Saturday, August 27, 2005

The caravan rolls into Texas

At long last, the day for the counter-protest in Crawford is finally upon us:

CRAWFORD, Texas -- This one-stoplight town of 700 residents near President Bush's ranch braced for thousands of visitors Saturday, most in a cross-country caravan for a pro-Bush rally and others to support Cindy Sheehan's anti-war demonstration.

More than 3,000 people were expected at the school football stadium for the culmination of the "You don't speak for me, Cindy!" tour that started last week in California.

It would be the largest counter-protest since Sheehan started camping out off the road leading to Bush's ranch Aug. 6. She vowed to remain unless he talked to her about the war with Iraq that claimed the life of her son Casey and more than 1,870 other U.S. soldiers.

The pro-Bush caravan was coordinated by Move America Forward, a group led by former California Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian and Republican strategist Sal Russo.

Meanwhile, hundreds were expected at Sheehan's camp for a somber Saturday ceremony honoring soldiers in Iraq.

Nice choice of words, AP. But hundreds of people waving candles and singing "Blowing in the Wind" is not doing anything to honor our soldiers. Thankfully, 3,000 people are about to show us what a tribute really looks like.

But lest us pro-war types get too excited about the large turnout today, the AP has seen fit to throw in this last paragraph:

Crawford hasn't seen this big a crowd since the scathing documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" was shown last summer on a screen at the football field, drawing about 3,000 people. The screening was organized by the Crawford Peace House, which also is helping Sheehan. Earlier that night, more than 300 Bush supporters held a rally to counter the showing of the film.

So a liberal event can draw thousands as well. You've made your point, AP, and in the process have even managed to bring Michael Moore into this story. Bravo!

Nonetheless, here are the facts: After a month of pandering, slobbering and round-the-clock nationwide coverage of the Sheehan protest by every mainstream news outlet, the most that they were able to draw to Camp Casey was "about 1,000" (according to the AP). The counter rally, which was sparsely mentioned by the press and only then as an obligatory sidenote has drawn 3,000 supporters. That is a ratio of 3 to 1. Consider that in light of the recent Rasmussen poll showing only 35% support for Sheehan's antics (31% from families with loved ones who have served in the military).

Looks like you really don't speak for us, Cindy.

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Bush sets 1000 Abu Ghraib prisoners free

From the AP:

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The U.S. military announced Saturday that it has released nearly 1,000 prisoners from Abu Ghraib prison in response to a request by Iraqi authorities.

The move, the largest prisoner release to date, followed appeals by Sunni representatives to start releasing thousands of prisoners who have been languishing in the jail for months without being charged.

The U.S. has been adamant about allowing the Sunnis to take part in the new Iraqi government -- if for no other reason than to prevent continued violence and a possible a civil war. The prisoner release is likely a gamble on the part of the Bush administration to show solidarity and prove to this faction that they have a voice.

"This major release ... marks a significant event in Iraq's progress toward democratic governance and the rule of law," the U.S. statement said.

"Those chosen for release are not guilty of serious, violent crimes such as bombing, torture, kidnapping, or murder and all have admitted their crimes, renounced violence, and pledged to be good citizens of a democratic Iraq."

I hope we checked to make sure their fingers weren't crossed behind their backs.

I guess I understand the administration's intentions here but I don't agree with them. Many of these prisoners are members of Iraq's Baath party and this move will only strengthen their numbers and their resolve to regain power. This strikes me as naive -- on a "Clinton" or perhaps even "Carter" level. It is likely going to come back to bite us at some point down the road.

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Patently Patriotic Post of the Day (8/27/05)

The Liberty Bell

Tradition tells of a chime that changed the world on July 8, 1776, with the Liberty Bell ringing out from the tower of Independence Hall summoning citizens to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.

The Pennsylvania Assembly ordered the Bell in 1751 to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of William Penn's 1701 Charter of Privileges.

Penn's charter, Pennsylvania's original Constitution, speaks of the rights and freedoms valued by people the world over. Particularly forward thinking were Penn's ideas on religious freedom, his liberal stance on Native American rights, and his inclusion of citizens in enacting laws.

As it was to commemorate the Charter's golden anniversary, the quotation "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof," from Leviticus 25:10, was particularly apt. For the line in the Bible immediately preceding "proclaim liberty" is, "And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year." What better way to pay homage to Penn and hallow the 50th year than with a bell proclaiming liberty?

From ushistory.org

Friday, August 26, 2005

Third time's a charm

A third man who worked on the Able Danger project has now come forth to validate claims that the government knew about Sept. 11 ringleader Mohamed Atta in 2000 through their data mining efforts. J.D. Smith, who worked as an defense contractor with the unit, says that he recalls seeing charts which identified Atta by name (along with several aliases he used).

"I am absolutely positive that he [Atta] was on our chart among other pictures and ties that we were doing mainly based upon [terror] cells in New York City," Smith said.

Smith said data was gathered from a variety of sources, including about 30 or 40 individuals. He said they all had strong Middle Eastern connections and were paid for their information. Smith said Able Danger's photo of Atta was obtained from overseas.

Hmmmmmm... a photo? This seems to throw water on the "multiple Atta" theory that has been circulating around the media and internet. Now we have a name AND a picture.

Certain factions of the Pentagon (along with the media) would like for this story to go away but they face one very formidable opponent:

Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., arranged the media roundtable with Smith. Weldon drew attention to Able Danger by speaking about it on the House floor months ago and has publicly called for the Sept. 11 commission to explain why the intelligence information wasn't detailed in its final report.

Besides Smith, Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer and Navy Captain Scott Philpott have also gone on the record, saying they were discouraged from looking further into Atta, and their attempts to share their information with the FBI were thwarted because Atta was a legal foreign visitor at the time.

"This story needs to be told. The American people need to be told what could have been done to prevent 3,000 people from losing their lives," Weldon told FOX News this week.

I have heard this guy speak and he is awesome! His "bulldog" tenacity reminds me of Bobb Barr from the mid 90's but Weldon displays more raw passion.

Shaffer and Philpott claim that in October 2003, they told Sept. 11 commission staffers of the presence of Al Qaeda operatives in the United States in 2000 yet little was included in the panel's final report about those conversations.

During Friday's roundtable with Smith, he was asked by reporters about Atta, who was using another name during 1999-2000. Smith said the charts Able Danger was using had identified him through a number of name variations, one being "Atta."

Two sources familiar with Able Danger told FOX News that part of its investigative work focused on mosques and the religious ties between known terrorist operatives such as Omar Abdul Rahman, who was part of the first World Trade Center bombing plot in 1993.

An independent terrorism analyst pointed out to FOX News that German intelligence had no record of Atta before the Sept. 11 attack; that's significant because Atta headed up the Sept. 11 Al Qaeda cell in Hamburg. The analyst also questioned how Atta could be connected to Rahman, who was in prison by the mid-1990s.

