Saturday, September 24, 2005

A Letter That I Sent to the White House on a Whim

Dear Mr. President,

I know. That’s just a title.

I thought I’d write you a letter.

My name is Michael Bonanno and I live in Antioch, California. I know that you don’t come to California very often. The state doesn’t vote for your party and you see no need to pay California much attention. I understand that.

However, did you know that much of California rests on a fault line?

A fault line is a weakened portion of earth that tends to shift now and again, causing what they call earthquakes. In case you hadn’t heard, California experienced a significant earthquake in 1989. It caused a lot of damage.

You see, when an earthquake happens, the shifting of the weakened earth disrupts the infrastructure that rests upon it. As you may or may not be able to imagine, houses and bridges and stores and golf courses and the like get moved around pretty good during an earthquake.

I was just wondering if we had an earthquake, would your administration have time to help us out? I know that you want the federal government to play a very small role in the lives of Americans, so you may hesitate to help us out. Of course, now I’m really worried that California voted for the other guy in 2004.

Small government is good, though. I mean, keep it small.

Yes, government does have its role.

I mean, if government doesn’t decide what is and what isn’t a marriage, who’s going to decide?

If government doesn’t deal with the pro athletes’ steroid issue, who’s going to do that?

If government doesn’t protect those who want to flaunt the ten commandments, who’s going to protect them?

If government doesn’t keep a good list of all of the kids that could be eligible for military service, the private sector sure won’t do it.

Government should be there for Americans some times, but only when it’s a matter of extreme importance. I understand that, Mr. President.

In case you didn’t know this, there really isn’t much of a warning system for earthquakes. As you may or may not have seen, before hurricanes make land fall, you know, when they traverse the ocean to the land, that’s called land fall, weather people have some technology to track them. They actually know where a hurricane is at any given time and they’re able to predict where the hurricane may make land fall and how powerful it is and what damage it might cause. I just didn’t know if you were aware of that stuff.

Earthquakes, on the other hand, don’t give us much warning. Granted they’re working on ways to predict earthquakes, but, with your goal of shrinking government and all, you’re probably leaving the funding of such research up to the private sector. Hey, that’s OK. If there’s money in it, the private sector will probably help out a whole lot.

Maybe you can get some churches to volunteer people to help out with the research.

I’m just a little worried that’s all.

Maybe you have some ideas about how the private sector will help us out if we experience an earthquake. Since earthquakes can’t be predicted, do you think you can share your ideas with some of your bosses? Tell them to look beyond the actual disaster and loss of property and life and think about the financial rewards they can reap. That might give them some initiative to help out.

Well, I thought this letter was timely. I thought it would give you a heads up.

I realize, Mr. President, that you are the messenger. I realize that you don’t really come up with ideas and policy. I realize that you’re just a front guy for the people who really do the thinking.

Who do you think that I should contact to really get some of this stuff looked into? I mean, who tells you what you should think and say most of the time? I’d really like to see the people with the empowerment look into the stuff that I’ve just written to you.

It’s like September 11, 2001.

I know that you realized that some damage had to be done in New York and Washington. Your bosses would never have had an excuse to invade Iraq without it. Good thing Cheney was able to get the order out for Flight 93 in time to down it. He just didn’t count on people actually interfering with the plan.

I realize that you’re not really to blame. Hey, they promised you the presidency, and, I might say, they delivered. I don’t blame you for 9/11, Iraq, Madrid, London or any of those things. In fact, I think you didn’t even know that your bosses were even going to do some of those things.

I must say that the speeches that they wrote for you after those events were pretty good. Yes, of course there were some holes in what they told you to say especially in light of all of the things that they’ve told you to say since then. But you’ve been lucky. In spite of the fact that you’re still learning the mother tongue, people like your wit and the hard work you do on the ranch. I think a lot of hard working people identify with that hard work. And the average American’s vocabulary is probably much like yours.

Did your bosses tell you that, lately, a lot of people have been disappointed in some of the things that they’ve told you to talk about?

Yes, sir, they’re called polls. They ask people questions like, “Do you approve of the job George W. Bush is doing as president?”

