Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

>Barack Obama and Guns

October 30, 2008

>Congratulations to The Western Tribune, which announced that it will be publishing Bessemer Magazine for the Bessemer Area Chamber of Commerce.

Be sure and read my column from this week, which follows this post. A little history.

A letter in the Western Tribune made me feel good. From Dr. Doug Smith of Bessemer:

“After reading week after week of your resident liberal, socialist Democrat, Joe Openshaw, instead of responding to his bullshouvaski of misrepresentations, half-truths and outright lies about this country, the war against terrorism, Sarah Palin and John McCain, drilling for oil, on and on ad-nauseum, I would like to give you something you can hang your hat on!”

Wow! Of course, he goes on to reveal himself as one of those bitter people clinging to his gun.

But what makes me feel good is that he apparently spends a lot of time reading my column and possibly Bessemer Opinions as well. This makes me happy, because some people have to hear the truth many, many times before they believe.

Dr. Smith goes on to pick and choose votes about guns that Obama supposedly cast over the years. But to know what Obama’s position is on the Second amendment, one must examine his policy statement .

It says, for instance:

Millions of hunters and shooters own and use guns each year. Barack Obama believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and he respects the constitutional right of Americans to bear arms. He will protect the right of hunters and other law abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport and use guns.

For those who are slow to comprehend:

Millions of hunters and shooters own and use guns each year. Barack Obama believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and he respects the constitutional right of Americans to bear arms. He will protect the right of hunters and other law abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport and use guns.

Can it be any more clear? See the policy for more. There is more.

And speaking of guns, remember how a year ago the big issue was Iraq? And the big majority of Americans were against getting us out of Iraq, and wanted to elect a president who would do that, forcing Iraq to take responsibility for their own security and all? And remember how Obama is the anti-war candidate and John McCain is the forever war candidate? Just reminding you.

Here is another reminder, with music from Les Misérables.

Bring them home.

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>Western Tribune Column August 6 2008

August 6, 2008

>Here is my column from the Western Tribune today. Be sure to read further and check out Paris Hilton’s response to John McCain, and more.

A small collective sigh of relief was heard last week as Congress adjourned for their summer recess. They did not succumb to the fallacy that reversing the offshore drilling ban would help our energy crisis. Congress has approval ratings in the low teens or single digits, and conventional wisdom (CW) and the media tells us that this is because they are not addressing the energy problem.

CW and the media are often wrong in their assumptions and if one just looks back to the 2006 election it is obvious why Congress is ranked so low.

The number one issue at that time was the unjust war in Iraq and democrats across the nation ran on the premise they would end the war. Here we are almost two years later and the war rages on.

Congress, time and time again, has backed down and kissed George W. Bush’s…uh, boots by continuing to fund the war. This alone is reason enough to disapprove of congress.

“But the surge is working,” one might say, under the mistaken belief that reduced American troop deaths is a measure of success. Certainly, fewer deaths are a good thing, but success was to be measured by Iraq’s willingness to govern itself effectively and provide security for its people. The surge was to provide security while the Iraqi government steadied itself, overcame divisions and prepared to take the reins.

While the pro-war crowd was praising John McCain for his flip flop on the war, the U. S. Government Accounting Office released a report in June of this year after an analysis of the progress in Iraq compared to the goals laid out by the Bush White House in 2007.

If the public (and the media) had actually read the report there would be no debate, as it points out several areas where the surge has not produced the desired effect.

Examples? Only nine of eighteen provinces in Iraq are controlled by the Iraqi government (the goal was for all eighteen to be controlled by the end of 2007).

Another? Iraqi forces were to be able to act independently by the end of 2007, but the GAO found that less than 10 percent of the Iraqi army battalions are rated at the highest readiness level and still must be backed up by the U. S.

If space allowed I could share several other failures pointed out in the GAO report. But you can read the report. And I am sure you will come to the same conclusion: that we have no business in Iraq.

>Martin Luther King Jr: Pro Public Health and Anti-War

January 21, 2008

>Since 1900 the average life expectancy in the United States has increased 30 years. Of that, 25 years can be attributed to advances in public health, and the other five years to advances in medicine.

