Raging Right Wing Republican

For those of us who are politically informed, and therefore Republican.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas

Don't let the ACLU find out...

Thursday, December 16, 2004

It Burns

Under the last four years of Herr Bush's first term, particle pollution has fallen by 10%:
The average level of a deadly form of air pollution dropped in the USA from 1999 to 2003 as new pollution controls made strides in battling the nation's air quality problem, the Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites) said Tuesday.

The deadliest form of particulate pollution, the soot emitted by tailpipes and smokestacks, fell 10% during the four-year period, the EPA reported. Particulate kills tens of thousands of people each year by triggering heart and lung problems, EPA reports have said.
What's this?! No! It can't be true!

Where's my familiar old Bush, gleefully hacking defenseless saplings to shreds and throwing puppies into the furnace? My eyes, blinded. I'm ruined. Just ruined.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Quote of the Day

Human Rights Attorney Joanne Mariner:
"Sudan, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Russia: one thing these countries have in common is that their governments violate human rights flagrantly and systematically. But another thing they share, astonishingly enough, is membership on the UN body meant to monitor and prevent human rights violations."

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

When You Vote Republican, You Also Beat Your Wife

And the post-election liberal hysteria rolls onward! Michael Moore produces this masterpiece:
Watch Dan Rather apologize for not getting his facts straight, humiliated before the eyes of America, voluntarily undermining his credibility and career of over thirty years. Observe Donna Brazille squirm as she is ridiculed by Bay Buchanan, and pronounced irrelevant and nearly non-existent. Listen as Donna and Nancy Pelosi and Senator Charles Schumer take to the airwaves saying that they have to go back to the drawing board and learn from their mistakes and try to be better, more likable, more appealing, have a stronger message, speak to morality. Watch them awkwardly quote the bible, trying to speak the ‘new’ language of America. Surf the blogs, and read the comments of dismayed, discombobulated, confused individuals trying to figure out what they did wrong. Hear the cacophony of voices, crying out, "Why did they beat me?"

And then ask anyone who has ever worked in a domestic violence shelter if they have heard this before.

They will tell you: Every single day.

The answer is quite simple. They beat us because they are abusers.
We can call it hate. We can call it fear. We can say it is unfair. But we are looped into the cycle of violence, and we need to start calling the dominating side what they are: abusive. And we need to recognize that we are the victims of verbal, mental, and even, in the case of Iraq, physical violence.

As victims we can't stop asking ourselves what we did wrong. We can't seem to grasp that they will keep hitting us and beating us as long as we keep sticking around and asking ourselves what we are doing to deserve the beating.

...

[W]atch the Democratic Party leadership walk on eggshells, try to meet him, please him, wash the windows better, get out that spot, distance themselves from gays and civil rights. See the Democrats cry for the attention and affection and approval of the President and his followers. Watch us squirm. Watch us descend into a world of crazy-making, where logic does not work and the other side tells us we are nuts when we rely on facts. A world where, worst of all, we begin to believe we are crazy.

How to break free? Again, the answer is quite simple.

First, you must admit you are a victim. Then, you must declare the state of affairs unacceptable. Next, you must promise to protect yourself and everyone around you that is being victimized. You don't do this by responding to their demands, or becoming more like them, or engaging in logical conversation, or trying to persuade them that you are right. You also don't do this by going catatonic and resigned, by closing up your ears and eyes and covering your head and submitting to the blows, figuring its over faster and hurts less if you don't resist and fight back.

Instead, you walk away. You find other folks like yourself, 57 million of them, who are hurting, broken, and beating themselves up. You tell them what you've learned, and that you aren't going to take it anymore. You stand tall, with 57 million people at your side and behind you, and you look right into the eyes of the abuser and you tell him to go to hell. Then you walk out the door, taking the kids and gays and minorities with you, and you start a new life. The new life is hard. But it's better than the abuse.


...

Even if you do everything right, they'll hit you anyway. Look at the poor souls who voted for this nonsense. They are working for six dollars an hour if they are working at all, their children are dying overseas and suffering from lack of health care and a depleted environment and a shoddy education.

And they don't even know they are being hit.
Who knows what will emerge from the depths of the high minded, tolerant liberal cocoon next? More 'national unity', perhaps?

(Via Ace of Spaces.)

Bush & His Faith

The White House speech writer, Mark Gerson, spent some time with reporters recently, leaving the Washington Post to dutifully inform us of the following:
Gerson also caustically dismissed the idea that the invasion of Iraq or U.S. policy toward Israel were prompted by theories about the second coming of Jesus.
Sort of sad the question even had to be asked... But it did, didn't it?
But on the whole, the speechwriter argued, Bush's references to the role of providence in human affairs have been carefully calibrated and fully within the tradition of American civic religion. He said that Bush, like other presidents from George Washington to Bill Clinton, has expressed trust in God without claiming to understand all of God's ways.
Clinton has actually mentioned God many more times in his speeches than Bush ever has, in less meaningful ways.
"As a writer, I think this attitude would flatten political rhetoric and make it less moving and interesting," he said. "But even more, I think the reality here is that scrubbing public discourse of religious ideas would remove one of the main sources of social justice in our history. Without an appeal to justice rooted in faith, there would be no abolition movement or civil rights movement or pro-life movement."
Not to mention appeals to help the poor, or movements to protect the environment.
"They're not code words; they're our culture," he said.
The perfect summary, I'd say.

Hillary's Political Rightward Shift

Hillary begins her pre-'08 set up shift to the right, starting by moving to flank the President to his right on illegal immigration. (Not a very hard thing to do, actually...)
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is staking out a position on illegal immigration that is more conservative than President Bush, a strategy that supporters and detractors alike see as a way for the New York Democrat to shake the "liberal" label and appeal to traditionally Republican states.
    Mrs. Clinton — who is tagged as a liberal because of her plan for nationalized health care and various remarks during her husband's presidency — is taking an increasingly vocal and hard-line stance on an issue that ranks among the highest concerns for voters, particularly Republicans.
While I don't trust her for a second, and it's likely she's just setting herself up with such flashy claims so she can announce unbridled conservatism later down the trail, it is nevertheless good for the debate over illegal immigration and will cause more light to be shined on the issue.

In Their Very Own World

Well, they lost the election, and all their crazed cries of "Impeach Bush-Hitler!!!" has amounted to nothing.

They can still pretend otherwise, though...

The Liberal Cocoon

An article by the Rapid City Journal delves into the liberal media cocoon, and the liberal political cocoon those on the left spin around themselves to shield their beliefs from any criticism and to justify their ideas in a vacuum. (This being what leads to the news anchors famously asking how Bush could've won - they didn't know anybody that voted for him!) As Polipundit puts it, this is demonstrated wonderfully by a rolling tapestry of anecdotes.

Slow Going

Please excuse the pace as of late - I've been very busy lately. In a week or so I should be up to speed again, though I'll still be blogging 'til then.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Rich off Oil for Food

UNSCAM UPDATE:
Billionaire Marc Rich has emerged as a central figure in the U.N. oil-for-food scandal and is under investigation for brokering deals in which scores of international politicians and businessmen cashed in on sweetheart oil deals with Saddam Hussein, The Post has learned.

Rich, the fugitive Swiss-based commodities trader who received a controversial pardon from President Bill Clinton in January 2001, is a primary target of criminal probes under way in the U.S. attorney's office in New York and by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, sources said.

"We think he was a major player in this — a central figure," a senior law-enforcement official told The Post.
Yet another story Clinton will no doubt have to rewrite.

Quote of the Day

Thomas Jefferson:
"One single object...[will merit] the endless gratitude of the society: that of restraining the judges from usurping legislation."

Yep, He's Running

Kerry takes a trip down memory lane in Iowa:
John Kerry paid an emotional return visit Friday to the state that launched him toward his party's nomination for president, saying he felt "an unbelievable wave of nostalgia."

Kerry insisted the only reason for his return to Iowa was to thank supporters, but the focus at one point turned to the future when his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, made a reference to "whoever is up in '08." The crowd then began chanting Kerry's name.

"Whoever's up in '08 will not be running against the president, which is a blessing," she said.
That extra $15 million he never spent on his campaign has to go somewhere... He's just setting himself up for another great run, irking his supporters by failing to spend that money on the campaign itself. You know, like in Ohio. Maybe he'll just use it to buy another house.

(Via Kerry Haters - which may find a renewed purpose in a few months... Heh.)

Saturday, December 11, 2004

They Hate Our Freedom

Pizza courier 'targeted' Amsterdam sex zone.
The National Detectives Unit was alerted to the supposed attack plan by three anonymous emails, the first of which was received on 14 September. Emails dated 27 September and 11 October gave further details of the suspects and addresses.

