Thursday, June 28, 2007

Surge Part III by Vegas Art Guy

Update #1...
Iraq the Model has got more news on the effectiveness of the new strategy employed in Iraq. The authors of this blog live in Iraq and are an excellent source of information regarding what is really going on over there. In short the Iraqis are really starting to turn on the insurgents and have thrown their lot in with the coalition troops.

"Iraqis are awakening, one very telling example can be seen in the ongoing operation in Diyala; members of the 1920 revolution brigades, once bitter enemies of the US military and Iraqi government are now assisting US and Iraqi military in fighting al-Qaeda even though the majority of the Iraqi soldiers and officers are Shia.
If the change in exclusively Sunni Anbar is good then the change in Diyala is good beyond words."

Need I say more about what's going on? This is a far cry from what you hear in the news about Iraq and the quagmire it's become.

Over at Burkean Reflections, Dr. Douglas has an interesting read about the military strategy behind the Surge in Iraq. Despite what Senator Reid and many on the left believe, the early signs, while mixed, are becoming more and more positive, especially in the Anbar province, once considered enemy territory.

I've commented here, here and here about Iraq, Iran's role in Iraq, and some well deserved justice for Iraqi kurds. In short there is more going on here than the MSM lets on too. Considering the liberal leanings of the MSM I'm not a bit surprised by this.

His opinion and the testimony that he's reacting to are both easy to read and very informative. One of the biggest surprises about this new strategy is the stunning success in Anbar where we now have the support and cooperation of local and tribal leaders in the fight against Al Queda and the like.

Michael Yon has also seen first hand the effects of this new strategy and mistakes by AQ as noted in Betsy's Page, who also has some good insights into what is actually happening in Iraq.

One of the most interesting things that I read in the article is that security has to be established before real political progress can be made. And while things are far from over and the Iraq's ability to defend themselves has progressed unevenly, it is progressing. Obviously it's going to take some time to undo the mistakes that the Bush administration made from 2003-2007, but it's folly of the highest order to say that we've failed with this new strategy, especially considering all of the additional troops have only recently been deployed and some equipment is still en route.

It took us 4 years to screw this up, it's going to take more than a couple of months to fix it.

Divinitus Inspiratus - by navyblue

The SEAL Community remembers with pride the eleven Navy SEAL patriots killed in Afghanistan, June 28, 2005, while conducting counter-terrorist and rescue operations.

On the second anniversary of those losses I want to gratefully acknowledge the sacrifice of the following warriors of the Naval Special Warfare Community:

The five SEALs from SEAL Team TEN who were lost are:

Chief Petty Officer Jacques J. Fontan, 36, Class 219
LCDR Erik S. Kristensen, 33, Class 233
Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffery A. Lucas, 33, Class 191
LT Michael M. McGreevy, Jr., 30, Class 230
Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey S. Taylor, 30, Class 229

The SEAL from SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team TWO who was lost is:

Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz, 25, Class 232

The five SEALs from SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE who were lost are:

Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel R. Healy, 36, Class 176
LT Michael P. Murphy, 29, Class 236
Petty Officer 2nd Class Shane E. Patton, 22, Class 239
Petty Officer 2nd Class James Suh, 28, Class 237
Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Axelson, 29, Class 237

~ I also gratefully acknowledge the sacrifice of the following brave members of the US Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, Night Stalkers, who died in the helicopter crash on June 28, 2005 with eight Navy SEALs, in the joint rescue effort to save four SEALs under fire on the ground in Kunar Province:

Maj. Stephen C. Reich, 34, of Washington Depot, Connecticut
Chief Warrant Officer Chris J. Scherkenbach, 40, of Jacksonville, Florida
Chief Warrant Officer Corey J. Goodnature, 35, of Clarks Grove, Minnesota
MSgt James W. Ponder III, 36, of Franklin, Tennessee
Sgt. 1st Class Marcus V. Muralles, 33, of Shelbyville, Indiana
Sgt. 1st Class Michael L. Russell, 31, of Stafford, Virginia
SSgt. Shamus O. Goare, 29, of Danville, Ohio
Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby, 21, of Pompano Beach, Florida

beati qui lugent quoniam ipsi consolabuntur

* On July 14, 2005, it was my privilege to attend the final services for GM2 (SEAL) Danny P. Dietz, and to be with his wife and Teammates as we said goodbye to a consummate naval special warfare professional and a man of exceptional valor. Patriot Dietz has since received the Navy Cross posthumously along with fallen Teammate SGT2 (SEAL) Matthew Axelson for courage under fire where both men “continued to fight the enemy with undiminished zeal, covering the extraction of the rest of their team while they stayed and fought…Putting the safety of their teammates ahead of their own, they displayed extraordinary heroism in combat.”

Today, on the anniversary of those warrior deaths in Kunar Province, my heart is with the families that still still grieve this profound loss.

I have these additional acknowledgements ~

Danny – The Starry Night is brighter because you shine
Patsy – I remain faithful to the Forever Blue mission
B. – Infinite BZ’s for your presence and strength on 7/14/05 and 4/29/06
ADM R. – I’m forever in service to the Kids
C. – You know how it is
Sweet J. – You will always have my best Prussian Blue Farkles wherever you go – Hail Mary!

And, Warriors of Redwing – Rest well Brave Souls. You have my Forever Gratitude


After much thought I have decided to switch from the blogger commenting system to haloscan. I did this so that I can manage the commenting on the blog and more easily remove comments when it becomes necessary. I'm not an expert on the whole computer thing so be patient if things aren't working like they should, like the blogger comments disappearing. If I can get them back, great! If not I'll use it as a learning experience.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

And now for something totally different

The National Poetry Contest had come down to two semi-finalists:

a) a Yale graduate;
b) an
Upper Michigander.

They were given a single word, then allowed two minutes to come up with
a poem containing that word.

The word they were given was "

The Yale graduate stepped up the microphone and said:

The crowd went crazy! No way could the Yooper top that, they thought.

Upper Michigander calmly made his way to the microphone, and

The Yooper won hands down.

A 'yooper' is someone who lives in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and yes, we pretty much talk like that at times.

If you've ever seen the movie Fargo you'll see what I mean.

PS People who live in the Lower Peninsula are called 'Trolls' because the live under the bridge.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Corruption by any other name by The Vegas Art Guy

For those who don't live in the Las Vegas area, we've had a streak going with catching crooked politicians. In the last year we've sent several to jail for corruption charges, including Lance Malone, Dario Herrera and a couple of others. Now another politician is now facing felony charges here in the Desert.

Former County Commissioner Lynette Boggs is facing felony charges stemming from the last election in which she was caught not living in her district. She faces two counts of perjury and two counts of filing false or forged documents. If she's convicted (and I hope she is) she could and should get up to 18 years in prison and $30,000 in fines.

I despise crooked politicians, no matter which party they belong to. I hope that she is convicted and sentenced to a long prison term for how she lied to the residents of Clark County. A clear message needs to be sent to the people we elect to represent us. If you break the law, you're going to go to jail, period. What really makes me mad is that I voted for her in a couple of elections.

Good Riddance to bad rubbish.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Justice in Iraq by the Vegas Art Guy

Don't believe me? Ask any Kurd about the man known as 'Chemical Ali'. He was responsible for killing 180 thousand, yes 180 thousand Kurds in the late 1980's. The chemical part comes from his use of chemical weapons during that time, especially in the Village of Halabja where 5000 men women and children were slaughtered.

Unlike the Saddam's reign of terror, this was not done at a whim, but he was tried, convicted and sentenced according Iraqi civil law. He had access to a legal defense and was treated like any other defendant.

It's a good day in Iraq, especially for the Kurdish North were they can rest easy knowing the man who was responsible for so much bloodshed and heartbreak will soon be answering to God for his actions.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Un-Fairness Doctrine by The Vegas Art Guy

H/T: Sister Toldjah (she rocks!)

The fairness doctrine, consigned to the dustbin of history in 1987 is again in the news. The democrats, tired of the domination of conservatives in AM talk radio are trying to "balance the content" by law because they can't get on the air by actually having interesting hosts with interesting content. The first rule of talk radio is this... You better be interesting, if you're dull, you're gone.

