Monday, January 30, 2006

POLITICS - NSA Wiretap Program Issue, Again

The PBS Newshour, Shields & Books segment 1/27/2006 was interesting, especially the discussion of the NSA Wiretap Program. In part...

DAVID BROOKS: "Politically, it's a winner. I was joking -- the Republicans are going to hold their convention at the NSA headquarters next year to sort of underline the issue. I still don't see why we're not at this point -- why Democrats, most Democrats say we want -- we think the program is necessary, we just want it in a legal framework. Why doesn't some Democrat or some Republican say here's the piece of legislation to put it in a legal framework? We really haven't seen that from either side."

JIM LEHRER: "The president was asked about that yesterday and I asked Alberto Gonzales about it and they both said no, we don't really need that. We don't want that, because it would tell too much about what is about -- about the system itself."

MARK SHIELDS: "Not to contradict you, Jim, but the president even went further yesterday. He said he not only -- it wasn't necessary, he didn't want it; he might not even sign it. Now that is where the Democrats see their great advantage. They see the advantage of saying okay, let's make this legal; let's give the legal process there, and have him be the one that turns it down."

Note that last comment by Shields; "it wasn't necessary, he didn't want it; he might not even sign it." So this President does not want to be "hampered" in any way by Congress in the execution of this program, when all they want to do is make it legal?! To rephrase, making the program legal is hampering the program? BS

This President actually thinks that just because Congress gave him permission to conduct, what he calls, the War on Terrorism that this includes ignoring laws passed by the same Congress and ignore or endanger parts of the Constitution, especially "The Bill of Rights." He believes that the Presidential power to protect the USA = a President can ignore parts of the Constitution in the application of that power.

A small history lesson for those who didn't pay attention in High School. Dictators of history have used that same excuse, protection of the people/state, to take democratic powers away from "the people." Does that mean I believe that Bush is now a dictator, NO, not yet but close.

The danger to our liberties is in not correcting his assumption that the power to protect allows him to ignore laws and other parts of the Constitution. Terrorists cannot take away our liberties, but we can give them away by allowing our fear drive us to giving them up.

We need to remind this President, and future Presidents, that their power comes from and is limited by the people.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

POLITICS - Osama bin Laden

I've been thinking about Osama bin Laden lately (who hasn't) and what we should do about him. My gut feeling is, capture him, then slow-roast him on a spit over hot coals. But that's my gut feeling and not what I would do in the real world.

We have two choices, as I see it; 1) hunt him down, and kill him on the spot or 2) capture him and put him on trial for mass murder.

What we have to consider, no matter what our gut feelings are, is the long-run effect on the Arab/Muslim world. In our own interest, we cannot disregard how the Arabs or Muslims see Osama ben Laden compared to how they see the "West" which includes the USA. We cannot, realistically, change the minds of Muslim fanatics, but we can be somewhat safer if the majority of the Arab and/or Muslim world see us in a better light.

The Arab/Muslim world see ben Laden as a champion of their "cause" at the least, and a prophet at the worst. What is their "cause?" Well, historically the West has not treated the Arab world (and thereby the Muslim world) well nor justly. It's not just the Palestine vs. Israel thing; it's what has been done in the area since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Crusades, etc. As far as the status of Osama bin Laden in the Arab world, well thanks to Bush, we have helped elevate him to a prophet by fulfilling his prophecy (uttered long before 9/11) that a Christian nation would invade a Muslim nation for oil. Regardless of what we think the Iraq invasion was about, the Arab world sees it as fulfillment of Osama's prophecy.

As stated in "The Frightening Evolution of al-Qaida" on 6/24/2005 by Robert Windrem, NBC News:

Over the past year, essentially since the Madrid train bombings on March 11, 2004, U.S. intelligence and policy-makers have had a changed view of al- Qaida. Instead of the hierarchical organization portrayed by the president — with his scorecard of how many leaders have been killed or captured — those closest to the counterterrorism effort see a network that while less capable of mega-attacks like Sept. 11 is more capable of a long-lasting war against the United States and the West.

The capture or killing of Osama bin Laden would be a major event in the war on terrorism, one with positive — and even some negative — consequences for the United States and its allies, but it would not signal the end of al-Qaida, the end of Islamic terrorism or even the reconfiguring of the network.

In my opinion killing Osama bin Laden would not be just a "negative" but a disaster. It would elevate him to a martyr, a martyred prophet. Pontius Pilot made that mistake and the world now has a religion that can, in part, be based on that mistake. {By the way, nothing against Christianity, just a historical fact} Remember, no matter what the West sees, this is a religious matter in the Arab/Muslim world.

