted to continue peace talks, we immediately said that they were terrorist and not to be taken seriously. That's not democracy. Democracy doesn't say anything about forcing one particular government on a people, as a matter of fact it says the exact opposite, and it is time that we learn that.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Well I am bringing back the Civil Liberties Crown/Duncehat.
The reason is simple, a very large need for the Duncehat to be awarded to the State Legislature of South Dakota.
Ah South Dakota the pioneer in the destruction of a women's right to choose what happens to her body. The most basic right of all human beings is to decide what we do with our own bodies, to take this away is a direct slap in the face to the rights of all people.
The close second goes to the U.S. Congress/Senate that this week passed the continuation of the Patriot Act. I have given more than enough reason for this in the past so I will leave it at that.
The crown this week is impossible for me to give, simply because I cannot find anybody worthy of the award. Their is nobody who has stood up for the rights of the American people. If anyone knows anybody worthy please nominate them here.
Edit: A friend pointed out a typo in which I stated North when I intended on saying South Dakota. I have since corrected the misstatement. Thank you.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Well I am breaking my silence.
On a regular basis I will chat on Yahoo Chat in there political rooms to get a feel for peoples thoughts on current affairs, and because I really enjoy debating politics.
The last 2 or 3 times that I have gone on this one chatter has posted that Bush is a "True American Hero". When asked why he believes this he simply post:
This got me thinking, what is the definition of "FREE" and can we really describe Iraq or Afghanistan as free. Afghanistan I think can at least be labeled as close to free.
Iraq on the other hand, in my opinion, is far from free. Any country were and average of 20-30 people die daily in war violence, were women can not speak out freely, and were entire religious sects are fighting for control because they feel as if the other will oppress them is not free.
Yet we hear over and over again how Bush "freed" the Iraqi people from the tyranny of Saddam. We hear over and over again about the hundreds of thousands of people who were killed over the course of Saddams 30 year reign. What we don't hear as much about are the 33 to 38 thousand Iraqi citizens, not military, citizens that have died in the last 4 years. That's about 8,000 a year so if you multiply that by 30 that would be 240,000 innocent people. Not that I am in favor of Saddam, but it doesn't seem that they have it much better right now. At the very least, they are far far from free.
Today the U.S. Senate passed the renewal of the Patriot Act of 2002. Although there have been some changes from the original document in an attempt to calm fears of infringements on civil liberties these changes are far from enough as stated by Congressman Kucinich,
"I rise in strong opposition to this legislation because it offers only a superficial reform that will have little if any impact on safeguarding our civil liberties,"
As you all know I have been in strong opposition of the Patriot Act since its deput in 2002. Even then, when I was still a far right wing conservative who supported Bush on almost everything, I saw that it was a danger to our freedom and that it could be misused, and history has shown us that if something can be misused it will be.
There are those however that continue to say that the Patriot Act dose not infringe on our rights in any way however. As shown here:
"Intense congressional and public scrutiny has not produced a single substantiated claim that the Patriot Act has been misused to violate Americans' civil liberties," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis. "Opponents of the legislation have relied upon exaggeration and hyperbole to distort a demonstrated record of accomplishment and success."
What he is saying here could technically be true. The Patriot Act has been used exactly has it was designed to be used, the problem is that in it's design it violates the civil rights of all Americans. It clearly goes against the Constitution on matters of Search and seizure, Freedom of Speech, Fair and Speedy Trials, ect. I have gone into great detail on this in the past and so anyone wishing to read that can look in my archives.
What scares me here is that Congress, as well as the majority of the American people seem content to stand by has it is done, and not just regarding the Patriot Act. For a week straight all I heard about was the issue of spying on the American people, and then it just seemed to disappear. Before that was the torture issue, and then it disappeared, and so on. Even now the reason that Congress passed the Patriot Act again, because of the fear of terrorist action. Although the Patriot Act has yet to be proven to stop terrorism we still look the other way has our rights are taken away because we are afraid of terrorist.
When are the American people going to realize that giving up our freedoms is not the answer to ending terrorism. I do not claim to have all the answers on how to fight terrorist, but the one thing I know is that getting rid of the thing that we has a country have fought to keep for so long is not the way.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Subject: Two Choices
What would you do?
You make the choice!
Don't look for a punch line; There isn't one!
Read it anyway.
My question to all of you is: Would you have made the same choice?
