Sunday, April 30, 2006

Shuler: A reasonable Democrat?

It seems so, based on this Washington Times article. Were he running against Walter S. Jones, this might be someone I could support. Taylor, though, has done OK, and I see no compelling reason for him to be replaced.

Colin Powell's comments...

It seems there is a fuss being made about Colin Powell's comments about his preference for more troops.

Critics on the left like to hide behind Colin Powell, never mind the fact that he has stood behind the liberation of Iraq. Critics on the right like to dump on him because, well, he is his own person and has come to his own views on a number of issues. It seems he is destined to be caught in the crossfire (too bad the New York Times hides Safire behind TimesSelect... it has a very interesting point about how Powell and Rumsfeld seem to get along very well and respect each other... and how President Bush knew what he was getting with that duo).

Colin Powell served this country honorably for over 30 years in the United states Army, then gave four more years of honorable service as Secretary of State. He is a fine man, and while I have disagreed with some of his decisions in that timeframe, he does not deserve much of the flak he has taken.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A disgusting crime...

It seems that a vicious beating took place in Texas. The reason for this disgusting crime? A young Hispanic man kissed a young white woman.

Quoting the article:
The attackers forced the boy out of the Saturday night house party, beat him and sodomized him with a metal pipe, shouting epithets "associated with being Hispanic," said Lt. John Martin with the Harris County Sheriff's Department.

The victim is not expected to live. Sadly, due to the Supreme Court decision in Roper v. Simmons, only one of the thugs who inflicted this beating will be eligible for the death penalty if the victim dies.

It will be interesting to see how certain people respond to this attack.

Recognizing revenge when you see it...

Remember when I said revenge will come for the borking of Harriet Miers?

Read the Captain's Quarters post on the President's meeting with Senators. It seems George W. Bush has cut the House GOP out of the negotiations - and that means it ain't just Miers he's getting revenge for... it's also the DPW deal.

And in the process, he gets the immigration reform he always wanted.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Most frustrating...

Why is it that the Supreme Court seems to show more concern for murderers sentenced to death than for their innocent victims?

Is there anything that could be a more screwed-up sense of priorities?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Jed Babbin with an interesting column...

From the Washington Examiner. It is a defense of Rumsfeld, but it also puts the decision regarding Shinseki in perspective:

Months before Sept. 11, as Rumsfeld began the transformation of the Pentagon, he ran into contumacious obstructionism from the army and its then-Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki. Shinseki dug his heels in and refused to change much of anything about the Army. Shinseki went as far as to go behind Rumsfeld’s back to the Senate where his political mentor (and long-time family friend, Sen. Dan Inouye of Hawaii) and others backed his play.

But for the political cover Sen. Inouye gave Shinseki, he might have been fired then and there. Civilian control of the military means people such as Shinseki cannot be allowed to play the back-channel political games he played again and again. Shinseki stayed, and the Army went on to spend billions on the Stryker armored vehicle, a Cold War style peacekeeping vehicle that is too big and too heavy to be moved by a C-130 tactical airlifter without being partially disassembled.

Let's review the chain of command, shall we?

President of the United States
(aka the Commander-in-Chief)
Secretary of Defense
Joint Chiefs of Staff
(of which General Shinseki was one)
Note where Shinseki is. If he didn't like the direction, there was an honorable course for him to take - one taken by General Anothony Zinni, who opposed the liberation of Iraq. He could have resigned his commission and then spoken out on the matter. Shinseki was probably familiar with the very lax control of the Clinton Administration (largely due to missteps on gays in the miltiary, the micro-management that led to the firefight in Mogadishu going wrong, and the insult to General Barry McCaffrey), and figured he could get away with it. He then seemed surprised that Don Rumsfeld wasn't going to put up with such nonsense.
In the matter of Shinseki, I think Rumsfeld acted with incredible restraint in not firing him summarily.

On Rickie Weeks...

Jason at Ramblings discusses Rickie Weeks, and expresses concern about his defense.

While his errors can be frustrating, I'm a lot more worried about his power - it seems to have gone AWOL (only one double and one triple so far this year). If Weeks hits .300 with 40 doubles, 20-40 homers, and 40+ steals a season, I can live with errors. His bat is what is valuable.

Milblogging conference coverage...

My colleague from Strategypage, Austin Bay points to BBC coverage of the Milblogging conference I attended on Saturday.

Bears Quarterbacks...

I suppose this might seem like a sudden break, but the Bears quarterback situation could be a lot better. The guy getting the biggest raw deal is Kyle Orton, who is going to be third-string despite winning 10 of his 15 starts after going through the NFL's equivalent of being tossed into the deep end of the pool and being told "sink or swim".

Start Orton, have Griese back up, and trade Rex Grossman.

The reason...

The reason to support a death penalty for repeat child rapists is outlined quite well in a Boston Globe article on the legislation.

Kenneth Glenn Hinson, 47, had no children but seemed to treat his neighbors' children as if they were his own.

He would listen to their problems, pile them into his pickup truck for weekend outings at Johnson Lake, and roast marshmallows with them during sleepovers at his home.

''My kids stayed down there, camped down there with him, and cooked down there with him. Hell, half the neighborhood did," said Donna McGee, who knew Hinson for four years. ''Nobody ever suspected anything."

They didn't know that Hinson had spent nine years in prison for raping a 12-year-old girl in 1991.

South Carolina is doing a very good thing. Perhaps a similar bill would be good in Virginia, although the present governor opposes the death penalty - and would probably veto the bill. I will settle just to get the death penalty for these creeps. That said, it would be better if some state (or the federal government in the case of those who make child pornography) were to cut a deal with the GRU for their blast furnace and conveyor belt.

Let's just hope that the courts will keep their sympathy where it belongs - with the victims, as opposed to the criminals that hurt them.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Will the Senate get it right this time?

