Thursday, January 05, 2006


Ah yes, ever-tranquil, peace-loving American foreign policy. No, I'm not whining about the past five years' imperialistic policies of Fuhrer Bush. The one who has made an absolute mockery of his oath of office. I am talking about the past 115 years of foreign policy under both Republican and Democratic leadership, alike.

To be sure, some of the military interventions in which our government has engaged were as just and justifiable as war can ever be. World War II seems to stand out...I'm thinking as I review the remainder of the conflicts and interventions on the following list...OK, World War II. Perhaps World War I. But the just interventions on this extensive list fall of precipitously thereafter.

Oh to be sure, not all of the 101 militaristic ventures constituted full-fledged military actions such as wars. The list is seeded with the occassional assassination of a national leader, an embargo here and there, and just plain old government overthrows, inexplicably and ironically of democratically elected leaders.

Amazingly, over the past 115 years of American history, during only four - yes, that's right, four - has our government NOT been involved in some form of military intervention in some corner of the world. At least four that we know of.

49 of the 101 interventions have been in our own "backyard." Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Central and South America have been important theaters for our government's meddlings. But that does not mean that China and other parts of Asia, and the Middle East have been left ignored, mind you.

As you reflect upon this list, consider how many of the ventures you might find it troublesome to justify in the name of protecting America from unwarranted or unprovoked aggression.

  1. 1890 - Argentina - Troops sent to Buenos Aires to protect business interests.

  2. 1891 - Chile - Marines sent to Chile and clashed with nationalist rebels.

  3. 1891 - Haiti - American troops suppress a revolt by Black workers on United States-claimed Navassa Island

  4. 1893 - Hawaii - Navy sent to Hawaii to overthrow the independent kingdom - Hawaii annexed by the United States.

  5. 1894 - Nicaragua - Troops occupied Bluefield's, a city on the Caribbean Sea, for a month.

  6. 1894-95 - China - Navy, Army, and Marines landed during the Sino-Japanese War.

  7. 1894-96 - Korea - Troops kept in Seoul during the war.

  8. 1895 - Panama - Army, Navy, and Marines landed in the port city of Corinto.

  9. 1898-1910 - Philippines - Navy and Army troops landed after the Philippines fell during the Spanish-American War; 600,000 Filipinos were killed.

  10. 1898-1902 - Cuba - Troops seized Cuba in the Spanish-American War; the United States still maintains troops at Guantanamo Bay today.

  11. 1898-present - Puerto Rico - Troops seized Puerto Rico in the Spanish-American War and still occupy Puerto Rico today.

  12. 1898 - Nicaragua - Marines landed at the port of San Juan del Sur.

  13. 1899 - Samoa - Troops landed as a result over the battle for succession to the throne.

  14. 1901-14 - Panama - Navy supported the revolution when Panama claimed independence from Colombia.

  15. 1903 - Honduras - Marines landed to intervene during a revolution.

  16. 1903-04 - Dominican Rep - Troops landed to protect American interests during a revolution.

  17. 1904-05 - Korea - Marines landed during the Russo-Japanese War.

  18. 1906-09 - Cuba - Troops landed during an election.

  19. 1907 - Nicaragua - Troops landed and a protectorate was set up.

  20. 1907 - Honduras - Marines landed during Honduras' war with Nicaragua.

  21. 1908 - Panama - Marines sent in during Panama's election.

  22. 1910 - Nicaragua - Marines landed for a second time in Bluefields and Corinto.

  23. 1911 - Honduras - Troops sent in to protect American interests during Honduras' civil war.

  24. 1911-41 - China - Navy and troops sent to China during continuous flare-ups.

  25. 1912 - Cuba - Troops sent in to protect American interests in Havana.

  26. 1912 - Panama - Marines landed during Panama's election.

  27. 1912 - Honduras - Troops sent in to protect American interests.

  28. 1912-33 - Nicaragua - Troops occupied Nicaragua and fought guerrillas during its 20-year civil war.

  29. 1913 - Mexico - Navy evacuated Americans during revolution.

  30. 1914 - Dominican Republic - Navy fought with rebels over Santo Domingo.

  31. 1914-18 - Mexico - Navy and troops sent in to intervene against nationalists.

  32. 1914-34 - Haiti - Troops occupied Haiti after a revolution and occupied Haiti for 19 years.

  33. 1916-24 - Dominican Republic - Marines occupied the Dominican Republic for eight years.

  34. 1917-33 - Cuba - Troops landed and occupied Cuba for 16 years; Cuba became an economic protectorate.

  35. 1917-18 - World War I - Navy and Army sent to Europe to fight the Axis powers.

  36. 1918-22 - Russia - Navy and troops sent to eastern Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution; Army made five landings.

  37. 1919 - Honduras - Marines sent during Honduras' national elections.

  38. 1920 - Guatemala - Troops occupied Guatemala for two weeks during a union strike.

  39. 1922 - Turkey - Troops fought nationalists in Smyrna.

  40. 1922-27 - China - Navy and Army troops deployed during a nationalist revolt.

