Sunday, April 30, 2006
I've noticed that to do some of the more complex posting, with sound, video and graphics I've cobbled together a Rube Goldberg patchwork.
It seems to me that an integrated blogging platform that easily organizes these elements on one server would be a better idea.
Also, I'm interested in better ways to manage comments and allow a fuller range of participation among regular readers. Some sort of registration enabling access to wider feature sets like an online message board while providing greater control over malacious commenters.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
An issue as emotional as rising gas prices is tailor made for demagogues more interested in scoring political points than working towards practical solutions. And few better illustrations of that demagoguery can be found than the interview Neil Cavuto (Fox News, of course) had with Senator Dick Durbin, (D-IL), the video is here, the transcript here.
Cavuto continually asked Senator Durbin about high gas taxes, while the Senator bluntly ignored those questions and continued to read off talking points about the profits that oil companies were making. Finally in frustration, Cavuto asks " So, $0.50 cents a gallon, the taxes are OK? The 9 cent profit, that's not OK?"
The chart above from The Tax Foundation, based on Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows who is really doing the gouging here. Oil industry profits go up and down with market conditions. Taxes only go up.
Oil Company Shareholders: Paying More Than Their Share of Taxes
In a January 2006 piece entitled "Large Oil Industry Tax Payments Undercut Case for Windfall Profits Tax" The Tax Foundation averaged the amount of taxes paid from the big three oil companies, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Exxon Mobil per share of stock and compared it to the amount of taxes paid for each share's earnings. The result: where an average share paid $6.59 in earnings, it also paid $4.58 in taxes. Furthermore, for each worker employed by these companies, the company paid $249,336 in taxes.
To say that corporations which pay an effective tax rate of 41% are not paying enough is laughable.
U.S. Oil Resources Sufficient to Meet Future Needs, If We Drill NOW!
The 2005 update to the USGS National Oil and Gas Assessment showed a 50% increase over the 1995 study in economically feasible and technically recoverable crude oil resources. New technology is allowing us to uncover previously unknown resources in both current oil production fields and untapped reserves.
Current available resources easily exceed the 112 billion barrels of oil (that's BILLION) that the 1995 study (page 2) described as recoverable in the United States. That's an amount that could, without any imports, fuel our nation for more than a decade as we transition towards an economy based on alternative sources of energy.
Yet, over the same time period domestic oil production dropped while imports and demand, along with prices, increased (see Energy Information Administration Annual U.S. Supply and Demand chart).
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: The Phony Debate
Opponents of further petroleum development chortle that it would take ten years to bring to market any new oil and gas resources from remote places such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It will take time to develop the infrastructure to safely exploit those resources. Both houses of Congress passed a bill to allow safe drilling in ANWR in 1996 and it was vetoed by President Clinton. Had Clinton not vetoed the bill, ANWR oil would be available NOW!
Opponents of ANWR also spread the disinformation that the exploitable resources at ANWR aren't enough to bother about. Yet every survey from the US Geologic Service suggests otherwise. Had ANWR been producing at the time Hurricane Katrina knocked out oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, ANWR would have replaced the entire amount, lost because of the storm, lessening the gas price shock of last fall.
Energy Administration analysis in the chart above shows, production from limited development at ANWR would be enough to prevent even further slippage in domestic crude oil production, which would still be woefully short of the 20 million barrels we use per day.
And, as we have already seen in previous USGS studies, the amount of actually recoverable oil from US deposits has increased dramatically over previous estimates. It's much more likely that the amount available would be closer to or exceed the upper bounds of these projections.
Safety or Socialism the Prime Motivator for Oil Opponents?
Environmental concerns are often cited as the moral imperative among reasons not to drill in ANWR. Yet, development at the nearby Prudhoe Bay oil fields using older, less safe technology hasn't resulted in environmental devastation. Even a much hyped "massive spill" in a pipeline leak in March turned out to be little more than a puddle, which you can see in this BBC report.
And let's not forget Hurricane Katrina which knocked out all those oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico last year. Where were the scream headlines of environmental devastation, and photos of oil soaked beaches? Mainstream media coverup? Sure!
The caribou, ah the skittish caribou! They seem to be doing just fine adapting to the sight of oil production facilities (larger photo here) which would be substantially less physically and visually obtrusive in the even smaller area of development under discussion these many years at ANWR.
Environmental scaremongering has always been the socialist's best tool for advancing their true agenda, which is placing limitations on the economic growth and freedom of the United States.
Left Funds Destruction of Amazon Rainforest with Boycott of Exxon
If you think the description of the left's environmental agenda as described above is absurd, consider this:
In response to news reports that retiring Exxon Mobile Chairman, Lee Raymond, received a $400 million dollar retirement present, progressives began promoting a boycott of Exxon products and a BUYcott suggesting that fellow leftists buy CITGO gas instead.
CITGO is of a state owned enterprise under the sole control of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, whos is dubbed by progressives as the "Anti-Bush." It's suggested that leftists can "help fuel a democratic revolution in Venezuela" by buying CITGO gas.
Let's leave aside for the moment that Chavez rammed through constitutional changes which makes him President for life, shut down media that criticized him, passed a law making it illegal to insult him and has ordered government thugs to harass, kidnap, imprison or kill his opponents. You can digest all that here.
But what really unmasks the left is that Chavez, the "Anti Bush," is planning to use profits from CITGO to fund a natural gas pipeline running from Venezuela to Argentina, cutting straight through the blessed Amazon rain forest!
Yes, the holiest of holies among acolytes of the environmental religion are about to witness the raping of the rain forest by the very same scion of social justice that they are supporting with their buycott of CITGO gasoline.
Save that little tidbit for the next time some greenie accuses President Bush of destroying the planet. Warning: don't stand too close, their head might pop!
The Bottom Line: DRILL FOR OIL!
The situation we face regarding energy will only get worse, not better, unless strong measures are taken. President Bush's Energy Security Plan has many fine long term solutions like hydrogen fuel cells and shorter term solutions like increasing ethanol use.
But the transition over the next two decades to an energy supply independent of petroleum will not be possible without exploiting existing crude oil resources during this period. Failure to meet the demands for freely available and reasonably priced energy will choke the very economy we depend on to fund the development and implementation of alternatives.
It's time to tell the demagogues using this issue for partisan gain to shut up and do the right thing.
The Washington Times, America's Newspaper: "Federal agents arrested 14 illegal aliens Thursday in Virginia, drawing criticism from local pro-immigration advocates who say the federal government is using the raids as a scare tactic.
Ernestine Fobbs, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the agency has in custody 12 illegals who were arrested in a 3 a.m. raid in Leesburg, Va. Two others are awaiting trial before an immigration judge.
'We responded to a request by the Loudoun County Police Department [and] encountered 14 illegal aliens in a van,' she said. 'We are looking into the possibilities of [it being related] to smuggling. It's an ongoing investigation.'
The raid, and word of others like it, sparked panic among local immigrants, advocates said yesterday.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
I would be more interested in what the Democrats had to say about high gas prices if these were not the same people who refused to let us drill for oil in Alaska, imposed massive restrictions on building new refineries, and who shut down the development of nuclear power in this country decades ago.
But it's too much having to watch Democrats wail about the awful calamity to poor working families of having to pay high gas prices.
Imposing punitive taxation on gasoline to force people to ride bicycles has been one of the left's main policy goals for years.
For decades Democrats have been trying to raise the price of gasoline so that the working class will stop their infernal car-driving and start riding on buses where they belong, while liberals ride in Gulfstream jets.
How many times do Democrats have to tell us they want to raise the price of gas for the average American before the average American believes them? Is it more or less than the number of times Democrats tell us they want to surrender in the war on terrorism?
It's as if a switch goes off in people's brains telling them: The Democrats can't be saying they want to destroy the lives of people who drive cars because my father was a Democrat, and the Democrats can't be this stupid!
The Democrats' only objection to current gas prices is that the federal government's cut is a mere 18.4 cents a gallon. States like New York get another 44 cents per gallon in taxes. The Democratic brain processes the fact that "big oil companies" get nearly 9 cents a gallon and thinks: WE SHOULD HAVE ALL THAT MONEY!
When the free market does the exact thing liberals have been itching to do through taxation, they pretend to be appalled by high gas prices, hoping the public will forget that high gas prices are part of their agenda.
Read the rest here.
Source: The Tax Foundation, based on Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Energy Information Administration data.
Taxes on gasoline are rising much higher than oil industry profits. Yet, Democrats are out there telling the willfully ill-informed that big oil is ripping them off and we need MORE TAXES.
If you didn't hear the Neil Cavuto (Fox News of course) interview with Senator Dick Durtbag, the video is here.
