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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Grotesqueries of Modern Secular Liberalism-Our Own Culture of Death

Do you remember Dr. Peter Singer of Princeton University? If you don't, let me take a moment to refresh your memory. He is the bio-ethics professor from Australia who advocates, among other things, infanticide and equal rights for animals and humans. In his own words from 1998: "'Parents may with good reason regret that a disabled child was ever born,' he explains. In these cases he states that 'the effect that the death of a child will have on its parents can be a reason for, rather than against, killing it.'" "Professor Singer, however, does not discriminate against the disabled alone. 'Beings who cannot see themselves as entities with a future cannot have any preferences about their own future existence,' theorizes Singer. Therefore, his argument follows, because even a healthy infant cannot reason its own self-existence, the right to kill it is justified. " It gets worse: "Singer goes on to speculate that those who continue to eat animal flesh produced by farmers, are no better than white, Southern slave owners. A major reason why "speciesism" is a great concern for the professor is that "Sometimes animals may suffer more because of their more limited understanding." "Singer's orthodoxy of relativism knows no bounds. 'No objective assessment,' reveals the incoming Princeton professor, 'can support the view that it is always worse to kill members of our species who are not persons than members of other species who are.' This idea is based on the premise that "some non-human animals are persons" and some humans are not persons." He also has no problem with necrophilia or conceiving and giving birth to children in order to harvest their body parts. Why do I bring this up? Fast-forward to the Netherlands yesterday where it was learned that doctors at an Amsterdam hospital had conducted "mercy killings" of newborns. The Health Ministry is being urged to create an independent board to review euthanasia cases for terminally ill people "with no free will" including children. This is all very grotesque but all very expected when we exchange the sanctity of life for the quality of life as our standard. The idea that there should be no suffering or hardship, and therefore all efforts to remove it are acceptable, is an inevitable byproduct of secular humanism. An existence without suffering or strife is an impoverished one. There can be redemption through suffering and, in fact, it may be necessary.

Final Score: Reporters 42 Demonstrators 39

If ESPN was reporting this story it might sound something like this: The score at the end of the first half of the 2004 Canadian Bush-Bash Open was a shocking three person advantage for the journalists sent to cover the "massive" demonstration. "I think the demonstrators came out a bit flat" said an unidentified CBC political commentator. However, the second half was not much better even though the demonstrators went to their bread and butter, Students Against Bush ("SAB"), to try to regain the momentum. Unfortunately, even a gallant effort by SAB was unable to increase the turnout with the demonstrators tallying nary an additional person in the evening rush hour portion of the competition. Nevertheless, the demonstrators vowed to mount a comeback in the following days of protest. "We're not quitters and we'll keep at this until we are thoroughly embarrassed" said one.

I'm Glad I'm Not In Elementary School Anymore...But I Fear For My Daughter

Freedom of religion has slowly, but inexorably, become freedom from religion. The framers of our Constitution sought to prevent against the imposition of a state-sanctioned religion, like the Church of England, and to allow for the "free exercise" of all religious beliefs. Not to squeeze from the public square every drop of religious reference. Fortunately, a school district in New Jersey received a dose of "common sense" as reported in this Star-Ledger article. The unfortunate thing is that it came only after consultations with lawyers and other officials. Call it ACLU-phobia.

Shoot Me Now And Put Me Out Of My Intellectual Misery

Like bad news, good news, deaths, catastrophes, consecutive World Series titles and pretty much anything else if you put your mind to it, good topics come in threes. As I perused my local paper this morning (OC Register) I came across two letters to the editor responding to the George Will column I posted about recently. I excerpt because I cannot link: 1. "...people who acquire a good education naturally learn critical thinking, and critical thinkers cannot be strong conservatives..." 2. " would be very difficult to find conservative Republicans interested in the humanities or social sciences. These are fields of study that enrich the spirit and not the wallet..." Bernard Moon's Boston Globe piece today touches on the same subject matter as does, indirectly, David Horowitz's response to Al Franken's charge of racism. It is easy to tell when your debate opponent knows he is out of substantive ammo. The invective and ad hominem labels come out. I remember a line from 'Midnight Express" about how the machine doesn't know it's a bad machine, but those who make the machines do (trust me, there is a connection however tenuous). Why listen to what a racist, homophobe, wife-beating Yankee fan has to say. Nothing of worth can crawl out of that intellectual cesspool...Next!!!

Monday, November 29, 2004

HR 10: If You Don't Know What It Is You May Be Gambling With Your Life-or-Why I Disagree With My President

HR 10 is the House version of the bill introduced to implement the 9/11 Commission's recommendations. It contains many of the provisions of the 9/11 Commission's homeland security recommendations. Remarkably, the Senate version allows illegal aliens to obtain drivers licenses contrary to the House bill. Joe Lieberman is out front on the Senate version, to my surprise since I have always viewed him as relatively strong and sensible on national defense. To my chagrin, it seems the President has aligned himself with most Democrats and a number of Republicans by not insisting this provision be part of the final bill. Drivers licenses are our de facto national ID cards (unless and until something is done with Social Security cards...but more on that later). Think about what we require them for: To board an airplane, to enter the United States (at least from Mexico), to obtain a permit to purchase and transport explosives over state lines!! Indeed, several of the 9/11 terrorists were in the country illegally but had valid drivers licenses. Granted, this provision alone will not make us safe, but why on earth would we want to happily hand out the equivalent of American ID cards to people who should not even be in this country? In California, Gov. Arnold has refused to sign state legislation that would allow illegals to obtain drivers licenses unless there is some sort of clearly visible difference between a license issued to a citizen and one issued to a non-citizen. Naturally, his position is labeled as bigoted and racist, but what else would you expect in a state where most local law enforcement officials are prohibited from inquiring into an arrestees citizenship status or, if known, sharing that with the INS (note: that agency has a new name and acronym now, but it escapes me). The other concern I have over this is purely political. I read recently where Hillary has been making a bit of noise on the logical side of this. I'm no Karl Rove, but it seems to me that if the next Democrat to run for President took a strong position on homeland security by, for example, offering up a principled reason to be against drivers licenses for illegals, that would certainly get the attention of the significant percentage of voters who considered security and the war on terror as the most important issues facing this country, and voted against Kerry because of that. For more analysis, please read Donald Collins in the Washington Dispatch.

