Thursday, June 30, 2005

 

The Democratic Strategy Is All Negative

For themselves, for Republicans and for America

A Democratic Party poll shows their own public standing has weakened more than that of the Republicans:
A poll on the political mood in the United States conducted by the Democratic Party has alarmed the party at its own loss of popularity.

Conducted by the party-affiliated Democracy Corps, the poll indicated 43 percent of voters favored the Republican Party, while 38 percent had positive feelings about Democrats.

"Republicans weakened in this poll ... but it shows Democrats weakening more," said Stanley Greenberg, who served as President Clinton's pollster.

Greenberg told the Christian Science Monitor he attributes the slippage to voters' perceptions that Democrats have "no core set of convictions or point of view."
This last part is incorrect. With total conviction, Democrats believe Republicans are wrong - even evil. From a status quo point of view completely devoid of new ideas, they offer no plausable alternatives to Republican policies. They are completely out of touch with the country as a whole. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley noticed this long ago and he's thoroughly disgusted by the current situation:
Daley seldom speaks out publicly about his party. He did in April 1995 when I visited his office. He told me then that Democrats had become the party of ''Washington,'' ''the bureaucrats'' and ''the special interests,'' and now constituted the ''pro-tax party.'' When I so quoted him in a column, however, Daley complained he had no idea his comments to me would be made public.

Recently, on my first visit to the mayor's inner sanctum in more than 10 years, there was no chance for a similar misunderstanding. Daley press secretary Jacquelyn Heard was there this time and made clear our informal conversation was off the record. But what he said was, in many respects, a repeat of his remarks a decade ago. In his view, the Democratic Party had not changed for the better.

I cleared some of his comments for publication. ''All the Democrats [in Congress] say is 'No, no, no!' '' the mayor said. ''Why can't we have an energy program?'' And later, in an almost word-for-word repetition of his 1995 comments, Daley told me: ''We are a Washington party. We have no farm system. The Republicans do, and we don't.''
The Democratic strategy of obstructionism combined with relentless partisan attack, while damaging to both parties, is really hurting America most of all.

 

U.S. & India Sign Major Defense Pact

The US and India have signed a 10-year agreement to strengthen defence ties. The "New Framework for the US-India Defense Relationship" (NFDR) was signed this week by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and India's Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee. In an excellent analysis, Joe Katzman explains why this "is a big deal. A very big deal."
Under the NFDR, Washington has offered high-tech cooperation, expanded economic ties, and energy cooperation. It will also step up a strategic dialogue with India to boost missile defense and other security initiatives, launch a 'defense procurement and production group,' and work to cooperate on military 'research, development, testing and evaluation.'
----------------
Furthermore, the MFDR envisages joint and combined exercises and exchanges between both sides, naval pilot training... and increased cooperation in the areas of worldwide peacekeeping operations and expansion of interaction with other nations "in ways that promote regional and global peace and stability."
We are currently India's largest trading partner and Indians geneally have a favorable opinion of America. Our strategic interests are converging and ties between the two countries are blossoming on many different levels, as US Ambassador to India Robert D. Blackwill noted in 2003:
With respect to overlapping vital national interests, my big three for the next decade andbeyond are to promote peace and freedom in Asia; to combat international terrorism about which more later; and to slow the spread of weapons of mass destruction. It is difficult for me-- and this is a momentous strategic reality - to think of any nations other than India and the United States that will face to the same intense degree all three of these intense challenges simultaneously in the period ahead. Let me repeat them. Advancing Asian stability based on democratic values. Confronting daily the threat of international terror. Slowing the further spread of weapons of mass destruction. This daunting trio will be an encompassing foundation for US-India strategic cooperation for many years to come.

Regarding people-to-people connections, allow me to give you just a few statistics. Since Iarrived in India, the US consular sections in Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai have issued more than a half a million business and tourist visas. And, please listen carefully, the overall visa issuance rate for India is the same today as it was before 9/11, and there are no long visa lines at US diplomatic facilities in India.

In addition, India has become the second greatest source of legal immigration to the United States, second only to Mexico. This is not a one-way flow. In 2002, our consular sections registered more than 5,000 new Americans in India, and the total number of US citizens inIndia is more than 65,000. Last year, India became the single largest source of foreign students in the United States, over 66,000. This number of Indian students has grown by fifty per cent in the past 24 months. In 2002, India was second only to Germany as the country of choice for American senior scholars seeking Fulbright grants to study overseas. And we all know the extraordinary and growing contributions Indian Americans are making to US society.
India is all but certain to become our most important bilateral relationship in the not too distant future. President Bush deserves much of the credit for recognizing this and doing something about it that will have beneficial long-term concequences for America's world wide security interests.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

 

Iran's New President

"The Terminator" to export 'New Islamic Revolution' worldwide?

Bakutoday.net reports on a post-election speech given by Iran's president elect Mahmood Ahmadinejad:
Iran's president elect Mahmood Ahmadinejad hailed his election triumph as a new Islamic revolution that could spread throughout the world, in a shift away from previously moderate post-vote rhetoric.

Iran's president elect Mahmood Ahmadinejad hailed his election triumph as a new Islamic revolution that could spread throughout the world, in a shift away from previously moderate post-vote rhetoric.

"Thanks to the blood of the martyrs, a new Islamic revolution has arisen and the Islamic revolution of 1384 (the current Iranian year) will, if God wills, cut off the roots of injustice in the world," the IRNA agency quoted the ultra-conservative as saying.

"The era of oppression, hegemonic regimes, tyranny and injustice has reached its end," he said, in an apparent reference to Iran's arch-foe the United States. "The wave of the Islamic revolution will soon reach the entire world,"
Iran Focus provides some background info on President-elect Ahmadinejad:
Former OSU (Office for Strengthening of Unity Between Universities and Theological Seminaries) officials involved in the takeover of the U.S. embassy said Ahmadinejad was in charge of security during the occupation, a key role that put him in direct contact with the nascent security organizations of the clerical regime and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, which he later joined.

After the 444-day occupation of the U.S. embassy, Ahmadinejad joined the special forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office, based in Evin Prison. The “Revolutionary Prosecutor” was Assadollah Lajevardi, who earned the nickname the Butcher of Evin after the execution of thousands of political dissidents in the 1980s.

Defectors from the clerical regime’s security forces have revealed that Ahmadinejad led the firing squads that carried out many of the executions. He personally fired coup de grace shots at the heads of prisoners after their execution and became known as “Tir Khalas Zan” (literally, the Terminator).
Via In The Bullpen

Sounds like this guy belongs at GITMO rather than presiding over a country on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons, and the sooner the better.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

 

Liberals & Terrorism

A criminal misunderstanding

Peter Huessy comments on Karl Rove's remarks:
Was Mr. Rove out of line? Remarkably, he probably understated the case. On Nov. 10, 1998, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was asked what we should do about the declaration of war by Osama bin Laden against the United States. A properly executed indictment, she said. About as useful as indicting Emperor Hirohito the day after Pearl Harbor.

Fast forward to January 2004, when current Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean was asked how we should deal with bin Laden. Mr. Dean explained we shouldn't prejudge the issue until a jury had rendered a verdict at the end of a criminal trial.
He goes on to cite several more examples of judicial and international legal foolishness advocated by liberals.

Liberals just don't understand that the war on terror isn't a matter of justice or law enforcement - it's a desperate fight for survival. It seems their mindset precludes them from even fathoming a proper war strategy. Unless the Democrats come to understand this, they'll never again be trusted with power.

 

Liberals & Patriotism

"Progressive" values trump American security

Ace of Spaces HQ reader Geoff postsed the following observation:
The problem with the liberal concept of 'patriotism' is that they are patriotic only to their personal conception of what the country should be. This renders the idea of patriotism meaningless - it is trivial to say that one has a loyalty to one's own world views. Their unbridled criticism results, then, from the failure of the country to satisfy their individual tenets about what it should be.