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled children,the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: "When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?" The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. "I believe,that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people treat that child."Then he told the following story: Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked,"Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps. Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play, not expecting much. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning." Shay struggled over to the team's bench put on a team shirt with a broad smile and his Father had a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible 'cause Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing the other team putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over, but the pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the head of the first baseman, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever ran that far but made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to second base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their team, who had a chance to be the hero for his team for the first time. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and he too intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay" Shay reached third base, the opposing shortstop ran to help him and turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams and those watching were on their feet were screaming, "Shay, run home! Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand slam" and won the game for his team. That day, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world. Shay didn't make it to another summer and died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his Father so happy and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day! AND, NOW A LITTLE FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people think twice about sharing. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces. If you're thinking about forwarding this message,chances are that you're probably sorting out the people on your address list that aren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message. Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the "natural order of things." So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up that opportunity to brighten the day of those with us the least able, and leave the world a little bit colder in the process? A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them. You now have two choices: 1. Delete 2. Forward May your day, be a Shay Day,sunny today tomorrow & always!
Saturday, February 25, 2006
I for one feel ashamed for the fact that until tonight I have taken no action to try and spread the word about this tragedy. I have been so consumed by the many things taking place in this country that I have simply looked the other way the times that I have heard someone speak of the tragedies. I never tried to claim it wasn't happening, or that we shouldn't be there, but I never attempted to change the fact that we aren't either, and that in itself is enough to be ashamed of.
I am not saying that the issue that we have at home right now are of any less consequence, but that should not take away from our conscience and our duty to help those in need.
I, as well as many others in this country, claim to fight for the civil liberties that are so important to us as a people. I ask though how can you claim to be for freedom and civil liberties and then watch as helpless people are slaughtered simply because of their race and beliefs.
I am not naive enough to believe that I will be able to make even a minor impact on the events that are happening in Darfur. However, I do believe in the power of numbers. If you have a conscience, or even a slight respect for life please simply take the time to do three things. The first is to visit www.savedarfur.org. This site can offer a much better insight into the current situation than I can. Then let your friends know about the site, just ask them to take a look at it. Then if you are touched by what you see call your Congressmen and tell them that you feel that the U.S. should take a stand against the genocide which is occurring in Darfur.
The crazy thing is that we don't even have to send troops in order to make a difference, all we have to do is say that we are against the current events and it will at least send a message to the rest of the world that it is time to recognize what is going on and do something about it. Please take the time to do this, it could mean saving thousands of lives.
Friday, February 17, 2006
I have just finished watching the movie "Good Night, and Good Luck"
and it got me thinking. In addition to be a very good film it is also very historically correct drawing much of it's content from actual footage of McCarthy. When I saw the way that people were being accused of Communism the moment that they attempted to stand up to McCarthy or his methods it made me think of Bush and his tactics. With that in mind let us review what it is I mean.
McCarthy would accuse anyone who questioned him of being a Communist or a Communist sympathizer and would subject them to ridicule, the destruction of their careers, and even questioning by his committee on the ties to Communism. The majority of the time the accusations were based on rumors, incorrect intelligence, and straight mis-information or lies.
Let us now leap to the current. Those individual who attempt to stand up to the Bush administration, especially early on in the "War on Terrorism" are labeled either Un-Patriotic, Terrorist, or Terrorist sympathizer. Although lately it has become easier for people to step up to Bush and question his actions even now those that attempt to are simply met with a wall of silence, lies, and secrecy.
I make this comparison only to spur thought before moving on to the real issue at hand. Recently the issue of the Bush administration spying on the American people has gotten a lot of air time, as it should, with the majority of people being against such actions, and a good deal being outraged by them. Prior to this coming out the major questions being asked were in regards to Bush's methods when it came to those who disagreed with him at speeches, appearances, and other events. Prior to that it was his handling of the Iraq war and the lack of, and misinformation given to the American people. Also the same issue regarding the "war on terror." Before that, and currently, was the debate over the Patriot Act and the many rights it stripped away. Laced in between all of this was the debates over torture, the right to privacy, gay marriage rights, abortion rights, the right to die, the supreme court justice nominees, and possibly some I am missing.
Now all of these things have been covered in great detail by the main stream media individually. And everytime a new issue regarding our rights pops up the media is all over it for a week or two and then it seems to disappear. What I am not seeing reported on as much by the main stream media, although it is getting some air time mostly by people who would be considered left wing, is the massive power grab occurring right now in this country and the danger it poses to our way of life.
If you look at each of these issues individually they are all bad enough in of themselves. However when you combine them, when you begin to study the pattern that they leave, they paint a very scary picture. Over the course of the last 5 or 6 years the Bush administration has slowly but consistently increased their control over the government while at the same time taking away key rights of the American people. Many would say that what I will imply later in this post is impossible, that they could not have gotten away with it, but they have. They have used fear to manipulate the American people into allowing them to simply do as they wished. They used the most basic human fear, death. They showered us with threats of terrorism, and WMD's. Every time we started to doubt their actions another "close call" would occur. Every time people began asking questions the terror alert would suddenly rise and people would simply follow their fearless leader whatever was asked. We bought duct tape and plastic to protect against biological warfare. We set aside emergency rations in case we were trapped for days after a terrorist attack. But the worst thing we did was hand away our rights. What follows is a description of what has occurred and how it will soon come to blow up in our face if we do not wake up and start demanding our rights back.