Movie Review

The lovely Mrs. RTH and I saw "Sideways" last night and it was well worth the almost ten dollars per ticket it costs now days to see a flick. No violence, no special effects, no graphic sex (except for a very brief, and funny, scene) and no gratuitous foul language (I don't believe the word "motherf#####" or any derivative thereof was used even once). Just a funny story, good dialogue and great acting...the kind of stuff you notice when you are not being distracted from no story, sophomoric dialogue and abysmal acting by nuclear explosions and well-endowed women inter-galactic killers. Paul Giamatti convincingly plays a likeable loser out for a week in the wine country with his soon-to-be-married likeable lout best friend played by Thomas Hayden Church (remember "Wings"?). If you like wine and wine-tasting, you will enjoy the backstory and maybe even recognize some of the wineries along the way, but Giamatti's understated performance is the gem.

A Blog Worth Visiting

Take a moment and visit IsraelPundit at your next opportunity.

Culture of Death

Mural of suicide bomber attack at Al-Najah University in Nablus (West Bank) Posted by Hello Thoughtful Matt posted the following comment to my earlier post concerning the cultural divide we face in the Middle East: "When mothers...are proud of their sons' decision to enter martyrdom, the depth of the problem in the Middle East becomes obvious. It is not just political, but cultural as well."Ric, this is exactly why I opposed the Iraq war. You can't just get rid of a few "bad guys" and then expect Arabs to dance in the streets as they magically start up a democracy. As you point out...THEY'RE A DIFFERENT CULTURE. They're values are different, and as a result they express them differently. You write, "the depth of the problem ...becomes obvious", and I agree with you. I just wish it had become "obvious" to conservatives a lot sooner. It's sad, because Fox News had everyone convinced that protesters were weirdos with no real point of view. The truth was that most of us were just asking basic questions like: don't most Arabs want theocracy more than democracy? Bush's answers to these sorts of questions always sounded hollow and over-simplified to me. "Um...freedom is good." Works on bumper stickers. Fails as a war plan.Thanks." Although I agree that the "culture" may hold certain values in a different hierarchical order than the West, what I am specifically focusing upon is what others have termed the "culture of death" and not whether, for example, how important higher education may be to a given society at a given time. If you study history you can't help but note that the attitudes towards the value and sanctity of life in the Islamic community (all Arabs may be Muslim, but not all Muslims are Arab), are not much different than they were at the time of Muhammed. The life of the "infidel" is not nearly worth that of a "believer" and death in the cause of destroying the infidel remains a pathway to salvation. This is not an issue of freedom versus theocracy. It is the byproduct of a theocracy without any counterbalance of some it secular or Judeo-Christian.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Another Tidbit

Please read George Will's excellent piece regarding the overwhelming liberal bent on our college campuses these days. It has been said time and time again that the only "diversity" that is not cared about by university administrators is diversity of thought. Those in charge are intellectually bankrupt, and quite frankly insulting and condescending, if they truly believe that a person's opinions and positions on moral or political issues are dictated by ethnicity, gender, race, etc.

Study Finds Link between Spelling Prowess and Party Affiliation

If there was a spelling requirement the Dems would never even come close... Posted by Hello This is a true story. This past Saturday morning I was watching my daughter play soccer at a tournament in Huntington Beach, CA. Wonderful city...I lived there for about six years awhile back. It was a beautiful fall, southern California day and I felt fortunate to be able to sit out in the sun for a few hours, relax and enjoy the game. If you've been following my posts recently, you will have learned that I drive a gas-guzzling SUV and affixed to the rear window is a "Bush Won...Get Over It" sticker. On return to my vehicle I found the above note tucked neatly under the driver side wiper...I guess I should count my least it wasn't scratched into my paint.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Tidbits Here and There...

The long holiday weekend is past the half way point. I'm picking up a few interesting tidbits here and there but soccer tournaments are taking up most of my time. Nevertheless, here's a story you will only hear about if you go off the beaten path to sites like MEMRI. When the mothers of the brain-addled young men who strap explosives to their chests and go hunting for innocent civilians to massacre are proud of their sons' decision to enter martyrdom, the depth of the problem in the Middle East becomes obvious. It is not just political, but cultural as well.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Culture Watch-Smoking Ban

This is a pet peeve of mine that I intend to post on in greater detail later. In my neck of the woods, Laguna Hills, CA has instituted a smoking ban in that city's parks. The linked article does not have some of the following details that I obtained from a local paper but I know them to be accurate. The city had an existing ban on smoking in outdoor dining areas including coffee shops and bars. This was an effort to "fine-tune" that ban and it passed 3-2 in the city council. Now I used to be a smoker and I can understand the problems of smoking in enclosed environments. Not necessarily from concerns over second-hand smoke, but just basic politeness to others. However, I fail to see what the purpose of banning smoking in the great outdoors is supposed to accomplish either from a health standpoint or from the standpoint of civility.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Putting "Thanks" in Thanksgiving

Here is a heartwarming story for all you "BASS masters" out there about BASS founder Ray Scott visiting the troops in Iraq over Thanksgiving. Here are a few facts (and myths) re Thanksgiving: Myth: the Pilgrims left from England. Fact: they actually left from Holland after escaping persecution by King James. Myth: the Pilgrims first landed at Plymouth Rock. Fact: they actually may have made landfall at Cape Cod and then proceeded from there to Plymouth Rock. Fact: it took 66 days to make the journey across the Atlantic. Fact: one child was born during the voyage. Fact: the Mayflower was slightly larger than Columbus' Santa Maria (his largest) but carried almost 100 more people. Myth: the harvest feast ("Thanksgiving") was held the fourth Thursday of November. Fact: the three day feast took place sometime between September 21 and November 11. Fact: the Pilgrims landed in November of 1620 and by the following spring 46 of the 102 that had survived the voyage had died. Fact: there was no account of turkey being served!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Life Imitates Satire

I was talking to another radical right wing buddy of mine about the blatant foolishness, stupidity and, dare say, un-Americanism of the left when I had a thought. How about we collaborate on a short satire piece to make our point, you know, reductio ad absurdum...something like you might find in The Onion, but certainly not as clever. We came to the idea to have, oh...I don't know, a school administrator of some sort ban the reading of, oh...I don't know, the Declaration of Independence because it, oh, I don't know...contained references to "God" or the equally offensive term "Creator." Nah, too silly. Satire must be born of truth to be effective and no rationale, clear thinking person would believe that something as outlandish as that could happen in an American public school...or... could it? What's next? Only Monopoly money in the cafeteria?

