Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Run, Al, Run!!!

(Via Guardian Unlimited)

Al Gore has made his sharpest attack yet on the George Bush presidency, describing the current US administration as "a renegade band of rightwing extremists".

In an interview with the Guardian today, the former vice-president calls himself a "recovering politician", but launches into the political fray more explicitly than he has previously done during his high-profile campaigning on the threat of global warming.

Denying that his politics have shifted to the left since he lost the court battle for the 2000 election, Mr Gore says: "If you have a renegade band of rightwing extremists who get hold of power, the whole thing goes to the right."

But he claims he does not "expect to be a candidate" for president again, while refusing explicitly to rule out another run. Asked if any event could change his mind, he says: "Not that I can see."

So, the conductor of the End of Civilization Express and self-appointed leader of the Leftwing Junk Science Coalition (LWJSC, if you prefer acronyms) is calling the administration "a renegade band of rightwing extremists"?

Ouch! That's gonna leave a mark! [Heavy snark intended]

I wonder how much jet fuel Al burned traveling to the "Hay Festival" to promote "An Inconvenient Truth" and make these stunning observations? I think it's a safe bet he didn't walk on water or paddle a canoe to get over there.

He runs around preaching the end of civilization within 10 years and that it's all our fault, yet he's doing more than the average American to contribute to his so-called crisis.

Run, Al! I'm begging you! You can run as a renegade leftwing extremist on the hypocrisy platform.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Always Remember...

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I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.

Yet, we must try to honor them -- not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.
- Ronald Reagan, May 31, 1982

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Carter Backs Bush on Immigration

(Via Yahoo News)

ATLANTA - Former president Carter, a Democrat and frequent critic of President Bush, sees eye-to-eye with him on immigration.

Carter on Wednesday called the Republican president's commitment to immigration reform "quite admirable," saying he agrees with Bush's support of a system that would eventually grant citizenship to some illegals. [....]

The law should secure the nation's borders while "at the same time treating those who are here with respect and giving them some hope for the future," Carter said.

If I could tell the president one thing right now, it would be this:

When the same fellow that trashes you at a funeral starts praising you regarding your stance on immigration, it's time to do a 180. The warning signs don't get any clearer nor the flags any redder than this.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Katrina Response Not Exactly As Advertised

Lou Dolinar has the scoop on what the mainstream media missed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:

Remember the dozens, maybe hundreds, of rapes, murders, stabbings and deaths resulting from official neglect at the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina? The ones that never happened, as even the national media later admitted?

Sure, we all remember the original reporting, if not the back-pedaling.

Here's another one: Do you remember the dramatic TV footage of National Guard helicopters landing at the Superdome as soon as Katrina passed, dropping off tens of thousands saved from certain death? The corpsmen running with stretchers, in an echo of M*A*S*H, carrying the survivors to ambulances and the medical center? About how the operation, which also included the Coast Guard, regular military units, and local first responders, continued for more than a week?
Click Here

Me neither. Except that it did happen, and got at best an occasional, parenthetical mention in the national media. The National Guard had its headquarters for Katrina, not just a few peacekeeping troops, in what the media portrayed as the pit of Hell. Hell was one of the safest places to be in New Orleans, smelly as it was. The situation was always under control, not surprisingly because the people in control were always there. [....]

In the end, the media timeline was exactly backwards. The bulk of all rescues took place on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and began tapering off on Thursday, officials say. Their account is buttressed by a Washington Post poll of survivors, which indicates that 75 percent of the survivors who had been trapped and rescued were picked by Thursday, and virtually all were picked up by the end of the week.

In other words, by the time the clichéd "long-awaited help" arrived, in the form of a visually-stimulating cigar being chomped by a cussing Lt. General Russel L. Honore, the worst was over. The majority of trapped survivors were out of the direst straits and awaiting evacuation. [....]

I had always suspected the media was not providing the complete picture, and instead cherry picked the worst possible situations to highlight in the bulk of their coverage of the tragedy.

Dolinar doesn't gloss over the fact that there was indeed a fair share of mistakes made by various individuals and agencies, but he points out that these failures were a smaller part of the larger picture than we were led to believe.

Dolinar provides a lengthy, detailed, and well-sourced analysis that paints a much more complete picture of what he says the media missed, or as I prefer to say, chose to ignore.

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Mort Nails It!

(Via Pasadena Star-News)

Mort Kondracke hits this one out of the park:

ENOUGH already! It's harmful enough that ideological conflict and partisan politics are preventing this country from solving its long-term challenges on health care, fiscal policy and energy. Now it's threatening our national survival.

I do not exaggerate. Bush-hatred has reached such intensity that CIA officers and other bureaucrats are leaking major secrets about anti-terrorism policy and communications intelligence that undermine our ability to fight Islamic extremism.

Would newspapers in the midst of World War II have printed the fact that the United States had broken German and Japanese codes, enabling the enemy to secure its communications? Or revealed how and where Nazi spies were being interrogated? Nowadays, newspapers win Pulitzer Prizes for such disclosures. In Congress and in much of the media, the immediate reaction to news that the National Security Agency was intercepting international terrorist communications was not to say, "Good work - and how can we help?" Rather, it was to scream about a "domestic spying" scandal, as though Richard Nixon were back in the White House and tapping the telephone of Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. [....]

