Monday, September 29, 2008

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement does its job!

The title of this post is kind of misleading. Here's the article: More than 1,100 arrested in Cal immigration sweep. My question after reading the article is, "It took you 3 weeks to round up over 1,150 people who ignored deportation orders or returned to the U.S. illegally after being deported? Really?"

We have a real possibility of entering a new great depression. It's one thing to provide taxpayer-funded services to people who entered the country illegally during fantastic economic times. That's annoying and morally wrong. Doing it when the economy is falling apart is suicidal.

Reports are that many people who came to the U.S. illegally are fleeing now that our economy's going downhill. That's fine, and best of luck to them, but it shouldn't have taken this sort of crisis to get ICE to start doing its job in California.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Barack Obama organizes Truth Squads

Now this is scary. Presented the way it is, you might not think so, but I'll present some of the implications. Here's the video:

Truth squads, huh? No problem. They'll just make sure people don't lie or misrepresent. We'd like fair, clean campaigns.

The only problem is we haven't had a clean fair campaign since George Washington won the presidency. We have had something close to "Truth Squads" before, though. President Woodrow Wilson had government paid bands of thugs who went about enforcing government newspeak to prevent thoughtcrime. For those not familiar with the novel, I'm using concepts from George Orwell's book 1984. The idea of government strictly controlling what you can say, and trying to control what you think is a frighteningly real one that few people know President Woodrow Wilson tried to implement, not just with paid thugs but also with ad campaigns that urged citizens to call the Justice Department to report friends and family who said anything about the U.S. and her allies losing World War I. It was the closest we've ever come to Fascism, and it's making a comeback. It's precisely the opposite of what was intended by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

There are other frightening issues raised by the above news story. The apparent purpose of 527 groups is to put out misleading ads to support their special causes. You'll notice that the police and prosecutors in Missouri, however, are only going to enforce newspeak against those who run such ads about Obama. They aren't bothering to stop such things against McCain. Since when is it okay for any law enforcement agency to use official powers in a partisan manner? Justice is supposed to be equal for everyone, and blind to power, prestige and politics in its execution.

Truth Squads carry with them the seeds of Fascism in part because they appear so benign. Looking at history demonstrates they're the first step to loss of freedom of expression; a deliberate gag on the First Amendment brought to you by Barack Obama. If he's doing this as a candidate, think of what he might do as the president.

A few hours after I posted, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt gave an unequivocal statement on the Truth Squads:

Gov. Matt Blunt today issued the following statement on news reports that have exposed plans by U.S. Senator Barack Obama to use Missouri law enforcement to threaten and intimidate his critics.

“St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch, St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, and Obama and the leader of his Missouri campaign Senator Claire McCaskill have attached the stench of police state tactics to the Obama-Biden campaign.

“What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.

“This abuse of the law for intimidation insults the most sacred principles and ideals of Jefferson. I can think of nothing more offensive to Jefferson’s thinking than using the power of the state to deprive Americans of their civil rights. The only conceivable purpose of Messrs. McCulloch, Obama and the others is to frighten people away from expressing themselves, to chill free and open debate, to suppress support and donations to conservative organizations targeted by this anti-civil rights, to strangle criticism of Mr. Obama, to suppress ads about his support of higher taxes, and to choke out criticism on television, radio, the Internet, blogs, e-mail and daily conversation about the election.

“Barack Obama needs to grow up. Leftist blogs and others in the press constantly say false things about me and my family. Usually, we ignore false and scurrilous accusations because the purveyors have no credibility. When necessary, we refute them. Enlisting Missouri law enforcement to intimidate people and kill free debate is reminiscent of the Sedition Acts - not a free society.”

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Economy and the 1989 Loma Prieta quake

In 1989 the Loma Prieta quake hit the San Francisco Bay Area. Two of the bridges in the area had very different outcomes.

On the left is the Bay Bridge, which failed in a single section. The bridge was repaired in about a month.

On the right is the Cypress Viaduct portion of the Nimitz (880) freeway. It was a double-deck design (just like the Bay Bridge) but faulty construction in the columns allowed the entire section to collapse, killing many in the lower deck (and none too fun for those in the upper deck).

It's a good thing the single section failed on the Bay Bridge to dissipate the stress, or else the whole bridge may have come down.

