Thursday, September 30, 2010

Steaming Rhetoric, Anyone?

Usually, I try to be balanced on this blog when it comes to stupid politicians, but Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida's 8th district makes it difficult at best.

Recently, this pathetic excuse for an intelligent being ran a campaign ad calling his opponent "Taliban Dan," based on some very out of context clips. Essentially, Grayson took a single sentence quoting a passage of the Bible (the one about a wife submitting to her husband) that Dan Webster used in a long speech and turned that into evidence that Webster somehow supported the total subjugation of women like the Taliban.

Now, to be as fair as possible, Webster is not exactly a proponent of equal treatment for woman across the board. He is known to be extremely anti-choice and anti-gay. That said, he is not Taliban. A full view of his speech reveals that he was pointing out that there are more than just that one verse in the Bible about women. I am not giving Webster a pass on his views towards women. He is most assuredly somewhere before Suffrage with his positions. But I am pretty sure that this does not include stonings.

That did not slow Grayson down, though. He put up a 30 second television ad that used Arabis looking lettering and the phrase "Taliban Dan." This from a congressman that has decried the Republican smear machine.

Or more appropriately, from a hypocritical congressman looking to save his job at any cost. Another fat, lying, thieving politician that would sell his children to keep his corrupt job. Another perfect example of what is wrong with our government.

In all fairness the Republicans are not a lot better, but not as bad or deplorable as Grayson. Their endless cries of socialism and not so subtle suggestions of Democrats being pro-terrorist and so on are bad enough. They have been pounding that drum for 2 years now.

But Grayson? Well, he just made them look good. It will be hard to top this one for even the most hateful and goofy Republican. Sure, the GOP has been playing the hate and fear card heavily, but that is what they do. And Grayson was one of the folks decrying it. But now he is one of the folks using it.

Alan Grayson is pretty much the new poster boy for what is wrong with American politics. Both sides engage in this endless hate filled food fight. Both sides feel an entitlement to elective office and feel the ends always justify the means. Both sides hurl insults and threats as if they were candy canes and cheap beads. Neither side takes actual responsibility for their words.

And Grayson has now redefined the apex of that method. One look at Grayson and you have to knows it is time to throw all of them out. They don't care about us. They barely knows we exist. His ad proves that. Instead of a logical argument against Webster's extreme positions, he hurls hate and vitriol. They all do that.

Why? Because, truth told, there is no real difference between to 2 corrupt tired parties in Congress. Both sides main interest is staying in Congress. They will do and say anything. Grayson is not alone in this Hall of Shame. Michelle Bachmann deserves a place in there. As do Boehner and Pelosi. And Cantor. All of them. If dishonesty, mean spiritedness and plain old hate were ranking factors, Grayson is number one this week.

In just over a month, we get to have our say. We get to fire the entire stinking lot of them. Send them all home. They have not served us at all, let alone well. Not one thing they told us they would do has been done. On either side. It has all been about them and their need to win the next election. And while they play this idiotic game, we pay the price.

Look around. Think things got like this in just 2 years? Nope. Both parties have been so busy serving themselves that they totally forgot to govern. And we are paying for it. Well, on November 2, we can end that by simply voting them out. Tell both parties that their day is over. All incumbents at all levels need to be replaced. On November 2, cast a vote that sends that message.

To drive home that message, I am offering T-Shirts with this message:

As a capitalist and a free market person, I am selling them for both profit and with the intent of donating to those candidates that are willing to step outside the parties and declare a concern for the Constitution and the people.

You can order them here:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Whose Civil Liberties?

In one of the least covered stories last week, the federal government invoked the privilege of state secrets to try to stop a lawsuit brought on behalf of a terrorist by the ACLU.

Anwar al Awlaki, known to be linked to the Fort Hood terror shooter and multiple attempts to bring a WMD into the US, is suing the US government on the grounds that he has a right to not be killed in defense of the nation. Specifically, he claims in this insane lawsuit that he has a right to not be targeted by our anti-terror efforts. To make this even more mind boggling, the misguided folks at ACLU are demanding all defense and intelligence documents relating to this terrorist.