If the administration believes, as officials often have said, that the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is obsolete in the age of super-computers and terrorism, it ought to work with Congress to rewrite the law. Skirting it won't work anymore. But the fundamental problem infecting much of Congress, the media and the political class - especially those left of center - is that they are consumed with loathing for President Bush and all his works and are prepared to do anything to undermine him, even if it makes the country less safe.

This is the rare exception in which I can only add one word to the discussion:


Read the whole thing.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

UN Panel Wants To Axe Guantanamo

(Via New York Times)

GENEVA, May 19 — A United Nations panel on torture called on the United States today to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba and expressed concern over reports of secret detention centers and of a practice of sending terror suspects to countries with poor human rights records.

The panel's report came on the same day as American military officers detailed an hourlong melee that occurred after a group of inmates at the detention center tried to commit suicide on Thursday, and other inmates there attacked guards trying to prevent one of the men from hanging himself.

Operations at the prison, opened to hold Al Qaeda, Taliban and other terror suspects after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, have attracted criticism from several nations, and the United States has said it plans to close the facility but cannot yet do so.

Let it be known that I am hereby assembling a panel to exert pressure on United Nations to immediately cease all operations.

Their history of ignoring human rights abuses and torture in every corner of the world except where the United States is involved and their penchant for propping up and showering blessings upon every tinhorn dictator known to man, can no longer be tolerated.

Their profiteering and money laundering under the not-so watchful eye and ever helpful hands of Secretary-General Kofi Annan is also a subject of grave concern. Their torture of the United States of America must not be allowed to continue and their base at Turtle Bay must be shut down as quickly as possible in order to prevent any further abuse.

I'm confident that the panel we assemble here will have just as much influence as the panel to shut down the TERRORIST prison in Guantanamo Bay.

Volunteers to serve on the panel may submit their applications through the comment section or Trackback URL of this post.

Let's shut down the terrorist facility at Turtle Bay, not the one at Guantanamo Bay!

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Was it Really Necessary to Vote on This !

(Via The Washington Post)

After an emotional debate fraught with symbolism, the Senate yesterday voted to make English the "national language" of the United States, declaring that no one has a right to federal communications or services in a language other than English except for those already guaranteed by law.

The measure, approved 63 to 34, directs the government to "preserve and enhance" the role of English, without altering current laws that require some government documents and services be provided in other languages. Opponents, however, said it could negate executive orders, regulations, civil service guidances and other multilingual ordinances not officially sanctioned by acts of Congress.

We've been speaking English in the United States of America for roughly 230 years. I speak it with a pronounced southern twang; my brother-in-law speaks it with a Cape Cod twist, but I think it is safe to say that we both consider the language we speak to be English. Granted, neither dialect is exactly the Kang's Anglish, [southern for King's English] but nevertheless it is English.

So if our national language is not English, then I wonder why it was used as the predominant language of discusion in the Senate debate on this most critical of issues? Did they draw slips of paper from a hat to decide which language to use before voting on whether or not English is the "official" language of the United States? Nope! They debated the issue using the English language and have in every Senate session in this country's history. Why? Because it is our official language. It is an absolute embarrassment to me that the United States Senate feels the need to vote on whether to call English our "national" or our "official" language.

This debate is nothing more than one of the many laces on the political football being tossed back and forth in the name of so-called "immigration reform". Well, the last time I checked, America didn't have a problem attracting people. Our problem is keeping track of the ones already here and stopping the flood that keeps flowing across our borders.

Stop making concessions and compromises that aren't needed and start taking action to stop the flow of illegals into our country. Make them earn the right to come here, and yes, make them learn our language.

That language is English. Now shut up and deal with it!

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

President Bush Addresses Immigration Reform

I was unable to watch President Bush's Address to the Nation on Immigration Reform live, but have just finished reading the transcript. My initial impression is that if the address was intended to quell the public outcry over border security and illegal immigration, it largely missed the mark.

For what it's worth, here's my analysis. Unless otherwise noted, all emphasis is mine:

Once here, illegal immigrants live in the shadows of our society. Many use forged documents to get jobs, and that makes it difficult for employers to verify that the workers they hire are legal. Illegal immigration puts pressure on public schools and hospitals, it strains state and local budgets, and brings crime to our communities. These are real problems. Yet we must remember that the vast majority of illegal immigrants are decent people who work hard, support their families, practice their faith, and lead responsible lives. They are a part of American life, but they are beyond the reach and protection of American law.

When I hear a statement such as this, I can't help but think that most Muslims who are illegally in America are hard working, law abiding citizens but it only took 19 who weren't to make September 11 not just another day on the calendar, but a day that will always be remembered as one of the darkest days in our country's history. It doesn't really matter what most of them do, it only matters what some are capable of doing.

We're a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws. We're also a nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways. These are not contradictory goals. America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time. We will fix the problems created by illegal immigration, and we will deliver a system that is secure, orderly, and fair. So I support comprehensive immigration reform that will accomplish five clear objectives.

