Archive for the ‘government hypocrisy’ Category

And I stand with the protesters in Oakland, California.  And in New York City.  And in Atlanta, where they were evicted from their rightful place on the streets.  And everywhere they choose to exercise their Constitutional rights to peacefully assemble and seek redress of their grievances from their government.

This is a disgrace.  The police are deliberately using violent force to disperse peaceful protesters.  Whom are they protecting?  They have more in common with the protesters than they do with the brigands, pirates and kleptomaniacs on Wall Street; they should be marching in the streets as well.

So should teachers, firefighters, postal workers, and anyone else who collects a paycheck.  Anyone who isn’t a millionaire should be demonstrating and demanding accountability from Wall Street and justice leveled against them.  Not one more protester should go to jail for exercising his or her rights until the robber barons and ripoff artists in the so-called “financial industry” have been brought to justice.

This is a global struggle.  It will not go away, and the more they crack down on the protests, the louder they’ll get.

And don’t give me any shit about “class war.”  The Republicans have been waging class war on the middle and lower classes for over 30 years now, eroding our rights to unionize, crafting tax policies that ensure the rich get richer and the rest of us stay in our place, giving power to the bosses and ignoring the needs of the workers.  The fact is, they only complain about class warfare when their victims fight back.

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Just when you thought the misguided, ill-conceived, bastard policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” couldn’t get any stupider, we have this:

Lieutenant Colonel Victor J. Fehrenbach, a fighter weapons systems officer, has been flying the F-15E Strike Eagle since 1998. He has flown numerous missions against Taliban and al-Qaida targets, including the longest combat mission in his squadron’s history. On that infamous September 11, 2001, Lt. Col. Fehrenbach was handpicked to fly sorties above the nation’s capital. Later he flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has received at least 30 awards and decorations including nine air medals, one of them for heroism, as well as campaign medals for Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He is now a flight instructor in Idaho, where he has passed on his skills to more than 300 future Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force weapons systems officers.

Since 1987, when Fehrenbach entered Notre Dame on a full Air Force ROTC scholarship, the government has invested twenty-five million dollars in training and equipping him to serve his country, which he has done with what anyone would agree was great distinction. He comes from a military family. His father was a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, his mother an Air Force nurse and captain. Lt. Col. Fehrenbach has honored that tradition.

Now, I know you’d think the Air Force would want to keep this guy for the rest of his natural life.  He’s the poster child for military heroism, honor, duty and integrity.  But no; the military has been taken over at the highest levels by proselytes and religious fanatics who think that homosexuality is just too darn evil to be tolerated, even if the soldier, sailor, airman or marine exhibiting such sexuality has served honorably and bravely for nearly 20 years.

No, that sort of thing has no place in America’s military.  We just serve and protect the country, we don’t accurately represent it.

Folks, this is stupid.  There is no logical reason to discharge this man, nor was there any reason to discharge Lieutenant Choi last month.  Lt. Choi, you will recall, was until recently an Arabic linguist whose horrible crime against decency and public order was, well, being gay.  Again, a highly trained soldier filling a role in a critical field was kicked out for nothing more serious than violating 19th century standards of conduct.  You’d think the Army would want to keep as many Arabic linguists as possible.  Apparently ideology trumps operational needs.

This is madness, and it must stop.  Unfortunately, the one man who now has the power to make it stop, has shown little inclination to do so.  I’m talking about President Barack “Yes we can, but we probably won’t” Obama.  His latest solution to the problem appears to be to ignore it for now.

Maybe changing the law isn’t possible at the moment.  He can still issue an Executive Order directing the service chiefs to stop implementing it, in light of the critical need for specialist personnel.  Whatever.  He really needs to grow a pair and end this fiasco once and for all.

For his part, LtCol Fehrenbach has made his case tonight, live on the Rachel Maddow show.  Watch it on MSNBC.

 

What a difference six months makes.

During the run-up to the election, then-Senator Obama argued repeatedly against the Bush Administration’s illegal and unethical warrantless wiretapping program and lamented the same administration’s repeated use of the so-called “state’s secrets” privelege.  From barackobama.com:

Secrecy Dominates Government Actions: The Bush administration has ignored public disclosure rules and has invoked a legal tool known as the “state secrets” privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court.

But that was then, and this, as they say, is now.  President Obama apparently now thinks the same “state’s secrets” privelege invoked by the Bush crowd actually is kind of useful after all.  President Obama’s own Department of Justice recently issued a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the NSA by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, claiming that allowing the case to continue would “cause exceptionally grave harm to national security”.

This is exactly the position that the Bush crowd took regarding wiretapping.  Unfortunately, the Obama administration takes it a step further, alleging that the government can be held immune from lawsuits relating to warrantless wiretapping.  It’s something called “sovereign immunity”; in other words, you can’t sue the king for violations of his own laws.

This is shocking and saddening to see.  I expected better from President Obama than this mindless continuation of Bush’s worst mistakes.

Why are contracts sacred when they’re signed by executives but fungible when signed by unionized line workers?  And why is Obama treating the car companies so differently from the way he’s been treating the banks and finance sector?