Fortune Favors The Bold
If you didn't turn your TV on Sunday afternoon, you really missed something. Sunday, January 30, 2005 will go down in history as the beginning of a new era in Iraq - and quite possibly the Middle East.
Here in the West, elections are just a fact of life and have been for centuries. Every so often the people get together and choose the leaders who will take their respective nations forward. It is, for the most part, a peaceful process accepted as the standard way of governing.
But for people like Rose in Baghdad , elections are something new and exciting - and don't forget dangerous. Yesterday the people of Iraq braved mortars, VBIED (Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices) or Car Bombs for you lay people out there, sniper fire and other intimidations to do something most of us take for granted. She voted. Depending on which network you listen to, she joined about 60-70% of her countrymen in the process. They lined up at polling places across the country - some lines extending for miles. They came to answer the call of freedom and liberty - a call that resonates within each and every human soul.
Just for comparisons sake, the record for US voter turnout is 60%, a mark set during the Kennedy-Nixon election of 1960.
This is a first step on the road to an Iraq free from tyranny and terrorism. Yes, I know its not a panacea and that difficult times lie ahead for the Iraqi people and for the US forces who made yesterday's events possible. But at least now we know the people of Iraq are prepared to embrace the liberation they have been given.
Yesterday was many things to different people. For the people of Iraq, it was a victory of the people over the oppressors. For America, it was a victory of freedom over tyranny. For the terrorists (will you bonehead MSM people please stop calling them "insurgents"!) it was a kick to the curb. Despite their threats and best efforts, the Iraqis came out to be heard. For the surrounding oppressive regimes, it was warning of things to come.
Most of all, it was a victory for people like Rose.
Here endeth the lesson.
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Final Friday Thoughts
First Lieutenant Nathan K. Hoe, 2nd Platoon, C Company, 3rd Battalion 21st Infantry Regiment - United States Army. All men die, but few men truly live. Godspeed, Lieutenant.
Some of you may have noticed I've added Mudville Gazette to the Blogroll. Greyhawk is currently stationed in Iraq as (by his own description) a "rough man prepared to do violence on your behalf". His writing is excellent, but today's post by Littlehawk is a must read for all. Littlehawk is his daughter and I'm sure he's damn proud of her today. By the way, today is her birthday, so be sure to send along appropriate comments.
Ted "Dude Where's My Scotch" Kennedy wants to tuck tail and run in Iraq. He's now demanded a timetable for the withdrawl of US Armed Forces from Iraq. Memo to Teddy: There is a simple timeline for withdrawl. When will we withdraw? When we're done. Its called finishing the mission. I know its something with which you are unfamiliar. Try fewer shots of burbon before your next rambling speech.
The election heard round the world
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. - Declaration of Independence of the United States. July 4, 1776
These words set in motion forces that would begin the American experiment - a test as to whether or not a people could freely govern themselves. The Originators of this experiment believed that a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal could stand the test of time. We stand here upon the foundation they laid some 229 years ago still trying to prove their proposition is in fact correct.
This Sunday, on the other side of the globe, another nation will undertake this experiment. The people of Iraq will go to the polls - some braving harassment and others risking their very lives - to let their voice be heard in a region where the voice of the collective people has long been silent - or silenced.
In the early days of the American Experiment there were those who said it would be a colossal failure. People, they said, could not be trusted to govern themselves. Kings, Dictators, and Potentates were needed to enforce order and maintain society.
American history is not without its low points. It has been a struggle over the past 229 years. It has taken the courage and determination of the collective nation to survive famine, war, peace, strife and a host of other obstacles in order for this nation to have survived to this point. That said, the seed which was planted in the soil of America has spread.
It has spread because Freedom and Liberty are ingrained in the human soul. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are the Creator's gifts to man and the absence of those aforementioned self evident truths creates a longing that only true freedom can satisfy. The Iraqi people are about to partake in a small aspect of freedom.
Will the Iraqi elections immediately create an end to the dangerous situation in that country? No. But the election of George Washington did not solve the problems of the fledgling American republic either.
