Sunday, December 7, 2014

73rd Anniversary of the December 7, 1941 Japanese Attack On Pearl Harbor & America

It seems like only yesterday, but it was 73 years ago today, December 7, 1941, a day with continues to live on in infamy, that the Japanese sneak attacked Pearl Harbor and other points on Oahu and the Philippines, leading America to declare war on Japan and Germany, which eventually put an end to the fascist madness.

Americans were shocked that Sunday morning 73 years ago. America had been helping fight the Nazi peril, indirectly, supplying weapons and ships to those, like England, who were already fighting Hitler and his Nazi terrorists, but avoiding getting directly involved.

Until December 7, 1941 unleashed the strongest military response the world had ever seen, bringing an end to World War II with a couple real big bangs over Japan, in less than four years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

America was not shocked with another Pearl Harbor type shock for almost 60 years, not til September 11, 2001, with that attack bringing America into a totally different type of World War, with the War on Terror not ending with a victory in less than fours years after the attack which started the war.

America's War on Terror continues, over 13 years after it began, with no end in sight.

Today was supposed to be the last official meeting in Pearl Harbor, on Pearl Harbor Day, of the few Pearl Harbor Attack survivors still alive. However, at least one of those survivors has said he will return every December 7, as long as he remains able to do so.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Will President Obama's Latest Executive Order Push the Republican Know Nothings Over the Edge?

Tonight, in a speech the American networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX, are refusing to cover, President Obama is expected to announce an Executive Order executing some sort of action regarding the immigration issue.

This has the Republicans, also known as the Know-Nothings, in high umbrage mode, again rattling the impeachment cage.

If you listen to the Know-Nothings, and knew nothing about the reality of the American Constitution, you'd believe Rush Limbaugh when he rants that Obama is trying to dismantle the Constitution and end America as we know it.

These type poorly educated blowhards have been part of the American landscape all the way back to the start of the nation. Only in modern day America, sadly, these types can access millions with their idiocy, via having a radio show.

As you can see, via the chart above, the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, sparingly used Executive Orders. Lincoln was president during a period where he had reason to use all the power available to him. Subsequent Republican presidents made frequent use of Executive Orders, with Teddy Roosevelt using this power the most.

Barack Obama is second to Lincoln in the limited number of times he has issued an Executive Order.

Way back a couple centuries ago, in the election in which Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams to become the first Democratic-Republican President, Adams' Federalist Party ran on a campaign of fear mongering claiming that if Jefferson were elected he would destroy the Constitution.

Instead, immediately upon taking over as president, Jefferson used an Executive Order overturning Federalist abuses of power, freeing all who were imprisoned or facing prosecution under the Adams' administration's Alien and Sedition Act, an Act which actually did endanger the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

I fear it is not going to be pretty what the Republican Know-Nothings are about to come up with in reaction to President Obama's latest Executive Order....

Monday, November 17, 2014

ISIS & the Stupidity of Evil Can Kill Both Domestic & Foreign

Rosewater is a movie written and directed by Jon Stewart about a Canadian-Iranian journalist named Maziar Bahari who found himself jailed in Iran for 118 days due to idiotic Iranian spy accusations based on nonsense.

At some point in Rosewater Jon Stewart sums it up, saying "Some people are just idiots, and the stupidity of evil can kill you".

Which brings me to the idiotic stupidity of that entity known as ISIS, currently terrorizing large swatches of Iraq and Syria with crucifixions, mass murders and beheadings, among with other atrocities.

The world reaction to the ISIS debacle totally perplexes me.

We have had multiple beheadings of Americans, shown via video on YouTube. Along with beheadings of nationals of American allies, like the UK.

When is the United Nations Security Council going to meet to deal with ISIS?

How is it that the United States presented a case before the United Nations Security Council calling for action against Saddam Hussein, and Iraq, due to what turned out to be false claims that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction posing a threat to the peace of the world?

And so America led its allies in America's first pre-emptive war, against a foe who had beheaded no Americans.

What is the point of America spending trillions of dollars on defense when we have a situation where Americans are being beheaded with America not using the full power at its disposal, both military and diplomatic, to put an end to ISIS?