Lots of people are saying that they’re starting to disapprove. They don’t understand like we do that it’s not your fault. You just do and say what you’re told. You can’t help it if your bosses are telling you to say the wrong stuff. It’s not your fault, is it? I mean, you’ve got a life that you have to get on with, right?

Boy, I just realized how much I’ve written here. Take your time, Mr. President. It’s not like there’s any hurry for you to read this mail. Take a few days.

But I would appreciate it if you asked your bosses what they plan on doing if California experiences one of those earthquakes. I hope you remember what earthquakes are, Mr. President. I realize that I wrote about it a long time ago.

Anyway, don’t let your bosses kill anymore people with fake terrorist attacks, OK?

Remember that hurricane that just happened, the one that flooded New Orleans? You know, the one Laura renamed for us. It was first called Katrina, but Laura thought Karina and a couple of variations of Corina were better. I must say that they are sweeter names.

Well, between that hurricane and the possibility of an earthquake – take your time looking at the beginning of this very long message – there will be enough death and destruction. There will be plenty of opportunities for your bosses to make a little spending money without them staging another stunt like 9/11.

So, if you can convince them not to do that, some of us would really appreciate it.

That thing about we need to kill more kids in order to honor the kids we already killed? That was a killer, Mr. President. I don’t know who wrote that one for you, but I think it really reached a couple of people.

Don’t give up, Mr. President. I’m sure your bosses think that you’re doing a heck of a job.

If you ever feel like telling some of us about 9/11 and Iraq and all of the stuff your bosses have done, feel free. It would really make all that talk you do about god and Jesus and such seem a bit more credible, although you have lots of fans who really think you mean all that stuff.

Yep, you’re doing one heck of a job, Mr. President.

Sincerely,
Michael Bonanno
Antioch, CA

P. S. Right now, my wife and I are merely “haves”. We don’t see becoming a “have mores” in the near future. In fact, we may be looking at joining the “have nots”. You didn’t mention the “have nots” in that speech in which you mentioned the “haves” and the “have mores”.

The “have nots”, Mr. President, are those people who don’t have enough money to be a pioneer or even a ranger. I’m sure they would be if they could. Those are really swell titles and I don’t see how anyone wouldn’t want to be a ranger or a pioneer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Representative Ellen Tauscher – The New Neocon - A Response to a Responder

One of the people who read “Representative Ellen Tauscher – The New Neocon”, responded to me by saying that the message seemed to be, and I’ll paraphrase, inflexible. The respondent, whom I respect a great deal, said that my message presented a “my way or the highway” point of view. The respondent said that my rant almost seemed to be composed by a “Bushite”.

I didn’t immediately respond as the message prompted some serious introspection. If I’m like a “Bushite”, I want to change that.

Last night, I finally responded.

In case anyone else thinks that my analysis of Tauscher’s “win the peace” letter was too harsh or inflexible, I’ll share my response.

I was really moved when you responded to my outrage at Tauscher’s taking the “finish the job” approach to Iraq. You said that I expressed “it’s my way or the highway”. You said that I was being like a “Bushite”.

I’ve been thinking about those words and you’re absolutely right. When it comes to Iraq, it’s my way or the wrong way.

If we were speaking of Social Security, there may be some room for debate.

If we were talking about the response to Katrina, I would tell you that the reaction is nothing but partisan bullshit, on both sides. No matter who, by protocol, was the first responder responsible to prevent the disaster, when one party saw nothing being done by the other, it should have had the initiative to do something. Blaming the local authorities and the federal government for failing in that case is precisely right. Both sides said they waited for the other side to do something and that makes both sides wrong.

If we were talking about corporate welfare, I could work with that, with the help of CEOs.

But I’m talking about Iraq and you know what? I can defeat anyone who chooses to debate me. Anyone, undeniably. I am right and anyone who disagrees with me is wrong.

We were told by The Regime that, as much as we asked Saddam Hussein to disarm, he wasn’t doing it. As much as Bush wanted to avoid war, he had to send soldiers into harm’s way because Hussein wouldn’t get rid of his weapons of mass destruction.