It is true we are a nation of immigrants- legal immigrants. We should reward those who legally follow the process to become American citizens, but we should also take drastic steps to rid ourselves of those who don't respect the process. Anything less is disrespectful to our nation and also to those who love America enough to do it the right way. We don't just need to fix the problems created by illegal immigration, we need to make a concerted effort to stamp it out altogether.

First, the United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security. Our objective is straightforward: The border should be open to trade and lawful immigration, and shut to illegal immigrants, as well as criminals, drug dealers, and terrorists.

The American people have known this for decades, please tell me the Federal Government is not just now figuring this out.

Tonight I'm calling on Congress to provide funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at the border. By the end of 2008, we'll increase the number of Border Patrol officers by an additional 6,000. When these new agents are deployed, we'll have more than doubled the size of the Border Patrol during my presidency.

At the same time, we're launching the most technologically advanced border security initiative in American history. We will construct high-tech fences in urban corridors, and build new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas. We'll employ motion sensors, infrared cameras, and unmanned aerial vehicles to prevent illegal crossings. America has the best technology in the world, and we will ensure that the Border Patrol has the technology they need to do their job and secure our border.

This is the bright spot of the entire speech in my opinion, but will only remain so if it actually gets done and is utilized effectively. If past history is an accurate predictor of future events, then I'm not entirely optimistic. We'll see.

Training thousands of new Border Patrol agents and bringing the most advanced technology to the border will take time. Yet the need to secure our border is urgent. So I'm announcing several immediate steps to strengthen border enforcement during this period of transition:

One way to help during this transition is to use the National Guard. So, in coordination with governors, up to 6,000 Guard members will be deployed to our southern border. The Border Patrol will remain in the lead. The Guard will assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems, analyzing intelligence, installing fences and vehicle barriers, building patrol roads, and providing training. Guard units will not be involved in direct law enforcement activities -- that duty will be done by the Border Patrol. This initial commitment of Guard members would last for a period of one year. After that, the number of Guard forces will be reduced as new Border Patrol agents and new technologies come online. It is important for Americans to know that we have enough Guard forces to win the war on terror, to respond to natural disasters, and to help secure our border.

The United States is not going to militarize the southern border.

I'm not entirely sure that this makes any sense. Positioning National Guard units along the border with no real authority to enforce the law sounds like a waste of resources to me. We shouldn't have troops constucting the barriers, they should be locked and loaded in defense of them. The only way to send a clear message is to militarize the border. This sounds like an attempt to appease Vicente Fox and I couldn't care less what he thinks.

For many years, the government did not have enough space in our detention facilities to hold them [illegal immigrants] while the legal process unfolded. So most were released back into our society and asked to return for a court date. When the date arrived, the vast majority did not show up. This practice, called "catch and release," is unacceptable, and we will end it.

I certainly hope so!

I believe that illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law, to pay their taxes, to learn English, and to work in a job for a number of years. People who meet these conditions should be able to apply for citizenship, but approval would not be automatic, and they will have to wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law. What I've just described is not amnesty, it is a way for those who have broken the law to pay their debt to society, and demonstrate the character that makes a good citizen.

I respectfully disagree, Mr. President. It is amnesty because they are not being deported for breaking the law. They are being given a second chance to become a good citizen when their first act upon entering America was to break its laws.

Send them back to their country of origin and make them go through the "process" and reenter the country legally if they want to become a citizen. This is the only true way to separate the wheat from the chaff. If they are truly honest, they will do it the right way, but that requires that they start over from their home country, not from their desired destination.

Now, I have no doubt in my mind that the President is absolutely sincere about everything he has proposed this evening and I am not questionining his character in any way by offering my disagreement. I am, however, questioning his judgement on this particular issue.

The American people have spoken and have said in a loud and unified voice that our borders must be secured and illegal immigration must be stopped. They are demanding real action and real solutions to these problems, not middle of the road policies that do nothing to permanently solve the problem.

Our survival as a sovereign nation depends on it!

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Saddam Ready To Die

(Via Times Online)

THE former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has resigned himself to being sent to the gallows. “I am ready to die,” he told his lawyer and confidante in an interview in his Baghdad prison. “I am not scared of execution.”

Saddam is expected to return to court tomorrow for the resumption of a chaotic trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity that has lasted almost seven months.

“I do not attend this trial to spare my life,” he said. “I attend it to defend Iraq.”

Saddam, who refuses all visits from his family, was talking to Bushra Khalil, a Lebanese lawyer in her forties who is now the only woman he meets. In their meetings Saddam often prefers to talk to her about poetry or international relations rather than the minutiae of the defence case.

Khalil told The Sunday Times of an intimate five-hour interview conducted with Saddam in his prison within the past few weeks.

He confided that he had no fear of death and seemed to have accepted his fate. “I took the decision to die the day I tried to assassinate Abdel Karim Qasim,” he said, referring to a botched coup against a former leader that forced him to flee the country in 1959. In Iraq, hanging is the customary form of capital punishment.

