Friday, June 30, 2006

Supreme Court Hamdan Case Update

More than 24 hours since the Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld decision by the Supreme Court of the United States and more analysis is coming out to clarify the good, the bad and the ugly.

I did a quick turn around various sites looking for new material. But I have yet to find anything new that Flopping Aces hasn't already excerpted and linked to. Few bloggers have the capacity to read and synthesize the amount of material Flopping Aces handles on a story like this.

A couple of quick points: I think that much of the concern on the right about this decision may be overblown. And of course the cheering on the left is out in orbit even more than usual.

Congress will address the issue and make whatever corrections are necessary. Meanwhile, we have another fault line forming for the November political battle. There are two sides here. One, those who realize we are at war and we must do all within our power to win and two, those who are less concerned with the threat of terrorism than they are with the protection of the civil liberties of those who commit atrocities outside the bounds of all legality and decent society.

Which side are you on?

The Hamdan decision exposes those fault lines, but also offers a dangerous precedent: that of the Supreme Court inserting itself into the Constitutional prerogative primarily of the President but also of the Legislature to manage national security issues in a time of war.

Both Justices Thomas and Scalia (pictured right) in their dissents spoke to the danger of that problem. Of special concern is that the Supreme Court would revise U.S. law on the basis of International treaties and extend protection to terrorists who have never been covered by the Geneva Conventions.

However, the opinion of Richard Samp of the Washington Legal Foundation cited at SCOTUSblog seeks to allay many of those fears. We shall see.

Dennis Byrne at Real Clear Politics also debunks the left wing glee and points out what this decision does and does not do. But Dennis, like many of us, is mystified about the decisions position on Geneva Convention protections.

Lastly, Ronald A. Cass, Chairman of the Center for the Rule of Law, Dean Emeritus of Boston University School of Law weighs in with one of the best short essays on the subject.

I encourage each of you to read the entire text yourself. Simple excerpts do not do the piece justice, but here's a sample anyway:

Liberty may have been the traditional casualty of war, but common sense is its new colleague. The Supreme Court, trying hard on the anniversary of last term's Kelo decision to find a suitable sequel, performed a rare triple loop in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. It found jurisdiction in the face of a statute directly taking jurisdiction away from the Court. It second-guessed the President on the need for particular security features in trials of suspected al Qaeda terrorists. And it gave hope to One-World-ers by leaning on international common law to interpret U.S. federal law. If that weren't enough, the (left, lefter, and far left) turns were executed in the course of giving a court victory to Osama bin Laden's driver. What a perfect way to end the term!

The case challenged the Bush Administration's plan to use military tribunals to try Guantanamo detainees as enemy combatants who are neither within the criminal law and due process protections of the U.S. Constitution nor within the protections afforded prisoners of war by the Geneva Conventions. The Administration has been assiduously trying to prevent al Qaeda terrorists from learning what it knows and doesn't know about their operations - an effort opposed by The New York Times, the left side of the Democratic Party, and most of France. Its plans for trial by military commission and its detention at Guantanamo of al Qaeda suspects captured outside the United States are part and parcel of that effort.

The five-justice majority of the Supreme Court that decided the Hamdan case yesterday showed great interest in demonstrating their commitment to upholding constitutional protections and protecting international human rights, both admirable instincts in many settings. They showed less appreciation for the fact that Americans are threatened, and thousands of innocent Americans were killed by brutal thugs - the sort who behead civilians, film it as sport, and post the video on the Internet. And the justices showed no appreciation for the fact that Congress and the President might well know more than they do about the security needs of the United States.
The President may not have made perfect choices on the procedures used for these trials. He may not have perfectly balanced concerns over fair process with concerns over national security. But the President, not the Court, has expertise on this subject. Justice Breyer's concurrence says that Congress didn't give the President a blank check to fight the war on terror. But the Constitution also doesn't give the justices a blank check to write the law. It especially doesn't give them a check drawn on a foreign bank.

Yesterday's decision may bring a smile to the faces of Bush-bashers. It should be as fleeting as the smiles with which developers greeted the justices' creativity in Kelo. Let's hope it's as easily corrected.

Read the rest. There will be a quiz on this material!

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Secretary Rice to Russian Foreign Minister: Stop Whining About Your Diplomats in Iraq

Ooops! The Russians left open the microphone at a closed session of G-8 Foreign Ministers in Moscow yesterday just in time to catch U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice give the Russian foreign minister an earful about complaints that security for Russian personnel in Iraq in the wake of four murdered diplomats was not good enough.

From the Washington Times:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking unknowingly into an open microphone, chastised her Russian counterpart yesterday for bemoaning the killing of five Russian diplomats in Iraq, saying it was wrong to focus on the deaths of diplomats when so many others are dying there.

"The implication that by somehow declaring that diplomats need to be protected, it will get better, I think is simply not right," Miss Rice said during a closed luncheon as the foreign ministers from the Group of Eight leading industrialized countries negotiated their meeting's final statement.

The Russians, who chair the G-8 this year, fed out audio from part of the luncheon discussion, apparently by mistake.

The testy exchange came when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who hosted his colleagues, tried to insert in the text a sentence urging the Iraqi government to make efforts to protect foreign embassies in Baghdad.
"It implies they are not being taken and you know on a fairly daily basis we lose soldiers, and I think it would be offensive to suggest that these efforts are not being made," Miss Rice said. "We are making those efforts, and we are making them at quite a sacrifice."

Mr. Lavrov said the sentence was "not intended to criticize anyone" and was "just a statement of fact."

"The Iraqi Interior Ministry should pay more attention to the safety of foreign missions. If you feel uncomfortable about it, maybe we should make it shorter, saying there is a need for improved security for diplomatic missions," he suggested to Miss Rice.

She interrupted him with some asperity.

"Sergey, there is a need for improvement of security in Iraq period. The problem isn't diplomatic missions. The problem is journalists and civilian contractors and, yes, diplomats as well," she said.

"I understand that in the wake of the brutal murder of your diplomats that it is a sensitive time, but I think that we can't imply that this is an isolated problem or that it isn't being addressed," the secretary said.

The final statement "strongly condemned the barbarian killings" of the Russian diplomats, who were kidnapped by al Qaeda fighters, and said that "this tragic event underlines the importance of improving security for all in Iraq."