The emails warned that "terrorists in Amsterdam East" were plotting an attack on the Wallen area in Amsterdam, De Telegraaf reported. Muslim extremists, the paper said, were allegedly furious at the lack of morals in the prostitution zone.
I don't know what these people had to do with Israel or our support of them, but it looks like it goes beyond policies, doesn't it? In fact, with the Dutch, it is hardly even applicable; they're about the most tolerant and accomodating society in Europe, to their detriment, giving a safe platform for islamofascists to damn the very freedoms they abuse allowing them to do so. What other reason would they have to attack a prositution ring other than the fact that they hate our societies and cultures?

We represent everything that is evil to them. It is our very core; even if we ceded each of the issues to them they would still push for more and more and more until we would have nothing left. And even then we would still be infidels, no more worthy of being spared the sword than a flock of sheep. Unlike the core tenets of western civilization, which follow the creed of 'live and let live', allowing somebody to mind their own business on their side of the fence so long as you can conduct your own on your side, Islamofascism believes it has the right to trample anything in its path to global jihadist hegemony and dominance. If they aren't coming for you now, they'll be coming for you later. Even other muslims who don't prefer to share in their exultant joy over beheadings are fit for the slaughter.

And then there's Theo Van Gogh, now the icon of the islamofascists contempt for freedom of expression and speech, the film maker who dared to criticize Islam's brutal treatment of it's women, then paid the ultimate price for it - his throat slit, murdered - and left with a message stabbed into his chest. His last words? "We can still talk about it! Don't do it! Don't do it."

What did that have to do with any government policy?

How did other local muslims react to this atrocity, this trampling of freedom within their own country? Oh, no big deal. You have to 'pay' when you insult radical Islam.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Kofi's Accountability

UNSCAM UPDATE:
No one is ever asked to resign for wrongdoing at the United Nations. Indeed, since Minnesota Sen. Norman Coleman suggested that the secretary general should fall on his sword for presiding over the Oil-for-Food scandal, there has been a positive rush of diplomats and governments from all over the world to his defense.

African countries in particular have rallied to his support. That is hardly surprising. He is the first secretary general from sub-Saharan Africa. And, reasonably enough, the continent has felt some pride in his elevation and in his genuine diplomatic skills.

Europe too — in the persons of President Chirac of France and Chancellor Schroeder of Germany — has expressed confidence in him. Again, that is hardly surprising. The Oil-for-Food scandal has received scandalously little attention in the European media, even though major European figures are plausibly alleged to have taken bribes from Saddam Hussein. So there is much less public indignation about the United Nations' missing billions in Europe than in the United States.

And, finally, the "international community" has backed Annan in response to a letter that asked U.N. civil servants to vote their confidence in him. Since Annan is their boss and representative to the rest of the world, their support was surely foreordained (though the fact that the United Nations omitted a "No" box in the letter suggests a certain lack of confidence on somebody's part.)

Americans tend to be baffled by these reactions. They look at the multiplying scandals around the United Nations and wonder how the man in charge can avoid being held responsible for any of it by other countries.

But the explanation is simple: Kofi Annan is the symbol of the United Nations' lack of accountability. He is never held responsible for what goes wrong, because the United Nations is never held responsible, either. It sails in a cloud of noble idealism over the actual failures, hypocrisy, corruption and outright criminality that attend some U.N. actions on the ground below.

And there is a polite consensus outside the United States not to notice the glaring contradictions between idealism and reality. Too many influential people and institutions have invested too much in the United Nations and the U.N. system to see its flaws clearly.

Blood Money


(Cartoon courtesy of Cox and Forkum.)

Quote of the Day

Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 18, 1781:
At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office; that their decisions, seeming to concern individual suitors only, pass silent and unheeded by the public at large; that these decisions, nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping, by little and little, the foundations of the constitution, and working its change by construction, before any one has perceived that that invisible and helpless worm has been busily employed in consuming its substance. In truth, man is not made to be trusted for life, if secured against all liability to account.
Words that seem especially prescient today...

Lasers Threat

The terrorists are starting to re-invent themselves again. What makes them so dangerous is that they can adapt so quickly, and now that security around planes has tightened in an effort to reduce the risk of hijackings - though much remains to be done - they're now looking at other ways to circumvent those safeguards.
WASHINGTON - Terrorists may seek to down aircraft by shining powerful lasers into cockpits to blind pilots during landing approaches, federal officials are warning in a bulletin distributed nationwide.

The memo sent by the FBI and the Homeland Security Department says there is evidence that terrorists have explored using lasers as weapons, though there is no specific intelligence indicating al-Qaida or other groups might use lasers in the United States.

"Although lasers are not proven methods of attack like improvised explosive devices and hijackings, terrorist groups overseas have expressed interest in using these devices against human sight," the memo said.

"In certain circumstances, if laser weapons adversely affect the eyesight of both pilot and co-pilot during a non-instrument approach, there is a risk of airliner crash," the agencies said.

In September a pilot for Delta Air Lines reported an eye injury from a laser beam shone into the cockpit during a landing approach in Salt Lake City. The incident occurred about 5 miles from the airport. The plane landed safely.

FBI and other federal officials are investigating. It is not clear if a crime was committed or if the laser was directed into the cockpit by accident.

Steve Luckey, a retired airline pilot who is chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association's national security committee, said pilots are concerned about a recent increase in laser incidents, but do not know what to make of them. He said he has learned of two or three cases in the past 90 days.

"The most recent incidents appear to be aimed at pilots in the vicinity of airports," Luckey said. "A few seem to be intentional, and we're wondering why and what's going on."
(Found at NRO's Corner.)

Atheist Philosopher: God Exists

How's that for a contradiction, eh? Leading atheist philosopher concludes god exists.
NEW YORK — A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism (search) for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God — more or less — based on scientific evidence, and says so on a video released Thursday.

At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew (search) has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.

Flew said he's best labeled a deist like Thomas Jefferson (search), whose God was not actively involved in people's lives.

"I'm thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins," he said. "It could be a person in the sense of a being that has intelligence and a purpose, I suppose."

Flew first made his mark with the 1950 article "Theology and Falsification," based on a paper for the Socratic Club (search), a weekly Oxford religious forum led by writer and Christian thinker C.S. Lewis.
Something interesting to chew on for those of us contemplating the issue in any way. Keep in mind that he's simply a deist, which simply assumes that there is a God that created the universe - but it doesn't go beyond that - whether or not this God stopped paying attention to our universe or does anything else or has any other attributes whatsoever is left up in the air. But it's a stepping stone, and if even someone such as Mr. Flew can come around, even after his 80+ years of denouncing God, then it is noteworthy for the rest of us.

There is an intriguing book I've been browsing through lately on the topic, and for those interested, it's a good read. It lays out the scientific evidence which shows that as time has gone and as we have learned more about the nature of our universe through such things as physics, it becomes more and more blatantly obvious that something beside our own temporal existence is required to have started it all. And that's just the beginning of it. In the end, it shifts the burden of proof from the theists to the atheists, and it does so masterfully.

Coalition of the Coerced & Bribed

Though Chrenkoff typically is fountain of good news emanating from Iraq, in this post he combs over the nature of the UN itself and exactly how much we should expect out of this corrupt, bureaucratic nightmare in the first place; are the problems solvable or are they part of a deeper conflict within the UN's very core makeup?
Should we expect more from the UN? Should we expect the organization to actually actively promote values such as freedom, democracy, transparency and accountability? Many, particularly conservatives, would say no; after all, the United Nations is not a "club of the democracies," but a club of, well... everyone.

Every year, Freedom House ranks countries in the world on a 1.0 to 7.0 continuum of Free, Partly Free and Unfree. In the latest such ranking (link in PDF), 89 countries are considered to be Free, of which 39 get the perfect 1.0 score. 56 Countries are Partly Free (between 3.0 and 5.0), and another 49 are considered Not Free (with the scores ranging from 5.5 to the dismal 7.0). Hence, as you look at the composition of the General Assembly, it pits 89 free countries against 105 whose political and human rights climate leaves something (and in many cases very much) to be desired. ...

So if you look at the composition of the United Nations' General Assembly it is clearly made up of majority of countries that are struggling in the freedom's stakes and and even greater majority of countries that their own citizens consider to be quite crooked. Any wonder that the UN behaves as it does, both as an international player and in its own internal governance?

A simplistic analysis? Of course. After all, some of America's staunch allies are among the unfree and the corrupt, just as many of America's detractors are both free and clean. Yet, one cannot escape the conclusion that in the end, the United Nations is merely a sum of its parts and its actions merely reflect the nature and the sentiments of the majority of its members.
As far as I'm concerned, we can't simply leave the UN, because it'll allow the sordid, undesirable elements within the organization to cement their control. On the other hand, without the US participating it won't have much power to wield in the first place. And we have to ask ourselves, do we want our money to be funneled and contribute to such an organization? Do we want to be a part of their misdeeds, however indirectly?

