Thursday, May 31, 2007
Rule Of Law At Work In Iraq
Everyone is at times faced with difficult professional decisions. Decisions sometimes have to be made using the best information available and oft times without being able to consult supervisors or other higher authority. Some people agonize over these decisions to the point they become paralyzed by fear and end up doing nothing – thereby causing the situation to get worse than it otherwise needs be.
Michael Yon’s latest dispatch from Iraq tells of the exceptionally difficult circumstance confronting Army Lieutenant Colonel Doug Crissman. I commend to you Yon’s entire article. While it is lengthy, I can’t find a single word that doesn’t belong therein. Crissman had to take down a respected Iraqi who had violated General Petraeus’ “Values Doctrine” which basically says coalition forces will not participate in the abuse of anyone. The Iraqi in question betrayed this doctrine and therefore had to be removed from power. Crissman didn’t have time to debate the issue, and the way in which he dealt with the Iraqi was truly unique. He deserves a medal. Yon deserves a Pulitzer.
Yon does an incredible job describing Iraq from the ground level. He far outshines any MSM reporter and I can tell he has the respect of those about whom he writes. He knows whereof he speaks. I find his description of the insurgent Al Qaeda-Iraq (AQI) forces to be the best single sentence of the entire dispatch:
AQI operatives are not amenable to change, so there was killing to be done.There are some people who cannot be negotiated with.
Read the whole thing.
Here endeth the lesson.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Hillary's Idea Of Fairness
You’ve heard the time honored adage “Life’s Not Fair”. Well, Hillary Clinton wants to change that. She’s convinced that all the unfairness in life – specifically that which exists in the economic sphere – can be removed by government intervention. Having learned absolutely nothing from her colossal failure in attempting to socialize 1/7th of the US economy, she’s now ready, willing, and able to try socializing the whole thing.
There is no greater force for economic growth than free markets.But in the very same breath she contradicts the very fundamental principles upon which free markets function:
But markets work best with rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed. Fairness doesn't just happen. It requires the right government policies. (Emphasis Added)Fairness to Hillary and her ilk means implementing government policies aimed at the redistribution of wealth – more correctly defined as the redistribution of poverty. Don’t forget this is the same woman who once declared:
Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you. We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good. (Emphasis Added)Think about that for a second, dear reader. Are you ready to live in a society where “fairness” and the “common good” are decided by Hillary Clinton?
Hillary Clinton has no more clear understanding of free market capitalism than she does of particle physics. Free Markets operate on fundamental rules which dictate that some people win, and some people lose. Government attempts to dictate “fairness” most often end up creating less opportunity and more “losers” than would have existed had Government done nothing in the first place. Don’t believe me? Fine. Go read George Will. He’s got the numbers and sources to prove the point. Facts are stubborn things.
How does Hillary propose to lift impoverished Americans? Not through job creation, economic stimulus via tax cuts, or any other proven method. She has vowed
to expand and simplify the earned income tax credit; create new jobs by pursuing energy independence; and ensure that every American has affordable health insurance.How, pray tell, does one create jobs by “pursuing energy independence"? Is Hillary planning on paying people to ride stationary bicycles to power Al Gore’s energy hog of a house?
This nation’s economic prosperity is driven by people who strive to succeed in their chosen field – those who believe they can accomplish their dreams no matter what obstacles stand in their way. Successful people understand that life isn’t fair. They don’t expect it to be fair and often succeed despite government rules and regulations designed to handicap them.
What this economy needs is less regulation, not more of it – less government intrusion rather than the alternative.
The alternative, dear reader, is a nation where you get to do what you like – as long as Hillary thinks you’re playing fair in the sandbox. If what she wanted to do to healthcare scared you, wait until she gets her hands on the whole economy and not just a portion thereof.
I don't know about you, but I'll take an "on your own" economy over a Hillary "all in this together" economy every single time the choice is posed.
