|14 Jan 2004 @ 03:20, by ming. Government, Public Sector|
More on the U.S. national debt, from Al Martin Raw, the article "Scoreboard 2003". Seems to be in the member area, but somebody sent me an e-mail copy.
The total national debt of the United States on a fully realized basis, inclusive of federal, state, county and local debt stood at a record $20.613 trillion (83.73% of said debt having been created from 1981-92 and from 2001 to present.) The total public and private indebtedness of the United States ended the year 2003 at $39.384 trillion. The total public and private assets of the United States ended the year 2003 at $26.134 trillion. Thus, the United States by the end of 2003 has a negative net worth of approximately $13 trillion. The total debt service of the United States ended the year 2003 at 309.4% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). These are numbers never before seen. This is a higher debt to gross domestic product ratio than any other country on earth, which still services its debt.Doesn't sound good. I'd like to see some other sources on that, of course. The periods he's mentioning, 81-92 and 2001 to the present, where 83.73% of the debt were generated is when Reagan and the two Bushes have been presidents. More >
|11 Dec 2003 @ 18:31, by gsosbee. Government, Public Sector|
To all mental dwarfs - assassins : This update is dedicated to all of you in the fbi, cia and similarly chartered/motivated groups of the United States and all other countries of the world:* Your methods will soon be known to all , as people everywhere question at once how it is that you have been so long in power and why you so miserably failed to bring about peace and harmony to the earth's population. The continual killing, imprisoning and torturing of the most noble of this earth's inhabitants reflects your sinister goals and inhumane methodology.
Further, the fall of the United States into Totalitarianism now brings upon all the world additional and unnecessary suffering and death ; those who survive begin to realize that the terrorists of the various nations making up the authority of new world order (principally the United States) are (in the final analysis ) a reflection of the failure of the citizenry to take responsibility for the atrocities of their own government. Excuses such as mind control of the masses, general lethargy and cowardice will not help to explain this vegetative syndrome that blankets the general population. The people must now pay for their hideous lack of attention to the cries of their brothers and sisters . I am saddened by this thought.geral sosbee
* America is awash in its own murderous guilt, cannot see the rainbow of Humanity and has no conception of the potential for human greatness.
"Through our own recovered innocense we discern the innocense of our neighbors."
(Henry D. Thoreau) More >
|28 Nov 2003 @ 13:19, by spells. Government, Public Sector|
Bring Iraq to a democracy and in the mean time take the pseudo democracy away that we have here. Well since there is no Truth, only your truth and my truth, I suppose that this will also go with little said and nothing done. After all, with the Truth behind all life completely ignored and only what humans "want" to believe and perceive all that matters, why even bother discussing this further. Go on, ignore this post, go to work, paint your pictures, "channel" your so called high beings....after all image is all that matters. Who cares what we do to the rest of the world and what will become of the human species because of our arrogance and denial of Truth.
By the way....my way of saying Happy Thanksgiving....Happy day in which we act proud of how we stole the land and everything else from the Native Americans who were here first. Oh but that doesn't matter....let's cook our turkeys and praise the Great American Way.
The “war on terror” and American democracy—some ominous warnings
By Patrick Martin
27 November 2003
Three commentaries published recently in the US media, all by well-connected observers of the US military, have suggested that a major new terrorist attack within the United States could disrupt the 2004 elections and even result in military intervention on the streets of America as well as the suspension of the Constitution.
On Friday, November 21, the right-wing web news service Newsmax.com published an account of the interview given by General Tommy Franks to the lifestyle magazine Cigar Aficionado.
Franks said that a terrorist attack employing a weapon of mass destruction and causing mass casualties, either in the United States or against an ally, would likely result in replacing the American Constitution with a military government.
As the commander of CentCom, Franks led US forces in the conquest of Afghanistan in 2001 and the invasion of Iraq earlier this year, before retiring during the summer. In his magazine interview, he outlined this scenario:
“It means the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world—it may be in the United States of America—that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution. Two steps, very, very important.”
