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October 31, 2005

Bush Nominates Sam Alito To Supreme Court

The President has nominated Federal Appeals Court Judge Samuel Alito to replace Sandra Day O'Connor as an associate Justice at SCOTUS.

Judge Alito has a staunchly conservative record and one that's almost sure to blast Senate Democrats into overdrive in an attempt to fight an Alito confirmation.


NAME: Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
AGE-BIRTH DATE: 55; April 1, 1950 in Trenton, N.J.
PERSONAL FINANCE: more than $615,000 in assets
EDUCATION: AB, Princeton, 1972; JD, Yale, 1975
EXPERIENCE: Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 1990-present; U.S. attorney for the district of New Jersey, 1987-1990; deputy assistant to the U.S. attorney general, 1985-1987; assistant to the U.S. solicitor general, 1981-1985
JUDICIAL STYLE: Known among conservatives as a strict constructionist in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia. Abortion-rights activists point to his dissent in the 1991 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey -- in which he argued to uphold a Pennsylvania law requiring a married woman to inform her husband before getting an abortion -- as putting him in the anti-Roe v. Wade camp.
FAMILY: Alito and his wife, Martha, live in West Caldwell, N.J. They have two children, a college-age son, Philip, and a younger daughter, Laura. His late father, Samuel Alito Sr., was the director of New Jersey's Office of Legislative Services from 1952 to 1984. Alito's sister, Rosemary, is a top employment lawyer in New Jersey.

Okay, Republican senators, it's time to get your game faces on and support a serious Bush nominee for a change. That means no more cowardice in the face of the enemy, as you've demonstrated during past confirmation hearings for conservative Bush nominees: You will fight to the death over this one, "blood and gore and things in your teeth" if necessary, and get Alito confirmed!

If you play the nose-up-Democrat-butt game as you've become so proficient at doing and fail us again, then don't complain the next time POTUS nominates someone with less of a conservative track record...

Posted by Seth at 12:40 PM |

One Approach To Addressing Illegal Alien Affairs

In view of the government's apparent determination not to guard our borders against illegal aliens nor enforce very many statutes regarding their deportation, it seems one Law Enforcement official has found a way to recoup the expenses of picking up Uncle Sam's slack, and I'm behind him 100%.

Sheriff bills Immigration $71K for 'illegals' in jail HAMILTON — The federal government will soon receive the first of several hefty bills from Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones for the housing of suspected illegal aliens in the county jail.

Following through on a threat made last week, Jones on Wednesday mailed a bill totaling $71,610 to the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the cost of housing 15 “undocumented” people, some of whom have been in the jail since June.

Last week, Jones, County Commissioner Michael Fox and state Rep. Courtney Combs announced a multi-tiered initiative to eliminate illegal aliens living in the county and throughout the state.

Among the initiatives was the implementation, on Monday, of a new booking process to include the signing of declarations of citizenship by jail inmates.

Those in jail for misdemeanor offenses who falsify their information, or are found to be illegal aliens, will be reported to ICE — the enforcement arm of the Federal Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services — for possible immediate deportation.

Those who are jailed for a felony offense, will first stand trial for their crimes and then face possible deportation.

To force the issue, Jones is billing the federal government $70 a day for every illegal alien housed at the jail — $10 above the average daily cost of housing an inmate.

In sending the first bill to ICE, which represents 1,023 billable days of housing illegal aliens, Jones said he’s hoping other sheriff’s offices throughout the country start following suit.

“We want to put extreme pressure on ICE to do its job with regard to illegal aliens,” Jones said. “This isn’t just a local issue. This is a national problem.”

While Jones acknowledged that ICE is not under obligation to pay the bill, he said his next step will be to load the questionable inmates into buses and deliver them to immigration offices in Cincinnati.

“Why should Butler County taxpayers have to pay for jail costs associated with people we don’t believe should ever have been in this country, let alone this state or county?” Jones said.

“These prisoners appear to be undocumented, in that they have no Social Security numbers,” Jones said. “They are in my jail because they have committed crimes here. It’s time the federal government should at least pay for the criminals they let stay here. If they don’t want to pay for them, then they can deport them.”

A message left with Greg Palmore, of the ICE Regional Office in Detroit, was not returned Wednesday.

Since announcing the local initiative last week, Jones said he has been inundated with e-mails and telephone calls, mostly from people expressing support for the measures.

Jones has also sent letters to sheriffs in Ohio’s 87 other counties urging them to implement similar measures in their jails.

“If ICE is having so much trouble locating illegal aliens, heck, I’ll help them out — I’ll send them 20 a day from our county jail,” Jones said.

Meanwhile, Combs is drafting new state legislation that will make it a state offense for illegal aliens to cross over Ohio’s borders and Fox is working on initiatives to discourage employers from hiring illegal aliens.

Contact Mary Lolli at (513) 820-2192, or e-mail her at mlolli@coxohio.com.

Please bear in mind that I'm a limited government, states' rights kind of guy, to the max. Certain issues belong to the Fed, others are the property of the private sector.

Border/frontier security issues are the property of the federal government. They have a job to do that they are not doing. The only thing that will fix that will be an onslaught of email from the general public to the human weevils that ultimately decide what makes it into the newspapers and on to TV news programs.

My source for the article posted above is the website produced by Tom Tancredo and Bay Buchanan, from the headquarters of Team America.

These are an issue and an organization we, as Americans, need to support.

Posted by Seth at 06:17 AM |

For Some, Deportation's Not Enough

According to members of both the F.B.I. and the Homeland Security Department's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the government's policy of deporting illegal aliens belonging to MS-13, the gang named Mara Salvatrucha has been working in the gang's favor.

...a deportation policy aimed in part at breaking up a Los Angeles street gang has backfired and helped spread it across Central America and back into other parts of the United States. Newly organized cells in El Salvador have returned to establish strongholds in metropolitan Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities. Prisons in El Salvador have become nerve centers, authorities say, where deported leaders from Los Angeles communicate with gang cliques across the United States.

A gang that once numbered a few thousand and was involved in street violence and turf battles has morphed into an international network with as many as 50,000 members, the most hard-core engaging in extortion, immigrant smuggling and racketeering. In the last year, the federal government has brought racketeering cases against MS-13 members in Long Island, N.Y., and southern Maryland.

Very interesting story, one that indicates the need for a change of policy where dealing with MS-13 members is concerned.

It is certainly bad enough, thanks to our porous borders, that we face a veritable infestation of illegal aliens in the United States --Mustang at Social Sense has a great post on our lax border security situation and the illegal alien problem that continues in a long, highly informed comment thread, well worth checking out -- but to be infiltrated also by gangs of violent criminals who make our own domestic gangs seem like weak amateurs is an inexcusable breach of homeland security.

Posted by Seth at 12:17 AM |

October 29, 2005

Say It Ain't So!

I quite enjoyed reading The DaVinci Code, a book which spurred massive controversy in global religious circles by its premise that Jesus and Mary Magdeline married and their line has survived into modern times.

It's a novel, people, wake up! You know, a work of fiction provided for readers' entertainment! There are far more serious events occurring in the world today than a mere novel, for God's sake, all this profound discourse and controversy at the highest levels of the religious establishment is absurd. If you don't like it, don't read it!

That said, I thought it was a great read and, while I'm not at all enamored by today's films, actors and actresses, I definitely look forward to seeing how the Hollywood crowd treats it. The movie company seems to be dedicated to the story line, a rarity for Hollywood, as they actually went to the trouble of convincing the French government to allow them to do some location filming inside the Louvre. That in itself had to be a great personal sacrifice, since having to deal with those socialist weasels would be a putrid experience at the best of times, but then again, our movie industry is a liberal socialist enclave{albeit rich socialists, go figure} whose denizens scream that we should model our government after those like France's, so maybe they were happy as the proverbial clams, dealing with their idols and all.

Now, it seems that a couple of people are suing Random House, The DaVinci Code's publisher, claiming that the novel plagiarized a nonfiction book they published back in 1982 called Holy Blood, Holy Grail that put forth the theory on which Dan Brown's novel is based.

Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh are suing publisher Random House, claiming that Brown's "The DaVinci Code" lifts ideas from their 1982 nonfiction book, "The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail." Their work explores theories that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married and had a child and that their blood line continues to the present day.

A similar theme is explored in Brown's novel, which has sold some 25 million copies around the world and is being made into a Hollywood movie starring Tom Hanks.

I, for one, fervently hope Doubleday and Brown are able to prove that this was not the case, as I had attributed the novel to Dan Brown's imagination and a lot of in-depth research with a view to weaving realism into the story as most good novelists do.

Time will tell, I suppose, but I sure am rooting for Doubleday in this instance.

Posted by Seth at 01:23 PM |

Turtle Bay Blues

Paul Volcker certainly exposed a quagmire of malfeasance, corruption and what's apparently come to be accepted as "business as usual" at the U.N.

October 29, 2005 -- Paul Volcker's final report on his investigation of the United Nations' $64 billion Iraqi Oil-for-Food program is a stunning indictment of, well, the entire United Nations. Yes, Saddam Hussein himself pocketed $1.8 billion through kickbacks alone from a program that was meant to feed his nation's starving people — endangered by the economic sanctions he himself had provoked by his violations of the 1991 Gulf War ceasefire accords.

Yes, fully half of the 4,500 companies involved in the program — many of them recognizable corporate names — kicked back funds to Saddam's regime in order to land lucrative oil contracts.

And, yes, political figures from around the world — especially from Russia and France — landed contracts in direct proportion to their willingness to oppose continued sanctions against Iraq.

George Galloway, the malignant British parliament member who was Saddam's virtual mouthpiece in the run-up to the war, appears to have pocketed $270,000, funneled through his (now estranged) Palestinian wife.

Fr. Jean-Marie Benjamin, a former top aide to the Vatican's secretary of state who had formed an anti-sanctions group, and France's former U.N. ambassador, Jean-Bertrand Merrimee, both got six-figure deals.

Some were simply profiteers — like Marc Rich, the fugitive financier who was spared a U.S. prison term for tax evasion thanks to a last-minute presidential pardon from Bill Clinton.

Read on...

One wonders, however, why the former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve spared Kofi Annan.

As for Annan himself, we don't really know the full extent of his culpability, beyond his son Kojo's widely reported involvement in oil contracts.

Volcker, you see, has admitted taking care that his investigation not result in Annan's being toppled from his post.

"I felt uncomfortably," he said, of the point where he realized Annan might lose his job.


Well, we feel uncomfortably that Annan still has his job.

Posted by Seth at 01:09 PM |

A Dubious Enterprise

A friend of mine disappeared nearly two months ago and was finally resurrected in the form of a collect call informing me that he was{still is} in jail in a place called Dawson County, Georgia.

Apparently the reasons for his incarceration are somewhat complicated and so, not being exactly sure what they are, I pass no judgement -- I'll give him the benefit of the doubt until a jury says otherwise. I've known him for a long time and can not imagine what he could possibly have done.

But he's been in there since the start of September, evidently Dawson County's not known for being in any hurry where paperwork is concerned, and we'll hopefully have him out of there wihin the next couple of weeks, one way or the other.

But the subject of this post is not my friend's problem with the Law, it's the means by which we can communicate: A company called Evercom, or Correctional Billing Services as they refer to themselves when you get recordings of theirs on the telephone.

For prisoners with phone privileges, Evercom is ready with a dial tone. The company provides collect and prepaid phone service to inmates in over 2000 city, county, state, and private correctional facilities across the US. As an exclusive phone provider, Evercom installs and maintains its equipment at no cost to the facility. It also handles billing and collection services for other providers of inmate phone services and offers software for jail and facilities management, records management, and computer-aided dispatch services. The company was formed in 1996 with the acquisitions of AmeriTel Payphones and Talton Telecommunications.

In order to receive my friend's collect calls, I had to open an account with these people, providing my personal info and the telephone number(my landline)he could call me at.

They charge 89 cents a minute and place a maximum number of minutes on each call.

Whenever the collective minutes reach a certain amount, they block any further calls until you've made a $50.00 payment to your local phone company and call them with a confirmation number.

That is ridiculous! Their billing appears on the phone bill as part of the total, and you pay it.

When I first encountered this, I made a $100.00 deposit. When they hit me with the block I called and talked to a woman who had to be an eagle among turkeys as she actually seemed to know, unlike her associates, what is involved in having a home telepone.

"Look," I said, "I deposited a hundred last time instead of fifty, that's in your computer. So what's the big deal? I hate paying bills, and have an arrangement with SBC where they simply debit my checking account every month. There's more than enough money in that particular account to pay my phone bill for the next twenty years."

"So you have credit with your phone company?"

"Yes," I answered, "plenty. I even have my DSL through them."

So she went ahead and reset the account, and now here we are again at a block due to "high call volume."

This is idiocy.

A company like this seems totally unnecessary -- incarceration facilities don't need to outsource outgoing collect calls by inmates -- they can easily have their own call monitoring systems attached to banks of telephones.

When I see something like this, a totally unneeded government outsource, the first thing I ask myself is "why?"

In this case, the second thing I ask is, "Who in the prison system would have gotten the ball rolling on the use of such a company as this, and what did/do they stand to gain?"

Given past samples of corruption in the prison system(including county jails, etc), is this one of those deals where some officials somewhere in the system are getting kickbacks from this telephone operation?

It is apparent, when you accept the collect call(press 0) and a recorded voice tells you your call may be monitored, that this outsourced company also monitors the call.

That, to me, is a system-approved security breach of the first magnitude. These people are not Law Enforcement or Corrections personnel, they are outsiders, civilians who might have their own agendas, and the contents of these calls should not be accessible to them.

Undoubtedly, a goodly amount of these conversations from jails and prisons contain hooded or, in the case of some more moronic mutts, not so hooded references to criminal affairs that constitute useful intelligence for Law Enforcement that can be followed up on. On the same token, some of this information might provide outsourced listeners with opportunities to "cash in" on it.

