Monday, June 27, 2005

An Open Letter to George W. Bush

Dear Mr. Bush,

Tomorrow, June 28, 2005, you will address the nation regarding the Iraq War. It has been said you will ask America not to give up and to stay the course, so to speak. To do that, Mr. Bush, you need the respect and trust of the American people. And that, you do not have.

You have failed to lead.

While military recruiting ads are asking parents to counsel their military age children to serve, your daughters are noticably absent from military service. Yes, I know, Jenna is teaching and that is public service. Well, Mr. Bush, how many teachers have been pulled from that public service to fight your war in Iraq? Lots of other children are worried about their teachers. Why should your daughter's students be spared?

Yes, I know your other daughter, Barbara, named for your mother, is in graduate school. While I applaud her interest in higher education, how many reservists were pulled from their graduate studies to fight your war? Why should your daughter be allowed to continue her education when these brave men and women can not?

A good leader leads by example. The example you are setting, Mr. Bush, is reprehensible. Your example says, "We let the little people die for our beliefs." And no one trusts a leader that will not do what he asks of others.

You have a large extended family as well. Why are these prominent people not in the military? Your cousin, Billy Bush, of TV, movie and radio fame, is married with three children. How many families are home tonight worried about their mothers and fathers in Iraq? Why should the Billy Bush family be spared? He supported you in both your runs for the presidency. Is there no one in your family that has the courage of their convictions?

Your brother Jeb has children of military age. In fact, one is George P., often mentioned as someone with political aspirations. Yet, he does not serve in the military in war your family supports.

I have no children. And, at 48, I have long sinced passed the age where the military would accept me. You want me to encourage my cousins in their 20's and 30's to serve? You want me to encourage the children of my cousins in their 40's to serve? How can I do that when the entire Bush family sits comfortably at home?

Now, before you and your spin doctors get your knickers in a twist, NO, I do NOT think that any Bush relative should actually go to Iraq. Because you live in the White House, their appearance in any platoon, company or brigade, would endanger the lives of other members of the military unit. This would be blatantly unfair to the unit. This I understand.

This is a different war. Insurgents would target members of prominent American families, and, in trying to capture them, would endanger the lives of those in the military unit. That is just simple reality.

But there is NO EXCUSE for your family to be allowed to lead their lives as though nothing is happening. They should and must be in military , police, or firefighter's uniform. They can serve as file clerks, drivers, etc. They can serve stateside, on European bases, and other areas safe from Iraqi insurgents. This is the benefit they will get for being related to you. The least they can do is put their lives on hold, same as the rest who are serve in your war.

Conservatives sometimes liken you to FDR, who led this nation in World War II, because he never served in active military duty. Yet, Mr. Bush, President Roosevelt sent all his sons to war. One of them died. And FDR mourned the loss, like others who lost sons, father, and brothers.

What made FDR great was he did not ask America to take a risk he was unwilling to take. That cannot be said of you, Mr. Bush.

You are not leading, so no one is listening.

The Democrat Lady

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Iraq and the Aftermath

Many people are calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. And there is plenty of reason to do so. There is not a rush of men and women running to military recruiting stations to sign up to fight for Bush and Rumsfeld's war. Noticably absent are the Bush twins, who should be setting an example for their peers.

In fact, those people of military service age who voted for Bush and Cheney are, also, noticably absent in supporting the war for which they voted. Some people claim that this is reason to pull out. I would tend to agree. Except for something no one seems to be talking about. That is, the mess that has become Iraq due to the actions of the Bush administration.

At this point, it no longer matters which Americans supported the war in the beginning. What does matter is that we now have a responsiblity to keep the Iraqi people safe. We created this mess.

No, I did not vote for Bush. I would rather stand in cold water and hold a live wire in my hand, than ever vote for the likes of that group. So, no, I do not feel that anything I did brought this devastation to Iraq. But I am an American. Like it or not, Bush has acted in my name. Legally, Crawford's Village Idiot lives in the White House, and, acts in my name.

In my name, and the name of all Americans, he has torn apart a country. My fear is for what will happen to the Iraqi people if we pull out before the country is stable. There were no Islamic insurgents there before we marched in to free them from Saddam (rather insure we controlled some oil in the Middle East).

