Thursday, May 11, 2006

One of my Senators is listening...

This is the note I recieved from one of my local senators (i sent the article to all 3 of my local leaders). Mind you I sent my first missive about "getting out of Iraq now" to them May 5th, 2006. This response came to me May 8th. I'm proud to say that one repsonded, but worried that it's just a form letter. You decide.

Dear Mr. Stewart:

Thank you for contacting me about the war in Iraq . I appreciate hearing from you.

I traveled to Iraq last year, and my trip confirmed my view that the United States must begin to redeploy our forces out of Iraq . Passing the three-year mark in Iraq , I believe our presence has become counterproductive.

Despite widespread sectarian violence throughout Iraq , the Bush Administration is failing to plan for the threats posed by the possibility of a full-scale civil war. On February 23, 2006 and again on March 29, I wrote to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, asking him to explain his plan for the worst-case scenario: our troops getting caught in the crossfire of a civil war. Given the administration's past failure to plan for the insurgency in Iraq , I feel it is imperative that we have a plan for the growing possibility of an all-inclusive civil war.

The administration's refusal to publicly discuss any exit strategy or even the specific conditions that must be met by the Iraqis in order to begin bringing our troops home leads me to believe that they envision a permanent U.S. presence and a never-ending war in Iraq. President Bush's comments that we will be there as long as he is President as well as his request to build permanent military bases in Iraq are very troubling and are unacceptable to me and to a majority of the American people.

On June 30, 2005, I joined Senator Russell Feingold (D WI) in co-sponsoring Senate Resolution 171, which calls on the Bush Administration to provide Congress with a time frame for achieving its military goals and withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq . After three years of battle and tragic losses endured by both American forces and Iraqis, I believe that Iraqis have to take control over the future of their country.

Once again, thank you for your letter and for caring deeply about this critical matter.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Please visit my website

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Shhhhh, the government is listening...

We are "not mining or trolling through the
personal lives of millions of innocent Americans"

George W. Bush, May 10, 2006 on the release of
telephone records to the NSA.

So they don't care that your talking to your hairdresser, or that your best friends mothers brother passed away...Their looking for terrorists. But their listening to you in the mean time...just in case.

Ok, well there have been jokes that the government is listening, but now, they are fessing up, they really are. It's not really a joke, haha, Big Brother is really there, on the phone lines, listening to you talk about your best friends mothers brother.


...Last month, a former AT&T technician said in a sealed court document filed in federal court that the company cooperated with NSA to install equipment for "vacuum cleaner surveillance" of e-mail messages and Internet traffic, according to his lawyer.

Attorney Miles Ehrlich of Berkeley, California, told CNN that his client, Mark Klein, said there is a special room inside an AT&T building in San Francisco that is entirely controlled by NSA personnel and contains equipment that can sift through large amounts of Internet traffic.

But the article also quotes that the NSA says ...
"Given the nature of the work we do, it would be irresponsible to comment on actual or alleged operational issues; therefore, we have no information to provide.

"However, it is important to note that NSA takes its legal responsibilities seriously and operates within the law."
So maybe it isn't "illegal" per-se, but is it permissable? Where did we ever sign off on saying it was ok for our calls and e-mails to be monitored and watched? This is not ok and should not be tolerated. Even if it's to look for terrorists, it's still not ok. Are we losing control of OUR Government who, like a vouyer, listens to what we talk and write about? Shame on the phone companies who bowed to the pressure of the NSA. I never said it was ok for them to listen to me. I once worked for a telco company and it was a HUGE deal when someone would monitor a line. A HUGE DEAL. So who decideds now that they can fish through our records? Who decides who is a terrorist or not? This is not tolerable.

I think i'll send this to my Senator and Congress person too. Lets see if I get a response.

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This is a joke. Let the prices remain high, invest in R&D (that thing we don't want Iran to do) and come up with some alternatives. Oil is going away, it's high time we pay the world cost for oil, and stop whining how we want it cheaper.

Innovate. Innovate. Innovate.

Just imagine if we invested 10 Billion of money earmarked for the war into inovating technology, maybe we could get beyond this issue of oil. We are stuck in the morass of consumption. What will we do in 10 years, 20 years? Why does it have to be a fixed by Labor Day?