I don't get it.

All that money wasted taking down Saddam, and the chaos which followed, which pretty much led to the festering of the ISIS virus.

The United States led a coalition of around a half million soldiers to free Kuwati from Iraq. The United Nations was on board with that.

Is this ISIS problem not at least as serious as was the Iraqi takeover of Kuwait?

It is just maddening, all the resources wasted with the toppling of Saddam, who posed no threat, with that toppling resulting in the deaths of thousands of American soldiers, the wounding of thousands more, the deaths of untold thousands of Iraqis.

All in a war which never should have happened and which brought about the instability brought by ISIS.

You think ISIS would be beheading Americans if Saddam where still in control of Iraq?


Would America be better off right now if Saddam were still in control of Iraq?

Most likely yes.

Would America be better off right now if the man who actually won the 2000 election became president, rather than the man who got a couple million fewer votes than George W. Bush?

Most likely yes.

How does George W. Bush sleep at peace with himself? I have no idea. The benefit of having no conscience?

Most likely yes.....

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

For Veterans Day We Need A 21st Century Bonus Army March On Washington

Today is Veterans Day in America. The annual federal holiday where we honor Veterans, past and present.

Honoring Veterans is a fine thing to do. Expressing one sentiments honoring Veterans is a fine thing to do. Remembering the fallen is a fine thing to do.


Today something about Veterans Day is bugging me bad.

Currently, every day, on average, 26 Veterans commit suicide.

Remember the recent fuss made over one person in Dallas dying from Ebola?

I repeat, on average, 26 Veterans commit suicide every day.

We hear reports over and over again about Veterans hospitals not properly treating injured soldiers, now safely back home in America, trying to recover from the damage done to their minds and bodies.

The Veterans Administration is underfunded.

How much does one aircraft carrier cost? How much would it cost to fully fund the Veterans Administration?

How can Americans proudly salute the service of Veterans and then so drastically underserve them when the get back home?

I know of National Guard Veterans, called to serve in Iraq, leaving job and family behind, not paid enough to make the house payments, badly wounded, not able to get adequate treatment, returned home to face bankruptcy,

I have seen a Veteran living in a ramshackle cardboard shack in a wooded area behind a grocery store.

Many among America's returned Veterans are among America's Homeless People.

To me, much of this tribute paying to Veterans today rings very hollow.

But, this is not a new phenomenon in America. Read the Bonus Army article in Wikipedia if you are unaware of the long history of the American government's bad treatment of America's Veterans.

Just one snippet from the Bonus Army article should whet your curiosity.....

U.S. Attorney General William D. Mitchell ordered the veterans removed from all government property. Washington police met with resistance, shots were fired and two veterans were wounded and later died. Veterans were also shot dead at other locations during the demonstration. President Herbert Hoover then ordered the army to clear the veterans' campsite. Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur commanded the infantry and cavalry supported by six tanks. The Bonus Army marchers with their wives and children were driven out, and their shelters and belongings burned.

By next Veterans Day it is my hope that a Bonus Army of this Century marches on Washington, demanding that America do the right thing for its Veterans, as in all the medical and financial help needed to make the Veteran whole again.

And if Americans really want to celebrate Veterans Day in an actual meaningful way, they should join the Bonus Army march....

Monday, November 10, 2014

Senator Bernie Sanders' Proposed Democracy Day Elections in America

Vermont's junior Senator, Bernie Sanders, has proposed a new federal holiday, Democracy Day,  making Election Day into a national holiday, a day off work so everyone can make it to the polls.

Senator Sanders has a Democracy Day website where you can sign up, via petition, to support his Democracy Day bill.

A couple paragraphs from the Democracy Day website....

In America, we should be celebrating our democracy and doing everything possible to make it easier for people to participate in the political process. Election Day should be a national holiday so that everyone has the time and opportunity to vote. While this would not be a cure-all, it would indicate a national commitment to create a more vibrant democracy.

We should not be satisfied with a "democracy" in which more than 60 percent of our people don't vote and some 80 percent of young people and low-income Americans fail to vote. We can and must do better than that. While we must also focus on campaign finance reform and public funding of elections, establishing an Election Day holiday would be an important step forward.