As it stands now, any Democrat arguing for greater UN legitimacy and authority needs to have his head examined.

The last few entries I have recently written on this subject can be found here, here, here, and here.

(Via Powerline.)

The Drama Queen

Definitely Andrew Sullivan.

There was a time, before his downward spiral into madness, when I actively consumed what he wrote. Think he'll ever get his bearings again?

Beyond that, he's up to his usual tricks, and I tend not to want to devote any more space on this blog to him and his slanderous ways.

(Via Spoons.)

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Size of a Small Moon


At last, the Bush administration is working on it's latest project: the Death Star! I always thought we should stop and convert the moon into the Death Star while we were on our way to Mars. What good is the moon, after all, if it isn't brimming with apocalyptic weaponry? Maybe they should add some nukes too.

Well, it isn't quite there yet, but it's a start!
A U.S. panel in 2001 described American defense and spy satellites as frighteningly vulnerable, saying technology to launch attacks in space was widely available internationally. The study, by a commission whose members included Donald H. Rumsfeld prior to his appointment as defense secretary for Bush, concluded that the United States was "an attractive candidate for a Space Pearl Harbor."

Quote of the Day

General George S. Patton, Jr:
"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."

Kyoto: Ineffective & Unnecessary

More evidence coming in, this time from a leading climate scientist, showing that the much ballyhooed Kyoto treaty simply will not work.
The West's approach to fighting global warming, enshrined in the Kyoto protocol, will not work, a leading climate scientist said yesterday.

The struggle by developed countries to cut back their emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas, will always be overtaken by the rising new emissions of the developing nations, led by China and India, who are not parties to the Kyoto treaty, said Professor Wallace Broecker of Columbia University, New York. ...

He said: "What you guys are tinkering around with in Kyoto is just a drop in the bucket."

His view will be more unwelcome news for Mr Blair, who admitted yesterday that the Government's target for reducing CO2 emissions by 20 per cent by 2010 was likely to be missed by a large margin, although the Kyoto target is likely to be met.
So Bush is a moron because he turned down a useless treaty that would've tied up the United States and torpedoed our fragile post-9/11 economy while leaving the real polluters free to do as they please? What about all those American jobs we'd lose as a result? I'll pass.

A previous entry I have written on it can be found here.

Why the UN Remains Mired in its Defects

Max Boot on the UN's ailing condition:
Imagine if U.S. troops were accused of sexually exploiting children in impoverished nations. Imagine if a U.S. Cabinet secretary were accused of groping a female subordinate, whose complaint was then swatted aside by the president. Imagine if the head of a U.S. government agency and the president's own offspring stood accused of complicity in the biggest embezzlement racket in history.

Those would be pretty big stories, no? Above-the-fold, top-of-the-newscast stories. Yet the United Nations has been mired in all these scandals and until just recently hardly anybody outside the right-wing blogosphere has noticed. ...

The U.N.'s friends are doing their favorite international institution no favors with this knee-jerk defense. Until it cleans up its act, the U.N. can never be as influential as its boosters would like. Even Annan recognizes this. ...

Many member states don't want to rock the boat because they have cozy deals with the current U.N. regime. A French bank, for instance, was the prime repository of the oil-for-food billions. Others are afraid that a stronger U.N. would interfere in their affairs. Russia doesn't want the U.N. meddling in Chechnya, China doesn't want it in Tibet, India doesn't want it in Kashmir, and so on.
Read the rest.

Previous entries written relatively recently can be found here, here, here, and here.

The Red Baiters

The Democrats apparently are eager to wrestle the well earned title of "The Stupid Party" away from the GOP. You'd think that after suffering a devestating string of losses on an election they'd examine their policies, their character, their approach, and perhaps find out what was wrong. Instead the loss, much like previous elections, has provoked an onslaught of rage and anger at every other possible factor except themselves to justify their loss, particularly towards voters living in the red states. Demonstrating the very elitism which they are so quick to deny, it apparently hasn't occured to them that within those states live a hybrid of both blue and red voters, so they're also shooting themselves in the foot in their rush to heap so much trash on their fellow countrymen.

Here, Dave Kopel provides an excellent analysis and breakdown of all the information and separates the rancid muck from the truth, specifically regarding the marriage and divorce rates.

When are the Democrats going to learn that, "You're stupid! Now vote for us!" is not a winning strategy?

Iraq Braces Itself

And takes another step forward toward achieving the status of a thriving democracy.

Rumsfeld Set Up; Reporter Planted Questions With Soldier

Figures.

Fallujah

A reporter sums up what happened there:
Most of the beheadings featured on the Al Jazeera news network were committed in the city, carried out under klieg lights with written instructions how and when the CDs should be delivered to make the evening news. The city’s warlords, Janabi and Hadid, paid obeisance to the arch terrorist Zarqawi and competed for his favor by assassinations and bombings. They bragged their “martyr battalions” would cut to pieces any American force entering the city.

Deciding otherwise, the residents fled the city, leaving a few thousand jihadists to their fate. In a swift offensive, American soldiers and Marines swept in and hunted them down, destroying every house and mosque where Zarqawi’s soldiers stood and fought. Seventeen-thousand buildings were searched, uncovering cache after cache of weapons. The numbers were staggering: Over 100,000 explosives found in just one section of the city.

Bulldozers and backhoes are now shoveling the debris from the streets. The few remaining insurgents emerging from the ruins have been quickly cut down. The other day, four of them fired from a cluttered alley at two passing Humvees. Half a minute later, they were dead. A Marine battalion commander, Lt. Col. Pat Malay, shot the last of the four.

“It’s a good day when you get into it,” Cpl. Michael Yerena, the vehicle commander in the second Humvee, said to me. “You feel you’ve earned your pay.”
And it has much more.

(Via Polipundit.)

You Go To War With What You Have

Rumsfeld: Airing concerns was healthy.
"I think it's good" that ordinary soldiers are given a chance to express their concerns to the secretary of defense and senior military commanders, Rumsfeld told reporters during a visit to the Indian capital.

"It's necessary for the Army to hear that, do something about it and see that everyone is treated properly," Rumsfeld said, referring not only to the complaint about insufficient armor but also another soldier's statement about not getting reimbursed for certain expenses in a timely way.

Those complaints, and others, were aired on Wednesday when Rumsfeld held a "town hall" style meeting with about 2,300 soldiers at Camp Buehring in northern Kuwait, a transit camp for troops heading into Iraq.
That said, the soldier made a good point regarding the trouble with equipment. Still, now that it has been brought out in such a public way I expect it to be addressed in some way.

Spinning Rumsfeld's Visit

This is the spin the mainstream media is giving Donald Rumsfeld's visit to Kuwait: Troops put tough questions to Rumsfeld.
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - After delivering a pep talk designed to energize troops preparing to head for Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld got a little “talking to” himself from disgruntled soldiers. But a Pentagon spokesman characterized the exchange, about a shortage of armed vehicles, as “upbeat.”

In his prepared remarks, Rumsfeld urged the troops — mostly National Guard and Reserve soldiers — to discount critics of the war in Iraq and to help “win the test of wills” with the insurgents.

Some of the soldiers, however, had criticisms of their own — not of the war itself but of how it is being fought.

Army Spc. Thomas Wilson, for example, of the 278th Regimental Combat Team that is comprised mainly of citizen soldiers of the Tennessee Army National Guard, asked Rumsfeld in a question-and-answer session why vehicle armor is still in short supply, nearly two years after the beginning of the war in Iraq.

“Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?” Wilson asked. A big cheer arose from the approximately 2,300 soldiers in the cavernous hangar who assembled to see and hear the secretary of defense.

Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question.

“We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north,” Wilson said after asking again. Wilson’s unit is about to drive into Iraq for a one-year tour of duty.

Rumsfeld replied that, “You go to war with the Army you have,” not the one you might want, and that any rate the Army was pushing manufacturers of vehicle armor to produce it as fast as humanly possible.
And then there's the perspective of somebody who was there: Sgt. Missick, A Line In the Sand.
Today was one of the days throughout this deployment that I will remember the rest of my life.  It was an opportunity to meet one of the key architects in the War on Terror, and a man whom I personally admire.  Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stood before about 2,300 soldiers today on what was a fairly cool and overcast morning, and spoke to us about our place in history, the difficult job we have before us, and the thankfulness that the American people hold in their hearts for everyone deployed in the Global War on Terror.