Bill Frist is going to give it a shot. This is a chance for Republicans to reject an abominable bill from the House of Representatives (Congressman Sensenbrenner should never have put the felony provision in the bill in the first place).

I've blogged about immigration before, discussing the broken system on at least two occasions, discussing my problems with the right on this issue several times. Even the "rule of law" argument does not fly with me, as the law has become unresponsive to the needs of immigrants and others.

What bothers me the most about this is the fact that I have seen conservatives willing to defend the system - demanding "enforcement first". But this is a nebulous concept, and one on which it is easy to move the goalposts, if you will. There will be some who will always insist on "more enforcement" rather than fixing the problems. One has to ask what the Border Patrol and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement have been doing all this time, playing tiddlywinks?

Yes, they are here and doing jobs - and proving that Americans are, quite frankly, asking too much for the jobs. If someone is willing to do the job cheaper, you can either lower your asking price, or do without the job. The fact is, it doesn't take much training or education to swing a hammer or to carry a lot of material. If you want $20 an hour (or other union-level wages), you're probably asking for too much. College students have little to complain about, too, if you ask me. There are paid internships out there - things that will provide more experience for one's career. Besides, businesses need people all year round, not just when your schoolwork is off. Business is not there to provide college or high school students with a job - they exist to make profits for their owners by providing goods or services to people at the price set by the market. A lot of these folks complaining about immigrants sound like they enjoy being generous with other people's money.

Short version, the economy in general is changing, and those who want to hold tight to the way things were in the 1950s are living in Wolkenkuckkucksheim (or cloud-coukoo-land) - to borrow from Erwin Rommel's description of the Atlantic Wall. That wall reminds us of one other thing - no wall can stand against people determined to break it. The same has been true of the Berlin Wall and the Maginot Line as well.

Will common-sense solutions prevail? Hard to say. On the right, it is acceptable to wage the sort of class warfare we see from Tom Tancredo, Pat Buchanan, and others. In essence, Buchanan and Tancredo want a restribution of wealth from sucessful businesses to those they deem worthy of largesse (namely, undereducated native-born workers in this country) - and they have no problem using "big government" to get it. Perhaps it is time for business to stand up and call these populists out. After all, business is a big part of any successful Republican electoral coalition. They should be heeded, too.

Or the Republicans may hear the sound of checkbooks snapping shut.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Don Surber nails it...

When Don Surber discusses Michelle Malkin's complaints about her recent dust-up, he does it pretty well.

Michelle Malkin reminds me of a pitcher who throws a lot of chin music - and then complains when the batter charges the mound.

Better live-blogging than mine... also live-blogged, and I think they did a better job than I did with my live-blogging.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Thoughts on the conference...

It was an amazing conference. A very educational way to spend a Saturday - and it was worth it. As the numerous entries below will attest, there was a lot of stuff said. I probably caught a quarter of it at most in my effort to live-blog it - which probably made a hash of the worthwhile things that were said (I was trying to keep up with the spoken word, and I only use two fingers, myself).

Andi from Andi's World did an excellent job putting this conference together.

One thing the milbloggers have done is to provide a check on the media. Vietnam will not happen again because these folks do much to get the stories that the mainstream media will not cover out there. This is a good thing for the country. We went through a lot of unnecessary torment because of Cronkite's comments in the wake of the Tet Offensive. That will not happen again, thankfully.

Closing the conference...

Austin Bay is set to close down the conference.

VFW helped sponsor this conference. VFW has a Military Assistance Program. They take care of families of deployed soldiers. A soldier had to go to his father's funeral. They have an Unmet Needs Grant program. Headt to for more info.

Talking about from media to "wedia". It not just milboggers, but individuals able to report what they know. Talks about healingIraq at Bloggers are noticing things - like Lott's comments at Strom Thurmond's birthday.

It's more than just the military.

Speech will be on the website. I look for that. Will be at the Creator's column. A podcast will come out and be discussed. "Duty and discipline are missing from television." - I have probably missed the entire quote - and will have to get it right later.

This has been a wonderful conference. I learned much, and while I got some compliments for my work at Strategypage, what I do is really very small. I did not serve - I looked into it, and found out that a medical condition precluded it. All I am trying to do with my writing is to keep the knife out of the backs of our troops. Will be back later.

Blogging from the Theater...

Michael Fay - Combat artist. Art work for the USMC.

CAPT Z. - Company commander in Afghanistan. Handled PSD in Iraq.

Bill Roggio is a blogger going to embed in Iraq. He is former Army, embedded there. Flew from Kuwait to Iraq via C-130.

Fred w/In Iraq for 365 - PA soldier for Stryker. Thinks the Stryker is the best vehicle there. Lost good friend, SGT David Mitts (sp.?). Wife was pregnant, baby lost to SIDS.

Jeff "Dadmanly" - Asked how he comes up with those names. A 1SGT. Helped get everyone through the training. Did not lose anyone.

Lost a person. Fay with 2nd Platoon, crossed over. Often embeds with the platoon leader. It was direct fire - they went in. 4 dead 11 wounded. Two Navy Crosses could come out of it. Doesn't draw dead Marines. Draws battle scenes. Marines liked him being around.

In Afghanistan. Operate out of FOB. Battalion CO didn't even know about blogging. Troops loved blogging. Lots of donkeys up there. Once a week. Kept mouth shut. Started with No flak. Clear and concise guidelines. Chain of command was informed.

Came in, provided operational and tactical. Got his experience over time - lots of reading. Riggio wants the complete story. Ramadi is still a problem. Get the correct story. The media has fallen down. Not the government's job. Disparate views are more clever.

In Iraq for 365 discusses the thing from the PAO. Army's satellite system can get live feeds to media. Good stories go to the medium-size markets. Toledo, Galveston, etc. Gatekeepers chose not to use it. Why he started blogging. Not just soldiers. Lost an interpreter, Samir. His death only got coverage in the blog. Help the American people feel both the pain and the joy.