Our Troops At It Again

Here is a photo I pirated from Mr Beamish showing our soldiers again abusing the Iraqis (this time children, no less!). Happy Thanksgiving! Posted by Hello

Interesting Polling Data

The primacy of "moral values" in the exit polling data had always sounded somewhat discordant to me. It wasn't anything scientific, I'll grant you, but having paid attention to the run-up to November 2d, my gut told me the issues of security and safety were paramount in voters minds. When "moral values" voters became a post-election Democrat talking point, and object of subtle and not so subtle scorn, it only made me question this data more. Well, it appears that the final round of Mason-Dixon polling in battleground states confirms what I (and of course many others) had thought. Today's RealClearPolitics commentary lays it out showing that concerns about terrorism and security far outweighed the moral/family values issue.

Culture Watch

Here are a couple of columns of interest (nod to NRO). The first is about the flight attendant/blogger who lost her job and the second about a politically correct Thanksgiving. Both true, both sadly funny. Plus a great and truly funny column by Delroy Murdock bullet-pointing some of the best of the "unhinged" liberal Dems.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I'm Glad I'm Not In College Anymore...But I Fear For My Daughter

Ever since reading Alan Bloom's "Closing of the American Mind" and Thomas Sowell's "Inside American Education" I have kept an eye on the ridiculousness that passes for higher education on our college campuses. I have also experienced it firsthand...although that was sometime ago, I must admit. The stories are manifold, from the theft and destruction of conservative newspapers without reprisal to the honoring of such as Angela Davis to the one-sidedness of the political discourse. Here is a must read from the NY Daily News about what goes on these days at Columbia University...and to think parents borrow money to send their kids to be educated there.

History of Israel and "Palestine": Part 4

From 1948 thru 1967 Egypt, Syria and Jordan ruled Gaza, the Golan Heights and the West Bank, respectively. There was no effort or clamor for an independent Palestinian Arab state to be established in any of those areas during that time even though Gaza, the Golan Heights and the West Bank were being "occupied." Through the middle part of 1967 the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian armies massed on the borders of Israel. Specifically, the Jordanian army was staged in the West Bank while the Syrians staged in the Golan Heights in the north. Israel, however, launched a pre-emptive (bad word, these days) strike against the Egyptian air force destroying most of it while the planes were still on the ground. This fact was unknown to the Jordanians and the Syrians who launched their respective attacks expecting air cover that would never come. Six days later Israel had defeated all three of these armies and taken control of the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the entire Sinai desert. Later, Israel and Egypt would reach an agreement over the Sinai but it is often forgotten that the only reason Israel came to "occupy" the West Bank and the Gaza strip is because it defeated the previous "occupiers" of those lands who were prepared to invade and destroy Israel. Nevertheless, at this point Israel was considered an occupying force despite the fact that neither Egypt, Syria nor Jordan were ever labeled as such when they controlled those lands. be continued...

Another Example of Liberal Lack of Integrity

I have been engaged in a give and take with a fever-swamp devotee who goes by Ms Liberty. This all started when I stumbled across her post regarding Dr. W. David Hager and repeating the urban legend that, among other things, he believes in healing through prayer, etc. No big deal except the same falsity was being presented as fact, namely, that Dr. Hager was/is/will be the Chair of the FDA Reproductive Health and Drug Advisory Committee. That is not the case inasmuch as the current Chair, a Dr. Guidice, sits until 6/30/06. Now to my point. Ms Liberty, like all good fever-swampers, is only interested in the end, not the means. Thus, any lie or demogogic exaggeration will do if it advances the cause, because the cause of creating anti-Bush sentiment is just. Her support for her assertion of the imminent elevation of Dr. Hager (the Horrible?) to the chair position was this. An anonymous letter from someone in Valencia, PA found in the "Letters to Leaders" section of What is happening here happens every day in the swamp and is sometimes referred to as "BDS" (Bush Derangement Syndrome).

Dan Rather to Retire...Was He The Last to Know?

Dan Rather announced he will step down as anchor of CBS Evening News next March. I don't believe this comes as a shock to anyone...except perhaps Mr. Rather himself. I would not be terribly surprised if this announcement was timed in light of the "imminent" release of the investigation into the National Guard story, which will not reflect well on Rather.

History of Israel and "Palestine" - reading reference

I haven't had a chance to get to the next "installment" but, as I noted in my last post, I was revisiting my Dennis Prager archives. I've linked a provocative article from earlier this year addressing the Arab/Israeli conflict that is worth reading.

Not Just a Nerve, But Hopefully a Chord As Well

The traffic so far today has been significant (relatively speaking, of course) and predominantly to the most recent posts re "narcissism" and "hitting a nerve." That is interesting and says to me that the issue of our self-absorption and lack of perspective does indeed resonate with many. I re-discovered an old article by Dennis Prager that deals with this question from the standpoint of the secular vs. religious/ left vs. right divide which is instructive on many levels.

Must Have Hit a Nerve

Take the time to read the comments to my most recent posts by Ms Liberty...and I'll do her the favor of linking to her site if you want to get a full flavor of her "analysis." Unfortunately, this is typical of the fever-swamp crowd...even if you have a salient point, when it's wrapped in invective few will bother to open the package. If you want to be able to persuade, first you must not alienate...and screaming foul language in print at those with whom you disagree is probably not the best way to sell your point of view.

The Culture of Narcissism

Periodically in life there is a confluence of events that serves to place an issue in sharp focus. Often those events are at first blush quite disparate from each other. Case in point...the recent Detroit Pistons/Indy Pacers melee, Michael Newdow's latest venture (remember him? the lawyer-doctor who pushed the "under God" ban from the Pledge), NFL football end zone celebrations and major league baseball inside pitches. Having been a rabid sports fan for some time now...I remember Joe Willie's "guarantee" of victory before Super Bowl III as my first true sports-fan moment...I have observed first hand the degeneration of the ethic of sportsmanship and class. The "sack dances" in the NFL begot the end zone dances that have become de rigeur these days with each knucklehead trying to outdo the prior. The rise of trash-talking in the NBA now elevated to an art-form (yes I know there has always been some, but nothing like it is now). The glares and stares anytime a batter is pitched inside. What do all these have in common with each other and Michael Newdow? They all reflect the increasing to critical levels of the contaminant of narcissism in our society. The "look at me, look at me!" self-absorption of the chronologically adult but emotionally stunted for whom it isn't enough to simply go about their business. The cult of self-esteem gone awry when everything is a personal affront that must be confronted lest "manhood" be impugned. The inability to simply prevail over an opponent without having to punctuate the point in the event the whole world may not have noticed. What does this have to do with Michael Newdow? Think about it. His first effort at 15 minutes of fame was certainly manipulated inasmuch as he did not have custody over his daughter consequently lacking standing to pursue the issue (as was ultimately found by the U.S. Supreme Court) and, more importantly, she was not offended by the words in the Pledge. The important thing is that he was supposedly offended. Period. End of story. Who cares if not many share your view. The important thing is to shove yourself down everyone's collective throat..."look at me, look at have no choice but to pay attention to me."