The verbal spat between Miss Rice and Mr. Lavrov, which lasted for most of the Iraq discussion, provided a rare glimpse of the atmosphere during their meetings and of behind-the-scenes diplomacy.

The secretary also disagreed with text calling on the Iraqis to "achieve national accord," saying they are already doing it.

Mr. Lavrov objected to a U.S.-proposed sentence about an "international compact" that would provide economic support to Iraq, telling Miss Rice that the concept had not been entirely fleshed out yet.

In both cases, Miss Rice won the argument, as reflected in the official statement.
The two ministers clashed even in public when Miss Rice repeated U.S. criticism of some of Russian President Vladimir Putin's domestic policies during a press conference. Mr. Putin will host heads of state and government from the G-8 countries in St. Petersburg from July 15 to 17. ....

Good job Condi! You go girl!

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Kerry Can't See the Light. But Lie He Can

Brit Hume's Political Grapevine had this nugget:
'Sneaking Into St. Louis'?

In a fundraising e-mail to supporters two days ago, Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry wrote that President Bush would be "sneaking into St. Louis" to raise money for Missouri Republican Senator Jim Talent.

In fact, the president arrived in broad daylight aboard Air Force One for yesterday's publicly scheduled 6 p.m. fundraiser, which received television coverage.

So how did Kerry respond today? By again accusing the Republican party of "sneaking President Bush" into Missouri, "under cover of darkness." In yet another fundraising e-mail, Kerry asks potential donors to make the GOP "pay a price" for the president's "under the radar" travel.
Gee Kerry... Lot of daylight left at 6 p.m. in late June last time I checked.

And Bush is not exactly "sneaking" in Missouri. His speech is even posted on the White House web site.

Maybe Kerry's just been out in the sun too long. He's starting to act as goofy as Jack Murtha. But then he did say on the Senate floor: "So I ask my fellow Senators, are we really that frightened of somebody's willingness to go out and be stupid? In the United States of America, you have a right to be stupid."

P.S. Make sure to see the last item in the grapevine: "The American left is blaming a new culprit in the country's turn towards the Republican Party in recent years — air conditioning." You can bet that as soon as the left succeeds in getting global warming controls in place they'll ban air conditioning in the South.

Also posted at Mike's America.

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Correcting a Bad Supreme Court Decision

It's still early innings in the wake of the Supreme Court Decision overturning the establishment of military tribunals to deal with Al Queda scum held at Camp Gitmo. But let's lay the groundwork for fuller analysis with a few points:
  • If you are inclined to decipher legalese, Here is the Supreme Court decision, in PDF format for Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld.
  • Senator's Kyl (R-AZ) and Graham (R-SC), both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee released the following statement regarding a legislative action to allow military tribunals.
  • Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted terrorists from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing weighs in before the decision with concerns for our ability to deal effectively with terrorists. And if you want a good summation of the problem the decision creates, this is it.

The question is: will Congress now act to enable military tribunals in the way that they have been constructed by the Bush Administration prior to this ruling? Or, will Congress now open up the Pandora's box of permitting terrorists the full Constitutional rights of the same citizens they sought to kill?

The Supreme Court's 5-3 decision (Robert's had to recuse himself as he ruled AGAINST the suit in a lower court) reminds us all of the importance of appointing sound judicial nominees, as President Bush promised: "In the mold of Scalia or Thomas." Both Scalia and Thomas entered dissenting opinions in this case and were joined in much of their dissent by Justice Alito.

There can be few better motivations for conservatives this fall than winning the battle for Congress and assuring that future judicial nominees meet the Scalia/Thomas standard and act to protect the American people from the foolishness of those who do not realize what is at stake in the war in which we currently find ourselves.

Posted also at Mike's America.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

It's In "Public Interest" To Know Who Leaks Secrets

UPDATE: Privacy International: "filed simultaneous complaints with Data Protection and Privacy regulators in 33 countries concerning recent revelations of secret disclosures of millions of records from the banking giant SWIFT to U.S. intelligence agencies....The issue was first brought to light on Friday June 23rd 2006, when the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times published details of the private arrangement between SWIFT and the United States Government."

NY Times Disclosure No Big Deal?

Seems the left is busy today trying to pooh-pooh the idea that the NY Time's front page splash revealing the perfectly legal program to monitor terror funding is nothing new. In an attempt to derail criticism of the NY Times, they cite a Boston Globe (a paper which is owned by the New York Times) story which describes how various elements of monitoring terror funding have been long known. Of course that defense is tantamount to an admission that the NY Times apparently decided to recycle old news in another naked attempt to stir up fears of civil liberties being violated by the Bush Administration.

And as usual, it's a disingenuous argument. Adding new layers to information on sources and methods that is already too public merely makes the awareness of our enemies all the more keen.

Our "Public Interest": The Right to Know Who Leaks.

The New York Times seeks to elevate itself above our elected political leadership who has the responsibility to keep us safe and wage war against our enemies claiming that there exists a "public interest" in this matter.

But what about the public interest in knowing what motivates those who leak national security secrets and the motives of those who brazenly publish them. Would it not be in the public interest to examine those motives? Doesn't the public have a right to know if there are people in this country actively undermining our efforts to be effective in waging the war on terror?

As an answer to all those who think this story, is nothing new or not damaging, I recommend the letter from outgoing Treasury Secretary John Snow. From the Department of the Treasury web site:

Mr. Bill Keller, Managing Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

Dear Mr. Keller:

The New York Times' decision to disclose the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, a robust and classified effort to map terrorist networks through the use of financial data, was irresponsible and harmful to the security of Americans and freedom-loving people worldwide. In choosing to expose this program, despite repeated pleas from high-level officials on both sides of the aisle, including myself, the Times undermined a highly successful counter-terrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trails.

Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were "half-hearted" is incorrect and offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past two months, Treasury has engaged in a vigorous dialogue with the Times - from the reporters writing the story to the D.C. Bureau Chief and all the way up to you. It should also be noted that the co-chairmen of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton, met in person or placed calls to the very highest levels of the Times urging the paper not to publish the story. Members of Congress, senior U.S. Government officials and well-respected legal authorities from both sides of the aisle also asked the paper not to publish or supported the legality and validity of the program.