Balance the content my asinine. This is censorship pure and simple. The doctrine was needed 50 years ago when the average person only had a few means of receiving both news and opinion. But today it's not needed. Go look at the election of 2006 if you want proof. Last I checked the GOP got their butts kicked and rightfully so. If the left were unable to get their message across about how 'corrupt' the GOP is, and how they were going to 'drain the swamp', (how's that going anyway?) why did they win so handily? Pure luck?

Why should a successful radio personality lose their job because of some asinine mandate that says a liberal needs equal time? It's not like the left has newspapers, broadcast networks, the Internet or cable news to fall back on. This is nothing more than another naked power grab by the democrats, who once again have proven that they'll stoop to any level to take and maintain their power.

At What Point? by The Vegas Art Guy

At what point are we going to actually start securing our borders? Thank God that no kids were hurt when 16 illegal immigrants ran from the law enforcement near a school in Mission Texas. The school is question was locked down and all 16 were arrested and are on their way back to Mexico. But at some point innocents like school kids are going to get hurt in large numbers or a terror attack is going to get traced through our porous border. There have already been numerous examples of drunk illegals killing people and most of the "Fort Dix 6" were here illegally as well.

I don't care if it's a fence, the military or some combination of the two, but this is more than a law enforcement or economic issue. It's a national security issue, hellooooo... Anyone home?
I don't want yet another 9/11 seared into my brain, one per lifetime is quite enough thank you.

The Quagmire is in Islamabad by Navy Blue

Regarding the Deaths of Eleven Navy SEALs on the Eastern Border of Afghanistan ~

Recently elsewhere on the web, I encountered the claim that the United States has abandoned its search for bin Laden because we're mired in Iraq in our imperialist grab for oil. If I understand correctly, 'mired' is similar to being 'bogged down', a lot like directionless 'warmongering', and uncannily akin to not having an 'exit plan'. I rebutted the claim we've abandoned the Afghanistan theater by discussing operations there, noting the monumental challenges in managing asymmetrical threats. I also remarked that since the aftermath of 9/11, the administration has stated that in prosecuting the Global War on Terror, bin Laden is but one actor in many. (The sing-song lament of the O My God Chorus that the war is not being fought hard enough should not be confused with its converse jingle that international terrorism is a mere 'law-enforcement' matter. )

As we approach the two-year anniversary of the Afghanistan deaths of eleven consummate warriors from the SEAL community, along with their eight brave comrades from the Army's Night Stalkers, it seems some perspective on the war in that region is in order. Following is a piece I wrote in the summer of 2005 in response to these unprecedented special warfare losses ~

- After the deaths of 19 US soldiers and special warfare sailors in the mountains of Eastern Afghanistan on June 28th, it’s time to correct the record about where the key obstacles in prosecuting the war on terror really lie. If 'quagmire' is the favorite political buzz word when scrutinizing the difficulty in quelling the murderous successes of jihadists, the discussion should then turn to the state actor whose gifts to terrorists just keep on giving - Pakistan.

Pakistan has long been drenched in political dramas that have revolved around killing off or otherwise ousting seated (and corrupt) leadership, then pushing for increased nationalism that has ties to jihadist goals. In 1977, Mohammed Zia implemented a coup to bump Ali Bhutto off the power seat, hanged him, and established a Sharia system that was vital to an eleven-year rule. In an effort to mitigate resistance influences, he sought increasing Islamic control over the culture, lauding it as the national ideology. Iran was exploding during this time, the Soviets were invading neighboring Afghanistan, and Pakistan's ever growing radicalism through its advancement of Sharia-driven domestic politics was shaping a future messy relationship with the mujahedeen and its US supported counter to the Soviet invasion. Zia was interested in a political system that sustained an elite military rule to stop civilian rebellion and called for brutal punishments of violations of Sharia. Notably, Zia was enamored of Mawdudi, founder of the Pakistani Jama'at al-Islami political party, and a radical who viewed Islam as a revolutionary force. To wit:

"Islam wants the whole earth and does not content itself with only a part thereof. It wants and requires the entire inhabited world. It does not want this in order that one nation dominates the earth and monopolizes its sources of wealth, after having taken them away from one or more other nations. No, Islam wants and requires the earth in order that the human race altogether can enjoy the concept and practical program of human happiness, by means of which God has honoured Islam and put it above the other religions and laws. In order to realize this lofty desire, Islam wants to employ all forces and means that can be employed for bringing about a universal all-embracing revolution. It will spare no efforts for the achievement of this supreme objective. This far-reaching struggle that continuously exhausts all forces and this employment of all possible means are called jihad."

Zia promoted Mawdudi to head up the Islamist intelligentsia that conveniently afforded Mawdudi and his ilk an opportunity to burrow deep into the state and its political hierarchy, which by this time, involved the CIA backed mujahedeen under the umbrella of the Pakistani ISI. Ultimately, the Zia intent was to stifle democracy and sanction a military penal code over the People with the support of the intelligentsia. A tax was imposed that funded the Deobandi madrassas whose rosters included poor Pakistani youth and Afghan refugees. The Taliban emerged from this population. Zia later relaxed his political system after achieving legitimacy in the region as a stabilizing force in countering the encroachment of the Soviets, and he declared Pakistan an up and coming 'democracy'. He died in 1985 after continued power struggles over departures from the Islam state, partisan warring, and alleged conspiracies to malign him. A new President and Prime Minister came into power and five years of fighting between and among factions within the political elite and military ensued. Pakistan continued along a trajectory of corruption, resignations, dismissals, and overthrows that led to the current Musharraf government.

Musharraf is a dictator who booted his predecessor out of the way and declared himself President. He is also a seasoned warrior and this begs the question of why he has such a hard time controlling his own border and internal affairs. But in the larger picture, were it not for Pakistan and it’s training up of militant zealots, as well as establishing a funding source and political support for Taliban activities in Afghanistan, Taliban competition for power would not have been possible (the Saudis have provided the same type of help and many of their madrassas are advantageously in Pakistan). Pakistan also supported rebels in Kashmir and has looked the other way when those factions targeted civilians. Pakistan’s government houses jihadists and operatives that offer assistance to al Qaeda and bin Laden who use the eastern border of Afghanistan for a base of operation. Musharraf’s former ISI chief, Hamid Gul, was an advisor to bin Laden before 9/11 and now is a strategic advisor to political parties governing two Pakistani provinces. These parties represent twenty per cent of the assembly in Islamabad. Gul has publicly declared his anti-American position and the 9/11 Commission received a report from a Pakistani source that stated the following:

"The imprints of every major act of international Islamist terrorism invariably passes through Pakistan, right from September 11 — where virtually all the participants had trained, resided or met in, coordinated with, or received funding from or through Pakistan — to major acts of terrorism across South Asia and Southeast Asia, as well as major networks of terror that have been discovered in Europe.”

Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM), and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) have collaborative relationships with al Qaeda and Taliban operatives within Pakistan’s borders and their jihadi members are barely pursued, or altogether conveniently ignored by Pakistani authorities. It was Pakistan that hosted the butchering of Daniel Pearl on videotape. bin Laden is believed to have received medical treatment at a Peshawar military hospital with the knowledge and assistance of the ISI. Pakistani nuclear engineer Dr. Khan sold centrifuge technology to Iran, Libya, and N. Korea and is personally responsible for one of the most volatile proliferating schemes in the history of the planet. When the US became aware of this, Musharraf failed to arrest and prosecute Khan, pardoning him instead after he publicly ‘apologized’. It is believed that if al Qaeda or like-minded Islamic factions obtain a nuclear device it will be delivered though the ISI. Wherever terrorism goes, where proliferation succeeds, and where bin Laden finds refuge, the ISI appears to be in the equation and it is ludicrous to conclude Musharraf is unaware of the activities of his own cabinet and staff and can exert no control over those activities and actors.