Well, it looks like Saddam and I have something in common after all! He's ready to die and I'm ready for him to be dead.

I do find it ironic that he accepted death as his fate the day of the failed assassination attempt on Abdel Karim Qasim and he faced it by fleeing Iraq.

I suppose since fleeing now will only take him as far as a set of steel bars or a concrete wall, he can now put on a brave face. How courageous!

It's not like he has a lot of choice in the matter now!

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Here's an Inconvenient Truth, Al!

(Via Richmond Times-Dispatch)

According to University of Virginia researchers:

Global warming by itself cannot be blamed for the increase in severe Atlantic hurricanes, University of Virginia climate researchers report.

"It is too simplistic to only implicate sea-surface temperatures in the dramatic increase in the number of major hurricanes," said the study's lead author, Patrick J. Michaels.

Warm water fuels tropical cyclones. Some hurricane researchers have related warming in the Atlantic basin with greater hurricane severity, pointing to greenhouse-induced atmosphere warming as the cause for the ocean heating.

But hurricanes' ultimate strength is not directly linked to the underlying water temperatures, the Virginia scientists said.

So what is the main reason for the increase in severity of Atlantic hurricanes? The lead author of the study, Patrick J. Michaels, offers the following explanation:

"We should have had 28 Category 3 storms from the warming" between 1995 and 2005, Michaels said. "Instead we had 42." By comparison, 16 such storms developed between 1982 and 1994.

Michaels believes the increase in hurricane activity beginning in the 1990s is related mainly to variation in the North Atlantic's temperature patterns, not temperature change itself.

"The pattern can appear whether it's cool or whether it's warm," he said.

While expanding the 83-degree zone ought to produce more severe hurricanes, Michaels said, that expansion would also place the storms farther north in the Atlantic, "where there are very few things to hit."

"In the future we may expect to see more major hurricanes," Michaels said, "but we don't expect the ones that do form to be any stronger than the ones that we have seen in the past."

So, there is evidence that shows that "global warming" is not the source of all the worlds problems or the topic in which we should all be the most concerned.

Of course, I'm not saying that global warming doesn't exist. In fact, I am more convinced than ever that it does exist and is caused by the combined output of carbon dioxide (hot air) from the mouths of Al Gore and countless other doomsayers each and every time they open their mouths to speak.

So now you know!

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Surveillance in Wartime is Nothing New

This is interesting:

IN A BOLD AND CONTROVERSIAL DECISION, the president authorized a program for the surveillance of communications within the United States, seeking to prevent acts of domestic sabotage and espionage. In so doing, he ignored a statute that possibly forbade such activity, even though high-profile federal judges had affirmed the statute's validity. The president sought statutory amendments allowing this surveillance but, when no such legislation was forthcoming, he continued the program nonetheless. And when Congress demanded that he disclose details of the surveillance program, the attorney general said, in no uncertain terms, that it would get nothing of the sort.

A casual observer would probably come to the conclusion that the above paragraph is the beginning of an article about what our friends in the media gleefully refer to as "President Bush's Domestic Surveillance Program". They would be wrong:

In short, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt charted a bold course in defending the nation's security in 1940, when he did all of these things.

Those who are questioning President Bush's decision to authorize such surveillance in the interest of our national security would do well to read this entire article.

There are times when a sitting president finds himself facing dire circumstances that require a course of action that might ruffle a few feathers here and there, but in the end, the decision to follow that course of action may save countless lives. Defending America from enemies that have proven they will kill us, qualifies as a dire circumstance in my book.

Roosevelt, a Democrat, found it necessary in World War II and that "controversial" decision probably saved lives. President Bush has found it necessary now and should not have to worry about naysayers from either party who are making a political issue out of the defense of this nation.

When you get right down to it, the world is much smaller today than it was then and our oceans no longer provide a defense against, or a warning of, an approaching threat. In a sense, the decision by President Bush to authorize the warrantless surveillance, is more critical now than it was in the days of FDR. There is simply too little time to jump through hoops and beg the permission of a court to wiretap a phone with a suspected terrorist on one end of the line. In this day and age, one minute ago might still be too late.

I'm not one who would ordinarily support government haphazardly intervening in the lives of ordinary citizens, but if the goal of that intervention is to stop a terrorist before he can complete his mission, they can wiretap my phone for all I care.

I'm not excluding the Republicans who have jumped on the NSA probe bandwagon by any stretch, but it seems ironic to me that many of the so-called party of FDR will jump in front of the nearest microphone and claim the president has acted egregiously and irresponsibly by wiretapping American citizens. They conveniently leave out the part about a suspected terrorist being on the other end of the line, and if they have any knowledge of history prior to the 1960's, then they should know full well that surveillance during wartime is not a new concept- it was practically perfected by one of their very own.

That is, if they'll still claim him.

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The Rundown on Iran

I've posted on the threat posed by Iran here in the past, and I've found the best place to begin any post on the subject is to start at Assorted Babble.

Suzie has really done an exhaustive amount of research into Iran and its nuclear ambitions and maintains an encyclopedic listing of links and posts on the topic. She has also included a listing of links, 24 in all, to every post she has compiled on Iran since January 6.

