Friday, August 24, 2007

Iraq Heads the News Again Today

What a surprise. Will the day ever come when Iraq isn’t the most pressing story on the front page? We can only hope, but there are some hopeful signs.

I heard yesterday about a group of Army sergeants who are publicly speaking out against the abuses our war policies have heaped upon them. I wrote not long ago about the Pentagon brass who have threatened to refuse orders if escalation continues.

One of today’s headlines is: Secretary of Army Won’t Extend Tours. The gist is that the Secretary recognizes that the recent hike of tour time from 12 months to 15 months has stretched our troops too far making it not feasible to consider extending their tours to even greater lengths.

A companion story discusses the National Intelligence Estimate that Congress forced out of our spy agencies. Interestingly, the headline touts the report as bolstering Bush’s surge strategy, but a close read reveals at least six very pessimistic points like increasing violence, Al-Qaida’s ability to conduct high-profile attacks, increasing insurgency, lack of Sunni support for the Iraq government, inadequacy of Iraqi forces to hold back insurgency on their own, and an increasingly precarious Iraqi government unlikely to gain popular support. Bush’s strategy, though, is supported by only one point that being that “recent security improvements in Iraq, including success against Al-Qaida, have depended significantly on the close synchronization of conventional counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations. A change of mission that interrupts that synchronization would place security improvements at risk.” – very diplomatic language.

The first sentence of that supportive paragraph seems to contradict the earlier statement about Al-Qaida’s ability to conduct attacks, but let’s not quibble over details. Let’s just hit the high point. Within the only supportive statement given lies a question to which I’d like to hear a straight answer. What that last bit in quotations says to me is that if we pulled troops out, we might lose “security improvements” gained from the surge. What the entire body of the report said to me is that the “security improvements” we have gained from our entire experience in Iraq have been negative and those gained from the surge have been insufficient to make us expect that we can attain stability there. All we can expect, this report says to me, is to maintain the status quo as it has existed since the surge began. That is not enough to justify any further loss of American lives.

At best the surge moved the bulk of insurgent action out of Baghdad and into other cities and even the countryside. Al-Qaida is still strong there even though it wasn’t even present in Iraq until we generated the insurgency. For God’s sake -- Saddam Hussein governed over a country much safer and quieter than the one we created by unseating him.

Get our troops out and make available to the Iraqi government one-half of the dollars we have committed to war for their rebuilding efforts. Let them then either fight over who gets access to that money, in which case we don’t release any to them, or put together a coalition capable of governing over the expenditure of those funds to rebuild their own country in their own way.

As to the extension of our troops’ tours of duty in Iraq – cut them back to 12 months and reinstitute the draft. Do that and you’ll begin to get the active participation of the majority of American citizens who will surely be outraged by the government’s attempt to force their sons and daughters to put their lives on the line for this neo-con war.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

P.S. I will not be writing for the next week. I will instead be enjoying the peace and quiet our neighbors to the north enjoy every day. I also expect to catch a fish or two! While I’m gone, please go ahead and solve the mess BushCo has made of things. I’d sure like to come back to the country I love instead of the one that makes me ashamed.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Schools and the Military

Last year the Peace Network of the Ozarks approached the Springfield school board to point out that their process for allowing students to opt out of military recruitment efforts in the schools posed at least two problems. First it punished students who opted out by removing their names from all external contact lists so that if they elected not to have their personal information given to military recruiters, they would also be excluded from the yearbook, the school directory, colleges and universities, employers, etc. Secondly, it was obviously not in accord with the law in that the law allows students to opt out of military contact alone by submitting any form to that effect to the school administration. But the school insisted that students must use the school’s form which forced them out of all contact and not just contact with military recruiters.

This year the school board published their “revised” policy. Now students who opt out get to chose what they are excluded from, but still can’t be excluded only from military recruitment. Instead, they can choose not to be included in “District Purposes” like the yearbook, school directory, athletic programs, etc. or “Non-District Purposes” including commercial interests, businesses, employers, military recruiters and others. (i.e. colleges and universities, etc.) Or they can opt out of both categories.

I want this to be perfectly clear: PNO never argued that military recruiters should not be allowed in schools or that students who want to talk to recruiters should be prevented from doing so. We understand that the military is necessary. We understand that it offers career opportunities as well as opportunities for service to country.

Our position is simply that because the law (not the Sunshine Act which has nothing at all to do with this even though the school board cites it in their opt-out form, but the education funding bill which forced schools to accept recruiters if they want to receive federal funds.) clearly states that students may opt out of military recruitment efforts by submitting any statement to that effect. Why does the school board insist on lumping military recruitment with other contacts that are likely to be seen as desirable by all students instead of simply complying with the law without penalizing those who elect to act in accord with it by opting out of recruitment efforts? The result of their approach is forced exposure to military recruitment instead of willing participation, and that is the basis of our objection to the “new” policy. It is far too little, far too late.

Speaking of military and schools, a new twist is schools partially funded by the Department of Homeland Security. Joppatowne High School is the first school in the country to offer a curriculum titled Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in a magnet program. Way to go BushCo; got to protect der Fadderland. My only hope is that if they make them wear uniforms they won’t include brown shirts.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Weapon of Math Deduction

My wife – decidedly not me - is the mathematician in the family, but even I could see the beauty in this one from the September/October issue of Mother Jones magazine. If you are a statistics wonk, you might really get off on this.

Following a great article detailing how incompetence within the Bush administration is rewarded by promotion cleverly titled, “heckuva job”, was this little blurb by Jen Phillips, (Mother Jones, September/October, 2007, p.22. reprinted here without permission):

Weapon of Math Deduction

It’s not the size of the Army; it’s how you use it. That’s the conclusion of a recent study by Patricia Sullivan, a professor at the University of Georgia, who has devised a simple yet effective statistical formula that correctly predicts the outcome of 78% of the conflicts plugged into it.