Here endeth the lesson.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Memorial Day 2007
Memorial Day means different things to different people. The holiday itself can be traced back to 1868 when “Decoration Day” was instituted as a day in which to decorate the graves of those who died in the Civil War. From those humble beginnings we now have the holiday that, among other things, signals the official start of summer.
It has always been a day to remember those brave individuals who gave the last full measure of devotion to their country on the battlefield. What began as a day where places like Fredericksburg, Charlottesville, and Gettysburg were mentioned today finds us trying to pronounce names like Fallujah, Khandahar, and Al Anbar. It is a day in which warriors will remember their fallen comrades.
I am a child of the United States Army. Father Cordeiro was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant shortly after I was born. For most of my childhood and a good chunk of my adolescent years if my address did not have the word “Fort”, “Presidio”, or “APO” in it, I did not feel like I was truly home. To me, the men and women of the United States Military have, and always will be, family.
This Memorial Day, like most others, will find many Americans enjoying this truly American holiday. Many hot dogs and burgers will be grilled, and the odd steak will be accidentally carbonized. While it is all together fitting and proper that these festivities take place, it should be remembered these events happen under the umbrella of freedom which has been purchased and defended at an exceedingly high price – often with the very best men and women this country has to offer.
So, dear reader, celebrate Memorial Day – but as you do, take time to remember those who made such a holiday possible.
Here endeth the lesson.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Brian Ross Defines Irresponsible Journalism
Secret. Classified. Black Ops. Covert operations.
To most rational people those words mean things you should think about before broadcasting them to the world. Brian Ross, and his cohort Richard Esposito are not rational people. Neither are the “current and former intelligence officials” responsible for leaking the classified information regarding W’s Presidential Finding on Iran.
There is no real revelation in Ross’ reporting. Anyone with half a brain cell knows there’s no love lost between the United States and Iran. That situation has remained unchanged for over 30 years now. Given the facts that Iran is racing toward a nuclear weapon and is directly responsible for providing weapons to the Iraqi insurgency that is killing US troops I would be surprised if W hadn’t authorized some covert action against the Islamofacist Murdering Thug Mullahs in Tehran.
Ross claims his “sources” report the “non-lethal” Presidential Finding authorizes
coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions.In short, no military force has been authorized.
The left won’t bother to read those details. They don’t care about details. They will read the words “covert action” and immediately launch into an anti-Iran war fervor. Iran will start whining about US involvement in their private affairs. In short, much fuss will be made.
Brian Ross knows this. He lives for it. He believes he’s doing his civic duty by exposing this “Black Op” and thereby embarrassing the President of the United States during time of war.
So, dear reader – especially those who object to the use of force - what would you rather W do? Bring down the Thug Mullahs using non-lethal means, or just go in and bomb the hell out of them once and for all?
Well, for those of you who favor non-violent means of dealing with America’s enemies, Brian Ross & Company just made it much harder to do so.
Thanks a lot, Brian.
Here endeth the lesson.
Hillary Fails Separation Of Power Test
I’m beginning to think there’s not one single Democrat US Senator who understands the fundamental Constitutional concept of Separation of Powers. Patrick “Leaky” Leahy believes Congress has the power to dictate the hiring and firing procedures of the Executive Branch as does “Up” Chuck Schumer. Dusty Harry Reid (D-Circus Circus) believes now that he has a one seat majority in the Senate that he’s the de-facto leader of the free world. No word if he’s checked that out with The Pelosi.
Now it’s no secret that Hillary Clinton wants to be president. She’s been running for this since her time at Yale. Her eight year proximity to the Oval Office left her wanting it for herself, and if she has her way she’ll assume the Big Chair in January 2009. Until then she’s limited to sniping at the current White House occupant while she suffers from her own delusions of relevancy.