I believe that The Regime knew that Saddam didn’t have WMD. I believe that The Regime orchestrated 9/11 to justify the invasion of Iraq. 9/11 stirred up hate toward any reference to Islam and as far as stupid Americans were concerned, Iraq was a Muslim nation because Muslims live there. They didn’t want to hear that Iraq was a secular state and that its UN ambassador, Teriq Aziz, is a Christian. Iraq=Middle East=Arab=terrorist. It was an easy segue.

The debate, however, is short and sweet.

We invaded Iraq because they possessed stockpiles of WMD…period!

There was no connection between Iraq and 9/11. Bush said so himself. Even if there was, that wasn’t the reason we were given. We said we gave Hussein ample time to disarm and he wouldn’t. We invaded Iraq because it refused to give up its WMD.


The Regime talks about the election, the progress toward democracy, the success of drawing up a constitution. We didn’t invade Iraq to help them with that. We invaded Iraq because Hussein had WMD that could be used against his neighbors and even the US…period!

Even Democrats say that it was a mistake to invade Iraq but since we’re there we can’t just up and leave. Why not? We didn’t invade Iraq to protect them against radical Muslims. We invaded Iraq to disarm Iraq, to destroy the WMD that were a danger to the rest of the world. That’s the only reason we were given.

Yes, we invaded Iraq and fucked up the country. Now we want to gamble on how long it will take for Iraq to “stabilize” from our mistake. We need to stay there until it does.

No we don’t! We caused it, but I would gamble that we’ll never be able to “defeat” people who, if they aren’t defending their nation, are defending their part of the world against invaders and occupiers. We didn’t invade Iraq to be the offender against whom Middle Easterners have to defend. We invaded Iraq because it had weapons of mass destruction that they refused to get rid of…
period!

In a debate, I will continue to say that we invaded Iraq to destroy the WMD that Hussein didn’t have. When we found he didn’t have them, we should have returned Hussein to power because he didn’t have the materials for which we invaded Iraq. We should have reimbursed him for the destruction and death we caused.

If he tortured his people before the invasion and he began torturing them after we retreated, that’s Hussein’s business. We didn’t invade Iraq to stop Hussein from torturing his people. We invaded Iraq to disarm Hussein…period!

I can say that if we’re going to be in the business of invading countries whose leaders torture its citizens, we’d have a lot of invading to do. Was Hussein the worse? It doesn’t matter because that’s not the reason we invaded Iraq. We invaded Iraq because Hussein had WMD and to defend our nation against a possible attack by Iraq using those WMD. He didn’t have them and, when we found that out, we should have withdrawn and reimbursed Iraq, with Hussein as the leader and with interest.

The debate goes like this. We invaded Iraq because Iraq had WMD.

Anyone who says anything that keeps us in Iraq any longer than one more second has veered away from the debate. The only answer that might contain any logic whatsoever is that he did have WMD and we haven’t found them yet. But he had them and he could use them against us, so we needed to invade Iraq and we will find the weapons.

We’ve searched long enough, if we’ve searched at all, and we were wrong.

That is, we as a nation who believed the BS were wrong. The Regime was right. They knew he had no such weapons. They wanted to invade Iraq to control its natural resources and keep them away from such nations as China and India.

There’s some sick religious reason that The Regime wants to control Jesus’ country as well, but that’s a whole different subject.

But, it’s my way or the wrong way.

Iraq didn't possess WMD in the run up to this "war" and, consequently, the reason no longer exists and we should leave. There’s no compromise. There’s no basis for compromise. When it comes to the reason why we invaded Iraq, WMD, what compromise is there?

We need to leave. There’s no other action that we can justify.

I guess when it comes to the continuing deaths of Americans, I’m immovable.

It’s my way or the wrong way. The wrong way will get more Americans killed and that’s what makes that way wrong.

Anyone who doesn’t agree with my way, and Cindy Sheehan’s way and the way of many, many other people, agrees with the wrong way. Any way that keeps us there any longer is the wrong way.

A Bushite is indeed as adamant as I am. Bushites are so adamant about staying in Iraq and getting more Americans killed that they keep coming up with new reasons which have absolutely nothing to do with the threat of WMD. Now that’s persistency, very deadly persistency indeed.

I’ve thought long and hard about what you said and finally organized my thoughts and this is the epistle that evolved from that thought process.

