Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Let The Battle Be Rejoined

It has taken me nearly a month, but I am finally over the 2004 Presidential Election. My candidate lost and I have to deal with that, I have to come to grips with the fact that Bush will be in the Oval Office for four more years. Part of me hopes that he will govern this time with humility, but his quip about having “political capital to spend” dashes any hopes of a second term informed by intelligent reflection on the issues and policy tempered by common sense and the best interests of all the American people. And part of me hopes he fails miserably, so that we, the other majority can point to his continued failures and say we told you so. Is that wrong?

But I have learned something about myself in this process, namely that I am not Republican Party material; indeed while I have always considered myself squarely in the Independent camp, I find myself leaning more and more toward Democratic Party ideas and principles. That being said I do not consider myself a liberal, my politics have always taken on a decidedly moderate tenor, but it’s a tune that is increasingly more in harmony with the Democratic Party, and in discord with the Republican Party. I see the Republican Party as an intolerant organization that is increasingly conservative, and run by right-leaning religious zealots; this is not the Party for me. I have even given thought to officially registering as a Democrat, and by the next election cycle I have a feeling the deed will be done.

So now that Bush has regained the White House, we, the other Americans that voted for Kerry must come to grips with four more years of mediocrity, four more years of dysfunction, and four more years of conservative partisan. The net effect is we will have no voice in our federal governmental.

At first the prospect of this left me feeling extremely depressed and feeling lost, my American democracy snatched from me by those whose agenda is decidedly contrary to the tradition and principles engendered in the federal constitution. Having written the foregoing I have to ask: am I being too dramatic, am I allowing emotion to dictate my feelings? I have to answer with a resounding no! I see a real and growing threat to our freedom-loving, intellectually driven society from the religious right whose sole aim—with Republican Party help—seems to be to transform America into the world’s largest theocracy and herald the second coming merely by their ill-informed actions. They must be stopped; they must be challenged; they must be defeated at every turn. And it starts at the grass-roots level.

This is my new focus, my new drive, my new passion, my new crusade. It is a fight we must win if American is to remain true to the foundational principles of our founding. We must once again draw the line between public and private life, secular and religious. Yes, we as a society should be a moral and just civilization, but in promoting moral character, we must uphold human dignity, freedom, equality (before the law) and liberty; our laws take root in the constitution and English common law tradition, not the Holy Bible. Morality, and moral principles are possible outside the realm of religious dictate, and no single code of morals should (or can) be thrust upon a nation as ethnically and culturally diverse as America has become. Morality should not and realistically, cannot be legislated. That is not to say that there should not be societal norms, but again individual and collective human dignity, equality (before the law) and freedom should always be maintained. There is little if no place for religious scripture and law inside the body of civil common law; separation of Church and State must be maintained, if we as a nation are to remain free.

It is ironic that as our serviceman fight for freedom, equality, and liberty overseas, it is being systematically dismantled here at home. Citizens in eleven states voted for state sanctioned bigotry and discrimination in the guise of ill-conceived constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage without proper proof that said marriage do real and verifiable harm to the institution of marriage. Shame on them! But I digress…

As we head into the Christmas season, with its platitude driven slogans and mind-numbing commercials that have little or nothing to do with celebrating the birth of Christ, my soul is unburdened, and my mind clear and focused. I have wallowed in self-pity for the allowable amount of time; I must now rejoin the battle to save America from not only the oppression of theocratic rule, but from fanatical, bottom-line driven, human eating Wal-Mart as well…stay tuned!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Why I Endorse John F. Kerry for President

Every four years We the People of the United States of America are called upon to choose our national leader, the man, or woman who will represent us on the world stage. Four years ago through Supreme Court intervention, George W. Bush became our 43th President. He did not come to the Office of the Presidency of the United States with a clear popular mandate from the We the People, and yet there he was, this vastly unqualified man who would be President.

My president has failed me, he has failed you, he has failed We the People! Over the course of the proceeding four years he has in my mind subverted the constitutional process that provides the foundation for our Republican form of governance. We the People have been neglected, We the People have been forgotten, and We the People of the United States have been ill-served by this President and his ideological administration run amuck.

George Bush is woefully unqualified to assume the mantel of the leader of the free world, and his actions have shown his ineptitude for the position. He is not an overly intelligent man, nor is he thoughtful, or imbibed with wisdom or vision, all qualities needed to be a successful President who moves the nation forward with clarity and purpose. George Bush has failed this simple test repeatedly, in that;

He has failed to lead with vision, intellect, reflective thought, common sense, and within the bounds of our Constitutional Republic.

He promised to bring honesty and integrity to the back the White House, but he has instead cloaked the People’s house in secretly and perpetrated well documented duplicity upon the American people.

He promised to conduct American foreign policy with humility and the treat our allies with respect and dignity, but instead has isolated the United States by his unilateral policies and alienated our allies with his arrogant posturing and general lack of international understanding.

He has violated the trust of the American people and the world by breaking a treaty confirmed with the advice and consent of the United States Senate, and sought to elevate the United States above other nations by turning his back on the U.N. and setting aside other negotiated agreements meant to bring civility to the world.

He seeks to quiet the dissenting voice of Americans by systematically, and willfully denying access to his presence of any American who might hold views contrary to his own, using decidedly undemocratic tactics such as labeling supports of John Kerry subversive and threats to the President, and having such people arrested if they refuse to relinquish their Constitutional right to free political speech.

His lack of leadership, refusal to seek advice from any person outside his very narrowly defined inner circle, his choice to ignore the admonishments and to heed the advice of the outgoing Clinton administration on matters of terrorism, his refusal to listen to his own counter-terrorism chief, and his single-minded fanatical fixation on Iraq, led to the disaster of 9/11, and the murder of almost 3000 innocent people.

He has taken our nation to war with a sovereign nation for reasons shown to be false or otherwise misleading, and in the process indirectly caused the deaths of over 1080 American soldiers (over 7000 wounded), and countless Iraqi men, women, and children.

He compromised the War on Terrorism and allowed Usama bin Laden to escape American and world justice, by going to war in Iraq, a nation that did not constitute a clear and present danger to the security of the United States; meanwhile those countries that do pose a threat, Iran and North Korea are allowed to develop nuclear weapons unhindered by American scrutiny or pressure.

He has irresponsibly abandoned all fiscal reason by pushing through the Republican led Congress five tax cuts, creating the largest budget deficit in the history of our nation, thrusting upon the shoulders of our children a burden that is rightfully our generations’ to bear.

He has forsaken the environment in an ill conceived plan to fatten the coffers of the energy concerns in this nation without regard to the American people, and he has recklessly allowed elements known to be harmful to human health to once again proliferate our air and water.

He has sent our military to war unprepared and ill-equipped, to conduct all phases of a military action in Iraq, and refuses, even after ample evidence has shown the folly of his present course, to bolster their numbers, clinging unwisely to a position sure to lead to disaster and Civil War in Iraq, thereby un-stabilizing the entire region, vacating his stated goals of bringing democracy to Arab states.

He has failed to bring to the Congress a viable coherent energy policy to begin to end the nation’s dependence on foreign sources of energy; this failure has led to greater dependence on foreign source of energy at a time when America should be turning to self-reliance.

He has failed to work in a bi-partisan manner with Democratic Party members in Congress, as he pledged he would do during his run for the Office of President, resulting in a misrepresentation of all of the people before the Congress.

He has introduced religion into the policy of the United States Government, causing tax monies to be diverted from programs after Congress refused to enact his faith based initiative program, circumventing the Constitutional budgeting process, and he seeks to amend our constitution so that gay and lesbian Americans cannot marry, violating the 14th Amendment, and sewing discrimination against a group of people once more into the fabric of our governing principles.

He has mismanaged the nation’s economy, ignoring and even praising the outsourcing of core American jobs to overseas concerns, ignoring the plight of the middle & lower-class American worker, and failing the leadership test once more by refusing to address the issues that would help keep American jobs in America, and he has done nothing to stem the rising tide of imports, pressure China to float it currency on the world market, and check the slide of the dollar against other world currencies.

He has ignored the heath and welfare of senior citizens and the disabled by failing to pass a credible, fair, and truly usable Prescription Drug Plan, refusing to allow Medicare to negotiate for reduced cost of prescription drugs, despite the fact that the Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affair already do so and realize substantial savings.

He has failed to put forth a Health Care Plan that would begin to address the swelling numbers of uninsured across America, at the very time America business of all sizes are asking their employees to share more of the burden on the increasing cost of health insurance, leaving all Americans vulnerable to the resurgence of diseases thought long tamed.

He has failed to address all of the reasons health care costs continue to rise in America; e.g. he clings stubbornly to the notion that litigate alone accounts for the sky-rocketing cost of mal-practice insurance, despite the evidence that insurance companies are attempting to increase revenues lost playing the stock market by increasing mal-practice premiums.