(As an aside, David Hunt is hilarious - and he's good for laughs on this topic)

Dadmanly assigned to military intelligence (no comments... yeah, right, and I have a date with Jennifer Love Hewitt - we know what military intelligence is...). Found out about a mortar strike - flipped his wife out. Profiles of his company CO, sergeants, the Combat Service Support soldiers. These were National Guard. Every one was ready.


Next time we go. What is going to happen?

Capt. Z - Safety first. People need to be careful what they ask for... new googles with cameras.

David Hunt: "The press sucks."

Capt. Z - Blogging is not a problem. They have the software and technology. Cell phone and photo phone. They get the embedded reporters. The American people... give them the truth.

Dadmanly - There is waaay too much info out there. Seven messages out there... out of 5 million. Media reports get distorted due to lack of background - and too much data points. What is needed is someone to say what the datapoints mean....

Iraq365 - Does not want live coverage of the battlefield. It can be stopped internally. Not a tech guy.

Roggio wants to know if the Marines approved this? Chain of command knew he was blogging. UCMJ. Is liveblogging appropriate? No rules against it at the time. Reporters cannot do live feeds. Embeds given ground rules about OPSEC. Troops took pics of themselves.

Hunt: Be conscious of things.

Dadmanly - It is BDA for the enemy. You can't have that. Technology is pervasive, and it's getting worse. Control or co-opt. A lot of what he read was too much. Guys will do it any way. Have a skill identifier. Get training in blogging, tech, OPSEC.

Hunt: Senior leadership is needed. *baby cries* "Now that is live blogging."

Iraq365 - Rumors happen in minutes. Insurgents had their own IO. al-Qaeda is very good at it. PAO is putting info out. Live feed out to quell the rumors. Tsunami came, then nobody cared.

Marines did not allow embeds.

Hunt discusses Marines who used the press to promote themselves.

Iraq365 - Some PAO units did well, others don't. Units are not in theater all the time. Meritorious Unit Citation. Press releases out with Iraq365.

Fay - seen drawings in public. On websites (NYT, WSJ) Washington Post. Army has nothing like Fay.

Dadmanly - Army PAO does better. CENTCOM has made numerous efforts. Lots of into - have to know where to look. Information is there... but MSM will not access the info. You'd see Paul Smith, immediate 24-hour cycle. Pages other than A1.

Fay - .mil sites will have info. The military journalists tell the story. MSM and people can't access it - or won't access it.


Media gets its butt roasted again. They deserve it. Media is not trusted, but people can't find it.


Reservist speaking - what bugged him was to watch an event unroll, and then see a little tickertape on CNN or FoxNews. None of the stuff got in the news to help victims of a bomber.

More comments for the media. Fay is discussing the media. Fay says no sense is provided.

Capt. Z - Riots - and a bad image.

Iraq 365 - Describing an attack from a mosque. Media reported they entered a mosque. PAO had to correct record. Yahoo still claimed the Americans entered the mosque.

(Another rant).

PAO speaks - network got the footage of attack from a mosque. Network did not use the footage. The blogs are the watchdog of the media.

Dadmanly - Self-correction is happening. It took a period of time. Drawing power - it will take time. Confirming information.

HUNT: Elephant in the room: American public is not as affected. Until more people get involved, the reaction may not happen. Casualties are miniscule. More participation would be better.


An Iraqi spoke on this... very good point.


Fay - Iraqis are good people, but they need people. If the WV National Guard was here... we'd eventually need to go. Media asks the wrong question.


Iraq365 - We need Iraqis to step up.


Will conference make a difference?

Fay - First conference. If he makes a difference.

Capt. Z - It already has, with turnout.

Roggio - It will make a difference. Good to put faces to names.

Iraq365 - Most substantial victory. CENTCOM representatives figuring out how to bring blogging into the Army. Gives Marines credit (grudgingly).

DadManly - Great thing - helps people get a sense of identity. If they regulate themselves. Technology will explode. Those who do it need to do it right.

Is MSM becoming more biased?

Roggio - In somes cases MSM has become more biased. Some journalists have reached out. Challenging the establishment. Can't blame MSM - look at Rather.

Iraq365 - Good reporters use blogs.

Dadmanly - Proof in the next journalism classes. Journalism 101 by the wayside.

Fay - We're filling a gap. People sense they are not getting the truth. All PAO asks is that they stay in their lane. Just let us know. Share it.


Roggio - Never carried a gun - he wasn't allowed to.


Advertising person.


HUNT: Draft armies. VOLAR because of being smaller. American forces are the best in the world.

DadManly - Doesn't want draftees or people who don' want to be there. If the media fails us, it is neglecting to uphold military service. People would be willing to serve if they got it.

Iraq365 tells of a documentary. NHNG embedded a filmmaker. Virtually embedded, worked with PAO. Mike Moriarty was one of five. Filmn shows up at Tribeca. The War Tapes. June 2 nationwide.


Over There gets raves from Hunt. Iraq365 and Dadmanly hammer it.


Fay promotes Pat Dollar. Young Americans project that he hopes gets put together.

It took four and a half years to get 9/11 films. Iraq365 can't watch this stuff. Never liked Over There.

And Jarhead gets hammered.

Resuming after lunch...

It seems that we have made up 32 minutes.


Soldier's Mom: They are reporting opinions, not facts. It was a statement that closed the article and declared a fact. They want balanced reporting.

TCOVERRIDE (this will be good): The bad things that don't get read. The insurgent who tried to kill two sergeants and shot his nephew. 15 Iraqi army soldiers killed in car bomb, but not the Lt. Col. who was non-political and who got stuff. The under-equipped forces who work with them, who work despite the risks to their families. The good news part - how they were try to get a sheikh kicked off. Boston Globe misreported. Week later, he raided the sheikh's house, and found a cache. Threw "his ass" in the pokey. Negative press effects morale.