Frank remains a fervent supporter of the Bush administration, describing Bush as “a very thoughtful man,” and declaring, “Probably we’ll think of him in years to come as an American hero.”
But according to Franks, it may be under the administration of this “hero” that “the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy.”
The retired general placed the responsibility for this possible turn to dictatorship on “our population,” and was silent on what role the military leadership or the Bush administration would play in its establishment. The American media has apparently failed to ask him anything about it since.
Terrorism and the 2004 election
The same theme was touched on in the Outlook section of the Washington Post, the main daily newspaper in the US capital, in a column published Sunday, November 23, under the headline “Terrorist Logic: Disrupt the 2004 Election.”
The author was David J. Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a major Washington think tank.
Rothkopf outlines the possibility of a terrorist campaign of suicide bombings during next fall’s election campaign that leads to a full-scale military mobilization. “History suggests that striking during major elections is an effective tool for terrorist groups,” he writes.
As a representative of the Democratic wing of the ruling elite, Rothkopf is clearly concerned that such an event would profit the Bush administration. He cites examples such as the Israeli elections in 1996, when suicide bombings contributed to the victory of right-wing Likud candidate Binyamin Netanyahu, and the 2000 Russian elections, won by Vladimir Putin after a series of bombings in Moscow and other cities—attributed to Chechen terrorists but widely believed to have been carried out or at least permitted by Putin’s KGB.
Rothkopf notes the politically symbiotic relationship between the terrorists and the hard-liners: “Hard-liners strike back more broadly, making it easier for terrorists as they attempt to justify their causes and their methods.” He could have added that the terrorists are a godsend for the hard-liners, providing a pretext for dictatorial methods.
More important than his argument—essentially restating the Democratic appeal for a more coordinated international approach to terrorism—is what Rothkopf reveals about the expectations in official Washington and corporate America. At one point he notes: “Recently, I co-chaired a meeting hosted by CNBC of more than 200 senior business and government executives, many of whom are specialists in security and terrorism related issues. Almost three-quarters of them said it was likely the United States would see a major terrorist strike before the end of 2004. A similar number predicted that the assault would be greater than those of 9/11 and might well involve weapons of mass destruction. It was the sense of the group that such an attack was likely to generate additional support for President Bush.”
This is a remarkable assertion. Rothkopf describes this elite audience as “serious people, not prone to hysteria or panic—military officers, policymakers, scientists, researchers and others who have studied such issues for a long time.” The vast majority of them, he says, believe that a terrorist attack worse than September 11—that is, killing thousands or even tens of thousands of Americans—will take place in the course of the 2004 election campaign, and that this attack will benefit the political fortunes of George W. Bush.
Military action inside the US
The role of the military in domestic policing was the subject of a column published November 23, written by William Arkin, a well-connected military analyst for the Los Angeles Times.
It was Arkin who last year revealed the Bush administration’s decision to revise US military strategy to target seven countries—Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria, China and Russia—for possible nuclear attack.
The column was headlined, “Mission Creep Hits Home, American armed forces are assuming major new domestic policing and surveillance roles.” It examines the role of the Pentagon’s Northern Command, the newly established center for controlling all US armed forces within the continental US, Canada and Alaska, and includes an interview with its commander, Air Force General Ralph E. Eberhart.
According to Arkin, the Northern Command has defined three categories of operations, with increasing levels of activity: temporary, emergency and extraordinary. He writes: “It is only in the case of ‘extraordinary’ domestic operations that the unique capabilities of the Defense Department are deployed. These include not just such things as air patrols to shoot down hijacked planes or the defusing of bombs and other explosives, but also bringing in intelligence collectors, special operators and even full combat troops.”
Arkin reveals that the Northern Command is “already working under the far-reaching authority that goes with ‘extraordinary operations.’” This includes the activation of a series of intelligence-gathering operations directed against the American people. These include:
* A decision by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to expand the mission of the Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), established last year to protect “critical infrastructure,” authorizing it to maintain “a domestic law enforcement database that includes information related to potential terrorist threats directed against the Department of Defense.”