That leaves us with option #2 above but even here we have to be very careful on how we handle this.

Capturing him and whisking him off to Guantanamo would be a mistake. In the Arab world "Gitmo" = torture and injustice, no matter what we feel. Whisking him off to another country or location for "interrogation" would be just as bad.

What we need to do is to capture him and put him on trial, in full public view (TV-pool coverage, maybe C-SPAN), with all the protections under our system of justice. Considering all the incriminating evidence (writings, video tapes, statements from terrorist "combatants," and other sources) I cannot see how he could not be found guilty in the end. {Of course, lawyers would defend Satin with all the tricks in the book without a twinge of conscience} Even then we cannot afford to execute him, if we did he still ends up as a martyred prophet. What we do is put him away for life without parole. Note after the trial, during his "vacation with us," we would have plenty of time to interrogate him.

Monday, January 23, 2006

POLITICS - Personal Information Security

There was an interesting piece on PBS's The News Hour the other day, GOOGLE'S PRIVACY FIGHT

In included a discussion about personal information security in today's environment, specifically the internet.

There are to categories of basic non-technical personal security issues.

  1. The federal government needs to pass a law that makes absolutely clear that the individual person is the OWNER of his/her information, and NOT the private agency collecting it. The owner then controls what is included in that information and how it gets distributed. There are laws that address portions of this topic but such laws are not comprehensive nor clear. Example, companies have long treated your personal information they collect as their's, so they could sell it to interested parties, this is why we now have a law (full of loopholes) addressing this issue. The law does not specifically state who the OWNER of the information is.

  2. Internet personal information security is another matter. Note that I do not use my real name in on-line forms, also my real name is NOT part of my email address. These are examples of basic personal information security. You should never put your real name "in the clear" on the internet whenever it is not required (online credit card info is one valid exception). Companies violate this basic security issue when they use an employee's real name in the company email address scheme. These basic personal security issues were taught when the Internet first came into existence, but it is NOT being emphasized today, and it should.

A few additional internet personal information reminders:

  • Credit card companies never ask for any part of your card number in emails. Latest example, the bogus "Security Alert Your Credit Card Possibly Illegally Accessed" that asks to verify your credit card's security digits by replying with the digits. This one even reminded you if you had any questions to call Customer Service. Luckily the person who reported this did call and that's when they found out it was a fraud but noted that this meant the the sender already had the basic credit card number. The card had to be cancelled and a new one issued.

  • Emails that include links to access your accounts (rather than saying to access your accounts via. the normal method you use) even if they look correct. Awhile back, PayPal customers were sent a fraudulent link that ended up giving the requested account info to Identity Thieves. Even the online form looked legit.

  • You should think twice, no, three times about entering personal information at a WEB site that is not a secure site. Secure sites have a "https://" prefix.

We do need to bring privacy law up-to-date in general, and we need to address these two topics specifically.

Friday, January 20, 2006

POLITICS - Us and Them

My hat is off to fellow blogger Mollie Bradley-Martin and her "Us" and "Them" article.

Our problem is social in that we shun community and refuse to make concessions for the collective good. Hell, we even refuse to engage in the conversation. We let politicians and the media drive wedges between us that only serve to foster animosity between rural and urban, white and black, gay and straight, liberal and conservative, and these divisions are reinforced by a marketing strategy employed by those who want our money and our votes. This marketing of products and ideas only validates our selfishness and destroys any chance for a country made whole. We are becoming more and more entrenched in partisan politics because we have fallen victim to the predators that think by building us up, they can bilk us out of our meager holdings.

By believing the hype and not questioning our emotional responses to the hallow words they shower upon us, we have allowed for language to be stripped of meaning. There are no longer agreed upon definitions of words and facts have become subjective. A perfect example is the so-called 'death tax'. There is no such thing as a 'death tax' because not everyone who dies is subject to it, only those with an 'estate' worth more than $1,000,000 are required to pay it, making 'estate tax' the proper description. When we let these distortions of language slip by, we erode the value of public discourse and strip words of their meaning.

She is absolutely correct. When are "we the people" going to recognize advertising-agency hype and realize this is not what we should take with any seriousness in making political decisions about life in the USA?