Last Thursday, W declared that America stands with those who seek to live in freedom and liberty. On Sunday America will stand with the Iraqi people as they take the first steps on the road to freedom, liberty, and prosperity for all Iraqis.
The rewards of this course are great, as are the risks. I pray that the Almighty may watch over those who seek to embrace freedom in a land where tyranny has ruled for far too long.
Fortune Favors The Brave/Bold.
Here endeth the lesson.
Speaker For The Dead
Today is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. World leaders, including Vice President Richard B. "Big Time" Cheney, gathered at the sight where some 1.5 million people were liquidated by Hitler's Death Machine.
I have never been to Poland, much less to Auschwitz. When I lived in the former West Germany, the Iron Curtain separated me from such travels. My mother, wise as she is, took my family to another lesser known, but still haunting camp called Dachau.
It is said there is a special spirit in places where many people have died in a violent way. It was that way when I saw the ovens at Dachau. I saw them as a boy of 11, the memory of what happened there is still very palpable in my mind. Places like Dachau and Auschwitz stand as eternal monuments to man's inhumanity to man.
Yes, dear reader, there is evil in the world. It cannot be appeased. It cannot be satisfied. It cannot be tolerated. As a force it is bent on the destruction of all the civilized world holds to be true and sacred. Evil cannot exist harmoniously with others. You can't make friends with it. You can't sign non-aggression treaties with it. Even if temporarily distracted by an easier target, evil will always seek to destroy you.
Evil must be opposed. That is the lesson taught by the silent barracks and ovens of Dachau and Auschwitz. Listen to the voices of those who can no longer speak for themselves. Let's make sure the adage "Never Again" becomes reality rather than a catch phrase.
Here endeth the lesson.
To the Pain!
Senate Democrats yesterday took to the floor for nine hours to take pot shots at Condolezza Rice - a woman they will soon reluctantly call Madam Secretary. Since she's single, will they have to call here Mademoiselle Secretary? So much for my command of French. But I digress.
Its a foregone conclusion Condi will be confirmed by the Senate as a whole. This should have happened on Inauguration Day. Why did it not? Well, here's my take on the reason: Boxer, Kennedy and Company like having a stage where the target can't fight back. Condi took exception to Babs Boxer's unfounded accusations during her confirmation hearings - so much so that she made short work of Boxer and left her looking like a fool for all America to see.
Fearful of further embarrassing confrontations with a highly superior advesary, Ted "Dude Where's My Scotch" Kennedy and Babs Boxer (properly fortified with hard liquor) spent the afternoon attempting to tear down the character of Condi Rice. While that may have been their purpose and ultimate goal, all they succeeded in doing was solidify their status as obstructionist, racist bigots.
Forget the shovel, Boxer and Company have cleared the path for the Steam Shovel to expedite their grave digging.
More power to ya, Babs.
Blogger Ate The Template
Yes, I admit to attempting to tweak the template, but Blogger evidently took offense and ate the whole thing. Bonjo has promised to reload it as soon as he manages to pry his feet from the Southern California Sand.
Those of us who are still shivering and digging snow tunnels here in the east believe he is going straight to hell.
30 Feet Of Separation
Well, the inauguration is over and soon the liberal leftists will recover from from their bitter partisan induced stupor and join the state of reality.
Sure. And to politically correct a line from Wayne's World, "pigs will shortly fly outta my rectal cavity."
The 55th Presidential Inaugural was full of Pomp and Circumstance, Marching Bands, and other great American traditions. There were many murmuring that such celebratory actions were "inappropriate" during this time of war and strife. We should be more humble, they said, and use the resources for more pressing needs in the United States and in the world.
I'm glad W and Company told these panty-waisted whiners to go pound sand. We are the oldest democracy in the world and we reserve the right to celebrate the renewal of our system of government in the way to which we have become accustomed. We have had these inaugural events in wartime, peacetime, rain, snow, and bone chilling cold since George Washington took the oath so long ago. We're not going to cancel it just so some people can live in denial regarding election results.
W's Speech is getting mixed review from the pundit world. Even Peggy Noonan wavers a bit regarding the repeated reference to deity. I'm sure Bonjo wasn't far from the mark when he stated that Michael Newdow probably had to be shocked by the AED several times. I can see where some people might think it was over the top, but as one who believes God does actually care what this country does at home and abroad, I think such a speech was long over due.
