Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Some random thoughts as we approach the possiblity of war:

The U.S. Department of Defense has declared that Saddam Hussein probably did not gas the Kurds--the evidence indicates it was Iran who did it.

In order to strike us with his missiles, Saddam Hussein will have to buy some unbelievably large rubber bands.

Most of the September 11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. trade deficit is the largest in history.

The Patriot Act, and its spin-off, Patriot Act II, destroy the privacy granted to U.S. citizens in the Constitution.

Tom Kean, the director of the alleged September 11 "investigation," is a business partner of two men who are named in the lawsuit brought by the families of individuals who were killed on September 11. Both are suspected as having ties to Al Qaeda. One of them is Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law.

The commander-in-chief was not legally elected to office.

Kenneth Lay has not been indicted.

The thoughts aren't really that random, are they?

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Yesterday, the government announced that there was no substantial link between significant chemical exposure during the Gulf War and the cluster of symptoms known as Gulf War syndrome. 3,000 studies have acknowledged that prolonged exposure to solvents and insecticides could cause the symptoms such as those displayed by Gulf War veterans, but the government says that there is no proof that these chemicals are connected in any way to the Gulf War.

At first, there was total denial that thousands of troops were exposed to low-level chemical agents during the war. Then there was total denial that even more troops--as many as 400,000--were exposed to depleted uranium radioactive wastes. There were also 150,000 troops who received the anthrax vaccine and who have reported long-term symptoms. Record-keeping ranged from poor to non-existent, and as a result, scientists have not been able to connect the dots. But the government did have a solution--returning troops were sent to mental health clinics so that their "stress" symptoms could be treated. Needless to say, they continued experience chronic fatigue, dizziness, muscle and joint pain, nausea, memory loss, blurred vision, pain during intercourse, and skin rashes.

It's Agent Orange all over again, with no substantial answers, and no sign that anyone in power cares.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

All across America, brain-dead news anchors are turning to each other and saying "Oh, look! There's a war protest! Why didn't we know about this before?"

For months now, there has been a global protest of the proposed war against Iraq. There have been numerous anti-war rallies and peace marches, peace flags are flying throughout the world, and activists have strong messages. But if you get your news from television or from the major newspapers, then you don't have any idea that millions of people oppose the White House's insane action against the people of Iraq.

Today is the biggest day of all for the the movement, with millions of people all over the world marching against the war. Even CNN will be forced to acknowledge the event.

In case you're a bit confused, millions of people oppose Bush's war for these reasons:

It is a transparently crude (no pun intended) way for the president to pay back the millions and millions of dollars oil companies paid to put him in office.

It will de-stabilize the Middle East, creating god-knows-what kind of destruction, especially for Bush's "friends" in Israel.

It will distract Americans, whose jobs, health care, and civil liberties are being taken away at an ever-increasing rate.

It will bring terrorists out of the woodwork to attack us.

It will satisfy the right-wing religious component who believes it is time we dealt with the Armies of Allah.

It is based on lies. To say the proposed war is based on lies is not to say that Saddam Hussein is not evil, but telling lies is not a sound way to establish commitment to a cause.

It is opposed by many of our major allies.

There is no reason to believe that the White House will "spare" the citizens of Iraq from death and destruction. The first Bush White House said the same thing about the Gulf War, and it turned out to be a collosal lie.

If you are not marching today, there is something even more important that you can do: You can eduate yourself about what is going on in America. But don't wait too long. Not only is there a proposed war against Iraq--there is also a war being waged against you.

Friday, February 14, 2003

Happy Valentine's Day from the White House!

The president loves you, his country, and God so much that he has some gifts for you:

More leisure time--because you may not have a job
Even more time off--because of the illness you get from the polluted air and water
Exciting weather events--from ignoring global warming
Population control--if we bomb Iraqui citizens and poison their water like we did last time
World-wide excitement--if we de-stabilize the Middle East through war
Thrills and chills right where you live--if we attack Iraq, provoking terrorist groups to come after us
Relief from having to deal with women, minorities, gays, and the disabled--their hard-won rights will not exist
Comfort and security--knowing your government is right there with you, spying on you and keeping records
Religious training--mandatory, because the separation between church and state will further collapse

So much love from the president...but if it's all the same, I'd rather have some chocolates or a single red rose.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

If you thought the Patriot Act was great, you're going to love Patriot Act II. Remember the Patriot Act, that most frightening of bills that your senators and congresspeople blithely voted into law? That's the one that gave us expanded surveillance with reduced checks and balances, nationwide roving wiretaps, procurement of information from people's ISP's, and wiretaps without probable cause.

Now the government has proposed part II of the Patriot Act. Under this part of the law, surveillance would be expanded even more, and without judicial oversight. It also would permit secret arrests, new death penalties, and the right of the government to take away someone's citizenship for belonging to an unfavored group.

Not hearing about it on the news, are you? Not seeing it in your newspaper, either, I'll bet. But it's coming soon to an America near you if you don't demand that your representatives refuse to pass it. They passed the original Patriot Act without batting an eye, remember?

Monday, February 03, 2003

Teachers just can't be trusted to do their jobs. Consider Jane Ehrenfeld, a third grade teacher in Boston who received a letter of reprimand from her principal. Her mistake? Her students were reading books instead of watching television. Students in Ehrenfeld's school are supposed to watch Channel One, which includes the student news (apparently a real dud of a show, put on by the older students, and followed by a quick lesson, such as the reciting of a vocabulary word). There was an entire class of third-graders, all absorbed in their books, but their teacher got in trouble for it.

It seems that the TV in Ehrenfeld's class had broken, and she took the opportunity to encourage reading. When the set was fixed, the students had no desire to watch it. Once she was busted, Ehrenfeld had to turn the TV on at the required time because the principal began making sneak visits outside her class to determine whether the students were watching the show.

Ehrenfeld's students resented the intrusion on their reading time, and began hiding books under their desks and sneaking a read while the TV was on. She says she had to tell them to put the books away, but they ignored her and kept on reading.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

When the Challenger exploded in 1986, we learned that the improper sealing of the o-rings around the main boosters caused the explosion. We also learned that NASA had been warned by engineers about the sealing, but proceeded with the launch, anyway. To make matters worse, NASA proceeded with the launch during bad weather.

Now, Columbia has exploded, though NASA was again repeatedly warned of danger. A former NASA engineer warned both NASA and the White House that there were enough safety problems in the shuttle program to bring about another disaster. In 2000, the General Accounting Office acknowledged the possible danger. As late as September, 2001, Senate hearings uncovered a plethora of safety problems in the program, but NASA continued to operate under budget.

There is no excuse. Either the shuttle flights should have been discontinued, or the budget should have been increased. It is hard to imagine that there would have been any budget increases for safety during the Osama Madness period, and since then, the White House has been preoccupied with either building the war machine or tearing down domestic programs that protect people and the environment.