The problem with relation between politics and "the people" in the USA is we tend to take the easy road. We are not studying the political issues (local, state, federal) that effect us every day or put us in harm's way. By the way, "harm" is not just physical. It is also a harm (a greater one in my opinion) to us if we ignore the erosion of our constitutional protections in the name of physical safety. NSA spying on Americans may give us some physical protection from terrorists, but it is more dangerous to us because it can be abused and we have no way to check when the Whitehouse ignores the law that does provide the verification that this spying is not being abused. By the way, as my profile says, I'm retired Navy and dealt with security matters; don't believe the Whitehouse when they say the NSA spies only on known terrorists, it doesn't work that way (I cannot say anything more).

All of us, "the people," need better filter the hype from the facts. We need to recognize when our emotions are being appealed to, rather than our common sense. We need to be cognizant Wallstreet advertising agencies are being used to sell us a political idea as if it was a brand of soap. When was the last time you read or heard an ad that told the truth and nothing but the truth about what they're promoting? Truth is not what ad agencies promote.

We "the people" need to consider what is good for our country, not just ourselves. There is a term used in Britain I like, "the loyal opposition." You can oppose government policies and politicians and still be loyal to the Constitution and the USA.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

POLITICS - Supreme Court Justices

I have watched some of the Senate hearings on the nominations on both Roberts and Alito and have the following observations.

  1. Republicans seem to want to treat Supreme Court nominations as if they are the same as Cabinet nominations. That is, we should defer to the President's choice unless the nominee is not qualified.
  2. Regardless of what they say, their actions speak of not believing the Supreme Court has the function of acting as a check on the legislature or the President making unconstitutional laws or policies. That is, the Congress passes the laws and the Supreme Court should always defer to what they pass as law.

I was surprised to here Alito tell the committee that neither Congress nor the President is above the law, but did he actually mean that he believes that the Supreme Court acts as a check against unconstitutional laws passed by Congress and unconstitutional polices of a President? I do believe that the Supreme Court should act as such a check, it is one of the legs of the three-legged protection of our rights and form of government.

As to the Republican attitude toward Supreme Court nominations, they of course want their political ideology supported in the land. Also, the President does have a right to have people he can work with on his Cabinet and other Senate approved appointments, but this should not apply to Supreme Court nominations.

Supreme Court judges should never be political hacks with a political agenda. They are there to protect Constitutional Law and therefore, our rights. They are not suppose to be supporting anyone's point of view or agenda, conservative nor liberal. This is why they are appointed for life, so they are not beholding to being renominated because the sitting President or Congress don't like their decisions. One has only to pay attention to history, and not too long ago, to see totalitarian governments disbanding their version of the Supreme Court when displeased with their decisions. Shutting down people and organizations that disagree with government policy is the attitude of dictators.

As to "activist judges," this is a code-phrase that actually means a judge that makes decisions you don't like. A judge can make a decision for a specific constitutional reason and the judge get labeled "activist" from the side that does not like the decision and "fine decision, great judge" from the side that does like the decision.

Looking back, we do need to remember that the majority of Supreme Court Justices have turned out not to be what the President who nominated them expected. The justices seem to have performed the function our Founding Fathers intended, a check against unconstitutionality by anyone including the President, Congress, or "the people."

I can hear the steaming-ears shouts on that last restriction on "the people." Well, like it or not, in a constitutional democracy "the people" do not get to have just any law they wish, no matter how much the wish it. An unconstitutional law is unconstitutional, period, and it's the Supreme Court's job to say so.

Of course there is a way to get a law that the Supreme Court deems unconstitutional, that is what the Constitutional Amendment process is for.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

POLITICS - The "New" Republican Big-Government

From an article in "CounterPunch, Abramoff's Kind of Big Government," by Allan Lichtman:

Although its roots run more deeply into the recent past, the Gingrich Revolution of 1994, when Republicans captured both houses of Congress, marks the rise of bought and sold conservatism, as business tightened its grip on conservative organizations and the Republican Party. Corporate donors began expecting and receiving value returned for contributions to the American Right, not just the advancement of conservative principles, but direct action to boost profits.

The Gingrich Revolution also spawned a new breed of lobbyist, shown in its most virulent form by Jack Abramoff. The new lobbyists not only siphoned off huge profits for themselves, but also orchestrated flows of big money to targeted officeholders and candidates and to conservative organizations that dispensed travel and perks to opinion-makers and public officials.

Well, that sums up what I see from the today's Republican Party and one of the many reasons I left it in 2000.

