Thursday, June 30, 2005

President Kerry?

Even before the President gave his speech Tuesday night, Democrats were warning us they weren't going to like it. After he gave the speech, they told us they didn't like it. Big surprise. They said it didn't offer anything new. It was the same old George W. Bush. It got me thinking, what did they want him to say? Mike Fitch over on Washington Toast posted a mock speech by George Bush where he resigns. It's pretty funny stuff. So much so it inspired me to do a little political satire myself. Since John Kerry was the most vocal about the President's speech, I wondered to myself what if John Kerry wrote the President's speech for him on Tuesday night?

"My fellow 'mericans. I'm addressing you tonight to say 'I'm sorry.' It turns out I was completely wrong about Iraq. Dick Cheney told me there were probably weapons of mass destruction there. For a second opinion I asked Karl Rove and Rummy. They agreed with Dick. I figured that was good enough for me. George Tenet tried to tell us there weren't any. I fired him. Collin Powell said maybe we should give inspections a chance. I fired him too. I guess I should have listened to them.

It also turns out Iraq has nothing to do with 9/11. I just used that as an excuse. That was wrong. Saddam has no connections to Usama Bin Laden. Speaking of Usama, I don't know where he is. The best lead we have is some guy told us there was a 6'7" arab guy working at Starbucks down the street from the White House. I dispatched the FBI this morning. It wasn't him, but we took him into custody anyway and he's on his way to Guantanamo as we speak. We'll torture him until he tells us where we can find ole UBL. If he doesn't tell us, we will lock him up forever as punishment for being Muslim.

Tomorrow morning I plan to instruct our generals to bring the troops home immediately. To those families of the 1,700 who died in Iraq I say your loved ones did not die in vain. They died in a mistake. Sorry 'bout that.

Tomorrow will I call Dick Cheney at his "undisclosed location", which is actually the Halliburton board room, and ask for his resignation. Ol' Dick has been having some heart problems and has been asking for some time off anyway. Don't worry about him though. Y'all don't know this, but he got a big lump-a-cash from Enron so he'll be ok.

I will appoint John Kerry as my new vice president and I call on the Senate to confirm him immediately. Once John is in place, I will resign effectively leaving him as your new leader. It seems only fair since I stole the election from him. I know, I know. I stole the election from Al Gore too, but I just don't like him.

I had so much I wanted to do before I left office. None of that matters now. My poll numbers are so low there's no way I was going to get any of it done. I must be the first president to be labeled a lame duck only 6 months into his second term. But that's ok. Don't worry 'bout me and Laura. We plan to retire to our nice ranch in Texas where I can cut down trees and herd cattle all day. I plan to publish my memoirs as soon as Karl Rove finishes writing them for me. I got to "make my pile", as we say in Texas. Heck, if Clinton can make $10 million on his, I should be able to make at least $10,000.

So my fellow 'mericans, be good. Listen to Mr. Kerry. He's very smart. Did you know he was in Vietnam? He got three purple hearts. Also, be nice to the United Nations and particularly our French and German friends. May Hillary bless you, and may Hillary bless the United States of America."

That is probably the only thing George W. Bush could have said that would have made the Democrats happy. They probably still would have complained he didn't apologize for ducking his National Guard duties.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

'Mairka Needs More Newculer Power

Everybody and their brother is blogging about the President's speech last night. I'll just say I caught the speech in its entirety, and I think the President did a good job of spelling out why we're there and when we can come home. Last week I was in favor of pulling out, this week I'm willing to give him some slack and see what happens.

What I want to talk about today is a story you will probably find on page 5 of your local paper today if you can find it at all. Yesterday the Senate passed an energy bill by an 85-12 vote. This bill has been kicked back and forth between the House and Senate for the past several years. Back in April it was passed out of the House. The two bodies have been pretty far apart up until now with the House bills focusing on exploration and the Senate bill focusing more on conservation. But now it seems the two sides are coming closer together and there is an optimism a bill will be passed soon and forwarded to the President for signature.

From what I've seen and heard of this bill I'm not very optimistic. It carries an $18 billion price tag with many corporate incentives and tax breaks. Environmentalists like the bill because it says nothing about drilling in the Arctic Nation Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, however the House version does allow drilling in ANWR and a compromise will have to be reached. The Senate bill also has a lot of tax incentives for consumers to buy hybrid cars, super insulated windows, and other energy conservation products. Tax payer watchdog organizations like Citizens Against Government Waste are already speaking out against the bill and the waste of tax dollars that go with it.

