Archive for October, 2006

Foreign manipulation of our elections

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

When the Bush Regime first unveiled its plans to invade Iraq in 2002, global response was mostly negative. Some people suggested holding off while the U.N. inspectors continued searching for WMDs. One success of the Regime’s war talk for which they get no credit was the return of U.N. inspectors to Iraq. The Regime scored a major point there, and then threw it away. The argument was that, if the inspectors found anything substantial, and if Iraq refused to dispose of it, there would be ample justification for military action, and most of the world would go along with us.

Many people on the right dismissed the idea that we should have to prove the case for war beyond Colin Powell’s lame presentation to the U.N., which even Powell now admits was a sham. The right’s argument was that we should not let other countries affect our foreign policy. My argument at the time was, “What is foreign policy if not the interplay of nations?” Foreign policy cannot exist in a vacuum, where the needs and demands of other countries are simply ignored if they don’t fit with our agenda. Alas, that is how the Bush Regime acted, building a case for pre-emptive war in the defense of American blah-blah-blah.

The Republican Party managed to squeak through in 2004, though the election was no landslide. This year they may not be so lucky. What’s changed? Actually, not much, and that’s what’s killing them. (more…)

Why GIs should vote against Republicans

Friday, October 27th, 2006

Military people tend to be conservative. Despite a few outbursts of dissent, the current military refuses to accept how badly served they have been by the Bush Administration. Not only by the half-baked war planning, but in terms of diminished veterans’ benefits. The biggest reason GIs should vote against Republicans, though, is Vice President Dick Cheney.

When asked why he didn’t serve in the military, this uberhawk famously declared, “I had other priorities.” Okay, fine, I know many people who dodged military service during the Vietnam War. But no one I know is as vicious and bloodthirsty as Cheney.

The U.S. Army has officially disavowed the practice of “waterboarding,” where a detainee is strapped to a piece of wood, head tilted down, face covered by a rag, and water poured over him to simulate drowning. The Army trains its people to kill, so why are they shying away from waterboarding? Because when you practice inhuman acts against your opponent, you can bet they will practice them against your own people. And how can you protest when they do? What recourse do you have? What’s more, what incentive is there for an opponent to surrender, instead of fighting it out to the death?

The Army knows this, but Dick Cheney doesn’t care. He recently told a reporter that the use of waterboarding was “a no-brainer” if it helped stop terrorism. While I don’t doubt that the practice sometimes yields useful information, it may as well produce bogus information, as detainees say anything they can think up to get off the board. Furthermore, how can we declare our culture is morally superior when we ourselves engage in terroristic interrogation methods?

Dick Cheney is a moral monster. It is no exaggeration to say he is a war criminal. He visited CIA Headquarters daily in the months before the invasion of Iraq, browbeating the analysts and bending the intelligence. More than anyone in government at the time, except for George Tenet (who received the Medal of Freedom for his silence), Cheney knew the war was unnecessary. He and his neocon cadre had an objective — the overthrow of Saddam Hussein — and they never let the truth stand in their way.

In a just world, his utter lack of any moral decency, as exemplified by the “no-brainer” statement, would have gotten him impeached. It frankly amazes me that anyone could support the Republican Party in the upcoming elections. That party has again and again turned a blind eye to arguably the most egregious acts ever committed by any administration in this country’s history, and we’ve seen some pretty bad administrations over the years. President Polk used similar tactics to force a war with Mexico, in order to seize what is now the U.S. Southwest. It was a vile act, but in terms of bloodshed and suffering it pales in comparison with Iraq.

Members of the military should look closely at how their lives are being wasted, and for what purpose. If they think they are serving in defense of American liberty and values, they need to think again.

No thanks, Bill

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

From this week’s “Secunia Weekly Advisory Summary“:

A few hours after Microsoft released Internet Explorer 7 the first vulnerability affecting it has been reported.

The vulnerability can be exploited by malicious people to disclose potentially sensitive information.

Another reason not to upgrade! I’ll be sticking with Firefox.

Big changes coming in the PC market

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

According to The Register, we’re about to see the biggest technology changes to PCs in 20 years. Microsoft Windows® Vista is touted as the “largest and most disruptive change” in operating systems since Windows® 2000 .

Purchasers of new PCs will be forced to adopt Vista®, which will be different enough from previous Windows® versions to cause problems for non-technical users. Corporations will be forced to upgrade or replace all their systems. Good for Intel and Microsoft, not good for users. Vista will likely render older hardware obsolete; good luck to home users who fall prey to the “newer is better” argument, only to find out the new operating system won’t support their printers, scanners or video cards.

