Friday, March 31, 2006

Immigration Wisdom

The following are favorite thoughts that Lou Dobbs recently shared on his CNN evening news show on the issue of immigration. They are taken from a letter written in 1919 by a U.S. president to the American Defense Society:

"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...

"There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

--Theodore Roosevelt, 1919

Fox is in the U.S. Henhouse

President Bush is in Mexico now formulating our national immigration policy with the President of Mexico, Vincente Fox. Fox is aptly-named as he engineers the Mexican take-over of the US social and economic henhouse while farmer Bush nods off.

Today the New York Times reports that the GOP laments it is risking Hispanic votes if they get too tough on illegal immigration legislation. Risks votes!!!

WAKE UP BUSH and CONGRESS!

Here is what the Hispanic illegal immigrant movement has to say on the matter of their invasion of our country.

"Aztlan Arising: 700,000 March in Los Angeles" is the headline of the March 26, 2006 article on La Voz de Aztlan (The Voice of Aztlan) a Mexican site presenting essays and articles critical of US foreign policy.

Here is how they see the Los Angeles march, which they call "La Gran Marcha":

"...we now have the numbers, the political will and the organizational skills to direct our own destinies and not be subservient to the White and Jewish power structures. It means that we can now undertake bigger and more significant mass actions to achieve total political and economic liberation like that being proposed by Juan Jose Gutierrez, President of Movimiento Latino USA....who is proposing that the coalition that organized "La Gran Marcha" meet in Arizona or Texas on April 8 to 'organize a mass boycott (huelga) against the economy of the USA' to take place on May 5 or 19......

"A major reason for the great success of "La Gran Marcha" was the strong participation of labor unions and the Catholic Church. This same alliance contributed to the success of Lech Walesa's 'Solidarity Movement' in the Republic of Poland. This can be done in Aztlan [the mythical place of origin of Aztec peoples which includes the US] as well. If the racist 'Sensenbrenner Legislation' passes the US Senate, there is no doubt that a massive civil disobedience movement will emerge. Eventually labor union power can merge with the immigrant civil rights and 'Immigrant Sanctuary' movements to enable us to either form a new political party or to do heavy duty reforming of the existing Democratic Party. The next and final steps would follow and that is to elect our own governors of all the states within Aztlan......

"The great success of 'La Gran Marcha' also means that the time has come to organize and politicize our great number of youths that are just festering in many of our school districts. The walkouts in Los Angeles of thousands of Mexican and Latino students....only shows that they are now ready to be mobilized and advised on how they can improve their educations. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villagairosa.....is already undertaking a bold move to wrestle control of the [school] district from the Jewish dominated school board and the White superintendent that are just fleecing the schools of much needed funds."

And if that doesn't scare you, here is part of the Liberation Conference plan adopted in Denver, CO in March 1969 for a Chicano nation.

The "El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan" sets forth in its first paragraph: "In the spirit of a new people that is conscious not only of its proud historical heritage but also of the brutal 'gringo' invasion of our territories, we the Chicano inhabitants and civilizers of the northern land of Aztlan from whence came our forefathers, reclaiming the land of their birth and consecrating the determination of our people of the sun, declare that the call of our blood is our power, our responsibility, and our inevitable destiny....We do not recognize capricious frontiers on the bronze continent."

Why do you think the Chicano marchers waved the Mexican flag in Los Angeles? Because legal or illegal they view themselves as part of a nationalistic Chicano movement, a "de facto nation." Many consider that they are just coming home and reclaiming land seized by the United States that they inhabited for 450 years before the 'gringo' invasion.

We need a strong president and congress to enforce our immigration laws and stop the illegal invasion of our nation. They swore to uphold our laws and to protect us from those who wish us harm....so do it.

We, the electorate, are watching and will vote, regardless of previous party affiliation, for those who want to promote, protect and defend the United States of America!




Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Pander Sweepstakes

The race is on for the new Panderer-in-Chief. Pres. George Bush's "Jesus is the philosopher I most admire" style of election pandering to his right-wing religious base now seems tepid stuff.

Presidential wannabes are hotly vying for the Panderer-in-Chief crown.

Doctor-Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) had jumped out in front with his senate-floor-announced video diagnosis of Terry Schiavo, playing to the meddling religious right. But he over-pandered by opposing the Bush administration ports deal....then made a quick turn-around after a trip to the Bush Wood House, pander crown askew. He's currently trying to pander the illegal immigration issue and is testing the wind.

Eager to grab the Panderer-in-Chief crown, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has marched one-half step behind Bush since the tarring Bush inflicted on him during the last presidential primary. To prove he was worthy of the Bush-adoring base, McCain threw his support in the recent presidential candidate straw poll to........(drum roll)......Bush the Can't-Run-Again. McCain is currently pandering on both sides of many issues.

Almost on the brink of awarding the Panderer-in-Chief crown, we were drawn from the brink by a pander trifecta. So audacious, so multi-faceted was this pander it left the others in a cloud of brown dust.

