Saturday, May 31, 2008

Shuttle Discovery Makes Plumbing Call to Space Station


Shuttle Discovery on it's way to the International Space Station. Official NASA page here.

Repairs were desperately needed aboard the Space Station (offical NASA page here) as the toilet broke down. It looks like a complicated job even for a plumber:


Hillary Supporter At Dem Rules Mtg: "McCain will be the next President of the United States!"

The Hillary women are furious! This is just the tip of the volcano!

Harriet Christian after being ejected from the Democrat Rules Committee meeting in Washington, D.C. which decided that Hillary's delegates in Michigan and Florida will only count as half votes at the Democrat convention in Denver. Even the ancestors of black Americans, who counted as 3/5ths that of whites, got a better deal.


video length: 1 minute 44 seconds


"God d#*n the Democrats!"


WHOA! That woman is P'O'd!

Another Hillary supporter suffered bruises after being forceably removed from the meeting room.

If this keeps up, the convention in Denver will be a first rate circus!

Iran Refuses ANY Negotiations on Uranium Enrichment

Someone ask Obama since the carrot didn't work, would he try the stick?

Iran says it will not discuss suspending uranium enrichment
Agence France Presse
May 31

Iran on Saturday reiterated that it will not discuss halting uranium enrichment ahead of the arrival of a top international envoy expected to propose new incentives aimed at encouraging Iran to do so.

"The issue of suspension cannot be discussed any more, we have passed this point and it is not relevant. Iran's position is clear on this point," government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told reporters.

"The government view is that the issue is over," he added in reaction to a new report by UN nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The IAEA on Monday expressed "serious concern" that Tehran was still hiding information about alleged studies into making nuclear warheads, as well as defying UN demands to suspend uranium enrichment.

Washington and its European allies fear Iran wants to use the sensitive process of uranium enrichment to make an atomic weapon, but Tehran insists its drive is entirely peaceful and has refused to freeze such efforts.

Elham was speaking two days after Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said he expected European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana to visit Tehran "soon."

He said precise details of Solana's trip to Tehran have not yet been finalised.

A US official said last week that six major world powers have completed a "refreshed" offer they intend to present to Iran in a bid to end the long-running nuclear standoff.

The six are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany.

The United States has pursued a two-track policy of UN and other sanctions against Iran for its failure to halt uranium enrichment, while also holding out offers of economic and other incentives if it stops such work.

The enrichment process is used for power generation but at highly refined levels can also be used to build the core of a nuclear weapon.

Massive diplomatic engagement at the top levels of the most influential world governments has been ineffective in persuading Iran to stop enriching uranium which can be used for nuclear weapons.

What hubris makes Obama Democrats think that somehow they can do so much better than the united effort put forward by the U.S., the United Nations and our key allies and other strategic partners?

You Know We Have Won in Iraq When Obama Starts to Support the Surge

Or is his latest position just another example of the kind of "change" voters would get from Obama?

Curt found this short video clip (1 minute 32 seconds) but it illuminates the Obama problem as well as any recent efforts:

Obama's idea of change is to change his mind depending on which way the political winds are blowing.

With Obama's chief advisor, David Axelrod, waffling on the surge it's only a matter of time before Obama flips on the issue too. How long will it be before Obama claims credit for the surge's success altogether by suggesting that it was pressure from Democrats that forced Iraq's government to make the many positive changes everyone concedes are now taking place in Iraq?

At the same time, will Obama cry that any reference to his earlier demands for withdrawal and defeat of the U.S. in Iraq are just another "distraction" from the real issues plaguing Americans?

Meanwhile, CIA Chief Says Al Queda Facing Strategic Defeat
U.S. Cites Big Gains Against Al-Qaeda
Group Is Facing Setbacks Globally, CIA Chief Says
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post
May 30, 2008

Less than a year after his agency warned of new threats from a resurgent al-Qaeda, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden now portrays the terrorist movement as essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the rest of the world, including in its presumed haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

In a strikingly upbeat assessment, the CIA chief cited major gains against al-Qaeda's allies in the Middle East and an increasingly successful campaign to destabilize the group's core leadership.

While cautioning that al-Qaeda remains a serious threat, Hayden said Osama bin Laden is losing the battle for hearts and minds in the Islamic world and has largely forfeited his ability to exploit the Iraq war to recruit adherents. Two years ago, a CIA study concluded that the U.S.-led war had become a propaganda and marketing bonanza for al-Qaeda, generating cash donations and legions of volunteers.

All that has changed, Hayden said in an interview with The Washington Post this week that coincided with the start of his third year at the helm of the CIA.

"On balance, we are doing pretty well," he said, ticking down a list of accomplishments: "Near strategic defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Near strategic defeat for al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. Significant setbacks for al-Qaeda globally -- and here I'm going to use the word 'ideologically' -- as a lot of the Islamic world pushes back on their form of Islam," he said.
...
"One of the lessons we can draw from the past two years is that al-Qaeda is its own worst enemy," said Robert Grenier, a former top CIA counterterrorism official who is now managing director of Kroll, a risk consulting firm. "Where they have succeeded initially, they very quickly discredit themselves."

Others warned that al-Qaeda remains capable of catastrophic attacks and may be even more determined to stage a major strike to prove its relevance. "Al-Qaeda's obituary has been written far too often in the past few years for anyone to declare victory," said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University. "I agree that there has been progress. But we're indisputably up against a very resilient and implacable enemy."
...
Since the start of the year, he said, al-Qaeda's global leadership has lost three senior officers, including two who succumbed "to violence," an apparent reference to Predator strikes that killed terrorist leaders Abu Laith al-Libi and Abu Sulayman al-Jazairi in Pakistan. He also cited a successful blow against "training activity" in the region but offered no details. "Those are the kinds of things that delay and disrupt al-Qaeda's planning," Hayden said.

Despite the optimistic outlook, he said he is concerned that the progress against al-Qaeda could be halted or reversed because of what he considers growing complacency and a return to the mind-set that existed before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"We remain worried, and frankly, I wonder why some other people aren't worried, too," he said. His concern stems in part from improved intelligence-gathering that has bolstered the CIA's understanding of al-Qaeda's intent, he said.

"The fact that we have kept [Americans] safe for pushing seven years now has got them back into the state of mind where 'safe' is normal," he said. "Our view is: Safe is hard-won, every 24 hours."
...
On Iraq, he said he is encouraged not only by U.S. success against al-Qaeda's affiliates there, but also by what he described as the steadily rising competence of the Iraqi military and a growing popular antipathy toward jihadism.

"Despite this 'cause célebrè' phenomenon, fundamentally no one really liked al-Qaeda's vision of the future," Hayden said. As a result, the insurgency is viewed locally as "more and more a war of al-Qaeda against Iraqis," he said. Hayden specifically cited the recent writings of prominent Sunni clerics -- including some who used to support al-Qaeda -- criticizing the group for its indiscriminant killing of Muslim civilians.

While al-Qaeda misplayed its hand with gruesome attacks on Iraqi civilians, Hayden said, U.S. military commanders and intelligence officials deserve some of the credit for the shift, because they "created the circumstances" for it by building strategic alliances with Sunni and Shiite factions, he said.

Hayden warned, however, that progress in Iraq is being undermined by increasing interference by Iran, which he accused of supplying weapons, training and financial assistance to anti-U.S. insurgents. While declining to endorse any particular strategy for dealing with Iran, he described the threat in stark terms.

How long will it be before Obam claims credit for this progress as well? Should we mention again that Obama and most Democrats have opposed the very measures that have been so succesful in keeping Americans safe?

And will Democrats EVER realize that it was President Bush's decision to invade Iraq which has been the keystone in the global strategy that now has Al Queda on the ropes? Had Bush not drawn out the poison in the the Middle East by deposing Saddam and inviting Al Queda to draw the line in the sand in Iraq those jihadis who died in Iraq might have died on the streets of the United States.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Obama: Confused and Confusing

Not a good quality in a President!

Whether you like President Bush or not, he always knows exactly what he wants and explains it all very directly. There is no mistaking his intentions.