Prison system officials are conversant with security issues involved in their field, so why would they outsource thus? They could say that it is "cost efficient" having the telephone system installed and maintained by an outside firm, but the intended results still would not outweigh the potential for harm.

So, once again I wonder, who are the graft practitioners in the prison system who are making money off Prison Billing Services, ne Evercom?

Posted by Seth at 11:40 AM | Comments (4) |


Cruising around the blogosphere, I've run into some spot-on posts I'd like to share.

For the "feminists" among us who bash the War on Terror as a way of bashing Bush, yet also purport to champion the cause of fellow women, RomeoCat at Cathouse Chat has a "right to the point" post about what these feminists and other liberals really support when they oppose the battle against the Muslim fundamentalists who are at war with us. Good read!

At GM's Corner is a reality based look at "our friends," the Saudis.

And Rightly So's Raven's got a great "pop quiz" up that explores the hypocrisy of a number of wealthy lefties who do the very same things they accuse the right of doing and condemn us for it.

Happy reading.

Posted by Seth at 11:17 AM |

October 28, 2005

Gross U.N. Mishandling Of Palestinian Refugees

Overshadowed by news of terrorism and Middle East political issues is the "Palestinian" refugee situation, which even after more than half a century is still an ongoing problem. It is one the United Nations, who took responsibility for resettling some half to three quarters of a million Palestinian refugees after Israel achieved statehood, does not like to discuss -- that number of unsettled people has since grown to over four million, demonstrating abject failure on the part of the U.N. and the agency it created specifically to address the problem, The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA.

Arlene Kushner has written a thorough report and analysis on this problem, including references to terrorism involvement by UNRWA members and the entire wasteful, mismanaged, horrendously criminal undertakings of the U.N. agency in Azure, an outstanding Jewish magazine. Access to the article requires registration{free}, but it is definitely worthwhile.

The article is here.

In the aftermath of World War II, when it became apparent that millions of destitute refugees were not going to be attended to by existing organizations, the United Nations saw fit to establish an agency–the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)–to coordinate assistance to them. The UNHCR worked in accordance with the binding parameters and regulations of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, adopted in Geneva in 1951. In the decades that followed, as the problem of refugees increasingly took on a global dimension, the need arose for a global organization dedicated to their assistance. Thus did a relatively small and specialized agency expand into an organization with offices in over 100 countries, an annual budget of $1 billion, and the ability to provide both legal protection and emergency relief. Today, the UNHCR’s makeshift blue tents have become immediately recognizable symbols of humanitarian assistance to millions of displaced people around the world. Combined with measures such as monitoring national compliance with international refugee law, the UNHCR takes as its ultimate goal the attainment of long-term or “durable” solutions to refugee crises, such as voluntary repatriation or resettlement in countries of asylum or “third” countries. To date, the UNHCR has helped over 25 million people successfully restart their lives.

There is one group of refugees, however, for whom no durable solution has been found in the more than fifty years since their problems began: Palestinian Arabs who fled Israel in the period 1948-1949 as a result of its War of Independence. Originally numbering between 500,000 and 750,000 persons, there are today more than 4 million refugees, the majority of whom live in or near one of 59 camps in five areas, making for one of the world’s largest and most enduring refugee problems.1 There is no practicable solution to their situation in sight.

The plight of the Palestinian refugees is, at first glance, fairly surprising. Whereas the rest of the world’s refugees are the concern of the UNHCR, the Palestinians are the sole group of refugees with a UN agency dedicated exclusively to their care: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which operates independently of the Convention on refugees. The differences between the two agencies are striking: In addition to classifying Palestinian refugees by a distinct set of criteria, UNRWA, through an international aid package of several hundred millions of dollars a year, serves as the main provider of healthcare, education, relief, and social services for its client population–the sort of assistance UNHCR usually devolves to refugees’ countries of asylum. Moreover, while the UNHCR actively seeks durable solutions to refugee problems, UNRWA has declined to entertain any permanent solution for the Palestinian refugees, insisting instead on a politically unfeasible “return” to pre-1967 Israel.2

By operating outside the norms accepted by the international community, UNRWA has succeeded in perpetuating a growing refugee problem. By establishing its own definition of a “Palestinian refugee” and actively encouraging resettlement in Israel, UNRWA not only has failed to resolve the Palestinian refugee issue, but has also lost sight of its original humanitarian goals, subordinating them instead to the political aims of the Arab world. Moreover, by hiring from within its own client population, UNRWA has at best created a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with regard to terrorist activity in its midst, and at worst has become so enmeshed in the terrorist population as to be effectively held hostage by it. In the final analysis, UNRWA’s handling of the Palestinian refugee issue is both antagonistic to the achievement of peace in the Middle East and detrimental to the plight of the refugees themselves.

As the author points out, UNRWA have been perpetuating their job, as it were, by redefining the criteria for their constituency in order to multiply it while setting stated resettlement goals that would require the destruction of Israel to actually reach fruition.

UNRWA, the first UN agency charged with the task of aiding refugees, was established by General Assembly Resolution 302 on December 8, 1949. The agency was tasked with directing relief and works programs for the Palestinian Arab refugees of Israel’s War of Independence, who had fled into the neighboring Arab regions of Gaza (then under Egyptian control), Judea and Samaria (then controlled by Jordan), Jordan proper, Lebanon, and Syria.

From the outset, UNRWA was granted an extraordinary degree of autonomy, largely due to pressure from the UN’s Arab bloc. Unlike most other UN agencies, for instance, the appointment of UNRWA’s commissioner general does not require any approval or confirmation from the General Assembly, but is rather left to the discretion of the UN secretary general, in consultation with UNRWA’s ten-member Advisory Committee. In addition, UNRWA’s Advisory Committee wields no executive or operative authority.3 Bound by no existing statute or international compact, it was free to set its own definitions and guidelines–definitions which differ markedly from those used by UNHCR. Thus, it described “Palestinian refugees” as

persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.4

The use of this definition is remarkable in itself, not least because its very short residency requirement–just two years–allows the inclusion of a great number of people who had recently arrived in Palestine, and were thus newcomers to the region; indeed, many of the people who fled Israel at that time had only just arrived from neighboring Arab countries in search of work.

Contrast this with the definition provided by the UNHCR, established just two years later and charged with functioning within the parameters of the UN’s Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The UNHCR was bound by the Convention, the universal standard for refugee status and the only definition recognized by international law. In this version, a refugee is someone who is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution.5

By emphasizing “country of nationality or habitual residence,” the UNHCR clearly intends to exclude the kind of transients– for example, a new arrival to the area in question for the purpose of employment–embraced by UNRWA’s definition.

This is not the only way in which the two definitions differ. The UNRWA definition also encompasses many other persons who would otherwise be excluded by the UNHCR. The latter, for example, outlines in detail the conditions under which the status of “refugee” no longer applies, stating that formal refugee status shall cease to apply to any person who has voluntarily re-availed himself of the protection of the country of his nationality; or having lost his nationality, he has voluntarily re-acquired it; or, he has acquired a new nationality, and enjoys the protection of the country of his new nationality; or… he can no longer, because the circumstances in connection with which he has been recognized as a refugee have ceased to exist, continue to refuse to avail himself of the protection of the country of his nationality.6

By excluding people who have found legal protection from established states, or who have refused to do so when offered, UNHCR has sought to prevent expansion of the definition in ways that would encourage the improper use of UNHCR’s services for political ends. UNRWA, however, has done just the opposite: Not only has it declined to remove the status of refugee from those persons who no longer fit the original description, such as the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who have been granted full citizenship by Jordan, but it confers indefinitely the status of refugee upon a Palestinian refugee’s descendants, now entering the fourth generation. As the organization’s official website explains: “There are several groups and categories of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs): UNRWA-registered 1948 refugees and their descendants, unregistered 1948 refugees and their descendants, internally displaced Palestinians in Israel, and persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 war and their descendants.”7 When UNRWA was first conceived, it did not explicitly include the descendants of Palestinian refugees; however, as its refugee population entered the second generation, UNRWA relaxed the definition of the term “Palestinian refugee” altogether, explaining that “for the purposes of repatriation or compensation… the term ‘Palestinian refugee’ is used with a different, much less restrictive meaning as compared to UNRWA’s need-based definition.”8

Sounds to me like what they used to call a "goat fuck."

So, too, did the General Assembly resolution establishing UNRWA intend its mandate to be temporary: It sought “the alleviation of the conditions of starvation and distress among the Palestinian refugees” with “a view to the termination of international assistance for relief” at an early date.10 The provision of direct relief was originally set to end no later than December 1950; yet its mandate has been renewed by the General Assembly every few years, and its current term now runs through June 2008. This begs the question: If UNRWA was set up as a temporary agency, why is it still operating more than half a century later?

One reason, again, lies in its singular definition of a refugee: By conferring the status of refugee on descendants, UNRWA has ensured an ever-growing population in need of its services. Yet a more significant reason has to do with its policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: UNRWA refuses to consider any resolution to the Palestinian refugee issue other than that demanded by the Arab world–the “right of return” to Israel. As explained on its website, UNRWA claims its services to be necessary until repatriation, “as envisaged in UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) of December 1948,” is enacted.11 While the legitimacy and applicability of resolution 194, which states that refugees wishing to return to their original countries of residence under certain conditions should be permitted to do so, can be, and is, debated ad infinitum, the fact remains that by staunchly adhering to this resolution, and actively encouraging its beneficiaries to do the same, UNRWA is denying the Palestinian refugees the one thing that the UNHCR takes as its essential purpose for existence: An end to their unwanted status.

Keep in mind, here, that the U.N., which funds this agency, is financed by the tax dollars of working Americans and citizens of other member countries.

Finally, it should be noted that, over the years, groups of Palestinian refugees have been offered opportunities to move into permanent housing–opportunities that have almost always been thwarted. In 1985, for instance, Israel attempted to move refugees into 1,300 permanent housing units constructed near Nablus with the support of the Catholic Relief Organization–without, it must be stated, demanding that they relinquish the “right of return.” Yet the UN intervened to prevent such an occurrence.23 In response to Israel’s attempts to provide housing, a General Assembly resolution was passed asserting that:

measures to resettle Palestine refugees in the West Bank away from the homes and property from which they were displaced constitute a violation of their inalienable right of return… [the GA] calls once again upon Israel to abandon its plans and to refrain from… any action that may lead to the removal and resettlement of Palestine refugees in the West Bank and from the destruction of their camps.24

Put simply, if UNHCR struggles to bring an immediate end to the plight of refugees through any means available, UNRWA’s entire efforts are geared towards a single “solution” which is both extremely unlikely ever to happen and not in the best interests of the refugees’ humanitarian needs. Rather it is in the interests of their political leaders’ aims.

The difference between the two organizations is felt also in the respective services they provide and the extent to which they are willing to place a burden of assistance on sovereign states. The UNHCR aims to provide basic material assistance only as necessary, and with the expectation that host or new countries of residence will cooperate as far as they are able in providing for refugee needs. The Convention states clearly that UNHCR is “charged with the task of supervising international conventions providing for the protection of refugees,”25 and the UNHCR website maintains that “UNHCR’s main role in pursuing international protection is to ensure that states are aware of, and act on, their obligations to protect refugees… and cannot be considered as a substitute for government responsibility.”26 UNRWA, by contrast, has been providing material assistance to Palestinian refugees for over fifty years in the form of “educational services, including general and higher education as well as vocational, technical and teacher education” and “a wide range of health services, including disease prevention and treatment, health protection and promotion and environmental and family health programs”–services far beyond the scope of “emergency relief” envisioned by UNHCR as a temporary measure on the road to self-sufficiency.27 Indeed, Palestinian Arabs provided for by UNRWA are the only refugees in the world to have guaranteed health care, primary education, and welfare benefits–as befitting a quasi-governmental body aimed at nurturing a people over the long haul rather than providing humanitarian relief. Not surprisingly, in the course of providing these services, UNRWA has developed an extensive bureaucracy–according to its website, UNRWA’s staff currently stands at 24,324 members28–with one staff person per 164 refugees (compared to one staff person per 2,803 refugees in UNHCR), and 99 dollars spent per refugee annually (compared with the UNHCR’s 64 dollars per refugee).29 The result is a kind of mutual dependence: The Palestinian community has become dependent on UNRWA’s services, support, and employment; and UNRWA has become dependent on its clients for its own survival and operational growth.

In short, by introducing broad parameters of inclusion, UNRWA has inflated the original numbers on its rolls; by declining to exempt those refugees who subsequently acquire citizenship elsewhere, it has sustained those large numbers over the years; and by counting successive generations, it has succeeded in indefinitely expanding the number of refugees. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, by encouraging the expectation of and desire for a “return” to Israel that is in all likelihood impossible, UNRWA has done a grave disservice to the refugees themselves–in effect, subordinating the humanitarian aims of refugee assistance to the political aims of Arab leaders. Unlike other refugees, who have been helped to regain some measure of autonomy, the Palestinian refugees remain mired in a sense of helplessness and frustration, condemned to an existence as stateless, displaced persons.

So we're paying welfare and all sorts of other benefits to four million people through an agency whose purpose was to exist for a relatively short time, long enough to relocate roughly one seventh of that amount of refugees, it's fifty six years later and they can't even claim to see a light at the end of the tunnel, nor even the tunnel itself. And we're paying a staff of over twenty four thousand people for this!

As if that isn't more than enough to make one at least a little angry, the percentage of our tax dollars that find their way into the coffers of UNRWA also aid and abet terrorism.

Of all the problems inherent in UNRWA’s policies, however, the practice of hiring from within its own client population is perhaps the thorniest. Of the approximately 24,000 persons in its employ, all but the roughly 100 “internationals” in executive positions are Palestinian Arabs, the vast majority of whom are themselves refugees.30

UNRWA claims that hiring refugees ensures a greater degree of sensitivity on the part of employees toward the problems facing their client base. Yet there is a general rule of thumb that it is not appropriate for an agency to do large-scale hiring of staff from the population it serves. No other UN agency does this; the UNHCR, for example, maintains by design a certain distance from its client base. The reason for this distance is clear: Employers who share the situation of their clients are vulnerable to conflicts of interest. UNRWA staff naturally share the passions and perceptions of their fellow refugees, and can easily be led to act on them inappropriately. In some cases, this means turning a blind eye to beneficiaries of UNRWA services engaged in terrorism; in others, it means outright involvement in terrorist activity itself.