His speech was meant to stretch the possibilities of America and lend hope to those struggling against tyranny in the world. Freedom is the right of all mankind. It should be shared with those who have yet to experience it and America should use her influence to see that it is so. It is common sense, a trait lost on much of the left these days.
You may be wondering how I chose the title of this post. Well, yesterday, there were many people seated on the inaugural stand on the east portico of the Capitol. Governors, Senators, family members, dignitaries both foreign and domestic were seated flanking the Presidential podium.
There was one Senator that was seated roughly 30 feet from the podium. His name is John F. "Lurch" Kerry, still the Junior Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
I, myself, have never been so grateful for a distance of 30 feet.
Here endeth the lesson.
Hillary Talks God
Obviously preparing for a presidential run in four years, Hillary Clinton spoke in favor of faith-based-initiatives.
She actually used the word "faith," so undoubtedly Newdow will be filing a lawsuit.
Most of us correctly remember that the Clintons only go to church when (A) campaigning, (B) pandering to blacks or (C) posing for blatant photo-ops in the wake of sex scandals. I doubt we'll see any of the latter from Hillary, unless Ted Kennedy gets really drunk.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. We'll see an awful lot in the media about Hillary, her faith, and her support for religion over the next few years. This is only the beginning. She, and the rest of the liberal left, know they have to move to the right in order to gain any ground.
We'll be watching, and we'll, of course, be skeptical.
Live-Blogging Inaugural Address
Quotes from W's Inaugural Address catching my attention:
"The survival of liberty in our land is increasingly dependant upon the success of liberty in other lands."
"..they bear the image of our maker." (Eat your heart out, Newdow.)
"Freedom must be defended by its citizens and protected by the rule of law."
"Liberty will come to those who love it."
"[Some] unwisely decided to test America's resolve, and found it firm."
"One day, this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world."
President bush also talked about creating an "ownership society," including ownership of homes, business and retirement savings. Hillary, remarkably, did not fall out of her chair.
The benediction was just offered (and Newdow has been hooked up to an AED).
It's VICTORY day.
Inauguration Day Revelations
Here in Washington, all government workers were given the day off. Since I actually work for a living, I'm busily engaged in my unabashed capitalism.
However, there is some interesting news surfacing regarding the election, and since today's inaugural events are a direct result of the election, we'll share the good news here.
Newsflash: Votes more accurate than exit polls
Ever since the election last November, the liberal kooks in this country have been harping on a few, worn out, tired theories of how John Kerry actually beat Bush. To their dismay, Election 2004 did not turn out to be Florida 2000.
They have repeatedly pointed to the exit polling data, and have said that the exit polling was more accurate than the actual voting returns. Since exit polling is sponsored by main stream media outlets, we all know that there's no chance on earth that the data was skewed to show Kerry with a lead! Why, our unbiased, non-partisan media would never stand for such a thing.
For the rest of us, that is, those of us with functioning brain matter, it was clear that the exit polling data was severely flawed. It now seems that the exit polling companies have found flaws in their data sampling methods.
Yawn. I'm glad that after three months, they have finally come to the same conclusion that the rest of us recognized on election night.
Newsflash: MSM waking up to reality of voter fraud... in BLUE STATES
Captain Ed of Captain's Quarters has been all over the voting irregularities in Wisconsin. His meticulous dissection of media reports was even noticed by the Washington Times. Kerry won the state by 11,000 votes. There are approximately 10,000 votes that are questionable. Captain Ed also points out that in Milwaukee County there were 83,000 same-day registrations this year (i.e., people who register to vote, then vote on the same day). "Which is more than 20 percent of all voting-age residents in the county."
As Captain Ed summarizes:
"If one wanted to demonstrate a case for liberal media bias, all that would be necessary would be to count the mainstream media resources committed to reporting Ohio election issues the past ten weeks against those in Wisconsin. That makes the case Rather-clear."I now return to my (Inauguration Day) capitalist endeavors.
Impotent Nations Fear Four More Years
This article is telling. In fact, forget the article and read just the title: Four More Years of Bush Makes the World Anxious.