  41. 1924-25 - Honduras - Troops landed twice during a national election.

  42. 1925 - Panama - Troops sent in to put down a general strike.

  43. 1927-34 - China - Marines sent in and stationed for seven years throughout China.

  44. 1932 - El Salvador - Naval warships deployed during the FMLN revolt under Marti.

  45. 1941-45 - World War II - Military fought the Axis powers: Japan, Germany, and Italy.

  46. 1946 - Yugoslavia - Navy deployed off the coast of Yugoslavia in response to the downing of an American plane.

  47. 1947 - Uruguay - Bombers deployed as a show of military force.

  48. 1947-49 - Greece - United States operations insured a victory for the far right in national "elections."

  49. 1948 - Germany - Military deployed in response to the Berlin blockade; the Berlin airlift lasts 444 days.

  50. 1948-54 - Philippines - The CIA directed a civil war against the Filipino Huk revolt.

  51. 1950 - Puerto Rico - Military helped crush an independence rebellion in Ponce.

  52. 1951-53 - Korean War - Military sent in during the war.

  53. 1953 - Iran - The CIA orchestrated the overthrow of democratically elected Mossadegh and restored the Shah to power.

  54. 1954 - Vietnam - The United States offered weapons to the French in the battle against Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh.

  55. 1954 - Guatemala - The CIA overthrew the democratically elected Arbenz and placed Colonel Armas in power.

  56. 1956 - Egypt - Marines deployed to evacuate foreigners after Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal.

  57. 1958 - Lebanon - Navy supported an Army occupation of Lebanon during its civil war.

  58. 1958 - Panama - Troops landed after Panamanians demonstrations threatened the Canal Zone.

  59. 1950s-75 - Vietnam - Vietnam War.

  60. 1961 - Cuba - The CIA-directed Bay of Pigs invasions failed to overthrow the Castro government.

  61. 1962 - Cuba - The Navy quarantines Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  62. 1962 - Laos - Military occupied Laos during its civil war against the Pathet Lao guerrillas.

  63. 1964 - Panama - Troops sent in and Panamanians shot while protesting the United States presence in the Canal Zone.

  64. 1965 - Indonesia - The CIA orchestrated a military coup.

  65. 1965-66 - Dominican Republic - Troops deployed during a national election.

  66. 1966-67 - Guatemala - Green Berets sent in.

  67. 1969-75 - Cambodia - Military sent in after the Vietnam War expanded into Cambodia.

  68. 1970 - Oman - Marines landed to direct a possible invasion into Iran.

  69. 1971-75 - Laos - America carpet-bomb the countryside during Laos' civil war.

  70. 1973 - Chile - The CIA orchestrated a coup, killing President Allende who had been popularly elected. The CIA helped to establish a military regime under General Pinochet.

  71. 1975 - Cambodia - Twenty-eight Americans killed in an effort to retrieve the crew of the Ayaquez, which had been seized.

  72. 1976-92 - Angola - The CIA backed South African rebels fighting against Marxist Angola.

  73. 1980 - Iran - Americans aborted a rescue attempt to liberate 52 hostages seized in the Teheran embassy.

  74. 1981 - Libya - American fighters shoot down two Libyan fighters.

  75. 1981-92 - El Salvador - The CIA, troops, and advisers aid in El Salvador's war against the FMLN.

  76. 1981-90 - Nicaragua - The CIA and NSC directed the Contra War against the Sandinistas.

  77. 1982-84 - Lebanon - Marines occupied Beirut during Lebanon's civil war; 241 were killed in the American barracks and Reagan "redeployed" the troops to the Mediterranean.

  78. 1983-89 - Honduras - Troops sent in to build bases near the Honduran border.

  79. 1983-84 - Grenada - American invasion overthrew the Maurice Bishop government.

  80. 1984 - Iran - American fighters shot down two Iranian planes over the Persian Gulf.

  81. 1986 - Libya - American fighters hit targets in and around the capital city of Tripoli.

  82. 1986 - Bolivia - The Army assisted government troops on raids of cocaine areas.

  83. 1987-88 - Iran - The United States intervened on the side of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War.

  84. 1989 - Libya - Navy shot down two more Libyan jets.

  85. 1989 - Virgin Islands - Troops landed during unrest among Virgin Island peoples.

  86. 1989 - Philippines - Air Force provided air cover for government during coup.

  87. 1989-90 - Panama - 27,000 Americans landed in overthrow of President Noriega; over 2,000 Panama civilians were killed.

  88. 1990 - Liberia - Troops entered Liberia to evacuate foreigners during civil war.

  89. 1990-91 - Saudi Arabia - American troops sent to Saudi Arabia, which was a staging area in the war against Iraq.

  90. 1991 - Kuwait - Troops sent into Kuwait to turn back Saddam Hussein.

  91. 1992-94 - Somalia - Troops occupied Somalia during civil war.

  92. 1993-95 - Bosnia - Air Force jets bombed "no-fly zone" during civil war in Yugoslavia.

  93. 1994-96 - Haiti - American troops and Navy provided a blockade against Haiti's military government. The CIA restored President Aristide to power.

