Opinion

Don’t fly the flag today. Burn it!

The American flag does not fly outside our home today. It usually does on July 4 but not this Fourth of July because I just can’t bring myself to celebrate an independence that isn’t or recognize a country that no longer stands for freedom.

In fact, I may start a bonfire on our front yard and burn every American flag we own, an act I feel is far more patriotic than any faux patriot who adorns his car, pickup truck or motorcycle with flags and salutes a nation that today is nothing more than an international bully that wages war on innocents without provocation.

Red meat for the right-wing

As a journalist, I am offended by the latest Republican assault on The New York Times and freedom of the press.

As an American, I am afraid for the future of my country when politicians so casually discard our founders’ belief that a free press is a necessary Constitutional guarantee.

The last time an American president went after the press with such a vengeance was during Richard Nixon’s second term. We all know how that one ended.

Signing away our freedom

President George W. Bush, through his use of “signing statements,” has declared himself, on more than 750 separate occasions, above the laws of Congress, the laws of the land and even the Constitution of the United States.

With each stroke of his pen, Bush wipes away more of the freedoms once guaranteed by the Constitution, undermines the system of checks and balances that is supposed to protect our government from despots and brings this nation closer and closer to the precipice.

His actions come, ironically, as the nation prepares to celebrate the birthday of its independence, an independence threatened as never before not by Islam-spouting madmen but by an opportunistic politician with a fountain pen.

The dream dies

A little over a year ago, I began dreaming of building a grassroots organization to pursue real, non-partisan reform of the hopelessly divided political system in this country.

That dream grew as people told me what a great idea it was and promised reams of help – both financially and voluntarily. We spent the early part of this year filing the necessary papers to operate in all 50 states, lining up Constitutional lawyers to help write legislation, and meeting with activists who promised lofty results with organizing around the country.

We launched in May with grandiose plans of presenting real reform proposals to Congress, setting up extensive election monitoring in the midyear elections along with real time review of media bias and developing a growing army of nonpartisan activists in every state to try and find real solutions to the many problems that face this nation.

On Friday, the dream dies an inevitable death: The Campaign for Our America shuts down – a victim of broken promises, unmet expectations and my own ego.

Pots, kettles and calling each other ‘black’

Funny thing about public scrutiny: It works both ways and those who want more of it soon find out such scrutiny can turn around and bite them in the ass.  So it’s fun watching the sanctimonious partisans who dominate the political blogs scream in anguish because one of their own is under a microscope.

Land of the watched, home of the spied upon

062506video.jpgI live in the mountains – deep in the mountains – of Southwestern Virginia, far away from what most call civilization.

You’ve heard of the proverbial town with one stop light? Our county has only one stop light, one permanent one since a construction project on U.S. 221 added four temporary stoplights to two bridges that the Virginia Department of Transportation is resurfacing and cut down to one-lane.

Yet even in my little backwoods hick county, I’m under video surveillance many times a day.

Let’s remember why America became America

Let’s consider, for a second or two, the current state of political debate. We can, I think, say with some certainty that this country is bitterly divided when it comes to government, politics, Iraq, the economy and the state of the nation.

The left berates the right, the right attacks the left, and the middle chastises both sides while just about everyone, including me, spews venom.

All of this, in the long run, accomplishes nothing.

We may be worse than Saddam

Vice President Dick Cheney claims the resistance in Iraq is in "its last throes." President George W. Bush says Iraq is "turning the corner."

Is that is true, how did a dying resistance manage to capture, torture and kill three U.S. soldiers in a well-planned and executed ambush?  Why do innocent Iraqis die every day on the streets along with more and more U.S. soldiers?