Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Democrats Summoning Leaches

This bill is pathetic. Not only is it a stupid plan, but they've even watered it down to the point that the President can ignore their suggestion. It's obviously a suggestion, because they are giving the President the ability to ignore it. If this isn't politics at its most pathetic, I don't know what is.
House Democratic leaders, defending a plan by Rep. John Murtha, said Tuesday they will press ahead with legislation requiring all U.S. troops be fully equipped, trained and rested before being sent back to Iraq.

Despite rumors that Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco was backing away from the plan, which Republicans have decried as a "slow bleed" on the war, the speaker said Murtha's proposal on troop standards would be debated next week in committee and that she hopes to move it quickly to the floor.

The proposal, however, would allow President Bush to waive the rules if he wanted to deploy troops faster or under different standards than allowed by the measure.

"Our goal will be to raise the bar of accountability on President Bush and the Iraqi government" of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., who chairs the House Democratic caucus.

"Raise the bar of accountability?" Please. As CIC he's already fully responsible, and the Dems have been bludgeoning that horse for years. What it does is allows the Dems to change the perceived restrictions and avoid actually taking any responsibility themselves. If this passes the house, it will be definitive proof that Democrats are completely spineless.
Murtha, D-Pa., a decorated Marine veteran and a longtime military booster, has long called for a troop withdrawal. As chairman of the subcommittee responsible for military spending, Murtha hoped to use the power of the purse to force the president to pull Americans out of Iraq.

Instead, in a compromise designed to hold the Democrats together, Murtha's plan would place conditions on training, equipment and deployment, but not tie the money to those conditions.

Pelosi said repeatedly in the past few days that Murtha's proposals were really nothing new because current law requires units to be trained and equipped. But current rules allow the Defense Department to waive those conditions. She wants to raise that waiver to a presidential decision.

Murtha's plan is foolish, just on constitutional grounds. But pushing the decision level to the President is just tampering with the rules, and in the end gets you nothing.

More leaches for the Dems. Bleeding the abilities of the CIC and the military to try to succeed is a real indicator that the Dems don't care about security.

Mental Health Care for the Troops

This is an odd topic. I don't like the fact that 40% of the positions for psychologists in the military aren't filled, but a study by psychologists on the subject is a bit difficult to swallow. I imagine if the gun manufacturers were making a study on home protection, they wouldn't be allowed this type of finding without question.
Many Iraq war troops, veterans and their families aren't getting needed psychological help because the military's mental health system is overwhelmed and understaffed, according to a report released Sunday by the American Psychological Association.

The report, by a task force of psychologists, calls for the immediate strengthening of the military mental health system. It cites a 40% vacancy rate in active duty psychologists in the Army and Navy, resources diverted from family counselors and a weak transition for veterans leaving the military.

More than three out of 10 troops met the criteria for a mental disorder, but far less than half sought help, the report found.
Yeah, the fact that they find that the troops have mental disorder makes you wonder what the criteria are. And if they aren't seeking help, could it be that they don't want it, or the problem, as seen by the psychologists, isn't a problem to them?

If You Got the Cash You too Can Be Green

There's just far too many articles and Op-Eds on this one to pick from. Someone on the right calls Algore a hypocrite, justifiably, and the loony left breaks into a sweat. It goes on Fox and they start screaming and throwing feces. Funny how they screech when their hero is shown to be less than wonderful, but they haven't any restraint when they go after those evil conservatives.

I guess Algore has a really nice life style. I can't imagine how he uses 20 times the electricity than the average American, but he's got the money to by carbon offsets, so it's cool. From
Silly us to get down on Gore for using more than 20 times the average American's consumption of energy while lecturing the rest of us about our own wastefulness. The deal is, we just can't comprehend how he's avoiding damaging the environment with his magical, lefty ways.

From Gore, via Think Progress:

1) Gore’s family has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence, including signing up for 100 percent green power through Green Power Switch, installing solar panels, and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving technology.

2) Gore has had a consistent position of purchasing carbon offsets to offset the family’s carbon footprint — a concept the right-wing fails to understand. Gore’s office explains:

What Mr. Gore has asked is that every family calculate their carbon footprintand try to reduce it as much as possible. Once they have done so, hethen advocates that they purchase offsets, as the Gore’s do, to bringtheir footprint down to zero.

It’s the latest in a series of desperate attacks by Drudge to paint Gore as a hypocrite...

These are the lengths that climate skeptics must go to suppress actionon global warming. There is no meaningful debate within the scientificcommunity, so the right-wing busies itself with talk about how muchelectricity Al Gore’s house uses — and even then they distort the truth.

The lengths weren't really all that great. The story pretty much writes itself when the self-proclaimed guru of global warming uses 20 times as much power as the rest of us. I mean, two times as much? I could see that. I'd probably still point out the hypocrisy, but 20 times? I'm no enviro-freak, but I turn out the lights when I leave a room and shut off the water while I brush my teeth, and it keeps my bills quite a bit more modest than Gore's $30K a year. We right-wingers can't help it if the plain facts of Gore's lifestyle make every normal person in America go, "Wait, he's lecturing me? What a jerk!"

I wonder how many "carbon offsets"-- trees I buy that other people promise to plant for me to soak up all the emissions my lifestyle creates-- I'd have to buy to take care of my $27-a-month power bill, huh? I'd hate not to be carbon-neutral, like Gore is.

Go and read the comments at the Thing Progress site. It's quite entertaining.

Personally I don't mind Algore's lecturing. He has a point about wastefulness that many could learn from. It would be nice if he actually tried the part about minimizing his usage. That part is probably more important than his having fluorescent lights in his house.

I also keep hearing about these Carbor Offsets that Algore uses to buy his way into heaven. It's an interesting concept. Here's a Treehugger article on various services you can buy.
As more and more people, small businesses and large companies become hip to carbon emission offsets and the carbon-neutral lifestyle, has done some homework for us and completed a comprehensive comparison of the nonprofit and for profit organizations providing carbon offsets. The survey found that most companies provide nearly identical service (offsetting carbon emissions) using a couple different means (tree-planting or investment in renewable energy, or both) but varying wildly in price. checked in with the lowest price, at $5.50 US per metric ton of carbon dioxide, while other companies like TerraPass (about $10/ton) and NativeEnergy (about $13/ton) charge more for their offsets that can be calculated for more specific activities, like traveling by car or airplane. The growing number of companies that offer such service seems to indicate a growing market for carbon credits, which, no matter how much you pay, is a good thing.
Lots of the offsets appear to be planting trees and investing in "green" energy sources. The key to most, if not all of these is that you pay them to offset your CO2 emissions. Kind of like paying for penance rather than just being a good person.

Not really surprising that this has turned pretty hot. It's also a telling indicator along with the whole global warming scenario. It's become a religious movement for the far left, and if you criticize any of the arguments or any of the players, you're either an idiot or working for the oil companies.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Liebernam Gambit

This is rather odd in the world of politics. Joe has been making noise about torpedoing the Dems control of the Senate. Specifically with regards to the issue of Iraq. His OpinionJournal piece from yesterday is interesting, in that he is calling the Dems to be responsible.
Congress thus faces a choice in the weeks and months ahead. Will we allow our actions to be driven by the changing conditions on the ground in Iraq--or by the unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington? What ultimately matters more to us: the real fight over there, or the political fight over here?

If we stopped the legislative maneuvering and looked to Baghdad, we would see what the new security strategy actually entails and how dramatically it differs from previous efforts. For the first time in the Iraqi capital, the focus of the U.S. military is not just training indigenous forces or chasing down insurgents, but ensuring basic security--meaning an end, at last, to the large-scale sectarian slaughter and ethnic cleansing that has paralyzed Iraq for the past year.

Tamping down this violence is more than a moral imperative. Al Qaeda's stated strategy in Iraq has been to provoke a Sunni-Shiite civil war, precisely because they recognize that it is their best chance to radicalize the country's politics, derail any hope of democracy in the Middle East, and drive the U.S. to despair and retreat. It also takes advantage of what has been the single greatest American weakness in Iraq: the absence of sufficient troops to protect ordinary Iraqis from violence and terrorism.
Unfortunately, for many congressional opponents of the war, none of this seems to matter. As the battle of Baghdad just gets underway, they have already made up their minds about America's cause in Iraq, declaring their intention to put an end to the mission before we have had the time to see whether our new plan will work.

There is of course a direct and straightforward way that Congress could end the war, consistent with its authority under the Constitution: by cutting off funds. Yet this option is not being proposed. Critics of the war instead are planning to constrain and squeeze the current strategy and troops by a thousand cuts and conditions.

