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Archive for 2009|Yearly archive page

Major General Douglas Stone’s Policy that Changed Gitmo

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2009 at 11:29 PM

My friend Brandon, attended S.C.O.N.A. (Student Conference on National Affairs) here at our school, Texas A&M University. The following is what Brandon learned. It’s interesting and I feel it important enough to share, so enjoy…

The theme of this years conference was U.S. Intervention in Problematic Areas around the World. Brandon heard a speech by Major General Douglas Stone of the Marine Corps. Major Gen. Stone serves as the head of the Marine Corps Reserve and the Marine Corps North. In his speech, Stone talked a lot about his time at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.

Stone spoke to a room of approximately 150 people with about 75% being members of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, a majority military crowd.

When Major Gen. Stone was assigned to Guantanamo, he realized he needed to establish credibility among the Muslim detainees. So he studied Islam. Stone has read the Koran and various other holy books of the Islam faith from cover to cover. In his speech he discussed how the common conception of Islam today is not the real Islam. From his studies, extremism is not what being a Muslim is all about. Nowhere in the Koran is there anything about killing infidels.

He then spoke about the “two phases of Guantanamo” There was the “before Gen. Stone” and “after Gen. Stone” He was very confident that the Detention Center genuinely changed after they implanted a new policy.

The new policy was, instead of interrogating/torturing, they decided to  listen to & then educate the detainees. They gave all the prisoners a copy of the Koran and once they convinced them it was not changed for an American perspective, the detainees accepted the books. They taught the prisoners the truth about what their faith was actually about.

Our brave men and women of the Marine Corps then turned this failure of a dentention center into a facility as nice as any normal American prison… with bonuses. The detainees were allowed to play and interact, attend daily classes, and eat good food. Our military then began to bring in the prisoners families from the middle east.

One cool story Brandon heard, then passed onto me was that of Gen. Petraeus’ visit to the facility. A person in the Middle East is brought up to hate the U.S. President and General David Petraeus; he is the one guy they would love to kill. Well, Major Gen. Stone decided to bring him in to Gitmo and introduce him to all the detainees. So Petraeus came and interacted with everybody. He sat with them and learned with them Then at the end of the day, the prisoners began chanting his name, “Petraeus! Petraeus! Petraeus!”

Now here is my friend Brandon’s perspective… “A lot of people might think that Major Gen. Douglas Stone came and simply fabricated all of this with the intent of improving public opinion. But my question is, why would a United States Major General tell a blatant lie to an audience full of this country’s future military?”

The following are my thoughts on all of this…

Yes, Guantanamo has improved. And Yes, I still believe it should be shut down.

Sometimes in order to change the overall direction of a policy you have to take big steps. Closing Guantanamo is a big step toward our new direction for defeating terrorism. I believe that even though it isn’t as bad as it was, America will be better off once it’s closed.

We must learn this lesson… The United States of America is and always will be amendable. If our government is functioning well, “We the people…” must work to make it better. If our government is functioning unconstitutionally or poorly, “We the people…” must work to make it better. Circumstance should make no difference in our desire to work and make America better.

So may we continue the virtuous work of ending abortion, bringing Africa to it’s full potential through continuing creative aid, and guiding Guantanamo Bay detention center to it’s end.

May “We the people…” stand for human rights no matter how young or old, location or circumstance.

May we all be eagerly ready and vigorously involved in the hope that transcends generations; the hope that is God blessing America.

Prustice.

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The Resurrection of Military Tribunals

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Senator Barack Obama critized Military Tribunals. Prustice.

Now, unfortunately, rumors have it that President Barack Obama is considering bringing them back.

This Saturday, Fox News reported that the White House is now looking at the possibility of reviving the Military Tribunals to try some of the most dangerous detained at Guantanamo. Just to clear up any confusion, the Detention Center is still being shut down. It’s closure was secured by one of the President’s first Executive Orders. That’s not changing.

Now one of my (and Sen. Obama’s) biggest problems with Gitmo was former President Bush’s decision to use these unconstitutional, un-American Military Tribunals. (Go back and read The W. Presidency: What Bush Did Wrong)

Mitt Romney commented on all of this, “President Obama is learning, now in office, a number of things he campaigned for is wrong.”

