Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

LAND MINES?

You may recall that about six years ago I wrote a brief blog about my disenchantment with the U.S.goverment refusing to joint the global treaty banning land mines.At that point 141 countries had ratified the Ottawa Convention’s land mine prohibition of antipersonnel mines. The Bush administration refused to ratify it because we needed to be able to use them in order to protect our national security.

And now, six years later, more than 150 nations have signed the treaty including most of our NATO allies and even Iraq, Afghanistan and Columbia. Meanwhile,the Obama administration has determined that we would not be able to meet our national defense needs nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we signed this convention. We stand proudly with China and Russia as the only major nations to refuse to sign. While we haven’t used them since the 1991 Gulf War, We have a stockpile of more than 10 million land mines.

As a recent editorial in the Jan Jose Mercury News states:

“Land mines caused more than 5000 causalties in 2008, many of them outside current war zones.  More than a third of the victims were children. If the United States can support treaties against the use of chemical weapons and other atrocities, surely it can ban devices that keep on killing the innocent years after the war is over.

The notion that our security rests on them now is ludicrous – a distortion of reality unworthy of a president who claims to want to restore U.S. stature in the international community. U.S. officials backtracked a bit on their position last week after humanitarian groups exploded in rage. They now say the policy is “under review.”  What’s left to review?”

LAND MINES

You man recall that about six years ago I wrote a brief blog about my disenchantment with the U.S.goverment refusing to joint the global treaty banning land mines.At that point 141 countries had ratified the Ottawa Convention’s land mine prohibition of antipersonnel mines. The Bush administration refused to ratify it because we needed to be able to use them in order to protect our national security.
And now, six years later, more than 150 nations have signed the treaty including most of our NATO allies and even Iraq, Afghanistan and Columbia. Meanwhile,the Obama administration has determined that we would not be able to meet our national defense needs nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we signed this convention. We stand proudly with China and Russia as the only major nations to refuse to sign. While we haven’t used them since the 1991 Gulf War, We have a stockpile of more than 10 million land mines.

As ann editorial in the Jan Jose Mercury News states:
The notion that our security rests on them now is ludicrous – a distortion of reality unworthy of a president who claims to want to restore U.S. stature in the international community. U.S. officials backtracked a bit on their position last week after humanitarian groups exploded in rage. They now say the policy is “under review.”  What’s left to review?

Read Full Post »

For the most part, the health care debate (debate?)  has been sufficiently inane (death panels, birthers, rampant socialism) and lacking rational dialogue about real issues we are facing that I’m feeling somewhat embarrassed about being a citizen of country that actually elects to congress some of the members that have been public supporting the false irrelevant drivel that has so intrigued the media.  I am acutely aware that ranting such drivel only encourages others (including me) to rant responses.  I’m also aware that the only change that ranting produces is a change in one’s blood pressure level.  I have therefore decided that it is time for me to post a blog that makes a simple straightforward statement of what it is I want from my government.

Regarding health care I continue to support and want a federal income tax supported single payer system.  This would likely require a rather substantial increase in the income taxes that we pay. Be reminded that we are at once the richest nation in the history world, and the lowest taxed industrialized nation. To that end, I support tax increases necessary to provide appropriate health care, education, social security and other social safety nets.  (For an outstanding assessment of the value and importance of competent government read Mario Cuomo’s Reason to Believe published in 1995.  Reagan was wrong, government is not the problem, capitalistic greed is the
problem.)

I subscribe to our country moving in the following directions:

  • Advocate and financially support and the UN taking the lead in international crises,
    including the current situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, (At this point the best known international humanitarian organizations estimate the total war on terror deaths at 3.4 million. – Does this mean we’re winning?)
    Rely on diplomatic and economic measures rather than military ones in confronting terrorism,
    Accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and the World Court,
    Sign, support, and carry forward the Kyoto Protocols,
    Adhere to the traditional interpretation of the UN Charter,
    Give up the Security Council veto,
    Avoid use of force except in self-defense against an ongoing or imminent armed attack.
    Comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which we have signed.
    Comply with the Geneva Convention Treaty which we have signed.
    Comply with the UN Genocide Convention Treaty which we have signed;
    Sign and comply with the Ottawa Convention agreements banning the use of antipersonnel mines.
    Reestablish habeas corpus .
    Repeal the Patriot Act
    Cut back sharply on military spending,
    Dramatically increase social spending,
    A federal income tax supported single payer health care system that includes coverage of preventive, mental and dental health.

And I continue to advocate compulsory voting for all national elections! Let’s hear from everyone!

Read Full Post »

In 1936 A.M Hocart the eminent English anthropologist who wrote extensively on Polynesian cultures published a book entitled Kings and Councillors which anaylized in depth the tribal structure of the Fiji Islanders.

