Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mid-week Ramblings

Comedian Rush Limbaugh gets 30 million a year? Man, I need to go on a lying, I'm sorry, "misspoken" rant and see if I can get that much. I wonder how much the Republican party has thrown in. He's been one of their biggest supporters over the years.

Republican Rep. Tim Bearden, the Georgia legislator, responsible for the latest more liberal (oops, bad word) Georgia gun laws is suing the Atlanta airport, because of the airport policy of prohibiting guns in the unsecured part of the facility. He's also suing on behalf of a Wisconsin man who wants a Georgia gun license. Georgia law prohibits out of state residents from having a resident license. The lawyers are hoping to make it a class action suit, and therefore, all probate judges in the state would be named. I thought the Republicans were against wasteful spending. This mess will cost local governments untold dollars. Next, Bearden will be suing to allow guns on commercial flights. After all, those gun toters could always save an airplane from terrorists. Incidentally, a Georgia builder, one of Bearden's law abiding toters, killed one of his contractors a few nights ago, thinking he was a thief. Shoot first and ask questions later, I guess.

One of the crosses we Northeast Georgians have to bear are the Floridians who have invaded us over the past few years. Now we have one, Tom Jones, running for sheriff in our fair county. He has only lived here since '06. However, like many of his fellow transplants, he knows more than we do about running anything. He accuses our current sheriff of wasting money, but he proposes to turn our small agency into a clone of a large department with precinct captains and all sorts of unnecessary over-organization. You have to have a lot of gall to run for office two years after settling somewhere, but no one ever said these "half backs" had much sense. Those who left the north, went to Florida, ruined it, and are now ruining NE Georgia are called "half backs." We also refer to them as Floridiots. The native Floridians around here aren't enamored with them either.

John McCain is reorganizing yet another time. It seems his campaign has run way off the tracks again, and he needs help. It kind of makes you wonder how he can brag about how prepared he is to be president, when he can't run his campaign, and he can't choose reliable people to help him. God help us, if he is elected. I can't imagine what kind of incompetence we will find in his cabinet.

This time of year is the time for family reunions. Our local area has one about every weekend. I accompanied my wife, her brother, and her mother to Pennsylvania last week for the Latourette family reunion. It was a fun trip for me. Her mother came from a large family and many of her brothers are still living. It is interesting to see the different personalities, as well as listen to the sometimes quiet comments when someone is singled out. I told my wife's other brother that I actually survived the one thousand mile round trip without committing a felony, but it was very close at the end.

Have a safe and fun Fourth of July weekend, and don't lose any fingers with the fireworks.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Lies, Rumors, and Dirty Politics

As I was poking around my favorite blogs today, I saw an interesting post from AsFoxSeesit, which pointed me to an article in the Washington Post about Jim Peterman in Finlay, Ohio. Mr. Peterman has heard enough wild rumors about Barrak Obama that he isn't sure whether he can vote for him or not. After all, some of his friends and neighbors, whom he trusts, are saying that Obama was " born in Africa, (and) is a possibly gay Muslim racist who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance." On the other hand he hears that Obama is a Christian, family man, born in Hawaii. He doesn't know who to believe.

Also, going around the news broadcasts and the internet today is a quote from Gen. Wesley Clark, in which Clark says that John McCain's flying an airplane and dropping bombs doesn't necessarily qualify him to be president. The media has jumped on the clip from a Sunday news show and made a big deal out of it. While it may not have been the thing for someone of Clark's prominence to say, I agree with him, and I have written about it before. A war record or military service record doesn't make a president or a county commissioner, but most candidates roll out their military records when they start to run. In reality no one has presidential experience for obvious reasons.

I think Clark's statement is a molehill, which has been made a mountain. On the other hand others have begun to make comments about McCain's being a traitor, because he appeared in films for the North Vietnamese. They are dragging up the old worn out Vietnam anti-war issues about bombing civilians and saying anyone who served in such a capacity is guilty of war crimes and shouldn't be president. Such comments are reminiscent of the "Swift Boat Veterans" ads during the last election and serve no purpose other than to feed those who are too ignorant or too biased to ignore them. Obama has rejected these comments, including Clark's, and I hope he continues to distance himself from such.

McCain, as well, has to disavow his "surrogates" as these speakers are being called. He can shut them up, if he will. Unfortunately, these kinds of lies and rumors are too effective and too tempting for candidates, who want so badly to win. They just can't bring themselves to take any action that might quell the tide, so they often give only lip service to condemning the nasty ads and statements and seize upon them to make political hay. McCain, today, criticized Obama for saying negative things about him and, therefore, indirectly accused him of being behind the statements.

This is just the beginning, unfortunately, and it will worsen as time goes on. Such drivel does nothing to clarify either candidate's stand on the issues. Instead the focus is shifted away from the issues to the unimportant, emotional, sidebar of dirty politics and innuendo. The candidates can control it to a degree, if they will not yield to the temptation to win at all costs.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Nuclear Proliferation

For years we endured the Cold War as the United States and Russia competed to stockpile enough nuclear warheads to destroy the world many times over. We read in the papers almost daily about the numbers of those terrible death dealing weapons that each nation possessed. Nuclear non-proliferation treaties were the talk of the day.

As the twentieth century came to a close nuclear proliferation was beginning to build a new head of steam. Israel, India, and Pakistan possessed nuclear weapons. Iraq had, at one time, made an attempt at beginning the process of developing nuclear material, and it was rumored that other nations, particularly in the Middle East were in the process of developing the capability of enriching uranium.

The Bush Administration embarked on a new, more dangerous route that, instead of curbing the spread of nuclear weapons, actually encouraged their development . The "Axis of Evil" was identified, and, in typical Bush fashion, these same countries were branded as enemies, and threats against them were made. This type of shoot first and talk later foreign policy only poured fuel on the fire and made those countries even more eager to complete the process and develop nuclear weapons. Our un-provoked attack on Iraq, citing weapons of mass destruction as the reason, made clear the fact that the United States would no longer use its military might simply as a deterrent for war.

These newly branded enemies of the free world would, naturally, feel threatened by a country that simply stated that Iraq had WMD and attacked. That threat, combined with an already militant and irresponsible nature heightened their desire to speed up development of a weapon, they could only hope would lessen the threat posed by a militant Bush administration. At the same time nuclear capability would make them a player on the world stage. Add the independent and very dangerous terrorist organizations, who also desire nuclear materials, and the world has quickly stepped to the brink once again.

When Israel's possession of nuclear weapons is factored into the equation, it is easy to see the various Arab nations' desire for an equalizer. With the United States' support, Israel seems to have Carte Blanche to attack when they wish or can claim a threat from a particular Arab entity. Combine the Israeli threat with a militant United States Administration and the Middle East becomes an even more dangerous powder keg.

It is a dangerous and very unpredictable world that the new "Leader of the Free World" will face next year. The next administration is going to be charged with beginning a world diplomatic process to dampen this nuclear threat from the Third World. Then there are the terrorist organizations such as Al Quaida, who may already possess the nuclear materials to produce a dirty bomb. It is certain that they desire to possess these materials. Instead of "staying the course" in Iraq, he must step up the pursuit of Bin Laden and bring him either to justice or oblivion. If our soldiers must die in the Middle East, they must die ending the real threat of terror, not as we languish in Iraq.