We found out last week that the Secretary of Defense would be coming to one of the area’s camps, and that we might have the opportunity to attend the address he would make.  Fortunately, my contingent took volunteers and five of us boarded a bus and headed to the location where we would have the opportunity to listen to and even meet Mr. Rumsfeld.  It was indeed a great speech, and like Victorino Matus in the Wall Street Journal Opinion pages today, drew parallels to what occurred on December 8, 1941 as America entered WWII.  The Secretary spoke about how the Germans and the Japanese underestimated the resolve of America’s finest, but that the men and women in uniform performed magnificently.  Mr. Matus too, made the same parallels stating:

It all has a familiar ring to it. The enemy believes that it takes only a taste of real war, followed by a few casualties, to send Americans running home with their tails between their legs. The American president, weighed down by public opinion, will then be forced to make concessions and abandon the field.

Sixty years ago, Adolf Hitler had exactly such thoughts. He launched a devastating offensive in Western Europe in the hope that he could weaken America’s willingness to fight and thus splinter the Allies, leaving him free to deal with the Soviet Union...

The Nazis at first perceived the American soldier to be “a gum-chewing spoiled brat.” Instead they faced an adversary willing to stand his ground. The 394th’s I&R platoon played a pivotal role in slowing the German advance—a delay that would prove costly. “We knew it weren’t no little thing,” said Sgt. George Redmond. “But I figured if I’d gotten that far, I’d get the rest of the way. You only have to go when your time comes.” America’s enemies would do well not to underestimate this sense of courage and duty.

Mr. Rumsfeld gave a very good speech to “Rally the Troops” and it was heartening to sit there in that aircraft hangar, only feet away from the man who holds the power of America’s armed forces in his hand.  After his formal speech, he opened the floor to questions.  I was impressed once again with our nation, when a 20 year old Specialist has the opportunity to stand before the Secretary of Defense and ask him a direct and difficult question.  Mr. Rumsfeld did receive such questions today, and handled them fairly well.  Certainly, in areas such as stop loss, the answer was not one that some soldiers wanted to hear, but honestly, even that was slightly comforting.  His answers were usually direct and blunt, telling the audience the realities of a situation rather than an overly sugar-coated prepared sound-byte.  I will admit, I am partial to the Secretary and believe he puts America’s and the military’s best interests first, but even from the most un-biased position I could conjure up, I was impressed at both his speech and the fact that he visited today.

You can find the AP Newswire link here, as carried in the Fresno Bee.  There is also this article that appeared in the Middle East Online.  Although the AP article captured the sentiments a little more accurately, I must say that the mood in the hangar was much more of goodwill, with soldiers packing around the Secretary as if he was a movie star to shake his hand or get a picture at the end.  There was a great deal of frustration in the voice of the soldier who asked questions regarding vehicles being up-armored, and the hangar did erupt in applause after he spoke, but I wouldn’t translate one very tough question into a grill session by American forces.  The questions were direct, and dealt with everything from exit strategies to one Chaplain asking Mr. Rumsfeld to take his soldier to Disneyland on the Secretaries private plane to boost morale.  For the most part, the mood was not one of anger and disgust, just concern over serious issues that impact all of our lives.  For me, the Q&A represented the intelligence and professionalism that is the US Armed Forces.
(Via LGF.)

Bribing Europe Through Palestine

Ed over at Captain's Quarters has a bit of a different take on the $20 million being given to the Palestinians by the Bush administration. I have to say it's interesting and casts a different light on it.

A Brave New Dawn

...In Afghanistan.

As Polipundit puts it, the London Times has written an objective, upbeat assessment of the situation.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Sharpton, Fraud, & the DNC

The Village Voice has a solid exposure of race baiting scumbag Al Sharpton's despicable history. Apparently he saw nothing wrong with threatening those producing such information and putting his own wife into the line of fire. On a new high, Sharpton hits a new low.
In the lawyers' letter, Sharpton reveals that he has not lived with his wife and two daughters in their enormous Brooklyn mansion since April 2003, when the couple agreed to "terminate their marriage." This flies in the face of repeated claims during his year and a half of presidential hoopla—especially one as recently as July 2004, when he rebutted a Daily News item about an alleged other woman by insisting that "Kathy has been my rock and always will be." The self-described "grassroots activist" now says through lawyers that he "moved" to the luxurious Helmsley Carlton, though he told reporters who caught him there earlier this year that it was merely an easy place to lay his head while on the campaign trail. But this story is not about a pol concealing an unraveled marriage until a press announcement of separation exactly two days after the election.

Sharpton's is a saga of hypocrisy more than hanky-panky. It is the tale of how he helped engineer the demise of his mentor, Jesse Jackson, who had an affair with the executive director of his nonprofit organization and showered her with benefits, even while Sharpton was sending every signal to those around him that he was doing the same. Of course, Sharpton denies that he had anything to do with the fusillade of baby and other stories fired at Jackson in the beginning of 2001. And his lawyers began their December 2 letter with the declaration that any claim that the Sharpton separation "was based upon any extra-marital affairs or infidelity on the part of Rev. Sharpton is false," as is the "rumor" that he had one.

This story will spotlight four individuals close to Sharpton who helped expose Jackson, instantly catapulting Sharpton to the top ranks of African American leadership. (See "What Al Did to Jesse"). While it is virtually impossible to establish that an intimate relationship existed without confirmation from a party, a compelling case can be made that Sharpton appeared to engage in one with Marjorie Harris (also known as Marjorie Fields-Harris), the executive director of his National Action Network and the woman named in two Daily News gossip pieces.
For those minutely interested in this tangled web of lies and deceit, it is definitely worth reading the rest.

With that in mind... Sharpton bribed $86,715 by Kerry campaign for support.
Washington (AP) - All of John Kerry (website - news - bio) 's one-time rivals in the Democratic presidential primary eventually lined up to support him as the nominee, but only one got paid for it - Al Sharpton.

The Democratic National Committee paid Sharpton $86,715 in travel and consulting fees to compensate for his campaigning for Kerry and other Democratic candidates, according to reports to the Federal Election Commission.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Sharpton said he was paid for travel and he didn't know how much he had been reimbursed.

"They asked me to travel to 20 or 30 cities to campaign, and I did that," Sharpton said. "What am I supposed to do, donate the cost of air fare?"

Cabrera would not say when the party agreed to pay Sharpton or whether he requested the consulting fees. Cabrera said that information was part of private negotiations.
Perhaps it's time more people took a look at this.

The Book the Left Fears

I haven't bought a book for a while. I might order it tomorrow.

Granted, I'll take it with a grain of salt.

Dollar Rallies Against Major Currencies

The value of the dollar skyrocketed on Wednesday as investors took a break from worrying about the current account deficit and focused on relative interest rates, which were increasingly expected to favor the dollar.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar rebounded on Wednesday as investors focused on relative interest rates, which increasingly were expected to favor the dollar, and reversed some bets against the currency.

Early in the session, the U.S. currency soared more than 2 percent against the Australian dollar after the Reserve Bank of Australia opted to keep interest rates unchanged. It rose more than 1 percent against the Canadian dollar, adding to sharp gains on Tuesday after the Bank of Canada also opted to keep rates flat.

As the dollar's gains spread to other currencies, traders scrambled to cover short positions after weeks of steep dollar declines. Short positions essentially are bets that a currency will fall. ...

The dollar leaped against the euro to its best single-day rise in two months. By late afternoon the euro was at $1.3335, down about 0.70 percent from late Tuesday.

Against the yen, the dollar jumped more than 1 percent from the prior late New York session, to 104.05 yen .

The dollar also rose against the Swiss franc, to 1.1492 francs.

RATES, RATES, RATES

Dealers said the rate decisions were largely expected but served to remind the market that while interest rates are rising in the United States, they are likely to remain flat in other countries, where growth has been constrained, at least in part because of strong currencies.

New Zealand's central bank was the latest to leave the country's interest rates unchanged. But the bank said it could not rule out tightening if stronger-than-expected inflation pressures emerged.

As U.S. interest rates rise while those of other countries hold steady or fall, it becomes less expensive, or more rewarding, for investors to hold dollar-denominated assets, such as Treasuries. An auction of $5 billion in 5-year Treasury notes on Wednesday attracted strong demand from foreign investors.

"Canada really got the ball rolling and (the Canadian dollar) continues to get hammered against the dollar," said John Beerling, chief dealer at Wells Fargo in Minneapolis.

Outfoxed & F9/11: Brothers in Arms

Here we have another critic that gives the rundown on 'Outfoxed', the propaganda piece that follows in the footsteps of F9/11.
According to an article in the Times Magazine by Robert Boynton, “Outfoxed” was partly funded by MoveOn and the Center for American Progress, liberal groups, and the movie ends, weakly, with a call for the people to rise up and protest (shots of tiny groups of picketers with hand-lettered signs) and with similar exhortations from the usual exhorters. There are no interviews with current Fox employees, or with anyone else who might offer a defense of the network or challenge some of the movie’s assertions. “Outfoxed” is not a work of reporting; it is a brief for the prosecution, most of it supported by the juxtaposition of very short clips from Fox News broadcasts. It’s totally manipulative. Mainstream journalists will love it anyway.
He's sympathetic to the film, but like many of its critics, has a distaste for it's methods.

