Watch Heather talk about contemporary US politics. For more of Heather's videos, click here
"...the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other."- Benjamin Franklin, 1787
They say that if you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water it will immediately jump out, but that if you raise the pot's heat gradually, the frog won't react.
There's an unexpected front in the Bush administration's "war on terror" - Germany. And the roughly 68,000 US troops stationed across the country often find themselves in the center of controversy over US foreign policy.
Take Agustín Aguayo, a Mexican-American conscientious objector (CO) formerly based in Bavaria. Aguayo unsuccessfully applied for CO status before deploying in 2004, and citing non-violence, even refused to carry a loaded weapon during his year as a combat medic in Iraq.
"There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again." - George W. Bush, September 2002
"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous... Having said that, all options are on the table." George W. Bush, February 2005
The Bush administration continues moving closer to a nuclear attack on Iran, and we ignore the obvious buildup at our peril.
"My message to the Iranian people is you can do better than to have somebody try to rewrite history. You can do better than somebody who hasn't strengthened your economy. And you can do better than having somebody who's trying to develop a nuclear weapon that the world believes you shouldn't have. There's a better way forward." - George W. Bush, December 20, 2006
Last week, the watchdog Project on Government Oversight reported that workers at Pantex, a Texan nuclear-weapons plant, had almost accidentally detonated a W56 warhead in the spring of 2005. A W56 has 100 times the Hiroshima bomb's yield.
A similar incident occurred there in 2004 when workers discovered a crack in a W56 warhead; they ended up patching it together using "the equivalent of duct tape." BWXT, the Texan plant operator, paid safety-violation fines totaling less than $125,000 in each case.
Blaming everything on a handful of people at the top, no matter how destructive and abusive they've been, misses a critical point. Systems tend to self-perpetuate. Remove one player and the next comes in to ensure business as usual.
Remove Rumsfeld, a man who helped prop up Hussein in the 80's and skewed intelligence towards war, and who do you get? Robert Gates, a man who helped prop up Hussein in the 80's and skewed intelligence towards war.
Replacing those in power won't help if the power structure itself doesn't change. And that means addressing how our own actions maintain this dysfunctional system.
It barely made news last week when Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne called for the testing of nonlethal weaponry on US citizens in crowd-control situations. According to Wynne, "If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation."
Originally published: September 20, 2006
Last summer, the military base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina was rocked by a series of brutal killings. In separate incidents, four soldiers murdered their civilian wives, with two of the men committing suicide right after. A fifth woman then murdered her soldier husband. The upshot: a body count of 7 dead in only 43 days.
Dysfunctional Bush and his anachronistic cronies are leading us right into a catastrophic Middle Eastern blowout. That much is apparent. But what's not so clear is why we're allowing it to happen.
Analyzing Dubya's psychological challenges is not enough - he's the symptom not the cause, and while the rapidity of societal decline has seemed to accelerate since 2000's farcical US presidential election, the framework for rollback was in place long before. If it hadn't been, citizens quite simply wouldn't have tolerated the rigged results.
Is it possible to be a deserter when you're not even in the army? If so, then count me in. With its "war on terror" the US military industrial complex seems to be steadily taking over the last vestiges of civilian life.
"In effect, the human being should be considered the priority in a political war. And conceived as the military target ... the human being has his most critical point in his mind. Once the mind has been reached, the 'political animal' has been defeated without necessarily receiving bullets."
-taken from US Central Intelligence Agency training manual