Unfortunately, there is abundant evidence of such involvement. Incidents like the one on July 6, 2001 are not uncommon: The terrorist organization Hamas convened a conference in an UNRWA school in the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza with the full participation of school administrators and faculty. Students were addressed by Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who spoke about the “liberation of Jerusalem.” He was then joined by Saheil Alhinadi, UNRWA’s representative from the teachers’ sector, who praised the Hamas students who had carried out suicide attacks against Israelis in recent months. “The road to Palestine,” he orated, “passes through the blood of the fallen.”31

It is also common knowledge that Hamas-affiliated workers control the UNRWA union in Gaza.32 Within the teachers’ sector of the union, for example, all representatives are Hamas-affiliated, and Hamas candidates constitute the union’s entire executive committee, as well. Moreover, an organization called Islamic Bloc, ideologically similar to Hamas, has been charged with furthering the goals of Hamas within UNRWA schools; it prepares the next generation of Palestinians for the “liberation of Palestine” by organizing special events and distributing printed materials. Retired IDF colonel Yoni Fighel, a former military governor in the territories, explains how radical Islamic movements have come to dominate the refugee camps: “As long as UNRWA employees are members of Fatah, Hamas, or pelp [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine],” he says, “they are going to pursue the interests of their party within the framework of their job…. Who’s going to check up on them to see that they don’t? UNRWA? They are UNRWA.”33

The full extent of the terrorist infiltration in Palestinian refugee camps was revealed during the IDF’s Operation Defensive Shield, mounted in the spring of 2002 in response to an unprecedented wave of terror attacks inside Israel. The evidence gleaned from that operation is both irrefutable and damning: Hardly innocent residential areas, the UNRWA-run camps which the army entered were riddled with small-arms factories, explosives laboratories, Kassam-2 rocket manufacturing plants, and suicide-bombing cells. The camp in Jenin, site of the most intense fighting, provides the most dramatic example of the terrorist takeovers of UNRWA camps. A letter written by Fatah members in Jenin to Marwan Barghouti in September 2001 grants some insight into the situation:

Of all the districts, Jenin boasts the greatest number and the highest quality of fighters from Fatah and the other Islamic national factions. The refugee camp is rightly considered to be the center of events and the operational headquarters of all the factions in the Jenin area–it is, as the other side calls it, a hornets’ nest. The Jenin refugee camp is remarkable for the large number of fighting men taking initiatives in the cause of our people. Nothing will defeat them, and nothing fazes them. They are prepared to fight with everything they have. It is little wonder, therefore, that Jenin is known as the capital of the suicide martyrs.34

It should come as no surprise, then, that the IDF found a number of wanted terrorists hiding inside UNRWA schools; that a large number of youth clubs operated by UNRWA in the camps were discovered to be meeting places for terrorists; and that an official bureau of the Tanzim, or Fatah-affiliated, militia was established inside a building owned by UNRWA. UNRWA’s donors might be surprised to learn that funds intended for humanitarian relief sometimes end up serving the goals of Palestinian terror: In an interview with CNN in February 2002, PA Minister of Labor Ghassan Khatib remarked that every young man in UNRWA’s Balata refugee camp has his own personal weapon, since the local steering committee–an official UNRWA body–had voted that charitable donations received would be used for guns rather than food or other relief. UNRWA’s role in the terrorist activity of the Palestinian refugees is not only a passive one. Rather, UNRWA employees themselves sometimes engage in terrorism. According to the 2003 report by the United States General Accounting Office,35 for example, UNRWA employees were arrested and convicted by Israeli military courts of throwing firebombs at an Israeli public bus; possession of materials that could be used for explosives; and transferring chemicals to assist in bomb-making. Also, the IDF demonstrated that UNRWA ambulances have been used to transport terrorists and firearms in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the UN, himself saw shahid (martyr) posters on the walls in the homes of UNRWA workers during a visit to Jenin in April 2002. “It was clear,” he said in a December 2003 interview, “that UNRWA workers were doubling as Hamas operatives.”36

Given the U.N.'s record for being anti-Israel, the UNRWA sounds like their dream come true. Foreign tax dollars to finance an organization that supports terrorism while breeding an ever-growing population of "refugees" Palestinian terrorist groups can blame on Israel as another excuse to murder innocent people.

There is much more in the article, register free with a great online magazine and read the whole article...

Posted by Seth at 06:31 PM |

Iranians In Space

Iran has now put a satellite in space as part of a joint venture with their good friend, Russia.

Iran launched its first satellite into space from Plesetsk in northern Russia on Thursday, joining a select club of countries.
A joint project between Iran and Russia, the Sina-1 satellite will be used to take pictures of Iran and to monitor natural disasters.

It blasted off aboard a Russian Kosmos 3M rocket early on Thursday morning.

The satellite was built for Iran by Polyot, a Russian company based in the Siberian city of Omsk.

Director General of Iran Electronic Industries Ebrahim Mahmoudzadeh said Sina-1 was the result of years of research and 32 months of construction.

I find the very concept just a little scary -- they are the 43rd out of the planet's 191 countries to have a satellite in space -- and they are a country governed by extreme ideals several centuries in arrears, a nation that sponsors terrorism, whose president just decried a need for the destruction of Israel, who are the subject of a frantic attempt by the western world to discourage their development of the means to manufacture and deliver nuclear weapons.

Mr Mahmoudzadeh said the $15m research satellite would contain a telecommunications system and cameras that would be used for monitoring Iran's agriculture and natural resources.

It could also be deployed after disasters such as earthquakes.

He stressed, however, that the satellite represents only the first step in Iran's space programme.

"Considering that the satellite weights 170kg and is carrying a camera, it is an initial model as far as technical know-how and experience are concerned."

Great, so perhaps next they'll have a Russian version of the KH-12{surveillance} satellite to send up, to keep an eye on Israel and on the Great Satan{the U.S.} and other western countries.

It would be nice to think that we have some folks on tap who can intercept their satellite feed and disseminate it for useful intelligence.

Hat Tip The Raw Story.

Posted by Seth at 05:12 AM |

October 27, 2005

Just Curious

Just wondering about gas prices, and how high they should be instead of how high they really are.

Are we looking at oil companies taking major advantage of their customers?

Remember the early 1970s, when gas prices were high for the times, the oil companies screaming of a shortage, when people had to drive up to long lines at the pumps on alternate days, depending upon whether their license plate numbers were odd or even, and meanwhile entire fleets of fully laden oil tankers sat calmly offshore, out of visual range?


So what, exactly, is happening now?

We're reading here that Exxon Mobile has made a 75% profit due mainly to the "increase in gas prices" resulting from the hurricanes that banged up their offshore rigs and some of their refineries. It stands to reason, therefore, that had they merely raised their prices to reflect the situation, they would balance out at about the same profit margin they did before prices "went up." Instead, they're collecting exponential profits, which means that if the price of gas, based on the per-barrel price, goes up 80 cents, they'll charge a dollar and a half, or somewhere thereabouts.

Yup, no question about it, I love the way Mobile Chevron and others demonstrate their patriotism by profiteering on natural disasters.

Posted by Seth at 08:19 AM | Comments (2) |

Every Chapter Is Exactly The Same, Word For Word

Briefly, though I'm sure most of us know about yesterday's news,

A suicide bomber blew himself up Wednesday next to a food stand in the central Israeli town of Hadera, wounding at least 30 people and leaving a path of destruction at an open air market, police and rescuers said.

To update the above, there have been five resultant deaths. To me, that's five cold blooded murders of innocent civilians, not to mention the crippling of numerous other soft targets.

How very nice, still more humanity from the Palestinian end of things.

Interestingly enough, it came on the heels of a prediction by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Palestinians would, through their terrorism, eventually destroy Israel and he even offered words of encouragement to that end.

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday predicted a wave of Palestinian attacks that would erase Israel "from the face of the Islamic world," just hours before a suicide bomber killed five Israelis in a marketplace.
The attack, which wounded about 30, also made a mockery of a major speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who appealed in Ramallah yesterday for an end to attacks that he said were undermining attempts to establish a Palestinian state.
Iran's firebrand president called for Israel's destruction at a conference in Tehran titled "The World Without Zionism."

For the trillionth time or so, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the guy who let western governments, shamefully including ours, bully him into ceding Gaza to the Palestinians, said there would be no further talks with Mahmoud Abbas until he acts against armed groups.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has ruled out talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas until he takes "serious action" against armed groups, the Prime Minister's Office said Thursday, a day after five Israelis were killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber in Hadera.

Israel and the Palestinians earlier this month had delayed a meeting set for mid-October, their first since Israel completed its Gaza pullout on September 12. Officials had said the summit could take place in late October or early November, but sporadic violence since then had cast doubt on that timetable.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also called on Abbas to rein in militants, a PA official said Thursday. Rice called Abbas and they discussed Wednesday's attack, the official said.

Impressively, liberal media icon New York Times manages to incorporate all the essentials into one article.

JERUSALEM (AP) -- The Israeli army launched an offensive against Islamic Jihad militants Thursday, carrying out a series of airstrikes in what Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said would be a ''broad and nonstop'' response to a suicide bombing that killed five Israelis.

The offensive will include airstrikes and artillery attacks in Gaza and arrest raids in the northern West Bank, where Wednesday's bomber came from, a military official said on condition of anonymity under military regulations. As a last resort, Israel could re-enter Gaza, which it evacuated last month. Israeli media reported that troops would also retake Palestinian towns, and conduct house-to-house searches.

The threatened Israeli response to the bombing in the central town of Hadera ratcheted up pressure on Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to confront militant groups. Abbas has refused to crack down on armed groups such as Islamic Jihad, fearing civil war.

Sharon said the military operation was necessary because of Abbas' refusal to take action and said it would be impossible to resume peace talks until the Palestinians rein in the militants.

''Unfortunately the Palestinian Authority has not taken any serious action to battle terrorism,'' Sharon said before meeting the visiting Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov. ''We will not accept under any circumstances a continuation of terrorism. Therefore our activities will be broad and nonstop until they halt terrorism.''

''The state of Israel would very much have liked to move peace efforts forward,'' he added. ''To my regret, as long as terror continues we shall not be able to move forward as we would have wished.''

So as I said, it's just another chapter that is identical to all those that came before. In good faith, Israel makes concessions. Staying true to their track record, the Palestinians make terrorism.

It looks like this time out, an act of terrorism has been the straw that broke the camel's back{no un-PC reference intended, at least maybe not}.

Bush, Blair and a whole bunch of other world leaders really have to wake up to the fact that there will be no peace in Israel as long as the Palestinian Authority(Fatah, who were once the military wing of the P.L.O. and who presently "own" other, active terrorist groups) or Hamas are recognized as valid political concerns in the quest for peace in the Middle East rather than being treated by the world community as the failures they are in order for Israel to achieve positive diplomatic results via negotiating with terrorists.

Posted by Seth at 07:15 AM |

October 25, 2005

Walmart{I think I've been here before}

Yes, I have. I have defended Wal-Mart before.

And not for any in-depth political reasons, either. Just for topical observations I made a couple of years ago, when I spent some time in rural Illinois.

You know, you go to some of these extreme "fly-over zone" towns, the ones that subsist off outlying farms and a few totally locally owned businesses, and you see places in which there are no, and I mean NO job openings to speak of. A lot of families are simply clinging to their homes and eating on budgets that rate genuine pity...

There's a Wal-Mart in town, luckily, that employs hundreds of locals in the entire range of retail. Most of the people who live in town are poor.

Wal-Mart is sort of a nucleus: It supports the locals -- not just the economy, but the people. It sells them the luxuries higher income, large city residents enjoy at a fraction of the price that they can afford while simultaneously furnishing the means to buy.

Sure, a lot of people have reasons to share as to why they hate, or disapprove, of Wal-Mart. I'm personally pretty bottom-line when it comes to Retail. Wal-Mart is Retail with a vengeance; it employs an awesome amount of people who might not otherwise have any work at all or people who haven't got any credentials but possess strong business, supervisory or merchandising aptitudes and affords them the opportunity to move ahead in the company's hierarchy.

Right, Wal-Mart is a corporate dynasty, but it is positive -- it contributes to our economy on every front.

The left don't like that, because they don't believe that individuals who work hard, sacrifice and succeed should live any better than those who live off government largesse. Except, of course, for themselves.


Most of Wal-Mart's inventory originates in China. China is our enemy, though no-one in the media seems to explore that fact, but on the other hand, the more capitalist ventures we share with Beijing firms, the more people we can place in China and the better HUMINT we can harvest. I'm all for that, given the fact that we will eventually have a reckoning with them, and it won't be small potatoes.

But back to Wal-Mart -- I was actually inspired to write this post by another post by Raven, of And Rightly So fame.

Wal-Mart's greatest crime was the crime of success, the prime target of liberals, whose actual agenda is socialism, but the term "liberal" sounds better. Heh.

Think of the left as a pack of wild dogs with mange, a significant percentage rabid, descending upon any newsworthy "target of opportunity," for the sole purpose of transforming the U.S. Constitution into the Communist Manifesto.

WTF are they thinking!?

Posted by Seth at 07:27 AM | Comments (4) |

October 24, 2005

A Couple Of Good Columns

During today's read of Jewish World Review online, I ran into a couple of columns I thought I'd share.

Mark Steyn writes that Bush was right:Sometimes war is worth it, and John Leo tells us that -- no kidding, John! -- The ACLU is crossing the line.

Posted by Seth at 01:49 PM |

Kofi, the U.N. And Israel

At Jewish World Review, Johnathan Tobin weighs in on Kofi Annan's recent benevolent change of attitude toward Israel and the issues that render it a mere attempt to mask his and the embattled U.N.'s true feelings toward the Jewish State. The column in its entirety is here.

