Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hillary and Sharing the Wealth

Well, Hillary is spouting out the communist Bull-Shit again.
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it's time to replace an "on your own" society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.

The Democratic senator said what the Bush administration touts as an ownership society really is an "on your own" society that has widened the gap between rich and poor.

"I prefer a 'we're all in it together' society," she said. "I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none."
"We're all in it together society?" Since when? Last time I looked at my pay stub it appeared that I'm doing a lot of work for extremely limited benefit? It's not an "on your own" society that we live with but a "responsible for yourself" society. There is a huge difference. If I fail, I'm responsible and will have to work with the consequences. I don't expect to be supported by society. I am responsible for my own security, and I don't whine about the police not taking care of me because frankly, I know they can't.
"There is no greater force for economic growth than free markets. But markets work best with rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed," she said. "Fairness doesn't just happen. It requires the right government policies."
"Promote our values?" Whose values specifically. Obviously, I don't agree with many of her values, so how does she think I'd agree to her interpretation of "fairness?"

Christ, next thing she'll be calling for group hugs and passing out the Kool-aid.

Putin Living in the Past

I've had mixed feelings about Putin, now I'm pretty sure he's not quite right.
MOSCOW (AP) - Russia tested new missiles Tuesday that a Kremlin official boasted could penetrate any defense system, and President Vladimir Putin warned that U.S. plans for an anti-missile shield in Europe would turn the region into a "powder keg."

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Russia tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple independent warheads, and it also successfully conducted a "preliminary" test of a tactical cruise missile that he said could fly farther than existing, similar weapons.

"As of today, Russia has new tactical and strategic complexes that are capable of overcoming any existing or future missile defense systems," Ivanov said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. "So in terms of defense and security, Russians can look calmly to the country's future."
OK, so if you have the technology to defeat the ICBM missile defense, why would putting one up make Europe a powder keg? And why aren't you smart enough not to tell the enemy that you can defeat their defenses? Is he trying to say that Russia didn't have MIRVs before now? I'm a bit dubious on that statement.

And doesn't he get the point that the missile defense shield is to prevent being nuked by countries that aren't playing the MAD scenario that the US and the USSR fully understood?

So why exactly is he so vehemently against a missile defense shield? Maybe because his country has no way of countering it in reality. And he doesn't understand that the US and Europe are looking to Russia as a major economic partner rather than an adversary? Hell, Russia's military could stomp all of Europe in a conventional war right now. Their only worry would be that France would go nuclear.

Darfur and Ethical Consitency

Funny how the Bush Administration is now playing by the Dems play book, and some Dems are playing by the Neo-con play book.
WASHINGTON, May 29 — President Bush announced today that he is imposing stiff economic sanctions against Sudan and that he will press the United Nations for additional action to end the violence in Darfur.

“The people of Sudan are crying out for help and they deserve it,” he said in a brief statement at the White House.

The decision makes good on a threat the president made nearly six weeks ago. Mr. Bush warned then that the United States would act if Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, did not permit a full deployment of United Nations peacekeeping forces, allow aid to reach the Darfur region and end his support for the janjaweed, the militias that have been systematically killing civilians there.
The article goes into the disagreement over whether the actions by the Sudanese government are genocide or not and how the UN is saying not at this time. There are also some laughable lines by the Sudanese president.
Although the Bush administration has classified the situation in Darfur as genocide, the United Nations has not. The administration officials said the secretary general had been made aware of Mr. Bush’s plans for sanctions, though they would not say if Mr. Bush had spoken personally with Mr. Ban.

It remains unclear how Mr. Bush’s announcement will be received at the United Nations.

The Sudanese government today criticized the sanctions, Reuters reported.

“I think these sanctions are not justified,” Mutrif Siddig, Sudanese undersecretary for foreign affairs, told Reuters in Khartoum. “It is not timely. We are cooperating well with the United Nations.”

Strange that the UN has been complaining about the lack of cooperation, and yet he thinks they're doing just fine.

The Democratic presidential hopefuls spouted off in response to Bush's actions:
Bush had delayed the formal start of sanctions last month after United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had asked for more time to negotiate with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called the economic curbs “a step in the right direction,” but Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) set the bar higher.

“I hope today’s announcement will be followed closely with a new [U.N.] Security Council resolution imposing multilateral economic sanctions and other restrictions on Sudan,” Durbin said in a statement. “A threatened veto by the Security Council should not silence us.”
A step in the right direction? What is the completely correct direction I wonder?

Then there is Obama.
Senator Obama today released the following statement in response to President Bush's announcement of sanctions on the Sudanese government.

"President Bush's announcement today that he will finally impose tightened sanctions on the Sudanese government is welcome. But, it falls well short of what is necessary to compel Khartoum to stop the four year-old genocide."

"Conspicuously absent from this package of sanctions is maximal punitive action against the Sudanese oil industry, which the Administration once touted as a critical element of its so-called "Plan B." Targeted pressure by the international community against the Sudanese oil economy is a much-needed step to stop the killing and displacement of innocent civilians in Darfur."

"Also needed is the deployment of a strong international force, led by the UN, with an enforcement mandate to protect civilians. The U.S. should work with our allies and partners to compel the Sudanese government to accept such a force and establish a no-fly zone over Darfur."
We should take military action against a country that hasn't attacked us first? Wait a minute, isn't that wrong? I mean, if Iraq was a horrible mistake, even though the were of limited direct threat, they certainly were more of a problem than Darfur, and the human rights issues there were just as bad if not worse. So how is it that it is ok to use military action here? Or is that my strange issue with requiring ethical and moral consistency?

And he must be mentally challenged if he really thinks a UN lead force will be any type of solution. They've done so very well everywhere else they've tried to provide security.

Can't wait to hear what the other presidential hopefuls come up with.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Holy cow, uh, pig.
DELTA, Ala. -- An 11-year-old boy said he shot and killed a wild boar weighing more than 1,000 pounds in Alabama.

Jamison Stone can be seen in photos posing with the animal in a hunting preserve in Delta, Ala.

The boy's father, who set up a Web site dedicated to the boar, said the animal was more than 9 feet long.

Stone said the head went to a taxidermist and the body was used for sausage meat.Their claims have not been corroborated by a third party. In fact, some believe the boar to be a hoax.
Look at the website, it may be a hoax, but if it is they certainly did a good job with the photoshop.

Pelosi Experiencing Climate Change

You'd think that seeing Global Warming evidence in Greenland would be viewed as a good thing. I'm betting the natives aren't sad about it.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday she led a congressional delegation to Greenland, where lawmakers saw "firsthand evidence that climate change is a reality," and she hoped the Bush administration would consider a new path on the issue.
President Bush rejected that accord, saying it would harm the U.S. economy and unfair excludes developing countries like China and India from its obligations. Pelosi, who strongly disagrees with that decision and many other of Bush's environmental policies, said Friday she said she wants to work with the administration rather than provoke it.

Pelosi said she hoped Bush would be open to considering a "different way" in the future.
Technically Bush has never received the Kyoto treaty, because it is required to go through the Senate for ratification. That didn't happen under Bush, nor did it happen under Clinton. I also don't see any move from the now democrat controlled Senate making any motion toward that end. Seeing that they are so busy making no confidence votes on the attorney general and trying to figure ways of scuttling the Iraq stabilization without having to take any responsibility, it's really no wonder.

But of course, it is all Bush's fault. Couldn't be that the Kyoto Protocol is a farce. It is just reasonable to expect the major economies of the world to take draconian measures to reduce greenhouse gases while making no little effort to ensure lesser economies make some move to be efficient as they are coming up. Nice try. But if you can't get the major economic powers to play through self-interest, then the plan isn't going to work.