Here's the transcript from an illuminating excerpt:
Sooo... 9 cents for profit to oil companies to do all the work for finding oil, bringing it to market and Durbin wants even more and more in taxes to build roads. You could pave the entire planet with the amount the federal government has collected for "roads" with gas taxes. And yet, it's never enough.
CAVUTO: Senator, do you know how much, out of curiosity, is built into a gallon of gasoline, the profits of the oil companies? Do you know what's the average?
DURBIN: Well, let me see. ExxonMobil, what did they make in three months? It was $10 billion, if I'm not mistaken, the largest corporate profits in the history of the United States.
CAVUTO: Maybe you could answer my question. It's about 9 cents. Do you know how much taxes are, Senator? About 50 cents.
DURBIN: Let me tell you....
CAVUTO: So, don't you think you should be more focused on the tax-gouging than necessarily the profit-gouging?
DURBIN: How do you explain their profits after taxes? You're ignoring that, Neil. You don't want to talk about it.
CAVUTO: Are you ignoring the taxes? Senator, I'm asking you simply, are you ignoring the taxes? Would you roll back those taxes?
DURBIN: No. I'm telling you the taxes pay for the roads that we use.
CAVUTO: Would you roll back those taxes?
Let me tell you, you look at the traffic congestion in America and the need for mass transit, you want to cut the source of funding to deal with that congestion? You're wrong. We have got to have taxation of users of our roads, in order to keep them safe and to keep them modern and to build mass transit.
Neil, you can't walk away from that.
CAVUTO: So, $50 cents a gallon, the taxes are OK? The 9 cent profit, that's not OK?
'PROGRESSIVE' MEDIA STALLS: 'AIR AMERICA' IN AUDIENCE PLUNGE NYC, 'DAILY KOS' BOOK SELLS ONLY 3,600 COPIES
Left-leaning new media has hit turbulence at the marketplace, newly released stats show.
A book hyped by major media as documenting a progressive revolution of "blogs" and political power, DAILY KOS 'CRASHING THE GATE,' has sold only 3,630 copies since its release last month, according to NIELSEN's BOOKSCAN.
[NIELSEN claims only 2,062 copies of DAILY KOS have been purchased at the retail level; the rest coming through 'discount' outlets. The NIELSEN figures do include online sales from AMAZON.COM, and others.]
Meanwhile, the just released radio Winter Book [Jan-Mar 2006] from ARBITRON shows AIR AMERICA in New York City losing more than a third of its audience -- in the past year!
Among all listeners 12+, it was a race to the bottom for AIR AMERICA and WLIB as mid-days went from a 1.6 share during winter 2005 to a 1.0 share winter 2006.
During PM drive, host Randi Rhodes plunged to 27,900 listeners every quarter hour, finishing 25th place in her time slot, down from 60,900 listeners every quarter hour in the fall.
A network source says the radio ratings released today do not reflect the overall growth of the broadcast.
"The demos are better, and listeners trust AIR AMERICA to give them the real truth on issues and the Bush presidency," says the insider.
So.... looks like the "Hate Bush" industry is finding fewer and fewer takers. I wonder if Cindy Sheewitch has gotten the message?
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Fox News broke the news this evening that TONY SNOW has accepted the job of White House Press Secretary and that the announcement will be made at the White House Wednesday morning!
With slightly more than six months to go before the all important November congressional elections, Snow will be a valuable asset in the battle for congress.
Snow will put David Gregory and Helen Thomas in the deep freeze!
Since most consumers of news are likely to get only a soundbite tailored to whatever issue the lamestream media thinks is important (investigate oil companies and TAX profits) I'm providing the following excerpt from what is the core of the short term problem: INCREASING SUPPLY!
Before discussing the key theme, energy security, The President opened his remarks with a roundup of more good news that you are unlikely to have heard reported elsehwere. From White House transcript:
...Last year, our economy grew faster than any major industrialized nation. Since August of 2003, this economy of ours has created 5.1 million new jobs. The unemployment rate nationwide is 4.7 percent. That's lower than the average rate of the '60s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. The American people are working. (Applause.)
Farm income is up. Agricultural exports are growing. Real after-tax income is up over 8 percent for Americans since 2001. Productivity is high. More people own a home than ever before in our nation's history. This economy is strong, and we intend to keep it that way. And one way to keep it that way is to make the tax cuts permanent. (Applause.)
Yet amongst this hopeful -- these hopeful signs, there's an area of serious concern, and that is high energy prices. And the prices that people are paying at the gas pumps reflect our addiction to oil. Addiction to oil is a matter of national security concerns. After all, today we get about 60 percent of our oil from foreign countries. That's up from 20 years ago where we got oil from -- about 25 percent of our oil came from foreign countries. Now, part of the problem is, is that some of the nations we rely on for oil have unstable governments, or agendas that are hostile to the United States. These countries know we need their oil, and that reduces our influence, our ability to keep the peace in some areas. And so energy supply is a matter of national security. It's also a matter of economic security.
Gasoline price increases are like a hidden tax on the working people. They're like a tax on our farmers. They're like a tax on small businesses. Energy prices are -- energy experts predict gas prices are going to remain high throughout the summer, and that's going to be a continued strain on the American people.
And so the fundamental question is, what are we going to do? What can the government do? One of the past responses by government, particularly from the party of which I am not a member, has been to have -- to propose price fixing, or increase the taxes. Those plans haven't worked in the past. I think we need to follow suit on what we have been emphasizing, particularly through the energy bill, and that is to encourage conservation, to expand domestic production, and to develop alternative sources of energy like ethanol.
Third part of the plan to confront high gas prices is to boost our supplies of crude oil and gasoline. It makes sense when the supply-and-demand world, if prices are high, it means demand is greater than supply. One way to ease price is to increase supply. One immediate way we can signal to people we're serious about increasing supply is to stop making purchases or deposits to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for a short period of time.
I've directed the Department of Energy to defer filling the reserve this summer. Our strategic reserve is sufficiently large enough to guard against any major supply disruption over the next few months. So by deferring deposits until the fall, we'll leave a little more oil on the market. Every little bit helps.
And some have contacted us to determine whether or not they can ask the EPA to waive local fuel requirements on a temporary basis....I'm directing EPA Administrator Johnson to use all his available authority to grant waivers that would relieve critical fuel supply shortages.
Listen, we need to expand our refining capacity. One of the problems we face is we've got tight supplies because we haven't expanded refining capacity. There hasn't been a new refinery built in 30 years. If you're worried about the price of gasoline at the pump, it makes sense to try to get more supply to the market. That will be beneficial for American consumers to get more supply to the market.
Part of the reasons why we haven't expanded or built new refineries to the extent we need to is because the permitting process in this country is extremely complicated. Companies that want to upgrade their equipment or expand their existing refineries or build new ones often have to wade through long, bureaucratic delays and/or lawsuits.
To make this gasoline supply more affordable and more secure, Congress needs to allow refiners to make modifications on their refineries without having to wait for years to get something -- to get their idea approved. I mean, if we want more supply, let's reduce the paperwork and the regulations.
Congress also needs to simplify and speed up the permitting process for refinery construction and expansion. And so I'm going to work with Congress. It's important for Congress to cut through the red tape and guarantee refinery construction permits will be processed within a single year.
We also need to be mindful of the fact that we can find additional crude oil in our own country in environmentally friendly ways. The technology is such that we're capable of environmentally-sensitive exploration. We got tight crude oil supplies, and it seems like it makes sense for us to use our new technologies to find more crude, particularly crude here at home.
One of the issues, as you know, that has been confronting Congress is ANWR. And I fully recognize that the passage of ANWR will not increase the oil supply immediately. But it's also important to understand that if ANWR had been law a decade ago, America would be producing about a million additional barrels of oil a day, and that would increase our current level of domestic supply by 20 percent. We've got to be wise about energy policy here in America. We've got to make sure that we protect the environment, but we've also got to make sure that we find additional supplies of crude oil in order to take the pressure off the price of crude, which takes the pressure off the price of gasoline at the pump.
And all I've outlined here today are interim strategies -- short-term and interim strategy. The truth of the matter is, the long-term strategy is to power our automobiles with something other than oil -- (applause) -- something other than gasoline, which is derived from oil.
Monday, April 24, 2006
By now, readers who have commented at Mike's America may have noticed the map of the United States showing the availability of undeveloped oil resources right here at home. But instead of talking about increasing supply until the happy day arrives when hydrogen fueled cars arrive, we're going to go and bash the oil companies one more time.
The motivation behind all this is another big government solution: A TAX INCREASE! Yep, instead of debating how we can increase supply, their is a move in Washington to slap the oil companies with another tax. And guess who's going to pay that tax? You and me, that's who.
The City Troll found this interesting chart:
Larger image here.
Taxes on gasoline already exceed the profit margin of oil companies by a significant amount. Adding another tax would simply be a windfall for government!
Wouldn't it be nice to solve the problem, not just tax it?
