Tuesday, December 19, 2006

POLITICS - Yet Another Example of What the Bush Administration Protects

"EPA relaxes rules on reporting of release of toxic chemicals" by JEFF MONTGOMERY, The News Journal

The Environmental Protection Agency approved new rules today that will quadruple the amount of some toxic pollutants that companies can release before they have to reveal the amounts to the public.

...there's more

Yap, protect big busine$$ OVER the public and environment. An example of Bush ethics.

IRAQ - Powell's Opinion

"Powell: We Are Losing In Iraq" Former Secretary Of State Says More Troops Are Not The Answer, CBS News

The United States is losing the war in Iraq but sending more troops to Baghdad is not the best way to change course, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Face The Nation.

Powell said he agreed with the assessment of the Iraq Study Group co-chairmen, Lee Hamilton and James Baker, that the situation in Iraq is "grave and deteriorating," and he also agreed with recently-confirmed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that the U.S. is not winning the war.

"So if it's grave and deteriorating and we're not winning, we are losing," Powell told Bob Schieffer in an exclusive interview. "We haven't lost. And this is the time, now, to start to put in place the kinds of strategies that will turn this situation around."

President George W. Bush is considering several options for a new strategy in Iraq. The most likely choice would be to send tens of thousands of additional troops for an indefinite period to quickly secure Baghdad.

A 3,500-man brigade from the 82nd Airborne Division will be sent to Kuwait soon after the holidays, CBS News correspondent David Martin reported on Friday. The troops would be available immediately should the president order a surge into Iraq.

There are about 134,000 U.S. troops in Iraq now.

Powell, also a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he did not see the military benefit of flooding Baghdad with American troops.

"I am not persuaded that another surge of troops into Baghdad for the purposes of suppressing this communitarian violence, this civil war, will work," he said, adding that the Iraqi government and security forces must take over.

"It is the D.C. police force that guards Washington, D.C., not the troops that are stationed at Fort Myer," Powell said. "And in Baghdad, you need a police force to do that, and in the other cities, you need a police force to do that, and not the American troops."

Another voice of reason that I doubt Bush will actually listen to.

I admit, I'm pessimistic. Even now you can see the virtual claw-marks-on-the-floor as Bush is being dragged by many to change his policy in Iraq, which in Bush's eyes = "I was wrong." Am I the only one who has noted how dragged-out and tired Bush looks of late? This is a man who still resists, with all his might, the admission that he could possibly be wrong. In the end I think Bush will choose a policy on Iraq that will pay only lip-service to a policy change. His "new" policy will be only window-dressing.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

ENVIRONMENT - Yet Another Fine Example of Bush Administration Protection

"Bush Administration to Close E.P.A Libraries in San Francisco and Nationwide" by Sara A. Fox, M.L.S.‚ BeyondChron

The 2007 Federal Budget proposed by the Bush Administration and currently before Congress includes a budget cut that would entirely eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s 27 libraries nationwide, including San Francisco’s own EPA Region 9 library. The Region 9 library provides the public, free of charge, with environmental data on CA, AZ, NV, HA and the lands of 140 tribal nations. The importance of this library cannot be understated. The importance of this library cannot be understated in providing citizens with scientific data about pollutants, wildlife, and energy resources in our city, state and beyond.

The San Francisco Region 9 library has already had its hours reduced and is limiting public access. This is especially bad news for the often low-income, immigrant and minority communities in San Francisco, and their advocates, who reside in some of the city’s most polluted neighborhoods, to whom environmental information is critical to their health and safety.

The bulk of the library's work is in serving the EPA's scientists, researchers and policy makers, providing them with the information that they need to make informed decisions, and under the Bush Administration's plan, both the documents and the information specialists who organize and provide it to the EPA's staff will be gone.

Surprisingly, far from fighting the proposed budget cuts, EPA management, over the objection of 10,000 of it’s own scientists who have signed a petition in protest, started implementing a shutdown of services over the last several months, when Congress was not in session – before the Presidents proposed budget was even debated, much less approved (which it still has not).

On their own initiative, the Bush appointee led EPA has closed the libraries in Dallas, Chicago and Kansas City, MO. The library in Washington, D.C., while nominally still open to EPA staff, has been closed to the public.

The EPA has responded that it plans to put documents online, but as the Special Library Association noted, they have not put forward a concrete proposal to do so, have been discarding document originals before copies can be made, and in fact, have been deleting born-digital files from its website, a move that does not save the EPA any funding.

IRAQ - What's Really Important in the Iraq Study Group Report

In the following article the last paragraphs are most pertinent and need to be carefully considered.

"Bush's sinking ship of fools" by H.D.S. Greenway, Boston News

In the greater struggle against Islamic extremism, the most important of the study group's recommendations was that the United States appear actively involved in trying to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Reacting against his father's and Bill Clinton's efforts, President Bush removed America from its role of honest broker in his very first National Security Council meeting, Ron Suskind reports in "The One Percent Solution." Colin Powell warned Bush that by not trying to limit Israeli violence against Palestinians he was "reversing 30 years of US policy." But Bush dismissed this, saying, " Sometimes a show of force by one side can really clarify things."

Since then, neither Bush's shows of force nor Israel's have clarified much other than the limits to the use of force.

According to co-chairman James Baker, virtually everybody the Iraq Study Group talked to said that the Israel-Palestine issue was the single most important one stirring up Muslim resentment around the world, and that the best way to help moderate Muslims combat extremism was for the United States to get involved -- not necessarily to solve the issue, but to seriously address it rather than letting it drift in an angry sea, as Bush has done for six years.