Cindy Sheehan: Thank God She's Gone

Thank god she's leaving, and hopefully she'll STFU.

The best line from her farewell address on Kos.
This is my resignation letter as the "face" of the American anti-war movement. This is not my "Checkers" moment, because I will never give up trying to help people in the world who are harmed by the empire of the good old US of A, but I am finished working in, or outside of this system. This system forcefully resists being helped and eats up the people who try to help it. I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people that I love and the rest of my resources.

Good-bye America are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

It’s up to you now.

Oh, the evil empire has driven poor loud mouthed Cindy down. Poor thing. Maybe she should make an analysis of why she was rejected. Could it be because lots of people disagree with her? Could it be that she is the one that is wrong? Nah, couldn't be that, must be because the US of A is a tyrannical country that forced her son to sacrifice himself for it, except that he volunteered and was an exemplary example of what an American Soldier is.

Good-bye and don't let the door knob crease you on the way out.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Chavez Moving to Step 2 of Becoming a Latin American Dictator

It may actually be step 3 or 4, since he's already started the privatization and wealth redistribution. Now he's got that censoring the press thing started.
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's replacement of an opposition television station on Monday with a state network promoting President Hugo Chavez's socialist revolution drew sharp criticism that the former soldier is attacking democratic freedoms.

The leftist leader took the RCTV station off air around midnight on Sunday, silencing a major opponent to reforms that have given him greater control over the judiciary, the military and the oil sector of this OPEC nation.

It obviously is because they are immoral, not because they are a critic.
Chavez had accused RCTV of showing immoral soap operas and supporting a bungled 2002 coup, along with the nation's other main television stations that saturated the airwaves with often virulent anti-Chavez programming.

But the takeover of the channel dramatically boosts the state's presence in Venezuela's media, with the three main broadcast channels either controlled by the government or largely uncritical of its concentration of power.

Wonder if Sharpton and Jackson still think he's as wonderful a person as they have said he is in the past?

Senator Sessions Joins the Defeatists

Another voiced raised in declaring defeat. Sessions can't even wait for the results of the surge before starting his call for withdrawal.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a loyal supporter of President Bush, indicated Sunday that Republicans will be ready by September to look at bipartisan efforts to draw down the troops that were part of the surge to help secure Baghdad.

“We have to be realistic,” Sessions said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “We have to know that we can’t achieve everything we’d like to achieve. We have a limited number of men and women we can send to Iraq, and we can’t overburden them.”

The senator added that, when General David Petraeus is reporting back on the progress of the surge in September, “I think most of the people in Congress believe, unless something extraordinary occurs, that we should be on a move to draw those surge numbers down.”

Yep, has to be extraordinary changes, not just reasonable results. Another politico whose lost the patience to see this through. I wonder if any of these people have ever looked at the amount of time that it has historically taken to succeed in an insurgency. Even more so when considering that many of the insurgencies that succeeded had troubled starts.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Adviser Model

Interesting piece in Slate on using the Adviser model for a smaller military footprint while remaining effective.
How can U.S. soldiers stay in Iraq and accomplish what needs to be done? Our best hope is the Adviser Model. With the surge still under way, Gen. David Petraeus obviously cannot discuss a Plan B. But given U.S. public opinion, a Plan B for 2008 and beyond is a certainty. Its central feature is likely to be the buildup of a combat-advisory corps as our combat units are drawn down.
I'm not sure I think it is time for this just now, but maybe next year. Frankly, I think that they need to have a higher level of stability before they can implement such a plan. Though, this does sound like how a lot insurgencies that were successful ended.

Joke That You Don't Want to Use on a Plane

This is a hoot. Schneier is right about not doing this on a plane.
If you are sitting next to someone who irritates you on a plane or train...

1. Quietly and calmly open up your laptop case.
2. Remove your laptop.
3. Boot it.
4. Make sure the person who won’t leave you alone can see the screen.
5. Open your email client to this message.
6. Close your eyes and tilt your head up to the sky.
7. Then hit this link:

Made me laugh out loud.

Torture Al Qaeda Style

Bruce linked this at No Looking Backwards. I'd say definitely not work friendly.

Not pleasant, but certainly makes water boarding look like a Sunday stroll. I find the smiling faces of the torturers in the drawings somewhat disturbing.
MAY 24--In a recent raid on an al-Qaeda safe house in Iraq, U.S. military officials recovered an assortment of crude drawings depicting torture methods like "blowtorch to the skin" and "eye removal." Along with the images, which you'll find on the following pages, soldiers seized various torture implements, like meat cleavers, whips, and wire cutters. Photos of those items can be seen here.
But of course, Amnesty International seems more concerned with condemning the US than having any perspective on the fight.

The Voter and the Vote on Iraq

I don't think Pelosi gets what is happening.
"Yesterday was the start of a whole new direction in Iraq," said Nancy Pelosi, Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives.

"I think that the president's policy is going to begin to unravel now," she said, though admitted the budget bill, which she voted against, fell short of Democratic aspirations.

After Congress returns from a week-long break, Pelosi said, Democrats would seek to renew the battle to force Bush to change course in Iraq, targeting several defense spending bills due to come up for debate.
I'd like to know the details of this unraveling. What policy in particular? In fact, I'd say that this bill gives the surge a chance to work and with luck succeed. This isn't an unraveling, but the pause to see if the puck gets into the net. I suppose I just don't get what she means.

Some Dems are understanding the politics of the middle on the topic.
Swing voters are exhibiting a nuanced view of the situation in Iraq — and that isn't good news for antiwar Democrats.

They want the United States to get out, but they don't want a hasty retreat — and they want American involvement there not to have been in vain, according to focus groups and other survey research conducted for the Democrats.

"Swing voters are torn," says a Democratic strategist with close ties to the national party. "They aren't sure immediate withdrawal is a good idea" — and, as President Bush says, they don't want the sacrifices of U.S. troops to go to waste.

Even so, many Americans recognize how complex the situation in Iraq is, and they want their political leaders to make their positions clear, even if those positions are controversial. On the day after the congressional vote to fund the war and not impose timetables for removing U.S. troops, party insiders are very worried about the political effect of it all.

I hope that the complexity of Iraq is being considered. I'm not sure from the poll numbers that this is accurate though.

The Voter and the Vote on Iraq

I don't think Pelosi gets what is happening.
"Yesterday was the start of a whole new direction in Iraq," said Nancy Pelosi, Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives.

"I think that the president's policy is going to begin to unravel now," she said, though admitted the budget bill, which she voted against, fell short of Democratic aspirations.

After Congress returns from a week-long break, Pelosi said, Democrats would seek to renew the battle to force Bush to change course in Iraq, targeting several defense spending bills due to come up for debate.
I'd like to know the details of this unraveling. What policy in particular? In fact, I'd say that this bill gives the surge a chance to work and with luck succeed. This isn't an unraveling, but the pause to see if the puck gets into the net. I suppose I just don't get what she means.

Some Dems are understanding the politics of the middle on the topic.
Swing voters are exhibiting a nuanced view of the situation in Iraq — and that isn't good news for antiwar Democrats.

They want the United States to get out, but they don't want a hasty retreat — and they want American involvement there not to have been in vain, according to focus groups and other survey research conducted for the Democrats.

"Swing voters are torn," says a Democratic strategist with close ties to the national party. "They aren't sure immediate withdrawal is a good idea" — and, as President Bush says, they don't want the sacrifices of U.S. troops to go to waste.

Even so, many Americans recognize how complex the situation in Iraq is, and they want their political leaders to make their positions clear, even if those positions are controversial. On the day after the congressional vote to fund the war and not impose timetables for removing U.S. troops, party insiders are very worried about the political effect of it all.

