Power Line posted an article yesterday regarding a decision by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to pause on peace talks with the Palestinians untill the United States makes some progress in stopping Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, has stated repeatedly that his goal is to destroy Israel. Ignoring these statements or thinking that they are symbolic is not smart.
A peaceful Palestinian State is a great idea if that is what the giving up of further territory would create, but we know from experience that giving up territory by Israel does not bring peace–it just puts the rockets fired into Israel closer to their targets. The United States has put and is putting pressure on Israel to give up more land. If you look at a map of Israel, you realize that giving up the land they are being asked to give up makes the country indefensible and increases the chances of war–not peace.
Paul Mirengoff at Power Line states that he hopes Israel will stick to its guns on this policy. I agree. The end of the Iranian nuclear program would be a good thing for everyone. The Palestinian problem will not be solved until the Palestinians decide to govern the territory they have, not use it as a base for terrorism against Israel. Some of the areas they now control were prosperous under Israeli control, but when they were given to the Palestinians, the Palestinians destroyed the greenhouses that produced the income that supported the region. Until that sort of behavior stops, the area will be in poverty and the people angry and looking for scapegoats.
According to Breitbart.com, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ruled that 17-year-old girls will be allowed to buy the “morning-after” emergency contraceptive without a doctor’s prescription or parental consent. I have some serious problems with this idea.
Despite the fact that 17-year-old girls are much more worldly than they used to be, how well informed are they on the risks, side effects, and future problems associated with this pill? Does taking this pill create the emotional rollercoaster that teenage girls go through normally with hormonal changes or the mood swings that women go through with pregnancy? How are the parents supposed to respond to a child (yes, she is a child) who is emotionally all over the place when they have no idea what is going on? Why, in a nation that will not let your child get her ears pierced without parental consent until she is eighteen, are we letting a 17-year-old do something this serious without parental guidance and help? How does this square with schools where a 17-year old can get in trouble for having aspirin in her pocketbook?
Regardless of what the issue is, I would want to have a place at the table for any serious decision regarding my child. Maybe parenting is not valued anymore, but rules like this make it more difficult for parents to be parents. Admittedly, communicating with your teenager is not always a picnic (I survived three daughters who were all teenagers at one time and I am still relatively coherent), but it needs to be tried and will pay off dividends after they grow up a bit. This ruling is destructive to families and is a very bad idea.
The Wall Street Journal Online has an article today on the possiblity of prosecutions of the people who allowed the intense interrogation of terrorists under the Bush Administration. The lead paragraph in the article states:
“Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret.”
Up until now, a presidential administration has never criminalized the decisions of the previous administration. In our country the law is not supposed to change according to who is in power. President Obama has stated that he will not encourage the prosecution of individual CIA agents, but he has invited investigations against Republican legal advisers who offered their best advice at the request of CIA officials.
The interesting part of this is that the Senate was informed about these interrogations when they were going on. That is on the record. It is going to be interesting to see how they excuse themselves from being part of what was happening. It is also interesting that these interrogations kept our country safe from further attacks. Is the Obama Administration going to make us less safe in order to gain political points?
Allahpundit at Hot Air has posted an article about an enterprising young man who decided to write a book studying the culture and habits of that rather stange cultural phenomenon called the students and facilty at Liberty University. He even lined up a publisher — Grand Central Publishing. He was shocked to find the campus a place filled with generally normal people. Who knew? He even interviewed Jerry Falwell before Reverend Falwell died. He still decided that the campus was filled with sincere, normal people.
How did we go from a society that respected all religions to one that looks at Christians as an oddity worthy of anthropological study? There was a man willing to write this book and a publisher willing to publish it. That fact troubles me greatly.
The American Thinker has posted a transcript of a 2002 interview of Eric Holder on CNN regarding the interrogration of unlawful combatants. In the interview, he states:
“It seems to me that given the way in which they have conducted themselves, however, that they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war. If, for instance, Mohamed Atta had survived the attack on the World Trade Center, would we now be calling him a prisoner of war? I think not. Should Zacarias Moussaoui be called a prisoner of war? Again, I think not.”