I have long thought it odd that America's biggest election days, those being the every four years presidential elections and the mid-term elections, take place on a Tuesday, that being a working day for most Americans lucky enough to have a job.

Saturday would seem to be a much more logical day for an election.

I don't know if the premise behind the idea of turning election day into a national holiday would result in more  voters going to the polls.

Voting is already extremely easy to do, without going to the polls on voting day.

When I lived  in Washington, I, like most Washingtonians, voted via a permanent absentee ballot, which basically is voting by mail.

My current location, Texas, has the absentee ballot option, plus many days of early voting where one can go to a polling place and do their voting, which is what I did a week before the most recent election day.

So, I am thinking the low voter turnout is not a a function of election day taking place on a workday, I think it is more a function of way too many people thinking that voting does not matter, that voting does not effect them, that voting makes no difference in their lives.

Convincing people that voting matters, that would seem to me to more likely result in a real Democracy Day.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sarcastically Congratulating American Voters on a Well Played Election

I saw the above on Facebook via someone named Janis Ian. The results of America's most recent election are puzzling.

Puzzling to many Americans and to many people around the world.

This Janis Ian Facebook post generated dozens upon dozens of comments, from all over the world. A sample below of three of those comments....

What I just can't grasp is that, apparently, many Americans can't understand Obama needed even móre time than he expected to clean up the mess of TWO Bush-administrations. If WE understand it in the Netherlands already, surely the Americans should tóó. Now áll Obama has achieved may be ruined again .... scares me to bits.
Only 37% of registered voters went to the polls. This is the pathetic result.
The rest of the world is correct in thinking most of the people living in the United States are stupid.

That last comment seems a bit harsh........

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

September 11, 1990 The First President Bush Announces A New World Order Which Did Not Last Long

I have a book titled The American Presidents. I do not recollect when or where I came into possession of this book. The last president covered in this book is Bill Clinton, with the coverage of Bill Clinton only going so far the election where he defeated the first President Bush. The book does not even get as far as the first inauguration of Bill Clinton.

So, this morning I was reading the chapter about Clinton's predecessor, President George Herbert Walker Bush, when I came upon what has become known as the Bush New World Order Speech.

The New World Order Speech was spoken on September 11, 1990. This is a very optimistic speech rendered very ironic by how the 24 years that followed it have actually turned out. Ironic lines, particularly for a speech given on September 11, like "a new world order -- can emerge: a new era -- freer from the threat of terror..."

What follows is an excerpt from President George H. W.Bush's Address before a joint session of Congress on the Persian Gulf Crisis caused by Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iraq---

We stand today at a unique and extraordinary moment. The crisis in the Persian Gulf, as grave as it is, also offers a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation.

Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective -- a new world order -- can emerge: a new era -- freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world, East and West, North and South, can prosper and live in harmony.

A hundred generations have searched for this elusive path to peace, while a thousand wars raged across the span of human endeavor. Today that new world is struggling to be born, a world quite different from the one we've known. A world where the rule of law supplants the rule of the jungle. A world in which nations recognize the shared responsibility for freedom and justice. A world where the strong respect the rights of the weak.

This is the vision that I shared with President Gorbachev in Helsinki. He and other leaders from Europe, the Gulf and around the world understand that how we manage this crisis today could shape the future for generations to come.

Once again, Americans have stepped forward to share a tearful goodbye with their families before leaving for a strange and distant shore. At this very moment, they serve together with Arabs, Europeans, Asians and Africans in defense of principle and the dream of a new world order. That's why they sweat and toil in the sand and the heat and the sun.

If they can come together under such adversity, if old adversaries like the Soviet Union and the United States can work in common cause, then surely we who are so fortunate to be in this great Chamber -- Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives -- can come together to fulfill our responsibilities here. Thank you. Good night. And God bless the United States of America.

How horribly ironic that the first President Bush would give this optimistic speech and then exactly 11 years later his son would be president when America suffers the worst terrorist attack in history, an act of barbarism no one could have imagined, until it occurred.

