Thursday, April 22

SOMETIMES WE GET WHAT WE DESERVE


I'm one of those who has been a bit downcast because the most recent polls show GWB not only not losing ground during what is arguably the worst month of his presidency, but actually GAINING on Kerry. It's not because of the polls themselves, however. I know it's a long way until November. What depresses me is what the polls say about Americans. Majorities still believe that Saddam and Al Qaeda were positively linked and that WMD have actually been found in Iraq. Okay, America, if you don't care enough about our nation's future (and the lives of our soldiers) to stay informed, you just might get what you deserve. Too bad your fellow citizens who DO keep informed will go down the tubes along with you.

HOW, for instance, can we not care that the US is forbidden by that $87 billion piece of legislation to do anything about fraud on the part of our contractors? If Halliburton overcharges us by $100 million or a few billion, THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT???? And what's this about in the Medicare Prescription Benefit bill FORBIDDING states to negotiate for better drug pricing? In both cases (and there are countless others), it is so obvious as to be painful that the only beneficiaries of either clause are the contractors and the drug companies. And mercury in the water? Who cares if children and babies are brain-damaged as a result? WHAT ABOUT AMERICANS? I would say come on, George, who do you think you're kidding? except for the fact that there are a majority of Americans who just swallow whatever outrage this administration throws at us and bless dear Lord George Bush for taking care of our homosexual and abortion problems and ushering us into the new millennium wherein Israel wil rebuild the temple, good Christian folks will be raptured away from all the problems they're leaving everyone else, and Armageddon will destroy the world, leaving those good folks to rule forevermore.

Remember, I'm a Christian. Nowhere in the Bible can I find a reference to the Father or Jesus telling anyone to just trash the earth and the people on it in expectation that Christ will come and destroy it anyway.

Next time George gets all "patriotic" and holier than thou on us, I wish someone in the press would ask about those special deals and how they make for a better America.

I pray too, George. And I pray you'll be back in Crawford Texas in 2005 to stay. Maybe you'll get what YOU deserve.

WHY NO DEAD OR WOUNDED SOLDIERS ON TV?


Hesiod wonders: "Moreover, why don't they EVER show the injured or dead bodies of our soldiers or marines?"

For anyone who lived through the VietNam War years, that's the sixty-four thousand-dollar question. For years we ate supper while watching the news on TV, which EVERY NIGHT included reports from war correspondents, including showing real firefights, the wounded (and in color, the blood was very vivid) and dead being carried out on stretchers. Families would watch intently, hoping for a glimpse of a loved one. Remember "Summertree," the Michael Douglas film that at the end shows his mother (Barbara Bel Geddes, if memory serves) watching TV and seeing him carried off, bloody and maimed, on a stretcher?

It's obvious that BushCo doesn't want such vivid images disturbing the American public -- they might actually start to wonder if it's worth it! But what I'd like to know is, who makes the decision for the news bureaus? Can the military or the administration actually keep them from filming and displaying such shots? Is there a law supporting such censorship? Either way, what happened to a free press? If the news bureaus are self-censoring, WHY? Are they so cowed by their corporate owners? It's been more than sickening watching the way the SCLM (so-called liberal media) toadies to the Bush camp. Is their intention to turn all news outlets into subsidiaries of Fox News? God help us.

Buchanan on Bush

Listened to Pat Buchanan on Don Imus this morning. Imus asked him what he thought was the source of Bush's obsession with Iraq.

Pat Buchanan: "I think there are two sources for the President, this commitment, which I think is going to lead to real tragedy for George W. Bush as it did for Woodrow Wilson. The first source is his religious faith I think. I think George Bush is a true believer. I think he has accepted Jesus Christ in his heart and he has become something of an evangelical and there is a messianic streak in here that he has been called to change the world after 9/11. I think that is one source of it. The second is the neoconservatives who are writing a lot of his stuff. You can go through and analyze his speeches and that security statement of his, his West Point address and you see in there wilsonian ideas that George W. Bush didn't pick up in Midland, Odessa or Crawford, Texas. I think he has embarked upon a course which is going to lead to immense tragedy for this country. We cannot recreate Vermont or Mesopotamia with American arms . I think the President is trying to do this and I think it's going to end in real sadness. I'm afraid he is being used by these neoconservatives for their own separate agenda  and  by Sharon for his own agenda. It was great victory we had there but failure is now an option in Iraq. Whether we like it or not. The President should lay out what it is we hope to achieve? How long will it take to achieve it? How many dead is it going to cost? How may tens or hundreds of billion of dollars is it going to cost? And if there is going to be quoted democracy in Iraq when we pull out, how long is this thing going to last?"

