Saturday, June 30, 2007

Another Look at Al Gore's Global Warming

Since 1992, Al Gore has claimed that the Earth was experiencing rapid Global Warming. His award winning movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" has raised awareness of the human contribution to the natural cycles in the Earth's temperature fluctuation. In many ways we owe him a debt of gratitude. More study and money has been allocated to Scientific Climate Research as a result of his squawking. But if he is really interested in and concerned for our planet's future, he needs to come forward and acknowledge the mounting evidence that he may be wrong. Scientific fact has shown some of his claims to be false, and others at least need a major revision.

According to a new article published today in Chicago's Sun-Times newspaper by James M. Taylor titled Alarmist global warming claims melt under scientific scrutiny we may be able to determine Mr. Gore's true character by how he responds to the Mounting Scientific Evidence against his Global Warming Tirade.
"In his new book, The Assault on Reason, Al Gore pleads, "We must stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of science. We must insist on an end to the cynical use of pseudo-studies known to be false for the purpose of intentionally clouding the public's ability to discern the truth." Gore repeatedly asks that science and reason displace cynical political posturing as the central focus of public discourse."
Al Gore now has the chance to put his money where his mouth is. That Scientific Research has shown some results which are in direct conflict with Mr. Gore's public speeches, movie and now a book.
"Many of the assertions Gore makes in his movie, ''An Inconvenient Truth,'' have been refuted by science, both before and after he made them."
Some of the claims made by Mr. Gore include:
...that Himalayan glaciers are shrinking and global warming is to blame. Yet the September 2006 issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate reported, "Glaciers are growing in the Himalayan Mountains...
"Gore claims the snowcap atop Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro is shrinking and that global warming is to blame. Yet according to the November 23, 2003, issue of Nature magazine, "Although it's tempting to blame the ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain's foothills is the more likely culprit.
Also included by Mr. Gore are claims that Global Warming is causing Tornado and Hurricane activity to increase. But wait a minute.
"Gore claims global warming is causing more tornadoes. Yet the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in February that there has been no scientific link established between global warming and tornadoes.

Gore claims global warming is causing more frequent and severe hurricanes. However, hurricane expert Chris Landsea published a study on May 1 documenting that hurricane activity is no higher now than in decades past."
According to this Sun-Times article, Al Gore has also made claims that Recent Scientific study refutes about expanding African Deserts, Greenland's Rapid Meltdown and the Antarctic ice sheet melting. I will be interested in Al Gore's response. In the past he has been rabid in his message of doom and gloom.

I'll keep you posted because, evidence is showing to everyone, including Mr. Gore, IT IS NOT SETTLED.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Canada Day

Something for our friends to the north.
Celebrating Canada Day Officially July 1st

Supreme Court will hear Guantanamo Bay Challenge

Today (June 29, 2007) the Supreme Court announced that during its next term starting in October 2007, the Court will consider the legal rights of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The question of "standing" will determine the legal processes available to detainees and under what terms the prisoners are to be held and/or brought to trial. What legal rights do they have? Are they covered by the Geneva Convention Treaty and if so under which parts? Are they subject to Military or Civilian Justice. Are they Spies, Enemy Combatants, Criminals or ??? Do we need a new or amended "Terrorist" classification of detainees to properly describe a class that was not conceived when some of the legal processes were written?

Why has the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in this matter, effectively rejecting the matter this past April? There currently is an act of Congress that explicitly prohibits review of such cases. I don't know for sure, and I am not a lawyer, but it appears to me as a very interested political spectator that the Court believes the confusion surrounding this subject needs clarification prior to the 2008 Presidential Election. Whether this is the reason or not, I believe it will make for better debate by the Candidates because it will take one of the Emotional factors out of the calculus.

Between now and sometime following the Supreme Courts announcement of it decision this subject will receive much naval gazing contemplation, dissection and analytical thought by both sides. I am sure I will have further comments and references to the many other discussions on this subject. For now I would like to point you to a long (but worth the read) article by Benjamin Wittes titled Terrorism, the Military, and the Courts I found posted today at Real Clear Politics website.

In this article, which I can only inadequately represent, Mr. Wittes begins by presenting us with a story of one military battlefield interrogation. He then asks us to consider the methods and whether they represent a series of necessary and legal military techniques to obtain information.
'What followed was a protracted habeas corpus action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Lawyers representing the high-value detainee decried the coercive interrogation of his wife, the threat to his children, and the savage beating he incurred on his arrest. (The medical officer accompanying the troops who detained him had shouted to the commanding officer to call his men off "unless you want to take back a corpse.") Human rights groups uniformly condemned the interrogation tactic as torture; major newspapers weighed in on their side. The Bush administration, meanwhile, insisted that the courts had no jurisdiction over any such overseas military action, which had in any event been lawful and had yielded essential intelligence and the capture of a very big fish. As of this writing, the lower courts have deemed themselves powerless to hear the case and the Supreme Court -- for now, at least -- has not intervened."
The Irony is that last sentence has now changed. Both the Supreme Court Announcement and the publication of Mr. Wittes article bear the same date - June 29, 2007. The article continues by asking questions.
"Should the courts hear it, notwithstanding an act of Congress that explicitly precludes review? If so, what should they hold? Is such a tactic -- garnering information from a mother by threatening to have her sons beheaded by a totalitarian regime -- ever legitimate? And who, in a society committed both to law and to victory in a global struggle against terrorism, is to be the judge?"
The article continues on to describe current attitudes, conflicting emotions and ideas of what's proper and under what circumstances. I cannot do justice to the complete article, so please read it yourself. The article continues to look at the issues involved along with some suggested remedies, some gaps and some conclusions.

Stay tuned for further developments.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Global Warming Ended

According to an article in the British Newspaper The Daily Telegraph website, Global Warming Ended in 1998! The article making this claim is by Bob Carter and is dated September 4, 2006. Dr. Robert (Bob) Carter is a palaeontologist, stratigrapher and marine geologist of more than thirty years professional experience, and a Research Professor at James Cook University (Queensland) and the University of Adelaide (South Australia).

Dr. Carter begins his article thus:
For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco.
He continues to point out that from 1998 to 2005 Global Temperatures show that the increase in temperature was statically zero. Periods of warming and cooling have been taking place naturally since Earth began. Additional findings show that CO2 changes do not correspond to temperature changes. Some of the warmest years have been during a cycle of low CO2 discharge levels while higher levels have not always yielded higher temperatures. Measured Global Warming patterns do not allow accurate predictions over a short period. Such short term changes are, for the most part, not of human causes, but completely natural.

