Thursday, March 11, 2004

Military Families Speak Out
The war in Iraq is continuing. American soldiers are dying daily, weapons of mass destruction are nowhere to be found, conditions are deteriorating for our troops on the ground, the lies of the administration that took us into war are being exposed and the president, from the safety of the white house, is taunting those who are shooting at our troops.

Read on to see what MFSO members and others are saying about the situation in Iraq and what we should be doing to change it. Rifkin on The Morality of Global Trade

The Sermon on the Mount did not say, "Blessed are the greedy."

All politics is local, but so does all politics involve moral choice.

Senator John Edwards was correct when he called U.S. trade policy "a moral issue." What needs to be further stated is that globalization, the force generating the outsourcing wave, is itself a moral issue; that the economic and cultural changes implicit in globalization are by no means values-less.

Welcome to Bushworld
*"Bushworld" was originally coined and is often used by none other than Anonymoses*
All presidents, all administrations, all politicians, all columnists and, indeed, all people selectively pick and chose facts and figures to win arguments.

What's different is that the Bush administration stands accused of politicizing and bullying processes of the government that are designed to be above the fray of partisanship and ideology, such as intelligence gathering and science policy-making. Put bluntly: they don't much care about facts, science and truth.

From the Syracuse Post Standard
A Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

A lost opportunity! My initial curiosity and interest in your "On the Issues" series quickly soured as I read the Iraq section Feb. 24. The series fell far short of truly informing voters about the candidates' positions, providing only summary sound bites. Instead, the pundits again take center stage. I would like to suggest some additional points to be added to George W. Bush's position on Iraq:

--Repeatedly lied to the American people that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction posed an imminent threat and justified war.

--Misled the public into believing there was a connection between Iraq and al-Qaida, despite no reasonable evidence to justify such claims.

--Failed to plan for the period after the fall of the ruthless Baathist regime, leading to great fear and misery on the part of Iraqis and increased danger for U.S. soldiers.

--Exploited the conquest of Iraq to reward his corporate supporters at Halliburton and elsewhere through no-bid contracts and other shady deals.

--Added to our economic woes by piling up unprecedented national debt, in part because of spending more than $100 billion on an unnecessary war.

--Set dangerous international precedents by seeking to justify so-called "pre-emptive" war.

I would also suggest some additional "Vital Signs":

--549 US soldiers killed in Iraq thus far.

--Thousands of U.S. soldiers injured in Iraq thus far. While the Pentagon reports a figure of just over 2,700 (the numbers regularly printed in The Post-Standard), National Public Radio and UPI investigative reports in recent months have found numbers near and above 10,000.

--100 soldiers from other participating nations killed in Iraq thus far.

--An estimated 20,000 Iraqis killed as a result of the U.S. invasion and occupation. This number is particularly vague since the U.S. military has refused to investigate. "We don't do body counts," said General Tommy Franks of the US Central Command.

Lastly, Walter Russell Mead's assertion that Bush has an advantage on foreign policy and the Democratic candidate needs to become more like Bush in order to win rings hollow. A Democratic candidate who can motivate even a small portion of the nearly half of the electorate that doesn't bother to vote will easily win the presidency. Those people are unlikely to be convinced by Bush's deception on the war or other issues.

--Andy Mager
Syracuse NY

One year ago on IDDYBUD

My opinion before the pre-emptive strike on Iraq:
"The Bush administration seems single-mindedly bent on this invasion. It almost seems that they are bitterly disappointed whenever there's a hint that the weapons inspections are actually working.
A UN resolution with absolutely no ambiguity is what we need. It is not America's place to preemptively strike Iraq. I firmly believe it is not in the best interest of the American people at this point in time."
From SojoNet:

An Alternative to War

"..We gather as our nation moves closer to a decision about whether to go to war with Iraq. It will be a momentous choice, with great consequences for the life of the world....Virtually every church body which has spoken, internationally and in the United States, has concluded that a war on Iraq would not be a just war. Never before have the churches in America been so united on the issue of peace..."