To politicize the events after 911 is a serious mistake. Does anyone remember the big ongoing story that dominated the news on September 10, 2001? It was the murder of Chandra Levy and the suspicion that Congressman Gary Condit was involved. Did anyone remember that story after the morning of September 11th? We are doing the same thing now–we are focusing on trivia and ignoring the big picture of the terrorists who continue to plot against us. The moves that the Obama Administration are currently making almost surely guarantee that we will not have the intelligence to prevent a future attack.
These three articles are from different sources and don’t seem to be related, but they indicate a frightening trend in our national life.
The first, from Breitbart.com recounts the story of an Iraqi veteran and two mothers of soldiers asking a federal judge in New Jersey to declare the war in Iraq unconstitutional. The government argued that courts do not have authority to rule on a political matter. Watch this, it will be interesting to see what happens next.
The second, from the Daily Mail Online says that President Obama may allow the Bush Administration officials who designed the ‘harsh’ interrogation techniques used on some terrorists may be subject to prosecution by the Attorney General. Let me see, the techniques that uncovered terrorist plots against our country and prevented them are now going to be retroactively illegal. There have to be all sorts of constitutional problems with retroactive laws aimed at a specific group of people. I guess political prosecution is more important than national safety.
Last, but not least, CNS News has confirmed that the waterboarding of Khalid Sheik Mohammed gave them information that allowed Homeland Security to stop a 911-style attack on Los Angeles. According to the article:
“A CIA spokesman confirmed to CNSNews.com today that the CIA stands by the factual assertions made here.
In the memo itself, the Justice Department’s Bradbury told the CIA’s Rossi: “Your office has informed us that the CIA believes that ‘the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al Qa’ida has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001.”
The CNS article is rather long, but there is a lot of good information there about how a country defends itself from terrorism. I don’t like to see anyone put through intense interrogation, but I don’t want to see thousands of people killed in Los Angeles either. Sometimes you have to make hard choices to preserve your country from evil. I’m not sure the present administration is willing to do that.
The Baltimore Sun reported today on the amount of fraud that has occurred in the federal bailout program which began late last year. According to the article:
“Investigators said Monday that they have opened 20 criminal probes into possible securities fraud, tax law violations, insider trading and mortgage modification fraud”
Neal Barofsky, the special inspector general overseeing the bailout program, has said that these are just the first invesigations, he expects more to follow. He expects indictments to occur later this year.
The article reports that:
“The report lays out just how complicated the program has become. What started out last October as a single-purpose $750 billion effort to buy toxic securities has morphed into 12 separate programs that covers up to $3 trillion in direct spending, loans and loan guarantees.
The program has now committed an amount equal to the entire annual federal budget.”
The amount of fraud could run into the tens of billions of dollars. This is our tax money we are talking about. It may be complicated to monitor all the money and all the programs, but part of the job of the government is to do just that and do it well.
Yesterday, President Obama announced that he would be doing some serious budget cutting. He met with his Cabinet and told them he wanted $100 million (I’m writing it that way because it’s early in the morning and my brain can’t handle all the zeroes) in budget cuts. Wow!
According to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, this amounts to a 0.0029% cut on a budget of $ 3.5 trillion dollars (not to mention the pork-laden stimulus package of $787 billion). This is not budget cutting–this is a symbolic response to the tea parties last week. I hope the voters are paying enough attention to the numbers to realize that this is a scam.
According to Fox News, Dick Cheney is calling for the release of the memos that show the results of extreme interrogation techniques used on some terrorists. Before I continue, there are two obvious things I would like to point out–first, the people being interrogated were known terrorists, and second, these techniques were not commonly used–they were used in specific cases where the people using them felt they were necessary for national security reasons. Remember national security? It used to be really important. Now it is being used as a cover to go after political free speech. Because it was important we have not been attacked in this country since September 11th. I fear that streak will be ending in the not too distant future. I hope I am wrong.
Anyway, according to Dick Cheney’s interview on Fox:
“Cheney said he’s asked that the documents be declassified because he has remained silent on the confidential information, but he knows how successful the interrogation process was and wants the rest of the country to understand.”
If the original documents were released because ‘Americans have a right to know’, then it follows that the results should also be released so American can see how the intense questioning effected them. If we are going to be open, we need to be open–not tell half the story.
