Friday, February 1, 2008

2/1/08

*Do not impeach Bush and Cheyney ~ this is not a typo! - About 3 years ago I was emotionally expressing to a friend that Bush and Cheyney should be impeached. My friend said that he was on the fence on this matter. Whenever a lie or abuse by the Bush administration was revealed in the news I would call my friend and ask if he was ready to get off the fence. Needless to say, we spoke quite often. By mid- 2007 he was ready to join me in the call for impeachment. The justification for impeachment remains stronger than ever. The case for impeachment is emphatically made by Elizabeth Holtzman, a former Congresswoman who served on the House Judiciary Committee considering the impeachment of Richard Nixon. Kargo X at dailykos.com offers a succinct list of reasons for impeachment. However, I do not favor impeachment proceedings at this point in time. As Michael Tomasky discusses in a recent article, impeachment would fail (67 votes would be needed in the Senate – no way it would happen) and the unity that this country needs going forward would be jeopardized. An indictment of the Bush administration would also be an indictment of the Republican members of Congress who rubber stamped its programs. Even if overwhelming evidence for impeachment were presented these legislators could not support a conclusion of guilt. I certainly think that our country would be best served if the next president or congress appointed a commission to investigate and assess the illegal activities that occurred during the Bush/Cheney regime. The findings would be utilized to implement safeguards against future abuses of power. We are currently in the process of selecting new leadership for America and our hands will be full correcting the errors, crimes and misdemeanors Bush and Cheyney committed as well as addressing a broad spectrum of other problems America and Americans face. History will oblige the “impeachment” of George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheyney. It is our imperative to move forward.

*Honoring Suharto ~ foreign policy fallacy and folly – “The United States Sunday hailed former Indonesian president Suharto as a "historic figure" who "achieved remarkable economic development," in a statement released by the U.S. embassy. “President Suharto led Indonesia for over 30 years, a period during which Indonesia achieved remarkable economic and social development," said U.S. ambassador Cameron Hume. Here is the truth. Jeffrey Winters, associate professor of political economy at Northwestern University, said “the graft effectively robbed Indonesia of some of the most golden decades, and its best opportunity to move from a poor to a middle class country... When Indonesia does finally go back and redo history, (its people) will realize that Suharto is responsible for some of the worst crimes against humanity in the 20th century," In my lifetime the U.S. has a history of supporting (and in some cases propping up) dictators that have been abysmal for interests of their people. In the case of Suharto the alibi was fighting Communism during the Cold War. Other examples involve dictators in Central America, South America, Africa and the Middle East. To achieve short-term goals America has created generations of people who have been victimized by these dictators and who now despise us. We too easily forget our support of the Shah of Iran led to the long-term hostage situation of Americans. The Iranians still hate us. If the situation were reversed, Americans would feel the same way. There are consequences to our actions and the Bush administration honoring Suharto only exasperates former U.S. decisions that were devoid of moral grounding and foresight. America is not the world and our current standing provides the evidence. When masses of people in many parts of the world demonstrate their hatred for America, instead of changing the channel, ask why.

*Airline security ~ getting down to basics – It confounds me why no one thought of this before. A German travel agency has begun booking travel for nudists that allow the vacationers to be naked on the plane. If this policy can be extended to check-in, security lines would substantially shorten. I do have concern about seat belts but it is probably a guy thing.

*Autism – It is a complex neurological disorder that affects 1 in 150 children. There is currently no cure. It inhibits the ability to communicate with and relate to others. This year more children will be diagnosed with Autism than the combined total for AIDS, cancer and diabetes. Most insurance plans do not cover the required intensive therapy. By clicking on this link about Autism and watching a short video a donation will be made to Autism Speaks, you will learn more about this disorder and a personal donation can be offered.