You can't say that about Obama and the saddest part is many Americans are only now discovering that fact. Throughout the long nominating process with it's nearly endless debates and speeches there have been glimmers of a confused and confusing foreign policy focus in the Obama campaign. Just as the Democrat nominating process is about to close, the pieces of that scary puzzle are starting to come together.

By now, everyone remembers the question and the reply:
At A July 2007 Debate, Obama Announced He Would Personally Meet With Leaders Of Iran, North Korea, Syria And Other Hostile Nations "Without Precondition." Question: "[W]ould you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?"... Obama: "I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration - is ridiculous." video here (CNN/YouTube Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Charleston, SC, 7/23/07)
But the odd thing is that Obama keeps getting asked about that question and the answers keep changing. Is this the kind of "change" voters want?

Jake Tapper points out that In the latest round of confusing and tortured explanations for what Obama really meant, he told the Orlando Sentinel in Florida on May 22, that he would "initiate" talks with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and raise the issue of his support for FARC terrorists in Columbia.

Recently, the international police organization, INTERPOL, confirmed that the documents found on the computer of a FARC terrorist leader documenting the strong support of Hugo Chavez for FARC's reign of murder, kidnapping and drug running in Colombia were authentic.

Speaking to the Cuban American National Foundation in Miami on May 23, Obama said:
"We will shine a light on any support for the FARC that comes from neighboring governments...This behavior must be exposed to international condemnation, regional isolation, and -- if need be -- strong sanctions. It must not stand."
Just how are you going to isolate Venezuela while initiating meetings at the presidential level?

Jake Tapper asked that question of an Obama advisor and the response is odd to say the least:

"if we are going to isolate the Venezuelans, it may be that we have to engage in a full-on diplomatic strategy with them," the adviser says. Obama was not saying he, himself, would propose such a meeting, nor that he would necessarily participate in that meeting. When Obama referred to "my talks with President Hugo Chavez," he did not mean "my talks," literally (necessarily) -- he meant his administration's talks -- "though it could be him engaging in this diplomacy directly and personally," the adviser says. The point is, all the tools need to be in the diplomacy kit -- isolation, willingness to hold presidential meetings, and everything in between.
So now, the idea of initiating and personally meeting without preconditions has taken on a confused and twisted meaning in Obama land. Is this the right kind of change?

Obama's Iran Policy Just As Confused

Multiple times in 2007 (last item here)and as late as May 4, 2008 Obama insisted he would meet with Iranian President Ahmadinejad.

But as Curt points out, all that changed a few weeks later when Obama advisor Susan Rice said: “Well, first of all, he said he’d meet with the appropriate Iranian leaders. He hasn’t named who that leader will be."

Really?

But let's take him at his word (the current word, not the previous ones) and say he would meet with Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khameni. Amir Taheri reminds us how Khameni views negotiations with the United States:


"You have nothing to say to us. We object. We do not agree to a relationship with you! We are not prepared to establish relations with powerful world devourers like you! The Iranian nation has no need of the United States, nor is the Iranian nation afraid of the United States. We . . . do not accept your behavior, your oppression and intervention in various parts of the world."
Taheri also notes that "Last month, Tehran hosted an international conference titled 'A World Without America.'"

And if any delusional do-gooder thinks that it's just the current U.S. Administration that Iran objects to, Taheri points out that Iran has turned a deaf ear to approaches by U.S. Administrations representing both political parties going back nearly 30 years. And no other European or Middle Eastern government has had any luck negotiating a range of critical issues with Iran.

So just what would Obama negotiate? It's clear that the meeting would be a tremendous flop with predictable negative results for the U.S. around the world.

As a further reminder of how dangerous a confused and confusing foreign policy outlook can be, David Reinhard, writing in the Oregonian had this to say:


In trying to talk his way out of his position, Obama's only made matters worse for himself. It began last week when he cited John F. Kennedy's sit-down with Nikita Khrushchev as a precedent: "When Kennedy met with Khrushchev," he said, "we were on the brink of nuclear war."

Uh, no, Senator, the brink of nuclear war came in the Cuban missile crisis more than a year later. In fact, Kennedy's weak performance in Vienna prompted the Soviet decision to put missiles in Cuba, which brought us to the brink of nuclear war.

In Portland on Sunday, Obama said Iran, Cuba and Venezuela "don't pose a serious threat to us" since they spend but one-one-hundredth of what we spend on our military. They're not like the Soviets. "If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us," he said, "they wouldn't stand a chance."

Never mind that the threat posed by terror-sponsoring nations like Iran or terrorist groups isn't their conventional military strength, but their ability and inclination to use unconventional weapons against stronger nations in this age of asymmetrical warfare. The next day in Montana, Obama said Iran posed "a grave threat." Grave? Not serious? Whatever.
It may not matter much to the Obamatons that their candidate spins faster than a Maytag washer stuck on the spin cycle. But when it comes to actually governing, as opposed to campaigning, a clearly expressed policy is the first key to advancing towards objectives. Obama continues to express a desire to bring "change" to foreign policy and national security issues. But consider this: that may not be change for the better. In fact it could be much, MUCH worse.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Obama Goes for the Dead Vote

It's what comes naturally to a politician from Chicago!

From Obama's Memorial Day Speech as delivered:

On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today -- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.
Remember all the media snickering when Bush made a gaffe or mispronounced a word? Yet the media dutifully scrubbed that one from reports of Obama's speech.

Later in the speech he was going for the Jewish vote and claimed that his uncle had helped liberate Auschwitz. I guess he didn't realize that Auschwitz was in Poland and was liberated by Soviet troops. Of course this could be true if Obama's uncle was fighting for the Russians.

The media did report that gaffe, sort of, but something tells me you didn't read about it on the front page of your morning paper or hear about it on good morning television.

Obama has a history of just making things up and the press marvels at it. After all these years of saying "Bush lied" or was too stupid to know what he was saying, you would think the media would demand a high standard for the one anointed to take his place.

But then, YOU would think (most of you anyway)!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Skye Speaks on Assault by Peaceniks

When I named Skye the Mike's America "Blogger of the Year" for 2007 I knew she had the right stuff. What I didn't know is that she would quickly become a target for the people who pretend that peace and non-violence are are their highest objectives.

Skye, the first female member of the Flopping Aces posse (article archive here),as well as the author of her eclectic and electric blog Midnight Blue, has been an active participant and organizer of Pro-Victory counterprotests in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

It's a group of patriots who observe Memorial Day every weekend by showing up on a street corner in this mid size Pennsylvania town to show their support for our troops. The group formed shortly after one man, Rich Davis, began a lonely vigil on the street corner to counter the angry left wing "peace" activists that had been unopposed in that town square for years while trashing our country, besmirching our troops and generally demonstrating the sour and angry disposition that appears to be epidemic among that class of bitter aging hippies.

Kevin Ferris, writing in the Wall Street Journal, published a wonderful account of the Rich's group, which calls itself the Chester County Victory Movement and blogs as "The American Sheepdogs."

Often the "peace" protesters cross the street to confront, harass and attempt to intimidate the victory movement people. Mostly, these efforts are directed at the women who participate in the VICTORY demonstration.

Skye often documents these scenes with a video camera. And in this short clip, you'll see a peacenik getting nowhere attempting to browbeat one of the women in the VICTORY gathering. In his frustration he violently slapped the camera in Skye's hand:

After this assault the man went on to assault a police officer who was called to the scene. The man was charged and a prosecution ensued.

Skye was unable to comment on the matter while the legal process unfolded. Now that her role in that has been concluded, she graciously offered to participate in the following Q&A which traces her involvement in the VICTORY movement as well the events surrounding the assault. Perhaps we can get her to answer any questions readers may wish to leave in the comment section as well.

The Audacity of disagreement.
Read the rest via Flopping Aces, but feel free to come back here and comment!

What Kind of "Change" Do YOU Want?

Will Democrats ever accept the change for the better in Iraq?
Change That Matters
Iraq has changed. Why can't the Democrats?
by Matthew Continetti
Weekly Standard
06/02/2008

General David Petraeus was back in Washington last week. President Bush has promoted him to chief of Central Command (CENTCOM), which requires Senate confirmation. Under Petraeus's leadership, Iraq has changed dramatically. Why can't the Democrats change with it?