Marine Corps Mom: Journalists not embedded. Steel Curtain cleaned up a town near the Syrian border. The Marines convoyed citizens to vote in the elections. Never reported. Iraqi Lieutenant saved her son's life.


The families of milbloggers.

60% of enlisted are single. Parent of a son at war. A son who was wounded broke anonymity. OPSEC, etc.

Soldier's Mom: Blogged anonymously until son was WIA. Told the story.

TCOVERRIDE: It was because he got strange looks at the mess hall for comments on TV. Good way to let family know what was going on. Need to rail against things that were just wrong. Simplest reason to keep a blog up - the good news stories don't get told. Bad news gets told - and how much Bush lied, etc... Complainers were a very small percentage. Coordinating indirect fire from a tank. Lessons learned.

Marine Corps Mom: Talked with parents, nothing prepared her. Knew there had to be more news. Found Blackfive and LT Smash. But nothing for parents. Thought of web site. But went to blog - could update and did not need to call a webmaster. Started Operation SANTA. Sent 6000 stockings to Marines. Support parents of Marine Corps Reserve personnel.

Soldier's Mom: Four days - and milblogs. Contacted the OR to trauma center. Got info in four hours from the milblog community. Got assistance from Soldier's Angels. Fisher House.

(It seems they have some connection hiccups. Again, is there ever a plan that has survived first contact?)

Mrs. TCOVERRIVE: Soldier's Angels supported during TCOVERRIDE's recovery. Owe a lot to many different people.

One protestor stole yellow ribbons from cars.

Marine Corps Moms: Share of run-ins. Lets it roll off her back. Many middle of the night calls. Small but determined anti-war group. Country was built on freedom of speech.

TCOVERRIDE/Mrs. TCOVERRIDE: Walter Reed protests. TCOVERRIDE might have "accident" to hit Phelps. Code Pink are "assholes" (puts it mildly). TCOVERRIDE asks "Why protest in front of a hospital?" Troops are just keeping their word. Place for political statements - White House, Capitol Hill, soapbox. Loves the Freepers. Glad to live where people can do that - with rights come responsibilities.

Soldier's Mom: Very supportive community. Questions about "should we be there?" Searching for the information. "That can't be the story." The most anti-war people are the ones with families. The last place they want their families to be is in war. POWERFUL point made with a front page of a paper. Not one word about the war.

Future of MilBlogs...

The fact is - the line is going to shift. Milblogs won't go away. OPFOR.

Where is Milblogging going? Will talk issues. Missile defense - profileration - there will always be a military topic to discuss. Shinseki's beret. Podcasts are coming. It's not a diary any more. It is a whole new form of media.

It's foggy. Blogs are proliferating.


It is like pornography - I know it when I see it. Blackfive discusses self-regulation. GEN Cody (who led TF Normandy, and IMO, deserved the Medal of Honor) wants big-time restrictions.

LT SMASH adds about the posts he did not write. Very aware of vulnerability. Walls of the ten. A missile strike. Didn't want to discuss the incident - and had no desire to give them spotter information.

The Present

Soldier's Perspective - Tells what the media never told. How the media accentuated the negative.

LT Smash - Big proponent of all-volunteer military. Growing gap between people with no contact, and people who are in. Tell the story. Tell the rest of America. Have to get the word out - fighting for America. Helping human beings. Proud to take part in the liberation of Iraq. How the magazine was doom and gloom. Media said we'd get our butts kicked - it wasn't true. Insurgency is a second war.

Blackfive - Abu Ghraib folks were knuckleheads. The whole story was the dissenting generals. To most of them, it was not a major story. Put into perspective what was happening. Journalists patting themselves on the back. Nobody knows of Rafael Peralta or Paul Smith. President of a company who helped out. A waitress to saved up tips. Over 200 Silver Stars. Leigh Ann Hester. Responsibility - if the Army wipes out bloggers. Guys are trying to tell the story.

OPFOR - He sees it through a different lens. Active Duty. Has to be much more careful. First question, "What do you think of Secretary Rumsfeld?" Credit to doing a story on Milblogs that was fair. Fighting the war at home, the war lost during Vietnam. Concerned about those in theater - pessemistic. Will only take one instance. Army needs to work with bloggers to protect OPSEC. Soldier's Perspective reminds about terrorist watch list on his blog. One Islamist in Europe with hotmail.


I forgot this post was still a draft. I'm posting it now. - HCH

A Marine with a self-deprecating sense of humor.

Cutting teeth. Still learning (as am I - I'm learning a lot just listening to them).

Discussing the Tet Offensive and Cronkite's stab in the back - as I did during Colonel Bay's opening remarks. It's an eye-opener. We won that battle, but it was taken away. (Blogger's note: With all due respect to H.R. McMaster, his book got it wrong. We overcame our mistakes and won.) Cronkite's comments on the Tet Offensive were why we lost.

What Cronkite did will not happen again. Thank God for that.


This was from some guys at VMI.

CO's finding out about blogs. They are increasingly accepted. Warned to be careful.

1. SMASH/Greyhawk rules.
2. Colonel Bay looks at the blog - says I just want to win. Anything to help win.


Tells the story of how he started. He lost a friend who saved a convoy - and the press never reported it. There are good newspapers and magazines. E-mails, letters, pictures, contradicted everything the media saw.

Like LT Smash, he had no idea. "Blog years" can be a long time.

"What is the maximum effective range of a blog? We are still finding out..."


Three people would read it.

1. Mother
2. The CO
3. Osama

Then the CO found out... and tells him the day he changes. Says he enjoyed the blog.


200,000 hits. Server gives up. Had to get a server.

LT Smash...