The President’s failure of leadership, vision, and constitutional perception, coupled with his lack of a real moral center based on sound Christian Principles, has led me to this place. I cannot abide a President who lacks an even basic understanding of the world in which we live, and relies on beliefs, rather than intellectual curiosity to inform his life-altering decisions. I cannot abide a President whom I can out-think at every turn; who slaughters our language whenever he speaks; who has earned the disdain of the world by his reckless and arrogant pursuit of neo-conservative policies no matter how ill-advised; who is controlled by those who have not the best interests of We the People at the forefront of their every action.

I am ever mindful of the Preamble to our great Constitution that begins with We the People of the United States of America in order to form a more perfect Union...under this President we have not pursued a more perfect Union, our nation is not a better place because he is our President, indeed it is worse, our lives are not better, our cities not safer, our children’s futures not assured, our liberties not protected, our standing in the world not more respected. And for underlying reasons, I cannot and will not support George W. Bush for reelection. I will vote for a change, I will vote for an intellectual, I will vote for a man who understands and respects the constitutional principles that form the foundation of our society, I will vote for a man who questions, a man with vision and wisdom, and a path that will (hopefully) take America to a brighter tomorrow infused with the light of promise that We the People can once more grasp the American dream without trepidation that tomorrow it might be snatched away at a whim. I will vote for a man with common sense, decency, moral character, and a record of unwavering public service to his country, who truly asked not what his country could do for him, but what he could do for his country. I will vote for John Kerry.

The New York Times > Opinion > John Kerry for President

The New York Times > Opinion > John Kerry for President

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Kerry to Bush: Yes I am a Liberal and Wear It Proudly

Lib•er•al—politics; progressive politically or socially: favoring gradual reform, especially political reforms that extend democracy, distribute wealth more evenly, and protect the personal freedom of the individual.

Here we go, when all else fails trot out the label, Liberal, and suddenly the issues don’t matter anymore. When all else fails and you can beat your opponent on the issues, label him a Liberal, because we all know how bad they are. I say Kerry should embrace his Liberal leanings and give speech to that effect.

Here is the Democrats chance to wrest control of the word away from the Republicans and redefine it; make it work for them instead of against them. Make it indistinguishable from the principles upon which this nation was founded, turn it around, and make conservative the label not to be branded with. I have written a little speech Kerry could give, entitled Yes, I am a Liberal.

Yes, I am a Liberal; for I believe in the Preamble to the United States Constitution; that We the People form the central nexus of our government; that liberty and equality are rights ALL Americans should enjoy, that we have come together as a nation to promote the general welfare of the people and society; and that we cannot secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves or our prosperity if we allow fear to dictate our actions at home and abroad.

Yes I am a Liberal; I believe that a leader no matter his stripe should practice humility, embrace integrity, and speak with honesty to the American people and indeed the world at large. A leader should lead with a clear vision of where (s)he wants to take our nation and a wisdom to get us there without violating the underlying principles our Founding Fathers set forth. We are a Republic and because we embrace this form of governance, I believe the President, the Congress, and the judiciary is answerable to you the People; we serve you, you do not serve us.

Yes I am a Liberal; I believe in continually improving the process by which We the People are governed. I believe in an open government that trusts the people with the truth, a government which places the wellbeing of the people above those of the special interests whose sole aim is the furtherance of their narrow agenda at the country’s expense. I believe the business of the United States should not be solely business, but that we as a nation should strive everyday to live up to the principles embodied in our founding documents; indeed they deserve more then lip service and occasional reference for personal gain. And I believe the Pledge of Allegiance should be embraced in its entirety; how can we be One Nation under God, if we do not embrace Liberty and Justice for all?

Yes I am a Liberal; I believe in order to truly make America safe we have to look outside ourselves to other nations and peoples and accept their help in this titanic struggle against the evil of terrorism. We need to embark on a new paradigm one which acknowledges that the enemy is not static; the enemy does not share our principles, nor our values, and that in order to defeat them we must forge alliances that bring to bear not just the might of the U.S. Armed Forces, but the collective will of the world to stop this evil advance. And we must acknowledge that while we embrace the fresh air of freedom, not all peoples welcome it, and while we seek to replace tyranny abroad with the sweetness of freedom, we should ensure that tyranny and inequality remain unwelcome at home.

Yes I am a Liberal; I believe that Health Care for all Americans is a moral obligation, which should not be rationed out like favors, nor held hostage to the whims of the insurance industry, nor the sole responsibly of employers to provide. The government can and should take an active role in ensuring—insofar as possible—that all Americans can count on sound, quality health care for themselves and their families. This is an issue in which all Americans share an equal stake, for sickness and disease makes no distinction between the rich and poor, black or white, city or suburban dweller. And I believe that Americans should not bear on their backs the high cost of prescription drugs; the weight is too burdensome and the cost too high, the stakes for all of us are too severe.

Yes I am a Liberal; I believe that in order to promote the general welfare that those who can afford to pay more should do so willingly, for we are a nation come together to promote liberty and justice for all; I am my brother’s keeper and he is mine. I ask what is more Christian than that time honored principle? And Americans are fond of saying that this country was founded on Christian ethics, but are those ethics being practiced everyday by We the People? Is it moral to allow any American to starve, to go without health care, to live in sub-standard housing, to go to sub-standard schools, to be left behind? I believe that all should work to make their own way in this world, but when a fellow citizen is in need, it is our obligation as a Christian society to offer them a hand up.

Yes I am a Liberal; I have a relationship with God, he is with me when I walk, he is with me when I sleep; he is with me in spirit always. But that relationship is personal, it is my own, and I do not have the right in this free society to legislate my beliefs into law and force you to share them. That is not what a free and equal society is about; that is not the meaning of liberty. The Lord gave men free will, who is man to take it away in his name?

Yes I am a Liberal; I believe that we should pay for our governmental expenses as we go, we should not shift the burden of our reckless spending—and even more reckless tax cuts in this time of war—to future generations. Why should our children and our children’s children be asked to carry a burden we should willingly take upon our shoulders? I believe that in this time of war ALL should be asked to sacrifice, to give back the country that gave us so much.

Yes I am a Liberal; I believe that that man is a steward of this Earth, not its master. And as stewards we have an obligation to preserve the planet and the life that inhabits it in a responsible way, to take only what we need to live, and to leave the planet in better stead than when we found it. Our obligation is not just to the planet but to ourselves and our prosperity. By this measure we must find a balance between robust economic sustainability and responsible environmental stewardship. Global warming, while not exact in its measurement, is sound science and needs to be heeded. All of the world’s peoples deserve clear air, and water; these are not the sole province of Americans. And again, foul air affects the planet as a whole, it will not stop at the border of the United States, and indeed the U.S. is a larger contributor to the whole than any other nation. Shouldn’t we step to the plate and negotiate sound environmental practices with other nations?

Yes I am a Liberal; I believe in International cooperation, I believe in International law enforcement, and I believe in the International criminal court, an organization that seeks to bring to justice those who otherwise escape it. I roundly reject the argument that American soldiers would be hauled before the court and made to answer for transgressions while conducting war. If our soldiers abide by the Geneva Conventions, of which the United States is a signatory, then shouldn’t they be punished? Should Americans be above the reach of International law? How does our unwillingness to discard the failings of arrogance and embrace humility hamper our ability to lead in the War on Terror?

Yes I am a liberal. I believe is it wrong to take this nation to war, to ask our all volunteer military to sacrifice their lives because the President wanted to invade another sovereign nation. It is clear that the President intended to invade Iraq long before 9/11 ever happened, the tragedy was his excuse to invade Iraq, a country he has never proved presented a clear and PRESENT danger to the security of the United States. The 9/11 Commission’s report quashed any credible connection between Saddam and any terrorist organization, and both the CIA, and the recently released Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq’s WMD—the Duelfer Report—made it quite clear that Iraq possessed no WMD in 2001; the sanctions were doing their job in containing Saddam. Who can now offer a credible reason for invading Iraq, a war that resulted in some 1025 American servicemen killed, some 7000 wounded, and untold numbers of Iraqi dead and wounded? Iraq is the wrong war, in the wrong place at the wrong time, Afghanistan is the right war, and it is one we are still fighting because resources were diverted from it to invade Iraq.

Yes I am a Liberal; I believe the conservative movement has done irrefutable harm to this nation and it peoples by seeking to hold on to the past at the expense of the future. Conservatives and the conservatism movement lack vision, and their leaders rule with little if any wisdom. Their policies more often than not fail the American people because they do not hold true to their own values. Conservatives are supposed to be fiscal conservatives and yet the conservative President and Congress have rung up THE largest budget deficit in the history of our nation. Conservatives say they want government out of our lives, and yet they want the government telling us who we can marry, what women can and cannot do with their own bodies, and when we should be allowed to die. Conservatives as a whole as selfish and self-serving, they seek to hold on to their wealth at the expense of the nation as a whole; they champion the individual over We the People, voting for a tax cut in a time of War, when the President calls for sacrifice, but not from rich Conservatives.

Yes I am a Liberal; I believe that a President should be the leader of all Americans not just his base. The President says he seeks to unite and not divide and yet at every turn he speaks the word Liberal as if it were sullied, and the people that subscribe to its tenets as bad. The President said that he wanted to be the President of all the people and yet he has time and again refused to meet with the NAACP and the National Counsel of La Raza despite repeated invitations. And he said he wants to work in a bipartisan fashion and yet he has refused to meet with the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucus’s.