The differences might not be readily apparent, but in general, public health initiatives that contributed to extended life include things like food safety and better understanding of nutrition, decrease in tobacco use, improvements in workplace safety, family planning, maternal and child care, water safety and fluoridation, vaccination programs, seat belt use and sanitation.

Advances in medicine, while important from an individual standpoint, do not contribute that much statistically. These include things such as the development of new diagnostic equipment, advanced procedures and new drugs to treat illnesses.

Today we honor the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King understood the importance of public health and the role that it plays in the health of our nation. Consider the following:

“One day our society will come to respect the sanitation worker if it is to survive, for the person who picks up our garbage is in the final analysis as significant as the physician, for if he doesn’t do his job, diseases are rampant. All labor has dignity.”

(Martin Luther King, Jr., The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. Clayborne Carson (Grand Central Publishing, 2001), pp. 352-35)

King was referring to the low wages the sanitation workers received and was fighting against the institutionalized poverty forced upon blacks by their own government. But he also made the point that in the control of disease, sanitation is a must. In the 19th century immigration and urbanization caused a population shift that led to overcrowding in cities with inadequate waste disposal systems. Often garbage was piled in the streets or thrown over a fence giving food and shelter to vermin and contributing to disease outbreaks.

By 1900 public health departments had been established in 40 of the 45 states. From the 1930’s through the 1950’s, great strides were made in solid waste disposal, as well as sewage and water treatment and hygiene practices. Vermin control, related to garbage control, also contributed to the reduction of disease.

I believe King would also be an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq. Here is what he said about the Vietnam War:

“And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.”

(Beyond Vietnam speech delivered April 4, 1967. The quote can be found in A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. Clayborne Carson and Kris Shepard (Warner Books, 2002), p. 142)

To the left of this column you can see the Cost of the war. $487 billion. Almost half a trillion. Consider the job training and education that could be provided with that money. Not to mention the cost in lives lost or damaged. One example is the number of men and women returning with traumatic brain injury, and an army task force suggests that 10 to 20 percent of those returning for Iran and Afghanistan have brain injuries. This story from September explains how the problem is insidious and how the effects can be long term.

So yes, the war in Iraq is a “demonic, destructive suction tube” destroying the lives of our young people who are fighting as well as hindering education of students not yet old enough to be sucked in.

There are so many ways in which this war is wrong, and Dr. King would be one of its most outspoken critics. Unlike the ever changing heated rhetoric that we hear on a daily basis (from presidential candidates), his words are set, his opposition is unchallengeable, and his positions unchangeable. And they apply today.

Some of the information I used here comes from Soulforce , an organization whose mission statement reads:

“The mission of Soulforce is to cut off homophobia at its source – religious bigotry…We apply the creative direct action principles taught by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. to peacefully resist injustice and demand full equality for LGBT citizens and same-gender families.”

Information on sanitation and control of infectious diseases and public health can be found here.

Martin Luther King Jr: Pro Public Health and Anti-War

January 21, 2008

Since 1900 the average life expectancy in the United States has increased 30 years. Of that, 25 years can be attributed to advances in public health, and the other five years to advances in medicine.

The differences might not be readily apparent, but in general, public health initiatives that contributed to extended life include things like food safety and better understanding of nutrition, decrease in tobacco use, improvements in workplace safety, family planning, maternal and child care, water safety and fluoridation, vaccination programs, seat belt use and sanitation.

Advances in medicine, while important from an individual standpoint, do not contribute that much statistically. These include things such as the development of new diagnostic equipment, advanced procedures and new drugs to treat illnesses.

Today we honor the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King understood the importance of public health and the role that it plays in the health of our nation. Consider the following:

“One day our society will come to respect the sanitation worker if it is to survive, for the person who picks up our garbage is in the final analysis as significant as the physician, for if he doesn’t do his job, diseases are rampant. All labor has dignity.”

(Martin Luther King, Jr., The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. Clayborne Carson (Grand Central Publishing, 2001), pp. 352-35)

King was referring to the low wages the sanitation workers received and was fighting against the institutionalized poverty forced upon blacks by their own government. But he also made the point that in the control of disease, sanitation is a must. In the 19th century immigration and urbanization caused a population shift that led to overcrowding in cities with inadequate waste disposal systems. Often garbage was piled in the streets or thrown over a fence giving food and shelter to vermin and contributing to disease outbreaks.

