Friday, December 30, 2005

Stuck Between Two Thoughts

Sometimes I get caught between several subjects and I'm not sure which is the most important to me and today was one of those days.   So I'm going to write about two issues that , though it won't seem like it at first blush, really are related and I'll try to pull them together for you at the end.  The first subject is a dead horse I often beat the fur off of in hopes of bringing it back to life and it is the subject of lies of the Bush administration and those within the administration who tell them.   I found this very well laid out article here: written by Eleanor Clift.  This is as close to that thing Joe Friday use to call "just the facts" as you get in MSM these days.
After my last post you probably have a good idea of how intense I feel about the subject of telling lies.  Please allow me at this point to philosophize a little.  I don't get real excited about one of my colleagues exaggerating about the fish they caught last weekend.   That really doesn't bother me that much.  I don't even get real excited about one of my children avoiding the consequences of their actions by being less than truthful.   We can fix that with some good parenting skills.  I can deal with those issues and generally they don't really hurt a lot of people.  On the other hand I get pretty upset when my country's president avoids the consequences of his actions that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds to thousands of people and jeopardized the lives and futures of generations of Americans and other citizens of the world.  Are you getting where I'm coming from here?  Does anyone else see the somewhat significant differences here?  I believe that Ms. Clift points out several of these consequence avoiding actions of the president and his staff and the reality is that, in spite of themselves, several other MSM types have divulged the pattern of consequence avoidance practiced by this administration.   Based on this reasonably reliable information I think we should start calling this activity just what it is and what it is is LYING.
I believe that it is incumbent upon us as American citizens to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions.   I also believe that it is incumbent upon members of the Congress to hold the executive branch as well as its own members accountable for their actions.  During the Clinton administration the Congress beat the drum that I am now hammering and initiated investigation after investigation into the activities of the executive branch.   I believe it is time that this Congress did its constitutionally mandated duty of checks and balances and performed its duty of oversight of the executive branch.   There is more than sufficient public information, circumstantial evidence, and hard evidence for Congress to move forward with the already begun and mostly stalled Senate investigation into the use of prewar intelligence by the Bush administration and they should move immediately forward with holding hearing and investigating the activities of the executive branch in relation to the NSA's monitoring domestic communications of American citizens.
George W. Bush has committed at least two impeachable offenses.  He lied to the American people in taking us to war in Iraq by purposefully misrepresenting the available intelligence and he ordered domestic wiretaps of American citizens by the National Security Agency.   It is time that the American people and Congress held him and his administration accountable.
The second issue I wanted to address is an article here: by Stephen Glain.  In an earlier post I predicted and I still predict that the United States will go into a recession by the summer of 2007.   It is my belief that, in spite of all the Pollyanna's that advocate the contrary the American economy is on the rocks.  I also believe that it is not just possible but highly probable that the Euro dollar will replace the American dollar as the currency of the world within the next two years.   These two dramatic events are going to occur as a direct result of the shear hubris of this president.
This nation faces many incredibly difficult challenges.  We have been facing them since George W. Bush entered office and because of the misguided policies and priorities of his administration we have not addressed them in any meaningful manner.   The world is growing economically flatter each day.  We are being propelled into a world economy that we do not and cannot control and there is nothing being done by this administration to prepare our nation for the changes and challenges that are coming.  The United States has been a world economic and political power and leader for much of our existence but all of that is about to change because of this presidents lack of vision and inability to lead.
To be a world leader you must be able to communicate with, understand, and respect other nations and cultures of the world.   This president is not capable of any of these things.  His perspective of the world is limited by his own capacities and obstructed by his inability to see outside of his very small circle of neo-conservative chicken hawk advisors who have a radical and distortedly narrow ideological, economic, military, and cultural world view.   The Iraq war is a sterling example of the results of this radical and distortedly diminutive view where narrow economic and ideological goals influence the nation's leader's effective response to terrorism. In this case the response is not only misguided but has resulted in the depletion of vital national resources that are required to maintain and build our economic strength hence the connection between lying and the demise of the dollar as the world currency.   The combination of the depletion of monetary resources by diverting them to a needless war, failure to address national economic issues through investing in economic engines to make us competitive in the world economy, and failure to effectively combat terrorism and make us a more secure nation are all contributing to the erosion of our stature and real power in the world community.
In plain English, how much more broke can you be.
Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Shock Jocks On The Defense And Other Political Stories

I find it interesting that the radical right (neocons) gets so defensive on virtually every issue that they are called to task on.   It doesn't matter if it's Terrorism, Iraq, or Katrina, or any other issue, they seem to always respond the same, and, it is rarely in an objective factual manner.  When I look at or listen to one of the shock jock political commentators such as O'Reilly, Limbaugh, or Boortz to name a few it is always the same.   Their broadcasts are generally filled with or consist solely of pure spin and more often out right lies without any plain and simple facts or any other sociopolitical redeeming value.   It's always the other guys fault and never theirs, rather like a child that has been caught acting naughty.  The only problem is that the naughty radical right is destroying our country.
The sad reality is that the heart of the radical right, the elected political counterparts to these political shock jocks are identical in their modus operandi.  They never answer a direct question.  They never answer a direct question with simple facts.  And they never answer a direct question by addressing the issue openly and honestly but rather they bend/spin the conversations to deflect responsibility away from themselves.  When do you think they will learn that if you do the right and correct thing up front you don't have to lie or spin?  You'd think they would have learned that from Bill Clinton.   I personally don't believe that they will ever learn and the reason is simple.  They don't want to do the right and correct thing because it doesn't benefit or enrich them to do it.
A glaring example of this shock jock spin and lie is evidenced in today's news.  The headline reads "Bush Team Rethinks Its Plan for Recovery".   What they are talking about here is political recovery.  When you read these articles you find that the gist of them is that the Bush administration has decided to conduct a 'Rovian' political attack while simultaneously displaying more "candor" about the setbacks in the conducting of the Iraq war in order to get back on top politically.   Now if you have no understanding of Mr. Rove's political ethics you need only look to Alabama, Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, and any other place where he directed political campaigns and you will discover that it means character assassination by lie and innuendo a la Clellan and McCain. And candor means to the Bush administration admitting only that there have been a few very minor "setbacks" and nothing more.   In none of this is there any hint of truth.  It is not about governing but politics and power grabbing pure and simple.   It's still not about what is good for the nation.  It is still only about how can I stay on top?  How can I keep giving to my rich friends at Halliburton?
I would put two facts to you for considerations.  Look at the periods of economic growth and prosperity during the last century and look at which political party was in power at the time.   Also look at the periods of economic stagnation and look at which political party was in power at the time.  I believe what you will find is that during every single period of economic growth and prosperity the Democrats were in office and during each period of stagnation Republicans were in office.  Now second thing to consider is to look at today's political leaders of both parties and see who served in the armed forces and who didn't.  While you are looking at military service look at the political shock jocks and see who served their country and who didn't.  I believe you will find that of those in power in both parties it is the Democrats who have the highest rates of military service.   Now remember it was the radical right political operatives, shock jocks and politicians who ridiculed and smeared the service of the Democratic candidates and public servants who served their country.
Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Tell Me The Truth In Plain English

I am forever and a day amazed at how 'intellectuals' can muddy the waters of common sense. As I read some news accounts on domestic spying ordered by President Bush I must just shake my head at the muddling language and discussion. I have always thought that newspapers and the main stream news media in general were meant to inform the average American and intended to just tell us what is going on in the world so that we can make informed decisions. I no longer believe that. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. Here are a couple of quotes from President Bush on the issue of wiretapping.

Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires—a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.

—President Bush, Buffalo, N.Y., April 20, 2004.

Now here is another quote from the president.

Q: Why did you skip the basic safeguards of asking courts for permission for the intercepts?
A: First of all, I—right after September the 11th, I knew we were fighting a different kind of war. And so I asked people in my administration to analyze how best for me and our government to do the job people expect us to do, which is to detect and prevent a possible attack. That's what the American people want. We looked at the possible scenarios. And the people responsible for helping us protect and defend came forth with the current program, because it enables us to move faster and quicker. And that's important. We've got to be fast on our feet, quick to detect and prevent.
We use [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] still—you're referring to the FISA court in your question—of course, we use FISAs. But FISA is for long-term monitoring. What is needed in order to protect the American people is the ability to move quickly to detect.
—President Bush, at a press conference Dec. 19, 2005
I discovered these quotes on Slate and did a subsequent search of the president's speeches to verify the accuracy for those of you concerned about my sources.

