Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What Makes US Great

At the risk of overdoing Pat Buchanan, I submit his latest pitch about Ahmadinejad and his request to visit Ground Zero:

"That the Iranian president has PR in mind is undoubtedly true. Much of what national leaders do is symbolic. But that wreath-laying would have said something else, as well.

It would have said that, to Iran, these Americans were victims who deserve to be honored and mourned and, by extension, the men who killed them were murderers. Bin Laden celebrates 9-11. So do all America-haters. By laying a wreath at Ground Zero, the president of Iran would be saying that in the war between al-Qaida and the United States, he and his country side with the United States.

How would we have been hurt by letting him send this message?"

Food for thought.

Also, how do we win by not letting him speak?

If we cannot easily win a debate with this "madman", then we should listen to him.

It can't hurt to have him expose himself for what he is, unless we are afraid of exposing something in ourselves.
Open communication and debate is essential to democracy and truth. I credit George W. for being on the right side on this one, unlike Fred Thompson who sounds ready to kick the UN out of the US. Read the Buchanan article for more history of our relations with our enemies, and how we used to handle it, with diplomacy even in the face of war, it's part of what used to make the US Great.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What's Wrong with America TODAY?

Three columns ripped from today's headlines, columns that show the real problems going on with America right now. Not OJ or Britney problems, but real BIG problems we as Americans need to face.
#1. Let's start with the Constitution, and the power to declare war. That power rests with the Congress. I know we've all been conditioned to think that it's the executive power, but that's wrong. We need to correct this:

From John Nichols at The Nation:
"“The executive should be able to repel and not to commence war,” explained Roger Sherman, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention from Connecticut, who moved to make clear the intent of the founders that nothing in their exposition of the powers of the executive branch should be conceived as authorizing the president to “make war.” An executive could assume the mantle of commander-in-chief only when it was necessary to defend the country; never to wage kingly wars of whim.

Sherman’s resolution was approved overwhelmingly by the Philadelphia convention that finished its work September 17, 1787"....

..."The voters dealt with last fall (2006) with the Republican Congress that had collaborated with Bush to thwart the rule of law. The unfortunate reality of the moment is that a Democratic Congress that was elected to restore a measure of balance to the federal stage has responded to necessity with caution. But that does not change the eternal reality of the Republic, which is that this “opposition” Congress has a simple, basic, yet essential Constitutional duty. Members of the House and Senate must impeach and try a president who is assaulting the most basic precepts of the American experiment. Anything less is a mockery of the document they swear an oath to defend - and an invitation to this and future presidents to further unchain the dogs of war that the founders struggled so mightily to contain."

#2. Freedom of Speech. Sure, the dude was a jerk, a real punk, but shouldn't we tolerate him asking questions? Where's the harm in asking a politician difficult questions? Naomi Wolf may read too much into it, but certainly that incident shouldn't just be laughed off. Dissent is essential to Democracy.

From Naomi Wolf at the Huffington Post:
"Today’s news shows a recognizable shock moment in the annals of a closing society. A very ordinary-looking American student — Andrew Meyer, 21, at the University of Florida - was tasered by police when he asked a question of Senator John Kerry about the impeachment of President George Bush. His arms were pinned and as he tried to keep speaking he was shocked — in spite of begging not to be hurt. A stunning piece of footage but unfortunately, historically, a very familiar and even tactical moment.

It is an iconic turning point and it will be remembered as the moment at which America either fought back or yielded. This violence against a student is different from violence against protesters in the anti-war movement of 30 years ago because of the power the president has now to imprison innocent U.S. citizens for months in isolation. And because, as I have explained elsewhere, we are not now in a situation in which ‘the pendulum’ can easily swing back. That taser was directed at the body of a young man, but it is we ourselves, and our Constitution, who received the full force of the shock."

3. Mercenaries- We've privatized our military, folks. We hire companies to protect our soldiers and politicians who visit Iraq. Isn't that what the military is for? If they can't protect their own, who can? Ah yes, mercenaries that answer to no court. This practice must end at once.

From Peter Grier and Gordon Lubold at the Christian Science Monitor:"In the case of the latest incident, Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said in a statement Monday that the company’s contractors “acted lawfully and appropriately…. Blackwater regrets any loss of life but this convoy was violently attacked by armed insurgents, not civilians, and our people did their job to defend human life.”

Iraqis have long bristled at the presence of the private guards, who they claim are little more than mercenaries with little respect for Iraqi lives and less discipline than uniformed US troops.

An Iraqi police officer who works in Karada, a mixed sectarian neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, says the foreign private security firms act out of their own interests as they jet through the city and seem to pay little heed to the dangers they pose to average citizens on the street.

The officer says employees of the firms use overly aggressive tactics, crashing into cars and disobeying traffic laws and often rolling over gardens and hitting trees - and never stopping.....

...“It is possible that some contractors may remain outside the jurisdiction of US courts, civil or military, for improper conduct in Iraq,” concludes CRS.