Indeed, I invited you to my office for the explicit purpose of talking you out of publishing this story. And there was nothing "half-hearted" about that effort. I told you about the true value of the program in defeating terrorism and sought to impress upon you the harm that would occur from its disclosure. I stressed that the program is grounded on solid legal footing, had many built-in safeguards, and has been extremely valuable in the war against terror. Additionally, Treasury Under Secretary Stuart Levey met with the reporters and your senior editors to answer countless questions, laying out the legal framework and diligently outlining the multiple safeguards and protections that are in place.

You have defended your decision to compromise this program by asserting that "terror financiers know" our methods for tracking their funds and have already moved to other methods to send money. The fact that your editors believe themselves to be qualified to assess how terrorists are moving money betrays a breathtaking arrogance and a deep misunderstanding of this program and how it works. While terrorists are relying more heavily than before on cumbersome methods to move money, such as cash couriers, we have continued to see them using the formal financial system, which has made this particular program incredibly valuable.

Lastly, justifying this disclosure by citing the "public interest" in knowing information about this program means the paper has given itself free license to expose any covert activity that it happens to learn of - even those that are legally grounded, responsibly administered, independently overseen, and highly effective. Indeed, you have done so here.

What you've seemed to overlook is that it is also a matter of public interest that we use all means available - lawfully and responsibly - to help protect the American people from the deadly threats of terrorists. I am deeply disappointed in the New York Times.


John W. Snow, Secretary
U.S. Department of the Treasury

Also posted at Mike's America

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

New Al Queda Times: All the News That's Fit for Jihad

This graphic from the always funny People's Cube has been making the rounds:

Here's an interesting take on the issue from Virginia Buckingham in the Boston Herald:
Prosecute The New York Times and censure Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.)? I have a better idea: Sit back and watch them self-destruct.

War and the Times: Related articles, multimedia & images The Good WarTimes an unworthy first line of defense

Murtha and The New York Times have done more to aid the fight for Republicans to retain their House and Senate majorities in the last couple of days than Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman could possibly do all year.

But no one, not even the guys who are so devoted to the GOP that they wear elephants on their ties, should be cheering.

What has been lost by Murtha’s rantings and the Times’ irresponsibility can never be regained by electoral victory in the fall. But nor will they regain what they have lost by their own words and actions - the moral high ground.

Let’s start with the Times.

We are less safe today from terrorist attack than we were before the Times disclosed the existence of the National Security Agency’s terrorist surveillance program.

We are more in danger today because The New York Times and other outlets disclosed that American intelligence has access to foreign banking transactions.

Combined, these two programs gave American officials tools they did not have before Sept. 11 to track and disrupt terrorist plots before thousands die.

By the Times’ own admission, the “penetration” into international banking networks helped track down the Bali bombers.

How many more innocent young lives were saved, as a result, from a similar fate in other discos in other terrorist strongholds or, as possible, in a nightclub in New York?

Before the Times revealed the two security programs, literally in black and white, al-Qaeda and its allies did not know, could no know for sure, how best to avoid detection.

They know now.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), no Bush administration-toadie he, said it best: “Nobody elected The New York Times to do anything. The New York Times is putting its own arrogant, elitist, left-wing agenda before the interests of the American people. The time has come for the American people to realize and The New York Times to realize we’re at war and they can’t be just on their own deciding what to declassify, what to release.”

But they did exactly that, in violation of the law. Yet, prosecuting them will allow publisher Bill Keller and his Democratic defenders to change the subject from their disregard for American safety to their stewardship of the First Amendment. The Bush administration ought to keep this escape hatch firmly closed.

And Murtha?

The damage done by this self-proclaimed and much acclaimed moral authority on the Iraq war is far less quantifiable.

Did Murtha bring a smile to al-Qaeda leaders’ faces when they read his remarks over the weekend that America has “become the enemy” in Iraq?

What must Kim Jong-Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad think of America’s seriousness when a Democratic leader says with a straight face that our nation “is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran?”

I’ve no doubt most Americans respect Murtha’s valor in Vietnam.

Surely many respect yet disagree with his position on immediate troop withdrawal.

But Americans are united on this: We’re not infallible, but we are not part of the axis of evil. America is the greatest country on Earth.

A political party and its advocates in the media who forget that will be reminded this November.

Enjoy the show.
Also posted at Mike's America.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Multiculturalism: A Left Wing Suicide Pact

In an effort to understand the sad reality of homegrown Jihad Johnnies, Cox and Forkum published the above cartoon as part of an excellent post on the suicidal side-effects of multiculturalism.

C&F asks:
What motivates a person to wage war against their own country and sympathize with the likes of Osama bin Laden? Part of the answer lies in the spread of multiculturalist ideas. These citizens have been taught by our intellectuals to hate their home countries, and that hate is fertile ground for Islamism.
C&F goes on to cite a February commentary by Keith Windschuttle : The Adversary Culture. Here's a short clip:.

Cultural relativism claims there are no absolute standards for assessing human culture. Hence all cultures should be regarded as equal, though different.

The moral rationale of cultural relativism is a plea for tolerance and respect of other cultures, no matter how uncomfortable we might be with their beliefs and practices. However, there is one culture conspicuous by its absence from all this. The plea for acceptance and open-mindedness does not extend to Western culture itself, whose history is regarded as little more than a crime against the rest of humanity. The West cannot judge other cultures but must condemn its own.

Since the 1960s, academic historians on the left have worked to generate a widespread cynicism about the nature of Western democracies, with the aim of questioning their legitimacy and undermining their ability to command loyalty. ...
The anti-Westernism of which I am speaking is not only about the past but has as much to say about current affairs.

The aftermath to the assaults on New York and Washington on September 11 2001 provided a stark illustration of its values. Within days of the terrorist assault, a number of influential Western intellectuals, including Noam Chomsky, Susan Sontag and youthful counterparts such as Naomi Klein of the anti-globalisation protest movement, responded in ways that, morally and symbolically, were no different to the celebrations of the crowds on the streets of Palestine and Islamabad who cheered as they watched the towers of the World Trade Centre come crashing down. Stripped of its obligatory jargon, their argument was straightforward: America deserved what it got.