This would be ironically funny if it were not so serious.

Note I do not say alleged. Because he admits all of this. He is proud that he had a hand in the failed "underwear bombing" attempt. He openly advocates attacks on the US. He is currently hiding in Yemen and spewing his anti-American hate daily. The only alleged I can apply to Awlaki is his alleged humanity, which is apparently non-existent.

This is the guy that the ACLU is helping. Because his rights are more important than mine. Or yours. They are suing on the grounds that it violates international law to target an individual with death. Really? So all those fatwas issued by radical Moslems are illegal? Where are those lawsuits and condemnations? It is against international law to seek the death of an enemy? So why was not the ACLU suing Islam when it issued their death threats against an American for her (misguided but Constitutional) "Draw Mohammed Day?" Where was the ACLU when Comedy Central went all coward and censored South Park?

This disgusting terrorist would happily kill a school full of American children and then post the video on an Al Qaeda web site. This truly vile person wishes death on innocents every day, yet the ACLU is concerned about his rights. Apparently the right to promise death and destruction outweighs the Constitutional obligation of government to protect us from enemy attacks.

And there is the problem with American understanding of the threat of terror. Folks like the ACLU do not perceive the real threat of terrorism. They simply do not understand that people like their client Awlaki wish all Americans harm, including the ACLU. They don't want to accept that this guy is playing them for fools. So , they are suing.

The ACLU claims that the courts must have a role in the pursuit, capture and - where necessary - killing of terrorists. Seriously? Perhaps they need to review the Constitution which is amazingly clear on granting defense and war powers to the Executive Branch with limited approval power to Congress. The Courts are never mentioned.

This is why organizations like ACLU - that have done amazingly good work in the past - are in such disrepute today. They have no sense of the real world. No concept of the actuality of the enemy and their desire to kill and do great harm. They pretend that this is all a classroom exercise in law and not an actual ongoing life and death struggle. In my opinion, the ACLU is allowing its institutional dislike for our military and intelligence organizations to direct this action. They hate the military so much, they are willing to defend a publicly self proclaimed anti-American terrorist just to hurt our defenses.

The good news is that the administration has claimed official secrets on all requests for discovery. It seems the ACLU thinks they need lots of secret intelligence documents to make their case. They don't. There is no case. The ACLU's "client" Awlaki has openly called for attacks on America. He is currently the top English speaking Al Qaeda thug. He has participated in the planning of attacks. The only case the ACLU has is one where they need to prove their own sanity.

So the question remains - whose rights matter more? Those of a traitorous American that has taken up with our enemy and participated in attacks that killed Americans on US soil and others that came close or the rights of the other 300 million Americans who rely on our military to defend us from killers like Anwar Al Awlaki? And what of the rights of our military and intelligence people? Those documents could put them further into harm's way, unlike ACLU client Awlaki who is hiding behind and protected by the terror loving Yemeni government.

At what point does the ACLU ever realize that they need to reign in their ideological idiocy and see the reality. This is not about desegregating schools or Illinois Nazi rallies. This isn't even the somewhat abstract debate over the rights of Gitmo detainees. This is about real life and death from a real enemy. A real terrorist. One the ACLU has inexplicably chosen to side with. One that is working right this second to kill more Americans, even while Americans are working to prevent us from taking this piece of human trash out of the gene pool.

It is time for folks to stop sending ACLU money. It is time for our government to stop funding ACLU. After all, those funds are now being used to try to expose our covert efforts to stop terrorists who want us dead. And that violates MY civil liberties. Will ACLU sue itself on my behalf?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Taxes, Lies, Media and Politicians

As this election season thankfully heads to a close in November, the issue of whether or not to renew the "Bush Tax Cuts," stands at the top of the list of items the cowards in Congress hope to avoid taking a firm position on. This includes both parties, which are all over the place. In general, Democrats want to extend them for everyone except the top 3-4 percent and Republicans want to extend them for everyone, especially the top 3-4 percent.

