16 July 2005
Lest we forget or be distracted - 1
Four died from enemy attacks, two were killed when their vehicle overturned and the others died as a result of IED's. The DOD distinguishes between mines and IED's. Is this important to do in today's blurred missions of attacks and occupation? With all of our sophisticated electronic field gear, it seems to me that our forces would have detection devices for IED's, such as infrared scanning from air support, signal blocking or cloaking against triggering and escorts by armored IED-sweepers for better safety on Iraq's roads.
15 July 2005
A useful web site is: http://www.sss.gov/what.htm
The scary thing to me is that this system is being staffed, regulations and legislation are ongoing and no one has brought this up in the media. I'm sure that the registration requirement is only honored in the breach, so to speak.
08 July 2005
Looks like, Feels like, Sounds like. . .
07 July 2005
04 July 2005
Here is the definition of "to render":
To process, to melt down a carcass for extracting proteins, fats and other products from a piece of meat.What a horrible metaphor of interrogating prisoners; how dehumanizing and how evil. How appropriate for Dubya's War.
Uh, Didn't We Forget Something?
Tell us, George, inquiring minds want to know.
Oops! My Bad. . . .
Here’s a listing of accomplishments, errors, misdeeds and actions that elicit patriotic shame in millions of Americans and international distrust and outright enmity toward the United States.
- Fabricated rationale to use military force for invading Iraq
- Inadequate full-time military personnel required the extensive activation of Reserve and National Guard units.
- Federal Government drew on National Guard personnel without, apparently seeking each state’s legislative authorization. The assumption that Cheney and Rumsfeld could call upon National Guard units infringed on each state’s personnel resources for responding to natural disasters, any local terrorist activity and security resources for protecting state and local communities and property. Further, many local police and fire fighters, as Reservists or National Guard members, left their communities with diminished resources and without funding their temporary replacement.
- Inadequate protective gear, an insufficient number of armored troop and supply vehicles and poor language skills revealed the extent of unpreparedness in our military’s ability to wage war.
- Erroneous and insufficient knowledge of Iraqis, historical politics, alliances among religious factions and languages, principally Arabic.
- Wrong understanding of Iraqi views toward the British and the Americans and about Iraqi tolerance of occupation troops.
- The US military used D-Day planning and tactics for invading Iraq.
- Once Baghdad was conquered, the real, remaining objective was to kill or capture Saddam Hussein, family members in government and inner circle of civilian and military forces loyal to Hussein.
- There was no budget or allocation of funds for waging a war on the ground, so Bush convinced Congress to authorize additional funding thereby erasing the surplus left him by Clinton and creating the highest level of the National Debt ever.
- Coalition troop deployments from the most dependent countries in Europe and Asia causing the people of those countries to question their participation in the US’s war with Iraq.
- Demonizing of the Ba’athist Party in Iraq threw out the primary, trained leadership corps in the Iraqi military and in the government bureaucracy available for rebuilding a new government and infrastructure.
I find it frightening that KBR’s security personnel are Defense Department procurements controlled in Washington, D.C. by a contract administrator separate from military command and control in a war zone!
On this national holiday honoring the colonial insurgents and their Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, I am not comforted by the parallels I see today in the Republican-controlled Congress and in our President.
Just Get Marriages Secularized in the Civil Code
I originally posted this in July 2005. I believe it remains timely and necessary. As California and other states weigh amending their constitutions to define 'marriage', a simpler approach can and should happen. The civil code should be brought into conformance with The Constitution of the United States on the basis of separation of church and state.
The California State Supreme Court upheld the rights of two persons to register and be legally recognized as 'married' using a parity argument (thus I simplify 70 pages of the opinion.) If the voters were to pass the proposition coming in November to the ballot, I believe the proposition is contrary to the federal constitution's separation of the state and religion.
Yes, to limit the state's eligibility for legal marriage is discriminatory under the law as long as the law is not changed by November's proposition. My argument is that the equality or parity basis for argument is not sufficiently supported by the federal constitution except through creating analogies to the 14th and 19th Amendments.