On pending tough illegal immigration legislation......"It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scripture because this bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself!".......Sen. Hillary Clinton, (D-NY) March 22, 2006 as reported in The New York Times.

Wow! A pander to the religious, to the (someday voting) illegal immigrants and to what she perceives as her Democrat base.

Hillary wins. Crown her Panderer-in-Chief!

But don't support her candidacy for the highest office in the land.

We can do much better.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bush Bunch Rates an "F"

Our Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told his audience at the Army War College yesterday that the United States rates a "D" grade for its efforts to counter ideological support for terrorism....the war of ideas.

He said he thinks it is because the country has "not found the formula" for countering the extremists message.

Actually it is much simpler than that.

Just like our children, countries and peoples learn by example.

What has been our "democratic" example?

An erosion of citizen civil rights, court and machine-rigged elections, "our way or the highway" foreign policy, corporate takeover of governmental policies, dismantling of the middle class, "elephant in the china shop" wars of choice, arrogant and corrupt politicians ignoring the electorate.

Only when our example matches our rhetoric will the message take hold.

This can't happen while we tolerate the Bush bully-boys.





Monday, March 27, 2006

Bush the Unready

The White House, January 31, 2003, two months before the invasion of Iraq. A meeting was held between President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Richard Norton-Taylor writing for the UK Guardian Unlimited reviews the contents of a memo of that meeting as printed in a new edition of Lawless World by Prof. Phillipe Sands. Ponder these nuggets:

  • Bush intended to invade whether or not there was a second UN resolution and even if UN inspectors found no evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons program.
  • Bush told Blair, "The diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning."
  • Bush told Blair that the US was so worried about the failure to find hard evidence against Saddam that they thought of "flying US reconnaissance aircraft planes with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colors." and Bush added, "If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach [of UN resolutions]."
  • Bush said that it was "unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups."

Blair sent John Sawers as an envoy to Baghdad in the aftermath of the invasion as reported this March by the Guardian. Sawers sent Blair a series of confidential memos in May and June of 2003 describing the US postwar administration in Baghdad as "an unbelievable mess.....No leadership, no strategy, no coordination, no structure and inaccessible to ordinary Iraqis."

We were march-stepped into the war with Iraq by Bush the Unready who was determined to have his way at any cost and by any means.

As for the aftermath.......Bush is all strut and no direction.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Can We Float a $9 Trillion Boat?

Steve Sack/Minneapolis Star Tribune














"...our budget will run a deficit that will be small and short-term..."
President Bush, State of the Union, January 2002.

"...we can cut the deficit in half over the next five years."
President Bush, State of the Union, January 2003

"...we can cut the deficit in half over the next five years."
President Bush, State of the Union, January 2004

"I will send you a budget that holds the growth of discretionary spending below inflation, makes tax relief permanent, and stays on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009."
President Bush, State of the Union, January 2005

"...and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009."
President Bush, State of the Union, January 2006

The Bush administration inherited a ten-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion.

In March of 2006 the Bush administration and the GOP Congress raised the debt ceiling to nearly $9 trillion.

Heck of a job Dubya.



Friday, March 24, 2006

Bush Sneaky Bahamas Ports Deal

Here we go again!

Before the dust even settles......on the United Arab Emirates-owned Dubai Ports World deal for the management of or a presence in 24 U.S. ports; and, the Inchcape Shipping Services deal involving more than a dozen U.S. ports and our U.S. Navy ship schedules....we have uncovered the latest Bush administration "deal" as reported by the Associated Press.

And, such a deal, for China.

Of course, the Chinese military already manage the Panama Canal and a deep-sea port in Los Angeles. Not satisfied with these security risks, the Bush administration has hired, with a no-bid contract, the Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, to run a sophisticated U.S. radiation detector for cargo passing through the Bahamas to the United States and elsewhere.

And, there will be no American customs agents present.

Supervised by Bahamian customs officials, Hutchison employees will drive the towering, truck-like radiation scanner over large cargo containers looking for radiation that might be emitted by plutonium or a radiological weapon.

The billionaire chairman of Hutchison, Li Ka-Shing, is described by Larry M. Wortzel of the U.S. Commission who studies China security and economic issues as "pretty close to a lot of senior leaders of the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist party." Others not so touchy about administration reaction just say his firm has ties to China's armed forces.

A U. S. military 1999 intelligence report once marked "secret" cited Hutchison's port operations as a potential risk for smuggling arms and other prohibited materials into the United States from the Bahamas.

Whoa!

Where are our Senators on this? Who reviewed this deal? Why are we so stupid?

The Bush administration has convinced us that terrorists are everywhere just waiting to hurt and destroy us. So why are they continuing to keep us at risk with their ports, borders and illegal immigration policies?

Just who is in charge anyway?

The increasingly dawning reality seems to be "no one."

Or, at least no one with our best national interests in mind.




Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bush Compassion Misplaced

A big fight is developing in the Senate next week over the issue of immigration and border security. Senators are taking sides, posturing and hurling oratorical bombs. It won't be pretty.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is getting ready to back a bill by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act, S. 1033, proposing comprehensive immigration and border security legislation and a path to jobs and residency for 12 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S.

President Bush supports this proposal.

Nevertheless, the issue of illegal immigration is a conundrum for the GOP. Big business wants more immigrants, legal or illegal, as a source of cheap labor. Big business is the GOP's bread and butter. And will also be McCain's in his probable 2008 presidential bid.

The conservative GOP base, however, feels regularizing the status of illegal immigrants would be rewarding law breakers and further weaken the social and economic fabric of the country.

Senate leader, Bill Frist (R-TN), who is himself eyeing a presidential run, is backing a proposal that would modify S. 1033 to more reflect the conservative stance. It would sidestep the question of temporary work permits for illegals, tighten borders, punish employers who hire illegal immigrants and provide for more visas.

The Democrat leadership wants S.1033. Senate minority leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) at a press conference a few steps from Tijuana, Mexico vowed to "use every procedural means at my disposal" to prevent Frist from bypassing the Judiciary Committee with his overhauled bill.

Democrats supporting S.1033 will tell you their hearts are pure, their interest in infusing 12 million illegal and Democrat-leaning immigrants into our voting base....er....country is humanitarian. And for some it probably is. But they are discounting, and ignoring, the wishes of much of their base.

So those are the issues and the lineups.

You have heard of corporate OUTSOURCING for cheap labor costs.

Well, corporations are also promoting INSOURCING for cheap labor.

And politicians are positioning themselves to take what they feel will be a winning stance on illegal immigration in 2008. VOTESOURCING.

Caught in the middle of all of this political crossfire are the legal U.S. taxpaying citizens....the forgotten majority.

They ask, what about ILLEGAL doesn't the government understand? Legal citizens wouldn't be rewarded for breaking the law! Our country is being harmed by the illegal flood. Social support services, health care and educational capabilities, depressed wages, loss of jobs....the incredible cost of it all.

Bush makes statements of compassion for the illegal immigrants who just want good jobs to support their families.

What about struggling U.S. citizens who just want good jobs to support their families, and the benefit of their tax dollars?

Bush, Democrats, McCain, Kennedy........compassion starts at home!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Heeeeere's Georgie

The White House thinks it's onto something.....since they can't sell policy on substance, go for appearance!

So......Heeeeeeeere's Georgie!

Maybe the White House is getting its political ideas from the last episode of West Wing where Alan Alda, playing a falling-polls Presidential Candidate (GOP by the way), holds a long in-your-face press conference and turns public opinion.

Presto change-o! Polls heading up!

An increasingly unpopular Georgie needed something, especially since his public opinion handlers have had him singing the one note "Everything's Great" song. So, why not try the West Wing approach, a besieged politician holding forth brilliantly and turning the tide.

Problem is, Bush roving around the country with his mike doesn't come off as presidential.......it's more like a frat boy on a non-musical karaoke tour.

Wonder if this flippant approach will salve the Iraq war-Katrina disaster-lost jobs grief of the nation. Or win the lost admiration of our former allies. Or start to reverse the plunging national budget and trade deficits. Or stem illegal immigration and secure our ports and borders.

Why doesn't Bush just get to work and DO something? Few are buying his act anyway.

And Bush.....you're no Alan Alda.

Bush: Leave It For The Next Guy

President Bush in his press conference yesterday stated emphatically about the ongoing bloodbath in Iraq, "I see progress." The public isn't sold.

We're reminded of the story the Los Angeles Times ran last November about the U.S. military covertly paying to have positive stories run in the Iraqi press. The Pentagon contracted with a firm called the Lincoln Group to help translate and place "feel good" stories.

The Bush administration's propaganda arm at work.

This was happening while the U.S. was trumpeting the promotion of democratic principles, political transparency and freedom of speech in Iraq.

So.....is it any wonder the U.S. public is skeptical about the "I see progress" spin?

And, do you remember the Cuban boat immigration crisis that George the greater left to President Clinton? Guess George the lesser learned at daddy's knee because he said yesterday that the issue of removing U.S. troops from Iraq "will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq."

Say what! Bush has nearly three more years to serve as president!

Just leave the mess to the next guy! Guess that is Bush's idea of Iraq war strategy.

And now that I think about it, that is the Bush administration's trade and budget deficit policies also. Our children and grandchildren will have to clean that mess up too, if they can.

We can slow down the Bush administration demolition ball this November. We must loosen the GOP grip on all three branches of our government. Let's start with Congress in November.

VOTE!