Yes I am a Liberal; to be liberal is to embody what America is supposed to stand for, not what she has come to stand for under the stewardship of the Republicans. To be Liberal is to believe that all people deserve a chair at the table of the American Dream, and not just the folks who can afford the price of admission. To be Liberal is to believe that we need not be isolationist, that we can and must be the leader of the free world, but a leader that leads with humility, intelligence, sound judgment, and wisdom. No we should not cede the defense of the nation to other nations, the very notion is ridiculous on its face, but nor should we rush headlong into War without convincing evidence of a clear and present danger to our nation. Liberals are not the enemy, we are not Godless, we do not seek to rob the rich to give to the undeserved poor; we are Americans who love our country and have and will continue to fight to defend her, against all enemies foreign and domestic.

Having stipulated to the forgoing, my question to President Bush is this: why aren’t you a Liberal? Why aren’t you embracing fundamental American principles? Why are you seeking to divide and not unite Americans in this time of war and shared sacrifice? Why do you not show humility and integrity and tell the American people that you were wrong about Iraq, that it was a war we should not have fought, that people died because the cause was not just and the war was not justified by facts. No man is without fault, and yet you Mr. President are unable embrace yours; is that character trait of a real leader…No

Friday, October 01, 2004

Being Steadfastly Wrong is Not Leadership!

Not to put too fine point one it, but Bush was spanked last night.

It is clear from last night debates that Kerry commands a much clearer grasp of the issues, and a better understanding of America’s role in the world as the Earth only remaining superpower. Ours is to lead by example in league with our allies, not unilaterally, with arrogance and distain perched upon our shoulders.

Bush is nothing more then a puppet, and last night the strings were being pulled and almost seen. He offered nothing new, nothing of substance, nothing but the same tired “lame” message we have all heard before. The bottom line is that we should not be in Iraq, and it is indeed the “wrong war, at the wrong time, in the wrong place.”

I will submit for the record that Saddam was a dangerous man and needed to be isolated and contained; we along with our allies were doing that. Iraq presented no clear and present danger to the United States. It is funny how the President seems to think it is okay to play paddy-cake with North Korea and Iran while they openly make nuclear weapons, but Iraq needed to be invaded. And for what exactly; what is this week’s reason?

To those who hold the President to a higher standard then beer buddy, Kerry scored points last night, he spoke from a position of intellect and thoughtful reflection, Bush spoke from the heart. One cannot lead from the heart if the mind is disengaged!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Rumsfeld Is Once Again Inserting His Foot into His Arrogant Mouth

I thought the political handlers inside the Bush Administration had been successful in silencing our over bellicose, politically inappropriate, and all too frequently arrogant, condescending Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. But this week he has been back in the news with a vengeance, this time further perpetrating the administration’s lie about Iraq with his own unforgettable and often straight-shooting, short sided, dim-witted style.

The haughty Defense Secretary, appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week, amazingly proffered the notion that the upcoming Iraqi elections might exclude insecure parts of the country. Rumsfeld stated, "[L]et's say you tried to have an election and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country…[B]ut in some places you couldn't because the violence was too great? Well, so be it. Nothing's perfect in life, so you have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet," Rumsfeld quipped.

So, are we (the American people and indeed the world) to buy that it is okay for certain part of the Iraqi electorate to be disenfranchised because of the on-going security problems, the morass that we created by not putting enough boot on the ground? And that the United States the great bringer of democracy, the shinning beacon on the hill, the hope of the world, can shrug it off as if it didn’t matter, chalking it up to life not being perfect? How does this translate to fair, open and equal election for the people of Iraq? Is this guy for real? Or have the Republican learned from their own homegrown experiments in voter disenfranchisement over the years, and are now applying those same undemocratic principles in Iraq? What is happening to America?

Open question to Donald Rumsfeld: do you know what the Constitution is, and if so, have you read it, and if so, do you understand that you read? Certainly by your callous, unthinking, and dare I say stupid statements, it is clear that there is a hard to disregard disconnect, somewhere between the dawning of understanding of American principles and your oft-time unbelievably ignorant vocalizations.

How did we and the world come to suffer you sir?

Iraq: Reality Check Please

Can any rational, reasonable person even keeping half an ear on the news out of Iraq possibly believe that the country is on the road to democracy? Violence grows on a daily basis with U.S. military official announcing that four Marines, from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, were killed Friday in three separate incidents while "conducting security and stability operations," in al Anbar province, while at least seven Iraqi’s lost their lives in the ongoing battles in and around Al- Falluja. How can elections be conducted under such an umbrella violence? Would Americans given similar circumstances turn out in large numbers to vote?

Meanwhile, President Bush praised interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and detailed his plan for stabilizing Iraq during his weekly radio address Saturday, stating, "[I]n less than three months, Prime Minister Allawi and his government have accomplished a great deal, despite persistent violence in parts of Iraq." What have the Iraqi’s been able to accomplish Mr. Bush? Has the violence lessoned, are the Iraqi people any closer to democracy then they were under Saddam’s rule. How long before the country fractures and Civil War bloodies the Iraqi people even more?

And consider this from yesterdays Washington Post:
BAGHDAD, Sept. 25 -- Less than four months before planned national elections in Iraq, attacks against U.S. troops, Iraqi security forces and private contractors number in the dozens each day and have spread to parts of the country that had been relatively peaceful, according to statistics compiled by a private security firm working for the U.S. government.

Attacks over the past two weeks have killed more than 250 Iraqis and 29 U.S. military personnel, according to figures released by Iraq's Health Ministry and the Pentagon. A sampling of daily reports produced during that period by Kroll Security International for the U.S. Agency for International Development shows that such attacks typically number about 70 each day. In contrast, 40 to 50 hostile incidents occurred daily during the weeks preceding the handover of political authority to an interim Iraqi government on June 28, according to military officials.

Reports covering seven days in a recent 10-day period depict a nation racked by all manner of insurgent violence, from complex ambushes involving 30 guerrillas north of Baghdad on Monday to children tossing molotov cocktails at a U.S. Army patrol in the capital's Sadr City slum on Wednesday. On maps included in the reports, red circles denoting attacks surround nearly every major city in central, western and northern Iraq, except for Kurdish-controlled areas in the far north. Cities in the Shiite Muslim-dominated south, including several that had undergone a period of relative calm in recent months, also have been hit with near-daily attacks.

I think its time for a reality check.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Bush’s Speech Before the U.N. Had (Predictably) Little Basis in Reality

After listening to President Bush’s speech before the U.N. yesterday I wondered to myself: is this guy on the same planet as the rest of us? Does he not care that his and the country’s credibility before the world will continue to slide if his administration continues to deny and ignore what the rest of the world sees so clearly: mainly that Iraq and even Afghanistan are slipping from U.S. control, spiraling down in a blood soaked orgy of violence?

While the daily reports of the escalating violence peppers the front pages of major—and minor—newspapers around the world, the Bush Administration still clings irrationally to the theory that democracy is flourishing in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am sure most of the diplomats in the audience for the President’s speech yesterday were equal as dumbfounded by his almost alien speech that took on a decided belligerent tone. And yet Bush came before the body to ask for assistance, but to me it sound more like a demand. The New York Times opinion page summed it up best:
We did not expect President Bush to come before the United Nations in the middle of his re-election campaign and acknowledge the serious mistakes his administration has made on Iraq. But that still left plenty of room for him to take advantage of this one last chance to appeal to an increasingly antagonistic world to help the Iraqis secure and rebuild their shattered nation and prepare for elections in just four months. Instead, Mr. Bush delivered an inexplicably defiant campaign speech in which he glossed over the current dire situation in Iraq for an audience acutely aware of the true state of affairs, and scolded them for refusing to endorse the American invasion in the first place.

Even when he talked about issues of common agreement, like the global fight against AIDS and easing the crushing third-world debt, Mr. Bush seemed more interested in praising his own policies than in assuming the leadership of an international effort. The speech would have drawn cheers at an adoring Republican National Convention, but it seemed to fall flat in a room full of stony-faced world leaders.

The Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan think tank did an extensive analysis of the Bush’s speech. On thing is apparent, Bush is fiddling while the War on Terror slips from U.S. control. And I for one do not feel safer, how can I when the Commander-n-Chief is too busy obfuscating the truth to truly lead?

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Where do we go from here?

The Turkish government confirmed this morning that 10 of it citizens were kidnapped Friday in Iraq. They are of course just the latest in a recent upturn in such abductions, which saw 2 Americans and a British national also taken only to later show up on tape with guns pointed to their blindfold clad heads. And this on the heals of a severe up-tick in violence in Iraq in the last week that has left some 100 dead and scores more wounded. Where is this all leading?

Where do we go from here?

