Friday, October 28, 2005

Bush and Cheney: Accused Individuals Entitled to Trial!

Scooter Libby

Scooter Libby has been indicted, resigned from the White House, where he was Chief of Staff for Vice-President Dick Cheney, and received this comment from the President:
Special Counsel Fitzgerald's investigation and ongoing legal proceedings are serious, and now the proceedings -- the process moves into a new phase. In our system, each individual is presumed innocent and entitled to due process and a fair trial.

President Bush at the White House

This is Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby's boss, the source of his information on Valerie Plame, and our country's Vice-President.

Dick Cheney had this to say about the indictment of his Chief of Staff:
In our system of government an accused person is presumed innocent until a contrary finding is made by a jury after an opportunity to answer the charges and a full airing of the facts. Mr. Libby is entitled to that opportunity.
But is that really how our President and our Vice-President view the Justice System? Do they really believe that persons acused of crimes deserve a trial and are presumed innocent?

In Guantanamo, detainees are now being force-fed, often brutally, as they protest the fact that they are being detained with physical abuse and without charges. They don't have any presumption of innocence.

That each individual is "presumed innocent and entitled to due process and a fair trial?" Or is that just for loyal Republican members of his Administration?

What about the Guantanamo detainees? Don't they deserve to be charged with a crime and face trial?

Detainees at Guantanamo Bay in 2001

As reported 10/27/05, detainees are now being force-fed in response to hunger strikes by groups in Guantanamo protesting their treatment and the fact that they were not even granted the right of knowing what charges are being made against them:
Kessler ordered the Pentagon to release the medical files weekly and to alert lawyers within 24 hours if they start force-feeding clients.

Prisoners' attorneys called her ruling an important but partial victory in an array of legal battles over the 500-plus Guantanamo detainees, all but four of whom are being held without charges. Most lack outside counsel.
When individuals from the White House are accused of crimes, they are presumed innocent by this President, and guaranteed a trial. This nation must guarantee the right to trial by all individuals accused of crimes by this government. Regardless of how horrible we think the crime might be, each person deserves a time in court. To hold individuals indefinitely without being accused of a crime, is UNAMERICAN.

This Administration is being exposed for the corrupt, malevolant leadership that believes in the politics of personal destruction, and which suspends the Writ of Habeas Corpus, spies on private citizens, publishes propaganda instead of news, and threatens religious freedom by distorting the First Amendment to this Constitution.

Senator John Kerry knows about these people. He knows what Swift Boating is about. Dan Rather knows about these people. He knows about how this Administration has used its position to smear and destroy its opponents! America needs John Kerry to be at our helm. We need to restore decency to government and protect the freedom for all individuals who are accused by our government, not just Republican cronies of this President. We shall bring America back to the values that make our nation great. We shall have to wait for 2008! We have your back John!


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Kerry Calls for 20,000 G.I.'s to Return Home by Christmas

John Kerry feels America's pain and disapproval of the war in Iraq.

Kerry speaking at Georgetown University 10/26/05

He knows it is time to start bringing our soldiers home. He knows that this will help in the resolution of the Iraq situation. He stated:
"To undermine the insurgency, we must instead simultaneously pursue both a political settlement and the withdrawal of American combat forces linked to specific, responsible benchmarks," he said. "At the first benchmark, the completion of December elections, we can start the process of reducing our forces by 20,000 troops over the course of the holidays."
Meanwhile, America has passed another milestone, 2,000 dead American soldiers in Iraq.

President Bush at the Fourth State of the Union

Meanwhile, President Bush can only say that there needs to be more sacrifices:
"Sacrifice is essential to winning war," he said, "and this war will require more sacrifice, more time, and more resolve."
He added:
"Iraq has made incredible political progress, from tyranny to liberation to national elections to the ratification of a national constitution in the space of 21/2 years," Bush said to applause Tuesday as he spoke to wives of military officers at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington.
This is Paul Fusco.

Watch Paul Fusco's Photo-Montage and weep.

These are the sacrifices that America is making.

