Monday, July 31, 2006

Enforcement mistakes...

It seems that racial profiling has its problems - although you will never hear Michelle Malkin admit it. Hat tip to SJ Reidhead at Pink Flamingo for the catch.

Is this the enforcement that Laura Ingraham had in mind? If so, then I'll pass.

A possible compromise on immigration?

Ruben Navarette is one of the best commentators on immigration. His home paper is in San Diego. But he also is willing to hammer the extremes on both sides. His latest column (via RealClearPolitics) is a case of that.

The Pence-Hutchison proposal is better than the enforcement-only House bill, which is doomed to failure, and the Senate bill, but it still has two problems. First, there is no way to be sure that the foreign "Ellis Island Centers" will work. Second, it relies on the notion of "self-deportation", which is a false promise - it's only doable if you make life here more miserable than where the illegals come from. That's going to take a lot of doing.

I think the approach suggested by Congressman Chris Cannon's advisory committee is a better one. But then again, as Hedgehog Central has pointed out, even the Pence bill is bitterly opposed by the hardliners.

In essence, the immigration hard-liners are to the GOP what the Deaniacs are to the Democrats. The conservatives have be frustrated beyond description. The Democrats have me royally pissed off, and frightened for the future of the country. Not a good choice for November, is it?

Going too far...

The U.S. Navy sank the Belleau Wood during the RIMPAC 2006 exercises. Not that a 39,000-ton ship with the ability to hold over 40 helicopters couldn't be useful for things like prepositioning forces or capable of serving longer with an overhaul... but for some reason, she was sent to the bottom.

Apparently, if reports are correct, the Navy also put the Valley Forge on the bottom - a ship that was roughly 20 years old, and retired two years ago. You think selling a ship with a high parts commonality with the Kidd-class destroyers to Taiwan would have been a good idea.

Not only is the Navy throwing away valuable stuff, they don't even look for better deals than scuttling the ship.

Rant over.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Trade's been made.

Carlos Lee to the Rangers for Mench, Nix, and Francisco Cordero, plus a low-A pitcher.

I like this deal. The steal of this deal looks to be Laynce Nix, whose numbers in 2003-2004 look very similar to Bill Hall's.

Mench is not bad, either. He's looking like a solid OF, and could be flipped for something else by Monday's trade deadline.

Cordero bolsters the bullpen.

Not a bad return for two months of Carlos Lee.

Think this through..

Stansfield Turner has argued that the supercarriers might not be needed, and this led to some hearings from a Congressman.

Folks, this is the same Stansfield Turner who gutted CIA's HUMINT capabilities, from which the CIA never recovered - despite a brief resurgence under William F. Casey, arguably the best DCI that has ever served.

His track record is one that needs to be considered before we follow his advice.

That said, CVN-21... I'm unsure about. We're paying at least $14.6 billion for it ($5.6 billion in R&D and $9 billion per carrier). That's almost enough for three Nimitz-class carriers - or two Nimitz-class CVNs and thirty littoral combat vessels.

Maybe it is time to kill CVN-21 and the DDG-1000 (Zumwalt-class destroyer), and instead just build more Nimitz-class carriers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. IT's cheaper, and the U.S. Navy will have more of them.

I am relieved...

Carlos Lee rejects a 4-year/$48 million offer from the Brewers.

With the presence of Bill Hall, Corey Hart, Gabe Gross, and Nelson Cruz on the roster, this is very welcome news indeed. The Brewers can move Lee, get younger players to shore up the bullpen and get some help for the future at catcher (Damian Miller is getting old for that position).

Most importantly, the Brewers can give the players who will be important for success over the next four of five years extensions (Bill Hall, Doug Davis, Chris Capuano).

This is a blessing, not the curse of the Brewers having to fire-sale people as they have in the past.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Blogroll additions

The Wild Turkeys blog, run by the host of the forum, is new to the blogroll. Check out both the blog and the forum.

MacRanger's new digs...

MacsMind has some new digs.

They look nice.

Common sense slips away...

And Andrea Yates gets off "by reason of insanity".

Never mind that she chased down her older children to drown them. Never mind that she drowned all five of them. Somehow, it wasn't murder, it was just the action of insanity.

If it had been just one, I might have bought it. But not all five. It seems that the Yates children have become victims again - this time of the system that was supposed to protect them.

Texas should be trying to make arrangements with the GRU for the temporary use of one blast furnace. Instead, Andrea Yates lives while her victims stay in the ground. Where is the justice in that?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Seixon Update...

Seixon's woes continue:

At approximately 7:00 AM Central European Time I received a phone call from a blocked number. The person on the phone told me I had written naughty things on my blog, and then laughed when I asked them who they were.

"You're a dead man."

This is what the person on the line told me right before hanging up.

I called my local authorities and they told me to come down to the station. I took a taxi down to the police station and filed this event with them.

I told the police that I believed this person to have been Jason Leopold. Due to the number not showing on my phone, I said I could not be 100% sure who it was. The voice on the phone sounded like Leopold's voice which I have heard on at least one radio interview. It should be noted that Ben from has spoken to John Dean (the person who was working with Leopold and called my parents on June 25th) a few times and he deems that Dean's voice is similar to that of Leopold.

I do not believe that Mr. Dean would have done this. It is my firm belief that it was Mr. Leopold.

If it wasn't Leopold, then it was probably a form of leaderless resistance.