Among the specific ideas under consideration are to tangle up the deployment of requested reinforcements by imposing certain "readiness" standards, and to redraft the congressional authorization for the war, apparently in such a way that Congress will assume the role of commander in chief and dictate when, where and against whom U.S. troops can fight.

I understand the frustration, anger and exhaustion so many Americans feel about Iraq, the desire to throw up our hands and simply say, "Enough." And I am painfully aware of the enormous toll of this war in human life, and of the infuriating mistakes that have been made in the war's conduct.

But we must not make another terrible mistake now. Many of the worst errors in Iraq arose precisely because the Bush administration best-cased what would happen after Saddam was overthrown. Now many opponents of the war are making the very same best-case mistake--assuming we can pull back in the midst of a critical battle with impunity, even arguing that our retreat will reduce the terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq.
The end result still comes down to if we don't get Iraq right terrorism will continue to plague the US, and Iraq will become a new source of the problem. The Bush Administration was definitely overly optimistic about how Iraq would recover. Unfortunately, the Dems are even worse in being overly pessimistic with the potential to succeed. The worst of it comes down to their political dancing about on this issue ignores the future and the potential for the problem getting worse.

I'm doubting that Lieberman will jump ship should the Dems continue to push their dishonest political games. If they truly were honest to their constituents they would just defund the war and be done with it. It wouldn't have any different results from what they are doing at present, but it would be at least honest.

Muddying the Evidence

The military lays out the parts captured that were to be used as EFPs and the NYTimes reporter decides that the every day parts in the pile "confuses" him as to the origin of the other parts. What an idiot.
In a dusty field near the Baghdad airport on Monday, the American military laid out a display of hundreds of components for assembling deadly roadside bombs, its latest effort to embarrass the country it contends is supplying the material to armed Shiite groups here: Iran.

Piles of copper liners, which the military says come from Iran for use in bombs, and which collapse into armor-piercing projectiles upon explosion.

Officers of the First Cavalry Division whose unit seized the components said they had been found in a palm grove just north of the Iraqi capital two days earlier, after a tip from a local resident. An explosives expert said the components were made to be assembled into the deadly canisters called explosively formed penetrators, or E.F.P.’s, which explode and hurl out a high-speed blob of copper designed to cut through tough American armor.

“I’ve lost good friends to these E.F.P.’s,” said Capt. Clayton Combs, whose unit turned up the cache of weapons. “And the fact that we found these before they got to the side of the road is just a huge win for us.”

The cache included what Maj. Marty Weber, a master explosives ordnance technician, said was C-4 explosive, a white substance, in clear plastic bags with red labels that he said contained serial numbers and other information that clearly marked it as Iranian.

But while the find gave experts much more information on the makings of the E.F.P.’s, which the American military has repeatedly argued must originate in Iran, the cache also included items that appeared to cloud the issue.

Among the confusing elements were cardboard boxes of the gray plastic PVC tubes used to make the canisters. The boxes appeared to contain shipments of tubes directly from factories in the Middle East, none of them in Iran. One box said in English that the tubes inside had been made in the United Arab Emirates and another said, in Arabic, “plastic made in Haditha,” a restive Sunni town on the Euphrates River in Iraq.

The box marked U.A.E. provided a phone number for the manufacturer there. A call to that number late Monday encountered only an answering machine that said, “Leave your number and we will call you back.”
Let's see, if the box contains C-4 and specifically machined copper parts, then the common elements are confusing, because they can be gotten elsewhere. What is this guy thinking? Does he really expect that Iran would be the sole source provider of all the parts of the bombs? Or would it make more sense to send the small parts that can't be commonly purchased or made to minimize what needs to be smuggled across the border.

Does this reporter have a reason for making this crap up? I don't know, but if he's confused by simple parts being among those specifically manufactured for EFPs, then he may want to find a job where actually using your mind isn't a requirement. Though at this point, working at the NYTimes appears to be on that list.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Hillary Should Have Known

This is amusing. Now left is using arguments that the right has been using for those who whine about being duped by the President on Iraq. It's all rather pathetic though. They are attacking Hillary because she won't grovel to the anti-war crowd for making a decision at the time that fit the available evidence.
Only Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., remains resolute about her vote for the war, admitting she wouldn't do it again, but refusing to apologize for it. It's an issue that has, so far, dogged her with voters.

For the most part, Clinton has tried to portray herself as an innocent duped by an administration that had a monopoly on the facts, then lied about them. "I'm not going to believe this president again," she said on NBC's "Today Show" this past December. "Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn't have been a vote, and I certainly wouldn't have voted that way."
Personally, I'm willing to give her a pass on this. (And absolutely nothing else.) The writers of the Salon article seem to think that the evidence they provide is sufficient to have stopped Hillary voting for the war. Unfortunately, the sources are far weaker than the intelligence that we now know was flawed.
Aug. 15, 2002 -- The national security advisor to Presidents Ford and George H.W. Bush, and for three years chairman of President George W. Bush's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Brent Scowcroft was a foreign policy realist who favored stability over the grand ambitions of the neocons, and was largely derided for doing so. In an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal, "Don't Attack Saddam," he laid out his case: "There is scant evidence to tie Saddam to terrorist organizations, and even less to the Sept. 11 attacks. Indeed Saddam's goals have little in common with the terrorists who threaten us, and there is little incentive for him to make common cause with them.

"He is unlikely to risk his investment in weapons of mass destruction, much less his country, by handing such weapons to terrorists who would use them for their own purposes and leave Baghdad as the return address. Threatening to use these weapons for blackmail -- much less their actual use -- would open him and his entire regime to a devastating response by the U.S. While Saddam is thoroughly evil, he is above all a power-hungry survivor. Saddam is a familiar dictatorial aggressor, with traditional goals for his aggression. There is little evidence to indicate that the United States itself is an object of his aggression."
I'll take it they intend this to be one of their stronger arguments. Though it is particularly lame. First, the idea of containment being the proper treatment for Saddam is pathetic at best. That means the US spends huge amounts of money to keep an enemy dictator in power instead of just pushing him out. That reality means that he gets to bide his time until the US public gets too bored with the action and it's costs. Which is pretty much what was happening. After the Clinton administrations period of sitting on its hands, its little wonder that the situation had never been cleared up.

This also shows the thought that Saddam wouldn't aid terrorists. Interesting if incorrect. Saddam is known to have paid the families of suicide bombers against Israel and had contact, if not direct support to al Qaeda. The question to be answered is whether his low profile support would have escalated once the US and the allies withdrew? Saddam obviously didn't have any WMD after the US invaded. But that ignores the facts that he didn't eliminate the skills or equipment to create them.

I'll skip their contention that the press had questions and that was an indicator that the administration was wrong. That's so thin an argument that it is laughable.
Sept. 25, 2002 -- Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., voiced some of his concerns at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: "I have attended numerous briefings and read countless reports from a variety of sources. I have listened carefully to the Administration. And I have read, quite closely, the proposed resolution authorizing the use of force that the Administration sent to Congress last week. After all of this, I still do not have answers to some fundamental questions. I remain extremely troubled by the Administration's shifting justifications for going to war in Iraq. I remain skeptical about the need to take unilateral action now and to accept all of the associated costs of that decision. I remain unconvinced that the Administration has thought through the potential costs and challenges of post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq, or even thought through how to address the issue of weapons of mass destruction once an engagement begins."
Feingold is a great bit of political crap to use as an argument. I really enjoy the "shifting justifications" statement. Poor old simple Russ hasn't the ability to understand that having more than one reason isn't shifting of reasons. Though obviously Russ isn't that simple minded, but he is an all-star when it comes to political spinning. The questioning of "why take action now" is also telling. Considering that it took about thirteen months before any military action occurred, makes his statement rather odd.
Also on this day, Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., penned an article for the Hill, the influential political newspaper in Washington. Though Skelton would end up voting for war, he was a longtime leader of the party on military issues, and in his piece, he reflected the concerns of many in the military: "While the Bush administration cites the threat of Iraqi WMD, the case has not yet been clearly made as to why military force is an appropriate way of addressing the threat, and why action must occur now.

"I have no doubt that our military would decisively defeat Iraq's forces and remove Saddam. But like the proverbial dog chasing the car down the road, we must consider what we would do after we caught it.

