I'm an Action Mom

Once again, I find myself unwittingly stuck into a category I want nothing more than to escape from: Security Moms. It’s bad enough that because I am raising children in an American suburb and can sometimes be seen squiring my children to their sporting events, that I am concerned about my children’s welfare, and that I am an active part of their education- I might be stuck into the Soccer Mom category. Now the Soccer Moms are being touted as Security Moms. Keep me out of it.

From what I’ve heard and read, Security Moms are very concerned about terrorist attacks within the US since 9/11. OK, so I fit into that category too. However, my view of the situation starts diverging there. What happened on 9/11 was a scary event, there’s no doubt of that. However, I do not want my actions and my life to be ruled by fear. None of us can change what happened then. None of us can right the wrongs in the world done up until that point. So, I see this as a time of action- not a time to cower in fear or teach my children to worry.

Call me an Action Mom.

What 9/11 did was spur me into political action. I have always been a voter, and I tried to stay aware of politics and the world at large. However, I feel after 9/11 that I am part of a much larger group of Americans who have not been watching as closely as we should. When George W. Bush was appointed by a very small group of justices, (rather than elected by a majority of voters) I knew something was wrong, but at that time, I did nothing but watch and complain.

After 9/11 I became more involved in the political process. Over time, what I have found is that I am shocked more by the secrecy, deception and complicity on the part of many of our government’s officials than I am that terrorists are capable of attacking our country. Moreover, I find it equally as confounding that a full half of this country’s voters are still willing to vote for them.

I could no longer trust that when I voted it would count. I could no longer trust that my government was doing their best to ensure we were safe and that our country represented freedom and honor in the world. I could no longer trust that there would be checks and balances to ensure our political process was fair and accurate. It became painfully obvious to me that I have allowed corruption and greed to swallow my government by trusting that others would keep it out. Up until 9/11, I thought that there were more powerful watchdogs than me who would be there to keep my family safe. I did not think, until 9/11 and what happened afterwards, that there was a reason that mothers around the world would have to guard their families against terror- at the hands of my government.

I felt called to action. I began to speak out more about what I was seeing, reading and hearing. I joined in protests in DC and NY to use my voice and my opinion in ways I felt would be heard. I began to read more to educate myself in the political process. I immersed myself in information about the effects of war on societies. I studied the ways in which aggression and anger have ripped apart not only our country and countries around the world, but have forever tarnished our reputation as a just and democratic people.

Mothers need to know that their children are being raised in a safe and nurturing environment. I have heard many women in my age group say, “I don’t want to know.” Or “My mind just can’t go there.” Not because they don’t believe it, but because they need to trust that they are not raising their children in an atmosphere of hatred and aggression and greed. They need to trust that all the work and love and care they put into their children’s lives is a worthwhile endeavor. They need to know that their family is safe. I understand that. However, I do not think buying into fear will keep my family safe. I do not think purchasing a gun will keep terrorists at bay. Nor do I think electing a group of men who put their own greed and need for power in front of my family’s welfare will help my children or my country.

I call to all women who fit into the category of Security Moms to become an Action Mom instead. Let’s get educated and work towards peace in the world. Let’s look to the women around the world who are facing guns and bombs and terror everyday and let them know we are with them- that we are no longer willing to allow their families to be put at risk by our government’s actions. Instead of cowtowing to the terror alerts and the fear our government tries to instill in us to justify the wars they incur, let’s tell them we will no longer allow fear to blind us. Protecting our families isn’t about more guns and bombs- it’s about less.

When we allow fear to permeate our lives, we are doing a disservice to our children and ourselves. We are allowing someone else to decide what is best for our family. We are saying that we will do anything they want if they only scare us enough. I want my children to know that they are powerful in the world and that anything can be changed through correct action. I want my kids to understand that it is the responsibility of every citizen to be aware and awake in the world. Let’s not be scared into submission, but instead stand up and show that mothers are the strongest creatures on earth.

Instead of allowing ourselves to be scared into being Security Moms, let us be Action Moms.



