July 29, 2010

I Want To Comment On The WikiLeaks Kerfuffle…

…while I’m able. Luckily, or not so luckily, depending on ones point of view, some things I have to do have been delayed. This, however, leaves me more time to post, so…

I’ve been reading arguments both for and against this WikiLeaks guy, Julian Assange and what he’s been up to regarding the secret documents (91,000 of them, WOW!) he’s allegedly been receiving that detail some pretty bad stuff about our government’s exploits in Afghanistan.

According to some of this material, the U.S. taxpayer has been financing Taliban operations and other activities that are not in the best interests of either our brave troops over there nor in the interests of any sort of U.S./Allies victory.

So why are there pundits and letters-to-the-editor writers blasting this Assange guy for exposing vital military secrets?

It seems to me that the things he’s exposing are problems about which the government needs to do something, but haven’t been — Why? Because like the illegal alien problem we have, which was allowed to build up because politicians were able to sweep it under a rug (if the public ain’t complaining, why take the initiative, right?) due to lack of media pressure, what’s evidently been permitted to become business as usual in Afghanistan has been kept under wraps.

There’s no way anyone is going to convince me that the folks in charge over there (the ones whose salaries originate with We, The Taxpayer), as well as the fine folks in the Langley ‘hood of McLean, Virginia, haven’t been well aware of these ongoing events; If they have been, they aren’t the right people to either a) be assigned responsible charge over there, or b) be responsible for supplying the “powers that be” with intelligence from over there.

I also feel that funneling U.S. taxpayers’ dollars to the Taliban, whether they’re being diverted via U.S. military or intelligence or their Afghani counterparts, endangers our troops a whole hell of a lot more than this WikiLeaks exposing it.

I mean, C’mon! Money supplies people like the Taliban and their al-Qaeda playmates with weapons, logistics, baksheesh to bribe Afghani officials not already secretly sympathetic to their cause, maybe even a nice Swiss account ala Arafat to which some Terrorist-in-Chief can one day retire in luxury.

That sounds more dangerous to our military men and women over there than nobody knowing about any of it.

Now that everybody does know, perhaps something will be done about it.

I know, I know, politicians hate when “classified” graft, corruption, ineptitude and lack of proactive action is exposed.

But, now that it has been, regardless of the source, maybe they’ll do something about it.

I don’t know about the rest of my fellow countrymen, but I sure as shootin’ hate the idea that my hard earned tax dollars are going to the very same evil entity that our soldiers, sailors and airmen are over there fighting.

by @ 8:02 am. Filed under Afghanistan, Just Talking

July 28, 2010

Just A Quick One…

…coincidentally in the aftermath of U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton’s predictably anti-American (yes, I say anti-American because I don’t believe any judge who would, given the circumstances, rule as Bolton did on the Arizona immigration law signed by Governor Jan Brewer has any right to call herself an American — it’s too bad U.S. district judges can’t be replaced by illegal aliens, for a fraction of what we pay Ms. Brewer, of course) ruling, I was walking around in the neighborhood in which I grew up.

Forest Hills, in the Borough of Queens, New York.

When I was growing up here, the neighborhood was a mixture of nationalities, eastern European, Irish, German, various generation Americans, a few Asians, WASP, Jewish, Catholic. One thing we all had in common in those days (late 1950s through early 1970s), including the immigrant population, was that everybody could speak, read and write English. If they couldn’t when they arrived here, they certainly could by then.

But I digress: I was sort of flabbergasted when, earlier, a very frustrated guy (N.Y. accent, born in New York) came up to me right here in Forest Hills, asking for directions, and the first thing he said was, “Please, tell me you speak English!”

How bad are things getting, for crying out loud!?

by @ 2:08 pm. Filed under WTF!!!!?

July 26, 2010

While I’m Still Within Internet “Range”…

…so to speak, I have a bit more to say, this concerning security for the most part.

Or, should I say, a lack thereof.

As we all know, or at least assume, it’s the job of any government to protect its citizens and, where possible, its allies and friends, which in itself goes hand-in-hand with protecting said citizens and also operating in the best interests of itself and, again, therefore, its citizens.