In the past several years, the banking industry has worked hard to minimize risk on loans by chopping them up and selling pieces off to each other. That way, if a single loan fails, each bank loses a little but no one bank gets hit hard.

But what if many loans fail? That's the problem now. If many loans fail, the banks that own these Mortgage-Backed Securities no longer know how much they have. Which means that if someone walks into the front door to get a loan, the bank can't know if they have the assets to cover the loan.

Which means credit can freeze. And apparently that's what's happening right now. The NY Times has a headline, Credit Enters a Lockdown:
“Loans are basically frozen due to the credit crisis,” said Vicki Sanger, who is now leaning on personal credit cards bearing double-digit interest rates to finance the building of roads and sidewalks for her residential real estate development in Fruita, Colo. “The banks just are not lending.”
This uncertainty needs to be resolved so that business can move along. That's the move behind the current (estimated) $700B "bailout." The bad guys in this are many, but before we can punish them, we need to keep the market from freezing up entirely.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Activist Ignorance

PETA today put out a hilarious press release displaying an amazing ignorance of evolution. They urged Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. to use human breast milk instead of cow's milk for their ice cream.

Why? "The fact that human adults consume huge quantities of dairy products made from milk that was meant for a baby cow just doesn't make sense," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "Everyone knows that 'the breast is best,' so Ben & Jerry's could do consumers and cows a big favor by making the switch to breast milk."

Meant for a baby cow? By whom? Does PETA support intelligent design? Cows as they exist today didn't evolve. Their ancestor is the auroch, which we bred to become the modern cow. Since then we've bred them to produce as much milk as possible. While some breeds do okay when they go feral, many get infections and develop other problems when not milked to relieve them of the excess milk we've bred them to produce in addition what their calves actually need.

A suggestion to activist groups: I know you're trying to grab attention, but more research before going to press is probably a really good idea.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yet Another School Shooting

Another gunman has opened fire at a school. The twist is that this took place in Finland, which has stricter firearms controls than the United States does. Myway news presents Finland as "an anomaly in Europe" having more guns than most nations in the region, but their restrictions are pretty heavy (presented below).

What this demonstrates is that a crazy person who wants to kill people will find a way to do so. Illegal firearms, like any illegal substance, can be obtained if someone wants them badly enough. The only way to stop mass shootings is to have more first responders on scene to neutralize the threat. That means more police or properly trained civilians with private firearms. As even in a police state you can't have an officer everywhere, the most reasonable response is properly trained civilians licensed to carry a firearm.

I would much prefer that humanity gave up its violent tendencies en masse, and we lost all need for firearms. We're not there yet. As a result, our approach to the issue must be pragmatic, not idealistic. Until we change our basic tendency toward violence, it does not matter which tools of violence we ban or restrict.

Finnish Firearms Laws (note, this is from Wikipedia, but naturally you may research Finnish firearms laws if you're interested):

The ownership and use of firearms is regulated by the Firearms Act of 1998.

Firearms can only be obtained with an acquisition license, which can be applied for at the local police for €32. A separate license is required for each individual firearm and family members can have parallel licenses to use the same firearm. According to law, the firearms must be stored in a locked space or otherwise locked, or with vital parts removed and separated. Even then the weapon or any of its separated parts must not be easily stolen. If an especially dangerous firearm or more than 5 pistols, revolvers or self-loading rifles or other-type firearms are being stored, they must be stored in a certified gun safe or in a secure space inspected and approved by the local police authority.

They may be carried only when they are transported from their place of storage to the place of use (shooting range, hunting area or such). Even then they must be unloaded and concealed or kept in carrying pouches. Aside from law enforcement agents and military personnel, only security guards with closely defined working conditions, special training and a permit are allowed to carry a loaded gun in public places. The ownership of air-rifles is not regulated but carrying or firing them in public places is not permitted. A crossbow is paralleled to an air rifle in legal matters.

To obtain a firearms license, an individual must declare a valid reason to own a gun. Acceptable reasons include hunting, sports or hobby shooting, profession related, show or promotion or exhibition, collection or museum, souvenir, and signalling. It is worth noticing that self- or home defence are not considered valid reasons. The applicant must provide evidence supporting the acquisition license application to prove that he or she is actually using firearms for the stated purpose(s). Such proof may consist of written declarations from other license holders as referees, shooting diaries or certificates from a shooting club.[2]

The applicant is also subjected to an extensive background check from police accessible databases and even citations for speeding or DUI can be grounds of not granting the license.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Britain not so close an ally?