Even to the casual observer is it plain the see that the situation in Iraq is fast spinning out of our control. It is widely reported that most of the major cities within the now infamous Sunni Triangle are in insurgent hands, not ours. Yet national elections are still scheduled for January. How can national election take place with these vital cities in Iraqi government (American) hands? And how much bloodshed will it cost to get take them back from the entrenched insurgents? And with what troops will we use to undertake such an adventure when we lack the resource to affect the capture and occupation of Al Fallujah, Ar Ramadi, Balad, and Samarra, and the Iraq security forces have thus far shown a reluctance to truly fight?

Where do we go from here?

Sabotage of vital infrastructure continues apace, the rising number of daily attacks by insurgents is getting progressively bolder and more deadly, and security in the country of Iraq is an ever vanishing dream of both the Iraqi and American people. Yet our President continues to paint a picture of Iraq as a country on the very threshold of democracy, stating recently that,
[T]he Iraqis are defying the dire predictions of a lot of people by moving toward democracy…It's hard to get to democracy from tyranny. It's hard work. And yet, it's necessary work. But it's necessary work because a democratic Iraq will make the world a freer place and a more peaceful place…[B]ut I fully understand how hard it is for democracy to grow in a country that has been under a leader that tortured and killed and maimed his people...

Huh? Really? Is the President viewing the world through a virtual-reality helmet? Is Bush so out of touch with the real world that he cannot see that Iraq is not a “catastrophic success” but a catastrophic failure that speaks to the lack of planning by the Pentagon and the striking lack of leadership on his own part? Wait don’t answer that. Of course he does! This is no longer about Saddam, and how he did or did not torture, kill, and maim his own people. This has gone way beyond quaint sounding platitudes and meaningless regurgitated sound bites. How can our President so blindly ignore the findings of our own intelligence (site) estimates, which paint a picture of a situation riddled with uncertainty; reports that state that at worse Iraq may devolve into Civil War? Is it stupidity, ignorance, callousness, or arrogance that binds the helmet to the President's head?

Where do we go from here?

Does the Bush Administration have a plan to extricate us from Iraq? If there is one, what is it? What is the plan as Iraq spins out of control and with each passing day lessens the chance that strong, fertile democracy will take hold in the killing fields of the Sunni Triangle? What is the plan to retake the cities of the Sunni Triangle, and at what cost in human life, both Iraqi and American? What is the plan when the Iraqi elections fail utterly degenerating into an orgy of violence we seem powerless to placate? What is the plan when the world’s worse fears are realized and Iraq erupts into civil war destabilizing the one of the world’s principle oil supplies?

Where do we go from here? That is the fundamental question. No matter who ultimately wins the White House, that question will hang above their heads like a sharpened scimitar thirsting for blood. Now that we have gotten so deeply entrenched in Iraq at what point do we remove ourselves completely from the picture. Will we ever be able to leave, or are American forces destined to stay on in a country that can never be secure without a strong central government to quell the long standing animosity between the peoples that call Iraq home?

Where do we go from here?

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

1000 American Servicemen Dead: For What?

So here we are, the milestone, surpassing 1000 American dead and countless more Iraqi men, women and children; do we know how many of them have died, do we care? Add to this madness over 7000 wounded Americans and how many Iraqis(?). Question: is it, was it, worth it? Is it worth the death, carnage, destruction, destroyed lives, and shattered dreams, not to mention the withering away of America’s leadership and creditability in the world? Is it worth the soul of two nations?

According to a CNN report, “more than three-quarters of those killed, 756 of them, have died in combat, and 647 of those have been killed since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq on May 1, 2003.”

Speaking from the Pentagon yesterday, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld brushed aside the milestone by linking once again, in unambiguous terms, Iraq to 9/11 by stating,
It should be noted that the civilized world passed the thousandth casualty mark a long time ago... [H]undreds were killed in Russia last week. And this week, of course, on September 11, 2004, we remember the 3,000 citizens of dozens of countries who were killed on September 11 in 2001."

This callous and calculated statement from a member of the Bush cabinet despite the fact that the 9/11 Commission clearly debunked any plausible or creditable connection between Saddam and the 9/11 terrorist plot, and terrorism in general. More lessons unlearned and yet another Commissions’ findings consigned to the wastebasket of lies, deceit, and business as usual.

And as Sadr City becomes the next center of open urban warfare in Iraq and American soldiers and Marines continue to die at an alarming rate with 18 dead since the beginning of the week, isn’t it time we ALL threw off the masks of American ignorance and pride and asked as a nation why we are in Iraq? As citizens of a democracy isn’t it our duty to ask, no, to demand accountability from our elected officials and not fall prey to idol worship and swoon at the President’s every word just because he might share some of our same views?

The continued carnage in Iraq begs to be debated in open forum and this is not an issue the American people can agree to disagree on, not when human beings (Americans and Iraqis) continue to die at a rapid pace for no discernable reason. It is easy to forget that each life extinguished in this dirty little war affects other lives as well. How many lives have been touched for ill, altered, torn asunder because G.W. Bush took this country to war against a sovereign nation that presented no CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER to the security of the United States?

Those who would use the argument that Iraq was a growing threat as a basis for the attack, were clearly wrong; there were no WMD, no WMD programs, nothing. So why are we there? The other two countries of the now infamous “Axis of Evil,” Iran and North Korea pose more of a threat to the United States then Iraq ever did. Both have announced—let me say it again—announced that they have ongoing nuclear weapons programs. Yet we will use “quiet, sustained diplomacy” to deal with them, going so far as to remove troops from the Korean peninsula thereby weakening our military stance if we ever did need to deter North Korean aggression. Not only that, but Iran has proven ties to terrorism; it was (and more than likely still is) for years the chief supporter of Hamas (a known terrorist group), and allowed Al Queda free rein of its territory. Add to this caustic mixture Syria, which openly supports Hezbollah (a known terrorist group) in Southern Lebanon. I ask with concern knitting my brow: where are the battle plans for those three countries? Surely they are a threat! Can you smell the hypocrisy in the air as thick as maggots on a dead carcass on the streets of Sadr City?

Make no mistake I harbor no illusions about the nature of Saddam’s character. I know he is an evil man capable of mass murder, torture, betrayal, and other vile acts. But he was contained, and at the time we (almost) unilaterally attacked him and his sovereign country, we as a nation had far great concerns to deal with several hundred miles to the east in Afghanistan where the real terrorists live. And while we fiddle-fart around in Iraq causing more death and destruction, the terrorists are reconstituting themselves in Afghanistan.

How ironic and pathetic is it for the Vice President to call into question the Democrats fitness to defend the nation when it was under a Republican watch that 9/11 took place. Shouldn’t we, the American people be calling into question the Bush Administration’s ability to keeps us safe? I know I do! Hasn’t terrorism around the world increased under their stewardship of the War on Terror? And for those who would point to fact that America has not been attacked since 9/11, aren’t you operating under the same blind illusion that America is a fortress, that kept the Bush Administration from taking the terrorist threat seriously before 9/11, despite the many, many warning signs?

1000 American dead in Iraq, and more than 7000 wounded, and still the chief architect of 9/11, the man whose name was not even mentioned during the Republican Convention, remains free. Free to plot more terror, and kill more Americans…wait is that laugher I hear, laced with derision wafting through the late summer air?

Monday, September 06, 2004

A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican

Here is something I ran across—thanks to my lovely wife—and I thought I’d share it with the world, so to speak. The article is called A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican and it illustrates in stark detail how no man stands alone, and that the theory of individualism, the self-made man is really illusionary in nature. No commentary by me, the piece speaks for itself:

A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican

by Donna L. Lavins and Sheldon Cotler

Joe gets up at 6:00 AM to prepare his morning coffee.
He fills his pot with good, clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan. Because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast -- bacon and eggs this day. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower, reaching for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount that is contains because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and the breakdown of its contents.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree-hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer meets these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he'll get worker's compensation or an unemployment check because some liberal didn't think he should loose his home to temporary misfortune.

It's noon time. Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression. Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification (those rural Republican's would still be sitting in the dark).

Joe is happy to see his dad, who is now retired. Joe's dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to. After his visit with dad, Joe gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show. The host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees, "We don't need those big government liberals ruining our lives. After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

In the years to come, Joe's life will change dramatically. The U.S. dollar will be devalued as a result of our huge deficit, our living standards demolished, our standing with the world diminished and our social security gone...all because some conservative republican made sure he could take care of himself and his buddies.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Can Kerry Win?

Well its official, Bush got the bump in the polls (11 percent) everyone anticipated Kerry would receive, but didn’t. The bump Bush wasn’t supposed to receive because he is the incumbent, but did. And it’s beginning to look as though Kerry will loose this election, unless he does something to set himself apart from Bush and show himself to be the leader, the visionary, the President people need him to be.

Even before the now fabled bump Kerry was slipping; the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, the pundits all agree, did their damage, planting the seed of doubt deep in the soil of the American electorate’s unease about Kerry. And now that seed has taken root and not unlike to apple of Eden, I believe has poisoned Kerry’s chances to be elected Pres-44 and called into question both his leadership abilities and trustworthiness. His less then enthusiastic response to these attacks on his character only lent fuel to the fire. Why can’t the Democrats mange to formulate an effective response to these types of nasty attacks? Their continued malaise and unwillingness to do what it takes to check the Republicans can only buttress the conservatives charge that the Democrats are weak and spineless, thereby unable to defend America against the now ubiquitous and ever looming terrorist threat.

