Under Seige: The Survival of the United States

mlkriversidechurch Photo credit: John C. Goodwin

Fifty years ago (on April 4, 1967), the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr gave a speech connecting the main struggles then going on in the U.S.A.  I’ve provided links to it, both as text first, and also the video. Warning, they are long.

TEXT – The link between the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, and economic injustice

VIDEO – A Time to Break Silence (Full)

While I am a wee bit early for the anniversary of that speech, I read today that President Donald Trump is asking the US Congress to increase defense spending by 54 BILLION DOLLARS- that’s $54,000,000,000 (If you could save $100,000/year, it would take you 540,000 years to save 54 billion dollars.) MLK felt that such reckless spending would kill this country. Although I approve of Trump’s shaking things up and challenging the U.S. political establishment, I cannot approve of his recently expressed desire to increase the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and now his plea to divert even more of out tax dollars to military spending. I believe, as did MLK, that the health of my country depends on how we treat our citizens, how we teach our children, and how we plan for our future. It is not tied to building a wall, an actual literal fucking wall around ourselves, and focusing ourselves on increasing our armaments, aiming weapons at the world and daring anyone to try to breach that wall. It is a siege mentality.

Among the consequences of a siege mentality are black and white thinking, social conformity, and lack of trust. It is a false choice! Many in the United State believe that our only defense is military, that we must have overwhelming superiority in weapons of mass destruction, and other firepower in order to protect ourselves. We live in a huge world, full of other nations, other peoples, and we are not under siege by them. Many support us, many admire us even now, as we prepare to enter a new Dark Age of fear, of belligerence, and of a poverty, in both the economic and spiritual sense, that will cripple this country. WE CAN BE BETTER THAN THIS!

We do not need to retreat into a bunker bristling with weapons in order to survive. We can work with many other countries to cut off funding to terror groups, isolate them, and if necessary to eliminate them. They are misguided idiots led by fanaticism, without remorse, without concern for others. That alone isolates them. We cannot defeat them by becoming like them. If we continue down this path we will fail, and we will self destruct.

If we were to, for instance, look to a shared future with other nations and peoples around the globe, prepare for it, plan for it, or, I don’t know, even SPEND MONEY ON IT, might we not have a better chance at survival?

I cannot tell people what to do, or how to do it, but I am certain that working and planning together is our best, most viable option.

There are two ways to end a siege: utterly overwhelm and destroy, or starve the enemy out. This is what we face. By building a fortress, hiding behind it, and closing ourselves off from the world, we are making the entire world our enemy. WE BECOME THE ENEMY OF THE WORLD. One day, we may find ourselves facing a united world that either comes for us to destroy us, or worse, ignores us. Without trade, without cultural exchange, without friends, and without hope, we will starve ourselves into oblivion.

DIE PATRIOT ACT, DIE. And your little dog, Section 702 too.

Patriot Act poster 1

Several provisions of the Patriot Act — including Section 215, which had been used to conduct bulk surveillance of our phone records — expired on June 1 at midnight.
In a special session on Sunday, the Senate voted to consider a House-passed reform package, the USA Freedom Act, which then passed on Tuesday afternoon. President Obama signed the bill into law on Tuesday night.
Though USA Freedom doesn’t go as far as it should, its passage marks the first time the government has reined in NSA operations since before the 9/11 attacks. It ends unchecked surveillance of everyone’s phone records under the Patriot Act; that data will remain with phone companies, and the government will have to seek a court order to collect it for specific targets: a particular individual, device or account. The government can no longer sweep up details about everyone’s communications without some justification and some specific criteria to gather that information.

patriotactposter2
MORE: There’s a little more: CONTINUE READING

Cold WAR. Again. WWIII Probable. Again.

War 3  nato-russia-war New-Cold-War HR 758 (Russia)

US – Russia relations have deteriorated severely in the past decade and they just got worse. That is not solely due to the actions and posturing of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In fact, many in the USA and Russia are warning that the recent passage of House Resolution 758 could lead to all-out war, especially if the Senate passes a similar resolution.

Tensions between Russia and the US are being fueled every day by players who would benefit financially from a resumption of the Cold War which, from 1948 to 1991 cost US taxpayers $20 TRILLION dollars (in 2014 dollars), an amount exceeding our $18 trillion National Debt.

With fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Syria a staging ground for an ongoing proxy war between the big powers, our US treasury is being drained for military adventures, our national debt is piling up, and we are less safe.