So why are we allowing Iran to go so far with their nuclear weapons program?

From Mark Steyn:

News from around the world:

In Britain, it is traditional on Shrove Tuesday to hold pancake races, in which contestants run while flipping a pancake in a frying pan. The appeal of the event depends on the potential pitfalls in attempting simultaneous rapid forward propulsion and pancake tossing. But, in St. Albans, England, competitors were informed by Health & Safety officials that they were “banned from running due to fears they would slip over in the rain.” Watching a man walk up the main street with a skillet is not the most riveting event, even in St. Albans. In the heat of the white-knuckle thrills, team captain David Emery momentarily forgot the new rules. “I have been disqualified from a running race for running,” he explained afterwards.

In Canada, Karen Selick told readers of The Ottawa Citizen about her winter vacation in Arizona last month: “The resort suite I rented via the Internet promised a private patio with hot tub,” she wrote. “Upon arrival, I found the door to my patio bolted shut. ‘Entry prohibited by federal law,’ read the sign. Hotel management explained that the drains in all the resort’s hot tubs had recently been found not to comply with new safety regulations. Compliance costs would be astronomical. Dozens of hot tubs would instead be cemented over permanently.” In the meantime, her suite had an attractive view of the federally-prohibited patio.

Yeah, we can see where this is going.

Anything else? Oh, yeah. In Iran, the self-declared nuclear regime announced that it was now enriching uranium to 20 percent. When President Barack Obama took office, the Islamic Republic had 400 centrifuges enriching up to 3.5 percent. A year later, it has 8,000 centrifuges enriching to 20 percent. The CIA director, Leon Panetta, now cautiously concedes that Iran’s nuclear ambitions may have a military purpose. Which is odd, because the lavishly funded geniuses behind America’s National Intelligence Estimate told us only two years ago that Tehran had ended its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Is that estimate no longer operative? And, if so, could we taxpayers get a refund?

This is a perfect snapshot of the West at twilight. On the one hand, governments of developed nations microregulate every aspect of your life in the interests of “keeping you safe.” If you’re minded to flip a pancake at speeds of more than 4 miles per hour, the state will step in and act decisively: It’s for your own good. If you’re a tourist from Moose Jaw, Washington will take pre-emptive action to shield you from the potential dangers of your patio in Arizona.

On the other hand, when it comes to “keeping you safe” from real threats, such as a millenarian theocracy that claims universal jurisdiction, America and its allies do nothing. There aren’t going to be any sanctions, because China and Russia don’t want them. That means military action, which would have to be done without U.N. backing — which, as Greg Sheridan of The Australian puts it, “would be foreign to every instinct of the Obama administration.” Indeed. Nonetheless, Washington is (altogether now) “losing patience” with the mullahs. The New York Daily News reports the latest get-tough move:

“Secretary of State Clinton dared Iran on Monday to let her hold a town hall meeting in Tehran.”

All of which goes to show the difference between our two political belief systems, I suppose: One, barring status quo politicians of the “new school” variety on the right, many of whom are even older than me, believing in tangible and decisive action, the other, from the right side of the aisle, believing that do-nothing symbolism will suffice, until…

BOOM!, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Paying a brief visit to our friends and steadfast allies, the Israelis, my head’s still spinning a bit from the Bush reversal, a few years back, of his initial support of Israel’s being allowed to win their war in Lebanon. Once he backpedalled and sided with France (spit!), pressing Tel Aviv to withdraw the IDF, the stage was set for Lebanon, beleaguered as it has been by the Islamofascists of Hezbollah who are well entrenched in the government in Islamabad, to rabble-rouse further in pursuit of a road to the destruction of Israel.

At least, wherever they can.

Two Lebanese vessels are planning to leave shortly for Hamas-controlled Gaza, in defiance of an Israeli maritime blockade on that territory. The ships, the Naji Al Ali and the Mariam, are expected to set sail from the Lebanese port of Tripoli as early as Friday (July 23) or Saturday (July 24).

Meanwhile, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev has sent letters to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and the UN Security Council calling on Lebanon and other countries to prevent the flotilla from illegally entering the area.