Bush announced the surge in January 2007. Iraq was a violent place. Al Qaeda in Iraq held large swaths of territory. Shiite death squads roamed much of Baghdad. The Iraqi political class seemed feckless. Hence Bush's decision to send more troops, replace General George Casey with Petraeus, and change the mission from force protection and search-and-destroy to population security. The new strategy's strongest proponent and supporter was Senator John McCain.

Democrats opposed the surge almost without exception. Barack Obama said that the new policy would neither "make a dent" in the violence plaguing Iraq nor "change the dynamics" there. A month after the president's announcement, Obama declared it was time to remove American combat troops from Iraq. In April, as the surge brigades were on their way to the combat zone, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid proclaimed "this war is lost" and that U.S. troops should pack up and come home. In July, as surge operations were underway, the New York Times editorialized that "it is time for the United States to leave Iraq." The Times's editorial writers recognized Iraq "could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave." But that didn't matter. "Keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse."

Wrong. When Petraeus returned to Washington in September 2007, he reported that the numbers of violent incidents, civilian deaths, ethnosectarian killings, and car and suicide bombings had declined dramatically from the previous December. Why? The surge--and the broadening "Awakening" movement, which began when the sheikhs in Anbar province rebelled against al Qaeda in late 2006 and accelerated when the tribal leaders understood America would not abandon them in 2007.

How did Democrats respond? MoveOn.org bought a full-page in the Times suggesting Petraeus had betrayed the American people. Senator Hillary Clinton said that to accept Petraeus's report required the "willing suspension of disbelief." Those Democrats who did not question the facts moved the goal posts instead. They said the surge may have reduced violence, but had not led to the real goal: political reconciliation.

Petraeus returned again to Washington in April of this year. Violence had been reduced further. American casualties had declined significantly. Al Qaeda was virtually limited to the northern city of Mosul. There were more Iraqi Security Forces, and those forces were increasingly capable. The Iraqi government had passed a variety of laws promoting sectarian reconciliation. And the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, was demonstrating that he was a national leader by meeting with Sunnis and launching military operations against Shiite gangs and Iranian-backed "special groups" in the southern port city of Basra.

Democrats responded this time by saying the Basra operation was a failure and that any reduction in violence only meant Americans could come home sooner rather than later. Wrong again, because (a) despite early missteps the Iraqi army had control of Basra within a couple of weeks, and (b) any precipitous, politically calculated American withdrawal would clearly lead to more violence, not less. What is new is that Petraeus's strategy and tactics, his patience and expertise, have succeeded and now allow some of the surge brigades to return home without replacement--and without a spike in killing. There's every reason to continue his strategy, not abandon it and force a withdrawal.

On May 22, Petraeus was able to tell the Senate that "the number of security incidents in Iraq last week was the lowest in over four years, and it appears that the week that ends tomorrow will see an even lower number of incidents." On May 10, Maliki traveled to Mosul to oversee the launch of a campaign against al Qaeda. The number of attacks in Mosul has already been reduced by 85 percent. Acting CENTCOM commander Martin Dempsey says that Al Qaeda in Iraq is at its weakest state since 2003. Also last week, Iraqi soldiers entered radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr's Sadr City stronghold in Baghdad. They met no resistance.

The Iraqi army and government have done exactly what Democrats have asked of it, and the Democrats remain hostile. Their disdain and animosity has not diminished one iota. Nor has their desire to abandon Iraq to a grim fate.

We keep hearing that this year's presidential election will be about judgment. If so: advantage McCain. For when it comes to the surge, not only have Obama and his party been in error; they have been inflexible in error. They have been so committed to a false narrative of American defeat that they cannot acknowledge the progress that has been made on the ground. That isn't judgment. It's inanity.


Is it too soon to hold Democrats accountable for their incessant nay saying and defeatism on Iraq? Or will we simply let them skate free once again for the same kind of accountability they daily demand of Republicans?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

President Bush Welcomes "Rolling Thunder" to the White House

An annual event featuring motorcycle enthusiasts highlighting POW/MIA and veterans issues comes to the White House to kick off Memorial Day observances!

Members of the motorcycle group Rolling Thunder watch President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush land on the South Lawn of the White House from a visit to Camp David. White House photo by Chris Greenberg

President George W. Bush poses for a photo with National Executive Director of Rolling Thunder Artie Muller at the conclusion of a visit by the motorcycle grooup to the White House. White House photo by Chris Greenberg

On Saturday, President Bush made Memorial Day the theme for his Weekly Radio Address:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This Memorial Day weekend, kids will be out of school, moms and dads will be firing up the grill, and families across our country will mark the unofficial beginning of summer. But as we do, we should all remember the true purpose of this holiday -- to honor the sacrifices that make our freedom possible.

On Monday, I will commemorate Memorial Day by visiting Arlington National Cemetery, where I will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The tomb is the final resting place of three brave American soldiers who lost their lives in combat. The names of these veterans of World War I, World War II, and the Korean War are known only to God. But their valor is known to us all.

Throughout American history, this valor has preserved our way of life and our sacred freedoms. It was this valor that won our independence. It was this valor that removed the stain of slavery from our Nation. And it was this valor that defeated the great totalitarian threats of the last century.

Today, the men and women of our military are facing a new totalitarian threat to our freedom. In Iraq, Afghanistan, and other fronts around the world, they continue the proud legacy of those who came before them. They bear their responsibilities with quiet dignity and honor. And some have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their country.

One such hero was Sergeant First Class Benjamin Sebban of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division. As the senior medic in his squadron, Ben made sacrifice a way of life. When younger medics were learning how to insert IVs, he would offer his own arm for practice. And when the time came, Ben did not hesitate to offer his fellow soldiers far more.

On March 17, 2007, in Iraq's Diyala province, Ben saw a truck filled with explosives racing toward his team of paratroopers. He ran into the open to warn them, exposing himself to the blast. Ben received severe wounds, but this good medic never bothered to check his own injuries. Instead, he devoted his final moments on this earth to treating others. Earlier this week, in a ceremony at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, I had the honor of presenting Sergeant Sebban's mom with the Silver Star that he earned.

No words are adequate to console those who have lost a loved one serving our Nation. We can only offer our prayers and join in their grief. We grieve for the mother who hears the sound of her child's 21-gun salute. We grieve for the husband or wife who receives a folded flag. We grieve for a young son or daughter who only knows dad from a photograph.

One holiday is not enough to commemorate all of the sacrifices that have been made by America's men and women in uniform. No group has ever done more to defend liberty than the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Their bravery has done more than simply win battles. It has done more than win wars. It has secured a way of life for our entire country. These heroes and their families should be in our thoughts and prayers on a daily basis, and they should receive our loving thanks at every possible opportunity.

This Memorial Day, I ask all Americans to honor the sacrifices of those who have served you and our country. One way to do so is by joining in a moment of remembrance that will be marked across our country at 3:00 p.m. local time.
At that moment, Major League Baseball games will pause, the National Memorial Day parade will halt, Amtrak trains will blow their whistles, and buglers in military cemeteries will play Taps. You can participate by placing a flag at a veteran's grave, taking your family to the battlefields where freedom was defended, or saying a silent prayer for all the Americans who were delivered out of the agony of war to meet their Creator. Their bravery has preserved the country we love so dearly.

Thank you for listening.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Put the "Memorial" Back in Memorial Day

I liked this post so much last year, I am going to re run it as I wait for new material to come in:

"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for another."


From "Fallen Heroes" a photo essay by Daniel J. Wood. Location: Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola Florida.

"Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours."

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow -


Memorial Day, the holiday, began as a spontaneous outpouring of honoring and remembrance for six hundred thousand U.S. citizens who died fighting the Civil War (history of the holiday here).

Towns and villages in both the North and the South began decorating the grave sites of the war dead with flowers, hence the early name for the holiday: Decoration Day.