Today she saw fit to issue an edict from her senatorial office to the Office of the Secretary of Defense “instructing” him to prepare the US Armed Forces for a withdrawal from Iraq. She demands that he bow to the
express will of the Congress to implement a phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraqand draw up retreat plans to be implemented as soon as she can declare defeat.
Hillary evidently missed the High School Civics lesson where the powers of each of the three co-equal branches of government were explained. The Executive Branch of the United States Government – personified by the Chief Executive – is vested with the power of Commander-In-Chief of the United States Armed Forces. That office is currently occupied by George W. Bush, respectfully referred to by this blog as W.
The long and the short of this Constitutional explanation is – the US Armed Forces answer to one man, and one man alone. That man is the President. He gives the orders and those orders are followed. The Congress can have all the “express will” it wants, but the US Armed Forces don’t answer to anyone of the 535 wanna-be commanders on Capitol Hill. Some Members of Congress and Senators understand that. Hillary and most of the Senate Jackasses do not.
The Constitution provides for a Congressional check on Presidential use of the Armed Forces with the Power of the Purse. As Hillary no doubt knows, her party caved to the will of W (and the American People) yesterday by cutting surrender language from the latest war appropriation bill.
I personally hope the SECDEF appropriately files Hillary’s condescending politically motivated demand letter. There is a plan to bring the troops home – that’s when victory over the Islamofacist Murdering Thugs has been achieved. I believe General Petraeus is far more capable of doing that than Hillary will ever be.
Here endeth the lesson.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Blogfather Hugh Takes One For the Team
Yes, I did paraphrase Dean Barnett’s headline. He’s a lawyer, maybe he’ll sue. I know I can buy him off with a pastrami sandwich and a cold Coke. But I digress.
Last week the Senate came forth from on high and declared a deal had been reached regarding illegal immigration. No hearings were held, no witnesses were called. John “Squish” McCain stood with a surprisingly upright Ted “Scotch” Kennedy and pushed for passage in order to avoid “extracurricular” politics from deriding this legislation.
Well, Blogfather Hugh spent the weekend doing something few people (even politicians) actually do. He read the legislation. Now I’ve had the responsibility to read through various pieces of legislation for one reason or another. From personal experience I can tell you its about as riveting as watching an infomercial at two o’clock in the morning. It could put a newly dosed crystal meth addict into a coma. In short, its mind numbing.
Nevertheless, Hugh went through it page, by page, by page, by page, by page, by page, by page, by page. How he did it I’m not sure, but I think its reasonable to assume the price of coffee in Orange County has gone up since Friday.
Supporters of this bill don’t want the particulars debated. Case and point is John McCain’s meltdown when questioned by fellow Senator John Cornyn (R-Tx). McCain’s inability to effectively deal with detractors bodes ill for his presidential ambitions – whatever is left of them anyway.
The time when deals like this could be passed in the dead of night without public scrutiny has come and gratefully gone. That said, the devil is always in the details. Actually reading this stuff can be exceedingly painful. Memo to Blogfather Hugh: Next time you’re in DC, your choice of beverage (adult or otherwise) is on me.
Here endeth the lesson.
The Incredible Shrinking Jimmy Carter
From what I’ve read about former Presidents, the transition from being the most powerful man in the world to private citizen is a hard one to make. One day you’re the focus of world attention and the next you have to get your own coffee. Some men handle this well. Others don’t.
Jimmy Carter hasn’t handled the transition well at all. Maybe it’s the fact that Ronaldus Magnus handed him the singular biggest electoral loss in this nation’s history. Perhaps it’s the fact that most historians skip over his presidency with only a passing mention of America’s most embarrassing foreign policy disaster on the highlight reel.
Personally, I think he’s still bitter that the Iranian Mullahs sent the hostages home right after he left office. They knew Reagan wouldn’t put up with their crap like Jimmy Carter did.
Whatever the reason may be, Carter sees fit to inject himself into any situation where he can garner headlines – especially if that limelight comes at the expense of a sitting republican president.