Monday, November 22, 2004

A Glimmer of Hope In Old Europe

We all know the European penchant for appeasement at any cost, from Neville Chamberlain through to Jacques Chirac. However, there are some voices in "Old Europe" that sensibly speak out against this self-destructive policy. Are they loud enough to be heard?

Al Qaeda Thwarted in Britain

I had posted earlier that Al Qaeda would like nothing more than revisit 9/11 upon Britain. It appears that an attempt to do just that was foiled! Read this report from the Chicago Tribune re a house in Fallujah where hostages were tortured and likely killed: "There was a steel bar bolted into the bathroom wall. A chain dangled from it. " "In a dim room at the back of the building's courtyard, a cage was tucked into a corner, cobbled together from rusted bits of wire, chicken coops, broken crates and twist ties. It was tall enough for a person to stand in. Beside it, investigators found a discarded IV bag on the stone floor, beside two rotting grass mattresses. Marine Lt. John Flanagan, an Arabic linguist, said a fluorescent light was found in the cage. " "Thick nails protruded from the wall. A dirty black mask with holes cut for the eyes and mouth was on the floor beneath the stairs Sunday." Please take the time to read it all.

Any Chance We Might Hear About Geneva Convention Violations Here?

Here is a report about insurgents in Iraq firing upon Marines, and inflicting casualties, after raising a white flag. How much you wanna bet we won't see anything like the coverage and hand-wringing given the Sites video from the MSM or any commentary from the Arab media even remotely criticising this apparently widespread practice?

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Double Standard? What Else is New

Jane Novak at Arab News hits the nail on the head regarding the painfully obvious double standard at play in the Middle East.

Interactive Reference Map for History of Israel and "Palestine"

I have linked here an interactive map which shows Israel's borders from the 1947 U.N. partition plan through the 1993 Oslo accords. Please take a moment to play around with it. I think it is most informative.

Racism is Alive and Well...Guess Where

Here is a topic that, as a military buddy of mine would say, "torques my skivvies." I am particularly attuned to the charges against African-Americans of "sell-out" or "Uncle Tom"-ism or deferring to "the Man." These charges are made by African-Americans against their "own" and by liberal, self-hating whites (my gut feel, not based upon any empirical study). Only because these days your opinions are very often analyzed through the prism (which tends to distort, by the way) of your perceived experiences, I will offer my bona fides. Yes, I was born genetically afflicted with the curse of narrow-mindedness...i.e. I am "white" and therefore not considered a "minority" in this country, unless and until of course Italian-Americans are granted that status. However, my youngest daughter is bi-racial, being one-half African-American, and I am not stupid or pollyanish enough to believe that there is no bigotry left in this world. When I see, hear or smell it, I unambiguously make the call. In any event, another left wingnut has made that charge naming Colin Powell and Condi Rice as the betrayers. The skivvy-torqueing part is that the criticisms could be leveled without the ad hominem attacks. If you don't agree with the policies of the Bush administration, that's your right. But don't accuse its African-American cabinet members of being "Aunt Jemimas" or being "subservient" merely because they may agree with the President and his policies. The obvious implication is that "real" African-Americans could not possibly hold those views if left to their own devices. What demeaning claptrap.

Two More Insightful Analyses of the Fallujah Incident...and No More, I Promise

I did not intend to continue with this topic since I believe the point has been made, but if you desire to flagellate the mortally wounded equine (sorry about that, I was reading postings by a college professor) a bit longer, read Mac Owens and "Jack Dunphy" today.

Friday, November 19, 2004

History of Israel and "Palestine": Part 3

After the 1948-49 war the Jewish state of Israel was created. Now, the areas west of the Jordan river which were to become a Palestinian state (separate from the area east of the Jordan river known as "Trans-Jordan") were taken over by Egypt and Trans-Jordan. The former took over the Gaza Strip while the latter took over what is called the West Bank (...of the Jordan river). Within a year, Trans-Jordan officially took sovereignty over the West Bank and renamed Trans-Jordan and the West Bank together "Jordan." At the same time, it granted Jordanian citizenship to all the Arabs who had been living in the West Bank. Geographically, the area that was now Jordan constituted approximately 85% of the original territory known as "Palestine" which meant that, in effect, 85% had become a de facto Palestinian state. Nevertheless, the Arabs who remained on the 15% of original "Palestine" Israel...perpetuated their conflict with Israel which continues today. Up until 1967 the West Bank (Jordan) and the Gaza strip (Egypt) were under exclusive Arab control, and no effort was ever made to create a new Palestinian state there. The "PLO" (now the "PA") was formed in 1964, three years before Israel would "occupy" the West Bank...which will be discussed in greater detail later. What should be noted is that, through 1967, demand was never made upon King Hussein of Jordan for an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank when Jordan occupied that area. Nor was there ever any demand made upon Egypt to grant sovereignty to the Palestinian Arabs living in the Egypt-occupied Gaza Strip. To be continued...

More Truthful Analysis of Shooting in Fallujah

Please take a moment to read Ollie North's piece on the entire sequence of events leading up to the shooting of the downed "insurgent." Then read Diana West at the Washington Times. It is remarkable, although not unexpected, that the MSM to my knowledge has not yet taken the time to place this entire event in context.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Holy Mackerel!

PETA is at it again and, I must say, they remain good for a guffaw. They have launched their "Fish Empathy Project" and, if no one else, I'm sure Charlie the Tuna will be impressed. I had no idea that the halibut I enjoyed (sauteed) last night had been an "interesting, fascinating individual" that I heretofore had simply misunderstood. My computer can remember things too, but that doesn't mean it understands what is happening when I kick it in the CPU after freezing up for the umpteenth time...unless of course you're working with the new HAL 5000. On a more serious note, I recall an interview with Ingrid Newkirk the former (?) head of PETA when she was pushing the equally stupid "Holocaust On Your Plate" chickens in factory farms are the equivalent of Jews in Nazi death camps campaign, and she was asked about PETA's stand on the aborting of a human fetus. Surprise, surprise...PETA does not take a position on that issue. So, PETA can display fetishism to the concept that chickens and fish are sufficiently advanced organisms to feel physical and psychological pain, but is unclear whether the same can be said of a six month old human fetus.

