With the WarOnTerra (cleverly disguised as the Occupation of Iraq) dominating the news cycles for the last several years, it's always discussed in an olde western movie framework. The United States is always the one wearing the white hats, trying to save the damsel of freedom tied to the railroad tracks of terrorism. It seems we always paint ourselves as the good guys, and deride "them" as the ones who torture, who kill innocents and - worst of all - train their people to engage in these despicable acts.
Flying under the radar, though is a little known reality. We train terrorists. We train assassins. We do the same thing. It's commonly known as the School of the Americas, although the name was changed in 2001 to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in a failed attempt to convince detractors that the SOA had been closed. We are not so easily fooled.
Started in Panama in 1946, and moved to the U.S. at some point after 1984, the school "has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics..." (per SOAW). The graduates then go on to use their newly developed skills and knowledge to terrorize the occupants of their own countries.
96 comments(Latest Comment: 11/17/2007 00:47:32 by velveeta jones)
In his second day on the job, Attorney General Michael Mukasey leaped into the political fray, telling a key Democratic senator he opposes his electronic surveillance plan and would recommend the president veto it if it is passed. [...]
Leahy last week introduced his substitute to a FISA modernization bill already approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee. That effort, led by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., won wide bipartisan support and is backed by the administration. It includes retroactive immunity to legally protect the telecommunications companies which cooperated with the administration's classified warrantless surveillance program.
Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and Christmas is right around the corner. It's that time of year when we celebrate with excessive consumption and consumerism and all of the self-loathing that goes with it. It's with that in mind that I came across this set of headlines and stories, almost all juxtaposed one upon the other:
NEW DELHI: A new global study says that despite much progress in poverty reduction worldwide, a substantial number of the world's poorest people are being left behind.
"Business as usual won't do," says the report entitled, 'The World's Most Deprived: Characteristics and Causes of Extreme Poverty and Hunger' by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). It finds that 162 million of the world's poorest people - the "ultra poor" - survive on less than 50 cents a day. If concentrated in a single nation, they would comprise the world's seventh most populous country.
Due to the various requests for emoticons, sounds and other blog enhancements that seem to get scattered around the various blog posts, please use this blog to make all future requests. I am adding a link to the links box at the lower left of your screen... 37 comments(Latest Comment: 02/03/2008 17:15:20 by BobR)
As some of you know, we added a few features to the blog over the weekend... Audi-Cons! Why? - because sometimes someone really did say it better than you ever could have. Check them out!
Yesterday was Veteran's day. I thanked my dad for his service. My dad was spending the day enjoying the warm Florida sunshine, and planned on going fishing. He earned it; my dad is a Vet - he served.
The president decided to spend the Day in Crawford. He gave a speech. He has spent 4 of the past 6 veteran's days in Washington... I am trying to figure out which one he didn't spend there... Personally, I find it a little shameful that during this time, a time when we learned that 2007 was the deadliest year for our soldiers in Afghanistan, that he did not attend the Services at Arlington. Instead, he marked his Fifth Veterans day since he invaded Iraq in Texas. He attended a small ceremony, and yes, he invoked 911, saying
"America is blessed to have such brave defenders. They are tomorrow's veterans and they are bringing pride to our country. Their service is noble and it is necessary," he said. "The enemies who attacked us six years ago want to strike our country again, and next time they hope to kill Americans on a scale that will make 9/11 pale by comparison."
Wow, way to fearmonger.
The president did not serve. The president was AWOL, when he could have been serving the same way those vets did that he honored yesterday in Texas. HE did not serve. HE did not put his life on the line. Continue reading...
266 comments(Latest Comment: 11/13/2007 03:23:29 by livingonli)
Was there a municipal election in your area this past week? Did you vote?
Well, quite a few Libertarians did. There was only a smattering of candidates nationwide, but in those races that had a Libertarian, 17% of those candidates won! Check out this list of states and see who might have been in the ballot in your area.
And during this week of Mukasey and Musharraf, did you happen to notice that the national debt reached Nine Trillion Dollars ? Tis true, and trust me, it's not a good thing.
Washington, D.C. – The national Libertarian Party issued a scathing criticism of the Republican Party's fiscal performance after the Treasury Department's announcement that the national debt had reached an all-time record of $9 trillion this week. "The fact that the national debt has risen by more than 800 percent in an era dominated by Republican presidents will be the obituary of fiscal conservatism in the Republican Party," says William Redpath, national chairman of the Libertarian Party.