Pr = probablility that an intervening nation will achieve its goals
x, y = variables
ß = magnitudes and direction of variables’ effects
i = intervention in question

Sullivan’s formula has several variables, including war aims, troop levels, alliances, and length of conflict. She found that as troop levels increase, the probability of successfully achieving political aims through force decreases.

Sullivan tracked 122 military interventions involving the U.S., Russia, China, France, and the U.K. between 1945 and 2003. Overthrowing governments is easy, but using military intervention to get nations to do what you want has only a 17% chance of success. Propping up foreign regimes works just 40% of the time.


I’m sure I haven’t said this more than two million times, but isn’t it time we figured out a better way?

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The War on Terror is a Total Loss

The War on Terror is a Total Loss

Several interesting stories have emerged lately dealing with the effectiveness or lack of same with BushCo’s “surge” in Iraq ranging from yesterday’s News-Leader headline “Higher Troop Levels Sap Army” through all the buzz about whether or not Congress should wait for General Patraeus’ report from Iraq before taking action to cut support for the war.

NPR’s Morning Edition today reported on a survey that sheds a lot of light on the subject. In the most extensive poll of “experts” yet, over 100 members of the foreign policy establishment including liberals, conservatives, ambassadors, past presidential advisors, etc. were polled to determine their feelings about the effectiveness of our present efforts in the “War on Terror”. The result:

84% say the U.S is not winning war on terror
91% believe Americans are in greater danger now than before we invaded Iraq
53% believe that events on the ground in Iraq are the primary problem with our efforts against terrorism
66% of the conservatives polled believe that our policies are ineffective against terrorism

The conclusion was that the surge is having a negative impact on the war on terror. As we have known all along, the experts now proclaim that the war on terror is a total loss. Asked whether we should invade Iran 80% said no. They believe that Pakistan is the most likely source of nuclear weaponry for terrorists – not Iran.

So why has Bush been so vocal about Iran? Simply because it fits more neatly into BushCo’s idea of how to control the Middle East. Confronting Pakistan with the reality of the threat their possession of nuclear arms and technology poses to the world would be diplomatically difficult. They are considered an ally, but their weapons capabilities combined with their loosey-goosey government make them a potential provider of arms to undesirables and they certainly are providing a haven for them right now - clearly a situation beyond the skills of the meat-ax diplomatic approach BushCo wields. It is much simpler to point at a loose cannon, though relatively powerless, leader in Iran and convince people that Iran is the big threat. Besides, controlling Pakistan would provide no leverage on behalf of Israel. Nor would it add to our control of the region’s oil.

Never mind the real terrorist threat. That has never been BushCo’s real focus. If an option doesn’t show a way to produce some income for the BushCo buddies but does propose a very difficult problem solving situation, you can bet that this administration will ignore it no matter how valuable it might be in the long run.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

Monday, August 20, 2007

Why Do I Do This?

I try to write something for this blog every weekday, but many days I ask myself why. It’s a bit of a hassle, you know. My anger at BushCo fuels me with a new affront at least twice a week, but even that gets thin. I feel like I’m repeating myself because they keep doing the same stupid, greedy, arrogant things time and time again. Disgust is another motivator because so much is going on that no one, including our elected representatives seems to recognize what’s happening as the anti-constitutional struggle that I believe it is.

Frustration is another because, living here in the heart of Repulsican territory, I see so many people who are daily being ripped off by the system who violently and volubly support it, and I find that hard to understand. Fear drives me sometimes, too. Not fear for my personal well-being, but fear for the loss of the honor and freedom that this country enjoyed for most of my lifetime.

As has become too frequent an occurrence for me, Friday night offered too many hours and too little sleep. After a wonderful evening spent at a dinner party with six of the finest people I know, I did not sleep well for some unknown reason. One thing I’ve learned from insomnia is that the very early morning hours often provide the best movie watching TV has to offer. So . . . 4:00 am found me watching Charles Lawton in a superb old movie called “This Land is Mine” in which he played an outwardly cowardly school teacher who knowingly sacrifices his life under the Nazis by publicly espousing the rights of man and exposing the tyranny supported by his neighbors who are quietly going along with it – people like the butcher who was enriching himself by selling black market meat to the upper class while aware that others in the community were starving and the mayor who collaborated with Hitler’s henchmen in return for the power they granted him.

The speech with which he condemned himself eloquently pointed out that each of us is at least two people. He classified himself as brave on the inside – fantasizing about things he knew he could never really do – and cowardly on the outside – acting more often out of timidity than personal strength. Ultimately, he made his community aware that by becoming saboteurs - sabotage being the means by which just people fight against tyranny - by making the point that not fighting against tyrants was to support them, and that to profit by their tyranny was not only to support it, but to add to the suffering of ones fellow man. Any occupier, he said, must maintain control, either by allowing local authorities to appear to exercise power or by force.

When he spoke of the Nazi method of allowing local “authority” to appear powerful, I couldn’t avoid the parallel to our current insistence that we cannot continue to support Iraq’s new government unless they sign away the rights to their oil futures. When he spoke of saboteurs, I couldn’t help but draw the conclusion that what the Nazis called saboteurs, we call terrorists. When a country is occupied the way Germany occupied many countries and as we have occupied Iraq, the citizenry is forced to choose between supporting the occupiers and fighting the occupation.

When a democratic government is being taken over from the inside, citizens must also choose between supporting and fighting the take over. My perception of BushCo’s efforts to destroy the balance of power created by our Constitution, is that it is ultimately a coup. If all power is invested in the executive branch as they have so fervently sought to do; if all power is held by one political party as they have so fervently sought to do; if all criticism is portrayed as unpatriotic as they have so effectively done time and time again; if, in America, political dissent is treated as treason, then democracy is in grave danger of being replaced by tyranny.