But the public is ready to embrace the latest cries that catastrophic effects are eminent unless the world takes drastic action Now. Consider the weasel terms used by the alarmists according to Dr. Carter.
Since the early 1990s, the columns of many leading newspapers and magazines, worldwide, have carried an increasing stream of alarmist letters and articles on hypothetical, human-caused climate change. Each such alarmist article is larded with words such as "if", "might", "could", "probably", "perhaps", "expected", "projected" or "modelled" - and many involve such deep dreaming, or ignorance of scientific facts and principles, that they are akin to nonsense.
Why don't we hear more from the scientists who do not agree with the alarmists. Dr. Carter has an idea. He makes the argument that there are three reasons for silence and the most alarming to me is Second "No research funding unless you conform".
First, most government scientists are gagged from making public comment on contentious issues, their employing organisations instead making use of public relations experts to craft carefully tailored, frisbee-science press releases. Second, scientists are under intense pressure to conform with the prevailing paradigm of climate alarmism if they wish to receive funding for their research. Third, members of the Establishment have spoken declamatory words on the issue, and the kingdom's subjects are expected to listen.
Dr. Carter makes the plea that we and especially World Politicians/Leaders need to listen to other opinions, not just the loudest most shrill voice.

Earlier Posts on Global Warming:

Immigration Reform

As of today, the Senate has failed in its attempt to pass the Immigration Bill. This Bill was supported by President Bush and many Senators from both sides. However, voters across the country mounted a grass-roots movement to defeat this bill by contacting their Senators to express opposition. Apparently the volume of phone calls, fax messages and e-mails was sufficient to cause enough Senators to cast their vote so as to more clearly reflect their constituents wishes. This is Democracy in action.

Technically the Immigration Bill was not defeated, but rather a vote to end debate was defeated by a vote of 53 to 46. This movement was sufficient to kill the Bill by insuring its withdrawal from further consideration. Support for this bill in the Senate was mostly Democratic, but as indicated by this quote from a AP article by Charles Babington titled Senate Blocks Immigration Bill, the vote was not strictly along party lines.
"Voting to allow the bill to proceed by ending debate were 33 Democrats, 12 Republicans and independent Joe Lieberman, Conn. Voting to block the bill by not limiting debate were 37 Republicans, 15 Democrats and independent Bernard Sanders, Vt. Tim Johnson, D-S.C., did not vote."
The loudest complaint about this bill was the "Amnesty" which the bill would have granted to the estimated 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants already in this country. But on closer examination, "Amnesty" was only the general umbrella used to describe many very specific perceived problems with the bill. More specific objections were registered against the large and complex 500+ page cobbled together single piece of Legislative nightmare.

Supporters claimed this comprehensive piece of Legislation attempted to solve all the problems with one bill. Many opponents thought a better approach would be to consider several smaller bills to accomplish this task. The detractors, with much justification, feel that Our Government could not possibly effectively enforce all the provisions of this important Legislation. We do have a Government, after all, which has a hard time chewing gum and walking at the same time.

It is almost universally accepted that Immigration Reform is badly needed. Now that this bill has lost support, where do we go from here? Personally I would prefer a series of smaller bills starting with securing our Borders (Both of them) to accomplish the needed Comprehensive Legislation. What we should do was expressed very well by Pete Du Pont in the on-line version of the Wall Street Opinion Journal. Former Delaware Governor Du Pont's article is titled appropriately - Security First. Governor Du Pont's plan involves 5 steps.
First, secure the Mexican border so that America is closed to illegal immigration. Controlling our borders is essential to our national security. The additional 600 miles of border fencing authorized by the 2006 law must immediately be built; and we must add surveillance technology and more border security agents to our entire southern border. President Bush has agreed to add an upfront $4.4 billion to the bill to strengthen border security, enforce our immigration law, and prosecute employers who hire illegal workers--a good first step to solve our illegal immigration problems.

Second, make sure the bill contains the provisions of the Isakson Rule (proposed by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R., Ga.) that no other immigration reform programs can be implemented until the border is secure.

Third, once the border has been secured, require tamper-proof ID cards of all immigrants. Today there are no such cards, and verifiable identification is essential to both immigration policy and national security. We must know who is entering our country and what their background is.

Fourth, identify the skills required for the jobs immigrants need to fill, so that immigration policy will reflect America's economic needs. The Senate bill contains a merit-based system for evaluating immigration applicants. It encourages higher education, those skilled in specialist occupations (including scientists, engineers and technicians) and people who have previously worked in America and speak English. Working skills should be the focus of our immigration policy, so we must move from the current "chain migration" policy which gives preference to extended families of current immigrants--like sisters, cousins, uncles, and grandparents, to one that admits the skilled working people we need. Sen. Barack Obama tried to sunset this merit program after five years, and fortunately his attempt was defeated.

Fifth, get rid of the existing "visa lottery" that randomly selects 50,000 immigrants from the application list each year. An effective immigration policy isn't based on gambling.
This approach makes sense and is very doable in small parts and protects us from further illegal immigration and just a important, secures our borders against foreign Terrorists. One problem still not addressed is what do we do with the illegals already here! Governor Du Pont has that answer too.
Sen. Ted Kennedy proposes allowing them to stay indefinitely and pursue citizenship. They would have to apply for a Z visa (temporary legal status) by admitting they have broken the law, pay an initial $1,000 fine, and submit to a background check. They would still not then eligible for welfare benefits or food stamps, and if they wanted a green card and permanent legal status, they would have to pay an additional $4,000 fine, learn English, and then return to their home countries to file for it.
This is a plan I believe we could all live with and is fair and just. Now the biggest problem will be getting Congress to pass and President Bush to sign it into Law. Enactment may be the real issue, due to the serious Political Acrimony following this last attempt.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Fairness Doctrine

From 1949 to 1987 the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) required commercial broadcast outlets to apply the Fairness Doctrine to programs they broadcast. The idea was to provide protection to the public air waves from one-sided (especially political) views due to the limited availability of broadcast licenses. Broadcast Radio and TV stations were required to provide equal time to opposing opinions and ideas. Sometimes referred to as the "Equal Time Provision" of the FCC. The Supreme Court ruled in 1969 [Red Lion Broadcasting v. FCC, 395 U.S. 367] that the Fairness Doctrine of the FCC was Constitutional.

The Court found that the Broadcaster's First Amendment Rights were not violated, but did add a caution to it's opinion. This caution, that if the doctrine ever began to restrict Free Speech, the Fairness Doctrine's Constitutionality should be reconsidered. Five years later, the doctrine was found to inhibit both the strength and range of public debate by the Court, but was not ruled unconstitutional [Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo, 418 U.S. 241].

Finally in 1984, the Supreme Court decided the limited availability of broadcast licenses was no longer true and in fact the Fairness Doctrine was restricting public debate [FCC v. League of Women Voters, 468 U.S. 364]. The FCC dropped the Fairness Doctrine following the 1987 Supreme Court decision declaring that the Fairness Doctrine was not mandated by Congress [Meredith Corp. v. FCC].

What changed from 1949 to 1987 was the great expansion and proliferation of Broadcast Media. The public had and continues to have ever increasing access to news, opinion and entertainment. Besides the standard broadcast by Radio and TV stations, Cable Stations, Satellite Radio and the Internet have made for diversity and availability of all flavors of public expression and debate. Programming on these various outlets is driven by Economics. And this is exactly as it should be. Our democracy is based on the guarantees of free speech and proper exercise of First Amendment Rights. If the FCC or Congress were to enforce anything close to the archaic Fairness Doctrine, this would not result in anyone listening equally to differing opinions. But a free economic market does allow choice and freedom of expression so necessary to a democracy.

