May 27, 2005

President Bush: Resignation or Impeachment? Your Choice.

May 27, 2005

Dear President Bush,

In the months leading up to your declaration of war on Iraq, you and your administration brought intelligence information to the American people to justify this action. Over 2 ½ years of hindsight have since proven that intelligence incorrect. While many of your loyalists have forgiven you and moved on, I have not.

When Richard Clarke and Bob Woodward both brought compelling accounts to the American people that distinctly articulated how you planned to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime all along, you dismissed them as liars. After all, they were trying to sell their books. And when Joseph Wilson negated your claim that Iraq was attempting to procure Yellowcake Uranium from Niger, you ultimately chastised the ‘faulty’ intelligence, and somehow his undercover CIA wife was outed.

The recently revealed so-called “Downing Street Memo” is the last straw for me. This is irrefutable, credible, black-and-white evidence that you lied to the American people, and to the rest of the world. To this date you have not responded to the questions asked of you. You have not provided an explanation for the statement that you “…fixed the facts around the policy…”. You have not dismissed Tony Blair and his Intelligence team’s information as untrue or false. You have not, because you cannot. You lied, and your lies have caused a war, and cost countless lives. The impact of your lies has been nothing short of catastrophic.

Mr. Bush, it is time for both you and the Vice President to tender your resignations for the good of our country. Barring that, I would encourage the American people to urge their Congressional representatives to call for your impeachment. Certainly the crimes you have committed are far worse then that of Bill Clinton’s extra-marital affair. Your lies have cost over 1,600 American lives to date, and countless Iraqi / Muslim lives. Your lies have cost American goodwill and fueled anti-American sentiment. Your lies have bankrupted our treasury, tortured our prisoners, disgraced our reputation, and decimated many foreign alliances.

The quagmire of Iraq is just the tip of the iceberg of the damage you have caused our country, not to mention the rest of the world. Terrorism, tensions, and conflict are at an all time high in the Middle East and around the world. And to date you’ve neither accepted any responsibility nor feel that you’ve done anything wrong. Clearly you are out of touch with reality, and the people in this country know it as is reflected in your all-time-low approval ratings. You’ve completely lost credibility and that has severely impacted your ability to govern.

Please do our country a favor and move on.


Scott Shuster
American Citizen

May 19, 2005

Food For Thought: What If Gore Had Won?

As I look back over the last five years in our nation’s history, I reflect on what might have happened, if just 269 more people in Florida had voted for Gore instead of Bush in the 2000 presidential election. I know you’re probably thinking that Bush won by 537 votes, but Gore would have needed only 1 more than half in order to have taken Florida. So 269 is the magic number.


So here’s my first question. If Gore had won, would 9/11 have happened? Now the right-wingers will argue that the terrorist ‘cells’ were incubating for years under the Clinton presidency, so of course 9/11 would have happened either way. In fact, it was all Clinton’s fault!

Not so fast.

The Clinton/Gore presidency was well versed on the terrorism of al-Qaeda having experienced the WTC bombing in ’93 (37 days into Clinton’s presidency, but no one blamed GHWB). In 1998 when the embassies in Africa were hit, Clinton retaliated appropriately. And after the USS Cole was hit in October of 2000 as the Clinton presidency was coming to closure, President Clinton tasked Intelligence Chief Richard Clarke with a plan for attacking the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. It was a detailed plan with many action items, and would have seriously impacted the al-Qaeda network, finances, and communications infrastructure. When George W. Bush took office, Clinton handed the al-Qaeda plan over to him, but Bush decided to scrap it. Bush decided that he could do it better, and threw the Clinton plan away. Would Gore have thrown the Clinton plan away? Perhaps. Or perhaps he would have IMPLEMENTED IT!

In the mid to late 90’s, former Senators Gary Hart and Warren B. Rudman co-chaired a commission on National Security for the 21st century. This ‘Hart-Rudman’ commission made many recommendations which essentially amounted to creating a Department of Homeland Security and re-organizing existing protection agencies under it. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Here’s just one small quote from the executive summary:

“We therefore recommend the creation of a new independent National Homeland Security Agency (NHSA) with responsibility for planning, coordinating, and integrating various U.S. government activities involved in homeland security.”

This report was delivered to President Bush on February 2, 2001. What did Bush decide to do with it? Yup, he threw it away. After all, how could he have known he would need it if 9/11 hadn’t happened yet? Well, maybe because we had already gone through 4 terrorist incidents in the 90’s and an entire commission was recommending it!

So, ask yourself, “Would Al Gore have thrown the Hart-Rudman Commission recommendations away?” What if the
Hart-Rudman recommendations had been implemented, and the CIA & FBI were actually talking to each other… do you think someone might have connected the dots with the influx of intelligence during the summer of 2001?