P.S. In a related story, guess what lefties are doing to protest the Exxon Mobil Chairman's bonus? They're boycotting Exxon and buying at CITGO, the oil company owned by Venezuela and the cash cow to fund dictator Hugo Chavez's continuing repression of Venezuela's people. One progressive web page insisted this would"help fuel a democratic revolution in Venezuela."
Yep, it's "democratic" when Marxist Venezuela uses police to round up political opponents, shut down free news media and rewrite the constitution to allow the "elected" Hugo Chavez to remain in office indefinetly.
By way of Flopping Aces, I found this chart at Mind in the Qatar. It shows the connections between various players in the CIA and national security scandals that continue to raise the question of Democrat's loyalty. Are Democrats loyal to their country and the goals of our twice elected legitimate government, or do they only have loyalties to gaining and wielding power?
Well, are you preparing your apologies or just waiting until Hillary Clinton is elected and providing illegals with voting rights????
BREITBART.COM - Feds Arrest 183 Illegal Immigrants in Fla.: "Federal immigration authorities arrested 183 fugitives and other illegal immigrants in Florida alone last week, the state's largest roundup in a single week, officials said Monday.Now, pay attention: I put up the Bush speech on border security from March 27, where he described the SIX MILLION ILLEGALS WHO WERE CAUGHT AND RETURNED!
The arrests included people convicted of sex offenses, child abuse, cocaine trafficking and weapons violations. They were originally from 26 countries and most eventually will be deported.
'Anybody who is a fugitive from justice is a danger to the community,' said Michael Rozos, the field director in Miami of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's 'Operation Phoenix' effort to find and deport fugitive illegal immigrants.
'These operations have been going on for years, but they have become more focused,' he said.
Of the 183 arrested, 130 were fugitives who had already been ordered deported by an immigration judge. The remaining 53 were also illegal immigrants who happened to be present when fugitives were taken into custody, Rozos said.
The fugitive operation is separate from another ICE-led crackdown on employers who hire and harbor illegal immigrants. Rozos said both are part of the Secure Border Initiative, a Homeland Security Department plan intended to beef up enforcement of existing immigration laws inside the U.S. and toughen border security.
Sure, more needs to be done. BUT: one more denial of what has been done could very well earn the commenter the rarely awarded: Right Wing Moonbat Mark of Shame!
Sunday, April 23, 2006
It was a great day down at the beach here on Hilton Head Island this afternoon and before I head out to check on the garden (Another photo from Easter to your right, larger image here) I want to add a few posts to start off the new week (see below).
But before I do, a reminder that if you've been in a cave the last week, there is plenty of good material further down the page.
Quite a few hours of research and analysis went into my post on the problem of illegal aliens, and as that issue is called up before the U.S. Senate again this coming week, there are a few points that perhaps have not been so well covered in the media. If you want the Cliff Notes version of that rather long post, see my letter to Senator Graham .
And as that immigration debate heats up, let's remind those who say we are ignoring the law breakers human rights by contrasting the wealth of benefits and privileges we shower on illegals with how the Mexican police routinely beat, rob and shoot illegal immigrants from Central America.
And let's not forget the Brookings Institute Index that shows more clearly than any lamestream media defeatist reporting that W E A R E W I N N I N G I N I R A Q!
But now, on with the show!
By now you've heard the bleating from left wing extremists: "Bush is worse than Hitler" and "the U.S. is becoming a police state," and all the rest.
The typical response from those of us who deal with these nutcases is usually "Project much?"
Note the sign "FASCISM IS ON THE MARCH" in the hands of the woman as she marches along with that lover of freedom and democracy, Cindy Sheewitch (larger image) at a recent event in San Diego, California.
Indepundit braved the toxic air present whenever two or more America hating leftists gather and attended the event billed as an anti-war forum sponsored by the UC San Diego College Democrats.
The brave Indepundit, also had the fortitude to pose a question to the wicked witch, which you can read here.
But perhaps most telling was the recorded utterings of Sheewitch and company as they discussed their view towards not only our twice elected government, but the people who elected them and how both should be treated. In this second post, which includes audio from the event and a partial audio transcript the following droppings are all too common:
- "Republican idiots. Republican conservative idiots."
- "We are unified in our hatred for this president..."
- "Bush fits the description of the Anti-Christ."
- "Most of you Bush supporters are duped."
- "These people are incredible liars and cowards."
- "Our country is committing war crimes."
- "They're committing crimes against humanity in Iraq. And we can't sit there, like what happened in Nazi Germany, and pretend this isn't happening."
- " Those guilty of launching this war must be held accountable... Our president and vice president are criminals... We can impeach."
- "We have every bit of evidence that is needed to impeach the President of the United States."
- "This guy [Bush] needs to be taken out of the White House. Because he is a traitor. And all his buddies are traitors to this country."
- "We have to tell our Congress, in no uncertain terms, that we demand -- that we demand that they impeach the President of the United States....We've got to force our congressional delegations to impeach the president."
- "Those of us who support impeachment are a majority."
- "The House has to vote articles of impeachment."
- " Impeachment is really and truly the only way..."
- "Lobby the California Legislature to send impeachment charges to the House of Representatives."
- CINDY SHEEHAN: "George Bush is an illegitimate president. He is illegitimately residing in our White House... Say, "You know what? You're ruining our house, you're evicted. Because you were never elected..." We can't wait 'til 2006. We can't count on our elected officials, no matter if they're Democratic or Republican."
- "We need civil disobedience... Civil disobedience... Massive civil disobedience.
- " I think this could really work, because we need to shut the government down, and we need to shut the war machine down."
Thank you Indepundit for sitting through such an event. I hope it did not damage your health by driving up your blood pressure.
The colossal and willful ignorance of these loony tune lefties is one thing. But listen to the audio, some of which was not transcribed. They want to criminalize the political leadership that you and I twice elected. They want to criminalize conservatives PERIOD! According to them, we are either "duped" or belong "in jail."
Let's remember that these are the folks who claim that their civil liberties are infringed by the Patriot Act or the NSA terror monitoring program. Yet, they cannot point to ONE EXAMPLE of where a citizen of this country, with even the most extreme views such as those held by this bunch, has been treated as a criminal for holding and freely expressing such views.
Lefties Continue to Trample Conservative Civil Liberties
On the other hand, how many countless examples of infringement of civil liberties of conservative BY LEFTIES can we cite; just within the past week?
- You may have heard of the vicious personal attacks against Michelle Malkin and her family by lefties objecting to her strong stand against discrimination against military recruiters at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
- Flopping Aces had his blog hacked, apparently by someone objecting to his story on the Clintonista CIA leaker.
- And of course any of us who either blog or comment are familiar with the purveyors of rhetorical poison and bile who make regular attempts to dissuade our readers from participating, or even reading, the information we present.
Yes, it's true. The lefty loonies seem more intent on granting civil liberties under our U.S. Constitution to terrorists and illegal aliens than they do to permitting those same rights to be enjoyed by CITIZENS who happen to recognize and disagree with their hopelessly flawed ideology which history has repeatedly shown to be nothing but a fig leaf to permit evil in the world to go unchallenged (See Iran post above).
Thus endeth the sermon for today!
The article, in The New Republic by German political scientist Matthias Kuntzel, is a chilling reminder that the lives of Iran's most innocent citizens, their children, will be the first forfeited in a lust for blood and glory in any nuclear confrontation with the West or Israel.
After Iraq invaded in September 1980, it had quickly become clear that Iran's forces were no match for Saddam Hussein's professional, well-armed military. To compensate for their disadvantage, Khomeini sent Iranian children, some as young as twelve years old, to the front lines. There, they marched in formation across minefields toward the enemy, clearing a path with their bodies.
At one point, however, the earthly gore became a matter of concern. "In the past," wrote the semi-official Iranian daily Ettelaat as the war raged on, "we had child-volunteers: 14-, 15-, and 16-year-olds. They went into the minefields. Their eyes saw nothing. Their ears heard nothing. And then, a few moments later, one saw clouds of dust. When the dust had settled again, there was nothing more to be seen of them. Somewhere, widely scattered in the landscape, there lay scraps of burnt flesh and pieces of bone." Such scenes would henceforth be avoided, Ettelaat assured its readers. "Before entering the minefields, the children [now] wrap themselves in blankets and they roll on the ground, so that their body parts stay together after the explosion of the mines and one can carry them to the graves."
The chief combat tactic employed by the Basiji was the human wave attack, whereby barely armed children and teenagers would move continuously toward the enemy in perfectly straight rows. It did not matter whether they fell to enemy fire or detonated the mines with their bodies: The important thing was that the Basiji continue to move forward over the torn and mutilated remains of their fallen comrades, going to their deaths in wave after wave. Once a path to the Iraqi forces had been opened up, Iranian commanders would send in their more valuable and skilled Revolutionary Guard troops.