Now some folks might call these quotes misleading the American people. I call it lying. Let me repeat myself. Lying! That's what it is because we now know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he had already ordered and continues to order wiretaps without warrants period. There is no ambiguity here what so ever. We could dissect his words and discuss them all day but in plain English, American English any English you choose it is called lying. Let me do a quick play by play in slow mo. In the first quote he says "any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires—a wiretap requires a court order." The president is the government right? That hasn't changed has it? And he says "a wiretap requires a court order" right. That's what his speech says. No ambiguity there is there?

Now in the second quote the president says that "FISA is for long-term monitoring" . You know what? I read the entire act and I just couldn't find the term "long-term" any where in that act. I couldn't find it in English, or German, or French, or Italian. Really I couldn't. I just don't think it's there. Do I sound sarcastic here? I am……because you know what? It's pure BS!

Now some of you may not care that the President of the United States lied to you but I do. I care very much. I cared when Bill Clinton lied about his 'internal' relationship and I cared when the George W. Bush lied about violating the civil liberties of American citizens. And you know something else. I think lying about spying is worse than lying about sex. Yep, I really do because I don't care who the president 'sleeps' with but I do care who he spies on because one violates my rights under the constitution and the other violates hmmmmmm….his marriage vows.

Now back to the press. Why can't they just print the facts in plain English so that the average American can understand it? It was easy for me in this post. I take quotes directly from the president's lips and print them in plain English and that's it. I did add my commentary to it. It's simple. He lied to the American people.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Aching For Tolerance And Real Men/Women Of God

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)

I am aching with disappointment; disappointment in my fellow man, my fellow citizen, my fellow American, and my fellow Christian. As I watch news casts and listen to radio broadcasts and even read the newspapers I see a world filled with commentaries on faith and God, and Jesus but what I do not hear or see is true understanding, and tolerance nor men living by the words they profess to believe. I hear "men of God" speak of Christianity and of being pro-life and of being anti-abortion and of a culture of life but at the same time they turn off life support for their own family members and they promote the death penalty and assassination of foreign leaders. I hear "men of God" speak of peace and understanding but at the same time they promote war. I hear "men of God" speak of truth and trust but at the same time they practice lies and deceit. I hear "men of God" speak of charity, caring, and giving but at the same time they turn their heads on genocide, pestilence, hatred, and starvation. I hear "men of God" speak of humility and profess modeling the simple life of Jesus and at the same time they live lives filled with pride and opulence.

Perhaps it sounds as though I am beginning a sermon but I'm really not. What I am doing is pointing out what I believe are the contradictions in what these men, who are our leaders and who would be our leaders and advisors to our leaders, say and what they do. I am trying to point out that it is contradictory to profess to be pro-life and anti-abortion and at the same time be pro-death penalty and promote the assassination of another person. I am trying to point out that it is contradictory to profess to believe in peace, tolerance, and understanding and at the same time promote unjust wars. I am trying to point out that it is contradictory to profess to believe in truth and honesty and at the same time practice lies and deceit. And I am trying to point out that it is contradictory to speak of being humble and at the same time to be boastful of ones accomplishments and wealth.

To me these things that I am seeing, hearing, and reading are the epitome of hypocrisy. It would appear to me that these men are as skilled at cherry picking their scriptures as they are their intelligence. I do not believe that you can be a Christian who professes to emulate Jesus' teachings and life by trying to live only part of it. I believe you accept and try to emulate all of his life and teachings or none. I do not believe you get to pick the things you like and cast off those you don't like or those that don't fit your idea of how it should be.

This president as well as the leaders of the Senate and Congress professes to be Christians and have allied themselves with those who profess to be Christian yet it appears to me and I believe that they live and breathe these very contradictions that I am addressing. It also appears to me that the Christian leaders whom this administration has aligned themselves with also personify these contradictions. I am, not by any stretch of the imagination, a scholar of the bible nor do I profess to be one but I did grow up a Southern Baptist and I was educated in a Catholic school so I do have some background in religion. It is my believe that this administration uses the most divisive issues such as abortion, the death penalty, and war to divide the nation in order to then manipulate a block of American voters to get elected to and remain in office. It is just that simple. It has little or nothing to do with faith or the issues that are important to the American people. It has to do with power and achieving and maintaining it. And it has nothing to do with tolerance or understanding.

"Whatever you neglected to do unto one of these least of these, you neglected to do unto Me!"

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Just Remember The Real Reason & Whose Civil Liberty’s

I took some time off from posting over the holidays and I just checked my casualty numbers. It seems that in the few days I was out of the loop 18 more American Soldiers have died. That brings us to a total of 2,172 soldiers who have died as a result of the war in Iraq. I just wanted to lead with that so you could get the idea of where I'm coming from today. You might also note that unlike the politicians in Washington, B.D. of Doonesbury fame isn't debating PTSD here:

Now to my drum beat. As I listen to program after program, television and radio, about the Iraq war I find it striking how our original reasons for initiating this war are always so conveniently left out. We do not need to keep pushing the reasons we are in Iraq to the back and acting like they don't exist. I believe it is imperative that the citizens of this nation and the world stay focused on why and how we got there in the first place. I firmly believe that now that we are in Iraq and have won the conflict of armies we must exit in an orderly fashion and leave the Iraqi people to determine their own fate in a 'relatively' safe environment. That being said I also believe that it is critical that we consistently draw attention to and reemphasize the reasons we are there in the first place so that we might insure that it never happens again.

One comment that I have heard repeated about the Iraq war is that "we just have to keep slogging it out". No, we don't have to "keep slogging it out". We kept "slogging it out" in Vietnam to the tune of 58,226 American lives. What I believe we need to do is act decisively and rapidly. We need to take steps to ensure stability in the region as we pull the hell out and while we are doing that I think we need to remember that we are in Iraq because we (The American people and the world.) were lied to. I don't believe it was "poor intelligence", as the current in vogue phrase being used would have us believe, I believe it was cooked intelligence that took us there. It is also my thought that the real unbiased intelligence said Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda were responsible for 9/11 and that they were being harbored by the Taliban in Afghanistan and that the vast majority of those hijackers who attacked us were from Saudi Arabia. I think that the real unbiased intelligence didn't say that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but that it said "for all practical purposes Sadam Hussein has no weapons of mass destruction and is not a threat to the United States".

The second issue I want to beat the drum about again is spying on American citizens. I heard someone express it best this week when they said that they had nothing against the president ordering wiretaps of Americans to protect the nation but that their problem was the apparent lack of judicial oversight. I have addressed this issue in earlier post. The purpose of judicial oversight is to prevent abuse and any possible violation of civil liberties and not to impede investigations. The Federal Intelligence Security Act (FISA) court has even historically approved these taps even after the fact. (Remember now that they have only disapproved 4 in over 25 years.) That's right; they approved the wiretaps after the agency, due to the urgency of the situation, tapped the communications but they still had oversight in the process and could still intervene should it be necessary to protect civil liberties. This president on the other hand chose to ignore the constitution and authorized wire taps without a warrant. He chose to violate the law and he did this based on the need for speed. I fail to see how if the government can do the wiretap and then get the warrant from the FISA court how eliminating the court all together sped up the process. I understand how it violates our rights but I don't understand how it speeds anything up.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Curse Of Conservative Republicans – Or Please Shun The Neocons

I have often referred to neocons in my post and I thought perhaps I could expound on what I mean when I use that term and why I use it.  You might notice that I refer to and have a tremendous admiration for Theodore Roosevelt.  He was a Republican by the way.  I also have a tremendous respect for other Republican presidents, Senators, Congressmen, statesmen and many others.  I say that because to me there is a significant difference between these traditional “conservative” Republican public servants and the minority neo-conservatives who would be conservative Republicans, leaders and public servants of today.  Let me add this thought for emphasis before I go on.  I believe the neo-conservatives are the minority in the Republican Party but unfortunately they are the ones in charge.  

The terms I hear most often with regards to these modern conservative politicians is neocons, neo-conservatives and chicken hawks and there are other “names” I could use but I won’t.  To me what sets these modern day conservatives apart is this.  On the floor of the House or Senate or on the national stage they play to the camera and not the American people.  They want to win for the sake of winning and when there is power and money to be won they want to win even more.  Their focus is not on winning for the American people.  