There's surprisingly little written about this. Looking around, most all I can find are partisan articals gushing over how wonderful it is, from fellows of the MoveOn sort, of which there is an entire ocean of such material. But start to look for something different at all and that rush of resources turns into a trickle.

Canadian Oil for Food Connections

It never occured to me that Canadian government officials could've been implicated in the scandal, but while researching and cataloguing various French connections I stumbled across various material regarding it.

I'll have to keep digging around for information before concluding anything, though, and will put up what I find. As of now, it's just speculation, so I'm not hurling any accusations or anything.

Karzai's Inauguration


I forgot to mention - Hamid Karzai was sworn in as President of Afghanistan yesterday. Freedom marches on. And by the end of next month, it will be rolling into Iraq. And hopefully it'll stay that way...

Quote of the Day

President Bush:
When Iraqis choose their leaders in free elections, it will destroy the myth that the terrorists are fighting a foreign occupation and make clear that what the terrorists are really fighting is the will of the Iraqi people.
Found this browsing around and it underscores exactly why we should push as hard as we can to maintain the current date of elections. Now that the elections in Afghanistan have already occured, it has created an upswell of legitimacy for the government there which will inevitably help crush the terrorists.

Big Waste of Money

Last month, Palestinian 'protesters' were doing this:

And how do we reward these perpetrators of terrorism?

Today, the Bush administration announced that the US is simply giving them $20 million.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration on Wednesday announced it was giving $20 million in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority to help it through a financial crisis.

A senior Bush administration official said it hoped the aid would encourage additional donations from other countries “at a time when the Palestinian Authority is in desperate need of budget support to pay its bills, maintain stability and allow it to focus on the larger question of governing.”

The Palestinian Authority is facing a severe financial crisis due to falling tax revenues during four years of violence which has paralyzed the Palestinian economy.
Alright, how many chances are these guys going to get? They continously whine about getting their own 'state', but throughout their entire history they haven't lifted a finger to do even one positive thing about it - despite endless historic peace offers from Israel which could've effectively settled the issue time and time again.

Their economy is in shambles, because of four years of senseless debauchery and violence - perpetrated by the Palestinians despite the peace offers from Israel. They've been given money time and time again, and all it is ever good for is disappearing into anonymous bank accounts leaving the actual people with nothing to show for it except increased poverty and hardship. They have to clean up their act; and until they do, why should we reward them for these actions?

Anybody want to guess where that money is going to end up?


(Via LGF.)

Grasping at Straws

Desperate Democrats still haven't given up hope after their chances for success were dashed at Ohio:
The magic number for 2004 is 18. If 18 Bush electors betray both their party and the popular vote and cast their votes for John Kerry on Dec. 13—when, as we Electoral College bores like to point out, the real presidential election takes place in state capitals around the country—then John Kerry will become president. It isn't remotely likely, and it would violate the principle of democratic government (just as the Electoral College itself does). But it remains in the realm of the possible.
Maybe it's time for these people to move on.

Who Poisoned Yushchenko?

Doctors at the Austrian clinic confirm there was a plot to kill him:
Medical experts have confirmed that Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine’s opposition leader, was poisoned in an attempt on his life during election campaigning, the doctor who supervised his treatment at an Austrian clinic said yesterday.

Doctors at Vienna’s exclusive Rudolfinerhaus clinic are within days of identifying the substance that left Mr Yushchenko’s face disfigured with cysts and lesions, Nikolai Korpan told The Times in a telephone interview.

Specialists in Britain, the United States and France had helped to establish that it was a biological agent, a chemical agent or, most likely, a rare poison that struck him down in the run-up to the presidential election, he said. Doctors needed to examine Mr Yushchenko again at the clinic in Vienna to confirm their diagnosis but were in no doubt that the substance was administered deliberately.

“This is no longer a question for discussion,” Dr Korpan said. “We are now sure that we can confirm which substance caused this illness. He received this substance from other people who had a specific aim.”

Asked if the aim had been to kill him, Dr Korpan said: “Yes, of course.”
When I first saw his picture afterwards, I was astounded that somebody could so rapidly change in appearance. He seriously looked like he was dying. Looks like that wasn't too far off the mark.

Well, now, the only question that remains is what thugs were involved on this attempted hijacking of the election. I wouldn't be surprised to find Putin's meddling hands in this somewhere, though if it is it'll no doubt be through some surrogate. The Democrats should take note, and realize that this is what real election fraud is.

(Via Right Voices.)

Mr. Bean Speaks Out

Hilarious comedian Rowan Atkinson (also known as Mr. Bean) has come forward to criticize a "thought crime" proposal specifically designed to protect the feelings of Muslims by limiting speech. Religious jokes won't be crime.
He added: “To criticise a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous but to criticise their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom. The freedom to criticise ideas, any ideas - even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society. A law which attempts to say you can criticise and ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very peculiar law indeed.”

He said he had sympathy with the law’s backers, particular British Muslims, but added: “I appreciate this measure is an attempt to provide comfort and protection to them. But unfortunately it is wholly inappropriate response far more likely to promote tension between communities than tolerance.”
I agree wholeheartedly; it's a well intentioned but utterly objectionable proposal.

Germans: Jews = Nazis

They'd know best, after all.

Some disturbing news out of Germany... Poll: Over 50% of Germans equate IDF with Nazi army.
Six decades after the mass extermination of six million Jews in the Holocaust by Nazi Germany, more than 50 percent of Germans believe that Israel’s present-day treatment of the Palestinians is similar to what the Nazis did to the Jews during World War II, a German survey released this weekend shows.

51 percent of respondents said that there is not much of a difference between what Israel is doing to the Palestinians today and what the Nazis did to the Jews during the Holocaust, compared to 49% who disagreed with such a comparison, according to the poll carried out by Germany’s University of Bielefeld.

The survey also found that 68 percent of Germans believe that Israel is waging a “war of extermination” against the Palestinians, while some 32% disagreed with such a statement.

In a first reaction, the chairman of Yad Vashem’s directorate Avner Shalev said Tuesday that the poll’s results, which he termed “very worrisome,” were indicative of a long-suppressed felling of anti-Semitism among the mainstream “so-called liberals” population which now, under the coating of anti-Israeli criticism, are becoming legitimate again. He added that the poll’s results, which he said any objective person would repudiate, are also the result of the release of pent-up feelings of guilt built up from the Holocaust.
Now, I don't recall Jews strapping bombs to their chests and blowing various civilian structures to smithereens, but that just might be me.

The antisemitism in Europe continues to rise.

No Depth to FCC Complaints

Apparently the great majority of complaints filed with the FCC don't come from the alleged outrage of the people but a small minority of activists. In other words, most of America doesn't really care.
The number of indecency complaints had soared dramatically to more than 240,000 in the previous year, Powell said. The figure was up from roughly 14,000 in 2002, and from fewer than 350 in each of the two previous years. There was, Powell said, “a dramatic rise in public concern and outrage about what is being broadcast into their homes.”

What Powell did not reveal—apparently because he was unaware—was the source of the complaints. According to a new FCC estimate obtained by Mediaweek, nearly all indecency complaints in 2003—99.8 percent—were filed by the Parents Television Council, an activist group.

This year, the trend has continued, and perhaps intensified.

Through early October, 99.9 percent of indecency complaints—aside from those concerning the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show broadcast on CBS— were brought by the PTC, according to the FCC analysis dated Oct. 1. (The agency last week estimated it had received 1,068,767 complaints about broadcast indecency so far this year; the Super Bowl broadcast accounted for over 540,000, according to commissioners’ statements.)
Makes you wonder about the relevance of the FCC's performance.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

It Goes Beyond Oil for Food

Joanne Mariner of the Human Rights Watch writes about how the repressive forces combine at the UN to preserve their ability to abuse:
Sudan, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Russia: one thing these countries have in common is that their governments violate human rights flagrantly and systematically. But another thing they share, astonishingly enough, is membership on the U.N. body meant to monitor and prevent human rights violations.

Pakistan, China, Egypt, Congo--the list goes on. When it comes to rights-abusing countries, the 53-member U.N. Commission on Human Rights has plenty of depth. . . .

Groups such as Human Rights Watch have been complaining about the U.N. commission's membership problem for years. The focus of the abusive governments on the commission, Human Rights Watch warns, is on "minimizing the exposure of their own human rights record rather than on stigmatizing the worst human rights violations in the world and devising methods to bring about effective responses to these abuses."