Would Al Gore have taken a vacation for the entire month of August in his first year as President? Would Al Gore have dismissed the Presidential Daily Briefing that read “bin Laden Determined To Strike In US” on August 6, 2001?

And then there's Iraq...

Even if 9/11 had occurred during the Gore presidency, would President Gore have invaded Iraq? I think not. Clearly the invasion, overthrow, and occupation of Iraq has been on the neo-conservative agenda for years. If you have any doubt of that, I urge you to check out the
‘Project for a New American Century’ (PNAC) web site. Specifically check out their letter to President Clinton on January 26, 1998 urging him to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime :

“We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power.”

For the uninitiated, the ‘Project for a New American Century’ is an ultra right-wing, neo-conservative think tank out of the mid 90’s (although its roots date back to the Nixon years) with a charter and plan to spread American imperialism (read ‘take over the world’). From the PNAC ‘Statement Of Principles’:

“We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.”

The people who wrote this are many of the same people are now highly planted in the Bush Administration (Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Elliot Abrams just to name a few). These are the people who have delusions of world domination. These are the people who have some vendetta on Saddam Hussein to the point where they lied profusely to dupe our country into supporting this war of choice.

No one could argue that Al Gore would’ve governed differently then George W. Bush. Would Al Gore have appointed business-friendly operatives & lobbyists into leadership positions of the agencies tasked to regulate them? Would Al Gore have deregulated every industry to the point of decimating protections? Would Al Gore have pulled the United States out of the Kyoto Protocol, the International Criminal Court, and the Anti Ballistic Missile treaties? Would Al Gore have muddied the separation of church & state, infringed on American's constitutional rights, and cut funding to valuable and worthwhile domestic programs? Would Al Gore have driven a huge wedge between the wealthy and the rest of us, and turned a massive surplus into a massive deficit? Would Al Gore have damaged relations with our allies and fueled anti-American hatred worldwide? Would Al Gore have lied, misled, distorted, and otherwise deceived the American people repeatedly and consistently as George W. Bush has?

Where would we be now if just 269 people in Florida had voted for Gore instead of Bush in 2000? Don’t give Bush a pass because 9/11 happened on his watch, like it wasn’t his fault and nothing could have prevented it. We’ve endured a terrorist attack on our soil, a devastating recession, and now we’re at war. Americans (as well as many, many others) are dying daily in Iraq.

Too many misguided, ignorant, and uninformed Americans give George W. Bush high marks for leadership in the days following 9/11. Perhaps they feel that it would have happened either way, and W ‘led’ us through it. Instead, why not question if it would have happened in the first place?

May 12, 2005

Extreme Makeover: Government Edition – Part 1: Eliminate Corruption

It’s so easy for anyone with a computer and some anger to put hands to keyboard and criticize the President or any of his neo-con henchmen for the things they’ve done. People make careers over just such a practice. Funny thing about criticism though… It can be helpful and it can be hurtful. It can be constructive and it can be destructive. But what good is it if it’s irrelevant. So many of us criticize the Administration for what they’ve done, but how many have stood up and said how they would do it? Not very many I would say. And who do you know has stood up and recommended radical change? No one that I know of – so let me be the first. This will be a multi-part article, but I have no idea how many parts there will be. After all - the subject is so vast it could be endless.

There’s a fundamental problem with our government. It’s inherently corrupt. Corruption is built into the system. Let me lay some groundwork…

First of all the reader should understand that government is all about politics, and politics is all about money. In order to get elected, a politician needs lots of money to buy the best propaganda & promotion. And where do they get that money? From political contributors, of course. Lots and lots of political contributors. So by design, when a politician gets into office, their allegiance is not to their constituency, but to their contributors. The decisions they make, and the causes they advocate, are not necessarily in the best interest the people, but instead in the best interest of their contributors. There’s only one way to resolve this – campaign finance reform.

Campaign Finance Reform

What we have today isn’t anything close to real campaign finance reform. After all, it’s not in the politician’s interest to truly reform campaign financing because it’s their source of funding and power. When I say campaign finance reform, I mean publicly funded elections. If you open your mind wide enough to get beyond the fact that the corrupt politicians would never go for it, it really makes sense. With our system as it is, only rich & well-connected (read ‘financed’) people could possibly be elected. And when they get into office as ‘lawmakers’, whom are they making the laws for - the betterment of the people? I don’t think so.

All elections should be publicly funded and private political contributions should be outlawed. This is the only way to ensure that everyone has a fair shot, that it’s controlled, that opposing candidates spend the same amount of money to get elected, and most importantly, that the elected politician governs in interest of their constituency instead of their contributors.