Enclosed by a mindset of cultural relativism, most Westerners are loath to censure Muslims who go on violent rampages, burn down embassies and threaten death to their fellow citizens. Many of us regard this as somehow understandable, even acceptable, since we have no right to judge another religion and culture. ...
Their real aim is not religious respect but cultural change in the West. They want to prevent criticism of its Muslim minority and accord that group special privilege not available to the faithful of other religions. Instead of them changing to integrate into our way of life, they want to force us to change to accept their way of life.

Well said. There are countless other examples describing the danger of multiculturalism. In the recent debate on immigration, the goal of political elites was to "assimilate" immigrants to become Americanized. Yet, as was pointed out in the Mike's America study on immigration and assimilation, multiculturalism discourages assimilation and deepens the racial and ethnic animosity that pits groups of people against one another.

The most striking evidence of this was the study cited by Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies in a 1997 piece titled "Will Americanization Work in America?:"

Sociologist Ruben Rumbaut has studied students in San Diego who are children of immigrants or who immigrated themselves at a very young age. He first surveyed them in 1992, when the students were in the eighth and ninth grades; three years later the same students were surveyed again.

In terms of ethnic self-identification, the change was dramatic. Three years of high school caused these students to see themselves as significantly less American; there was a 50 percent drop in the proportion (already small) of those who considered themselves simply "American," a 30 percent drop in the proportion of those considering themselves hyphenated Americans, and a 52 percent increase in the proportion of those describing themselves exclusively by national origin.

Among the American-born students, the percentage who identified themselves solely by their parents' native country doubled, to one-third. As Rumbaut points out, the results "point to the rapid growth of a reactive ethnic consciousness. Change over time, thus, has not been toward assimilative mainstream identities, but rather a return to and a valorization of the immigrant identity."

In a nutshell: multiculturalism encourages the "balkanization" of American society, dividing it into groups with separate identities and fostering grievances that pit one group against another. This is also the troubling ethos of the Democrat Party, a variant of which was clearly expressed in the presidential campaign of John Edwards and his Two America's speech.

The result is that segments of our society have been encouraged not to aspire to the great opportunity offered by the American dream, but to stew in their victimhood with grievances which are now validated by multiculturalism. Ultimately, those who sip that flavor of Kool-Aide have only to take a short step from that level of hate and delusion to potential violence.

Restoring Sanity: One Step at a Time

While multiculturalism remains entrenched in the education system and agencies of cultural transmission in both the news media and Hollywood, there is reason to hope that recent inroads exposing the dangers are taking hold. Whether it's on college campuses or in high schools, there is no longer a free pass given to every teacher who attempts to push this flawed ideological perspective.

It's a long road of course, and one that requires a significant attention to the lessons of history which show how damaging multiculturalism AND it's kissing cousin, moral relevance in education can be.

For more, see Midnight Blue's interesting take on "How do you say "Cheesesteak" in Flemmish?"

Posted also at Mike's America.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Bill Keller is a Moron!

I realize that I left Mike at the helm and I am supposed to be on vacation, but I had to jump in and comment on the lame CYA attempt by executive editor Bill Keller in the New York Times today.

I found the following passage particularly pathetic:

Some of the incoming mail quotes the angry words of conservative bloggers and TV or radio pundits who say that drawing attention to the government's anti-terror measures is unpatriotic and dangerous. (I could ask, if that's the case, why they are drawing so much attention to the story themselves by yelling about it on the airwaves and the Internet.)
[Emphasis mine]

Why are we drawing so much attention to the story? Because he published it after being informed that doing so would threaten our National security. It boils my blood that this idiot tries to shift the blame to others before he even finishes the second paragraph. How stupid does he think we are?

Here's a scoop for you Bill: If you had kept your trap shut, we wouldn't even be having this discussion now! What a moron!

Don Surber nails it here.

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Greetings From Mike's America!

The Palmetto Pundit asked if I would stand in while he vacations at the shore this week. Since I vacation at the shore year round, it's no great sacrifice for me to share with PP's readers a taste of Mike's America.

Why Mike's America ?

The idea for doing a blog came to me during the 2004 Presidential election. I was one of those people sending out emails with news and information about the campaign to friends and family. So, taking the next step and putting it all in a blog which affords a range of text, audio and visual possibilities in an easy to reference web page seemed a natural.

The name, Mike's America came after reflection on the class warfare tactics of the Democrats, most especially that of the Democrats Vice Presidential candidate, John Edwards. In his famous "Two Americas" stump speech (which you may read here)he enunciated the politics of dividing our society, creating envy in the so-called "have-nots" and seeking to punish the "haves" or the successful people in our society whose initiative and drive are the engine which pulls the whole train down the track.

Mike's America is dedicated to the unity of our country, not it's division. And that unity is ever more necessary as we face what truly are life and death issues on a daily basis. Since the awful atrocities of September 11th we have had two national elections in this country where the issues of security, freedom, peace, justice have been front and center along with economic progress and societal fairness.

The voters have spoken in increasing numbers for a unified plan to address that host of concerns. That is the ethos of Mike's America: "Better, Safer, Stronger and Free."

Mike's Experience: A Front Row Seat to History

I formed many of my political views through long experience since my early years as a child. Even in the 4th grade I was politically active. When the teacher asked for students to bring in campaign literature from the presidential campaigns, I volunteered to bring in Nixon pamphlets. Of course they, along with the Humphrey literature, mostly wound up in the wastepaper basket with funny faces painted over the candidate photos. Proving that many Americans, and especially at an early age pay little serious attention to politics.

In college, I had the good fortune to find one of the rare political science professors who was a Republican and also had the distinction of working on campaigns and in the political structure at the state and national level. With his encouragement I worked in my first statewide campaign in Ohio to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would eliminate the partisan gerrymandering of election districts. We suceeded in getting the amendment on the ballot, but it was defeated.

I was also encouraged to start a College Republican Club at Ohio Wesleyan, and after doing so, took club members to the election night celebrations for President Reagan's election in 1980 in Columbus, Ohio. It was that celebratory evening where my group and myself (far right in photo at right) met Congressman John Ashbrook , an early founder of the Conservative movement along with Goldwater, Buckley and Reagan (Ashbrook bio here).