The article, from a Reuters reporter based in Paris (need I say more), begins:
The rest of the world will be watching with anxiety when President Bush is inaugurated Thursday for a second time, fearing the most powerful man on the planet may do more harm than good.At least they recognize the fact that our president is the most powerful man on the planet. And, logically following, if he's the most powerful man on the planet, that necessarily means that the nation which he leads, the United States of America, is the most powerful nation on the planet.
Nice of these people to wisen up, isn't it? Welcome to the party, international community!
The article continues:
Many world leaders, alienated by Bush's go-it-alone foreign policy and the U.S.-led war in Iraq, would have preferred him to lose the U.S. election last November.Let's draw a correlation between the first quote and the second. They fear the most powerful man on the planet, and hoped that John Kerry would win. My logic concludes that they wanted John Kerry to win because he wouldn't be nearly as powerful as Bush, and consequently, neither would the USA.
"It is clear that this is an administration that believes in force and strength and is not particularly bothered by what other countries may think," said Guillaume Parmentier of the French Institute of International Relations in Paris.Coming from a French guy, that's intended as an insult. However, I view that statement as an accurate assessment of President Bush's determination to protect America from dangerous, terrorist thugs. France could care less about the security of my family. Germany could care less about the security of my job. President Bush, however, acts in the best interest of the citizens of the United States and freedom loving people everywhere.
So, listen up, you namby pamby world leaders: Bush won, and Kerry lost (despite the latter's attempts to hijack the election). There are even those who recognize this fact among the depressed, powerless Democratic minority in our country. In fact, one of these minority minions said yesterday the wisest thing he's ever said in his lifetime, and he was talking to you pansies:
"I spent a little time in Europe recently, and I have one simple message: Get over it. Get over it. President Bush is our president for the next four years, so get over it and start to act in your interest, Europe." - Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), during Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing to confirm U.S. Secretary of State nominee Condoleezza Rice.That's the first sensible thing I've heard a Democrat say since the election. Perhaps Senator Biden should share the same advice with John Kerry. And Barbara Boxer. And Ted Kennedy. And the liberal elites otherwise known as the Main Stream Media.
Bush is here for another four years. Get used to it, and quit whining (unless you find something substantive to discuss--but I won't hold my breath).
Smackdown: Supreme Court Style
You have to admire Michael Newdow's persistence. That's about all I can think of to admire about this guy.
In a last, futile attempt to prevent President Bush from having a prayer recited at the inauguration, Newdow had appealed to the Supreme Court. He claimed it would force him "to accept unwanted religious beliefs."
They answered today, and yet again, Newdow has wasted both his time and my tax dollars. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist rightly denied Newdow's claim, and didn't waste time explaining why.
If atheists really believe there is no God, then why are they so touchy about someone mentioning God? If they fear God, which they appear to, then they must believe in God to some extent. Why fear something that doesn't exist?
Unless, of course, they're not entirely certain about their unbelief.
Regardless, Newdow can now crawl back under the rock where he came from.
Who Hired This Crew?
Kermit the Frog asked this question of his first mate in Muppet Treasure Island. Harry Reid has got to be asking himself the same question as he chugs Maalox in the Senate cloakroom.
Side note: After much pondering, I've come up with a nickname for Harry Reid. I'll now refer to him as Harry "Rowdy" Reid. Rowdy is in reference to Clint Eastwood's character on Gunsmoke. Rowdy Yates would frequently get into hot water with the Cattle Drive Trail Boss. As punishment he was sent to ride drag behind the herd, being subject to dust, foul air, and other side effects of traveling herd of cattle. Harry Reid is riding drag these days behind a herd of jackasses commonly referred to as Senate Democrats. End of digression.
These past two weeks have given Senators Boxer and Kennedy a stage upon which Harry "Rowdy" Reid would just as soon pull them from. First Ted "Dude, Where's My Scotch" Kennedy goes on a drunken tirade against Attorney General Designate Antonio Gonzales, surpassed only by his incoherent ramblings at the National Press Club.