"Any strategy must consider the form of a replacement regime and take seriously the possibility that the Iraqi people might reject it, leading to civil unrest and even anarchy. What will we do with Iraqis that continue to support Saddam, and with the scientists and engineers with expertise born of the Iraqi WMD program? Can we create a stable regime that's geopolitically preferable to Saddam and incorporates the disparate interests of all groups within Iraq -- Shi'a, Sunni, and Kurd?"

Skelton had good questions. And in fact the Administration did a poor job of re-instituting Iraq once Saddam was gone. I think he obviously must have believed that the US could succeed since he voted in favor of the resolution. And in fact I find this to be a rather odd argument against Hillary. The logic tells me that this argument actually supports her decision at the time. Just because the Administration has done some of these things poorly, doesn't mean that the logic fails at the time that it was convincing to these Senators.
Oct. 7, 2002 -- In an article titled "Hail Caesar!" Salon's Gary Kamiya explored President Bush's foreign policy and its implications and considered the cost-benefit ratio posed by the talk of invasion: "It is impossible to know what will happen. But deciding whether or not to invade Iraq requires making a judgment about the possibility that the Middle East may go up in flames as a result, or that the attack will breed future terrorists in the region and around the world, or that other nations will emulate us and launch invasions of their own, or that our allies will turn away from an out-of-control America -- and balancing those possibilities against the chance that Saddam will use WMD at some point in the future. Confining ourselves only to one possible negative consequence, dangerous instability in the Middle East, the answer is clear: It is much more likely that an invasion of Iraq will inflame the Middle East than that Saddam will use WMD against the United States or its allies. Even if al-Qaida never existed and there had never been a Sept. 11, invading a major sovereign Arab nation would be an extremely risky undertaking, one likely to spin out of our control."
Hmm. So a Salon opinion piece should be a major influence on making foreign policy? I think not. Since they enjoyed playing the "what if" game then, let's try a bit now. What if the UN had dropped all sanctions and containment of Saddam in 2003? Would the cost-benefit ratio have been justified to continue containment with no allied assistance? (no) Would the loss of containment have lead to a peaceful cooperative Iraq? (no) Would Saddam have become a peaceful dictator and helped stabilize the Middle east? (no) Would Iraq become a terrorist haven after containment was ended. (Can't say for certain, but Saddam certainly had enough reasons to assist them even peripherally to get back at the US and the allies. Not to mention the logic that Iraq became a terrorist fly-paper trap.) It's nice to use the "what-if" scenarios, as long as you're willing to use them in both directions when weighing the possibilities. Something that the opinionated at Salon tend to fail to do.

Of course, there is more, but it's all quite thin. The article makes the case, but fails to point out any side motivations for those against the war. Zinni is quoted, but wasn't a proponent, and was possibly on the outs with the Administration at the time. He has some good arguments, but not overwhelming arguments. And the Byrd argument is just lame. The only strong bit of evidence comes from Scott Rider on the WMDs. That bit, as with most of this article, seems to view the WMDs as the sole reason that the US took down Saddam, forgetting (intentionally?) that there were 23 resolutions in the AUMF. None of the other reasons in the AUMF could possibly been reasonable then, could they?

Friday, February 23, 2007

OK We'll Stop the Test, Even if there isn't a good reason.

More buffoonery. The idiots that are protesting it and the fools that planned it.

WASHINGTON - Divine Strake was promised to blow a hole in the earth and create a mushroom cloud over the Nevada desert.
Instead, it blew open old wounds for Utahns who had been promised Cold War atomic tests would be safe, and the hurt, betrayal and rage that poured out left the Pentagon with little choice but to announce Thursday it was scrapping the test.
Michelle Thomas spent the day in tears.
"I've cried all day long. I just can't yet grasp it," said Thomas, a St. George Downwinder who opposed Divine Strake. She has had cancer and suffers an immune deficiency she blames on exposure to radiation.
"I just felt such an overwhelming relief," she said. "You just think, 'Oh my gosh. We matter.' "
Strake? Had to look that one up.
a continuous band of hull planking or plates on a ship; also : the width of such a band
Umm. Ok.

First off, who was the brain-child that thought up this test? You'd think that the sight might be a bit of an issue to the public, but apparently these guys didn't bother actually using any grey matter. And their spokesman is a bloody imbecile:
Expert witnesses in Hager's lawsuit said, if the test went as planned, it could create a new generation of Downwinders. The blast, they said, would spread radioactive debris over hundreds, possibly thousands of miles, causing birth defects and cancer cases in the downwind population.
Had it not been for an off-hand comment in a briefing of reporters, the test may very well have gone ahead without fanfare last June.
"I don't want to sound glib here but it is the first time in Nevada that you'll see a mushroom cloud over Las Vegas since we stopped testing nuclear weapons," Defense Threat Reduction Agency Director James Tegnelia said last March.
When he made the comment, the environmental studies had been done, approval for the test had been given and plans were going ahead to prepare the site for the test. But the "mushroom cloud" image resonated enough to make it into brief stories about the meeting, and the opposition started to build.
What an absolute idiot.

The downwinders are hyping the issue far beyond the realistic evidence. Comparing a conventional detonation to a nuclear one has no comparison at all with the radiological after effects. None the less, wouldn't it just have been easier to have done this some place else?

Now I'm wondering how much this bit of stupidity has cost the citizens?

LA Slimes Revelations on CIA Operatives

This is particularly slimy. Especially considering that the pilots that the LATimes is reporting on are actual operatives and not some desk jockey like Valerie "Covert" Plame. They don't actually state their names, but then, they certainly do give a lot of information on them.
So asked James Taranto in his Wednesday “Best of the Web Today” column for Taranto highlighted a Sunday Los Angeles Times story, “Pilots traced to CIA renditions: The Times identifies three fliers facing kidnapping charges in Germany related to a 2003 counter-terrorism mission,” which though it did not list their real names, identified the aliases and enough information about each to help anyone trying to find them, including how they all live within 30 miles of a certain rural airport. One “drives a Toyota Previa minivan and keeps a collection of model trains in a glass display case near a large bubbling aquarium in his living room,” another “is a bearded man of 35 who lives with his father and two dogs in a separate subdivision” and a third “is 46, drives a Ford Explorer and has a 17-foot aluminum fishing boat” where he lives “in a house that backs onto a private golf course here." (Taranto explained: “In a town of 13,000 the Times identifies in its dateline.”)

This is pretty funny considering that the LATimes is one of those that screams editorially about the outing of Plame. But, seeing that they are "journalists" I suppose they are ethically above those little issues.

I agree with one of the commenters, the German government probably wouldn't have so much trouble finding out who the pilots are, but that doesn't make it excusable that the LATimes has done most of the research and published the results. No doubt there couldn't be local repercussions related to those who are less ethically controlled than the LATimes editorial staff. I wonder if there is any recourse to the families if something happens. Probably not. Those first amendment rights and all.

Bloody losers.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Stupid Security Worries

This is just funny. It almost ranks with Boston's reaction to cartoon advertisements (after they were up for 3 weeks).
A Vancouver Police computer crime investigator has warned the city that plans for a citywide wireless Internet system put the city at risk of terrorist attack during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

The combination of anonymous, mobile Internet access and the potential presence of transit systems, traffic signals and gas and electric utility systems as tenants on a city-wide wireless network will make Vancouver a prime target for a paralysing attack by hackers, said Vancouver Police Det. Mark Fenton.

The city is seeking a private partner to develop a wireless network that could provide free or low-cost wireless Internet access in Vancouver. The network would be accessible to anyone with a laptop computer and wireless Internet WiFi card. The plan calls for much of the city's infrastructure, from traffic signals and TransLink systems to BC Hydro generators and Terasen gas meters, to use the wireless platform for communications and remote operations. TransLink has already experimented with wireless traffic signal operation to speed bus service.

Just because someone works for the police, doesn't mean they have a clue about security. First, it the infrastructure that he is so concerned with is so dangerous to have accessible, why is it on the wireless network? Has he analyzed the systems themselves to see if maybe the owners have hardened the systems to tampering? And, does he think hacking into these systems is something anyone can do?

Schneier comments:
There's also some scary stuff about SCADA systems, and the city putting some of its own service on the Internet. Clearly this guy has thought about the risks a lot, just not with any sense. He's overestimating cyberterrorism. He's overestimating how important this one particular method of wireless Internet access is. He's overestimating how important the 2010 Winter Olympics is.

But the newspaper was happy to play along and spread the fear. The photograph accompanying the article is captioned: "Anyone with a laptop and wireless access could commit a terrorist act, police warn."