"WE DON'T WANT TO BE PLANTATION OWNERS"


Sully posts a note today from a military chaplain friend of his in Iraq re the Fallujah deal. Here's just a taste:

"This country became a welfare state under Saddam. If you cared about your well-fare [sic], you towed [sic] the line or died. The state did your thinking and your bidding. Want a job? Pledge allegiance to the Ba’ath party. Want an apartment, a car, etc? Show loyalty. Electricity, water, sewage, etc. was paid by the state. Go with the flow: life is good. Don't and you're dead. Now, what does that do to initiative? drive? industry?

"So, we come along and lock up sugar daddy and give these people the toughest challenge in the world, FREEDOM. You want a job? Earn it! A house? Buy it or build it! Security? Build a police force, army and militia and give it to yourself. Risk your lives and earn freedom. The good news is that millions of Iraqis are doing just that, and some pay with their lives. But many, many are struggling with freedom (just like East Germans, Russians, Czechs, etc.) and they want a sugar daddy, the U.S.A., to do it all. We refuse. We don't want to be plantation owners. We make it clear we are here to help, not own or stay. They get mad about that, sometimes."

Where on earth do such people get the idea that it's NOBLE of the USA to invade a foreign country (not at anyone's request unless you count Amadh Chalabi and his host of Iraqi exiles, nearly all of whom have turned out to be liars and/or crooks) and try to impose our own distinct form of government, culture, etc. upon the inhabitants -- and THEN to disparage them because they don't "appreciate" what we're doing for them. "We don't want to be plantation owners?" On the contrary, his attitude seems perfectly in line with the "nicer" plantation owners who couldn't understand why their slaves didn't appreciate that Papa was looking out for their best interests since they were incapable of doing so themselves. And while we're at it, if things were so good for the Iraqis under Saddam (a sugar daddy?), why does BushCo keep pounding on how terrible he was to his people?

If you listen to this guy, you'd become convinced that WMD was the ONLY justification for regime change, not to "liberate" the Iraqi people in a way they don't like or want -- and since we found no WMD, we ought to go home.

THIS GUY KNOWS


Letter to the Washington Post 4/22/04:

"Charles Krauthammer's April 16 op-ed column, "This Is Hardly Vietnam," protested too much. Officials of this administration, most of whom avoided service in Vietnam, do not want to be reminded of that fact or that war. They reject comparisons between the war they ducked and the war they started. The differences between the two are important, but so are at least three critical similarities.

"First, we entered both wars on lies. The Gulf of Tonkin attack never occurred. And Saddam Hussein posed no threat to us from weapons of mass destruction or from ties to al Qaeda.

"Second, the dominant ideology of the times (anti-communism for Vietnam and the war on terrorism for Iraq) masked our ignorance of our enemy's history, culture and dynamics.

"Third, as a result of our ignorance and arrogance, our military strategy was based on our capabilities -- mass firepower and high technology -- and not on the requirements of a successful counterinsurgency strategy.

"We are now doing in Iraq what we did in Vietnam. We are creating more enemies than we are killing. Our military never lost a major battle in Vietnam, and we will not lose one in Iraq. But we lost the Vietnam War, and without a radical change of course soon, we will lose the war in Iraq too."

DICK KLASS

Arlington

The writer, a retired Air Force colonel, is a consultant to veterans groups and a founder of a veterans political action committee.

UPDATE 4/29: I talked to Col. Klass this morning. He is founder of The Veterans Alliance for Security and Democracy Political Action Committee (VETSPAC). Their web site, about six weeks old, can be found here.at Col. Klass was head of Vets for Dean and has consulted with the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVF). He can be reached at dickklass@kininc.com. He is located in Arlington, Virginia.

Wednesday, April 21

GOOD CHRISTIANS ALL


GREAT article by Amy Sullivan of The Gadflyer about John Kerry's Catholicism and religiosity in politics here.

WHO'S RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, ANYWAY?