It is time for new leadership in America!


Monday, October 10, 2005

Kerry in Iowa: There is work here to do!

John Kerry is on the move!

AP Photo by Jason Cook: Kerry signs a skateboard for Cassandra McWane, 15

John Kerry knows he has a responsibility to America and to the Americans who supported him for President. He stated yesterday in Iowa:
"It's the importance of my responsibility as a nominee and as a senator and as a public person not to turn my back on the invested effort of millions of Americans," Kerry said.
Also during his visit to Iowa, he encouraged supporters to continue the good fight:
"You can't sit around and cry in your teacup and lament about it. You've got to take that frustration . . . and channel it," he told more than 300 Des Moines-area party faithful at a fundraiser for Democratic women.

"And we almost achieved it last time," he said, recalling record turnout by Democrats in his losing effort to unseat President Bush.
Thank you Senator Kerry for continuing the fight for Americans who believe that our nation can lead the world as a symbol of freedom, tolerance, and as a beacon of peace and brotherhood, instead of a symbol of "shock and awe."

America can do better. John Kerry is ready to lead America back to the path of our Founding Fathers. We've got your back John! Keep on coming!


Sunday, October 09, 2005

"Mourning" in America About Bill Bennett

This is a picture of former Education Secretary William Bennett. Mr. Bennett has a radio show called "Morning in America." He likes to write and talk about virtues.

William Bennett

Mr. Bennett loves children. He wants them to learn about virtues.

Apparently Mr. Bennett loves the virtue of Video Poker and slot machines.

So nobody's perfect.

William J. Bennett once said:
A kind and compassionate act is often its own reward.
That's a nice thought. I like kind and compassionate acts.

But Mr. Bennett said something mean and deserves to apologize. He should stick to "kind and compassionate acts."

On his radio show, Mr. Bennett stated:
Bennett's comment on his show, "Morning in America," came in response to a caller's question regarding a recent book that suggested an increase in the abortion rate has helped reduce the crime rate.

Bennett said: "I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."

Bennett, who is an abortion opponent, went on to say that such abortions would be "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky."
Maybe Mr. Bennett was thinking of this black baby with another Katrina victim:

As Bennett explained on Hannity and Colmes on Fox, some of his thinking was affected by the recent New Orleans events:
But people need to follow the argument and the argument I was making here is entirely plausible. The causes of crime are very complicated. But there is a very big literature, as you know, about single parenthood in crime, about race in crime, and about poverty in crime. And we've been talking about all these things lately in the context of New Orleans and other things.
It is a virtue to APOLOGIZE. Excuse me for shouting Mr. Bennett. But you were just wrong to make a hypothetical like that and then deny that you did anything wrong!

But Mr. Bennett can only blame the media.

As reported:
Former Education Secretary William Bennett on Saturday blamed the news media for distorting his remarks about aborting black babies, saying he had intended to make "a bad argument in order to put it down."

Bennett, making his first public speech since the comment aired on his radio show last month, said the meaning of his remark linking the crime rate with black abortions was reversed in many news reports.

"I was putting forward a bad argument in order to put it down," Bennett said, drawing sustained applause from nearly 4,500 people attending the Bakersfield Business Conference. "They reported and emphasized only the abhorrent argument, not my shooting it down."
It is a virtue to accept responsibility Mr. Bennett!

Congress John Conyers has responded to Mr. Bennett's racist remarks with this comment:
Mr. Bennett gratuitously injected racial stereotyping into a conversation with a caller about social security and abortion, stating that aborting black babies would reduce the crime rate. Regardless of whether he intended to offer serious consideration of the idea of aborting every black baby, and that he said later that it would be "impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible" to do so, Mr. Bennett stood by his contention that to do so would result in a lower crime rate, thus perpetuating the negative stereotype that African-Americans are criminals. That I find to be a great problem; and, to date, neither you nor Mr. Bennett have explained why such stereotyping was needed or even bothered to apologize for linking race with crime in such a discriminatory fashion.