Still, at any rate, it shows a high level of unhingedness on the part of the left. If Seixon suffers any sort of physical injury, a lot of lefty blogospherists are going to have extended conversations with humorless men and women carrying badges--whether or not they were involved in said physical injury.

Note to the leftist mooks: cease buzzer. Quit before your fellow citizens decide you should be liveblogging about the dinner menu at Gitmo.

The absolutism continues...

Hedgehog Central outlines why hard-line conservatives may find themselves the subject of a revolt. Between the absolutism of the hard-liners, the growing scandal around the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, and the way that conservatives George Will and William F. Buckley seem to miss the point on the biggest issue of the present and forseeable future, the conservative establishment is practically begging for a revolt.

I can't be too hard on Laura Ingraham, though. After all, it is a safe bet that nobody she knows favors a comprehensive solution to the problems of illegal immigration.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Veteran Intelligence Professional For Sanity, My Dying . . .

Seixon has drawn the ire of Larry Johnson, a member of the so-called "Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity." It seems that Mr. Johnson was a bit peeved at Seixon's willingness to look at Mr. Johnson's connections to Jason "Karl Rove is under double-top-secret indictment" Leopold.

Seixon describes the email:

Johnson laced the email, to a personal account of mine which I do not usually give out and which is not available through Google, with personal details about my family and me.

If you refuse to retract your statements about me I am prepared to ratchet this up several levels. I have not spent the last twenty years working with the U.S. military and the intelligence community to accept this kind of nonsense from a wet-nosed 24 year old coward, who is an armchair warrior but does not have the courage to enlist in the military when his country is at war. (Emphasis added.)

OK, so Larry is invoking his alleged experience with the intelligence community and the military in connection with a demand that Seixon shut up.

That's not very bright. Larry, you just became Seixon's life insurance policy; if anything happens to him, suspicion will fall on you.

And, in general, emailing threats to people is not a sign of intelligence--or, for that matter, sanity.

However, to quote Ron Popeil: "But wait, there's MORE!"

In a second email to Seixon, he said:

I know where you are living. You forget that I do work for the European Union and friends in Interpol.

Larry, here is a nickel's worth of free advice: get yourself a really good European lawyer--one who specializes in defending threats made under color of law--on retainer right now. Tell him the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and follow his advice to the letter. If you don't, your best bet will be to give your soul to Jesus, because your Biblical Beast of Burden (and all chattels and appurtenances thereunto) are going to belong to Seixon if he ever has any problems with the authorities.

Veteran Intelligence "Professional" (Hah!) for Sanity, my dying Biblical Beast of Burden!

On the leak investigation reaching Congress...

If someone in Congress is responsible for the leak of the NSA's efforts to capture terrorists, as both AJ-Strata and MacRanger are reporting, then they need to give the person responsible a perp-walk. There is no other way. If they fail to do so, then it's time to do two things:

First, make an exception for those intelligence officers who mislead Congress if they are protecting personnel in the field or an ongoing operation.

Second, pardon Duke Cunningham. It defies logic to see Duke Cunningham doing eight-plus years in the slammer while Pat Leahy, who leaked information while on the intelligence committee during the 1980s still serves in the Senate. One of Leahy's leaks may have resulted in the death of an operative (see second article down).

If Congress cannot be trusted to keep secrets, and if serious transgressions go unpunished, then Congress needs to face the consequences. I'm sorry, but I cannot get outraged over some Congressman's earmarks and bribes when others skate for leaking classified information.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Why the cartoon is spot-on...

It seems Hezbollah is keeping villagers from evacuating.

Hiding behind civilians is the action of cowards, not warriors.

A very telling cartoon...

Tom Bevan at the RealClearPolitics blog shows a cartoon that puts the good guys and bad guys into perspective.

Analysis of the C-802 attack

Austin Bay hosts an analysis of the C-802 attack on the INS Hanit. Of particular note is what the analysts say near the end:
Given the secret presence of the C802 in the first instance, we both think it is reasonable to assume that there were Iranian signals intelligence and fire control people telling the truck mounted launchers all of this so as to set up the launch with the maximum chance of success.
I'd suggest people re-read my piece at Strategypage on the implications of C-802s being passed to Hezbollah. Waiting is not an option.

Buckley gets it wrong.

It seems that William F. Buckley must have wanted some media time. So, he provides CBS with more cannon fodder.
Buckley finds himself parting ways with President Bush, whom he praises as a decisive leader but admonishes for having strayed from true conservative principles in his foreign policy.
Well, Mr. Buckley, it is because Bush is a decisive leader that he has strayed from "true conservative principles" in dealing with the world the United States of America is stuck in (as opposed to the world that some people would like to have).

It is satisfying for me to note that President Bush has not been anyone's sock puppet in his term of office. It is doubly satisfying to note that the three top contenders for the 2008 nomination (Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney) have shown signs of being leaders as well.

Sometimes, a leader needs to make decisions that irritate supporters. It's a good thing, not a bad thing, and something that conservatives had better learn to live with.

One other point that deserves a response.
In particular, Buckley views the three-and-a-half-year Iraq War as a failure.

Failure? We took a state sponsor of terrorism off the board. Less than three years after its liberation, it has joined Israel and Turkey as democracies in a region far more known for monarchs and/or various flavors of dictators. Has it been tough? Yes. A failure? Not by a long shot.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Responding to Buchanan

What is there to be said about his latest comments?

