Category: "culture/news"

The evils of Socialism

Today George Bush exercised his veto power for the fourth time in his presidency to stop a bill that would provide heath care to around 6 million children. He said the bill was too expensive and it could be the beginning of a shift to Socialized Medicine [cue the spooky music].

Good for him. It's about time someone stood up against the evils of Big Government Socialism. I look forward to seeing what he can do to deal with this problem in other areas as well:

Education

America's children have been on the dole too long when it comes to education. It's time to cut the red tape. Bush should propose an initiative to cut all federal, state and local funding for schools. Private corporations can buy the school buildings and turn them into private schools. Rich people can send their kids to great schools, middle class students can have mediocre schools, and children whose parents can't afford private school tuition can find gainful employment at their local mine or factory.

Fire protection

Ever noticed how most fire engines are Red? Coincidence? Bush still has a year to privatize the nation's fire departments. There's no need to waste government money putting out every little fire that starts. Let people pay private firms and when a fire starts, the private FD can put out the blaze without going through any red tape (provided the homeowner has paid their fees). The poorest citizens won't have to worry about this change because they don't have homes to worry about.

Law enforcement

Right now we have socialized law enforcement. Police, judges and prison guards are all paid from the government treasury. This is a slippery slope toward Communism. What people need is choice. People should be free to maintain their own militia or bodyguards if they want protection from burglars and murderers. Once your bodyguard captures a bad guy, you can simply pay to have him placed in a nearby private prison. This could be a way for Walmart to produce more goods stateside. Those that can't afford their own protection or legal representation still have options. They can arm themselves, hide in a cave or move to a country with socialized police.

Road construction

Why do people feel entitled to roads? If Bush really wants to fight the dangers of Socialism, he'll move to privatize roads and highways. Every road will be a toll road and/or lined with billboards. But it's a small price to pay to know that we're doing it the capitalist way.

Military

Bush has already made great strides toward privatizing the military, but there's more work to be done. Sure, we have 20,000 to 100,000 armed contractors in Iraq now, but why not disband the entire Department of Defense and contract the whole thing out to Blackwater? A private company can do the job cheaper and won't be bound by international treaties and quaint conventions. Perhaps one of the possible successors to George Bush will be able to see this plan through. Mitt Romney has already brought a Blackwater vice chairman on board as his national security advisor.

Mr. President, there will be many more socialist bills crossing your desk between now and that sad day when someone else becomes the decider. I look forward to seeing you fight for our capitalist way of life.

36 Nations?

When I watched President Bush's Thursday night address, I expected to see him paint a rosy picture of the Iraq war. I expected to see him gloss over the difficulties and bend the truth as far as possible to avoid admitting that the war was a mistake. He did all of that, of course, but this time he went a step further and told a lie that is easy to debunk.

To the international community: The success of a free Iraq matters to every civilized nation. We thank the 36 nations who have troops on the ground in Iraq and the many others who are helping that young democracy.
(Whitehouse.gov)

Thirty-six nations!? Several sites have fact-checked this:

Talking Points Memo
FactCheck.org
The Washington Post
Wonkette
TPMmuckraker.com

The State Department puts the number at 25. The total number of non-US troops is around 11,000 and falling steadily.

See the Dragon in Google Earth

I found the locations mentioned in See the Dragon and added them to Google Earth. To find some of the spots I had to overlay Vietnam maps from the internet into Google Earth. The .kmz file with all of the locations and maps is available at SeeTheDragon.com/maps.

See the Dragon kmz screenshot

See the Dragon (Hardback)

I just got my proof copy of Don Arndt's See the Dragon: One Wolfhound's Vietnam Story in hardback and it looks great, so I made it available for purchase. Now we have three versions available: PDF download ($9.99), paperback ($14.99) and hardback ($26.99). If you're interested in learning about the Vietnam War from the perspective of a Missouri farmboy that was drafted, then you might enjoy this book. If you like the book (or if you just take my word for it) then you can help us promote the book. A quick link to seethedragon.com on your site would be a big help. And we'd love to have someone read the book and write a review on Lulu.com.

See the Dragon

Don Arndt, a friend of mine wrote a book about the year he spent in Vietnam in 1966. I helped to edit and typeset it and then we listed in on Lulu.com, a print on demand self-publishing site. You can read more about the book and find the links to order it on SeeTheDragon.com. The paperback version is available now and we should have hardback ready soon, too.