The recently-released report on the future of the United Nations deserves credit for acknowledging this issue, except that the problem is clearly too glaring to ignore. Eight months ago, at its last annual session, the commission's trend toward rejecting censure of its most abusive members was unmistakable.
The moral legitimacy of the UN continues to erode; but how much can the UN claim when this organization which purports to stand up for the weak has so many nations which actively and violently crush their citizens under the boot of oppression?

Captive Audience


(Cartoon courtesy of Cox and Forkum.)

Powell the Rap Star

Arrrrrrg.

Secretary of State Powell:
"I'm Colin Luther Powell

Public service is my thing

Don't do it for the ring, don't do it for the bling."
Maybe he resigned just in time...

Somewhat funny. But painful.

UNron

The WSJ whips out a massive ClueBat™ and takes it to the UN for it's rampant corruption and ineffectiveness. It's definitely worth reading all of it. And it addresses the alleged reforms, which pretty much amounts to the pile of junk I thought it would.
Where the report collapses, however, is on the matter of institutional change, especially to the Security Council. The report's not-so-bold proposal is to expand it to more than 20 members from 15, admitting such countries as India, Japan and Brazil. None of the newcomers would get a veto, however, and none of the five current "permanent" Council members would lose their veto. The idea seems to be to improve a dysfunctional committee by enlarging it.

The reformers won't admit that the main Security Council problem isn't its makeup; it is its fecklessness. Name a global security crisis of the past 60 years, and with precious few exceptions the U.N. has been missing in action as an agent of collective security. The one early exception was Korea, because the veto-wielding Soviets didn't show up when the Security Council voted.
A question we should ask is this: Should the UN even be enforcing a concept such as 'international law'? Sure, it can serve as a useful platform to negotiate between nations. But imagine if it did have the power to enforce every decree, no matter what it was (the unrelenting assault on Israel comes to mind); would we want to have the safety of our families and homes at the tender mercies of other people who may or may not have our best interests at heart? (Hell, the Soviet Union was a prominent member when it was still around...) And I believe that it undermines our own constitutional authority - such things as international courts that can try our citizens for laws that aren't in our own constitution, for instance, seems to run against the grain of common sense.

Why would we want possibly hostile people who aren't even citizens to be at a position of power over our own soldiers who are out in Iraq and Afghanistan doing their jobs? You've all heard the cries of 'human rights abuses' from hysterics that claim there's a conspiracy to systematically torture and maim; now imagine if they could turn their sights on our soldiers and enforce what they espoused.

A few previous entries recently written dealing with this subject can be found here, here, here, and here.

(Via Polipundit.)

Iraqi Elections

Krauthammer masterfully lays out why the elections should not be posponed.

Quote of the Day

Herodotus:
"It is better by noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to half the evils we anticipate than to remain in cowardly listlessness for fear of what might happen."

A Day of Infamy

Absolutely Horrendous

This is quite possibly one of the saddest stories I've read in recent times. CANCER GIRL'S HAIR HORROR.
A young cancer sufferer had her hair burned off by a thug after it had grown back following four years of intensive chemotherapy.   

Bianca Powell, 12, ran screaming through a school corridor desperately trying to beat down the flames with her hands.

She only returned to classes at Pontarddulais Primary School, in Swansea, in September following treatment for a brain tumour.

Her blonde hair fell out as a result of the chemotherapy and had just recently begun growing back.

She is also blind in one eye and paralysed along the left side of her face. She was three when the tumour was diagnosed.

Her father has taken her out of school since the attack, suffered on her 12th birthday.

Jason Powell, 38, said: "It's a nightmare. Bianca keeps asking how anyone could do this to her.   

"She had just recovered the courage to go back to school after radiotherapy and chemotherapy when this happens.   

"Bianca really wants to go back but we've been through hell and back as a family and we love her so much. We want her to be safe and happy."   

A 14-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of assault and bailed by police pending further inquiries.
How can our society, after making so many advancements, with all it's sophistication, account for this? What kind of inhuman monster would it take, what kind of intolerable cruelty, to do something like this?

There is no depth to the cruelty. If I was there and I had a bat that human scumbag would've been reduced to a bloody pulp by the time I would be done.

Media: No News is Good News

The media has a tendency to conveniently gloss over any positive events in Iraq. Not even taking the pervasive liberal bias into account, which makes it even worse, it is simply natural - if you're a reporter who's trying to land the next 'big' story, what's the more exciting story to catch, a school opening or a bus going up into a huge fireball?

In addition to that, the media, CBS being the most obvious culprit, has been leading it's own private assault against the Bush administration, painting Iraq as Vietnam at every opportunity. As has been noted before, despite the daily onslaught of bad news pouring out of Iraq, the actual soldiers who live there and see the war up close tell a very different story; those who receive their information from these first hand accounts find much more to be optimistic about.
And the fact is that for all the unrelenting drumbeat of bad news, there is much good to be told as well — only you don’t hear it much. Agreement has so far been reached with Iraq’s Russian and European debtors to forgive $33 billion of Iraq’s debt, about a quarter of the total. Some 45,000 Iraqi police and 48,000 Iraqi army and National Guard troops have now been trained. $5 billion in U.S. aid alone has been disbursed and oil revenue, which flows into Iraqi accounts via a U.S. government trust, reached $1.9 billion in October.

A weekly update of reconstruction projects in Iraq can be located on the Web site of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Much of this good work you will never find reported, precisely because good news is no news for much of the U.S. media. And the foreign media is even worse.

Admittedly, the security situation is dire, but look at these figures. In October, the number of Iraqis killed was 775 from acts of war and murder; American troops suffered 63 casualties and 691 wounded. This is too many, but at a time of a major military offensive against insurgents, those numbers are not gigantic.

Or how about the constantly cited figure of 100,000 Iraqis killed by Americans since the war began, a statistic thrown about with total and irresponsible abandon by war opponents. That number, which should be disputed at every turn by those who care about the truth of what is going on in Iraq, came from a controversial study by the British journal of medicine The Lancet (search).

It is five to six times higher than the highest estimates from other sources of all Iraqi deaths, either military or civilian. The Lancet study relied on reporting of deaths self-reported by 998 families from clusters of 33 households throughout Iraq, a very limited sample from which to generalize.

As a recent article in the Financial Times reported on Nov. 19, even the Lancet study’s authors are now having second thoughts. Iraq’s Health Ministry estimates by comparison that all told, 3,853 Iraqis have been killed and 15,517 wounded.

The fact is that 40 percent of Iraqis say their country is better off since the war, and 65 percent are optimistic about the future. Iraqis are intending to vote in the upcoming elections to the tune of 85 percent, and 45 percent currently support Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. Many are unhappy with the U.S. troops' presence there, but at least 35 percent want the United States to stay.

We still have a rocky road ahead, beyond doubt, but these figures do not add up to the unmitigated failure that critics of the Bush administration have been painting.
Seriously, what do these people expect, that the terrorists were just going to keel over and die as soon as we stepped foot on Iraqi soil?

Bush's Social Security Plan

I'm quite glad that Bush is making good on his promise and seeking to reform this failing program; I remember back in 2000 when everybody dismissed him as just another politician straight from the cookie cutter who would make 'campaign promises' until he was elected into office. Then he won and started to actually do what he said - imagine that - and Washington was thrown into chaos. These steps to improve the plan show both integrity and honesty.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Monday for the first time that President Bush's plan to add personal retirement accounts to Social Security would be financed in part by new government borrowing.

Bush has made reform of the U.S. retirement program a top priority in his second term and the White House said the president would discuss options in a meeting later in the day with top congressional leaders.

"The president, at this point, has not endorsed a specific plan," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

But McClellan said: "There will be some upfront transition financing that will be needed to move toward a better system that will allow younger workers to invest a small portion of their own money into personal savings accounts."

Asked if the transition, estimated at between $1 trillion to $2 trillion, would be financed by additional government borrowing, McClellan said: "That's what you're looking at doing as part of the transition to a better Social Security system."
It's going to cost a lot to reform it, but it's the price we have to pay for letting it sink so deep into the morass for so long. And even better, Social Security makes up such a substantial portion of federal spending that any kind of reform that will slim it down is going to save us millions, if not billions.

You know, that reminds me: During the presidential debates when Kerry and Bush were going at it, their differing outlooks struck me. It just sort of crystallized the difference. Bush was going to reform the program and solve the problems, despite the cost and burden, before they became unsolvable (if it is not already too late) - Kerry never even saw a problem...

iPod, U2 Edition


Does this thing look awesome or what?

I don't need an iPod, but that looks too good to pass up.

Drug Dealers Bargain Away Brains

And people say that marijuana doesn't do anything to the thought processes.