The conservative idea of patriotism is more externalized - love of country as it is, even when it doesn't match up to our notions of what it should be. This tempers the criticism from the right, and provides a natural unity and cohesion (called 'marching in lockstep' by our friends on the left).

The left is like the naive bride who marries a guy presuming that she can change him into someone she can love. The right is the bride who decides that she loves him, warts and all.
For far too many liberals, advancing their own ideology takes precedence over defending the country; America simply must become a more "progressive" society whatever the cost. Moreover, a significant minority of liberals feels strongly that the America of the present - the America which actually exists - is unworthy of being defended at all.

Monday, June 27, 2005

 

Al Jazeera to reconnoiter US/Mexican border?

The Bush administration cannot allow this to happen:
The Arab TV news network criticized by the new Iraqi government and others for its anti-American bias and willingness to carry the messages of terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, is headed for the U.S.-Mexico border to document how easy it is to enter America illegally.

Friday, June 24, 2005

 

Karl Rove Speaks The Truth

Karl Rove explains the differences between Conservatives and Liberals:
Conservatives believe in lower taxes; liberals believe in higher taxes. We want few regulations; they want more. Conservatives measure the effectiveness of government programs by results; liberals measure the effectiveness of government programs by inputs. We believe in curbing the size of government; they believe in expanding the size of government. Conservatives believe in making America a less litigious society; liberals believe in making America a more litigious society. We believe in accountability and parental choice in education; they don't. Conservatives believe in advancing what Pope John Paul II called a "culture of life"; liberals believe there is an absolute unlimited right to abortion.

But perhaps the most important difference between conservatives and liberals can be found in the area of national security. Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. In the wake of 9/11, conservatives believed it was time to unleash the might and power of the United States military against the Taliban; in the wake of 9/11, liberals believed it was time to… submit a petition. I am not joking. Submitting a petition is precisely what Moveon.org did. It was a petition imploring the powers that be" to "use moderation and restraint in responding to the… terrorist attacks against the United States."

...MoveOn.Org, Michael Moore and Howard Dean may not have agreed with this, but the American people did. Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said: we will defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said: we must understand our enemies. Conservatives see the United States as a great nation engaged in a noble cause; liberals see the United States and they see … Nazi concentration camps, Soviet gulags, and the killing fields of Cambodia.

Has there been a more revealing moment this year than when Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, speaking on the Senate floor, compared what Americans had done to prisoners in our control at Guantanamo Bay with what was done by Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot - three of the most brutal and malevolent figures in the 20th century?

Let me put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts to the region the words of Senator Durbin, certainly putting America's men and women in uniform in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals.
Other than the remark about therapy, he's absolutely right. GOP.com has the proof.

It seems obvious that Rove's intent was to highlight the fact that liberals in general and Democrats in particular refuse to (cannot?) disavow or in any way distance themselves from the loony Left and seem to relish providing al Qaeda with propaganda material.

Predictably, Democrats are furious.

In a great post, Brian at Blue State Conservatives gets it right:
Surely Democrats like Durbin, Kerry, and Kennedy know this (turning America against the war by constantly disparaging it) will happen. They lived through it 30 years ago. They saw the outcome of their charges. Why would they expect a different response this time around? Either they are insane (Doing the same thing and expecting different results) and care nothing for our troops well being or they want the war in Iraq and Afghanistan to fail. Maybe both. What other reasons can their be? I'm all ears.

...Roves' decision to add Durbin into the liberal looney bin is completely fair. Why would someone who loves the military and our troops liken them to Nazis? It makes no sense. Durbin knows he's under a microscope, yet he and many of his colleagues continue with ad hominem attacks against the President, against Gitmo, and against our troops.

So what was Karl speaking about when he said, "No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals"? I believe he meant the motives of liberals are their own. Whatever their motives are, they take presidence over America's image abroad, and our troops safety.
UPDATE: Michael Barone comments:
One reason that the Democrats are squawking so much about Rove's attack on "liberals" is that he has put the focus on a fundamental split in the Democratic Party -- a split among its politicians and its voters.

On the one hand, there are those who believe that this is a fundamentally good country and want to see success in Iraq. On the other hand, there are those who believe this is a fundamentally bad country and want more than anything else to see George W. Bush fail.

Those who do not think this split is real should consult the responses to pollster Scott Rasmussen's question last year. About two-thirds of Americans agreed that the United States is a fair and decent country. Virtually all Bush voters agreed. Kerry voters were split down the middle.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

 

Court voids private property rights

Transforming the concept of "public use" to mean "public greed"

The US Supreme Court ruled cities may sieze the private property of one person for the purpose of giving it to someone else. The arrogance of this ruling is breathtaking:
Writing for the court, Justice John Paul Stevens said local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community. States are within their rights to pass additional laws restricting condemnations if residents are overly burdened, he said.

"The city has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including-- but by no means limited to-- new jobs and increased tax revenue," Stevens wrote in an opinion joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

"It is not for the courts to oversee the choice of the boundary line nor to sit in review on the size of a particular project area," he said
No kidding. I always thought that it is for the courts to protect the rights of individual citizens from abuses of government power. I guess I was wrong.

In dissent, Justice O'Connor got it right:
Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power. Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded–i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public–in the process. To reason, as the Court does, that the incidental public benefits resulting from the subsequent ordinary use of private property render economic development takings “for public use” is to wash out any distinction between private and public use of property–and thereby effectively to delete the words “for public use” from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Accordingly I respectfully dissent.
UPDATE: Stephen Bainbridge has an excellent column on the matter, which concludes:
One final thought: Reagan appointee Kennedy and Bush 41 appointee Souter voted with the majority, proving once again just how essential it is that Bush 43 pick somebody reliably -- and permanently -- conservative when there's an opening.

 

A good laugh from Bernard Chapin

As I sit here trying to keep my mind occupied I came across this from my fellow blogger at the Daily Cause, Bernard Chapin, in his review of the movie Wedding Date. It caused me to laugh out loud which is exactly what I need right now. Read the whole thing.

Yet, it gets far worse. Mulroney’s character makes one wonder about the rationality of those charmed by Wedding Date. The question, “are logic and reason dead?”, must be posed. Here we have a male escort, read: prostitute, who supposedly offers sex as a secondary element for his business transactions. Maybe it is to his somewhat rare female customers, but it would not be to the 90 to 100 percent of his clientele who happen to be male. It is amazing that Messing falls in love with him yet she never inquires about his bisexuality or homosexuality. It is the fate male gigolos to service males–period. What woman would not be concerned about having a sexual partner with a gay and completely unknown past? Obviously, not Ms. Messing who gets drunk and then proceeds to have unprotected sex with Mulroney on her father-in-law’s boat. Nice!

 

The Flag Burning Amendment

It's a silly idea and a foolish waste of time.

 

The Flypaper Strategy

As al Qaeda brings 'em on, we take 'em off

Some at the BBC apparently believe the flypaper strategy is working. Via Instapundit.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

 

How not to have your first child

My wife has had a very good pregnancy up until today. This morning she woke up and noticed blood and that she was experiencing cramps. She was scheduled to see a doctor today to discuss where she wanted to have her baby. We had gone to see doctors at the local Russian hospital here in Moscow and the American Medical Center. She is registered to live in the town of Saratov so she is supposed to give birth there, however, like everything else in Russia-Rules are for the poor. Her one trip to the hospital in Saratov with its peeling, water damaged walls and nurses incapable of placing an I.V. without hacking up her arm convinced my wife that giving birth in Moscow was the best choice. From the other expats in Moscow I had learned that all the private clinics send their patients to the same hospital so it really did not matter which clinic you went to for prenatal care. I have told my wife to go to the AMC but she had a friend who recommended another clinic. I made my preference known and then shut up. I figured that she and her mother knew Russia much better than I and that they would look to find the best care they could.