History of Israel and "Palestine": Part 2

In 1947 the U.N. devised a plan to partition the remaining 25% of the original "Palestine" into a Jewish state and, for all intents and purposes, a second Arab state. Remember the 75% of the land that had become Trans-Jordan? The specifics of the partition were based upon population concentrations in the area west of the Jordan river. I had hoped to post a few illustrative maps but am again having technical difficulties (or operator error). I hope to later edit these posts and insert maps. Unfortunately, although the Jews in Palestine accepted the partition plan, the Arabs did not wanting all of the area known as Palestine, both east and west of the Jordan river. Now here comes another historical point that is often overlooked. On 5/14/48 the Jews in Palestine declared their independence and created the state of Israel within the boundaries of the U.N. partition plan (they now became "Israelis"). The following day the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Yemen attacked. The Arabs living in the new state of Israel were encouraged to leave by the Arab armies and told they would be given all Jewish-owned property after victory. By some estimates 70% of the Arabs who left did so at the behest of the invaders (the total of this group is estimated to have been about 400,000 to 500,000 people). Many of those who remained were later in fact driven off during the course of this war. Nineteen months later the war was over and Israel claimed victory. The Palestinian Arabs who remained in the area west of the Jordan river were not expelled but in fact became today's Israeli-Arabs. Those who left became the first of the "Palestinian Arab refugees" seeking the right to return. Part 3 to follow...

Boots on the Ground Perspective

Please read this email from a Marine from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (thanks to PowerLine) which, in a few words, explains the shooting in Fallujah better than the thousands already wasted by the MSM: "This is one story of many that people normally don't hear, and one that everyone does. This is one most don't hear:A young Marine and his cover man cautiously enter a room just recently filled with insurgents armed with Ak-47's and RPG's. There are three dead, another wailing in pain. The insurgent can be heard saying, "Mister, mister! Diktoor, diktoor(doctor)!" He is badly wounded, lying in a pool of his own blood. The Marine and his cover man slowly walk toward the injured man, scanning to make sure no enemies come from behind. In a split second, the pressure in the room greatly exceeds that of the outside, and the concussion seems to be felt before the blast is heard. Marines outside rush to the room, and look in horror as the dust gradually settles. The result is a room filled with the barely recognizable remains of the deceased, caused by an insurgent setting off several pounds of explosives. The Marines' remains are gathered by teary eyed comrades, brothers in arms, and shipped home in a box. The families can only mourn over a casket and a picture of their loved one, a life cut short by someone who hid behind a white flag. But no one hears these stories, except those who have lived to carry remains of a friend, and the families who loved the dead. No one hears this, so no one cares. This is the story everyone hears: A young Marine and his fire team cautiously enter a room just recently filled with insurgents armed with AK-47's and RPG's. There are three dead, another wailing in pain. The insugent can be heard saying, "Mister, mister! Diktoor, diktoor(doctor)!" He is badly wounded. Suddenly, he pulls from under his bloody clothes a grenade, without the pin. The explosion rocks the room, killing one Marine, wounding the others. The young Marine catches shrapnel in the face. The next day, same Marine, same type of situation, a different story. The young Marine and his cover man enter a room with two wounded insurgents. One lies on the floor in puddle of blood, another against the wall. A reporter and his camera survey the wreckage inside, and in the background can be heard the voice of a Marine, "He's moving, he's moving!" The pop of a rifle is heard, and the insurgent against the wall is now dead. Minutes, hours later, the scene is aired on national television, and the Marine is being held for commiting a war crime. Unlawful killing. And now, another Marine has the possibility of being burned at the stake for protecting the life of his brethren. His family now wrings their hands in grief, tears streaming down their face. Brother, should I have been in your boots, i too would have done the same. For those of you who don't know, we Marines, Band of Brothers, Jarheads, Leathernecks, etc., do not fight because we think it is right, or thinkit is wrong. We are here for the man to our left, and the man to our right. We choose to give our lives so that the man or woman next to us can go home and see their husbands, wives, children, friends and families. For those of you who sit on your couches in front of your television, and choose to condemn this man's actions, I have but one thing to say to you. Get out of your recliner, lace up my boots, pick up a rifle, leave your family behind and join me. See what I've seen, walk where I have walked. To those of you who support us, my sincerest gratitude. You keep us alive. I am a Marine currently doing his second tour in Iraq. These are my opinions and mine alone. They do not represent those of the Marine Corps or of the US military, or any other."

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Is There Anything They Don't "Seethe" About?

I'm going to set aside my somewhat professional composure for a moment and make the following observation: THESE PEOPLE ARE HOPELESS IDIOTS! Ok...that was good...I feel better. Read this Reuters article about the latest "seething" that's taking place in the Middle East and riddle me this. Why was there no "seething rage" when your own people abduct and behead (or abduct, immolate and string up from bridges...take your pick) innocent civilians who were actually there to help you rebuild your infrastructure? Or, when your own people use "the holiest" mosques and shrines as ammo dumps and staging areas? But what is particularly informative are the reactions from the "educated" and presumably less radicalized Muslims. Statement: "I am not a jihadist, I am just a normal Muslim but such scenes are pushing me to Jihad," said Dubai-based engineer Abdallah. "We don't expect this from the representative of democracy in the world." Analysis: The killing of a scumbag who was defiling your place of worship and probably responsible for the brutal murder of civilian non-combatants can "push" a "normal Muslim" to jihad? That is truly frightening. Statement: "It's as if they had killed every one of us. Today, it's that poor man, tomorrow, it will be me," said Sherine Mohamed, 27, a financial analyst. "Even if militants didn't respect mosque sanctities, U.S. soldiers should have done so because they claim to help Iraqis." Analysis: Oh, I get it...the Muslims themselves who violated the sanctity of the mosque get a pass but the soldiers they are trying to kill before retreating into the mosque need to be the better Muslims and back off. But again, the more truly frightening part is the group mindset that is evident. It doesn't matter what that "poor man" may have done, how many innocent men, women and children he may have killed, how many holy Islamic sites he may have defiled in the process, his death is our death. When the young and educated in the Middle East...the next leaders... express themselves in this fashion, why is there any reason to believe that mere discourse will bring about change?