True, Kerry did come out swinging directly after the Republican Convention, but the punches to me, lacked real power. He only skirted the surface, still refusing to truly refute the mounting accusations against him. Why, for instance, doesn’t Kerry address the charges leveled by Democratic turncoat Zell Miller and Vice President Cheney in their respective speeches at the Republican Convention, line by line, laying waste to the half-truth’s and misrepresentations that laced them? Why doesn’t Kerry compare Cheney’s defense record against his own? Point out that Cheney, while defense secretary under Bush I, fought to cut the same weapons systems Zell Miller castigated Kerry for voting against.

Why continue to allow the Republican’s to own the field of battle, to define the issues, to set the pace of the debate? I was astonished, stunned speechless when Kerry, when given the perfect opportunity, stated that he would still have voted for the war with Iraq even when faced with the evidence that Saddam owned no WMD. Here was a chance to redefine the issue, to separate once and for all the ill-advised war in Iraq from the necessary War on Terrorism, and Kerry’s team blew it. Here was a chance for Kerry to be a leader, to stand apart from Bush, but he ceded the field to the Republicans. Why?

Note to John Kerry: if you want to win this election you must define yourself, you must set yourself apart from Bush, detach yourself from his shadow and present your vision for America. Stop reacting and take the offensive. Get off the ropes and punch back with force; this is war man, political war, but war nonetheless. Be the leader you claim to be, marshal the troops and take the offensive. It time to get, well, nasty; sling some mud, I am sure the undecided voters will not mind; indeed it is preferable to being muddied and not responding in kind. You sir have been slapped with the gauntlet by Zell Miller, pick it up and redden Zell’s face, let him, the Republicans, and indeed the American people know that you are not to be trifled with. If being above the fray means losing the election, sink to their level and beat them at their own game; then at least you know you gave it your all man!

Where do you want to take America? We need more then slogans and quaint sounding rhetoric. You told us you can do better, but how? What is the plan, where are the policy statements, where is that bold vision that will convince those undecided voters that you can lead? And for God sakes man show some passion, some conviction, some moxie, and some emotional depth. Pound a fist on the podium, raise your voice, rant a little, scream; call Howard Dean if you have to and ask him how it’s done.

With less then two months until the election Mr. Kerry you need to step it up, kick some Republican booty, close the deal before we—your supporters (albeit reluctantly of late)—start wondering what patch of land in Canada would best suit our particular needs as the dullard from Texas occupies the Peoples House for another four disappointing years.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Emperor Has No Clothes

I’m the commander—see, I don’t need to explain—I do not need to explain why I do things. That’s the interesting thing about being President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation.--George W. Bush from Bush at War by Bob Woodward, as quoted in Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency.

That one statement epitomizes the central theme of Senator Robert C. Byrd’s (D-West Virginia) new book Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency. That is that President Bush is an arrogant man whom Byrd sees as "callow and reckless," and "incredibly dangerous," and thoroughly undeserving of the office he currently holds.

I do not believe there has never been more negative press (books, magazine articles, newsprint etc.) written about a sitting president, as has been written about Bush in the history of our Republic. Attacks on the Bush presidency have reached a fever-pitch in recent months, with books by former Counterterrorism Chief Richard Clarke and former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neil leading the pack. But few critics of the Bush Administration and its many failings bring to the debate the weight of Senator Byrd who has served along side 11 presidents. With forty-five years of Senate tenure to claim as his own, combined with a scholar's understanding of constitutional government, few can match Senator Byrd’s experience and insight into the inner working of our Republic and it many and varied machinations.

In Losing America, Byrd not only criticizes the oft-discussed rise of the neoconservative philosophy, but he also speaks with deep sorrow and undeniable passion at what he sees as the slow erosion of constitutionally mandated separation of powers between the Congress and the presidency. And Byrd also speaks with sorrow to what he sees as the evisceration of the United States Senate at the hands of a simple minded man, whose lack of constitutional acumen has led to the "slow unraveling of the people's liberties," in the months and years following 9/11.

An eloquent orator, Byrd often laces his speeches with quotes from antiquity and the founding fathers, which he uses to formulate well-reasoned legal and historical arguments to illustrate his concerns, and drive his central theme home; mainly, as the title to one of his speeches points our, the Emperor Has No Clothes and he, Byrd, is two crier trying desperately to make us all see the naked arrogance and destructiveness of the Bush presidency.

At age 87, the fiddle player and former Klansman from West Virginia is an unlikely Pied Piper. But in the months leading up to the Iraq War, Byrd thrust by his own sense outrage at the treatment of the Senate, whom he sees as the greatest deliberative body in the world, became the Congress’s moral conscience and protector of the Constitution. As Senators young and old, Democrat and Republican fell in line behind the Bush Administration due to intimidation, bullying, and outright lies, Byrd, stood his ground. And through—now famous floor speeches, eight of which are included in this book—repeatedly warned that the Bush White House was on a reckless and perilous course, one that endangered the very foundations of our democracy. How prescient were his views? Each one of has to take an objective look at our country and it standing in the word, an answer that question for themselves, but I stand with the Senator!

A recent newspaper article noted on the occasion of Senator Byrd’s now famous February 13, 2003 speech, entitled We Stand Passively Mute:
“When he rose on Feb. 12, 2003, to speak against the Bush administration's request for congressional authorization, his words ricocheted around the world. He chided his colleagues for standing ‘passively mute . . . paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events.’ He attacked the idea of pre-emptive war, calling Iraq ‘the first test of a revolutionary doctrine applied in an extraordinary way at an unfortunate time . . . in contravention of international law.’"

In many ways Losing America is unique among the books calling the Bush Administration to task for its reckless course. Byrd, long past fearing political retribution or concerned about revenge from the White House, pulls few punches in his lambasting of Bush whom he says challenges the wisdom of our founders like none of the other eleven presidents he’s seen in office. Through Byrd’s eyes we gain unique insight into the inner working of the Senate, and none to subtle nuances of the budget debates between Congress and the Executive Branch of OUR government. Byrd, through his fluent prose treats us to a history lesson in American government, offers insight into the minds of the Founding Fathers as they crafted the founding principles of the American Republic.

Now Come the Dogs of War

Byrd in his quest to put the current administration in the strongest possible light thus proving that the Emperor Has No Clothes even cites an infamous quotation by Hermann Goering on how to sell a war to the citizenry; it is:

Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither did Russia, or England or America, nor for that matter Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leader of the country who determine policy and it is always a simple matter to drag people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship…[V]oice 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 pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.—Hermann Goering, quoted in the Nuremberg Diary (1947) by G.M. Gilbert

Thus opens Chapter 8 of Losing America, entitled Selling The War, speaking of the now ill-joined Iraq War, which of course is still ongoing. Byrd speaks out forcefully against the war, chiding his fellow Senators for giving into the dogged pressure from the Bush White House and voting to supplant—for a second time in thirty years—the power of the Congress to declare war and transferring it the presidency.

Again in his speech We Stand Passively Mute (included in the book), given on the floor of the Senate on February 12, 2003, Byrd stated…
”[O]n this February day, as this nation stands on the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horror of war. Yet this chamber is, for the most part, silent—ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of the particular war. There is nothing. We stand passively mute in the United State Senate, paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events.”

More then just a testimony to the arrogance of the Bush presidency, Losing America is blistering critique of the United States Congress in general and the Senate in particular. Time and again Senator Byrd calls upon history to make his points, comparing the modern American Senate with that of ancient Rome; indeed he sees many parallels between the Roman Republic where English law was born, and thus our own, and the American Republic. And just as the Roman Republic fell from the inattention of its citizenry, Byrd sees the signs of America demise written in our current course, stating, “[M]any early symptoms that heralded the Roman decline may be seen in our own nation today.”

More then any other book I have read on the Bush presidency thus far, Losing America resonates more closely, rings more true, and sings more perilous, because of Byrd and the wealth of knowledge and experience he brings to bear. He is not a government employee with a grudge, nor a political appointee with an axe to grind; he is a sitting United States Senator, a representative of the people, a member of a co-equal branch of government, OUR government. And in his words, though sometimes coated with bitterness, anger, and frustration, a true love of country can be discerned; a true concern for the welfare of the Republic can be gleamed.

Who better then him to sound the trumpet of alarm and have it resonant truly? Who better then him to march upon the field flying an upside down Old Glory signifying to us, the American people, that all is not right with OUR Republic? Though a Democrat, Byrd’s words flow not from a partisan quill, but from a deep love of country; his words of derision aimed at Bush are formed not by hatred of the man, but from a genuine concern the he is taking the country down the wrong path; We The People would do well to take heed of the Emperor with no cloths, before he undresses us all.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - Bush announces major troop realignment - Aug 16%2C 2004 - Bush announces major troop realignment - Aug 16%2C 2004

I am of two minds (in case anyone wanted to know) about this troop announcement. Having served in the military in Europe during the time the Soviet Union was imploding, I can see the need to bring the troops home and leave but a token force in their place. Europe boarders are largely porous now and Russia presents little threat. It will take time to bring them home because Army and Air Force personnel were allowed to bring tier families with. It will take time to outfit U.S. bases to accommodate that many soldiers and airman and their families, not to mention the support infrastructure that must be bolstered.

