WAR and TOXIC TEXAS TEXTBOOKS

A Decent World

WAGING WAR FROM A BURNING HOUSE

No More Troops to Afghanistan

Dear President Obama,

Stop sending troops to Afghanistan.

I am a Vietnam Era veteran.  We stood nearly twenty years while our military-industrial complex ruined Vietnam.  Our prolonged stay, and side invasions of Cambodia and Laos, generationally disrupted and destabilized Southeast Asia, distorted America’s rule of law, and led directly to the present Reagan-Bush corporatist neo-conservative miasma.

Look at how the radical right Republicans have warped the nation they want us to fight for, die for, and honor.  The self-destructive insanity of the radical right Republican way of war makes it looks as if the bad guys have already won.  We are fighting a war for the life of the republic, as a result. 

These are politically motivated corporatist wars, fought to extremes because of ill-informed egos and profit.  These bloody-handed murderers-by-proxy began their plunder of the American nation by taking the Peace Dividend away from us after the Berlin Wall fell.  They shifted to terrorism as the object of their monolithic war machine, and plunged the whole world into wrack and ruin.  Bush’s indefensible “give war a chance” was disgusting; so is Obama’s continued pursuit of it.

End the war now, no matter how wimpy it looks to arrested-adolescent bullyboys, or corporatist oil barons and banksters.  We’ve got a lot of positive work to do, and one dollar spent on peace really is worth ten wasted in war!

Blackwater is just the tip of the iceberg.

President Bush opened the floodgates for outsourcing government jobs, and we’re still reeling from the effects.

Blackwater (now known as Xe), Halliburton, DynCorp, KBR, and Triple Canopy are just some of the multitude of private, for-profit corporations that became integral parts of the American war machine during the simultaneous Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

There is already legislation that has been introduced to tackle some of this problem. The Stop Outsourcing Security Act would prohibit the American government from using mercenaries to fight our wars.

But military contractors are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reckless government outsourcing.

We have an opportunity to change direction. The Obama administration is seeking public comments on the definition of “inherently governmental” functions, which sets the parameters government-wide for what can and cannot be outsourced.

Submit a public comment to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

It’s vital that we speak out to make sure the federal government steps back from the Bush-era practice of dismantling our government and giving free rein to Blackwater and companies like it.

The role of Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan offers a clear picture of the rot that infects our government when we outsource important functions to private entities that only care about their own bottom lines.

When we use private contractors, we sacrifice even the insufficient transparency and accountability we have over our military. Meanwhile, our reliance on greedy and shameless entities magnifies both the human and monetary cost of war.

In 2007, Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater, testified before Congress that over 90 percent of Blackwater’s contracts were with the federal government (and publicly available data shows over 2/3 of those government contracts were awarded as no-bid contracts).

Weeks before Prince’s testimony, Blackwater mercenaries needlessly slaughtered 17 civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad while guarding American State Department officials. Despite massive and widespread outrage in Iraq and elsewhere, the State Department still has a contract with Blackwater to provide protection for its personnel.

There’s no justifiable reason why our government ought to outsource the decision to pull the trigger and take another life in our name. And what’s true for shooting a gun and taking a life is also true for a whole host of broad areas where our of government should act directly, not through a company looking to squeeze a buck out of the process.

Speak out and submit a public comment about the definition of “inherently governmental” functions.

This issue is, of course, about more than Blackwater, and it’s about more than military contractors. The lack of clarity about what can and cannot be outsourced and the willingness of the American government to outsource as much as possible has allowed the role of federal contractors to metastasize and transform in horrific ways.

It’s even gotten to the point that we cannot adequately oversee contracts and have contractors evaluating the performance of other contractors on behalf of the American government.

We can no longer allow the government to abdicate responsibility of core government functions based upon the unfounded hope that the profit motive will somehow ensure everything will turn out okay.

We need to speak out. There are some things that only the government should do. This outsourcing craze needs to come to an end. Submit your public comment about “inherently governmental” functions today!

MY TWO-BITS to OFPP:

Quit outsourcing government jobs to private contractors.  The People can get the job done better for less cost and for the community’s and not just a few individuals’ profit.