Then, not to be outdone, Babs Boxer takes it upon herself to be the lone dissenting vote against certifying W's victory in Ohio. Taking a lesson from Teddy, she then rambles on about voting irregularities that exist only in that fragile ecosystem know as Boxer's Brainpan. Evidently emboldened by the press hype, she then goes on a 12 minute tirade against Conolezza Rice.
Babs must have missed the first episode of the Condi show where she effectively eviscerated the leftist members of the 9/11 committee as they attempted to misrepresent her actions.
Condi took Babs to task after her 12 minute tirade. You can read the transcript of the smackdown here, but the gist of it can be boiled down to this: Condi gave Babs the equivalent of the Atomic Piledriver. Political Commentators Guido and Vinny may do the color commentary in another post.
So, who is the face of the Democratic Party? It's not Harry "Rowdy" Reid. Its people like Hillary "We are the President" Clinton, Ted "Dude Where's My Scotch" Kennedy, "Slow" Joe Biden, and Babs Boxer. With leaders like these, all W and Company have to do is get out of the way and let them run their herd off the cliff.
Final Thought: Tomorrow W will take the Oath of Office for the second time. He will do so with his left hand on a Bible and will finish the oath with the phrase, "So Help Me God". Please keep your leftist, socialist, liberal friends and co-workers away from windows and sharp objects. Its for their own safety and protection.
Here endeth the lesson.
Over the weekend the Democrats fanned out to the Sunday morning talk shows to berate W for taking on the Third Rail of American Politics, more commonly known as Social Security. It looks like their claim to relevance will be there is no looming fiscal crisis regarding Social Security, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
I'm not a great numbers person, but even I can see the problem. The number of workers contributing to the general fund is decreasing. The Baby Boom Generation is getting ready to retire. It won't be long until outlays outstrip contributions. In the business world, we have a term for this. We call it INSOLVENCY. This is a BAD THING. Anytime your expenses outstrip your revenues, your program, company, or organization will quickly go under.
With the current Social Security system, there are three things that can (but won't) be done to shore up the system. They are:
1. Raise the retirement age.Those are the only three options most people in Washington are willing to explore. They have been in Washington so long they fail to realize there is a way to increase the rate of return on the funds invested in Social Security. These funds are currently invested at the lowest possible return rate. Some places this rate is claimed to be about 1%. With inflationary forces being what they are, this means you could actually end up losing some of the principle amount - that which you invested in the first place.
2. Raise the Social Security Withholding Tax.
3. Cut benefits.
Nobody in their right mind would invest some 13% of their income in this system. If this was the rate offered by your 401K, you'd take your financial advisor and throw him/her under the bus.
This brings up another important point. I have tried to explain this in the past, but you leftist, socialist, poverty redistributing boneheads can't seem to get the idea through your over educated thick heads. I will therefore initiate the use of colorful metaphors to improve your educational absorption levels. Read the following very slowly and carefully:
IT'S MY MONEY, DAMMIT!
I go to work (most) every day. I'm very good at my chose profession, so therefore I make a fairly decent living. The money I make is mine first. Not yours. Frankly, I'm really tired of the way you invest it. A monkey throwing darts at a stock table can do better than 1%.
W ran on this platform. People like knowing they'll actually be able to keep more of what they earn and put it towards a more comfortable retirement rather than throwing it down another government rathole.
It really is that simple.
Here endeth the lesson.
PS. Go Condi!!
Score: Courts 2, Newdow 0.
That's gonna leave a mark.
Boneheads - Foreign and Domestic
We'll start today's bonehead list on the domestic side with Michael Newdow, Part II.
For those of you who have forgotten Mr. Newdow, he is the guy who spearheaded the effort to have the words "Under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance via Judicial Fiat. He managed to get the 9th Circus Court of Appeals to agree with him only to be personally slapped down by the Supremes.
I'm not much on reading Supreme Court rulings, but although the justices went out of their way to skirt the issue Newdow raised, they made a point to personally rebuke him as one lacking stature to bring the case in the first place. So, Mike, if you really want to know what that means, let me summarize - You Don't Rate!