As a Moderate Republican of the old school I've never been comfortable with the Republican's stance on big money and therefore big business. The Republican Party has drifted towards the worship of money and greed. Today's Republican Party has put on knee-pads and "open wide please" to big money. The more the "better." They have abandoned even the semblance of protecting the economic middle or lower classes.

Just two examples of many; not allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices even though there are government agencies who can because of the laws that govern them (VA, Coast Guard, etc.); and lets not give our citizens another way to save on prescriptions by NOT allowing legal import of Canadian drugs, as if Canada were a third-world country, even if many of the drugs prescribed in the USA and Canada are in fact manufactured overseas.

Regardless of what Republicans say, it is very hard to believe the above examples are not a "thank you for your big contributions" to the big pharmaceutical companies especially considering how hard they lobbied for these laws.

Friday, January 13, 2006

POLITICS - Middle Class Families Living on the Edge

There is a very interesting article in Harvard Magazine, "The Middle Class on the Precipice" by Elizabeth Warren.

In part:

Every day, middle-class families carry higher risks that a job loss or a medical problem will push them over the edge. Although plenty of families make it, a growing number who worked just as hard and followed the rules just as carefully find themselves in a financial nightmare. The security of middle-class life has disappeared. The new reality is millions of families whose grip on the good life can be shaken loose in an instant.

Although my own work, on bankruptcy and credit, has focused on the specifics of families’ household finances, I cannot help but think that their changed circumstances during the past generation have larger echoes for public policy.

During the same period, families have been asked to absorb much more risk in their retirement income. In 1985, there were 112,200 defined-benefit pension plans with employers and employer groups around the country; today their number has shrunk to 29,700 such plans, and those are melting away fast. Steelworkers, airline employees, and now those in the auto industry are joining millions of families who must worry about interest rates, stock market volatility, and the harsh reality that they may outlive their retirement money. For much of the past year, President Bush campaigned to move Social Security to a savings-account model, with retirees trading much or all of their guaranteed payments for payments contingent on investment returns. For younger families, the picture is not any better. Both the absolute cost of healthcare and the share of it borne by families have risen — and newly fashionable health-savings plans are spreading from legislative halls to Wal-Mart workers, with much higher deductibles and a large new dose of investment risk for families’ future healthcare. Even demographics are working against the middle class family, as the odds of having a frail elderly parent — and all the attendant need for physical and financial assistance — have jumped eightfold in just one generation.

From the middle-class family perspective, much of this, understandably, looks far less like an opportunity to exercise more financial responsibility, and a good deal more like a frightening acceleration of the wholesale shift of financial risk onto their already overburdened shoulders. The financial fallout has begun, and the political fallout may not be far behind.

The above is a good summary of the situation at this time. The article also contains a bargraph that emphasizes that the "fixed cost as a share of family income" has more than doubled while the discretionary income has dropped. Yes, the total family income has risen, but the fixed cost of living have also risen and family income has not kept pace.

When you here the Republicans, the Whitehouse, and Conservatives tout their economic policies keep the above in mind. Conservative economics only serve the upper classes, people that already have more money than they can need to live. They protect big-money investments and big business. Such policies have never been about providing the same protections to the middle class family, and definitely not the lower class families. By the way, I have nothing against being rich (boy, would I like to be rich) but to enact policies that protect only the rich is not ethical nor moral.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

POLITICS - Class Warfare?

I ran into the below article from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank.

Like most conservatives, they miss the point made by Liberals (proud to be one). They cannot help it because they are are so focused on money that they are blind to any other measure of what is good for society.

Their view:

A key element of this debate is the question of what constitutes fairness. Supporters of tax reform believe that fairness means treating all taxpayers equally before the law; a wealthy person who makes 100 times more than another person, for example, should pay 100 times more in taxes. Others believe in equality of results rather than equality of opportunity. As such, they want government to impose increasingly punitive tax rates on higher-income taxpayers to facilitate income redistribution.

The liberal view:

I is not about the amount of money a taxpayer makes, it is about the amount of money a taxpayer has to spend on just the necessities of life.

Conservatives ignore that more and more of the economic "middle class" and all of the economic "lower class" live from paycheck-to-paycheck, or even have to make a choice on which bills not to pay each month. That is the true issue. Do we have a society in which only people with lots of money have an opportunity to live the American dream or do we have a society that insures all citizens have a chance to do so? If they want to call such a principle "income redistribution" so be it. I call it an ethical/moral principle.

POLITICS - Phasing Out of Pensions

I watched an interesting segment on PBS's "The NewsHour" the other night.