Wag Reflex, a website for animal lovers has some really good advice for those of us who love animals and have pets. The headline of the article is:
Power Line has a post today about the Uighur Chinese Muslims currently held at Guantanamo Bay. According to the article:
“After President Obama promised to close Gitmo, the White House ordered an inter-agency review of the status of all the detainees. Apparently, it believed that many of those held would be quickly determined releasable. If so, this belief was perhaps naive, considering that a large percentage of the detainees, presumably the comparatively “innocuous” ones, had already been released (some of whom promptly returned to their terrorist ways).
The inter-agency committee — comprised of all the national security agencies — was told to start with what the Obama administration believed to be the easiest case, that of the seventeen Chinese Muslims, known as Ughurs, who were captured at an al-Queda training camp.”
Well, it didn’t go the way President Obama hoped. The committee determined that these seventeen people were members of the ETIM terrorist group, the “East Turkistan Islamic Movement. Their presence at the al-Queda training camp was not accidental.
The White House legal office has asked the committee to restudy the facts and come up with a different answer. The goal here is to relocate the terrorists to America since sending the terrorists back to China is not an option (I’m not sure if that is because the Chinese won’t take them or because we know they would be mistreated there. Good grief–they’re terrorists. Why are we worried about how they would be treated?) Do we want to settle them here, and find them jobs to support their terrorism?
According to The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room, a conservative legal group has filed suit against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder over the DHS memo warning of the threat from “right wing extremists.” The group, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center, charges that the report targets certain people or groups for negative treatment based on their opinions on political issues.
The suit was filed on behalf of radio talk show host Michael Savage and the anti-abortion group Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. The fourteen-page suit can be read here.
The suit charges that the DHS report is an attempt to marginalize conservative opinions and opposition to the expansion of government that is taking place under President Obama.
It will be interesting to see how this turns out.
The City Journal has an article written by Peter Huber on the concept of cap and trade and carbon credits. He points out that American does not control the world’s carbon emissions, we only control our part, nor do we control world-wide energy use. He compares today’s carbon brokers to medieval priests selling indulgences. The typical American needs to spend about $500 per year on carbon credits–the average family of four–about $2000. The person handling the transaction for you will spend the money on such things as reducing methane emissions from hog farms in Brazil. But what about the carbon emissions from families in poor countries around the world? They can’t afford to buy carbon credits.
According to the article:
“If making carbon this personal seems rude, then think globally instead. During the presidential race, Barack Obama was heard to remark that he would bankrupt the coal industry. No one can doubt Washington’s power to bankrupt almost anything–in the United States. But China is adding 100 gigawatts of coal-fired electrical capacity a year. That’s another whole United States’ worth of coal consumption added every three years, with no stopping point in sight. Much of the rest of the developing world is on a similar path.”
The bottom line on this is that we cannot control the world’s use of carbon. It is also interesting to note that 80% of the world’s population is not at all interested in limiting its carbon use. If we choose to limit ours, we will cripple our economy for no real gain.
The article proposes a practical solution to the problem of carbon:
“If we’re truly worried about carbon, we must instead approach it as if the emissions originated in an annual eruption of Mount Krakatoa. Don’t try to persuade the volcano to sign a treaty promising to stop. Focus instead on what might be done to protect and promote the planet’s carbon sinks–the systems that suck carbon back out of the air and bury it. Green plants currently pump 15 to 20 times as much carbon out of the atmosphere as humanity releases into it–that’s the pump that put all that carbon underground in the first place, millions of years ago. At present, almost all of that plant-captured carbon is released back into the atmosphere within a year or so by animal consumers. North America, however, is currently sinking almost two-thirds of its carbon emissions back into prairies and forests that were originally leveled in the 1800s but are now recovering. For the next 50 years or so, we should focus on promoting better land use and reforestation worldwide. Beyond that, weather and the oceans naturally sink about one-fifth of total fossil-fuel emissions. We should also investigate large-scale options for accelerating the process of ocean sequestration.”
Now what we need are people willing to listen to alternative solutions to the ‘carbon’ problem!
