Is America Burning - a Forum To Discuss Issues

All comments welcome, pro or con. Passionate ok, but let's be civil. ...Pertinent comments will be published on this blog. Air your viewpoints.


Skyline - Houston, Texas

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Our heads are where?

Hi anonymous.

My late husband used to say someone had their head so far up their butt, they needed a glass belly button to see where they were going.

I'm delighted to see four commenters on the same post. "Worried" and I have been sure we were talking only to ourselves.

I responded to Drew and Elizabeth on their blogs. Bohemian and I already know each other.

I can't speak for Worried but I was calling our fearless leader many things stronger than King George long before 9/11 and long before this country was foolish to elect him to any public office. I couldn't believe we could be that stupid; not once but twice. (And that's not even counting Texas which I couldn't do a thing about from California.)

I try to pick something from time to time that seems interesting. When I see an article from a conservative publication or politician which is critical of the current Administration, I'm more apt to print it here than something we've all read ten other places.

When both Bob Barr and the NRA oppose the Patriot Act, I'm interested.

When Republicans jump the fence, I'm more than interested.

When Barrons is concerned, I'm overjoyed.

I wish I had more time; I'd write much more personal opinion and do less copy and paste. It's not my style to be snarky or to play" can you top this" on the political blogs although I do read the big ones. I wonder how people who spend that much time talking to each other actually accomplish anything except talking to each other. However, I'm not shy about expressing my opinions here, on my other blog, or publicly.

I'd rather be out each Friday night with my little candle, my three great-granddaughters, and my peace sign. I'd rather be writing letters to the editor, to my Congresspeople, and to anyone else who might be in a position to effect change. I'd rather be trying to support Planned Parenthood and our new PFLAG group locally. We have several local environmental issues which require action. City Council meetings, the Board of Supervisors, and our local group all eat up time.

In the meantime, I try to keep up with this, with my own personal blog, and with the three great-grandkids I'm raising.

I hope all of you come back. I'd love to see any of you on my other blog as well. The link on my user name (on the side bar under contributors) will take you to both.

Again, my best wishes for you and yours in 2006.

Ann Adams (granny)


Happy New Year

This article from Common Dreams today contains both good and not so good news. No surprises here, but it's interesting reading from a British point of view.

May 2006 be better than 2005 and may we have peace; if not in our time, in our children's.

Happy New Year





There is considerable controversy and outcries not only in the U.S. but around the world concerning recent revelations about domestic spying on citizens and the torture of suspected terrorists or their affiliates, actions which have been ordered or sanctioned by President Bush.

The Bush administration avows the president is within his legal rights as Commander in Chief to order these actions. Many people, including some of his supporters, argue that these were illegal and immoral acts and unconstitutional. There are more and more references to President Bush as "King George", as if our president has assumed regal powers. It does appear at times that he suffers from megalomania and overestimates his presidential power.

One might wonder why he should entertain ideas of unlimited power. There has been some indication that he may feel that he was ordained by God to lead this nation in the direction that he thinks is the true path, and if this is true, his grandiose ideas have surely been bolstered by his advisors.

There is ample reason for this belief in the posting below, "Scholar Stands by Post-9/11 Writings on Torture, Domestic Eavesdropping". To escape the long link, click on the tinyurl afforded by Granny to access the full article. It is well worth the read. ( last digit is a 9)

You may get an annoying "script error" pop up and an advertisement partially blocking the top. Keep clicking the script error box until it goes away, and wait until the advert completes downloading. Then click on the right slidebar area (even if the bar itself is covered), and usually the unwanted material at the top will disappear and you have free access to the article. It is quite revealing regarding the thinking of the Bush administration.

Attorney and scholar Yoo "...found his audience in the highest echelons of the White House, where the President and Vice President already tended to see the courts, Congress and international conventions as constraints on the conduct of foreign affairs and national security."

Re-read that sentence again. Does it scare you. It should. Read on.

"...Yoo redefined torture, reinterpreted the Constitution and classified as archaic the long established humanitarian rules of the battlefield."

