Saturday, December 10, 2005

Stifling debate on this war is counter to patriotism

(This letter was published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on December 13, 2005.)

In Wednesday's speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, President Bush cited Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., who sides with Mr. Bush in saying that it is too early for Americans to pull out of Iraq ("Bush Sees Rebuilding Successes in Iraq," Dec. 8). Recently, Sen. Lieberman also said, "It's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he'll be commander in chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril."

I disagree. The First Amendment enumerates our right "to petition the government for a redress of grievances." If Americans don't challenge a president who is bankrupting our treasury, destroying our moral leadership and jeopardizing our national security, then we fail as patriots.

Joe Lieberman is a member of the "world's greatest deliberative body," yet he is trying to stifle debate instead of becoming part of the solution by joining the majority of Americans in questioning President Bush's foreign policy.

Teddy Roosevelt said in 1918, "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Up Or Down Flip-Flop

Two months ago, James Dobson and Senator George Allen, the extremist wing of the Republican Party forced the withdrawal of Harriet Miers’ nomination, well before she was given the “up or down vote” all nominees supposedly deserve.

Now these same people are trying to sell Samuel Alito to America, labeling Democrats “progressive secularists” and turning them into scape-goats by accusing them of waging a war on Christmas. This has been done before, but at that time the scape-goats were Jews. They say that Alito’s record shows he stands for religious freedom. He will put an end to this war they made up and become the the savior of Christmas. We already have a Savior of Christmas. That would be Christ. Alito is not Christ, but as a former corporate lawyer, he would be Santa Claus to the corporations. This imaginary war on Christmas only obfuscates the very real war in Iraq.

Republican Senators supporting the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court are fond of claiming the president’s nominations deserve the respect of an “up or down vote.”

While the fundamentalist preachers setting the agenda for the current incarnation of the Republican Party may love Alito’s propensity to curb the rights of women and minorities, it is clear that reasonable people can strongly disagree with this nominee. As the new year begins and confirmation hearings proceed in the Senate, should Democratic Senators decide to filibuster Judge Alito, I hope we can all remember just how insistent the Republican Party was in demanding an “up or down” vote for Harriet Miers.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Antiwar Sermon Brings IRS Warning

Both political parties have used churches to get their message out for years. That is nothing new, but a double standard is emerging from within our government.

Right before the 2004 election, I saw a local church with a banner in front that read, "Prayer Vigil for Bush". I also saw churches with dozens of Republican political signs in the front yard. As far as I know, none of these churches lost their tax-exempt status. On the other hand, the rector of the All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California gave an anti-war sermon on Oct. 31, 2004. He didn't endorse either candidate, but the church got a letter from the IRS saying that "a reasonable belief exists that you may not be tax-exempt as a church ." (IRS Warns Churches to Stay Neutral on Politics - LA Times)

Today's "religious" right wingers have hijacked all three branches of government, and it's laws, and now they are using those laws to prosecute those who disagree with their version of religion. They worship Meanness of Spirit, a greed-driven war-loving totalitarianism. The only way to salvation, they say is THEIR way, through a nature-hating Authority that tramples all Jesus preached. Christ was a long-haired peace activist who would have been sickened to his soul by the war in Iraq. "Blessed are the peacemakers" Jesus said in his defining Sermon on the Mount. "Turn the other cheek...Love thy neighbor."

As Tecumseh, the great Shawnee spirit-warrior, allegedly shouted at William Henry Harrison in the early 1800s: "When Jesus Christ came upon the Earth, you killed him. The son of your own God. And only after he was dead did you worship him and start killing those who would not. "

It is now clear that if Jesus did return, Karl Rove would kill him, or at least take away his church's tax except status.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Saintly Monarchy

Formerly in India, the rule of the entire planet was entrusted to saintly kings, who continued the dynasty of their forefathers. The following is an example of such a dynasty, in which King Yuddhisthira begat a child named Maharaja Pariksit, who continued to rule over his father's kingdom 5000 years ago. In the purport, Srila Prabhupada contrasts this system to the modern system of democratic states.

From Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 1, Chapter 12, Text 19:

TRANSLATION

The good King [Yudhisthira] inquired: O great souls, will he become as saintly a king, as pious in his very name and as famous and glorified in his achievements, as others who appeared in this great royal family?