I think I side with CAGW on this. I don't want to see the environment damaged, but the bill just has the smell of pork, and it's going to get worse. As the two sides get closer you know they're going to start buying votes with pork projects. The Senate has already added $8 billion on to the House's version of the bill. Before this is over I expect the price tag will come in around $30 billion and it will do nothing to reduce gas prices or achieve American energy independence.

One thing I like is the Senate bill pushes to start building nuclear power plants again. It has been 30 years since a nuclear plant was built in this country. The environmentalists succeeded in stopping new plant construction by highlighting the disposal of nuclear waste. That problem could be addressed with the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository. We're much smarter now about how to handle nuclear waste than we were 20 years ago. Nuclear energy also has the advantage of no carbon dioxide emissions like coal and natural gas generation plants which should please the global warming crowd. The time to proceed with nuclear energy is now. France generates the majority of their power through nuclear plants. Heck, if Iran supposedly needs it even though they sit on the second largest oil deposit in the world, why can't we have it? It's time we got over our phobia of nuclear energy and got with the program.

Update: June 30, 2005

Alan Reynolds writes a scathing article about this energy bill. He lays out an excellent argument why ethanol is not the answer to our energy problems.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Mainstream Bias

Tonight the President is planning on addressing the nation at 8 PM. I hope to watch some of it. Unfortunately that is Nathan's bedtime, so I'm usually busy every night at 8 PM either giving the kid a bath, changing a diaper, putting on his pajamas, making a bottle, feeding him, or tucking him in for the night. My wife and I work as a team doing all of the above switching jobs from one night to the next. The entire bedtime routine takes about a 1/2 hour, so I'll probably miss most of if not all of the speech.

In a way it's ok. I don't expect any earth shattering news in this speech. I'll read the pundits tomorrow and get a feel for what the President says. But what bothers me is many of the networks are still debating whether they want to broadcast the speech or not. I remember the White House announcing last week the President intended to address the nation tonight. That should have given the network executives plenty of time to shuffle their programming. But apparently the big shots are worried nothing newsworthy is going to come out of this speech. According to the article I linked, the execs think this speech won't benefit the American people and that Bush is just using it to boost his poll numbers. Well, duh.

The purpose of the speech is to rally a country that is losing it's resolution to finish the war. I blogged last week that I think it's time to bring home the troops. Poll numbers suggest 3 out of 5 people think it's time to come up with an exit strategy. So clearly Bush is losing support. That being said, he has every right to try to rally America behind him. He's out hitting the road getting support. Top administration officials have been out doing interviews and speeches trying to get support for the war.

What's happening is the mainstream media recognizes America is turning against him and they want to deny him the platform to get his message out. I mean come on, the President of the United States asks for time to address his citizens in a time of war and NBC can't decide between that and "Average Joe: The Joes Strike Back"? How fickle has our society become? I can kind of understand Fox and NBC wanting to do something else since they have FoxNews and MSNBC respectively. But ABC and CBS have no excuse.

The flip side of this is, if a soldier came forward and wanted to do an interview and confess his superiors told him to punch a detainee, CBS would pre-empt the Superbowl to have Dan Rather interview him on a 60 minutes prime time special. To the media, popular support for the war is not newsworthy. Americans dying, prisoner abuse, people protesting, and anything that makes America look bad is newsworthy.

Whether or not you agree with his policies, the President of the United States and Leader of the Free World should have a platform to address the nation whenever he feels like it. Sometimes he needs a platform to inform the people which direction he plans to take us. The President should punish any network who refuses to broadcast his speech by taking away their White House press credentials. Maybe then they will chose to take their priviledges more seriously.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Eminent Domain Revisited

Back in February I warned this was going to happen. Today the Supreme Court made a very significant decision concerning eminent domain, the right of the government to take your property and use it for the common good. Originally eminent domain was meant to be used for things like military bases and shipping ports. In recent years, eminent domain has been expanded to include roads, bridges, trains, power lines, and other infrastructure. For the past several years local governments have tried, and succeeded, to expand their power of eminent domain.

The case that was decided today involved a community in New London, CT. The local government wanted to seize a group of homes in order to allow a pharmaceutical company to build a new research facility. The local government argued it would benefit the common good by providing jobs and tax dollars to the local community. Although just compensation was offered, the local residents did not want to sell and declined the offer.

Today the Supreme court ruled 5-4 that local governments may seize and rezone property in order to boost employment and tax revenue. The vote went right down party lines with the liberal justices in the majority.

You may not feel it, but you've lost some freedom today. The government has been given more power to take your property. Eminent domain was meant to be used when the government needed land for government use. Now it can be used to transfer property from one private owner to another. Government can take away your house and give it to the highest bidder. Look for many localities to begin using this to level housing and put up strip malls, factories, and office buildings. Congress needs to act to protect our property from greedy politicians and corporate interests.