Just heard Lou Dobbs refer to Bush's position opposing reimportation of prescription drugs from Canada as "just as his predecessor, Bill Clinton." Who's running for president, anyway? I repeatedly hear comparisons between Bush and Clinton -- but Clinton isn't running for anything. This is a race between Bush and JOHN KERRY. Listening to the media you sometimes wonder (especially the right-wing whackos I can't resist listening to on the radio). What is it with this undying fascination with Bill and Hillary Clinton? How many jillions of dollars did the American taxpayers spend to prove that Bill and Hillary were guilty of nothing? Okay, okay, the Bill was indiscreet in his sexual encounter with Monica, and he MISLED the people (I won't say lie, because I know many, many men and women who don't count an unreturned fellatio as equal to "having sex" with that woman). Re Safire's op-ed today, this hardly equals the first JFK's record with women, or even Bush I's alleged infidelity (notice I say alleged). And it certainly doesn't come close to the peccadilloes of Newt Gingrich, Henry Hyde, et al, who were trying to impeach the man on that basis (HYPOCRISY THOU ART REPUBLICAN).

All I can figure is that Bill was just too-too a symbol of the sixties and seventies. He wore a beard, he admitted smoking pot (on a basis much more limited, I'm sure, than many in the current administration -- but it was OK for GWB to do coke!) when a student, he opposed the VietNam War and avoided the draft (at least he didn't sign up and then disappear, costing the nation approximately $1 million in training costs). He had no family connections or fortune to use in getting ahead, just his own merit. HOW DARE HE SUCCEED? And to top it all off, his wife didn't even use her married name!!!! We lived in Arkansas during a great deal of Clinton's governorship -- our county was the most Republican in the state. And do you know what disturbed our Repug friends the most? HILLARY USING HER MAIDEN NAME. Well, gosh, so did I at first. It WAS NOT UNCOMMON DURING THAT TIME.

I won't say let's get past this -- it's obvious the right wing won't allow it.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE SOUTHERN BAPTISTS?


At its national meeting in June the Southern Baptist Convention will decide whether or not to accept its executive committee's recommendation that it withdraw from the international Baptist World Alliance.

The Rev. Gary Smith, pastor of Fielder Road Baptist Church in Arlington and chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, said acceptance of the moderate fellowship was only one action indicating the liberal drift in the Baptist World Alliance.

"Increasingly the BWA is representative of Baptist bodies around the world that are very liberal in their view of Scripture," Smith said. "Increasingly conservative evangelical Baptist bodies are dissatisfied with BWA and are looking to [Southern Baptists] for leadership."

Now when I was growing up in a Southern Baptist home where we attended church "every time the doors were open," one of the things I loved about our denomination is that it was so inclusive of all Christians. In fact, the Baptist Faith and Message, the Southern Baptist's "creed," explicitly stated that Southern Baptists ascribe to only two doctrines: (1) the lordship of Jesus Christ; and (2) the priesthood of the believer. Now, if you don't believe the former, you probably ought to reconsider whether or not you are truly a Christian. And as to the latter, this merely refers to the New Testament teaching that Christ created a "priesthood of believers," i.e., there is no need for an earthly intercessor with God the Father (such as priests in the Catholic model), since Christ Himself is our intercessor with the Father. It also explicitly states that each believer is empowered by the Holy Spirit to interpret the scriptures themselves. Now maybe this makes for a theological controversy between Catholics and evangelicals, but it should not be viewed as sufficient to disqualify Catholics from their claim as Christians, since the source (i.e., The Bible) quotes Jesus as requiring only a recognition of Him as the Son of God and a surrender to His lordship as a qualifier as "Christian." I also loved that it was a cardinal tenet of the Convention that each individual church was independent and under no compulsion to conform other than to accept the basic tenets of the Baptist Faith & Message that I have just outlined.

Now the Southern Baptist Convention has changed radically in the past 20 years. Paige Patterson, now President of Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary (the world's largest seminary) and retired Houston judge Paul Pressler spearheaded an effort beginning in the 1970's to remove "liberal" seminary professors and others from the Southern Baptist environs. "Liberal" may be interpreted as opposing traditional evangelical values (such as women not speaking in church). It may also be interpreted as opposing Republican Party values, since it began distancing itself from the traditional Southern Baptist position in favor of separation of church and state.

My husband attended that very same seminary that Patterson now heads. Many wonderful and dedicated Christian administrators and professors have been removed in order to deliver total control to the conservative movement.