It's Official: Ohio Goes to Bush

...And certifies his win by 119,000 votes, might I add.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - This battleground state on Monday certified President Bush’s 119,000-vote victory over John Kerry, even as the Kerry campaign and third-party candidates prepared to demand a statewide recount.

The president won Ohio with 2.86 million votes, or 51 percent, to Kerry’s 2.74 million votes, or 49 percent.
Still, I demand a recount!

Bias? What Liberal Bias?

This conclusive study definitively measures the bias in the media by the numbers. Their conclusion:
The bottom line from the Groseclose-Milyo study is that the political slant of most of the mainstream media is far to the left of the typical member of Congress. Thus, if the political opinions of viewers, listeners, and readers are similar to those of their elected representatives, the political leanings of most of the media are far to the left of those of most of their customers. This mismatch suggests profit opportunities for conservative-oriented, or at least balanced, media outlets. Fox News is probably only the beginning. Maybe the next conservative entrant will be a recreated CBS News.
I also found this little tidbit interesting:
The one Internet representative, the Drudge Report, comes in at 60, moderately left of center.
Well, how about that...

Monday, December 06, 2004

Leftwingers Bawl...

...As Jesusland rubs it in their faces, from Newsweek. (Found at NRO's Corner.)

Mfume Deep Six'd by NAACP

He's finished. And it was because he had the temerity to reach out to Republicans. I always wondered why it was that he'd come out and talk about having both sides work together and then turning on the television the next day to see a NAACP representative, a member of a supposedly non partisan organization, blasting Bush with vitriolic rhetoric that compared him to the Taliban.
The two began feuding after Mfume nominated National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice for his 2003 NAACP Image Award. Furious that Mfume was reaching out to the Bush administration, Bond responded by nominating "Boondocks" cartoonist Aaron McGruder for his Image Award. McGruder had ridiculed Rice in his comic strip and later caller her “murderer” for her role in the war in Iraq.


The rift grew as Mfume continued to reach out to the Republican Party. Mfume realized that by reflexively voting Democrat in every election, the black voting populace has given away most of their political bartering power.
Mfume realized that the Blacks penchant of blindly voting for the Democrats essentially has given away any political capital they could have. Just look at the Hispanics. Everybody is scrambling to curry their favor; they're a diverse group. The African American community on the other hand has been for the most part following the Democrat's marching orders in lockstep. Considering the NAACP's quite partisan actions recently I wouldn't really shed any tears if their non-partisan status were to be revoked. It'll save us some money, anyway.

Intel Bill Agreement Reached

Hannity just read the latest development from the news wire. There's going to be an update soon and news articles will most likely follow.

UPDATE 4:13 PM:
House Said Ready for Anti-Terror Bill Vote:
WASHINGTON - Congressional negotiators reached a deal Monday with the chief House Republican opponent of legislation revamping the nation's intelligence agencies, clearing the way for a final vote, a House GOP leader said.

The development came as President Bush (news - web sites) pressed Congress for swift action, saying the legislation was "important for the security of our country."

Rep. Deborah Pryce (news, bio, voting record), R-Ohio, chairman of the House Republican Conference, said House Armed Services chairman Duncan Hunter struck a deal with Senate and House negotiators that will remove his objections to the bill.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert had refused to move the legislation before Thanksgiving because of objections from GOP chairmen like Hunter and House Judiciary chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.

Sensenbrenner remained opposed to the bill, but House Republicans will likely meet Tuesday to discuss moving forward anyway, Pryce said.
The fact that Sensenbrenner is still opposed seems to imply that the immigration issue wasn't completely resolved. Hmmm... We'll see when more information is released, I guess. I just hope that they take enough time to work out all the kinks rather than rush it through due to pressure. But as long as the important stuff is done, the other issues, like immigration, if it comes down to it, can be resurrected at a later time.

Abandon Ship


(Cartoon courtesy of Cox and Forkum.)

Quote of the Day

George Washington, revealing a pearl of wisdom about our security:
"If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war."
I don't ever remember a war that was started because the USA was too strong...

Pat Tillman's Death...

...Was at the hands of his own comrades, an accident from friendly fire.
It ended on a stony ridge in fading light. Spec. Pat Tillman lay dying behind a boulder. A young fellow U.S. Army Ranger stretched prone beside him, praying quietly as tracer bullets poured in.

"Cease fire! Friendlies!" Tillman cried out. ...
But it all started with uncertainty...
Ahead of them, parked outside a small village near Manah, David Uthlaut heard an explosion. From his position he "could not see the enemy or make an adequate assessment of the situation," so he ordered his men to move toward the firing.

Uthlaut designated Pat Tillman as one of three fire team leaders and ordered him to join other Rangers "to press the fight," as Uthlaut put it, against an uncertain adversary.
The original group had divided into two to meet up later; but radio communications had been cut and one group seeing another had no idea that they were about to get into an engagement against their own American brothers and sisters.
A Ranger nearby watched Tillman take cover. "I remember not liking his position," he recalled. "I had just seen a red tracer come up over us . . . which immediately struck me as being a M240 tracer. . . . At that time the issue of friendly fire began turning over in my mind."

Tillman and his team fired toward the canyon to suppress the ambush. His brother Kevin was in the canyon.
And yet, some realized, but their anguished calls went unheeded.
The driver shouted twice: "We have friendlies on top!" Then he screamed "No!" Then he yelled several more times to cease fire, he recalled. "No one heard me."
Under fire, they tried to alert the rest. But it was too late...
Tillman and nearly a dozen other Rangers on the ridge tried everything they could: They shouted, they waved their arms, and they screamed some more.

"Ranger! Ranger! Cease fire!" one soldier on the ridge remembered shouting.

"But they couldn't hear us," recalled the soldier nearest Tillman. Then Tillman "came up with the idea to let a smoke grenade go." As its thick smoke unfurled, "This stopped the friendly contact for a few moments," the Ranger recalled.

"We thought the battle was over, so we were relieved, getting up and stretching out, and talking with one another."

Suddenly he saw the attacking Humvee move into "a better position to fire on us." He heard a new machine gun burst and hit the ground, praying, as Pat Tillman fell. ...

On the ridge the young Ranger nearest Pat Tillman screamed, "Oh my [expletive] God!" again and again, as one of his comrades recalled. The Ranger beside Tillman had been lying flat as Tillman initially called out for a cease-fire, yelling out his name. Then Tillman went silent as the firing continued. Now the young Ranger saw a "river of blood" coming from Tillman's position. He got up, looked at Tillman, and saw that "his head was gone."
I'm absolutely sickened. His death doesn't mean he didn't fight with bravery, nor does it mean that he was any less of a patriot, but the fact that it was simply something that shouldn't have happened had the army went about it's business makes it an unnecessary death...
Kevin Tillman declined to be interviewed for these articles and was not asked by Ranger investigators to provide sworn statements. But according to other statements and sources familiar with the investigation, Kevin was initially asked to take up guard duty on the outskirts of the shooting scene.

He learned that his brother was dead only when a platoon mate mentioned it to him casually, according to these sources.

It would take almost five more weeks -- after a flag-draped coffin ceremony, a Silver Star award and a news release, and a public memorial attended by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jake Plummer and newswoman Maria Shriver -- for the Rangers or the Army to acknowledge to Kevin Tillman, his family or the public that Pat Tillman had been killed by his own men.

Now That's Old School

Think any of those public school teachers stuck in the midst of Philadelphia and the rest of the 'hood would like to do this?

The fact that the others rushed to intervene suggests that it's not something to be expected. Heh, as if it would be. (Well, maybe in Philadelphia.)

(Via Ace of Spades.)

UNSCAM UPDATE


Another French link rises out of the muck:
Over three decades Charles Pasqua's name has been linked to a series of French corruption scandals, but the former French interior minister has maintained his innocence and has never been convicted of any wrongdoing.

Now, Pasqua is being eyed as a player in the Oil-for-Food scandal. The CIA’s report listed Pasqua as having received oil vouchers from Saddam, vouchers that would have given him a profit of at least $400,000.

“I have never received anything from Saddam Hussein,” he said through an interpreter.

FOX News asked Pasqua why his name ended up in the CIA report?

“It's a good question,” he said. “It's not only my name that's there. The names of other French officials are included."
As oblivious as ever, Kofi apparently doesn't grasp at all the severity of his bungling:
Speaking at a festive dinner Friday night that was organized by the U.N. Correspondents Association, Secretary-General Kofi Annan joked about rumors that he is about to resign. "I am resigning myself," he said as members of the audience gasped, "to having a good time." Mr. Annan's feeble attempt at humor aside, his malfeasance in office is a cruel joke that has been played time and again on the people that the United Nations is supposed to help.

