Today's Note From a Madman
Monday, March 7, 2005
and indifference in governments cause the
deaths of 4 million babies a year in
their first month of life.
4 million babies a year!
"We believe the vast majority of these deaths can be prevented by the knowledge we have today. We do not need new knowledge."
-Vinod Paul, an Indian physician and expert in the care of newborns
"In West Africa, one of every three mothers will lose a newborn," It is evidence of "an unacceptable disparity between the haves and the have-nots."
-Anne Tinker of the charity Save the Children
These are third-world nations that need help in their fight to save their children.
Do the insurance companies and drug companies really rate higher than the 45 million citizens of the United States that don't have health insurance?
is our excuse, President Bush?
An Army of Duh
General Richard A. Cody (Hey! Don't we have a
governor of that same name in
NJ?) listened to Army
supply chiefs when they said that they had enough bullet-proof vests for
all front line soldiers and that the others didn't need the armor. General Cody is the head of the Army Strategic Planning Board, the outfit that buys that kind of stuff.
Underestimating the need for the bullet-proof vests. Mistake number 1.
So, realizing his mistake, the General ordered more vest from the lowest bidder. That bidder was Kenneth A. Gabriel, a former Army Researcher who never manufactured
"We certainly demonstrated that we could make the plates,"
-Kenneth A. Gabriel
Gabriel's company, High Performance ended up supplying only 357 plates to the military before it went belly-up. It's good to have friends in high places.
Choosing an unknown to protect our troops. Mistake number 2.
By the way, about 120 lives were lost in the 47 day period it took to get the funding for the vests.
ArmorWorks, a company that actually has made the ceramic plates the vests needed was asked repeatedly to make the ceramic protective plates, then asked to stop. Then
they were asked to make them again, then asked to stop again. Hiring and laying off workers, finally, they were given the task, but only after much time had elapsed.
Pentagon officials, and we all know who their boss is, Secretary Rumsfield, and army commanders say that they "consistently misjudged the strength and ingenuity of the
insurgency in Iraq," according to the New York Times on Monday, February 7, 2005.
"This is a new age in war with an enemy that adapts faster than we do. Al Qaeda doesn't have to go to the Board of Accountability in order to develop a new roadside bomb
or triggering device."
-Retired Major General Robert H. Scales Jr., former head of the Army War College
But Secretary Rumsfeld and President Bush didn't see fit to "adapt."
"We've never been very good at equipping people in a simple, straightforward fashion,"
-Thomas E. White, who resigned as secretary of the Army in April 2003 after a falling out with Mr. Rumsfeld
Secretary White must have an ax to grind, or something. Why else would he do something so callous as telling the truth?
Our "Coalition of the Willing" also requested these bullet-proof vests, and the US was supposed to supply their allies with the protective gear, but they couldn't get it fast
enough. Additionally, the US said it would only outfit their allies AFTER all of our troops were outfitted. That's the first smart thing they said! Our allies contracted a
Michigan-based vest manufacturer, Second Chance Body Armor, and got it so fast, the Army thought that they shipped OUR armor to our coalition friends first.
It's good to see that there is at least one US manufacturer left to export goods.
"Given the level of Congressional scrutiny about all contracting procedures, clearly there was a concern that this be done in a graduated fashion so as to avoid another scandal."
-Dov S. Zakheim, the former Pentagon comptroller and chief financial officer
So, for the sake of appearances, Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush's Secretary of Defense took their time as to not appear to be spending money frivolously.
"Congress is to blame for some of this,"
-Representative Duncan Hunter, The California Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee
A Republican President; A Republican Senate; and a Republican Congress.. Yes, Chairman Hunter, we all know who is responsible for much of this, perhaps all of it.
“Torture is never acceptable, nor do we hand over people
to countries that do torture.”
GW Bush to the New York Times
Well, now we know that this is a lie. Renditions, the cute little name the CIA gave to "outsourcing" suspected terrorists, or those who the CIA thinks might have pertinent
information to countries that DO torture their prisoners. So it's hard to believe that those the CIA exports won't be tortures for information as well.
"We will not torture here in America,"
-Dan Bartlett, White House Counselor
That statement alone says what the true reason is to export these suspected individuals.
Let's go back to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Taking a woman suspected of witchcraft and burning her at the stake was one test of her witch powers. If she burned to
death, then she is innocent. If she didn't burn to death, then she would be killed for being a witch. I don't think there were any documented cases of guilt by fire. Throwing a
suspected witch into water to see f she floated was another test. If she floated, she was a witch and would be killed. If she sank and drowned, she was innocent.
Here is the dilemma today. Many people are going to say, "We have to perform these renditions for the sake of our country." Others might say. "We can't do these
renditions under any circumstances because it's an infringement of human rights." Then, others might say, "We can't perform these renditions because we may detain and
torture the innocent."