Ultimately, that is what keeps me at this keyboard. Please understand that I have no delusions of grandeur. I don’t think that my writing is going to be significantly instrumental in combating the BushCo tyranny. I recognize that it is more of a personal catharsis for me than anything else.

At the same time, though, there is a tiny kernel of hope that someone among those who read these words might be more eloquent and less of an outward coward than I; someone who will spread our convictions further than I am able to do; someone who might ultimately stand before one of our tanks and talk the patriotic soldier driving it into recognizing that his or her support for this administration’s methods is not patriotic at all and stepping down; someone who might, through personal strength and convictions truly change the world.

Could that be you?

(BTW, one of Friday’s dinner guests whose daughter is in the military reported that a great many (she thought a majority) of the soldiers in her daughter’s unit are aware of how viciously they are being used and are in favor of impeachment. The Peace Network of the Ozarks will hold a demonstration on Wednesday, August 22 called “Honk for Justice: Impeach Bush-Cheney”. They will be at the corner of Battlefield and Glenstone from 5 to 6 pm. If you are in the area, please let the courage of your convictions lead you there. Afterward, thanks to the work of Sharon Ash, there will be a meeting to generate action for the establishment of a cabinet level Department of Peace at 7:00 at the Library Center on S. Camplbell.)

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

Friday, August 17, 2007

Put Away the Flags

Put Away the Flags
I’ve written several blogs on my belief that nationalism is as dead a concept as nation-states. Today offers just a bit more on the theme, thanks to Howard Zinn
Last July, my blog on the Wiphala I flew on the front porch in place of the flag on the 4th caused a bit of a stir when the local paper decided to publish it. The flap hit home when my electrician, one of my favorite people, told me that his wife was offended by my statement that I was embarrassed by our flag. Of course, the paper printed only a couple of paragraphs of a much longer blog, so I tell myself that she wouldn’t be as upset with me if she had read the whole thing.
At any rate, today I offer the little essay below. Written by Howard Zinn, a historian with a bent toward accuracy rather than the victor’s revisionism, I hope this piece will go further to explain why I feel as I do.
Put Away the Flags

By Howard Zinn

On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.

Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?

These ways of thinking -- cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on -- have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica and many more). But in a nation like ours -- huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction -- what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves.

Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy.

That self-deception started early.

When the first English settlers moved into Indian land in Massachusetts Bay and were resisted, the violence escalated into war with the Pequot Indians. The killing of Indians was seen as approved by God, the taking of land as commanded by the Bible. The Puritans cited one of the Psalms, which says: "Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy possession."

When the English set fire to a Pequot village and massacred men, women and children, the Puritan theologian Cotton Mather said: "It was supposed that no less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day."

On the eve of the Mexican War, an American journalist declared it our "Manifest Destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence." After the invasion of Mexico began, The New York Herald announced: "We believe it is a part of our destiny to civilize that beautiful country."

It was always supposedly for benign purposes that our country went to

We invaded Cuba in 1898 to liberate the Cubans, and went to war in the Philippines shortly after, as President McKinley put it, "to civilize and Christianize" the Filipino people.

As our armies were committing massacres in the Philippines (at least 600,000 Filipinos died in a few years of conflict), Elihu Root, our secretary of war, was saying: "The American soldier is different from all other soldiers of all other countries since the war began. He is the advance guard of liberty and justice, of law and order, and of peace and happiness."

We see in Iraq that our soldiers are not different. They have, perhaps against their better nature, killed thousands of Iraq civilians. And some soldiers have shown themselves capable of brutality, of torture.

Yet they are victims, too, of our government's lies.

How many times have we heard President Bush tell the troops that if they die, if they return without arms or legs, or blinded, it is for "liberty," for "democracy"?

One of the effects of nationalist thinking is a loss of a sense of proportion. The killing of 2,300 people at Pearl Harbor becomes the justification for killing 240,000 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The killing of 3,000 people on Sept. 11 becomes the justification for killing tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And nationalism is given a special virulence when it is said to be blessed by Providence. Today we have a president, invading two countries in four years, who announced on the campaign trail in 2004 that God speaks through him.

We need to refute the idea that our nation is different from, morally superior to, the other imperial powers of world history.

We need to assert our allegiance to the human race, and not to any one nation.

Howard Zinn, a World War II bombardier, is the author of the best-selling "A People's History of the United States" (Perennial Classics, 2003, latest edition). This piece was distributed by the Progressive Media Project in 2006.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

Thursday, August 16, 2007


For years I have marveled at how easily our government is able to influence the thinking of its citizenry. I fell for it as a kid to the extent that it led me willingly into the service during the Vietnam debacle. It was toward the end of my service in the Army, though, that I began to see through it.

Everyone has epiphanies. My most important came in a mess hall on Fort Ord one morning as I sat sipping coffee with a couple of other non-coms. A radio was on. I hadn’t paid much attention to it but then Simon and Garfunkel came on with “Seven O’Clock News”, and I suddenly saw through the smoke and mirrors to the clarity of understanding that my peers were offering themselves up for nothing.

That began a long and still continuing effort to see through the official lines at least enough to understand their duplicity if not always to deduce the true motives behind those mirrors.

One of the simplest techniques our government uses is to begin denouncing the leader of another government or the complete government through occasional articles about how vile they are. By the time the public reads four or five such articles, the seed is firmly planted, so the government can more openly condemn the perceived “enemy” and even gain public support to attack them.

(BTW, the same tactic is used to promote political candidates in this country. Back when W was governor of Texas, I remember seeing a very small article in the paper that said little more than that there was a rising political star of great promise named George W. Bush and that savvy wonks expected he might be president one day. It was a Karl Rove trial balloon that led to our present miserable state.)