I received a call from my wife almost 2 hours after they had left. She had had an emergency C-section, she and the baby were ok and my mother-in-law (MIL) was coming to get me. She sounded very tired so I just confirmed that she was ok and told her I loved her and to go to sleep. I did not know what to do so I went on the internet and read everything I could about premature babies. I discovered that under 37 weeks is considered premature and under 24 weeks is considered a micropreemie. At 32 weeks our daughter will need a respirator for as long as 3 weeks. The cut off for the respirator is around 36 weeks. The biggest difficulties revolve around immature lungs. Preemies over 30 weeks have a 95% chance of survival. (I need to hear the stats in order to make it tangible to me)

I am in an information blackout right now. They are not in the hospital that I had hoped. My MIL told me that my wife is ok but my daughters condition is a mystery. I learned from an expat friend that irresponsive doctors and no visiting hours are typical of a Russian hospitals. Of course, the first few days are critical. So a little info would be nice. Russian hospitals and doctors are not big on service or bedside manner. I am glad I sent my MIL off with a couple hundred dollars which she offered to the surgeon. He did not accept, they are not so crass as to demand payment at the door of the operating room. But bribery is crucial in the care of a Russian patient. If the doctors know that they are going to get paid this assures better service. I would like a it much better if the doctors were motivated by the Hippocratic oath but greed is all we have in Russia. Let's hope greed is good enough.

I promise more information when I get it. I am going to go to the hospital with a fistful of rubles. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Update:

Through an expat friend, Sam, I got the phone number of a nurse who has a friend who works at the hospital my wife and baby are at. Whew! The nurse said that the baby is stable but the next few days are critical. Tomorrow we go to the hospital to talk to the doctors about getting what the baby needs. The reason for this is that they are not likely to have large supplies of medicine on hand so we will get a shopping list of preemie meds. Having a friendly nurse who gives the hospital her approval makes me feel much better. We need to go and make friends with the doctors and nurses (wink, wink) so that they know my girls should get top notch care. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 22nd: My MIL and I visited the hospital. They would not let us into see the baby or my wife. We spoke on the phone and she is walking around, gingerly, and feels better. She said they might let her see the baby and she would call when she did. The hospital is not in the best shape. It is called Imanya Baumanya #29 (Baumann Estate); a.k.a. #29. It is made up of five or six of the rectangular tenements common in Russia. We arrived by taxi and started wondering around trying to find the correct building. The first building we stopped at was the place where my wife and baby are kept. We were allowed to drop off clothes, food, flowers and various things she might be needing at a desk manned by a nice lady with two rotary dial phones and a spreadsheet with the patients names. There were three video phones in this lobby to allow relatives a chance to talk. They didn't work.

The second building we visited was the delivery ward. MIL had made friends with the guard in her three hour stay the day before so he helped us watch over our packages while we waited to talk to the doctor who delivered our baby. (The one hundred rubles didn't hurt either) The doctor said that my wife had Placenta Previa and detachment. She was angry because she has had three other women with the same problem who had had their prenatal treatment at the American Medical Center. Placental Previa is something that should be seen in a sonagram of which we had two at the center. Inna did receive a sonagram early in her pregnancy in Saratov and another, the most recent, at a hospital near us. Two or three sonagrams are normal in a pregnancy that appears normal. Placental Previa is a matter of degree. The placenta does not attach to the top of the uterus likfe normal. Thus it attaches to the side of the uterus and can completely cover the cervix or only partially. Placental detachment seems to be a problem that can occur at any time. Just as it sounds it is when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall. Inna never had a lot of bleeding before yesterday so I doubt that was an ongoing problem. Both Previa and detachment carry the risk of denying oxygen to the baby. Given this it is very understandable why Inna was given the caesarian section, ASAP.

I have a phone call, actually several, into the doctor Inna had seen at the American Medical Center. She got through to me once but her cellphone cut out and she never returned the call despite my calls to the clinic. Her name is Serine Kazaryan. Although we went to the clinic twice Inna only had seen this doctor once. The first time she saw a French man who left between our visit at 12 weeks into the pregnancy and 23 weeks. Inna was not thrilled with Dr Kazaryan so she sought out another doctor for the delivery. If Dr. Kazaryan does not feel my wife is her patient, I can't argue. She didn't want to be. But I think she could at least return a phone call. All I really want is to ask some questions about the extent of the Placental Previa and detachment. The percentages of both will give me an idea of the extent of any damage to Sofia. Not knowing is the worst feeling in the world.

After we spoke with the doctor in charge of delivery we returned to the first building to speak with the doctor who was watching over Sofia. She said that she is critical but stable and that the doctor has decided to move her to a better facility tomorrow morning. Again, the next few days are critical. Again, I could not ask any questions because my Russian is horrible. This whole process is a struggle for information. It took me an hour to translate and find out that the reason for the c-section was Placental Previa and detachment. That is why I need to talk to a doctor who speaks English. Paging Dr. Kazaryan...

Thursday morning: Sofia is being moved this morning to another hospital, Kolomenskii Proezd, which has a more advanced neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). I stayed away because there was not much I could do but get in the way. I am glad to know they think the baby is stable enough to move. I am grasping at any good news, or perception of good news, at this point. My friend John O's mother put me in touch with a friend of hers who is a certified nurse/midwife, her name is Mary and she is a godsend. She answered many of my questions and greatly reassured me. I spent a most of yesterday afternoon and evening reading about placenta previa and detachment (abruption). Mary helped me fill in the gaps. For one, the abruption, or placental detachment from the uterine wall, could be upto 25% and still supply the baby with enough oxygen to survive for the three hours between the time we first noticed my wife's bleeding and the caesarian section. It is not likely that the abruption was this much because there was not a great deal of blood. My MIL is as strong as a rock but I could tell she is very nervous. She told me something last night which had me very worried. The baby was not born breathing. She needed resuscitation. At 31 weeks this is normal because the babies lungs are not fully developed. Mary assured me that this is not a problem as long as the baby was put on a ventilator which she was. Also, preemies that are born via emergency c-section will be listless. They were perfectly happy to stay in the womb for another 7+ weeks so it is not surprising that they are not excited about leaving early. MIL is still worried after I told her this but less so.

This morning while I slept much better than the night before, MIL went to the first hospital to hand out the-how should I put this-tips that are necessary to insure the medical staffs attention. I cannot say for sure that our baby would not get the best care without a stipend but I am not willing to take that chance. Given the Russian proclivity to stick their hands out at every opportunity, I was not shocked to learn that this would be true at a hospital. In their defense, they are paid very little by the state.

My wife is doing well and I have encouraged her not to worry and not to move. There is the very real risk of hemorrage as a complication to the abruption. She did see the baby and she has blond hair! Inna also said she was crying a lot. I took that as a good sign. She has some energy. From my readings, preemies are prone to over stimulation. Preemie bodies and minds are not developed to the point where they can process all the information and stimulae. They are very quick to cry and their cries are at a higher pitch than a full term infant. It is important not to overstimulate them because this can cause an accelerated heartbeat. The natural regulation of bodily processes need time to develop. More later.

Thursday night: I found out when my MIL returned home that the doctors decided not to move Sofia because she it was too dangerous at this time. Also, my MIL received a call from the babies doctor saying that the baby had had severe lack of oxygen and that brain damage was most likely going to result. I decided at this point I really must speak to the doctors because I had many questions. Nate, a good and true friend, took time off work to come and translate. We waited a little and then went into speak with the Sofia's doctor and with, I believe, the head of obstetrics. I did get most of my questions answered but I got the impression they were not particularly happy about answering them when the head of obstetrics asked me why I wanted to know the answer to a particular question. I think they had expected to give general answers and not be asked what was the percentage of previa (100%) and abruption (unknown but acute, over 50%). Also her heart rate before the c-section was 90 beats/minute and my wife had lost 800 ml. of blood. Then I found out that the baby had experienced hemorrhaging in her lungs which had start overnight. Because of this and the lack of oxygen due to hemorrhaging before birth they did not expect the baby to survive. There was really nothing more I could say after this. It was a very sad moment for all of us.