Time to fisk... and without remorse.

Pat says:
On American TV, former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says the ruination of Lebanon is Hezbollah's doing. But is it Hezbollah that is using U.S.-built F-16s, with precision-guided bombs and 155-mm artillery pieces to wreak death and devastation on Lebanon?

No, Israel is doing this, with the blessing and without a peep of protest from President Bush. And we wonder why they hate us.

Why did they need F-16s, precision-guided bombs, and 155s in the firstplace, Pat? Could the maps in the Palestinian Authority be a reason? Sounds real neighborly, doesn't it?

Or maybe it's the calls for genocide from Hamas, along with attempts by various Arab countries to carry it out in 1948, 1967, and 1973.
"Today, we are all Israelis!" brayed Ken Mehlman of the Republican National Committee to a gathering of Christians United for Israel.

One wonders if these Christians care about what is happening to our Christian brethren in Lebanon and Gaza, who have had all power cut off by Israeli airstrikes, an outlawed form of collective punishment, that has left them with no sanitation, rotting food, impure water and days without light or electricity in the horrible heat of July.

Oh, and somehow, walking into a pizza parlor while wearing semtex is more acceptable? Or kidnapping people? Or blindly firing rockets into cities? Or the use of civilians as shields?
When summer power outrages occur in America, it means a rising rate of death among our sick and elderly, and women and infants. One can only imagine what a hell it must be today in Gaza City and Beirut.

But all this carnage and destruction has only piqued the blood lust of the hairy-chested warriors at the Weekly Standard. In a signed editorial, "It's Our War," William Kristol calls for America to play her rightful role in this war by "countering this act of aggression by Iran with a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait?"

Ah, yes, the first cries of "blood lust" by Buchanan aimed against the neocons.

"Why wait?" Well, one reason is that the United States has not been attacked. A second is a small thing called the Constitution. Where does George W. Bush get the authority to launch a war on Iran? When did Congress declare war or authorize a war on Iran?

Answer: It never did. But these neoconservatives care no more about the Constitution than they cared about the truth when they lied into war in Iraq.
First of all, if we wait for Iran to attack, then options that involve restraint (even at the relative level of retstraint in war) may very well be eliminated.

Second, Buchanan trots out the BushLied meme commonly seen on the left. He must not have been paying attention to the news about discovery of 500 shells loaded with chemical weapons, nor the many documents showing Saddam was up to no good. Also, the precise point of taking out Saddam was to do so now, before he handed off weapons of mass destruction to terrorists who would use them.

Third, the same approach is equally applicable to Iran, which has been proven to have provided Hezbollah with C-802 anti-ship missiles. Saddam Hussein only wrote the families of murder-suicide bombers checks for $25,000.

Fourth, in the case of Gaza, the Palestinians elected Hamas. Their votes have made that terrorist group the government of the Palestinian authority. Are they really that innocent in the matter of a kidnapped soldeir, having made the organization responsible their government?
"Why wait?" How about thinking of the fate of those 25,000 Americans in Lebanon if we launch an unprovoked war on Iran. How many would wind up dead or hostages of Hezbollah if Iran gave the order to retaliate for the slaughter of their citizens by U.S. bombs? What would happen to the 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, if Shiites and Iranian "volunteers" joined forces to exact revenge on our soldiers?

What about America? Richard Armitage, who did four tours in Nam and knows a bit about war, says that, in its ability to attack Western targets, al-Qaida is the B Team, Hezbollah the A Team. If Bush bombs Iran, what prevents Hezbollah from launching retaliatory attacks inside the United States?

We are evacuatingthe Americans now. And as for preventing Hezbollah from launching attacks, that would be the job of our intelligence community - if the leaks by the New York Times have not crippled it to the point of paralysis.

In any case, by going after Hezbollah's safe havens in Lebanon, the Israelis will seriously degrade their ability to train new operatives.
None of this is written in defense of Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran.

Pat says this, but we look at the track record, and have to conclude differently. Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran are the good guys in Pat's vision. America and Israel are the villains.
But none of them has attacked our country, nor has Syria, whom Bush I made an ally in the Gulf War and to whom the most decorated soldier in Israeli history, Ehud Barak, offered 99 percent of the Golan Heights. If Nixon, Bush I and Clinton could deal with Hafez al-Assad, a tougher customer than son Bashar, what is the matter with George W. Bush?

The last superpower is impotent in this war because we have allowed Israel to dictate to whom we may and may not talk. Thus, Bush winds up cussing in frustration in St. Petersburg that somebody should tell the Syrians to stop it. Why not pick up the phone, Mr. President?

Perhaps he recognizes the thugs for who they are and prefers not to give them any courtesy which they have not deserved. In any case, I do think he should pick up the phone... and give Syria an ultimatum. If any Americans are killed in Hezbollah rocket attacks, or if Hezbollah takes one American hostage, it will be viewed as an act of war by Syria.
What is Kristol's moral and legal ground for a war on Iran? It is the "Iranian act of aggression" against Israel and that Iran is on the road to nuclear weapons – and we can't have that.

But there is no evidence Iran has any tighter control over Hezbollah than we have over Israel, whose response to the capture of two soldiers had all the spontaneity of the Schlieffen Plan. And, again, Hezbollah attacked Israel, not us. And there is no solid proof Iran is in violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it has signed, but Israel refuses to sign.

