Saturday, August 20, 2005

Is Next: Svimmmwearrrrr....
A quick look at next year's summer swimwear line in Saudi Arabia:
Harry Reid Suffers Stroke...Film at 11...
Courtesy of FreeRepublic:

I'd like to point out that it's necessary for one to have a brain in order for a stroke to have taken place.
They Still Don't Get It...
Read this crap, and then read my rant:

Really now! Does John Kerry still actually believe that he lost the 2004 election simply because the rest of America just didn't understand him? Can the man still be laboring under the impression that what America needs is a democratic party that "addresses the issues that affect people's lives", which is a euphemism for cradle to grave socialism of the kind that has been rejected for near on 40 years now?

Look, there are a few dynamics at play here that need to be discussed. The first is that the democratic party is circling the bowl. There is no other way to say it. It has simply become the party of the reflexive "No". It is merely a shell of it's former self and nowadays represents so many far-flung causes that it cannot reconcile them all into a coherant strategy or platform. It's going the way of the dinosaurs (besides being led by dinosaurs).

Secondly, the party has played divide-and-conquer politics for so long, setting black vs. white, labor vs. management, rich vs. poor for so long that it's become tiresome. While democrats were trying to find more ways in which to create ready voting blocs with built-in grievances, Republicans were advocating things (like lower taxes, greater investment, economic growth, etc) that resulted in lowering many of the wealth and social barriers dems used to expolit. More people have entered the ranks of the middle class (or higher) in the last 30 years thanks to republican policies. Home ownership is at record high levels. An entire class of investors has been created, which has created more wealth and a consequently the means to keep it.

Finally, as long as a John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer, Hillary, or Harry Reid continue to be the face of the party, a group of ex-hippies, FDR-style bareknuckle brawlers and shameless self-promoters, this party is dead. They're not very nice people -- not to look at, not to listen to and certainly not to vote for. The fact that they manage to cling to some power still speaks more for certain sectors of society being dumber than the typical Irish Setter.

They don't get it. They don't understand. We don't want mollycoddling (at least not total mollycoddling) we want good ideas executed reasonably well. We want policies that look ahead, not harken back to some supposed Golden Age. It always amazes me how republicans and conservatives are always accused of wanting to turn the clock back to the "good ole days" while democrats still to cling to the New Deal, or spew recycled 1960's protest rhetoric--- who really lives in the past?

But they'll continue to trot out new explanations for the continuing process of defeat, and new "ideas" for righting the ship which sound exactly the same as the ideas that holed the waterline to begin with. Do you actually believe that John Kerry or his cohorts actually have a clue as to what to do about "issues that affect people's lives?". He lists these issues as if he's reading a laundry list --- energy, security, the enviornment. The "issues" are thrown out there unsupported. There is no short explanation of what he would do, just an acknowledgement that someone out there might care about this, and so he's mentioning it. This was Kerry's problem in 2004: he hit all the buzzwords but he never had anything to say about the policy implications.

The fact of the matter is that I can hit any of the leading "contenders" for the 2008 nomination of the democratic party over the head with a sledgehammer and they would merrily go about their business oblivious to it. These are no longer people: they are pre-programmed, automous political machines. Wind them up and they flap their gums. Insert the right pre-programmed disk and they'll yack about any subject under the sun. You can have all the Iraq talk you wan't today (24 hours of "we should surrender") and tomorrow all the economics you can handle ("the rich this, the rich that, the rich, the rich, the rich, please write that check out to my campaign Mr. Spielberg").

There is no passion that is not forced. There is no idea that is not engineered to appeal to everyone, and therefore, will work for noone. There is no concept, object, or activity that should not be regulated by government in some way. This is what's on offer from the "other" side. It's why Hillary is running to embrace the right with her pro-war stance and newly-found respect for John McCain, a man she normally wouldn't be seen with for love or money. Votes, however, are a different currency, I guess.

John Kerry is wrong. What the country needs is another republican party in the sense that republicans have proven they know how to put forward good ideas and accomplish them. Republicans have learned from defeat --- something democrats seem unable to do.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Able Danger...
Imagine the shock, shock I say, when I heard this morning about a government program run from the Pentagon which was called Able Danger. Now what was so shocking about Able Danger is not that it existed, but what it was supposed to be doing.