Georgetown University's David Cole said, "...(Yoo) had made his career developing arguments for unchecked power ...essentially he told the President, 'you can do what you want.' "

Our President sees the courts, Congress and international conventions as constraints? Yoo advocates unchecked power for the President? Redefines torture? Reinterprets the Constitution? Classifies humanitarian rules as archaic?

Highly respected " Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote, in a critique of administrative views espoused by Yoo, 'a state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens.' " Undoubtedly this is not what President Bush wanted to hear and it is small wonder that he wants her replacement to be someone whose views are more in keeping with his own and that of his advisors like Yoo.

It seems that President Bush is committed to his belief in unchecked power, and that he can do what he wants, and sycophants like Yoo bolster that belief.

A article from:

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Scholar Stands by Post-9/11 Writings On Torture, Domestic Eavesdropping

By Peter Slevin

John Yoo knows the epithets of the libertarians, the liberals and the lefties. Widely considered the intellectual architect of the most dramatic assertion of White House power since the Nixon era, he has seen constitutional scholars skewer his reasoning and students call for his ouster from the...

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Friday, December 30, 2005

So who does the Justice Department?

Why they investigate the whistle blowers of course. Forget that this President has turned into a tyrant and thinks the law and the Constitution don't apply to him. Let's go after the people who reported the NSA domestic spying to the media.

There will be much better reports than this but I wanted to get something out here.

Click on the title, as usual.


Thursday, December 29, 2005


A friend just sent me the following breaking news. It came to her anonymously so I have no way to credit the source.

Here it is. If I ever discover who wrote it, I'll add the source.

Congress today announced that the office of President of the United
States of America will be out sourced to India as of November 15th,
2005. The move is being made to save the President's $400,000 yearly
salary, and also a record $521 billion in deficit expenditures and
related overhead the office has incurred during the last 5 years. "We
believe this is a wise move financially. The cost savings should be
significant" stated Congressman Thomas Reynolds (R-WA). Reynolds,
with the aid of the Government Accounting Office, has studied
outsourcing American jobs extensively. "We cannot expect to remain
competitive on the world stage with the current level of cash outlay"
Reynolds noted. Mr. Bush was informed by email this morning of his

Preparations for the job move have been underway for some time.
Guvinder Singh of Indusle services, Mumbai, India will be assuming
the office of President as of December 1st. Mr. Singh was born in the
United States while his Indian parents were vacationing at Niagara
Falls, thus making him eligible for the position. He will receive a
salary of $320 (USD) a month but with no health coverage or other
benefits. It is believed that Mr. Singh will be able to handle his
job responsibilities without a support staff. Due to the time
difference between the US and India, he will be working primarily at
night, when few offices of the US Government will be open. "Working
nights will allow me to keep my day job at the American Express call
center" stated Mr. Singh in an exclusive interview. "I am excited
about this position. I always hoped I would be President."

A Congressional Spokesperson noted that while Mr. Singh may not be
fully aware of all the issues involved in the office of President,
this should not be a problem because Bush was not familiar with the
issues either. Mr. Singh will rely upon a script tree that will
enable him to respond effectively to most topics of concern. Using
these canned responses, he can address common concerns without having
to understand the underlying issues at all. "We know these scripting
tools work" stated the spokesperson. "President Bush has used them
successfully for years." Mr. Singh may have problems with the Texas
drawl, but lately Bush has abandoned the "down home" persona in his
effort to appear intelligent and on top of the Katrina situation.

Bush will receive health coverage, expenses, and salary until his
final day of employment. Following a two week waiting period, he will
be eligible for $240 a week unemployment for 13 weeks. Unfortunately
he will not be eligible for Medicaid, as his unemployment benefits
will exceed the allowed limit. Mr. Bush has been provided the
outplacement services of Manpower, Inc. to help him write a resume
and prepare for his upcoming job transition. According to Manpower,
Mr. Bush may have difficulties in securing a new position due to
limited practical work experience. A Greeter position at Wal-Mart was
suggested due to Bush's extensive experience shaking hands and his
phony smile.