PURPORT

The forefathers of King Yudhisthira were all great saintly kings, pious and glorified by their great achievements. They were all saints on the royal throne. And therefore all the members of the state were happy, pious, well behaved, prosperous and spiritually enlightened. Under strict guidance of the great souls and spiritual injunctions, such great saintly kings were trained up, and as a result the kingdom was full of saintly persons and was a happy land of spiritual life. Maharaja Yudhisthira was himself a replica of his ancestors, and he desired that the next king after him become exactly like his great forefathers. He was happy to learn from the learned brahmanas that by astrological calculations the child would be born a first-grade devotee of the Lord, and more confidentially he wanted to know whether the child was going to follow in the footsteps of his great forefathers. That is the way of the monarchical state. The reigning king should be a pious, chivalrous devotee of the Lord and fear personified for the upstarts. He must also leave an heir apparent equally qualified to rule over the innocent citizens. In the modern setup of the democratic states, the people themselves are fallen to the qualities of the sudras or less, and the government is run by their representative, who is ignorant of the scriptural mode of administrative education. Thus the whole atmosphere is surcharged with sudra qualities, manifested by lust and avarice. Such administrators quarrel every day among themselves. The cabinet of ministers changes often due to party and group selfishness. Everyone wants to exploit the state resources till he dies. No one retires from political life unless forced to do so. How can such low-grade men do good to the people? The result is corruption, intrigue and hypocrisy. They should learn from the Srimad-Bhagavatam how ideal the administrators must be before they can be given charge of different posts.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Spinning Out Of Control

On his September 14 radio show, Bill O'Reilly has said he wished that Hurricane Katrina had flooded the United Nations building in New York. O'Reilly then added, "And I wouldn't have rescued them." Just as Katrina has shown us the some of the weaknesses in some of our government agencies, O'Reilly's statement reveals that he has finally lost his way in the spin of the storm of his own ideology. Perhaps it is time that Mr. O'Reilly move on to another career. I have noticed that Bush tends to appoint the absolute worst candidate for a government post, and if he could find someone worse than John Bolton, he would appoint that person. There may be an option that could save Shane Coppola, the president and CEO of Westwood One from further embarrassment. He should fire O'Reilly, and give him a good reference for a new job as U.N. Ambassador. I think that he is just the man George W. Bush is looking for.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Vedic Impeachment

In ancient India, there was a progressive spiritual paradigm called varnashrama-dharma, in which society was categorized into sections of classes and orders of life according to their quality. Not that one class of people is better or worse than another (although it has degenerated into that in the modern age). Society naturally falls into four varnas, or classes. The intelligent, (braminical) class, such as the scientists, philosophers and religious preceptors, the administrative (ksatriya) class, such as the government officials and military personnel and police, the mercantile (vyasa) class, or the farmers and businessmen, and the laborer (sudra) class, or workers who help the other three divisions.

The intelligent class of men are like the head of society, and it gives direction to the other parts of the social body. The administrative (ksatriya) class are like the arms of society. They are to give protection to the rest of society (ksat means protect, and triya means harm). They provide protection from harm. In this system, there are checks and balances, so that if the administrative class fails to take direction from the intelligent class, then they are removed from office.

In America, the democratic system set up by our forefathers (borrowed from the Native Americans) has a similar system of checks and balances. There are three branches of government- the executive, legislative, and judicial. If the executive branch misuses it's powers, commits some crime, such as declaring an illegal war, or fails to protect it's citizens, then the legislative branch invokes a process of impeachment.

There was a similar process in Vedic society.

From Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 1, Chapter 3, Text 20:

"The ksatriyas, or the administrative class of men, are expected to rule the planet by the direction of the intelligent class of men, who give direction to the rulers in terms of the standard sastras, or the books of revealed knowledge. The rulers carry on the administration according to that direction. Whenever there is disobedience on the part of the ksatriyas, or the administrative class, against the orders of the learned and intelligent brahmanas, the administrators are removed by force from the posts, and arrangement is made for better administration."

There was a different political system 5000 years ago, (monarchal - rule by saintly kings). The king was Maharaja Yudhisthira, a God-conscious soul, who did not exploit his his citizens or material nature for his own selfish ends, rather, ruled under the direction of the Brahmanas and in his case, God Himself. Thus the citizens were happy. Every aspect of human activity and knowledge such as medicine, agriculture, business, science, music, politics, psychology, religiosity, and ultimate liberation from this miserable world is included in the plan and revealed scriptures of the Lord. There is nothing separate from Him, and we can know that by reading and/or hearing from those scriptures under the direction of learned saintly persons.

From Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1, Chapter 10, Text 2:

Suta Gosvami said: Lord Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the maintainer of the world, became pleased after reestablishing Maharaja Yudhisthira in his own kingdom and after restoring the Kuru dynasty, which had been exhausted by the bamboo fire of anger.

PURPORT

This world is compared to a forest fire caused by the cohesion of bamboo bushes. Such a forest fire takes place automatically, for bamboo cohesion occurs without external cause. Similarly, in the material world the wrath of those who want to lord it over material nature interacts, and the fire of war takes place.... Such fires or wars take place, and the Lord has nothing to do with them. But because He wants to maintain the creation, He desires the mass of people to follow the right path of self-realization, which enables the living beings to enter into the kingdom of God. The Lord wants the suffering human beings to come back home, back to Him, and cease to suffer the threefold material pangs. The whole plan of creation is made in that way, and one who does not come to his senses suffers in the material world by pangs inflicted by the illusory energy of the Lord.

From Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1, Chapter 10 Text 3 (purport):

...The modern elected executive head of a state is just like a puppet because he has no kingly power. Even if he is enlightened like Maharaja Yudhisthira, he cannot do anything out of his own good will due to his constitutional position. Therefore, there are so many states over the earth quarreling because of ideological differences or other selfish motives. But a king like Maharaja Yudhisthira had no ideology of his own. He had but to follow the instructions of the infallible Lord and the Lord’s representative and the authorized agent, Bhismadeva. It is instructed in the sastras (scriptures) that one should follow the great authority and the infallible Lord without any personal motive and manufactured ideology. Therefore, it was possible for Maharaja Yudhisthira to rule the whole world, because the principles were infallible and universally applicable to everyone. The conception of one world state can only be fulfilled if we can follow the infallible authority. An imperfect human being cannot create an ideology acceptable to everyone. Only the perfect and the infallible can create a program which is applicable at every place and can be followed by all in the world. It is the person who rules, and not the impersonal government. If the person is perfect, the government is perfect. If the person is a fool, the government is a fool’s paradise. That is the law of nature. There are so many stories of imperfect kings or executive heads. Therefore, the executive head must be a trained person like Maharaja Yudhisthira, and he must have the full autocratic power to rule over the world. The conception of a world state can take shape only under the regime of a perfect king like Maharaja Yudhisthira. The world was happy in those days because there were kings like Maharaja Yudhisthira to rule over the world.

From Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1, Chapter 10 Text 4 (purport):

...Has this civilization produced anything but quarreling individually and nationally? Has this civilization enhanced the cause of equality and fraternity by sending thousands of men into a hellish factory and the war fields at the whims of a particular man?...

Although in Vedic times, a rule by saintly kings was possible, in the current climate of Kali-yuga (the age of quarrel), we have to work with the government and democratic system that we have, not the one we may desire, so if the executive head commits some crime, we must use the democratic process of impeachment, removing him/her from office.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Red Cross Ordered to Stay Out of New Orleans

I've been sick this last week watching the woeful lack of response to the worst disaster in American history, but today I learned something that made me so angry, fearful, and sad. It was bad enough that the Bush administration cut the funds the Army Corps of Engineers needed to finish shoring up the levees in New Orleans. Bush (who is incapable of telling the truth) lied and said, "No one could have anticipated the breach in the levees." Just like Condi (who was seen attending a Broadway play and buying shoes in NYC last Thursday while people were drowning and dying of starvation and thirst) lied at the 9/11 hearings about how no one could have anticipated planes flying into buildings. Everyone anticipated this, in fact, just a few months ago, New Orleans executed a drill in anticipation of such an event. With all these lies and willful negligence, I thought it couldn't get any worse. Then I learned this:

If I told you that the government deliberately held the Red Cross back from New Orleans, would you believe it?

Officials didn't let the Red Cross in until Friday, 5 days after the storm. They were told to wait in staging areas behind the check-points of the city until Bush could come back from his golf trip to get his photo-op hugging the Negroes. The reason they gave is that giving them food and water will make people stay there, or to come into the city, which they are eager to evacuate, because Halliburton needs to go in there and start rebuilding. "This is good news", Bush said. "The oil pipelines will be up to 47% soon... This is going to be a beautiful golf coast... Trent Lott's going to have a beautiful new home, and I can't wait to go there and sit on the porch." (you may recall, Lott, who lost his home in Mississippi to the hurricane, had to resign in disgrace as Speaker of the House, after his bigoted racist statements. The current Speaker, Dennis Hastert, suggested bulldozing New Orleans.) Michael Chertoff, the head of Homeland Security, blamed the victims for not leaving. They are called "refugees" by the media, as if they were from some third world country.