In addition to which the impact today of a reconstituted Fairness Doctrine by the FCC would have little impact on the total broadcasts available. The FCC only has jurisdiction over Commercial Radio and TV stations, and would not regulate the Internet, Satellite Radio or Cable TV. What's Fairness got to do with anything? We want Justice, appears to be the current motivation behind the Liberal Democrats in Congress push to revive the Fairness Doctrine. But, as we know Justice is not always fair. Rather than force more of the public to listen to Liberal points of view, most Broadcast Companies would, as the Supreme Court noted in 1984, avoid the hassle of compliance by dropping controversial programming in favor of bland pablum.

That's not fair, instead it is censorship. Writing in today's on-line article in The Hill, Alexander Bolton has addressed the current Fairness Doctrine in an article titled GOP preps for talk radio confrontation. Dick Durbin is quoted as saying:
“It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they’re in a better position to make a decision.”
And this from Diane Feinstein:
Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she planned to “look at the legal and constitutional aspects of” reviving the Fairness Doctrine.“I believe very strongly that the airwaves are public and people use these airwaves for profit,” she said. “But there is a responsibility to see that both sides and not just one side of the big public questions of debate of the day are aired and are aired with some modicum of fairness.”Feinstein said she is not yet ready to submit a formal proposal.
Ironically one of the unintended consequences of a successful pursuit of the Fairness Doctrine could be the programming of National Public Radio (NPR). NPR was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1970 after the Congress passed the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. Most Conservatives view the opinions of NPR to be of a Liberal Bent and would probably be a source for repeated challenges to the Fairness Doctrine requirement. The Liberals obviously would like to reduce Rush Limbaugh's air time with equal voracity.

Reality dictates that even something so unfair and unjust as the Fairness Doctrine would be, it's not going to bring back Air America.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bush and Cheney Communication Failure

Once again the Bush/Cheney administration has shown that they are rather poor communicators. The current flap is the result of the Vice President's remarks that his office is not part of the Executive Branch of the Government. Vice President Dick Cheney has made this claim, in part, because one of the Legislative Branch duties of the VP is to be President of the Senate. Therefore, argued the VP, he is in a unique group. While the Constitution defines the Office of the Vice President as part of the Executive Branch, VP Cheney asserts that because of his Senate duties he is also part of the Legislative Branch.

Now why does this make any difference?

In 1995 federal legislation was enacted requiring members of the Executive Branch to work with the National Archives to preserve classified documents. And in 2003, President Bush issued an Executive Order directing all Executive Branch offices to co-operate with the National Archives. For the last five years as VP, Dick Cheney and his office staff have not filed reports with the National Archives. Again, this was due to the VP's stating belief that the Office of the Vice President was exempted from this filing requirement.

OK so where does the Lack of Communication come in? This uproar could have been avoided by VP Cheney pointing out that he was covered and exempted by the 2003 Executive Order of President Bush. The President issues Executive Orders and he has the final say on what they mean. Instead of making a logical explanation that neither he nor his staff has filed the National Archive reports due to this Executive Order, VP Cheney (and also President Bush) have created much of the story.

Now that the Democrats have come to power, Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel has decided to play politics and defund the Office of the Vice President. Emanuel's reasoning is that if VP Cheney is not a member of the Executive Branch, no funding is necessary for the VP's Executive Branch Duties. Mr. Emanuel's idea is an amendment to a spending bill to accomplish this. Mr. Emanuel is House Democratic Caucus chairman, and he is playing Politics with the Media's help.In an on-line article about this flap at CBS News and written by John Nichols you will find these words.
Forget the fact that, since then-Congressman Cheney wrote the Iran-Contra investigation minority report defending the "right" of the Reagan administration to set its own foreign policy, he has been a consistent and aggressive advocate for increasing the authority of the executive branch.

Forget the fact that, since the Supreme Court handed power to the Buch(sic)-Cheney ticket in December 2000, Cheney has fashioned himself as the most powerful vice president in history.

Forget the fact that when Cheney has steadfastly refused to share classified information with the U.S. House and Senate.

Forget the fact that when Cheney actually makes his way to Capitol Hill it is famously to spew obscenities at Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy.
Now this is called an opinion piece, and anyone, even if they work for CBS News, has to right to express his or her opinion, but, what do these "over the top" quotes have to do with this story? And of course there is no bias in the following quote which ends this article.
"This amendment will ensure that the vice president's funding is consistent with his legal arguments," say Emanuel, a former aide to President Clinton who, like Cheney, has served in both the legislative and executive branches.

Come to think of it, no matter what branch of the government he happens to occupy, doesn't it make sense to defund Cheney? At this point in the Bush-Cheney interregnum, any move that disempowers Dick Cheney can only benefit the Republic.[Emphasis Mine]
Yup. Nothing biased in this report. Nothing more to see. Move along.

Check BeldarBlog for a complete Legal Commentary about VP Cheney's standing.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Stem Cell Debate

Stem Cell Research. Those three words paint an emotional picture for most people. The reason is simple. Stem Cells have the potential to cure some of the most devastating conditions, diseases and injuries. Everything from Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease to spinal cord injuries are potential candidates for the promise of this research. Where these stem cell originate is what causes the most debate. Stem Cells can be harvested for amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood, adults cells, placentas and even mouse skin cells. Or they can be harvested from Human Embryos, and there’s the rub.

Most people don’t have an objection to the use of Stem Cells from any of the other sources, but opinion polls show a divided public about using Human Embryos as the source of Stem Cell Research. On one end of the scale is the mostly Religious belief that Human Embryos are just that, Human from the time of conception. On the other end are those who believe that an Embryonic Stem Cell is not yet a Human Being and therefore Science should be able to use these microscopic cells for research. President Bush has taken the former view, while Congress has taken the later view.

Recently, Congress passed and the President vetoed legislation which would have allowed Federal Funding for Human Embryo Stem Cell Research. President Bush explained has reason for the veto in a White House Speech. It is important to note the following quote from a press release of his speech. (Full Text here)
“In 2001, I announced a policy to advance stem cell research in a way that is ambitious, ethical, and effective. I became the first President to make federal funds available for embryonic stem cell research — and my policy did this in ways that would not encourage the destruction of embryos. Since then, my administration has made more than $130 million available for research on stem cell lines derived from embryos that had already been destroyed. We’ve provided more than $3 billion for research on all forms of stem cells — including those from adult and other non-embryonic sources.”
It should also be pointed out that there is no prohibition on the use of Private Funding for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research. Research facilities are free to fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research at will. However, the Legislation Congress sent to the White House would have allowed unlimited use of Human Embryonic Stem Cells in federally funded programs. In the same speech, President Bush explained his opposition to the Legislation in these terms.
“Congress has sent me a bill that would overturn this policy. If this legislation became law, it would compel American taxpayers — for the first time in our history — to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos. I made it clear to Congress and to the American people that I will not allow our nation to cross this moral line. Last year, Congress passed a similar bill — I kept my promise by vetoing it. And today I’m keeping my word again: I am vetoing the bill that Congress has sent.”
President Bush has taken the position that to destroy Human Embryos, which he considers a Human Life, in the hope of saving a human life to be unethical. His position is further strengthened because as I pointed out earlier, there are other options for Stem Cell Research which do not involve destruction of a Human Embryo.