Now the Southern Baptists are expected to withdraw from the Baptist World Alliance, which Southern Baptists founded, because the BWA accepted as members a denomination the Southern Baptists consider a "dissident" faction of the SBC. It saddens me greatly to see the lack of love and conciliation between Christian brethren when we have been so clearly bidden to focus on what unites us (love and devotion to Christ) rather than what divides us (e.g., acceptance or nonacceptance of homosexuals, abortion rights, separation of church and state, the "hard sayings" of Christ).

LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE


I am getting so tired of the LIARS! And most of all, the liars who lie for a living (Rush, Sean, Savage, Coulter, etc.). Last week on a new Dallas radio talk show, Town Hall Radio, I heard some dimwit repeating the thoroughly discredited tale that the Jersey Girls (9/11 widows that pushed for the establishment of the 9/11 commission) were financed and directed by Teresa Heinz Kerry via the Tides Foundation. As I recall, the Tides Foundation has made it perfectly clear that the Jersey Girls have nothing to do with 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, which pays the Tides F. a fee to process their donations, and nothing else. And the Heinz Foundation used Tides to funnel something around $50,000 to environmental projects in western Pennsylvania in the late 1990's, and NOTHING ELSE.

This morning I heard Darrell Ancarlo ("Ancarlo Mornings") mocking John Kerry's heroic military service, reading Kerry's Bronze Star citation in a voice similar to "The Shadow" -- mucho drama and sarcasm dripping from his thin lips. And THIS from a man who (like so many right-wing radio wackos) professes to HONOR military service and defended the Chimp's spotty Texas Air National Guard service record on the grounds that "at least he enlisted!" Okay, if they object to Kerry's post-service anti-war activities, they have the right to express that, even though I'm not aware of a single one of the afore-mentioned ever having served their country in uniform, much less having been wounded and/or risking their own life saving the life of another, as Kerry most certainly did. But they have no moral right to belittle Kerry's heroism to support their own bias.

DOESN'T ANYONE REMEMBER what it was like in the later years of the VietNam War? Very similar to the current conflict in Iraq in these respects:
(1) politicians were running the war instead of the generals;
(2) politicians were lying to the nation about the progress of the war;
(3) our fighting men were mostly boys drafted because they couldn't afford or gain entry to college, National Guard duty and other deferments that saved the hides of the more affluent;
(4) these young men were ordered or encouraged to exhibit animalistic behavior;
(5) lower-echelon officers such as Calley and Medina were crucified for such behavior while their masters went unpunished;
(6) these young men died for nothing. VietNam today is a united country, and communism has been pretty much discredited in most of the world.
(7) we didn't take much better care of our wounded than we're doing today -- soldiers just don't seem to count to some people unless they're on the front line -- and judging by how poorly equipped our men and women are in this conflict, not even then. When I was a teen, the best surfer in our town came back from Nam with no legs -- and the military wouldn't provide prosthetic ones for some reason that escapes me now. Our city threw a fit and eventually he got those prosthetics, but I penned a poem at the time that included the line, "The surfer man returned to town but with a certain lack; the government took his legs from him and wouldn't give them back."

Where John Kerrey is going wrong is in not remembering what he felt when he said, "How do you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake?" The invasion of Iraq was a criminal mistake, and I don't want one more American soldier to die for that mistake -- Bush's mistake, Cheney's mistake, Rumsfeld's mistake, Rice's mistake -- and yes, Colin Powell's mistake. Say what you will, Colin, about "good soldiering" -- that's the same excuse the Nuremberg defendants used.

Sunday, April 18

REPUBLICAN DOES NOT EQUAL THE GOSPEL


Last night our daughter was installed as president of her Lions' Club chapter, and since it is a new one, folks from Lions' Club chapters all over the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex (I counted almost 20 chapters represented) attended the dinner event to get the new group off to a good start. Listening to the elderly keynote speaker I was struck by the goodness and charity in the hearts of these fine people, the salt of the American earth. Though I am a Christian believer, I was, however, struck by the constant references to Christ, the gospel music choir that entertained, and the benediction that more or less validated the BushCo philosophy of war (Iraq-wise), i.e., that we are waging a battle against evil.

Most of my family was charmed, and in some ways so was I. After all, it all seemed so familiar -- much like a Baptist prayer meeting, or an evangelical missions meeting. And after all, isn't the motivation of these people, like my own, to do good as Christ commanded us? So what could I object to?