Reviewing the litany of deadly and resurgent struggles the US military has encountered on the Afghanistan Eastern border, the quagmire is not in Iraq but well rooted in Islamabad’s ISI and the Musharraf-led government. It is costing the US unacceptable losses in blood and treasure as we deploy the finest resources of the Department of Defense into the same al Qaeda/Taliban death trap to stave off the jihading lunacy of those who re-constitute themselves and re-fortify with the express assistance of Pakistan. There is a discernible pattern: We enter the fray on the Eastern border to search for specific targets and to extract information critical to our greater mission, we encounter well-organized pockets of hostile resistance, lose assets, dispatch additional resources that then encounter their own trouble generated by a well-supported root source, and we lose those assets as well.

Some assert that such losses are tragic, but simply inevitable consequences of war. Many sit back after such a calamity and pass judgment on the military commanders in theatre, citing the improper deployment of certain assets, questioning the hardware they used, criticizing the timing, the number of operators they sent, the decisions the forces on the ground made while conducting operations, and so on. It’s implicit that war is a deadly business and that war with al Qaeda is exceptionally dangerous and fraught with unavoidable surprises. It’s also predictable in military theatres that miscalculations and errors in judgment will be made, particularly when the fog of war is thick and both tensions and intelligence stakes are excruciatingly high. However, those issues are sorted out soberly in de-briefings and retrospective military science, not by civilians non-conversant in tactical applications of counter-terrorist special operations.

But more importantly, missteps in battlefield strategies and tactical rationale are not the grit of what plagues us in prosecuting this war effectively. The war on terrorism ultimately begins and ends in Pakistan, and Afghanistan’s terrorism is the aggressive tumor of an unchecked metastasis wrought by Pakistani jihad. The old Taoist medical paradigm applies – “in acute illness, treat the branch, in chronic illness, treat the root.” One can suppress, shrink, and even kill off an acute surface tumor that extends from a pathogenic mother cell, but to cure the real illness, the root of the cancer has to be choked and starved until it can no longer produce aberrant cells with potential to spread. The US therefore, cannot apply its resources fully and effectively mete out consequences to the enemy if Mother Pakistan continues to supply a feeding tube to jihadist factions intent on our demise and the systematic picking off of our valuable special warfare resources.

Special warfare serves the US when we know we have the unique covert advantages required by our operators tasked with locating and neutralizing high value targets and/or bringing back critical information. That advantage is diminished when the border separating two nation states is routinely proliferated and staffed with enemy operatives who freely traverse two non-democratic political systems, one operating under a fragile transitional government, both still entrenched in tyrannical religious ideation and political history that run counter to legitimate transition and functional democracy. Conversely, when managing nuclear capable state actors who will not stupidly pull the trigger on their futures by entering a battle that predicts their military inferiority, the United States is well served by conventional tactics and unbending new deterrence policies that promise surgical excising of state resources, should an actor facilitate proliferation and serve up aid to US enemies. Pakistan is (currently) unwilling to commit national suicide and knows it can never win a battle with the US for military superiority. This favorable aspect of the security equation affords the US its required advantage in responding with increased success to terrorist activity in Afghanistan via harsh conventional consequences for Pakistani sponsorship of al Qaeda and Taliban. In doing so we would provide our special forces with a desirable political climate and unconventional upper hand in mitigating asymmetric obstacles to stability in their theater of operation.

Additionally, US temerity in standing up to Pakistan’s tacit nuclear blackmail program is essential to communicating to other nuclear capable states and those seeking a program, that no ally in name is worth our continued thwarted efforts and casualties in costly special warfare assets should state support continue to be given insidiously to our enemies. We cannot afford to pay in SEAL lives for bad decisions that place Pakistan in the seat of authority over the Eastern border, and is the foreign policy child of US fear that we will ‘de-stabilize’ the region if we upset a nuclear state. The US should also provide unmatched incentives to indigenous actors on the Eastern border to discourage their willingness to aid jihadists. If the border is to be for sale, the US should control the market, not only through tangible resources, but in political maneuvers that make alliances with American enemies unattractive.