We left and I sent Nathan back to work while my MIL and I went and visited my wife. She seems to have come to terms with this much better than I have. We did not talk about the future because I can't, I know we will survive I made sure she knew that no matter what we would have each other. I have not given up hope and I believe that from the information I was given that Sofia did not have a severe lack of oxygen. What I have done is realized that there is not much good I can do by interfering with the work that the doctors are doing in that hospital. If there is a obstetrician who can help please let me know. I am very angry with the people at the American Medical Clinic. The doctors at Imenya Baumanya #29 seem to think that the care that my wife received was very poor. I don't know what will come of this and I don't care. I just want my daughter to live.

Friday morning: We found out last night around 10 pm that Sofia had passed away. I want to thank all of you for your support and prayers. I have insisted that an autopsy be performed and we are contacting a friend of my wife's family who is a lawyer in Moscow. There were some mistakes made especially with not correctly diagnosing that my wife had placenta previa. If this had been flagged by any one of the doctors she had seen or during the 4 sonagrams we would have known to watch out for problems and to keep my wife inactive. I will keep you up to date regarding any investigation. We have decided to have Sofia cremated so that we can have her with us. Some day she will be buried close to us. Because of the caesarian section my wife was told that she should not get pregnant for two years. She is young and I am extremely grateful that she came out of this ok. She could have died if the hemorrhaging had not been caught on time. We plan on having many children. Kind love, Bill.

 

This is now...

that was then:

"I call on those who question the motives of the president and his national security advisors to join with the rest of America in presenting a united front to our enemies abroad." -Dick Durbin 1998 (defending Pres. Clinton)

From Ed Driscoll via Michelle Malkin

How the U.S. is perceived at home and abroad is shaped not only by what our government does but also by what our government says. Durbin's recent comments are helping to shape things in a negative way and appear to contradict his statements from 1998. Durbin should decide which side he is on. As of now it appears he is not on our side.


 

Operation Yellow Elephant

Patriotism, Leftist-style

As the military struggles with recruitment, its nice to see some people doing their best to help out:
The objective of Operation Yellow Elephant is to recruit College Republicans and Young Republicans to serve as infantry. They demanded this war and now viciously support it. It's only right that they also experience it.
Jesus' General explains the rationale behind this:
I suppose that a number of you are wondering if I've been co-opted by the French. After all, one could reasonably assume that OPERATION YELLOW ELEPHANT is designed to embarrass College Republicans. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm actually trying to help them.

I learned in the last presidential election the importance of turning a weakness into a strength. I think we were all amazed to see a man who had gone AWOL from an undeployable National Guard unit defeat a decorated war hero because he was perceived to have more credibility as a military commander. We can do the same for the College Republicans.

Their greatest weakness is their almost pathological reluctance to fight in the war they demanded. It makes them look cowardly and hypocritical. That's especially true now that our military is suffering a manpower crisis. It'll take bold action on their part to change that perception. That's a tall order. Boldness is an alien trait to Hawks who are too timid to fight. We'll need to provoke them into defending their honor.
It's touching to see such an expression of compassion for Republicans. Jesus' General must really have their best interests at heart to go to all this trouble. The cogent Leftist perception that Republicans have a pathological reluctance to fight must be dispelled as soon as possible. Thank God somebody aims to light a fire under the wimps who are merely supporting their country's war effort politically.

Sadly, like Howard Dean, this is just another example of a Leftist openly spoiling for a fight with the enemy. What a Patriot.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

 

Gingrich: Senate Should Censure Durbin

Newt Gingrich sent a letter to all U.S. Senators which calls on them to censure Dick Durbin for his slanderous comments on the Senate floor last week. I agree with John Hinderacker:
Gingrich puts the case very well, I think. The argument is a compelling one: if the Senate censures Durbin, it will largely undo the damage that he has done by demonstrating to the terrorists and their allies that Durbin's misguided attack on the U.S. military was an aberration. Moreover, the American people deserve to know who, if anyone, agrees with Durbin's slander of our armed forces, so that when those Senators run for re-election, they can be defeated. Senators should not be able to hide behind a discreet "no comment," as Hillary Clinton has done. This is not a time for our elected officials to be neutral as between the terrorists and the armed forces of the United States.
It is despicable that Democrats are silent on the matter. Durbin should be censured, the sooner the better. The whole country should know how each and every Senator feels about this. And the whole world should know exactly what the Senate thinks of this.

UPDATE: Hugh Hewett analyzes Durbin's remarks in a column entitled Breaking the Durbin Code:
Durbin's argument, coming in this context, implies that the American military has built a global network of Abu Ghraibs/Gitmos, wherein systematic torture of prisoners is taking place, all of it under the control of the United States military. On Tuesday, Durbin referred to the "torture techniques used at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and elsewhere" and by Friday, Durbin was making the argument that Abu Ghraib equals Gitmo openly: "This FBI memo points to it. It is the kind of thing that happened at Abu Ghraib."

Of course Durbin will not segregate the criminal conduct by a handful of out-of-control G.I.'s not acting under orders--and already prosecuted and punished--from the authorized conduct at Gitmo and elsewhere. To do so would be to protect the military's reputation, but it would damage Durbin's agenda of demonizing the war effort. To advance that agenda, Durbin takes a single report from an FBI investigator, inflates its allegations to Abu Ghraib-level criminal conduct, and attributes it to every detention facility used in the war on terror. This is not the simple slander of one interrogator, or one facility.
-------------------------
The election of 2004 might have been the occasion when the Democratic leadership took account of where American public opinion stands on this war. That leadership rejected the results of November because those results rejected them. In response they have upped the rhetoric, intent on a replay of the anti-war movement and rhetoric of the late '60s and early '70s, hopeful of converting Bush to Nixon, and of driving American power back to its own shores. The tactic of demonizing the American military worked then, so it is being replayed now. If this rhetoric is not checked, it is only a matter of time until we have a new John Kerry discussing the "Genghis Khan" tactics of the American military operating in the Middle East.

Durbin's slander was simply a rhetorical bridge too far, but for both the man and his party there are no regrets and no apology. Not one senior Democrat has condemned Durbin's statement. Not one Democratic senator has asked for a caucus meeting.

The difference between 2005 and the Vietnam era, however, lies in the public's appreciation of its soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines, founded in no small part on the public's recognition that the consequences of a collapse of American will in the new millennium will not be millions dead in Europe or Asia, but more Americans dead in America.

 

Memory Hold The Door

The tragic fate of a hero's hero

In a post entitled Memory Hold the Door, Wretchard links to the story of Col. James "Nick" Rowe:
Acting on a request from the North Vietnamese, students in a so-called anti-war organization in the United States researched public records and formulated biographies on Americans captured in Vietnam. After reading Lt. Rowe's biography, his Viet Cong captors became furious. They marched him into a cramped bamboo hut and forced him to sit on the damp clay floor. Several high ranking Viet Cong officials were staring down at Lt. Rowe. They held out a piece of typed onion skin paper.
'The peace and justice loving friends, of the National Liberation Front, who live in America, have provided us with information which leads us to believe you have lied to us,' they informed Lt. Rowe. 'According to what we know, you are not an engineer . . . you have much military experience which you deny . . . You were an officer of the American Special Forces.'
Lt. Rowe sat dumbfounded, unable to comprehend that his own people would betray him. He felt it was over. He had lied to the communists for five years. Worse in their eyes, the Viet Cong had believed him. They had lost face and, for that, he would be punished. Soon after, the Viet Cong Central Committee for the National Liberation Front sent orders to Rowe's camp ordering the cadre to execute the uncooperative American prisoner.

