Posted in 9/11, Barack Obama, Birther Movement, C-Haze, Change, Congress, Conservative, Current Events, Democrats, Environment, Extremists, Fox News, George Bush, Glenn Beck, Liberal, News, Police Officers, Policy, Politics, President, Race, Republicans, Socialism, Terror, Terrorism, Truther Movement, Van Jones, War on Terror

Van Jones, Truthers, Birthers, and an Ugly Reality

We need to talk about Van Jones. We need to talk about his past, we need to talk about his resignation as the White House’s environmental advisor- and we really need to talk about whether or not he’s been victimized by the GOP.

Van Jones was made a household name by right-wing Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck. I’m not a regular Glenn Beck watcher- he’s way too emotionally unstable for me to be able to take seriously. Listening to him induces extreme anxiety, and I’m always afraid he’s this close to having a colossal meltdown. The net result is something akin to a child, trying to bravely sneak a horror movie that she has no business watching. She’s sitting in front of the TV, hands covering her face, peaking through her fingers at the screen…

… Should she watch?

But oh!

What if something happens!

Blah!

That’s me when Beck is on the air. He’s a trainwreck, and I find myself waiting for the whole show with him in tow to derail in front of my very eyes.

Quite stressful.

It’s for this reason I wish I could say Glenn Beck has finally lost his marbles, and is oh-so-wrong about all things Van Jones. Unfortunately, in some ways, the guy (Beck, that is), nutty as he may be, actually made some good points about Mr. Jones.

Van Jones, as no one in their right (err… correct, that is) mind would argue, is a polarizing character. To say he’s controversial would be an understatement. His radical views have been well-documented in the past- he is a bona-fide Truther, among other things (I don’t care what he claims, people- evidence is evidence). He feels that the Bush Administration, along with other high-level government officials either knowingly instigated 9/11, or through purposeful gross negligence allowed it to happen, all to give Bush and cronies an excuse to start an oil war in Iraq.

Now please don’t misunderstand me. I think the current downturn this country is experiencing can be traced back to that cluster-fuck we like to call the Iraq War. Do I blame the Bush Administration? Yes I do. I also, however, blame Bush Sr.’s Administration for not toppling Saddam Hussein during Desert Storm, when he was all but handed to us on a silver platter… I blame the Clinton Administration as well, for not taking down Bin Laden when a similar opportunity presented itself… and above all, I blame each and every member of Congress- both Democrat and Republican- who voted to send our men and women into that country to begin with.

Need I remind any of you that we have lost more soldiers in the War on Terror than we lost on 9/11? For what? The answer, sadly, is that we lost them for nothing, other than the need of some politicians to settle a score that they, themselves, were responsible for creating at the start.

There is plenty of blame to go around. None of it, however, centers on a vast conspiracy, but instead was created by a bunch of short-sighted people who at the end of the day couldn’t tell their asses from a hole in the ground.

It is common knowledge today that Van Jones signed a petition in 2004 that asked for hearings to determine whether politicians had knowingly allowed the events on 9/11 to occur. Personally, I think politicians did allow the terror attacks to occur, but realize that they didn’t knowingly do so. They ignored a whole lot of signs that pointed to a colossal attack, instead preferring to believe that as the Good Ol’ U.S. of A, we were invincible.

Costly mistake, but an honest one nonetheless.

Van Jones has tried to back pedal on this petition he signed… claiming that while he allowed his name to be placed on the form, he does not subscribe to any conspiracy theories regarding 9/11 or our subsequent invasion of Iraq.

It was at this point that Jones became a liar.

You see, he didn’t just sign a Truther petition in 2004. A full two years prior to that,  in 2002 he organized a march for the Truther Movement.

Yet this college educated lawyer wants us to believe he had no idea what the hell he was signing when it came to this particular petition?

Doubtful.

With regards to the actual truth, here’s what we really know about Van Jones:

Jones was born in 1968. He is an environmental activist, a civil rights advocate, author and lawyer.

After graduating from Law School, rather than take an offered job in Washington, DC, Jones instead moved to San Fransisco. He joined a controversial organization called STORM (Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement). This organization was decidedly Marxist, sympathizing with Mao-ist peasants, and was in part created to combat the issue of police brutality.

He was famously arrested for his role in the Rodney King protests, though charges were later dropped. It was during this same time period, in 1995, that Jones began actively identifying himself as a Communist.