Clinton Opposes Flag Burning Amendment

Hillary Clinton has been quoted as saying "(the proposed Constitutional Amendment giving Congress the power to prevent desecration of the American flag)...is not the answer."

Thank you for weighing in with your opinion Mrs. Clinton. I'm glad the American people know where you stand on this issue that so deeply affects so many people. Your true colors shine through, and they are not red, white, or blue.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Stars and Stripes Forever!

I know I already posted today, but I had to share this. The House of Representatives just passed a Constitutional Amendment protecting the American Flag from desecration. The amendment being passed on to the Senate will read:

The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.

In order to pass, the amendment will have to get 67 votes in the Senate and be ratified by 38 states in the next 7 years. The Senate expects to vote on the amendment before July 4th.

I for one hope this amendment passes. I think it should and will pass with flying colors. But there will be those who will argue this violates free speech. Rep. Jarrod Nadler (D-NY) has already weighed in with this comment: "If the flag needs protection at all, it needs protection from members of Congress who value the symbol more than the freedoms that the flag represents."

Indeed, Mr. Nadler, the flag does need protection. People of your ilk have turned trashing our flag into a favorite protester pastime. The majority of us are offended when we see a flag being burned. To those who have served and put their lives on the line to defend your freedom to spew your anti-American hatred, seeing Ol' Glory set ablaze makes them sick to their stomach.

We've become a society where everyone's right to not be offended is cherished. Anything offensive is ordered to be removed from society. Seculars demand the Ten Commandments be removed from public places. The ACLU sues to prevent students from praying in school and wearing "Jesus Saves" T-shirts. But for too many years those of us who were offended by burning flags were told to "Shut up!" Well no more. We're tired of it.

The Deep Freeze is watching you and your anti-American cohorts, Mr. Nadler. We will be updating to inform our readers just who opposes this amendment and who favors it. We will expose you. And don't think you can hide. A vote of 63 in favor and 2 opposed will not fool us. If you choose not to show up for the vote, we will assume you did so because you think your desire to vote "Nay" would look bad come re-election time. For us, a no-show will be a vote of "No" to this amendment. You've been warned.

***************UPDATE: June 22, 2005 4:25 PM***********************

The House of Representatives passed the amendment with a vote of 286-130 with 17 Representatives not voting. You can click on the link to see the names of the Representatives who voted against this amendment. I'm pleased to see my Representative, Curt Weldon (R-PA 7th District) voted to pass this amendment. You represent me well, sir.

It's Time to Bring Our Boys Home

I've been thinking about this recently, and I've come to the conclusion it's time to bring our boys (and girls) home from Iraq. Pat Buchanan pointed out today that this war cannot go on forever. When the case for war was made, Donald Rumsfeld laid out 8 military objectives that needed to be met to define success in the war. These objectives were:

1. End the regime of Saddam Hussein
2. Eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction
3. Capture or drive out terrorists
4. Collect intelligence on terrorist networks
5. Collect intelligence on Iraq's WMD activity
6. Secure Iraq's oil fields
7. Deliver humanitarian relief and end sanctions
8. Help Iraq achieve representative self-government and insure its territorial integrity.

In my opinion, these objectives have been met. The calls for George W. Bush to devise a plan for bringing our troops back to our side of the ocean are justified. It's time for the debate to begin. The war is over. We need some closure.

At some point, the Iraqis are going to have to stand up and fight for themselves. If foreign terrorists, or "insurgents" as the mainstream media likes to call them, continue blowing up police stations, hospitals, and schools after we're gone, they will be blowing up Iraqis and fellow Muslims. It will be up to the Iraqis to put a stop to it, and if we're not there they can't keep claiming we are the target.

Here at home, George W. Bush is fighting against the tide. The media harps on him everyday. The pendulum of public opinion is swaying. In the immortal words of Bob Dylan, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" Mr. President. Perhaps he feels he has nothing to lose since he is not up for re-election, but if he continues drawing out this war it will hurt his party in 2008 if not in 2006.