Said Shalev, “All goods that are not weapons or material for war-like purposes are now entering the Gaza Strip through appropriate mechanisms that ensure their delivery as well as their civilian nature.” Israel announced June 17 that it would ease restrictions on allowing civilian goods via land crossings into Gaza and increase the delivery of construction materials.

Wait just a minute, I don’t see the word “humanitarian” up there anyplace. Oh, wait… It is purely humanitarian based, goodwill toward all, etc, by French (spit!), general Muslim, U.N. or Obama Administration standards. How can we tell? Just peruse the emphasis (mine) below.

Most of the passengers aboard the Naji Al Ali are journalists, while the Mariam is an all-women’s ship. Yasser Qashlaq, a Syrian national and the two-vessel flotilla’s chief funder and organizer, has said the main aim of the ships is to stage a public relations stunt and force Jews out of Israel. Said Qashlaq, “A day will come when the ships will carry the remainder of the European garbage which came to my homeland [i.e., Israel] and return them to their homelands. Gilad Shalit will go back to Paris and those murderers [the leaders of Israel] will go back to Poland.”

Lastly, we have more of the usual bullshirt from Janet Napolitano, our illustrious Homeland Security Secretary whom any security supervisor with even a 1% competence level wouldn’t trust on a job as a uniformed rent-a-cop in a corner grocery store.

Six years after the Sept. 11 commission issued a series of recommendations to boost U.S. defenses against terrorist attacks, the federal government has achieved “historic advances” in fulfilling them, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday.

Historic advances, yes, of course. Ahem…

But back to Mark Steyn, whom I find has more security sense in his left pinky than Napolitano will have in her entire lifetime.

The average Canadian can survive an Arizona hot tub merely compliant with 2009 safety standards rather than 2010. The average Englishman can survive stumbling with his frying pan: You may get a nasty graze on his kneecap, but rub in some soothing pancake syrup, and you’ll soon feel right as rain. Whether they — or at any rate their pampered complacent societies in which hot-tub regulation is the most pressing issue of the day — can survive a nuclear Iran is a more open question.

It is now certain that Tehran will get its nukes, and very soon. This is the biggest abdication of responsibility by the Western powers since the 1930s. It is far worse than Pakistan going nuclear, which, after all, was just another thing the CIA failed to see coming. In this case, the slow-motion nuclearization conducted in full view and through years of tortuous diplomatic charades and endlessly rescheduled looming deadlines is not just a victory for Iran but a decisive defeat for the United States. It confirms the Islamo-Sino-Russo-everybody else diagnosis of Washington as a hollow superpower that no longer has the will or sense of purpose to enforce the global order.

What does it mean? That a year or two down the line Iran will be nuking Israel? Not necessarily, although the destruction of not just the Zionist Entity but the broader West remains an explicit priority. Maybe they mean it. Maybe they don’t. Maybe they’ll do it directly. Maybe they’ll just get one of their terrorist subcontractors to weaponize the St. Albans pancake batter. But, when you’ve authorized successful mob hits on Salman Rushdie’s publishers and translators, when you’ve blown up Jewish community centers in Buenos Aires, when you’ve acted extra-territorially to the full extent of your abilities for 30 years, it seems prudent for the rest of us to assume that when your abilities go nuclear you’ll be acting to an even fuller extent.

Hillary! Janet! B. Hussein, wake up! Oh, wait, B. Hussein Obama is wide awake, he just hasn’t decided whose side he’s on.

Oh, well.

But, even without launching a single missile, Iran will at a stroke have transformed much of the map — and not just in the Middle East, where the Sunni dictatorships face a choice between an unsought nuclear arms race or a future as Iranian client states. In Eastern Europe, a nuclear Iran will vastly advance Russia’s plans for a de facto reconstitution of its old empire: In an unstable world, Putin will offer himself as the protection racket you can rely on. And you’d be surprised how far west “Eastern” Europe extends: Moscow’s strategic view is of a continent not only energy-dependent on Russia but also security-dependent. And, when every European city is within range of Tehran and other psycho states, there’ll be plenty of takers for that when the alternative is an effete and feckless Washington.