Does “I can defeat anyone who chooses to debate me. Anyone, undeniably. I am right and anyone who disagrees with me is wrong” sound arrogant? Yes, it sounds arrogant, but I’m no brain surgeon and it doesn’t take one to see the logic of my argument and the complete vacancy in the arguments that keep morphing, including Tauscher’s politalk.

She’s up for reelection and, like all of our professional politicians, she’s trying to “please” everyone. I have no idea what she really believes. I don’t know what most of our professional politicians believe. I don’t think that they give their beliefs much thought.

American politics is a game played by the wealthy and, as long as the spectators of that game continue to take it seriously, like people take WWF seriously, the game will continue to be played.

To friendship,
Michael

“Every government has as much of a duty to avoid war as a ship's captain has to avoid a shipwreck.” – Guy de Maupassant

Civilization has Killed Civility

The U. S. is ill.

Never before in its history has America been so polarized with the possible exception of the Civil War era.

“One nation under…indivisible”.

That statement, or partial statement, depending upon how one looks at it, is one example of the American divide.

The divide has never been clearer and more shamelessly partisan than it is in Americans’ reaction to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

This nation, for the most part, consists of two ideological groups, each believing that those in positions of responsibility whom they support can unconditionally do no wrong while those in positions of responsibility supported by the other group can unconditionally do no right.

I’m a progressive. I’m not an apologist for any political party or social movement. As such, I read and listen to what as many people as possible have to write and say.

While I’ve read and/or heard enough evidence to convince me that state and local officials are responsible for the bungled response to Katrina, I’ve also read and/or heard enough evidence to convince me that the federal government bears most if not all of the responsibility.

I’ve read enough evidence gained from impartial investigations to help me to make up my mind who was responsible for 9/11/01 and whether or not the invasion of Iraq was necessary. I believe that those who differ with me have either not read the evidence that I’ve read or won’t read such evidence because of ideology.

There have not been any non partisan investigations into the response to Katrina’s aftermath. Consequently, people who are making definitive statements of blame are doing so based upon media that is skewed one way or another.

When hundreds or thousands of American lives have been lost, it is precisely the time to “point fingers”.

If one’s house is burning and arson is suspected, while firefighters and volunteers work to save lives and property, would it not be the time for others to search for and capture the arsonists? Would it not be the time to “point fingers” or would the owner of the home be satisfied with the explanation that “there will be plenty of time to play ‘the blame game’ later”?

When crimes are committed on a national level, there undoubtedly should be those who help the victims. However, independent parties should simultaneously begin investigating before evidence is lost.

We all should be ashamed of how we treat one another, not as members of any religious sect or as non believing humanists, not as Republicans or Democrats, not even as Americans. We should be ashamed of how we treat one another as human beings.

It’s obvious to me that civilization is responsible for the death of civility.

To friendship,
Michael

“It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.” – Albert Camus

Representative Ellen Tauscher – The New Neocon

I wrote to Representative Ellen Tauscher some time ago asking her to encourage The Regime to bring our troops home from Iraq as quickly as possible. I received her response today, September 11, 2005. To say that I was disappointed with her response would be an understatement. It was John “I can kill in a more organized fashion” Kerry all over again.

Tauscher spoke about “winning the peace”. How long does she think it will take to coerce every rival group in Iraq to forget about hundreds of years of infighting and hatred? How long does Tauscher think it will actually take to “win the peace”?

She lauded the Iraqis for risking their lives to vote in the election. She doesn’t say much about what exactly motivated the Iraqis to vote. She doesn’t say that at least part of the reason that so many of them turned out to vote was to speed up their “democratization” dog and pony show so that the US would leave as soon as possible.

She never says that the population wasn’t even familiar with the candidates who would draw up the Iraqi “constitution”.

She never says that the “constitution” would not be satisfactory to one or more of the factions. She doesn’t even admit that’s what’s going on now.

She claims that “it would be unconscionable to now leave (the Iraqis) with inadequate security just as they begin to transition to an independent democracy”.