Meanwhile the backers of the Congressional Legislation, mainly Democrats, have made some very emotional and somewhat misleading claims in defense of the Legislation. For instance in Sunday’s on-line edition of the Boston Globe Jeff Jacoby’s article Science, ideology, and stem cells (Registration Required) quotes several leading democrats.
“With one pen stroke,” charged Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, “President Bush has ignored hard science, embraced misplaced ideology, and turned his back on the millions who stand to benefit from . . . stem cell research.”

Similarly, Senate majority leader Harry Reid blasted Bush for “putting the politics of his narrow ideology ahead of saving lives.”

So did Senator Hillary Clinton: “This is just one example of how the president puts ideology before science.”

And Senator Barack Obama: “The promise that stem cells hold does not come from any particular ideology; it is the judgment of science, and we deserve a president who will put that judgment first.”

John Edwards criticized the President’s position when in October 2004 he is quoted as having said If John Kerry becomes president, Christopher Reeve will walk again.

As that article points out Ideology is the common thread of these Bush critics. As I see this problem, the solution is somewhere in the middle between pure scientific pursuit and ideological belief. Unlimited use of embryonic stem cells for research is a slippery slope. This point was eloquently made by Charles Krauthammer in January of this year at Real Clear Politics in an article titled Stem Cell Miracle?
“You don’t need religion to tremble at the thought of unrestricted embryo research. You simply have to have a healthy respect for the human capacity for doing evil in pursuit of the good. Once we have taken the position of many stem cell advocates that embryos are discardable tissue with no more intrinsic value than a hangnail or an appendix, then all barriers are down. What is to prevent us from producing not just tissues and organs, but human-like organisms for preservation as a source of future body parts on demand?”
Charles Krauthammer is a physician, columnist and Fox News Contributor. He is also one of the persons who has a possible personal stake in Stem Cell Research because he was paralyzed in a diving accident during his first year of Harvard Medical School.

I assume that at some point between conception and birth, we can agree that the embryo becomes a Human Being, and therefore ethically at this point we are destroying a Human Life. But where we place this ethical line is the reason unlimited and unrestricted embryo research becomes a sticky question and slippery slope. Many including Dr. Krauthammer believe 200 cell embryos slated for destruction don’t cross this ethical line and therefore should be available for scientific research. Since private funding is already allowed for this type of tissue, where should Congress and the President place the line for Federal Funding availability.

Without limits and restrictions, wouldn’t we run the risk of putting human life on the auction block to be sold to the highest bidder? Do we really want to allow this kind of business to be called ethical? That is the danger we run with unrestricted Stem Cell Research Legislation.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

What's Arrowhead Ripper?

Unless you count the negative reports about the number of US casualties resulting from operation “Arrowhead Ripper”, currently underway in Iraq, the Main Stream Media (MSM) has not expended much effort reporting the current Iraq War operations. By placing the emphasis of their stories where they do, the MSM is again showing their negative bias toward the Iraq War. For example, according to one of Investor Business Daily’s (IBD) editorials titled Al-Qaida’s End? here is how actions by our Military are being reported.
Meanwhile, NPR radio this week highlighted U.S. soldiers’ deaths during the assaults, with nary a mention of the bigger context for the soldiers’ sacrifices. The Associated Press’ dispatches focused on U.S. casualties: “U.S. military says 15 American troops killed in last 48 hours.” CNN ran with: “12 U.S. troops killed in Iraq in 48 hours.” The New York Times headline read: “14 U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq in 2 Days.”
The correct focus of this story should be as IBD’s headline - the possibility of al Qaida’s End. The surprising quote in the article is from Reuters.
…only Reuters seemed to get what was going on. Its headline said: ‘U.S. troops set trap for militants near Baghdad.’
The MSN continues to downplay anything good from Iraq, especially where Military Operations are concerned. The operation involves a major US lead attack on al Qaida in Diyala province. We face heavy action and can expect larger causalities in this operation. The good news is that already many al Qaida have been neutralized.
The fight will go on for up to two months, military officials say. It involves 10,000 troops, with “a full complement of attack helicopters, close-air support, Strykers and Bradley fighting vehicles.”

This is fight to capture or kill al Qaida fighters and so far it’s working. If you really want to know how it’s going, read Michael Yon’s reports on-line. Michael is an embed with units involved in the operation and former military and gives a fair account with pictures of what he sees. He has at times been critical of US and Iraq Military actions. Another former military embed currently in Iraq is Bill Roggio. Both Michael and Bill are excellent for first person quality information.

Unless you get your news from something other than the MSM, you probably have not heard about operation Arrowhead Ripper. But you can be sure that you will if something goes badly. Is it any wonder that the MSM is loosing audience?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Increase Gas Tax - Bad Idea

There is Legislation currently pending before Congress which hopefully has very little chance of passage. This is a good thing. The proposal calls for a Tax Increase on Gas and Oil and elimination of Tax benefits for the Oil Companies. The backers claim this will make the US less dependent on Foreign Oil, encourage the development and use of alternative Fuels and alternative energy production. Alternate fuels generally mean Ethanol and alternate energy production generally means wind and nuclear energy to generate electricity.

When I learned about this Legislation, I had no idea that one of the supporters of Higher Taxes on Oil and Gas would be Mort Kondracke, the Executive Editor of the Newspaper Roll Call. Mort's article Who'll Have Courage to Call for Gas Taxes as Energy Answer? claims Higher Taxes on Gas and Oil is a good idea. Fortunately he does not believe Congress has the Guts to pass this Legislation. Then I found this gem in Mort's article.
Rebates could be provided to diminish the impact on poor people and taxes could be cut when oil, gas and coal companies develop "clean" technologies.
But the poor are not the only ones who will be effected. We all will. And it's laughable to think that taxes will be cut when "clean" technologies are developed. Exceptions include Bush's Tax Cuts, but most politicians never met a tax they didn't like. And Mort's rational that the rest of the world charges more for oil and gas is no reason we should.

Untapped domestic oil and gas is available in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, and domestic refinery capacity has not changed in the last 30 years. While I agree we need to become more energy independent, an increase in Gas and Oil Taxes is not the way to accomplish independence. Income Tax Cuts have produced a booming economy. By expanding incentives and Tax Benefits to include the use of Wind, Nuclear and cleaner burning Wyoming Coal for Electrical Energy, we would be a lot closer to Energy Independence. Alternative Energy implementation plus continued Tax Benefits for domestic Oil and Gas production combined with greater refinery capacity would bring the same healthy expansion in domestic production and decrease Foreign Energy dependence.

I have not included Ethanol as an energy solution. Ethanol is not at present a good choice for energy independence. Economically, Ethanol production must be made from corn and sugar. However, there is not enough land to support the increased crop need for present use AND Ethanol production. Corn is used in Animal Feeds and other Food products. Food and especially meat prices would increase due to the increased corn demand. Ethanol produces much less energy than gasoline. Therefore, more gallons of Ethanol are required to realize the equivalent energy of Gasoline, so we need to fill up more often. Gasoline engines need modifications to burn Ethanol. Pipelines would require expensive modification to carry ethanol and until that's done, shipments would have to be made by truck and train.