Rove quits

Proving the old adage that even rats know to abandon a sinking ship, Karl Rove stepped down from his job as advisor to President Bush. It's funny how family suddenly becomes a top priority when you're being called to testify before congress.

This quote reveals his view of congressional oversight:

When asked for his reaction to those who say he's being "run out of town," Rove responded, "That sounds like the rooster claiming to have called up the sun."

Perhaps most interesting is Rove's view of democracy as revealed by this statement:

What about those who say he's leaving to avoid Congressional scrutiny? "I know they'll say that," he says, "But I'm not going to stay or leave based on whether it pleases the mob."

US Military

Nobody asked me, but . . .

Our military is both too large and too small. Our military is too big during peacetime and the money we use to have a large standing army, bases around the world and nuclear weapons (which would be immoral to ever use) is enormous. That money could be better spent elsewhere. Yet, when we do get into a war, as we have in Iraq, our military is too small. We're asking people in the military to do multiple 15-month tours in Iraq, and we're still not securing that country.

In the future, I think we should have a much smaller military during peacetime. Enough force to defend our own country from credible threats should be sufficient. I imagine that most of the host countries would be happy to see us close our bases. (Would you want China or Germany to have an army base next door to you.) If some unfriendly country starts to get close to our strength, we can always increase the size of our military. At the moment, no one is the world is even close to use, and the highest spenders behind us are friendly toward us.

What happens when we have to fight a war? We do what we've done almost every large-scale war in our history: draft an army. As unpopular as conscription is, it has a lot of advantages. The nation at large has to be behind a war effort for a draft to work. If a war isn't worth asking Americans to sacrifice, then we shouldn't enter it. If the American people are not convinced that a war justifies a draft, then the case for war is too weak. If a war has to be started more quickly than we can raise an army through a draft, then it's too hasty.

We need to get over the idea that we can fight a cheap, fast or easy war. If our commander in chief had to resort to conscription to start a war, there would be fewer wars.

Fun facts about John Wayne

Here are some fun facts about iconic man's man, John Wayne, taken mostly from Wikipedia:

Birth name: Marion Robert Morrison

City of birth: Winterset, Iowa

His name was changed to Marion Michael Morrison when his parents decided to name their next son Robert.

His family moved to California when he was four.

Wayne applied to the U.S. Naval Academy, but was not accepted. He instead attended the University of Southern California (USC), majoring in pre-law.

A bodysurfing injury cut his college football career short.

Without his athletic scholarship he had to drop out of school and start working in the prop department of a film studio.

A director and a studio executive came up with his stage name. Wayne wasn't present for the meeting.

After he started acting, stuntmen taught him horseback riding.

Wayne was married and divorced three times.

All three of his wives were hispanic women.

He was exempt from the WWII draft because of his age (34). Many other actors enlisted, and Wayne considered it, but continually postponed it until "after he finished one more film."

Wayne's third wife, Pilar, wrote, "He would become a 'superpatriot' for the rest of his life trying to atone for staying home."

He was a Freemason.

He smoked five packs a day until he got lung cancer and had his lung removed in 1964. He switched to tobacco and cigars after that.

Wayne actively campaigned for Richard Nixon.

In a 1971 interview, Wayne said, "I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility."

Wayne had several high-profile affairs.

Wayne was approached by Mel Brooks to play the part of The Waco Kid in the film Blazing Saddles. After reading the script he said, "I can't be in this picture, it's too dirty...but I'll be the first in line to see it."

Revolutionary and Iraq Wars

Wonkette.com in their usual sarcastic tone, had this to say about a speech Bush gave yesterday:

Bush compares Iraq to the American Revolutionary War. But in the way, obviously, that makes the exact opposite of sense. Apparently the wealthy foreign occupying power are the scrappy colonists, and the local insurgents represent Great Britain.

The Onion weighs in, too.

Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney likes his office to operate in secret, starting from his second week as Vice President. Now this:

For four years, Vice President Dick Cheney has resisted routine oversight of his office’s handling of classified information, and when the office in charge of overseeing classification in the executive branch objected, the vice president’s office suggested that the oversight office be shut down, according to documents released today by a Democratic congressman.

The oversight office, a unit of the National Archives, appealed the issue to the Justice Department, which has not yet ruled on the matter.

-- New York Times (June 22, 2007)

Well, at least we know that the Justice Department will be absolutely impartial and apolitical.

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