Dennis Kucinich writes: “… HR 758 is tantamount to a ‘Declaration of Cold War’ against Russia, reciting a host of grievances, old and new, against Russia which represent complaints that Russia could well make against the US, given our nation’s most recent military actions: Violating territorial integrity, violations of international law, violations of nuclear arms agreements.
“The resolution demands Russia be isolated and “… the President, in consultation with Congress, conduct a review of the force posture, readiness and responsibilities of United States Armed Forces and the forces of other members of NATO to determine if the contributions and actions of each are sufficient to meet the obligations of collective self-defense under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, and to specify the measures needed to remedy any deficiencies….”

“In other words, let’s get ready for war with Russia.”    HR 758 (Russia)

Ron Paul, writing in The Inquisitr, believes that a “reckless” Congress has essentially declared war on Vladimir Putin and Russia based upon Resolution 758. Fears of World War 3 were stoked when Russian fighter jets faced off against NATO jets in a blitz designed to be a “show of force” by Vladimir Putin.

Russian media is already warning that the recently passed House Resolution 758 could lead to “all-out” war if the U.S. Senate were to pass similar legislation. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich claims that supplying lethal aid to Ukraine would be a direct violation of the Geneva Agreements. In addition, Russian media funded by the government has published an editorial that attempts to refute House Resolution 758, and even goes so far as to claim that the United States is provoking World War 3 by bringing the United States one step closer to an “all-out” war with Russia.

Not War

UPDATE:

The Ukraine Freedom Support Act — HR 5859 and S. 2828 — increases sanctions on Russia’s main weapons exporter, the natural gas company Gazprom, and any company that exports weapons to Syria. HR 5859 was introduced (12/11/14) and passed by voice vote late that evening. The Senate bill also passed by a voice vote.

At the Cato Institute, visiting research fellow Emma Ashford writes about the military aid that would go to Ukraine: “The bill authorizes the president to make available defensive weapons, services and training to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons, crew weapons and ammunition, counter-artillery radar, tactical troop-operated surveillance drones, and command and communications equipment.”

Kucinich Comments on the Iraqi Occupation & Lies

The cost to the U.S. treasury: $3 Trillion.

Cost in Lives: 4477 dead U.S. troops (http://www.defense.gov/)

Over 1 million Iraqis (Based on international news reports; there is no agency that keeps track of accurate numbers of Iraqis killed.)

Cost in injuries: 33151 U.S. troops.

Other Coalition Troops – Iraq
318
US Military Deaths – Afghanistan
1,802
Other Military Deaths – Afghanistan
954
Contractor Employee Deaths Iraq
1,487
Journalists – Iraq
348
Academics Killed – Iraq
448

 

THERE IS DEATH I CANNOT FEEL

I grew up believing in peace, opposing war, all war. I accepted non-violence as the way to go. I was, however, impressed by the Students for a Democratic Society splinter group, The Weathermen. They advocated “bring the war home,” because too many people seemed not to care how many died, when it was elsewhere.
The destruction of the twin World Trade Center Towers was certainly bringing war home. It was hard to reconcile the feelings of anger and revenge with non-violence and peace. I started writing that day, and didn’t stop for weeks. I only wrote a few lines a day. I finished after September 20, 2001, because that is the day President Bush declared war on a thing: terror, and before October 7, 2001, because that is the day the current war in Afghanistan became official. (See: Afghanistan prior to 9/11)