Jones is also responsible, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, for starting Color of Change, a non-profit organization dedicated to giving a larger political voice to Black America. That year he also began actively advocating for a Green America, becoming an environmentalist, and starting an organization called “Green for All”. Green for All promotes environmentally-friendly jobs in poor communities.

In 2008 he found moderate success when his book, “The Green Collar Economy” hit the New York Times top 12 list.

In March of 2009, Van Jones joined the Obama Administration as the environmental czar.

I would argue that Mr. Jones has done some wonderful things in his life. He has advocated for a greener world, and has worked tirelessly to help minorities succeed in this country. The problem is that he does not have the gift of words. While doing great things for millions of people worldwide, he simultaneously suffers from a terminal case of foot in mouth disease, which has proven to be his downfall.

Honestly, I don’t even care that the man once identified himself as a communist. I wish my biggest college-era transgession was to pick the wrong political party to align myself with. People change, and with age, we mature. That’s the general idea, anyway. I don’t even have a huge problem with the fact that Jones once famously claimed that white people and white corporations were purposely dumping their waste and polluting communities that predominantly consisted of people of color. Personally, given some of our nation’s history, that isn’t difficult for me to believe.

I applaud the fact that at some point, realizing that his more extreme views were not affecting the change he desired within the U.S., he decided to work within the system as it’s designed… no longer calling for revolution, no longer trying to make waves on the outer fringes of society.

It doesn’t even bother me that he recently referred to Republicans as assholes.

I live in a country where it isn’t supposed to phase me that people are calling my President a terrorist, a communist, a Marxist, a socialist… and are bringing guns to townhall meetings in hopes of shooting our Commander in Cheif like he’s a wild animal, and it’s deer season. I live in a nation where outright calls for our leader’s death, and pastoral prayers hoping he’ll keel over from brain cancer are the norm. Someone calling the GOP a bunch of assholes honestly doesn’t get me too excited.

What I cannot reconcile are the similarities between The Truthers and The Birthers. Van Jones’ affiliation with the Truther movement is exactly why he needed to resign. And every jerk Birther needs to do the same.

These two groups- they are both extreme, they are both radical, they both promote dangerously false claims, and they have no place in our government.

The problem in Van Jones’ case is that he did not convincingly leave radicalism, nor did he wholeheartedly embrace a more follow-the-rules, mainstream approach to getting the job done.

If he was honestly appalled that his name was attached to a petition espousing nonsensical conspiracy theories about our nation’s largest tragedy, he should have made those views known before he got caught by the likes of Glenn Beck.

Unfortunately for us, Jones certainly isn’t the only whacko we have our hands full dealing with.

There are Republicans in Congress (Representative Bill Posey, Florida) today that subscribe to the dangerous vitriol being spewed by the Birthers… and there are (former) Democrats in Congress (Cynthia McKinney) who subscribe to the nastiness being put forth by the Truthers.

For every lame-brained Truther petition out there, an equally ridiculous Birther petition, claiming Barack Obama is really the son of Al Qaeda, in cahoots with every terrorist known to man is in existence as well.

Prominent people are buying into both brands of idiocy.

Every last one of them needs to go.

If they won’t go willingly, we need to boot them- all of them- out the door.

We are living in terrifying times… polarizing times… where political discord is no longer an opportunity for open, honest, intelligent conversation, but is instead giving rise to left-and-right-wing maniacal idiots. It is only a matter of time before real violence erupts, and the regular people of America… you and I… need to be getting pissed off about it.

Van Jones is nobody’s victim… the only regret I have is that we aren’t kicking more radicals just like him- on both sides of the political spectrum- to the curb.

Posted in C-Haze, Conservative, Current Events, Democrats, George Bush, House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, News, Policy, Politics, President, Republicans, Torture, War on Terror

Two Cents, Nancy Pelosi and Torture

I was going to hold off a li’l while before posting my opinion on Nancy Pelosi, and whether or not she was briefed by the CIA on the Bush Administration’s use of torture.

Most people seem to have already made up their minds on the matter- even as the majority of the facts remain unknown- and the story is beginning to die out in the news.

Rather than run the risk of posting on an irrelevant topic later (God forbid!), I guess I’ll put my two cents in now.