Ethanol as a major energy replacement will not become a viable alternative until an economical method is found to use other organic or synthetic methods to produce, transport and use it in volume. Talk about using sawgrass, and other materials is still too expensive to be considered.

Big Oil currently produces profit amounts which make them appear to the average Joe or Jane as gouging the public. But if you take a look at what the profits really mean, Big Oil is quite a ways down the list. For example, if most Commercial Banks had the gross sales of a Exxon Mobil, the Bank's profit would have been almost twice as much. And Big Oil showed only about a third of the profit margin of the Drug Industry. That's why the Big Oil stock value can fall while record profits are made. Wind fall profits taxes are a bad idea, but politicians propose them due to the emotion rather than reason. Generally speaking, if you were in business for yourself and made the same profit margin as Big Oil, you would consider it a bad year.

The Boston Tea Party was executed as a protest against the increasing taxes on Tea. We should have learned from our History that increased taxes are not a good idea. We have seen that a good way to increase tax revenues is to allow greater sales through expanded investment and job creation. More money being made is equal to more tax being paid.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Non-Transparent Earmarks are Bad Government

One of the promises of the present Congress was more open and ethical handling of Government Business. Lack of Government Transparency leads to lack of Government Trust. This was one of reasons the Republicans lost majority control of the Congress at the hands of the Voters last November. The voters elected a Democratic Majority. Many Democrats were elected, in part, on promises to bring Ethics Reform to Washington, D.C. But have they?

Apparently not. The Democrats were elected to a majority and discovered “Business as Usual” was a good thing. As a result, Congressional Approval Ratings stand at the 20% level. That’s at least 10 points BEHIND President Bush. If a candidate got only 1 out of every 5 votes cast, it would be called a crushing landslide defeat.There are several issues contributing to these poor numbers. The Iraq War, Ethics in Government and something called Earmarks. Earmarks are defined by the Government Office of Management and Budget (OMB) thus:
“OMB defines earmarks as funds provided by the Congress for projects or programs where the congressional direction (in bill or report language) circumvents the merit-based or competitive allocation process, or specifies the location or recipient, or otherwise curtails the ability of the Administration to control critical aspects of the funds allocation process.”
Sounds a lot like Government Double Speak. The essence is that restrictions are placed on some of the money appropriated for a project which benefits only a few (”Special Interests”). (IE A bridge to Nowhere which benefits 50 people or funding for redundant/unnecessary “Home District” projects) Voters generally do not like this waste of taxpayers dollars- our money. To make matters worse, these Earmarks (Pork) were usually added to bills and voted on in Congress without disclosure to the House Members. Who requested the Earmark and for what purpose is generally not revealed until after passage of the bill to which it is attached and therefore too late to be changed. This is the way the Previous Congress acted and was something the Democrats promised to change once they took control.

I’m not arguing that Earmarks need to be eliminated. But non-transparent Earmarks are Pork. It is Pork which should be eliminated. Don’t the Taxpayers have a right to know how their money is spent? Every single penny of it? Yes, and there is some change being made which indicates a reason for hope and help. Recently some State Elected Officials (Legislators, Treasurers, Governors etc.) have been elected because they promised to disclose formerly hidden expenditures. Pork Project by KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL in today’s on-line issue of the OpinionJournal of the Wall Street Journal details some of this State Leadership. Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Hawaii have enacted legislation which makes Government Spending more transparent. There are at least 10 other states which are in the process of enacting similar transparency legislation. Congress should take notice. Again, Earmarks don’t need to be eliminated. But they do need to be visible. Visible not just to the Congressional Members Before they Vote, but also to all taxpayers. Visible so we the Taxpayers who ultimately foot the bill can see where this Pork goes. Bringing the waste in Government to the light of day, may cause our Government to be better Stewards of our money.

The Democrats have not lived up to their promises and if they expect to be re-elected, they must. Personally I’m for term limits, but that’s a subject for another time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More Global Warming er...COOLING

Recently I wrote a post linking to an article in the Australian Newspaper the "Courier Mail". This article explained some reasons why the current "Global Warming is an immediate threat" crowd might be wrong. Another article published Today in the on-line "Canadian Financial Post" suggests we should be more concerned about the threat of Global Cooling. The article titled Read the sunspots, by Dr. R. Timothy Patterson, Ph.D. is part of a series of articles called Climate Change: The Deniers.

Dr. Patterson reminds us that:
"We are assured by everyone from David Suzuki to Al Gore to Prime Minister Stephen Harper that "the science is settled." At the recent G8 summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel even attempted to convince world leaders to play God by restricting carbon-dioxide emissions to a level that would magically limit the rise in world temperatures to 2C."
But is it really settled? Dr. Patterson and I agree that question should be answered with a resounding NO! As the author states in the article Climate stability has never been a feature of planet Earth. The Global Warming measures Political Types want us to institute are going to be very costly and we can't even be sure that they will work. Why? because we still don't understand the mechanics of Global Climate Change. The old "If you don't like the Weather, wait 5 minutes" is as true today as it was centuries ago. Unfortunately the Global Warming supporters for the most part will not listen to opposing view points. Their minds are already made up and they act like they don't want to be confused by any facts which don't agree with their conclusion. Therefore, to them the matter is settled. For the record, Al Gore declared the "Fact of Global Warming Settled" in 1992.
"Climate-change research is now literally exploding with new findings. Since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the field has had more research than in all previous years combined and the discoveries are completely shattering the myths. For example, I and the first-class scientists I work with are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising. The sun and the stars are the ultimate source of all energy on the planet."
Before we go much further, I should probably point out that Dr. R. Timothy Patterson, Ph.D. is professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University. He is therefore somewhat familiar with his subject and has been studying Climate Issues since 1998. Mr. Patterson's article describes that he got involved in Global Climate predictions and observations by looking at the mud in the bottom of a fjord. His findings include a
... 62-year slice of the record at about 4,400 years ago, there was a shift in climate in only a couple of seasons from warm, dry and sunny conditions to one that was mostly cold and rainy for several decades.
Climate change is not yet understood enough to panic, but we do know from the historical analysis of the fjord bottom, that the past has involved many changes in Earth's temperature. These temperatures have been shown to be as much as 6C (10.8F) warmer and cooler than what we are currently experiencing. And while this does not mean we should do nothing, It does indicate we should not make a drastic costly irreversible decisions.
"But the science of global climate change is still in its infancy, with many thousands of papers published every year. In a 2003 poll conducted by German environmental researchers Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, two-thirds of more than 530 climate scientists from 27 countries surveyed did not believe that "the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases." About half of those polled stated that the science of climate change was not sufficiently settled to pass the issue over to policymakers at all."
So Dr. Patterson believes that the Sun is the most significant factor involved in the prediction of Earth's Climate Change. While not the only indicators, Sunspots and Solar Flare activity are events which most closely correspond with periods of Global Climate Change. He does not believe we have enough information to make rational decisions as yet. I will leave you with this final quote form Dr. Patterson's article.
"Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world. [Emphasis Mine]

Previous Posts on Global Warming
Global Warming is A Hot Topic

Who's Responsible For the Middle-East Mess?