If Iran's nuclear program justifies war, why cannot the neocons make that case in the constitutional way, instead of prodding Bush to launch a Pearl Harbor attack? Do they fear they have no credibility left after pushing Bush into this bloody quagmire in Iraq that has cost almost 2,600 dead and 18,000 wounded Americans?

Kristol has explained he reasoning in his editorials. You just don't agree with it. At least you acknowledge Hezbollah attacked Israel, but you fail to note that Hezbollah has been declared a terrorist organization by the State Department. Thus, is it not in American interests to aid Hezbollah's sworn enemy?
No, Kenny boy, we are not "all Israelis." Some of us still think of ourselves as Americans, first, last and always

I think of myself as an American first... and I fail to see how appeasing terrorists - and regimes that support them is good for American interests. I am an American who has learned the lessons of Munich with regards to appeasing evil. I am an American who does not feel it is a good idea to trust this nation's security to the good will of a Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a Hassan Nasrallah, or a Saddam Hussein.

Thankfully, Republicans think the same way.

And, no, Mr. Kristol, this is not "our war." It's your war.

If we wait for this war to reach American shores, the costs will be higher and the victory harder, than it will be if we act now. Would stopping Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong-Il, and Nasrallah only become beneficial to American security after we are attacked? I think we all know the answer to that question.

The failure of paleo-conservatism is shown with this head-in-the-sand approach to the threat posed by a number of these terrorist groups and the regimes that sponsor them. If we wait for the Iranian nuclear threat to reach our cities, then the inevitable result will be the nuclear destruction of Iran. I'll say again, if we wait for the Iranian nuclear threat to bite the United States of America, then the inevitable result will be the nuclear destruction of Iran.

The sane alternative is to act now, and to ignore the rantings of paleo-conservatives like Buchanan who seem to have far more in common with the far left than the sane center-right.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Pat Buchanan: Un-Christian

Pat "I'm Professing Shahada Real Soon Now" Buchanan once again demonstrates his own peculiar brand of stupidity:

But what Israel is doing is imposing deliberate suffering on civilians, collective punishment on innocent people, to force them to do something they are powerless to do: disarm the gunmen among them. Such a policy violates international law and comports neither with our values nor our interests. It is un-American and un-Christian.

No, Pat, what Israel is doing is attempting to fight a war against an enemyt that deliberately hides its weaponry and personnel among innocent civilians, with the intent of getting jihadists and their anti-Semitic fruitcake hangers-on (such as yourself) to condemn the Israelis for the harm suffered by said innocent civilians.

Your outrage is spent on the Israelis, and not on Hizbollah. Hizbollah delberately targets civilians. Israel targets Hizbollah. If you cannot see the difference, it's because you're an al-Jazeera shill...

I'll say this directly, Pat: your biggest complaint about Israel is that they're not lining up quietly for the showers like they did in World War II. You're about as American and about as Christian as your hero Nasrallah.

But I shouldn't be too harsh with you. I mean, I realize you lost an uncle at Auschwitz.

Poor bastard fell out of a guard tower...

Darn, missed!

This says it all. Better luck next time.

Looks like they got him...

Steve Schippert at explains why it looks like the Israelis have taken out the leader of Hezbollah.

I have to agree in large part. A written statement like this means that the guy is not willing (or able) to even phone it in, much less appear in person. He's either hiding in a spider hole, hurt, or pushing up daisies. Hopefully, the latter.

Just enjoy the publicity, Barry.

I'm going to reprint the entire item from today's "Page Six" of the New York Post.
BARRY Manilow doesn't mind if you make fun of his wimpy love songs, but using them to repel juvenile delinquents goes too far. The sappy singer-songwriter hit the roof when he learned officials in Rockdale, Australia, are blasting his greatest hits on loudspeakers every night to stop heavy-metal-loving hooligans from drag-racing on local roads. While it's working like a charm, a peeved Manilow said, "If you played anyone's music for that long, you'd drive any rationally minded human out of their mind. But have they thought that these hoodlums might like my music? What if some of them began to sing along with 'Can't Smile Without You?' . . . What if this actually attracts more hoodlums - puts smiles on their faces?" Deputy Mayor Bill Saravinovski is unrepentant. "Barry's our secret weapon," he crowed.

Give the police in Rockdale credit. They figured out how to stop drag racing, which is far worse than listening to Barry Manilow. As one of Murphy's Laws of combat put it, "If it's stupid and it works, it's not stupid."

So enjoy the free publicity, Barry. Heck, I've even listened to your music from time to time...

EDIT: Here is a story from the Miami Herald.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The latest issue of Reason...

Hedgehog Central provides a heads up on the next issue of Reason.

Take a look. I might just plop down the $3.95 a month, myself.

George Will blows it again...

In this column, George Will has royally blown the call. In what must be a miss bigger than celebrating the fact that no National League team is playing their home games on artificial turf (which is the second-best thing done for baseball since 1965 - only the designated hitter has had a more positive impact upon the game), he's now denouncing as "untethered from reality" people who are urging action against Syria and Iran.