Finally, the US should openly re-define terrorism as a forward deployed asset of nation states that don't want to confront American power directly, citing Pakistan as the template. While politicians currently don’t have the stomach to boldly utter such a raw truth, they should be reminded that calling fascist Islamic states our allies has not reduced the rabid hostilities that continue to issue from the loin of their 1400 year-old jihad and threaten potential for a thriving Middle East, as well as our way of life. When comparing Islam’s political trail and that of the Western democratic republic, the US is in an indisputable position to emphatically assert that Islam’s failure to enter political modernity, while pursuing modern weapons systems, is cause for our superior military presence internationally including on the holy sites that repeatedly breed losses for the West.

Criticizing our operators or their military leadership when valuable US assets are compromised and lost on the Eastern border, or summarily minimizing those losses as a mere by-product of an exceedingly difficult task, is political folly and an unhealthy distraction that yields unacceptable consequences for the United States in its war on terrorism. Pakistan is the insurgent, the quagmire is in Islamabad, and critical remedy lies in an exacting elimination of the base of operation that is the Eastern border, a zero-tolerance deterrence policy we are willing to implement, and unceremonious withdrawal of US dollars from Musharraf’s version of the war on terror. Currently, the US cannot get there from here due to three primary factors:

  • A lack of political will and literacy in relevant foreign policy on the part of the American people
  • Increasing encroachment of divisive partisan politics onto critical US security issues
  • A failure of American leadership to accurately identify Islam as a system of political tyranny which cloaks itself in a social-religious construct to advance its goals

The result is that US special operators don’t have full support of the political arm of their government. They will subsequently experience unnecessary casualties when called to mitigate militarily the messes of foolish political actors prosecuting the war from the perspective that the US can bed down with an Islamic fox and trust it to count the chickens on Afghanistan’s Eastern border.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Here we go again...

H/T: The Oxford Medievalist

Now that Hamas has seized power in Gaza, they have set their sights on destroying any Christian presence in the area. They are going to make life so difficult for Christians there that they'll either have to leave, convert, or die. Not attractive options now are they?

Don't expect to see this in the MSM any time soon, they'd sooner die than paint Christians in a positive light. It's far easier for them to roast Jerry Falwell or talk about Fred Phelps than show how Christians are really treated around the world.

Is this the true face of Islam? If not, where is the outcry about the brutal treatment that non-Muslims and especially ex-Muslims that have converted to another faith? And yet Jimmy Carter would have us recognize these, these thugs as the rulers of the Gaza Strip.

I've blogged earlier about how Christians are treated around the world here, here, here, here, and finally, here. Read them if you dare enough to care. We forget that in many parts of the world Christians are in the minority and not the majority and get treated like dirt and worse, especially in Islamic countries where sharia law is the final word. May God help them because nobody else seems to give a damn...

Surge Part II

General Petraeus sure isn't sitting in his easy chair in Iraq, that's for sure. After getting an additional 31,000 troops into the country and radically changing how we are fighting the bad guys in Iraq, the second part of his strategy has begun outside of Baghdad. Instead of having big bases and trying to lure the enemy into set piece battles, Petraeus has made the soldiers and their Iraqi counterparts a daily part of Iraqi life in both the capital and Anbar province, where according to recent reports, (h/t Burkean Reflections) the situation has gone from dire to promising and that's before the 31,000 troops had all arrived.

Now the General hopes to catch or kill as many of our enemies as possible in this new offensive by plugging as many of their escape routes as possible by driving them into the flanking troops who are cutting off their retreat. The other change is the lack of publicity this offensive was given ahead of time. Strategic surprise is difficult to achieve considering you're talking about 10,000 troops, but tactical surprise is another thing entirely. Hopefully tactical surprise was achieved and we were able to catch them with their pants down. (that depends on the quality of the Intel we get, and the indications are that our Intel has been getting better and better since the new strategy was implemented) Every time we have a firefight with the enemy they get crushed at a ratio of 60:1. That means for every coalition soldier that loses their life in the line of duty we kill 60 terrorists. To give you an example of how overwhelming this is, during the Korean war we had a kill ratio of 12:1 in the air which many consider to be total domination. We're talking 5 times that kill ratio in Iraq, talk about taking your enemy to the woodshed!