I hope that the complexity of Iraq is being considered. I'm not sure from the poll numbers that this is accurate though.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Amnesty International Poll - What?

I found this linked on Drudge. I have to say, I didn't expect this level of rubbish out of them.

The poll allows you to vote for Who's got the worst human rights record. The choices are Hobgoblin, Darth Vader or Dick Cheney. Interesting that they couldn't actually put other people that could be argued as human rights violators. They chose fictional characters. Who runs this site, a ten year old?

Here are the results:
Poll results:

40% Darth Vader
42% The Hobgoblin
19% Dick Cheney
That is funny if they are a real tally of how people have been voting.
All joking aside, the U.S. government, once perceived as a beacon of hope and justice, no longer leads the world on human rights.

The continuing allegations of U.S. torture, use of secret prisons, ghost detainees, and indefinite and unconstitutional detention at Guantanamo calls into question the U.S. commitment to fight torture and adhere to international law. The U.S. now lacks the credibility needed to improve human rights abroad.

By violating some international laws, the United States undermines all international law and promotes the idea to other countries that some laws are acceptable to ignore in the pursuit of "security."

Fascinating. The US lacks credibility, but then so does AI. The US is far far from even the middle of the pack of human rights violators, but AI has to take extra time and effort to condemn what they believe are human rights violations. And the use of GITMO as an example proves that they haven't any credibility. I suppose that they view all the detainees as simple farmers who the evil US snatched up and tortured for the fun of it rather than the the monsters that the US took out of circulation.

I know lets give a GITMO detainee as a live in guest in the AI staff's homes for a month and then check the body count to see if they have a change of opinion.

They are also on the meme of the War on Terror is BAD. I wonder if they are writing for the Edwards campaign?
Fears stoked by the post-9/11 "war on terror" are increasingly dividing the world, Amnesty International said Wednesday, while rapping rights abuses from China to Darfur and Russia to the Middle East.

The gap between Muslims and non-Muslims notably deepened, fueled by discriminatory counter-terrorism strategies in Western countries, warned the rights group in its annual report.

Human rights are also routinely flouted in Iraq and Afghanistan, on the front line of the US-led crackdown on international extremism since the September 11, 2001 attacks which triggered a profound geopolitical shift.

It indeed is dividing the world into the camps of those that are willing to defend themselves and those who will not.

AI also appears to forget that GWOT isn't their father's war. The enemy wants us dead in many cases and nothing else. They aren't signatories of the Geneva conventions, they don't recognize human rights other than those that they have. But, the US is the evil country because they wish to defend themselves and their way of life and help others to be free.

AI misses the point of this war. They attacked us and continue to attack us. Human rights are nice for those who will play by rules. Terrorists don't. Think of it as you're going into a boxing match. AI says the US must wear Boxing Gloves and can't change even when the opponent pulls out a knife.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Fourth Estate: Endangering the US Public, Again

The Blotter at ABCnews is providing another example of the ability of journalists to torpedo another secret program that the US is using to our own benefit, and maybe the benefit of a lot of the rest of the world.
The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a "nonlethal presidential finding" that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions.

Nice. That anonymity is also there because his actions are extremely illegal.

Get this:
The "nonlethal" aspect of the presidential finding means CIA officers may not use deadly force in carrying out the secret operations against Iran.

Still, some fear that even a nonlethal covert CIA program carries great risks.

"I think everybody in the region knows that there is a proxy war already afoot with the United States supporting anti-Iranian elements in the region as well as opposition groups within Iran," said Vali Nasr, adjunct senior fellow for Mideast studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

"And this covert action is now being escalated by the new U.S. directive, and that can very quickly lead to Iranian retaliation and a cycle of escalation can follow," Nasr said.
Now, by this contention alone, you can draw the conclusion that ABC is endangering the public. It also is a propaganda calling point for anyone who wishes to further stir up Islamic extremism.

Additionally, these actions were covert. They may still be covert, but having someone reporting them as being a reality gives the enemy a catalyst that really isn't needed and makes covert actions much less likely to succeed.

I always hope that this type of report is actually the government abusing the press with misinformation for some other end.

What Happened to that Mandate?

I caught the film footage of the tabling of the Murtha "rebuke." I'm always stunned at how absolutely childish our politicians really are. No reason to discuss anything, we'll just close it without discussion because we're the group in power and we have a ... uh... mandate to .... uh... well clean up the ethics of the ....uh......
House Democrats Tuesday united behind Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) and beat back a Republican attempt to rebuke the lawmaker for allegedly threatening to torpedo earmarks for Rep. Mike Rogers's (R-Mich.) district.

Rogers had objected to an earmark that Murtha wanted to include in an intelligence spending bill. In response, according to Rogers, Murtha confronted his colleague and said “You don’t have any earmarks in the appropriations bills now or forever.”

Rogers called the behavior “yet another example of the Democrats abusing the rules of the House and breaking the commitments they made to the American people.”

Democrats won back Congress in part by highlighting what they called a Republican “culture of corruption.” Observers see the GOP efforts against Murtha as a step in trying to now paint Democrats as being drunk with their regained power.

I think there is some legitimacy tot he contention that the dems are drunk with their own power. They certainly have forgotten that ethics mandate. Considering that they are giving Murtha a walk on threatening opposition Congressional members, what other conclusion can be made.

More details here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sicko Weinstein

Mickey Moore and his idiot pal Harvey Weinstein are playing conspiracy games. Of course, this is great theatrics for the Canne film festival.
Cannes is smacking its lips in anticipation of filmmaker and provocateur Michael Moore's latest jeremiad against the US administration, which receives its premiere at the film festival today. Sicko, a documentary tackling the state of American healthcare, focuses on the pharmaceutical giants, and particularly on health insurers.

The film has already caused Moore - who won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2004 with Fahrenheit 911 - to clash with the American authorities. Now, according to movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose Weinstein Company is behind the film, the US government is attempting to impound the negative.

According to Weinstein, the US Treasury's moves meant "we had to fly the movie to another country"- he would not say to where. "Let the secret service find that out - though this is the same country that thought there were weapons of mass destruction, so they'll never find it." He added that he feared that if the film were impounded, there might be attempts to cut some footage, in particular the last 20 minutes, which related to a trip to Cuba. This, said Weinstein, "would not be good."

Hmmm. Sounds like they are assuming that CIA mistakes prove that all people in government are morons. That is an assumption I wouldn't make, especially since you've just admitted to obstruction of justice by intentionally removing the film negative from the US when knowing it was being sought related to a criminal investigation.
Now team Moore is hitting back. Weinstein has hired an attorney, David Boies, who has lodged a request under the US freedom of information act to find out what motivated the treasury to begin its investigation. "They have to tell us why they did it and what they did," said Weinstein. "And they are not too happy about it."

Weinstein believes the investigation has a political agenda. "We want to find out who motivated this. We suspect there may be interference from another office," he said. "Otherwise, I don't understand why this would have come about."

Hitting back? How laughable considering that the FOIA specifically exempts information related to ongoing criminal investigations. Weinstein may want to get his own iQ investigated.
7. Exemption 7: Law Enforcement

The seventh exemption allows agencies to withhold law enforcement records in order to protect the law enforcement process from interference. The exemption was amended slightly in 1986, but it still retains six specific subexemptions.

Exemption (7)(A) allows the withholding of a law enforcement record that could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings. This exemption protects an active law enforcement investigation from interference through premature disclosure.
Weinstein goes on with his paranoid screeching:
Weinstein named no suspects in this putative political interference, but referred to outspoken critics of Moore on the Republican right - who tend to accuse him of peddling propaganda rather than of undertaking serious journalism - including presidential hopeful Bob Thompson.