This link will take you to an article that sheds a great deal of light on the subject, and reveals quite a lot about the U.S.’s current target - Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.

If you read everything you can about this man, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything that casts him as dangerous. He is not militarily oriented. He has not built a massive army or sought nuclear weapons. He has armed his military, but I believe that to be defensive rather than offensive. He has not threatened to invade any other country. He has not offered to support terrorism in any way outside of supporting the civil war that has been raging in class-divided Colombia since the 50s. Yet, as I pointed out in another blog recently, his country is listed along with North Korea, Iran, and Cuba as the top American enemies.

(To get see on of the government’s propaganda sheets on this, follow this link:

What, since the “Cuban Missile Crisis” has Cuba ever done to endanger the U.S.? What, beyond the “link” the homeland security paper tries to establish between Chavez and North Korea, has Chavez or the Venezuelan government ever done to endanger the U.S.? The answer is very simple and the same in both cases. Venezuela and Cuba are both opposed to American control of their economies. Chavez and Castro have both striven to use the wealth of their nations (precious little in Cuba’s case thanks to American embargos preventing their profiting from the tourist and international sugar and tobacco trades) for the good of their people instead of for the benefit of U.S. corporations. In the eyes of the American government there can be no greater sin.

The whole foofarah is always about the same thing. Communism was globally unacceptable – though never really practiced – because it wouldn’t mesh with free wheeling capitalism. Socialism is among our dirty words because it ideally focuses on the little guy instead of the big guy.

We are supposed to hate Hugo Chavez because he has used his nation’s oil wealth to raise the standard of living for the poorest of his people. The homeland security article referenced here talks about the dissatisfaction of the Venezuelan people with Chavez’ government as evidenced by his being ousted after rioting broke out in the streets. The fact is that the “riots” were financed and orchestrated by the U.S. and big money Venezuelans seeking to regain control of Venezuelan oil. The “ouster” was immediately reversed because the people of Venezuela wanted Chavez back. He is a democratically elected leader who enjoys at least a 60% satisfaction level among the people of his country.

His desire to control all of South America as portrayed in this article is, in truth, an effort to form an alliance among South American countries to maintain local control of their resources rather than sign them away to American and Western European corporations. He has not actually shown any sign of wanting to take over his neighbors as this article purports. His opposition has been to NAFTA and CAFTA and other attempts to coerce S. American governments into submission to our idea of a free market– opposition I share.

Tactics like the article cited here have been used by our government to unseat many elected leaders in Central and South America throughout our history. (Cuba in 1898 and the 1950s– yes, we actually started the chain reaction that led to Castro, Nicaragua in 1909, Honduras in 1911, etc. etc. Read “Overthrow” by Stephen Kinzer for a complete list.) Let’s not let them get away with it this time.

If you aren’t already, become informed on this stuff. Check Chavez out. If you can find a real reason to fear him, I’d like to hear about it, but I’m betting you won’t. If you can’t find a reason to fear him, fear for him and do what you can to spread the word that he is being slammed into oblivion by our government for political and economic reasons. In my view the world needs a lot more Jimmy Carters and Hugo Chavezes and a lot less George Bushes.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Rove & Gingrich's Ethical Legacy

The article below is pulled out of my draft archives. I put it together before Alberto Gonzales was confirmed as Attorney General, but I decided to print it today for a couple of reasons. First, I think it helps shed some light on what I’ve been discussing for the past two days – i.e. the Karl Rove/Newt Gingrich style politics that have become the norm for both parties and, second, the ethical erosion this attitude has caused.

I know I’m asking my readers to suspend their sense of time on this one, but I think the points made here still apply far too well to what we are seeing in Washington today. The final segment, BTW, also speaks to a controversy going on in the Missouri legislature right now which has to do with the sunshine laws.
What is our national ethic?

For many years I have watched what I think is the erosion of our national ethic. A few stories in today’s news provide contrasts that keep the question of ethics in the air.

SENATE DEBATES GONZALES NOMINATION: The Senate has been hotly debating whether or not Mr. Bush’s nominee to head the Department of Justice, Alberto Gonzales, is qualified for the job. Republicans like Orin Hatch and Arlen Specter argue that his personal record of achievement as the first Hispanic-American to rise to such heights should give him a free pass to the position. Democrats argue that no one of any reputation or race should be given the position if he has supported torture, reduction of citizen and resident rights, and the politicization of the Department of Justice.

For me, just the fact that he rose to the Supreme Court judgeship in Texas under W is a strong indicator. W only likes those who are unquestioningly loyal and anybody unquestioningly loyal to W is a fool in my view.

But the issue here comes down to party politics. Republicans contend the whole debate is Democratic party politics, but the questions the Dems have raised seem to me to have validity. The Republican position squelches debate on or investigation into these legitimate questions by polarizing the debate.

Once again party politics a la Newt Gingrich trumps concerns about the future of our country.

RICHMOND, Va. - The Bush administration cannot legally detain a U.S. resident it believes is an al-Qaida sleeper agent without charging him, a divided federal appeals court ruled Monday. The court said sanctioning the indefinite detention of civilians would have “disastrous consequences for the constitution — and the country.”

In the 2-1 decision, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel found that the federal Military Commissions Act doesn’t strip Ali al-Marri, a legal U.S. resident and the only person being held as an enemy combatant on U.S. soil, of his constitutional rights to challenge his accusers in court.

It ruled the government must allow al-Marri to be released from military detention.
“To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the President calls them ‘enemy combatants,’ would have disastrous consequences for the constitution — and the country,” the court panel said.

Al-Marri’s lawyers argued that the Military Commissions Act, passed last fall to establish military trials after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, doesn’t repeal the writ of habeas corpus — defendants’ traditional right to challenge their detention.

As Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales has already said that he will fight this decision. So I ask you, is the U. S. Court of Appeals just marching to the beat of Democratic Party politics or is there, perhaps, some validity to their arguments?