So, I have an idea. If we look at this realistically, the CIA isn't going to stop these renditions. Additionally, they might really be necessary (I know, it's hard to hear and even
harder to say). If someone is held and proven to be held falsely, we then need to do a couple of things. Thing one: investigate those who gave us the bad information. Thing
2: Give these people financial reparations and psychological help. Thing 3: Make sure there is a congressional oversight committee to oversee these renditions and make
sure these prisoners don't just "disappear."
"What administration purposes is," regarding the misuse of money for political purposes illegally.
-Representative John R. Carter (R-TX), in defense of House Majority Whip Tom Delay, a fellow Texas Republican, who might be heading for an indictment in Texas due to
illegally funding Texas State Republicans.
Isn't that like what the meaning of "is" is.
Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Tom Delay has got to go.
Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Tom Delay has got to go.
Outsourcing is a phenomena of a free market economy. There are some that argue "nature" will take care of itself. However, there is little comfort in faith based economics.
Government policy does have a role to play.
This issue has become particularly poignant because both manufacturing and information based jobs are effected. There no longer is an upwardly mobile path for displaced
manufacturing workers. Knowledge based workers end up competing in a narrowing pool of jobs pressuring salaries in a downward direction.
Is education the answer? Quite honestly - not exactly! IT workers didn't all of a sudden become stupid in 2000 when outsourcing became prevalent. The reason they lost
their jobs was not competence but purely financial penny pinching. For manufacturing workers, it's hard to look them in the eye and tell them to train in IT knowing that those
jobs are no longer secure.
America faces a dilemma caused by simultaneous pressure at the low and upper ends. When education does not necessarily translate into rewards our society is in deep
trouble. A downward spiral in real wages erodes the tax base making it difficult to fund pay-as-you-go programs. Where do we go from here?
The answer is not to be found in extreme protectionism nor is it in praying to the forces of the invisible hand. Our government needs to insist that our trading partners play
fair. We can no longer tolerate trade with nations that manipulate their currency, prohibit labor unions and destroy the environment.
We can not allow private information to leave the country. It is simply dangerous that people in foreign nations have access to private data such as social security numbers
and bank accounts. We must protect intellectual property by insisting that copyright law is enforced. Under no circumstance should technology that is critical to our national
security ever leave the nation.
Common sense approaches can stem the tide of outsourcing. In the end, we will be unable to prevent every job from leaving. But, companies that outsource should not
receive tax subsidies nor should they be allowed to shelter their money in offshore accounts.
Bush Policies Attack the Aged, the Poor
President Bush is proposing an every-man-for-himself society . . . in which the fittest survive and prosper and the needy are on their own.
At its inception in 1935, Social Security was crafted to help the weak and unfortunate among us and to provide a safety net for all, a liberal goal of the highest order.
President Bush is proposing an every-man-for-himself society, an "ownership society," to use the current euphemism, in which the fittest survive and prosper and the needy
are on their own.
It has been said that the test of a truly great society is how it treats its weakest members. This is where government can make a difference, but ours is on the wrong side of
For all of Bush's talk about a so-called "ownership society," it's ironic that he's not focused on the things that would genuinely boost ownership among ordinary Americans,
good jobs, fair wages and a reduction of wealth disparity.
If Bush were truly interested in promoting ownership in America, he would stop pursuing economic policies that reward the few while the many lose ground.
For starters he would: start fixing a broken health-care system that's straining families and small businesses; drop his opposition to a living wage; reverse his plans to cut
back Pell grants that make college affordable for working- and middle-class kids; craft trade and tax policies that clamp down on the flight of jobs abroad; abandon his plans
to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent — those who make $1 million or more; ditch his risky Social Security privatization scheme that would require benefit cuts
and jeopardize millions of men and women who live a few steps away from relentless poverty.
When Republicans try to cut Social Security benefits, what they are really trying to do is free up Social Security money paid in primarily by the middle and lower classes for
a retirement safety net and use it to cover other government expenses and enable the extension of tax cuts primarily benefiting the Republican rich.
I support the intergenerational compact of Franklin Roosevelt's Social Security as a bulwark against the cold-hearted economic Darwinism of this new robber baron era to
which Bush and his right-wing neo-conservatives would have us return. The motto on our money is, after all, "E pluribus unum" — out of many, one — not every man for
Historically, Republicans have been attacking Social Security for the entire 70 years we've had it. If Americans sit on their hands and let them destroy it now, with their so-
called 51 percent "mandate," we deserve to die in poverty.
James V. Burke
Stupid Quotes of the Day
"If they (the Democrats
in the Senate) don't stop this and we don't come up with some reasonable
solution, we will just have to get it on."
-Senator Trent Lott, (R-MS), chairman of the Rules Committee and former Senate Majority leader (before he resigned in shame)
In this corner, the party looking to play by the rules, the Democratic Party. In the other corner, the great hypocrites of the modern Senate, Bill Frist and the Republicans.
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