* The assigning of military special agents to 56 FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force operations at FBI field offices, investigating potential threats to the military in local communities inside the United States.
* The decision by Eberhart to transform Joint Task Force Six, a drug-enforcement unit of 160 soldiers at Ft. Bliss, Texas, into a counterterrorism force called Interagency Task Force North. Congress originally authorized joint Task Force Six in 1996, in the first exception to the Posse Comitatus Law, which bars the US military from assuming domestic police functions.
* The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, another little-known body, is gathering an “urban data inventory” combining unclassified and classified data on 133 cities, as well as US border crossings and seaports, to create a national “spatial data infrastructure.” This information, which Arkin describes as “down to the house level,” could be used either for surveillance or military targeting.
According to Arkin, the CIFA has been given a domestic “data mining” mission as well: “figuring out a way to process massive sets of public records, intercepted communications, credit card accounts, etc., to find ‘actionable intelligence.’” This amounts to reviving in another form the Total Information Awareness program, headed by Admiral John Poindexter of Iran-Contra fame, which was supposedly shut down earlier this year by Congress after a public outcry.
Arkin concludes: “Outside the view of most of the public, the government is daily expanding military operations into areas of local government and law enforcement that historically have been off-limits. And it doesn’t seem far-fetched to imagine that those charged with assembling ‘actionable intelligence’ will slowly start combining databases of known terrorists with seemingly innocuous lists of contributors to charities or causes, that membership lists for activist organizations will be folded in, that names and personal data of anti-globalization protesters will be run through the ‘data mine.’ After all, the mission of Northern Command and other Pentagon agencies is to identify groups and individuals who could potentially pose threats to Defense Department and civilian installations.”
Here, then, is a glimpse of the real state of affairs in the United States on the eve of the 2004 election year. Ruling circles widely anticipate a massive terrorist strike that would boost the flagging political standing of the Bush administration or even lead to a suspension of the elections and the establishment of military rule. The US military is actively preparing for this possibility by readying troops for use in domestic policing and by assembling a database of likely political opponents.
The obvious question is: given the expected consequences, is it not in the political interests of the Bush administration or sections of the military/intelligence apparatus to engineer such a terrorist attack? Or at least to insure that it takes place, by looking the other way, on the model of September 11? More >
|27 May 2003 @ 13:18, by sharie. Government, Public Sector|
Mandatory paper trail for the voting process.
New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt introduced a bill to require a mandatory paper trail for the voting process. Voting machines with secret workings do not satisfy the minimal requirements of transparency and verifiability of a democratic process. This is extremely important and Holt needs a great outpouring of support for this. There is no more important issue right now. As Mark Crispin Miller recently put it, "The Democrats could run the most brilliant campaign in history and it wouldn't matter. They could elect Charley Manson president with those machines."
All members of Congress need to hear from their constituents about this. Here is something really meaningful we can do. For the text of the bill, see Representative Rush Holt's website ([link]). To contact your congressperson, see this Congressional Database: [link] The Congressional switchboard number is (202) 224 3121.
To send support to Representative Holt, here is contact info: Honorable Rush Holt United States House of Representatives 1019 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-3012 DC Phone: 202-225-5801 DC Fax: 202-225-6025 Email Address: [link]
50 Washington Road
West Windsor, NJ 08550-1012
For the definitive source of information on the voting machine crisis, see
Here is information from the website of Congressman Rush Holt:
ON ELECTION DAY 2004, HOW WILL YOU KNOW IF YOUR VOTE IS PROPERLY COUNTED?
ANSWER: YOU WON’T
Rep. Rush Holt Introduces Legislation to Require All Voting Machines To Produce A Voter-Verified Paper Trail
Washington, DC – Rep. Rush Holt today responded to the growing chorus of concern from election reform specialists and computer security experts about the integrity of future elections by introducing reform legislation, The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003. The measure would require all voting machines to produce an actual paper record by 2004 that voters can view to check the accuracy of their votes and that election officials can use to verify votes in the event of a computer malfunction, hacking, or other irregularity. Experts often refer to this paper record as a “voter-verified paper trail.”