Let me start these next comments with this.  Serving in the military is not nor should it be a prerequisite for holding public office.  Having said that I would say that today’s neocons are by and large people who have never served in the military and ‘also’ have no understanding of the military except as a tool to help them get their way and not a tool to achieve a foreign policy goal or protect the country or its interests.  (I use the words ‘get their way’ because of the childish connotations of the terms and the neocons in my opinion are in some ways very childish when it comes to their money and power.)  Having an understanding of the military can and frequently does make up for not having served and gained the understanding and people of all stripes can achieve an understanding if willing.  But what makes the neocon different is, not only do they not serve but they do not have an understanding nor is gaining an understanding of the military of interest to them.  One other thing that makes the neocon stand out is that not only do they usually not serve but many of these people went out of their way to avoid serving at a time when it was required to do so by our nation.  (For those of you, who will jump on the Clinton thing, don’t.  In this regard he’s the same and I have a great disdain for him because of it and besides you’ll just let it cloud your thoughts.)  That requirement makes not having served very different from those who were not required to serve and simply chose not to.  To me avoiding makes it more sinister and dishonest and might I add cowardly.

Another thing these modern day neocons have in common is that they are what I would call intolerant ideologues.  They have by their actions proven time and again that they will not tolerate others ideas.  If one disagrees with their opinions they are mortally assaulted as was the case with Max Clellan and John McCain (whom I no longer respect because he continues to play the lap dog to Mr. Bush) who’s patriotism and morals were questioned and whose sacrifices were demeaned by the neocon political machine because they had differing ideas.  Understand that I am not referring to open and honest political sparing or debate.  Neocons do not just engage in this but they go deeper and assault with lies and innuendo the character of these individuals.  These are just two ready examples there are many more.

I have come to the conclusion that this group of neocons are corrupt to the extreme.  I will not go into the litany or list as I have pointed these out numerous times in past posts but they include the usual George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Frist, Tom Delay, Duke Cunningham (More old school), I. Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, and Representative Ney whose first name escapes me at the moment and the list goes on and on.  

Let me say also that these folks have not all been indicted or even tried or convicted of a crime but I believe that every American has a constitutionally guaranteed right to look at public documents and media sources and come to their own conclusion on whether a politician or public servant deserves their individual respect and confidence.  Based on that available information I have come to the conclusion that I do not respect this group of neocons and I am concerned to the extreme that they are in charge of all of the branches of our government.

There was a time in Congress and the Senate that each stood and voiced their opinions, concerns, positions, and thoughts and then they all sat down and found the answer.  This process has been eliminated by the neocon leadership of both houses.  They have also abdicated their constitutional mandate for oversight.  Sad don’t you think?

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

BS In The Spin Cycle

I would very much like you to click on this link and read this article here:

I have been, am, and always will be a soldier. As a soldier, a Noncommissioned Officer and leader I was trained to take care of my soldiers. Mission first and soldiers always. These soldiers were doing their duty and they weren’t being taken care of. As a soldier this article makes me sick. As a human being this article makes me sick.

You may ask what this has to do with BS in the spin cycle and George W. Bush. Well it has this to do with him. He has been on a week’s long PR campaign and putting BS in the Spin Cycle to sell a war he started through deceit and under false pretenses and would now have us believe he started it in order to create a democratic government in the Middle East and set the Iraqi people free. Even more directly it has to do with him because he is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United States and these soldiers were in Iraq without the proper equipment because this George W. Bush chose to invade a country against the advice of top military advisors (firing six senior General officers who spoke up and voiced concerns.) and without enough troops to win the war and keep the peace and without proper equipment to protect our soldiers. By the way they still have a shortage of body armor and armored vehicles. These things individually or combined constitute dereliction of duty and that makes George W. Bush in violation of his oath of office.

Speaking of violations of the law let’s let that lie where it is and move on to a few more equally interesting violations of the law. At this link ( you will find that Jonathan Alter has laid out the facts quite clearly and there is little or no doubt in my mind that the president has violated the law and is now trying to cover it up through intimidation if not coercion. It is up to our Congress to take this to hearings and an investigation. What will it take to force this Congress to do its job? They are so preoccupied with covering their own crimes and misdemeanors that they can’t do the oversight that they are constitutionally charged to do.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Monday, December 19, 2005

To Divert Attention – Or To Tell The Truth – That Is The Question

For several days now I found myself becoming angry with the Bush administration and the rest of the neo-conservatives in control of our Congress and our government.  I have decided that a little anger is healthy but I choose to put my energy to better use and that is to continue to voice my opinions and my objections to the conduct of this administration and Congress.  I also intend to put as much energy as I can in doing everything I can to get them voted out of office.

The Bush administration and the neocons continue to pound the drums of war as an excuse to trample the rights and civil liberties of American citizens.  They act as though we, the American people, do not have the right to both an effective defense and our constitutionally mandated civil liberties.  Well I have news for them.  The Constitution of the United States guarantees both of these things and it is his job to provide both.  The president also appears to have the narrow minded view that one is mutually exclusive of the other.  That is just plain wrong.  His excuse that using FISA is too cumbersome or slow is no excuse either.  It doesn’t take a lot of time to get a warrant from a FISA judge.  The reality is that these judges approve these warrants virtually routinely as I addressed in my previous post.  That is a lame excuse and not a reason to deny due process.

This administration continues to try to divert attention and not govern.  The simple fact is that we must stay focused on the issues.  This president tramples our constitutional rights in order to further his own personal agenda and does not look out for and further the interest of this nation and its citizens.
  • It is this president who came into office with the intent to develop a corporate favored government through a series of tax cuts for the very wealthy that puts money in the pockets of the rich and takes it from the poor.

  • It is this president who came into office with the express intent to invade Iraq for the enrichment of big oil to which he and his family are so closely tied and beholding.

  • It is this president who is responsible for over 2,150 American soldiers deaths and 15,500 wounded.

  • It is this president whose administration is responsible for the gross increases in the national debt.

  • It is this president who has not captured Osama Bin Laden.

  • It is this president who has not developed an effective policy for combating terrorism.

  • It is this president who has not taken the steps necessary to secure our nation against terrorism and left our ports vulnerable to further attacks.

  • It is this president whose administration failed to respond and continues to fail to respond to hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

  • It is this president who tramples civil liberties by not using the judicial branch to authorize “spying” on American citizens as provided for in our constitution.

  • It is this president whose administration leaks national secrets that endanger our intelligence agent’s lives.

  • It is this president whose senior staff is being indicted for perjury and corruption.

These are the issues that must be addressed and this president must not be allowed to shove these issues under the rug or divert America’s attention in the name of national security.  National security is not something to play politics with and it is this administration and not the members of congress who want the truth who are playing politics with our national security.  This presidents conduct borders on treason period.  It is time Congress did its job and held this administration accountable for their actions.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

One Step Closer To What – Or He’s Out Of Control

I must confess that I have been unable to write any post for this blog for several days.  You can call it writers block or whatever you like but I have been absolutely paralyzed when it comes to writing about this administration.  Their actions, and specifically the actions of our president, have crossed the line of sanity and into the realm of insanity.  The president of the United States has authorized “domestic surveillance” by the National Security Agency without acquiring a warrant from FISA.  For those of you who do not know, FISA is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court.  This is a court whose specific purpose is to look at requests from the executive branch and since the Patriot Act other agencies, and issue warrants authorizing domestic surveillance of American citizens.  This has the effect of protecting what the 4th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides the citizens of this country and that is being subjected to ‘unreasonable search and seizure’.  Some of you may remember that little Amendment.  What you may also not be aware of is that in the last 25 or so years the FISA court has declined exactly 4 requests for such warrants because they violated the constitution and were therefore deemed unreasonable requests.

Now as usual the president has said that these surveillances which he ordered without the required warrants were critical to our national defense.  Fine, but if these requests were so critical our national defense and to the war on terror why would he be concerned that such a friendly court would turn them down?  If the FISA court had turned down only 4 requests in the last 25 years why was he concerned about these?  Perhaps the president avoided requesting these warrants because he was ordering domestic surveillances that were totally unreasonable in constitutional terms.  That is they were perhaps illegal.  Wrong.  Not good.  I can think of no other reason the president of the United States would avoid requesting such vital warrants from so friendly a court unless he was doing something he shouldn’t be doing.  Bad president!

Not joking anymore………….and, with all seriousness, I believe it is time that our do nothing Congress got off its collective asses and started doing what the constitution of the United States says they are suppose to do and that is utilize their constitutionally mandated powers of oversight and checks and balances and begin an investigation into this administrations activities.

In case you haven’t noticed this nation is not an autocracy and yet this president acts more and more like it’s his own personal little sand box.  Oh, no, that would be Iraq wouldn’t it.