Again, the MSM seems to be more willing to broadcast hype rather than actually do any investigation.

But seeing that hype is what sells, why bother actually reporting that this guy might be clueless.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

GITMO Detainee's Habeas Corpus

Looks like the SCOTUS will be looking at this again. You'd think this was a simple thing from the commentators in the MSM. From what I've seen in the blawgs, it appears quite complex.
In a victory for the White House, a US appeals court yesterday threw out the legal claims brought on behalf of the hundreds of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay and ruled that they do not have a right to plead their innocence in a US court.

In a 2-to-1 decision, the judges said the Constitution does not extend the right of habeas corpus to noncitizens who are held outside the sovereign territory of this country. "Cuba -- not the United States -- has sovereignty over Guantanamo Bay," wrote Judge Raymond Randolph.

The ruling sets the stage for a historic showdown in the Supreme Court over whether the White House and Congress can deny habeas corpus, the right to go before a judge and ask to be released, to some people who are held for years without charges.

Yesterday's decision by the US Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit vindicates, at least for now, a tactical move made by White House lawyers shortly after the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2002. They wanted the military to have the power to indefinitely hold and intensively interrogate foreign fighters and suspected terrorists without interference from the federal courts. They chose the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, because it was near but still outside the actual territory of the United States.
The howling of groups like Human Rights Watch over this is interesting. The loudest voices state that this means the end of Habeas Corpus for everyone. Even though the court clearly stated their view of who was protected and who was not.

Over at Balkinization they are having issue with the point that the detainees are being held at Guantanamo bay and make it out that since the US controls it, then Habeas Corpus applies.
The court appears to concede that if an alien detainee captured overseas is thereafter detained in sovereign territory, the detainee is protected by a constitutional right of habeas. (See its discussion of the Rex v. Schiever case from 1759, pages 14-15, in which the court entertained the habeas petition of an alien detainee brought to Liverpool.). What this means is this:

Recall that the GTMO detains were all captured halfway around the globe, and then brought to the Western Hemisphere. Thus, the only reason they are not entitled to habeas rights is that their U.S. captors chose to turn left and take them to the U.S.-run facility in GTMO, rather than turning right to go to a U.S. facility in say, South Carolina. Indeed, according to John Yoo's new book (and other sources), they were taken to GTMO precisely for the purpose of keeping them out of the reach of U.S. courts. Whatever the constitutional rule ought to be for aliens detained near a battlefield half a world away, it seems perverse, to say the least, that so many important constitutional protections should turn on which direction we choose to direct our ships (or planes) carrying detainees a few miles off the Florida coast.
An interesting view, but questionable. If the protections apply to non-citizens in any venue that is controlled by the US, the logic carries that battlefield detainees would have habeas rights when they are held in a FOB in Iraq. In which case, the military would have to get them a lawyer and then send them to the US for a hearing. How ludicrous is that?

There are further arguments about the relevance of the finding with the perspective of the common law in 1789. Some quite interesting discussion around that.

The last statement in the blog entry points out the irritation of most who read any of these legal discussions.
Neither opinion discusses the most vexing substantive question that would have to be reached if the habeas claims were entertained -- namely, determining the category of persons who may lawfully be detained by the military as "enemy combatants" pursuant to the September 2001 AUMF and the laws of war incorporated therein. See note 14 of the Rogers dissent.
No big surprise that the courts don't tell you affirmatively who can be detained. No doubt they would state that that is the job of congress, and yet they will tell congress when they are wrong without any detail as to what is considered correct.

Makes you wonder if lawyers were this baffling when the constitution was written or have they evolved into this irritant since then.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Russia Still Fighting Cold War

Looks like some generals missed that the cold war ended. Or they just want to start it up again.
Russia's military is capable of firing missiles at Poland and the Czech Republic if they agreed to host a U.S. missile shield, Russia's Strategic Forces commander said, but added it was for the Kremlin to decide.

President Vladimir Putin has described Washington's plans to deploy elements of its Missile Defense System in the two central European states as a threat to Russia's national security which would damage the strategic balance of forces on the continent.

"So far we have seen nothing being done, only intentions being talked about," General Nikolai Solovtsov told a news conference on Monday.

"But should the Polish and Czech governments decide (to host the U.S. missile shield), the strategic missile forces will be capable of having these installations as their targets if a relevant political decision were made," he added.

NATO spokesman James Appathurai, responding to the general's comments, said in a statement: "The days of talk of targeting NATO territory or vice versa are long past us. This kind of extreme language is out of date and uncalled for."
Poland and the Czech governments have moved on and are looking for contact with the west. They obviously see benefits for themselves with these alliances. Benefits which Russia obviously can't fulfill. Words like this won't help Russia. The threat to target the missile shield components isn't exactly going to help them either. No doubt they have concerns, but they still assume that they are the main player in Europe, when in fact, the EU has taken that role on and independent states now make their own decisions without Russian influence.
Russia distrusts U.S. assurances the European missile shield is meant to avert possible attacks from countries such as Iran or North Korea and says it believes it is the real target.

In a speech this month which smacked of the Cold War to Western ears, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Washington of seeking to impose its will on the world.

Putin later said his speech at a security conference in Munich was intended to flag Russia's independent foreign policy rather than to revive confrontation with the West.
Doesn't sound like they want a conflict with the US again, but it does sound like they want their power recognized. I don't think this will be getting better. The US has more interest in spreading cooperation around the world for systems that will protect more and more of the world population. The US is the primary recipient of the protection, but the spread of the alliance is likely to come sooner than later, especially with the problems with states like Iran.
Solovtsov said missile factories could produce in few years a new supersonic missile invisible to the U.S. missile shield or restart production of intermediate range missiles, if Moscow decided to quit a 1987 pact with Washington banning them.

"Russia is ready for any scenario now," he said, reiterating several times during the news conference that the military would only follow decisions by politicians.
That's an interesting posture, though I find it a bit difficult to believe. Consider the economic state of Russia and their increasing isolation from Europe and the rest of the world. They haven't exactly been viewed as a "good" solution to the US. The former Iron Curtain countries have all fled from their alliance with Russia and they have been teaming with the EU and the US for many projects.

The frightening scenario comes with Russia's activity in selling arms to the most antagonistic countries. They have sold advanced radar systems to Iran along with missile and plane technology. This doesn't make them a partner in security, but an irritant.

I also see that the "militarization of space" will be aggravating this problem.
The ballistic missile threat to the United States, its deployed forces, and allies and friends has been well defined.6 This is a threat we downplay at our peril. Nations such as North Korea and Iran -- which also have significant programs to develop nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons -- as well as nonstate groups can pose significant, even catastrophic, dangers to the U.S. homeland, our troops, and our allies. Russia and China, two militarily powerful nations in transition, have advanced ballistic missile modernization and countermeasure programs. Indeed, despite the reality that trade relations with China continue to expand, its rapid military modernization represents a potentially serious threat. Whether these nations become deadly adversaries hinges on nothing more than a political change of heart in their respective capitals.
No doubt this will be categorized as alarmist by the liberal factions in this country, but a country that prepares for contingencies rarely is a victim of those threats. Planning and efforts to prepare are strategically wise measures, even if deployment never comes to reality.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Polls and the Dems Activity on Iraq

Quick link to QandO. McQ compiles a look at polls and the Dems strategy to lose.

The conclusion looks to be that the Dems think their doing the right thing politically, but are completely missing that the polls don't support them.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Modifying the Iraq AUMF

Brilliant, Hillary bellows and the minions scurry to comply.
Leading U.S. Democrats vowed on Sunday a push to revise President George W. Bush's 2002 authorization to wage war in Iraq, as a way to raise pressure for a change in strategy.

Undeterred by Senate Republicans who blocked a resolution opposing Bush's troop buildup in Iraq, Democrats in control of Congress pledged to challenge Bush anew by seeking a mandate that the mission of U.S. troops does not include interceding in a civil war.

"We'll be looking at modification of that (war) authorization in order to limit the mission of American troops to a support mission instead of a combat mission," Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat told "Fox News Sunday."
Well, they may not be minions, just similar things found under the same rock. Looks like other presidential hopefuls crawled out from under the rock to make statements.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden said Congress should "repeal and restate the president's authority" to make clear that the U.S. mission in Iraq is "to protect against al Qaeda gaining chunks of territory, (and) training the Iraqi forces."

Biden, a Delaware Democrat and presidential hopeful, spoke on CBS television's "Face the Nation."