On the day Lt. Rowe was being led to a destination for execution, he and his small group of guards were caught on the edge of an American B-52 saturation bombing raid. The guards scattered, leaving Lt. Rowe with only one. Lt. Rowe knew he had nothing to lose. He bided his time until the remaining guard carelessly moved to Rowe's front, whereupon Lt. Rowe bludgeoned him with a log and escaped. Not only did Lt. Rowe survive his ordeal as a POW, he escaped and emerged stronger than before his capture, more committed to the American ideal and more convinced than ever that what the communists had planned for Vietnam and the world was a blueprint for tyranny and human suffering. Nick Rowe frustrated the communists. They never broke him. They never shook his faith in the American system. He was the quintessential American fighting man, unable to be broken mentally or physically.

The communists, however, never forgot Lt. Nick Rowe. They never forgot the threat men such as he posed to them and their view of world domination. Shortly before 7 a.m. on April 21, 1989, a small white car pulled alongside a gray, chauffeur-driven vehicle in a traffic circle in the Manila suburb of Quezon City. The barrels of an M-16 rifle and a .45-caliber pistol poked out the window of the white car and spit out more than two dozen shots. Twenty-one of them hit the gray car. One of the rounds hit Col. James "Nick" Rowe in the head, killing him instantly. The hooded NPA killers had ties to the communist Vietnamese, Rowe's old enemies in Vietnam. It took the communists nearly 25 years, but they finally silenced Nick Rowe. What they could not do in a jungle cage in South Vietnam's U Minh Forest through torture, intimidation, and political indoctrination, they did with a .45 and an American-made M-16 on the streets of Manila.
I wonder where the NLF's 'peace and justice loving' friends are today. Perhaps working on other betrayals of one kind or another?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

 

I LOVE GITMO

Move America Forward has launched an "I Love Gitmo" campaign. Bumper stickers are $2 apiece. Via JunkYardBlog

Friday, June 17, 2005

 

The Caste System of Chicago Politics

An interesting article about how Chicago city government actually works. Via Capitol Fax

Thursday, June 16, 2005

 

Gitmo & The Left

As usual, its mostly about them

I agree with Ralph Peters:
The demands to shut down our Guantanamo lock-up for terrorists have nothing to do with human rights. They're about punishing America for our power and success.

From our ailing domestic left to overseas America haters, no one really cares about the fate of Mustapha the Murderer or Ahmed the Assassin. The lies told about Gitmo are meant to undercut U.S. foreign policy and embarrass America.
-------------------
You can't negotiate with terrorists. And you cannot reason with ideologues — whether they're Islamist fanatics or pathetic old lefties fishing for a cause to give meaning to squandered lives. Terrorists, French and German neo-Stalinists, and our own democracy-hating intelligentsia aren't interested in facts. It's all about the comfort of belief.
-------------------
No matter what our country does, we will never please a global intelligentsia outraged that all their theories came to nothing. We can't satisfy al Qaeda, and we can't please those discontented souls who need to blame the United States for their personal inadequacies. It's time we stopped trying.

What should our nation's leaders say about Guantanamo and our treatment of captured terrorists? A lot less.

When comments are unavoidable, try this: "We're human. We make mistakes. We fix those mistakes. And we move on. Nothing will divert us from our mission of defeating terror and keeping our country safe."

 

Why I feel good about the Jackson Molestation trial verdict

I think that the vast majority of people who have paid attention to Michael Jackson's antics would are thinking that were there is smoke there is fire. I know I do. But I still feel good about the verdict reached by this jury because it demostrates a few aspects of the American character which I find reassuring.

First of all, I admit that I did not follow the trial more closely than I had to. If the topic of a show I was watching was the trial I would change the channel. Even so, it was impossible not to have some of the details slip into my unconscious mind and the impression I got was that the accuser and his family were a bunch of grifters. Apparently that is the way the jury saw it and they decided that con men (women and children in this case) should not be rewarded eventhough Michael Jackson has become the poster boy ;-) for child molestation. I like the fact that a jury did not want to punish Michael for his past behavior. They stuck to the facts at hand and did not prejudge him. I find this immensely reassuring because, as a conservative, I will always have a little doubt about the ability of the majority of Americans to live up to the ideals set out in the justice system.

The other reason I feel good about this is that by all reasonable standards of behavior Michael Jackson is weird. More than that, he is a black man who is weird. His jury was made up of people who could not have been more different than Michael and they set that aside. It makes me proud to be an American knowing that we are a fairly prejudice free people. Living in Moscow and interacting with Russians, Europeans of all strips and many other nationalities that have gathered in this city I find that Americans enjoy the reputation of being much more likely to be color blind. We are far less class conscious and more likely to judge people by the content of their character.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

 

Speed Cameras Come To Illinois

Somehow I missed this:
Beginning in July the State of Illinois will use speed cameras in areas designated as 'work zones' on major freeways. Anyone caught by the devices will be mailed a $375 ticket for the first offense, but a second ticket will cost $1000 and comes with a 90-day license suspension. Drivers will also receive demerit points against their license, which allows insurance companies to raise their insurance rates. This represents the harshest penalty structure yet for a city using photo enforcement.
Via Omnibus Driver

In a way, I'm glad to see this. A couple of IDOT workers have been killed in construction zones by speeding drivers in recent years and in the past month or so I have driven past the aftermath of three seperate multi-car wrecks - two of which set cars ablaze - in the construction zones of the Bishop Ford and Dan Ryan expressways. All occured early on Sun morning, the obvious best time to use these cameras. I just hope this program isn't extended to include every mile of Chicago area expressways unless the speed limits are raised to more realistic levels.

I'll be very interested to see how this changes driving behavior on the 14 lane Dan Ryan, which is notorious for its lead-footed, lane weaving maniacs and is undergoing 4 years of total reconstruction. My guess is not much. I expect a short-lived revenue bonanza for the state followed by howls of protest that force it to back off.

 

Supreme Inconsistency

The US Supreme Court recently ruled that Texas prosecutors wrongfully excluded African Americans from a jury that convicted Thomas Joe Miller-El of murder and sentenced him to death. John at Discriminations asks:
Why is non-discriminatory race neutrality required for jury selection but not for the selection of college students or employees?
A good question.

Posting about this reminded me of a Wall Street Journal article from a few months back noting several other recent examples of Supreme Court inconsistency.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

 

The Boy hunt continues....



Michael Jackson's lawyer said today that the singer will no longer share his bed with young boys.

What is the over/under for Michael Jackson spending the night with a boy. If it is over 18 months I will take the under.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

 

Mark Steyn on China

Mark Steyn thinks its the Chinese Communists that will ultimately prevent China's rise as a great power:
China hasn't invented or discovered anything of significance in half a millennium, but the careless assumption that intellectual property is something to be stolen rather than protected shows why. If you're a resource-poor nation (as China is), long-term prosperity comes from liberating the creative energies of your people - and Beijing still has no interest in that. If a blogger attempts to use the words "freedom" or "democracy" or "Taiwan independence" on Microsoft's new Chinese internet portal, he gets the message: "This item contains forbidden speech. Please delete the forbidden speech." How pathetic is that? Not just for the Microsoft-spined Corporation, which should be ashamed of itself, but for the Chinese government, which pretends to be a world power but is terrified of words.

Does "Commie wimps" count as forbidden speech, too? And what is the likelihood of China advancing to a functioning modern stand-alone business culture if it's unable to discuss anything except within its feudal political straitjackets? Its speech code is a sign not of control but of weakness; its internet protective blocks are not the armour but the, er, chink.

India, by contrast, with much less ballyhoo, is advancing faster than China toward a fully-developed economy - one that creates its own ideas. Small example: there are low-fare airlines that sell £40 one-way cross-country air tickets from computer screens at Indian petrol stations. No one would develop such a system for China, where internal travel is still tightly controlled by the state. But, because they respect their own people as a market, Indian businesses are already proving nimbler at serving other markets. The return on investment capital is already much better in India than in China.
He concludes:
China won't advance to the First World with its present borders intact. In a billion-strong state with an 80 per cent rural population cut off from the coastal boom and prevented from participating in it, "One country, two systems" will lead to two or three countries, three or four systems. The 21st century will be an Anglosphere century, with America, India and Australia leading the way. Anti-Americans betting on Beijing will find the China shop is in the end mostly a lot of bull.