Meeting the "Right" People

After graduation, I worked on Congressman Ashbrook's statewide campaign for United States Senate. Unfortunately, he died suddenly during the campaign. But it gave me the opportunity to meet many of the great conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and later, William F. Buckley, Jr.

In 1984 I was active once again organizing campaign activities on behalf of President Reagan. I founded a student group at Bowling Green State University that at the time had the largest number of new student voters registered on behalf of his re-election campaign. We were rewarded by a visit by President Reagan. It would be his first campus election event.

The atmosphere on campus that September day was electric. It seemed the usual liberal sniveling that often is highlighted by the press at events such as this was totally absent. Perhaps it was the fleet of five helicopters, including Marine One, the President's own, landing outside Anderson Arena that really got the crowd excited. Students of history may wish to read the speech President Reagan delivered for a flavor of the times. Notice in the question and answer session that followed how one student asked if our involvement in Central America might become "another Vietnam." Some things never change.

The event was so successful, that the Reagan-Bush campaign soon scheduled similar events across the country.

Three weeks later, President Reagan returned to the area again. This time, it was onboard the Ferdinand Magellan, or Car One, a railroad car built especially for use by the President of the United States. I took the following photo at the nighttime scene lit by torchlight. It's too bad they don't do events like this anymore. Buses just don't seem to have the same magic.

Working in the White House

After I completed my postgraduate studies at Columbia University in 1988 (focusing on national security topics under the direction of former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski) I was anxious to play a role in the upcoming presidential campaign. And why not witness the art of presidential politics from a viewpoint inside the White House. So I accepted an internship in the White House Political Office.

The story of my time there was published in the Carolina Morning News, and I reprinted that story along with reflections of President Reagan sent in by other bloggers during the Mike's America celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the first Reagan Inaugural this past January.

Palmetto Pundit also joined that celebration by linking with his description of President Reagan as " not only [] the greatest president of the 20th Century, but also one of the greatest Americans to have ever lived. " You'll get no argument from me Palmetto.

It was at the White House that I was also privileged to witness the arrival of one of the greatest British leaders that ever lived: Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, on her last state visit to see President Reagan, her partner in so much good work, before he left office. I took the following photo on the White House lawn, November 16, 1988. (the program cover may be viewed here)

After leaving the White House with the change of administration, I went to work for the United States Environmental Protection Agency. It was a marked change from the "can do" White House to a federal bureaucracy where the usual attitude was "can't do."

In 1996, I was disappointed that no place could be found for me with the Dole/Kemp campaign and decided to leave Washington for Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Considering how badly Dole/Kemp did that November (thanks in great part to the interference once again of Ross Perot) it was fortunate I did not sacrifice the many months that would have been required only to be defeated.

Since then, I have used my writing talents, such as they are, to continue supporting conservative candidates and causes from my perch here on the edge of the Atlantic, yet deep in the heart of the New South.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

New York Times Leaks Another National Security Secret

The media arm of Al Qaeda has once again disclosed a classified terrorist surveillance tool vital to our National Security:

The Bush administration and The New York Times are again at odds over national security, this time with new reports of a broad government effort to track global financial transfers.

The newspaper, which in December broke news of an effort by the National Security Agency to monitor Americans' telephone calls and e- mails, declined a White House request not to publish a story about the government's inspection of monies flowing in and out of the country.

The Los Angeles Times also reported on the issue Thursday night on its Web site, against the Bush administration's wishes. The Wall Street Journal said it received no request to hold its report of the surveillance.

Administration officials were concerned that news reports of the program would diminish its effectiveness and could harm overall national security. [...]

In its story, The New York Times said it carefully weighed the administration's arguments for withholding the information and gave them "the most serious and respectful consideration."

"We remain convinced that the administration's extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use it may be, is a matter of public interest," said Bill Keller, the Times' executive editor. [...]

I suppose survival isn't a matter of public interest in the eyes of the New York Times? Apparently, there was more "serious and respectful consideration" given to exactly when the press room should be alerted to run with the story than to any National Security concerns cited by the administration.

If and when the next terrorist attack occurs that may have been prevented by one of the classified programs revealed by The New York Times, what will they say of the public interest then?

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Feds Arrest 7 in Miami Terror Plot Targeting Chicago's Sears Tower; Other Buildings

(Via Fox News)

MIAMI — Seven people were arrested in connection with the early stages of a plot to attack the tallest U.S. skyscraper — Chicago's Sears Tower — and other buildings in the U.S., including the FBI office here, a federal law enforcement official said.

As part of the raids tied to the arrests Thursday, FBI agents swarmed a warehouse in Miami's Liberty City area, using a blowtorch to take off a metal door. One neighbor said the suspects had been sleeping in the warehouse while running what seemed to be a "military boot camp."

The official told The Associated Press the alleged plotters were mainly Americans with no apparent ties to Al Qaeda or other foreign terrorist organizations. He spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt news conferences planned for Friday in Washington and Miami.

Thank God this plot was thwarted in the planning and discussion stages. Fox and Friends is reporting that 5 of the 7 suspects are American.

Although very little information has been disclosed, these bloggers (via Memeorandum) have been on top of the story and may provide additional insight and analysis:

Riehl World View, Terrorism Unveiled, A Blog For All, Security Watchtower, Hugh Hewitt, Freedom Watch,Cold Fury, Gateway Pundit, Confederate Yankee, protein wisdom, Ace of SpadesHQ, Patterico, California Conservative ,Captain Ed, Atlas Shrugs

The moonbat version of what this all means can be found in this thread at Democratic Underground. Among the popular theories are voter intimidation, a set up, and a typical election year ploy.

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Iran Weakening?

Former Mossad Director Efraim Halevy notices signs that Iran's opposition to nuclear negotiation may be weakening, despite the over-the-top rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

Jerusalem, Israel -- Former Mossad Director Efraim Halevy told NewsMax in an exclusive interview in Jerusalem that he is seeing signs the leadership in Iran may be weakening in its opposition to the Western offer of nuclear negotiations.

Despite repeated claims by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran will "never give up" its uranium enrichment program, Halevy said that Iran's supreme leader and his entourage have been measuring the economic and strategic damage that would result from serious international sanctions on Iran.