From what I've been able to gather, Able Danger was constituted in 1996 with the specific mission of finding out everything that could be found out about Usama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda and then to formulate a plan of attack against both. The implication is that UBL and his band of merry men were recognized as a threat to American interests way back in 1996 and that someone decided to keep tabs on them. That's a point in favor of the otherwise pointless Clinton Administration.

It then turns out that Able Danger subsequently found three of the 9/11 hijackers within the borders of the continental United States several years prior to 9/11 (I don't know the exact number). Able Danger acted upon this information: it attempted to pass it on to the FBI. Defense Department lawyers, however, nixed the idea. Federal law prohibited the sharing of intelligence information between federal agencies. This "wall" was put in place by the Clinton Justice Department by Jamie Gorelick, a Clinton appointee. The information that Mohammed Atta and two of his later accomplices were on a terrorist watch list, believed to be members of Al-Qaeda and in the United States (and somehow legally, to boot) fell by the wayside, booted down the memory hole by a high-level apparatchik armed with a memo.

On September 11, 2001, Mohammed Atta flew a Boeing 737, Flight 11, into One World Trade Center. The CLinton Administration just lost that point I so graciously awarded them.

Now we all know that the government screwed up in connecting the dots prior to 9/11. This is not news. Able Danger, didn't pinpoint the date of the attack nor did it give any cluse as to what form that attack might take. It merely pointed out that a suspected terrorist with links to a known security threat was floating around free, and would someone please pick him up?

Fast-forward to the 9/11 Commission Hearings.

One of the officers in charge of Able Danger, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, offered to send his files to the 9/11 Commission. Those files would have included the facts mentioned above, and would have shed much more light on what the various organs of government knew and when they knew it. Shaffer was firmly, but politely, told, that he and his files would not be needed.

It also came to light this week that former Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, he of the famous "Pantsgate" scandal in which documents related to 9/11 intelligence "mysteriously" disappeared into his suit jackets, socks and underwear (i.e. were smuggled out of the National Archives), was presented a plan to nab UBL on four separate occassions prior to the end of the Clinton Administration, and never once gave the go-ahead to do so. Most sources on this cite that there was no legal basis for kidnapping or otherwise eliminating UBL. A consequence of treating terrorism as a law-enforcement, and not a national security, issue. Anyways, those documents were supposed to be sent to the 9/11 Commission. They never made it there. Or if they did, they were not the originals. In other words, history may have been rewritten so as to cast a better light on Mr. Berger and the Clinton Administration.

These revelations raise some very important questions:

1. Since Jamie Gorelick was the author of the policy by which government intelligence agecies were prohibited from sharing information, and was a 9/11 Commission member, just why hasn't she been hung for treason yet? Did she have anything to do with having Col. Shaffer and his deadly files being kept in the shadows? Why was she allowed to sit on the COmmission, even though it was publicly known she had a conflict of interest.

2. Able Danger never appears once in the 9/11 Commission Report. Why and who suppressed the information?

3. Why hasn't Mr. Berger not been dragged back out from under his rock to explain just what it is he did, and badgered to death until he tells the truth?

4. Is ot just me or does anyone else smell a post-haste attempt to re-write the record on anti-terror policy in the 1990's to cover BillyJeff's tracks and to cast the worst possible light upon GW Bush?

I have often written here, and ranted elsewhere in public, just what a disaster the Clinton Administration was for this country. I've been proven right every time. I wonder if any of this will be remembered in 2008 when another Clinton attempts to get herself into the White House.
A Troubling Scenario...
I am planning to travel soon and I can't help but think that somehow, someway, that I or my luggage, may be subjected to one of them thar "random searches" being conducted by the NYPD. Now, I don't dread this slightly annoying, but seemingly necessary, event because I have anything to hide --- I won't be carrying drugs, firearms, explosives or a vial of deadly bacteria, I dread it because of the stupidity that sometimes rules these "random" searches.

Let's say, for the sake of example, that I'm standing there in Pennsylvania Station, patiently awaiting my train (which will invariably be late). I will be alone, probably with my luggage close to hand, and seeming to be nervous because I would rather be moving than standing still. Meanwhile, not 10 feet away from me, there will be a Middle Eastern-looking man, reading aloud from the Koran and wearing a parka in August.