THERE IS DEATH I CANNOT FEEL

Denial.
A plane crashing into a building. New York. I’m late for work. I’ll find out what this is about later. At work there is a TV on across the hall in the office. Pictures of a building burning, a plane smashing into a building. World trade center. I’ve been there. Delivered packages in the ’70’s. Toured New York in the ’90’s.  Walked the observation deck. Pictures of that building collapsing. Pictures of another building collapsing.  Unreal.  Surreal. I see but don’t believe. Nonsense. Thousands of people in those buildings, as many as 50,000. It can’t be happening. The eyes take it in, but the mind is numb.
Awakening.
I want to know what happened; how, when, why?  I turn on the radio; alternate listening,  wandering across the hall to the TV.  I see it happen over and over.  I want to know how many people were killed, as if it matters how many thousands.  The radio brings fresh reports: two planes, three planes, four!  It’s too incredible.  Hijackers.  Terrorists.  Religious fanatics.  Muslims.  Islam.  Terrorists.  Hijacked. The usually loquacious media commentators repeat the same things over and over.  Pictures from the Pentagon.  The Pentagon?  How in hell do you hit that?  Images in my head of protests at the Pentagon.  Hated object of military mistakes, military arrogance. Smoke and fire.  How many dead?  No one knows.  Plane down in Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania?  No word from the President yet, he’s on Air Force One, circling, traveling.  He’s in an underground bunker.  His life could be in danger.  Who speaks for the U.S.?  Who did this?  Why?  No one claims responsibility.  This is real terror.  The apocalypse?  I’m alert.  I’m awake.
Anger.
It’s stopped.  All news is an endless replaying of the same images, the same destruction, the same death.  No more.  I don’t want to see any more.  I don’t want to hear anymore.  Kill them.  Kill the people who did this.  Flay them; draw and quarter them.  Stop them.  Yes, that’s it.  We must destroy them before they destroy us.  Us?  The U.S.  My country.  The country I  live in.  The country I share with millions of others.  We’re under attack.  We must defend ourselves.  We must, we must, we must retaliate; we must kill, destroy.  Adrenalin pumping; I can’t sleep.  How do we answer?  Who do we attack?  When?
Grief.
Death.  Death on a massive scale.  People grieving.  There are people grieving around the world.  People who were not involved, strangers.  They build altars, bring flowers.  I see them crying, grieving, and the tears flow down my face uncontrollably.  My face is soaked in empathy with people who cry in empathy with the grief of the families of the victims.  My emotions pour out.  My spirit returns.


Acceptance.
No more killing.  If we kill innocents, we are no better than the killers.  No country has declared war.  The terrorists are spread throughout the world.  They have declared war against the most powerful nation on our planet.  Backfire!  The nations of the world express their solidarity with us, with the U.S.  Our President declares a war on terrorism.  There will be action.  We will hunt the terrorists down.  We will exact justice.  But who will be killed?  Poor Afghans?  Goat herders and camel riders?  They did not do this.  A government is in power that says it did not do this, but, but, they’re not sorry about it either.  So, do we kill them?  Their own people fight against them.  Civil war.
Healing.
Afghans dying already from malnutrition, hunger, disease.  The country is impoverished.  The borders are closed to the Red Cross, to any foreign aid.  The country is sick, maybe dying.  Should we help it along?  Or, or, or perhaps we should try to help those people.  Drop food supplies.  Drop newspapers.  Drop letters from Muslims around the world who denounce terrorism, who denounce killing as anathema to their religion, to the core of their beliefs.  There is no holy war.  The terrorists want us to attack Muslims, want us to attack Muslim countries.  They expect to split the world into warring religious camps.  We cannot play their game. We must not play their deadly game.  We must show the world that we are the strongest nation in the world, that we do have the best people.  We believe in tolerance, respect for each other.  We may not practice our beliefs all the time, but we try.  We try.  Let us find ways to heal.  Let us find ways to defend ourselves without killing others who cannot defend themselves from us.  Revenge is sweet, but revenge goes on and on, and on.   There have been centuries of revenge already.  If we act alone, if we destroy and bomb and kill; if we take one innocent life in the name of  revenge, then we will be alone.  Terrorism will go on; people around the world will suffer.   Let us work with the nations of our world to solve this crime, to stop it from ever happening again.  Let us unite with former enemies, with Libya and Cuba and Russia, and China, and all of our friends and allies in the world.  Together we can stop terrorism once and for all.  Together we can root out the causes of terror: the distrust, the injustice, the fear, the poverty, and the unreasoning hatred of those who are different.  It is our world.  We are the people of the Earth.  We are one.

We are one.

We are one.

Susana Martinez is a Political Hack? Maybe; Maybe Not

She is New Mexico’s new Governor.  Facing a budget shortfall, due largely to the decreased revenue from oil and gas, she is looking for ways to cut the fat from the state and balance the budget.  Fair enough.  We all know it needs to be done.

So why, I ask, does she wants to cut New Mexico’s revenue even more?