Starts off with a hilarious opening. Describes his blog. LT SMASH. An anonymous blog for a person in the war.

Took part in port security. Describes the biggest roadblock. A complete lack of access.

LT Smash has a great sense of humor. Describes his dad's order to post every day.

Soldier's Perspective...

A combat veteran in Iraq, who, like Colonel Bay and his sources, are saying that what is on TV is not what is really happening.

Buzz Patterson...

Moderating a panel on Milblogs: Past, Present, and Future.

He's pulling no punches. He's laid it out pretty solidly.

Colonel Bay's opening remarks...

He's doing a fine job setting the tone. He's pointing out how technology has empowered ordinary people. Individuals and small groups can act on their own - and they now have the tools to make a big difference, and can make sure the story is done right. Remember how Walter Cronkite turned the Tet Offensive from a military victory to a strategic defeat with a few words? Not so easy this time - just ask Dan Rather.


The conference starts 44 minutes behind schedule. Beginning with a very moving video... "Hidden Heroes."

Running a little behind...

No plan ever survived first contact.

At the MilBlog Conference...

Attending the MilBlog conference in Washington DC. Already coming away with a bag of freebies (which I won't look too closely in the mouth). Will post updates as I can.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Another admission of a broken system...

RealClearPolitics ran a good commentary on the immigration system. While the author isn't 100% in agreement with me, he notes that:
As any non-native, legal resident of this country knows, the process of staying in the United States legally, let alone becoming a citizen, is complex, onerous and extremely bureaucratic. As an educated professional who married an American citizen, my path to citizenship was far smoother than that for most legal immigrants.

But even I went through hours of waiting in lines, waiting months and years for documents and stamps and occasional Kafkaesque situations ("Sorry, we lost your original document. You must re-submit a replacement. And, oh, make sure it is an original"). Exasperated with the persistent delays in the process, I had to seek help from a congressman at one point. It is telling, indeed, that so many congressmen tout "help with the immigration office" as a major constituent service.

My think tank colleague Yuri Mamchur, who works legally in the U.S., has spent some $20,000 in visa and application costs so far. His case is not unique. If anything, others expend even more in fees and legal costs, not to mention countless months and years spent in dealing with the bureaucracy.

Here's one of the biggest sources of the problem: A complicated, onerous, and expensive system that does not meet the needs of immigrants, would-be immigrants, or Americans (like businessmen and farmers). This is also pointed out very ably by Dafydd at BigLizards, particularly his comment at 1:28 PM on March 28. It is a system that is just not working for anyone, and more attempts to enforce it will not solve the fundamental problems we are facing, which includes a labor shortage (What part of 4.7% unemployment is hard to understand?).

With the law in such a death spiral and having gone so far wrong, is it any wonder that it is being so largely ignored - and now defied openly? Many of the President's critics adopt the attitude of "the law is the law" and invoke the "rule of law" in opposing cutting so much as a single illegal immigrant slack. But they forget that in the past, America has had laws that could only work with arbitrary or draconian enforcement (like the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit and the Volstead Act) or which were, on their face, unjust (like the Fugitive Slave Act and the Jim Crow laws). Would any of them argue that those laws should have been kept?

Something needs to be done. AJ-Strata is largely on the way there, but what is missing is a rational system that will set clear and objective standards for entry into this country for tourists, students, guest workers, those seeking asylum, and permanent residents with quotas that will reflect the needs of as many people as possible. There need to be clear standards for naturalization, and there has to be a clear code of conduct for those in this country.

Ruben Navarette has been one of the best voices on this issue, as shown in this column. To solve this issue, the country needs more people to listen to reasonable columnists like Ruben Navarette and statesmen like George W. Bush than demagouges like Michelle Malkin and Tom Tancredo.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Shut Up, Howard explained...

What other message is there from a statement like this from DNC Chair Howard Dean?
"The religious community has to decide whether they want to be tax-exempt or involved in politics."
The Democrats have done this sort of thing before, as I discussed at in February. Or look at the digital thuggery aimed at Ben Domenich.

Dubya has not forgiven...

One look at the Time magazine profile of Harriet Miers, and it doesn't take much to realize that President Bush feels he has a score to settle.
Back at Bush's side, Miers is one of the dwindling number of longtime Texas confidants still at the White House at this time of upheaval. The loyalty is reciprocal--Bush was still hot months later about how she was treated, viewing her as a victim of snobby élitists. To White House officials, Miers is a quiet workaholic who got an inexcusably raw deal.

This is a President who believes in loyalty to his people. Payback for the Borking of Harriet Miers will come. It's just a question of when.

Two new links...

Welcoming Cannoneer Number 4 and jveritas to the blogroll at Called As Seen.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Another sign of the conservative civil war?

The CWA is blasting the networks' decision to appeal fines resulting from FCC indecency rulings. Yet at the same time, other conservatives, like Rush Limbaugh (scroll down for the quoted audio clip) have deep misgivngs.

We know that a lot of these complaints come from one source, an internet complaint generator run by Brent Bozell (who does valuable work with the Media Research Center).

People know how to change a channel or turn the radio/TV off. There's really no need to run to the FCC... unless a person is eager to try to undo the verdict of the free market.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Setting the Record Straight...

Mike DeLong is one of two men (the other being Tommy Franks) who can give us the best picture of Don Rumsfeld as a SECDEF in charge of running a war.

Read his op-ed in Sunday's New York Times. Buy his book, Inside Centcom, if you want even more detail.

Suffice it to say, I will take his word, and that of General FRanks on the matter.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Casting the gauntlet...

That is, in essence, what is happening with the ad featured in the Wall Street Journal on Monday. The civil disobedience campaign is continuing, and it is starting to have an effect, as AJ-Strata has revealed. Quite properly, the Republicans are retreating from part of the horrendous House bill, much to the anger of the hard-liners. In essence, the GOP is finally standing up to Tom Tancredo, albeit too late to do much except kill the provisions in the conference committee.