That’s my short post for the night.  I am very concerned about our nation and what this administration is doing to it.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Beyond The Shadow Of A Doubt

It is my belief as a soldier and an American that when the president of the United States takes the country to war the reasons must be of a most serious, urgent, and grievous nature.   It is also my belief that there is no more important or solemn act than the act of defending our nation.  In this not so simple act everything is at stake.   Everything is at stake from the blood of our sons and daughters to the future of our country, our children, and our moral standing in the world.  Bearing this in mind it is my belief that the American people must always know beyond a shadow of a doubt that any time the nation goes to war the reasons for the action must be completely justified and absolutely beyond question.   The threat must be so real that it can be tasted.  To put this in context one must ask this simple and profound question.   Is this act worth the life of my son or daughter?  Am I willing to sacrifice my child for this cause?  And if the reasons for going to war do not justify your answering yes to those questions then it is not worth going to war, period.
Now let's talk very plainly about two separate and very different and important issues.  The first issue is why we invaded Iraq and the second issue is what is best for Iraq and the United States now that we are there.   It is apparent by his last four speeches that the president would have us believe that we are in a war in Iraq to establish a Jeffersonian democracy.   He would also have us believe that the reason he took the nation to war in Iraq was to establish a Jeffersonian democracy in Iraq.  I would put it to you that the first point would be and is misguided and that the second point is a lie.
Let's address the issue of why the president took the nation to war in Iraq first.  As I stated in yesterdays post, the very clearly stated reasons this administration gave for invading Iraq were one, that Sadam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.   And two, that Sadam Hussein had close ties to Al Qaeda and was directly or indirectly responsible for the attacks of 9/11.  And of course three that Sadam Hussein was very near to developing a deliverable nuclear and or chemical or biological weapon and posed an imminent threat to the United States.   I beg you to please go back and review television news clips and magazine and newspaper articles published prior to the invasion of Iraq and attempt to find one single item that did not reflect one of or all of these three primary reasons for invasion.   And if democracy is mentioned at all it is a foot note and not a reason.  Democracy in Iraq was never a stated reason for going to war in Iraq by this administration.   There is another very good reason I know that establishing democracy in Iraq was not a stated reason for going to war by this administration.   That reason is simply that if the president of the United States had said we are going to war with Iraq to establish a democratic government there because Sadam Hussein is a villainous character who tortures his people, we would never have invaded.   It's as simple as that.  Ask yourself this question, would you have supported going to war in Iraq to establish a democracy there.   I believe your answer would be a resounding NO.  Now ask yourself this question, would you go to war in Iraq because Sadam Hussein was a villainous character who had weapons of mass destruction and was an imminent threat to the United States and was responsible for the attacks of 9/11.   Okay now it's a different story.  Would I sacrifice my son or daughter to defend our nation against a villainous character who had the capability and would instigate a nuclear or chemical attack against the United States?   Yes.  The answer is of course yes.
Now our president says "I am responsible", I had "bad intelligence".  It's two and a half years later and you know what.   That's not good enough.  And you know what else, that is disingenuous if not patently dishonest.  Remember what I said before?   Beyond a shadow of a doubt.  It wasn't beyond a shadow of a doubt.   It wasn't even beyond doubt.  We now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this president knew that his intelligence was faulty.   We now know that this president refused to listen to any counter information and you know what.  That is absolutely inexcusable and you know why it's inexcusable.   It's inexcusable because 2,151 American soldiers have died and because over 15,500 American soldiers have left blood and body parts in Iraq.  Blood and body parts in Iraq .  Blood and body parts of American soldiers and civilians have been left in Iraq.  Blood!   American blood!  Get the point?
Now the second issue of what is best for Iraq and the United States.  Unfortunately there is no simple clear cut and clean answer.   There is one fact that we must deal with and that is that we must pull out of Iraq as soon as possible.  This is a fact because first and foremost we are draining our nation of its blood and wealth with each passing day and exposing ourselves to further attack without having developed and implemented the security systems needed at home.   The second reason is that with each passing day we are becoming more and more an army of occupation and this is creating even more enemies and more real terrorist by disaffecting the Islamic world and providing a training ground for Al Qaeda.   Now, it is my firm belief that once the current elections are over we must begin a quick, but not precipitous, phased withdrawal from Iraq.  We must leave the Iraqi people to determine their own fate and future with consistent diplomatic support and real allied military support when necessary.  Unfortunately this administration has supported the Shiite majority in Iraq, which happens to be the same religious sect that rules Iran, and they have done this at the expense of the Sunni minority population.   Coincidentally it was reported yesterday that a truck was intercepted crossing the border from Iran to Iraq and it was filled with ballots for today's election.   This would be further proof that Iran is actively engaged in attempting to determine Iraq's future.  The simple truth is that it is most likely and unfortunate that Iraq if not carefully monitored and supported will  probably move toward one, becoming an Islamo-Fascist state run by the Shiite majority with close ties to Iran and two, embroiled in a bloody civil war between the Shiite majority and the Sunni minority.   I believe however that we must remain steadfast in pulling our troops out of Iraq and simultaneously develop a strong allied presence which must include both our traditional allies as well as new and old Islamic allies.  It is only through the careful development of close ties to the Islamic nations of the world that we can really fight international terrorism.
My last thoughts for this post are this.  George W. Bush is not a credible president.   And in my opinion he is not a credible human being.  From his handling of the economy to his handling of terrorism he has not been honest with the American people.   Those who continue to put faith in this president I believe are sorely misguided.  I believe we need a Congress, Senate, and Executive branch with strong ethics, moral courage and real vision.   The leadership of these bodies today is a wasteland of corruption and moral turpitude and possesses only tunnel vision capable of focusing only on their own greedy interest.
Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Facts And The Truth

The truth is more important than the facts.
Frank Lloyd Wright (1869 - 1959)
As I read this quote it occurred to me that the pundits have learned that if you baffle the public with the facts you don't have to pay attention to or report the truth.   And there is damn little reporting of the truth these days.  Let me give you an example.  As usual I watched and listened to several news programs tonight and I was once again astounded by the lack of objectivity or curiosity.   In this case Chris Matthews was fawning over his guest, the venerable Karen Hughes.  Let me be blunt.  Chris you looked ridiculous.  Here was an obviously partisan politician – attempting to turn diplomat – using factually accurate misinformation and not answering the questions put to her while twisting the facts to her purposes and Matthews was lapping it up like some puppy at the milk bowl.   You call that Hardball?  Give me a break.  It was softball with kisses.   That interview was immediately followed by the biggest PR piece I have seen in years.  Chris brings on Brian Williams as his guest and was reporting on Williams "day with the president".   What a namby pamby piece.  First of all I find it very difficult to believe that the White House didn't have advance copies of the questions Williams was asking.   Second the answers were all the usual canned stock he gives with every speech.  Why can't the "liberal" news media get at the truth?   Why do you all keep asking the same old hack questions and accepting the same old hack answers.
I've said this a dozen times right here on this blog.  Any rational thinking person can do a little research and figure out what this administration is all about.   But not one reporter will ask the tough questions off the cuff or go in search of the truth and report that truth back to the American people.  It is in my book damned unpatriotic and dare I say traitorous to not go after the truth and question the president along with the rest of this administration.  You yourselves, reporters, have previously recorded statements made by this administration and the president himself that simply were not true.   Why don't you go after the real answers?
Tonight during Chris' interview with Hughes she kept talking about a democratic Iraq and a "democracy deficit" in the Middle East.   Where on earth did this sudden, and I do mean sudden, concern for democracy and eliminating the "democracy deficit" in the Middle East come from.  According to this administration the Iraq war was never suppose to have been about nation building.  This is the administration that ran on a platform that included "not doing nation building".  At no time and in absolutely none of the pre-invasion speeches given by the president or by any administration official was democracy in Iraq the stated intent or goal.   Why do we now allow this administration to place this front and center as our reason for being in Iraq?  What happen to WMD?   What happen to the Al Qaeda connections?  What happen to imminent threat to the United States?  They're not there, that's what happened to them.   They're not there and they never were there and that is where the lying comes in and that is where the "liberal" media should come in.
As of today 2,151 American soldiers have died and over 15,500 have left their blood and body parts in Iraq.   Our nation's life blood and its wealth and security are being pored down the drain of Iraq; a country whose people overwhelmingly want us out of their country now.  These are the facts and the truth.
Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Never A Plan – Always An Agenda

Once again we see a full court press by the Bush administration at selling something (in this case it's once again the Iraq war) as opposed to laying out a real plan with facts and the truth. This time the blatant propaganda speech was quaintly placed in Philadelphia in an attempt to show a non-existent comparison to revolutionary America. If it weren't for the seriousness of both I would compare it to the sickly comedic presentation in New Orleans with the overly dramatic staged and lit back drop. Excuse me while I get sick at the phony dramatics of it all. What I find that is absolutely amazing is that the neo-conservatives as a group, Bush in particular, continuously beat up the progressives for not having a plan when in reality the opposite would be truer.