Under our previous Governor, the film industry has been flocking to New Mexico to make movies.  They receive subsidies.  Susana Martinez doesn’t like that. She wants that changed. Why? Because she believes New Mexico is losing money.  However, the movie making brings hundreds of millions of dollars to the state.  A contradiction. She believes, for no apparent reason, that the money will continue to flow in and filmmakers will continue to flock to New Mexico.  Yes, a lot of movies were made here in the past. However, production has increased dramatically since the subsidies were instituted, even while film making has decreased in other states.  For someone who hates taxes, she makes no sense.  In this case, the subsidies actually were attracting more industry to New Mexico.  She wants to cuts taxes generally, believing that high taxes keep industry away, and yet she doesn’t see the contradiction in cutting the subsidies for movie making.

I begin to wonder if she hasn’t a clue what she’s doing.

Another thing she wants to do is eliminate the practice of allowing illegal immigrants to have a driver’s license.  This was a campaign promise, aimed at those who don’t want any more illegal immigrants here in New Mexico.  She is fulfilling her promise, sure, but at the cost of losing all that revenue!  Here we are facing a budget shortfall, and she wants to totally eliminate a large source of income. On top of that, the policy of allowing illegal immigrants to have driver’s licenses has decreased the number of people driving without insurance.  Governor Martinez has no idea how to stem the flow of illegals, but she wants to take us back to the days when none of them had insurance, because they couldn’t get it without a license.  Stupid idea. If she were to focus instead of some way to prevent illegals from entering New Mexico, I’d understand that.

However, since illegals enter New Mexico not only from Mexico, but also by way of Texas and Arizona, she’d have to build a wall around the entire state with armed guards every 50 feet.  Since that’s not going to happen, she should not deprive the state of a source of income, putting all of us at risk from uninsured motorists, just to satisfy her fear of illegals.  A climate of fear has been created in which people actually believe that we are all in immediate danger from these Mexicans, even though Mexico is hardly the only source of illegals in this country. At one point in recent history, it was poor Irish who made up a great percentage of the illegals, overstaying  their student, visitor and work visas.

Governor Susana Martinez is kowtowing to prejudice and hysteria for political gain.  She wanted to be elected.  She promised something stupid, and now she is going to add to the budget deficit, while taking credit for keeping those illegal Mexicans out, even though that won’t happen.  She has to be one dumb ass to think taking away driver’s licenses is going to stop people from coming to New Mexico.  But I doubt she’s that stupid.  She simply wants applause from her big-money supporters in Texas.  Texas. Yes. She received a lot of campaign contributions from Texas in order to insure that another Democrat wouldn’t take office in New Mexico.

More politics. More dumb politics actually.  She actually had the nerve to accuse the Environmental Improvement Board that she disbanded of not doing what’s best for the state because of narrow-minded political goals.  Can she not hear herself?  Or does she not really care about the state at all?

I’ll listen to her State of the State message today, but I’m not optimistic. It’s more politics as usual for us.

AFTER THE STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS TODAY:

I got some answers from her speech to the Legislature today.

She claims that some filmmakers have abused the subsidies by overspending on frivolous items. Perhaps. She cited one example; I don’t know the whole story.

She still claims she will make New Mexico’s border more secure, firstly by keeping driver’s licenses out of the hands of illegals.  Good luck securing the border that way.

She denounced the influx of Federal stimulus dollars to New Mexico, saying that it gave lawmakers an easy out, and they didn’t have to take action. Not true – the budget has already been trimmed in the last two years, and much has been cut.  Not enough has been cut, but she overstated her case, claiming that lawmakers did nothing.

She reemphasized her promise to sell the State’s jet, which she calls the State’s luxury jet.  As I understood it, the jet was a way to save money by ferrying State officials around instead of handing out huge travel vouchers.  I could be wrong; perhaps it was just a waste a money. If so, then I applaud her decision.

Governor Martinez called for the reinstatement of the death penalty for certain crimes, as the rape and murder of children and the murder of police officers in the line of duty.  I have to say that I agree.  I feel the death penalty is not appropriate for many crimes, as, for example,  crimes of passion, but premeditated heinous crimes against children is a reasonable case for making the death penalty available for juries to consider.

She also denounced Cap & Tax ( a cap on carbon emissions credits, and a tax on carbon produced) as partisan ideology, and not sound science.  I should point out to her that the scientists involved in this are neither democrats nor republicans, but scientists concerned with the health of our environment as a whole.  Just because some politicians support it or denounce it doesn’t mean the science itself is bad.   Her political party denounces it, so she denounces it, without knowing if cap and tax is bad. It’s why she disbanded the state’s Environmental Improvement Board.