This legal gray area stems in part from the fact that the Iraq conflict represents the first time the US has depended on private contractors to provide widespread security services in a hostile environment."

So, those are my big three bad things from the headlines this week...enjoy! Now back to watching OJ get off again.....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bush Stumbles Over Border

Conservative first-lady Phyllis Schlafly has some major complaints about George W. Bush and the Mexican Immigrant/Border problem. We've now made it far easier for them to come here illegally, literally by the truckload, and it's all thanks to George W:

"At 9 p.m. Sept. 6, the Bush administration opened up all U.S. highways and roads to Mexican trucks and drivers. That gave the green light to the first 38 of up to 100 Mexican trucking companies. Nobody knows how many thousands of Mexican trucks will eventually drive on U.S. roads.

Bush thumbed his nose at the U.S. House of Representatives, which voted 411-3 on May 15, and again July 24 by voice vote, to prohibit the entry of Mexican trucks. White House pressure prevented a vote in the U.S. Senate."

and there's more:

"...Sept 14, the first anniversary of the overwhelming, 283-138 passage in the House of the Secure Fence Act. The Senate subsequently passed it 80-19, and President Bush signed it into law on Oct. 26 in front of TV cameras.

This law ordered the government to build an 854-mile fence along our U.S.-Mexico border. After one year, the Bush administration has built only 18 miles.

This failure - or refusal - to obey the law makes us believe that Bush and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff do not intend to build the fence, and is a prime example of why the U.S. people don't trust their government."

George W., doin' our country proud, on so many fronts. Ironically, Hillary would probably be doing the same thing on these issues.... the Democrats have the best issue to run on (controlling our borders), and yet they're not willing to do anything, either. Are we a country if we don't control our border? Isn't that part of the definition of "country"?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Daddy's Got Truck

P1060768b, originally uploaded by Watts4.

Adios Mazda3, Hola Toyota Tacoma

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ron Paul Epiphany

Vox Day at WND has a terrific article about Ron Paul's candidacy:

"The reason there is so much cheering for Ron Paul is that he is the only Republican who has staked out popular positions on the two most significant issues of the 2008 election cycle. He is anti-occupation and pro-border control. No amount of Bush administration spin is going to change the fact that "the surge" is strategically irrelevant, that the neocon's Democratic World Revolution is a total failure and that Mexico is being allowed to invade the United States. In short, Ron Paul is the only Republican whose positions on the two primary issues are different than Hillary Clinton's stance on them, and, more importantly, are more credible and more popular than Hillary Clinton's. He is the only Republican whose nomination can realistically be considered a potential impediment to what otherwise looks like a Democratic landslide."

If Republicans can come to their senses.....oh never mind!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

For the Love of Money

As we approach the 9/11 anniversary, I think it's worth noting that our response to the attacks has been unwise, even if you only look at the monetary costs. Robert Scheer writes:

"In the effort to retaliate against terrorists who hijacked planes six years ago with an arsenal of $3 knives, this year’s overall defense budget has been pushed to $657 billion. We are now spending $3 billion a week in Iraq alone, occupying a country that had nothing to do with the tragedy that sparked this orgy of militarism. The waste is so enormous and irrelevant to our national security that a rational person might embrace the libertarian creed if only for the sake of sanity. Clearly, the federal government no longer cares much about providing for health, education, hurricane reconstruction or even bridge safety, as the military budget now dwarfs all other discretionary spending, despite the lack of a sophisticated enemy in sight."

When you look at the overall budget numbers, what our government spends money on, it becomes obvious that the military takes up too much of our spending. The Iraq War has just blown it through the roof. Our surpluses have turned to debts. And that's just the money side of the problem...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Ron Paul Back in the Day

Remember the Morton Downey Jr. Show? Back in the late 80's, Mr. Downey ripped and roared through debates on issues facing America, all the while smoking cigarettes and being belligerent with his guests and audience. I loved it, but it got old pretty fast. I preferred Downey to say, Arsenio Hall... he did cover important issues (if only in a crude way). Anyway, Slate unearthed this clip with Ron Paul, great stuff!

Ron Paul's website

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Wreck 2

DSC00038b, originally uploaded by Watts4.


DSC00037b, originally uploaded by Watts4.

Everybody was OK, thank God!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Outside Broadcast, Zoo2, ya know

Best U2 bootleg ever? Find (and download) it here

Found this through Scatter o' Light, a great blog for music/U2 fans.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Freshmen Dems Question Hillary's Electibility

Robert Novak may be a complete ass, but occasionally he reports things that others don't, and sometimes it makes sense. In honor of one of these occasions, I submit this recent quote from an article on Human Events:

"Many of the Democratic congressmen who ousted Republicans in marginal House districts last year privately express concern about the impact on their re-election prospects if Hillary Clinton is nominated for president.

Because of the strong possibility that Sen. Clinton indeed will be the party's candidate, these congressmen will not openly express their fears. But they dread her impact from the top of the ticket.

Clinton's opponents don't raise the question in public. But there is such underground talk in Iowa, the state opening the battle for convention delegates, questioning her "electability.""