Friday, June 10, 2005

 

It is official: Censorship

I just received this email from Flickr Support (Flicker Case 15333):

Hi Bill,

Your account was deleted, for offensive materials. Flickr
is *not* the place to host photos like Calvin peeing on the
Qu'ran. You can host your images at Photobucket.com or
Imageshack.com.

Regards,
-Corey


Thanks Corey, please tell me if this is offensive. (URL:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/16327556@N00/17431540/)

P.S. I saved the photo in case you decide to delete it to save yourself embarassment. Also, this humorous take on the Bible was uploaded to your site on June 4th, 2005 by
mr adam g.

Update:

Original post

The strange case of the missing photos

My two posts to the Daily Cause concerning this incident.




 

The strange case of the missing photos

Is Flickr censoring photos?



Yesterday, June 9th, I posted this photo using Flickr.com in this post. It was meant to be tongue-in-cheek like many of my "photoshops". Today I logged onto the blog and found that this photo was missing with the message, "This photo is currently unavailable." Also, missing were every photo that I had ever posted on this blog using Flickr.com; six, in total, including the post at The Daily Cause. I then clicked on the photo which sent me to this message, "This person is no longer active on Flickr." I started using Flickr because I had seen John O post several photos using this service. I had been using Hello but found that were times when photos would inexplicably not load. Flickr requires that you download your photos to their site and then you can post it to your blog. Hello sends the photo directly from your harddrive to your blog.

When I saw the message I went to Flickr.com and when tried to log in I got the message, "The email you've entered isn't in our records. Please try again." (They use your email as a login ID) I found this strange so I looked up the email that Flickr had sent me regarding registration and tried clicking on the link that was provided to confirm my registration and saw this, "The link you followed to confirm the email address didn't work." Next I sent an email to help@flickr.com:

Hello,

I cannot login to my account. My email is XXXXXX What is the problem? All of the photos that I uploaded to your site them downloaded to my blog (http://bdroppings.blogspot.com) show up as a blank screen with the message "The photo is currently unavailable". What is happening?

Thank you,

I am going to wait and see their response before I call this as a case of censorship. I don't think there is a technical problem. The front page of the site mentions nothing and John O's photos show up just fine. I sent this email at 1:21 a.m. CDT so we will see wait happens.

Update:

Original post


Thursday, June 09, 2005

 

The Opening Salvo Of The Lawfare Offensive

If successful, damage to the US war effort could be immense

Mudville Gazette points to yet another important story ignored by our media:
(Spanish) Judge Santiago Pedraz will file a request for interrogation to the United States in accordance with the request established by “Journalists Without Borders.” Pedraz intends to interrogate three American soldiers, Sergeant Thomas Gibson, Captain Philip Wolford and Lt. Colonel Philip de Camp in regards to the death of Spanish reporter Jose Couso. ... Spanish Minster of Justice, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, stated Wednesday that the current administration will help the judge to the extent of its capabilities. Aguilar went on to lament the United States' "resistance" to putting its soldiers under the disposition of "third country," though he stated that this is a "constant element in their foreign policy.";
This is absolutly outrageous! The Bush administration must act swiftly and aggressively to quash this nonsense, lest it set any dangerous precedents. They should make it clear that foreign judges and prosecutors have absolutely no business whatsoever investigating matters such as these and forcefully demand Spain cease all such inquires immediately. They should also make it clear to the world that any judge in any country who issues an arrest warrant for any American under these circumstances committing an act of war against the US and we will respond accordingly. The warrant-issuing judge should expect - at a minimum - to face extradition to the US, along with anyone else involved.

There is no room for compromise on this. It is absolutely vital that Bush administration handles this precedent setting case properly. Lawfare against us is inevitable and we must limit its potential scope as much as possible.

In response to several posts in the comments section:

The Lockerbie bombing comparison is faulty and my rhetoric is hardly over the top. The bombing case was a deliberate, premeditated act of terror against civilians committed by covert agents of the Lybian dictatorship. No legal system that I'm aware of makes allowances for covert infiltration of military personnel or permits blasting a civilian airliner full of people out of the sky. It was mostly treated as a international criminal matter rather than an act of war. I never cared for this approach and it seems ever more wrong with the passage of time.

The actions of the Spanish judge are unprecedented and dangerous to US interests. He is asserting jurisdiction over US military personnel deployed in an internationally recognized combat zone, the implication being that the US military legal system is incompetent, an unprecedented assertion which must be rebutted full force. Otherwise, we've conceded that foreign courts second guessing the actions of our military in this way is acceptable. Ultimately, this will lead to our foreign policies being challenged in foreign courts and the legal harassment of our citizens, soldiers and diplomats the world over.

These are the precedents I most fear. How can we possibly create military rules of engagement to satisfy hundreds of different legal systems? Or even one "international" standard defined arbitrarily by unaccountable, self-appointed authorities that may be completely at odds with our cultural and political traditions or national security necessities? Moreover, why should we have to? Whose values are most important when evaluating threats and determing how we'll defend ourselvesves? What gives individuals the right to challenge American foreign policy by harassing our citizens, soldiers and diplomats in alien courts? I could go on and on.

Think of the implications on military morale and recruiting if our soldiers have to continually fear having to defend themselves foreign courts, possibly at their own expense. Why should they be required to consult an attorney before traveling abroad or making overseas investments? Why should our citizens live with this constant threat of harassment, legal uncertainty, asset forfiture or the possibility of imprisonment? They shouldn't. It's completely unwarranted and the US should use all means at its disposal to see that they don't.

Think of just a few of the diplomatic implications. How can our country formulate effective foreign and national security policies if we are constantly defending our past actions? We will never be able to look foreward or accumulate any diplomatic capital or goodwill under these circumstancesces. Launching any diplomatic or military offensive will be tremendously more complicated, if not impossible. For example, any potential ally could be constrained by a politically motivated investigation (possibly initiated by judge in a third country) of US actions of one kind or another timed to make the domestic political cost of supporting the US prohibitive. Again, I could go on and on.

Our enemies and opponents are trying to create a new legal regime designed specifically to constrain American freedom of action. We simply cannot let this happen and must nip it in the bud. We are fighting a war and we cannot tolerate these efforts any longer. If we allow such a legal regime to come into effect, lawfare would become a legitimate and probably a highly successful tactic against us - we could be effectively paralyzed. Any action we take is bound to be legaly controversial to someone somewhere. How could we possible defeat a transnational enemy under these circumstances? And what ultimately becomes of American sovereignty?

 

Is Amnesty International Now An Enemy?

Apparently, yes - a cowardly enemy.

Dr. William F. Schulz Executive Director, Amnesty International USA wants foreign governments to arrest and try Americans for violations of international law:
If the US government continues to shirk its responsibility, Amnesty International calls on foreign governments to uphold their obligations under international law by investigating all senior US officials involved in the torture scandal. And if those investigations support prosecution, the governments should arrest any official who enters their territory and begin legal proceedings against them.
Schultz goes on to announce a new AI campaign:
Today, as we focus on the torture scandal, Amnesty International USA announces its new grassroots campaign, "Denounce Torture: Stop It Now!" Public opinion surveys have shown that Americans oppose the use of torture, and Amnesty International will work to turn that opposition into action. We will educate and mobilize tens of thousands of people around the country to take action to end torture and ill treatment and pressure the government to hold individuals accountable at all levels of the chain of command.
This statement was released May 25; the media have ignored it:
A different omission marred the reporting of Amnesty International's report charging torture in U.S. detainment camps. The group didn't just call Guantanamo a "gulag," an over-the-top remark that was universally reported. In a press release that most reporters ignored, the group also invited foreign governments to snatch certain visiting American officials off the streets and bring them to trial for crimes against humanity. The suggested snatchees, should they travel abroad, were President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA Director George Tenet, and other unnamed civilian and military officials. Amnesty International said that "all states have a responsibility to investigate and prosecute people responsible for these crimes," just as the British pounced on Augusto Pinochet in London in 1998. The snatching recommendation wasn't new, but the Amnesty press release is a useful reminder of the dangers of signing on to the International Criminal Court.
Steven Den Beste, for one, saw this ICC business coming:
The actual principle to which they (Europeans) refer is more or less summarized thusly:
The International Criminal Court will prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, but it will step in only when countries are unwilling or unable to dispense justice themselves.
See? No problem. As long as the US keeps its own house clean, the ICC won't step in.

