Sunday, October 12, 2008

On September 6th we went to the Estes Park Scottish/Irish festival. At the end I've included a couple of later pictures.
Our day started watching a parade.
The majority of the parade was of many of the clans represented.
Some clans were larger than others.
Dogs of Scotland were in the parade, and in the fair.

One of the few cars in the parade.
This is one of a couple of restored jeeps, complete with gun. At the fair there was a complete camp with actors.
Parade cop, prior to the start.
The fair had traditional Scottish competitions.

There were some catapults. To fire someone climbs the steps on the right side to connect the pulleys to crank the arm down. It took a couple of people on each side of the catapult, turning large wheels.
The pulleys were removed, and a bowling ball placed in the sling. Then it was fired.

Over head a couple of old military plane flew over.

In one tent there was a model of the Flying Scotsman. They modeled the towns on the route, with liberties. Here is one of the many dragons hidden in the display.
A dragon driving a tractor.
Sitting on the back porch with Ellie.
We rebuilt the dog's sandbox. Almost instantly the dogs threw sand all over. I built this wall around the sandbox. I cut the doorway to match the shape I have used on gates, and the pergola.
I recently learned something about my photography. I do better with my film camera than I do with my digital camera. Other people do better with digital. It is not that film is better, or that digital is better. It is how I photograph, and the quality of my cameras.

My film camera is better than my digital, and it shows. But for me there's another factor. For this post I took many more digital pictures than I did film pictures. Yet 8 of the pictures were from film. My previous recent post where I was catching up on pictures were all film pictures. The power of digital is, for me, the problem. Digital allows me to take many pictures and delete the bad ones. What happens is that I do not take the time and care to insure that the pictures have value. Film slows me down, and I take that time.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Another step has been taken in the dismantling of our democracy. I will start with the history.

Our founding fathers studied previous democracies, and their collapse. One particular example that is relevant is that the Roman democracy effectively ended when Caesar, in violation to the long standing Senate prohibition, crossed the Rubicon while still commanding the military forces. Caesar tipped the balance of power away from the Senate. The ultimate consequence was the disappearance of democracy for seventeen centuries.

It was because of the study or history that our founding fathers put into place the three independent branches of government, and created the checks and balances.
“The constitution supposes, what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the legislature.” James Madison in a letter to Thomas Jefferson

Prior to 2006 the Insurrection Act of 1807 state “Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more that two years, or both.”

On June 16, 1878 the Posse Comitatus Act was passed. This act prohibits federal military personnel and the United States National Guard under federal control from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the Untied States, except where expressly authorized by Congress. (The Coast Guard is exempt.)

In Oct. 2002 the Northern Command was created. The Northern Command is under the Secretary of Defense. Its mission is to protect the United States homeland and support local, state, and federal authorities, limited by the Posse Comitatus Act.

The Insurrection Act was amended in the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill to state the following.
space(1) The President may employ the armed forces,
spaceincluding the NationalGuard in Federal service, to
spacespace(A) restore public order and enforce the
spacespacelaws of the United Stateswhen, as a result
spacespaceof a natural disaster, epidemic, or other
spacespaceserious public health emergency, terrorist
spacespaceattack or incident, or other condition in any
spacespaceState or possession of the United States, the
spacespacePresident determines that—
spacespacespace(i) domestic violence has occurred to
spacespacespacesuch an extent that the constituted
spacespacespaceauthorities of the State or possession
spacespacespaceare incapable of maintaining public
spacespacespaceorder, and
spacespacespace(ii) such violence results in a condition
spacespacespacedescribed in paragraph (2); or
spacespace(B) suppress, in a State, any insurrection,
spacespacedomestic violence, unlawful combination,
spacespaceor conspiracy if such insurrection, violation,
spacespacecombination, or conspiracy results in a
spacespacecondition described in paragraph (2).
space(2) A condition described in this paragraph is
spacea condition that—
spacespace(A) so hinders the execution of the laws
spacespaceof a State or possession, as applicable,
spacespaceand of the United States within that State or
spacespacepossession, that any part or class of its
spacespacepeople is deprived of a right, privilege,
spacespaceimmunity, or protection named in the
spacespaceConstitution and secured by law, and
spacespacethe constituted authorities of that
spacespaceState or possession are unable, fail, or
spacespacerefuse to protect that right privilege,
spacespaceor immunity, or to give that protection;
spacespace(B) opposes or obstructs the execution
spacespaceof the laws of the Unites States or
spacespaceimpedes the course of justice under
spacespacethose laws.

This amendment to the Insurrection Act was repealed in the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill, but President Bush, in a signing statement exempted himself.

This amendment to the law removes the requirement that the State request National Guard help in an emergency. Every member of the National Governors Association signed a letter stating “This provision was drafted without consultation or input from governors and represents an unprecedented shift in authority from governors … to the federal government.”

On May 4, 2007, after he gained the new-found authority in the Insurrection Act, President Bush sign the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive (often call Directive 51). Most of the document is classified. Unclassified sections state that in an emergency an “Enduring Constitutional Government” will take the place of the nation’s regular government. That is, the President can suspend our government. The emergency is construed as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting to U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.” (emphasis added)

Recently the Army stationed The Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Team under the control of US Army North, the Army service component of the Northern Command.

This President has given himself the power to suspend our government in a national emergency such as a stock market meltdown, and armed himself to enforce that action. Mr. Bush has crossed the Rubicon.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I need to catch up on what we have been doing. I will start with a few pictures from Ian, Mandy, and Ainsley's visit, and from our visit to Daria, Andy, Summer, and Baxter. I will be posting some more recent pictures in a future post.

Ian, Mandy, and Ainsley's visit

Daria, Andy, Summer, and Baxter