Is that a shrub in your pocket...
Friday, December 31, 2004Good Riddance to 2004 In less than four hours, we'll be saying so long to 2004. Not everything was bad this year, I guess, but, overall, '04 pretty much sucked. Iraq Then-presidential candidate Howard Dean caught a lot of flack when he said the capture of Saddam Hussein in Dec. 2003 didn't make us any safer. He was right, of course, as 2004 turned ever deadlier. By April, - the deadliest month to date for US soldiers (with Novermber a close second) - numerous uprisings spread throughout the Sunni triangle and in Shiite-dominated southern Iraq. Suicide bombings, kidnappings, and beheadings targeted civilians, Iraqi security forces, foreign workers, and coalition soldiers. In the month of September alone, there were 2,300 attacks by insurgents. Today, more than 1,300 U.S. troops have died and some 10,000 have been wounded in action (it's difficult to tell, since our government has gone out of its way to hide US casualties from the American people). No official tally of Iraqi casualties exists, but a study published in the Lancet medical journal estimates 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died who otherwise wouldn't have as a result of our 'liberation.' Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo As if our actions in Iraq weren't shameful enough,worldwide outrage erupted following the release of photos depicting the appalling physical abuse and sexual degradation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison (described in a U.S. military report as acts of “purposeless sadism”). 94 more suspected or confirmed cases of abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan were identified, and at least 39 prisoners were killed. Despite attempts to pin these abuses on 'a few bad apples,' the Pentagon-sponsored Schlesinger report rejected the idea that the abuse was simply the work of a few aberrant soldiers, and asserted that there were “fundamental failures throughout all levels of command, from the soldiers on the ground to Central Command and to the Pentagon.” WMD? What WMD? The Senate Intelligence Committee released a unanimous, bipartisan “Report on Pre-War Intelligence on Iraq,”” evaluating the intelligence assessments that formed the basis for the Bush administration's justifications for the war. The report told us what we already knew; no WMD, no ties to terrorists, no justification for invading, occupying, and killing. Jobs, the Economy, Tax Cuts, and the Deficit The federal budget deficit reached a record $413 billion in 2004. The nonpartisan CBO also estimated that two-thirds of the 2004 deficit were the result of tax cuts (for the impoverished uber-rich). The number of Americans living in poverty had increased by 1.3 million in 2003, those without health insurance increased by 1.4 million (the third straight annual increase in both categories). For the first time since Hoover, there was net loss of jobs during this administration, after eight years of growth and a steady decrease in unemployment. Global Terrorism Spain. On March 11, 2004, 202 people were killed and 1,400 were injured in bombings at Madrid's railway station. Russia. Terrorists blew up two planes, killing all 90 passengers, and killed nine at a Moscow subway stop. On Sept. 1–3, guerrillas seized a school in Beslan and held about 1,100 young schoolchildren, teachers, and parents hostage. At least 335 hostages were killed, including about 156 children. Saudi Arabia. A variety of terrorist attacks scaused the deaths of about 100, mostly foreign workers; some attacks were also aimed at Saudi government targets. In December gunmen attacked a U.S. consulate in Afghanistan. Attacks on American forces intensified in Afghanistan as the Taliban and al-Qaeda continued to regroup. Global Brutality Sudan Some good news, in that the 20-year-long civil war between the Arab-Muslim government of the North and the black Christian and animist South is perhaps coming to an end. Two million people have died, mostly due to starvation and disease; some four million more have been displaced. The war has also led to a resurgence of slavery, with Arab raiders from the north enslaving thousands of black southerners. A final peace agreement is slated to be signed within a few days. Unfortunately, the conflict in the Western Darfur region has intensified. The Janjaweed has massacred more than 70,000 Darfuris and displaced another 1.5 million. Darfur has been deemed the world's worst humanitarian disaster by the UN, and labeled genocide by the US. Tsunami 2004 has ended in what has to be the worst way possible. As I sit here, in the comfort of my home, some 125,000 are confirmed dead as a result of the earthquake and ensuing tsunamis in Asia. They're predicting 150,000, and that number may double due to disease. Millions of people are homeless. Oh, there's more bad news out there. Israel and Palestine. Nuclear proliferation. Some really crappy Supreme Court Decisions. Bush got, whatever you want to call it, elected, re-appointed, whatever. I really fear the Fascist States of America, and my gut instict tells me to get the hell out of here before the borders are closed and our rights are taken away. But, maybe 2005 will be a better year. Maybe the mainstream media will wake up - or become irrelevant. Maybe the people will wake up. Keep your fingers crossed. Happy New Year.