There is a sickness in this country that not only disenfranchises certain classes and races of citizens, but adds injury and death to insult by treating them worse than animals, as evidenced by one of my wife's co-workers, who echoed Chertoff's sentiment. "They told those niggers to leave" she said. My wife, incensed, told her, "They couldn't leave, because they are POOR!" They were not given the facility to leave, and then denied help. The stranded were forced to die by the thousands- the survivors wading in their own excrement, desperately looking for food and water for days and days, and threatened with deadly force if caught "looting" (or "finding food" if they were white), while the dead floated around them and were eaten by rats in the streets.

Do you think I'm just another crazy tin-hat wearing conspiracy theorist? Check out the Red Cross site. http://www.redcross.org/faq/0,1096,0_682_4524,00.html

Bush and ALL his cronies, who say they love America, obviously hate Americans. More Americans have died on this soil under this administration than any other in history. They have systematically privatized and dismantled every single government agency, from FEMA to the "Dept. of Homeland Security", from the FDA to the EPA to the military. They are evil and murderous, and we can't allow them to go on destroying this country and this world, or trust them with our lives or our security for one more minute.

"...the demoniac, who are lost to themselves and who have no intelligence, engage in unbeneficial, horrible works meant to destroy the world." - Bhagavad-gita 16.9

Friday, September 02, 2005

Where Are The First Responders?


Today, I'm even more upset by the horrific disaster that this nation finds itself under, than I was just after 911 (thanks to Bush’s cuts to FEMA they couldn’t get enough federal money to shore up the levees last year, and there were no national guard troops, or equipment, because it’s all in Iraq. Meanwhile, he comes back all tanned and was strumming a guitar on TV, and waits 3 days after we lost a major city to come out of vacation.) This is going to plunge this country into a recession, and it all could have been prevented with a few lousy million dollars. We are giving millionaires estate tax breaks, and spending 7 billion a month in Iraq, where is the money for things that we actually need like first responders!! Where is the homeland security? It’s GONE. God help us when we get hit with a major terrorist attack. There won’t be martial law, there’s be no law, with no one in charge because the selfish pricks don’t want to spend one single dollar on disaster relief. I guess their plan is just let people die. God help us.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Blame Game

In 1985, Karl Rove bugged his own office in order to smear the opposition of his client, Texas Gubernatorial challenger Bill Clements. In a memo to Clements, Rove quoted Napoleon, "The whole art of war is a well reasoned and extremely circumspect defense, followed by a rapid and audacious attack." This type of tactic has devastated his opponents again and again, and elevated him politically to what is arguably the most powerful position in world - the brain of the leader of the free world.

Recently, Rove outed an undercover CIA operative, Valerie Plame, and blamed her husband and her employer because they contradicted the administration's false claims of WMD's as a pretense to go to war with Iraq. This act of pure political vengeance has endangered our national security, and amounts to no less than treason, and/or perjury, but Rove still has a job, despite the fact that Bush promised to fire anyone in his administration who leaked her name.

Today, as reported by Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei of the Washington Post, the prosecutor in the CIA leak case is casting a wide net. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/26/AR2005072602069.html The White House effort to discredit Wilson is being examined in detail. As the facts come in, we learn that the conspiracy was far wider than we thought, and Republicans are scrambling to cover everything up, and not one of them has stood up and called for Rove's job. That means they value politics more than national security. Indeed, the President has now moved the goal posts back further by saying that anyone involved in a CRIME should be fired. If he is not fired, or frog-marched out of the White House in hand-cuffs, then at least there needs to be a public apology, and a full accounting to the American people about who knew what and when. That might not be enough for everyone, but it would satisfy me, because nothing is more embarrassing to these arrogant traitors than having to tell the truth.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Independent Thinkers

Polls are starting to indicate that the country is finally waking up from the nightmare of fear and ignorance that this administration employed to lead us into this ghastly, seemingly never-ending war. The Downing Street Memo provides evidence that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." Last week, a bipartisan group of members of Congress, led by Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), introduced H.J.RES.55, the "Withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq Resolution."

Due to media censure, not many people are even aware of the Downing Street Memo. Despite that, there is a not only growing number of Americans calling for withdrawal, but for impeachment as well. According to the latest Zogby poll, 42% of us now agree that if the President lied us into this war, he should be impeached.