...The United Nations seemed to be sliding back toward old-style anti-Semitism as the organization reached its zenith at its International Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks. But Secretary General Kofi Annan has been spreading good will toward the Jews right and left these days. In the last year, the United Nations officially condemned anti-Semitism (amazing!) and commemorated the liberation of the Nazi death camps.

But before we prepare to sing the praises of Annan and the rest of the inmates of that peculiar birdcage that sits on the shores of Manhattan's East River, a little perspective is needed. Along with appreciation for the gestures, we need to ask why this is happening, and just how far this new passion for fairness extends.

The answer to the first question is more than obvious. Annan and the United Nations are in deep trouble. The fallout from the oil-for-food scandal has just begun. Billions intended to aid the Iraqi poor during the last years of Saddam Hussein's regime instead fell into the hands of Saddam and his foreign partners in crime while Annan did nothing. Even worse, his son Kojo played a role in this grand larceny. And that's just the tip of the iceberg for an institution in which corruption, inefficiency and hypocrisy are merely business as usual.

The call for reform was so widespread that, in a comic turn, Annan took it up himself this year. His strategy for halting the momentum of the United Nation's critics was smart: Throw the Jews a few bones and hope that the barking of the activists will settle down.

But beyond the atmospherics that are so dearly appreciated by those lonely Israeli diplomats, what is really changing at the United Nations? The answer to that question is far from settled.

That's because no matter how many tea parties Israeli envoys are invited to, U.N. anti-Zionism is grounded in more than just the hard hearts of so many of the delegates and permanent employees there.

It's at the United Nations and its agency offices around the globe where hatred of Israel is not merely an opinion.

There, it is institutionalized in committees and agencies that exist to undermine the legitimacy of the Jewish state and to provide forums for those who wish to attack it.

Chief among these institutions is the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, created in 1949 ostensibly to aid Palestinian refugees. All other refugees around the world since then have depended on the U.N. High Commission for Refugees for help. Only the Palestinians have their own U.N. agency. But unlike every other refugee problem, the Palestinians were not resettled but rather kept in place (through the good offices of their own U.N. agency) so as to better facilitate the ongoing war to destroy Israel.

Over the years, UNRWA morphed from being a group merely dedicated to aiding the siege of Israel to one whose employees in places like Gaza were themselves affiliated with terrorist groups, such as Hamas.

But the problem doesn't begin and end there. The U.N. committee on the "Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People" and its division of Palestinian Affairs and "Special Information Program" on the "Question of Palestine" have been there to fuel hate at every possible U.N. forum.

These organs of anti-Israel propaganda have served to fuel the conflict. And the corruption and waste at these agencies make the oil-for-food skullduggery of the past decade seem like just more of the same.

Yeah, Kofi's scrambling to play the "hail fellow well met" to shore up the damage done over the Oil For Food scandal and the accusations from various quarters of the U.N.'s corruption, antisemitism and inefficiency, but as the author says,

The signals we should send to Congress and the White House are those of increased monetary pressure on the United Nations. Indeed, far from turning down the heat, a congressional focus on cutting funds to terrorist hangouts like UNRWA should be at the top of our agenda.

Posted by Seth at 01:13 PM | Comments (2) |

RightMarch Alert

This is a new alert from Rightmarch, addressing the pork barrel spending issue:

ALERT: Last week, the House of Representatives was poised to dramatically cut over $50 BILLION in wasteful "pork-barrel" spending. It seemed like they were finally ready to do the job we SENT them there to do! Then, far-left groups like MoveOn.org sent an e-mail to their members, and over 160,000 of these leftists wrote or called Congress to demand they NOT trim back our ridiculously bloated budget...

And Congress blinked. They postponed the vote to cut out dozens of "pork" projects, even in the face of even more spending to help hurricane victims.

In the aftermath of the terrible tragedy of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, common sense dictates that Congress must use its head as well as its heart to help keep America strong. Obviously, the folks in Washington should do everything necessary (and Constitutional) to attend to the immediate needs of those who have tragically lost their homes and their livelihoods.

But, as Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) has noted, Congress must also use its head. At this critical time, we need to exercise sound fiscal judgment and ensure that we do not end up bankrupting our children and grandchildren.

"When so many lives have been shattered and relief is so critical, Congress cannot continue to fund projects like the $800,000 outhouse, $1.2 million for Panda research, or the $1 million indoor rainforest in Iowa," said Hensarling. "The fundamental question is who should tighten their belt to pay for this damage, American families or the federal government?"

He's exactly right. There are only three ways to pay for the emergency supplemental appropriation passed by Congress to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina and others: raise taxes, increase the national debt or tighten the belt of the federal government. By listening to radical left-wing groups like MoveOn.org and refusing to offset this spending, Congress is simply taking the most politically expedient path by adding to our already staggering debt and passing the buck to future generations. At a time when Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are growing out of control, refusing to offset even one penny of this bill with lower priority spending is unacceptable.

Hensarling introduced an amendment to the Katrina bill which WOULD have forced Congress to cut back a lot of pork to pay for the emergency assistance. His amendment would have offset nearly $52 billion in hurricane emergency spending with funding from lower priority programs (such as in the $25 million highway bill) over five years. This commonsense offset would reduce government spending across the board, but would exempt entitlement spending, defense, homeland security and veterans funding. The amendment would not deny one penny of relief to the Gulf Coast, nor would it delay relief in any way.

You guessed it: Hensarling's original amendment was voted down. Our Representatives in D.C., it seems, just can't get ENOUGH of our money for their pet pork projects.

It's time we DEMAND that Congress set spending priorities, repeal the "pork" projects in the highway bill, and re-route that money to relief efforts for those hit hardest by the recent hurricanes.

TAKE ACTION: The Wall Street Journal has asked in an editorial, "Why not cancel all of the special-project pork in the highway bill and dedicate the $25 billion in savings to emergency relief on the Gulf Coast? Is it asking too much for Richmond, Indiana, to give up $3 million for its hiking trail, or Newark, New Jersey, to put a hold on its $2 million bike path?"

Or how about these other examples, as compiled by Citizens Against Government Waste:

* $230 million for the infamous "Bridge To Nowhere" in Alaska which will service an island town of just 50 people
* $4 million for bike paths and park space in Calexico, California
* $4 million for sidewalk improvements in Clarkson, Georgia
* $3 million for a river path in Springfield, Oregon
* $2.8 million for a bike/pedestrian path in Madison, Wisconsin
* $2.7 million for renovation of the Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio
* $2.48 million for bike/pedestrian paths in Chicago, Illinois
* $2.3 million for landscaping enhancements along the Ronald Reagan Freeway in California
* $2 million to construct an "intermodal center" at the Philadelphia Zoo in Pennsylvania
* $2 million for a parking garage in San Antonio, Texas
* $1.8 million to construct a visitor interpretive center at the Gray Fossil Site in Tennessee
* $1.2 million to install lighting/steps at the Blue Ridge Music Center in Virginia
* $640,000 to extend a bicycle trail in Aberdeen, South Dakota
* $320,000 for a new bicycle/pedestrian trail in Shelbyville, Tennessee
* $33,440 for a trolley barn in Harrison, Arkansas

MoveOn.org and their allies on the far left MUST be stopped. Congress SHOULD repeal the 6,000-plus "pork" projects in the highway bill and redirect that money to the hurricane victims who really need it. But a spokesman for Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, called the pork-for-relief swap proposal "moronic," and the Washington Times reports that House Republican leaders say there simply isn't any "fat" left in the budget to be cut.

Of course there is. How about some common sense here? IT'S OUR MONEY, not Congress' money.

Let's make our voices heard loud and clear on this issue -- because apparently, Congress is only hearing from the LEFT. First, make one quick phone call to your U.S. Representative, and just let him or her know: "Repeal the 'pork' projects in the highway bill, and spend it on hurricane relief efforts!" Here's the TOLL-FREE number: 1-888-355-3588 (If that number is busy, call directly at 1-202-224-3121).

Next, click below to send a FREE message to YOUR Congressman and Senators, asking them NOT to raise taxes or increase the national debt, but to repeal the highway bill's "pork" projects and redirect that money to the victims of the hurricanes:


NOTE: RightMarch.com was created for THIS VERY REASON -- to counter the fake "grassroots" efforts of the far-left minority in this country led by groups like MoveOn.org. Together, we CAN stop their "virtual march on Washington" with our own "virtual march from the Right!"

Be sure to forward this Alert to EVERYONE you know who wants to help demand that Congress IGNORE the shrill voices from MoveOn.org and the far left, and to cut "pork" projects in trade for hurricane relief. Thank you!


William Greene, President


The work of RightMarch.com is funded entirely by voluntary contributions. Help us spread the word with a donation to RightMarch.com!

Posted by Seth at 12:18 PM |

Like Dad, Bashar Is Pushing His Luck

Syria, an outspoken enemy of Israel since long before the Jewish State kicked its butt in 1973, has done more than enough in recent years to warrant some aggressive attention not only from Israel, but the Coalition of the Willing as well.

Many of the Palestinians who commit acts of terrorism in Israel are trained in Syria, armed by Syria and financed by Syria, or by terror groups headquartered in Syria with the blessing of "President" Bashar Assad and previously that of his father and predecessor, Hafez Assad.

There has been evidence submitted, via satellite intelligence and from a few on-the-ground witnesses, that prior to the U.S. led invasion of Iraq, guards on the Iraq-Syria border were relieved by Saddam's own security people in order to permit convoys of trucks to drive into Syria without any official scrutiny of their cargoes.

There has been no "smoking gun" level of evidence yet presented to support any theories as to what may have been in the trucks, though one theory is that the convoys were transporting WMD from Iraq into the hands of Baathist-run Syria. The anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-America, pro-terrorist, pro-tyranny crowd screams that there's no way this could be so, for according to them, there never was any WMD in Iraq. To even hint at the possibility would be to discredit their weak, long played out "Bush lied" mantra.

However, throughout the merry time Saddam and his cronies enjoyed sending blind man Blix on wild goose chases while shuffling the sought after inventory out of his path, and since, a lot of WMD that was known to be in Saddam's possession prior to the Blix idiocy is unaccounted for. The Mainstream Media doesn't speculate on this, nor do their liberal subscribers, who apparently think the unaccounted-for weaponry -- chemical and biological for the most part -- must have simply ceased to exist of its own volition.

As the Kennedy who is a left wing columnist would say, "the science speaks for itself" or some such moronic declaration as when he blamed Bush for Hurricane Katrina because Dubya had declined to sign the Kyoto Agreement, thus causing the "global warming" that in turn "caused" Katrina. Right, so much for liberal science.

But there is a strong possibility that those missing WMD are, or were, in the hands of Bashar Assad, awaiting use at a time of opportunity.

Since we overthrew Saddam and waxed his sadistic sons, Syria has been a staging point for terrorists, including al-Qaeda mambers, entering Iraq. Damascus has been a veritable mall of headquarters for a variety of Fundamentalist Islam-based terrorist organizations and Assad has done nothing to discourage this, save for weak promises he's had no intention of carrying out.

Now, it seems, he is bringing his country back to the strongman rule embraced by his father.

DAMASCUS, Syria -- A brutal beating delivered last week to Anwar al Bounni, one of the few lawyers who dares to represent political prisoners before Syria's security court, indicates that after a brief "Damascus Spring," the administration of President Bashar Assad is cracking down on dissent.
And there is evidence considered strong enough to pursue an investigation into allegations that the Assad government was involved in the February assassination bombing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri.

A U.N. report last week accused the Syrian administration of complicity in the Feb. 14 bombing deaths of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 20 others in Beirut.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who are traveling together in Alabama, both called yesterday for international action in response to the report.
"These are very serious charges and they have to be debated at the level of foreign minister," Miss Rice said in a British Broadcasting Corp. interview.
Mr. Straw said the report indicated that "people of a high level of this Syrian regime were implicated" in the assassination. He also referred to "false testimony being given by senior people" in the Syrian government.

Thus far, our disagreements with Damascus have been limited to barking contests and as such, Bashar Assad is making the same mistake Saddam & Sons made by assuming the United States was all talk, no action. The Husseins at least had reason to opine thusly, as our track record under the Clinton Administration was one of a toothless tiger. One of Saddam's sons was quoted as saying, when the Coalitition was making mincemeat of the Iraqi Army, that "Bush is not Bill Clinton!" Assad is just stupid, one of those people who refuse to learn from others' mistakes, a yipping chihuahua snapping at the heels of a couple of tigers named Israel and the United States.

It seems inevitable that if Assad doesn't clean up his act in the very near future, that "aggressive attention" will be visited upon Syria in ways he will find to be not to his liking, extremely so.

Posted by Seth at 10:42 AM | Comments (5) |

Good Shooting, Guys!

TULKARM, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli troops on Monday shot dead a top Islamic Jihad commander in the occupied West Bank, the most senior Palestinian militant killed since the start of an eight-month-old ceasefire.

Posted by Seth at 10:10 AM |

The Right To Keep And Bear Arms

The most thorough and spot-on post I've ever seen regarding our Second Amendment rights can be found at Kender's Musings.

Posted by Seth at 08:36 AM |

A New Post From Michael Yon

Michael Yon's brand new post from Iraq is called Purple Fingers.

Posted by Seth at 06:49 AM |

October 22, 2005

Same Old, Same Old

So nothing in the so-called "Middle East Peace Process" has really changed since Ariel Sharon, via what I believe would be more aptly named the "Roadmap To Hell," gave Gaza to the Palestinians. Now they've got their new firebase and a staging point for attacks against Israel, and once they've gotten their seaport built, at the expense of U.S. and other nations' taxpayers, they'll have the perfect set-up for importing still more terrorists, such as al-Qaeda types.