Great Britain may not be so close an ally if the McCain/Palin ticket wins in November. Just over a week ago Brown practically endorsed Barack Obama, but his staff pawned the error off on a junior Labour Party member saying Mr. Brown probably hadn't even read the contents of the article. Yesterday Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said Palin's politics are horrendous at a Labour Party conference. This is starting to look less like an accident and more like a party line.

While it should come as no shock that a socialist government would favour our socialist candidate, it is a surprise that a foreign nation, which has traditionally remained neutral on U.S. political campaigns to preserve post-election diplomatic ties, is publicly declaring a position on this race. It's also incredibly unseemly that any foreign government would seek to alter the outcome of our election. Further, one would think that a minister within a free country would respect the ideas of others, even if she happens to disagree with them. Even if the concept of free political discourse is now scorned by the U.S. media and an unfortunately large number of her people, one would think a politician would understand the value of disagreeing without being disagreeable.

Underscoring the importance of neutrality and agreeability would be the popularity of Palin herself. She recently drew a crowd of approximately 60,000 without the benefit of a popular music concert before or after her appearance. Mr. Obama is certainly popular, but tends to make sure his large crowds are drawn by a musical event. On May 20, 2008 the massive crowd in Portland, Oregon, estimated at about 75,000 people just might have been drawn by the free concert by the very popular
Decemberists that preceeded Mr. Obama's appearance. The massively attended Berlin appearance on July 24, 2008 was preceeded by a free concert by the amazingly popular Reggae artist Patrice and rock band Reamonn. So far as I can determine, Palin had no wildly popular opening act.

Those who understand politics rather like the idea of a president who doesn't agree with congress. When our legislative and executive branches see eye to eye, we tend to get massive overspending (this holds true whether the power monopoly is handed to Democrats or Republicans). The U.S. government seems to work best when checks and balances are actually exercised.

A correction for in their article: They said, as did Charlie Gibson on ABC: "[Palin]
has previously remarked that US soldiers in Iraq were being sent on a task from God" That's entirely inaccurate. What she said was:

“Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.”

That's not stating our wars are divinely directed. That's asking people of faith to remember the military in their prayers and to ask for divine inspiration for our leaders. That's suggesting that people should pray to be sure we're doing the right thing. Palin's actual statement wasn't that of a haughty religious nutjob, but rather one of a faithful woman exhorting others to seek God's will. If you're a secular humanist, you may believe the prayer is pointless, but the intent is harmless and actually quite humble.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Communism and Baby Killing

The title of this column is very, very strong. I hesitated before using it. Mr. Obama's recent comments in Elko, Nevada changed my mind for me. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
"In Elko, Obama tried to anticipate his critics and called on the crowd of about 1,500 to sharpen their elbows, too.

"'I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face,' he said."
Fair enough, Mr. Obama. If it's time to get unpleasant, we can do that. I'm not entirely decided on my vote in November. As a registered independent voter (in California, that's "decline to state") I'm not really happy about my choices, but I know I'm not going to vote for a communist baby killer.

That sounds like an insult, but it's not. It's just factual. I have been meaning to post on this for some time, and there are other commentators who have beaten me to it. I'll add my thoughts and link some of them.

First, let's look at communism. Make no mistake, Barack Obama is a communist. He's not responsible for his supporters hanging a Che Guevara flag in his Houston Campaign office. Despite his romantic and popular image, by the way, Che Guevara was nothing more than a brutal thug using communist revolution to indulge in violence and killing. Not the best symbol for a friendly movement, but people have short memories. I digress. The fact is, though Mr. Obama is not responsible for what his supporters hang in their offices, his supporters are completely aware of what the image symbolizes and that Mr. Obama is their best chance to implement it.

As for Mr. Obama himself, there's no doubt that it is his intent to take rightful income from those who make "too much" and give it to people who will waste it instead of making more with it. His motivation isn't good policy. It's class warfare and ultimately communism.

A quotation that shocked me when it first came out was discussed in an interview with David Freddoso by conservative commentator Glenn Beck. Obama has called Freddoso's book a "hit piece" and sought to keep him off of radio stations with letter campaigns. While there are hit pieces out there, Freddoso's book is thoroughly vetted. It's not slander, and it's not a hit piece.