If you are worried about Iran and the threat they pose to the world, click here and start scrolling. If you're not worried about the threat posed by Iran, click the link anyway because it's high time you started.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

UPDATE: Atwar Bahjat Beheading Video A Hoax

(Via The Jawa Report and Mudville Gazette)

Dr. Rusty Shackleford [GRAPHIC IMAGES WARNING] has confirmed that the video reported yesterday to be that of the brutal murder of Iraqi journalist, Atwar Bahjat, is in fact the execution of a Nepalese man by the Army of Ansar al-Sunna in Iraq from August of 2004.

Dr. Shackleford expains:

A gruesome beheading video delivered to the Sunday Times purporting to be of slain journalist Atwar Bahjat is a hoax. On Sunday, May 7th, the Times reported that they had received a low-quality video of Atwar Bahjat being slowly beheaded. That video is now being circulated on the internet as the "Atwar Bahjat" beheading video.

The Jawa Report can reveal that the Times and Halal Jabar, the author of the article, are victims of a hoax. The video actually shows the gruesome murder of a Nepalese man by the Army of Ansar al-Sunna in Iraq from August of 2004. The man was one of 12 victims executed by the terrorist organization--the other 11 were shot.

As Dr. Rusty Shackleford and Greyhawk both make clear it the above linked posts, the fact that the video was not that of Atwar Bahjat does not discount the fact that Ms. Bahjat was cruelly and violently executed.

Although Ms. Bahjat was not beheaded as previously reported, the video should still serve as a chilling reminder of the gruesome tactics employed by this most heinous of enemies. The threat remains as real as ever.

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Murder of Atwar Bahjat

Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette posts the graphic details of the murder of Iraqi journalist Atwar Bahjat.

Although the brutal murder occurred on February 22, video footage captured on what is believed to have been a mobile phone, shows that the murder was much more gruesome and barbaric than earlier reported.

Greyhawk posted this excerpt from TimesOnline with a graphic content warning that should be heeded here as well:

Two men drove up in a pick-up truck, asking for her. She appealed to a small crowd that had gathered around her crew but nobody was willing to help her. It was reported at the time that she had been shot dead with her cameraman and sound man.

We now know that it was not that swift for Bahjat. First she was stripped to the waist, a humiliation for any woman but particularly so for a pious Muslim who concealed her hair, arms and legs from men other than her father and brother.

Then her arms were bound behind her back. A golden locket in the shape of Iraq that became her glittering trademark in front of the television cameras must have been removed at some point — it is nowhere to be seen in the grainy film, which was made by someone who pointed a mobile phone at her as she lay on a patch of earth in mortal terror.

By the time filming begins, the condemned woman has been blindfolded with a white bandage.

It is stained with blood that trickles from a wound on the left side of her head. She is moaning, although whether from the pain of what has already been done to her or from the fear of what is about to be inflicted is unclear.

Just as Bahjat bore witness to countless atrocities that she covered for her television station, Al-Arabiya, during Iraq’s descent into sectarian conflict, so the recording of her execution embodies the depths of the country’s depravity after three years of war.

A large man dressed in military fatigues, boots and cap approaches from behind and covers her mouth with his left hand. In his right hand, he clutches a large knife with a black handle and an 8in blade. He proceeds to cut her throat from the middle, slicing from side to side.

Her cries — “Ah, ah, ah” — can be heard above the “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) intoned by the holder of the mobile phone.

Even then, there is no quick release for Bahjat. Her executioner suddenly stands up, his job only half done. A second man in a dark T-shirt and camouflage trousers places his right khaki boot on her abdomen and pushes down hard eight times, forcing a rush of blood from her wounds as she moves her head from right to left.

Only now does the executioner return to finish the task. He hacks off her head and drops it to the ground, then picks it up again and perches it on her bare chest so that it faces the film-maker in a grotesque parody of one of her pieces to camera.

The voice of one of the Arab world’s most highly regarded and outspoken journalists has been silenced. She was 30.

Greyhawk adds:

Other gruesome details from a family friend: She had nine drill holes in her right arm and 10 in her left, he said. The drill had also been applied to her legs, her navel and her right eye.

Greyhawk provides additional background and details that should serve as a reminder of the truly barbaric nature of these thugs the mainstream media refers politely to as "insurgents".

The true face of the enemy is commonly hidden by such innocuous terms in an effort to paint America and its coalition partners as the true enemy in this conflict. This is truly a battle of good vs. evil; unquestionably and undeniably evil.

This should not be confused with colateral damage inflicted by a legitimate military foe following time-honored rules of engagement. This was nothing more than a cold, calculated, and barbaric murder of an innocent civilian by an enemy that uses religion as the justification for their actions.

One simply cannot turn a blind eye to the evil that exists in other lands and react with astonishment the day it appears in your own backyard. This evil must be recognized and defeated before it gets to that point.

Jeff Goldstein puts it this way:

What is important is that, as Greyhawk notes in the introduction to his post, this type of showy brutality “is typical of the work of Islamic terrorists,” and is useful for those who wish a “bit of insight into the nature of the enemy in this global war.”