Apparently President Obama, after reviewing the files, thinks M.T.’s might make sense. He is worried that those accused of September 11th could have an easier case if they were tried in courts outside of Guantanamo’s M.Ts. Our Attorney General, Eric Holder has openly said all of this.

I believe that former President Bush’s Military Tribunals were flawed and an enormous failure. I hope I don’t have to say the same thing when Mr. Obama is a former President himself.

We must trust our values.

Gitmo Going Across the Pond?

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2009 at 12:09 PM

“The story of the last half-century is one of each side of the Atlantic turning to the other for help in times of need, and today is no different,” says U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder as he reasoned his plea for Europe’s aid in the shut down of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.

Mr. Holder’s speech was given at the American Academy in Berlin Wednesday night. It was there that he announced that the Obama administration have deemed 30 detainees, out of the 241, ready to be released.

Continuing his rationalization, the Attorney General said, “I know that Europe did not open Guantanamo, and that in fact a great many on this continent opposed it. To close Guantanamo, we must all make sacrifices and we must all be willing to make unpopular choices.”

According to the AP Newswire… Germany’s former justice minister, Herta Daubler-Gmelin, said she expected Germany would eventually be one of the countries that accepts Guantanamo detainees. French President Nicolas Sarkozy already has made what was seen as a symbolic gesture of agreeing to take one Guantanamo detainee. (one detainee… I find that funny) Several other European nations, including Portugal and Lithuania, have said they will consider taking such detainees.

This speech, being in front of a select group of about 100 policy experts, academics and journalists, could generate large amounts of influential talk because these are the people who spend their lives talking, spreading information and guiding opinions. Once the doors in Cuba close, we’re going to need help. Let’s hope this works.

AP Newswire Link: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_HOLDER_GUANTANAMO?SITE=DCSAS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2009-04-29-11-36-36

To view Mr. Holder’s entire speech: http://www.americanacademy.de/home/must-views/audiovideo-archive/video/268//us_attorney_general_eric_holder/

Stand Up, it’s worth a misdemeanor.

In Uncategorized on April 30, 2009 at 5:05 PM

On April 27, this past Monday, five United States Representatives stood up for Darfur’s innocent. And I applaud them.

According to The New York Times political blog, The Caucus, “The representatives were (outside the Sudanese Embassy) protesting Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s expulsion last month of 16 aid groups from war-ravaged Darfur.”

There were a total of eight people arrested for crossing a police line, which is a misdemeanor, at the demonstration.

Five U.S. lawmakers who are as follows… civil rights pioneer Representative John Lewis of Georgia, Democrat Donna Edwards of Maryland, James McGovern of Massachusetts, Lynn Woolsey of California and the first Muslim elected to Congress, Keith Ellison of Minnesota.

And the other three were… Jerry Fowler, president of Save Darfur Now, John Prendergast, a co-founder of the Enough Project who worked in the State Department during the Clinton Administration, and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

  The purpose of their protest lies in the tragedy that 300,000 people have died in Darfur in the past five years. The country’s president, has done nothing to help put an end to the genocide but plenty to continue it.

They stood up, and I’m impressed. When men and women who have influence and who are leaders outside of the stereotype of “bleeding heart activist” wield that influence in a productive public way, awareness is spread. And when more people are aware, more people begin to care. And when more people care, lives are changed, here as well as there.

We can stop this Genocide. But for that war to meet it’s end, people need to know about it. So may we follow the lead of these men and women who stood Monday morning and make people aware. Prustice.Rep. John Lewis

Link:

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/27/five-representatives-arrested-and-released-after-demonstration/

The Laetare Medal, no thanks…

In Uncategorized on April 28, 2009 at 4:54 PM

In response to the University of Notre Dame’s decision to decorate President Obama with an honorary degree, Mary Ann Glendon will not be at the school’s commencement ceremony.

Glendon, former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican & current Harvard Law Professor, is this years recipient of Notre Dames Laetare Medal. However, her hands will not be there to receive it.

According to Wikipedia, “The Laetare Medal is an annual award given by the University of Notre Dame in recognition of outstanding service to the Roman Catholic church and society. The award is given to an American Catholic ‘whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the church and enriched the heritage of humanity.’ First awarded in 1883, it is the oldest and most prestigious award for American Catholics.”