First of all, I am saddened at how fast so many people- politicians and regular folk alike- jumped to conclusions on this subject, labeling Rep. Pelosi a hypocritical liar before any actual facts could even be substantianted.

I’m not saying she’s not a hypocrite, nor am I saying she isn’t a liar. I’m not even saying she handled herself appropriately with regards to the CIA’s use of waterboarding.

What I’m saying is that we just don’t know.

Not yet, anyway.

I’ve heard Pelosi discussing the CIA briefings she received as a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

These so-called briefings have been a pet peeve of hers for a long time, certainly before this waterboarding controversy ever hit our radar screens.

When Congressional members of the Committee are briefed by Intelligence officials, they are not necessarily given complete or truly accurate information. The CIA (especially, one assumes, during this country’s most dangerous and dishonest administration) simply is not held accountable for briefing Intelligence Committee members with complete information.

Once the oft-incomplete briefing is held, the members of the committee are not allowed to ask questions for clarification purposes or to be given more information. In addition, they are not allowed to discuss the briefing with anyone else- including their own attorneys or staff members.

Pelosi isn’t saying the CIA didn’t “brief” her. She’s simply saying they didn’t give her the details that are now public knowledge, and even if they had, she wasn’t allow to do or say anything at all about any of it.

Pelosi is not the only Representative to level this charge. Bob Graham is another vocal critic of the briefings, and in fact backs Rep. Pelosi’s version of events as well.

Considering the CIA’s use of torture is illegal, are we really to believe that the organization, under the command of the likes of Bush and Cheney, really gave Pelosi all the information she would have needed to be able to determine that they were breaking the law?

Of course not.

They wanted to continue torturing people… they’re not going to give one of their adversaries the rope she needs to hang them.

Beyond all the did-she-know-or-didn’t-she-know nonsense, are we not missing the point entirely?

The point, people, is torture.

The illegal, immoral use of torture, and the lies we were all told by the Bush Administration for years, to justify violating the Geneva Conventions, thus making us less safe.

The GOP, it seems, is using Nancy Pelosi to defend such horrors as waterboarding, in effect saying “Pelosi should have stopped us and because she didn’t, we tortured people over and over again”.

As if George Bush, prior to signing all those executive orders was really looking to Pelosi, screaming, “For the love of God!! PLEASE STOP ME!!!”

Give me a break.

All I can say is, any one of you who believe Nancy Pelosi deserves to go down as a result of these briefings, and her alleged inaction as a result, better be supporters of Bush/Cheney and friends being charged with war crimes.

If you aren’t in support of the Bush Administration being taken to task for its lying, torturous, war-time transgressions, then you really need to shut your mouth where Nancy Pelosi is concerned.

For even if she is guilty of every single one of these allegations against her, they still pale in comparison to what our previous Commander-in-Chief was up to.

Posted in C-Haze, Change, Conservative, Current Events, Dick Cheney, Elections, George Bush, Homosexuality, Hope, News, Policy, Politics, President, Race, Religion, War on Terror

Dick Cheney, Irony and The Mortally Wounded GOP

Dick Cheney thinks it would be a mistake for the Republican Party to ‘moderate’ itself in an attempt to save itself from slowly dying.

This is about fundamental beliefs and values and ideas … what the role of government should be in our society, and our commitment to the Constitution and constitutional principles,” Cheney said in an interview with North Dakota radio host Scott Hennen Thursday, according to a transcript.

“You know, when you add all those things up, the idea that we ought to moderate basically means we ought to fundamentally change our philosophy,” Cheney also said. “I for one am not prepared to do that, and I think most of us aren’t. Most Republicans have a pretty good idea of values, and aren’t eager to have someone come along and say, ‘Well, the only way you can win is if you start to act more like a Democrat.'” –CNN Political Ticker, May 7, 2009

How ironic that Cheney today finds himself arguing for, claiming to support people’s constitutional rights when he fought so desperately during eight years of the Bush Administration to  single handedly destroy them.

This isn’t the Party that protects rights… it has made a name for itself by destroying them.

To list a few…

  • Human rights- by torturing people who do not share “American” beliefs
  • Women’s rights- by attempting to do away with a woman’s right to choose her own reproductive path, and giving a cluster of cells inside her body more consideration than the living, breathing woman whose body they reside in
  • Religious rights- by attempting to silence non-right leaning Christians, by perpetuating hatred for Muslims and others, by shoving a narrow doctrine down the throats of people the world over
  • Gay rights- by actively shaming homosexuals and seeing to it that they do not enjoy the same treatment or benefits of their heterosexual counterparts
  • Minority rights- by fighting against progress, and actively seeking to do away with the very protections (such as affirmative action) that can help our nation achieve racial parity…

The list is endless, really.