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Measure Bush By Deeds Not Words

Duffy at The Des Moines Register


"President Bush says America has caused an incredible transformation in Afghanistan. He said everything's being rebuilt, people are getting jobs, kids are going back to school. He said it works so well that he's thinking of trying it in New Orleans."
--Jay Leno

On the sober side. Bush is doing his version of a tour de force in meetings around the country in support of the war. He says in his smirk-wink buddy-the-president delivery that things are "lookin' up in Iraq."

Yet Tim Russert said on the Don Imus show this morning that when you try to make a hotel reservation in southern Iraq the phones are answered in Persian, the language of Iran.....and that Iran is financing the building of an airport in Najaf which is 90 miles south of Baghdad.

As reported in the Washington Post last year, Iran is providing the estimated $20 to $25 million low-interest loan to build the airport which will serve religious pilgrims traveling to and from Iran. Najaf is a holy center for Shiite Muslims.

So the U.S. projected $1 trillion cost of the war in Iraq has been a lavish gift to Iran. Iran is now accomplishing in a war-weakened Iraq what they couldn't after years of warfare between the two countries.......a foothold in Iraq from which to pursue their religious and political aspirations.

We now have the terrorist organization of Hamas running Palestine and the Iranian ayatollahs planted in southern Iraq.

Ask yourself this, are you and the world safer now than you were before the Bush neo-cons took over U.S. foreign policy?


.

Monday, March 20, 2006

No More Iraq Cheneyisms

President Bush, Vice President Cheney and US military commander in Iraq, Gen. Casey, Jr. voiced upbeat appraisals of the progress being made in Iraq on the third anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Yet former Iraqi prime minister, Ayad Allawi, says his nation is in the throes of civil war and edging toward the "point of no return" as reported in the Washington Post. US Senators on both sides of the isle echo this assessment.

Who to believe? An administration who roundly denounced former President Clinton's nation building efforts but is making that the centerpiece....read justification....for their strategic foreign policy. Their wrong assertions about the Saddam Hussein link to 9/11, Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, Bush's carrier-announced victory, the cost of the war. Spin raised to the level of propaganda.

The war on terrorism was supposedly launched in response to 9/11.....Osama Bin Laden.....when is the last time you heard the administration's progress report on him?

We've made a mess of what Cheney describes as our "aggressive, forward--leaning" Iraq strategy, arguably the worst blunder in our nation's history.

What we need from this administration is a sober assessment and an exit strategy, not more Bush pep talks and rosy Cheneyisms.




Sunday, March 19, 2006

This is Such a Bad Idea!

Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) are talking about a plan to move $7 billion from the 2008 budget to the 2007 budget for spending on labor, health and human services.

That would mean we would not only run up deficits against our current budget, we would be creating deficits against budgets yet unborn!

Lunacy!

Even Specter says "It's not sort of a gimmick. It is a gimmick." And a bad idea.

An Idea Whose Time is Past Due

Rep. Steve King (R- IA) proposes a winning idea for congressional reform!

The text of all bills considered by Congress must be posted on the Internet at least 48 hours before votes. "We must shine sunlight onto the process," King said.

Yes! A step toward transparency in government.

At least this 48 hour notice would expose bad ideas and with ports-type of activism could nip them in the bud.

Let Rep. King and all of your representatives know you support this initiative!



Friday, March 17, 2006

China and Cold War

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "cold war" as:

1: A conflict over ideological differences carried on by methods short of sustained overt military action and usually without breaking off diplomatic relations, and;

2: A condition of rivalry, mistrust, and often open hostility short of violence especially between power groups.

Consider then the war of words, increasing tensions and military posturing by one superpower, the United States, and one undoubtedly soon-to-be superpower, China. A few things to ponder.....

Recently U. S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice lectured China about it's need to show greater transparency regarding its reported increased military budget and secretive military buildup since 1996. (One can't help but wonder about the Bush administration disconnect on what they practice opposed to what they preach regarding transparency in government.)

China will soon have more attack submarines than the United States including the addition of 4 Russian Kilo-class subs.

Our neighbor in South America, Venezuela, has threatened to curtail their oil exports to the U. S. while it has doubled its imports of oil to China. Venezuela currently supplies 10 per cent of U. S. oil imports.

In August of 2005 Russia and China's armed forces launched their first major joint war games. Submarines, bombers armed with cruise missiles, warships and 10,000 military personnel simulated an invasion of a peninsula on the Yellow Sea south-east of Beijing. China is Russia's biggest customer for its arms industry. http://telegraph.co.uk/news

Not to be outdone, the U.S. announced it will hold one of its biggest naval exercises in the Asia Pacific this summer. Several carrier strike groups including at least three warships and an attack submarine will conduct large-scale operations. In all, four carriers would be involved in three military maritime exercises.

It has been ten years since four U. S. aircraft carriers have operated in the Pacific Ocean at one time and could be the largest combined aircraft carrier operations there since the Vietnam War.
http://www.spacewar.com/reports

China has been singled out by the Pentagon as the country with the greatest potential to challenge the United States militarily.

