Saturday, April 10, 2010
Afghanistan looking like wrong war
While the eyes of our nation have been focused for the past year on the health- care debate and Tiger Woods, our government continues to slog along in the war in Afghanistan, draining the nation's human and financial resources.
Congressional Report estimates that in the past 10 years the U.S. has spent $300 billion on this war, and the surge authorized by President Obama, following the Bush strategy, will add another $13 billion per year to this total. For what?
At a time when resources are desperately needed at home - for jobs, repair and development of infrastructure, health care and a hundred other needs, we are spending human lives and billions of dollars in support of a corrupt regime mismanaged by a feckless, corrupt leader.
More than three decades ago Martin Luther King Jr. delivered an eloquent and irrefutable speech in New York's Riverside Cathedral condemning the Vietnam War for its disastrous effect on the spiritual and material welfare of this nation.
How right King was, and how instructive are the parallels to our current situation in Afghanistan. Some wars are absolutely necessary - to stop an Adolf Hitler. But like the Vietnam conflict, the war in Afghanistan looks more and more like the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time, with little or no credible justification.
John F. Desmond
American citizens must take action
Plutarch, 1st century Greco-Roman biographer/historian, wrote "The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits." Little did he realize he was describing a 21st century U.S. president named Barack Obama.
Our current destroyer of American liberties swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. In my opinion, he lied.
Obama has not only ignored the Constitution, he even denounced it, saying on video that the document is "deeply flawed" and "imperfect." In another interview, speaking of the Warren Court's interpretation of the Constitution, he stated, "(They) didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution ... generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties; says what the states can't do to you, what the federal government can't do to you, but it doesn't say what the state government or federal government must do on your behalf."
He's wrong, of course. In addition to laying out constraints that ensure limited governmental power (whereby our government remains a slave to the people and not the other way around), the Constitution does in fact list everything the government must do for you: Providing the common defense, ensuring national security and other basic issues the founders felt fulfilled the goals of the Preamble. None of those issues included forced universal health care, controlling banks and auto manufacturers, over taxation or "spreading the wealth around."
Obama blamed the Founding Fathers for not including Marxist-type "redistribution of wealth" ideology. He also criticized the civil-rights movement for not bringing about "redistributive change."
This is just the beginning of the unconstitutional agenda of the Obama regime. Google "timeline of the Democrats' health-care package" and you will find 84 major provisions over the coming years including dozens of Medicare cuts, penalties and tax increases.
Additionally, 159 new boards and programs are being created to form a huge bureaucracy to manage the new health-care program. Benjamin Franklin wrote, "When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."
If the progressive Democrats aren't removed from power in 2010 and 2012 elections, the republic our founders created in 1787 may indeed, eventually, be finished.
That is, unless significant numbers of American citizens - and the Supreme Court - refuse to let them get away with not only "fundamentally changing" but destroying this country.
Roaming cats a threat to birds
I appreciated the excellent article in the April 4 Union-Bulletin about feral cats and the Trap, Neuter and Release Program.
I was surprised there was no mention of the related problem of the ever-growing number of free-roaming pet cats that infest Walla Walla. These are the so-called pet cats that are allowed by their owners to roam the neighborhoods and do all the things that cats do.
In 1995, Walla Walla passed Ordinance 95-25 - Bird Protection. Chapter 6.17, (section 6.17.010, Walla Walla - A Bird Sanctuary) and section 6.17.020, molesting birds and bird eggs prohibited).
You cannot have a "bird sanctuary" when cats are allowed to roam and follow their natural instincts to kill birds. Do we want Walla Walla to become more of a "cat sanctuary" than a "bird sanctuary"?
Excellent information concerning the problem of free-roaming pet cats can be found on the Internet - enter "free-roaming pet cats," which will bring up sites from the Human Society of the United States, American Bird Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation and others. They promote the Cats Indoors Program, which will keep both the cats and birds safe.
Shakespeare Company transformed classrooms
Recently Walla Walla High School English teachers and many of their students had the privilege of working with several actors from the Seattle Shakespeare Company. Our teachers also received training from SSC Education Director Michelle Traverso.
This was made possible largely because of generous donations from Shakespeare Uncork'd of Walla Walla and the support of local businesses. We very much appreciate these groups and others who contributed time, money and effort on our students' behalf.
On March 25, the Union-Bulletin reported the details of the exciting opportunities that Walla Walla ninth-graders received. They enjoyed a weeklong residency of professional actors from SSC in classrooms at Wa-Hi, at DeSales and in Waitsburg. Our visiting actors taught students everything from stage fighting to the Elizabethan Pavanne circle dance.
For four days our classrooms were small theaters - books closed, desks against walls, students on their feet, stamping out iambic pentameter and learning the layers of Elizabethan clothing and social behavior and the beauty and humor of Shakespearean language.
As teachers we felt renewed and reawakened to the possibilities inherent in teaching Shakespearean works. This was a week to remember.
Students and teachers alike are grateful; we realize how fortunate we are to live in a community so supportive of the arts. Our hope is this support will continue so next year's freshman students may enjoy the same wonderful experience.