“We cannot afford nor can we permit another major assault on the integrity of the American electoral process,” said Rep. Rush Holt. “Imagine it’s Election Day 2004. You enter your local polling place and go to cast your vote on a brand new “touch screen” voting machine. The screen says your vote has been counted. As you exit the voting booth, however, you begin to wonder. How do I know if the machine actually recorded my vote? The fact is, you don’t.”…
Key provisions of The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003 include:
1) Requires all voting systems to produce a voter-verified paper record for use in manual audits and recounts. For those using the increasingly popular ATM-like “DRE”(Direct Recording Electronic) machines, this requirement means the DRE would print a receipt that each voter would verify as accurate and deposit into a lockbox for later use in a recount. States would have until November 2003 to request additional funds to meet this requirement.
2) Bans the use of undisclosed software and wireless communications devices in voting systems.
3) Requires all voting systems to meet these requirements in time for the general election in November 2004. Jurisdictions that feel their new computer systems may not be able to meet this deadline may use an existing paper system as an interim measure (at federal expense) in the November 2004 election.
4) Requires that electronic voting system be provided for persons with disabilities by January 1, 2006 -- one year earlier than currently required by HAVA. Like the voting machines for non-disabled voters, those used by disabled voters must also provide a mechanism for voter-verification, though not necessarily a paper trail. Jurisdictions unable to meet this requirement by the deadline must give disabled voters the option to use the interim paper system with the assistance of an aide of their choosing.
5) Requires mandatory surprise recounts in 0.5% of domestic jurisdictions and 0.5% of overseas jurisdictions.
|23 Apr 2003 @ 08:22, by spells. Government, Public Sector|
Mounting attacks on free speech in US
By Henry Michaels
23 April 2003
Even as the Bush administration claims to be bringing democracy and political liberty to Iraq, it is spearheading a deepening assault on basic democratic rights at all levels in the United States.
At a Pentagon media briefing on Monday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said of US plans for post-war Iraq, “We hope (for) a system that will be democratic and have free speech and free press.”
What Rumsfeld means by free speech can be gauged by a growing number of incidents in the United States itself. Police and government authorities have seized upon the war against Iraq to extend the onslaught on freedom of expression that has accelerated since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Emboldened by the military conquest of Iraq and armed with the Bush administration’s Patriot Act, which authorizes far-reaching restrictions on civil liberties in the name of the “war on terrorism,” officials at federal, state and municipal levels are taking draconian steps to stifle political dissent.
In Oregon, for example, right-wing radio show hosts and Republican legislators are pushing a state anti-terrorism bill that would allow authorities to jail street-blocking protesters for at least 25 years. State Senate Bill 742 defines a terrorist as a person who “plans or participates in an act that is intended, by at least one of its participants, to disrupt “business, transportation, schools, government, or free assembly.” The bill contains automatic sentences of 25 years to life for the crime of terrorism.
Its supporters openly state that the police need stronger laws to break up protests such as those that have occurred in Portland, Oregon, where thousands of people have marched and demonstrated against the war in Iraq. “We need some additional tools to control protests that shut down the city,” said Lars Larson, a talk show host who has aggressively promoted the bill.
In New York City, police admitted last Thursday to conducting political interrogations and compiling a database of people arrested during recent antiwar protests. Detectives used a “Criminal Intelligence Division/Demonstration Debriefing Form” to record information on hundreds of people arrested since mid-February.
Police violated participants’ constitutional rights of free speech and free association, forcing them to answer questions about their political affiliations and beliefs, prior protest activities, and their educational backgrounds. Civil rights lawyers said police asked detainees about their party affiliations, views on Palestine and Israel, and whether they thought the US should have entered World War II.