Another possibility is Bush's re-enlistment in the Texas Air National
Guard. His prior records are conspicuously vague but should he choose
this option, he would likely be stationed in Waco, TX for a month,
before being sent to Iraq, a country he has visited. "I've been
there, I know all about Iraq," stated Mr. Bush, who gained invaluable
knowledge of the country in a visit to the Baghdad Airport's terminal
and gift shop. Sources in Baghdad and Fallujah say Mr. Bush would
receive a warm reception from local Iraqis. They have asked to be
provided with details of his arrival so that they might arrange an
appropriate welcome


Barron's Analysis - President wrong

A friend emailed me this article from Barron's, a normally conservative financial publication.

The online version of the magazine is subscription only ($99/year) so the link probably won't help much.


Unwarranted Executive Power
The pursuit of terrorism does not authorize the president to make up new laws

AS THE YEAR WAS DRAWING TO A CLOSE, we picked up our New York Times
and learned that the Bush administration has been fighting terrorism
by intercepting communications in America without warrants. It was
worrisome on its face, but in justifying their actions, officials have
made a bad situation much worse: Administration lawyers and the
president himself have tortured the Constitution and extracted a
suspension of the separation of powers.

It was not a shock to learn that shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks,
President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to conduct
intercepts of international phone calls to and from the United States.
The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act permits the government
to gather the foreign communications of people in the U.S. -- without
a warrant if quick action is important. But the law requires that,
within 72 hours, investigators must go to a special secret court for a
retroactive warrant.

The USA Patriot Act permits some exceptions to its general rules about
warrants for wiretaps and searches, including a 15-day exception for
searches in time of war. And there may be a controlling legal
authority in the Sept. 14, 2001, congressional resolution that
authorized the president to go after terrorists and use all necessary
and appropriate force. It was not a declaration of war in a
constitutional sense, but it may have been close enough for government

Certainly, there was an emergency need after the Sept. 11 attacks to
sweep up as much information as possible about the chances of another
terrorist attack. But a 72-hour emergency or a 15-day emergency
doesn't last four years.

In that time, Congress has extensively debated the rules on wiretaps
and other forms of domestic surveillance. Administration officials
have spent many hours before many committees urging lawmakers to
provide them with great latitude. Congress acted, and the president

Now the president and his lawyers are claiming that they have greater
latitude. They say that neither the USA Patriot Act nor the 1978
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act actually sets the real boundary.
The administration is saying the president has unlimited authority to
order wiretaps in the pursuit of foreign terrorists, and that the
Congress has no power to overrule him.

"We also believe the president has the inherent authority under the
Constitution, as commander-in-chief, to engage in this kind of
activity," said Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The Department of
Justice made a similar assertion as far back as 2002, saying in a
legal brief: "The Constitution vests in the president inherent
authority to conduct warrantless intelligence surveillance (electronic
or otherwise) of foreign powers or their agents, and Congress cannot
by statute extinguish that Constitutional authority." Gonzales last
week declined to declassify relevant legal reviews made by the
Department of Justice.

Perhaps they were researched in a Star Chamber? Putting the president
above the Congress is an invitation to tyranny. The president has no
powers except those specified in the Constitution and those enacted by
law. President Bush is stretching the power of commander-in-chief of
the Army and Navy by indicating that he can order the military and its
agencies, such as the National Security Agency, to do whatever
furthers the defense of the country from terrorists, regardless of
whether actual force is involved.

Surely the "strict constructionists" on the Supreme Court and the
federal judiciary eventually will point out what a stretch this is.
The most important presidential responsibility under Article II is
that he must "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." That
includes following the requirements of laws that limit executive
power. There's not much fidelity in an executive who debates and
lobbies Congress to shape a law to his liking and then goes beyond its

Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It
is at least as impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval
Office desk and lying about it later. The members of the House
Judiciary Committee who staged the impeachment of President Clinton
ought to be as outraged at this situation. They ought to investigate
it, consider it carefully and report either a bill that would change
the wiretap laws to suit the president or a bill of impeachment.

