Four dead in O-hi-o

Coming home from Fort Wayne, after the baptism and the call service I was telling you about, we stopped for the night at a motel in Kent, Ohio.  It turns out, that is the location of Kent State University, where 77 National Guardsmen fired on some 2,000 protesters of the Vietnam War, killing four and wounding nine.  As many as three of the fatalities were not even part of the demonstration, either onlookers or students on their way to class, one of whom was in ROTC.

Anyway, Kent State was holding a conference on the event, which marks its 40th anniversary today.

I was a student back then, hardly an activist, but I remember the trauma of it, the thought that our government could kill us.  Shocked too that many of our parents said that if we protested we would deserve it.

I know, I know:  Both sides were just young adults.  The guardsmen, the same age as the privileged college students with their draft deferments, scared to death of the rocks and tear gas canisters that were being thrown at them.  Investigators found that 67 shots were fired.  Surely they weren’t all aimed to kill, or many more would have died.  Those who were shot were from 300-500 feet away from the Guardsmen, but stray bullets go a long ways.  Here are more details.

We think America is polarized today, but it was nothing compared to 1970.  May the American military never again be unleashed on its own citizens.

The motel we stayed in had a breakfast.  There was a guy about my age in a wheel chair.   We exchanged pleasantries.  In researching this post, I came across his picture.   He was one of the wounded, paralyzed when the bullet pierced his spine.   He was there for the conference.

Developments in Times Square car bombing

A Connecticut man was being sought Monday in the failed plot to blow up a bomb-laden SUV in Times Square, sources said.

This “person of interest” bought the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder that was abandoned with the engine running – and with primitive, but potentially deadly payload in the rear – just two weeks ago, law enforcement and police sources told The Daily News.

Investigators aren't certain whether he is the same man who drove the rolling bomb to the Crossroads of the World, but he has not been seen by his girlfriend – and has not shown up at his home or job – since the frightening incident on Saturday night.

Detectives from the NYPD and FBI identified the SUV owner after tracking down the registration of the previous owner, who told investigators he'd sold the vehicle.

The mystery man met the seller through craigslist.com and paid $1,300 cash for the Pathfinder, the Daily News has learned.

The revelation came as:

– The News learned from sources that forensic evidence found in the Pathfinder points to the possibility that whoever prepared the car bomb has links to foreign terrorists.

via Hunt is on for missing Conn. man who bought car bomb Nissan just 2 weeks ago on Craigslist.

What I want to know is, why aren’t they releasing the name of the man who bought the car? Wouldn’t that help if authorities are looking for him? I mean, I have an idea why, but surely political correctness wouldn’t trump the public safety in a case like this. Would it?

UPDATE: Well, as you commenters have pointed out, now we know: He is a Pakistani-American named Faisal Shahzad. I guess the concern was not to make people jump to the conclusion that the suspect is a Muslim.

Regulating food

Local food advocates are in a panic over Senate Bill S 510, which, they argue, devastate local food suppliers and put our whole food supply under the control of big chemical-using corporations like Monsanto.  Here is but one section of the bill that passed the House:

Section 101 –

Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to deem a food to be misbranded if it was manufactured, processed, packed, or held in a facility that is not registered. Declares that a facility under the FFDCA does not include private residences of individuals. Requires annual registration of food facilities, including food facilities that export food. Authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to suspend the registration of any food facility for a violation of the FFDCA that could result in serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. Sets forth procedures for such a registration suspension. Directs the Secretary to collect an annual fee for registration of a food facility to defray the costs of food safety activities. Terminates the authority to collect such fees after FY2014.

via H.R. 2749 – Summary: Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 (GovTrack.us)

Comments Steve Green:

S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010,  may be the most dangerous bill in the history of the US.  It is to our food what the bailout was to our economy, only we can live without money.

“If accepted [S 510] would preclude the public’s right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes.  It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law or, if you like, the will of God.”  ~Dr. Shiv Chopra, Canada Health whistleblower

It is similar to what India faced with imposition of the salt tax during British rule, only S 510 extends control over all food in the US, violating the fundamental human right to food.