According to the rules of "random" searches, the police would not be able to search the other man because that would be "racial profiling". Unless he commits some overt act that would give the police cause to investigate him or his behavior, the fervor to be seen as "culturally sensitive" or "fair", would give him a free pass. Should he pull a grenade from inside of his parka, however, it's a different story. In other words, in order to avoid charges of "racial profiling" or "violating" the man's "civil rights", he would not be the first target of a "random" search.

But I'm a white male, so I'm fair game.

You know, there was a time in this country when the police were expected (and encouraged) to act upon the obvious. If a police officer saw a scruffy, shabilly-dressed man walking the streets of Forest Hills at 3 a.m., a television set in his arms, they would have assumed that he had just burglarized someone's home. Nowadays, any lawyer worth his salt would merely claim the man was an eccentric who liked to take his television out for late night walks. In other words, if the police merely went by what decades of experience in crime fighting had taught them, this man would have been "profiled". Profiling is bad juju.

What would you think if you saw two young white men, double-parked in a Mercedes with New Jersey plates, on a street in Harlem after midnight? In the old days, you would think that perhaps these were two young men who left the suburbs to buy drugs. They certainly are not there to visit their sick aunt.

In days past, when the police acted when faced with such situations, it was known as "doing their jobs". In this day and age, a police officer has very little latittude and has to wait until he witnesses an overt act. Very often, that overt act leads to someone being hurt or killed and the police acting after the fact.

So, as New Yorkers "voluntarily" open their briefcases and suitcases for police who are looking at everyone except those that can reasonably be expected to be up to no good, I can solace in the fact that such activity just might --- might --- turn up the odd psychopath who in days past would have merely shot up the Post Office. However, the chances of capturing a terrorist or preventing a terrorist act are the same as me growing wings and laying golden eggs, or of Ted Kennedy passing up a free-bourbon-and-sex-starved-secretary party: slim to sodding none.

While it's nice to be "culturally sensitive", in this case it's damn near suicidal.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Dishonesty and Opportunism in the Pursuit of Principle...
There's been a lot of press coverage regarding Mrs. Cindy Sheehan and her seige of Crawford, Texas. Mrs. Sheehan, for those of you living under rocks, is the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, and Mrs. Sheehan is engaged in a quest to embarrass the President over the War. She has camped outside the Presidential Ranch in Crawford, supported by Michael Moore, half the press and an amalgam of groups (from to even loopier organizations), in the hopes that the President will be either embarrassed or stupid enough to come out and speak to her in front of the cameras.

A few things need to be said here. Firstly, legitimate protest is the bedrock of democracy and I do not have a problem with Mrs. Sheehan doing what she's doing (how and why is a different story). Additionally, I don't have a problem with the press giving this story as much attention as they have: it's their job to report alternate points of view (even if they're dishonest in how they present those views). Finally, people do have a right to support any cause they want, provided it's not hurting anyone and that a reasonable person could find a logical, moral or legal argument for said protest.

That having been said, now I'll tell you why I do have problems with Mrs. Sheehan's tactics, and the tactics of those who surround her.

The press is presenting this story to the public as the story of a grieving mother, devestated at the loss of her child and searching for an answer as to why it happened. It's legitimate to ask those responsible for putting her son in harm's way to help her gain some answers, the "closure" that afficianados of Oprah love so much. However, this is a false representation of the facts.

Mrs. Sheehan's son was not a "child"; he was an adult who made a decision to join the armed forces of his country. The consequence of that decision was that if the country had to go to war, as a member of a military force he was obligated to go and take the risk of being killed. The press is having a field day presenting Mrs. Sheehan as some sort of Sacred Madonna and never ever mentions that her son was a thinking, rational adult who made the decision that ultimately killed him. Instead, it's George Bush's fault that he's dead.

It's also not ever reported that Mrs. Sheehan has already had her meeting with Mr. Bush, a meeting which was televised, in which he comforted her and in which she voiced support for the President and the troops and current policy. She apparently has had a change of heart. Fair enough.

However, it should be pointed out that this is not a story in the same vein as a 4 year old falling out of a window in a tragic accident with the attendant questions: why no window guards? Who was watching the child? Who do I sue? This is the direction those sorts of tragedies usually take. This one is different. You can't very well sue the president of the United States in time of war, can you? This story is being presented in that light and it's never about the bravery and deication of a dead man, it's always about a dead "child" who was killed by a sinister conspiracy or a chain of unfortunate (but totally forseeable) events.