It includes a section on "Analyzing pension changes" which was a discussion with Karen Friedman, policy director for the Pension Rights Center, an employee and retiree advocacy group; and James Klein, president of the American Benefits Council which considers pensions from the employers' point of view.

Well, part of it is a reflection of the changing nature of the employer, employee relationship and it is just one manifestation of that. Another aspect of it is it has become increasingly more difficult to sponsor these plans.

There is, I have a lot of member companies who tell us, you know, we sponsor a pension plan; we expect it to be a very expensive proposition. We don't have a problem with that. What we do have a problem with is the unpredictability of not knowing what the new rules are going to be with respect to funding and other things of that nature.


Anyone who has had a job in the last 10yrs knows that old-style pension plans (such as IBM's) are going away and the 401k plans are taking their place, but there's a problem.

And so while 401(k) plans are good as supplemental plans, they were never meant to be the whole plan that people used to save for retirement. So what we are seeing is over the last ten to twenty years a gradual move or gradual shift from these good traditional pensions that provide employer-paid benefits, that employ a guarantee stream of income to this do-it-yourself society.

Well, at the same time that's happening we are asking people to save more for their retirement, we are asking them to save for their education. We are asking them to save for health care. How much can individuals save? Right now just to put this into perspective, the median account balance of 401(k)plans in this country is $15,000. And the median account balance for those between 55 and 65 is only $23,000.


In other words, just how much can the average low to middle income family have to save in a year for everything the Republicans and business want in this "do it yourself" society? With all the monthly living expenses (home, utilities, food, cloths, children, etc.) how much is actually left to put into all the programs they expect families to save for? Not much, if any. There's the Catch-22.

Republicans: Another example of favoring the rich. Sure, if you are rich you can afford to save to these programs. No problem. I recognize that this is why people want to be rich, but do we want a society that does not provide a level playing field for everyone?

Business: Lets face it, Wallstreet worships at the shrine of greed. Anything to gain ever bigger profits. This is the essence of greed, never being satisfied with just making a profit, but that you must have bigger profits every period (quarter, semiannually, yearly). It's not the little orphan asking, "Can I have more, please?" for porridge; it is the big, fat orphanage board member, with his table overflowing with food, saying, "I want more Prim Rib, lets cut the orphan's ration in half so we can buy more." Reminder, greed is one of the "7 deadly sins."

What we, as a society, have to decide is; just what do we want the USA to be. A society which has no responsibility to the "little" guy but has a big responsibility to protect the "big" guy? Or a society that protects both equally?

You decide, then take whatever action you deem necessary to make the USA the society you want. Just remember, you're not the only citizen, and all citizens have the right to petition the government (local, state, federal) to execute their wishes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

POLITICS - Bush Whitehouse, Makes No Mistakes

As many pundits and news articles have noted, the Bush Whitehouse acts as if they cannot make any mistakes. This is even if they fake admitting that they do, their actions do not match their words.

What this Whitehouse actually does is go after, and punish if they can, anyone who dares to disagree with them. And if the dissenter happens to be an insider, they will try to ruin you.

G. Bush has never been taught, or learned, that "to err is human." (I bet the latter since Bush Sr. did better) Or could it be he actually believes he is a demigod?


"All men are liable to error; and most men are, in many points, by passion or interest, under temptation to it."

"Knowledge being to be had only of visible and certain truth, error is not a fault of our knowledge, but a mistake of our judgment, giving assent to that which is not true."

John Locke (1632–1704), British philosopher


But it is the viciousness with which they try to silence dissent that should frighten us. They actually see nothing wrong in using tactics such as staged interviews, fake (hired by the Whitehouse) reporters, and downright slander, to get back at dissenters.

Then there's the policy of putting dissenters in caged-off areas well away from "public" speeches, as if dissenters are not included in "public."

According to this Whitehouse, if you disagree with their policies; you are unpatriotic, or committing treason, or anti arm forces, or a terrorist. Also, remember, according to this Whitehouse, that last label could get you whisked away to a prison in secret, without judicial review, and for a length of time of their choosing, and they don't care if you're an American citizen.

Bush and company must have flunked High School World History (or slept through it) if they don't see that the totalitarian governments of history have use the same reasons to maintain power....

  1. Control of the media (no dissent, no criticism of government policy)
  2. Jailing of persons they designate as "enemy of the people"
  3. Flag waving to rally the crowds and/or hand-picking them to ensure only friendly people attend


The Bush Whitehouse does not realize just how close they are to making the USA a totalitarian or fascist government.