How do they propose to stabilize Iraq in order to "protect against al Qaeda" if a civil war overwhelms the largest population centers? If US troops aren't involved in enforcing security then al Qaeda will in fact gain ground.
Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a potential presidential candidate who has broken with most fellow Republicans in opposing the troop buildup, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that he was open to considering a proposal by a Democratic war opponent that would attach strings to future funding.

"We need to have that debate," Hagel said of the proposal, by Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, to require that troops sent to Iraq be fully trained and equipped and to set time limits on combat assignments.

Great, I was wondering when the Murtha plan reared its ugly head. Wonder when the discussion of the constitutionality of that will come up? I wonder if Bush would be honest enough to veto such a plan attached to the funding he has requested?

The more they talk, the more certain I am that Iraq will fail. Not that the Dems will accept any responsibility, though they daily affect the outcome. If they pass a modification to the AUMF, they will have cut a slice of responsibility that they won't be able to deny.

UN as Protector from Astroid Threats

Yeah, I'm not thinking that is plausible.
An asteroid may come uncomfortably close to Earth in 2036 and the United Nations should assume responsibility for a space mission to deflect it, a group of astronauts, engineers and scientists said on Saturday.

Astronomers are monitoring an asteroid named Apophis, which has a 1 in 45,000 chance of striking Earth on April 13, 2036.

Although the odds of an impact by this particular asteroid are low, a recent congressional mandate for NASA to upgrade its tracking of near-Earth asteroids is expected to uncover hundreds, if not thousands of threatening space rocks in the near future, former astronaut Rusty Schweickart said.
Not sure that makes sense. Considering that this project would cost a large amount of money, which would primarily come mostly from the US, and considering the level of corruption associated with UN projects, I don't really think I would want to place the existence of the planet into the hands of the UN.

They also discuss the "gravity tractor" in the article, which though interesting, is far from cheap. The maintenance of the vehicle would no doubt be huge, and just to have a system that would use gravity to deflect asteroids would require that its mass be very large as well. Moving large masses takes a lot of energy, and that equals a lot of money as well. It's a nice experiment, but I would think that you'd prefer to have a solution closer to what exists now for technology.

The UN? With their proven agility, I'd say you can pretty much forget that organization as being the responsible party.

Cut & Run Hillary

Why am I not surprised by the change of this tune?
U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the early front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has called for a 90-day deadline to start pulling American troops from Iraq.

Clinton, the wife of former President Bill Clinton, has been criticized by some Democrats for supporting authorization of the war in 2002 and for not renouncing her vote as she seeks the U.S. presidency in next year's election.

"Now it's time to say the redeployment should start in 90 days or the Congress will revoke authorization for this war," the New York senator said in a video on her campaign Web site, repeating a point included in a bill she introduced on Friday.

Hmm. "Revoke authorization for this war" is interesting considering that they couldn't even pass a resolution showing disapproval of the surge. Does she really think the Dems have the votes enough to withdraw the AUMF? I'm betting no. I would say the disapproval of the surge would get far more votes than the withdrawal of the AUMF. There are some Dems that still believe that we have to do the right thing to ensure Iraq doesn't turn into a breeding ground for further terrorist threats. I'm hopeful that the politicians not running for president will be a lot more intelligent on this than Hillary.
Clinton's bill would require congressional authorization to exceed her proposed cap on U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Bush, announcing the troop increase on January 11, said stepping back prematurely would collapse the Iraqi government, tear the country apart "and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale."

"If George Bush doesn't end the war before he leaves office, when I'm president, I will," Clinton said in the video.

Interesting that she can't even be polite enough to refer to the standing president by his title. Senator Hag is also predicting her presidency, which really makes me want to start contributing money toward anyone who could defeat her.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Senate Dems Fail in Resolution: Debate Ends

Debate ended due to Reid withdrawing the resolution, not because the dems failed to get the majority for cloture, which for those not in the know means the closing of debate. If Reid had been honest and not the political prat that he is, he would have allowed debate and votes on the future funding resolution.
The 56-34 vote fell four short of the 60 needed to advance a nonbinding measure identical to one the House passed Friday. Seven GOP senators broke ranks, compared with only two during an earlier test on the issue.

Democrats swiftly claimed victory. "A majority of the United States Senate is against the escalation in Iraq," said Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. "As for the Republicans who chose once again to block further debate and protect President Bush, the American people now know they support the escalation" in troops.
Victory? I suppose that if you can't actually get the resolution voted on, you can claim a win outside of the realities of the senate. I love the "block further debate" statement. Wonder how he gets around the fact that cloture is the end of debate. You can certainly bet he'd never allow any other resolution that conflicts with his political desires to come to the floor.

No surprise, the RINOs from Maine voted with the democrats. Fortunately, both NH Senators voted against it. I don't even need to speak to the Senators from the People's Socialist Republic of Massachusetts. Lieberman voted against as well, the only democrat to do so.

So this waste of time ended as an honest waste of time.

Waste of Time

So they passed their moronic resolution. Doesn't mean anything, doesn't cause any changes. Kind of like a political temper tantrum.

    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That--

      (1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and

      (2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

Passed the House of Representatives February 16, 2007.

So they have stood up and resolved that staying the course is their plan. Funny, they were against this right up until the point that they were for it. They must be for it, or they would have provided some alternative to succeed rather than alternative to ensure failure.

No real surprise that the new democrat jackasses that were voted into the house for NH voted with the herd.

I wouldn't call this a bipartisan vote either. There wasn't a majority of Repubs voting in support of this, and there were even a couple of dems who ventured away from the party dictates.
Republicans voting in favor:
Castle, Michael
Keller, Ric
Kirk, Mark
Johnson, Timothy
Gilchrest, Wayne
Upton, Frederick
Ramstad, James
New York
Walsh, James
North Carolina
Jones, Walter
Coble, John
LaTourette, Steven
English, Philip
South Carolina
Inglis, Bob
Duncan, John
Paul, Ronald
Davis, Thomas
Petri, Thomas

Dems voting against:
Marshall, James
Taylor, Gene

Italy's Rendition Trials

Italy appears to be having political wars about the CIA rendition of Abu Omar. The real problem with the information that is available is that there is nothing available on Abu Omar and his own complicity with terrorist activities. He, of course, states he didn't do anything, even if the Italian police were investigating him.
ROME — The first criminal trial involving one of the Bush administration's most controversial tactics in fighting terrorism is set to begin in June after an Italian judge Friday indicted 33 people, including some two dozen CIA operatives and the man who until recently was Italy's top spy.

Judge Caterina Interlandi ordered the 26 Americans and seven Italians to stand trial in connection with the February 2003 abduction of a radical Egyptian cleric who was snatched in broad daylight on a Milan street and whisked away to an Egyptian jail, where he says he was tortured.
The Italian government hasn't yet found whether they'll attempt to extradite the US CIA agents, but seeing that the US government isn't known to just pitch intelligence agents, active or not, to foreign governments, I'm going to bet that gets them no where.
For evidence, Italian prosecutors have relied heavily on an extensive paper trail left by the CIA operatives as they allegedly planned the seizure of Abu Omar and carried it out. The agents rang up bills totaling tens of thousands of dollars at some of Milan's finest hotels and restaurants and chatted openly on easily traced cellphones. They left behind photocopies of their passports and frequent-flier cards.

Although most of the Americans were using aliases, Italian investigators were able to track calls and other contacts to Robert Seldon Lady, the now-retired CIA station chief in Milan, and the CIA's top man in Italy, former Rome station chief Jeff Castelli.
Interlandi set the trial to begin June 8. It could be delayed, however, because the government has asked the Italian Constitutional Court, the country's highest judicial body, to rule on whether prosecutors overstepped their bounds by wiretapping 80 or more military intelligence agents during the investigation.

Members of Italy's political establishment are at one another's throats over whether the trial should go forward.

Francesco Rutelli, deputy prime minister, accused prosecutors of endangering national security by "exposing" the agents and their methods.

But Antonio di Pietro, a Cabinet minister and a former star state prosecutor, disagreed: "Secret agents, whether Italian or foreign, can't act like a gang of Sardinian bandits."
You can understand the Italians being angry about this. On the other hand, acting like Sardinian bandits may be appropriate when the enemy acts far worse. And again, without knowing more about what the intelligence agents knew or expected, it is very hard to make a logical determination as to why they seized him.

