U.S. Politics
Michelle Obama Has Just Become Proud of America
So how has her husband's campaign for President changed Michelle Obama's feelings about the United States?

“For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country,” she told a Milwaukee crowd today, “and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.”

Hmm. I wonder if Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. has had a similar change of heart.
Defense Department and Wall Street Journal Declare War on the American Justice System
Last week, a senior attorney at the Department of Defense suggested that corporate clients should cease doing business with law firms whose attorneys provide pro bono services to Guantanamo detainees. In a radio interview, Charles D. Stinson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, listed 14 law firms whose attorneys are representing detainees, and encouraged corporate C.E.O.s to make the law firms "choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms." Mr. Stinson also insinuated that the law firms were being paid by enemies of America, when in reality, they are doing the work for free. The Wall Street Journal joined in this attack, with editorial board member Robert L. Pollock listing the law firm names on the paper's editorial page, and quoted an unnamed "senior U.S. official" as saying, "Corporate C.E.O.'s seeing this should ask firms to choose between lucrative retainers and representing terrorists."

Mr. Stinson is an attorney, and the Wall Street Journal is one of the nation's respected newspapers. What both attorney and newspaper should understand is that the American justice system is based on the adversarial system, whereby the truth is determined by each party represented by legal counsel advocating the party's position. To say that particular types of criminal defendants should not have attorneys, or more accurately, should not have good attorneys, and to threaten the livelihood of those attorneys who offer their services, is an attack on the legal system itself.

Mr. Stinson is in all likelihood a political appointee, and writing letters to President Bush will achieve nothing. However, informing the Wall Street Journal that its attack will hurt
its own bottom line may make the paper think twice the next time its editorial board considers working to undermine our legal system. I sent the email letter below to Bill Grueskin, the Wall Street Journal's Managing Editor. I suggest you do the same.

Bill Grueskin
Managing Editor
b.grueskin@wsj.com
The Wall Street Journal

Dear Mr. Grueskin:

I have been a subscriber to the Journal in the past, and was considering subscribing again. Not now, and not ever. Robert L. Pollock suggesting that corporations should drop law firms who do pro bono work for detainees is disgusting. Of course, there would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth if a suggestion were made that corporate defendants should not be allowed to have attorneys. However, Mr. Pollock seeks to punish those lawyers who offer their services to a different type of criminal defendant. In other words, you support the adversarial system as long as it is applied only to "people like you." The adversarial system is the foundation of our justice system. It only works when both sides have good legal counsel, no matter who the parties are. Since your organization does not believe that, and indeed, attacks the system itself and those who make it work, I pledge to never subscribe to your paper again, and will encourage others to not do so as well.
Another Reason For Not Drilling in Alaska
A White House spokesman confirmed on Saturday that President Bush is deciding whether to lift a ban on oil and gas drilling in federal waters off Alaska's Bristol Bay. The Bay is home to endangered whales and sea lions, and to the world's largest sockeye salmon run. Leases for drilling were canceled in 1989 after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Of course, protecting the environment is a good reason for not drilling for oil in Alaska. However, as our President rushes to pay back some of his biggest supporters, the oil companies, he forgets what he claims to be his strength: national security. Once our nation's domestic oil and natural gas reserves are gone, they will be gone for good, and we will be that much more dependent on foreign oil. And how much oil is there in Bristol Bay? Only enough to replace what the United States imports in 16 DAYS! Yes, our dear President is willing to trade away a finite national resource to pay back his oil buddies, and the net benefit will be delaying our importation of oil for just over two weeks.

So come on, any true conservatives out there. Talk some sense into that President of yours. The oil and gas reserves are like money in a bank account with an interest rate that will just keep getting higher, except it's money that can't be replaced once it's withdrawn. Feeding SUVs today for 16 days is not a justification for trading away our future economic independence. So even if you could not care less about whales, please do something to protect our nation's security.
Get On An Airplane, Give Up Your Rights
Having flown recently, I was reminded of the humiliation we now must submit to if we wish to travel somewhere on an airplane: remove your shoes, throw away all liquids, submit your personal belongings to idiots who barely made it out of high school. Based on an article I just read on ABCNews.com, it can get even worse once you get on the plane. You risk being arrested if you do any of the following: pray (if you're Muslim or an orthodox Jew), go to the restroom less than thirty minutes before the plane lands, ask if the pilots are drunk, put your head in your girlfriend's lap, or breast feed your child. Apparently, the renewed Patriot Act makes it a crime, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, for threatening a flight attendant, i.e., arguing. So I guess the lesson is, treat those flight attendants with the care you would give to a pit bull. They might not bite you, but they can destroy your life at their whim.
Rumsfeld Resigns. So What?
Although the big news today was the Democrats taking both houses of Congress, the bigger surprise was the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. For some time, Democrats in Congress have been calling for Rumsfeld's resignation. Inexplicably, they chose to hold Rumsfeld primarily responsible for the failed Iraq war, rather than President Bush. Of course, that just played into Bush's hand, enabling him to avoid taking responsibility for the war himself, and to now say that his nominee to replace Rumsfeld, Robert Gates, will offer a "fresh perspective." The Democrats appear to have bought into this. "I think it will give a fresh start to finding a solution to Iraq rather than staying the course," said Representative Nancy Pelosi.

Wrong. Anyone who believes the replacement of Donald Rumsfeld with Robert Gates will mean any kind of change is likely to be disappointed. One Bush-family confidante is being replaced by another, nothing more. Further, it ignores the fact that Vice President Cheney was just as much of an advocate and architect of the war as Rumsfeld.

A new Secretary of Defense will change nothing. The only change will come from the conclusion of the presidency of George W. Bush, whenever and however that occurs.
Two Parties, Out of Touch
In the United States, we are on the verge of midterm Congressional elections. Many believe that the Democratic Party will take control of one or both houses of the U.S. Congress. The Democrats are elated by the polls which predict this, and the Republicans dread it, especially President George W. Bush, who will lose all power to push through the legislation he wants if the Democrats take control. In a few days, we'll see if the polls were right. Whatever the result, however, nothing will change, much less improve. The problem is, both political parties are beholden to the same large multi-national corporations (pharmaceuticals, oil, insurance), whose interests have nothing to do with the average American. Likewise, neither party is willing to confront the problems that threaten to destroy this county: rising health care costs, rising foreign debt, dependence on foreign oil, loss of American jobs to exploited foreign workers, the poisoning of our air and water, and more than anything else, the constant erosion of our civil liberties. I believe more and more people are coming to realize that neither political party in the United States has their best, long-term interests at heart, and neither is equiped to insure that there will still be a United States of America by the end of this new century. One of my goals in creating this blog is to get the message out there that neither party has anything to offer, and one of them needs to change. The United States is in desperate need of a realignment of its political parties.