Protesters were taken to police headquarters after being charged with minor offenses (such as blocking a sidewalk) and then interrogated. Those arrested were not advised of their right to counsel, requests to see counsel were ignored or met with threats of prolonged detention, and lawyers seeking access to those being questioned were kept outside One Police Plaza.
To head off a constitutional lawsuit, New York Police Department chief spokesman Michael O’Looney said the department had agreed to halt the use of the “debriefing form” and had destroyed the database. Police would continue to tally the names of organizations, supposedly to help in deciding how many officers to assign to future demonstrations. There is no guarantee that this concession, made only after the end of large-scale military hostilities in Iraq, will be honored.
New York City’s legal representative, Gail Donoghue, continued to defend the police interrogation. “The plaintiffs ignore the fact that the people who were questioned had been arrested because they had committed criminal acts,’’ she said. “The fact that they were arrested at a demonstration does not insulate them from being asked questions about their conduct.’’
Thursday’s disclosure came just weeks after a judge cited “fundamental changes in the threats to public security” in lifting 20-year-old restrictions on the New York Police Department’s license to spy on political groups. At the city administration’s request, US District Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. on April 8 permitted wider police monitoring of political groups.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) official Donna Lieberman commented: “As a city and a nation, we are at a crossroads about civil liberties. The city’s initiation of these interrogations reveals how willing government is to abandon basic First Amendment values in these difficult times.”
Police intimidation of antiwar protesters is far from confined to New York City. In Denver on April 17 police admitted photographing, recording license plate numbers and intercepting email of peaceful demonstrators. Police chiefs pledged to discontinue these practices under a legal settlement reached between the city and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado.
A week earlier, in Alamosa, Colorado, the ACLU reached an agreement with city officials to allow a local book and music store owner to resume displaying the American flag upside-down in his store window to express his disgust with the war on Iraq.
John Fleming, owner of The Roost store, showed the flag as a symbol of the US in distress. Alamosa’s police chief threatened him with prosecution under an old Colorado law that says “contempt of flag” is a crime and makes it unlawful to “mutilate, deface, defile, trample upon, burn, cut or tear any flag in public.” The police threat flew in the face of Supreme Court rulings that the US Constitution protects the use of the US flag in political protests.
Teachers, librarians and T-shirt wearers are among other victims of the war on democratic rights.
Four high school teachers in Albuquerque, New Mexico have filed a lawsuit in federal court after being suspended in March for refusing to remove antiwar signs from their classrooms. Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) declared that the signs breached its “controversial issues” policy. Yet its schools are full of military recruitment posters and photographs of US troops fighting in Iraq.
The teachers have since returned to their schools and are back on the job, but without back pay. They are asking for reinstatement of pay, that “letters of reprimand be removed from personnel files and [for] enforcement of their right to free speech,” ACLU lawyer Jane Gagne said. The lawsuit claims the school district violated the free speech and equal protection provisions of the First and Fourteenth amendments to the US Constitution and similar provisions of the state constitution.
“APS has clamped down on antiwar expression that did not in the least interfere with the educational process,” Gagne said, “and where nothing indicates that the teachers and the counselor forced their views on anyone. In fact, they encouraged open and free discussion among pro-war and antiwar students.”
At a recent school board meeting, educators, students and community members read statements of support for the teachers’ actions. They plan to publish a petition in a local newspaper and present it to the board, proving the teachers have the community’s support. “I feel proud the teachers expressed their dissent to their bosses,” said Sue Chavez, an APS speech pathologist. “They modeled the kind of behavior they expect from their students.”
In Fayetteville, Arkansas a young man was arrested for criminal trespass April 5 at the Northwest Arkansas Mall when he and other members of a University of Arkansas student group attempted to enter the facility wearing T-shirts emblazoned with antiwar slogans.
Daniel Vaught, 22, said he tried to enter the mall’s north entrance to have lunch after he and fellow students had demonstrated in Fayetteville. Their shirts bore the slogans, “Support the troops, not war or Bu$h.” Mall security officers confronted them and quickly called the Fayetteville Police Department.