"They are beginning to realize that the array of sanctions and other measures that will be imposed on them if they refuse poses a formidable threat to them," Halevy said.

While Ahmadinejad is clearly the most visible and vocal of the Iranian leadership, Halevy notes the decision is not his alone:

It's not just in Ahmadinejad's hands. It's in the hands of the leadership. He's part of that, but he doesn't control it. It depends on how the leadership assesses the threats pointed at them if they don't accept the offer of negotiations.

While I certainly hope this is true, I don't see any evidence that Ahmadinejad is the only psycho in the scenario. If they're all as crazy as he is, we're looking a moot point square in the face.

There is also the very real possibility that the Iranians are stalling in the hope that they reach the point of no return and produce an operational nuclear weapon before negotiations can take place. That is a bargaining tool we can't afford for them to have, and the evidence
suggests they may be very close.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Soldier's Burden

I've never seen it illustrated better!

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Please Welcome Guest Blogger Mike of Mike's America!

I've asked Mike of Mike's America if he would guest blog for me while my family and I are on vacation and he has kindly agreed to do so. While we both reside on the same side of the political aisle, I believe you will find his writing style and his take on the issues to be interesting, thought-provoking and immensely enjoyable.

While I merely discuss politics, he has actually experienced politics first hand having worked as a White House Intern under President Reagan and for the Environmental Protection Agency during the first Bush Administration.

Mike is a fellow South Carolina blogger from Hilton Head Island and has been a great friend to this blog for quite some time. It is indeed an honor to have him in the wheelhouse while I'm away. Welcome Aboard, Mike!

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WMD Found In Iraq, More Likely To Be Uncovered!

(Via Memeorandum)

Fox News reports Hundreds of WMD's Found In Iraq:

WASHINGTON — The United States has found 500 chemical weapons in Iraq since 2003, and more weapons of mass destruction are likely to be uncovered, two Republican lawmakers said Wednesday.

"We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, chemical weapons," Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said in a quickly called press conference late Wednesday afternoon.

Reading from a declassified portion of a report by the National Ground Intelligence Center, a Defense Department intelligence unit, Santorum said: "Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist."

I highly suspect that this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Large portions of the report have yet to be declassified and may contain a wealth of additional information.

Let's hope additional declassification of the report occurs and we can finally put this contentious issue to bed once and for all. I've always maintained the weapons were either yet to be discovered or had been moved into another country, most likely Syria.

Additional declassification of the report may also reveal exactly why the Bush Administration decided to back away from the WMD claim and cite faulty intelligence as a reason they were not found. While the intelligence may have indeed been lacking, I've never been of the opinion that all of it was wrong. There's more to the story and I'd be willing to bet the answer is somewhere in the report.

There's no doubt Saddam had, and in fact used WMD in the past. So the question is not if he had them, but where they went. Hopefully we'll find out more that may finally answer these questions.

Of course the argument will be that these weapons aren't relevant because they were manufactured pre-1991, but that misses the entire point. If nothing else, this disclosure proves that Saddam never met the terms of the 1991cease-fire agreement which "included a demand that Iraq unconditionally accept the destruction and elimi-nation of all of its WMD, and that it unconditionally undertake not to use, develop or acquire any items relevant to WMD."

If you are of the mindset, which I am not, that the sole reason for invading Iraq was the threat of WMD, then the invasion has now been proven to have been justified based on WMD alone. Saddam could have stopped it at any time by simply meeting the terms of the cease-fire he agreed to in 1991.

The bottom line is this: It doesn't really matter whether the weapons that have been found since 2003 are still functional or when they were produced. What matters is that they were never eliminated in the first place.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bodies of Missing Soldiers Reportedly Found

(Via Memeorandum)

BAGHDAD, July 20 -- Two U.S. soldiers missing since an attack on a checkpoint last week have been found dead near a power plant in Yusifiyah, south of Baghdad, according to U.S. officials, and Iraqi officials say the soldiers had been tortured.

Maj. Gen. Abdul Aziz Muhammed-Jassim, head of operations at the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, said the soldiers had been "barbarically" killed. U.S. officials would not confirm or deny that the men, who were identified Monday as Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore., had been tortured by their captors.

"Coalition forces have in fact recovered what we believe to be the remains of our two soldiers," said Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, at a Baghdad news conference.

The identification of the bodies has not been officially confirmed by the military pending notification of the families. Via Dan Riehl, Blogs of War hopes the families were notified prior to the release of information by the Iraqis and the media.

They apparently weren’t according to Michelle Malkin via
Allah. What a shame!

Michelle also notes that this will be used to bolster the -and-run brigade’s agenda.

I wonder when the “cut-and-run brigade” will come to the realization that troop withdrawal will not end the cycle of violence, but relocate it to our very doorsteps?

My thoughts and prayers are with the souls of these brave men and the families they leave behind.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

America Thanks You!

I received a link to this excellent pro-military video by Move America Forward in my Inbox yesterday:

Congratulations to our troops on a job well done!!

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It Doesn’t Have to be Grim to be a Milestone!

Here we go again! Another milestone:

WASHINGTON - American deaths since the invasion of Iraq have reached 2,500, marking a grim milestone in the wake of recent events that President Bush hopes will reverse the war's unpopularity at home.

The latest death was announced as Congress was launching a symbolic election-year debate over the war, with Republicans rallying against calls by some Democrats to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

The Pentagon provided no details on the nature of the 2,500th death. Nevertheless, reaching the new marker underscored the continuing violence in Iraq just after an upbeat Bush returned from a surprise visit to Baghdad determined that the tide was beginning to turn.

It seems these “grim” milestones aren’t occurring frequently enough to suit the media. If memory serves, the “marker” used to be 1,000. I suppose the wait for 3,000 was too excruciating for the media to bear, so I guess 500 is now the new 1,000.

Despite the doom and gloom rhetoric and the defeatist attitude expressed in the excerpt above, this “grim” milestone actually says more about our success than it does our failure.

The 2,500 figure is astounding not because it is so high, but because it is so incredibly low. When this figure is actually compared to historical data of similar length conflicts, the most obvious conclusion should be how well and how safely it has been executed. While every death is indeed tragic, the facts show this as being one of our finest achievements, not one of our biggest failures.