Amnesty International, that guardian of terrorists rights at the expense of innocent lives also had to spout.
Amnesty International, one of several human rights groups highly critical of aspects of the Bush administration's anti-terrorism policies, said it hoped the Italian court's ruling Friday would add to pressure on Washington to halt "the illegal practice of extraordinary renditions."
Whatever. It's always interesting to note that groups like these wouldn't exist at all if it weren't for those who are willing to go toe-to-toe with those that would prefer you in servitude if not just plain dead.

No doubt, the rendition issue will start its way into democrat's hearings on all things that Bush has done. I'm certain they'll have a fair hearing. And you can be assured they'll not think about where their actions will lead in tying the hands of the next president that is a democrat.

Friday, February 16, 2007

NH Gun Imbeciles

A spate of morons with guns has gone off in the state. Funny thing is that neither of these incidents involves anyone that should have had a handgun, being under 21 and all that. I'm sure it's the guns fault.

First there's the "drive me home bandits."
Two Derry teens have been charged with kidnapping a teenage girl at gunpoint and forcing her to drive them home from a party in Fremont.

Jason Lyons, 18, and Derek White, 17, were trying to leave a party Feb. 3 after they learned police were on the way. Officers were responding to a report that Lyons had hit a 17-year-old boy in the face with a handgun, causing cuts and bruises.

Police Chief Neal Janvrin said White forced the 17-year-old girl to sit on a couch by waving a knife at her, then Lyons cocked a handgun, pointed it at her head, and forced her into her car to drive him and White to Lyons’ apartment in Derry.

At the apartment, Janvrin said the two let the girl go and she called police.
Yeah, the knife is interesting as well, they didn't need the gun. But, doesn't that strike you as especially moronic to have the victim drive you to your apartment? I'm sure that the use of mind altering agents of some sort were not involved. Seeing as they aren't mentioned.

Then there is the Darwin award winner of the week:
MANCHESTER (AP) – He pulled the trigger once and nothing happened. He had played Russian roulette and won. Then, witnesses say, 19-year-old Anthony Santiago Cadiz Jr. tried again, and lost.

Cadiz accidentally killed himself Monday night while playing Russian roulette with a .357 caliber Magnum revolver.
Accidentally? You place a gun to your head and pull the trigger twice. I don't see anything accidental there. I see willing active stupidity. I haven't found anything mentioning his suicidal tendencies in the news, so I'm just banking on stupid.

MassBackwards has a funny post on the genius with the .357.

Murtha's New Plan for Ensuring Failure

Murtha's at it again. Looking on how he can get his hands on that Commander-in-Chief power that he's been drooling over. His method is essentially to set benchmarks for our military that will ensure that the President won't be able to redeploy troops, irrespective of the need.

Interesting that he postures it all as doing the right thing to ensure the troops are ready for combat. He also openly states it's to block the surge. He's riding it in on an appropriations bill.
“If we do not see the supplemental funding by April we will have to go to the same problems that will slow down the system,” Gen. Peter Schoomaker said in what well may be his last hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Schoomaker said that the Army was forced to take extraordinary measures to “slam the brakes” on expenditures when the supplemental funding did not come through when expected.

Schoomaker’s appeal comes as Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, is looking to stop the new troop buildup in Iraq by placing several conditions on the $93.4 billion supplemental funding the war through Sept. 30, 2007.

Murtha’s plan could delay the approval of the supplemental. His proposal may attract controversy in the House, and, even if it passes there, could face strong resistance in the Senate.

In an interview with, Murtha said he wants the Pentagon to certify that troops leaving for Iraq are “fully combat-ready,” with sufficient training and equipment.

Murtha’s proposal would require that troops spend at least one year at home between deployments. Murtha also seeks to end the stop-loss program, which forces military personnel to extend their enlistments. He said he believes the military cannot meet those standards, which means the “surge” in Iraq would be thwarted.

Schoomaker indicated that the Army likely will not tolerate any delays. The 2006 supplemental was meant to pay for war costs accrued between October 2005 and September 2006. The supplemental request was submitted to Congress in February 2006.

To manage the shortfall of cash last year, the Army slowed production at depots, laid people off and instituted a hiring freeze, tightly controlled travel expenses and delayed IT purchases, Schoomaker, who is passing the baton to Gen. George Casey reminded lawmakers.

The funding is important since past funding was delayed which caused additional issues that the article goes into. So Murtha is going to try and ride this as a means to micro-mismanage the military.

The WashingtonTimes had this in an editorial on Murtha's plan for defeat.
When the House votes today on the resolution denouncing Mr. Bush's plans for additional troops to combat al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Iraq, members should be under no illusions about what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic Party leadership are trying to do: to make it impossible for American troops to properly do their job in Iraq. In an interview yesterday with, a Web site for a coalition of anti-war groups, Mr. Murtha, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, explained that by placing conditions on $93.4 billion in new combat funds, he would make be able to effectively stop the troops in their tracks. "They won't be able to continue. They won't be able to do the deployment. They won't have the equipment, they don't have the training and they won't be able to do the work. There's no question in my mind," Mr. Murtha said.

"We will set benchmarks for readiness," a top Democratic leadership aide told the nonpartisan Web site, which summarized the Democrats' strategy this way: "If enacted, these provisions would have the effect of limiting the number of troops available for the Bush surge plan, while blunting the GOP charge that Democrats are cutting funding for the troops in Iraq."
But they're supporting the troops. Remember that. It is important to understand that troops in the field are being supported by the Democrats who want to ensure that those in harms way can't get reinforcements when they are needed, and can't recover from battle attrition. This has nothing at all to do with supporting the troops. Murtha quite obviously is a liar.

The WaTimes article also discusses that the restrictions that the Dems are attempting may actually be unconstitutional. I'm doubting it will get to that point, since this still would have to make it through the Senate, where it is very likely to be filibustered.

Hijacking Just Hasn't Been the Same Since 9/11

It's entertaining when the jerks get knocked around when they scare passengers, but when the passengers take down an armed hijacker, that is news.
LAS PALMAS, Spain (CNN) -- A man armed with two pistols hijacked an Air Mauritania flight Thursday but was subdued by two passengers, a Spanish official said.

The plane landed safely in the Canary Islands and no one was hurt, the official said.

The senior Spanish government source said a man had been trying to commandeer the Boeing 737 to Paris. He was arrested by the civil guard after the jet landed at Gando Airport, the source told CNN.

I know I'm not PC or anything, but I'd really like to know the condition of the hijacker. I wonder if the passengers tap danced on his spleen at all.

More sheep-dogs were seen separating from the sheep today. Condemnation of self-defense is expected shortly from liberal NGO.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Scary Legislation in Tennessee

Abortion rights foes are on to something here:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Legislation introduced in Tennessee would require death certificates for aborted fetuses, which likely would create public records identifying women who have abortions.

Rep. Stacey Campfield, a Republican, said his bill would provide a way to track how many abortions are performed. He predicted it would pass in the Republican-controlled Senate but would have a hard time making it through the Democratic House.

"All these people who say they are pro-life _ at least we would see how many lives are being ended out there by abortions," said Campfield.

The number of abortions reported to the state Office of Vital Records is already publicly available. The office collects records _ but not death certificates _ on abortions and the deaths of fetuses after 22 weeks gestation or weighing about 1 pound.

The identities of the women who have abortions are not included in those records, but death certificates include identifying information such as Social Security numbers.

Campfield's bill, introduced Monday, would give abortion providers 10 days following an "induced termination of a pregnancy" to file a death certificate.
Yep, that'll fix 'em. What an idiot. As the article states, these statistics are already compiled, and I might add used by the anti-choice groups.

I'm going to rank this legislation up there with the non-binding legislation on disapproving the troop surge in Iraq. Useless. Spineless. And for political solely for political purposes.

Maybe Campfield needs his own death certificate, because it certainly appears he's been brain dead for some time.

Speaking of Venezuela


President Hugo Chavez threatened Wednesday to nationalize any privately owned supermarkets and food storage facilities caught hoarding inventories or violating price controls imposed on basic goods.

Accusing private companies of hoarding beef and other foods, Chavez warned supermarket owners and distributors that he would nationalize their facilities as soon as they gave him "an excuse."

"If they remain committed to violating the interests of the people, the constitution, the laws, I'm going to take the food storage units, corner stores, supermarkets and nationalize them," Chavez said during a televised broadcast. "So prepare yourselves!"

Chavez has been intent on nationalizing "strategic" sectors of the economy since winning re-election in December. He has moved quickly to buy out private interests in leading electricity and phone companies since the National Assembly gave him authority to enact sweeping measures by decree and accelerate the country's socialist transformation.
Wonder if Chavez can push his country to the level of lines that the Soviet Union once had. Nothing makes businesses perform like threatening their existence. What are the odds that things will actually be getting worse instead of better? I'm on the side of getting worse.