Does President Bush have the flexibility to change his policies? Or will he be like our War of 1812 naval hero, James Lawrence, who was carried off the deck shouting, "Don't give up the ship" -- leaving it to others to deal with the wreckage on the burning deck.

So, is our Ship of State sinking and manned by fools?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

POLITICS - A Truly Different Federal Constitution

I ran into the following while reading other blogs. I was mildly surprised.

"Swiss Federal Constitution" from Wikipedia

The Swiss Federal Constitution has a certain peculiarity when compared to other constitutions in the world. It does not provide for any constitutional jurisdiction over any federal laws, that is, laws proclaimed by Parliament may not be struck down by the Federal Court on the grounds of unconstitutionality. This special provision in the Swiss Constitution is a manifestation of how democratic principles are held to outweigh the principles upon which the constitutional state is built. Laws proclaimed by the Federal Assembly are not to be taken out of force by a court not chosen by the people. Lately, however, as a matter of principle, the Federal Court has tended to favor international law over a federal law in cases where the two conflict. The same exclusion of constitutional jurisdiction does not apply to cantonal laws, which may be interpreted or struck down as the Federal Court deems fit.

...the last sentence in the article.....

Owing to constitutional initiatives and counter-proposals, the Swiss Constitution is subject to continual changes.

Humm.... they chose to give up stability in law to a purer democratic point of view. Changing federal law at the whim of the populace. Humm... good or bad?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

POLITICS - Another Example of Our Bought-and-Paid-For Administration

"EPA May Drop Lead Air Pollution Limits" by John Heilprin, Washington Post

The Bush administration is considering doing away with health standards that cut lead from gasoline, widely regarded as one of the nation's biggest clean-air accomplishments.

Battery makers, lead smelters, refiners all have lobbied the administration to do away with the Clean Air Act limits.

A preliminary staff review released by the Environmental Protection Agency this week acknowledged the possibility of dropping the health standards for lead air pollution. The agency says revoking those standards might be justified "given the significantly changed circumstances since lead was listed in 1976" as an air pollutant.

The EPA says concentrations of lead in the air have dropped more than 90 percent in the past 2 1/2 decades.

But Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the incoming chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, called on the agency to "renounce this dangerous proposal immediately," because lead, a highly toxic element, can cause severe nerve damage, especially in children.

"This deregulatory effort cannot be defended," Waxman wrote EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.

However, on Wednesday night, Marcus Peacock, the Environmental Protection Agency's No. 2 official, approved new guidance to help the agency follow the law in a timelier fashion.

"Starting with lead, we're going to try to dovetail this in," Peacock said of the new guidance, which he said also would help the agency use the most up-to-date science and keep separate its scientific and policy considerations.

The health standards for air pollutants are intended to protect children, elderly and other "sensitive" populations, keep up visibility and limit damage to animals, crops, vegetation and buildings.

In July, a Washington-based trade group for all U.S. lead battery makers wrote a top EPA air quality official to urge that the agency remove lead from its list of air pollutants.

"That is not to say that air emissions of lead should be uncontrolled, or that no steps should be taken to address public health concerns arising from lead use," the Battery Council International said. "But many other regulatory vehicles exist for meeting these concerns."

BS! Another example of big busine$$ holding their profits as more important than our health, especially children, and the planet. And our fine "ethical" Administration is right there to help them.

And I'm not the only one of this opinion: "Bush was against our children breathing lead before he was for it"

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

THE WAY IT SHOULD BE: Sears Does It Right

I received the following in an eMail at work:

I assume you have all seen the reports about how Sears is treating its reservist employees who are called up? By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more.

Sears is VOLUNTARILY paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years. I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution.

And the story here

Now all we need is other companies to "do the right thing."

Friday, December 01, 2006

POLITICS - A Local View, Bush & Iraq

The following UseNet post is from a local San Diego (where I live) group and from a man-on-the-street. Posting here just to let my readers know how locals' see things.

Colin Powell was right from day ONE !! He told George Bush the only truth in the White House over the last maybe 14 years. Powell told Bush... if you invade a country you marry the country and all of its problems. Bush, the world worst puppet leader EVER, wouldn't listen to Powell. Bush only listened to his handlers, Rove, Cheney and big business foreign interests. The result is they had no plan for Iraq after ABOUT May 1 2003.

Just as Hitler and his Nazis i.e. handlers, were held responsible for the war crimes of World War Two, so must George Bush and his handlers. Bush and his handlers went into Iraq not knowing what they were dealing with and as a result are directly responsible for genocide in Iraq. Bush opened the door for civil war, and now genocide in Iraq. He cannot close it because it would be an admission of guilt. Therefore he continues murder our service people and Iraqis at will. George Bush is caught in a trap. He says he will not pull US troops out of Iraq before the mission is over. THERE IS NO MISSION. There never was.

So if Bush won't stop American involvement in Iraq, then we take it out of Bush's hands. It is just that simple. In California we got rid of Gray Davis because he lied to the voters about a problem in the budget, which proves governmental officials can be replaced in ONE manner or ANOTHER. Bush has to be replace. And likewise Cheney, and a number of White House MURDERERS including the entire cabinet.

Paul, you will have a problem with this, but I say any person who is not strong enough to stand up to a horrid president is a coward. And since Powell stayed on as Secretary of State after it was clear Iraq was a total mistake, then Colin Powell is a coward too. Powell should have stepped down in early 2004 and exposed Bush for the fraud he is....... but no ....Colin did not.

But to answer the bigger problem, there is no good that US can do in Iraq now, UNLESS.... the entire rest of the world agrees to change Iraq. The world cannot decide what to do in the Sudan, so that is unlikely. Americans are stuck with another Vietnam for ever and ever and ever.

Brian David Smith, San Diego, California