"Senator Thompson has come out with a tirade against Michael. Michael said he'd debate him, but Thompson turned him down," said Weinstein.

He also said that insurers and pharmaceutical companies had "already sent out letters advising employees how to react when the film comes out".

Senator Thompson isn't in government any more. Maybe Weinstein should read the news periodically. As for Moore's challenge for a debate, that is funny if it weren't so very pathetic. Why would Thompson bother? He has little to gain and Moore would get lots of publicity. I think Thompson's original response on YouTube was appropriate, though I'm not really sure why he bothered other than as many pundits are pointing out this gave him lots of free press during the first Repub debate.

No doubt Moore's "documentary" will forge ahead for the Academy Award this year. It certainly doesn't have to meet any factual requirements for that award and will continue his fascinating career of fact distortion.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Embedded Journalists in Iraq

This is an excellent article that I found linked at INDCJournal.

The topic is about embedded journalists. Something that I've noted has been used at decreased levels for some time now in the US. Probably because the reporting goes against the editorial desires of the MSM. Here's the crux.
While embedding may be decried by some for causing journalists, who claim the utopian titles of "objective" and "neutral" for their reportage, to lose their cold detachment and actually begin to see the soldiers they live alongside as humans, it is that very quality that makes the practice of embedding reporters with military units so beneficial to both parties. Rather than observing events from a safely detached distance -- and thus being able to remove the human element from the equation -- embedded reporters are forced to face up to the humanity of their subjects, and to share common experiences -- often of the life-and-death variety -- with those who they are covering.
Unfortunately, the MSM doesn't report anything about the soldiers anymore except body counts or those few who are against the war in Iraq. It would be nice if more reporting showed the soldiers and their part in this conflict.

Dems Ethics Reform: Murtha Bullying

Was bullying the minority part of the Dems Mandate? Seems to me this is further justification for keeping Murtha out of a leadership role.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) has accused Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) of threatening him on the House floor and plans to force the full House to vote next week on whether to reprimand him.

A week ago Rogers offered a procedural motion to the fiscal 2008 intelligence bill that would have prevented funding for an earmark Murtha sponsored to authorize $23 million for the National Drug Intelligence Center, a government agency based in his district.

Rogers said Murtha approached him on the House floor Thursday and told him: “I hope you don’t have any earmarks in the defense appropriations bills because they are gone and you will not get any earmarks now and forever.”

Rogers argues that the threat is a violation of House rules, which preclude members from conditioning earmarks on a members’ vote. House Rule XXIII, Clause 16 states that members “may not condition the inclusion of language to provide funding for a congressional earmark, a limited tax benefit, or a limited tariff benefit in any [legislation].”
I wonder why they don't include his explosion at Tiahrt?

I can see getting warm about the appropriations, but these direct threats against fellow senators rather than just discussion and voting is irresponsible.

Jemma Ignores History: Analyzes Bush Administration

Jemma Carter again steps forward to give an opinion that has little contact with reality.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Former President Carter says President Bush's administration is "the worst in history" in international relations, taking aim at the White House's policy of pre-emptive war and its Middle East diplomacy.

The criticism from Carter, which a biographer says is unprecedented for the 39th president, also took aim at Bush's environmental policies and the administration's "quite disturbing" faith-based initiative funding.

"I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history," Carter told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a story that appeared in the newspaper's Saturday editions. "The overt reversal of America's basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me."
I guess Jemma must place himself in the pantheon of great presidents, though any analysis places its place near, if not at, the bottom. Carter's complete failure in the Iran Hostage crisis began the view of a weak US through out the Islamic world. Should we discuss his handling of the economy? No? Didn't think so.
Carter came down hard on the Iraq war.

"We now have endorsed the concept of pre-emptive war where we go to war with another nation militarily, even though our own security is not directly threatened, if we want to change the regime there or if we fear that some time in the future our security might be endangered," he said. "But that's been a radical departure from all previous administration policies."
How much damage does the US have to take before they can react? And why is it that preemption is wrong? His statement would place all involvements in the world as being illegitimate. How could the US have been involved in the Baltic wars or the first Iraq war if we must be directly threatened? Or is he quibbling over what a direct threat is?

Let's all hope Clinton doesn't follow this method as he gets senile.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Are You A Domestic Terrorist - Villification of the Libertarian

This is amazing:
It sounds like a bad Jeff Foxworthy routine: "You Might Be A Domestic Terrorist If ..."

But this is no joke.

Do you believe gun control is a way to remove our ability to protect ourselves? Do you believe the Bill of Rights protects God-given rights, as opposed to granting rights from the government? Do you believe U.S. sovereignty is threatened by the actions and actors at the United Nations?

Congratulations. You might be a domestic terrorist.
NRA-News links to a Pennsylvania State Site that gives us this:
Who are Terrorists?

International Terrorists
Domestic Terrorists
Interactive Quiz

Domestic Terrorists

Anti-Government Groups

Often associated with unorganized militias, the Anti-Government movement actually embraces a much larger variety of groups and causes. The extreme fringe believes that the U.S. government is either the enemy or has been subverted by the enemy and must be actively defended against.

Anti-Government Issues and Beliefs

Gun Control is a conspiracy to enslave us starting with the removal of our ability to either defend ourselves or forcefully change our government.

The first ten amendments of The Constitution are God given and all others are temporary, invalid or outright fraudulent.

All judicial authority resides with the people. The jury, not the Judge, directs trials and can nullify laws they do not approve of.

U.S. sovereignty is being surrendered to the U.N., World Court, and World Bank, with the U.S. becoming an economic region of this New World Order.

Anti-Government activists often believe they have never accepted U.S. citizenship or can renounce it.

Federal and State governments do not have the legal authority to levy taxes or interfere with travel or private enterprise by requiring licenses or regulating activity or conduct.

Well, Looks like this clearly marks me as a Domestic Terrorist, or a citizen who believes in the rights and responsibilities that are akin to what the fathers of our country believed in. I might not go to the extremes that they state, but I do go near to some of the topics.

Funny that you once had a right to an opinion different from those who are PC, now you're branded a terrorist.

Nuclear Investment

This is a summary of an article by Charles D. Ferguson on the viability of offsetting energy resources that have carbon emissions with Nuclear power. He comes to a few obvious conclusions, such as this won't be a near term fix, but he does go into some interesting points throughout the paper.
Nuclear energy is unlikely to play a major role in the coming decades in countering the harmful effects of climate change or in strengthening energy security, concludes a new Council Special Report authored by Charles D. Ferguson, Council fellow for science and technology.

To significantly combat climate change in the near term, the “nuclear industry would have to expand at such a rapid rate as to pose serious concerns for how the industry would ensure an adequate supply of reasonably inexpensive reactor-grade construction materials, well-trained technicians, and rigorous safety and security measures,” says the report.

The recommendations he speaks to are summarized as:
Among the recommendations:
  • “The United States should impose a fee on greenhouse gas emissions to leverage market forces in order to counter global warming.”
  • “Industry should devote adequate resources to cover safety and security costs.”
  • “To complement the safety assessments done by the World Association of Nuclear Operators, the nuclear industry in all advanced countries should set up a fund that would support developing best regulatory practices for both safety and security in all countries that use or want to use nuclear power.”
  • “To further improve security, the nuclear industry should transfer as much spent fuel as possible into dry storage casks that are hardened against attack while the United States moves forward with development of a permanent nuclear waste repository.”