If this move succeeds and we can make headway on the policital front then things are indeed looking brighter in Iraq and the matter of the troops coming home will become 'when' and not 'if'.
I say this because there has to be a political element to this as well, a purely military solution is impossible and the Iraqis need to do more of the heavy lifting so that we can go from doing most of the fighting to supporting the Iraqis while they take care of their own country, much like we did in S. Vietnam from 68-73.

Ch ch ch ch Changes!

Change is the only constant. Now instead of reading my musings, opinions and other assorted thoughts I am very honored to say that there will be another author helping to keep the desert a glowing. Navy Blue is going to be adding her 2¢ in on a (hopefully) regular basis. She's smart as a whip and is gracious enough to accept my invitation to put her thoughts on screen for all to see. I'll let her add any other details about her she feels like adding.

Be warned, I will not tolerate any abuse here, there are plenty of war zones that masquerade as blogs and forums for that kind of crap. I don't mind dissent, discussions or debates. I don't even mind a good dose of sarcasm from time to time, but I can and will delete abusive comments on this blog.

If you want to play, play nice.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Where did the water go?

I know, three posts in a day is a record for me.

For those of you who don't know me, my parents are from Michigan's Upper Peninsula or the U.P., and my family still goes back there on a regular basis to see each other and get away from life for a week or two. Naturally I am interested in what I consider to be my second home and simply had to comment on this.

This is a big deal for both Canada, Wisconsin and The U.P.; many of the towns on the shore rely on shipping, boating and tourists for much of their income. When the water drops like is has here people suffer. Now I don't know why it's happening, I do know that they've had some dry seasons and this has certainly led to levels dropping. I don't think it's some sort of conspiracy because there is too much money at stake to pull a stunt like that. It's just one of those things. Still, I'd like nothing better than to see it return to its glory.


Finally, justice prevails in the Duke Rape Case...
Mike Nifong was disbarred and resigned from his position as DA. This means he can no longer practice law and his career ends fittingly in disgrace. His troubles are far from over because the three young men that he tried to destroy are going to take legal action against him. Now if only the gang of 88 would face a similar fate.

This case was never about justice, it was about politics and race baiting. Those three men should never have been charged. Was the team guilty of bad judgment by holding that party etc...? Yes, should the coach have lost his job and the season cancelled? Yes, stupid behavior like that should never go unpunished. But those three should never have been subjected to the hell they went through nor should they have to pay for the millions in legal fees they racked up.

Well, we sold the jeep

Honestly? I have mixed feelings about this. Our old Jeep Renegade was sold on Friday for $1500.00... It was old, needed serious interior work, had no A/C and our family was too big for it.


That jeep had been with us since before we were married. For 17 years it's been a part of the family, and when you took the top and doors off, it was a blast, even in the summer. It was great for going off the beaten path, and let's face it... It's a JEEP, if you don't have one or never had one, you'll never understand, It's a jeep thing.

I'm seriously considering getting another one after I start teaching, but this time I'll opt for the A/C, especially if we stay in the desert, I've had enough of 115 and no A/C thank you very much! Plus now they have a 4 door Wrangler! Yea BABY!

Friday, June 15, 2007

When in doubt...

Blame Karl Rove and George Bush...

That's the new mantra I've run across in my Internet travels. Dan Rather was set up by Rove, we were duped by them to invade Iraq. The CIA agent mess, the terror busts were set ups, the government was responsible for 9/11... Rant Moan Blah...

I could go on and on like the song from the Titanic. What's with these people? Are you so blinded by your hatred for the President that nothing else matters but his destruction? Are you really willing to sacrifice our country's security and freedom just to get him? Can you really believe that he not only fixed two elections under the nose a press corps that is liberal to start with, but has managed to keep it covered up for this long? Can you honestly say after looking at the whole Iraq pre-war situation that he intentionally lied for oil? Oil that is not coming our way? Is he actually to blame for high gas prices despite the fact that the federal gas tax is 8¢ a gallon higher than the net profit on a gallon of gas? (18¢ vs. 10¢)

What the hell is wrong with you people?

