Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Al Gore, sniper

"If you have a renegade band of rightwing extremists who get hold of power, the whole thing goes to the right." Al Gore describing our current predicament.
He's got a new movie out, it's a horror documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. I haven't seen it but it's scaring the hell out of people who have. How high do you live above sea level?
Al says he's not running for '08. We'll see. He'd be preferable to Hillary or a Kerry re-run, he did win in 2000. But for now, he's free to speak his mind and he has one. He's free to be funny, as he was last week on SNL. And he's free to speak out against the "renegade band" that is pillaging our nation and the world.
Thanx Al, keep up the covering fire, we'll work our way around behind 'em.

Monday, May 22, 2006

I have to ask

When troops are sent
to war for lies
then come home
to find the VA slashed and
the cold, homeless streets
are all that's available
to people we call heroes
I have to ask
if that yellow magnet
on your SUV
has any meaning

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Blowback from the War on Drug Users

If you are a manufacturer of, say, wire and you make wire for government contractors, you are required to drug test your workforce. But, what do you do when drug testing eliminates most of your labor pool?
Wire machine operators work in a harsh, industrial environment, the money is better than working at the mini-mart, but it aint real phat. Turnover is relatively low. And Unemployment is officially, relatively low, but many people are under employed and/or undercounted. So why can't you fill the Operator openings on your shop floor?
Drug testing.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Open letter to Simmons, my misRepresentative

Congressman Simmons,
Recent revelations of telephone snooping and data mining by the NSA are troubling in the extreme. Warrantless searches are so intrusive onto peoples' lives that the Founding Fathers specificly ban the government from doing them under the fourth amendment to the Constitution. As a former member of the intelligence community, you must know how serious and how heinous domestic spying is. There is no legitimate reason for circumventing the FISA court. There is no covering policy that allows the misAdministration to put 200 000 000 Americans under surveillance with the rest to follow when the technology gets worked out.
And yet, it has been going on since 2001 and continues to this day. Despite Congress voting to kill Total Information Awareness (TIA) that program still lives, though no longer at DARPA and no longer run by disgraced ex-admiral John Poindexter.
What is your position on NSA domestic spying?
While NSA developed and implemented the domestic spying operation, Gen. Michael Hayden was in charge. Now he's nominated to replace Porter Goss at CIA. Gen. Hayden is still Active Duty, he is taking a job that is usually held by a civilian, making the Agency subordinate to the Pentagon.
Do you support Hayden's nomination?
Many people in this country and particularly in this state, are very concerned that our most central liberties are being threatened, not by terrorists, but by our own Executive Branch. We have seen enough disturbing facts to want some questions answered. There is an election coming up this year and the people of Eastern Connecticut need to know where you stand on these crucial matters.
I encourage you to represent the people that elected you.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I received a spam from Hapless Joe Lie berman

Just like they taught us in high school civics, I write to my Congressmen. Sometimes they write back, more often than not, it's a form letter. Here's the latest from NoMoJoe:

(Lie berman in black, my comments in blue)

May 10, 2006

Dear Mr. V:

Thank you for contacting me about the escalating situation in Iran concerning its nuclear program. (I contacted you to encourage you to resist the thugs' drive to another stupid, bloody, criminal war. Your response indicates that, once again, you are on the wrong side of an issue)

As you know, the accession of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President of Iran has increased the concern of the United States, as well as our allies, due to his recent remarks regarding the annihilation of Israel and the United States, as well as his support for Iran's nuclear program. President Ahmadinejad's declaration that Iran had enriched uranium in defiance of a call by the UN to halt its nuclear program further complicates an already troubling situation.
(That's one factor)