Jimmy Carter Speaks About Biased Elections

Whatever you may think about Jimmy Carter's presidency, I don't think many doubt his integrity. For years now, the Carters have been involved with ensuring that elections held in many countries have been unbiased and safe. He voiced his concerns about the troubles with the 2000 election process in florida, and warns us that the same troubles exist today:
"The disturbing fact is that a repetition of the problems of 2000 now seems likely, even as many other nations are conducting elections that are internationally certified to be transparent, honest and fair," Mr Carter writes in a commentary reprinted in today's Guardian.

Read about his thoughts here: The Guardian



Government Fakes News Report

Isn't it interesting that CBS and Dan Rather are the subjects of such outrage, scrutiny and calls for resignations over the acceptance of faked memos, but when the government fakes news footage to boost Bush support no one notices?

President Bush has an advantage over any other presidential candidate this election season. No only does he have millions of dollars in funds to spend on his campaign, he also has governmental entities who are willing to lie and make up false information so that he looks good- even when the news is not.

Case in point from Guardian UK (among others that reported this) in March of this year:
TV news reports in America that showed President George Bush getting a standing ovation from potential voters have been exposed as fake, it has emerged.

The US government admitted it paid actors to pose as journalists in video news releases sent to TV stations intending to convey support for new laws about health benefits.

Investigators are examining the film segments, in which actors pretending to be journalists praise the benefits of the new law passed last year by President Bush, to see if they could be construed as propaganda.

I wonder what other 'news' has been faked to make Bush look good?



Recipe for Hate

We've been told that the Abu Ghraib incidents were confined to the night shift- a handful of soldiers who were acting alone. Huda Alazawi, a businesswoman who was imprisoned for 8 months without merit tells a different story. Her story illustrates how animalistic behavior on the part of US military and CIA operatives create enemies where none were before:
Like most Iraqi women, Alazawi is reluctant to talk about what she saw but says that her brother Mu'taz was brutally sexually assaulted. Then it was her turn to be interrogated. "The informant and an American officer were both in the room. The informant started talking. He said, 'You are the lady who funds your brothers to attack the Americans.' I speak some English so I replied: 'He is a liar.' The American officer then hit me on both cheeks. I fell to the ground.

Here's her Whole Story.

Dissention Among the Ranks

Not even Republican Senators can stomach Bush's lies over Iraq anymore. It's not been a month since John McCain spoke for Bush's re-election bid at the RNC, and the sugar coating he put over his distaste of Bush has already begun to melt. Here's what he said on Fox News Sunday:
We made serious mistakes.
I would like to see him more clear.
(Bush is) perhaps not as straight as maybe we'd like to see.

On "Face the Nation", Chuck Hagel (R, Nebraska), who has been a key advocate for the Bush campaign said this:
We're in deep trouble in Iraq ... and I think we're going to have to look at some recalibration of policy.

Sen. Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also criticized the administration's handling of Iraq's reconstruction on ABC's "This Week":
Only $1 Billion of the $18.4 billion allocated by Congress for the task has been spent. This is incompetence in the administration.


Osama Sweepstakes

From their site:

"We all know it's coming... at some point in the next couple of months, Dubya and his cronies are going to miraculously 'find' Osama bin Laden and present him to the American public as if he hasn't been sitting around for the last year in Guantanamo under close CIA supervision... "

Cast your vote now for the day Bush will pull an Osama out of his hat!: Osama Sweepstakes



Wise Up

It's not
What you thought
When you first began it
You got
What you want
Now you can hardly stand it though,
By now you know
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
'Til you wise up

You're sure
There's a cure
And you have finally found it
You think
One drink
Will shrink you 'til you're underground
And living down
But it's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
'Til you wise up

Prepare a list of what you need
Before you sign away the deed
'Cause it's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
'Til you wise up
No, it's not going to stop
'Til you wise up
No, it's not going to stop
So just...give up

Aimee Mann

Is Sadr Another Nelson Mandela?

I recently blogged concerning Dick Cheney and his vote against freeing Nelson Mandela from prison and terming the ANC a 'terrorist organization'. It seems we are also being misled about Moqtada Sadr. It sounds as if Sadr thought long and hard about the use of violence, after trying for so long to use peaceful measures to rid his country of oppressors. That's exactly what Nelson Mandela and did in South Africa.

