Thursday, March 03, 2005

CWO Darrell Birt's Reward for Serving in Iraq

This is a post from Pass it on.

The short of it...a unit in Iraq, an Army Reserve transportation crew that moves fuel to the front lines, got to Iraq short on trucks, mounts for their guns, and parts. Sounds familiar...remember that soldier complaining about "hillbilly armor" to Donald Rumsfeld during a morale boosting visit by the Secretary of Defense?

Well, the unit CO, Major Cathy Kaus, was presented an idea by a couple of her officers..."appropriate" some abandoned Army vehicles and use them for their mission needs. One they stripped for parts, another they drove in with their own. [...]

A soldier in the unit turned them in for the taking of the trucks. Now, "midnight requisitions" have a long history in the military. You do what you have's not for personal gain, but to fix the broken equipment, to do the job, to get the gear you need to stay alive and accomplish the mission. When it's found out, it's often overlooked...or at worst you get reprimanded or get a good ass-chewing.

Not so in this case. [...]

Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, is enough of an asshole to tell troops, well, basically, "tough shit" when they complain of lack of adequate supplies/armor/guns/ammo on the front lines. And then guys like those in the 656th bend over backwards, go above and beyond, get decorations for doing whatever it takes to get the mission done and get fuel to the troops on the front...and then GET A DISHONORABLE DISCHARGE!!!!

The situation is nearly destroying the Birt family...while the appeals work through, Maj. Kaus has been allowed to stay on active duty, but CW2 Birt has been processed out. The financial disruption and emotional anguish has shaken the faith of this family, a devoutly Christian and tightly knit one that has been devastated by the mistreatment the Army has served them. I've been in contact via email with Janet Birt, Darrell's wife, and it pains me to hear what they are going through. But through it all, CW2 Birt has remained a faithful American and loyal soldier, who still says he'd return to Iraq in a minute if they let him. [...]

Here's how you can help:

Petition the U.S. Congress.

Petition the General hearing their appeals.

Write your Congressional delegation.

Read the original story:

And if you are a this story.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Generation Next

In 1968, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) were a group of students at Columbia University call for governmental change. Mark Rudd, the undeclared leader of the student movement, wrote a letter to Grayson Kirk, president of Columbia, stating what many young people felt and believed during that turbulent time. In his letter he wrote,

"We will take control of your world, your corporation, your
university, and attempt to mold a world in which we and other
people can live as human beings."

Rudd ended his letter in the words of LeRoi Jones, a playwright and Black Power advocate, to cement SDS a place in history.

"There is only one thing left to say. It may sound nihilistic
to you, since it is the opening shot in a war of liberation.
I'll use the words of LeRoi Jones, whom I'm sure you don't like
a whole lot: 'Up against the wall, motherfucker, this is a stick-
up'" (Mark Kurlansky, 1968 197).

Using Jones' words showed the seriousness with which the youth in 1968 took their cause.

Today's youth - Generation Next - must take a serious stand. Will they be the next to give their lives in Iraq fighting a war started for a lie (WMD's) and then another lie (Saddam working with Al Qaeda) or will they be the next to stand up to the Bush Regime and demand accountability and not be bullied with scare tactics.

Scare tactics are the only source the Bush crime family can use because everything they proclaim has more holes than "Blackburn Lancashire" A Day in the Life, Lennon & McCartney, 1967). They have scared the American people into believing the forementioned bull about Iraq. They tried to convince voters that a vote for John Kerry was a guarantee of another terrorist attack. But they are not through.

Now the Bushies want us to believe our health insurance is astronomical because of "frivolous lawsuits;" not because insurance companies can raise their rates any time for any reason because they have an exemption from anti-trust laws. The Bush clan's solution is to put a cap on awards to victims of products or services that resulted in injury or death. In other words, protect the corporations, not the victims.

Another scare is Social Security. Peter Wehner, a Bush political stategist, told the New York Times January 10, 2005, "We need to establish on the public mind a key fiscal fact: right now we are on an unsustainable course." The course he speaks of is the crash of Social Security by 2012. LIES! Again, according to the same NY Times report, "The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, using different assumptions, predicts that the [Social Security] trust fund will last...until 2052."