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence confirmed this principle:
"...that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it..."

A very few people - a handful of Bush's corporate buddies - are getting rich from war-profiteering in Iraq. As a result, America is no longer the greatest country in the world. It is looking more and more like a fascistic oligarchy. A business deal is one thing, but to lie about it at the expense of 1700 Americans, countless Iraqis, and our nation's economic stability, is unconscionable, and impeachable. In his lame-duck pro-war speech last week, Bush was quacking about waving the flag to show support of the troops, and even had the nerve to ask others to enlist, because recruitment is down. To use these brave young men an women for profit is despicable.

As Dylan said in "Masters of War":
"You might say that I’m young,
you might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know,
though I’m younger than you
Even Jesus would never forgive what you do...
Let me ask you one question:
is your money that good?
Will it buy you forgiveness?
Do you think that it could?
I think you will find
when your death takes its toll
All the money you made won’t ever buy back your soul."

Despite the President’s jingoistic pleas of fighting terrorism in the name 9/11, God, and country, enlistment is down, because young people can see through the lies, flag waving, and pseudo-Christian claims of moral high ground, and refuse march to their death, just to make a few people rich.

Throughout history, this type of idealism has been criticized - by not by the "liberal media", or the "Hollywood elite", but by the most intelligent minds this nation has produced. Einstein said, "Nationalism, on my opinion, is nothing more than an idealistic rationalization for militarism and aggression." ... "He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder."

On this 4th of July, let us refuse to march rank and file to Bush's drumbeat of war. Let us become a independent thinkers like Einstein, impeach Bush, and march to a different drummer.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

No Child's Behind Left

Deep in the No Child Left Behind Act there is a clause that requires public schools to provide the names, addresses, and home phone numbers of their students to the military. If a school refuses, it could lose its federal funding. Any way you look at it, this is a family privacy nightmare, another strong-arming of our local schools, and a creepy warm-up to the Draft. The Pentagon needs new bodies, and is working with a private company to create information dossiers on millions of young Americans to help identify college and high school students as young as 16 to target for military recruiting. The massive database includes an array of personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying. Why grade point averages and ethnicity? In order to target children that are less likely to go to college. The Pentagon has hired the Massachusetts-based company BeNow to run the database apparently in an effort to circumvent laws that restrict the government's right to collect or hold citizen information by turning to private firms to do the work. This information will not only be available to the military, but also to corporations like Halliburton that hire mercenaries called “private contractors”. Won't mom be proud to see her children grow up to be killers? If not, she can opt out of this infernal marketing program by logging onto www.leavemychildalone.org.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Liberal Radio Finally Gets Some Props

Lately the administration has been feeling the heat from both isles to set a timetable for an exit of Iraq. The President's poll numbers are down, and Republicans are defecting from the party. Now the neo-cons are getting desperate. Recently, Karl Rove said, in so many words, that conservatives are the only ones that had the balls to go to war against the terrorists and protect America, and that the liberals are basically a bunch of pussies that are putting our troops in danger by calling to bring them home.

He said, "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers ... Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year? Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals.”

Bill O’Reilly ratings are plunging with the President's poll numbers, and he is freaking out, because contrary to his prediction, Liberal radio is exploding across the country. O'Reilly, who is without shame, said that FBI should arrest his growing competition, the “clowns” at Air America Radio for being traitors!

Responding to controversial comments by Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) regarding the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, O’Reilly said that Americans “must know the difference between dissent from the Iraq war and the war on terror and undermining it,” and that “any American who undermines that war ... is a traitor.” He then hurled this accusation at Air America Radio: “So, all those clowns at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done, please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains, because they, you know, they’re undermining everything and they don’t care.”

From the June 20 broadcast of Westwood One’s The Radio Factor with Bill O’Reilly:
O’REILLY: And when he [Durbin] went out there, his intent was to whip up the American public against the Bush detainee policy. That’s what his intent was. His intent wasn’t to undermine the war effort, because he never even thought about it. He never even thought about it. But by not thinking about it, he made an egregious mistake because you must know the difference between dissent from the Iraq war and the war on terror and undermining it. And any American that undermines that war, with our soldiers in the field, or undermines the war on terror, with 3,000 dead on 9-11, is a traitor. Everybody got it? Dissent, fine; undermining, you’re a traitor. Got it? So, all those clowns over at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done, please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains, because they, you know, they’re undermining everything and they don’t care, couldn’t care less.