You and Mr. Bennett should know African-Americans do not commit the majority of crimes in the United States. Moreover, Freakonomics, the book that Bennett cited to advance his argument, does not address race at all - that was solely Bennett's contribution. Steven Levitt, one of the book's authors, offered the following refutation of Bennett's comments immediately after they were aired:

"(A) white person and a black person who grow up next door to each other with similar incomes and the same family structure would be predicted to have the same crime involvement."
Racism is not a family value. America deserves better than these phony moralizers who hypocritically preach morality while they themselves suffer from vices like gambling habits and racism.

It is time for new leadership in America! Meanwhile, we can only be "Mourning" for America where Bill Bennett can stand at his podium, a former Secretary of Education, and promulgate "facts" about whether a hypothetical genocide of African American babies might just lower the crime rate.


Friday, October 07, 2005

"Harriet Miers' Blog!!!"

O.K., everything is getting too serious around here.

I got a good laugh reading Harriet Miers' Blog.

If you are getting down about no-bid contracts, deficit spending, tax cuts for the wealthy, wars that needn't have been, failures at dealing with natural disasters, torture policies, laws against torture that are opposed, mixing of religion and politics, cuts for public education, relaxation of environmental protection laws, appointments of cronies to high office....well you get the picture.

Stop by and read what Harriet has to say!


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Planned Lay-offs of 3,000 of New Orleans City Workers

This is copied from SitNews, where I submitted this column today.

October 05, 2005

I read with great sadness the announcement today of the planned lay-offs of 3,000 of New Orlean's city workers. Seems that this will save the City $5 million/month. And the City of New Orleans has very little revenue coming in to its coffers.

At the same time, the Federal Government has already spent $15 billion of its budgeted $50 billion or more that it plans to spend on recovery in the region. Couldn't the Feds have found $60 million in that $50 billion to keep the City of New Orleans government alive? Or are the Feds upset about Mayor Nagin's well-publicized pleas for help, when he screamed on the networks about the Feds getting their "asses" down to New Orleans? Wasn't his anger understandable?

You have all seen the faces of the victims in New Orleans. They are mostly the African-American members of that society that suffered from poverty and likely didn't even own a car to help them evacuate. Now they have been scattered across communities, with tens of thousands of them still sitting in shelters awaiting a permanent home or return to their own home in the Big Easy.

It is said that 200,000 New Orleanians lost their jobs in the Katrina disaster. If you have seen the pictures of the City today, you would realize that there are easily 200,000 jobs that need to be done. Streets needing to be cleaned. Mold removed from homes. Roofing repairs to be made. Electrical wiring to be restrung. Schools and family homes needing reconstruction. And walls needing repainting, carpets needing to be installed, furniture needing restoration. The list is literally endless.

But this Administration doesn't get it or simply doesn't really care. Whereas a WPA-styled program is needed to give these New Orleanians jobs and hope for the future, instead we are presented with the Ronald Reagan "trickle down" economic plans of the neocons, a program developed by the Heritage Foundation to create "Enterprise Zones".

Unemployed people don't need conservative theoretical experiments when they and their family are out of work. They need jobs.

But the companies given work by this Administration are being made exempt from Affirmative Action programs designed to help the very people who made up the largest class of victims of Katrina, African-Americans. Instead work is going to non-local companies, friends of this Administration like Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton. Furthermore, wage requirements for these workers are being waived while the very need for wages by homeless people cannot be disputed. But these jobs aren't going to the homeless, and the incentives to hire minorities are being relaxed.

American and New Orleans need a President who worries first about the people and second about neoconservative experiments. We need a Franklin Roosevelt who can put Americans in need back to work, and not a George W. Bush who doles out dollars to businesses and puts cronies in position of responsibility. A jobs program on the scale of the WPA is needed to get Americans from New Orleans back on their feet.

There are over 200,000 Louisianans out of work due to Katrina and Rita. There are more than 200,000 jobs that need to be done. The time for experiments is past. The time for jobs is now.

Robert Freedland