Today’s Washington Times ran an editorial today concerning the release of the CIA interrogation memo. The White House is claiming that releasing these memos in no way effected national security.
The article points out:
“The definition of ‘top secret’ is information which, if revealed, would cause grave harm to U.S. security,” former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said on “Fox News Sunday.” “There’s a difference of leaks, and rumors, and rumors of this and that, and going out there and defining in an absolutely clear way what the limits are.”
We are still fighting the war that these memos involve. Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, pointed out today on Fox that he felt no desire to be transparent to Al Qaeda. The release of these memos is a political move carried out with no regard for the safety of our country or our military. We want our soldiers and military people to fight the war on terror–not have to consult the ACLU or a lawyer before they make a move. We saw what happens when politicians run a war with Vietnam, we do not need to make that same mistake again.
Today’s New York Post has an opinion piece by Jonathan Williams about the proposed tax hikes in New York State. He opens the article by saying:
“There’s an old saying that high taxes don’t redistribute income, they redistribute people. Unfortunately for the hard-working taxpayers of New York, this wisdom seems to be lost on Gov. Paterson and a majority of legislators in Albany.”
The economic outlook for New York State is bleak–according to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) New York has the worst economic outlook of any state in the nation. According to the article:
“The second edition of “Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer Economic Competitiveness Index” presents economic outlook rankings of the states, based on the relationship between policies and performance — revealing which states are best positioned to make a recovery. The study examines how economic competitiveness drives income, population and job growth in the states and looks at the public policies that have enabled prosperity in some areas, while ruining business climates and causing economic malaise in others. Considering the competition in the latter category (California, Michigan, New Jersey, etc.), it’s quite an accomplishment for New York to rank dead last.”
The states with the best economic outlooks are Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and Virginia. These states have lower spending and lower taxes which allow businesses to prosper without the weight of extra taxes and regulation.
The article also mentions that radio personality Rush Limbaugh has publicly stated that he will no longer be doing business in New York due to the new ‘millionaire’s tax’. Mr. Limbaugh physically moved his radio operation out of New York a number of years ago. He is still required to pay New York State taxes for the days that he is physically in New York. He has been auditied by the state for the past twelve years. How many of us would put up with that sort of aggravation from a state we don’t even live in?
Again, laws (and taxes) have consequences. Texas currently has the largest number of corporate headquarters of any state in the union. Texas has no personal income tax. That is not a coincidence. When people are able to save considerable amounts of money by relocating their businesses, that’s what they do. The tax and spend problem is not only a national issue–it’s also a state issue.
Friday’s Washington Post ran a column by Charles Krauthammer describing the four parts of the Obama ‘sting.’
The first part he refers to as “The Whopper”, or President Obama’s statement that he had “identified $2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade.” Actually this is not a deduction in spending–it’s just what will naturally occur as the war in Iraq winds down.
The second part he refers to as “The Puzzler”, or President Obama’s claim that his budget would reduce domestic discretionary spending as a share of GDP to the lowest level ever recorded. This is a result of the out-of-control entitlements that take up more and more of the budget every year. It has nothing to do with any reduction of spending.
The third part he refers to as “The Non Sequitur”, or President Obama’s statement that the drastic changes he is proposing in health-care, energy and education have some relationship to the financial crisis we are facing now. The reforms he is proposing have nothing to do with the current financial crisis and are not needed or helpful for economic recovery.
The fourth part he refers to as “The Swindle”, or President Obama’s statement that he intends to cure the budget deficits by entitlement reform while at the same time he is allowing pork-barrel spending larger than we have ever seen, which will lead us to unsustainable debt.
The financial plans of this administration are dangerous to the long-term well being of the country. The reforms in health care, energy, and education will not lead us out of this recession–they will lead us closer to government control over all aspects of our lives.
This is a picture from Al Asad Air Base in the Al Anbar province of Iraq. I love the creativity of our soldiers!!
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has posted an article about NATO freeing 20 hostages from pirates in the Gulf of Yemen and capturing seven pirates in the process. This happened today according to the source article at Yahoo News. Sounds good, right? Well, not so fast. The article points out:
“The commandos briefly detained and questioned the seven gunmen, he told Reuters, but had no legal power to arrest them.