Beyond the political threat to his party, there is a greater threat looming. I have raised this warning flag before. It is a great big red flag that flies before a red army. I'm talking of course of China. My previous post drew some ridicule. A few weeks ago Cal Thomas echoed my words. China is actively seeking weapons programs capable of penetrating our defenses. They are building ballistic missles, a navy and submarines specifically designed to sink American aircraft carriers. They are working to develop a space program capable of rivaling ours. We have to ask ourselves, what threat does China have? What threat is there in that region that would make China beef up it's military so much? Nobody is planning on attacking China right now. I can't even think of anyone who has any kind of dispute with China, other than perhaps the Japanese who don't even have a standing army. The fact is China is planning a hostile invasion of Taiwan. The only things preventing them are strong U.S. battlegroups in the pacific and satelites overhead. Once China feels they can rival our military, they will try. The sad thing is we are giving China all the technology they need to do this. They are taking advantage of our trade agreements to steal our technology and feed their military machine. We are building our manufacturing plants on their soil. We allow their exchange students to come study in our universities. We gain no technology from them. They gain everything from us. And they will use that technology to kill us one day.

In the context of this post, it is imperative we begin planning now. To start, we must start pulling back our military. Bring the boys home. We have to start closing down some of our bases in the States and Europe and begin beefing up military presence in the Pacific. We need to complete the Missle Defense project. We need to continue developing weapons to protect our interests in outer space. What is the bigger threat to our security? A few arabs building bombs in their basement or a country of a billion people bent on world domination of their socialistic values?

I will probably take some ridicule for this post as well. Many on the political left don't agree with pursuing new weapons systems. There will be those who will argue we need to pursue diplomatic relations. Some will argue in favor of all out appeasement. If we choose to follow these people, the path will surely lead to war.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Democratic "Immoral" Values

Back in March I ended my last post on Terri Schiavo wishing her to rest in peace. It seems the immoral left isn't willing to let her do so. Last week the coroner released the autopsy report, and the left wing pundits couldn't wait to say "In your face!" Michelle Malkin points out there are several problems with the autopsy report. I'm not going to go into that here. You can read that for yourself. I want to focus on the politics behind this latest turn in the Terri Schiavo saga.

The fact that the left feels the need to rub it in the face of everyone who will listen that Terri had brain damage is sickening. We all know she had brain damage. Nobody is disputing that. Why the need to feel vindicated on this? Why try to score political points? Why put down the "moral values voters"? The way the left wing in this country detests the "moral values voters", I guess we can only come to the conclusion that they are the "immoral value voters." They accuse us of "imposing our views" on them. I think as John Leo says: “imposing their views” is a semiofficial Democratic meme or code phrase meaning “religious people who vote their moral views and disagree with us.”

Secularism is destroying our society. I will give two examples to illustrate. The first story is about Charles R. McNabb. McNabb is an inmate convincted of arson in Washington state. Full of remorse because his step-daughter died in a fire he set, McNabb tried to commit suicide in his cell by starving himself to death. The Washington Department of Corrections forced a feeding tube into him to prevent him from dying. McNabb sued on the basis his rights to privacy and to deny medical treatment were violated. The Washington Supreme Court ruled the DoC was justified in inserting the feeding tube.

Another story to ponder: Marjorie Nighbert had given her brother power of attorney including the ability to make medical decisions for her in the event she wasn't able to take care of herself. In the durable power of attorney she stated she did not want a feeding tube if she became terminally ill. One day she suffered a stroke and had to be put in a nursing home. When she became ill the nursing home denied her food and water as per the PA. When she asked for food, she was taken to court where it was decided the nursing home was justified in denying her nurishment. The court decided she was not competent enough to ask for food. The court upheld her power of attorney over her own wishes. Imagine her horror as she wasted away asking for food and water only to be denied.

This is the society a secular society creates. This is a society where cripples and old ladies are starved to death against their wishes or the wishes of their family while murderers are kept alive against their will. It is a society with no higher moral values that dictates decisions and codes of conduct. This is a society without God. This is why we need Christ as more than a subculture of our country. Christ must be the center and guiding light our society is based upon.

To those who say "moral values voters" are taking over, I say too bad! Try and stop us. Secularism is dying. The tide is against you. People want something more than laws to protect them. People want a positive message of faith, hope, forgiveness and redemption. Secularism can't provide it. Christianity can. If that threatens you then you should look within yourself because you are consumed by your own sin. You are consumed by your own evil desires of greed, lust, envy, and pride. If you can't handle living in a Christian society, move to France. The Christians are coming. We're taking over, and we want your children.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Something to Think About.

I encourage you all to read Rich Lowry's column on Townhall.com today. Something to think about as we prepare to celebrate Father's Day.

More Apologies

The age of the apology continues. This week the Senate issued an apology for not passing anti-lynching legislation decades ago. Senator George Allen (R-VA) is one of the original sponsors of the resolution which had 8 co-sponsors.