Monsanto says it has no interest in the bill and would not benefit from it, but Monsanto’s Michael Taylor who gave us rBGH and unregulated genetically modified (GM) organisms, appears to have designed it and is waiting as an appointed Food Czar to the FDA (a position unapproved by Congress) to administer the agency it would create — without judicial review — if it passes.  S 510 would give Monsanto unlimited power over all US seed, food supplements, food and farming.

HISTORY

In the 1990s, Bill Clinton introduced HACCP (Hazardous Analysis Critical Control Points) purportedly to deal with contamination in the meat industry.  Clinton’s HACCP delighted the offending corporate (World Trade Organization “WTO”) meat packers since it allowed them to inspect themselves, eliminated thousands of local food processors (with no history of contamination), and centralized meat into their control.  Monsanto promoted HACCP.

In 2008, Hillary Clinton, urged a powerful centralized food safety agency as part of her campaign for president.  Her advisor was Mark Penn, CEO of Burson Marsteller*, a giant PR firm representing Monsanto.  Clinton lost, but Clinton friends such as Rosa DeLauro, whose husband’s firm lists Monsanto as a progressive client and globalization as an area of expertise, introduced early versions of S 510.

He goes on in an apocalyptic vein. The purpose seems to be food safety, but he maintains that it will just put out of operation local farmers and growers who are innocent of contaminating food, and that it will just empower “registered” food corporations–who often are the guilty parties–and give them control over our whole food supply. Follow the links and see if you think he has a case.

HT:  Stewart Lundy

Tea Party game plan

Veteran conservative activist Richard Viguerie thinks the “Tea Party” movement may actually have a chance to roll back government to its constitutional limits, something even Ronald Reagan was unable to do. For it to do so, however, and avoid the fate of other transient political movements, he recommends this game plan:

Be independent.

Most important, tea partiers must remain distinct from both political parties. The GOP would like nothing better than to co-opt the movement and control the independent conservatives who are its members. But we must keep in mind that perhaps the single biggest mistake of the conservative movement was becoming an appendage of the Republican Party.

In his 1976 presidential primary campaign, Reagan said we needed new leaders unfettered by old ties and old relationships. The tea party does not have the old ties and old relationships with Republican politicians that Reagan was talking about and that caused so many conservative leaders to lose their way. Remember that most conservative leaders and organizations in Washington were silent when George W. Bush and congressional Republicans were expanding government at a record-breaking pace. Even today, too many conservatives are willing to overlook the fact that the GOP's leaders in Congress, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Boehner, were willing accomplices of Bush's spending policies and that Mitt Romney was for Obamacare before Obama was.

Go on a policy offensive.

We must take on policy initiatives that will fundamentally change America but that, because of crony politics, neither political party will touch. Tea partiers already know that promoting complete adherence to the Constitution, and particularly to the 10th Amendment — which reserves the powers not explicitly granted to the federal government for the states and the people — is the way to change policy. Using this approach, we need to move major proposals to the center of debate and action, among them audits of the Federal Reserve, a restructured tax code and an end to corrupt gerrymandering. We must also pursue constitutional amendments mandating term limits, a balanced budget with tax limitations and an end to automatic citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.

Pressure institutions to change.

We must expand our cause beyond anger at politicians. Wall Street banks once operated with the knowledge that individual integrity is essential to the functioning of a free market, but now we haveGoldman Sachs executives cheering the housing market collapse. So, rather than focus solely on government, we also need to train a spotlight on the failed leaders of other major American institutions from Hollywood to Wall Street, including big business, banks, mainstream media, labor unions and organized religion (notably my own Catholic Church).

Tea partiers must make ourselves a constant presence and conscience in the lives of those we elect. Once politicians get into office, they are surrounded by lobbyists and special interests that want more, not less, from government. We must push back by making our influence felt at a steady procession of meetings, breakfasts and dinners, and we must speak up via letters, phone calls, e-mails and town hall meetings. Too often after we send people to Washington, we hear from them only through their fundraising appeals. We need face-to-face contact to remind them that we’re here to support them when they do right, and that we’ll vote them out when they do wrong.