Music has also been an important part of the Memorial Day observance from it's inception. Musicians may find this antique sheet music interesting. It's dedicated to the "Ladies of the South who are decorating the graves of the Confederate Dead." The hymn was published in 1867:

Kneel Where Our Loves Are Sleeping
Words by G.W.R.
Music by Mrs. L. Nella Sweet

published 1867

Kneel where our loves are sleeping, Dear ones days gone by,
Here we bow in holy reverence, Our bosoms heave the heartfelt sigh.
They fell like brave men, true as steel, And pour’d their blood like rain,
We feel we owe them all we have, And can but weep and kneel again.
CHORUS
Kneel where our loves are sleeping, They lost but still were good and true,
Our fathers, brothers fell still fighting, We weep, ‘tis all that we can do.

VERSE 2:
Here we find our noble dead, Their spirits soar’d to him above,
Rest they now about his throne, For God is mercy, God is love.
Then let us pray that we may live, As pure and good as they have been,
That dying we may ask of him, To open the gate and let us in.
CHORUS
Kneel where our loves are sleeping, They lost but still were good and true,
Our fathers, brothers fell still fighting, We weep, ‘tis all that we can do."

Decoration Day became official with General Orders No. 11 issued by General John Logan, Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic in May 1868.

And while some Americans today view Memorial Day as another day off of work, or the chance for a three day trip to the beach, many Americans remember the sacrifice this day recalls and we honor those who have fallen so we might have the freedom and luxuries of a holiday to enjoy.

In military cemeteries across the Nation and also in lands where U.S. soldiers died far from home (list here with Memorial Day events) men, women and children will gather to remember, reflect and to honor those who gave what Abraham Lincoln called "that last full measure of devotion.

Abraham Lincoln
Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow - this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

President Abraham Lincoln

November 1863

In places near and far men and women will gather as does the "Old Guard" Third Infantry Regiment at Arlington National Cemetery to place flags on the graves of fallen soldiers. The Old Guard gives their ceremony the name "Flags In" creating a sea of Red, White and Blue among the markers.

Continuing the musical tradition, singers like Trace Atkins offer this video "Arlington." Lyrics below:

Arlington

I never thought that this is where I'd settle down,
I thought I'd die an old man back in my hometown,
They gave me this plot of land, me and some other men, for a job well done,
there's a big white house sits on a hill just up the road,
the man inside he cried the day they brought me home,
they folded up a flag and told my mom and dad, we're proud of your son .

Chorus:
And I'm proud to be on this peaceful piece of property,
I'm on sacred ground and i'm in the best of company,
I'm thankful for those things i've done,
I can rest in peace, I'm one of the chosen ones, I made it to Arlington.

I remember daddy brought me here when I was eight,
we searched all day to find out where my granddad lay,
and when we finally found that cross,
he said, "son this is what it cost to keep us free" Now here I am,
a thousand stones away from him,
he recognized me on the first day I came in,
and it gave me a chill when he clicked his heels, and saluted me.

(Repeat Chorus)

And every time I hear twenty-one guns,
I know they brought another hero home to us.

We're thankful for those thankful for the things we've done,
we can rest in peace, 'cause we are the chosen ones,
we made it to Arlington, yea dust to dust,
don't cry for us, we made it to Arlington.

More video music tributes:

David Matthews of Pack 308 places a flag on a grave at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery May 26, 2007 in Louisville, Kentucky. Boy Scouts from the Seneca District and the Lincoln Heritage Council, which represents the Louisville area, participated in the flag placing. This was the 25th year that scouts have been placing flags on the graves at the cemetery. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Memorial Day in Iraq

Today in Iraq, U.S. soldiers, men and women, will observe Memorial Day with personal reflections on fellow soldiers who have died in that long conflict. One news report even showed Iraqi Sheiks and tribal leaders coming to a U.S. Marine compound to pay their respects to some of the 3444 U.S. soldiers who have given their lives to help Iraq and ensure U.S. National Security.

While each of those lives lost is tragic and we honor and mourn their loss, we can also be thankful that we live in a nation where such sacrifice is less and less called upon. Since Memorial Day started as an observance of our Civil War dead, contrast the 3444 fallen soldiers in Iraq over four years with the 3,650 U.S. and Confederate troops who died at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862.

Mark Steyn puts it in perspective and offers a message which should also be heard on this day:

The loss of proportion
Mark Steyn
May 30th 2004

More than 600,000 Americans died in the Civil War - or about 1.8 percent of the population. Today, if 1.8 percent of the population were killed in war, there would be 5.4 million graves to decorate on Decoration Day.

But that's the difference between then and now: the loss of proportion. They had victims galore back in 1863, but they weren't a victim culture. They had a lot of crummy decisions and bureaucratic screw-ups worth re-examining, but they weren't a nation that prioritized retroactive pseudo-legalistic self-flagellating vaudeville over all else. They had hellish setbacks but they didn't lose sight of the forest in order to obsess week after week on one tiny twig of one weedy little tree.

There is something not just ridiculous but unbecoming about a hyperpower 300 million strong whose elites - from the deranged former vice president down - want the outcome of a war, and the fate of a nation, to hinge on one freaky jailhouse; elites who are willing to pay any price, bear any burden, as long as it's pain-free, squeaky-clean and over in a week. The sheer silliness dishonors the memory of all those we're supposed to be remembering this Memorial Day.

Playing by Gore-Kennedy rules, the Union would have lost the Civil War, the rebels the Revolutionary War, and the colonists the French and Indian Wars. There would, in other words, be no America. Even in its grief, my part of New Hampshire understood that 141 years ago. We should, too.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Obama: John McCain's Secret Weapon

Just how dumb is Obama?
The Absurdity of Meeting the Enemy
By Charles Krauthammer
Real Clear Politics
May 23, 2008

WASHINGTON -- When the House of Representatives takes up arms against $4 gas by voting 324-84 to sue OPEC, you know that election-year discourse has gone surreal. Another unmistakable sign is when a presidential candidate makes a gaffe, then, realizing it is too egregious to take back without suffering humiliation, decides to make it a centerpiece of his foreign policy.

Before the Democratic debate of July 23, Barack Obama had never expounded upon the wisdom of meeting, without precondition, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bashar al-Assad, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il or the Castro brothers. But in that debate, he was asked about doing exactly that. Unprepared, he said sure -- then got fancy, declaring the Bush administration's refusal to do so not just "ridiculous" but "a disgrace."

After that, there was no going back. So he doubled down. What started as a gaffe became policy. By now, it has become doctrine. Yet it remains today what it was on the day he blurted it out: an absurdity.

Should the president ever meet with enemies? Sometimes, but only after minimal American objectives -- i.e. preconditions -- have been met. The Shanghai communique was largely written long before Richard Nixon ever touched down in China. Yet Obama thinks Nixon to China confirms the wisdom of his willingness to undertake a worldwide freshman-year tyrants tour.

Most of the time you don't negotiate with enemy leaders because there is nothing to negotiate. Does Obama imagine that North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela are insufficiently informed about American requirements for improved relations?

There are always contacts through back channels or intermediaries. Iran, for example, has engaged in five years of talks with our closest European allies and the International Atomic Energy Agency, to say nothing of the hundreds of official U.S. statements outlining exactly what we would give them in return for suspending uranium enrichment.

Obama pretends that while he is for such "engagement," the cowboy Republicans oppose it. Another absurdity. No one is debating the need for contacts. The debate is over the stupidity of elevating rogue states and their tyrants, easing their isolation and increasing their leverage by granting them unconditional meetings with the president of the world's superpower.

Obama cited Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman as presidents who met with enemies. Does he know no history? Neither Roosevelt nor Truman ever met with any of the leaders of the Axis powers. Obama must be referring to the pictures he's seen of Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta, and Truman and Stalin at Potsdam. Does he not know that at that time Stalin was a wartime ally?

During the subsequent Cold War, Truman never met with Stalin. Nor Mao. Nor Kim Il Sung. Truman was no fool.

Obama cites John Kennedy meeting Nikita Khrushchev as another example of what he wants to emulate. Really? That Vienna summit of a young, inexperienced, untested American president was disastrous, emboldening Khrushchev to push Kennedy on Berlin -- and then near fatally in Cuba, leading almost directly to the Cuban missile crisis. Is that the precedent Obama aspires to follow?

A meeting with Ahmadinejad would not just strengthen and vindicate him at home, it would instantly and powerfully ease the mullahs' isolation, inviting other world leaders to follow. And with that would come a flood of commercial contracts, oil deals, diplomatic agreements -- undermining precisely the very sanctions and isolation that Obama says he would employ against Iran.