At this juncture the short-sighted tax payer is saying to themselves “I don’t want my tax dollars going to finance so-and-so’s campaign!” Here’s a newsflash for you: you’re paying for it either way. Taxpayers are also consumers, and like it or not, they’re financing political coffers through the price of the products they purchase. So if you can get past the fact that you’re paying for it either way, there’s only one real question: Do you want your elected officials with or without corruption?

Conflicts of Interest

This goes under the same heading of politicians making decisions in the interest of their constituency. A lawmaker should never, ever, ever be in the position to make a decision or advocate for a cause where they have a personal stake in the outcome. Unfortunately, conflicts-of-interest have been the hallmark of the Bush Administration, not the least of which are the Bush family ties to Saudi Arabia and the bin Laden family. And don’t get me started about Dick Cheney’s ties to Halliburton, which are well documented. It’s nothing short of unconscionable that the Vice President of The United States is receiving compensation from a company that is winning no-bid contracts from the government to the tune of billions of dollars. These conflicts-of-interest in the Bush regime are just the tip of the iceberg, probably worthy of an article all its own.

Presidential Term Limit

Remember I said “radical change”? Well, here’s a huge one. The President should be elected for just ONE six-year term with NO possibility for re-election. Think about how much effort the President spends in his first term trying to get re-elected. Think of how much time the President spends as a ‘lame duck’ in his second term if he gets re-elected. If the President were elected for just one term from a publicly funded campaign, s/he might actually govern in interest of the people, not in interest of keeping his/her job.

Code of Ethics

There needs to be a concrete tool to keep our lawmakers in check. These people are elected for the purpose of steering our country, and their behavior must meet the very highest ethical standards. There must be a zero-tolerance policy for violating standards of ethical conduct. And the Ethics Board must be an independent, non-partisan panel, itself scrutinized for conflicts of interest.

Remember - “radical change” is what is needed to eliminate corruption in our government. I bet lawmakers currently in our government wouldn’t have the chutzpa to even suggest radical change. But the first one who does will get my vote.

May 06, 2005

The Ploy of Social Security Privatization

I’ve been hearing the arguments and listening to the commentary for months now on this whole plan of the president’s to privatize Social Security. Or should I say ‘reform’ Social Security. But the more I hear, the more it doesn’t make sense.

So let me get this straight…. over the next 30 years as the baby-boomers are retiring, there will be a shift FROM more people paying into Social Security TO more people receiving benefits from Social Security. That will make the Social Security system go broke. Sounds simple enough... even logical… until you get down to the nitty-gritty details. Like all of Bush’s schemes, the devil certainly IS in the details. So, here are a few questions I have:

  • The Social Security system has been around all these years, with more people paying into it then receiving benefits from it. So there must be a huuuuuuuge trust fund built up with all that extra money, right? Earning all sorts of interest, right? Wouldn’t that cover us over the baby-boomer years?

    I think we all know the answer to that. The Social Security Trust Fund is not as large as it should be for one reason – this administration has recklessly run the government into a chasm of a deficit and literally stolen trillions of dollars from the SSTF.

  • So the real problem is that the Social Security Trust Fund, which should be vast enough to cover the baby-boomer years, isn’t. How exactly is ‘Privatization’ going to fix this? Right now, the money I pay into SS is funding the benefits of those who are retired. If the money I pay into SS is going to go to my own private account, then how are we going to pay those who are currently retired? Wouldn’t that drain the Social Security Trust Fund even quicker? Wouldn’t it cost trillions of dollars to transition to this new privatization scheme? And where would we get the money for that? Can’t borrow it from the Social Security Trust Fund!

President Bush is not selling his Social Security ‘reform’ scheme. He has zero credibility around the world, and very little credibility here in the US. Sure there are a bunch of ultra-conservative, right-wing, neo-fascist, fundamentalist Christian sheeple like Sean Hannity who will hang on W’s every word, but by-and-large the American public has not bought his scheme. Yet he continues to tout his plan and challenges the Democrats to come up with a better plan. Here comes the ‘ploy’.

Instead of the assured disaster of privatizing Social Security, the fiscally-responsible Democrats will have to come up with a plan that essentially raises (or reduces the cutting of) taxes. Bottom line – the Democrats come off as the ‘bad’ guys. This has been Bush’s scheme all along.

It’s a win-win for W. Either he gets his Social Security Privatization scam (translation: Wall St. buddies get richer, conservatives chip away at the New Deal they always thought was socialist), OR the Democrats take the blame for raising taxes to save Social Security, in which case he continues to have a big pool to draw from to overspend the government’s budget to wage war and take over the Middle East (translation: make his war-profiteering buddies richer). Either way, the Democrats are so busy battling this evil scheme, that W can ram through the rest of his big-business agenda (trashing of bankruptcy & tort laws, billionaire estate-tax breaks, raping/exploitation of ANWR, etc.).

Don’t blame me, red-staters. I voted for Kerry.