Day: March 2, 2011

The Westboro Baptist Church, The Supreme Court, And Free Speech

What the author feared would happen has indeed occurred!

The Supreme Court of the United States has, by an 8-1 vote, decided that the hateful, anti gay Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, headed by the Reverend Fred Phelps, and consisting of about 50 people, almost all his relatives, have the right to disrupt military funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan to protest the fact that gays have rights, and that America is going to the devil because gays are allowed to exist in America!

The fact that a military funeral is a time of mourning and stress for those connected to the dead soldier apparently had no effect on the Court, except for Associate Justice Samuel Alito, who, somewhat surprisingly, was the only dissenter.

So the Westboro Baptist Church can continue its evil deeds and disrupt funerals and promote hate, and the right of privacy of funeral attenders, including the family of the deceased, does not matter!

This despicable group not only has done this dastardly deed to families of soldiers, but also were present at the funeral of the nine year old girl murdered when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was seriously wounded in Tucson, Arizona in January. The only difference there was that a large group of sympathizers of the parents of the young girl formed a wall of resistance to these characters, and kept them much further away from the funeral procession.

This is not, in the author’s mind, freedom of speech, or freedom of religion, or freedom of assembly. To call the Westboro Baptist Church a church is a mockery of the whole concept of religion!

All decent people will deplore this decision, and be embarrassed that Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined with Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and even the ultimate swing vote, Anthony Kennedy, in writing this reprehensible decision!

This is not a victory for free speech, but rather a victory for hate, and insanity, and lack of respect for the dead, and lack of patriotism regarding the military, who sacrifice themselves every day in far off lands!

Surprising, but the author must commend Samuel Alito for having the courage to go against the tide, a man that the author has not highly admired. So I salute Alito for his brave stand for decency!

The Republicans Are Starting To Implode Even Before The Presidential Competition Begins!

Here it is March, and not one Republican has announced for President, and yet the party is starting to implode!

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has made the observation that people on Medicaid in his state are coming to pharmacies in their BMWs and saying they cannot afford the copays for their medication! Oh really, Haley? In the poorest state of the Union, poor people have BMWs? Give me a break!

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee made a statement in a radio interview that Barack Obama grew up in Kenya, and because of that, he has a very different view of the British, who once controlled Kenya. Really, Mike, Obama grew up in Kenya? Of course, Huckabee says Obama was born in Hawaii, so he is not a “Birther”, but now we are told he was brought up in Kenya, the home of his father, who left his mother when Obama was two years old! When caught in a controversy over the remark, Huckabee now says, oh he meant to say Indonesia, where Obama did live for a few years with his mother when she had a second marriage with an Indonesian man. So Mike does not know the difference between Kenya and Indonesia, and one wonders if he can point them out on the map and knows anything about either nation.

Oh, and if Obama lived in Indonesia, then how does he understand the British differently, when it was the Dutch who controlled Indonesia until after World War II?

And also, since Kenya and Indonesia were both independent BEFORE Obama was born, how would he have a “different” view of either the British or the Dutch, Mike, heh?

Then, we have Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, the head of the Budget Committee, who tells us that he is not thrilled with “Romneycare”, anymore than he is with “Obamacare”, a real knock at Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts, even before he enters the Presidential race!

And Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma tells us that Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House in the mid 1990s, is indeed a bright fellow, but is also divisive and confrontational, and does not bring out the better side of people, and how is he supposed to unite the nation and be effective as President? And by the way, back in 1996, Coburn was a House member and led a move to oust Gingrich as Speaker, which failed. And Coburn also makes clear that Gingrich’s morality, having three wives and cheating on the first two, is not a good character image for a President of the United States!

With so much bad mouthing going on, and so much inaccurate and damaging statements being made, one wonders how the GOP is going to unite around anyone to oppose President Obama, and remember, we are not even factoring in the influence of the large freshman class of Republicans in the House plus a few in the Senate, who are proud to call themselves Tea Party people!

So it will be fun to watch as events develop, and here it is ONLY March 2!

Defense Secretary Robert Gates And Future Land Wars In The Middle East, Africa And Asia

A few days ago, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, speaking at West Point, made a very interesting observation regarding land wars and the American future.

He stated that if any future Secretary of Defense was to suggest to a future President that the United States engage in a massive land war invasion in the Middle East, Africa or Asia, that he should have his head examined!

This is a very outspoken statement for a person who is highly regarded, and has served in the CIA and other delicate national security and defense positions, and has been an outstanding Secretary of Defense during the last two and a half years of the Bush Administration and the first two plus years of the Obama Administration.

Gates has been a refreshing and inspirational leader, as he has also made clear that there is waste and fraud in the Defense Department that needs to be cleaned up to save money in the national budget. After having witnessed the tragedy of Robert McNamara during the Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson Administrations and Donald Rumsfeld in the second Bush Administration, committing us to what turned out to be long, drawn out, disastrous wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, it is indeed time for this nation to realize that it is our engagement in foreign wars, trying to impose our values on alien societies, that has led to mass loss of life on all sides and come close to bankrupting us!

The answer for the future is not committing our young men and women to impossible causes in the interests of the defense industries and those who wish to spread Christian doctrines around the world. Rather, it is to work to promote our own internal security from terrorism and to advocate advancement of our society from within!

So Robert Gates should be saluted for his courageous statement, and it makes one wonder: What is Barack Obama’s plan for the future? Isn’t there enough evidence already that it is time to withdraw ground forces from Afghanistan and get out of Iraq and work on the economic problems of this country, which would be so much better if we cut our defense budget from what has become a total tragedy economically, our constant warfare on the battlefields of Asia and the Middle East?

The Wisconsin State Senate Democrats, The US Senate Republicans, And Minority Rights In A Legislative Body

The Wisconsin State Senate Democrats, 14 in total, have been staying away from the state capital in Madison in protest of Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to destroy collective bargaining for public employees in the state. Without them present, the legislation that Governor Walker wants to impose cannot be accomplished. There are those Republicans and conservatives who are outraged at what this band of 14 is doing, and some have called for them to have their seats declared vacant and hold new elections, or to have their paychecks suspended until they return.

At the same time, Republicans and conservatives have no issue with the Republican minority in the US Senate using the tactic of a threatened filibuster to stop action on legislation or nominations desired by President Obama and the Democratic majority in that body. They talk of the rights of the minority to express their voice, and to bottleneck action, as an element of democracy, even though never before has the use of the filibuster been so abused, as it has been by the Republicans over the past four years with a Democratic majority Senate.

This is all pure hypocrisy, and the Republicans and conservative interests cannot have it both ways–to bottleneck action in the US Senate, but protest and denounce Democrats for the same tactic in the state legislature of Wisconsin, and also for a while in Indiana, as well.

The old saying is: “What is good for the goose, is good for the gander!” When both parties, nationally and in the states, decide the rule of the majority should be honored, without blockage tactics by the minority, then government can best work, and the minority always has the right to try to reverse actions by appealing to the people to overturn the majority party in the next election. And if that does not happen, so be it!