I believe the "Establishment" test of the First Amendment is the appropriate argument because delegation of the civil authority to marry two individuals under state law can be accommodated by state officials without inconvenience. I have spent this add afternoon deep in the words, and Cornell Law School's annotations thereon, of the Amendments I, IV, XI, X111, XIV and XV, plus footnotes to the annotated text.
No, I am not an attorney but I can reason and I can read. I believe the restriction of the civil rights and obligations of marriage to heterosexual couples imposes an unnecessary, religious belief on the civil code of law. The state can handle the number of heterosexual couples' civil action and homosexual couples' as well, without compelling a religious tenet upon the state.
Separating Religions from Civil Marriage Law
The current debate about the rules for getting married in California has proponents and opponents of present law [CFC 18.104.22.1680 ff.] focus on the genders of applicants for a marriage license and on the cultural or traditional understandings of what marriage is. Recently, California enacted new provisions of CFC 2.5 with the intention of providing registered domestic partners with legal equivalency of marriage law.
Although the revised CFC 2.5 addresses inequality of domestic partner rights and entitlements and establishes civil union as a legal status equivalent to marriage, public opinion is far from consensus. Many same-sex couples consider civil unions as only an interim legal status that still is inferior to marriage in our society. Opponents abhor any notion of legitimizing same-sex marriages or at best consider civil unions sufficient for homosexual couples.
One tactic to resolve this Constitutional issue for Californians would consist of eliminating 400 (a) which delegates civil authority to religious organizations for solemnizing marriages.
400. Marriage may be solemnized by any of the following who is of the age of 18 years or older:
(a) A priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination.
(b) A judge or retired judge, commissioner of civil marriages or retired commissioner of civil marriages, commissioner or retired commissioner, or assistant commissioner of a court of record in this state.
(c) A judge or magistrate who has resigned from office.
(d) Any of the following judges or magistrates of the United States:
(1) A justice or retired justice of the United States Supreme Court.
(2) A judge or retired judge of a court of appeals, a district court, or a court created by an act of Congress the judges of which are entitled to hold office during good behavior.
(3) A judge or retired judge of a bankruptcy court or a tax court.
(4) A United States magistrate or retired magistrate.
(e) A legislator or constitutional officer of this state or a member of Congress who represents a district within this state, while that person holds office.
The Legislature can amend other provisions of the Family Code containing similar delegations of civil authority to priests, ministers, or rabbis of any religious denomination.
The democracies of Europe separate roles for church and state. The appropriate local jurisdiction marries a couple who then have the option to have their marriage solemnized within a religious community--or not. In France, for instance, a domestic partnership is gender-neutral; Spain just eliminated gender from its marriage law.
In the United States, state family code can address all legalities, contracts and covenants of marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships for state law. Irrespective of their status with the state, a religious organization can choose to recognize a couple's status according to the doctrines of particular religious faiths and creeds.
There is no compelling reason for California--and the other 49 states--to delegate a function of the Civil Code to religious organizations. To date, California law does not address the federal Constitution's First Amendment separation of church and state or the Fourth Amendment's equality under the law provisions. All concerned with this debate fully expect the matter to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court. Wouldn't it be ironic if the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court who are "textualists" had to conclude that The Constitution does not support restrictive, religious meanings for 'marriage' that would discriminate among the citizenry. Justices Scalia and Thomas are considered "textualists."
01 July 2005
Today I am surprised by the youthful Galbraith who contributed so much to my social awakening and education of my college years when civil rights, Viet Nam and racial trauma placed my generation into various endeavors to effect change in the institutions of government, in the social morality that embraced radical ideas of racial equality and entitlement to education and enfranchisement.
Galbraith's son sees the Bush Administration's as a retrograde to the excluding social and political institutions that my generation spent decades to reform. I hope the young of today will take up the challenge this current Administration's retreat to a resurgence of commitment for good in the world.