Internationally, “the United States should work with partner governments to develop and implement rules that would apply equally to all countries and, thus, would move toward a less discriminatory nonproliferation system.” Such rules could include:

  • “Requiring any country in noncompliance with safeguards commitments to suspend suspect activities until the problem is resolved.”
  • “Encouraging any country seeking a nuclear fuel facility to consider the economic soundness of this activity before building the facility. An economic test would be whether the proposed nuclear project could secure financing by private capital.”
  • “Urging any country wanting to develop nuclear power programs to factor in all environmental, safety, and security costs as compared to other energy sources; to support these assessments, the IAEA and the International Energy Agency could work together to provide comprehensive energy analysis for any country, including all costs for each energy source.”
  • “Offering assured access to nuclear fuel based on competitive market prices as long as a country meets rigorous safeguards criteria and can secure private financial support for its civilian nuclear program.”
The topic of carbon taxes I find the most interesting topic. Mainly because it is a way for politicians to get involved in the problem, and completely screw it up.

The use of taxes for any activity that has been seen as needing control or elimination has typically gone into a spiral of tax increases and the use of those tax dollars for projects unrelated to the problem. Cigarettes are the perfect example. Federal and State taxes generally start out being designated for fixing the problem and end up with being a cash cow with the taxes diverted. I can't see there being any difference with this topic.

The tax question could be addressed by disciplined legislation, but I find that almost funny in that I've yet to see any legislation that is disciplined, especially when it comes to taxing and spending. If a system could be implemented that taxed the high-carbon energy sources and used those funds to subsidize low or no-carbon sources, focusing on development of ever cleaner sources, it would encourage a shift in behavior.

Deep Sea Treausre

This is amazing for the scale, and not surprising that the whiners have sprung forward to villify those who take the risks and put forward the investments to recover this wreck.
Explorers for a shipwreck exploration company based in Tampa said Friday that they had located a treasure estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in what may be the richest undersea treasure recovery to date.

Deep-ocean explorers for the company, Odyssey Marine Exploration, located more than 500,000 silver coins weighing more than 17 tons, along with hundreds of gold coins and other artifacts, in a Colonial-era shipwreck in an undisclosed location in the Atlantic Ocean, the company said in a statement.

17 tons? Damn. That's a lot of material.
“All recovered items have been legally imported into the United States and placed in a secure, undisclosed location where they are undergoing conservation and documentation,” according to the statement.

Citing security and legal concerns, Odyssey has not disclosed details about the discovery, including the origin of the coins and the identity or location of the site, dubbed Black Swan, but has said it is “beyond the territorial waters or legal jurisdiction of any country.” Phone calls seeking comment were not returned on Friday.

Now the whiners:
The bountiful find is sure to reignite the long-running debate between undersea explorers and archaeologists, who view such treasure hunting as modern-day piracy.

Kevin Crisman, an associate professor in the nautical archaeology program at Texas A&M University, said salvage work on shipwrecks constituted “theft of public history and world history.”

He said the allure of treasure hidden under the sea seemed to blind the public to the ethical implications. “If these guys went and planted a bunch of dynamite around the Sphinx, or tore up the floor of the Acropolis, they’d be in jail in a minute,” Mr. Crisman said.

That logic is interesting. It's completely bogus, but why stop with analogies that aren't relevant. By the standards that they appear to wish to force on the rest of the world, no one would be able to recover any wreck unless there was an archaeologist in control of the whole thing. Piracy is also completely ridiculous in that no one actually owns or controls the wreck they are recovering, so those taking the risks of recovery are completely free to take the materials. There are no ethical implications in reality. Not to mention the assumptions that these people have no right to try to recover this wealth. I also don't see anyone in the "public" domain investing the money and risk to life to do the recovery. And as to the fact that there is no lawful restrictions, there is absolutely no ethical problem.

The CEO stated:
Anticipating such comments, John Morris, the chief executive of Odyssey, said in a statement: “We have treated this site with kid gloves, and the archaeological work done by our team out there is unsurpassed. We are thoroughly documenting and recording the site, which we believe will have immense historical significance.”
So they are trying to do documentation and preservation, but not to the satisfaction of the archaeological set.
Robert W. Hoge, a curator at the American Numismatic Society in New York, questioned the secrecy surrounding the discovery and said that while it might be perfectly legitimate, the findings would have been better preserved in the hands of archaeologists.

“Whenever these finds are made by treasure hunters, their first thought is to sell instead of preserving,” Mr. Hoge said. “They need to make money because they’re a corporation with enormous expenses. They’re not there to preserve history.”

All non-arguments. If the Archeology set wants to get the finds, then they should be the ones putting up the money and taking the risks. But since they aren't willing to do so, others are going to do it. Whine all you like, but unless you're willing to put up, shut up.

Friday, May 18, 2007


This has a fairly high yuck value:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three funeral directors and four employees of a tissue harvesting firm were indicted in northern New York state on suspicion of harvesting bones and other body parts for medical procedures without permission, an official said on Thursday.

The funeral directors are accused of allowing four Biomedical Tissue Services employees to remove parts from 36 cadavers slated for cremation in exchange for $1,000 for each corpse. The body harvesters were also accused of forging consent forms.

The body harvesters were charged with body stealing, opening graves, unlawful dissection, forgery, and falsifying business documents, he said.
Just when you thought cremation was a safe way to dispose of dead, we find out that it's just a clearing house for the evidence.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Changes to NICs and Further Evidence that the Gun-Controllers are Clueless

Reading things like this really makes one wonder.
In February, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) reintroduced the legislation, which she first proposed in 2002. It has been referred to the Judiciary Committee’s Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security subcommittee. A spokesman was optimistic that the bill would have support this session.

In the upper chamber, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to sponsor the bill, which is likely to be sent to the Judiciary Committee.

“As the Virginia Tech massacre showed, the troubling reality is that it is just too easy for those adjudicated mentally ill to purchase guns, and we’re not doing enough about it,” Schumer said in a statement yesterday.
Nice try Chuckles, but anyone with a clue understands that the problem was that the law requires those who have been involuntarily adjudicated by the court for mental illness to be disqualified. The VT case was a voluntary case. Like usual, instead of pointing out that the legislation has vague portions, and in many cases, just plain poor reasoning, shows that the lawmakers involved aren't doing the right things. I don't expect that the present legislation will be much better. Considering that these are the same lawmakers who seem incapable of reading legislation before voting gives one pause.

Then there is the foolishness of banning sales to those on the terrorism "watch list."
Bill backed by Lautenberg and Bush is a common-sense measure that should become law.

It's not every day that decidedly liberal U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-Cliffside Park, and President Bush are in agreement. But when it comes to what should be a no-brainer of an issue -- blocking suspected terrorists from legally purchasing guns in this country -- the two are in agreement. We hope other lawmakers join them and get Lautenberg's legislation passed over the shortsighted, don't-give-an-inch objections of the National Rifle Association.

The current federal law governing who can purchase guns bars felons, illegal aliens and those convicted a domestic abuse misdemeanor, among others, from buying a gun.

Surprisingly, however, people on the federal terrorist watch list can legally buy a gun in this country.

That's just flat out dumb.

Another clueless remark from a group of fools. The terrorist watch list is a travesty in responsible law enforcement. This list has no vetting, no way of checking whether you're on it or how to get off of it if you should find your name on it. Teddy Kennedy was on the list for a while, but though he is a bloated imbecile, it doesn't mean he's a terrorist. Security professionals, like Schneier have repeatedly pointed out why this list is such a poor idea. As in this case where he reports of babies being on the list. Or his discussion of 30,000 people being mistakenly placed on the list. But according to this learned commenter, we should be using that as a vetting method for firearms purchases.