By 1900 public health departments had been established in 40 of the 45 states. From the 1930’s through the 1950’s, great strides were made in solid waste disposal, as well as sewage and water treatment and hygiene practices. Vermin control, related to garbage control, also contributed to the reduction of disease.

I believe King would also be an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq. Here is what he said about the Vietnam War:

“And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.”

(Beyond Vietnam speech delivered April 4, 1967. The quote can be found in A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. Clayborne Carson and Kris Shepard (Warner Books, 2002), p. 142)

To the left of this column you can see the Cost of the war. $487 billion. Almost half a trillion. Consider the job training and education that could be provided with that money. Not to mention the cost in lives lost or damaged. One example is the number of men and women returning with traumatic brain injury, and an army task force suggests that 10 to 20 percent of those returning for Iran and Afghanistan have brain injuries. This story from September explains how the problem is insidious and how the effects can be long term.

So yes, the war in Iraq is a “demonic, destructive suction tube” destroying the lives of our young people who are fighting as well as hindering education of students not yet old enough to be sucked in.

There are so many ways in which this war is wrong, and Dr. King would be one of its most outspoken critics. Unlike the ever changing heated rhetoric that we hear on a daily basis (from presidential candidates), his words are set, his opposition is unchallengeable, and his positions unchangeable. And they apply today.

Some of the information I used here comes from Soulforce , an organization whose mission statement reads:

“The mission of Soulforce is to cut off homophobia at its source – religious bigotry…We apply the creative direct action principles taught by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. to peacefully resist injustice and demand full equality for LGBT citizens and same-gender families.”

Information on sanitation and control of infectious diseases and public health can be found here.

>Congress Stumbles, and the Weird Westboro Baptists

May 25, 2007

>I am 100% in support of our troops, and believe we should fund them and send a surge…into Afghanistan, and Pakistan if necessary, to find Bin Laden. I am also in favor of supporting the troops in Iraqby bringing them home. So I am really pissed that the house and senate gave the president another blank check. $100,000,000,000. That much. Well, 95 billion anyway. 120 billion if you add all the other spending tacked on to the bill.

Are you listening, New Orleans? Are you listening, south Mississippi and Alabama? Are you listening, Kansas? Are you listening, 47 million uninsured Americans? Think of the ways that money could be used.

Is this what the electorate wanted when it voted last November and returned power in congress to the democrats? No. And now watch Bush’s ratings go up after congress caves in to his demand to leave out the timetable for withdrawal. At least Representative Artur Davis voted against the bill, saying earlier yesterday that he wanted a definite timetable for withdrawal of troops. But I have a question. If he was so sure he was going to vote against the bill, how come when I called his office before the vote, they wouldn’t tell me that, only saying they did not know how he felt about it? They say this every time I call, and I know other representative’s staff members will report whether they oppose or support a measure, but Artur’s always seem to be in the dark.

****************************************************************
In other national news Shirley Phelps-Roper of Westboro Baptist Church says that Americans are doomed to eat their children. “You’ll eat your kids, you hateful people,” are the words the church members sing in their parody of “We Are the World.” “No, we are not being metaphorical,” she says, basing her beliefs on a verse in Deuteronomy which says “Thou shalt eat…the flesh of thy sons and daughters.” BhamNews

Congress Stumbles, and the Weird Westboro Baptists

May 25, 2007

I am 100% in support of our troops, and believe we should fund them and send a surge…into Afghanistan, and Pakistan if necessary, to find Bin Laden. I am also in favor of supporting the troops in Iraqby bringing them home. So I am really pissed that the house and senate gave the president another blank check. $100,000,000,000. That much. Well, 95 billion anyway. 120 billion if you add all the other spending tacked on to the bill.

Are you listening, New Orleans? Are you listening, south Mississippi and Alabama? Are you listening, Kansas? Are you listening, 47 million uninsured Americans? Think of the ways that money could be used.

Is this what the electorate wanted when it voted last November and returned power in congress to the democrats? No. And now watch Bush’s ratings go up after congress caves in to his demand to leave out the timetable for withdrawal. At least Representative Artur Davis voted against the bill, saying earlier yesterday that he wanted a definite timetable for withdrawal of troops. But I have a question. If he was so sure he was going to vote against the bill, how come when I called his office before the vote, they wouldn’t tell me that, only saying they did not know how he felt about it? They say this every time I call, and I know other representative’s staff members will report whether they oppose or support a measure, but Artur’s always seem to be in the dark.

****************************************************************
In other national news Shirley Phelps-Roper of Westboro Baptist Church says that Americans are doomed to eat their children. “You’ll eat your kids, you hateful people,” are the words the church members sing in their parody of “We Are the World.” “No, we are not being metaphorical,” she says, basing her beliefs on a verse in Deuteronomy which says “Thou shalt eat…the flesh of thy sons and daughters.” BhamNews

>Tell the Whole Story, Dale

May 10, 2007

>I posed the question “Who will be next?” to leave in the Bush administration and now we know: Tony Blair, announcing today that he is stepping down as Prime Minister. I have to admit, I’m not sad to see Bush’s lap dog go.

And in Bessemer, we have someone ready to make a run at replacing Tony Snow as President Bush’s press secretary if such an opportunity arises. Dale Jones, the editor of The Western Star, has once again misrepresented the truth regarding the war in Iraq as to leave no doubt that he could handle the job. Remember early this year he made the assertion that every person who has served would “return to Iraq in a second” while we all know of such veterans who have denounced the war and are working to get us out of Iraq.

This week, in his weekly editorial titled “Our Fight is against Al-Qaeda, not Iraq” Jones once again shows his willingness to twist the truth to fit his message, much as the White House does through its press secretary. He says:

Al-Qaeda was formed in or around 1988, twelve years before Bush went into office.

Ollie North testified before (the) Senate. He told Senator Al Gore that Osama bin Laden, the force behind Al-Qaeda, was the one man that he was most afraid of.

We’ve had opportunities before Bush to make a difference, but our “leaders” seemed too busy dealing with interns in the oval office.

Let’s remember, that twelve years before Bush went into office, when Jones says Al-Qaeda was formed (1988), Ronald Reagan was president (1981 – 1989) and during the next four years while Al-Qaeda was gaining strength, daddy Bush was president. And let’s not forget where Osama bin Laden got his inspiration.


When the marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, were destroyed by a suicide bomber in 1983, killing 241 American servicemen, Reagan was president, and did he retaliate? No. After initially pledging to keep a military force in Lebanon, he quickly changed his plans and withdrew. We did nothing to retaliate. Cutting and running, we were unable to get out of there fast enough. The success of that attack led to a sharp increase in suicide bombings across the world, and such bombings were later adopted by Al-Qaeda as an often used tactic. Bin Laden himself has indicated that the bombing in Beirut and the U. S. unwillingness to respond was inspiration for him.

So don’t blame the Clinton administration for the rise of Al-Qaeda. Jones is right, we have had opportunities before Bush to make a difference, in fact, Al-Qaeda might never have come into existence if Reagan had stood up to the terrorists in 1983. Tell the whole story, Dale.

And some roses.

The fence surrounding the back of our property is covered in vines and shadowed by trees, but as we have begun to clear it off, surprises have been revealed. These roses are two of several that remain, that the former owner must have had covering the fence decades ago. If we can get more sunlight onto the fence area by trimming some scrubby trees back, I’m hoping the roses will flourish once again.

Tell the Whole Story, Dale

May 10, 2007

I posed the question “Who will be next?” to leave in the Bush administration and now we know: Tony Blair, announcing today that he is stepping down as Prime Minister. I have to admit, I’m not sad to see Bush’s lap dog go.

And in Bessemer, we have someone ready to make a run at replacing Tony Snow as President Bush’s press secretary if such an opportunity arises. Dale Jones, the editor of The Western Star, has once again misrepresented the truth regarding the war in Iraq as to leave no doubt that he could handle the job. Remember early this year he made the assertion that every person who has served would “return to Iraq in a second” while we all know of such veterans who have denounced the war and are working to get us out of Iraq.

This week, in his weekly editorial titled “Our Fight is against Al-Qaeda, not Iraq” Jones once again shows his willingness to twist the truth to fit his message, much as the White House does through its press secretary. He says:

Al-Qaeda was formed in or around 1988, twelve years before Bush went into office.

Ollie North testified before (the) Senate. He told Senator Al Gore that Osama bin Laden, the force behind Al-Qaeda, was the one man that he was most afraid of.

We’ve had opportunities before Bush to make a difference, but our “leaders” seemed too busy dealing with interns in the oval office.

Let’s remember, that twelve years before Bush went into office, when Jones says Al-Qaeda was formed (1988), Ronald Reagan was president (1981 – 1989) and during the next four years while Al-Qaeda was gaining strength, daddy Bush was president. And let’s not forget where Osama bin Laden got his inspiration.


When the marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, were destroyed by a suicide bomber in 1983, killing 241 American servicemen, Reagan was president, and did he retaliate? No. After initially pledging to keep a military force in Lebanon, he quickly changed his plans and withdrew. We did nothing to retaliate. Cutting and running, we were unable to get out of there fast enough. The success of that attack led to a sharp increase in suicide bombings across the world, and such bombings were later adopted by Al-Qaeda as an often used tactic. Bin Laden himself has indicated that the bombing in Beirut and the U. S. unwillingness to respond was inspiration for him.

So don’t blame the Clinton administration for the rise of Al-Qaeda. Jones is right, we have had opportunities before Bush to make a difference, in fact, Al-Qaeda might never have come into existence if Reagan had stood up to the terrorists in 1983. Tell the whole story, Dale.

And some roses.

The fence surrounding the back of our property is covered in vines and shadowed by trees, but as we have begun to clear it off, surprises have been revealed. These roses are two of several that remain, that the former owner must have had covering the fence decades ago. If we can get more sunlight onto the fence area by trimming some scrubby trees back, I’m hoping the roses will flourish once again.

>September? Not What the Voters Were Hoping For!

May 8, 2007

>These are the headlines as they appeared on aol this morning: (I disabled the links).


Huge ExplosionWows Scientists
Expert Says ‘This Was the King’
See What Astronomers Found’

Blast Kills Worker in Las Vegas ‘Unusual’ Murder at Famed Casino

So did the stellar explosion kill the worker in Las Vegas?

Now the democrats in congress are considering a plan to fund the war through September, and maybe a good number of republican lawmakers will go along with that. However, waiting almost a year since the November 2006 election before something is done about the war is not the message the American voters sent. Democrats in congress are being pushed back, but there is no corner they are being backed in to from which they will attack back, and no cliff they will stumble off of as they retreat from the will of the voters. They are just retreating and allowing American service members to be at risk for a few more months while Bush and Petraeus roll the dice hoping for some measure of success. Trouble is, we still don’t know what success is, we still don’t know who the enemy is, we still don’t know why we are there, and we don’t know what victory is.

I gave Wolfowitz three weeks and it looks like his removal is being negotiated by European countries as they agree to let the U. S. choose the next World Bank president if the current president steps down. A World Bank commitee has found him guilty of breaking rules and there is no way they will allow him to stay on. Who’s next?http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/08/news/newsmakers/wolfowitz/index.htm?eref=rss_topstories

September? Not What the Voters Were Hoping For!

May 8, 2007

These are the headlines as they appeared on aol this morning: (I disabled the links).


Huge ExplosionWows Scientists
Expert Says ‘This Was the King’
See What Astronomers Found’

Blast Kills Worker in Las Vegas ‘Unusual’ Murder at Famed Casino

So did the stellar explosion kill the worker in Las Vegas?

Now the democrats in congress are considering a plan to fund the war through September, and maybe a good number of republican lawmakers will go along with that. However, waiting almost a year since the November 2006 election before something is done about the war is not the message the American voters sent. Democrats in congress are being pushed back, but there is no corner they are being backed in to from which they will attack back, and no cliff they will stumble off of as they retreat from the will of the voters. They are just retreating and allowing American service members to be at risk for a few more months while Bush and Petraeus roll the dice hoping for some measure of success. Trouble is, we still don’t know what success is, we still don’t know who the enemy is, we still don’t know why we are there, and we don’t know what victory is.

I gave Wolfowitz three weeks and it looks like his removal is being negotiated by European countries as they agree to let the U. S. choose the next World Bank president if the current president steps down. A World Bank commitee has found him guilty of breaking rules and there is no way they will allow him to stay on. Who’s next?http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/08/news/newsmakers/wolfowitz/index.htm?eref=rss_topstories