Perspective Please!

I was having dinner last night with a few friends which included a former Marine and we were discussing the Kevin Sites video. I'm not a military guy and know nothing about weapons and tactics...but I do believe I have some common sense. I asked that since the enemy's "rules of engagement" included booby-trapping the dead and mortally wounded and knowing that, as martyrs, they would relish the opportunity to blow themselves up and take as many Marines with them as possible, would there be any reason to take a chance and get up close and personal to such a downed enemy combatant whose intentions were clearly unknown. The obvious answer was, "Hell no!" The point is that the "insurgents" in Fallujah have chosen methods and tactics of combat which include the above. That means they are going to have to live (or die) with the consequences of that choice. It only makes sense that we shouldn't place our men and women at greater risk against an enemy who has forsaken all civilized rules of warfare...and yes, there are civilized ways to go about war. The following was posted at Froggy Ruminations: "It's a safety issue pure and simple. After assaulting through a target, put a security round in everybody's head. Sorry al-Reuters, there's no paddy wagon rolling around Fallujah picking up prisoners and offering them a hot cup a joe, falafel, and a blanket. There's no time to dick around in the target, you clear the space, dump the chumps, and Are Corpsman expected to treat wounded terrorists? Negative. Hey libs, worried about the defense budget? Well, it would be waste, fraud, and abuse for a Corpsman to spend one man minute or a battle dressing on a terrorist, its much cheaper to just spend the $.02 on a 5.56mm FMJ. By the way, terrorists who chop off civilian's heads are not prisoners, they are carcasses. UPDATE: Let me be very clear about this issue. I have looked around the web, and many people get this concept, but there are some stragglers. Here is your situation Marine. You just took fire from unlawful combatants shooting from a religious building attempting to use the sanctuary status of their position as protection. But you're in Fallujah now, and the Marine Corps has decided that they're not playing that game this time. That was Najaf. So you set the mosque on fire and you hose down the terrorists with small arms, launch some AT-4s (Rockets), some 40MM grenades into the building and things quiet down. So you run over there, and find some tangos wounded and pretending to be dead. You are aware that suicide martyrdom is like really popular with these kind of idiots, and like taking some Marines with them would be really cool. So you can either risk your life and your fireteam's lives by having them cover you while you bend down and search a guy that you think is pretending to be dead for some reason. Also, you don't know who or what is in the next room, and you're already speaking english to each other and its loud because your hearing is poor from shooting people for several days. So you know that there are many other rooms to enter, and that if anyone is still alive in those rooms, they know that Americans are in the mosque. Meanwhile (3 seconds later), you still have this terrorist that was just shooting at you from a mosque playing possum. What do you do? You double tap his head, and you go to the next room, that's what. What about the Geneva Conventions and all that Law of Land Warfare stuff? What about it. Without even addressing the issues at hand you first thought should be, I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6. Bear in mind that this is a perpetual mindset that is reinforced by experiences gained on a minute by minute basis. Secondly, you are fighting an unlawful combatant in a Sanctuary which is a double No No on his part. Third, tactically you are in no position to take prisoners because there are more rooms to search and clear, and the behavior of said terrorist indicates that he is up to no good. No good in Fallujah is a very large place and the low end of no good and the high end of no good are fundamentally the same... Marines get hurt or die. So there is no compelling reason for you to do anything but double tap this idiot and get on with the mission. If you are a veteran then everything I have just written is self evident, if you are not a veteran than at least try to put yourself in the situation. Remember, in Fallujah there is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow, there is only now. Right NOW. Have you ever lived in NOW for a week? It is not easy, and if you have never lived in NOW for longer than it takes to finish the big roller coaster at Six Flags, then shut your hole about putting Marines in jail for war crimes. Be advised, I am not talking to my readers, but if this post gets linked up, I want regular folks to get this message loud and clear. Froggy OUT. " Enough said.

History of Israel and "Palestine": Part 1

I suffered a setback when I first attempted to post this earlier today...probably operator error. In any event, I had recently read a op-ed piece in my local paper (OC register) where the point was to paint Israel as the "evildoer" in the conflict with the Palestinians. This was not the first time I had read such a sentiment and it certainly won't be the last. A common denominator I noted in many, if not most, of these viewpoints was a clear misunderstanding of the history of the region and of the conflict. I therefore decided to spend a little bit of time setting out a chronological account of the political history of the region and the dispute. Now, I am by no stretch an expert, but I have spent a fair amount of time researching and reading very reputable sources so I'm confident that the skeleton framework I will provide is reasonably accurate. I would recommend to anyone who truly wants to gain an understanding of the Palestinian Arab/Israeli conflict to read "From Time Immemorial" by Joan Peters. Its a bit dry but extraordinarily well researched and documented. Anyway, to begin: Immediately following World War I the area which is now Israel and Jordan was under the control of the British (the "Mandate") and known as "Palestine." For the 400 years or so leading up to 1917, the Ottoman Turks controlled an Arab empire which spanned today's Lebanon, Syria and old Palestine. In 1916, the Turks, who had thrown in with Germany in WWI, were defeated and part of their empire was placed under the control of the French and the British. Lebanon and Syria became France's zone of influence while "Palestine" (today's Jordan, Israel and the West Bank) came under the British "mandate." The British at that time had considered creating a Jewish homeland throughout all of then-Palestine and Jews had already begun emigration into Palestine as early as the 1880's. The British also knew that no one had previously established a "homeland" in Palestine since the Jews had done it approximately 2000 years before under Roman rule. Now here's an important point which is seemingly never recounted. In 1923, the British decided to divide Palestine into two separate districts divided by the Jordan river and Jews would only be allowed in the area west of the Jordan river. The land mass west of the river was about 25% of the total area of "Palestine." Therefore, about 75% of the area originally intended for a Jewish homeland was split away and made off limits to Jews. Now you may ask yourself "what do you mean 'off limits'?" Good question...and the answer is that the area east of the Jordan river was given to an emir from the area of what is now Saudi Arabia and renamed "Trans-Jordan." This area was again renamed in 1946 and called simply "Jordan." The Arab rulers of Trans-Jordan were not amenable to Jewish immigration. However, the Arabs still living in the area west of the Jordan river were not willing to peacefully co-exist with the Jews, or relocate to Trans-Jordan, so they launched attacks (e.g. the Hebron massacres in 1929) in an effort to drive the Jews out. So, at this point in history, of the original "Palestine" land mass intended to be set aside as a Jewish homeland, 75% was now under Arab rule and no longer referred to as "Palestine" and the Palestinian Arabs living west of the Jordan river were commencing their efforts to drive out the Palestinian Jews. Part 2 to follow...

