It's interesting to see how politicians work. I saw a perfect example of how sneaky they can be when I caught a rerun of Mayor Chavez' press conference on the local government access channel.
The mayor was toting the new gang registry. At the end of the press conference, when questions had been asked and answered, the mayor threw in a bit about how, over a free lunch for the reporters, he would also be celebrating the private funding of middle school athletics. The mayor went on to explain that since APS had cut funding for the athletics program, private donors had picked up the slack and raised money to continue with the programs. Then he threw in the line that the city will be "kicking in a little money" as well. Thankfully, one of the reporters had the smarts to ask just how much money the city was adding. The mayor replied that the city was giving $50,000 to go along with $54,000 in donations that had been raised.
I and everybody else in the city realizes that $50,000 isn't a "little money"--it's $4,000 shy of half! I'm not writing to debate whether or not middle school athletics is a worthy program. I just wanted to point out that the mayor, and most other politicians, like to play word games when it comes to spending the taxpayers’ money. And to me, half is a lot more than a "little money." Makes me wonder what else the mayor has tried to slip by the citizens of Albuquerque.
Why didn't Bush just do what he usually does and subvert the Constitution by attaching a "signing statement” to the bill? No, this time he wanted to send a message to the American people. That message is: “Screw your children! Unless they're old enough to go fight my wars, they can go to hell.” Do I need to point out that this in an act of pure evil? Are Americans even able to recognize evil for what it is anymore? Clearly not. After all, if we can justify an illegal, genocidal war, illegal wiretaps on U.S. citizens, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, outing intelligence operatives for political purposes and “Extraordinary Rendition” (among a long list of others), we can justify almost anything. According to Bush, we can't afford to help our own children because it might impinge on our ability to kill more children in Iraq. Plain and simple.
My question is: How can rational, intelligent and compassionate people sit by and allow this to occur without even a whimper? I for one am tired of watching these neocon psychopaths bankrupt our once great nation for the sake of a war that is already lost. I am also tired of watching the Democrats do absolutely nothing to prevent this from happening. History will not be kind to any of us for sitting idly by and allowing our nation to be drained of all its assets by warmongering criminals.
The complete and utter destruction of this country's infrastructure has already begun in earnest. However, there is an easy and constitutionally viable way to end this insanity: Cut off the funding for the war! This is not a difficult concept to envision. All Congress has to do is stop giving carte blanche to Bush's maniacal requests and simply not approve any more war funding. This is perfectly legal, and it is the will of the overwhelming majority of the American people.
Unfortunately, the Democrats are beholden to the same military/industrial interests as the Republicans, so this will never happen. But I have an even better idea that would put an end to this war: war tax. I propose that the United States institute a tax to continue funding this war. Why don't we let the American people decide with their pocketbooks whether this genocide is worth it? I guarantee you the war would be over within a few weeks once the war tax appeared on everyone's pay stub and they saw how much this madness is costing.
Turns out a few brave democrats have just proposed this very legislation. According to CNN: “The measure ... would require low- and middle-income taxpayers to add 2 percent to their tax bill, while higher-income taxpayers would add 12 to 15 percent. Rep. Dave Obey said the surtax is a way for ‘this generation’ to pay for the Iraq war.”
OK, I realize this legislation doesn't stand a snowball's chance in Hell either, but it proves there are at least three Democrats who are listening to their constituents. Of course, leaders on both sides of the political spectrum were quick to condemn the proposal, which just goes to show how morally bankrupt they really are. It also demonstrates that no one in Washington, Democrat or Republican (as if there's a difference) has any intention of ending the war any time soon. Good luck all you protesters! And if you are dumb enough to think your precious vote is going to change any of this, you really need to think again. It's already too late to save our democracy. We've most certainly entered into the realm of tyranny now.
Jason Darensburg Albuquerque
Missing in Action: Burma
On Saturday, Oct. 6, 2007, demonstrations against the military junta repressively ruling Burma (Myanmar) were held all over the world. Even our more conservative neighbor states of Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Texas hosted gatherings that condemned the murder, beatings and arrests of monks and peaceful citizens by the Myanmar military and its plain clothes thugs.
It is United Nations and United States federal policy to condemn the Burmese government, a repressive regime that has stolen that country blind and kept its lawfully elected president, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Aung San Suu Kyi, a prisoner. Why didn't Heather Wilson, Pete Domenici or Bill Richardson lead a demonstration? Two are part of the federal government, Wilson hopes to be our next senator and Richardson is running to be president. Last Saturday they were missing in action on Burma. But, then, so were the rest of us in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Not one demo in all of New Mexico that I could find. Let's not have this happen again. Check out www.uscampaignforburma.org and let Wilson, Domenici, Bingaman and Richardson know you care.
Frank Cullen Edgewood
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