In the course of the interview, they discussed the quotation I remembered:
"FREDDOSO: Of course, you are referring to when he was asked by Charlie Gibson, I believe, about the capital gains tax, and he wants to raise the capital gains tax. He said he wants it to go up to maybe 28%. Right now it's 15%. When you raise the capital gains tax, historically revenues go down because people engage in fewer transactions when the marginal when the capital gains rate is high. So in fact, every time that rate has been cut, the government revenues have increased and so Charlie Gibson asked him, well, if raising this tax doesn't actually raise more money for the government, why are you going to do it. And Obama's answer was fairness. So now we have a government I mean, and this is you could say this is a great indicator of socialism. You have the government trying to make the economy more fair by hurting some people and not helping the others."
Here's a transcript of the actual exchange:
GIBSON: All right. You have, however, said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, "I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton," which was 28%. It's now 15%. That's almost a doubling, if you went to 28%.

OBAMA: Right.

GIBSON: And George Bush has taken it down to 15%.

OBAMA: Right.

GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased; the government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28%, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?

OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.
People have argued about the mathematics of raising taxes, but Mr. Obama wasn't doing so in this quotation. Even though it would hurt government revenue, Obama would raise the tax on capital gains out of "fairness." It doesn't help the government. It doesn't help the poor, since there's less money to hand them. It only hurts investors. In today's market, a lot of middle-class people invest, so this is no longer a tax that only affects the rich. Mr. Obama is willing to hurt a lot of us in the interests of class warfare, which he calls "fairness."

Supporters and opponents alike of Mr. Obama know he supports government-supported universal health care and universal education, along with a host of other programs. Implemented by government, this is known as socialism. Ultimately, with government currently buying private businesses in trouble, it's communism.

Note in this case that I'm not saying many of McCain's proposals aren't socialist, something I can't say since quite a few are. Mr. Obama is willing to take the U.S. into a fully socialist economy, however, and is happy to talk about it. The rhetoric is sufficiently strong that it really amounts to communism.

Why do I think socialism is a bad idea? Americans are innovators. As we watch socialized medicine fail in the U.K. and Canada, and note the troubles socialized economies experience, it seems nonsensical to remake the U.S. into a copy of those systems instead of coming up with something better, something that really works. Our recent economic troubles were caused by socialist government interference in the lending policies compounded by the greed of actual lenders.

I do think it's a moral obligation to help the needy, the infirm and the disabled. I simply think the government does an incredibly poor and inefficient job of it. Private charities do and always have done a better, more efficient job of helping the needy than government. Why? They know money and resources are limited, and so they use them carefully. The government shows no such restraint. After all, they can deficit spend, or simply tax you more. Charities that fail to live up to their promises must dissolve as their donors find worthier causes. The government can simply take more of your money (ultimately at gunpoint) if they believe they need more. Finally, private charities will cut off the flow of money if someone tries to take advantage of them. The government has a few safeguards, but those can be circumvented. So, the government should get out of the charity business and allow private citizens to research the best private charities and put their money there instead.

More controversial than the fact Mr. Obama is a socialist is the matter of abortion. This matter is one that I try to avoid as a Libertarian. I would much prefer that people focus on fiscal responsibility than social issues, but the history of Mr. Obama’s position on abortion is so extreme it must be addressed. Even most supporters of abortion won’t go as far as he was willing to go.

Here’s the video that has catapulted the issue into the view of most of the public. Bear in mind, it’s from a 527 group, which are not necessarily the best sources of information, but the information here appears to be accurate.

Mr. Obama did respond to this video. His response, and text back and forth are available here, at Michelle Malkin’s site. Yes, Ms. Malkin is partisan. Her post does give space to both sides on this matter, however. Mr. Obama says Ms. Jessen, featured in the above video, is lying. His ad says, “Obama’s always supported medical care to protect infants.” I noticed the very careful wording. Mr. Obama supports healthcare for all people in the U.S. regardless of age or immigration status, and whether we can afford that coverage or not. What he didn’t say is whether he supports medical care for botched abortions, who are babies, after all. If you go by his voting record in the Illinois legislature, he absolutely does not support care for such “accidents.”

In his first interview with David Freddoso (full text available here), Glenn Beck addressed this issue, using the above video as a starting point. The excerpt here is lengthy, but I’ve tried to stick to the most vital parts.