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Chris Matthews...your slip is showing

This was Chris Matthews question last night on Hardball (MSNBC) to Ken Allard, retired military: "Well, let me ask you about this. If this were the other side, and we were watching an enemy soldier --a rival, I mean they're not bad guys especially, just people who just disagree with us, they are in fact the insurgents, fighting us in their country-- if we saw one of them do what we saw our guy do to that guy, would we consider that worthy of a war crimes charge?" The people doing the throat-slitting and beheading, the stringing up of burnt corpses, the booby-trapping of the dead and mortally wounded are "not bad guys"!!! They're just our moral equivalents with whom we have come to disagree and unfortunately we've been unable to mediate this difference of opinion??!! Much of the MSM...and the left... thinks in the very same terms as Chris Matthews, but of course will never admit to the same. There is no true "good" or true "evil" just misunderstandings among those with equally valid perspectives. Now I expect there will be some backtracking by MSNBC very soon, but it should be obvious that Matthews' question offered an unscripted look into his soul.

Shut up and...oh, just shut up (nod to Laura Ingraham).

This piece by Steven Vincent at National Review articulates the thoughts of many whether it's with respect to the Springsteens, Mellencamps, Afflecks, Garafolos, Mahers, Striesands, Robbins, Penns, Sheens etc of the world or the Manhattan-based artists he notes. Look, I promise to not weigh in on the relative effectiveness of the Strassberg-school approach to dramatic acting versus Olivier's rejection of "the Method", or the best way to sample and overdub analog tracks in a digitized format if you promise to stay out of my world in which I have spent over two decades occupying and learning. Unless proven otherwise I have no reason to believe that the opinion of my electrical contractor, who does an absolutely splendid job of installing ceiling fans and copper wire, regarding Middle East geo-politics is any more worth listening to than that of, for example, Sean Penn, a fine actor but a certifiable moron as to apparently most everything else.


I have had this saved on my desktop since before the election but had overlooked it in the clutter until today. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE take a look at this montage of photos (thanks to LittleGreenFootballs) and forward the link to your friends. Just because the election is over and the discussion has died down does not mean we are no longer under threat.
As I slowly but surely get back into the swing of things, a few stories caught my eye this morning. The French are certainly easy to despise (although I do love visiting their countryside). First, they provide aid and comfort to the godfather of terrorism, Yasser Arafat, in his last days, consider naming streets after him and then Jacque Chirac says things like this. This is why we need to continue to take the fight to the terrorists. It is not a coincidence that there have been no attacks on our soil since 9/11, and you had better believe that the Brits have been a prime target for sometime now. An organization that has done nothing but good for literally decades repeatedly gets placed in the ACLU's crosshairs. Having seen the ACLU in action here in SoCal re the seal of the County of LA, you can't help but think that we no longer have any pressing civil rights issues in this country if this is what they are left to "fight" for these days.

Condi Rice to be Sec'y of State

She is definitely the right person for the job at the right time. Check out the ABC News story. I have nothing but respect and admiration for Colin Powell and his over 40 years of service to our country, but I was not in complete ageement with his philosophy at all times. My take is that Condi Rice is much more in line with the President's doctrine of preemption than Powell was, although as a team player he did carry out the President's policies. As an aside, when will the President get any sort of credit for having the most diverse cabinet in the history of our republic? Democrats talk the talk...Republicans walk the walk.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

As usual, my skill at time estimate is abysmal. It's difficult to post from the Los Angeles Superior Court but look forward to getting started again Monday or Tuesday.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Won't be able to post for a few days. Making a living often gets in the way of the "funner" stuff. Should be able to sit down for awhile at the computer onThursday. Til then...

Friday, November 05, 2004

Full Version of bin Laden's "Speech"

Please check out a complete translation of bin Laden's election eve statement on the MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) website. Much of what he said was not reported by the MSM, although I don't know if it was available at the time. My understanding is that Al-Jazeera did not initially broadcast the entirety of the videotape. It is frighteningly eerie to read the literal repetition by bin Laden of Democratic talking points: "Similarly, he did not neglect to import to Florida the expertise in falsifying [elections] from the leaders of this region in order to benefit from it in difficult moments. " "The White House policy, which strove to open war fronts so as to give business to their various corporations – be they in the field of armament, of oil, or of construction – also helped in accomplishing these astonishing achievements for Al-Qa'ida." "This is in addition to the fact that America lost a large number of jobs, and as for the [federal] deficit, it lost a record number estimated at a trillion dollars." "[I] it also makes it clear that the Bush administration won gains as well, since anyone who looks at the scope of the contracts won by large dubious corporations like Halliburton and other similar ones that have ties to Bush and to his administration will become convinced that the losing side is in fact you, the American people, and your economy. " "It seemed to him that a girl's story about her goat and its butting was more important than dealing with planes and their 'butting' into skyscrapers. This allowed us three times the amount of time needed for the operations, Allah be praised. " "However, the blackness of black gold blinded his sight and his perception and he gave preference to private interests over America's public interest. And so there was war and many died. The American economy bled and Bush became embroiled in the quagmire of Iraq, which now threatens his future." "Bush's hands are sullied with the blood of all of these casualties on both sides, for the sake of oil and to give business to his private companies. " "A rational man would not neglect his security, property, or home for the sake of the liar in the White House. " It is sickening to think of the aid and comfort given to our enemies by these unhinged rantings of the radical left which became the mantra of the Democratic party , the talking points of the Kerry campaign...and then the dark warnings of a global terrorist and mass murderer.

Final Tally: Bush 286 Kerry 252

The votes have all been counted and the final electoral vote total is Bush 286 Kerry 252. The President captured 31 states to Kerry's 19.


I came across the above quote in a preface to a book I'm reading about the Middle East, Islam and Christianity and thought it quite appropriate in light of the following columns I've had the chance to peruse today. Read Emmett Tyrrell, Bruce Bartlett, Terence Jeffrey and Thomas Sowell for good perspectives on how the liberal Democrats continue to fool themselves into believing they are actually representative of mainstream America.