It is important to be clear that an impeachment case, if it comes to
that, would not be about wiretapping, or about a possible
Constitutional right not to be wiretapped. It would be about the power
of Congress to set wiretapping rules by law, and it is about the
obligation of the president to follow the rules in the Acts that he
and his predecessors signed into law.

Some ancillary responsibility, however, must be attached to those
members of the House and Senate who were informed, inadequately, about
the wiretapping and did nothing to regulate it.

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, told Vice
President Dick Cheney in 2003 that he was "unable to fully evaluate,
much less endorse these activities." But the senator was so respectful
of the administration's injunction of secrecy that he wrote it out in
longhand rather than give it to someone to type. Only last week, after
the cat was out of the bag, did he do what he should have done in 2003
-- make his misgivings public and demand more information.

Published reports quote sources saying that 14 members of Congress
were notified of the wiretapping. If some had misgivings, apparently
they were scared of being called names, as the president did last week
when he said: "It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very
important program in a time of war. The fact that we're discussing
this program is helping the enemy."

Wrong. If we don't discuss the program and the lack of authority for
it, we are meeting the enemy -- in the mirror.

Editorial Page Editor THOMAS G. DONLAN receives e-mail at

URL for this article:



Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ted Rall today

Is Ted's phone bugged? He's been hearing clicks and strange "telephone repair men" have been apprearing.

Read the entire piece from Common Dreams by clicking on the title.


Former Congressman Bob Barr

Back during the second Clinton term, Congressman Bob Barr was one of those people I loved to hate.

Now he's former Congressman Bob Barr and has conducted a campaign against the Patriot Act. I surprised my self by subscribing to his mailing list.

Here is his take on impeachment.

Click on the title.


Balancing the Budget?

From Tuesday's Washington Post
E. J. Dionne

As the rich get richer and the poor sicken and die from lack of medical care, a TX politician justfies greed by proclaiming "this will teach the poor responsibility".

Click on the link above for the commentary.


Reviving the Democrats?

Worried's computer is giving her a headache today. It ate what she was planning to post.

I couldn't locate the article she was looking for from this end but here is something from The Nation today., of which I'm a member, is looking for candidates to kick over the apple cart so to speak. The focus is on Connecticut in particular where Joe Lieberman, who for some reason has jumped ship, is running for reelection.

The article is worth reading, at least until we can find what worried was actually looking for.

Click on the link in the title.

Granny (Ann)



I have a bar at the bottom that doesn't want me to type. It may be fixed now. This is a test.


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Not to worry - everything is under control

From Chicago Sun-Times Quick Takes today:

I included the link as well. Quick Takes is quite often very funny and today is no exception.

It's the main reason I get the Sun-Times on line.

He must be horribly happy

D. D., a Warsaw, Ind., reader, by the way, wants to know if anyone else, hearing President Bush say it has been "a good year," is reminded of his description of the Iraq war as a "catastrophic success."


Through the Looking Glass

Here's an interesting take on current affairs. Not from the New York Times or Washington Post but from a college professor in Rochester, New York. Rochester is fairly close to my home town of Ilion.

It was reprinted in Common Dreams (which I can also recommend) and I offer it here. I've written the author thanking him.


Monday, December 26, 2005

Lightning strikes in the wrong place

I just changed vehicles and parked the newer one in front of my house and moved the older one up one space until I decided what to do with it.

We had a bad thunderstorm last night while I was sleeping. Lightning (it couldn't have been anything else I don't think) struck the van and stripped most of the paint from the roof, leaving little curls of paint and primer underneath.

I know it was the current Administration, along with Limbaugh and Dobson ordering God to send me a message. They were as inept with this as they are at everything else they attempt. They hit the old van - not the new one.

Clicking on the post title should lead you to David Corn at "The Nation" today.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

The FBI and MLK

For once I'm speechless except to say ignore the little square about the leaf-footed-bug-nymph.