Oddly - or perhaps not so oddly - both sides are not being totally honest about their positions. In brief, the Democrats claim that raising taxes on the top earners will somehow resolve the deficit. Not so much. The amount gained over 10 years would not cover this year's deficit, let alone a 10 year run. They also want us to somehow believe that those that earn more want to pay more taxes. Well, except for big fat liars like Warren Buffet (he really is a big fat liar who get on Goldman to profit from our misery) nobody wants to pay more taxes.

And the Republicans claim that this top 3-4 percent of earners are job creators. Again, not so much. Every bit of research indicates that this tax cut on top earners has almost no effect on the greater economy and creates very few jobs. The GOP also makes goofy claims about small businesses being harmed. Also not really true. I run one of those small businesses and this tax change would not affect me at all. The truth here is that those top earners will not spend the tax savings, nor will they be seriously harmed by the increase.

All of that said, this is simply not a good time to raise taxes. Not because of the false economics put forth by the 2 corrupt parties. Not because of any actual economic harm. It is just a bad time to raise taxes because of the psychological factor. There is a saying that in politics, perception is reality, and the tax issue fits right into that.

A tax increase of any kind right now would have a serious psychological impact on the economy that far outweighs and real dollar impact. Before folks start yelling, remember that we have spent over 2 years being told scary things about the economy that mostly were not true. The banking system was not about to implode, depression was not around the corner, stimulus did not stimulate, states did not default, nations did not go bankrupt and the Wall Street gang did not need our money. So the claims about these tax cuts have to be viewed in the light of over 3 years of lies from Congress and both administrations.

However, the damage to the recovery of the economy from the psychological factor of a tax hike is real. Businesses would stop growth and people - at all income levels - would stop spending. Not because of anything tangible, but because of the intangible effect, which is endlessly amplified by the nonsense spewing forth from the financial media. One of the unspoken truths about this entire financial mess is that the financial media has way exaggerated the situation to increase the drama for ratings. In much the same way as the ever unreliable Jim Cantore at the Weather Channel exaggerates a simple thunderstorm into a disaster of epic proportion. This has not helped at all.

Well, the same financial media is exaggerating the real impact of increasing taxes on the top 3-4 percent to try to extend their relevance. Oh, don't forget that most of them have a personal and undisclosed interest in the tax situation. Their taxes might go up.

What we never hear and what we should be hearing more about is a flat tax. If there ever was a time to put one into place and eliminate the zillion page tax code, this is it. If the financial commentators were honest and not spinning for politics and profit, they would talk about a flat tax. Instead they prattle on - incorrectly - about how Wall Street dislikes uncertainty. Wall Street love uncertainty. They profit from it.

Businesses dislike uncertainty. Families dislike uncertainty. It makes planning impossible and fairly pointless.

Imagine if every business and person knew - for certain - what their tax burden would be. Say the flat tax is set at 20 percent. No deductions, credits, exemptions or tricks. You make a dollar and 20 percent goes to tax. No property tax, no sales tax, none of that. Then businesses could plan. Then families could plan. Of course Wall Street would have to go back to fundamentals and actually working for a living, but that is not a bad thing.

Best of all, imagine never again having to deal with 2 inch thick tax returns and instructions that are written in some language that defies understanding. No more Schedule C, Form 1040, Earned Income, Deferred Income and the rest of the jungle of garbage that we call the tax code. No more paying someone else to decipher that maze of nonsense. Imagine the stimulus the billions spent on tax preparation would have if it suddenly was available in folks' pockets. Not to mention the psychological boost of being freed from the servitude of those forms.

If the Tea Party people were serious (they are, but not enough for this) they would be advocating a flat tax and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Put those 2 together and government will shrink to fit. If the Eric cantors of this world were serious about taxes, they would be advocating this, but the Eric Cantors of the world are not serious about this. They are puppets on the strings of their masters, who like the complex tax code that allows them to hide money legally.

So let Congress know that a flat tax beats a tax cut all day every day. Date those elected morons to defy their special interest masters and do something for the people they pretend to represent. I would tell my failed Congressman Kendrick Meek, but he is too busy running to lose for Senate to care about actual constituents. As if he ever cared.

And on November 2, lets help Congress with their taxes by firing the lot of them.