Our own media feels the need to shield us from such brutality, even as they report daily on the US and Iraqi death count—or seemed almost to fetishize the torture photos from Abu Ghraib.

But presuming to protect us from the nature of our enemy, like many of the MSM’s other actions in framing the war on terror, is irresponsible—and either presumptuously paternalistic, or cynically calculating.

True, there is a fine line between “war porn” and the dissemination of information. But we nevertheless have the right to know who it is we are fighting. Because knowing just might have an impact on how we, as a country, feel about the necessity of carrying out the fight—and how far we are willing to go to see our enemy vanquished.

Are you awake yet?

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It's a Long Way To November

From The Washington Post today:

Democratic leaders, increasingly confident they will seize control of the House in November, are laying plans for a legislative blitz during their first week in power that would raise the minimum wage, roll back parts of the Republican prescription drug law, implement homeland security measures and reinstate lapsed budget deficit controls.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said in an interview last week that a Democratic House would launch a series of investigations of the Bush administration, beginning with the White House's first-term energy task force and probably including the use of intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Pelosi denied Republican allegations that a Democratic House would move quickly to impeach President Bush. But, she said of the planned investigations, "You never know where it leads to."

In recent days, Democratic confidence has been buoyed by a series of polls indicating that not only is Bush growing increasingly unpopular, so are Republicans in Congress. An Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Friday found that 33 percent of the public approves of Bush's job performance, the lowest rating of his presidency. And only 25 percent approves of the job Congress is doing, a figure comparable to congressional approval ratings before the 1994 elections that swept Republicans to power.

The AP-Ipsos poll found that 51 percent of Americans say they want Democrats rather than Republicans to control Congress. Only 34 percent favor Republican control.

"We have to be ready to win," Pelosi said, "and we have to tell [voters] what we will do when we win."

[Emphasis mine]

I hate to burst Minority Leader Pelosi's bubble, but you have to tell the voters what you will do before you win. That is apparently a concept the Democratic Party fails to embrace, or even recognize, for that matter.

It's curious to me that a body whose overall approval (25 percent) is lower than the President (33 percent) can make claims of ineffectiveness on the part of the President. I can't find a link to the transcript, but this is the same point driven home by Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics while on Bill Bennett's Morning in America radio program last week.

While the AP/Ipsos poll also shows if the election were held today 51 percent of Americans favor Democratic control of Congress and 34 percent favor Republican Control, the election isn't being held today and a lot of things can change between now and November either way. History has proven it.

I'm not discounting the fact that a lot of conservatives, including myself, are concerned about the direction the GOP has been heading, but if the only position the Democrats can articulate is the guarantee that regaining control will bring about a series of investigations of the Bush Administration, they will quickly find out they are on a road to nowhere. It's familiar territory for the Democrats to be sure, but its territory that offers no change in scenery. Voters want "What will you do?” not "Who will you screw?".

UPDATE: Welcome Right Wing News and Real Clear Politics readers! To reach the Palmetto Pundit home page, click here. Thanks for stopping by!

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Porter Goss Resigns-Speculation Flies

(Via New York Daily News)

WASHINGTON - CIA Director Porter Goss abruptly resigned yesterday amid allegations that he and a top aide may have attended Watergate poker parties where bribes and prostitutes were provided to a corrupt congressman.

Kyle (Dusty) Foggo, the No. 3 official at the CIA, could soon be indicted in a widening FBI investigation of the parties thrown by defense contractor Brent Wilkes, named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the bribery conviction of former Rep. Randall (Duke) Cunningham, law enforcement sources said.

A CIA spokeswoman said Foggo went to the lavish weekly hospitality-suite parties at the Watergate and Westin Grand hotels but "just for poker."

Intelligence and law enforcement sources said solid evidence had yet to emerge that Goss also went to the parties, but Goss and Foggo share a fondness for poker and expensive cigars, and the FBI investigation was continuing.

[Emphasis mine]

So, Goss abruptly resigns yesterday and today a laundry list of reasons why has emerged, yet the only thing that has been substantiated so far is that Goss likes to smoke cigars and play poker. The headline screams "CIA boss Goss is cooked", all based on hints and wild speculation.

I'm not claiming whether I believe Goss is guilty or innocent because I don't know the facts. Come to think of it, neither do Richard Sisk and James Gordon Meek, the authors of the article. I have no problem with someone reporting on the buzz around Washington, but it should be reported as such. To headline the article to imply that Goss is already guilty of what is merely speculation is akin to pronouncing the sentence before the trial begins.

So Goss is guilty by association he likes to play poker and smoke cigars? I'm not playing that game.

MacRanger is exactly right when he points out the whole Goss resignation is nothing more than "mission accomplished:

Goss didn't come in to be a "uniter", or necessarily a "divider" but specifically to be a "Fox among the chickens" and "stir things up".

He did. Under his tenure things did get stired up and the rogues who saw the light at the end of the tunnel and realized it was the "Goss Express" did what rats do. They vacate. But his stirring up did get a major result accomplished.