He points out that the tribal chief was considered divine and thereby had access to the gods and how to plese them and thus invoke prosperity for the tribe. Hocart goes on to say “if the harvest was good the people were prepared to put up with a moderate amount of tyranny.”

How profoundly similar to the situation in which President Obama now finds himself!  Times haven’t changed much over the centuries.

Read Full Post »

In 1936 A.M Hocart the eminent English anthropologist who wrote extensively on Polynesian cultures published a book entitled Kings and Councillors which anaylized in depth the tribal structure of the Fiji Islanders.

He points out that the tribal chief was considered divine and thereby had access to the gods and how to plese them and thus invoke prosperity for the tribe. Hocart goes on to say “if the harvest was good the people were prepared to put up with a moderate amount of tyranny.”

How profoundly similar to the situation in which President Obama now finds himself!  Times haven’t changed much over the centuries.

Read Full Post »



Whenever I hear/read/see the news of human slaughter throughout the world (Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia), the first thing that comes to my mind is “Who sold them the guns?”

So today I did a quick check on arms sales as published by the Center for Arms Control (please note the use of the word control) Here’s what I found:

  • Middle East Arms Sales Agreement by Supplier 1999 – 2006 as percentage of total value. Total Value of agreements for that period was $76.5 billion.
  • U.S. 56%   Russia 12%   UK 11%   France 5%   China 3%  Germany 2%   All others 12%

What conclusions might we draw from these published statistics?  And then I read in today’s news that because of Obama and the democrats election victories there has been a huge rush on gun sales – get ‘em before the democrats tighten the purchasing restriction.

Read Full Post »

Hello, hello, hello, Good Stuff Here!

http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org/research/lakoff/incompetent

Go to this web site and read Lakoff’s excellent piece on the fact that Bush is not incompetent. While appearing that way he has advanced a number of major conservative agendas including:

– Centralizing power within the executive branch to an unprecedented degree

– Starting two major wars, one started with questionable intelligence and in a manner with which the military disagreed- Placing on the Supreme Court two far-right justices, and stacking the lower federal courts with many more – Cutting taxes during wartime, an unprecedented event – Passing a number of controversial bills such as the PATRIOT Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Medicare Drug bill, the Bankruptcy bill and a number of massive tax cuts- Rolling back and refusing to enforce a host of basic regulatory protections- Appointing industry officials to oversee regulatory agencies- Establishing a greater role for religion through faith-based initiatives

– Passing Orwellian-titled legislation assaulting the environment —— “”The Healthy Forests Act”” and the “”Clear Skies Initiative”” —— to deforest public lands, and put more pollution in our skiesThen go buy the book Thinking Points A Progressive’s Handbook Communicating Our American Values and Vision by George Lakoff and The Rockridge Institute. It only cost $10 at your bookstore, or $8 thru Amazon.Yours at election time, Bill

Read Full Post »

Here are my primary political issues.  I would love to here the current candidates articulate their stance on each of them.

I want our country to move in the following directions:

Accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and the World Court,

Sign, support, and carry forward the Kyoto Protocols,

Advocate and financially support and the UN taking the lead in international crises,

including he current situations in Iraq and Afghanistan,

Rely on diplomatic and economic measures rather than military ones in confronting terrorism,

Adhere to the traditional interpretation of the UN Charter,

Give up the Security Council veto,

Avoid use of force except in self-defense against an ongoing or imminent armed attack.

Reestablish habeas corpus .

Cut back sharply on military spending,

Dramatically increase social spending,

(We are not only the richest nation in the history world, we are the lowest taxed industrialized nation. To that end, I support tax increases necessary to provide appropriate health care, education, social security and other social safety nets.)

I believe that the Bush administration must be held accountable for breaking the law while acting in its capacity as the elected executive branch of our federal government:

– launching an illegal war in violation of signed treaties, which the Constitution sets forth as the law of the land;

– the wiretapping of U.S. citizens in contravention of FISA;

– engaged in the mass detention of citizens and non-citizens solely on the President’s unreviewable word that they are ‘enemy combatants’

– the denial of the right to counsel to detainees, including U.S. citizens on U.S. soil

– the abuse and torture of detainees on the mainland, in Guantanamo, and in Iraq

– misuse of the concept of rendition in violation of the Geneva Convention

Taken as a whole, these acts represent a pattern of behavior which violates with the presidential oath of office, our constitution, international law, and any common understanding of morality. I am deeply concerned about the appalling precedent that will be set for future presidents unless such actions are clearly identified as unlawful and beyond the bounds of executive authority.

Read Full Post »