Evidently, Mr. Newdow didn't understand the Supreme Slap and has therefore come back on two fronts. The first is a lawsuit to remove the Bible, the prayers, and the words "So Help Me God" from W's inauguration next Thursday (ruling due out today, and preliminary indications don't bode well for Newdow). The second is a repeat Pledge lawsuit, this time including other "offended" atheists in his quest.
Memo to Mr. Newdow: There is no guaranteed "Freedom From Offense" in the Constitution. If there was, I'd be the first one to sue you.
Second, and as much as I like the Brits I can't let this one slide. Prince Harry. What kind of idiot pulls this kind of stunt? My guess, and it is only that, is Harry's understanding of History is severely lacking. Good luck on living this one down Harry.
Incoherent Mumblings of a Drunk
Note to self: Never read a Ted "Dude Where's My Scotch" Kennedy speech right after breakfast.
Teddy managed to stumble over to the National Press Club yesterday and deliver a rambling, wandering, incoherent diatribe that evidently passed for a major democratic policy speech. According to the transcript, he even got a few applause breaks. What do you expect? It is, after all and by definition, a Press Club.
His speech offered no new direction for a quasi-national party that is taking on water and in danger of sinking into the sea of irrelevance. He spoke of increases in tax rates and the minimum wage, obstructing social security reform, and a policy of appeasement and surrender in the war on terror.
Perhaps Teddy has yet to recover from the post-election stupor. John "Lurch" Kerry tried the approach and lost by nearly 4 million votes. So dense is Teddy's stupor he believes that with just a few swing votes in strategic states the Dems could have won the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. Teddy's most memorable statement on this issue was:
We, as Democrats, may be in the minority in Congress, but we speak for the majority of Americans. If we summon the courage and the determination to take our stand and state it clearly, I'm convinced the battles that lie ahead will yield our greatest victories.In the State of Reality in which most of us are required to operate understand that having a minority of House seats and a minority of Senate seats in addition to winning a minority of all votes cast means Teddy and his drinking buddies represent a minority of the American People.
If you read this speech carefully, you'll see it for what it is - a Presidential Stump Speech. You see, deep down inside Teddy feels like he was cheated. As the last of the Kennedy brethren, he felt entitled to follow in the footsteps of Jack and Bobby to his birthright - that being the big chair in the Oval Office.
That said, Teddy's presidential ambitions were cut short the day he found out that drinking, driving, bridges, and rivers don't mix. Sadly, Mary Jo Kopechne ended up with the ultimate in Kennedy raw deals as Teddy left her to drown at Chapaquiddick. You see, Teddy, it takes a real man to sit in that chair and when the accounts are settled, you just don't measure up.
Except in places like the National Press Club.
Here endeth the lesson.
It seems that Portuga and I have some fundamental disagreements regarding the status of detainees currently being held at the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay - and no doubt other disclosed and undisclosed locations world wide. As the comments differ from the original subject of the post, I've decided to open a new thread for better discussion.
"Illegal Combatant" is probably the best legal term to describe these detainees. If you'd care to explore the Geneva Convention as it relates to the treatment of Prisoners of War, you'd find specific requirements for protection under this treaty/convention.
In order to be considered a "legal" combatant, the following criteria must be met:
4A(2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, provided that they fulfill the following conditions:Now, if you'll consider the above listed requirements carefully, you'll find that the Al Qeda and Taliban terrorists meet none of them. They represent no recognized country or power, wear no uniforms, use civilian facilities for military purposes, and do not conduct operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign (eg Uniform) recognizable at a distance;
(c) that of carrying arms openly;
(d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
Words mean things. The Geneva Convention means something. It means if you don't fulfill the requirements set forth in the convention, you don't get the protections guaranteed by the same document. Period.
So, if the detainees in Gitmo aren't legal according to the Geneva Convention, it means that they are little more than a band of thugs - and will be treated as such.
I will also here reiterate the fact the treatment they receive at Gitmo is far better than any given to American servicemen in similar circumstance.