The use of violence was considered only after it was deemed by both Mandela and Sadr that peaceful measures were never going to work, and were being ignored and suppressed. They both concluded that the only way to counter the violence their oppressors were using against them was to fight back. Both men were also careful and discerning in their actions, as evidenced by Sadr's rules of engagement:
Even through armed resistance to occupation, Sadr has stuck to well-defined limits. He has denied involvement in car bombings and assassinations; he denounced the August 2003 attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad; he had urged his followers not to attack Iraqi security forces, until their current involvement in US onslaughts; he is opposed to the taking of journalists as hostages, though when he arranged the release on August 13 of Daily Telegraph reporter James Brandon, the newspaper cynically called it a "propaganda opportunity" and has continued to describe him as "radical"; and in a sermon in July this year he condemned the beheading of foreign workers...(from Countercurrents.org)

Of course, we hope that is up to the Iraqi people to vote for whom they wish to head their country. It may not be Sadr, and indeed, he may not be leader material. However, to brand him a terrorist and radical due to his uprising against what he sees as oppressors in his own country is disingenuous. What would any of us do if oppressors took over our city, our country, our government?

What's Wrong with Allawi?

Another item of note on pro-Bush blogs is the Allawi address and Kerry's reaction to it. You can picture red-faced children, jumping up and down in outrage over the unmitigated gall of Kerry to criticize Allawi or his address. They say Allawi sounded so sincere and humble and was just here to give his thanks for us.

What they don't mention are the facts about Allawi. First of all, Allawi is not an elected official in Iraq. So, who appointed him? He was part of the Iraq Governing Council appointed by the US Government. The council then voted him as Prime Minister. The UN expressed some disbelief over the governing council's vote- supposedly, so did our administration. Could be because they knew full well Allawi's closet full of skeletons pointed bony fingers right at them.

Wikipedia has a good entry for Allawi, which chronologically details all his dirty deeds, to include Ba'ath Party membership, CIA backed terrorist activities and being a paid Mukhabarat agent for Iraq. He also publically executed 6 suspected insurgents in Baghdad on July 17. Not a very Democratic move, was it? In fact, that sounds an awful lot like the things Hussein was accused of doing, doesn't it?

So, in light of the facts, I think John Kerry had a perfect right to call Allawi's visit what it was: a good opportunity to suppress and deny the horrors currently underway in Iraq. Not a bad time for a good photo op for George either, was it?

Watch Out for Scout!

Out of a sense of frustration, I told you earlier, I began commenting on pro-Bush blogs. Not only does it counterpoint the flagrant lies often told on some of these sites, I was also concerned that people would perhaps rely on these blogs for information (obviously there's plenty of real news out there, but some people rely on only the most biased sources so that their denial won't crumble).

The big news on pro-Bush sites is a supposed 'draft' trying to be passed in both the house and congress by, get this, liberal democrats. So I had myself a looksee. Turns out that what the makers of this legislation propose is a mandatory 2-year National Service for men and women from 18-26. The service could be military or non-military. Not only that, if the kid claims to be a conscientious objector, he/she will be assigned to a non-combat service.

Now I understand. What the legislators are doing is putting this in place before a draft has a chance of happening. This is a good thing for several reasons:

1. In a regular draft, there are deferments. Kids from affluent and influential families go on to college while the kids from the less affluent and poorer neighborhoods are called up to fight. A National Service levels the playing field so that all young people are bound to service rather than the 'unfortunate sons'.

2. In a regular draft, there is no guarantee that a young person's service will not be extended. With National Service the term is two years. Period. The only exemption is in cases of medical needs. The young person could be extended until they are processed medically. I'm sure those National Guard members currently having their stay extended in Afghanistan or Iraq would appreciate that.

3. The National Service can be either military or non-military. If a young person declares him/herself a conscientious objector, he/she will be assigned a non-combat position. This will also shut down arguments by some that a non-volunteer military will be less effective. Since the young person can choose, it will still remain volunteer.

4. 35 years from now, we will not get into an endless round of debates over our candidates role in the military. That alone is worth it.

I'm not a proponent of the military, but I do think it makes sense to begin a National Service rather than the biased and haphazard way we run the military now. The draft is coming, I think everyone knows it. If we push through legislation now, we can avoid what happened during the Vietnam draft.

Bill S.89

H.R. 163



What a Load of....

Alright already. Enough of this stupid CBS memo garbage. I mean, really folks, can we get any sillier than this? Is this what we broadcast around the world as the way Democracy works? Sheeeeesh.