This is a big step. In essence, the business owner in that ad has dared the hard-liners to demand the law be enforced. It is, in essence, the start of a major offensive by proponents of a bill along the lines of the Senate compromise that includes some key portions of the Republican coalition (small-L libertarians like Grover Norquist, pro-business elements like the Chamber of Commerce, and people who are Bush/Republican loyalists). This bill is largely opposed by other key portions of the Republican coalition (law-and-order conservatives, traditionalists, and populists).

I think that Hugh Hewitt has grossly understated what is happening on this issue. This is a full-blown civil war on the right - and one that has been brewing for some time under the surface. We've seen glimpses of it earlier, during the debate over the prescription drug program for Medicare, over relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and even over No Child Left Behind, but within the past two months, it has become obvious that this civil war was inevitable.

The "Fort Sumter" of this civil war was the controversy over the Dubai Ports World acquisition of P&O. The resulting betrayal turned immigration into a "must-win" battle for President Bush, who would have otherwise been faced with a serious decline in the relationship with one of America's most crucial allies in the war on terror (before you think I'm reaching, ask yourself how valuable it is to have an ally whose intelligence service can infiltrate human intelligence sources into Iran, Syria, and even Saudi Arabia - the UAE can do that). A number of those who sabotaged the deal have also opposed the President on immigration.

This meant that President Bush had to choose between preserving a vital strategic alliance in the war on terror, and risking losses in the 2006 mid-terms, or keeping internal GOP harmony, and risking a vital alliance. Anyone who has watched George W. Bush over the four-and-a-half years the war on terror has been going on does not need to guess at what he would choose.

That meant that these two factions of the Republican coalition were going to have to fight. It meant that they might be fighting all the way until the 2008 Republican Convention. But that was not his choice. He did not start this Republican Civil War, but he will end it, and he intends to win it. It will be good for the GOP, and good for the country.

Sometimes a joke just writes itself...

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice tosses Playboy and Penthouse out of the State Department newsstands.

The Beastie Boys need to re-write that line from their song, "Fight for Your Right (to Party)" to:
Working at State is such a drag...
Since SecState threw away the best porno mags.


MySpace has taken the step of hiring a security chief. This is a good step, given the online predators out there. But what is disturbing is how Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal can investigate a company that is not based in his state.

A company that, in fact, conducts most, if not all, of its "business" online... and which has users across the country (including myself).

Mr. Blumenthal needs to re-read the Constitution - particularly Article I, Sections 8 and 9. State attorneys general have no business meddling in interstate commerce.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Still more on immigration...

There's a lot to say about immigration still.

First, let's discuss the Powerline poll. This is a poll that can only be described as having been stacked in favor of the results wanted via the choices offered. You could only pick one option out of the eight offered. What's more, there was no entry in the poll that came remotely close to the President's comprehensive proposal. This has been typical of what has passed for conservative criticism of the President's plan: Phony claims of "amnesty" and "no serious enforcement", repeated often and loudly. This is doubly disappointing given this blog's superb work to expose the blatantly dishonest reporting of Dan Rather. I expected better. I sent them an e-mail about the poll, and pointing them to my blog. I await their response.

Second, we go to Captain's Quarters, and a disturbing propsoal from Congressman Jack Kingston of Georgia. Short version: He wants to repeal the portion of the 14th Amendment that states that all those who are born to persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States are consdiered citizens. In other words, he wants to take up to citizenship that is largely along the lines of France and Germany. The concept of "blood citizenship" can only be described as latently bigoted, if not worse. It simply tells people that because of who their parents are, they do not have what it takes to be an American. This not only flies in the face of the constitutional prohibition on "corruption of blood" (for treason, I might add), it also is in conflict with the principles espoused in the Declaration of Independence ("all men are created equal").

In addition to the objections on principle, there is a practical effect. France and Germany have had huge problems with unassimilated minorities. Why? Because for generations, they have not been given a stake in that country, and they have been effectively told that there is no hope whatsoever for their children to become members of that country. Thus, they congregate among themselves, and have no reason to assimilate - because the country they are in has summarily precluded the chance that they or their children can become French or German.

The third piece of news is much better. It is a column at TCSDaily covering the recent protests in DC against the abominable House bill. The author noted a lot of citizens there - and you can bet that if they are motivated to protest such a stupid bill, they will also be motivated to vote on this issue. Perhaps some of the House Republicans, Hugh Hewitt, and others need to take a good look at this. There are a lot of people who object to the House bill. And for good reason. More horror stories emerge of people caught in the immigration morass. One was a caller to Rush Limbaugh's program who was given bad information. CNN covered an Irish couple who is also technically "illegal" because of an all-too-typical bureaucratic screw-up (no link available, sorry). Add this to what Dafydd at Big Lizards reported at 1:28 PM on March 28 (scroll down for the comment), and the Colombian family I am aware of, and the pattern is emerging of a law that has gone so far wrong it is receiving the same level of civil disobedience that ultimately ended racial segregation in the South.

At this point, what more is there to be said?

More on the "rule of law" argument...

Again, I have to disagree with RangerMac.

When a system has become as broken as our immigration system is, (see my earlier posts on the subject here and here), we have to fix it, and admit we screwed up.

A good portion of the 12 million illegal immgirants are victims of this system, just as much as other people have been victimized by the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and eminent domain. Conservatives have acted to address these other abuses by bureaucrats. Why do they not do so when it is a messed-up application of immigration law? Isn't reforming the law, and cutting the victims of that law (even if they have not followed the letter of the law) some slack the right thing to do?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Conservative no more?

Increasingly, that is what it is looking like I will be saying in the wake of this immigration debate.