If anyone is untethered from reality, it's George Will. We only need to look at the C-802 that damaged an Israeli naval vessel to see why Will is the one not operating in reality mode (Full disclosure: The link is to a piece I wrote for A C-802 is a pretty big sucker, and requires a tractor-trailer rig for transportation and firing from a land base. An artillery shell with a chemical weapon is much smaller. A vial with something very useful for biological warfare is even smaller than that.

There are only two choices in dealing with Iran and Syria: Now or Later. Dealing with them now will be difficult, but waiting for "later" (as Will seems to favor) will create much more in the way of trouble - and dealing with them "later" may mean we take thousands of casualties in an attack with weapons of mass destruction... and that would probably mean a response involving a major nuclear attack on Iran and/or Syria.

Is that what George Will really wants?

Doesn't DOJ have better things to do?

It seems that with al-Qaeda on the loose and a whole lot of illegal leaks concerning classified intelligence programs, the Department of Justice has decided to go after a website where you can bet on sports.

Can someone explain to me why someone settingup a site where I could, (if I wanted to) bet $100 on the Brewers is somehow worth not only a 22-count indictment, but also trying to take $4.5 billion and several cars? Particularly with terrorists and leakers to deal with? This is a case of seriously misplaced priorities.

EDIT: Making a clarification.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

More fame than it deserves...

Howard Kurtz has given a baseless complaint far more fame than it deserves. At least he gave Eve Fairbanks a chance to hell her side of the story.

But as someone who also went out with her - and whose defense of her was noted six days prior to his piece in the Washington Post by Ryan Sager, I feel compelled to point out that these claims have been given far more fame than they deserve.

I have no objections as to the accuracy of her article - to my knowledge, the parts about me are quite accurate, given the situation. I consider it a great privledge to have met her, no matter what the circumstances behind that meeting were, and I hope that she and I will be able to renew our acquaintance under circumstances that will allow us to keep in touch.

An addition to the blogroll...

Internet Esquire, who came to my attention via a post at RedState.

Welcome aboard.

Is a revolt brewing?

A revolt may be in the works - and not against the Republican establishment. Instead, the target may be against the people who say they speak for the base - talk show hosts and various big blogs.

This revolt is coming from the rank-and-file, and it's been brewing since the Harriet Miers nomination was derailed. At the time it was derailed, a plurality of conservatives were disappointed that the nomination was pulled. Six months later, President Bush still gets angry when asked about it.

The next strike was the DPW deal. Several pundits and politicians decided to go along with objections to the deal raised by a union - and it was heightened by attacks from various folks, many of whom were hard-liners on immigration. Once again, the spokesmen for "the base" created problems, this time for those who are serious about having moderate Arabs on our side in the war on terror - and one of "those" is President Bush, who now has two reasons to stick it to the base.

But it is on immigration where the biggest split is occuring. An analysis of polling by Matthew Dowd, a USA Today cover story, the election of Chris Cannon in a primary that was touted asa referendum on immigration, and polling by the Tarrance Group all show very strong support among Americans and Republicans for a comprehensive split. But you would not believe that if all you did was read the major conservative blogs (Malkin, Powerline, Captain's Quarters) or listened to talk radio.

And this "echo chamber" is going to be the subject of a revolt. Largely, this is because of the fact that on the right, struggling against political correctness and groupthink has been a hallmark. Most of this has been against the mainstream media and the left... but the emerging "groupthink" on the right isn't going to fare much better. In fact, the 2008 primaries may see talk radio taken down a notch. Right now, the big three frontrunners are Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney - all of whom are distrusted/disliked by portions of the base: Giuliani for his positions on social issues, McCain for campaign finance reform and his constant clashes with the base, and Romney for the fact that his position on pro-life issues as governor was one of a "freeze" on abortion laws, and for an earlier pro-choice position.

The 2008 nominee could very easily be someone the echo chamber doesn't like. That's not a bad thing. If having a President who had to poll for a good vacation spot (and thus showinghe cannot make decisions on his own) is a bad thing, do we want someone who is a sock puppet for an echo chamber, and who demonstrates that same inability to make decisions - albeit in a different manner than the President who has to conduct a poll before deciding where he goes on vacation.

But Giuliani, McCain, and Romney all shows signs of being leaders, much like President Bush has been. This is a good sign for the GOP in 2008. If the Democrats purge Lieberman for his support of the war on terror next month, then the Republicans could benefit from having a nominee who has fought with the base in the past.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Some things to think over...

The missile that damaged an Israeli Saar V-class naval vessel was a Chinese C-802 anti-ship missile. How it got to Lebanon, and how it ended up being used by Hezbollah are good questions, but I think it is beyond dispute that the Iranians have transferred at least two (if not more) of these missiles to a terrorist organization, which has used them.

Folks, remember what President Bush and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell said prior to the liberation of Iraq? I'll repeat it as a reminder:

President Bush said:
Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists.

Colin Powell told the UN:
Our concern is not just about these elicit weapons. It's the way that these elicit weapons can be connected to terrorists and terrorist organizations that have no compunction about using such devices against innocent people around the world.

The process of tranferring an anti-ship missile is pretty complex and difficult. Anti-ship missiles are big, and usually require a tractor-trailer rig to transport. They're also hard to hide from various prying eyes. The same is not as easily said for a few vials of anthrax or smallpox in a briefcase, enough sarin to poison a subway, or a nuclear warhead.

Think this over, then decide if we really can afford to take chances with the present regime in Iran. It would be nice if pro-democracy forces could emerge and take over, but I think we've run out of time for that process to work on its own. Direct action is going to be needed - and soon.