Avoid the third-party trap.

Just as the tea party movement must not be co-opted by either of the major parties, nor can it yield to the temptation to start a third party. In 2008, Republicans lost three Senate races because of conservative third-party candidates. Those losses have made it more difficult to oppose and defeat liberal judicial nominations, Obamacare, cap-and-trade legislation and other policies that, even in a best-case scenario, will take conservatives years to undo.

As a practical matter, the two major parties have rigged the rules against third parties, all but ensuring defeat. If conservatives fall into the third-party trap, they will split the right-of-center vote, thereby guaranteeing the left’s control of America for at least another generation. The opportunity of a lifetime will have been wasted.

This doesn’t mean we should automatically support whatever candidates Republicans put up. The tea party electoral strategy should be simple and consistent: We must run principled conservatives in the primaries and then throw our support behind the most conservative major-party candidates in the general election.

via From an old-school conservative, advice for the tea party.

Let me add some more advice:  Drop the violent and seditious rhetoric.  I know what Thomas Jefferson said.  Thomas Jefferson, despite his many good ideas, was a Jacobin, an advocate of a French-style revolution.  He is not on your side.

Try not to scare people.  Americans really do tend to be conservative, which means they have little sympathy with radicals of any stripe, including radical conservatives.

Any other advice that could channel this populist uprising in a positive direction?

Statehood for Puerto Rico?

Are we ready for a 51st state? Where would we put the additional star in the flag?

The House on Thursday approved legislation that could set in motion changes in Puerto Rico’s 112-year relationship with the United States, including a transition to statehood or independence.

The House bill would give the 4 million residents of the island commonwealth a two-step path to expressing how they envision their political future. It passed 223 to 169 and now must be considered by the Senate.

Initially, eligible voters, including those born in Puerto Rico but residing in the United States, would vote on whether they wish to keep their current political status or opt for a different direction.

If a majority are in favor of changing the current situation, the Puerto Rican government would be authorized to conduct a second vote, and people would choose among four options: statehood, independence, the current commonwealth status or sovereignty in association with the United States. Congress would have to vote on whether Puerto Rico becomes a state.

via House approves bill that would let Puerto Ricans vote on relationship with U.S..

Car bomb in Times Square

A T-shirt vendor spotted a smoking SUV and alerted some quick-acting cops, who, in turn, called in the Fire Department and the bomb squad.  Thanks to them, a terrorist attack was thwarted Saturday in New York City’s busy Times Square:

The T-shirt vendor – a Vietnam vet – told Officer Wayne Rhatigan there was smoke coming from a Nissan SUV on the southwest corner of 45th St. and Broadway about 6:30 p.m., sources said.

Rhatigan approached the car, saw the smoke and sprang into action.

“I did a lap around the vehicle. The inside was smoking,” Rhatigan told the Daily News. “I smelled gunpowder and knew it might blow. I thought it might blow any second.”

He alerted two rookie female cops patrolling the area. Together, they pushed hundreds of people away from the scene as they called for backup, he said.

The Fire Department and bomb squad rushed to the scene.

What they found was stunning: a running SUV packed with three propane tanks, two red 5-gallon plastic jugs of gasoline, a clock, electrical components and a canister of gunpowder, police sources said.

“We are very lucky,” Mayor Bloomberg said at an early morning press conference at the scene, still in the tuxedo and red bow tie he wore to the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington. “Thanks to alert New Yorkers and professional police officers we avoided what could have been a very deadly event.”

via Time Square car bomb: Cops evacuate heart of NYC after ‘potential terrorist attack’.

The Pakistani Taliban is claiming credit. Some suspect a “South Park” connection, since the bomb was located near Viacom, the production company that owns the satirical cartoon that enraged Muslims for presenting Muhammed in a bear suit. A white male was caught on tape acting “furtively” around the Nissan Pathfinder. Authorities have identified the owner of the vehicle. As of now, the perpetrators are unknown.