Over the weekend, Carter gave an interview to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette where he referred to the W Administration as:
I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history.He also referred to outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s support of W as:
Abominable. Loyal. Blind. Apparently subservient.This from a man who’s lackluster sorry excuse for an administration gave birth to such memorable accomplishments as the Misery Index, Economic “Malaise”, and last but certainly not least, the 444 day Iranian Hostage Crisis.
Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy was the single biggest failure of America in the past century. His non-response to the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran can be pointed to as the seminal moment in the rise of Islamic extremism which we face today. To save his administration from the blame it so rightly deserved, he turned to a military which he had spent all four years of his administration hollowing out and asked it to do an impossible task with impossible restrictions on its operators. Desert One, like the Commander-In-Chief that ordered it, was a colossal failure.
If you’re looking for good things Carte has done since being thrown out of the White House, you can only find his efforts with Habitat for Humanity. Other than that you’re left with his unsolicited ambassadorial efforts in North Korea, Haiti, and the Middle East. Despite having won a Nobel Peace Prize, you won’t find success in any of those ventures.
After the White House fired back at Jimmy, branding him as “increasingly irrelevant” (I’m not sure who thinks he ever really was relevant) Carter now claims his remarks were “misinterpreted”. Sorry, Jimmy, you’re not going to be able to hide behind the age old political cover of being “taken out of context”. There is but one context for your remarks, and it is despicable.
The Carter legacy is only one of failure and embarrassment – even a casual student of history is forced to admit that. Jimmy Carter shows up at events only to be recognized as a democratic has-been who was responsible for ushering in twelve year run of Republicans in the White House.
I guess that’s to be expected from a man who was more concerned with who used the White House tennis courts than he was with America standing up to overseas dictators and thugs.
Here endeth the lesson.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Lipstick On The Perfumed Pig
Anytime Ted “Dude, Where’s My Scotch” Kennedy can stand erect long enough to endorse a piece of legislation, you can bet your bottom dollar trouble is brewing someplace. Well, yesterday he managed to stand long enough to announce, flanked by Arlen Specter and John “Squish” McCain, the “compromise” immigration deal.
The aforementioned Senators had barely left the podium before the details of the “deal” began to leak forth. I listened as Blogfather Hugh nearly hyperventilated about the capitulation effort undertaken by the GOP as it flirts with self destruction. Michelle documents some of the Right’s reaction and points you to an NZ Bear picture which I might or might not have adjusted in some form or fashion here. Rick Moran's blood pressure is dangerously high, and his latest post gave me the inspiration for the title of this post.
A marketing professor of mine once stated (although not attributable to him) that you can put a lot of perfume and lipstick on a pig, but at the end of the day, you’ll still have a pig. That, dear reader, is exactly what the Senate put forth yesterday. A small group of self-centered Senators worked behind closed doors to generate a bill which exceeds some 4,000 pages in length. NZ Bear put it up against the Bible, and the Bible lost out by a few hundred pages. He’s lucky the table didn’t break.
The idea behind their efforts is to have a day or so of debate on this behemoth of a bill and then vote on it with the expectation that it will become law before anyone has a chance to actually read the thing. When movie makers know they’ve made a bomb of a film, they keep it close hold – even from the critics – until its released. They do this hoping that enough people will pay to see the movie before everyone figures out it deserves a Raspberry and not an Oscar. Scotch Kennedy and Squish McCain have this same hope. As much as I loathe to take shots at W, he’s as complicit in this as the rest of them.
The more I learn about this “deal”, the less I like it. We as a nation have the inherent right to dictate who has the privilege of entering this country. Those who have broken the law to get here should not be rewarded nor get a head start on those who have obeyed the immigration laws and are waiting their turn. Giving amnesty to law breakers (yes, that’s what they are) doesn’t serve the greater good of this nation. Scotch Kennedy never had that as a goal anyway.