I'm going to wager that the reason Germany wasn't familiar with Atta was because their intelligence gathering technology was not as advanced as ours. Also Germany didn't feel the pressing urgency that our country did to root out terror cells because they had not yet been directly threatened by al Qaeda as we had.

As for Atta's connection to Rahman, we have to remember that most major attacks carried out by al Qaeda have been years in the planning. It is not inconceivable that Atta could have met Rahman 6 or 7 years prior to Sept. 11.

It is getting increasingly more difficult for the Pentagon to keep denying this information. As Weldon makes abundantly clear, this matter is far from over:

"There's something very sinister going on here that really troubles me," Weldon told FOX News on Thursday, blasting the Sept. 11 commission (search) for not taking the claims more seriously. He said some panel members were trying to smear Shaffer and Able Danger.

"What's the Sept. 11 commission got to hide?" Weldon asked. "The commission is trying to spin this because they're embarrassed about what's coming out. In two weeks with two staffers, I've uncovered more in this regard than they did with 80 staffers and $15 million of taxpayer money."

Sept. 11 commission Chairman Thomas Kean recently told FOX News that the panel is waiting for a response from the Pentagon. Until then, the commission has stood by its work, maintaining that no documents they received from the military backed up the Atta claims.

Weldon added that at least five people on the federal payroll will testify under oath about the validity of the Able Danger intelligence.

"When this is over, the Sept. 11 commission is going to have egg all over their face," he said.

HUAH!! We need a few more in congress like this guy.

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Clearing away the cotton to get at Roberts

John Roberts is an honest guy, right? In fact, the man is so honest that he simply must have a picture of Abe Lincoln on his office wall, right? Wrong... try Jefferson Davis.

No, I do not jest. The Washington Post has outdone itself today by publishing an article on Roberts that is so utterly silly you will swear it is a parody:

When John G. Roberts Jr. prepared to ghostwrite an article for President Ronald Reagan a little over two decades ago, his pen took a Civil War reenactment detour.

The article, which was to appear in the scholarly National Forum journal, was called "The Presidency: Roles and Responsibilities." Roberts was writing by hand a section on how the congressional appropriations process had evolved.

A fastidious editor of other people's copy as well as his own, Roberts began with the words "Until about the time of the Civil War." Then, the Indiana native scratched out the words "Civil War" and replaced them with "War Between the States."

The handwritten document is one of tens of thousands of pages of Roberts files released over the past several weeks from his 1982-1986 tenure as an associate counsel to the president.

While it is true that the Civil War is also known as the War Between the States, the Encyclopedia Americana notes that the term is used mainly by southerners. Sam McSeveney, a history professor emeritus at Vanderbilt University who specialized in the Civil War, said that Roberts's choice of words was significant.

"Many people who are sympathetic to the Confederate position are more comfortable with the idea of a 'War Between the States,' " McSeveney explained. "People opposed to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s would undoubtedly be more comfortable with the words he chose."

So there you have it. Roberts is a rebel-flag toting Dixieland confederate who longs for the good old days of the plantation. Just remember folks, somewhere, in a disheveled little office at the Washington Post, an editor actually gave this story the go-ahead...

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Specter seeks documents on Able Danger

The Able Danger controversy has apparently prompted at least one prominent senator to seek some answers:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked the FBI to hand over all information about a secret military intelligence unit that purportedly identified September 11 mastermind Mohamed Atta as a terrorist a year before the terrorism attacks.

Two military officers, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and Capt. Scott Philpott, contend that a unit code-named "Able Danger" used data mining -- searching large amounts of data for patterns -- to identify Atta in 2000. Shaffer has said three other September 11 hijackers were also identified.

In a letter to FBI director Robert Mueller, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, asked the agency for "all information and documents it has" on Able Danger, Shaffer, Philpott and any other people linked to the operation. The letter, dated Wednesday and distributed Thursday to reporters, also seeks a meeting between Specter's staff and FBI agent Xanthig Mangum.

A handwritten note at the bottom says, "Bob, I'd like to move head on this ASAP."

Sounds like a man of action. Only I'm not buying it. Specter enjoys the friendships and perks he has accumulated as a long-time senator and you will never see him do anything to rock the boat. At most he will glance over the FBI documents, make a big show over a couple of key points that "concern" him, and then drop the matter citing lack of evidence.

What we need is a truly independent investigatory body with no conflict of interest. The 9/11 panel was doomed from the start because of Gorelick and the Pentagon has too many officials it wants to protect. Same thing with the CIA. So why not go outside the government and hire an independent firm in the private sector to investigate it? Set some ground rules, give them clearance and subpoena power wherever they may need it and let them have at it?

I think I'll ring up GW right now and run it by him.

Evan Cohen flies the coop

As most of us know, Air America has recently found itself in somewhat of a sticky situation thanks to the shady fund-raising practices of one of the organization's co-founders. Now it appears they have a missing persons case on their hands:

The former chairman of Air America Radio, Evan Montvel Cohen - who former colleagues said engineered transfers of more than $800,000 to the liberal radio network from a boys and girls club in the Bronx - is missing, according to a lawyer who is trying to have him served with legal papers.

At least two people have said Mr. Cohen is in Hawaii. He has not responded to a series of e-mail messages in recent weeks from The New York Sun asking him about his role.

Network's Former Chairman Is Missing

Terrorists may be targeting Asia

CNSNews tells us that countries in Asia are now being warned about a possible al Qaeda attack on a major city in that region:

(CNSNews.com) - The al Qaeda terrorist network may be planning a terrorist attack in a major city in Asia as a bid to undermine investor confidence and cause serious economic damage, one of Europe's leading terrorist investigators has warned.

French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere told Britain's Financial Times there was information indicating that Japan and other countries in the region may be targets.

"We are somewhat neglecting the capacity or desire of the al Qaeda organization to destabilize the south-east Asia region," he said. "An attack on this country [Japan] would have a very serious effect.

"They know the economic reality well," he said of al Qaeda.

"Any attack on a financial market like Japan would mechanically have an important economic impact on the confidence of investors. Other countries in this region, such as Singapore and Australia, are also potential targets."

Reverend Al to get in on Crawford action

What would a media circus be without the clown? The AP reports that Al Sharpton will soon be joining anti war activist and kook-magnet Cindy Sheehan for a prayer vigil Sunday in Crawford.

I firmly believe that what stirred the good Reverend to make the trek to Texas was the following picture:

Not the image of a mourning mom at her son's grave, silly. The television cameras.