“NATO does not have a detainment policy. The warship must follow its national law,” he said.
“They can only arrest them if the pirates are from the Netherlands.”
NATO has no authority to arrest the pirates. OK, where do the pirates get the authority to be pirates? It seems to me that if there is no question that the men are pirates–see mother ship, hostages, etc.–anyone who happens to have them on the wrong end of a gun should be able to at least bring them to a place where they can be arrested. This is totally insane. Why is it not international law for anyone to capture pirates? Where’s a good bounty hunter when you need him?
According to Breitbart.com, the Environmental Protection Agency is taking the first step toward regulating greenhouse gases in order to prevent climate change. They have decided that greenhouse gases endanger pulbic health and welfare, thus making them subject to regulation under public health laws. This is actually rather clever. It will be cap and trade that will cost everyone tons of money, but since it’s for ‘public health and welfare’, unless we have an informed public, it will be suicide for a pollitician to vote against it (assuming it actually gets voted on rather than just declared as law!). He (or she) will be accused of endangering the public health!
The plan is to limit carbon dioxide and five other gases. According to the article:
“In announcing the proposed finding, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said it “confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations.” She reiterated that the Obama administration prefers that climate change be address by Congress through broad, economy-wide limits on climate-changing pollution. But the EPA finding of endangerment prepares for possible regulatory action if Congress fails to act.”
Wow. If Congress won’t vote it in, we’ll can declare it a public health issue and enact it anyway. One of the important things to notice here is where the EPA is getting the power to do this. The article explains:
The EPA action was prompted by a Supreme Court ruling two years ago that said greenhouse gases are pollutants under the Clean Air Act and must be regulated if found to be a danger to human health or public welfare.
The Bush administration strongly opposed using the Clean Air Act to address climate change and stalled on producing the so-called “endangerment finding” demanded by the high court in its April 2007 ruling.
The court case, brought by Massachusetts, focused only on emissions from automobiles. But it is widely assumed that if the EPA must regulate emissions from cars and trucks, it will have no choice but to control identical pollution from power plants and industrial sources.
Congress is considering imposing an economy-wide cap on greenhouse gas emissions along with giving industry the ability to trade emission allowances to mitigate costs. Legislation could be considered by the House before the August congressional recess.
The ruling comes out of a court case–it does not come out of legislature. This is the reason the selection of judges who do not take on more power than the Constitution gives them is so important. This is more regulation than we want or need. Please understand, I am not in favor of pollution–I am in favor of not crippling the American economy based on science that is not yet proven. I would like cleaner air, but not at the cost of jobs and the financial well-being of our country. Recently I posted an article on what ‘green jobs’ have meant to the Spanish economy. For every ‘green job’ they have gained, they have lost two and a half other jobs. I would hate to see that happen here.
I just came from the Stone Street Strummers Spring Fling which is held at the Mansfield, Massachusetts, Holiday Inn every year. The event started Thursday night and will go through Saturday night. It’s worth a trip over there if you enjoy banjo music, bluegrass, or New Orleans style jazz. We heard all three types of music in the main hall and in the small rooms where various groups of musicians were jamming. It was encouraging to see people of all ages participating–it’s nice to know that there are future generations of banjo, mandolin, and brass instrument players to keep us all entertained.
Breitbart.tv has posted a film of John Zeigler (a journalist who went to USC to ask questions about Katie Couric getting the Walter Cronkite Journalism Award for her interview of Sarah Palin) getting handcuffed and threatened with arrest. Evidently the award is given to a journalist who impacts the political process, and it was given to Katie Couric. The interview of Sarah Palin was cut and pasted in a way to make Sarah Palin look as uninformed as possible, and it did have a negative impact on the McCain campaign. (Notice that there was no journalism investigating Barack Obama’s ties to ACORN (his contributors list was shared with them during the campaign). ACORN is under investigation for election fraud in a number of states, but since President Obama has been elected, journalism does not seem too interested in following that story.) I believe President Obama would have been elected anyway, but I really am concerned the Chicago politics has come to Washington.