As far as Korea is concerned; bad move. The country is on the verge of sometime and it isn’t good; pulling out U.S. troops at a time when the North Koreans have signaled by spotlight that they are developing nuclear weapons is just foolish. We have already started moving troops back from the DMZ (demilitarized zone), but the North has a million men under arms, and at least that many artillery pieces. Invading the South would be a small detail; just firing a few rounds over the DMZ would be enough to upset the world economy. After all South Korea has the world’s fifth largest economy and is a center for steel, automobiles, electronics, textiles, and shipbuilding. And strategically its position vis-à-vis Japan cannot be discounted or ignored; you know Japan, the country with the world’s third largest economy.

It is rumored the North Korea is soon to be in possession of six old Russian missile submarines (my guess is Delta class SSBN’s), and according to Jane’s Defense Weekly is working on an SLBM with a range of some 1000 nautical miles. If left unchecked a nuclear capable North Korea would destabilize the entire Pacific Ocean basin, from the Bearing Sea to Australia, from the Asian landmass to California.

Funny how is was imperative for use to invade Iraq because Saddam MAY have had WMD, but the other two countries that constitute the so-called Axis of Evil, that have confirmed that they have nuclear weapons programs underway, we leave well enough alone. And instead of putting more troops into South Korea as a deterrent and incentive to negotiate, we pull them out. Make sense to anyone?

Monday, August 16, 2004

As Americans, It is Up to All of Us to be Well Informed and Thoughtful

Richard Clarke closes his much (wrongly) maligned book Against All Enemies; Inside America’s War on Terror with the following paragraph: “[a]s Americans, it is up to all of us to be well informed and thoughtful, to help out country make the right decisions in this time of testing. We all need to recommit ourselves to that ancient pledge ‘to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of American, Against All Enemies…”

I remember when Clarke, a career Civil Servant who has served under four Presidents released this book. The Republican pundits and Bush Administration officials alike, lined up in lockstep spreading all sorts of malicious trash about the man in an effort to undermine his creditability and question his motivations. Nowhere were theses attacks on Clarke more vicious then on Fox News. To a certain extent the attacks worked, insofar as not enough Americans have read this book, and took to heart its message. And we all need to read this book; that is if we truly care about our national safety.

In Against All Enemies; Inside America’s War on Terror Clarke says that he is telling a personal story, one that led him first to the Sate Department where he held a number of high ranking positions, the then to the White House where he worked the counterterrorism problem for some ten year, under three different Presidents, becoming the first Director of Counterterrorism under Clinton. If anyone knows how Usama bin Laden and his ever growing gang of murders think, it is him, and those who served with and under him. As far as I can tell he has no agenda other than the truth and the safeguarding of America.

What I learned by reading Against All Enemies; Inside America’s War on Terror is the startling, and often troubling history of our governments struggle against fundamentalist Islam, a struggle that begin with the ineffectual responses by President Reagan. I was in the military at the time the Marines barracks was bombed and could never understand why we didn’t respond to the bombing in like kind, despite the massive lose of life (what is little known is that the Marines were told not to chamber rounds in their rifels and had no clips in their guns when they were attacked). Now I understand our response, or lack thereof, and the disastrous consequences that have ensued.

Book Excerpt:

Wolfowitz fidgeted and scowled…”Well, I just don’t want understand why we are beginning by talking about this one man bin Laden.”

“We are talking about a network of terrorist organizations call al Qaeda, that happens to be led by bin Laden, and we are talking about that network because it and it alone poses an immediate and serious threat to the United States, I answered…

Wolfowitz turned to me. “You give bin Laden too much credit. He could not do all these things like the 1993 attack on New York, not without a state sponsor. Just because FBI and CIA failed to find the linkage doesn’t mean they don’t exist.” I could hardly believe it, but Wolfowitz was actually spouting the totally discredited Laurie Mylroie theory hat Iraq was behind the 1993 truck bomb at the World Trade Center, a theory that has been investigated for years and found to be totally untrue.

End Book Excerpt

Clarke lays it all out in easy to verify facts that paint a picture of neglect from Reagan to Bush Jr. Many Republicans have decried his treatment of Clinton in the book, stating that he let Clinton off the hook. Never mind that what Clinton did during his tenure is a matter of fact. But Clarke does not let Clinton off the hook, he is critical of the former President for not leaning on the CIA and FBI enough, and for allowing the Monica Lewinski scandal to diminish his political capital.

Critics had tented to focus on his treatment of Bush Jr., and true Clarke has few kind things to say about him, but Bush flubbing of the War against Terror are well documented. What Clarke does is give us a behind the scenes look at what Bush’s ill conceived decision to invade Iraq have done to U.S. security, and the over all War on Terror, and why after three years of fighting in Afghanistan we are not safer as a nation.

Then too Clarke writes volumes about the failures in the FBI, CIA, State Department, Justice Department etc. to take the terrorist threat seriously enough to end the incessant infighting long enough to form a united front and do something about it. And this was never more pervasive then under the current Bush Administration, where, yes, terrorism was not on the front burner until the tragedy of 9/11.

It is clear after reading the book, that our (Americans in general) ignorance of the fundamentalism Islamic movement might well be our undoing. They do have an agenda, and it is not just to kill Americans, it is world domination as absurd as that may sound. But in Against All Enemies; Inside America’s War on Terror, Clarke makes a convincing case that this is Usama’s and his followers intent, their long sought after goal, and a study of Islam and it spread at the fall of the Roman Empire will bear him out.

We are at a crucial nexus in our nation’s history. Vexing problems beset out society from within and without and this general election is perhaps the most important in our Republic’s history. I do not hide my distain for the sitting President and his Administration. I believe they have endangered this country with arrogance, inept leadership, and a plentitude of unwise decisions most of which have left the United States in a position of being scorned, ridiculed, disrespected and feared. We owe it to ourselves, or children, and each other to go into this election armed with knowledge and understanding; in short to be informed and informed well.

By writing Against All Enemies; Inside America’s War on Terror Richard Clarke has attempted to do just that, inform the American public. I implore you not to dismiss this book out of hand out of loyalty to Party; read it with an objective eye, and open mind. The future of the Republic depends on an informed electorate, be informed!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Outfoxed: What Liberal Media?

Where to begin? Ordinarily I would not undertake to review a documentary within the virtual walls of this forum, but Outfoxed; Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, a film which takes an objective look at Fox News, is a one well worth heralding because its message affects us all as Americans, especially in the run-up to the crucial elections in November.

I do not regularly watch Fox News, because of three overriding reasons; 1). their slant on the news is decidedly biased towards the right; 2). the O’Reilly Factor with Bill O’Reilly, and; 3). Hannity & Colmes with Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes. I consider both O’Reilly and Hannity liars and bullies in the worst tradition of elementary School playground childhood interaction, and the rest of the major Fox News on-air personalities are not far behind.

It is an open secret that Fox News is neither “fair” or “balanced.” How can it be when Hannity opens his show with a countdown to how many days it will be until Bush is reelected, and O’Reilly regularly and habitually bullies his guest, and yells at them the shut-up, and when they don’t, has their microphones cut? I am left wondering: is this the Jerry Springer Show or a place where the issues are debated fairly and without an agenda by the host(s)? The later is true of course, O’Reilly, Hannity, Brit Hume (whom I used to respect), Geraldo Rivera (who I have never thought mush of ), and the entire Fox News organization have an agenda, and that is to be the 24-hour mouthpiece of the Republican Party and its ever increasing lean to the right of center. It is almost as if the term fair and balanced is used to mock those gullible enough to watch the news channel.

The documentary Outfoxed examines Fox News from a number of different angles, starting with its owner, openly right leaning, naturalized American citizen Rupert Murdoch owner of international News Corporation. But the documentary is not content to examine Fox News from the outside; it delves into the meat of the network, interviewing a number of former Fox News producers, and news reporters/local news anchormen, in order to get their perspective. And it dissects the methods Fox News uses to get their slanted message out to the public at large. But what I found most enlightening is how deeply entrenched Fox News is the Republican Party ethos to the exclusion of any other view point. As Outfoxed shows in glaring detail, Fox News is, once again, nothing more then the 24 hour mouth piece of the Republican Party, the same Party that regular reminds the American people that the “liberal” press is lying to us! How ironic.

The documentary points out that what Fox News is doing is worse than the old Soviet propaganda machine, because at least one knew what the Soviet government was up to: it was suppressing all other view points except its own in a bid to control the populace. What Fox News and the Republican Party are doing is far more insidious and underhanded because it clothes it right wing propaganda in the American flag and calls it news. News that heralds itself as “fair and balanced” however is anything but, even to the most causal observer who cares to pay attention to the world around them.