It's been like this all along, hasn't it? Instead of looking at real issues, the Bush supporters yank us away from reality with these blowhard displays of pettiness.

Are we supposed to cry, wring our hands, gnash our teeth about this when people on both sides are dying and being maimed in the invasion of Iraq? When, thanks to Halliburton, soldiers eat one meal a day for weeks because supplies do not come through? When Rumsfeld can openly denounce human rights and hold people for years without trial by calling them all enemy insurgents?

Get real.



From the Source

The service members who served in Afghanistan and Iraq have something to say to you. If you're not willing to listen to a bunch of "whiny libbies", (as some blogs proport we are) perhaps you will listen to them. After all, they did see it first hand.

SPC Murphy was in Iraq for 15 months. He had this to say:
I enlisted in the Army Reserve following September 11, 2001, one of the hardest and best decisions I have made in my life. I love the United States, the Army and my unit. Out of this deep love, I ask that we as Americans take a long look in the mirror. We must ask ourselves who we are and what we stand for. We as a nation must face the monster we have created in Iraq, sooner rather than later. We must find a way out of the mess in Iraq with minimal loss of American and Iraqi life. We owe it to the soldiers on the ground and the embattled Iraqi people.

Read their stories here.

Where's the Anger, Where's the Rage?

Bernard J. Fine does a wonderful job asking this question in his editorial posted September 18, 2004 on correspondences.org.

Read it here.

Ben Barnes Speaks Out

Former Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Ben Barnes, talks about his part in helping the 'Fortunate Sons'- like George W. Bush- get into the National Guard to escape Vietnam:



Terror Alert Timeline

Julius Civitatus from JuliusBlog and Biltud, from Salon.com's TableTalk have done an excellent job researching and posting a timeline of Terror Alerts and their correlation to political events unfavorable to the Bush administration.

View their timeline here.

Eyes Wide Shut

I find myself becoming increasingly more frustrated and worried the closer we get to the election. I wish I had magic powder I could sprinkle in everyone's eyes to erase denial. I have friends and colleagues, who, when confronted by plausible news and/or facts about the current administration, 9/11, the invasion of Iraq or any combination thereof, say only, "I don't want to know the truth." or "I don't think I could bear to hear it." or "My mind just won't go there.". It makes me want to scream at them, "Too bad! This is a matter of our lives, our children's lives and the fate of the world as we know it. For heaven's sakes, get your head out of the sand and be courageous!!"

We've all met or heard of a woman who continues to allow her husband to beat her or a parent who pretends sexual abuse is not happening in his/her home or who makes excuses for his/her substance abuse or a family member's substance abuse. That's exactly how I feel when I meet someone who continues to make excuses for Bush and/or his administration.

There's nothing I or anyone else can do to break down a person's denial. I hope for the sake of this country and this world that those people who continue to live in denial about the current adminstration wake up- and very, very soon.




Here's a neat quiz on your own political views and where this places you on the 'map' of views.

Interestingly, I found myself in the Northwest. Where are you?

Politopia Quiz

Trolling for Change

After starting this blog, the story hit about proportedly forged documents that CBS had aquired concerning Bush's military career. The stories noted that suspicions of the documents first surfaced on political blogs. I decided to do a bit of research on pro-Bush blogs.

The blog I found which seemed to be gathering the largest audience of Bush supporters was Blogs for Bush. Upon reading, I realized why blogs could be used to persuade without necessarily being truthful. There is no accountability in a blog. No one is going to vilify the 'Blogs for Bush' writers for getting their facts wrong. Most notably, what was absent from this blog was dissenting comments. A few people were posting dissentions, but very few. Most of the comments were made by supporters of the site who revel in inflammatory tactics and bullying by use of name calling and reputation smearing.

So, I began to post comments. I included references, just like this blog, in my posts. Almost without exception, the comments made to try to denounce my position were incoherent rants and the usual name calling. Most attacked my character or the character of the Democratic party (it seems anyone who voices dissent about the Bush crew is automatically entered onto Democratic party rolls by pro-bush supporters).