As always let's look at this through a common sense lens. What is the Bush and the neo-conservative plan for our nation? We know what their agenda is and we'll discuss that in just a minute but what is their plan. (Long pregnant pause here……………………..) Yep you got it. It doesn't exist. I don't know about you but I have not heard a single conservative leader voice any kind of plan what-so-ever for the future of our nation much less for the Iraq war. If one can discern a plan at all in the muck they have created in Washington and around the nation I think it is this. The never ending tax cuts. That's it. That's all. The never ending tax cuts which they do with zeal, but then there is of course the smaller government plan which they also talk about but never get around to working on. And then there's the lower deficits plan. Yep you got it again, which they talk about and never do anything about. But, wait a minute I distinctly remember the Homeland Security plan. Oh yeah that was a plan? No…... no…… wrong on that too. That was a misguided bureaucratic behemoth that was forced on the administration by a 9/11 Commissions findings and neo-conservatives in the Senate who were desperate to run for cover and "secure America" but who didn't have a clue how to do it or leadership to carry it out. That would be why the administration got so many "F's" on the follow up Home Land Security report card a few days ago. By the way what was created was not what was recommended. My point is that this administration does not have a plan. They have never had a plan. They have only ever had an agenda and that agenda is to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

News Week magazine recently described in an article the "Bubble" that George W. Bush resides in. I believe that is the most damning and true analogy I have ever read or heard in relation to this president. The real problem is that it is an impervious bubble that he resides in. He has surrounded himself with neo-conservative radicals and they have created a lopsided radical bubble world which is not based in reality. When I hear this president speak on virtually any subject and compare his comments to those of the rest of the nation it is as different as night and day. Even when his fellow conservatives, not in his bubble, speak you hear the ring of difference as though they aren't quite in concert with the big guy.

No, George W. Bush's world is not Americas world but a world where corporate America rules. His is a world where the wealthiest rule and the poor pay the price. Iraq was important to George W. Bush not because of WMD that it didn't have or 9/11 to which it had no relation or even because it might have harbored terrorist which it didn't. No it was important to George Bush because of its oil reserves. Because it was near the Saudi oil reserves and because it gave the United States a foothold in the heart of the worlds oil reserves. We will leave it at that for today.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Monday, December 12, 2005

How Much Blood In The Sand Is Enough Blood – Turn Off The Spin Cycle

Each and every day an American soldier is wounded or killed in Iraq. Each and every day American blood is spilled on Iraqi soil. Each and every day another American Soldier leaves Walter Reed Army Medical Center wearing a prosthesis because he or she left part of themselves in Iraq. Each and every day an American mother or father or brother or sister or daughter or son weeps because they lost a father or mother or brother or sister or daughter or son in Iraq. Each and every day an Iraqi mother or father, brother or sister, daughter or son weeps because they lost a father or mother or brother or sister or daughter or son in Iraq. Each and every day Iraqi civilians die at the hands of insurgents in a bloody "civil" war. Each and every day Iraqi civilians die as a result of American action in Iraq. Each and every day some American or Iraqi is being tortured because of the war in Iraq. Each and every day some American or Iraqi or Frenchman or German or Egyptian or Briton or Japanese or Korean or other nationality is being held captive because of the war in Iraq. Each and every day Osama Bin Laden is a free man. Each and every day Osama Bin Laden and his henchmen are planning new attacks on the United States. Each and every day Al Qaeda recruits new suicide bombers. Each and every day Al Qaeda recruits are training in Iraq.

I, as an average American citizen, know that enough information has been released and uncovered and published to clearly demonstrate that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. I, as an average American citizen, know that enough information has been released and uncovered and published to clearly demonstrate that Iraq had no ties to Al Qaeda. I, as an average American citizen know that enough information has been released and uncovered and published to clearly demonstrate that Iraq posed no threat what so ever to the United States . These facts alone clearly demonstrate that the United States had no reason what so ever to invade Iraq.

Today the most recent polling data available from a British polling company shows that in Iraq 80% of the Iraqi people want the United States to leave their country. Today the most recent polling data available from a British polling company shows that in Iraq 45% of the Iraqi people think it is alright to kill Americans in Iraq. Today a report by American intelligence agencies estimates today 93% of those persons participating in the Iraq insurgency are Iraqi's and something less than 7% are foreign fighters and or terrorists.

As of today the United States has spent over $180 billion dollars on the war in Iraq. As of today the national debt is over $8,138,275,014,232 and climbing. As of today American soldiers in Iraq still do not have enough body armor. As of today American soldiers in Iraq still do not have enough armored vehicles.

Today Mr. Bush will once again try to spin a case for the Iraq war. Today the 'liberal' media will once again grope for sound bites and headlines without any real reporting of facts and consequently and by default help the president spin his case for the Iraq war.

Each and every day American blood is spilled because the president and vice president of the United States lied and they continue to lie to the American people. I will not stop beating the drum for the truth about the war in Iraq until this president gets square with the American people and pulls our troops out of Iraq.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

And You Thought An Amoeba Had Attention Problems

So let me get this straight; this is the deal. Gas prices drop to a mere $2.00 +/+ a gallon (but they’re on the way back up) and Mr. Bush goes on a talking tour to pump up the Party base and all of a sudden everybody’s happy here → ( ). Well what’s the deal with that? I’ve come to the conclusion that the American people, or maybe it’s just the press, have the attention span of an amoeba. That must be it. That is the only possible explanation since corruption and cronyism is still running rampant down on K Street here → ( The numbers of soldiers dying in Iraq are still going up here → ( The national debt is through the bloody roof here → (, (You can also see it on the counter to the right of this post.) Okay, okay I’m looking for the silver lining. Maybe it’s because we had yet another inkling that 9/11 was coming here → ( so we could do something before it happened even though we didn’t do anything before it happened because we don’t read. Or perhaps it was because we are working so well with our international partners on the environment here → (
2005/12/10/AR2005121001405.html?nav=rss_email/components) . No, no I know what it is, it’s because we get such good intelligence by “interrogating” our own prisoner/detainees here → (
=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss). Okay now this has got to be it. It’s because we control our contractors so well here → (
AR2005120802356.html?nav=rss_email/components). Now I really think I have it. It has to be because the upright Congressman from Texas, Mr. Delay, now that the Judge has postponed his hearing on money laundering charges, has time to monitor the activities of the executive branch here → (

Now you might ask why I inserted all of these links in this post. It’s because I want you to see just how bad it is on a SLOW news day under the Bush administration and I want you to see the variety of news sources used. Some of my more conservative friends might think that these are just more of those liberal media sources and you can call them that if you want but I just couldn’t bring myself to insert any of the obvious and extreme pro-conservative propaganda bull put out by Fox News. The truth of all of this is simply that nothing and I repeat nothing has changed since last month to warrant George W. Bush’s approval rating increasing 1/10,000th of a percentage point much less 5. The number of terrorist in Iraq is still less that 7% of the total insurgency. Our soldiers are still dying because he started a senseless war and the economy really is in the toilet.