But even if Bush is right (which he is not), why privatize Social Security just so his campaign contributors from Wall Street can make a fortune? Why not raise the salary cap or eliminate it completely? That, in and of itself, will ensure Social Security's longevity.

Today's youth must own their future. Don't be bullied by the scare tactics of the neo cons. You can scare them by banding together and taking a stand. The voters of Washington state showed how possible it is to stand up for justice. It is time for Generation Next to take a stand.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Inauguration Strike

The following was posted on the Air America, Morning Sedition blog by Jen.

The first worldwide general strike in history.

Call in sick. Take a personal day.

Blockade the imperial procession.

Protests everywhere.

Please forward this along! Inauguration protest information --
January 20th, 2005 -- Anti-Inauguration Call-to-Action

Coordinator: Selina; 202-250-4939;
General Strike - USA author: Fed Up General Strike Thursday January 20, 2005 Inauguration Day

Show George II, "The W", how much we support his reign, by supporting a General Strike on Thursday, January 20, 2005.

We must show the world that we are not satisfied with "black box" voting, where there is no paper trail of the votes cast. Over 8,000 votes in precincts of less than 700, voting machines counting backwards, misallocating the votes from Kerry to Bush. Dozens and dozens of instances of unquestionable vote fraud aided and abetted
by Republicans both in the Corporate world and the Political.

We must show that "We the People of the united States of America" are out here, are sovereign, and that we will no longer stand by while our basic rights and liberties are ripped away from us like bloody swatches of skin.

A "General Strike" means:

No Economic Activity Whatsoever for examples (list not all inclusive):

No buying gas. No buying food. No fast food. No paying bills. No use of US Postal Service. No movies, Pay-Per-View, or video game rentals. No taking public transportation. No paying of tolls (bridge, turnpike, etc.)

If we all, those who do NOT support the regime of George W. Bush (et al), stay away from any economic activity on Inauguration Day, we will hurt his supporters in the most significant way - in their pocket books!

Imagine, millions and millions of folks missing work, holding rallies, and not spending a dime that day (!!!). OhMyGod, the sky will fall!

Repooplicans mobbing DC for the festivities, depending on the 'plebes' to be there serving them, and on Inauguration Day, everyone is marching to a different drum! Who will wipe their - - noses? Or gather laurels for them to rest upon?

Of course, a person needing medical attention, or ongoing care (i.e. dialysis) is exempted.

Otherwise, we need to Shut the Country Down on Inauguration Day!

Get your family, your friends, your co-workers - women, men, black, brown, WHATEVER! It doesn't matter your background; if you value your freedom, and want to resist the fascists who are taking control, STRIKE!

Strike! Strike! Strike! Strike! Strike! Strike! Strike! Strike!

reposted from Portland Indymedia J20 FLASHMOBS .1 Bush Contributor Exxon/Mobil 01.Jan.2005 20:01

Depending on the number of participants in your city, two or more flashmobs could descend on various locations and then converge with the main counter-inaugural protest (before moving elsewhere).

Esso/Exxon/Mobil provides an internationally unifying group of landmarks and could provide a clear link between Bush, corporations, oil, war, and the system in general.

Flashmobs could be a great way to rally the troops. It may not be easy but it's also not to late (and might be fun) -- so get busy, get active, get revolting!

===== NUREMBERG CHARTER, Section 2, Article 6:

. . . (a) CRIMES AGAINST PEACE: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;

(b) WAR CRIMES . . . Such violations shall include, but not be limited to . . . murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war . . . , killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity . . .


Iraq Body Count:

Iraq Coalition Body Count:

Posted by: Jen at January 11, 2005 06:55 AM (EST)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Spineless Democrats

The senators of the Democratic Party have shown once again why the Republicans own this country. Yesterday, the Democrats had an opportunity to stand together and show America they will not cower to the fascist regime of the current administration, yet they did nothing. Had they all stood with California Senator Barbara Boxer the outcome would be the same, but the message would be clear. Had they stood in solidarity they would have told the rest of the American people, the American people who feel disenfranchised by this criminal administration, the American people tired of the corruption, the American people fed up with the fraud, that “WE WILL NOT GO QUIETLY INTO THE NIGHT. WE WILL NOT GIVE UP WITHOUT A FIGHT!”