We all have the tendency to form opinion and draw instant conclusions based on personal knowledge, experience and emotion. Especially in current negative situations, the charge "It happened on his Watch" is often the emotionally and political charged method for blame assessment and finger pointing. This does not rely, for the most part, on the logic of Historical perspective. And to get to the truth demands a deeper investigation with historical analysis.. The Root Cause of a situation needs to be determined first. "What ENABLED it to happen on his Watch?" requires an answer before pointing that finger. History reveals that the events we experience today, were enabled by many years of foundation. When applied to Real World Events, unless we take a step back, too often we cannot see the Forrest for the trees, and the past for the present.

Logic dictates that we also remember 9-11 happened less than 9 months after President Bush took office. The planning for 9-11, started shortly after the 1st World Trade Center bombing in 1993. The terrorists considered it a failure because the bomb did not produce enough destruction. However, that 1st attack was not the beginning of Terror attacks aimed at the US and the West in general. When did the enabling of Terror activities really begin? And especially important is when did they begin in the Middle East and why? Those are the real questions which must be answered before we can deal with the present situation. History of the conflicts, cultures and the political views of the principals will also be necessary to understand how a permanent solution can be achieved. What role did the US Play in this enabling and what should our Role be Now?

It appears to me that a majority of the Liberals are under 40, many even younger. What part does the left's great majority of youth play in the "It's all Bush's fault" cry? The Democrats say that Bush (and by association Republicans) own the Iraq War and that the Global War on Terror is a "Bumper Sticker". After all the Middle East Mess happened on George Bush's Watch. Could it be that this young crowd needs to step back and look at history?

Iraq and the Iraq war are only a part of the Middle East unrest. The Middle East is composed of a number of countries. Among them are major players Iraq, Iran and Israel. It may come as a surprise to many, that President George Bush did not enable the Middle East unrest, but he did and is paying the price for the actions of past US Presidents. Jimmy Carter in particular! President Carter allowed Iran to develop terrorism and export it to the rest of the Middle East.

To remember Jimmy Carter's Presidency, (1977-1981) you are probably over 40. So when we are presented with historical facts as they happened "On Carter's Watch", a connection to Today's Middle East Crisis can easily be observed. These facts are presented today in the on-line version of The JERUSALEM POST article by Michael D. Evans titled "Father of the Iranian revolution".

Carter viewed Khomeini as more of a religious holy man in a grassroots revolution than a founding father of modern terrorism. Carter's ambassador to the UN, Andrew Young, said "Khomeini will eventually be hailed as a saint." Carter's Iranian ambassador, William Sullivan, said, "Khomeini is a Gandhi-like figure." Carter adviser James Bill proclaimed in a Newsweek interview on February 12, 1979 that Khomeini was not a mad mujahid, but a man of "impeccable integrity and honesty."

From this article, we learn that Jimmy Carter's policies and support is the root cause of the situation today. These quotes from history are amazing and further emphasise the importance of candidate substance. The effect of electing (and even more basic nominating) the right candidate is so important. America is the most powerful nation in the World. We must demand from our leaders only the best. More important, WE MUST ELECT THE BEST!

Jimmy Carter became the poster boy for the ideological revolution of the 1960s in the West, hell bent on killing the soul of America. The bottom line: Carter believed then and still does now is that evil really does not exist; people are basically good; America should embrace the perpetrators and castigate the victims.

Mr. Carter continues to get it wrong. He appears to believe that Diplomacy alone can solve all problems. This is a former Naval Officer who has said the the Revolutionary War was not necessary. We could have negotiated diplomatically with King George.

Carter's belief that every crisis can be resolved with diplomacy - and nothing but diplomacy - now permeates the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, Carter is wrong.

There are times when evil must be openly confronted and defeated.

Read the article. It is well worth the effort and time if you wish to understand the current Middle East and how important it is to get it right for our future. Whatever your beliefs about Iraq, the most important consideration is where do we go from here, because actions do have consequences.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Imported Terrorists

Brian Ross of is reporting exclusively that al Qaeda has graduated a class of Suicide Bomb Terrorists. These terrorists are to go home to Britain, Germany and the US where they will then blow themselves up. In response US intelligence officials claim this is sophisticated propaganda. Propaganda, designed to recruit more al Qaeda members.
"A Pakistani journalist was invited to attend and take pictures as some 300 recruits, including boys as young as 12, were supposedly sent off on their suicide missions.”
Assuming what these intelligence officials say is true, we face no additional real threat from this graduation. But one threat we do face from Terrorists is complacency. No Terror plots since 9-11 has been allowed to happen in this country. Several have been thwarted in the planning stages, however.

But what if some of these graduates do return to America? We can hope that those Federal, State and Local agencies, which have protected us from a successful attack, do their job again.

The left is already claiming that no terrorists would be coming to the US if President Bush had not invaded Iraq. Those filled with BDS are blind to the fact that US Embassy Bombings were the result of Terrorist action against the US, The 1st World Trade Center Bombing in 1993, the Bombing of the USS Cole and 9-11 all took place prior to our invasion of Iraq. It is an unfortunate fact that no matter what happens somehow President Bush is to blame.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Why Do Lawyers Have Such A Bad Image

Because of things like a $67 Million law suit (reduced to only $54 Million) over a pair of pants. In Today's Featured Article of the OpinionJournal of the Wall Street Journal, WALTER OLSON's article titled The Great American Pants Suit is a sad commentary of the Legal Profession. I am sure that this suit will provide further proof to the general public of the very things they don't like about attorneys. This view is further enhanced by a legal system which did not dismiss the whole case before it got this far. We have become a country "suit happy" because of the Political Correctness of our Courts.

"It all began two years ago when Mr. [Roy] Pearson walked into Custom Cleaners, a Northeast D.C. establishment owned by Jin Chung, Soo Chung and Ki Chung. He laid down $10.50 to have a pair of pants altered. The results dissatisfied him: The job wasn't finished on time, and he says the pants he was given were someone else's, which the Chungs deny. He demanded $1,150 for a new suit; the Chungs demurred. So it was off to court, with the claimed damages subject to alterations, in an expansive direction."

Read the article to see the creative mathematics Mr. Pearson developed to raise his suit to the ridiculous $67 Million amount. The verdict in this case is due this week. Hopefully common sense will provide a solution to this problem because the defendants have already made a generous offer.
"The Chungs offered Pearson $12,000, which he turned down."

However I believe there is another disgrace exposed by this case - abuse of power. The plaintiff is attorney Roy Pearson, who is an Administrative Law Judge in Washington, D.C. So we not only have another Lawyer, but also a Judge tarnishing the image of the legal profession.

So if you're a member of the Bar, I would suggest you clean-up your house before you complain or take offense to attorney/lawyer jokes. General public considers this whole mess a joke.

Is it any wonder that Jokes like this (and the following) are repeated about the Legal Profession - "By the Way Did You Know there are only 3 Lawyer Jokes - All The Rest Are True Stories."