It’s a mistake to think that the infantilization of once-free peoples represented by the microregulatory Nanny State can be confined to pancakes and hot tubs. Consider, for example, the incisive analysis of Scott Gration, the U.S. special envoy to the mass murderers of Sudan: “We’ve got to think about giving out cookies,” said Gration a few months back. “Kids, countries — they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement.”

Actually, there’s not a lot of evidence “smiley faces” have much impact on kids in the Bronx, never mind genocidal machete-wielders in Darfur. So much for the sophistication of “soft power,” smiling through a hard-faced world.

So, Iran will go nuclear and formally inaugurate the post-American era. The Left and the isolationist Right reckon that’s no big deal. They think of the planet as that Arizona patio and America as the hotel room. There may be an incendiary hot tub out there, but you can lock the door and hang a sign, and life will go on, albeit a little more cramped and constrained than before. I think not.

The truth is, actually, that like our economic policies, our security policies are these days derived via about 90% political considerations and 10% common sense. Combine that with a lot of political appointments of key people who are astronomically unqualified to make security decisions, and, well…

BOOM! (or, again, a reasonable facsimile thereof).

by @ 8:14 am. Filed under Global Security, Homeland Security

July 24, 2010

It’s Really Time For Everybody On Both Sides…

…of the political equation to take a step back and a deep breath, and try and consider what the ongoing snowballing polarization is doing. In essence, it’s shaking our great nation apart.

Seth here.

I’ve had almost no time to spend, of late, on-line and even now I’m making a quick stop because I believe that this has to be said.

The battle between the left and the right has gotten so extreme on both sides that the only losers are the American people. That’s right, We, the People.

It’s true that the current recession can be laid mostly at the feet of our left-dominated House and Senate, the “groundwork” for disaster having begun when they took over the majorities in January, 2007, and our “esteemed” president, B. Hussein Obama. Where the first two are concerned, however, whose fault is it that the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were able to become the leaders of the houses on the Hill?

Answer: A fat, complacent, self serving collection of Republican senators and representatives whose only priorities revolved around keeping themselves in office, career politicians who couldn’t give a good goddamn about the American people or their own conservative voter base, only about their own benefits, perks and continued jobs in a field that was never even meant to be a career path.

What we have now is a no-holds-barred street fight, totally devoid of even an iota of honor or human decency, between the Democrats and the Republicans, all politics, all the time.

We, the People are nothing to any of them but collateral damage, at apparently “acceptable” numbers, as the fight for political victory rages on.

The American people have already begun to demonstrate dissatisfaction with this state of affairs, in the sheer volume of Tea Party support, the moves to block incumbent Hill critters from running for reelection on both sides of the aisle and enough browbeating of same to move numerous Democrats to oppose the “sunsetting” of the Bush tax cuts.

Unfortunately, the elected combatants are still going full steam ahead. The American People? Who are they?

This country was founded (see the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution) on the principle of the people controlling the government, not the government controlling the people. Our founding fathers spilled a lot of blood to evict the concept of royalty from our shores…

…yet here we are, once again under the control of royalty, people we’ve elected who have somehow seen their election and/or reelection as mandates to decide for us what the Constitution says is ours to decide, to enact laws that are blatantly contrary to the letter of the Constitution, to go to war with each other, for self serving political purposes, at the public’s expense.

Case in point: Obama’s destructive economic policies, preceded by a whole passel of stealthy and not so stealthy bills pushed on us by Pelosi/Reid Enterprises have been responsible, in major share, for what? Not only a national debt now topping thirteen trillion, two hundred forty billion smackers, but around twenty five million unemployed.

The Democrats want to extend unemployment benefits, the Republicans do not.

“Where are we going to get the money!?” They demand.

Well, this is that case in point.

The people did not spend us into that thirteen trillion dollar debt, the government did, a government that, as I said earlier, has not been doing its job and listening to the people.

Millions of those who have become unemployed are undoubtedly people who didn’t even vote for Democrats.

I read all the time about Republicans and conservatives (there is a difference) protesting the extension of these benefits. Somehow, I doubt that those who do are unemployed and struggling to survive in the recession our government hath wrought.

Which is where I’m coming from with this.

The government interfered in the private sector, and caused this mess.