I could hear the Republicans saying, “Sons of bitches, we’re in a heap o’ trouble now!”

But no, the Democrats, with the one exception of Barbara Boxer, have the spines of jellyfish. These are the same Democrats that have the balls to ask for campaign contributions, yet can’t seem to find those same balls to perform their jobs.

I say it is time the American people take the fight into their own hands. The Democrats have shown they don’t want to piss off “da massa,” so let them cower and take the whip. It is time to start a new party. Why waste time with a grassroots movement that will only perpetuate a bunch of losers? Why not, instead, put our energy into forming a party that will represent the majority of Americans; Americans who struggle to work regular jobs that corporations continually downsize, Americans who struggle to raise families while health care becomes non-existent, Americans who bear the brunt of the financial burden to keep this country afloat?

The Democrats have shown they will not repair this joke of an election process where no one knows if their vote was counted or changed, so it is time to do it ourselves. If we challenge every elected position from dog catcher to President and use this grassroots movement to our advantage, we can get rid of these corporate cronies that go by the names Democrat and Republican. We can use what Howard Dean’s campaign proved can be done; a community connected via the internet is able to take a virtually unknown Governor of Vermont and make him a household name. We can do the same with our new grassroots party.

This can be the launching pad for the American Party.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Shop at Sears

Let's all shop at Sears!!!!!!
I assume you have all seen the reports about how Sears is treating its
reservist employees who are called up? By law, they are required to hold
their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big
pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up...Sears is
voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits,
including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist
employees for up to two years. I submit that Sears is an exemplary
corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution.

Suggest we all shop at Sears, and be sure to find a manager to tell them
why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement it well

Pass it on.
I decided to check this out before I sent it forward. I sent the following
email to the Sears Customer Service Department:

I received this email and I would like to know if it is true. If it is, the
Internet may have just become one very good source of advertisement for
your store. I know I would go out of my way to buy products from Sears
instead of another store for a like item even if it was cheaper at the other store.
Here is their answer to my email.......................

Dear Customer:

Thank you for contacting Sears.

The information is factual. We appreciate your positive feedback. Sears
regards service to our country as one of greatest sacrifices our young men
and women can make. We are happy to do our part to lessen the burden they
bear at this time.

Bill Thorn
Sears Customer Care

Please pass this on to all your friends, Sears needs to be recognized for
this outstanding contribution and we need to show them as Americans, we do appreciate what they are doing for our military

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Social Security Reform

After analyzing the policies Mr. Bush is adamant about pushing through to fruition, a couple of common themes surface. Those themes are profits for the rich and fear. He pushes fear like a dealer pushes drugs at an elementary school playground. He basically says if you don’t agree with him, something terrible is going to happen. He did it before the invasion in Iraq; if we don’t attack Iraq, they will use weapons of mass destruction on us. He did it again during the campaign; if you vote for Kerry, we will be attacked by terrorists. The war on Iraq turns out to be a windfall for corporations like Halliburton, with their no-bid, multimillion dollar contracts. The campaign is millions in profit for corporations that financed the Bush campaign by relaxing regulations or ignoring them altogether. A good example of this “payback” is the “Clean Air Initiative;” while allowing companies to pollute our environment, it puts millions in the pockets of corporate executives that don’t have to worry about environmental regulations and fines and the cost of upgrades that reduce the damage to our water and air and soil.

The president’s “stay-the-course” ideology is not just reserved for the war in Iraq. President Bush has shown time and again that he will stay the course to help the rich get richer while trying to fool the rest of us into thinking he is doing a good thing for us mere commoners.

Now Bush wants to privatize Social Security by letting people invest the money with private investment firms. The fearmonger is spewing the dangers of Social Security’s eminent crash and burn before 2012 and that his plan is the only one that will save the elderly and soon-to-retire babyboomers. That’s a load of misinformation (to put it nicely). These private investment firms, that charge a fee to handle your account, are basically stockbrokers and not necessarily looking out for your future. Remember the Enron fiasco? Hey, wasn’t Enron’s CEO one of ‘W’s pals?