New York Rev. Al Sharpton plans to join Texas Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan

Patently Patriotic Post of the Day (8/26/05)

Samuel Adams was born in Boston, son of a merchant and brewer. He was an excellent politician, an unsuccessful brewer, and a poor businessman. His early public office as a tax collector might have made him suspect as an agent of British authority, however he made good use of his understanding of the tax codes and wide acquaintance with the merchants of Boston. Samuel was a very visible popular leader who, along with John, spend a great deal of time in the public eye agitating for resistance. In 1765 he was elected to the Massachusetts Assembly where he served as clerk for many years. It was there that he was the first to propose a continental congress. He was a leading advocate of republicanism and a good friend of Tom Paine. In 1774, he was chosen to be a member of the provincial council during the crisis in Boston. He was then appointed as a representative to the Continental Congress, where he was most noted for his oratory skills, and as a passionate advocate of independence from Britain. In 1776, as a delegate to the Continental Congress, he signed the Declaration of Independence. Adams retired from the Congress in 1781 and returned to Massachusetts to become a leading member of that states convention to form a constitution. In 1789 he was appointed lieutenant governor of the state. In 1794 he was elected Governor, and was re-elected annually until 1797 when he retired for health reasons. He died in the morning of October 2, 1803, in his home town of Boston.

From Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Shades of Gray Davis

A blast from the not-so-distant past plagued Californians today:

Sweltering late-summer heat and the loss of key transmission lines Thursday forced power officials in Southern California to impose rolling blackouts, leaving as many as half a million people without power for an hour at a time, officials said.

The California Independent System Operator, which operates the state's electric grid, declared a transmission emergency at 3:57 p.m., said Gil Alexander, a spokesman for SoCal Edison.

It marked one of the most serious power emergencies since the 2002 power crisis.

"It's not related to operating reserves. It is a transmission emergency," said ISO spokeswoman Stephanie McCorkle.

The situation was exacerbated by the sudden loss of key transmission lines from the Pacific Northwest, Alexander said.

The ISO ordered Edison to reduce demand throughout its territory, prompting initial blackouts in areas of Fontana, La Puente, Cathedral City, Huntington Beach, Long Beach and Ontario, Alexander said.

The utility scattered the outages to lessen the impact in any one place. Blackouts were expected to last about an hour before being shifted to other areas.

Higher-than-expected temperatures in 11 counties served by Edison created increased demand of about 1,500 megawatts, and the emergency order from the ISO caused Edison to reduce demand by 800 megawatts throughout its territory. A megawatt is enough power to serve about 750 homes.

In downtown Los Angeles, temperatures spiked at 94 degrees Thursday.

SoCal Edison has about 13 million customers in more than 400 Southern California cities and communities.

Northern California was not affected by the shutdowns.

Bolton out of the gate

I knew there was a reason I liked this guy. In his first major initiative as U.N. ambassador, John Bolton has written a letter to the other 190 ambassadors urging them to stop dragging their feet on U.N. reform. He is pushing for changes in the current 39 page draft prepared by General Assembly president, Jean Ping of Gabon which includes the striking of some 400 passages:

He [Bolton] proposed immediate negotiations, starting with Ping's draft , and urged his fellow envoys to remain "open to alternative formats if they help us achieve consensus." He said, "I plan on participating personally in this exercise, and hope you will do the same."

Translation: "Get off your fat butts and get to work."

More than 170 heads of state have confirmed plans to attend the conference, starting Sept. 14, to consider approval of what are seen as the most sweeping changes at the United Nations in its 60-year history.

The extent of the deletions sought and the late hour of the move brought complaints that the United States was sabotaging the U.N. effort to meet demands -- many of them originating from Washington -- that the institution reform itself to adjust to modern times and make its operations transparent and accountable.

"It would be very unfortunate and not in the interest of the United States or the international community for the new U.S. ambassador to barge in and undermine an important summit negotiation process," said William Pace, general secretary of the New York-based World Federalist Movement.

Richard Grenell, the spokesman for the U.S. mission, said, "The fact that we took this document seriously and put it through a thorough interagency process to evaluate its policy implications and then we commented on our ideas should be celebrated, not criticized."

Bolton, who was appointed by the White House while Congress was in recess after he failed to gain Senate approval, was championed by President Bush as the best person to bring about needed reform at the United Nations.

Among the changes under consideration by the world body are the substitution of the Human Rights Commission with a more powerful Human Rights Council that would no longer allow rights violators on the panel; the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission to help counties emerging from conflict; the defining of terrorism to exclude its justification as a national resistance or liberation tool, and the empowerment of the international community to intervene in countries that fail to protect their populations in cases of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

The U.S. objections center on parts of the document that approve measures and offices that the United States has opposed in other forums. Among them are the International Criminal Court, the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and a pledge to devote 0.7 percent of gross national product to development.

Sounds good to me. All that Bolton is trying to do here is insert common sense into this draft and remove the provisions that undermine U.S. sovereignty. Personally, I think we should scrap the whole U.N. charter and dissolve the entire body. It consists of nothing but beaurocrats and nations who make no pretense about their dislike for our country while holding out their hands for more American money to fund their corrupt programs. But still this is a good start.

The Roberts smear campaign begins

It is just two weeks before the beginning of the John Roberts Supreme Court confirmation hearings -- and as expected the moonbats have begun locking their radars on the conservative judge:

WASHINGTON -- An influential liberal group yesterday announced its opposition to Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr., as Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee hinted at lines of attack two weeks in advance of confirmation hearings on his nomination.

People for the American Way, which led fights against the Supreme Court nominations of Robert H. Bork and Clarence Thomas, released a 50-page report detailing conservative stands that Roberts took as a legal aide in the Reagan White House and as a federal appeals judge since 2003. Positions espoused by Roberts suggest that he would seek to undermine laws passed to promote civil rights, access to courts, and equality for women, minorities, and people with disabilities, said Ralph G. Neas, the group's president.

''Confirming John Roberts would endanger much of the progress made by the nation in civil rights over the past half-century," Neas said at a news conference where he announced his group's decision to oppose Roberts. ''John Roberts devoted himself to finding problems with solutions, not to finding solutions to problems."

That John Roberts had opinions on landmark cases in the 80's is no secret to anyone. However to assume that he is going to single-handedly turn civil rights on it's ear is fantasy bordering on paranoia. In their tireless efforts to paint a him as an extremist, these groups will only succeed in showing the world just how far on the fringe they are.

Speaking of fringe...

Also yesterday, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, a leading moderate Democrat, vowed to press Roberts on whether he believes in a constitutional right to privacy, the underpinning for the Roe v. Wade court decision that established a right to abortion in 1973.

Roberts's record suggests that he is skeptical of the right to privacy, though he may sidestep questions in hearings so as not to be seen as prejudging cases. As the only woman on the 18-member Senate Judiciary Committee, Feinstein said she has a ''role to play in representing the views and concerns of 145 million American women during this hearing

Senator Feinstein is harboring some serious delusions here. To claim that she, being the only woman on the Committee, represents by fiat the views of 100% of American women is the height of arrogance. In spite of the Boston Globe's effort to qualify Feinstein's remarks by labeling her a "moderate Democrat", anyone who has observed her record over the years knows that she is just a little to the right of Barbara Boxer in her feminist views.