Followed by even more acts no one could have imagined, such as the second President Bush leading America into its first pre-emptive war, a war based on what turned out to be a false premise, that being the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat to America. Thousands of Americans, Iraqis and others died, and continue to die as a result of that ill-advised war, far more dead than any number ever alleged to have been killed by Saddam Hussein by weapons of mass destruction.

And then we have the Russian part of the New World Order in 2014. Apparently Vladimir Putin did not get the New World Order memo. Or he just decided to use Joesph Stalin rather than Mikhail Gorbachev as his ruler role model.

The one part of the New World Order that has seemed to work out well is the rise of China. Who would have thought back in the days of the Cultural Revolution and mass famines that China would become the nation it is today?

For more of the New World Order speech by the first President Bush watch the YouTube video below....

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Charlie Chaplin's Great Dictator Speech

It has only been in the past couple years I have learned to appreciate what a film making genius Charlie Chaplin was. Decades ago I could not make it through a silent film, due to the jerky quality. Well, that problem has been solved and nowadays you can watch silent movies in the smooth way they were intended to be seen.

It was Chaplin's City Lights where I finally got what the Chaplin fuss was about. Then I watched the brilliant Modern Times and The Gold Rush. Chaplin resisted switching to talkies. The first movie in which he speaks is The Great Dictator.

The Great Dictator was made before World War II started. Chaplin parodies Adolf Hitler in The Great Dictator. Chaplin and Hitler are an interesting pair. One gave the world its greatest laughter, while the other gave the world its greatest slaughter.

Charlie Chaplin and Hitler were born four days apart, with Chaplin born on April 16, 1889, followed by Hitler on April 20. How in the world did these two both come to sport the same odd little mustache style? Chaplin was already a world known figure whilst Hitler was still an unknown corporal in the German army. Did Hitler copy the Chaplin mustache?

The Great Dictator is known for many scenes, but the most famous scene comes at the end of the movie, where Chaplin gives what  many think to be the best speech of all time. The text of that speech is below, followed by a YouTube video of The Great Dictator's great speech. Speaking of YouTube, you can go to YouTube and watch the entire The Great Dictator movie, along with a selection of other Chaplin classics.

And now, The Great Dictator's great speech....

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone - if possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness - not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost....

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men - cries out for universal brotherhood - for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world - millions of despairing men, women, and little children - victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say - do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. .....

Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes - men who despise you - enslave you - who regiment your lives - tell you what to do - what to think and what to feel! Who drill you - diet you - treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world - to do away with national barriers - to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution Needs to be Repealed

In my opinion there have been two wrong-headed amendments to the U.S. Constitution. One of those wrong-headed amendments, the 18th, was repealed by the 21st.

The 18th Amendment prohibited the sale and manufacture of alcoholic beverages, which is why the era before its repeal was known as Prohibition.

Around the same era other nations also experimented with the Prohibition of alcohol, to results equally successful as the American Prohibition.

I do not know if any other nation has experimented with an amendment like America's 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The 22nd Amendment limits American presidents to two  terms.

There is no limit on the number of terms a congressperson or senator can be elected  to.

The 22nd Amendment was passed by a vindictive Republican Congress on March 21, 1947, with the requisite number of states ratifying the amendment on February 27, 1951.

Harry S Truman is the last president to whom the 22nd Amendment did not apply.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been elected President four times, the only president in history elected more than twice.

The two term precedent had been set by George Washington, with most subsequent presidents following Washington's two term lead. Until we got to the period of Ulysses S. Grant, who was president from 1869 to 1877. Then in 1880, after returning from Europe and finding his reputation restored, Grant tried to get the nomination, which instead went to James Garfield.

Grover Cleveland served a term, from 1885 to 1889, then lost his bid for a second term to Benjamin Harrison. Cleveland then returned to the White House, defeating Harrison to win a second term from 1893 to 1897. Cleveland tried for a third term but lost the nomination to the silver tongued orator, William Jennings Bryan.

After the assassination of William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt became president, then was elected in his own right in 1904. Teddy declined to run in 1908, but did try to get the Republican nomination again in 1912, but failed, so Teddy started up a third party which came in second to Woodrow Wilson's win and President Taft's worst defeat of a president in U.S. history, coming in third.