African-American lynching is another dark chapter in our history. No question the activity was wrong. But why should this generation apologize for something the previous generation did? More over, why should the entire Senate apologize for this? Let the record show it was the democrats, specifically the Dixiecrats who opposed this legislation along with antisegregation laws. They were the ones who filibustered to prevent segregation from being declared illegal. Why should a Republican dominated Senate have to apologize for the actions of the minority party? Shouldn't Howard Dean be apologizing for the past actions of his party? My concern is the average uninformed American is going view this as a Republican Senate apologizing for lynching blacks.

But some people think this resolution doesn't go far enough. Representative John Lewis (D-GA) says, "The U.S. government needs to apologize for the whole system of slavery. Lynching was just a part of it." If anyone should apologize for slavery, it's the British government. Slavery was instituted in the south by the British long before we gained independence. By the time we gained independence, it was woven into our society to the point southern states felt they could not survive without it. In fact they threatened to pull out of the union every step of the way if anyone threatened to take away their slaves. So blame the British for infecting us with the cancer of slavery. While struggling for independence and later stability, the early years of the union were not the time for the political fight to end slavery. It took us almost 90 years, a civil war, and 620,000 dead, but eventually America did the right thing. The price has been paid. Does this apology by the Senate bring any kind of closure to anyone? Or is it merely political grandstanding?

Politics and Treason

The democratic party has become a disgrace. Their "blame America" mentality has gone over the edge. Yesterday Senator Dick Durbin, the number two democrat in the Senate, took the Senate floor and read this statement comparing our military people to Nazis and Guantanamo to Soviet Gulags. Today the administration has called his remarks reprehensible, but Senator Durbin has refused to apologize. He says the Administration should apologize for "abandoning the Geneva Convention".

In my opinion, Senator Durbin has crossed the line between political rhetoric and entered the territory of treason. Comparing our military to Nazis is appalling. I can't believe democrats can claim to "support our troops" and then their number two guy in the Senate makes a statement like this. He is a major spokesman for the party. This is what democrats believe. This is more proof that they hate our military.

Comparing Gitmo to a gulag is indeed reprehensible. Gulags imprisoned political opposition leaders. Many prisoners were subjected to hard physical labor. Many prisoners died or were killed. The prisoners in Gitmo are not political prisoners. They are not common criminals subject to U.S. laws. They are not subject to the Geneva Convention, as Mr. Durbin suggests. The Geneva Convention applies to enemy soldiers who belong to an enemy state who are caught on the field of battle in uniform. These prisoners do not belong to a specific state and do not wear a uniform. In WWII, when german soldiers were caught behind enemy lines in civilian clothes or wearing American uniforms, they were treated like spies and shot on site. Nobody cared about the Geneva Convention in those cases.

I wonder how FDR would have handled it if Mr. Durbin had made such a statement about the Japanese Internment Camps where 120,000 Japanese-Americans were rounded up and imprisoned during the war simply for being of Japanese descent. These camps subjected prisoners to hard physical labor. Many people died or were separated from their families. My guess is Mr. Durbin's political career would have been destroyed by FDR himself had he spoke out against them. He may have even been thrown in prison and tried for treason.

Comments like this from Senator Durbin and other democrats make no sense to me. Obviously he made this comment because he thought he could gain politically from it. Anyone who can't see past their own hate for George W. Bush is going to eat this up. But how is rhetoric like this going to gain votes for the party? I can't help but wonder who is he hoping to gain support from? Americans like to be the good guys. We get outraged when people accuse us of doing bad things. Surely Mr. Durbin is smart enough to know this. Isn't he?

Maybe Durbin and the democrats are hoping to gain support from the terrorists. They seem to be the only people who would benefit from closing Guantanamo. Has the democratic party aligned themselves with the enemy? Their comments clearly aid and comfort them. I found a report on Al Jazeera covering this story. It clearly favors Mr. Durbin's opinion. Their rhetoric is being used as propoganda to spread U.S. hatred throughout the middle east. By giving the impression that America is divided they encourage the enemy and prolong the war. It seems like political suicide to me. What is the political gain in calling Americans "Nazis" and supporting the terrorists. I think their intense hatred of George W. Bush has driven them to insanity. FDR would be ashamed to call himself a democrat today.

UPDATE: June 19, 2005

Senator Durbin issued the following statement on Friday:

“More than 1700 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq and our country’s standing in the world community has been badly damaged by the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. My statement in the Senate was critical of the policies of this Administration which add to the risk our soldiers face.”
“I will continue to speak out when I disagree with this Administration.”
“I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood. I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support.”