And.....the U.S. trade deficit increased in January to $68.5 billion, the largest monthly deficit in the nation's history. The trade deficit with China increased from $16.3 billion in December of 2005 to $17.9 billion in January. http://www.census.gov/indicator/www/ustrade.html

So, why are we allowing the U.S. trade dollar to fuel China's economic (and thus military) boom while unleashing oceans of red ink on our own economy?

Note to the Bush administration....why not stop lecturing China....they don't listen anyway..... and start formulating a few policies of our own? Like addressing our trade deficit.

The build-up is on! The Cold War is right behind, if not already here.






Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Congressional Tallies

Rather than point out the irresponsibility of raising the U.S. debt ceiling.....to almost $9 trillion.......that is currently being approved by the GOP senate....... (that is 67% of our annual GNP).........

Or the Bush administration saber-rattling, nation-building renewed national security strategy of preemptive war........

Or the refusal of the committee investigating the Katrina hurricane disaster to subpoena documents and testimony from Bush aides since the White House has put those people involved "off limits" to the committee.......

I'm instead going to share with you the URL for a fascinating Washington Post.com site that reviews all congressional votes since 1991. You can find out what the bill was about and how each of the senators and representatives voted. Fascinating.

Now, enjoy March Madness....the basketball tournament.......not the Bush administration policies!

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/?referrer=email

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bush Spins While Dubai Buys

Good old Yankee common sense tells us that it is dangerous and wrong for a foreign government to be in charge of any of our seaports.

But common sense, and truthful motives, are in short supply in the Bush administration. We are now in a tornado of Dubai World Ports and United Arab Emirates spin by the Bush administration.

We are being told that Americans who object to this deal are Arab and Muslim bashing bigots. That we are destroying our trade relations with the Middle Eastern world. That Dubai Ports World used to support terrorist states, but since 9/11 they are our fast friends (see my "UAE Not US Supporter Since 9/11" and "Portsgate: Public Outrage be Damned" blogs). And most absurd, that there are more important issues.

More important than the security of our ports and borders?

According to a small article in the recent TIME magazine, there is yet another Dubai deal slipping past our radar. Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) a British firm bought in January by a Dubai government investment vehicle. ISS has a $50 million contract with the U.S. Navy and provides maritime services at more than a dozen U.S. ports.

"ISS also arranges everything from fuel to fresh vegetables for naval vessels at Middle Eastern ports, and is believed to get Navy docking schedules in advance---data that could be invaluable to terrorists."

And, just who signed off on this deal? Why the U. S. Treasury Department although they would not tell TIME whether ISS's sale to Dubai was even reviewed!

Wouldn't tell...more high-handed arrogance from the Bush administration!

Here is the ISS website: http://sweb.iss-shipping.com/

The ports they service in the U.S. are: Aberdeen, Alameda, Anacorts, all Alaska ports, Albany, Alexandria, all Delaware River ports and anchorages, all Texas ports and Lake Charles, LA.

"A Homeland Security official told TIME there is a 'big, gaping hole' in vetting workers--at ISS and other firms--for access to ports."

Remember what else happened in January? David Sanborn who ran Dubai Ports World European and Latin American operations was tapped by Bush to head the U. S. Maritime Administration.

Cozy little arrangements aren't they.

Don't let the Bush administration spin the life out of this ports issue. Our collective voices stopped the deal, and our continued pressure may blow the lid off of this entire can of worms.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bush and Putin Tradeoffs

"He has tightened controls over the legislature and made it difficult for any political opponents to gain traction....and denied the judicial system real independence."

So who is this?

Did your guess President George Bush?

No, not Bush, this the New York Times on March 13 summing up the stranglehold President Vladimir Putin is exerting on Russia.

This summer in St. Petersburg Putin of will host the Group of 8, the world's most powerful democracies. Putin hopes to successfully join this elite group.

In a recent report, U. S. Council on Foreign Relations task force has suggested that the Bush administration rethink its partnership with Russia in the face of Putin's continuing and increasing exertion of government control. Some members of the council, though, argue that the United States should "cold-bloodedly" cooperate on important matters and consider "what goes on inside Russia to be Russia's business."

So does this "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" attitude on foreign policy apply to other countries too? Depends on who you are. Yes to China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. No to Iran and Korea.

Maybe Bush should direct his next state-of-the-world message to the freedom-suppressed Russian people....oops, the Putin administration has taken over the national television networks.

So, does Bush see how Putin is thwarting democracy and increasing government control in Russia? Like questionable elections, a vast new terrorism bureacy, diminution of civil rights.....oh, that's the United States under the Bush administration.

Anyway, Bush needs Putin's cooperation, especially on Iran. Does membership in the Group of 8 represent the trade-off?