*Freedom and Opportunity – These two concepts have been American ideals since the founding of our nation. It is a sad fact that slavery continued to exist for 3 generations following the writing of the U.S. Constitution. For almost 200 years Blacks could not go to white schools in parts of the country, eat in white restaurants, drink from white water fountains or ride in the front of the bus. For a century and a half following our founding women had few rights and could not vote. Even today, on average, women earn less pay than men for the same job. There continues to be discrimination due to race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, accent, political party affiliation or the brand of athletic shoes that one wears. Prejudice has accompanied the history of man no less virulently than disease. The freedom and opportunity we so boastfully proclaim to ourselves and the world is not without warts. This is not to minimize some of the greatest achievements in the political record of mankind. But deep down inside we know that challenges remain for our nation. This gives us all the more reason to celebrate the prospect of our first Black or female president. Regardless of the election outcome we have evolved – with no apology to creationists.

*Handgun control ~ shooting itself in the foot – When a handgun is purchased a background check is generally required of the purchaser EXCEPT at gun shows and this is a significant loophole. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has introduced legislation that will keep criminals and other dangerous people (convicted felons, domestic violence abusers, or someone who is dangerously mentally ill) from buying and selling guns without Brady criminal background checks at gun shows. At The Brady Campaign web site you can send an email urging Senators to pass this important bill.

*McCain ~ Dr. Strangelove on Viagra – John McCain recently said that he could see American soldiers in Iraq for 10 years or even 100 years. This week he said that if elected president he would cut government spending sharply and lower taxes. I guess he failed to review the expense vouchers for the Iraq war. He reminds me of the beer-soaked college sophomore at a frat party who will say anything to the attractive coed to get into her dorm.

*McCain ~ bench-pressing the G.W. Bush scepter of fear – In a speech on Sunday John McCain warned supporters, "It's a tough war we're in. It's not going to be over right away. There's going to be other wars." The man driving the “Straight Talk Express” bus is not exactly Karnack incarnate. The history of man on this planet is a history of war. I would prefer a president who exhibits the leadership to avoid war rather than one who is looking to keep us in one that should not have taken place and mongers the next one that has not yet been invented. The need for a very strong national defense remains critical to our security. However, we must be vigilant to the fact that Iraq was the result of a mindset pre-conditioned to war. It is essential that we change the paradigm.

*What recession? – CNN is reporting that Exxon Mobil is expected to earn $10.37 billion in the fourth quarter and $39,000,000,000 (billion) for 2007. Shell just posted 2007 profits of $27.6 billion (a 9% increase over last year), a new record for a U.K. company. That should help fund a few meretricious advertising and lobbying campaigns that assert the use of their product does not harm the environment. Ka-ching.

*Exploding Easter Eggs – When one is a Baptist preacher I guess it is not unusual that many of one’s analogies will have a religious context. Mike Huckabee out-pulpits himself. When asked during a Republican presidential debate whether going to war in Iraq was worth it he replied, “Oh, gosh, yes... we didn't find the weapons doesn't mean they weren't there. Just because you didn't find every Easter egg didn't mean that it wasn't planted." Huckabee must have been busy proselytizing when he missed that fact that no (capital “N” capital “O”) weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq and there was no evidence that they existed and were moved to Syria, Jordan or the ancient mythical land of Lemuria where egg-laying ape-like creatures live. As Jason Linkins points out at the Huffington Post, “Doesn't this crazy "Easter Egg" idea provide the rationale to just invade anybody, anywhere in the world?" Recall that this neo-conservative philosophy led to the Iraq Easter egg hunt. Gosh, golly, gee!

*The hubris of Ralph Nader – That creaking sound you hear is the crypt of Mr. Nader once again opening to explore a presidential run. Many feel that his presence in the Bush-Gore presidential contest helped Bush to victory. Every progressive issue that Nader spent a lifetime championing suffered under Bush. It is beyond sad to see ego trump a life’s work.

*Labeling of cloned food ~ an opportunity to be heard – Nine of ten American consumers want labels on products from clones. Consumers Union has a petition urging Senators and Representatives to co-sponsor the Cloned Food Labeling Act.