Finally, here is an article I have had on hold as a draft since April. I think it speaks volumes about the current Washington, D.C. ethic.

ETHICS -- SECRET HOLD BLOCKS OPEN-GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION FROM REACHING SENATE FLOOR: On April 12, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the OPEN Government Act, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). The bill, which has garnered support from more than 100 organizations, would improve the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by reducing "delays in releasing government records requested under FOIA by creating incentives for public officials to comply with the law." The House passed a similar measure earlier this year but the bill was blocked from reaching the Senate floor for a vote yesterday. A "Republican senator called the Minority Leader's office and objected to a vote on the bill, but asked for anonymity and did not publicly state the reason for the hold." "It is both unfortunate and ironic that this bipartisan bill, which promotes sunshine and openness in our government, is being hindered by a secret and anonymous hold," said Leahy in a statement. This is not the first time a secret hold has been used to block open government legislation from reaching the floor. In Aug. 2006, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) put a hold on a bill to create a searchable public database of all federal grants and contracts. Steven's role was revealed only after online public advocates and journalists forced senators to go on the record about whether they placed the hold or not.

It seems to me that the party politics that daily blocks the efforts of either party to accomplish anything positive for the country also blocks the potential for any good to come from the present Congress. If history doesn’t look back on this period of American politics and find it abhorrent, I will have missed something along the way. The combination of a bullheaded, arrogant and hegemonic administration with a Congress whose only concern is party politics has made for many years of the most wasteful and damaging world leadership seen since Rome fell.

It is obvious that Congress no longer has a strong enough sense of ethics to act responsibly. Do the people of this country understand ethical behavior well enough to throw out the rat pack that runs things from D.C.? It seems doubtful to me, but I sure would like to be proven wrong about that.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Why Do I Detest Karl Rove?

Why Do I Detest Karl Rove?

Yesterday’s blog brought some interesting reactions. Lots of YES! And a bit of puzzled why, so I thought maybe a little explanation was in order.

If I were in Junior High, I’d probably start my essay: I detest Karl Rove because. . .
Well what the heck. When it comes to BushCo and Rove, Jr. High is about the right level so here goes.

I detest Karl Rove because his world view is so narrow that the only thing he cares about is power. This is clearly expressed in his willingness to demean opponents so vilely that the slime covers everything around including himself. What level of personal conscience does it take to run a gubernatorial campaign based on spreading the dis-information that your opponent is a lesbian? Or to lie about finding a wiretap placed in your office by that governor? (Ann Richards, a fine Texas governor whose most famous quote was in reference to W: “He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”) What level of personal ethic must one possess to falsely taint an American war hero as a lying coward to undercut his run for the presidency?

Hmmm. Having asked those questions, I think we’d better lower the level. Junior High students are, on the whole, far too ethically advanced to fall into the Rove category. Maybe a few more questions will help determine the appropriate level.

Bush and Rove gushed yesterday about their pride in the service they have given the country. What kind of civic servility does it take to identify the political potential of a rich, well-connected loser and publicize his path to the whitehouse so that you and your cronies can manipulate the poor smuck to your will? What kind of morality does it take to advise torture and illegal wiretapping as unmonitored executive policy? What kind of loyalty to your country does it take to be a lynchpin in an administration that uses hundreds of signing statements to justify ignoring the laws of the land? What kind of reverence for constitutional law does it take to have as your primary goal the garnering of all federal power in the hands of one political party under an all-powerful executive branch?

I have to conclude that if Rove rises to the heights of Junior High, it is only as the class bully.

Of all those questions, the last one sticks in my craw the most. I reserve my highest level of disrespect for Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich for making single party control the hallmark of today’s governmental operations. I believe that our Founding Fathers, for all their faults, understood at a very deep level the huge value of open discourse and governmental decision-making through compromise. Control by any single political school of thought is dictatorship. Our entire federal government was structured to avoid that potential.

I think Karl Rove believes that the world is full of people too stupid to ask the right questions, and, even worse, that he has the answers. I also believe that if you meet a man who says he met the Buddha on the road, you can be sure that he has not.

To me, Karl Rove and his ilk represent all the very worst attributes of our presently dysfunctional democracy. As a king-maker, he is the best only because he has the ability to completely ignore ethical and humane behavior in favor of his cause, and, to say it kindly, his cause is specious.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rove Resigns

At last one of the scourges of American politics will be leaving Washington. Karl Rove, the king-making master of dirty tricks, conqueror of the Democrats in Texas, and undefeated champion of self-righteous slime is going to vacate our nation’s capital and slither back under whatever rock he was hatched under – I wish.

Of course, he is not going to go back to his cave and disappear from the political scene forever. He has proven to too many pols that he can put together campaigns foul enough to make even the failed son of a failed president into a successor to the throne. Anybody who can turn a sow’s ear like George W. Bush into enough of a silk purse to become president has at least enough knowledge of the short and shallow attention span of the voting public to be able to make a god out of anybody with a modicum of speaking ability.

Karl Rove, then, will be seen as a valuable political plotter by anybody who aspires to public office. He will generate a book or two, receive massive checks for consulting with other campaign planners for a while and then re-emerge in D.C. again someday as advisor to another chosen bumbler who couldn’t have gotten there without him and wouldn’t know what to do without his daily guidance.

If that prediction ever comes true, it will signify the dying gasps of constitutionally protected rights for citizens and the installation of an all powerful executive branch that will eliminate all vestiges of power for the other two branches. Rove came close to that this time, but didn’t achieve it. Since he believes that he and only he (in the company of a chosen few just like him) possesses the understanding, will and right to dominate the world to the greater benefit of the United States, it will be absolutely necessary for him to return and finish the job.