Thursday, December 30, 2004Conyers to Object to Ohio Vote I would like to urge you to contact your Senators and demand that they support Rep. Conyers on this. Contact information for your Senator can be found at: http://www.senate.gov/index.htm. Most have simple e-mail forms you can fill out. After that, call their offices to voice your concerns. If you saw Fahrenheit 9/11, you watched as members of the Congressional Black Caucus failed to find a single senator to join their objection to the farce that was the 2000 presidential election. As a result, nothing was done to reform our electoral process, and the 2004 election was as big a sham as was 2000. Election fraud was rampant in Ohio, Florida, New Mexico, and other states in 2004, though you may not have heard about it, with the mainstream media all but ignoring the story. I don’t expect the results of the 2004 presidential election to change, but unless a debate takes place at the highest possible levels of our government – with the media forced to report it – nothing will be done to change the way we select our president, and the electoral process will continue to be subject to manipulation by corrupt officials and the greedy corporations who own them. We only need one senator to join Conyers in this objection. Our senators let us down in 2000, and they let us down again in granting carte blanche to this administration to wage the illegal, immoral, ill-advised, and ineffective invasion and occupation of Iraq. Let’s make sure they don’t let us down again.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
The Army You Have
Here's an example of what you get when you go to war - as Donald Rumsfeld would put it - with the army you have, as opposed to the army you "might want." According to the story by the New England Journal of Medicine, this is a "common type of injury associated with roadside improvised explosive device run over by a Humvee." You know, that would be the kind that doesn't have armor plating underneath the floorboards. That would be the kind that the US was forced to rush to war with because Saddam had all those phantom WMD's and fictional ties to 9/11.
This is the war where - even after two years - there isn't enough body armor, night vision googles, armored vehicles, troops, you name it. This is the war that was planned (if you can call it that) to be carried out on the cheap, no muss, no fuss. It's just a matter of "physics" that our people don't have what they need over there (even though the companies that produce these vehicles say they can ramp up production by over 20% immediately).
Well, suddenly, after being embarassed on workd television, apparently the army is finally looking to accelerate production of armored versions of the Humvee to get them to the troops more quickly.
How many kids had to have their parts blown to shreds - needlessly - because we went to war "with the army we had?"
Friday, December 10, 2004Pictures From Fallujah These aren't new, and they're very hard to look at. I don't blame you if you don't want to see them. But, on another level, I think every American - especially those fucking bastards who voted to validate this adminstration - should be strapped to a chair and forced to look, ala Clockwork Orange. This is being done in our name, folks. If these were you friends, your parents, your children, your wives and husbands.... How would you feel? Would you say, "hey, shit happens?" Or would you hate and vow to kill every last person responsible for this.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004Rumsfeld to Troops: "Quit yer bitchin'" In an apparent attempt to improve morale, Donald Rumsfeld appeared before a group a soldiers in Kuwait, as they prepared to be thrown to the... er, I mean, to serve our glorious leader. And, really, what could be more uplifting than a visit from Uncle Don, who took the opportunity to answer a few questions. "Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmour our vehicles?" Army Spc Thomas Wilson asked.
Mr Rumsfeld paused, before asking him to repeat the question.
Spc Wilson did so, adding, "we do not have proper armoured vehicles to carry with us"."You go to war with the army you have," Mr Rumsfeld replied. Mr. Rumsfeld would know, of course, having been a flight instructor from 1954 - 57. He no doubt heard stories from other pilots who had actually been to a war. Besides, he continued, "You can have all the armour in the world on a tank and it can [still] be blown up." Well, fuck it then. Why bother with the damn armor to begin with, then. Rummy denied the charge from another soldier that active-duty troops were prioritised above Reserve and National Guard soldiers to receive the best military equipment.
Another soldier asked how long the army would continue to use its "stop-loss policy" to extend tours of duty (currently estimated to be keeping some 7,000 soldiers in Iraq beyond their expected return date).
Mr Rumsfeld said this was simply tough shit for soldiers at time of war.
"It's basically a sound principle, it's nothing new, it's been well understood" by soldiers.Hell, just ask dubya. He damn near had to serve his entire Texas guard duty in Texas (other than that missing year or so in Alabama, and of course getting out early to go to school at Harvard - after the U. of Texas law school told him to go take a hike) .
Mandate My AssI'm sure you're just as sick and fucking tired as I am of the Kristian Konservatives and their right-wing zombie followers thinking they now have license to trample the constitution and create a state religion in this country.
You're probably sick of hearing the rest of the world wonder how we - or at least half of us - could be so fucking stupid.
Even if you actually believe that Bush "won" the election (and that, by the smallest majority of any incumbent president - let alone a "war" president), you should understand something....
Only about 75% of those eligible to vote are registered. Of that 75%, only about 60% turned out to vote (and this is supposed to be some big huge turnout, that virtually crippled voting in some areas - the black ones - where they didn't have enough voting machines). Of the 45% of people who voted, supposedly 51% voted for Bush.
That means that some 77% - nearly 8 out of 10 Americans - did not vote for this asshole.
It's time for our 22% to go and kick the 55% in the ass, and elect a goddamn government that will support the people.