It’s a shame the media refuses to note the historical comparisons and fails to acknowledge the damage their slanted coverage of this war has caused. By choosing to ignore or under report the numerous success stories, they have actually given encouragement to our enemies and have, in all likelihood, contributed to the death toll they so love to trumpet.

It is because of this mindset that they also miss other significant milestones such as this:

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- The Republic of Korea Medical Clinic located here will celebrate the benchmark of 200,000 Afghan National patients served since the clinic’s inception at a ceremony June 15, at 10:30 a.m.

The Korean Ambassador to Afghanistan, Young Bang Yoo, will deliver the keynote address for the ceremony.

In addition, Lt. Col. Joon Pil Moon, clinic commander; and Col. Kim Soon Ku, ROK Army Engineer commander, will be available for interviews following the event. Media are also invited to tour the facility following the ceremony.

The Korean Medical Clinic was established on November 2, 2002, and is currently in its ninth rotation in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The purpose of the clinic is to assist local Afghan civilians with basic medical treatment as well as minor and major surgical procedures.

News media interested in witnessing this historic event should arrive at the front gate of Bagram Airfield at 9:30 a.m. for escort onto the base.

[Emphasis mine]

I’d be curious to find out how many members of the media even bothered to show up at Bagram and document this milestone.

My guess is that seating was plentiful because reporting good news such as this does nothing to further their agenda and would only serve to prop up the good guys.

Update 6-17: Mike informed me the links were not working. They have been repaired now. Thanks, Mike!

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

It’s All In The Last Line

(Via Breitbart)

An English translation of the document found in the safe-house of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been released. Below are some excerpts I found particularly interesting:

The situation and conditions of the resistance in Iraq have reached a point that requires a review of the events and of the work being done inside Iraq. Such a study is needed in order to show the best means to accomplish the required goals, especially that the forces of the National Guard have succeeded in forming an enormous shield protecting the American forces and have reduced substantially the losses that were solely suffered by the American forces. This is in addition to the role, played by the Shi'a (the leadership and masses) by supporting the occupation, working to defeat the resistance and by informing on its elements.

As an overall picture, time has been an element in affecting negatively the forces of the occupying countries, due to the losses they sustain economically in human lives, which are increasing with time. However, here in Iraq, time is now beginning to be of service to the American forces and harmful to the resistance […]

In general and despite the current bleak situation, we think that the best suggestions in order to get out of this crisis is to entangle the American forces into another war against another country or with another of our enemy force, that is to try and inflame the situation between American and Iraq or between America and the Shi'a in general […]

The question remains, how to draw the Americans into fighting a war against Iran? It is not known whether American is serious in its animosity towards Iraq, because of the big support Iran is offering to America in its war in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Hence, it is necessary first to exaggerate the Iranian danger and to convince America and the west in general, of the real danger coming from Iran, […]

Everyone is talking about the tone of defeat expressed in the document and the obvious desire to draw the Americans into a war with someone else, namely Iran. However, it seems very little attention has been paid to the closing line of the document, which I believe says it all:

Let us hope for success and for God's help.

Where’s the normal confidence and cockiness to which we’ve become so accustomed? In the past, we would read something along the lines of- “We will be victorious and the infidel will be destroyed because it is God’s will!” Now the swagger has been replaced by- “God, are you there? Please help us!!!”

The author of this is begging for mercy and is unsure whether his “god” is listening or if he even exists. Where’s the faith? What’s this “hoping for success” garbage?

Before, victory was assured! Now they’re not even sure they can run fast enough to live another ten minutes.

It’s all in the last line.

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There's Gold In That Thar Rubble!

HT: Assorted Babble

It looks like U.S. Special Forces hit the gold mine in more ways than one with last week’s strike on the safe house of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq's national security adviser said Thursday a "huge treasure" of documents and computer records was seized after the raid on terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's hideout, giving the Iraqi government the upper hand in its fight against al-Qaida in Iraq.

National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie also said he believed the security situation in the country would improve enough to allow a large number of U.S.-led forces to leave Iraq by the end of this year, and a majority to depart by the end of next year. "And maybe the last soldier will leave Iraq by mid-2008," he said.

Al-Rubaie said a laptop, flashdrive and other documents were found in the debris after the airstrike that killed the al-Qaida in Iraq leader last week outside Baqouba, and more information has been uncovered in raids of other insurgent hideouts since then.
He called it a "huge treasure ... a huge amount of information."

When asked how he could be sure the information was authentic, al-Rubaie said "there is nothing more authentic than finding a thumbdrive in his pocket."

"We believe that this is the beginning of the end of al-Qaida in Iraq," al-Rubaie said, adding that the documents showed al-Qaida is in "pretty bad shape," politically and in terms of training, weapons and media.

"Now we have the upper hand," he said at a news conference in Baghdad. "We feel that we know their locations, the names of their leaders, their whereabouts, their movements, through the documents we found during the last few days."
[Emphasis mine]

So Iraq is indeed a quagmire! A quagmire for Al Qaeda, that is!

There’s no telling what information is on the flashdrive, the laptop, or any of the other documents found in the safe house debris, but I think it is a safe bet that it is huge considering the choice of words and phrasing by Iraq’s National Security Advisor Mouwafak al-Rubaie. One simply doesn’t go out on a limb that large unless they are certain it won’t break.

This mighty, insurmountable “insurgency” largely created and propped up by the mainstream media, appears to be anything but mighty and insurmountable. If anything, it appears to be hanging on by a thread. While it is probably a safe bet that some level of violence will continue in the region, it appears that it will become more and more disorganized and will further taper off as time goes on.

Notice that Mouwafak al-Rubaie is not mincing words here. He is a high-ranking Iraqi official who has actually seen the evidence and is proclaiming that Al Qaeda is all but finished in Iraq.

This begs the following questions:

Exactly how long will it take for John Kerry to claim he was taken out of context yesterday?

When will the rest of the hardcore anti-war Democrats figure out they’re on the losing end of history yet again?

If they do figure it out, will it really matter now?

Talk about painting yourself into a corner!