Blogfather Hugh went to the effort to give you the name and phone number of every single Senate Republican. Democrats aren’t interested in the rule of law or the security implications of an exceptionally porous border. May I add my encouragement to his plea that you call these people and let them know you’re not interested in the McCain Kennedy Pig v 2.0. No matter how much lipstick they paint it with or how many gallons of cheap perfume they pour on it, its still a pig.
This nation deserves better.
Here endeth the lesson.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Major Douglas A. Zembiec, United States Marine Corps
I am very much a fan of Blackfive’s Someone You Should Know and Fallen But Not Forgotten series. Matt provides far better information than I have time to get, so normally I leave the memorials in his capable hands. That said, when I came across his posting on Major Douglas A. Zembiec, USMC, I had to add my name to the list of Zembiec admirers.
Major Zembiec was killed in action last week during a Baghdad firefight. He had previously distinguished himself several times on the battlefield – earning a Bronze Star (with the Combat “V”) and two Purple Hearts. He was known in Iraq as the Lion of Fallujah – a moniker he no doubt earned under fire. He was, by all accounts, a Marine’s Marine. I know several active and retired Marines, and I feel safe in saying there are few higher honors one Marine can bestow upon another.
You can tell a lot about a man by the people who make the effort to attend his funeral. Zembiec was laid to rest in the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery yesterday. Some 40 of Zembiec’s enlisted men were in attendance – some coming from as far away as Camp Pendleton in California. One Marine officer was quoted as saying “Your men have to follow your orders; they don't have to go to your funeral.”
Also in attendance were some 15 generals in addition to several other active-duty and retired Marine officers. Again, nobody is required to attend these ceremonies. I did not have the honor of meeting Major Zembiec – but I can tell he had the respect of those he served under, and those he commanded. I found a photo essay tribute to Major Zembiec here.
I was touched by some thoughts Zembiec had jotted down in several notebooks – things he wanted to accomplish, things he wanted to impart unto others. Here’s what was shared with the Washington Post’s Dan Morse:
Become the greatest husband and father ever.Most of the above quoted lines came under the heading “Principles my father taught me.” Would that we had more fathers imparting such wisdom unto their sons and daughters.
Be a man of principle. Fight for what you believe in. Keep your word. Live with integrity. Be brave. Believe in something bigger than yourself. Serve your country.
Teach. Mentor. Give something back to society. Lead from the front. Conquer your fears. Be a good friend. Be humble and be self-confident.
Appreciate your friends and family. Be a leader and not a follower. Be valorous on the field of battle. And take responsibility for your actions.
Major Zembiec leaves behind a wife (Pamela) and a one-year-old daughter Fallyn. I hope Fallyn learns the principles her father taught all of us.
Here endeth the lesson.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Every City Has Its Idiot
In Salt Lake City, they call that idiot “Mayor”.
Last Friday, Sean Hannity flew to Salt Lake City to debate Mayor Ross “Rocky” Anderson. I call it a debate using only the most liberal definition of that word because the whole exchange (most of which can be seen here) only showed Anderson’s ability to parrot the Daily Kos talking points he gets every morning. Anderson is and has been a huge embarrassment to Salt Lake City for his entire tenure as its mayor.
He’s spent more time flying around the country protesting against the W Administration than he has governing Salt Lake City. Even when he’s in town, he only shows his fact at protest rallies. Perhaps I’m being a bit too judgmental. He did, after all, take time to encourage city workers to avoid drinking bottled water thereby fighting global warming. I’m sure Salt Lake City residents are looking forward to the post-Anderson era.
Hollywood has no shortage of people vying to become the official village idiot. The list of applicants is long and less than distinguished but this week’s winner is none other than Paris Hilton. She’s won an all expense paid 44 night 45 day excursion to the Los Angeles County Jail courtesy of the taxpayers of the aforementioned county.