This brings us to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the only president to be elected to more then two terms. Roosevelt's third term nomination came in 1940, with his third term beginning in 1941.

Had the 22nd Amendment been the law in 1940 America would have lost Franklin Roosevelt as president, just as the Nazi peril was at its flood height, with France occupied and the Battle of Britain under way.

At one of the most perilous moments in American history, America would have had to elect a new president. What if America had elected the 1940 equivalent of George W. Bush? The outcome of World War II would likely look totally different than the world we know now.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt is regularly ranked by historians at the top of lists of America's Greatest Presidents. Depending on who is making the list it is always Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt in the top three.

So, the Republicans of the 1940s, not being all that different from the wrong-headed Republicans of the 2010s, thought it a bad thing that Franklin Roosevelt was elected four times.

Among the Republicans more idiotic reasons that they thought presidential terms must be limited to two was that allowing a president to be elected over and over again raised the specter of a monarchy.

In the early days of America, back when the Founding Fathers were working on the new law of the new land, worries about a leader becoming an entrenched monarch were a concern, due to having just fought a Revolutionary War against the British monarch.

By what means could an American president being re-elected more than twice result in a monarchy? He somehow morphs into one of those North Korean Kim mutants passing down the North Korean dictatorship to a favored son?

If a president getting elected more than twice was such a dire problem that it required a prohibiting amendment, how is it that prior to FDR no president had managed the feat of getting elected more than twice?

To further illustrate the idiocy of the 22nd Amendment let's look at the presidents who followed FDR.

Harry S. Truman could have run again. He likely would have lost to Dwight Eisenhower. Thus no need for a 22nd Amendment.

Dwight Eisenhower served two terms, was ready to retire, having suffered serious health issues whilst president. No need for the 22nd Amendment.

John F. Kennedy had no chance for a third term for obvious reasons, but may have easily been elected to two more terms had he not been assassination and had he retained his phenomenal popularity. No need for the 22nd Amendment.

Lyndon B. Johnson got elected in the biggest landslide in history, seemed destined to go down in history as one of the great presidents. But, the Vietnam War intervened, with the chaos of the 60s ensuing and LBJ choosing not to run for a second term. No need for the 22nd Amendment.

Richard Nixon got elected twice, but there was no need for a 22nd Amendment to stop Nixon from running for a third term.

Gerald Ford, a president who got the job without being elected, tried to get elected in 1976, but was thwarted by Jimmy Carter. No need for the 22nd Amendment.

Jimmy Carter was unable to win election to a second term.  No need for the 22nd Amendment.

Ronald Reagan won two terms, and probably could have easily won a third and fourth term, except he was old, his health was failing and he was happy to retire to his ranch. Again, no need for a 22nd Amendment, even with an extremely popular president.

George Bush got elected to one term, failed in his bid for a second. No need for the 22nd Amendment.

Bill Clinton, elected twice, suffered through impeachment nonsense courtesy of the Republicans. May have been able to win election a third time. Which makes Bill Clinton the first president since the 22nd Amendment was ratified who may have had his time as president cut short due to the wrong-headed 22nd Amendment.

Which leads to George W. Bush.

Had Clinton been able to run a third time America may have been spared the folly of George W. Bush and his two terms as president. With George W. Bush there was no need for the 22nd Amendment, due to the fact that by the time the election of 2008 came around the majority of Americans had come to the realization they'd made a big boo boo electing George W. at the start of the new century.

And now we have Barack Obama, near the half way mark of his second term. I really do not think the 22nd Amendment is needed to keep Obama from a third term.

Methinks the 22nd Amendment needs to be repealed. The 22nd Amendment makes every re-elected president a lame duck. What if another FDR comes along, right when we need him, with the wrong-headed 22nd Amendment preventing Americans from re-electing him?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dying Iraq Vet's Letter to George W. Bush & Dick Cheney Needs to be Read by Every American

I have long grown weary of the harping about the Benghazi terrorist attack by those trying to turn the incident into a scandal in need of congressional investigation. The amount of Benghazi demonizing seems so out of tune, balance and proportion.