FREDDOSO: Well, this is the story of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act and it goes back to a hospital in the southwest suburbs of Chicago called Christ Hospital where they were performing on a regular basis induced labor abortions and these are late second, early third trimester abortions in which the drugs are given to the mother to induce violent labor and the baby is usually killed in the contractions and comes out. But about 15 to 20% of the time this produces a a live baby is born, I should say. And sometimes the babies will live just for a few minutes, sometimes for several hours. But this hospital was not giving any thought to medical treatment for them when they survived and could have potentially lived on and saved in incubator under whatever sort of medical technology we have to keep premature babies alive. They were simply shelving them and

GLENN: Hang on just a second. I just, I don't care how you feel about abortion. If you think abortion is a right, you know, a woman's right to choose, et cetera, et cetera, fine. I disagree with you. We're going now to a step of partial birth abortion. Now people are not for partial birth abortion. The vast majority of people. They are pro choice but they are saying you can't take the baby and have them birthed all the way except for the head and then suck the brains out while the head is still in the mother. That is a that is a step way beyond. And Republicans and Democrats agree on that. This is something further than that. This is a baby that survives an abortion and is living outside of the mother, is now just neglected and dies from neglect. Right or wrong, David?

FREDDOSO: This is what yeah, that is exactly what was happening and, in fact, that fact isn't even in dispute. What is in dispute is exactly what condition that they were being left to die in. According to the nurse, Jill Stanek whom I interviewed for the kids against Barack Obama, they were one of the places they would put these babies to die while they were struggling is the utility closet where medical waste goes. According to the hospital they were putting them into comfort rooms where they would just simply leave them to die with a blanket or something. So that was the practice. And the attorney general of Illinois told Jill Stanek, this nurse, that this was not violating the law… You can certainly leave them, there's such a thing as negligent homicide as well. But in any case, there wasn't a law protecting them and that was what they went to the Illinois legislature to do was to pass a law that would define anyone who is already born and alive as a person. And that would have made the laws of the State of Illinois apply to these premature babies.

GLENN: How did Barack Obama stop it?

FREDDOSO: Barack Obama was the only state senator to speak against this law and

GLENN: Sorry. Repeat that, please.

FREDDOSO: He was the only state senator to speak against this law on the floor of the Illinois Senate.

GLENN: Okay.

FREDDOSO: In all the times it came up, in fact, he was the only one to speak against it. And his speech that he gave is very interesting, and I've given it in full in Chapter 10 of The Case Against Barack Obama because the argument is basically this, that if we go and recognize premature babies born alive in what some people call a previable condition, although they were clearly living for a while, if we do this, then it might down the road affect the right to abortion. It might cause it might create some kind of

GLENN: Slippery slope that they always say doesn't exist.

FREDDOSO: Yes. Senator Obama voted he voted present on that bill. It was part of a strategy that he devised, that he and some Planned Parenthood lobbyists had devised that basically everyone would vote present instead of voting no. And just to you know, it came up the following year; he did it again. The bill, by the way, it passed the state senate and died in the state house committee. In 2003, though, Democrats had taken over the state senate and Obama was now the chairman of the Senate health committee. And as chairman he presided as they made the reason that Obama has ever since said he voted against this bill in committee is that it didn't contain the same language that the federal board of live infants protection act contained. Sort of redundant protection against this law ever effecting the right to abortion. What he didn't realize, didn't or was misleading people about is that, in fact, in 2003 the bill that he voted against in his committee did contain that language, was exactly the same as the bill that had gone to the U.S. Senate floor, that Barbara Boxer had stood up and said, "I support this bill, everyone should vote for this bill." Obama voted against it and that puts him on the very fringes when it comes to issues of human life at its very beginning.

GLENN: So wait a minute. He is Barbara Boxer was on the other side of this issue?

FREDDOSO: Yes, that's right. Hillary Clinton was also on the other side. The vote was 98 0 and the two guys who weren't there to vote were pro life Republicans. So basically every abortion proponent in the United States Senate is more protective of human life in its early stages than Senator Obama.

Edmund Burke is famously quoted as having said, "All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." All Mr. Obama did was nothing, though he knew full well voting “present” in this case was no different from voting “no.”