The most disturbing part of the documentary is when Outfoxed delves into the coverage of election night, 2000 in which Fox News network was the first to call the election in Bush’s favor despite the fact that Florida was still in contention. Fox’s declaration forced the other news organizations to follow suit in very short order, and the documentary points out that this and not the contentious court case to follow, or the war of words, nor the endless debate over counting ballots, was the main reason Bush became President. Why you might ask? Because the declaration set up an expectation, an air of finality that swayed public opinion in Bush’s direction; it is an argument that is hard to refute.

Outfoxed also goes the great lengths to paint Hannity and O’Reilly (especially O’Reilly) with a brush of reality that colors their shows with the bright colors of truth. They are, in the final analysis not journalist at all; they do not seek the truth, nor do they wish to entertain an opinion contrary to their own. They have a Right Wing Republican Party agenda and will do anything, including twisting the truth and outright lie to prove their points. Much like Rush Limbaugh, and the rest of the Conservative political pendants who have little or no real journalism experience, they are in the end, arrogant, loudmouthed bullies and talking heads; mouth pieces of the Republican Party. O’Reilly is especially grating to the sensibilities. Other may find him entertaining, I find him obnoxious and insufferable.

The sort of behaviors exhibited by Fox News on-air personalities would not tolerated nor considered creditable on ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS, or CNN, so why do the American people tolerate it here?

For those would cannot do without their nightly dose of Fox News and claim to love their country, Outfoxed is a documentary well worth their time to watch. And for those of us who think that truly “fair and balanced” news reporting is essential to the proper functioning of our American Republic, Outfoxed is an education in what can happen when the People and the government agency charged with the stewardship of the airwave—the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)—stop paying attention and allow cancers like Fox News to infest the very heart of our democratic process. I, for one, do not like being subtly manipulated by those with interests other then the welfare of the American people and nation in mind. Do you?

Monday, August 09, 2004

The Carpetbagger Has Landed

Keyes fires up GOP faithful
Said Allen Keyes on Fox News on March 17, 2000:
I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there. So I certainly wouldn't imitate it.
But that statement of principles didn’t stop Keyes, a resident of the state of Maryland, from announcing this weekend that he would run for the Senate in the state of Illinois.

When asked about this apparent hypocritical stance, Keyes explained that he was not being a hypocrite, nor violating his stated principles, because unlike Mrs. Clinton, he was “invited” to run in the state by the Republican leadership. A leadership spurned on in large part by my Congressman Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. Keyes also stated,
[w]e must continue to assert and stand tall to defend the great principles of God's authority and unalienable rights on which this nation is founded…[I]f, indeed, that land is still Illinois, then I have lived in the Land of Lincoln all my life . . . and I will be proud to call Illinois my home."

I suppose this was a weak attempt by Keyes to further justify his violation of his own principles. How can I trust a man who can so easily violate his own principles, and then invoke God’s name in his misdeed?

Now I have lived in the state of Illinois since 1995, and I have yet to visit the state south of the capitol Springfield, and I am just learning the ins and outs of the city of Chicago. How can Alan Keyes possibly get to know my state, its people, and its concerns in less then three months? He can’t and demonstrated as much this morning when addressing the Republican rally; he asked…”[w]hat do I need to know?” Shouldn’t my Senator already know what issues affect the state? Obama, who has practiced law in the state and who has been a sitting state senator for seven years, is clearly the choice for me and the citizens of the state of Illinois.

Keyes ended his speech on Sunday stating that he believed he was “duty-bound” to protect the moral principles upon which the nation was founded. And he invited the states citizens to join him because "the victory is for God." I have to wonder why God would care one way or the other whether or not Alan Keyes sits in the chambers of the United States Senate. I dare say he has much more weighty concerns on his universal mind.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Alan Keyes Picked to Run for Senate in Illinois Violating Federalist Principles

The Illinois Republican Party in a bid that speaks volumes about the level of desperation to field any candidate to run against the Democratic Party’s golden child Barack Obama, in the upcoming November general election, picked arch-conservative Alan Keyes from (gasp) the state of Maryland late last night! Keyes, if he decided to run, would challenge Obama for Illinois’s soon to be vacant junior U.S. Senate seat.

First of all it is extremely doubtful that Keyes—who has made two failed bids for the Whitehouse and advocates replacing income tax with a national sales tax among other far-fetched ideas—has any chance at winning in Illinois, a state firmly in the blue. Second, I find it amusing and very disingenuous—not to mention exceedingly hypocritical of Mr. Keyes to even consider to possibility of running in a state he is not a resident of. After all, he heaped nothing but scorn on Hillary Clinton when she ran for the open New York Senate state seat back in 2000. Said Keyes on Fox News (that bastion of fair, unbiased, and balanced reporting) on March 17, 2000,
I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there. So I certainly wouldn't imitate it.

However, Mr. Keyes, seems to believe that it might be okay him to represent the people of Illinois, (I guess Federalism is no longer in danger) even though it might not be a good idea. Keyes stated yesterday,
I do not take it for granted that it's a good idea to parachute into a state and go into a Senate race…[a]s a matter of principle, I don't think it's a good idea.

He went on to state,
I think they have thrown down a gauntlet of national challenge to the Republican Party of the state of Illinois.

Are we being subjected to more Republican do as I say and not as I do leadership? Is it okay to violate Federalism in the name of Republican Party prestige and pride?

Saturday, July 31, 2004

U.S. Shifts Stance on Nuclear Treaty (

U.S. Shifts Stance on Nuclear Treaty ( And the arrogant disregard for the wishes of other (inferior) nations by the Bush Administration continues apace. According to the Washington Post,
…the Bush administration declared this week that it will oppose provisions for inspections and verification as part of an international treaty that would ban production of nuclear weapons materials.

How much lower does American prestige have to fall before Bush gets it? We are not alone; the United States as powerful as it is still depends on the goodwill of other nations. And the Bush Administration’s stance on this issue makes little sense even under the dim light of a Yankee Candle. What good is a nuclear proliferation treaty that cannot be verified by inspections?

It has taken ten years to negotiate this treaty, and the Bush Administration would make it all but worthless by refusing to support the inspection and verification process. They—the Bush Administration—site cost as the primary reason they wish to dump the inspection and verification process.

Since it is the U.N. that will be conducting the inspections, shouldn’t that body concern itself about the cost of the inspections? And what exactly would cost so much; the monitoring equipment, the cameras, the SUV’s, the white paint needed to cover the U.N. vehicles, the black pained needed to adorn the U.N. moniker on the doors of the vehicles, the salary of the inspectors, what? And it seems to me that the continued security of the U.S. and its allies (the ones we have left) against the continual and very real threat of nuclear proliferation would be worth any cost. Or perhaps I am being naive…perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Pouting Bush Shuns the NAACP for Fourth Straight Year

George W. Bush proves once again that he is a man of the people, a President who strives to embrace all of the American people, no matter their color or political affiliation, unless of course if you call him names, then all bets are off. This is the basis for George W. Bush’s refusal to speak at the recent annual convention of the NAACP in Philadelphia. Bush, speaking of the NAACP leadership recently told reporter,
“[y]ou've heard the rhetoric and the names they've called me."

Excuse me, but aren’t you an adult Mr. Bush? Don’t you claim to be a leader? Are these the actions of an effective leader? Is this the way the President of an increasingly multicultural nation should act? Refusing to speak in front of the NAACP because Chairman Julian Bond rightly has called for your ouster is to summarily dismiss the thoughts—and votes—of some 500,000 NAACP members nationwide, and millions more (black & white, Asian & Latino) who support their cause.

The White House in a bid to prove a how gullible the American people are, at first attributed Bush's decision not to accept the invitation to speak at the NAACP annual convention to a scheduling conflict. Only later did Bush confirm what we all already know: that the leadership of the NAACP has little love for Bush because of his policies and track record to date on civil rights. Then candidate Bush’s visit to the openly racist campus of Bob Jones University during the election campaign of 2000; the Bush Administration’s announced support of the litigants in the Michigan Law School reverse discrimination case on Martin Luther King’s birthday, and a host of other questionable actions certainly do nothing to endear him to Black Americans as a whole. And his refusal to even meet with the Congressional Black Caucus speaks volumes about his stance on the Black American leadership in Congress. Message: you Congressional Black Caucus) don’t matter, your causes are not mine, nor my bases to embrace or consider, and the people you represent don’t matter!

Granted some of the things that Julian Bond and President of the NAACP Mr. Kweisi Mfume have been harsh, but were they deserved, are they the truth, and did they need to be said? I say yes, but of course each American will have to make up their own mind based on the Principles this nation is supposed to hold dear, you know, liberty and justice for all.

In his defense Mr. Mfume told reporters that,
“he has reached out to Bush numerous times in hopes of meeting with him…[t]he president never wrote me back," he stated. "I always got a letter from someone else in the White House stating his schedule did not permit such a meeting and they would get back with me ... and they never did.”

But Bush has continually stated that the Republican Party is the Party of inclusion, not exclusion. So why miss a chance to spread the love to the members of the nation’s foremost civil rights organization and let action speak louder then mere words? The message sent by Bush is undeniably clear: you (Black Americans) don’t matter, and the people you represent don’t matter, I don’t need your vote; you are insignificant, once again second class citizens whose core concerns need not be addressed by my administration.