From Alternet today

When the FBI told MLK to commit suicide

Posted by Evan Derkacz at 12:55 PM on December 22, 2005.

Spying's ugly past.leaf-footed-bug-nymph Blog Tools
email EMAIL
print PRINT

Are you sure it's just a Leaf-Footed Bug Nymph?
It's simply too tantalizing to use unchecked spying to destroy your enemies, even when they present no actual threat. Always cloaked in the language of "security" spying has an ignominious past...

Laura Rozen notes:

"As Nixon press aide David Gergen reminded NPR listeners this morning, the FBI monitored King, and then sent the tapes to his wife to try to 'neutralize' him as a civil rights leader. It also sent him a note with a copy of the tapes suggesting he commit suicide or they would release the tapes. It's worth remembering how recently and how grossly the government has abused the civil liberties of Americans in the very recent past..."

In the words of the man in charge of the FBI's "war" against Dr. King:

No holds were barred. We have used [similar] techniques against Soviet agents. [The same methods were] brought home against any organization against which we were targeted. We did not differentiate. This is a rough, tough business.



For a while it seemed there was the distant sound of sabre rattling on the wind blowing from the White House, and borne by the media alarm cryers. Red alert! Red Alert! Iran is building nuclear weapons! with the not so subtle hint that such an action represented a threat to the peace and stability of the world in general and a direct threat to the safety of America.

All three items are quite probably true to one degree or another. Possibly exclude "peace and stability of the world", as there isn't a great deal of that being served up these days. But if Iran does succeed in building nukes, there is little doubt that nation would present a threat. Iran doesn't have a history of being cool headed and rational in its decisions, and it definitely views the U.S. and her allies as enemies.

What was also troubling was that the news appeared to be preparing the American public for the necessity of a preemptive strike against Iran to prevent a potential threat from becoming a reality. Does that bring echos of WMDs? The world knows what happened as a result of the threat Iraq's WMDs presented.

Since public opposition to the war in Iraq has been growing, and to a lesser degree the war in Afghanistan, and our President has been under fire , the Iran nuke program news has been put on the back burner. Perhaps people in high places came to the conclusion that it was not a good time to offer an excuse - or reason, as it may be - to work up another war.

As you recall, when Iraq's alleged WMDs were a hot topic, UN inspectors were sent to search for and verify the allegations. Now there is news of neighboring Iran engaged in activities that could lead to building nukes, WMDs.

On November 21, 2005, on page A16 the Houston Chronicle carried an article titled "Bill would bar U.N. inspections", datelined Tehran. The article states:

"...The board of governors of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to review Iran's case... . The agency passed a resolution in September and called on Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment-related activities.

Iran's parliament ... approved the outline of a bill that would bar U.N. inspectors from its nuclear sites if the U.N. nuclear agency referred Iran's case to the Security Council for possible punitive measures. ...The bill now will go to Iran's Guardian Council, a hard-line constitutional watchdog, for ratification. The council is expected to approve the measure. "

All this sounds distressingly familiar. Is there another war on the drawing board?

Afghanistan. Iraq. Iran? How many more?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005



Is there no end to the Bush administration's sneaky, secretive tricks? Bush has done it again. Under the guise of doing good for the American people, he has created an agency answerable only to him, run by an appointee no doubt loyal only to him, and to further enrich his favorite people - mega businesses.

In Tuesday's Houston Chronicle, Dec. 20, 2005, page B8, an editorial reports this most recent outrage. I quote, "WRONG PRESCRIPTION>>Vaccine bill would block media scrutiny and exempt drug companies from legal challenges.

"Bush administration ...budget billions to purchase the Tamiflu antiviral drug and to push Congress to authorize the creation of an unusual agency to oversee the developement of vaccines.

"Pushed by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the proposed Biomedical Advanced Research and Developement Agency (BARDA) comes wrapped in secrecy provisions that would exempt it from the Freedom of Information Act as well as congressional disclosure requirements. That would make BARDA more impervious to public scutiny than the Central Intelligence Agency or the Defense Department, which are subject to FOIA requests.