No, not exactly. The key word in there which is causing the problem is "unwilling". What the government of the US has been claiming is that enemies of the US will use the ICC to try to persecute American soldiers or politicians frivolously as a way of getting revenge. Given that we're the top dog, the strongest nation, the one a lot of people resent, there are bound to be such cases.

So suppose that one of our enemies claims that something done by the US which we consider a legitimate act of war is rather a "war crime". The US looks at the claim and decides that it's ridiculous, and refuses to even consider investigation.

Bang! The US is "unwilling" to investigate or prosecute, and now the ICC has jurisdiction. It can, in principle, order arrests, confine those who are captured, try them and sentence them (in actuality or in absentia) all without any consent or control by the US.
(Den Beste posts about the explicit list of crimes over which the ICC claims jurisdiction here.)

Fortunately, Congress also saw this coming and passed the American Servicemembers' Protection Act of 2002, which President Bush signed.

Captain Ed gets it right:
That's quite a stringent call coming from AI -- a demand that foreign governments ignore diplomatic immunity and seize traveling officials from the United States, in order to put them on trial in a kangaroo court. I wonder, did Schulz make the same demand about Fidel Castro, Kim Jong-Il, the Iranian mullahs, or any of the other dictators around the world that really do practice torture on their own populations, or worse. Apparently not; Amnesty only unleashes its venom on freely elected leaders, a rather cowardly act masquerading as telling truth to power.

These revelations absolutely destroy any credibility for AI as a nonpartisan, independent organization dedicated to human rights. It has sold itself out as yet another tiresome, radical Leftist screaming machine with double standards so ridiculous that their very scope amounts to self-satire.
---------------
We elect our leaders, and we hold them accountable. Moreover, when we send our leaders abroad to interact with leaders of other countries, we expect those countries to extend normal diplomatic status, or to warn in advance when that status will not be extended. Violating that status by imprisoning our leaders and diplomats is an act of war against the United States. Those joining in Amnesty International's call for other nations to commit an act of war against us should be held politically accountable for their position.
They should also be held criminally liable, as should anyone who supports them. This includes those who join AI's new "grass roots" campaign should it advocate or attempt to facilitate foreign governments committing an act of war against the US or seek in any way to involve the ICC in the war.

Update:
Bryan Preston comments:
Schultz should face charges for treason and he should be tried as an enemy agent of influence. The facts on that are plain--he tried to persuade foreign powers to cripple our government while we are engaged in hostilities. It should be a straightforward trial from that point of view. The discovery portion of the trial should focus on Amnesty's financial records, seeking proof that Schultz and his organization have been bought and paid for by some foreign power (probably via CAIR or some similar Islamist mouthpiece) or by some Soros-esque figure.

Yeah, that's a fantasy, I know. This nation doesn't take treason seriously anymore and doesn't prosecute traitors. If it did, Schultz wouldn't be the only one facing jeopardy.
He's right. It's time we started taking treason seriously again, before it's too late.

 

Helping Africa

A realistic approach to charity from Bill O'Reilly:

Riddle me this: What do Madonna, Bono, President Bush and Prime Minister
Blair all have in common? They want to help poor Africans, that's
what. But how to do that is the rub....

The money, food and medicine is available. This is a delivery and accountability situation...

Remember, post-World War II Europe and Japan were rebuilt mostly by American administrators. It was literally "our way or no highways." And if African nations don't buy into that, then they should be on their own....

The world's wealthy nations do have a responsibility to combat suffering along with terrorism. But no longer can we allow chaotic nations to call the shots on how aid programs are run. If we really want to help the poor - we have to get up close and personal.

 

For those of you who are royally POed at John McCain

I hadn't heard this parody before but it has been around for 5 years. It fits my view of McCain, a peevish little twit who has to get his way. I will be happy to see his campaign go down in flames in 2008.

 

Definitive proof of Qu'ran/Qur'an/Koran desecration



Coming to the back of a pickup near you.

Bookworm points to this post by another liberal (Welcome to the darkside) who had a 9/11 conversion:

As I went to my computer today, and my home page came up (Yahoo news), and I saw that the lead story (AP, naturally) was headlined, 'U.S.: Gitmo Quran Was Splashed With Urine,' I felt (and still feel) the strangest combination of weariness and anger.

I have become convinced that these stories will continue until the MSM gets what it wants. What it wants seems to be the election of Democrats. What it may get instead is the undermining of Western civilization and the tradition of the Enlightenment, I kid you not.


Read the whole post. Neo-con, Horowitz is an excellent source for any liberal who wants to learn what is in store for them from their former comrades-in-ideology. Shunning is not too strong a word. By the way, I love your blog but I am a sucker for women who like green apples and who have seen the light.

Update: For those of you expecting to see a photo, I am as surprised as you. I went to flickr.com to login and see what had happened and I discovered that I cannot and that there is no record of my email. The only conclusion I can come to is that I was banned from flickr.com because of the content of the photo. I am sure you are curious about what was in the photo. It was a picture of Calvin pissing on a Koran. I took out the Ford logo and replaced it with a copy of the Koran. I am going to try and contact flickr.com and see if I can get an answer. More later.

And I just realized that all of the photos that I uploaded to flickr.com then downloaded to this blog have disappeared.

Update:

The strange case of the missing photos

It is official: Censorship

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

 

A new blog for Gadget lovers: Gizmodo

Gizmodo

It lead me to this link which looks to be great news for those who have lost the use of limbs. I don't know if the girl is too happy about being the model for whom this man needs a robot suit to lift.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

 

Amnesty International Takes Sides

Greed isn't their only motive

Amnesty International has, in effect, takes sides against the US in the war. In repeatedly slandering the US, they are participating in the Leftist propaganda offensive, which is clearly undermining our war effort. I don't believe it is just a fundraising gambit, but even if it is, its despicable behavior and it must stop. Now.

The US can't continue to simply respond to slander like this. We must launch a world wide public relations counter offensive. And international organizations which disseminate anti-US propaganda should be forced to pay a very steep price for their actions. This kind of behavior absolutely must stop - one way or another.

Update:
Chrenkoff doesn't think it's just a fundraising gambit either:
Giving Amnesty all the benefit of the doubt, maybe by bashing the US is the only way the organization can generate any sort of wider interest in its work. I suspect, however, that this is a far too generous an explanation of AI's recent behavior, and in any case this tactic will only result in further drift of this once non-partisan groups into the open arms of the left.

 

Amnesty Goes for the Publicity

Posted by Hello


From Powerline: Now we have the answer -- it was a publicity stunt. As the Washington Times notes, Amnesty International's Executive Director William Schulz basically admitted as much on "Fox News Sunday." Unable to defend his gulag analogy, Schulz instead observed that if his group hadn't asserted that analogy, he wouldn't "be on this station, on this program today." To which Chris Wallace responded, "So you're saying if you make irresponsible charges, that's good for your cause?"

Monday, June 06, 2005

 

Media Cowardice

Chrenkoff links to this article about the legacy of the Deep Throat affair and concludes:
The government and its agencies, such as the military, are constantly targeted because they are, in effect, sitting ducks: they will take accusations and will answer them in a civil manner. Yes, there will be some stalling and cover-ups from time to time, but more often than not the authorities will respond and accommodate criticism. There is preciously little personal and physical risk for a journalist in attacking the powers that be - they won't kill, imprison, or intimidate in return -– and the rewards, in terms of public adulation, work recognition, and professional advancement, are virtually unlimited.