Enter the Michael Moores, etc.

In Mrs. Sheehan people like this see a made-to-order martyr for the cause. In this case, the cause is not merely making an anti-war position, it's engaging in the personal destruction of the President of the United States. It would not surprise me if Mr. Moore's cameras are rolling 24/7 on Mrs. Sheehan and won't one day end up as a sequal to his disgusting (and mentally-unbalanced) Farenheight 911. It has been apparent for many a year now that he George Soros/Michael Moore crowd have never been about truth, principle or anything noble, but rather in vreating gaps in American society that can be exploited for political and personal gain.

Mrs. Sheehan has my sympathy and her son my thanks for his service. But she doesn't have the right to parade the bloody shirt of her dead son in the public square. It's undignified and disgusting. Mr. Moore and his idiotic fellow-travelers do not have the right to exploit a woman's grief for their own twisted and selfish ends.
Yesterday, I screwed the pooch and mistakenly associated the University of Florida with the Seminole mascot. Stupid me, it's actually Florida STATE University that utilizes the Seminole chief. In addition, I also got the NCAA position incorrect: 18 schools in possession of an indian mascot/name have 18 months to change those mascots/names or else they will be prohibited from playing in any championship game (all televised, of course). Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What's In a Name?
The multicultural gang is at it again, attempting to force the NCAA to get it's member schools to drop team nicknames that might be considered offensive, especially to Native Americans. The NCAA's reply is simply to allow members to continue to use such names unless the school involved in engaged in a playoff situation or appear on national television or somesuch nonsense.

This tempest in a teacup involves the mascot for the University of Florida, who is supposed to represent a Seminole Warrior (UF's sports teams are all named "Seminoles"). Apparently, the Seminole tribe in Florida has no problem whatsoever with the use of the name or the representation of a noble savage, but (there's always a "but") another tribe of Seminoles (this one in Oklahoma or Arkansas or something) does object to it. Now, I do nopt know the difference between the Florida Seminoles and the Ur-Seminoles of Wherever, and I don't really care. What I do care about is:

a) the constant attempt by the perpetually panty-bunched to make mountains of molehills with their pansy emotional whining.

b) the shallow, transparent, self-serving position taken by the NCAA.

To start with the whiners, let's get a thing or two straight: the Native Americans are a defeated and conquered race. There is no disputing this fact. While the ways in which they were defeated can be called into question (and very often should), those who wish to continue to wallow in self-pity are a very small but incredibly vocal minority. The American Indians are not the only ethnic group to have people like this: the black community in America has legions of flapping rectums as well. As do hispanics, jews, italians, etc. There are certainly a lot of people with entirely too much free time on their hands who just lay in wait like spiders for something even quasi-offensive to surface so that they can pounce. They wouldn't have jobs if they didn't behave this way.

Having said all this, I must point out that the practice of naming sports teams after defeated warrior races is almost a uniquely American form of tribute. I seriously doubt the British name their teams after Zulus and Kachins. I would be hard pressed to find a Chinese team named after something Tibetan. I'll bet it's near impossible to find a Russian sports team that tries to evoke the nobler aspects of the Uzbeks. The point is, that when teams are named after tribes or other manifestations of American Indian culture, it is intended to convey what we consider to be the war-like aspects of Indian culture transferred to sports (hence, Warriors, Braves, Blackhawks, Seminoles, Fighting Sioux, etc) and evoke "noble savage" romanticism. It is a sincere form of flattery --- we may have defeated you, but we respect and admire your spirit and fortitude.

It certainly can get out of hand. I'll give you that "Redskins" is very offensive, but does that mean that all references to Indians have to be removed?

As for the NCAA, it wants to have it both ways: it wishes to be seen as culturally sensitive while not watering down it's brand names. No one would tune in to watch the University of Florida Grapefruits (or some other culturally-acceptible, non-specific name) because no one would know who they were. The NCAA wants to keep Seminoles associated with UF and it's long history of sports excellence, but not when people are watching. Hence all the nonsense of changing the names only when TV gets involved.

