Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Musings 147--Dad's 87 today...

Dad was born on May 30, 1919. That's 87 years ago, today...Memorial Day, the real one.

He is the most honest God-fearing man I know. Maybe that's why he has done so well. If that is the recipe; then, I am doomed, but that's another story.

A radioman on a C-47, Dad was on the crew of bunches of missions carrying the 82nd and 101st Airborne soldiers. He was in the D-Day Invasion.

Dad was a school superintendent for over 30 years and a farmer for 87 years. He has been married to my mother for over 60 years. Both are still going strong.

So Happy Birthday, Dad--only 13 more years to 100! You've been a great father and excellent role-model.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Musings 146--Bush's unasked question...

Bush jr. is just now owning up to bad judgment with his smartass comment on insurgency in Iraq. The "bring'em on" comment may not have caused any direct deaths of American troops, but it sure didn't save any lives, either. (See Link)

Both Bush jr. and Tony Blair are starting to own up to "setbacks and missteps" made in their nation building in Iraq. I suppose that even strong willed people--I call them narrow-minded-- have moments of clarity, when they actually see the mess they have made. I guess it falls into the better late than never category.

However, the question of the day was the one not asked. Chief White House Correspondent David Gregory was not called on during the Bush- Blair press conference. Basically, he was snubbed, no doubt, because in his last interview with Bush, Gregory asked about Bush's lower than Richard Nixon poll numbers. "It's the war," Bush laughingly said...and, he was right. Gregory said on the Imus in the Morning radio show that he wanted to ask the president why the American public should continue following his lead, since he is now acknowledging these "setbacks and missteps." I would have loved hearing that answer.

Bush jr. has just made one blunder after another. In the last five years he has seemingly been a slow learner. The American people, though, are a bit quicker. There could be no answer to Gregory's question that would have inspired confidence. Actions speak volumes, and the Bush Administration just keeps doing the same things. The only difference is that now they are giving lip-service and asking for understanding, but action speak louder than words. Their actions are the same old sad stories.

The American public has finally gotten the message that this was a needless war, and that we need to get out of Iraq as soon as possible. Bush jr. shakes his head and looks sad. He says we made "missteps" but it will get better. How can anyone believe that. Strong willed people just don't bend that easy--even if they say they do.

Here are some numbers that Bush's "missteps" have given us. (See Link 2)

* 2,458 soldiers dead
* 17,648 soldiers wounded

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Musings 145--Pentagon says Marines killed civilians

I guess it had to happen. It happened several times in Viet Nam, that we know of, but I had hope that maybe it wouldn't happen in Iraq. It is time to take off the rose-colored-glasses. Soldiers are trained to kill, and they will take it to the extreme, sometimes.

According to the Pentagon and reported by Knight Ridder, U. S. Marines shot and killed more than a dozen Iraqi civilians on November 19, 2005. (See Link) Apparently, an improvised explosive device (IED) killed one Marine and the rest went on a killing spree.

Rep. John Murtha, D, PA, the a ranking member on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee said, "Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them. And they killed innocent civilians in cold blood. That is what the (Pentagon) report is going to tell."

Knight Ridder is reporting that 23 people were killed by the Marines. Drew Brown, a Knight Ridder reporter, wrote the following: "Military public affairs officers said the investigation isn't completed and declined to provide further information. 'There is an ongoing investigation,' said Lt. Col. Sean Gibson, a Marine spokesman at Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla. 'Any comment at this time would be inappropriate.'"

And there it is...in a war that drags on, this type of abuse will become more and more the rule rather than the exception. It is not by accident that many of our combat troops have the motto "Kill them all and let God sort them out." It is the truth of war. Even the good guys sometimes get out of hand.

Rep. Murtha continued, " One man was killed with an IED, and after that, they actually went into the houses and killed women and children."

There will be those on the right who will try to spin this. They will say that our troops need the benefit of doubt. However, if the Pentagon report says that this happened; then, there can be no support of the taking of innocent lives. Murder is murder--no matter if it is the streets of New York, U.S.A. or the streets of Haditha, Iraq.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Musings 144--More tax cuts for the rich!

While the Bushies are taking cover over immigration and the NSA data mining of telephone records, another round of tax cuts are making their way through the congress.

The tax cuts of about $70 billion are no longer even falsely directed at all of us. It is a vulgar redistribution of wealth to the richest among us. The top 1% get the lion's share of said tax cut. (See Link)

A joint study by Brookings Institution and Urban Institute estimates that familes with $50,000 in income would come out with about $25 in savings. On the other hand, those with $1 million in income would save about $40,000. So basically, the rich save enough to buy a middle class family--salary wise--for their trophy room.