I guess this is supposed to be an apology. If it is it's a backhanded one. Even in his apology he has to make a cut at Bush and our military. The only thing he says he regrets is that people misunderstood his true feelings, that our soldiers around the world deserve our support. That's funny. Can someone explain to me how comparing our soldiers to Nazi's and Guantanamo to a gulag is "supporting the troops" in his mind?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Tag You're It

Bookworm has tagged me to do this post. I hate these things. But I told her what every guy wants to hear on his first date. "I usually don't do this, but for you I will."

1. Number of books I own: I don't know...maybe 300.

2. Last Book I bought: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Currently on page 242 of 738. I only have time to read about 5 pages a day unless I'm on an airplane, so this is going to take me awhile.

3. Last Book I Read: Undaunted Courage by Steven Ambrose. An excellent tale of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

4. Five Books that mean a lot to me.
1. The Holy Bible: Duh
2. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: This book changed my life and made me realize what I needed to do to succeed.
3. Who Moved my Cheese: An excellent book for dealing with the curveballs life throws at you.
4. Generations at Work: This book helped me through a tough time at work when I was put in charge of managing generation x'ers and millenials while reporting to baby boomer bosses.
5. Founding Brothers: An excellent story about how our republic was born.

I'm not going to tag anyone else on this. If you feel inspired, have at it.

Monday, June 13, 2005

June Porker of the Month

Citizens Against Government Waste have named Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) Porker of the Month for June 2005. Senator Thune has received this dubious honor for throwing a political temper tantrum over Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's plan to close over 30 military bases. One of these bases on the list is Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.

Closing military bases is sometimes necessary to more effectively deploy our troops in the defense of our nation. The Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) was founded in 1988 to reorganize the United States military base structure as a result of the end of the cold war. Since inception, the Defense Department estimates BRAC has saved roughly $40 billion. This latest round of base cuts is expected to save $5 billion annually with $48 billion total savings over the next two decades.

These base closings are very unpopular in the local communities. Politicians argue that these bases bring jobs and money to their local economies. In the case of Ellsworth, 5000 people work at the base including 1000 civilian jobs. It is estimated that Ellsworth has an annual impact of $278 million including its $161 million payroll. While every politician whose state is affected by this list is lobbying to keep their base open, Senator Thune is leading the effort to hijack the entire BRAC Commission.

Senator Thune released a statement on his website saying he plans to introduce legislation to kill this round of base closings. The legislation Thune plans to introduce is unreasonable. This legislation requires the Defense Department to provide "certified data collected during data calls (requests for information sent to all military installations by the Pentagon prior to making its BRAC recommendations) and all documentation related to DoD's application of military value criteria and other criteria to installations recommended for closure or realignment and potential receiving installations." The kicker in this legislation is the DoD has seven days to comply once the legislation is enacted. Seven days to collect every piece of data. Every email, letter, minutes from meetings and phonecalls for every single base that was discussed (whether it made the list or not) in coming up with this list of base closings. A task that large can't possibly be done in seven days, and Mr. Thune knows it. But according to the legislation he plans to introduce, if the DoD does not comply with the request, the entire round of base closings suggested by the BRAC will be scrapped.

In addition to this legislative hijacking, Mr. Thune has threatened to vote against the Bush Administration on the John Bolton nomination, the CAFTA treaty, and legislation regarding drug importation from Canada if he doesn't get to keep his base. All that's left is to cry, kick and scream on the floor of the U.S. Senate until he gets his way.

Mr. Thune campaigned on a promise to keep Ellsworth AFB operational. Every politician should know better than to make promises they can't keep. He was in no position to determine the organization of the military. Now Mr. Thune finds himself in the embarassing situation of getting caught making an empty campaign promise.

This round of base reorganizations is necessary for the defense of our nation and in balancing the federal budget. Almost every state is being called upon to sacrifice. The Cold War is over. Do we really need an Air Force base in South Dakota? So for putting his personal politics above the good of the common taxpayer, Senator John Thune has earned the title "Porker of the Month." Shame on you, Mr. Thune. Oink Oink!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Corporate Shakedowns in Philadelphia

This week Wachovia bank released a statement declaring that two institutions they acquired over the years have ties to slavery. They did a history search in response to a Chicago ordinance that requires cities to do disclose any historical ties they may have to African-American slavery. Wachovia hired The History Factory to do the research. The results of the research found that two companies Wachovia has acquired over the years have some ties to slavery. The Georgia Railroad and Banking company, founded in 1833 to build a railroad from Augusta, GA to the interior of the state, hired contractors who used at least 162 slaves. The Bank of Charleston accepted at least 529 slaves as collateral for loans. After discovering this, Wachovia issued the statement above apologizing for their historical ties to slavery and promising to work with community leaders to increase education and awareness of African-American history.