As every seasoned diplomat knows, the danger of a summit is that it creates enormous pressure for results. And results require mutual concessions. That is why conditions and concessions are worked out in advance, not on the scene.

What concessions does Obama imagine Ahmadinejad will make to him on Iran's nuclear program? And what new concessions will Obama offer? To abandon Lebanon? To recognize Hamas? Or perhaps to squeeze Israel?

Having lashed himself to the ridiculous, unprecedented promise of unconditional presidential negotiations -- and then having compounded the problem by elevating it to a principle -- Obama keeps trying to explain. On Sunday, he declared in Pendleton, Ore., that by Soviet standards Iran and others "don't pose a serious threat to us." (On the contrary. Islamic Iran is dangerously apocalyptic. Soviet Russia was not.) The next day in Billings, Mont.: "I've made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave."

That's the very next day, mind you. Such rhetorical flailing has done more than create an intellectual mess. It has given rise to a new political phenomenon: the metastatic gaffe. The one begets another, begets another, begets ...
Talk about not ready for prime time! Obama as President would be a disaster for this country. He actually makes people want to vote for McCain.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Saudi Oil Worth More to Democrats Than American Oil?

As a follow-on to yesterday's post:

Daily oil production on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an area which Congress originally designated for oil exploration when it set up the refuge, is estimated by the Energy Information Administration (Dept. of Energy) to be able to produce approximately 1, 000,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

With current imports of foreign oil running over 12,000,000 barrels per day (EIA chart), production of one million barrels of U.S. oil would be an important first step to energy independence.

But this is how Senator Charles Schumer dismissed the benefits of ANWR in an April 28 press conference:

SCHUMER: What does the president do? He takes out the old saw of ANWR. ANWR wouldn't produce a drop of oil in ten years, and it's estimated that if they drilled in ANWR, in 20 years it would reduce the price one penny. We've been pushing for a long time for energy efficiency. We believe in a price-gouging bill so that the big oil companies can't collude. We believe that there's too much speculation in the markets, and we believe that ought to be reined in.
So why did he say this two weeks earlier on the Senate floor:

SCHUMER: If Saudi Arabia were to increase its production by 1 million barrels per day that translates to a reduction of 20 percent to 25 percent in the world price of crude oil, and crude oil prices could fall by more than $25 dollar per barrel from its current level of $126 per barrel. In turn, that would lower the price of gasoline between 13 percent and 17 percent, or by more than 62 cents off the expected summer regular-grade price -- offering much needed relief to struggling families.
One penny for American oil but 62 cents for Saudi oil?

And we might note that had President Clinton not vetoed the bill which both houses of congress passed in 1995 to authorize drilling in ANWR, that one million barrels of oil would be serving citizens in the U.S. TODAY!

So next time a Democrat complains about the high cost of gasoline, ask them why they voted against eco-friendly drilling for oil right here in the U.S. We have enough oil right here in the U.S. to replace every drop of oil currently imported from the Middle East.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

When A Cartoon Explains it Perfectly

Found at the City Troll:


Secretary of State Rice Addresses Progress in on the Iranian Problem

Remarks With U.K. Foreign Secretary David Miliband After Their Meeting
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
State Department transcript
May 21, 2008

SECRETARY RICE: I'm simply not going to comment. I will note that the Iranian problem is not just America's problem. It is an international issue. And it is an issue on which the international community is united in confronting Iran with the choices before it, either to suspend its enrichment and reprocessing efforts, which would - could lead to the knowledge and the technologies that could lead to a nuclear weapon, or face continued isolation. That policy has resulted in three Security Council resolutions. The United Kingdom, Germany, the - Germany, France, Russia and China have been united in putting forward three Security Council resolutions and they have passed.

Those Security Council resolutions have been augmented by significant designations on a unilateral basis by the United States of Iranian entities which are engaged in proliferation or in terrorism. And the reputational and investment risk of dealing with Iran have caused people not just to think twice about investing in Iran, but to actually begin to take hard choices not to invest in Iran.

You have seen a drying up of investment in Iran's infrastructure. You have seen a drying up of investment in Iran's oil capability. You're seeing a drying up of export credits to Iran and the many problems that David has mentioned within the Iranian economy and the resultant debate about whether Iran is, in fact, on the right course. Now I think this has culled a successful multilateral coalition of states that have the same view, which is that Iran should be offered incentives if it is prepared to live up to the obligations that the international community has put before it, but will face isolation and consequences if it is not prepared to do that.

I would like to see what other options there are for the international community given that this policy is one that I think is the best course for us; give Iran a choice. If Iran cannot make the right choice, then it will face consequences. Thank you.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Miliband noted:
"anyone who looks at the state of the Iranian economy or the debates that are going on within Iran about the state of their economy can realize that there are substantial costs that the Iranian regime are bringing on their own people as a result of the policy they're currently pursuing. "
The U.S. and allied policy of multilateral engagement is EXACTLY what Democrats claim they have been clamoring for right? Unilateral moves by the United States were sharply criticized by Democrats up until "no preconditions" Obama said he would meet unconditionally with the Iranians, Cubans, Syrian, North Koreans and Venezuelans.

While progress on the Iran issue is not moving as fast as anyone would like, the multilateral approach which proved so effective in dealing with North Korea is the way to go. And it's undeniable that progress would be swifter if Democrats weren't doing everything they can to undermine it with their reckless rhetoric which simply encourages the Iranians to hold on and hope for Obama to save them.

Question: Who is to blame for high gas prices?

Pick one:
1. Oil Companies
2. Democrats

Highlights from: Statement of John Hofmeister
Shell Oil Company
Before the Senate Judiciary Committee
Wednesday, May 21, 2008

  • Let’s look at historical data on the price of a barrel of crude and the average
    price of regular gasoline. Since April 2004, the price of a barrel of U.S. light
    sweet crude has gone up by more than $70, which is more than a 300 percent
    increase. In this same period, the average U.S. nationwide price of regular
    gasoline at the pump went up 100 percent. Looking just at the last 12
    months, the price of a barrel has increased $60, or more than 100 percent.
    The price of regular gasoline has gone up 20 percent.
  • The rate of growth in global demand for oil has accelerated in recent
    years. This is largely the result of rapid economic growth and
    industrialization in countries like China and India and also sustained
    subsidies on oil products in oil exporting countries.
  • Access to oil and gas resources is becoming more difficult around the
    world. This, coupled with more stringent fiscal conditions governing
    investment in several major oil and gas-producing countries, adversely
    affects the economics of new energy projects. It may lead to reductions
    or delays of new investment in oil and gas supply capacity.
  • The world will demand an additional 35 million barrels of oil per day by
    2030, which is a 42 percent increase over today’s demand. It will demand 64
    percent more natural gas than we are producing now.
  • There is no shortage of molecules of oil and gas in the ground. However,
    there are multiple influences that will affect the pace at which this oil can,
    and will, be developed.
  • U.S. production has fallen steadily for the last 35 years. Oil production in
    this country peaked in the 1970s. As U.S. consumption of oil has doubled,
    domestic oil production has fallen off nearly 40 percent. Why? In large part,
    this is the result of government policies that placed important oil and gas
    resources off limits.
  • We still have a significant resource base in this country, both offshore and
    onshore. The U.S. Government estimates that there are about 300 trillion
    cubic feet of natural gas and more than 50 billion barrels of oil yet to be
    discovered on the Outer Continental Shelf surrounding the Lower 48. When
    you then add in the Alaska OCS resource, you add the potential for another
    122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 25 billion barrels of oil.
    Unfortunately, 85 percent of the Lower 48 resource base is off-limits
    because of Congressional moratoria.