Also think over the fact that Saddam Hussein also had connections to terrorists, and ask yourself if his conduct throughout history was much better than the Iranian theocracy's. Remember, Saddam was handing out $25,000 checks to the families of murder-suicide bombers, and was also harboring all sorts of terrorists, including the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:
Those helping to run this camp are Zarqawi lieutenants operating in northern Kurdish areas outside Saddam Hussein's controlled Iraq. But Baghdad has an agent in the most senior levels of the radical organization, Ansar al-Islam, that controls this corner of Iraq. In 2000 this agent offered Al Qaida safe haven in the region. After we swept Al Qaida from Afghanistan, some of its members accepted this safe haven. They remain their today.

Zarqawi's activities are not confined to this small corner of north east Iraq. He traveled to Baghdad in May 2002 for medical treatment, staying in the capital of Iraq for two months while he recuperated to fight another day.

During this stay, nearly two dozen extremists converged on Baghdad and established a base of operations there. These Al Qaida affiliates, based in Baghdad, now coordinate the movement of people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq for his network, and they've now been operating freely in the capital for more than eight months.

Iraqi officials deny accusations of ties with Al Qaida. These denials are simply not credible. Last year an Al Qaida associate bragged that the situation in Iraq was, quote, ``good,'' that Baghdad could be transited quickly.

We know these affiliates are connected to Zarqawi because they remain even today in regular contact with his direct subordinates, including the poison cell plotters, and they are involved in moving more than money and materiale.

If that's the sort of stuff Saddam was doing while under heavy sanctions from the UN and being watched closely, what might he have done had he not been under those sanctions? Was it really a bad idea to take him out?

The guy behind the scenes...

Macsmind does an excellent job of providing background on Ray McGovern.

McGovern's act is not new, and in fact, he seems to have been against the war on terror from the get go. And this guy claims he is for sanity?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Israeli kidnapping victims to Iran?

If the reports from Fox News Channel are correct, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may have made a big mistake.

You see, if any of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers (one in Gaza, two in Lebanon) are in Iran, then the Israelis do have justification to go in - as part of a rescue mission. Who can object to trying to rescue the victims of a kidnapping?

And of course, if Iran's nuclear program gets hammered in the process of that rescue mission... well, stuff happens.

Sometimes, the base needs to be given the finger...

Hugh Hewitt discusses John McCain's interview in Esquire. He takes McCain to task. Here, though, he is wrong.

The reason Hugh Hewitt is wrong on this issue is because a political "base" is not infalliable. In fact, the Republican "base" is capable of acting abominably, as the nomination of Harriet Miers and in the treatment of the United Arab Emirates in the controversy over DPW's acquisition of the company that handled port operations at a number of American ports demonstrated.

It is a good thing that leaders like George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, and John McCain are willing to push for what they feel is right, not what Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Laura Ingraham say should be done. To the extent that talk-show hosts or others try to dictate an elected official's principles to that official, Senator McCain is absolutely correct in saying they are bad for the country.

Prior to George W. Bush, we had a distinct lack of spine in the White House from January 20, 1993 to Janaury 19, 2003. The previous occupant couldn't even take a vacation without polling data. It's nice to see real leadership for a change.

What the mainstream media won't tell the people...

From a news briefing in Afghanistan via the DOD web site:
PRESIDENT KARZAI: The U.S. role is critical here. Without the United States, Afghanistan would have not been a free country today. Without the United States, Afghanistan would have, even now, been ruled by al Qaeda and terrorism. Our children would not have been in school. There would have not been a democracy here. We would not have a Parliament. We would have not had a free press and all the other associated accomplishments with it. We would not have been traveling on asphalted roads from one point to other points of the country. So a lot has been achieved.

I was in a province in the northeastern part of the country the other day and I saw that within 20 kilometers there were three newly built schools and a faculty of engineering -- of agriculture coming up. Without the U.S. all of this achievement would have not been there. Rather, we would have been living a very miserable life here.

So if the question is whether we still need the U.S. assistance: very, very much; whether we still need the U.S. assurance: very, very much; whether we still need the U.S. participation: very strongly, yes.

Can't put it any better than that.

When you can't refute the message...

Shooting the messenger is often your only option.

I'll let the slimy tactics of the folks who shut down speak for themselves. Keep an eye on Pondering American and Subway Canaries for more on this.

Just remember, these are the folks whose agenda Tom Tancredo is supporting.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Blogroll addition...

Regime of Terror is documenting Saddam Hussein's support of terrorism.

On CleanFlicks and ClearPlay...

Hedgehog Central discusses the CleanFlicks ruling. I'm going to discuss that a little bit here, and in more detail than my comment.

First, I will admit that I am an aspiring novelist and screenwriter, so I have something at stake here. If someone had edited the film or book I wrote without my permission, I would be quite angry about it, and I'd be looking at ways to stop it.

So, this was a good ruling. It stopped people who, with the best of intentions, were hacking away at the artistic work of others. It's a lot of work, and they deserve respect for what they do (even if some of the Hollywood types are way out in left field politically).

Now, federal law does allow people to purchase special DVD players - ClearPlay, for instance - that skip over the scenes. This is okay with me - because the film itself is not being edited or hacked. Instead, the hardware is being programmed a little differently.