I say we should dump the more offensive names, the ones that clearly have racial overtones, but I hardly find the "Seminole" legend offensive. Then again, I don't have scads of free time and a built-in-from-birth racial axe to grind.
The Kid Gloves Have to Come Off...
Vis-a-vis recent events in Iraq: when will it become evident, even to the most enlightened in the administration, that there is a segment of the Iraqi population (and probably present to a certain degree in every Arab/Muslim society) that wouldn't know a good thing if it kicked them in the ass? Additionally, once this pertinent fact has been discovered by said administration, when will they do something proactive about it?

I write this with equal parts of frustration and bewilderment. I have said before on this page that the Iraqi experiment was never going to be a cakewalk, but it's starting to become a farce.

First, we have to wonder how it is that in a country where Saddam had 22 million spies (i.e. every breathing citizen) that we cannot get good information on where these terrorists (or as the Clinton crowd likes to call them, "insurgents") are in order to round them up or kill them. Say what you will about Saddam being evil and all, but he and his regime were very well informed about troublemakers and potential troublemakers. Perhaps viciousness is all Iraqis understand, and the way to get them back into their old habits of informing on each other at the drop of a hat is to start using some of Saddam's old tactics. For example, I believe Fallujah should have been raised to the ground and returned to it's pristine wilderness state. The Pentagon believed that Fallujah shad to be assaulted, allowed to recover, and then assaulted again. The carrot and the stick approach. I vote for all stick next time.

In the All-stick-all-the-time approach, if there should be a "hot spot" like Fallujah, we should give the women and children 24 hours to walk out, leaving the men behind. We then give the men 24 hours to surrender in small groups, leaving only the stupid and the terrorists behind, and then we wipe the town off the map. High explosives and bulldozers doing what they were intended to do sends an unequivocal message: "We're serious. Stop this shit, right now".

I'm getting a little sick and tired of us having to wear the white hats here. We're taking all the risks, spending all the cash and suffering the casualties, while Iraqis walk around with thumbs firmly inserted in their collective anal orifice.

Let's start making examples. It's the only way that these "dead enders" (as Rumsfeld has called them) will get the message, and it's the only way to get the vast majority of Iraqis to mobilize for the betterment of their own society. What we have now is a rabble that mills around around like sheep sans shepherd, unwilling to take personal responsibility. It has to be made perfectly clear that a civilized, democratic society cannot be created or sustained without an involved, responsible citizenry. The first step in creating that responsible citizenry is to show them what happens when they don't get involved --- people die, property gets destroyed, local economies collapse. Brute force is apparently the only way to convey this message.

When enough Fallujah-style piles of rubble have been created, maybe the message will finally get through. Naturally, it follows that some ill-will gets created in the aftermath of such brutality, but could the situation actually get any worse? I doubt it.

Second point on the Matt Noto Plan to Civilize the Cradle of Civilization Plan calls for the United States to review it's defense commitments around the world through new lenses. One of the reasons we're having such a difficult time in Iraq is that there simply are not enough boots on the ground to cast a continuing shadow over the entire country. We're not going to be recruiting and training enough men (and yes,it has to be men to do this job) anytime soon, so we will have to make do with what we have. This means screw the Japanese, the Koreans and the Europeans, and move American troops from the Korean Peninsula, Okinawa, Germany and Kosovo. The Koreans and Japanese are perfectly capable of handling their own defense but our presance gives them an excuse not to (even while they complain bitterly about the presance of American forces and would scream louder if we actually left). Americans no longer have a reason to defend Germany --- NATO, in case no one noticed, was dead on or about September 12, 2001. That's when NATO invoked Article 5 of it's charter (an attack on one member is considered an attack on all) only to have it un-invoked by Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway (I believe) within 6 hours.

Germany should defend itself. Europe should defend itself. Again, the presance of the United States gives the EU a ready reason not to do so. Kosovo is a European problem that Europeans were singularly unable and unwilling to deal with. They should be forced to now. There is no major American interest to be served in keeping Serbs from slaughtering Muslims while we battle Muslims elsewhere.

Take those troops, already trained and equipped, ship them to Iraq and flood the streets with armed Americans, on a hair trigger and willing to engage in widespread destruction, and watch the "insurgency" melt away. While it fades, what pases for an Iraqi government should be working double time to ratify a constitution and a system of government, even if it means the Sunnis (or is it the Shiites?) don't want to be involved. Leave the door open to them, but by all means forge ahead with the job at hand. Being sensitive to other people's needs has never been a hallmark of Middle Eastern politics, why should it start now?

The kid gloves have to come off before this thing spirals out of control.