Edward R. Murrow during his long career said two things which I find to be of utmost importance even today.
1) "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of the Republic to abdicate his responsibility." - From the March 9, 1954, "See It Now" television broadcast on Senator Joe McCarthy.
2) "We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. "
In addition to these confirmed quotes in the movie about his life he was also reported has saying, regarding McCarthy, something along the lines of "he did not create the fear, he simply used it."
Now I am sure you can understand why I say that the first two quotes are important in today's atmosphere of mistrust and fear in which our rights our being stripped away. The third is important in that it is precisely what the Bush administration has done as well.
On September 11, 2001 a tradgedy struck on American soil, and subsequently drove our great nation into a state of fear unlike anything we had ever known. Although we had seen terrorist attacks on the news they had always been in far off countries, and although we had has some here none even came close to the intensity of this attack, and none had shown the true vunarabilty of our nation. We had always felt safe, protected against the dangers of the world. No one could attack us, we were the mighty United States, who would dare, and then it happened. And all of the sudden the mighty United States was no safer than anywhere else in the world.
It was then that George W. Bush began on the road that has led us to the dangerous situation that we find ourselves in now. I do not subscribe to the conspiracy theories that say that Bush, or any of his cronies, had anything to do with the attack. Bin Ladin committed this atrocity, that much is known fact, but Bush did continue the terror. See the attack in itself was enough to scare us for a while, but Americans are tough, we would have been back to normal in a short time, simply remebering the tragic event and those who lost their lives, but not being scared anymore. We would have gone after those responsible, caught them, brought them to justice, and moved on with our lives. That is one of the great things about our country, we don't give in easily.
But Bush had other plans. He saw an opportunity. He new that the fear that was caused by this attack could be capitalized to ensure not only his own future political gain, but the beginning of a new era in American government, which I will explain soon.
He (when I use the words his, he, Bush, or they I am referring to Bush and his administration, it is simply easier to type these words rather than The Bush Admin everytime.) capitalized on the fear caused by the attacks to set into motion the largest power grab in the history of our country.
The first major action taken after the attack was the declaration of war against Afghanistan, this is one of the few that I actually agree with. Afghanistan was harboring Bin Ladin and every option was exercised prior to attacking. But then things went awry.
Soon after the attack on Afghanistan the Patriot Act was signed into effect and the Department of Homeland Security was formed. This was the first major step in the power grab that would eventually put us in our current situation. This bill was signed by all but one member of Congress and was not challenged in any way. Why? The same reason a lot more would occur in the near future, fear. The bill was passed as a way to combat terrorism to prevent another 9/11. It was not until after it was law that people began to realize the rights that it gave away including Amendments 1, 4, 5, & 6 of the United States Constitution.
The first major use of the powers that I have been able to find was the arrest and subsequent holding of Jose Padilla who was held from 2002 until 2005 without being charged of a crime. I am sure that their were other cases that I cannot remeber and cannot find, but you get the point.
It was shortly after the forming of the DHLS that the "Terror Alert" was started. This, as I am sure you all remember, was a gauge by which we could see what the current state of terror was. It range from green to red with the average for a long time being either yellow or orange. It became obvious soon after it's debut that it would go up anytime people began to relax their fears of terrorism. During this time we would hear reports of FBI and CIA warnings of possible terrorist attacks involving everything from more planes, to bio weapons, to subway bombs, but never anything conclusive, just enough to keep us scared. We also had the anthrax scare, which turned out not to be terrorist at all.
And all this time we were also hearing one other thing, Iraq was a major threat. Of course people listened because they were scared. They believed that the WMD's were real because they were scared. They believed that Saddam was a threat because they were scared, and when Bush decided to attack in March of 2003 they followed because they were scared. Those that opposed were labeled unpatriotic and even supporters of terrorism. Groups like Peace Fresno
were labeled possible terrorist threats and spied on. Protestors were ridiculed by the administration. And worst of all the real threat, Bin Ladin, was forgotten. The official war ended only three weeks after the first shot was fired. In reality as we all know it continues to this day. As revelations came to light that there were no WMD's as U.N. officials urged us to believe before we attacked, the reasons for the war changed, eventually coming back to the one thing that no one would challenge, Saddam was linked to terrorism and was a threat to our national security, this has since be shown to be untrue but the admin. continues to support this claim.