I guess I objected to the fact that we weren't in church, so the assumption that we were all on the same religious page could not be made (I reference the fact that there was a family in the audience that was clearly of Arab origins). And maybe I'm obsessive about my Progressive values, so I was appalled that anyone could assume that we're all in favor of the Chimp's most recent war and see the holiness in its mission. But that being said, I was most moved by the dedication of these middle-class Americans sacrificing their time and money to better their communities by helping the "least of [Christ's] brethren."

These are the people I've known all my life, the people my good parents surrounded me with. My dad was a Lion and a Baptist deacon. My mother was state president of the Women's Missionary Union. I love these people. I know them. I don't want to fight with them.

But they hate homosexuals. They believe that Bush is on a holy mission from God to bring freedom and "American" values to the world. Too many of them believe that poverty is a sign of moral failure and riches a sign of moral superiority. They believe America is a Christian nation, which means that Christianity is the quasi-official state religion, and the mission of the United States is to share those blessings of understanding with the world.

I am often reminded of the Congregationalist missionaries to Hawaii in the 19th century who thought "Christian values" meant the Hawaiians should shed their native apparel and don stifling high-necked woolen dresses and suitcoats, and I don't know how to express convincingly to our dear American brethren that "American values" are not synonymous with Christianity. Our form of government is not necessarily suited to every other grouping of humans, and is not the sine qua non of civilization. I happen to be very fond of the republic and democracy, but nothing in the Bible indicates that only they have validity.

Jimmy Carter recently ruminated on how the "Christian right isn't Christian." It was an essay I understood. While I believe that most evangelicals are sincere in wanting to follow the teachings of Christ, they are being misled by pastors and politicians who make a show of their religiosity, but are in fact ignoring the "hard sayings" of Christ, to "share with anyone who asks you for anything," to "turn the other cheek." I remember listening to Billy Graham in an interview some years past reflecting on his career. At some point, he said, he made the mistake of equating Christianity with Americanism and thus with Republicanism. I was overjoyed that this fine man finally understood that we are to "spread the glad tidings" but nowhere did God indicate that we were to enforce it with a gun or even the law. Christianity, like all faiths, is a choice and commitment that one must make in one's innermost heart -- it cannot be coerced. And Americanism, or the American way, is the same. We cannot impose our will, when it is not in self-defense, on another, or on another nation.

So how do we as progressives, or Democrats, reach these good people? How do we convince them that the Republican Party Platform is not the Gospel of Christ, and the "social gospel" is better served under Democrats, who at the very least will try to ensure that the "least of these" are not forgotten in our budget while the richest and most powerful reap unearned rewards.

OBSCENITY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER


From a Rush Limbaugh transcript, April 15:

"Once again here, all of a sudden Hillary is side by side with John Kerry? There are so many possibilities here, I don't know that I have time to go through them all. We could list a couple of them. Probably at the top of the list -- I'm not making this up -- probably the top of the list the Clintons -- look, folks, it does not take a wizard. Ray Charles could see what I see about John Kerry. If I see it, so can the Clintons. Now, if Hillary is to run in 2008, this party's got to survive, they may be thinking now they need to join this just to save the party. To hell with winning anything this year. They may just need to save the party so there's still a foundation from which and on which to run in 2008. There's also the possibility that Hillary wants to be on the VP ticket so that she dispels the notion that the Clintons are sabotaging the campaign and so that she can also go out there and really be the star. She'd be the star because she'll be the one bringing excitement to it. And, by the way, she'll get all kinds of criticism and the Republicans will launch all they've got at her, and she'll endure that. They know that they're pretty confident Kerry is going to lose and if Kerry wins there's always Fort Marcy Park. So they're rolling the dice on this."

As Orcinus and No More Mister Nice Blog point out, Fort Marcy Park is where Vince Foster's body was found. Vince Foster's suicide has been repeatedly alleged by right-wing fruitcakes as a cover-up of a murder -- by Hillary Clinton. So what Rush is saying here is that if Kerry wins, and Hillary is his VP, the Clintons will murder Kerry so she can inherit the presidency.

Now someone please explain to me why it's okay for Rush and his cohorts to make these simply obscene unfounded accusations but Howard Stern is dangerous to the public.

BTW, the title at the top of my browser over Rush's transcript read, "John F---ing Kerry" -- the moral majority at work in all its hypocrisy. Don't SAY the word -- but SPREAD the word.