Now, slight change of subject, and I’m going out on a limb here and I’m going to make a prediction. I’m putting it in writing right here and for anyone who happens to read this if it doesn’t come true I will publish an apology right here one day after the fact. I predict that this country will be in a recession by June 30, 2007. That’s it. That’s my prediction and I will publish an apology if I am wrong and post it right here on July 1, 2007. You might ask how I know this and I will simply say it is because this President doesn’t know what he’s doing with regards to foreign or domestic policy. Stick around and we’ll see if I’m correct or not. At least on the domestic monetary part since we already know I am correct with regards to his severe lack of foreign policy skills.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Leadership With A Plan

Let's talk leadership.  I have in several of my past post discussed the lack of leadership or a plan for our nation's future being presented by or coming from the Democratic Party.   The reason I keep discussing this is simple.  There is a huge vacuum in Washington that is a direct result of the lack of leadership.   Even in the military, cock walks and struts are sometimes mistaken for leadership by the untrained eye and this administration has become expert at both cock walks and struts.  They have not demonstrated leadership.  Leadership involves honesty, integrity, trust, vision, and loyalty to the nation.  This administration has consistently demonstrated a lack of honesty be it in their dealings in regards to campaign contributions, relationships with lobbyist, dealings with law enforcement or their personal investments and business dealings.   They have constantly demonstrated a severe lack of integrity in the manner of their campaigning for office and their governance after achieving office.   They have consistently demonstrated a lack of vision and loyalty to the nation in their dealings in foreign affairs by focusing on their own greedy ideology in taking the nation to war under false pretenses and failing to address the real threat to the nation.
Now we know why the Republican Party has failed in leading the country but why have the Democrats not stepped into the breach?   It is not because they do not have leaders who have integrity and are honest and trustworthy and loyal and possess the vision.  They have many leaders with all of these traits.   It is because the Party is using bad tactics.  I believe they must be sitting back and hoping that the Republican Party will continue to implode to the point of not existing.   That can be the only reason I can think of for this incredible lack of meaningful response.  Stand up ladies and gentlemen of the Democratic Party.   Express you thoughts, views, and ideas and tell us where you stand on the issues.  Have a backbone and if you are against the war, which I hope you are, then say so.   If you think we should pull the troops out tomorrow, which I hope you don't, then say so.  The nation is adrift and the American people are crying out for someone to take the helm and steer the ship of state back on the course we all so desperately want and need.   Don't just stand there and grouse and take shots at the Republicans.  Speak with meaning, conviction, and substantive recommendations and responses.   Where are you Democrats?  Now is the time to answer your nations call.  Now is the time to lead.   Stand up for what you believe in and the American people will believe in you and follow you.  Sit back and the ship will run aground.
Okay, let me help you get started.  Here are my suggestions.
- Set a time table for pulling out of Iraq beginning after the elections next week and running over a period of 18 months.   You don't actually have to set a time table you just have to say we won and we're going home and start pulling the troops out.  We have won the war and we need to end the occupation.  There that was an easy one.
- Get the FBI, CIA, and military on the hunt for Bin Laden and bring his ass in and initiate an international conference on how to deal with global terrorism.
- Let's take the money we were going to keep sinking into Iraq and start beefing up the security at home and completing all of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission plus some more.
- Cancel all of the no bid contracts that have been let in the last 5 years and re-bid them and let's get the Gulf Coast rebuilt.
- Now let's roll back the tax giveaways to the rich, reinstate the inheritance tax, raise the minimum wage and start balancing the budget.
- Scrap that stupid misguide prescription drug plan and let the government negotiate prices for drugs and administer the program through Medicare.   Make it simple enough that all of the elderly will understand.
See it's not so tough.  I said what I believe in and it didn't hurt at all. In fact it felt good.   It certainly wasn't all inclusive but you got the idea right?  It happens to be what I believe we should do.  It's my opinion and you know I bet there are probably a few out there who agree with me and that's nice for me.  We're right and everyone else is wrong.  Nice huh?  Just kidding.
Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The K Street Project And Other Horror Stories

It is time for Americans to look at Washington with clear eyes. The name of it is “The K Street Project” and it is the brain child of Tom Delay along with his nefariously criminal minded henchmen. The idea is, now that the Republican Party controlled by the neocon radicals, has control of the Executive Branch, Senate, House, and Judicial Branch they can force the lobbyist to hire only Republicans. This is the sweetest deal you could ever want because by forcing big business to hire only Republican lobbyist at huge salaries they freeze out any influence by the Democrats and they create a wonderfully profitable revolving door for themselves where Republican members of the Senate, Congress, the Executive Branch, and their exiting staff are hired at these huge salaries as they leave the government. What a nice way to bilk the American public, maintain absolute control of the government and stifle any opposition what-so-ever. Believe me I don’t like writing this stuff but it really isn’t some novel or fictional story or even a wild conspiracy theory but it is reality. It is so open in fact that just today Alex Knott, the political editor for The Center for Public Integrity, was interviewed and discussed it today on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. The Center for Public Integrity has produced an extensive report (here: which outlines just how this influence peddling scheme in the form of this little project is shaping up. The deal is wonderful for the companies represented by these lobbying firms because they get billions of dollars in returns on their small million dollar investments. The deal is even sweeter for the ex-legislator or their staffers because a member of the House or Senate they can leave their little legislative seat that pays a mere $165k a year and go to a lobbying firm where he or she can rake in a cool million or two a year in a cushy new lobbying job. This should be frightening to the American people. These people are not doing Americas business unless you call robbing the treasury Americas business.

The light at the end of the tunnel might be reflected here ( where 57% of the American people surveyed disapprove of the way Bush is handling the presidency and even better 88% of Americans say “political corruption” is a serious problem in Washington and to quote one respondent “corruption was endemic to a political system awash in colossal amounts of lobbying money and beset by an insatiable demand for campaign cash.” The additional good news is that the people seem to be capable of readily naming the politicians associated with corruption as they ticked of the names of Delay, Frist, Libby, Cunningham, and Abramoff. What is noteworthy here is that they are all Republicans. Not that Democrats are without corruption because they aren't but the majority seem to believe that Democrats are more ethical than Republicans and I would, as our President says, “Oh Pine”, that that is probably more than just a gut feeling and very close to reality. Not that Republicans are any more prone to corruption on the whole but they tend to stand too close to the fire (corporate America). I hope that America has woken up and remembers next November just what a dirty little trail we’ve been taken down by the current leadership (heh, heh, heh that’s a joke by the way) in Washington.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

I Don't Want To Be PR'd And Don't Take My Word For It

One of the things that bother me most is how PR changes people's minds. I noticed in the last few days there have been one or two "economic indicators" that have shown some improvement. The amazing thing is that these "indicators" are transient and mostly meaningless items and all of a sudden they along with the Rovian PR campaign on the economy and Iraq are the cause of a five point increase in the polls for the President. I can't believe that the American people are so gullible as to believe that all of a sudden this President along with his neocon henchmen has become these competent statesmen. The reality is no they haven't and nothing has change in the last 4 weeks to make them so. They are still the same incompetent people, who according to people like Lt. General William Odom, former Director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan, and a Republican and Rep. John P. Murtha, Conservative Democrat and retired Marine Corps Colonel and combat veteran on the House Armed Services Committee, who conducted this misguided war like rank amateurs. These are still the people who failed to develop a comprehensive or any kind of workable plan for the occupation of Iraq after the invasion. These are still the people who after four years have failed to make this nation safer according to the bipartisan 9/11 Commission. These are still the people who have not found Osama Bin Laden. These are still the people who ignored warnings of imminent natural disaster (here ). These are still the people who have brought us the largest deficit in American history. These are still the people who apparently do not care about the American people as much as they do wealth and power. I use harsh words true but it is because I find it absolutely incomprehensible that members of this administration can face the American people after what they have put upon them. Thousands of our soldiers are dying and being maimed in Iraq for oil. Not to capture the criminals who perpetrated 9/11. Not for the freedom of the Iraqi people (78%), who don't want us in their country. Not to find, capture, and secure weapons of mass destruction that never existed but for OIL, MONEY, and a misguided ideology. If one does a careful analysis of all of the news reports leading up to and during this war it is obvious by the public statements of the principles of this administration that they intended to invade Iraq from the beginning, collected cherry picked data to justify doing so, and purposely misled the American people and Congress into this war. I strongly encourage anyone to review as much of the mainstream media coverage and public documents and you will find this to be true. If you look at the testimony of current and former members of this administration you will find that the current members consistently contradict themselves and that the former members were consistently undermined by the neocon chicken hawks of this administration and the facts that were presented about the purpose for invasion and the reality of occupation were consistently ignored and or manipulated.