Anyway, about the film. It seems to me that if you are doing something above board, you really don’t mind if anyone watches you or films you doing it. My experience as a mother tells me that when things are too quiet or there seems to be a need for secrecy, something is going on. It is chilling that this man, whatever his motives or past actions, was not allowed to simply film people attending the event or ask them questions. This is the kind of censorship that liberals always felt George Bush was guilty of. Now it seems as if they practice it without consequence.
Just think–a journalist intimidated and threated with arrest at a journalism awards event–WOW!.
According to the Wall Street Journal Online the Federal Bureau Of Investigation launched an operation earlier this year called Operation Vigilant Eagle which focused on returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as potential domestic terrorists. According to the article:
“The aim of the FBI’s effort with the Defense Department, which was rolled into the Vigilant Eagle program, is to “share information regarding Iraqi and Afghanistan war veterans whose involvement in white supremacy and/or militia sovereign citizen extremist groups poses a domestic terrorism threat,” according to the Feb. 23 FBI memo.”
There are not words to describe how offended I am by this. One of my sons-in-law is an Afghanistan veteran (and also spent some time in Iraq). I have met many of the people who currently serve with him or have served with him in the past. I am immensely proud of him and of the military personnel I have met through him. The men and women who currently serve in our military are people we should be extremely proud of. Every member of every group there is cannot attain perfection, but these people come close.
At a time when there are real terrorists plotting nasty things against us and other free nations, it is national suicide to play political games with our security. I just hope we can get to 2010 without a major attack on the US so that we have a chance to vote these people out before it’s too late.
The BBC is reporting that the French warship Nivose has captured 11 pirates off the coast of Kenya. According to the article:
“It had detected a “mother ship”, or command vessel, on Tuesday, and observed it overnight before launching an assault early on Wednesday, the ministry said.”
In the past few days, four ships have been seized by the pirates and other ships have been attacked. The pirates have sworn revenge on France and the United States because of the killing of pirates in recent rescue operations carried out by those two countries.
According to the article:
“In recent months Britain, the US, and the European Union have signed memorandums of understanding with Nairobi that Kenya will act as a kind of international tribunal for pirate crimes.
Several Somali pirates turned over by the US and Germany are already undergoing legal action there but, so far, Paris prefers to try captured pirates in French courts.”
Congratulations to the French for taking the lead in dealing with a truly international problem.
Just a personal note before I begin this post. As the wife of a Vietnam-era veteran, I remember how the veterans were treated after that war. A friend of my husband and me who was a personnel manager for a company told us that his company would not hire veterans from that era because they ‘just assumed that they were all screwed up’. Needless to say, that made it very difficult to find a job if you had served your country (remember that the majority of people who served during that time were drafted–they did not volunteer). I see the seeds of that happening again in the new Homeland Security Report, and I am concerned and disappointed by it.
The American Thinker and Hot Air both have articles discussing the report the Homeland Security Department issued in January regarding left-wing terror threats and how that compares with the recent report on right-wing terror threats. The contrast is interesting. Up front, I would like to say that there are stange people on both sides (and edges) of the political spectrum. My experience has been, however, that generally conservatives tend to talk issues, liberals attack people and are not particularly open to debate. Anyway, this is what the two reports on extremism said. According to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:
“While the DHS report focusing on the Right expansively and generally indicted groups opposing abortion, illegal immigration, and federalism, this report (the report focusing on the Left)instead focuses on actual and specific extremist groups – groups who have a long history of domestic terrorism and violence (page 9).”
The irony of the report of the left is that after looking at the history of violence (car dealerships burned up in California, home construction sites burned, research labs burned), they warn against cyber attacks by left wing terrorists. Meanwhile, there are terrorists somewhere between Afghanistan and Pakistan who are splitting their sides laughing at this. I just hope all they do is laugh..
The pictures from the Providence, Rhode Island, Tax Day Tea Party are posted below. I was only able to be at the rally during the last hour. There were about two thousand people there (according to a local radio station). The crowd was made up of people of all ages, and judging from appearances, all professions. There were parents there with their children, older people, and a number of young people. It was a friendly, quiet crowd listening to the speakers and respectful of each other. The reason the pictures are posted separately is that I still really don’t understand some of the particulars of posting pictures on a blog!