Tony Stewart/Kevin Ward Tragedy

Last Saturday night a terrible thing happened on a race track in upstate New York.  A sprint car racer lost his life, but he didn’t lose it crashing into a wall or flipping end over end as many drivers have in the past.  No, he lost his life after getting out of his wrecked car and attempting to confront the driver he deemed responsible for his early departure from the race.

Here is a video of the incident.

Let me say at the beginning that I am not a fan of racing.  I don’t really know anything about it, so maybe I’m not the best person to comment on what happened in this situation but I have watched the video several times and these are my conclusions.

First, the initial contact that sent Ward into the wall and out of the race doesn’t appear to me to be Stewart’s fault.  I don’t see any action on his part aside from rounding the curve and drifing a bit like every other racer.  If he purposely bumped Ward I didn’t see it.  It looks to me like Ward was trying to make up some ground that he lost when there really wasn’t any room to do so, and he ended up catching his front left wheel on Stewart’s car and spun out.

Second, Ward got out of his car in an obvious state of rage while cars were still circling the track.  True, they weren’t going at race speeds but even 40 mph can be deadly as we unfortunately have seen.  Ward wasn’t the first driver to do this, but he may very well have been the last one.  Had he stayed in his car until the wreck crew arrived he would still be alive today.  I don’t think anybody would dispute that point.

Having said all of that, when I first watched the video it did appear that Stewart’s car went to the right in order to hit Ward so I can understand why some people are so upset.  The car before Stewart slowed down and moved to the left to avoid Ward, so I was wondering why Stewart didn’t do the same?  However, I watched the video several times after that and froze the video in an attempt to go frame by frame to figure out what the heck happened.  This was an amateur video and you can’t really see the impact that well, but it looks like Stewart’s car was trying to maneuver around Ward and only veered to the right after the right rear tire caught Ward.

Then I got an idea and went to YouTube to see if there was a slow motion video of the incident and lo and behold …..

If you watch the following video closely it appears that Ward had to step out of the way of the preceeding car, and then tried to step out of the way of Stewart’s car.

It then looks like he was actually trying to grab onto the right wing of the car and hang on.  That is probably what caused the car to pull to the right.  When he wasn’t able to hold on he went flying onto the dirt track practically head first.  You have to wonder what was going through his head that brought him to do what he did?

As for Stewart not slowing down as much as the car ahead of him, he obviously slowed down some because of the caution flag.  As you watch the video you’ll notice that different cars were going at different speeds, presumably based on what they were seeing as they passed Ward and his car.  When Ward got out of his car he had to wait for several cars to pass before walking out on the track.  He then waited for one last car to pass him so that he could confront Stewart.  In other words, Stewart was behind another driver and may not have seen Ward until a second or two before “hitting” him.

If somebody walks down a railroad track and then jumps off right before the train gets there, and then attempts to jump on to the train only to lose their grip and fall to the ground below, would you blame the engineer or the person who tried to grab onto the train for their injuries or death?

Now, apparently Tony Stewart has a reputation for being a hothead, so I can understand why some people tend to suspect the worst here.  Like I said before, I don’t know anything about racing and I never heard of Tony Stewart before this story.  Stewart’s history will probably be something that is considered in the investigation.

The investigators are also reportedly looking at other photos and videos of the incident so we’ll have to wait and see if they disagree, but based on what I saw I don’t see how any objective person could say that this video incriminates Stewart in any way.  If anything it reinforces the opinion that the majority of commenters have, that Ward brought this upon himself.  It’s very sad and obviously devastating for his loved ones, but to ruin another man’s life because of the poor judgment of this young man is wrong IMO.

 

 

Sam (2)

 

Impeach Obama?

In my several decades of observing the American political process I have heard calls for impeachment of every president. Nixon of course was facing impeachment when he resigned in 1974. His successor Gerald Ford only served for two years, and yet some gty_nixon_resignation_mi_130108_wmainof the same people who had demanded Nixon’s impeachment were outraged that he pardoned Nixon and called for his impeachment as well. Carter was accused of selling us out when he “gave away” the Panama Canal, and a few on the far right saw that as a high crime against US interests. The “Iran-Contra” scandal prompted some in congress to mention articles of impeachment of Ronald Reagan when some of his underlings diverted funds from the sale of weapons to the contras in Nicaragua in violation of congressional authority and constitutional guidelines. His vice president George Bush Sr. followed him into the Oval Office where he faced articles of impeachment for starting the Gulf War. After his administration president Bill Clinton was impeached for allegations related to the Paula Jones lawsuit and the Monica Lewinski affair. George W. Bush was accused of lying about the intelligence on Iraq and WMD, and many on the left were calling for articles of impeachment to be introduced against him. And now we are hearing the “I” word being used regarding (among other things) Barack Obama’s defiance of the 30 day notification requirement for transferring terrorists.

The founding fathers included the articles of impeachment component in the constitution to ensure accountability. Congress must have the means at their disposal to remove any president who breaks the law and violates the constitution that he or she has sworn to uphold. This important mechanism loses its power unfortunately, when it is either flippantly flung about by political partisans or when congress lacks the will to utilize it.bill-clinton-denied-affair-with-monica-lewinsky-january-26-1998-picture

In the case of Obama both are true. Since he took office he has been accused of being a Muslim, a communist, a foreigner, and a dictator. None of these accusations brought any serious consideration from anybody in congress who actually had the power to act on the constitutional provision of impeachment. Now however, we actually have a case where a law appears to have been violated. “High crimes and misdemeanors” suddenly seems applicable.