To make matters worse, minimum wage workers would save about $3 per year on taxes. Thus, the Bushies have quit trying to convince us that tax cuts are good for us. They are only good for the wealthy--the facts don't lie. In the Bushies mind, these top 1% will trickle down benefits to those of us in need. Wow!

Looking at it from a middle class point of view, the $25 savings I'd get won't even buy me a tank of premium gasoline. And, from a minimum wage point of view, I might be able to eat one meal from the $1 menu.

Senator Chuck Schumer, D, NY, summed it up best in a Business Week article: "Sometimes you get handed an issue that is so crystal clear that you want to make sure everybody knows about it. This bill shows the true colors of the Republican Party, far more interested in helping the very wealthy--God bless them--than hardworking Americans."

There are also defects in both parties over these tax cuts. Three republicans and one democrat are leaning in the opposite direction of their parties. Olympia Snow of Maine, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and George Voinovich of Ohio are all republicans that will probably vote against the cuts. Bill Nelson of Flordia is a democrat who will probably vote for them. Everyone else will probably follow party lines.

Well, enough of this. I'm going to go make plans to spend my $25. Hey, it is something to look forward to.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Musings 143--200,000 Rifles

Every day there is more death and destruction news from Iraq. More than 2,400 American soldiers have given their life for Bush's War, and there is no end in sight.

Now it seems that this job will be somewhat harder due to the fact that the bad guys now seemed to have picked the Defense Department's pocket.

It is being reported by the United Kingdom that 200,000 AK47's taken from soldiers in Bosnia were to be shipped to Iraq by the Defense Department to arm Iraqi soldiers and police. Well, it seems that no one knows where these rifles went. They just vanished. (See Link)

A Moldovan airline that got in trouble with the United Nations in 2003 for flying arms to Liberia is reportedly responsible for making delivery of the AK47's. There were four plane loads that just disappeared into neverland. Some are betting that Osama and his boys got the guns. That is a nice haul, if it is true.

It seems that our Defense Department has a lot of trouble in doing the simplest things. If the Brit report is correct; then, the bad guys now have plenty of fire power to keep blasting away at our soldiers.

An investigation needs to be done by Congress into whether this is true. If it is, heads need to roll. Somebody has to take some responsibility. My vote goes to Don Rumsfeld.

Rumsfeld and his lackeys at defense, need to take a hike. If Bush doesn't make him go soon, Iraq will be a lost cause for all time. Come on, Bush jr....make the needed changes. Do the right thing.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Musings 142--Who will be Hayden's boss?

So Porter Goss got booted from CIA. I never felt quite right about him anyway.

The Bushies are now putting up General Michael V. Hayden, currently the number two guy behind the new National intelligence Director John Negroponte, for the director of Central Intelligence. (See Link) There is only one question I have that no one is answering--who does he answer too?

CIA is a civilian organization. Putting a four-star general in as the leader creates several problems:

Problem #1: Will Hayden still be number 2 to Negroponte, at least in status, thus, making Negroponte the head of CIA?

Problem #2: Since Donald Rumsfeld is the Secretary of Defense and is the head of the armed forces; then, is he not General Hayden's boss? But, if he is Hayden's boss, where does that place Negroponte?

Problem #3: Could not Don Rumsfeld order general Hayden to run CIA his way?

Problem #4: Is President Bush anyone's boss?

Problem #5: Who pays Hayden's salary--the military or CIA or both?

Problem # 6: Since Hayden was the former NSA leader who came up with domestic spying; then, is it not feasible that he will take the CIA into domestic areas too? I mean NSA was foreign stuff until he decided that it wasn't.

Basically, I think that this pretty much screws things up more. There are a bunch of republicans that also feel that way. The democrats are staying mum. That is probably a good thing.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Musings 141--Rush the lovable dopehead

Rush Limbaugh got arrested Friday. He was booked and placed on probation for the next 18 months. He says that he pled "not guilty" as part of his plea agreement. If he pisses positive or gets in any trouble during his probation he will have to stand trial. (See Link for more funny stuff.)

It seems that there is a big stink about whether he was arrested. Well, if you are booked, you are arrested. If you are fingerprinted and your mugshot taken, you are arrested. He is just spinning this so that his loyal followers can babble on about him not being found guilty.

The truth is, that he was and probably still is a dopehead. He got off easy because he spent millions for good lawyers. You or I would have served a little time.

Rush at one time had some credibility. Now, he is just a has-been trying to hold on to something. It wouldn't have been so bad, but Rush has made a fortune being mean to the under-privileged. Rush once said that all drug offenders should serve maximum time. Well, here's hoping that some day he flunks his drug test and has to do time. If that sounds mean...well, it is. I learned it from Rush.

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