Global Warming Is A Hot Topic

According to some of the loudest voices, Global Warming is occurring and is going to result in the destruction of earth as we know it. They shout that everyone agrees and all the scientific evidence confirms that Mankind is the cause of Global Warming. Yet the largest group of individual making these claims are not usually qualified by education or experience to comment on climate change. Most are politicians, actors or celebrities who exclaim in the most heated terms and at ear-splitting levels that "IT IS SETTLED". Their cry, to paraphrase Pogo from the Walt Kelly comic strip "We have met the enemy and they are us".

This "Chicken Little" crowd insists that Greenhouse Gases in the form of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) produced by the burning of wood and fossil fuels is causing the largest part of the problem. What they fail to note is that CO2 only accounts for 3-4% of the Greenhouse Gas effect. The largest Greenhouse Gas which does cause Global Warming is Water Vapor. In fact what most studies have shown is there is a saturation level for CO2. Once this saturation level is reached, increasing the level of Carbon Dioxide does not significantly contribute to further Global Warming.

But there is a relatively silent group of scientists and professionals who suggest we wait before making irreversible changes. Why haven't we heard more from them? Why are the loudest voices those who believe that we are doomed unless we act immediately and aggressively to curtail Greenhouse Gases? Consider that the scientific method is taught as the the basis for all scientific endeavors. A scientist is taught to question everything and more importantly to make no claims which the facts do not support.

The "we are doomed" crowd usually also demand that we sign the Kyoto Protocol. The US and Australia are among the countries who have not signed this agreement. Several other countries, like India, have signed, but are exempt from its provisions. Most of the other countries who have signed the Kyoto Agreement have not (or cannot) meet the requirements of the Protocol. Further many Economists believe that severe adverse economic consequences would occur if the US became a signatory and was then required to meet its provisions.

"High price for load of hot air" is an article from the on-line version of the Australian Newspaper "Courier Mail" This article presents some facts and figures from the relatively silent other side of the debate.
"The salient facts are these. First, the accepted global average temperature statistics used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998."
"Second, lower atmosphere satellite-based temperature measurements, if corrected for non-greenhouse influences such as El Nino events and large volcanic eruptions, show little if any global warming since 1979..."
Then the "Courier Mail" article contains this:
"Third, there are strong indications from solar studies that Earth's current temperature stasis will be followed by climatic cooling over the next few decades.". [Emphasis Mine]
I am one who believes Mankind does contribute to Global Warming, but I do not think we have enough scientific evidence to make sound judgments at this point. We need to do more research to understand our Earth. Our history of temperature is a few centuries. When compared to a couple million years of Earth, this is a drop in the bucket. So what can I point to which will show the Climate Changes we are now experiencing are more normal than abnormal? Greenland was named because it was Green. Some areas of the Earth now far from the Tropics were once just that. The archaeological evidence does show that the Earth has been up to 5 degrees warmer than it is currently. Signs to counter the panic of Global Warming are available. To find them requires a little searching and study. Read the article.

In conclusion what should we do? Study and Observe, but do not panic. There is nothing wrong with taking whatever steps we can now, so long as the impact is not greater than the benefit.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

Especially to Military Fathers - HAPPY FATHERS DAY

Friday, June 15, 2007

Senator Lieberman's Iraq

Senator JOSEPH LIEBERMAN has an informative and interesting article today on the Editorial Page of the On-Line Opinion Journal of the Wall Street Journal. “What I Saw in Iraq” paints a far different picture of the events at the scene than is normally heard from the “Surrender Liberals”.
“I recently returned from Iraq and four other countries in the Middle East, my first trip to the region since December. In the intervening five months, almost everything about the American war effort in Baghdad has changed, with a new coalition military commander, Gen. David Petraeus; a new U.S. ambassador, Ryan Crocker; the introduction, at last, of new troops; and most important of all, a bold, new counterinsurgency strategy.”
Two of the leading Democrats, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, have championed the cry of failure and the “surge” is not working. These irresponsible and dangerous protestations are not founded according to Senator Lieberman. He does note with cautious optimism that it is still too early to claim victory, but is enthusiastic when comparing his previous December 2006 visit with the one he just completed. In the five months between these visits, he points to quite a few specific examples of reason to give our Military and Diplomatic Policies a chance to prove the gloom and doom supporters wrong.
Senator Lieberman also refutes the claim that there is no tie between Iraq and al Qaeda. Six months ago only about half of the tribes in Ramadi supported the coalition. Today all do. This is real progress and is the kind of action, which will enable the Military to insure the Political part of the process, has a chance of succeeding.
“The officials I met in Baghdad said that 90% of suicide bombings in Iraq today are the work of non-Iraqi, al Qaeda terrorists. In fact, al Qaeda's leaders have repeatedly said that Iraq is the central front of their global war against us. That is why it is nonsensical for anyone to claim that the war in Iraq can be separated from the war against al Qaeda--and why a U.S. pullout, under fire, would represent an epic victory for al Qaeda, as significant as their attacks on 9/11.” [Emphasis mine]
The Senator also revels the involvement of Iran in the unrest in Iraq. Iran has a very heavy hand in the violence, and the results of a precipitous withdrawal of the Military.
"The precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces would not only throw open large parts of Iraq to domination by the radical regime in Tehran, it would also send an unmistakable message to the entire Middle East--from Lebanon to Gaza to the Persian Gulf where Iranian agents are threatening our allies--that Iran is ascendant there, and America is in retreat. One Arab leader told me during my trip that he is extremely concerned about Tehran's nuclear ambitions, but that he doubted America's staying power in the region and our political will to protect his country from Iranian retaliation over the long term. Abandoning Iraq now would substantiate precisely these gathering fears across the Middle East that the U.S. is becoming an unreliable ally."
I agree with those who say a Military Solution in Iraq is not possible. But to leave with the idea that I am part of the Liberal defeatists would be to take that incomplete thought out of context. The responsible supporters of the Global War on Terror follow that first statement with a second. To wit: But a strong Military is necessary to allow the Political Solution and Peace to grow. Order is the part of a Democracy that allows Political Dialog to rule.
As Senator Lieberman points out it is very early, but successes and victory is possible. Iraq’s Leaders expect to pass some key Legislative Benchmarks by the end of summer.
"Here, too, however, a little perspective is useful. While benchmarks are critically important, American soldiers are not fighting in Iraq today only so that Iraqis can pass a law to share oil revenues. They are fighting because a failed state in the heart of the Middle East, overrun by al Qaeda and Iran, would be a catastrophe for American national security and our safety here at home. [Emphasis mine] They are fighting al Qaeda and agents of Iran in order to create the stability in Iraq that will allow its government to take over, to achieve the national reconciliation that will enable them to pass the oil law and other benchmark legislation."
I encourage you to read the entire piece. Senator Joe Lieberman incorporates a lot of additional 1st hand, on the ground observations from his recent visit.
A final note about Senator Harry Reid. If Senator Reid made the claim that General Peter Pace and/or General David Petraeus is/are incompetent is extremely irresponsible. Senator Reid voted to confirm General Petraeus. Hypocritical is too kind a term to be applied to a statement of this kind.

Update: Reid's Approval Rating is 19%. President Bush is at 32%.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fly It With Pride

Today is FLAG DAY.