God forbid. In the meantime, let’s just thank our lucky stars that the air in D.C. is slightly less putrescent now that he has left and do our best to ensure that neither he nor anyone like him is ever again granted access to the highest seats of power.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

American Military Revolt?

American Military Revolt?

Last night I attended a speech delivered by Ann Wright, Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired.
Col. Wright has a long history of service to her country including full careers in both the military and in the diplomatic service. Now she is speaking out in favor of impeaching both W and dick. She was adamant in insisting that we are on the cusp of impeachment and that every concerned citizen should make it a point to go to their representatives’ offices while they are home on vacation from Washington.

I plan to do that, although I have very little faith in any of our Senators and Congressmen as bearers of my message to the hill. I just keep telling myself that whether or not they will act on my opinions, they are my representatives and should at least have to listen to me and those who think like me. For that reason, I urge you to do the same. Go see them. It will be discouraging, but the DemoRats definitely need to hear that their party line is unacceptable to the people and the Repulsicans need to hear how disgusted we are with their support of BushCo – not to mention the party line rigidity that both parties continue to foment.

The issues Col. Wright suggests emphasizing are: the manipulation of intelligence BushCo used to mislead us into war; the loss of honor due to official advocation of torture as a questioning device and suspension of habeas corpus, and; surveillance without court review as passed by the Congress just last week. She also stressed the need to press for removal of our troops from Iraq, saying that far from disastrous for Iraq, our retreat would be beneficial because it would defuse the concept of occupation and allow Iraq’s government to form alliances with forces of their choice from their own region.

The thing that hit me the hardest was her description of the morale of our military. She pointed out that recruitment is in the toilet. Recruiters are offering $20,000 signing bonuses to new recruits and up to $50,000 for re-ups and still falling short of recruitment goals. Nearly 100% of our troops on the ground in Iraq, she said, are demoralized and dissatisfied with BushCo’s policies. For me that lent credence to the article below, which I have been sitting on for a while wondering how much credibility could be assigned to it. There are plenty of references in it to background sources. I hope it is true, but you can judge for yourself:

IRAQ -- ACTIVE DUTY GENERALS WILL "REVOLT" AGAINST BUSH IF HE MAINTAINS ESCALATION INTO 2008: Appearing on NBC's Chris Matthews Show, Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial page editor Cynthia Tucker reveals that sources within the military are warning of "a revolt from active-duty generals if September rolls around and the president is sticking with the surge into '08.'" Noting that retired generals such as Gen. John Baptiste have already begun voicing their discontent with the President's strategy in Iraq, Tucker added that the generals "don't want to fall by the wayside like the generals in Vietnam did, kept pushing a war that they knew was lost." When President Bush vetoed the Iraq timeline legislation earlier this month, he claimed that "the measure would 'impose impossible conditions on our commanders in combat' by forcing them to 'take fighting directions from politicians 6,000 miles away in Washington, DC." But despite past claims that "the right force level" will be determined by "the sober judgment of our military leaders," the Bush administration has a proven track record of disregarding the advice of military leaders. As recently as last December, when the White House was first pushing its escalation plan, the administration explicitly ignored "the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff." If Tucker's sources are correct, it appears the commanders on the ground in Iraq are getting tired of "taking fighting directions" from the politician "6,000 miles away" in the White House. And they might not stay quiet for long.

Please – go see your Senators and Congressmen sometime in the next two weeks.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Could I Agree with Newt??!!

I never in my life dreamed the day would come when I’d say that I agree with Newt Gingrich on anything more complex than, “We should not eat our children”, but that day is here. I still suspect that Newt would eat his children if he thought it would advance him two steps toward high political office, but yesterday he actually spoke the truth when he said, “The war on terror is phony.”

Those of us who spotted that phoniness before BushCo led the rest of the lemmings off that particular cliff have always known it to be a phony war, and it is no real consolation beyond relief to learn that some powerful Republicans like Newt are finally ready to denounce BushCo’s efforts. One of the deeply troubling aspects of all the wrangling over this war has been the insistence of politicians on maintaining opposite sides of the argument based solely on party affiliations. Of course, the only reason some Repulsicans are beginning to sing another tune may be that they see political opportunism swinging that way, but at least if they take a position in opposition to the war that position will align them with the lily-livered Demorats who still haven’t shown the guts needed to clearly and decisively oppose the national propensity toward violence as a method of managing our international interests.

Newt says he will flesh out his opinion on how to conduct the war on terror over the next couple of weeks – meaning, of course, that he will need to analyze the polls after each position statement before he can frame the next one – and further meaning, naturally, that he is testing the waters to see if he can ride the tide of anti-Bushism among the Repulsicans to a nomination for ’08. Your skin, like mine, may crawl at the mention of his name, but there’s no denying that Newt is such a polished politician (a polishtician?) that he could make Machiavelli blush.

There are several options Newt or anyone with a grain of sense could put forward as more powerful methods of fighting terrorism than fighting a losing war in Iraq. Even BushCo ought to be ready to pull out of that one about now. After all, dick Cheney and his buddies have extracted about as much profit out of it as they can grab unless the Iraqi parliament actually knuckles under and signs away their oil futures in exchange for the modicum of security our troop presence offers.

I risk upsetting some of my peace network friends with a few of the following statements, but I also think that the U.S. could implement a few different strategies including some military options that would increase our national safety a hell of a lot more than BushCo’s war has done. I don’t know what Newt will propose, but just for the heck of it, here are my ideas on what we ought to do.

First, stop our greedy international economic policies. I guarantee you that Newt won’t start there, but I deeply believe that the notion of continuous expansion is a dead end for economic well-being. Constant growth should give way to sustainability. That attitude change alone would show us ways to quit putting the pressure on less developed countries so we can control their resources. It would go a long way toward alleviating the international pressure our greediness has generated.