March 12 to 18 is national Sunshine Week. This is an initiative by news media and watchdog groups to focus on the importance of open government. Our real chance for Sunshine in government is possible only if we break the Bush/GOP oligarchy starting this November. Vote!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Our No-Account Government

Columnist Richard Cohen said it so well:

"It was a chat about a religious moment that purportedly bonded Bush to Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader of increasingly dictatorial bent. It's as if Putin, an ex-KGB spy, read Bush's file -- and conned him. He knew Bush would rather believe than think -- and that others in the administration, who knew better, would simply go along."

Yes, others would go along. And some would set the course. Vice President Dick Cheney took the helm.

The symbolic moment the "American people" (as the Republicans so fruitfully coined the hapless electorate) lost control of their government was in the spring of 2001 when Cheney was allowed to formulate energy policy behind closed doors as his task force meet with executives from big oil companies and their lobbyists from the U. S. Oil and Gas Association.

We lost control when we, and our elected representatives, allowed Cheney to refuse to release the list of task force meeting attendees. The Washington Post in 2005 finally did uncover some names based on records kept by the Secret Service.

These task force advisors read like a oil industry Who's Who: Chairman of Conoco (before the merge with Phillips) Archie Dunham, Royal Dutch/Shell Group chairman Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Shell Oil chairman Steven Miller, BP regional president Bob Malone and Exxon VP James Rouse to name a few.

A joint hearing of the Senate Energy and Commerce committees was held in November of 2005 to look into the Cheney energy task force after pressure from environmental groups who complained they were shut out of task force discussions while big oil was not.

Commerce Chairman Ted Stevens, a Republican from oil-rich Alaska, insisted the oil executives not be under oath when they testified before the committee and had his way over the protest of committee Democrats. The resultant farce of a perjury-proof oversight investigation uncovered nothing.

This is how we lost control of our government. A government without transparency, accountability or oversight.

This is how we got our disasterous energy, defense, education, social and other policies.

In the spring of 2001, the administration closed the doors of government while Bush cycled on, depending on faith to set his course. He took us into a blind alley.



Saturday, March 11, 2006

Bush Slash and Burn Agenda

The Bush administration strategy for implementing its agenda seems clear.

Slash and burn!

Go full speed ahead on all fronts knowing that while some things may be stopped, vast chunks of their agenda will get through. In this way they are quickly, and with total indifference to public outrage, dismantling years of progress in social policy, financial accountability, international relations and respect for the rule of law.

Just look at the damage from the audacious Bush agenda...the national debt and trade deficit, education, the environment, science, borders and ports, social programs, individual rights and freedoms, separation of church and state, defense policy, human rights....an all out assault!

No accountability. No transparency. Lots of propaganda and just plain lies.

Take the now infamous UAE's Dubai Ports World deal for operations in 24 U.S. seaports, the Financial Times reports today that "A person close to the deal said last night that DP World would not necessarily sell all of its interest in P&O's U.S. assets and could retain as much as 49 per cent." http://news.ft.com/cms/s/007970e0-b053-11da-a142-0000779e2340.html

We wondered about the tricky wording in DP World's press release last week that said they would "transfer" control.

The Bush administration is relentless in the pursuit of its interests, we have to be equally relentless in the pursuit of ours . Verify then trust....then keep verifying!

For example, did you know EPA's Toxics Release Inventory program is being changed to make it easier for companies to pollute? Bush's EPA is proposing three detrimental changes that could go into effect within the next year.

Polluters could release 10 times more toxic chemicals without disclosing the volume or where it went; companies could conceal releases of up to 500 pounds annually of particularly dangerous toxic materials like PCB's, lead and mercury which can accumulate in people's bodies; and, the current annual reporting requirement would be changed to every two years. Here's the full story: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/10/opinion/10jeffords.html?ex=1142226000&en=23022172eef977c8&ei=5070

And this disclosure doesn't even scratch the surface of the Bush administration outrages!

Back to the ports deal. Why would UAE and the Bush administration be so dug in on this? After all, the U.S. portion of the P&O takeover represents only 10 per cent of the total package. The financial exposure this represents to UAE is chump change to them.

And, the Bush administration by stubbornly defending this indefensible security risk to our ports, is further destroying the trust of the electorate and gutting his GOP backing in both houses of Congress.

Puzzling. There obviously is more to this deal than meets the eye. Oil and money? Positioning for a wider war in the Middle East? One World Order? We can only guess as policies are formulated behind closed doors.

I can only echo the recent frustration of entertainers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill as they viewed the Bush administration's inept and inadequate relief and cleanup efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina....... "Vote!"






Friday, March 10, 2006

Norton-Abramoff-McCain Connection

Interior Secretary Gale Norton just handed in her resignation.

She said the reasons had nothing to do with anything except she just wanted to refocus her life on the private sector.

Hmmmmm.

So, does any of this sound like a good reason to go....

...."last year, Norton's name came up during an investigation into lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was accused of bilking Indian tribes out of millions of dollars while they sought favorable Interior Department decisions on casinos.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee uncovered e-mails suggesting a one-time Norton associate, Italia Federici, tried to act as a conduit for Abramoff, helping arrange meetings with Norton or her former top deputy and passing information back and forth.