Now you may not like the way they are interrogated at Gitmo. Hell, you probably don't like the fact they are interrogated at all. Tough. You see, these thugs came at us first. They knocked down the Twin Towers and tore a hole in the side of the Pentagon killing some 3,000 of my countrymen in the process. If the only way to get valuable intel out of them is to make them uncomfortable by blaring the latest Snoop Dog CD in their ears, wrapping them in an Israeli flag and eating Jimmy Dean sausage in front of them - so be it. This is war. War is not won by being nice.
You remind me somewhat of a scene from The Untouchables just after Eliot Ness and Jimmy Malone have captured Al Capone's book keeper. The Book Keeper won't talk and so Malone walks outside the house, finds the corpse of one of Capone's thugs, props it against the window. Sticking a gun in the mouth of the corpse he says:
What's the matter? Can't you talk with a gun in your mouth? I'm gonna give you to the count of three to tell me what I want to know. One...two...three!With that he blows the head of the corpse off and the mortified Book Keeper spills the beans on Capone. Also mortified was a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman who looked at Eliot Ness and said:
Mr. Ness! I do not approve of your methods!To which Ness responded:
Oh yeah? Well, you're not from Chicago!You may not approve of our methods, but don't go around trying to give unearned status and acceptance to terrorists and their band of murdering thugs.
Here endeth the lesson.
Rage Against The Machine
This past week has truly showcased some of the highest comedy ever to grace the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol. This would be funny if it wasn't so frelling pathetic.
On the same day we had the ridiculous ramblings of lunatic left wing lawmakers objecting to the counting of Ohio's 20 electoral votes thus delaying the inevitable certification of W's victory. This staged event was brought to you by none other than Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) Maxine Waters (D-California), Charlie Rangel (D-New York), and the only loony senator stupid enough to lend her not so distinguished name to the rest of the rabble - Barbara Boxer (D-California).
On behalf of the more intelligent population of California, I, as a native Californian, take it upon myself to apologize for the conduct of California's elected congressional delegation. They are, with very few exceptions, national embarrassments and have been for far too many years.
But I digress.
Somehow the left wing loonies masquerading as democrats find it difficult to believe they could actually lose an election. A loss must mean fraud in their minds, even when there is no evidence to support the charge. Lest we forget, in their minds (although I hesitate to define the somewhat grey matter between their ears as a 'mind') the charge of fraud is more important and damning than is the requirement of evidence to support such a charge.
Despite their best efforts, W's victory was certified, but not until two hours of whining had been endured. I had C-SPAN on in the background and thought I heard my infant daughter crying. I was mistaken. It was only Boxer airing her objections.
On this same day we also had the grilling of Attorney General Nominee Antonio Gonzales. This gave people like Ted "Dude Where's My Scotch" Kennedy an opportunity to take shots at a man who may well be nominated to the Supreme Court.
Much has been made about Gonzales stand on torture in regards to the treatment of prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. For the record, I give you the Mirriam-Webster definition of torture:
Main Entry: 1tor·tureAs much as the democrats would like you to believe to the contrary, there hasn't been any torture of any prisoners in US custody. If you believe being made to feel uncomfortable is torture, I shake my head in your general direction. You'll forgive me if I don't mind the discomfort of people who would like to behead me and my family.
Etymology: French, from Late Latin tortura, from Latin tortus, past participle of torquEre to twist; probably akin to Old High German drAhsil turner, Greek atraktos spindle
1 a : anguish of body or mind : AGONY b : something that causes agony or pain
2 : the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure
3 : distortion or overrefinement of a meaning or an argument :
Gonzales will be confirmed - much to the disgust of Teddy and Company.
As a final note, Teddy made mention of one of the alleged torture techniques that evidently simulates drowning. At least on that issue we know Teddy speaks from personal knowledge.
Here endeth the lesson.
Dems: Deep-Sea Diving to Rearrange Titanic Deck Chairs
It's one thing to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic as it's sinking.
It's an entirely different thing to dive hundreds of feet through dark, icy water to rearrange deck chairs on a ship that will never again see the light of day.
That, my friends, is exactly what some Democrats in Congress are attempting. In their world, the election isn't over yet. John Kerry may have lost the election, but George W. Bush didn't win it. These people never give up. The House Dems found a Senate co-conspirator to force Congress to interrupt tallying the Electoral College vote: Barbara Boxer.
