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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

 

And Now Bush's Weapons of Mass Murder!

I have a confession, last night, although I had promised friends and readers to pay careful attention to President Bush’s State of the Union speech, I was unable to tolerate the bull-oney to the end. Truth be told, I actually was only able to get to the part where he was attempting to mislead the nation concerning his flagrant violation of the nation’s wiretapping (FISA) laws. When our duly elected senators and Congress members had the gall to applaud this disingenuous lie to the people, I was so disgusted, I had to turn my radio off.
The question the President has consistently refused to answer about his illegal wiretaps has nothing to do with whether or not “terrorists” were calling each other on the telephones. No matter how often he tries to change the subject, the question actually concerns his refusal to follow the Constitution of the United States of America and the FISA law, not terrorism. Obviously, if the President had (or has as the case may be) the probable cause he claims to have, then obtaining the warrants would be quite simple and not an issue. The ONLY possible explanation for his failure to obtain these warrants is that he is wiretapping Americans with NO probable cause. And those men and women in the Congress who also have taken an oath to serve and protect the Constitution applauded this flaunting of the rights of all citizens? I came close to launching the radio out the window.
Earlier in the speech, Bush was ranting about Iran. He has faced a quandary discussing that nation because it appears that unlike Iraq, Iran just might really be seeking to possess Weapons of Mass Destruction. Since virtually every American (there are those who may have been in a coma for the last three or four years who haven’t heard), knows that Bush, Cheney, and Powell, lied to people of the United States to get Congressional approval for his unjustified invasion of Iran, he is certainly going to have trouble getting authorization to invade yet another country. Having been caught falsely crying wolf and killing tens of thousands of innocents, Bush’s speech writers (All politicians should be required to write their own speeches, such a requirement would bring about a vast change in our government.), had to come up with a new term to replace “WMD‘s.“
Either the lackey who wrote the speech is as dumb as Bush himself or he/she decided to play a practical joke on him, because out of all the possible acronyms and cute military phrases that could have been coined to describe Iraq‘s nuclear ambitions, the idiot could only come up with; “WMM” (Weapons of Mass Murder). How original! Iraq isn’t trying to get WMD’s folks, they’re trying to get WMM’s! Gee George, this Newspeak is certainly going to fool all of us stupid Americans don’t you think? I’m sure the ambassadors on the United Nations Security Council won’t suffer flashbacks when Rice makes her presentation with those cartoons showing the alleged locations of these “WMM’s.”
So again, I’m sorry to all I couldn’t make it to the end of the speech. It’s important for us stupid Americans to try and stay informed. Now I’m afraid I’ll have to go to another reliable source to learn the truth of what I missed after I turned the radio off. I’ve got to remind Tracy to let me know when The Daily Show starts.
Mike G

Monday, January 30, 2006

 

High School Girls Strip Searched

High Schools, even those that focus on vocational training rather than pre-college education, have an obligation to teach the children placed in their care the rights and obligations of citizenship in this country. Inherent in this responsibility to their charges, is a requirement to respect the rights of all students. The employees of public schools are government employees and should conduct themselves in accordance with the provisos of the United States Constitution.
At least one would hope that most reasonable people would expect government servants to behave in such a manner, but at Ohio’s Pike County Vocational School, such a respect for the rights of their fellow citizens appears to be glaring absent from the school’s staff behavior. Last week, after receiving a report that someone was missing ten dollars and a credit card, a Nursing Instructor decided to respond to the report by conducting a strip search of the girls attending the class.
According to an article filed by Mary Beth Lane of the Columbus Ohio Dispatch, the class’s instructor ordered each and every student to accompany her (this is an educated guess as the sex of the instructor is not noted in the article), to the bathroom where they were ordered to drop their pants, remove their blouses, unhook their brassieres and shake them out.
The “Dispatch” article quotes the school’s superintendent, a Mr. Stephen E. Martin, as stating that “the officials were doing what they thought school policy allowed them to do.” One of the student’s parents noted that Mr. Martin told her “they had the right to do it” and that he believed the search was “reasonable.” This is an important point, because the school’s policy manual allows “reasonable” searches. Of course one could presumably argue that a “body cavity” is “reasonable” as well.
Nearly twenty-four children were traumatized by this abuse. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads; “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” If such a search as that which took place at Pike County Vocational, is “reasonable,” then the Fourth Amendment is defacto null and void. Imagine the clerks locking the doors at the local Department store for example, and strip searching all the patrons because they discovered a missing item. Although such a scenario seems ludicrous upon its face, as long as the store is allowed to argue “it’s their policy,” shouldn’t they be allowed to do what ever they want to the people that enter their shop? Of course not, and neither should a school be allowed to make such a claim because their students desire an education.
There can be no doubt this case is going to cost the Pike County School District big bucks. Either they will quietly pay off the parents of the abused children, or they will spend big bucks in court, and then pay off the parents of the abused children. Money paid by the citizens of Ohio that should be used to educate kids, will instead be used to further enrich lawyers.
Amazingly, it is doubtful that few if any of the bucks spent on this case will be expended on teaching the school’s staff about their obligation to respect the rights of their students. This is really too bad, because out of all the money that’s going to change hands, impressing upon the staff at Pike County schools the need to observe the rights of their charges will do much more to enhance the educational experience of the kids and eventually put a damper upon the extended costs associated with these silly cases. Sadly, especially when considering this is a school after all, few lessons will be learned from this bizarre incident.
Link to the “Dispatch” article: http://www.columbusdispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/01/26/20060126-C1-02.html