Vaught said the group was inspired by the recent case of a New York lawyer who was arrested at Crossgates Mall in Albany after refusing to remove a T-shirt bearing the slogan “Peace on earth” on the front and “Give peace a chance” on the back.
Across many states, librarians are fighting provisions of the Patriot Act that give federal intelligence agencies greater authority to examine all book and computer records at libraries. The law requires investigators to get a search warrant before seizing library records, but those proceedings are secret and not subject to appeal. It also forbids libraries from informing patrons that their reading or computer habits are being monitored by the government.
In Monterey Park, near Los Angeles, every public computer inside the city’s library has a defiant warning taped to its screen, warning users that anything they read is subject to secret scrutiny by federal agents. “We felt strongly that this had to be done,” librarian Linda Wilson told the Washington Post. “The government has never had this kind of power before. It feels like Big Brother.”
Earlier this year, the American Library Association, which has 64,000 members, formally denounced the Patriot Act provision and passed a resolution urging Congress to repeal it. Since then, some two dozen state library groups—from California to Georgia—have taken a similar stand.
Some libraries are destroying nearly all the records they keep of what their patrons read, as well as sign-up logs of computer use. Others are scrapping plans to use new computer technology to profile the reading habits of patrons and inform them when works they enjoy are published. Some library officials are distributing pamphlets against the Patriot Act provisions. “How can you tell when the FBI has been in your library?” the pamphlet asks. “You can’t,” it answers.
Several libraries in Maine recently launched a campaign to encourage lenders to read the George Orwell novel 1984, which depicts a world in which an all-powerful government known as “Big Brother” punishes citizens for thought-crimes.
According to a survey conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, about 550 libraries across the country reported receiving requests over the past year from federal and local investigators for patrons’ records. More than 200 libraries said they had resisted such requests.
Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo defended the Patriot Act, arguing that it targeted only “suspected foreign spies and terrorists,” but refused to say how many or what kind of requests federal agents had made for library records. To do so, he said, could compromise national security.
These incidents are the tip of the iceberg of a sustained attack, led by the Bush administration, on intellectual freedom, civil liberties and political rights. Already, anti-terrorism and immigration laws have been used to dismiss and arrest pro-Palestinian professors, round up hundreds of foreign-born residents from selected countries, illegally detain more than 600 so-called “enemy combatants” offshore in Guantanamo Bay and imprison two US citizens—Jose Padilla and Yaser Esam Hamdi—without trial.
There is a growing recognition among not just librarians and civil rights activists, but entertainers, artists and ordinary working people that the most fundamental democratic rights are under threat.
American actor and director Tim Robbins, addressing the National Press Club in Washington earlier this month, said: “In the 19 months since 9/11, we have seen our democracy compromised by fear and hatred. Basic inalienable rights, due process, the sanctity of the home have been compromised in a climate of fear.”
Speaking after the Baseball Hall of Fame cancelled an event featuring him and his wife Susan Sarandon because of their opposition to the Iraq war, Robbins said the couple had received threatening emails and telephone calls. “A chill wind is blowing in this nation,” he said. “A message is being sent through the White House and its allies.... If you oppose this administration, there can and will be ramifications.”
He concluded: “Our ability to disagree, and our inherent right to question our leaders and criticize their actions, define who we are. To allow those rights to be taken away out of fear, to punish people for their beliefs, to limit access in the media to differing opinions, is to acknowledge our democracy’s defeat.”
There is a profound connection between the Iraq war and the official offensive against democratic rights. A program of neocolonial conquest can be implemented only through the suppression of domestic political opposition. Increasingly, the military occupation of Iraq is mirrored by the makings of an internal police state regime.