*State of the Union 1 - President Bush’s seventh SOTU speech left me feeling gratified that it was his last one. In my euphoria I will not attempt to address the President’s claims. However, others are not so euphoric. ThinkProgress.org offers a comprehensive and documented fact check on Mr. Bush’s mendacity. This is information and analysis you will not find on the alphabet channels of NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, CNN, MSNBC, or even PBS. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) offered a strong response to Mr. Bush’s stubborn adherence to failed and harmful policies concerning Iraq. The Philadelphia Inquirer offers an editorial that eviscerates Bush’s speech.

*State of the Union 2 - Okay, you knew I would have to make a comment. In his speech the President was emphatic that congress has to cut back on earmarks (pork barrel spending) and he threatened to veto legislation that contained earmarks. The President did not share with us that he is attempting to become a recovering spendaholic. In addition to converting the U.S. budget from a surplus to an avalanche-burying deficit Mr. Bush has signed spending bills containing 55,000 earmarks worth more than $100 billion. That equates to 22 earmarks and almost $4 million each day that he has been in office. Dealing with an addiction is a bitch – especially the stage of denial where one lies to both oneself and others.

*Presidential debates ~ an overview with bias - On Wednesday I watched the debate of the Republican candidates and on Thursday the Democrats. I felt that McCain (with a smirk) and Romney (with bluster) often sounded and acted like children disingenuously saying what they thought their parents wanted to hear while nah nahing each other. As I listened to Clinton and Obama I felt that I was listening to adults with well thought-out plans for this country. Their vision on a number of issues, including healthcare and immigration, differed mainly around the edges. If elected, each of their plans would eventually be fine tuned through congressional negotiations and subject to the degree of majority enjoyed in Congress. With either Clinton or Obama in the White House the future of America would be a lot brighter than its recent past.

*Democracy – At the heart of democracy is the free expression and exchange of ideas. Modern technology makes this more possible today than at any time in our history. Stephen Views the News (SVN) is one example of utilizing the internet to express oneself and share ideas. Writing about my view of the news began in June 2007 with a weekly email to several friends. In October my website was born. It was made possible by a free program provided by Google. By most standards the exposure of SVN is miniscule. At the same time, through another free program - Google Analytics – I know that my writing has been visited by people from 5 continents, from 18 countries (including India, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Bulgaria and Portugal) and from over 260 cities (including Brooklyn, Colorado Springs, Ahmedabab, Tours, Leeuwarden, Beersheba and Athens). I believe that Benjamin Franklin would have thought the internet pretty cool.

*Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)

4 comments:

Ed, Dickau said...

Your after the fact solution is just another example of spineless America willing to pass the tools of accumulated power of a growing Unitary Executive/Imperial Presidency to the next in line with the foolish Ostrich like posture and sophomoric notion that they will be used to right the accumulated powers and excesses that have evolved since the Civil War. You might as well watch "The Stupor Bowl".

Anonymous said...

Congrats on another great column & also for being read on 3 continents & in exciting global cities. Your links are very helpful. I believe future historians will agree with thoughtful folks like us that we are living in The Dark Ages, where people such as McCain can get away with making outrageous statements such as "there's gonna be more wars to be fought." Obama & Clinton provide leadership for a nation yearning for peace. - Ruth Z Deming

Anonymous said...

Here's my blog: NewDirectionsSupport.org/letter.html

Thanks for checking in.

Ruth Z Deming

CMike said...

Boy do I wish you were on the other team. The Republicans impeached President Clinton and failed to convict him in the Senate. Thereafter they prevailed in the next three national elections and have dominated both Houses of Congress to this very day. And you're worried that national unity will be jeopardized if the Republicans aren't immunized in matters of impeachment, criminal prosecution and, I guess, harsh criticism.

Your bright ideas? First, do not have House Judiciary hearings looking into possible articles of impeachment. Second, after W. Bush is gone set up a commission to start hamstringing any Democratic president who might be in the White House. I'm guessing in the spirit of bipartisanship you'll recommend that Rep. Dan Burton (IN-R) be put in charge of that commission.