The next time you hear an American politician bloviating on how much they support…

The next time you hear an American politician bloviating on how much they support the troops, ask them if they would give up their pension for a soldier

The vast majority of politicians, especially in congress are liars and hypocrites. Every member of congress is fully vested for a pension after just five years of "service." That means a senator wouldn't even have to complete a full term in order to start collecting a paycheck for life.

If on the other hand, someone opts to serve in the military, they would have to put in 20 years before being eligible for a pension. Members of the special forces including Navy SEALS and Army Green Berets put their lives on the line in some of the most dangerous situations, especially in wartime and yet if they are unable to last 20 years, they leave with nothing but a pat on the back. 

After 16 years, the man that put a bullet a brain of Osama bin Laden found that his body and brain simply couldn't take any more and opted to retire. Upon leaving the service, he had no pay, no health insurance for his wife and children and no real prospects for a career despite his proven leadership capabilities. 

Because of his particular assignments, this man cannot even reveal what he had done for the past 16 years without put his and his family's lives in danger. 

I've always felt that the whole "support the troops" rhetoric was totally disingenuous, and the fact that no one has done anything about taking care of ex-soldiers just proves it.

Print – The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden… Is Screwed – Esquire
The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden… Is Screwed. For the first time, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden tells his story — speaking not just about the raid and the three shots that changed history, but about the personal aftermath for himself and his family. And the startling failure of …

The irony of Republican opposition to intervention in Libya 1

With republican heavyweights like Newt Gingrich and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen showing absolutely no reluctance to reverse course on policy in Libya as soon as President Obama actually began to enforce a no-fly zone, it’s worth looking at their opinions from another perspective.

Back in 2001, when former President George W Bush decided to invade Iraq, the decision was made on the pretense that Iraq was amassing weapons of mass destruction and providing material support to Al Qaeda. As many of us at the time said, neither assertion was true, and time has proven us correct. Nonetheless, Bush and his cronies sent American soldiers into Iraq and now nearly a decade later, tens of thousands of them are still there despite the fact that Iraq has never attacked America.

Now the question is what to do about Libya. We largely stood by and watched while the people of Tunisia and Egypt overthrew their entrenched leaders and we are doing the same now in Syria and Yemen.

Many republicans are now staunchly opposed to action in Libya even though they were all for it just a few weeks ago. What nobody seems to be mentioning is the fact that unlike Iraq, Muammar Ghadaffi actually has had his agents attack American interests including Pan Am flight 103 and a German disco frequented by American soldiers. Despite the fact that Ghadaffi actually has a history of attacking Americans (something that Saddam Hussien never actually did) Gingrich and Ros-Lehtinen are opposing action in Libya.

That’s not to say that U.S. forces should be involved, because the results of this are certainly unclear. My point is simply that the Republican leadership are just a bunch of political hacks and hypocrites who stand for nothing more than to oppose a Democratic president in order to further their own ambitions.

Ron Paul doesn’t believe in evolution

Recently Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has been garnering a lot of grass roots attention. Even as an unrepentant liberal, a lot of what Paul says appeals to me because of his unequivocal stand on the Bill of Rights and ending this absurd war on terror. This anti-war/anti-police state stance is the main issue that seems to attract a lot of younger supporters who might otherwise consider themselves to be more left-leaning. Unfortunately, there are no Democrats aside from Dennis Kucinich who are so strident on these issues.
Unfortunately, as appealing as Paul’s stand is on these issues, he has some equally disturbing positions on other issues that just aren’t getting the attention they deserve. Paul has made it clear that in spite of his belief that the government should stay out of people’s private beliefs, that doesn’t apply to a woman’s right to decide whether to have a baby. Paul want’s the supreme court to repeal Roe v Wade and thinks abortion should be outlawed by states. Perhaps even more disturbing, when he was asked at a recent event about his response to a debate question on whether he believed in evolution, he made it clear that he does not. Any potential president who can simply disregard scientific evidence in this way has absolutely no business even being considered for the position. In an increasingly technological world with a lot of problems that we must address, it is critical that we have a president who has basic scientific literacy. On this count Ron Paul along with several of his GOP colleagues fails and should be dismissed from the race immediately.

School board back at full strength 2

The School Board selected two new members tonight to fill the vacancies left by the resignations of Amy Doyle and Cam Getto. Eric Temple and Sarah Devaney are now members of the board for the next year until they have to run for election. The recordings of the interviews are up on the podcast feed. Best of luck to Sarah and Eric because they are going to have an extremely tough job in the coming months and I don’t envy them one bit.

On an unrelated note, I also want to send best wishes to Dr. Maggie Brandt. Maggie is a trauma surgeon and also Steve Pierce’s wife as well as an army reservist and she is heading off to Iraq at the end of this week. Unfortunately it looks like she is going to be very busy for the next few months repairing the physical damage being done to troops over there. Stay safe Maggie.

Shoot the messenger 2

Surely by now you have heard about the fiasco that is Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  Contrary to the to all the bullshit rhetoric from republicans about supporting the troops, they have consistently done nothing of the sort.  Wounded troops undergoing outpatient treatment at Walter Reed, have been living in disgracefully squalid conditions in buildings at the facility, and the number of wounded has been drastically undercounted by the defence department.

Now in a further insult to the wounded troops,  instead of addressing the problems at WRAMC, and all the VA hospitals around the country, they have ordered the soldiers living there to be up at 6am every day and ready for inspection at 7am.  In addition they have barred everyone at the facility from talking to anyone in the press.  Don’t fix the problem, just ignore it.