Planned obsolescence is capitalism’s answer to creative stasis. (more…)

McCain: It’s the Clintons’ fault

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

Sen. John McCain has laid the blame for North Korea’s nuclear testing at the feet of Bill and Hillary Clinton. He’s quoted in the Washington Post as saying, “I would remind Senator Clinton and other Democrats critical of Bush administration policies that the framework agreement her husband’s administration negotiated was a failure.”

Has even John McCain sunk so low? Is our government capable only of mudslinging? No wonder people are flocking back to religion; our secular leaders, corporate and government, are corrupt and clueless. They’re quick to fix the blame — always on someone else — but when it comes to fixing the problems they go into comas of victimhood and denial. “[Insert name of crisis] isn’t our fault! It’s the [insert name of opposite party]’s fault!” Sadly, we the people are the real victims, of all of them.

Neither party is capable of making positive statements. All political rhetoric is aimed at disemboweling the other party and deflecting criticism. We have no right to expect our leaders to be perfect, but every right to expect them to own their mistakes. Blaming North Korea’s nuclear test, or 9/11, on the Clinton Administration is ridiculous. In both cases the Bush Administration had ample time to adjust its policies. It did not, and those oversights and missteps are 100-percent their responsibility.

If the Republicans want to blame the North Korean tests on a Democrat they may as well take it all the way back to President Harry Truman (more…)

One person can make a difference

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

Dismayed that the candidate for whom he worked spent more time talking to rich potential donors than to the people he wanted to represent in Congress, David Donnelly embarked on a quest for “clean elections.” His progress over more than 10 years doesn’t seem so great, but he has made progress.

The thrust of his efforts are to provide public funding for candidates, so they aren’t dependent on rich individuals and corporations. Donnelly must be doing something right. His group helped convince Massachusetts voters to pass a clean-elections act. Massachusetts politicians first refused to commit funds to carrying out the voters’ wishes; then they voted to repeal the act. So much for democracy.

We see this everywhere in the United States. While we struggle to make ends meet our so-called government engages in massive foreign wars, that benefit only the wealthy, whose children do not even have to serve in those wars. That’s the way things are, but they don’t have to be that way. The government has the guns but we still have the numbers. We could turn this country around before its too late. We won’t do it by pretending Bush-Cheney is an aberration, that our normally healthy political system has simply caught a bad cold. The system is sick and needs attention, but it isn’t dead yet. One way we can improve its chances for survival is to support clean-election initiatives, and turn our backs on machine politicians.

Sticks & Stones

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

Sexual misconduct and the misuse of political power attributed to Mark Foley are no laughing matter. Neither is nuclear proliferation. But pardon me while I laugh. Republicans have been accusing anyone who disagreed with them about the Iraq War of threatening national security, a charge tantamount to calling us traitors. Bush has been banging the drum for continued war in Iraq and edging us closer to war with Iran, all in the name of protecting us from worse attacks than we suffered on 9/11. Iran probably hasn’t processed enough uranium to run a power plant, but they might someday, so we’d better nail ’em. Hastert and the other Good Old Boys in the GOP couldn’t stand the thought of losing one congressional seat, so they overlooked the pervert in their midst. Republicans need a win this November to continue their reign of “values” leadership. Excuse me, I’m laughing again.

Foley has been outed and this time the Republicans can’t dodge the bullet. In 2004 they had nothing to say about the lies perpetrated by the Swift Boat Mafia. How sweet it is that dirty tricks maestro Karl Rove lost his assistant this week, when it was revealed that she’d been taking thousands of dollars worth of freebies from Jack Abramoff. But best of all, this weekend North Korea successfully tested a nuclear weapon. Republicans have been campaigning on values and national security, but they’ve besmirched one and screwed up the other so bad we may never be safe again. Are we at greater risk now than we were on 9/11? You betcha.

I think the Republican Party should be dissolved. The very name carries a strong scent of corruption and death. Not that the Democrats have been an effective opposition party. They’d rather sell out than try to sell their own core values, if they have any left. We ought to dump the lot of them and vote for candidates who aren’t in the pockets of the rich and the religious right. Independents and other third-party candidates may not have the political clout of the Republicans and Democrats, but they don’t have their stink, either. As neither party has done anything to advance either our country’s honor or its security, voting for third-party candidates is the only option left for those of us who can still call ourselves patriotic Americans without crossing our fingers.

State of Denial over “State of Denial”

Sunday, October 1st, 2006

Is this the best they can do? The Bush Regime lamely tries to defend itself against the latest evidence of its criminal misconduct, but comes off sounding like the kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar: Myth/Fact: Five Key Myths in Bob Woodward’s Book