  94. 1996-97 - Zaire - Marines sent into Rwanda Hutus' refugee camps in the area where the Congo revolution began.

  95. 1997 - Albania - Troops deployed during evacuation of foreigners.

  96. 1998 - Sudan - American missiles destroyed a pharmaceutical complex where alleged nerve gas components were manufactured.

  97. 1998 - Afghanistan - Missiles launched towards alleged terrorist training camps.

  98. 1999 - Yugoslavia - Bombings and missile attacks carried out by the United States in conjunction with NATO in the 11 week war against Milosevic.

  99. 1998-2001 - Iraq - Missiles launched into Baghdad and other large Iraq cities for four days. American jets enforced "no-fly zone" and continued to hit Iraqi targets.

  100. 2001 - present - invasion/occupation of Afghanistan in response to 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  101. 2003 - present - invasion/occupation of Iraq in response to...????

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


THE FIRST PREDICTOR: December 18, 2000

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." - President-elect George W. Bush

THE FIRST LIE: January 20, 2001

"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." - President George W. Bush

LIES: April 20, 2004

"...there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution." - President George W. Bush

LIES: December 19, 2005

"We use FISA still -- you're referring to the FISA court in your question -- of course, we use FISAs. But FISA is for long-term monitoring. What is needed in order to protect the American people is the ability to move quickly to detect.

Now, having suggested this idea, I then, obviously, went to the question, is it legal to do so? I am -- I swore to uphold the laws. Do I have the legal authority to do this? And the answer is, absolutely. As I mentioned in my remarks, the legal authority is derived from the Constitution, as well as the authorization of force by the United States Congress." - President George W. Bush

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Let's talk about charity in the United States. And let's talk about poverty. What better way to begin the new year, right?

After all, we are so obsessed with Iraq War worries, Bush's infringements of constitutional freedoms, his ongoing threats to Social Security, and the Christian Right's bizarre form of spirituality, that we too often forget that there are poor Americans.

So let's begin with data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • At the end of 2004, just a hair under 37 million Americans were counted as poor. This is nearly 5.5 million people higher than when Bush took office four years earlier.
  • When Clinton took office, 38 million Americans were counted among the poor. By the time he left office, the number of poor in America had declined by nearly 6.5 million. So in just five years, Bush has nearly undone all of Clinton's eight years of progress in reducing poverty in America.
By the way? Bush's most recent Republican predecessors didn't fair too well on the "reducing poverty in America" front either.

  • Under the Reagan/Bush 41 presidencies, 8.74 million more Americans found themselves among the poor.
Makes you wonder why President Bush believes that our economy is humming along just fine, doesn't it? Clearly it's the blindness of his tax cuts for the wealthy, not to mention corporate profits or an improved stock market, all of which are clearly targeted towards the poor amongst us.

So what is poverty you ask? The U.S. Census Bureau defined poverty in 2004 as follows (annual income):
  • One person - $9,645
  • Two persons - $12,334
  • Family of four - $19,307
Granted. Putting life in perspective, when you understand that billions of people on planet Earth barely survive on $2.00 or less per day - that would be $730. or less per year - poor Americans just seem to be living the good life. My oh my, shouldn't they all be greatful! I think we all know that the comparison does not hold true.

This all brings me back to charity.

The poor in America are not faced with issues such as sending their children to community colleges rather than Princetons, or settling for the cheap seats at the local opera. Poor Americans deal with choices like prescription drugs vs. food, hot dogs vs. hamburger, shoes vs. newspapers, heat vs. everything else. Real choices!

While the Bush administration has been busy slashing entitlement programs such as Medicaid, child care, student loans, and food stamps in order to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthy, he continues to believe that charity is the solution to poverty. Bush believes that faith-based inititiatives should care for the needy and lift people out of poverty, all 38 million of them.

One of the problems that I see with "charity" in the United States is the way in which it is subsidized and "encouraged" by government tax policy. There is no difference in tax definition between tax incentives for giving to your local PBS station or the Metropolitan Opera as opposed to your local food bank or women's shelter or non-profit child care service.

Human services organizations are treated equally with orchestras and art museums. What's wrong with this picture?

According to Giving USA, of the $248.52 billion in total charitable giving in 2004, human service organizations received just $19.14 billion or a paltry 7.7 percent!

This is not to suggest that we should wipe out tax incentives for charitable giving to museums and the like. But what has happened to, yes I'm going to say it, core Christian values? Where is the giving to community and nationwide human service organizations? Hmmm?

At the heart of this issue lies the depth of our generosity to those among us that are in need. There are Americans that live each day in grinding poverty. And increasing affluence among the wealthiest Americans only serves to exacerbate their plight by driving prices ever higher.

You can analyze the Census Bureau data on poverty in many ways, in greater detail. You can even make arguments for improvements within the data. But the bottom line cannot be manipulated for political ends. More Americans are living in poverty under this president, many more. And you cannot blame recessions or terrorists for their plight. You CAN blame failed Republican economic and social policies.