Iraq Good News

Our Common Struggle”is an interesting article at the on-line Opinion Journal of the Wall Street Journal by BY NOURI AL-MALIKI. In this article the Iraq Prime Minister expresses some of his ideas and problems faced by present day Iraq and recognizes our contribution to the struggle.

“Daily we still fight the battle for our security. We lose policemen and soldiers to the violence, as do the multinational forces fighting along our side. We are training and equipping a modern force, a truly national and neutral force, aided by our allies. This is against the stream of history here, where the armed forces have traditionally been drawn into political conflicts and struggles. What gives us sustenance and hope is an increase in the numbers of those who volunteer for our armed forces, which we see as proof of the devotion of our people to the stability and success of our national government.”

We still have a long way to go, but at least this is a start. The Prime Minister ends with this:

“Our message has been the same to one and all: We will not permit Iraq to be a battleground for other powers. In the contests and ambitions swirling around Iraq, we are neutral and dedicated to our country’s right to prosperity and a new life, inspired by a memory of a time when Baghdad was–as Washington is today–a beacon of enlightenment on which others gazed with admiration. We have come to believe, as Americans who founded your country once believed, that freedom is a precious inheritance. It is never cheap but the price is worth paying if we are to rescue our country.”

I believe in this venture and I hope the American Public will give Mr. Maliki the chance to the success his words embody.

Photo IDs For Voters - We Need This

According to most polls, a majority of American Citizens want fraud-free Elections. They overwhelmingly approve of Photo ID Voter Cards as one method to insure fraud is minimized in the Election Booth. In today’s on-line article in the “Opinion Journal of the Wall Street Journal”, read John Fund’s Vote-Fraud Demagogues part of which I have quoted.
“One reason for such large public support is that the potential for fraud is real. Many people don’t trust electronic voting machines. And in recent years Democratic candidates have leveled credible accusations of voter fraud in mayoral races in Detroit, East Chicago, Ind., and St. Louis.”
Critics of Photo verification claim the poor and minorities would be disenfranchised because they would find it hard to obtain a Photo ID.

Hogwash! Apparently these people do not drive or cash checks. In many states there is a nominal fee for the issuance of a State Photo ID. Provisions have even been made for those who cannot afford this small fee. Further provisions have been made in some cases to arrange convenient locations and possible home visits to insure that every person who is eligible can become a registered voter. As a further safeguard against Voter Registration Fraud, Provisional Voting allows all persons who have questionable eligibility to vote and be counted.

I speak from experience as an Election Judge when I state that I do not personally know all the registered voters in my precinct. Hopefully at least one of the other four Judges does know each person who presents themselves to cast a ballot. But in the Real World, other factors influence this recognition equation. First, due to apathy, ability, willingness and other reasons, there is a shortage of Election Judges. Second, due to these shortages, an Election Judge may serve outside their home Precinct. These two factors contribute to the perpetuation of certain types of Election Fraud. A PHOTO ID would make the voting process less fraud prone.

How serious is voter fraud? Consider this statement from the above referenced article.
“Last week, election officials in San Antonio, Texas determined that 330 people on their voter rolls weren’t citizens and that up to 41 of them may have voted illegally, some repeatedly. In 2004, San Antonio was the scene of a bitter dispute in which Democratic Rep. Ciro Rodriguez charged his primary opponent with voter fraud.”
How did they find these people? In Texas Jury Duty notices come from the list of Eligible Voters! Many of these 330 people were not even citizens of the USA!
We must allow all eligible voters to vote, but only those eligible should select their Government Voices.

ACLU is on The Attack Again

On the editorial page of the on-line “Opinion Journal of the Wall Street Journal” is an article which further tries to chip away at our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness as guaranteed by the Constitution.

“On May 30, 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., a Boeing subsidiary specializing in air flight planning services, in the federal district court in northern California. The suit alleges that Jeppesen provided air flight services to the CIA as part of the agency’s “extraordinary rendition” program, through which the three plaintiffs–citizens of Ethiopia, Italy and Egypt–were supposedly transferred to Pakistani, Moroccan and Egyptian custody, where they were wrongfully imprisoned and abused, up to and including torture.”

In the article “Divide and Litigate” DAVID B. RIVKIN JR. AND LEE A. CASEY describe this suit as based on the very narrowly interpreted 1789 Alien Tort Statute.

If successful, we will have another restriction on our ability to guarantee our Freedoms. However, even if this case is eventually dismissed, We the People will have spent resources and time which could and should be used to protect our freedoms for all to enjoy.

It appears to me that those who would like nothing better than to cause the collapse of our values have become very adept at using our freedoms against us to cause this collapse.

History Lesson

Three Thousand Five Hundred Twelve* US Fatalities in Iraq as of June 11, 2007. Many would say this is reason enough to withdraw from Iraq, soon if not now. To them I would suggest a little reading of US History. I write this because if we had applied this same standard to our History of Conflicts, we would not be what we are today. History shows the worst thing we could do is to pullout too soon because of this number.

Before anyone gets too excited about my insensitivity to this horrible loss, let me make clear that our Military Fatalities in Combat against our enemy in Iraq is not a trivial matter. The nature of the enemy in this conflict dictates that we will suffer some losses, and I believe that our President and Military Leaders have done a fantastic job of minimizing our losses. Now it is up to us to insure that these deaths were not in vain.

Fifty-one Months ago we began fighting the Global War on Terror in Iraq. From March 2003 to June 2007 as I noted above we have lost 3,512* US service men and women. But here are some other Historical facts. In the 80 months of the Revolutionary War we suffered 4,435** Combat Deaths and another 20,889*** Indian scouts, private militia, civilians fighting with Army or Navy. In the 48 Months of the Civil War the Union recorded 359,528** Deaths while the Confederates recorded another 198,524** Fatalities. That’s 558,052** Deaths in this nations bloodiest Conflict. In the 19 Months of WW I, we lost 116,708** while during the 44 Months of WW II there were 407,316** deaths. Korea added 33,651** Combat Deaths and in Vietnam another 58,168** American Military lost their lives. We won those conflicts (except Vietnam) because we didn’t loose our nerve. Because we knew the sacrifice was worth the peace and security we enjoy today.

We just marked the 63rd anniversary of D-Day. On that ONE DAY, June 6, 1944, The Allies suffered approximately 2,400 Killed in Action of which 1,465 were Americans***. We endured those losses because we knew we had to. We must prevail, We must not give up and most of all we must honor those 3,512 young men and women by completing the job of securing the peace.

Ours is an all-volunteer Military. Except for a few senior NCOs and Officers, all joined the military knowing they would surely see action in Iraq or Afghanistan. They all want to finish the job. They will not loose, unless we loose our nerve and resolve. They know you can’t support the troops unless you also support the mission.

* US Deaths Confirmed By the Department of Defense: 3,506; Reported U.S. Deaths Pending Department of Defense Confirmation: 6; Total: 3,512
** Sources: Table 2-23: “Principal Wars in which the US Participated: US Military Personnel Serving and Casualties” prepared by Washington Headquarters Services, Directorate for Information Operations and Reports. US Department of Defense Records