We are missing the point. That is our nations failing.

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Get Out of Iraq now.

It's an Op-ed piece, published in the LA Times. I'm not big on Op-Ed's, opinions are like something else we all have...But this one made a lot of sense to me.

What "we" want does not really matter in this ordeal of nation-building. Removing a head of state and wiping out a system of government does not create an air of stability to create something that never existed in the first place. Instead, we continue to try and make something work that can't.

A civil war in Iraq is inevitable. Like water, the people need to find their balance. I think the problem here is that "we" don't like who "we" see as the victors being. Just like in Palestine, we pushed for an open and democratic election, and now, we don't want to talk to "terrorists" even though they are the elected leadership.

In my Op-Ed, I think "we" are in for a world of problems, all thanks to the Bush administration and the big businesses getting fat from the billion dollar spending bills we keep passing in congress.

We need out of this war, now. I think I'll send a letter to my congress person about it. I wonder if they will have anything to say about it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Los Angeles's Day Without an Immigrant

May Day has long been a focal point for demonstrations by various socialists, communist, and anarchist groups, including the Day Without an Immigrant march yesterday. Web sites abound with images and the media has done a good job of covering it. Hell, I even got a half-day out of work because of it as I work on Wilshire, near Fairfax. But I had to comment on how striking it was that the "Day Without an Immigrant" happened to fall on May 1st, which is globally known as May Day.

The ideas and arguments seem to mirror those of big labor and it's efforts to mobilize and sign-up members so as to have a bigger saber to wield at big government. But is doing this, an about face, a real the way to enforce laws? Do we cheapen our American laws by suddenly allowing millions of trespassers, solely on the premise that they have been here, to become citizens. Do they deserve it just because they were here? It sound slike a squaters arguement, "its mine because I was here".

We have laws for a reason, and they have a process for change. But as a citizen, born and raised here, I don't want to give away something so precious. I am neither racist nor Anti-immigrant, but if you’re going to be here, be here legally. Blanket amnesty would be a mistake in the long run, but then so would walling up our borders. If we allow people into this country, to have them break the law and stay illegally, and then flaunt it and expect a say in OUR Democracy, then I feel they are mistaken. The signs of the protestors are true, we were all immigrants, but American Freedom came at the barrel of a gun, not a presumed entitlement.

Circling back to the May Day celebration, just in my humble opinion, the day dedicated for this march is too coincidental to be happenstance. The veiled image of a socialist march is unacceptable. I wonder how many of those marching got the connection. Did they know they were being used as tools to promote the Communist or Socialist agenda?

For those unfamiliar with Communism, here are but a few of the quotes:
Marx wrote of the stage of communist society before the total disappearance of scarcity,
Freedom in this field can consist only in socialized man, the associated producers, rationally regulating their interchange with Nature, bringing it under their common control, instead of being ruled by it as by the blind forces of Nature.

The point is made most clearly by Engels:

With the seizure of the means of production by society, production of commodities is done away with, and with it the dominion of the product over the producers. Anarchy of social production is replaced by conscious organization according to plan. The whole sphere of the conditions of life which surround men, which ruled men up until now comes under the dominion and conscious control of men, who become for the first time the real, conscious lords of nature, because and in that they become master of their own social organization. The laws of their own social activity, which confronted them until this point as alien laws of nature, controlling them, then are applied by men with full understanding, and so mastered by them. Only from then on will men make their history themselves in full consciousness; only from then on will the social causes they set in motion have in the main and in constantly increasing proportion, also the results intended by them. It is the leap of mankind from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom.

Or in other words, a Dictatorship.

My own experience, it was a slow work day, traffic was light. And it seemed less crowded on the streets. That's a good thing in Los Angeles standards. Someone told me it only took them 22 minutes to do a drive that typically takes an hour plus. Maybe more days without immigrants would be beneficial.

Happy May Day, I'm sure Castro, Chavez, Marx, Engels, Stalin and Lenin would be proud.

Just for reference, this is what May day looks like in other places...the Soviet Union in 1959 and Switzerland in the 2000's

Immigrant Solidarity
Or the other side
Minuteman Civil Defense

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