For the past 30 years, federal policies have restricted the availability of
domestic oil and gas resources to U.S. consumers. Such as:
• Outer Continental Shelf Moratorium Atlantic Ocean
• Outer Continental Shelf Moratorium Pacific Ocean
• Outer Continental Shelf Moratorium Eastern Gulf of Mexico
Final 5.19.08 7
• Congressional bans on onshore oil and gas activities in specific areas
of the Rockies and Alaska
• And even a Congressional ban on doing an analysis of the resource
potential for oil and gas in the Atlantic, Pacific and Eastern Gulf of
Mexico
According to the Department of the Interior, 62 percent of all onshore
federal lands are off-limits to oil and gas development with restrictions
applying to 92 percent of all federal lands.
The Argonne National Laboratory did a report in 2004 that identified 40
specific federal policy areas that halt, limit, delay or restrict natural gas
projects.
We have all the oil and gas we need RIGHT HERE!

Latest update here -- USGS

There is enough oil in the United States that could be safely recovered, with no threat to the environment, to supply our nation's energy needs for years to come as we transition to alternate energy sources. And we could supply those needs with NO imports from any other nation than Canada.

The proceeds from royalties and taxes paid by oil companies to the U.S. Treasury could fund nearly the entire cost of developing and implementing a non-fossil fuel energy economy for the United States. Instead, that money, TRILLIONS of dollars, goes to Arabs and the Venezuelans.

No Environmental Reason NOT to Drill

Oil and gas recovery is now one of the cleanest industrial sectors in the United States. When Hurricanes Katrina and Rita roared through the Gulf of Mexico in 2005 approximately 150 oil and gas rigs were damaged, many severely. But did you see any pictures of oil stained beaches? NO!

Near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) at the very northern tip of Alaska, oil recovery has been ongoing at Prudhoe Bay for decades. Wildlife in the area thrives in the shadows of oil production installations (see photo right). Yet environmentalists and Democrats in Congress refuse to allow us to drill in ANWR, even though the area under consideration is the size of a few golf courses on Hilton Head Island in a wildlife refuge the size of the entire state of South Carolina.

DRILL NOW!

The last argument of Democrats who wish to curtail U.S. energy production (and slow the U.S. economy to our disadvantage worldwide) is that it would take years to develop the resources we know we have. True. And had those same Democrats insisted President Clinton sign the bill Congress passed in 1996 instead of veto it ANWR oil would be supplying U.S. consumers today. When the issue was brought up again in 2005, Democrats blocked the measure as they have nearly every other source of U.S. domestic production that would increase supply and lower the cost of gasoline.

However, it's not too late to start drilling NOW! And yet, when that subject is raised, Democrats fall back on the litany of lies that have kept the American people paying more and more and more for energy with no end in sight.

Drill! Produce! DRIVE!

How Smart is Obama?

Is this the kind of "change" liberals want?

Barack Obama: Gaffe machine
Michelle Malkin
May 21, 2008

...But what about Barack Obama? The guy’s a perpetual gaffe machine. Let us count the ways, large and small, that his tongue has betrayed him throughout the campaign:

* Last May, he claimed that Kansas tornadoes killed a whopping 10,000 people: “In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed.” The actual death toll: 12.

*Earlier this month in Oregon, he redrew the map of the United States: “Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go.”

*Last week, in front of a roaring Sioux Falls, South Dakota audience, Obama exulted: “Thank you Sioux City…I said it wrong. I’ve been in Iowa for too long. I’m sorry.”

*Explaining last week why he was trailing Hillary Clinton in Kentucky, Obama again botched basic geography: “Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it’s not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle.” On what map is Arkansas closer to Kentucky than Illinois?

*Obama has as much trouble with numbers as he has with maps. Last March, on the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama, he claimed his parents united as a direct result of the civil rights movement:

“There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born.”

Obama was born in 1961. The Selma march took place in 1965. His spokesman, Bill Burton, later explained that Obama was “speaking metaphorically about the civil rights movement as a whole.”

*Earlier this month in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Obama showed off his knowledge of the war in Afghanistan by honing in on a lack of translators: “We only have a certain number of them and if they are all in Iraq, then it’s harder for us to use them in Afghanistan.” The real reason it’s “harder for us to use them” in Afghanistan: Iraqis speak Arabic or Kurdish. The Afghanis speak Pashto, Farsi, or other non-Arabic languages.

*Over the weekend in Oregon, Obama pleaded ignorance of the decades-old, multi-billion-dollar massive Hanford nuclear waste clean-up:

“Here’s something that you will rarely hear from a politician, and that is that I’m not familiar with the Hanford, uuuuhh, site, so I don’t know exactly what’s going on there. (Applause.) Now, having said that, I promise you I’ll learn about it by the time I leave here on the ride back to the airport.”

I assume on that ride, a staffer reminded him that he’s voted on at least one defense authorization bill that addressed the “costs, schedules, and technical issues” dealing with the nation’s most contaminated nuclear waste site.

*Last March, the Chicago Tribune reported this little-noticed nugget about a fake autobiographical detail in Obama’s “Dreams from My Father:”

“Then, there’s the copy of Life magazine that Obama presents as his racial awakening at age 9. In it, he wrote, was an article and two accompanying photographs of an African-American man physically and mentally scarred by his efforts to lighten his skin. In fact, the Life article and the photographs don’t exist, say the magazine’s own historians.”

* And in perhaps the most seriously troubling set of gaffes of them all, Obama told a Portland crowd over the weekend that Iran doesn’t “pose a serious threat to us”–cluelessly arguing that “tiny countries” with small defense budgets can’t do us harm– and then promptly flip-flopped the next day, claiming, “I’ve made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave.”

Barack Obama–promoted by the Left and the media as an all-knowing, articulate, transcendent Messiah–is a walking, talking gaffe machine. How many more passes does he get? How many more can we afford?


What does it say about Obama's judgement if he doesn't even know how many states there are in the country? (maybe he was thinking about the 57 Islamic states?)

How We Know We Are Winning In Iraq

SUCCESS IN IRAQ: A MEDIA BLACKOUT
By RALPH PETERS
NY Post
May 20, 2008

DO we still have troops in Iraq? Is there still a conflict over there?

If you rely on the so-called mainstream media, you may have difficulty answering those questions these days. As Iraqi and Coalition forces pile up one success after another, Iraq has magically vanished from the headlines.

Want a real "inconvenient truth?" Progress in Iraq is powerful and accelerating.

But that fact isn't helpful to elite media commissars and cadres determined to decide the presidential race over our heads. How dare our troops win? Even worse, Iraqi troops are winning. Daily.

You won't see that above the fold in The New York Times. And forget the Obama-intoxicated news networks - they've adopted his story line that the clock stopped back in 2003.
...
* As long as Baghdad-based journalists could hope that the joint US-Iraqi move into Sadr City would end disastrously, we were treated to a brief flurry of headlines.

* A few weeks back, we heard about another Iraqi company - 100 or so men - who declined to fight. The story was just delicious, as far as the media were concerned.

Then tragedy struck: As in Basra the month before, absent-without-leave (and hiding in Iran) Muqtada al Sadr quit under pressure from Iraqi and US troops. The missile and mortar attacks on the Green Zone stopped. There's peace in the streets.

Today, Iraqi soldiers, not militia thugs, patrol the lanes of Sadr City, where waste has replaced roadside bombs as the greatest danger to careless footsteps. US advisers and troops support the effort, but Iraq's government has taken another giant step forward in establishing law and order.

My fellow Americans, have you read or seen a single interview with any of the millions of Iraqis in Sadr City or Basra who are thrilled that the gangster militias are gone from their neighborhoods?

Didn't think so. The basic mission of the American media between now and November is to convince you, the voter, that Iraq's still a hopeless mess.

Meanwhile, they've performed yet another amazing magic trick - making Kurdistan disappear.

Remember the Kurds? Our allies in northern Iraq? When last sighted, they were living in peace and building a robust economy with regular elections, burgeoning universities and municipal services that worked.

After Israel, the most livable, decent place in the greater Middle East is Iraqi Kurdistan. Wouldn't want that news getting out.

If the Kurds would only start slaughtering their neighbors and bombing Coalition troops, they might get some attention. Unfortunately, there are no US or allied combat units in Kurdistan for Kurds to bomb. They weren't needed. And (benighted people that they are) the Kurds are pro-American - despite the virulent anti-Kurdish prejudices prevalent in our Saudi-smooching State Department.