After making several comments, (I was properly enrolled in the TypeKey program) I made a comment which gave me a message saying my comment would first have to be approved by the blog owners before being posted. After that, no comments that I made actually appeared in the comments section on any of the threads. Obviously, the blog owners realized I was making too much sense and blocked me from posting. So, I decided to test the system to be sure that it was just me that was being excluded. I went back to TypeKey, made a new email and signed up again under a different alias. I went back to 'Blogs for Bush' and commented about the fact that I was suddenly ousted from the board under my new alias. It posted immediately.

However, later, when I went back to make another comment under a new thread, I again was told my comments would have to be approved by the blog owners. Of course, these posts never showed up. I had again been censored.

If you too would like to be a Troll for Change, go to 'Blogs for Bush' (or any other pro-Bush blog) and publish some comments to counter the lies. You will have to sign up for TypeKey verification to post on 'Blogs for Bush', but can do so anonymously by making a new Yahoo Mail Account and using it to register.



Are These Points of Success?

I was stunned. I read Dick Cheney's bio on the official Bush Campaign website. Included were the following passages:

While serving in the House of Representatives, Dick Cheney solidified his reputation as a man of principle. In 1986, he voted against a resolution calling for the release of South African political prisoner Nelson Mandela. He stands by that vote even today, noting that the African National Congress, the main political body supporting Mandela, was "viewed as a terrorist organization."

During his tenure as Secretary of Defense, Cheney was a pioneer in the privatization of military operations, a completely new concept. Under his direction in 1992, the Pentagon funded corporation Brown & Root $3.9 million to produce a report detailing how companies like itself could provide logistical support for military operations abroad, functions until then performed by U.S. military personnel. This report was classified. Brown & Root's parent company Halliburton was then awarded the job to implement the privatization of many military operations.

Am I missing something? Are these things for Cheney to remember proudly, or just an attempt for the current administration to tell on themselves before the press does? If I am reading correctly, Cheney voted against Nelson Mandela's release from jail- voted against the release of a man who later received the Nobel Peace Prize- because he thought him a suspected terrorist?

The second paragraph practically crows about Cheney giving the company from whom he still receives paychecks the power to decide whether they could make money on American military activities, and then the go ahead to do so.

So, in other words, what this tells me is that Cheney has a weak grasp on reality when it comes to defining terrorism and has a blatant disregard for our government's policies concerning conflicts of interest.

Well, some contend, he's the ex-CEO of Halliburton, right? Therefore, he no longer profits from the company. Wrong. A quote from an independent media article published November 7, 2003 states:

On NBC’s “Meet the Press”, Sept. 14, 2003, Cheney stated that he has “no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven’t had now for over three years.” He also said he had “severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interests.” – That is a bold-faced lie. In reality, “Cheney received deferred compensation of $147,579 in 2001 and $162,392 in 2002, with payments scheduled to continue for three more years.” – Cheney also has “433,333 stock options” valued at more than $10,500,000.00

Most of us already knew the score on Halliburton and Cheney's dealings with the firm. The vote to continue to jail Nelson Mandela is not widely publicized but certainly available. These points seem to be offered by the Bush campaign to strengthen our view of Vice-President Cheney as a man worthy of retaining that office. Hmmm. Does anyone read these as positive statements?



From Shaking Hands to Shaking Fists

Donald Rumsfeld has also been a political player since the Nixon administration. In 1984, he was called upon by Ronald Reagan to be a special envoy to Iraq where Rumsfeld met with Saddam Hussein. At the time, the UN was issuing a report about Iraq's use of chemical weapons against Iran. Despite this, the US began to sell the Iraqi government US helicopters which were then used to gas Kurdish citizens in Iraq.

Jeremy Scahill writes in an article about the history of Donald Rumsfeld's relations with Iraq:

In 1984, Donald Rumsfeld was in a position to draw the world’s attention to Saddam’s chemical threat. He was in Baghdad as the UN concluded that chemical weapons had been used against Iran. He was armed with a fresh communication from the State Department that it had “available evidence” Iraq was using chemical weapons. But Rumsfeld said nothing.

So, if Saddam was known to have weapons of mass destruction in 1984, and our government knew about it then and rewarded Saddam with the means to gas his own civilian population, why is he suddenly vilified by the current administration? What makes an "evil doer" evil enough to be noticed and punished for his actions?