Second, remove all religious “tags” from our discussions of terrorism.

Third, give up the idea that we can fight terroristic cells with B-52s and ICBMs. We have no enemies who come within 1/7 of our spending on “defense”. Ours is wasteful spending. Big high-tech weaponry is not only useless against small terrorist cells armed with light weapons and suicide bombs, it is counter-productive in the animosity it generates through “collateral damage” killings of innocent civilians wherever they are deployed.

Reduce big weapon military spending, thus also reducing the rest of the world’s fear of how we plan to use it, increase small arms, surveillance potentials (spies, infiltrators, etc.) and boots on the ground and use these things to ferret out those cells wherever they are. The British have done a much better job than we have of identifying and defusing domestic threats. Our “Homeland Security Department” has been a joke from day one - a paper tiger that costs an arm and a leg while providing only a false sense of security without seriously impinging on any real risks. We should follow the example of the Brits and the Israelis (I’m thinking Entebbe here.). Implement meaningful intelligence efforts to identify true risks and then launch countermeasures targeted to specific threats.

Finally, start spending saved military funds on projects to improve living conditions throughout the world – starting at home. It’s really pretty simple and comes back to the question I first raised before we went to war in Iraq. i.e. Who will be the next terrorist. The son whose father we kill, or the father whose son we feed?

In the meantime, let’s pay some attention to ol’ Newt. Who knows maybe this time his Machiavellian antics will result in an amalgamation of American opinion to the effect that the war in Iraq HAS been a complete and utter waste of lives and resources, and we can all take one giant step in unity toward a more peaceful future. At the very least, Newt has proven that if we just keep talking to one another we will eventually find something to agree upon. With that thought in mind,

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

Monday, August 6, 2007

Republican Warnings

When I first received notice of Bush's creation of a system whereby he could take complete control of the government in case of "national emergency", it didn't worry me much. After all, every president in my lifetime, which I must admit has been more decades than I'd LIKE to admit, has issued a similar order.

I still tend to take it somewhat lightly, because I resist being jerked around by political fear mongering. However, as the time for national elections draws nearer and Bush's popularity drops to such levels that his own party is afraid of what he might do - as attested to by the article below - it is time to at least be watchful of the signs. I reprint the article below as a way of asking folks to be aware of these possibilities and alert to the possibility that their voices will be needed to shout BushCo down if they ever try to by-pass an election or over-ride the powers of Congress.

At the very least, we should all be aware that this is a ruthless administration that poses the greatest danger to freedom in American history. I find it hard to believe that even they would stoop to the suggestions below, but it is not unimaginable. If ever Americans needed to vigilant, it is now, and it is NOT external terrorist we should fear.

Old-line Republican warns 'something's in the works' to trigger a police state
Muriel Kane
Published: Thursday July 19, 2007

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Thom Hartmann began his program on Thursday by reading from a new Executive Order which allows the government to seize the assets of anyone who interferes with its Iraq policies.
He then introduced old-line conservative Paul Craig Roberts -- a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan who has recently become known for his strong opposition to the Bush administration and the Iraq War -- by quoting the "strong words" which open Roberts' latest column: "Unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year from now the US could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran."
"I don't actually think they're very strong," said Roberts of his words. "I get a lot of flak that they're understated and the situation is worse than I say. ... When Bush exercises this authority [under the new Executive Order] ... there's no check to it. It doesn't have to be ratified by Congress. The people who bear the brunt of these dictatorial police state actions have no recourse to the judiciary. So it really is a form of total, absolute, one-man rule. ... The American people don't really understand the danger that they face."
Roberts said that because of Bush's unpopularity, the Republicans face a total wipeout in 2008, and this may be why "the Democrats have not brought a halt to Bush's follies or the war, because they expect his unpopular policies to provide them with a landslide victory in next year's election."
However, Roberts emphasized, "the problem with this reasoning is that it assumes that Cheney and Rove and the Republicans are ignorant of these facts, or it assumes that they are content for the Republican Party to be destroyed after Bush has his fling." Roberts believes instead that Cheney and Rove intend to use a renewal of the War on Terror to rally the American people around the Republican Party. "Something's in the works," he said, adding that the Executive Orders need to create a police state are already in place.
"The administration figures themselves and prominent Republican propagandists ... are preparing us for another 9/11 event or series of events," Roberts continued. "Chertoff has predicted them. ... The National Intelligence Estimate is saying that al Qaeda has regrouped. ... You have to count on the fact that if al Qaeda's not going to do it, it's going to be orchestrated. ... The Republicans are praying for another 9/11."
Hartmann asked what we as the people can do if impeachment isn't about to happen. "If enough people were suspicious and alert, it would be harder for the administration to get away with it," Roberts replied. However, he added, "I don't think these wake-up calls are likely to be effective," pointing out the dominance of the mainstream media.
"Americans think their danger is terrorists," said Roberts. "They don't understand the terrorists cannot take away habeas corpus, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution. ... The terrorists are not anything like the threat that we face to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution from our own government in the name of fighting terrorism. Americans just aren't able to perceive that."
Roberts pointed out that it's old-line Republicans like himself, former Reagan associate deputy attorney general Bruce Fein, and Pat Buchanan who are the diehards in warning of the danger. "It's so obvious to people like us who have long been associated in the corridors of power," he said. "There's no belief in the people or anything like that. They have agendas. The people are in the way. The Constitution is in the way. ... Americans need to comprehend and look at how ruthless Cheney is. ... A person like that would do anything."
Roberts final suggestion was that, in the absence of a massive popular outcry, "the only constraints on what's going to happen will come from the federal bureaucracy and perhaps the military. They may have had enough. They may not go along with it."
The full audio of Thom Hartmann's interview with Paul Craig Roberts can be found here.
"Well, basically Russia and China, as well as France and the United Kingdom, will "provide immediate assistance" to Iran if it "is a victim of an act, or an object of a threat of, aggression in which nuclear weapons are used." Interesting, eh? So if Bush-Cheney bomb Iran, the other NPT members are required under international law TO DEFEND IRAN. That might be worth a follow-up to see if they honor that commitment.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

Friday, August 3, 2007

Enough is Far Too Much

The Bush administration is so vile that trying to write about it has become tedious. I hate to keep saying the same thing over and over, but watching Alberto Gonzales before the Senate Judiciary Committee and not watching Harriet Miers or dick Cheney before the same committee (by virtue of Bush's refusal to honor congressional subpoenas) is enough to gag me on my own bile.