God help us.

Monday, January 09, 2006

POLITICS - New Orleans, Katrina, and Rebuilding

From what I read and numerous interviews of scientist and historians on this subject, I have come to the following conclusions.

  1. Historically; New Orleans being built where it is was a long-term mistake. Come on, build a major city which is below the level of the Mississippi?! But how were the city founders to know that it would grow into the major city it is today. In the end, this is "split milk" but we need to remember that is was a mistake.

  2. More importantly, the development of New Orleans has ignored Nature, to its peril. Development built over Nature's natural controls for flooding, the surrounding swamps or wetlands. These are the buffers that could mitigate the damage caused by hurricanes. They slow down the flood waves, decreasing the damage they cause.

  3. The levies are just not designed for this location, especially for hurricanes like Katrina. If we were serious about protecting New Orleans we should be looking at Holland's dikes, at how they're build.

  4. Today, New Orleans is important to the area's, and the USA's, economy.

Having said that, what to do about rebuilding New Orleans?

We should recover some of the natural protections, the swamps and wetlands surrounding New Orleans.

Also, we should recover the swamps that separated areas of New Orleans in the past. This has been suggested (not rebuilding specific neighborhoods) but has been put down as racism. Why, most of these areas are now poor neighborhoods, populated majority black. But we need to remember that Nature knows nothing about racism and doesn't care. Why did these areas end up populated by the poor? Would you build your multi-million dollar home in areas that were swamps and are still below river level? Rhetorical question, so such property gets regulated to the poor.


In a nut shell, the White House's plans for rebuilding New Orleans.

Are we bringing back displaced citizens of New Orleans and giving them much needed jobs rebuilding their own city? Not much that I can see, but we are bring in workers from across the broader to do this work. No Bush "Executive Order" requiring hiring of New Orleans citizens first to help rebuild.

Did Bush want to pay decent wages to workers to do this job, especially those who were residents of New Orleans? No. He tried, and (at last word I heard) failed in trying to use "Executive Order" to bypass the law requiring wages at least equal to the wages before Katrina.

Has anyone pushed for a serious scientific study on how to rebuild New Orleans so this does not happen again? Yes; but lets see if, and how, the New Orleans commission's recommendations are implemented.

Then there's who got the first contracts. It's no surprise the Halliburton was at the very top of the list. Oh, of course it just cannot be that a former officer sits in the VP's chair, right? If you believe that one, I got a bridge..... Luckily that seems to have falling through and is being investigated.

Having said this, you can come to your own conclusions on how to rebuild New Orleans, and have residents gotten a fare shake.

Friday, January 06, 2006

POLITICS - As I See the USA Now

I could just start commenting on the state of our USA but others have done it better, so the following summarize my feelings on this issue.


"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean stand by the President."

President Theordore Roosevelt


Remarks of a "senior official" of the Bush White House, as quoted by Bob Woodward: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors"

This is the voice of raw power and sheer arrogance.


"One, it is bad policy for our government to be spying on American citizens through the National Security Agency. Secondly, it's bad to be spying on Americans without court oversight. And thirdly, it's bad to be spying on Americans apparently in violation of federal laws against doing it without a court order."

GOP Congressman Bob Barr


"The sad thing is that the truth is relatively simple. What people using terror in the fashion of London are quite capable of doing is killing and maiming randomly, and in large numbers, and perhaps in the process revealing to us both how fragile and how strong our world actually is.""What they are completely incapable of doing, no matter what George Bush says, is taking our liberties and freedoms away. They can't take anything away. Only WE can do that.

"Tom Egelhardt - July 11, 2005


"Neither ideas nor ideologies are to be blamed for the current state of affairs, for our imprisonment in the bubble. Americans are not captive of religion, but of religious quacks; they are not captive of free enterprise, but of predatory capitalists; they are not captive of some repressive form of government, but of corrupt politicians that milk the ideals of democracy for their own selfish ends."

Ben Tanosborn


Well, that does about sum up my feelings.

Please search you own soul. You may find that you also have uneasy, very uneasy, feeling about the state of affairs in our great country. If you do, then you have an obligation to try to do something about taking back governance from the fascists in control of the White House.


I've decided I can no longer sit by and let the continuing erosion of our liberties without comment.

I also am and avid PC gamer, single-player only, so this also gives me a forum to comments on this subject as well as PC computers in general.