Gives a new horrific new meaning to the phrase "women and children first" does it not?
As the Iran nuke issue heats up, there is a wanton call from the left to say that "Iran couldn't be so crazy" as to use a nuke. But would a country that uses children to clear minefields care if another couple of hundred thousand of it's citizens dies in a nuclear holocaust which that nation's leaders initiate?
Mutual Assured Destruction, or MAD, worked as deterrence against the Soviet Union precisely because Soviet leaders were relatively rational. Considering the history of Iranian leaders under the mullahs, not to mention the constant ravings from current Iranian President Amadjihad (my name for him), that deterrence will have no effect.
The only course is to stop these crazies from turning the Middle East, or some other corner of the world into an oven of Islamic martyrdom.
How many times has the world defeated great evil and said "Never Again" only to lose the will to prevent a repeat of such monumental calamity?
Saturday, April 22, 2006
You remember all the screaming on the left about the Valerie Plame CIA leak? The highest reaches of the government were crippled by investigations and grand juries which resulted in nothing more than the indictment of former Cheney Chief os Staff Scooter Libby for wholly unrelated charges.
Well, we have a Clintonista found at the CIA leaking to newspapers in ways that certainly do undermine our national security. Where's the outrage? Where are the demands for Special Prosecuters and investigations?
Serious breaches of national security occur due to lefties breaking the law and no one cares. The identity of Valerie Plame, who wasn't even a covert agent according to the law is leaked and the left goes bonkers.
Proof once more that the left is riddled with hypocrisy and that national security suffers as a result.
CIA Officer Is Fired for Media Leaks: The CIA fired a long-serving intelligence officer for sharing classified information with The Washington Post and other news organizations, officials said yesterday, as the agency continued an aggressive internal search for anyone who may have discussed intelligence with the news media.UPDATE: Well, the sh#t is really hitting the fan with this story. Flopping Aces surpassed his usual comprehensive and thorough posting with a virtual one stop media reference guide for this story. Here are a few more points that shed light on this important story:
CIA officials said the career intelligence officer failed more than one polygraph test and acknowledged unauthorized contacts with reporters. The 'officer knowingly and willfully shared classified intelligence, including operational information' with journalists, the agency said in a statement yesterday.
The CIA did not reveal the identity of the employee, who was dismissed Thursday, but NBC News reported last night she is Mary McCarthy. An intelligence source confirmed that the report was accurate.
McCarthy began her career in government as an analyst at the CIA in 1984, public documents show. She served as special assistant to the president and senior director for intelligence programs at the White House during the Clinton administration and the first few months of the Bush administration.
- The CIA has been so corrupted by Clintonista political hacks that it very nearly operates as a rogue agency in direct contradiction to the national security interests of the nation expressed through our twice elected leadership.
- Mary McCarthy was hired at the White House by Sandy Berger. The same Sandy Berger who got a slap on the wrist for removing, then destroying some of the most sensitive national security documents from the National Archives.
- McCarthy also turns out to be a big contributer to John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, plus big money to the Ohio Democratic Party.
- She may also have links to the Joe Wilson/Niger/Uranium/Valerie Plame CIA phony leak story.
And of course the woman is already being hailed as a whistleblower patriot by the left who previously called for the impeachment of President Bush whose Administration was accused (and we still don't know who) of disclosing the identity of non covert CIA desk jockey Valerie Plame.
Expect the full moonbat treatment on this story folks! The masters of delusion, deception and double speak cannot allow the painful reality of this damaging breach of national security to go unchallenged. The moonbats will be spinning so fast on this they're likely to get dizzy and fall down. Remove all sharp objects from their rooms now as a precaution.
Friday, April 21, 2006
FINALLY! Poor Mexicans protesting in THEIR OWN COUNTRY for better conditions!
And it seems they are taking a fig leaf from the lefty playbook and protesting NAKED!
But, couldn't they find a few protestors that are more photogenic than the photos Chicken Hawk Express found of Cindy Sheewitch?
Warning: Moonbats may find the notion that we have to win this war disturbing to their emotional and intellectual imbalance.
From The Washington Times:
Global warming may not be as dramatic as some scientists have predicted.And faster than you can say "melting glacier" expect some rabid greenie weanie to insist that one study "proves nothing." But of course, they will take one study that supports their radical, socialist agenda and insist it is gospel.
Using temperature readings from the past 100 years, 1,000 computer simulations and the evidence left in ancient tree rings, Duke University scientists announced yesterday that "the magnitude of future global warming will likely fall well short of current highest predictions."
Supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, the Duke researchers noted that some observational studies predicted that the Earth's temperature could rise as much as 16 degrees in this century because of an increase in carbon dioxide or other so-called greenhouse gases.
The Duke estimates show the chances that the planet's temperature will rise even by 11 degrees is only 5 percent, which falls in line with previous, less-alarming predictions that meteorologists made almost three decades ago.
In recent years, much academic research has indicated otherwise, often in colorful terms and citing the United States as the biggest contributor to global warming. This month, a University of Toronto scientist predicted that a quarter of the planet's plants and animals would be extinct by 2050 because of rising temperatures. On Wednesday, two geophysics professors at the University of Chicago warned those who eat red meat that their increased flatulence contributes to greenhouse gases.
Last year, Oregon State University research linked future "societal disruptions" with global warming, while the Carnegie Institution reported that the insulating influence of northern forests alone would raise the Earth's temperature by 6 degrees. In 2004, Harvard University scientists informed Congress that warming had doomed the planet to climatic "shocks and surprises."
The Duke research, however, found substantial ups and downs in the Earth's temperature before modern times, countering other studies that confine noticeable temperature increases to the industrialized era. Marked climate change in other centuries resulted from "external forcing," said the Duke findings, citing volcanic eruptions and other influences.
"Our reconstruction supports a lot of variability in the past," said research director Gabriele Hegerl of Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.
Although her study found that the Earth is, indeed, warming, Ms. Hegerl discounts dire predictions of skyrocketing temperatures. The probability that the climate's "sensitivity" to greenhouse-gas levels would result in drastically higher temperatures is "substantially" reduced, she said.
Ms. Hegerl and her four-member team based their conclusions on thermometer readings over the past century, along with "ancient climate records," including tree-ring studies and ice-core samples that revealed hot and cold spells and airborne particulates over a 700-year period. In addition, they created 1,000 computer-based weather simulations for the past 1,000 years.
"Ancient and modern evidence suggest limits to future global warming," the study concluded. It was published in the journal Nature.
The topic of global warming, meanwhile, will be framed dramatically in "An Inconvenient Truth," a 94-minute documentary featuring former Vice President Al Gore, who has deemed rising temperatures "a planetary emergency." The Hollywood production will be released to theaters in May and is billed by producer Davis Guggenheim as "the most terrifying film you will ever see."
The production also recommends that viewers take "political action." On Tuesday, Mr. Gore paid Roy Neel, a longtime Democratic adviser, $40,000 to help him create a public outreach program on global warming, the New York Daily News reported.
The American Spectator and columnist Jonah Goldberg have accused Mr. Gore of "green" scaremongering.
Well, let's just load up on ammo with these other nuggets of environmental common sense that Mike's America has collected the past year:
- The SUN may be getting hotter, hence GLOBAL WARMING! And the proof is found on MARS where the polar ice caps are receding. Hard to blame that one on George Bush, but that won't stop the typical moonbat. And in that same roundup, the report that as CO2 emissions drop, the earth may actually make up for the difference through emissions from the soil itself.
- And let's not forget the study which concludes that the reduction in sulfur dioxide particulate pollution mandated by environmental regulations may actually SPEED global warming.
- And the clincher: the mask is off environmental scaremongers who openly shun any scientific evidence that contradicts their socialist prescriptions for environmental hyper-regulation.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
POE News: Rumsfeld Fighting Technique
It's a visual study of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's speaking style, particularly his hand gestures.
We all know that body language communicates on levels other than the verbal. I wonder if perhaps Rummy's hand gestures might have frightened some of these generals who are complaining about him.
MSNBC: With America engaged in a spirited debate over illegal immigration, the Homeland Security Department Wednesday launched a nationwide crackdown on employing illegal immigrations. And this time, the targets weren't just the workers themselves.
Police and federal agents moved in Wednesday morning at dozens of plants nationwide owned by a global manufacturing company called IFCO Systems, which supplies containers and pallets for shipping to some of the nation's biggest retailers.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested suspected illegal immigrants at a facility in Houston, a scene repeated today at 40 other IFCO locations.
But federal officials say the main targets of the operation—months in the planning—are company officials, not just workers.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
TULTITLAN, Mexico (AP) -- Considered felons by the government, these migrants fear detention, rape and robbery. Police and soldiers hunt them down at railroads, bus stations and fleabag hotels. Sometimes they are deported; more often officers simply take their money.