Second, there is a good reason why indecency legislation - and the efforts of the AFA and PTC - need to be opposed. Via the free market, technology has emerged that will enable parents to control what their children watch. It is ironic to hear many of the people saying they want smaller government run to the FCC just because Howard Stern is talking about lesbians - or the latest goings-on at Scores. It's as if they forgot how to change the station, or insert a cassette tape or CD, or even turn the radio off (imagine that). The same applies to TV. Parents these days can tell the TV to block certain shows if they are above a certain rating.

There is no need for the censorship campaign. These efforts by the AFA and PTC have gone past reasonable efforts to inform parents (a good thing) and have become efforts to overrule the decisions of individuals to watch certain TV shows. Nobody held a gun to my head and made me buy Team America: World Police or the first season of South Park. I bought them because I thought Matt Stone and Trey Parker made some incredibly hilarious stuff.

If people want to find out what sort of content is on a show, fine. If they want to buy a DVD player from ClearPlay, that's fine, too. But I don't like being told I can't enjoy South Park or Howard Stern's show by a bunch of control freaks who can't respect my right to decide what I'm going to watch or listen to when I want to relax.

The USS Green Bay will be christened...

The Worldwide Standard blog highlights what is probably going to be the highlight of 2006 for the Green Bay Packers.

The Chicago Bears are probably going to take them apart this year.

Austin Bay on the North Korean missiles.

Austin Bay points out that North Korea is in a squeeze. But Kim Jong-Il's situation is far worse than Colonel Bay realizes.

You see, not only is North Korea facing big-time reliability questions on what is arguably its biggest and most legitimate export product (which may not be saying much), but Kim Jong-Il is now an even bigger laughingstock than he was after the 2004 release of Team America: World Police. Just check around for the jokes with the double entendre.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

An unfair comparison...

Ryan Sager is a sharp guy who calls things as he sees them. However, his comments on a recent article in The New Republic by Eve Fairbanks at the RCP blog have done her a gross injustice.

In the interests of full disclosure, I was one of those she met for that article. It was a nice time, and I found her to be a very charming and wonderful person. Given the time that elapsed, I am not upset about any minor inconsistencies. I don't remember every single small detail about the date, myself.

As for the lack of disclosure that an article was in the works - I don't hold it against her, she had been given an assignment, and from the beginning it was clear she worked for The New Republic. If anyone is to be blamed for this situation, it is the editors who gave her the assignment. Quite frankly, though, if she hadn't received the assignment, would I have met a very wonderful and charming person? I doubt it. So, I really can't be that upset with them, either.

I only have one regret - that I have not been able to keep touch with her. I hope that someday, she and I can meet in circumstances that will allow us to keep in touch. I certainly hope she is doing well, and I wish her the best. I believe Mr. Sager has been grossly unfair to her with his comparison to Stephen Glass, and I take exception to that.

800 Years and Still Legendary...

800 years ago, Genghis Khan unified the Mongol tribes. And Mongolia is celebrating, as well they should. Few have so profoundly influenced history . . .

I mean, without Khan, we wouldn't have:
  • An utterly forgettable John Wayne movie, The Conqueror
  • John Kerry's testimony of US troops behaving in Vietnam " a manner reminiscent of Jen-jis Khan..."
  • Mongolian Barbecue (yum!)
  • And, of course:


Austin Bay on Russian Retaliation

Austin Bay writes:
It’s a fair bet that the terrorists in Iraq who murdered four Russian diplomats face “KGB retaliation.” I know, the KGB no longer exists. But angry Russians with KGB skills do exist. The angry Russians do not care a whit about the opinion of Barbara Streisand, Cindy Sheehan, The New York Times, Amnesty International, the UN, the Arab League, Instapundit, or Austin Bay.

I consider this a good thing. Maybe, if we haven't done too much stuff that has Vladimir Putin royally pissed off at us, the Russians might be able to help us take care of some real bad guys we might not be able to get due to leaks to the New York Times via Congress (see Leahy, Patrick as one example of a Congressional leaker who got a pass) or disgruntled CIA personnel.

That said, my hope is that some of the perps get "GRU punishment" - from some of the "old school" types in that organization.

Republicans are backing the President on immigration.

Polling data discussed by Hedgehog Central and AJ-Strata, and referenced by the Wall Street Journal, as well as the Dowd analysis reported back in May, and the USA Today analysis (link is to my post in May discussing this), not to mention Chris Cannon's 56-44 win in his primary, are showing widespread support for the President's approach to immigration reform.

It's stunning at how the hard-liners have ultimately decided that they would rather see no bill than to give an inch. They call it principle, I call it fanaticism. When push comes to shove over this, we could very easily see the hard-liners beaten - and decisively. After all, that is what happened in Cannon's district, which is one of the most conservative in the country.

Folks, what is going on here is that we have seen a bit of a conservative echo chamber form. While most Republicans favor the President's plan, a minority do not - and that minority seems to be heavily concentrated among the alternative media widely favored by those who tend to vote Republican. In essence, it is a flip side of the mainstream media personality who asked how Nixon could have won because, "nobody I know voted for him".

It's past time for the House Republicans to step out of the echo chamber and listen to what people are saying.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Digital thuggery of the worst sort...

I've discussed digital thuggery before, in the case of Ben Domenech. But what has happened to Protein Wisdom is beyond the pale.