Since 1984, Rumsfeld's positions on Saddam Hussein have varied considerably:

* "How many additional American lives is Saddam Hussein worth? The answer I would give is not very damn many.", Dick Cheney said during a May 1992 briefing, explaining why the first President Bush was right when he decided not to push forward to Baghdad to get rid of Saddam after American forces had trounced the Iraqi army in Kuwait in March 1991.

* A group of Washington heavyweights, including Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Bill Kristol and Dick Cheney, formed The Project for the New American Century in spring 1997, with an early focus on ousting Saddam Hussein – by force, if necessary. On Jan. 26, 1998, the group wrote to President Bill Clinton, urging him to adopt a strategy that would "aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power." Arguing that we didn't have the "ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction," they asked Clinton to adopt "a willingness to undertake military action, as diplomacy is clearly failing."

* On Sept. 11, it took barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to tell his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq – even though there was no evidence connecting Saddam to the attack. Notes taken by the Pentagon aides, at 2:40 p.m. on Sept. 11, quote Rumsfeld as saying he wanted "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H," meaning Saddam Hussein. "Go massive," the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

Now, this is just in the gross misuse of power category:

The Justice Department investigation that criticized FBI agents for taking souvenirs from the World Trade Center site also found that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and a high-ranking FBI official kept items from the Sept. 11 attack scenes.

The final investigatory report said the Justice Department inspector general confirmed Rumsfeld "has a piece of the airplane that flew into the Pentagon."

Of course, those of us that saw the video of the Pentagon during 9/11 wonder what that piece of airplane might be.

Then, we come to Abu Ghraib and Rumsfeld's complicity in the crimes committed against Iraqi prisoners. An excerpt from Abu Ghraib: The Rumsfeld Factor quotes Anthony Lewis from the Los Angeles Times as saying:

It was Rumsfeld who thought it was wise to violate the third [of the] Geneva Conventions, to which this country is a signatory, and unilaterally label all the prisoners held at Guantanamo as 'unlawful combatants' — without the right to the hearings required by the convention.

Brushing aside the law at Guantanamo Camp Xray was a prelude to the lawlessness at Abu Ghraib.

From all accounts, it seems Donald Rumsfeld has been an abysmal failure as Secretary of Defense. I think it's time for Mr. Rumsfeld to retire from his current position and allow someone more qualified to step in and help right the wrongs he's created.

My point in these two posts about Cheney and Rumsfeld is this- it is not enough to listen to Bush, to hear his campaign, to hear his promises and then to decide if he is right for the job. One must also look at the men who back up President Bush's administration and their use of power, their motives and their history before one can make an informed decision on November 2. A vote for Bush is also a vote for Cheney and a vote for Rumsfeld.

What About Dick?

I think in many ways, both supporters and detractors of the Bush administration are losing focus on an urgent issue. The upcoming election, while about Bush vs. Kerry, is also about the presence of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and why they need to be ousted from American politics once and for all.

Rolling Stone published a great biography about Dick Cheney's political life by T.D. Allman in which he asserts:

First, Cheney impresses someone rich or powerful, who causes unearned wealth and power to be conferred on him. Then, when things go wrong, he blames others and moves on to a new situation even more advantageous to himself.

Cheney's political career stretches from the Nixon administration to the present day. The only Republican president to hold office for two terms in that period was Ronald Reagan. He is also the only Republican president who did not appoint Dick Cheney to a White House post.

We all know that the present situation in the Middle East is disturbing, disquieting and is going to take considerable care and delicacy to mend. Throwing Dick Cheney back into the turmoil of that region is a mistake we can actively measure by looking at his handling of the crisis as the wars began:

Over at Defense, competent intelligence professionals were purged in order to ease the way to war. Douglas Feith, brought in under Rumsfeld to serve as undersecretary of defense for policy, applied an ideological test to his staff: He didn't want competence; he wanted fervor. Col. Pat Lang, a Middle East expert who served under five presidents, Republican and Democratic, in key posts in military intelligence, recalls being considered for a job at the Pentagon. During the job interview, Feith scanned Lang's impressive resume. "I see you speak Arabic," Feith said. When Lang nodded, Feith said, "Too bad," and dismissed him.