To drive home that message, I am offering T-Shirts with this message:

As a capitalist and a free market person, I am selling them for both profit and with the intent of donating to those candidates that are willing to step outside the parties and declare a concern for the Constitution and the people.

You can order them here:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

US Senate - A Division of Goldman Sachs

One of the items in the recently passed financial reform bill is the creation of a consumer protection bureau. While I have never been sure this was really needed and certain it should be not part of the Federal Reserve or Treasury, I was always of the belief that if it did come to pass then Elizabeth Warren should head it up.

Way back, I suggested that Warren and Fox's Eric Bolling head up an investigative panel to see exactly what happened on Wall Street before new regulations were created. Obviously, like they do most citizens, the Congress ignored me completely and passed a set of new regulations without benefit of a full investigation. And, as is usually the case when Congress acts hastily, new information comes out regularly that points up the flaws and shortcomings in the new law.

That said, since passage, only one name has been floated to head this new agency. That would be Dr. Elizabeth Warren. She was initially chosen to head up the TARP oversight for the Congress. This is perhaps one of the few intelligent decisions Congress has made in a long time.

As head of that oversight panel, she has been relentless in holding the banks' feet to the fire and is well known for asking tough questions and speaking her mind without the normal prevarication and nonsense that is so much part of Washington. Her plain spoken and honest assessments are what have made her as well known and respected as she is.

However, it appears unlikely that she will head up this new agency after all. According to the Associated Press, "The 61 year old Harvard professor and consumer advocate had been considered the leading candidate to head the bureau itself, but her lack of support in the financial community could have set the stage for contentious hearings that might ultimately have derailed her confirmation." (this is directly quoted from the article itself which appears in today's Miami Herald).

So the "financial community" is still able to tell the Senate what to do and not do. And by financial community, one can only assume that this means Goldman Sachs. Sure, there are others like Citi, JP Morgan, Bank of America and so on, but Goldman is the leader of this perilous pack. And apparently now in charge of the Senate.

I am not sure what is worse here. The fact that Goldman and their gang of thieves can assert this kind of control or the fact that the media states it as a simple conclusion with no further comment.

It is bad enough that the Senate is obviously a bought and paid for enterprise. The simple fact that all the Senate as a whole has been concerned about since the passage of the original TARP has been their Wall Street benefactors is bad enough. Remember, it was the Senate that amended TARP to another bill after the House resoundingly defeated it. It was Reid and McConnell (who now lies and says he was opposed) that subverted the Constitutional requirement that all spending bills initiate in the House. It was Dodd (now leaving the Senate before the investigation into his own depth of corruption) who jammed it into an unrelated bill just for the "HR" heading required to end run Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution.

Now, it appears that the same Wall Streeters that used fear and intimidation to get $700 billion in free money from the taxpayer is still in charge enough to prevent the nomination of an actual regulator that might just force them into following the laws and rules. Apparently, the only thing this joke of a Senate does in a bipartisan manner is genuflect before the all powerful "financial community" and ignore the best interests off their constituents.

What is worse is that the media sees no problem with this. They state it in the same way they note that the sun rises in the East. At least according to Erica Werner and Julie Pace of the AP, this is OK. In fact, as far as I can tell, neither of these so-called journalists even flinched at the idea that the financial community has adequate sway to not only control the Senate but also to apparently cow the White House as well. There is no follow up, no mention of just how wrong the concept is. Just a simple sentence that appears to accept the corrupt practices of our government.

So, we the people will have to settle for mediocrity as demanded by Goldman and their corrupting cronies on Wall Street. We shall have to accept that any financial regulation will only be at the pleasure of the regulated. And we might as well prepare ourselves now for the next crisis and the next bailout of these jerks. Because they own them a US Senate and we have nothing.

Of course, that is changing. Perhaps the recent victories by non-traditional candidates is a sign that Americans are sick and tired of this kind of nonsense. Perhaps these candidates are winning because Americans have done the math and realized that only these candidates will be able to resist the corrupting influences of Wall Street and the rest of the big money crowd.