While migrants in the United States have held huge demonstrations in recent weeks, the hundreds of thousands of undocumented Central Americans in Mexico suffer mostly in silence.
And though Mexico demands humane treatment for its citizens who migrate to the U.S., regardless of their legal status, Mexico provides few protections for migrants on its own soil. The issue simply isn't on the country's political agenda, perhaps because migrants make up only 0.5 percent of the population, or about 500,000 people - compared with 12 percent in the United States.
The level of brutality Central American migrants face in Mexico was apparent Monday, when police conducting a raid for undocumented migrants near a rail yard outside Mexico City shot to death a local man, apparently because his dark skin and work clothes made officers think he was a migrant.
Virginia Sanchez, who lives near the railroad tracks that carry Central Americans north to the U.S. border, said such shootings in Tultitlan are common.
"At night, you hear the gunshots, and it's the judiciales (state police) chasing the migrants," she said. "It's not fair to kill these people. It's not fair in the United States and it's not fair here."
Undocumented Central American migrants complain much more about how they are treated by Mexican officials than about authorities on the U.S. side of the border, where migrants may resent being caught but often praise the professionalism of the agents scouring the desert for their trail.
"If you're carrying any money, they take it from you - federal, state, local police, all of them," said Carlos Lopez, a 28-year-old farmhand from Guatemala crouching in a field near the tracks in Tultitlan, waiting to climb onto a northbound freight train.
Lopez said he had been shaken down repeatedly in 15 days of traveling through Mexico.
"The soldiers were there as soon as we crossed the river," he said. "They said, 'You can't cross ... unless you leave something for us.'"
Jose Ramos, 18, of El Salvador, said the extortion occurs at every stop in Mexico, until migrants are left penniless and begging for food.
"If you're on a bus, they pull you off and search your pockets and if you have any money, they keep it and say, 'Get out of here,'" Ramos said.
Maria Elena Gonzalez, who lives near the tracks, said female migrants often complain about abusive police.
"They force them to strip, supposedly to search them, but the purpose is to sexually abuse them," she said.
Others said they had seen migrants beaten to death by police, their bodies left near the railway tracks to make it look as if they had fallen from a train.
The Mexican government acknowledges that many federal, state and local officials are on the take from the people-smugglers who move hundreds of thousands of Central Americans north, and that migrants are particularly vulnerable to abuse by corrupt police.
The National Human Rights Commission, a government-funded agency, documented the abuses south of the U.S. border in a December report.
"One of the saddest national failings on immigration issues is the contradiction in demanding that the North respect migrants' rights, which we are not capable of guaranteeing in the South," commission president Jose Luis Soberanes said.
In the United States, mostly Mexican immigrants have staged rallies pressuring Congress to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants rather than making them felons and deputizing police to deport them. The Mexican government has spoken out in support of the immigrants' cause.
While Interior Secretary Carlos Abascal said Monday that "Mexico is a country with a clear, defined and generous policy toward migrants," the nation of 105 million has legalized only 15,000 immigrants in the past five years, and many undocumented migrants who are detained are deported.
Although Mexico objects to U.S. authorities detaining Mexican immigrants, police and soldiers usually cause the most trouble for migrants in Mexico, even though they aren't technically authorized to enforce immigration laws.
And while Mexicans denounce the criminalization of their citizens living without papers in the United States, Mexican law classifies undocumented immigration as a felony punishable by up to two years in prison, although deportation is more common.
The number of undocumented migrants detained in Mexico almost doubled from 138,061 in 2002 to 240,269 last year. Forty-two percent were Guatemalan, 33 percent Honduran and most of the rest Salvadoran.
Like the United States, Mexico is becoming reliant on immigrant labor. Last year, then-director of Mexico's immigration agency, Magdalena Carral, said an increasing number of Central Americans were staying in Mexico, rather than just passing through on their way to the U.S.
She said sectors of the Mexican economy facing labor shortages often use undocumented workers because the legal process for work visas is inefficient.
Maybe we should outsource immigration control to Mexican authorities.
The ongoing demonstrations and riots against a change in French labor laws are as normal for France as snails for dinner. Most Frenchmen agree that France is, and should remain, a mercantilist rather than a capitalist country.
Every so often, a French government unwisely ignores this consensus and attempts to fire Monsieur Colbert - the legendary 17th century minister of Louis XIV -- from his permanent post as Minister of Economics. French workers take to the streets in protest, and after huffing and puffing for a while, the government gives in and restores Colbert to his honored post. It is one of the rites of spring, and no cause for genuine alarm.
But this year is different. A new, Fourth Generation presence has manifested itself. Roving gangs of young Islamics, many of them black, have joined the festivities. They have come not to march shoulder-to-shoulder with French students and workers, demonstrating the Left`s fraternite, but to assault, beat, kick and rob them. The Left, it seems, has a problem.
The European cultural Left, which includes most of the nominal European Right, has for decades proclaimed the desirability of 'multi-culturalism.' Religion, culture, race, those basic ingredients of human history, were no longer to matter. Beneath such superstructures, all people were to be seen as the same, wanting material things, sharing warm feelings toward one another, united by class consciousness far more than they could ever be divided by mere accidents of birth. 'Diversity' would unite the best from all cultures, while the worst would magically vanish.
In this culturally Marxist world view, the most heinous of sins was to suggest that someone else was 'the Other.' That was racism, classism, fascism, and every other ism under the sun. Anyone who dared view another religion, culture or race as in any way unwelcome or even problematic was supposed to look in the mirror and see 'another Hitler.'
In the case of the young Muslims who are attacking French demonstrators, however, it is not Le Pen and his followers who are labeling them 'the Other.' They are proclaiming themselves 'the Other,' and they are doing so forcefully. Their Other, in turn, is not the Right, but simply Frenchmen. Any man, woman or child of French ancestry is a target, an enemy, regardless of how impeccable their Leftist credentials. European distinctions of Left and Right mean nothing to this self-proclaimed Other. What matters to these products of multi-culturalist immigration policies is exactly the realities multi-culturalism was supposed to abolish, the ancient identities of religion, culture and race. The New sought to replace the Old, but the Old is reemerging to displace the New.
The root issue, as usual in the Fourth Generation, is primary loyalty. Most French workers and students, however Leftist their politics, are Frenchmen first. The Muslim hooligans -- or should we say warriors? -- attacking them will never give their primary loyalty to France. They are the Other by choice and by pride, not by economic or any other circumstances. No schools, no housing projects, no jobs programs will take their loyalty away from the Other. As the Other, and as young men, they will look, not for economic opportunities, but for opportunities to fight.
The French Left is now painfully discovering that 'diversity' is a synonym for taking a swim in the shark tank. For those of us who are cultural conservatives, the situation has its amusing aspects. We did tell them so, over and over again. They stopped their ears and yelled 'ism! ism! ism!' back at us. Now, they are finding it is easier to block their ears than to keep their asses from being kicked in the streets of Paris, by the people they welcomed to France.
Regrettably, the colossal mess created by 'multi-culturalism' affects all Europeans and Americans, Right as well as Left. I will say again what I have said before: in a Fourth Generation world, invasion by immigrants who do not acculturate is more dangerous than invasion by the army of a foreign state. In America, a similar invading army took to our streets last week, demonstrating against any attempt to stem the invasion. Few of the flags they carried were American.
What has to happen before the rest of us get the message?
Many conservatives felt that McClellan who served valiantly since June 2003, never seemed to measure up to the abilities of his predecessor, Ari Fleischer.
Rumors for McClellan's replacement include Tony Snow, popular Fox News commentator and radio host.
While Tony would make an excellent choice, some doubt whether he would be willing to take the pay cut and time away from his family that such a job requires; especially in light of his ongoing recovery from colon cancer.
Scott: We wish you well and thank you for your service to your nation.
After a solid week of stories questioning Rumsfeld's leadership, the Defense Secretary has had little chance to get his message out in anything more than a soundbite.
But here at Mike's America, we know that soundbites may make good television, but they don't illuminate or inform. So, when Secretary Rumsfeld held his weekly briefing at the Pentagon, it offers an excellent opportunity to see the big picture that soundbites and agenda driven reporting overlook.
From Department of Defense transcript:
Secretary Rumsfeld: I did think about something that happened 30 years ago, I think close to this month. I was secretary of Defense, and to my office at about 7:00 at night came a decision where I was told that the Army was recommending an M1 Battle Tank that had a 120 millimeter cannon, as I recall, instead of the 105 howitzer that the Army traditionally had. And the Army was in favor of the 105 and in favor of a diesel engine. And the other approach would have been for the -- to standardize with our NATO allies at 120 millimeters and also to move away from the diesel engine to a turbine engine.
I decided I wanted to take some time to think about it, and ultimately announced that I thought that the turbine engine and the 120 millimeter cannon was preferable to the 105 and the diesel engine.