Indian Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, however, said he found no evidence that Norton had done anything wrong." http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11763207/

Hot potato, hot potato!! Time to leave dodge.

Also news to me that McCain chairs the Indian Affairs Committee. Whoops!


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Bush is Listing to Port

The United Arab Emirates issued a press release today regarding the takeover of seaports in the United States by Dubai Ports World.

"DP World has decided to transfer fully the U.S. operation of P&O Operations North America to a United States entity,” DP World announced in a statement that Sen. John Warner, a Republican from VA, read on the floor of the Senate today. The announcement did not specify which American company would be involved.

Sen. Charles Schumer, Democrat from NY, has been in the vanguard of the protest of this takeover by a foreign government. While pleased with the news, Schumer nonetheless says he will closely review the release bearing in mind that the "devil is in the details."

Verify then trust!

Act or Election Fix Is In

Bet you thought the 2004 national election was over.

Not for unhappy Democrats in Alaska.

The Anchorage Daily News reported in January of this year that the state Division of Elections has refused to turn over its electronic voting files to the Democrats, arguing that the data format belongs to a private company and can't be made public.

The private company?

Alaska's electronic voting machines were supplied by Ohio-based Diebold Election Systems. Diebold has told Alaska officials that it owns the "structure of the database" though the data itself is public.

See any problems here?

In other words, Diebold's position is, we'll give you the result of the votes, but not how the database was constructed that controlled how those votes were tabulated.

The Alaska Democratic Party says the information is a public record essential for verifying the accuracy of the 2004 general election and must be provided.

Elections officials in many states have raised doubts about Diebold's electronic voting machines. Numerous investigations and lawsuits over electronic voting machine election results are ongoing. And getting basically nowhere.

Diebold's CEO in 2004, Wally O'Dell, a major GOP donor and fundraiser, vowed to deliver Ohio electoral votes to President Bush. Bush was declared winner in Ohio even though media consortium exit polls, as well as the Harris and Zogby polls, all declared John Kerry the winner.

This lack of transparency in our elections must be resolved. No private company owns the elections.

If we don't fix the electronic voting system now, we are going to be Bushwacked by the secretive, non-accountable and arrogant administration again this November.



Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Trust Government an Oxymoron

Does this sound right to you?

Associated Press - An official British inquiry into the 1997 death of Princess Diana in a high-speed car crash has found no evidence of foul play it was reported Monday.

The last part of this news article says: "French officials have said all traffic cameras on the road that Diana's car took, and within the tunnel, were not working the night of the crash. But Monday's Daily Express newspaper challenged that finding, saying a woman was caught speeding by a camera in the Pont d'Alma tunnel moments before Diana's crash."

No cameras were working! Just how much can people trust the word of governments and their reports any more?

In this country we have official reports like the 9/11 Commission, assertions made on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, government denial of knowledge of the threat to New Orleans that hurricane Katrina posed, the "official" surprise over the Dubai Ports World deal....you know the list. It goes on and on.

The GOP likes to quote the late President Reagan who said: "Trust but verify."

Thanks to the current Bush administration, we must now "Verify before trust."



Saturday, March 04, 2006

UAE Not U.S. Supporter Since 9/11

The Bush administration says the takeover of the administration of many U.S. ports by United Arab Emirates-owned Dubai Ports World is not a security risk because UAE supports us, especially after 9/11/2001.

Such support should thus show in UAE votes in the United Nations shouldn't it?

Here is the record of the frequency that the UAE voted with the United States at the UN:

1998 (before 9/11) 32.1%
2001 0.0%
2002 17.6%
2003 0.0%
2004 12.5%

This record was compiled from U.S. State Department sources. Could find no compiled record for 2005, but a review of UN press releases gives a glimpse of how that year went.

The UN General Assembly met on November 30, 2005 to discuss the Question of Palestine and the Situation in the Middle East. Abdulaziz Nasser Al-Shamsi of the United Arab Emirates said:

"Israel's ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian lands amounted to a failure of international legitimacy, which had allowed Israel to continue its confiscation of lands and natural resources, and the enforcement of laws and regulations with a view to exercising its legal and administrative jurisdiction over the Arab and Palestinian territories, especially Jerusalem and the Golan Heights."

There was more, but you get the idea. On the December 1 following, the General Assembly adopted by a vote of 156 in favor to 6 against (with 9 abstentions) a resolution stressing the need for Israel's withdrawal from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.

The 6 against this resolution were: Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States.

Among the 156 in favor were: Afghanistan, Bahamas, Bosnia & Herzegovina, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, both Koreas, Kuwait, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

On the issue of Jerusalem, the Assembly adopted a resolution reiterating its determination that any actions taken by Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the Holy City are illegal and, therefore, null and void, and have no validity whatsoever. It did so by a vote of 153 in favor and 7 against with 12 abstentions.