There were a lot interesting of things in this speech, like having the state cover the salaries of those unemployed who are hired for six months, that I like.  I don’t know where she intends to find the money for that in a budget crises, as she calls it herself.   It sounds like something she thinks is a good way to get people back to work, but I don’t know how much thought she’s put into it, as far as how the program will work, and how it will be paid for.   We’ll see if this one goes anywhere. It’ll probably be a casualty in a  trade-off for other legislation, and, I suspect that it is exactly that – a bargaining chip.

I support her call to cut administrative salaries in our public schools by 1  1/2 percent.  The bureaucracy is indeed bloated, and should be cut, long before cuts are made in classrooms.

I’m not sure how her idea that all those arrested for a felony crime be DNA tested will work out.  It goes against the privacy concerns of Libertarians, liberals, conservatives, Republicans and Democrats.  Perhaps if DNA testing is required for those convicted of felony crimes, it will pass. We’ll see.

One thing I absolutely support is her call for an end to social promotion.  I believe there is no reason to promote children through school who do not have a grasp of the basics.  Either they learn a minimum of the core curriculum or they do not pass.  I first saw this many years ago firsthand as a math aide at the local technical/vocational school.  While the school had a Preparatory division, ostensibly for people who had been long out of school to be brought up to speed in math and literacy, most of the students were high school graduates who had just graduated!  That’s indefensible. They didn’t know rudimentary basics like negative numbers, long division, or simple algebra.   Most could neither comprehend what they read, nor write a simple paragraph.

Lastly, I enthusiastically support her call to end corruption in public office.  She says that those found guilty of such corruption be removed from office and serve mandatory jail time.  Hear! Hear!

OK, so I rushed to judgment, based on the newly-elected Governor’s dissolution of the Environmental Improvement Board and her promise to take away the driver’s licenses of all illegal immigrants, so I will withhold judgment for now.   She deserves a chance to try and change things.  Good luck with that Susana, you’ll need it.

Articles of Impeachment – A Must Read

see – http://www.democrats.com/files/amomentoftruth.pdf or http://chun.afterdowningstreet.org/amomentoftruth.pdf

Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio
In the United States House of Representatives
Monday, June 9th, 2008
A Resolution

Article I
Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq.
Article II
Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With
Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of
Aggression.

Article III
Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War.
Article IV
Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States.
Article V
Illegally Misspending Funds to Secretly Begin a War of Aggression.
Article VI
Invading Iraq in Violation of the Requirements of HJRes114.
Article VII
Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.
Article VIII
Invading Iraq, A Sovereign Nation, in Violation of the UN Charter.
Article IX
Failing to Provide Troops With Body Armor and Vehicle Armor
Article X
Falsifying Accounts of US Troop Deaths and Injuries for Political Purposes
Article XI
Establishment of Permanent U.S. Military Bases in Iraq
Article XII
Initiating a War Against Iraq for Control of That Nation’s Natural Resources
Article XIIII
Creating a Secret Task Force to Develop Energy and Military Policies With Respect to Iraq and Other Countries
Article XIV
Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency
Article XV
Providing Immunity from Prosecution for Criminal Contractors in Iraq
Article XVI
Reckless Misspending and Waste of U.S. Tax Dollars in Connection With Iraq and US Contractors
Article XVII
Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives
Article XVIII
Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy
Article XIX
Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to “Black Sites” Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture
Article XX
Imprisoning Children
Article XXI
Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats from Iran, and Supporting Terrorist Organizations Within Iran, With the Goal of Overthrowing the Iranian Government
Article XXII
Creating Secret Laws
Article XXIII
Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act
Article XXIV
Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment
Article XXV
Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens
Article XXVI
Announcing the Intent to Violate Laws with Signing Statements
Article XXVII
Failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas and Instructing Former Employees Not to Comply
Article XXVIII
Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice
Article XXIX
Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Article XXX
Misleading Congress and the American People in an Attempt to Destroy Medicare
Article XXXI
Katrina: Failure to Plan for the Predicted Disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Failure to Respond to a Civil Emergency
Article XXXII
Misleading Congress and the American People, Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change
Article XXXIII
Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the US, Prior to 911.
Article XXXIV
Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001
Article XXXV
Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders
____________

See links at the top of this post for details of each article.

IMPEACH NOW! Try for war crimes! Hang when guilt is legally established.