US: Republicans seek to make Patriot Act provisions permanent
[15 April 2003]
Baseball Hall of Fame cancels film ceremony in attack on antiwar performers
[14 April 2003]
Police fire rubber bullets at anti-war protesters in California
[8 April 2003]
Pittsburgh police lock up antiwar protesters for 30 hours
[29 March 2003] More >
|13 Jan 2003 @ 13:18, by adi. Government, Public Sector|
SWEARING-IN CEREMONY SPEECH OF U.S. REPRESENTATIVE DENNIS KUCINICH, SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2003
"My fellow Americans, in this ceremony we recognize the power of the people in a democracy to create self-government. For you have truly lifted me, as a lowly servant, up from your midst to serve our nation. You have entrusted in me the duties of national service. You have asked me to stand as a sentinel to safeguard our rights. You have expected me to tell the truth, even if that truth shall disturb established economic, political and social structures. I accept your trust with humility and with resolve. I shall proceed in my duties each day with courage and unshakeable faith and with love of you, my dear constituents, love of our country, love of freedom and love of our brothers and sisters worldwide.
For the America I envision seeks world unity instead of unilateralism. It gains its power through being the first to help, not the first to strike. It extends itself to the peoples of the world to lift their burden. It is an America, which when asked for help, dispenses bread instead of bombs, medical assistance instead of missiles, and food instead of fissile materials.
There is a role for America in the world. It is in working with the community of nations to achieve the security of all nations. It is in restoring the promise of the Non Proliferation Treaty to lead the way to get rid of all nuclear weapons. It is in helping to assure international order. It is through strengthening and abiding by international treaties. It is in assuring control and eventual elimination of biological and chemical weapons, and landmines. It is in protecting our global climate by cooperating with the rest of the world in reducing carbon emissions. America can help protect the world. America can help save the world. But America cannot control the world, nor should we want to do so.
Yet our Administration would project American power for the purpose of domination. Their National Security doctrines call for America to strike anywhere it pleases and to be the first to use nuclear weapons.
Our nation is now poised to go to all-out war against Iraq. Iraq has not committed any act of aggression against the United States. Iraq was not responsible for 911. No credible evidence exists linking Iraq to Al Queda's role in 911. Iraq was not responsible for the anthrax attack on our nation. The United Nations has yet to establish that Iraq has usable weapons of mass destruction. There is no intelligence that Iraq has the ability to strike at the United States. According to the CIA, Iraq has no intention to attack America, but will defend itself if attacked.
Why then, is our nation prepared to send three hundred thousand of our young men and women into house to house combat in the streets of Badhdad and Basra? Why is our nation prepared to spend 200 billion or more of our hard-earned tax dollars for the destruction of Iraq?
Why is our nation preparing to use the most powerful military machine in history to wage an assault against the people of Iraq, to destroy their houses and buildings, to wipe out their water and electric systems and to block their access to food and medical supplies?
There is no answer which can separate itself from oil economics, profit requirements of arms trade, or distorted notions of empire-building.
War with Iraq is wrong. But if war is prosecuted further in Iraq, we must be prepared to advance the cause of peace in this country. We must be prepared to stand up, to speak out, to organize, to march, to demand an end to the war, or to demand an end to an administration which insists on war.
It is urgent we oppose this war. It will dominate our nation's priorities. It will threaten Social Security. It will threaten Medicare. It will block a prescription drug benefit for the elderly. It will stop America from providing jobs for all, health care for all, education for all.
There are some who believe that it is unpatriotic to challenge the Administration on the war. They believe it is politically wiser to debate the economy. but how can one reasonably separate war from the budget, war from the economy, war from America's ability to meet the needs of the people of this nation?
The Administration's own top economic adviser said the war could cost up to $200 billion. Our federal budget is already close to a $200 billion deficit due to huge tax cuts for the wealthy. Remember when we had a budget surplus?
Each time the administration talks about war, fear is created and when fear goes up, the market goes down. War will mean a sharp increase in oil prices, which will hurt jobs in manufacturing and transportation. One economic study with a worst-case scenario puts the cost of an all-out war, plus long-term occupation of Iraq at $1.6 trillion.
You cannot separate war from the economy. You cannot separate war from America's future, from its role in the world and its ability to meet the needs of our own people here at home.