Now, they are torn apart and no one lives without fear of their lives on a daily basis. And we are responsible.

Leaving will not end our responsiblity. But I do not have a solution. Part of me thinks we should leave. Part of me thinks that to leave now is the ultimate act of cowardice. We created this mess, we have the responsiblity to clean it up.

Bush is not the person to lead us out of Iraq in a moral way. Those who put huge profits and tax cuts above the future of the American people, and invade countries for oil, are unfit to lead. But we are stuck with this bunch until January 2009. We can hold out, but can the Iraqi people?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

An Open Letter to Sen. Hillary Clinton

Dear Sen. Clinton,

On the last "Crossfire" show, a clip about you was shown. It mentioned you were/are on the board of directors of Wall-Mart. The issue that I wish to address is Wall-Mart's refusal to provide health care benefits for their workers.

Your public service record clearly shows you care deeply about the health care issue. And I realize that when Wall-Mart was a small business starting out in Arkansas, it could not afford to pay health care benefits for its employees. Few new businesses can.

But Wall-Mart is no longer a struggling new business. It is a thriving one. And they are stealing from the taxpayer.

Wall-Mart, by counseling its employees to apply for Medi-caid and other government run health programs, is stealing from every taxpayer in the USA. Instead of being a morally responsible company, doing its duty, and paying to insure the health benefits of its workers, Wall-Mart chooses to pass these expenses on to the government. And when the government pays, the taxpayer pays.

Yet, Wall-Mart agreed to pay for health care benefits for employees in stores located in the People's Republic of China. My question is, why does Wall-Mart do more for its foreign employees than it does for Americans? Was it not America that gave Wall-Mart its start? Was it not America that made Wall-Mart the thriving business it is today?

Is this how a corporate Wall-Mart thanks those that made it rich? Seems to me a company that started out doing a good thing, and needing a little government help to create this good thing, has taken advantage of those that helped it.

What bothers me is I know someone in the Silicon Valley area of California. He works for Costco. Costco has great prices and does a wonderful job for consumers. And Costco STARTS their workers (in this area of California, anyway) at $10 per hour. After a year, they get health benefits. Yes, Costco's balance sheet is not as lucrative as Wall-Mart's and their stock is not as high on Wall Street. But to create the high profits Wall-Mart enjoys, Costco would have to pay their employees less and take away their benefits.

Why should Costco, and other companies like it, be penalized for doing the right thing? Costco, in my opinion, because it cares about its employees, should be rewarded by the system and not take home a smaller paycheck in the form of lower stock prices.

What do I think you should do about it? First, I think you should speak out loudly, publically, and often, against Wall-Mart's health care policies. Not to mention their theft of taxpayer dollars by forcing their low-paid employees into taxpayer paid health care.

Second, you should write and promote legislation that penalizes companies like Wall-Mart. How? By increasing their taxes to pay the health care costs of employees who qualify for goverment plans. If they won't pay for private insurance, make them pay for the public insurance their employees use.

It is time for Wall-Mart and other such companies to grow up. When you are young and new, just as when you are a small child, not much is expected of you. It is understood that you can only do so much until you grow as a business.

But like a child, as a business grows and matures, it must accept more responsiblity. You do not give a newborn a 10-speed bicycle. First the child must learn to walk, then ride a tricycle. The child learns to care for the trike. Keep it clean, keep it out of the driveway, etc. Then comes the bike with training wheels. And so on, until the child is ready for the big, cool, 10-speed.

Along the way the child's responsibilities increase. So, too, should the small business that becomes a large corporation. Wall-Mart long-ago left its training wheels behind. It has surpassed the 10-speed and is racing down the economic highway in a brand-new high-speed sports car. And yet, no one has asked it to increase its responsibilties. Like the child with the trike, it is still depending on government hand-outs to care for the health needs of its employees. And while it is doing so, other companies are taking home less profits just because they do the right thing. Wall-Mart should be ashamed.

And, Sen. Clinton, we are depending on you to put them to shame.

The Democrat Lady