I wonder if Dick even realizes that it is his party’s philosophies, ideals and “fundamental beliefs” that are causing the problems- causing their recent and overwhelming defeat-  to begin with.

People, with little exception, do not inherently subscribe to the GOP belief system- a system that systematically destroys the freedoms of so millions… and yet, this is exactly what the Republican Party is fighting to maintain.

Protection for the few, persecution of the many.

If Dick Cheney has his way, that is.

This party, for so long, has been the one to set the narrow standard of what it means to be an American.

You’re either with them or you’re against them.

Not too long ago, to be against them was a dangerous thing.

It was not ok to simply have philosophical differences… to do so was un-American, it was traiterous, it was downright dangerous.

Our country, at long last, is changing.

I’m happy for it.

I hope Dick Cheney eventually grasps the fact that in large part due to his actions, his philosophies- his ideals- and his very Party are an endangered species.

It begs the question…

… Is he with us, or against us?

He has drawn his line in the sand.

Posted in Abu Ghraib, Barack Obama, C-Haze, Conservative, Current Events, Dick Cheney, George Bush, News, Policy, Politics, President, Torture, War on Terror

Abu Ghraib, Appeals and The Grand Old Party

I am among the enlightened ones who feel the entire Bush Administration should be tried for war crimes… and have felt this way for quite some time.

Today I read an article that further cemented that view.

Most of us remember the scandal of Abu Ghraib prison, back in 2004.

Prison guards- U.S. Military personnel- were accused of physically, psychologically and sexually abusing inmates… numerous pictures emerged, proving the allegations.

Immediately, the Bush Administration found itself on the defense, claiming that such treatment of fellow human beings was not condoned nor sanctioned by the United States of America.

They claimed that the actions of the guards were those of a few rogue “bad apples”… certainly nothing widespread, and definitely nothing that our great country would ever knowingly allow.

Ultimately, 12 guards were tried and convicted- dishonorably discharged- and sent to prison for the abuse.

Case closed, right?

Wrong.

Recently, and in what seemed an unrelated situation,  ex-VP Dick Cheney raised a ruckus with the Obama Administration– an Administration that unlike its predecessor, stands strongly against torture,- and requested interrogation memos be made public.

This was a risky attempt by Cheney to “prove” to the American people that the use of torture has made our country- and those inhabiting it- safer.

Obama, ever the gentlemen, has released some of these memos.

The results, it seems, have back-fired on the GOP.

What?

The GOP shot itself in the ass?

Unheard of!

These memos, justifying the use of “enhanced interrogation”, give credence to what the convicted Abu Ghraib guards have been saying all along…

… They were merely following orders.

According to the memos, the Bush administration not only authorized and condoned the torturous abuse of inmates, it even hired psychologists- who have never interrogated a single soul- to the tune of $1,000 a day, to train our servicemen and women to use such tactics.

This is not a case of military personnel going berserk, needlessly torturing prisoners of their own accord…

Rather, this is a case of military personnel following the orders of their Commander in Chief.

How interesting that the Bush Administration worked so tirelessly to make our nation’s heroes- people like my cousin, my aunt and my uncle- scapegoats.

Lawyers for the guards are now working on an appeal of their clients’ convictions… and seek to have the dishonorable discharges expunged from their records.

The situation would be laughable, had so many of our own military not lost their freedom as a result of it.

How can the Bush Administration claim that torture is justified, and is making us safer, when just a few short years ago they were accusing the men and women who were doing it, of being bad apples?

If these “enhanced interrogation” techniques are so kosher, why did those in the know not stand up for these people?

Why not laud them as heroes?

Why throw them so thoroughly under the bus?

The answer is simple.

Bush, and cronies, knew the torture of fellow human beings was wrong…

… And yet they condoned it, authorized it- ordered it- anyway.

These are the “ideals” and principles the GOP clings so strongly to today… they are fighting tirelessly to preserve the use of torture- physical, mental and sexual abuse- and they are fighting for the right to blame my heroes for the behavior.

They then wonder why their way of life, their very party, is completely falling apart.