The White House meeting between President George W. Bush and Palestinian Authority whip Mahmoud Abbas seems to have been a rather stagnant affair, nothing new to report, as it were, no problems resolved. They should've had their talk by telephone -- Abbas could've used a $5.00 phone card and saved all the money he spent travelling to the U.S. Again, our tax dollars at work.

Mohammed Dahlan's back from the hospital in Belgrade, and addressed his fellow Palestinians in Gaza.

Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan on Saturday praised his Fatah movement's armed struggle against Israel, but called on gunmen to set aside their weapons and move toward democracy.

Right, and

Without the armed resistance, the Palestinians would not have made progress in their struggle, Dahlan told the crowd, in an apparent reference to Israel's withdrawal last month from the Gaza Strip. However, he said, it was time for Fatah to control their arms, end the chaos in Gaza and focus on winning a January parliamentary vote.

"We are the pioneers in the Fatah movement and we should put an end to the division. We should be united. It's time for democracy," Dahlan said.

On the one hand, Dahlan praises the success of Palestinian terrorism against the Israelis -- sure, he calls it armed resistance, but if blowing up soft targets like women and children is "armed resistance," I wonder what he would call actually getting up on ones hind legs and going toe-to-toe with armed soldiers.

In the same breath as his praise for the murder of innocents and the destruction of property, he urges his terrorist brethren to lay down their arms and pursue democracy.

Until when? Until you've convinced the world of your sincerity, Mohammed, and foreign sources of funding have begun a deluge of largesse into your coffers to finance more mayhem when you believe the Israelis have let their guard down? Then you can praise your fellow terrorists some more when they've driven Sharon out of the West Bank, as well?

The Palestinians have proven that no matter who's in charge, nothing changes. They renege on every condition they ever agree to in peace proceedings, which from their perspective is just fine as it's okay for "the faithful" to lie to infidels, who don't count.

Israel has been the side forced to make all the concessions in every peace attempt, the Palestinians have been asked only to disband and disarm their terrorist organizations. Israel has kept its end of every deal, the Palestinians have done nothing but accept these concessions, absorb money from numerous countries and then continue to terrorize.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz laid down the law, warning Abbas that if the PA doesn't hold up their only end of the bargain and deal with the terrorist groups, diplomatic negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will come to an end.

"We demand that the Palestinian Authority move from the talking phase and actively work against the terror organizations," Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said following Sunday’s terror attacks in the West Bank.

“As long as the terror attacks persist Israel will not be able to continue the diplomatic process with the Palestinians," Mofaz added.

Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem pointed an accusatory finger at Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas following the terror attacks in Gush Etzion and Binyamin, in which three people have been murdered and at least four were injured.

Abass' meek approach allowed this attack. He is not doing what is necessary. It seems that the terror organizations are trying to send him a message, that he should stop working against them," a diplomatic source told Ynet.

This entire diplomatic spectacle is just that. Even as the Israelis have given up Gaza and pursue peace talks, the terrorism continues.

More here.

The Israelis waxed a young bomber, expect some kind of violent response from the Palestinians, who become really angry when the Israelis kill one of these monsters in self defense. According to the Arab script, the Jews are supposed to cooperate and die.

A long time ago, former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir said that "there will be peace in the Middle East when the Palestinians come to love their children more than they hate the Jews." Well...

Woman carrying baby hides hand grenade
Earlier on Saturday, IDF troops arrested five wanted Palestinian militants during an arrest sweep in a village near the West Bank town of Nablus. The forces discovered in one militant?s home a suitcase containing 10 kg of explosives.

During the raids, troops also found a Palestinian woman hiding a hand grenade under her baby, an IDF officer said.

The woman, Aziza Jawabra, admitted the grenade was near her one-month-old son, but said she did not know it was in the pocket of the jacket she was wearing.

Lt. Col. Arik Chen said his troops finally searched Jawabra after they became suspicious of the way she was carrying the baby. The soldiers found she was holding the grenade just under the baby's backside, he told The Associated Press.

"To see a woman using her baby to hide a grenade is not typical," Chen said.

Right, sure, anything you say. I'm reminded of an incident awhile back in which a teenage Palestinian girl snuck out of the house, took a walk down an Israeli street and blew herself up in a suicide vest.
The father's reaction was not concern over the loss of his daughter nor for the victims of the bombing.
It was anger that his daughter had left the house without his permission nor with one of her brothers as an escort, and the admonition that had his daughter survived, he would have beaten her to death.

It would appear that nothing's changed in the violent landscape that is Israel, except that the Palestinians now own Gaza.

Posted by Seth at 11:58 AM | Comments (4) |

Oops! Three Hours Late!

I can't believe I neglected to post on this yesterday, which was the 208th birthday of the very naval sailing vessel that heads up this blog.

On 21 October 1797, the frigate U.S.S. Constitution, known also as Old Ironsides was launched at Edmund Hartt's Shipyard in Boston Harbor.

Let's hoist a pint in her honor.

Posted by Seth at 02:54 AM | Comments (2) |

The War On Terror

Tony Blankley has written a detailed and must-read piece on the premises behind his book The West's Last Chance: Will We Win The Clash Of Civilizations?, in which he discusses the serious threat posed to western civilization by radical Islam, citing among other causes for alarm the rapid ongoing ingestion of Europe by Muslims.

It is beginning to dawn on Europeans that the combination of a shrinking ethnic-European population and an expanding, culturally assertive Muslim population might lead to the fall of Western civilization in Europe within a century.
This phenomenon, called Eurabia, is viewed with growing fatalism both in Europe and in America. Such fatalism, however, is premature.
Last November, an Islamist terrorist's butchering of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who had made a movie revealing abuse of Muslim women, aroused deep fears in Holland and across the Continent.
The public anger, which included the burning of mosques in traditionally tolerant Holland, is evidence that the European instinct for survival has not been fully extinguished.
But that survival instinct is threatened by the multiculturalism and political correctness advocated in media and academe -- and institutionalized in national and European Union laws and regulations for half a century.
Europe's effort at cultural tolerance since World War II slowly morphed into a surprisingly deep self-loathing of Western culture that denied the instinct for cultural and national self-defense.
If Europe doesn't rise to the challenge, Eurabia will come to pass. Then Europe will cease to be an American ally and instead become a base of operations (as she already is to a small degree) against

Another excerpt from the article that should be kept in mind,

Many Muslims in Europe are content to be law-abiding, culturally integrated citizens. But an increasing number feel some degree of alienation. Many are beginning to believe that they have a religious duty not to integrate.
Radical Islam, sometimes accurately called Islamo-fascism, has all the "advantages" the Nazis had in Germany in the 1930s. The Islamo-fascists find a Muslim population adrift, confused and humiliated by the dominance of foreign nations and cultures. They find a large, youthful population increasingly disdainful of their parents' passive habits.
Just as the Nazis reached back to German mythology and the supposed Aryan origins of the German people, the radical Islamists reach back to the founding ideas and myths of their religious culture. And just like the Nazis, they claim to speak for authentic traditions while actually advancing expedient and radical innovations.
The Islamo-fascist mullahs encourage young Muslims not to turn to their parents for guidance on choosing a wife (or wives). Nor are young Muslims to be guided by parental or community disapproval of making an individual commitment to jihad. They are allowed to drink alcohol
, shave their beards and commit what otherwise would be judged immorality in a Muslim -- in order to advance jihad.

Read the entire series, three parts, the second two linked at the ends of their "predecessors."

We are fighting a war against a religious entity that has actually been at war with the rest of the world, in one way or another, for about a dozen centuries, because they believe that only Muslims are entitled to live, the rest of us must be killed.

The technology of today has enabled them, for the first time in their entire bloody history, to mount the war they've always wanted on a global scale.

And we are fighting them tooth and nail, despite obstruction from our own lemminglike left and politically partisan propaganda, spins, omissions and outright lies by the mainstream{liberal} media, all of whom either take the side of or play into the hands of our terrorist enemy.

The superbly well prepared, well fact-checked outing of a left wing media stooge who is a very good friend, indeed, of the terrorists in Iraq can be found at GM's Corner, and a definitive rebuttal to the left's decomposing dead horse, "Bush lied! We only invaded Iraq because he said they had WMD!" awaits at Kender's Musings.

Posted by Seth at 01:48 AM | Comments (2) |

So Much For Liberal Propaganda

The Democrats have for years hammered us with the myth that the nation's wealthier folks pay less or no tax at all, leaving the poor to carry the tax burden.

Pat'sRick proves otherwise.

Posted by Seth at 01:40 AM |

He Got That Right!

Brian Carney's New York experience in yesterday's Opinion Journal talks about something I, too, have recently encountered.

I was in New York for several days last month, and man, has the city of my birth become expensive in the last few years. I mean, here's a place where people have become so accustomed to being robbed at the cash register that they don't bat an eye when forking over $8.00 for a pack of cigarettes or $4.50 for a coffee and a bagel "with a schmear" to go.

I am preparing to move back to the east coast soon and buy a house, and have studied real estate prices from Maine to the Carolinas and New York... well, let's say you're single and you badly want to live in Manhattan, where you are willing to buy a condo or co-op{personally, I wouldn't even consider a co-op, because then you're subject to a "board of directors" whose decisions can in many ways decide upon how you can live in your own "home"). If you search very hard and are blessed, beat the multitudes of competitors for the property and win the day(strike up the band!) you may get really, truly lucky and be able to buy your own tiny studio condo for a mere $350,000.00 plus monthly maintenance fees. Woo, at least you won't have to spend a lot of money on furniture, since there'd be noplace to put it. Add a couple of hundred thousand dollars or considerably more if you're looking to buy a small or medium sized house or a multiroom condo. On the even brighter side, you would have the opportunity to pay the city's high property tax, a gift to the people of New York from mayor and "former" Democrat, billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

The other four boroughs, especially Brooklyn and Queens, with the exception of New York's few remaining enclaves of "live here and die, whitey!", are fast catching up on the inflated property gravy train.

Brian Carney, looking to buy a home for himself and his family, searched high and low for a property that was affordable, without success:

But even Brooklyn has gone real-estate crazy, especially if you limit your search to neighborhoods with decent public schools. After seriously considering a two-bedroom basement apartment in Brooklyn Heights going for far more than we could afford, the reality hit home. New York might be great--greater than ever in many ways--but it was beyond our financial grasp. We regrouped and started to look in the suburbs. Which is where we ended up.

And he's got a family in tow, jeez! It's enough that prices in New York repelled me, intending to live by myself, from its real estate market.

There's this bubble thing, you see, in many large cities, among them New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and Washington, DC, that has real estate prices titanically overvalued, and in my opinion as well as those of acquaintances in the business, this bubble will burst in the not-too-distant future, transforming current sellers' markets into big time buyers' markets, and that $500,000.00 house you buy today might suddenly enjoy a market price of only $300,000.00 three or four years down the road, if that.

So, like the author of the linked article, I, too, am looking elsewhere for my house.

Posted by Seth at 12:51 AM |

October 20, 2005

Tom DeLay Booked in Houston

Tom DeLay turned himself in quietly at the sheriff's office in Houston earlier, got himself fingerprinted and photo'd, spoke to a judge and posted bail and was gone within half an hour, depriving self seeking, politically motivated, shyster, Travis County, Tx D.A. Ronnie Earle of the dog and pony show he would have preferred.

DeLay showed up with his attorney, Dick DeGuerin.

"Now Ronnie Earle has the mugshot he wanted," DeGuerin said, referring to the Travis County district attorney who brought the charges. DeLay and his lawyer have accused the district attorney of trying to make headlines for himself.

Earle is a shameless maggot who has no compunction about destroying another man's reputation or career if he believes it will advance his own political future.

DeLay had been expected to turn himself in in his home county outside Houston, Fort Bend, where a horde of reporters awaited. But under Texas law, he could check in anywhere in the state.

DeGuerin said he and DeLay went to the sheriff's office in Houston because it was convenient and because "I wanted to avoid the circus."

"That's what Ronnie (Earle) wanted. He wanted a perp walk and we did not want to do it," the defense attorney said.

I predict Tom DeLay will be cleared of the trumped up charges against him, but unfortunately, as happens as a result of human nature, there will always be a lingering doubt among the voting public, and that will have a highly negative impact on the future of his career in politics.

Posted by Seth at 10:33 PM | Comments (2) |

Move America Forward

This is the latest email announcement from Move America Forward:

Fellow Move America Forward Supporters,

I'm Sal Russo, Chief Strategist for Move America Forward.

I am sending you this short update to pass on some very good news.

The Chairman of our group, Melanie Morgan, has joined World Net Daily
as a weekly columnist.

You can read the scoop on this development here:

I know that many Americans will enjoy the opportunity to read Melanie's
conservative wit and wisdom each week. This is in addition to
Melanie's daily co-host duties on "The Lee Rodgers & Melanie Morgan Show" on
KSFO 560 AM.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Also, we are pleased to announce that Move America Forward will be
conducting a "Support Our Troops This Holiday Season" national radio ad

We're in the process of producing radio ads that urge Americans not to
turn their backs on our troops this holiday season.

The news media continues to celebrate only the negative news in Iraq,
while ignoring the progress our troops are making. This is a subject
that will be the centerpiece of Melanie's first column at World Net
Daily, and it will also be the central focus of our radio ad campaign.

We'll have more on this program in a few days. But for now, I'll give
you one piece of news on the program that I really like:

* We will base the broadcast of these ads based on where we receive the
financial support to air them.

Our accounting team will be tracking ALL online and mailed
contributions. We will then allocate the money to each radio market and begin
broadcasting the ads in that city/market once we've reached $500 for any

Once we've reached the $500 in a market we'll post on our website which
radio station we will start running the ads on, so you'll be able to
tune in and listen.

The point of all of this is to let you have the power to help advance
the Move America Forward message in YOUR area based on YOUR financial

We think this is a fair and effective way to help spread the pro-troop
message during this crucial holiday season.

Now, this will mark your first chance to contribute to the campaign.

Or mail in a contribution:

Move America Forward
ATTN: Holiday Pro Troop Ads
P.O. Box 1497
Sacramento, CA 95812

Next week Melanie will have more information about the ads, when the
campaign will go live, etc...