It's called reality, try living in it...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Most Open What?,4670,CongressEarmarks,00.html

H/T: Oxford Medievalist

This is what the most open congress looks like? I don't know if I should laugh or cry. They promised but have not done the following:

  • Control earmarks
  • Kick out members of congress who are brought up on charges
  • Drain The Swamp of corruption

That's just a short list, but it illustrates my point. The democrats have sold the American people a bill of goods. They have done nothing but make a mockery of the legislative branch of government. Once they gained power they decided that those rules only needed to apply to the GOP and that they were immune from silly things like laws and rules. In fact when the GOP called them on this they were threatened not once but twice with the elimination of all GOP earmarks.

Nice, huh?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Separating People from Politics

This is something that's been on my mind for some time now, and I finally decided to write about this subject. What people either forget or ignore totally is that people can and should be separated from their politics. This goes for the person you're debating online about Iraq, as well as public and political figures. Let me give you two examples of this.

The first example is Cindy Sheenan. She's the lady who has been the voice of the anti-war crowd after her son was killed in Iraq. She recently got wise to the fact she was a tool, and nothing more, for the truth-berry punch kool-aid crowd and quit. The reactions to this announcement were less then generous, especially from the right. She has gotten and deserved a large amount of heat for some of her comments and actions. But, she's also a mother who lost her son, and while I disagree totally with her on Iraq and on some of the things she's said, I sincerely hope that she finds some peace and is finally able to grieve and begin to live the rest of her life.

The second example is Tony Snow/Elizabeth Edwards. Both he and Elizabeth Edwards had announced that their cancer had returned at about the same time. This was a very interesting thing to see because you got two totally different reactions to similar announcements. For Elizabeth, it was a huge outpouring of sympathy and prayers from both the right and the left. People at this point pretty much forgot about politics and focused on the fact that she was again facing cancer. Tony Snow on the other hand got the same reaction from the right that Elizabeth did, and exactly the opposite from the left. Many posters hoped that this would lead to a slow painful death, and that the cancer returned because he could not stomach the lies anymore.

Here are a couple of gems to illustrate my point.

  • On a personal level, my immediate reaction was "Looks like Snow couldn't stomach all the lies he's been telling as Bush's Press Secretary." His words and spin have hurt Americans and Democracy. So, do I have sympathy for Snow? Not much!
  • I suspect Snow's character (or lack thereof) has been in place for many years. I never said he was sub-human, just not someone I feel a need to extend compassion to.
Those are the ones I can post without lots of ******, but you get the idea. The truth is that someone can be totally wrong politically and still be a decent person. Just like someone can have the greatest stands in the world and be a SOB on a personal level. I also need to point out this is something that both sides are guilty of, maybe because we are talking politics and that means things get heated quickly.

My point is this. When you're in a heated discussion about politics, remember that the person on the other side is human, with all the frailties that you have. I have many people on the left that I disagree with on a daily basis politically speaking, but who I get along with just fine on a personal level. Stick to the issues and leave the personal attacks out of it, would you?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Culture of Corruption Indeed...

That would be the pot calling the kettle black. U.S. Democratic Rep. William Jefferson was indicted on 16 charges of bribery and other assorted charges. This is the same guy who was caught with $90,000 wrapped in foil hidden in 9 frozen food containers with each containing $10,000. A further raid on his congressional office netted yet more incriminating evidence against him. This raid is in the middle of a challenge since he believes that it should be off limits to searches by law enforcement. Yea, he said that with a straight face. At least he's come out and stated that he thinks he's above the law. And this is the same party that vowed to clean up the swamp right?

There is a movement in the congress to expel him and so far there is no democratic resistance to the move, but when push comes to shove it may be a different story. This is not the only time the democrats have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar, the difference is that this time it's going to go to trial. Of course, Queen Pelosi's dealings need to have a light shined on them as to Sen. Feinstien's actions, but don't hold your breath.,2933,277774,00.html