Saturday, September 30, 2006

What is really happening?

The media's head exploded last week. They reported that the Islamist militants to spread terrorism around the world are using Iraq as an impetus. that the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq claimed that, with the loss of four-thousand foreign insurgent fighters, he is running out of resources, that the Democrats want to cut and run but they want to send more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan and reinstate the draft, that boycotting Citgo is good for America, but that boycotting Citgo is bad for American jobs, and that it doesn't matter to America what happens with Citgo because Chavez is withdrawing his contracts and selling his American pipelines and refineries anyway. Needless to say, this has caused the politicians and pundits of both wings running about chasing every story and trying to relate it to the election campaigns of themselves and against the campaigns of their opponents.
To go about chasing every little tidbit only results in mass confusion. Give me a candidate who looks at the big picture, and I will vote for that candidate. Petty bickering over every little issue doesn't work for me.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Tragedy Could Have Been Averted

Emily Keyes, age 16, died senselessly at her high school in Bailey, CO. A homeless man, Dwayne Morrison, age 54, walked into the school with at least two weapons, went to a classroom and took the students hostage. After releasing the all the hostages except for two girls, Morrison refused to negotiate with the law enforcement officers who had arrived, except to demand he be left alone. When he decided to stop talking, the swat teams stormed the room, whereupon Morrison shot Emily, then shot himself.
This guy should not have gotten as far as he did. Granted, he was, according to reports, wearing a hoodie in an attempt to blend in with the students, but many of the students who saw him reported that he looked like an "old man." Furthermore, Bailey is a small town, where everybody knows everybody, and Morrison was definitely known. In fact, everybody reportedly knew him as a "weirdo."
So, how did he get to the second floor classroom? My high school, in 1970 required visitors to wear a pass clearly visible on the clothing. This practice should still be in effect in all public schools across the nation. Even as Morrison sneaked into the school, somebody should have realized he didn't belong there.
If school districts cannot afford security systems in their schools, therein lies the problem. They apparently can afford to pay district administrators salaries of $80,000 and up, and provide other services, such as transportation in particular, which could be privatized, but they cannot afford security guards at the school entrances.
Certainly, there will be investigations, but you can't fix something that has already happened. In this case, to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future, it would be prudent to establish a security system that is both practical, and that works. Metal detectors have not proven practical, as there are usually metal objects required for every student, and the ACLU opposes that kind of security. All that is really needed is a few security guards, and identification badges to be worn visibly on the clothing of all students, teachers, and staff.
Nothing will bring back the beautiful little girl, Emily Keyes. Her death wasn't only a tragedy, it was an atrocity. Communities throughout the United States need to act for prevention, not react to cause after the fact, to prevent such tragedies as Bailey from happening again.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Powerful stuff from Karzai

Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, made some very interesting statements at a joint news conference with President Bush yesterday morning:
On the war on terrorism: "Do you not remember people jumping out of the eightieth floor of the World Trade Center? Who did this? Where are they now? Are we going to wait until they attack again? The war on terrorism needs to be fought throughout the entire world."
On Pakistan's President Musharaff's treaty with Warzaristan tribal leaders: "I will not oppose any action which will deny terrorist forces the ability to (carry out their operations)."
On the opium trade: "It is an embarrassment to Afghanistan. The reason for it is the instability caused by the Taliban insurgents. I know of people who have torn down their orchards to grow opium, because it has been so long since they have had any hope for their future."
On American and NATO support: "This war can not be over quickly...It will take a long time. We don't necessarily need more troops, but we need more money to build schools and roads, and to recruit and train our own army."
President Karzai's remarks and comments were very well thought out, and very well articulated. His was a very powerful presence, and if you have a chance, it is well worth listening to.

President Bush, in response to what he calls "gossip" raised about the leaked portion of the National Security Assessment, announced this morning that he would ask National Security Chief John Negroponte to declassify and post the context from which the increased terror danger report was taken. This is available at
The President also pointed out that Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations have used Palestine/Israel, Somalia, Afghanistan, nearly any issue they can find to attract recruits, so Iraq isn't any different in this sense than anything else that the terrorist organizations have exploited for their purposes.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Turning Gold Into Granite

The Opposition faction in government has a golden opportunity to take the majority in at least one house of Congress. However, they have resorted to tactics which may cause them to lose that opportunity.
Writing from a neutral standpoint when it comes to political tactics used by the two factions of the Demopublican Party, lets us see things that are almost laughable. The newest campaign by the opposition is rife with conspiracy theories, hindsight, and propaganda, as in reporting only that part of the whole that is convenient to the message.
The opposition wing has resorted to borrowing a page from the John Birch Society and other right wing conspiracy theorists in creating a theoretical right wing conspiracy organization. This document in highly reminiscent of the Extreme Right's "Trilateral Commission" conspiracy theory of the 70's, 80's, and 90's. To think that such an organization as the Project for a New American Century would have an influence on President Clinton is almost laughable, especially since Clinton himself vehemently resisted the notion that he caved to right wing influence in his mission against Usama Bin Ladin.
On Chris Wallace's "Fox News Sunday," Clinton forcefully attacked Wallace and accused Fox and the "Right Wing" of trying to smear his administration, just for asking about Clinton's alleged softness in going after Bin Ladin.

Then, there is the propaganda arising from the national intelligence estimate that the war on Iraq is resulting in a higher recruitment rate for the Muslim extremists. The reality of this information is that this effect was predicted, even before the removal of Saddam, and the idea was to face the enemy on the battlefield rather than in the streets of our cities. While it is true that Iraq is the basis for a recruiting point for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, it only emphasis the need for a successful outcome of the current mission. John Negroponte, the National Security Advisor, while unable to discuss the content of the classified document, has said that the report concludes that the terrorist situation would be greatly increased if the US Coalition mission in Iraq were to be curtailed without success. Of course, the New York Times and the Washington Post did not report the conclusion reached by the assessment, as it was not convenient to the message they were trying to deliver.
The biggest problem with these tactics by the Opposition wing of the Demopublican party is that it is hindsight. That faction is trying to say they want to move forward, yet they are drawing all the attention to the past. They insist on viewing the war on terror from 2003 rather than the present. The current mission of the armed forces in Iraq is not to fight Iraqis, but to train an Iraqi military and police force, and to ensure that the Iraq Democracy will be able to stand on its own against its enemies. The current military mission and objective has very little to do with why we invaded Iraq in the first place. A free and democratic Iraq is the last thing those who have sworn to destroy Western civilization want to see.
The Opposition faction needs to deliver a viable alternative in order to be effective. Mudslinging and misinformation often backfires on the originator of such tactics, no matter if it originates on the Right or the Left. The Opposition is totally ignoring the fact that the real war on terror is being fought diplomatically rather than with arms. Because of diplomatic agreements, for instance, shipping containers are being inspected at the point of origin, which is much more efficient both practically and economically than trying to inspect two million containers a day at the point of debarkation. The Opposition would do well to face reality, rather than creating disinformation.