This is even better:
In the post-9/11 world in which we live, the Bush administration has taken many steps, including listening to phone conversations from suspected terrorists here, that, while perhaps constricting to civil liberties, are meant to protect us.
So is he saying that phone tapping known or suspected terrorists calls into this country is the same thing as denying citizens the right to self defense because some idiot put their name on a list? Would those improperly placed on the list ever get that right back? Probably not, since being disqualified in a NICs check is a felony, and the watch list is a closed entity, there is no way of clearing yourself of the felony of applying for a gun purchase while disqualified.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sheepdog and Really Stupid Sheep

Here's one that really irritates me.

The situation:
Floyd, 49, of Easton, was driving with his son on Route 116 in Franconia last Friday evening when he came upon McKay and Kenney, according to the state attorney general's office. Floyd saw Kenney shoot McKay four times. When McKay collapsed, Kenney backed his car up over McKay, pinning him.

Floyd tried to use his car as a barricade between Kenney and McKay, according to police investigators. When that failed, he picked up McKay's gun from the ground and approached Kenney's vehicle. Floyd told his son, also named Gregory Floyd, to use McKay's police radio to call for help.

Floyd aimed the gun at Kenney and told him to put his gun down. When Kenney did not drop his gun, Floyd shot him, according to police investigators.

Bleating Sheep:
But some residents think Floyd overstepped when he used lethal force to stop Liko Kenney, 24, who shot McKay after an altercation following a traffic stop.

"No one has a right to take a life, regardless of what happens," said Beth Starbird, 24, of Boscawen. "He should've tried to stop it or called for help."

Kevin Miller, 18, a business major at Plymouth State College, said Floyd couldn't have known who was at fault in the situation.

"How do you know the truth?" said Miller, who was out with friends at White Park in Concord yesterday. "How does he know what really happened?"
Hmmm. Floyd sees the incident, and he doesn't know the truth? These people are pathetic. I'll remember that. If I ever see Beth or Kevin being murdered or victimized, I'll just look for a phone, because god knows I can't tell who's at fault.
Some citizens interviewed yesterday wondered why Floyd didn't shoot Kenney in the leg or the arm, injuring him instead of killing him. But officers say if Kenney was sitting in his car, Floyd's only clear shot may have been from the shoulder up. Floyd also reportedly served in the Marine Corps. Members of the military and law enforcement are trained to shoot at the center of the body, and even then, they sometimes miss, McCarthy said. Aiming for a limb increases the risk of missing altogether.

"There's no such thing as shooting to wound," McCarthy said.

Hillsboro Police Capt. David Roarick said, "We shoot to stop the threat. We're not trained to shoot to injure people. Had it been another police officer, they would have shot to prevent the threat."

Oh that's clever. You have a guy who isn't fleeing but hanging out of his car showing his gun, what would you assume? I certainly wouldn't assume that he's surrendering, more likely he's getting ready to eliminate a witness. Sorry, He doesn't drop the gun, I'm going to force him to.
George Oickle, 38, a network administrator for the Coca Cola Company who lives in Gilmanton, said if he came upon the same scene, he would assume Kenney would have no trouble killing again.

"If the guy reloads the gun, he's going to use it," Oickle said. "He just shot a cop. What's going to stop him from shooting me?"

Still, Oickle said the story of what happened Friday still doesn't make sense to him. "If (Kenney) ran the cop over, he was on his way out," he said. "So how does (Floyd) have time to stop him and shoot him?"

I really don't care if it make sense or not. The guy wasn't fleeing and a citizen took the responsibility to prevent a killer from moving on to kill again. If you're standing there, are you going to psychoanalyze why this guy just shot and ran over a cop and hasn't left? Me, I'm now really worried that I'm next and I'm going for full defense.

Look at the ages of those who approved of the action compared to the sheep. The sheep are kids, and the sheepdogs are older. That strikes me as odd, since I would have thought like the sheepdogs even when that young. Emasculated youth?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Micro$oft Going Against Linux

Here's another one to file under "no surprise."
(Fortune Magazine) -- Free software is great, and corporate America loves it. It's often high-quality stuff that can be downloaded free off the Internet and then copied at will. It's versatile - it can be customized to perform almost any large-scale computing task - and it's blessedly crash-resistant.

A broad community of developers, from individuals to large companies like IBM, is constantly working to improve it and introduce new features. No wonder the business world has embraced it so enthusiastically: More than half the companies in the Fortune 500 are thought to be using the free operating system Linux in their data centers.

But now there's a shadow hanging over Linux and other free software, and it's being cast by Microsoft. The Redmond behemoth asserts that one reason free software is of such high quality is that it violates more than 200 of Microsoft's patents. And as a mature company facing unfavorable market trends and fearsome competitors like Google, Microsoft is pulling no punches: It wants royalties. If the company gets its way, free software won't be free anymore.

The conflict pits Microsoft and its dogged CEO, Steve Ballmer, against the "free world" - people who believe software is pure knowledge. The leader of that faction is Richard Matthew Stallman, a computer visionary with the look and the intransigence of an Old Testament prophet.
Let's see, if you can't compete, you sue the open sourcers out of existence. I don't mind Micro$oft having patents, but I'm betting that they are following the path of SCO and making the attempt to bludgeon the competition into submission through legal costs. (Haven't seen that tactic anywhere else have we?)
The free world appears to be uncowed by Microsoft's claims. Its master legal strategist is Eben Moglen, longtime counsel to the Free Software Foundation and the head of the Software Freedom Law Center, which counsels FOSS projects on how to protect themselves from patent aggression. (He's also a professor on leave from Columbia Law School, where he teaches cyberlaw and the history of political economy.)

Moglen contends that software is a mathematical algorithm and, as such, not patentable. (The Supreme Court has never expressly ruled on the question.) In any case, the fact that Microsoft might possess many relevant patents doesn't impress him. "Numbers aren't where the action is," he says. "The action is in very tight qualitative analysis of individual situations." Patents can be invalidated in court on numerous grounds, he observes. Others can easily be "invented around." Still others might be valid, yet not infringed under the particular circumstances.

Moglen's hand got stronger just last month when the Supreme Court stated in a unanimous opinion that patents have been issued too readily for the past two decades, and lots are probably invalid. For a variety of technical reasons, many dispassionate observers suspect that software patents are especially vulnerable to court challenge.

I'm not sure I agree with his contention that software is a mathematical algorithm. That strikes me as a logic only a lawyer could justify. The Supreme Court decision is interesting, though I don't know to what extent it is relevant here. It's also one of those findings that found the lower court was making findings incorrectly and that they should try again. That isn't an overwhelming win in my book.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Iraq To-Do-List

A very interesting article from Max Boot. I got lucky and saw him shred Tucker Carlson in a discussion on Iraq. His responses held Carlson to accurate statements and perspective that Carlson was not following in his questioning.