I encourage every American to not fall for the talking head PR campaign of the conservative media and look at the facts. The reality is that this administration led by George W. Bush is responsible for the deplorable condition of this country. We are no longer the respected pillar of human rights we have historically been. We are no longer the superpower that the world turns to for leadership. We are no longer the economic superpower the world turns to for the way out of poverty. We are in fact becoming a crumbling 'empire'. We need real leadership to lead us out of the muck of neocon slim we have been drug into. I once again call upon the Democratic Party to present a plan to take us back to the future. We need real leadership to restore our standing in the world community. We need real leadership to restore our economic engine. We need real leadership to fight terrorism and to make our country safer. Show us the plan.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Torturing Our Allies

Let's talk about torture again. As I read today's news papers and the many articles about the subject of 'rendition' I found it impossible to avoid the subject of torture. I have listened to numerous administration 'officials' including Ms. Rice, the Vice President, the President as well as many former CIA officials and one thing burns through quite clearly that no one seems to want to say out loud. The act of rendition is intended to simply remove a suspect from a country where laws prohibit the acts which they intend to do to the suspect. That's pretty straightforward. Simply put they want to take the person somewhere where they can torture them and get away with it. They can spin it any way they choose but it adds up to the same thing. I do not understand why the many news organizations don't use plain language when discussing this subject. I do understand why administration officials use vague language or twisted logic and tell ridiculous stories about an environment more suitable to interrogation. This is all ludicrous. The double talk is ludicrous. The simple truth is that they believe in torture. They want to torture terrorist suspects to extract information from them that they think will be useful. First of all information extracted by torture is suspect and most likely not accurate. Secondly, when suspects are put in prisons which are not under U.S. control the information that is received from them, whether accurate or not, is compromised. Additionally, and certainly not of consequence to this administration, the suspect in virtually every case is subject to years of imprisonment where they will not be subjected to the rule of law and their guilt or innocence may never be determined. This is an obviously flawed process.

What the Bush administration apparently fails to understand is that these acts create and untenable situation. Furthermore they fail to understand the damage they are doing through these acts of deceit and flagrant violation of international law and or custom to our international reputation and in general to international cooperation. They fail to see the long term permanent damage they are doing to combating terrorism. The nations of the world grow more wary and less trusting of the United States with each passing day. This administration is wreaking havoc on the world community at every turn. With the exception of perhaps the British this administration speaks of virtually all of our traditional allies with disdain. Why do they speak of our allies this way, because most of our traditional allies saw the folly of the war in Iraq and refused to support it? When President Bush gave his axis of evil speech he caught our allies completely by surprise. After 9/11 the world was with the United States. When we went to war in Afghanistan they were with us because they new that the perpetrators of 9/11 were in Afghanistan and being protected by the Taliban government. They did not sign on to a war in Iraq and they understood that Iraq had nothing to do with harboring Al Qaeda terrorist and nothing to do with 9/11.

It is imperative that the Bush administration immediately cease the practice of rendition and torture and seek to consult with the world community on establishing a uniform and fair way of dealing with the terrorist suspects that takes in consideration of international law and norms of humane treatment of prisoners. We cannot have some bastardized blend of POW/Terrorist/Criminal/Illegal Combatant treatment of these suspects and citizens of other countries. We must have some standard of international law that applies and is recognized by a majority of the nations of the world. The answer may be some version of a Geneva Accords style agreement but it must be an international norm and not a convoluted and bastardized Bushism.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Education/War President Gets Mostly F’s

I just listened to Retired Lt. General William Odom give an interview on Hardball. Since I would not be so pretentious as to speak for the General I will not try to repeat the interview here. I will only suggest that you go to the Hardball site here and take a look. Hopefully they will put a transcript of the interview on their website. What I want to discuss in this post are the thoughts that I came away from the interview with. I am realizing more with each passing day just how deep the hole is that we call Iraq and just how inept our President is. (At this point I might say just how much I hate speaking of our President in a disparaging manner but I won’t because I don’t.) To use the words of an Officer and Gentleman but using them in regards to our President as opposed to our Vice President, I say, George W. Bush must see the gross errors in judgment he has made "Otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard."1 Unfortunately I believe he must be all three.

The issue of this misguided war was brought into sharp focus today by the release of a report by the 9/11 Commission, now working with funding from private sources. One must bear in mind that we are now over 4 years from the events of 9/11. There were two quotes from the Commission which I believe says it all. First they gave the government "more F's than A's" out of a total of 41 grades measuring the governments progress on security recommendations they issued last year at the three year mark. Then the former Commission Chairman, Thomas Kean, a Republican said "We're frustrated, all of us — frustrated at the lack of urgency in addressing these various problems," What do these statements from this commission say about the Bush administration. We are four years down the road from 9/11 and this commission says that “terrorist will strike again” and this administration receives “more F’s than A’s” on progress toward protecting Americans. If hurricane Katrina didn’t tell us then what will? If this report doesn’t tell us then what will? Tonight Lt. General Odom said we are creating more terrorist in Iraq. He is just one more in a line of real experts to say these very words and yet “Congressman” Duncan Hunter disputes him. Once again a “chicken hawk” is comparing the “war” on terrorism to the “Cold War”. You cannot fight a “war” against an ideology. Don’t they get it? That’s a redundant question, of course they don’t get it or we wouldn’t be where we are today. I want to just say that if we continue to be distracted by Iraq it is at our own peril. We are not focused on fighting terrorism in a meaningful manner and we are not focused on the serious other issues this country is facing. This administration is so blinded by ideology that they cannot focus on the real world.

1 --Former Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson, on why Dick Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults

Those are the Sergeant Majors Thoughts on That.

Denial, Denial Everywhere And Not A Plan In Sight.

I find the word denial to be a very interesting word and I find that it is particularly appropriate and pertinent today in both Washington and the rest of America. Beginning first with the ‘rest of America’ I must say that I believe that most of America is denying that there are consequences to pay for their actions and lack of actions as individuals. I am stunned by the rampant consumerism that grips this country and is spreading across the globe like a plague. We consume natural resources like they are a bottomless pit of plenty and yet the science is right in front of us telling us that these resources are finite and being depleted at a rate that will insure much of it is gone before the end of this century. We are even consuming the renewable resources at a rate that will surely insure their fate of being depleted to the point of extinction. That is one case of terminal denial. The next that applies to the ‘rest of America’ is their denial that we are going to always be the reigning superpower. They deny this in the face of the fact that other countries such as India and China are already nuclear powers, China is putting people in space and both are current and even greater future economic behemoths that will surely wash the United States away in a tsunami of exports and that wave is nearing our shores as I write this blog. They are in denial that this country is a nation of just 300+ million people in a world of 5+ billion people of whom the vast majority does not share our cultural, ethical, or religious values and whom we will ultimately have to deal with as a nation on every level.

Unfortunately the denial in Washington is even deeper. Our elected officials, and in particularly those elected officials currently in control, are in denial that they are responsible to the American public. One can only assume this because first, they appear to believe that it is okay to mislead the American people on such critical issues as the war in Iraq, Social Security, taxes, Medicaid, Medicare and etc, etc, etc. Next they appear to believe that it is okay to be as corrupt as you want to be as long as you don’t get caught or you’re in a position that you can change the laws or rules so that they don’t apply to you and you can rig the rules so you stay in power no matter what you do. But mostly they are in denial that it is ultimately they who are responsible for the future of this nation. I am not seeing anyone in the Bush administration or the leadership of Congress and the Senate stand up for what is truly right for America. Today I heard that Ford Motors is closing 8 plants in the United States. Since the Bush administration came into office I have not seen one single meaningful proposal or act to reinvigorate the American economy and keep or create meaningful jobs in this country. In fact the contrary is true and we are hemorrhaging jobs and goods production capability at a life threatening rate. I have seen tax cut after tax cut pushed through for corporate America and the other very wealthy donors who pay our elected officials to cut their taxes and remove the safeguards for working Americans. What else can you call the corruption that is so rife in Washington today but simple pay to play by the wealthy? These things are obvious to the casual observer if you just look at the newspapers and read about the elected officials being indicted for corruption, perjury or bribery and about the no bid contracts in Iraq or after hurricane Katrina where the government is being over charged (That’s a nice word for robbed by the way.) And I ask you what does official Washington and the White House do but make excuses and lie about whatever the issue may be.

No, I think denial is a good word. You remember when the use of the term “plausible deniability” was in vogue. Well it’s back and with a vengeance. Create “plausible deniability” and you’re home free is the motto of this administration.

Now I want you to know that I don’t think any other party or politician is offering any meaningful alternative. I am not seeing a reasonable plan from the Democratic Party to guide this country out of the muck we have been led into. So I ask the leadership of the Democratic Party or any leader to step forward with a plan to take this country out of the neocon muck that we have been led into. Give us a plan for Iraq. Give us a plan for meaningful tax relief. Give us plan for Medicare and Medicaid. Give us a plan to keep your hands off of Social Security. Give us a plan for making America the greatest industrialized nation in the world once again. Give us a plan to create jobs in America with a fair wage. Give us a plan to reduce the national debt. Give us a plan to SECURE America. GIVE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE A PLAN NOW!