I don’t care what side of the abortion issue you’re on. Letting babies die alone when they might easily be saved, whether in a “comfort room” or in a utility closet, is negligent homicide. There are plenty of families waiting to adopt these children, and letting them die is equivalent to the very childish and selfish cry, “If I can’t have it, no one can!” In this case, however, we’re not talking about a toy, we’re talking about living human infants. That’s just sick. It’s treating babies as property rather than human life, which is something we vowed as a nation never to do again after purging ourselves of the evil of slavery.

Whether Mr. Obama really supports what amounts to infanticide, or whether he was simply trying to keep his voting record entirely unobjectionable to extreme pro-choice activists, the end result was the same. For about two years until the law was passed at the Federal level, Mr. Obama, having power to save live infants in Illinois, chose to let them die.

I can not think of a realistic scenario that would cause me to cast a vote for Barack Obama. I think that as more of his record comes out, more and more of the public will agree.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Has the world been destroyed yet?

This week, the Large Hadron Collider went online. It hasn't done any colliding yet (that's next month). Some people worry about tiny black holes being created and destroying the Earth.

Now there's a website to help you know if the Earth has been destroyed yet.

Fascinating Futility

In the past, I've discussed how gun banning doesn't seem to work, yet despite no evidence that it will help, those who want stricter "gun control" continue to press for it. It doesn't prevent criminal violence, it doesn't make society safer--it just makes them feel better.

As an amazing example of such thought, here's a story about a couple of disturbed teens in Canada. They engaged in something I can't imagine doing to a living creature: they microwaved a cat to death. That's horrible, and some important and valid punishments were applied, including a ban on pets in their home.

Here's the example of idealists imposing ideas that don't work, just because they like them.

According to court ordered psychological assessments, video games were not found to have directly encouraged the boys' actions. But barring their access to such games was nonetheless a recommendation put forward in the assessments.

It was also suggested that the teens' cellphone access be limited to work and calls to family. But youth court Judge Shauna Miller said that condition would have served no purpose.

Um, what? Video games weren't involved, directly or by psychological assessment, yet they're banned from playing them. Someone just thought it contributes to violence in some unrelated fashion, so that had to be stopped. Limiting cell phone calls? They didn't call each other to arrange this heinous act, and they didn't use cell phone signals to harm the animal, they used a microwave. Shouldn't they be banned from having a microwave in the house instead?

When idealism overrides pragmatism, society receives no benefit.

Stiffening our resolve: Remembering 9/11/2001

I originally wrote the bulk of this on September 11th, 2006. Things have changed in the Middle East, but the media's message hasn't. This was demonstrated when during the Republican convention 9/11 memorial footage was shown and Keith Olberman declared it to be unnecessary, graphic, and insensitive.

If you paid attention to commentators (I won't call him a journalist) like that, you’d think today was only about sorrow, that events of 9/11/2001 made us a nation of crying sufferers, incapable of anything else. It’s not true. It’s just what the major media would like.

We remember Pearl Harbor as the event that brought us into WWII. We have a day of remembrance on December the 7th, recalling and honoring our losses in 1941. During WWII, while we were still fighting, they didn’t do much special on that day besides rededicate themselves to eradicating the scum that initiated a cowardly sneak attack on a sleeping harbor. They didn’t prosecute our boys fighting back then–if you shot an enemy in Germany or the Pacific Islands heading toward Japan, you were a hero, not a criminal. We used flamethrowers to clear the islands of the Pacific, rather than having our men go into caves full of the enemy to be slaughtered. It was brutal, but it was us or them. We didn’t intend for them to win.

The media doesn’t want us to resurrect that fighting spirit, because if we do we might actually be successful in the Middle East. Only strength is respected in that part of the world. We have that strength, inherited from our parents and grandparents, but haven’t used it, because of our media, which the terrorists are playing like a violin.

The media are happy to go along with the enemy. They’ll do anything to make George Bush look bad. They want to make sure a Republican doesn’t get elected next time around. That’s their prerogative, since they own the equipment and the air time is theirs to use as they see fit. What’s not fine is this seemingly concerted effort to turn each September 11th into a sobfest, desperately trying to make sure we treat this horrific attack as an isolated incident, to be mourned tearfully as tragic. It’s not just tragic. It should be fortifying and angering and help us have the resolve to take our enemies out.