We need to ask the questions. Why does America have hundreds of billions to ruin the health and take the lives of innocent people in Iraq but no money to provide health care for all Americans?
Why would America spend hundreds of billions to retire Saddam Hussein, but no money to protect the retirement security of its own people?
Why does America have money to blow up bridges over the Euphrates River in Iraq, but no money to build up bridges over the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland?
The path America must take is one of peace which leads to prosperity. It is one which understands that creating a structure of peace ensures that economic structures can be sound, affirmative of human needs and restorative of human values.
This is the dream of a Department of Peace which can help America take the first step towards making nonviolence an organizing principle in our society -- making the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a reality -- and working to make war itself a thing of the past. It is this ethnic of peace seeking and peace building which will cause us to take down weapons from the heavens and work to create a heaven on earth full of new possibilities.
Peace and prosperity shall be as two pillars in a newly rebuilt America which provides for the economic and social security of its own people as a cause of nationhood and for the economic and social progress of peoples of other lands as a cause of brotherhood.
This confirmation of the purpose of nation was the dream of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society, and John F. Kennedy and the New Frontier. This shall continue to be our dream in the days ahead, that no matter the darkness, we shall hold up the light of America's higher purpose, which calls to us across the ages from Washington, Jefferson and Adams through Lincoln to the present day.
Our nation has always had a higher calling, despite the darkness of 911 and the official response to it. It is a calling to maintain the quest for democracy, for freedom and liberty at times of peril as well as times of peace. We can sense that higher calling. That higher calling is our heritage. The words of Francis Scott Key still echo:
"Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?" In this he celebrated the link between freedom and bravery: That it takes courage to live in a democracy. It takes courage to stand up to terrorists and maintain basic liberties. It takes courage to lead the way toward global disarmament while some are bent on destruction. It takes patience to face dictators around the world and not be tempted to bomb them into submission. It takes wisdom to have great power and to make gentle its presence in the world. And it takes compassion to understand the plight of peoples world wide who themselves are trying to survive, to live out their own humble lives despite having conditions which are challenging or governments which are oppressive.
My friends. This is still your government. You have the right to have a say in how its destiny is being charted. That right derives from our very Declaration of Independence, which claimed self-governance as a basic right. Government does not just happen in Washington, D.C. It is the result of a process which takes place in thousands of cities, villages and townships. It is also a process which also takes place in our hearts, which is brought to life by our love of country, and our love of each other. It is your love which enables me to carry those hopes and dreams forward. And I shall do so courageously in the days ahead. Thank you."
U.S. Representative Dennis J. Kucinich Swearing-In Ceremony Sunday, January 5, 2003 Cleveland, Ohio
Quote: "Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon. It is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals."~~~~~Martin Luther King, Jr.
"NOW is the perfect time to change the pattern of division, fear, lies and war that has been a part of the history of the United States government since it started it's divide and conquer games beginning with the original people of this land, the American Indians. We are sitting on the edge of insanity with a storehouse full of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical and biological telling the rest of the world they're crazy! As Bob Dylan once asked: "How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see?" Well, if we don't all make a conscious effort for peace, it is an understatement to say that we will definitely not like the "answer" that's "blowin' in the wind!"~~~Sharon Pacione
In closing, with the chaos that the United States is causing all over the world, I'm sure that many countries can identify with the following words spoken at the end of the video "People of the Great Plains, Part 2" from the excellent 6 video set "The Native Americans."
"Grandfather, I ask you to bless the white man, he needs your wisdom, your guidance. He's tried for so long to destroy my people and only feels comfortable when given power. Bless them with your wisdom. Show them the peace we understand. Teach them humility, for I feel they will destroy themselves and their children as they have done so with Mother Earth. I plead, I cry...after all, they are my brother." ~~~~`From the video "People of the Great Plains, Part 2" from the series "The Native Americans"
Click here: Congressman Dennis Kucinich | The Spirit of Freedom www.kucinich.us
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