That, my friends, is why I say good riddance to the Grand Old Party.

Posted in C-Haze, Change, Conservative, Current Events, George Bush, News, Policy, Politics, President, Torture, War on Terror

Bye Bye Bybee…

I just signed a petition calling for Judge Jay Bybee’s impeachment.

Judge Bybee, for those who aren’t aware, is currently under federal investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

The investigation centers around a legal memo Bybee wrote during the Bush Administration, authorizing “enhanced” interrogation techniques- techniques that the Justice Department considers to be torture.

Mr. Bybee isn’t just in trouble in the good ol’ US of A either- he’s also being investigated in Spain for war crimes.

Currently, this not-so-nice guy enjoys a cushy gig as a federal judge in the 9th district.

Nice.

 Anyway, if you’re interested, the petition is being sponsored by Moveon.org.

If you aren’t interested, shame on you.

This is a morally bankrupt man.

A man that believes that torturing fellow humans is not only an appropriate action- but an action that makes us safer in our own beds at night.

He’s wrong, he’s criminal, and he needs to be held accountable for his actions.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Economy, Elections, George Bush, Joe Biden, Memories, News, Policy, Politics, Presidential Campaign, Race, Religion, War on Terror

Presenting President Barack Obama

Today is one of the most important, profound days of my life.

Welcome, President Obama.

I did not have the pleasure of attending the inauguration, but was instead glued to the TV in my company’s breakroom, and got to witness President Barack Obama’s swearing in, as well as his amazing speech.

There is nothing I can say to add to this moment, so I have posted the text of the speech in its entirety below.

Enjoy, and please…

Take these words to heart.

Full transcript as prepared for delivery of President Barack Obama’s inaugural remarks on Jan. 20, 2009, at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many.

They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Elections, George Bush, News, Policy, Politics, Presidential Campaign, War on Terror

Guantanamo Bay, Torture, Blowback and Barack Obama

I won’t even lie.

I was very happy- ecstatic, really- to read in today’s news that Obama not only plans to make good on his campaign promise to close down Guantanamo Bay, but will likely implement said plans as early as…

… his first week in office.

This is why Obama is my boy.

Gitmo has been nothing but a horrific, tragic… not mention polarizing… chapter in this country’s history, and it’s about flippin’ time we had a guy in office who possesses the balls to shut the damn thing down.

For good.

The presence of Guantanamo Bay, along with the Bush Administration’s blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions not only represent terrible black marks on a country that prides itself on being the melting pot of the world- a nation that “stands for freedom”, but more importantly, places our troops in even more danger than they’re already in.

I know, I know.

War is ugly.

People die.

I get it.

However, when the enemy captures our brave men and women on the battle-field… which as we all know has happened more than once… how likely are they to treat our troops with any kind of dignity and respect… or, let’s say, not torture them… if we’re not doing the same for their own people?

Not to mention, torture apparently isn’t terribly effective either…

… Don’t take my word for it- ask top military/intelligence officials.

They’ll tell you the same damn thing.

Even the U.S. Army Field Manual says so.

In fact, the CIA has an interesting view on this type of thing, known as “blowback“. Blowback, simply put, describes “unintended consequences of covert operations”. In short, it’s payback.

Blowback often seems random, and it seems to be without cause to the general public, but that’s usually because the general public was unaware of the “covert operations” that caused the blowback to begin with.

Just something to ponder…

I believe it’s a complicated way of saying, “what goes around comes around…”

Ending torture and closing Gitmo are two great ways that the U.S. can begin the process of ceasing to tempt fate.

People are dying.

They have been dying- for nothing, at this point- for way too long.

Thank you, President Obama, for having the courage to take the first step of many to begin saving lives.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Economy, Elections, George Bush, Joe Lieberman, News, Policy, War on Terror

Barack Obama Represents Change… Right?

I am very excited about the upcoming inauguration of President Elect Barack Obama.

I believe in his message of change… but staunch supporter that I may be, I also believe in asking questions, and holding people- even president elects that I love- accountable to the promises they have made.

It is based on that premise that I write this post today.

The media and blogosphere have been abuzz, commenting on the cabinet/administration choices Obama has already made… and speculating heavily on those posts he has yet to announce.

Two things have struck me.

First, Obama is putting the Clinton Administration’s dream team back in place.