He discusses the usual of the necessity for patience, an increasing the size of the Iraqi military, more Prisons and a strong well protected judiciary. The to-do list has some interesting statements that I'm certain will raise the hackles from the anti-war set.
The New York Times ran a front-page dispatch by Alissa J. Rubin on April 22 ("3 Suspects Talk After Iraqi Soldiers Do Dirty Work") reporting that Iraqi troops managed to break up a major terrorist ring in the violent Baghdad neighborhood of Ghazaliya by beating up a captured insurgent. Such conduct is not tolerated in the American ranks, but the Iraqis are fighting for their lives against the most vicious terrorists on earth in a society that has never heard of the Warren Court. It's hardly surprising that they might resort to "third degree" techniques that were in widespread use by American police until a generation ago, and remain commonplace throughout much of the rest of the world. American advisers need to have the leeway to exercise their best judgment--to be able to turn a blind eye to minor abuses without risking court martial, while at the same time remaining vigilant against major abuses. Just as no counterinsurgency has ever been won employing the norms of modern Western peacetime policing, so too it is very rare to defeat insurgents by terrorizing the population into acquiescence--and in any case that is not a strategy that either the United States or its allies could employ.
From an ethical standpoint, I'm not much for the blind eye to third degrees, but that ignores the issue that they are at war, and that it is their country. Counterinsurgency necessitates that the locals get control and security. They must win the minds of the people, but being nice and compliant will not stop those most bent on keeping Iraq in conflict. As in all things, a balance is required. I'm willing to bet that under Saddam it was just as bad if not much worse. Not a justification, but perspective. It would be nice to have the Iraqi's provide all the rights expected in a free country like the US, but that won't ever happen until the insurgency is brought under control.

Then there is this:
An Iraqi version of CORDS (Civil Operations and Rural Development Support) might help here. This was the agency created in 1967 under the leadership of "Blowtorch Bob" Komer (with a young Richard Holbrooke as his aide-de-camp). A veteran of the CIA and the National Security Council, Komer coordinated all civilian pacification efforts in Vietnam. He and his successor, William Colby, reported to the four-star commander of the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, thus tying civil and military efforts closely together.

As part of a broader administrative overhaul, it would make sense to put more emphasis on "information operations" and to push these efforts down to lower levels of command. There is widespread agreement within the U.S. military that the war for hearts and minds is essential, and that so far al Qaeda and other jihadist groups have done a more effective job than the United States of competing in the "information battlespace." They are able to get their messages out more quickly and to make a bigger splash. Part of this is due to the natural disparity between a ruthless foe that can lie with impunity and intimidate the press and a democratic government that must tell the truth and not interfere with the free functioning of the media. But part of the disparity is also due to self-inflicted wounds on the part of the U.S. government.

I was stunned to learn in Iraq that leaflets and radio broadcasts need to be approved at the division level, and that press releases need to be approved one step higher, at the corps level. Even more amazing was the revelation that U.S. forces are forbidden to conduct information operations on the Internet--the jihadists' favorite venue--because of concerns at the highest levels of the U.S. government that American propaganda might inadvertently be seen by U.S. citizens browsing the web. Several junior officers told me that they have the authority to call in an airstrike that will kill dozens of people but not the authority to issue a press release. That's crazy. The authority to conduct public affairs and information operations needs to be pushed down to the level of the battalion and even the company, and American commanders at those levels and above need to be graded on their success in engaging in this all-important battleground.
All things that should have been started quite a while ago. The CORDs systems would have been more effective if they were implemented earlier. As for the InfoSec, I'm not surprised, since anything the US military said that wasn't vetted to the point that they are today would lead to incidents where the MSM would misread or misinterpret a low level statement and then make it a political fiasco for the President. Not that his political workings in the press are ever given fair hearings, but allowing too many freelance press releases would ensure distortions from the press.

Read the rest, it's got some very interesting ideas.

Spending Out of Control in NH

The Dems may think they have a mandate, but if they think that being this fiscally irresponsible is what they were put in place for, they may want to consider what will happen in the next election.
Democratic lawmakers, thanks to their new majority in New Hampshire's Legislature, have pushed through spending and social legislation that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

State Republican leaders who long have championed conservative spending and low taxes say Democrats are moving New Hampshire closer to its big-taxing and big-spending neighbors in Massachusetts and Maine — to the point where at least one of them jokingly calls the state "Maineachusetts."

"We're just spending money wildly," said Rep. Frank Tilton, R-Laconia, who chairs the Belknap County Republican Committee. "This isn't New Hampshire. New Hampshire has always been thrifty and tight with the money."

Fergus Cullen, chairman of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, said Democratic lawmakers have endorsed liberal spending when the House approved a state budget that was even higher than the 14 percent increase Gov. John Lynch proposed. House lawmakers added another $200 million to the state's $10.4 billion spending package, which represented a 16 percent increase and the first 11-figure budget in state history.
The Dems might want to remember that the state has far more independents than Repubs or Dems. If they continue to show no restraint, the public will likely show them how little their present mandate means.

International Policing

John P. Sullivan writes about a missing piece of the US international policy with regards to policing in conflict zones. This doesn't seem to address a lot of the questions that come up with regards to police forces that are transnational in nature.
The time has come to develop standing constabulary forces at several levels: U.S., NATO, and U.N. Such a building block approach would allow national and regional operations, as well as global U.N. efforts. A serious evaluation of U.S. policy and force structure is required. Many questions need to be answered: how would this service be structured; where would it reside (in the Department of Defense, Justice, State or Homeland Security); would it operate solely as an expeditionary force or domestically as well? Further questions related to the training and scope of operations must also be addressed. Would the service cover terrorism, and counter-insurgency in addition to peace operations? Finally, would it be a standing force like the Gendarmerie or a composite force like the Australian, Canadian, and EU forces?

Policing and crime control skills must be integrated into strategic and operational responses to peace operations and related conflicts that challenge transnational stability. A global framework of standing or composite constabulary forces could fill this need. It is time to fill the missing mission—the time for expeditionary police is now.
At the national police force level, this is questionable. Though being involved in a truly international police force could have some benefits. There are lots of down-sides to being involved in one as well. Questions of whose law will receive preference is one of the most difficult. Would the US constitution have primary control in the US or would having an international treaty require it take a preference for the international rule of law? As for jurisdiction, this would also require that there be an international court that is acceptable to all member states. I'm highly dubious that the US population would be willing to hand their rights over to an international tribunal of any type. The thought of having the UN in control of such a force also is highly questionable.

Adding a policing group for the US that would be involved in international law enforcement would be helpful in many venues, though I'm uncertain it would be helpful in places like Iraq. The UN fleeing Iraq and blaming the issue on the US military failure to provide security would be another reason to question such a forces viability. Such forces would be helpful in areas that are more stable, but in areas like Baghdad, their benefit would likely be only minor. If the forces were solely from coalition forces, then the benefits may be better since cooperation between the police and the military would be more closely organized. But having such a police force under a separate and at times antagonistic organization would be a failure.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Iraqi Parlimentary Call for Timetables

Not a surprising bit of information, just not the wisest.
A majority of Iraq’s parliament has signed a petition for a legislative timetable governing a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, several parliamentarians said today.

The withdrawal would only take place if the Iraqi security forces became strong enough to ensure that an American departure would not create a security vacuum or make the sectarian conflict worse, the petition’s sponsors said.

“The troop withdrawal would move in parallel with the building of Iraqi troops, but their stay should not be for a long time,” said Saleh al-Igili, a member of the parliamentary bloc allied with the anti-American Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, which sponsored the petition.

Officials in the Sadrist bloc said that 144 of parliament’s 275 members — including Sunni and Shiite Arabs and at least one Kurd — had signed the petition. The document is now being developed into a draft bill by the parliament’s legal and foreign relations committees, said Bahaa al-Araji, a member of the Sadrist bloc and head of parliament’s legal committee.
Makes you wonder how much of this is related to the politics in Iraq, just as the timetable debate is strongly following political divides.

In some ways this is understandable because the Iraqi parliament wants to shore up their position and by making law that defines when the US will leave is a way to make them appear to be in control. In reality, they do have a level of control on that topic. But the Prime Minister stands against it and that still gives them the political advantage while not having to worry about actually having the US leave.

The article doesn't provide any dates from their proposed timetable. That information would be helpful in analyzing how strong the Sadr block is.

Congressional Approval

Got here starting at SayUncle.