But Roberts was not without his supporters today:

In a bid to combat liberals' contention that Roberts is hostile to women's rights, a group of prominent female Republicans held a ''Women for Roberts" event a few rooms down from Neas's announcement at the National Press Club.

Wendy Long, chief counsel for the Judicial Confirmation Network, a broad coalition formed to support Roberts, said liberals are engaging in a ''fear and sneer" campaign that distorts Roberts's record on a few key issues. Women want a solid and impartial judge far more than they care about any specific issue, she said.

''It's about the quality of a judge and how he's going to interpret the Constitution," Long said, charging that the opposition's campaign is ''a sham."

Exactly right. And that is what has the libs in such hysterics. The real fear that the left has of Judge Roberts is not that he won't interpret the Constitution but that he will. Many of the landmark decisions that they hold dear, Roe v. Wade being chief among them, are the result of crass misinterpretations of a document they were sworn to defend.

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Walter Reed Medical Center to close

From the AP:

WASHINGTON - A federal commission voted Thursday to close Walter Reed Army Medical Center -- the crown jewel of U.S. military hospitals -- as part of the
Pentagon's sweeping proposal to restructure bases across the country.

Located in the nation's capital, the century-old hospital has treated presidents and foreign leaders as well as veterans and soldiers, including those returning from the
Iraq war.

Most of its work would be relocated to a more modern, expanded hospital in Bethesda, Md., to be renamed Walter Reed in a nod to the old facility's heritage.

Hopefully they will do something constructive with the old building. Perhaps a "Purple Heart Museum" honoring the history of Walter Reed and the people who came through there.

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Credit-reporting scams abound on the internet

Starting Sept. 1, free credit reports will indeed be free. An article by Sandra Block of U.S.A. today warns us about the numerous credit-report scams on the internet designed to separate us from our money. One of the more notable cons to date was recently waged on consumers by none other than Experian:

Last week, Experian, one of the three major credit-reporting agencies, agreed to pay $950,000 to settle charges that it deceived consumers into signing up for its credit-monitoring service by offering free credit reports. The FTC said Experian's Internet sites, www.freecreditreport.com and www.consumerinfo.com, failed to adequately disclose that consumers who ordered their credit reports would automatically be charged $79.95.

The FTC also alleged that Experian sought to associate its Internet sites with the government-mandated free credit-report program. The Internet site for that program, which has been phased in across the country since December 2004, is www.annualcreditreport.com. Experian disputes that charge.

Block also warns us of impostor sites:

These sites use misspellings and sound-alike names to misdirect consumers to sites unrelated to the government-mandated site. The FTC has sent letters to 130 impostor sites warning them that attempts to mislead consumers are illegal.

Researchers for the World Privacy Forum, a consumer education organization, found 112 sites in June that were using some combination or close spelling of "annual credit report."

Some of the sites asked for Social Security numbers, birth dates and other sensitive information, the World Privacy Forum report said. Others directed consumers to sites that sell identity theft or other credit-related products and services, the report said.

A few contained links to pornographic sites.

Consumers land on impostor sites in two primary ways: by mistyping the name of the official Internet site, or by using a search engine and clicking on the wrong result, the report said.

The internet is convenient but can be a little scary sometimes. Fortunately for those who are still intimidated by this brave new world of electronic-information, the telephone still offers a comfortable alternative.

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Another Pat speaks out

Speaking on WorldNetDaily's radio broadcast Farah Live, legendary singer Pat Boone pulled no punches as he weighed in on the protests in Crawford, Texas:

"This lady and the groups that have been demonstrating in front of the president's ranch in Crawford and following him around are the very same people that were the dropout, turn-on, anti-war peace activists back [in the Vietnam War era]," Boone said. "They still have this crazy notion that by just being peaceful and maybe toking up or something like that it's like an ostrich with its head in the sand maybe the danger and the bad guys will go away and leave you alone, which is not gonna happen."

He's exactly right. These are nothing more than displaced hippies trying to re-capture the "magic" of the Vietnam era. The irony is that while they are holding hands and swaying side to side with their pyramid hats, men in helmets 6000 miles away are giving their blood and their lives to protect their freedom to act like utter fools.

Pat's reality check continues:

"But, look," he said, "when [terrorists] destroy the World Trade Center right in front of your eyes in Manhattan and you know they're going to do the same and worse things, to just sit back and say 'Oh, let's try not to make 'em mad at us, let's don't rock the boat, let's just say peace is the answer, we love you, we love you' ... we're just sitting ducks. More World Trade Centers, more 9-11s are gonna happen unless we try to take the battle to them on their turf instead of letting 'em bring it to us on ours."

That's pretty much it, folks. Like it or not, we have to take the fight to the enemy if we are to prevent them from coming here again. We also need to give our troops real support. This means standing strong and letting them know we are proud of them. Not blubbering in front of television cameras about bringing our "babies" home. What do you think it does to a soldier's morale when they witness that kind of behavior?

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Dead but not gone

The U.S. Senate is about to do it to us again. Despite President Bush's desire to make the repeal of the Death Tax permanent, Senate Republicans are now working out a deal with Democrats that would "greatly reduce", but not do away with, the unpopular tax. Why compromise? Because Republicans claim that they do not have the votes needed to stop a filibuster if they were to put a permanent repeal on the table. This would mean that only one year after the full repeal finally kicks-in, the tax would suddenly come back at the full rate.

Was term limits such a terrible idea?

Estate Tax May Not Be Repealed for Good

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Patently Patriotic Post of the Day (8/25/05)

March 25, 2005

Maj. Hugh Shoults, an operations officer for Task Force Dragon, XVIII Airborne Corps, in Iraq, is the third generation of Shoults to carry this particular bugle into a combat zone. The tradition began with his grandfather, who carried it into battle during World War I. The major’s father and uncle later carried the bugle into battle in World War II and then Vietnam. Shoults, 38, hails from Spokane, Wash. This photo appeared on www.army.mil.

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army and Sgt. Michael Carden

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Giving honor where honor is due

Speaking to a group of Idaho National Guardsmen today, President Bush took the occasion to comment on a certain military mom... Untighten those stomachs and stop your wincing, it's not that mom:

NAMPA, Idaho -- President Bush today took direct aim at Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war protester who has set up camp near the Bushes Texas ranch and purports to speak for military moms who, like her, have lost a son in the Iraq war.

Speaking to hundreds of Idaho National Guardsmen, the president singled out military mom Tammy Pruett of Pocatello, Idaho, whose husband and five sons have all served in Iraq.

"Tammy has four sons serving in Iraq right now with the Idaho National Guard: Eric, Evan, Greg and Jeff. Last year her husband, Leon, and another son, Aaron, returned from Iraq, where they helped train Iraqi firefighters in Mosul.