I am writing this on behalf of the Walla Walla High School ninth-grade grade English team.
Why would government be anti-American?
We Americans love our conspiracy theories. More than 40 years after President Kennedy was assassinated, we still argue about a government cover-up. Has our government told us the truth about UFOs? Did FDR plan Pearl Harbor? Did he, at least, know about it beforehand?
And what did the government know about 9/11 before it happened?
Really good conspiracy theories are stimulating, puzzling, intriguing, but having too much information available doesn’t help. "Puffery" works best. Questions of fact cannot be answerable.
It also helps if we are able to blame large, inscrutable institutions. Islam offers a good one. So does Blackwater, Haliburton, the banking industry. But the best of all is our own government.
Lately, we’ve been treated to some perfect conspiracy theories, attacking the Democrats and Mr. Obama. Is he a citizen? A Muslim? Do the Democrats have a socialist agenda? Are they leading us to communism? Fascism?
It helps that communism and fascism are impossible to define (Mao’s communism? An Israeli commune? The kind Jesus practiced with his disciples? The Camp Fire Girls, who meet in secret cell groups, wear red, and recite such patently subversive slogans as "Wohelo!")
The same applies to Hitler’s national socialism. How can we speak of the Third Reich and socialist Norway in the same breath? Or Canada’s socialized medicine? Or Medicare? In short, a conspiracy theory works best when we don’t know what we’re talking about.
Calling President Obama a "socialist," as many Republicans do, makes for a real classic. The same with "Muslim." But the perfect conspiracy theory turns Mr. Obama into the "anti-Christ".
It has all the ingredients. It’s supernatural, unknowable. We can’t agree on the terms. It has no facts we can deal with. Does the "anti-Christ" even exist? John Hagee knows, but we don’t. It’s terribly exciting — compelling — evil always is.
We can talk about it only in "Alice in Wonderland" language. And yet, 27 percent of Republicans believe our president is the "anti-Christ."
The theories would be laughable were there not a danger — they all suggest we shouldn’t trust our elected government. Who then can we trust? Corporations? Militias? Churches? Tea baggers?
A local writer, himself once actively involved in city politics, always refers to our government as "guv’mint," a denigrating, mocking, term suggesting our elected representatives are the enemy. Why our government would choose to be anti-American is a mystery, but it does make a grand conspiracy theory.
Rhetoric being used is concerning
The other day, during the drive home from work, I heard a news story regarding the arrest of a man threatening to kill Sen. Patty Murray because of her vote on the health-care bill.
Then, at home, I open the Union-Bulletin and find a letter from Mr. Meyers about the Minutemen, real Americans waking up and fighting back.
We elected a president and other public officials in 2008. That is what the Minutemen back in 1774 were fighting for — a representative government chosen in a free and fair election.
Lots of Americans voted in 2008. Some got the politician they voted for, some didn’t.
It’s the way our democracy works. And now those elected people are representing us in our government.
The previously elected administration spent eight years doing a lot of stuff I didn’t like. Never once did it occur to me those many policies, laws and other political actions deserved a call to arms and "fighting back" with anything besides my vote. Democracy is about registering your opinion in the voting booth. Everyone will get a chance again this November.
I am amazed at the rhetoric people who disagree with our current elected officials are now using. I hope it is only words. I support free speech; it’s an unalienable right in the Constitution. But the Union-Bulletin doesn’t have to print every letter it gets.
Opinion pieces expressing a viewpoint, yes; threats and calls to violence, no.
Approved wind project is criminal
Desert Claim is a 95-turbine wind project in Kittitas County, certified by the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council in December 2009 over the unanimous objections of the local residents, who clearly voiced their concerns in public hearings.
It was approved by Gov. Gregoire this February overriding decisions by the local planning commission, which voted to deny the use permit.
The official Washington state windspeed map clearly that the Desert Claim site, 5,000 acres north of Smithson Road, northwest of Ellensburg, has no wind.
A crime has been committed.
Return of pennies is a waste
My daughter sent a check payment to District Court for $22 for a $21.96 fine. The court sent the check back stating it had to be the exact amount! For 4 cents?
So this wasted two stamps, two envelopes, two checks — plus time. For the court it was a wasted stamp, envelope, paper stating had to be exact amount — plus time to do this!
Talk about waste! Stupid!
Why not cash it and throw 4 cents in garbage?
Fort Walla Walla Museum a must-see
The Walla Walla area is full of history. The new exhibit building is worth going to see. The exhibits are lovely. A lot of planning and hard work went into the project.
There is a lot of beauty in our area and a lot to see. We should take the time to really enjoy all of it.
Shary M. Jackson
Letters welcomeOur address is P.O. Box 1358, Walla Walla, WA 99362. If possible, e-mail letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is our intent to publish all letters that conform to our policies. Letters sent via e-mail occasional get caught in the U-B's spam filter. Letters submitted on paper, either hand written or typed, must be typeset. If you do not see your letter printed in a timely manner, usually within a week, contact the editorial page editor at 509-526-8309, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.