SOUR GRAPES

The camel’s nose

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So the so-called divert airfield (read, full on training facility) on Tinian rears its ugly head in the news again. This time the story centers around the FAA spokesman who said that the “FAA will conduct aeronautical and environmental feasibility assessments—given the project’s importance to national defense” The FAA recognizes two things, as you who live on Tinian and Saipan should realize: One, that the DoD, (Navy/Marines) wants to bomb, strafe with jets, run tanks over, fire canons into, run assault vehicles over the reefs and otherwise blow the heck out of the northern part of Tinian; and two, that the divert airfield is the dreaded camel’s nose under the tent to get them there. By restricting airspace around the Tinian airport, the TSA that is formed will intersect with and can and will restrict airspace around the Saipan airport as well. What do you think that might mean for an airplane coming in to Saipan from Korea or Japan or China? If they are restricted and can’t land on Saipan or Tinian where would they have to “divert” to? Would our hard-won planeload of tourists wind up in Guam? Yes, they would.

The editor won’t let me use red typeface so I want you to look at the above quote from the story in the Saipan Tribune earlier this week. Look at the line “given the project’s importance to national defense.” Read that line as saying “Sorry, it’s a done deal. DoD has dibs on the place and protest as you will, we at FAA will cave in to them and your island’s residents and your tourism industry will just have to do the same.”

This is not a joke, this is a deadly serious threat to the tourism industry of Tinian, and will severely impact tourism (not to mention your peace and quiet) on Saipan as well if the divert field camel’s nose ploy works and the DoD/Navy/Marines get their way and take over Tinian with the full CNMI joint military training plan they have lusted after for some time now you can kiss the last vestige of the CNMI economy a fond farewell. Unrestricted live fire training exercises held any time of the day or night are just not compatible with a tourism-based economy. Why do you think Guam refuses to allow live fire training there and wants to see all the GI wages and military base money stay in Guam and all the training and the noise and the pollutants stay up here with their cousins in the CNMI?

Dust off that old Army uniform. Your résumé is going to need not to be buffed up, but spit-shined to get work in that new economy. Ask your parents or grandparents what it was like the last time the economy was a military one circa 1950s/1960s. As for me, I prefer camel toes to the camel’s nose.

Call 9/11
Well, it’s that time of year again, when we are invited to confuse patriotism with despotism. 9/11 and the events of that fated day when 19 amateurs with box knives defeated the combined efforts of the U.S. government to safeguard commercial aviation have led to some of the most draconian laws and regulations this formerly freedom loving country has ever seen.

The loss of privacy and individual freedom under the inaptly and ironically named “Patriot Act” usurped major individual freedoms and has left Americans ready to hand over their “papers” to government agents anywhere and everywhere a la Germany of the 1930’s. Every facet of American life has changed from our once open economy to the face recognition cameras on every street corner. From the friendly TSA agent adding a few hours to your every flight to the invasion of your private business life you have been advised that it is all for your own good. It is for your own safety after all that you give up your freedom for the security bat they pretend to wield.

Yes, it was a despicable act those 19 terrorist scumbags invented to use commercial airliners as guided missiles. Yes, we owe thanks aplenty to the first responders who tried in vain to save those 3,000+ Americans who lost their lives that day while many of their own lives were lost. Yes, we should strike back and strike hard…if we knew who really did it, and where they really were. Instead we invaded Iraq to get rid of non-existent weapons of mass destruction, destabilized that government and, by killing hundreds of thousands of children and adults, we begat a whole new and more virulent generation of terrorists with an all-new reason to hate America. The war on terror has raged for nearly two decades, has spent trillions, has enriched the military industrial complex and has inadvertently spawned millions of new terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and around the world and has killed thousands of our own military volunteers, many from here in the CNMI. The terrorists are still out there.

Worse, we allowed ourselves to be shackled by the passage of that “savior,” the Patriot Act. Second only to the RICO Act, which first allowed the federal government and now state and local governments, to confiscate private property without due judicial process and without even being charged. Innocent until proven guilty? Hardly. Now just an accusation is all that is needed. If that act cut the guts out of your individual freedoms, the Patriot Act is smashing much of the rest to ribbons.

Next the internet will be blamed, regulated into oblivion by government bureaucrats and will leave the last bastion of freedom of speech, already heavily curtailed on college campuses, in rags. They will likely call that the “Free Speech Act” as they smash that essential freedom to the ground in order to protect us.

9/11 era solutions via the Department of Homeland Security have mostly come up boxcars for the American form of government by the people instead of by a bureaucracy or by a ruler. That experiment is fading as, little by little, the Bill of Rights is diluted and chipped away in the name of “security.” Our insistence on individual liberty and individual responsibility is our only shot at reversing the slippage. The veterans that died over the last 243 years to preserve that Bill of Rights and that Constitution should not see it diluted and drained away a little piece at a time…but, if they can see, that is what they see.

We should honor those brave first responder heroes and those on the doomed flights who fought back. We should have a parade and march and remember their sacrifice. We should examine closely what we allow our government to do to protect and safeguard us with every step we take on that parade day…and every day.

Thanks for reading Sour Grapes!

“Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
—Benjamin Franklin

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
—Albert Einstein

Bruce Bateman (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Bruce A. Bateman resides on Saipan with a wife, a son, and an unknown number of boonie dogs. He has owned and operated a number of unusual businesses and most recently worked as the marketing manager for MVA. Bruce likes to read, travel, tinker with bicycles, hike, swim, and play a bit of golf. He is opinionated and writes when the moon is full and the mood strikes.

Bruce Bateman (Special to the Saipan Tribune) | Author
Bruce A. Bateman resides on Saipan with a wife, a son, and an unknown number of boonie dogs. He has owned and operated a number of unusual businesses and most recently worked as the marketing manager for MVA. Bruce likes to read, travel, tinker with bicycles, hike, swim, and play a bit of golf. He is opinionated and writes when the moon is full and the mood strikes.

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