Friday, January 27, 2006

 

Marines Withdraw from the Naval Academy

On the fourteenth day of this month the forty-eight United States Marines guarding various installations and gates at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis Maryland, were relieved of their duties in anticipation of their serving in Iraq. This is not the first time in America’s history that the “leathernecks” have been pulled from their duty of guarding the tomb of John Paul Jones, it also was determined to be necessary during the Korean and Vietnam Wars as well, but this move does serve to illuminate the extreme military manpower shortage facing our country.
It is not just the Marines that are feeling the pinch. Prior to the open ended occupation of Iraq, the Army utilized Military Police units to guard the entrances to its forts and camps. This is no longer the case. Although Army gates are still supervised by the MP’s, most of the actual ID checks at the gates are now performed by private security guards. In military parlance, it appears our Army is unable to secure its own perimeter. This circumstance begs the question; If the military is unable to provide the manpower to protect its own installations, how can the Services be relied upon to protect the nation?
Its was not too long ago, as recently at the end of the nineties to be precise, that the primary military debate facing the nation’s war planners was whether or not the United States could engage in a war or wars involving multiple battle fronts. Planners in the Pentagon were told to maintain America’s military with the ability to conduct two different conflicts simultaneously. Obviously, these planners could not have anticipated a protracted hostile occupation sucking manpower and money from the taxpayers at unprecedented rates. For the United States to effectively support a two war scenario now, the next combatant confronting American forces would have the limited military resources of say Monaco or Lichtenstein, but to go against North Korea? Not likely without a massive and protracted effort.
This virtual inability to provide a military response to provocation, because of our commitment to Iraq, directly impacts our diplomatic efforts throughout the world. Although military force is not nearly as important to our statecraft as our ability to spread money throughout the world, having an effective, able, and available Army is necessary when dealing with the “outlaws” running rouge nations around the planet. The decline of the former Soviet Union and Russia’s inability to regain her international prestige can be directly traced to the Afghan war. When America achieved a quick apparent victory in Iraq, nations like Libya were quick to fall in line with our dictates. Now that the President’s claim of victory has been shown to be ludicrously premature, we cannot use force as a bargaining tool with states like Iran. Instead of making the world a safer place, the Iraq war has proven to make the world just a little more unstable, and America’s ability to direct the outcome of international events just a little less likely.
“An honorable peace is and always was my first wish!” so said the fighter John Paul Jones, but peace was not to be and America’s war for Independence ensued. When diplomacy fails, war often follows, but now that America can realistically no longer engage in further military endeavors as long as we are tied up in Iraq, the actual likelihood of other nations taking paths in direct opposition to our welfare is greatly enhanced.
When the marines left the tomb of Commodore Jones, they also demonstrated to the world the recent decline of American military supremacy. Although it is not too late to reverse this trend, it is essential that we find effective leadership willing to confront the hard choices facing this nation. Tax cuts catering to the rich in the middle of a war are not only insanely bad policy, they are representative actions of a leadership unable to forecast the results from the simplest of their actions. It is not so much a case of: “What were they thinking?” but a more case of “Are they thinking at all?”

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