Thank you for reading my update.

Sincerely Yours,

Sal Russo
Chief Strategist, Move America Forward

Posted by Seth at 09:56 PM |

Another Triumph For Provocateurs Of Racism

This Toledo, Ohio occurance was, indeed, a crying shame. Michelle Malkin has it covered completely, as always.

So the way it went down was, the Nazi scum were scheduled to march and local black gang-bangers were prepared to give them an exciting reception. To head off trouble, the city cancelled the Nazis' march, but that didn't stop the gang members, who were too ready to riot and destroy other people's property to quit just because there was no longer a reason to take any action. They wanted to hurt some white people, create mayhem and burn things down, and it didn't matter that their excuse no longer existed.

As far as I'm concerned, much of the blame for this inexcusable and inhuman behavior falls in the laps of such self-motivated instigators as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan. I find it repulsive that Jackson and Sharpton dare place religious prefixes before their names, for they are nothing short of Godless hatemongers, as is Farrakhan.

These are people who thrive on racial hatred, because the only political platform they have is racism. By continually shouting to all too many blacks who give them credibility that "Whitey is racist and he wants to keep the black man down" and representing themselves as defenders of their race against this insidious white plot that really, really does not exist, they retain their power bases among blacks and gullible liberals of other ethnic persuasions.

They keep racism alive in the black community as they feed the flames of a simmering rage that needn't be, simply because they need as many downtrodden people as they can inventory into their ministries of hate in order to maintain the constituencies that support their miserable careers.

Like the ACLU, these Provocateurs of racial violence are the enemies of the blacks and other minorities, posing as their friends while using them to meet political agendas. It's just too bad so many people listen to these parasites and believe what they're saying.

Like I said, a crying shame.

Columnist Michael Graham has an opinion piece on the affair in Jewish World Review.

So how did these fringe fascists get blamed for the Toledo riot?

Maybe it's the press's anti-Nazi bias. If so, they'll get no complaints from me.

Or maybe the mainstream media buys the argument, offered by some of the rioters and their defenders, that the riot was a civil rights protest against fascism.

Probably, to the last. Our Mainstream Media, just like most liberals, are living in their own private Idaho{h/t, B-52s}.

So to recap: In response to a Nazi rally that didn't happen, several hundred black Americans burned down buildings and looted businesses in their own community, apparently in protest of the First Amendment, while the elected mayor of a mid-sized American city negotiated with the gangsters among them to plead for order in the streets.

And it's all the Nazi's fault?

Even if you believe that neo-Nazism poses an imminent threat to the Republic, how does destroying a Toledo gas station or setting a local bar on fire help hold back the Aryan hordes? I just wonder how many other Americans, watching the disturbing images of hundreds of black neighbors rushing a local convenience store, were reminded, not of Nuremberg, but New Orleans?

I have a lot of black friends and acquaintances, and none of them would ever dream of participating in anything like the Toledo rioting or that which occured in Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict.

Those inclined to mob violence are the folks who allow themselves to be kept down and out of the "loop" of mainstream society by the same black community leaders and white liberals that claim to represent their interests.

I realize that, as a white guy, I am supposed to let this behavior go by without comment. That was certainly the mainstream media's strategy.

I'm also not supposed to notice that on the same day, a thousand miles away in Washington DC, thousands of black Americans gathered to hear Louis Farrakhan's latest theory on how the Bush administration blew up the levees in Louisiana. If I'm alarmed by the sight of great masses of my fellow Americans in support of a anti-Semitic loony waiting to be beamed up to the Mother Ship, it's my duty as a white guy not to let it show.

But it does make me nervous. If the American Nazi Party had a million members, I'd be nervous about that, too—even if that number represented a mere1% of America's white population. The same would be true if thousands of Hispanic Americans were rioting on behalf of the "reconquista" movement to return the southwestern US to Mexico.

But they aren't. There is only one community in America where this irrational, self-destructive street violence occurs again and again. As an American, I'd like to do something to help change that fact. But I don't think I'm allowed to, because I don't think I'm allowed to even acknowledge that there's a problem.

Unfortunately, the problems facing black Americans are very real. The lingering racism black Americans face is real, too, as are the setbacks some black Americans choose to bring upon themselves.

Posted by Seth at 07:43 PM |


Walter Williams has a pretty on-point column going in today's JWR about a nation of sheeple.

The column's about the way we, as Americans, have been gradually ceding the guardianship of our rights to the very elements they are supposed to protect us against.

...In the name of safety, we've undergone decades of softening up to accept just about any government edict that our predecessors would have found offensive. Let's look at some of it.

The anti-smoking movement might be the beginning of the softening up process. They started out calling for reasonable actions like no-smoking sections on airplanes. Then it progressed to no smoking on airplanes altogether, then private establishments such as restaurants and businesses. Emboldened by the timidity of smokers, in some jurisdictions there are ordinances banning smoking in outdoor places such as beaches and parks. Then there are seatbelt and helmet laws that have sometimes been zealously enforced through the use of night vision goggles. On top of this, Americans accept government edicts on where your child may ride in your car. Americans sheepishly accepted all sorts of Transportation Security Administration nonsense. In the name of security, we've allowed fingernail clippers, eyeglass screwdrivers and toy soldiers to be taken from us prior to boarding a plane.

Yeah, I know what he's talking about. Micromanagement by government does kind of suck, it goes against the grain of the Constitution and the American way of life as a whole. It would, however, be just fine in a socialist country or San Francisco.

The article began with reference to President Bush's proposal for using the military as a primary disaster management entity and the author's belief{mine as well} that the Posse Comitatus Act serves a positive purpose toward preventing the federal government using the Armed Forces for domestic police duties.

In my opinion, the only reason the Administration has been so quick to volunteer our military thusly is that they are overreacting to all the undeserved flack they took in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, panicking when there's no reason to panic. At least there wouldn't be if the current batch of Republicans(you know, the majority?) could be counted on to support their president instead of appeasing the Democrats at every turn.

But I digress, an ongoing problem I have.

It is quite true that we've been "taking it sitting down" while we allow our politicians to run amok, pretty much controlling our lives and circumstances through the incremental introduction of increasingly invasive and restrictive laws. The majority of Americans have become lazy in that they don't look over their elected officials' shoulders from time to time to learn the details of these people's voting agendas.

We've accepted federal intrusion in our financial privacy through the Bank Secrecy Act. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, says, "More than 99.999 percent of those [who] had their privacy invaded were law-abiding citizens going about their own personal financial business." Most recently there's the U.S. Supreme Court Kelo decision, where the court held that local governments can take a private person's house and turn it over to another private person. Politicians have learned and become comfortable with the fact that today's Americans will docilely accept just about any legalized restraint on their behavior.

He weighs in on a time when Americans reacted quite differently to government infringement on their freedom.
You say, "Hey, Williams, but it's the law!" In the late-1700s, the British Parliament enacted the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts, and imposed other grievances that are enumerated in our Declaration of Independence. I'm happy that we didn't have today's Americans around at the time to bow before King George III and say, "It's the law." Respectful of the Posse Comitatus Act, President Bush has suggested that he'll ask Congress to amend the law to allow for the use of the U.S. military to enforce regional quarantines. Whether Congress amends the law or not, Bush has no constitutional authority to deploy military troops across the land. Why?

Give the entire column a read, it's surely food for thought.

Posted by Seth at 06:20 PM |

Caption Contest

Go over to GM's Corner and check out his Caption Contest.

Posted by Seth at 06:16 PM |

The Ultimate Basketball Fan

Basketball enthusiasts might be interested to know the identity of Larry Bird's biggest fan.

Posted by Seth at 06:07 PM | Comments (2) |

October 18, 2005

Tomorrow's Derelicts Today

You see them in most big cities, but I've never seen nearly as many of these tragedies in the making anyplace else as I have here in San Francisco.

They are young people between the ages of perhaps sixteen and twenty six and generally come in one of three "looks": frayed Gothic wannabe, often completely concealed within a mire of tattoos and face-pierce jewelry, "wish it was still the late Sixties" hippie wannabe and "wish this was ten years before I was born" punk wannabe.

Here in the liberals' Mecca, they are to be found sitting along the sidewalks on Market Street, giving the appearance of being in their own living rooms, often entertaining their street colleagues, eating, getting high, panhandling and bumming cigarettes, or doing the same thing up in Haight Ashbury. They leave the trappings of any meals or liquid party materials right there on the sidewalk when they get up to leave, because the local socialist attitude has indoctrinated them into the mindset that everybody else is their mother and father.

While in most cities, purely in the interests of what former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani used to call maintaining "quality of life," charges such as mendicancy , obstructing the sidewalk and littering(as a ticket) would be among those applied by arresting officers on the beat. In San Francisco, however, these young people enjoy two benefits, one being that they are accorded the "human right" to be both eyesore and irritant without hindrance, the other that the jails here are well beyond being merely overcrowded and the locals are much too worshipful of their real estate bubble to want to "waste" valuable land on anything as unprofitable as detention facilities.

So here we have these kids who sit there, stay stoned and drunk and produce nothing, not only for others, but for themselves.

To digress briefly, mostly for any younger readers who weren't around back in the 1960s and 1970s, back then, before the Internet and its provision of easy access to information, before the tidal wave of immigration brought on by lifted quotas, before living costs spiralled out of control as they have in many cities and before the workplace again became an employer's market, there was a lot of elbow room for young people who wanted to be lazy and utterly nonproductive for a few years. Getting a job, even one in a corporate environment, was a piece of cake.

You looked in the employment section of the newspaper{what we once called the "want ads" and where there were always scores of job openings of every description, hungry to be filled}, found some jobs you liked the sound of, made some calls on your rotary dial telephone, put on a suit -- there was this respect thing back in the day, you see -- went down, filled out this sheet of paper called an "application", resumes were nice, but not as necessary as they are today for most jobs, got interviewed a few minutes later and, if the interviewer liked what he/she "saw", you were working within a couple of days. And you were "in", you could work hard and build up a track record qualifying you for better paying jobs with other firms, or a strong future with the one you were at. You could leave and then rejoin "the establishment" at will.

Back then, let's say you took home $125.00 a week. You could easily find a nice one bedroom apartment renting for $175.00 a month and cover your telephone and utility bills, buy food, hygiene items, clothes and other necessities and maintain a modest social life. There were no ISPs, cellular phone or cable companies sending any bills, until HBO arrived on the scene nearer the end of the era than the beginning.

Back to today: No way! Ours has become an unforgiving society where the marketplace is concerned, because there's simply too much competition for every job and a prospective employer can afford to discard job candidates for a paucity of cause. Lengthy gaps in employment histories are examined, and references are thoroughly checked. Many employers even want credit references these days. People want to review resumes before they schedule interviews. It's a whole new ball game.

So we've got those young people on the street out there, trying to enjoy a kind of lifestyle that ran its course before they were born, paying no attention to the consequences they will face when they suddenly wake up in their late twenties, looking to straighten their lives out.

A fortunate few will make out, but most of them will be the aging homeless of an even less forgiving tomorrow, among them the idiots who think it's cool to have tattoos on their faces.

One of those guys who wear all black, much in need of washing, sport too many tats and use their faces for open-air jewelry boxes whom I estimated at about twenty three years of age, asked me for "a dollar" a few years ago.

"Why don't you get a job?" I asked.

"I'm lazy." He replied with a smirk.

"Good for you." I said and kept on walking. Asshat!

When he's "catching his rattling last breath with deep sea diver sounds"{a little Tull, there} on a filthy length of sidewalk someplace in another twenty someodd years, I hope he still remembers how to smirk.

The socialist political environment in a liberal city, where the ACLU rules the roost, enables these clueless doomed "children" to rejoice, unencumbered, in their quest to become the next generation of derelict lifers -- the homeless, after all, are a large cash crop for liberal interests. The more, the merrier.

Posted by Seth at 02:56 AM | Comments (2) |

October 13, 2005

We Are Winning, Liberal Media Notwithstanding

I've long since become accustomed to the fact that the Mainstream Media grinds its liberal political axe without a shred of reportorial ethics, conscience nor any ambition to provide the public with any kind of factual, unbiased reporting. Anything, no matter how trivial, that may cast any kind of positive light on anything Bush, for example, seems to be a non-event, never happened, while anything, again no matter how trivial, that may cast any kind of negative light on anything Bush becomes an epic parade of headlines and feature stories, half the time delivered with such rabid enthusiasm that the so-called journalists and the columnists who feed off them don't even bother taking the time to confirm their information.

We've all seen that, and seen some of the leftist reporters responsible who've been caught out lose their positions, thrown to the wolves by the same editors and upper management people that encouraged their irresponsible "reporting" to begin with, in order to save their own skins. We've seen the media respond to a still unfounded charge that American soldiers flushed a Koran down a commode at Camp Delta with a major onslaught that brought references to the Soviet gulags, to Nazi concentration camps and even the killing fields of the Pol Pot regime, and the media jumped on all of it with relish, like a bunch of slobbering, undisciplined pre-adolescents..

Leftist twits like the NYT's Maureen Dowd bent over backwards to make the American public believe that the Bush Administration and our soldiers were no better than Saddam, who tortured, terrorized, oppressed and murdered his own citizens as a matter of policy.

Despite all the evidence that glares blatantly from MSM newspapers and evening reports, editorials and Op Ed columns, liberals will actually look you in the eye and claim there is no media bias or actually go so far as to say, still looking you in the eye, by gum, that the MSM is right wing biased.

So-called "news" from the N.Y. Times, S.F. Chronicle, Washington Post, L.A. Times, etc, CBS,NBC, ABC, CNN, NPR and other liberal sources would have us believe we are being trounced in Iraq, for example, that everything happening over there is negative, that the Iraqi people feel we've occupied their country for colonial purposes, we're there for the oil and so on, and so on. Whenever an American soldier dies in combat or from a terrorist car bomb, RPG-7 grenade or IED, he or she is added to a death count intended to show America that we are in some kind of quagmire, "another Vietnam."