March 9, 2003- Gary Hart- A Detour From the War on Terrorism
What is our strategic objective in Iraq—disarmament, regime change, to mount a massive democratic revolution throughout the Arab world or all of the above? Once again, the target changes, and presidential candor is missing. It is cynical in the extreme to assume the American people should not be told that we intend to conduct a political revolution among 1.1 billion people spread from Gibraltar to eastern Indonesia.

The extravagance, not to say arrogance, of this epic undertaking is sufficiently breathtaking in its hubris to make Woodrow Wilson blush. And as a visionary, George W. Bush is no Woodrow Wilson. I find nothing in the writings of America's founders, including those of the expansive Alexander Hamilton, that suggests our national purpose should be the remaking of the world in our own image. In fact, most founders, and the prudent leaders since, have believed we should focus on perfecting our own democracy as an example to the world.

But if you are up for preemptive war against nations that do not meet the historic standard of representing an imminent and unavoidable threat, then you are pretty much up for anything.

Iraq is a detour from the war on terrorism. Hussein mysteriously morphed into Osama bin Laden, or vice-versa.

--Gary Hart

North Korea--then and now

Failing on North Korea a year ago

Failing on North Korea still lately as 13 hours ago.

Is it any wonder the North Koreans hope for a different administration this November? While the GOP would love you to believe Kerry looks like a North-Korea sympathizer, perhaps the North Koreans agree with many Americans that anyone's better than Bush.

As Professor Edward Reed, associate director of the Center for East Asian Studies at UW-Madison, has said: "Talking is not a reward for bad behavior; it is the fundamental requirement for diplomacy."
Here come the inane Bush attacks on Kerry

The negative ads are coming. President Bush, on fresh commercials soon to come your way, is accusing Senator Kerry of seeking to raise taxes by $900 billion. This coming from the guy who has driven us dread-deep into the hell-canyon of deficits to pay for astronomical war costs without asking Americans to see the reality and sacrifice now for the nation's future?

On National security, Bush says in the ads: "We can go forward with confidence, resolve and hope. Or we can turn back to the dangerous illusions that terrorists are not plotting and outlaw regimes are no threat..."
How absolutely brain-dead does the GOP think voters are? While we don't appreciate Bush disgustingly dragging out flag-draped 9-11 corpses on his ads, we certainly understand that 9-11 changed the face of the 21st century. If anyone's turning their back, it's the Bushites themselves. They've turned their backs on the international community by thumbing their arrogant noses at the rule of law. They've also turned their backs by sinking the economy with ridiculous tax cuts while the nation's embroiled in an expensive war on terror to which there's no foreseeable end. Does the GOP honestly think we would believe John Kerry would live in 'La-La-Land" when it comes to our security and economic need? He'd have to be insane!

I have proof Kerry's NOT insane. He got millions of dollars worth of ads FREE yesterday when every cable network "caught" him calling his GOP critics "the most crooked ... lying group" he'd ever seen...and played it again and again and again...every half-hour on the half-hour.

"John Kerry's plan: To pay for new government spending, raise taxes by at least $900 billion."

Bush's plan: To greatly increase the size of his Neo-Big Government, destroy Social Security, increase the already-monstrously deep deficits, and make furture slaves of OUR CHILDREN.
The dreadfully shallow bore strikes again.

Today in history..

1818- Frankenstein published

1862- Civil War, Lincoln shuffles the Union command

March 11, 1942

"I lay on my stomach, for I didn't want to see the bombs released this time. It took ages for them to arrive when one knew they were coming. Once again, we knew men would be blown to bits in just a few seconds. The picture of my mother came to my mind. I wanted to be able to say a last goodbye to her, for I never dreamed of coming out of this battle alive. Yes, men lay in tears, for their thoughts turned to home."

--Mel Sheya, Fourth Marines, USMC, author of "The Battling Bastards of Bataan", describing his battle experience in Corregidor, December 1941. Held prisoner for 42 months as an ill-treated slave-laborer in Manchuria and Japan, he was happy to see the return of MacArthur.

Yahoo News/Reuters
Symbol SUSAN Snatched AS Spy FOR Saddy
U.S. Woman Charged with Giving Secrets to Iraq

I'm starting to think Alan Greenspan is anti-American
* while definitely 'Pro-Dough' *

Fed chief Alan Greenspan said a "new round of protectionist steps" represented "alleged cures" which he said "would make matters worse rather than better."