In other words, where are the calls for a congressional investigation into the possible war crimes of George Bush and Dick Cheney? And others?

I found the following letter on a website called Dangerous Minds, written by a dying veteran of the Iraq War, eloquently verbalizing why there should be a congressional, or criminal, investigation of deeds done during the Bush administration which led to the deaths of thousands, injury to thousands more, at a cost of trillions of dollars fighting America's first preemptive war, as in a war where America attacked another nation which had not attacked America, with that preemptive attack being justified by propaganda about weapons of mass destruction that did not exist.

Below is the letter from Tomas Young in its entirety....

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.

—Tomas Young

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Habits Of Happy Healthy Successful People

This morning, on Facebook, I saw postings by a couple of my Facebook friends which resonated with me. One posting was via the Queen of Wink linking to a  Mind, Body, Green website webpage titled 25 Habits of People Who Are Happy, Healthy & Successful.

One of the 25 habits advised not to waste time with negative or toxic people, which relates to the posting by Sampson of Sampson and Delilah fame.

First the 25 habits of happy, healthy, successful people, then what Sampson had to share about dealing with a toxic person.....

25 Habits of People Who Are Happy, Healthy & Successful

1. They don’t hold grudges.

2. They think outside of the box.

3. They go by a routine and make exercise a part of it. It takes practice to develop healthy habits and stick with them. Once you do, your internal foundation will be strong.

4. They have a supportive tribe, thereby not wasting time with negative or toxic people.

5. They don’t care about what other people think. Does a tiger lose sleep over the opinion of sheep?

6. They don’t people please.

7. They see difficult and challenging situations as opportunities for personal growth. 

8. They consider handling rejection a skill and are resilient.

9. They make time for themselves. Whether it’s getting eight hours of sleep every night, finding 15 minutes to read the newspaper in peace or an hour to go to the gym, they make it a priority — just like everything else. When you take care of yourself, you have a bigger impact on others.

10. They are spiritual. This doesn't necessarily mean religious. It could mean setting aside time for reflection through yoga or meditation.

11. They practice deep breathing.

12. They know there isn’t such a thing as “having it all,” and they’re happy about that. Wouldn’t the world be a boring place for them otherwise?

13. Fear doesn't hold them back. They're ready to take risks.

14. They know how to say “NO,” and don’t hold back. These people have learned to set boundaries. Plenty of them.

15. They learned a great deal from other people whom they admire. Either they had a great mentor, or they took note of how those they aspired to be like handled various situations.

16. They follow their inner guidance. Not only do they have a vision, but they follow it.

17. They give without expecting anything in return.

18. They aren't pretentious or conceited.

19. Passion is what drives them. They authentically believe in what they're doing.  

20. They don't complain.

21. They live by their core values in both their professional and personal lives.

22. They're happy to swim against the tide.

23. They finish what they start.

24. They don't compare themselves to other people.

25. They want you to succeed, too.

And now what Miss Sampson had to share about dealing with a toxic, negative, energy-draining person.....

End it now! Don’t waste another minute dealing with a toxic, negative, energy-draining person. Some people are wired for negativity. They love being argumentative, combative and abusive. Run for your life as quickly as possible. Life is too short and unpredictable to deal with these emotional vampires. They feed off of stressing you out, raising hell and creating drama for you. The toxic energy will turn your hair gray overnight, cause you to gain weight and rob you of your health. Don’t waste valuable time trying to change them. Change yourself and get them out of your life!

Don’t say a word; leave all of your belongings if you have to in the middle of the night. Cut off all communication. Don’t take their calls. You have heard all the lies before. They will not change. They don’t choose to change. It is who they have decided to be. 

Move to another city, if you must, and start all over again. Your life is worth it. You deserve to have peace of mind, a great relationship and an exciting life. Watch how dramatically your life will change for the better once you get this burden off your back. The air you breathe will become fresh and invigorating. You will feel an infusion of exuberance, energy and love for life. With this stifling, suffocating and controlling person out of your life, get ready to live again and be the person that you’ve always wanted to be. Live life on your own terms, not having to answer to anyone but yourself. Control your own destiny. You have something special. You have GREATNESS within you!