An independent democracy? She doesn’t seem to realize that a good portion of the Iraqi population doesn’t seem to want “an independent democracy”. Even those that are attempting to draw up a “constitution” seem to be leaning toward an Islamic theocracy. She doesn’t seem to realize that this is what 2,000 Americans have died for – an Islamic theocracy. Where there once was a tyrannical dictator heading up a secular government, there will now be Islamic extremists. This is what our sons, fathers, daughters and mothers have died for? This is what Tauscher believes more of them should die for? This is what’s unconscionable! Proposing that one more American life should be lost for no good reason, to help establish an Islamic theocracy where there was none, is unconscionable.

She is shifting the blame from the US to the UN, saying that “the United Nations has failed so far to live up to its tradition of assisting countries emerging from conflict. The Secretary General made unfortunate comments about the offensive against Fallujah and the UN has refused to help Iraqis establish a war crimes tribunal.”

Well she’s got one point right. Every move the US military makes in Iraq is offensive as this country was never threatened by Iraq. How could any military move made by the US in Iraq ever be considered defensive?

Has Tauscher forgotten that there is already a war crimes international court? Has she forgotten that it is our government who refuses to recognize that court? Doesn’t she understand that The Regime in Washington has committed the war crimes, has broken Geneva Convention agreements that the US signed on to? These agreements speak very specifically about one nation preemptively attacking another.

Has she forgotten that the UN Security Council didn’t approve the preemptive strike? Has she forgotten how passionately French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin spoke out against the invasion of Iraq? Why is she blaming the UN for not doing enough when the UN didn’t approve of the invasion? She’s one of those “it was wrong to go there, but since we’re there, we may as well ‘finish the job’” people. There is no finishing this job. The people who she calls “insurgents” live there. We only have 130,000 people who have no vested interest in Iraq trying to maintain an occupation of that nation.

She questions Rumsfeld’s stop-loss policy. She doesn’t suggest conscription, but how else are we to cover the occupation? It’s bad enough that there are military personnel who can’t tell what their mission is or how they’re supposed to accomplish it. I guess she’d be for a draft, the forcing of those who absolutely don’t want to go to Iraq, who don’t even want to serve in the military to do so. Increasing the heartbreak, spreading it among even more American families would be the only way to get more bodies on the ground. It would be a good way to get more bodies into the ground as well. I didn’t think Tauscher was too young to remember Vietnam, but apparently she’s forgotten that lesson.

She’s trying to convince me that what was an absolutely immoral action to begin with is worthy of perpetuation until the “job is done”.

Other than complaining that we’re not training the Iraqi military or police quickly enough, she hasn’t mentioned how we are to defeat the people of the Middle East. Maybe the ultimate weapon will hone the population enough to where we can actually wipe out those that are left. I have no idea of what the hell this letter means. It means nothing, nothing at all.

It means that Ellen Tauscher should be thrown out of office as quickly as possible. She should join The Regime in resigning. After all, she’s obviously joined them in making excuses to continue the death and destruction that the US initiated without rhyme or reason. She’s obviously either as delusional as The Regime, she sure uses those delusional talking points, or she’s lost it altogether.

Either way, those of us who will be going to the polls in her district in 2006 need to bombard her with letters promising the termination of her service in Congress. Others of you need to write to her as well, telling her she’s taking the “loyal” in loyal opposition much, much too far.

To friendship,
Michael

“War should be the politics of last resort. And when we go to war, we should have a purpose that our people understand and support.” – Colin Powell

Priority Number One

There is a major problem in the former United States of America. I was around during the Vietnam war and, as polarized as the citizenry was in the '60s and early '70s, I know that it wasn't nearly as polarized as it is in 2005. On September 12, 2001, it appeared that our nation would unite behind our president and one common cause. However, I think that this terrible "civil war" that has overcome this nation began precisely on September 12, 2001.

Every side of the philosophical and idealogical spectrum has its theory about why there is so much animosity in the country and about who's wrong and who's right. However, I'm convinced that people are not going back far enough or looking closely enough to really see where the problems begin.

In this horrifically polarized nation of ours, there is indeed one thing that “liberals” and “conservatives”, I hate those labels, would benefit from equally and that’s the banishment of the Electoral College.

I’ve tried to convince many of the groups I belong to, all of which are progressive, that banning the E. C. should be the #1 priority of any political activist group.