The oil-for-food scandal — where Saddam Hussein systematically looted what was supposed to be a humanitarian program to pay off his political cronies — is just one of the very prominent stains on the record of Mr. Annan and the United Nations.
While many have called for the head of Kofi Annan in light of his gross incompetence and in an effort to begin a series of reforms that might one day save the UN from itself, much of Europe has rallied to his failed cause. I doubt that the UN's 'reform process' will go beyond the same lipservice they constantly pay to their current duties.

But some in Canada are starting to see Kofi for the corrupt weasel he is. From Canada's National Post: Kofi must go.
Last Wednesday, Norm Coleman, a Republican from Minnesota and co-chairman of the U.S. Senate subcommittee investigating the United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq, called on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to resign in a commentary published in The Wall Street Journal. While Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China quickly rallied to Mr. Annan's defence, there can be no doubt that the senator is correct: Mr. Annan has to go. . . .

Over the decade-long run of the oil-for-food program, the UN and several member states looked on as Saddam Hussein siphoned off at least 20% of its $100-billion revenues for his personal use. Hundreds of millions went to rebuilding the Iraqi army; more was paid out in kickbacks to Western politicians, governments, political parties, journalists and UN officials who looked the other way. Tens of millions funded terrorist training and operations around the world, particularly among Palestinians. The grandiose, sprawling palaces U.S. troops discovered when they liberated Baghdad and other Iraqi cities were constructed by Saddam and his family with the proceeds from oil sales meant to pay for food and medicines for ordinary Iraqis. Critics of the American- and British-backed sanctions against Iraq that were in place from the early 1990s until the 2003 invasion claimed they were responsible for the deaths of 100,000 Iraqis per year through malnutrition and disease. But we now know it was Saddam's lust for gold plumbing fixtures and weapons that caused the lion's share of Iraqi hardship.

Under Mr. Annan's leadership, the UN feigned blindness to all this.
You know, we do need to start keeping an eye on our spending...

A few of the relatively recent previous entries on the subject can be found here, here, here and here.

(Hat tip: Instapundit.)

Status of the Dollar

Kudlow over at NRO has written an article that should be read by anybody concerned about the economy. I found this part regarding the dollar particularly noteworthy:
The dollar? If certain officials at the Federal Reserve will stop bad-mouthing it, we'll wake up one of these days with a 15 percent dollar rally. Why? Because President Bush's pro-growth fiscal policies will restrain spending and reduce tax rates, especially on saving and investment. Higher after-tax investment returns will attract foreign capital from all over the world. If you haven't noticed, Japan's economy is slumping again. Europe's economy never recovered in the first place. And fast-growing China and India are becoming our best export customers. The dollar is way undervalued in this environment.

... Meanwhile, the conventional wisdom that twin budget and trade deficits cause the weak dollar — a thought that has been wrong for 25 years, misses a crucial point: Strong U.S. economic growth reduces the budget deficit (which has already dropped $100 billion) but increases the trade gap.

... Meanwhile, both domestic interest rates and the dollar exchange rate are primarily driven by the Fed’s monetary policy, i.e., whether the central bank creates more dollars than the rest of the world wants. It is this excess money that causes inflation at home and sinks the dollar abroad.

Rising gold and higher Treasury-bill rates are market-price signals that the Fed should remove some excess money. That is what the Maestro intends to do as he takes monthly steps to normalize the Fed’s target rate.

But the Fed is already tighter than many recognize. Commodity markets tell that story. The Commodity Research Bureau’s spot index of 22 commodities has slowed markedly from a 24 percent rate of yearly increase last spring to only 7 percent recently. This sensitive market-price indicator is suggesting that the central bank is already creating dollars at a much slower pace, another reason why the dollar is undervalued.
I have to say that he is compelling; but I have no problem with slashing excess spending. Aside from necessary expenditures on national security, the non-discretionary spending has only increased 1% because of a budding conservative Congress. So where does the vast amount of the money spent lie? 'Fiscal conservatives' that bleat on about the spending in other areas should instead be focusing their gaze upon the failing behemoth of a monetary black hole the Social Security system has become. It composes the majority of federal spending, and is ripe for spending cuts.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Darkness


Scary?

More PC Ridiculousness

Every year on December, there's a Christmas para-- sorry, 'Parade of Lights' held in Denver to celebrate Christmas. It traditionally has all sorts of festive attractions spreading the cheer, along with various Christmas related songs and floats. But not this year.

Another rash outbreak of politically correct secularist hysteria has purged the supposedly Christmas oriented parade of any Christmas whatsoever. It's got everything from Chinese lion dancers to gay and lesbian shamans, but apparently it's just beyond reproach to assume that a parade based on Christmas would allow Christians to participate and sing hymns and carry something as simple as a 'Merry Christmas' message.

It's absolutely absurd. It can't even be justified; to suggest that it may be in the reason of 'religious tolerance' deserves a smack upside the head, because it's alright to allow an obscure cult centered around HOLY homosexuals to participate but not Christians who want to participate in a CHRISTMAS parade? Hell, they even have kung fu artists jumping around the place. How about a Chinese tradition meant to chase away 'evil spirits'? What the hell does all of that have to do with a Christmas parade? Sure, you could say that it also ties in the celebration of the New Year, but that hardly eliminates Christmas or it's significance; and let's not forget what our calendar is based on. Yet somehow the people who would be the most obvious participants have been disconnected.

If that wasn't enough, some schools in Florida are so worked up over anything even remotely resembling Christianity that they have begun to ban seasonal celebrations altogether. For some reason, I am inexplicably reminded of another country that experienced similar urges which we once knew in our recent history...

All of this nonsense should end and the Christians should be allowed to sing in the parade along with everyone else. So much for tolerance and diversity, eh?

Quote of the Day

Mark Twain, on a universal truth:
"France has neither winter, nor summer, nor morals. France is miserable because it is filled with Frenchmen, and Frenchmen are miserable because they live in France."

Almost There

A fellow blogger is on the cusp of hitting 10,000 views. Help him out and give him a visit.

Site Feed

I updated my blog with a site feed. So what is it?

Basically, if you have the right program, you can access blogs and other sites through it. Instead of having fifty different windows open going through each site a search of an update, you can simply put in the site feed into the program and then it will tell you when the website in question is updated.

So where this ties into my blog is that if you get this program, you can be notified of any updates. I tried Shrook, for Mac OS X, and it is working very well; I have around ten to fifteen sites that I regularly visit, and at any time I can refresh them for updates and get an entire load of website work put at one place, at my fingertips. It can save a lot of time.

Here's the site feed for my site. That's the URL to copy and paste to be able to be notified of any updates.

As for programs, for you Windows users, there is Feed Demon. There's a web based newsreader, Bloglines. For us Mac OS X users, there's NetNewsWire and Shrook. You can find more at AtomEnabled.org.

UNSCAM UPDATE: Kofi Sinks Deeper


More bad news for Kofi:
The son of Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary-General, lobbied for business contacts at gatherings of UN officials on behalf of a company in the same year as it won an oil-for-food programme deal, it has emerged.

The second disclosure in a week about Kojo Annan's role with the Swiss company Cotecna Inspection Services, which secured the $4.8 million (£2.46 million) UN contract to monitor goods entering and leaving Iraq in 1998, has raised embarrassing questions for his father.
And so some of the obfuscation surrounding Kojo's involvement begins to fade...

You can find previous entries I've written relatively recently on this subject here, here, here, and here.

Gitmo Absurd


(Cartoon courtesy of Cox and Forkum.)

By the way, check out their new book, if you're interested. Just in time for Christmas, too.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Rwanda, Again

One of the less publicized dark blots on the UN's record is Rwanda, where people were slaughtered and butchered wholesale while UN troops simply stood by and watched. It's legacy lives on - apparently simply standing aside wasn't the only thing some at the UN did.
There’s outrage at the United Nations. A U.N. worker was accused of genocide and yet was allowed to stay on the U.N. payroll.

The carnage was horrific. Some 800,000 Tutsis were slaughtered in 1994 by rampaging Hutus in Rwanda. Among those alleged to have done the killing is an employee of the U.N. in Rwanda — a Hutu named Callixte Mbarushimana.

Today, Mbarushimana remains a free man, living in Paris. But there are troubling questions about his conduct in Rwanda a decade ago and the actions of the United Nations.  

"They killed on his orders," says Tony Greig, an investigator with the International Criminal Tribunal. "They manned road blocks, they killed people, they got rewarded with cows and beer."
After all this, why is there no outrage in the media? Sure, there's some articles which cover the corruption in the UN - begrudgingly - but compare it to the coverage Abu Ghraib got, and it's comparing the light from a candle to the light from the sun. Isn't it clear that this organization has fallen far below it's original purpose?

For some reason, I am not surprised that this man is seeking refuge in Paris.