"BARDA would be headed by a presidential appointee who would have the power to grant immunity to drug companies from most lawsuits by people harmed by vaccines the companies manufacture for the agency. ...Plaintiffs would be barred from suing manufacturers who exhibited gross negligence or failure to maintain industry safety standards. ...The BARDA legislation leaves consumers effectively stripped of legal redress....

"With Congress rushing to adjourn for the holidays, Frist attached his bill to the defense spending authorization to prevent colleagues from voting against it. Manipulating such a controversial measure to avoid debate on its merits reinforces the appearance that this is a sweetheart deal for a powerful industry lobby at the expense of the American people.

"The new agency would assume responsibilities now invested in the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute for Health, and other federal agencies that have performed well in the past. Creating an unnecessary arm of the federal bureaucracy, one cloaked in secrecy with the ability to shield drug manufacturers from legal accountability, is a cure that could prove a bigger threat to the nation's health than a flu virus.

Does anyone else find this as odious as I do? Why would an agency designed to oversee biomedical manufacturers require more secrecy than the CIA, et al., especially if all they were doing was making flu vaccine? Could it be that the extreme secrecy is needed because they may have other products to manufacture for our government. Our government would never, never make biological or chemical weapons, would it? I cannot vouch for the veracity of the following link but click on it for allegations our government has done just that, and caused our own troops to be poisoned as a result. I have heard unfounded rumors about this sort of thing, but none so detailed as Riley relates.

And how nice that our President would appoint the man to head this agency, to ascertain the right man was for the right job. And who chooses and hires the employees to staff this agency?
No doubt those who would be completely loyal to their head man and to the President, and whose discretion could be relied on without question. And just as an aside, how much is the office space, equipment, salaries, etc.. going to cost the taxpayers for this new agency?

Supporters of the bill claim the manufacturers need immunity from legal actions in order to encourage them to make the expenditures to create the vaccine. Are other drug manufacturers also immune from lawsuits if they do harm? Not at all, several are under fire at this time, notably the makers of Vioxx and Celebrex, yet the drug companies keep right on churning out medicines and other types of vaccines. So the supporters' arguments appear to be specious.

The administration was well aware that this grand scheme was a scam on the people and that Congress would debate against it. Why else would Frist wait until the last days of session and tack it on to a bill he knew had to be passed? And a sweetheart deal for the big drug industries. Bush's favorite people - big business.

And why a new agency, when there is already in place several efficient agencies to do the job?
Could it be because Bush cannot control them? One would think that Bush would have learned his lesson from the Katrina fiasco. He had yanked powers from one agency and given to another, with one of his pets heading it up. And remember what happened? Big mess and total chaos.

It appears our present administration doesn't learn from mistakes and bears an unshakable belief in their own omnipotence.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Abuse of Power

If the link works, here is a column by George Will printed in the Washington Post.

When George thinks the President may have overstepped his authority, it's time for the Republicans to sit up and take notice.

He thinks spying without our knowledge and without a warrant may be okay. I don't agree. However, he goes on to say that Congress should have been consulted. With their present action on the Patriot Act and their belated concerns about security at the cost of liberty, I don't know if they would be overanxious to overturn the 4th Amendment.

In any event, the tide seems to be turning ever so slightly.


Note to previous post

The "link" I referred to is the title of the article. Firefox evidently does things differently than IE and I'm not used to it yet.


Intelligent Design and the Religious Right

Some time ago, the Dover, PA school board endorsed the teaching of "intelligent design" in their schools. The community of Dover fired the school board.

Now a judge has ruled that intelligent design can't be taught there. I'm sure we haven't heard the end of this. There will be more courts and more judges. We can enjoy the victory of the moment while we wait for the next move.

The link above, which I hope works, shows quotes from some of the leaders of the religious right. I'm putting it on here because a friend was almost tricked into supporting James Dobson. He can sound very plausible.

Take a look at what these defenders of morality and "Christian" values are saying. They have a newsletter as well so I'll be receiving updates (as if I don't get enough mail already).