The immigration debate has become that bad. It seems that on the right, if one does not agree with the positions of a Michelle Malkin or a Michael Savage, you are for "open borders" or worse. Furthermore, they seem determined to sabotage any compromise that features what they have come to call "amnesty".

To be blunt, this is the right's version of "Medicare cuts". There is no amnesty. Those who are here illegally pay a penalty. It is merely not the penalty that is sought by Malkin, Savage, and Tancredo. Furthermore, they are claiming there is no serious enforcement. Well, what have CBP and ICE been doing all this time, playing tiddlywinks?! This has to be an insult to the personnel of both agencies who put their lives on the line. Not to mention who are already deporting dangerous criminals (1,300 in soxth months by the Buffalo, New York, Field Office). No enforcement? That claim ranks right up there with "Medicare cuts" in terms of whoppers told for political advantage.

It is just getting impossible to continue to associate myself with a movement that is embracing these lies. And that is leading me to openly question whether my beliefs can really be pegged into one particular movement. Hugh Hewitt said that immigration was an issue that could cause a civil war in the Republican Party. In this, he is wrong. The civil war is already upon us. It now remains to be decided whether the vision that triumphs is Ronald Reagan's or Tom Tancredo's.

Sy Hersh...

Both Mac's Mind and Austin Bay discuss Seymour Hersh's "expose" in the New Yorker.

What I think they both miss is that Mahmoud Ahamdinejad is the mullah's way of committing the geopolitical equivalent of "suicide by cop". Iran is a very young country (median age 24.8). Most of the youth do not care for the theocracy. The writing is clearly on the wall for where Iran is going to go barring a drastic event (say, a bunch of nukes turning Iran into a self-lighting parking lot).

The mullahs have decided that rather than see Iran go democratic, they will destroy it. It's an evil decision made by evil men who have decided that if they cannot have Iran, then nobody shall.

On immigration...

Macsmind has a great post on the immigration debate in the GOP.

I wish to add a few thing further to the debate. I have long disliked Michelle Malkin - particularly through who she chose to associate with on the immigration issue. I've written about this twice before. Suffice it to say she has cited Lawrence Auster and Steve Sailer to bolster her arguments on immigration. Both Sailer and Auster have been called out - and by two of the founders of (tacitus and Ben Domenech), no less. When conservatives are calling people racists, she ought to take note - and not hide behind claims that people are crying xenophobia the way she did when people (many on the right) forcefully disagreed with her on the UAE ports deal. Yet she still lets her column run on a site that not only features Sailer, but which also runs stuff from Jared Taylor as well. In the Age of Google, is there any real excuse to not know who one is working with? I say no.

Sadly, she has allies. As Newsweek reports in a profile of Congressman Tom Tancredo, who has aligned himself with Pat Buchanan on the issue:
Tancredo may not be a household name yet, but he's doing everything he can to change that. As the House and Senate debate the nation's immigration and border-security laws, the four-term Coloradan has positioned himself as the loudest, angriest voice against the estimated 11 million illegal aliens now living in the United States. They are "a scourge that threatens the very future of our nation," he says. He laments "the cult of multiculturalism," and worries about America's becoming a "Tower of Babel." If Republican presidential candidates don't put the problem atop the agenda in 2008, he says he'll run himself, just to force the front runners to talk about it. Not that he thinks he'd win the White House. He declares himself "too fat, too short and too bald" to be president. If the Republicans lose the election because he's too tough on the issue, he says, "So be it."

"So be it" is not an appropriate answer to possibly handing the White House to a Democratic Party that has demonstrated time and time again it is incapable of taking the war on terror seriously. And yet, Tancredo has a following. A big one, particularly at places like FreeRepublic (which is ultimately why I decided to cease participation at that site). The conservative movement's tolerance of Malkin and Tancredo is why it's rapidly leaving me. This country was founded on the premise that all men are created equal. Malkin and Tancredo seem to be hanging out with people who apparently think otherwise.

EDIT: Correcting a link that I messed up earlier.

EDIT 2 (4/2/06): It seems that the link to the denunciation of Lawrence Auster has been hacked.

EDIT 3 (4/10/06): The link appears to have been fixed.

Spambots stink...

Austin Bay discusses some recent tribulations with spambots.

There are lower forms of life than spammers. Child molesters, trial lawyers, and terrorists spring to mind very quickly. But spammers rank very low on the scale.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Overdue Presidential Hardball

President Bush has drawn a line - saying he opposes a fence on the border with Mexico. In one sense, I do not like fences, since they work both ways. But, on the other hand, this is precisely the kind of hardball that is needed. Particularly after 15,000 additional Border Patrol agents, 3,000 additional ICE inspectors, tougher penalties for forging documents and alien smuggling, a mandatory emplyoment verification program, and other measures was not sufficient.

I have no problem with the construction of a virtual fence using surveillance technology and UAVs, and adding more agents to CBP and ICE. The use of MQ-1 Predators may make drug gangs think twice about trying to shoot it out with the Border Patrol.

But a real fence... a 1,951-mile Berlin Wall on the border with Mexico? No way, at least not without serious concessions from the proponents of a wall. Where to start?

* Increase legal immigration by at least 50%.

* Add a guest worker program.

* Provide a way for the 12,000,000 people to come out of the shadows in return for a reduced penalty (a fine and repayment of back taxes). Calling this an amnesty (which is a general pardon granted by a government) is no more truthful than calling the reductions in the rate of growth in spending for Medicare "cuts" as the Democrats did in 1995. There is punishment present in this proposal - it is just not the punishment hard-liners like Michelle Malkin and Tom Tancredo want.

