Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

More on Dubya’s ANG service

Small uppers

Sometimes, when you are feeling down, small things can improve your mood. A bit of appreciation, some slight recognition, can bring a feeling of appreciation that makes everything seem brighter.

Lately I have been feeling a bit down, not enjoying work, not feeling as though my efforts elsewhere matter or are appreciated. Last night at the Lenape Round Table I was asked if I would do the Whittlin’ Chip presentation for my old Cub Scout Pack’s Bear Den. I left the Cubmaster position of this pack about four years ago. Since a pack turns over completely every 5 years, I was thrilled that someone even remembered me, let alone remembered my interest in teaching scouts about knives.

Add to this a positive comment about the Council Website in the general meeting, and a better than average OA meeting, and somehow the whole world seems brighter.

It’s strange how just a few “strokes” can make you feel better, and the lack of them can get you down. Something I need to always keep in mind when dealing with people around me.

So called pay records

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

If you think the release of President Bush’s “pay record” from the National Guard years cleared everything up, and satisfied all those who were at the press briefing on February 10th, Read the transcript.

Bush ANG service timeline

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

There has been a lot of discussion in the media and elsewhere recently about President Bush’s military service, or lack thereof. Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act indicate that he was not, at a minimum, a very enthusiastic participant in the Air National Guard.

Some of this can be confusing, since it’s not clear how all the documents and dates relate. In looking around the web, I found this table, which helps to understand the flow of events.

Again, I ask, where is the indignation? Where is the moral outrage? How dare the administration question the qualifications of John Kerry or Wesley Clark?

– Interesting: Today Scott McClellan released pay records to prove that George Bush fulfilled his obligation. No comment on why he refused his medical exam, or why an expensively trained pilot was allowed to cease flying on his own. Also, still no one who claims to have actually seen Bush on any of those training dates.

loneliness and dispair

Monday, February 09, 2004

There is a tendency to think of loneliness and periodic despair as a part of teenage/young adult angst. Somehow, we all go through that, and most of us come out the other end. It’s both sad and important to realize, though, that this loneliness and feeling of helplessness affects many, perhaps most at some point or another, even through adulthood. Thoreau, in Walden, made one of his most quoted observations: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” How sad that we cannot or will not lift each other up. In a continually hectic and fragmented society, how do we reach out to those around us who need support? How do we ask for that support when we need it? What is lacking in our communities that this seems so difficult?

“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty – it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”

- Mother Teresa

A few facts about the Bush Administration

Friday, February 06, 2004

Lets review some facts:

President Bush’s former cabinet member (O’Neil) claims the war in Iraq was planned from first days of the Bush Administration. The administration replies that he is just a disgruntled former employee, despite hand picking him in the first place.

On Feb 2 2002 Colin Powell told the UN: the U.S. had “irrefutable and undeniable” evidence of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. That Iraq constituted an imminent threat to this country and to the world.

On January 18, 2003 CNN quoted Donald Rumsfeld: “The fact that the inspectors have not yet come up with new evidence of Iraq’s WMD program could be evidence, in and of itself, of Iraq’s noncooperation,” Rumsfeld said. “We do know that Iraq has designed its programs in a way that they can proceed in an environment of inspections and that they are skilled at denial and deception.”

Rumsfeld said the United States and the United Nations have no obligation to prove that Iraq has continued efforts to develop nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Instead, he said, Iraq must prove that it has abandoned them.”

On January 26th, 2004, President Bush’s hand-picked head of the search for weapons in Iraq (David Kay) quit his post, and stated in part:”My summary view, based on what I’ve seen, is we’re very unlikely to find large stockpiles of weapons,” he said on National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition.” “I don’t think they exist.”He further states that he believess such weapon programs haven’t existed since the first gulf war.

On January 8th, 2004: Colin Powell admitted:”that he had seen no “smoking gun [or] concrete evidence” of ties between former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida.”

Under article 51 of the United Nations Charter, to which the US is a signatory, self defense is justified “if an armed attack occurs”. International law and general UN belief is that a preemptive attack may be considered justified only when the necessity for action is “instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.” (Carolina affair, as argued by Daniel Webster in 1837). As Iraq and Saddam Hussein not only had no weapons of mass destruction, but also no means of delivering them if he had had them, we are in direct violation of both international law and the UN Charter.

More than 500 Americans, and countless (literally: we have given up trying to count) Iraqis have been killed in an illegal and unnecessary war.

To fund these and other programs, President Bush proposes a budget for 2005 with a record deficit (his second in two years) of $477 billion dollars. For scope, that is approximately $1500 for every man, woman and child in the United States, money that will have to be repaid to someone, someday. This is after coming into office with a record budget surplus of $200 billion.

Our Vice-President’s (Dick Cheney) former company, Halliburton, is not only awarded many millions in no-bid contracts to rebuild Iraq, but individual employees of Halliburton are taking 6 million dollars in illegal kick-backs,as reported by Reuters on January 23rd, 2004.

Given these issues, I ask where is the moral outrage so evident four years ago,when our president refused to come clean over a sexual affair? Conservatives were up in arms, forcing an impeachment trial over lies regarding a dalliance.

In the four years since, our leaders have lied, killed thousands (including more than 500 americans), broken international law, made fortunes for private companies off the war, and driven the country to it’s highest debt level ever, imposing a burden on taxpayers that will last for generations. Where is the moral outrage? Where are the calls for impeachment? Forgive the crudity, but I can only suppose in the conservative mind, if you screw one person it is a crime, if you screw 300 million, you are a “leader.”

New blog

Well, after a week of having a blog on Xanga, it seems too kiddie-oriented for me. Since I have access to my server, let’s see if we can set up a private blog.