First, there is no substantial "uber-protectionist" constituency existing today. There are only those who are conscious that we have a very big problem here in America right here and right now. Greenspan's job is to keep Wall Street afloat. That he would see American middle class Main Street opportunities pissed away in favour of Wall Street pocket-stuffing runs contrary to the "American dream".

"As our economy exhibits increasing signals of recovery, jobs loss continues to diminish," [Alan Greenspan] said in testimony to the House Education and Workforce Committee. "In all likelihood, employment will begin to increase more quickly before long."

Dear Mr. Greenspan:
Who are you kidding?
How long is long?
Who benefits in this economic recovery?
What kind of employment opportunity is coming?
More WalMart than professional, we'd bet.
Bottom line--we need to write a dirge for the American classic known as middle class opportunity and upward mobility.

"No more bombs, no more dead."

AP Photo

--Patrick Cox, European Parliament President, before a hushed legislature in Strasbourg, France

"It is an outrageous, unjustified and unjustifiable attack on the Spanish people and Spanish democracy," Cox said of the terrorist attack in Madrid, Spain this morning which left 190 dead and over 1200 wounded.

LA Times: Patrick J. Kiger on 'The Golden Age of Mediocrity'
With so Many Artistic Geniuses Among Us, Why Is Most of Their Work so Disposable?
We ought to consider ourselves blessed....We live in an age peopled by more artistic geniuses than in any other moment in history, though the bar is set considerably lower than in the past.... Though we have more supposed artistic geniuses than ever, their output, oddly, is increasingly middling. What's happened in the last couple of decades is that puffery seems to have surpassed—with the Internet, blast faxes, hundreds of cable channels and 750-square-foot video screens that can turn anyone, regardless of talent, into a giant looming over Times Square—it's possible for would-be greatness to be hyped to an extreme that even Dali would have a hard time imagining. Given the pervasive crudeness and disdain for subtlety in postmodern society, it's now perfectly acceptable to proclaim one's genius as loudly and raucously as professional wrestlers threaten one another with mayhem....maybe mediocrity is the new genius....

From the Cato Institute/Gerald P. O'Driscoll, Jr
*an updated version of a talk given at the Dedication of the F. A. Hayek Auditorium, May 9, 1995*
'The Road to Serfdom' Today
Frederich Hayek is best known for his most widely read work, The Road to Serfdom, first published 60 years ago yesterday...As he made clear, classical liberalism's conflict with central planning was not over the shared goal of enhancing the well-being of the greatest possible number of people but over the way to achieve that goal.....Hayek argued that, in the interventionist dynamic, liberty is lost piecemeal, one freedom at a time, always in the name of necessity and expediency. Hayek echoed the words of Lord Acton: "Liberty is not the means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end."
Gerald P O'Driscoll, Jr. is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute

Commentary by Shlomo Avineri
A Field Guide to Israeli Hawks
Despite the way it often looks to outsiders, debates in Israel about the future of the occupied territories have never been confined to hawks and doves. Like everything in Israel, the process is more complicated, especially where the hawks are concerned..
Shlomo Avineri is Professor of political science at the Hebrew University and former Director-General of Israel's Foreign Ministry in the Labor-led government of Yitzhak Rabin
From India Times
Mind-Matter Divide in Science, Philosophy
Vedantic philosophy and modern science share common features

I am personally enchanted by this statement:

"The search for a fundamental theory lifts human life above the level of farce and gives it some of the grace of tragedy."
--Steven Weinberg

How could the application of quantum theory unify East and West, mind and matter?
This article discusses how all schools of Indian philosophy have accepted perception as a means of knowledge. It also discusses the debate on the nature of reality and the ability of our concepts to represent reality. Within the scope of the mystery of the self (or consciousness), we see how modern science still lacks an adequate accounting of the mind. The causality of Descartes' philosophy on the material world is challenged and maya (consciousness is a separate element, added to physical systems) is seen as a concept often overlooked by the physicists.