Those are the Sergeant Majors Thoughts on That.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Focus On The Truth

My focus in this blog has always been and always will be two central issues. First and foremost is the war in Iraq and second is the deceit that was used to take us there. I do this for two reasons. First because I am intimately familiar with war and its consequences and second I abhor liars and in particularly liars who profess to be chaste and honorable. (Please note my previous post on the words of our Vice President whom I believe to be a pathological liar.) This unfortunately or fortunately, depending on ones views, puts George W. Bush and his administration along with their neocon compatriots in my crosshairs. I believe that what needs to be remembered as we observe and comment on this administration is that the war in Iraq has, from the beginning, been one of misguided ideology. And, what I hope and pray will not be lost in the discussions surrounding this war is the fact that from the beginning has been one that was conceived and instigated in deceit. I believe that it has been well documented that it was the Bush administrations intent from the beginning to invade Iraq and that there were two reasons for the invasion. The first reason was shear unadulterated greed (oil) and the second was simply ideological in nature, and that was that they were intent on imposing a Jeffersonian Democracy on a third world country and culture through shear force. The second reason would also accommodate the first reason by giving them a permanent foot hold in the Middle East in order to influence and better control world oil resources by installing a government in the country with the second largest oil reserves in the world that they could control. What makes this situation so unnerving is that the President of the United States and his administration can be so greedy and ideologically focused on something that they lose the capacity for objective thought and strategic planning. That they are capable of taking the most powerful nation in the world to war without looking objectively at the intelligence information before them and without the planning necessary to reasonably complete the actions is an incredible abomination. Now, on top of the sad heartbreaking events of 9/11, nearly 2,200 American soldiers have lost their lives and another 15,500 have been wounded and maimed and countless Iraqis (that would not have died even under Saddam) are dead because of this Presidents incompetence. Please understand that I use the word ‘incompetence’ with malice of forethought. I say this because I do not believe that any rational, thinking person could believe that in the beginning the war on terror had anything to do with Iraq. When one looks at all of the evidence available even in the press and through public documents it is virtually impossible to draw a line back to Iraq. The feeble line that was drawn to make that case was draw by this administration through an obvious twisting of the intelligence. The reality is that the line from 9/11 and virtually all other serious terrorist attacks was in fact back to Al Qaeda, led by Osama Bin Laden, who was being sheltered by the Taliban who controlled Afghanistan. The truth is that none of the attackers of 9/11 or any other serious terrorist attack perpetrated prior to 9/11were Iraqis but were for the most part Saudi citizens or citizens of countries sympathetic to Al Qaeda of which Iraq was not included.I want to close with one more thought. George W. Bush, his administration and the neocon leaders of the House and Senate led us into this war. Someone must lead us out and George W. Bush has made it crystal clear that he has no intention of changing course no matter what happens. Because of this it is imperative that the American people put real leaders in power in Congress to force this administration to do the right thing. And the right thing is to develop a reasonable plan for the United States to work with real allies in stabilizing the government of Iraq and pulling the United States troops out while leaving a strong Iraqi force in power. Additionally the United States in coordination with their allies must fight terrorism through the use of good intelligence along with good ‘law enforcement’ and surgically precise military action.

Those are the Sergeant Majors Thoughts on That.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Who Says He Doesn't Know What He's Talking About

I just wanted to share some of the words of our esteemed Vice President. I don'’t think much of what the Vice President has to say but I certainly concur with Lawrence Wilkerson in the last quote of this post. Enjoy.

The Sergeant Major

"I had other priorities in the 60's than military service"
--Dick Cheney

"This is very good indeed...Encouraging...Not like the crap we are all so used to getting out of CIA."
-- Dick Cheney, writing in the margins of a secret-unit intel report detailing purported evidence of links between Al Qaeda and Iraq

"In my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session. The first time I ever met you [John Edwards] was when you walked on the stage tonight."
--Dick Cheney, Vice Presidential Debate, 2004

"We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."
--Dick Cheney. Prior to the U.S.Invasion of Iraq

"There comes a time when deceit and defiance must be seen for what they are. At that point, a gathering danger must be directly confronted. At that point, we must show that beyond our resolutions is actual resolve."
--Dick Cheney

"Let us rid ourselves of the fiction that low oil prices are somehow good for the United States
--Dick Cheney

"Otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard."
--Former Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson, on why Di ck Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults

Monday, November 28, 2005

Do You Really Want A Theocracy

In a conversation I had recently we were discussing world religions and the conversation came to Evangelical Christianity in the United States and its influences on American politics. This subject is of great interest to me because I believe that the Evangelical influence is taking our nation to a place never intended by our founding fathers. In the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence Jefferson wrote "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. ".(1) This is a remarkable paragraph for several reasons. First I believe it is remarkable because I believe Jefferson understood the incredible importance of these first words and he used the term " Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" because he was purposely being as inclusive of all the faiths and religions of the nation and the world as possible. Jefferson and the founding fathers were acutely aware that one of the central reasons that our ancestors came to the colonies was the pursuit of "Religious Freedom" and by using the term "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" Jefferson, and by default all the signatories of the Declaration were striving not just to declare independence but to further bind and unite the nation with the most inclusive language possible. They were acutely aware of the necessity that the nation remain united no matter the situation or circumstance for time immemorial and by use of this simple phrase they were embracing every conceivable faith and religion. The other very notable term that Jefferson used in this first paragraph was "opinions of mankind". I believe Jefferson understood and was thinking of the need for the actions of the founding fathers to be 'universally' accepted throughout the world. I also believe that Jefferson and the founding fathers understood that for this to happen they had to insure that from the very beginning it was clear that they were being all inclusive and completely just in each and every action. Hence the use of the term "opinions of mankind" demonstrated that they were concerned with what the rest of the world saw and heard.

I believe that the language used by the founding fathers was clearly meant to be all inclusive and therefore make our nation's government a secular one. When one reads the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States it is hardly possible to think otherwise. Certainly they understood that our nation's sense of justice, right, wrong, and morality was influenced by religion but I don't believe our forefathers ever intended that we should base our laws directly on any specific set of religious tenets or beliefs. I would put to you that their intent was quite the contrary and that they intended that our nation's laws be sectarian and based on simple justice and fair play and with as little intrusion on our daily lives possible. It is because of this incredible inclusive language and desire for justice demonstrated by the founding fathers in drafting these documents that I believe that the Evangelical Christian influence placed on our government today is taking our nation down the wrong path.

In the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence Jefferson wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…." To me it is clear by this writing that in the eyes of the founding fathers the purpose of government is to secure the rights of all men (all genders) to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness and not to secure a specific religious doctrine.

It has been my observations that certain elements, Neo-Conservatives, within the Republican Party have been greatly influenced by and have simultaneously used members of the evangelical community such as the Falwells, Dobson's, Reeds and others to assume power and by default take our government toward becoming a theocracy. I realize that these are strong accusations but I cannot help but believe what is so obvious. I have used the terms 'used' and 'influenced by' in describing the relationship between certain elements within the Republican Party and members of the evangelical community. I do this because I see two dynamics occurring. First I believe that certain very powerful and influential members of the evangelical community, once again the Falwells, Dobson's, and Reeds have an overpowering desire to have a theocratic Christian government and I believe that they want this with a fervent if not maniacal desire. I believe that they have seen and see an opportunity to do this through a Republican Party controlled by neocons who owe their allegiance to them. Secondly I believe that certain elements of the Republican Party, neocons, saw and still see this desire as a weakness to be exploited and used to achieve the power they desire and they have done just that. The neocons have artfully used wedge issues such as gay rights and abortion to divide the nation while simultaneously motivating the Evangelical Christian and Christian base. They have done this uniformly throughout the conservative (red) States and with huge success. They have gained the Presidency as well as a majority in the House and Senate and are not only implementing their radical conservative agenda but simultaneously implementing the Evangelical Christian agenda of creating a theocratic government by installing ultraconservative activist judges on the federal bench and attempting to pass laws that codify theocratic beliefs such as banning a woman’s right to make decisions about her body and gay marriage. These actions in reality have nothing to do with fulfilling the role of government as envisioned by the founding fathers in protecting the rights of citizens to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and everything to do with legislating morality. Just as I do not believe it is a government's responsibility to secure a religious doctrine I also do not believe that it is a government's responsibility to legislate morality. Yet that is what we see happening each and every day under the governance of this neo-conservative administration, Congress, and Senate.

(1) Emphasis mine.

Those are the Sergeant Majors Thoughts on That.