The performance of mission critical security functions by profit-driven contractors is counterproductive and often immoral and criminal.

It’s bad for the morale of our real American troops to see these overpaid and pampered bought-and-sold mercenaries.  I know because I have nephews and nieces who have served in our military in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Talk to real American troops to hear it.

OFPP’s list of inherently governmental functions that these mercenaries must not perform should include: guard services, convoy security services, pass and identification services, plant protection services, the operation of prison or detention facilities, and any security operations that might reasonably require the use of deadly force; and, from support of intelligence activities (including covert operations), interrogation, military and police training, and repair and maintenance of weapon systems.

Machiavelli famously wrote that mercenaries might be trusted for only two things: to demand more money; and to run out when the chips are down.  Don’t buy champagne for mercenaries, use our money wisely to equip and protect our real American troops.

Finally, have you given any thought to what is to happen if these mercenaries decide they’ve got a better business proposition from our archenemies?  Or, face unemployment?  In Europe unemployed mercenaries set off the Hundred Years’ War, which might properly be called the “Rape, Murder and Plunder Crusade.”  The “Holy Crusades” were invented as a safety vent to send them packing out of town to do their dirty deeds.

Let’s not foment a restive and brutal gaggle of banditti.  Send these mercenaries packing out of town, without so much as one Federal bullet.

http://www.change.org/credoaction/petitions/view/tell_congress_stop_outsourcing_our_security_to_blackwater_and_private_mercenaries

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/inherently_gov/?r_by=9248-1645255-CIMijKx&rc=confemail1

Stand up to the Texas Taliban

We can’t allow a small group of extreme ideologues on the Texas State Board of Education to re-write history. Tell textbook publishers to stand up to the Texas Taliban.

Stand up to the Texas Taliban

If you thought that decisions made by the Texas State Board of Education don’t affect you, think again.

Led by far-right ideologues, the Texas SBOE recently gave preliminary approval to a plan that would radically change what children across the country learn in history class.

The ultra-conservative majority on the board (none of whom are experts in any academic discipline and many of whom are explicitly anti-science) took the curricula proposed by teachers and made more than 100 changes to “correct” the perceived left-wing bias.

But it gets worse. Since Texas is one of the largest textbook markets in the country, material written to cater to the Texas curricula will find its way into textbooks across the country unless textbook publishers take a stand.

We can’t allow a small group of extreme ideologues on the Texas State Board of Education to re-write history. Tell textbook publishers to stand up to the Texas Taliban.

Children who use textbooks conforming to the new standards will not learn anything about Thomas Jefferson’s political philosophy or his thoughts on the separation of church and state. When they learn about the Civil War, they’ll have to study Jefferson Davis’ inaugural address alongside Abraham Lincoln’s. And when they study the civil rights movement they’ll have to learn about the “unintended consequences” of Great Society programs, affirmative action and Title IX. Oh — and Joe McCarthy was right all along no matter what historians actually say about it.

It’s outrageous. Education will fail if we can’t teach our children history. We can’t let these far-right ideologues co-opt our educational system.

Tell the textbook publishers: Don’t let the Texas Taliban rewrite history.

For more information, read these two New York Times articles: How Christian Were the Founders? and Texas Conservatives Win Curriculum Change.

"Honey, I'm Home!"

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5 Responses to “WAR and TOXIC TEXAS TEXTBOOKS”

  1. Blackwater Watch » Blog Archive » WAR and TOXIC TEXAS TEXTBOOKS « John Legry's Blog Says:

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    […] article:  WAR and TOXIC TEXAS TEXTBOOKS  Waging War from a Burning […]

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  4. CHIFFON WRINKLES TOO EASILY – reprise « John Legry's Blog Says:

    […] forever startled. There is no glory, no promise, and no hope in warfare. Just blood. READ MORE: WAR and TOXIC TEXAS TEXTBOOKS; ALEXANDER […]

  5. CHIFFON WRINKLES TOO EASILY reprise « John Legry's Blog Says:

    […] forever startled. There is no glory, no promise, and no hope in warfare. Just blood. READ MORE: WAR and TOXIC TEXAS TEXTBOOKS; ALEXANDER […]

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