In truth, we are beating the hell out of the insurgents over there, driving down their numbers faster than they can replace those that Coalition and Iraqi forces capture or kill. We have helped open schools so that now thousands of Iraqi children are being educated where many could not enjoy educations before. There is a successful Iraqi stock exchange in Baghdad, newspapers are flourishing as the Iraqi people embrace their newfound right to freedom of speech. We have been training Iraqi police and military forces with a great degree of success, and these forces are working as counterparts with our own. As they become seasoned, adequately staffed and prepared to do their jobs independently, we will begin withdrawing our own forces and allowing them to take over.

In today's Opinion Journal's Review & Outlook, some good observations are made regarding a letter sent from bin Laden's XO, Ayman al-Zawahiri to al-Qaeda's Iraq commander, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that was obtained this past Summer and whose contents were just released.

The letter in its entirety is here.

This link is included within this column, titled Zawahiri's Lament.

Those who want a premature U.S. withdrawal from Iraq will now have to explain why that won't play into the hands--and plans--of the enemy. Zawahiri makes it quite clear that al Qaeda's ambitions extend well beyond the borders of any one country. The goal is a fundamentalist Islamic regime that begins in Iraq, extends into the neighboring secular nations of the region, assaults Israel and moves on from there. And yes, he uses the word "caliphate."

The tone of the letter makes it quite obvious that Zawahiri is not a happy camper, that he's watching the extremist tactics employed by his people in Iraq work against them, both in the media battle that seems to have become as big a part of both sides' campaigns as the fighting itself, and in the more localized effects of the wanton bombings, the beheadings and other terrorist strategies being employed by the Islamofascist butchers in Iraq.

As for the Sunnis, he urges Zarqawi to cast a wider net--an implicit admission that he's worried about Sunnis who have been showing signs of interest in the democratic political process unfolding there. Afghanistan--and the Islamic democracy emerging in that nation--is his worst nightmare. "We don't want to repeat the mistake of the Taliban, who restricted participation in governance to the students and the people of Kandahar alone," he says. "The result was that the Afghan people disengaged themselves from them. Even devout ones took the stance of the spectator and when the invasion came, the emirate collapsed in days, because the people were either passive or hostile."

Later in the editorial,,

Amid these lamentations, however, one area emerges about which the terror commander exudes great confidence: the media. The lesson he learned from Vietnam is that "more than half of the battle is taking place on the battlefield of the media." He clearly wants to use the media, in the U.S. and in the Arab world, to induce the U.S. to pull out of Iraq and default a position of strength to al Qaeda.
He actually worries about the possibility that Zarqawi will blow victory on the media battlefield: Toward this end, he gently urges Zarqawi to discontinue his habit of beheading hostages, suggesting that perhaps instead he could just shoot them. "We are in a media race for . . . hearts and minds," he writes.

It would seem the lesson of Vietnam is featured prominently in the terrorist handbooks: The Americans' greatest weakness is their liberal media. Beat them in the MSM, you beat them at war, no matter what the physical realities are.

The long Zawahiri letter is a rough roadmap of the strategic vision for al Qaeda's intentions in Iraq and the global jihad. If it has a familiar ring, that's because George Bush has been warning the world about it for several years.

Some excellent commentary on the letter can be found at Sister Toldjah!, and Howie at The Jawa Report offers another perspective -- be sure to follow the link in his post.

But to cut to the chase, we are winning in Iraq and in the Global War on Terror in general, not only in terms of killing the enemy but also in terms of winning the hearts and minds of the people in the regions in which we operate. It's just too bad that the MSM, for partisan political reasons, continues to lie to the public in their shameful crusade to discredit President Bush.

The remarkable Michael Yon, a civilian journalist who had been blogging from within the ranks of the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment{the Deuce Four} in Iraq via his newsmagazine until its tour recently ended, is now heading into a new embed. Read his latest post here.
A single column by Michael Yon is more informative where the war in Iraq is concerned than six months' worth of the New York Times and CNN combined.

Posted by Seth at 05:22 PM | Comments (13) |

October 11, 2005

Final Two Cents(on the Miers issue)

I thought I had said all I was going to on the issue of the Miers nomination, but then I ran into the following:

In yesterday's Opinion Journal was a column featuring reprints of letters from Republican readers who are not in the anti-Miers camp for any number of reasons, such as,

While I agree that I was underwhelmed with the Miers pick, I am of a mind to blame Congress--more specifically, the Senate. They have consistently shown no backbone, even as the party in power. I realize it takes some time to get used to the majority status, but come on. They have always dodged any fight with the Democrats. Even after Tom Daschle lost, you would have thought that they would have at least felt a little more powerful. I mean, he lost on the filibuster issue! Still, the senators forged a compromise. No fight, compromise. The Democrats had promised to bring business to a halt in the Senate. Did anyone but our leaders believe them? If a hog goes on a hunger strike, will he garner much sympathy? Not until he actually looks thinner. Those hogs weren't going on any hunger strike, they like sending money home too much.
The pick doesn't get me excited, but after our Senate leaders' behavior, I don't blame Bush for dodging a fight.

and, on a more aggressive note,

I and my friends in Orlando, Fla., are very happy that 1,000 conservatives at National Review's dinner are not happy with Harriet Miers. Political disaster is not a phrase we use.

We all moved to Florida from Maine, New York, Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, Massachusetts and Connecticut, and we were all attracted to the Democratic Party by JFK. Most of us were in high school and could not vote for him. Most of us graduated from colleges that could not measure up to Southern Methodist. We do not feel intellectually inferior, but we are not nuanced. Most of us are ex-military and after Khobar Towers and Black Hawk Down in Somalia we all changed parties and registered as Republicans. Democrats do not represent any position we have. Few of us voted for Reagan, and we are all embarrassed by that fact.

However we are very tired of "It's President Bush's fault" and the lack of support he gets from republicans in the House and Senate and the 1,000 conservatives who attended your dinner. If you want him to wage war with liberal democrats what are you and your 1,000 friends going to do? So far you have done nothing to help him. You are all wimps. We watch Fox News and we do not hear any republican or conservative using the same rhetoric that Reid, Pelosi, Kennedy, et al., use to describe President Bush. Whatever Pat Buchanan or Bill Kristol are for we are against because they are lukewarm in supporting President Bush. If all 1,000 of you are so important and powerful, then why is federal spending so of control? Our philosophy is appoint no one from any Ivy League School. Appoint no one from the Northeast. We don't care what your friends in Washington or New York say or feel.

Read the rest of the reader comments.

A lot of the above is true, many of these same senators, media people and high profile pundits, all on the right, who criticize the President for nominating a "stealth" candidate like Harriet Miers rather than someone with a long record as a fire breathing, two fisted, to-the-death conservative, need to look at how dumb they're being.

These folks all yell that we have the power in our Senate majority to ramrod through any confirmation we want, yet when Bush has nominated good conservative people with any controversial baggage in the past, these same Republican senators have given the President little vote support, giving in to the Democrat minority.

Why should Potus nominate someone who will require a fight to confirm when the track record of his Senate "back-up" reads more like French than American? And who are these loud mouths that haven't supported him in the past to demand that he trust them now?

Posted by Seth at 01:50 AM |

October 08, 2005

Two Cents More

There are tens of millions of Americans who obtain all their news from the liberal media, and they include people who vote Republican as well as those who vote Democrat.

The onslaught of criticism of Bush for nominating Harriet Miers from within the ranks of the Republican party and conservative columnists and bloggers is beginning to make us look bad -- all those back seat presidents elected Bush to the job and now want to micromanage him, all in the interests of their own intra-party political interests.

You are all giving the left the best promotion you can for their attempt to enlarge their base on Capitol Hill during the midterm elections. How? By sending a message to the voters that the Republican Party not only hasn't any confidence in the judgement of the man we reelected to the job of our nation's leader, but that we're just as willing to crawl into the same politics-first quagmire occupied by the Democrats that has lost them so many elections these last several years.

And they are already exploiting the situation.

Some Senate Democrats are jumping in the middle of a Republican fray to defend Harriet Miers from conservative criticism that she isn't qualified to serve on the Supreme Court.

That doesn't mean Democrats will vote to approve President Bush's longtime confidante for the high court or give her an easy time at a Senate confirmation hearing.

No, but they'll make as many political points as they can defending her prior to the hearings, since their input will oppose the rhetoric of the "ultraconservative" anti-Miers crowd.

"All the trashing is coming from the right wing of the Republican Party," Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said in a conference call with reporters. "I really think it's despicable what they're doing."

Yeah, let's make a spectacle of ourselves, ladies and gentlemen, and let the left use it to help win back some seats in 2006, maybe even the White House in 2008. As a team, this makes us look like Charlie Brown's All Stars.

Posted by Seth at 07:06 PM |

My Two Cents

Since Harriet Miers was nominated to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor at SCOTUS, there has, of course, been the expected thunder of conflicting voices, raised in a variety of arguments. Unfortunately, the bulk of this disagreement seems to be occurring on the starboard side of the aisle.

She hasn't got the experience of some of the others who might have been nominated, she's not enough of a hardliner, there's insufficient paper trail to know where she's really coming from, one fellow conservative blogger with whom I tend to agree on most issues even linked to a site that showed Miers sitting on a couch beside Dubya, looking overjoyed, and it was supposed to be "proof" that Miers is a liberal waiting to come out of her political closet the minute she hits the Court, because the picture was reportedly taken at an Anti-Defamation League event about eight years ago. The ADL is as left wing as the ACLU, but as I understand it, Harriet Miers was once a Democrat. Then she became a Republican.

I was pretty liberal until Jimmuh Cahtuh was president, and that guy, bless his soul, turned me into a Republican. I very enthusiastically voted for Reagan in the next election.

So I understand that people can wake up politically, and that an old photo or a reference to something as trivial as attending a conference on the "wrong" side of the aisle so many years ago may not be relevant today. Or it might, who's to say?

We reelected George W. Bush to serve a second term as President Of The United States. This is the equivalent of a board of directors{the voters} hiring a CEO(POTUS). We are telling him that we have confidence in his ability to carry out the duties of his office.

Part of his job is nominating people for various high-profile positions, including those of Supreme Court Associate or Chief Justice, for Congressional approval and confirmation.

You hire or promote based on the premise that someone knows what he/she's doing, then you allow that person to get on with things, you don't appear at the person's shoulder every five minutes to micromanage. You let him/her do his/her job. Period.

We gave George Bush the authority to nominate different people for different jobs, so let's stand aside now and let him do his job.

We have our share of special interests here on the right and they're all bickering, and that accomplishes nothing. We all want specific things, but it is a rule in life that we can't all have everything we want, there needs to be some compromise.

The right is becoming too much like the left with its internal "my way or the highway" attitude. This has to stop, we're turning into a Tower of Babel while we all speak the same language. How does that compute?

We are not a Sunni vs Shiite situation, we are the U.S.A.

What we need to do is suck it in, no matter what it is, and rally behind the man we reelected to the Presidency. We hired him to do a job, let's shut up and let him do it.

Posted by Seth at 03:32 AM | Comments (2) |


A couple of days ago, Michael at Flight Pundit tagged three people, including Romeocat, Mad Dog Vinnie and yours truly, to fill in the questionnaire below. Thank you, Michael, and may the bluebird of happiness....

Well, here are my responses:

5 things I plan to do before I die:
1. Own a cabin cruiser, 25 feet +
2. Spend at least 6 months in Israel
3. Get a few books published
4. Figure out how to use my digital camera
5. Make it to at least 1 Carnival in Rio

5 things I can do:
1. Successfully manage a business
2. Design an all-faceted, customized physical security environment
3. Professionally train physical security people
4. Royally irritate liberals(a habit I find difficult to break)
5. Shoot accurately with a rifle or pistol

5 things I cannot do:
1. Figure out all the little settings and doohickies on my digital camera{see “things to do,” above, #4}
2. Anything overly technical on a computer
3. Eat yogurt
4. Fly an airplane
5. Do the Macarena

5 things that attract me to the opposite sex:
1. Self confidence
2. Sexy eyes
3. Sexy lips
4. Real intelligence
5. Passionate about hobbies, interests, work

5 things I say most often:
1. Another day in Paradise!
2. La misma mierde, diferente dia (keeping in mind that I live in California)
3. What’s up?
4. Let’s talk about it over {lunch or} dinner at your favorite restaurant
5. But that’s NOT Uncle Sam’s JOB!

Posted by Seth at 02:52 AM | Comments (4) |

October 05, 2005

Back In Town

Yesterday was a tiring one, what with a six hour flight from Boston to San Francisco aboard a 757. I don't know where that extra hour's flying time came from, I haven't seen any speed limit signs sticking out of passing clouds and using high fuel prices as an excuse won't cut it because the slower you go, the more fuel efficiency you burn off.

I usually fly United, but this time I flew American, and I think I'll stick with them in future travel. Six hours is a long time to be cooped up in an airplane any way you look at it. I was in 1st Class, and the purser and a flight attendant(a second one helping out during the meal service) made the long flight go quickly. The food{I had a steak with a pepper glaze and spinach mashed potatoes} was better than any previous cooked meals I've ever had on an airplane, they even cooked the steak to order, in my case light-medium rare. They were very forthcoming with wine, liquor, desserts and were constantly handing out things to eat.

Hats off to the TSA people at Logan!

Unlike their colleagues at O'Hare, Reagan National, Dulles and Orlando, these folks were real pros, both in their attitude and in the performance of their duties. Conversations with some of them revealed both healthy senses of humor mixed with total professionalism and more general intelligence than their coworkers at other airports.

And something else, which could only serve to support my complete admiration for the security staff at Logan -- This is funny!

Some time before I left on my trip in early September, someone gave me a mini Victorinox{Swiss Army Knife}as a token gift or whatever, and I dropped it into my notebook's carrying case and forgot about it. Naturally, that's my one piece of carry-on luggage when I travel, and that Victorinox knife I'd forgotten existed passed through security at four airports, in my carry-on luggage, only to be discovered, finally, by the Transportation Security people at Logan!