Since he was elected calls for Obama’s impeachment have come in response to the cover-up in the attack on Benghazi, the lax enforcement of immigration laws, excessive use of executive orders, the Gitmo prisoner transfer/exchange for an accused traitor, and for abuse of power in using the IRS to gain an advantage over his political opponents. IMO the first three are pretty much baseless and are nothing more than partisan rhetoric, but the last two might have some merit. And unlike the case with Clinton, the Republicans might actually come out ahead by removing Obama and making Biden the president, because he would be a much less formidable opponent in the 2016 election than Hillary Clinton. But if you think that this congress has the backbone to actually do anything about any of Obama’s actions, think again.

You have to pick your battles in life, and that is especially true in politics. Like the boy who cried “wolf”150113obama, some voices on the right have called for Obama’s impeachement from the day he took office. And now when we are presented with a legitimate impeachable offense, the option of impeachment lacks teeth in part because of their short-sightedness.

On the other hand I have to say that the historical role that Obama plays in being the first African-American president has virtually given him a pass when it comes to the law. In my opinion this congress wouldn’t impeach Obama if they saw a video of him snorting coke and taking million dollar bribes, wearing a Karl Marx t-shirt in a room full of hookers. Because to attempt the removal of the first black president would automatically label those involved as nothing more than racists, and in modern American culture few things are deemed as offensive as racism.

Dr. King dreamed of the day when we would not judge a man on the color of his skin but on the content of his character. President Obama’s skin color didn’t keep him from being elected. That’s a good thing. At the same time however, his skin color should not prevent his removal. That would be a bad thing.

I recall the day in 1998 when the Monica Lewinski story broke.  Newsweek had planned on publishing it but decided that it was too hot to print and spiked the story.  It then ran on the Drudge Report and the rest is history.  The day the story broke the talking heads were pretty much in agreement that if the story was true, Clinton had committed an impeachable offense.  Once the allegations proved true most of them backed off and started talking about keeping things in proportion, and pontificated about how it didn’t “rise to the level” of impeachment, but the fact is federal judges have been impeached for lying under oath in a civil suit as Clinton did.

My contention then and now is that a president must be held accountable for such behaviour.  He can’t be allowed to show such contempt for the law and the judicial process.  What many people never realized is that the Democrats would have loved nothing more than to throw Bill Clinton under the bus and make Al Gore the president.  They were embarrassed and appalled at his conduct and strategically they would have been in a much better position for the 2000 presidential election running an incumbent President Gore against any Republican challenger.  Off the record they would tell reporters that, but on the record they all toed the party line and supported Clinton.  The Republicans on the other hand, didn’t want to remove Clinton from office because they didn’t want to run against an incumbent in the 2000 election, and in fact many Republicans in the Senate resented their fellow Republicans in the House for throwing this hot potato into their laps.  Off the record they told reporters that they didn’t want to deal with this issue, but on the record of course they all expressed outrage over Clinton’s blatant disregard for the law and agreed that it did “rise to the level”.  In the end of course, Clinton was impeached but remained in office as there wasn’t enough support in the Senate for convicting him.

There was sufficient evidence to convict Clinton on the charges of perjury and obstruction of justice IMO, but there wasn’t sufficient backbone on either side of the aisle to do the right thing.  The Democrats put politics ahead of principle and supported Clinton, and the Republicans put politics ahead of principle and feigned supporting impeachment.  The right thing to do was for both parties to remove the man from office and set a precedent for future presidents who might be tempted to commit a similar offense.  That would have meant that Democrats would have to face some angry constituents and that Republicans would have had to face an uphill battle for the White House in 2000, but sometimes you just have to do the right thing and let the chips fall where they may.

Should Obama be impeached? I wouldn’t venture to say one way or the other. But the option needs to be on the table for this president just like any other president. The well-being of our political system requires nothing less.

 

 

Sam (2)

My First Post

Well, here it is.  My first post on my new blog.  I’m sure you’re all wondering “Snow Monkey?  Really?  Why did you name it that?”  Well the simple answer is that everything I tried was already taken, so I had to use my imagination.  Snow Monkeys to me represent a counterintuitive concept.  We usually expect monkeys to live in tropical climates, so the idea of them living in snowy regions is contrary to the natural way of thinking.  I find that my views are often contrary to conventional thinking or the herd mentality, so I felt that it was a fitting title.

For those of you who are new to my writing, I began my blogging career with a site called Dinar Douchebags, where I wrote about a so-called investment in the Iraqi dinar.  It turned out to be a scam and unfortunately I was one of the scammed.  When I realized my mistake I started a blog to expose the fraud and the fraudsters.  I enjoyed blogging so much that I felt I should start a new blog where I could write about other topics.  Thus, The Snow Monkey.

In this blog it’s pretty much “anything goes”.  One week I might write about Justin Beiber and the next I might write about Vladimir Putin.  One week a movie review, the next week breakthroughs in science and technology.  One week the Super Bowl, the next my views on the latest Supreme Court ruling.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on all of these things or even any of these things.  What I am is a guy who has opinions and enjoys sharing those opinions in this format.  I enjoy discussion and debate, and I’ve found that I learn a lot from exchanges with other informed people who also have strong opinions that they want to share.  Hopefully I’ve also provoked others to open their minds and consider a different viewpoint as well.  Cheers!

 

 

Sam (2)