Looks like the poll shows that the Dems aren't doing very well with their "mandate."

Overall, do you approve, disapprove or have mixed feelings about the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?

_Approve, 35 percent (35)

_Disapprove, 61 percent (62)

_Mixed feelings, 3 percent (3)

_Not sure, 1 percent (X)

Overall, do you approve, disapprove or have mixed feelings about the way Congress is handling its job?

_Approve, 35 percent (40)

_Disapprove, 60 percent (57)

_Mixed feelings, 4 percent (2)

_Not sure, 1 percent (1)

With ratings statistically the same as the President, I'm guessing that the public isn't very happy.

I suppose they didn't understand what the mandate really was.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mikey Moore's Cuban Investingation

Looks like Moore skipped some of the steps to going to Cuba.
The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control notified Moore in a letter dated May 2 that it was conducting a civil investigation for possible violations of the U.S. trade embargo restricting travel to Cuba. A copy of the letter was obtained Tuesday by the AP.

"This office has no record that a specific license was issued authorizing you to engage in travel-related transactions involving Cuba," Dale Thompson, OFAC chief of general investigations and field operations, wrote in the letter to Moore.

In February, Moore took about 10 ailing workers from the Ground Zero rescue effort in Manhattan for treatment in Cuba, said a person working with the filmmaker on the release of "Sicko." The person requested anonymity because Moore's attorneys had not yet determined how to respond.

He's obviously on that list of those above the law, but no doubt this will be a wonderful boosting point for his next "documentary."
After receiving the letter, Moore arranged to place a copy of the film in a "safe house" outside the country to protect it from government interference, said the person working on the release of the film.
What a paranoid jackass. Does he honestly want the public to believe that the US would sensor his tripe? Not to mention the fact that it's fully protected by the first amendment irrespective of how moronic the content.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sharpton the Bigot

He claims he was making a statement with regards to Hitchens, but I'm doubtful.
"As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways, so don't worry about that; that's a temporary situation," Sharpton said during a debate with Hitchens at the New York Public Library.

Romney's campaign seized on the comments to criticize Sharpton, and the candidate complained about the remarks on Wednesday, calling them "terribly misguided."
In a statement, Sharpton accused the Romney campaign of a "blatant effort to fabricate a controversy to help their lagging campaign" and argued that it was Hitchens who criticized Mormons.

"In no way did I attack Mormons or the Mormon Church when I responded that other believers, not atheists, would vote against Mr. Romney for purely political reasons," Sharpton said.
You know, having listened to Al for all these years, I'm betting he's doing his best to twist out of this. If he's not a bigot, he may want to be a bit more cautious when discussing someone else's religiosity and politics.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Where the Generals Have Failed

From the Armed Forces Journal a piece by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling. Not the most original, but detailed enough to give you some idea of where the US military has been failing in the past few decades.
For the second time in a generation, the United States faces the prospect of defeat at the hands of an insurgency. In April 1975, the U.S. fled the Republic of Vietnam, abandoning our allies to their fate at the hands of North Vietnamese communists. In 2007, Iraq's grave and deteriorating condition offers diminishing hope for an American victory and portends risk of an even wider and more destructive regional war.

These debacles are not attributable to individual failures, but rather to a crisis in an entire institution: America's general officer corps. America's generals have failed to prepare our armed forces for war and advise civilian authorities on the application of force to achieve the aims of policy. The argument that follows consists of three elements. First, generals have a responsibility to society to provide policymakers with a correct estimate of strategic probabilities. Second, America's generals in Vietnam and Iraq failed to perform this responsibility. Third, remedying the crisis in American generalship requires the intervention of Congress.

An interesting read, though restricted just to the topic of the brass. I would like to see some of the topics broadened, since the politics of the whole thing is very important. It also would be important to discuss the effects of the Media and national attitude.

Hammes basically said very similar things in his book and is quoted here. The only difference is that he gives specifics of how to fix things and also manages to give credit where the brass have been successful.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Now That's the Way to Have Sushi

How come I never get sushi served that way?

French Elections, Can't Win? Throw Out a Threat

If this isn't a threat, what would you call it?
Socialist opponent Segolene Royal said on Friday that France risks violence and brutality if her opponent right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy wins Sunday's presidential election.

On the last day of official campaigning, opinion polls showed Sarkozy enjoyed a commanding lead over Royal, who accused the former interior minister of lying and polarizing France.

"Choosing Nicolas Sarkozy would be a dangerous choice," Royal told RTL radio.

"It is my responsibility today to alert people to the risk of (his) candidature with regards to the violence and brutality that would be unleashed in the country (if he won)," she said.

Pressed on whether there would be actual violence, Royal said: "I think so, I think so," referring specifically to France's volatile suburbs hit by widespread rioting in 2005.

Nah, couldn't be a threat. I mean, she must be making a key statement for French security.

I think if a US candidate did this, I'd just vote against them for the principal of the thing.

Fred Thompson - Candidate Worth Some Thought

I got this from the geekWife. I have to say, most of what he says sounds good to me.

I really like this part:
For many years, several functions of the federal government have been descending into a sorry state of mismanagement and lack of accountability. I published a 68-page report on government's waste, duplication and inability to carry out some of its basic responsibilities. That was back in 2001 before 9-11, and it got little attention. Now the government's shortcomings are affecting our national security and are getting a lot of attention.

The growth of government is not solving these problems; it's causing a lot of them. Every level of new bureaucracy that is created develops a level of bureaucracy beneath it, which creates another one. Pretty soon there is no accountability in the system. A new head of a department or agency comes in from out of town and, after a protracted confirmation fight, wants to spend his or her few years in Washington making great policy and solving national problems, not fighting with their own bureaucrats. So they just let well enough alone. Then you start seeing the results. Departments that can't pass an audit, computer systems that don't work, intelligence breakdowns, people in over their heads.

Yet people in both parties continue to try to federalize and regulate at the national level more and more aspects of American society -- things that have traditionally been handled at the state and local level. We must remember that we have states to serve as policy laboratories for innovation and competition. That's how we got welfare reform. Our system also allows for the diversity of our large country. Our attitude should be, let the federal government do what it is supposed to be doing -- competently. Then maybe we will give it something else to do.

I'll definitely give him some though. Especially with the rest of those candidates on the Repub side being non-starters for me. As for the Dems, I'm only seeing Bill Richardson as a reason for consideration.

Wizbang tossed this one out on the LATimes making stupid smears of Thompson:
This whole topic is just stupid. Does Ms. Daunt truly think that the American people would buy into the idiotic idea that the lines that Fred recited from the TV movie 19 years ago and that she quoted in her piece were a true reflection of his personal character? If this is the best the media has to offer, Fred should have nothing to worry about.
Go read the whole thing.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Dems Concept of Intelligence Funding Needs

This is truly bizarre:
Intelligence panel Chairman Silvestre Reyes, Texas Democrat, said the climate-change study is one of several shifts his party has made to intelligence policy.
"We're concerned that global warming might impact our ability to maintain national security," he told The Times, describing the idea as "cutting edge."
"We want to get feedback from the intelligence community to understand if there are possible global issues," Mr. Reyes said, noting the change was on the advice of "several former military commanders."
The panel voted 11-9 to keep the provision that directs a National Intelligence Estimate "on the anticipated geopolitical effects of global climate change and the implications of such effects on the national security of the United States," according to a Republican staffer familiar with the bill.
An intelligence estimate on global warming? How about spending the intelligence dollars on enemies or potential enemies? Global warming has more than enough studies in process, why divert intelligence dollars for another global warming study?

I guess this is when "cutting edge" proves to be exceptionally stupid.