Developments just keep getting grimmer for the MoveOn.org fan base in the media. Iraq's Sunni Arabs, who had supported al Qaeda and homegrown insurgents, now support their government and welcome US troops. And, in southern Iraq, the Iranians lost their bid for control to Iraq's government.

Bury those stories on Page 36.

Our troops deserve better. The Iraqis deserve better. You deserve better. The forces of freedom are winning.

Here in the Land of the Free, of course, freedom of the press means the freedom to boycott good news from Iraq. But the truth does have a way of coming out.

The surge worked. Incontestably. Iraqis grew disenchanted with extremism. Our military performed magnificently. More and more Iraqis have stepped up to fight for their own country. The Iraqi economy's taking off. And, for all its faults, the Iraqi legislature has accomplished far more than our own lobbyist-run Congress over the last 18 months.

When Iraq seemed destined to become a huge American embarrassment, our media couldn't get enough of it. Now that Iraq looks like a success in the making, there's a virtual news blackout.

Of course, the front pages need copy. So you can read all you want about the heroic efforts of the Chinese People's Army in the wake of the earthquake.

Tells you all you really need to know about our media: American soldiers bad, Red Chinese troops good.

Is Jane Fonda on her way to the earthquake zone yet?

How Long Before Global Warming Alarmists Admit They Were WRONG?

Don't hold your breath!

So much for 'settled science'
Lorne Gunter
National Post
May 20, 2008

You may have heard earlier this month that global warming is now likely to take break for a decade or more. There will be no more warming until 2015, perhaps later.

Climate scientist Noel Keenlyside, leading a team from Germany's Leibniz Institute of Marine Science and the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology, for the first time entered verifiable data on ocean circulation cycles into one of the U. N.'s climate supercomputers, and the machine spit out a projection that there will be no more warming for the foreseeable future.

Of course, Mr. Keenlyside-- long a defender of the man-made global warming theory -- was quick to add that after 2015 (or perhaps 2020), warming would resume with a vengeance.

Climate alarmists the world over were quick to add that they had known all along there would be periods when the Earth's climate would cool even as the overall trend was toward dangerous climate change.

Sorry, but that is just so much backfill.

There may have been the odd global-warming scientist in the past decade who allowed that warming would pause periodically in its otherwise relentless upward march, but he or she was a rarity.

If anything, the opposite is true: Almost no climate scientist who backed the alarmism ever expected warming would take anything like a 10 or 15-year hiatus.

Last year, in its oft-quoted report on global warming, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted a 0.3-degree C rise in temperature in the coming decade -- not a cooling or even just temperature stability.

In its previous report in 2001, the IPCC prominently displaced the so-called temperature "hockey stick" that purported to show temperature pretty much plateauing for the thousand years before 1900, then taking off in the 20th Century in a smooth upward line. No 10-year dips backwards were foreseen.

It is drummed into us, ad nauseum, that the IPCC represents 2,500 scientists who together embrace a "consensus" that man-made global warming is a "scientific fact;" and as recently as last year, they didn't see this cooling coming. So the alarmists can't weasel out of this by claiming they knew all along such anomalies would occur.

This is not something any alarmist predicted, and it showed up in none of the UN's computer projections until Mr. Keenlyside et al. were finally able to enter detailed data into their climate model on past ocean current behaviour.

Less well-known is that global temperatures have already been falling for a decade. All of which means, that by 2015 or 2020, when warming is expected to resume, we will have had nearly 20 years of fairly steady cooling.

Saints of the new climate religion, such as Al Gore, have stated that eight of the 10 years since 1998 are the warmest on record. Even if that were true, none has been as warm as 1998, which means the trend of the past decade has been downward, not upward.

Last year, for instance, saw a drop in the global average temperature of nearly 0.7 degrees C (the largest single-year movement up or down since global temperature averages have been calculated). Despite advanced predictions that 2007 would be the warmest year on record, made by such UN associates as Britain's Hadley Centre, a government climate research agency, 2007 was the coolest year since at least 1993.

According to the U. S. National Climatic Data Center, the average temperature of the global land surface in January 2008 was below the 20th-Century mean for the first time since 1982.

Also in January, Southern Hemisphere sea ice coverage was at its greatest summer level (January is summer in the Southern Hemisphere) in the past 30 years.

Neither the 3,000 temperature buoys that float throughout the world's oceans nor the eight NASA satellites that float above our atmosphere have recorded appreciable warming in the past six to eight years.

Even Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, reluctantly admitted to Reuters in January that there has been no warming so far in the 21st Century.

Does this prove that global warming isn't happening, that we can all go back to idling our SUVs 24/7? No. But it should introduce doubt into the claim that the science of global warming is "settled."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Senator Ted Kennedy Has Malignant Brain Tumor

Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family!

Many readers here have long disagreed, often vehemently, with the politics of Senator Edward Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts. However, all that is swept aside for now by the sad news that the last great Kennedy Lion has been stricken with a brain tumor.

L - R: American politician brothers, US attorney-general Robert Kennedy (1925 - 1968), US senator Edward Kennedy, and US president John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963) speak while seated behind a desk, circa 1962. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Kennedy family has been a staple of American politics from the 20th Century into the 21st. My own first political memory was when I was five years old and wondered why my mother was crying as she did the ironing and watched television. On TV was the funeral of President John F. Kennedy.

All American families are touched by tragedy and sadness at some point, but the Kennedy's have had more than their share.

On behalf of all Mike's America readers I wish Senator Kennedy and his family well during this difficult time.

Obama IS Appeasement

Obama's Unique Appeasement Style
By Caroline Glick
Real Clear Politics
May 20, 2008

...OBAMA'S RESPONSE to Bush's speech was an effective acknowledgement that appeasing Iran and other terror sponsors is a defining feature of his campaign and of his political persona. As far as he is concerned, an attack against appeasement is an attack against Obama.

Obama and his supporters argue that seeking to ease Iranian belligerence by conducting negotiations and offering military, technological, military and financial concessions to the likes of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who refers to Israel as pestilence, daily threatens the Jewish state with destruction, and calls for the eradication of the US while claiming to be divinely instructed by a seven-year-old imam who went missing 1100 years ago is not appeasement. Indeed, Obama claims that conducting direct face-to-face negotiations with the likes of Ahmadinejad is the right way to be "tough."
...
Obama has repeatedly stated that unlike Kennedy, if he is elected president, he will not openly threaten war while being open to private talks. Instead, Obama intends to surrender the war option while conducting direct, public negotiations with the mullahs. So from the very beginning, he wants to undermine US credibility while giving Ahmadinejad and his murderous ilk the legitimacy that Kennedy refused to give Khrushchev.

Far from exerting force to strengthen his diplomatic position, Obama has pledged to withdraw US forces from Iraq where they are fighting Iranian proxies, cut military spending and shrink the size of the US nuclear arsenal.

SINCE THE definition of appeasement is to reward others for their bad behavior, and since the US has refused for 29 years to reward the Iranians for their bad behavior by having presidential summits with Iranian leaders, Obama's pledge represents a massive act of appeasement. And since it is Iran's illicit nuclear weapons program that would bring a President Barack Obama to the table, his policy would invite nuclear blackmail by other countries by signaling to them that the US rewards nuclear proliferators.
...
IN MANY ways, Obama and his allies call to mind the influential American newspaperman H.L. Mencken. In the 1920s and early 1930s, Mencken was the most influential writer in the US. He was an anti-Christian and anti-Semitic agnostic, a supporter of Germany during World War I, and a fierce opponent of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. He also opposed American participation in World War II.

In his biography of Mencken, The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken, Terry Teachout argues that the reason Mencken did not think it was worth fighting Hitler's Germany was because Mencken simply couldn't accept the existence of evil. He could see no moral distinction between Roosevelt, who he despised, and Adolf Hitler who he considered "a boob."

There are strong echoes of Mencken's moral blindness to Hitler's evil in the contemporary Left's refusal to understand the nature of the threat posed by Iran and its terror proxies. And Bush made this clear in his speech to the Knesset when he said, "There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain away their words. It's natural, but it is deadly wrong."

Obama's supporters seek to silence these echoes by pointing to Obama's life story as Obama told it in his two autobiographies, Dreams From my Father and The Audacity of Hope. His supporters‚ argue that since his life story is unique, his decision to appease the Iranians is uniquely wise. Yet the most interesting aspect of his life story is how little is actually known about it.