The sheer magnitude of the 9/11/2001 attack makes it stand as monolithically above the others as the Trade Towers used to stand above other buildings in the New York skyline, yet it was still just one of many. The others were not trivial. To these same enemies we can attribute many atrocities. Please note that during the 1980’s, Hezbollah is believed to have claimed responsibility for some acts under the name of “Islamic Jihad.” If the details aren’t of interest, skip the list; the size alone will make the point.
November 4, 1979: The U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran was taken by radicals and 66 diplomats held hostage until January 20, 1981. Brazen, but not yet as bold as they would become.April 18, 1983: Islamic Jihad detonated a suicide truck bomb at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. 63 people were killed and 120 injured.October 23, 1983: Islamic Jihad detonated a suicide truck bombs in both French and American military compounds in Beirut, Lebanon. 241 Americans were killed, and 58 French.December 12, 1983: Iraqi Shia terrorists tried to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, but were stopped by guards. They detonated their explosives in the courtyard. 5 people were killed.March 16, 1984: William Buckley, the CIA station chief was kidnapped by Islamic Jihad, with Iranian backing. Buckley was reportedly tortured, then killed by his captors.

September 20, 1984: Another suicide bombing on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon killed 23 and injured 21.

March 16, 1985: Islamic radicals, backed by Iran, begin the tradition of kidnapping journalists with Terry Anderson of the U.S. in Beirut, Lebanon. He was fortunate, as this was before they began cutting journalists’ heads off. He was released later, unharmed.

June 9, 1985: Thomas Sutherland was kidnapped from the American University in Beirut. He was held for 6 years, then released.

June 14, 1985: Hezbollah hijacked a Trans World Airlines flight and murdered a U.S. Navy diver on board. The other passengers were released 17 days later.

September 12, 1985: Joseph Cicippio, also at the American University in Beirut, was kidnapped by Iranian backed Islamic terrorists. Like Sutherland, he was released 6 years later.

October 7, 1985: Palestinian Liberation Front terrorists hijacked the Achille Lauro, an Italian cruise liner. The terrorists prove their bravery and dedication to Islam by shooting the disabled and wheelchair-bound 69 year old Leon Klinghoffer and tossed his body overboard.

October 21, 1985: Edward Tracy, an American Business man, was kidnapped in Lebanon by Islamic terrorists and held for almost 5 years.

March 30, 1986: Palestinian terrorists blew up TWA Flight 840, killing 4 Americans.

April 5, 1986: Libyans detonated a bomb in a West Berlin nightclub, killing 2 Americans and wounding 79 others.

January 24, 1987: Jesse Turner and Alann Steen, Americans, were kidnapped in Beirut and held for almost 5 years.

February 17, 1988: While serving with the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization in southern Lebanon, U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Higgins was kidnapped and killed by Hezbollah.

April 14, 1988: The Organization of Jihad Brigades blew up a car bomb outside a USO Club in Naples, Italy. One U.S. Sailor was killed.

August 8, 1988: A bomb was detonated aboard a C-130 aircraft, killing the Pakistani President and U.S. ambassador. Islamic terrorists were the likely bombers.

December 21, 1988: Pam Am Flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland. No one claimed responsibility, but it was likely in retaliation for strikes against Libya ordered by President Reagan in response to the 1986 Berlin nightclub bombing. The best evidence indicated the bombers were Libyan.

February 26, 1993: Islamic terrorists bombed the World Trade Center for the first time. The intent was to cause one tower to fall into the other, destroying both. Despite the massive explosion, the Towers stood firm.

April 14, 1993: The Iraqi intelligence service attempt to assassinate former president George Bush in Kuwait.

August 21, 1995: Hamas detonated a bomb in Jerusalem, killing 6 people and injuring over 100, including several Americans.

November 13, 1995: Terrorists bombed a National Guard training center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killing 7.

June 25, 1996: Islamic radical terrorists blew up a truck bomb in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia near U.S. Air Force housing, killing 19 Americans and injuring 385.

February 23, 1997: A Palestinian gunman shot tourists on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. He killed a Danish visitor and wounded several others while, per a note in his pocket, “punishing the enemies of Palestine.”

August 7, 1998: Islamic Terrorists linked to Osama Bin Laden attack U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar-es-Salem, Tanzania. Bombs did massive damage to both embassies.

December 28, 1998: Yemeni militants kidnapped a group of Western tourists.

August 12, 2000: The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan kidnapped 4 Americans, who escaped later that day.

