Friday, February 16, 2007

A Taste of Local and National Politics

All you democracy deprived people in the Middle East, know that democracy has a dark side. Check out this piece of legislation that has recently made it through the North Dakota congress, here are some notable highlights:

Bill OKs shooting burglars
By Dale Wetzel, Associated Press
Published Tuesday, February 13, 2007

BISMARCK – Opposition from prosecutors and law enforcement officers could not derail legislation giving North Dakotans the right to shoot a burglar or carjacker with protection from criminal prosecution or civil lawsuits if they do.

“This bill is simply a citizen’s version of homeland security,” said Representive Ron Carlisle, Republican-Bismarck.

The measure, which the National Rifle Association (NRA) is promoting in other states, has drawn fierce resistance from police and county prosecutors who say North Dakotans already have the right to defend themselves in their homes and workplaces.

Rep. Al Carlson, Republican-Fargo, said homeowners should not be obliged to try to find out whether a burglar is a potential danger before they defend themselves. I’d tell you what would happen in my house. I would shoot that person, and I would shoot them enough times that I knew he wasn’t going to do any danger to me, or my family,” Carlson said. “He’d leak like a watering can when I was done with him.”

One of the many reasons to love living in a Red State, Yee Haa!
This isn't, by far, the only display of democratic absurdity. Anyone following the current hotly debated issue in the US congress, that of the non-biding resolution opposing Bush's troop surge plan, can be treated to gems from both sides of the isle... again some lowlights:

Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO): Could you picture Davy Crockett at the Alamo looking at his Blackberry getting a message from Congress? Davy Crockett, we support you. The only thing is we are not going to send any troops. I’m sure that would really be impressive to Davy Crockett.
Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL): In the South, we have a wonderful saying and it goes like this: Get ‘er done. Our soldiers want to get it done and come home, and our President wants the same thing, and this Congress should demand the exact same thing. Let’s get out there and get ‘er done.
Rep. Fortenberry (R-NB): Madam Speaker, when I left home this week for Washington, my 6-year-old Kathryn became very sad. See, she has big, beautiful brown eyes and they welled up with tears at the prospect of my leaving again for Washington. And she said to me, Daddy, why do you have to be a Congressman?
Rep. Keller (R-FL): Let me give you an analogy. Imagine your next-door neighbor refuses to mow his lawn and the weeds are all the way up to his waist. You decide you are going to mow his lawn for him every single week. The neighbor never says thank you, he hates you, and sometimes he takes out a gun and shoots at you.

And people say C-SPAN isn't entertaining!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

An answer to an American question

A question that has been prominent in American media and US political speech in the last few years has been, "Why do they [terrorists] hate us?". Which is a very valid question, because to fight terrorism you should know its roots and causes and start the fight there. But the problem is that these politicians and analysts have stopped short of seeking (or admitting) the real answer.

The following paragraph is an excerpt from an interview with Michael Scheuer, a very colorful person who's a 22-year CIA veteran that served as the Chief of Alec Station, the Osama bin Laden Unit at the Counterterrorist Center.

Q: Where does the major danger lie now?

A: For America? That we could very well be defeated oversees and at home. And the source of it is clearly that we have yet to find a politician in either party who's willing to tell the American people the truth. We continue to be harangued by President Bush and Senator Clinton and former President Clinton and Senator McCain about how Americans must fight this war because we're being attacked because we have freedoms and liberties and women in the workplace and a whole list of ephemera that have nothing to do with this war at all.

We're being attacked, Britain is being attacked, our allies are being attacked because we've installed and backed and implemented a set of policies in the Middle East for the last 30 years or more. And we're being attacked because of what we do, not because of who we are. And by refusing to talk about that, I'm afraid the American people, at least, don't have a good idea of just how dangerous the threat is that we face.

The interview was part of PBS' program Frontline, the episode was titled The Cell Next Door. It talks about an alleged terrorist cell in Toronto that was uncovered, its members arrested and are awaiting trial thanks to information from a self-described Muslim fundamentalist, dubbed the Radical Informant. Quite interesting. But I digress.

To fight terrorism one must eliminate the conditions that breed it, that might be a process that will take some time, and it certainly will not be an awe-inspiring show of force that some want it to be, but it's the only way real and lasting results can be achieved. The US needs to rethink its foreign policy and address two particularly fundamental issues; the injustice the Palestinians are subjected to, and the US support of the tyrannical Arab regimes.

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