It took from George Washington to Ronald Reagan for the national debt to hit the $1 trillion mark--a period of more than 190 years. Now, 27 years later, the national debt has risen more than 800 percent under three Republican and one Democratic presidents. However, only $1.2 trillion of national debt was accrued during President Bill Clinton's administration, meaning the bulk of national debt comes from Republican administrations.
"It's tragically ironic that Republicans have crucified themselves on their own cross of fiscal irresponsibility," says Redpath. "Even Reagan, who has been deified by Republicans as the stalwart of conservatism, ran deficits and vastly expanded the size of government. When it comes down to brass tacks, Republicans of the last three decades can talk the talk, but have never walked the walk. A nine trillion dollar national debt is what happens when a political party fails to abide by its own standards of fiscal responsibility."
At the end of the fiscal year 1981, the national debt was $997 billion, according to the Treasury Department's Web site. By the time George W. Bush became president, the national debt had soared to more than $5.5 trillion. The national debt is now at $9 trillion.
"The numbers don't lie," says Shane Cory, executive director for the Libertarian Party. "Aside from a general disagreement in social philosophy and foreign policy, there is no real difference between the Republican and Democratic parties. And even those differences are waning. This is especially true when comparing the two parties' presidential frontrunners, Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton. Giuliani and Clinton might as well be the same candidate."
"Americans want a choice for leaders of their country," Redpath concluded. "But they're not going to find it between Republicans and Democrats. The Libertarian Party is the only viable third party that offers a proven dedication to fiscal responsibility."
Nine trillion dollars is an awfully large number to grasp...but I'll try to anyway.
The Big Dig in Boston cost about $15 billion dollars. We could have 600 Big Digs at that price.
The average home price in the United States is currently $299,100 (for all areas, your mileage may vary). So we could buy 30 million single family homes at this price.
How about a college education? Harvard is the best, so at a four-year price of $180,000, we could send 50 million kids to school for free.
But don't take my word for it...go to the National Priorities Project website and see what could have been funded in your state with some of this money.
I read a news story yesterday that got me thinking (not unusual, but stay with me on this). According to this story, over 80,000 artifacts have gone missing from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library:
WASHINGTON -- The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is unable to find or account for tens of thousands of valuable mementos of Reagan's White House years because a "near universal" security breakdown left the artifacts vulnerable to pilfering by insiders, an audit by the National Archives inspector general has concluded.
Inspector General Paul Brachfeld said that his office was investigating allegations that a former employee stole Reagan memorabilia but that the probe had been hampered by the facility's sloppy record-keeping.
Savor that for a moment... close your eyes... Let it roll around on your tongue...
362 comments(Latest Comment: 11/10/2007 04:39:47 by livingonli)
There is a lot of stuff going on today, and I simply do not know where to begin. First off and MOST important... if you have any little people, or know of anyone with little people, please call them and tell them that Aqua-Dots HAVE been recalled.. I myself seemed to be the bearer of bad news yesterday when I called friends who have 2 little people that were really counting on them for Christmas. They did not believe me at first... so do not assume that everyone reads the news like you! :peace:
Pat Robertson endorsed Guiliani. This was a rather stunning endorsement. It is becoming more and more clear to me, that the Christian Coalition seems a bit, well fractured these days. When you have an endorsement like this from someone who is so radical in his social beliefs as Robertson endorsing a person who actually does support a woman's right to choose... you have to wonder what the hell is going on here? It seems to me that power and control take precident over anything else these days.
It leaves me wondering what is more important to Pat - God or Republicans? But, hey... I guess it goes both ways. Rudy happily accepted the nomination from a man who once said "(T)he feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." . It seems a little puzzling to me.
412 comments(Latest Comment: 11/09/2007 06:47:06 by livingonli)
The introduction of the Cheney impeachment resolution yesterday got me thinking about the American people. We are not so different from people the world over - we all want fairness. We want fairness when we go to the market... We are willing to pay a fair price for a good product, and know that if we go for cheap, we often end up with cheap disposable crap. However, if we go for the good stuff and we don't get what we paid for, we feel cheated and get angry.
In Nov 2006, the voting public went to the polls and kicked out the Republicans in impressive numbers. We were told (and sold) on the idea that the Democratic product was different... better, than the Republican product. The Democrats were coming to town, kicking ass and taking names. The war was going to be over, and a new day was dawning in DC...
Except - that didn't happen.
What we got was more of the same talk, and nothing to back it up. We got a used-car salesman telling us that the rusty hole in the roof was a sunroof. We opened the package to find out that the batteries weren't included (nor spines, apparently).