There was no problem, we'd been having dialogue and understood we were on the same side, so I had no objection to their keeping it per their SOP. Hell, I didn't even remember owning it, anyway.

I suppose that since Logan was the airport at which 9/11 hijackers boarded two of the four aircraft involved, there's a certain amount of understandable "never again" attitude. One of the things that struck me as different in the TSA personnel at Logan was their easy way with people passing through their checkpoint. It flowed, and for me, well... I travel differently than many people in some ways that tend to earn me extra scrutiny... I won't say why, because that would only give terrorists a useful look at another thing that might get one of them caught should one happen to read this blog. At any rate, even though such things are an inconvenience, the TSA people at Logan made it a smooth procedure(No, I don't get strip searched or the rubber glove, get your mind the frick away from there!).
Another thing that amazed me at Logan was that they didn't waste their time searching my suitcase. The lock is one of those that are made in a series to which the TSA has master keys. If you don't have one of those, they'll cut your lock if they decide they need to get in and look. My suitcase is an Atlantis, and they include a TSA lock.
The contents of my suitcase at any given time compose a quagmire, and at the tail end of my month-long trip, coming home, we're talking major chaos. At most other airports that my bag's been checked, I afterward found the obligatory notice from the TSA inside that they'd searched it. At Logan they didn't, probably because their government security crew knows what they're looking at when they look at an X-ray of a piece of luggage.

I didn't have a whole lot of time for reading anything on line -- as soon as I got home, I went back out to buy coffee and other basic necessities, since then most of my time has been spent going through a month's worth of mail of the USPS, UPS and FedEx variety, and we're talking a lot.

So this morning, before hitting the rack as I will soon, I've been exploring a few of my favorite blogs.

In the Eminent Domain Strikes Again Department, Ogre's Politics And Views details an ongoing example of the deterioration, due to corruption and government policy supported by the Supreme Court, of our American right to own property in our country.

Sister Toldjah! links us to Michael Yon in another example of the human compassion within our military forces that you won't read about in the liberal Mainstream Media.

Debbie Schlussel talks about a complete waste of skin named Josh Rushing.

Me? I'm about ready for some serious slumber, so I'm saying goodnight for now, and "Ah'll be bock!"

Posted by Seth at 02:17 AM |

October 03, 2005

Important Email From RightMarch

I just received an email from RightMarch, an organization headed up by a patriotic American named Bill Greene whom I met while I was in Washington recently to support the Roberts nomination and to counterprotest against the anti-war/anti-troops/anti-Bush/anti-America wingnuts who showed up along with Michael Moore's friend Cindy Sheehan.

Here is the content of the email:

Should the U.S. Supreme Court -- or ANY U.S. court -- use *foreign* law to interpret the U.S. Constitution?

As you know, they already have. To date at least six Justices have cited foreign law in written opinions. With increasing frequency the Supreme Court looks to constitutions, law, and trends of foreign countries when examining cases.

With last week's Senate confirmation of John Roberts as the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and today's nomination of Harriet Miers to be Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement, the timing of this national civics debate couldn't be more appropriate. How justices choose to interpret the Constitution and its original intent should be central to this discussion.

During his confirmation hearing, John Roberts said it best when characterizing the cherry-picking of foreign law to interpret the United States Constitution as "a misuse of precedent."

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution clearly provides in the Supremacy Clause, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; And all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the Supreme Law of the Land."

As Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) has noted, "The U.S. Constitution exemplifies our nation's independence from foreign law and precedent. The Supreme Court's increasing tendency to reference foreign law rather than the original intent of the Constitution jeopardizes the sovereignty of our nation. The American people have not authorized through Congress or through a constitutional amendment the use of foreign laws to establish new law or deny rights here in the United States."

Rep. Feeney, along with Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), has introduced the "Reaffirmation of American Independence Resolution" (H. Res. 97) to take a strong stand against this new -- and dangerous trend. But this resolution needs a LOT more co-sponsors to guarantee it will get to a vote in front of the whole House -- and that it will pass.

We need to DEMAND that our Representatives (Republican AND Democrat) sign up as co-sponsors of this bill -- and that they support it all the way through passage.

TAKE ACTION: The Feeney/Goodlatte Resolution (H. Res. 97) currently has 67 co-sponsors, including the House Constitution Subcommittee Chairman Chabot and 14 other Members of the House Judiciary Committee. The resolution states:

"Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that judicial determinations regarding the meaning of the Constitution of the United States should not be based on judgments, laws, or pronouncements of foreign institutions unless such foreign judgments, laws, or pronouncements inform an understanding of the original meaning of the Constitution of the United States."
This resolution affirms the sense of Congress that judicial decisions interpreting the U.S. Constitution should not be based on any foreign laws, court decisions, or pronouncements of foreign governments unless they are expressly approved by Congress. Click below to send a FREE message to YOUR Congressman, asking him or her to sign up as a co-sponsor of H. Res. 97, and to support it all the way through passage:
http://capwiz.com/sicminc/issues/alert/?alertid=8078481&type=CO NOTE: Be sure to forward this message to EVERYONE you know who wants to help STOP courts from using foreign law to interpret the U.S. Constitution. Thank you!


William Greene, President

I wholeheartedly support Mr. Greene and RightMarch and would urge all right thinking Americans to do the same. You can sign up for their Conservative Alerts to be emailed to you when you visit their website.

Posted by Seth at 03:04 PM |

Mainstream Media In Action{or Inaction, you choose}

During my perusal of today's Jewish World Review, I came upon this oh-so-true column by the great Mark Steyn about the lameness of today's media, and thought I should share it. It's titled Media Deserves Blame For New Orleans Debacle, but it doesn't stop there.

The facts they put in front of us were wrong, and they didn't talk truth to power. They talked to goofs in power, like New Orleans' Mayor Nagin and Police Chief Compass, and uncritically fell for every nutso yarn they were peddled. The media swallowed more bilge than if they'd been lying down with their mouths open as the levee collapsed. Ten thousand dead! Widespread rape and murder! A 7-year-old gang-raped and then throat-slashed! It was great stuff — and none of it happened. No gang-raped 7-year-olds. None.


Four years ago, you'll recall, we were bogged down in "the brutal Afghan winter." By "we," I don't mean the military but the media. The line on Afghanistan was that it was the white man's grave. Actually, it was the grave that was white; the man was more of a blueish color thanks to temperatures "so cold that eyelids crust and saliva turns to sludge in the mouth," according to Knight-Ridder's Tom Ifield. "Realistically," reported New York's Daily News, "U.S. forces have a window of two or three weeks before the brutal Afghan winter begins to foreclose options."

Er, no. "Realistically," U.S. forces turned out to have a window of four years, which is how long they've been waiting for the "fast, fast approaching" (ABC's ''Nightline'') brutal Afghan winter to show up. It's Knight-Ridder's news reports that turn to sludge on your lips. The "brutal Afghan winter" is a media fiction.

Go ahead, read the entire column. Next time you open up the New York Times, whose online version is now charging a subscription fee to read their op-ed's or special features, the L.A. Times, the Washington Post or any other MSM newspapers, watch CNN, CBS, ABC, or NBC news shows, think about Steyn's column, then wonder how much truth you're reading vs how much fiction.

Posted by Seth at 02:31 PM | Comments (2) |

The New Nominee

President Bush has nominated White House Council Harriet Miers to replace retiring Associate Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, causing something of a stir among Republicans and the usual scramble for anti-Bush nominee ammunition in the leftist Mainstream Media.

The Democrats naturally won't like the fact that Miers, like newly sworn-in Chief Justice John Roberts, doesn't leave enough of a judicial back-trail for them to sink their teeth into while opposing the confirmation of a Bush nominee for the sole reason that she is, well, a Bush nominee. Right-o, Dems, don't let anything like the good of the country or other picayune details like patriotism stand in your way, just follow the party line and obstruct the president any way you can over every issue possible.

The leftists over at the Village Voice have already brought a guilt by association angle out of the closet, going back to the days when Miers was Texas Lottery whip, and I won't be terribly surprised if that scandal becomes a focal point of the portside attacks.

Miers was chair of the state lottery commission from 1995 to 2000, at a time when the agency was tied up in a case involving Gtech. That’s the company that ran the lottery, and was accused of alleged kickbacks and illegal contracts. The case also involved former lieutenant governor Ben Barnes—the same pol who claimed to have helped the young Bush get into the National Guard.

Hmmm, was accused of...

Never a judge, Miers is a longtime GOP functionary, and has pumped thousands of dollars into the campaigns of right-wing GOP stalwarts in Texas—from Phil Gramm to Kay Bailey Hutchison. It must be noted that in 1988 she gave money to Democrats—$1,000 to Al Gore in his first try for president and $1,000 to Lloyd Bentsen for Senate.

That's pretty much Spin City, as referring to "thousands of dollars," in the minds of most readers, assumes high five digit to six digit figures. In reality, all of Miers' listed contributions over the years total out, according to Newsmeat.com to a walloping $14,770.00, broken down thusly:

$10,500.00 to Republicans, $3,000.00 to Democrats and $1,270.00 to special interests.

Harriet Miers' total net worth is not much over half a million dollars, so she definitely cannot be classified as a "mega-rich" Republican, and therefore the amount of money she has contributed to whatever causes she saw fit to help with is about average in some circles, less than average in others and by no means exceptional. Personally, I could care less how much money she's donated to whom or what, I'm more interested in how she'll perform as a justice in SCOTUS. I only brought it up because we all know some Senate Democrats will consider such things as being of "great import" and make political hay as always, since the President has once again presented them a target with a bulls eye only slightly smaller than the head of a pin.

Reading her bio, I can't fail to be impressed by Harriet Miers, I mean here's a woman who's demonstrated that she could have broken the six digit income barrier a long time ago in the private sector, but selflessly devoted her legal and leadership talents instead to public service.

Important also, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal article, is the fact that she served as an attorney, prior to joining the Bush staff, in the "real world" of business Law, and brought that experience with her to Washington, concentrating on doing a good job rather than on being any kind of political "hack."

Ms. Miers also has more of a business track record than many of the other candidates whose names were floated in recent days. The White House biographical sheet made a point of noting her experience as a lawyer for major corporations.

The choice "should be heartening to business lawyers who often feel that [Supreme Court] decisions aren't connected to the realities they deal with," said Reginald Brown, a former associate White House counsel in the Bush administration who now represents financial institutions in Washington. "She's a conservative, but better known within the White House for her careful attention to detail than for waging ideological battles."
Politicians across the spectrum have been bracing for a fight over Mr. Bush's nominee because Justice O'Connor, a moderate on social issues, has been the swing vote on key questions like abortion and campaign finance. Chief Justice Roberts, in contrast, succeeded the late William Rehnquist, and was seen as swapping one conservative vote for another conservative vote.

There will, of course, be accusations of Bush "cronyism" coming from the left. Again, from the WSJ article:

Eager to rebut any charges of cronyism, the White House produced statistics showing that 10 of the 34 Justices appointed since 1933 had worked for the president who picked them. Among them were the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, first tapped for the court by Richard M. Nixon, and Byron White, whose president was John F. Kennedy.

As I said after Mr. Bush first nominated Roberts as the replacement for O'Connor prior to the death of former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, I believe the Miers nomination, too, to be an attempt to offer up a moderate candidate that most Democrats in the Senate, despite their party's "oppose Bush no matter what" policy, could accept without turning the confirmation hearings into a bloodbath of filibustering and embarrassing{for them} invective.

This does much to demonstrate that our President, unlike most of those politicians representing our nation's Democratic Party, is a true gentleman.

Certainly, Republicans were, for the most part, hoping for a nominee whose track record reflected a solid, hard right political perspective to counter the liberal leaning side of the Court and there were a number of potential candidates who would have met that criteria, but as we've seen in the last couple of years, the President has been reluctant, for whatever his reasons may be, to take advantage of the conservative majority in both the Senate and the House and institute much needed changes.

Personally, I think he's squandering the "chance of a lifetime," but he's the guy I'd vote for to serve a third term if it was allowed and I'll go with his choice of nominee. He and Miers have worked together for many years now, and it is to be presumed that he knows where she stands on issues that will come before the court in the years to come.

Here is an excerpt from her bio, linked above:

Ms. Miers has a long and distinguished professional career.

Before joining the President’s staff, she was Co-Managing Partner at Locke Liddell & Sapp, LLP from 1998-2000. She had worked at the Locke Purnell, Rain & Harrell firm, or its predecessor, from 1972 until its merger with the Liddell Sapp firm. From 1995 until 2000, she was chair of the Texas Lottery Commission. In 1992, Harriet became the first woman president of the Texas State Bar, and in 1985 she became the first woman president of the Dallas Bar Association. She also served as a Member-At-Large on the Dallas City Council.

Ms. Miers received her bachelor's degree in Mathematics in 1967 and J.D. in 1970 from Southern Methodist University. Upon graduation, she clerked for U.S. District Judge Joe E. Estes from 1970 to 1972.

Ms. Miers had a distinguished career as a trial litigator, representing such clients as Microsoft, Walt Disney Co. and SunGard Data Systems Inc. Moreover, when she left her law firm of Locke, Liddell & Sapp, Ms. Miers was serving as Co-Managing Partner of the firm which had more than 400 lawyers.

Throughout her career, Ms. Miers has been committed to public service. In addition to her extensive involvement in the State Bar of Texas and the American Bar Association, Ms. Miers has been an elected official, a statewide officeholder, and a strong advocate of pro bono work.

During her time in the Administration, Ms. Miers has addressed numerous legal and policy questions at the highest levels of decision making, most recently serving as the Counsel to the President of the United States.

From where I sit, no matter what kind of anti-Bush partisan politics the Democrats, snivelling under the leadership of their America hating socialist liberal masters offer up, Harriet Miers seems eminently qualified for the position of Associate Justice.

Posted by Seth at 12:41 PM | Comments (5) |