Why would one honorary degree given to her President, our nation’s top leader, lead her to decline the top award in American Catholicism?

Well, she answered this question in her letter to Rev. Jenkins, ND’s President. This is her reasoning, “the U.S. Bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions ‘should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles’ and that such persons ‘should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would sugMary Ann Glendongest support for their actions.’ That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.”

Mary Ann Glendon did not make the choice to decline the award and opportunity to speak because ND invited Obama to speak, she refused the Laetare Medal because ND will be giving the pro-abortion President an honorary degree.

I’m glad former Ambassador Glendon is laying down her personal gain for the convictions that guide her life. Prustice.

ANC, COPE, & HOPE

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2009 at 9:13 PM

The African National Congress has been in power as the ruling majority in South Africa’s parliament since 1994, but in the country’s most recent election COPE, Congress of the People, began the work of dismantling the ANC’s wall of power.

Mvume Dandala, COPE’s presidential candidate, blogged on the party’s website Friday to encourage, “We may not have scaled the great heights we had set, but we have outdone ourselves. Since 1994 there has been no new party formed, that attained more than 5% of the national vote.

Yet we have done it. None became official opposition in more than one province, we are set to become the official opposition in at least four. Well done Cope. Viva Cope viva! Viva South Africa viva!”

I believe that multiple parties are good for the people and after all, the people are who the government should be serving, not a corrupt few.

More political parties, that gain momentum and support, in Africa means more Africans participating. And more people participating to better their country can mean only one thing, a better country. Prustice.

Cope, are they Africa’s new hope?I wonder where they got this idea?

Medical Reasons for Late-Term Abortions

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2009 at 3:26 PM

Dr. George TillerDr. George Tiller, the man complicated Gov. Kathleen Sebilious confirmation process with the money he, a late-term abortionist, gave to her for political reasons, has on his website, http://www.drtiller.com/ , a list of some medical complications that he and other physicians give as reasons to abort the baby.

So I did some google’ing to read about these complex medical terminologies in order to better understand where these women are when they make this choice.

To be honest, I don’t know what to think about a few of these. However, there are some that I firmly believe are no reason to take that innocent child’s life.

See for yourself. And if I’m not making sense with my “medical explanations” please research these yourself.

Admission Criteria  (link to Dr. Tiller’s Admission into his clinic’s Criteria)

Trisomy 21: Down Syndrome

Trisomy 13 & 18: mental retardation, 90 percent of babies born with it die before the age of 1.

Anencephaly: a severe head disorder, occurs when the head end of the neural tube fails to close, absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp. Children with this disorder are born without a forebrain, the largest part of the brain. The remaining brain tissue is often exposed—not covered by bone or skin.

Polycystic Kidney Disease: cysts on the babies kidney. It takes many years for this to cause the kidneys to fail and can be treated with dialysis or kidney transplantation. 600,000 people in the U.S. are living with PKD.

Spina Bifida: the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the U.S. The spine of the baby fails to close, he or she won’t be able to walk. 70,000 people in the U.S. are living with SB.

Hydrocephalus: there is an excessive amount of fluid in the brain. Infants experience vomiting, large head size, sleepiness, irritability, downward deviation of the eyes (“sunsetting”) and seizures. Older children and adults may experience different symptoms such as, headache followed by vomiting, nausea, papilledema (swelling of the optic disk which is part of the optic nerve), blurred or double vision, sunsetting, problems with balance, poor coordination, gait disturbance, urinary incontinence, slowing or loss of developmental progress, lethargy, drowsiness, irritability, or other changes in personality or cognition including memory loss. Hydrocephalus is very treatable.

Potter’s Syndrome: there is a total absence or malformation of infant kidneys. Vast majority of babies die at birth or shortly afterwards.

Lethal Dwarfism: this is very rare. Some symptoms are a large head, wide front fontanel, corneal clouding, closed off ear canals, and very short arms. Nearly half of the babies that have this die before they’re born.

Holoprosencephaly: In most cases, the brain does not divide into lobes, which severely deforms the skull and face. Sometimes the brain is partially or nearly divided, making the symptoms much less severe. In the absolute worst cases, the baby dies in the womb.