Cheney suffered his biggest failure in March 2002, when he visited nine Arab and Muslim countries six months after the 9/11 attacks. The vice president anticipated a triumphal tour of the region as, one by one, he enlisted the countries he visited in the cause of "taking out" Saddam Hussein. In the end, not a single country Cheney visited provided troops for the Bush-Cheney war -- including staunch American allies in Jordan and Turkey -- and almost all refused to let their territory be used for the attack.

Once again, however, Cheney did not let reality dissuade him from his course. As the disaster has unfolded in Iraq, he has continued to insist against all evidence that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction, that the dictator was aiding Al Qaeda, that nothing the Bush administration has done was a mistake. Those who have known him over the years remain astounded by what they describe as his almost autistic indifference to the thoughts and feelings of others. "He has the least interest in human beings of anyone I have ever met," says John Perry Barlow, his former supporter. Cheney's freshman-year roommate, Steve Billings, agrees: "If I could ask Dick one question, I'd ask him how he could be so unempathetic.

I, for one, can conclusively say that this does not sound like the kind of negotiator and peacemaker our country will need in the upcoming years of negotiation and diplomacy with Middle Eastern countries.

We've allowed administrations to install Dick Cheney for decades now, in between the years he amassed wealth with Halliburton. I believe it is time to tell our political administration that we will allow him no more influence over our lives, and that we cannot, in all good conscience, allow him to represent us to the world.

The same is true with Donald Rumsfeld. I will post a seperate thread on him later.



Flip Flop

If he is a flip-flopper, Kerry has company.

* In 2000, Bush argued against new military entanglements and nation building. He's done both in Iraq.

* He opposed a Homeland Security Department, then embraced it.

* He opposed creation of an independent Sept. 11 commission, then supported it. He first refused to speak to its members, then agreed only if Vice President Dick Cheney came with him.

* Bush argued for free trade, then imposed three-year tariffs on steel imports in 2002, only to withdraw them after 21 months.

* Last month, he said he doubted the war on terror could be won, then reversed himself to say it could and would.

* A week after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Bush said he wanted Osama bin Laden "dead or alive." But he told reporters six months later, "I truly am not that concerned about him." He did not mention bin Laden in his hour-long convention acceptance speech.

"I'm a war president," Bush told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Feb. 8. But in a July 20 speech in Iowa, he said: "Nobody wants to be the war president. I want to be the peace president."

Bush keeps revising his Iraq war rationale: The need to seize Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction until none were found; liberating the Iraqi people from a brutal dictator; fighting terrorists in Iraq not at home; spreading democracy throughout the Middle East. Now it's a safer America and a safer world.

"No matter how many times Senator Kerry flip-flops, we were right to make America safer by removing Saddam Hussein from power," he said last week in Missouri.

Bush has changed his positions on new Clean Air Act restrictions, protecting the Social Security surplus, tobacco subsidies, the level of assistance to help combat AIDs in Africa, campaign finance overhaul and whether to negotiate with North Korean officials.

Reference: Shifting Positions Common to Both Candidates



Separation of Church and State

George Bush has said the following:

"God wants me to be President."

"I also have this belief, strong belief, that freedom is not this country's gift to the world; freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman in this world."

"God speaks through me."

"God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did..."

To me, these are scary statements- not because Bush is a religious man, per se, but because his political decisions are apparently made through his secular beliefs. This is important because there seems to be no separation, in President Bush's mind, of his religious life from his political life. Our country's most basic tenets are grounded in the belief that church and state should be very clearly separated.

Bush makes decisions based upon his belief in the superiority and righteousness of his own religion, and by doing so, forces the principles and rules of Christianity on us all. I cannot trust that gwb will make the best decisions for the masses, but only for those who share his religious views.

In his born-again Christian viewpoint, I believe that gwb has the misguided belief that forcing Christianity's rules upon the world will make it a better place. This may seem like a noble intention when taken at face value, but I think there are excellent reasons why the Constitution was written to demand that our leaders keep their secular views out of their political responsibilities.



Denying the Troops a Secret Ballot

Click on the post title above for a link to the story.

This is particularly chilling, in light of the fact that these soldiers are supposedly building a Democracy in Iraq.



More Reasons Why I Won't Vote For Bush

This does not appear to be a decisive leader to me
Bush's Reaction to an Attack on Our Country

What about Saudi involvement in 9/11?

Reproductive Rights Taken
Gag Rule


Peaceloving Traitors?