October 12, 2000: The U.S.S. Cole sustained heavy damage in Yemen when a small dinghy was detonated near the hull by supporters of Osama Bin Laden. 17 Americans died and 39 were wounded.

December 30, 2000: The Moro Islamic Liberation Front detonated a bomb in a plaza next to the U.S. Embassy in Manila in the Philippines, injuring 9 people.

September 11, 2001: 4 hijacked aircraft were used by Osama Bin Laden’s supporters to kill over 3,000 Americans, two crashed into the tallest buildings of the World Trade Center (the Twin Towers), one crashed into the Pentagon, and one suspected to be aimed for the White House crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. The one headed for the White House seems to have been brought down by passengers who decided they wouldn’t permit their aircraft to be used as a weapon.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, and there have certainly been terrorist attacks since 9/11/2001, including the October 12, 2002 car bombing of a Bali nightclub by Jemaah Islamiyah, an Islamic Indonesian terrorist group dedicated to forming an Islamic State in Indonesia. People have been kidnapped, tortured and beheaded. September 11, 2001 was one horrible and bloody date among many.

These Islamic Radicals, Fundamentalists, Terrorists, or whatever else we label them are implacable. Today, on the 5th anniversary of the 2001 attack against he United States, Ayman al-Zawahri, one of Bin Laden’s top deputies, said: “We have repeatedly warned you and offered a truce with you,” al-Zawahri said, addressing Americans. “Now we have all the legal and rational justification to continue to fight you until your power is destroyed or you give in and surrender.” Yes, they’ve made their terms clear in the past. Convert to radical Islam (moderate Muslims aren’t “Muslim enough” for them), or face extermination. Most consider these poor terms for a truce.

Our enemies are still there, still working hard to kill us. “United we Stand,” everyone proclaimed after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Then why are we fighting now, the liberals saying our actions as a country in trying to deny our enemies the power to hit us again weren’t justified, and that our continuing efforts aren’t justified? Do we not remember Palestinians handing out candy and celebrating our losses 7 years ago?

We can’t slump sobbing on our couches watching memorial presentations on 9/11/2001. We have to remind our elected representatives we expect results. As long as we have military in the Middle East, it’s time to turn the news cameras off, stop prosecuting our men and women for doing their jobs based on Al Jezeera reports and tell our military, “Do whatever you have to to make them stop.” When we take the gloves off, we as Americans, united in our pain and anger, but more importantly, in our sincere resolve to protect our children’s futures, can absolutely get this job done and end the threat of fundamentalist Islamic terrorists.


In 2006, the day after I posted this at another blog, Islamic militants, likely Hezbollah, helped prove my point. They attacked the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria. They were using automatic rifles and hand grenades and had a van packed with explosives. They didn’t make it into the compound and were shot by Syrian anti-terrorism forces. Witnesses reported that the terrorists tried to throw grenades into the U.S. Embassy while shouting “Allah akbar!” or “God is Great.” This is the chant used as background for Al-Qaeda’s release of 9/11/2001 memoirs yesterday, and the chant normally used while cutting off innocent kidnap victims’ heads.

I’m not a prophet, but somehow I can’t think that these acts glorify anyone’s god in any degree. They believe it, though, again demonstrating this is an ongoing war against a persistent enemy, not an isolated incident 5 years in our past. That attack was one more demonstration that Islamic Fundamentalists won’t be reasoned with and won’t be understood. They must be killed, before they kill us.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin for the Win

It's hard to escape the truth: Palin is much more compelling than McCain. With about the same amount of high office experience as Obama, but in an executive capacity, there's no reason this woman couldn't have been the Republican party nominee for the presidency. The fact she isn't is a huge mistake. McCain's speech tonight was a solid let down after Palin's excellent oratory.

Still, Palin may do the job. I'm not Republican, and I wasn't going to vote for McCain. With Palin on the ticket, I just might.

If I were voting purely on personality, I'd be voting for Obama. I like how he's shrugged off innocent comments rather than making political hay with them. I like how he was prompt to declare Palin's family off limits. That was classy. He strikes me as a pleasant person.

Unfortunately, Obama's also a solid socialist, and I simply can't support that. It hasn't worked in Canada or Western Europe. It didn't work in the U.S.S.R. There's no evidence the U.S. can follow the same failed patterns and somehow make them work.