Let me remind folks in both parties of something. To pass TARP, House Minority Leader John Boehner actually wept on the House floor. Look it up. He stood there in tears begging for money to bail out the big banks. Mitch McConnell predicted the end of the world if the money didn't come. Obama, Palin, McCain, Frank, Dodd, Pelosi, Bush, Paulson, Clinton, Reid and the rest of them all supported this mess. Since then some have decided to pretend they were opposed. They weren't and they are lying if they say they were. TARP was a bipartisan screwing of the American People. For those that fear government's destruction of the free markets, well, it started with TARP. It started with both parties.

We can stop the game on November 2 by simply voting these corrupt clowns out of office. Look at the reaction from official Washington to a Senate primary in Delaware. Or a gubernatorial primary in New York. The favored, party picked candidate lost and the politicians and pundits on both sides went loony tunes. While I am not a fan of a lot of the policies that these candidates espouse, I am a huge fan of irritating the political/pundit world. I am also a fan of simply tossing the entire Congress out on their heels come November. they have done a bad job, They have lied, cheated, stolen and now apparently take their orders from Wall Street.

Come November 2, vote to take America back from the special interests and corrupt politicians. This time, America is depending on all of us to help all of us. Let's not let us down.

To drive home that message, I am offering T-Shirts with this message:

As a capitalist and a free market person, I am selling them for both profit and with the intent of donating to those candidates that are willing to step outside the parties and declare a concern for the Constitution and the people.

You can order them here:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Party is Over - or - We Are Over the Parties

So another round of primaries yesterday and another set of so-called upsets of so-called party insiders by so-called Tea Party candidates. I say "so-called" because it is the media that is applying this labels. The voters, not so much. The real loser in all of this is actually the media (and that includes you too, Fox) who really have no idea how to handle serious third party candidates or the outsider candidates that keep winning. So they try to force all of them into the tired, corrupt old 2 party structure that has miserably failed this country for at least a generation if not longer.

But what has made this even more fun to watch is the rapid disintegration of the existing parties. Both the Democrats and Republicans are having trouble as parties this time. Why? Well, both are under attack from within. The Dems from the far left and the GOP from the far right.

For too long, the corrupt 2 party system has served itself and only itself. Since 1990 or so it has been almost impossible to tell them apart once they won an election. Sure, they sound different on the campaign trail, but once in office, they are all the same. Both parties govern only for the purpose of sustaining the parties.

While this is way more obvious on the Republican side with the Tea Party movement and labels like "RINO" (Republican in Name Only)- which I find absolutely hilarious by the way - the Democrats have the same problems. It is just harder to see since the Republicans are famous for lock step marching and little or no dissension among the ranks. The Democrats, on the other hand, are not particularly well known for lock step or even agreement among the ranks. So their problems are a little more obscure.

While I am registered No Party Affiliation and have been for a long, long time I tend to see myself as a moderate in most things. I believe that the Constitution is the law of the land. And I believe that the Constitution is a living document. I do not see judges as "activist," when they render decisions. In fact I find that label somewhat detestable since it is only applied to decisions one party or the other dislikes.

I believe that the Congress as it is today is an overpriced, overpaid, overprivileged failure of epic proportions. That is the fault of the 2 tired, corrupt parties that have created the permanent incumbency. Most members of Congress are lazy and pointless. In a recent post I talked about Eric Cantor and Alan Grayson as perfect examples of this. They are exactly what is wrong with Congress today. Neither of them has an inkling of the word compromise or the word deliberation.

Both - like the rest of their disrespective parties - are blind ideologues who have no interest in serving their constituents. Neither is an honest negotiator. Both exist only to garner huge campaign contributions while serving their chosen special interests. And both - as are the other 533 Whores on the Hill - are liars of the first degree.

So along comes the Tea party folks who are actually not really part of the Republican party. However, the GOP has been desperate to fold them into their unitized message. Unsuccessfully, I might add. To date, everyone a Tea Party backed candidate has beaten has been a Republican. It remains to be seen if they can win a general election. I do not count Scott Brown in Massachusetts since it was a special election and Brown has not exactly gone all lockstep for the GOP or the Tea Party. In fact, Brown is an anomaly in Congress in that he actually votes the way his constituents want him to vote.