I know, you're surprised.
By law, a protest signed by members of the House and Senate requires both chambers to meet separately for up to two hours to consider it...Hey Boxer, why don't we take a closer look at Pennsylvania? Or Michigan? After all, if you want the American people to "know the facts" surrounding the election, shouldn't we look in places where your guy weaseled out a dubious lead? Where's the concern over voting irregularities in those states? Where are the demands for recounts, and the discussion of voter disenfranchisement?
"I have concluded that objecting to the electoral votes from Ohio is the only immediate way to bring these issues to light by allowing you to have a two-hour debate to let the American people know the facts surrounding Ohio's election," Boxer wrote in a letter to Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, a leader of the Democratic effort.
Oh, oh, I see... it's only when you Democrats lose that you care about black voters, or care about voting irregularities.
Kerry, for his part, is conveniently out of the country:
Underscoring that the outcome was not in doubt, Kerry, who [wisely] conceded to Bush the day after the Nov. 2 election, said he would not join the [pathetic] challenge. The four-term Massachusetts senator was [conveniently] in the Middle East, thanking U.S. troops [for the excuse to leave the U.S. to thank them] for their service.He'll present a plan later? Where have we heard that before? I guess that was the real John Kerry we saw during the campaign!
In a statement, Kerry said there are "very troubling questions" about the Ohio [and Pennsylvania and Michigan] voting and he would present a plan later to improve voting procedures.
To offer a little help to our Democratic counterparts, here's a tip: Want to win an election? Forget your lawyers and focus on your candidates and, while you're at it, mainstream American values.
Year End Comments
I begin 2005 slightly behind the power curve after returning from a much needed holiday vacation in the lands of my ancestors. Much celebration was made over the holidays, most of it centered around the off-key singing of carols in a fashion reminiscent of a bunch of drunken thugs - this despite the absence of any alcoholic substance of any kind.
To return to the serious, if only for a moment, I must say I agree whole heartedly with Secretary Powell's assessment of the destruction caused by the Asian Tsunami. It is very hard for me to wrap my brain around the death of so many and the destruction of so much.
That said, I am very proud of my country's response to this tragedy. Americans have opened up their hearts and checkbooks to give relief to the suffering of a people they will most likely never meet. We are a giving people, and this tragedy has brought out the best from America.
The USS Abraham Lincoln Battle Group along with an Amphibious Battle Group have been dispatched to the region. These naval assets, despite their official Battle Group designations, approach the Asian coast at the time of this writing not as a conquering force but one of relief, goodwill, and hope.
And now, dear reader, a question. Could you please name for me a nation or organization with the ability to organize such a relief effort and have the infrastructure, personnel, and expertise to deliver this aid anywhere in the world on little or no notice?
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
And finally - Reggie White.
Reggie White died on Sunday, December 26, 2004 of complications resulting from a lung infection known as Sarcoidosis.
I have long admired Reggie White as a football player. He is, in my humble opinion, the best defensive end ever to don the uniform. He lit up the fields first for the Philadelphia Eagles and then for the Green Bay Packers. On Sunday afternoons it was a joy to watch the Minister of Defense as he tore his way through offensive linemen, running backs, and quarterbacks on his way to delivering migraines to offensive coordinators from sea to shining sea. If Reggie was across the ball from you, you'd better find yourself some help.
A lot of help.
I could go on about his qualities as a football player. But I won't. What I admired most about the man was his devotion to his faith. The moniker "Minister of Defense" is not altogether a joke. Reggie was an ordained minister, of what church I forget. It was in this light that he held a prayer service after each game - right on the field. If you were to look out on that field you'd find players from both teams and both sides of the ball gathered in a circle on bended knees with joined hands as Reggie led them in prayer.
Reggie White epitomized that which is largely missing from American pop culture today. He conducted himself with a quiet dignity that drew respect from all with whom he came in contact. As a defensive end he was powerful and ruthless. He'd beat on you all afternoon and then embrace you and pray with you afterward. Today's professional athletes could learn a lot from his example.
Yes, Rod Artest. I'm talking about you.
Godspeed Reggie. Welcome home.
Here endeth the lesson.