Of course, for some people this public apology is not enough. No, they want money. Philadelphia City Councilman Wilson Goode yesterday announced he plans to introduce a city ordinance today requiring companies who do business with the city to research and disclose their historical ties to slavery. Any company found to have ties to slavery will be required to submit an annual report spelling out a plan to the city for financial restitution. As Jeff Jacoby writes in the Boston Globe today, this is nothing more than a corporate shakedown.

I can understand Wachovia being deeply distraught over this finding, and I believe them when they say they sincerely apologize. But I don't think they owe anybody money for what happened centuries ago. Slavery was abolished in 1865. Wachovia was founded in 1879. Wachovia never owned slaves. The two companies that were sited in the report owned slaves when doing so was legal activity. No laws were broken. To go back now and demand that Wachovia pay a fee for activities that were legal at the time is wrong. Article I Section 9 Subparagraph 3 of the Constitution clearly says:

No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.

What Councilman Goode proposes is an ex post facto law. You cannot punish people for activity that was done before a law making it illegal was passed. If we allow this law to stand, what's next? Will people demand reparations from companies who utilized separate restrooms for blacks in the 40's? Will Greyhound be sued because they used to make blacks sit in the back of the bus?

Slavery was a dark chapter in the history of our nation and the human race. It's unfortunate that we cannot turn back time and change the way things were. However, at some point as a society we need to move on and say what's in the past is in the past. Demanding payment for what my great great great grandaddy did to your great great great grandaddy does not help heal the wounds of racism in our country. It will only breed more resentment and hostility.

620,000 Americans died in the battle to end slavery. Men paid with their lives for African-American Freedom. Most of their families got nothing or a very small payment to cover the cost of the funeral. Do you see them asking African-Americans for payment for the lives of their loved ones? Of course not. We need to move on and stop pointing fingers if we're ever going to have normal race relations in this country.

Disclosure: I do my primary banking with Wachovia and intend to continue giving them my business even though their customer service sucks as long as they don't charge me for using their ATM's.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Special Thanks

Special thanks go out to my boy, The Indigent Blogger of Vagabondia, for helping me set up the comments and trackback exactly the way I wanted them. YOU ROCK, MAN!

If anyone has gone back and started retyping comments, you can stop now. They have been salvaged thanks to IB.

We're Not Above the Law...We ARE the Law!

I thought I would follow up yesterday's post with some comments on how the Supreme Court's decision is being digested by the nation.

My first observation is how the court voted. 6-3 with all of the liberal judges in the majority. The left is always saying the political right is owned by the stuck up hard nosed unreasonable Christian puritans. If this is the case, why didn't the conservative judges just blindly take the side against legalized pot? Isn't this something a person hung up on their moral values and unwilling to listen to other ideas would do? This goes against everything the left loves to rail against the right with. Even Rush Limbaugh the rest of conservative radio thinks the court got this wrong and had no right to interfere with this matter for the state of California. So it would appear the Republicans are not owned by the Christian right as liberals accuse.

My next operation is how the marijuana lobby and the State of California have reacted to the ruling. The plaintiffs in the case have declared they intend to ignore the ruling and continue smoking pot. If they get arrested, so be it. The California Attorney in his response said, "People shouldn't panic. There aren't going to be many changes." Isn't this a little misleading? He's saying the state is not going to arrest you, but now the federal government can throw you in jail. I would call that a big change.

What we have here is a case of people using the system to get their way and then ignoring the system when their agenda is rejected. The political left is notorious for this. When the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was protected under the state constitution, the San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom took it upon himself to start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. This action completely disregarded a state referendum that was passed declaring marriage was between a man and a woman. The mayor was sued and the California Supreme Court ruled against him. After the ruling the mayor said he was "more resolved." C'mon, buddy. The people of California voted it down. You took the law into your own hands and the courts struck you down. When are you going to get the picture? Where would our republic be if people just started ignoring the will of the people and the rulings of the courts?

This is a common reaction by the left. I think it comes down to their core secular beliefs. With no belief in God they turn to their faith in the laws of man to protect our rights. Their secular society is their God. They believe they are more enlightened then those of us who believe in a higher moral value system than ourselves. They feel they are worthy to dictate to the rest of us how to live and how to behave through their laws. Even when the majority puts their foot down and speaks their mind they dismiss us and claim they know what's best for us. Consequently, when they find themselves out of power, it's like nothing is right with the world to them. They think the government belongs to them, so when they lose an election they claim it was stolen. Their rhetoric has gotten out of control. It's like a whole political party is throwing a collective temper tantrum. While at times I find myself laughing at it, there are times when I wish they would grow up and bring some decent ideas to the table. I'm not comfortable with one party controlling the entire government, even if it is the Republican party. So my message to Democrats is "Grow Up!"