In a report from Reuters, December 12, 2004, “Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine, of New Jersey, former head of the Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs, said personal accounts would undermine Social Security's long-standing role as a provider of stable guaranteed retirement benefits.

‘In any given 10- or 15-year period, you can have ups and downs in markets that could leave the retiring group of individuals at that point at great risk’” (Reuters).

Oh, and let’s not forget about the cost of privatization. It’s just a small sum (in Bush terms) of 1 to 2 trillion dollars. Where is that money going to come from? Bush will borrow it. What’s another 1 or 2 trillion on our astronomical national debt anyway? Besides, it’s the future generations that will have to worry about paying it off. We may as well begin calling them “Generation Debt.”

Even Republicans don’t want Bush to borrow the money. According to the Reuters, De-cember 12 report “U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham [R] of South Carolina said reliance on borrowing to finance [the] estimated $1 trillion to $2 trillion in transition costs would be irresponsible and could undermine Bush's tax- and deficit-cutting goals.

‘What I'm asking of the president, when it comes to the transition costs, be flexible,’ said Graham, who has proposed a temporary rise in payroll tax contributions to finance Social Security's shift to partial privatization.

‘I think it's irresponsible to borrow the whole trillion dollars,’ he told ‘Fox News Sunday.’

Bush, who has made Social Security reform a top priority of his second term, last week reiterated his opposition to an increase in payroll taxes to pay for reforms he says must include the creation of new personal investment accounts” (Reuters).

I say forget a program that is going to cost money when we can implement a plan that pays for itself from day one. Besides, there are 2 things Bush doesn’t want you to know about Social Security. First, Social Security will safely continue paying benefits through 2042. Second, there are other alternatives to revamping the system.

‘W’ says he wants to work with members from “both sides of the aisle,” yet he will not consider any plan to revise Social Security other than his own. Why? Because the other recommendations won’t put money in the pockets of the people who funded his campaign.

One alternative to privatization is raising the Social Security salary cap. Most people don’t realize that no one pays into social security after they reach $87,900 per year. So, if you make $100,000 or $1,000,000 or $100,000,000 per year, you only pay social security tax on the first $87,900. What a great deal for millionaires.

If we raise or get rid of the salary cap the increase in payments into the program would remove any fear of collapse. In fact, if the cap was removed, the income could not only save Social Security, it could pay for Medicare and wipe out the ridiculous national debt this administration has indiscriminately run up.

Instead of having a salary cap, put the cap on benefits. If a person’s pension and/or 401k and/or retirement income is more than, say, $150,000 per year, that person would not qualify for benefits.

Another reform should be that the Social Security Fund should not be used as a bank to fund other projects the budget didn’t call for. Any excess in funds could be put into U.S. Savings bonds that would safely collect interest.

I can hear the wealthy crying already if this plan were to become law, but boo-hoo, it’s about time they learned what it is like to be taken advantage of. Besides, the rich can afford it.

Finally, if you agree with these recommendations, write to your congressmen and sena-tors. Spread the word and get others talking about Social Security. Don’t let this administration take advantage of us any longer.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Air America

I don't know if anyone other than myself has experienced this, but about one or two months prior to the election I had a really difficult time getting Air America on my car radio (which is where I listen to it). The static and interference was unbelievable. I live on Long Island in New York. Since the election, I have not had any trouble and no static. Conspiracy?

Iraq - Gen X's Vietnam

I started reading 1968 by Mark Kurlansky and came across a quote by Eugene McCarthy that sounded like he was speaking today. McCarthy said that the Vietnam War was "draining off our material resources and our manpower resources, but I think also creating great anxiety in the minds of many Americans and really also weakening and debilitating our moral energy to deal with the problems at home and also some other potential problems around the world" (14).

I can see the opposition to the war in Iraq increasing with every soldier killed. Maybe we should take to the streets now, rather than wait for more men and women to die needlessly.