I'm surprised Venezuela isn't cutting oil to the US. They don't seem to care that they aren't providing for their people, while Hugo runs around flinging cash at anyone who will rave against the US.

New Terrorist Tactics

Bet this will get them far.
MEXICO CITY — An Internet message by an al-Qaida-affiliated group calling for terrorist attacks on U.S. oil suppliers — particularly Mexico, Canada and Venezuela — set off alarm bells here Wednesday as experts debated how seriously to take the threat.

Mexico ranks as the United States' second-largest oil supplier, behind Canada, while Venezuela is the fourth-largest. Mexico and Venezuela provide the largest tonnage of foreign oil to Houston and Texas Gulf Coast refineries.

"Cutting oil supplies to the United States, or at least curtailing it, would contribute to the ending of the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan," the group, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, said in its monthly Internet magazine, the Associated Press reported.

The group named Mexico, Canada and Venezuela as key targets.

Not sure how curtailing or cutting oil to the US from specific countries would help, especially since there are far more oil companies willing to bypass the source's desire and sell oil where they can make the money. And why would these countries stop. Venezuela already loathes the US but LOVES the money. They'd only hurt themselves by lowering the oil sold to the US. Not to mention, there are few other countries in the world that can process their crappy oil.

So, what will happen? I'm betting these countries up their protection of their oil assets and ignore the terrorists otherwise.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rudy: "I Understand the 2nd Amendment"

I will NOT vote for Rudy. I don't give a shit if he looks like he's good on security. His stand on Gun Control proves he is clueless when it comes to providing for personal security.
Rudy Giuliani addressed a potentially troublesome issue with conservative voters, saying his policies as mayor to get handguns off the street helped reduce crime in New York.

"I used gun control as mayor," he said at a news conference Saturday during a swing through California. But "I understand the Second Amendment. I understand the right to bear arms."

He said what he did as mayor would have no effect on hunting.

He's right with that last line. It won't affect hunting in NY City. Not that there ever has been much there. But then, his mindset seems to be that all he needs to do is satisfy the hunters and the rest of us gun nuts will follow along.

Think again El Duce.

EU Rendition Report

More screeching with no evidence. Anti-Americanism, you bet.
STRASBOURG, France: A yearlong European parliamentary investigation into CIA flights transporting terror suspects to secret prisons has yielded a report singling out Britain, Germany and other European heavyweights as colluding with the U.S. secret detention program in an apparent breach of human rights standards.

Now the European Parliament faces a much tougher task — forcing the governments to respond to the report, which human rights activists said may have exposed just the tip of the iceberg.

The 76-page report approved Wednesday put the spotlight on the liberties some EU nations have taken in helping the U.S. war on terror, but also exposed the limits of the EU legislature, which has no legal powers over the issue and few means to enforce change in the member states' attitude towards the CIA program.

Best of all:
In all, the parliamentarians dealt with 19 kidnappings of terror suspects either from European soil or with participation of an EU government. They heard dozens of hours of testimony from the victims of extraordinary renditions, their lawyers or representatives, got testimony from senior EU officials and flight data from the EU air traffic agency. The report offers circumstantial evidence indicating terror suspects were on some of the secret CIA flights.
Yep, nothing solid, just circumstantial evidence. Nice politics. Looks like politicians are the same irrespective of their lineage. I love that they can't enforce any of the resolutions. The EU parliament is kind of like a localized UN. And it looks like they have the benefit of gridlock themselves.
A threat of sanctions against EU nations found to have violated civil liberties by housing a secret jail or helping to secretly transfer terror suspects to countries where they could face torture was dropped in the final version of the report, after it was found impossible to push through. But the legislators demanded proper inquiries in the 14 EU countries implicated in the report. Some of the nations have launched or completed investigations into CIA activities.

No EU governments have admitted that the alleged anti-terror operations were carried out on their soil. Human Rights Watch identified Poland and Romania as possible locations of secret prisons on European territory, but both countries denied involvement.

Human Rights Watch shooting from the hip. Wonder where they get their circumstantial evidence.

Obama's Issues

Ben Shapiro posts this article at He pretty succinctly states part of the reasoning why I would never vote for Obama.
The political embodiment of that post-modernism -- that nihilistic resignation -- is the modern Democratic Party. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the Democrats' bright new star, is no more capable of global leadership than Jacques Chirac. Obama's politics of "understanding" dictates that evil cannot be fought -- it must be placated with psychobabble.

In his new forward to "Dreams From My Father," Obama writes, "I know, I have seen, the desperation and disorder of the powerless: how it twists the lives of children on the streets of Jakarta or Nairobi how easily they slip into violence and despair. I know that the response of the powerful to this disorder -- alternating as it does between a dull complacency and, when the disorder spills out of its proscribed confines, a stead unthinking application of force, of more sophisticated military hardware -- is inadequate to the task." This sounds like boilerplate rhetoric. It is not. It is the theory of appeasement, stated clearly and succinctly.

Obama's adolescent insistence that everything can be talked out is matched in its idiocy only by his adolescent scorn for military sacrifice in general. In a speech in Iowa on February 11, Obama stated, "We ended up launching a war that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged -- and to which we have now spent $400 billion and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted." Wasted. This is the language of, the language of Democratic Underground, the language of the 1960s radicals Obama claims to deplore.

This was no isolated incident. It reflects what Obama believes. After Obama sponsored legislation mandating a full troop withdrawal from Iraq by March 2008, Australian Prime Minister John Howard lashed out. Al Qaeda, Howard said, would be "praying as many times as possible" for Obama's election in 2008. Obama's response was breathtakingly ignorant and immature: If Howard is "ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq," spat Obama, "I would suggest that he call up another 20,000 Australians and send them to Iraq. Otherwise, it's just a bunch of empty rhetoric."
The Howard argument is also humorous. Wretchard did a little number crunching and decided the Obama really needs a clue.
First the facts. In 2006, the population of Australia was estimated to be about 20.26 million people, according to the CIA factbook; the population of the US was calculated at 298.44 million. There are therefore approximately 298.44/20.26=14.77 more Americans than there are Australians. On a per capita basis, Australia has the equivalent of 1,400x14.77=20,670 troops currently in Iraq -- not inconsiderable, but fewer than America on a that basis. But Mr. Obama's request to send another 20,000 Australian troops would be run the calculation the other way -- the equivalent of asking John Howard to send 295,400 in per capita terms. The correct matching per capita contribution would be about another 1,400 for Australia to send "another 20,000 Australians".
Obama is still to ephemeral a character for me, and unfortunately, I think he's more sound than substance. But, as JFK proved, the US public likes a good looking President more than they like one with ability.

Dems Worried Over Crazy George Taking Us to War with Iran

Politics is always fascinating in how one side always will put their failings on the table as proof that their opponent failed. This is an indirect point with regards to the intelligence on the WMD in Iraq and the arms being seen in Iraq that are most obviously coming out of Iran by some means.
Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., a 2008 presidential candidate, said the administration could be laying the groundwork for an attack on Iran and that "I'm worried about that. That's how we got into the mess in Iraq," by relying on what Dodd called "doctored information."
Interesting. You would think that Dodd would be more cautious with that type of line on "doctored information." He and his political allies had access, directly or indirectly through the oversight committees to the same information that the Bush administration had. If they had actually done their due diligence and examined the data, they would have had grounds to stand against Iraq in the first place. But since they couldn't be bothered, now they complain that they were lied to. Sorry, just doesn't follow.

With the case of Iran, the arms being provided don't neccessarily indicate a direct link to the top policy makers of Iran, but they do indicate that Iran is involved.
According to U.S. military officials, a significant increase in a number of explosively formed projectiles, or EFPs, found in Iraq have tracked back to Iran. EFPs, which can penetrate heavy armor used in tanks, have killed 170 American troops since 2004.

According to the officials in Baghdad, they recently confiscated a number of EFPS that were found before exploding. The C-4 explosive in them has been chemically traced to Iran, the "machining process" required to make the projectile is not available in Iraq and the triggering devices are also traceable to Iran, they said.