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

2nd Ammendment

This is the 2nd Ammendment to the Deep Freeze. It has been passed by two-thirds of the Congress and Ratified by two-thirds of the States. I've added the site counter to the sidebar just for my own curiousity. I'm pleased to see I'm getting about 10 hits a day. The site that works the counter is supposed to be tracking more detailed stats for me, but unfortunately I haven't been able to figure out how to get the working yet.

You may have noticed a few weeks ago my blog came under a spam attack. I'm still not convinced Scott wasn't behind the whole thing, but that's another story. At first I eliminated anonymous comments. That seemed to do the trick. Somebody suggested I go with Haloscan. I've been tooling around with that because I like the trackback feature. After playing with it for a week I finally got it set up how I would like it to look. Unfortunately, with my limited HTML expertise I lost all the comments to all my previous posts in switching to Haloscan. So if it isn't too much trouble, would you all mind going back over the past 4 months and retyping your comments in the exact order they were before? I would greatly appreciate it.

Activist Court Stikes Again

Yesterday the Supreme Court rendered another controversial decision which was a major blow to California's medicinal marijuana law. As issue were two conflicting statues: the federal Controlled Substance Act which declared marijuana to be illegal and California's Compassionate Use Act which made marijuana legal for medicinal purposes. Nine other states have similar laws to California's giving this case a national flavor. The question in the case was whether or not the federal government had jurisdiction to regulate commerce in this situation. The pot was being grown for personal consumption and did not cross state lines. The justices ruled 6-3 that the CSA in fact trumped the CUA, with Justice Stevens writing the majority opinion joined by Kennedy, Ginsburg, Souter, Breyer, and Scalia.

I for one am not happy with this decision. It's a loss for states rights which is ultimately a loss for individual rights. The pot was being grown in state, being sold, and consumed in state. The state of California said they were ok with that. In my opinion, the federal government should butt out in this case. That is Mike the Conservative talking.

Mike the Christian says God commands us to treat our bodies like temples. We are commanded to keep them pure. So as Scott says in his post on this subject, "I'm no fan of the wacky tobaccy." I've never smoked pot in my life and I fail to see the benefit to society by allowing it to be smoked for recreational use. However, I can see some benefit for people suffering from disease. I question whether or not they could find other drugs to do the same thing, but who am I to deny them the right to seek relief from their pain?

I am always in favor of states' rights. I see this case through the same lense I view cases like gay marriage and abortion. Let the states decide. I suspect the justices may have been looking through the same lense as well. Is it me, or is there a scent of Roe v. Wade in the air?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Viva la Deep Throat!

The country is a buzz today with the outing of Mark Felt as "Deep Throat". The Indigent Blogger over on Vagabondia beat me to the punch in blogging about this. Like him, I won't rehash the entire Watergate scandal. You can just read the story for yourself at My Way News and The Washington Post. I don't want this discussion to get into who did what during Watergate. Let's try to keep the politics of the 70's out of this. I just want to make some observations on the actions of Mr. Felt and his family and the way the media is portraying this whole thing.

The mainstream media is calling Mr. Felt a hero. I almost choked on my Wheaties this morning when Katie Couric called him "one of America's greatest secret heroes." He is being lauded for blowing the whistle and bring down a corrupt president. But how did he do this? He took confidential FBI information and leaked it to the press. As the number two man at the FBI he underhandedly worked to bring down a sitting president. He abused his position to convict a man in the court of public opinion rather than using the system he swore to uphold. Even Felt himself is quoted as telling his son "(being Deep Throat) wasn't anything to be proud of...You (should)not leak information to anyone." Is this the actions of a hero?

Another observation: Felt is now a weak old man who suffered a stroke some years ago and is in questionable mental health. He has kept his identity secret for 30 years, so I have to ask myself why is he coming out now? The man couldn't even come out to speak for himself. His daughter, Joan, propped him up in front of the door for pictures and then spoke on his behalf. She said the family urged him to come out now so he could "make enough money to pay some bills, like the debt I've run up for the children's education." So there you have it. His family put the senile old man up to this to make a buck. They wanted to get the rights to the book deal before he dies and Bob Woodward publishes his story, which Woodward has now revealed he has already written and was waithing for Felt to die before publishing. It's kind of sickening.

I think there is no question that Felt is honored by the mainstream media because he brought down a Republican president. We don't have an example of incriminating tapes with the voice of a democratic president on them, but we do have tapes that make a democratic president look bad. Did the mainstream media praise the whistle blower in that case? Why don't you ask Linda Tripp how much love she got?