War profiteers

We were watching the documetary Iraq for Sale the other day, and it just never ceases to amaze me how corrupt everything associated with this war and the Bush administration is. One thing that the new congress should do is pass a law on war profiteering. Better yet, a constitutional amendment. If someone is found to be a war profiteer, they should be forced to pay back all money received from the government, and all officers of the company should receive a lifetime ban from ever doing business with the government in any way, shape or form. Furthermore, any company doing business with the government should be prohibited from any association with any individuals or companies who have been found to have been war profiteers.

Also all the tasks that were formerly done by military personnel such as maintaining equipment, security, feeding troops, etc, should be brought back into the military. A proper accounting system also needs to be established for the military. Past accounts are so screwed up that they can never be fixed, but all future expenditures need to be accounted for properly. Cost plus contracts also need to be eliminated, since they are a breeding ground for corruption. Past administrations from both sides of the aisle are to blame for this mess, but clearly the republicans will not take responsibility for cleaning it up, so the democrats must.

Maps of War

I just stumbled across a very interesting site called Maps of War that features a variety of animated maps of the middle east. The Imperial History map is particularly fascinating if you’re unfamiliar with the history of region. Over the last five millenia there have been a succession empires that rose and fell and these are shown in conjunction with an animated time line. In general, empires have lasted about three centuries, including their rise, peak and eventual decline with periods of chaos in between. The United States is well into it’s third century and the downward spiral has accelerated in the past five years as the chaos has accelerated.

Dwight Eisenhower’s warning to the nation 2

A lot of people know of President Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell address to the United States just before leaving office in January 1961. That’s the one where he warned people about the dangers of letting the military-industrial complex have too much power. If you’ve never seen it, it definitely worth watching especially in this time when the military-industrial complex is so explicitly personified by the likes of Dick Cheney. The whole speech is available on Google Video and is definitely worth watching. The relevant portions of the speech are also shown in the film Why We Fight which is also on Google video. It’s definitely worth watching to see how the military industrial complex has corrupted American democracy.

Military recruiters lying to students

The military is so desperate to get new recruits, that recruiters are telling outright lies to students to get them to sign up. They’re going so far as to tell them that the war in Iraq is over and troops are being brought home. They’re also telling them that if they don’t like it that they can just quit, which is definitely not the case. The New York city ABC news affiliate did an investigation, sending students into 10 different recruiting stations in the city with hidden cameras. The results were startling, and that’s one of the reasons why we don’t want recruiters coming into our schools trying to sign up our kids. Fortunately, the Ypsi school district has a policy and it will now be enforced to stop giving recruiters free run of the cafeteria. That’s especially important after hearing that two more local kids died this week in this senseless, unnecessary war.

Just because your paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you 2

If your read my previous Bullshit post, or other posts you might get the impression that I’m paranoid or a conspiracy theorist. Nothing could be further from the truth. I just look around me at what is happening and what people say and come to my own opinions. Based on the “truthiness” record of anyone associated with Bush administration and real story that ultimately comes out after their highly touted terrorism “victories” I think anyone paying attention would be foolish not to be highly skeptical of anything that they say. Remember the Miami terror cell a few months ago?, the Tonawanda 6?, Jose Padilla?, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi? All of these were huge stories when they broke. But every one them also turned out to be much ado about nothing. The guys in Miami were a bunch of losers trying to hatch some plot, and they weren’t even Muslims. Padilla never actually did anything. Same with the guys from Tonawanda. And the violence in Iraq has only gotten worse since Zarqawi’s death. After each one of these instances, the media followed the Bush line and made a huge deal about important the bust was. However, once it became clear that there was nothing of importance in each case, the story was forgotten by the major media.

Now this morning, I saw on AmericaBlog that NBC is reporting that a senior British official is now acknowledging that no attack was imminent. This runs contrary to the words of Bush, Cheney, Lieberman et al, a few days ago. Evidently the suspects had not yet even purchased airline tickets, and most of them didn’t have passports. The White House obviously denies this:

“There was unprecedented cooperation and coordination between the U.S., the U.K. and Pakistani officials throughout the case,” said Frances Townsend, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, “and we worked together to protect our citizens from harm while ensuring that we gathered as much info as possible to bring the plotters to justice. There was no disagreement between U.S. and U.K. officials.”

I believe that in this case “unprecedented cooperation” means that we need to scare the people in the wake of Lieberman’s loss, and the British went along with it. The only hope the Republicans have of maintaining there majority in congress is to convince enough ignorant people this year that only they can protect them from the terrorists. But if people actually look at what has been claimed versus reality, they will see that not only can the Republicans not protect America, but they have utterly mis-managed everything they have touched in the past six years. Assuming that there even was a real plot (and I’m skeptical of that) I think that is more likely something along the lines of this cartoon Liquid bomb plot I saw yesterday on BoingBoing. We have a government that seems to be so set on keeping the nation in a constant state of fear and war (see 1984 for the rationale), that Al-Qaeda doesn’t have to actually do anything. They just have to plant some “plots” so they are found, and wait for the government to destroy democracy and freedom from within. I believe the ones out to get us and destroy are civilization are not the Islamo-Fascists, but the Christian-Fascists sitting amongst us.

It is time to ignore the warnings from the White House, and start working to bring into office people who actually believe in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.