"Tammy says this -- and I want you to hear this -- 'I know that if something happens to one of the boys, they would leave this world doing what they believe, what they think is right for our country.'

"And I guess you couldn't ask for a better way of life than giving it for something that you believe in. America lives in freedom because of families like the Pruetts."

The crowd, made up mostly of military family members, broke into cheers and chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!"

I just love this guy.

Feinstein piles it on liberally

Speaking at the L.A. County Bar Association today, the lovely Senator Diane Feinstein hinted at a possible John Roberts rejection as she graced us with her astute wisdom about the qualities that make a good judge:

Feinstein told those gathered to hear her at a meeting of the L.A. County Bar Association that in her opinion the person chosen to replace Sandra Day O'Connor should be "balanced and Fair," and not come from either extreme.

She then proceeded to give a history lesson to those gathered, adding that the U.S. Constitution is "very specific in laying out how a Supreme Court nominee is chosen."

She said, rather forcefully, "Pursuant to the Advice and Consent clause, the president proposes, and the Senate disposes."

Nice rhyme. Has sort of a Jesse Jackson cadence to it.

Does that mean she is predisposed to dispose of John Roberts?

She also reminded listeners that the Senate has rejected 27 of the 148 proposed judges to the Supreme Court since the founding of our nation - "almost 20 percent!" she gloated.

Remember folks, it was Bill Frist who gave her these bragging rights because he was afraid to pull the trigger when he had the chance.

Feinstein then continued her history lesson, gladdening the hearts of judicial activists everywhere by extolling the virtues of the Supreme Court's rulings that have shaped "the will and the culture of this nation in ways that are everlasting and profound."

That pretty much sums up the way liberal lawmakers view we the people. We are malleable pieces of dumb clay waiting to be molded into something useful by the elite. And to think old Tom Jefferson wanted us to have the power. Silly Tom.

Mr. Bush, put up that wall

I've always wondered why we haven't seriously considered this:

U.S. Rep. Steve King said Monday he's not ready to propose building a wall between the United States and Mexico, but a 10-foot-tall chain-link fence topped with razor wire would be a good start.

"It could well find its way into legislation in the next month or two," King said during an immigration control forum in Des Moines.

The Iowa Republican said building a 2,000-mile-long fence would cost about $680 million and slow border crossings. But he and other supporters of dramatic reduction in illegal immigration have more immediate policy proposals - and a national political agenda - they hope will fundamentally slow the illegal flow out of Mexico.

Story below:

King: Fence off Mexican border

Taking a swing at the Sheehan phenomena

Glenn McCoy shows us that sometimes a political cartoon puts it better than a 2000+ word editorial ever could:

America's big fat problem

A new study by a group of public health advocates has confirmed their deepest fears -- Americans are eating food:

Mississippi is the nation's most overweight state, Colorado is the least, and the Southeastern states generally have more heft than the rest of the country, according to a report released yesterday by a public health advocacy group.

Obesity rates have continued to rise steadily across the nation, with the lone exception of Oregon, where they remained steady, the report by the group, the Trust for America's Health, said.

State and federal policies have done little to change that trend, the report said.

About 24.5 percent of American adults are obese, the report said, and in 12 states more than a quarter of all adults are obese, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and South Carolina.

24.5%? Outrageous! Why, there ought to be a law:

"We have a crisis of poor nutrition and physical inactivity in the U.S. and it's time we dealt with it," said Shelley A. Hearne, executive director of the trust. But lawmakers, she said, have reached a "state of policy paralysis in regards to obesity."

How appalling that legislators would just sit by while "Big Carb" manipulates the minds of our children.

Surveys by the federal agency show that there has been a sharp increase in obesity in the United States over the last 20 years. In 1985, not a single state had more than 20 percent of its residents considered obese. Now more than 40 states do.

What they are failing to mention is that the standards for obesity were changed by the National Institutes of Health in 1998. Using Body Mass Index (BMI) as a guideline, an arbitrary number was picked and -- SHAZAM! -- millions more people became "obese" virtually overnight.

Not until the very last paragraph do we find out who funded the study:

The study was in part paid for by a grant from the Dr. Robert C. Atkins Foundation, which was founded by the family of the late author of the Atkins Diet. But Laura Segal, a spokeswoman for the trust, said the foundation was separate from the company, supported research on preventing childhood obesity and had put no pressure on the trust to endorse Dr. Atkins's ideas, which attributed obesity to carbohydrates.

Hmmmmm... I'm not so convinced. Let me grab a blueberry muffin and mull this thing over....

Try listening the first time...

And now for the obligatory daily story on President Bush's current stance on the Iraq war. Guess what... it hasn't changed:

President Bush says he has listened to but disagrees with Iraq war critics who want U.S. troops brought home immediately, saying to pull out now would hurt that country's fledgling democracy and the United States too.

He was likely to deliver that message again Wednesday in a speech in the suburb of Nampa to military personnel and families of some of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also was to meet privately with the relatives before returning to his Texas ranch in the evening.

What a boring guy. Always the same position. Alas, how we pine for the golden Bubba years when foreign policy was a box of chocolates...

Robertsongate: day 3

The mainstream media is mad at us for not caring about the Pat Robertson story. So they are going to keep shoving it in front of our faces until us stupid people understand its importance:

Televangelist Pat Robertson's call for the assassination of leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez provoked a storm of criticism yesterday, triggering condemnation from fellow religious leaders and international outrage, while the Bush administration said he was a "private citizen" whose remarks were "inappropriate."

The "fellow religious leaders" are actually the usual gaggle of pseudo-religious liberals: the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Americans United for Separation of Church and State executive director Barry Lynn, and National Council of Churches general secretary Bob Edgar. Much to the MSM's dismay we don't yet have condemnatory remarks from such notable right-wing "zealots" as James Dobson, Charles Stanley, or D. James Kennedy.

So why is the media so interested in this story? One simple paragraph explains it all:

A pioneer of the nation's evangelical political movement, Robertson is the founder of the Christian Coalition of America and was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988. Hundreds of thousands of his conservative Christian fans tune in to his "700 Club" television show daily.

You see, for the MSM Pat Robertson represents the disgustingly powerful religious right -- the people responsible for the "Republican Revolution" of the 90's and more recently the 2004 election outcome. The objective here is to polarize and weaken the Christian conservative movement by publicly flogging one if it's icons. Perhaps, they hope, some of us will be ashamed and MAYBE...just maybe... some of us will even pick up a whip and join in. But it's not happening and they are angry. And they are determined to give this story legs even if they have to graft those legs on themselves.