As the New York Times noted in an article Sunday about Obama's career as an autobiographer, "In the introduction [of Dreams from my Father], Mr. Obama acknowledged his use of pseudonyms, composite characters, approximated dialogue and events out of chronological order."

That is, the man who is supposedly uniquely qualified to appease, adopted an attitude of indignation at Bush's condemnation of those who seek to cut deals with evil men, is also rather cavalier about facts. Justifying Obama's fast and loose treatment of the truth about his past, his editor Deborah Baker explained that Obama's attitude was more important than the facts or, in her words, "The fact is, it all had a sort of larger truth going on that you couldn't make up."

LIKE HIS life story, Obama's policies are not based on facts, but on his attitude. And his attitude, like Mencken's in the 1930s, is based on a naïve and arrogant belief that the worst thing that can happen is to have someone who talks about evil in the White House.

Peter Osnos, Obama's former publisher told the Times that Obama's meteoric rise to the pinnacle of politics is due in large part to his gift as a storyteller. In his words, "It's almost all based on these two books, two books not based on a job of prodigious research or risking one's life as a reporter in Iraq. He has written about himself. Being able to take your own life story and turn it into this incredibly lucrative franchise, it's a stunning fact."

Indeed, it is stunning. And frightening. It says that in a world in which evil men are combining and preparing for war and genocide, good men are preparing for pleasant chitchat with their foes because they have come to prefer attitude to substance. It is a world in which indignation can be summoned as readily (and perhaps more easily) for partisan political attacks as for delusional dictators‚ open preparation for genocide. And it is a world in which it is more important to discuss "healing" emotional wounds than devising policies capable of coping with an ever-more-dangerous international coalition of murderers.

Fighting the appeasement label (if the shoe fits, wear it!) Obama was all over the place on Monday insisting that Iran is nothing to worry about. "Strong countries and strong presidents talk to their adversaries" he said in one campaign appearance.

Obama has also praised President Reagan for negotiating with the Soviets. But Reagan negotiated with the idea that we get "Peace through Strength." Obama has repeatedly said he would cut defense, even Reagan's missile defense program which has recently been proven to work.

Obama: Talk softly and throw the stick away!

Sorry Obama, but peace has never been reached by unilateral disarmament. The mullahs in Iran must be laughing their asses off!

When Global Warming Hoax is Exposed: Will We Roll Back Unneeded Environmental Regulations?

Most likely, the answer is NO!

Readers here know I have a fondness for polar bears, especially cute and fuzzy polar bear cubs. I would be the first person to support action to protect polar bears, or any species, that is reasonably in danger of becoming extinct due to man's activity. But that's not what is happening with the placement of polar bears on the endangered species list. It is further proof that environmental regulation has become hopelessly politicized, totally undermining the important mission that the Endangered Species Act originally intended.

There are MORE polar bears NOW than EVER.

After reading Wordsmith's take on the issue, I called up climate scientist Roy Spencer's article at National Review: "Arctic Fairy Tale." The last sentence of which asks: "I only hope when global warming ends, and is accepted to be a largely natural phenomenon rather than manmade, that all of the regulatory mistakes we’ve made can somehow be undone."

Unfortunately,the answer to that is a BIG NO! Have you ever heard of a government program that just went away? How many taxes were eliminated after being enacted? All of the carbon credits, cap and trade, proposed international taxes (targeting the U.S.) will become enshrined even when it becomes obvious to nearly everyone but diehard envirozealots that global warming is a scam! The libs will just say they need to that money to fund their next one world socialist scheme.

As John McCain said "even if we are wrong, we will have a cleaner world." If that were the only consequence of following the zealot's prescriptions for this scam that would be fine. But meanwhile, $trillions will be wasted that could instead go to alleviate the very real problems of poverty, disease and illiteracy in the developing world. That lack of attention may mean the loss of millions of lives in Africa all for the sake of a lie.

Every day, evidence mounts that proves global warming is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind. And the victims of this fraud will be those most in need of REAL help for REAL problems!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bush Hands On Diplomacy in Middle East

Another excellent example of what personal diplomacy and leadership really means!

It's been less than four months since President Bush's last trip to the Middle East. His attendance at the World Economic Forum in Egypt this weekend afforded him another opportunity to make diplomatic progress on a host of issues, but most importantly, Iran.

With leaders of so many of the regions leaders present, the message was unmistakable and clear: Iran's theocratic government is a threat to peace and the best way forward is not to recognize ore reward it with meaningless talks it, but to isolate it. That has been the longstanding policy of the United States under both Democrat and Republican Administrations. Despite the calls of Iran's enablers in the U.S. for talks for the sake of talking, President Bush is continuing U.S. leadership whose ultimate goal is non-military regime change in Iran.

If Democrats really sought a peaceful solution to the problem of Iran they would support these efforts, not undermine them.

President George W. Bush speaks before the World Economic Forum on the Middle East Sunday, May 18, 2008, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The President told his audience, "I know these are trying times, but the future is in your hands –- and freedom and peace are within your grasp." White House photo by Chris Greenberg
President Bush Attends World Economic Forum
Sharm el Sheikh International Congress Center
Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt
White House transcript
May 18, 2008

...I know these are trying times, but the future is in your hands -- and freedom and peace are within your grasp. Just imagine what this region could look like in 60 years. The Palestinian people will have the homeland they have long dreamed of and deserve -- a democratic state that is governed by law, respects human rights, and rejects terror. Israel will be celebrating its 120 anniversary as one of the world's great democracies -- a secure and flourishing homeland for the Jewish people.

From Cairo, Riyadh, Baghdad to Beirut, people will live in free and independent societies, where a desire for peace is reinforced by ties of diplomacy and tourism and trade. Iran and Syria will be peaceful nations, where today's oppression is a distant memory and people are free to speak their minds and develop their talents. Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas will be defeated, as Muslims across the region recognize the emptiness of the terrorists' vision and the injustice of their cause.
The trip afforded President Bush the opportunity to visit Israel again, as he did in January. And it was during his speech to the Knesset (Israeli parliament) that he laid down the cornerstone of his diplomatic approach. It was this speech that generated so much defensive angst among Democrats. The old saying: "if the shoe fits, wear it" comes to mind.


President George W. Bush receives a standing ovation by members of the Knesset Thursday, May 15, 2008, in Jerusalem. Acknowledging the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence, the President told the Israeli parliament, “Earlier today, I visited Masada, an inspiring monument to courage and sacrifice. At this historic site, Israeli soldiers swear an oath: "Masada shall never fall again." Citizens of Israel: Masada shall never fall again, and America will be at your side.” White House photo by Shealah Craighead

The President was also welcomed in Saudi Arabia:


President George W. Bush and King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz walk the red carpet after the arrival Friday, May 16, 2008, of the President and Mrs. Laura Bush to Riyadh. As guests of the King, the President and Mrs. Bush will overnight at his Al Janadriyah Ranch before continuing on their Mideast Visit Saturday to Egypt. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

The meeting in Egypt offered an opportunity to apply personal diplomacy at the highest level with a host of regional leaders:

President George W. Bush is joined by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai Saturday, May 17, 2008, as they speak with members of the media following their meeting in Sharm el-Shiek, Egypt. White House photo by Chris Greenberg


President George W. Bush and the Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani shake hands following their meeting Sunday, May 18, 2008, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

President George W. Bush shakes hands with Jordan's King Abdullah II at the conclusion of their meeting Sunday, May 18, 2008, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

President George W. Bush shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Saturday, May 17, 2008, at the conclusion of their meeting with members of the media in Sharm el-Shiek, Egypt. White House photo by Chris Greenberg


President George W. Bush embraces Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak upon his arrival Saturday, May 17, 2008, to Sharm el-Sheik International Airport in Sharm el-Shiek, Egypt. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Behind closed doors, after the photos are taken, the real work of advancing an agenda of peace is ongoing in bilateral and multilateral meetings. So much for the U.S. acting unilaterally. (unless of course you are Obama, then unilateral meetings with rogue regimes and offending our allies is ok).
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