Over the next three years leading to today many things occurred. First the right to investigate individuals library records started to be used. Hundreds, maybe thousands of peoples privacy was invaded and no one said anything because they were afraid, and Bush said that this would stop future attacks.
Then people who questioned his tacticts were question about possible terrorist activities, and no one said anything because they were scared, and Bush said this would prevent attacks.
It also came to light during this time that groups like the ACLU, Green Peace, and others had been spied on. Although their was outrage by some for a while most stayed quite because they were still afraid.
Then it was revealed that people were being tortured by American Troops and not only did people stay quite but many supported it because they were afraid, and Bush said the info could stop attacks.
Then the really crazy stuff started happening. First during the Schiavo case the GOP run congress made an unprecedented move in overturning a Supreme Court Ruling, something not allowed in the Constitution. Then a new Chief Justice and Justice were appointed to the Supreme Court, both opposed by the Democratic party for their far right fews and for fear that they would support Bush over the Constitution, something which is already coming to pass with a case regarding Abortion. Also Alberto Gonzalez was appointed Attorney General, and promptly stated that torture should be allowed, a statement supported by Bush.
When the Democratic Congressman attempted to filibuster the GOP Congress made another unprecedented move and threatened to vote to turn over the filibuster, something that would chang two centuries of Senate precedent and rewrite the constitutional definition of "advise and consent."
Most recently has been the revelation that Bush condoned spying on the American people by the NSA. Stripping away one more right of the American people. There is a lively discussion on this topic available two places on Jim Leach's AbeLog, the discussion began here http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6133156&postID=113926406659800895
and ended here http://www.blogger.com/comment.gblogID=6133156&postID=113978143596953755 (near the bottom of both)
There are many things I missed I am sure and I apologize, but I was giving only a brief summary. The result however is the important thing.
At this point in time the Executive branch has more power than at any other time in history. We also have a Judicial branch which is little more than a group of pawns for Bush and the Executive Branch. Congress likewise seems to be little more than pawns, although this could change. In addition to this the rights of the American people have been slowly remove and at this point what rights we do have are in question from one day to the next. We still seem to have a suedo version of free speech, as long as we don't upset the administration to much, although that along with most of our other important rights seem to be up for grabs.
What does this mean for us. Well simply put if we don't stand up and let the Administration, Supreme Court, and Congress know that we will not allow them to take away the rights that we hold dear in this country, soon enough we won't have any. The reason that the Constitution had checks and balances was to ensure that no one person or group could become to powerful. By limiting the powers granted to one branch you ensured that all three branches had to work in unison to affect any major changes or actions. The idea being that if one of the branches was not acting in the best interest of the country the others would stop it. We no longer have those checks and balances. The Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches are all controlled by Bush. This is very dangerous as he could quite literally do just about anything he pleases; as long as we do not wake up and do something about it that is.
This brings me to my earlier statement that many would not believe what I am saying possible and that Bush wants a new era of government. Bush is not a classic Conservative. Meaning that were most Conservatives want a small government, Bush wants a large government. He would like to see government controlling every aspect of a persons life it seems. Why? Because he truly believes that he is on a mission from God, one that is very dangerous to our freedoms. He is not alone either, Neo Cons as they have been labeled, are a new group of conservatives best described here.
It is not to late to stand up for our rights however. This can be done only one way. We must speak out about our concerns. We have to let Congress know that we do not want any more of our rights trampled on and that those which have been removed must be given back. Congress is the one area of government that we can change in the near future, and that gives us power. That is the final Check and Balance. Congress holds elections every two years, and that two years is coming up. That ensures that the people always have the option of installing new leadership if the current leadership is unwilling to do the will of the people. We have to remind Congress that they work for US not Bush. Call your Government Reps and tell them that if they will not stand up for your rights then you will elect someone who will. If we are not willing to take this simple step to protect our freedoms then we do not deserve them. Throughout our history people have given their lives in order to protect our freedoms, all we have to do is give five minutes of our time to call or write our representatives. It is easy to say that one phone call will not do anything, but what about a hundred, or a thousand. Call, and then tell your family and friends to call. I guarantee that if the people of this country take action we will keep our freedoms, however if we don't, we won't. Do not mistake this as a call to elect Democrats either, plenty of them have not stood up the Bush administration as well. Whether you plan on electing new Democrats, Republicans, Third Pary Reps, or Independents into office if the current officials don't do their job and work for the People of this country, let them know. You can get you officials number at www.congress.org
Throughout history there have been times when those who believe in freedom and justice have had to stand up and fight for what they believed in. We are blessed in that we do not yet have to fight, but simply put action to our words, let us not wait until it is to late.