Everyone from Rahm Emanuel to Eric Holder and finally Hillary Clinton… with lots of additional Clinton-folks in between seem to be coming back to work for Obama.

Now I’m certainly no foe of the Clintons… I loved both Bill and Hillary in the White House, and believe Hillary’s subsequent time in the senate has been invaluable. In fact, the reason I wasn’t a Hillary supporter during the primaries had nothing to do with her policy or her stand on the issues… and everything to do with her negative campaigning.

As a politician, she’s excellent.

Second, we have news that Obama has decided to keep the Office of Political Affairs open once he becomes president.

This is the office that gave Karl Rove all the strategic power he ultimately abused and took down the GOP with.

After Karl Rove’s nuttiness (some call it genius… and those people scare the shit out of me), there were a lot of people- on both sides of the aisle- who wanted that office shut down when a new president stepped in.

Obama has decided it’s best to keep the office open, for now at least.

These two issues- the Clintons resurrection and the Office of Political Affairs remaining open- have, to me,  raised a red flag.

Now obviously, anything I say is merely speculation… the poor guy hasn’t even taken office yet… so none of us know what any of these things will ultimately mean for Obama’s leadership or policy.

… But…

Where’s the change?

Some say Obama has chosen so many Clinton loyalists as members of his team because they share his vision, and come with strong executive experience- they know how Washington works- and can therefore get things done…

I find myself thinking of Jimmy Carter… he kind of ran on a similar platform as Obama- a message of hope, of change. He was a Washington outsider… and when he took office, he surrounded himself with other Washington outsiders, known today as the “Georgia Mafia”. The idea was simple- people were tired of the status quo, sick of politics… so Carter brought in a bunch of people that were not part of the political brotherhood to help him shake things up. Unfortunately, it didn’t work… Even as Carter, like Obama today, had a huge democratic majority in Congress… not a whole lot seemed to get accomplished.

A lot of people think that’s because this “Georgia Mafia” simply lacked the political know-how to further Carter’s mission, or to get his objectives met…

… And that Obama shouldn’t make the same mistakes Jimmy Carter did. 

I guess I can kind of dig it… but…

I’m still uneasy.

How does one convince the masses that things will be different when he is in some cases steadily recycling old leadership, and in others choosing not to close controversial and scary offices of the past?

I’m becoming nervous.

Not so scared that I have lost faith in my man…

… But uncomfortable enough to find myself praying at night.

Dear God, I hope this man knows what he’s doing.

Change.

It isn’t just something to believe in…

… It has become our lifeline.

It’s a necessity.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Elections, George Bush, News, Policy, Politics, Presidential Campaign, War on Terror

Phony Outrage, GOP and Executive Orders

There have been a lot of rumblings in the last day or so about Barack Obama’s potential plan to overturn Bush’s executive orders.

This possibility has conservatives freakin’ out… and quite frankly, is one of the most idiotic displays of phony outrage I’ve seen in a while.

First of all, what the hell are people so surprised about?

Obama’s a democrat, and by nature of that fact alone, is an opponent of a whole buncha shit Bush has done over the past 8 years.

W’s executive orders are but a  single example in a long list of Bush policies that Obama opposes.

Duh.

Second, Barack Obama’s entire premise is based on change… he’s based his entire career, and certainly his presidential campaign… on exactly that.

So… uh… what kind of sense would it make for him to take office and then… um…

… Not actually change anything?

This is completely elementary…  and the GOP’s reaction to it is juvenile… 

And it’s stupid.

George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama are- both literally and figuratively- like night and day.

They’re different, y’all.

For Republicans to get their panties in a bunch, acting all shocked, hurt and surprised that the new president-elect would want to shake some shit up when he takes office is absolutely ridiculous.

What the hell else did they expect him to do?

Keep Bush’s policies?

Govern the land as if no change in power had actually occured?

Give me a break.

Throughout his campaign, Obama did state- on more than one occassion- that he looks forward to working with both parties when elected.

That does not translate to, “Upon being sworn in, I will immediately forget the fact that I am a democrat, fundamentally against damn near every single thing George Bush has ever done, and cater- exclusively- to Republicans”.

Sheesh.

Note to Conservatives:

Stop with the phony outrage.

This is no longer your game.

I promise that Obama will have at least the same amount of respect for you and your concerns as Bush had for ours.

Scared?

Good.