Well, you would have thought the world had ended. The sky fell. Can you imagine -- can you imagine making that decision and breaking tradition for decades in this country? Can you imagine overturning what the service had proposed for a main battle tank?
Well, it went on and on in the press, and it was a firestorm, and there was congressional hearings and people saying how amazingly irresponsible it was, and it calmed down eventually.
The tank has done a great job and served our country very well these intervening decades. And I mention it because the people involved were good people, and there were differences of views, and somebody needed to make a decision. And the person who is appointed by the president -- who's elected by the people -- and then confirmed by the Senate as secretary of Defense has to make those kinds of decisions. And when you make a decision, you make a choice, somebody's not going to like it. It's perfectly possible to come into this department and preside and not make choices, in which case people are not unhappy, until about five years later when they find you haven't done anything and the country isn't prepared.
Now, let me just take a minute and tell you what's gone on in this last five years. We have agreed with the Russians on dramatic reductions in strategic offensive nuclear weapons, sizeable reductions. We have a new Unified Command Plan with the Northern Command and the Strategic Command. We have made changes in the Defense Logistics System. We have provided reforms in NATO to create a NATO Response Force and to reduce substantially the number of headquarters that existed. We have fashioned a senior-level review group, where for the first time we really bring the military and the civilians, the services as well as the combatant commanders, into the decision-making process on all major issues in this department -- a different way of functioning. The Special Operations Forces have been dramatically increased and given new authorities. The Marines are now involved.
Every one of those changes that I just described has met resistance. It's taken years to get the Marines involved in the Special Forces. And people like things the way they are, and so when you make a change like that, somebody's not going to like it.
We've had the largest base-closing effort I think in history. We've done two Quadrennial Defense Reviews. We've adjusted our global posture around the world, bringing forces home from Europe and from Korea. We have gone out to the combatant commanders who have the responsibility for war plans and had them revise and update their contingency plans, and shortened the process so that they wouldn't be on the shelf and be stale and be unusable and irrelevant. We have passed a National Security Personnel System so that we could begin to get a grip on how we manage the Department of Defense and the civilian population, the workforce, which is so important.
And it's tied up in the courts, and it'll take time. It's been three years, I think, that we've been struggling with it, so far. And that's hard for people, that change. The idea of paying for performance is stunning for some people.
We've cancelled weapons systems, just like we cancelled the -- disagreed with the tanks three years ago. The artillery piece, the so-called Crusader, was cancelled, and it caused a major uproar. You may remember that. People didn't like it. Other pieces of equipment have been terminated.
The Army's going through what is a major modernization. It's moving from a division-oriented force to a modular brigade combat team force. It is -- and it will -- when it's completed, it will be an enormous accomplishment, and our Army will be vastly better than it was five, six years ago. And that's hard. That's hard for the people in the Army to do. It's hard for people who are oriented one way to suddenly have to be oriented a different way.
If you think about the movement, we've gone from the military -- from service-centric warfighting to deconfliction warfighting, to interoperability and now towards interdependence. That's a hard thing to do, for services to recognize that they don't have to have all of the capabilities, but they have to work sufficiently with the others, so that we get -- truly get a leveraged capability, and the taxpayers get better bang for their buck, and the United States military becomes vastly more capable.
The idea of bringing a retired person out of retirement to serve as chief of staff of the Army was stunning, and a lot of people didn't like it. The fact that he was a Special Forces officer, a joint officer, added to the attitudes.
The idea of taking a Marine and making him Supreme Allied Commander and another Marine in the Strategic Command, let alone a Marine as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for the first time in history -- imagine! What a stunning thing to do!
I look back on those decisions, and I'm proud of them. They caused a lot of ruffles; let there be no doubt. I mean, how many years ago -- it wasn't too many years ago that the Marines weren't even members of the Joint Chiefs, let alone the chairman.
Secretary Rumsfeld appeared at today's briefing with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, General Peter Pace, who added this:
General Pace: Let me say something, if I could, about the process because it's really important that our fellow citizens understand that the process of making decisions and all the things that the secretary just talked about, as far as issues, all were handled basically in the same fundamental way, which was a great deal of dialogue amongst the people wearing uniforms and those wearing civilian clothes.So there you go. Commanders are in constant contact either directly, or indirectly with the Secretary of Defense. They have ample opportunity to make their views known. It's also clear that the transformation required to keep our military the finest in the world is a painful process, likely to cause a fair share of resentment among those who do not get their way.
A normal day for me, a minimum of 30 minutes a day -- today's much more of an example, three to four hours per day; sometimes as many as six, seven, or eight hours per day, the chairman and the vice chairman are with the secretary of Defense listening to all of the information that's being provided to him, giving our best military advice. We are reaching out either formally through a war plan staffing process or informally just through a discussion process to the combatant commanders and asking their opinions about whatever the issue of the day is. And if it's important, the combatant commanders have either gotten on video teleconference or they've come to this city and sat down with the secretary, and it comes to the tank and then with the chiefs.
And the chiefs, individually, are with the secretary at least once a week, if not more often, in the meetings that he holds. And then, the additional meetings that have been formed during the course of the last several years, where all of us, of the senior civilian leaders in the department and all of the senior military leaders in the department get together, not for an hour, but for two or three days at a time. It used to be the combatant commands would come to town twice a year for two days. Now, they come to town three times a year for three days to sit down for quality time, three whole days with the senior leadership of the department just discussing various issues.
There are multiple opportunities for all of us with whatever opinions we have to put them on the table, and all the opinions are put on the table. But at the end of the day, after we've given our best military advice, somebody has to make a decision, and when the decision's made by the secretary of Defense, unless it's illegal or immoral, we go on about doing what we've been told to do.
For a review of the Crusader artillery issue, please see Anna's Clue Tank.
Monday, April 17, 2006
But the interesting quote from that typical defeatist screed were the two sentences which immediately preceded it: "I think what we need to do is recognize what we all agree on, which is you've got to begin to set benchmarks for accomplishment. You've got to begin to transfer authority to the Iraqis."
I've often commented, but never posted on the value of the "Iraq Index" (PDF file) compiled by the left leaning Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. It's a goldmine of information, which has apparently eluded Senator Kerry, Congressman Murtha and the lamestream media which finds sporadic bombings in Iraq is more newsoworthy than the good news that we are winning in Iraq, and WE CAN PROVE IT!
Yes, Monsieur Kerry, we "all agree" that we need "benchmarks for accomplishment" and here they are:
- After bobbing up and down each month since the U.S. led invasion of Iraq, deaths of US troops due to hostile attacks has dropped precipitously in the last six months. (page 4)
And U.S. troops continue to operate in the most dangerous areas of Iraq. But they are now working with Iraqi troops and Iraqi police. And there is good news to report there as well:
- After a high of 304 Iraqi troops and police killed in July, 2005 the number for subsequent months is on a downward trend (page 9).
- Also on page 9 is the chart showing that that the number of car bombings in Iraq has dropped from a high of 136 in May of last year to averaging less than 30 for the past four months.
If you flip to page 27, you'll see that while attacks against coalition and Iraqi forces continue, their effectiveness, as illustrated above, has diminished. The only dark lining to this silver cloud is the still high number of Iraqi civilian deaths (page 10). But even here, the average is lower than that of the previous years since invasion and may be starting a downward trend as danger of a civil war is quelled.
Zarqawi Flawed Strategy Facing Defeat?
Do a Google News search with "Rumsfeld criticized" or "Rumsfeld resign" and you'll get more than 1,200 hits of news stories trumpeting the opinions of the six or seven retired generals who think that Secretary Rumsfeld screwed up the Iraq war.
How many news reports will you find in a Google News search describing the speech that Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who commands the XVIII Airborne Corps delivered at the Washington Institute last Thursday where he proclaimed that Al Queda terrorist Zarqawi's strategy in Iraq has failed and that Al Queda is leaving Iraq? You will find TWO such stories in Google News.
The basis for General Vine's claim comes from the declared strategy of Al Queda in the letter that A.Q. number 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri sent to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in mid year 2005. In the letter, Zawahiri writes:
All the Brookings indicators above point to the "Islamic mujahed movement" being "crushed in the shadows. But one indicator stands in such evident contrast that even the most committed Bush hater would be foolish to ignore it.
It has always been my belief that the victory of Islam will never take place until a Muslim state is established in the manner of the Prophet in the heart of the Islamic world...
If we look at the two short-term goals, which are removing the Americans and establishing an Islamic amirate in Iraq, or a caliphate if possible, then, we will see that the strongest weapon which the mujahedeen enjoy - after the help and granting of success by God - is popular support from the Muslim masses in Iraq, and the surrounding Muslim countries.
So, we must maintain this support as best we can, and we should strive to increase it...this goal will not be accomplished by the mujahed movement while it is cut off from public support...