I recently watched a documentary about new high-tech instruments of war being developed by our nation. The report did not give a cost factor of these developments but it is obvious to any person even marginally aware of the expense that it runs into many billions of dollars.

Add these expenses to the billions spent and being spent on waging our current wars and the total is undoubtedly astronomical, mind boggling, a total so large it is impossible to fully grasp in terms of dollars and cents. (At this time we will not go into the human cost of dead and maimed, destroyed homes, businesses, a people's infrastructure, disrupted lives, an incalculable cost).

One cannot think of these massive expenditures of our tax dollars without considering how these hundreds of billions could be spent to the betterment of our people and humanity in general. And wonder -- what are our leaders thinking of?? They were elected to represent the will of the people. Is it the will of the majority of Americans to wage war, to force our political system upon other nations, to bring death, waste and destruction upon other people, to deprive America's most vulnerable citizens of basic needs, to pamper the rich and mega-businesses at the expense of our poor and our work force???

Is it the will of the majority of Americans that our nation engage in heinous practises and violations of every principle of human rights, to additionally violate the Constitution on the grounds of expediency. In short, to violate every principle upon which this nation is founded and which we have always condemned and abhorred when practised by other nations. Violations after violations. Is it the will of the majority of Americans that we be presented to the world as a people with no honor, no truth, no scruples, no decency, no humanity?

Does anyone remember Pogo and his friends? "We have met the enemy and he is us". Never has this been so true as at the present time.

What can we do? is a question I hear. Remember, "I'm mad as hell and I ain't gonna take it any more!" Get mad, raise hell, deliver an overpowering flood of mail to your elected leaders, hold vigils, demonstrations and marches (peaceful, ofcourse), get the media involved (any that aren't lap dogs of certain powers-that-be). Do SOMETHING!!

Wake up, America. Our nation is going to hell in a handbasket. AMERICA IS BURNING!! Will we do as Nero is alleged tohave done---fiddle while Rome burns? Will we whine and complain and pule while AMERICA GOES DOWN IN FLAMES?

Bloggers blog their discontent and rage, voices crying in the wilderness, as I am fond of saying. Pollsters love to poll a number of citizens and use that percentage to calculate the nation's views. Well, poll the bloggers!! Calculate THAT percentage. Washington, you had better listen to the masses. No matter that you, as the elite, think you know better than the great unwashed, remember what happened to other great elites when the masses rose against them.

Too bad we do not have a guillotine, perhaps not to use but to scare the "elite" into doing what they were elected to do---represent the will of the people. Imagine a fantasy scene where an enormous guillotine is erected on the White House lawn and hundreds of thousands of citizens waving torches and pitchforks surround the area. Think that might get some attention? I really don't advocate such a radical solution but it is a nice fantasy sometimes.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Big Brother is Watching - without a warrant

The Huffington Post has a good article (see link) about the recent domestic spying revelations.

According to them, the issue is not whether it's okay to spy on our neighbors, but whether the President and his cronies at NSA violated the 4th Amendment in doing so. Even now, he shamelessly admits his involvement, says he'd do it again, and blames the media for bringing it to the public's attention (a year late, but the NYT finally did the right thing).

This has been a strange few days. The Senate upheld a filibuster on the Patriot Act and approved John McCain's anti-torture bill. Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Senate 55 to 45.

The Patriot Act opposition gives new meaning to the expression "politics makes strange bedfellows". It does indeed. If anyone had told me a year ago I'd be climbing in with Bob Barr and the NRA, I would have told them they were insane. However here we are, for very different reasons, opposing the Act or at least portions of it. And, I'm on Bob Barr's email list. Not the NRA however; I can't go that far.

Why should this country need an anti-torture bill? What has happened to us? Or have we been that way all along and 9/11 just provided an excuse to behave like savages. I don't know.

There do seem to be glimmers of hope.

Best wishes of the season to any lurkers out there. We seem to have picked up a commenter. Hi Gary. Keep coming back; it's lonely out here.