Patently Patriotic Post of the Day (8/24/05)

This is a long post but well worth it. Be sure to see the pictures that follow the article:

Big Rig Honors Those Who Perished Sept. 11, 2001

By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2004 – More often than not, as John Holmgren drives his big rig along the nation's roadways, he is greeted with honks, cheers and sometimes tears.

John Holmgren's tractor-trailer honors those who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

It is not Holmgren's driving that riles emotion. It's his message. The truck driver from Shafer, Minn., has transformed his 18-wheeler into a rolling memorial for the victims of Sept. 11, 2001.

"It's my way of showing that those who died aren't just a number," said Holmgren. "It's my way to say someone in America cares."

The rear of the trailer has a picture of the Pentagon and the names of those who died there that day. The truck's side features the American flag, the World Trade Center t6owers and the Statue of Liberty on a sky-blue background, along with doves and spiritual hands as well as the names of those who perished. The truck cab has a large mural of a New York City police officer embracing a young child.

Holmgren said the semi, still a work in progress, could not have been created without the help of his friend and designer Arlee Simpson and Paul Kosienski, a mural artist. Kosienski had painted a smaller memorial mural on one of Holmgren's older trucks.

One day Holmgren and Simpson were talking and putting some decals on the new truck when country singer Darryl Worley's song, "Have You Forgotten?" came on the radio.

"I said I thought it would be really cool if someone did a 9/11 truck," said Holmgren.

Two to three weeks later, he said, the notion became a long-term project.

Holmgren said he's just a "blue-collar guy, working paycheck-to-paycheck" and didn't have the money to get the project started. He said friends like Simpson saw what he wanted to do and took a chance. After the design was worked out on a computer, the images were transferred to the rig.

"I looked at the design on the computer several times, but when we started to put it on the truck it was totally different," said Holmgren. "That first day, it really hit me that what we were doing was important."

Although the project has cost tens of thousands of dollars and put Holmgren on what he calls the "I owe, I owe" plan, the trucker said he would do it all again.

"When people, even those who didn't lose a loved one, walk up to you with tears running down their face, I know that it has done what I wanted it to do," he said. "We have not forgotten."

Article from DefenseLINK News

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Fun and games with the bear and the dragon

While the American media remains fixated on Cindy Sheehan, the Russians and Chinese are having some fun of their own. It turns out the two pals are wrapping up a series of war games off the coast of China:

The live-fire exercise, dubbed "Peace Mission 2005," involves about 7,000 Chinese troops and 1,800 Russians, along with warships, warplanes and amphibious tanks.

Now that's some intense peace! But actually, I think I see what's going on. The comrades are playing one of those games where you call something the opposite of what it really is. Here, I'll give you an example... "Honest Democrat".

Of course, the two countries are making it clear that nothing sinister is afoot:

Top Chinese and Russian generals have sought to reassure the region that the exercises aren't directed against any third nation. Under the fictional scenario for the exercises, the forces have a U.N. mandate to stabilize a country plunged into violence by ethnic strife.

Sounds like there really is nothing to worry about. A U.N. mandate to use force is about as fictional as it gets.

Yet Chinese media have also said the exercises are intended to advertise China's determination to deal with regional terrorist, extremist and separatist threats -- the last a likely reference to self-governing Taiwan, which China has vowed to reclaim by force if necessary.

The games "will frighten the three evil forces of 'ethnic separatism, religious extremism and international terrorism,'" Maj. Gen. Peng Guanglian, a frequent hardline critic of Taiwan and the United States, was quoted as saying in an interview with the Shanghai's Oriental Morning Post.

And should they decide to crack down on the "ethnic separatism" they will likely face a fourth evil force called "American intervenism".

Seriously folks, this development needs to be monitored closely. Russia and China are among the many nations that are not very fond of the U.S. being king of the hill.

That was sure easy

The rest of the Jewish settlers were removed from the West Bank today, two weeks ahead of schedule. Peace now reigns in Israel as Hamas militants eagerly traded in their dynamite for Burger King applications stating that their important terrorist work is now complete. Wow!

Last rebels evicted from West Bank settlements

Bordering on chaos

Finally the Bush administration is getting tough on illegal immigration. This was one of the few Bush policies that had me completely stumped and it's a shame that a couple of Democrats had to co-opt this issue before the President took action. Drudge has the story:

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, acknowledging public frustration over illegal immigration, said Tuesday that the federal government's detention and deportation system must be fundamentally restructured.

"We have decided to stand back and take a look at how we address the problem and solve it once and for all," Chertoff said during a breakfast meeting with reporters.

The NEW YORK TIMES is planning a front page placement for the Chertoff comments on Wednesday, newsroom sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

The unusually blunt assessment by the nation's top immigration official comes after governors in New Mexico and Arizona recently declared a border-related "state of emergency," citing a surge in smuggling and violence associated with the steady flow of illegal immigrants.

Bush not phased by Sheehan

While speaking outside the Tamarack Resort in Idaho today, President Bush threw a bone to the yapping chihuahuas in the press by sharing some brief thoughts about Cindy Sheehan:

"Well, I did meet with Cindy Sheehan," Bush said Tuesday. "I strongly support her right to protest. There's a lot of people protesting. And there's a lot of points of view about the Iraq war."

He added: "She expressed her opinion. I disagree with it."

"Now go home you potty mouthed hippie", the President exclaimed as he swaggered back to the resort.

Okay I added that one myself. Too bad presidents have to be so diplomatic.

Building a new nation

To counter the recent poll-pandering criticism of Bush's war efforts by Senator and prospective presidential candidate Chuck Hagel, NewsMax gives us a story today about CENTCOM's recent press release highlighting our accomplishments in Iraq. It is well worth a read:

CENTCOM: Successes in Iraq

Moonbats descend on Pat Robertson

Among the vast audience that tunes into the 700 Club on a daily basis is a small group of liberals who eagerly wait for conservative televangelist Pat Robertson to slip up. On the occasion that he makes an off-the-cuff comment that is seemingly at odds with his Christian faith, it is then plastered all over the newswires to show the world what a hypocrite he supposedly is. The latest controversy has to do with Robertson's on-air comments calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez:

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said Monday on the Christian Broadcast Network's "The 700 Club."

"We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

Gasp! Where's my smelling salts. The only thing is, Robertson is right. We are at war and we need to deal with any potential hotspot before it becomes too hot for us to handle. But that's not what this story is about as far as the MSM is concerned. This story is about Pat and his professed Christianity ("what about 'Thou shalt not kill'? Hmmmmmmmmm?")

It is interesting how that commandment is tossed aside by the liberal press when it comes to abortion and euthanasia yet becomes all-important when it comes to the life of a terrorist-friendly thug dictator.

No taxpayer left behind

Connecticut Attorney general Richard Blumenthal announced his plans to sue the Federal government yesterday over what he considers an unfunded mandate for an annual school testing program under Bush's No Child Left Behind program:

Connecticut sued the federal government yesterday, accusing the Bush administration of being "rigid, arbitrary and capricious" in the enforcement of its signature education law and seeking relief from a requirement that it scrap its own testing program in favor of one the state says will not help children but will cost millions.

