23 November 2004

With Deepest Sympathy

KIA letters to parents and spouses from Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld appear to be machine stamped rather than signed by hand.
Donald Rumsfeld – who’s known as a people-eating systems man – has a long history that shows he prefers technology to humans. Certainly as SecDef he’s always gone for high-tech military gear rather than giving the boots on the ground max priority when it comes to the basics: armored vehicles and vests, sufficient ammo and all the other vital stuff that helps soldiers make it through the Valley of Death. 

His beloved shock-and-awe whiz-bang wonder weapons worked well enough initially in Afghanistan and Iraq, but as we saw on the tube last week, we’re once again back to the age-old struggle of man against man – with grunts, not machines, taking and holding ground.

And now, apparently, Rumsfeld’s obsession with machines and their efficiency has translated into his using one to replace his own John Hancock on KIA (killed in action) letters to parents and spouses. Two Pentagon-based colonels, who’ve both insisted on anonymity to protect their careers, have indignantly reported that the SecDef has relinquished this sacred duty to a signature device rather than signing the sad documents himself.

Anything to keep themselves detached from an immoral and unjust war and its nasty human fallout…

13 November 2004

The Scott Peterson Effect

I am just curious; For those of you who do NOT believe that life begins at conception, what do you think about the Redwood, CA. jury finding Scott Peterson guilty of "second-degree murder" in the death of the UNBORN "baby Peterson"?

At a minimum, it must make one think about the potential ramifications of this verdict.

I think it is interesting that Peterson was charged with the murder of his Unborn child. For years now, pro-choice extremists have maintained that the unborn life is; a "fetus", a "life-form", an "embryo", a "fertilized egg", all of which are euphemism's too deny that it is "Life" In the Peterson case, the baby was unborn, yet Scott was found guilty of second-degree murder of the "fetus". Abortion, OK, second-degree murder, not OK.

In 2004 it is outrageous that we even need to have the abortion discussion, isn't it? Adoption, has always been one "option." Additionally, I believe we would better serve society by offering more advanced sex education in our schools, to prevent unwanted pregnancies, (and here's a novel concept), BEFORE they occur. I will go so far as to say that every high school should have free condoms available to anyone requesting them. I wouldn't mind supporting that expenditure with my taxes. I know that someone may say that in doing so promotes sexual activity. Wrong! I support abstinence, until marriage, but lets be real, those who are going to have sex, will do so regardless. And, those who are not going to engage in sex, will not.

So, abortion of a "FETUS" OK?, but Second-degree murder, of the same "FETUS" not OK. Huh??

12 November 2004

Alberto Gonzales is a poor choice for the top law enforcement post

So says Human Rights Watch
As White House counsel, Gonzales was the architect of the Bush administration’s policy of placing detainees captured in the fight against terrorism beyond the protection of any law. That policy opened the door to brutality against detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay and unfair legal proceedings against them.

"The Attorney General should enforce the law,” said Jamie Fellner, director of the U.S. Program of Human Rights Watch. “Gonzales has helped the president circumvent it. His record suggests that he would be more likely to defer to the President than to uphold basic rights.”

5 November 2004

These are extremely vulnerable workers

A glimpse at the plight of California Dairy Workers.
Lorenzo Bravo Salgado, 35, can barely walk. He used to work at Soares Dairy in Turlock, California, until a cow he was milking kicked him in the chest. Bravo fell backwards and broke a disc in his back.

"I started to black out. I started urinating blood," says Bravo. "I told the patrón [dairy owner] what happened, but he told me if I didn’t want to work, there were plenty of others who would."

Bravo says he regularly worked from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m., and then would turn around and work from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. "It was a choice of eating or sleeping," he says. "If I slept I didn’t eat, if I ate, I didn’t sleep."

His co-worker Juan Carrillo, 37, reports that he was paid no overtime and was given only one day off a week. If he was sick, he had to pay for it. "[Soares] made me sign a contract saying I would pay a fine of $50 a day if I didn’t come to work."

This is why everyone should be in opposition to any proposed guest worker program.

1 November 2004

What happens to them afterward?

Compassionate Conservatism for our fighting men.
ABC News offered an appalling glimpse in a report two weeks ago. A critically injured soldier spoke of being sent a collection notice from the Pentagon while he was recuperating at a military hospital. The Pentagon was demanding the return of a $2,700 bonus because the soldier — who now lives in his car — could not fulfill his three-year tour of duty. A National Guardsman with a leg injury said he'll have to sell his home to pay his bills. A double amputee complained of getting the runaround from the Pentagon while financial ruin closes in like the shadows of twilight.

And here is another sad story of a soldier taking a hit for Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld incompetence.

First the Army gave Chief Warrant Officer Darrell E. Birt a medal. Then they handed the former Hempfield Township man six months behind bars. Birt said the Bronze Star and prison sentence he received while serving in Iraq were his reward -- and punishment -- for plugging holes in a faulty supply network that even the military has painted as flawed. ‘The supply system was broke,’ Birt said. ‘From the time we left Kuwait until the time we got into Iraq, it took two months to get the computer codes loaded for supply. So for two months, we couldn't get new supplies.’ Short of vehicles and spare parts critical to his unit's ability to haul fuel to infantrymen and helicopter pilots, Birt said he and other high-ranking soldiers agreed to procure the needed equipment improperly.

But I bet the executives at Halliburton, Kellog Brown & Root and other private military contractors are going to get fat bonuses this year…