Anterior and Posterior Encephalocele: this complication leads to chromosomal anomaly, most common anomaly being Trisomy 18. Patients with an anterior encephalocele have a 100% survival rate, but only 55% in persons with a posterior encephalocele. Encephalocele reduces the chance of live birth to 21%, and only half of those live births survive. Approximately 75% of survivors have a mental deficit. The absence of brain tissue in the herniated sac is the single most favorable prognostic feature for survival.

Non-Immune Hydrops: Excess of extra-cellular fluid in two or more sites without any identifiable circulating antibody to red cell antigens. There are treatments to perform while the baby is still in the womb, however the prognosis is generally very poor with very high peri-natal mortality.

To Speak or Not To Speak?

In Uncategorized on April 19, 2009 at 1:22 PM

On the blog post, Obama’s a Protestant… and? I made this statement, “So… the life loving fighting Irish aren’t supposed to hold their country’s President accountable for his defense of  the Genocide of the American Unborn simply because he is a protestant. That seems shallow to me.” This was commentary on the philosophy or reasoning behind Notre Dames’ President’s remarks, saying that because he’s a Protestant not Catholic we don’t have to hold him accountable to our beliefs on abortion. It was not saying that he should be outcasted from speaking to any Christian circles.

This is the comment that catalyzed this blog, 

“Although I do see the concern you have brought up, I also don’t see why President Obama should be outcasted from speaking to any Christian circles. He’s not the pastor of the university, he’s the guest speaker. I passionately disagree with Obama’s views on abortion, but at the same time, is he giving a speech on abortion? No, he’s giving a commencement speech, period. The number one problem that people see with Christians today is judgement, and saying Obama shouldn’t give this speech because of his views on something he’s not talking about is only putting that stereotype into concrete. I feel this situation is being blown way out of proportion. He’s our president, he has been placed above us and we need to respect our authority and not shun him from all Christianity.”

I agree with everything here. I do not feel that either side is right in this Notre Dame (blown out of proportion) controversy over this commencement speech. Inviting Obama is good, protesting is good. With that said, I would not have invited our President to speak, not that there’s anything wrong with it, but only for the sake of the graduates. The commencement ceremony and speech belongs to the graduates and if I were the University’s President I would avoid controversy surrounding a commencement speech.

I see only good coming from inviting people with opposing views to speak at any other setting. Like the forum Rick Warren’s church, Saddleback, held with McCain and Obama was absolutely terrific. Notre Dame, a place that is against abortion, inviting our President, a leader who is for abortion, would produce much needed good. But with a commencement ceremony, controversy should be avoided for the sake of the graduates.

Obama’s a Protestant… and?

In Uncategorized on April 14, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Rev. John Jenkins, the President of Notre Dame University, is defending his choosing of President Obama to give the fighting Irish’s commencement speech. The University’s President is sticking with his choice even though his school and Obama have drastic differences on abortion. Jenkins defense lies on the fact that Obama is a protestant, meaning the Catholic Church does not have to hold him accountable to Catholic principles.

So… the life loving fighting Irish aren’t supposed to hold their country’s President accountable for his defense of  the Genocide of the American Unborn simply because he is a protestant. That seems shallow to me.ND President, Rev. John Jenkins

Explanation: Git’mo fun with Miss Universe

In Uncategorized on April 14, 2009 at 10:53 AM

There has been some confusion, and rightfully so, on my stance on Guantanamo Bay due to my analysis of Miss Universes view of the facility.

Regarding her positive impression of the detention center I said, “I see this as an untainted opinion regarding a facility that, contrary to public opinion, takes care of it’s detainees with proper human dignity.”

First, this blog came because I don’t believe in the thought that Miss Universe’s blog was used by the military to somehow make Gitmo “look better”. Instead I believe it was an innocent reaction.

Guantanamo has a very long history of disregard for human dignity. Former President Bush’s executive order that created the detention facility is un-American. Torture and unconfident detaining of people that may or may not be terrorists is wrong and I am pleased that President Obama made the move to shut it down. However, anything can be changed. Very few courses are immovable from changing direction once started.

From what I’ve learned about Guantanamo, it has improved greatly since it’s first three years. But this does not make it ok. Sometimes in order to change the overall direction of a policy you have to take big steps. Closing Gitmo is a big step toward our new direction for defeating terrorism.

I believe that even though it isn’t as bad as it was, America will be better off once it’s closed.