[P]opular support would be a decisive factor between victory and defeat...
In the absence of this popular support, the Islamic mujahed movement would be crushed in the shadows.
Monthly tips by Iraqi citizens on where to catch the bad guys has skyrocketed from a low of 483 in March of last year to a high of 4749 in September 2005 (page 27). The number has remained above 3,000 since then.
So much for the Murtha defeatist crowd claims that we have lost the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. And so much for the popular support of the Iraqi masses that Zawahiri repeatedly stressed as vital to their cause.
What clearer evidence do you need that the Al Queda strategy in Iraq has failed and that WE ARE WINNING?
Thanks My Election Analysis and Blue Crab Boulevard for reminding me of the importance of these benchmarks.
Happy Easter. Happy Passover. But, if you're like the president of Iran and believe in the coming of the "Twelfth Imam," your happy holiday may be just around the corner, too. President Ahmadinejad, who is said to consider himself the designated deputy of the "hidden Imam," held a press conference this week -- against a backdrop of doves fluttering round an atom and accompanied by dancers in orange decontamination suits doing choreographed uranium-brandishing. It looked like that Bollywood finale of ''The 40-Year-Old Virgin,'' where they all pranced around to "This Is The Dawning Of The Age Of Aquarius....
The reaction of the international community was swift and ferocious. The White House said that Iran "was moving in the wrong direction." This may have been a reference to the dancers. A simple Radio City kickline would have been better. The British Foreign Office said it was "not helpful." This may have been a reference to the doves round the atom.
You know what's great fun to do if you're on, say, a flight from Chicago to New York and you're getting a little bored? Why not play being President Ahmadinejad? Stand up and yell in a loud voice, "I've got a bomb!" Next thing you know the air marshal will be telling people, "It's OK, folks. Nothing to worry about. He hasn't got a bomb." And then the second marshal would say, "And even if he did have a bomb it's highly unlikely he'd ever use it." And then you threaten to kill the two Jews in row 12 and the stewardess says, "Relax, everyone. That's just a harmless rhetorical flourish." And then a group of passengers in rows 4 to 7 point out, "Yes, but it's entirely reasonable of him to have a bomb given the threatening behavior of the marshals and the cabin crew."
Read the rest here.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
'Sir Winston Churchill' Narcissus. The first to inspire, but the last to bloom in the Mike's America garden. Just in time for Easter.
And speaking of Churchill, I recently viewed "The Gathering Storm" a condensed film history of the years leading up to the start of World War II. Much of it shot on location at Chartwell, Churchill's home in Kent that I visited several years ago, it sounds a warning for the times to come, both in World War II and today.
You may not be able to find it at your DVD rental store, but you can purchase a used copy from Amazon books for less than $8.00 shipped
If you prefer your history in less condensed form, I cannot recommend more highly the two volumes called "The Last Lion" by William Manchester. The second volume, "Alone" chronicles the same time period as the film. Manchester's writing is brilliant and if want a book that is also a great vocabularly builder, this is the one.
The Churchill Centre has a rather not so kind review of the book by an author who prefers an alternative view. The Centre also takes a look at numerous other Churchill volumes.
Well, it's official. We're in another full blown lamestream media generated firestorm and another attempt to take down Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. It's only fair I suppose. After all, it's Rummy's turn again. Last week we watched as former House Majority Leader Tom Delay succumbed to the scream machine and resigned from Congress. A few weeks ago it was Vice President Cheney on the hotseat and calls for his resignation. Before that we've had attacks against Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. And of course every day you'll find some media story describing the growing calls for the impeachment of President Bush.
Here's how this game is played: First, you find a general like Clinton-era Centcom Commander, Anthony Zinni, whose still out there pushing his book "Battle Ready" written with Tom Clancy. You may recall that Zinni is the one who did such a fine job defeating Al Queda and managing the growing Palestinian terror problem during the Clinton Years. When you hear him say "In the lead-up to the Iraq War and its later conduct, I saw at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence, and irresponsibility, at worse, lying, incompetence and corruption." you might say he is describing the Administration he served.
It was nearly two years ago in an attempt to drive up book sales that Zinni went on Sixty Minutes and said "They've Screwed Up" referring to Bush & companies handling of Iraq. It's taken him two years to find any serious person who agrees with him. But that's where the lamestream media comes in.
All this week stories like CNN's "Another General Joins Ranks Opposing Rumsfeld. " Question: can you have "ranks" with just six people or am I just quibbling? Then, the San Francisco Chronicle splashed this major news: 2 more ex-generals join call for Rumsfeld to quit.
And the game was on....
- From the Washington Post: Behind the Military Revolt
- Boston Globe: Revolt against Rumsfeld
- Lost Angeles (no typo) Times: Generals versus Rumsfeld
- Lost Angeles Times: Anti-Rumsfeld Chorus Grows
- New York Al Queda Times: The Rummy Mutiny
- New York Al Queda Times: Rumsfeld Faces Growing Revolt by Retired Generals
- The Scotsman (U.K.): US generals ambush Rumsfeld
- CBS News: Brass Roast Rummy
- ABC News: Generals clamor for Rumsfeld's ouster over Iraq war
The reality of the situation is spelled out by this commentary by Real Clear Editor Tom Bevans: The Knives Are Out For Rummy.
S I X retired Generals out of how many thousands? And the impression from the headlines above is that the Pentagon is in full mutiny.
Journalists, who always claim to be above any bias and seek balanced reporting haven't exactly been tripping over each other to visit the many thousands of retired generals who support the Bush/Rumsfeld management of Iraq. I had to dig deep and go to the Portsmouth Herald, where one brave reporter was able to dig up a general with an opposing view. And buried deep in the story "Another general joins ranks opposing Rumsfeld" CNN finally gets around to finding Deputy Centcom Commander, retired Marine Gen. Mike DeLong:
A former top aide to Gen. Tommy Franks, a former commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, also stepped forward Thursday to defend Rumsfeld.Will we now see headlines "Growing Ranks of Generals Support Rumsfeld?"
"Dealing with Secretary Rumsfeld is like dealing with a CEO," retired Marine Gen. Mike DeLong told CNN's "American Morning" on Thursday.
"When you walk in to him, you've got to be prepared, you've got to know what you're talking about. If you don't, you're summarily dismissed. But that's the way it is, and he's effective."
Yeah, sure... when pigs fly over Mecca perhaps.
Left Discovers Good Generals: They finally found some troops they support.
After years of dismissing the statements of senior military officials, the left all of a sudden has decided it likes generals after all... or at least six anyway. It shows that they can, finally, at last, find some way of showing they support the troops (again, all S I X of them) AND their mission.
But sorry folks. The American people didn't vote for these six generals and give them the power of Commander in Chief. Even though we were fully aware of the complaints of Zinni and others prior to the 2004 election, we re-elected President Bush with the largest number of votes ever cast for a presidential candidate. A vote total that saw increased margins not just in the conservative base, but also women, Jewish, black and Hispanic voters.
It's the President's constitutional authority to appoint members of his cabinet. He doesn't take a poll from military officers on who should lead them. It might be interesting if we did take a poll of active and retired officers. When the result comes in showing overwhelming support for Rumsfeld, the lamestream media would have to find someone else to pick on.
Democrats passed out the following poster at protests of illegal aliens in Texas. By way of Wizbang. I had no idea Democrats were fielding candidates in Mexico too!
As the backslapping among Senators eager to compromise on an immigration bill turned sour this morning, the delay may yet give constituents time to provide their Senators with a reality check over the Easter break.
The issue of illegal immigration is just too important to be pushed through, without amendments as Democrats demanded, in a rush to show that the Senate was "doing something."
Many of us would prefer the Senate "do something" about immigration, but do something right, not merely legitimize the presence of entire new underclass in American society without thinking through the potential consequences.
It's time for the Senators to walk away from the backslapping and self congratulations of yesterday and come home and listen to what the voters have to say. It's also time for some broader reflection on exactly what the problem of illegal immigration entails.
Reality Check: The Problem is Out of Control
The Pew Hispanic Center has one of the best visual studies describing who the current migrants, both legal and illegal are. Where they are coming from, where they are going, what levels of education they have. It's clear from this report that a massive influx of illegal immigrants, mostly uneducated and primarily from Mexico, has been taking place since the late 1990's.
In Reframing Mexican Migration As a Multi-Ethnic Process, Jonathan Fox of the University of California, Santa Cruz provides perhaps the best detailed and scholarly description of the ethnic makeup and geographic source of the illegal migrant wave. He documents that the poorest of the poor, the Mexican Indian indigenous populations are being removed from their ancestral lands and deprived of their heritage and encouraged to migrate:
At least since the Salinas presidency (1988-1994), the Mexican government's rural development strategy has been based on the assumption that a large proportion of the rural poor would leave their homes and move either to the cities or to the United States. The government abandoned support for family farming and peasant agriculture became a target of welfare policy rather than production support -- a shift that weakened the economic base of indigenous communities....
