Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dennis Kucinich Takes Dick Cheney

Many of you may not have any idea who Dennis Kucinich is(apart perhaps from his hilarious appearance on the Colbert Report a few weeks ago) but Dennis is in fact one of the nine Democratic Candidates seeking the Presidential Nomination. In polls among "Grassroots Democrats" Kucinich's approval is rising, and with good reason. With his charm, warmth and tenderness its hard not to love him, add to that the fact that he is leading the charge against Vice President Cheney. Bush may get as pass often because of his character and somewhat warm nature, but the cold calculated acts of the devilish Dick earn him the hatred of many Democrats. So how is the little man going to take on the Devil himself? He is filing Resolution House Resolution 333 which contains three articles of Impeachment against Richard B. Cheney for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The First article cites that Cheney knowingly and intentionally misled Americans about the threat of Nuculear, Biological and Chemical weapons in Iraq in order to Justify the war. The Second Article cites that Cheney knowingly and willingly misled the American public to believe their was a relationship between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. With quotes like "His regime aides and protects terrorists, including members of Al-Qaeda . He could decide secretly to provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists to use against us" its hard to say that Cheney wasn't trying to make that connection. The Third Article of impeachment states that Cheney undermined the National Security of America by making threats towards Iran. This is where things get streched a little thin, as the threat of Iran is still under great debate. It is a country that's people don't pose a great threat towards us, but it is also a country led by a man who denies the holocaust and has stated he wants to wipe Israel off the map.

Despite being filled with quotes that Cheney used to seemingly mislead us it is doubtful the Articles of Impeachment against Richard B. Cheney will ever be taken to trial. And even if somehow Dennis manages to pull enough votes to get this to trial and get Cheney out of office, does it really accomplish anything at this point? The Damage is done, we are in Iraq and it seems we won't be leaving for a while. The Persian problem (Iran) still looms before us with great uncertainly, and its doubtful a few offhanded comments from our Vice President are going to be what push us into war with Iran. The reason Dennis is doing this is not because he expects to take down the Vice President, but to show that someone has enough courage to try. Also, it seems that bump in the polls is being helped greatly by his attack on Cheney...and I'm sure that helps

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Crisis of Health Care

After watching "Sicko" by Michael Moore this past weekend on DVD, i indeed felt sick. Literally, with a temperature of 100, body aches and massive headaches i knew something was wrong. I have the RIC insurance "University Health Plans" which is actually far better than most of the HMO's and Health Care providers profiled in "Sicko". I simply went to CVS rather than the doctors, because i didn't know all my insurance information and i didnt want to have to deal with the hassles of a trip to the doctors. Long lines, lots of paperwork and co-pays make my head spin, so instead of getting medical care i chose to purchase over the counter drugs.

On my drive home i started to think about how ridiculous our health care system really is, and what control drug companies have over our Government. Will we ever be able to escape for the claws of HMO's and Drug Companies? Even with a Democratic majority in both the House and Senate bills like S-CHIP are still being shot down by the President. S-CHIP is clever use of semantic tyranny, because who cares about something thats simply labeled S-CHIP, when it is really Health Care for poor and lower middle class children (State Children's Health Insurance Program). Congress passed a bill that would have expanded coverage to 4 million more children in need, but our President vetoed the bill. After Democrats tried desperately to stir up enough Republican votes to override the veto, the House fell just 13 vote's short of the required 2/3rds majority.

President Bush said he felt that the bill was one step towards "socialized medicine" and of course we can't have THAT! We already fire departments, the postal service, libraries and education funded by that government, why not have our health care be state mandated. Our government is so sickly intertwined with the drug and health care companies that I doubt their will ever be enough votes to authorize a system of Socialized Medicine. Perhaps if a democrat is elected President and the Democratic Majority continues their may be hope, but in our system of Government it seems like nickels and dimes have more effect on Politicians that the suffering of the American People. Of course Hillary Clinton fought the drug companies and lost, so who is to say any other Democratic Candidate will have any more success. One thing is for sure however, none of the Republican Candidates want anything to do with Universal Health Care (what they call "Socialized Medicine"), they all seem much more concerned about the threat Mexicans pose to our National Security than the lack of affordable Health care. I might have hope if John Edwards or Barack Obama get elected that we might someday have Universal Health Care, but even with their efforts i doubt we will ever have the lifestyles of the French, English and Canadians presented in Moore's film. Not as long as their is profit to be made from the sickness of Americans will we ever truly be able to live without fear of our Health Care System.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Blood, Tears and Blackwater

Imagine you are watching a terrible action movie where a renegade brigade of outlaws carry out an attack in broad daylight, killing over 17 civilians in the process. As terrible as that sounds for a scene in a movie, it's even more horrifying that it really happened on Sept. 16 of this year. What's even more terrifying is that those responsible might now be offered immunity from prosecution.

Blackwater is a private military contractor and is currently the largest private security firm to the U.S. State Department. Blackwater received a no-bid contract to protect the U.S. Embassy in Iraq (the largest embassy in the world), and several more no-bid contracts to protect diplomats, politicians, and even the soldiers themselves. It seems rather backwards that we are hiring private militias to protect the struggling democracy in Iraq; especially because I was under the impression that that's what our troops were doing.

Blackwater charges the government $445,000 per year for each employee in Iraq. That's six times the cost of an equivalent U.S. soldier. If you want to learn more about Blackwater and all the private companies currently exploiting U.S. dollars in Iraq, watch Robert Greenwald's film, "Iraq for Sale." The film covers several other incidents that left a stain on Blackwater and America's reputations. But for now, let's get back to what took place on Sept. 16.

Survivors of the incident report that there was a traffic jam on a busy Baghdad street when suddenly, out of nowhere, Blackwater militia appeared and started throwing water bottles and flares. Within seconds, it is reported that Blackwater militia officers started opening fire on the traffic jam. Blackwater continued to shoot even at those civilians who were trying to get away. Chaos filled the streets as tears flowed and a simple traffic jam soon became a bloodbath leaving men, women, and children dead. All of this information was gathered and confirmed by the investigators, U.S. soldiers, and Marines.

Our soldiers and Marines had to pick up the pieces and put together what happened. They found no sign that Blackwater was ever fired upon and that Blackwater was firing upon cars and civilians who were attempting to flee the scene. 17 civilians were killed and 27 were wounded; numbers that barely phase Americans when we realize that an estimated 80,000 Iraqi civilians and 3,845 American soldiers have been killed since the war began. Unfortunately, Blackwater is "above the law" because of the Transitional Administrative Law in Iraq. It gives Blackwater and the U.S. Military immunity. If a soldier commits a crime in Iraq, however, he will be punished in a United States Court of Law. Blackwater militias have never been taken to trial by the government but they have faced lawsuits from the families of their employees killed in Iraq. The Transitional Administrative Law is about to be tested as those responsible for the attacks of Sept.16 may be held accountable in America. Even with the ongoing inquiry into the events, unclear laws and untested boundaries create a muddy path for the United States government to go down. That path will eventually lead the government back into some very bleak and very black water.