The 7 against were: Costa Rica, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States.

Those in favor remained about the same as the previous vote, Australia abstained. For more details: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/ga10428.doc.htm

In fact, a look around the UN site is quite an education on the isolation of the United States on many votes. On how the Muslim and Arab nations hang together when they vote. On how even those countries we think we can always count on, like the United Kingdom, often disagree and vote against U.S. positions.

For example, our embargo against Cuba. For the fourteenth straight year, the UN General Assembly voted for the necessity of ending the embargo. The vote on November 8, 2005 in the UN General Asssembly for ending the embargo was 182 in favor, 4 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States) and 1 abstention.

In the debate before the vote, Russia said they "strongly condemned the embargo on Cuba and called for it to be immediately lifted." The United Kingdom speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated states said it encouraged "a process of transition to pluralist democracy with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, while also promoting the improvement in the living standards of the Cuban people." and they upheld the resolution to end the embargo.

Setting aside the political right or wrong of our positions, the UN is a good barometer of world opinion and support. It appears that not only should we not let the UAE get a foothold in our seaports, but we need to take a close look at all foreign investment security situations.




Thursday, March 02, 2006

Oilman Bush+Petroeuro=Iran War

About seventy percent of the world's international foreign currency reserves are held in U.S. dollars. Iran is seriously considering establishing an Iranian Oil Bourse in competition with the U.S. owned New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and London's International Petroleum Exchange (IPE).

There are three oil markers that establish price, the West Texas Intermediate crude, Norway Brent crude and the UAE Dubai crude. Iran would thus be establishing a fourth oil marker, and this marker would be priced in the euro. If Iran persists in creating this bourse in euros, the "petroeuro" would undercut the "petrodollar" and drastically diminish the dominance of the dollar in the international foreign currency reserves.

This is important because the U.S. depends on the dollar foreign-currency reserves to sustain budget deficits through the sale of the Treasury debt. If the dollar in foreign-exchange portfolios from oil sales fell it would create a crisis in the American economy.

The dollar since the administration of Richard Nixon is no longer backed in gold. The Islamic world recognizes this "floating dollar" weakness. So besides the threat of the petroeuro, many in the Muslim world want to establish the gold dinar as the currency in which to conduct international oil transactions. Malaysia issued their gold dinar in 2002.

The U.S. needs to strengthen its international trade dollar to preserve its value and stability in the international oil market. To not do so risks a drop in international petrodollar holdings that would thus shred U.S. social programs like Social Security.

So President Bush was left with choices. Rein in our national debt, dependence on oil and strengthen the dollar and thus our social net. Or, go to war with countries threatening the petrodollar (like Iraq who was trading oil in euros with UN approval) and dismantle the social net.

Bush chose war and dismantling.

The Iranian Oil Bourse is supposed to open in March. Israel is having elections in March. Israel has set a March deadline for resolution of Iran's nuclear threat. The Bush administration is making a March port agreement with the United Arab Emirates thus establishing a vital national interest with a nation in Iran's backyard.

Seems like the perfect March storm is gathering.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Portgate: Why is Bush Dug In?

Why is George W. Bush so dug in and inflexible in his support of the takeover of P&O by the United Arab Emirates-controlled Dubai Ports World? To the point of threatening his first veto ever.

The UAE is rich in oil and natural gas reserves. It has been in a long and continuing dispute with Iran over ownership of three small but oil-rich and strategically-placed islands in the Straits of Hormuz, the Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb. These three disputed islands were effectively occupied by Iranian troops in 1992.

In 1996 the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) proposed the dispute over these islands be resolved by the International Court of Justice, an option supported by the UAE and rejected by Iran. In December 2001 the GCC issued a statement reiterating its support of the UAE's sovereignty of these islands and declared Iran's claims as "null and void."

The Straits of Hormuz sits at the narrowest point of the 600-mile-long Persian Gulf through which 80% of the oil produced in the region is transported by tanker. At one point this "jugular vein" for the world's economy is just 34 miles wide between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran.

The takeover by UAE's DP World of operations in important U.S. ports appears to be intertwined with the Bush administration's lust for oil and its strivings for influence over Middle Eastern political matters. With the United States as its close ally, the stage will be set for an “urgent” and “necessary” pre-emptive attack on Iran in order to protect the UAE from an “imminent threat to our interests and national security.” Sound familiar?

In other words, the Bush administration is setting the stage to embroil us in a larger, much more deadly war in the Middle East.

Even though we can't contain and are being bankrupted by our misleadingly-conceived and ill-executed war in Iraq.

Even though our brave fighting forces are spread thin....militarily and personally overextended.

Even though we expose our own seaports to the deadly political whims of an Arab government whose loyalties are, and will in the future be, based on their survival, perhaps at our cost.

For the UAE this is win-win-win. They profit from our commerce, gain our military protection and get a death grip on our economically vital ports.

Gee George, such a good deal.....for the United Arab Emirates!