* Pass into law clear and objective conditions for entry into this country as a tourist , a guest worker, a student, and a permanent resident. No more will there be any basis in law for stories like the ones Dafydd posted as a comment at 1:28 PM on this post at Big Lizards. Similar objective and clear requirements for citizenship (with a bare minimum being command of the English language, American history, and civics at a high school level, at least eight years in this country with no serious legal problems, and employment) need to be placed into effect. If people meet these qualifications (or if it cannot be proven they do not meet them within a reasonable time period), then the government should be told to issue the visa on a first-come first-served basis, with exceptions for those who might be in physical danger.

If they want to deal, they can accept these terms, and then we can discuss what kind of fence goes up. This probably sounds harsh, but there seems to be no other way for President Bush to get through to House Republicans, who have already taken part in the disgusting betrayal of a reliable ally in the war on terror, and who have no desire to reform a law that has gone wrong.

Well, maybe if there is a veto or two, and if the business community speaks out enough, the obstinancy of the House Republicans will change. either that, or maybe they will head back to the minority until they learn to address real problems with reasonable solutions, as they largely did in 1995.

Immigration bill shelved...

The "Big Lie" technique as applied to the McCain-Kenendy bill and the Senate compromise, worked. The bill is being shelved for at least the Congressional recess.

I think the set of used golf clubs I got will be getting a fair bit of use this fall.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A quick round-up...

An article I wrote summarizing some of the documents recovered after the liberation of Iraq is at Another good article there discusses immigration and civil disobedience. In essence, Michelle Malkin, Tom Tancredo, and other hard-liners have just had been called to put up or shut up. As I discussed earlier, citing a comment at Big Lizards, this law has problems.

Captains Quarters has translated another recently released document from the archives of Saddam's regime.

Strata-Sphere has two good posts. One discusses the collapse of the case against Scooter Libby. The other is pure common sense on people we don't want in this country.

My colleague from Strategypage, Austin Bay, also has discussed immigration.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Opening Day, 2006...

Baseball season starts today.

The Brewers bring a superb trio of young players (JJ Hardy, Rickie Weeks, and Prince Fielder). They have a great rotation, and Ned Yost has settled in as manager...

They are probably better than any team in the NL Central, except St. Louis. I believe they will finish no worse than 2nd, and they have a 50/50 shot to take the wild card (if they do not win the division outright). Last year, as the playoffs started, my colleague at Strategypage, Austin Bay, predicted the Astros would finish ahead of the Brewers. I think he is mistaken.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

When does a law become wrong?

Thinking more on the BigLizards blog entry of March 28, particularly his comment at 1:28 PM, I have come to the conclusion that "rule of law" can be grossly misused - as it was when Janet Reno used that phrase during the Elian Gonzalez case (for an interesting take, see This phrase is often used by the critics of the President's guest worker plan - and often without a response.

Well, Big Lizards has shown some situations which show that maybe there is a response.

Quoting his 1:28 PM comment:

I didn't get into the story (because the post was long enough as it was), but my wife is a naturalized citizen. She had her green card for a long time; when she was trying to become a citizen, she jumped through all the hoops, checked off all the boxes, and finally got to the point where she was told she would be a citizen as soon as she took the oath.

But then they simply refused to set a date for her to take the oath. Weeks passed, months, and they wouldn't set a date, wouldn't tell her why, wouldn't tell he if there were any problem. Nothing.

Most of the people she talked to simply said they had no idea, she should just wait a few more weeks. But after those weeks, they told her the same thing.

It finally took a direct intervention from our then-congressman. It turns out the "problem" was that her file was sitting on somebody's desk, buried under a bunch of other papers that Mr. or Ms. Somebody also wasn't bothering to handle.

The reason they couldn't find it was -- they hadn't even bothered to look. It was nobody's responsibility to find it. Had it not been for our representative, she would still, six years later, be waiting for her bloody swearing-in ceremony... and would still not yet be a citizen.

Bureaucratic slowdowns, with no concept of the fact that there are people in this country. They could fall "out of status" due to misplaced or uncompleted paperwork. These are not the hardened criminals or threats to our country that Michelle Malkin or Tom Tancredo would have us believe they are.

Now, for the next story:

A few years ago, a friend of ours, who was here completely legally, lost his job because of a medical problem. Mind, he had been here for sixteen years trying to get a green card. During that time, he was totally legal, he was working, he owned a condo, he had health insurance, spoke perfect English, never committed any crime (it's possible he may have gotten a traffic ticket), everything that should have qualified him.

But because he couldn't get a green card (again, he never found out why), when he lost his job, he was simply told to get out. No discussion, no appeal: since his legal status was still tied to his job (as an accountant at a hotel), he was simply ordered back to Japan after sixteen years trying to become an American.

Sixteen years. No real problems with the law. A perfectly law-abidign citizen who bought a house, was taking part in the American dream. Then one health issue - and we're booting him out. No reason whatsoever.

I have heard a second-hand story in all of this. A family from Colombia found out their oldest son's school was slated for a "recruitment drive" by one of the rebel groups (I'm told the method reflects that used by FARC). They did everything they could within the law to protect their son's life (these kids are often used as cannon fodder). Finally, they came to the US on tourist visas and overstayed them. They are "illegals" - and if Malkin, Tancredo, and the rest of that crowd had their way, they'd be sent back forthwith. No ifs, ands, or buts. And all along, we are supposed to accept this in the name of the "rule of law".

It's like the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit. States imposed to to keep their highway funds, but it became a joke. Montana, for instance, made the penalty for exceeding it a very small fine - with no repercussions for one's driving record. Other states gave a bit of leeway, depending on the situation. Others would ticket anyone going over 55, using the speeding tickets to enhance revenue. It became a racket that was so bad that eventually, the national limit was repealed. But the deleterious effects are present today, as a national speedtrap database is online, telling people where police try to enforce the speed limit (or enhance revenue even further).

There comes a point when the law just doesn't do the job. Then it becomes time to change it, and to also make it right to the people caught up in the mess that resulted from the failures of the original laws. On immigration, that tipping point has passed.