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Shed No Tears Over Final Moments of Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi

(Via Memeorandum)

BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. officials have altered their account of the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, saying he was alive and partly conscious after bombs destroyed his hideout, and an Iraqi man raised fresh questions Saturday about the events surrounding the end of Iraq's most-wanted militant.

The man, who lived near the scene of the bombing, claimed in an interview with AP Television News to have seen U.S. soldiers beating an injured man resembling al-Zarqawi until blood flowed from the man's nose.

If this is true, which I doubt, then I hope he got the teetotal crap beaten out of him. I hope he tried to roll off the stretcher in an attempt to escape, and they finished him off to ensure he didn't.

Can anyone make a plausible argument that restraining this thug by any and all means necessary, would not have been warranted? I, for one, am not going to shed a single tear over the final moments of a thug who's claim to fame was videotaping beheadings and planning suicide bombings he was too cowardly to carry out himself.

Whatever he got was much less than he deserved.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

A Touching Tribute to Our Troops!

Mike of Mike's America has posted the link to a flash tribute to our men and women in uniform who sacrifice everything to keep us free and spread the dream of freedom around the world. I watched it, composed myself, then left Mike the only comment I could muster at the time:

I am moved beyond words! I'll link it this evening after work.

I still am and here's the link.

If a picture is truly worth a thousand words then this is worth no less than a million.

Watch it and you'll understand what I mean.

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Video Slideshow: Zarqawi Bites the Dust!

(Via, Michelle Malkin)

Allahpundit provides video of the air strike that took out Zarqawi:

Looks like Zarqawi finally found out what happens when the weapon doesn't jam. Of course if you're the target and the lesson comes courtesy of the U.S. Military, you're most likely way too dead to benefit from it.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Zarqawi Dead!

One more godless thug has been thrown onto the ash heap of history!
This is not a rumor:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida's leader in
Iraq who led a bloody campaign of suicide bombings and kidnappings, has been killed in an airstrike, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Thursday. It was a major victory in the U.S.-led war in Iraq and the broader war on terror.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said al-Zarqawi was killed along with seven aides Wednesday evening in a remote area 30 miles northeast of Baghdad in the volatile province of Diyala, just east of the provincial capital of Baqouba, al-Maliki said.

Loud applause broke out among the reporters and soldiers as al-Maliki, flanked by U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and U.S. Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told a news conference that "al-Zarqawi was eliminated."

The news came amid more reports of violence in Iraq, with two bombs striking a market and a police patrol in Baghdad, killing at least 19 and wounding more than 40.

The announcement about al-Zarqawi's death came six days after he issued an audiotape on the Internet, railing against Shiites in Iraq and saying militias were raping women and killing Sunnis and the community must fight back.

Others Blogging: Everyone with a blog and a working modem!

Check out Michelle Malkin, Iraq the Model, and Counterterrorism Blog for starters.

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All The Way to the Hangar, Mr. President!

Although there are a lot of critical issues in the headlines that are worthy of discussion and analysis, I've found my life occupied by more pressing issues and responsibilities of late.

I've also found the usual political catfighting to be a little more than I can stomach lately given the various other demands on my time. As regular readers of this blog know, I don't have the stamina of a Michelle Malkin or a Glenn Reynolds, so when the rhetoric gets too pathetic, I stop and regroup.

I can't let the week pass by, however, without remembering President Ronald Reagan who died two years ago June 5th. My friend in blogdom, John in Carolina, reminded me of the following exchange (subscription required) between President Reagan and former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger that has long been one of my favorites:

One of Cap Weinberger's favorite stories about Ronald Reagan concerned the American conflict with Libya over the Gulf of Sidra in August 1981. Weinberger and the military brass were sitting down with the president as the U. S. Navy moved toward the region. There were fears of combat in the skies.

Weinberger asked the president what the orders would be if the Libyans fired on U. S. aircraft and returned to Tripoli. "What about hot pursuit? How far can we go?"

"All the way to the hangar," Reagan responded.

President Ronald W. Reagan sure had a way with words and an ability to communicate exactly what was on his mind while leaving little room for misinterpretation. "All the way to the hangar" pretty much summed up his intentions in six words and there was little doubt exactly what those six words meant.

I think those six words can also be used to describe the man as well. Everything he did was "All the way to the hangar". It really didn't matter whether someone agreed with him or not, they knew exactly where he stood and exactly what he planned to do about it.

The death of President Reagan, while merciful for both himself and his family, left a hole in my heart that to this day remains unfilled. I've often said that I just felt better knowing that he was still around, and I truly meant it.

I always held out hope that if things got too bad, the Gipper would give Nancy a tip of the Stetson, saddle up his favorite horse, throw the spurs to her, and ride full gallop to Washington to straighten things out.

Of course I knew better, but it sure put my mind at ease to think of him in this way instead of dwelling on the dreadful disease that slowly consumed him. I'll always believe that although his mind left him, his heart never did.

It is my belief that true greatness and conviction comes from the heart. For my money, no one who ever lived had a bigger heart or loftier goals than did Ronald Wilson Reagan and it is my doubt that anyone ever will.

He indeed gave his all and took it all the way to the hangar. It is a lofty goal to which we all should aspire.

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

FDA Still Fighting (And Losing) The Battle of the Bulge

(Via The Washington Times)

Well, it looks like the Food and Drug Administration is no longer satisfied with letting the consumer know what is in the food we eat; they now want restaurants to control what and how much of it we eat when we dine out:

The federal government wants smaller portion sizes at restaurants and nutritional information listed on menus.

As Americans eat more food away from home, the Food and Drug Administration said yesterday the nation's 900,000 restaurants needed to take the lead in cutting fat and the agency laid out ways to help people manage their intake of calories.

How stupid does the FDA think we are? I have a little extra around the middle and I know exactly how it got there: I've eaten more calories than I've burned off! I also know how to lose weight: I have to burn more calories than I take in!

It really doesn't matter what the FDA does to try to force people to lose weight; it simply won't work without personal responsiblility. It is now, and always will be, up to each individual to change their own habits and do those things which lead to weight loss and better health.

Smaller portions may provide a healthier bottom line for restraurants, but they won't lead to healthier waistlines. We will eat until we are full! The real trick is learning exactly when that is.

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