In the meantime, the GOP is in turmoil. To the point that Sean Hannity (who has never served as an elected official or run for office) yelled at Karl Rove last night when Rove pointed out that the Tea Party winner in Delaware was going to cost the GOP a Senate seat. Now, I am not a Rove fan, but he did direct George W. Bush's winning campaigns. So he does know a thing or 2 about the voters. Hannity on the other hand is a teleprompter reading desk jockey who has never actually done anything useful. Yet, here is Hannity telling Rove he knows nothing. And that is the GOP's problem in a nutshell. The pundits are running the show and not the actual politicians. Well, the day Hannity actually does something for the country that does not profit him personally is the day his opinion matters to me.

Same for the Dems. They have their own collection of pointless pundits who, while having never done anything for anyone except themselves, feel somehow qualified and obligated to shred folks trying to do something. While I certainly have issues with some of Obama's policies, I am stunned that those very same far left Democrats were bashing the guy they fought to elect within days of his taking office. If you want to see the enraged buffoonery of the far left in action, look no further than Keith Olbermann. Here is a guy that was a cheerleader for Obama in 2008 and immediately a critic in 2009 when Obama didn't simply pull our troops out of the wars and didn't arrest the heads of Wall Street and so on. Olbermann is another teleprompter fed blatherer who has never once done anything useful for this nation that did not somehow profit him personally.

On a semi-personal note, Olbermann has ventured even further out over the line of reality with his not so subtle contention that the reporter at the center of the controversy with the New York Jets is somehow at fault for their allegedly boorish behavior. According to this dunderhead, she was asking for it. Seriously? She was asking for it? That is so pathetic it is almost clinical. (I am not putting her name here because I am too lazy to look up the correct spelling. E-mail it to me and I will edit).

It is like the mirror reflection of the GOP-Tea Party divide. Same deal, different players, same tired old rhetoric.

I saw a comment posted on one of the blogs last night that read, "See. RINO's are running the Republican party." This was after the Republican Senate Campaign said they would not support O'Donnell in Delaware even though she is the elected GOP nominee in that state. The comment is both telling and insanely funny. The Republican Party is being run by Republicans in Name Only? Then by extension the Republican Party is a self defined fake and only those that call it a fake are real Republicans.

If this sounds loosely familiar, it should and Democrats need to join the GOP in the Shameful Act Hall of Fame for their treatment of Alvin Greene in the South Carolina Senate race. They tried desperately to not support him. They even challenged the votes of their own party in that primary. Took themselves to court if you will. It has become a comedy of the absurd and would be funny were it not real.

Well, we can end the comedy on November 2 by simply voting the old clowns out and voting new clowns in. Yes, I meant that. Most of the folks challenging incumbents and party picked candidates are pretty much the lesser of multiple clowns. O'Donnell and Greene are perfect examples of what I mean. And I hope both of them win. At least they will be new, relatively uncorrupted clowns that reject the tired old 2 party system that has kept a stranglehold on the seats of power in this country for way too long. It is past time to break that hold and end the sad comedy.

To drive home that message, I am offering T-Shirts with this message:

As a capitalist and a free market person, I am selling them for both profit and with the intent of donating to those candidates that are willing to step outside the parties and declare a concern for the Constitution and the people.

You can order them here:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

We Have Lost Our Virginity

(I sat here and tried to think of something to say, but I cannot say it any better than I did 9 years ago, so I chose to republish this. It first appeared on 9/13/01 on the Women's Firearm Network.)

(September 13, 2001) Tuesday, September 11, 2001 will forever be the day that we as a nation lost our virginity. And in the worst possible way. There is no other way for me to put it. I have spent the last 2 days unable to walk away from the television horrified, shocked and angered at what I was seeing. There is still a part of me that has not quite accepted it. But, there is no other way to look at it. We are immune no more.

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon sounded the opening of a war which no nation is truly prepared or willing to wage. Unlike past wars and past battles, our enemy chooses to hide in the shadows of the world, sending forth their evil operatives to kill and destroy. Make no mistake though - this enemy has as their goal our destruction. They are willing to die to further that goal. They are willing to sacrifice their children to these same dark ends. They dance in the streets as we weep.