I recently sent a letter to my local newspaper, The Contra Costa Times, attempting to appeal to conservatives.

I tried to make the point in my letter that The Regime in Washington does not represent anyone, conservative, moderate or liberal. It is a fascist regime whose interests include world hegemony, resource control and greed.

I tried to make the point that good, patriotic conservatives, who used to be called Republicans, support a small central government and non interventionism on the foreign front.

I tried to make the point that a good, patriotic, conservative government would have nothing to do with legislation even remotely resembling The Patriot Act. It certainly would not try to “legislate morality”. The Regime in Washington goes much further than that. It's in the business of mind control.

I was hoping that I could make the point that the real difference between good, patriotic conservatives and good, patriotic liberals can be found in domestic issues. Conservatives basically believe that, if given the chance, the private sector will take care of the citizens of this country. They believe that the central government screws things up too much.

Progressives, on the other hand, believe that, even though the wrong central government could, indeed, screw things up, it’s still better to let the government direct the care and feeding of the citizens because the private sector is far too interested in self promotion, profits and, quite frankly, using the population for those purposes.

Both “liberals” and “conservatives” don’t believe in watching out for the citizens of other nations in lieu of caring for our own citizens.

I was soundly bashed by some of my fellow citizens, all conservatives of course.
However, I was hoping, and I still harbor hope that banning the E. C. is something that both camps can agree on. I have this thought of organizing a million voter march, to keep in line with the million (…fill in the blanks…) marches.

Although it doesn’t appear that my appeal was successful locally, I still think that it’s worth pursuing.

Right now, Libertarians come much closer to the definition of good, patriotic conservatives than Republicans.

Greens and Socialists have more Progressive visions than Democrats.

In fact, I think that there’s really, with the exception of a very small group of Democrats and/or Republicans, only one party in the former US and that’s The Corporacracy.

Nationally, both elected branches of government are made up of wealthy people who spend lots of money to gain power. They don’t represent their constituents and they certainly don’t treat their constituents like the people who hired them. It’s very much the other way around. If one ever gets an “audience” with one’s legislator, one is either lucky or wealthy.

Elected officials, especially on the national level, were wealthy before they were elected or defeated, they’re wealthy after they've been elected or defeated and they’re still wealthy when they retire. I don’t believe that they even care a whole lot if they win or lose. They see politics as some sort of game and a nasty one at that.

I’ve been told to start small and local and banning the E. C. is not small.

I’ve tried to explain to people who say that to me that the E. C. has a trickle down affect. If there are four people running for local dog catcher, a Democrat, a Republican, a Libertarian and a Green, either the Democrat or Republican will most likely win. Why? Because I believe that voters subconsciously figure that the Libertarian and the Green will never have any chance of “playing in the big game”, so why waste a vote on them even at the local level?

Add to that the narrow minded mentality of “red” and “blue” and the fact that we call members of the Libertarian Party and the Green Party members of “third” parties, like one might have a “third” eye, and you’ve pretty much conditioned people to vote either Democrat or Republican.

Consequently, the professional politicians have even less of an interest in getting rid of the E. C. In fact, they really do benefit from it.

In working with the organizations to which I belong, I take my lead from them and they’re not really interested in banning the E. C. However, if the E. C. was banned, “third parties” would be a thing of the past or, possibly, the parties that would be “third”, “fourth” or lower would be called Republicans and Democrats.

I’m working very hard to expose The Regime in Washington for what it is. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, unfortunately, is helping with that (I don’t view catastrophes as “opportunities” like The Regime in Washington calls them – 9/11, Iraq, Katrina, etc.).

I truly don’t understand how people can overlook such a simple explanation. I truly can’t understand how people take professional politicians seriously. I truly can’t understand how people get sucked up in the Democrats are liberal and Republicans are conservative game. I just don’t understand the lemming mentality.

I have expressed here my opinion of why the Electoral College is not only outdated, but the major contributor to the one party, two department system of government in the US. At election reform.org, you can read facts. There, you can discover how much your vote really counts, or does not count and other well founded information that will, at least, cause you to pause and think about why, and how, we should abolish the Electoral College.

To friendship,
Michael

“The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.” – Justice Louis D. Brandeis