Point of clarity that will be coming out in the days and weeks to come, Mary (Loose Lips) McCarthy wasn't just "a" leaker - she was in fact the Queen Bee leaker from which all the little worker bees delivered their 'honey'.

So do you get it now? Goss killed the Queen - mission accompished.

MacRanger also makes another salient point:

Dang....I like cigars and absolutely love poker......hmmmm, can't remember the hookers tho...

I suppose this means MacRanger is guilty as well, at least according to the rules set forth by Sisk and Meek. After all, he does have at least two things in common with Goss and Foggo. What more information could possibly be required?

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Like Father, Like Son?

(Via Drudge Report citing Roll Call)

It appears that car crash cover-ups by Democratic Congressmen named Kennedy may, in fact, be hereditary:

Police labor union officials asked acting Chief Christopher McGaffin this afternoon to allow a Capitol Police officer to complete his investigation into an early-morning car crash involving Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), son of Sen. Ted Kennedy.

ROLL CALL reports: According to a letter sent by Officer Greg Baird, acting chairman of the USCP FOP, the wreck took place at approximately 2:45 a.m. Thursday when Kennedy's car, operating with its running lights turned off, narrowly missed colliding with a Capitol Police cruiser and smashed into a security barricade at First and C streets Southeast.

“The driver exited the vehicle and he was observed to be staggering,” Baird’s letter states. Officers approached the driver, who “declared to them he was a Congressman and was late to a vote. The House had adjourned nearly three hours before this incident. It was Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy from Rhode Island.”

Baird wrote that Capitol Police Patrol Division units, who are trained in driving under the influence cases, were not allowed to perform basic field sobriety tests on the Congressman. Instead, two sergeants, who also responded to the accident, proceeded to confer with the Capitol Police watch commander on duty and then “ordered all of the Patrol Division Units to leave the scene and that they were taking over.”

Rep. Kennedy has issued a statement which has a familiar ring to it:

"I was involved in a traffic accident last night at First and C Street SE near the U.S. Capitol," Kennedy said in a written statement released by his office. "I consumed no alcohol prior to the incident. I will fully cooperate with the Capitol Police in whatever investigation they choose to undertake."

[Emphasis mine]

While it's not my intention to imply a similarity between this automobile accident and Chappaquiddick, the similarity of the statements following the accidents are striking to say the least.

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Moussaoui Gets Life, Deserved Death

(Via Washington Post)

Al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui will spend the rest of his life in a maximum security prison for his role in the Sept. 11 attacks after a federal jury rejected the government's four-year quest to secure his execution for the deadliest terrorist strike on U.S. soil.

After weeks of listening to harrowing testimony from 9/11 family members, hearing heartbreaking emergency calls and watching painful footage of victims jumping to their deaths, the anonymous jury of nine men and three women methodically deliberated for 41 hours over seven days before reaching its verdict yesterday.

If there was ever a case to be made for military tribunals this would be it. This is precisely the reason that terrorists captured on the battlefield should not be afforded the protections of our legal system.

This man deserved to die for his actions, even if his death would have made him a martyr for Al Qaeda. This verdict sends a message of weakness that serves only to embolden terrorists and challenges them to "roll the dice", knowing full well that if they are captured and go to trial, they have a better than average chance of gaming the system to their advantage.

Terrorists who conspire to do us harm should not be tried by a jury; they should face a swift execution without the option of the method or the timeframe in which it is carried out. If they want to plead their case, let them plead it with their maker.

I'm not a bit surprised by the verdict, but I don't think I've ever been more disgusted! He conspired in the murder of over 3,000 innocent people, and what does he receive as punishment? He gets to keep breathing!!


More: Allahpundit at Hot Air has much more including a roundup of reactions in the blogosphere.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

May 1st Was Civil Rights Day In Cuba?

Mike's America picked up on something that I completely missed on Monday:

With Fidel Castro presiding, the General Secretary of Cuba's Workers Confederation, Pedro Ross Leal expressed support for demonstrations in the United States in defense of the civil rights of immigrants in that country. He made a direct reference to the mass "Day Without Immigrants" work stoppage being staged across the US on Monday.

Since when did Castro and his minions become supporters of civil rights and the freedom to demonstrate? It must be the dawning of a "New Day in Cuba"!

I'll bet the mainstream media is kicking themselves over this missed opportunity!

I can see the headlines now:

The Softer Side of Fidel, The New Face of Communism, The Compassionate Communism of Fidel Castro,, blah!, blah!, blah!

Mike sums it up brilliantly:

It's an easy cheap shot to take. It's not like Cuba has to worry about any illegals from the U.S. breaking into Cuba!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I can't seem to recall an instance when a makeshift raft enroute between Cuba and Miami has been found to be pointing southward.

I guess there really is no limit to the depths at which the communist propaganda of Cuba will sink. Don't you find it pathetically ironic that the citizens of Cuba can't openly protest Pedro Ross Leal's defense of the "rights" of illegal immigrants in a foreign country to demonstrate, without running the considerable risk of becoming the target of tommorrow's target practice? I certainly do!

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Restraint or Overwhelming Force?

Shelby Steele makes the case for pulling out all the stops:

There is something rather odd in the way America has come to fight its wars since World War II.