SUPPORTING OUR TROOPS


As a military brat who opposed the wars in Viet Nam and Iraq but supported the invasion of Afghanistan, I have never understood why it is virtually impossible to make the vast majority of my family understand that opposing a war does not mean opposing the troops who fight it. My dad, who was a career officer in the Air Force, did understand, but he was practically the only one. My fighter jock brother-in-law, whom I adore, firmly believes that anti-war activities are tantamount to giving aid to the enemy, and in general most other family members agree with him.

While news accounts relate that more and more military families are becoming disenchanted with George W. Bush, you'd never know it from listening to my family. It makes me wonder if perhaps those that are vocally splitting from the Repugs are short-term military as opposed to second- or third-generation military families with a strong military tradition.

When my daughter joined the Air Force shortly after Gulf War II began, "the family" congratulated me on my new-found wisdom (they assumed I had changed my opposition to the war just because I voiced support for HER) and were appalled to learn that I was every bit as antiGW's war as ever. What causes this disconnect? When I say I support our troops in not wanting to put them in harm's way unnecessarily, how can that be perceived as undermining them?

"Life is like two locked boxes, each containing the key to the other." -- Piet Hein

"True wisdom must comprise some foolishness as a compromise, lest fools should fail to find it wise." -- Piet Hein

KERRY VS. CONDI


Well, I just listened to John Kerry on Meet the Press and Condi Rice on This Week. The contrast was sharp. Kerry answered Tim Russert's questions directly and in the manner of a leader. Condi spun and spun all around the two Georges. You could see Wills squirming in anger? frustration? simple disagreement? Russert really gave it to John Kerry -- he didn't spare him a single rash action/statement from throughout his career. A couple of times, he even started speechifying to Kerry. But Kerry took the whole thing with characteristic aplomb, spoke candidly and confidently, and appeared statesmanlike. He even came back at Tim with one of HIS incorrect statements from 2000 regarding Social Security/Medicare.

I don't agree with John Kerry on everything. I'm a Deaniac and an Anybody-But-Bush Democrat. But during the Russert confrontation I was SO PROUD that he's representing our party right now. He makes George W. Bush look like what he is -- a fumbling, igorant, incurious, arrogant, criminal failure.

A NEW CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE


Cities must realize they have the power to break unjust laws. Most unjust laws do not enjoy sufficient popular support for the oppressive response required by state and federal agencies, to impose their will on local communities. Most unjust laws in America are not supported by most Americans, and when they are, it is of small conviction. This is natural in that unjust laws tend to have been written in favor of small and powerful minorities to the great misfortune of most men. Unjust laws tend to oppress and so tend not to inspire men toward their defense.

Now a lesson may be observed here of great value to those that would live under just laws, chiefly those made closest to home. We have the most freedom the closer our decision making is kept to home (once a conservative conviction). Public opinion will not sustain the level of oppression required to impose the will of the federal government on a local community when that community unites to break an unjust law. Without the support of the public, the government is paralyzed and its citizens are free. The people of the United States do not support the incursion of federal agencies to enforce/impose laws on large dissenting populations, such as that of a city or state. They will not support such action unless inspired by a great moral injustice, such as the segregated Alabama school system, which was forcefully integrated under JFK. And that was for the RIGHT thing.

Conversely, the American people would not support the federal government in any effort that sought to seriously subvert the local political process. If a city had the courage, they could defy the federal government when unjust and live under no law save for their own. If a city's populace and its local government are united in one voice, it cannot be silenced. Federal authorities would have to remove the local government and/or take charge of local police forces. At the end of the day, the only way to enforce anything is at the point of a gun. And if someone in the federal government seeks to point that gun at a dedicated, dissenting population, the degree of coercion necessary for them to succeed will, in the final analysis, turn many of even their closest supporters against them and any remaining will to interfere will be spent.

Much, of course, depends upon the willingness of the local population to suffer for their beliefs. It is when others view this suffering that the hearts and minds of public opinion are won. If the local community is not willing to protest, be jailed, maced and beaten, then their cause stands little chance. It will probably never come to such a scene, but if all that is necessary for the federal government to succeed is to have a federal task force arrive and start telling the locals how it's all going to work from now on, then victory cannot be reasonably expected. Nor deserved.

(Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.)

Slide our ship o'er the ocean blue and foam,
And though we journey, we shall be at home.
Now let's begin.