Not only did we have despicable attacks leveled at this blogger (including threats and sexual comments aimed at a two-year-old), but we also have had at least two denial of service attacks (at this point, it is still a difficult exercise to call up the site in question). Deb Frisch has literally stopped viewing Jeff Goldstein as human for whatever reason, and it led her to wish some of the most unspeakable acts on him. This is clearly unacceptable, but what makes it worse is that it is probably being done in the name of "peace", "tolerance", "love", and other admriable things. But where is the love and tolerance in attacking a two-year-old child? How do threats contribute to peace?

Sadly, she is not alone - and someof the practitioners of dehumanization are on the right as well as the left, albeit this happens on different issues.

Maybe we all need to think more about what unites us rather than what divides us.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Just approve the application...

Why is it that bureaucratic screw-ups seem to be so pervasive?

It's bad enough when people who wish to become Americans go through this crap. But this is worse. This time, a fallen hero's family is getting a runaround because he is Wiccan.

Sergeant Patrick D. Stewart served honorably, and made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. Is placing a Wiccan pentagram on his tombstone, much has been done for Christian, Jewish, Moslem, Busshist or Bahai soldiers really such a tough decision?

Friday, July 07, 2006

No backing down...

There will be no phased implementation of any immigration reform. That's the word straight from the President (via Captain's Quarters).

It is nice to see politicians take principled stands the way President Bush has on this issue, as is the fact he has not turned to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Laura Ingraham to provide him with the principles. He is his own person, and he is doing what he feels is right.

The fact that it is not what Hannity, Ingraham, Malkin, or others want is not a lack of principles, selling out, or betrayal as is claimed in this comment to Hedgehog. Quite frankly, those who do make such accusations are doing a very good impression of fanatics. If that is conservatism, count me out.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The big lie continues...

La Shawn Barber repeats the lie that the Senate bill (and the President's call for a comprehensive bill) is an amnesty. It is amazing that Ed Morrissey seems to miss that point.

A simple look at the dictionary shows that the term "amnesty" is grossly misleading at best. There is punishment for breaking the law - it just isn't the punishment La Shawn Barber wants. And so, the lie continues.

In a way, it has to. The failure to purge Chris Cannon has left the hard-liners in a bad position. They had their immigration referendum in a closed primary in one of the most conservative congressional districts in the country - and despite spending several times more money than Cannon's 2004 challenger did, they managed to narrow Cannon's margin from 58-42 to 56-44.

So, now, they will hide behind a shield of lies and spin, deciding that if they cannot get their "enforcement first" bill (with conveniently movable goalposts), they will sabotage the chance for any bill at all. Chris Cannon has promoted a comprehensive solution. For a look at what he is proposing, click here for a 31-page Word document. I don't agree with all of it. I think self-deportation is a delusion, particularly in cases where the people in question have been here for a long time (especially for cases like that of Dan-el Padilla Peralta). I also think that someone who has participated in the guest worker program and has a track record of good behavior should be given a leg up for permanent residency as a reward for their good behavior (imagine that!), which Cannon's plan doesn't do.

The present law has not been working, and that has been the case since 1965, with the situation getting worse and worse since then. Trying to enforce an unworkable law in the name of "rule of law" is not the answer. The problem will continue to get worse, and the laws will get stricter and stricter, the fences and walls will be built higher and wider (with the only folks coming out ahead being the folks who sell the supplies to build the wall). It is only going to create a vicious cycle. Not only that, the law - and the effort to enforce it - would eventually become an injustice in and of itself (see some of the entries at Big Lizards on immigration and ask yourself if that hasn't already happened), and that only invites further disrespect and defiance of the law.

The longer the right continues this lie, the worse the problem will get. Conservatives are either part of the solution, or they are part of the problem.

Calderon wins...

It looks like PAN has managed to win the presidency for the second straight election.

The big question is if Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will respect this decision, or if he will take it to the streets. If he does, then we're going to get an influx of refugees - and that is going to make things difficult.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Lack of common sense...

Sweetness and Light and Pondering American are discussing the KKK protest at Gettysburg.

You think the answer would be a no-brainer given the circumstances of the request. How hard is it to say, "Yob tvoyu maht, your request is denied," to the friggin' Ku Klux Klan?

Clearly, there is one government bureaucrat who needs to be offered early retirement - for an obvious lack of common sense.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ethiopia in Somalia?

Austin Bay posts on this possible development at his blog.

I also do not believe the denials. That said, we need to ask ourselves if Ethiopia can project sufficient power by itself or in conjunction with other African nations (like Kenya) to roll back the ICU advances in Somalia. That answer has to be no, at least from where I sit.

According the Naval Institute Guide to World Military Aviation (1997-1998), the total transport assets of Ethiopia and Kenya are: 10 An-12 "Cub" transports (a Russian-built variant of the C-130), 6 De Havilland Canada DHC-5s, and 3 De Havilland Canada Dash 8-100s.

That is just not able to provide sufficient combat power to re-take Mogadishu from the ICU (which will probably have assistance from Eritrea). Pushing the ICU out will require assistance from a major power, either France (which has bases in Djibouti) or the USA (which can send a mix of 82nd Airborne and MEUs anywhere in the world).

This time, we need to get Somalia right.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Catch of the day...

One shark.

Can't object to it. sorry, I just don't care for sharks too much. Particularly the man-eating variety.