Don't these folks have jobs to go to, or families to care for? Like the bumper sticker says: "Bush Won--Get Over It" Anyway, my thoughts as I scrolled down these photos (feel free to add yours, or clever captions, by way of the comment sections): ...can't have a good anti-American protest without at least one attack on heretofore the only democracy in the Middle East...until President Bush went to work... Posted by Hello
...this is the most coherent of the bunch...dead wrong...but at least coherent. Posted by Hello

...then don't let the door hit you on the way out... Posted by Hello

...much thought must have gone into this sign but at least the little devil face is cute... Posted by Hello that a pentagram or some sort of shorthand?... Posted by Hello

...clever... Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Red Counties vs. Blue Counties

Sean Hannity's county-by-county election map Posted by Hello The distribution of Bush-carried counties nationwide is a testament to the cultural divide facing America. You could easily fly from JFK to LAX and without great difficulty not cross over a blue county. Remove the west coast (mostly the Bay Area), the Chicago-area and New England and the Democrats would never win a national election. Robert Novak is at his insightful best. Also take a look at George Will (as usual) and Ross MacKenzie for very convincing analyses.

"GET OVER IT" Bumper Stickers Available

From the same people who brought you the "Don't be a Girlie Man--Vote for Bush" bumper stickers, take a look at this link for a great post election bumper/window/anywhere else sticker that I'm certain expresses our sentiments and will come in handy in the days ahead.


...and the tune was lovely. It is now officially over per the AP. John Kerry showed some class (in the face of overwhelming odds) and has conceded defeat. FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS! I look forward to the liberal/Dem post mortems over the coming days and weeks. They should be great grist for the blog mill but, more significantly, an indication of whether the left gets it. The country is becoming more Republican, not less, and the fever swamp rantings of the Moores and Soroses and Chers and Babs and the rest of their ilk, even with the complicity of the MSM, could not sell Kerry/Edwards to the American public. Even though there is still much to do, today is a day to savor.
I meant to post this yesterday but was too caught up in the Fox News broadcast. Anyway, for those of us who can't hide our annoyance when Hollywood or music-types pontificate on matters of global concern (I grew up loving Bruce's music, but not his politics) read this by John Derbyshire. It's priceless.
Just a few drowsy points. The President won not only a plurality of the popular vote but a clear majority (contrasted with Gore's performance in 2000). Therefore, there should be no talk of lack of mandate, etc this time around. Which leads to my second point. The integrity of our election process is not based upon voter turnout or registration drives. It's based upon the sanctity of the system. To paraphrase and turn on its head the observation of a great NY Yankee: "It is over when it's over." To all reasonable minds, George Bush has won this election rather's over and no army of lawyers will prove otherwise. At last count the President is up in "contested" Ohio by about 140,000 votes with perhaps as many provisional ballots to be reviewed, authorized and counted. It would be a statistical miracle for Ohio to become a blue state. In many situations in the past close election results have remained uncontested simply because the sanctity of the system was more important than the protracted battle over a few votes. We are not well served, and our system is undermined, if there are court challenges to each outcome merely because they can be made. At least Al Gore could say he had a plurality of the popular vote, even though his Florida strategy was, at best, contrived. The Democrats should gracefully concede defeat (although grace does not seem part of the lexicon of this Michael Moore-loving political party) and spend the next four years jettisoning its radical elements and moving to the center...and then maybe they'll have a chance.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Electoral Vote Update

Iowageek reports that the polls are closed and the results are in...and President Bush has taken Guam. Every little bit helps. Current results have the President up 193-112 but with the expected electoral votes from California (55) and two other solidly Democrat states, Kerry will definitely pick up at least 70 more electoral votes. Fasten your seatbelts. Out here in California, we hope for a solid popular vote showing by the President. With Arnold in the governor's mansion there may be hope for Republican inroads. It's now 193-133, Fox News having called Pennsylvania for Kerry (as expected and a former Gore state)

Live Blogging on Election Night

Have had a devil of a time posting due to high broadband traffic. Kerry up 77-74 although the Florida, Virginia and North Carolina totals look promising. If the President carries the same states as in 2000, he will end up with 274 electoral votes...or perhaps 278. An aside: will someone explain to me why a police officer or a security guard at a polling place will "intimidate" a minority voter from casting his/her ballot? Having been to a few ALDS baseball games lately, not to mention a shopping mall or two, there seemed to be no intimidation factor there even though police officers or security guards were rather ubiquitous. Update: Bush 89 Kerry 77...Virginia and North Carolina in.

Monday, November 01, 2004

A Few Links for the Undecided

Before I run off to court to ply my trade (sorry about that to any lawyer-bashers), here are a few pieces worth reading before heading for your polling place by Mark Steyn (Chicage Sun-Times), Jeff Jacoby (Boston Globe), Lee Hamilton (Christian Science Monitor) and George Will.

John Kerry Is Not A Leader

This is the most important presidential election since I was enfranchised in 1974. The most significant issue facing our country's future is clear and the choices are stark. On the one hand, the President has made his positions known on the issues of the day but, most importantly, on the GWOT (global war on terror--many thanks to Hugh Hewitt for the acronym). His goal and vision is clear and his policy to take the fight to our enemy, and to those that support and harbor our enemy, is the only truly effective way to deal with the threat we are facing. The President believes in the greatness of this country and the values we stand for, recognizing that human frailty historically will result in error in judgment. But we are willing to confront those errors and do our best to make amends and learn from the past knowing that our nation's heart is good and our intentions honorable. John Kerry is an opportunist. That should be evident from any review of his Senate record and his "lifetime of service." What principles drive him, other than to be reelected? Excuse the redundancy, but he is a liberal senator from Massachusetts...a former lieutenant governor to Michael Dukakis. He was on the wrong side of the Cold War debate and voted against the 1991 Gulf War. This last point is instructive, because it puts the lie to his central theme of criticism of the President and the Iraq war. After Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, there was formed literally a global coalition to beat him back, unlike the coalition of the "bribed and coerced" Kerry sees now. Our financial burden in the 1991 Gulf War was, on a percentage basis, much less than it is now in Iraq, again unacceptable according to Kerry. Unlike the 1991 Gulf War, the war in Iraq has caused us to "take our eye off the ball" and become involved in an unacceptable "diversion." But...JOHN KERRY VOTED AGAINST THE 1991 GULF did John Edwards by the way. That vote was motivated by one or both of the following: He is a pacifist unwilling and unable to ever see the use of force as a legitimate means to a necessary end and/or it was politically expedient to vote against that war (remember, liberal Senator from Massachusetts seeking reelection). In either event, this is not a leader.