In the arena of Mexico's dominant national political culture, both indigenous peoples and cross- border migrants have long been seen, especially by political elites, as less than full citizens....
in Mexico political rights are systematically denied to both migrants and indigenous people. Changes in official political discourse notwithstanding, even a quick review of the dominant mass media shows that they also remain culturally excluded from the national imaginary....
[F]ull command of the Spanish language is another powerful mechanism for exclusion from full membership in the national polity and imaginary -- note the common analogous phrases "they don't even speak English" (in the US) and "they don't even speak Spanish" (among Mexicans, in reference to indigenous people).
Conclusion I: Mexico is engaging in a sanitized version of Stalin era collectivization and ethnic cleansing directed at the indigenous, illiterate citizens of Indian ethnicity. These, along with many other Mexican citizens are being encouraged to illegally enter the United States where they will pose no further drain on Mexican social services and instead send remittances back to Mexico totaling over ten billion dollars per year.
Assimilate My Ass!
As anyone who was actually taught American history, and not socialist/revisionism, in public schools can tell you America is a nation of immigrants. But America's greatness and the reason we have the economic prosperity that continues to compel people to come here seeking a better life is that we have in the past insisted that those who come here become Americans.
Teddy Roosevelt said it so very well:
Images of illegal aliens taking to the streets waving Mexican flags in recent protests has raised a warning flag for those who ask can this huge influx of people actually assimilate and become Americans? Do they even want to? And what are the dangers to our society if they do not?
In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.
(readers note: there seems to be some discrepancy as to when T.R. actually said this).
In the early part of the 20th Century when Teddy Roosevelt spoke the words above, the key to assimilation was the public school system, a government run institution. Young people were "Americanized" and taught American history, as well as English.
At the time, the idea of "Americanizing" was widely embraced and of course it's success is evident. But there were also the beginnings of new thinking on the issue. In Assimilation American Style, Peter D. Salins describes "cultural pluralism" promoted by Horace Kallen at about the same time T.R. spoke above:
Cultural pluralism is, in fact, the philosophical antecedent of modern multiculturalism--what I call "ethnic federalism": official recognition of distinct, essentially fixed ethnic groups and the doling out of resources based on membership in an ethnic group. Ethnic federalism explicitly rejects the notion of a transcendent American identity, the old idea that out of ethnic diversity there would emerge a single, culturally unified people. Instead, the United States is to be viewed as a vast ethnic federation--Canada's Anglo-French arrangement, raised to the nth power. Viewing ethnic Americans as members of a federation rather than a union, ethnic federalism, a.k.a. multiculturalism, asserts that ethnic Americans have the right to proportional representation in matters of power and privilege, the right to demand that their "native" culture and putative ethnic ancestors be accorded recognition and respect, and the right to function in their "native" language (even if it is not the language of their birth or they never learned to speak it), not just at home but in the public realm.
Ethnic federalism is at all times an ideology of ethnic grievance and inevitably leads to and justifies ethnic conflict. All the nations that have ever embraced it, from Yugoslavia to Lebanon, from Belgium to Canada, have had to live with perpetual ethnic discord.
By the end of the 20th Century, the public school system had been overrun by the politically correct crowd that embraces a dangerous multiculturalism akin to what Kallen advocated. The result has been that divisions between groups of Hispanic students and Anglo students have increased with disturbing results as we witnessed recently at one school in Phoenix where Mexican students took down the American flag and raised the Mexican flag.
Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies in a 1997 piece titled "Will Americanization Work in America?" describes in detail the danger we face from unacculturated immigration:
never before have attempts to deconstruct the American nation, to transform us into a collection of tribes, into the American "peoples" been driven by the coercive authority of the national government. In the past, these divisive notions ran up against a strong sense of shared national identity, a confident Americanism which demanded more than a minimalist contract obliging citizens to drive on the right side of the road and vote every other November. Today's insecure, tentative, apologetic approach to national identity in general, and to the assimilation of immigrants in particular, has encouraged these latent tendencies toward national balkanization.
Here we arrive at the fundamental problem: aside from the other dubious effects of mass unskilled immigration, aside from the anti?assimilationist nature of current immigration policy, does our society have what it takes to Americanize a large and continuing flow of strangers from overseas? Put differently, is it prudent for a nation which cannot agree on the meaning of its own history to welcome new citizens from outside?
These newcomers are bound to absorb some version of American?ness, some narrative of their new nation's past and present. The question is, which version? Do today's immigrant children in the Los Angeles or New York or Miami public schools learn to revere George Washington, or Malcolm X? Do they study the history of the Puritans, or the Aztecs? Do they memorize the poetry of Longfellow, or Amiri Baraka? Do they celebrate Lincoln's Birthday, or Cinco de Mayo? To ask the question is to answer it.
"Patriotic assimilation" is how John Fonte describes the "conscious self?identification by newcomers with our nation's heritage." In other words, beyond accepting the principles of liberal democracy, immigrants and their offspring need to embrace America's past (the bad with the good) as something "we" did, rather than something "they", people of northwestern European ancestry, did. In his book The American Kaleidoscope, Lawrence Fuchs described Japanese?American high school students in the 1920s speaking about "our Pilgrim forefathers." Contrast this with Donna Shalala, President Clinton's Secretary of Health and Human Services, who has said that "my grandparents came from Lebanon. I don't identify with the Pilgrims on a personal level."
But we need not rely on anecdote to know that this necessary is not taking place. Sociologist Ruben Rumbaut has studied students in San Diego who are children of immigrants or who immigrated themselves at a very young age. He first surveyed them in 1992, when the students were in the eighth and ninth grades; three years later the same students were surveyed again. In terms of ethnic self?identification, the change was dramatic. Three years of high school caused these students to see themselves as significantly less American; there was a 50 percent drop in the proportion (already small) of those who considered themselves simply "American," a 30 percent drop in the proportion of those considering themselves hyphenated Americans, and a 52 percent increase in the proportion of those describing themselves exclusively by national origin. Among the American?born students, the percentage who identified themselves solely by their parents' native country doubled, to one?third. As Rumbaut points out, the results "point to the rapid growth of a reactive ethnic consciousness. Change over time, thus, has not been toward assimilative mainstream identities, but rather a return to and a valorization of the immigrant identity."
This "ethnicization" of the immigrants and their children also has political implications. Immigrants are going to be incorporated into our national life somehow, but they are assimilating into a different polity than previous immigrants encountered. The America of individual rights and responsibilities, where each citizen was to be judged on his own merit (at least in theory) has been replaced by Multicultural America, where the state formally categorizes an atomized and anomic populace based on ethnicity, race, sex, sexual preference, disability status, language, age, etc., etc. Adding immigrants in large numbers is not likely to reverse this trend. Thus, whatever their views on abortion or the appropriate level of taxation or the propriety of government funding for the arts, immigrants are assimilating into an ethos that exalts and perpetuates tribalism, rather than one that promotes a common national identity.
Conclusion II: The public education system no longer serves the process of assimilation. Just the opposite, it promotes divisions which lead to racial and ethnic tension.
Krikorian also describes the problem of trying to "Americanize" such huge numbers of immigrants, many of whom congregate in clusters in various parts of the United States. They eat, live and work hearing very little English spoken and with little direct contact wiAnglosrican anglos.
In 1998, the Washington Post ran a series of articles on the immigration problem. The third article in that series "Immigrants Shunning Idea of Assimilation" reports the experience of Maria Jacinto, who became a U.S. citizen, but like other members of her family living in Omaha, Nebraska she does not speak English, nor consider herself an American: "I think I'm still a Mexican," she says. "When my skin turns white and my hair turns blonde, then I'll be an American."
Since the late 1990's when the above articles were written the problem has grown steadily worse as the chart from the Pew Hispanic Study (page 37) at left illustrates (full size image here).
Krikoroian points out that the consequences of this eillegal in illiegal immigrants will impact most dramatically on the poorest, least educated and skilled segment of our native population, which is predominatelycompetitionhe competion for low wage jobs is already depressing the ability of that group to see wages rise at the same rate as the rest of the population.
Racial tensions all across the spectrum of Jesse Jackson's "rainbow" will not be eased by the introduction of a new underclass that will compete with black Americans for jobs and services.
Conclusion III: The goal of assimilating segregated groups of mostly illiterate people is a fantasy. The dangers of economic competition and racial strife by legitimizing the presence of a new underclass are going unheeded in the current debate.
It's time for the Senate to rethink shortsighted band-aid fixes to the immigration problem and understand the long term implications of failure to address the ramifications for the years beyond the present day.
Also posted at the Wide Awakes.