For one thing, it is now unimaginable that we would use anything approaching the full measure of our military power (the nuclear option aside) in the wars we fight. And this seems only reasonable given the relative weakness of our Third World enemies in Vietnam and in the Middle East. But the fact is that we lost in Vietnam, and today, despite our vast power, we are only slogging along--if admirably--in Iraq against a hit-and-run insurgency that cannot stop us even as we seem unable to stop it. Yet no one--including, very likely, the insurgents themselves--believes that America lacks the raw power to defeat this insurgency if it wants to. So clearly it is America that determines the scale of this war. It is America, in fact, that fights so as to make a little room for an insurgency.

Certainly since Vietnam, America has increasingly practiced a policy of minimalism and restraint in war. And now this unacknowledged policy, which always makes a space for the enemy, has us in another long and rather passionless war against a weak enemy.

Rush spoke about this piece at length on his radio program today, and I think one would do well to read the entire piece before making any snap judgements.

I think the key point he makes is that we are the world's superior fighting force and we should be applying the lessons learned in World War II instead of the restraint that has become, more or less, the rule post-Vietnam.

We'll win regardless, but his point that we often exercise too much restraint as opposed to using the overwhelming force of which we are capable, I think is a fair observation to make: We can win this war as decisively or as methodically as we wish, the choice is ours!

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Zarqawi Experiencing Empty Nest Syndrome

Strategy Page tells us why:

Without much fanfare or publicity, American and British commandoes have taken apart al Qaeda's operation in Iraq. About the only non-Iraqi al Qaeda leader left in Iraq is military leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a Jordanian. In the last few months, American commandoes nearly caught Zarqawi at least three times. On April 16th and 25th, raids killed and captured over twenty al Qaeda members. Interrogations of the captured men indicated that Zarqawi was in the area. Also captured, before it showed up on an al Qaeda web site, was a video of Zarqawi, holding an American M249 light machinegun. Several of these have been lost, usually from vehicles hit by roadside bombs, and abandoned by their crews. In the video, Zarqawi pleaded for Iraqi Sunni Arabs to support him and not, as more and more Sunni Arabs are doing, the democratically elected government.

This reminds me of something the late, great, Southern humorist Lewis Grizzard once said: "Mama always told me to wear clean underwear; You never know when you might be in a wreck."

Whether Zarqawi is prepared or not, his death or capture appears to be approaching at a rapid pace. He'd do well to stock up!

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Hey Protestors! Wrap This Around Your Maypole!

I haven't said much about today's pro-illegal imigration ralies. I can assure it's not due to a lack of interest on my part. To the contrary, I'm so disgusted by the whole thing and by the obvious lack of concern on the part of our elected officials from both parties, that it will be a minor miracle if I'm able to string together two coherent sentences on the subject. Now that you've been warned, here's my take in a fairly substantial nutshell:

I don't appreciate people from anywhere coming into my country and making demands for rights they are not entitled to. You have to earn the right to become an American! This is not something you are entitled to simply because you found someone to rewrite the national anthem in Spanish and you are physically able to yell while holding up a sign.

If you want to live under our flag, you'd better learn how to fly it correctly. Do not fly it upside down, beneath the Mexican flag, or burn it in protest, and expect me to give a rats rear end about the rights you say you are entitled to. Don't trash my country and expect me to welcome you with open arms. It doesn't work that way now, and as far as I'm concerned, it never will!!

The type of individual who would skip work or school to protest against America as a means to influence others that they should be allowed to illegally stay in America, are exactly the type of non-productive, ungrateful members of society who should be automatically deported from America.

That pretty much covers it! It may be more over the top than you are used to from me, but I meant every last word of it.

In the coming days, it will be interesting to see whether these events actually lived up to all the hype and struck the huge blow to our economy that their communist sympathizing organizers hoped they would. My guess? Not a bang, but a wimper.

On a related note, John Hawkins posts the text of a letter sent out today to Julie Myers, head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:

Dear Ms. Myers,

As you are aware, pro-illegal immigration rallies are taking place throughout the United States today. Those organizing the rallies have encouraged illegal aliens to refrain from going to work as a sign of protest.

Too often, we presume that fault lies with the illegal migrant worker, but we need to recognize that the employer broke the law by hiring the illegal alien. We believe the Federal government has an obligation to enforce the nation's immigration laws and must actively investigate any and all instances where it is apparent industries have knowingly and willingly hired those who entered this country illegally.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should pursue the multiple reports in the news media today regarding companies which have been forced to halt operations because large numbers of their employees appear to be in the United States illegally and are participating in the protest rallies.

ICE has an obligation to use this public information to enforce immigration laws. We respectfully request that you look into this matter and report back to us on your findings.

Thank you for your immediate consideration to this important matter.


Jack Kingston
Member of Congress

Marsha Blackburn
Member of Congress

To paraphrase John's response to the letter; if a business employs so many illegal immigrants that it had to shut it's doors today, ICE should probably be looking into it.

Then again, if ICE had been effectively doing it's job all along, there wouldn't have been nearly as many illegals available to protest today, now would there?

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