The suit, the first by a state to challenge Mr. Bush's No Child Left Behind law, argues that Connecticut is not being adequately reimbursed for the cost of expanding to annual testing from its current schedule of every other year.

Officials said that and other provisions of the law would force Connecticut to spend $50 million of its own money in coming years. The law specifically bans the federal government from imposing mandates without financing them.

Here's a dirty little secret -- NO mandate is actually funded by the federal government. The taxpayer foots the bill either way.

Iraq getting ever closer

Although a draft for Iraq's constitution was submitted by the deadline on Monday, an additional three days have been given to iron out "pending differences".

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said the three major issues blocking a deal were federalism, purging Saddam Hussein's Baath Party and whether some of the officers of the assembly should be elected by a majority or two-thirds vote.

If no compromise if reached soon, the committee is likely to sidestep the Sunnis and approve the draft. This is expected to present a problem in October when the Iraqi people are given the chance to vote on the new referendum.

Sunni leaders have threatened to order their followers to vote "no" in the October referendum on the new constitution unless their objections are addressed.

Shiites and Kurds have enough seats in parliament to win approval for a draft without the Sunni Arabs. But the Sunni minority could scuttle the constitution when voters decide whether to ratify it in the October referendum. Under current rules, the constitution would be defeated if it is opposed by two-thirds of the voters in three of Iraq's 18 provinces. Sunnis form the majority in at least four.

According to the AP the repeated delays are making our President look bad:

Repeated delays are a deep embarrassment for the Bush administration. Washington had applied enormous pressure on the Iraqis to meet the original Aug. 15 deadline but parliament instead had to grant a week's extension, which they again failed to meet.

This, of course, is nonsense. Iraq is conducting it's first experiment in democracy and it is to be expected that there will be a lot of pushing and tugging on the new constitution before it reaches its final form. It would be a surprise if there weren't delays. Bush briefly addressed this during a recent VFW speech:

'We know this from our own history,'' he said. ''The Constitutional Convention was home to political rivalries and regional disagreements.''

In other words, "Shut up and let this thing play out." We live in an instant-coffee kind of world where any process that takes more than two days is labeled a failure by the press. This seems to be especially true for any undertaking initiated by the current administration. Regardless, the Iraqis will soon get their new constitution and a bold new era will begin in a what was a once very oppressed region.

Patently Patriotic Post of the Day (8/23/05)

"Until the wind and the rain alone shall wear them away." Those are the famous words Sculptor Gutzon Borglum used to describe the length of time his most famous work, Mt. Rushmore, will endure.

The mountain itself was originally named after Charles E. Rushmore, a New York lawyer investigating mining claims in the Black Hills in 1885. Gutzon Borglum chose this mountain due to its height (5700' above sea level), the soft grainy consistency of the granite, and the fact that it catches the sun for the greatest part of the day. The presidents were selected on the basis of what each symbolized. George Washington represents the struggle for independence, Thomas Jefferson the idea of government by the people. Abraham Lincoln for his ideas on equality and the permanent union of the states, and Theodore Roosevelt for the 20th century role of the United States in world affairs. The carving of Mt. Rushmore actually began on August 10, 1927, and spanned a length of 14 years. Only about six and a half years were spent actually carving the mountain, with the rest of the time being spent on weather delays and Borglum's greatest enemy - the lack of funding. The total cost of the project was $900,000. Work continued on the project until the death of Gutzon Borglum in 1941. No carving has been done on the mountain since that time and none is planned in the future.

The granite faces of four American presidents' is scaled to men who would stand 465 feet tall! President Calvin Coolidge believed Mount Rushmore was "decidedly American in its conception, magnitude and meaning. It is altogether worthy of our country," Coolidge proclaimed at the dedication of the project in 1927.

Text from Mt Rushmore.net

Monday, August 22, 2005

Able Danger gets stranger and stranger

As you'll remember, it was Col. Tony Shaffer who first came out publicly with the findings of the top-secret Able Danger project. Now after looking into the matter, the Pentagon is saying that no information has yet turned up to confirm Shaffers claims:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon has been unable to validate claims that a secret intelligence unit identified Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta as a terrorist more than a year before the attacks, a Defense Department spokesman said Monday.

Larry Di Rita said that some research into the matter continues, but thus far there has been no evidence that the intelligence unit, called ''Able Danger,'' came up with information as specific as an officer associated with the program has asserted.

''What we found are mostly general references to terrorist cells,'' Di Rita said, without providing detail.

Very odd indeed. Especially since the Washington Times reports that there were multiple sources that provided the same information:

"I spoke personally to Denny Hastert and to Pete Hoekstra," Col. Shaffer said. Mr. Hastert, Illinois Republican, is speaker of the House, and Mr. Hoekstra, Michigan Republican, is chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

"I was given assurances by [them] that this was the right thing to do. ... I was given assurances we would not suffer any adverse consequences for bringing this to the attention of the public," Col. Shaffer said.

Col. Shaffer said his conversations with Mr. Hastert and Mr. Hoekstra took place before he and members of the Able Danger team spoke as anonymous sources to reporters in the offices of Rep. Curt Weldon, Pennsylvania Republican, on Aug. 8.

So what to make of this? Either Shaffer and the other Able Danger sources are lying or the Pentagon is not being forthcoming with the details of the information they have. I don't see any indication that Shaffer has an axe to grind as was the case with Bill Burkett and the forged National Guard memos. But I also don't know why the Pentagon would hang the Colonel out to dry. There is certainly no reason to believe that they would be trying to protect Clinton from embarrassment.

But there is another possibility. It could be that no information has been found because the information is no longer there.

Ahem... Mr. Berger.... roll up your pantlegs please, sir.

Let's roll...

The counter-protesters are beginning to converge in Crawford:

Supporters of George Bush began arriving in Crawford, Texas, at the weekend for counter-demonstrations aimed at an anti-war protest camp near the president's summer retreat.

About 350 Bush loyalists on motorbikes roared past the 200-strong camp started by Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who has become a figurehead for the US anti-war movement.

Nice touch! I hope they were all Harleys.

Story below:

Pro-war lobby rallies at Bush ranch

What we have here is a failure to communicate

According to a Shiite negotiator, Iraq's draft constitution will likely be presented to the parliament by the midnight deadline:

After a while, the final draft that was agreed upon with the Kurdish bloc and other blocs will be brought here so that a meeting of the National Assembly can be held," Shiite negotiator Jawad al-Maliki told reporters five hours before the midnight deadline. "This draft will be offered and read and be voted on" before the deadline.