As it turns out, driving drunk whilst in the possession of a suspended driver’s license whilst on probation for DUI qualifies her for the aforementioned vacation. If you follow the link, you’ll read of her whining – and that of her mother – about the “cruel and unwarranted” to be inflicted on Ms. Hilton starting June 5th.
Memo to Paris: Stop whining. Your 45 day visit to LA County’s Guest House is what we in the real world refer to as “consequences”. Keep on your current course and you can expect more of them. I hope you like the shapeless orange jumpsuits.
Memo to Kathy Hilton: Stop whining. Perhaps if you’d taught Paris about consequences – perhaps taken away her toys or something – you might have been able to avoid this entire mess. Paris isn’t going to jail because she’s Paris. She’s going to jail because she’s stupid.
Stupidity has consequences, even in Los Angeles.
Here endeth the lesson.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
One Of The Last Old Bold Pilots
I like museums – most of them anyway. My favorite one is the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum on the National Mall and the Udvar-Hazy Annex near Dulles Airport. I like going to these places because they celebrate the Americans who pioneered flight. It reminds me that it hasn’t been that long since the idea of man leaving the ground made many people laugh.
A little over a half-century ago, brave men put themselves at great risk to journey into space atop dangerous rockets and experimental capsules – just to prove that it could be done. Neil Armstrong journeyed to the moon and back using a computer with less power than my wristwatch – and he made it look easy.
Well, before Armstrong there were guys like Wally Schirra. Schirra was one of the seven original Mercury astronauts. He died today at the age of 84.
The aviation world gets a little smaller each time guys like Schirra pass on. Schirra knew that exploration was fraught with risks and he went anyway. He blazed a trail most of us today consider commonplace. Every single astronaut who walked on the moon did so thanks to Wally Schirra. I think its important to recognize those who made the impossible something we accept today as normal.
Here endeth the lesson.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
It’s Hard Out There For A Pimp
Beware the Ides of May.
Yes, I know many Shakespearian scholars’ eyes just rolled all the way back in their collective head, but since this is my blog I reserve the right of poetic license – even with the Bard.
I’m not a big fan of Brian Ross or his “Investigative Team” at ABCNews’ Blotter. The Blotter crew seems intent on digging up as much dirt on Washington as is humanly and cybernetically possible. They’ve learned (thanks to Mark Foley’s antics) that salacious sex stories attract eyeballs. Jeane Palfrey, now known infamously as the “DC Madam”, knows the value of sex all too well and now that she’s been pinched by the Feds, she’s decided pimping Brian Ross & Company might help her in the long run.
As long as DC is airing its filthy laundry on the Blotter, let’s call Palfrey what she really is. The title of “Madam” implies an air of dignity and grace which doesn’t apply to Palfrey. Palfrey is little more than a Pimp.
She’s hoping that naming clients’ names and phone numbers will get the Feds to cut her some slack – if in fact she can embarrass enough of DC’s power players. Brain Ross and the Blotter Crew are in this strictly for a ratings boost during Sweeps Week. Why else would anyone with a DVD player watch 20/20?
I don’t know Jeane Palfrey. My name is not on her list. Having said that, I’m comfortable in also stating that I have no interest in knowing who made use of her services. If she did run a high-class prostitution ring, then she violated the law and she’ll do the time. The federal beast has little respect for who it runs over. Ask Scooter Libby.
So I guess there is truth to the lyrics of the 2007Academy Award winning song “It’s Hard Out There For A Pimp”. Palfrey is going down – just how far and how fast has yet to be determined.
Somehow during the unfolding of this – yet another manufactured DC scandal – Brian Ross became judge, jury, and proverbial executioner of the names on this list. Whom will he mention? Whom will he protect? Will he use the names on the list to further his journalistic agenda and his career?
Some of this we might find out. Most of it we won’t. I guess the only question I’d like the answer to is this: Hey Brian! How does it feel to be pimped?
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Here endeth the lesson.