Contrast that with tackling some of the real enemies of the free and open society, like organized crime, or domestic and foreign terrorist organizations. Go after them, and you might end up in concrete shoes on the bottom of the river, or with your throat slashed in some hovel in Pakistan. Mafia or Al Qaeda will not hold inquiries in response to your allegations, and won't give out press conferences to give the media an opportunity to cross-examine their officials. They won't fold because of passionate editorials, or buckle under pressure from the opposition politicians armed with media revelations.

Any wonder then, that - even without taking political bias into consideration - our crusading journalists prefer to storm own castles?
Nope.

Friday, June 03, 2005

 

What you won't be hearing from Amnesty International




Khan also defended the organization's choice of the word "gulag."

"We wanted to send a strong message that ... (the detention centers) are actually undermining human rights in a very dramatic way," she said.


Well heck, if you wanted to send a strong message why didn't you call the holding center at Guantanamo Bay a concentration camp? Besides sending the message that the folks at Amnesty International have no sense of proportion they just want to get at the truth.
"Our answer is very simple ... open up the detention centers, allow us and others to visit them," she told reporters. "Transparency is the best antidote to misinformation or incorrect facts."
Hmmm sounds reasonable, doesn't it? But I have the sneaking suspicion that they would not be satisfied with that. Call me a cynic but maybe the good folks over AI have an agenda.
AI lacks staff and financial resources to research 149 countries on the same level. Therefore, AI employs a hierarchy according to which it allocates its resources. Thus, the report includes entries on countries which were intensively researched and visited by AI's staff, alongside states that were not. The second category contains two types of states: (1) those where human rights violations are grave, routine, and which usually deny access to researchers; and (2) countries in which human rights violations are rare and are properly addressed by local nongovernmental organizations and governmental agencies. However, AI does not make this distinction or share its research methodology with the public. Transparency, which AI rightfully demands from governments, is not employed in its own publications. Thus, the considerations that led AI to research one country intensively, and other superficially, are vague and open to interpretation. (Link requires BugMeNot)

This is a good article, by the way, from a former chair of the Israeli section of Amnesty International (1998-9).
The top leadership of Amnesty International USA, which unleashed a blistering attack last week on the Bush administration's handling of war detainees, contributed the maximum $2,000 to Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign. (HT LGF)
And the coup de grace,
And the third rail of bias that no one in mainstream media will touch: Amnesty secretary general Irene Khan is a Muslim. Did her religion influence her outrageously intemperate remarks about the Muslim detainees at Guantanamo Bay?
Good question. Are you shocked by any of this? Thought so. The good news is that this report is having so little impact. GW's responding that the report was absurd took enough air out of it that AI felt the need to respond themselves. A report like this 20 years ago would have gotten a week of air play and it still might. But the new media allows the debate to be shaped in a way the AI did not intend. They are having their motives questioned. It is about time.

John O adds: Chrenkoff sees this silver lining:
One good thing about Amnesty International's Irene Khan calling Gunatanamo Bay facility a gulag: having mined the rich vein of Nazi analogies to tar the modern day's center-right (you know, America is a fascist state, Bush is Hitler, etc.), the international left is now adopting communist analogies to bash the Republicans, thus both expanding their moral vocabulary and implicitly acknowledging that, yes, communism was bad. In fact, as bad as conservatism. It's progress of sorts, but pity that the left can't now retrospectively start campaigning for human rights, freedom and democracy behind the Iron Curtain.
Also, Instapundit notes that "Steven Den Beste spotted Amnesty International jumping the shark two years ago, and drew unfavorable comparisons with the ACLU."

Adds: I think they chose the word gulag carefully, not many people know the history of the gulag other than it was a prison and the treatment was terrible. It is a description that is neutral enough to invoke an idea without provoking a response like, "...that is utterly ridiculous...", except among the minority that know the evil of Soviet communism.

Also, Ace of Spades links to an Eject! (Cubed) essay on why the Gitmo chumps are not POWs.

 

Satire should be funny

What passes for humor at DemocraticUnderground.com

I ran across this sad attempt at satire. Honestly there is not a smirk in the entire essay. It a future newsstory just after the mid-term elections next year and the Republicans lose in a landslide as the nation embraces the loony left complete with looming impeachment trials and investigations of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. Yes, the nation, including conservatives, turn against the evil Chimpy McHitlerBush and his coterie of followers. And they spell Scott McClellan's name wrong. (HT: LGF)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

 

Deep Throat, Tripp both have stuff of heroes

John Kass (registration required, see Bugmenot) makes an interesting observation concerning media hypocrisy:
Felt is the former senior FBI official whose information brought down Nixon, a Republican, and forced Nixon to resign.

Tripp is the Pentagon employee who secretly taped conversations with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which led to impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, who also abused power but did not resign.

Both presidents abused their power, lied and connived, and used the hammer of government to smash opponents. One had an unpopular war and inflation. The other was in office when people had fat wallets, as Americans were encouraged to not let foreign policy bother them too much.

While hushed reverential tones around Felt are obvious, Tripp has been ignored. When mentioned, she's ridiculed. Why?

'Because Felt put down a Republican president. And Linda Tripp nailed a Democratic president,' Schippers said.
_______________________

Felt was shielded, though he was an FBI official leaking privileged information. Tripp was warned by Clinton's people not to release the tapes. She had no protection, other than those tapes, Schippers said. She was publicly eviscerated and marked for revenge.

"If he's a hero, and he is, then she's a hero. They're both heroes. But they're treated differently, aren't they?"
They sure are.

Incidentally, as much as I despised Clinton and as despicable and criminal as his behavior was, it was cowardly for the House of Representatives to impeach him on perjury and obstruction of justice grounds alone. Clinton's blatant abuses of power were at least as bad as Nixon's and should have been made the focus of arguments favoring his removal from office. But a substantial number of Republicans instead chose political expediency, voting against the article of impeachment alleging abuse of power.

Update: Captain Ed posts about Bill Clinton's incredible reaction on Lary King Live to Mark Felt's role as Deep Throat.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

 

Is This The Way To Armadillo?

 

Proliferation Security Initiative

This should be getting more attention:
The U.S. and its allies in a program to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction prevented Iran from obtaining material for its nuclear weapons program within the past nine months, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.
Captain Ed notes:
This announcement puts even more pressure on the EU-3 to contain the nuclear threat that Iran represents. If Iran has attempted to import banned technology, it demonstrates a desire to turn its so-called peaceful nuclear energy program into something more sinister. And notice that Iran, who must have expected that shipment to arrive, never publicly demanded its release once held up. Those who believe that Iran needs such a program when it sits on top of one of the world's largest oil reserves should rethink their position in light of this news.
This is the biggest (publicly acknowledged) success of the Proliferation Security Initiative to date. See Dubya has more about PSI:
See, this isn’t really a treaty so much as an agreement about how and when interested countries are going to cooperate and stop shipments of WMD’s to (or from) rogue states. That’s exactly what we’ve done at least eleven times in the last nine months–once to Iran, whch is the only country we’re certain of. These were interceptions of some bad stuff–in one other case, definitely equipment for producing rocket propellant. What else have these cooperating nations stopped–maybe uranium centrifuges, yellowcake, plutonium, missile guidance systems, a little vial of smallpox, maybe some scavenged cesium ready to be packed around some dynamite for a dirty bomb, who knows–but nothing Iran or Al Qaeda needs more of, right?
Like Bryan Preston, I wonder why the PSI receives so little attention. It has had notable successes (Lybia, for example) and includes at least 60 counties. Maybe the Bush administration wants it this way. Maybe its because there isn't a large, greedy bureaucracy drawing attention to itself in the media and hectoring Congress to increase its funding. Maybe its because PSI's architect could accurately be described as substance man in a style world and the media doesn't like him. His name? John Bolton.

Whatever the reason for the lack of publicity, it's a real shame.

See also Proliferation Security Initiative.

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