U.S. sanctions currently in effect ban or strictly limit U.S. trade, aid, and investment in Iran and penalize foreign firms that invest in Iran's energy sector, (although Halliburton is exempt) but unilateral U.S. sanctions do not appear to have materially slowed Iran's weapons of mass destruction programs or shaken the regime's grip on power. (You have no credible evidence or information about the Iranian WMD programs, you have no way to know if they are slowed down, speeded up or if they even exist) Over the past two years, the Bush Administration has been engaged with our allies, (trying to sabotage would be more accurate) particularly European nations and Russia, to curb Iran's nuclear program. Unfortunately, the Government of Iran has responded by reneging on multiple treaty obligations and other pledges, and continuing to push forward with their nuclear program.
(one word: Israel)

The International Atomic Energy Agency gave formal notification to the United Nations (UN) Security Council of Iran's nuclear program by saying it lacked confidence in the intentions of Iran's leaders (NO! Really?) and believes Iran has (may have) violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Earlier, the five permanent members of the Security Council agreed that Iran should appear before the council. This action should lead to further world involvement under UN auspices to induce Tehran to abandon its aspiration for a nuclear arsenal (by threatening them with nuclear annihilation). However, should the efforts at the UN fail, then we in the transatlantic community must be ready to apply a cohesive regime of sanctions against Iran in an economic coalition of the willing. (No, not that again. Sanctions have helped to solidify resistance to the US everywhere that we've applied them)

We cannot, and must not, stand on the sidelines while Iran (or India, Pakistan, Israel, Korea, Taiwan...) continues to develop nuclear capabilities and threaten the security and stability of the world. I strongly believe the United States must work diplomatically with our allies as well as the UN to alleviate this situation. (try opening talks with the Iranians, we've alienated all of our allies) I believe all options for dealing with Iran's quest to develop nuclear weapons should remain on the table. (take OUR nukes off the table, in fact take bombing of any form off the table.)

Additionally, we must engage in more vigorous outreach to the Iranian people, who hear only the official drumbeat of a nuclear program as a source of national pride. (try National Defense) We must support assistance to pro-democracy dissidents inside of Iran, and the dedication of far more resources for broadcast and electronic outreach to the Iranian people, who by all accounts, remain alienated from the fanatical clique that rules them. (It would also be a good idea to listen to the Iranian [and the American] people. They don't want a war and neither do we. Moreover, our belligerent posture and the proximity of our forces on nearly every border have made Ahmedinejad and the Mullahs more credible and much more powerful.)

As your Senator, please be assured I will continue to monitor the situation closely.
(you ceased to be "My Senator" years ago even though I've voted for you every time you've run. You misrepresent me and the rest of the people that put you in office. Your positions on extremely important matters have been diametrically opposite those of the majority of your constituents (and not coincidentally, right in line with the BushCheney gang and the corporate interests that pay your way). You won't get a chance to misrepresent us again, you are retiring this year.)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

An(other) Open letter to Senator Dodd

Dear Senator Dodd
Before BushCheney&Co launched Shock&Awe, I wrote to you, urging you to do what you could to stop the atrocity before it started. I was not alone in my conviction that invading and occupying Iraq would be a bloody disaster. I don't know how many of your other constituents wrote to you, but you ignored us, misrepresented us in supporting the use of force as a first response. It made me and most of the Democrats here in Connecticut question whether we'd made the right choice in voting you into office and re-electing you. Could you really be that gullible? Or is it a lack of good information? (How could you possibly have less intel available to you, a Senator, than I, a Farmer, have online?)
Since then, the War has taken 30 Connecticut soldiers lives and wounded an unknown number of others (why is that number secret?). The completely ridiculous way the supplemental has been used to fund the War has allowed the WhiteHouse Thugs to evade the Congressional oversight that the Constitution prescribes, that is your duty. The illegal occupation of Iraq has cost Americans over $15 000 each, every man, woman and child, so far, with more to come.
And you did nothing.
And Joe Lie berman did worse.
You are both in your last terms as Senators.
Bush and his Gang are gearing up for another insane military blunder, this one with MUCH more serious consequences. Bombing Iran, even with conventional bombs, would be a fatal mistake. We have already united much of the world against US, this would make it unanimous.
Iraq was our Sudetenland, a gimme. The world gave us the benefit of the doubt, the British Prime Minister went along with it.
But Iran is a bridge too far.
The rest of the world WILL try to stop US. They have to.
Do not let the madmen start World War 4.
The 60% of our oil that we import? Goodbye. Ditto 65% of our Natural Gas. And all that Debt underwriting? Poof! The oil that we can't get will no longer be sold in dollars either. Basically, kiss our economy goodbye for the rest of your life and mine and probably the lifetimes of your kids. No more visas, no more travel out of our country. Overseas corporate assets seized. Airbus beats Boeing forever.
But that's just money.
Our Military has been led out into the desert, undermanned and unprepared and is struggling to make it as it is, if we bomb Iran, the Shia majority in Iraq will have 150 000 hostages and all their equipment. And that is the core of our military, better than one third of our men and women in uniform. Without them, we don't have a credible defense against the combined forces of the rest of the world.
George Bush retains only 24% support in Connecticut, 33% nationwide. Supporting his wars would not be a good re-election strategy. Resist this atrocity at all costs.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Moussaoui gets Life

