...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005
      ( 6:10 AM )

Not a day any of us ever wanted to come. The official count of US dead service people reached 2000 yesterday. Commemoration demonstrations asking for an end to the war will commence this evening in cities around the country. If you are able, channel your anger, frustration and grief over the situation in which we find ourselves into taking action with your fellow citizens. Only with massive numbers of organized citizens can we really start to change things - this is the power we have. It doesn't cost us anything. Certainly not as much as 2000 American dead, 40,000 American maimed and injured and 100,000 Iraqi dead have paid.

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Monday, October 24, 2005
      ( 6:31 AM )
New Wind Blowing

Well, it looks like some indictments may come down today or tomorrow...or the next day. That is, indictments from federal prosecutor Fitzgerald with regard to the leak of CIA undercover officer Valerie Plame's name to the press. Republicans are scrambling to figure out how they're going to deal with this, because it ain't gonna be pretty.

But allies of the White House have quietly been circulating talking points in recent days among Republicans sympathetic to the administration, seeking to help them make the case that bringing charges like perjury mean the prosecutor does not have a strong case, one Republican with close ties to the White House said Sunday. Other people sympathetic to Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby have said that indicting them would amount to criminalizing politics and that Mr. Fitzgerald did not understand how Washington works.

"Criminalizing politics" ????? So it's only political to lie our country into war and to secure the lie by compromising a worldwide CIA operation? That's how "Washington works?"

This leak came directly from the White House in order to discredit Plame's husband, Joe Wilson, who had blown the whistle on Bush's lie about Iraq seeking to buy nuclear materials. With the leak, a worldwide CIA operation involving hundreds of intelligence assets and support that Plame led was compromised and we have no idea how many people's lives were endangered or even ended because of it. In short, it was treason. And it came from the White House. Is that how "Washington works?"

I explained the entire situation to my students late last week, using a diagram to help them understand. It was definitely not as difficult as explaining Iran Contra (which I did last year, also with a diagram!) But the story itself reads like a bad spy novel, except that it's real, and because of the actions of the people at the top echelons of our government, thousands of American soldiers are dead, 40-50,000 are irreparably maimed for life, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead and injured. It's time for the truth to come to light.

By the way, it looks like Fitzgerald has set up a website in anticipation of what will happen this week. I don't know how high it will go, or what the charges will encompass, but unless the responsibility goes directly to the top and Bush has to answer for all that's happened, then it's not enough.

if you haven't read the article in the Financial Times from last week (subscription needed), or the transcript of the speech by Colin Powell's former Chief of Staff, you need to.

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Monday, October 17, 2005
      ( 6:15 AM )
Autumn's Here...time to screw the old folks

Well, as of today, the new bankruptcy bill takes effect - a law that will cripple thousands of elderly folks and innocent families or individuals who find themselves trapped by the incredibly inflated medical bills they have to pay that they didn't expect, or because of divorce or unforseen problems (like having to buy gas or pay heating bills this winter). For a clear look at the bill itself, go back and read the analysis on Daily Kos from several months ago. This bill was designed by and passed entirely for the benefit of the Credit Card Companies. These companies are holding Americans hostage with their ability to manipulate credit ratings and interest rates. If you haven't seen it, I HIGHLY recommend you watch the Frontline episode on the Credit Card - it's replayed quite often. My own grandmother declared bankruptcy this last spring because we knew this bill was coming down the pike and because of bills that had piled up on her, her Social Security wasn't going to support her any longer. Is she a drain on society simply because she's 84 and despite working for the state and county for decades, raising six children who have all become successful, contributory citizens, and living off the land by raising almost all her own food - she's had to file bankruptcy? Do people like my grandma deserve to have no protections, no help after all they've given, all they've lived? George Bush thinks so.

In addition, in November, the new Medicare Act will go into effect. This is the law that was passed by the Republican leadership doing the grossly slimy act of first only giving Congressmen a few hours to read the entire thing, and then keeping the vote open until they twisted enough arms to get it passed. This bill was constructed by and passed for the Pharmaceutical Companies (Thank you, Bill Frist). It does not allow medicare to bargain for prescription prices, and it creates an entirely new beaurocracy that our retirees have to navigate all anew. One of our most beneficial and best working social security nets, Medicare, is being stripped by the thieves in Washington, and it's our grandparents who will first pay -- then us.

The worst part of these laws that are going into effect are the Democrats who voted for them. It is so disgusting to me how Dems have just gone along with this administration in so many pieces of legislation that are out there just to rob us and hurt us. The old argument "oh, well reform was needed and this was better than nothing" does not fly. If you are there to work for us as the people you represent, then you don't settle for something that's simply better than nothing, especially if it's NOT better than no changes. We've been screwed by people who claim to stand for the populist voice. Dem voters have GOT to have the backbone that our legislators do not. We've got to show them that we will not stand for them to remain in office if they can't truly be an opposition party that offers alternatives and refuses to go along with the schemes of an administration whose true stripes have so clearly shown for years.

The implosion of the Bush White House will bring no satisfaction if our Democrat representatives can't offer leadership, fresh ideas and promises to change these laws back to ones that support the PEOPLE of this country and not the corporations that are sucking us dry. It's far past time for the Dems to step up to the plate. Maybe they will surprise us and pull off a White Sox-style win this autumn and show us some backbone. I'm not holding my breath. And because of that, I'm willing to vote against any Dem who doesn't show me he or she is not willing to compromise the needs of the citizens they represent.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005
      ( 5:40 PM )
I'm Back

Whew. Felled by the bronchitis. Back on my feet and back to the blog! Mini first-year teaching report: Things are going pretty well. I'm really enjoying teaching global studies. It's a great time to be teaching kids about the world. We did have a tragedy in our school this week. A young freshman commmitted suicide. It was a terrible shock, and many of the freshmen have been deeply affected. They only just came up from middle school, they are still so very young. It is so hard to face something so tragic, but I have been impressed with how the school has handled it, and in each of my classes, we've just taken time at the beginning of class to talk about it and be honest with each other about how we're feeling. It's just a really tough thing. It's been many years since a suicide happened in our school, so it's not in any recent memory for any of the kids or teachers. The school is providing a saferoom that is staying open for kids to come by and be with friends and counselors to talk through the week. I like how the school faces things like this openly and honestly with the students, there's no avoidance or hiding from it. I think that's honorable. It's just tough when it's so young a kid. Kids face a lot nowadays - I have students who have lost parents, who have parents in prison, who are homeless, who live on their own, who have to work every moment they're not in school to help support the family, who don't have enough to eat. It goes on and on. NO child should have to face what so many of our children face. Here in this country we are fooling ourselves that we are strong and good until we face up to the truth and actually take care of our children.

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