Sunni negotiator, Saleh al-Mutlaq begs to differ:

"There are still major points of disagreement," al-Mutlaq said. "I don't think we will reach a solution for them in the next few hours. We are holding talks with the Kurdish brothers and the brothers in the (Shiite) alliance and we haven't reached unanimity so far. The meetings are now taking place, and they claim that an agreement has been reached."

One has been reached, Mr. al-Mutlaq -- between the Shiites and the Kurds! We have an old proverb over here in the West that might help you Sunnis understand the situation a little better: "You snooze, you lose."

Just barely missed him... 10 times

One of the CIA's foremost authorities on bin Laden tells of the numerous opportunities the U.S. had to take out the terror mastermind in the 90's and how we took for granted just how dangerous the man was:

"We had found that he and al-Qaida were involved in an extraordinarily sophisticated and professional effort to acquire weapons of mass destruction," Michael Scheuer told CBS News. "In this case, nuclear material, so by the end of 1996, it was clear that this was an organization unlike any other one we had ever seen."

Scheuer was one of the CIA's foremost authorities on bin Laden. He was the senior intelligence analyst who created and then advised a secret CIA unit for tracking and eliminating bin Laden beginning in 1996.

Scheuer said his bosses at the CIA were skeptical of the information about bin Laden's nuclear ambitions and ability.

In a letter to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees earlier this year, Scheuer says his agents provided U.S. government officials with about 10 opportunities to capture bin Laden. All of them were rejected.

Hmmmmm... my memory fails me... who was our President at the time? And who was it that just last week told us how acutely aware he was of the bin Laden threat during the "let the good times roll" 90's?

One of the last proposals, which he described to the 9-11 Commission in a closed-door session, involved a cruise missile attack against a remote hunting camp in the Afghan desert, where bin Laden was believed to be socializing with members of the royal family from the United Arab Emirates.

Ah, yes. You're nobody until you've been to a bin Laden party. I heard the Sheikh makes a fondu that's to die for.

Scheuer told CBS News he wanted to level the entire camp.

"If those princes were out there eating goat with Osama bin Laden, then maybe they were there for nefarious reasons," he said. "But nonetheless, they would have been the price of battle."

Scheuer in `08!

By 1999, Scheuer was in trouble at the CIA because of his persistence about getting bin Laden.

"I think I became too insistent that we were not pursuing this target with enough vigor and with enough risk-taking an unwillingness to take risks," said Scheuer. "I got relieved of the position I was in. I had a lovely sojourn in the library and then had other sojourns since.

I hope he checked out a copy of the Ken Starr Report while stationed there -- it starts slow but it really picks up toward the end.

In any event, it sounds to me like we had President in the 90's who understood the threat -- to his popularity. If he suddenly were to do something senseless and silly like bombing Afghanistan, people over here and around the world might think he was mean. And what would that do to his legacy?

"What", you say? This article is about the CIA and had nothing to do with the former Prez? Maybe you have a point there. Information did tend not to be shared as much back then...

Patently Patriotic Post of the Day (8/22/05)

Eisenhower, Dwight David (1890-1969), American general and 34th president of the United States. He was the principal architect of the successful Allied invasion of Europe during World War II and of the subsequent defeat of Nazi Germany. As president, Eisenhower ended the Korean War, but his two terms (1953[en_dash]1961) produced few legislative landmarks or dramatic initiatives in foreign policy. His presidency is remembered as a period of relative calm in the United States.

Eisenhower spent his first 50 years in almost total obscurity. A professional soldier, he was not even particularly well known within the U.S. Army. His rise to fame during World War II was meteoric: a lieutenant colonel in 1941, he was a five-star general in 1945. As supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, he commanded the most powerful force ever assembled under one man. He is one of the few generals ever to command major naval forces; he directed the world's greatest air force; he is the only man ever to command successfully an integrated, multinational alliance of ground, sea, and air forces. He led the assault on the French coast at Normandy, on June 6, 1944, and held together the Allied units through the European campaign that followed, concentrating everyone's attention on a single objective: the defeat of Nazi Germany, completed on May 8, 1945.

In 1950, President Harry Truman appointed Eisenhower the supreme commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces, thus making Eisenhower the first man to command a large, peacetime multinational force. His genius lay in getting people of diverse background to work together toward a common objective, but he was equally skillful as a strategist and administrator.

He displayed the same talents as president, but they did not produce the same spectacular results. The discipline characteristic of military organizations was unknown to American politics, and rebellion against his leadership occurred frequently[em_dash]the more so because his Republican party controlled Congress during only two of Eisenhower's eight years in office. His dislike of politics was also a handicap. He calmed fears about Communist infiltration of the national government. He provided partial relief from the divisiveness engendered by his predecessor's approach to issues, yet Eisenhower's achievements seem less impressive in retrospect because he minimized the importance of racial tensions and of socioeconomic antagonisms that erupted so explosively in the 1960s.

Although only a little above average in height and weight, Eisenhower dominated any gathering of which he was a member. His bald pate, prominent forehead, and broad mouth made his head seem larger than it was. He had a wonderfully expressive face, and it was impossible for him to conceal his feelings.

He had a sharp, orderly mind. No one thought of him as an intellectual giant, and outside his professional field he was not well read. He was not likely to come up with brilliant insights. But he could look at a problem, analyze it, see what alternatives were available, and choose from among them. His beliefs were those of Main Street; his personality that of the outgoing, affable American writ large.

Almost everyone liked him. His easy manners, his obvious concern with the welfare of others, his ability to listen patiently[em_dash]all contributed to his popularity. Most important was his trustworthy nature. His grin, his mannerisms, and his generosity and kindness all exuded sincerity.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Iraq's constitution still stalled (but love is in the air)

Looks like another extension is in the works for the Iraqi constitution deadline:

One day before the deadline for Iraq's new constitution, Sunni Arab negotiators appealed Sunday to the United States and the international community to prevent Shiites and Kurds from pushing a draft charter through parliament without Sunni consent.

I say push it through. The Sunnis stayed home and pouted at election time so why should they be given any leverage now?

Meanwhile, the Red Cross was kind enough to deliver a letter from Saddam Hussein to his close friend and (surprise!) it got published in two Jordanian newspapers:

"My soul and my existence is to be sacrificed for our precious Palestine and our beloved, patient and suffering Iraq," the letter to an unidentified friend said.

"It is not much for a man to support his nation with his soul and all he commands because it deserves it since it has given us life in the name of God and allowed us to inherit the best."

All I can say is wow! We never heard a peep out of Saddam about his unrequited love for precious Palestine before the Iraq war. Must have been a secret crush. Palestine is playing it coy but they are clearly blushing!

Patently Patriotic Post of the Day (8/21/05)

"It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, and to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in Holy Scripture, and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. And, insomuch as we know that by His divine law nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisement in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which has preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness."

Abraham Lincoln, proclamation for a national day of fasting and prayer, March 30, 1863