America has learned a hard lesson. We are not universally loved. Somewhere on this planet are those that would destroy us simply because they don't like us, or our way of life. We cannot fathom that our freedom offends these animals. If we are to get past this horrible moment, then we had best accept that fact. We should not harden our hearts against strangers, but we should know that we have some truly evil enemies and recognize them for what they are.

We will never be the same again. Things are going to have to change if we are going to win this war. Even now, things that would have been unthinkable just a few days ago are now reality. The Air Force and Navy are flying air patrols over the United States. Carrier groups are laying off of our major coastal cities. Airport security is going to be genuine security. These are the things that are now part of our reality.

These are not bad things, nor are they of issue with the Constitution. These are the things that a free nation at war does to defend itself. Many of us lawfully carry a firearm daily to defend ourselves. Well air patrols, naval patrols and secure airports are weapons that America needs to carry for its self defense. We should remain vigilant that our rights are not compromised, however, and make certain that the zealotry of security does not overtake the freedoms that are the essence of America.

But we cannot allow ourselves to succumb to the terror. And that may be the biggest fight of all. The one with our own human nature. The reflex that tells you to pull into a shell. Because yielding to that reflex is precisely what the enemy is after. If we are to win this war the first thing we have to do is step up to our reputation as Americans. The 'Home of the Brave' needs to be just that.

I had at first been angered by all of the closings and cancellations, seeing them as surrender to the enemy. I was all set to say so here. And then I heard an interview with NBC Sportscaster Bob Costas on MSNBC. He made a point I had forgotten in all of my institutional anger. I had forgotten that the athletes and performers are Americans, too. They are, individually, as hurt and angry as every one of us. They did not feel they could play or perform well this weekend, much like so many of us cannot quite settle back into the job. I forgot they were just people, too.

So we will have our period to mourn and to collect our thoughts and fully accept what has happened to us. And we should. But we should look to the bright spots as well. Shining through the darkness of this tragedy are small bright spots that are what America is really about. We have the men on United flight 73 who, according to all reports, took on the terrorists, and through their actions, were able to avert a fourth attack. They knew they would not survive their effort, but they knew they had to stand up and fight. True heroes.

There are the innumerable stories of heroics in the rescue efforts. Volunteers from all over America flowing into New York to lend their needed skills to this effort. They work for no pay with no benefits in an almost incalculably risky situation. And they barely take breaks. There are the firefighters, who are heroes on a daily basis, risking all to try to save just one person, knowing that hundreds of their colleagues lay beneath that smoking ruin.

We need to look to Israel for some guidance. They have lived with terrorism for many years, and have survived and kept their freedoms intact. They have managed to get up and dust themselves off after every bombing, no matter how horrible. They have pointed an outstretched middle finger to the enemy and gone back to their lives. The pizza restaurant that was bombed there last month has already reopened, and is busier than ever. They have accepted the needs of security and found a way to keep their freedom.

I am due to get on an airplane next Friday morning to attend the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Cincinnati, and I have every intention of being on that flight. I will deal with the new regulations. I will pack my knife in my checked luggage instead of in my pocket, and be there early with photo ID in hand. And I will not complain about it, either. It is part of the way we will have to live to win this war. Our parents and grandparents lived through World War II with many restrictions and constraints necessitated by the war. And they defeated the great evil that was consuming the earth. It is now our turn to fight that battle.

We as a people can do this. We can, as President Bush said, "whip terrorism." We can make the sacrifices needed and the effort required to get our nation back on its feet. And we should replace the World Trade Center with a bigger and better one. That can be our outstretched middle finger to those evil animals that took our virginity one awful Tuesday morning.

(Note (9/11/10): This year has the added issue of controversy about the mosque proposed for near the WTC site. I have posted on that before. There is also the ongoing book burning threat from Gainesville. However, today is not a day for that stuff, nor is it a day for publicity hungry politicians or crackpots. We can resume all of that tomorrow. For today, we can set aside the partisan and political differences and remember that all of American was attacked 9 years ago and all Americans felt the loss.)