Zakarias Moussaoui was no where near New York City on 9/11. He was not in a plane. He did not hijack a plane and fly it into a building. He didn't help the people that did fly hijacked planes into buildings that day. He couldn't have done these things, he was in jail.
Moussaoui is either stupid or crazy or both. Listen to him for a few minutes and it's obvious. Nobody would trust him to hold up his end of a secret plan to attack America. Or even know the plan. He didn't spill the beans before the attack because he didn't have any. He hasn't enlightened US much since the attack. He doesn't know.
He may have actually been recruited by Al Qaida, he may have thought that he had a mission, he may have been deluded or misled with some messianic vision of a divine call to action. But he hadn't been told what it was.
If anything, he was a liability to the plotters, maybe a loose cannon, certainly a loose end. And in such a high stakes exploit, a disgruntled volunteer, turned away at the gate, could bring it all down if he cries on the wrong shoulder. So let him think he's on his training and get him out of the way. Flight school in the US was too exposed, he got grabbed. He's in jail, but he can't hurt them much. Stupid git.
He associated himself with a group that attacked US. He was not part of that plot. How is he guilty of conspiracy? Even if he had intent, he didn't have a plan and that is a pre-requisite for PRE-Meditation.
Now he's had a long time to cast himself, at least in his version of reality, as a Martyr. He's been held in the Great Satan's Dungeon, awaiting execution for four years now. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain by identifying himself with the 9/11 plot. He can romantically die challenging Satan in his lair! He'll go down in history with Saladin!
Only he was sentenced to life in prison. No hero's death. No glory.
This was a wise sentence, considering the smell of blood in the air. It demonstrates the strength of our judicial system, that someone associated with such a heinous crime, but not responsible for it, would be punished as a criminal, not elevated to Martyrdom.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

2400 Dead Soldiers

For at least thirty blocks, several thousand people per block from Midtown to Foley Square, Cops I talked to guestimated between 150 000 and 300 000 people. Not one heckler.
Bush may have seen the futility of continuing the Occupation, they've called in James Baker, a sure sign that W is being rescued. No details yet, just a passing mention in M, Dowd's "Uncle Rummy", but when the shit hits the fan in Little George's life, Poppy sends Baker and a suitcase full of money and George skates away from the wreckage, unscathed. Frat boy.
An article in The Age (Australia) trumpets the Headline: US 'allowed Zarqawi to escape'. The Age is the more honest, or at least not the Rupert Murdoch paper in town and the story was picked up on Buzzflash.
Folks, I think this is a plant.
In order to accept that we 'let Zarqawi escape' you have to accept that there were terrrrrrrst bases in Iraq before we got there, that Zarqawi was operating a training base in Iraq.
That is not true. So the other is not true.