Hasn't anyone else had enough? Is there no Senator on that committee with enough integrity to say, "Have you no shame, sir? Have you no shame?" (For those too young to know - those are the questions finally put to Senator Joe McCarthy after his reign of ideological terror in the 1950s.)

Sorry I don't have more to say today, but it does seem impossible to me that our elected officials continue to treat BushCo as though they were due some respect. I say we ought to just tar and feather the whole lot and run them out of town on a rail.

I can't stand it any more. Somebody do something, PLEASE!!

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Straight Talk from Fritz Mondale

Walter F. Mondale: The man behind the curtain

In the decades before 9/11, the vice presidency was made relevant and respectable. Dick Cheney took that and ran roughshod with it. -- Walter F. Mondale

The Washington Post's recent series on Dick Cheney's vice presidency certainly got my attention. Having held that office myself over a quarter-century ago, I have more than a passing interest in its evolution from the backwater of American politics to the second most powerful position in our government. Almost all of that evolution, under presidents and vice presidents of both parties, has been positive -- until now. Under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, it has gone seriously off track.
The founders created the vice presidency as a constitutional afterthought, solely to provide a president-in-reserve should the need arise. The only duty they specified was that the vice president should preside over the Senate. The office languished in obscurity and irrelevance for more than 150 years until Richard Nixon saw it as a platform from which to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 1960. That worked, and the office has been an effective launching pad for aspiring candidates since.
But it wasn't until Jimmy Carter assumed the presidency that the vice presidency took on a substantive role. Carter saw the office as an underused asset and set out to make the most of it. He gave me an office in the West Wing, unimpeded access to him and to the flow of information, and specific assignments at home and abroad. He asked me, as the only other nationally elected official, to be his adviser and partner on a range of issues.
Our relationship depended on trust, mutual respect and an acknowledgement that there was only one agenda to be served -- the president's. Every Monday the two of us met privately for lunch; we could, and did, talk candidly about virtually anything. By the end of four years we had completed the "executivization" of the vice presidency, ending two centuries of confusion, derision and irrelevance surrounding the office.
Subsequent administrations followed this pattern. George H.W. Bush, Dan Quayle and Al Gore built their vice presidencies after this model, allowing for their different interests, experiences and capabilities as well as the needs of the presidents they served.
This all changed in 2001, and especially after Sept. 11, when Cheney set out to create a largely independent power center in the office of the vice president. His was an unprecedented attempt not only to shape administration policy but, alarmingly, to limit the policy options sent to the president. It is essential that a president know all the relevant facts and viable options before making decisions, yet Cheney has discarded the "honest broker" role he played as President Gerald Ford's chief of staff.
Through his vast government experience, through the friends he had been able to place in key positions and through his considerable political skills, he has been increasingly able to determine the answers to questions put to the president -- because he has been able to determine the questions. It was Cheney who persuaded President Bush to sign an order that denied access to any court by foreign terrorism suspects and Cheney who determined that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to enemy combatants captured in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Rather than subject his views to an established (and rational) vetting process, his practice has been to trust only his immediate staff before taking ideas directly to the president. Many of the ideas that Bush has subsequently bought into have proved offensive to the values of the Constitution and have been embarrassingly overturned by the courts.
The corollary to Cheney's zealous embrace of secrecy is his near total aversion to the notion of accountability. I've never seen a former member of the House of Representatives demonstrate such contempt for Congress -- even when it was controlled by his own party. His insistence on invoking executive privilege to block virtually every congressional request for information has been stupefying -- it's almost as if he denies the legitimacy of an equal branch of government. Nor does he exhibit much respect for public opinion, which amounts to indifference toward being held accountable by the people who elected him.
Whatever authority a vice president has is derived from the president under whom he serves. There are no powers inherent in the office; they must be delegated by the president. Somehow, not only has Cheney been given vast authority by President Bush -- including, apparently, the entire intelligence portfolio -- but he also pursues his own agenda. The real question is why the president allows this to happen.
Three decades ago we lived through another painful example of a White House exceeding its authority, lying to the American people, breaking the law and shrouding everything it did in secrecy. Watergate wrenched the country, and our constitutional system, like nothing before. We spent years trying to identify and absorb the lessons of this great excess. But here we are again.
Since the Carter administration left office, we have been criticized for many things. Yet I remain enormously proud of what we did in those four years, especially that we told the truth, obeyed the law and kept the peace.

Walter F. Mondale, vice president of the United States from 1977 to 1981, wrote this article for the Washington Post. Published: August 01, 2007

My answer to Fritz’s question is that Dick Cheney has taken over many of the decision making processes heretofore reserved for the president because that was the original plan of the people who brought us George W. Bush as president. (i.e. Karl Rove, William Kristol, et al) They knew W wasn’t smart enough to handle the job. They also knew that many of the things they wanted to do couldn’t be done with the awareness of the people or of a savvy president. This way they got everything they wanted with very little risk to themselves. I’ve said before that these are evil people. I never said they weren’t clever.

It is good to see people of Mondale’s stature speaking out. Wouldn’t it be nice if active Dems had the integrity to do the same? Oh, for more like Fritz and Jimmy.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR