Friday, May 19, 2006

Constitutional Defense Watch Issue #1

Today's blog was prompted by this article. I suggest a read even though its long. In particular, the reader who still isn't convinced of our slippage into a police state should read the part on signing statements.

For today, however, I want to pass on what this author says about high ranking whistleblowers.

"Army Generals. Top-level CIA officials. NSA operatives. White House cabinet members. These are the kind of people that Republicans fantasize about being, and whose judgment they usually respect. But for some reason, when these people resign in protest and criticize the Bush administration en masse, they are cast as traitorous, anti-American publicity hounds. Ridiculuous. The fact is, when people who kill, spy and deceive for a living tell you that the White House has gone to far, you had damn well better pay attention. We all know most of these people are staunch Republicans. If the entire military except for the two guys the Pentagon put in front of the press wants Rumsfeld out, why on earth wouldn't you listen?"

Did you catch that, people who "kill, spy and decieve for a living" are saying that the white house is out of bounds. Who else is there to listen to.

Spread the word on the net while we still can. With the net we can move information quicker than any other grassroots movement in history. Unfortunately, that same technology allows big brother to track more effectively. And, since info on the net is changeable, something like the memory hole in 1984 is plausible.

The constitution must be protected from the very entity charged to protect it.

I am an American.
I choose to live free.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Constitution? What's that?

If you are the kind to keep up on my blog you would have read the last one about my frustration with school, and in particular, my frustration with being declined a scholarship for next year. This will be a short blog because I have little to say about this particular topic. I was going to put it in that last blog, but it felt out of place there.

I just wanted to say a little more about how this country is slipping into a totalitarian state. Our government is spying on us and it will not be long before first amendment rights are eroded and the government takes to punishing political prisoners in a very Orwellian fashion. The difference between the Nazis in the forties and now is that the technology does actually exist now to do everything that Orwell outlined. He was a forward thinker.

In my own petty way I'm frustrated with the situation. My frustration comes from the lack of money going to higher education. Well, actually, education in general. So much money is going to fund W's illegal war that none is left for the country. 15 to 20 years from now the US will lag behind in science and technology. If no money is spent on it, no advancements will be made, and well will slip behind.

I guess that's OK, dictators seem to prefer being able to oppress a non-proactive society. It's just one more step.

Friday, May 12, 2006

A Rant. By Tom Kruger

Well, about half way through the semester that just ended I drafted a blog about how much trouble I was having with school this semester. That particular blog never made it to be published because I was having too much trouble staying up in my classes. Now I'm here at the end of the semester and I can take a breath for a minute. Actually, lets be honest, now I spend my time working instead of studying. Anyway, back to the subject--historically bad semesters. This was one. My A- ego was shattered this semester by a jarring 2.8 gpa. I had not even considered this as a possibility. Before I go on, I have to admit that I still have one grade to get back, but It's not looking very good.

There is a silver lining. I passed math class. By math I mean Partial Differential Equations. The University of Utah teaches this class terribly--yes you, Professor Folias. They also use a book by Nakhle Asmar that is terrible. (I hope you see this someday Nakhle.) Anyway, so I passed. I don't have to take it over.

Now I'd like to discuss some of the other issues that this poor semester brings up. Namely, grad school and self-concept.

First, the easy one, grad school. If I am to go to grad school in mechanical engineering at the university of utah, then it must be as a part of the fast track program which allows me to take masters level courses in my senior year thereby completing the masters in a short period. This program requires a 3.5 GPA. After this semester mine has fallen to 3.3. Also an historic low. It is true that they may still accept me. Graduate schools set their requirements high to help control the number of applicants, but still allow people in who don't strictly meet the requirements. You may be wondering why I must have this program if I am to get a masters. The answer is 7. 7 years. 7 years I have been working on a bachelor's degree in engineering. Jumping through the hoops of higher education. All the while wrangling the sedition that is in my genes so that I may obtain that precious paper that says I'm an engineer. What it really says is how good I am at school. I don't know if grad school is where I'm going to be.

Now for self-concept. Tread lightly hence. Don't say I didn't warn you.
There is a little piece of me that wants to be the best. At what, you may ask. Everything. Should I attempt a thing, any thing, (I know there's a space there, it's supposed to be there) then it's only fitting that I do all I can to do it perfect. Now of course, I can't do it perfect. I'm human, but the desire remains. Last semester I almost got there. Don't think for a second that I almost perfectly knew everything that was being taught, but somehow I got excellent grades. I even got nominated to Tau Beta Pi, and if you follow my blog you know something about what that was for me. It gave me a taste of being 'elite'. (I warned you. It's going to sound very concieted at times.) I wanted to be the best. I'm not. I'm very good at it. I'm very good at lots of things, but I don't feel like I'm the master of any. Throughout my life I've had tastes of being elite. I was on a championship football team until we lost in the fourth quarter. (not that I had much to do with it one way or the other.) This feels like the same thing. Something that was almost great. Defeat from the jaws of victory snatched. I realize that school is not over. I have many successes ahead of me both in school and professional life, but I don't know what the future will hold.

One more rant before I close. I just found out that I didn't get any scholarship money for next year. I am astounded. I have been busting my ass for 5 years in school without a single award to show for it. I emailed the undergraduate advisor asking when the notifications were going to be and she said they had gone out more than two weeks ago and that due to funding issues there were few awards.

I always tell teenagers that I come to know well that no matter what the administrators at school are telling them, what you are at the end of high school is not what you will be for the rest of your life. The same applies to college and me.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Real ID: Another Symptom of a Bigger Problem

Between W's belief that he can interpret the constitution, and enforce it accordingly, and the Real ID system that is supposed to be inplace by 2008, the United States is beginning to take on many of the same qualities that were considered so repugnant as to justify the invasion of Iraq. Yes, I said it--I'm comparing the US to Iraq. If you have a man who decides he can assume the role of all the branches of government, that man would be called a dictator. W. only has two years and change left in office and it will be good riddance. The trouble is that he has set dire precedent in the office for what kinds of powers the president can wield. If this kind of erosion of the powers of legislature and the courts continues then it won't be long before they are there only for show.

If the president were to be able to usurp the powers of the rest of the government, nothing would stop him from deciding to extend his term indefinitely. Of course he would need some kind of justification for this, so a war would be staged or something. He would assert that he must remain in the presidency until the conflict is resolved. So people would bite on that, and look up ten years later when they are being asked for their Real ID card at some checkpoint to get to the next state, and US soldiers are still dying in this "war" that somehow now looks like a series of preemptive strikes (invasions). I know it's very Orwellian. He predicted the same thing about Britain should the Nazis win the war. The world was fortunate enough that they didn't win and sanity prevailed.

Not to worry, though. There can't be a World War III. The end of the last World War proved it. The existence of nuclear weapons proves it. If someone is dumb enough to lauch some of those things, you better crack open your last cold one, have some chips and hope you and God are straight with each other, cause he's about to get a huge shipment in.

Of course, this is the worst case scenario. And it would only occur if nobody was out there to stop it. I'm here to stop it. It seems that New Hampshire is also full of cooler heads that will not allow the erosion of our freedoms. As long as the constitution stands and checks and balances are observed, we are safe. Government must be by the people and for the people. Let's keep it that way.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Signing Statements Part II

Since I recently found out about these signing statements I have been utterly fascinated. We actually have in office a president that is actually asserting the power of congress and the justice system. Through signing statements W. has usurped part of the power of congress by deciding which parts of the laws he signs apply to him and part of the power of the judicial branch by using his own interpretation of the constitution to justify himself. The Boston Globe has a very interesting article about just this situation.

This is from Charlie Savage's article in The Boston Globe that is cited in the hyperlink above. It illustrates why this has come out only recently despite the fact that W. has been using signing statements since he took office:

"For the first five years of Bush's presidency, his legal claims attracted little attention in Congress or the media. Then, twice in recent months, Bush drew scrutiny after challenging new laws: a torture ban and a prequirement that he gave detailed reports to Congress about how he is using the Patriot Act."

The article that I was reading that got me linked to the one above also had this to say:

"If the President doesn't obey the law, what the heck is he? He's a dictator in a coup, I think--but no matter, according to the media, he's A-DOR-ABLE!"
Chris Durang

I really like this because its exactly what was on the tip of my tongue.
This is the time for action. W. Claims that he is doing it in the best interest of the country, but I will say absolutely that anything he does that usurps any power from congress of the judicial system is bad for America. The whole purpose of checks and balances is to ensure that this sort of thing doesn't go on. If the executive branch gets out of hand, things will get very bad for the American People. There shouldn't be any more waiting. W. has already overstepped his bounds enough to warrant an investigation.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Signing Statements

Something is really rotten in D.C.

I have recently found out about a tidy little tool that President Bush has been using in his executive duties: The signing statement. What I gather is that this document allows Bush to pick and choose what he wants to actually enforce about the bills that he signs into law in congress. This article is required reading on the subject.

I was a Bush supporter back in '04 and I did vore for him. I must confess, though that part of my motivation for it was that John Kerry was such a fish. He was trying to win an election on purple hearts and vietnam service rather than tackling issues. He gave the distinct impression that he was somebody's puppet. Unforunately, it turns out that Bush is either somebody's puppet or certifiable. I really thought Bush was going to be able to clean up the mess he had made in Iraq, but he disappointed me and 68% of my fellow Americans.

Even as the Iraqi invasion seemed imminent so many years ago, I was against it. Worse, there was no actual declaration of war from congress to allow it. It was a bad idea from the beginning. It is true that Saddam was a terrible dictator but that doesn't make us and our army the world's babysitter. Can't we just have a defensive military like Japan?

To make a long story short, I'm on board with these states that are starting the process to seek impeachment. It sounds like a terrible word because we all grew up with Nixon and his synonymy with impeachment, but it really just means that we, the American people need to dig deeper and find out the truth about Bush's motives.