To the man on the street who’s trying to keep his roof over his head, eat and pay his bills to the best of his ability while he busts his touchas trying to find a new job, it’s not the Democrats or the Republicans who caused this recession, it’s The Government.

Period.

The Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, filibuster against the extension. Why?

Not because “we can’t afford it”, which we can’t, but we couldn’t afford the “stimulus” and, as we’ll soon find, we won’t be able to afford Obamacare, either, but because the more suffering Americans go through under the Democrats now, the better chances the Republicans will have to win back more seats in the next election.

Pure and simple.

Screw the people, win the politics.

The government, party responsibility aside, caused the problems these people now face, the government can’t simply leave them in the lurch.

The United States Government is supposed to be one government, not a shopping mall of political special interests. If the people serving in elected office can’t understand that and start governing like responsible adults, perhaps it’s time we got rid of the whole bunch of them, good, bad or indifferent, and started from scratch.

For the first 200 years, while there was a lot of opposition between the two parties, our government managed to conduct itself in a mature, adult manner and get things done pretty much proactively. Of course, this was when politicians placed America and Americans first.

Now, we no longer have a government, we have a political Tower of Babel.

If we don’t step back from the partisan firing line very soon and start remembering that both parties are still supposed to be part of the same government, serving the same electorate, the United States will fast become a part of history.

by @ 8:12 am. Filed under America

July 2, 2010

Fourth of July Weekend Is Upon Us

This will likely be the last post for a bit, as I am going on a trip and Seth has not yet returned, and Wolf is also indisposed.

That said, as we enter Independence Day weekend, we would like to leave you with a 4th of July Op-Ed by a spot-on columnist and a man who knows what being a conservative and a real American is all about, Greg Crosby.

Happy 234th birthday to America! The Fourth of July is the celebration of our nation’s birth, of course, but it’s also an ideal time to reflect on what our country is all about. A good place to start would be the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence specifically mentions three unalienable rights which human beings possess by birth and by their Creator - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Nobody can deny us these things, no one. And since they are “unalienable,” we cannot rightfully surrender them either…

…Read on…

See you when we get back.

Seth, Wolf, Chuck.

by @ 2:17 pm. Filed under America

July 1, 2010

Gotta Put My Two Cents In On This One!

One of the pet peeves shared by both Seth and myself (Wolf could care less, he just shakes his head and mutters) is the idiocy that cell phones have introduced into our society.

These mindless young twits, male and female alike, who spend their every waking minute yakking on their cell phones, meandering along the sidewalks, unable to keep in a straight line and oblivious of their surroundings because their unending conversations absorb the vast bulk of their feeble attention spans; Interrupting the flow of pedestrian traffic, clogging lines at cash registers as they pay no attention to cashiers when it’s their turn to pay, blabbing their personal affairs into their PC devices in loud voices so that everybody within earshot is forced to hear all the sordid details…

I posted an article a few days ago related to “the cell phone menace“.

Well, now let’s get ridiculous.

From Congo to Cancer, Cell Phones Are Killing Machines, Sunday Columnists Argue

Reading the print edition of The New York Times can bring the paper’s strange priorities into focus. Both the left-hand and right-hand columns on Sunday’s op-ed page warned of the “carcinogenic” hazards and moral turpitude of owning cell phones.

On the left, the text box to Nicholas Kristof’s Sunday column “Death By Gadget” warned: “That smartphone you’re using may be financing killers and rapists.” Kristof was warning his readers that their fancy phones may contain tantalum (a rare metal) “peddled by a Congolese militia.”

On the right (or actually, the other left), Maureen Dowd’s column “Are Cells The New Cigarettes?” warned that cell phones could be giving you cancer. Dowd defended San Francisco’s crusading leftist mayor Gavin Newsom against the “brazenness of Big Business,” when a wireless association announced they may not hold their convention in San Francisco.

They should be sending Mayor Newsom a bottle of good California wine for caring about whether kids’ brains get fried, not leaving him worried about whether they’ll avenge themselves in his campaign for lieutenant governor.

Kristof and Dowd, just two more “progressive” twits. :-)

by @ 12:57 pm. Filed under I'm Easily Amused