Ann (and Worried as well)


Monday, December 12, 2005

So why are we maintaining this blog?

These came in via email instead of a comment but I think they deserve their own post.

from Margaret Mead:

" Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

by Cyril Connolly:

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."


Good morning

From Chicago Sun-Times Quick Takes today:

Taking cover

*President Bush responding to criticism of Iraq policy: "These baseless attacks send the wrong message to our troops."

*Vice President Dick Cheney responding to criticism of Iraq policy: "The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out."

*Republican National Committee ad responding to criticism of Iraq policy: "Our Country Is At War. Our Soldiers Are Watching."

It is a wonder how our troops can accomplish anything, distracted as they are with all the politicians running to hide behind them.

Cynical and pernicious huh? If anyone should know ...


Friday, December 09, 2005

My how times have changed

A local friend sent this to me a few minutes ago.

Quotes from when Clinton committed troops to Bosnia:

"You can support the troops but not the president."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years."
--Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
--Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
--Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
--Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush

"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
--Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
--Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Are we guilty of this

From Sojourners today:

"It is not love in the abstract that counts. Men have loved a cause as they have loved a woman. They have loved the brotherhood, the workers, the poor, the oppressed - but they have not loved [humanity]; they have not loved the least of these. They have not loved "personally." It is hard to love. It is the hardest thing in the world, naturally speaking. Have you ever read Tolstoy's Resurrection? He tells of political prisoners in a long prison train, enduring chains and persecution for the love of their brothers, ignoring those same brothers on the long trek to Siberia. It is never the brothers right next to us, but the brothers in the abstract that are easy to love."

- Dorothy Day, social activist and founder of the Catholic Worker movement. Nov. 29 was the 25th anniversary of Day's death.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

As I Was Saying Just Now

Here, from Common Dreams, is a Robert Scheer article concerning Abramoff, Ralph Reed, and the so-called moral high ground.

Old news by now, but he puts it together nicely.

Another glimmer of hope.

I'm not Republican bashing; the party has a long, proud history. It's time for the honest, hardworking members to take the party back from the religious extremists and the neocons.

People of good will can disagree and still work together for good. If I didn't believe that, I'd give up right now.

So much needs to be done. Election reform, meaningful campaign spending limits, an end to the ridiculous power of the lobbyists - how about an end to lobbyists - from either side. No one should be able to buy the government.


There may be light at the end of the tunnel

and it may not be an oncoming train.


Rove and Frist not out of the woods by a long shot

Several Republicans in the House have stood up to the Administration; enough in a few instances to derail some of the more extreme proposals.

Moderate Republicans in the Senate have asked for an end to the Iraq war and an end to torture and rendition.

Sections of the Patriot Act are being opposed; not only by Democrats but by one of the most conservative of Republicans, Bob Barr. It's a start.

The attempt to destroy Social Security hasn't been heard from in a while.

For those who pay attention to the polls, approval ratings have dropped.

In my own state's recent special election, all 8 propositions were defeated, including a couple that weren't too bad. I believe the CA electorate sent a clear message to our Governor. We don't like being pushed around and we sure didn't like spending $50,000,000. on an unnecessary election.

This is a window of opportunity and we must make the most of it.

Locally, I've been busy with Iraq candlelight vigils, civil rights, and environmental issues. We are growing much too rapidly with no real plan. Too much traffic, lousy air quality, and urban sprawl. We're few, but we're noisy. We're not anti-growth but we want that growth to benefit all.

I can't wring my hands and do nothing. If we lose, it won't be by default.

My family keeps me hopping as well. Check out the other blog sometime and you'll meet them there.

I'll try to get back here a little more often.

Welcome, incidentally, to our new commenter, Davo from Australia. The link to his blog is in the comments. Beautiful photos, some poetry, and a wonderful post on the unappreciated semicolon.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Blue Cross?

Blue Cross - thanks for your comment on our 11-20 post. I think we both have enough insurance and yes, I'm fairly sure the Pres and Congress hae nothing to worry about.