Thank you Mr. Bush; you have further solidified my position in opposition of you and your Party of inclusion. We have no use for each other.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

And Dubya Fiddled While the U.S. Army Burned

What will it take? What will it take before the continuing failure of leadership from the Bush Administration, and Bush personally as Command-n-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, falls upon the American people and U.S. Army and Guard & Reserve like a hurricane? A strong category 5 monster building in the South Atlantic, threatening, but then lingering, then threatening, then finally making landfall, spreading chaos and destruction in wide unrelenting swaths across an innocent land. Is that the magnitude of disaster it would take before America wakes up and rids itself of this embarrassingly incompetent Republican Administration?

Members of Congress (mostly democrats) and military experts within and without Pentagon are troubled by the increasingly clear fact that the U.S. Army is being strained by extended tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than half of the Army's 33 active duty combat brigades are serving in those countries (mostly in Iraq) or preparing to deploy there (see / Morning Edition for a lengthy and interesting piece on this subject). They point to a looming crisis within the nation’s largest armed force and its reserve component. And yet the Bush Administration failing the leadership test again, declines to act decisively to avert certain disaster. Instead of making the hard choices—like growing the Army by at least two or more divisions—the Bush Administration calls in the Marines to perform a mission they are not designed to do; institutes morale-busting stop-loss measures; calls upon the inactive ready reserve; and continues to disrupt the lives of reservists in ever increasing numbers, pushing that institution to the breaking point. Despite all these measures designed to put more boots on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, the civilian leadership (and I use the term very loosely) at the Pentagon foolishly clings to the notion that there is no need to grow the standing Army.

It is doubtful, even at a cursory glance, that the U.S. Army could fight another major conflict, as called for in long standing U.S. military doctrine, with active duty troop strengths at its current level. I am left wondering, where is the disconnect? Why the resistance to doing what is right? Politics? Shame on Bush! Is it so hard for the Republican led Administration to admit that it was wrong to try and fight two conflicts without growing the Army in a substantial way? Is Rumsfled so hell-bent on proving his concept(s) of concentric warfare that he is willing to break the U.S. Army to do it? And are we, the American people so blinded by Administration political spin and fear-mongering that we are willing to stand by and let it happen?

I know it’s a dirty word for those who would love to continue to embrace the fantasy of a leaner, smaller Army of One to combat the “new” threat of the 21st century and beyond, but the draft is the only sensible way to alleviate the impending implosion of the U.S. Army and the Guard & Reserve system while fighting this set of wars. I roundly reject the notion that conscripts would be useless on the battlefield. Such an argument is an insult to all American men (and women), and paints them with a cloth of cowardice that is unwarranted and unsubstantiated. Will they not receive the same training as all Army soldiers? Conscripted or not, put a man in harms way and he will fight.

As a Veteran I am incensed that the once proud U.S. Army has been brought to this point by a civilian leadership that fails to lead with intelligence, wisdom, and foresight. This is clear failure of leadership. And once again Nero (Dubya) is fiddling while Rome burns and no one around him has the courage to tell the Emperor he has no clothes. Will we, the American people have the courage and wisdom to do so come November 2nd?

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Supreme Court Restores Balance to Our American Republic

The American people: 2, President Bush: 0. So the headlines should have read across the nation in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decisions in (Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld and Rasul et al. v. Bush et al), which limited the President’s power to confine not only American citizens, but foreign nationals as well, without due process of law.

Although the high court supported the Bush Administration’s right to seize U.S. citizens, ruling in Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld that
Congress gave President Bush the authority in its arguably overarching Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which empowered the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force” against “nations, organizations, or persons” that he determines “planned, authorized, committed, or aided” in the September 11, 2001, al Qaeda terrorist attacks,
the Court ruled that the President’s power was not absolute. The Court further held that the “due process” concerns of those labeled enemy combatants, be they American citizens or foreign nationals, must be addressed by the administration, stating:
although Congress authorized the detention of combatants in the narrow circumstances alleged in this case, due process demands that a citizen held in the United States as an enemy combatant be given a meaningful oppor¬tunity to contest the factual basis for that detention before a neutral decision maker.

The Court further concluded that:
Hamdi’s detention is unauthorized…and that on remand Hamdi should have a meaningful opportunity to offer evidence that he is not an enemy combatant.

It was stunning to me that the Bush Administration took the unprecedented unilateral step of holding American citizens branded “Enemy Combatants,” without affording them access to the courts to begin with. Claiming that the constitutional status of Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces gave him special fiat to conduct the war on terrorism as he saw fit, the President in effect, suspended the 14th Amendment guarantee of due process before the law and the right of Writ of Habeas Corpus. One right—due process of law—cannot be taken from American citizens, and the other—Habeas Corpus—can only be suspended by Congress in extreme cases, to wit:
[t]he Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it. US CONST, Art I, § 9, Cl. 2.

Though the Supreme Court attested to the fact that the United States is at War, it flatly rejected the President’s claim that his power and discretion in conducting that war were absolute. The majority ruled in effect that the President is not above the Constitutional latticework that defines governmental actions and protects citizens from tyrannical and oppressive behavior, and that they—the Supreme Court, and indeed the judicial branch—cannot be frozen out of the process, because they are a co-equal branch of the government. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing for the 6-3 majority in Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, stated,
"As critical as the government's interest may be in detaining those who actually pose an immediate threat to the national security of the United States during ongoing international conflict, history and common sense teach us that an unchecked system of detention carries the potential to become a means for oppression and abuse of others who do not present that sort of threat."

More important however—at least in my mind—the Court restored access to the federal courts for not only American citizens but the foreign nationals being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in so doing reaffirmed the supremacy of our Republican form of governance and the preeminence of the rule of law over all other concerns.

In seeking to deny the rights of those it declared enemy combatants, the Bush Administration assured their access to U.S. courts by trumpeting a power it did not have, and could not constitutionally sustain. Many conservative critics of the Court’s rulings have complained that now our enemies can sue us—the United States—in court for shooting at them. That is an absurd notion on its face. If the Bush Administration had not tried to circumvent the rules of War (yes, I know as grotesque as it sounds there are rules in warfare); i.e. the Geneva Conventions, and declared the foreign fighters Prisoners of War, there never would have been a case. Yes, we were attacked, but we cannot continue to hold ourselves above the community of nations, claiming ourselves supreme and expect the world to go along quietly like children chasing the piper’s heel. Newsflash: foreign citizens have natural rights endowed by the creator, as well. And why the Administration did not seek to charge both Hamdi and Padilla with treason is a question that begs a rational answer. Is it because they knew, given the high threshold for proving treason (two witnesses who saw the treasonous act taking place) would be problematic since only one witness, a shadowy CIA operative is the Administration’s sole source?

Opposition to the rulings on the Court was predictable with Associate Justice’s Clarence Thomas—who continues to disappoint—and Antonin Scalia both dissenting. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the dynamic duo in Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist, join the dissent in Rasul et al. v. Bush et al. Thomas to me is an enigma as are Black conservatives. Here is a man who grew up in the Civil Rights movement, and should well know the pain and stain of oppression, and yet his arch conservatism reminds me of the days when the Supreme Court fully embraced the doctrine of Separate but Equal. One has to wonder if indeed his version of the Constitution is stained red, soaked with the blood of the innocent he would condemn to tyranny, oppression, and injustice at his pen, and narrow interpretation of the Constitution. He wrote in Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld that
[t]his detention falls squarely within the federal government's war powers, and we lack the expertise and capacity to second-guess that decision…

Excuse me, but isn’t that your job as a member of the Court? Isn’t that what the checks and balances system built into our system of governance is all about? I lack the capacity and expertise to fully understand the tax code, but that does not absolve me of the responsibility to pay my taxes, or file a return every April 15th. As a Justice of the Supreme Court I would think the rule of law would be the most important consideration in each case, no matter its content.

Would he have the judicial branch vacate their role of judicial oversight at the mere mention of War and defer to the executive branch for all matters? Isn’t the bending and flaunting of the rule of British law one of the paramount reasons we broke away from British rule and began this nation? And as many have agreed, the so-called War on Terror is not a declared war by Congress as called for under the Constitution, but an Executive Branch creation, which could drone on long into the foreseeable future. Should the American people be subjected to the whims of the President without proper access to the courts for redress of grievances as called for under the first Amendment? To argue such, is to turn a blind eye to the lesson of history, and violate not only the spirit of our founding, but the letter of our long standing laws.

In the final analysis, Justices Thomas and Scalia notwithstanding, the American system has once again proved it metal, and its place among the world’s finest system of governance. Though justice wasn’t swift—it took two years for these cases to wiggle their way through the court system—it was decisive and just. And a message has been sent to all future Presidents: even in War, the Constitution and the rule of law hold sway, indeed they are supreme and cannot be set aside at the President’s whim. The Executive cannot seek to impose tyranny and oppression at home while championing freedom and democracy around the world. It is my hope that come November the American people say no to a President who so callously attempted to trample their rights.