That is also true of a significant number of mortar rounds as well as rocket-propelled grenades, which can be identified by the markings and designs on the tailfin of the mortars, the officials said. The date on most of the ammunition is 2006, which means it was manufactured in 2006 and is not material left over from the era of Saddam Hussein. The officials said the Iranian supplies are mostly going to surrogates here, primarily Mahdi Army militia members.
And there is this report that I found linked at QandO that shows that military arms have been appearing in Iraq that are known to have been purchased by Iran.
Austrian sniper rifles that were exported to Iran have been discovered in the hands of Iraqi terrorists, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

More than 100 of the.50 calibre weapons, capable of penetrating body armour, have been discovered by American troops during raids.

A Steyr HS50 rifle, Austrian supplied rifles, arms trade, Iran equipping Iraq insurgents
The Steyr HS50 is a long range, high precision rifle

The guns were part of a shipment of 800 rifles that the Austrian company, Steyr-Mannlicher, exported legally to Iran last year.

The sale was condemned in Washington and London because officials were worried that the weapons would be used by insurgents against British and American troops.

Within 45 days of the first HS50 Steyr Mannlicher rifles arriving in Iran, an American officer in an armoured vehicle was shot dead by an Iraqi insurgent using the weapon.
Nope, nothing to that "doctored information." No doubt there should be concern that the full government of Iran is or isn't participating, which is how the military is handling it with quotations from Pace:
The Bush administration struggled Tuesday to explain what it knows about alleged Iranian interference in Iraq after the Pentagon's top general appeared to contradict a recently released military dossier on the subject.

At issue was a weekend briefing in Baghdad at which three senior U.S. military officials said that the "highest levels" of the Iranian government had ordered the smuggling into Iraq of high-tech roadside bombs that have been killing American soldiers.

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, that U.S. forces have arrested Iranians in Iraq and some of the materials used in roadside bombs had been made in Iran.

"That does not translate that the Iranian government per se, for sure, is directly involved in doing this," Pace said.

The assertion of Tehran's involvement, made by U.S. officers who spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday in Baghdad, had already drawn skeptical responses from some lawmakers and other critics still wary of an administration that based the invasion of Iraq on faulty intelligence.

Those doubts increased Tuesday after Pace said the link between the bomb materials and the government had not been definitively proven.
His caution is noteworthy. And appears to have been completely ignored by those railing against their fears that Bush will flip out and rush into a war with Iran. Hopefully, previous problems with intelligence won't lead to complete failure to act due to certain politicians being incapable of actually reviewing the data.

Back to the original article. They quote John Kerry wanting to give the Iranians big hugs and lollipops:
Kerry, the 2004 presidential candidate, said despite the evidence, the United States must try to engage Iran diplomatically.

"Ultimately, they want an Iraq that is stable. They want influence. They want to be players in the region. And we need to recognize that and engage in a kind of diplomacy that the Iraq Study Group recommended," Kerry told ABC's "This Week."
"They want to be players" is interesting in that he missed a little word. Try this: "They want to be THE players." Iran only wants Iraq to be stable enough for them to gain hegemony and for the US to be viewed widely as a complete failure. That is quite clear if you actually listen to what the Iranians say.
"Now the United States administration is — unfortunately — reaping the expected bitter fruits of its ill-conceived adventurism, taking the region and the world with it to the brink of further hostility. But rather than face these unpleasant facts, the United States administration is trying to sell an escalated version of the same failed policy. It does this by trying to make Iran its scapegoat and fabricating evidence of Iranian activities in Iraq," wrote Amb. Javad Zarif.
Note that the evidence doesn't warrant investigation or inquiry, which is pretty much where it would have lead to in Europe or the US. It's just that Bush is trying to cover up his failure.

Diplomacy will only work with parties that have goals similar to your own. If they are completely different goals, then the need for coercion is present. The changes in the North Korean Nuclear saga is a perfect example. You can't honestly tell me that North Korea has reached this level in negotiations without having their arm twisted by China.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

George Bush is the Silver Surfer

I'm as shocked as anyone to discover this, but it must be true. Follow along with me:

  1. Global Warming is caused by Solar Radiation
  2. George Bush causes Global Warming
  3. The Silver Surfer wields THE POWER COSMIC

Therefore we get George Bush causing Global Warming by manipulating the Solar Radiation because he wields the Power Cosmic 'cause he's the bloody Silver Surfer.

Right? Right? Damned Chimpy McBushitler Norin Radd and his stinking Cosmic Power sticking it to the people.

Hey, cut me some slack. This makes as much sense as Halliburton being the Cosmic Center of All Evil.

EcoTerrorists Playing Pirate

This article gives a perfect example of someone who is fully convinced that they and their cause is above the law. Again, it's anti-whaling groups who are going off the deep end. Apparently they miss the point that having a sympathetic international following is more likely to help you than attacking whalers.
The controversial founder of the anti-whaling Sea Shepherd Society has begun defiantly flying its version of the skull and crossbones from the bows of his ships as they skirmish with Japanese whaling vessels across the ice choked waters of the Antarctic Ocean.

"We're like the Flying Dutchmen," Captain Paul Watson said in a satellite telephone interview yesterday from the bridge of the Farley Mowat, one of two of his anti-whaling ships that recently had their flags of registration revoked by Canada and two other countries. "We've got nowhere to go: No port will take us in ... basically we're pirate ships."
The Japanese whalers obviously have political clout. From the article it definitely sounds that they were the driving force with getting Watson's flags revoked.
The already tense situation in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary escalated yesterday when the Farley Mowat's sister ship, the Robert Hunter, was involved in a collision with a Japanese whaling ship

The Kaiko Maru issued a distress call after the collision, claiming it had been rammed by the Robert Hunter, prompting the Japanese, who are hunting an estimated 1,000 whales in the sanctuary this year, to condemn Mr. Watson and his crews as "terrorists."

Hideki Moronuki, head of the Japanese Fisheries Agency's whaling division, said the anti-whaling activists struck the Kaiko Maru at both ends. "They threw flares and knotted ropes at our ship in a bid to damage the propeller, at which they succeeded," Mr. Moronuki told Agence France-Presse. "It is not a conservation group. It is a terrorist group."

Capt. Watson scoffed at the Japanese claims and said the whaling ship backed into the Robert Hunter while trying to elude another protest vessel that was attempting to interfere with its pursuit of a pod of whales. "I've rammed whaling ships before and I don't deny it when I do it," he said. "We didn't ram this ship ... They were not in distress. They were trying to look like the victims when they were clearly the aggressors."
Right, Watson freely admits he's rammed whalers before, but not this time. And he should be believed why? Frankly, his open admission strikes me as enough of a reason to pull his license and have him arrested. Hopefully, that will happen when he returns to his home country.

And just to ensure that the public doesn't believe that Watson is a terrorist, the journalist postures the Japanese actions as a combatant:
In the past four weeks that the two Sea Shepherd ships have been stalking the six Japanese whaling vessels in the Antarctic, they have used powerful nail guns to fasten steel plates over outlets on one whaler, dragged ropes to foul other whaling ships' propellers and have hurled flares, smoke bombs and butyric acid, an acrid smelling chemical, on to their decks.

The Japanese retaliated by training powerful water cannons on the anti-whaling campaigners.

Interesting choice of words. When a person defends themselves from attack, are they retaliating?
Last week, two activists threw acid on a ship and then were lost in a fog bank for more than seven hours before being located in a search assisted by the whalers. After being rescued by their foes, the pair resumed attacking the Japanese ships.
That's just insane. Personally, I would have left them lost in the fog. It certainly takes large cahones to be rescued by those you're attacking and then go back to attacking them.

Back to Watson:
Kirsten Goodnough, a spokeswoman for Transport Canada, said the Farley Mowat gave up its Canadian registration voluntarily after the government suspended it for violations of maritime regulations. She said that if the ship sails into a Canadian port again, it might not be allowed to leave.

"It would be subject to the appropriate sanctions, including arresting the ship," she said.

Capt. Watson blamed his vessels' registration difficulties on Japanese influence and said he would rather ram the Farley Mowat into the largest whaling ship than lose the ship.

"The obvious way to obstruct things is to put a ship right in their rear end and get stuck," he said. "If we are going to lose the ship, we might as well lose it in a constructive manner."

There's a reasonable man. I wonder if he'll expect the Japanese to save his ass when his ship sinks? I'd sure be sympathetic with some nut case ramming his ship into mine in Antarctic waters. Not that having your life threatened should be a decision maker in a dangerous situation.

The article goes on with Watson whining about Greenpeace. This whole topic is simple. You don't like whaling, that fine, get it stopped through legal means. As soon as you go beyond the norms of international law, you've become a criminal yourself. And when you threaten others lives, you've lost the sympathy for your cause with those that can aid you the most.