Tom, This one is especially for you.

"Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg Trials



Why I Will Not Vote for George W. Bush

I must tell you first that I did not vote for him the first time around. Among my reasons were these:

1. His speeches sounded pretty good, but when it came to shooting from the hip, gwb often sounded disjointed and barely literate to me.

2. His past record of being the rich playboy, as I saw him, and failing at every job he was given did not sit well with me. I wanted a leader who had a proven track record, so to speak.

3. The horrible way in which he treated Ann Richards in order to win votes- I found it repulsive.

4. Our country was in such good shape at the end of Clinton's second term and I wanted Al Gore to continue that cycle.

Why I won't vote for gwb in November:

1. His response immediately after 9/11 chilled me to the bone. He looked completely lost. Then, all the rhetoric about evil doers and finding Osama 'dead or alive' and his direct path to war were things I found reactionary rather than logical and fact-based.

2. Jumping into the bombing of Afghanistan when most of the hijackers turned out to be Saudis and the "evidence" of OBL confessing on tape (which later turned out to be mistranslated) was never completely investigated. Then blowing Afghanistan apart to find OBL was not even present. Ugh.

3. The complete deception of why we invaded Iraq. I refuse to call this action a war. The UN Security Council said no. The inspectors said there were no weapons. The rest of the world said we were making a mistake. Then blowing Iraq apart to find Weapons of Mass Destruction were not even present. Ugh.

4. Finding out that Bush I and II have many ties to the Saudi royals, Osama's family members among them. Finding out that the Saudi royals were allowed to leave this country without being questioned after 9/11. Finding out the Taliban visited Texas not long ago.

5. Reading Scott Ritter's address of what really happened in regards to weapons inspections in Iraq.

6. Seeing programs I needed for my family cut, people heading to unemployment lines, the deficit rise, our respect as a country going downhill. It feels as if the current administration forgot the very people they vowed to represent.

7. He still sounds barely literate and often has no clue what to say.

8. Dick Cheney is one scary individual and I think he's been whispering into those in power's ears long enough. Halliburton, under his command, has a long laundry list of human rights abuses around the world. Not someone I would trust with my children.

9. gwb's platform seems to consist of his track record from the last four years without new ideas on how we're getting out of this mess. As for his track record, see above.

10. I don't want to be part of a fascist regime...invading two countries is enough and now it looks like we're focusing on Iran to bomb next.

11. As a former member of our armed forces, I feel the hopelessness and despair of those in the service now who are mistreated, lied to and are in the line of fire for no noble cause.

Scott Ritter's Address to Congress
What's Tribal Sovereignty?
No-Fly Zones Not a Reason for War

Good Morning World

Recently, as I was going through photoblogs of protests in NYC, I came across a blog by a young woman in New York and read a few paragraphs, to see if she had marched with me that day. I found that not only did she not march, she was also in favor of the re-election of George Bush. This really captured my attention. I wanted to read more to find out why anyone would willingly choose to re-elect Bush, especially a young woman.

The more I read, the more perplexed I got. I found myself growing upset about her and her friends' portrayals of protestors as dirty, smelly hippies without morals or brains.

I read of their scorn of John Kerry and their adolation of George Bush with awe, and I wondered how they could see this political situation in such a different way.

So, I began to post comments to the blogs there, giving a different perspective on the situation. In my opinion, what was grasped upon by the viewers of her blog were the comments I made about the bloggers rather than the facts of the political situation. The facts were almost universally ignored. I was to them an annoyance and I wondered why. Was it that what I was saying made more sense than they wanted to admit?

So, katie, owner of the blog The Resplendent Mango challenged me to add my own blog and she said she would link to it. My comments are under the name sweet cumquat.

Well, here it is...I'm here to have some serious, and maybe some not so serious, discussions about the political situation as it stands now.

Rules of engagement: it's so easy for all of us, myself included, to want to tear down the person who has a difference of opinion on something we deem so important. Please, let's try to keep this civil and refrain from personal attacks. Also, please let's always try to show our intelligence by not resorting to too much profanity. I hold the rights to bump any commenter who cannot play fair and engage in debate, rather than attacks.

I will allow links to pertinent information, so please let's try not to quote whole pages of text, but rather link to them when we can.

I look forward to honest discourse with all of you.